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Speculative Planning For Lynnfield / Evergreen gaming rig.

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August 20, 2009 10:54:31 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Mid-September BUDGET RANGE: <$1700 now, another <$1k in February.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Surfing, Music Listening, HD Video, DVDs, CADD homework (to avoid having to use the Tech building lab).

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard (Logitech G15), Mouse (Logitech G5), and Speakers (Klipsch 5.1)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg, or anywhere else cheap and reliable.

PARTS PREFERENCES: Whatever has the best price/performance ratio.

OVERCLOCKING: Yes, mild SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe, 2nd card would be installed in February.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Currently 1600x1200. Switching in Feb. to best I can get for ~$300.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

Upgrading from the following:

Case: Thermaltake Xaser 3 (Skull variant)
CPU: Athlon 64 3400+ (2.2ghz)
MoBo: Asus k8v SE Deluxe
RAM: 3gb DDR1
GPU: GeForce 7800-GS (AGP slot)
Sound: SB Audigy 2 ZS
HDDs: 1x 36gb Velociraptor, 2x 80gb WD drives in RAID-0

Looking at the following:
(All speculative pricing is estimated based on the most reliable info I could find, and padded for safety.)


Case: CM ATCS 840 ~$200
PSU: Corsair 750w ~$120 (if that discount holds!)
CPU: i7-860 (The midrange Lynnfield) ~$280
MoBo: ASUS p7p55 Deluxe ~$230
RAM: 4gb DDR3 1333 ~$80
GPU: Radeon HD 5870 ~$300
Sound: Onboard (VIA VT2020 chip) ~$0
HDDs: 1x 80gb Intel X25-M (Gen 2), 1x 1tb WD Caviar Black. ~$230 + ~$100 = ~$330
Optical: BD reader w/DVD write ~$80
Sundries: ~$50

Total: ~$1660 (Before combo-deals)

If combos and price-padding shave enough off the budget I may go with a Corsair Obsidian 800D (~$280). I, personally, am hoping for some nice Dominator/Obsidan/PSU and CPU/MoBo bundles, but I'm not counting on it.

If an aftermarket cooler will be needed to hit mid 3.x range, I budgeted ~$40 for it in Sundries. The other ~$10 is for thermal paste.

Would also appreciate monitor suggestions, as well as the usefulness of a Phys-X card... though i doubt 2 5870s will need the assistance.
August 20, 2009 11:32:42 AM

^ For that price range, I would still choose the people's champ i7 920 ;) 
with Triple channel memory...
I doubt the i5s can perform as good
August 20, 2009 1:09:28 PM

^ the 870 performs a bit better than the 920, so the 860 should perform about the same.

@OP, forget 1156 if you're going to use the 5870, by itself it will use over 8 lanes of PCIe 2.0 bandwidth.

add a second 5870 and paying an extra $30 for 133MHz but losing 2GB of memory and 20 PCIe lanes isn't a great idea.
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August 20, 2009 1:29:12 PM

yeah, i7 920 is still the champ. Since you are looking at doing CAD as well as gaming, you'd definitely benefit from HT, and I don't think the i5s will have it.

As for your hard drive choices, I'm assuming the Intel SSD is for OS and primary apps, is the 1TB WD Caviar Black going to be used mainly for storage? If so, a Caviar Green would have almost as good file transfer performance, and run a little cooler.
August 21, 2009 7:13:52 AM

wathman said:
yeah, i7 920 is still the champ. Since you are looking at doing CAD as well as gaming, you'd definitely benefit from HT, and I don't think the i5s will have it.

As for your hard drive choices, I'm assuming the Intel SSD is for OS and primary apps, is the 1TB WD Caviar Black going to be used mainly for storage? If so, a Caviar Green would have almost as good file transfer performance, and run a little cooler.



I actually found out that we'll be doing all our design projects using the in-class lab time (And the school JUST upgraded to high-end Xeon workstations for the tech labs!), so the CAD is off the table, leaving just a gaming & general-use system.

The i7 variants of the LGA-1156 lineup actually will have HT, which is why they're branded as i7 and not i5. From what I've read, the 860 seems to go toe-to-toe with the 920 in every way except for the lack of PCIe channels... and dual-channel, but I think I can live with 8gb maxed.

I'm also thinking of going over-budget and dropping the extra for a 5870x2 immediately, since that's basically what I'd be Crossfire-ing into.
August 21, 2009 10:22:08 AM

^ the 1156's don't do very well in Synthetics compared to the 920, so since you're looking at CAD, you will get quite a boost from using the 920.

and the 5870 X2 probably won't come out for a long time, December at the earliest, or whenever Nvidia releases the GT300 if they're willing to risk it.
August 21, 2009 12:40:38 PM

Xeon workstations will be nice, they probably have workstation class Gfx cards which are better suited to that application as well. As for going with LGA 1156 vs LGA 1366, it basically comes down to what type of upgrade path you want to follow. You will have more high end options with the 1366 with the better architecture, though as LGA 1156 seems to be destined to replace the intel mainstream market, you'll probably find better value there.

!