Need Help With Buidling My New Custom Gaming System


Aug 30, 2009
My question is honestly somewhat complex. Basically I'm having a really hard time deciding if I should make another AMD system, or try out a Intel Core i7 or Intel Core 2 Quad possibly. One big reason I really want to build a AMD system is because my current PC is a AMD system.

Here's a list of specs from my current computer
CPU - AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 6000+ 3.01Ghz
Motherboard - MSI-7369 (AM2 Socket)
RAM/Memory - 6 gigs of RAM total/ No open memory slots left
HD - 465Gb
OS - Windows Vista Home Premium 64 bit
Graphics Card - GeForce 8800 GT 512MB of Memory

I'm looking to spend anywhere from 900-1300USD on parts for my new system, and from what I've read and checked out on a few websites. I could build a decent Intel i7 system for about 1100USD without counting tax. I could also possibly chose to use their Intel Core2 Quad CPU'S and save money compaired to the i7.

But the thing is that If I chose to build another AMD system I could go ahead and buy the AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE or Phenom II X4 965 BE and I would be able to hook it up to my current PC, and I'd be able to start using the CPU right away. Cause I have always bought my PC parts one at a time because otherwise I usually cant save up enough money if I hold on to it to long. Now from what I've read the AM3 Phenom's will work with any AM2 board. So I kinda wanna make sure that I understood that correctly.

Now here's another reason I'm somewhat nervous about doing a Intel i7 build. Intel's CPUS aren't backwards compatible like most of AMD'S CPU'S are. So I'm kind of scared of buying a Intel i7 then having them change what type of socket they using again right after I buy it. Cause I know they are coming out with the Intel i5 and my friend said that they haven't really decided what socket type they want to stick with yet. So he was saying they will probably only stick with the i7 for another year or two at the max. So I was wondering if my friend is right or not.

So anyways if anyone would mind posting some possible build idea's I would appreciate it greatly. It would be greatly appreciated, and obviously if anyone could answer the questions I asked above as well that would be really great too. Thanks to anyone who took the time to read this.



This thread is what you want to read.
*edit this is not the link I wanted...*

this one is good info, but i cant find the one with sample builds. :cry:

**edit again - found the best thread for you to read. **

IMO you could only build a MARGINAL gaming I7 with only 1100. I cant do it for less than 1300 on newegg. For gaming performance you are probably better off sticking with a good AMD 3 or 4 core CPU and buying up the graphics card to a GTX 285 or HD 4890.

From what I have read, you dont want to run a phenom II AM3 on anything other than an AM3 motherboard. There also isnt any reason to as the motherboard prices are not that different.


It depends on what you call "marginal"....that and newegg isn't the only game in town. Here's a build for under $1,100 that over clocks nicely, comes with an o/s, runs cool, and has a case with plenty of room for SLI, large h/s, and great ventilation/airflow. After looking at the bench marks on this site for i7 vs AMD 955 and 965, this build down below is an AMD killer by all standards. :) Combo Discount: -$15.00 Combo Price: $164.98 Free Shipping*
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders w/ Tech Guarantee - OEM | Includes free Windows 7 upgrade coupon
COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail $111.99 Free Shipping
PC Power and Cooling SILENCER 750W QUAD S75CF Power Supply Retail $169.99
ASRock X58 Extreme LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $269.99 Free Ground Shipping
Intel Core i7 Processor i7-920 2.66GHz 8MB LGA1366 CPU, OEM $36.99
Scythe MUGEN-2 SCMG-2000 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler - Retail $4.49
ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound $113.99 Free Shipping
OCZ OCZ3P1600LV6GK DDR3 PC3-12800 1600MHz 6GB Platinum XTC Triple Channel Kits $219.99 | $209.99 $10 off with code SUPERSTEAL10 Free Ground Shipping
GIGABYTE nVidia GeForce GTX275 OC 896MB DDR3 DVI/HDMI PCI-Express Video Card $64.99 Free Shipping
WESTERN DIGITAL Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB SATA II 7200 RPM 32MB Buffer Hard Drive Bulk $29.99 Free Shipping*
Sony Optiarc Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD/CD Rewritable Drive - OEM

Total: $1,082.40

* The ATI counter part to that Nvidea card up above $189.99 ($179.99 after $10.00 Mail-In Rebate Card) Free Shipping*
HIS H489F1GP Radeon HD 4890 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail


LOL - ok thats a fine system but you had to keep track of ordering from 4 places (RMA headaches), use a couple mail in rebates (always iffy), a combo deal (which may not be available when he orders) and choose a motherboard that is not (and is almost never) in stock to slip in barely under and you didnt include tax.

