Rookie Questions - Opinions Wanted :)

Every 2 years or so I try my best to build a computer and although I am not computer expert (I am software developer so I know some about computers but I confess that in the realm of hardware I am no expert) this has usually been a pretty easy thing to do. But I feel like a lot has changed in the last two years and most of the differences seem a bit esoteric to me so I thought I would ask the experts (forums).

I am trying to build a computer for heavy photo-editing/video and occasional gaming (eg, I plan on getting Crysis 2, but I don't care if I can't play it absolutely maxed out). I want to be able to run a lot of heavy apps/process at once so...this really does need to be a pretty powerful beast but I am trying to fit into a < $3500 budget so any input on - what is waste vs what is relevant - is greatly appreciated.

1) Chipset.
I am going with Intel (i7 960) but I was wondering about the practical/actual differences between P55 and x58 chipsets. I tried reading through Intel's docs but it was either over my head or felt like marketing fluff. The only difference I can tell is that they're on different sockets (with more than 1366 having a higher bus than 1156) which I THINK is this only relevant for "extreme" chips? Did I get that wrong? Are there any other differences that would be helpful to know?

Sub chipset question, am I crazy to think that the whole Xenon/EEC thing is a little overrated? It just seems like i7 is so much more bang for your buck - even for video editing?

2) SLI and CUDA
As I mentioned that this is primarily a work computer (and that work is Video) I was wondering if anyone could give me a definitive answer about how SLI affects CUDA performance in Premier CS5 and maybe even post links if you have them??? I've heard a lot of rumors going both ways that Mercury will/wont support anything but Quatro/480 and that even if it does, it won't acknowledge SLI. Basically, I am trying to decide between going with geForce 460 (x2 on SLI) or just a single geForce 480. Thoughts?

3) Power Supply
As I am generally going more for stability than speed, I am only going to OC this machine A LITTLE and probably just keep things simple and use the out-of-box ASUS Bios tools. But with stability in mind as I OC, what is the best/cleanest power supply these days? I was thinking Corsair HX650 but....anyone have an opinion either way on Corsair? Suggestions?

4) Sata3
Anyone have any experience with these things on RAID0 (I know that totally contradicts what I was saying about stability - but this is like the one area I am wiling to take risks). Do they really pump out 12gb/s on RAID0?

5) MotherBoard
So, all of those questions considered, I was thinking going with the ASUS P6X58D - I've always been happy with Asus but i've also been hearing surprisingly good things about Gigabit (who used to be ghetto a few years ago). Anyone want to chime in on good MB brands/models?

Thanks guys.
5 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about rookie questions opinions wanted
  1. pretty powerful beast but I am trying to fit into a < $3500 budget so any input on - what is waste vs what is relevant
    "trying to fit into a <$3500 budget" LOL. Wow. You can build anything for that price.
    As for waste, Anything beyond the i7 930 is overpriced. Anything beyond an Nvidia GTX480, does not provide the same performance/cost.

    1. Practical useful differences?
    -Well, the QPI speed is slower but that is irrelevant because it's still more than fast enough for any ram you might put in it.
    -It only supports 8x speed for each PCI-e slot when crossfiring or SLIing. Not an issue with current GPU speed though.

    2. Either way, I would go with a single GTX480. I'm not a fan of multi-cards in one system yet. Although, SLI for the new cards seems to have fairly good scaling.
    As for your actual question, I've never heard of this. So I can't tell you for sure.

    3. Since you are building every 3 years, I would invest in a good 1000W corsair PSU to last you the next decade.
    Check your power requirements. With your budget, you are cutting it kinda close, depending on your components.

    4. Doesn't matter. Unless you are raiding SSDs, it will never reach that speed. 12GiB/s= 1536MB/s. A single fast consumer SSD will never hit 300mb/s. A hard drive? Single I've never seen more than 150mb/s.
    As for your question though, each drive is on it's own port. So each will get 3GiB/s. Someone correct me if I am wrong, but I think you are thinking about it the wrong way.

    5. Do you mean Gigabyte? There is no brand called Gigabit.
    That asus board looks good to me. I'd go with it.
  2. 1. The I7 9X0 series only works on X58 chipsets with socket 1366. Socket 1366 and 1156 are not compatible with each other.

    2. I don't know any thing about CUDA personally, but I would go with a single GPU as well.

    3. I'm personally a fan of Antec, but I can't recommend anything of high wattage from them as I haven't used anything above a 430W PSU before. lol

    4. Never done RAID0 so I'm not going to comment.

    5. Once again never heard of Gigabit, and if your talking about Gigabyte I don't know who said they were ghetto, but I've been using them since 05 and have yet to have a board fail.
  3. A case for GPU computing: Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 and the Mercury Playback Engine

    A few notes: Mercury Playback uses CUDA to do its rendering voodoo, and because of that, there is a limited list of compatible NVIDIA GPUs than can take advantage of the engine. As of this writing, the current list of Mercury Playback-compatible graphics cards are the Quadro FX 3800, 4800, and 5800. Furthermore, not all of Adobe Premiere Pro CS5′s video effects are accelerated. However, many of the most intensive and oft-used effects are accelerated by Mercury Playback, and Premiere Pro CS5 offers a filter to display only accelerated effects for your convenience.


    The evaluation of Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 and Mercury Playback Engine is being performed on our testbench comprised of an AMD Phenom II X6 1090T hexa-core processor at 3.20 GHZ, 8 Gigabytes of DDR3 1600 memory, data coming from a 1 Terabyte Western Digital Caviar Black SATA HDD, all plugged into the new MSI 890FXA motherboard and running Windows 7 Professional 64bit installed to an OCZ Vertex SSD. The graphics card used is the NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800. This GPU can be found for around $700.

    IIRC it will be Q4 before Premiere Pro CS5 adopts OpenCL/ATI Stream ---- not sure how that may fit into your plans. I only point this out because the value of a $700 investment can drop like a rock with rapidly changing tech (i.e., Radeon support, soft mods for a 460 to a Quadro, etc.)
  4. Best answer
    1.) Same as everyone else. Anything above the 930 is not worth it. Also the i7 9xx's can only run on LGA 1336 socket motherboards. I7 8xx can only run on LGA 1156 motherboards.

    2.) SLI does not affect cuda that im aware of. Unless the people at folding@home got it wrong. to setup F@H on multiple gpu's, we have to use multiple clients, 1 per gpu. This is the same for all cuda apps im aware of.

    3.) I have to agree with Enzo on this. Get a high power, high quality PSU from companies like Antec, Seasonic, crosair, with an 80% efficiency badge or better.

    4.) if you want speed and stability, how about raid 10 instead of 0. You'll have the stability of raid 1. Then you'll have the speed and some of the added storage capacity of raid 0.

    5.) Same as loneninja, I also have a gigabyte MB thats from 5 years ago and it's still running as well speak. (running a Intel P4) but anyways,

    Yeah gigabyte, Asus, Asrock, MSI are some really good brands off the top of my head.
  5. Best answer selected by lejason.
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