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  • Community Question: What makes a good motherboard?

BUILDING an i7 for $850

Walkfire

Member
Oct 4, 2009
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I could be wrong but it seems I can build better than the bare basics i7 rig for less than $850
Please tell me if I'm wrong and if there is a better way.
Every thing is at Newegg, except for the processor which I'm getting at the Micro Center.

1. Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
2. COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/...?ItemList=Combo.273732 Combo Price 99.98
3. G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2000 (PC3 16000) Desktop Memory Model F3-16000CL9D-4GBRH -
4. GIGABYTE GA-P55-UD3R LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard -
http://www.newegg.com/Product/...?ItemList=Combo.264227 Combo Price: $219.98
5. OCZ StealthXStream OCZ700SXS 700W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply -
6. XFX HD-489A-ZDFC Radeon HD 4890 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card -
http://www.newegg.com/Product/...?ItemList=Combo.265338 Combo Price: $254.98
i7 860 at a Micro Center for $230
8. LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16827106333 $31.99
the Total is less than $850

Of course my OS is free XP 64 bit but at this price I was thinking of getting a second hard drive and windows 7 to try out.
I have been asking a few questions and read a ton of threads. Thanks to this great forum I had a lot of help. As a novice though I have most likely made mistakes, so please poke a hole in my baloon if needs be as I am about to place my order.
 

RussianSensation

Elite Member
Sep 5, 2003
19,460
743
126
#1 and #2: Great combo discount on that case and HDD :)
#3: Nice kit, although I imagine DDR3-1600 CL7 will be as fast as DDR3-2000 CL9.
#4: Looks good. Right now Gigabyte doesn't support power voltage savings at overclocked speeds. So your speedstep and C3-C7 states will work but voltages won't lower. Just a note.
#5. Corsair Power 650 - $70

Or if you want OCZ, go for their modular $50 OCZ 700 MXSP

#6. I would probably go for MSI Cyclone (quietest 4890), Sapphire Vapor-X or this HIS 4890 Turbo+ (965mhz GPU factory clocks). The XFX you linked is $195. That's too much $ for extra warranty and no other features.

What happened to the aftermarket cpu cooler? ;)

Also if you are on a tight budget you may want to get HD 5850 and downgrade to Core i5 750.
 

Walkfire

Member
Oct 4, 2009
25
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0
Thanks much for your time Russ,

In your wisdom you again have address exactly what I don't mention but care a lot about (dbl's). Just read the Newegg reviews on the MSI Cyclone which you say is the (quietest 4890), and the main con is what some call the loudest VC they have ever had. Were you thinking of another card?
I get what your saying about the value but LOUD will not work for me. Have you got another suggestion I am burnt at both ends trying to figure this out.

I know you help a lot of people here and I don't expect you to remember your post to me prior to this one so here is the link that I describe my computer usage except for my screen which is a Samsung 24" 5MS 20000:1 1920 x 1200 1 x DVI-D-HDCP
 

RussianSensation

Elite Member
Sep 5, 2003
19,460
743
126
MSI 4890 Cyclone noise levels.

At IDLE the cooler can hardly be heard. Roughly ~40 dBA which is silent.

It could be that because the card dumps heat inside your case as opposed to exhausting from the case, that all of the other components run hotter, increasing other fans?

Check out XFX 5850 noise levels

The reality is that it's very hard to find a truly 'quiet' gaming card. At idle these cards are fairly quiet but after 30-35% fan speed, they are all noticeable. But if you want a quieter card from the 4890, maybe check out Sapphire Vapor X.

My MSI 4890 runs at just 24% fan speed in idle and I can't hear it at all over my other fans. However, I start to notice the fan above 29%. Basically at idle, it is very quiet, but in gaming for sure you can notice it. But then you are going to have your speakers up right ?
 

Pneumothorax

Golden Member
Nov 4, 2002
1,170
15
81
If you don't plan on heavy video editing or converting with h.264 codecs and mostly game, I'd opt for the i5 750 (It's even cheaper than the Q9550 at microcenter!) over the 860 and as above put the difference towards the 5850. It'll make you much more future proof as I don't forsee games coming out in the next several years to be heavily dependent on hyperthreading.
 

NA1NSXR

Member
Jul 17, 2008
34
0
0
i would go with a 920 with 6GB kit. You can save some on the CPU and mobo and put it into RAM. I think overall you will come out on top. Also, you should double check cdfreaks and see what the best optical drive at the moment is. I doubt it is the Lite On and more likely it is the Optiarc.
 

