New Build, No Clue


Feb 4, 2009
Folks, if I sound like I know anything about building a PC, I'm faking it. Please make your corrections to my list of wants. I am comparing what I consider to be two very different builds and am not sure about quality vs. price. I'm also open to an entirely different build if someone would be willing to post one.


1. Gaming PC pure and simple. I may do some very minor audio editing but am not concerned whatsoever about that.

2. Budget - as inexpensive as possible, but good enough to last me 2-3 years minimum.

3. As the gateway to the gaming experience, I'd really like a decent monitor at a minimum of 24". Correct me if you disagree on the size.

4. I'd like it to run cool and quiet

5. I fully intend to overclock


A. I've heard DDR3 just doesn't improve performance enough to justify the extra cost. Is this true? If so, should I steer clear of the i7 since the mobo's are all DDR3?

B. Where can I cut costs


Mobo - GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD4P LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Moth

Ram - G.SKILL 6GB DDR3 1333 Kit - Compatibility???

HDD - WD Black Caviar 640 gig

CPU - Intel i7

GPU - Very torn here - ATI 4870 X2 and future crossfire or GTX260 216 and future SLI?

Cooler - COOLER MASTER V8 CPU Cooler

PSU - P&C 750W PSU

Case - torn between Antec Nine Hundred and the COOLER MASTER RC-690

Monitor - Torn between the BenQ G2400WD and the SAMSUNG 2433BW 24" LCD

Mobo: Asus P5Q Deluxe

RAM: 8 gigs of
How can I know if this is compatible with the Mobo?

CPU: E8500


GPU: ATI 4870
Trying to decide between this and the 4870X2 - is it worth the extra $200+?

PSU: Antec 550 Watt

HDD: WD Black Caviar 640 gig and also utilizing my current RAID 0 35 gig raptors

Monitor: BenQ G2400WD

Case: Antec 900

Fans: Are these right?

Mouse: Logitech G7

Keyboard: Logitech G15

OS: Vista 64

As you can see, i have no real direction and would much prefer someone telling me what to build in the $1500 range (more? less?)
You get big points for trying so hard, I'll help you all I can. Give me a few and I'll list out some parts. Your second build comes closer to your actual needs.

Gigabyte UD3P
P45 crossfire board, second generation. Very popular and very good price for the features. You don't need to spend more.

Your CPU choice works.

RAM - That's a bit overkill and not real great. Corsair is a good brand, but you can and should get lower volted RAM, especially if you want 8GB.
G.skill PI Black 800Mhz

PSU: Ooops you messed up big there. Not enough watts for the build. The Antec choice was good.
PC P&C 750W

GPU: You could get one of these Sapphire 4870 1GB then add a second if you felt the need. Or, just grab a ASUS 4870X2

Try these Thermaltakes. Far better options without LEDs, but I think these are OK.

Don't get it from newegg. Go get an Acer or Samsung from a local shop. Spare the shipping costs and have an easy exchange if you find dead pixels, etc.


Feb 4, 2009
Wow, thanks for your help!
A few questions for you if you have time:

1. Do you think that over the next 2-3 years I will regret the E8500 as opposed to the i7?

2. I would prefer fans without LED's - I'm married so the lower the profile on this thing, the more I'm hoping the wife will forget about it. Do you have other fan recommendations?

3. I thought RAM largely depended on the this true? Also, if I am overclocking, lower timing is better right? I don't know the difference between 1333, 1066, 1600...nor do i know the difference between 4-4-4-12 and 5-5-5-15 or whatever.

4. GPU - you like the 4870x2 over the GTX260? (that's the way I was leaning, but I am trying to make sure). I play mostly FPS (FarCry 2, Crysis, COD, TF2) but will also probably play WoW.

5. I need an extra PCI slot for my ProTools rig (looks like a scuzzy card i was told). Will the Mobo you picked out still work?

6. Case - Antec 900 or Cool Master or OTHER?

Thanks, your help is greatly appreciated!
1. No, but you might end up upgrading to a quad core in the future, such as the Q9650, if your programs or habits can use one. For a discussion of dual vs. quad, see my guide, linked in my sig or at the top of the forum.

2. Great. Get some nice Scythes then, like these:
Good balance of air and noise.

3. Partly true. The motherboard needs to recognize the RAM, or it tries to use default settings. If the RAM you choose runs at default voltage, it's much likelier to boot.

4. Yes. Less power consumption, runs in crossfire on Intel chipsets, which are the most stable. For i7 builds I actually favor Nvidia though, for slightly better drivers.

5. Yes.

6. Cooler Master HAF if you can afford it. Else, cooler Master 690.


Nov 4, 2008
Hey great start Arcana. Believe me you already have shown you know quite a bit more than a lot of other first time builders. So thanks for doing some homework before asking for help.

