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Help saving money on my new system

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January 20, 2010 3:55:28 AM

I've been running on an overclocked Athlon 64 3000+ with 3 gigs of ram and two 80 gig SATA I drives in RAID 0 for way too long now; time for an upgrade. Too bad my upgrade is a bit too expensive!

Wish List:
Case: Thermaltake Kandalf LCS $230.80
Thermaltake A2400 Side Fan Panel $57.75
CPU :i7 920 $288.00
Kit to use Kandalf CPU waterblock with core i7: Thermaltake LGA 1366 Upgrade Kit - (A242331) $13.99
MB :GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD7 $349.99
RAM G.SKILL Perfect Storm 6GB (3 x 2GB) DDR3 2133 (PC3 17066) Model F3-17066CL9T-6GBPS $264.99
GPU :SAPPHIRE 100282SR Radeon HD 5850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 $289.00
GPU Waterblock EK Radeon HD 5850 VGA Liquid Cooling Block - Acrylic (EK-FC5850) $105.00
Drives : OCZ Vertex Series OCZSSD2-1VTX60G 2.5" 60GB SATA II MLC Solid State Drive (SSD) x2 for RAID 0 $360.00
Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST31500341AS 1.5TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive $79.00
PSU :CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W $130.00

Total=$2,128.52

Unfortunately I was hoping to only spent about $1500 on this system. The first obvious change is to forget the SSD's for now and wait another 6 months until prices drop and they get better. So that brings me to $1768.52.

I'm looking for suggestions on how to trim some "fat" from this system, should I get some cheaper RAM? or cheaper GPU? etc?

For info I will be overclocking, likely to 4ghz, which doesn't seem to difficult with the i7 920 from what I've read. I'm not a serious gamer, but do play a few somewhat graphically taxing games occasionally; where I really need performance is when I work as an engineer. I run large models in drafting/analysis software such as ANSYS, Fluent, intense MATLAB programs, etc.

I expect someone to complain about Thermaltake and the Kandalf LCS and I'm open to hear the gripes, but what I see in it is a good built in radiator design (I dislike the idea of a separate external radiator). I'm planning to use the LCS that comes with it, because I've built a system using one with a friend and it got the job done and worked well. If some one has a better water cooling solution for the price I'm open to hear it.

Thats it, let me know which hardware I picked is junk, what would be a better choice, where I can save some money, and what I can do to improve this system overall!

More about : saving money system

January 20, 2010 4:26:27 AM

This build will give you the same performance, will cool you at 4 GHz, give you more speed on your mechanical drive, and come in under budget.

Do you need a monitor and operating system? If not, you may still be able to fit an SSD in.

CPU: Core i7 920
-$288

MOBO: ASUS P6T SE LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-$205

RAM: OCZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-$149.99 [$129.99 after rebate]

HDD: Seagate Barrucuda 7200.12
faster than the 7200.11 series, single 500 GB platter drive.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-$55

PSU: Corsair 750TX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-$115 [$95 after rebate)

GPU: XFX HD-585A-ZNFC Radeon HD 5850
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-$299.99

You may also want to consider an NVIDIA card, which may accelerate some of your engineering applications with their CUDA protocols. Not sure about the ones you listed, but if you have others that you'll run, do some research on this.

This may change your choice in card to a GTX 275/280, or convince you to wait for Fermi.

Case: Antec Nine Hundred Two Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-$110

Monitor: Hanns·G HH-221HPB Black 21.5" 5ms HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-$140

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-$105

TOTAL: $1468 before rebate
$1407 after rebates

If you have a monitor that you plan to use, have an OS, that shaves $245 off. With another $55, you can fit this intel SSD in your budget:
Intel X25-M Mainstream SSDSA2M080G2R5 2.5" 80GB SATA II MLC
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

EDIT: WHOOPS. Forgot to add this in:

CORSAIR Cooling Hydro Series CWCH50-1 120mm High Performance CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-$77.89

This cooler apparently performs really well with the high temps produced by a 4 GHz overclock. Someone else might be able to find a more cost-effective solution, though. You can check some reviews out.
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January 20, 2010 10:41:16 AM

No monitor, OS, keyboard, or mouse is needed.

Thanks for the help, the easiest thing for me to give up is that ridiculously expensive RAM I had. I'll definitely read up on the Nvidia cards in engineering apps. I've heard of Fermi, but what exactly is it? And is it just going to cost a ton more when its released?

