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$2,500 Gaming PC, first time builder.

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December 23, 2009 7:53:14 AM

Hello Tom's Hardware, I must say that I have been looking very forward to making this post for awhile. I've been a nerd my whole life and I've finally decided to break away from preconfigured machines. My last purchase was a Dell XPS m1730 which I've used as a desktop replacement for sometime now; I'm looking to make that more of a portable power solution rather than my desktop. I'll be getting a couple thousand in excess scholarships soon and this is where it will be going. So, lets get down to business and please bear me for any ignorant questions or comments I may have.

Approximate purchase date: Within the next 3 months
Budget: $2,500 ceiling, negotiable
Usage: Gaming, high end, Crysis, RPGs, Dwarf Fortress, all kinds
Parts not Required: keyboard, mouse, speakers, OS.
Parts Prefrences: Intel and nVidia have always been good to me, I feel very comfortable staying with them, a full case is great.
Preferred Website: Would love a reccomendation
Overclocking: Definetly a future project for the build, but I don't want to over-complicate my first build
Sli: Yes
Resolution: dual 1920x1200
Decided parts:
Mobo: ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I'm open to other considerations, but it is hard to visualize a machine without knowing my mobo.


I'm still undecided on almost every part, I have quite a few questions so I will just go through this piece by piece:

CPU: core i7(not extreme) is definetely what I'm loooking at, what is your opinion on which ones to consider for Clock Speed per dollar?

RAM: DDR3 obviously, would you consider 12 gigs excessive? Should I hold off on DDR3 prices to drop? Also, do you have any reccomendations for specific sets to buy? There are so many choices I don't even know where to start.

HSF: Completely clueless here, any advice would be great. Again, a specific reccomendation would be great!

HD: What I think I want to do is install Win7 on a SSD and then set up RAID0 with two 1tb for install games on. My other option would be just getting 4 1tb SATA drives and setting up a RAID10 or RAID 01, I can never remember which of those is better. What is your opinion on these two options? Will the SSD+ 2 SATAs be more costly than 4 SATAs or vice versa? Which do you think would provide better system stability/longevity? Also, what is your opinion on on brands for these as well, Seagate? Western Digital? I have no clue as to brand qualities. Any specific reccomendation is awesome here.

GPU: SLi is what I'm looking at here I'm looking to blow away any games on MAX settings I might get in the next year or two. What would be your reccomendations as far as gtx's to buy in order to do that? Would tri-gtx 2xx's out do a normal Sli for comparable cost?

Case: Big one here, I would love a very stylish case, but I absolutely will not compromise heat stability or space to do so. I like the cases which have a lot of views to the inside through windows. Heck even a completely clear case would please me, as I want something very eye-catching.

Thermal Compound: ?!?! Never even heard of this till I looked into making my own rig. I know what you do with it, just not the specific purpose. I would love a quick recap on that haha.

PSU: About all I know here is to make sure I get SLi certified, and to make sure wire lengths are long enough. How much power do you see my system needing, with future upgrades in mind?

Any other parts like DVD or Blu-Ray or memory card readers I think I can figure out on my own.

I'm so sorry for my wall of text and may I commend you for reading all of this if you have made it this far! Please no one try to answer every quetion posted here I would feel horrible for that!

Thank you VERY much in advance for ANY insight into this!!!!


P.S.- I do realize I'm being very ambitious, sinking a lot of money into this, being a first time builder. However, I believe there's never such thing as being too ambitious!!!!
December 23, 2009 9:11:35 AM

^ Hi...you have done a good job of explaining your requirements...
But I dont think you would want to with Nvidia GTX right now...But as you are planning to build the PC within the next 3 months, you can expect newer Nvidia cards by then...And again I would say dont go with the GTX 2xx series tight now...

Mobo - It is good but you might want to keep your options open as you can expect newer mobos with USB 3.0 and SATA 6GB/s support very soon...

RAM - For gaming 6GB would suffice...12GB a total overkill...

CPU - Intel is going to launch i7 930 - 920's replacement by JAN...So that would be a good option...

PSU - If you will be SLIing then Corsair 850TX or 850HX if you want a modular PSU...

