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Help with $2500 i7 Rig for CAD, CS4 and Gaming

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January 15, 2010 4:54:55 PM

My apologies for posting this again but I realized that this belonged in the new system build rather than the general homebuilt section. Just to recap, I need advice for a case, graphics card, monitor and CPU cooler. I'm pretty set on the other components. Looking forward to everyone's responses. Thanks and sorry once again for the repost.


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: as soon as I decide all this

BUDGET RANGE: $2000 to $2500 for everything

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: 3D CAD (Rhino, Solidworks), Photoshop CS4 + Lightroom, Gaming (Dragon Age, Crysis, COD MW2 etc), General Stuff

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: India/USA

OVERCLOCKING: Yes
CROSSFIRE: Yes (but not right away)

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080 or 1920x1200 or 2560x1600

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

I'm looking to future proof as I will keep this rig for the next 4-5 years at the very least and just keep upgrading from this as the base. I might be upgrading to a higher end 1366 processor sometime in the middle of 2011

Selected Parts
1. Processor -- Core i7 920 D0
2. Motherboard -- Asus P6X58D Premium -- Want to future proof with SATA 6 and USB 3.0
3. RAM -- Mushkin Redline 3x2GB
4. HDD -- 2 x Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB
5. PSU -- Corsair 850 HX
6. Optical Drive -- Sony Optiarc 24x DVD Burner

Need Advice for
1. CPU Cooler (will be OC'ing upto 4GHz)
Option A -- Noctua NH-D14
Option B -- Prolimatech Megahalems with 2x Noctua NF-P12 in push/pull
Option C -- Corsair H50-1 with 2x Noctua NF-P12 in push/pull -- is this option as good as the other two? If yes then I'll go with this because it is more compact.

EDIT:
Option D -- Coolermaster Hyper 212 (Thanks MadAdmiral for the suggestion)
Option E -- Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme

2. Graphics Card (buying 1 card now, then one more for Crossfire at a later date)
Option 1 -- Sapphire HD 5870 Vapor-x
Option 2 -- HD 5970 (which maker -- Asus or Diamond or Sapphire or others?)

3. Case -- I will be OCing so effective cooling is a must. Dust Filters are a must as well.
EDIT: I really like the look of the Cosmos 1000 and is what I'm considering going with. Any alternative suggestions are welcome.

I'm basically looking at full towers. So the HAF 932 Blue and the Antec 1200 are also on my list. Also, does anyone know the difference between the Cosmos and the Cosmos S?

4. Monitor -- Again, no idea what to go for. At the very least I want full HD (1080p). Preference for either 24" or 30". Single Monitor at first, will add a couple more by the end of 2010.
EDIT -- Two monitors on the shortlist right now. Dell U2410 and HP LP2475W. More suggestions are welcome.


NOTE --
Regarding SSDs -- I don't want/need one. There are other things I'd rather spend the money on.
Regarding NVIDIA -- I'm opting for ATI because of Eyefinity and I'm not waiting for Fermi to come out
January 15, 2010 5:30:20 PM

you need 12GB's memory not a measly 6GB's; check out the recommend spec's for the s/w you are using. 12GB's memory is a good place to start assuming you are using a 64 bit OS.
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January 15, 2010 5:48:55 PM

killerswan said:
you need 12GB's memory not a measly 6GB's; check out the recommend spec's for the s/w you are using. 12GB's memory is a good place to start assuming you are using a 64 bit OS.


thanks for the reply killerswan. I will be using win7 Pro 64bit.

From what I've read 12GB isn't necessary unless I'm looking to do extreme multi tasking which I don't think I will be. I've also read that the visible performance difference between 6 and 12GB is at the most about 5% so I decided I didn't need it.

As it is, the software that I've listed recommends 2 to 4GB of RAM tops. So I figured 6GB should be sufficient for now.

I'm curious to know why you say 6gigs aren't enough. Also, do you have any suggestions for the 12GB? is 3x4GB better or 6X2GB?
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January 15, 2010 6:13:05 PM

Check the recommendations for your CAD and photoshop programs. They are the only ones that might use more than 6GB.

is the 5870 sufficient for me? said:
is the 5870 sufficient for me?
Do you need to play crysis at max settings at 1920x1200? If the answer to that is yes you may want to move up to the 5970. A 5870 will handle almost anything else.
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January 16, 2010 4:17:54 AM

dndhatcher said:
Check the recommendations for your CAD and photoshop programs. They are the only ones that might use more than 6GB.

