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Two $5000+ configurations - which is better for Crysis max?

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July 8, 2008 11:20:16 AM

It's basically a toss up between the Skulltrail with two CPUs but no DDR3 and a cheaper setup that allows for 3x SLi and DDR3, my main concern would be passably running Crysis at 2500x1600 with very high detail settings on Vista.

eVGA nForce 790i Ultra 3 PCI-E slots or Intel Skulltrail
Core 2 Extreme 3.2 GHz 775 yorkfield or 2x the same thing but with 771 pin for Skulltrail
4x 2GB OCZ Reaper DDR3 PC310666 1333MHz or 2x 4GB FBDIMM DDR2 667MHz by Kingston for the Skulltrail setup

Most importantly:

3x Nvidia GeForce GTX 280 or 2x Nvidia GeForce 9800GX2 for the Skulltrail setup.

The Skulltrail system is still more expensive but is having 8 cores worth the cost of sacrificing DDR3 memory and 3 way SLi for Crysis?
July 8, 2008 11:34:33 AM

That's a lot of money for a PC. For that money it should be making beer, not even coffee would do.

a b à CPUs
July 8, 2008 11:45:00 AM

Beer and other services for that price.

The 3x SLI system will give you the best Crysis system.
Assuming that is GTX 280 SLI, that is.
9800GX2 SLI dose not scale as well as GTX 280 SLI.

Why anyone would spend $5000 on one mediocre game is beyond me...
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July 8, 2008 11:53:07 AM

Crysis @ 2560x1600 with eyecandy? You must be joking. Wait for even faster/cheaper technology to be released. Come back between 2009 and 2010 please.
July 8, 2008 11:55:04 AM

s/he must have money to pass... thats money for a nice big screen home theatre setup
July 8, 2008 12:05:49 PM

I haven't seen a lot of skulltrail benchmarks, however, one of my biggest decision making factors doesn't seem to be a factor for you; cost. I'm not really impressed with Skulltrail and QuadFX, I think they're more gimmicky than anything.

Crysis is not as good as FarCry. I'm really disappointed with that game.

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July 8, 2008 12:14:35 PM

5000 bucks just to play crysis with max setting.......that game doesnt deserve such honor........if u have 2 much money to spend, give some charity...that will be money well spent.
July 8, 2008 12:20:06 PM

Two things. First, if someone can afford a $5000 system then help them choose the best setup available and leave off the color commentary. Some people CAN afford it even if you can not!

Second, the point that Crysis is a mediocre game ( and I agree) may be valid but he/she may like it. Unfortunately; it is actually poorly coded for multicore/multithread capable systems and that would make 8 cores basically useless for Crysis. The tri SLI with the fastest, best scaling cards would give the best results. Combine this with the highest OC'd C2D available, quad or dual, as the game is more depended on mhz than number of cores.
July 8, 2008 12:23:46 PM

That is just a waste of money in my opinion. You get a prime setup for half the price. And all this for Crysis? *shakeshead*
July 8, 2008 12:25:55 PM

And I must agree with sarwar: give the money to charity - that would make you feel better, help some people that need it more that you do, and it would make you look a lot less decadent. That's my humble opinion however.
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July 8, 2008 12:39:14 PM

I guess most people just cannot understand that to some people, $5000 is not a whole lot of money. There are people who will spend $5000 as easily as many would spend a couple hundred, or even a couple of $20's. Maybe he has already given a substantial amount of money to charity, and he feels this is his personal reward for being such a humanitarian. Point is, you never know.

You should not judge other people if you are ignorant of the facts surrounding the circumstances.

The fastest single Quad core you can find and triple SLI will net you the best you are gonna get in Crysis for now.
July 8, 2008 12:48:00 PM

Geez, what is it with you people?

It's as if someone asked an automobile forum what they should look for when buying a new Jaguar, and a bunch of douches chimed in telling him to buy a second-hand Toyota because 'it has much better value'.

The man wants to spend his money for a top of the line system, and some advice on how to do it best, so don't go about just giving some smug lines about donating the money to charity instead or some crap like that.