CASE -
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

HDD/ SSD - I would suggest a 80GB Intel SSD for OS and apps and 2 1TB in RAID 1 for data and backup...

Thermal compound - To create proper contact between the CPU and HSF - Options - MX-2 and TX-2

So finalize the parts before you buy as there would be newer, bettter ones by the time you make your purchase...
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December 23, 2009 9:14:55 AM

You're going the route of intel and nvidia, in that case, i would wait until the end of those three months. Intel should have a range of 32nm cpu's out by then, and nvidia should finally have their competition to ati's 5000 series gpu's. I suppose waiting isn't necessary, but i certainly couldn't invest in a pc that could have been noticably better with jus a 3 month wait.

I can recommend some parts if you're willing to build now though.

Firstly, i7 is correct; you're choosing an x58 build, i would too at that budget. No need to go any further than the i7 920, but get ready to overclock, that is what this cpu is meant for, it is the main reason that the more expensive models are pointless in buying. You should be able to get that up to 3.4-3.7 GHz easily.

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

As you can see, i would buy from newegg, most others would agree i think.

Now you chose the p6t v2, you could take a look at these 2 boards, they support the upcoming usb 3.0 and sata 6 Gb/s.

ASUS P6X58D: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

the gigabyte board is my pick.

Memory: no need for more than 6GB, OCZ's gold series have great value, 1600MHz at CL 8-8-8-24 timings is a nice combo for the price of $150.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: this is the issue here, nvidia is just behind right now. You cant really choose the gtx 285 as the 5850 out performs while being at a lower cost, using less power too. I would probably go with 2 gtx 275's in sli if you really wanted to buy now... just checked newegg and for some reason they were bumped up to $250. You may really want to consider switching over to the red team, ATI is well ahead of the game at this point. If you do consider, then you could look at the radeon 5870 or 5970. Check the reviews over here on Toms Hardware, you wouln't be disappointed.

5870: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The 5970 is hard to find right now, the price should be ranging from $600 to $650. Given what you're looking to spend, i would go with the 5970.

For your hardrive, you could consider intel's x25 ssd for your os drive, pretty expensive though. Cheaper than that would be a couple of WD Raptors in raid 0; would give you up to 600GB of speedy storage, cheaper too. Now, in case you were confused, Raid 0 is where the two drives work as one, basically doubling the speed, its like splitting the data into two halves, and simultaneously transfering to both drives at the same time; basically doubles the rate. Raid 1 mirrors the drives, for security, so if you had 2 raptors in raid 1, you would basically have only 300GB, where the second drive is backup. I prefer raid 0.

I would probly go with the raptors in raid 0 and get maybe a WD caviar green for storage. The SSD's are still too expensive.

Western Digital VelociRaptor 300GB: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: I love those new OCZ Z-series PSU's, but they're really expensive. Corsair is usually the pick for most ppl. This one here has great value and could easily handle that 5970, even two. If i was building with your budget though, i would go with those OCZ's, but i'm kind of an OCZ fan, so i may be a bit biased.

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

Case: you definitely want full tower, many ppl go with the cooler master HAF 932, affordable and attractive.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I have a thermaltake spedo, excellent case, you could check a video review for that here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_56YlEccjM

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

Monitor: this is really your pick; you want to have at least 1080p resolution, from there its up to you.
I like this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Totalling those:

CPU - 290
Mobo - 300 or 350
Ram - 150
GPU - 600 (assuming you go with the 5970
HDD - 2x 200 for the raptors, then 200 for the 2tb green
Case - 150 or 200
Disk drive, should go for about 30
PSU - 160
Monitor - 300

Total ranges around $2500 to $2700, could use a bit of tweaking with these choices maybe.

And you're not being too ambitious, I will be doing the very same in time for crysis 2.

Now this is just a draft really, you could look these over and get back to me.
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December 23, 2009 9:31:54 AM

With that budget you have to watercool :D 

Get this mobo just for the looks:

http://news.softpedia.com/images/news2/EVGA-Rolls-Out-t...

I'm not sure how it performs but it's high end and somewhere around the UD4P and P6T would be my guess.

