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New system. Need recommendations to complete. Ordering Soon.

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July 8, 2009 10:07:52 PM

This will be my first complete build.
APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: 07/10/2009BUDGET RANGE: $3500
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Work, GIS mapping, aerial photo processing, video editing, photo processing, multi-tasking, internet, gaming
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, amazon.com, tigerdirect.com, open to suggestions
PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel, 85% efficient power supply, workstation
OVERCLOCKING: Yes
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe
MONITOR RESOLUTION: Dual DVI flat panels 1680x1050, 1920x1080, 1920x1200
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I need a fast, intensive, stable workstation that is quiet and efficient. I want a computer that will last for as many years as possible.

Motherboard
1. ASUS P6T7 WS Supercomputer LGA 1366 Intel X58 CEB Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813131390

CPU
1. Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor – Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6819115211

Hard drives
Raid 1 Array (1) (Mirror)
(2) HITACHI Ultrastar 15K300 HUS153030VLS300 (0B22132) 300GB 15000 RPM Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) 3.5" Hard Drive - Retail
Raid 1 Array (2) (Mirror)
(2) Western Digital VelociRaptor WD3000HLFS 300GB 10000 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive – OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6822136322
Raid 1 Array (3) (Mirror)
(2) Western Digital RE3 WD1002FBYS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6822136313

Case
LIAN LI PC-A20B Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
IS THIS THE BEST RAM for the money
OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory Model OCZ3P1600LV6GK - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
What is a good CPU cooler for this system?
I want to use a gaming video card such as a Nvidia GTX 200 series. Any recommendations that could be upgraded to SLI or 3 way SLI?
What is a great power supply for this system and case? 850-1000W with cable organization?
Is the 920 corei7 sufficient or should I go with the 950 corei7? Are there any compatibility issues with this system?
Any other suggestions on my components?

More about : system recommendations complete ordering

July 9, 2009 1:30:01 AM

Looks good so far.

As for gaming, GTX260. See: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Or if you prefer ATI 4870. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If SLI (of 4870/GTX260): Corsir 750TX or PC Power & Cooling 750
If Tri SLI: Corsair 850TX or smiler PC Power & Cooling.
If Quad Fire (4870X2 in CrossFire): 1000HX (over kill may be, but NEVER skimp on PSU).

i7 920 is MORE than enough for your needs. DON'T spend money on the 950. If you need more speed, learn to OC. Don't worry about stability, IF and only IF done right it is pretty low risk.

What's up with the RAID set ups? No need for 15k RPM drives. Instead, get 2x SSDs on RAID. I'm assuming you'll use the 15k rpm drives for OS/programs?

Also I assume you have a good back up system for data? (ie external HDD,etc)

Imo, with your kind of budget, you can easily build a i7 2P system like this:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/forum2.php?config=tom...

PS: What mouse/KB are you using?
July 9, 2009 1:39:24 AM

Check TomsHardware 1300$ build... and get the same thing.

After that, add a good sound card, a more efficient power supply, a better computer case and a BluRay player...

If you want a BluRay player, make sure you know what the hell is HDCP... unlike me 2 weeks ago...

Also... WTH... SCSI... if you want performance so much, get a SSD. No need to waste money on 15K RPM Hard Drives.

Get yourself a SSD (for your OS and games) and a couple of Western Digital 10EADS (for your data). What I can tell you, is that you are going to be super efficient... and damn silent.

Check Coolermaster for your case. If you don't plan to use a too big CPU cooler, a standard Cosmos will even make less noise.
Related resources
July 9, 2009 1:49:46 AM

^One thing you forgot is you (just like I did, but I questioned OP) is that you are assuming the 15k RPM drives are for OS. OP could just as well store data he needs fast access to on that drive.
July 9, 2009 1:58:38 AM

Shadow703793 said:
^One thing you forgot is you (just like I did, but I questioned OP) is that you are assuming the 15k RPM drives are for OS. OP could just as well store data he needs fast access to on that drive.


He can do both with a SSD, and taking an SSD over a SCSI hard drive will also be way more quiet.

He can afford it anyway :p 

July 9, 2009 2:12:09 AM

The SCSI 15k are for OS and programs.
July 9, 2009 2:16:29 AM

Forester, I'm building a video editing rig also (using Premiere CS4), and have been researching all this since March. Couple thoughts:

The i7 920 OC'd is superb, it'll yawn at what you throw at it. Get the D0 stepping, not the C0, it OCs a little better. OCing to 3.8gHz should do you fine. There are so many forums that have i7 OC instructions it's crazy.

