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Trying to build a "good-enough" gaming lanbox.

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July 20, 2009 8:37:47 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Tomorrow, perhaps the day after.

BUDGET RANGE: $2,100 (I'm actually already over budget by almost $300, but it's cool).

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: GAMING, 3D modeling, Animation, Image editing, the basics.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers, Soundcard, Optical drive

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg.com

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel/NVIDIA

OVERCLOCKING: Yes

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080 x2, 1280x1024 x2

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

My list so far:

Case: Thermaltake VF1000BWS Black Aluminum Front Panel/ SECC Chassis MicroATX Desktop Computer Case - Retail

Mobo: ASUS Rampage II GENE LGA 1366 Intel X58 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

CPU: Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor - Retail

CPU Cooler: Thermaltake CLP0533 70mm 1 Ball Bearing CPU Cooler - Retail

PSU: Thermaltake Toughpower W0178RU 850W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V V2.91 SLI Certified 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail

RAM: CORSAIR DOMINATOR 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 15000) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TR3X6G1866C9DF - Retail

GPU1: EVGA 01G-P3-1180-AR GeForce GTX 285 1GB 512-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail

GPU2: EVGA 01G-P3-N959-TR GeForce 9500 GT 1GB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail

Monitor: ASUS VW246H Black 24" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 1000:1 (ASCR 20000:1) Built in Speakers - Retail x2

HD: Western Digital VelociRaptor WD3000HLFS 300GB 10000 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Hello everyone! My desktop died on me a few months ago, and I've been surviving on my laptop. My old rig was a watercooled E6600/8800GTX setup in a Thermaltake Armor case. I've finally come up with enough money to build a new gaming machine, but am looking for a much more portable and practical solution this time around since I'm in college. The reason I picked such a random cooler is because with the particular case I'm getting, there's only about 100mm of clearance between the mobo and the PSU. Also, I don't plan on doing any serious overclocking in the near future and would just like to get my i7 920 to 3.2Ghz... and from what I understand that's very possible even with the stock cooler. The reason I'm getting 2 different GPUs is because I'd like to support 4 monitors, 2 of which are 17" fullscreen Samsung monitors I already own.

So, what do you guys think? Anything I need to watch out for or change? Any and all help is most appreciated. :) 

More about : build good gaming lanbox

July 20, 2009 9:03:48 PM

I really dont know why you would use 2x OLD 17"'s and pair them up with NEW 2x 24"s. Taking in consideration that 2 of the 4 monitors will be running off a 9500GT, they wont be able to keep up with the GTX285 unless you are ok with that.....
July 20, 2009 9:14:54 PM

I think he's showing us how big his e-penis is. :)  A "good enough" lanbox? $700would be "good enough". +$2k is almost overkill.
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July 20, 2009 9:20:48 PM

yea but 700$ lanbox is not futureproof, so he will end up having to upgrade sooner than later, meaning he wants something that will last a bit.....IMO....if I am wrong, correct me....
July 20, 2009 9:21:28 PM

Out of time but I'll get back to this one. A few suggestions.
July 20, 2009 9:22:25 PM

Haha, I promise, no e-peen flexing was intended. I only said "good enough" because if I had more money, there's more/better things I'd want. I'm also fine with the 17"s on the 9500 not keeping up with the 285. I just want them to work, really.

EDIT:

@OvrClkr: I am shooting for some futureproofidge, yes.
@Proximon: I look forward to you your suggestions. :) 
July 20, 2009 9:28:22 PM

IMO if all monitors will be side by side, I would get dual 22" samsungs and at least use dual 275's (non Sli) instead of dual 24's and a 285/9500GT. Then in the future if you decide to Sli you wont have an issue.....just my opinion....

July 20, 2009 9:45:19 PM

He wants it to be portable, even though he's hooking up 4 monitors to it. Yeah, not very portable. Anyway I guess at least for gaming the 9500GT can act as a dedicated Physx card, but I think it would be better just to go with two GTS250/9800GTX/GTX+ 1GB cards in SLI or two 4850 1GBs in Crossfire. Considering the low price of the 4870 now two of those would probably be better, but since they run pretty hot I don't think it will do well in that small case :D .
July 20, 2009 9:55:31 PM

megamanx00 said:
He wants it to be portable, even though he's hooking up 4 monitors to it. Yeah, not very portable. Anyway I guess at least for gaming the 9500GT can act as a dedicated Physx card, but I think it would be better just to go with two GTS250/9800GTX/GTX+ 1GB cards in SLI or two 4850 1GBs in Crossfire. Considering the low price of the 4870 now two of those would probably be better, but since they run pretty hot I don't think it will do well in that small case :D .



He can't run a secondary card as physx if he wants to connect 4 monitors to the PC. Both cards have to be in standalone (non Sli) for it to be possible....
July 20, 2009 10:16:43 PM

You could get 2x 4890s or 2x 275. That way you can run 4 monitors if you need to, then switch to Crossfire/SLI when gaming.
July 21, 2009 12:59:52 AM

paranoidmage said:
You could get 2x 4890s or 2x 275. That way you can run 4 monitors if you need to, then switch to Crossfire/SLI when gaming.



