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Hardware newb trying to build powerful machine

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January 15, 2010 11:55:13 PM

Hello everyone,

I am a programmer with limited hardware knowledge. I've never had a good computer. I've been running a amd xp 3200 for the last 7 years and motherboard finally crapped out. So I figure I'm going to build a dream computer. So far I've priced out:

Intel i7 960
Asus Rampage II Motherboard
Intel 80GB SSD
Asus Radeon 5870

Now I'm trying to determine what memory setup to go with. I'm deciding between a:
6GB Triple Channel setup or a
12GB Triple Channel setup

I know 12GB is really over kill but I was thinking I could turn the page file/virtual memory off. What kind of added performance will this give me? Can one of you hardware guru's chime in on this for me? I would really appreciate to hear your opinions. If 12GB is unnecessary I might use that money towards a bigger Solid State Drive.

Thanks,

Dan
a b } Memory
January 16, 2010 12:23:38 AM

12GB is definitely overkill. You can start with 6GB (3x2GB). If that is getting tapped out, you can always add more later.

I would even say the i7 960 is overkill. Though, it's a beast, the i7 920 with a good CPU cooler, can be OC'd up over 3.5Ghz.

Don't forget a good PSU to power your new system. For a single video card setup, this is a very nice/well priced PSU.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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January 16, 2010 1:19:00 AM

well first and foremost, you need to tell us your budget for this build, your expectations, and what kind of software you will be running one it (be specific).
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January 16, 2010 3:19:07 AM

Budget: Unlimited
Expectations: A machine that will last and be easily upgradeable in the future. A machine that will destroy benchmarks. I'd rather build a sick machine then upgrade it every year.
Software: Web development software and Games. I do lots of programming which my amd 3200xp was handling just fine lol. I use Photoshop sometimes. I don't even game much any more. However when I do I'd like to game in style. I will probably be running Windows 7, Windows XP, and a Linux Distro. I will also play with benchmarks a lot if I build this machine.

My whole life I was a broke computer kid using underpowered machines. Now that I have money I would like to finally build a machine that can handle anything I throw at it.

I know I probably won't even use this i7 to it's full potential. However this will probably be able to stand the test of time and be powerful for a few years to come.

So back to the question about ram. If I decided to go with the 12 gig triple channel will I be able to make use of it? Will turning the page file off completely make a noticeable difference? If I'm going with the i7 and solid state drive I'd hate for the ram to be the bottle neck. And I suppose it wouldn't be easily upgradeable to 12 gigs because I will have no use for the 6 gig. However if there is really NO use for the 12 gig I will stick with the 6 gig.

Thanks alot guys. I really appreciate your input.
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Best solution

a b } Memory
January 16, 2010 3:39:42 AM

If you want the latest and greatest, the i9 will probably be released in the 1st quarter this year.

Your motherboard has 6 memory slots. You can use 3 of them at first x2GB for a total of 6GB. If that turns out to not be enough, you can add another 3x2GB kit. But, it you don't need it, you can save yourself ~$120. I doubt you'll need more than 6GB.
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a b } Memory
January 16, 2010 1:30:37 PM

Page file deal, that's old news with modern hardware. Doesn't really apply these days and the kind of system you are talking about.
6gig of RAM is plenty.
Also, I would put my OS on the SSD, and then grab a another 1 or even 2 TB large drive for programs and storage. Good luck and have fun.
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January 16, 2010 2:14:13 PM

Okay well...i know your budget is unlimited but you can build a computer for 100k...which you probably can't do so there are some reasonable limits.

-You can never make use of 12GB in your machine unless you use virtualization in which case even 6GB will suffice. I'd get a really high quality 6GB kit with a very high frequency and the lowest possible latency and it will be enough. On top of that get an Intel X-25E 64GB Solid State Drive for your OS, and then get an Intel X-25M 160GB for your storage. For your motherboard i recommend something like Gigabyte UD7 or a high end asus paired with a Intel Core i7 975 Extreme Edition and buy a Cooler Master V10 CPU cooler for it and a nice full tower case made by a good brand which has good cooling.

-Pair your build with 2 ATI 5790's and a Corsair 1KW Modular Power Supply.
-If you need extra storage get a western digital caviar black 2TB.
-Windows 7...
-A blue ray burner and you will be maxing out any game currently available with uncountable fps on resolutions as far as 2560x1600. You can even overclock the CPU/GPU's/Mobo/RAm later on for even more performance.
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January 16, 2010 11:12:33 PM

aford10 said:
If you want the latest and greatest, the i9 will probably be released in the 1st quarter this year.

Your motherboard has 6 memory slots. You can use 3 of them at first x2GB for a total of 6GB. If that turns out to not be enough, you can add another 3x2GB kit. But, it you don't need it, you can save yourself ~$120. I doubt you'll need more than 6GB.


