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Review my build before purchase!!

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March 29, 2010 7:05:27 PM

So I just got my nice tax refund deposited in my account last week and have been in dire need of a new PC for a while. I've not kept up on the latest month to month hardware trends so I did some research to figure out what would provide a good combination of reliability, performance, and pricing. I will be using it for gaming, movies/music playback, general work, and maybe some light video and photo editing. This will be the 4th PC I have built on my just for reference.

This build falls just short of $1700 for the tower itself and I have another $800 or so in peripherals and accessories because my monitor/printer/etc are from the stone age and need an upgrade as well (I will probably end up buying 2 monitors in reality).

http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...


Graphics Card
Even though I have been using Nvidia products forever due to their great driver support and performance historically, it seems like currently ATI is designing with the better cards for a better price. Not to mention the fact that the GTX 400 series won't even come out for another few weeks and I have doubts about buying 'beta' products. From what I have read the GTX cards run extremely hot, the fans kick on really loud under a heavy load, they consume more power, and it looks like the HD 5700-5800 series consistently beat out GTX cards in a majority of benchmarks.

I really don't want to spend much more than $500 for my graphics card. So my decision came down to getting 1 HD 5870 or 2 HD 5770's running in Crossfire. From the recent tom's review it looks like dual 5770's perform better in general for a lower price. I also like the fact that most of the ATI cards have a DisplayPort connector (even though the number of monitors that include DP support right now is slim). However I am still wary of Cata drivers and still hear a bunch of horror stories about them :sweat: 

Motherboard
I went with an Intel i7-860 Quad Core for my processor and read some great reviews about the ASUS Maximus III. It seems to be packed with features and great support which made me want to give it a shot.

Hard Drives
I wanted 2 TB of storage space. I have used WD drives for ages and see no reason to stop using them now. From past problems with using RAID 0, I do not really want to use a RAID setup in this new PC as it really doesn't offer too much anymore. I was originally going to go with one of the 'green' drives but saw that they failed alot when used as the master boot drive (and they fail miserably when using RAID - not that it matters to me really), so I decided to get 2 1 TB Black drives instead.

Monitors
I want to go for a dual-screen setup (sorry I'm not brave or rich enough to step up to 3 quite yet) using 27". I would have liked to find a pair with DisplayPort support but the only one I could find was the Dell U2711 which looks like the most amazing monitor out there with a 2560 x 1440 (WQHD) resolution, but at a $1000 a pop these are just too expensive for me personally. I am highly open to any suggestions in this area.

I just wanted to get some basic sanity checks and opinions before I went ahead with the purchase.

Thanks.

More about : review build purchase

March 29, 2010 7:17:01 PM

I'm just going to go ahead and say that you shouldn't build that.

Here's a much, much better $1,700 tower that mets your needs:

CPU: i5-750 and Asus P7P55D-E Pro $375. A much better board. Also, the i7-860 isn't that great of a CPU. Stick to the i5.
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $120. You need dual channel RAM for the P55 chipset. Not to mention those are overpriced. Speed doesn't actually affect much, so paying for 2000 mhz sticks is not a good idea.
GPU: HD 5970 $700. 2x 5770 will struggle at the highest resolutions. This beast will easily handle anything you can throw at it. The problem with Crossfiring at the start of a build is that you lose a major upgrade path. Also, some games don't recognize Crossfired cards, meaning you would lose the ability to play them.
HDD: 2x Seagate 7200.12 1 TB $180. Faster and cheaper than that WD. It's also quieter and runs cooler.
PSU: Silverstone 850W 80+ Silver $150. You don't need a 1kW PSU. The newer cards use less energy (at least on the ATI side). 1kW would easily power three 5970s (6 GPUs). It's just plain overkill.
Case: HAF 922 $90 after rebate. A better case. It's huge, and easily one of the best out there.
Optical: 2x Cheap SATA DVD burner $48. If you really need two of them...
HSF: Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus $35. A much better cooler.

Total: $1,698
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March 29, 2010 7:56:11 PM

Given your opinion, I might do a little more research into finding out if there is any value in going for an i7 over an i5.

I didn't want to go over $500 for a graphics card really. I don't think I will need that kind of performance since I will most likely be playing in 1920x1080 resolution and not some crazy 2500x. Point taken though, maybe I will consider getting the HD 5870 instead so I can throw another one in a year later when they are dirt cheap.

I've had some friends that have had some really bad experiences with Seagate HDDs recently. A near 30% failure rate on Newegg? I'm kind of skeptical of using these still:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=2...

I don't believe you can really go overkill with a PSU, especially if you are going to upgrade. I wanted a Thermaltake Toughpower but they are a little pricey right now. There is really no price difference between the one you linked.