OCZ Ram is good, but you need 12GB, 6GB won't cut it. It's so cheap, now is the time to buy ram.

GTX 260 (216 core version) is probably enough since video hits the CPU harder. The EVGA's are $154.99 at the Egg w/MIR. I bought two, to SLI together, and that will DEFINITELY cover all you and I might edit. Makes Flight Simulator scream also. ;-)

The best value for PSU is the Corsair 850TX, more than enough power, and is $103 w/MIR at Amazon right now.

I've got a Zalman 9700 cooler, but there are several out there. If you don't OC, the stock cooler will do, but you have one of the best Overclockable CPUs made today, so why not harness all that free power? If you go with the 9700 cooler, you'll need the $7 adapter so it fits the X58 mobo, but make sure you have a BIG case.

Speaking of, I have an Antec 1200 case. It's HUGE, but I didn't want space issues. If you get a separate cooler, make sure it'll fit your case.

OS: by all means, download Windows 7RC 64-bit. It is superb, and totally free until March 2010. The gamers love this OS, and now I do too... been on it for over a month with NO problems. In October you'll need to but the real version when it comes out, but there's no reason to buy Vista now, only to pay to upgrade later. I like Vista and have used it since Jan 2007 when it was released on my MSDN subscription, but I can tell you that 7 is WAY more stable.

I'm using one 10K Raptor for OS and Adobe production premium install. All of my assets will go onto two WD RE3's in RAID 0. I'll backup every session, so I don;t need the slower RAID1. Get 4 RE3's and you can RAID 10, getting speed and redundancy, if budget allows. But the sys and app drive willl do fine on a single Raptor. BTW, good choice with the RE3's, they are made for RAID. The regular WD Black series has some sort of timeout circuitry that will cause the RAID to drop, but it works well standalone.

Hope that helps!
July 9, 2009 2:20:53 AM

ForesterGIS said:
The SCSI 15k are for OS and programs.


In that case get an OCZ Vertex or a G.Skill Falcon 128 GB... SSD is the fastest technology on the planet.

It's twice the price of the 15K RPM drive, but you will never get the same level of performance with any rotative hard drive.

I will buy one as soon as the price are more reasonable. I can't stand the sound of my old Seagate HD anymore :p 

As for the 10EADS, they are so silent that a fly is more annoying than them.
July 9, 2009 2:24:48 AM

The software that I use for GIS mapping does not benefit from multiple cores or multiple processors; however, it does benefit from processor speed. How do you calculate processor speed? Is it the CPU speed? i.e. 2.66 ghz for 920 i7? Would a 2.0 Ghz Xeon be faster than the 920. I am using ESRI ArcGIS 9.3. I researched their website for the system requirements. It is not like CAD or 3D. I use large aerial photos (i.e. 500 MB to 1.8 GB files) in multiples.

I have read many mixed reviews on SSDs. I installed a MLC SSD in my toughbook for use on my tractor for GPS guidance while applying herbicide, but I had to tweak the hell out of XP because of small writes, etc. It is minimalistic, but it gets the job done. regular mechanical harddrives kept crashing due to vibration. The SSD seem like they need a little bit more development.

I wouldn't mind trimming down the cost of this PC, but I don't want to skimp on anything. I plan on purchasing 1 video card with intent of buying a second one for SLI.
July 9, 2009 2:33:59 AM

pauliedc, I am with you on many point. For working, a core i7 920 is definitely the best choice.

And if you can grab the 850TX Corsair for 110$, jump on it right now! I bought my OCZ modxstream pro 700W at 50$ because it was suiting my needs and would give me an efficiency of more than 85% for... a mere 50$ :D 

The Corsair 850TX is gold certified, that mean >90% efficiency at any power.

But as far as memory goes... I totally disagree. I am using stuff like Matlab, Photoshop, Cadence, Code Composer Studio and other engineering programs and I never really needed more than 4 GB.

I am in electrical engineering and Matlab is the most demanding tool when it comes to Digital Signal Processing... and you don't need 12 GB. I have done some important audio processing, and memory is never a primordial matter with at least 4 GB.
July 9, 2009 2:47:52 AM

OCZ Vertex and G.Skill Falcon review

http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-reviews/18195-ocz-vertex-120gb-ssd-review.html



The thing with SSD is their relatively young technology, but unlike a simple rotating drive, an SSD can get a firm update since it's made mostly on chips and doesn't rely on any physical extraction method.

I also heard it is a hassle to make it work perfectly, but it seems you didn't experience the cream of the crop in the SSD field.

It will be the way to go in a year.

