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MATX i7 gaming build - open limit

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April 28, 2009 1:54:47 PM

Hi all,

Over the last few months, I read a lot, I thought a lot, and I finally came up with a new system I would love to set up. I gave the components some serious thought, and I think I put together a nicely fitting system. Earning money, and saving some up, I decided to spend most of it in order to help the economy recover :D  - I intend to buy/build before summer.
The system is intended for gaming (strategy, only the odd FPS) – I don’t need the highest AA/shadows for FPS. Whilst I want a powerful system, I try to keep it as “silent” (quiet) as possible. The components I chose will be strong enough for a long time, even without overclocking.


Case
Antec mini P180 – awesome cooling; 200mm in top, 2x120 frontintake, 1x120 backout, with dampening, separate PSU chamber, removable HDD cages, Cablemanagement etc.
As well, the 200mm top + 120mm back fan will, in combination with a big heatsink, make a separate fan on the HS superfluous. (on top of that, it is deeper than the usual mATX case, so the chance the CPU-cooler will fit is high)
I know I can have most of those things with a bigger case as well, but in this combination, it is pretty much unique. This is the one part of the system that is sure I will use.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


CPU
i7 920

CPU Cooling
I have an IFX-14 from an old build, and will use it, if it fits
If the IFX-14 doesn’t fit, I will go for the Thermalright Ultra Extreme 120 (TRUE120)

Motherboard (mATX)
ok, here I do have a problem with deciding:

Asus Rampage II Gene http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Or
DFI JR X58-T3H6 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Both mATX, obviously, both of brands with good reputation, and close enough in price that it doesn’t matter to me.

Memory
memory: not sure yet, but I had really good experiences with Patriot ram up to now – I will most likely go for 12g, and use 2-4g of it as virtual drive for swapfiles (see below, going for SSD)

Power supplies
Enermax Modu82+ 625W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD
On my current 500g HD, I only have 80g filled after a year of using … so I will go for the 120g Vertex OCZ (SSD) – no “stutter”, blazingly fast, “moderately” expensive (for an SSD, anyways)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Optical Drive
Asus DRW-20B1LT SATA – the optical drive does have to be a short one (170mm and shorter) to fit into the top 5.25’’, due to the 200mm fan in the top. I might have gone for a blueray drive, but I couldn’t find any that was short enough

Video Card
ATI (Sapphire) 4890 1g, with Acellero S1/Turbo module for quiet cooling
In theory, it is possible that I would swap to Nvidia, but when the power is comparable, I tend to decide in favour of ATI
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Sound Card
none

Monitors
24’’ 1920x1200 Asus monitor (2ms)I am not sure yet what motherboard I should take; so any comment on that + pointing out any flaws/possible improvements you see in my system, would be appreciated.
As I do not live in the US; just use newegg.com if you want to recommend me any different part. I have a mouse, keyboard, speakers and a monitor that I like and will keep using.

Best thanks
Swissguy
April 28, 2009 3:21:15 PM

I think that the asus rampage II is the best of the motherboards. Everything else looks good except I would get a 750w corsair psu or ocz 700w. The power supply you chose is enough but if you want to crossfire the 4890 in the future.

I personally would go with the gtx 275 over 4890, booth are awesome cards but the gtx 275 gets a frame or two more plus it has cuda (which most people will not need)
April 28, 2009 5:26:14 PM

In a strictly technical sense, the 625W Enermax might feed the two cards. It would run a bit warm and have a short lifespan, and I would never recommend it.

Actual power draw is probably down around 450W under load with the two cards, depending on overclocks.

There's all these real world factors that people with their PSU calculators tend to overlook. Days where the temps hit 30C and the AC fails. Misbehaving hardware that puts a load spike on the PSU before going out completely.

I'm a fan of big margins, especially in bridges and PSUs. Oh, brake systems too :) 
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April 29, 2009 8:10:19 AM

Hi all,

I will go with the Asus MB, thanks for the input on that.