I prefer my SSD solution, from what I see I would have 2x60gb SSDs with higher write speeds in RAID zero, will essentially double speeds (of course it won't be double, but definitely faster than one disk). And its 120 gb total instead of 80 gb for the intel drive, for $60 more.

Thanks for the help, any more ideas?
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January 20, 2010 11:15:32 AM

mortonww has good suggestions there...but the mobo and RAM are not so good options...

1. Mobo - That P6T SE is not a board of choice if you want to overclock...
Check this one -
GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R - Overclocks better than SE and comes with USB 3.0 and SATA 6GB/s
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2. RAM - I would prefer this RAM over that OCZ...
CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Now for the rest of the components...
CPU cooler -
CM Hyper 212+ -> Cheap, very impressive performance...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And as for the SSD, NO RAID 0 with the SSDs...Reason - TRIM not supported by RAID
TRIM is garbage collection in SSDs, that keep them in near new state...
So no TRIM -> performance will degrade over time...
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January 20, 2010 2:50:31 PM

I actually just put together a build for someone with similar requirements. Liquid cooling outside no maintenance enclosed systems is actually a pretty big hassle, and more of a bragging point for enthusiast's as air handles non extreme OC fine. For a work system it's probably better to avoid the hassle (even industry/university supercomputer clusters run on air, not water for good reason).

Ok full build

Optical Drive
lite on $23.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case
HAF 922 or Antec 900. No good deal on any great cases atm >.< $109.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM
G SKill Eco 7-8-7-24 2x 4gb kits. $239.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you're uncomfortable going into bios to adjust voltages use these. If not, save yourself $10 w/ ripjaws.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MOBO
Asus P7P55D-E LGA 1156 $159.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


HSF
CM Hyper 212 Plus
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you're comfortable OCing, you definitely want to as the i7-860 will show a lot of improvement once you OC it to 3.6-4.0ghz. This is the best price/performance HSF out there.

HD
Intel X25-M G2 180 GB $499.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Excellent SSD and large enough for OS/Apps and a ton of other files.

PSU/Storage drive
7200.12 500gb and OCZ stealthxstream 700w $114.98 w/ $25 MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Unfortunately the slightly better Spinpoint F3's are sold out atm. Still, the 500gb(and only 500gb) 7200.12 are very good drives.

CPU/GPU
i7-860 and 5770 $444.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Excellent CPU and a great GPU w/ DX 11 support, as well as eyefinity.

Total $1622.89 before $25 MIR and shipping which should cancel out.

You can raid 2 80gb X25-M's for $100 more. Not Trimming the G2 X25-M's is not a big deal as performance loss over time on these drives is not noticeable outside benchmarks even w/o TRIM. They will however, like all SSD's, slow in performance the closer they get to being filled up, which is why you're better off with just 1 large SSD.

http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3631&p=...
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January 20, 2010 2:57:11 PM

Oh I know you suggested 2x 60gb Vertex's, but that would cost the same as 180gb X25-M, and you'd run into performance issues even sooner than w/ the 80gb x25's. OCZ vertex WILL degrade over time w/o TRIM unlike the G2's. So keep that in mind.

Edit: Was looking at the vertex turbo prices. It's $120 in savings actually. Still run into the storage issue though.

The 120Gb vertex isn't too bad actually, may consider that to save some money. If 120GB is enough for you, that'll put entire build at $1500.
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January 20, 2010 4:45:37 PM

gkay09 said:
mortonww has good suggestions there...but the mobo and RAM are not so good options...

And as for the SSD, NO RAID 0 with the SSDs...Reason - TRIM not supported by RAID
TRIM is garbage collection in SSDs, that keep them in near new state...
So no TRIM -> performance will degrade over time...


I understand trim is not supported by raid...yet. I'm guessing that intel and the motherboard manufacterers will release firmware updates that will allow trim to pass through the raid controllers but hard to tell when. Anyway, the OCZ SSD's have a garbage collecting firmware that does essentially the same thing as trim when the drive is not in use.
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January 20, 2010 4:50:59 PM

banthracis said:
Oh I know you suggested 2x 60gb Vertex's, but that would cost the same as 180gb X25-M, and you'd run into performance issues even sooner than w/ the 80gb x25's. OCZ vertex WILL degrade over time w/o TRIM unlike the G2's. So keep that in mind.

