Can it be improved?

Greetings all

I've been building my system for several months in stages; I use it for many purposes: very heavily for Photoshop CS4 with lots of large 12MP RAW files, some video editing, some gaming, heavy use of multiple virtual machines (VMWare 7), enterprise publishing tools and about 150 other applications. I've had reasonable funds to build a nice system - but not seeking to spend $8 or $10K - I've been trying to keep it in the $3-5K range not including the monitor (currently have a nice Soyo 24" HD monitor by plan to upgrade to a 30" true 30-bit graphics monitor to cover the full aRGB spectrum (or close to it).

Here is where I am at present - any suggestions for improvement? I've been thinking about swapping out one of the CDRW drives with a Pioneer BluRay BDR-205 burner which seems to be a clone of the Plextor. I can OC the Sapphire Toxic 5850 GPU upto 900Mhz and its memory clock up to 1200GHz up from its out of the box OC spec (765MHz on the Cypress core and 1125MHz on the GDDR5 memory - 4500MHz effective). The pair of X25M 160 G2 SSDs in RAID 0 are yielding performance just north of 500MB/sec sustained read and 200MB/sec sustained write compared to 175MB/sec sustained read for the WD 7200 RPM WD 1T HDD in RAID 0 supporting the legacy Vista 64 boot side. I considered adding a separate SATA II controller with a few GB of cache to goose the drives, but it seems a bit expensive and substantially adds to the boot times I hear (I was looking at something like the areca ARC-1231ML-2G PCI Express SATA II Controller Card), but if I do add in a separate controller I might wait for a SATA3 version instead - I don't know if there are any on the market yet.

Your thoughts and opinions on how to further push this sys config?

CASE: CoolerMaster HAF 932 full tower
MOB: ASUS P6T LGA1366 X58 motherboard
CPU: Intel i7-920 D0 processor over clocked to 4.0GHz for 24/7/365 use
CPU COOLER: CoolerMaster V10 CPU cooler w/silver arctic CPU paste (35c Idle, 72c under extreme stress)
VIDEO: Sapphire Radeon Toxic HD factor OCed 5850 to 765MHZ w/2GB DDR5 @1125MHz (4500MHz effective)
RAM: 12GB Corsair Dominator 1600GHz DDR3 PC12800 memory 8-8-8-24-2T
MAIN SYS DRIVE: Two Intel X25-M 160GB Gen2 SATA SSD drives in RAID 0 for Win7 Ultimate and Apps
MAIN SYS DRIVE 2: Two WD 7200 1TB SATA HDDs in RAID 0 for Vista Ultimate 64 and Apps (legacy side)
BACKUP: WD 7200 1TB SATA HDDs non-RAID (in-system backup)
PSU: Ultra 850W modular power supply
USB Ultra USB 2.0 port adapter (extra USB2.0 ports)
CF/SD Ultra Multi-card internal reader w/integrated floppy

OVERCLOCKING PROFILE (extremely stable for a several months now)

Overclock Mode: XMP
CPU Ratio Setting: Auto
SpeedStep: Disabled
Turbo Mode: Disabled
BCLK: 200
PCIE: 100
DRAM Frequency: 1600
UCLK Frequency: 3200
QPI Link Data Rate: Auto
DRAM CAS# Latency: Set automatically in XMP mode
DRAM RAS# to CAS#l: Set automatically in XMP mode
DRAM RAS# PRE time: Set automatically in XMP mode
DRAM RAS# ACT Time: Set automatically in XMP mode
DRAM REF Cycle Time: Set automatically in XMP mode
CPU Voltage: 1.28125v
CPU PLL Voltage: Auto
QPI/DRAM Core: 1.3.0v
IOH Voltage: Auto
IOH PCI Voltage: Auto
ICH Voltage: Auto
ICH PCIE Voltage: Auto
DRAM Bus Voltage: 1.62v
Load Line Calibration: Enabled (for stability)
CPU Differential Amp: Auto
CPU Clock Skew: Auto
CPU Spread Spectrum: Auto
IOH Clock Skew: Auto
PCIE Spread Spectrum: Disabled (for stability)

3 answers Last reply
More about improved
  1. You have one logical choice to push your system in my opinion... i7-980x or wait for the i7-970. There is nothing I can truly see to improve your system based on your needs outside of going with an Intel Hex-Core. At that point, I would just make the jump to the ASUS P6X58D-E or Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R motherboards for USB 3.0 & SATA 6.0Gb/s support.
  2. My only grief is your use of raid0. Keep in mind that one failure can mean one big headache for you. i7-980x is most likely not required; the 920 is powerfull in its own right.
  3. Yah, I know running in RAID 0 is riskier, but I am a performance hound and instead I backup all of my data continuously to a safe internal non-raid volume first then periodic back up to off line storage.

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