Building a New Rig

mblank13

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Hi All-
With the latest update to EVE Online, my 2yo laptop just isn't cutting it anymore. I'm used to playing at high resolution (1680x1050 now) and full quality, and it's starting to sputter. The wheels of progress grind on. Anyways, I digress. What I'm looking to do is build out a new rig. Here are my desired specs:
Budget around 1000 not including S&H. This is flexible upwards 20% but the lower the better.
I'm in the US so Newegg is probably the best option for sourcing.
I have an HD TV that I would like to use via HDMI, but I'm not sure if this is advisable for gaming or not (never really looked into it).
I have an OS (XPSP3) that I can load on to it, so that doesn't need to be purchased.
Same with my Logitech KB and Mouse.

AMD vs Intel - No Preference. I would like i7 but I don't know if the expense is worth it. I would like this to be a bit future proof, lasting me a few years.
Mobo - Whatever works. Probably would like 1 FW / eSATA port for my external drive (it has both).
Case - Just a black box. Its staying in my apt so it doesn't need windows or LEDs. I would like front side USB / FW for ease of access.
GPU - Whatever works to push EVE Online at 1080 and high quality. That's the only game I play so it doesn't have to be anything fancy. I don't demand Crossfire or SLI.
HD - Reliable and ~700GB. Would like to make this secondary use as a storage drive that's going to be network accessible. I don't need RAID redundancy or anything.
PSU - Since it will live by my TV the only thing I would prefer is quieter.
WiFi - I will need a wireless PCI card since my apt won't let me pull ethernet and I don't want cables running from the DSL to the comp...
DVD - I have a SATA DVD burner previously, so I will just use that.
Anything else I missed.

This is a project I plan on working on so I'm under no immediate time constraint.
Thanks in advance for your help.
 
Your XP is the 32-bit version, isn't it? That would mean a limit of 3 GB or less RAM visible to the system, assuming you get a GTX 285 1GB or HD 4870 1GB video card.

You have two good options, IMO.

1. i7 920/3x1GB DDR3/GA-EX58-UD3R (that is, no need for the more expensive SLI boards and no need for more than 3 GB of RAM because of the 32-bit OS)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231222
Total $280+195+57 = 532 (plus a bit for an e-SATA bracket, if you want)

2. Phenom II 940, GIGABYTE GA-MA790GP-UD4H, G.Skill 2x2GB DDR2-1066
http://secure.newegg.com/Shopping/AddToCart.aspx?Submit=ADD&ItemList=Combo.165047
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231166
Total $314+$53 = 367 (includes an eSATA bracket, according to the picture on newegg)



For gaming, they are pretty much identical. For things like video encoding, the first build is faster, unless the video is huge and you get a 64-bit operating system, in which case the extra RAM will make the second build faster.


Video card: for 1920x1080, the minimum I'd recommend is the HD 4870 1GB ($190).
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102801

If possible, upgrade to GTX 285 1GB ($340).
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130446
There are even better cards but they'd blow your budget.



PSU: a Corsair 650TX ($70) can handle either of these combinations.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139005

HDD: WD 640GB Caviar Black $80

Pick a CPU/MB/RAM combo, then pick a GPU, then we'll see how much you have left for a case and find one, OK? BTW, the GTX 285 is big, so I need to know if you want that one so I don't recommend a case where it won't fit.
 

mblank13

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That case looks pretty nice. I think the i7 kit with the GTX 285 will do nicely. For the eSATA bracket, will the case (that includes them) still require it?
 
You can take a few minutes and bump up that cpu to 3.5GHz @ 1333 fsb just by moving it up to (10.5 x 333).