Markfw

CPU Moderator, VC&G Moderator, Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 16, 2002
20,886
9,083
136
I like the OCZ 700, I have 2 of them. >85% efficiency, its really a Fortron, rebadged.
 

Walkfire

Member
Oct 4, 2009
25
0
0
All the advice given has been great and as you can see most had influance.

1. ASUS P7P55D PRO LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $170
2. COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + - Retail $100
3. OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ700MXSP 700W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SL - Retail $100
4. 5850 1G Radeon HD 5850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 - Retail $270
5. Western Digital Ca Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" -Retail $75
6. G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Retail $95
7. Sony Optiarc AD-7240S-0B Retail $35
Total without the processor... $915 Still not set on i5 or i7 860.

As you can see, if I walk the talk I am over $1000 mark and it is more than I thought I could spend. After extended research the extra $300 are not for bells and whistles and in the years to come it seems as if I will have no regrets but most likely will be grateful for money well spent.
Now PLEASE, tell me if I'm deluding myself or if there is still a better way.
 

RussianSensation

Elite Member
Sep 5, 2003
19,460
743
126

Walkfire

Member
Oct 4, 2009
25
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0
Yes, I did not include the rebates in my post and some items I might purchase elsewhere at better prices than Newegg, but all and all, once shipping, tax, and gas is included it's going to cost about $1200 and I am really looking forward to my first home build. Already excited about taking a spin around the Universe after its put together

I'm thinking of getting a second HD the same as the first and install Windows 7 on it, with XP 64 bit as my OS on the first so that I can see which works better. May be I will wait 5 months to purchase W7 as I'm thinking they might be working out a few bugs.

Anandtech has been my Computer School that I log into everyday and you fine people who share your experience have been great teachers for me. I might not ever leave.
Thanks again.
 

AznAnarchy99

Lifer
Dec 6, 2004
14,708
117
106
Very similar to the one that I just built. Tax and shipping will hit you hard. Check ZZF. I ended up ordering more stuff from them because it was free shipping for everything and I only had to pay tax. Newegg hit me harder for shipping. They both ship from CA so it won't take long to get to you.
 

AznAnarchy99

Lifer
Dec 6, 2004
14,708
117
106
Originally posted by: Walkfire
Originally posted by: AznAnarchy99
Very similar to the one that I just built.
How do you like the one you just built... are there any changes you would like to make?
What did it end up costing you?

Im ordering HD now from ZZF and Optical D from SuperBiz for $22 http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php...449aa454a98ed4cd7862a7
So all in all...

Microcenter
Intel i7 860 - $229.99

Zip Zoom Fly
MSI P55-GD80 - $179.99
HIS Radeon 5870 - $376.99
Western Digital Caviar Black 640 GB - $76.99
Samsung DVD Burner - $29.99
Corsair 650HX - $128.99

Newegg
G.SKILL Ripjaws 4GB DDR3 2000 - $99.99
Arctic Silver 5 - $3.99

Heatsink Factory

Prolimatech Megahalems - $59.99
Silverstone Raven RV02 - $169.99
Yate Loon D12SL - $14.99

All in all total after tax and shipping... $1493 flat

Im using my old X-Fi XtremeMusic and a WD 1TB Green

Its not built yet, everything actually comes in tomorrow. I was lucky because almost everything came from CA, so shipping was 1-2 days.

Essentially its the same as yours, I put in more money for the video card, case and heatsink because I do plan to OC it. From right now from the parts that have came, it seems really good. Everything pretty high quality for a decent price. You'll love your system but I know most people on this board are using Corsair PSU's and they love them. Check some of them out, I know the 520HX and the 620HX are going for under $100.
 

Walkfire

Member
Oct 4, 2009
25
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0
That looks great AznAnarchy. Pleae keep me posted when you get it together.
Wish I could justify charging more money on my card but the computer just does not promise that much of a return for me to go even futher past the power I can use.

Check this out.. With a few slight changes and keeping the prices the same on what I have yet to have purchased I have knocked it down below $1000
Here is what I have ordered that had sales and rebates It includes taxes and shipping.

