$1.2k Gaming, SW development, and 3DFX app renedering engine (network

OVER ALL OBJECTIVE
------------------
I am looking to build a mid-range (~$1.2k gaming/game development/graphics workstation not counting monitor, kb, mouse, discs, speakers) system for gaming/game dev and Lightwave/Modo network render server (for my 8-core Mac Pro). While I have built PCs before, I haven't for 4 years and I am a bit rusty on the new specs and constraints. So while I can build something, I want to be sure I spend my money wisely and the components work well together. Hence the quest for advice in this forum.

CONSTRAINTS/THOUGHTS
--------------------

Please let me know your thoughts on the following constraints;

1. SLI/CrossFire:
I expect to keep the system for a long time, adding a second GFX card as prices drop to keep the GPU power up rather than upgrade the core system ( mainboard, DRAM, etc.). In general, my view of multi-board connect (SLI/CrossFire) is to extend the life of a system's GPU subsystem by addng a second board after prices drop when newer boards are introduced. I am not sure it is really a good tradeoff though as it offers only 1.2-1.5x improvement. Your thoughts welcome on the reasonableness of this line of thinking.

2. Multi Core:
I want at least a dual-core or even quad-core intel because the rendering software Lightwave/Mode will utilize it even though I know most games don't utilize beyond 2 cores right now. Leaning towards quad core despite power consumption as it will nearly double rendering for 3DFX apps.

3. Overclock:
Yeah, maybe a bit but stability is important so I don't expect push it much. GPU a bit more than CPU maybe.

4. Intel:
I know AMD makes good stuff, but I think Intel is the way to go for me. My impression is Intel has lower power consumption for performance (I might be mistaken).

COMPONENTS
----------

Mainboards:

Core i7: Asus P6T Intel X58 Core i7 LGA1366 DDR3 ATX ~$259
or
Core i7 EVA nForce 790i Ultra LGA775 ~$299 preferred

Question: is the nForce 790i that much better than Itel MCH/ICH to be worth the extra $$$?
Question; is COre i& worth it for my uses or should I save big bucks on board and CPU and go for Core 2 Quad?

Processor:
Intel Core i7 Quad 920 2.66Ghz 8MB Cache 45NM (LGA 1366) ~$299
NOTE: I always buy the cheaper processors in the line--the 2.99 Ghz is double the price and not worth it to me.

Case:
Antec 900 II MidTower Gaming (without PS)

Power supply:
no idea--do I need 850 Watts or 1k watts for CrossFire/SLI upgrade in the future?

No preference for:
Memory but I'd try to get 1800 to overclock a bit.
Cooling probably must be air--I assume liquid is out of my price range right now I think though I love it I am sure.

Already have:
discs, keyboard, mouse, monitor (1080p SONY TV with HDMI)
3 answers Last reply
More about gaming development 3dfx renedering engine network
  1. :bounce:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119160 <--- Better pics and reviews on this link for that case that I put in this build.

    http://www.gigabyte.us/Products/Motherboard/Products_Overview.aspx?ProductID=3020 <---The mobo I used in this build; specs, etc...

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

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139009 $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=N82E16813128386 $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=N82E16835233029 $39.99
    XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835186020 $6.99
    ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231247 $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=N82E16814143155 $178.99 Free Shipping*
    BFG Tech BFGEGTX260MC896OCE GeForce GTX 260 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136319 $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=N82E16827136152 $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=N82E16832116488 $99.99 Free Shipping*
    Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders - OEM

    Total: $1,261.81 *(not including shipping and rebates)
  2. Just a heads up. the nforce 790 is made for lGA 775 socket CPU's. This is the QXXXX and DXXXX cpu's NOT the i7.

    i7 requries you to use a x58 MB. x58 > 790nforce anyways. I would heavly tilt towards and i7 build for your needs.

    I would heavly reccommend NOT getting a nforce motherboard. They are very buggy.
  3. Many Thanks:

    1. Why_Me: great recommendations. The case you picked is bigger but makes sense for much better air flow--especially if I SLI 2 boards in the future when the price comes down for the 2nd one. After seeing your card recommendation, I checked around--sure enough the GTX 260 runs hot--hence the wise choice of a bigger case, bigger fans thatn can move more air but more quietly. Heck, I could after market liquid cooling one day--I'd have room.

    2. kubes: thanks for the heads up on nForce. The Gigabyte EP45 uses Intel's MCH/ICH which should give me a very stable build.


    Thanks both of you: That's why I asked here--I know there are some very sharp folks here who will keep me from wasting money and time.

    Why_Me said:
    :bounce:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119160 <--- Better pics and reviews on this link for that case that I put in this build.

    http://www.gigabyte.us/Products/Motherboard/Products_Overview.aspx?ProductID=3020 <---The mobo I used in this build; specs, etc...

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

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139009 $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=N82E16813128386 $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=N82E16835233029 $39.99
    XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835186020 $6.99
    ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231247 $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=N82E16814143155 $178.99 Free Shipping*
    BFG Tech BFGEGTX260MC896OCE GeForce GTX 260 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136319 $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=N82E16827136152 $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=N82E16832116488 $99.99 Free Shipping*
    Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders - OEM

    Total: $1,261.81 *(not including shipping and rebates)
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