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Core i7 Gaming Rig -- Need Help

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April 2, 2009 6:28:11 PM

Howdy,

I'm looking into building a rig over the summer, however, I've never built a computer before so the sheer number of choices in terms of brand, etc. has been quite daunting. I know I want to use an i7 920 and I'm leaning towards the HAF 932, other than that though, I haven't made any decisions. I would like to OC the CPU up a bit. My aim is to have this computer run new games for the next 2-3 years without major hardware updates. Budget: $2000-$3000

I would like to start with one mid- or high-end video card, with the ability to use SLI/Crossfire in the future.

At least 6 GB of RAM (is there a large performance boost with 12 GB?), overclocked a little bit.

For my OS drive, should I get a SSD? I will also need at least 2 TB of storage for music, videos, pics, etc. so any suggestions on data HDs would be appreciated.

I am completely lost on which PSU to choose, keep in mind I would like to run at least 2 video cards in the future.

My old monitor is a 15" LCD (circa 2002), so I would like to upgrade to something much larger (two monitors would be pretty sweet).

Should I stick with air-cooling or use water-cooling? Keep in mind that this will be my first build.

If you can think of anything else I need, please let me know.

Thanks in advance!
Ryan

More about : core gaming rig

April 2, 2009 6:52:45 PM

I'd suggest something like this:

i7 920 $290
Haf 932 $150

Asus P6T Deluxe V2 $290
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131365

Sapphire HD 4890 1GB $230
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102830

WD1001FALS 1TB (2 of them) $110*2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136284

Corsair 750TX $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139006

G.Skill 6GB DDR3 $94
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231225

Xigmatek Dark Knight $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835233029

I wouldn't try a SSD yet. Let the technology mature a bit more.

If you want to get the brand new HD 4890 (hey, it's the first week :)  ) the 750TX is fine for two of them.

If you'd rather get something closer to the top, there's the XFX GTX 285 for $349.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150334
For two of these cards get the Corsair 850TX (it's $20 more than the 750TX).

OS: Vista Home Premium 64-bit OEM. $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116488
April 2, 2009 6:56:26 PM

So far it's around $1500 (or $1700 with GTX 285 and bigger PSU). You still need a DVD burner, e.g. SH-S223F ($25)

I'm going to let you find mouse/speakers/keyboard/card reader etc yourself. I will assume you have spent about $2000 so far, including those extras. That means you still have up to $1000 for two nice monitors. Let me see what I can find...
Related resources
April 2, 2009 6:59:59 PM

I think there is a lot of improvement that could be done with this build but just to get something in your price range and ball park started.

CPU: I7 $290
MB: Asus P6 $240
Heat Sink: CoolMaster v8 $70
GPU: EVGA GTX 295 (with blackplate) $560
Monitor: LG 24" (new release...looks promising) $330 x 2
Case: Antec 1200 $170
PSU: Crosaire 1000hx $260
Ram: OCZ Platinum 1600 $110
HD Primary: WD Raptor 300gb $230
HD Storage: WD Black 1TB $110 x2
OS: Windows Vista Home Premium $100
Keybaord & Mouse: ~$100 bucks. I would say this is something you should find on your own. Find what you like for input devices.

This totals up to $3000 which is before all rebates and combo deals. This also does not include shipping cost + mouse/keyboard


Places that could easly be cut down on price:
**HD's (probally don't need black verisons since they are for storage only) Or drop the raptor drive.
**Buy One monitor instead of two.

April 2, 2009 7:00:37 PM

IF your planning for 2-3 years I'd recommend a phenom 2 940 and with its OC power you will come close with qx9650 :D 

Phenom2 940 & ATi HD 4890 OC it together sweet and only about 1000 dollars and switch in 36 months or 2 years and build another mid range computer. More profitable than high end :D 
April 2, 2009 7:14:17 PM

rescawen said:
IF your planning for 2-3 years I'd recommend a phenom 2 940 and with its OC power you will come close with qx9650 :D 

Phenom2 940 & ATi HD 4890 OC it together sweet and only about 1000 dollars and switch in 36 months or 2 years and build another mid range computer. More profitable than high end :D 



That's not a bad idea. In games, the i7 920 and the Phenom II 940 are extremely hard to distinguish, and this can save you almost $200 from MB and RAM. Here's a good $110 MB for the Phenom II 940 that allows two HD 4890 cards.
GA-MA790X-UD4P
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128387
Keep in mind that this board supports Crossfire, no SLI, so the GTX 275/GTX 285 are no longer good options.
The nicest thing here is that this board will support future AM3 CPUs so you can keep it if you upgrade the CPU later.

