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$1800 Gaming powerhouse

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April 9, 2010 8:51:40 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This month BUDGET RANGE: 1800 Before Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Watching movies, School work

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: No monitor needed since ill be using my 32 inch HD tv as a monitor

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, Tigerdirect.com

PARTS PREFERENCES: by brand or type Intel I7 is pretty much my only preference

OVERCLOCKING: Yes SLI OR CROSSFIRE: SLI

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Not too sure..plan to be using my 32 inch HDTV as a monitor

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Pretty much want a powerhouse of a gaming computer

This is what i have so far.

Sony Optiarc 24X DVD/CD Rewritable Drive Black SATA Model AD-7240S-0B - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $23.99

COOLER MASTER HAF 932 RC-932-KKN1-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $159

Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... -$99.99

CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $139.99

CORSAIR DOMINATOR 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMD4GX3M2A1600C8 - Retail -http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $147.99

GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail-
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $209.99

Intel Core i7-930 Bloomfield 2.8GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Desktop Processor- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... -$289.99

CORSAIR Cooling Hydro Series CWCH50-1 120mm High Performance CPU Cooler - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $79.99

EVGA 015-P3-1480-AR GeForce GTX 480 (Fermi) 1536MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $499.99

Total - $1651 tax not included

What do you guys think of this build? Will i be able to keep my PC cool enough to not damage it or will i need to invest more in cooling? Will playing on a 32 inch HDTV be bad? Im really only concerned about keeping the gtx 480 cooled. Any thoughts or advice is welcome!

More about : 1800 gaming powerhouse

April 9, 2010 8:56:58 PM

Wow. $1,800 and not a lot of power there...

CPU/Mobo: i7-930 and Asus P6X58D Premium $580. A higher quality board.
RAM: G.Skill Pi 3x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $190. You need triple channel RAM for the i7-930. You've got dual channel. Also, Corsair is drastically overpriced, the Dominators especially.
GPU: HD 5970 $700. Frankly, you're overpaying for the 480. This is a lot better, and could actually be Crossfired without having to install a nuclear power plant in your neighborhood.
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $90. A faster/cheaper HDD. It's also quieter and runs cooler.
PSU: Corsair 750W 80+ $90 after rebate. Could step it up to the 850W if you really think you'll need a second 5970 (which you won't, at least not in the life of this build).
Case: HAF 922 $80 after rebate. The 922 is a lot cheaper, has better features (dust filters, better cable management) and is only slightly smaller.
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $25
HSF: Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus $35. A better cooler. The H50 is overrated. If you want to water cool (and I don't recommend it), don't try it on the cheap.

Total: $1,790
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April 9, 2010 9:02:31 PM

you will need 6 sticks of ram for i7 920 or 930 4 sticks won't be compatible. it goes in 3s 3 6 9 12 ect. dominator ram is paying for brand don't get that.it is a complete waist of money. fermis are horible you won't get good price/performance ratio. it overheats and isn't worth it. get a 5970 instead. but if that is unavailable get 5870 crossfired or if thats too much money get one 5870. get samsung f3 1tb instead of wd. samsung f3 is better.
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April 9, 2010 9:03:41 PM

lol mad admiral you beat me to the enter button
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April 9, 2010 9:08:24 PM

He also beat you to capitalization and sentence structure.

+1 for MadAdmiral's build, though you could scale down to a 5870 if you can't find/don't need a 5970, and afford an SSD if you want to go that route.
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April 9, 2010 9:13:51 PM

Thanks for the quick replies guys. I just tried out madadmirals build.. and it came to 1868 without tax.. 1995 with tax...that might be a little bit out of my range. Best bet would be to get a 5870 in this situation then?

Edit: What do you guys think about a 2gb HD 5870 instead of the 5970... 160 less..bring total to 1710 and ends up being 1830 with tax.
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April 9, 2010 9:17:03 PM

Was his math off, or did you use a different website?

A 5870 is perfectly reasonable, as your HDTV is, at most 1920x1080. The differences between a 5870 and 5970 are likely only visible at 2560xNNNN and up.
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April 9, 2010 9:21:26 PM

I'm guessing it's higher because of the rebates, but it shouldn't be that much higher.