Videocard, I wouldn't go for the 5970 because it uses too much power and is overkill in my opinion. I run everything with my HD4850 on high together with my core i7 920 running at stock, given the 5870 is more then double as fast I don't see any reason why you'd need something even faster. 5870 is the way to go and in 3 months it'll be cheaper.

Processor is obviously an i7 920 D0 -> on WC you can do 4.2GHz easily.

HD, case and PSU is realy your choice.


But if I look at what 2500 dollars can buy:


GPU: 300 (5870)
Mobo: 300
RAM: 150
HD: 100-150
Case: anything you love realy 300
Disk drive: 30
PSU: 100 - 120
Monitor: 200-250

All that makes: 1600 dollars and that's with a case like a TJ-07 and a 5870, decent RAM (6GB), decent PSU (550-750W OCZ or something)

I mean, that leaves 900 dollars for a pump, a full cover block, a rad, a reservoir and all the other stuff. You should realy considder watercooling. I was too lazy to read the whole thread but anyway... WC that bitch!
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December 23, 2009 9:35:40 AM

Rad: 100
pump: 70
Res: 40
Fans: 30
CPU block: 60
GPU full cover block: 90-120
Fittings, tubing, sleeving and all the rest I'd say... 150 and that's way more then the extra's should cost.

That's 570 if I'm right and that leaves room for.... Yup, another 5870 if you fancy crossfire. and if you save some on fittings and don't go for 15 dollar bitspower fittings you can easily add another full cover block to that extra 5870.

I wish I had 2500 dollars for a build...
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December 23, 2009 10:02:53 AM

First of all, thanks so much for all the input already!


To respond to a few things:

I can totally see waiting for a few more usb 3.0, 6-core cpus, and 6g/sec mobos to come around, I'm in absolutely no hurry to get this thing built, I want it done right.

Thank you for confirming that 12g of RAM is indeed overkill.

NOT waiting for the i7 930 sounds like a fools move.

As far as RAID goes, kevin1212, I think you may have misread my post, I was referring to RAID 1-0 and RAID 0-1, setting up 4 SATAs in one of those configurations was my other suggestion to using a SSD to load win7 on. My only confusion was whether 10 or 01 is better, I know those two configurations are the same except for the fact that one is slightly more stable in terms of multiple HDD failure, I can't find the link but there is math to prove that.

On the topic of GPU I couldn't care less which side I'm on, as long as we are winning! I have almost always had an nVidia card but to find out that ATI is winning makes me a traitor to nVidia.

I am also wondering about the PSU, I'm looking to stay expandable here, that could mean just being ready for the future, or adding another monitor to my setup(and consequently another GPU), do I need something bigger to stay ahead?

On an ATI point, is xfire a better option than a single card solution? I haven't looked into xfire too much, my only concern would be does xfire support two monitors? I know SLi didn't have dual monitor support at first, that's the only reason I wonder.

In the end this a very rough draft of what I'm looking at doing, especially when you consider that a lot of new tech will be out soon.

I'm not against WC, but just from you listing all the parts, I'm already confused, which is what worries me. I can totally see myself confidently powering on my system for the first time after installing my WC only to watch my case slowly fill with water!

One last concern, considering a do wait for new better mobos to come out, are 6.0g/s HDD going to cost me an arm and a leg? I can see that slightly rearranging my pricing.

Again thanks for all the insight so far!


Edit: Typos and clarity
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December 23, 2009 10:10:49 AM

xFire should support dual monitors, I've heard that dual 5870's could reach 6 monitors with xfire thanks to eyefinity.

The reason i liked those OCZ z-series was because it was so futureproof, if you got the 1000W, you would never have to upgrade again.

About the motherboards, i think the ones currently available are pretty good already. The one thing you have to look out for is the bios upgrade. I think the current boards will need a bios upgrade to support the 32nm cpu's.
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December 23, 2009 10:11:50 AM

^ For your questions -
1. PSU - 850W PSU would be more than enough for 2 cards in crossfire...
2. As for number of monitors support, ATI has a new technology called Eyefinity - Can run 3 monitors at a time even when using xfire ;) 
3. I dont think new mobos with SATA 6GB/s and USB 3.0 would cost much more than the Deluxe...Actually there are 2 X58 mobos which support those...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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December 23, 2009 11:43:12 AM

haXXar said:
First of all, thanks so much for all the input already!

