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Hardware newb trying to build powerful machine

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
10 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. 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=N82E16817341022&cm_re=ocz_550w-_-17-341-022-_-Product
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. Best answer
    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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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=N82E16820104122

    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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