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Haven't built a system in 10+ years Need advice

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April 6, 2010 12:07:36 AM

Been away from hardware for quite some time and would like some input from those of you that have kept up with it. (I'm glad Tom's is still going strong)

Purpose: World of Warcraft and any expansions for the next 3-4'ish years. This might be asking too much for longevity, but I'm hoping to build a higher horsepower system now that will run everything fine now w/o O.C'ing it until years later with some RAM Possible future CPU expansion availability.

OS: Win7 (unsure of which flavor yet)
CPU: i7-930 2.8 ghz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MOBO: Asus P6X589
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Fan/Heatsink:Thermaltake Frio (no overclocking for now)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: Corsair DDR3 6GB 1600mhz 3ch.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Drive(s): Corsair P256 SSD Sata II (ouch, is this worth $/speed wise?)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Not sure if I need a back-up HDD as I have a 1tb usb drive, but it's slow so?
Western Digital (Black) 1tbyte SATA 6.0/GB/s
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Card: Sapphire 1002805 Radeon HD-5970 (noticed out of stock)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: Antec 1200 (cheaper is fine, I care about cooling not LED's)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: Antec 750w Earthwatt
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD-R: Sony Optiarc I would put the game on the SDD/HDD so just for installing and occasional burning.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Same Monitor: Phillips/Magnavox HD-TV 32" diag
1024/768 typically 1280/768 max has HDMI 1080i hookup as well as VGA

If I had of set a budget, it's already over it. The SSD drive is price is the unexpected difference, but appears that for OS and games it makes a huge difference is that the case? I probably won't do a "full" rebuild for another 10 years, so I'm looking for longevity, although I realize games epitomize hardware obsolescence.

Keyboard/mouse whatever works (keyboard faster than mouse for WOW?). I've not played WOW yet due to old hardware but have been eying it for years. It looks like Zork I but with graphics. That's an old game when modems were cradles for a telephone handset . . . have I dated myself. ;) 

No OClocking for now, although the H2O systems look amazing, I have enough hobbies.

TIA for any suggestions, corrections, advice,

Mark
April 6, 2010 12:51:57 AM

Well, WOW and blizzard games in general are built to run fine on 3 year old comps, even with max settings.

That said, you can save a lot of money by getting rid of unnecessary expenses and changing some parts around.


First, big choice, is whether you want to stick with 1366 or drop down to 1156.
- The tri channel vs 2 channel memory difference is pretty much non existent unless you're using certain RAM intensive programs. Mostly professional graphics and Video related. IF you're a professional in these fields then by all means go 1366.
- With up to 2 GPU's, the performance difference between the 2 is pretty much negligible, 3% or so.
- However, if you ever want to use 3 or more GPU's, or multiple 5970's, then you'll have to go with 1366.
- You'll save a good amount of money with the 1156 system and suffer almost no performance loss in gaming.

No that said, if you want to continue with 1366:

MOBO
This $209.99 Gigabyte board has the same features at a much cheaper price.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HSF
Even if you want to OC, the CM Hyper 212 Plus $35 will work fine.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM
G Skill PI $174.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Corsair tends to have a high premium on it's RAM for its name. This G Skill kit will work the same for cheaper.

HD
SSD wise, the two main contenders for you would be the X25-M G2 and the OCZ Vertex. Considering that Intel has enabled TRIM for Raid 0 in Win 7, my recommendation would be 2 X25-M 80gb in Raid 0.
$215 each
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Main drive wise, I'd recommend a Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Much better performance for cheaper.

PSU
I'd go with the Corsair 750 TX $100 after MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or Seasonic 650W $159.99 if you want the best. Yes the 650W is perfectly fine for a single 5970, though if you want to Xfire the 5970 down the road, might as well grab the 750 for $20 more.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case GPU and Optical are fine.



