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System Configuration Proposal

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February 15, 2010 3:30:51 AM

Tweaks to build - Feedback please =)

~ Case ~ XCLIO A380COLOR Fully Black 1.0 mm SECC / ABS Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case - $95.99

~ Mobo ~ ASUS P6X58D Premium LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard Xtreme Design w/ SLI, CrossfireX, True SATA 6Gb/s + USB 3.0 - $309.99
(Any good 1156 boards with USB 3.0?)

~ CPU ~ Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 - $288.99
(As opposed to an i7-860?)

~ CPU Cooling ~ CORSAIR Cooling Hydro Series CWCH50-1 120mm High Performance CPU Cooler - $77.89
(I really like this option; keeps CPU cool under considerably high temperatures, isn't ridiculously expensive for liquid cooling, and is relatively small.)

~ CPU Cooling ~ Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - $6.99

~ RAM ~ Patriot Extreme Performance Gaming Series 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model PGS36G1333ELK - $169.99
(As opposed to 1600? Worth the extra speed? Even usable on the i7?)

~ GPU(s) ~ SAPPHIRE 100281SR Radeon HD 5870 (Cypress XT) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video - $409.99
(As opposed to waiting for the NVidia GF100 boards?)

~ HDD ~ Western Digital Caviar Black WD10000LSRTL 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - $109.99

~ ODD(s) ~ 2x MSI 24X DVD Burner Black SATA Model DH-24AAS-17 R - $69.98 ($34.99 each)
(I plan to worry about getting a Blu-Ray later; for now, I wont need one.)

~ PSU ~ Rosewill BRONZE series RBR1000-M 1000W Continuous@40°C, 80Plus Bronze Certified,Modular Cable Design,ATX12V v2.3/ EPS12V,SLI Ready,CrossFire Ready,Active PFC"Compatible with Core i7, i5" Power Supply - $129.99
(Overkill? Even if I wait and go with the NVidia GF100? The Dec-2009 SBM pointed out that 850W was plenty for that system.)

~ Input ~ SteelSeries Merc Black USB Wired Ergonomic Gaming Keyboard - $24.99

~ Input ~ Logitech G9x Black Two modes scroll USB Wired Laser 5700 dpi Gaming Mouse - $94.99

~ Sound ~ Creative Inspire T3130 2.1 Speakers - $49.99

~ Sound ~ Sound Blaster Arena Surround USB Gaming Headset -$99.99

~ Display ~ Auria EQ2668 Black 25.54" 5ms HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor - $269.99

~ OS ~ Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - $179.99

Subtotal - $2,389.73


Any helpful insight and alternatives would be great.
For the most part, I'm set on being pretty sure about the mouse, keyboard, and headset, 'cause those are somewhat personal preference.
As far as the other stuff, any suggestions on better value found in alternative configurations would be much appreciated.

Primary use for this system will be gaming, followed by schooling (in a close second; I'll actually be going to school to develop/design games), and general-use being my third main use.

Thanks!
February 15, 2010 4:10:07 AM

^ Hi,
If am not wrong, I had said it to you earlier, that never skimp on the PSU quality...
Always stick to Tier 1 PSU manufacturers...And Yes 850W would be plenty for your needs...
Antec TPQ 850W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM - Why not this one for less ?
Corsair 6GB 1600MHz CAS 9
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphics card - Better warranty
XFX HD 5870
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Cooling - The H50 was reviewd here at TOMs and it was proved that a Big air cooler is better than a small water cooler...
So for that price. IMO you can get better performance with a air cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...

CASE - If you are not much attached to that case, then you can take a look at these case
CM HAF 922/ Antec 900, 300 Illusion...
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February 15, 2010 4:18:13 AM

You might try this G.Skill CAS 7 1333 MHz RAM instead - $170 with free shipping. In general, the recommendation for price/performance for gaming systems is CAS 7 1333 MHz (or step up to 1600 if you're overclocking and/or it's not too much more expensive).

