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New Build, Need help deciding between a few components

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September 29, 2009 8:20:10 AM

Ok guys, I tend to make long posts but Ill try to make this as quick and to-the-point as possible, please bear (bare?) with me. :pt1cable: 

First of all, this is my first post so.... My name is Jason, I live just outside of Pittsburgh, PA, I'm 24, and I've been building my own computers for a few years. Im a (I guess you could call it) 'veteran' member of Xoxide forums. As they are down at the moment, and I thought you guys might be more helpful on this issue, I decided to post here.

Now, its time for a new build, and thus I have a few questions for those that know more than I. I had a surge go through my system not too long ago and I think it damaged the Mobo and CPU in some way. Im having problems, but I wont go through all that. I replaced the PSU (old one was dead) and got my lifetime warranty replacement from BFG (love em :) . So, all I need for this new build is the Motherboard, CPU, and RAM. I can spend 1k-1.3k$ on those 3 components. I want as top-of-the-line components as I can get for the money with the motherboard being the most important.

Right now, as far as those Mobo, CPU, and RAM go, I have in my current system: ASUS Striker Extreme, Core 2 Duo, OCZ Gold. I prefer Asus for motherboards, AMD is NOT an option, and I like OCZ for RAM but Im pretty flexible for that (Corsair is good as well).

My first move was to go to Newegg and select a set of components that would fit in my price range. I will be buying from Newegg, that is the only option as far as retailer goes. After some searching, I came up with a preliminary list going off of pure specs, price, quality, and aesthetics (mobo). Yes, how "pretty" the board is DOES matter to me, I know it shouldn't, I know it doesn't help the situation, but I can't change myself. Now, the preliminary list:

Motherboard: The ASUS P6T7 WS Supercomputer LGA 1366 Intel X58 or the EVGA E760 CLASSIFIED "Overclocker's Pick" 3-Way SLI + PhysX 1366 Intel X58. It is important to me to have the BEST AVAILABLE motherboard, as everything else can be upgraded on top of the mobo.

CPU: Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz

RAM: OCZ Gold 12GB (6 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600

Ok, now you've got the links to the components, time for me to explain my choices and why I need help. Only 3 more paragraphs to go people! 1 for each component, Im trying guys!! :kaola: 

Motherboard: This is the most complicated. As I stated above, I already have a good opinion of ASUS. When I compared the two, I could only see 2 major differences.
1) The ASUS board can take faster RAM. The EVGA says it stops at 1600 whereas the ASUS says it goes up to 2000. (But then again it also says (O.C.) next to 1600-2000)
2) The EVGA has a PCI slot. The ASUS only has PCI-E (and a crapload of them). Not a big deal as far as I can see, this only means I would need to buy a new sound card as my current card is PCI (it seems it has onboard sound though anyway, so that should hold me over). I don't see needing anything else that would only work in a PCI slot and not a PCI-E.
So, after the comparison, the two boards were still on pretty much even footing. The ASUS still slightly ahead because of the brand. HOWEVER, then I moved on to reading the customer reviews. This is where it got bad.
Both boards have a few bad reviews, but it seems the ASUS has way more than I would expect or that I like. It also seems like alot of Intel X58 Chipset boards arrive DOA.... like WWWAAAYYY too many for my comfort level. I've never had anything arrive DOA, from Newegg or anywhere else.
After reading into it a little bit, it seems like people are saying the X58 Chipset itself is very buggy. Is this the case? Does anyone have any advice about these 2 boards? Any owners with reviews? Any boards that might be better suited to someone who wants the best of the best? Remember, if Im to get the CPU and the RAM on this list then the substitute Mobo must be around 400$ or cheaper like these ones.

