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Rough $1800 Gaming Build List

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July 20, 2010 8:50:45 AM

Getting close to narrowing down my quest for a nice gaming and design build. Sort of a long post, I know, but I figure the more info and questions asked, the better of this build will be.

Thanks so much in advance.

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APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: 1-2 months from now

BUDGET RANGE: $1,800 ($2,000 max)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Photoshop, 3D rendering, motion graphics, web browsing.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard/mouse, speakers, OS (I'll be using Windows 7)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg.com (USA)

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel CPU, NVIDIA GPU (after lengthy researching).

OVERCLOCKING: Yes

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080

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Proposed Build:

CPU:
Intel Core i7-930 2.8GHz Quad - $200 @ Microcenter
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Motherboard:
ASUS P6X58D-E LGA 1366 Intel X58
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM:
G.SKILL PI Series 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU:
I really need help here on this one. I'm very stuck as to which route to go. Here are some ideas:

1 EVGA 015-P3-1482-AR GeForce GTX 480 (Fermi) SuperClocked 1536MB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or

2 GIGABYTE GV-N470D5-13I-B GeForce GTX 470 (Fermi) 1280MB in SLI
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or

2 GIGABYTE GV-N460OC-1GI GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB in SLI

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

HSF:
Scythe SCMG-2100 Sleeve CPU Cooler

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

PSU:
CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W

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

Optical:
ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner

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

HDD:
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache

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

Monitor:
ASUS VH236H Black 23" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen Full HD 1080P LCD

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

Case:
Mmmm. Dunno. I used to want an Antec P182, but they're hard to find nowadays. I like the simplicity of the Antec 300, but worry it doesn't have good enough ventilation or room for a large heatsink. I've been thinking about the Antec 1200, but dislike side windows (and it's pretty expensive). I also really, really find the HAF's to be hideous and gaudy. Maybe the Antec 300 Illusion because of the extra fans?

OS: Windows 7 (already have)
--

Questions and concerns:

1) From what I've read, it seems as though the i7-950 is going to drop in price fairly soon, ending up at the 930's current price-point. Should I hold out a bit longer for that? And is there any telling if Microcenter will perhaps knock the price down to ~$200, as well?

2) RAM - I've been seeing people 'round here suggesting Mushkin Enhanced Redline 6GB kits because of the lower latency. Should I get this kit instead of the Pi's?

3) SSD's - should I really consider getting one? Sometimes I think the Spinpoint F3 will be plenty fast for me. And I know it's less of a problem than some insist, but I really am worried about them "wearing out" or slowing down. Plus, they're so expensive.

4) Heatsink/Fans - Should I go with the Scythe Mugen 2, or perhaps the Prolimatech Megahalems? And should I get a small tube of thermal paste, as well?

5) GPU - I hear murmurs of the so-called "475." Should I wait around?

--

Thank you so, so much.

tbc
July 20, 2010 9:02:16 AM

Rock solid build congrats ;) .

As for the gpu all the ones you mentioned are good options it just depends on what you will do with the system and how much GPU power you require. If you intend on large upgrades in the future I'd get a single card: 470 or 480 depending on which suits your requirements. If not I'd get 460 sli or 470 sli again depending on which meets your requirements.

To sum up here is a rough bang for buck comparison: 460sli>470sli>460>470>480

and your questions:

1) I doubt the 950 will go for 200 very much. I'd check right before you buy what the prices are and when they would change and make your choice then. Right now however I'd choose a 930

2) Mushkins are faster I own a kit but whether it's worth the premium is another question seeing as ram speed only makes minimal differences in overall system performance. IMO the G.skills will do great.

3)Yes an ssd is something you should consider. I don't own one myself and don't plan to soon either. I am now saving for another 470 and 2 more screens for 2d surround. When I've got that I'll get a flight joystick and maybe a driving wheel. And then I'll get an ssd. It improves overall loading times and almost every action. In a budget like this I'd get one, but as I've mentioned before I find peripherals more important. If you don't consider an ssd. Here is a good comparison:

http://www.youtube.com/user/NCIXcom?blend=2&ob=1#p/u/4/...