Case...yes the one you linked would save me a $100 but I really want a removable mobo tray (couldn't see one or find it listed on this one). It's only 19" tall and I wanted a very spacious case and I guess I have a different taste in aesthetics because I just don't like the look of that case as much as the other in general.



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March 29, 2010 8:11:04 PM

I don't buy into using customer reviews to rate the quality of a part. Consider that there's a saying that if a person has a good experience, they tell two others. If they have a bad one, they tell ten others. That indicates that a bad unit is reported five times more often than a good one. Also, these particular Seagates are fairly new, so there hasn't been enough time to get a more accurate representation of a failure rate.

You can go overkill with a PSU. Besides, the fact that's it's not a quality unit is also a reason to avoid it (Thermaltake's are also hit or miss). If you insist on getting a PSU that's complete overkill, at least get a quality one (Corsair, Antec, Silverstone, SeaSonic or PC Power & Cooling).

While there might not be a price difference between the 1kW you had and the 850W I linked to, there is a HUGE quality difference. Not to mention a big efficiency difference.

The HAF is an ugly case. However, it's definitely the best. It's also huge considering it's price. You could also check out the HAF 932 ($160) or Coolermaster Cosmos S 1000 or Cosmos S ($180). The Cosmos is a very good looking case that's absolutely huge.
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March 29, 2010 9:40:42 PM

Okay, I did a little bit more thinking about the i5-570 vs i7-860.

Both Quad Cores
Both run on LGA 1156 (so mobo will still be the same)
570 factory clocks at 2.66 GHz
860 factory clocks at 2.80 GHz
The only question is ~5% more performance worth another $80?

I decided to step down to the i5 since it seems like many people say it has amazing over clocking potential which would most probably make the performance difference negligible.

Found a TT Toughpower 850w w/better effiency on sale for $99.
I was pretty tired last night and don't know why a chose a 6 GB kit of RAM since I need dual-channel, switched out to the 4 GB Ripjaw.

Jury is still out on a mobo and monitor however...any more recommendations?
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March 29, 2010 10:13:12 PM

If the higher end board has features that you know you will use, then it's probably worth it. If you can't say that, then the P7P55D-E Pro is still a really good board.
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March 29, 2010 10:41:14 PM

Dude, Just build Mad's build, It's pretty awesome, I would be proud to own it.
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March 29, 2010 10:43:06 PM

I would do something like this or mads build for 1700



SAMSUNG CD/DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223C - OEM
Item #: N82E16827151192
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
Service Net Replacement Extended Warranty Plan
The product will be replaced and shipped directly to you at no charge(more info)
• 1 year: $6.99
• 2 year: $11.99
$19.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER HAF 932 RC-932-KKN1-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail
Item #: N82E16811119160
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
$159.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #: N82E16822148433
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
$89.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAPPHIRE 100281-3SR Radeon HD 5870 (Cypress XT) 1GB 256-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video ... - Retail
Item #: N82E16814102883
Return Policy: VGA Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
Service Net Replacement Extended Warranty Plan
The product will be replaced and shipped directly to you at no charge(more info)
• 1 year: $39.99
• 2 year: $79.99
-$20.00 Instant
$429.99
$409.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR CMPSU-750HX 750W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power ... - Retail
Item #: N82E16817139010
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
-$20.00 Instant
$10.00 Mail-in Rebate Card
$169.99
$149.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mushkin Enhanced Redline 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model 998805 - Retail
Item #: N82E16820226121
Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy
-$10.00 Instant
$30.00 Mail-in Rebate
$259.99
$249.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-G1 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long ... - Retail
Item #: N82E16835103065
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
$34.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


• ASUS P6X58D Premium LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Item #: N82E16813131614
Return Policy: Limited Replacement Only Return Policy
• Intel Core i7-930 Bloomfield 2.8GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Model BX80601930 - Retail
Item #: N82E16819115225
Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy
-$25.00 Combo
$604.98
$579.98
1

UBISOFT Assassin’s Creed II – PC Digital Download, Gift with Intel Purchase - Retail
Item #: N82E16800992041
Return Policy: Limited Replacement Only Return Policy
-$59.99 Saving
$59.99
$0.00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
Subtotal: $1,694.90

This build would play games very well @ 1920x1200 and also do grate @ photoshop stuff

Mads build would do Grate @ games and do photoshop stuff well
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March 29, 2010 10:44:27 PM

I don;t like that case.

The HAF-922 is a better idea.
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March 29, 2010 10:51:37 PM

builderbobftw said:
I don;t like that case.

The HAF-922 is a better idea.


Its not what you like less this rig was for you :) 

The 922 is also a grate case, the 932 just is a tad bigger but with more fans and better airflow.



