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Advice on a new system ~$2100

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March 21, 2009 4:16:48 AM

I'd appreciate any advice about a configuration I've put together on newegg - basically I'm looking for advice on anything that is incompatible or missing altogether or alternative recommendations (as long as they are not more expensive). I am putting everything I can think of on this list, right down to cable ties and thermal compound - basically I want to be able to build a working PC from everything on the list, and nothing else, so assume I am otherwise locked in an empty room.

Warning: I've never built a PC before, only gone as far as replacing PSU, hard drives and graphics cards, and that is it, but I am sick of dealing with Dell. I do not know anyone personally in my area that can help me with it, so I'm on my own - but I'm not a complete moron either... just lower on the related learning curve than probably anyone else here. :) 

The total is just under $2150 at present, and do not want it to go any higher, eg: I went for a GTX285 SSC edition instead of the GTX295 as it's about $150 cheaper but not hugely less in performance, also I can always add a second one in SLI further down the line. I chose a 790i mobo and Q9650 instead of an X58 and an i7 because otherwise I'd want the i7-940 at least, which together is about $250+ more. The PC case was actually one of the harder choices... put a huge mother on the list to allow me room to move around, heh (and the cooler is pretty big), but again, that can be changed.. so here is what I have on the list- I've but notes in italics under a few of the items:


Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit - $99.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...


COOLER MASTER Storm Sniper SGC Black ATX Mid Tower Case - $149.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


EVGA 132-BL-E758-A1 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - $299.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


i7-920 Nehalem 2.66GHz Quad-Core Processor - $279.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


COOLER MASTER V8 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler - $69.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...


EVGA GeForce GTX 285 SSC Edition 1GB 512-bit GDDR3 graphics card - $389.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer Sound Card - $75.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...


OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) - $109.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


CORSAIR 850TX 850W PSU - $129.99 ...is this enough power?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


[2 x] LG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner - $47.98 ...price is total for 2 drives
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...


WD VelociRaptor 300GB 10000 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - $229.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...


WD Caviar 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive (second/data drive) - $79.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


OCZ Freeze Thermal Compound - $5.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Cables Ties 4" x100 - $3.99 ...like I said, everything
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...


Rosewill 45 Piece Computer Tool Kit - $19.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...


12" 8-pin EPS extension cable - $7.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


8" Power Extension Cable for 24 pin ATX 2.01 Motherboards - $15.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...




Removed / replaced items:

Antec Twelve Hundred Black Steel ATX Full Tower Case - $179.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...


EVGA NVIDIA nForce 790i Ultra SLI ATX Motherboard - $199.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...


Q9650 3.0GHz 95W Quad-Core Processor - $324.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...


XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm - $39.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


[2 x] G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) - $139.98 ...price is total for 2 sets = 8GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...


OCZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) - $104.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Thermaltake Toughpower 850W ATX12V / EPS12V PSU - $199.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...


WD Caviar 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive (second/data drive) - $74.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...


Arctic Silver high-density, ceramic-based thermal compound - $8.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...


Scythe KM01-BK "KAZE MASTER" 5.25" Bay Fan Controller - $32.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...


Intel 10/100/1000Mbps PCI PRO/1000 GT Desktop Adapter - $23.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...
...do I need this even? think it's built in to 790i





Greatly appreciate any advice!
Oh, the GTX285 comes with Call of Duty: World at War for free.. that's about $50 bonus.

More about : advice system 2100

March 21, 2009 4:29:01 AM

I wouldn't recommend any SLI board except X58, so go with an i7 920. The 940 is not worth double the price, and the 920 can easily OC well past 3GHz.

Change your PSU to Corsair TX850.

Change both HDD to Caviar Black 640GB. Nearly as fast as the VR and only $5 more than the 500GB.

Try the on-board sound. You may decide you do not need a sound card.

The Xigmatech Dark Knight cools as well as the V8 for less.

Change the RAM to 3x2GB DDR3.

You don't need the NIC or the fan controller.

Change the TIM to Arctic Cooling MX-2 or OCZ Freeze.
March 21, 2009 6:38:45 AM

hmmm OK you have a point there about the i7-920.. as long as I clock it up a bit:
http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1402398
Will check out the rest shortly, thanks.

Ok amending my first post. I can get an EVGA X58 and an i7-920 for only $50 more. I can handle that. Wish the i7-940 wasn't such a huge jump up in price. Still going through the rest.

Nice tip on the corsair - just as good and significantly cheaper. 850W should be enough for this system, right?

