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First i7 rig, flexible budget ($1-1500) Need advice.

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January 21, 2010 4:58:22 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: January 29th
BUDGET RANGE: 1000-1500

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Monitor, Mouse, PSU, Case, Video card

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg or best deal
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: US

PARTS PREFERENCES: Thermaltake/Corsair/Intel/Nvidia/Trusted

OVERCLOCKING: Yes
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Probably going SLI ~ Febuary 4th

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Have quite a few parts picked out looking for input on the rig as a whole and ANY input that can help me make the right decisions.

ASUS Rampage II Extreme LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard
Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor - Picked as second best budget CPU on a toms review ~2 days ago
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Noctua NH-D14 120mm & 140mm SSO CPU Cooler
CORSAIR DOMINATOR-GT 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMG6GX3M3A1600C7

As above, any input would be nice :) 

More about : rig flexible budget 1500 advice

January 21, 2010 5:32:09 AM

^ What plans do you have for overclocking ?

I feel ATI cards are a better bet...By cutting short on the premium components that you have selected, you can easily get a HD 5850 or above...

And Open box item ? No back plate, cables, CD, nothing...
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January 21, 2010 6:08:46 AM

Honestly I have most all the cables I could EVER need here at the house. Newegg has NEVER let me down on an open box to date, and it still has a return policy if I end up getting it and not being ok with it, or REALLY needing the CD (though, that should be an easy work around)


The only REAL thing i was worried about is the backplate honestly lol.

I already have the 260 gtx... just one of the ways to save money, heh, I'm really not THAT into overclocking the video card to much more than it already comes OC'd.

Really thinking more of OCing on the processor/(POSSIBLY)Ram
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January 21, 2010 6:45:47 AM

^ You can take a look at the i7 860...it overclocks very well, at stock it performs better than the 920...
And if you want full badnwidth on the PCIe slots, then check this mobo...
ASUS P7P55 WS SuperComputer - Will overclock well and will provide x16x16...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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January 21, 2010 7:43:48 AM

yea, I was comparing the Rampage and the "super computer" a lot... but in the end the Rampage just has better ratings from overclocking forums and has a stable history.... Why change what isint broken?

Also, According to the Toms psu link the other day.... lemme see if i can find a link.... this out preforms the 860 :/ 
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January 21, 2010 8:08:42 AM

^ I do agree about the advantages of the 920, but that is the reason why I suggested that specific mobo - It offers full x16x16 bandwidth with the help of the NF200 unlike other P55 mobos...
But its your call though...

And also are you planning for an overclock of 4GHz+ ? then only get that RAM...upto 4GHz, any standard 1600MHz preferably with CAS 8 can achieve that overclock...
Some other RAM options, which as good as the Dominators -
Mushkin
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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January 21, 2010 8:35:06 AM

Probably somewhere around there, if it will stable.... What exactly are the advantages of full bandwidth on pcie slots?


also on the ram, theres only a 40 dollar difference, I tend to try to stick to Corsair :/ 
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January 21, 2010 9:07:32 AM

^ Only high powered cards like the HD 5870/ GTX 295 and above, the full bandwidth will be advantageous as they will be able to deliver the maximum potential of the graphics card...

And as for the RAM, Corsair is no doubt one of the best...this one is also in the same league as the Dominators and currently they are priced lower than those and also have very good timings...that is the reason why I suggested those...
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January 21, 2010 9:10:21 AM

i see....

But with current 260 theres no REAL reason for full band?
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January 21, 2010 9:30:10 AM

^ I was referring to those cards when running 2 of those in SLI/ Crossfire...
And if you asking if it would matter much when running 2x GTX 260 in SLI at x8x8 rather than x16x16, then NO there wont be much performance hit when those cards run at that bandwidth...
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January 21, 2010 9:40:26 AM

half bandwidth only effects SLI, correct?