As far as RAID goes, kevin1212, I think you may have misread my post, I was referring to RAID 1-0 and RAID 0-1, setting up 4 SATAs in one of those configurations was my other suggestion to using a SSD to load win7 on. My only confusion was whether 10 or 01 is better, I know those two configurations are the same except for the fact that one is slightly more stable in terms of multiple HDD failure, I can't find the link but there is math to prove that.


You're looking for RAID 5. It combines the best of parity and striping and allows for hotswapping in case of failure. The downside is you need a minimum of 4 drives. Using RAID 01 4x 1tb drives would only yield 2tb of storage, RAID 5 yields 3tb (n-1). You might want to dig into this a little more however, not sure if ICH10R supports it.


On the topic of GPU I couldn't care less which side I'm on, as long as we are winning! I have almost always had an nVidia card but to find out that ATI is winning makes me a traitor to nVidia.
said:

On the topic of GPU I couldn't care less which side I'm on, as long as we are winning! I have almost always had an nVidia card but to find out that ATI is winning makes me a traitor to nVidia.


If you're going for a multi-monitor setup anyways then the choice becomes REALLY simple. ATI 5xxx series and Eyefinity. It allows for up to 3 (soon to be 6, and will be by the time you're ready) monitors to be merged into a single large resolution solution. There is so much confusion on this issue. I hear people saying it'd be better to just buy a really big monitor. What they fail to realize (and shares the same issue as your dual-monitor config) is that all you're doing is getting a big screen, the resolution does not increase. With Eyefinity, the resolution scales to the amount of monitors you have so 3x 1920x1200 would actually create a 5760x1200 screen (in landscape, though portrait seems to offer better visuals @ 1920 x 3600).


On an ATI point, is xfire a better option than a single card solution? I haven't looked into xfire too much, my only concern would be does xfire support two monitors? I know SLi didn't have dual monitor support at first, that's the only reason I wonder.
said:

On an ATI point, is xfire a better option than a single card solution? I haven't looked into xfire too much, my only concern would be does xfire support two monitors? I know SLi didn't have dual monitor support at first, that's the only reason I wonder.


See Eyefinity above. No, Crossfire(X) is never a better solution. You loose memory bandwidth because the cards have to share one controller. Most games (that support it) usually only see a 25-30pct increase in FPS vs a true 100pct increase. For less than the cost of 2x cards you can normally step up to the next higher card to get better throughput. A 5970 for instance is 2x 5870's on one pcb(One Card). It's 25pct cheaper than 2x individual 5870's and it'll see better performance (even considering it's been downclocked to 5850 specs to meet pci-e 300w max rating)


I'm not against WC, but just from you listing all the parts, I'm already confused, which is what worries me. I can totally see myself confidently powering on my system for the first time after installing my WC only to watch my case slowly fill with water!
said:

I'm not against WC, but just from you listing all the parts, I'm already confused, which is what worries me. I can totally see myself confidently powering on my system for the first time after installing my WC only to watch my case slowly fill with water!

WC is great, I'm all for it. That being said there's nothing wrong with an air cooled system if it's done with the proper HSF/paste/lapping, good wire management, and a high flow case.


One last concern, considering a do wait for new better mobos to come out, are 6.0g/s HDD going to cost me an arm and a leg? I can see that slightly rearranging my pricing.
said:

One last concern, considering a do wait for new better mobos to come out, are 6.0g/s HDD going to cost me an arm and a leg? I can see that slightly rearranging my pricing.


If you sit and wait for the next latest technology to hit the scene before you decide to buy... you'll wait forever because there is always new technology 'just around the bend'.

The Asus P6X58D costs 300 bucks, the Gigabyte version runs 349. Is USB 3.0 and Sata Pseudo3 must haves? I'd personally say no because by the time there is hardware capable of taking advantage of it you'll be upgrading once again. Within your 3 month time period a plethora of new boards will hit the market, most of which will support these features and some that will be 'value' buys.


I've heard that dual 5870's could reach 6 monitors with xfire thanks to eyefinity.
said:

I've heard that dual 5870's could reach 6 monitors with xfire thanks to eyefinity.

