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New gaming rig build- $2000 budget

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September 30, 2009 12:30:53 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: by the end of October
BUDGET RANGE: $2000 No rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: gaming and some research on game design, playing music and movies, word processing

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, OS (Win 7 x64)- speakers and monitor can come later

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg or any other retailer easy to order from (see below)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: US

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel

OVERCLOCKING: Yes
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes (eventually)

MONITOR RESOLUTION: I have an Ultrasharp 24" in my office, not sure if this build will be paired with that or my 19" Samsung.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
My new job is allowing me to build a computer for gaming research. I don't have a hard cap for my budget, but it is coming out of my research money so the less I spend the better. Because they are doing the ordering, rebates won't help me, and I might not be able to take advantage of deals unless they last about a week, as I've got to go through purchasing and they can be slow to actually pull the trigger. Looking to have everything ordered by the end of October. this is a one-shot deal, so I want the machine to be as future-proof as possible without going overboard.

I've built before and am OK at it, currently using a totally adequate Asus p5b-e/e6400/6GB/Radeon x1950 pro/Win 7 x64/2x250 GB Western Digital in RAID 0 and a 1 TB Spinpoint for data.
I'd like to overclock but don't have much experience with it- I have the cash to put together a well-cooled system with parts conducive to it, so I'd like to experiment a little. And I need this to be future-proof, as I'm not getting another computer any time soon.

I have a Logitech G9 mouse and a few nice keyboards to pick from, as well as an RTM copy of Win 7 x64. I'll probably be getting a monitor, speakers, and a gaming headset for the system but I'm not as concerned with ordering these at the same as the other components.

Here is my budget broken down by item and what I'm thinking of getting as of right now:
Total w/out monitor/speakers/headset: $1925
===
Processor- $400
Intel Core i7-860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz- $289
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
===
Motherboard- $300
No ideas on this one- just started looking, would like something with wifi, crossfire, and if there's good onboard sound I can skip the Soundblaster
===
GPU- $400
SAPPHIRE 100281SR Radeon HD 5870- $379
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Which version grab? Worth waiting for the x2? Will the performance bump be worth it?
===
PSU- $100
===
Case- $100
Antec Nine Hundred - $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Don't need it to look flashy, but do want something with great airflow and lots of room, not married to this one.
===
Ram- $200
WINTEC AMPX 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)- $105
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
6 GB of triple channel OK or should I spend to get 12 GB? Haven't bought RAM in a while, so any advice on this front would be helpful.
==
Hard drive- $200
This is what I'm thinking now-
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F1 HD753LJ 750GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - OEM- $65
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Faster/smaller HD? Two 500 or 750 GB/7200 RPM in a RAID 0? I'm considering a 2 TB drive (or 2x 1.5 TB) for storage as well. I'd like to keep a lot of games and software installed on the OS drive, so the larger the better.

===
Cooling- $100
Really not sure what to do here. I have a Zalman 9500 CPU cooler and VF 1000 GPU cooler in my desktop currently. My case was running hot so I bought the best-rated solutions for around $50/each. Should I just do the same here? Suggestions for case fans? I also have a Silverstone FM 121 that cranks up fast and loud when I need it.
===
Optical- $30
SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW SATA DVD Burner LightScribe- $32
Worth upgrading to Blu-Ray reader?
===
Sound Card- $100
Creative Sound Blaster X-fi Titanium
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Comments- is this worth it or would I be better off spending the $$$ elsewhere?
===

I'd also appreciate advice on a good gaming monitor, under $400, speakers and a headset. I have a Logitech z-5500 but am using those in my living room now, and they'd probably be overkill for what I need on this system.
a b 4 Gaming
September 30, 2009 1:32:12 AM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $99.99 Free Shipping*
COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $139.99 ($119.99 after $20.00 Mail-In Rebate Card) Free Shipping*
CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Retail