As for gaming, two 260GTX is all you need... for a good while, but if you go SLI, you can forget efficiency. Crossfire and SLI are by far not made to save the planet :p 

Also, are Xeon chip more corresponding to your needs? I cannot say, but if you are going to use the same desktop for gaming and watching movies, I tend to advice you to stay with the core i7.
July 9, 2009 2:49:59 AM

redgarl, share your secret! OK, Where I choke is Photoshop CS4 on a 32-bit laptop running 4GB or ram (seeing 3.4gb of course). I can't work on an image longer than 30 minutes without PS eating up 1.3GB... add that to Vista Ultimate chewing on 1.5gb after a while, and I start hitting the wall. Admission: I also have SQL Server 2008 running, guess I should disable that until needed. ;-)

On my new build, I got 12GB DDR3 1600 for about $80, so for that price, might as well have the biggest swimming pool on the block! lol!

OK Forester, start w/6GB and see how it goes...
Anonymous
July 9, 2009 2:57:43 AM

work gis mapping video photo... if color is important and details
you should get a FFFFKING GOOD monitor!
a spva or something.... around 2k...

as for psu.. there are websites that makes the calculation of the wattage you need
July 9, 2009 2:59:51 AM

Pauliedc said:
redgarl, share your secret! OK, Where I choke is Photoshop CS4 on a 32-bit laptop running 4GB or ram (seeing 3.4gb of course). I can't work on an image longer than 30 minutes without PS eating up 1.3GB... add that to Vista Ultimate chewing on 1.5gb after a while, and I start hitting the wall. Admission: I also have SQL Server 2008 running, guess I should disable that until needed. ;-)

On my new build, I got 12GB DDR3 1600 for about $80, so for that price, might as well have the biggest swimming pool on the block! lol!

OK Forester, start w/6GB and see how it goes...


Well, you mentioned something important here... you work under Vista ultimate 32-bit :p 

I work under XP, that could explain a lot. I use a dual booth with XP for works and Vista for DX10 games.

I hate Vista, it's so big and so... made for miss and mister anybody :p 

But even there, I work with fairly big BMP files of more than 1500X1024 pixels, and I never got a problem with my memory. I use around 10 layers for each of them so it's more and more confusing...
July 9, 2009 3:02:53 AM

Forester, if you want one card to suffice until SLI later, the 2GB GTX 285 is a screamer:

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

Once you SLI two of them, you'll have video power, big time. There's also a 295 that's over $500, but I don't know if the extra $100+ gains you that much. It MAY, I just don't know. That 2GB GTX285 seems like monster to have for $400.
July 9, 2009 3:12:28 AM

Pauliedc said:
Forester, if you want one card to suffice until SLI later, the 2GB GTX 285 is a screamer:

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

Once you SLI two of them, you'll have video power, big time. There's also a 295 that's over $500, but I don't know if the extra $100+ gains you that much. It MAY, I just don't know. That 2GB GTX285 seems like monster to have for $400.


Anything above 2 4870 or 2 260GTX is a waste of money right now.

I got my 2 4850 OC (Asus TOP) for around 160$... and this is as strong as a single 285GTX OC :p 

July 9, 2009 3:13:49 AM

redgarl said:
Well, you mentioned something important here... you work under Vista ultimate 32-bit :p 



No question about it, you're right! That's why I decided to build the i7 rocket...

Ten layers? Yeah, that starts getting complex. I start duplicating and flattening when I hit 5 or 6.

My Canon DSLR kicks out 5616x3744 images in RAW, and I actually had the nerve to edit a pano with SIX images stitched together on my 32-bit Vista laptop. The final is 27,000 pixels wide after the crop... I thought my ram was going to melt when I went to save the final version. And, my CPU temps have hit near 70 when I'm encoding the HD video off this camera, I literally CAN'T use it. Hence, monster i7 rig to the rescue.

Sorry, I got way to chatty... I'll end it here. :D  C ya!

July 9, 2009 3:16:18 AM

redgarl said:
Anything above 2 4870 or 2 260GTX is a waste of money right now.


Good to know, I bought two 260s... I made a right decision finally! Yes! :sol: 
July 9, 2009 7:34:11 PM

Shadow703793 said:
Looks good so far.

As for gaming, GTX260. See: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Or if you prefer ATI 4870. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If SLI (of 4870/GTX260): Corsir 750TX or PC Power & Cooling 750
If Tri SLI: Corsair 850TX or smiler PC Power & Cooling.
If Quad Fire (4870X2 in CrossFire): 1000HX (over kill may be, but NEVER skimp on PSU).

i7 920 is MORE than enough for your needs. DON'T spend money on the 950. If you need more speed, learn to OC. Don't worry about stability, IF and only IF done right it is pretty low risk.

