I just wanted to thank everyone in the Tom's Hardware community for all the great information here. I've just built my first computer ever, and these forums have been the primary resource for all my pre-build research.
Anyway, the specs of the system so far are as follows:
Cooler Master HAF 932 case
i7-930, stock speed and stock fan (ewww)
Asus P6X58D-E Motherboard (Good value, I think?)
Intel 80GB G2 SSD (Get one of these for your boot drive!)
Corsair HX1000W PSU
6GB OCZ Gold DDR3-1600 RAM
Crappy SATA DVD burner, crappy old HDDs.
A fairly old Dell monitor....
And.... a RADEON X600 video card, lol.
So, you can probably guess what my questions will be about...
What GPU would you get for a system of my specs, and why?
I have about a thousand bucks to work with, BUT: I don't really play games that would warrant a fancy schmancy card, do I? Diablo 3, Fallout 3, Assassin's Creed, (and any future clones) are about as demanding games as I think I'd be playing in the foreseeable future.
I have a feeling a single 5850 would suit my needs just fine, and maybe I should spend on some decent water cooling, but I've grown to respect (and depend on) your guys' opinions, so please offer them!
I have a 1920x1080 rez 24" monitor and a HD 5850 and for 300 bucks, well i got it for 260 when it first came out but it does a grate job for almost every game out there. A few game like crysis and AVP i do have to turn down AA and sometimes i play at high not very high setting but IMO its a grate card. the next would be the HD 5870 for 100 bucks more for 30% more power.
Anyways I vote the HD 5850 you could add another in a year to keep up with nwer games.
Also i would pass on the water cooling less your a die hard OCer and are trying to hit the very max OC you can get.
Also your PSU is overkill a Corsair 750W would xfire 2 HD 5870s
Ahhh, well a few reasons for the overkill PSU:
1. I hear that the best efficiency for power supplies is at about half their rated load, so I figured at full load with a decent video card I'd probably be around there.
2. I was planning on maybe overclocking, (and joining a folding team if I could get decent at it.) Power hungry stuff, from what little I know about it.
3. Also, I was thinking maybe SLI or tri-SLI (if ever needed) because I keep hearing that NVidea scales better. But, those cards are power-hungry beasts.
I've been looking at the 480 GTX, but the amount of heat those things put out scares me. I've had 3 video cards in the last 2 years blow up on me. 2 of them were artifacting from day 1 and I was ignorant to think it was solely a driver issue. Really starting to think heat was the culprit.
I guess heat issues would be a valid reason for a 1-card solution rather than SLI or XFire? I notice on most multi card rigs, there's virtually no space between the cards. This kinda makes me wanna learn more about water cooling. I wonder if the air flow in a HAF932 is good enough to support stock-cooled multi video card setups?
1. You know that whole 80+ bronze, silver and gold rating thing on PSU's? Yea, it means 80% or better efficiency at 80% load. As noted, a 750TX will easily run xfire 5870s. For 1 5850 1000w is just overkill. In fact, your system uses so little power normally, you'd have worse efficiency with the 1000w unit than a 750w unit (ie you're gonna spend more on power bill).
2/3. Um, where's the question?
HAF 932 is not needed. A 922 is more than enough, and much cheaper to boot. The heat issue is not that big on a well ventilated case. In fact, add a 200mm side fan to the HAF 922 and blow cool air directly onto the GPU's and you'll be fine even with SLI Fermi's.
Remember, I'm still pretty much a noob when compared to you guys, and I'm just going by what I read from various sources...
Oh, to explain 2/3 above: I was just listing my own (apparently flawed) reasoning for getting the 1000W instead of something smaller. TBH I was looking for the HX850 but everywhere I looked seemed to be out of stock, or only had the non-modular PSUs. So, I decided to get something with a bit more breathing room, heh.
Wait, you're gonna use a companies PSU companies marketing materials as evidence to support your claims?
Do you also go to smoking companies for smoking risks advice?
Actually, if you look at the y axis you're talking about a 1% difference in efficiency from 1 1500w watt PSU to 100w.
Further, they don't tell you that an OC i7-920 system + 5850 draws 140w at idle, 315W at load.
Those are TOTAL system power draws, using benchmarking software induced 100% CPU and GPU load. IE, will never happen in real world scenarios.
Now go back to that graph you linked, look at efficiency at 140w. It's about 81.5%. That means most of the time you're PC will be running at 7 times worse efficiency than that 1% they make a huge deal out of.
Even at full load, you're at 85% efficienc, a full 3x worse than the 1% difference they make a huge deal out of.
It's all marketing bs. Here's I'll give an even better example of how to manipulate number.
88.0% Our wow amazing efficiency rating number
87.5% Their horrible efficiency rating
Look at the HUGE difference in efficiency. You should totally get our 1500W PSU.