Keeping the Velociraptor - seen one in action and it felt a lot 'snappier' than the 7200RPM. Changing the 500 for the 640 Caviar black for a few extra $, thanks.

Definitely sticking with a sound card - doesn't have to be the XtremeGamer of course.

Xigmatech Dark Knight is about $20 less, but the bottom contact surface is not flat like the V8 (look at pics on newegg), and for the $20 the V8 looks hot (bad choice of descriptor?)

RAM changed - saved a bit there too thanks.

Unsure about the compound. Ive swapped over to the MX-2 as apparently it has almost no curing time, whereas the ceramic based one has 100-300 hours to really settle.. although it apparently also has better heat transfer and lasts longer.

hmm.. down to $2050 now.. that's better. Thanks very much Animal :) 

Any other suggestions, or particularly anything missing. What about cable management?
Related resources
March 21, 2009 7:03:53 AM

http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=I7-920 <==== Scroll down on that page and you will see where that cpu is bundled with the Cooler Master v8 and the MX-2 thermal compound for $325.

PS, as far as heatsinks go, the Xigmatek is right there towards the top...no matter how it looks on the bottom.

http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm <====== There ya go with the heatsinks.

Cheaper SLI board down below.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $209.99
GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD3R-SLI LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

btw, that raptor barley has it over the WD640 black edition. It seems like a lot of money for not much gain.

March 21, 2009 7:20:23 AM

Nereus01 said:
hmmm OK you have a point there about the i7-920.. as long as I clock it up a bit:
http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1402398
Will check out the rest shortly, thanks.

Ok amending my first post. I can get an EVGA X58 and an i7-920 for only $50 more. I can handle that. Wish the i7-940 wasn't such a huge jump up in price. Still going through the rest.

Nice tip on the corsair - just as good and significantly cheaper. 850W should be enough for this system, right?

Keeping the Velociraptor - seen one in action and it felt a lot 'snappier' than the 7200RPM. Changing the 500 for the 640 Caviar black for a few extra $, thanks.

Definitely sticking with a sound card - doesn't have to be the XtremeGamer of course.

Xigmatech Dark Knight is about $20 less, but the bottom contact surface is not flat like the V8 (look at pics on newegg), and for the $20 the V8 looks hot (bad choice of descriptor?)

RAM changed - saved a bit there too thanks.

Unsure about the compound. Ive swapped over to the MX-2 as apparently it has almost no curing time, whereas the ceramic based one has 100-300 hours to really settle.. although it apparently also has better heat transfer and lasts longer.

hmm.. down to $2050 now.. that's better. Thanks very much Animal :) 

Any other suggestions, or particularly anything missing. What about cable management?


Don't worry about not getting the 940 over the 920. There is absolutely NO reason to get the 940 or even the 965... the 920 can get to 3.8GHz, sometimes even as far as 4GHz on air, without any need for the 965's fancy unlocked multiplier, not to mention it's 1k pricetag.
March 21, 2009 7:49:51 AM

Thanks for those links Why_Me - given me more to think about. Surprised the V8 wasn't on that list - from what I've read it does a pretty good job. Yeah the Velociraptor is a lot of $ for what it is - that's $150 right there that could go towards something else.. will have to think some more about it..

Quite right EQPlayer - That's some humongous (and not really warranted) price jumps from i7-920 to 940 to 965. Heck, I'll be happy with the 920 at 3GHz. Then again, if I drop the velociraptor I could squeeze in an i7-940 almost.. but nah, waste of money when I'm working on a budget.

Anything that might be missing out of that lot? Again, imagine I'll be in a locked room and will have only what is on this list to assemble the PC (assume I already have mouse, keyboard and monitor). BTW I use a 1680 x 1050 res WS monitor.

Is that Antec 1200 case overkill? Do I need some sort of support for the cooler?

Thanks again, really appreciate the advice.
March 21, 2009 8:30:33 AM

Nereus01 said:
Thanks for those links Why_Me - given me more to think about. Surprised the V8 wasn't on that list - from what I've read it does a pretty good job. Yeah the Velociraptor is a lot of $ for what it is - that's $150 right there that could go towards something else.. will have to think some more about it..

Quite right EQPlayer - That's some humongous (and not really warranted) price jumps from i7-920 to 940 to 965. Heck, I'll be happy with the 920 at 3GHz. Then again, if I drop the velociraptor I could squeeze in an i7-940 almost.. but nah, waste of money when I'm working on a budget.

