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~$1000 3d rendering/adobe cs4 box - i7 build?

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June 14, 2009 7:22:55 PM


I am an Industrial Design student, and need a new system for school use primarily. I am looking to make it as future proof as possible - and make my big investment now, and have the option to upgrade/add more ram/hd/gfx down the line as needed.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE
: a few days to a week

BUDGET RANGE: $1000

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT:
1) 3d Modeling & Rendering (maya/rhino/maxwell/hypershot),
2) Multitasking smoothly with photoshop/illustrator/indesign
3) gaming / movies

PARTS NOT REQUIRED
: keyboard, mouse, monitors (dual Samsung 223BW), speakers

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS
: newegg.com

PARTS PREFERENCES: I was leaning toward the i7 as this seems to be the most advanced (future proof) chip/mobo combination out there right now. Antec for cases - or something of similar quality.

OVERCLOCKING:
Maybe (as part of upgrade path)
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe (as part of upgrade path)

MONITOR RESOLUTION:
2@ 1680x1050 (but would like to be able to have capacity for a bit more in the future - 1900x1200 x2)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: A plain case is good - just want it to stay cool and quiet - no need for windows or lights.

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Proposed Part List:
All suject to change - this is just what I came up with - please advise away!

MOBO - priority was expandable ram - many cheaper options were limited with only 4 slots
GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD4P LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

CPU
Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 - Retail

CPU COOLER
Recommendations?

RAM
Does this have to stay below 1.65v for the x58 boards / i7 chips? Also which speeds are appropriate? I was thinking of 6 gig initially, which leaves me 3 slots open on that mobo for when ram comes down in price in the future..
OCZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory Model

VID CARD
XFX GX260NADBF GeForce GTX 260 Black Edition Core 216 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video ... - Retail

HARD DRIVE
Recommendations? I was thinking of a raid 0 array for speed, and an external drive for backup purposes. I don't want my system to bottleneck at the storage end of things, but a solid state drive seems expensive and a bit tweaky still compared to a pair of fast disks raided.

CASE/PSU
Wide open here- I'd like the option of dual video cards in the future, and also the option to OC the cpu, so some overhead in the psu would be good. The antec 300 case seems to fit the bill - perhaps that or similar. I think a few large fans are a good way to go- so preference towards those using 120mm fans vs. 80mm.
June 14, 2009 8:04:08 PM

CM 690 / 650TX - $169.98
Core i7 920 D0 - $280.00
GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD4P - $222.99
OCZ Platinum / Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB - $177.98
XIGMATEK Dark Knight - 39.99
XFX GTX 260 - $189.99

Current total: $1090.93 | After rebates: $1015.93

Thats the best I could do on two days with little sleep. Its hard because you also want to game, and have the ability to sli in the future. Also keep note you need thermal compound and a optical drive, which adds about $30 more. Ideally you should consider upping your budget to $1100.
June 14, 2009 10:05:42 PM

Thanks for the update - if necessary it is okay to compromise the gaming - I would only really be running titles that are 1-2 years old - so no crysis 4 or FPS of the day for me. I am willing to reduce video performance in order to boost cpu for rendering/multitasking. So almost any reasonable vid card will do.
Also the reminder about thermal compound and optical drive is good - and if i have to i think i might be able to swing $1100.

Does the i7 make sense at this price range, or should I go for one of the Core2 Quads?
Related resources
June 14, 2009 10:21:53 PM

you should definitely try to get an i7. Getting a GTS 250 would be good enough for you. It'll still play games, and you can SLI.

Or you can go the ATI route and get a 4870 since they just dropped the price again:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$150, will perform very well.

EDIT: I did not realize that i posted this 3 times. Sorry.
June 15, 2009 3:59:38 AM

Updated Build:

PS/Case
Cooler master RC690 Case / Corsair CMPSU-650TX 650w Power Supply
Cooler
Dark Knight CPU Cooler
Compound
Arctic Silver 5
HDD
2x WD Black 750gb
CPU / RAM
Core i7 920 / OCZ Platinum 6GB
MOBO/VID CARD
Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD4P / Geforce GTX 260 OC Core 216

Grand total of 1,175 with $70 of rebates. I considered the ATI 4970 - but can get the combo deal with the GTX 260 - which seems to be about 10% faster- for almost the same price.

Is it worth it upgrading to 12GB of ram?
There is a combo with the CPU for a 12gig pack of OCZ gold. Not sure if that is even necessary at this point.
Is a 650W ps enough to use SLI in the future, as well as OC the chip?
Also welcome- any other general comments/suggestions on the build. Thanks!
June 15, 2009 4:42:45 AM

^ Nice build...
But there are few suggestions that you can consider...

1. HDD - The WD 750GB drives are slower and older compared to the WD Black 640GB...these are newer and a tad faster than the 750GB ones...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

2. If you are planning for SLI later, then you would need atleast a 700W high quality PSU for GTX 260 SLI + O/c CPU...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

3. A good offer on mobo but from another online store...
http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=MB-EX58U4P

4. As for the graphics card, check if the apps which you run, take advantage of the technologies like CUDA from nvidia or from ATI...So get the card, that is best suitable for your apps...

5. If you do heavy rendering and use multiple filters on high-res photos in photoshop, then 12GB RAM would help you much as photoshop and adobe CS4 take good advantage as they are now 64-bit apps...
June 15, 2009 9:06:25 AM

Thanks. Will change to the 640gb WD blacks, bump up the PS to the 700w combo you listed. I am tempted to get that mobo from the other store..202 after rebate is a great price. Newegg has it for 259 - 20 rebate with another 20 off for combo deal w/ gfx card. Getting close as far as price goes.

Looks like all of the 2xx series of nvidia gpu's are CUDA-able. As far as i can tell, any of those will do the trick.
June 15, 2009 1:00:28 PM

^ Just a heads up on the PSU...get the one that I had listed and not the other 700W as that one doesn't have the required power connectors for SLI and you would have to buy power adaptors for running SLI...
!