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

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... Combo Discount: -$4.00 Combo Price: $39.98
Scythe MUGEN-2 SCMG-2000 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler - Retail
Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... Combo Discount: -$15.00 Combo Price: $394.98 Free Shipping*
Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 - Retail
CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model TR3X6G1333C7 G - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $84.99
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $174.99 Free Shipping*
Kingston SNV225-S2/64GB 2.5" 64GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid state disk (SSD) - Retail

http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=SHS223B_BE $29.99 Free Ground Shipping
Samsung SH-S223B/BEBE 22X SATA DVD+/-RW Internal Drive (Black), Bulk w/o Software

http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=XFX-58701G $388.99
XFX ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB DDR5 2DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort PCI-Express Video Card

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $34.99
EDIMAX EW-7728In IEEE 802.11b/g, IEEE 802.11n Draft 32bit PCI Wireless 802.11n Draft 2.0 PCI Card Up to 300Mbps Wireless Data Rates WEP 64/128, WPA, WPA2 Cisco CCX V1.0, V2.0 & V3.0 Compliance - Retail

Total: $1,558.87 | $1,538.87 w/mail in rebates

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-5870,2422... <--- ATI 5870 review and benchmarks

http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/landing/haf922/ <--- more pics, specs, and professional reviews of that Cooler Master 922 HAF

http://www.google.com/search?source=ig&hl=en&rlz=&q=scy... <--- Scythe MUGEN 2 cpu cooler reviews

ASRock X58 Extreme Reviews

http://www.motherboards.org/reviews/motherboards/1923_1...

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cheap-x58-motherboa...

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/mainboards/display/asr...

http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3593
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September 30, 2009 2:09:55 AM

Thanks! Will look all of that stuff over. MoBo, PSU and case look good.

I'd rather go with 2 500 GB in a RAID 0 over a tiny SSD b/c I want to have a ton of games installed on the HD. I went with an 128 GB SSD for my new laptop and found the space fills up too quick.

Why not the i7 860?

That Scythe cooler is one ugly beast of a thing. Ha.

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Related resources
a b 4 Gaming
September 30, 2009 2:15:43 AM

automated said:
Thanks! Will look all of that stuff over. MoBo, PSU and case look good.

I'd rather go with 2 500 GB in a RAID 0 over a tiny SSD b/c I want to have a ton of games installed on the HD. I went with an 128 GB SSD for my new laptop and found the space fills up too quick.

Why not the i7 860?

That Scythe cooler is one ugly beast of a thing. Ha.


The P55 boards (860) run dual cards @ 8x and 8x bandwidth wise. X58 boards (i7 920) run dual cards @ 16x and 16x. So if you plan on running dual cards later on in the future than you want to go the X58 route.

This h/d down below is single platter and it's fast.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $49.99 Free Shipping*
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
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September 30, 2009 12:10:19 PM

Gotcha.

I've had good experiences with Samsung HDs, two of those in a RAID 0 seem like they would be plenty fast for what I need. Game installs are so huge now that with an SSD you've got to be picky about what you install. How much difference will I notice gaming between the RAIDed 7200s and an SSD?

Looking more closely at that board, it is seems like a really great value. I was thinking I'd have to spend at least $250 to get a sufficiently upgradable board (I skimped and went with the p5b-e in my current build for around $150; had I gone $50 higher I would have been better off).

Coming in this far under budget I might be able to convince the company to spring for a 30" hi-res monitor...!
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September 30, 2009 12:42:19 PM

One more quick question- any reason other than price to go with the Scythe over a Zalman CNPS9700? The Egg has it for $53.35 shipped right now, and the Scythe can get very loud. With my 9500, I can't hear the difference between the highest and lowest fan settings over my other case fans.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thanks again. All of this advice is very much appreciated and I've now got the bulk of my components picked out! Probably have this thing built by the end of October provided purchasing doesn't drag their feet too badly...
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a b 4 Gaming
September 30, 2009 4:01:05 PM

automated said:
One more quick question- any reason other than price to go with the Scythe over a Zalman CNPS9700? The Egg has it for $53.35 shipped right now, and the Scythe can get very loud. With my 9500, I can't hear the difference between the highest and lowest fan settings over my other case fans.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thanks again. All of this advice is very much appreciated and I've now got the bulk of my components picked out! Probably have this thing built by the end of October provided purchasing doesn't drag their feet too badly...


Scythe Mugen 2 = lower temps.

I posted the reviews in that build up above.
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