Anything that might be missing out of that lot? Again, imagine I'll be in a locked room and will have only what is on this list to assemble the PC (assume I already have mouse, keyboard and monitor). BTW I use a 1680 x 1050 res WS monitor. Is that Antec 1200 case overkill?

Thanks again, really appreciate the advice.


Well if I was to do that build, I would do something like this down below. It cuts the price down, yet you still get a great rig.

btw, the back plate and LGA 1366 bracket comes packaged with that Xigmatek.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... Combo Discount: -$40.00 Combo Price: $239.98 $20.00 Mail-In Rebate
1. CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
2. COOLER MASTER Storm Sniper SGC-6000-KKN1-GP Black ABS Bezel, SECC Body ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $209.99
GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD3R-SLI LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=I7-920 $265.99 Free Ground Shipping
Intel Core i7 Processor i7-920 2.66GHz 8MB LGA1366 CPU, OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $39.99
XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $6.99
ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $339.99 ($309.99 after $30.00 Mail-In Rebate)
GIGABYTE GV-N285-1GH-B GeForce GTX 285 1GB 512-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $99.99 Free Shipping*
G.SKILL 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... $79.99 Free Shipping*
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $23.99 Free Shipping*
LG Black 22X (CAV) DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X (CAV) 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 - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $99.99 Free Shipping*
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders - OEM

Total: $1,406.57 *(not including shipping and rebates) $50 in mail in rebates
March 21, 2009 8:49:51 AM

I'd get a i7 965 and a EVGA sli with a stock GTX 285 and OCing it ur self. Get 3 gigs of 1333 mhz ram and OC it.

Ending up at around 2k :D 
March 21, 2009 8:56:40 AM

rescawen said:
I'd get a i7 965 and a EVGA sli with a stock GTX 285 and OCing it ur self. Get 3 gigs of 1333 mhz ram and OC it.

Ending up at around 2k :D 


-1 for that post.
March 21, 2009 9:31:00 AM

Nereus01 said:
Thanks for those links Why_Me - given me more to think about. Surprised the V8 wasn't on that list - from what I've read it does a pretty good job. Yeah the Velociraptor is a lot of $ for what it is - that's $150 right there that could go towards something else.. will have to think some more about it..

Quite right EQPlayer - That's some humongous (and not really warranted) price jumps from i7-920 to 940 to 965. Heck, I'll be happy with the 920 at 3GHz. Then again, if I drop the velociraptor I could squeeze in an i7-940 almost.. but nah, waste of money when I'm working on a budget.

Anything that might be missing out of that lot? Again, imagine I'll be in a locked room and will have only what is on this list to assemble the PC (assume I already have mouse, keyboard and monitor). BTW I use a 1680 x 1050 res WS monitor.

Is that Antec 1200 case overkill? Do I need some sort of support for the cooler?

Thanks again, really appreciate the advice.


I've got an Antec 1200, and all I have to say is that I love it. Yes, it's huge, and yes, it's heavy, but still, I <3 it so very much. As for a support for the heatsink... A) There's no such thing and B) No, you don't. The V8's good, but honestly, the Xigmatek uhh... what is it called... S1283? Or something like that... it's better. Plus the Dark Knight version is just as sexy, imho. Also look into getting a TRUE, or a TRUE Black for further sexiness. They're basically the best thing short of watercooling.
March 21, 2009 12:08:13 PM

Nereus01 said:
Is that Antec 1200 case overkill? Do I need some sort of support for the cooler?
A rear bracket on the underside will help take stress off the MB from the big, heavy coolers. You'll be fine unless you get rowdy moving the case around.

That Antec 1200 is an excellent full tower case.
As an option compare it against the new Cooler Master Storm Sniper mid tower case
Don't let the "mid tower" fool you - the CM Storm Sniper is just about the same size as the Antec 1200.
CM Storm Sniper = 22" x 10" x 21.7" Antec 1200 = 22.9" x 8.4" x 20.2"
It's $30 less with some nice features like a fan speed controller on the front panel and a switch to turn off the LED fan lights. Also have some very nice cable management options. CM Storm Sniper @ Legit Reviews
March 21, 2009 2:51:35 PM

WR2 thanks for that thermal link, some good info there. I've switched to the OCZ Freeze thermal compound as a result.

WR2 holy cr@p that CoolerMaster 'mid' case is as big if not bigger than the Antec 1200 full size! Not so keen on those feet on it though, so think I'll stick with the Antec. I've added a 12" 8-pin extension and a 8" 24-pin extension cable to the list just because the Antec 1200 is so big, that way I can be sure there's enough length to run wiring behind the mobo where it's all hidden.

