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Top End Enthusiast System, No Expense Spared - Parts Advice Request

Last response: in Systems
January 23, 2010 12:13:56 AM

Hey all! :hello: 
New member here, I'm just looking for some opinions as per below:


BUDGET RANGE: No real budget. Let's say, £7500. That's what, $14,000 or so IIRC
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, media (films/tv/etc), image/video editing, general usage
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: This build requires all new parts and peripherals, please see below.
PARTS PREFERENCES: All parts specified below - I'm looking for opinions on my suggestions
MONITOR RESOLUTION: Not important; will go with native res of monitor
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Would prefer it not to be TOO noisy, so suggestions for sound dampening are also good.

Ok, on with the post!

Let's say there is this gamer / video editor / etc with near unlimited funds. He or she wishes to construct a rig of the most behemoth proportions. Their current system and all peripherals are out of date, and thus it is deemed vital for a completely new, revitalised computer and set of instruments on which to operate this computer.

Below I post a specification.. I would greatly appreciate comments, ideas, suggestions and opinions on this theoretical super-system. Opinions such as whether it's better to wait for X amount of time for a certain new processor, whether one brand of hard drive is better than another, or whether 2 graphics cards will generally perform just as well as three for most applications.

I fell out of "the loop" quite some time ago so I am a little lost as to the new standards. When I last was seriously involved in "hardcore" computing and OCing, processor quality and speed was generally measured in the MHz and GHz rather than how many cores it has. Basically everything in computing has moved on since then, and I'm appreciative of any suggestions, comments and opinions that you might have on this super rig :) 

A few caveats:

1) All suggested components must be from the same site, - unless they're fairly cheap.

2) It's a theoretical system with a theoretically unlimited budget, so you don't need to feel held down by cost WITHIN REASON. So, whilst there's no need to suggest a lower component purely because it's cheaper, please don't go suggesting those £2,000-per-card super-special-dedicated-CAD type graphics cards :D 

3) No watercooling. Air only.

Thank you all!



Intel Core i7 975 3.33Ghz (Nehalem) Extreme Edition (Socket LGA1366) - Retail

Intel X25-E Extreme 64GB 2.5" SATA-II Solid State Hard Drive (SSDSA2SH064G1)

Dell UltraSharp U2410 24" Widescreen LCD Monitor

EVGA Classified 4-Way SLI Intel X58 (Socket 1366) DDR3 Motherboard (170-BL-E762-A1)

EVGA GeForce GTX 295 Co-Op FTW 1792MB GDDR3 PCI-Express Graphics Card (Single PCB)

Zalman GT1000 Z-Machine Case - Black

Corsair Dominator GT 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 PC3-16000C8 2000MHz Triple Channel Kit (CMG6GX3M3A2000C8)

Logitech Z-5500 THX Certified 5.1 Speaker System (970115-0120)

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Elite Pro 7.1 Sound Card (70SB055A02000)

Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB SATA-II 64MB Cache - OEM (WD2001FASS)

Tagan PipeRock TG1100-BZ 1100w Modular BZ Series Power Supply

Pioneer BDR-S05 12x Blu-Ray Writer / 16x DVD±RW Drive - Black (Retail)

Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate - Retail (Full Version)

Logitech Cordless Desktop MX 5500 Revolution (920-000449)

Coolermaster V10 TEC Hybrid CPU Cooler (Socket 940/AM2/AM3/LGA775/LGA1366)

Akasa AK-178-UV 12" Cold Cathode - Ultra-Violet

Akasa AK-178-BL 12" Cold Cathode - Blue

Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound (3.5g)

Akasa SATA-2 100cm DayGlo Blue UV Data Cable

Let's see that graphically:

(Click images to see them in full size)

My main concerns (and subsequently questions) are:

1) Each graphics card will take up two slots, I assume, so with the sound card in the last slot, I'd have no spare PCIE slots remaining (as there are 7 in total. 2 spaces taken up by each card times 3 cards = 6, plus sound).

2) Ideally I want to put the two SSD drives in RAID 0 for the speed/space as a system (C) drive for the OS and programs, and put the two rust drives in RAID1 mirroring for data safety. Can this RAID configuration be done on the motherboard? Which is supposed to support RAID. More importantly, can the mobo have two different RAID schemes going on at the same time?

