Sub $1300 PC Build, first build


Apr 15, 2008
At this moment I am saving up(hopefully done by August 09') for my first PC build. I need suggestions, if any, to change any of the parts that are shown on my list for better alternatives, as well as notifications if any of the parts that are listed would have any sort of conflict between each other. My first custom PC was built by a "supposed" friend of mine that downgraded my necessities in terms of HD-size and overall CPU/GPU performance. Due to this I decided to build my own PC. Any tips/suggestions are greatly appreciated.

DVD/CD BURNER- Pioneer 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black IDE Model DVR-116DBK

CASE- Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

HARDDRIVE Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200KSRTL 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

VIDEO CARD- SAPPHIRE 100259-1GL Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card

SOUND CARD- Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card

CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply

MEMORY- CORSAIR DOMINATOR 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TWIN2X4096-8500C5DF

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80570E8400

CPU COOLER- ZALMAN CNPS 9700 NT 110mm 2 Ball Ultra Quiet CPU Cooler


Grand Total: $1,226.25 S/H Included

As great as the mobo that I have listed, I would prefer a "just as great", if not, "almost as great" mobo with colors that aren't as fruity. Here are a few good examples:

EDIT: I ALMOST FORGOT TO MENTION THIS, The mobo that I am planning to purchase must support HD4870 crossfire and has to be under $250.

Top notch in terms of "sleekness"-

NVIDIA nForce 790i Ultra SLI ATX Intel Motherboard

Bar none, a close second in terms of colors-




Dec 26, 2008
well, parts and prices will change dramatically by August, but as of now that's a pretty solid build. I would change the HDD for the OEM caviar black's $10 more for twice the cache and twice the capacity -

Also, the onboard sound on today's motherboards is generally adequate and an additional sound card is often not needed unless you are a nitty audiophile. This will save you $80.


Mar 4, 2009
You can save a lot of money on a few parts:

You're power supply is way too much. Go for a 550-650w. The corsair I think or an OCZ, Silverstone, or FSP would all be great. that power supply is great and everything but your computer will only be pulling about 450w. You can most likely save 30-40 on a smaller wattage psu.

2nd: Unless you are looking to play crysis on the highest possible setting on a 24 inch monitor I would say spend LESS on a graphics card. Go for a 512mb version for 50 less or get 2 4830's in crossfire for 30 less (which will be just as fast as the card you have now. Or get a 4850x2 or dual 4850's. I just don't think spending 220 on one card is your best option. In 3-6 months the 4870 512mb will probably cost less than $150.

3rd: your memory is incredibly expensive! DDR21066 isn't going to provide you with much better performance, go for really nice DDR2 800 instead and save $75. i would highly suggest G.skill, Corsair, Crucial, OCZ, or Patriot Viper. Go for DDR2 with cas 4 and you can underclock it and still get to DDR2 1066 and higher.

4th: don't buy the E8400. If you notice, toms hardware almost always goes for a cheaper CPU and overclocks it. until a week ago I was using an E8400 at 3.6ghz. I just got my e5200 in the mail for $72 dollars. Now it's running at 3.8. Guess what? I just made 55 cash. Save yourself some money and buy the E7400 at least. 30 bucks right there

finally, your cooler won't give you any better performance than a xigmatek, I agree with the previous guy.

So, now that you've saved a lot of money, buy a 4850x2 or dual 4850's and buy yourself a bigger case that's aluminum or a water cooling setup.

finally, just like the other guy said, If you're making a totally new build, go for an X58 setup and save money on graphics if you can.

Here's the priority with building a NEW computer.

1.) Case
2.) Motherboard
3.) Powersupply
4.) Harddrive
6.) GPU
7.) memory
8.) CD/sound card/everything else

Here's why; while the CPU and GPU are the most IMPORTANT for performance, they are also the easiest to sell, the easiest to upgrade, and the parts that change price the quickest. If you buy a crappy case, motherboard, or powersupply, you WILL BE STUCK WITH THEM for a long time. Take it from someone who is on their...6th video card, 5th processor, 4th powersupply, 3rd motherboard, 3rd set of memory, 2nd Case, 2nd cooler, and orginal hard drive.

All of my opinions are supported by the data and articles on toms hardware. My advice is is TAKE YOUR TIME and plan EVERYTHING. know what you're getting, know what you need, know what might go wrong with your parts.




Feb 23, 2009
You should try out your onboard 8 channel audio before you buy a PCI sound card. You might decide it's not worth the extra money. Also, $117 for DDR2 seems like a ripoff.

You could easily get an i7 with that budget:

-75.99 sound card
-134.99 mobo
-164.99 cpu
-117.00 ram
-79.99 cooler

+209.99 Gigabyte x58
+288.99 i7 920
+109.99 G.Skill 6gb kit

That's only $36 more....

Get this HSF if you have to: $39.99 Xigmatek Dark Knight


Apr 15, 2008
I am planning to make a build that would last 3 years in terms of high performance. I heard that the onboard sound from the majority of mobos is not up to par with my standards, this is why I am planning to purchase a sound-card as well. About the i7 build, would one actually fit in a Antec 900?

Thanks everyone, I appreciate all the tips and suggestions.


Feb 23, 2009

Digital to analog converters (DACs) have matured significantly over the last decade. These days most are very high quality, and you might not notice a difference between the onboard audio and a PCI sound card. I only suggested you test it out before you replace it, since $75.99 for unnecessary parts adds up.

To answer your question about i7, yes, it will fit in an Antec 900. It uses the same standard ATX form factor as every other modern platform. You might want to double check the clearance of your heatsink and fan as well as the video card, but I doubt you will have any trouble. I'm sure someone else can comment on the size of the case.