New i7 Build - Motivation: Longevity


Feb 5, 2009
Hi! I found this forum a week or two ago, and I've really enjoyed your reviews! For variety, I have somewhat different goals than other builders I've seen. So here's my planned system for your critique.

Goals & Issues:

- #1a is Longevity. My current build is an Athlon 64 3500+ on an Epox MB with 1GB RAM, stock cooling, WinXP 32-bit hacked to allow software Raid0 for [2] 250GB HD. The OS was laid down 9/29/05. Until last spring, it ran flat out 24/7 doing @Home projects. I did 1 processor upgrade from a 2100+. I've had 2 video cards (both EVGA Nvidia, both died) and 3 CD/DVD burners (all dead). I don't like dead components. I like components that don't stop.

- #1b is Upgradability. If this system is going to last for a while, it needs to be upgraded, hence the i7 choice. I could build an LGA775 system, but that rules out processor upgrades in the future. An early i7 processor can be upgraded in a few years fairly cheaply.

- #2 is Shipping. I live in Hawai'i, so free shipping, etc. don't count. That's zip code 96822 if you want to check it out at newegg -- for the list below, shipping is $66! Our only local computer store options are A) Best Buy and 2) hole-in-the-wall. (Additional suggestions appreciated.)

Approximate purchase date: Soon (now thru March)

Budget: I'm willing to spend for quality, but my resources are limited to ~$1000-1200.

Website for components:

Purpose/use: general, including some 3D gaming (not hardcore)

Overclocking: No

SLI/Crossfire: No

Monitor(s) size/resolution: existing 17"/1280x1024, future 20-24" 1900x1200

Existing Infrastructure:
- Keyboard, mouse, speakers, monitor are all existing. I'm planning to buy a new WS LCD to supplement the existing LG L1710S later this year, but not now.
- I bought a case last weekend - Cooler Master Elite 330. You may think that paying $105 locally for a $45 case is crazy, but don't forget the $65 shipping newegg wants. (see #2 above).

Proposed Components:

CPU: Intel Core i7 920

CPU Fan: Stock currently planned, but willing to consider.


GPU: Sapphire 100258-1GL Radeon HD 4850 1GB

RAM: G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3

HDD: [2x] Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB - Per many suggestions here. I would prefer a 1TB option.

Case: Cooler Master Elite 330 - already purchased

PSU: PC Power & Cooling Silencer PPCS500 500W ATX12V / EPS12V - This would be my 3rd PCPC PS and I've been very happy with them. Perhaps a different model?

Optical Drives: Pioneer DVR-216DBK

O/S: I will re-authorize my WinXP until Windows7 is released, then I will rebuild. I love Linux (Gentoo for years, then Ubuntu), but we need M$ stuff.

Thanks for all your feedback!
You have picked quality brands for mb/ram/gfx . It should all be good .

I'd prefer a lite-on dvd drive [ you know they will die but theyre so cheap who cares ] , but then I have never even seen a pioneer . SATA drives whatever brand . Its nice to get rid of those ide cables

The case might need another fan . Looks like theres only one installed but you can add another 120 mm in the front .

WD do make a 1 terabyte drive dont they?

Remember you will have an easier time installing xp if you have a floppy drive onboard .


Dec 24, 2008
An i7 on that budget is going to be kinda tough, i7's aren't really worth building unless you put around $1400 into it IMO, you end up having to skimp on components. If I were you I would look at building a Q9550 or PII 940 system, you will get a lot more computer for your money and they will have longevity since they are quads.


Jul 10, 2008
the next intel socket is for i5 not i7 and no one is sure if they will be making more cpus for 1366 socket. basic we dont know if u will be able to upgrade from your i7 components. chances are if they do release more cpu's for 1366 socket(i7) then you will have to also buy a new mobo.

Akebono 98

Dec 5, 2008
A very well thought out build for your objectives. Difficult to suggest improvements, but consider the following:

+1 to the additional front fan (for longevity purposes, better airflow and additional HDD cooling).

Try to get a video card with a rear exhaust port to help with cooling. XFX makes 4850 cards with a rear exhaust port, but I don't think they come in 1GB versions.

I realize that you're going to rebuild for Win 7, but you've got an awful lot of wasted memory under Win XP (especially with 1GB video RAM). Consider using just 2x2GB in dual channel for now. You can still add another 2x2 for Win7 without wasting your old RAM. Better not to pay for something you can't use.

I'd still be inclined to use an aftermarket heatsink to keep temps down. Scythe Mugen 2 is a good value, and when released, so should Xigmatek Thor's Hammer. Also add MX-2 thermal paste.

For 1TB, go with the WD Caviar Black. Faster than the 640GB because of higher platter density.



Nov 11, 2008
Supposedly, isn't the 1366 socket going to be for the higher end processors? Hopefully Intel lives up to this promise and doesn't make my board obsolete......


Dec 24, 2008

This is the hope that I am hanging on to as well, and it sounds like it will be this way. Core i5 processors will run LGA 1156 I believe and i7's and its decendants will use the LGA 1366. Westmere is rumored to use the 1366 socket (32nm processor, 6 cores/12 threads).
Hmm since you are
a) not OCing
b) not looking for multi GPU options
c) do not game HC

Why dun you just get
x2 7750 BE
Gigabyte MA770 UD3
HD 4830
2 X 2 GSkill 1066

Thats a direct upgrade path to a Phenom 2 AM2+/AM3 processor ^^