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I7-920 gaming build $1200. First time builder, please review.

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January 20, 2010 9:17:54 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: this week

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: i7-920 D0 CPUs, keyboard, mouse, 1 monitor, speakers, Windows 7 OS)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Any. Also live near a Microcenter.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: Air cooling only.

OVERCLOCKING: Yes

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes, in the future

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080 or 1920x1200

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: My wife and I both need new computers, and we're both gamers. I figure this would be a good time to try my hand at building my own computer. I'll just order double of everything, and after I figure out how to put together computer #1, computer #2 should be a breeze since it'll have identical parts.
I'm more of a 'hardcore' gamer (FPS such as L4D2, Fallout 3, etc.), and my wife a 'casual' gamer (think Sims), but both our computers will need to be able to handle MMO's and other co-op titles, such as Diablo III, so that we can play together. As such, for GPU, I'm leaning towards a Radeon 5850 for a bit of future-proofing (DX11) and lower power usage. I figure in 1-2 years, when I need to upgrade my GPU, I can then give my wife my 5850 for cross-fire.
I've never OC'd before, but I figured I'd also try my hand at it here, just the CPU, anywhere from 3.2 to 4.0gHz. Already bought 2 i7-920 D0 CPU's from Microcenter for $200 / ea.
Budgetwise, willing to go as high as $1000 per computer, excluding the $200 / ea for the CPUs and the additional monitor


Here are the parts I'm ordering for each computer:
ASUS P6T $230
OR
ASUS P6X58D $310

DIAMOND Radeon HD 5850 $300

OCZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage $130 after MIR

CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX $130 after MIR

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 500GB x2 in RAID0 $55 x2 = $110
OR
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 1TB $90

Sony Optiarc Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X $31

CoGage True Spirit Heatpipe CPU Cooler with 120mm PWM Silent Fan for Intel LGA1366 $35

CoGage True Spirit Bolt Through Kit $10

YATE LOON 120mm Case Fan - D12SH-12 $5
I'll be replacing the True Spirit stock fan with this one.

For him: Cooler Master Sniper $140
For her: Cooler Master 690ii Advanced $85

My wife does not need a monitor, but I do. I'm looking for 22"-24", non-TN, and I'm leaning towards the HP LP2475W $510

Total: For each computer, and without the additional monitor, $800 with the P6T, or $880 with the P6X58D

Questions:
1) Will these work together?
2) For the MoBo, any suggestions welcome. I was all set to get the ASUS P6T, until I saw the P6X58D on sale at Newegg for $280, though they look like they are out of stock already and the price is back to $310. Going for the P6T, since I need to buy 2, I could save $160 over the P6X58D, but the P6X58D is more future-proof. Any thoughts?
3) I don't understand RAM too well. Is what I have ok, any suggestions instead?
4) I chose the HSF based on a recent comparison done by benchmarkreviews, where they showed the CoGage beat out the Megahalems. Again, don't know much about OC or HSF, but any suggestions here are also welcome.
5) Will the 2 500GB HDD in RAID0 be that much better than the 1TB HDD?

January 20, 2010 10:44:57 AM

^ First off for your questions...
1. Yes these will work together.
2. Yes you get a very good Gigabyte mobo, similar to the P6T and comes with USB 3.0 and SATA 6GB/s
GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

3. The RAM that you have seleceted is fine but for a high overclock, you will need something better...The timings and the speed are same but the Corsair will be more stable...
CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

4. The Cogage is a very good HSF, but have seen people complaining about the retention mechanism being too hard to installl...
You can take a look at this cooler -
CM Hyper 212+ - With that Yate Loon fan, am sure it will give impressive results...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

5. RAID 0 wont help much in day-to-day tasks...so going with 1TB would be a better option...

Now for some suggestions about the builds...
I think you would need 2 different type of builds rathter than just a copy cat for you and your wife...
Needs are different buy why the same build ?
For your usage, I do see that the 920 is a good option but for your wife, IMO the i5 750 would better suit her needs...And crossfire for her ? I dont think she would need it...A single powerful card would suffice for what she plays...So dont go overkill for her build...And the i5 750 can easily be overclocked to 3.8GHz+ with a good air cooler like that CM Hyper 212+ and IMO it will be more powerful than any other CPUs operating at stock speeds...
Take a look at this article -
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-gaming-cpu,252...
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January 20, 2010 10:50:17 AM

Also you wont need more than the HD 5770 for your wife's PC...It can play any of the MMOs and the games that you have listed at Max settings at 1080p/ 1920x1200...So later on when you want to upgrade your graphics, then give the HD 5850 to your wife...