I agree. The 1 GB 5870 would be more than enough for 1080p gaming.
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April 9, 2010 9:32:02 PM

Cool, cool, thanks for all the help...do you guys have any preferred manufacturers that you trust the most? Trying to decide which hd 5870 i want. Thanks again!
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April 9, 2010 9:51:35 PM

shoosta said:
Cool, cool, thanks for all the help...do you guys have any preferred manufacturers that you trust the most? Trying to decide which hd 5870 i want. Thanks again!


For the most part, it doesn't really matter. Sapphire and XFX are the two big names, but there isn't a lot of difference between the cards. The only thing really noticeable is that XFX has a longer warranty on many of their cards.
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April 9, 2010 10:11:32 PM

Case: HAF 932 $140 and PSU: Corsair HX850 $175 - $315

CPU/Mobo: i7-930 and Asus P6X58D Premium Combo at newegg $580

RAM: These Corsairs don't have the high heat sinks which often interfere with 3rd party heatsinks .... also 7-8-7-20 timings are betetr than the Gskills 7-8-7-24 for the same exact $190 price tag.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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 excels 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.

Heat Sink - Don't think much of the H50. Pick from the top 3 off one of these lists:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/Recommended_Heatsinks
http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm#INTELHEATSI...
http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

pick a TIM from the top 3 here:
http://www.hwreviewlabs.com/index.php?option=com_conten...
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/coolers/display/therma...
http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

Monitor: I wouldn't do the TV. Asus VW266H $279
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: This will much depend on your tastes, needs and desires. Eyefinity / PhysX, CUDA, 3D Vision immediately puts you in one camp of the other. If you don't have a PSU / Case combo adequate to handle the 4xx series power and heat demands, ya gotta lean ATI.

The next thing is that the cards individual successes change from DX10 to DX11 and also by resolution. So you have to look at what you are going to be playing so as to make the best choice for what you're doing. Once you're past those, bang for the buck comes into play.

To my surprise, the 4xx series is actually selling at MSRP while the ATI's are still floating well above that level. I expect that ATI will put pressure on vendors to drop prices back to MSRP levels but until they do, that leaves nVidia with some pretty good "dollars per frame" numbers....the 470 and 5850 are so close, a weekend sale which drops $10-15 can actually change the "standings" considerably.

You should expect the dollars per frame to go up as you get to the top performers due to the law of diminishing returns. Looking just to the future for a moment, here's the average "dollars per frame" cost of the top 5 cards using data from another thread (DX11 Games, 1920 x 1200, high settings):

ATI 5970 11.37
nVidi 480 9.62
ATI 5870 10.29
nVidia 470 9.08
ATI 5850 8.89

The ony number above that bothers me is the $11.37 .... because, at MSRP, that number drops to a very respectable $9.75 at MSRP ($100+ over MSRP is too much to swallow on principal alone) , ..... similarly, the 5870 would get a $9.67 at MSRP. The closeness of these numbers $8.89 to $9.08 ...... $9.67 to $9.62 is pretty amazing.

At this point I have two college age sons planning early summer upgrades ...... while they have both seemed to settle on the same budget ($700), the older one studying to be a pilot is planning a 5970 w/ eyefinity setup for FSX. The younger one, a science / media arts student wants twin 470's. Both choices make sense for what they use their PC's for. I won't mind, I get to play w/ both :)  .





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April 10, 2010 2:00:13 AM

Don't see why you don't just go 1156. For gaming movies and school work, a i7-920 provides no benefit over a i7-860.

An i7-930 is just a i7-920 with a 21x multiplier instead of 20. As you can see from this article, even with a 5970, it's not gonna outperform a $150 Phenom II x4 processor.
http://www.legionhardware.com/articles_pages/cpu_scalin...

Granted, you won't be able to Xfire 5970's, but you're not gonna need to, at least until next gen consoles come out (2014 earliest). The 5970 can easily handle any game in existence at 1920x1080, and major game companies refuse to made stuff that won't run on PS3/360, (or in Blizzard's case 3 year old hardware).


Take Mad's build, and swap the CPU/MOBO and ram for these.

