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My First Post and Build! Advice is greatly appreciated!

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July 1, 2010 11:49:56 PM

Hello Everyone,

This is my first build and post on the illustrious tomsharware.com forums! I have been researching extensively to create a cost effective machine that will last me a long time. My total budget must remain under $1400. I game a decent amount and am breaking into the 3D world along with Photoshop.

Below is my current configuration. Please tell me any adjustments I should make while remaining AT OR UNDER my current budget. I would like to maximize productivity at the $1400 price level. I'd prefer to stay away from AMD processors at least for this generation.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATEThis week
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, 3D modelling/rendering in Blender and UDK, Music apps such as Itunes
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: CD/ DVD Drives
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) Newegg, Microcenter for processor
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA!
PARTS PREFERENCES:
Intel Core i7,
6-8Gb System Memory, (8Gb recommended for high end 3D modelling I hear)
Radeon HD 5850 graphics or better,
CrossfireX support,
Full ATX Case with decent cooling / Fans
OVERCLOCKING: Limitedly
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes- 8x/8x CrossfireX is fine. I'm working on a budget.


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Current Configuration: (Subject to change)

Processor:
Intel Core i7 860 Processor Boxed- Microcenter - $230
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Motherboard: Asus P7P55D-E Pro- $180
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws 8Gb (2x4Gb) - $210
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphics: Radeon HD 5850 - $290
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OS: Windows 64-Bit OEM - $95
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SSD: Intel X25-M Mainstream 80Gb MLC - $230
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD (secondary): Any 7200RPM @ 500Gb give or take - $70

PSU: Apevia 650W - $55
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: Antec Three Hundred - $60
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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Total Cost: $1420

I would greatly appreciate any modifications to the current build. I decided the SSD drive would be a great addition that could only be loaded as the boot drive when I first built the system. If this is not true, might it be worth sacrificing the SSD for better components?

Personally I just think the SSD speed sounds cool ;) 

Thank you very much for your time!
July 2, 2010 12:07:05 AM

budget??

good build but one thing

APEVIA PSU'S ARE SH*T

don't skimp on the psu if it dies it will take your components with it

get a quality antec or corsair psu
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

get samsung f3
get a 2x4gb instead of 4x2gb of ram so you will be more future proof also if u remove that ssd u can get a much powerfull card

July 2, 2010 12:15:24 AM

mrhoshos96 said:
budget??

good build but one thing

APEVIA PSU'S ARE SH*T

don't skimp on the psu if it dies it will take your components with it

get a quality antec or corsair psu
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

get samsung f3
get a 2x4gb instead of 4x2gb of ram so you will be more future proof also if u remove that ssd u can get a much powerfull card


I agree on the PSU choice, the most important unit in the system, dont skimp on the money, buy a decent unit.

If you are spending $230 on that cpu, have you thought about going to a microcenter, picking up an i7 930 for $200 and going down the 1366 socket route? Its a higher end setup for starters.

The SSD will make make the single biggest speed contribution boost in everyday use of the PC. Everything just runs in half the time taken before, but Gaming performace isnt affected that much.
So you need to decide whether to spend the money on a ssd for better everyday use, or a GPU for better fps in games
Related resources
July 2, 2010 12:29:47 AM

Hereisphilly said:
I agree on the PSU choice, the most important unit in the system, dont skimp on the money, buy a decent unit.

If you are spending $230 on that cpu, have you thought about going to a microcenter, picking up an i7 930 for $200 and going down the 1366 socket route? Its a higher end setup for starters.

The SSD will make make the single biggest speed contribution boost in everyday use of the PC. Everything just runs in half the time taken before, but Gaming performace isnt affected that much.
So you need to decide whether to spend the money on a ssd for better everyday use, or a GPU for better fps in games


I guess I was guided purely on wattage / price, but your points make perfect sense.

Regarding the CPU (i7 860 vs i7 930), I have struggled with this decision for a long time. The differences between 16x/16x vs 8x/8x and Triple channel vs Dual Channel DDR3 have made my head spin. Overall, my total cost for 860 and 930 specific items are:

Intel Core i7 930 - $200
Asus P6X58D-ELGA? - $240
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 - $155

Total - $595

vs.

Intel Core i7 860 - $230
Asus p7p55d-e Pro - $180
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066 - $210

Total - $600

So the only difference is 2Gb less memory. The above x58 board is just a guess. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Motherboards baffle me :(  My guess is that SSD is not in the cards, so I might be able to optimize in the other areas. Is the 930 really worth it given the expensive prices over the 860?
July 2, 2010 12:34:46 AM

The 1366 socket has better lanes
6gb is overkill for all gaming, 4gb is just fine, so i wouldnt worry about "only" having 6gb.

On the mobo front, go for a GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R
its $209.99, so cheaper than the asus, overclocks better and imo a better board
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

with these revisons in mind, i would say step up and go with the 1366 setup
July 2, 2010 12:45:42 AM

Well actually the 8Gb of ram was for the 3D modelling and rendering with Blender and UDK rather than gaming. I imagine 6Gb will suffice for now until I become more proficient.

Does anyone know about being able to incorporate SSD in the future? I guess I'm concerned because I don't think I can make it a boot drive after installing everything on a standard HDD. That or any other modifications to the current build?
July 2, 2010 12:49:00 AM

Its very easy to add one later
2 options

1: reinstall windows on the ssd, bootup, and reload programs, transfer documents (the best way as you get a clean install)
2: use migration software. Completely copies the OS as is across, (less ideal, as a "dirty" OS is still used)
July 2, 2010 9:18:52 AM

spompeo said:
I just came across something...

3x4Gb
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

vs 1x4Gb
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Why wouldn't anyone just buy 3 of the 4Gb sticks? It's actually cheaper?

Also from what I understand the difference between dual and triple channel memory is negligible so I could buy 2 4Gb sticks for now and maybe get a 3rd sometime down the road to complete the triple channel set?


Yeah performance gains are not much, so yeah you could go ahead with that
July 2, 2010 5:15:02 PM

I like your build ....especially the 860......I agree don't skimp on the PSU get a good one and 850 or 1050 PSU....You can always add more ram later so 4 is good now and in a couple of months add 4GB
July 2, 2010 6:44:38 PM

Now that I think about it. In general, whenever given the option to upgrade graphics I always just choose the best card at the time instead of adding an identical one to what I have. Therefore, the PCIe 2.0 lane decrease is really not an issue.

The same can probably be said for most people. How many people actually follow through with going SLI or CrossfireX when they get a high end card? Sure the enthusiast crowd always will. But for mainstream use I think I'm leaning towards the 860. Then I can get the 8Gb of Ram. Any comments on the original 860 board or disagree with my decision?
July 2, 2010 7:13:25 PM

I actually think that this is the perfect price range and usage to go for the i7-860. It's a pretty limited market, basically builds between $1200-1400 that want to game and do rendering/processor intensive tasks. But it happens, obviously.

You want hyperthreading and additional RAM for the application benefits, yet you need some graphics muscle for gaming.

It's a niche spot, but I think it's a reasonable choice, especially if past experience has resulted in you knowing that you won't chose to SLI/Crossfire. (Of course, even CrossFiring 2x 5850 wouldn't really show a noticeable decrease in performance...it'd really only show up once you started looking at CrossFiring 5970s or similar.)
!