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Please help me pick out stuff for a new i7 system

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June 8, 2009 5:42:44 AM

Current machine is an Athlon XP 3200+ @ 2GHz, ATI x800xl, Antec P180 case, Seasonic PSU that makes way more noise than it should, etc... so I think it's time for an upgrade I'll be recycling the DVD burner (I have never burned a DVD in my life), a 250GB hard drive for OS stuff and a Wifi card. Monitors will be a couple of Dell 24" 2408WFP.

Main purpose is working a lot with graphics programs, music programs, and lots of programming. I also would like to be able to play games nicely on it. I don't plan on overclocking because I just don't have the time to fiddle with it. If Intel's 2.66GHz is fast and cool I'm happy.

Here's what I've been thinking about building:

ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $270
Intel Core i7 920 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor - Retail $279
6GB RAM $80
ATI HD4890 $250
2x WD 7200RPM 1TB hard drives $200

Any thoughts on the chip/mobo combo, heatsink to keep it cool, RAM, power supply and case?

More about : pick stuff system

June 8, 2009 6:41:24 AM

The i7 is pretty easy to overclock, 3.6ghz is possible without any voltage adjustments on a D0 stepping revision and it will give you a massive boost in your graphics programs ect. I would Overclock, its a free processor upgrade. The i7 is meant to be overclocked, running it at stock is just a waste IMO. This cooler would be a good choice to keep it cool and is pretty cheap:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Get an Nvidia GPU like the GTX 275 so you can take advantage of CUDA, it should help you out in your graphics work. Its also much less consumptive on power, which will save you in the long run.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The MB is good, but probably more than you need. The P6T Vanilla would be fine, here it is in a combo for a good deal on some really fast ram:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

If you don't want to shell out the cash for that ram, then get this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You haven't said what you want in a case, so its kinda tough to make a recommendation. Here are some good deals:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
All these are excellent cases/PSU's and would do well, it just depends on what you like and how much you want to spend.
June 8, 2009 7:31:33 AM

Thanks xthekidx! All look like good stuff, but what if I want to keep the system generally quiet and cool? Would there be a better GPU or case for that situation? I read a bit about CUDA and it doesn't sound like it's very used right now.
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June 8, 2009 8:13:51 AM

klezmer41 said:
Current machine is an Athlon XP 3200+ @ 2GHz, ATI x800xl, Antec P180 case, Seasonic PSU that makes way more noise than it should, etc... so I think it's time for an upgrade I'll be recycling the DVD burner (I have never burned a DVD in my life), a 250GB hard drive for OS stuff and a Wifi card. Monitors will be a couple of Dell 24" 2408WFP.

Main purpose is working a lot with graphics programs, music programs, and lots of programming. I also would like to be able to play games nicely on it. I don't plan on overclocking because I just don't have the time to fiddle with it. If Intel's 2.66GHz is fast and cool I'm happy.

Here's what I've been thinking about building:

ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $270
Intel Core i7 920 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor - Retail $279
6GB RAM $80
ATI HD4890 $250
2x WD 7200RPM 1TB hard drives $200

Any thoughts on the chip/mobo combo, heatsink to keep it cool, RAM, power supply and case?


Silverstone Fortress is a very good case, but requires a bit of ingenuity to get wired right. Very cool, very quiet.
Noctua NHU-12P 1366 is a very good HSF, and also very quiet.
The newer Seasonic S series PSU's are also built for quiet. Personally, I went for an M series as the trade-off of about 1 DB more noise got me much smoother power amd a better effeciency rating.

Don't know what kind of graphics software, music software, etc. that you use, so can't really comment on your drives

Same goes for your choice of GPU.
June 8, 2009 8:27:09 AM

I like the idea of spending less on the mobo, but what about if I want to run RAID 1? I don't know if I'll really overclock, I'm not really into that but I'd like the option of doing it at some point.

What about Linfield, is that worth waiting for or is Nehalem good enough?
June 8, 2009 8:47:14 AM

klezmer41 said:
I like the idea of spending less on the mobo, but what about if I want to run RAID 1? I don't know if I'll really overclock, I'm not really into that but I'd like the option of doing it at some point.

