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Advice on choosing components for i7 gaming pc

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December 5, 2008 3:43:15 AM

Hello everyone, first post!

I'm planning on building a gaming pc in the near future, and i've put quite a lot of time researching what parts I want. I decided to go with the Intel i7 build in hopes of 'future proofing' my system (I hope this is a good move?) Here's a list of what I think I want:

Case: Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

Power Supply: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail

Motherboard: ASUS P6T Deluxe LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

Processor: Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 - Retail

Memory: CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail

Graphics Card: EVGA 01G-P3-1282-AR GeForce GTX 280 SuperClocked Edition 1GB 512-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail

Disc Drive: LITE-ON Black 6X Blu-Ray DVD ROM & 16X DVD±R DVD Burner SATA Model iHES106-29 - OEM

OR

SAMSUNG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model SH-S223Q - OEM

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

Operating System: Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 64-bit English 1pk DSP OEI DVD for System Builders - OEM

Monitor: SAMSUNG ToC T240HD Rose-Black 24" 5ms HDMI Widescreen HDTV Monitor 300 cd/m2 DC 10000:1 Built in DTV Tuner & Dolby Digital Surround Speakers - Retail

All in all, this build would end up costing me around $2,200 if I went with the blu-ray player, and $100 less if I just go with the DVD player. Any thoughts or advice about this would be greatly appreciated. Some things I'd particularly like to hear advice on are the switch to Vista (good or bad?), noise (will this be too loud, and if so, is there anything cost effective I can do about it?), ANY place at all that I could save money, and particularly, the monitor. I'm going with the full HD monitor because in addition to serving as my computer monitor, I'd like to hook my xbox 360 and/or wii up to it as well. I can find this monitor for $400, but is there a cheaper option that would work just as/almost as well?

Sorry if I rambled a little at the end there, like I said, any help at all would be appreciated.

Thanks =D
December 5, 2008 4:10:15 AM

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense...definitely a good idea there. Thanks =)

Another question i've come up with to add to my list above is whether or not the GTX 280 is really worth it, and if I should go with a less pricey Nvidia card or an ATI card...
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December 5, 2008 4:14:47 AM

If you're looking to downgrade a little on the GPU, either a GTX 260 core 216 or HD4870 1GB will work great with a 24" monitor.

I really like the looks of this card:

SAPPHIRE 100259-1GL Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $264.99 - $15.00 MIR
December 5, 2008 4:16:06 AM

If I changed cards, what kind of decrease in performance would I be looking at?
December 5, 2008 4:27:25 AM

You could change the 1600mhz ram for something like a 1333mhz part should also save you a bit.
December 5, 2008 4:30:23 AM

What's the difference between the two?
December 5, 2008 4:41:05 AM

I'm doing some more research into the memory and I think I found someone saying that the 920 i7 doesn't support anything more than 1066mhz ram. Is this true? If it is, I shouldn't waste my money on 1600 or 1333, right?
December 5, 2008 4:43:40 AM

1066 is minimum, you can set it higher but generally wont see too much improvement... 1333 should be nice for a bit of overclocking as well...
December 5, 2008 4:47:45 AM

Alright, I think i'll go 1333 then. Thanks =) (Would it be worth 35 extra bucks to get ram with a CAS latency of 7 instead of 9?)

Anybody have anything to say about the monitor?
December 5, 2008 5:05:40 AM

I'd say so. Lower latency is always a good thing.
December 5, 2008 10:39:16 PM

I'm still worried about heat/noise of system, my monitor, and also whether or not i'm buying a good graphics card/motherboard in terms of value now, and in terms of future upgradeability. I suppose I'm wondering if the GTX 280 is worth the money, and if it's a bad thing that my motherboard is only capable of 2-way SLI
December 5, 2008 10:44:11 PM

Why so interested in the GTX 280? If I were you I would go for the ATI 4870X2, it is the best gpu on the market at the moment in my opinion. Or if you don't want to spend that much money go for the 4870 1gb.
December 5, 2008 11:39:13 PM

The reason I was looking at the 280 is because I heard that games can be rather finicky about crossfire, and that it can sometimes decrease the performance. By getting the GTX 280 now, I figured i'd have the best possible single card configuration, with the possibility of upgrading to 2-way SLI later. Am I way off base?
December 6, 2008 7:04:18 AM

In general i would say 2 way SLI and 2 way crossfire are rather close... its only when you get to 3 way SLI and Xfire that Xfire doesnt scale as well.