1. ASUS P7P55D LGA 1156 Intel P55- -Newegg open box $117
2. COOLERMASTER HAF-NOT PURCHASED YET Retail $100
3. OCZ OCZ700MXSP 700W SLI/CrossFire -ZZF- after rebate $60
4. 5850 1G Radeon - NOT PURCHASED YET Retail $270
5. Western Digital Caviar Black WD640 -ZZF - after rebate $60
6. G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4G-NOT PURCHASED YET Retail $95
7. Sony Optiarc AD-7240S-0B -SuperBliz- $27
8. i7 860 ----------- NOT PURCHASED YET Retail $230
Total of all items... $978

Looks like I'm back on track especially if I can get a better prices on what I have not ordered. Will not be able to put this together untill November so am hoping to see some better prices on the last four items by then.
 

alyarb

Platinum Member
Jan 25, 2009
2,446
0
76
i do not recommend getting an open box motherboard.

and why are you so adamant about an i7? Are you doing any encoding, modeling or compute-intensive applications? Judging by your radeon 5850, you are a gamer. Am I safe to assume this machine is primarily for gaming? You can save about $150 by going with a Phenom II X4 and almost $200 going with a Phenom II X3. Both of these chips will overclock near 4 GHz and provide you with all the single-threaded performance you need for games with plenty of perfectly suitable physical cores on the side for multitasking. Read a few reviews, and you will find that high-res games do not benefit at all from the $150-200 extra you are throwing into your CPU/board/RAM, even with microcenter prices an i7 is hard to justify for a purely-games machine.

A 3.8 GHz Phenom II with 4GB DDR2 is still all you really need.
 

magicrat03

Member
Oct 20, 2005
85
0
66
Originally posted by: Markfw900
I like the OCZ 700, I have 2 of them. >85% efficiency, its really a Fortron, rebadged.
Do you have a link to your specific PSU and it's efficiencies. 80+.org only lists only one OCZ 700 that is not a Fatal1ty 700 watt, an OCZ700MXSP (made by SirTec) and it just received basic 80+ rating, >85% everywhere = Silver rating


 

Walkfire

Member
Oct 4, 2009
25
0
0
Originally posted by: alyarb
i do not recommend getting an open box motherboard.

and why are you so adamant about an i7? Are you doing any encoding, modeling or compute-intensive applications? Judging by your radeon 5850, you are a gamer. Am I safe to assume this machine is primarily for gaming?

A 3.8 GHz Phenom II with 4GB DDR2 is still all you really need.
I guess I could send back the mobo if I change direction here and the OCZ as far as that goes.
My goal is to have a computer that will be better than good enough for the next four years.
After reading the i5/i7 reports, and asking a few questions I was under the impression that for a hundred more dollars I could be driving a BMW and could be pretty sure it would handle every thing I would throw at it for a few years to come.

For me as I don?t own a TV, a home computer seems to be somewhere in-between a tool and a toy, and somewhat like a racecar.
1. As a tool it could be used for anywhere in-between basic record keeping and creating a new Universe on many levels. It could be used for coordinating the races or competing in them professionally.
2. As a toy it could be simple visual entertainment, to a full on interactive physical, mental, emotional experience. It could be a joy to build and to show off like a hobby, or to take out on the gaming circuit and knock heads.

Unless I?m on the road, a day does not go by that I do not use my computer, as a tool either for basic communication, schooling, or creating art that constitutes a 4th of my possible income. For this I am using some heavy Adobe apps including for video & music editing.
I do some gaming but no more often than I play golf and just like golf, I play with enough passion to have accomplished a couple of Hole-in-ones and have placed in a few tourneys. But, by no means would I ever take the time or invest the money to compete against the truly devoted pros. I rarely play anymore. The main playtime on my computer is spent watching movies or playing games against software, which can be digitally demanding, as I want the full on experience. Just two of my speakers cost $1k which are pushed by an Integra.

Upgrading your stock car yourself will also save you some bucks and give you lots of experience otherwise unknowable which is why I want to build my own box. But the cost modifying my stock engine with a better Turbo for 25% more power is more like a $1200 difference rather than the $200 more that it takes to make a computer fly.

If I will not be able to use or notice the difference then I really cannot afford waste the $200


1.Could I build a less costly computer that will be more than enough to work wonderfully for the next four years???
2.Will I not be able to notice the difference building with lesser costly parts as you suggest?
 

AznAnarchy99

Lifer
Dec 6, 2004
14,708
117
106
Originally posted by: Walkfire
Originally posted by: alyarb
i do not recommend getting an open box motherboard.

and why are you so adamant about an i7? Are you doing any encoding, modeling or compute-intensive applications? Judging by your radeon 5850, you are a gamer. Am I safe to assume this machine is primarily for gaming?

A 3.8 GHz Phenom II with 4GB DDR2 is still all you really need.
I guess I could send back the mobo if I change direction here and the OCZ as far as that goes.
My goal is to have a computer that will be better than good enough for the next four years.
After reading the i5/i7 reports, and asking a few questions I was under the impression that for a hundred more dollars I could be driving a BMW and could be pretty sure it would handle every thing I would throw at it for a few years to come.

