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Expert opinions on this rig..

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May 13, 2010 10:40:05 PM

I believe this is the right category to ask this question. If not, I do apologize.


This is my first post here and I wanted to see what other's opinion was on this rig.


My purpose for this is gaming and mainly I am gearing up for Starcraft 2 which is due out in July. I will also be playing other games such as Crysis 2 (when it releases), Supreme Commander 2, Dawn of War 2, etc.


Here are the specs:

Intel Core i7 930
Radeon HD 5870
300 GB 10000 RPM HD
6GB Triple Channel 1333 MHz DDR3
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium


Those are the main ones and here are my questions.


1) Will this run current (and future ones) games just fine as far as the graphics settings are concerned? I know Crysis is VERY demanding to systems so I was curious to how it will run when Crysis 2 comes out.


2) How long will this rig be good enough roughly in terms of years before I have to go and decide to replace it?


3) Will it be difficult to get a secondary 5870 and enable Crossfire down the road?


4) I also have an option to get the 5970 but for the purposes of gaming, is it worth it to go get that card at the moment or stick with the 5870 and make it dual later? Or maybe just stick with the single for a while?

5) This might be a dumb question but I notice that separate physics cards aren't pushed as much anymore (or maybe I am overlooking it). Do the current Radeon or Nvidia cards have that built in?

6) Do I need to consider a 9GB option for RAM (I know the more the merrier is what people say but in terms of games nowadays, I'm not sure) currently or just worry about it later?






Thank you to all of those in advance who take the time to help me. I appreciate it.

More about : expert opinions rig

May 13, 2010 11:15:19 PM

Welcome to the forum. I would recommend a cheaper i5 or X4 955 build if it is mostly for gaming. There's a Build Advice form in my signature that you should fill out. We'd be glad to put a build together for you, but we'll just need a little more information first. But to answer your questions

1) Yes it will
2) Depends on your standards, it could go at least 1-2 years without any big upgrades depending again on your standards
3) No, not for a while
4) Stick to the 5870
5) Only Nvidia cards support PhysX, there are some games that can utilize it
6) No, for games 6GB will be enough
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May 13, 2010 11:18:32 PM

1> You may not quite max out Cryisis but it will still play very well.

2> 3-7 years. Very dependent on your needs and usage.

3> Unlikely. They should just get easier to get until the 6000 series is released.

4> Its a value per performance judgement. Very few games require a 5970 unless you plan on playing on multiple large monitors (eyefinity).

5> PhysX is a proprietary Nvidia technology that they have indicated they will not continue to develop (at least on the PC platform). There are very few PC games that use PhysX (only 11 or so last time I looked).

6> More RAM is not better. It uses more power, creates more heat, and can even be slower. 4 or 6GB is enough for any current gaming purposes and its easy to expand later.


Also 10K RPM drives are outdated tech. SSDs are the better drive for boot/applications and get a 500GB platter HDD for data storage. (Samsung F3, Seagate 7200.12, etc.)


*sigh* jbaker posted in front of me again... :pfff: 
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May 14, 2010 12:31:49 AM

Thanks for the responses guys.


When are the 6000 series cards due out? Is it going to be a while? Just curious.


I also realize 10K RPM hard drives can be bested by solid state, but it seems to be so expensive. Would the 10K's be a sufficient alternative for now? Or is there a secondary option you can recommend?


I will look into the 500 platter though, thanks for the suggestion.
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May 14, 2010 12:38:44 AM

DND had a few different ideas than me (that I agree with), but I think we agree perfectly on the HDD situation.

If you are going to get a 10K RPM drive, the one to get is the newer model. But imo, it is entirely not worth the money ($280). My recommendation, for the best performance is a small 50GB ish boot drive SSD combined with a 500GB/platter mechanical storage drive. As for the 6000 series, I haven't heard of a timeline yet - probably at least not until 2011
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May 14, 2010 1:55:27 AM

I was just wondering if ATI as going to put out something other than the 5970 before the 6000 series was due out.
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May 14, 2010 1:57:03 AM

Not that I know of.
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May 14, 2010 2:00:26 AM

Also, now that I'm thinking about what you guys are telling me.


Would it be viable to downgrade to 3GB RAM and use the extra cash towards a better HD solution?
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May 14, 2010 2:07:08 AM

^Well that depends... If you want faster boot times then the SSD is the way to go, but for overall performance the RAM is more important. Neither one will really give you a large boost in gaming unfortunately. It still would be best for you to fill out the Build Advice form though.
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May 14, 2010 2:12:07 AM

Sounds good. Thank you. :) 
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May 14, 2010 2:46:45 AM

jbakerlent said:
My recommendation, for the best performance is a small 50GB ish boot drive SSD combined with a 500GB/platter mechanical storage drive. As for the 6000 series, I haven't heard of a timeline yet - probably at least not until 2011


tecmo34 said:
My suggestion.... drop the Western Digital Velicoraptor 300GB ... Get the following.

