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3000CDN or under gaming/video editing/photo editing machine

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June 28, 2010 5:07:11 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: (July 1st) BUDGET RANGE: (2500-2800) Before Taxes and Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Video Editing, Photoshoping, Gaming (mostly WoW)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Tigerdirect.ca, or other Canadian supplier COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada

PARTS PREFERENCES: by brand or type : Intel Processor

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe

MONITOR RESOLUTION: (1280x1024 (computer monitor) 1920x1080 (HDTV))

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: This will likely be my desktop for the next 4 years with a baby on the way, so want ti be able to give it some minor performance boosts if needed via dual graphics cards, or maybe a SSD when they come down in price.

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Gear I'm considering:
Antec Twelve Hundred case ($150 from distributor)
Antec Quattro 1000 ($190 from distributor)
Asus Rampage III Extreme $444
or
Asus P6X58D Premium $360
or
Asus P6X58D-E $288
Intel i7 980X $1060
Corsair 12GB HX3X12G1600C9
or
Corsair 12GB Dominator CMD12GX3M6A1600C8
Visiontek Radeon HD 5850 1 GB Video Card $292.26 (from distributor)
Corsair CWCH50-1 Hydro H50 CPU Liquid Cooler $85
Main Drive/Storage
Western Digital WD2001FASS Caviar Black Hard Drive 2 TB - $228
or
Western Digital WD20EARS Caviar Green Hard Drive 2TB - $144
Other adds and ends
~$50 multicard reader and DVD burner

*Not included in system price - Windows 7 Pro 64 bit, which I intend to run.
As you can see, I'm unsure as to which motherboard to use, and certainly whether or not I need the power of the Rampage III. I've been watching for boards that have future possibility for storage options like SATAIII and USB3, and might like to try overclocking the 980 using the multipliers given by the article here at Tom's to boost the CPU speed to 3.86GHZ, the "efficient" speed. I'm not sure I want to get into voltages yet, or on such a high priced CPU, maybe in a future build with a cheaper 6-core processor... I am not sure if I need a hydro cooler like th H50 or not, since heat info was not included on Tom's article.

I am unsure of RAM type that is best used. I am also concerned whether I can get 12GB to work right at 1600MHz after reading some forum threads at Asus and Corsair. :(  I'd like to have the RAM handy for the video and photo work, plus some pet projects like virtualbox.

Eventually I'd like to get a SSD and second video card, as needed to improve performance, and a Blu-Ray burner for my video projects (maybe for a Christmas present) :) 

Any advice you could offer would be appreciated. I've spent the last couple weeks reading a pile of info here and would really like to get this system rolling soon, and seem no closer to a good decision.


June 28, 2010 6:19:01 AM

^ Well do you do Video editing and Photoshop as a profession or is it mainly personal video and stuffs??
IMO the 980X is not worth the price premium if you will be using the PC for personal use...
If time were money and the faster you get the job done, more the money, then the 980X might have been fine...else I dont see any other main reason going with the 980X(Well maybe except for bragging rights)...
My suggestion would be to stick with the i7 930...It is a very good chip and will easily run @3.8GHz with very minimal voltage increase...And at that speeds, am sure it will be very fast for such tasks...

As for the mobos, the ASUS P6X58D Premium or the Gigabyte X58A-UD5 are very good options...
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=49015&vpn=GA...
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=46706&vpn=P6...

RAM - Yes it would be difficult to run the memories @1600MHz, when you populate all the 6 RAM slots...So in that case, go with a lower speed, tighter timings(CAS) RAM
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=52648&vpn=99...

or maybe this ?
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 12GB
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

CPU Cooler - The H50 is a basic closed loop water cooler, which performs decent...But you get good air coolers which offers better performance...
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=47758&vpn=SC...
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=41337&vpn=RR...

This one would offer extra bit of cooling
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=42819&vpn=NH...

Main drive - WD Black 2TB or Samsung F3 1TB...
Well actually with the money saved on the 980X, you can go with a SSD now itself...

What about the case and PSU ??
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June 28, 2010 1:16:41 PM

Most of my computer use is personal, and my video/photoshop is for my hobby web design business. It's true, the 980X is more of a drool feature, and I love the thought of 6 cores, but when I crunched your numbers, I could easily come down $900 in price using the 930, and that would allow for me to do a software upgrade as well, without breaking the bank. I'll definitely need a hand for overclocking, even though I've read a lot on it so far, I'm still very green.

What is the difference between the P6X58D Premium and the P6X58D-E? The non-premium is much cheaper, and my case does have an eternal eSATA (highly desirable) and 2 USB on the front.

RAM seems to be the hardest to find, as finding a set of 6 in 12GB format has been difficult. Even the one link you posted wouldn't come up, and the other said "dual channel" RAM. Is it not triple channel that I should be looking for?

I was reading the reviews on the Noctua and someone installed in a Antec 1200 case (the one I was looking at) and said you could fit it, but had to modify the side fan mount (not a big deal, I doubt I'd ever mount one on the side with three front, two rear, and one top.) The H50 just seems tidier and wouldn't interfere with any RAM setups.

I'm not sure how much power I would need, but I can get the Antec Quattro-1000 for ~187 from a distributor via a friend or an Antec CP-850 for $132 - how much power would I need for this setup, with a projected 3-4 hard drives and a DVD writer and Blu-Ray writer eventually making their home in my case?

