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Need some advice on new core i7 system

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April 30, 2009 12:39:33 AM

All, new to this site but been building PCs for myself and family for over 15 years. It's finally time for me to upgrade and after a week of research (this site has been wonderful for advice) I think I have my parts picked out. I'm cheap so I always like to cut corners where possible but since I'll be using this PC for the next few years, I also don't want to sell myself short. I tend to add hardware over time so I want to be able to have that flexibility.

Just looking for input. For your info, not a big gamer. Do a lot of photo and video editing, programming,.... Also planning to run several partitions or virtual machines with some Linux flavors, and planning to test running mac OS in one such partitions/VMs as well to have my own hacintosh (I'm not switching and letting them control my hardware).

Case: Antec Nine Hundred Two - The Twelve Hundred would give me even more space but not sure it's needed

PSU: Corsair HX1000W - Used some calculators online and tend to come in around 750 - 800 with some future plans. The 1000W may be overkill but I like the fact that it is modular and has many and long cables (will help with cable management). From what I'm reading this should fit in the Nine Hundred, although it has to be installed upside down (fan up). I've looked at many other PSUs online and seen some nice ones, just not with as many options as this one at lower wattage. Buy.com has it for around $200 AR right now, which is not bad compared to good 750W ones.

MB: Asus P6Tv2 Deluxe

CPU: Intel Core i7 920 - I have never OCd before but I would really like to try this out and get this bad boy up to the 3.8 range. Any tips/hints/input would be great.

Cooling: TRUE 120 Extreme (and get some AS5), not going to mess with lapping

Memory: G.Skill 3x2GB DDR3 (1600-PC3 12800) - Seem to think 6GB will be plenty for now. Can always add another 6 later if needed.

Video Card: EVGA GTX260 - Seems more than enough for now. GTX275 has attractive pricing as well at times. Since no gamer, most likely will not have a need for multiple GPUs

HD: WD Caviar 1T - Will most likely add HDs in the future. Not sure if I'm going to mess with RAID at this time. Any input would be great.

With these parts, I'm still sub $1500. A bit high but since I'm planning to run this for a few years, I rather build myself compared to getting an $800 quad-core retail box that will limit me and not last as long.

Thx!

P.S.: Once I'm ready, I can post some images of my new rig and the build process.

More about : advice core system

April 30, 2009 12:20:29 PM

Now if you don't game and do 3d rendering, you can get by with a less gpu like the HD 3450 with HDMI output. Yeah, I know the Geforce 8000 & GTX 200 can output audio through HDMI, but it's a hassle for some. You need to hook up a SPDIF cable to the card & mobo:

http://computerpartsgames.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/b...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

Put the savings toward a 940 cpu or even better, RAID 1 setup for your data. Just get 2 identical HDDs like the Caviar Black (speed) or Green (slower, but quiet) or something in between Blue. RAID 1 is a HUGE difference from your proposed setup with only 1 drive that can crap out and loses data with no disaster recovery plan. I'd say you might have some dough left for a UPS that gives you a few mins to shut down the PC safely in the event of a blackout.

The rest looks good.
April 30, 2009 12:49:55 PM

Hey, thanks n3f0ur! Already have an APC 550 on my current machine, so no worries there. As for GPU, will look into this. Wanted something with lots of memory due to the video and photo editing. The Raid comment is something i was considering too. The WD drive is pretty cheap for 1TB. I have a few externals already however and do regular back-ups so did not think it was needed to go raid (yet). It may help though in the video processing, depending on setup.
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April 30, 2009 1:47:46 PM

If you plan on overclocking then there is no need to consider the 940 or the 965 for that reason if you are using air- they are no better at overclocking on air both the 965 and 920 are generally limited to around 4.0Ghz:
http://www.madshrimps.be/?action=getarticle&number=14&a...
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cpus/2008/11/06/overcl...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/Intel-Core-i7-Nehal...

The 965 and 940 only really exceed the 920 on water or phase cooling - here because of the unlocked multiplier they can reach 5-6 Ghz max.
I would love to see a clock for clock comparison between the three - because I assume there would be little difference, however I have yet to find one.

As for the 3d modeling - will you need a professional card like an ATI firepro GL or NVidia FX - or is it less necessary.

Also I am not sure about hacintosh in this regard - you will at least need to have linux compatible video cards or if you go hacintosh they might need to be apple compatible as well (that means a lot less choice and that 260 won't work)
April 30, 2009 1:58:59 PM

Definitely will spend more time looking into the GPU side of things. I've always had good luck with NVidia so I tend to lean that way. Saving some money here could cover for Raid if I decide to go that route.

