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Gaming Rig: Parts Selection Fine-Tuning

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August 17, 2009 6:20:39 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Mid-Late September BUDGET RANGE: <$1700

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: gaming, surfing, movies.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, OS, monitor

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg.com

PARTS PREFERENCES:
Anything not crap. Things with combo savings.

OVERCLOCKING: Yes (light/moderate) SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION:
1600x1200 current

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I think I've got a pretty solid build here, but I haven't had a chance to build a decent rig since the Athlon 64 roamed the earth, and I don't want to make any mistakes that'll haunt me. As for the G.Card, I plan on re-upgrading that, along with my monitor, once the DX11 cards come out.

Case: Antec 902

PSU: Antec TruePower TP-750 750W

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD3R

RAM: OCZ Platinum 3x2GB DD3 1600

CPU: Intel i7 920 (Do I REALLY need to link this, guys? ;)  )

Cooler: COOLERMASTER GeminII 120mm

Graphics Card: XFX HD-485X-ZDFC Radeon HD 4850 1GB

Sound Card: ASUS Xonar DX

HDDs:
OS&Apps: OCZ Agility 60GB

Bulk Storage: 3x Western Digital RE2 500gb in RAID-5, prob. adding a 4th disc later.

More about : gaming rig parts selection fine tuning

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August 17, 2009 6:32:09 AM

For the price difference of $10, get the 4870 1gb. Prices might even be less in 4-6 weeks, so look then for which flavor is the best price. But as an example:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As for light/moderate OC, the stock HSF will probably get the job done. Mid 3ghz if that's what you're trying for.

And onboard sound has come a long way since the days of the A64. Only people needing discrete sound cards are audio professionals doing recordings and such. For gaming and movies, you'll be fine with the mobo sound.
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August 17, 2009 7:36:06 AM

Build looks good, but would suggest you change a few parts. mainly for future upgrades to your system.

First I would change the Mobo to this one from Gigabyte, reason is if you would like to pgrade ram to 12gb you can.
GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD4P LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard $259.99 ($239.99 after $20.00 Mail-In Rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Next you should go with either of these PSU's from Corsair, since the price comes to the same after MIR.
CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W $139.99 ($109.99 after $30.00 Mail-In Rebate) Free Shipping*
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W $119.99 ($109.99 after $10.00 Mail-In Rebate) Free Shipping*
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Check out this Ram/CPU Combo, will save you some money.
1. OCZ Technology OCZ3P1600LV6GK: $114.99 Free Shipping*

2. Intel BX80601920: $279.99 Free Shipping*

Combo Discount: -$12.00
Combo Price: $382.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Would also change CPU HSF Cooler to one of these.
Since you mention that you might OC, then get either of these CPU HSF Coolers'.
XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler - Retail $44.98 Free Shipping*
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Scythe MUGEN-2 $36.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CoGage True Spirit Heatpipe CPU Cooler with 120mm PWM Silent Fan for Intel LGA1366 $37.95
http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_p...

One of the latest Reviews on 1366 CPU HSF Coolers'.
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2009/07/23/intel_core_i7...

Items you will need.
Thermal Compound and Thermal Cleaner.
Noctua NT-H1 Thermal Compound - Retail $9.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You will need this 8-pin Power Extension Cable for most Cases that has Bottom Mounted PSU.
1ST PC CORP. 12" 8-pin EPS extension cable Model CB-8M-8F - Retail $8.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:
APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Mid-Late September BUDGET RANGE: <$1700
The Core i5's Cpu's and Mobo's should be out around then, you might wish to hold off until then. Since prices will be lower and the 1156 Chipset Mobo will use dual channel DDR3 ram. Below is a site that has a couple of video previews on the upcoming Core i5 mobo's.
MSI P55-GD80 Motherboard Preview
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2009/08/14/msi_p55gd80_m...

ASUS P7P55D Deluxe & EVO Motherboard Preview
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2009/08/11/asus_p7p55d_d...

Hope this helps you out some.
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August 17, 2009 4:48:01 PM

For gaming, spend your money on the best vga card you feel comfortable paying for.
In this case, I would look at the 4890 or GTX275. If your time frame is late September, we may see some new cards available with better high end performance, and better pricing. Plan on buying a card from a vendor like EVGA or XFX which have a 90 day trade-up program. That will give you the option to get a newer card if you wish, without losing out on your initial purchase price.

Don't worry about DX11. Game vendors will not make it a requirement for good gameplay because it will kill their sales.

The i5 looks like it will launch sept 6. Make no decisions until then. It looks like you can get a i5 cpu and P55 motherboard suitable for gaming for a couple of hundred $ less, allowing you to get a better vga card.

Keep an open mind on the OS SSD. The market is changing rapidly. Initially, only Intel had a unit that did not have a small random write issue. Exactly what the OS does. Others are catching up, but the gen2 X25-M still looks like the quality unit to me today. Do not be impressed by synthetic benchmarks. Try to get reviews with real application performance after the drives have been well populated and used.

Ditch the sound card. Onboard HD sound is very good and stable. Some sound cards are reported to have driver incompatibility issues.

