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New PC - how does this setup look?

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July 9, 2010 7:26:14 PM

So I am building a new gaming PC. This is my first post here, but I've been lurking for some time, reading the forums here. I've also been reading many lengthy reviews on all the parts I've been looking at. So, I do have a pretty good idea of what I want, and I just wanted to see if you guys like the setup, and if you have any advice or opinions I haven't heard yet.


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: August 1st (after I get the money)

BUDGET RANGE: $1500 (or as little over as possible) - just for the box, I'll worry about the monitor and peripherals separately.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Solely for gaming, watching movies and some web surfing. I am going to use my other computer for schoolwork and programming.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: I already have or don't need to include here: monitor, DVD burner, keyboard, mouse and windows 7

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: I've been looking at AMD processors and ATI graphics cards

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe, but probably not. (Very low concern)

CROSSFIRE: Probably down the road

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Heat and noise are very important to me, but I don't want to sacrifice performance for them. I have taken great measure to chose parts that (from reviews online) are the quietest possible. So far, I have been thinking of a non-reference gfx cooler (hence the vapor-x sapphire 5850), and I'm willing to pay a little extra for it. I have never owned one of these newer cards, so I am relying solely on information online about them. From what I've read, although price wise they are comparable, a 5870 (reference) be significantly louder and hotter than the toxic/vapor-x 5850. The parts I've spent the most time debating about are the graphics card, motherboard and PSU. Everything else I'm pretty solidly sure of, however I'm very open to any suggestions.


What I am currently looking at:

Case - Cooler Master HAF 922

Processor - AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition Thuban 3.2GHz

Motherboard - ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 AM3 AMD 890GX

CPU cooler - Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
I would love to hear some personal experience on this one: will it block the ram? What direction will it have to point on my motherboard? From the pictures I've seen in reviews, it looked like this cooler is one of the better ones in these respects, and it sounds like its a great cooler.

RAM (2x for 8gb) - G.SKILL ECO Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1600

SAPPHIRE Toxic 100282-2GTXSR Radeon HD 5850 (Cypress Pro) 2GB
I actually don't care if its the toxic edition or not, its only $10 difference. I just want the vapor-x cooling and the 2gb version in case I decide to use eyefinity down the road.

PSU - ZALMAN ZM850-HP 850W Continuous @ 45°C
I've also been looking at the Corsair CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-850HX 850W. No matter how much I've read, I still don't quite understand the 12V rails stuff. Is one better than more? How will this corsair PSU perform versus the Zalman? What about noise and heat?
I'm open to either, whatever you guys recommend.

Data HDD - SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM

OS HDDs 2x in RAID 0 - Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3160813AS 160GB 7200 RPM
I might get an to replace it SSD some day when they get cheaper and better.

Subtotal: $1,448.88


Thanks in advance for any suggestions you have. Whatever opinions or personal experience you have with these or similar parts, I would really appreciate. I can't wait to build it!

More about : setup

July 9, 2010 7:43:59 PM

Your part selection isnt very good for gaming. The 1090T isnt great for gaming, the 955/965 tends to do slightly better than it, 4GB is plenty for gaming, 8GB isnt going to help you any so spend that on a 5870. Definitely dont get the 7200.11 series of HDDs, they had a firmware issue that sometimes led to the drives being bricked. A single samsung F3 500GB would be faster than the two of those in RAID 0 and cheaper.

I would combo your motherboard with a 955, you can OC it and get great performance out of it for less than the 1090T.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

An 80+ silver certified PSU is more efficient so it generates less heat, which means the fan can spin slower generating less noise. Single vs multiple 12V rails doesnt really matter. I would go for the HX850, its a high quality unit that has recieved many favorable reviews, has 10A more on the 12V rail and is rated at 50C rather than 45C.
July 9, 2010 8:13:14 PM

Overall, i really like the look of this build.

Asus is a great brand that you cant go wrong with. The only other manufacturer i would look at is Gigabyte.

The case and CPU cooler are excellent picks.

As for the Ram i would use DDR3 1333 since that is the recommended speed. however, you could over clock the CPU to accept your current choice. Also i like Corsair, but that is just a personal preference. Gskull is fine.

For your GPU is a tough sell for me. At 380 bucks your not far off from a 5870 which is a better card period. I would say look at a low end 5870 from either XFX or HIS like one of these:

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

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

As for the PSU part lets see if i can clear away some of the haze. first off, most people will say a single rail is better than a multi rail solution. basically, zalman has 6 rails which split the total amount of amps. This is fine unless your GPU and/or CPU needs more amps than the rail can provide. if that happens it could overload your PSU, or at least over work it even though you have ample power. This is because the rail cant access the rest of the amps. On a single rail you have one source with all the power. This means the single rail is doing all the work that the 6 were, but it has access to the full resources.

Basically, i recommend corsair and its single rail. I am no expert on the subject so someone might have a better explanation, but i thought this might help.

finally your hard drives look great.

i hope this helps and good luck!

Related resources
July 9, 2010 8:21:00 PM

I have heard that Seasonic is a great brand for PSU and this particular PSU seems good. I have not used it but I ordered it last night.

http://www.ncixus.com/products/?sku=42984&vpn=S12D850&m...

It is 850W nad has two rails both of which are 40A but the total is like 70A.