So saving money from your wife's build will give you the option of adding a SSD( for OS and apps) to your builds...It will considerably boost the OS and apps loading time to a great extent...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/windows-ssd-perform...\
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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January 20, 2010 10:50:41 AM

You've done your homework, that much is clear. Few suggestions:

P6T is a fine board. Only you can answer the question as to if it's worthwhile to be a pioneer in new specifications. I personally have my doubts concerning the the viability of SATA 6Gb/s, but at least most of them are resolved on the 1366. That being said it's only going to be an advantage for SSD's for quite awhile. USB 3 has some merit for small portable flash storage, faster recharging, but E-SATA is just as capable for large external storage.

I wouldn't touch the OCZ Gold. I'm usually the one telling people that Ram is Ram is Ram, but these things have gotten an extremely bad rep for being unreliable. Look into a low cost G.Skill kit.

That Corsair PSU is a champ. You won't go wrong with it. That being said the Seasonic 850w Silver is 60$ off right now for 119.99. It ranks right up there with the Corsair and you don't have to worry about MIR.

Cocage HSF has been reviewed exceptionally well. Very tough to beat for the price. The Venomous-X however is the newest revision of the TRUE, it comes pre-lapped and has a pressure mounting kit. There are reviews out there right now that show it destroying both Megahalems and TRUE Copper. It is 65 bucks however, on the upside you don't need to buy a separate pass-through.

YL's are a pro choice. Sure there are fans that cost 7x as much that are 3x louder that'll outperform them, but only by the smallest margins.

I wouldn't attempt RAID 0 with desktop harddrives in Win7. If one of the disks develops a bad sector it's going to drop from the array forcing you to rebuild. There are RAID supported enterprise versions of the HDD but they are 150$. These disks are quick enough for storage.

Try to squeeze in the 129$ Intel 30g x25-v as a pure os drive. While it doesn't have the performance of the 80gb x25-m it's half the cost. It's still a night and day difference from running win on a hdd.

The only concern I have with the HP2475w (and it's a minor one) is that when in portrait mode the base extends a few mm beyond the edges of the screen. No big deal right? It is if you plan on running 3x of them in an Eyefinity array. You'll end up having to buy 3rd party arm extenders to get them flush. Dell u2410 is in the same ballpark for price and features (displayport, ips, pivotable) though many users are reporting pink/green tint issues. For my money I'd go with the older Dell 2408wfp. You'd save about 150 bucks, it's c-pva (maybe s-pva I forget now), supports displayport and pivot.
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January 20, 2010 11:10:23 AM

med1emergency said:

Questions:
1) Will these work together?
2) For the MoBo, any suggestions welcome. I was all set to get the ASUS P6T, until I saw the P6X58D on sale at Newegg for $280, though they look like they are out of stock already and the price is back to $310. Going for the P6T, since I need to buy 2, I could save $160 over the P6X58D, but the P6X58D is more future-proof. Any thoughts?
3) I don't understand RAM too well. Is what I have ok, any suggestions instead?
4) I chose the HSF based on a recent comparison done by benchmarkreviews, where they showed the CoGage beat out the Megahalems. Again, don't know much about OC or HSF, but any suggestions here are also welcome.
5) Will the 2 500GB HDD in RAID0 be that much better than the 1TB HDD?


Looks like a solid start to a build. Some thoughts on your questions...

1.) It would appear all these items should work together, though I did not check your specific RAM against the MOBO QVL list. More on this in questions 3.

2.) I like the P6X58D only because of future proofing. It comes equipped with SATA 6.0 and USB 3.0 ports. Although there aren't many devices out at the moment that use these, I'm sure there will be over the next year. Also the board is suppose to support 6-core processors when they come out.

