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i7 Build and Questions/criticism

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December 13, 2008 4:51:19 PM

Here is my i7 build, I have questions listed under each part =]

DVD Drive: LG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Question 1: Is samsung a better company? I found this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: Antec Twelve Hundred Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Question 2: Is the 1200 worth getting over the 900? Would another brand of case be more suitable. I want my components to run cool.

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit English for System Builders 1pk DSP OEI DVD - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Question 3: Home premium should suffice, right? dont need ultimate...


Question 4: As for my video card, I was going to splurdge and get the ATI HD 4870 X2 but i'm starting to think I don't really need it right now. Do I really want to spend 500 bucks on something that will be not worth 500 bucks in 10 months? I don't need to best card on the market, I can go for the second best for now and sell it later. What card do you guys recommened, and nvidia or ati? Keep in mind I will be playing my games on a 37" Vizio 720p lcd tv. I do plan on eventually using crossfire or sli.


Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Question 5: Is this a good choice for a hard drive? I wanted the 32 mb cache and a good size/speed hd for a cheap price, and this is what i found. Should I get a cheaper video card, and get the 300 gb velociraptor?

Mobo: ASUS P6T Deluxe LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Question 6: Best i7 mobo to get? Asus, I've read, offers great overclocking options.


Memory: G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Question 7: Should I spend the extra 20 bucks for the DDR3 1600? 1.5v is needed for the X58s right?


These have been finalized:

Processor: Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-1000HX 1000W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I've already purchased the PSU for $175 off buy.com, it was too good of a deal to pass up.

Also, if you have any comments that don't have to do with my questions, please feel free to say them. Don't be scared to massacre my build =P
December 13, 2008 5:26:02 PM

1. Drop that 1kW PSU unless you plan to CrossFire 4870X2. Get PP&C 610 for less than 4870 and Corsair or PP&C 750 for 4870X2.

2. 720p = 1280*720. Which is WAY less than a good LCD. Heck even my old CRT (Gate way 15") runs at 1280*1024.

See: http://www.answers.com/topic/720p

So any thing higher than a 4850 is a waste at that resolution. There is no pint in getting 100fps + at that resolution imo, esp since the image is going to be streched to fill 37" of screen space.

3. Seriously consider going RAID with another 640GB WD AAKS. Your HDD becomes quite a bit of a bottle neck with i7 CPUs esp. if you OC that CPU.

4. Make SURE you have Vista x64 drivers for your WiFi, Printers,etc. If they don't have Vista x64 drivers consider upgrading those too.

5. Do you plan to OC?

6. Over all good build, but do consider getting a good LCD.
December 13, 2008 5:33:47 PM

1. Well I purchased the 1000w with the intent of doing 4870 x2 crossfire in the future. It was only $175, so its a good investment for the future i suppose.

2. Will the image look bad on the tv, should I use my crt instead until i can afford a good lcd? Would the Radeon 4850 suffice or should I go for an nvidia 260 or 9800 gt (or other)?

3. What exactly is RAID and bottlenecking? Would the 300 gb velociraptor prevent that from happening?

4. I'm pretty sure they do, except the printer maybe. But I don't plan on printing from this pc anyway.

5. Yes, I do plan to OC in the future.
Related resources
December 13, 2008 5:34:40 PM

yup 720p does not need crossfire or SLI..
December 13, 2008 5:34:49 PM

Yeah, you definitely don't need a 4870x2 with your monitor. It's a low resolution and you shouldn't need anything more than a 4850 or a 9800gt/gtx260 depending on your preference.

Shadow suggested you dump the 1k corsair psu but I feel that why not buy it when you know at some point in the next 3-5 years you will need the power, no reason to keep buying 750's every few years when you can go ahead and get what you'll need for a long time.

If you plan on overclocking I would go with the 1600 RAM, will give you more head room.

LG makes good drives, the one you picked out is actually the one I bought for my I7 build.

I personally went with EVGA x58, but I know a few people who prefer Asus over them, to each their own.

You suggested getting the 300g velociraptor and getting a less expensive GPU, i think this is very wise. A faster hard drive will give you great performance with the I7, I think a lot of people will see bottlenecking with slower HDD's now that the I7's are coming out.
December 13, 2008 5:57:10 PM

Quote:
Shadow suggested you dump the 1k corsair psu but I feel that why not buy it when you know at some point in the next 3-5 years you will need the power, no reason to keep buying 750's every few years when you can go ahead and get what you'll need for a long time.

