Jun 8, 2009
Hey, this is my 2nd build as my first from 2 years ago was pretty terrible & cheap. I have a tentative idea of most parts I'm going to use... on to the template!


Purchase Date: About the first week of July. Budget: around US$1300

System Usage Most-Least Important: Gaming, Internet, Movies & Music

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Speakers

Preferred Website(s): Newegg

Parts Preferences: See my tentative list below, but a Core i7 920, Radeon HD 4890, Antec EA 650 in an Antec 900.

Overclocking: I'd actually rather not :p SLI or Crossfire: I'd like to go for one HD 4890 now, and possibly add another in the future.

Monitor Resolution: 1440x900 but I'd like to go up to, say, a 1920x1200 at some point

Other Comments: My primary concerns are price and performance, I don't care much at all about flashy stuff or overclocking.


Tentative Parts List (in no particular order) :

Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

MSI X58 Eclipse SLI LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

SAPPHIRE 100269SR Radeon HD 4890 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail

Antec EA650 650W Continuous Power ATX12V Ver.2.2 / EPS12V version 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active ... - Retail

Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 - Retail

OCZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3G1600LV6GK - Retail

Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drives - OEM

SAMSUNG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model SH-S223Q - OEM

Thanks to everyone in advance for your help!


Here is a build I just did in another post. it'll have better video performance with Crossfire although you can put the single 4890 in if you want. Also a better case and PSU, and heatsink for the CPU. I also speced the OCZ platinum memory which has better timings than the gold. I also have 2 x 1TB drives for a possible RAID which would be blazing fast. Only thing missing is the DVD-RW which isn't on the list I will cut and paste form the previous post.

First off for the case I'd do an Antec 1200. It's larger, has better cooling, cable management, PSU on the bottom, etc... It also has fan controllers to kick into silent mode. [...] %20hundred

For the power supply, using the Antec 1200 allows use of the Antec CP series power supply. Why not the Antec CP-850 [...] c%20cp-850

As for the hard drive I prefer Seagates. I always have for home and enterprise use. I prefer their warranty, and I require it less than any other brand out there. 1TB for the price and I put 2 of them in there for a RAID. [...] 6822148433

Next you have the video card. I went with a Crossfire Radeon 4870 2gb setup. Easily beats the Nvidia 285 at the same price. [...] 6814161269

Memory I kept the same. Good timings for the price. [...] 6820227381

For the CPU I choose the AMD route. The Phenom II 945 @ 3GHZ with 6MB. It's a good fast gaming CPU that is cheaper than the Intel, and has less bugs with Windows 7. [...] 6819103675

For a matching motherboard. I went for the best Asus AM3 DDR3 board based on teh 790FX chipset. It seems to be the best AM3 board on the market. Cheaper than the I7 board as well. [...] 6813131363

Heatsink is all that is missing. I choose the Sunbeam Core Contact Freezer. It works good, and works good even with the fan speed reduced while watching a movie for example. I own one and recommend it. It is better rated than the Xigmatech you choose which is also good. The sunbeam is also cheaper. [...] 6835207004

Total $1145.37

This system is cheaper than yours and I think better. It comes with the Antec 1200 and Sunbeam heatsink so you can crank down all the fans while watching a movie and it is silent. you get a better video card. I also priced 1TB hard drives which are almost double the capacity of your 640GB.

Overall it's a cheaper system that has a way nicer high end case, and components that will beat your system in gaming. A great value price/performance winner.


Jun 8, 2009
Thanks, both. @gondo, i appreciate the suggestions, but the links don't work for me, i'll try searching for the listed stuff.
+1 for gondo on the X4 955...but I feel you can even make it cheaper with better value components, that would still satisfy his needs...
And the links are broken so am not able to see what components he has listed...

@ Phonan, you can actually add another HD4890 now itself for that budget...
Here is how...
Change these things...
1. Case - The Antec 300 is a very good gaming case, has enough room for crossfire...

2. Why do you need that mobo ??? You wont be using most of the features at all...
Instead get the Gigabyte UD3R, which has crossfire support and that mobo can also support SLI with a BIOS update...

3. Change the RAM to this...Has better timings for the same price...

4. That 650W PSU would be a close call for 2x 4890s...A high quality 700W PSU would be better...

5. 2x HD 4890

Rest all same...

Total - $1332 and I have not chosen any combos...So if you browse for combos, you can save about $40 or more...
And I did not include any aftermarket CPU cooler as for stock speeds, the stock is suffice...

But if you want to save some more money, then I would get an x4 955 system as suggested by gondo as in gaming, it would perform similar to an i7...


