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New Rig - Why does every option have a downside?

Last response: in Systems
December 8, 2008 11:10:22 AM

Ok, I am shopping for a new rig. So far, I've only bought the PSU, a Corsair HX1000W.

So far I am a bit disappointed by the options, based on what I've read.

780i chipset - runs hot, reports of quality problems
790i chipset - requires DDR3, high price
X58 chipset - new release, high price
X48 chipset - doesn't support SLI (this may not be a downside if you prefer ati)

DDR3 - not worth the extra price for the performance increase, but still worth it to avoid 780i??

a pair of 9800GTX+ cards - good performance, good price, no direct upgrade path, requires 780i or 790i 8-(
a pair of 4850 cards - good performance, good price, no direct upgrade path, questionable quality drivers from ati
single GTX280 - expensive, provides upgrade path for 2nd card in 10 months when prices drop
single 4870 x2 - expensive, provides upgrade path for 2nd card in 10 months when prices drop

Core 2 Duo E8500 - pretty much decided on this for the cpu

I've owned several ati cards in the past... I started another thread to discuss ati hardware/software quality of late... which generally seemed to suggest that ati has gotten a bit better over the last couple of years.... but I'm a bit worried that may be short lived, now that they've taken top spot again.

I would like to go with NV and SLI support... but the tradeoff for an nForce chipset seems like a really big one... put that together with ATI's price/performance on their cards, and it feels like ATI is sucking me back in again....


More about : rig option downside

December 8, 2008 11:36:19 AM

I would not for any reason buy a board with an Nvidia chipset.
If you want to run SLI, bite the bullet and go i7 with the new chipset.
SLI scaling from what I have read is very good with the X58 and i7.
It is expensive, but you have the option to go Crossfire or SLI either one.
December 8, 2008 11:37:56 AM

i7 920, X58 with SLI and crossfire, DDR3. Yes more expensive in the short term, but probably cost effective in the long term.
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December 8, 2008 12:46:37 PM

it depends on several factors which you haven't listed in your thread.

1- Budget
2- Type of task requiring the computer
3- Electricity / heat / noise limits

You are considering an E8500 (which is by most standard a middle of the pack cpu) yet you bought an high-end PSU (which will mostly be running at 40-50% eff).
If you are a budget buyer who mostly wants to game/browse/music/movies, then go for an E8500, p45 pro, hd4870 1gig and 2x2gig pc6400 ram.
If you are an enthusiast who has somewhat more money, go for a q9550, p45 pro, hd4870 or gtx260+ and 2x2gig pc6400.

If you have lots of disposable income and are a demanding user, go for either q9650/hd4870x2 2x2gig pc8500 or i7 920, x58 (p6t deluxe), hd4870x2 and 3x2gig ddr3 ram.
December 8, 2008 1:12:45 PM

Thanks for the replies.

1. Budget

I would say that I am willing to spend some money... putting me between mainstream and enthusiast. I say between because I would like to get the best bang for the dollar, and recognize the value in buying good, well tested parts. That said, I do hesitate when the good quality mainstream part is $250 and the next best part jumps to $500, especially when I know that in 3 months the $500 part will be a $250 part. I guess that means I prefer the "1 generation old bleeding edge hardware". For the same reasoning, I'd likely never by a brand new car, but would prefer one that is 1 year old.

2. Type/Task
Not really representative... these days, I could get away with a mainstream box... but I haven't upgraded in years now, and I would like to be able to play games when I feel like it (even thought that isn't as often as it used to be), and it is a bit of a treat to me, so upper mainstream to low-end enthusiast is what I'm thinking.

3. Electric/Heat/Noise
The box will sit in my home office, likely running 24/7. Until I add a NAS to the home network, it will probably stream media files to other boxes in the house and do my surfing/email/document/work bidding. While I don't want to sit beside a jet taking off if I'm just surfing, I don't mind a bit of noise if I'm playing a game with the sound turned up.


December 8, 2008 1:34:51 PM

Well it does all come down to how much you're willing to spend. If you get an X58 motherboard - one that does NOT support SLI will be cheaper - and an i7 CPU, 6GB of DDR3 and you're looking a pretty hefty price before video card, case, etc.

