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Sata III or not for a new system

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March 17, 2010 4:29:53 PM

I'm looking to build a new system and my budget is ~$2500. or less. I'm looking for a high end system that's fast. I have most of it speced out, but I have one unresolved question. With the release of Sata III (6gbps) I, of course, want the fastest drives possible. My initial plan was to have 1 Crucial C300 128GB drive for my system drive and then 3 WD 1TB Sata III drives in RAID 5 for all my data et al.

I want to do all this on the Intel platform (probably get i7-920 CPU). But the more I read about the ICH10R southbridge, the more I'm convinced I won't see much gain in performance, if any at all. Also, the most Sata 3 connectors on the intel basdmotherboars is 2. I need 4. So...

Option 1:
I get a good MB (maybe http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) and then a RAID card.
I put the C300 (or whatever) on one of the Sata ports of the MB, put the 3 RAID drives on the raid card.

Option 2:
I forget about Sata 3 for now because even though it sounds faster, it really isn't much boost.

I keep thinking that if I put the raid card in (which connects via PCIe) that will connect directly to the northbridge and thus I should see some substantial throughput improvement because it's bypassing the southbridge / DMI interface. I've never tried this before...is this accurate? If it is, I ask why I woudn't put the C300 there also to maximize it's throughput as well.

What do you guys think?

More about : sata iii system

March 17, 2010 4:51:46 PM

Go with option 2. The WD SATA III drives aren't faster than the 500 GB platter SATA II drives, but are $30 more expensive. Also, you wouldn't be booting from the regular HDDs, so the speeds wouldn't have much effect on performance. I may even consider dropping RAID 5 altogether and going with a RAID 1 setup.

Also, don't get the i7-920. The 930 is out, and it's roughly the same price. Here's the total build I would recommend. If you're not a gamer, drop the HD 5970 to something more reasonable and pick up more RAM (assuming you're using this as a workhorse).

CPU: i7-930 $295
Mobo: Asus P6X58D Premium $310
RAM: Mushkin Enahnced Redline 3x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 6 $240
GPU: HD 5970 $700
SSD: Corsair Nova 128 GB $319
HDD: 3x Seagate 7200.12 1 TB $270
PSU: OCZ Z Series 850W 80+ Gold $170 after rebate
Case: HAF 922 $90
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $23

Total: $2,417.

If you absolutely need to depend on RAID, I would go with a RAID card either way.
March 17, 2010 5:11:57 PM

MadAdmiral said:
Go with option 2. The WD SATA III drives aren't faster than the 500 GB platter SATA II drives, but are $30 more expensive. Also, you wouldn't be booting from the regular HDDs, so the speeds wouldn't have much effect on performance. I may even consider dropping RAID 5 altogether and going with a RAID 1 setup.

Also, don't get the i7-920. The 930 is out, and it's roughly the same price. Here's the total build I would recommend. If you're not a gamer, drop the HD 5970 to something more reasonable and pick up more RAM (assuming you're using this as a workhorse).

CPU: i7-930 $295
Mobo: Asus P6X58D Premium $310
RAM: Mushkin Enahnced Redline 3x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 6 $240
GPU: HD 5970 $700
SSD: Corsair Nova 128 GB $319
HDD: 3x Seagate 7200.12 1 TB $270
PSU: OCZ Z Series 850W 80+ Gold $170 after rebate
Case: HAF 922 $90
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $23

Total: $2,417.

If you absolutely need to depend on RAID, I would go with a RAID card either way.



Thanks! I've been looking at GPUs and I noticed something about this one you linked to. I've seen many video cards that are 512-bit memory interface. Others are 256x2. Which is better, and why?
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March 17, 2010 6:15:46 PM

I'm going to guess they're the same thing. If you notice, the only cards that have 512-bit interfaces are the GTX 285 and HD 5970. These are the two cards that have two GPUs on a single card. I'm guessing that the HD 5970 states 2x 256-bit because each core is 256-bit. The GTX 285 says 512-bit because nVidia is trying to fool people.
April 8, 2010 1:49:57 PM

Hmm u did mention high end system but what would be the main intended use?
April 8, 2010 2:52:06 PM

Play Cmdr Keen. :-) Seriously, Software Dev (running dev env, webserver, database simultaneously) and also A/V (cakewalk with soft synths).
April 8, 2010 3:42:17 PM

The 5970 will be overkill for you if gaming isn't your primary purpose. As MadAdmiral suggested early on, trade that 5970 for something smaller (5850? 5770?) and get more RAM or perhaps more storage. Or just save the money.
April 8, 2010 3:46:54 PM

I never said anything about the 5970. That was MadAdmiral's suggestion. I do game some but I'll be happy with any 320-bit - 448-bit card with 750+MB of memory on board (preferably PCIe 2.x). The video isn't my main concern. It's data I/O.
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