New i7 Gaming System

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APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: I hope to order at the end of this week

BUDGET RANGE: US$1000-1300

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming will be the only particularly demanding thing

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, case (CM690), PSU (Corsair 850TX), OS (Vista Ultimate 64-bit - don't worry can get it for cheap and Home Premium would only save me $10)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: I prefer Newegg, as they don't charge me taxes and I get cash back shopping there with my credit card. Open to anything, though.

PARTS PREFERENCES: Good ones

OVERCLOCKING: Yes

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

Okay, basically looking to spend ~1200. The closer to 1000 the better, but I'd like a beast of a machine. :D

I'll need a wireless card. Not sure what to get. I hope to be able to hook up an ethernet connection, but that might not be possible.

I plan on overclocking, especially if I go with the i7. Not looking to set records, just thinking about 3.4 - 3.5 GHz.

I'd sort of like to go with a single-card solution, but am tempted to SLI/CF for over-the-top performance. :D

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First some questions on what I already have:

CASE:

CM690

Should I purchase any additional fans for this case? I know there are plenty of slots for them, but I'm wondering if it would be necessary/recommended. If so, I would definitely need suggestions on those.

Now for what I'm planning on buying:

CPU/MOBO:


Deciding between three:

ASUS P6T LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.190225
$499.98

Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 - Retail
GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD4P LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.193606
$514.98 w/ $20 MIR

ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.190227
$534.98

Questions:
Does Newegg stock the D0 stepping i7? Do I really need/want it? Which mobo would be best? I'd like to have the possibility of SLI/CF, and also have room for a PCI wireless adapter without blocking the video cards and interfering with cooling that way. Also would like to fit a nice heatsink.

RAM:

Deciding between two:

OCZ Platinum 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=N82E16820227381
$99.99 w/ $20 MIR

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=N82E16820231247
$94.99

Are the 7-7-7-24 or the 8-8-8-21 timings better?
One thing I find tempting about the OCZ is the availability of the following combos:

OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P1600LV6GK - Retail
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.193835
$5 off

OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P1600LV6GK - Retail
EVGA 896-P3-1170-AR GeForce GTX 275 896MB 448-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.187036
$20 off

HEATSINK/THERMAL PASTE:

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

Don't want to spend too much here as I don't plan on an aggressive OC. I've read the Dark Knight includes thermal paste. Is this the case, or should I buy my own (or should I buy my own even if some is included)? If so, what type is recommended. I've seen Artic Silver and Tuniq mentioned a lot.

HDD:

Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136319
$74.99

WIRELESS ADAPTER:

ENCORE ENLWI-N IEEE 802.11b/g, IEEE 802.11n Draft 2.0 PCI 2.3 Wireless Adapter Up to 300Mbps Data Rates 64/128-bits WEP Encryption WPA, WPA2 WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833180052
$24.99

Don't know anything about these. But it seems like a relatively cheap, highly rated card. Again, I want to make sure it won't interfere with other components.

OPTICAL DRIVE:

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=N82E16827136152
$23.99

Yeah, don't really care about this. I just went with the cheapest one with decent ratings.

GPU:

Pretty much just looking for suggestions were.

This is where I have the most questions. I'm tempted by the price to performance ratio of say CF 4850s or 4770s. But I really want something a bit more powerful than that, I think. It seems like GTX 260/275 or HD 4870/4890 is pretty much the way to go. Should I SLI/CF here or just go with one for now? Should I go for whatever's cheapest or stick with the best brands (EVGA, XFX, ?).

OTHER:

Rosewill RTK-002 Anti-Static Wrist Strap - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16899261005
$3.49

Don't want to fry $1500 worth of component. :D


Thanks so much for the help in advance. I've already spent a lot of time lurking here so hopefully I'm not too far off the mark with things. I didn't include a total of my planned components since so many are still up in the air.

Sorry it's so long. Hope it's formatted okay!
19 answers Last reply
More about gaming system
  1. I haven't heard of a single person getting a D0 from newegg, but since you aren't going to aggressively OC I would say you are fine.

    I think I would favor the Gigabyte UD4P in the build. Good features, good price, better customer service than Asus (Neither is great in that dept.)

    Go with the lower latency OCZ. Get whatever combo makes sense for you.
    GTX 275 is a good card, but if you think you might want to upgrade with a second card soon, the just grab a GTX 260 core 216. My advice though is to only plan CF/SLI if you really feel you will do it within a few months. Getting one card and saying "I'll get a second in a year or so when I really need it" NEVER works out. Cards improve too fast. Chances are if you don't add a second card within 6 months you never will, you'll just replace it at some point.