What's up with the RAID set ups? No need for 15k RPM drives. Instead, get 2x SSDs on RAID. I'm assuming you'll use the 15k rpm drives for OS/programs?

Also I assume you have a good back up system for data? (ie external HDD,etc)

Imo, with your kind of budget, you can easily build a i7 2P system like this:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/forum2.php?config=tom...

PS: What mouse/KB are you using?


Thanks Shadow

I will definitely go with the 920 i7. As for the RAID, I like the security. THe sacrifice is minimal for the security of always having two copies except for fire, lightning, etc.
I do perform backups, but I don't as much as I should. My current system has 3 external HD for backup.

Standard usb KB and an optical intellimouse usb. What affect will that have on a system?

Thanks
July 9, 2009 7:37:36 PM

Pauliedc said:
Forester, I'm building a video editing rig also (using Premiere CS4), and have been researching all this since March. Couple thoughts:

The i7 920 OC'd is superb, it'll yawn at what you throw at it. Get the D0 stepping, not the C0, it OCs a little better. OCing to 3.8gHz should do you fine. There are so many forums that have i7 OC instructions it's crazy.

OCZ Ram is good, but you need 12GB, 6GB won't cut it. It's so cheap, now is the time to buy ram.

GTX 260 (216 core version) is probably enough since video hits the CPU harder. The EVGA's are $154.99 at the Egg w/MIR. I bought two, to SLI together, and that will DEFINITELY cover all you and I might edit. Makes Flight Simulator scream also. ;-)

The best value for PSU is the Corsair 850TX, more than enough power, and is $103 w/MIR at Amazon right now.

I've got a Zalman 9700 cooler, but there are several out there. If you don't OC, the stock cooler will do, but you have one of the best Overclockable CPUs made today, so why not harness all that free power? If you go with the 9700 cooler, you'll need the $7 adapter so it fits the X58 mobo, but make sure you have a BIG case.

Speaking of, I have an Antec 1200 case. It's HUGE, but I didn't want space issues. If you get a separate cooler, make sure it'll fit your case.

OS: by all means, download Windows 7RC 64-bit. It is superb, and totally free until March 2010. The gamers love this OS, and now I do too... been on it for over a month with NO problems. In October you'll need to but the real version when it comes out, but there's no reason to buy Vista now, only to pay to upgrade later. I like Vista and have used it since Jan 2007 when it was released on my MSDN subscription, but I can tell you that 7 is WAY more stable.

I'm using one 10K Raptor for OS and Adobe production premium install. All of my assets will go onto two WD RE3's in RAID 0. I'll backup every session, so I don;t need the slower RAID1. Get 4 RE3's and you can RAID 10, getting speed and redundancy, if budget allows. But the sys and app drive willl do fine on a single Raptor. BTW, good choice with the RE3's, they are made for RAID. The regular WD Black series has some sort of timeout circuitry that will cause the RAID to drop, but it works well standalone.

Hope that helps!




Thanks for all of your input.
July 9, 2009 7:38:27 PM

redgarl said:
Anything above 2 4870 or 2 260GTX is a waste of money right now.

I got my 2 4850 OC (Asus TOP) for around 160$... and this is as strong as a single 285GTX OC :p 



Thanks for all of your input.
July 9, 2009 8:00:16 PM

Thanks to all. Do you have any critique or suggestions about the MOBO? A better more cost effective option. I looked at the P6T6 ws rev., but I would have to buy a firewire card. I am also leaving my options open to replace the CPU with a Xeon if necessary or is this poor planning. Are the P6t rampage or P6T ver2 as stable as the P6T7? It would be great to cut down on cost. I do want RAID 1 and I do want 3 sets of drives though.

WHere is the best source for a 920 i7 with DO stepping online?

July 9, 2009 8:27:32 PM

ForesterGIS said:

WHere is the best source for a 920 i7 with DO stepping online?


To guarantee it, this is the place:

http://www.ncixus.com/products/38881/BX80601920%20-%20D...

Do you happen to have a MicroCenter near you? If so, they have the best price and you can ask the salesman to grab a D0. Those who don't ask probably get a C0 handed to them. :ange: 
July 9, 2009 8:43:03 PM

^+1. Micro has it on sale for $200 :ouch: 


@OP: You really should have a VERY GOOD backup plan. RAID WILL NOT protect you in case of virus damage,etc. With your budget, you could easily get a NAS like solution for back up. Any ways, +1 for SSDs.
July 9, 2009 9:35:15 PM

NCIX canada is... by far... way better than newegg... price match, incredibly fast shipping... way too fast (don't make a mistake in your order because it will be shipped before you could change anything)...

