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Old 11-23-2009, 02:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Could it be? A new I5 gaming rig in the making. <-Welcome advice->

Hey there! Woke up last week and realized... man, does my computer feel old! So I set about doing some research into getting a new rig. I was initially looking at custom builders, but in the end, I felt that these were either too expensive, or not exactly what I wanted (along with the fact that some custom vendors don't even list the brand they use for some parts!).

What I do want: I want a good solid performance, medium to high end build . This rig will be used primarily for Gaming, but also possibly software development, 3d graphics editing, music, web browsing, and word processing. I do not wish to spend more than around $2250 (£1,364). I would like for this investment to last me at least 3 years. I would also prefer to use up as little desk space as possible (I keep my computer on the floor).

My experience level relating to hardware is somewhere in the range of moderate to low. I haven’t done this in at least 6 years, and have rarely kept up with hardware during that time.

I am open to advice on any changes that might improve my buy, and hope it helps anyone else out there searching for something similar. Thank you for your input!

---------------------------------------------------

The Rig:
-Note: Used newegg for all pricing for the time being. All prices in pounds going forward are close estimates.

Main Components:
CPU: Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor ... $200 (£121)
MoBo: MSI P55-GD80 LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard ... $210 (£127)
GPU: Radeon HD 5850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 ... $310 (£187)
RAM: Kingston HyperX 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 ... $240 (£145)
Storage: Corsair P128 (CMFSSD-128GBG2D) 2.5" 128GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid state disk (SSD) ... $370 (£224)
Power Supply: Corsair 650w … $100 (£60)
CPU cooling device: Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2 … $32 (£19)
OS: Windows 7 Home … $120 (£72)

Main Components Cost: $1582 (£958)

Secondary / Upgradable Components:
Case: LIAN LI Lancool PC-K62 Black 0.8 mm SECC, Plastic + Mesh ATX Mid Tower ... $130 (£78)
Secondary Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM … $75 (£45)
Keyboard: Logitech Illuminated (slim w/ backlighting) … $55 (£33)
Monitor: LG W2353V-PF Black 23" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Full HD 1080P Widescreen LCD Monitor … $220 (£113)

Secondary Components Cost: $480 (£290)

Salvageable Components:
Viewsonic 15” VA520 monitor
PoS..ahem..“Lower End” keyboard
Cd/Dvd R/W Drive
Floppy Drive (yes, I still have one)
Mx518 Logitech Mouse
Lian Li PC-70 aluminium full tower case
Decent speaker set with subwoofer (nice to rest feet on)
Old Internal 120GB hard drive
Old Internal 250GB hard drive

Total cost using all upgradable components, filler salvage components: $2062 (£1247)

---------------------------------------

Justifications
: (Fairly sure about these)

The i5:
I went with the i5-750 because it seems like a great way to lower my costs and still get great performance. Reviews put it behind the i7 9xx by a good margin, and the i7 8xx by a slight margin. I cannot afford the i7 9xx easily, and the main difference from the i7 8xx series seems to be hyperthreading. While it is true I may be using some 3d editing tools… I think the lower cost justifies this loss in performance to one of my secondary uses for this machine. True, more games may support SMT as time goes on, but I do not think we will be seeing a major difference in the near future. However, since the i9 will probably use the same socket as the i7, this makes the i5 a poor choice for upgradability in the future. I am not much concerned about this though, since I will not be upgrading for quite some time (would be worth it more to buy a new system at that point anyways).

The MoBo
: MSI P55-GD80 LGA 1156 ATX Intel
I chose this motherboard because it has good functionality, cooling, arrangement, and looks. It received good reviews for stability as well. This above all else, sold me on it (in combo with the i5) – nothing hurts worse than to have a motherboard fail. It also includes a nice auto-clocking feature – this should help me easily increase clock speed without going manual. It looks to be a great value for price, at $210 (£127).

The GPU: Radeon HD 5850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5
I was looking to get a decent GPU from the start, but not topline. I started looking at the Nvidia GeForce Gtx 285 for awhile, but then I happened upon this one. Looks to be about the same module, but costs less ($310 (£187) total). I’m all over that =)

The Storage: Corsair P128 SSD
After reading up on ssd’s I was at first amazed (“I WanT ThaT!”), then concerned when I saw some of the performance issues a lot of them had been having. This unit however, got decent reviews, and I am willing to try it out. 128GB size-wise is what I use currently anyways. This probably won’t be enough storage long term, which is why I plan to use another HDD to archive, and store extremely large files that I won’t be accessing as often.

