Please help me on choosing a CPU for my gaming rig

Hi guys, I just joined the site because the articles have been helpful in the past. But now I'm building a high-end gaming rig and have a few questions, primarily about CPU. I was going to build it msyelf at first, but kind of chickened out in fear I'll screw something up, so I'm using VigorGaming.com build-to-order PCs instead, since one of their rigs has everything I was going to put into mine in the first place. Here are the specs I'm aiming for so far:

Vigor Alpha Force Case- screwless chassis with typhoonTM Air Ventilation
Asus Striker II Formula 780i
Intel Quad Core Q9550 (2.83 GHz)
Triple GTX 280s Xtreme Plus(Factory OC to 650mhz) in SLI
8GB DDR2-1066 mhz kingston HyperX RAM
2x 74gb raptor 10krpm HDD in raid 0, one 320gb seagate for storage
Cooler Master Real Power 1250w PSU
Vigor Whisper Cooling System powered by Asus Cooling
X-FI Xtreme Gamer retail edition sound card
Windows Vista Ultimate 64-Bit

I have a few questions regarding the setup:
1) Will the Q9550's 2.83 GHz be good enough for 3 GTX 280s? Should I get the Q9650 for $200 more that comes with 3 GHz, or should I drop it altogether and get a high clocked dual core?(I ask because I want a quad core because I'm sure by 2010 many games will support 4 cores, but right now I've read posts that say dual core gives more fps in crysis, cod4 etc.)
2)With question #1 answered, are there any bottlenecks in this setup? Low clocked RAM, bad sound card etc.
3) Will a 1250w PSU really be enough to power all of this?
4)On the build-to-order page, it lets me choose both operating and storage hard drives... does this mean I can have 2 raptors in raid 0 that all my games/programs will load up on, and another hard drive that things I downloaded/installed will be kept on? Or am I missing the point entirely?
5) Will a 1920x1200 Hans-G 28" 3ms LCD Monitor to the 3 gtx 280s justice, or is there a monitor that would be better(and not cost too much more)? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824254026
6) This is off topic, but maybe someone knows: Will a 6mbps AT&t ELITE DSL connection be enough to play games like COD4,TF2, and crysis online lag free?

Thank you very much!

Note: Rig will be used for hardcore gaming and some browsing/frapsing/youtubing. Games I expect to play ATM are Crysis, COD4,TF2, and SC2.

Also: In case any of you guys need it, here is the build-to-order page: http://www.vigorgaming.com/product/config_forcereconnxe.html

Btw, sorry if this is the wrong section. I didn't see a general "PC questions" section.
76 answers Last reply
More about please choosing gaming
  1. ...Anyone?...Please? I need urgent help...
  2. Well, I see a problem all right. Where is the Xi-Fi card suppose to go!!? If you look at the motherboard layout you will see that the two PCI slots are going to be blocked by your big ol 280 GTXs unless they manage to only take up a single slot each and are water cooled. Ditch the sound card, and get the faster Quad.
  3. If that was true, I don't think it would allow me to select the mobo, 3 GPUs, and the sound card. I mean, it doesent give me the choice of DDR3 with a 780i mobo, or a 680i with a quad core and crossfire etc. Each rig has each part selected so it matches, I mean, if it didn't, they wouldnt have a reason to build it for you then just have it shipped back...

    And would you mind answering the questions please? Nobody is responding... I figured the site would be more helpful...
  4. 3x 280's is a waste of money pure and simple.
  5. Oh yeah, as for your other questions,

    3) the PSU is enough
    4) If you don't know don't use it. RAID 0 speeds things up but doubles your failure rate while RAID 1 mirrors things for reliability. Just look it up on Wikipedia or something.
    5) I've never heard of those monitors, but I know that if you want a better monitor at that size you're going to have to pay for it.
    6) I'm pretty sure that 6mbps is only your max possible speed. Run a speed test to find out your actual speed since it will vary depending on the distance to the node, how many other people in your area are using it and other variables.
  6. Relax chief, its Saturday night, not everyone is going to be searching a forum to answer questions.

    First off, why dont you build your pc yourself. The only tool in the entire procedure is a screw driver.......

