Build a Core ix PC - Starting at $530

Build a Core ix PC - Starting at $530

Summary: It seems that quite a number of you Constant Readers are interested in building a PC, or upgrading an existing one, to take advantage of Intel's Core ix line of processors. And why not! Not only is the Core ix (i3, i5 and i7) line an excellent piece of silicon, but your system also gets to take full advantage of the faster DDR3 RAM.

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It seems that quite a number of you Constant Readers are interested in building a PC, or upgrading an existing one, to take advantage of Intel's Core ix line of processors. And why not! Not only is the Core ix (i3, i5 and i7) line an excellent piece of silicon, but your system also gets to take full advantage of the faster DDR3 RAM.

Before we go on, some notes on upgrading. First, the Core ix line needs a different socket to the LGA 775 that Intel has been using for the past few years. Here we're going to be using a socket LGA 1156 processor and motherboard. If you want to use the high-end Core i7 parts then you'll need a socket LGA 1366 motherboard for accommodate those CPUs - but those are pricier and this is a budget build!

Another point to make about upgrading is that chances are that your existing PC makes use of DDR2 RAM, so this will need to be changed for DDR3 ... which leaves you with a motherboard and CPU that can form the basis of a second cheap PC!

With that out of the way, let's start building!

Note: As a price reference I've used Newegg.com, but you are free to use any retailer that takes your fancy. Just do a search using the keywords that I've highlighted in bold for each entry.

CPU

As the basis of this build I'm going to start with the cheapest Core ix processor on offer - the INTEL Core i3 530. This is a 2.93GHz dual-core part. It might not sound much when compared to the quad-core behemoths currently available, but at just a shade over $100, it represents excellent value for money!

Price: $115

Motherboard

The trick with buying a motherboard for a budget build is to find a board that's cheap enough so we can save the pennies to invest elsewhere, but not so cheap that you end up with a crappy computer at the end of the build. You want a board that's nice, stable and robust, even when buying on a budget.

Here I've gone for an Intel board - the INTEL BOXDH55PJ LGA 1156 board featuring an H55 north bridge chipset. It's a sub $100 board, but it's a good board. Not only will it work for the Core i3 CPU we've chosen above, but it's good for all LGA 1156 Core ix parts.

Oh, and to make sure you have plenty of power at your disposal, it support 8GB of RAM.

Price: $90

Next -->

RAM

OK, RAM. We need DDR3 RAM here. But there's no need to go nuts on the price, but at the same time we're not going to skimp either. I've gone for 4GB (2 x 2G) of G.SKILL Ripjaws Series memory.

This RAM is rated at DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) so is plenty fast for out build here!

Price: $100

Graphics card

OK, graphics card time. It's easy to go nuts and spend hundreds of dollars on a high-end graphics card, but it's important to note that no machine is faster than the slowest part, so adding a super-high-end GPU to a budget machine won't give you the performance boost you're looking (and paying) for.

Here I've gone for a GPU from ATI's Radeon HD 5670 range - the SAPPHIRE 100289L featuring 1GB of video RAM. Can't find this card? No problem! Pretty much any card from the Radeon HD 5670 range with 1GB of memory will do just fine, and all are pretty much in the same ball-park price range too.

Price: $110

Hard drive

1TB drives are pretty cheap, so there's little point in trying to make-do with a small drive. I've gone for the SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ. It's a nice, reliable drive and for the price represents excellent value for money.

Price: $75

Power Supply Unit (PSU)

OK, finally the PSU. A 450W PSU will do us fine here and allow for plenty of upgrade potential. I've gone for the ROSEWILL Stallion Series RD450-2-SB 450W part.

Price: $40

Note: You need to add your own case and optical drive to this, along with peripherals if you need them.

Total price: $530

Component upgrades you might be interested in

This build offers plenty of scope for deviation from the plan to give you more power and performance. Here are a few ideas:

  • INTEL Core i5 655K 3.2GHz dual-core part - $210
  • INTEL Core i7 860S 2.53GHz quad-core part - $360
  • G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (4 x 2GB) - $200
  • WESTERN DIGITAL RE4-GP WD2002FYPS 2TB - $270
  • HIS iCooler V H583FN1GD Radeon HD 5830 1GB - $200

Have fun!

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62 comments
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  • All the stuff you forgot cost more than what you included.

