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HELP - Building New Intel Core i7 PC

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March 15, 2010 1:33:22 PM

I'm currently doing research and gathering information to build a new system. Need any advise, suggestions, recommendations or feedback from all the Tech Expert Community here as I haven't built a PC for 7 years. So, I'm not very familiar with all the latest technology in the market now. Currently I've decided on the following configurations:

Processor - Intel Core i7-930 2.80Ghz Quad Core
Motherboard - Gigabyte X58A UD3R
RAM – Kingston HyperX 6GB DDR3 1600Mhz CL9 x 2 sets
Graphics Card – Gigabyte Radeaon HD5850 1GB PCI-E
Hard Drive – Western Digital 1TB Caviar Black SATA II x 6 units
DVD – LiteON SATA DVD Rewriter
PSU – Cooler Master GX650 Watt
Case – Cooler Master HAF 922
Sound Card – Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Extreme Music
Operating System – Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit

Planning to build this system next week. I need a system that has high performance, optimized the power consumption and generate as minimal heat as possible. Please point out anything that I've overlooked or missed out. Any feedback is very much appreciated. Thank you in advance.

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March 15, 2010 1:54:19 PM

gamestx said:
I'm currently doing research and gathering information to build a new system. Need any advise, suggestions, recommendations or feedback from all the Tech Expert Community here as I haven't built a PC for 7 years. So, I'm not very familiar with all the latest technology in the market now. Currently I've decided on the following configurations:

Processor - Intel Core i7-930 2.80Ghz Quad Core
Motherboard - Gigabyte X58A UD3R
RAM – Kingston HyperX 6GB DDR3 1600Mhz CL9 x 2 sets
Graphics Card – Gigabyte Radeaon HD5850 1GB PCI-E
Hard Drive – Western Digital 1TB Caviar Black SATA II x 6 units
DVD – LiteON SATA DVD Rewriter
PSU – Cooler Master GX650 Watt
Case – Cooler Master HAF 922
Sound Card – Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Extreme Music
Operating System – Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit

Planning to build this system next week. I need a system that has high performance, optimized the power consumption and generate as minimal heat as possible. Please point out anything that I've overlooked or missed out. Any feedback is very much appreciated. Thank you in advance.


It's solid from what I'm seeing.

I seriously recommend getting a good heat-sink. And for the sound card I had terrible experience with that soundcard in windows 7 and vista 64 bit. I recommend getting Azuntek instead.
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March 15, 2010 2:10:00 PM

Budget? Intended usage? Follow the guidelines in the "How to Ask for New Build Advice" sticky? If you provide budget/pricing, it's likely that people here may be able to find you better deals that what you currently have.

Unless you're building an audio-editing rig, the sound card is likely unnecessary. Onboard sound these days is quite good; non-professional listeners probably won't be able to tell the difference.

You might look at CAS 7 RAM at 1333 MHz or 1600 MHz, that's the current sweet spot for DDR3 RAM price/performance.

Those WD Caviar Blacks are not as quick, and they consume more energy and create more heat than drives with 500 GB platters, such as the Seagate 7200.12 or the Samsung Spinpoint F3s (both around $90). Alternatively, you could go for the WD1002FAEX 1 TB drives, but they're about $120.
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March 16, 2010 12:24:34 AM

sassan said:
It's solid from what I'm seeing.

I seriously recommend getting a good heat-sink. And for the sound card I had terrible experience with that soundcard in windows 7 and vista 64 bit. I recommend getting Azuntek instead.



Thanks for your comment sassan. Didn't know that Sound Blaster X-Fi have compatibility issue with Windows 7. Now need to consider other options. I don't think I can find Azuntek soundcard here in my region. Any other recommendation. You're recommending a good heat-sink for CPU is it?
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March 16, 2010 12:28:41 AM

Do you want to overclock with this heatsink? Do you want it to be almost silent for the fans?
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March 16, 2010 12:33:46 AM

coldsleep said:
Budget? Intended usage? Follow the guidelines in the "How to Ask for New Build Advice" sticky? If you provide budget/pricing, it's likely that people here may be able to find you better deals that what you currently have.

Unless you're building an audio-editing rig, the sound card is likely unnecessary. Onboard sound these days is quite good; non-professional listeners probably won't be able to tell the difference.

You might look at CAS 7 RAM at 1333 MHz or 1600 MHz, that's the current sweet spot for DDR3 RAM price/performance.

Those WD Caviar Blacks are not as quick, and they consume more energy and create more heat than drives with 500 GB platters, such as the Seagate 7200.12 or the Samsung Spinpoint F3s (both around $90). Alternatively, you could go for the WD1002FAEX 1 TB drives, but they're about $120.


Thanks a lot for your comments and suggestions coldsleep. For your info, my budget is around 1500 and its intended for gaming and entertainment mostly while doing some office work. Appreciate the guidelines. Helped a lot. Not so much into audio editing. Might consider onboard sound then.

