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Need Advice for First (Gaming) Computer Build

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February 7, 2010 11:33:03 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within the next month or two BUDGET RANGE: Up to $2,600 if even needed

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming (Crysis, Bioshock, Far Cry 2, Team Fortress 2, Left 4 Dead 1 & 2 ETC Latest and greatest as it comes out.) Youtube, Video editing.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Never ordered individual computer parts before, only a "custom" OEM Dell computer. From what I hear tigerdirect and new egg seem to be well respected.

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel Core i7, ASUS P6X58D Premium Intel X58 Chipset CrossFire and SLI Supported, Nvidia GPU (High end performance) , NZXT Tempest EVO case with the addition of adding a blue cold cathode neon light to go along with the blue lit led fans that already come with the Tempest EVO case.

OVERCLOCKING: Just recently got into overclocking with my laptop that has a 8600m GT GPU (with a custom quad fan cooling pad underneath) so i'm just grasping the concept of GPU overclocking but I have no expeirience really with CPU overclocking besides watching tutorials of people changing the multiplier to equal the new clock speed and chaning the voltage if it isn't fed well? I don't seem 100% confident with doing that yet becuase of the whole voltage thing and being paranoid about the CPU messing up scares me a bit but maybe if I was thoroughly educated on doing so and knowing I wouldn't mess up anything I might try it, provided I have good CPU cooling which I think the XIGMATEK Dark KNIGHT 120mm CPU cooling fan heatsink with heat pipe direct touch might do justice with. Maybe some overclocking in an SLI config also or depending on stock performance, if good enough, just SLI with no overlcock

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Currently 1920 x 1080

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Was originally going to buy the following config from iBuypower, but after doing research I have heard many times that building it yourself is both cheaper and more rewarding. Not to mention probably a bit more hassle free if you are educated enough in building your own system. For the most part I have done a fair amount of research on how to put together a system but the only parts that seem to intimidate me becuase of no expeirience is wiring and figuring out compatibilty as well as general cautions of doing something wrong like shorting out somthing or pluging something into the wrong thing becuase of not knowing a step or maybe too much thermal paste. Another thing is setting up bios for the first time. Installing the OS probably is as simple as just installing normally but I've never done a clean install on hardware with no previous OS. I might just be overthinking these things a bit becuase if you think of it in the simplest terms everything is probably labeled or just logically setup to where you cant plug a cable into the wrong spot but just the fact that i've never done it myself is probably what the fear is originating from. Anyways, here is what I was planning on getting from iBuypower:







NZXT Tempest EVO Gaming Tower Case Black

Cold Cathode Neon Light Blue

Intel® Core™ i7 920 Processor

(Or higher if I dont want to mess with overclocking since i'm a noob at CPU overclocking. I'm not on an extremely tight budget but if paying for the higher model cpu's is stupid in terms of possibly overclocking let me know haha)

XIGMATEK Dark Knight 120mm CPU Cooling Fan System H.D.T. (Heat-pipe direct touch) technology

6 GB [2 GB X3] DDR3-1600 Triple Memory Module (Corsair Dominator)

EVGA GTX 285 2GB SLI
(or single if SLI isnt that big of a performance boost in say Crysis for example. The reason I want the 2gb model is from my understanding the more framebuffer helps with higher AA levels? Also iBuypower only had the GTX 285 1gb model in the directly Nvidia made card and the XFX card and im not sure if those are good in quality or not compared to the EVGA since EVGA seems to be Nvidias strongpoint in CO-OP. But you would think a card directly from Nvidia wouldn't be too different. Is EVGA just factory overclocked?)

ASUS P6X58D Premium -- Intel X58 Chipset CrossFire and SLI Supported w/8-ch HD Audio, Triple-Channel DDR3, 2 Gb Lan, 3 PCI-E MB USB 3.0, S-ATA 3.0

1000 Watt -- Corsair CMPSU-1000HX Power Supply Quad SLI Ready
(Might be a bit overkill but it seems like a good future proof solution if I want to go triple or quad SLI in the future if my prefered motherboard even supports it. Plus being modular with 8 pin connecters that can split down to 6 pin PCI-E connectors sounds like it would be convieniant.)

1.5 TB HARD DRIVE -- 32M Cache, 7200 RPM, 3.0Gb/s
( iBuypower didn't provide any brand names so I'm not sure which hard drive brands are recommended here if I choose to go home built.)