    If your smart enough to pick your parts, your smart enough to build a pc.

    Also, your probably wasting your money on those video cards. In fact, I think some benchmarks show a decrease in performance when you do tri-sli.

    Also, im pretty sure the best mobo's out right now are intel chipsets, specially if you plan on OC'ing.

    The 4870's come pretty close to a 280GTX and if you OC them im sure they would surpass them.

    You don't need to spend that kind of cash to play games. Dont get me wrong, I have the money to build the ultimate computer, but why? I feel much better about myself when I don't spend money on useless items, not to mention buying a lower end item like a e8400 and overclocking to 4.23 ghz and letting it kick any dual or quad cores ass.

    But hey, what do I know, people are still buying quads because they think the games are going to optimized in a few years, they must have forgotten the fact their computer is going to be to slow to run the new games in the future anyways....
  7. Also, your picking out a cheap 28" LCD? What for?

    Your spending all this cash on the pc, to play on a mid level monitor...

    Take my advise from my above post, save some money and spend your extra cash on a 30".
  8. I agree entirely with espslyxerx2. You don't need to be spending all that money on an extreme-pc that will be outdated in several years anyway. If you want a bigger monitor, spend the money you save from the pc on a nice 30" monitor.
  9. First off ditch the sound card since the board already comes with an X-Fi that fits in the very top pcie1x slot.

    Second ditch that third GTX 280 those sad 74gb raptors and get a 300gb Velecioraptor if they have it. Use the money saved from that to get a 30" monitor.

    Other than that its fine, dont know about that ASUS "cooling system" though.
  10. *Sigh*, nobody has actually answered the questions. I'm not going to change my GPUs. I'm getting triple GTX 280s, like it or not. I don't know why you call a $500 28" 3ms monitor "mid level", and I don't want a 30" monitor because those cost over a grand, and this setup+all accesories is already $5k. So unless you know of a 2560x1600 monitor under a grand, no thanks.
  11. spathotan said:
    First off ditch the sound card since the board already comes with an X-Fi that fits in the very top pcie1x slot.

    Second ditch that third GTX 280 those sad 74gb raptors and get a 300gb Velecioraptor if they have it. Use the money saved from that to get a 30" monitor.

    Other than that its fine, dont know about that ASUS "cooling system" though.


    Why should I get one 300gb raptor when I can get 2 74gbs and run them in RAID 0 for LESS $? 10krpm+raid 0>10k rpm last I checked. And since I can apparently get a HDD just for storage, I'm all set.
  12. Take it or leave it. Not my money.
  13. espslyxerx2 said:
    Relax chief, its Saturday night, not everyone is going to be searching a forum to answer questions.

    First off, why dont you build your pc yourself. The only tool in the entire procedure is a screw driver.......

    If your smart enough to pick your parts, your smart enough to build a pc.

    Also, your probably wasting your money on those video cards. In fact, I think some benchmarks show a decrease in performance when you do tri-sli.

    Also, im pretty sure the best mobo's out right now are intel chipsets, specially if you plan on OC'ing.

    The 4870's come pretty close to a 280GTX and if you OC them im sure they would surpass them.

    You don't need to spend that kind of cash to play games. Dont get me wrong, I have the money to build the ultimate computer, but why? I feel much better about myself when I don't spend money on useless items, not to mention buying a lower end item like a e8400 and overclocking to 4.23 ghz and letting it kick any dual or quad cores ass.

    But hey, what do I know, people are still buying quads because they think the games are going to optimized in a few years, they must have forgotten the fact their computer is going to be to slow to run the new games in the future anyways....


    I have cash to spend, and I'm getting a quad core and 3 gtx 280s etc. specifically so that it ISNT trash in a few years. And with 3dguru showing 51 fps on the beach scene in Crysis on very high w/ best possible settings, full AA/AF, and on DX10, I seriously doubt 4870s can top that... Plus, I dont like ATI, I've always used Nvidia cards
  14. There's no point in spending $200 extra to go from a Q9550 to Q9650. You're going from 2.83Ghz to 3.0Ghz and spending $200?? You can spend 10 minutes doing that for free if you simply OC the Q9550.

