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I7 Sanity Check

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March 5, 2009 8:44:41 PM

"Review my I7 build" seems to be the topic of the day, but it seems like everyone has been getting really good suggestions. So, before I buy, does anyone have any input?

To help focus any suggestions, here's a breakdown of what I'm after:
- Heavy-load uses (in order of hours per week) will be Photoshop/Lightroom (a lot of RAW images), then MMORPGs (WoW/LOTRO), then occasional FPS and RTS games. If it won't handle max settings at max resolution on Crysis...well, I can live with that :)  .
- Yes, I'll OC. I'll probably be targeting a little above 3GHz, but I'm looking for long-term stability above speed.
- Resolution will be 1680 x 1050 for now, but I might bump it up in the future.
- I prefer single-card video solutions.
- ATI's cards have great numbers and price to performance...but I've had a heck of a time with ATI drivers in the past, so I'm going NVidia.
- I'm trying to keep it below $1500 (box only, no keyboard/mouse/monitor) while providing solid quality and what future-proofing I can.

Current Proposed Build:
Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
ASUS P6T LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
EVGA 01G-P3-1281-AR GeForce GTX 285 1GB 512-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 - Retail
OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P1600LV6GK - Retail
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
LITE-ON Combo Black SATA Model DH-52C2S-04 - OEM
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders - OEM
Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM
COOLER MASTER V8 RR-UV8-XBU1-GP 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler - Retail

Price from Newegg without mail-in rebates: About $1,600 (so I've already hit a budget overrun...kind of like government work).

Thanks in advance for any help you can give!

More about : sanity check

March 5, 2009 9:05:14 PM

I'd drop to a 500GB hard drive and get a gtx 280 instead of 285. I dont like the extra 50 dollars it costs. it isnt worth it.
March 5, 2009 9:27:26 PM

shiftstealth said:
I'd drop to a 500GB hard drive and get a gtx 280 instead of 285. I dont like the extra 50 dollars it costs. it isnt worth it.


Actually that 285 is only $25 more than the cheapest 280 on newegg, it draws less juice and it performs better than the 280.
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March 5, 2009 10:15:16 PM

It looks pretty good. Look for CM-690 case if you want to cut a little off the price and still have good cooling.
March 5, 2009 10:34:32 PM

xthekidx said:
It looks pretty good. Look for CM-690 case if you want to cut a little off the price and still have good cooling.


+1 for the CM690
March 5, 2009 10:55:03 PM

shiftstealth said:
I'd drop to a 500GB hard drive and get a gtx 280 instead of 285. I dont like the extra 50 dollars it costs. it isnt worth it.


THe platter density isn't as efficient as the 640--if he was going to cut HD size, it shouldn't be 500/750
March 5, 2009 11:02:43 PM

Sure it should. The Seagate 7200.12 500GB has a single 500GB platter.
March 5, 2009 11:05:34 PM

that looks pretty good to me, i would grab a P6T Deluxe if i could. also if u can u might want to go with a full size case like the twelve hundred or a CM HAF. Also go with the EVGA GTX285 SC over the regular, its $5 more and clocked at 675Mhz over the standard 648Mhz, u should be able to hit 3.0Ghz no problem

otherwise great build, it looks a lot like the one i just put ordered.

F.Y.I: ur getting $50 in mail in rebates so that would cancel the added $50 on the P6T deluxe or the twelve hundred
March 6, 2009 12:20:46 AM

Wow, good replies.

On the HD size, this box is for my wife. She is a (disorganized) photographer who primarily uses RAW files and makes a 1TB HD feel as crowded as a 1.44 Floppy. I'm the one who gets to reorganize stuff and back it up. Is the 640 sufficiently more efficient to make it worth getting that and then adding one or more larger drives in a month or so? I like the idea of starting her out with a TB so I can have a couple months peace.

Like Why says, I think the price differences have narrowed between the 280 and 285, Shift. At $50 you're right, though, it would be tough to justify on a budget.

I like that CM-690 case, X. Looks like quite the bang for the buck. It's definitely in the running.

Thanks for the tip on the burner, Fooly. I've used LiteOn in seven or eight machines over the last decade or so and kind of got used to their optical drives. I've never thought much of LG...always viewed it as a "cheap" brand. But you're right. The reviews are good, and the only negative things said are really nitpicky. I'll give the LG drive a try.