For hard drives, stick to the newer 500 GB platter technology. Samsung Spinpoint F3s and Seagate 7200.12s use this ( Seagate 500 GB drive here ), as does the Western Digital Caviar Black 2 TB (but not the smaller models).

If money is no object, you might also consider an SSD for your system drive and your primary applications/games, such as this Intel 80 GB SSD.
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Related resources
February 15, 2010 7:00:31 PM

Thanks for the suggestions; I'll check that stuff out and let you know what my ideas are for the new system proposal, and I'll run it by you again on this thread.

Thanks!
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February 15, 2010 7:35:59 PM

For $30 more you could have the Antec 1200 Case / CP-850 PSU which would be a huge leap in quality.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Consider 1156 platform if money is tight

HSF - Cooler hasn't been reviewed all that well....would suggest one of the top three of one of these rankings

http://www.silentpcreview.com/Recommended_Heatsinks
http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm#INTELHEATSI...
http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

pick a TIM from the top few here:

http://www.hwreviewlabs.com/index.php?option=com_conten...
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/coolers/display/therma...
http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

Personally I prefer the Prolimatech Megahalems w/ IC Diamond 7 Karat TIM but any of the top 3 or 4 from those links would be a good choice. NOTE: AS5 takes up to year of normal usage to cure. See bottom of page here:

http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

Hard Drives - Check out the performance charts and pick whatever 500 GB per platter drive performs best under your usage patterns. The WD Black 2 TB is a good choice but at smaller capacities, you are limited to the Seagate 7200.12 or the Spinpoint F3. The 7200.12 excels in gaming, multimedia and pictures whereas the F3 wins at music and movie maker. See the comparisons here (copy past link in manually, link won't work in forum):

(http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2009-3.5-desktop-har...[2371]=on&prod[2770]=on)

Look at the tests that reflect your usage and choose accordingly.

Opticals ... would get one now and save cash for a Blue Ray.

RAM - yes get the DDR 1600 if planning to OC.....lowest CAS No. 1.65 volt set you can afford

CAS 6 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CAS 7 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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February 17, 2010 5:48:47 PM

New build revision.

~ Case ~ Antec Twelve Hundred Black Computer Case With Side Panel Window - $159.99
~ Mobo ~ GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R ATX Intel Motherboard - $209.99
~ CPU ~ Intel Core i7-920 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor - $288.99
~ CPU Cooling ~ CORSAIR CWCH50-1 120mm High Performance CPU Cooler - $77.89
~ CPU Cooling ~ Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - $9.99
~ RAM ~ Kingston HyperX 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 Desktop - $171.99
~ GPU(s) ~ XFX Radeon HD 5870 HD-587X-ZNFC Video Card - $399.99
~ HDD ~ Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500GB 3.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive - $54.99
~ ODD ~ MSI 24X DVD Burner Black SATA Model DH-24AAS-17 R - $67.98 ($33.99 each)
~ PSU ~ Antec CP-850 850W Continuous Power "compatible with Core i7" Power Supply - $109.99
~ Input ~ steelseries Black Wired Gaming Keyboard - $22.99
~ Input ~ Logitech G500 Wired Laser Gaming Mouse - $55.99
~ Sound ~ Creative Sound Blaster Arena Circumaural Gaming Headset -$79.99
~ Display ~ Auria EQ2668 Black 25.54" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor Built-in Speakers - $269.99
~ OS ~ Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate Full - $291.99

Subtotal - $2,272.74 (w/ -$25.00 Case/PSU combo)

I decided to go with the Antec Twelve Hundred.
I also found a $100-cheaper motherboard, with nearly identical features.
I'll stick with the 920, for various reasons.
I did go with the better PSU (thanks for the suggestion).
I'll stick with the H50; I looked at the reviews, and for what I want out of it, it will work well for me. I wont be doing a massive OC on my CPU (probably 3.2 - 3.6Ghz). Also partly because several reviews I read showed that it kept the CPU cooler than most 'high-end' air-coolers.
I also decided to go with the better memory with the 7 cas rating.
I also went with the better hard drive; 500GB is more realistic for what I'll need; (1TB {while nice} would be a bit overkill).
I also heard really good reviews about the G500 mouse, and it's cheaper.