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April 6, 2010 12:55:41 AM

Quote:
Been away from hardware for quite some time and would like some input from those of you that have kept up with it. (I'm glad Tom's is still going strong)


Yup WOWarcrack will do that to you :kaola: 

Pickup this csae/psu Combo http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

OS Windows 7 home 64 bit OEM will do

This HSF will get you a nice OC http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The GPU is way overkill for that rez but you can leave it because you wont upgrade for 10 years :) 

The SSD will help with load times in maps zone But my god its alot of coin ( ATM there a bit over priced )





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April 6, 2010 1:01:11 AM

banthracis said:
Well, WOW and blizzard games in general are built to run fine on 3 year old comps, even with max settings.

That said, you can save a lot of money by getting rid of unnecessary expenses and changing some parts around.


First, big choice, is whether you want to stick with 1366 or drop down to 1156.
- The tri channel vs 2 channel memory difference is pretty much non existent unless you're using certain RAM intensive programs. Mostly professional graphics and Video related. IF you're a professional in these fields then by all means go 1366.
- With up to 2 GPU's, the performance difference between the 2 is pretty much negligible, 3% or so.
- However, if you ever want to use 3 or more GPU's, or multiple 5970's, then you'll have to go with 1366.
- You'll save a good amount of money with the 1156 system and suffer almost no performance loss in gaming.

No that said, if you want to continue with 1366:

MOBO
This $209.99 Gigabyte board has the same features at a much cheaper price.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HSF
Even if you want to OC, the CM Hyper 212 Plus $35 will work fine.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM
G Skill PI $174.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Corsair tends to have a high premium on it's RAM for its name. This G Skill kit will work the same for cheaper.

HD
SSD wise, the two main contenders for you would be the X25-M G2 and the OCZ Vertex. Considering that Intel has enabled TRIM for Raid 0 in Win 7, my recommendation would be 2 X25-M 80gb in Raid 0.
$215 each
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Main drive wise, I'd recommend a Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Much better performance for cheaper.

PSU
I'd go with the Corsair 750 TX $100 after MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or Seasonic 650W $159.99 if you want the best. Yes the 650W is perfectly fine for a single 5970, though if you want to Xfire the 5970 down the road, might as well grab the 750 for $20 more.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case GPU and Optical are fine.


I agree and don't, only reason i don't agree is because he wants it to last 10 years ( and as you said wow can play on old PCs as it did on my AMD 2500+ with a GT 6800 and 1 gigs on ram ) that being said, he will be able to hit the crack pipe for a long time :) 


Sorry for the crack remarks but i got sucked into that game :p 

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April 6, 2010 1:22:00 AM

Case / PSU - With the 1200 (or w/o) nothing can compete with this combo at $229. Much better than the Corsair TX series, comparable to the Corsair HX series but CP is quieter.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Hard Drives - Check out the performance charts and pick whatever 500 GB per platter drive performs best under your usage patterns. The 2 TB WD Black and XT from Seagate are good choice but at smaller capacities, you are limited to the Seagate 7200.12 or the Spinpoint F3. The 7200.12 wins in gaming, multimedia and pictures whereas the F3 wins at music and movie maker. See the comparisons here (copy past link in manually, link won't work in forum):

(http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2009-3.5-desktop-har...[2371]=on&prod[2770]=on)

Look at the tests that reflect your usage and choose accordingly.

GFX Card - A 5970 for 1280 resolution just doesn't make any sense. I'd recommend a GTS 250 ($89 w/ free $50 game gives ya a net $39) . At 1920 x 1200 or 1920 x 1080 (1080p) a 470 or 5850 will do for 99% of games including WoW and all it's expansions.

RAM - CAS 7 is up around $200 for the Corsairs.....the GSkills have very high heat spreaders which can interfere w/ many 3rd party Heat Sinks. The OCZ CAS 8's are a great buy at $160
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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April 6, 2010 1:36:06 AM

The G SKill PI will fit with a CM Hyper 212 Plus.

