Full- or Mid-Tower for Crossfire?

I'm planning on going with the Asrock X48 Turbo Twins (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157129), which follows the ATX form factor. For video, I'll be getting either a 4850 or a 4870. I won't be going Crossfire right away, but if I do end up taking that route will I need a full-tower case (if so, I'd probably get the Ultra Aluminus)? Or would I be fine with the mid-tower Antec Sonata III (in which case I'd start off with the included 500W PSU, and then upgrade the PSU when I add the second video card)?

I'm also concerned that cooling might be a bigger problem in a mid-tower, but I've never had a two-card setup so I don't really know.
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More about full tower crossfire
  1. AsRock is Asus's "value" brand. There has been a lot of issues with AsRock boards overall. You would be better served by another brand.

    You don't need a full tower case to Crossfire.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129025&Tpk=P182 Something like this (P182) works just fine.

    Sonta III will work also.
  2. Thanks for the pointer about the motherboard. All the reviews for that Asrock board have been very good, but I've been told on these forums a couple of times to look for something else.

    So here are some options I came across, any recommendations? This is about the price range I want to stay in. (Asrock is still on there for comparison)

    Am I right in assuming that since they all have the X48 chipset, I'll be able to run Crossfire with both cards at 16x + 16x? (Or will some of these boards drop to 8x + 8x?)
  3. All x48 boards will stay x16 x16

    P45 boards drop to x8 x8.

    Get the Gigabyte board or Asus P5E. I know P5E is a good board because I own one.
  4. Thanks for the help so far shadowduck. Have you tried overclocking on your P5E? If so, how did that work out?

    (I'm looking at getting a Q6600 and taking it to around 3.0-3.2GHz--nothing too extreme--or I might get a Q9300 if I can stretch my budget a bit.)
  5. my Q6600 went to 3.6 without issue. Overclocking is super easy.

    3.0 is child's play. Even lowered the Vcore from default levels. Runs without a hitch.

    Don't bother with the Q9300 its a poor overclocker.
  6. 4850s have a single slot design and put their heat back into the case. The antec sonata has pretty poor cooling and air flow. I would not put 2 4850s in a sonata. 2 4870s might be ok as they reject their heat out the back of the case. I have a CoolerMaster 690 that is excellent (replacing a sonata III that I bought for the PSU). I would steer clear of the sonata if you want CF. The PSU would not be enough for CF 4870s (prolly not enough for 4850s) and the case would melt down with 2 4850s.
  7. I'm not sure if I'll go Crossfire or not, but here's a tentative build that's at least Crossfire-ready:

    Asus P5E X48 (thanks shadowduck) --$220
    Q6600 OEM --$190
    HD4870 --$310
    OCZ Platinum 2 x 2GB DDR2 1066 (using OCZ now, I've had no problems with OCing) --$85 after MIR
    Seagate 500GB 32MB Cache --$85
    CoolerMaster 690 --$85
    Total: $975

    I still have some questions on this build tho (sorry about all the ?'s, I'm pretty new to this, thanks for everything so far).

    OEM Q6600? I need help with cooling. No clue whats going on there. Or if I should just spend 20 more for the retail version.
    Is the CM690 case worth the $15 price increase from a CM590?
    What PSU? Modular please if its the same price. Crossfire ready for 2 4870s(4x6-pin if I've read everything right?)
    Help with extra things I may have forgotten, like thermal compounds, case cooling, or anything like that? I've no experience with anything in cooling.
    General thoughts on this build, how I can make it better. I'd like to keep it under $1100 for sure, but under $1000 would be even better.

    Thank you so much for the help so far guys, these forums have already saved a lot of headaches.
  8. Retail- Stock cooler 3 year warranty
    OEM- no cooler 1 year warranty

    Paste: MX-2

    PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341011&Tpk=PC%2bPower%2b%2526%2bCooling%2bquad%2b750 PC Power and Cooling Quad 750

    Modular: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139002 Corsair HX620
  9. It seems like the retail q6600 might be worth it for the extended warranty, but then again doesn't overclocking void the warranty anyways?

    If I go with the OEM, would something like the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro 92mm work? If shadowduck or anyone else using the P5E could tell me what they're using for cooling, that'd be awesome.
  10. CPU Cooler, Xigmatek S1283 + Thermalright 775 Bolt thru kit.
    I have a CM 690 and it is pretty similar to the 590, the harddrives are turned 90 deg. and the 690 has cable management, top mounted ports and chrome trim.

    I don't think the Corsair 620 has the pcie cables for 2x 4870.
    The PCPC should just about do it.

    Good luck with the $1100 limit and a high end CF / SLI PSU.

    I suggest An Antec Sonata III, with a single 4870. Should be sufficiently cool with the GPU exhausting outside the case and will meet your budget. The PSU+CASE for $100 cant be beat.
  11. Newegg seems expensive for cases. I got my sonata III in Canada for $99 and my CM 690 for $65. Both at http://www.PCVonline.com
    *Edit* Ok sorry, prices seem to have gone up since april/may.
  12. So I was thinking about this whole Crossfire-in-the-future-someday-when-I-get-the-extra-money thing, and I compared the situation to my current setup... Athlon 64 3000+, an evga 6600GT, and 2gigs of Ram--the RAM being the only upgrade made to the whole system, even though I had bought it three years ago with full intentions of upgrading over the next few years.

    And it's tough, but I think I need to be completely honest with myself about the extra expenses involved just to have Crossfire compatibility. Adding that second card probably wouldn't happen for at least 2.5-3 years, and by then there will likely be a single-slot solution better than two 4870s. So in reality, I'd spend at least 200 extra now on a PSU and Mboard just to have compatibility for something I'll possibly never use.

    If my budget could stretch just a little higher, I think my best choice (since I don't really upgrade, even if I intend to) would be to just start off with two 4870s in Crossfire. And if my budget can't do that (should know in a few weeks), then I don't see the point in even being Crossfire-ready.

    So with that in mind, any pointers on this non-Crossfire build (which could end up being what I go with)?

    $125-- Antec Sonata III + 500W PSU (without Xfire, I think this would be plenty)
    $190-- Q6600 OEM
    $310-- 4870
    $130-- Hard drive + cost of CPU cooling
    $80-- approx. price for RAM
    $???-- What motherboard to go with? I'd still like to overclock my q6600 to the 3.4-3.6 range since that seems to be pretty feasible (Newegg's single-GPU-slot motherboards--http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=2010200280+1070509908+1494334965+107172615&Configurator=&Subcategory=280&description=&Ntk=&SpeTabStoreType=&Order=BESTMATCH&srchInDesc=

    The motherboard is what I really need help with. Biostar's P43 is supposed to be a great overclocker, but I've heard that the P45 chipset is where it's really at. Assuming a MB cost of about 100, the total for a non-Crossfire system would only be about $935 (adding Crossfire compatibility--even if I would never add that second 4870--would bring the total to at least $1100 no matter what, possibly even higher).
  13. Get Asus' P5Q (P45) or better, mATX boards are not so good at quad core overclocking (I have Q6600 with P5K-VM and can't get past 3.2GHz due to vdroop).
  14. Go for a Full tower because it will leave you alot more space for more cooling if you are doing crossfire. Alot more air flow in full towers
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