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$2000 Aim for i7 920 gaming build. Need advice.

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May 19, 2009 5:59:03 PM

Hello everyone. I'm not exactly sure if this is in the right category, but I intend to build a relatively good gaming pc for 2,000.

At the moment, it's about 300 or so over but if I can't find anything better, ill settle for it. This is my college build, so hopefully it will last me 2 years at least.

I plan on heavy overclocking, so can anyone give me suggestions on the best motherboard/i7 combo for overclocking? I'd honestly like to see 3.8 ghz, and any help would be appreciated. If watercooling will be necessary, ill adjust everything accordingly.

I'm SLI'ing at the moment, 2x 285's. I'd be playing on a 23.6" that I listed below.

I play games like Crysis, far cry 2, STALKER, Bioshock, basically all recent, demanding FPS's.

Here are all the components Ive put together so far:

Haf 932
WD Caviar Black 3.0 gb/s 500gb HD
Asus 23.6"
2x xfx 285 1gb GPU
LITE-ON Black 18X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA DVD-ROM Drive
CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W ATX12V 2.2
ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 LGA 1366
Xigmatek Dark Knight
Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz
OCZ XMP Ready Series 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory

I'll hopefully be ordering in another 2 weeks or so, once I finalize everything.
Thanks in advance!
May 19, 2009 6:42:08 PM

Change the HDD to the 640gb version for denser platters and faster read/write times:

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

If you're looking to save some money, you can go with two 4890s instead of two 285s (outstanding performers at a much cheaper price):

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

The link is broken for your RAM, but I like this set from the same company for probably cheaper (and better timings):

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

Other than that, great build!
May 19, 2009 6:49:25 PM

swap the two 285's for three 4890's, they will cost slightly less which you will need to put the spare money towards a better PSU, 1000w preferably.

this will easily outperform the two GTX 285's, might even outperform 3 285's.
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May 19, 2009 6:54:59 PM

Thanks for the suggestions!

i'll change the HDD, and RAM.

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

but ive been looking at the 4890's for a month now and while they did impress me at first, ive been hearing horror stories lately about the drivers and getting CF configured correctly. I'll keep looking into it, I just don't want to have buyers remorse when I find out my 4890's don't run as smoothly as the benchmarks suggested.

On a side note..
do you think ill be able to clock the 2.66ghz up to at least 3.8 on that board? or do you suggest I just bite the bullet and get the i7 940 at 2.9ghz and use that as a base for overclocking?
May 19, 2009 6:56:21 PM

well I have the 920 and the V2 and I'm running at 3.8 24/7 stable...I could probably do 4.0 easily but I am a big nit about temperatures and I've reached near the cap of what i'm comfortable with.

In short, yes you can.
May 19, 2009 6:58:53 PM

well if you get a D0 which you are likely to get then 3.8ghz shouldn't be hard, some get 4.6ghz, others get to 4ghz max clock with the new d0's.

also most of the people who got driver issues were moving from nvidia cards but had forgot to remove the forceware drivers.
May 19, 2009 7:19:29 PM

If you look at it the person might not have completely deleted the nvidia drivers.

this is the reason why they get poor performance.
May 19, 2009 7:30:32 PM

Alright thanks.
and I can't believe it, but 3 4890's is basically cheaper than 2 285's.
I'm thinking that 2 4890's should be fine for now since the DX11 cards are coming out in Q4, ill be kicking myself for spending 700 dollars on laste gen GPU's by then. once dx11 comes out, the prices will drop drastically anyway.

One more thing:
I'm under the impression that I won't need a 1000w psu because two 4890's reach a peak of 400w regardless of what retailers will tell us anyway.. that leaves 350w for the rest of the system. let's give 150 to the CPU and ill still have 200w left for the Ram, fans, flux capacitor, etc..

And that's with just a 750watt that I had in my cart originally. With a 850w, it'll be more than plenty correct?

May 19, 2009 7:35:39 PM

^ the 4890's support DX11, infact I remember reading an article that it's their 4th generation of gpu's which support DX11.

the only thing you will get out of the 49xx series will be higher clocks because of the 40nm architecture, but 9 months later you'll regret buying that because amd will have rolled out 28nm 5xxx GPU's.
May 19, 2009 7:58:34 PM

My godd I need to do more research.
So what do you suggest I do lol? just settle for one factory OC'd 4890?
May 19, 2009 8:09:49 PM

well get a trio now, it will last you a until at least Q4 2010 at above 60fps for most games I guess, and by then we'll probably have PCIe 3.0 and use 10 pin power connectors and then you'll need a new motherboard, maybe a new CPU, probably some new ram too and a new PSU that supports 10 pin.
May 19, 2009 8:36:23 PM

well you've got it all planned out don't you ;) 
sounds goood. ill be sure to go 3x crossfire,
will that mobo give me any trouble with them? and i'm guessing i'll need a few more power connectors for the extra card?
May 19, 2009 8:47:10 PM

crossing the dual 260, 4870, 4890 range you really start getting into the higher slope of performance for your money. i would stick with two of any of those cards and i think you will be happy at 1920x1080.

money wise it would give you room for a small SSD (like 60g vertex) or a velociraptor or a BD player if you wanted. all about personal preference here

the 850 should be plenty but planning ahead on psu's is good practice, and the 1000 corsair is modular which i prefer. doesn't hurt to go bigger/better if you can fit it in your budget but the 850 would be fine.

unless you need top of the line whenever they come out don't worry about 9 months down the road, there is always going to be a better card in that timeline in which case you sell what you have and put it towards the new buy if you want. the cards you're considering are the right choice if you're looking to buy soon for your price range.



May 19, 2009 9:08:06 PM

i've read some bad things about running 3x crossfire on the V2 and other boards...I put my vote in for just two-way crossfire 4890s if you're going that route. 3-way will run in a 16x-8x-8x configuration on the V2 board but I've heard of scaling issues and a severe reduction in the value : performance ratio by adding a third card.

I would go with two for now...it will blow everything away today and if you decide that it's not enough 6 months from now, add another then when they are super cheap.
May 19, 2009 9:26:13 PM

In my humble opinion, solid state drives are bullshit at the moment. a velociraptor would be a 100% smarter choice the way the SSD's are hitting the market right now. Obviously in a year or two ill be begging for a 3x SSD setup because they will have dropped in price, have been refined, and built with better materials. Most of the SSD's that an average gamer could afford are made of mainly plastic and run HOT, not to mention the sketchy performance of some models. While the SSD's in the $800 range do prove to be more like they should be, the cost is way to high at the moment.

Wow, excuse that rant.. but what's wrong with a pair of 10,000 rpm raptors or even faster velociraptors when they are dirt cheap compaired to SSD's? they really are a bargain. I remember when normal 32gb hdd's were like 500 dollars lmao, and they had what 5,000 rpm? i don't remember.

I agree completely about the crossfire setup, Ive been rifling through benchmarks for the past hour, and it seems that scaling degrades a lot more than I expected in crossfire. 3 285's do seem to scale quite well, however... but who in their right mind would spend that much on gpu's that were obsolete the minute they hit the shelves. I would have been that guy until the money in my wallet knocked some sense into me, or lack there of ;) .
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