My last computer had a mid tower case and I think I would prefer a full tower.

Maybe consider the Haf 932?

http://www.ncixus.com/products/?sku=33029&vpn=RC-932-KK...

also at Newegg (free shipping)

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


BTW the Seagate 7200.11 has had a lot of complaints (I do not know much about hard drives but a lot of comments on forums are negative wrt to 7200.11). Maybe consider 7200.12 or WD Black. I don't know though.
July 9, 2010 8:59:30 PM

Thanks for the reply! I am leaning towards the HX850 for the PSU. That is my understanding of the 12V rails, is that fewer mean more amps which are actually better, and the HX850 has only 1. Please let me know if this is just bad information, I just don't understand it.

I am interested in the 1090T as it is more future proof. I really think more cores will be more valuable in the long run - a couple of years ago, games didn't even support dual cores yet. I am willing to pay the extra for the two more cores for that. Same goes for the RAM, however I would consider starting at 4 as it is an easier and cheaper upgrade than buying a new CPU.

As far as GFX is concerned, I'm worried about noise with the 5870's, and a quieter non-reference design is much more expensive (the vapor-x model is $480). I want the best performance I can get, but I do want this to be a quiet computer. The 5870 looks to be very loud:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/2841/26

Will the single HDD actually be faster than two in RAID 0? I've never done a RAID setup, but I thought it would be fun to try. I would just like a separate drive from my storage, and making it faster is obviously a plus.
July 9, 2010 9:09:44 PM

I think you are a bit confused on the PSU. The reason a single rail seems like more power is available is because on most multirail PSUs, you can load each rail individually up to its rating, so if you have 4 25A rails it looks like you might have 100A available, but that is just the max each rail can handle, they are all pulling from a single 12V source which has a much lower capacity so if you try to pull 25 from all 4 it wont work, the single rail is just rated for the capacity of its 12V source. In this day and age they tend to split rails well enough and give them enough capacity that you dont need to worry about carefully balancing your load so it doesnt really matter if you go single or multi rail.

It will be a while before games need more than a quad to run well, most games dont even use more than 3 cores yet, so by the time they use more than 4 you will likely have replaced your system.

Until games become 64 bit which requires the vast majority of users to be using a 64 bit OS, they cannot use more than 2GB of ram so 4 will be plenty for a while, definitely start with 4 for now, and if you determine you need 8 in the future DDR3 prices will hopefully have dropped a bit. Right now the only programs that show the need to use more than 4GB are 64 bit Adobe programs like photoshop and premier.

I think you are overestimating just how loud that card will get, if you get one of the custom cooled ones that are out there, not necessarily a vapor-X you will have a quieter card. If you read how they tested the noise for that system, they measured from 6 inches away.

The two you picked are older, much smaller platter drives with a critical issue. The 500GB F3 is likely faster than them in RAID 0, but my main concern about them is the potential for a .11 series drive to brick itself.
July 9, 2010 9:23:40 PM

This article has the noise comparisons for stock 5850 and 5870.
http://www.anandtech.com/show/2848/13

This one has the toxic 5850
http://www.anandtech.com/show/2943/5

I'm just really concerned with how loud it will be. If the vapor-x 5850 is 52 dBa at full load and the 5870 is 64dBa, then it is over twice as loud.

Who of you guys own a 5870? What brand? Is it loud as all hell like I'm reading it is? 64dB is really loud...
July 9, 2010 9:30:42 PM

I will probably start with 4gb ram, especially since its the easiest and cheapest upgrade there is.

For the vid cards, I realize they are measuring it too close. The last two links I put give us a relative sense of it - it is 12 more decibels, meaning it was over twice as loud (assuming they were consistent with their testing).

I probably will use a single drive for my OS/apps drive.

That PSU 12V explanation did help a lot, I think I am going with the Corsair 850HX.
July 9, 2010 9:31:49 PM

Its about the way they measured it, it says that they measured it at 6", and everytime you double the distance the loudness drops by 6dB, so if its 64dB at 6" it will be down to 40dB at 24", this doesnt include any damping that your case causes.

Double the loudness is a 3dB change due to the way decibels are a logarithmic scale.
July 9, 2010 9:39:32 PM

Quote:
As for the Ram i would use DDR3 1333 since that is the recommended speed. however, you could over clock the CPU to accept your current choice. Also i like Corsair, but that is just a personal preference. Gskull is fine.


I did wonder about that - I saw that the specs on that 1090T showed the integrated memory controller only supported up to 1033. How much overclocking would be necessary to do so? What would I have to do to get the full performance out of the RAM? Can you just overclock the memory controller?
July 9, 2010 9:40:33 PM

hunter315 said:
Its about the way they measured it, it says that they measured it at 6", and everytime you double the distance the loudness drops by 6dB, so if its 64dB at 6" it will be down to 40dB at 24", this doesnt include any damping that your case causes.

Double the loudness is a 3dB change due to the way decibels are a logarithmic scale.


Very good info. I think a 5870 sounds awesome. Does the brand even matter if they're all the reference design?
July 9, 2010 9:52:28 PM

Some brands have better warranties like XFX's double lifetime warranty, some cards have bundles with free games, and some have OEM coolers, not as high level or expensive as Vapor-X coolers but still better than stock, and they arent all the reference design any more.
!