With the 24" monitor your are much better off with at least GTX260, 280, HD4870 or X2 anything lower and youll find youll be lowering your eye candy more than you would like (if your into that). If you want to save a bit more money without too much loss get the GTX260 or HD4870
December 6, 2008 9:59:56 AM

Thanks, that's really helpful =)

I suppose the only questions I have now are if my system is going to be cool enough, if I would notice a difference between a latency of 7 and 9 on the RAM, and if I could find a cheaper full HD monitor.
December 6, 2008 2:04:38 PM

gtx 260 core 216 and gtx 280 are very similar in performance...but u get what you pay for honestly, if you're willing to pay the premium for a gtx280, and overclock it some more it will blow the 260 out of the water...but the awesome thing about the core 216 is it's like 150-200 cheaper, and if u overclock it, it's very similar in performance to a stock gtx280.
it seems like you're going all out for this build...i'd go with the gtx280 to match the rest of your rig haha. no point in skimping out now right :p 
good choice on the ram...if u wanna save more money go with ddr2 for now, until ddr3 drops even more. or just stick with ur ddr3 3gb, and hwen it gets cheap enough with better timings grab a new set.
build looks GREAT!
enjoy!
December 6, 2008 2:08:04 PM

oh ya...4870x2 is a good choice too...but i don't see two of them in CF working very well in games/apps if u plan to do so...scaling problems and lacking support...2xgtx280 in SLI is awesome from benchmarks i've seen.
unless u want 4GPUs to match your quad core CPU lmao
December 6, 2008 6:11:18 PM

adreen said:
good choice on the ram...if u wanna save more money go with ddr2 for now, until ddr3 drops even more. or just stick with ur ddr3 3gb, and hwen it gets cheap enough with better timings grab a new set.
build looks GREAT!
enjoy!


Its an i7 doesnt support DDR2
December 7, 2008 8:51:58 AM

I'm also now questioning the pros and cons of the GTX 280 vs. the 4870x2 if anyone wants to comment =(

And is there any reason I shouldn't go with the cheapest i7 motherboard I can find?
December 7, 2008 10:03:28 AM

wow, I have also been saving up for a while and getting ready to build. I have been researching for a while and this is almost exactly the build i am going to do. i7, ASUS mobo, 6bg of good ram, I am going with 1 4870 and then getting anouther one latter on for xfire, same power supply i think, i am going to wait on the blu-ray player for now.
anyway, i looked at that same monitor but then i found this one and im sold on it.
http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?s...
December 8, 2008 3:11:42 AM

That's a nice looking monitor, but it doesn't look like it has the RGB input I need for my game console, unfortunately =(

If you don't mind me asking, how did you decide on the 4870?
December 8, 2008 6:37:47 AM

well i was already a biased ATI fan so i just read up on it and learned it is a very good graphics solution and im going with it.
i am trying to decide what i am going to do about cooling. CPU, GPU ect. what have you come up with? i might go with water cooling later on and overclock but i cant afford a high quality water setup just yet.
December 8, 2008 7:37:14 AM

I think i'm gonna stick with the GTX280 unless someone gives me a reasonably compelling reason not to... =\

In terms of cooling, I don't really know. Nobody's really answered my questions about that yet (not that i'm complaining, they've been almost unreasonably helpful everywhere else). I suppose I was hoping that the case fans would pick up the slack that the GPU, CPU, and Power Supply fans don't. I think the case I chose is suppsed to be a good one for cooling.

I'm with you on the cost of water cooling -__-
!