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Please critique my i7-930 build, Budget: $1000-$1200

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April 27, 2010 11:13:38 PM

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APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Now through the next 2-3 weeks, end of May at latest

BUDGET RANGE: $1000-$1200 USD After Rebates, including taxes and shipping

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: AutoCAD and 3D Modeling, Gaming, Video Editing, Photoshop

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: OS, Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Speakers, Video Card, CPU

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: NewEgg, Micro Center (not opposed to other major retailers if better price/quality)

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: (not opposed to other brands if good justification of quality vs. price) Motherboard - ASUS; Case - Antec; Power Supply - Antec, Corsair; RAM - Corsair, OCZ, G.SKILL, Kingston; Sound Card - Sound Blaster; Hard Drive - Samsung, Western Digital, Seagate; DVD-RW - No Pref.; Card Reader - No Pref.

OVERCLOCKING: Yes

CROSSFIRE: No (not at present, but may opt for it in the future)

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050, probably 1920x1080 or 1920x1200 in near future

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: My friend wants a well-rounded and overclocked system for use at home, with some room for future upgrades (2nd Video Card, Blu-Ray, Add'l RAM, CableCard TV Tuner Card). He'd also like it reasonably quiet at idle and not too loud at full system load. He doesn't want a case window for now.

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First off, thank you in advance to those who help me out with my build - I appreciate it. I'm building this rig for a friend who needs a new system for AutoCAD, Gaming, and other uses (as noted above). I will be overclocking the PC on air, aiming for at least 3.8 to 4GHz (or more). I'm open to alternatives that are better in quality or price, but within my friends' $1000-$1200 budget if at all possible (please reasonably justify your suggestions). While my friend likes the specs for the build, I wanted to pass it by some more experienced eyes for further scrutiny so I can see what works and what doesn't. I have been looking at this forum and parts reviews for some time before arriving at the current build list, so many of my choices have been influenced by that information.

While I want the whole build examined, I am concerned about picking a good motherboard to overclock with. I went with Asus for my own previous build some years ago, and it was great for me. I had considered getting the Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...), but after reading of the high-pitched noise some people reported when overclocking, I figured the Asus listed below would be a comparable alternative.

I have OCZ RAM in the build, but I see quite a few people on here being recommended G.SKILL if overclocking is involved. Should I consider that change too (or to another brand of RAM), given the aim of this build?

If you need any other information, feel free to ask me. I look forward to your feedback!


Parts already purchased:

Windows 7 Professional (cost excluded from budget)
Intel Core i7-930 for $217.49 ($199.99 + $17.50 tax) from local Micro Center
XFX Radeon HD5770 1GB (cost excluded from budget)


Remaining parts:
(Prices from 4/27/2010, Shipping is free unless noted, Tax from NewEgg is 8.25%)

Case -
Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower
$70.35 (64.99 + 5.36 tax)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power Supply -
Corsair CMPSU-750TX
$119.06 (109.99 + 9.07 tax) before $20 mail-in rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard -
ASUS P6X58D-E LGA 1366 Intel X58
$248.96 (229.99 + 18.97 tax)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Fan/Heatsink -
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 120mm CPU Cooler
$45.44 (34.99 + 2.89 tax + 7.56 shipping)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM -
OCZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage OCZ3G1600LV6GK
$192.76 (177.99 + 14.77 tax) before $20 mail-in rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Audio Card -
Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Professional PCI-E
$140.71 (129.99 + 10.72 tax)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard Drive -
Samsung Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200RPM
$97.41 (89.99 + 7.42 tax)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Optical Drive -
Sony Optiarc DVD-RW AD-7240B
$27.05 (24.99 + 2.06 tax)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Card Reader -
Rosewill RCR-IC002 74-in-1 USB 2.0 3.5" Internal Card Reader
$20.30 (15.99 + 1.32 tax + 2.99 shipping)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


GRAND TOTAL (Price + Tax + Shipping - Rebates) = $1,112.47
April 28, 2010 12:38:04 PM

Maybe the RAM, I would get some other brand. Check on the Asus site the RAM list for that mobo.
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April 28, 2010 12:59:45 PM

For the RAM, look at the G.Skill Pi Series 6 GB Triple channel set. 1600 MHz, 7-8-7-24 timings and they're about the same price as the OCZs you have listed.

The sound card may be unnecessary. I hear (pun intended) on-board sound is pretty good nowadays. Worst-case is you try it out and decide you need to add one later, but I doubt that'll be the case.

So I'd definitely take that $140 and add it to the graphics card budget to get an HD Radeon 5850 for $300 or GTX 470 for $350 (depending on if NVIDIA cards provide benefit over ATI in your AutoCad program). I think the CS4 Suite uses OpenGL gpu acceleration, which would work on either an ATI or Nvidia card (?). Anyway, that's something to look into.