EQPlayer and WR2, ok I'm convinced. Switched to the XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm. As mentioned, it comes with a backplate for extra support too. List amended accordingly. Damn that V8 looks way sexy though, but this is pretty sweet too.

Note - there's some combo deals with a few items on my list I have not noted here because you can only put them in your basket at newegg, not your wish list, which is what I'm working out of.

Why-Me, still looking through some more of those links, thanks so much for all that! The EVGA GTX285 I have on my list now is part of a combo deal with something else so I'll stick with it.. also stock it's a bit faster clock than the Gigabyte GTX285 :) 

Why_Me, the OSZ Gold RAM is down to $84.99 now with rebate if you chose the G.Skill because of price. The heat spreaders on the G.Skill look kind of scary to me - wonder if they'd get in the way. Then again, it is an Antec 1200 cave.

Jury's still out on the Veliociraptor. I like it, but $150 extra for some added HD snappiness... hmm.

Damn I'm so pleased this is looking like a much better config than what I was going to get from Dell (custom XPS630i) and yet it's cheaper!

Thanks again everyone, this is awesome.. system really coming together now. Again, anything else? (remember, pretend I'm in a locked room and only have the items on this list to assemble the PC - including tools). I've read some people put thin foam padding under the mobo mounts and same with PSU and drives, just to soften any vibration.. is that a good move? any links to appropriate material (preferably via newegg). Cheers.
March 21, 2009 3:01:28 PM

Nereus01 said:
WR2 thanks for that thermal link, some good info there. I've switched to the OCZ Freeze thermal compound as a result.

WR2 holy cr@p that CoolerMaster 'mid' case is as big if not bigger than the Antec 1200 full size! Not so keen on those feet on it though, so think I'll stick with the Antec.
You have your choice of "feet" to the CM Sniper case. From that review:
Looking at the bottom of the Sniper we have yet more vents. The feet of the Sniper are server style feet with a neoprene base to prevent sliding around on smooth surfaces. Now, if this is not your liking Cooler Master also includes a replacement set of standard rubber feet; this also shortens the overall height almost an inch.

I like the idea of the cable extensions - gives you more flexibility for cable management, no matter what case you get.

Antec 1200 review
March 21, 2009 3:20:35 PM

WR2 said:
You have your choice of "feet" to the CM Sniper case. From that review:
Looking at the bottom of the Sniper we have yet more vents. The feet of the Sniper are server style feet with a neoprene base to prevent sliding around on smooth surfaces. Now, if this is not your liking Cooler Master also includes a replacement set of standard rubber feet; this also shortens the overall height almost an inch.

Thanks I didn't realize that! It's certainly a nice looking case - looks like it means serious business, if you know what I mean. Tempting, but the insane amount of airflow on the Antec 1200 has me still leaning in that direction.. plus there's something about the all black interior that's appealing too.
March 21, 2009 3:28:40 PM

Nothing wrong with knowing what you want. A case can be a highly personal choice. For me the option to dial back the fan speed when not 3D gaming and turning off the fan LEDs would be more appealing.
Nereus01 said:
the insane amount of airflow on the Antec 1200 has me still leaning in that direction.. plus there's something about the all black interior that's appealing too.

The amount of airflow inside a case only has to be enough to change out the heated air inside the case fairly rapidly. Higher airflow doesn't always mean significantly better temps. There are tons of 2 & 3 fan cases out there that do really well in case cooling.
March 21, 2009 3:46:50 PM

That Storm Sniper is set up to run another 200mm fan, and 2 x 120mm fans. Get two el cheapo 120mm fans, and one more 200mm case fan, and you have a ton of fans. Like WR2 said, I have seen cases with tons of fans but crap airflow. This storm sniper has lots of ventilation. But if you load that thing up with all the fans it's set up for, that would give you like ...christ let's see... 3 x 200mm fans, and ...like 3 or 4 120mm fans. Not sure, but I know it's a lot.
March 21, 2009 4:08:07 PM

WR2 said:
Nothing wrong with knowing what you want. A case can be a highly personal choice. For me the option to dial back the fan speed when not 3D gaming and turning off the fan LEDs would be more appealing.

The amount of airflow inside a case only has to be enough to change out the heated air inside the case fairly rapidly. Higher airflow doesn't always mean significantly better temps. There are tons of 2 & 3 fan cases out there that do really well in case cooling.