That would be my first suggestion. The GTX 285 is very poor bang for the buck, although it's improved a bit the last few months. CF 4890s or even GTX 260s will do better and cost less.

On the PSU, You would be better off with an Antec TPQ-850 for a modular at that price range. For a bit more you could get the much higher quality Corsair 850HX or go all out with the Antec SG850.

This RAM will give you performance just as good for half the price:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Finally, I see no good reason to use a single Velociraptor. You are paying a premium for maybe 2 seconds of boot time and not much else, and loosing hard drive space in the process. RAID a couple Caviar Blacks if you need to, which would give you more performance and more space for less cost.
July 21, 2009 2:12:26 AM

Proximon said:
That would be my first suggestion. The GTX 285 is very poor bang for the buck, although it's improved a bit the last few months. CF 4890s or even GTX 260s will do better and cost less.

On the PSU, You would be better off with an Antec TPQ-850 for a modular at that price range. For a bit more you could get the much higher quality Corsair 850HX or go all out with the Antec SG850.

This RAM will give you performance just as good for half the price:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Finally, I see no good reason to use a single Velociraptor. You are paying a premium for maybe 2 seconds of boot time and not much else, and loosing hard drive space in the process. RAID a couple Caviar Blacks if you need to, which would give you more performance and more space for less cost.


I could not agree more........nice 1 proximon.! :o  ! :o 



July 21, 2009 2:57:19 AM

Whoa, thanks for the fantastic advice, folks! I've decided to swap the RAM with the OCZ Platnium, the PSU for the 850HX, and after some thought, the Velociraptor for a single Caviar Black.

As for the SLI/CF suggestions, I don't think I'll be going that route. I'm rather hellbent on using that particular case and from what I read, there's quite a bit of work needed for it to properly accommodate 2 large cards. It's something I'll consider down the line, but for now I think I'll pass.

As for the whole 4 monitors contradicting my mobility goal, the monitors will be doing far less moving than the box itself. I figure I'd take them all to school (which is only a 35 minute drive away) and bring one or two whenever I come home on weekends/breaks or go to a friend's house.

Thanks for all the help so far! I'm very glad I came here first. :) 
July 21, 2009 3:03:38 AM

Thandrophir said:
Whoa, thanks for the fantastic advice, folks! I've decided to swap the RAM with the OCZ Platnium, the PSU for the 850HX, and after some thought, the Velociraptor for a single Caviar Black.

As for the SLI/CF suggestions, I don't think I'll be going that route. I'm rather hellbent on using that particular case and from what I read, there's quite a bit of work needed for it to properly accommodate 2 large cards. It's something I'll consider down the line, but for now I think I'll pass.

As for the whole 4 monitors contradicting my mobility goal, the monitors will be doing far less moving than the box itself. I figure I'd take them all to school (which is only a 35 minute drive away) and bring one or two whenever I come home on weekends/breaks or go to a friend's house.

Thanks for all the help so far! I'm very glad I came here first. :) 


That's what we are here for......... happy building !!! :o  :bounce:  :o  :bounce: 
July 21, 2009 6:25:44 AM

If it's just a question of needing a single card, how about a 4870X2 then? Since it has a good bit of performance over the GTX 285, it's a better dollar-to-FPS ratio. A little more pricey.

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

I don't have a major objection to the GTX 285 over all, it's just that for a single card it has the worst dollar to frames ratio, except perhaps for the GTX 280.
July 21, 2009 2:22:33 PM

Proximon said:
If it's just a question of needing a single card, how about a 4870X2 then? Since it has a good bit of performance over the GTX 285, it's a better dollar-to-FPS ratio. A little more pricey.

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

I don't have a major objection to the GTX 285 over all, it's just that for a single card it has the worst dollar to frames ratio, except perhaps for the GTX 280.


I agree, the 285 is overrated and $$$$...... I dont know what Nvidia is thinking at the moment.. IMO both the 285 and the 295 should have come down in price months ago....
July 21, 2009 3:48:29 PM

Alrighty, I've done some reading up on the 4870x2 and while I like what I'm seeing, I have some questions:

1. Keeping my case and desire to OC my 920 with a not-so-awesome air cooler in mind, would the heat from this card be an issue?

2. Is there anything I should be wary of with the multiple GPU design? I remember reading something about games needing to have a CF profile to work well.

As always, any and all helped offered is appreciated.
July 21, 2009 3:56:32 PM

I would not be able to give you advice as I have never used a case as small as that... If I am building a rig for gaming among other things the smallest I go is with an ANTEC 300, I have not tried anything smaller than that......
July 21, 2009 4:37:18 PM

If you wanted to go really small then get a Silverstone Sugo SG05B and a zotac 9300-ITX, along with a Q9550 and a 4770.

it might be nice to put a BD writer and a 256GB SSD in it as well.
July 21, 2009 5:04:43 PM

Thandrophir said:
Alrighty, I've done some reading up on the 4870x2 and while I like what I'm seeing, I have some questions:

1. Keeping my case and desire to OC my 920 with a not-so-awesome air cooler in mind, would the heat from this card be an issue?