Anyway, back on topic, I suggest you take a look at this article, if you haven't already:

http://www.tweaktown.com/articles/1466/1/page_1_introdu...

It shows that even Tri-SLI with GTX 280s won't let you play Crysis at 2560X1600 - the third card just doesn't scale, and it appears that one might reach a CPU bottleneck that just isn't surmountable with current CPUs at those settings.

Future drivers or CPU advancements might fix this to a degree, but I'm not sure if what you're proposing is realistic at this point in time.
July 8, 2008 12:57:13 PM

I think I saw a video of the game being played on a prototype Nehalem system back before crysis came out. I think It had 2 SLI Ultras. Wish I could find that video again. They said it was playing "butter smooth". Maybe we all just have to wait until Nehalem to fully unlock the potential for the lastest video cards and this particular game.
July 8, 2008 12:57:57 PM


Wouldn't 2 X 4870X2 do even better, and be cheaper; provide DirectX 10.1 support, which the GTX280 won't, and be a better multimedia system with the HDMI audio which only the ATI cards have?
July 8, 2008 12:58:21 PM

If I were you I would wait it out for the benchmarks on ATI's 4870X2 in Quad Crossfire before deciding. One 4870 comes close to the GTX 280 in terms of performance already, and it is *Probable* that when the 4870X2 is released, ATI will hold the performance crown over Nvidia. If that isn't the case, you can always look at the GTX 280 tri-sli option with ddr3. In either case I wouldn't recommend Skulltrail, the excessive size (EATX) and use of fully buffered dimms doesn't make it a particularly attractive solution for everyday gaming, being more suited to cpu intensive work such as rendering. It might be an idea to read the article on it if you haven't already.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/intel-skulltrail-pa...

Good Luck!

July 8, 2008 1:00:21 PM

I'd wager that 99% of the $5k builds we hear about ARE NEVER BUILT... or if they are, they're built 2 years later as $1k builds.
July 8, 2008 1:07:00 PM

rodney_ws said:
I'd wager that 99% of the $5k builds we hear about ARE NEVER BUILT... or if they are, they're built 2 years later as $1k builds.


I think that is the case with posts like this. OP has 1 post and hasn't replied. Probably won't . I could be wrong though.
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July 8, 2008 1:07:52 PM

TechnologyCoordinator said:
I haven't seen a lot of skulltrail benchmarks, however, one of my biggest decision making factors doesn't seem to be a factor for you; cost. I'm not really impressed with Skulltrail and QuadFX, I think they're more gimmicky than anything.

Crysis is not as good as FarCry. I'm really disappointed with that game.

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Well said. And for a "open" game I got bored with it fast.

Craxbax said:
Two things. First, if someone can afford a $5000 system then help them choose the best setup available and leave off the color commentary. Some people CAN afford it even if you can not!

Second, the point that Crysis is a mediocre game ( and I agree) may be valid but he/she may like it. Unfortunately; it is actually poorly coded for multicore/multithread capable systems and that would make 8 cores basically useless for Crysis. The tri SLI with the fastest, best scaling cards would give the best results. Combine this with the highest OC'd C2D available, quad or dual, as the game is more depended on mhz than number of cores.


I agree. But for $5K you can build that system add water cooling to OC the Quad and still have $2K left for other stuff.

But as said a Skulltrail system is overkill and the GTX280s are your best bet since they scale better than the 9800 series.
July 8, 2008 1:10:34 PM

Heck for 5K he could build two high end systems and mix and match cards and OC to find the sweet spot. But right now is not the time to plan and build a 5k pc. I would wait a month or two for the new cpu's and next rev of the current cards
July 8, 2008 1:24:05 PM

yeah it seams kinda bad to dump that kind of money into a system now i would wait until nahelam and 4870x2 before spending that kind of money. but if you need the system now i wouldn't go for a skulltrail system you'll save a lot of money and i would get a sick cooling setup, sick speakers and huge dual monitors. wow that computer will take me like 5 years to save up for

i don't have any proof of this but it seams like 3 gtx280 would bottleneck the best cpu's. i would go with 4870's so i have some money to spend on strippers after
July 8, 2008 1:28:02 PM

