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High-performance build (please comment)

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July 14, 2010 3:16:33 PM

Hello everyone. :hello:  I'm new to the forums and hope to learn while I'm here.

Last time I built a custom system was in 2003 so I'm out of the loop so to speak! Just to remind you folks, that was the time P4 w/HT was considered the holy-grail of computing, the Radeon 9800Pro would make gamers drool and 1GB of RAM was considered overkill. How things have changed!

So now I'm in need of a new system. It's main use would be emulating networking hardware, i.e. routers and switches on a software platform called Dynamips. Those of you who are into this stuff can relate to my username as well. ;)  Therefore, what I primarily need is computing power and memory and lots of it! I'm not a gamer so the video card/sound card are not a priority for me. I just want a decent enough GPU to comfortably handle HD media and the like and the audio should be decent. I also haven't decided on the LCD right now as I'm concerned most with the MB/CPU/RAM. The system is basically a very high-end gaming machine without the high-end video card.


My requirements:
- Lots of computing power (running multiple instances of emulators)
- Lots of high-speed RAM for large-scale emulations (upgradeable to 12GB)
- Motherboard to comfortably handle the above w/ support for future expandability
- Reliable primary and back-up storage (possible RAID setup in future)
- Strong, reliable PSU
- Spacious, well-designed case with good air-flow
- Excellent CPU-cooling
- Decent video card/sound card (no gaming)


I've done some initial reading to get up to speed (so I don't sound like a dinosaur!) and I've put together something as you can see below. I didn't want you guys to do all the hard work so here's something you can start off with and critique so that I can get an idea of what's appropriate for the requirements I have. I'm based in Toronto, Canada. The prices are in CAD from Canada Computers.


Initial Build

Asus P6T SE Socket 1366 Intel X58 _____________________________________ 189.99
Intel Core i7 920 Quad-Core Socket LGA1366, 2.66Ghz _____________________ 316.99
Corsair XMS3 Classic 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 1600MHz _________________________ 189.99
Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB SATAII 7200RPM 32MB Cache (OEM) ______ 59.99
Western Digital Caviar Green 2000GB (2TB) SATA 3 Gb/s 64MB ______________ 119.99
PowerColor ATI Radeon HD 5770 Chipset (850Mhz) 1GB GDDR5 ______________ 154.99
Creative Sound Blaster Audigy SE 7.1 Surround Sound Card _________________ 29.99
Intel PRO/1000 GT Desktop Adapter, PCI ________________________________ 37.99
Antec TP-750 Truepower New 750W Continuous Power Supply ______________ 139.99
Antec Nine Hundred Two Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Ultimate Gamer Case _____ 129.99
Noctua NH-U12P SE2 CPU Cooler for Intel Socket LGA1366 __________________ 79.99
Logitech Illuminated USB Keyboard /w Palm Rest, Backlit -Black ______________ 52.99
Logitech RX1500 Black 3 Buttons Tilt Wheel USB Corded Laser Mouse _________ 46.99
Samsung F2380 23" Professional Widescreen LCD __________________________ 259.99
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
__________________________________________________________Subtotal: $1809.86
______________________________________________________________HST: $235.28
______________________________________________________Total: $2,045.14 (CAD)
______________________________________________________Total: $1,980.56 (USD)



Basically, what I want to know is if the above build is:

- appropriate for the above-mentioned requirements
- components are compatible with each other
- if a better CPU than the above with significant performance gain can be had under $500CAD
- if better RAM than the above with significant performance gain can be had under $300CAD

I'd appreciate all the help I can get on this. Please feel free to comment as you wish.
July 14, 2010 4:07:47 PM

I'd swap Mobo to a GA x58 UD3R or asus p6x58D-E, depending on which is cheaper for you.

Swap CPU to an i7-930 should be very close to same price.

RAM I'd consider using a G SKill PI, ddr3 1600 7-8-7-24 kit which is lower voltages, not sure about timing of RAM you link.

$180 on newegg.ca
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

I'd swap HD to Samsung Spinpoint F3's which offer better performance and lower price.
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

I personally would never buy from powercolor due to their cheap quality and horrible support. Sapphire, XFX, Asus and Gigabyte are all good companies.

Sound card isn't needed. On board these days is perfectly fine.

Is that a wireless PCI card? Any particular reason a Cat5/6E won't work?

Don't need the noctua unless you plan on extreme OC. Even if you do, get the NH-D14.

Alternate for $30 on NCIX is the hyper 212 plus.

Also, not sure if antec 200 will fit a 160mm HSF. If it does, would probably be very close.

LCD wise, what's wrong with a nice asus? a 23.6" one is only $210 on newegg.ca
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...


July 14, 2010 4:37:28 PM

Hey banthracis! Here I was thinking I got it all figured out....thanks for knocking some sense into my head. :pt1cable: 

Quote:
I'd swap Mobo to a GA x58 UD3R or asus p6x58D-E, depending on which is cheaper for you.


Any particular reason?

Quote:
Swap CPU to an i7-930 should be very close to same price.


Was thinking of that earlier. I guess the i7-930 is the farthest I can go before shelling out the extra ~$300 for the i7-940.

Quote:
RAM I'd consider using a G SKill PI, ddr3 1600 7-8-7-24 kit which is lower voltages, not sure about timing of RAM you link.

$180 on newegg.ca
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...


Lower voltages are preferred on this motherboard so I can consider this. The timing of the Corsair sticks I mentioned are 8-8-8-24.

Quote:
I'd swap HD to Samsung Spinpoint F3's which offer better performance and lower price.
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...


Seagate and WD are proven names. Are Samsung HDs reliable though?

Quote:
I personally would never buy from powercolor due to their cheap quality and horrible support. Sapphire, XFX, Asus and Gigabyte are all good companies.


Yeah, I just picked out something to finalize the initial build. I'll look into the other ones.

Quote:
Sound card isn't needed. On board these days is perfectly fine.


Agreed. On-board isn't too shabby nowadays.

Quote:
Is that a wireless PCI card? Any particular reason a Cat5/6E won't work?


It's wired.

Quote:
Don't need the noctua unless you plan on extreme OC. Even if you do, get the NH-D14.

Alternate for $30 on NCIX is the hyper 212 plus.


I thought something other than the stock HSF would bring temps below 50C. From the benchs I've seen, the i7-920 seems to go into the 70+ range with 100% utilization. I'll look into the ones you've mentioned.

Quote:
Also, not sure if antec 200 will fit a 160mm HSF. If it does, would probably be very close.


My build actually mentions the Antec Nine Hundred. Is that ok, though?

Quote:
LCD wise, what's wrong with a nice asus? a 23.6" one is only $210 on newegg.ca
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...


Will look into it.


Thanks again!
March 3, 2011 11:09:07 AM

So I'm updating the thread since I actually need to get the system within a few weeks. I'd really appreciate any suggestions/comments.
!