CPU/RAM
i7-860 and Ripjaw DDR3 1600 7-8-7-24 $387.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

MOBO
ASUS P7P55D-E LGA 1156 $144.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Not xfire board since you don't need that function with the 5970.


Comes out to ~$1740 including Tax, shipping and the 5970. Doesn't include $30 MIR.
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April 10, 2010 3:45:49 AM

samdsox said:
you will need 6 sticks of ram for i7 920 or 930 4 sticks won't be compatible. it goes in 3s 3 6 9 12 ect. dominator ram is paying for brand don't get that.it is a complete waist of money. fermis are horible you won't get good price/performance ratio. it overheats and isn't worth it. get a 5970 instead. but if that is unavailable get 5870 crossfired or if thats too much money get one 5870. get samsung f3 1tb instead of wd. samsung f3 is better.


-Why will he need 6 sticks of ram?...why not 3?

-Why won't 4 sticks be compatable...if its 4 sticks in dual channel, it is very much compatable...

-What do you mean by 3s...3,6,9,12?

-The fermi's haven't really came out to regular consumers yet i don't think, so how are you making these conclusions before people have them and test them out?

-The samsung might be fast but when it comes to reliability...not so fast.
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April 10, 2010 3:52:51 AM

Here is a build i'd Get for $1800

-Intel Core i7 930 Bloomfield
-Asus P6X58D
-OCZ Platinum 6GB Triple Channel
-HAF 922/932
-Microsoft Windows 7
-Nvidia GTX 470/480
-WD/Seagate 1TB Black/7200.12
-SSD if affordable (Intel X25-V) for OS
-CM/Corsair 700-900Watt depending on SLI/Xfire intentions
-CM Hyper 212+ or CM V8
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April 10, 2010 3:57:24 AM

I think he meant GB not sticks.

People are overblowing the heat issue a bit, but the 480 price/performance issue has been noted by both tom's and anandtech.

The F3 haven't had any issue's, and they've been out a while now.

samdsox's post does make my eyes hurt though >.<
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April 10, 2010 2:34:47 PM

@blackhawk: That's basically my build, just you use low quality RAM that has been known to have compatibility issues, especially with Intel boards. Also, you have a lower performing GPU, a lower efficiency PSU and a useless sized SSD. The SSD would be the only part that is an improvement, and the OP can add that in when the prices drop to reasonable levels.

Also, the 470/480 have been extensively tested on several sites. That is how we can make comparisions.
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April 10, 2010 2:51:46 PM

MadAdmiral said:
@blackhawk: That's basically my build, just you use low quality RAM that has been known to have compatibility issues, especially with Intel boards. Also, you have a lower performing GPU, a lower efficiency PSU and a useless sized SSD. The SSD would be the only part that is an improvement, and the OP can add that in when the prices drop to reasonable levels.

Also, the 470/480 have been extensively tested on several sites. That is how we can make comparisions.


Are you talking about the build i recommend above?
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April 10, 2010 2:58:08 PM

Yes.

If you want me to explain it:

RAM: OCZ's sticks require 1.7V to run. Intel boards typically will only allow 1.65V for the RAM. This creates some problems between the two. There's a reason OCZ RAM is so cheap...

GPU: The 480 performs more like the 5870 than the 5970. So it's lower performing than the 5970 I suggested. Not to mention the poor power efficiency and the extra heat that makes it extremely hard to Crossfire.

PSU: Nevermind that one. I forgot which PSU I suggested. For higher end builds, I usually recommend an OCZ Z-Series 80+ Gold unit...

SSD: IMO, you really need a 128 GB SSD at least to be really useful. Think of it this way: if you bought an 80 GB SSD, you'd have enough room for 4-6 games after you install the OS and other necessary programs with the 20% free space required. I would much rather have something that actually affects gaming performance.
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April 10, 2010 4:03:03 PM

^SSD's don't affect gaming performance...

-And my OCZ platinum sticks require 1.65v not 1.7...it doesn't say anywhere about 1.7v, moreover my motherboard supports a max of 1.65V and my ram works perfectly fine. Been running it at CL7 1600mhz since early december and not a single glitch.
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April 10, 2010 5:50:06 PM

That's what I'm saying about SSDs. They're expensive and don't improve gaming performance. Why waste money on them in a gaming build?

