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Windows 7: Building a computer


29 Aug 2010   #1

Windows 7 x64 RC1, Vista Ultimate, XP Pro
 
 
Building a computer

I'm going to build a computer but It's been 3 years since I built a computer but I am retired form the computer field so I built and loaded over a thousand computers but today I don't know crap. I'm looking for the best bang for the buck so I'm figuring but don't know say a i7 CPU but I do know that the motherboard needs to support USB3, and SATA3 (6 gigs), and DDR3-2000 because I don't want to look back in 6 months and say "Oh I wish I would of gotten this or that" so I'm trying to get it right the first time around this time. I would like to run two monitors so I don't know anything about that so I need advice on a video card. Any advice would be great and I'm thinking of spending a grand plus or minus a couple of hundred because I'm thinking about Blu Ray, SATA3 Hard Drive, 28 inch monitors from tigerdirect.com for $250. I'm really not concern about the money but I don't want to spend hundreds of dollars just to make it 5% faster. Now the real question. I have XP with a Vista upgrade so do I put an upgrade Windows 7 which means I now have 3 OS's or do I just spend another hundred and just buy the full version?
Thanks
Richard


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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29 Aug 2010   #2

Windows 7 Pro X64 SP1
 
 

Here's a starting point:

Build the Best Gaming PC for Any Budget - How To by ExtremeTech

The article is about "gaming" PCs, as are most of the articles I see online. Be sure to read the comments at the end of the article about alternative views.

A $1000 budget seems a bit low for a Core I7, depending on what you wish to include. For example: if you wanted to build a Socket 1366 system, the cheapest CPU is around $300.

USB3 and 6Gb SATA are new. They are also provided by third-party controllers; I believe that neither Intel nor AMD include them in their chipsets. They may be worth having, if the price premium isn't high. Given a choice between 6Gb SATA and an SSD for the boot drive, I'd take the latter. (In fact, I have.)

A lot of people around here like the Intel Core I5 750. It needs a Socket 1156 motherboard.

The upgrade version of Windows 7 is OK. You don't really need a qualifying OS to be installed to use it. There's a sticky in the Installation forum about that. The full version is more convenient to use, if that's worth $100 to you.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Aug 2010   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 32-Bit - Build 7600 SP1
 
 

Since you are building your own system, you would qualify for the OEM version of Win 7. It is cheaper and has everything the expensive retail full version has. It is a snap to installl.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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29 Aug 2010   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bigmck View Post
Since you are building your own system, you would qualify for the OEM version of Win 7. It is cheaper and has everything the expensive retail full version has. It is a snap to installl.
Actually this is not true. The only way you quality for the OEM copy is to build the computer and then resell that computer. OEM licenses are not supposed to be used by the home hobbyist on their own computer.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Aug 2010   #5

Windows 7 x64 RC1, Vista Ultimate, XP Pro
 
 

A lot of people around here like the Intel Core I5 750. It needs a Socket 1156 motherboard.

Do you mean this motheboard
Buy.com - ASUS P7P55D Intel P55 LGA 1156 ATX Motherboard

So the i5 750 would be a better buy than the i7?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Aug 2010   #6

Win7 64
 
 

EVGA has a refresh of their X58 line of motherboards that has support for USB 3.0 and SATA 3 that I will be using for my next build and I would definately recommend that board. For the CPU go for a I7 930 or one of the higher clocked models if you have a high budget...the I7 980x is a beast and you are set for a while with that one. The i7 930 is just a higher clocked 920 and if you have read around this is the Intel CPU of choice since it can be overclocked massively. The i5 is a great CPU for the buck but the true i7's are the top performers still. Watch also for the newer i7's that are badged i7's but they are slightly different from the original i7's...the i7 870 is one of these models and I believe they are great performers also but they are different. I believe any model beginning with "9" is what you need to be looking at.

