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Need gaming build advice

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July 3, 2010 2:43:39 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within a couple days BUDGET RANGE:2000-3000

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Video endcoding, Programming, Anime

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, OS, Case

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel CPU, nvidia GPU

OVERCLOCKING: Yes SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: People may say my build is rediculous and overkill. Either it is rediculous and overkill or the money I dont spend on it goes to the money in taxes as this is a 'Business expense'. Just wanted to get that out of the way right away.

Parts list (have):
  • Monitor Acer 22" Widescreen monitor (Link not exact model)
  • Case Cooler Master HAF X
  • Keyboard Razer Lycosa
  • Mouser Razer Lachesis
  • OS Windows 7 Ultimate x64

    Needed parts:
  • Motherboard Asus Rampage III Extreme
    Reading up on this motherboard, it seems to be either hit or miss. Either it works amazing for you, or you have to RMA it and it never works right. I currently have an asus crossfire which is an ROG as well, and the only problem I have had with it is the LCD poster.
  • PSU Rosewill 1000w Modular
    All I should need right?
  • Vidcard 2x EVGA GeForce GTX 480 (SLI)
    I am worried about this motherboard and video card combination because it has been pointed out that I would not be able to use a sound card with it. Has anyone used the Rampage III's onboard sound?
  • CPU Intel I7 980x
  • Cooler Noctua NH-D14
    This is my primary concern with my build, this cooler is fraking huge, and covers RAM slots in the mobo. I would LIKE corsair dominator ram, but dont think that taking off the heat dispersers is a good idea at all.
  • OS Drive OCZ Agility 2 60g
  • APP Drive Western Digital VelociRaptor 600g
  • Memory ??? Suggestions?
    If theres a way I can sufficiantly cool an overclocked 980x without sacrificing good ram I would like to do that.
    Oh, and I would like to mention that the reason I would like to stay away from watercooling is because I live near a lake and do not want to deal with having to dehumidify.

    Suggestions helpful! everything is up in the air as of yet.
  • More about : gaming build advice

    July 3, 2010 3:35:30 AM

    For starters, I would spend less (way less) on the CPU, and beef up the rest of the computer. And Rosewill is not really known as a quality manufacturer of power supplies.

    Having bought a ROG mobo, I can say that they look pretty great. Whether or not that's worth the maybe 1% difference that you'll achieve in overclocking with it is another matter. I believe Tom's recently had an article on overclocking with 1366 mobos, and saw less than 1% difference between them.

    If you're not sold on the Rampage III, check out this Gigabyte UD3R. It's got a Tom's recommendation as well as from many of the frequent posters around here.

    In general, onboard sound is very good these days. Unless you're an extreme audiophile, I doubt you'll be able to tell the difference between onboard and a $100+ sound card.

    You might want to check out SLIZone for recommended PSUs. 900W is the bare minimum for 2x 480, and the Rosewill 1000W isn't on there. It would probably still work, but Rosewill generally doesn't do that great on jonnyguru stress tests.

    I would look for something that's 80+ Silver or Gold certified and above 900W, even if it's not on the SLIZone list. People say it all the time, but it bears repeating. Your power supply is the most important part of your system. If it goes, it can fry components.

    On to the CPU. If you want to spend $1k on a processor, I can't stop you. I'll point out, however, that games these days are GPU-bound, not CPU-bound. If you were building a top-of-the-line 3D rendering box, then it might be worth it. If gaming is your most demanding task, get an i7-930 and overclock it instead. The money saved could be spent on more/better monitors for a surround setup.

    I also can't recommend a 60 GB SSD and a 600 GB Velociraptor. Why not just get a 128 GB SSD and a 1 TB 7200 rpm drive? Modern 7200 rpm drives are approximately as fast as VRs for streaming, the only area where the VRs are significantly ahead is in access time. Consider a 120 GB Agility 2 or a Crucial C300 RealSSD and a Samsung Spinpoint F3, WD Caviar Black (WD1002FAEX), or a Seagate 7200.12.

    And for memory...check out the G.Skill PI Series. Not quite the cheapest, but CAS 6, 1600 MHz, and it runs at 1.6V, unlike the rest of the CAS 6 DDR3.
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    July 3, 2010 3:41:39 AM

    Stealing from a build I posted earlier today.

    CPU - Intel i7-930 - $290
    HSF - Your choice from Frostytech's top "5" list, say ~$60
    Mobo - Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R - $210
    RAM - G.Skill PI 6 GB CAS 6 1600 MHz - $210
    SSD - OCZ Agility 2 - $310
    HDD - Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB - $80
    GPU - 2x EVGA 480 Superclocked - $1020
    PSU - Corsair 950TX Active PFC 80+ Bronze -$140 (-$10 MIR) certified for 480 SLI by slizone.com
    Case - HAF X - $200

    Total $2520, no combos, no shipping included (at least $25 for the HAF X).

    And in support of SSD + 1 TB (or greater) drive, I'll point you to Anandtech's review of the new VRs

    Quote:
    The problem is once you take into account solid state storage. The new VelociRaptor boasts a 4KB random write speed of 1.9MB/s. Intel's X25-M G2 is amost 20x faster. The new VelociRaptor averages 178 IOPS in our typical Bench workload, Intel's X25-M can push nearly 800 IOPS in the same test.

    While you are getting much more storage for your dollar with the VelociRaptor, a higher performance alternative would be to combine a good SSD with a 1TB drive. Using the SSD for your OS and apps, and the TB drive for all of your music, photos, videos and games. It's this sort of configuration that I use in my personal desktop (except I have two 1TB drives in RAID-1).


    And looking at my build, I have no idea how that Rampage III + i7-980X is going to come in under $3k?
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    July 3, 2010 3:51:42 AM

    Hi! first of all thanks for your post, clears some things up for me :D 

    So, if I decide not to go with the 980, would it be smarter to go with a different socket completely?
    My buddy told me 1156 would allow for future upgrades.
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    July 3, 2010 4:26:17 AM

    Both Intel sockets are slated to be replaced next year. Neither are really good options for future upgrades. AM3 is supposed to be good for Bulldozer (due out next year), but no idea beyond that.

    If you're the kind of person that buys a new computer every 3-5 years, then I suspect you'll be fine with socket 1366. If you're the kind of person that upgrades piecemeal every 1-2 years, you might consider an AMD Phenom II X4 955/965 and an Asus Crosshair IV (or other 890 FX series mobo). Though obviously you would want to go with ATI video cards at that point, as SLI isn't possible on the AMD 8nn-series chipset.
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    July 3, 2010 5:22:19 PM

    one more quick question. Will the GSkill PI ram fit under the Noctua NH-D14?
    Thanks
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    July 3, 2010 5:37:19 PM

    Based on this review & specs, I would guess not. It looks big and low. Looking at newegg reviews, it looks like it frequently blocks tall heatspreaders in the first RAM slot.

    Unless you plan on fully populating the RAM though, that doesn't need to be an issue. Download the motherboard's manual and verify that you can use the 2/4/6th RAM slots instead of 1/3/5, and you should be fine.

    Or buy RAM with lower/no heat spreaders. :) 
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    July 3, 2010 7:33:49 PM

    oh! reading up on it, it looks like the fan that extends over the ram slots can actually be moved up to allow more room for ram heat spreaders.
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    !