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Rate my final buid please. i7 920 system

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November 25, 2009 5:21:47 PM

I've been spending the last 2 weeks researching and think I finally have a settup I'm comfortable with. Just need some opinions on what you guys think about it. Let me know if it if good first of all, or if there are better parts than what I have listed, or better priced alternatives. Thanks!

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Between Friday and Monday to take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales

BUDGET RANGE: $1,300 or less

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: gaming, internet, possibly video/photo editing in the future, and possible sound editing in the future (don't need sound card yet though)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Don't need anything outside of the case. Also I am reusing my Thermaltake Kandalf case

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Cheapest possible

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: United States

OVERCLOCKING: Yes, but nothing too extreme

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe in the future

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Running 1680x1050 right now. Might upgrade later to a new monitor

PARTS PREFERENCES:

CPU:
$200 i7 920 from Microcenter

Motherboard: This is where I'm stuck. I've been going back and forth reading a ton of reviews but can't decide what I want or need. Narrowed it down to these at least:
$290 Asus P6TD
$174 GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD3R
$269 GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD5

Video card:
Already bought a $300 5850

PSU: Don't really know if I would even need the 850W or if it would be worth it to get it over the 750W.
$110 CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W
$88 CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W

RAM: Anything better than this for about the same price?
$150 G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)

HD: Maybe a 750G for $75 if its worth it
$64 Western Digital 500 GB Caviar BlackSATA 7200 RPM 32 MB Cache Bulk/OEM Desktop Hard Drive WD5001AALS

Heatsink: Price includes bolt through kit and a different fan
$57 Cogage True Spirit


-------Total comes to $1171 if I choose the most expensive parts from above. Doesn't include tax or shipping though, so I'd like to keep it around this price to stay under my $1300 budget.

So that's what I have so far. Any recommendations you can make would be great. I'm willing to spend a little extra if there is a much better value in a different part that gets me better performance. If you read this, post suggestions please!
November 25, 2009 6:39:37 PM

I have the P6T Deluxe, I don't really have any complaints. I actually use a lot of the software ASUS provides with that board, TurboV in particular. You could save a good chunk of money by "downgrading" to the P6T SE; it doesn't have support for SLI and doesn't come with the fancy heatsinks, but it is considerably cheaper and other than that, is the same board.

The 850TX will give you a little more headroom if you plan to Crossfire AND overclock. That's the model I have. You could get away with a 750TX though; they're both fantastic PSU's.

You should absolutely change your HDD to a Samsung Spinpoint F3. It's waaay faster operating and $10 cheaper too.

I don't know much about that particular HSF, so I can't really comment.

Don't forget to pick up an optical drive if you don't already have one!
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November 25, 2009 7:09:02 PM

The i7-920 and X58 chipset are past their prime. Intel will be coming out with new i9 processors and motherboards in 2010, but these systems will be expensive because they are not aimed at home PC users.

You can actually get much better performance by going with the P55 chipset and either a i5-750 or i7-860 processor, which is Intel's newest technology. Even the lowly i5-750 processor outperforms the i7-920 with one or two graphics cards:
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=364...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i5-gaming,2403...

You would save about $200 by going with a P55-UD4P, i5-750 ($150 Microcenter), and two sticks of RAM instead of three. The great thing is that you do not have to make any performance sacrifices with this savings. Go with the latest technology, get better performance, and pay $200 less. Seems like a no-brainer to me.
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November 25, 2009 7:37:40 PM

I forgot to mention, the newer processors (i5-750 and i7-860) are rated at 95 W, whereas the older processor (i920) is rated at 130 W. This means you will save energy with the latest technology (i750), and the amount of heat produced will be considerably less than the i920. The technology just keeps getting better and better.
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November 25, 2009 8:48:22 PM

What the hell.....is that true? If it is then I just wasted about 2 weeks of researching parts for a 920. I thought the i7 920 was the best way to go in the long run. Keep in mind, I want to build a computer that will be good in photo, video, and sound editing too. Not just gaming.
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November 25, 2009 10:07:20 PM

dpaul8. you're making it sound really bad, the 35 watts less you will get will save a a WHOPPING couple cents on your energy bill. Monthly cost will be an extra couple cents at most if you get the 920. Its a tiny difference, plus it doesn't run at that wattage always, its uses how much power it needs...Plus don't say the i5 outperforms the 920, they are CPU's on two different platforms you can't possible compare them, there are way too many variables that can affect this. Don't try to BS new people, dpaul.

hunter1801:
Get the 920, its excellent, for the mobo get the Asus P6TD, its also excellent. You definatly don't need an 850watt psu, a 750watt is already crossfire/sli ready and if you wont SLI or crossfire then a 550-600 watt will be fine. I have a 850TX just because i like having a large headroom to be safe :) ...but thats just me. The 500GB looks especially from WD, but consider getting the Samsung F3 spinpoint, i dont know of its reliability but its very fast for its rpm. And you can use the Intel Stock Cooler and be able to do fine as long as your case airflow is good.
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November 25, 2009 10:24:21 PM

There are a couple of scenarios where a X58 system is ideal:

1. You need lots of PCIe connectivity (think Crossfire/SLI with powerful GPUs, or perhaps RAID cards, or certain solutions for USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps)

2. You are thinking of upgrading to Westmere hexacore processors. (For video editing, you might want to consider this)

3. You want to overclock at stock voltages.

Above, I am reproducing (and rewording) points raised in Anandtech's initial review of the LGA 1156 processors.
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November 25, 2009 10:35:08 PM

hunter1801 said:
What the hell.....is that true?


