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Creating a new Gaming Rig ~$2000

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Last response: in Systems
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February 12, 2010 1:44:47 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: 1st Week of March

BUDGET RANGE: About $2000

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: LOTS of Gaming, Video Encoding to iPod/iPhone, Possibly engineering projects for school (CAD etc.), Movies

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: I currently have the following parts, if you guys think it's time to update (I included MM/YYYY of purchase) then please, all input is welcome =)
Razer Copperhead Mouse (06/2006)
Razer Lycosa Keyboard (06/2008)
X-Fi Extreme Gamer Fatality Pro (08/2007)
Seagate 1TB SATA II HDD (04/2009)
Western Digital Caviar 500GB SATAII HDD (03/2008)
Western Digital VelociRaptor 150GB (11/2009)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: www.newegg.com

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Singapore - I have friends in a computer shop who can help me bring in stuff so no worries about shipping =)

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel Processors (They still own the high performance market right), ATI Graphics preferably by Sapphire.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe (I heard the 860 overclocks very well if you change the cooler)

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Crossfire in the future

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Running a Samsung Syncmaster 24" 2493HM@1920x1200

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I'm definitely upgrading to Windows 7 from Windows XP. I'm also trying to see if I can run 2 150GB Velociraptors in RAID 0. I think it's a good trade-off for space and performance VS the SSD's which are still expensive per GB now. However I've read many articles and reviews on RAID but I still can't make sense of whether to go with Mobo RAID or to get a separate plug-in card. Considering that I already have a sound card and may run Crossfire in the future, I don't know how to that will work out. =(


PARTS TENTATIVELY SELECTED

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM - $104.99

Western Digital VelociRaptor WD1500HLFS 150GB 10000 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive - $159.99

Intel Core i7-860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80605I7860 - Retail - $279.99
I've heard that this new processor makes the older i7-9XX series a poor purchase. The Tri-Channel RAM support and all is overrated from what I read.

SAPPHIRE 100281SR Radeon HD 5870 (Cypress XT) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video ... - Retail - $409.99


Total so far: $954.96


This is no simple build especially with the RAID causing a headache. To think I originally considered having water-cooling as well. Really appreciate all the help from you expert guys!

More about : creating gaming rig 2000

February 12, 2010 1:52:12 PM

VRs are pointless. The 500 GB platter standard HDDs (Samsung Spinpoint F3 and Seagate 7200.12) are faster and 1/3 of the price. Either shell out for an SSD or leave it out entirely. Even in RAID 0, they don't get close to touching the performance of the SSDs.

Is the budget for everything, including what you'ver already bought? What exactly do you need recommendations for?
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February 12, 2010 1:55:39 PM

The thing is I've seen the benchmarks for 2 Velociraptors in RAID and it's really quite sick. Is your recommendation then that I just leave it as the current raptor I have? I need recommendations for the motherboard and RAM mainly, and some reassurance that I'm heading in the right direction. =) And no the budget is just for new parts. The list of current parts is what is going to be in the full rig so to account for power needs.

I guess that means I need
Motherboard
RAM
PSU
Casing
DVD-ROM.

So actually I just need solid advice for the motherboard and RAM. And the RAID issue of course. Thanks for the quick reply!
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February 12, 2010 2:07:42 PM

Yes, RAID 0 speeds them up. However, if you stick the faster F3s/Seagates in RAID they will also speed them up.

I certainly wouldn't waste more money on VRs.

I don't know much about setting up RAID, but I've heard that if you can afford them, the RAID cards are the way to go. Chances are that you'll be able to buy one if you've got $2,000 for what's listed there.

CPU: i7-920 $289. You were basically right, but with your budget, you shoudl consider the 920 because of the future potential of the LGA1366 socket. If you were to get the 860, you wouldn't see a more powerful CPU on that socket.

Mobo: Asus P6X58D Premium $310. Or the Asus P7P55D-E Pro if you stick with the 860.

RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Redline 3x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 6 $230 after rebate

PSU: OCZ Z Series 850W 80+ Gold $200. Or if you want to mess with a rebate, the modular version is the same price after rebate.

Case: HAF 932 $160.

Optical: Cheapest SATA DVD burner $20

Total: $1,189. Leaves a lot of room for a second GPU (or one if you don't have one yet), SSD and/or RAID card.
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February 12, 2010 2:08:24 PM

My standard disclaimer about RAID is that it's more trouble than it's worth for most users.

RAID 0 is going to help you with load times for games, but it's not going to do much else while you're in the game. It speeds up reads and writes, it doesn't improve response time or get you better fps or anything along those lines. RAID 0 is most useful for large databases (with backups), or for scratch space for video/audio/photo editing. RAID 0 should not be considered for data that you can't afford to lose.

If you're comfortable with losing all of the data on your RAID container if one of the drives fails or the OS has a problem writing to one of the disks and freaks out, if you're prepared to reload the OS, and hopefully have backups of any other data on there, then RAID 0 might be for you. A RAID card is the way to go if you want a little more security that your RAID container will be portable to a new system. Mobo-based RAID will almost certainly not be able to move to a new motherboard.

Personally, I would just stick with what you have (for disks), save the extra money you were considering spending on a 2nd Velociraptor, and buy an SSD when the prices come down a little bit.

Edit: MadAdmiral strikes again.
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February 12, 2010 2:16:24 PM

@MadAdmiral

Okay just a bit of background, basically I knew I would upgrade in March since 3 months ago to match end of school exams etc. I was thinking of originally going with the i7-920 and maybe the Asus P6T Deluxe V2 but then I heard stuff about how the i7-860 could be OC'ed to 3.5GHz STABLE if you change to a more efficient cooler.

Right now I have no idea what's going on with the 2 main sockets Intel have. So are you saying that the LGA1156 is the more mainstream socket with a few high-end cards (i.e. 8XX series) while the LGA1366 socket will be the high-end socket where they release all those Extreme Edition processors? That makes alot of sense. My current comp was way motherboard heavy pricewise when I got it but it's upgraded very nicely over the last 4 years. Thanks for the input! =)

@coldsleep

Reloading an OS is not a big deal for me because all important stuff is kept on storage drives, the main disks only have OS, apps and games but yes the hassle of reinstalling even with nLite is time-consuming. I think I'll take your advice against getting RAID 0. I found that after changing to this Velociraptor I've already felt a huge difference in loading times for games.

Anyway just for fun I think the most killer hard disk is this one. =D
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWLaKfUhEXw&feature=rela...
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Best solution

February 12, 2010 2:26:19 PM

That's right. Right now, the i7-860 is a better deal, but Intel is making the LGA1156 socket into the mainstream socket. That means the 860 is as powerful as the socket will ever see. The LGA1366 socket will recieve at least the first run of six core CPUs, so there is somewhere to go in a few years when it comes time to upgrade.
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February 12, 2010 2:28:37 PM

okay wow. Thanks guys I think basically you two have just solved all my apprehension about this new rig. RAID 0 isn't worth the price and effort and I never thought about the sockets that way. Almost sacrificed future proofing because of a bargain now. thanks guys!
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February 24, 2010 10:01:48 AM

Best answer selected by mephiston1.
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