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Old 04-19-2009, 01:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default First Time Build(er), Mainstream/Enthusiast System, 1000 (UK)

I've had it with pre-builts, but the task of building a system myself has always been rather daunting considering how much money can be wasted if something goes wrong. Even in this day and age where there are countless instructional articles and videos on how to put together a rig, I still shudder at the thought of something breaking off, pins being bent, or any manner of error that can come from silly mistakes. To make me feel just a little worse, there are YouTube videos of 12 year-olds manually building a high-end system without a hitch. In my mind if I could build a system without the fear of having any money lost should I make a mistake, I wouldn't hesitate to do so.

Part of my apprehension stems from the seemingly delicate nature of components, and even during basic upgrades I've had to apply more physical force than I would have liked, although I'm sure they're more durable than I presume. My experience with the internals of a system amounts to changing a graphics card, installing an additional hard drive, installing extra RAM, and changing the CPU heatsink and fan (though only removing thermal paste, as ACF7 had pre-applied paste).

With the psycho babble aside, I'm looking to build a system for moderate gaming and multi-tasking at 1440 x 900, but I want the system to last at least 2-3 years without having to upgrade. I've been deliberating between the Q9550 and i7 920, along with their respective motherboards and optimal quantities of RAM. With regards to overclocking, I may wish to overclock in the future to increase performance, although that will increase the cost of certain components (e.g. motherboard) and I'd prefer to keep costs down, hence my reason for choosing the Q9550 in the first place.

Other considerations:
- RAID 1 hard drive step for data security, at least 750 GB.
- GTX 260 Core 216 (I will not go with ATI for now due to my negative experience with Catalyst and my current 4850)
- Vista Home Premium 64-bit (I won't bother waiting for Windows 7)
- Antec 902/Cooler Master HAF 932
- Modular PSU preferred, but I can try and work with cabling if it's cheaper
- Affordable and efficient CPU cooler

Note I do want the system to last 2-3 years without the need for upgrades, hence my choice of the GTX 260 over a GTS 250 despite running at 1440 x 900. I don't play first person shooters and full adoption of DX11 will most probably take a good few years, so I think I should be fine in the graphics department.

I'm open to all opinions, suggestions, tweaks, modifications etc. and appreciate any feedback.

I usually shop at Ebuyer, Scan, Novatech and Overclockers.
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Old 04-19-2009, 02:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: First Time Build(er), Mainstream/Enthusiast System, 1000 (UK)

This is the best i7 build I could do, at Scan. You'll either have to increase your budget a little (since there's no hard drive(s) in there), or go with your other option of the Q9550.


I can wholeheartedly recommend the HAF932, I have one and it's excellent.
There's no need for a modular power supply when you're using the HAF, there's plenty of space for wire management and non-modulars are cheaper. You might be able to save a bit on that build if you go down to a TX650 (10 less) or a VX550, however the latter would mean no SLI (which really makes a machine more easily upgradeable in future).
I also have a GTX260, good choice.
You're unlikely to need more than 3GB of RAM, and if you do in future you can always upgrade.

I don't know much about i7 coolers, someone else can probably recommend one.

An i7 build would very likely be worth the initial investment over a Q9550 build, but would probably cost about 1100 after adding hard drive(s) and cooler; it's entirely up to you whether you'd rather spend more on an i7 build or less on a Q9550.


I can do a Q9550 build for you too, if you like.
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Old 04-19-2009, 04:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: First Time Build(er), Mainstream/Enthusiast System, 1000 (UK)

I agree that you would be better served with an i7 build even though it will take you a little bit over budget. If you could shop around for 6gb of ram. 3x2gb. The above site they only had corsair and super talent. See if you could find some cas8 1600 ocz or g-skill.
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Old 04-19-2009, 04:29 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: First Time Build(er), Mainstream/Enthusiast System, 1000 (UK)

Would 6GB really be worth the money over 3GB, though?
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Old 04-19-2009, 04:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: First Time Build(er), Mainstream/Enthusiast System, 1000 (UK)

Yes.

Keep in mind these tests were done by a ram manufacturer but I am sure the results could be replicated.

Report: 3GB vs 6GB RAM on Core i7 Benched - Tom's Hardware
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Old 04-19-2009, 04:42 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hefemeister View Post
Yes.

Keep in mind these tests were done by a ram manufacturer but I am sure the results could be replicated.

Report: 3GB vs 6GB RAM on Core i7 Benched - Tom's Hardware
Wow that's a huge difference O_O
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Old 04-19-2009, 04:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: First Time Build(er), Mainstream/Enthusiast System, 1000 (UK)

Would 6GB CorsairXMS3 1333MHz not suffice?
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Old 04-19-2009, 04:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: First Time Build(er), Mainstream/Enthusiast System, 1000 (UK)

I don't just make this stuff up.
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Old 04-19-2009, 04:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: First Time Build(er), Mainstream/Enthusiast System, 1000 (UK)

^^ that ram is slow. i have 1333MHz ram but my ram is running at 7-7-7-20 timings, the ram you listed has 9-9-9-30. if you could find some good 1600MHZ or at least 1333 at 7-7-7-20 that would be best
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Old 04-19-2009, 04:50 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: First Time Build(er), Mainstream/Enthusiast System, 1000 (UK)

The 1333 would be ok if you do not plan to do any overclocking. The 1600 is still better.

You do any overclocking philbar?
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