Edit: Was looking at the vertex turbo prices. It's $120 in savings actually. Still run into the storage issue though.

The 120Gb vertex isn't too bad actually, may consider that to save some money. If 120GB is enough for you, that'll put entire build at $1500.


I really want the raid 0 for the added performance, and with the garbage collecting firmware on the OCZ there is not a pressing need for trim on these drives. I guess you have a point though, I could probably get one larger (120gb or 180gb) SSD for now and then get another later with lower prices and put them in raid to get added performance.
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January 20, 2010 5:04:49 PM

Well remember there are 2 reasons for performance loss in SSD's. The first is performance loss over time due to fragmentation. This is what TRIM solves, and is an issue for most SSD's with the exception of the Intel X25 G2.

In Indilux drives (vertex is one), there's a 21% performance loss w/o TRIM.
http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3667&p=...

The second issue is that the closer an SSD comes to capacity, the greater the performance loss. It's recommended that you keep 30% of the SSD empty if you want no loss. So in a 60gb drive you effectively have ~40gb of storage space before you run into performance loss.

Now, there's little difference btwn raid O 2x 60gb and 1 120gb, but w/ Raid you lose TRIM, and w/o raid you run into space issues.



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January 20, 2010 5:16:56 PM

banthracis said:
I actually just put together a build for someone with similar requirements. Liquid cooling outside no maintenance enclosed systems is actually a pretty big hassle, and more of a bragging point for enthusiast's as air handles non extreme OC fine. For a work system it's probably better to avoid the hassle (even industry/university supercomputer clusters run on air, not water for good reason).

You can raid 2 80gb X25-M's for $100 more. Not Trimming the G2 X25-M's is not a big deal as performance loss over time on these drives is not noticeable outside benchmarks even w/o TRIM. They will however, like all SSD's, slow in performance the closer they get to being filled up, which is why you're better off with just 1 large SSD.



I'm really sold on water cooling even though I know it can be a bit of a hassle. Cooling performance seems to at least have the potential to overcome air cooling although I've heard of many excellent air cooling systems performing better than cheap water cooled systems. One big thing for me is noise. From what I can tell all decent air cooling systems will be louder than my water cooled setup with the kandalf (yes i know it still has at least 6 fans in the case, but I beleive they are all running at lower rpm thanks the liquid cooling). When I was at Virginia Tech 6 years ago I remember the super computer being liquid chilled so I guess its a controversial topic even at that level of computing.

As far as SSD's slowing when getting near full, if 2 of them are in raid 0 then each drive would be equally filled, so 2x60gb should be not much different that a 120gb drive. I'd like to see benchmarks on this because it seems a bit controversial from my quick reading, if this slowing of performance when full is true for SSDs or not?

Thanks alot; I really appreciate the help!
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January 20, 2010 6:49:06 PM

Bear in mind going liquid cooling would make it very difficult to hit $1500 unless you drop the SSD. It's a $250-$300 price premium for a good liquid system.

I can cool an i5 at 4.3ghz with a CM Hyper 212 Plus on low w/ temps 45C over ambient. On low, that HSF is quieter than the case fans on my Element G which are 200mm fans running at 600rpm.
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January 21, 2010 2:31:26 AM

@bmather9 the SSD's performance will degrade with usage unless any garbage collecting s/w is implemented on them...
And as for the RAID support, it is no where to be seen...am not saying that you wont get it but it will take time...So first buy a single SSD for now and later on when they launch TRIM support for RAID, buy another SSD in RAID...

and as for Liquid or Air cooling, it would depend on your overclock...upto 4GHz, I feel you wont need Liquid...as you can use 2 fans in Push-Pull config with the CPU cooler, which can run at lower RPM yet giving you the performance of using a single High speed fan...But finally its your call...
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January 21, 2010 2:40:52 AM

Ok I've decided to ditch the SSDs for now, too much hassle for a premium price per GB. I'll upgrade later when things clear up a bit. That brings me to $1768.52.

Next to look at is the GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R instead of my original GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD7. From a quick look at the specs I don't see any major differences. Anyone know what makes the UD7 cost $140 more?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Ram is likely going to be replaced, my original choice was 6GB DDR3 2133, which I wanted for my overclock, but at $265 I doubt its worth it. My question for this is, what speed of RAM should I be looking for with a my approx. 4ghz overclock on the i7 920? I know there's a ratio setting for the RAM speed but what final speed should I be looking for after this ratio is applied? How much performance difference is there really in overclocked RAM, say 1600 to 2000?