Not quite... Current 5870's can support 3 monitors each for a total of 6 in cf, just not in Eyefinity mode, which really defeats the purpose. Even running 3x 5870's you could still only do 3x monitors in Eyefinity. In order to reach the 6x12x18x24 configs you see hanging around the net you'll have to wait for the 5870 Eyefinity6 edition which will have 6 DP ports and 2gb memory on it. At that point a single gpu would do 6 monitors.
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December 23, 2009 11:56:29 AM

You just made my day. I am officially in love with Eyefinity.
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December 23, 2009 12:02:12 PM

a4mula said:

The Asus P6X58D costs 300 bucks, the Gigabyte version runs 349. Is USB 3.0 and Sata Pseudo3 must haves? I'd personally say no because by the time there is hardware capable of taking advantage of it you'll be upgrading once again.

What is Pseudo3 like? I didn't get that, you need to look here in detail:
http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=23...
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December 23, 2009 12:09:30 PM

haXXar said:
You just made my day. I am officially in love with Eyefinity.


Join the party, my current build went from $1200 to almost 4 grand because of it. Damn you ATI! Keep in mind that you need at least one monitor that supports Displayport in order to run the 3x1 mode. That or a $100 Active DVI>DP converter. Also all monitors must be of the same orientation (can't mix-match landscape and portrait) and if they are of different resolutions only the smallest will be adopted by all 3 monitors.

I ended up settling with 3x Dell 2408wfp's. You can find and buy cheaper TN panels that have DP but they look like ass-on-a-stick when in portrait mode due to how the cheap TN screens are designed. Many people have been picking up Dell u2410's but many have also reported a pink/green tint issue with them.

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December 23, 2009 12:15:37 PM

a4mula said:
Join the party, my current build went from $1200 to almost 4 grand because of it. Damn you ATI! Keep in mind that you need at least one monitor that supports Displayport in order to run the 3x1 mode. That or a $100 Active DVI>DP converter. Also all monitors must be of the same orientation (can't mix-match landscape and portrait) and if they are of different resolutions only the smallest will be adopted by all 3 monitors.

I ended up settling with 3x Dell 2408wfp's. You can find and buy cheaper TN panels that have DP but they look like ass-on-a-stick when in portrait mode due to how the cheap TN screens are designed. Many people have been picking up Dell u2410's but many have also reported a pink/green tint issue with them.



Yes, damn ATI indeed, I already know I will eventually give in and end up buying more monitors ><.
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December 23, 2009 12:30:08 PM

akula2 said:
What is Pseudo3 like? I didn't get that, you need to look here in detail:
http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=23...


Yeah USB 3.0 is working as advertised as your link showed. However SATA 3.0 is a hoax atm. It's supposed to support up to 6gbp/s transfer rates, yet that's not possible through current pci-e x1 standards. Pair that with the fact that they are still using a ICH10R sb that is also capped at SATA 2.0 3gb/s thorouput. It's a marketing ploy, nothing more, nothing less.
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December 23, 2009 1:31:54 PM

a4mula said:
Yeah USB 3.0 is working as advertised as your link showed. However SATA 3.0 is a hoax atm. It's supposed to support up to 6gbp/s transfer rates, yet that's not possible through current pci-e x1 standards. Pair that with the fact that they are still using a ICH10R sb that is also capped at SATA 2.0 3gb/s thorouput. It's a marketing ploy, nothing more, nothing less.

I don't see that as an issue and I'll be building 21 machines based on Gigabyte P55A-UD4P. It's not marketing game (Check the spec on their website) and 'capping' word is wrong...actual reason is in the P55 chip design and X58 chip has no such PCIe bandwidth design issue.

So with P55, if I use either SATA 6 or USB 3.0, or both only then there will be reduce in overall bandwidth of PCI-E slot from 16x to 8x. Else, NO. And, when I use in future, 8x drop is not a visible change to worry for a single card users like me...
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December 23, 2009 1:50:37 PM

http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1127/1/

This has already been hashed and rehashed. It's IMPOSSIBLE for any current gen mobo to reach 6gbp/s. There isn't enough pci-e bandwidth, even on x58 mobos.

http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3668&p=...