Jjtexas, I agree on the $5 for the OC'd vid card, but why do you feel the P6T deluxe is better? I don't see any additional features I need, so is it better quality or something? I've read reviews on the P6T where the reviewer felt the board was too flexible and needed an additional mid-board standoff. Does the deluxe version fix that? I'm willing to break budget for quality. On the Antec 1200...wow, what a monster. I'd have to give it its own bedroom. Why do you think a full size case would be an important upgrade? Cooling/expandability is obvious...anything else?

Thanks again, everyone!
March 6, 2009 12:33:06 AM

The Antec 900 or CM 690 have a lot to offer, you don't need bigger cases than that really. If you want better cooling add a couple 120mm fans to either one and you will have better cooling than the 1200 or HAF for cheaper. Smaller cases require less fans to cool them. Check microcenter.com for cases, they almost always have better deals than newegg.

I use the P6T and am quite happy with it. For your purposes, you don't need the Deluxe. The Deluxe is good if you want an OC of 4ghz and want to run two GTX 285's in SLI...but that doesn't seem to describe you so well. I have my i7 at 3.5ghz, only took like 15 mins to find a stable OC. I even had it to 3.8ghz stable, but backed it down so that I would have lower temps.
March 6, 2009 12:52:53 AM

xthekid is right, what the computer is being used for a full size tower would be overkill. as for the deluxe, im not sure if it is the "better version" or simply the newer one but either way I don't think u will notice a difference, it was simply a thought

in the end i'd go with wat u have already, it looks like a solid build to me
March 6, 2009 12:53:30 AM

xthekidx said:
The Deluxe is good if you want an OC of 4ghz and want to run two GTX 285's in SLI...but


The P6T does all that just fine. The deluxe is 50 bucks more for a second LAN port and a better set up for triple SLI but, SLI with just two cards it is identical. A waste of money if you ask me.
March 6, 2009 1:18:41 AM

caniba said:
The P6T does all that just fine. The deluxe is 50 bucks more for a second LAN port and a better set up for triple SLI but, SLI with just two cards it is identical. A waste of money if you ask me.

No...The Deluxe has better power management (16+2 phase power vs 8+2 phase power) and a much better board layout for SLI. The x16 slots on the P6T are placed very close together, on the Deluxe they are spaced wider allowing for better cooling and more airflow to the fans of the GPUs. It will overclock higher than the P6T too.
March 6, 2009 3:37:51 PM

I'm building a machine this spring/summer primarily for Lightroom and video editing. I don't play games, not planning to overclock.
LR is such a memory hog, the Asus mobo can take up to 24G's of DDR3 so that's good.:-)

I remember reading on a lightroom forum that LR had problems with Nvidia cards. Mind you, that may very well be fixed now, but I'm getting an ATI just to be on the safe side.

I'm probably going to go with an Asus p6t6 Revolution board. The P6t has firewire built in, however it's FW 1394a(aka 400)

The Revo doesn't have built in FW, so I'll buy a PCi-e card with FW 1394b (800)

Of course since technology is such a moving target and things may change between now and when I get the stuff, nothing is set in stone. For all I know, I might use a Zeon processor, necessitating a different mobo, but I doubt it.

Anyway, my $.02 on the video card.

Joe
Kalispell, MT



bfw said:
"Review my I7 build" seems to be the topic of the day, but it seems like everyone has been getting really good suggestions. So, before I buy, does anyone have any input?

To help focus any suggestions, here's a breakdown of what I'm after:
- Heavy-load uses (in order of hours per week) will be Photoshop/Lightroom (a lot of RAW images)

March 7, 2009 8:38:15 PM

joemontana said:
I remember reading on a lightroom forum that LR had problems with Nvidia cards. Mind you, that may very well be fixed now, but I'm getting an ATI just to be on the safe side.

Really? I'll have to look into it. My preference for NVidia's GPUs is based on personal experience with issues revolving around ATI's drivers. Wouldn't it be a laugh if I bought NVidia this time only to have problems with the 285 that a 4870 would never have encountered?

Thanks for the heads up, Joe.
March 8, 2009 5:55:22 AM

cjl said:
Sure it should. The Seagate 7200.12 500GB has a single 500GB platter.


But since it's Seagate it should be avoided until they have worked out their issues.
March 8, 2009 7:02:19 AM

cjl said:
Sure it should. The Seagate 7200.12 500GB has a single 500GB platter.


Not to mention if you read the OPs post he had already selected a WD hdd. And keeping that in mind, the 320/640/1tb have the preferred platter density compared to the 250/500/750.

I haven't heard enough about the new seagate drives for me to recommend them yet.
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