    Let's see, how about a case? $50 for something simple. How about a DVD Drive? Another $50 unless you want Blu-Ray, which adds at least another $100. An O/S would be nice - a copy of Windows 7 is another $120, and a decent keyboard and mouse is another $50. And you still don't have a display (21-23" 1920 X 1280 is about right) for another $200. That brings us up to $470. Or, about a $1,000 for a working system. It'll be a pretty nice system, too. But it won't be under $500.
    panzrwagn@...
    • RE: Build a Core ix PC - Starting at $530

      @panzrwagn@... If this is an upgrade I was assuming that the old case, optical drives, display, mouse and keyboard were being re-used. The old OS can be transferred to the new system. In fact the PSU from the old case could be transferred over as well if it is compatible with the new MB.
      burtoni
      • RE: Build a Core ix PC - Starting at $530

        @burtoni
        the old OS cannot be transferred it it happens to be an OEM OS, not an off the shelf version. In my case I wouldn't want to tranfer XP anyway. Why upgrade if you are going to use the old OS? My optical drives, while are operating fine came witht he old system, and therefore are several years old, and do not read/write to every configuration of DVD.
        dhays
      • RE: Build a Core ix PC - Starting at $530

        @burtoni, The title of your post says "Build a Core ix PC - Starting at $530" Not "Upgrade to a Core ix PC - Starting at $530" A little less hyperbole, please. That said, I recently built an I5-750 based PC with RAID1 1TByte drives, and Blu-Ray for about $1200. I couldn't be happier with the results. Most notably, my Comcast download speed jumped by over 50% to nearly 20MBits/Sec and Win7 is as stable as a rock. Could I have done as well with a prebuilt box? Certainly not from Dell or HP. Velocity came closest, but didn't offer on-board RAID, and having lost one too many HDDs, the extra $100 for a mirrored drive is cheap insurance, both for my data and my time.
        panzrwagn@...
      • I would highly recommend Windows Home Server as a backup solution.

        @panzrwagn@...[i]Velocity came closest, but didn't offer on-board RAID, and having lost one too many HDDs, the extra $100 for a mirrored drive is cheap insurance, both for my data and my time.[/i]

        I picked up an HP Media Smart Server for $200 last year. It makes a great home/small office backup solution.
        ye
      • RE: Build a Core ix PC - Starting at $530

        @burtoni <br>for pc buying guides go to lensfire.blogspot.com
        inspirearun@...
      • RE: Build a Core ix PC - Starting at $530

        @burtoni it does seem like a general upgrade more than a build.
        sam - <a href="http://house-rental-provence.com">house rental</a>
        soskert
    • RE: Build a Core ix PC - Starting at $530

      @panzrwagn@... Of course, that $50 for a case is "a case without PSU".

      There are a number of cases with decent PSUs available, probably for less than the total of the PSU quoted and a separate case...
      fairportfan
    • RE: Build a Core ix PC - Starting at $530

      @panzrwagn@... DVD burners are like 20 bucks on newegg :P

      Besides... who needs windows, in a world without fences and walls who needs gates and windows!
      snoop0x7b
    • RE: Build a Core ix PC - Starting at $530

      @panzrwagn@... you do realize this is an UPGRADE. Most of the parts you mention you will already own if you are upgrading
      -nox-
    • RE: Build a Core ix PC - Starting at $530

      @panzrwagn@... Did you read the friggin article ? It says to add case, optical drives and peripherals. This is a basic budget build/upgrade WITHOUT the case, optical drive, etc.
      Nemesis2All
  • RE: Build a Core ix PC - Starting at $530

    Does your CPU cost include a cooling fan?
    howardgr
    • RE: Build a Core ix PC - Starting at $530

      @howardgr
      if it's a retail cpu, it comes with a stock cooler that's more than adequate for the person that would be building this system (clearly not a person that would overclock).
      dlancelot
      • Right and wrong

        @dlancelot <br><i>if it's a retail cpu, it comes with a stock cooler that's more than adequate for the person that would be building this system (clearly not a person that would overclock). </i><br><br>The stock heatsink and fan will suffice even when overclocking, assuming you don't bump the vcore (voltage) too aggressively. Simply lower the clock multiplier, ramp the VC up just a smidgen, and keep your memory and QPI frequencies in line (spec). You should be able to jump the i3 530 to 3.5-4GHz range without much sweat. However push the vcore too high and the redline increases = good bye stock cooler.<br><br>As for the mainboard, Asus and Gigabyte tend to OC with greatest assurance and margins, but Intel's boards have come a long way from only a few years back. YMMV as always. GL!
        klumper
  • RE: Build a Core ix PC - Starting at $530

    AMD's AM3 platform also supports DDR3 and makes a compelling alternative
    emiliosic
    • Plus, AM3's support DDR2 RAM (NT)

      @emiliosic
      davagain
      • Ignore this post

        Misread the post. Ignore.
        Stuka
  • RE: Build a Core ix PC - Starting at $530

    There are a lot of PC's out there that are ready to take home and plug in right from a store for $530.00 and the manufacturer gets all of the headaches. Building one has to have more advantages than trying to save money. AMD Processor's more bang for the buck!!
    radical_enterprizes@...
    • RE: Build a Core ix PC - Starting at $530

      @radical_enterprizes@...

      Firstly, if you can find a pre-built PC for $530 that has the same overall performance as the one that Adrian detailed, by all means go out and buy it. I'm patient enough to wait for you to search and find one...

      Secondly, the processor choice--Intel Core iX--was Adrian's. If you want to stump for an AMD-based system, get your own blog.
      M.R. Kennedy
      • You need to keep in mind such a comparison would be...

        @M.R. Kennedy: ...comparing an upgrade to a complete system.
        ye