4) I'm not a fan of the heatsink only policy of thermalright. I'd get the scythe mugen 2 or noctua d14.

Hope I helped ;) 
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July 20, 2010 9:06:57 AM

Well for $40 more you can get mushkin 3x2gb memory with 6 cas. Also with your interest in graphic design and the push into 3d technology you might want to spend the extra money to get a 3d ready monitor, asus has one for $400 but it's not sold on newegg, it's sold on amazon. That way you'll be all set for 3d, only thing you will be missing is the 3d glasses/kit which is $174 on newegg atm but you don't need to get right away, so no big deal
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Related resources
July 20, 2010 9:10:11 AM

I'm sorry but I really must disagree. I was in the same dilemma when I bought my screen, but 3 benq 24in led monitors cost the same as an acer 24in + 3d vision kit. Sure 3d is cool and better to have it than not but given the choice between 2d surround and 3d vision I will definately opt for the former.
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July 20, 2010 9:15:25 AM

thebluecasket said:


3) SSD's - should I really consider getting one? Sometimes I think the Spinpoint F3 will be plenty fast for me. And I know it's less of a problem than some insist, but I really am worried about them "wearing out" or slowing down. Plus, they're so expensive.


The slowing down of SSD's is not a wear out type of slow down. They slow down due to the mechanics of how the HD works. They only flag a file as deleted rather then deleteing it, so once the drive is full and needs to overwrite in areas that once had info. and are now marked as deleted it has to delete that info and then write. So you have the overhead of having to delete at the same time as writing, thats been fixed though with a new technology and firmware upgrade (forget the name think it's like flex or something) so it deletes the files right away. Reguardless sdd's are expensive, your only gonna put limited programs on it since its like $200 for 60gb. I personally have one and use it for windows and the main games I'm playing at that period of time, everything else is on my normal 1TB drive.

Reguardless SSD is too expensive for your budget IMO, and not that important. You would be way better off focusing that money on your GPU and possibly a 3d monitor like I suggested for the extra $200 assuming 3d interests you.
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July 20, 2010 9:18:38 AM

Somebody_007 said:
I'm sorry but I really must disagree. I was in the same dilemma when I bought my screen, but 3 benq 24in led monitors cost the same as an acer 24in + 3d vision kit. Sure 3d is cool and better to have it than not but given the choice between 2d surround and 3d vision I will definately opt for the former.


Well I just built a whole new system and got 3d vision surround, but even if I couldn't afford that I would of still went with 3d vision so I could upgrade to 3d vision surround and not have to replace anything that I allready have. Of course it's all personal taste and dependant on what the original poster wants now and in the future, thus why I suggested it to them.
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July 20, 2010 9:40:39 AM

Yeah true it's just what you prefer I'm sure there are many people out there who will agree with you and others who will agree with me.

How is 3d actually I've always wondered? Is it extreme or is just slightly nicer like in the movie theatre?
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July 20, 2010 3:31:15 PM

I would go with this IMO http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... has more features at a lower price pont and it is the same board I use. it supports xfire and sli up to 4 cards. However, your choice is good too.

As for heatsink I am partial to the Noctua D-14 ever since I got it. amazing performance but at a price premium.

I second the Mushkin.. nice tight timings on the redline enhanced... 6-8-6-24 and they run at 1T(N)

I can't comment on 3d as I have a lazy eye and as such 3d doesn't work for me
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July 20, 2010 3:40:38 PM

Quote:
1) From what I've read, it seems as though the i7-950 is going to drop in price fairly soon, ending up at the 930's current price-point. Should I hold out a bit longer for that? And is there any telling if Microcenter will perhaps knock the price down to ~$200, as well?