I'd say no. I agree with the other posters who said if you ever think that you will have a 2nd GFX card, the 920 is the way to go. Don't get me wrong, the i5 is a very efficient CPU but the i5 is here at the demand of mass market system builders who are looking to hit a price point and who want people buying new puters from them 2-3 years down the line. The 1366 socket has a better upgradability" quotient.

Finally, read the conclusions....if used for something besides gaming the CPU power and bandwidth of the 1366 shine well.
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November 25, 2009 10:45:12 PM

All I did was point out two respectable websites, Anandtech.com and Tomshardware.com, that showed the P55 system outperforms the X58 system with either one or two graphics cards. It is not surprising that advances made in technology lead to better performance (P55) at a reduced cost.

I don't mind being the lone voice saying, "Please take a look at these reviews before you speed $200 more than you need to." I know I am right, and eventually my viewpoint will become the mainstream.

The i920 / X58 is a fine system -- it was the best that was available three months ago.
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November 25, 2009 11:17:04 PM

Uhm, if you buy a $3000 p55 system it will obviosly outperform a a $800 x58 system...if you switch then the victors will be traded. There are to many variables affecting in these two completely different chipsets and technologies. The p55 doesn't give better performance at a reduced cost. It might be a lot cheaper and "seem" to give better performance but don't forget which platform has 2 pCI 16x slots, which platform supports currently the highest end consumer grade CPU, and which platform is going to have newer highend processors and have a longer life, and which platform supports triple channel memory for increased bandwidth. The p55/1156 is mainstream and the X58/1366 is highend. You need to consider a billion variables that can affect the performance differences before even thinking of comparing those two processors.
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November 25, 2009 11:31:48 PM

Can you post a specific link or benchmark that shows a P55 system outperforming an X58 system? I've actually seen the opposite.
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November 25, 2009 11:53:00 PM

Alright, well I decided to stick with my 920/x58 setup after reading more reviews. Now I just need more opinions/comments on my other parts.

I know the RAM I selected is recommended a lot and is good, but are there any better alternatives for around the same price I should consider?
As for the HD, the Samsung F3 spinpoint was recommended, but I think I'm going to be getting a 640gig off newegg for $49. Hard to find the Samsungs for a better price.
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November 26, 2009 5:29:32 AM

I will consider those. I used OCZ on my first build about 4 or 5 years ago and they are still running great in the computer I'm on right now.....come to think of it, that and my CPU are the only parts that lasted.

I'm just worried about OCZ lately as I read more and more negative reviews about them. Seems like they are slipping in quality. Lots of people complain about dead sticks.
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November 26, 2009 10:17:33 AM

I am amazed that there is so much "conventional wisdom" being touted as fact on this forum. When presented with studies that show the P55 platform outperforms the X58 platform (See my links above) for either one or two crossfired graphics cards, the response has been to ignore the evidence and continue to tout the conventional wisdom. These were respectable studies (Anandtech and Tom's Hardware). Yes, I know that the X58 motherboard has two PCIe X16 buses and the P55 motherboard is limited to two PCIe X8 buses, so therefore the X58 system must be better. But that argument completely ignores the results of the studies.

For the OP, I contend that a P55 motherboard (Gigabyte UD4P for instance) combined with an i7-860 processor, and two sticks of 2 GB RAM will outperform the X58 system equipped with a i920 processor and three sticks of 2 GB RAM assuming they are both using the same graphics cards and comparable components. And, the P55 system will cost less. I know its a tough decision. Do I really want to get better performance at a lower cost with the P55 system when everyone is touting the conventional wisdom to buy the X58 system?

By the way, another piece of "conventional wisdom" is that the i9 processors will be compatible with the X58 motherboards. Even though the i9's will be based on the 1366 socket, the X58 northbridge architecture and features are outdated. I would be surprised if Intel did not release a new motherboard chipset to go with the i9 processor. Besides, very, very few people with an Intel processor actually upgrade their processor.

Please don't misinterpret my posts as implying that the i920/X58 system is bad. It is a very, very good system, and I am sure you will enjoy it.
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November 26, 2009 10:47:00 AM

^But how would you ever put together comparable components for an accurate comparison?...different platform, different chipset, different everything, how can you possible compare them? There is almost no way, too many variables that change to compare. Moreover, how can you trace the performance gain to the CPU?...it can very well be the ram or some other factor. Thats why i am so doubtful. The x58/1366 has the better side in any way besides cost. Plus show me the specs of the two systems compared, because they better have the same ram, same latency, same frequenc...etc see how i am going with this?
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November 26, 2009 10:56:23 AM

Gaming:
i5 750 > i7 920 (*1)

Rendering/Encoding:
i5 750 < i7 920 (*2)

Power Consumption/°C/°F/Price
i5 750 > i7 920 (*4)


*Subjective Scale of
1 - very small
to
10 - very mucho
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November 26, 2009 10:58:30 AM

Damn, the word 'difference' is missing in my post. God, give me a working edit button!
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November 26, 2009 11:51:52 AM

Dpaul8 why are you totally trashing on the i7 920?

The i5 was meant to be the budget model of the core i series and it's a good processor but it is not faster than the 920. It doesn't even have hyperthreading and while it is a gimmick does help out a little.

Besides the p55 is the last of a dying breed of boards for intel, triple channel is definately the way to go. The 975 is an x58 and it is easily the top performer in consumer chips. I believe when both overclocked the 920 actually surpasses even the 870.

Neither one of the chips are bad but the 920 is better and if you want proof here's proof it surpasses the i5 in actual processing speed:

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/common_cpus.html
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