CAS 7 RAM.. I don't think that they're available in my region. Here we mostly have Corsair, Kingston and A-Data. Would have consider your recommendation if its available here.
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March 16, 2010 12:35:35 AM

sassan said:
Do you want to overclock with this heatsink? Do you want it to be almost silent for the fans?



Sure sassan. I would like it to be as silent as possible and generate as minimal heat as possible as my current system is quite a heat generator for my computer room.
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March 16, 2010 12:37:44 AM

I don't think that I'll opt for overclocking. :)  Thanks.
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March 16, 2010 1:20:23 AM

gamestx said:
I don't think that I'll opt for overclocking. :)  Thanks.


Pitty, the 930 is worth the overclock. Oh well here is the heat sink that I recommend Noctua NH-U12P Special Edition

Here is a benchmark http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/noctua_nhu12p/4...

It's also very quite. Almost silent.
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March 16, 2010 4:32:59 AM

sassan said:
Pitty, the 930 is worth the overclock. Oh well here is the heat sink that I recommend Noctua NH-U12P Special Edition

Here is a benchmark http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/noctua_nhu12p/4...

It's also very quite. Almost silent.


I've never overclocked before and don't know how. Any good website for guidelines or tutorial? Thanks.
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March 16, 2010 2:08:21 PM

gamestx said:
CAS 7 RAM.. I don't think that they're available in my region. Here we mostly have Corsair, Kingston and A-Data. Would have consider your recommendation if its available here.


Sorry, CAS 7 isn't a brand, it's a measurement of how fast the RAM is. The original RAM you listed is CAS (or CL) 9.

This RAM is a better choice, as you can see from the specifications page, it's CAS 7.

This Hyper X T1 series is probably what you listed, it's CAS 9, and would be a little slower than the first Hyper X kit I linked.

Depending on what you're paying for the Kingston memory, this G.Skill kit might be a little less expensive, if it's available. Another choice might be this Corsair XMS3. When it comes down to it, CAS/CL is more important for speed of operations than MHz. 1333 MHz and 1600 MHz are not all that different, if you find a CAS 7 kit that's 1333 MHz and a CAS 9 kit at 1600 MHz, you would want to go wtih the 1333 MHz/CAS 7 kit.
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March 16, 2010 4:31:58 PM

I'd concur that the Samsung SpinPoint F3 1TB drives are a better option than the WD ones. How are you arranging your 6 drives? Do you need to consider a 7th drive for a boot drive?
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March 16, 2010 11:40:26 PM

coldsleep said:
Sorry, CAS 7 isn't a brand, it's a measurement of how fast the RAM is. The original RAM you listed is CAS (or CL) 9.

This RAM is a better choice, as you can see from the specifications page, it's CAS 7.

This Hyper X T1 series is probably what you listed, it's CAS 9, and would be a little slower than the first Hyper X kit I linked.

Depending on what you're paying for the Kingston memory, this G.Skill kit might be a little less expensive, if it's available. Another choice might be this Corsair XMS3. When it comes down to it, CAS/CL is more important for speed of operations than MHz. 1333 MHz and 1600 MHz are not all that different, if you find a CAS 7 kit that's 1333 MHz and a CAS 9 kit at 1600 MHz, you would want to go wtih the 1333 MHz/CAS 7 kit.



Thanks so much for the valueble info coldsleep. Really didn't know about that until you brought it up. May I know what's the key difference between CAS7 vs CAS9 and why CAS7 is the sweet spot for DDR3 RAM.. Now you've got me reconsidering about the RAM purchase..

How about this Corsair XMS3 1600 CL7 6GB set? But the price is quite high.
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March 16, 2010 11:49:59 PM

LePhuronn said:
I'd concur that the Samsung SpinPoint F3 1TB drives are a better option than the WD ones. How are you arranging your 6 drives? Do you need to consider a 7th drive for a boot drive?


I'm mounting all the 6 drives in the drive bays. Maybe will get a faster drive for the boot drive. Any value+performance recommendation? Thanks a lot.
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March 17, 2010 12:09:35 AM

gamestx said:
I'm mounting all the 6 drives in the drive bays. Maybe will get a faster drive for the boot drive. Any value+performance recommendation? Thanks a lot.


I meant are they individual drives or in a RAID array?

If you're after a fast boot drive then there's always the SSD route, but we're talking serious money. You could always look at the 500GB version of the SpinPoint F3 for a boot drive, or a VelociRaptor.

Or have 2 of those 6 drives in a RAID 0.
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March 17, 2010 1:41:00 AM

LePhuronn said:
I meant are they individual drives or in a RAID array?

If you're after a fast boot drive then there's always the SSD route, but we're talking serious money. You could always look at the 500GB version of the SpinPoint F3 for a boot drive, or a VelociRaptor.

Or have 2 of those 6 drives in a RAID 0.