As for the case and PSU, the combined amount is probably more than I have ever spent on a case/PSU combo. No comments however on these parts so far so I assume they are good choices. Probably will stick with Antec (I have another Antec at home however for a Myth box and it's been awesome), but not 100% decided yet on the PSU. It gets great reviews, I like the fact that it is so modular, just not sure yet of the +$200 price tag.
April 30, 2009 4:53:40 PM

Mate I would go for this: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V - if you are not using 3-4 GPUs this is all you need - will run all 2 card solutions + i7 easy:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As for the case - because you don't game a lot and thereby don't argue that you need SLI or CF (even though these have other good sides than just gaming) I suggest you look at one of these because you don't need the air flow for multi-cards: (they are all good cases, including the one you chose)
COOLER MASTER RC-690: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Antec P182 Gun Metal Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case :
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
LIAN LI PC-7B plus II Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
LIAN LI PC-60USB B2 Silver Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
COOLER MASTER COSMOS 1000 RC-1000-KSN1-GP Black/ Silver Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Personally I think all of these cases are better looking than the antec 900, some of them are also better equipped. They are of course all good cases including the 900 - it is you decision which you like best. The Cosmos is especially cool, problem is only that it is big and hard to move around. Lian Li is very stylish - there are a lot of good alternatives - question is what do you think looks best and how many functions do you need.
April 30, 2009 5:23:41 PM

nerrawg, first of all, thanks for all the input so far. Appreciated!

Yes, the 750TX is on my alternative list as I'm sure 750W is plenty, and it would save me $70 - $100. Too bad they don't make a 750 or 850 in the HX series. The modular PSUs are nice for cable management. May not be as much of an issue in a case where the PSU is in the bottom.

As for the cases you mentioned, those are nice cases indeed. I like the Nine Hundred Two due to the side window, and the black finish on the inside. I spend a long time looking through all of the mid-towers at Newegg (don't you love their images?) and the Nine Hundred Two was one of my favorites. And at buy.com it's only about $120 (http://www.buy.com/prod/antec-nine-hundred-two-gaming-case/q/loc/101/210634011.html)


Keep it coming though. I'm not in any hurry to make my final decisions.
April 30, 2009 5:42:47 PM

Cool mate- well I like your reasoning for the case, sounds like you will be happy with it and that's good - the main point actually. As for the rest of the build I think you need to look into what that hacintosh mod entails or requires - I have a mac and I know that the GPU compatibility is software restricted to a specific few types. Just look at the mac website to find that out. If you can circumvent this somehow (let me know!) then that brings up the issue of linux compatibility, and you have much more choice there.
Otherwise it looks good - just consider RAID though - because it can add both speed and redundancy - if fact if you do it right you can have the a similar speed to a SSD using 5-6 HDs in RAID and it will cost you less than a single SSD (I'm not saying that it is faster than SSDs in RAID, but that will cost you thousands of mullalas)
April 30, 2009 11:42:52 PM

This forum is pretty awesome. No matter which parts I look for online, I always tend to end up with links back to here.

Anybody else have any comments?
May 1, 2009 3:04:03 AM

Looked at the GPU side and it looks like the 9800GT is supported by the mac OS. As I wanted a lot of memory, I can still get one with a lot of memory and specs comparable to the GTX260. The biggest difference seems to be in the memory interface, but not sure if this will have a huge impact.
Not really worried about DVI versus HDMI. I have a Samsung T260HD currently hooked up over DVI to my current PC and sounds through the PC. My speakers are higher quality anyway compared to the built-in speakers. DVI will be just fine.

This is one that would work:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130440

Since I'm not a gamer and looking more at photo editing (Photoshop CS4) and video editing, how does this card compared to the GTX series? From what I have read, they seem to be pretty close in a lot of areas.
And what about size/dimensions? Anybody tried these in an Antec Nine Hundred Two. Read some reviews on how the 9800 barely fitting.
May 2, 2009 10:57:49 PM

Looks like there may be GTX support coming in Snow leopard. Hackintosh will just be something to mess with/something to try. The most important thing for me is to have a good GPU for photo and video editing. The 900GX2 seems to be ahead of GT, GTX, but at the same time older architecture.
The GPU and PSU seem to be my only undecided items. The Raid suggestion was great. Will look into a Raid configuration with two 1TB drives.
May 3, 2009 12:51:06 AM

Yeah the 9800 GX2 had a lot of problems when it came out, and it is now outdated and probably overpriced wherever it is still sold. The GTX 260 or GTS 250 are much better cards, 9800 GT is currently way overpriced compared to competition (at least on newegg). Performance wise it should cost no more than $80 - as the 4830 can be had for this and is a smidgeon faster:

9800 GT vs 4830 ATI comparisons:
http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/msi9...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/4830-radeon-crossfi...

Prices of 9800 GT:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

Prices of 4830 Radeon:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

Generally ATI is better value until you reach the GTX 260 segment, although depending on how much the GTS 250 costs it can be a good choice as well as it performs in between the 4850 and 4870.

If you do extensive photo and video editing (professional level) then you might want to consider more RAM, but most likely you won't need to.
!