    Pretty sure you will need some thermal paste. MX-2, Artic Silver 5, TX-2. Since a few recent newegg reviews have stated the surface of the DK was rough or uneven, be sure to check it carefully when you get it.
  2. Proximon said:
    I haven't heard of a single person getting a D0 from newegg, but since you aren't going to aggressively OC I would say you are fine.
    I think I would favor the Gigabyte UD4P in the build. Good features, good price, better customer service than Asus (Neither is great in that dept.)


    Sounds good. Cheaper is better. :)

    Proximon said:

    Go with the lower latency OCZ.


    So the last timing 24 vs 21 doesn't matter as much?

    Proximon said:

    GTX 275 is a good card, but if you think you might want to upgrade with a second card soon, the just grab a GTX 260 core 216. My advice though is to only plan CF/SLI if you really feel you will do it within a few months. Getting one card and saying "I'll get a second in a year or so when I really need it" NEVER works out. Cards improve too fast. Chances are if you don't add a second card within 6 months you never will, you'll just replace it at some point.


    That seems to make sense. So if I'm getting just one card, I should probably stick with a 275 or 4890? But if I'm going SLI/CF soon or immediately, the 260 or 4870 would make more sense (as anything else would be overkill)?

    Proximon said:

    Pretty sure you will need some thermal paste. MX-2, Artic Silver 5, TX-2. Since a few recent newegg reviews have stated the surface of the DK was rough or uneven, be sure to check it carefully when you get it.


    If it is rough or uneven should I RMA? Lapping sounds scary to me. Any recommendation between the thermal pastes? I imagine I can't go too wrong with any of them.
  3. Quote:
    So the last timing 24 vs 21 doesn't matter as much?


    Not as much. It does matter, not as much.

    T
    Quote:
    hat seems to make sense. So if I'm getting just one card, I should probably stick with a 275 or 4890? But if I'm going SLI/CF soon or immediately, the 260 or 4870 would make more sense (as anything else would be overkill)?


    Yes!

    Quote:
    If it is rough or uneven should I RMA? Lapping sounds scary to me. Any recommendation between the thermal pastes? I imagine I can't go too wrong with any of them.


    I wouldn't say lapping was scary, but it is a lot of work. Up to you on the RMA. I used a razor blade to check my Xig when I got it... let me find that link for you:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/248035-29-xigmatek-s1283-e8400
    About mid way down you'll find a post from me with some tips. It's for LGA 775 and an older version of the Xig, but it still applies.

    Yes all 3 are fine. If you are new I would say the MX-2, as it's most forgiving.
  4. This outfit (ewiz) is located in California...not sure if they would charge you tax or not.

    http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=MB-EX58U4P&show=p Combo Price: $494.00 | w/coupon code: $484.00 Free Shipping
    Intel Core i7 Processor i7-920 2.66GHz 8MB LGA1366 CPU, Retail
    GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD4P Core i7/ Intel X58/ DDR3/ CorssFireX & 3-Way SLI/ A&GbE/ ATX Motherboard
    Use coupon code: Take10 for additonal $5 off.

    Good stable RAM...

    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

    And if you want D0 stepping....

    https://www.antaresdigital.com/customer/product.php?productid=16135&cat=282&page=1" $ 277.00
    Intel Core i7 920 2.66GHz LGA 1366 Socket 8MB Cache CPU D0 Stepping

    http://www.fudzilla.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=11773&Itemid=1 <--- that's one way you can tell if you have a D0 stepping cpu or not

    http://www.anandtech.com/weblog/showpost.aspx?i=584 <---short review on that D0 stepping i7. It runs cooler than the older C0 stepping i7's.
  5. Thanks for the help so far!

    Any thoughts on whether I should get extra case fans for the CM690?

    What about specific GPUs?

    I'm thinking:

    If I go SLI 260s, two of these:
    MSI N260GTX-T2D896-OCv4 GeForce GTX 260 896MB 448-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127430
    $164.99

    If I go CF 4870s, two of these:
    SAPPHIRE 100259-1GL Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102801
    $179.99 free shipping

    If I go 275:
    EVGA 896-P3-1170-AR GeForce GTX 275 896MB 448-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130475
    $239.99 but combos with OCZ RAM for -$20.00

    OR

    XFX GX275XADQC GeForce GTX 275 896MB 448-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150364
    $234.99 and includes a game I'd probably end up buying, anyway.