For this board, you'd need DDR2. That's good because it's cheaper and just as fast as DDR3 for all practical purposes. You can have 8GB for $100 here if you buy two of these:
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231166

April 2, 2009 7:21:32 PM

For a monitor consider Dells 27 inch model . Its the same resolution as a 24 inch so it works well with the same gfx cards you'd use on a 24 inch.
One should be enough desk top space for most people .

Combine that with Aevms i7 build and you will do fine for a good few years

April 2, 2009 7:23:02 PM

Ya that's an interesting way of looking at it. Maybe the amd build is a better idea for this.

the i7 is better for all around better preformance where as the amd targets mostly the gaming community. So @ the OP this means that the i7 overall will be faster in most general use cases than the amd but in when it comes to gaming they are about equal footing.

I know that the i7 showed some impressive preformance increases when dealing with multi gpu's(sli/cf rigs)....Does amd show this same increase? Does anyone know off the top of their head?
April 2, 2009 7:29:19 PM

Outlander_04 said:
For a monitor consider Dells 27 inch model . Its the same resolution as a 24 inch so it works well with the same gfx cards you'd use on a 24 inch.
One should be enough desk top space for most people .

Combine that with Aevms i7 build and you will do fine for a good few years


Funny you should mention that. I've been researching Dell's 2709W monitor for hours yesterday because it's on sale at my favorite local shop and I'm tempted. Is that the one you're thinking of? After reading all sorts of reviews my feeling is that this is a fabulous monitor for movies and working and some types of games. The S-PVA panel with excellent colors and excellent viewing angles makes it perfect for me. However, for shooter games (Crysis, etc.) some people say it's too slow (input lag). Others say there's no problem. I still haven't made up my mind which side to believe, TBH. I'll probably buy it, since I'm no good at shooter games anyway. :) 
April 2, 2009 7:42:13 PM

:bounce: 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... <--- Better pics and reviews on this link for that case that I put in this build.

http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/graphics/2009/01/16/nv... <--- gtx 285 reviews...notice power consumption on there.

http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm <--- Xigmatek HS ranked in the top 5 on there.

http://www.securemart.com/SMA2101442?pcode=4&utm_source... $119.91
Cooler Master RC-932-KKN1-GP HAF 932 Chassis - 12 Bays - Black

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $139.99 ($119.99 after $20.00 Mail-In Rebate) Free Shipping*
CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $289.99
ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail / New revision for award-winning P6T Deluxe

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... $94.99 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... $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... $109.99
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $109.99
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $24.99 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

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $349.99 ($319.99 after $30.00 Mail-In Rebate) Free Shipping*
ASUS VW266H Black 25.5" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 1000:1 (ASCR 20000:1) Built in Speakers w/ component connector - Retail / SPDIF out connector

Total: $1,992.79 *(not including shipping and rebates)
April 2, 2009 7:51:11 PM

kubes said:
Ya that's an interesting way of looking at it. Maybe the amd build is a better idea for this.

the i7 is better for all around better preformance where as the amd targets mostly the gaming community. So @ the OP this means that the i7 overall will be faster in most general use cases than the amd but in when it comes to gaming they are about equal footing.

I know that the i7 showed some impressive preformance increases when dealing with multi gpu's(sli/cf rigs)....Does amd show this same increase? Does anyone know off the top of their head?


I think it did that because the X58 boards have the first two slots running at full 16x. When using two GTX 285 or HD 4870 X2 or GTX 295 cards, the 16x is very important.

For cards like the HD 4870 there is no performance loss running them in 8x slots, i.e. on a 790X or P45 motherboard.
I expect this to be true for HD 4890 too, because even HD 4870 X2 cards don't lose that much when Crossfire on P45. I guess we'll see later when there are more reviews.


April 2, 2009 8:10:31 PM

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/overclock-phenom-ii... <---read up on this.

With your budget the last thing you want is some ghetto AMD platform cpu. If you want a rig that is #1 and is going to be somewhat future proofed then get the i7. The AMD platform is great if your on a tight budget and you want 2007 technology, otherwise do yourself a favor and get the best of the best..which is obviously the i7.
April 2, 2009 8:40:12 PM

The Phenom II's are far from "ghetto". Try to keep the fanboyism to a minimum.
April 2, 2009 8:52:06 PM

@Why_Me:
LOL, the Phenom II 940 was released in 2009. The i7 was released in 2008. What 2007 technology are you talking about?