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129042 $54.95
Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103052 $12.99
COOLER MASTER R4-S2S-124K-GP 120mm Case Fan - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341022 $79.99 Free Shipping*
OCZ Fatal1ty OCZ550FTY 550W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128380 $84.99
GIGABYTE GA-EP43-UD3L LGA 775 Intel P43 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115206 $119.99 Free Shipping*
Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 Wolfdale 2.8GHz 3MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835233001 $24.99 ($19.99 after $5.00 Mail-In Rebate)
XIGMATEK HDT-S963 92mm Rifle CPU Cooler - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835233019 $8.49
XIGMATEK ACK-I7751 Retention Bracket - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835186020 $6.99
ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814133229 $174.99 ($154.99 after $20.00 Mail-In Rebate)
PNY VCGGTX260XPB GeForce GTX 260 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231219 $41.99
G.SKILL HK 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136319 $79.99 Free Shipping*
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136152 $23.99 Free Shipping*
LG Black 22X (CAV) DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X (CAV) 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 - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833315078 $34.99
EDIMAX EW-7728In IEEE 802.11b/g, IEEE 802.11n Draft 32bit PCI Wireless 802.11n Draft 2.0 PCI Card Up to 300Mbps Data Rates WEP 64/128, WPA, WPA2 Cisco CCX V1.0, V2.0 & V3.0 Compliance - Retail

Total: $749.33 *(not including shipping and rebates)
 

o0 zeno 0o

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For longevity and value, I think the AM3 is the best route... We know AMD sticks to their sockets longer than Intel does, and these have just come out. It accepts the faster DDR3 memory, the processors have proven very OC'able, and value/$ is amazing. The only think it kills you on is you are limited to Crossfire for multi-Video Card options:

Add case of choice, and your ready to go. Add a second 4870, and you're still barely breaking 1k.

https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.aspx?BundleExist=N&ID=11355026&ChangeQty=0

~$885 before $30 in rebates

EDIT:
A little tidbit on some of my higher $ picks... I chose the more expensive motherboard, the 750W Corsair PSU, and the 4870 simply to allow the option of Crossfire in the future. The 650W model won't support two high-end cards, and being able to run two cards in Crossfire may reduce the upgrade cost later on when you need more gaming performance for your next gaming obsession. It would obviously be cheaper to add another 4870 than to have to replace the 4870 with a 4870x2.

On the other hand, if you wanted a GTX 295 you could only run one of them anyways. By the time you outgrow 2 4870's in Crossfire, I would assume a faster ATi solution would be out, though. All up to you. You could downgrade to an MSI 790GX-G65 (-$50) and a 650W Corsair PSU (-$20) if you just really never wanted to bother with Crossfire. For the $70, though, I think having the option is worth it.
 

mblank13

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zeno - the PSU you included was a corsair 750W. The case I'm looking at comes out with a combo deal to be 15$ cheaper and an 850W PSU to boot, the Corsair CMPSU-850TX. They look pretty similar in specs so I assume that this would work.
 


You seem to be lacking a PC case, and a dvd/cd burner in your build.
 

o0 zeno 0o

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Definitely.. If you can get more for less, go for it! Both are great PSU's.
 

mblank13

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So it looks like Newegg has the WD 1TB 'Green' drive (WD10EADS) for 89$ after coupon code EMCLPNL29. Is this one as good in your opinion as the other one (WD7501AALS)? They're now the same price...
 

o0 zeno 0o

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Yeah, in his original post he said he already had a DVD burner that he planed to use.

I actually stated in my post to add his case of choice. You already know my preferences on gaming cases, and they would qualify as both a horrible match for sitting beside an entertainment system, as well as be a little on the loud side with the extra fans. ;)

The great thing about the 720 BE is that he can probably OC to 3.4GHz without having to hear a bunch of fan noise (not that he'll need to OC to play Eve, but still). That said, I think the benefits in that area are more comparable to your suggestion of the Core 2 Duo, which is obviously a better gaming value than the i7 but comes with the downfall that it is at the end of it's life-span.

That actually brings up one more option. If you don't want to bother with OC'ing, you could downgrade to the 710 and use the retail cooler. In that scenario, you would simply upgrade to higher speed 900 series processor when the 710 starts to hit the ceiling. That would drop the cost of the CoolerMaster, the Artic Silver, and save you $23 on the processor (a total of about $90). Of course, one of the benefits of the AMD route is great overclocking, especially with the BE models, so if it's truly a project that might be a fun avenue to have available to you.
 


