New Build Questions (Motherboard, CPU, SSD for $650)


Apr 19, 2011
Approximate Purchase Date: ASAP-december

Budget Range: ~$650 now (after rebates), more later

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming+LAN parties, Adobe CS5 for Homework, music, internet, movies

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:, mwave, tigerdirect

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: cheapest with performance+reliability

Overclocking: Yes (but can wait)

SLI or Crossfire: Yes(later)

Monitor Resolution: 1600x1200+

I would like to reuse old parts and get my gaming rig going better, with the ability to upgrade it with some new gfx cards n stuff later on for Adobe CS 5 / better games. I want the option to overclock, I plan to eventually use SLI, and want to get win7 and a 120gb SSD for main drive at some point. I have a few questions though:

1) I know the i5 is good for gaming and overclocking, but should i get the i7 instead? is it worth it since i will be doing CS5 stuff on this comp in the near future as well?

2) I want to use a SSD for boot drive+CS5+games (120gb or so). I can get this now, or get it later if i need to spend more now on mobo/CPU/fans etc. I dont really like the Z68 caching thing for SSD because of how i will use it, but can i choose to not use that feature? (is Z68 better for adobe work?, or P67 will be fine for both gaming and adobe?)

3) should i wait for SSD to be more reliable/cheaper in a few months(by christmas) or just get one now?

4) if i will eventually overclock it, should i just start off that way, or just wait till it feels sluggish?

I have all the other parts i need for the moment, what is the best Mobo/CPU/SSD choice for my needs, budget and time flexibility?
^ Roughly how long can you wait ?? I ask this because newer CPU from Intel - Ivy bridge and AMD - Bulldozer will be out within next 6 months,... So upgrading then might be a good idea,...
But if you cant wait that long, then for your requirements, the i5 would offer better value as it performs quite close to the i7 and if you overclock, will offer even better performance,... The i7 is as fast as the 6-Cores from Intel, but also is $100 costlier than the i5, so see if the additional cost is worth it,...

Mobo - Either of those would do, performance wise, both will be similar and will have little effect on apps(except for video where the Z68's quicksync performance will be very good,...

SSD- The Crucial M4 offer pretty good performance but not as good as the OCZ 3 series, though there has been many firmware problems reported, but currently I read in some forum posts that it has been rectified, but I would suggest you to go to the OCZ forums and confirm,...

Well why not overclock, will offer better performance from the start itself,...
1) What do you have now, that you can reuse?

2) What currently limits your gaming?
To help clarify your options, run these two tests:

a) Run your games, but lower your resolution and eye candy.
If your FPS increases, it indicates that your cpu is strong enough to drive a better graphics configuration.

b) Limit your cpu, either by reducing the OC, or, in windows power management, limit the maximum cpu% to something like 70%.
If your FPS drops significantly, it is an indicator that your cpu is the limiting factor, and a cpu upgrade is in order.

It is possible that both tests are positive, indicating that you have a well balanced system, and both cpu and gpu need to be upgraded to get better gaming FPS.

3) Is your budget flexible? I suspect you have champaigne tasts with a beer budget.

4) Until December, I see no real changes in cpu or graphics technology. I think the upcoming bulldozer will be more appropriate to servers and multi threaded apps than gaming.



Apr 19, 2011
1) its a 5-10 year old dell single core with ddr2 ram, needs to be replaced :D I was going to reuse a newish Radeon HD 5570 for a month until i have more money, and have about 4 cases and 3 pwr supplies that i need to go home to see if can be reused. Have HDD, monitor, drives n stuff.

2) currently limited by overall speed, although ofc gfx card could be better(wanted to get one with ddr5, possibly SLI, when I make more $ in a month)

3) budget is semiflexible. I have about 650-750ish after rebates I can spend now (could probably get loaned a tiny bit if needed), but will be making another $1k in a month. I was planning to get new gfx card(s) then, possibly SSD + w7 ($30 as student) then if i cant fit them in now.

4) ok, yea i didnt think it would be too much better, and would be new so outta budget possibly.

From what ive read so far: i5 2500k and P67 is fine for my needs.

Should I get SSD+w7 now or later? And what ssd?

A friend recently bought a M4, another recently got the crucial force. Im still semi worried about horror stories I read, are things fixed yet? I wanted a 120-128gb sata 3 ssd, and fastest yet still reliable, so no OCZ(read bad stories but they did fine on the july ssd article)? Patriot Wildfire is newish but heard good things/leaning towards that, also heard good things bout M4 and intel 510, of course these are all more expensive than OCZ stuff though.
1) Reusing a 5570 would be OK for a while, but it is not a real good gaming card.

2) 2500K/p67 is not only fine for your needs, it is as good as it can get today.

3) Budget is ok. $200 for a 2500K, $150 for a mobo, and $50 for ram, a bit more for 8gb. Total about $400, well within your budget. Reusing a psu will be ok for a 5570 which does not need much.

4) As to the SSD, I don't know. I love the SSD, it makes everything feel so fast. But, the ssd prices are still coming down. $2 per gb is here, and $1.5 per gb is coming.
You could use as little as a 40gb ssd for the os. but 80-120gb would give you room for a few games also. If you can handle the budget, do so. It is much easier to install one up front.
I like Intel for the ssd. They have been most reliable in the past.

No need for the latest SSD with great benchmark numbers. In normal desktop use, they all perform the same(great!) Look to the Intel 320 drives which are cheaper than the 510 series. Even the X25-M gen2 drives would be very good if you can find one for a good price. Sata 3 is great for sequential benchmarks, but is mostly irrelevant to what the OS does, namely small random reads and writes.

5) If your hard drive is sata, then put your overflow on that. If it is ide, replace it with a 1tb wd or samsung.

6) W7 for $30 is a no brainer.

7) Once you have a basic system in place, you can reassess what you will want for a gpu, and it's appropriate psu.
My preference is to work with a great single card whenever one will do the job. You will pay less for a motherboard, and psu.