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Trepanation's build thread v. 2.0

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August 28, 2009 1:38:45 AM

NOTICE: For some reason, all the f*cking links are broken. I don't know why, because they look fine on my end, but when I click on the then they get these characters at the front of the address and it doesn't work. Anyway, maybe it's just on my end, but if you have the same problem then just remove the first few characters from the address. Also, could an admin/mod help me with this?

***NEW***Mobo - ASRock X58 Extreme LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
$169.99

***NEW***RAM - OCZ OCZ3P1600LV6GK DDR3 PC3-12800 1600MHz 6GB Platinum XTC Triple Channel Kits
$113.99; Free shipping

***NEW***HDD - Western Digital Caviar Black 1 TB Bulk/OEM Hard Drive 3.5 Inch, 32 MB Cache, 7200 RPM SATA II WD1001FALS
$94.99; Free shipping

OS - Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders w/ Tech Guarantee - OEM (combo with case)
$102.49; Comes with free Windows 7 upgrade coupon

Case - COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail (combo with OS)
$102.49

GPU - EVGA GTX 275 896MB PCI-Express Video Card
$148.99; In-store pickup

PSU - CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail
$109.99; Free shipping

CPU cooler - XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler - Retail
$44.98; Free shipping

ODD - SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner - OEM
$29.99

***NEW***Subtotal: $917.90

The thesis of this entire build was that I am setting no budget limitations. I am granting users free use of my wallet, so long as what I am getting is conducive to my needs (covered in the old thread), and that all parts are at a good value. This is not to say that any part cannot be past a certain price tag - that would be to pseudo-set a budget - rather, it is to ensure that I am not paying twice the money for something only marginally better. As an example, my CPU is an i7 920, which is a top-end processor that costs about 300 dollars. I could go one step up and get an i7 950, for 550 dollars, or go even higher and get an i7 975 for 1000 dollars. These latter two options are not fairly priced, compared to the i7 920, because it is slightly older technology. It is still a top-end expensive CPU, though, so the principle is that I do not mind spending money so long as I am getting a fair exchange for it.

Keeping that principle in mind, I want your suggestions on how to complete my build. Nothing is final until I actually make the purchase, so suggest changes to anything you want. If you think that I am getting a bad deal on some parts and think you have a better one, I want to hear. If you think the i7 line is crap, I want to hear that too, and your reason(s) why. Everything is on the table.

So, besides your input on the parts that I currently see to be the best, I have some other areas in which I would like advice...

***NEW***1. CPU - Up until very recently, I was planning on purchasing an i7 920 along with the rest of the system. However, with the i5's coming out later this month, and the price of i7's going down, I am going to wait to make my purchase.

*i5, i7, or something else entirely? I've seen Phenom II versus i7 quite a bunch, and although nothing is final just yet, I am fairly certain that the i7 is a better card than a comparable Phenom II, and I don't mind paying the extra amount of money (currently a difference of about 70 dollars). The i5's will obviously be slower, but from what I understand certain i5's will have features the i7's won't, and will be significantly less expensive. However, if the i7's still have noticeable improvements over the i5's, then I will likely go for the i7's as the price difference can't be that much.

***NEW***2. VDU - Could be an LCD HDTV, could be a dedicated computer monitor, might even be a projector. Give me your thoughts.

*I've heard good things about the ASUS VW224U Black 22" 2ms(GTG) Widescreen LCD Monitor w/ HDCP Support 300 cd/m2 1000:1 (ASCR 5000:1) Built in Speakers - Retail and the HannsĀ·G HG-281DPB Black 28" 3ms Widescreen LCD HDMI Monitor 500 cd/m2 800:1 Built-in Speakers - Retail. Do they have the interfaces I need? Give me your opinions.
*It absolutely MUST have the capability of serving as a display for gaming consoles in addition to the computer itself.
*The screen itself can be no wider than 32", and no taller than 30".
*It needs to be able to display Blu-Ray if at all possible.
*I would like a high enough resolution to take advantage of my video card(s) and processing power
*I'm not sure what a contrast ratio is, but I've been told that getting a high one is important.
*A refresh rate of 120fps would be ideal, as this system is designed to run things much faster than 60fps.
*I've heard good things about Samsung
*It is more important to get a quality set than to get a big one. If everything I want can be condensed into something as small as a 20", then I would consider that 20".


***NEW***3. SPU/Speakers/Sound System - I have a choice here - to buy a stereo system and have it process the sound, or buy a sound card and get computer speakers? I really don't know which would be better for the money/convenience etc, so you tell me.