For cases, it is more of a color preference - I like blue as opposed to red, so I am looking at Antec 1200 or 902. 1200 gives more future drive space. I like the thought of washable filters, since we have a cat and I end up doing dust cleaning in my current case every 1-2 months.
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June 28, 2010 6:34:39 PM

Another very good air cooler is the Prolimatech Megahalems which you'd have to buy a fan for. And is unlikely to get in the way of RAM.

For the build the way it looks now and even with a second graphics card and all the other hardware additions you mentioned the Antec CP-850 would be a good choice in the 1200 as there will be massive amounts of headroom with it - for two 5850s I usually recommend a 650W PSU, which I usually calculate to have ~100 watts of headroom.

I think the G.Skill set that gkay recommended is good as it has low voltage so you could OC it to a higher speed. The one I see when I click the link shows a 3x4GB 12GB set, so don't know where you're seeing 'dual channel RAM'.

From what I have read briefly the Premium has an extra ethernet controller or something, the heatsinks are more substantial than on the -E, altho apparently this doesn't affect OCing potential, you shouldn't be worried about it unless you're going for extreme overclocks. Also there are less items in the bundle compared to the Premium.
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June 28, 2010 9:17:52 PM

Would there still be enough headroom with the CP-850 if I went with a bigger video card, like the 5870, or PNY GeForce GTX 470 Video Card (keeping in mind that I plan to allow for going dual card in the future)?

I've always been an ATI guy, and like their dual monitor support, which I use often for running my main computer monitor, and a 42" HDTV for TV viewing off my computer. Would I still be able to do that with a single Nvidia? I few folks in my World of Warcraft guild have said they get better results with the Nvidia cards versus the ATI cards in WoW and I'm torn between the cheaper 5850, the mid-priced GTX 470, and the 5870.
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June 28, 2010 9:20:28 PM

Oh, and thanks, I copied the G.Skill link into another browser and the link works. For some reason it brought me to the homepage when I clicked inside Chrome. :( 
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June 28, 2010 9:27:48 PM

Ah, it wasn't the G.Skill ram that showed up as dual channel, but the first ram link for

Mushkin Enhanced Blackline Frostbyte 6GB 3X2GB PC3-12800 DDR3-1333 CL7-7-7-20 Dual Channel Memory seen here:
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=52648&vpn=99...

Maybe this one was meant?
Mushkin Enhanced Blackline Frostbyte DDR3-1333 PC3-10666 6GB 3X2GB CL7-7-7-20 Triple Channel Memory seen here
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=35345&vpn=99... Enhanced
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June 28, 2010 9:53:28 PM

Yea the CP-850 would be able to power two 5870s or 470s.
Yea you should be able to get two monitors on one Nvidia card.
The difference between ATI and Nvidia lately is that ATI can do three or even six monitors with one card if you have the correct display connectors whereas Nvidia can only do two monitors at once. I read a review that is probably about a year old now and so with the last gen of ATI and Nvidia (Radeon HD 4000 & GTX 200) cards that WOW got better performance with a Nvidia card, especially on the minimum framerate spec. As long as they are talking about current gen cards, such as specifically a 470 vs 5850 then I'd take what they say, altho if a 5850 has a good minimum framerate, can get playable framerates at good quality then there's no reason to get something more powerful or an equivalent Nvidia card.
Just found a recent benchmarks of the three cards in WOW: http://www.pcgameshardware.com/aid,743498/Geforce-GTX-4... The article I read about the previous gen cards was at this same site.

I don't know why that first Mushkin link says dual channel, because it isn't, it's a tri channel 6GB (3x2GB set). The second set seems to have lower voltage, which is good so that would be the one to go for.
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June 29, 2010 2:13:10 AM

Ok, revised system is

Antec 1200
Antec CP-850
Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD5
i7 930
12GB Gskill - F3-10666CL9T-12GBRL
Radeon 5870
WD Caviar Black 2TB SataII - WD2001FASS
Noctua NH-U12P

This brings the system to about $2300, cheaper than my previous listing, thanks to the fine suggestions here, which allowed for an HD upgrade and Video Card upgrade. Couple more questions came up -
Since I am using the 3x4gb sticks, if I remain in this configuration, instead of 6 sticks, should I look at a higher speed memory?
In pricing various websites, I slipped and started using the GA-X58A-UD3R for my system pricing. Would this motherboard be suitable, or is the UD5 just plain better for overclocking?

Thank you both again for your time and wisdom! This has really brought my system into a lower price range allowing me to do some stuff I hadn't figured on.
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June 29, 2010 4:17:38 AM

^Like Silvune said, that RAM kit will run in Tri-Channel...
And as for the PSU and the case, the Antec CP is a good choice, along with the 1200...
Other good options...
CASE -
HAF 922 - Full tower space inside a mid tower
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=38996&vpn=RC...
HAF 932
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=33029&vpn=RC...

PSU -
Corsair 750TX - If sticking with HD 5870 or Corsair 850TX if GTX 480/ 470
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=35156&vpn=CM...
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=26415&vpn=CM...
If you a better PSU, then get the HX series of the Corsair - 80+ Silver and 7 years warranty...
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June 29, 2010 4:46:38 AM

It does look like I'll be going with GTX 470/480 after doing some reading on Adobe Premiere CS5's Mercury Playback Engine and the support for Nvidia cards only. I'll make sure to get the 850 PSU. I'll look at these new choices in the morning. Thank you!
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June 29, 2010 5:09:19 AM

^ Well if you will be playing WoW mainly, then even the GTX 475 would suffice...I dont see the need of the GTX 470/ 480 for your usage...and anyways you can add 1 more GTX 465 in SLI later on...
And you would want to know that Nvidia will be launching power efficient and newer Fermi GT104 based cards by Mid-July...
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!