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i7920 Submerged Eyefinity, need advice please.

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December 15, 2009 2:05:03 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: 1 month

BUDGET RANGE: 4000-4500

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, HTPC, Minor Encoding,

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: OS

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: None

OVERCLOCKING: Yes SLI OR CROSSFIRE: no, but supported for future use

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 3600x1920 (Eyefinity 3x1 portrait)


Hi, I'm back once again for my yearly build. Last year everyone here at Tom's was kind enough to assist my with selecting a build for my wife. Now I start the planning phase for my build.

When I first started out I had the intent on doing a 1.5-2k build. Going the SSD route, maybe a mid-ranged gpu, and possibly watercooling. Well... heh, it quickly turned into a 4k Eyefinity submerged build.

I'll be purchasing after the first of the year, but I wanted to take this time now to really nail the build down. I've put together quite a few rigs, but this year I really wanted to take it up a notch and delve into a deeper realm of 'enthusiasm' building. Let me get to it, and please... no holds barred, tear this thing apart.

CPU:
i7-920
While I won't hold my breath on a D0, I'm hoping with my cooling I'll still be able to reach the 4ghz range.
I looked at the i5's but at the end of the day I still feel like the i7's on an X58 is the way to go. I've heard great things about the Phenom X3 710, and I'm open to any discussion.

MOBO:
ASUS P6X58D Premium LGA 1366 Intel X58
I fought and debated with myself over this choice more than any other part. Gigabyte, Asus, Asrock, Foxconn Bloodrage. Ultimately I landed here with its usb 3.0 and sata 3 support. Again, I'm more than open to suggestions. We slapped a Gigabyte in my wife's build last year, and I've yet to give Asus a shot. Overclocking and stability are my two primary concerns. I'm also looking for future crossfire support.

GPU:
XFX HD-597A-CNF9 Radeon HD 5970
Wow... right? My first build had 2x4890's that I was going to crossfire. That however put me smack dab in the price range of a 5870. From there I discovered Eyefinity and fell in love. I'm not really sold 100pct on the 5970. It seems as though there have been some pretty major issues with the CC drivers, but that's to be expected with any new chipset. I do plan on running in a 3x1 Portrait 3600x1920. From what I've read it's severely undervolted/underclocked in order to meet the pci-e requirements of 300w. Overclocking encouraged! As far as the brand goes... they're all spec units and XFX had the best warranty (not that'll matter). If the Eyefinity6 hits shelves before I start to buy, it'll more than likely take this spot.

PSU:
Antec TPQ-1200
Quality is king when it comes to psu's. Still I think this is probably overkill. I do want modularity, I want the availability to crossfire the 5970 (6+8 x 2) at some point in the future if need be. I'm really concerned about the size of this psu as well, so any suggestions here would be spectacular.

RAM:
G.SKILL Trident 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2000
Of all the components my weakest area of knowledge (which I admit is not at the enthusiast level to begin with) is memory. After snooping around it seems as though this is the easiest set to hit the 2000 mark with though with tight timings. Compatible with Asus. I thought about taking this to 12 gigs, but I see no good reason honestly. Ram drives blah blah, I'll be running Win 7 on an SSD. Feel free to give arguments for more than 6 gigs if I'm wrong.

SSD:
OCZ Vertex Turbo OCZSSD2-1VTXT60G 2.5" 60GB SATA II MLC
It might not be an X-25M G2, but with the problems Intel has been having with TRIM I feel a little more comfortable with the OCZ. That and their forums and support are top notch. This is going to host the OS and a handful of games.

HDD:
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM x 2
Samsung drives... who would have thought. I was full ready and prepared to drop the cash on VR's. After reading up on these drives however it seems silly. People are benchmarking these rivaling if not toppling the VR's. I did want to pickup 2 and run in a raid 1 setup (ICH10R) due to by concerns about reliability. That or maybe I'm just paranoid from a recent WD melt-down.

KB:
steelseries Merc Stealth
After spending 2 or 3 hours looking over different gaming kbs I settled here. Thoughts, comments, user feedback would be wonderful.

Mouse:
Microsoft SideWinder X8
I already own a wired Sidewinder, and I love it. I love the size, the weight, the verticle side buttons, everything. This one adds a tilt wheel, additional side buttons, and wireless. I was concerned about that for gaming, but every review I've read states that it's just as responsive as a wired mouse.

Monitors:
Dell 24 inch WS Ultrasharp 2408WFP x 3
I lied about the mobo earlier. I've spent considerably more time researching monitors than any other aspect of this build. I had a few prerequisites I had to match and at the end of the day there were few left standing. 1) Non-TN, 2) 1920x1200 3) Portrait Mode 4) Displayport 5) Narrow Bezels. I realize these monitors are a bit dated. It came down to either this or the Dell U2410's. The slight price difference, paired with some tint issues that have been reported with the U2410's edged the pick. I realize that the S-PVA screen is going to have a touch slower response than the U2410's S-IPS, but again after reading review after review and user comments I'm not really concerned about shadow lag.

Case/Cooling:
Custom Mineral Oil Submerged Aquarium DIY Kit
I really wanted to tackle a project this year that would take me beyond the basic 'system builder' setup. I first looked into water cooling. Then I remembered watching a video about submerged cooling. While I'll admit that buying a DIY kit is somewhat of a cop out, I'm ok with that. This kit contains not only a custom Aquarium, but also radiator, pump, fans, and a ton of other little enhancements that the company has made over the course of a year of in-house tinkering. It's extremely interesting and worth a look.

Submerged would seem to be as close to ideal for me as it gets. I have massive dust concerns in my home, and I really didn't want the maintanence that came along with water cooled systems. At a little over 500 bucks it isn't cheap, but a decent case would have run me 300, and a water cooling system at least as much (cpu + gpu loop).



Well that concludes my build. Poke holes in it, rip it apart, help me improve it. This will be by far the most expensive build I've ever tackled. For years now I've skimped by on "value-builds" and 18 month old technology. While this system is far from top of the line it's still a huge investment for me, and something that I'd really like to get right.

Thank you all again, and happy holidays.
January 11, 2010 4:21:25 PM

One suggestion on Motherboards - Newegg has a bit of a problem vis-a-vis the USB 3.0 / SATA 6Gbs board situation (I emailed them about it last night).

If you will look at the LGA 1366 board listings you will see 2 Gigabyte UD5 series boards, one which is on sale for 269.99 and one which is listed for $285.

THIS $285 BOARD IS A REVISION 1 BOARD WITH BOTH 2 USB 3.0 PORTS AND 2 SATA 6 Gbs PORTS - it is virtually the same as the ASUS P6X58D board.

Why Newegg hasn't noted the REV 1 designator (it is on the Gigabyte website) and doesn't even note the USB 3.0 ports as well I don't know, but, there it is.

The Gigabyte board is $24 cheaper than the ASUS board for the same specs.

Gigabyte actually has 2 USB 3.0 /SATA 6gbs boards out right now - this one and the significantly more expensive UD7 board.
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