[8X Blu-Ray] LG BLU-RAY Re-Writer, DVD±R/±RW Burner Combo Drive BLU-RAY Burner

12-In-1 Internal Flash Media Card Reader/Writer
(Again, not sure of good brands for something like this.)

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
(seems like it would be good since I dont think there is even much of a reason upgrading any higher for entertainment/gaming wise? Maybe security reasons provided I also have Spysweeper with antivirus that works amazingly.)


This excact setup with the exception of iBuypower set to the GTX 285 1GB SLI Nvidia made cards (becuase that's all they have besides the XFX) the total comes out to:

$2487 +Shipping of $109 2 day Fedex. - the only Shipping option available for shipping to Alaska.

GRAND TOTAL from iBuypower = $2596



If you managed to stick with me through all this text, do you see any problematic things I have in this setup? Maybe any incompatibilitys or any recommendations/ advice to a first time builder?

I appreciated any feedback.
February 7, 2010 3:08:19 PM

well to start off i don't see anything wrong compatibility wise. however, there are a few things i would recommend changing.

first and probably most importantly are the GPUs i put your build together on the egg and estimated that your spending 400+ dollars on each one. that is as much or more than a 5870. i understand if you prefer Nvidia, but at that price range the 5870 not only has tremendously better performance but it also has more features like DX11. (note: a 5850 = a GTX 285 in performance)

i would also ask yourself how long you plan to keep the build. because you could save money with the motherboard. the board you picked is great but it cost more because of Sata 3 and your HDD is Sata 2. if you aren't going to use that feature you might consider holding off. if you are going to it is totally worth it. just something you should ask yourself.

i think the i7 920 is great for crossfire if you end up going with one card i would look at an i5 860

I would also consider the Blu ray burner. if you don't really need the Blu-ray burning abilities then you can save about 80 bucks. agian just something to think about

lastly, you might think about a sound card. at this high of a build a 100 Asus or creative card will really improve audio quality. but this is really just a question of how much audio you listen to.

anyways these are just suggestions. the build you have currently will run with easy everything you have listed up there.

Hope this helps, good luck, and have fun!
February 7, 2010 3:09:15 PM

oki doki, first off, hello. now...

CPU: good, the higher clocked ones are stupid

CPU COOLER: definitely get water cooling for something like this, but also look for a v8, hyper 212, or scythe models

VIDEO CARD: NOOOOO, get 1 5870, or 1 5970, depending on your budget. the 5850 mauls the 285 hard:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-5850,2433...

and the dual 5870s destroys it, and it costs less too, uses less power, is newer, and supports dx11...

MOBO: great mobo, this will be a pretty future proof machine with usb 3.0, sata 6, and dx11...

PSU: depending on what you get video card wise, that is good. however, 850 should be enough for 2 5870s

HDD: just get a normal 1 tb drive, preferably samsung, but they dont show brands. you also might want to think about an ssd boot drive for a build like this.

Everything else is fine :D 

Related resources
February 7, 2010 3:23:09 PM

ITA with the god of war above. You don't really need watercooling (although I bet it would be fun!) but the Hyper 212+ is a great, cheap air cooler...and you're definitely better off with a Radeon 5870 (or two), or a 5970.

And an SSD is a great idea if you can fit it in your budget. You'll wonder how you ever got on without one. :)  I've got the OCZ Vertex 120 GB, and I can scarcely believe how fast Windows boots up.

-Will
February 7, 2010 3:36:55 PM

lol thats right god o war, haha :lol:  but yeah watercooling is good for somebody who wants 4 GHz+ or somebody who has some extra cash, or somebody who isnt the best oc'er. its nice to have them do it for you now, rather than do it yourself later. and @soulbro are you talking about the 1000$+ one that is the fastest in the world, cuz i totally dream about 2 of those in raid 0 :lol:  although all of them are amazingly fast, idk why intel gets all the credit when ocz has the biggest ones, fastest ones, and the best controller...
February 7, 2010 4:41:18 PM

No no, the Vertex is only a few hundred for the 120 GB model. OCZ's drives do seem better situated in terms of price/performance than Intel's.
February 7, 2010 5:21:10 PM

Oh, right. I have the MLC version, not the SLC. SLC is way too expensive still, even though it's faster. I bet that was crazy, though!
February 7, 2010 6:05:35 PM

o yeah, but soooooooooooooooo amazing...
February 7, 2010 6:08:31 PM

you don't need a 1000watt psu unless you're looking at running 4 videocards and a bunch of harddrives. Get like an 850 or something if you feel you need it.