2. Is there anything I should be wary of with the multiple GPU design? I remember reading something about games needing to have a CF profile to work well.

As always, any and all helped offered is appreciated.


You'll have to look hard to find a modern game that does not use CF or SLI, and those have playable frame rates regardless. I can't say which card produces more heat.

Are you sure you don't want a different case? I can think of two others that are portable and have better cooling:

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

Apevia
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Well, I would have to see a comparison on the cooling on this one... might not be any cooler.


July 21, 2009 5:33:43 PM

I'm positive I don't want a different case. :lol: 

I can't explain it, but I'm really just in love with the design of the VF1000BWS. So, what I'm thinking is this: For the time being I'll sticking with the VF1000BWS and the 285. Far, FAR down the line when I find the need to upgrade, I'll probably just buy a second 285 and get a new case. I have to say, that CM Storm Scout is pretty damn sexy.

Thanks for your help, everyone!
July 21, 2009 6:09:14 PM

Ok, but dont say we didnt warn you about the 285........
July 21, 2009 6:23:23 PM

Aye, I won't forget. :p 

As much as I'd love a mini nuclear reactor in terms of power, when I really thought about it, I don't even play a handful of games with bleeding-edge graphics, nor are there any on the horizon I'm particularly interested in. I'm sure the 285 will suit me well for the time being.

Again, thanks for the advice!
July 21, 2009 9:14:46 PM

Thandrophir said:
Aye, I won't forget. :p 

As much as I'd love a mini nuclear reactor in terms of power, when I really thought about it, I don't even play a handful of games with bleeding-edge graphics, nor are there any on the horizon I'm particularly interested in. I'm sure the 285 will suit me well for the time being.

Again, thanks for the advice!


If that's the case, you're simply over paying for you graphics card. Tom's just came out with their latest "card for the money" article. Give it a quick read.
July 21, 2009 9:17:45 PM

I guess he feels that he is better off taking that chance.....I mean it aint a bad card, just not worth the money at the moment.....
July 31, 2009 4:44:11 AM

The card will fit but it will be cramped..... You might have like 1/2 an inch of clearance max.....
August 1, 2009 1:29:37 AM

Quote:
I only ask because I'm also interested in the case, but I read this off of Newegg about the case

"Cons: This is where the problem begins: Thermaltake claims more than it actually does. Which is why I've ranked it so low. I wish I could rate it higher, but I can't because the website is a complete lie. I have tried to contact Thermaltake twice about the same issue and I keep getting the same response. I wrote a two page complaint explaining the issue: THIS CASE WILL NOT SUPPORT A 10.5 INCH VIDEO CARD. I have a EVGA GTX 260 SC 216 video card (896-P3-1257-AR), it's specs and actual length are 10.5 inches (measured). TT's website says that it will support a 10.5 inch card with the HDD bay removed. However, it runs into the 3.5 inch drive bay. Due to the fact that most people choose to put 8800GTS in the case which WILL fit. I had to purchase a metal cutter in order to remove a very large part of the 3.5inch bay, and the only response I get from TT is, "It will support a 10.5 inch card." Be warned if you're trying to put a newer card in the case."


Thats a noob... You can modify the case your-self and MAKE the card fit, if that is the case... if you keep reading the reviews you will see a peep pushing 4890 like its nothing :

QUOTE :

I suggest the following:
-Don't buy an aftermarket cooler till you see this thing and the area you are working with.
-Forget about the hdd cage. It will get in the way of vid cards and block any good airflow.
-You can fit a huge vid card in here (I am using a 4890), but it will be cramped.
-Get at least one extra 60mm fan; better yet get three and replace the two that come with the case, and replace the front 90mm. Get a fan controller.
-MOST IMPORTANT: take OFF the clear plastic that covers the sides before doing anything else. It generates a LOT of static electricity.

Call Thermaltake and get an opinion... [:waffle911]
August 3, 2009 10:16:34 PM

Well, after putting the this rig together, this is what I can contribute about case space:

1. It's rather cramped.
2. The GTX 285 will fit in the first PCI-E slot provided the HDD cage is removed.
3. Though I didn't try, it's doesn't seem like a 10.5" card would fix in the second slot unless you cut a bit of the vertical 3.5" bay away. It also would not fit with a device in the bay.
4. OvrClkr is right, you'll most likely want the case and PSU in your possession before deciding on a cooler. The one I went with (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) fits just fine, but I can't imagine a much bigger cooler fitting.

I'll post some pictures of my new baby in a little while. :p 
August 3, 2009 10:52:49 PM

Nice !! I want to see those pics [:jaydeejohn:5]
August 7, 2009 8:59:21 AM

Cool! I have the same case, but am going to try the e5200 in a gigabyte g31m-es2l route. Heavy case, no?

Did you not consider the shuttle i7 platform? It was well reviewed, and would be smaller than the TT lanbox.
!