OCZ Agiity 2 50GB
Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB



LOL.
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May 14, 2010 2:58:44 AM

"What so funny.. you funny man"?

You laughing at jbakerlent & me having the same recommendation or are you laughing at the SSD recommendation??
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May 14, 2010 3:11:31 AM

^LOL. Tecmo and I generally agree on most things :)  +1 to his recommendations.
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May 14, 2010 8:06:55 PM

10K drives are expensive enough that you can afford to get a good 500GB drive and a decent boot SSD for better performance at the same price.


<That sounds better than just +1 for Tecmo, doesnt it? ;) >

Most of the frequent posters here agree on most things. Generally disagreements are relatively minor differences in judgement of value or priority.
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May 14, 2010 8:41:29 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong but I was always under the impression that the faster the RPM's on a drive, it made for quicker loading screens, etc. when it came to gaming. Now if I get a smaller SSD for booting purposes and the larger platter for storage, does that still assist in my gaming being faster when it comes to things like that?


I feel like I'm sounding dumb right now but if I store everything on the larger platter then use the smaller SSD just for booting, how does that help in loading the games when I got them all stored on the larger drive?
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May 14, 2010 8:44:18 PM

Good question. The SSD will not help improve the performance of the mechanical drive at all. The reason we are recommending a standard 7200 RPM drive, is that in the latest benchmarks, the 500GB/platter versions are actually beating out the 300GB Velociraptors in most areas. There are of course newer 'raptors but they are far too expensive, imo.
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May 14, 2010 8:49:51 PM

There is a trick you can do to solve your concern.

You partition your larger drive (or use complete drive) and ghost the drive as a folder under your Programs (x86) folder. This will give you the load speeds of the SSD but doesn't take away storage of the SSD.... Video talks about how to do this, along with some other tweaks.

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May 14, 2010 8:50:25 PM

Oh! Brilliant! I love you guys already.


Okay, I understand now.


Still rather puzzling that the 10K RPM Raptors would be more expensive but get outperformed by 7200 RPM HD's. X_X


Is it just the 500 SATA II GB drives that are performing better on these benchmarks or are SATA II's in general doing better?


On a side note.. just curious.. is the difference between the i7 920 and i7 930 worth spending the extra to move up to it?
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May 14, 2010 8:57:30 PM

Thanks for the vid. Will check into it.

Anyone want to take a crack at my previous post?


BTW, I might be overlooking it but how can I give you all reputation boosts?
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May 14, 2010 9:03:31 PM

T2R said:
Oh! Brilliant! I love you guys already.

Okay, I understand now.

Still rather puzzling that the 10K RPM Raptors would be more expensive but get outperformed by 7200 RPM HD's. X_X

Is it just the 500 SATA II GB drives that are performing better on these benchmarks or are SATA II's in general doing better?

On a side note.. just curious.. is the difference between the i7 920 and i7 930 worth spending the extra to move up to it?

The hard drives we are referring to are produced differently. The older HDD's were based on 2 - 250GB Platters or one 300GB Platter for the WD VRaptor and the newer ones are based on a single 500GB platter. This allows it to access data quicker do to the size of the platter. It will not match the seek times of the VRaptor but neither come close to those of a SSD anyways.

There is little difference between the two but I would go with the i7 930 since it is newer and has a higher stock speed.

You can only give one of us a "Reputation boost" and that is by clicking on the "best answer" button showing in one of our post.
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May 14, 2010 9:05:34 PM

T2R said:
Still rather puzzling that the 10K RPM Raptors would be more expensive but get outperformed by 7200 RPM HD's. X_X

Is it just the 500 SATA II GB drives that are performing better on these benchmarks or are SATA II's in general doing better?

On a side note.. just curious.. is the difference between the i7 920 and i7 930 worth spending the extra to move up to it?


So the deal is:
a) Velociraptors still have lower average seek/access times than any other disk, due to running at 10k rpm.
b) 500 GB platter 7200 rpm disks (Seagate 7200.12 500 GB/1 TB/2 TB, Samsung Spinpoint F3 500 GB/1 TB/2 TB, WD Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1 TB/2 TB) are faster at streaming reads & writes than Velociraptors.

This is due primarily to the 500 GB platters that these disks use. By packing more data on each platter, the data density increases, meaning that you can read more of it in a shorter timeframe. This also lowers the seek time (but not to where the VRs are at) compared to disks with less dense platters.