Wow, again great points. Flashy lighting is not important to me at all. Actually, something lurking menacingly in the corner is far more appealing to me than a bright neon traffic-light attention whore. Those feet were a big aesthetic issue for me, but you've resolved that one. There is no issue with width and headroom for the Dark Knight cooler.. in fact there's a few inches to spare.. not sure why they call it a mid-case with those dimensions.

I don't intend to have the case sitting on the floor, so sucking up dust through the bottom is not an issue.

There's a heck of a lot of mesh on the Sniper - helps airflow, but wonder how the noise level will be with all that open mesh? That's my biggest concern now.

I may end up flipping a coin over this. :) 

And yeah Why_me, the Sniper can be loaded it up with additional fans I see, on almost every surface!
March 21, 2009 4:10:30 PM

Nereus01 said:
Wow, again great points. Flashy lighting is not important to me at all. Actually, something lurking menacingly in the corner is far more appealing to me than a bright neon traffic-light attention whore. Those feet were a big aesthetic issue for me, but you've resolved that one. There is no issue with width and headroom for the Dark Knight cooler.. in fact there's a few inches to spare.. not sure why they call it a mid-case with those dimensions.

I don't intend to have the case sitting on the floor, so sucking up dust through the bottom is not an issue.

There's a heck of a lot of mesh on the Sniper - helps airflow, but wonder how the noise level will be? That's my biggest concern now.

I may end up flipping a coin over this. :) 

Thanks again for your advice.


It comes with an external fan control. Just turn down your fans (check your temps), until you find the sweet spot.
March 21, 2009 4:27:18 PM

I see a comment on newegg that someone has 2 GTX285 (SLI) in it, and they fit with plenty of room to spare. That's good to know. Surprisingly, several people comment that it's actually pretty quiet (assuming your graphics card or CPU cooling fans don't scream). Fine. I'll flip a coin then.

Ok, just flipped a coin. Fate decided. The Sniper won. LOL.
March 21, 2009 5:29:30 PM

On further research, I've switched back to the V8 cooler, for a couple of reasons:

Noise level is one, particularly with the Sniper case - the V8 runs at 17-21dBA max, the Dark Knight at 30.1dBA max (I really want to keep noise to a minimum as the case will be sitting on top of a 2-drawer filing cabinet right next to my desk, so it'll be like not even 3 feet from my right ear).
I read someone with the same mobo had issues with the Dark Knight partially blocking a RAM slot. Not so with the V8 (sits higher). Big concern.
The V8 is a little heavier and not quite as effective as the Dark Knight, but it's still a very good cooler.
I like the flat contact surface of the V8, as opposed to the Dark Knight, as well as the V8 not having that black nickel coating.

Ok looks like we're just about there. I'm sooo glad I came to these forums, you've been awesome!

Again, anything else I may be missing before I order this? Anything at all, even contingency if it's inexpensive - don't want to be halfway through and have to stop and wait for parts. Anyone have any comments about some sort of foam padding as I mentioned a couple of posts ago?
March 21, 2009 10:48:38 PM

WR2 said:
Nothing wrong with knowing what you want. A case can be a highly personal choice. For me the option to dial back the fan speed when not 3D gaming and turning off the fan LEDs would be more appealing.

The amount of airflow inside a case only has to be enough to change out the heated air inside the case fairly rapidly. Higher airflow doesn't always mean significantly better temps. There are tons of 2 & 3 fan cases out there that do really well in case cooling.


The Antec 1200 has fan speed controllers as well, and you can turn off the LEDs on some of the fans.
March 21, 2009 11:19:29 PM

Nereus01 said:
On further research, I've switched back to the V8 cooler, for a couple of reasons:

Noise level is one, particularly with the Sniper case - the V8 runs at 17-21dBA max, the Dark Knight at 30.1dBA max (I really want to keep noise to a minimum as the case will be sitting on top of a 2-drawer filing cabinet right next to my desk, so it'll be like not even 3 feet from my right ear).
I read someone with the same mobo had issues with the Dark Knight partially blocking a RAM slot. Not so with the V8 (sits higher). Big concern.
The V8 is a little heavier and not quite as effective as the Dark Knight, but it's still a very good cooler.
I like the flat contact surface of the V8, as opposed to the Dark Knight, as well as the V8 not having that black nickel coating.