I play crisis with very high settings with my quadcore and a mediocre card on 1152x864 and never in that game can it load my quad core to 100%. I read the skulltrail review and reread it on many occasions and was surprised how little difference it made in most apps, even falling in spec to the QX9650 in some instances. The best monitor I can think of that runs 2560x1600 is Dells new 3008WFP, I have played crysis on a Samsung 305T with 6ms response and I am telling you despite your setup you are going to suffer ghosting and lag. Tri SLI is something games won't make use of until at least 2010 by my predictions. My GOOD advice to you is to get a Q9550 with 1333Mhz DDR3 and two 4870's in sli on a GA-X48-DQ6 board. It's a good future proof setup that isn't cheap yet isn't a total rip off. If you want to spend some money get a QX9650 with the unlocked multi. I have had mine OC'd to 4.3Ghz on the stcok cooler but found it was stupid, nothing could load it up except for rendering so now I have it at 3.7 Ghz.

The skulltrail unit would make a great render box and maybe thier are other apps that can load 8 cores to 100% consistantly but crysis definetly isn't one of them.
July 8, 2008 1:29:27 PM

What size monitor?
July 8, 2008 1:46:15 PM

Craxbax said:
Two things. First, if someone can afford a $5000 system then help them choose the best setup available and leave off the color commentary. Some people CAN afford it even if you can not!

Second, the point that Crysis is a mediocre game ( and I agree) may be valid but he/she may like it. Unfortunately; it is actually poorly coded for multicore/multithread capable systems and that would make 8 cores basically useless for Crysis. The tri SLI with the fastest, best scaling cards would give the best results. Combine this with the highest OC'd C2D available, quad or dual, as the game is more depended on mhz than number of cores.



Well the aim here would be to advise him using any flavour of criticism. As for affording - I can, the question is am I devoid of logic to do so? Certainly not. Even if someone has the money, it's overkill which brings me back to the opening part of this post.

If he has $5000 and wants to blow it on something that looses value quicker than a vehicle in a fraction of the time, by all means go for it. If I choose to comment on it (and do keep in mind the grammar side as I was never directly talking to him), it's my choice and it comes with the rest here whom coincidently share the same common believe that it's a waste of money.
July 8, 2008 2:01:22 PM

People who had to spend big dollars years ago aren't really that familiar of the speed of a quad core. I was the same, I went from a seriously underpowered P3 setup to a QX9650. It wasn't until I had the machine that I really understood how much power it had. So before we label people who want high end systems as "fools" lets us please consider thier prior experiences.
July 8, 2008 2:02:48 PM

If you're spending that much money then at least make sure you have TWO OCZ Core Series SSDs to run in a RAID-0 configuration. Also I recommend two to three HD4870 GPUs instead of the Nvidia GPUs. You'll save money and get 100% scaling. Build your system with an X48 based motherboard. You will be VERY satisfied with my advice. Goodluck.

PS: Wait a few months and blow five Gs on a Nehalem system. Thats enough money to build a good Nehalem rig.
July 8, 2008 2:20:34 PM

What size monitor? , is it like a 17"?
a b à CPUs
July 8, 2008 2:21:31 PM

$5000 to play a $45 game?
July 8, 2008 2:22:16 PM

You guys probably scared the OP away with the fear of getting crucified for wanting a $5000 system.

Welcome to Tom's Hardware forums Cyber_49er!
July 8, 2008 2:55:33 PM

$5k?
Hmmm....
You can buy a top of the line CPU (which will be obsolete in the next few months, or cheaper). Either an Intel QX9650 or Phenom 9950/9850 (I can't remember which is the newest or available).
The best thing you can do is find a motherboard with as many PCI-e slots that you think you might need. Quad Crossfire or Triple SLI. Once you figure that out, then you can look at the GPUs you would like to put into those slots.
The GTX 280 or HD 4870s are your best choices.
Memory - 8GB of DDR2/DDR3 at the highest rated speed the motherboard can handle will help.
A good 1kW or 1.2kW PSU will probably be needed too, to power all the GPUs.
If you don't have a monitor, you might want to invest in a 30" or larger, but that will cut your $5k budget almost in half. Just look for a good refresh rate, and ms response time when looking at monitors. At least, that's what I look at.