The OS: Windows 7 Home
I currently have XP. I don’t hate it, I just don’t like many things about it. I was thinking I would have to switch to Ubuntu or buy a Mac upon an upgrade, but Windows 7 came along and it looks to be more stable and usable than Vista. Still some features to be desired, but enough to secure my purchase.

Monitor: Laid eyes on a LG W2353V 23” and nearly fell in love… at the tune of $210 (£113). Would complement the GPU, and be a great upgrade.

----------------------------

Decisions, Decisions: (Things I am not entirely sure about)

Ram
:
Not too sure about what to get. In my current computer, I’m running 4GB ram I believe, but this is limited by the x32 Windows Ram-Hammer. As far as ram goes, Kingston seems to be one of the most reliable brands out there, and my eye is currently on: Kingston HyperX 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3, but I am open to others. Note that the motherboard I have chosen supports dual channel, so most likely the ram should be 4GB or 8GB 1333. Is the 8GB a good amount for my uses? Will I see a justifiable increase in performance?

Cases
:
I am fairly impressed with my old Lian Li PC-70 case. It is a solid aluminum roomy case. However, it does restrict airflow more than I would like. Have a few cases in mind, but the higher and lower contenders are: the and the . Other cases I noted included the Cooler Master Sniper, and the Antec 900/902. The PC-7F case has all the great features and benefits I’ve come to love with my old case (solid, vibration reducing, fairly quiet), with slightly improved air flow and dust filtering. The PC-K62 is not aluminum, but is more airy and allows for more fans. I am currently leaning towards the PC-K62. Is this the best case for this build?

Power Supply
:
I’m a bit lost on power units. I read somewhere that a 550w should work fine with an i5 build, but unsure if that is true. I have chosen a Corsair 650w ($100 (£60)) to start out with. Do I need more power?

CPU Cooling Device:
Currently have chosen the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2. Basically what I need here is a fan that will cool the CPU well enough when I moderately over-clock, and not randomly morph into a jet engine or a rattle. Seems to be a good fit… decent airflow, relatively quiet, not expensive ($32 (£19)) – things I like. 900 - 2500 RPM(PWM), Air Flow: 45 CFM, .8 Sone.

Storage:
Pretty secure in the Corsair P128 SSD as noted above. However, for my HDD archive drive: do I salvage my hard drives from my old machine (they are a couple years old), or buy a new one for around $75 (£45)?

Keyboard
:
My current keyboard (your average cheapo) performs decently, but I find often that the keys require a lot of force on average to depress, and it wears my hand out after a bit of typing. Also, it takes up a bit more space than I would think necessary (1” to 3” border around the entire thing – no buttons on this area). I want a keyboard with a full set of keys, standard layout, tilting options, hardly any frills, space saver, decent spacing between buttons (if possible), and backlighting (if possible). Doesn’t matter if it’s wired. My current choice is the Logitech Illuminated Keyboard. It is standard, slim, backlit, and supposedly allows for a great typing experience. However, I am at a loss as to whether this keyboard would be good for gaming. Another option (I found upon visiting this forum) is the Saitek PZ30AU Black Standard Eclipse Keyboard. It has a fairly minimalist design as well, is backlit with what looks to be a good typing experience. These are both in the same price range. Any opinions on which of these is the better choice?

-------------------------------

Long post, I know. If you got to this point without skipping, kudos . However, If you are like me and don’t always read everything, help out by providing feedback on what you did see. Thank you!
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Old 11-23-2009, 09:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Could it be? A new I5 gaming rig in the making. <-Welcome advice->

Quote:
Originally Posted by Levity13 View Post
Salvageable Components:
Viewsonic 15” VA520 monitor

However, If you are like me and don’t always read everything, help out by providing feedback on what you did see. Thank you!
Your system is way too powerful to be playing on a 15" monitor. You must get at least a 22" widescreen monitor to enjoy this.
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Old 11-23-2009, 11:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Could it be? A new I5 gaming rig in the making. <-Welcome advice->

You could easily go with an i7 920 build without spending any more money.
The total cost of your mobo, cpu, and ram is $720

i7 920 setup = $708
i7 920 and ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 1366 x58 for $558
OCZ Platinum 3x2GB DDR3 1600 1.65v CL-7 $150 after MIR