Manufacturer dBA ratings are generally very optimistic. According to Frostytech the Xigmatech is 49.6 and the CM is 52.6. If noise is a concern the Noctua NH-U12P is quieter (40.7) and cools as well as the other two.
March 22, 2009 1:09:01 AM

theAnimal said:
Manufacturer dBA ratings are generally very optimistic. According to Frostytech the Xigmatech is 49.6 and the CM is 52.6. If noise is a concern the Noctua NH-U12P is quieter (40.7) and cools as well as the other two.

LOL frustrating. I found another site which tests a bunch of high-level 1366 coolers - http://www.legitreviews.com/article/880/1/ -, including a couple of Noctuas, the V8, Thermalright Ultra 120 (it weighs over 1kg!), Vigor Monsoon and a couple more.. there is a RAM clearance issue with almost all of them (something I mentioned way back up there) except the Noctua NF-C12P, which is the one with the top mounted fan. Why oh why did they choose, of all things, a brown fan with skin colored casing?? Not pretty. Fortunately someone with the EVGA board I'm getting said the V8 had no clearance issues, so that's a positive. Researching some more - thanks for the tip about actual sound output.

edit: Murphy's Law. The one setup that didn't have clearance issues with their testing board (the very quiet Noctua NF-C12P) does not come with the 1366 mounting kit, and newegg doesn't have it either. You have to contact the manufacturers in Austria with proof of purchase and they'll send one to you for free.. several weeks later. Forget it. Still looking.
March 22, 2009 7:45:07 AM

They only have clearance issues if you're using RAM with tall heatsinks.
March 22, 2009 8:48:17 PM

OK one more question.. perhaps I should post this on a different forum, but here goes:

EVGA 01G-P3-1287-AR GeForce GTX 285 SSC Edition 1GB 512-bit GDDR3 (factory clocked so check the specs)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

versus

XFX HD-487A-CDF9 Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB 512-bit GDDR5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The XFX is about $55 more. Worth it? From what I can find about the XFX, it's sweet with the i7 processor..

March 22, 2009 8:58:18 PM

Nereus01 said:
OK one more question.. perhaps I should post this on a different forum, but here goes:

EVGA 01G-P3-1287-AR GeForce GTX 285 SSC Edition 1GB 512-bit GDDR3 (factory clocked so check the specs)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

versus

XFX HD-487A-CDF9 Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB 512-bit GDDR5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The XFX is about $55 more. Worth it? From what I can find about the XFX, it's sweet with the i7 processor..


It looks like Nvidea is taking it to ATI and then some.


http://techreport.com/articles.x/16229/1

http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/hd48...
March 22, 2009 9:22:36 PM

Wow great links, thank you. A little surprised just how good the GTX 285 did on those tests relative to the Radeon.. and the one I'm planning on is slightly higher clock than the one tested too. Thanks very much once again Why_me, that's resolved that question. :) 

Just waiting for Dell to confirm cancellation of an order they've delayed 5 times already, and then I'm submitting the order with (mostly) newegg for the setup at the start of this thread.

I'm excited. :) 
March 22, 2009 9:47:51 PM

First off, the 4870x2 murders a 285. Nextly... why did you pick one of the most expensive 4870x2's to link? The Sapphire version can be had for $400.
March 22, 2009 10:04:18 PM

EQPlayer said:
First off, the 4870x2 murders a 285. Nextly... why did you pick one of the most expensive 4870x2's to link? The Sapphire version can be had for $400.

The standard 4870 X2 is 256-bit (256-bit x 2), the GTX285 is 512-bit.. on higher resolutions I use (above 1280 x 1024) the 512-bit will apparently benefit, so that is one reason I linked the expensive and huge 4870 - it's about the only actual 512-bit 4870.. it also happens to be a 2GB brick that blocks PCI slots, but that's another story.

If what I said here about 512-bit vs 2 x 256-bit and resolution is not valid, remember I'm a virgin to PC building, so I really can only go on what I read around the web.. which unfortunately gives conflicting information at times, even from supposedly reliable sources. Feel free to correct me. Those links provided sure make the GTX285 attractive though. Also the motherboard selected will allow me to upgrade to GTX 285 in SLI later if I wish (even 3 of them!), and that certainly has some good results according to some benchmarks I've seen.

Also I've used NVidia for years and found them really reliable. I do have an old ATI X1300 on one PC which is nice enough for what it is at the time, but I still lean towards NVidia.. can't really explain why, just brand familiarity perhaps? The ATI catalyst control center is pretty groovy though.. (that's a good thing btw).
March 22, 2009 10:17:33 PM

Here are some more GTX 285 / HD 4870 X2 2GB benchmarks with a Core i7 OC'd to 3.7Ghz

In my opinion a 2x GTX 260 SLI setup (or a 2x HD 4870 1GB CF option) might be the price/performance sweet spot @ sub~$400 price point.
March 22, 2009 10:34:04 PM

Actually the 285 and 4870 X2 are pretty close there.. the 295 just dumps on everything heh.

