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CAD$1600-2000 build - Need technical advices

Last response: in Systems
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August 11, 2009 2:58:41 PM

Hi,

I think I got it almost sort out, but I would like some input on the choices I've made.

Aside from advices for the components, I have also some questions that will follow my build description at the bottom of my post.

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APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: October 2009

BUDGET RANGE: CAD$1600-2000

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming/Downloads/Movies/Internet

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor (Samsung 225BW 1680x1050) / Keyboard / Mouse / Speaker

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg.ca, I can use other site as long as it ships to Canada

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel/Asus/Evga/Sapphire/Corsair/Crucial

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I need a quiet PC, as less power hungry as possible but still powerful

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

Motherboard
EVGA 121-BL-E756-TR LGA 1366 Intel X58 Micro ATX SLI Micro Intel Motherboard

RAM
Crucial 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model CT3KIT25664BA1067

PSU
CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply

CPU Cooler
XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler

Video Card
SAPPHIRE Vapor-X 100269VXLE Radeon HD 4890 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card

OS HDD
2x Intel X25-M SSDSA2MH080G1 80GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid state disk (SSD)
I plan to use the G2 version, but it isn't available right now...

Data HDD
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM

OS
Windows 7

Case
Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case


###

Here is why I chose these components

CPU
Simply the best all round CPU on the market right now without spending money in a pitfall.

Motherboard
I want a board able to SLI and Crossfire with PCI-E 16X/16X that doesn't cost too much without giving away the quality. This EVGA was the sweet spot. I also considered the Asus P6T SE as a valid option. Basically, the EVGA had better reviews and the only possible problem I can forsee is if the LAN fail, I don't have any slots for an additionnal LAN CARD when I'll be in SLI/Crossfire with cards that take up to 2 slots.

RAM
Crucial always seems to have some value RAM of quality and since the CPU "limit" the speed to 1066, I decided to go for a CAS 7-7-7-20.

PSU
Nice rebate, but I doubt it will still be there in October. Corsair seems a logical choice (quality/price) and 750W is enough for my needs.

CPU Cooler
As I am not sure to overclock anything, I don't need the best of the best. I might plan to overclock slightly, but since I don't want a power hug PC, I won't go too high. The reviews are good as the price and it easily fits in the Antec Three Hundred.

Video Card
Right now, I am still thinking about waiting for the new ATI DX11 cards. I will probably wait till then to make a purchase. I currently have an ATI X1950 Pro, nothing to brag about, but it gets the job done... sort of :)  The only reason I put the ATI 4890 in my build is that I would choose that card if I had to replace mine right now. The Vapor-X version seems to keep the card cooler and quieter that most of the other 4890. The word QUIET is very important here. And honestly, if I hadn't put any card here someone would have point it out...

OS HDD
I know, I know, SSDs are pricey, but who cares, I want that power in my rig. I've read too much reviews already and the X25-M seems to be the best. As 80 GB is not enough for an OS drive with all the programs, I would go for 2. For bonus, these babies in RAID 0 would take care of the "bad" sequential writes.

Data HDD
I've read some reviews and this particular Seagate would be faster than the "WD Caviar Black whatever". I might be wrong here, but still I had so many headaches with WD HDs that I'm not sure I ever gonna buy one again...

OS
Windows 7 64 bit is a no brainer.

Case
The Antec Three Hundred seems roomy enough and good looking. I spent a lot of money in the past for good quality cases from Antec in the prospect of re-using them over and over again. And you know what? Never did, there was always something missing/new out there so I don't want to go that route anymore. Cheap, good and roomy is the way to go this time.

###

So here are my questions:

Mother board
1. Is there any other motherboard I should consider aside MSI (don't have good memories with them)?

RAM
2. As I might do a little overclocking, should I stay with 1066 RAM or go for 1333? I really don't understand the hype for 1600 or 2000 RAM since i7 limit the speed to 1066. And as far as I have understand this, pushing a little overclock would also push the RAM (might be completly mistaken for that). So why would I need a faster RAM if when I use stock speed 1066 is all I am limited to and when I overclock the RAM speed up too? I am completly lost with this one...

Video Card
3. As of right now, is there a quieter/faster/cooler video card than the Sapphire 4890 Vapor-X?

SSD
4. Since Intel dropped their price, the other SSD are starting to follow and I might switch the 2 Intel X25-M for 3 Crucial 64 GB for roughtly the same price. I know the Crucial SSDs are good at sequential reads/writes and random reads, but they are trailing behind Intel X25-M for random writes. With 3 Crucial in RAID 0, would I still get a solid perfomance comparable to 2 Intel X25-M? If not, would I get someting that is still really powerfull?

RAID
5. I plan to put 2 Intel X25-M 80 GB in RAID 0. I read a lot about data corruption that could happen and RAID 0 being more prone to failing, does it really is that much of a risk? I mean, yeah I have 2 hard drives so I "double" my risk, but honestly, I never had an HDD failing on me (for a desktop) so why would they fail when coupled together? Is the risk really that much higher?

6. I don't have any RAID card at my disposal and was planning on using ICHR10R chipset to do the trick. Does data corruption should preoccupy me?

7. If I go for 3 Crucial SSDs, the combined sequential reads would go over the 625 MB limit of the ICHR10R. What happens then? Does it stutter? Does it corrupt data? Does it fail? Does it just top at 625 MB? Does it affect write operations and if it does, does it cause problem or noticeable slowing on the day to day use?

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Well, that's all the questions I have right now. I am very open to any suggestion, even NVIDIA ones :)  I am more a fan boy of ATI, I just don't like NVIDIA but if the price is right, why not...

Don't forget to verify that the hardware is available in Newegg.CA, I am Canadian and the Newegg version for us doesn't have all the hardware the US does, I really envy you, lucky bastard!

Thanks for the advices guys,

Jonny
August 11, 2009 3:08:08 PM

CPU Limit? I don't believe its limited at 1066, i think 1333 is the standard.
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August 11, 2009 3:26:54 PM

stevensl2 said:
CPU Limit? I don't believe its limited at 1066, i think 1333 is the standard.


I might be totally mistaken but I read more than once that the i7 voltage (1.5V) is somehow linked to the RAM and the "best" speed would be 1066. Because of the default voltage, the 1333 RAM would not be as efficient as I understand it.

If you overclock you can go much higher but the gain ratio is rather not so good if you don't stick with the same CAS. There seems to be no "noticeable" gain to go with higher speed except for synthetic benchmarks.

Again, I might be wrong. I'd be more than happy someone could prove my wrongness if it's the case..

Jonny
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