A 2.66 GHz Nehalem Quad Core Complete System For $894!
The silicon rumor mill has been in overdrive with the information leaking out that Nehalem may be in the hands of enthusiasts as early as late September 2008 and at jaw-dropping low prices. In what may very well be the coup de grace for AMD's higher end CPU aspirations, the stunning new Nehalem architecture may be on sale in its Bloomfield (quad core high end desktop) guise at a frequency of 2.66 GHz and at a price below $300! This is for a CPU which in multithreaded applications can be over twice as fast as its current 2.66 GHz Penryn brother, the Q9450.
If that news/rumor has you salivating half as much as it does me, you'd likely want to start preparing for your first Nehalem system. There is one element which simply is not currently available, such as the LGA1366 socket motherboards. Pricing estimates on these boards run anywhere from $125 to well over $400 and as is the custom in the computer field, the first adopters will pay a significant premium over those who can wait a couple of months for the shakeout and the inevitable plummeting of etailer pricing.
Some critics (including yours truly) have lambasted Nehalem on its prerequisite to run DDR3 RAM which is considerably more expensive than the current standard, DDR2. However, a current check of prices on Newegg.com shows that Patriot 1GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory Model PSD31G13332 is selling for $38, and OCZ Gold Edition 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3G13332GK is available today for $73. I would most certainly opt for the latter, as any Nehalem LGA1366 motherboard will come with a minimum of two RAM slots, so 4GB is readily and affordably reachable which will more than suit any 32-bit Operating System. I'm a bit of a RAM hog myself, so I would lean towards installing a 64-bit Operating System which would allow me to access much more RAM. In that case, you can go for the OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P13334GK for $165 or the Corsair XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TW3X4G1333C9DHX for $178. A standard dual channel LGA1366 motherboard would have at least four memory slots, so my system could be humming happily along making full use of 8 glorious GB of RAM: Photoshop Heaven!
Any reader of my PC Tech Hubs is aware that I hold AMD ATI in the same reverence as sewer rats, but I have to admit that although the company may very well be in its death throes, you certainly can't beat the Diamond Viper 3850PE3512O Radeon HD 3850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card for an eye-opening $80! Although I would gladly shell out a bit more just to get an Nvidia product, there is nothing in this price range that is going to even come close to the performance of the HD 3850. This card will even keep nine out of ten avid gamers happy!
There are lots of hard drives out there, but in my humble opinion, the best match for this affordable Nehalem system is the Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3320613AS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive at a bargain price of $70. Should you have enormous storage requirements, Seagate offers a series of 7200.11 drives up to 1 TB. An excellent buy is the Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive for $85.
You should never scrimp on your power supply and the Enermax FMA II EG565P-VE 535W ATX12V Power Supply is a great value at $80, but I would definitely spend the extra ten bucks and get a PC Power & Cooling S61EPS 610W Continuous @ 40°C EPS12V Power Supply for $90. It's an outstanding PSU at an incredible price!
There are as many computer cases as there are enthusiasts who will evangelize them, but for $40 you can't go wrong Thermaltake WingRS VG1000BNS Black SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case. You can spend a lot more and get a lot less!
I have a very low opinion of DVD burners since I don't use them at all, but just to put something in that top slot of the case, a ASUS 18X DVD±R LightScribe Burner with QuieTrack Tech Beige PATA Model DRW-1814BL BG will do the job very adequately for $22. A keyboard is a keyboard is a keyboard, so why not go for the Anyware EZ-9910OP Beige PS/2 Standard Office Keyboard which comes with a palm rest for all of $4, and since mice are nice but they really all are mice, the DCT Factory S-2501B Black 3 Buttons 1 x Wheel PS/2 Ball Internet Mouse will take a big $2 out of your credit card.
So let's go through the most basic reasonable build with approximate pricing where the asterisk is shown:
- Nehalem Bloomfield 2.66 GHz Quad Core CPU with HSF: $300*
- LGA1366 motherboard: $150*
- OCZ Gold Edition 2GB (4 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3G13332GK: $146
- Diamond Viper 3850PE3512O Radeon HD 3850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card: $80
- Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3320613AS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive: $70
- Enermax FMA II EG565P-VE 535W ATX12V Power Supply: $80
- Thermaltake WingRS VG1000BNS Black SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case: $40
- ASUS 18X DVD±R LightScribe Burner with QuieTrack Tech Beige PATA Model DRW-1814BL BG: $22
- Anyware EZ-9910OP Beige PS/2 Standard Office Keyboard: $4
- DCT Factory S-2501B Black 3 Buttons 1 x Wheel PS/2 Ball Internet Mouse: $2
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and I sure hope that he brings this astounding $894 system under my tree. This computer will wipe the floor on multithreaded applications over any desktop CPU available today at any price, and yes, that even includes the mighty Intel Core2 Extreme QX9775 3.2GHz LGA 771 150W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80574QX9775 at $1,550... and that's just for the processor chip alone!
I love Nehalem! Bring it on, Santa!