I7 920 / ATI Crossfire Gaming/Media System


Dec 22, 2008
APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Parts being purchased as they are "on sale", right now.

BUDGET RANGE: Remaining: ~$1,000 (Lower the better)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Downloading, Movie watching


Monitor (22" Widescreen LCD, VGA output)
Case <Antec 300>
PSU <Corsair 750w> (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139006)
HDs <1 x WD Caviar Black 1 TB for OS, 1 x Hitachi 1 TB (Linked) for Storage> (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822145233)


PARTS PREFERENCES: I7 920, ATI Radeon setup (ATI instead of Nvidia due to price and current games played.)


SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Crossfire <Yes> (Perhaps for end user in future only?)



Yet another "requested build" for a friend. Due to this friend's budget/time frame for system completion, I have been slowly buying parts as they are a good price. (The case was bought months ago, the PSU and 2 HDs the past couple of weeks.) Due to the friend's low resolution, a 3x+ Crossfire solution should not be considered. (However, a 2x could be with the upgrade to a 3x in the future if that is best. I doubt it though.)

I am posting a request for information, despite my "general up-to-date" knowledge, due to the following:

1. This will be my first I7 build. (My systems are Core 2 Duo E6750s built a bit back, and my recent friends' budgets/requests led me to building two AMD Phenom x3 720 builds last month.) It is now a 3rd friend's turn.
2. Mostly interested in people's current recommendations on the best "cpu + MB + ATI <Crossfire?>" solution for a mid to mid-high gaming computer.
3. The system will be air cooled using "good" 120mm case fan replacements closer to the final "important" components purchase date. (If you have favorite, reliable and semi-quiet 120mm fans to recommend, list please. The case will require 2 for exhaust <rear and side> and potentially 2 for input <front> to be combined with the tri-speed 140mm fan in the rear/top of the case.)
4. The system will have 64 bit Windows 7 RC installed until the official OS release date later in the year.
5. As briefly mentioned above, a "quiet" system is not required, but it should not be "loud" either. This machine is a "living room gaming/multimedia" pc for a bachelor.

If I were to do the final buying today, without looking at specific pricing, I would end up buying the following:

Intel I7 920
<<<Unknown MB>>>
1, 2, or (3) ATI Radeon 4850 512 MB (With the (3) meaning the purchase of a Sapphire 4850 X2 1 GB card with a 3rd card added now or later if the case supports. Haven't measured yet.)
<<<Unknown CPU cooler>>>
<<<2 Optical drives, 1 retail and 1 OEM>>>
<<<4 Unknown 120mm case fans>>>
<<<Unknown 3x2 GB of DDR3 ram>>>

Thank you in advance


Dec 22, 2008
Finished the purchasing today, and I always update:

Case: Antec 300 (Bought months ago w/ free shipping for $48)


OS Hard Drive: WD Caviar Black 1 TB ($90 last week)


Storage Hard Drive: Hitachi 1 TB ($75 last week)


PSU: Corsair 750w ($120 w/ $20 MIR)


CPU: Intel i7 920 ($280)


MB: MSI X58 Pro LGA 1366 ($190 w/ $20 MIR)


Ram: Patriot 6GB DDR3 1333 ($95 w/ $20 MIR)


CPU Cooler: ZALMAN CNPS9700 ($49 w/ free LGA 1366 retention bracket)


Case Fans: Scythe 120mm x4 ($7.50 x 4 = $30)


DVD Burner 1 (Retail): HP Black 22X ($25)


DVD Burner 2 (OEM): SAMSUNG 22X ($28)


GFX, "Top" Slot: SAPPHIRE Vapor-X Radeon HD 4870 1GB ($150 w/ $10 MIR)


GFX, "Bottom" Slot: ASUS Radeon HD 4870 1GB ($160 w/ $20 MIR)


OS: Win Vista Home Premium with Win 7 Upgrade, OEM ($110)


Total Price: $1,450, w/ MIR $1360

Reasonings on parts selection:

1. Lots of disk space needed.
2. It seems LGA1366 MB reviews show that all of them have more issues than LGA 775 MBs did. Further, the major issue with the MSI board I selected was the Northbridge heatsink temperature. Easy fix: Replace the thermal grease myself.
3. Chose the Patriot ram due to the low timings at DDR3 1333 speeds.
4. With the MB, Case (Antec 300), and Case fan replacements, the open design of the Zalman will allow the case fans to pull air past the Zalman heatsink very easily. (And, space will be tight.)
5. Replacing the 120mm tri-cool fan and putting fans in all other available 120mm slots with low noise decent throughput fans. Thus, the Scythe fans.
6. Duel DVD burners, as always for systems I build. (With two of the same kind never going in the same machine.) Further, avoided the adware one from LG.
7. Crossfire 4870 1 GB graphics solution, 3 total games included for free. The side panel 120mm fan on the Antec 300 will be set for exhaust to pull hot air directly away from the Asus card in the bottom of the case.
8. Free upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium for the user, no complete reinstallation required.

Will update once more when the system is assembled with any problems.

Thank you Proximon for the 4870 SLI heads up.