*I've heard good things about the Logitech Z-5300e THX-Certified 280-Watt 5.1 Surround Sound PC and Gaming Speaker System. It looks to be at a VERY fair price, even considering it is refurbished. Give me your thoughts.
*This setup will be used to view movies, play games, and listen to music quite a bit of the time. Quality sound is important.
*Surround sound and wireless rear speakers would be nice.
*I don't have to purchase any of this just now, as my mobo has onboard sound and I have some "fair" PC speakers ready to be used.


4. Keyboard - I could use my old keyboard for a while, but at some point I wish to get a new one.

*I despise laptop keyboards. The keys on my board would have to have some space between them, and higher depression than laptop keyboards.
*Making it flashy and sexy isn't as important as making it practical. I don't need a speedometer and 30 extra buttons and a built-in Gameboy. I just want a keyboard, sheesh :) 


5. Mouse - blah blah

*I have a preference for "claw" mice over "palm" mice. Palm mice tend to hinder my dexterity by comparison, and since this is a gaming rig, agility is important.
*Again, I don't want something all flamboyant and baudy. My new mouse would have a left-click, a right-click, a scroll wheel, and maybe a few extra buttons, provided they can be practically used. I don't want a junky Logitech with 20 buttons and none of them work.
*I think a trackball would be pretty nifty to have, but not as a substitute for a REAL mouse.


Thank you for your time guys, and for the quality suggestions I am sure I will see in the future. Remember - there is no budget, so I want you guys to have some fun with this. Just please be sure to give me some sound advice! I want to hear every little problem you see with my build. The last thing I want to hear is that it "looks good" or that it's "fine;" that means it's perfect, and theoretically it never will be, so please hold nothing back!

Thanks a bunch!

-Viceroy Trepanation
August 28, 2009 2:15:04 AM

1.) The AM3 is equal to the Core i7 in ONLY gaming & depending on the game. The i7 is better than the AM3 in pretty much everything else. I always say if you can afford an i7, get it since it is the best!

2.) LCD TV Monitor is okay but is only limited to 1920x1080 but a good LCD monitor can go higher in resolution, which will be better... As for brands for a LCD TV, I found Samsung to be very good!!

3.) For an i7 build, you will need a GPU since no MOBO has on-board graphics. You'll need an AM3 build to get by with out a GPU.

4.) ^+1... very smart idea!
August 28, 2009 3:57:15 AM

>1.) The AM3 is equal to the Core i7 in ONLY gaming & depending on the game. The i7 is better than the AM3 in pretty much everything else. I always say if you can afford an i7, get it since it is the best!

Would anyone care to confirm/dispute this?

>2.) LCD TV Monitor is okay but is only limited to 1920x1080 but a good LCD monitor can go higher in resolution, which will be better

Well, I need a new television anyway, so it will save me a good amount of money to do it this way.
Related resources
August 28, 2009 4:05:46 AM

I agree, the i7 with its hyper threading is better at everything, especially when overclocked, the i7 gets more done per clock than a phenom II, so even though it seems like it should be slower they perform similarly and if OC'ed to the same speed the i7 will beat the AMD easily. If you look at my configuration you will see i recently built a phenom II system, primarily because the i7 was out of my price range, whole thing ended up costing less than 800.

Be aware that gaming on a tv can appear grainier up close since the pixels on an 32" LCD tv are larger than those on a 22" LCD monitor at the same resolution, if you need a TV anyway im sure you will still get a great gaming experience out of the TV but its just something to keep in mind.
August 28, 2009 4:08:50 AM

^ I'm thinking of getting one that's around 26 inches. Anything more than that seems kind of o.O to me.
August 28, 2009 4:02:34 PM

I'll confirm what tecmo34 said, However, personally I'd ask "does it make a difference?" For that, you may need to check benchmarks of specific games. Lowest FPS is probably more important than Average FPS, as you'll notice dips when playing, even if the average is high. I seem to recall from the original thread that you are wanting to build a "dream system," and right now that just isn't AMD. Otherwise, you won't notice 90FPS vs. 70FPS, but you probably WILL notice an extra $50 or $100 in your wallet (or the extra game or two that it buys). At the budget end, where I normally lurk, I've been building AMD lately, but with a budget of $1500-$2000, i7 is the only way to fly.
August 28, 2009 4:36:22 PM

Onus said:
I'll confirm what tecmo34 said, However, personally I'd ask "does it make a difference?" For that, you may need to check benchmarks of specific games. Lowest FPS is probably more important than Average FPS, as you'll notice dips when playing, even if the average is high. I seem to recall from the original thread that you are wanting to build a "dream system," and right now that just isn't AMD. Otherwise, you won't notice 90FPS vs. 70FPS, but you probably WILL notice an extra $50 or $100 in your wallet (or the extra game or two that it buys). At the budget end, where I normally lurk, I've been building AMD lately, but with a budget of $1500-$2000, i7 is the only way to fly.