3) Obviously if the above is "no", I'll need a RAID/SATA adaptor card.. Which means the loss of one graphics card.

4) There should be enough SATA slots, IIRC this mobo has like 9 ports. But are some treated differently / at slower speeds than others? Is there a disadvantage to having 6 drives simultaniously? (4HDs plus 2 optical) (This may seem a very noobish question.. But the last time I built a rid it was using IDE :D )

5) Is there really an advantage of having THREE of those graphics cards rather than just two? Is there likely to be much performance game in the highest end games at the highest settings? Will it even work properly using 3 cards or is this one of those cases, like multiple processors, where apps have to be written specifically for SLI.. especially beyond 2 cards (this mobo actually supports up to 4! Sheesh...)

6) Are there known quality / data safety issues with these SSDs, or RAID 0, beyond the obvious? (if one drive breaks, all data is lost)

7) Generally, is there anything in this system that is incompatible / may cause problems?

8) The OS would be 64-bit obviously. Do all of these components have 64 bit drivers?

9) The Heatsink is very big.. Would it fit ok in the case? Would it get in the way of anything on the motherboard?

10) The graphics cards are very big - will the SATA cables be able to fit into the mobo with enough clearance? Or would I need to use right-angle cables on the mobo? In the case of right-angles, if the slots are in banks with one in front of another, will the cables block access to the next SATA port along? And if so, will I still be able to access enough slots to plut in all 6 of the devices? (I recently had this problem on a computer that I had to fix).

Anything else you can think to mention.. I appreciate it :) 


Links to all of the components for reference:

SSD Hard Drives
Graphics Cards
Sound Card
SATA Hard Drives (rust)
Power Supply
Optical Drives
NOTE: It seems there is a problem with those optical drives at the moment, so also see these:
Other Optical Drives
Keyboard & Mouse
Heatsink & Fan
SATA cables

I didn't bother linking the TIM as everyone knows Arctic Silver, or the CCs as they're just cosmetic.

So, that's it! Any opinions/suggestions/warnings/etc?
Thanks again :) 
January 23, 2010 12:43:42 AM

wow, well i know that this is no expense, but here are my suggestions:

CPU: GET THE I7 920!!! if you seriously want to waste 730$, then go for the 975, but i recommend against it.

MOBO: dont get that one, it is only for video cards, and this one is extremely good, has sata 6/usb 3.0, and very, very good:

VIDEO CARDS: Get 2x 5970, it will way outperform 4x 285, and even more so 2x 295, and use less power, have dx11, and cost a lot less:


SSD: get these, it is more space, and debatably faster than the intel:

STORAGE HDD: well, you can either get a higher capacity ssd like this:

or you can get a normal hdd like this:

CASE: that case isnt so awesome, so i would recommend these, in order they are put in:

all of those are amazing, and better than the zalman, and cheaper.

RAM: above 1600 MHz does nothing, lower latency however does, so i recommend these:

MONITOR: with a budget like that, why not get a 30 inch, 2560x1600 monitor, like this:

or an amazing led monitor:

PSU: more isnt always better, get this corsair, its one of the best:

or one of my favorites, most energy efficient, quiet, and all around amazing:

the rest is basically ok, those are the main parts, im too lazy to do the rest :lol:  well, sorry for the long post, but i hoped that helped.

January 23, 2010 1:04:05 AM

Thank you for that Ares, that's great! Very helpful :) 
One quick question, the 5970, could you theoretically link up 3 of *those*?I'm not sure as to the subtle differences between Crossfire and SLI, or how this mobo would impact on it. I remember picking the 295 because I wasn't sure how well ATI cards would work on this mobo.

Oh also, with the SSD, I heard that the Intel chipset is the most reliable at the moment.. Do you know what the Corsair ones are like in terms of reliability? I know Corsair has a good rep with RAM but I haven't heard much regarding their SSDs

Oh and just out of interest, how come >1600Mhz on the RAM doesn't affect the system? Is that down to a bottleneck on the mobo or just the fact that the system can't "use" speeds about that due to the timings of the other stuff? Just wondering.