As far as SATA II vs. SATA III, etc. there is no mechanical hard drive that maxes out the SATA II bandwidth at this point (it's possible that VRs or the WD1002FAEX might spike briefly to the limit) for an extended period, thus there's little point in getting SATA III traditional hard drives.

Right now, the 920 and 930 are $10 apart on newegg. I would say that's worth the increase in performance. If it was $50, then it wouldn't be worth it (for me). I would have a hard time if the difference was $30, but I'd get it at $20. :)  It all comes down to how much you value it, but at $10, I think it's a no-brainer.

D'oh, beaten to the buzzer by tecmo. :) 
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May 14, 2010 9:45:33 PM

The reason the raptors are more expensive is that they cost more to produce. The mystery to me is why anyone buys one when SSD prices have become so reasonable and 500GB platter 7.2K drives throughput so fast. They get beat price/performance either way.
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May 14, 2010 10:05:43 PM

Intel Core i7 930

Grab the Asus P6X58D-E w/ i7-930 w/ USB 3 and SATA III for that SATA III Raptor you want .... you won't need it for DTR but you will see a boost in transfers from cache w/ SATA III
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

6GB Triple Channel 1333 MHz DDR3

Looks like your budget allows for CAS 6 RAM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Over clock everything as detailed here w/ DDR3-1600 RAM:

http://vip.asus.com/forum/view.aspx?id=2008122019104023...

Radeon HD 5870

I'd also consider the 470 / 480 and 5850 / 5970 depending on your budget....a full tower case and adequately sized PSU will cover all options. For all but twin 480's or twin 5970's,I'd recommend either:

Antec 1200 w/ CP-850 $260
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

HAF 932 w/ Corsair HX850 $310 after $20 MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

With the bigger GFX Cards (480 / 5970)

Antec 1200 w/ CP-1000 $285
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

HAF 932 / w Corsair HX1000 $360 after $20 MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


1) Will this run current (and future ones) games just fine as far as the graphics settings are concerned? I know Crysis is VERY demanding to systems so I was curious to how it will run when Crysis 2 comes out.

With current drivers, the 5850 / 5870 / 5970 have the edge on DX10 Crysis....on Crysis 2, I'd expect the nVidia 470 / 480 cards to have the edge over the 5850 / 5870 as it does with other DX11 games. The 5970 gets you advantage ranging from 6 to 35% at a cost increase of 40%. Crysis will strain the 470 more so than the 5850 and Metro the 5850 more than the 470.

2) How long will this rig be good enough roughly in terms of years before I have to go and decide to replace it?

With the single GPU cards (470/480 and 5850/5870) @ 1920 x 1200, you're gonna be sitting pretty till XMas 2011 at which time you can add a 2nd GFX card.


3) Will it be difficult to get a secondary 5870 and enable Crossfire down the road?

I don't see it being hard to get the single GPU cards as the ATI 4xxx cards and the nVidia 2xx cards are readily available. Based upon the current scarcity of the 4870x2 and GTX 295, I have my doubts about the 5970.


4) I also have an option to get the 5970 but for the purposes of gaming, is it worth it to go get that card at the moment or stick with the 5870 and make it dual later? Or maybe just stick with the single for a while?

Personally, I refuse to pay $100 - $150 over MSRP on principal. But it is the fastest card you can buy atm, and that will always carry a price premium.

5) This might be a dumb question but I notice that separate physics cards aren't pushed as much anymore (or maybe I am overlooking it). Do the current Radeon or Nvidia cards have that built in?

Nvidia yes, ATI no. With Windows 7 you can add a dedicated PhysX card along side a ATI card. A GTS 250 at the current price of $80-90 is a wise choice is you go this route.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... comes w/ 2 free games and $25 rebate
http://www.tomshardware.com/news/nvidia-ATI-physx-patch...

6) Do I need to consider a 9GB option for RAM (I know the more the merrier is what people say but in terms of games nowadays, I'm not sure) currently or just worry about it later?

6 GB is fine for gaming ....going to 12 will likely hurt your overclock.
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May 15, 2010 1:15:54 AM

:o 

Thanks for all the responses fellas. I feel a lot more informed. ^.^

And crap, wish I could give you all rep boosts. :( 
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May 15, 2010 1:24:05 AM

I had one other question.

Based on someone else's comment...


Would dual 5670's be a better option than the single 5870 for what I want to accomplish?
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May 15, 2010 1:44:23 AM

No... two 5650's won't match the power of a single 5870. Plus going with a single card, it gives you an option to crossfire down the road when you need more power.

If you are wanting to cut cost, you can drop down to the ATI 5850 and still be safe with your gaming performance.
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May 15, 2010 4:28:27 PM

Thanks muchly. :) 
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