This way you would be getting 6gb of tri-channel ram at a faster speed then the 8gb you chose above, and it is tri-channel as opposed to dual channel. and you get the i7 920 hyperthreading.

not sure if corsair 650w would work.. but for a couple extra bucks, the corsair 750w is at a great price and should be fine.
Corsair 750tx $107.99... 87.99 after MIR
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Old 11-24-2009, 12:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Could it be? A new I5 gaming rig in the making. <-Welcome advice->

Quote:
i7 920 setup = $708
i7 920 and ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 1366 x58 for $558
OCZ Platinum 3x2GB DDR3 1600 1.65v CL-7 $150 after MIR
I must have missed the i7 920 pricing. I had taken a glance at the i7 9xx prices and saw they were $500+ (for the processor alone). I will think on this.

Quote:
not sure if corsair 650w would work.. but for a couple extra bucks, the corsair 750w is at a great price and should be fine.
Corsair 750tx $107.99... 87.99 after MIR
Ah I will go 750w then. I was looking closer at the Corsair power supplies though and found out that they are non modular, and would make my case look less appealing... guess its no problem if you don't have a window, but the case i am looking at does.
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Old 11-24-2009, 05:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Could it be? A new I5 gaming rig in the making. <-Welcome advice->

While modular is definitely nice to have, it is not necessary. In these pictures I have not 1 but 2 power supplies that are NOT modular, and 2 HDD with that big fat ribbon cable. Case doesn't look too bad IMO.

Oh yea, and my 24pin connector wasn't long enough to go behind the tray, and even with that it doesn't look horrible. Wire Management isn't very difficult, just takes a little planning and time.

Tech-Forums: Wire Management Thread/Apsoul's Rig

EDIT:
I'm not very versed in the technology of SSD's (brands/versions etc) however, I would get a smaller SSD and then get a Large HDD for File Storage. 128GB isn't very much. 20+GB for the OS, a couple gigs for games, couple more for your 3d rendering programs, couple more for music and pictures and your already maxed out. If your looking for a good HDD go with a Western Digital Black. Just about everybody here swears by them.

Sunbeam's Core Contact Freezer delivers more performance at roughly the same price as the Arctic Cooling, and the Core Contact comes with better Thermal paste(TX-2) As well. You would need to get the LGA1366 bracket(Linked below). Currently they are both on sale, tis a great deal.
Sunbeam Core Contact $39.99 ($24.99 after MIR)
LGA1366 Bracket for Core Contact $9.99 (4.99 after MIR)
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Old 11-24-2009, 06:02 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Could it be? A new I5 gaming rig in the making. <-Welcome advice->

Quote:
Originally Posted by apsoul View Post
You could easily go with an i7 920 build without spending any more money.
The total cost of your mobo, cpu, and ram is $720

i7 920 setup = $708
i7 920 and ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 1366 x58 for $558
OCZ Platinum 3x2GB DDR3 1600 1.65v CL-7 $150 after MIR


This way you would be getting 6gb of tri-channel ram at a faster speed then the 8gb you chose above, and it is tri-channel as opposed to dual channel. and you get the i7 920 hyperthreading.

not sure if corsair 650w would work.. but for a couple extra bucks, the corsair 750w is at a great price and should be fine.
Corsair 750tx $107.99... 87.99 after MIR
where are you getting $720 from?

from the parts he originally had listed, the i5 + the msi mobo + 8gigs of kingston ram would cost $650.

but i agree, if you can spring the extra for the i7 setup i would go for it.

and yes, the 650tx would work fine, but the 750tx isnt too much more.

these are the modular versions if you want, but they will cost more.

620hx Newegg.com - CORSAIR CMPSU-620HX 620W ATX12V v2.2 and EPS12V 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Power Supplies

750hx Newegg.com - CORSAIR CMPSU-750HX 750W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Power Supplies
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Old 11-24-2009, 09:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Could it be? A new I5 gaming rig in the making. <-Welcome advice->

Quote:
Originally Posted by apsoul View Post
While modular is definitely nice to have, it is not necessary. In these pictures I have not 1 but 2 power supplies that are NOT modular, and 2 HDD with that big fat ribbon cable. Case doesn't look too bad IMO.
Very nice job on the cables there. I like your twisting style.