As for the PSU: ill stay with the 625W one; if i upgrade the graphics in 2 years or so (after i got the max out of the card with overclocking), i will probably swap to a new single card - i dont think the case is really cut out for multi-GPU operation.

I will probably install 3 (4 if you count the 200mm) fans, which will be volted/shut down depending on the temps i get.

Thanks again
Swissguy
April 29, 2009 3:33:06 PM

Good choice on the mobo; I've read the Asus is the better of those two. I think we're about to read about a build using it on THG.
That Enermax PSU looks like a good choice too, but FWIW I got my Antec Signature 650 for about that price, and that seems to be the best you can get right now.
For the games you play, even at high res, a 4890 may be more money than you need to spend.
The VGA cooler you have listed is supposedly very good, but it doesn't exhaust the heat. Also, are you sure it is compatible with your card?
A 1GB 4850, such as the HIS model that has the IceQ4 Turbo cooler will be cheaper. I've got the 512MB model, and can tell you it is very quiet, and stays cool. Otherwise, in a few weeks there will be additional 4770 models available, with better coolers, more RAM, and/or factory overclocks. They don't use much juice, so you could easily Crossfire a pair of them on a 625W PSU.
Antec's tricool fans that come in that case, on low, are almost inaudible.
That's a nice box you're building. Please let us know how it goes.
April 29, 2009 3:43:17 PM

The link to memory is misguided in thekid's post, but I would recommend this RAM (two sets in your case)...it's probably what he linked as well.

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

Am I the only one that thinks that SSD is not worth the price? I understand that you are probably not working a strict budget, but to me paying that much for that little storage is absurd. I know you're looking for no stutter, but I can say that my WD Caviar Black 640gb drive has NEVER even blinked in my i7 system. It has been incredible...i've found the only think that slows anything down at all in windows is when I open 'My Computer' and info has to be loaded from my optical drive to show on its icon. Honestly, you're probably best off saving a few hundred and just going with the caviar black:

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

If you find it is a bottleneck (which it won't be), then go ahead and get a SSD later when they are more proven and cheaper...It doesn't seem like $80 spent on storage is going to blow your budget.

+1 to the 4890 if you prefer ATI.
April 29, 2009 7:58:52 PM

foolycooly said:
The link to memory is misguided in thekid's post, but I would recommend this RAM (two sets in your case)...it's probably what he linked as well.



LOL ya, don't try to stuff that Thermaltake into your memory slots :p 
April 29, 2009 9:25:37 PM

Hi all,

a few more informations:

Why the enermax PSU? It has been rated by various sites as "awesomely quiet", and it is a brand i used before and had good experiences.

About the GPU: sure, i could go for a smaller one, but i think the 4890 will do its job for a long, long time. As for the "get the hot air out": the slotcovers of the case have holes in it, to allow airflow .. as well, i will remove both HD-cages, and install 2 slow fans. This will result in 1 fan blowing over the GPU and out of the slotcovers, and another fan blowing over the MB to the CPU-HS. I will replace the back-fan with a silent one as well - the tri's are a bit too noisy from what i read - and the 15$ on top wont kill me.

Why the SSD? Well, i have a Raptor at the moment, and to be honest, the seeking-noise is killing me ... i really cant stand that sound :pt1cable:  As well, since i most likely wont use more than 100g or so, the g-per-$ doesnt really bother me
As well, i DO think that a traditional HD would be the bottleneck with the system as i plan it; triple-channel and 16-lane GPU are pretty fast.
So i guess what i am willing to pay the extra-bucks for is the noise-reduction mainly ... and a slight increase in the performance/starting times that i most likely wont notice at all

For the RAM's, ill probably just go for some good latency ones with a clock of 1333

I will post some pics + temperature readings once i finished the build ... will be a few weeks, though

thanks again for all the reassurance and comments
Swissguy
April 29, 2009 10:18:32 PM

Oh, Enermax is a good PSU, that one in particular, but if you can get a Signature for the same price, I don't believe you can get anything better just now.
My current "spare" is an Enermax, and I'd buy another.
!