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Triple channel i7-960 3x4GB RAM Budget:2500 Buy before 2/28

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February 22, 2010 1:05:49 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: (before 2/28/2010) BUDGET RANGE: 2500) Before Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: (Resource intensive Visual Basic and Perl Analyzing Electricity Markets; Database Applications, Excel Modeling, Media Center )
Will be running Windows 7
64 bit

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: (Large Silverstone case, video card, LCD Monitor, mouse/keyboard)
Power Supply: Antec Earthwatts Model EA-430. 430 Watts Max.
Is this power supply adequate for a high powered new build, or will it hinder performance?

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

PARTS PREFERENCES:
Motherboard : GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard $free with 12x3 RAM combo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Processor: Intel Core i7-960 Bloomfield 3.2GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Desktop Processor $589
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 12GB (3 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model 998776 $780 includes above motherboard for free if ordered by 2/28
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A 1.5 TB internal hard drive for storage

What about an X25-E SSD for the OS, important programs, and files code will act on
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Do I need to use "degradation leveling" techniques with this SSD and my setup if I want the system to run fast for 3 years or so?

DVD-RW Drive

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: (1360 x 768) Westinghouse LTV37-w2 HD

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
1. Will getting a SSD for my OS improve speed, I read its only does in some cases. Could I load my OS into ram instead of running it on C drive?
2. If ive calculated right should allow me to upgrade to 24 gb ram and 3 memory channels, and be compatible with the six core intel i9 series. Is this correct
3. The motherboard supports bus speeds of DDR3 2200/1333/1066/800 . The RAM in the combo is 1600Mhz. Are these still compatible?/If they are, will I have to run my machine at 1333 to placate motherboard?
4. Is the i7 960 processor compatible with this MB/RAM setup?
5. What kind an auxiliary cooling system (if any) would I want to get with this

Thx for the help
February 25, 2010 12:49:47 PM

Dont have much time right now, but a few things I notice right away are:

1. No sense in getting the i7 960. At all. Ever. the i7 920 is easily overclockable with a cheap CPU cooler to the same or near speeds of the i7 960. A CM Hyper 212 is usually recommended as a good cheap CPU cooler, and would allow you to overclock.

2.That RAM seems REALLY overpriced to me. And to answer your other question, the RAM will run at the highest speed that both it, and the motherboard support, so using that RAM, with that motherboard would in fact limit you to 1333MHz

3. An SSD will not improve your OS performance that signifigantly. Your better off getting a Samsung SpinPoint F3 or a Seagate 7200.12 in their 500gb and less forms, as these are single platter drives, and perform at similar speeds to the velociraptors, for half, to one-third of the cost. Dont get caught in the "expensive is better" trap.

4. everythings compatibile, although not an optimal setup
5. Youd want a decent CPU cooler if you plan to overclock. See above. Combined with a good (which usually will come with quite a few fans) you should be fine on heat. If your case does have more open fan slots, it's not that expesnive to throw a few more fans in there anyway, if you'd feel more comfortable that way.
February 25, 2010 2:36:45 PM

Some comments:

1. Agree with djg

2. Again, agree. It's because those are 4 GB sticks, which is unnecessary.

3. Absolutely dead wrong. SSDs are faster by an order of a magnitude over other drives. They are expensive though.

4. See below.

5. See below.

CPU: i7-920 $289
Mobo: Asus P6X58D Premium $310
HSF: Prolimatech Megahalems Rev.B $65. Add two 120mm fans to that, so add about $20.
RAM: Mushkin Enahnced Redline 3x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 6 $250
GPU: HD 5970 $650
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $90
SSD: 128 GB $355
Case: HAF 922 $90 after rebate
PSU: OCZ Z Series 850W 80+ Gold $200. 430W is good enough for ONE 5770. So no, it isn't good enough for a high powered build.

Total: $2,319 $1,579. This is literally the best build money can buy right now without wasting large amounts of cash, or buying additional components (more RAM, HDDs, etc.).