Isn't the 295 effectively just two 260's running in SLI, but in one card / one slot? I think I read that somewhere.. or maybe it was two 280s.. that sounds more like it.

The 285 certainly seems to be the top single GPU card available, and I've read enough stories of micro-stutter for it to make me at least hesitate a little..

The 4870 apparently sucks significantly more watts too.. = hotter
March 22, 2009 11:14:45 PM

295 = 2x 260
When you get right down to it any of the ~$400 solutions GTX 285 / HD 4870 X2 / SLI GTX 260 / CF HD 4870 give excellent performance. I don't favor the dual GPU on a single card.
I'd rather have 2 separate cards for about the same price point. When it comes time to upgrade your GPUs you can sell one while keeping the system running and after you get the new GPU sell the 2nd old card. If one card should break you'd still have use of your system.
March 22, 2009 11:53:37 PM

Very true regarding 2 separate cards.. Now you mention it, in maybe 4-6 months I will likely get a second card and run SLI (I don't want to over-commit finances right now). In light of that, I'll go for the GTX285 SSC now, and add a second one later.. that should rip the heck out of a couple of 260s or a 295. If I had no intention of doing that, I'd take your advice and go for the SLI GTX260 (or CF 4870) now, as that would make more sense in light of what you said.

Thank you very much everyone, I'm frankly amazed with the amount of help members have offered freely here, and am very grateful.
March 23, 2009 12:11:38 AM

Nereus01 said:
Actually the 285 and 4870 X2 are pretty close there.. the 295 just dumps on everything heh.

Isn't the 295 effectively just two 260's running in SLI, but in one card / one slot? I think I read that somewhere.. or maybe it was two 280s.. that sounds more like it.

The 285 certainly seems to be the top single GPU card available, and I've read enough stories of micro-stutter for it to make me at least hesitate a little..

The 4870 apparently sucks significantly more watts too.. = hotter



Actually, the 295 is 2 hybrid 260-280 cards in one package. look it up, it is a 55 nm core with the GTX 295 is a bit of a weird combo. See, it has the memory volume and frequency of two GTX 260 cards yet the raw shader processor horsepower of two GeForce GTX 280 cards.

Memory: 1792 MB (896 MB per GPU)
Shaders processor: 240 per GPU, 480 in total
Core frequency: 576 MHz (Texture and ROP units)
Shader processor: 1242 MHz

So that makes it a bit of a hybrid in between two GTX 260 and 280 graphics cards. One thing is a fact though, it's an awful lot of computing power for sure. And I have experience NO stutter what so ever in COD4 or COD5 after I figured out how to get cod5 to work....yep I'm a dummy it was simple!!!!
March 23, 2009 12:19:06 AM

But, from My thinking 2 GTX 285's would be AWESOME!! faster than one GTX 295 and probably better than 2 gtx 295's as seems the the software for quad sli isn't up to this task yet!!!
March 23, 2009 12:22:06 AM

Jack64 said:
But, from My thinking 2 GTX 285's would be AWESOME!! faster than one GTX 295 and probably better than 2 gtx 295's as seems the the software for quad sli isn't up to this task yet!!!


The 285 has a a few things going for it. I like the fact it's not as power hungry has the 260 and 280, and not only that but it doesn't produce as much heat as those two cards either.
March 23, 2009 12:35:59 AM

Definitely sold on it now :) 
March 23, 2009 12:37:34 AM

Nereus01 said:
Actually the 285 and 4870 X2 are pretty close there.. the 295 just dumps on everything heh.


