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Review my first build, + MAJOR advice needed!

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June 18, 2009 4:34:11 PM

THE FOLLOWING STUFF HAS BEEN MOSTLY SORTED OUT Go here to where I posted my build--- http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/267134-31-1500-gaming...
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Approximate Purchase Date: Preferably before the second week of August. Sooner is better, but if a price cut is coming I'll wait...

Price range: $1.5 grand CDN, give or take

System Usage: Gaming, programming, photo and HD video editing, surfing the web, watching movies, listening to music, and of course the stand MS Office affair. My parents are big Dell proponents; they don't believe that Dell over charges. Now that I'm 18, I'm building my own rig.

Preferred Websites for Parts: Tigerdirect.ca, and anyone else that's cheap and will ship to Canada for a reasonable price.

Parts not required: Any I/O decvices, Software

Part preferences: None, but reliable companies pleases

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI/Crossfire: Maybe

Monitor: 1920 x 1200

Additional Comments: Blu-ray drive would be nice.

About me: I'm going to university next year to study CS and I've crunched the numbers. I have about 1.5g to spend without going into my university loans or costs. Since I'll be working again this summer, I can go over that a little bit if need be. I'd like to build a good gaming/editing rig. I understand the basics of computer components but recently I've found it a whole lot more confusing (I used to rate video-cards by their memory, but now it seems that there's more to it). If someone wants to give me a quick overview, that'd be great. If you could tell me why you're leaning towards a component, that would be nice.

CPU: I understand speed. What else should I look at? Is a certain number of cores better than others? I've had someone tell me that two maximum or only ever used. I was thinking the Intel i7 920: http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

Video Card: I understand memory. What else to look at? Xfire and SLi confuse me? Is it better to run two 1 GB cards or one 2GB card. Some people have told me that singles are always better. I was thinking this card (might be overkill): http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

RAM: I understand memory and speed. Preferably DDR3. What else to look at? I heard that a lot of motherboards don't support speeds like 1600 MHZ. I was thinking this: http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

Motherboard: I know absolutely nothing about motherboards, except that they link everything together. I was thinking this one (except it doesn't look to be compatible with the speed of the ram I chose): http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

Cooling system / case: I know nothing here as well.

Hard-drive: 750 GB - 1 TB. I know memory and rpm. What else should I consider? I was thinking this one: http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

PSU: Clueless. Don't know how wattage affects the setup? Can I have too much? How do I know what is too little?

Thank you very much. If you don't want to explain those components to me (in-depth), but know a good FAQ that would be nice. :wahoo: 

The price of the components comes to $1400 CDN (about 1260 American), which leaves me like $250 max to spend on a PSU, case, and cooling system. I think the VC might be killing it. Is that card too much? I want to have the comp for at least 2-2.5 years without replacing components to run games smoothly on at least high settings. And how's the price of those components I chose? Good deals or bad? Exchange rate is hovering around 1.1 CDN to 1 USD.

More about : review build major advice needed

June 19, 2009 1:30:43 AM

Hate to bump my own thread but I really need help. I have no clue what I'm doing especially with the motherboard, case, and cooling. Thanks for any quick replies. I can't risk throwing down money on something that won't work.
June 19, 2009 1:59:51 AM

I've seen many threads on various forums recommending ASUS motherboards. Reliable and good RMA record. Here's a link to NCIX.COM:
http://www.ncix.com/

Regarding cases...Check out the ANTEC Three Hundred or Nine Hundred...both well built.

I'm no expert on GPUs, but the one you listed might be overkill.

Lastly, I've also seen many a complaint about TigerDirect. Personally, I have never used them. You might want to check out Newegg. Canada
http://www.newegg.ca/
Related resources
June 19, 2009 2:25:20 PM

Is this video card a little more appropriate? http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

Will it let me do my HD editing and play games like Crysis on high (preferably maxed out)? I really do need help with the motherboard, especially if it will be compatible with the rest of the parts.

These are the two boards I'm looking at:

http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

I'm not opposed to changing anything on what I've compiled so far, except I want to stay with nvidia and intal for the GPU and CPU.

I have no idea how hot the final product will run, so I need cooling suggestions and I don't know what wattage of PSU is good.

If I save up some cash and upgrade to SLI in about 6 months, will that be a significant boost in performance?
June 19, 2009 4:25:54 PM

Okay so for starters let me help you out what you should consider for different components:

-Video-cards: Ram is an important factor however there is also something called cores aka (stream processors/ pixel pipelines...etc) these are possible the most important in deciding a cards power. Also there is something called Core Clock, Memory Clock, and Shader Clock speeds, these are your basic GPU clock speed, memory clock speed, and shaders clock speed. All of these components should be considered however in general IMO cores are probably your most important deciding factor because in simple terms....more cores=more power when comes down to basics in video-cards.

-For a hard drive, rpm is the most important for speed, however how many platters are in also is a determinant. A plater is the magnetic disc inside hard drive that it reads and the quantity of them affect speed.