CPU: Well as far as Core i7 1366 CPUs went, there were only 3. It was either the Extreme (which at 999 was way too much), the 3.06 GHz 950, or the 2.66 GHz 920. Using the compare function on Newegg it seems the only difference is the .4 GHz. Seeing as how the 950 is 570$ and the 920 is 280$, I don't think .4 Ghz is worth another 290$. Thats more than double the price.... I would think Im missing something, that seems ridiculous to charge 200% for .4 GHz so maybe there is another stat(s) that isn't shown that makes up the price difference. Thats why your here :lol: 

RAM: Out of all 3, this was the most quickly chosen, and by far the most flexible. I was only really looking for amount of memory (want 12GB, 6x2GB), price, and quality. I like the OCZ gold I have right now, and they had a decent price, so I chose this set. I'm not a master at latency, or the connection between what the processor will allow and the RAM you get, you know, the more 'expert' qualities of RAM, so if someone has a better (newegg) solution for around the same price, Im definitely open to that.

Im done now :bounce:  It turned out longer than I wanted it to be but I had a lot of information to put down. Please help me out guys, especially with the motherboard problem. I've never been stuck like this before. I want the newest socket, I dont want to buy another 775 board when its on its way out, I need longevity. I need to make a decision soon and I really don't want to be regretting a thousand dollar or more purchase, and something Ill be stuck with for a few years, a month after receiving it.

I thank you very much in advance. I appreciate all the help I get from all the people who offer it.
September 29, 2009 11:01:21 AM

If you want longevity, go with the i5. It will be around slightly longer than the i7. As for advice, you have enough knowledge to make a good decision. If you aren't comfortable with i7 or i5, I would wait to upgrade. Your present system is plenty fast. Some folks have stated that for gaming, the i7 isn't much of an upgrade.
September 29, 2009 11:55:58 AM

Hey,

I think the CPU question is the easiest - buy the 920 and overclock it to well above the level of the 950. You will easily achieve 3ghz under quietish air cooling alone. Just buy a big effin' fan. That way you're getting a load of performance for a fraction of the cost. If you feel like living on the edge you could probably challenge the extreme in terms of clock speed - although always the benefit of the extreme series is the unlocked multiplier - but you can consider this when they're not 1k for a cpu..... :) 

I'm pretty sure the EVGA can easily handle RAM speeds of 2000+, and I have also read the DOA issues on tomshardware - however I would assume, and pray, that they would be ironed out come october/november time and would just bite the bullet anyway...
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September 29, 2009 2:14:18 PM

Thanks for responding so far... Im one of those people who do the 'quote-reponse' hehe, so here goes:

Quote:
If you want longevity, go with the i5. It will be around slightly longer than the i7.


Now see, the i5 was something I was not even aware of until I started looking for the build componenets on Newegg and saw it. I was aware of the i7 before that. I tend to not follow tech news in-between builds because it just makes me angry (Dangit I want that, no that, no that! lol) so once I dived back in for this build I had already heard of the i7 through commercials and other "just happened to come across" mentions of it. I don't quite understand the difference between the i5 and i7, or why they have different sockets. I figured, simply based on the higher number (on "i7" and "1366"), that the i7 was newer. What is the difference between the i5 and the i7 anyway? It looks likes Newegg only carrys one i5. If I went i5 I would also have to switch Mobo's, but it looks like that build would be much cheaper. It also still has the L3 cache instead of the QPI. I had thought (and heard) that the QPI was better, that they got rid of the L3 for that. Is this true? If it is, I would think, even if the i5 might be around longer, that the i7 is the best bet, and I can just make my way towards the Extreme edition if need be.

Quote:
As for advice, you have enough knowledge to make a good decision


Why thank you! :lol:  But I still think I don't.

Quote:
If you aren't comfortable with i7 or i5, I would wait to upgrade. Your present system is plenty fast.


It is pretty fast, but waiting is not an option because of that surge. Like I said (but didnt explain because it's too long a story) Im having all kinds of anomalies. I feel like Im watching it die right in front of my eyes. I don't think I have long to replace it.

Quote:
Some folks have stated that for gaming, the i7 isn't much of an upgrade.