Thank you for this answer. This is very helpful. Now that I know the motherboard has 6 slots I will go with the 3x2gb and add a 3x2gb in the future if need be.

Ill be happy with the i7. I need a computer like this week. I can't be pcless anymore. But thanks for the heads up on the i9.
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January 16, 2010 11:32:16 PM

blackhawk1928 said:
Okay well...i know your budget is unlimited but you can build a computer for 100k...which you probably can't do so there are some reasonable limits.

-You can never make use of 12GB in your machine unless you use virtualization in which case even 6GB will suffice. I'd get a really high quality 6GB kit with a very high frequency and the lowest possible latency and it will be enough. On top of that get an Intel X-25E 64GB Solid State Drive for your OS, and then get an Intel X-25M 160GB for your storage. For your motherboard i recommend something like Gigabyte UD7 or a high end asus paired with a Intel Core i7 975 Extreme Edition and buy a Cooler Master V10 CPU cooler for it and a nice full tower case made by a good brand which has good cooling.

-Pair your build with 2 ATI 5790's and a Corsair 1KW Modular Power Supply.
-If you need extra storage get a western digital caviar black 2TB.
-Windows 7...
-A blue ray burner and you will be maxing out any game currently available with uncountable fps on resolutions as far as 2560x1600. You can even overclock the CPU/GPU's/Mobo/RAm later on for even more performance.


Yes your first statement is very true. I should have been more clear on this. Budget is unlimited however once things start doubling in price for a small upgrade is when I'm not interested. I think the i7 960 I chose was the last model before the price jump gets ridiculous.

What do you think of the Kingston DDR3 Hyperx 6 GB kit? Would you recommend a better kit?

I plan on running a x25-M 80GB or 160GB SSD for the OS and for installed programs. I then have my old Hard Drives and a 750GB External.

Is there a significant performance difference between the x25-m and the x25-e. I wasn't even aware there was a "e" so now I'm looking into this. I might just want a "e".

The motherboard I plan on running is the ASUS Rampage II Extreme s1366. Would this qualify as a high end asus to you?

As tempting as the i7 975 extreme is I think the small performance upgrade isn't worth the price jump.

For video cards I do plan on running a dual setup. However for now I will buy 1 5870 and upgrade a few months down the road to the dual setup.

The case I picked out was the Antec 1200 Gamer Case. If you can make a good argument why the coolermaster is better I might check it out.

Here's a newb question on the blu-ray burner. Do burned blu rays work on ps3's? If not I might not even bother with the burner for the time being. But if there is ways to make burned blu-rays play on stand alone's and ps3's I may go with a burner.

Power supply I picked out was the Enermax Revolution 1050W.

Hey blackhawk192. Thanks a lot for the reply. I really appreciate your effort and your opinions. I would have gave you "best answer" but other guy answered the memory question better. However I really appreciate everything you've shared with me.

And to everyone else thanks a lot. This is what I love about online communities. I'm not a regular here but I will visit more often. You seem to have a good community and hey I didn't even get flamed once or told to google or search function. Hahah. You guys rock.
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January 16, 2010 11:34:33 PM

jitpublisher said:
Page file deal, that's old news with modern hardware. Doesn't really apply these days and the kind of system you are talking about.
6gig of RAM is plenty.
Also, I would put my OS on the SSD, and then grab a another 1 or even 2 TB large drive for programs and storage. Good luck and have fun.


Thank you for your answer. I know page file was a big deal when I was playing DOOM 3 around the time my amd 3200 xp and radeon 9500 was a good setup. Turning the page file off was the only reason i was considering 12 gigs of ram. This was a very helpful answer.
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January 17, 2010 3:13:28 AM

well to answer the questions:
-The 975 is worth it because it will be a less bottleneck for higher-end graphics configurations and a games can use up to around 3.3-3.4Ghz and the 975 hits the sweet spot plus it overclocks like there is no tomorrow. It's a must have and remember the increase of 130mhz is across 4 cores so its a pretty big difference in some cases.

-A system with a budget this high shouldn't have an HDD in it, buy an SSD even for storage.
-Intel X25-E is another series of intel ssd's the difference is that the drives are SLC (Single Level-Cell) based instead of MLC (Multi-level cell). SLC drives have much faster access times which is a huge performance difference when accessing thousands of tiny files like booting an OS...etc. And it lasts longer. Thats why recommend an SLC drive especially from intel for the OS+Apps and then you can get a huge MLC drive for storage, either way it will be a huge huge jump away from the slowness of the hard drive.

-The antec is also very good, nothing against it, both are good cooling and are rated very good, pick whichever one catches your eye, i just have the 932 and like it.

-This is the memory kit i'd get, its very good.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And i have no clue about the blu-ray with PS3's.

Hope that helps.

Edit:
-Forgot, the asus rampage is good, but i'd get whichever board has USB3/SATA3 support in that price range.
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