If you dont have the budget for both you are better off getting an AMD CPU with a good graphics card instead of getting an I7 with a lesser one for gaming performance, which is what the OP is looking for.

A couple of days ago I put together a build using a Phenom that would have gamed at that level or higher and it also included a 24 inch 1080 p LCD as well as windows for under $1000.
I think that around the $1300 mark for a pc [excluding monitor/keyboard/mouse et] ci7 becomes a better choice , because you start to have the budget for gfx cards that can use the head room of the i7 .
Until then its just more expensive , and poor value

Benchmarks like this
are a good indicator of what happens when you pair a single nVidia gfx card and an i7/x58 system .
The i7 looks remarkably ordinary and is beaten by a Phenom X3 costing less than half as much in real world gaming situations


Jul 31, 2009
There's tons of OS/case combo deals on Newegg all the time. The OP may not even need a new OS license.
And I'd rather order from a few different retailers than pay Newegg $50 more. Anything else is being lazy.

The OP's budget is $1,300 max. I posted a quality i7 build for under $1,100. Granted it's more of an inconvienence shopping at mulitiple outlets, but it's not like the OP is using gas money (driving) to go from one store to the other. And as far as I know there is no mail in rebates in that build I posted on here. Now I will show you why anyone with a budget of $900 - $1,300 would be foolish to go with an AMD build over an i7 build. If it were my money and I wasn't Bill Gates, I would want the most for my $$$$ as anyone should.

* Notice in these three links below that the AMD build had the superior video card set up not to mention the AMD is always over clocked while the 17 920 is left at stock settings. Just think how bad it gets for the AMD builds when you boost the i7 to 3.4GHz - 3.6GHz ...or even higher.,2389.html <--- i7 920 slaps the AMD silly,2360.html <--- i7 920 slaps the AMD silly,2278.html <--- i7 920 slaps the AMD silly


I'm in 100% agreement with Outlander_04 & Why_Me... Core i7 is the way to go.

If you review my thread in my signature (already linked to earlier), you will see my AM3 & i7 gaming builds are within $100 for similar performance in gaming, with the i7 being better at everything else. These builds are without combos or price shopping, so they can be built for less.

According to those three reviews done by Toms I posted up above...they are not similar in gaming performance. The i7 had an inferior vid card set up to offset the price of the build and it still hammered the AMD builds in games. Now give the i7 the same vid card set up as the AMD builds, over clock it like the AMD's were and it's pure slaughter.


Aug 30, 2009
Thanks to everyone for your quick answers, I think I'm going to end up going with the Intel core i7, I'm going to be ordering it piece by piece though. I'm going to be ordering my CPU and motherboard this Friday when I get paid. So the way things are looking on friday I'm going to be ordering the following parts.

CPU - Intel Core i7 920
Motherboard - Not 100 percent sure which one I'm going to pick yet.

Anyways though how easy is it to overclock the Intel core i7 ? Also do I really need to buy a aftermarket CPU fan/cooler if I don't plan on overclocking the system right away anyways? From the articles I've read the stock intel set-up on the i7 is sufficient if you don't overclock it, I just wanna make sure my facts are straight.

Over clocking the i7 is probably one of the easiest things you will ever do. It's a piece of cake. As long as your not over clocking a stock h/s will do just fine, but I would highly recommend an after market h/s later on when you can afford it, and don't forget to use a decent thermal paste such as Arctic Cooling MX-2, Tuniq, OCZ Freeze, Arctic Silver 5, etc...

btw if you live near a Micro Center store you can pick up an i7 for $199 (walk in only). <--- Micro Center locations

You are comparing a $189 Phenom and a $279 intel chip that needs more expensive motherboards and RAM

But is this the Farcry2 and Stalker benchmark where the i7 hammers the phenom 955?,2278-9.html

Or were you meaning this crossfire comparison where two systems of the same cost were build using phenom and i7 and then compared ?,2360-5.html
Of course since then the Phenoms price has dropped about $70 ..........