Skip Skulltrail. The memory and the whole concept is not that great. Unless you absolutely want a Skulltrail for whatever reason, it would be better to just build a single socket system, with most of the power going to GPUs.

I think it's a bit much just to play Crysis, but it's your money.

Good luck with your build.
July 8, 2008 3:33:58 PM

I don't have a problem with someone spending that much money on a nice setup, but in my opinion *right now* is NOT the time to do so. There are too many walls that you are going to run into, performance wise, before you can really get the worth out of that much hardware. (CPU bottleneck, OC limits, lack of multi-GPU scaling past a certain point). Right now, I think the sweet spot for the high end is somewhere between 2-3k. However, with Nehalem and other releases on the horizon, I find it hard to make recommendations in those price ranges. Q1/Q2 2009 will be the time to seriously consider spending that kind of money on hardware. Now is the time to take advantage of the excellent price/performance ratios available for mid to upper-mid range systems.

Just wanted to add, as a matter of personal choice/opinion: I would rather build that kind of system around 46-52 inches of 1920x1080 LED backlit 120mhz LCD, rather than 30 inches of 2560x1600 for the same price. IMO, you get more FPS/dollar and a more satisfying, immersive experience. (remember, thats personal choice/opinion)
July 8, 2008 5:26:49 PM

My advice would be to stay with a nice monitor, maybe 24 inch or close to that, not a massive 30 inch or over that because the best computers with such high resolutions will lag down the PC. Then buy the best motherboard you can, put 8gb of RAM if you want and a 280 gtx or 4850 on crossfire. Stick to something like that till next year, because no matter how much you invest today, next year theyll be something better. So save the money and wait or make a beast and enjoy, either way its your money.
July 8, 2008 5:58:59 PM

jitpublisher said:
I guess most people just cannot understand that to some people, $5000 is not a whole lot of money. There are people who will spend $5000 as easily as many would spend a couple hundred, or even a couple of $20's. Maybe he has already given a substantial amount of money to charity, and he feels this is his personal reward for being such a humanitarian. Point is, you never know.

You should not judge other people if you are ignorant of the facts surrounding the circumstances.

The fastest single Quad core you can find and triple SLI will net you the best you are gonna get in Crysis for now.


+1
July 9, 2008 6:45:24 AM

"What size monitor? , is it like a 17"

A 19" crt, I am looking at upgrading and have checked out the 30" Dells and definetly know they aren't great for gaming, the best I've found so far is the 26" 2-3ms response units from viewsonic etc. Even the 305t with 6ms is shocking once the action gets quick.
July 9, 2008 6:49:08 AM

Cyber_49er said:
It's basically a toss up between the Skulltrail with two CPUs but no DDR3 and a cheaper setup that allows for 3x SLi and DDR3, my main concern would be passably running Crysis at 2500x1600 with very high detail settings on Vista.

eVGA nForce 790i Ultra 3 PCI-E slots or Intel Skulltrail
Core 2 Extreme 3.2 GHz 775 yorkfield or 2x the same thing but with 771 pin for Skulltrail
4x 2GB OCZ Reaper DDR3 PC310666 1333MHz or 2x 4GB FBDIMM DDR2 667MHz by Kingston for the Skulltrail setup

Most importantly:

3x Nvidia GeForce GTX 280 or 2x Nvidia GeForce 9800GX2 for the Skulltrail setup.

The Skulltrail system is still more expensive but is having 8 cores worth the cost of sacrificing DDR3 memory and 3 way SLi for Crysis?