What about Linfield, is that worth waiting for or is Nehalem good enough?


Are you doing your work professionally, or as a hobby? If professionally, then get a NAS solution or at least a good (Areca or similar quality) raid controller. If just as an amateur, then the onboard raid is OK, but make sure you have a good backup solution in either case.
June 8, 2009 10:46:23 AM

There is always a better and badder technology about to be released. If you have the "I'll wait until something better comes out" then you will never be ready to buy because there is always something better right around the corner. The Nehalem architecture is very good. The i7 is the best thing out right now, so if that isn't good enough for you, then maybe you should look into building Dual Xeon workstation. People who want to get better performance than the i7 920 usually overclock, which is why I strongly suggest you do that. Its pretty much a free processor upgrade.
June 8, 2009 1:55:26 PM

I do work professionally. Right now I have a 2-bay Thecus NAS that sounds like an airliner... I need to replace the fan on that thing.

Any thoughts on the worthiness of the 285?
June 8, 2009 6:36:43 PM

What professional programs do you use exactly?
June 8, 2009 10:09:05 PM

For web graphics it's Fireworks 99% of the time, but occasionally I find the need to use Illustrator or Photoshop. The audio part is more a hobby right now but the software is Cubase/Nuendo. I envision myself eventually getting into video as well with After Effects and stuff like that.
June 8, 2009 10:23:59 PM

klezmer41 said:
For web graphics it's Fireworks 99% of the time, but occasionally I find the need to use Illustrator or Photoshop. The audio part is more a hobby right now but the software is Cubase/Nuendo. I envision myself eventually getting into video as well with After Effects and stuff like that.


For your present needs, a 285 will do the job. Some units tend to be a bit noisy, however...

In the future, you might want / need to look at the Quadro line. Some graphics 'artists' think they 'need' a Quadro to run photoshop. I'm fine with that, better mark-up.
June 8, 2009 10:27:06 PM

That's just silliness. I have an x800xl and it's fine... although my single core 3200 is kind of wimpy. And I've done all this crap on a GeForce2, various Macs too. I think the only real reason to get a 285 is games, and I'm okay with that :) 
June 9, 2009 2:53:02 AM

I just built a system based on the i7 920 last week. I based my decision primarily on being able to get the MSI x58m for ~$170 which isn't as insanely priced as other boards. I hope that helps you save some bucks. :) 

Currently running with Intel Matrix RAID--one 150GB RAID1 set for hard-to-replace Users data, and one RAID0 volume for the rest with two drives and very happy with it.
June 9, 2009 3:59:08 AM

croc said:
For your present needs, a 285 will do the job. Some units tend to be a bit noisy, however...

In the future, you might want / need to look at the Quadro line. Some graphics 'artists' think they 'need' a Quadro to run photoshop. I'm fine with that, better mark-up.


Are there any "quieter" 285s?
June 9, 2009 5:18:51 AM

klezmer41 said:
Are there any "quieter" 285s?


Asus makes a relatively quiet 285. Of all the models that I've been able to test here in AUS (limited brands down here) it ranks right up there.
June 10, 2009 2:51:37 PM

Ok here's what I'm thinking of:

ASUS P6T Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel Core i7 920 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor
https://www.antaresdigital.com/customer/product.php?pro..."

vidcard gtx 285
EVGA http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or
MSI http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2x 1TB hard drives $200

OCZ platinum 6GB ram
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU (maybe this one?)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...




I'm not really sure about case and power supply, HSF or thermal compound. Right now I have an Antec P180 case, so will that be enough cooling or should I get something different?


June 11, 2009 1:33:07 AM

How about the P6T vs the P6T deluxe? Right now there's a deal at Newegg where you get the deluxe, 6GB of OCZ RAM and the 2.66 Nehalem, for basically the price of the stuff with the P6T vanilla. But then you're not guaranteed the D0 stepping.
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