I like the way you put it a little better than how I did... :D 
August 28, 2009 8:48:08 PM

Quote:
but you probably WILL notice an extra $50 or $100 in your wallet (or the extra game or two that it buys)


"Buy?" What means this, "buy?"

Surely it is some dance of appreciation done after a successful torrent download...?

OK, well I guess that little dispute is settled for now. I would still appreciate for the rest of my build to be critiqued. Will my motherboard allow for HDMI cables to be run from the tower to the screen? Where should I purchase my goodies (I have Bing, if that helps)? Should I just bite the bullet and buy a GPU now and forget about dx11 cards for a while?
August 28, 2009 9:28:27 PM

That's completely up to you. I personally don't enjoy buying bran new tech, and find myself waiting at least a few months before diving in, once all of the driver and hardware issues are figured out. If you buy now from someone like bfg or evga, you could always use the step up program and just pay the difference once the new cards are out, though now that I think about it, I'm not sure if any ATI retailers do this?

If your patient, then waiting wouldn't be such a bad idea, but if you are impatient like me, grabbing something now and stepping up later wouldnt be such a bad idea either.

Just note that if you do use a step up program, you basically lose all of the savings you gain by shopping around, since your basically paying full retail price by getting it direct from the manufacturer.

As for where to buy from, newegg is always nice, though I never consider them, since there is tax in CA. I like amazon, and they have the occasional nice deal the 922 haf is currently 100 bucks free shipping no tax, which is a decent deal, but again this depends on if you reside somewhere where newegg charges shipping.

Just try to shop around and see where you can grab the best deal, if I remember correctly, I also saw a slick deals posting about a EVGA gtx 275 from Fry's for 150 after MIR, which is basically a steal. But this brings us back to the to buy or not to buy question of the gpu, which is up to you.
August 28, 2009 10:44:17 PM

Its a decent deal, but I wouldnt say its a rare find, when the bing cashback was working with the newegg 15 percent off thing on hard drives, I saw a lot of great deals on hds.
August 29, 2009 8:02:25 PM

Er the WD black is fine, you linked to an external hd, your still gonna need an intern one correct? unless you were planning on just gutting it and taking the hd?

I've also heard good things about the new samsung spinpoint 500 gig ones, so 2 of those might be nice for the 1 gig, but I honestly have no problems with the wd 1tb black either.

As for the dinovo, its a really nice price, and the keyboard feels quite solid and looks pretty gorgeous. My main problem with it is that I tend to like a slightly longer depression in my keyboard, hence my disdain for laptop keyboards.

The keys on the dinovo basically feel like those of a laptop, which I don't really enjoy, but if thats what you like, then i can't see much wrong with the keyboard especially at that price. Heck at that price, even i was tempted to get one.
August 30, 2009 3:14:24 AM

Do I NEED an internal drive?

Probably yes, but if not, then that external one looks pretty sweet.
August 31, 2009 8:17:43 AM

OP has been updated with a lot of new information. Give me your thoughts.
August 31, 2009 8:56:00 AM

trepanation said:
OP has been updated with a lot of new information. Give me your thoughts.


Here's some changes to consider that will save you money. This board down below got some great reviews here at Toms, xbitlabs and a few other review sites. Also it has better spacing with it's PCI-E slots for dual vid cards than the Gigabyte UD3P, and it allows you to add more memory later on unlike the Gigabyte UD3P. The memory down below is a steal at that price.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 169.99
ASRock X58 Extreme LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=I7-920 $269.99 Free Ground Shipping
Intel Core i7 Processor i7-920 2.66GHz 8MB LGA1366 CPU, OEM

http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=FAN-MX2 $4.49
ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound

http://www.amazon.com/OCZ-OCZ3P1600LV6GK-PC3-12800-1600... $113.99 Free Shipping
OCZ OCZ3P1600LV6GK DDR3 PC3-12800 1600MHz 6GB Platinum XTC Triple Channel Kits
August 31, 2009 4:56:17 PM

3. Keyboard - Here are are two keyboards I would recommend for you... Saitek PZ30AUR Red USB Wired Slim Eclipse Keyboard - Retail or Logitech G15 USB Wired Standard Gaming Keyboard - Retail, which have red lights to go with you HAF 922.