I'm not saying that all OCZ RAM will not work in an Intel build. I'm saying it's hit or miss. I know I would pay the few extra bucks and get something I know will work.
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April 11, 2010 8:41:00 AM

Forget what Madadmiral said. He is obviously a Nvidia hater. Get the GTX 470. What everyone seems to forget is that hardware tessellation is basically the best thing since sliced bread. ATI excels at rendering textures but that is not where the future of 3D GFX is heading in my opinion. Don't believe me then check out the Nvidia water demo and it will blow you away what tessellation can do.

Forget what Madadmiral also says about SSD's not being worth it. A SSD is by far the one of the single greatest upgrades you can make to your PC. Only someone without a SSD would say otherwise.

Let's say instead of getting a 5970 for $700 you get a GTX 470 for $350. Then you use that other $350 for a 80/160gig Intel SSD. If you're not gonna game at 2560/1600 then you might as well stick with the GTX 470 or ATI 5850.

Also as far as your power supply goes. Get the modular 850 watt Corsair. You are really gonna thank yourself for getting a modular PSU when you dont have excess wires cluttering up your case restricting airflow and looking ugly.

Just my 2cents. But everyone thinks they are right and will defend their decisions right or wrong till the end. Let's see how the Fermi cards stack up against ATI when games actually start utilizing what DX11 can really do. Not just a slight lighting enhancement here or there.
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April 11, 2010 10:42:32 AM

Holy crap..so many suggestions.

@ noobzilla... i have been blown away by those tesselation pictures....but isnt that more for the future of gaming and graphics...what am i gonna do with all that technology when theres barley any games who can take advantage of it.
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April 11, 2010 2:29:34 PM

@noobzilla: I am not a nVidia hater. I've actually looked at the benchmarks and the 470/480 is not worth it right now. Maybe once games are actually being made that use the special features I'll change my mind. Right not, nothing nVidia offers does any good for gaming. They're cards are slightly more powerful, but are just a touch too expensive. The 470 is between the 5850 and 5870 in terms of performance, but it's priced too close to the 5870. The 480 is slightly more powerful than the 5870, but it's not wroth the extra $100. Finally, the excess power draw (the 480 draws as much as the 5970) and excess heat mean that they won't overclock as well and you'll need special heat management systems to run them in SLI. Not to mention a small nuclear power plant next to your computer.

Second, the 5850 is alright for gaming at 1900x resolutions, but it won't be for long. If you really want to play games at that resolution without worrying about upgrades in the next couple of years, you need the 5870.

Third, they've tested the 470/480 in DirectX 11 games. They didn't even recognize that the cards supported DX 11.

Fourth, I like the idea of SSDs. I've used them and they make the computer SEEM very fast. However, they don't actually do anything for performance. I would much rather spend that $350 on the GPU which will actually affect gaming performance. Once the 128 GB SSDs are down to around $200, which should be in a year or so, I'd be all for sticking one in.

Fifth, modular PSUs aren't needed as most quality cases are bottom mounted. That means the excess wires are at the bottom of the case. So the cables are already out of the way of airflow and view. Why pay a premium for the same feature twice?
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April 11, 2010 6:42:59 PM

shoosta said:
Holy crap..so many suggestions.

@ noobzilla... i have been blown away by those tesselation pictures....but isnt that more for the future of gaming and graphics...what am i gonna do with all that technology when theres barley any games who can take advantage of it.


It's true that when DX10 first came out most companies didn't even start supporting it for a few years. DX11 is somewhat like that now. It may take another year before games actually start coming out that support what it can do. But there is a difference between DX10 and 11. Look at it this way.

The only way to upgrade to DX10 was to upgrade to Windows Vista. Something most people didn't want to do. But DX11 is different in a lot of ways. First of all the native OS Windows 7 everyone has and loves. Also the difference between DX9 and DX10 was minimal at the most. DX11 is light years ahead of DX10 which make me think that it will be implemented much faster. If I was designing a game right now I would use everything DX11 had to offer to separate myself from the crowd. If you can visually wow PC gamers you are gonna sell a massive amount of games. I'm actually dissapointed in Crysis 2 after seeing screenshots. It looks like it's still using DX9/10.

Haters want to hate.
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