Dec 24, 2008
You won't be able to crossfire with the EA650 PSU. Decide if you want to be able to crossfire, or just forget about it and save some money. Honestly, a single 4890 is a very powerful graphics solution and way more than you need for a 1400x900 res screen. I would just get a GTX 260. Its plenty for that resolution and consumes less power, so you could save a little on the PSU if you wanted to SLI later. SLI GTX 260's is plenty for 1920x1200 res.

Here's how I'd build:

The original 900 had a few flaws that were reworked in the newer version, the 902. This PSU that comes with it is high quality and modular, at a great price.

D0 stepping

MSI boards are bad, don't do it. The Asus P6T Deluxe V2 is the best two way SLI/crossfire board around, and cheaper than that MSI eclipse. I am assuming you will need an OS, so buy it in a combo with the board.

Fast, reliable and big.

DVD Drive:
Good drive, but really all DVD rw drives are the same more or less.

XFX has the best warranty and customer service around, and this comes with a free game.

Fast timings, cheap, and reliable in my experience.

I'm willing to bet that you will want to overclock eventually. I would get a CPU cooler that will allow you to do it, in case you decide to get adventurous later on. The i7 overclocks like mad and the performance gains are huge. The D0 revision can get to 3.6ghz without any voltage increases (so the chance of damaging your CPU is about zero to none as long as you have a decent cooler). Pick up this cooler, and if you get the urge you can use it:


There have been problems with the I7 in windows 7. Plus the hefty price tags. So I'll stick to the AMD 945.

Sorry about my links not was my first time linking to newegg...I'll have to do it properly next time.

Also since a case can last several generations and more of PC upgrades, I like to get something nice. The 1200 is worth every penny and one of few cases that supports the CP series of larger power supplies. I'm surprised nobody agrees with me for the case.

I'd give RAID a go and get teh 2 1TB drives be it Seagate or WD. I jsut prefer Seagate. If one hard drive crashes you have a second to bail you out while doing warranty on the first.

For the price the 4870 Crossfire setup should be fine until the next generation or beyond of video cards appears. You could even go with a cheaper solution and still get great performance.

Stick with the aftermarket CPU cooler. For the extra $25 it's a must buy. DOn't worry about thermal compound, the heatsinks come with a tube...lots for your use.

The AMD is capable of beating the I7 in gaming, and as far as doing something else like encodiung a DVD for example. Do you care if an Intel is capable of doing something in 5minutes and 30 seconds instead of 5minutes and 50 seconds on the AMD. Just wait the 20's not that bad. For the price your getting one of the best CPUs out there and it won't bottleneck in games. I'd rather go for the AMD and upgrade the video cards, case, PSU, hard drives. Or you can stick to ok components and waste your money on an I7.

If your budget was closer to $2000 then we could talk I7. The AMD is also easily overclocked just like the I7.

I threw this case in just for the fact that Antec 900 sucks the big one for two big cards and large h/s. This case is on sale, and it has a lot more room, plus it filled out this build. :p Anyways here ya go. $69.99 Free Shipping*
COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail $119.99 ($109.99 after $10.00 Mail-In Rebate) Free Shipping*
CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail $222.99 | $207.99 after rebate
GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD4P Core i7/ Intel X58/ DDR3/ CorssFireX & 3-Way SLI/ A&GbE/ ATX Motherboard" $ 280.00
Intel Core i7 920 2.66GHz LGA 1366 Socket 8MB Cache CPU D0 Stepping $39.99
XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler - Retail $4.99
Tuniq TX-2 Cooling Thermal Compound - Retail $239.99 ($219.99 after $20.00 Mail-In Rebate) Free Shipping*
EVGA 896-P3-1170-AR GeForce GTX 275 896MB 448-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
Free Cryostasis game w/ registration at manufacturer website $94.99 Free Shipping*
G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail $99.99 Free Shipping*
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drives - OEM $24.99

Total: $1,098.91 | $1,053.91 w/mail in rebates <--- Save yourself some money on an o/s until March 2010 and dl the 64 bit version of Windows 7 <--- more pics, specs, and customer reviews of that Gigabyte UD4P mobo used in this build <---short review on that D0 stepping i7. It runs cooler than the older C0 stepping i7's <--- that's one way you can tell if you have a D0 stepping cpu or not


Dec 24, 2008

Such as? I haven't experienced any problems, besides minor things like driver incompatibilities, which is to be expected with any hardware, not just the i7 since Windows 7 is new and not a supported OS from Microsoft yet. Hefty Price tags? At this point, an i7 920 build costs maybe $100 more for cpu/mb/ram than an AMD PII 955 build, and you are getting a far superior architecture. You are getting what you pay for. Phenom II isn't quite as good as the Core 2 wolfdale cores. The i7 is two steps up from Phenom II IMO.

