[solved] $1000 non-gaming build for heavy computations

Hello, I have been asking in other parts of the forums for suggestions on my computational beast (BTW:thanks for input) and now I have finally come up with the following part list.


SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Only heavy calculations, specifically FPGA compilations, which could take hours. Thus, computational horsepower is the only objective. FPGA tool should be able to take advantage of multi-core pretty well and is essentially running an iterative algorithm until it satisfies user constraints. OS processes could be memory intensive, but I'd think 6GByte RAM would be plenty.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, PSU, hard drive, OS




MONITOR RESOLUTION:1920x1080, possibly dual-screen.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: OC as high as possible is the goal in order to cut down compilation time. Supposedly, people claim possibilities of reaching 4GHz, that would be great, but I am yet unfamiliar with i7 so I'd be happy with 3.5+ initiaslly

Here is my list:

CPU ($289)
Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz

Motherboard ($269)
GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD5 (I have been back and forth on this part; EVGA/Asus/Gigabyte)

Memory ($190)
OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)

Video Card ($37)
ASUS EAH4350 SILENT/DI/512MD2(LP) Radeon HD 4350

Case ($100)

DVD ($27)
Sony Optiarc Black 24X DVD+R

Heatsink + Heatsink fans ($64 + 2x $14)
Thermalright Venomous X
2 x Thermalright 2000RPM

Total: 1005 - $15MIR = $990

What do you think guys?
14 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. Best answer
    ^ Very good selection of components...
    But as for the RAM, there are other options...These would also help in easy overclocking and actually you can set even tighter timings wiht these...

    GSkillz Trident - Heads up on the height of the heatsink as it might interfere with the aftermarket CPU coolers...

    GSkillz ripjaws

    This has CAS 7 and is about $10 less and as for qualty, IMO little better than OCZ...

    Take a look at this combo...this CPU cooler is also a very good one, silent and can easily handle upto 4GHz...And as for overclocking the CPU, going above 3.8GHz on the i7 doesnt offer any significant gains w.r.t power consumprtion...So 3.8GHz should be the sweet spot for the 920...
  2. Thanks a bunch 'gkay09', I appreciate it.

    I see, you are saying the DDR3-2000 could help OC; what timings do you think is possible with the GSkills?
    I'll take it that for my use-case, you'd pick the 2000 over CAS7 1600?
    Well almost the same price so I probably switch out the OCZ with Trident or Ripjaws. I'll try to figure out if the tall Trident will fit together with big heatsink.

    That's a nice combo, thanks for the tip! Almost getting the heatsink for free.
    I have used the True 120 Black in my home build so I know thermalright is very good.
    After quickly reading some reviews, it seems that the monsoon is pretty good, but perhaps a couple of degrees off the very best.
    If you say that it is enough for my purposes, then I probably go with this nice combo.
  3. If you're not gaming go P55 and i7-860 which beats the i7-920 in every benchmark. X58 advantage is in better xfire scaling, a non issue for you.

    Lite On $23.99

    Haf 922 $99.99

    5770 and i7-860 $444.98

    G Skill ECO DDR3 1333 7-7-7-21 $114.99

    Asus true USB 3.0/SATA 6.0, not the neutered gigabyte stuff =D $159.99

    OCZ stealthxstream 700w and 7200.12 500GB $119.98
    F3, are sold out again, but the 7200.12 is almost as good, plus it's a great combo.

    CM Hyper 212 Plus

    Total $993.90 before $25 MIR and shipping which should cancel each other out.

    You probably won't need a 5770, but it fits in budget, has DX11 support, and has eyefinity to make dual monitor easier to setup.
  4. Noticed you don't need a HD, so you can drop it to save a few bucks.

    However, I strongly recommend a good HD (Spinpoint F3 or the 7200.12 i linked) unless your current one is similar in performance. These new drives with 500gb platters actually make a noticeable difference is load, response and boot times compared to older drives.

    Edit: Ok I fail to read, just drop the PSU and HD and save yourself $120 (no $25 MIR though). Feel free to grab that deal if you want new parts though.

    You can put the money saved towards a SSD for a nice system response, load and boot boost if you want. Intel sells the X25-V 40 gb for only $129.99
  5. Hm, point taken.

    The 860 seems to have more OC head room, which would be interesting in my case.
    I figured though, that for my use-case I didn't want to take a chance on the memory; it seemed 'safer' to go tri-channel. FPGA compilations are quite memory intensive, I believe.
    I guess it is impossible to quite guess which one is the winner; 860 with perhaps higher clock versus 920 with more memory bandwidth. Maybe I should build two systems.... :)

    But as pointed out, one would save a lot of $ on the 1156 socket. I have to think about that.

    Would anyone have a opinion which CPU would be the winner when only benchmarking FPGA compilations?? 860 or 920?