Those are really the only major changes I made to the build.

Questions, comments, etc...?


Thanks!
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February 18, 2010 3:51:47 AM

Those are good changes...
Some suggestions...
1. TIM - AS5 has some main disadvantages such as - It needs some curring time.
- It is electrically conductive so if it spill on the mobo could result in shorting and its performance is not as good as other TIMs that are available now...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...

2. RAM - Check even this one - GSkillz ...It has the same speed and timings but operates at even less voltages than that Kingston...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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February 18, 2010 2:29:59 PM

shortstuff_mt said:
Is there a reason you're wasting almost $300 on Windows 7 Ultimate? I would save a ton of money and go with Windows 7 Home Edition OEM.

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


I would just like having the features.
That's actually a good question, though.
What are the main differences between Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate?
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February 18, 2010 2:42:25 PM

Cool; so I'll go with the NT-H1 TIM

~ CPU Cooling ~ Noctua NT-H1 Thermal Compound - $9.99

Also with the G.Skill RAM

~ RAM ~ G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory - $169.99


Thanks again!
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February 18, 2010 3:06:11 PM

Is it worth spending the extra money to go with a retail version of Windows 7?
I know the OEM versions require the builder (in this case, me) to provide user support.
Is it basically the equivalent of using a pirated version (not that I plan on doing that) because of the lack of any Microsoft support?

On my old system, I used a version of XP that was supposed to be a system builder's version. Microsoft up-and-decided one day that it was no longer valid, so I had a fair bit of trouble constantly dealing with a 'non-genuine' version of Windows XP. Ideally, I'd like to avoid that again. I mean, it's no big deal and I was able to make everything work and get around their genuine advantage checks, but it was a pain in the butt that I'd like to avoid this time 'round if possible.

Also, if I were to re-install the OS on my computer, for whatever reason, would I be able to do that with the OEM version or would it not let me (easliy)?

Thanks again.
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February 18, 2010 3:28:23 PM

For most users, it's not worth getting the retail version.

The real "problem" with the OEM version is that it's meant for one system, which MS defines as a motherboard. If you have to replace your motherboard (due to damage) with the same model, no problem. If you end up building a new computer with a new mobo, you are supposed to buy a new copy. Reinstalling on the same computer should not provide any problems.

The real question is: how long are you going to use this version of Windows, and through how many system builds. If you expect to be on Windows 7 through 3 or 4 systems within the next couple of years, then it could be worthwhile to go with the retail version. If you intend to use this computer for 4-5 years, it's probably best to go with the OEM version.

In the future, if you run into the non-genuine problem, assuming it is a genuine copy, you can call up Microsoft, explain things, and ask them to issue you a new key.
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February 18, 2010 3:34:21 PM

Ok, that makes sense.
Thank you guys so much for the help!

Any other suggestions/comments are welcome!

So, this is what it looks like so far with all the suggested/accepted changes:


~ Case ~ Antec Twelve Hundred Black Computer Case With Side Panel Window - $159.99
~ Mobo ~ GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R ATX Intel Motherboard - $209.99
~ CPU ~ Intel Core i7-920 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor - $288.99
~ CPU Cooling ~ CORSAIR CWCH50-1 120mm High Performance CPU Cooler - $77.89
~ CPU Cooling ~ Noctua NT-H1 Thermal Compound - $9.99
~ RAM ~ G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory - $169.99
~ GPU ~ XFX Radeon HD 5870 HD-587X-ZNFC Video Card - $399.99
~ HDD ~ Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500GB 3.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive - $54.99
~ ODD ~ 2x MSI 24X DVD Burner Black SATA Model DH-24AAS-17 R - $67.98 ($33.99 each)
~ PSU ~ Antec CP-850 850W Continuous Power "compatible with Core i7" Power Supply - $109.99
~ Input ~ steelseries Black Wired Gaming Keyboard - $22.99
~ Input ~ Logitech G500 Wired Laser Gaming Mouse - $55.99
~ Sound ~ Creative Sound Blaster Arena Circumaural Gaming Headset -$79.99
~ Display ~ Auria EQ2668 Black 25.54" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor Built-in Speakers - $269.99
~ OS ~ Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - $139.99

