$1000-$1300 i7 build


May 11, 2009
Hello there Tom's Hardware community! I'm a huge fan, been reading hardware reviews for years. I've been running a Dell Dimension 4600 that I got practically for free for the last 3-4 years. I want to finally be able to run some high end games, listen to music and be able to edit video's. I'm willing to invest $1000-$1300 in a system that is upgradeable and reasonably overclockable that could last 2-3 years.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: sometime this week BUDGET RANGE: $1000-$1300

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: gaming, multimedia (ripping, encoding, burning), web browsing, video editing, movies

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, OS, speakers, monitor

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe ( I would like to eventually OC to 3.6-.3.8 Ghz)




CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail
Price: $119.99 ($99.99 after MiR)

COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Price: $74.99

ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard
Price: $279.99

Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor
Price: $279.99

SAPPHIRE 100277L Radeon HD 4770 512MB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card
Price: $99.99

OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory
Price: $94.99 ($74.99 after $20.00 MiR )

Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive
Price: $69.99

SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe
Price: $26.99

Price: $1046.92 ($1006.92 with rebates) (give or take $20 for mobo/cpu/case/psu combo option from newegg)

Regarding buying only one HD4770, I was thinking that the card may be good enough to run games decently, and once I feel like I want a boost, I could buy another one for CrossFire setup. What do you think?

I am sure I want the Asus mobo and CM 690, however I'm not sure about other cooling options such as heatsink and fans. I was also wondering f I should spend money on a fan control panel, since the CM 690 has seven fans. Any thoughts?

For heatsinks I had these in mind:

Noctua NH-U12P SE1366 120mm SSO CPU Cooler
Price: $79.99

Scythe MUGEN-2 SCMG-2000 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler
Price: $36.99

A little note: I have an 18.1" Dell LCD screen with max resolution 1280-1024 60 Mhz, and I'm pretty much fine with the way it is. I'm wondering though, if I am left with $100 or so, would you recommend getting a bigger screen?



Mar 5, 2009
Sounds like a decent build. I'd probably go for the 4870 with 1GB rather than the solo 4770... it will provide more of a boost when/if you upgrade it.

I have the Xigmatek Dark Knight cooler, which is nice and affordable as well as having a good reputation.

I have the bottom end P6T but it installed perfectly and worked first time so I was pleased with it.

On thing to note... the RC-690 is a great case, but does NOT have a speaker. If your Mobo does not have a little LCD to show POST codes, you might have problems if it does not POST first time. Also, the RC-690's front panel is a pain to remove, which is needed to install the DVD drive, but that is a rarity. Final gripe, the power lead for the rear fan is too short to connect to a fan header on my Mobo, but it comes with an extension that connects to a Molex lead which works fine. Other than the PSU, the case is genuinely tool-less and was very nice to work with. I liked it for the front-panel e-Sata connector (actually on the top, but this is even better since the case is really best suited to being beside the desk rather than on top of it).

You may want a bigger screen, but 24" is probably the maximum useable size. I got a 1920x1200 (rather than the more common 1920x1080 which is Blu-Ray compatible) because I don't like too wide a screen and don't mind having black bands on the few occasions I might watch a video on it. I did not bother getting a Blu-Ray drive since they are still too expensive for my taste, but probably will in a year or two.

As it stands, my system can be overclocked, can have extra RAM added and can have a second 4870/1GB added so has plenty of scope for a mid-life power boost without having to swap anything out !


Jun 4, 2007
It looks like a nice build. +1 for the 4870 and monitor suggestion.

If you live near a microcenter, you may want to check their prices (microcenter.com) - 229.99 for the i7 920 and near $200 for the mobo.

Good luck.


Mar 16, 2009
Huron - The i7 price is believable, but are you sure you're talking about the DELUXE version?

Just to let you know, 4770 in crossfire often matches, sometimes beats the performance of the 4890 and GTX 275? Leaving yourself room for upgrades is fine though, if you want to get a 4870 or 4890 or anything else. All these cards should have the firepower you need.

I'd go with the Mugen 2. Although you're going to have find out from someone else to see whether it fits your case or not... (I fit it in my NZXT Zero 2, which has a 25mm thick fan on the inside of the side of the case, so I'm thinking you should be okay since that case, at 8.4 in, is thicker than the NZXT Zero 2)

It will work on your motherboard, and since you're not getting any tall RAM, you're safe there.

Why Mugen 2? It matched the performance of the ThermalRight Ultra Extreme 120 (TRUE 120) which used to be the powerhouse of cpu coolers for a really long time, and although there are coolers that might beat it, the difference is one of one or two degrees celsius, and frankly, its cheap.

If you have ~180 dollars, you can find yourself a ~23in monitor at 1920*1080 (widescreen) for that price.


Feb 15, 2009

I think he'd rather spend ~150$ and get himself a GTX 275. It will outperform the 4770 exceedingly, and will stay in his budget. an 18'' screen if fine for now, upgrade later.
Edit: Eh, on second though, either way you go (get a nicer monitor now, or a nicer video card now) you'll be fine. Depends if you want a big screen. Another thing to consider is, that 4770 should last out until the GTX 300s and the new Atis (I don't know what they'll be called lol).
Everything looks good.


May 11, 2009
Thank you to everyone who responded!

I've settled to get 2x HD4770's because of their overclock potential and because they have performed extremely well in various benchmarks, matching, and sometimes surpassing some high end cards such as the GTX 285 and HD4890. This setup could last me at least until next year, which for me is worth the $200. If you think differently, please post some benchmarks for me to check out :p

Now the only thing left for me to decide is which heatsink to get. I've always used the default heatsink in all the computers I've owned, so I am a mere nooblet when it comes to such things. I am trying to decide between these:

Scythe MUGEN-2 SCMG-2000 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler $36.99

Noctua NH-U12P SE1366 120mm SSO CPU Cooler $79.99

COOLER MASTER V8 RR-UV8-XBU1-GP 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler $69.99

Regarding the coolermaster V8, I am not sure if it would fit in my CM 690 case.

I am interested in pushing my i7 to 3.6 Ghz AT LEAST. I wish to have a heat sink that could handle 3.8 when I choose to go that high. If you have any suggestion for other heatsinks let me know please!


http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/265193-31-building-1400-loop-year-suggestions <---I posted a build on that thread that is similar to your price range (last post on that thread). Replace the psu in that build with the 750w Corsair, and of course the parts you already have. It should help cut the cost down a little bit without taking any performance away. In fact the gpu in that build is a gtx 275 which is a step up from the gtx 260.
+1 for a 4870, you will be happier with it for just a little more than the 4770.

Just a note on your LCD. Older LCD's tend to "ghost" when playing games. If it does not have a fast response rate fast moving things create ghost images across the screen. I actually sold a 17" several years ago for a better 17" lcd for just this reason. a nice ASUS 22" will run you $150 after MIR.


+1 also for the XIGMATEK Dark Knight, they are a good value for a good cooler.

Other than that is looks good


Apr 28, 2009
I agree about the HD 4870...1GB version is about $130 or so...

I would get a high res 1920x1080 screen for $150-180 with that extra $100. Of course, you wounldn't have to get it now, but it can be future purchase since you are fine with the one you already have. Its just a nice upgrade on the visuals...^_^


May 11, 2009
The total for this system, with taxes and shipping included comes out to be $1,326.50

Thank you again everyone who responded!