Thank you again for your input!
Also, anyone else with an opinion please post it, it's always good to see all the different sides :) 

Related resources
January 23, 2010 1:21:59 AM

first off, no, the most you can have at the moment is 2 dual core gpus, but both are working on more. the 5970 destroys the 295 though:

by a total margin of 34%, and up to 85%, so 2 vs 2 would be even more. and with the corsair, ssds by nature have crazy fast read, but much slower write, and the intel and corsair are very similar in build, with slight advantages to each. if you want to see some of the best (from america/newegg) here they are:

the vertex is the best/fastest ive ever seen, with the other 2 being equally fast, but much more capacity. the reason the vertex and intel cost so much more, but have so much less capacity is because they both use slc architecture, vs mlc from the corsair and others. slc has a few advantages like lasting much longer (50-150 years) and being faster, where as mlc have higher capacity, and are cheaper. however, mlc is almsot just as fast, and last so long, it doesnt even matter anymore, but slc is still low capacity and expensive. if that was confusing, sorry, and about the ram, toms did a study of 1066 ram at 5-5-5-15, vs 1600 MHz ram at 9-9-9-28, and the 1066 ram won, and tied it, since timings are very important. the cpu cant really go fatser than 1600, mobos cant, you wont notice a difference, and lower voltage and latency is much better.
January 23, 2010 1:54:12 AM

Ahh, that's great, thank you for making sense of that for me :) 
January 23, 2010 2:02:23 AM

lol your welcome, anything else?
January 23, 2010 3:02:58 AM

Hmm.. One quick thing,
With the case, the Obsidian is nice but it's steel rather than Alu.. Do you think that would make a big difference regarding heat dissipation?
January 23, 2010 11:59:08 AM

hahaha i have never heard somebody ask that. there would either be no difference, or it would be so minute, it wouldnt matter. also, steel is generally considered a sign of quality, so the obsidian might be good for you.
January 23, 2010 12:10:49 PM

I'm jealous! Impressive build and great advice from ares!

That is all I have to say ...
January 23, 2010 12:23:01 PM little jealous, but my 955 and 4890 crossfire are plenty good for me, max everything out basically.
January 23, 2010 12:24:16 PM

Really ares? I thought it was common knowledge that alu = better? It certainly was back when I used to be really into the stuff.. That's why alu cases cost so much more. But I guess with that many fans it doesn't really matter :D .

Another quick Q.. Regarding the primary hard drives,

I've read that SSDs have a problem with slowing down a lot when they start to get full - which would happen quickly with only 128GB of storage. Also that you can't defrag them.. And also that when you RAID SSDs together, you can't make use of TRIM. So the way I see it, I have a few options:

* Get only one X25-E. Only 64GB storage :( 
* Get two X25-Es in RAID 0 - more storage, but not a lot and now I can't utilise TRIM
* Get an X25-M. They do one in 160GB for only £350, which gives more storage but is onyl MLC rather than SLC..
* Get two X25-Ms in RAID 0. Plenty of storage (320GB), but no TRIM.
* Get one of these: - 512GB, which is plenty, and avoids having to have two (and thus the TRIM problem). BUT, it's MLC, and also not the Intel brand..

I'm not sure how much of a difference the fact that it's an Intel SSD makes these days.. And the choices are tough. What do you think, given those choices above?
(Oh, and with the secondary drives - sure, it would be nice to have a large SSD, but money-wise I have to draw the line somewhere, and another £1,100 for 500GB of storage when I can have 2TB (really 4TB, but in RAID 1) for £460 is.. Well, I'll stick with rust in this case :D )

vanbroeK - thanks! It's kinda a theoretical build at the moment, but you never know! I'll update this post if it ever happens :) 
January 23, 2010 12:28:00 PM

yea, have you already bought it? ooo and sorry to Mayonati for going a bit off topic :D 
January 23, 2010 12:28:08 PM

Looks awesome! Good luck with the build :) 
What is your current PC?

No worries ares :) 
January 23, 2010 12:32:47 PM

Yeah sorry for hijacking the thread :( 

I haven't brought it but I hope to in a few weeks.

Current Setup:

Intel Atom N230, 1.6ghz
Intel GMA 950 Graphics

It's really struggling!
January 23, 2010 12:36:45 PM

lol, o wow, i guess it would...your budget is 1000$ right
January 23, 2010 12:37:05 PM

Nah it's no problem :) 
Haha, I can imagine that's struggling, yeah. Well, your new rig will be a breath of fresh air!
January 23, 2010 12:40:01 PM

LOL yeah.