4. Mouse - Here is a mouse I would recommend for you... RAZER DeathAdder RZ01-00150100-R3M1 Black 5 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Optical 1800 dpi High Precision Gaming Mouse - Retail, which is a claw grip according to Razer's website.

September 2, 2009 6:46:50 AM

ITT: Another excellent set of suggestions from Why_me.

OP has just received a huge revision. Do take a look!
September 2, 2009 7:07:02 AM

You can save $27 by going with this RAM, without any loss in performance...
http://www.amazon.com/OCZ-PC3-10666-1333MHz-Extreme-Opt...
This OCZ has XMP profiles and it is pretty easy to set the rated settings...

You wont notice much real world performance difference apart from benchmarks between a DDR3 1333MHz CAS 7 and DDR3 1600MHz CAS 7
September 2, 2009 7:47:58 AM

I also won't notice 27 dollars.
September 2, 2009 8:31:46 AM

trepanation said:
I also won't notice 27 dollars.

^ :p  Its your money but still you wont notice...
September 3, 2009 6:46:25 AM

So my friend says that contrast ratio makes no difference at all if you're not watching "3dtv" with dorky 3d glasses, so I guess contrast ratio is not important. He also says that, in addition to 1080p, I need to make sure that it is "true HD," or else the picture will not necessarily be any good. Am I going to be able to find these features in a monitor, or will I have to bit the bullet and buy a more expensive television set?

Also, in regards to the stereo system vs computer speakers... my electronic/industrial musician friend believes that investing in a stereo system will give better sound quality than buying computer speakers, however basically everyone else I've asked says the opposite. I would like to get more opinions on this.
September 3, 2009 6:57:47 AM

trepanation said:
So my friend says that contrast ratio makes no difference at all if you're not watching "3dtv" with dorky 3d glasses, so I guess contrast ratio is not important. He also says that, in addition to 1080p, I need to make sure that it is "true HD," or else the picture will not necessarily be any good. Am I going to be able to find these features in a monitor, or will I have to bit the bullet and buy a more expensive television set?

Also, in regards to the stereo system vs computer speakers... my electronic/industrial musician friend believes that investing in a stereo system will give better sound quality than buying computer speakers, however basically everyone else I've asked says the opposite. I would like to get more opinions on this.


There's your monitor....

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $219.99
ASUS VW246H Black 24" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 1000:1 (ASCR 20000:1) Built in Speakers - Retail
With HDCP support

As far as investing in a stereo ???? Click that link, click on some speakers in your price range and then google them for review..and read some of the reviews of them on newegg. Onboard sound these days has come a long long way. If your into professional music recording then you may want to invest in a after market sound card, otherwise onboard sound these days is superb.

http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategor...
September 3, 2009 7:14:58 AM

Regarding he TV/monitor thing, this depends on what you are looking for. Since you specified this to be a gaming rig, I'm going to assume you want the fastest response time+ input response time, which may call for a tn or really nice e-ips panel. For the tn options, you can save a bit of money since the tech is cheaper, but the monitor I'm looking to buy is the dell 2209wa, which has been reviewed to basically outclass every other 22 inch monitor out there in terms of color accuracy + response time.

Honestly, I'm not a big fan of how "HD" or "True HD" is marketed, all it means is that the resolution of the panel is either 720p/i, 1366x768 or 1080p/i, 1920x1080.

Looking at the resolutions of even the cheapest monitors we can see resolutions of upwards of 1240x1024. A nice 30 inch could be 2560x1600, which is a much higher pixel density than the "True HD" panels, where the screen could be 50+ inches and still have the same pixel density. I admit that the uses of TVs and monitors are different and viewing distances come into play, but I really hate using tvs as a monitor. They tend to have slower response times, which is nauseating for gaming. Also I'm not really a big fan of 16x9 compared to 16x10.


In terms of speakers, this is totally up to your, it's your money on the line. Most audiophile grade stores will let you go there with your own cd and listen to any of their speakers, for hours at a time if your wish. This all depends on how discerning your ears are. There is no argument that a nice pair of b&w speakers would outclass a logitech surround sound system, when paired with a nice amp, but it all depends on how much the sound is worth to you. If you have really discerning ears, then it may be well worth the extra price, but if it all sounds the same to you, then why bother with it.

One thing to note though is that high quality sound equipment almost NEVER needs to be upgraded or replaced, I've heard of plenty of people using the same amp+ speakers they bought 20-30 years ago, to play their LPs. I won't say that speaker technology doesn't change or advance, but something that sounded good 20 years ago, will still sound good now. They also tend to not depreciate in value too much, as there is a very active secondhand market for this equipment.
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