Either one of those cards will do very well at 1680 x 1050 and will support your 1920 res in the future. For gaming, I mean. The 5770 will not hold up as well at 1920. It may be sufficient at 1680, but it's overall just a much weaker card than the 5850 or 470. I'm assuming since you got the 5770 at a local shop and haven't opened it (?) that you can just return it.

Other stuff looks NICE!

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April 28, 2010 9:08:38 PM

mortonww said:
For the RAM, look at the G.Skill Pi Series 6 GB Triple channel set. 1600 MHz, 7-8-7-24 timings and they're about the same price as the OCZs you have listed.

The sound card may be unnecessary. I hear (pun intended) on-board sound is pretty good nowadays. Worst-case is you try it out and decide you need to add one later, but I doubt that'll be the case.

So I'd definitely take that $140 and add it to the graphics card budget to get an HD Radeon 5850 for $300 or GTX 470 for $350 (depending on if NVIDIA cards provide benefit over ATI in your AutoCad program). I think the CS4 Suite uses OpenGL gpu acceleration, which would work on either an ATI or Nvidia card (?). Anyway, that's something to look into.

Either one of those cards will do very well at 1680 x 1050 and will support your 1920 res in the future. For gaming, I mean. The 5770 will not hold up as well at 1920. It may be sufficient at 1680, but it's overall just a much weaker card than the 5850 or 470. I'm assuming since you got the 5770 at a local shop and haven't opened it (?) that you can just return it.

Other stuff looks NICE!


Thanks for the replies so far.

@mortonww: I took a look at the G.Skill Pi Series RAM (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) you suggested, and it seems a little nicer than the original kit I picked out. The timings are a bit nicer, still low voltage, and if the online reviews are anything to go by, they overclock pretty nicely. The cost isn't too much greater, and my friend is cool with that change.

The only concern I have is that the heat spreaders are pretty tall on the G.Skill Pi Series RAM, so will that be a problem when it comes to using the Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus cooler? My own guess is that since I am not using a larger/wider cooler (like a Scythe Mugen 2), it probably won't be an issue, but I would rather hear some feedback on that pairing if possible.

On the audio front, my friend prefers the X-Fi card option vs. onboard audio, since he plans to record some music (vocals/guitar), in addition to gaming, and also using it with his 7.1 Surround system. I'll take another look at the onboard option before installing the card to see if it is acceptable, but I think my my friend will still want the card after that.

Thanks for the video card input. My friend already opened and installed the Radeon HD 5770 card, since he wanted the card for his current AutoCAD work needs. The 5850 was a bit more money than he wanted to spend at the time, and the 5770 was at a good price and recommended in the April 2010 gaming video card ratings from TH. I'm sure when we build the new system, he will want to try overclocking the card a bit, and see what gains can be had. Beyond that, I think he may eventually opt for a Crossfire setup with a second 5770 or swap out to an even better card later, but for now he's likely just going to stick with the 5770. I don't think he's aiming for the highest settings in Crysis, at least not yet. :p 

I'm glad you like the rest of the build! Thanks again! :) 

I'm still open for feedback if anyone else has any thoughts on the build.
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April 28, 2010 9:44:37 PM

G Skill PI will work w/ CM hyper 212 Plus

You don't need a 750w PSU. Even if you xfire, a 650 will be fine for 2 5770's.

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April 28, 2010 10:30:05 PM

banthracis said:
G Skill PI will work w/ CM hyper 212 Plus

You don't need a 750w PSU. Even if you xfire, a 650 will be fine for 2 5770's.


Thanks for letting me know the G.Skill RAM will work with the Hyper 212 Plus cooler. With that concern out of the way, I will recommend this change of RAM to my friend, as it seems like a good suggestion.

I appreciate the feedback on the power supply. I didn't think 750W was overkill considering the OC'ing and potential Crossfire later on, so given that information, I should swap the supply to the Corsair 650-TX (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...). Also, for about the same price as the 750-TX, I could also get the 650-HX, which has modular cable connections, better efficiency rating, and a 7 year warranty (the TX has 5 years warranty). Is it worth the extra cost for the 650-HX compared to the less expensive 650-TX?
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April 30, 2010 10:23:09 PM

I'm still open for critiques on my build, so feel free to drop in with an informed opinion. What's good? What's not so good?

My last question still remains: Is there any benefit (given my build specs and above info) to using a higher-end power supply like the Corsair 650-HX, versus the less expensive 650-TX (aside from having the modular connections)? Is the extra 5% efficiency and extra 2 years of warranty really worth the expense? With the previous recommendation of having 750W being overkill for the build, I will be moving to 650W, but I just want some additional input.

Thanks! :) 
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