Yeah it's around $1000 (AUD). Trying to save for gym membership so don't want to go over and even if I can save that would be good.

January 23, 2010 12:54:22 PM

do you mind if i give you a way better build form newegg?
January 23, 2010 1:03:22 PM

o, that too bad, just got a 975$ build on newegg with the 965, 700 watt psu, and the 5770 with 4 gigs of fast ram, but as long as you get dual channel, that build is good.
January 23, 2010 1:13:58 PM

It is a shame! Just wish they did some shipping to Australia for a reasonable price. Or even better, we had a replica sotore in Aus.

Although you can see if you can beat the build on umart :D 

Nah it's alright lunyone did an awesome job and he was great!!

By dual channel do you mean RAM, i'm noob sorry.
January 23, 2010 1:16:26 PM

yea, luyone did do a awesome job, but yea, by dual channel i mean memory, am3 is meant for dual channel, not triple channel, so instead of getting 3x1 get 2x2.
January 23, 2010 1:18:33 PM

So, uhm, ares, any chance you could answer my question too?:p  I'll post it again:

I've read that SSDs have a problem with slowing down a lot when they start to get full - which would happen quickly with only 128GB of storage. Also that you can't defrag them.. And also that when you RAID SSDs together, you can't make use of TRIM. So the way I see it, I have a few options:

* Get only one X25-E. Only 64GB storage :( 
* Get two X25-Es in RAID 0 - more storage, but not a lot and now I can't utilise TRIM
* Get an X25-M. They do one in 160GB for only £350, which gives more storage but is onyl MLC rather than SLC..
* Get two X25-Ms in RAID 0. Plenty of storage (320GB), but no TRIM.
* Get one of these: [...] =HD-010-KS - 512GB, which is plenty, and avoids having to have two (and thus the TRIM problem). BUT, it's MLC, and also not the Intel brand..

I'm not sure how much of a difference the fact that it's an Intel SSD makes these days.. And the choices are tough. What do you think, given those choices above?
January 23, 2010 1:28:54 PM

well, ssds arent meant to hold all of your files, just a os and the most important games and files. like i said before, mlc last a long time, and have mostly solved the problems they have before. at maximum speed, a good mlc can last from 7-10 years easily, and speed degredation is being mostly solved, since it isnt really slowing down with time, its just that it can only do a certain number of writes, so when it gets closer to that number, it takes more time to find empty space, and more errors occur. a NORMAL use, this would occur after maybe 10 or 20 years for mlc, and decades, possibly even a century for slc. for this reason, a lot of people put their important files in a raid 1 hdd setup, and their os and games on the ssd.
January 23, 2010 1:36:16 PM

Yeah, that's the plan, to just use the SSD for the OS and games. Aside from anything else, it's too expensive to have terabytes of SSD space.
That said, there's been a lot of talk of SSDs slowing down as they get more full - not long-term degradation, but just massively slowing down as the disk reaches capacity - as apparently you can't really defrag them and deleting files doesn't work the same way that it does on a normal hard drive.. I was just wondering if this is still an issue?

So, assuming that MLCs and SLCs are fairly comparative when it comes to performance, is there a huge jump in quality/speed when it comes to the Intel drives vs. others? Everywhere you look on the net at reviews the Intel drives come out on top, often by a long way, I'm just wondering if there's a reason for that or if the gap has been bridged, but the reviews don't reflect that because new reviews haven't been posted, etc? As stuff concerning SSDs goes out of date pretty fast.

Obviously there are a lot of SSD choices, but it seems to make sense to either go for a really fast/HQ Intel X25-E, but then there isn't as much capacity. Or maybe the X25-M, which at least is Intel.. But if there's not much differance between Intel and the other brands, I can get that 500GB one which gives the storage and a decent price / speed
January 23, 2010 1:50:55 PM

some of the reasons intel is so good, are:

They use the a very very good controller (so does ocz, samsung, and some corsair)

Use slc architechure (so does the vertex)

they have 64 mb onboard cache, and very fast write speeds, and mad from very quality parts

Support TRIM

thats about it... as shown here, the vertex turbo beats the intel:

but in others, the intel wins...basically any ssd will be amazing.