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Please Critique My Planned Build

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October 27, 2009 11:54:02 AM

Critique my planned rig.

I’m not exactly a novice at this stuff. I’ve been building and upgrading my PCs since I went from my old Amiga to a new 386 machine (yeah, makes me feel old thinking about it too. Lol). But, I’m certainly no expert either as I don’t tend to keep up with new hardware developments between builds/upgrades. I try to do my research before starting a new project, but in between…not so much. So, I’d appreciate it if you guys could kind of look over my shoulder and keep me from stepping on anything.

Currently, I have a AMD Athlon 64 X2/Asus A8N SLI Deluxe based system that’s about 5 years old. It was a pretty kickin’ system when I built it (I even put a “P4 Killer” case badge, lol), but it’s getting pretty long in the tooth and I’ve got the itch to build again. My hardware needs aren’t that taxing, but I do have little bit of a “keep up with the Jones’” streak. Mostly I use my rig for simple word processing, web surfing (including quite a bit of video streaming), etc. tasks. However, fairly regularly I need to do some video conversions (from proprietary surveillance formats to MPG or other formats) at DVD resolutions. I do play games, but the strategy type games I prefer (Total War, Civilization, Age of Empires, etc.) aren’t particularly GPU stressful. My budget is $1000-1500, but I’d like to keep it closer to $1000.

So, here is my proposed build. I would appreciate any and all input, even if it is just personal preference. If anyone sees where I could get just as good or better performance for cheaper, that would be great. Or, if I’m possibly making a poor choice for reliability/quality on some part, I’d love to hear that input too.

Motherboard:
Asus P7P55D Deluxe
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I’m a bit of an Asus fanboy and this seems like the best model for me. I considered going with a higher model with 6Gb/s support for the future, but I don’t think HHD speed is really going to be a major concern for me.

CPU:
Intel i7-860
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I’ve always been an AMD fanboy so I surprised myself when I made this decision. But AMD just doesn’t seem competitive at the upper mainstream price vs. performance level right now. The i5 CPU seems the ideal P vs. P right now, but I’m thinking that HyperThreading will be an increasing performance factor in the next few years. I’ll probably play around with some overclocking and the reviews I’ve read indicate that moderate overclocking is pretty easy to accomplish with this CPU.

Memory:
G.Skill F3-12800CL7D-4GBRH
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Heatsink:
Prolimatech Mega Shadow
http://www.svc.com/megashadow.html
Ok, I know that I’m blowing my price vs. performance strategy here, but only by about $35. This seems like an excellent cooler and I think that it will look really nice with the black interior of the new case (below).

Power Supply:
SeaSonic X-750 Gold
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I really want a PSU with modular cables and the reviews I’ve seen indicate that this is an excellent performer. I’m thinking that 750w is sufficient for my proposed rig with room for future expansion.

Graphics Card:
BFG Tech BFGE98512GTXPOCE 9800GTX+
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
As I don’t play GPU stressful games, I’m thinking this card will suit my needs for the near future. Yes? No? I have never done the SLI thing, but if I need a little more graphics performance in a year or two, I could throw in another 9800GTX+ for a cheap boost(?)

DVD Burner:
LITE-ON 24X DVD+R SATA Black iHAS424-98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Seems hard to find good info about any burner’s reliability/performance, so any opinions here would be appreciated.

HHD:
SAMSUNG EcoGreen F2 HD154UI
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The one thing that I plan to carry over from my current rig (inside the case…I’ll also keep my mouse, keyboard, monitor) is my WD 500Gb SATA. I will use that as my system drive and this one for storage. I need a lot of storage for saved video files. Again, I don’t think that the need for screaming HHD performance will be an issue for me…but, if you think I’m making a mistake about that, I love to hear about it.

Case:
Antec 1200
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I like the roominess and air flow of this case as well as the overall appearance. I also REALLY like that all the intake fans are dust filtered (including the spot for the optional side fan). I just wish I could turn off the D*** LED fan lights (there is only a light switch for the top fan). I prefer conservative/unobtrusive appearing cases. Does anyone know if I can either swap out the fans or (preferably) simply cut the power to the LED light without disabling the fan?

I’m not planning on any purchases until probably mid December. So, I haven’t done any serious price shopping yet. But, currently NewEgg is offering a couple of combo deals that would save me a couple of bucks.

Mobo & CPU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Case & HDD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

So, let me hear your thoughts and opinions please.

More about : critique planned build

October 27, 2009 12:39:08 PM

I will change the 9800 GTX+, for a GTX260 or GTX275, in the future the SLI with 2 GTX260 or GTX275 could be more strongly that the 9800 GTX+
October 27, 2009 12:45:37 PM

I would switch out the 9800 for an ati 5770, that way you get dx11 and better xfire scaling. It fits better with your i7 as well. the 9800 is a good card, but a bit dated for the other specs on your rig
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October 27, 2009 4:16:19 PM

I agree with griffed88, you are probably going to want to cover your direct x 11 approach with a mid range gpu such as the ati 5000 series, the 5750s are around 129.99 and the 5770s are around the 159.99 range i do believe, newegg prices change about every week, or if you really love nvidia's craft, then i would wait for a gtx300 or gt300 that supports direct x 11, they are bound to have a low end gpu or mid range.
October 27, 2009 10:10:36 PM

Ok, good points to ponder about the video cards. I have had so much bad experiance with ATI cards in the past that I have avoided them like the plague for years. The problems I had were years ago and I have no doubt that thier quality control has improved dramatically or else they wouldnt still be in business (if getting bought out by AMD counts as still in business. lol) But, since I am kinda an AMD fanboy, maybe I should throw them some business on the GPU side since Im abandoning them on the CPU?