Great RMA service... but they are a little too sensitive to harsh reviews... I have 2 of them removed because I gave less than 3 stars.
July 9, 2009 9:37:53 PM

Shadow703793 said:
^+1. Micro has it on sale for $200 :ouch: 


@OP: You really should have a VERY GOOD backup plan. RAID WILL NOT protect you in case of virus damage,etc. With your budget, you could easily get a NAS like solution for back up. Any ways, +1 for SSDs.



Hey shadow. thanks again for your input. Any thoughts on my Motherboard choice. I thought the SAS would be a good option, but I may need to skip them and add an SSD at the end of the year. Are there any other ASUS or equivalent boards that have 6 or more SATA connectors and the other specs that the P6T7 with the exception of the 7 PCIe slots ( I don't really have a need for that number of slots). From what I have read SLI is as many Vid Cards as I will need.

THanks again.
July 10, 2009 1:11:10 AM

Forester, I just purchased this one:

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

Arrives tomorrow. Just like other brands, there are folks who praise this board, and others who have issues with it, but compare for yourself to be sure. One thing I like is that most of the time EVGA has great customer service. I'm also guessing (as a noob to this) that I *should* have less problems using an EVGA board with two EVGA video cards. That may have nothing to do with it, we'll see!

BTW, there's a Newegg coupon that expires tonight that got me an additional $15 off the board, total was $264.99 delivered. Code is EMCLVLN55.

Speaking of deals, I just got (today) the EVGA GTX 260 Core 216 video card from Dell Small Business of all places, for $113.99 delivered (plus $9.36 tax for me). That's the lowest price I've ever seen on that card. The Egg has it for $154.99 right now after rebates. Here's the link which has the Dell link to use (just don't type Dell into your browser) plus the two stackable codes you'll need:

http://forums.slickdeals.net/showthread.php?sduid=0&t=1...

I think I saw July 9th on there for expiration too. I know it's last minute, but to be honest, these deals have repeated themselves a couple of times since I starting buying parts in early March, so once you have a plan, more deals should surface.
July 10, 2009 1:19:35 AM

Wow Thanks for the information, coupons, and links. I will check it out.
July 10, 2009 2:44:26 AM

Quote:
From what I have read SLI is as many Vid Cards as I will need.

Can you explain more? You can SLI only up to 3 cards and CrossFire up to 2. The Dual GPU CrossFire is QuadFire.

As for your motherboard question, this board: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
has 8 SATA ports. It's good board and I have used it on a few builds.

Also, again, with such a large budget, you could easily get a very good (true hardware) PCIe RAID card for the HDDs. It's ~$500 for a top of the line RAID card.


Also have you considered a 2P build? A good Core i7 P2 can be built for under $2k.
July 10, 2009 12:13:34 PM

Shadow703793 said:
Quote:
From what I have read SLI is as many Vid Cards as I will need.

Can you explain more? You can SLI only up to 3 cards and CrossFire up to 2. The Dual GPU CrossFire is QuadFire.


In other words, I will start out with a two card SLI Invidia setup and if the need arrises add a third card for tri-sli OR use a crossfire equivalent. I previous system had an Nvidia workstation card with Nview, but it became outdated after 4 years and I replaced it with an ATI Radeon HD 3800 series card. I don't like Catalyst as much as I liked Nview (software for managing display settings).





As for your motherboard question, this board: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
has 8 SATA ports. It's good board and I have used it on a few builds.





Yeah, I need to look into to just adding another raid card. All of the research that I have done says that the P6T7 is a great, stable board. It just has some PCI-e features that I might not use.




Also, again, with such a large budget, you could easily get a very good (true hardware) PCIe RAID card for the HDDs. It's ~$500 for a top of the line RAID card.


Also have you considered a 2P build? A good Core i7 P2 can be built for under $2k.




I need somethings cleared up. My software (GIS) utilizes single core only and relies heavily on processor speed. I have looked at the Xeon i7, but for the money the processors are slower. Is there a formula for calculating processor speed or is it based on CPU value?

Plus you have to buy two processors. What do I keep missing.

Thanks for your time and input.
July 12, 2009 8:51:53 PM

^Ahh...any chance that you can get a better software with multi-threading for the GIS?
July 12, 2009 8:59:12 PM

Shadow703793 said:
^Ahh...any chance that you can get a better software with multi-threading for the GIS?




Nope. Too much invested in software and education on using software. My hopes is that the software company will add in this functionality. It is a strong possibility.