The PSU/Case combo is indeed the better option.

If he wants the RIG to last as long as possible, might as well go with the 5970. Granted, even that build won't last 10 years, but it'll last longer than a 5850.
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April 6, 2010 2:24:22 PM

Thanks everyone for the advice, and great finds on the $ saving corners I can cut. I appreciate it.

1. Just read about multiple monitors (talking future, I'll hemorrhage enough $ for now). Maybe one for browsing/e-mail and another for TV/Movies (2 small 15"ish) I wouldn't need high-end cards, but would I need additional PCIe slots and would that change either of the mobo/cpu options?

2. I don't know how multi-monitors are set up vid card wise, hence my above question. Assuming one card with a tuner and the other just a cheapo browser/office app card, or is there a better, more efficient way?


3. Sound: Both boards have on-board 8ch. Realtek ALC889 chip. I'm too deaf to be an audiophile, and plan on using AX360's (head phones) anyway to keep the wife happy, will this chip do dolby surround 5.x, or rather, will it be fine for WOW? I'm not too picky on sound, but don't want it to sound like a raspy AM radio. :) 

Thanks again for all of the opinions and suggestions, comments welcomed. Looking forward to a computer with more than 256Mb of RAM.

Mark
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April 6, 2010 2:48:36 PM

1 & 2 - ATI cards can drive up to 3 monitors using just one card. Especially if you drop the money on the 5970 (though the 5850 and the 5870 would be more than adequate as well), you'll be fine.

3 - Yes, the sound will be more than fine.

And to go back a little bit, a 256 GB SSD is definitely overkill. Between 120-160 should be more than enough for OS & applications. Be aware that you want to store frequently changing data on a separate drive, as SSDs have a limited (but still high) number of writes available to them. Mean time to failure should be higher than for mechanical drives, and once an SSD dies, it's still readable (just not writeable).
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April 8, 2010 8:40:40 PM

Thanks Cold, I took your recommendation on the smaller SSD and went 160gb. As well as above posters changes.

1. I'm a little confused about 'frequently changing data' because I picture the OS being the most frequently changed data,(like vram/swap) what would be an example of data better placed on the HDD rather than the SSD?

Re: future 3 monitors. I only seem to find old threads/articles about 3 monitors and none covering what I eventually would like to do. Part of my ignorance might be because of not having seen the video card or windows 7 options/functionality. I'm trying to get my head around how I will eventually set it up.

Essentially, I would like my current large center monitor(TV with HDMI&VGA hookups) for gaming, and smaller 17"-19" (I'm getting blind too) monitors on either side. One for web/e-mail and the other for TV(news)/DVD-movies. Although the TV monitor might be used to display desktop space as well when not in use.

2. Would the TV monitor need to have a tuner (built in)? I didn't see a tuner on that Sapphire 5970.

Thanks for everyone's help/advice,

Mark
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April 8, 2010 9:42:48 PM

1 - An SSD is pretty terrible to use for storing Photoshop scratch files, audio tracks that you're editing, a database, etc. (EDIT: if you plan to actually have anything else on there, like your OS.) Anything that is frequently written to/rewritten. While you're right that swap space gets used a lot, for the most part, OS stuff is largely read-only. Virtual RAM also typically becomes less necessary the more actual RAM you have. :) 

2 - Search for articles on Eyefinity. The basic concept is that one ATI card can stretch your desktop across 3 monitors.

3 - If you want to capture/display live TV, you'll need a separate TV capture card. The monitor that you would display it on wouldn't need any special connections, though. Right now, most cards are only capable of capturing about 20-30 cable channels as well as regular over-the-air. Something to do with ClearQAM or something, I haven't really looked into it much myself. There are supposedly cards coming out this summer that provide more functionality.

You could, of course, just buy a regular tv or a monitor/tv combo, but in general, I think that the added functionality of a tv capture card is worthwhile.
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