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Here we go! - $1800 CAD i7 Gaming Rig TIA

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September 16, 2009 6:14:49 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Waiting on press releases from AMD and Nvidia for DX11 cards. Following I will buy a current day GPU and later participate in either BFG's or eVGA's step-up program to move to the next generation.

BUDGET RANGE: $1800 CAD

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming (FPS whore), HD playback, minor audio editing.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Case and processor have already been purchased. I also have a SoundBlaster X-Fi XtremeMusic which I am not sure what to do with. It looks like a lot of mobos these days have X-Fi onboard, would this discrete card still offer better quality and performance?

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Any Canadian website, I usually use shopbot.ca to find the best price and go from there. I will let price decide on who I deal with.

PARTS PREFERENCES: i7

OVERCLOCKING: Yes, definitely. Is 4 GHz a reasonable aspiration given this setup and with longevity in mind? Maybe 3.6 GHz would be safer, I will have to read further but any insight is appreciated!

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Most likely. This will depend on the next generation card performance. If two mid-high range cards top the flagship (2 x GTX275 > GTX295) I will be taking that avenue. Otherwise, I will pick up the flagship.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080. Ideally I would like to run Crysis and upcoming games at 1920x1080 with 4xAA and 8xAF with as high FPS as possible. With current generation cards this would be around 40 FPS at Very High Quality. Hopefully the next generation cards will kick that over 60?? Here's hopin'!

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Haha, well.. I bought an Alienware case off of eBay. Should get some laughs. I know I will get flamed, but that's why I picked'er up!

Here's what I'm thinking,

CPU: Intel Core i7 920 D0 Stepping Quad Core Processor LGA1366 2.66GHZ Bloomfield 8MB LGA1366 -SLBEJ-

HSF: Xigmatek HDT-S1283 Direct Touch 3 Heatpipe Heatsink AM2 LGA775 S754 S939 S940 W 120MM PWM Fan
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=30012&promoi...

MOBO: ASRock X58 Extreme ATX LGA1366 DDR3 4PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 Quad CrossFireX Quad SLI Eup Ready Motherboard
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=42433
NOTE: I am unsure of this selection because of pricing and availability. I know it is a steal @ $170 south of the border, but the only Canadian seller is NCIX @ $226. I can pick up an ASUS P6T vanilla for $265.. recommendations?

PSU: Corsair HX 850W Power Supply w/ 140mm Fan
http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/PID-MX24569(ME).aspx

MEMORY: Open to suggestions.

GPU: I am really trying to pick up a DX11 card through a step-up program. What I am thinking is that I'll pick up a GTX275 for now, most likely from BFG as they have a 100 day step-up, and will then upgrade later to either the flagship or a SLI setup depending on benchmark performance.
NOTE: This is going to eat up a significant portion of my budget, I am aware that picking up either the next generation flagship or 2 x mid-range cards will cost me ~$700

STORAGE: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS,1000 GB,32 MB Cache
or
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS,SATA/300,1000 GB,32 MB Cache
or
Samsung Spinpoint F3
NOTE: Potentially running Raid 0 if I have room in the budget. I really have no idea when it comes to storage. I am going by the hard drive charts right here on TH and have been seeing the Samsung F3 getting quite a few recommendations.

Whaddya think fellas? I have been reading and re-reading articles for days and I think it's about time to pull the trigger.

Thanks in advance!
September 16, 2009 7:17:41 AM

Thats a good setup...
But I would suggest these changes -
1. CPU cooler - Check out these options if you want to overclock high...that HDT is good but you get better one...
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=42819&vpn=NH...
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=34994&vpn=U1...
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=35847&vpn=SC...

PSU - Actually 750HX is more than suffice for Dual card setup...but thats upto you...

HDD - For RAID 0, I would suggest this config - 2x 500GB F3 in RAID 0 for OS, apps and games and a separate drive for backup and data...

RAM - Any of these...
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=40135&vpn=TR...
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=35345&vpn=99...
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=35343&vpn=99...
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=35341&vpn=99...
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September 16, 2009 8:19:13 AM

I think the xigmatech dark knight would be a good choice if u want that cooler, since it comes with the crossbow mounting bracket. Its hard for me to suggest the s1283, since they come out to be about the same if you include the mounting bracket accessory.

Though 4 GHz isn't extraordinary, I wouldn't bet on your chip clocking that high either. 3.6 to 3.8 should be pretty easy though.

Regarding the sound card, I would definitely stick it in still, even though onboard sound is decent, a discrete card can still usually perform better.

Also all of gkay's suggestions are good, I would also go with the spinpoints.
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September 16, 2009 11:55:32 AM

For the Motherboard I would go Gigabyte, have great MBs and are great quality and features, The Scythe Mugen 2 is a reallly good cooler and cheap. Yeah, don't the 58XX series come out in like a few days? lol.. get one of them or 2 if you want.., they use alot of power, like 180W each or sumthing, so dont be afraid to step up to HX850 if you want, although you will probably never need it.
Memory is kinda easy, good brands, Crucial, Corsair, Muskin, G.Skill... just pick the highest ones, 1600MHZ 8-8-8-21 etc, for the best price you can find.. all good, get 6GB so 3X2GB and make sure its less than 1.65V, so it should be special Core I7 memory.

For harddrives I always trust WD, and have the WD Black in my Core i7. Safest and best Harddrive brand out there IMO, and many others..

Good luck

Callum
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September 16, 2009 11:11:14 PM

I have actually done a little more reading about the CPU coolers and have seem to found a winner.

Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus Direct Touch 4 Heatpipe Heatsink AM2 AM3 LGA1366 LGA775 LGA1156 120MM
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=41337

Frostytech ranked it 5th overall and at $30 with a mounting bracket included it seems to be a steal.
http://www.frostytech.com/articleview.cfm?articleid=241...

For memory I have decided one of the Mushkin kits gkay09 suggested.

Mushkin XP3-12800 Xtreme Performance DDR3 SDRAM (7-8-7-20), 6GB Triple Channel Kit
http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/PID-MX24411(ME).aspx

Still looking at mobo options, will keep you posted!
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September 16, 2009 11:39:11 PM

For storage I have decided to pick up a 1TB Spinpoint F3 and then later upgrade to a SSD for OS, games and apps when able to.
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September 17, 2009 5:10:05 AM

^ I doubt that CPU cooler would help you achieve the overclock you are aiming for...
At Frostytech they are testing with the 775 intel CPUs and not the i7s...So the results would vary with the i7 platform...

Atleast get this CPU cooler...It is a solid performer for that price...
Take a look at this article - http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/coolers/display/core-i...

Scythe Mugen 2
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=35847&vpn=SC...

As for mobo suggestions, the Gigabyte UD3R is defineltly a very good option...It does both SLI and crossfire...But only downside is that it has only 4 RAM slots compared to 6 on other boards...
http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/PID-MX24713(ME).aspx

But if you can spend more on the mobo, then the P6T or even better the ASUS Rampage Gene are better options...
Another very good option -
EVGA 121-BL-E756-TR LGA 1366
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
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