I mentioned the 750 as a cost saver. By all mean if you have the budget go with the 1kW. Also another reason is it's a good idea to re place PSU after 4-5 years due to capacitor aging.
December 13, 2008 7:37:20 PM

I agree it saves money sometimes, but the 175 buy.com deal he got is amazing and that psu will last him ages.
December 13, 2008 7:41:14 PM

Raid is when you run multiple hard drives together to achieve better performance. There's different raids like raid 0 raid 1 ect... If you aren't familiar with it I would just grab the 300gig velociraptor, it will be fast enough for you now and if you wish get a bigger hard drive to store movies/music ect if you do a lot of that stuff.
December 13, 2008 8:40:59 PM

Q1) I have Samsung. I like it primarily because it is quieter than my previous plextor.
Q2) Antec 1200 is a great case; better than the 900 which is also good. You do not have a need for lots of space, though. Another good smaller case that would cool equally well is the Antec 300. It's cheaper, but no "bling"
Q3) There is not much you might want from ultimate. Home premium is good. Go to the vista web site for a side by side listing of features. You can always choose to upgrade online after you are installed.
Q4) This is a high end rig, so go with a high end card. I think the 4870 or GTX260 are more reasonable now, and will run anything well. If in doubt, consider a EVGA GTX260 so you can "step-up" if you want something better within 90 days.
If you ever need a massive jump in vga power, you can add a second card.

Hard drive: Use a 300gb velociraptor first for OS and fast stuff. It is definitely faster, and you can feel it. Add a slower larger drive later for expansion . Don't fool with raid. It is messier and not usually worth it, except for certain situations.

P6T is very good, I had no problems. See my configuration for my other parts. My second choice was evga, or gigabyte.

For $20 get 6gb 1600 ram. I am not certain that the speed will make that much difference. I7 wants to run at 1.5v, 1.65v max.

It was trivially easy to overclock to 3.33, just by upping the BCLK from 133 to 160. The automatic ram adjustments kept it at 1.5v

Get a 1366 cpu cooler. Noctua and thermalright now sell them. Thermalright also sells a 1366 mounting kit for their other earlier coolers. I used one with a thermalright ultra 120 extreme.

---good luck---
December 14, 2008 1:00:14 AM

Thank you for all the input guys, I really appreciate it.
I just have a couple more questions...

This is the RAM i chose before:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This is the 1600 I was talking about:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Is it worth the extra $$$$? I'm reading the reviews and it says they (1600) aren't very overclockable. Is there a better set I can get?


I'm gonna switch out the LG for a Samsung dvd drive, only because I own many more things from them, and know of their quality. And I've chosen the 300 gb velociraptor over my previous HD.

I'm still torn between which video card to get. the GTX260 seems like a fine card, as does the 4870. Which do you recommend? Which works best with the components I've chosen? Also, which company is best for nvidia and ati, I've heard EVGA and Sapphire. Keep in mind I'll be playing on a 37" Vizio 720p LCD tv, until I can afford a 1080p.


I see the Antec 1200 on sale at newegg for $159.99 with free shipping. Should I get it now or do you think the price will drop? Is there another webstie with a better deal on the components I've listed?

December 14, 2008 9:50:41 AM

If you later want to buy a 1080p screen that you should consider for now a single GTX260 or a 4870 1GB and then add another with the new screen. So its best to buy a PSU with that in mind (750W+) the one you already have should do it ;) 
That case rocks..very good airflow!
December 14, 2008 7:33:30 PM

where you find that cpu deal
December 14, 2008 7:36:18 PM

golden_inferno, I found the i7 920 for 294.50 free shipping, no tax, 4 games on zipzoomfly.com
December 14, 2008 7:50:19 PM

Just fyi LG makes great products and they also stay true to their warranties(cross shipped a 24'' LG monitor for me last year when mine had a faulty hdmi port).

As for your GPU I personally like nvidia better so I'm a bit biased, but the 4870 is a great card, either way you look at it you get a 4870/260 now and get one later it's very similar performance and at a good price, the 4870 is a bit cheaper(by like 50 bucks I believe). If you do get a 260 I would get the 216 model.
December 14, 2008 7:51:43 PM

Which ram should i get in the 1600 speed. They are all 1.6-1.65 volt. is that ok To pair with the Asus or EVGA mobo? I see a combo deal with Corsair ram and Asus mobo, would that be good? Also I found a deal with them Antec 1200 and EVGA 260GTX superclocked edition.

What should I do about CPU cooling...will the stock fan be adequate until I start OCing?
December 14, 2008 9:09:33 PM

I went with the 1600 RAM myself, the speed differences won't really matter imo. All the 3x2 ram should be compatible with all x58 mobos so no worries there.