Here's a benchmark of 6gb hdds and ssds (the one area where people really wanted to see 6gb/s) on Marvell's dedicated controller that Asus is touting. It speaks for itself.

I has nothing to do with how many lanes are available. It has to do with the fact that the interface is tied to pci-e 1.0 atm, data rates of 250mb/s. Even using parallel lanes like Asus is doing they aren't even close to reaching the 6gb/s range, instead capping out at 4gb/s under ideal circumstances. In reality 6gb/s solutions are showing less than 10pct increases over SATA 2.0 3gb/s.
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December 23, 2009 3:43:16 PM

a4mula said:
http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1127/1/
This has already been hashed and rehashed. It's IMPOSSIBLE for any current gen mobo to reach 6gbp/s. There isn't enough pci-e bandwidth, even on x58 mobos.

Reasons for dropping GA-P55-UD4P (1st favorite) in favor of Gigabyte P55A-UD4P are:

a) Time constraint: All 20 workstations must be fully design ready by the end of Feb, 2010, so can't wait for new MOBOs.
b) Before building those 20, I must build my own workstation (as test bed) and blast it with full loads and features by the 2nd weekend of Jan'2010.
c) Uncertain Foxconn socket issue. It was kinda an unknown land mine - no guarantee whether it goes off or not!
d) Future proof: I need at least 5 years of production machine life.
e) I didn't bother much about SATA-III when I chose a good Samsung F3 1 TB SATA-II disk with 32 MB cache. By 2014 or so, am going to drop the HDD product itself in favor of high end SSD drives (by then 2 TB SSDs would sell at peanuts lol).
g) 3 x USB speeds has been proven so no issues. That leaves USB 3.0 feature, even with 8x trade off it's not at all visible (with a good ATI 5770 card) and that happens *only* when my research staff likes to use an USB 3.0 device.

Hope am understood now.

@IMPOSSIBLE for any current gen mobo to reach 6gbp/s

I am not sure on that but am gonna get back to you on that (didn't bookmark many review sites, now I feel that necessity!).
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December 23, 2009 4:23:48 PM

*** ing glad I chose watercooling!!!!
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December 23, 2009 4:24:32 PM

Lol, where is the rest of my reply?
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December 23, 2009 8:32:27 PM

Lost in the depths of the interwebz.
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December 23, 2009 8:50:21 PM

a4mula said:
You're looking for RAID 5. It combines the best of parity and striping and allows for hotswapping in case of failure. The downside is you need a minimum of 4 drives. Using RAID 01 4x 1tb drives would only yield 2tb of storage, RAID 5 yields 3tb (n-1). You might want to dig into this a little more however, not sure if ICH10R supports it.


Sorry to respond to just this point, but he's looking for RAID 1+0, not RAID 5.

RAID 5 is nice for throwing a bunch of disks together and getting reasonable performance and a lot of storage, but it's going to be slower than RAID 1 (and of course slower than RAID 0).

You really never want to use RAID 5 in a gaming system for the OS or the games. You could use it for storage potentially, but running anything off of it is going to be sub-par. Or at least sub-what-you-could-do-with-a-different-RAID.

RAID 1+0 gives you all the benefits of RAID 0 and RAID 1 if you have 4 traditional platter disks. It's not going to get you the most storage for your money, but it will get you both speed and data security. (Technically, there's a slight slowdown on writes, due to the mirror write necessary, but it's not going to be nearly as bad as a RAID 5 write, and you'll see some improvement over straight RAID 1 due to the striping.)

That being said, my choice would be to go with an SSD for the OS & programs, and 2x whatever for storage.
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December 23, 2009 10:42:02 PM

This is what I was thinking, I knew 5 was definetely not a good choice for a gaming rig.
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December 23, 2009 11:38:24 PM

Alright, I’ll try to answer the questions and give you some pointers based on the original post, sorry if some of this has been repeated in previous posts though.
-Firstly, its okay, Intel is great and go for it however about going with Nvidia, their latest generation currently supports DX10, ATI’s latest generation currently supports DX11, if I were you I would either get an ATI card 5xxx series so it supports future games with DX11 or wait a couple months until Nvidia release their end of the ball game with their latest generation DX11 cards. Pair this with windows 7 and you’ll be ready for the latest and greatest.