And yeah, I've noticed you like to use that "ghetto" word about AMD in lots of posts. The word offends lots of people, Jewish or otherwise. Read this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warsaw_Ghetto
Even the Israeli scientists who designed the i7 would not appreciate your using that word about their competitor's product.
April 3, 2009 8:51:52 AM

I agree with Why_Me in the sense that i7 is the way to go here, but really the PII offerings are very good in gaming performance. Its only in productivity work and the likes of which that the i7 really pulls ahead. Overall, the i7 is better for gaming, but by a slim margin. For a purely gaming rig, PII is probably what I would choose to build on because you can put the money to better use in the GPU which will give you much better performance for your dollar. That being said, the OP has $2000-3000 to spend. I would certainly go i7 on that kind of budget.
April 3, 2009 2:58:22 PM

I like aevm's i7 build.

I also agree that SSD devices will get much better and cheaper in the next year, and it is wise to wait.
If you want a fast OS drive, look at the velociraptor.
Alternatively, just use a good 1tb drive, the outer rings where the OS will go will be almost as fast as the Velociraptor.

I also like outlander-04's suggestion of the dell 27" 2409 monitor.

I think the dell 2408 and 2409 monitors use the same panels as in the 244T and 275T Samsung units.
Having used both of the Samsung monitors, I can vouch for their quality.
I particularly like the 178/178 viewing angle, which is good for a dual monitor setup. Lesser angles make the display look washed out when viewed from the side. I think that particular metric is the best indicator of monitor quality.
The nice thing about the 27" version is that the pixel size in native resolution gives you a more readable text in web pages.
April 3, 2009 3:23:25 PM

Here's a useful thread about LCDs. Pay attention especially to the recommendations section. (You can find it easily if you search for "V. Recommendations" a few times)
http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid=31&threadid=2049206&enterthread=y

The Dell 27" is there at #9 in the multimedia section and #14 under office work. If you're more interested in gaming than movies, then look at the "hardcore gaming" section.
April 3, 2009 3:41:58 PM

geofelt said:
I particularly like the 178/178 viewing angle, which is good for a dual monitor setup. Lesser angles make the display look washed out when viewed from the side.
The nice thing about the 27" version is that the pixel size in native resolution gives you a more readable text in web pages.
+1 for that analysis. Also +1 for the SSD vs HDD recommendation.

My personal preference is to get higher quality peripherals (monitor, keyboard and mouse) even if it means cutting back a bit on overall system performance.
April 3, 2009 4:31:14 PM

WR2 said:
http://img.tomshardware.com/forum/uk/icones/message/icon3.gif +1 for that analysis. Also +1 for the SSD vs HDD recommendation.

My personal preference is to get higher quality peripherals (monitor, keyboard and mouse) even if it means cutting back a bit on overall system performance.


$12 logitech keyboard, $25 logitech tracbal, and a 22" asus special and it's still working great.
April 4, 2009 2:34:56 AM

I think I'm going to stick with the i7. I'm a bit more familiar with Intel stuff and it seems to be slightly faster. Thanks for the Phenom suggestion though guys. Listed below is the rig I'm considering, sans keyboard/mouse and speakers. And for my own convenience, all prices are from NewEgg. However, when I actually purchase this, I will likely shop around for the best deal and buy the monitors local.

Case:
COOLER MASTER HAF 932 RC-932-KKN1-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail
$159.99 -$10.00 Instant $149.99

PSU:
CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
$159.99 -$20.00 Instant -$20.00 MIR $119.99

MB:
ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
$289.99

CPU:
Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 - Retail
$288.99

TIM:
ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound - Retail
$6.99

CPU Heatsink:
XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler - Retail
$44.99 -$5.00 Instant $39.99

GPU:

EVGA 01G-P3-1285-AR GeForce GTX 285 SC Edition 1GB 512-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
$344.99 -$25.00 MIR $319.99


RAM:

G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL8TU-6GBPI - Retail
$119.99 -$25.00 Instant $94.99

HD:
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
$109.99 x2 $219.98

Optical Drive:
LG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model GH22NS30 - OEM
$24.99

OS:
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders - OEM
$99.99

Monitor:
ASUS VW266H Black 25.5" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor - Retail
$399.99 -$50.00 Instant -$30.00 MIR $319.99 x2 $639.98

Subtotal:

$2,295.86 after Mail-in Rebates.

Are all these items compatible? Will there be enough room to mount the CPU Heatsink? Also, I'm not very well-versed on OC'ing, is there anything I should know in that regard?

On a side note, I was digging through EVGA's website and found a GTX 275 w/ 1792 mb of GDDR3 and clocked higher than a GTX 295, though with only half of the bandwidth (I'm guessing only 1 GPU), for only $299.99. Has anyone heard about this? Any benchmarks around to look at?
http://www.evga.com/products/moreInfo.asp?pn=017-P3-1175-AR&family=GeForce%20200%20Series%20Family

Thanks again for everything guys!
Ryan
April 4, 2009 2:53:55 AM

You will have plenty of room in your case, and all your parts are compatible.
!