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New Build. Could use a sanity check.

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Last response: in Systems
November 16, 2009 4:26:50 PM



SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming (FPS), Web Surfing, General Home use

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Speakers, DVD/CD RW



Processor: Core i7 920
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD5 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 932 RC-932-KKN1-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail
PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
Memory: CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model
TR3X6G1600C9 - Retail
HDD: 2 - SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
GPU: Undecided-I like the 5850/5870 cards from ATI but can never fing them in stock anywhere. My second choice is nVidia GTX
260 OC until the 285/295 cards come down in price.
O/S: Windows 7 - 64 Bit




ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: My attempt is to build a good, solid machine that will future proof me, to a certain extent. I play, mostly first person
shooters (yeah even at 48 years old.) I have Bioshock, Crysis/Warhead, Fallout 3, etc... and have been unable to play
them due to my current machine not having the horsepower to do it. I could use a bit of a sanity check on my build and
also some recommendation as to the Graphics Card situation. I don't mind buying a second tier card now and replacing it
later with a newer card supporting Direct X11. Unfortunately, it appears ATI has some capacity issues when it comes to
availability of these GPU's and I'm getting tired of waiting. I would appreciate any and all input as the last time I built a
machine, it was an i386 with 256MB of RAM, for those of you old enough to remember.

Thanks for any and all recommendations. All the best.

More about : build sanity check

November 16, 2009 4:46:28 PM

You buy a top end CPU with a great motherboard, but a cheapass graphics card? For gaming, the GPU is more important than the CPU. An intel i5-750 offers equal performance at a lower price and a cheaper motherboard.

Get a good graphics card with the money. At the least an ATI 4890, or perhaps a GTX 275/285. Better still would be waiting for the 5850 to come back in stock, it's worth every dollar and every minute of waiting. Supply should significantly improve by the end of the month/early next month. Is waiting two weeks too much?

Good build other than that.

PS: if you go with an i5-750, you'll need to take 4GB of RAM (which is still more than enough for gaming!)
November 16, 2009 4:57:28 PM

My understanding is; an i5-750 is an 1156 socket. Intel, clearly, is moving it's next series of processors onto the 1366 socket. One of my goals, as stated in the original post, was to provide some level of future proofing. I believe the 1366 socket to be that, at least for the time being.

I don't mind buying, to use your terms: "a cheapass graphics card" as a stop-gap solution until availability of the 58xx GPU's improves. I'm not sure however, most of the information I've seen about availability of these GPU's by the end of the month has been speculation to this point. Nothing concrete from ATI. I guess time will tell. Two weeks is not a big deal, my target purchase date is black friday. May catch something on sale then.
Related resources
November 16, 2009 5:22:31 PM

Indeed, longevity is a concern with 1156. However, most of the new CPU's planned for the 1366 socket aren't that interesting either. Gulftown is said to cost $1500. Is that worth it? I doubt that. It's also unlikely to be a great gaming CPU, as games fail to use 4 cores, put aside 6.

If you absolutely want upgrade potential at an affordable cost, AMD's AM3 socket might be a better choice. For gaming, the Phenom II X4 965 is just as good, if not better, for gaming, cheaper than intel's offering and AM3 will get a 6-core as well.

Of course, go with 1366 if you feel that's best, but purely performance wise, there is no reason for it. There isn't a reason using it for price reasons either. Longevity is good, but so is AM3's.

If you are purely intending the 260 as a stopgap, I can fully understand your logic. However, I just don't see the use of spending money on a short-time place holder. I believe supply of the ATI offerings will be better by Black Friday. If it isn't, get a 260, but postpone your purchase to BF at all cost, so you might avoid spending money on a stopgap.

November 16, 2009 5:29:10 PM

Stick with LGA 1366 for futureproofing. 6 core Gulftowns come out early next year.

Of course get a 5850/5870 if you can find one but really either of those is overkill for 1280x1024. A 260 core 216 will run just about anything at that resolution.

It looks like a great build to me. You could maybe save a few dollars getting the Corsair 750TX but if you plan to Crossfire 5870s the 850TX might be a better choice.

