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New Build - Need Video Card/Hard Drive Advice

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January 15, 2010 12:47:11 PM

It's been a while since I've splurged and threw together a new rig for myself. Ideally I'd like to keep her under $2k and all I'm really missing is the video card, but I'd also like some hard drive configuration suggestions as well.

Here is what I have so far:

Case: Corsair Obsidian Series 800D
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811139001

Motherboard: EVGA 141-BL-E757-TR LGA 1366 Intel x58
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813188049

Processor: Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz LGA 1366
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115202

Memory: Corsair Dominator 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 1600 8-8-8-24
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145224

Power Supply: Corsair CMPSU-750HX 750W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139010

I don't have much interest in SLI as I've heard of driver/stability issues. Not sure if things have changed much but if you have an SLI suggestion I'm listening. Otherwise I'm looking for a solid single card option. Don't really want to spend the $500 for the newest and best but I was thinking a GTX 275 or GTX 285 would suffice.

As for hard drives, I was looking at doing a single smaller drive for OS and programs, and then 1 larger drive 500GB+ for storage. I was looking at a 250GB or so 32mb cache 7200 RPM drive for OS/Programs but 250 seems like a bit much as I don't typically keep useless programs installed.

Thanks
a b U Graphics card
January 15, 2010 12:57:25 PM

Why stick to nVidia? Unless you use CUDA or massive amount of PhysX programs, you really should get on of ATI's new 5xxx series cards. Until you say why you really need the nVidia cards, I recommend either the 5870 ($400ish) or the 5970 ($650+). The 5870 is the single most powerful card ever made. The 5970 is two 5870s on the same card, downclocked slightly.

HDD: Normally, that wouldn't be a bad idea. However, the newer 500 GB platter drives (Samsung Spinpoint F3 being the best) has made that almost irrelevant. I'd recommend either picking up a 500 GB one for the boot/app drive, or a 1 TB one for everything.

PS: It's a shame you didn't ask advice before you bought the other parts. You massively overpaid on the case ($270 for a case? You must hate money...) and the RAM (faster sticks can be had for $40-50 less). That board is also not the greatest for the price...
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January 15, 2010 1:14:31 PM

Thank you for the advice. I haven't ordered the other parts yet, they are just what I've selected.

If you have recommendations on which board/memory would be better suited to my build I would love to hear it. I'm still feeling around so I haven't pulled the trigger on anything yet.
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a b U Graphics card
January 15, 2010 1:23:18 PM

Mobo: It's pricey, but I like to recommend the Asus P6X58D Premium. It's a future proof board with USB 3/SATA III ports. A slightly cheaper one is the Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD5.

RAM: G.SKILL PI Series 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 CAS Latency 7 $180. Cheaper and faster.

Case: HAF 922 $100. It's a mid-tower, but almost as big as a full tower. It's big enough to fit anything in it. It's also one of the best in terms of cooling.
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January 15, 2010 8:02:28 PM

I'd also recommend the Coolermaster Haf 922, thats what im ordering for the rig im about to buy, similar to yours as a matter of fact.

With regard to the HDD's im going for a 64GB Samsung SSD as a boot and main programs drive because of its near instant access time which should make the OS nice and snappy and be booted much faster than a normal HDD because of all the random seeks :) 

Also I'm going to need a data drive as well and i would recommend a Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/500GB, comes with a 5 year warranty as opposed to the F3's 3 year, and i have had never had any problems with the WD drives I own at the moment. There's always an argument about F3 or Caviar Black, but with them both now on 500GB per platter technology that previous distinguishing point is now gone.
In the end I guess its a bit of brand loyalty, see what you think from what others say, but if it came to you not being able to choose I'd go with Western Digital ;) 
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a c 225 U Graphics card
January 15, 2010 9:44:20 PM

Csse / PSU - The deal of the moment is the Antec 1200 + CP-850 for $250. While electrically it easily a match for the Corsair HX, it's much cheaper, quieter and provides an extra 100 watts

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ($140)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ($110)

MoBo - Also recommend the Asus P6X58D Premium.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ($310)

Memory - Lowest CAS you can afford at DDR 1600
CAS 6 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ($245)
CAS 7 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ($179)

HD's - Hard Drives - Check out the performance charts and pick whatever 500 GB per platter drive performs best under your usage patterns. The WD Black 2 TB is a good choice but at smaller capacities, you are limited to the Seagate 7200.12 or the Spinpoint F3. The 7200.12 excels in gaming, multimedia and pictures whereas the F3 wins at music and movie maker. See the comparisons here (copy past link in manually, link won't work in forum):

(http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2009-3.5-desktop-har...[2371]=on&prod[2770]=on)

GFX Cards - Read the last two GFX Card Roundups here on THG and plug ya budget in
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-graphics-card,...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-310-5970,24...

The one category that I can't agree with is the $155 (and its twin card match). Reason is market volatility has driven up the cost of the 260/4870 which outperform the 5770 by 10%. And while the 5770 is OK at lower resolutions, it's listed as a good card for 1920 x 1200 but at that resolution it simply can't play DX11 games at 1920 x 1200/1080. So if it can't play Dx11 games, why take it over the other cards at that res ?

As for your apparent nVidia preference.....if ya focused on DX11, you are kinda down to a single choice right now. If, like THG and Anandtech (among others), you don't think DX11 is all that bigga deal right now, then the choice remains and pick something from the THG roundups according to budget. The one wrinkle is PhysX upon which there are varying opinions. Many posters claim "it's dead" and yet Asus and EVGA are investing in developing and releasing specialized "PhysX hardware. This will be a decision only you can make and a good way to do that is by watching the video and reading these:

http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/batman_arkham_asylu...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/batman-arkham-asylu...

One option is an ATI as your primary card and then an older inexpensive card as a dedicated PhysX processor.
http://www.tomshardware.com/news/nvidia-ATI-physx-patch...

I don't play many games, but I was intrigued so played Batman on my son's box after he rec'd it as an XMas present....I have to say, I was quite impressed by the differences with PhysX on and Off. A dedicated PhysX card is probably a worthwhile investment for a "stop and smell the roses" kinda person with $65 to spend but if you're strictly a "balls to the wall" FPS player, you'll prolly be running around too fast to enjoy it. All major game developers have licensed PhysX technology but it remains to be seen whether they will continue to invest development time in it. Of course that's true for DX11 too... All in all it's a decision you shouldn't let anyone else make for you. Check out the video and decide for yaself.
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a b U Graphics card
January 15, 2010 10:35:01 PM

technobod said:
There's always an argument about F3 or Caviar Black, but with them both now on 500GB per platter technology that previous distinguishing point is now gone.
Is the WD Black 1TB now a twin 500GB platter drive? Last I saw only the new 2TB models were.


Here is the problem with PhysX: http://www.nzone.com/object/nzone_physxgames_home.html
Dismal selection and little talk of upcoming titles.

Nvidia has a neat technology but has [bleep]ed game developers with their change in focus from premium graphics cards to GPGPU supercomputers and [bleep]ed gamers by sabotaging their drivers to not allow PhysX with an ATI graphics card in the machine. After allowing it for a few months, running an ATI graphics card with a weaker Nvidia PhysX card has been disabled again (unless you run the readily available hacked drivers).
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a b U Graphics card
January 16, 2010 1:38:02 PM

On the F3 vs Cavair, I haven't heard anything about the WD having 500 GB platters. I would still go with the F3. It'll be cheaper.
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