I’ve been reading many different forums and want to begin putting together an I7 build…My existing P4 desktop is 6 years old and is of course showing it's age. I use a couple of laptops for work purposes but may also use the I7 for .net programming / sql development / MS Office automation…Otherwise intent is to put together a rig with enough horsepower to run games (1920x1200) for the next 3 to 5 years (w/the understanding that eye candy will need to scale back as the machine ages)…I enjoy MMO, RTS, racing, and FPS but w/current hardware haven’t played recent titles.
Budget: Up to $2,500
Desired CPU Overclock: 3.6 (stability for the long haul)
It’s been a while since I’ve assembled a pc from the ground up although am comfortable doing so. I am however cautious about component selection / compatibility. Selecting the first option on the following part list comes to $2,490.40 after tax & shipping not including any rebates. While I’m pretty sure this build configuration will work well, I’d appreciate feedback to improve overall build quality while perhaps reducing $$$
Aside from the I7 920, I’m not really tied to any one piece of hardware.
A couple of audio questions: Should I ditch the notion of a separate sound card & go w/onboard audio? Perhaps a different set of speakers? Looking to watch DVDs, listen to CDs, mp3s, etc with decent sound quality...
OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P1600LV6GK - Retail $109.99 after $20 mail-in rebate
G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL8TU-6GBPI - Retail $94
CORSAIR DOMINATOR 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TR3X6G1600C8D - Retail $166
CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Retail $109 after $20 mail-in rebate
OS…Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $79.99
Western Digital VelociRaptor WD3000HLFS 300GB 10000 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $199 after $30 mail-in rebate
Data…Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EADS 1TB SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $99.99
Backup…Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EADS 1TB SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $99.99
SAPPHIRE 100251SR Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB 512-bit (256-bit x 2) GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail $384 after $10 mail-in rebate
EVGA 01G-P3-1281-AR GeForce GTX 285 1GB 512-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail $324.99 after mail-in rebate
Option to SLI later
Antec Twelve Hundred Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail - $179
CM 690 Black SECC/ATX Mid Tower, W/O window, W/O PSU – Refurbished $45.99
Thermaltake ElementS VK60001N2Z Black SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail $119
Qty 2 - SAMSUNG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model SH-S223Q - OEM $49.98
Ram: go with the G skills or OCZ's, dominators are overpriced IMO
GPU: Depends on the games you play, most likely the GTX 285 would be plenty, unless you like to play crysis with everything turned up, then maybe the 4870x2. The GTX 285 is cheaper though and the upgrade options are better with a single GPU than a dual
HDD: If you can afford the Velociraptor its a nice option, but it doesn't offer much more performance than the caviar black drive. If you wanted super speed then you could raid 0 the caviar blacks for greater storage capacity and faster speeds, then use the 1tb drive for backups. I would get the 1TB Caviar Blacks because they are faster than the greens, but that is your call.
Do you really need those speakers? I mean you could shake a high-rise apartment building with those suckers...but if you are getting them then the sound card is a good idea. If you can go cheaper on the speakers, try onboard audio first, as its fairly good and usually its enough for most people.
At that point you should just buy a new GPU which will be better than 3 GTX 285's in SLI, and cheaper than buying a PSU to support 3 GTX 285's. The Newer GPU will consume less power on top of that, saving more money when you pay the electric bill.
Single GTX285 for the momment, SLI some soon ( 2-3-4 months depand on your needs and price drop ). The GTX285 is the geForce 7950 of the futur ... IN 2 years youll have a card twice as fast as the GTX285 ( and even more ... )
Alright, sounds like the GTX 285 is the better choice for now. If going SLI with dual slot video, then I'll need to use a PCI Express based audio card then, right?
Should I look at something other than the X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty (assuming I go with the Logitech Z-5500 speakers)?
Did consider RAID 0 on the 640 Black but was advised against it due to something called a 'deep recovery cycle' that'll periodically break the array. Was told to go with the RE3 if going raid, thoughts? Would there be a noticeable real-world performance difference using mobo onboard RAID 0?
If you mainly game, you dont need raid. I personally have 2x 250gb 7200rpm 16mb cache non raid ( one for windows and apps, other one for games and stock). Loading GTA4 take about 30sec and im playing. So going for 7200rpm 32mb cache is just faster. Gaming performance is more CPU-GPU-RAM (PSU) based. Mobo is concern too...