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Need Input on new rig, ssd, & xfire

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February 26, 2010 9:49:09 PM

Hey everyone, I'm in the process of building a new rig and need some quick input.

Here's what I'm considering:

CPU: i7 920
CPU FAN: Cooler Master V8
RAM: 6GB Corsair Core i7 Dominator DDR3 (PC12800, 1600Mhz)
MB: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R
HD: 2x 1TB Western Digital Caviar Black, 7200rpm, 32mb cache, sata3
PSU: SilverStone Strider Plus ST75F-P 750W
DVDRW: Samsung SH-S223B
CASE: Cooler Master Storm Sniper
VIDEO: I'll be running 2 Radeon HD 4870 512mb ddr5 cards in Xfire mode, which sort of pushed me toward the i7 920 - I also considered the 860 however.

Primary purpose of my rig will be audio work (large projects with both synth-based VSTi's that rip up CPU, and sample-based VSTi's that rip up memory, hence 6gb which I may increase to 12gb), I'll also be doing some, not a lot, of heavy After Effects video work, possibly 3D as well. Aside from that, I'm also a gamer.

I'm just wondering if anyone sees anything blatantly wrong with my current setup, or if you have any quick recommendations such as other parts to consider - I do plan to OC so a decent CPU fan is a must, the V8 looks good but it does seem a bit big - I'm afraid it might not be an ideal choice just based on its size alone, but if anyone can reassure me I'll be fine or recommend a better alternative for a similar price, please do!

Another thing I want to know is the deal with SSDs. I'm thinking of getting a 60GB SSD and throwing my OS on there as well as my more resource heavy apps, ie: Cubase, Ableton Live, After Efects, Photoshop, etc. and throwing other files and less important apps such as pidgin, thunderbird, etc on one of my TB HD's. Is an SSD worth the extra $? Is there anyone in a similar boat doing a lot of audio work (large projects, lots of audio tracks, sample-based instruments, etc) that currently uses an SSD and notices a significant increase in performance? Some more insight on this would be great!

Last, I'm wondering if there are any downsides to running crossfire. Reason I'm considering it, is because I can get the 2nd 4870 for very cheap, but should I do that or just sell my current card and get a higher end ATI? I'll be gaming at 1680x1050, I hear xfire is good for much larger resolutions, so perhaps I should go with a single card? Also, does anyone know of any annoyances or downsides to running xfire? Do I have to manually set a game to use both cards? Or do I hook it up and it should be smooth sailing, all games will utilize both cards, etc?

I appreciate any and all input, thanks in advance guys. I'm really close to purchasing I just want to tie some loose ends and make sure I won't have buyers remorse! ;) 

More about : input rig ssd xfire

February 26, 2010 10:10:39 PM

From the graphics/gaming side, you're going to be spending about $300, right? Grab an HD5850. It'll perform great (though not as good as 2xHD4870), use much less power, less heat, etc. Since you're using an intel X58 MOBO, you can Crossfire it later as well.
February 26, 2010 10:13:26 PM

Also, with SSD's, is that you don't want programs you'll be using frequently to be on it. You can only write a certain amount of times to an SSD, and once you do, it's gone.

Grab the smallest SSD possible (32GB?), and load your OS and perhaps a few other programs on it, but not ones you'll write to a lot.
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February 26, 2010 10:22:57 PM

shadow187 said:
Also, with SSD's, is that you don't want programs you'll be using frequently to be on it. You can only write a certain amount of times to an SSD, and once you do, it's gone.

Grab the smallest SSD possible (32GB?), and load your OS and perhaps a few other programs on it, but not ones you'll write to a lot.


That's mostly wrong.

Yes, there are only a limited number of writes to an SSD, but it's still a huge number. It's not like it's going to fail in 3 months or anything. Furthermore, when it fails, it's still readable, unlike a traditional hard drive failing. Windows 7 alone is going to take 15-20 GB, leaving out future updates to it.

Beyond that, SSDs perform better with some free space on them, at least 20%, more if possible. And you don't get the benefit of using an SSD if you don't put, you know, your programs on it.

So what you want to do is buy a decent-sized SSD, make sure to leave room for growth, and don't put DATA files on it. Put your OS on there, put some applications on there, whatever. Once applications are installed, they don't actually write to disk a whole lot. If you can, however, put your temp files elsewhere, as that is what is going to eventually wear out the drive.

I would say an SSD is worth the extra cash. If you're uncertain, I'd recommend going to your local Apple (or other computer retailer) store and see if they have 2 relatively identical computers, one with an SSD and one without, and find out for yourself.

The OP's got the right idea about how to use it, but you might want to actually total up how much space all of those apps use right now and add at least 30% to get your minimum SSD size.

OP, are you really tied to using those 4870s? If you've already got them, by all means use them. But in general, it seems that most gamers get more use/life out of buying the biggest current card they can afford, and then either upgrading to the latest card again later, or SLI/CrossFire when their GPU starts to show its age.

And no, not all games actually work/scale well with SLI/CrossFire. I don't have a list handy, but if you research individual games, they should tell you.
February 26, 2010 10:25:15 PM

SSD only for OS and drivers, everything else on the HDDs.

get these memories instead: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

they'll be cheaper and faster


for the heatsink i'd recommend this one better: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... penforms better than the v8 according to most benchmarks and is also cheaper.

and this psu: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... will be considerably better for the same price
February 26, 2010 10:32:45 PM

I was right?

Thanks wii ^_^.
February 27, 2010 3:08:02 AM

Thanks for all the input guys! All the recommendations really made me re-research my choices. One thing I'm considering is this cooler over the v8: http://noctua.at/main.php?show=productview&products_id=...

I'm worried about space, however. The ram I'm getting is fairly tall and I really don't want the cooler to cover it or not be able to fit, because if I upgrade to 12GB, adding in that second 6gb might be a bit of a bitch. Does anyone know if I'll be OK in this regard? I'm probably going to order offline since there aren't any good outlets around here that I can go to, the decent ones are over an hour away, but I might make the trip just because I'm worried about things being DOA. Anyway - if anyone has this heatsink and the ram, and even better, the same mobo, please let me know if it fits OR if anyone knows how I can check for sure without having to go to a store and seeing for myself? Thanks again!

Edit: I think I found the answer to my question. Apparently the ram WILL fit if I remove the heatsinks, hmm. Or I could get the NU-U9B SE2 which is apparently a miniature version. I'd have to try and find a comparison in performance however. I still can't decide on whether or not I should go with an SDD, and if so, 30 or 60... and what apps to actually put on it. :??: 
February 27, 2010 3:02:07 PM

Get at least 60 GB, more if it fits within your budget. Personally, I think 80 GB is the smallest I would be reasonably happy with, and 100+ would be nice.

Also realize that the advertised size is the raw, pre-formatted size, so you're also going to lose a little space there once you actually start using it.

30 GB = pretty much just room for the OS (assuming W7) and nothing else, as you should leave some free space and room for growth/updates = no real benefits aside from fast boot time
60 GB = OS and a few programs = the programs that you load will see a load time benefit
February 27, 2010 4:15:50 PM

Thanks cold, I almost forgot about updates and the like. I can probably go with a 60GB now and later down the line when prices drop and sizes increase I'll upgrade to something a little more sexy. Hope it's worth it!
!