A good X48 board like a Gigabyte DS4 with a Q9459/Q9550 will 4GB or 8GB even of DDR2 will easily handle games at max with a single 4870x2, and like you said you can add a second one later. If you still wanted to shave a couple bucks off you could get a dual core E8400. With either processor you should get direct contact heatsink like the Xigmatek, OCZ Vendetta II, or Sunbmean Core Contact Freezer and do some voerclocking because these processors love it.

I would vote the X48 build because to me it represents the best value and being able to add a second 4870x2 will give it great life. Since you aren't looking to be a hardcore gamer or artist with this box I wouldn't spend the extra $$ on i7 - unless you have the $$$ kickin around, then by all means go for it :) 
December 8, 2008 2:35:25 PM

For a good fast balanced system:
P45 mobo
4gb of DDR2-800 ram in a 2x2gb configuration
GTX260-216 or 4870-1gb If you ever need more, sell it, and get the next greatest card. I doubt you will.
Velociraptor for OS and fast stuff. Add a larger storage drive if you need capacity.
Your psu is fine for anything

If you think you need a quad, the i7 920 is probably the way to go.
December 8, 2008 2:50:27 PM

I agree with geofelt's latest post. It is very similar to what I suggested except that a q9550 is 350$cad while the e8500 is 225$cad. If you really don't want to upgrade for a while, the extra 125$ for 2 more cores could be a good deal (and the q9550 can do 3.8-4ghz on air).

If you do want to keep the setup silent and cool, I do recommend either a very silent cpu + vga cooling solution or a watercooling kit, depending on your budget and technical abilities.

In short, if you want the 2nd best (at good prices)
p45 (pro, deluxe, whatever)
2x2 gig ddr2-800 ram (go for the best deal, they are all similar in that range)
wd 640gig hdd
hd4870 1gig (or gtx260+ if you get a good deal)
on-board sound/lan/raid

If you have some extra cash, some options are to: get a 300gig velociraptor, upgrade to a q9650, get a better cooling solution, get pc-8500 ram, get quieter case fans or get an external hdd for storage/backup.

With those options, you can get whatever suits your wallet in the 1000-2000$CAD range :) 
December 8, 2008 3:16:11 PM

+1 to the suggestions - A p45 E8500/Q9550 with GTX 260/4870 would be a good build for some time. When it starts to show wear, upgrade/build new again.
December 9, 2008 12:14:02 AM

Thanks for the ideas folks... I've got some more research to do.

As for the E8500, I was thinking it was a good, cheap option... since not alot of stuff takes advantage of the quad core yet, I thought the E8500 would be good first step, and then the mobo allows upgrade to a quad later on.

I haven't run the prices of X58 and i7... time to do that now.

I need to rethink the embargo on ATI too... even if just out of principle... NVidia keeping the stranglehold on SLI capable chipsets (and sub-par chipsets at that) is pretty crappy. (I realize Intel got them to relinquish their monopoly on SLI for the X58, but they didn't do it willingly, heh)

December 9, 2008 11:21:44 AM

wait, I'm pretty sure you can run dual 9800gtx+ is SLI with the X58 chipset (depends on the motherboard though)

correct me if I'm wrong
December 9, 2008 12:08:50 PM

paying 235$ for an e8500 then adding another 300$ in a year for a q9550 is going to be more expensive than going straight to i7.

I'd suggest you look at your crystal ball and figure out if you want to pay an additional 115$ or so to get a q9550 right away. I know I would but different people have different budgets and different goals :) 
December 13, 2008 2:27:46 PM

Ok, well, I might be leaning now towards this:

core i7 920
Asus P6T Deluxe

question is what to do for RAM. I've read that the Tri-channel doesn't help performance yet... so is it better to go with 8GB (2 x 2GB) x 2 of dual channel, or get 6GB of Tri-channel now and then add another 6 later when prices drop?

is more of dual better than a bit less of tri? but tri gives the upgrade path