I am looking for any comments or advice on a new system I am building...
I am building a new PC with the goal of using it primarily for playing a flight simulator game (X-Plane 9 and FSX) and playing video through my television set. I don't want a tower case because its going to be plugged into my Mitsubishi 52in LCD TV (1080p) and going to be sitting on my entertainment center. For connecting the computer to the TV I would like to utilize HDMI. I would love for the HDMI to support the audio (thought this isn't required) and not just video. Currently on my Macbook Pro I use a mini DVI to HDMI converter to get video to the TV but I have to play the sound through the laptop because my TV doesn't let me choose an audio source other than HDMI when I have that input selected. I really hate how when I change my input on the TV the HDMI there are not options to get sound to play through the TV by using a cable plugged into the headphone jack or something. So If someone knows how to get the audio to come out the TV while playing video that would be awesome! What is the best way to go TV out from the PC? Ok, so I need the case to be small so it will look nice on my entertainment system, HDMI out and SLI or Crossfire enabled video cards so I can run my games on Ultra High Resolution. I am also shooting for a budget of around $1500 or less.
So here is what I have thus far.
AeroCool Qx-2000 Black SECC 0.6mm MicroATX Cube Tower Computer Case (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)
I chose this case because it was smaller than a tower, looks pretty cool and has enough room inside for a full size video cards. I am open to ANY suggestions as to alternative case that might do that job (I would love for the case to be somewhat stylish... and I am open to using HTPC / Media Center Cases as well). Obviously, since I am using a smaller case I am going to be forced to use a MicroATX motherboard.
The 2 MicroATX Motherboards I have found... VERY open to any suggestions...
Motherboard / CPU / GPU Combo 1
Motherboard: EVGA 121-BL-E756-TR LGA 1366 Intel X58 Micro ATX SLI Micro Intel Motherboard (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)
This motherboard seems perfect, except NO HDMI! I love how it has 2-Way SLI x16/x16 so I don't have to worry about my GPUs bottle necking because one slot is 16x and the other is 8x or something slower perhaps. Since the HDMI is really important to me I was wondering if I could simply install a 3rd video card with HDMI out and use that? Please advise.
Processor: Intel Core i7-930 Bloomfield 2.8GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)
The seems to be the cheapest option for the chipset required by the motherboard. Seems like a great processor so I can't really go wrong here. As always though open to any advice.
Memory: CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) - Good price, awesome reviews.
Video Cards: EVGA 896-P3-1260-RX GeForce GTX 260 896MB 448-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI x 2 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)
Since I have a budget of around $1500, these seems like a good combo, totaling in at $150 each. Any suggestions here?
Motherboard / CPU / GPU Combo 2
Motherboard: MSI H57M-ED65 LGA 1156 Intel H57 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)
This motherboard isn't nearly as cool as the one above, however it does have HDMI and supports Crossfire (No SLI). A customer noted this on a review on newegg,
"Due to constraints on the PCIe bus, I think this board is best suited to systems with an i3 or i5 processor with graphics onboard. Or a single PCIe x16 card."
I want to use dual video cards and the new i7 chip, so I am not really too sure how much a crossfire enabled setup would suffer. Therefore, I haven't even bothered checkout out a video card for use with this motherboard. This leads me to another question, if the Motherboard has HDMI, does this mean that I have to use onboard video to utilize it? Would adding a video card cause the HDMI output not to work unless the HDMI was located on the video card itself?
Processor: Intel Core i7-875K Lynnfield 2.93GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)
Memory: Same as above... CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
Video Cards: ????
So I am kind of stuck. I would love to go with the EVGA motherboard, but it would appear that I can't get HDMI and really plan on using the TV as the primary monitor while watching videos and gaming. What are the other options besides HDMI? Svideo (that would just look like crap)? I don't have a DVI input on my TV either I have Component cables however, so maybe there is some adapter I could use?
x8/x8 will only bottleneck cards such as the HD 5970 for it to be noticeable, with the HD 5870 it's around <5% performance difference. I'm supposing you want HDMI from the motherboard. The X58 platform has no integrated graphics and you will need HDMI through the card. The H55/H57 platform needs a Core i3 or a Core i5 600 series processor for the integrated graphics to work. Besides, H57 is normally x16/x4 which will definitely bottleneck any decent setup.
What I suggest is the first option, however, choose cards which have an HDMI output.
FSX is very cpu intensive a d multi core enabled. The evga X58 card looks like a good one to me. Add a i7-930 with a mild overclock and you should be good.($199 at microcenter walk in).
The H55 motherboard is oriented to the 32nm clarkdale duo cpu's which have integrated graphics. If you use a different i7 cpu you won't get the video output and will have to use a discrete video card like the 5870. That is sort of a waste, and a P55 motherboard might be better
Your tv will be at most 1080P or 1920 x 1080 resolution. A 5870 should be all you need. The nice thing is that you can get hdmi output on the 5870 so your connection to the tv is a single hdmi cable. You will have the option to crossfire, but I would wait and see how you do with just one card.
Thanks for the advice everyone! Here is the build I finally ended up ordering yesterday. Newegg is the best, I already got the Case in... everything else will be in monday morning. I plan on putting together a complete step by step tutorial with pictures as I build it and overclock it. I will be posting benchmarks as built, then benchmarks overclocked.