Wish i had the money to SLI 290s xD
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January 21, 2010 9:53:26 AM

^ Yes kinda...and that too only high powered cards like the GTX 295 as a single GTX 295 has 2 chips...so 2 chips sharing x16 would be better than sharing x8...But when running a single GTX 295 on any board, the slot will operate at x16...So that time it wont have any issues...
And GTX 295s are on their way out now...hopefully Nvidia's Fermi lives upto its expectations or else Nvidia will drastically loose its discrete Desktop market share to ATI's HD 5xxx series...
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January 21, 2010 10:59:33 AM

Killing me having to wait until the 29th to order all of this -.-

Really ready to start tweaking a new system, and thers NO feeling in the world like opening new computer parts imo xD
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January 21, 2010 11:08:00 AM

anyone see anything that I'm missing that would be a major upgrade?

Any obvious overlooks?
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January 21, 2010 11:25:47 AM

I also need to find a nice case.....

Preferably something flashy, but it MUST be able to be water cool friendly and have good airflow.


Edit: Thinking maybe this for a case.... Has a decent amount of "could have fixed" reviews.... but I'm OK with modding it a bit and working out the kinks.... If anyone knows a case similar to this, let me in on it please :) 
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January 22, 2010 6:14:36 AM

Was looking that that HAF before I found the raven....

Dunno, something about it really hits me. Love the HAF aswell though, its beautiful with the window over the massive fan.

Not to big of a fan of the Lian li.... They had an Armor suit back in the day that I LOVED but I can no longer find it....

Really like the idea of the way that mobo seats in the Raven aswell, though I've seen very little data to back up better cooling.
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January 22, 2010 6:15:54 AM

Also, that Lian-Li appears to use traditional screw mounting....

I hate traditional mounting :) 
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January 22, 2010 10:17:04 AM

wow, thats beautiful. I dont even know what else to say about it, thats a REALLY nice case.
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January 22, 2010 7:53:47 PM

hmmm..... Now I need to make a decision. Currently running a
Phenom 9950 Black edition @2.6
Gtx 260 OCX Maxcore (linked in first post)
4 gigs of RAM
GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-DS4 AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X ATX Ultra Durable II AMD -Horrible By the way -.-


Really need to upgrade honestly while I have the money.... However, I could also afford going Eyefinity with an HD5870(actually, I could probably go HD5970) and buying 2 more Monitors and then slowly buying the parts I listed here.

Only REAL problem with this scenario is that I'm pretty unhappy with the performance of both the CPU and the Mobo. Tons of errors and problems with both. But, Eyefinity is soooo beautiful, heh.

And I realize I could ALMOST do both if I didnt go with so many premium parts... But I honestly want this rig to last awhile and get the best performance out of the money as possible.

Any ideas?
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Best solution

January 23, 2010 5:58:15 AM

^ You can still go with a very good rig IMO...
CPU - i7 920
Mobo - Gigabyte X58A UD3R - A very good X58 board that will allow for a decent overclock and comes with USB 3.0 and SATA 6GB/s too...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM - Any of these are good...you can overclock the 920 say upto 4GHz wiht these ets without any major issues...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD - Samsung F3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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January 24, 2010 1:57:27 AM

Been out of the ATI loop for a LOOOOONG time.... who would you say the best company is to buy from these days? Heard a few say Sapphire, any ideas on this?
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January 24, 2010 3:12:44 AM

Lithnor said:
Been out of the ATI loop for a LOOOOONG time.... who would you say the best company is to buy from these days? Heard a few say Sapphire, any ideas on this?



Recently XFX has started making ATI cards, so that would be my first choice because of the double lifetime warranty.
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January 24, 2010 4:11:21 AM

I noticed they had a black edition of the 5970.... What exactly are the changes here? From what I can tell ALL 5970s come OC'd or OC capable already.

Also... Where the hell can I get my hands on a 5970... this is crazy! Everyone is out!
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January 24, 2010 9:57:31 AM

+1 for XFX...and even Sapphire is good too...
And as for the Black Edition ones, there are no major changes other than higher clocks...but have seen info on the net that the chips that are selected are higher binned parts - Which are more stable at higher speeds...but like you said, nearly all the 5970s have a good amount of headroom for a decent overclock...
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January 24, 2010 11:45:00 AM

I know Asus makes good.... Everything.... what about their Video cards?