I did a quick google and got this

"The most I had used with an overclocked i7 920 @3.6GHz, 5970, 9GB RAM, 4HDD, 14 fans, 2 cold cathode, 1 DVD was 580 Watts by a Kill-A-Watt at the wall socket."

A 650watt PSU would've been fine for this rig.
February 7, 2010 6:19:59 PM

^ no way at all, thats impossible, uses any power calculator and it is atleast 700-800, almost 1000 on the newegg one.
February 7, 2010 6:40:26 PM

Power calculators for my system says *minimum* 450watt, but my 360watt psu has ran just fine for over a year. Calculators over estimate by quite a bit

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-5970,2474...
i7-975 Extreme(3.33)@4.0ghz
Corsair Dominator 6GB (3 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 8-8-8-24 @ 1,600 MHz
ATI HD 5970 2GB
Load at AC Source: 476 watts during load
February 7, 2010 6:47:09 PM

he should atleast have a 750 watt psu, especially if he ever intends to put in a second 5970, at thats the lowest.
February 7, 2010 7:10:08 PM

From what I see on the TomHardware article, a 550 watt psu should be plenty. a 750watt isn't minimum, it's overkill, so plenty safe.

If a PSU pulls 460 at the wall, then it has to be even less internally. That review system would run just fine on a 500watt psu, but that's to close for "future proof".

a 750watt should be all he needs even he decided to drop in 150watts of water-pumps and fans. Actually, since a 550watt psu would be fine and the 5970 only pulls slightly under 200watts, then a 750watt would work fine for dual 5970's, but again that would be too close for comfort.

Personally, I'd rather just spend my $600 on an ATI6XXX next year than pay that for almost no increase in speed this year on a second 5970.
February 7, 2010 7:24:37 PM

psus are the most reused part, so you dont want it to be minimum, you want it to be high quality, which is why the 850 watt corsair psu is perfect, 750 is about what you would need for the system crossfire, so 850 is perfect...you realize just because it says 600 watts and the cpu says it uses 120 doesnt mean thats the case, likely the 550 watt psu can only put out 440 ac, but the more efficient 850 can put out about 720 ac. that 120 watts needed for the cpu when oced will jump to 140+, so it is wayyyyy better to go with more and future proof, than not enough and wont run.
February 7, 2010 11:22:25 PM

I really appreciate all your feedback! Thanks for the info.

Yeah, I originally was thinking about going with the V8 cooler but I had read alot about it being a bit too heavy especially if I was originally planning on buying the machine pre-assembled from I buy power and shipped via air. I also read here and there that it wouldnt fit it the NZXT Tempest case very well. So I figured it might not fit in the EVO version of that case aswell, or just better off to be safe. As for PSU I was a bit confused becuase I tend to hear alot of differentiating recommendations like anywhere from 550 to iBuypower recommending a 950W PSU. Which is another reason I went for the 1000W. Now with bios, am I really going to need to mess with those or should i just be able to intall the OS and be on my way or should there be some sort of bios update after the OS install?

Also, are Sata 3 motherboards compatible with Sata 2 for the time being and or are Sata 3 harddrives even out yet? Will have to look around but if there are any out is there a recommended/reliable brand you prefer?
February 7, 2010 11:59:42 PM

bios should come after os install, but if its pre-made, then you have nothing to worry about...the NZXT tempest evo is an AMAZING case, i saw it in person a few days ago, and instanteously fell in love with it, especially for sub 100 mid towers, but idk if it will fit. the v8 is a lil heavy, but not that heavy...v10 might be putting some strain on the mobo, but v8 should be good...also, if you can get the hyper212...1000 is a bit over kill, but 850 should be perfect. i think there are a few sata 6 drives out, and the asus p6xblahblah mobo has 2 sata 6, and 6 sata 3 i believe, so yeah they are compatible...if i may suggest, i personally like www.digitalstorm.com rather than ibuypower, so you might want to look at them...hope this helped :D 
February 8, 2010 12:36:55 AM

Thank you very much! Helped alot. I probably am going to be putting it together myself rather than pre-built though. Seems more rewarding and cheaper.

