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New/First build, i7 920 All Purpose System

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July 9, 2009 10:46:16 AM

Alrighty guys after much creeping and research I've finally decided to sign up and interact. Hopefully it doesn't come as much surprise that my first post is asking for help with my build :na: 

Anyways to start I guess I should say that I have basically zero experience when it comes to custom built systems. Coming into my decision to purchase a new pc I was just fine to pay an arm and a leg to get someone else to do it. Now after some poking and prodding from my enthusiast friends (whom coincidentally I have quite a few of :na: ) I've settled down into the idea of building myself (with some help from them of course) and saving some bucks.

Now as with everything I intend to spend more than a couple hundred dollars on I began to research this stuff avidly, trying to get as much of an idea of what I would need for this system as possible. However despite this my week long adventure into the computer enthusiast world obviously hasn't left me a master of it all. The point of all this is I'm open, willing, and ready to learn, and I anticipate I may end up sinking a lot more time and money into high end systems then I could ever expect at this stage of the game XD.

Now without further ado, the template for new build stuff.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE:
Looking to start getting everything together for the build sometime next weekish. In short the earlier the better.

BUDGET RANGE: Roughly $1400 - $2100 CAN (or about $1200 - $1800 USD.) I'm planning on buying alot of the more expensive stuff online as I've found the prices differences between USD and CAD to be fairly minimal.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Audio Production/Image Processing/Video Editing/Motion Graphics work (Graphic Arts basically), Gaming, Multimedia entertainment stuff (Movies music internet etc.)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor, Speakers, OS (Although a recommendation of which OS to use is greatly appreciated)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS:
Newegg.ca, NCIX.com (Canadian portion obviously), tigerdirect.ca, memoryexpress.com, nxsource.com

PARTS PREFERENCES: Full Tower Case (I'm planning on buying this locally to save on shipping but suggested towers is appreciated), Intel i7 920 D0 Stepping CPU, nVIDIA Graphics cards (fairly flexible here. Just going by the general consensus on GPU's)

OVERCLOCKING: Yes

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920 x 1200 / 2560 x 1600 (Certain circumstances, more of a luxury I'd say)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

1tb HDD.

I plan on overclocking my system quite extensively if possible. Not record breaking or anything but my hope is to aim for the 3.8 - 4.2 ghz range. Haven't really thought much about overclocking the GPU's and Memory but not at all adverse to it, provided I wouldn't have to dig a whole bunch deeper into my pockets to do so for adequate cooling.

I plan on eventually upgrading/including liquid cooling into my system and would be more than willing to do it off the hop if it is affordable, and would fit into the build specs specified. Basically it isn't required, but is preferred.

Aesthetically speaking I want my system to look good :p  (no surprises there.) I'm not big into a billion LED's and flashing colours and lightshows. However I do want a window if possible, and plan on using a strict Purple/Blue/Black colour scheme (obviously colours which compliment this would be allowed/preferable. I'd like it to be as clean and organized as possible. Basically I'm all about clean, simple, streamlined. Not really looking for a system that looks like a rocket ship if you know what I mean XD. I anticipate I will be using Cold cathode tube lighting in addition to a few other lighting devices (Sorry I cant be more specific, they're being supplied by one of my buddies. Will update with more info later if necessary.)

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Previously my readings and research and conversations with my buddies had me looking at the following parts list.

CPU: Intel i7 920 D0 Stepping Processor (Not much room for sway here I'm afraid :p )

http://www.nxsource.com/products/354462/Intel/BX8060192...

Motherboard:
I've gone back and forth here. ALOT. This is the main issue I'm even posting this, is to get some feedback here.

Basically its a tossup between these four boards:


EVGA E758-A1 3-Way SLI (x16/x16/x8) LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

EVGA E760 CLASSIFIED "Overclocker's Pick" 3-Way SLI (x8) + PhysX 1366 Intel X58 EATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
ASUS Rampage II Extreme LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

*Note* I'm not adverse to other boards at all really, these are just what I had read to be some of the best ones.

Now I don't really want to shell out the extra cash for the eVGA Classified, although if enough arguments saying I would REALLY benefit from the features and extra performance I could probably pull the cash together. In all honesty I was set with the Rampage II Extreme until I began to read about numerous problems with this motherboard, and the running the GTX 280's in SLi (which is what I had planned on doing) As soon as I read about this I really didnt know where to go :sweat: 

Graphics Card (s): EVGA 01G-P3-1280-TR GeForce GTX 280 1GB 512-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail My plan after a bunch of price shopping and a bit of questioning of my buddies was to Buy two of these cards and run them in SLi. Afterwords I could decide if I was fine with the performance and possibly buy a 3rd, or upgrade to a pair of GTX 285's.

Memory: CORSAIR DOMINATOR 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TR3X6G1600C8D - Retail

Power Supply: This is another place where I was fairly confused. Much help needed here :sweat:  I was looking at the CORSAIR CMPSU-1000HX 1000W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Compatible ... - Retail although I really wasn't sure.

HDD: Kinda up in the air, as long as it was 1TB and reliable I was happy. Suggestions here welcome

Cooling: Undecided here, as I never really finished deciding my Motherboard, and couldn't look at good cooling options for that. MORE than open to opinions and suggestions here, both for CPU cooling and case ventilation stuff.

Case: Also up in the air at this point. Havent gotten around to shopping locally yet. Suggestions welcome.

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Alright, hopefully this wasnt to bad of a new build help thread :p  If you guys need any additional information I'll try to get it for you. Thanks in advance for any responses and thanks for maintaining the community :)  It was a huge help long before I signed up :kaola: 
July 9, 2009 12:45:34 PM

Hi...Looks you have done good work in putting up this config...
Maybe these suggestions could clear things atleast a little...