Gaming, while I do a good lot of it, isnt the cheif concern here. Im a graphic artist, (2D and 3D so Adobe 2D programs and 3DS MAX/Maya) and Ill be going back to school in January. I can't afford to have my current system break completely down in the middle of the semester. That would be a complete disaster, and I obviously don't consider my system stable (at all) right now. Even if gaming was the main concern, and the i7 isnt a huge upgrade, Im sure its still enough to last a good while. I stay on top of the gfx card market and seeing as how my current systems runs the newests games at a perfectly fine speed, Im sure a modest increase in CPU power + a huge boost in RAM power + the ability to go triple or 4x SLI will keep me on top of the gaming market for a good while. Besides, they make games nowadays so that they can be run (and even look pretty) on lower-spec systems).

Quote:
I think the CPU question is the easiest - buy the 920 and overclock it to well above the level of the 950. You will easily achieve 3ghz under quietish air cooling alone. Just buy a big effin' fan. That way you're getting a load of performance for a fraction of the cost. If you feel like living on the edge you could probably challenge the extreme in terms of clock speed - although always the benefit of the extreme series is the unlocked multiplier - but you can consider this when they're not 1k for a cpu..... :) 


Yea, I knew I could definitely reach and even pass the 950 with and OC'ed 920. I heard people saying they were getting 3.5-4GHz with it, and I dont really need it that high. I only need it high enough to do what I need it to do, no need to push it beyond its limits and severely decrease lifespan.

Quote:
I'm pretty sure the EVGA can easily handle RAM speeds of 2000+, and I have also read the DOA issues on tomshardware - however I would assume, and pray, that they would be ironed out come october/november time and would just bite the bullet anyway...


I heard that the EVGA can be pushed up to 2000 too, and Im buying 1600 anyway so it's not a big deal. Im sure 12 gigs of it will be fine for me.

However, the next sentence is hitting at the core of what my problem is. I would think the chipset problems would be ironed out soon as well, but here's one thing I don't know about chipsets: Is/are they something that can be upgraded software/driver wise, or is it purely hardware? As in, you either get the bad version or the good version. If its software upgradable then I don't have a problem buying it now, but if it's all in the hardware, I would have to wait until this DOA issue is resolved

---------------------------------------------------------

So in conclusion, these two responses helped, but they didn't get to the core of what my problem is, although they did help me word it better. Below are the type of questions Im looking to have answered:

1) Is a Chipset software/driver upgradable, or would I have to wait for the stable hardware release?

2) Im not really looking for which particular CPU will last me longer, Im looking for which socket will last me longer. I read a long time ago that AMD has a nasty habit of constantly changing their sockets. I also know this just from observation. To me, this is stupid. The longer you keep a single socket, the longer people that own that socket can continue to upgrade their systems. If you think neither socket will last, or if you know of a new one being released soon, or a new brand of Intel chips, let me know, because I don't.

That is exactly why I want a top of the line mobo, because if I have that, then I can last through a few different CPU releases. If I went with my original plans in the first post, I would be getting the 'worst' i7 on Newegg currently, however, once that wasn't enough for me, I could always upgrade to the Extreme, or another i7 that has way better stats than the one in my then-to-be mobo. THIS is the upgradability that Im looking for.

So, to try to condense that.... What CPU family do you think will last me longer? The i7 1366 or the i5 1156? Also, do you think either socket-type will make it through to a different family i.e. maybe the 1366 will also be used for the 'my make-believe' i9s?

This is the stuff Im looking for. Im sure I can build a really fast computer as it is, but Im not good at predicting the future because Im not a tech-watcher for reasons I explained above. A lot of people are though, and Im sure some reside here :D 

Again, thanks for the responses already here and the ones to come.
October 6, 2009 10:01:03 AM

I don't mean to bump my post but my original question was never really answered and I need to select what Im going to buy very soon so could someone reply to the post right above this one? Im sorry its a long one but I think it better narrows what kind of answer Im looking for.

Thanks in advance.
October 6, 2009 4:04:30 PM
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