-Processor: Intel core i7 920 is really good...go for it!

-Motherboard: make sure it has an QPI...not FSB...QPI is the new technology. See FSB (Front Side Bus) is when your processor is connected to your north-bridge and then connects to your ram and stuff. QPI (Quick Path Interconnect) is when the processor is directly connected to ram resulting and lower latency. Anyway your motherboard should have a socket LGA1366 and support a QPI of 6.4GT/s Also your motherboard should support at least 1066mhz ram and perferably 1333mhz ram as most do. Some motherboards support 1600mhz but require over-clocking. And some support up to 2000mhz but really 1066mhz is fine for most stuff unless you run intensive apps like some games...cs4...auto-cad and stuff like that.

-Cooling...for your video-card make sure you have good airflow..you must have a back case cooler fan and a CPU cooler (a good one or 280-bucks is lost). Also i recommend a PCI cooler for your GPU.

-Processor power is mostly architecture, clock speed, FSB support, and # of cores.

-Xfire and SLI...Xfire aka Crossfire is technology by ATI to run more then 2 cards on a single motherboard to perform one task as if it were one card. SLI is the exact same thing except created by NVIDIA. I recommend having a Single GPU because many people have cooling problems, instability, and other stuff so it might be hassle, but if you have the right case and PSU...go for it just make sure you buy a new card as older cards will be hard to find if you want SLI down the road.

-Power supply, IMO should support the maximum power consumption of every component and have a good overhead just in case. Dont get a cheap one because it will break and take half your system along with it. My recommendations for manufactures are cooler-master, corsair, antec, PC power and cooling, and OCZ.

-Any other questions? :) 
June 19, 2009 5:22:04 PM

Woah, thanks Black-hawk, that certainly gives me a lot to think about.

Two more questions for the time being while I reassemble my new system:

1. Do you expect a price drop in computer components before late August? I'd like to get the best price possible, but I'd like to build it ASAP as well so I can fool around with it.

2. A lot of components seem to be near identical, but the slightly later model retails for as much as 150 dollars more (as the case with the GTX 280 and 285). Is there any reason to go with the more recent, apart from like what seems to be a minimal increase in specs?

Thanks
June 19, 2009 5:41:24 PM

Your welcome :) 

-For question #1: The best part about computer prices is that they just keep going down...as new hardware comes out, the hardware line before drops and drops and then the process repeats itself. I bet that the next day after you build your system there will be system identical but cheaper...thats how it works with computers lol.

-For Question #2: yeah a lot of stuff seems identical like the GTX275 and GTX280 and GTX285 all have the same amount of cores. However they are really different .To determine which one you need...I need to know what types of games you plan on playing or do play and what kind of settings you expect to get from them...wether you are okay with low or medium, high settings, or the absolute max of the game that it can provide will all affect which GPU you want to get because all the three cards I mentioned would handle your resolution but they would handle it differently. So you need to give me that information.

-As a side note...if you plan on doing SLI down the road then you must buy the newest releases as older releases might or probably will be very hard to find in the future as they will just slowly fade away from sellers.
June 19, 2009 6:11:20 PM

Q.1. So you wouldn't say that there is gonna be a new wave of tech released quite shortly that drastically drops everything else?

Q.2. Well, I like to play all kinds of games. I haven't touched my crappy Dell in ages, though. Mainly on my Xbox. Of the current wave of games, I like stuff like Fallout 3 and CoD. Etc. Although I am really crappy at them, I like RTSs (haven't played a really good one since Warcraft 3, though). I'm waiting for Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3. Every so often I play an mmorpg for a month or so before I get bored. I would also like to see Crysis maxed out or close to it and give it a play through. AA isn't big deal for me, 2x is fine. I'm cool with 30-35 fps on maxed out settings on most current games and I would like to be in "high" range for the next couple of years without and upgrade.
June 20, 2009 1:00:24 AM

1: Well yeah there will be new tech but it will never stop since they just keep coming out so you basically just need to pick a time and just buy :) 

2: IF you want to play on max with game like those 30-35fps on 1920x1200 then I would recommend a GTX280. However.. if you plan on SLI in the future then go with a GTX275 since a GTX280 is older and will be harder to find.
June 23, 2009 9:05:15 PM

Those look like solid component choices, minus the Seagate 7200.11 1TB drive. The 1TB and 1.5TB 7200.11 series drives from Seagate have a known firmware issue. Go with a Seagate 7200.12 series or a Hitachi drive instead.

The video card is overkill. You can pick up a Radeon 4870 w/1GB or a 4890 for half the price, at very close to the same performance. SLI and Crossfire are wastes of money. Get a fast single card, and don't spend $200 more than you have to.

In fact, with the money you can save by dropping the overpriced video card, you can pick up a good case and power supply. Personally, I would go with these:

COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

PC Power & Cooling S75CF 750W EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail

Hope this helps you out!
!