Still planning to look into NVIDIA cards to work better with engineering apps.

Lastly the seagate HDD I chose was controversial to me because of the firmware issues seagate was having with this model; I think the problems have been fixed but I'm unsure. If anyone has info please let me know. Model is: Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST31500341AS 1.5TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5"
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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January 21, 2010 2:58:32 AM

gkay09 said:
@bmather9 the SSD's performance will degrade with usage unless any garbage collecting s/w is implemented on them...
And as for the RAID support, it is no where to be seen...am not saying that you wont get it but it will take time...So first buy a single SSD for now and later on when they launch TRIM support for RAID, buy another SSD in RAID...

and as for Liquid or Air cooling, it would depend on your overclock...upto 4GHz, I feel you wont need Liquid...as you can use 2 fans in Push-Pull config with the CPU cooler, which can run at lower RPM yet giving you the performance of using a single High speed fan...But finally its your call...


I still contend that OCZ SSDs with garbage collecting firmware will not degrade performance even in RAID.
http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/forum/showthread.php?...

I take that back, they will do a pretty good job with the garbage collection, from what I read (written in Sept. 2009) garbage collection didn't work quite as well as Trim, but they are basically the same idea. Newer firmwares have been released for the OCZ drives and they now support both garbage collection and trim(not in raid of course). Seems like there are other performance improvements (including raid) from the posts I've read on OCZ forums.

Also a wiper app Ive read about, essentially works as a manual trim that you must run from time to time. I'm not sure if this app would work with RAID but I can imagine it might.

Anyway I'm still staying away from them for now, primarily due to price, but man they are awesome!

I may give air cooling another look, but I'm really drawn by those cool temps that people get with liquid. Maybe I don't need such a large margin of safety on the temp side and I could def save a few bucks with air. At some point though I guess I'm thinking of experimenting above 4ghz, at least to run a really long CFD model once in a while. At what clock speed would I absolutely need liquid?
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January 21, 2010 3:00:42 AM

EDIT: Dint refresh...
@bmather9 that is good info that you have go there...I dint know about that...and just now read about it in other forums as well...and it seem that the OCZ with Indilinx has support for that...So RAID should be fine...

As for the differences between the 2 Gigabyte mobos -
1. Dual LAN
2. Better voltage regulation and extra phases for CPU power
3. Notice the tall active heatsinks ?
4. BIOS options would be very extensive when compared to the UD3R
5. A big price premium for the Premium model tag...

And that Seagate drive will serve very well as a Secondary drive...if you want a good boot drive, then get the WD 1TB Black/ Samsung F3 1TB or atleast the Seagate 7200.12 drives...
Not that those drives are slow, but rather have a more faster drive for the OS...
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January 22, 2010 5:13:55 PM

I've heard the i7 920 d0 stepping is significantly better for overclock, seems like everyone buying from newegg in 2010 got the d0 instead of the c0. So I've heard the B-batch of d0 cpu's was significantly better that then A-batch, does anyone know a place that will guarantee d0 B-batch???
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January 23, 2010 5:47:27 AM

Yes D0 stepping is better than the C0 and overclock much better...it runs slightly cooler and need comparitively less voltage increase...
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March 1, 2010 3:48:04 AM

gkay09 said:
mortonww has good suggestions there...but the mobo and RAM are not so good options...

1. Mobo - That P6T SE is not a board of choice if you want to overclock...
Check this one -
GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R - Overclocks better than SE and comes with USB 3.0 and SATA 6GB/s
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2. RAM - I would prefer this RAM over that OCZ...
CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Now for the rest of the components...
CPU cooler -
CM Hyper 212+ -> Cheap, very impressive performance...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And as for the SSD, NO RAID 0 with the SSDs...Reason - TRIM not supported by RAID
TRIM is garbage collection in SSDs, that keep them in near new state...
So no TRIM -> performance will degrade over time...



Just FYI I am running the p6t se @4 Ghz (3.99) on water, just an 80 mm on the northbridge, and with no problems. I am going to try to take it farther. I am making sure it is stable. It is so far. It is a 920 with the dreaded CO stepping for you other posters. Of course, I may be an exception. Just my 2 cents. :) 
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