I am planning on building a new computer from scratch in about 2 months time from now (July 2010) and I was hoping for some input on the specs that I have, so far, come up with. I have done a reasonable amount of research, though I am somewhat of a noob
The computer is to be used primarily for gaming, but also for graphic design & video production. I'm not really interested in overclocking anything.
I am in Australia and I'm planning to order all parts from Australia. My preferred website to order from is PCCaseGear. Sadly, parts are not cheap over here, and shipping from overseas is expensive.
I'm not interested in overclocking.
My budget is approx. $5000 USD ($5500 Aussie dollars).
GPU - 2 x EVGA nVidia GeForce GTX 480 ???
OK, this is something I need advice on. I absolutely want to run 3 x 24" monitors, and be able to spread both games, and my windows desktop over the three monitors. So I need 2 GPUs. I want to be able to run each monitor at 1900x1200, with current games on max settings (don't care if I'm out of date in 6 months from now). Is two 480s overkill? I'm a bit skeptical about brand new GPUs. Perhaps two slightly older ATIs is a better idea? I want to avoid over-heating, but I don't want to resort to water cooling. I'm not interested in 3D.
Memory - G.Skill 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3
Dual channel vs triple channel? I don't understand the difference, but I want at least 8GB. If I go triple channel, I will have to go up to 12GB won't I? As far as I can tell, you can't get 3GB sticks. If I buy a motherboard that supports triple channel is it bad to only use dual channel on it? I did some research and the general consensus seems to be that G.Skill or Corsair are the way to go.
Hard Drive - Seagate Barracuda 1.5TB ST31500341AS
Seagate or Western Digital? I've scanned a few forums and most posts seemed to indicate that Seagate are now slightly better?
Monitors - 2 x BenQ 24" E2420HD (+my old Dell 24")
I'm not fussed about getting the latest greatest monitor, I'd rather save money. As long as it's 24" and it works. It's not a problem mixing 2 different brands is it? The Dell will sit in the middle to make the setup symmetrical.
And the rest
Logitech Cordless Keyboard
Microsoft SideWinder X8 Mouse
ASUS Optical Drive (all optical drives are pretty much the same no?)
Windows 7 Premium
So what's your opinion guys? Is anything here overkill, or are there any bad bottlenecks? Any brands that I've mentioned that should be avoided? All suggestions are welcome
^ Well frankly saying the 980X is not worth it IMO...
For your type of usage, I feel, that 2 PCs - 1 for pure gaming and 1 for the graphic design and video production might not be a bad idea at all...
For gaming - i5 750/ i7 860 with 2x HD 5850/ HD 5870s
For productivity - AMD Phenom II X6 1090T - 6-core with a low powered graphics card... http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-phenom-ii-x6-10...
So when some video encoding is going on, you can game on the other m/c...
And you will still be left with good money...
^ Well if you will go with a single PC, then the X58 - i7 9xx would be better...the LGA 1366 with the Tri-Channel memory, Full x16 bandwidth on 2 PCIe x16 slots would be better...
But like I said, the 980X IMO is not worth it for your usage...Even though it does offer a good increase in performance in many productivity apps, but it doesnt warrant the price premium that it commands... http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-phenom-ii-x6-10... http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/hyper-threading-cor...
If time was money for you and the faster the video production and design - more the money, then maybe the 980X would have been fine...but for occasional usage and as a hobby, you can wait few minutes more for the work to get done...
With the money save, get a SSD for boot - OS and some apps...
And no overclocking, then dont get the Rampage III extreme...
So my config suggestion would be -
A good DDR3 1600MHz 6GB Tri-Channel kit
CASE - CM HAF 922 would be my pick
2x HD 5870s
PSU - An 850W PSU if 2 cards from Corsair/ Silverstone/ Seasonic/ Antec TP
Intel 80GB G2 SSD
1TB Samsung F3 1TB
As for running @Max @1080p, depends on the game...you can run nearly all the recent games @High-Very High @1080p with 3 monitors with the above setup...
Going with 3 and above cards can lead to driver issues...So 2 cards would be my suggestion...
1. You've recommended 6GB Tri-Channel. What's your opinion on 8GB for my needs? Overkill?
2. HAF 922...do you think this case is better than the one I've suggested, or just better value for money? Living in Australia where it gets damn hot, and having 2 GPUs I'm concerned about cooling, so I'm willing to fork out for a good case since they're not all that expensive (but I know that more expensive doesn't necessarily mean it's better).
The HAF 922 is highly rated for both its price and its airflow. Given how much a lot of builders like to Overclock their computers cooling is always important and a case does not get popular here by accident. You will see that case is recommended in alot of threads here as first choice asuming someone is not on a tight budget.
I think the next step up from 6gb RAM would be 12gb due to it being triple channel. I suppose you could do 9gb though not sure how that would be arranged.
But personally I would say no more than 6gb required. Any more than 4gb will see no real benefit in games, 6gb will be all you need for your hobby outside games.
Also, XFire 2 5870s and not two GTX480s. Or even just get one 5970 then get anothe in future if you need it (ATI 5XXX series has Eyefinity - that means you can run 3 monitors off one card as long as the card is good enough)
The GTX480 performance wise is not much better than the 5870 (and worse than the 5970) yet costs considerably more than the 5870, it costs pretty much between the 5870 and the 5970. In addition tothat you have the heat, power consumption and the noise to deal with - double that if using two of them!
I would sooner go with 2 x 5870 or 1 x 5970 (as mentioned before, these cards can all run 3 monitors, with the single 5970 being able to handle max settings...possibly the 5870 too depedning on game)
I would like to reinforce the opinion made earlier that if gaming is your main need with your hobby a secondary, you only truly need an i5 750. But, given your budget and the fact you were going to buy the overpriced 480s, I figure there is no reason why you don't spend the extra cash to maximise the computers use with your hobby
Ok. I'm convinced on the HAF 922 and ATI over the nVidia 480.
So my next question is this - 2 x 5870 or 1 x 5970???
Which will run 3 monitors better? Would there be a significant difference in performance or would they rate pretty much the same? 1 x 5970 is a lot cheaper, and I know it has Eyefinity, but I'm skeptical about running 3 screens off one GPU.
I think I will blow the extra money on the 980X, but I'm thinking 6GB RAM is enough.
2. Yes the HAF 922 is a very good option and has pretty good airflow...If you are still concerned about the airflow, then get the HAF 932...It is the full tower version of the 922 and has 3x230MM fans and a 1x140MM fan for airflow...and lots of space...
Also for the PSU, get the Corsair 850HX - It is highly rated - better than the Silent PRO...And 850W is more than enough for an overclocked 930 + 2x HD 5870 and many HDDs and still have some headroom left... http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
David in Australia too, and doing the same building a gaming machine.
My question is what did you get and what was the cost?
I want 3 screens but I'm looking a 3D ( 120 Hz) , My ATI 5670 card crashes the PC with the Grey/white vertical lines of death, GSOD, all the time , so I'm worried about ATI.
Any problems with your setup ?