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I7 860 Workstation for 3D+ $1400

Last response: in Systems
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September 16, 2009 6:03:37 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Late October (About time Win7 arrives)

BUDGET RANGE: $1400 max

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: 3D Applications, Photoshop, AfterEffects, Rendering, Gaming, Blu-ray playback.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg.com, Microcenter

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel i7 860, Asus or Gigabyte MB, PCP&C or Corsair

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe a slight one (~3.0)

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920 x 1200 + 1280 x 720

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I want to strike an excellent balance between power on one side, and heat, noise, and energy consumption on the other.

This computer will be primarily my personal workstation, and could be left on overnight for renders / or during long working sessions. Because of that, Power consumption is very important to me, as 30-40W could make a big difference over time, and it satisfies the bit of hippy in me.

PARTS:

CPU: Intel i7 860
From Microcenter for $229 + tax
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

I was set on the 920 until I read about the 860, and the greatly improved efficiency (30 - 40W both at idle and load) plus Turboboost (my applications are mixed between single-thread and multi-thread, so some cpu flexibility is welcome) changed my mind.

CPU Cooler: CoolerMaster Hyper 212+
From Microcenter for $24.99 + tax
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Motherboard: Asus P7P55D LE
$134.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

What do you gain from the standard, pro, EVO, and deluxe? Doesn't seem like a lot, and if i'm not planning a 4.0 overclock or Xfire/SLI, do i really need any more than this?

Memory: G-Skill Ripjaw 1.5V Cas 9 1600GHz, 2 x (2 x 2) = 8GB
$79.99 x 2 = $159.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Will the Hyper 212+ cooler interfere with the heatsinks on these?

Case: Lian Li PC-7F
$119.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Going to snip the wires powering the front fan's LED - a reviewer said he did this, i just want to confirm if it's possible and not dangerous/harmful to the comp. Also, will this fit the Hyper212+ Cooler?

HDD 1: WD Caviar Black 1TB
$94.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD 2: WD Caviar Green 1TB
$84.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For back-up

Video Card: ATI Radeon HD5770 1GB (Releases time of Win7)
$199.99
I won't need the full power of a 58xx, and this is more affordable, but has all the latest + DirectX 11, new openGL so i won't have to upgrade for awhile.

Optical: LG Black 8x Blu-Ray Drive CH08LS10
$104.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Would a Blu-Ray burner be worth it at $180? I'll already have the 1TB Green for back-ups.

PSU: PC Power & Cooling 750W
$119.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'd get a 600 or 650W, but the prices are almost the same, and this has a 5-year warranty so i could potentially have it for 2 builds. Also open to Corsair.

Total: $1290

More about : 860 workstation 1400

September 16, 2009 7:32:50 PM

There's not too much to improve upon, I think you're going with the p55 chipset for all the right reasons. I think you answered your own question in regards to the various flavors of Asus motherboards. with the higher tier boards, you're getting a few additional hardware features usually, better optimization for dual graphics card configurations, and more control in the BIOS for overclocking. Notable differences I saw were additional SATA II ports by way of secondary RAID host adapters. These aren't the greatest host adapters to begin with, so paying more money for a board with them is a bit of a waste. Second gigabit ethernet: I still don't see why they still put these on high end desktop boards. Unless you are building a dedicated hardware firewall, or investing tons of money into building a gigabit network that can support port teaming, there's no point in having 2. I guess you could say the second gigabit NIC is for backup if the first one fails, but not exactly a must have feature.

As for your Lian Li case, snipping the LED light wire shouldn't hurt anything, except the LED of course. You could also upgrade to a better case fan from Scythe that doesn't come with extra bling.

Blu-Ray for backups doesn't sound like a good idea to me. the Media is still expensive per GB, and they aren't all that fast either. Your 1TB Green will serve very well as a back up location. It's not physically seperated from your data's primary location so it won't do much good if your computer blows up, or your house burns down, but if your data is so vital that it needs to be protected from that, you'd be going with on-line storage.

A better option I think would be to take that $250 or so for a Blu-Ray Burner and a good supply of blu-ray blanks, and put it towards buying or building a NAS for backups.

That PSU looks fine, only PC&C PSU I have is a simple 400 Watt one. My only complaint with it is that the fan is louder than my 650 Watt Corsair. Since this is a 750W PC&C, it's possible that it has a better fan to begin with.
September 16, 2009 9:58:42 PM

My suggestion to you is that you either go with only the single WD 1TB Black or you get a second one instead of the WD 1TB Green, for an additional $10. If you go with 2 drives, you can put them in Raid 0 or Raid 1.

As with the previous poster, using the 1TB Green for backup seems iffy --- if the box goes up in smoke, stolen, or the house burns down, you are in a world of hurt. You could use the Blu-Ray drive to burn regular DVDs and keep those physically seperate.

Another strategy would be to get a smaller drive to serve as your OS/Application drive and use the WD 1TB Black as purely a data drive. This gives you some measure of protection if your OS drive crashes - replace it and you don't lose your data. It also makes your data more portable as it would be easier for you to move it from computer to computer.

The option for getting a NAS is also a very good one and would probably serve your needs better than getting a WD 1TB Green for you box.


-b
!