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March 29, 2010 10:56:27 PM

The 922 is like the same, but cheaper.
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March 29, 2010 10:59:11 PM

+1 for Mad's build but with a HX-1000.
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March 30, 2010 2:16:51 AM

Great Case... I recommend buying the case than droping your system down to an Athlon X3 440 and ATI 4850 to keep you under budget, since the case is almost 1/2 your budget... [:mousemonkey:5] :p 
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March 30, 2010 2:19:04 AM

tecmo34 said:
Great Case... I recommend buying the case than droping your system down to an Athlon X3 440 and ATI 4850 to keep you under budget, since the case is almost 1/2 your budget... [:mousemonkey:5] :p 



:pt1cable: 
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March 30, 2010 12:20:10 PM

I've actually heard that case is extremely hard to build in and isn't that great...

Back to the Antec 1200. I really don't like the 1200. It's really expensive and still doesn't fit the bigger video cards. In addition, if you buy the CP-850 (a unit I hate), you will only be able to use it in three Antec cases. And they're not the best cases at that point. That means you are likely to have to spend more later on as the PSU can often be reused, and since the cases it can be used in are small, it's likely you'll need to replace them to upgrade the build. I also don't like the CP-850 because it's got a really low efficiency for it's size.

Yes, the CP-850 is dirt cheap. That's because it's not that useful.
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March 30, 2010 4:35:49 PM

MadAdmiral said:
I've actually heard that case is extremely hard to build in and isn't that great...

Back to the Antec 1200. I really don't like the 1200. It's really expensive and still doesn't fit the bigger video cards. In addition, if you buy the CP-850 (a unit I hate), you will only be able to use it in three Antec cases. And they're not the best cases at that point. That means you are likely to have to spend more later on as the PSU can often be reused, and since the cases it can be used in are small, it's likely you'll need to replace them to upgrade the build. I also don't like the CP-850 because it's got a really low efficiency for it's size.

Yes, the CP-850 is dirt cheap. That's because it's not that useful.

I will agree with you on the limited case factor in what cases the CP-850 will work in... However, most PC builders purchase a case to last from one build to the next, similar to PSU, until they are no longer current or go bad. When I purchased my Antec 1200, I don't plan on purchasing another case for my next build, unless I was planning to build a completely new system and keeping my old system.

Where do you see it won't fit the bigger GPU's? I have not ran into any limiting factors in GPU sizes (but I haven't tried the 5970, which is the biggest). I would not for see issues with the ATI 5970 but I would have to measure to be sure.

As for efficiency... I totally disagree with that statement and not being that useful. I have never seen a negative review for the Antec CP-850, outside of only fitting into a few Antec cases...
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...
http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/736/1

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March 30, 2010 4:39:42 PM

On the carrying the case from build to build: That is true, but the limited length of the 1200 does not make it ideal to do this. It already doesn't comfortably fit the best video cards on the market, so why would you think it will later on? The limited size means you will likely need a different case when you rebuild/upgrade. If you buy the CP-850, that also means you'll need a new PSU as well.

I'm not saying it's not a quality unit. I'm saying that you can get units with higher efficiency in that size without spending a whole lot more. You may even spend less once you factor in the savings from NOT getting the Antec 1200...
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March 30, 2010 4:58:26 PM

MadAdmiral said:
On the carrying the case from build to build: That is true, but the limited length of the 1200 does not make it ideal to do this. It already doesn't comfortably fit the best video cards on the market, so why would you think it will later on?

This can be said with any case you purchase. If ATI comes out with a newer card that is bigger than the 5970, even the HAF's will have a difficult time fitting them, so you'll be looking for a newer case that is bigger. It just isn't the Antec 1200 that applies to. Also, we don't know if the new GPU's will always be bigger (like the 5970). Take for example, the GTX480 is about an inch less (roughly) than the 5970 and it's Nvidia's top of the line. They haven't went "bigger" on their new cards. Also, I could argue if one has $650 to blow on a GPU, what is an extra $120 to purchase a new PSU when switching cases. Depending on the other case, the CP-850 will fit with a little modification to the case, so it could be reused :)  (I won't recommend it for the everyday user but the "modifiers" it is a valid option)

Let me make it clear too, the Cooler Master HAF 922 / 932 are GREAT cases, so I have nothing against them and if the OP purchase one, they'll have no problems. I've been amazed by the cable management I've seen with those cases and would look to use the HAF 922 for a future build of my own. I just feel the Antec 1200 / Antec CP-850 is a great combo deal and should be taken into consideration for a build like this one, if the OP likes the looks of the case.
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March 30, 2010 6:08:20 PM

you do know the level 10 weighs like 50lbs EMPTY
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March 30, 2010 6:48:26 PM

Best case at any reasonable price that one would wish to pay for case:

HAF-922.

End of Story.
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