Subtotal - $2,095.74 (w/ -$25 Case/PSU Combo, not including price after mail-in rebates)

Thanks again!
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February 18, 2010 4:04:26 PM

The build looks good! Let us know how it goes.
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February 18, 2010 4:08:49 PM

Will do!
It may end up being a few months before I build it, depending on a few things. A few things may change by then and I might ask for some more advice as well, but I'll keep everything up-to-date and let you know.
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February 18, 2010 4:16:21 PM

That's a good idea. Trying to plan a build months in advance rarely works. The computer industry moves way to fast for that. What we recommend right now will likely change in the next couple months as either new hardware comes out or prices come down.
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February 19, 2010 2:55:55 AM

Very true.
I plan on getting the system soon.
There's a possibility that things wont work out the way I want (surprising, I know haha; do they ever? lol), in which case I'll come back to Tom'sHardware for more advice and information =)
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February 21, 2010 3:31:50 PM

WhiteWelcomer said:
I also found a $100-cheaper motherboard, with nearly identical features.


here's why:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/usb-3.0-performance...

The Gigabyte implementation steals bandwidth from the PCI-E GFX lanes to ptrovide the necessary hi speed pathways req'd for USB 3 / SATA III. SO when you use a 2nd GFX cards, you lose the USB 3 / SATA III speeds as they drop from 5 GB/s to 2.5 GB/s

And for $10, I'd move to an Asus 1920 x 1200 monitor

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

Still not a fan of that Cooler tho :) 
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February 22, 2010 3:27:46 AM

Gotcha; what if I went with something like:

Intel BOXDX58SO http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813121361&Tpk=Intel%20BOXDX58SO

and

ASUS Model U3S6 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813995004&Tpk=ASUS%20Model%20U3S6

Would that work if I used it on the x4 slot?


Also, that monitor is 1920x1200 (just checked; unless I'm going insane haha) but it's out of stock, and I decided to go with this anyway:

~ Display ~ 3x ASUS VH222H Black 21.5" 5ms Widescreen 16:9 LCD HDMI Monitor Built in Speakers - $509.97 ($169.99 each)

A bit more expensive overall, but I've recently decided that a multi-monitor setup 1) is very nice, and potentially useful in almost anything, and 2) I decided I wanted to use EyeFinity on games.
I'm not worried about the small difference in 1200 vs 1080. Aside from that is the face that I'll have 3 Displays...

Also, I looked at a bunch of benchmarks and it appears that the H50 does quite well. Could you point me to some bad reviews (or whatever it is that makes you dislike it) so that I can think more about it?
I will look into the Prolimatech Megahalems in the meantime.


Thanks!
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February 22, 2010 3:51:27 AM

Well that issue with the USB3.0 and the 2nd graphics slot is only with the P55 boards and not with the X58 boards...
Unlike P55 boards where only 16 lanes are available for the graphics card, the X58 offers double the numbers...
So even if that Gigabyte X58 board utilizes the same technique as in P55 boards, then the graphic card would run in X16x8 and the x8 would be allocated for the USB3.0/ SATA 6GB/s ports...
So I dont think there would be any issues going with that Gigabyte board...
And as for the Intel board choice, those have very less features and lack very much in the overclocking department...
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February 22, 2010 4:17:58 AM

Hmm, ok...

So, what if I went with:

ASUS P6T LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131359&cm_re=ASUS_P6T_LGA_1366_Intel_X58_ATX_Intel_Motherboard-_-13-131-359-_-Product
This board has 3 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 (at x16/x16/x4 mode)

and

Asus U3S6 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813995004&cm_re=Asus_U3S6-_-13-995-004-_-Product


According to this, http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Asus-PCI-E-USB-3.0-Expansion,8970.html x4 wont bottleneck card.


