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Thread: Finally building a new PC!

  1. #1

    Finally building a new PC!

    Ok so I'm starting to acquire pieces for the new PC. Probably will take me a couple months to get all the parts but processors are fucking on sale so I'm nabbing one.

    Now I've heard that the i7 series of intel is only worthwhile unless you nab a 900 series, otherwise I should stick with the i5. Well the i7 920 is on sale at Micro Center for $199 for this week only, so I'm going to try to nab one.

    The only problem with the 900 series is that you have to grab an expensive motherboard, so here we go!

    Amazon/Intel has this Intel DX58SO Extreme Series X58 ATX Tri-Channel DDR3 16GB SLI or CrossFireX LGA1366 Overclocking Utility Desktop Board linked as the Intel compatible mobo, but I like the looks of this Asus. Rec's please!

    I need:
    Case suggestions, up to $150
    Power Supply Suggestions - looking at this Corsair in whatever wattage I'll need.
    Video Card Suggestions: I'm going to start with one card and eventually use dual. Up to $400.
    Memory Suggestions: Looking at 6 gigs of Corsair again, this or this, but I'm looking for suggestions! Hopefully 8 gigs for $200?
    Extra Cooling Suggestions - I won't be overclocking out of the box but I need everything to be nice and cool. My box will probably be in a corner unless I reconfigure my space (which I might do) and I will probably be overclocking later so going overboard here isn't a bad thing, as long as it doesn't get too complicated to put together.
    Sound Card Suggestions - I want one with audio in jacks for plugging things into. but let's stick to something cheaper here since I'm going overboard on the processor.

    Internal drives will be the last thing, probably just one dvd/cd/rw catchall drive like this Lite-On and a 1tb internal Caviar Black drive.

    I've got some nice speakers already, some Altec Lansings 5pc Surround Sound, and the monitor I'm not going to worry about until I can get a really nice one, which I know I won't really be able to enjoy the super high resolutions on my current monitor but the point is at least I'll be able to run everything. I'm limiting this to core shit. The goal is to clock in at a max of $1,000 NOT INCLUDING the processor, but a little over won't hurt.

    The machine will be used for gaming, watching HD video, and listening to music basically.

    GO GO GO!
    Last edited by Cowutopia; 27 Dec 2009 at 09:42 PM.
    Pete DeBoer's Tie
    There are no rules, only consequences.

  2. #2
    I KNOW everyone says to get everything at once when you can afford it because prices only go down but I want this 920 for 200 dollars right now when I have plenty of money because it sets the bar for the rest of my system. Will probably get the board now too, and maybe the case. Video card will be the last thing I get.

    This whole thing will be finished in two checks, or 3 weeks from now.
    Last edited by Cowutopia; 27 Dec 2009 at 08:00 PM.
    Pete DeBoer's Tie
    There are no rules, only consequences.

  3. Nice! I'm right in the middle of building mine, too, so right now I'm steeped in this shit. Maybe I can lend a few tips.

    - Are you sure the Microcenter sale is this week only? The i7-920 is typically about $290, but Microcenter has been selling it for $200 for quite awhile now... I've only been paying attention during the past few months, but everyone has always said "Get your 920 at Microcenter, it's only 200." Note that this is an in-store deal only, not online.

    i7 vs. i5: It's kinda tricky the way they set this up. So there are two different chipsets, the P55 and the X58. The P55 is for socket 1156 CPU's, which include all i5 processors and the i7-8xx processors. The X58 chipset is for 1366 CPU's which currently include all i7-9xx processors and, in the near future, will also include the 6-core i9 processors. So you could use any i5 cpu or, say, the i7-860 cpu on a P55 motherboard, but an i7-920 would have to go onto an X58 board.

    Are you sure you want to buy the processor right away? In February Intel is launching the i7-930... if you do go the X58 route, this cpu clocks in at 2.80 GHz as opposed to the 920's 2.66 GHz, and it will be the same price that the 920 is currently. It's pretty irrelevant if you plan to overclock, because the 920's are typically very flexible (many people can get their 920's up from the stock 2.66 GHz to around 4.0-4.2 GHz just on air cooling) and the 930 is nothing more than a factory-overclocked 920. If you don't want to fiddle with OC stuff, though, waiting a couple months could get you a bit more performance.

    Choosing P55 or X58: They're both great chipsets. P55 is a bit more wallet-friendly, but it also has a few limitations compared to its big brother. These may or may not matter, depending on your usage and whether or not you plan on upgrading later on. First off, the only real difference between the i5 and i7-8xx processors is that the i7-8's have hyperthreading while the i5's do not. So with an i7-860 you'd have 8 logical cores, but with an i5 you'd be restricted to the 4 physical cores. For gaming this doesn't really matter, but processor-intensive applications might suffer a bit. The i5's also draw less power than their siblings (obviously overclocking will affect this, though).