While you are at it get an aftermarket CPU cooler and overclock that thing! No reason not to these days...pretty much a free upgrade and its not even difficult. Just read this.
November 16, 2009 5:44:27 PM

Simarunya and anort3,

Thanks for the replies. At this point, I'm sticking with the i7-920 simply because I'm getting the processor at no charge from our dev labs. My intent is to Crossfire a pair of 5870, at some point, while upgrading my monitor. I'll be holding off un BF on anything in hopes the ATI cards are available. If not, I'll probably go ahead and pull the trigger on the 260.

I have no experience with overclocking but the article was pretty informative, for the most part. It gave me some new terms to define, understand and try get my arms around. Do either of you guys have a recommendation on a CPU cooler ?? I don't think space is going to be a big issue with the MB/Case I'm using. If you have experience with a particular brand/model, I'm all ears.

Thanks for the insight guys.
November 16, 2009 6:07:09 PM

An i5-750 will be fine for the next 4 years for gaming purposes. Yes, having two 16x PCI channels is better, yes a 6-core processor will be better, yes triple-channel memory will be better.... but at what cost? Even if the 1366 will squeeze out a few more FPS, is it really worth the extra $200? And then is it really worthwhile to upgrade to the i9 and drop another hefty bill? For the resolutions you're looking to use, I would say no.

Check out this review and the included benchmark tests:,2379.html

There is a performance difference, but it's really not that huge; futhermore, the difference shrinks even further under a single-GPU setup. Again, how much power do you really need for 1280x1024? A single i5-750 with an HD 5850 will dominate at that resolution for years to come, and generate less heat, use less power, and cost far less money than a super-duper 1366 multi-card setup. Even at 1680 x 1050 (which would be a beautiful 22" Monitor), that setup will still be a beast well into the future.

If it does need to be upgraded two years from now, it still gives a better performance boost to sink that money into a second GPU rather than a better CPU.
November 16, 2009 6:09:56 PM

If you want an i7-920, go ahead! If it's free, go ahead-ier (is that a word? :p )!

A single 5870 is great, dual 5870's blast away all competition. A 5850 would be fine, it's even cheaper and nearly as good. Not to mention the space, heat, noise and power you save.

November 17, 2009 3:55:10 AM

Do either of you guys have a recommendation on a CPU cooler ?? I don't think space is going to be a big issue with the MB/Case I'm using. If you have experience with a particular brand/model, I'm all ears.

I believe that Xigmatec and Noctua are the two brands most people go with although from experience Zalman and ZeroTherm also make quality products. I have only used the latter two on LGA 775 and AMD builds so I am not really sure about their performance on LGA 1366.

If you buy one make sure you also get the backplate...... I think you have to buy them separately.
November 17, 2009 4:12:49 PM

The best cooler is the Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus, its only $30 and unseats the reigning champ Thermalright Ultra 120-extreme.
It's also much smaller than the typical monster heatsinks you see today.

O rly? I thought the TRUE-120 still outperformed the Hyper 212 Plus ( - although the Hyper 212 Plus is a LOT cheaper...

How about the Prolimatech Megahalems? Gets great reviews, but it is bulky and pricey (About $65).
November 17, 2009 9:26:12 PM

Frostytech has no say anymore?
November 18, 2009 11:09:59 AM

Maximum pc just reviewed the 212+ and gave it a kick ass rating.

Unseating the Ultra120 extreme as their previous title holder. And nearly a full pound lighter.

I guess everyone gets different results......? :heink: 

Their results were like this:

Ultra 120 Exreme 29.75 idle 46.75 100% load

Hyper 212+ 29.5 idle 43.5 100% load

Maybe the difference was Max PC tested it on an older Q6700.

Yeah, I'm sure when the differences are as small as they are, a lot of factors can give different results (case geometry, etc...)

I'm strongly considering the CoGage True Spirit for my next build. It's cheap ($40) and it has great reviews, but you do need to get an LGA 1156 adapter to run on an i5.
November 18, 2009 4:17:13 PM


FWIW, I just picked up a Saphire 5850 at NewEgg. Looks like they have some stock, at least for now. Part # is as follows:

SAPPHIRE 100282SR Radeon HD 5850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card w/ATI Eyefinity - Retail

As of 1:16PM Eastern, Wednesday 10/18, they're in stock. Thought you might like to know.