Core components drop in price as new models are released , and we are very close to intels new i5 cpu's .
So you dont miss out on price drops consider buying the case/psu/hdd/optical drives first because these wont change in price as much


I did notice on that last link of yours how the i7 thumped the AMD while the i7 had a set up of 4870's vs the AMD's 4890's. Now tell me, which is the better vid card ? The 4870 or the 4890 ? :)


The link is from an article you linked to , but your "noticing" might be a bit off since the phenom is almost identical at stock speeds on high settings , and is ahead of the i7 when the game is at ultra high

As Im sure you are aware, but probably wont admit, the whole point of that article was to spend a fixed amount on a computer and see which SYSTEM was better or worse at that price point .

Im not sure what its like where you come from but on the planet I live on we dont say you thumped someone because they beat YOU


Aug 30, 2009

Wow thanks for letting me know about that 199 price I'm gonna have to see if one of those stores is near me or not. Cause thats about 70 bucks cheaper than Newegg is.

Also what type of motherboard do you guys think I should buy? I kind of want to get a MSI but my friend keeps telling me I should get a ASUS. I'm not really sure which I should go with but here's what I'm looking for as far as motherboards are concerned. I want something that has room for expansion because I'm wanting this computer to last me at least a few years, so obviously its going to need to be very upgradable. So I obviously wanna get something that supports up to 24 gigs of ram and supports DDR3 Memory etc. and allows for easy OC'ing etc. So if you guys could post some examples that would be wonderful.

Here's a couple different boards I'm thinking about chosing tell me what you guys think please.

MSI X58M LGA 1366 Intel X58 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - 169.99 USD

EVGA 141-BL-E757-TR LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX X58 SLI LE Intel Motherboard - Retail
Supports Core i7, 3-way SLI, E-LEET Utility & Vdroop control - 229.99

Open Box: ASUS P6T LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - 169.99

Let me know what you guys think or if you have another idea for a good motherboard let me know please. Obviously though I don't wanna spend over about 250 or so for the motherboard, cause I'm trying to stay on budget as much as possible.

I'm probably going to end up putting my pc together before I get a new HD or OS and just put my current HD inside my new system so that way I won't have to spend the extra few hundred bucks right off the bat. I also plan on using my current NVIDIA Geforce 8800Gt card on it until I can save up for a new card.


Going with an I7 - this is a wishlist I made couple weeks ago.

The PSU i picked because its modular to avoid a tangle of excess cables in the case and it will easily SLI or crossfire a second GPU.

It has a 4870(1M) because I think right now that is the best price/performance available and this was a value build. I would prefer a 4890 (2GB) with plans to buy a second and xfire them, or get a GTX 275 (1896 MB) with plans to SLI a second later.

I like Zalman CPU coolers and would probably choose the CNPS10X extreme, This 10x quiet is a cheaper, quieter model. There are many decent choices that are cheaper.

If the i7 experts think I'm suggesting something stupid, please let me know as thats the only way I will learn.

1 Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920
Item #: N82E16819115202 -$9.00 Instant $288.99 ($279.99)

1 SAPPHIRE Vapor-X Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card
Item #: N82E16814102825 -$5.00 Instant $154.99 ($149.99)

1 Sony Optiarc 24X DVD/CD Rewritable Drive Black SATA Model AD-7240S-0B
Item #: N82E16827118030 ($32.99)

* I believe this MB is the full ATX version of the micro-ATX you listed. If you put two graphics cards in the micro-ATX you wont be able to put anything else in.
1 MSI X58 Pro-E LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard
Item #: N82E16813130226 ($189.99)

1 Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
Item #: N82E16822148433 -$10.00 Instant $99.99 ($89.99)

1 CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TR3X6G1600C9
Item #: N82E16820145222 $20.00 Mail-in Rebate Card ($124.99)

1 Rosewill R901-P BK Triple 120mm Cooling Fan, Mesh Design Front Panel, ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Item #: N82E16811147125 -$20.00 Instant $69.99 ($49.99)

1 ZALMAN CNPS10X QUIET 120mm 2 Ball CPU Cooler
Item #: N82E16835118052
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy ($55.99)

1 Antec CP-850 850W Continuous Power CPX SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC "compatible with Core i7" Power Supply
Item #: N82E16817371024 -$10.00 Instant $139.99 ($129.99)

PS - I would never buy an open box motherboard. If reviews are a good way to judge, the RMA rate on motherboards is the highest of any component. Too risky for my taste.


You will need MB, CPU, Ram, to start with. Better make sure your PSU is at least 500W and has the 24pin and 8 pin power plugs or you may need a new PSU also.