    If I go 4890:
    HIS Hightech H489F1GP Radeon HD 4890 1GB 256-bit PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161276
    $224.99 w/ $25 MIR

    Any opinions on which of these would be best? It seems like if I go CF/SLI the price on those MSI 260s is probably the best deal, but that might go away before I am ready to buy.
  6. re: fans. You are probably good.

    re:sli vs single card:

    SLI/crossfire has been a poor upgrade path in the past. It should be used only by
    those who will not currently be satisfied by the fastest available single vga card
    which is currently the GTX295. The 4890, or GTX275
    offer very good performance now.
    To get SLI. you have to spend more up front for a SLI capable mobo,a
    more powerful SLI capable PSU, and better case cooling. Upgrading a single card later with a
    second equal card does not get you 2x increase, it is more like 1.3x to 1.8x depending on the game.
    At that time, you will still be paying top dollar for a card that is closer to
    being obsolete.
    It would be better to sell the old card and use the proceeds
    towards a better new generation single card.
  7. Hrmm, okay. I'm still up in the air about it, though. It seems like SLI is scaling better and better lately. And no reason I couldn't sell both later. I mean there's also a premium for the best card out at any given time. I feel like 2x 260 would cost about 40% more than 1x 275 and also give about 40% more performance. Though it would cost more in terms of power consumption and heat generation...

    If I do go the single card route should I still stick with the UD4P? Or should I maybe drop to the UD3R or another cheaper board?
  8. You are correct about scaling. If you look at the most recent video card guide here you'll see that SLI/crossfire is still the best buy, as far as video cards themselves go.

    geofelt makes a good case about other expenses, but I can't agree completely.

    -The good AMD motherboards come with crossfire and run around 100 bucks.
    -X58 motherboards are crossfire boards.
    -Both builds included enough heat that you need a decently cooled case anyway.

    I think the added expense of a crossfire build, especially in an i7 build, would be around 30 bucks, most of that in PSU.... and hey you already have a Corsair 850TX.
  9. CodeNameSly said:
    Hrmm, okay. I'm still up in the air about it, though. It seems like SLI is scaling better and better lately. And no reason I couldn't sell both later. I mean there's also a premium for the best card out at any given time. I feel like 2x 260 would cost about 40% more than 1x 275 and also give about 40% more performance. Though it would cost more in terms of power consumption and heat generation...

    If I do go the single card route should I still stick with the UD4P? Or should I maybe drop to the UD3R or another cheaper board?


    If you go the single card route, then a UD3P would be just fine I would think. Take a look at this set up down below.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129042 $58.95 Free Shipping*
    Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

    http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=10009795 $74.99 | $49.99 after MIR
    OCZ OCZ550FTY 550W Active Power Supply Retail

    http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=MB-EX58U3R Combo Price: $423.99 | w/coupon code: $413.99 Free Shipping
    GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD3R Core i7/ Intel X58/ DDR3/ CrossFireX/ A&GbE/ ATX Motherboard
    Intel Core i7 Processor i7-920 2.66GHz 8MB LGA1366 CPU, Retail
    Use coupon code: Take10 for additonal $10 off.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835233029 $41.99 Free Shipping*
    XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835154003 $4.99
    Tuniq TX-2 Cooling Thermal Compound - Retail

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150364 $234.99 Free Shipping*
    XFX GX275XADQC GeForce GTX 275 896MB 448-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
    Free Call of Duty: World at War w/ purchase, limited offer

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.193835 Combo Discount: -$5.00 Combo Price: $169.98 $20.00 Mail-In Rebate
    OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P1600LV6GK - Retail
    Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136152 $23.99 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


    Total: $1,023.87 | $978.87 w/mail in rebates
  10. Proximon said:
    You are correct about scaling. If you look at the most recent video card guide here you'll see that SLI/crossfire is still the best buy, as far as video cards themselves go.

    geofelt makes a good case about other expenses, but I can't agree completely.

    -The good AMD motherboards come with crossfire and run around 100 bucks.
    -X58 motherboards are crossfire boards.
    -Both builds included enough heat that you need a decently cooled case anyway.

    I think the added expense of a crossfire build, especially in an i7 build, would be around 30 bucks, most of that in PSU.... and hey you already have a Corsair 850TX.


    Yeah I got the PSU and case comboed together for a good deal a little while ago before I knew exactly what I wanted. I figured 850 was big enough to do most sane things and the price was good enough for it to not hurt. I think it came to 178 for both and I've got a $20 MIR "in process."