I wouldn't say that. At most resolutions the 4870x2 is only a little slower than the 295, although in rare cases running games which favor ATi in general it can actually surpass the 295. Also at 2560xwhatever resolution the 4870x2 narrows the gap, and can even beat the 295 from time to time due to its slightly larger frame buffer (on-card memory, the 4870x2 has 2gb while the 295 has something around 1.8gb or so). Also for what it's worth, the 295 is a bit more awkward due to being 2 PCBs sandwiched together, while the 4870 is 2 GPU's on 1 PCB. Not that it makes any real difference.
March 23, 2009 12:42:37 AM

I just read on some random forum that it's possible the stock i7-920 can be fried with DDR3 1600 RAM due to the higher voltage required by the RAM.. sounds a bit like BS to me, but is there any truth to that? Certainly the EVGA x58 mobo is fine with it..
Then again, I intend to clock the i7-920 up to a relatively safe 3GHz anyway, so wouldn't that mean upping the voltage a little accordingly, which would be more in line with the RAM requirements (if there's any truth to that forum post at all)?
March 23, 2009 12:52:20 AM

Nereus01 said:
I just read on some random forum that it's possible the stock i7-920 can be fried with DDR3 1600 RAM due to the higher voltage required by the RAM.. sounds a bit like BS to me, but is there any truth to that? Certainly the EVGA x58 mobo is fine with it..
Then again, I intend to clock the i7-920 up to a relatively safe 3GHz anyway, so wouldn't that mean upping the voltage a little accordingly, which would be more in line with the RAM requirements (if there's any truth to that forum post at all)?


http://www.evga.com/forums/tm.asp?m=642527

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i7-overclock,2...
March 23, 2009 1:14:24 AM

i7-920 at 4.5GHz ..that's just sick. I wouldn't even try to push mine anywhere near that far.. As long as I'm at least 3.0GHz (which was what the stock Q9650 I was originally going to get sits at) then I'm happy with that. And safe.

Maybe I should save a few $ and get 1333 RAM and push it up from there.

This looks up to the task:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
7-7-7-20 stock
March 23, 2009 4:04:42 AM

Nereus01 said:
i7-920 at 4.5GHz ..that's just sick. I wouldn't even try to push mine anywhere near that far.. As long as I'm at least 3.0GHz (which was what the stock Q9650 I was originally going to get sits at) then I'm happy with that. And safe.

Maybe I should save a few $ and get 1333 RAM and push it up from there.

This looks up to the task:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
7-7-7-20 stock


Your going to throw this much money into a gaming rig and then short yourself on the ram all for a $20 mail in rebate??
:non: 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
March 23, 2009 4:46:08 AM

ok ok..

I think those mohawk-like heat spreaders might create some clearance issues though..

How about these then (same series/look, but DDR3-1600) - OCZ XMP Ready Series (PC3 12800)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
oh.. and a $40 rebate.. very nice. how did I miss that?

or the ones I had previously selected:
OCZ Gold (PC3 12800)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or even the OCZ Platinum (PC3 12800)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

All of these have a much lower height.. the Corsair Dominators are nice, but a bit too pricey at $166...

Egad 2am.. got to get some sleep.
March 23, 2009 5:21:20 AM

Nereus01 said:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4d/Face-blush.svg/48px-Face-blush.svg.png ok ok..

I think those mohawk-like heat spreaders might create some clearance issues though..

How about these then (same series/look, but DDR3-1600) - OCZ XMP Ready Series (PC3 12800)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
oh.. and a $40 rebate.. very nice. how did I miss that?

or the ones I had previously selected:
OCZ Gold (PC3 12800)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or even the OCZ Platinum (PC3 12800)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

All of these have a much lower height.. the Corsair Dominators are nice, but a bit too pricey at $166...

Egad 2am.. got to get some sleep.


You can't go wrong with either ones of those OCZ sets. :) 
March 23, 2009 8:55:57 PM

:bounce: 
Order submitted. Managed to get an additional $110 in combo discounts which stacked on top of existing specials, plus a free $50 game, plus $100 in mail-in rebates if I send them in.. newegg rocks.

I just went over to Dell.com and configured a similar (actually inferior) system to see what it would cost.. roughly $1,000 more.

I am very happy. :pt1cable: 

Ordered Crysis too. It'd be rude not to, really.

Thank you so much everyone, you're all awesome!

..now I just gotta put it all together and hope it works. :heink: 


*** oh just great. Chase bank fraud dept called due to a 'suspicious transaction' about 5 minutes after I submitted. I said it's ok to put it through.. but they've already declined it.. you'd think they'd at least try to confirm with me before declining.. they said I have to enter the order again..
:sarcastic: 
March 23, 2009 9:12:51 PM

Call NewEgg customer service first. They might be able to set you up.
March 23, 2009 9:16:02 PM

WR2 said:
Call NewEgg customer service first. They might be able to set you up.

:)  snap.. they're resubmitting it as I speak type.
March 23, 2009 9:18:02 PM

Great - yeah, I'm sure they have a fair amount of experience with similar situations.
Be sure to let us know how things turn out.
!