-As a preferred website, I recommend Newegg and Tigerdirect, both are great and have good support/service and very fast processing.

-As a mobo, the Asus P6T Delux V2 is very good, or you can go with the AsusP6TD, both are excellent and over clock well, even a normal Asus P6T is really good.

-Currently the best i7 in terms of clock per dollar is the 920 

-If you game, 6GB is more than enough. Moreover many games are 32bit anyway and aren’t even scripted to take advantage of more than that. I have windows 7 64-bit and it idles at around 1GB of ram without any start-up apps and any excessive crap in it and and running a game like crysis which takes maximum 2GB usually will equate to 3GB of usage. Therefore 12GB is excessive.

-Depends on your CPU and needs, if will be overclocking I recommend another cooler, not stock, like a coolermaster hyper212 or something like that or you can get water cooling if you plan on extreme overclocking.

-About storage, I would recommend getting a normal HD setup and spend it on a better GPU but since your budget leans towards the higher end of things, I recommend joining the SSD gang. Depending on how many GB’s worth of apps you have, you can do these or choose from these three setups:
1 Intel 80GB SSD for the OS and APPS+1TB Western Digital Caviar Black for storage/data.
1 24 or 32GB SSD for the OS+1TB Western Digital Caviar Black for Apps+Data/Storage
1 Intel 80GB SSD for the OS and Importantapps(games)+1TB Western Digital for the rest of apps and storage split into two partitions.
-As shown, I recommend Western Digital for reliability, however any hard drive can fail no matter which manufacturer therefore you can buy two of them for raid/backup

-About the GPU, as I said, either get an ATI 5xxx for DX11 or wait until nvidia dx11 cards are released. Don’t waste money buying a DX10 card right only to have it not support the latest and greatest within months.

-I have a HAF932, it looks really nice, it has an clear side and has very good cooling, its very big also. It also looks great on the inside, it might not be beauty but the way its made and its quality is what should get your attention. It has a very good design, very easy to use removable HDD bays, made practically all of metal, has vents on the bottom so your PSU can breath, can attach wheels on it and has really good cable management.

-The purpose of a thermal compound are very simple. Creating a perfectly 100% flat machined metal surface on the top of a CPU and on a heat sink of a cooler are impossible, even if they look flat, on microscopic levels they can be very uneven and contact between the heatsink and cpu can be lost, therefore to compensate for the imperfections thermal paste fills in all small gaps to maximize contact and therefore heat dissipation.

-Power supplies are usually designed to be sufficient in wire lengths to fit most cases, I am not really sure how much power you’ll though. I am thinking 750watt+ since you will be SLIing and and other things.

Hope I answered most of your questions 
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December 24, 2009 1:23:44 AM

wait for 930 , WC is not needed just get the best air cooling out there here you go
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

and case for sure the antec 1200, its just that good, i own 1 and i must say its the best if your not going upper end with lian-li ir silverstone

and the psu no more than 800 wats needed unless you plan on X fire 2 5970's in the future with some nice OC'ing
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December 24, 2009 1:44:00 AM

the 930 is only like 2.8 from 920 2.6
if u have a microcenter near, get the 920 do stepping for 200 bucks
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December 24, 2009 2:06:25 AM

^ The i7 930 would be better binned than the 920 D0...So it will be overall better...
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December 24, 2009 3:46:29 AM

Wow blackhawk, thanks for all of your feedback.

I agree with everything you pointed out and you answered a lot of my questions, so thanks.

My only question is about your third storage option, why partition the drive if I will only be using it for unimportant apps and miscellaneous storage?


As far as the 920 vs 930, this build won't be done for at least a month or two, so obviously the 930 would be the better choice, since I will be waiting anyways.


Edit: A question that just popped into my mind:

I am really liking the clear acrylic cases(I know a lot of you probably think they are silly). However, all the ones I see seem to be extremely cheap... Obviously I don't want to be investing in cheap parts. Does anyone know of a quality clear case similar to the others mentioned here so far?