Might be good to wait for the impact of ATIs new 5000 series graphics cards this winter if the 8800 is working well enough (its a decent enough card still).

Here is the link for that MSI full ATX Motherboard. Its one of few below $200 with 6 RAM slots and up to 3 GPUs in SLI or XFIRE. It did well in the review here at toms.

The DDR3 1600 Ram options are 6GB (3x2GB) or 12GB (6x2GB or 3x4GB)
It can get up to 24GB (6x4GB).

I would also recommend being real cautious about overclocking until you get a case with good airflow, a CPU cooler and an adequite PSU. No idea what case and PSU you have now.


Aug 30, 2009
My current PSU right now is only 430Watts so I know I'm gonna have to replace it. But I do however plan on using my 8800 512MB card for my graphics card in my new build. UNTIL I am able to save up and buy the exact card I want. Even though at the moment I'm not 100 percent sure what kind of card I want. I'm also probably going to end up only putting 3x4GB sticks for memory. Cause 12 gigs of RAM is plenty IMO, and from what I've seen other people do is probably in all actuality a bit overkill. But since I currently have 6 gigs in my current PC, I want to at least double it.


Aug 30, 2009
Hey guys I found this computer at and I was wondering if you guys thought it was a good deal or not. From what I see its by far the best store bought PC i've ever seen Money/Performance ratio wise anyways.

Warranty Terms - Parts1 year
Warranty Terms - Labor1 year limited
Product Height18.2"
Product Width7.9"
Product Weight23.9 lbs.
Product Depth21"
Gaming SeriesYes
Processor BrandIntel®
ProcessorIntel® Core™ i7
Processor Speed2.66GHz
Cache Memory8MB on die Level 2
System Memory (RAM)9GB
System Memory (RAM) Expandable To24GB
Type of Memory (RAM)DDR3
Hard Drive TypeSerial ATA (7200 rpm)
Hard Drive Size1TB
GraphicsNVIDIA GeForce GTX260
Video Memory896MB
Personal Video Recorder (PVR)No
TV TunerNo
AudioHigh-definition audio (7.1-channel support)
Built-in WebcamNo
Network CardBuilt-in 10/100/1000 Ethernet LAN (RJ-45 connector)
Wireless NetworkingNone
Recordable DVD DriveYes, double-layer DVD±RW/CD-RW
Recordable DVD Drive Speeds8x DVD+R DL; 8x DVD-R DL; 16x8x16 DVD+RW; 16x6x16 DVD-RW; 5x DVD-RAM; 48x32x48 CD-RW
Direct-Disc LabelingNo
Digital Media Reader or SlotsYes, digital media card reader
Total Expansion BaysExternal: 2 (5.25"); Internal: 2 (3.5")
Available Expansion BaysExternal: 1 (5.25"); Internal: 1 (3.5")
Total Expansion Slots1 PCI, 1 PCI-E x1, 2 PCI-E x16
Available Expansion Slots1 PCI-E, 1 PCI-E x1, 1 PCI-E x16
USB 2.0 Ports8
IEEE 1394 Ports1
S-Video Outputs1
Additional Audio/Video Connectors2 DVI, 1 HDTV
Serial PortsNone
Parallel PortsNone
Game PortsNone
Keyboard DescriptionRazer USB gaming keyboard
Other Control Devices (mouse, etc.)USB optical 2-button wheel mouse
Operating System PlatformWindows
Operating SystemWindows Vista Home Premium 64-bit with SP1
Software IncludedAdobe Acrobat Reader 8, Microsoft Works 9.0, Nero 8 Essentials, and more
HDMI OutputNo
Blu-ray PlayerNo

real world

Feb 19, 2008

If you can find a rewards zone, or a movers guide coupon, for 10% off at Bestbuy, you could knock another $110 off that price. I just had one that expired on 8/31 too.

What would it cost to build that same ASUS wrig from scratch?



Mar 1, 2009
^^ why_me's first post in the thread has a build that is ~110$ cheaper than the bestbuy comp with a better graphics card and better quality components but no extended warrantys though.


Mar 17, 2009
at this price, go with Why_me 's i7 build...if u were looking for $200 cheaper, AMD would have a chance, but with i7 and ati's 4890, its so gooooood....

wish Australia followed america's trends faster in techonolgy...
my 0.02aud (0.016798usd) worth

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