Any of the latest series cards from ATI or Nvidia will do you well also. Start with a good quality motherboard, PSU,Ram, and hard drive and you will not be disappointed. I built my system almost 3 years ago this december and it can still run the latest games without a hitch.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Aug 2010   #7

 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by lostsoul62 View Post
A lot of people around here like the Intel Core I5 750. It needs a Socket 1156 motherboard.

Do you mean this motheboard
Buy.com - ASUS P7P55D Intel P55 LGA 1156 ATX Motherboard

So the i5 750 would be a better buy than the i7?
It depends on your needs.

Do you have any apps that take advantage of any more than 4 cores?

Video encoding/rendering, running Virtual machines and the like.

Do you plan to use multiple GPU's in crossfire/SLI?

The 1156 boards are limited to x8/x8 - the 1366 are x16/x16

How long do you plan to keep this machine?

The 1156 will never see a six core chip, but the 1366 does, although the price will remain high for a long time to come. Six cores are a long way off from being necessary, but then again, it depends on how long you plan to have this machine. it's an option.

How much RAM do you need?

The dual channel vs tri channel is a moot point really, since there is no discernible real world difference.

But do you need more than 4GB/6GB? ie 8GB (1156) vs 12GB (1366) . These are the two most common max amounts people run in either socket without going crazy on expensive RAM.


Overall, the 750 is a great chip for everyday, normal tasks and is a cheaper build - but if you envision yourself needing more 'grunt' (six core/virtual cores, RAM capacity, full x16 PCI-e lanes, then a 1366 9xx would be a better option.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Aug 2010   #8

Windows 7 Pro X64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by lostsoul62 View Post
A lot of people around here like the Intel Core I5 750. It needs a Socket 1156 motherboard.

Do you mean this motheboard
Buy.com - ASUS P7P55D Intel P55 LGA 1156 ATX Motherboard

So the i5 750 would be a better buy than the i7?
You may want to have a look at www.newegg.com, even if you decline to do business with them. Their "power search" feature is convenient. It would allow you to choose (say) Socket 1156 and a number of SATA3 ports. (Make sure to avoid an "open box" deal, though. It's discounted, but all that Newegg guarantees will be in the box is the board. It may lack the I/O shield.)

The choices are complex. Socket 1156 motherboards are cheaper on average than Socket 1136 ones, but their price ranges overlap. Socket 1136 supports triple channel RAM, so most people buy that, at a higher price than the dual channel on Socket 1156. The I7 CPUs (including the Socket 1156 ones) have 4 cores, and support hyperthreading, for 8 logical CPUs. The I5 750 has quad cores, but no hyperthreading. (That's usually unimportant for games, but maybe significant for multi-threaded applications.)

At Newegg, the I5 750 sells for $185. This motherboard:

Newegg.com - ASUS P7P55D-E LX LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

is $125. (Two SATA3 ports, two USB3.) 4GB (2 X 1GB) of DDR3 2000:

Newegg.com - CORSAIR XMS 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2000 (PC3 16000) Desktop Memory Model CMX4GX3M2A2000C9

is $120. (There is cheaper, and probably as serviceable, RAM out there, but I've had good luck with Corsair.) The tab is already at $430.

Of course, if your budget will stretch further, an I7 930 is $290. A Socket 1366 mainboard with USB3 and SATA 3 is $200:

Newegg.com - ASUS Sabertooth X58 LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Intel Motherboard

A 6GB (3 X 2 GB) kit of DDR3 2000 is $175:

Newegg.com - CORSAIR XMS 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2000 (PC3 16000) Desktop Memory Model CMX6GX3M3A2000C9

You'd need a 64 bit version of Windows 7, with 6GB of RAM. The total for this is $665, plus shipping. This is a more powerful system that the I5 one, but at more than 1.5X the core cost.

If you wish to overclock, invest (<$100) in a third-party CPU cooler. The best (air) ones tend to be large, so make sure that you buy a case that'll take one. If you intend to buy a high-end graphics card (nVidia GTX480, ATI Radeon HD5870), that'll also need a case that can take long cards. Get a PSU (power supply) with lots of margin (driven by the graphics card).

Fun, no?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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