The stock fan will definitely be fine until you overclock. I would suggest getting the one you intend to overclock with on there already so you don't have to remove the mobo to put the new backplate on, saves you some hassle later.
December 14, 2008 9:11:16 PM

The 1600 1.65v ram will have a couple of jedc settings at 1.5v for 1066 and 1333. That is so you can boot to bios and change settings to 1.65v and 1600 speeds. I bought the Patriot 1600 ram, primarily because it was one of the few that were available to the early adopter. I looked for USA support as the decision maker. Newegg reviews have some negative patriot reviews, primarily from non-newegg purchasers. What I liked was that Patriot responded to each of them with offers of assistance. If it had been available, I would have bought from Corsair, another USA company with I have had good support experience in the past.

As to the value of speed, I am uncertain how much faster speed is worth. Mine defaulted to 1333 and 1.5v when overclocking the CPU. Performance meets all my expectations. I see no negative to 1600 ram, which is just slower ram with good binning that CAN be pushed higher than 1066 or 1333. To my mind, 6gb is worth much more than 4gb, regardless of speed.

I know patriot tests the ram with Asus and gigabyte boards. I expect that corsair does also.
December 14, 2008 9:41:08 PM

Thank you all for your input. You have helped me in many ways, in getting the best bang for my buck =]

I have one final question before hitting the Finalize Shipment button. Would two Seagate Barracudas in RAID be better than 1 Velociraptor with my build?
December 14, 2008 9:50:15 PM

vanillacena said:
Thank you all for your input. You have helped me in many ways, in getting the best bang for my buck =]

I have one final question before hitting the Finalize Shipment button. Would two Seagate Barracudas in RAID be better than 1 Velociraptor with my build?


In my opinion, absolutely not.
There is generally no real world(vs. synthetic transfer rate benchmarks) performance advantage to raid of any kind.
Go to www.storagereview.com at this link: http://faq.storagereview.com/tiki-index.php?page=Single...
There are some specific applications that will benefit, but
gaming is not one of them. Even if you have an application which reads one input file sequentially, and writes
it out, you will perform about as well by putting the input on one drive, and the output on the other.

Go to the performance database at that site. Look at the benchmarks for their officedrivemark tests. That is what most closely resembles what a single user does. You will see that the velociraptor is faster than anything tested except a Mtron SSD. That includes 15k SAS server drives.
December 14, 2008 11:53:15 PM

Purchased.
Thank you all again for the advice, I appreciate your patience.

Conclusion:

SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: Antec Twelve Hundred Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard Drive: Western Digital VelociRaptor WD3000GLFS 300GB 10000 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mobo: ASUS P6T Deluxe LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory: CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Processor: Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Card: EVGA 896-P3-1267-AR GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 Superclocked Edition 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-1000HX 1000W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Grand Total (after shopping around for best deals and after rebates): $1590.81

Not bad, dropped it from about $2100 by shopping around. I plan to eventually buy myself a 1080p monitor, either get another GTX260 for SLI or upgrade to a GTX280 through the EVGA Step-Up Plan, get another set of 6 gb RAM, grab another Velociraptor Hard Drive, get the CoolerMaster V8 CPU fan, and nab two more 120mm case fans for my Antec Twelve Hundred. So I've left myself open for a lot of options =]

Once again, thank you all for your help and I look forward to chatting with you about my upgrades in the future! haha
December 15, 2008 12:38:18 AM

Good to see you finally got it done, enjoy it.
December 15, 2008 11:21:34 AM

Quote:
CoolerMaster V8 CPU fan

Don't buy that instead get a water cooling set up (GTZ or better FTW!w00t!):D . Expensive, yes, but cool = yes.
December 18, 2008 12:26:41 AM

I've got a TRUE, a P6T, and an Antec 1200, and it doesn't fit unless the side fan is removed.
December 18, 2008 12:30:28 AM

^ Correct.

Imo, seriously look in to water cooling for that rig. :) 
December 18, 2008 12:51:09 AM

Shadow703793 said:
^ Correct.

Imo, seriously look in to water cooling for that rig. :) 



Enlighten me about this water cooling.
December 18, 2008 1:25:41 AM

Water cooling on the I7 is kind of a waste, you can hit 4.2-4.5 with a good air cooler.

Check the evga forums, it's almost too simple to hit 4.0 with the 920
December 18, 2008 10:06:32 AM

^ Nahhh... with water you can hit 4.5+Ghz and 1.5v :D 
December 19, 2008 1:25:32 PM

What's the best CPU cooler for my i7?
I've heard TRUE is best.
December 19, 2008 2:45:29 PM

The TRUE and noctua are probably the best currently available. with incluced 1366 mounting.
Thermalright sells a 1366 mounting kit for about $10 that fits some of their other coolers. That is what I used.
Zalman has a kit for some of their coolers for $5. Zalman looks attractive, but does not cool as well as true or noctua.
Noctua will send you a free kit for some of their coolers.
The i7 cpu die is only a bit larger than the c2d cpu die, and almost any c2d oem cooler will do the job if you can find a 1366 mounting kit for it.
!