    Thanks for the input!!
  6. Well regarding dual vs tri memory channels, that actually makes no difference.

    Regarding which CPU would be better, the 860 and 920 both have hyperthreading and 8 threads. The 860 would be better at stock, though final say depends on ocing.

    Remember with OC no guarantees. The 860 may OC to 4.3, while the 920 may only reach 3.6 or visa versa.

    Talking to my bioinformatics guys (who actually do FPGA compilations), RAM wise they're using 12gb atm and dual processor 2 CPU xeon systems, but they handle genetic research.

    According to them, 4gb is fine, you'll see an improvement with 8gb.

    I'm not even gonna ask them if they think it's worth the money since everything they buy is paid for by the university (basically they'll always say yes to any upgrade).
  7. ^ the i7 860 is also a very good option...but am very skeptical about the RAM though...the 920's Tri-Channel controllers do offer a good boost in performance when using memory intensive applications...and from my reading on the web about the FPGA compilations, they say it taxes the CPU and RAM heavily...So I would prefer the config that offers the highest bandwidth and RAM quantity - in this case the 920...
    So here is the scenario -
    1. You want a economical build, then the i7 860...
    2. You want a powerful build, with the options in the near future to add a 6/ 8 core CPU, then the X58 is better...

    And check out this X58 mobo if you want to save some cash...
    Has USB 3.0 and SATA 6GB/s ...This mobo can also overclock the 920 to 3.6GHz+ with that cooler...
    GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R - Unlike the previous UD3R, this comes with 6 RAM slots...
  8. Well RAM advice comes from my bioinformatics guys. According to them tri channel offers no benefit and they use FPGA Compilations extensively for the genetics research the university handles.

    I've personally got no experience w/ FPGA so I'm just passing on info^^
  9. I appreciate the feedback!

    gkay09: Yes, I've seen the UD3R and it is price attractive. Gigabyte has three MB almost offering the same specs except for phases(3,5, and 7). I am no expert, but it was my understanding that the more expensive offerings could provide some more OC headroom thanks to the phases. The feature set of UD3R is sufficient for my purposes.

    I guess the only way to determine a winner between 920 and 860 is to build two systems...
    Currently, I am leaning towards X58 solution, since as pointed out, it allows for a future i9 upgrade.

    Coincidentally, Tom's is running a high-end P55 MB comparison today...
  10. Generally with any well made motherboard, the OC limit is more dependent on the individual chip rather than MOBO limit.

    IE, a good 860 or 920 CHIP will OC to 4.0ghz on any MOBO we've mentioned here. On the other hand, a bad CHIP may not go past 3.6 on any MOBO, regardless of price.

    Whether you get a good or bad CHIP is all luck of the draw, nothing you can really do about that.

    The exception of course is extreme OCing. If you wanna take a chip 4.6gh or higher, then board makes a big difference. Still, these OC's really aren't stable enough to daily use and are more for "I got my chip this high and managed to pass a benchmark!"
  11. Like banthracis pointed out it depend more on the chip than the mobo...I do agree even the mobo plays a vital role when overclocking, but the above mobos have enough options for a good overclock...
    check the reviews of the older version of the UD3R,2845,2343397,00.asp
  12. Again, thanks a lot for the feedback.

    Yes, I understand perfectly that OC capabilities vary between chip to chip, and batch to batch.
    Based on many articles read on mostly 920 OC experiences, it would seem that a system equipped with good MB, powerful cooler, flexible memory timings, airy case, and foremost a knowledgeable and crafty builder has a very good chance of reaching 3.6-3.8GHz (which gkay09 points out to be a good sweet spot if you take in power consumption into the equation). And a good chance of 4.0 and a potential of inching up 0.2 if chip can be kept frosty.
    Someone claimed in a forum somewhere that OC potential tends to get lower by the time the chip has been in production. I am not sure if this claim holds true. It is my understanding that D0 chips are better than previous ones...

    Anyway, I think I've got everything for my purchase. Thanks.
  13. gunnarhx said:

    Someone claimed in a forum somewhere that OC potential tends to get lower by the time the chip has been in production. I am not sure if this claim holds true. It is my understanding that D0 chips are better than previous ones...

    That claim is unconfirmed speculation. It's probably based on the fact that reviewers are all sent D0 chips, they get great OC's with them and general public gets theirs and don't see as high a OC and conclude D0 chips were better.

    What they forget is that samples sent to reviewers are probably cherry picked best of the best chips, so obviously they would get great OC.

    Either way, it once again ONLY applies to extreme 4.3ghz+ OCing. Most i5-750 and i7-920 will easily make 3.6 ghz, majority can hit 4ghz with a voltage increase. After 4.0 ghz is where you'll run into issues, but like you mentioned, it's not worth it to OC after that point.

    edit: Oh and if your good to go, throw a "[solved]" in front of the thread title.
  14. Best answer selected by gunnarhx.
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