The Antec 1200 is a great case, no one is going to argue against that. But its pretty expensive, and its huge. There is only one PSU that the 1200 can support that other cases can't, the CP-850. While its a great PSU, there are lots of other PSU's out there that are excellent quality too. If you can find a great deal on the Antec 1200 and don't mind a tower that is as tall as your desk then go for it. But I think there are better options out there, such as the 902 or the CM 690 that Why_Me has suggested.

Don't get seagate drives. Their 7200.11 drives were disastrous and their 7200.12 drives aren't great either. Both have firmware issues and are unreliable. Go for a Samsung Spinpoint or WD Caviar Black.

Um it wouldn't be a 20 second difference. The i7 would encode in 50-60% of the time it would take the Phenom II 945 processor. Video encoding is highly threaded. 8 threads > 4 threads.

Why_Me just put up an $1100 i7 build, there is even enough room in the budget to put the Antec 1200 and CP-850 in there too if you wanted. You don't need to be rich for an i7. $1300 is plenty for a good i7 build. And the Phenom II does not overclock like the i7, or Core 2 processors. Sorry. The 945 has a locked multiplier, so the only way to overclock it is by changing the bus speed, and Phenom II processors are very sensitive to changes in the Bus speed. Phenom II 940 and 955 can usually overclock from 3.0/3.2ghz to 3.7-3.8 ghz on air, up to 4.2 on water. The i7 920 can overclock from 2.66ghz to 4.2-4.4ghz on air with the D0 stepping, and higher on water or LN2. Not to mention that the i7 is faster than the Phenom II 955 CPU at stock speeds, despite the 550mhz speed advantage of the 955. The i7 is a vastly superior architecture and the 920 is one of those purposely underclocked CPU's, as evidenced by the massive overclocking headroom that is seen in these chips. Intel is actually discontinuing the i7 920 soon because they are loosing too much money on it (people just get the 920 and overclock well past i7 965 levels, saving $700), and it doesn't fit their pricing model for when the i5 processors are released, which will occupy the same price segment at the high end as the i7 920 is currently occupying, and the i7 920 will be much faster.

I don't mean to rain on your parade, but I really must disagree on a lot of the points you have made. I think that Phenom II is a great option in the $1000 range, but for $1300 an i7 is quite doable, and it would be a mistake to go for a phenom II build if the i7 was possible without sacrificing on the graphics solution. Two months ago, yes the i7 wouldn't have been my recommendation for this budget either, but with the recession and prices for the i7 components dropping, I think the difference in price is small enough to merit the upgrade.


Jun 8, 2009
Thanks for all the advice. I'll try to read through this and put up a new parts list by the end of the day. I'll probably switch to the Asus p6t, but the other changes I'll have to read through this thread more carefully on. Thanks again for all the help!


Jun 8, 2009
*sigh* forget it, I have some questions.

CPU- I'll get the d0 i7
Mobo- leaning toward the p6t?
RAM- I'll likely go with the OCZ platinum

The harder stuff:
Case- I'm inclined toward the Antec 300 because it's cheap, but should that really be a good motive when it comes to the case?
Video- I'd still like to go with the 4890. should I really not?
PSU- All those listed are 750w and close price-wise, is there any one of those listed in particular that's best?

Also, I'm planning to dual-boot Linux and Windows 7 RC, so I wasn't going to spend anything on the OS.


For Crossfire or SLI...then 750w, for single gpu set up a decent 550w like the OCZ Fatal1ty or Corsair 550w will do just fine. Also for single card set up Antec 300, or dual card set up CM 690 (Cooler Master). PC Power & Cooling or Corsair 750w are both great psu's for the money. Usually they are within a few dollars of each other, and don't forget to check which one has free shipping atm.


Well for the case I'd recommend anything good. But your looking closer to $200 for a good coolermaster, silverstone, or Antec 1200, etc....

Just read Toms guide on best video cards for the money. There seem to be better solutions than a 4890. If you want 2 get them now cause in a year when you decide to get the second there will be something better and cheaper on the market.

I would also go with the Asus board.

For the PSU the Corsair always seems to be well reviewed. PC Power and Cooling as well. Both are excellent.

As far as the I7 vs AMD debate goes...if in doubt go I7. It is better although I pushed the AMD just in order to save the money that could be used towards upgrades.

I'd also stay away from my recommended Seagate. They have firmware issues. Stick to the WD. Myself I would still get the Seagate but I don't care about stuff like that.