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Power PC: Gaming + CS4 (FINAL APPROVAL)

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January 26, 2010 4:12:06 PM

The trigger has been pulled and it has been purchased!

I'm looking to take the plunge and build a PC. My experience is limited, though. From the research I've done so far, I've come up with what is below. What I have so far has put me in the upper part of my spending range. I'm 100% content spending this much, but is it too much power?

Approximate Purchase Date: Within 1-2 Weeks.
Budget Range: $1000-$1800.
System Usage: Adobe Master Suite (mostly Photoshop, CS4 series), gaming (WoW mostly), general surfing.
Parts Not Required: All peripherals, I'm ONLY building the tower.
Preferred Website: Just Newegg.com
Parts Preferences: See below for my starting point.
Overclocking: Yes, moderate.
SLI/Crossfire: Yes.
Resolution: 1920x1200.

Here is the part listing that I am currently at (updated 01/26/10 3:20pm EST):

Processor
Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz ($288.99)
The reviews of the i7 were strong, and this seemed like a great powerhouse for the price range. This is a must.

Cooling
Cooler Master V8 ($74.99)
Cooler Master 212 ($29.99) - Shed $45 off the V8, per fatkid35.

Case
Lian Li Lancool PC-K62 ($99.99)
The cases have so many vantage points, but I settled on this one so far. The big draw is the ease of installation and the filters.

Motherboard
ASRock X58 Extreme ($169.99)
ASUS P6X58D Premium LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard ($295.99)
Given how frequently I upgrade hardware, the ASRock should be sufficient. USB 3.0 was the big draw for me, but if cards are that cheap, then if it comes to pass, I will pick one up. Thanks for the feedback! :) 

RAM
CORSAIR XMS3 12GB (6 x 2GB) ($339.99)
G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) CL7 ($159.99) - Shed $180, and a second kit will still run $20 less if I need to expand.
G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) CL9 ($159.99).
CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 ($179.99)
G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 ($169.99) - The CORSAIR became unavailable temporarily, and I got impatient. :) [/i]

Graphics Cards
2x EVGA 512-P3-N871-AR GeForce 9800 GTX 512MB (SLI) ($134.99 x 2 = $268.98)
SAPPHIRE 100283L Radeon HD 5770 (Juniper XT) 1GB ($154.99)
SAPPHIRE 100282SR Radeon HD 5850 1GB ($279.99)
Since I'm going back to the other ASRock, and the reviews are gushing for this 5850, I'll go with this. Combo deal drops it $20.

Hard Drives
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM ($99.99 x 2 = $199.98)
Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB ($89.99 x 2 = $179.98) - Per MadAdmiral and mavanhel.
Intel X25-M SATA II 80GB ($289.99) - After reading about SSD, I decided I really wanted this one.

Power Supply
CORSAIR CMPSU-850HX 850W ATX12V ($169.99)
SeaSonic X750 Gold 750W ($189.99)
OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ700MXSP 700W ATX12V V2.2 ($99.99) - Also has another $40 Combo saving.
I decided to go back to the CORSAIR. When I plugged in my goal specs into the system, I want a bit of a buffer.

DVD Burner
LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 24X DVD-R SATA Black 24X DVD Writer LightScribe Support ($28.99)
DVD Players used to be expensive. Holy crap!

Card Reader
Koutech IO-RCM620 USB 2.0 3.5" Card Reader ($19.99)
Inexpensive and essential.

Totals
$1,867.33
$1,567.33!
$1,477.32
$1,722.32
$1,687.32
$1,998.32

Looking for feedback to see if I have good choices, if any may be overkill. I'm happy at this price point, but I don't know hardware as well as most on this website. Thank you in advance for your help!
January 26, 2010 4:24:21 PM

HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB. It's cheaper by $10 each, and it's faster, quieter and runs cooler.

GPU: Check for cheaper 5770s. $180 is on the expensive side. I know there are $155 ones.