To answer a few of your questions about DDR3. If your motherboard is a p45 or x48 chipset then just get ddr2 1066. (1066 since you said you're planning on doing some heavy overclocking. If just light overclocking stick with ddr2 800). All x58 boards which is compatible with the i7 use ddr3. When dealing with the i7 memory speed affects the processor quite a bit more than the qxxxx and exxxx processors. Not trying to get to technical on you but in general the i7 takes much better advantage of memory speed than its predecessors. This is why the i7 justfies getting ddr3. So to answer another one of your questions about the ram largely depending on the motherboard, it’s because of the compatibility issues. The memory timings and speed are related to the cpu and front side bus.

As much as I want to say go with the first build and pick up the 4870x2, this would probably be overkill. This would be a much more expensive rig than the second build. It would last more than 2-3 years before it would start looking dated. For your needs I think the second build would suit them much more if expence is a key concern.


Feb 4, 2009

1. From the benchmarks that I have looked at, the Q9650 is actually slower than the E8500 for games. Do you disagree?
2. Good choice on fans, thank you!
3. So for RAM, do you feel as though I am better of getting 6 gigs of Corsair DDR2 1066?
4. i only see a $100 difference between the i7 and the e8500...that doesn't seem like very much of a difference considering how new the i7 is. You would definitely go with the e8500??? I can't wrap my mind around that one, but I know you guys know tons more than me!

6. Lastly, after looking over both builds, they are within $200 of each other. If that $200 was not an issue, is there any argument that would suggest the 2nd build is better than the first?



Nov 4, 2008
If the $200 dollars isn't much of an issue for you then I'd go with the first build. It has more horse power than the second. Its just that what you said your needs are for this computer the 2nd one which is cheaper would satifiey them just fine.


Feb 4, 2009
both builds are over $1800. Besides the monitor, where can I cut costs on the 2nd build? I know people playing WoW on $600 systems so it seems like $1800 is overkill right?
1. It would not be slower in a few games. It would also not be slower if you were burning a DVD and running a ton of processes at the same time as you were gaming :) Certainly some games are coded to run better on quads, and more will be some day.

3. Corsair 1066 RAM is not likely to run on the 1.8V you want. Only get RAM at a higher frequency than 800Mhz if you are a serious overclocker.

4. Did you read that section in my guide I referenced? If you can build the i7 system with the same GPU power for less than $200 difference, that seems like a good deal and should be done. I don't stay that on top of prices, and perhaps things have changed since I priced out the two builds.

If all you want is to play WOW, then of course $1800 is too much to spend.


Feb 7, 2009
Did you look at Win XP pro64bit? It seems to run everything xp32bit does and very stable os. I have vista 64bit sitting on my shelf and waiting for next service pack. I think the xp64bit os is about $30 more and I am happy with it. I can't say anything about monitor. I use a 22" Acer 1680x1050. Bigger is not always better.


Feb 4, 2009
Case: CoolerMaster HAF 932 - $159.99
Fan: Scythe S-FLEX SFF21F 120mm Case Fan - $15.49
PSU: PC Power & Cooling S75CF 750 watt - $99.99
GPU: Asus EAH 4870 - $224.99 w/ MIR
Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 $134.99
CPU: E8500 - $189.99
RAM: G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) - $54.99
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB 7200 RPM - $79.99
OS: Vista Home Premium OEM - $99
DVD: SAMSUNG 22X DVD Burner $23.99
Cooler: XIGMATEK dark knight - s1283 120mm CPU Cooler - $44.99
Monitor: SAMSUNG 2433BW 24" 5ms Widescreen LCD $299.99

Do I need thermal compound?

Approval? Comments?
It's all pretty much ideal. I would choose the Sapphire over the ASUS 4870 because of the cooling, but with that case I might have been wrong.... such a well cooled case may not need a rear exhaust video card.

XP 64bit has a lot of bugs. If you want a 64 bit os, go with vista. XP 32bit is good, but XP 64bit kind of got the short end of the stick when they came out with 64bit vista.

Akebono 98

Dec 5, 2008
+1 for the Sapphire 4870 1GB--it's the same price as the Asus.

Add Arctic Cooling MX-2 thermal paste and, so you don't have to ask later, here is Proximon's gold standard of thermal paste installation on HDT heatsinks: thread link.

And the HAF case is deficient in WHAT way, such that you need to add *another* 120mm fan??? :p
One of these days, when I replace my CPU, I'll do an actual tutorial with pictures. :p

I'm running two Scythe S-FLEX SFF21F 120mm Case Fans in my Silverstone case and they are very nice. They push just the right amount of air without making any noise.