1. Mobo - +1 for the Rampage...I would doubt you would get extreme into overclock to fully utilize the boards options, but for Tri-SLI, it is the best board to go with...
And with a very good air-cooler, stable 4GHz is very much possible with the D0 on this board...
EVGA Classified is frankly for people who want to break speed records, giving them every bit of performance and options to push the CPU higher and higher...
But Extreme is no less...

2. Graphics card - Why buy old gen video cards...
Get the GTX 275...They as as good as the GTX 280 and consume less power than the GTx 280 and are more efficient...
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

3. RAM - Corsair Dominators - Perfect for overclocking...
But here are other options...

Mushkin XP XP3-12800 6GB DDR3 3X2GB DDR3-1600 CL 7-8-7-20
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=35343&vpn=99...

OCZ OCZ3RPR1866LV6GK Reaper 6GB 3X2GB DDR3-1866 CL8-8-8-28 240PIN
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=39636&vpn=OC...

Corsair XMS3 Dominator TR3X3G1866C9DF 3GB DDR3 3X1GB DDR3-1866 CL 9-9-9-24
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=35441&vpn=TR...

G.SKILL Trident 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2000
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

PSU - The corsair 1000HX is a very good option if you are sure of going Tri-SLI...
For dual cards, the Corsair 850HX is perfect(Actually more than suffice)...

HDD - WD Black 1TB is one of the fastest 1TB out there...

Cooling - Scythe Mugen 2 with 2 fans in Push-Pull config...
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/coolers/display/core-i...

CASE - HAF 932...One of the best rated Full Tower and would have enough space for 3 cards...

Hope these helped a little...
July 9, 2009 7:04:13 PM

+1 for the HAF 932

Also consider the OCZ platinum DDR3 1600 6 gb 3x2gb ram
Very good and usually cheap
Don't get the 280gtx unless you get a really good deal. The 275 is better, but I wouldn't sneeze on the 280gtx.
Install Windows 7 RC and buy windows 7 when it comes out in October, or before March 2010 when the Rc expires.
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July 9, 2009 9:54:54 PM

Thanks for the input guys, its much appreciated. Not entirely sure what a really good deal for the gtx280 would be, but I had picked it out because in SLi they seemed to perform well enough in benchmark tests and were roughly the same price as the 275's. In many cases cheaper. The price I was looking at was $228.00 a piece for the 280's

I guess another question I'd have, is would it be worthwhile to just buy one 285 for now, and then buy another one in the future and run them in SLi?

Thanks again for your responses :) 
July 10, 2009 4:09:44 AM

GTX 280/ GTX 275...Hmm...
Both have similar performance not you must have noticed...
The main reason that GTX 275 is suggested over the GTX 280 is because the 275 dissipates less heat and would run cooler than the 280 and would consume less power at full load...

And going with GTX 285 is not a good idea...
For the price of 2 GTX 285, you can easily get 3x GTX 275 and 3 of them in SLI would easily outperform 2x GTX 285 by a good margin...
July 10, 2009 6:07:33 AM

Alright, that makes things a lot clearer for me. I suppose then that I'll go for the GTX 275's and depending on my needs look into upgrading to tri-SLi.

Thanks for all your help/ suggestions :]
July 10, 2009 6:17:54 PM

For the graphics card, I have to ask, how good do you need your gaming to be?
It is not clear if you will be using a 30" monitor at 2560x1600. It makes a HUGE difference in your card selection. Here is a good article on what it takes for a good gaming experience with many combinations of resolutions and vga cards. Note that the tests were done with a E8400@3.0, a cpu not nearly as capable as a stock i7-920.
http://www.guru3d.com/category/vga_charts/

Be aware that new 40nm cards will be out by the end of the year, making today's high end configurations look old. To that end, I would suggest that you use a songle good card like the GTX275 initially. If your resolution is 2560x1600, then a GTX285 might have to be used. That leaves you in a good position for several possibilities:
1) Your experience is good enough. You have saved a bunch of cash.
2) You want more now. Get another GTX275/285.
3) It takes a while, but you want more later. Sell the GTX275/285 and get the next newest 40nm uber card.

For a case, I would suggest the Antec 900 two:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

The i7-920 is a shockingly capable cpu at stock. It can be easily overclocked to 3.3 which is the speed of a $999 i7-965 chip. You may not find real value in pushing it to it's maximum over 4.0. In any case, a good cooler is good. The cpu will run quieter, cooler, and overclocking will be easier and safer. Pick one of the top coolers from this review:
http://www.frozencpu.com/resource/r24/Best_CPU_Cooler_P...
For a first time builder, I would avoid liquid cooling. Air cooling is very good. Only if you are a record overclocker enthusiast might liquid cooling be good.

Most of the X58 motherboards are good. Look for one with 6 ram slots, and sli capability. Only a few don't. But don't pay extra for the high priced extreme boards. They are for the record seeking oveclocking enthusiasts. Just look carefully at the features to be certain that the board meets your needs.

If you are going to do file editing, I suggest that you get two hard drives. Put your source on one, and your output on the other. That way, you will minimize hard drive head interference and performance will be better. The WD caviar black 1tb drives are good.

I think a 1000 watt psu is much more than you are likely to use. I would suggest a 750 or 850 watt unit from Corsair of PC Power & Cooling. Not enough power is very bad, but too much is not really good either. A psu will operate at best efficiency in the middle third of it.s range. If it is too large, it loafs along at lowered efficiency.

For any case or motherboard you are considering, I suggest that you download and read the instruction manual.

---good luck---
!