Do you need to play crysis at max settings at 1920x1200? If the answer to that is yes you may want to move up to the 5970. A 5870 will handle almost anything else.


Thanks for the reply. All of the software I use (CAD and Pshop included) recommend 4GB for the most part (and thats how much I have right now). I assumed that 6GB is a good enough jump with the option of upgrading to 12 later.

As for graphics, I've never had the opportunity to play crysis at maxed out settings and from a few friends i've heard that its like playing a whole new game so I would like to try it. Then again, it isn't a dealbreaker for me.
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January 16, 2010 4:38:54 AM

12 GB is absolutely overkill for anything and everything. 6 GB will be plenty enough.
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Best solution

January 16, 2010 6:03:54 AM

I'll be building a machine very similar to yours. You can find my post not too far below.

12GB is definite overkill. 6GB should be just right for what you want to do.

This is the memory I'm going with: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Nice motherboard. I'm getting it as well.

The monitor I decided on is the Dell U2410. It's IPS (much much better viewing angles) and has its own gaming mode with fast response time and low input lag. Here's a review: http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/dell_u2410.htm

Check out my post, it might give you some ideas :) 
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January 16, 2010 10:55:02 AM

t0dd said:
I'll be building a machine very similar to yours. You can find my post not too far below.

12GB is definite overkill. 6GB should be just right for what you want to do.

This is the memory I'm going with: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Nice motherboard. I'm getting it as well.

The monitor I decided on is the Dell U2410. It's IPS (much much better viewing angles) and has its own gaming mode with fast response time and low input lag. Here's a review: http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/dell_u2410.htm

Check out my post, it might give you some ideas :) 


Thanks for the reply. I looked at the review link and I liked the Dell you suggested. Will add that to the list along with the HP LP2475W (trying to find a direct shootout between the two right now). I also looked at your thread and it looks like we're building similar rigs. The HAF932 is now on my shortlist of cases.
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January 16, 2010 6:33:27 PM

Ok everyone. This thing is slowly taking shape :)  . The following parts have been finalized.

Already Decided
1. Processor -- Core i7 920 D0
2. Motherboard -- Asus P6X58D Premium -- Want to future proof with SATA 6 and USB 3.0
3. RAM -- Mushkin Redline 3x2GB
4. HDD -- 2 x Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB
5. PSU -- Corsair 850 HX
6. Optical Drive -- Sony Optiarc 24x DVD Burner

NEW UPDATES
7. CPU Cooler -- Corsair H50-1 with 2x Noctua NF-P12 in push/pull

I picked these over the megahalems and the noctua d14 because it is compact and won't be affected by dust nearly as much as the air cooler options. The performance is comparable as well at approx +2-3 deg C which isn't a big deal since I don't plan on OC'ing over 4 GHz

8. Graphics Card -- HD 5970 (either Sapphire or XFX) .Thanks MadAdmiral for the advice. Whether I go 30inch now and/or eyefinity with 3 screens later, the 5970 will work out cheaper in the long run for me because I won't need an upgrade (hopefully)

9. Monitor -- I'll most probably wait for the Dell U2711 because it has everything I need (and Engadget claims it will be out next month). This CNET review has me sold on this monitor.

If it takes too long for it to come out then I'll end up settling for the U2410 instead (with fingers crossed on the supposed quality control issues).


There are only two things left for me to decide.

1. CASE -- right now its down to 4 Coolermaster Cases

Favorite Option -- Coolermaster Cosmos or the Cosmos S -- I would like to know which of the two is better. I like the look of both of them and from what I've heard, the airflow is better on the Cosmos S. Some advice would be appreciated.

Second Option -- HAF 932 Blue or Storm Sniper -- I don't like the look of either as much as the Cosmos but both supposedly have better airflow.

Interesting Option -- Cosmos PURE (any opinions on this?)

2. SSD -- I'm not totally convinced on the benefits of an SSD. I've got everything else that I need within budget. This is the only logical addition (or i could just save some cash). I'll probably be looking at a 100GB or higher capacity SSD as my OS drive for boot and apps. Any suggestions are welcome. Based on what I've read, the intel X25-M seems to be pretty good

Thanks a lot for the advice so far everyone. I hope to have this figured out by Monday.
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