Might possibly be able to get my hands on an Asus 5970, Better or worse than XFX/Sapphire?

Also, was told to stay away from diamond, any comments?
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January 24, 2010 10:51:59 PM

Lithnor said:
I know Asus makes good.... Everything.... what about their Video cards?

Might possibly be able to get my hands on an Asus 5970, Better or worse than XFX/Sapphire?

Also, was told to stay away from diamond, any comments?



I personally prefer XFX, but I know the Asus BIOS is better for overclocking if you have a 5850. I don't know if this applies to the 5970, but regardless all 5970's have headroom for overclocking. Your first choice should still be XFX/Sapphire depending which one you can get. If you can't get either I would go Asus first then diamond.
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January 24, 2010 11:34:43 PM

Sapphire is really better than Asus? Any reason? Any ideas for where to buy one? Only place I know of only has an asus. EVERYWHERE is out :/ 
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January 24, 2010 11:46:28 PM

Lithnor said:
Sapphire is really better than Asus? Any reason? Any ideas for where to buy one? Only place I know of only has an asus. EVERYWHERE is out :/ 



No real reason. I'm just used to recommending sapphire for ATI cards and I always recommended XFX for nvidia cards and now since they produce ATI cards I recommend them for ATI as well. I've only used sapphire and the occasional visiontek for ATI and I've never had a problem with sapphire, but some minor problems with visiontek. If you need this card now then go for the asus it's still a fine brand. Also if you get and XFX it is usually more expensive because of the double lifetime warranty.
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January 25, 2010 2:56:04 AM

@Lithnor that is more of a personal choice...
Go with any of these manufacturers -

XFX - Best warranty among the lot...

Sapphire - They have been the partners of ATI for a very long time...so their boards/ coolers are very good...

HIS & Powercolor & Diamond - Similar to Sapphire...And from where did you get the info about the Diamond cards ? I have not seen any major issues being reported on the net...

ASUS / Gigabyter - They have 3 years warranty compared to the 2 years from Sapphire and HIS...and also they are well known for their high qual;ity mobos, so they implement that knowledge to these boards as well...So you can expect high quality products from them too...

MSI - They have improved a lot both with their mobos and graphic cards...So even these are fine...
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January 25, 2010 3:46:52 AM

a few other posts here at toms as well as word of mouth @ diamond.

Was looking at the QVL for the rampage....

How do these stack up against the ones you linked? The only reason I ask is because this is the ONLY ram left alive that is on the QVL.

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January 25, 2010 3:52:28 AM

The RAM you linked is no compatible with an x58 board. You'll need triple channel ram such as the corsairs that were linked.
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January 25, 2010 3:54:51 AM

interesting... they are on the Rampage II extreme QVL.
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January 25, 2010 4:00:23 AM

The easiest way to tell if RAM is compatible with a x58 board is to see if comes in multiples of 3 meaning that it is triple channel, They come in only 3,6,9,12,etc kits
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January 25, 2010 4:11:45 AM

^ The RAM that you have linked operates at 1.9V, which is certainly not advisable to be used with a X58 chip...
Though it is on the QVL, but I have seen many people complain about the INSTABILITY of RAM sticks operating at voltages above 1.65V...
So I wouldn't suggest that RAM...
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January 25, 2010 4:13:56 AM

They were worried about that even in the thread I found the link to the QVL in actually.

Very odd to see it on the QVL if its possibly instable :/ 

I'll stick with the ones you linked, seem to be close to the dominator without the heat sinks.
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January 25, 2010 4:20:48 AM

^ Currently those stick are priced very attractively...If you have decided about the build, then make your purchase before the prices again jump up...
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January 25, 2010 4:24:49 AM

Lithnor said:
They were worried about that even in the thread I found the link to the QVL in actually.

Very odd to see it on the QVL if its possibly instable :/ 

I'll stick with the ones you linked, seem to be close to the dominator without the heat sinks.



It seems the QVL is very general as I see a lot of dual channel memory. It might include older rampage boards, but it is still very unusual.
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February 4, 2010 1:34:32 AM

Best answer selected by lithnor.
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