    And as far as the Tri-SLI thing goes. I'm going to agree with everyone else. There's not really much point in putting three video cards in there. For one, nothing is optimized for Tri-SLI right now anyhow. So you're just wasting money. Might as well buy a Ferrari and drive it only through School Zones all day long.

    The Xi-FI sound card isn't a big deal either. Sure it might take a slight load off the CPU, but you'll probably never hear the difference unless you've got a high end surround sound system and no hearing loss.

    As for the hard drives. Why on earth run two tiny hard drives (74GB) as one? Just get a faster single drive that has a large capacity like spathotan suggested.
  15. Buy your own parts and build it yourself. Its WAY TOO EASY and you would be mad at yourself for robbing yourself of the fun opportunity to build your own system.

    Here's a very easy to follow guide:

    http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?articleID=1444
  16. UltimaSlayerVII said:
    *Sigh*, nobody has actually answered the questions. I'm not going to change my GPUs. I'm getting triple GTX 280s, like it or not. I don't know why you call a $500 28" 3ms monitor "mid level", and I don't want a 30" monitor because those cost over a grand, and this setup+all accesories is already $5k. So unless you know of a 2560x1600 monitor under a grand, no thanks.


    Probably because Hanns-G is not a brand name most gamers are familiar with.
  17. UltimaSlayerVII said:
    If that was true, I don't think it would allow me to select the mobo, 3 GPUs, and the sound card. I mean, it doesent give me the choice of DDR3 with a 780i mobo, or a 680i with a quad core and crossfire etc. Each rig has each part selected so it matches, I mean, if it didn't, they wouldnt have a reason to build it for you then just have it shipped back...

    And would you mind answering the questions please? Nobody is responding... I figured the site would be more helpful...


    And by the way. The 680i boards do in fact work with quad cores. :) See my signature. It won't do crossfire though.

    That build your own thing on their website shows you what THEY have setup as matching parts. Not necessarily what will or will not actually be compatible.
  18. UltimaSlayerVII said:
    I have cash to spend, and I'm getting a quad core and 3 gtx 280s etc. specifically so that it ISNT trash in a few years. And with 3dguru showing 51 fps on the beach scene in Crysis on very high w/ best possible settings, full AA/AF, and on DX10, I seriously doubt 4870s can top that... Plus, I dont like ATI, I've always used Nvidia cards


    I like to help people but its obvious hes here to either brag or seek approval for wasting money. Let him do his thing. Good luck with that...
  19. lol...why did you create this thread? You seem to have already made up your mind on what you want. If you have to money to spend, go for it.
  20. UltimaSlayerVII said:
    *Sigh*, nobody has actually answered the questions. I'm not going to change my GPUs. I'm getting triple GTX 280s, like it or not. I don't know why you call a $500 28" 3ms monitor "mid level", and I don't want a 30" monitor because those cost over a grand, and this setup+all accesories is already $5k. So unless you know of a 2560x1600 monitor under a grand, no thanks.


    Please dont bother asking people that know more than you do what they think when your mind is made up. Go spend your money how you want and be happy...
  21. Lol, just reading your comments I can honestly say for all of us, you have no concept.

    I can guarantee I could build a computer and with dual 30"s that would be faster then your system and cost less then 5K.

    If you really want to spend that kind of cash, at least do it properly.

    DO NOT buy a 28" monitor if your spending that kind of money on a computer.

    Think of it as someone spending hundreds of thousands to build a top fuel motor......to put in a Oscar Meyer Weenie Mobile........


    If your not comfortable building a computer yourself, that's cool, but don't blow money on a PC just because you want to.
    At least have a purpose for it. At this point I don't see any reason for you to do so.

    To answer your naggy questions:

    1) Will the Q9550's 2.83 GHz be good enough for 3 GTX 280s? Should I get the Q9650 for $200 more that comes with 3 GHz, or should I drop it altogether and get a high clocked dual core?(I ask because I want a quad core because I'm sure by 2010 many games will support 4 cores, but right now I've read posts that say dual core gives more fps in crysis, cod4 etc.)

    You answered your own question. You will get higher FPS with a higher clocked dual core.