For me as I don?t own a TV, a home computer seems to be somewhere in-between a tool and a toy, and somewhat like a racecar.
1. As a tool it could be used for anywhere in-between basic record keeping and creating a new Universe on many levels. It could be used for coordinating the races or competing in them professionally.
2. As a toy it could be simple visual entertainment, to a full on interactive physical, mental, emotional experience. It could be a joy to build and to show off like a hobby, or to take out on the gaming circuit and knock heads.

Unless I?m on the road, a day does not go by that I do not use my computer, as a tool either for basic communication, schooling, or creating art that constitutes a 4th of my possible income. For this I am using some heavy Adobe apps including for video & music editing.
I do some gaming but no more often than I play golf and just like golf, I play with enough passion to have accomplished a couple of Hole-in-ones and have placed in a few tourneys. But, by no means would I ever take the time or invest the money to compete against the truly devoted pros. I rarely play anymore. The main playtime on my computer is spent watching movies or playing games against software, which can be digitally demanding, as I want the full on experience. Just two of my speakers cost $1k which are pushed by an Integra.

Upgrading your stock car yourself will also save you some bucks and give you lots of experience otherwise unknowable which is why I want to build my own box. But the cost modifying my stock engine with a better Turbo for 25% more power is more like a $1200 difference rather than the $200 more that it takes to make a computer fly.

If I will not be able to use or notice the difference then I really cannot afford waste the $200


1.Could I build a less costly computer that will be more than enough to work wonderfully for the next four years???
2.Will I not be able to notice the difference building with lesser costly parts as you suggest?
What you got is pretty good and almost the same as mine. Im pretty confident that it will last 4+ years. My current rig is a s939 with a 7800gtx that I built in 2005. Its still here, it still works, and works pretty damn good I would say. Being able to play 1080p movies and run games at 1900x1200 at low-medium with some AA, I would say it lasts.

If you can afford it, that spec you got is good. Open box mobo I would be a bit weary about but other than that its good. Im a Cosair fan when it comes to their PSU's because I've used them for my friend's build but I've never used an OCZ so I cant say much there.

Keep the 5850, its outlook on lasting for the future seems pretty good since you can just drop in another when you feel that performance is not up to your standards. Thats what Im thinking about with my 5870. If you want to shave off a few more bucks, take a look into the Antec 300 cases. I built 2 for my friends using that case and it was very good for $50.

Since you already ordered pretty much half of your stuff, shouldn't it be almost time to get the rest and build it ;)
 

v8envy

Platinum Member
Sep 7, 2002
2,720
0
0
Originally posted by: Walkfire



1.Could I build a less costly computer that will be more than enough to work wonderfully for the next four years???
2.Will I not be able to notice the difference building with lesser costly parts as you suggest?
A lot of that depends on whether you overclock or not:

http://www.tomshardware.com/re...-phenom-ii,2119-8.html

A stock 2.8 ghz 920 (turbo mode) vs a 3.5 ghz PII should have the PII matching or even coming out on top in all but a few games. However. D0 920s and PIIs will overclock differently. The numbers tom used (3.65 for the P2, 3.8 for a 920) are very realistic mild overclocks all but the most unlucky should be able to hit. The better PIIs will hit 4 ghz, and better 920s will reach 4.4 ghz. If you're lucky and get a golden chip you'll be able to feel a difference seat of the pants.

Tom's charts show see a dramatic (nearly 25%) frame rate difference at 1920x1200 in some situations. In the far future, with faster than 5850 cards and when your quad is your bottleneck you may indeed see a difference. Today, the cheapie AMD parts are just peachy if you don't do much transcoding or run VMs.

But like you I looked at the total system cost difference (in my case the i7 $199 and the board was $153, so slightly more than a 955 and slightly less than a 965) and opted for the i7.

 

Walkfire

Member
Oct 4, 2009
25
0
0
I have no experience with Overclocking. I am just learning the ins and outs of how this all works together. I want to give OC a try someday. My last strong computer was a COMPAC that cost over a grand and lasted me for 7 years. There were not many new games I could play.

I thought over clocking was a more of Gamers tool and not much of a benifit to a graphics guy. Thats how smart I'm not..... there is always more....

 

Genx87

Lifer
Apr 8, 2002
41,083
490
126
One thing from that Toms review is the i series CPUs show their muscles on newer game engines.
 

RussianSensation

Elite Member
Sep 5, 2003
19,460
743
126
Walkfire, you know you can always go for the Core i5 750. In stock form it's faster than any Phenom II quad and it will overclock even easier than Core i7 860. The $ saved here can be applied towards a 5850 from 4890.

 

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