    One of the big differences between P55 and X58 aside from the processor it will support is the memory. X58 can run DDR3 memory in triple-channel while P55 is limited to dual-channel memory. Because of this, on an X58 board, you want to install modules in sets of three -- so you wouldn't want to put 8GB of RAM into an X58 board. On X58, with either 3 or 6 modules installed, you'd want your total memory to be 3, 6, 12, 24 gigs. On P55 it'd be 2, 4, 8, 16. Again, this isn't super important for gaming, but there definitely are a lot of applications that will benefit from the additional memory bandwidth you get with X58.

    Apart from that, the P55 doesn't have as much PCI-E bandwidth either. I don't know all the details here, so I won't get into it too much and risk conveying false information -- I know that it's not a factor if you're only using one video card, but if you planned to have 2-3 decent cards in SLI/Crossfire, the P55 would be holding them back. There just aren't as many total lanes available on the P55 boards, for whatever reason, so it doesn't do as well in multi-GPU configurations.

    And finally, if you think you might want to upgrade your processor a year or two down the road, the X58 platform will, in the future (and probably after a quick BIOS flash) be compatible with the upcoming i9 six-core processors. Just something to keep in mind -- you wouldn't be able to throw one of those into a P55 board, though.

    The decision is yours to make... the P55 is a bit more elegant and efficient, and it's cheaper, but the X58 is still ontop in terms of raw power.

    Now down to your parts... I wouldn't get an Intel motherboard. There are quite a few other vendors that all produce superior, performance-minded boards. EVGA and Asus are pretty much the best and most reliable motherboard manufacturers right now... I'd say that Gigabyte comes in third. In the same price range of that Intel board, my first recommendation would be the EVGA E757 SLI LE. Obviously that's an X58 board, so if you went the i5 route you'd have to consider a different, appropriate board.

    I can rattle off a few suggestions for the other pieces.

    For the case, do you want something small and discreet? Something a bit more flashy? Do you want a big, spacious full-tower, or..? The Cooler Master HAF 932 is an extremely popular choice.. it's going to be big, and it definitely doesn't have that professional/office aesthetic, but it's extremely functional and still looks great in a "gamer case" sort of way. If you want something sleeker, I'd look into any of the cases made by Lian Li. They're top quality.

    That Corsair PSU you linked would be absolutely perfect. They make great units.

    Video card... in the 300 price-bracket, a Radeon HD5850 is by far the best bang-for-your-buck. And yeah, you can start with one and add a second one down the line. Keep in mind that Nvidia hasn't launched their counterpart to ATI's 5xxx series yet... those should be showing up in a few months or so, so if you haven't built your computer by then, you might wait to see what sort of competition they bring to the table.

    As far as memory, both of those Corsair kits would be good... keep in mind that you'd want to stick with a 6GB (3x2GB) kit for an X58 motherboard. 1600 MHz is pretty much the sweet spot right now, so you're on the right track. G.Skill and Mushkin both make great memory, as well.. you could spend as little as 149.99 on a kit like this... these, these, and these are all great kits as well. If you end up with some extra money you could go for the Mushkin Redlines or Corsair Dominator GT's.

    As far as cooling goes, you've got a few options. The Prolimatech Megahalems and TRUE 120 are pretty much at the top of the pack for performance from an air-cooled heatsink. Sometimes the TRUE's need to be lapped before installation for best results, though, while the Megahalems tend to come with a better finish out of the box. Neither of those heatsinks come with its own fans, so you'd need to pick up a couple 120mm fans to set them up in a push-pull configuration through the heatsink. The Noctua NH-D14 is also in the same league as the aforementioned, but it seems to be even bigger (all three are monstrously-large) and might impede on even two of your memory slots. You'd want to make sure you had memory with low-profile heatsinks. The Noctua does come with at least one of its own fans, though. Alternately there's the Corsair H50... it's the most popular LLC "low-cost liquid cooling" setup right now. Its performance won't come close to matching a real custom watercooling loop, but it can still hang in the same ballpark as the best air-cooled heatsinks, and it obviously takes up a lot less space. That doesn't necessarily make it any easier to install, though, and then you want to make sure your case fans are hitting your memory and motherboard chipset heatsinks as there will be no residual airflow from the CPU cooler splashing onto the board.

    Soundcard -- honestly, it isn't necessary unless you're doing some extreme audio stuff... onboard sound is actually good these days. I'd leave it out of your initial build and then you can decide if you actually need a discreet sound card later on.

    I bought a 1TB Caviar Black for my computer, so I could obviously recommend it, but the 1TB Samsung Spinpoint F3 is actually a faster drive. The only reason I didn't buy it is because it was sold out everywhere when I was ordering parts... it kind of bummed me out. I'd get the F3 if you can find it, but otherwise the Caviar Black will do a good job.