    2)With question #1 answered, are there any bottlenecks in this setup? Low clocked RAM, bad sound card etc.

    The ram speed is fine. 8 gigs though? Do you plan on running 20 windows of Crysis at once?
    4 Gigs is more then enough for any game.

    I dont use sound cards, thats more or less a personal opinion. I cant tell the difference between onboard and a expensive sound card.


    3) Will a 1250w PSU really be enough to power all of this?

    Probably, I think Nvdea has a PS calculator on their website. I could be wrong though.

    4)On the build-to-order page, it lets me choose both operating and storage hard drives... does this mean I can have 2 raptors in raid 0 that all my games/programs will load up on, and another hard drive that things I downloaded/installed will be kept on? Or am I missing the point entirely?

    Drop the raid 0, its a cool idea, about as cool as loosing all your data.....Get a velociraptor as someone else mentioned. You would never notice the difference.

    5) Will a 1920x1200 Hans-G 28" 3ms LCD Monitor to the 3 gtx 280s justice, or is there a monitor that would be better(and not cost too much more)? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6824254026

    You know mine as well as other opinion, save money on the pc and buy a real man's monitor, a 30"

    6) This is off topic, but maybe someone knows: Will a 6mbps AT&t ELITE DSL connection be enough to play games like COD4,TF2, and crysis online lag free?

    I think the preferred connection is cable to do the upload and download speed is fast.
  22. englandr753 said:
    I like to help people but its obvious hes here to either brag or seek approval for wasting money. Let him do his thing. Good luck with that...


    LOL I just wish people like this would put better use to their overflow of cash.

    Like... by sending me one of those three GTX 280's. Cause he'll run better with two, and I'll run better with one vs my 8800GTS. :)
  23. jerreece said:
    LOL I just wish people like this would put better use to their overflow of cash.

    Like... by sending me one of those three GTX 280's. Cause he'll run better with two, and I'll run better with one vs my 8800GTS. :)



    hahahahahhahahahahha im peeing my pants right now lololo lmao,


    "I like to help people but its obvious hes here to either brag or seek approval for wasting money. Let him do his thing. Good luck with that... "


    hahahahahahhaahahahahah


    "Please dont bother asking people that know more than you do what they think when your mind is made up. Go spend your money how you want and be happy.."


    ooo man, all this made my night
  24. 1 for the forum : 0 for the OP

    Go Team!!
  25. Alright you guys have changed my mind for the 50th time :kaola: . I'm going to see how much each of these parts cost seperately on newegg, and if it's over a few hundred cheaper, I'll build the thing myself. Also, I will go for 1 velociraptor... but I'm still wondering how on earth its better than 2 10k rpm raptors in raid 0? And I'll try looking for a 30" monitor I guess, but now I'll be getting even worse fps..
  26. Poor UltimaSlayer VII :( His self-esteem raising system idea got whacked by the Put-Down Monster :(

    I wish I had the kind of money he wants to spend on a system. Cause if I did, I'd have an entire home theater system just for my office. Maybe then I could upgrade my old Creative 5.1 system with something that actually has a digital input/output on it. :(

    Anyhow, off to buy a lottery ticket...
  27. espslyxerx2 said:


    Think of it as someone spending hundreds of thousands to build a top fuel motor......to put in a Oscar Meyer Weenie Mobile........




    I lol'd at that for a couple minutes. Just had to say that. Carry on.
  28. Oh, and I wouldn't lose all my data with raid 0, thats what full computer backup on vista ultimate is here for.
  29. Now that I have the option, should I go with the expensive water cooling? Is it really worth it/do I need it for all this stuff? or should I stick with a couple 120MM fans and some stock cooling?
  30. UltimaSlayerVII said:
    Alright you guys have changed my mind for the 50th time :kaola: . I'm going to see how much each of these parts cost seperately on newegg, and if it's over a few hundred cheaper, I'll build the thing myself. Also, I will go for 1 velociraptor... but I'm still wondering how on earth its better than 2 10k rpm raptors in raid 0? And I'll try looking for a 30" monitor I guess, but now I'll be getting even worse fps..



    Man, I cant even think of a joke right now, im still friggin laughing from the last ones hahahahha.