Other than those minor things, it's a great build.
January 26, 2010 4:24:40 PM

Looks like you're basically set to make the call, but (not sure if I mentioned this earlier, if I did and you didn't like the idea you should ignore me) you can go with the Samsung F3 Spinpiont 1TB which is faster/quieter/cooler than the WD drive you have listed and runs only around $85. The only problem is that sometimes it's a bit tricky to find, and in the case that it's unavailable everywhere go with the Seagate 7200.12 which is the same price as your WD, but faster.
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January 26, 2010 4:49:48 PM

New adjustments posted: dropping the price. I managed to get the same 5770 for $25 cheaper with a Win7 combo deal I missed before. The reviews for it are nice, so I think it's a good buy.

I also took the advice on the Samsung F3 and put that on there. Thank you again, looks to be almost complete.
January 26, 2010 4:59:11 PM

Don't blow the extra money on the better motherboard... USB 3.0 and SATA 6.0gb/s are features you won't really be able to take advantage of in the near future especially because 1. they'll cost you a premium and 2. you probably won't be upgrading your harddrive soon and 3.0gb/s is already super fast. You're better off saving the dough and using that money on your next system
January 26, 2010 5:09:20 PM

It's like $20 difference. And they're already coming out with SATA III devices. Do you remember what it was like trying to transfer things over USB 1? It was horrible. That $20 is well worth it.

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January 26, 2010 5:53:09 PM
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Why did you change the motherboard?

The Asrock x58 Extreme is a very nice board with a load of features. USB 3.0 isn't going to be mainstream for the next two years for sure, (Intel, if my memory serves me correctly) is even blocking it being implemented on current motherboards as a standard feature and is pushing the date to mid 2011, also how many devices have you seen that support USB 3.0? probably a few external hard drives, but E-Sata is still far quicker and the asrock just happens to have a powered E-Sata connection.

6.0 Sata is also still no where near mainstream and even when it does mainstream only SSD will take advantage of the added bandwidth. I love the idea of adding a SSD but the price just isn't right (for the moment). Also you have chosen two Sata 3.0 hard drives which are very quick and very large, do you honestly think you'll be buying a SSD anytime soon? and how many current SSD's utilize Sata 6.0 full potential?

It's obviously just something to think about, I mean you could always buy a USB 3 or Sata 6.0 card at a later stage when they become mainstream, however by that time you will probably be looking at a new setup.


And this is more important. I'm not 100% sure but don't Nvidia graphics cards run CS 4 a lot better then Ati cards? Ati are currently king of the hill when it comes to games! But I thought that Nvidia cards supported CS 4 a lot better, something to do with CUDA? I'm sure someone here will have the answer, but if Nvidia is better you could always consider using your current graphics card for a short period just to see what Nvidia has to offer in March, but I would discourage using their current cards as they are less future proof.

It's just my 2ct, I hope I've been able to help a little.
January 26, 2010 6:02:12 PM

Some how I can't edit my last post but I just found a bunch of USB 3/ Sata 6.0 add-on cards for as little as 30 dollars. I doubt that'll break the bank in one or two years time.
January 26, 2010 6:26:43 PM

More excellent feedback: this is such a great website. :) 

Given the feedback on the MOBO, and the cards Tridec mentioned, I'll revert back to the ASRock. Personally, I don't upgrade frequently. While future proofing is nice, it's simply not as practical for me as others.

I also went up to the Radeon 5850 for now, but I will look into CS4 information with ATI/nV compatibility and features. Right now the price sits where it was before, additional peripherals included.

Thank you all again, and I will be checking back soon. :) 
January 28, 2010 1:41:42 PM

It has been done and this has been purchased.

One question I should have asked before pulling: since I added an X25-M SSD, because of the speed, is my MOBO still fine or should I consider returning for something stronger?
January 28, 2010 1:45:50 PM

Your motherboard is fine. It's still a SATA II connection.
January 28, 2010 1:48:35 PM

Well I have to thank everyone here for their input. Hardware has never been my strong suit and this has been a massive learning experience for me.

As I have production equipment, I'm going to film and take pictures of the building process in case anyone is ever interested enough to follow it. The end result is sure to be a blast! The late SSD addition is getting me excited for load speeds. :) 
!