If your going to spend that much wait for Nehalem imo.
July 9, 2008 4:07:53 PM

liljone said:
If your going to spend that much wait for Nehalem imo.



+1
July 11, 2008 12:06:04 AM

rubix_1011 said:
$5000 to play a $45 game?


Well said. But that makes me feel like a hypocrit.

I spent 1304$ building a pc to play 175$ worth of games =/
Anonymous
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July 11, 2008 1:23:14 AM

I'm sorry... I can't imagine spending that much on a computer... maybe 2000... even there thats a stretch... for 2000 $ you can get 10 % off the 5000 $ rig.... its not worth it in any sense of the word value

sorry I just can't comprehend spending that much money on something that will be complete garbage in 3 years... spend at max 2 - 2.5 k and then give the rest to charity... or put it in a high interest savings account....
Anonymous
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July 11, 2008 1:28:47 AM

febtiger said:
Well said. But that makes me feel like a hypocrit.

I spent 1304$ building a pc to play 175$ worth of games =/



sorry for double post...

but 1304 divided by how much? how many games is 175 worth? 4 ?

so your basically paying 400 for a game... and each game gives you how many hours of game time? I usually get 60 + hours out of the games I really like to play (cod 4 for example)

so lets say you get 50 + hours of gaming...

400 / 50 = 8

8 $ for an hour of fun... that may seem high... but then as your system ages... and you tack on 5 - 10 more games... you've then paid like 200 a game.... and then you pay 4 $ an hour... I think thats worth it... I mean... you pay 2 pennies less on your phone bill per minute (assuming 5 cents) then gaming... so... it doesn't seem all that bad to me

but 5000 for 1 game... that you'll get maybe 30 hours of max... so

5000 / 30 = 166.67 $ .... for an hour... TOTALLY not worth it
a c 127 à CPUs
July 11, 2008 1:52:12 AM

I built my PC for $1500 aand built it to play $150 dollars worth of games. HL2 and all the episodes, Portal, C&C3, C&C3 Kanes Wrath and TF2.

Gotten like 70 hours in the HL2 (replay them a lot), 15 in Portal, 30 in C&C3, another 15-20 in C&C3 Kanes Wrath and about 500 (and counting) in TF2. So add it all up and that 630 hours of gaming to date.

So I am paying: $2.38/HR.

But I agree that $5K for 1 game is a lot to pay.
July 11, 2008 4:20:19 AM

Il-Mari said:
Geez, what is it with you people?

It's as if someone asked an automobile forum what they should look for when buying a new Jaguar, and a bunch of douches chimed in telling him to buy a second-hand Toyota because 'it has much better value'.



If someone asked about buying a new Jaguar most people would probably just suggest that they also invest in a bicycle since Jaguars have about the same reliability as a Yugo.
a c 127 à CPUs
July 11, 2008 4:55:29 AM

Il-Mari said:
Geez, what is it with you people?

It's as if someone asked an automobile forum what they should look for when buying a new Jaguar, and a bunch of douches chimed in telling him to buy a second-hand Toyota because 'it has much better value'.


This car analogy does not fit. Some do but this one does not.

What we are saying is you can buy the same components and put it all together for probably $2-$3K less than this.

Have you not ever looked at a system from Alienware and then gone to newegg and priced the parts? Heck I did for myy $1500 build and found that they wanted over $5K at the time and funny thing is I got better HDDs, Better quality RAM and a better quality mobo than what they had.

Its not about value its about how much they over charge you for something. I once priced their top of the line $9K PC. It would have cost me $3K to build it with better compnents, not to mention more RAM and HDD space.

Besides Toyotas not all that great. I read a report that their recent cars have been having transmission problems.
July 11, 2008 6:31:42 AM

if you want to wait, get the nephy and 3 or 4 x 1gb 4870s
even nvidia says DX 10.1 is the future, so why buy 10?

as for all you communists, hey can spend his money how he likes!
July 12, 2008 3:36:43 AM

The tech industry needs complete dikheads to prop their R&D budgets, I mean if everyone waited until things were cheap, who'd bother developing anything?
!