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Old 08-18-2010, 02:38 AM   #8 (permalink)
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Illinois, USA
Posts: 2,363
Default Re: Building a pc for the first time, need some help to make sure it all works.

That CPU is LGA1156 and the motherboard is LGA1366, these are two different sockets and are NOT compatible. You should get a different CPU anyways, the i3 isn't a great chip, go with either an i5 (which are also LGA1156 so you'd need to find an LGA1156 motherboard) or an i7. The i7's are available in either LGA1156 or LGA1366 packages but I recommend the LGA1366 ones because the LGA1366 platform provides much higher bandwidth to PCI Express cards and other devices for better system performance. The i7 8xx are 1156, the i7 9xx are 1366.

For $900 you probably won't be able to go with LGA1366, I priced out a basic upgrade (LGA1366 motherboard, i7 930, and 6GB DDR3 RAM) and it was around $750, you will need a gaming graphics card, case, PSU, HDD, optical drive still and possibly monitors/keyboard/mouse/OS too. If you don't need any of those you may be able to squeeze in a 1366 build for $1000 but you won't have a very good graphics card. Instead either look at LGA1156 (Core i5, Core i7 8xx) CPU's and motherboards or look at AMD systems. AMD's Phenom 2 X4 chips are pretty good and are usually a good bit cheaper than a comparable Intel build (something higher end from the LGA1156 line). Like the LGA1156, AMD's chips also run dual-channel memory (LGA1366 runs triple-channel so you need 3 sticks of RAM instead of 2) so you save on a stick of RAM as well.

I'm not too big on AMD as I bought an LGA1366 i7 but here's a sample Phenom build, AMD users can point out any flaws:

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition (Unlocked multiplier for overclocking): $175.99 - AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ965FBGMBOX

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-890GPA-UD3H (Best AMD chipset, SATA6, USB3.0 support): $139.99 - GIGABYTE GA-890GPA-UD3H AM3 AMD 890GX HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard

RAM: A-DATA Gaming Series 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1600MHz: $89.99 - A-DATA Gaming Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model AX3U1600GB2G9-2G

For these core components, total cost is $405.97

GPU: XFX HD-587X-ZNFV Radeon HD 5870 1GB: $389.99 - XFX HD-587X-ZNFV Radeon HD 5870 (Cypress XT) 1GB 256-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

Total thus far: 795.96

HDD: Samsung Spinpoint 500GB SATA: $54.99 - SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

Case: Rosewill Blackbone Mid-Tower: $34.99 - Rosewill Blackbone Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Optical Drive: LG Black 22X DVD Burner: $17.99 - LG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 5X DVD-RAM 12X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM SATA 22X DVD Burner - Bulk - CD / DVD Burners

Total before PSU: $903.03

PSU: Antec NeoPower 650W: $74.99 - Antec NeoPower 650 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Modular Active PFC Power Supply

End Total: $978.92

I know it's a little bit more than you budgeted but the 5870 is a top notch card and the CPU is AMD's best quad core. I did cut costs on the HDD, case, and optical drive as they are less important for a gaming build, but you can always change them without much fear of incompatibility. Look for at least an ATX Mid Tower for the 5870 as it's a very big card. You could also drop the 965 for the 955 (still a Black Edition so theoretically you could get the same overclock) and save $21, dropping lower you could get the 945 but it is not a Black Edition and only has a power rating of 95W so it may not be as good for overclocking. The drop from the 955 to the 945 will save you $15, so dropping the 965 I listed for the lower-end 945 will save you a total of $36. You could also look into cheaper DDR3 RAM, though I recommend gaming series RAM at 1600MHz, cheaper RAM has worse timings and even though the speeds are the same it won't perform as well.

In the end, if you need to cut, you can cut down to the Radeon HD 5850 and save around $100. The 5850 should work fine if you're playing on a 1920x1200 or less monitor. My 5870 runs 3 1920x1080 monitors in Eyefinity pretty well so it does have a lot of extra power you may not need.

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