May I know the benefit of using RAID 0 for the bootable drive? VelociRaptor is a good choice.. the SSD are priced way too high. Thanks a lot. ;) 
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March 17, 2010 9:30:53 AM

gamestx said:
May I know the benefit of using RAID 0 for the bootable drive?


Speed, speed and more speed.

OK, not as much speed as a SSD, but certainly your read and write times will drop a fair amount, and certainly faster than a single VelociRaptor.

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March 17, 2010 11:50:27 PM

LePhuronn said:
Speed, speed and more speed.

OK, not as much speed as a SSD, but certainly your read and write times will drop a fair amount, and certainly faster than a single VelociRaptor.


Wow.. but wondering how could it be faster than VelociRaptor? Sorry, I don't know much about how RAID could improve the speed and performance.
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March 18, 2010 9:04:54 AM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID_0#RAID_0

In dead basic terms, when you have drives set up as RAID 0 you're spreading the data equally across them all so you access all the drives at the same time. So if you have 2 drives in RAID 0 you write half the data to each drive and access them both together at the same time giving you double the data rate. Do it with 3 you triple the rate and so on.

In the real world normal mechanical hard drives don't quite scale up like that (SSDs do apparently) but that's the theory.

So yeah, 2 "normal" drives in RAID 0 is usually faster than a single VelociRaptor. Put VelociRaptors in RAID 0 and you're flying - only SSDs can beat that.
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March 18, 2010 1:35:12 PM

Of course, the downside to RAID 0 is that you double (or more) your chance of failure, and if one of the disks fails, you lose everything on all disks. So if you're going to use RAID 0, make sure to take backups and ideally use some sort of imaging software so that you can quickly reinstall your OS & programs.
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March 18, 2010 2:21:51 PM

coldsleep said:
Of course, the downside to RAID 0 is that you double (or more) your chance of failure, and if one of the disks fails, you lose everything on all disks. So if you're going to use RAID 0, make sure to take backups and ideally use some sort of imaging software so that you can quickly reinstall your OS & programs.


I wasn't going to get into that just yet ;)  but yes it is something to consider, but to be honest I've never seen it as an issue. Drives don't fail very often and I never put anything sensitive on a stripe anyway.
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March 18, 2010 2:32:50 PM

LePhuronn said:
I wasn't going to get into that just yet ;)  but yes it is something to consider, but to be honest I've never seen it as an issue. Drives don't fail very often and I never put anything sensitive on a stripe anyway.


You never put anything sensitive on there, no. But someone new to RAID might not know that it's a risk. :) 

I typically warn new users off from RAID 0, as most of the benefits are more visible for things like audio/video editing or databases, while the typical user is just going to see faster boot and load times. It likely will not increase gaming performance, which is what most people are looking for.

That being said, the question isn't whether or not drives are reliable, but "what is the worst that could happen if I lose the RAID container?" Backups can be a hassle, but if you have anything important on there, you want to be prepared for the worst.

Not that RAID 0 isn't fun...there's just a risk that people need to be aware of before they jump in.
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March 18, 2010 2:37:34 PM

Oh I entirely agree, don't get me wrong.

I've made great use of RAID 0 for both my systems and the edit suites in the office and I've always made the point of highlighting the pros and cons for such a configuration.

I just wasn't gonna freak out the OP until he's read a bit more about it!
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March 20, 2010 5:53:11 AM

For a first time user, I would avoid RAID unless he's into video editing.
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March 20, 2010 11:55:31 AM

sassan said:
For a first time user, I would avoid RAID unless he's into video editing.


With 6 drives in the system I did wonder how they were being set up. Given how the conversation has gone thus far I'd agree and stay away from RAID until the OP is a bit more savvy.
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March 22, 2010 11:37:33 PM

Thanks for all the info about RAID sassan and LePhuronn. I think that I'll avoid any RAID configuration for now. Will get one high speed hard disk drive for the bootable disk and all the others for storage purposes. Seems like a more pratical setup for amateur like me. :p 

One question:
For all the ATI Radeon HD5000 series users out there? How's the experience using the card? Any issues faced? I read on the Internet about problems playing some *.avi and *.mkv video format with stuttering sound issues. Is this serious and has this been rectified? Want to be sure before investing on the display adapter or else will wait for Nvidia GeForce GTX400 series. Thank you in advance. :) 
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March 22, 2010 11:42:13 PM

I installed a 5870 for my friend and he's been using it since Jan 2010 and no issues. He gets good FPS and no stutter with sound in MKV and AVI. He uses the beta drivers 10.3

March 26 is just around and if this leaked benchmarks for Gtx480 is true http://www.arabhardware.net/forum/showthread.php?t=1369... then we are looking at price cuts coming from ATI to compete for marketshare.
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March 22, 2010 11:52:40 PM

No problem with my housemate's 5770 over here
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April 7, 2010 12:40:22 AM

Best answer selected by gamestx.
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