    Anyways, what difference does it make if you get 9999999 FPS or 30 FPS. Last time I checked the human eye / brain can only detect 30 FPS at the maximum.

    Which means as long as your 30 FPS or higher on your game, you wont notice a difference.

    (I know some people can see more but im not going to get into it)


    To answer your question:

    Also, I will go for 1 velociraptor... but I'm still wondering how on earth its better than 2 10k rpm raptors in raid 0?


    There is far to many threads on the difference between raid 0 and single fast HD.


    For the average user, which I would consider you as one, you wont notice a difference with exception to two scenarios.


    Scenario 1,

    Boom, end of ze world, WTF mate, all my data is gone.....SWEEET, glad i paid extra for that......


    Scenario 2,

    OOO cool, I just put 5 video games 300 music files and one DVD on my awesome raid 0 setup and now im out of space, glad i paid extra for that......


    Capish?
  31. UltimaSlayerVII said:
    Now that I have the option, should I go with the expensive water cooling? Is it really worth it/do I need it for all this stuff? or should I stick with a couple 120MM fans and some stock cooling?



    Do you plan on overclocking?

    Keep in mind, unless you plan on pushing 4 ghz or more on that quadcore, you wont need anything more then a top notch air cooler like a TRUE.


    Save cash on the water cooling and definitely get a 30"
  32. In my earlier post I answered your questions. As for this

    UltimaSlayerVII said:
    Oh, and I wouldn't lose all my data with raid 0, thats what full computer backup on vista ultimate is here for.


    The point is that if one Hard Drive dies, the data on the other drive is useless since it only has half the bits, thus you will need to depend on your last backup. You should always do regular backups anyway though.
  33. You should start with plenty of fans in the case and get an aftermarket air cooled heatsink for the cpu. You will gain maybe 10-15 degrees f with most watercooled setups. I would take it a step at a time and do upgrades as you go. If you do everything you can do in the beginning you will miss out of the fun tinkering with doing upgrades while you have it.

    Thats part of the fun owning a rig you build on your own. You will learn so much more about your setup building it yourself and the guide I posted for you will give you enough info to do the job right. If you have any doubts then you can post here...
  34. Wow, well I just individually selected the parts I wanted (more or less) on newegg, and after rebates it's about $900 cheaper... looks like I'm building my own PC fellas. And I'm not bragging or being stupid, the reason I'm going for 3 GTX 280s is the tri-SLI crysis benchmarks on 3dguru... I dunno, 38 fps at 2560x1600 on max, DX10, and full AA/AF just seems... hmm, I dunno, something no other GPU can achieve?

    http://www.guru3d.com/article/geforce-gtx-280-sli-triple-review-test/13

    And I plan to overclock, but not insanely... I mean, once I learn how to, I plan to take a Q9550 from 2.83ghz to like... 3.3-3.5, if thats possible. Not knowledgable in OCing. Knowing that, would I need liquid cooling?
  35. The one thing that has kept me from building the rig myself though is the worry that part A wont fit with part B or will affect part C. Anything particular I should watch out for?
  36. englandr753 said:
    You should start with plenty of fans in the case and get an aftermarket air cooled heatsink for the cpu. You will gain maybe 10-15 degrees f with most watercooled setups. I would take it a step at a time and do upgrades as you go. If you do everything you can do in the beginning you will miss out of the fun tinkering with doing upgrades while you have it.

    Thats part of the fun owning a rig you build on your own. You will learn so much more about your setup building it yourself and the guide I posted for you will give you enough info to do the job right. If you have any doubts then you can post here...


    Alright so I guess I'll go with air first. Hows this right here: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835118019
    And would it be enough, or would I need more fans, hard drive coolers, some kind of paste etc.
  37. You wont need liquid cooling for that. You could do it if you wanted to and you will see some moderate benefits but its not necessary.

    The 4870X2 is actually in most cases a better card than the 280. But since you are an Nvidia fan and want the best they have to offer atm then you will have to go with the 280.

    Build your system and have fun with it. It will be a nice system and good for bragging rights once you finish building it.

    Others will help you with the overclocking when you are ready...
  38. jerreece said:
    LOL I just wish people like this would put better use to their overflow of cash.