    Anyways, I hope that helped a bit... sorry for all of the text. Good luck and have fun.

  4. #4
    Yeah I have had a few people tell me that they've been selling the 920 for 200 for ages now so I guess I'm not really in a rush. I didn't know about the i7-930 but if it really retails for 200 then I guess I can wait? I'll be bummed if they put out the 930 and it's 300 bucks. I want the new rig, at the latest, before PAX East, so I can bring it along to lan.

    I've learned about that RAM thing, so I guess I'd start with 6 gigs. I've already decided on the x58 chipset, and I like the look of that Asus board I linked, so I guess I'll have to choose between that and the EVGA. It blows my mind that I could upgrade to 24gb ram and 3 video cards in the end. Just the idea is disgusting, but will probably be useful in the longevity of the system. My current PC I ordered from Dell. lol, I wuz dum in high school.

    It also blows my mind about the onboard sound being decent, but that's what I've been reading (I've been sitting here looking shit up for hours now) so I will be taking your advice there and leaving the soundcard out in the initial build. I haven't done any pc shopping since 2002 really so I guess I'm way behind.

    I was looking at that cooler master tower too. A few of my friends recommended the Lian Li cases. I'll have to just sit down and muddle that one out.

    Super helpful post, thanks a lot! I don't mind walls of text at all!
    Last edited by Cowutopia; 27 Dec 2009 at 09:43 PM.
    Pete DeBoer's Tie
    There are no rules, only consequences.

  5. I see you edited the Intel board out for the P6T -- that's a good choice.

    I almost forgot, I'm assuming you'll have to factor in the cost of an operating system, too. You can get Windows 7 64-bit Professional OEM for $140... Home only supports up to 16 GB of memory, but Professional and Ultimate will take upwards of 120-something gigs. If you don't get a 64-bit OS then you'll be stuck at 3.2.
    Last edited by koda; 28 Dec 2009 at 01:03 AM.

  6. #6
    I only edited it out because I couldn't figure out the strike command.

    Yeah I'm not worrying about the cost of windows 7 but I am going to be running windows 7. I didn't know that home only supported 16, so I'll get the 64 bit pro. Good to know.
    Pete DeBoer's Tie
    There are no rules, only consequences.

  7. I need to build a new small HTPC as well, these parts seems like a good start.

  8. #8
    I wonder how much of a hassle transferring all my shit over to the new pc will be. I have an external right now with enough space to create a backup of all my shit but like, my steam shit and everything? how will that work?
    Pete DeBoer's Tie
    There are no rules, only consequences.

  9. I don't think it will be that bad. As far as Steam goes, just download the client on your new rig and start re-installing shit. It will take a little while to re-download it all, but it shouldn't hassle you about having a new computer or anything like that.

    You can just copy the save files over that you need to keep onto your external drive, then drop them back into the appropriate folders once your new installs are up and running.

    One of the nice things about having a new computer is that fresh slate, IMO... just transfer over the media files and things you absolutely need, and then enjoy being clutter-free. =)

    I noticed you bumped your video card budget up to 400 -- that will let you get a 5870 over a 5850. If you're buying in the next month or two, that's definitely the route you want to go. If your build is still 3+ months out, wait until Nvidia shows its hand and then make a decision at that point. If you do get a 5870 (or 5850 for less) then Sapphire and Asus are probably the best manufacturers when it comes to ATI cards.

    If you know that you're going to be running SLI or Crossfire at some point, you might consider picking up the TX-850 over the 750W. It's thirty bucks more, and will be overkill for your initial build, but it's always nice to have a bit of headroom. You don't want to find that eight months from now you have to buy a whole new power supply. Besides that, PSU's typically have the highest efficiency at around 50-60% load... so while some people like to say "Nah, that PSU is too big, get a smaller one," I tend to like having more than is necessary.

    Re: i7-930 -- I don't know if Microcenter will be selling these for 200. Right now the MSRP for the 920 is 290, though, and the 930 will have that same MSRP.

  10. Sorry to leach of your thread Cow but I need some advice.

    My comp died again today and I'm sick of making little fixes and buying parts for it. I can't afford anything spectacular right now and my budget is < $500. I was messing around on Dell's site and put together an Inspiron with...

    Windows 7 Home Premium, 64bit
    AMD Athlon II X2 240 (2.8GHz, 2MB)
    2GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz- 2 DIMMs
    ATI Radeon HD 4350 512MB
    320GB Serial ATA Hard Drive (7200RPM) w/DataBurst Cache
    And a standard DVD-RW drive

    I know that isn't great but it's $450 shipped with Windows 7

    I just stumbled across this barebones kit from tigerdirect and it seems like a better setup but with Windows 7 it's gonna run me about $550 (unless I need something else I'm not thinking of). I haven't put together a computer in a long time but I've got a roommate that can do it or help me do it easily.
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