Make that two questions,

Are there any good articles on WC around the forums here(I know I'm being lazy as I assume theres a search somewhere). I must say I am pretty intrigued by WC and as shown my budget could probably stand it. Do WC systems take a lot more space than conventional air cooling? And does it take a specific case compatibility, say for like the radiator?
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December 24, 2009 3:46:41 AM

a4mula said:
In reality 6gb/s solutions are showing less than 10pct increases over SATA 2.0 3gb/s.

Go through this review to understand what's actually happening on that...

SATA-6G Performance is still waiting on additional driver improvements....so it's not a closed box situation :) 
http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

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December 24, 2009 4:29:12 AM

mmmk put it this way sure we can say u have room in your budget but then your gpu and cpu would have to suffer along with other cut backs, and that kind of thing really isnt worth it .you can over clock to 4.0 ( stable ) with that cpu cooler and the right case . honestly WC is only for builds that are over the top and a ridiculous amount of heat is going to be produced from the cpu being superclocked and multiple high end gpu's . if you ask my personal opinion WC is completely unnecessary for your needs and is very expensive and not to mention the risk ..
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December 24, 2009 4:53:07 AM

haXXar said:
Wow blackhawk, thanks for all of your feedback.

I agree with everything you pointed out and you answered a lot of my questions, so thanks.

My only question is about your third storage option, why partition the drive if I will only be using it for unimportant apps and miscellaneous storage?


As far as the 920 vs 930, this build won't be done for at least a month or two, so obviously the 930 would be the better choice, since I will be waiting anyways.


Edit: A question that just popped into my mind:

I am really liking the clear acrylic cases(I know a lot of you probably think they are silly). However, all the ones I see seem to be extremely cheap... Obviously I don't want to be investing in cheap parts. Does anyone know of a quality clear case similar to the others mentioned here so far?

Make that two questions,

Are there any good articles on WC around the forums here(I know I'm being lazy as I assume theres a search somewhere). I must say I am pretty intrigued by WC and as shown my budget could probably stand it. Do WC systems take a lot more space than conventional air cooling? And does it take a specific case compatibility, say for like the radiator?


Yes the 930 would be the better choice :) 
And about the third storage option I said to partition becuase it usually its more organized if your apps and data are split, you can mix them together but partitions are useful for organizational purposes so its your choice wether you want or not. It wont really matter though.
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December 24, 2009 4:54:54 AM

Ah I see your point, I just didn't know if there was some less obvious reasoning behind it.
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December 24, 2009 9:34:41 AM

haXXar said:
Wow blackhawk, thanks for all of your feedback.

I am really liking the clear acrylic cases(I know a lot of you probably think they are silly). However, all the ones I see seem to be extremely cheap... Obviously I don't want to be investing in cheap parts. Does anyone know of a quality clear case similar to the others mentioned here so far?


http://www.dangerden.com/store/cases/


Make that two questions,

Are there any good articles on WC around the forums here(I know I'm being lazy as I assume theres a search somewhere). I must say I am pretty intrigued by WC and as shown my budget could probably stand it. Do WC systems take a lot more space than conventional air cooling? And does it take a specific case compatibility, say for like the radiator? said:

Make that two questions,

Are there any good articles on WC around the forums here(I know I'm being lazy as I assume theres a search somewhere). I must say I am pretty intrigued by WC and as shown my budget could probably stand it. Do WC systems take a lot more space than conventional air cooling? And does it take a specific case compatibility, say for like the radiator?



Love this forum for 95pct of my pc questions... that being said when it comes to cooling solutions Xtremesystems is tough to beat.

Yeah, they take up space. 120.3 rads either need exceptionally large cases or exterior housing. The DD cases I linked earlier are meant for WC. If you decide to go with an Aluminum case however check out the Lian Li PC series, Silverstone TJ09 (king of cases for WC), or my current favorite Corsair 800. Unless you plan on dropping $500+ USD to do WC right, I'd stick with aircooled. If you're serious however and know going in the price commitment to do it right then head over to the link I provided and look at the water cooled section. Keep in mind that it's not for the feint of heart, and you can easily spend 2-3 times as much time researching your cooling system as you do your actual rig.
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December 24, 2009 11:12:42 PM

that isnt a very updated build i could build him a much better rig
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