    Like... by sending me one of those three GTX 280's. Cause he'll run better with two, and I'll run better with one vs my 8800GTS. :)


    Overflow of cash? 'scuse me? Guess what bub, I've been on a PC since '03 with a 2.4 GHZ P4, 512mb ram, a geforce MX 440, 80GB 5.4k rpm HDD, and windows XP home. I've been working and saving up cash, which is hard because I have to help pay for college and other things, and now I finally decide to get the PC I've always wanted to have. So dont talk about things you know nothing about, If I had an overflow of cash I wouldn't be sitting on a comp that cant handle CSS on low. Not to mention I've been on $15 a month AOL for years, too.
  39. englandr753 said:
    You wont need liquid cooling for that. You could do it if you wanted to and you will see some moderate benefits but its not necessary.

    The 4870X2 is actually in most cases a better card than the 280. But since you are an Nvidia fan and want the best they have to offer atm then you will have to go with the 280.

    Build your system and have fun with it. It will be a nice system and good for bragging rights once you finish building it.

    Others will help you with the overclocking when you are ready...


    Thanks. Benchies I've checked out had the GTX 280 w/ a 5-8% performance increase in most games, and about 20% in crysis. I also hear ATI has terrible crysis drivers, which I don't like since I'm obviously trying to please Crysis.
  40. Regardless of what GPU I end up getting, it's definitely going to be the best I can possibly get. I agree that 1920x1200 would be a waste, so now I'm looking for a 2560x1600 monitor to do the GPUs justice. Anyone know of any good ones? I'm mainly looking for good price, MS, and good HD presentation/contrast.
  41. Even the new 32mb cache 1TB drives are faster than 2 74gb raptors.

    We arent trying to give you bad advice here, just trust us man. The two 74gb raptors is a horrible idea at this point in the game.
  42. You will need good thermal paste:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835118010
    or
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835100012

    That cpu cooler is good or you could even go for this:



    This is Ultras TEC cooler:

    http://www.ultraproducts.com/product_details.php?cPath=52&pPath=571&productID=571

    Its something different and is a little better than air but not as effective as watercooling. Its about 99 bucks or so. This is my setup btw.




  43. englandr753 said:


    It sure looks cool... but it's 2x the price, and I dont see any improvement from briefly skimming over the specs. Other than thermal paste+ that fan, will I need anything else? A heatsink? HDD fans? Some extra small fans to litter around the case etc?
  44. To whoever said 4870X2 was better than GTX 280, I'm checking it out now. So if I were to switch to an ATI card, would I need to switch my mobo, cpu, PSU, or anything like that, that previously definitely supported nvidia? Or will it also have no problems supporting ATI?
  45. You need to find a case that you like and decide on how many fans are possible to put into it.

    I got this one, its a classic and very big and will hold all of those video cards you want to cram inside it:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119103

    There are other good choices so search carefully for a style that makes your heart pitter patter then find out what the reviews are on it. Some look cool but are good for eye candy only and arent built well so do your homework.

    After you decide what case you are getting let us know and we will help you fill it with the most necessary components.
  46. I said its better in most cases. You will want a crossfire motherboard. The power supply you picked is sufficient. Keep in mind that two of the 4870x2 are comparable to 4 video cards since they have two gpus each card so thats why the power requirement is so high for them.

    You will want an Intel chipset mobo, not the 780i for SLI.

    A board like this one:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128336
  47. Hey England,

    Hows that Q6600 treatin ya? (sorry for the hijack) I was curious to see if you thought 65nm was still worth it or not. Gonna replace my E6300 @ 2.8 with that and your system is near identical to mine. Heavy gamer here, but I also encode alot...
  48. I love my Q6600. I think if you are budget minded its a very worthwhile setup. I have no need to upgrade anytime soon. It would probably be the best upgrade path for you cost wise. You can easily overclock it to 3ghz or more with little effort.

    Thanks for asking...
  49. BTW, if you need to cut corners on the initial setup of this new rig, you can get 1 4870x2 and you will be amazed. Save a few more bucks and treat yourself to a second one when you get the money to do so...
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