EDIT: Didn't see you had a case and GPU...
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February 25, 2010 2:42:35 PM

djg9205 said:
3. An SSD will not improve your OS performance that signifigantly. Your better off getting a Samsung SpinPoint F3 or a Seagate 7200.12 in their 500gb and less forms, as these are single platter drives, and perform at similar speeds to the velociraptors, for half, to one-third of the cost. Dont get caught in the "expensive is better" trap.


Have you seen an SSD in action?

If you get a good SSD, it will significantly increase the perceived speed of the system. That being said, it's not always worth the money for everyone, but on this budget (especially since case & graphics card are already taken care of), it should definitely be considered. I'd recommend going with a 120 GB (or larger) drive such as the X25-M.

OP, using an SSD is like running your OS off of RAM. However that doesn't mean that you can run an OS on your RAM. (You can run a simple OS off a CD/DVD and RAM, but you aren't able to change/store anything long-term.)

Other than that, I agree with the rest of djg9205's statements.
February 25, 2010 2:43:28 PM

MadAdmiral, did you see that he already has a case & GPU? Get crazy with the build. :) 
February 25, 2010 2:46:20 PM

No, no I didn't. Recommendations stand regardless. Just remove the case and GPU for a new total of $1,579.
February 25, 2010 2:57:26 PM

Thanks for the advice. It sounds like for now the i7 960 is not worth all the extra money. I can get a 6-core cpu when they are out/cheap. The reason that I was looking at 4GB sticks was so that I can be upgrade compatible for a triple channel 24 gb system without buying new ram. Part of the problem is its hard to find 1600 ram in 4GB sticks. I think 6GB ram is a little low for me, as I will want to run some very large SAS Stata Perl VB Excel and still have the machine function normally and as a media center. Being able to load a 4GB dataset into memory could be very important. What is the best way to stay on track for 24gb eventually, or should I get forget about this for now and buy all new ram if I want to go 24gb. Though for now I think I want at least 12gb ram.
February 25, 2010 3:04:51 PM

I would forget about 4 GB sticks right now. They're just way too expensive. Think about it this way: you would spend $800 for 3x4 GB (CL 9) now and $200 for 3x4 GB (also CL 9) later (total of $1,000) or you could spend $500 for 6x2 GB (CL 6) now and $400 for 6x4 GB (CL whatever) later (total of $900). You would also have faster sticks by buying the 2 GB ones now.
February 25, 2010 6:12:16 PM

Thank you Admiral for the great advice. That MB seems pretty user friendly to OC, and has 1600 compatible, which helps to make up for the lack of the i7-960

what do u think about this 6x2gb corsair ram?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Can I save a little money on the PSU if I am not going to be doing serious gaming, or is 200 bucks the standard for a powerful workstation?

that SSD looks awesome. much faster write speeds than a X25-E, and much bigger. the only thing is that it is MLC, not SCL. Will this affect performance/stability/degradation. I guess at those specs there is alot more to be degraded than the X25-E, so if I only use it for OS/important apps, it may not be a problem.
February 25, 2010 7:00:34 PM

Overpriced, just like all Corsair RAM. It's 1600 mhz CL 9 for $360. G.Skill has some CL 7 for the same price.

You can save a lot on the PSU. I just choose a very high efficiency unit to decrease the heat. Here's a decent 80+ Silver one for $150: Silverstone 850W 80+ Silver.

I have no idea on the technical parts of the SSD. I just know that the best are Intel's and Corsairs, but Crucial sells rebranded Intels.
February 25, 2010 8:05:33 PM

Well then, I stand corrected, lol. No, I haven't seen an SSD in action, I was going completely off of hearsay for that one, which I see now was apparently incorrect hearsay.
February 25, 2010 8:09:28 PM

djg9205 said:
Well then, I stand corrected, lol. No, I haven't seen an SSD in action, I was going completely off of hearsay for that one, which I see now was apparently incorrect hearsay.


Go to an Apple store or some other physical store, ask to play around with a computer that has an SSD.

My local Apple store had 2 Airs that were identically configured, except that one had an SSD and the other had a traditional hard drive. The difference was night & day.
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