Ok, I know you have a lot on your plate right now as far as builds to look at, but an i7 rig is as good as it gets. AMD is not the future...nor have they been since 2004. You want the cream of the crop as far as PC's go, then it's an i7 build. Here's one that's in your budget and it lacks nothing. It's ready to over clock.

http://cmstore.coolermaster-usa.com/product_info.php?products_id=109 $45.99
CM 690 Black SECC/ATX Mid Tower, W/O window, W/O PSU - Refurbished

http://www.buy.com/prod/corsair-750w-tx-series-80-plus-certified-power-supply-corsair-tx-cmpsu/q/loc/101/206178325.html $104.99 Price After Rebate: $79.99 Shipping: FREE
Corsair TX CMPSU-750TX ATX12V & EPS12V Power Supply

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130221 $189.99 ($169.99 after $20.00 Mail-In Rebate)
MSI X58 Pro LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=I7-920 $265.99 Free Ground Shipping
Intel Core i7 Processor i7-920 2.66GHz 8MB LGA1366 CPU, OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835233029 $39.99
XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835186020 $6.99
ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231247 $99.99 Free Shipping*
G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102801 $189.99
SAPPHIRE 100259-1GL Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
Heatpipes Cooling Design

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136319 $79.99 Free Shipping*
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136152 $23.99 Free Shipping*
LG Black 22X (CAV) DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X (CAV) 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 - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833315078 $34.99
EDIMAX EW-7728In IEEE 802.11b/g, IEEE 802.11n Draft 32bit PCI Wireless 802.11n Draft 2.0 PCI Card Up to 300Mbps Data Rates WEP 64/128, WPA, WPA2 Cisco CCX V1.0, V2.0 & V3.0 Compliance - Retail

Total: $1,082.89 *(not including shipping and rebates) $45 in rebates.
 

o0 zeno 0o

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Sure, that drive is fine.. It is probably a little slower, as they have to make it quieter and cooler somehow (in this case, dynamic spin rates). I doubt it would make a big deal for your gaming experience. There's actually a review of it in the Tom's Hardware Articles if you look back far enough.

EDIT:
Found that review:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/wd-caviar-gp,1703.html
And it's compared again here:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/terabyte-battle,1717.html
 

o0 zeno 0o

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I would argue that the i7 does not benchmark as well as the Core 2 and Phenom II chips in gaming (or most normal applications for that matter). I also expect that the LGA 1366 socket will have a shorter life than the AM3. At the same time, the synthetics do show an advantage with the i7, whether realized with current software or not. I'd be hard pressed to say AM3 is the only option here, but at this time I still think it's by far the best bang for the buck.
 


I'm not totally sure what your calling "normal apps" but the numbers don't lie. The i7 cpu's lead on almost all the test on toms hardware cpu charts. I just did an i7 build for $1,000 set up for Crossfire with a 4870 1 gig card. Only a few weeks ago that build would have been in the $1,500 - $1,400 price range. This means one thing. AMD just received another nail in it's coffin. No need for anyone to buy an AMD rig now if that builder/buyer has a grand on them.

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/desktop-cpu-charts-q3-2008/benchmarks,31.html <=== Toms cpu charts.
 

o0 zeno 0o

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Perhaps thinning the field would help you see what I'm talking about...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/socket-am3-phenom,2148.html

EDIT: The charts you cited are from Q3 2008, btw... Before the Phenom II was released, much less the AM3 versions.

I do agree with you, though. The cost of good i7 motherboards have come down some, and that definitely does make the i7 look more attractive than it did a month ago. At the same time, the processor cost is still higher. And on the OC'ing note, on the AM3 platform the Phenom II's have proven to be VERY kind to overclockers... more so than the i7's.

I'm not trying to argue with you, I agree there are advantages to the i7. I just don't think that there is a definite favorite to the mix. You still get more value on the AM3 Phenom II's, and you most likely will also get a longer life out of the AM3 chip architecture. I don't think the i7 has proved it's computing prowess to lay those advantages to waste. If the OP were looking for the biggest baddest thing he could build, I would probably side with the i7. As it is, he wants a PC with great performance that is going to last him a long time. I am willing to bet that the last LGA 1366 chip produced will be slower than the last AM3 chip produced.

All depends on how you look at it I guess. I really don't think there's a "bad" choice here, though. Regardless of which direction he chooses, he's going to end up with an amazing rig!