Plan on using windows-7. Install the release candidate temporarily if you must. It will have enhancements for SSD operations.


Why do you want/need raid-5?

The value of raid-1 and it's variants like raid-5 for protecting data is that you can recover from a hard drive failure quickly.
It is for servers that can't afford any down time.
Recovery from a hard drive failure is just moments.
Fortunately hard drives do not fail often.
Mean time to failure is claimed to be on the order of 1,000,000 hours.(100 years)
Raid-1 does not protect you from other types of losses such as viruses,
software errors,raid controller failure, operator error, or fire...etc.
For that, you need EXTERNAL backup.
If you have external backup, and can afford some recovery time, then you don't need raid-1.

I think I would go with the larger 1tb drives for storage instead of 500gb. The cost per gb will be less, and the denser drives will perform a little bit better.



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August 17, 2009 5:08:33 PM

Hey man, good build so far. I'll second the Corsair TX750, I went with it and I'm very happy. Antec is of course a very good company, but the reviews I've read place the TX750 in the league of some higher PSU's for a lower price(if you catch the sale) with higher sustained power. I'm no engineer but that's what I took away from the review:) 

I would change the CPU cooler to the Scythe Mugen 2, I am getting around 40 degrees idle and not much over 70 under full load overclocked to 3.7. If you don't plan on overclocking then the stock cooler is fine, but who really doesn't plan on overclocking the i7 right?

As far as the GPU, what reso is your monitor? if it's 1280x1024 or lower, right now there isn't much need for anything more than a 4850-4870 anyways. If it is higher like you said, use the cheaper then upgrade to a dx11 later. I did more or less the same, I went with a 4870 and will either cf another 4870 or just upgrade to a dx11 when my old card will no longer handle most games.

The i5 may be a viable option, I went with an i7 because I got a great deal on one, but to me, going with the i7 would be the way to go for the simple fact that you will more than likely be able to upgrade to an i9 in a few years if the i7 isn't hacking it anymore. Of course anything i5/i9 related is mostly hearsay since the haven't been released yet. maybe the i5 will blow us i7 users out of the water but i doubt it:) 

I'm with the other guys on dropping the sound card, unless you're an audiophile or recording anything. But if you're recording anything I'd go with an external board anyways...

Oh and I went with an Antec 900 so I can't really speak on the 902 but I didn't need any extension cables for the PSU...
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August 17, 2009 6:49:26 PM

geofelt said:
For gaming, spend your money on the best vga card you feel comfortable paying for.
In this case, I would look at the 4890 or GTX275. If your time frame is late September, we may see some new cards available with better high end performance, and better pricing. Plan on buying a card from a vendor like EVGA or XFX which have a 90 day trade-up program. That will give you the option to get a newer card if you wish, without losing out on your initial purchase price.

Don't worry about DX11. Game vendors will not make it a requirement for good gameplay because it will kill their sales.

The i5 looks like it will launch sept 6. Make no decisions until then. It looks like you can get a i5 cpu and P55 motherboard suitable for gaming for a couple of hundred $ less, allowing you to get a better vga card.

Keep an open mind on the OS SSD. The market is changing rapidly. Initially, only Intel had a unit that did not have a small random write issue. Exactly what the OS does. Others are catching up, but the gen2 X25-M still looks like the quality unit to me today. Do not be impressed by synthetic benchmarks. Try to get reviews with real application performance after the drives have been well populated and used.

Ditch the sound card. Onboard HD sound is very good and stable. Some sound cards are reported to have driver incompatibility issues.

Plan on using windows-7. Install the release candidate temporarily if you must. It will have enhancements for SSD operations.

Why do you want/need raid-5?



Thanks for all the tidbits. Not exactly tweaks for the current rig, but overall very good advice in general. I'm probably going to scrap this build and wait to grab one of the i5 CPUs and a ASUS P7P55DX Deluxe board... provided someone else doesn't totally destroy them once we get to see the hard data.

I've been running the Win7 RC on my Athlon rig since just after it came out. Works awesome even on this pile of antiquated former awesomeness. I have a few friends that run the Agility and they say that massive (~64mb) cache on it really smooths out the 'stuttering' issues.

I mostly want it for the load-time reductions and as a way to keep the OS physically separate from the RAID array. I use a similar separate-physical-drive solution currently, and it's saved me tons of headaches when various updates have rendered the RAID-0 setup I have now 'invisible' to the OS on different occasions.

Also I was under the impression that, with the RAID-5, it functioned almost identically to RAID-0, but with the distributed loss of a drive's worth of space in exchange for parity checking. I figured it was worth the extra $50 for the extra layer of protection while maintaining the I/O speed boost from RAID-0.

As for the whole DX11 thing... I have the budget, come Jan/Feb, to re-upgrade my graphics on top of what I'm currently buying, so I figured I'd go for something cheap to replace my 7800gts now and then buy a good one once the new stuff hits, especially if they launch it in the window for that 90 day trade-up you mentioned. Of course, if there's not much of a practical improvement between DX10 and DX11, I might as well just buy a 4870x2 or something now.
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