As far as the dx11...I was kinda thinking along the lines with chodemangler's final thought about waiting until my next graphics upgrade a year or two down the line. With what I do, do you guys think that I will notice not having that in the near future?
October 27, 2009 10:15:52 PM

As for your hard drive, the EcoGreen's are slow. You should go for the Samsung Spinpoint F3, faster than a velociraptor $55 to $80 (500 GB or 1 TB versions).

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October 28, 2009 4:32:23 AM
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I think you might be able to get a better value on PSU. The system you describe doesnt really need a $200, 750w unless i missed something? I know the efficiency is nice... but getting 80 PLUS GOLD Certified tacks like $100 to the price.

I would suggest you consider a single rail 80 plus silver modular Corsair. They still have good reputations for a lot less money.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also consider getting a lower power one, many people overestimate what they need. Low quality PSUs inflate the wattage to look good--with the high quality ones you are interested in you can afford to go smaller. Single rail PSU calculator: http://www.corsair.com/psufinder/default.aspx


I also agree that the 9800 gtx is a dated card. Right now it IS good performance for the money, although a bit of a power hog. You could get a newer more power efficient card that would save you money in the long run--since it looks like you prefer to spend a lot and keep your builds for the long haul.

I think you should consider starting with a newer model card would still be around in a year if you wanted to add a second for SLI. (If I had an SLI capable motherboard this is definitely what I would do.) Since a mid-level card seems to cover you at the moment, you could get a single 4770 ($99) or 5750($129) and add a second when you want the power. (as noted the big difference between the two is that the 5xxx series has the benefit of DX11)

One of the reasons I am a big fan of Tom's is the articles on "best _____ for the money" The last video card review was September, but another (including the new 5xxx series should be coming by the time you build. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-graphics-card,...
October 28, 2009 1:37:49 PM

Ok, you guys are making very good points. And I think you have convinced me about the video card issue. I think I’ll look at some 5750’s and go that route.

Deadlockedworld, that Corsair PSU was also at the top of my final contenders list. And, on second look, you are probably right that the price difference is probably not worth going with the SeaSonic. The price difference will make up for the higher cost of the 5750 and maybe a bit more.

A quick look at NewEgg for 5750’s and I found that the Sapphire is about $12 cheaper than the GigaByte and MSI cards but the specs seem to be identical across all three.

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

I’m not familiar with the Sapphire brand. Is the Sapphire a deal or am I looking at a step down in build quality/reliability or inferiority in some other area?

Thank you all for the thoughtful input. Any further thoughts or advice from anyone, even if just to express personal preferences, will continue to be appreciated.
October 28, 2009 3:57:47 PM

I don't think there is really any brand consensus on video cards. It seems everyone has a preference or a bad experience. Sapphire seems to consistently be about $10 cheaper than average on all of their cards. On some of the older models (4850) they cut prices by removing the second display port, but this 5750 seems identical to the others.

You might browse some older models to compare average ratings on newegg. Typically I look at ratings for older, similar model cards with the same coolers to get a feel for the layout, but with the new 5xxx cards there isn't really anything to compare them too. I'm guessing these new low-wattage processors probably wont overheat too much though.
October 28, 2009 9:02:52 PM

lol yeah thats true deadlockedworld, i'm still kinda happy with my hd 3870 that i've had for almost 2 years now, and it still runs ok for my needs, and I'm aware it sucks ass compared to the newer gen by a lot, but it gets me by you know?
October 29, 2009 10:22:23 AM

Ok, so ive been swayed by the great guidance here on a couple of things. I have decided to go with the Sapphire 5750 and the Corsair PSU mentioned in posts above.

I also found that the Corsair PSU is currently offered in a combo deal at NewEgg with Corsair XMS3 4GB CMX4GX3M2A1600C8 memory.

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

If that combo is still offered when I buy, it would save me about $30 over the G.Skill memory I had in my original list. The latency for the Corsair is a little slower than the G.Skill. But, since I’m not planning on doing any extreme overclocking, I’m thinking that it’s not a difference I would notice in day to day usage.

What do you guys think? Is the $30 savings worth the step down in latency?
October 29, 2009 4:17:05 PM

I dont know enough about ram to help with this.
(I still havent decided if its worth it to upgrade from DDR2 to DDR3 for my E8400..haha)
October 29, 2009 6:41:11 PM

Personally, I would read the reviews that people are having with the corsair xms series ram that is on newegg. I'm still a beginner learner about ram, but I do trust corsair and what it has to offer, however; you have to ask yourself some questions, such as: what type of performance do i expect to come from this 30$ cheaper ram than the gskill? Will cas latency 8 versus cas latency 7 or versus cas latency 9 be BIG performance jump? What type of voltage do these guys have and do i need to bump them up to get the performance that iwant?

From my personal experience, which is probably irrelevant, I say this because i had ddr2 800 ram and now i have ddr2 1066 which isn't a terribly big difference. but the ddr2 800 corsair ram had cas latency of 4 and the timings were of 4-4-4-12-24, the simple timings with voltage of 2.0; it ran ok, then i upgraded to mushkin 1066 speed ram the other month with 5-5-5-15-30 bank cycles and the cas was 5. I noticed more of a performance difference than i thought i would, due to the memclock speed even though it had a slightly slower cas, all you can really do other than read and read and ask for suggestions, is to continue your research and experiment for yourself, because everyone will get different results in performance wise.

Basically if you don't wanna read the middle junk that i took time to type, then i would go with the combo deal and try out the corsair ram, you have at least 30 days, if you don't like it, then send it back due to neweggs rma service, the reviews that im reading about the corsair ram, it looks like a good dealand you could memtest the *** out of it as well to get somemore answers in your quest for better performance v price ratio.
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