3.) However OCZ is mainstream and as such I imagine you won't have any issues. I recently purchased RAM for the P6X58D and went with: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... . Each MOVO manufacture show have a link on their website that allows your to view/download a qualified vendors list of memoery. The list contains brands and models numbers the manufacture has verfied works with your particular MOBO. Now that being said, if it is not on the list it doesn't mean it won't work, it just means the manufacture hasn't confirmed it. Most mainstream brands (OCZ, G. Skill, Crucial, Mushkin, Corsair, etc) should work just fine. I'd stick with the 1600 (12800) variety if you are considering overclocking. As far as latency the lower the better in general but I"m not sure you will "feel" a performance difference in anything other then benchmarking tests.

4.) There are a lot of inidependant review sites that have cooler rankings. Which one is "best" depends on which site you visit. What I think really matters is staying away from which ones are worst. If you pick something in the top 10 on one site and it appears in the top ten on another site, chances are you have a decent cooler. I looked at CoGage as well, when considering my system build but didn't buy it only because Newegg didn't carry it and I got all my parts through them. Megahalems is a premium cooler, with a premium price tag (once you add a fan its about $75 I think.) Unless you are planning to overclock a lot, above 4GHz, then you might consider a less expensive but well rated cooler: CoolMaster 212

The cooler affect the rate of heat extracted from the CPU but equally important is getting a case will good ventillation, mainly because if the case holds heat then the fan on the CPU cooler will only blow hot air across the fins. Then it won't matter how good of air cooler you have.

5.) This question I'm really not sure about, so I will leave that answer up to someone else.

One other thing, if you are building a system for gaming then I would strongly recommend you check out a P55 chipset, 1156 socket configuration. You would use a i5 750 that will cost $100 less and is still overeclockable. Most games won't tell a difference because most games don't optimize hyperthreading technology-which is what you are paying for with the i7 920. The 1156 board are less expensive as well. There are numerous build examples throughout Tom's for i5 builds.

FPS really focus on the GPU you select, I would say if that is your interest a 5870 GPU might last you longer than the 5850. If you use a i5 build, with the 5870 I think you will be pleased with the outcome on any FPS you play. As far as the upcoming Diablo III, Blizzard tends to design games that will be usable by the masses. Therefore they don't usually make it so that you need cutting edge technology to run their games, otherwise they can't have 12 million people buy them. I think that either the i9 build or the i5 that is dicussed here will more than handle new titles from Blizzard.
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January 20, 2010 8:01:19 PM

Best answer selected by med1emergency.
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January 20, 2010 10:15:01 PM

gkay09 said:

3. The RAM that you have seleceted is fine but for a high overclock, you will need something better...The timings and the speed are same but the Corsair will be more stable...
CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

a4mula said:

I wouldn't touch the OCZ Gold. I'm usually the one telling people that Ram is Ram is Ram, but these things have gotten an extremely bad rep for being unreliable. Look into a low cost G.Skill kit.


Appreciate the advice. Is there any significant difference between G.skill or the Corsairs, or should I just go for which is cheaper?

gkay09 said:

5. RAID 0 wont help much in day-to-day tasks...so going with 1TB would be a better option...


That's good to hear. The 500MB HDD are out of stock anyways.

gkay09 said:

Now for some suggestions about the builds...
I think you would need 2 different type of builds rathter than just a copy cat for you and your wife...
Needs are different buy why the same build ?
For your usage, I do see that the 920 is a good option but for your wife, IMO the i5 750 would better suit her needs...And crossfire for her ? I dont think she would need it...A single powerful card would suffice for what she plays...So dont go overkill for her build...And the i5 750 can easily be overclocked to 3.8GHz+ with a good air cooler like that CM Hyper 212+ and IMO it will be more powerful than any other CPUs operating at stock speeds...


Good points, but the CPU's are already bought. I just wanted to keep things simple building my first (2) computer(s) since they'd have identical parts. I agree she won't need crossfire for the types of games she plays, and I'll definitely consider a more 'value-oriented' card for her, a 5770 should be ok. Certainly would save a bit of cash.
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February 27, 2012 6:37:16 PM

If you do go ahead and build two identical systems, I'd recommend NOT ordering the parts for the second system yet. There's no discount for a "quantity buy"...and if you build a "pilot" system first, you will be able to see if there are any problems or component incompatibilities.
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