Quote:
20+GB for the OS, a couple gigs for games, couple more for your 3d rendering programs, couple more for music and pictures and your already maxed out. If your looking for a good HDD go with a Western Digital Black. Just about everybody here swears by them.
Yeah, I may have to rethink the pick on the hard drives, if i went smaller on the SSD, I will get one of the faster HDD's as you have suggested. I would go for the larger ssd (256GB) if i could, but it doesn't fit within my budget.
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Old 11-24-2009, 10:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Could it be? A new I5 gaming rig in the making. <-Welcome advice->

Quote:
Originally Posted by Muffin Man View Post
where are you getting $720 from?

from the parts he originally had listed, the i5 + the msi mobo + 8gigs of kingston ram would cost $650.

but i agree, if you can spring the extra for the i7 setup i would go for it.

and yes, the 650tx would work fine, but the 750tx isnt too much more.

these are the modular versions if you want, but they will cost more.

620hx Newegg.com - CORSAIR CMPSU-620HX 620W ATX12V v2.2 and EPS12V 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Power Supplies

750hx Newegg.com - CORSAIR CMPSU-750HX 750W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Power Supplies
Thank you for the links on the modulars, I am willing to go higher in price to get more quality on the PSU. I definitely like the modularity. While it might be cheaper to do a grand job like Apsoul has done on his cable managment, I think i would prefer the ease of setup.

I was also looking at this seasonic 750w. However, this one seems by far the most expensive one i have found.

Does the Seasonic X750 justify the increased pricetag over the Corsair 750HX?
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Old 11-24-2009, 11:48 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Could it be? A new I5 gaming rig in the making. <-Welcome advice->

@ muffin man

Oh, my bad, I accidentally looked at his gpu price instead of ram price when i calculated that, but still the point is virtually the same. For a slight increase in price, the performance of the rig would be substantially better.

Corsair is a very good brand for PSU's. Let me put it this way. There are 2 brands of PSU's that i seen advised time and time again... those 2 would be Corsair and PCPower&Cooling. IMO you can't go wrong with a Corsair PSU(i almost sound like a salesman haha). And as muffinman stated that the 650tx would be fine for your build, then the 750hx would be more than enough which gives you room to upgrade in the future. I personally would go with the Corsair 750hx if i needed modular.
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Old 11-27-2009, 02:35 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Could it be? A new I5 gaming rig in the making. <-Welcome advice->

Thank you all for the help with decisions, here is the setup I am now looking at:

CPU: Intel Core i7-860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz ... $280
Motherboard: MSI P55-GD80 LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX ... $180
Memory: Kingston HyperX 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model KHX1600C8D3K4/8GX ... $260
GPU: Radeon HD 5850 ... $310
OS: Windows 7 ... $200
Primary Storage: Corsair P128 (SSD) ... $370
Secondary Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM ... $75
PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-750HX ... $170
Case: LIAN LI Lancool PC-K62 Black 0.8 mm SECC, Plastic + Mesh ATX Mid Tower ... $110
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U12P SE2 120mm SSO ... $75
Display: LG W2353V-PF Black 23" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Full HD 1080P Widescreen LCD Monitor ... $220
Keyboard: Logitech Black USB Wireless Desktop MK300 Keyboard and Mouse ... $40

Total cost: $2290

Slightly over budget (when all components are purchased through newegg), but I should be able to find some good deals to take this down by $150 or so.

Did end up going with i7, but I chose the 860 instead of the 920. This chip seems to fit me best I think. Has about the same performance, includes hyperthreading, good speed, about the same cost, and should be as good or better without overclocking (better turbo boost).

Stayed with the Corsair P128. Read and write speeds are great, and it allows me to store a good amount of data on the ssd drive itself without having to worry about space. A little more costly than I would like, but I am hoping the performance upgrade will be worth it.

Upped the memory speed slightly in case I eventually do overclock, and went with the Noctua CPU cooler. It is said to be very quiet, something I think would be nice.

Also went with a different keyboard. It is not backlit, but has great key spacing and press depth -- the keys aren't flat, and they aren't too soft or too hard to press. I also misquoted the price for Windows 7 above, it is actually $200.

As I was in the process of buying the $25 discounted digital western drive from newegg it sold out . Also cannot find a reputable vendor selling the Radeon HD 5850 currently, so I will have to wait before I go and buy everything.

Again, thank you very much for the assistance. I probably would not have been able to decide without your help .
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