    I'm leaning towards the 260s SLIed. I've heard they can be loud, though? Let's call this a tentative build:

    LG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model GH22NS30 - OEM
    ENCORE ENLWI-N PCI 2.3 Wireless Adapter - Retail
    2 x MSI N260GTX-T2D896-OCv4 GeForce GTX 260 896MB 448-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
    Tuniq TX-2 Cooling Thermal Compound - Retail
    Rosewill RTK-002 Anti-Static Wrist Strap - Retail
    XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler - Retail
    OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P1600LV6GK - Retail
    Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
    Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 - Retail
    GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD4P LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

    Which comes to $1,129.97 shipped, $1,069.97 adding in the MIR.

    Including case and PSU it's $1,309.95 shipped, $1,229.95 adding in the MIR.
    Note this is all priced on Newegg. I could probably shave a few dollars by looking around, but I just want to make sure this looks fairly solid.

    Now if I decide to go crazy and 275 SLI:

    $1,266.04 shipped - so I'd be adding ~140 to all those prices above. Seems like it'd definitely not be worth it.

    Single 275 or 4890 would definitely be cheaper than the SLI 260s, though.
  11. The PNY is the better card with a better warranty and support:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814133270
    It's actually cheaper because of the free shipping. Should be quieter.
  12. Proximon said:
    The PNY is the better card with a better warranty and support:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814133270
    It's actually cheaper because of the free shipping. Should be quieter.


    Hrmm okay. The MSI does include a 100MHz factory overclock, but I guess if I really care about it I can just do it myself. Is there a good resource for comparing the reliability of brands? Or just go by length of warranty?
  13. Video cards are usually very similar except for cooling and warranty, yes. I have experience with PNY, as they have been around a long time. I had a 6600GT that lasted me the full 3 years and died about a week after the warranty expired :lol:

    XFX has a nice rep, as does EVGA
  14. So PNY, XFX, and EVGA are good? And MSI isn't so good?

    What about Sapphire, BFG, HIS, ASUS, Gigabyte?

    I'm just assuming Powercolor and Sparkle aren't great, since they always seem to be the cheapest and I've never really heard of either.
  15. My impression, first off, is that ATI cards with stock coolers are all pretty much identical. I don't think Sparkle or Powercolor are exactly bad.

    HIS is fairly new but seems to be earning a name for itself.

    Sapphire is the ancient ATI video card provider and may have a closer relationship with ATI than other companies. They have good QC for sure.

    BFG has always been considered good. ASUS and Gigabyte are a bit of a mystery to me really, but see my comment on ATI cards.

    Video card brands are not like motherboard brands. ATI and nVidia have control over what these companies make to a greater or lesser degree. Strip the cooler off a BFG GTX and an XFX GTX and they'll probably be identical down to the numbers printed on the chips.
  16. There are *plenty* of reviews around on the 275's . . . consult one and make an informed choice on a brand.

    As for SLI . . . the 275 will run current games fine at 1920x1200 (your resolution), so why spend more cash up-front and burn more over time while you throw off enough heat for a small village lol? Besides, I doubt you'll get 40% more performance out of 2x260s in anything other than benchmarks lol.

    If/when you get unhappy with the 275, you can buy another . . . it'll be cheaper then.

    JMO
  17. Hrm, the 4850x2 is $249.99 w/ free shipping on Newegg. That definitely beats the price/performance ratio of the GTX 275 or HD 4890. Would it be a bad idea going with this seeing as it's only made by one company?
  18. Why_Me said:
    This outfit (ewiz) is located in California...not sure if they would charge you tax or not.

    http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=MB-EX58U4P&show=p Combo Price: $494.00 | w/coupon code: $484.00 Free Shipping
    Intel Core i7 Processor i7-920 2.66GHz 8MB LGA1366 CPU, Retail
    GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD4P Core i7/ Intel X58/ DDR3/ CorssFireX & 3-Way SLI/ A&GbE/ ATX Motherboard
    Use coupon code: Take10 for additonal $5 off.


    Damn the combo is no longer available there. Though I guess that's just more incentive to get the D0 i7 from AntaresDigital... :D
  19. W/e you do don't get a gigabyte card.. While their mobos are good, their cards suck. me and my brother both got a card from them, mind you at different times, they both fried within the same timeline*just right after warranty*.

    Personally I chose to go with 4890 and got the lifetime warranty.
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