Thanks!
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February 22, 2010 4:55:25 AM

^ Why not go with that X58A - UD3R now, when you will still be using 1 card and still have USB 3.0/ SATA 6GB/s
And later on when you add 1 more graphics card, buy that ASUS Model U3S6 USB 3.0 & SATA 6Gb/s Add-on card ?
IMO this is a better option...And I dont see any advantage going with that P6T over this UD3R...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...
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February 22, 2010 5:06:27 AM

Hmm... true. They might have a bigger selection by then for the USB 3.0 cards too...

Grrr... decisions, decisions... lol

Would going with a x16/x8 for my GPU's (when/if {probably when} I add another one) and using x8 for the USB 3.0 card cause any major performance losses?


Thanks!
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February 22, 2010 5:44:16 AM

Thanks!
Also, would going with 1600MHz (PC3 12800) RAM with 7-8-7-24 CAS show any difference as opposed to 1333MHz (PC3 10666) with 7-7-7-18 CAS?

I think I remember somewhere someone mentioning that Core i7 920/LGA 1366 can't even utilize over 1333Mhz. Is that true? If so, why is that?


Thanks!
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February 22, 2010 7:02:15 AM

^ There would be no significant difference between any of the above RAM...

For your 2nd question, it is not that i7 920 can t utilize the speeds above 1333MHz...it is just that the default speed of the BUS on the CPU runs at 1066MHz - which is in-turn related to the RAM speed...
So which even RAM you put on the i7/ X58 mobo, it will automatically run at 1066MHz...So in-order to run the RAM at higher speeds, you would have to overclock the CPU too as I said before increasing the RAM speed will in-turn increase the CPU clock speed...You would better understand this if you learn articles explaining i7 920 overclock...here is a good one to start...
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/253365-29-core-overcl...
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/254402-29-memory-over...
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February 22, 2010 8:05:23 PM

Thanks for the links.
I've read a few articles on OCing, as well as having a moderate amount of my own experience, but most of the articles I've read before don't explain the little things like the differences in exactly how OC affects the RAM, etc...
Would it be at all worth it to go with the 1600MHz RAM, or just to stay with the 1333MHz and under-clock it before I OC my CPU?

Thanks!
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February 23, 2010 2:07:09 AM

^ Well there is very little price difference between the DDR3 1600MHz and 1333MHz RAM...Actually you can get 1600MHz RAM cheaper...
And it wont be necessary to underclock the RAM as it would be set to the default speed(1066MHz) and then you can overclock the CPU and the RAM...
And as for the CPU cooler that you have chosen, read this article...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/h50-fort120-cogage,...
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/corsair-h50-fort120...
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February 23, 2010 3:25:16 AM

Hmm, ok. Is the performance increase any different at all when going with 1600MHz RAM over 1333MHz RAM?

Also, according to this: "all three coolers functioned within 1° Celsius of competitors when the same fan was used" (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/h50-fort120-cogage,2401-7.html).
So, does that mean I could just get a good fan to replace the one it comes with?
Especially if I'm using the Antec Twelve Hundred, with great cooling and am only looking for a 3.5GHz-3.7GHz OC on the CPU, and also don't want a lot of noise. Would this fit my needs under those criteria?

Thanks!
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February 23, 2010 4:07:20 AM

^ Well if you are pretty much set on that CPU cooler, then go with it...
The reason many have been suggesting other coolers is because the H50 for that price doesnt offer that good performance...
But there are no other issues related to that CPU cooler...So first check the sound level of the fan that comes with the cooler and if it is noisy, then only change the fan...
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February 24, 2010 4:18:36 AM

Thanks for all the great advice/suggestions guys!
It's given me good options and key things to consider before I make the final decision (a.k.a. the "place my order"-button decision haha)

Thanks!
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February 24, 2010 4:53:54 AM

The performance difference between 1333 MHz and 1600 MHz is pretty minimal. 1333 MHz CAS 7 is the sweet spot for price/performance right now. However, if the 1600 MHz is only about $5-10 more, go for that instead.
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!