Out of the hyper212 and the XIGMATEK Dark KNIGHT 120mm with heat pipe direct touch, which one would you say would probably do a better job and fit in the Tempest Evo? Another thing is what kind of thermal paste would you suggest for my setup being the i7 and cooler and what method of applying it?
February 8, 2010 12:45:25 AM

if your building it yourself would you like me to put together a good newegg build??? and the 212 wins:

http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...

if you cant get to the link, ill sum it up, 212 wins haha...also, i cant find dimesions, but the 212 weighs less, so thats also a plus, and costs less.just about any thermal paste works, go for artic silver, but they are all the same, and there are soooo many different methods, as long as some gets on there it basically works, but look on youtube for other ways...do you have a specific budget?
February 8, 2010 1:10:44 AM

Haha alright, i'll probably stick with the 212 then. Plus I like the blue LED fan already on it more than the white led on the Dark Knight. Yeah man that would be really helpful to see a good layout build on new egg.

No not really too much of a limiting budget right now but I would prefer it to not go over 2,600 just becuase that seems like way too much money for a gaming rig but if need be I might comprise for future proofing.
February 8, 2010 1:30:29 AM

this is about as quality as it gets:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

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...

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...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

final price is 2637.89$. it has a 1 TB hdd for storage, a 40 GB ssd for the os, and a 160 Gb ssd for your most important files. it also has sata 6 and usb 3, with a i7, an amazing psu, and dual 5870s for incredible performance. it also has the tempest evo for the watercooling, which it has...this is super amazing, and i can dial it down a bit to only cost about 2000$ if you want
February 8, 2010 1:51:01 AM

Very cool!

Yeah, would be nice to see the toned down version just to compare and contrast the two. I have never personally had more than 1 internal drive but it seems like a smart move and probably good for gaming. Would putting game files on a SSD be much of a benefiet for in game performance or is that mostly just dependant on RAM and GPU? Also i'm not sure if im ready for liquid cooling just yet becuase of inexperience and not to mention setting it up and putting waterblocks on things as well as maintenance, so that hyper212 seems like it might suit me personally a bit more. Would love to see the toned down version to see what you can come up with haha. Thanks for helping me out man.
February 8, 2010 2:05:40 AM
February 8, 2010 2:30:20 AM

Awsome! This may very well be my new system.

Last thing - This might not matter very much but is there any recommended blue cold cathode brand/sets of 2 or just 1 to give the case that extra? Preferably something I can switch on and off and not require electrical work to setup just a "plug and play" deal? Not sure how usual cold cathodes are setup.
February 8, 2010 2:39:07 AM

lol idk about cathodes, somethinglike these i guess:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

but there are sound activated versions and models, might want to look into them. if you get all this, that will be one sick computer...im jealous :lol: by the way, as a middle build, get a 5970 instead of the 5870, and that will cost 2300$, but be able to max all games out...
February 8, 2010 3:34:04 AM

Haha nice. Those were the first ones I saw also that seemed like they might be a good choice but wasnt sure.

To be honest it might seem a little weird to some or "fannboyism" but I still think im going to be going with the GTX 285 in 2 way SLI config becuase according to that performance chart the 5870's in crossfire only got about 4 FPS more and Nvidias have been what I have always used and what I know and am used to. Switching to a different brand might lead to some surprises and differences I dont like so I'm going to be safe and go with what im used to. Besides. I know i'll be happy with Crysis performing at very high, 1080p and no AA at around 46fps VS. what I can play on very high right now at a lousy 2-4 fps at very high, 1080p haha. I have to play crysis on low right now haha.

My question is with the addition of the new harddrives, cathode and a little more power hungry 285's, will the same 850 PSU suffice?
February 8, 2010 10:52:23 AM

here, look at some more...

http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1451714

it shows the 285 getting killed by the 5850, and even the 5870 beating the 295, a dual card. the 5xxx series are only getting better with new dx 11 games, and new updates. the gtx 285 also costs about 100$ than the 5870. The 5870 even takes up less power:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-5870,2422...

all ati also have naturally better AA, so you will have clearer output. with 2 285s it actually might be not enough power. lastly, the 5xxx series has dx11, which is better and more future proof than the 285s dx 10. if the 285 was cheaper, which it isnt, and ati updates are complicated, which they arent, then i could see you going for a 285, but since the 5870 is cheaper, way faster, uses less power, more future proof, and i forgot to mention that theres ati eyefinity, so you could use multiple monitors if you want, then the best choice by far is the 5870.
!