No need to get a 950, if your overclocking there is no need at all, its basically an overclocked 920, same with the 930, thats just an overclocked 920 :)  just little differences, if you OC your 930 you can get a 950 with that, easy
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July 20, 2010 3:51:35 PM

Not completely true. a 950 is a higher binned cpu meaning it's simply better but it is manufactured the same. So the 950 is better but I don't find it worth the premium.
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July 20, 2010 5:00:17 PM

Somebody_007 said:
Not completely true. a 950 is a higher binned cpu meaning it's simply better but it is manufactured the same. So the 950 is better but I don't find it worth the premium.

right, I said BASICALLY :p 
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July 20, 2010 5:40:17 PM

the 930 is all he needs if he plans to overclock. with the part I listed above, I was able to hit 4.3Ghz with 1.28v on the noctua and redline enhanced (6-8-6-24 1T). temps are very comfortable. he will be very happy with it.
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July 20, 2010 6:29:16 PM

Somebody_007 said:
Rock solid build congrats ;) .

As for the gpu all the ones you mentioned are good options it just depends on what you will do with the system and how much GPU power you require. If you intend on large upgrades in the future I'd get a single card: 470 or 480 depending on which suits your requirements. If not I'd get 460 sli or 470 sli again depending on which meets your requirements.

To sum up here is a rough bang for buck comparison: 460sli>470sli>460>470>480

and your questions:

1) I doubt the 950 will go for 200 very much. I'd check right before you buy what the prices are and when they would change and make your choice then. Right now however I'd choose a 930

2) Mushkins are faster I own a kit but whether it's worth the premium is another question seeing as ram speed only makes minimal differences in overall system performance. IMO the G.skills will do great.

3)Yes an ssd is something you should consider. I don't own one myself and don't plan to soon either. I am now saving for another 470 and 2 more screens for 2d surround. When I've got that I'll get a flight joystick and maybe a driving wheel. And then I'll get an ssd. It improves overall loading times and almost every action. In a budget like this I'd get one, but as I've mentioned before I find peripherals more important. If you don't consider an ssd. Here is a good comparison:

http://www.youtube.com/user/NCIXcom?blend=2&ob=1#p/u/4/...

4) I'm not a fan of the heatsink only policy of thermalright. I'd get the scythe mugen 2 or noctua d14.

Hope I helped ;) 


Thanks a bunch. Great post.

The HDD vs. SSD video was very helpful. The Alt+Tab demo was probably the most impressive feature for me that really showed off the speed (not quite as impressive as that dude's dinosaur baseball cap). I'll have to see if I can rationalize the price of an SSD, though. There's a combo at Newegg for the GTX 480 and the Corsair 850w PSU, saving $40.

And I'll see about squeezing in the Mushkin kit if I have a few more bucks lying around.

The Noctua D-14 seems great, but I really can't get over just how fugly those fans are. Extremely so.
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July 20, 2010 6:31:55 PM

skimanner said:
The slowing down of SSD's is not a wear out type of slow down. They slow down due to the mechanics of how the HD works. They only flag a file as deleted rather then deleteing it, so once the drive is full and needs to overwrite in areas that once had info. and are now marked as deleted it has to delete that info and then write. So you have the overhead of having to delete at the same time as writing, thats been fixed though with a new technology and firmware upgrade (forget the name think it's like flex or something) so it deletes the files right away. Reguardless sdd's are expensive, your only gonna put limited programs on it since its like $200 for 60gb. I personally have one and use it for windows and the main games I'm playing at that period of time, everything else is on my normal 1TB drive.

Reguardless SSD is too expensive for your budget IMO, and not that important. You would be way better off focusing that money on your GPU and possibly a 3d monitor like I suggested for the extra $200 assuming 3d interests you.


Was it called "TRIM," that new SSD feature? I thought I'd read about it. Don't regular hard drives also just mark a file as "deleted," simply saying that zone is okay to write to in the future? Isn't that how programs like Recuva work?
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July 20, 2010 6:34:03 PM

Hard Line said:
the 930 is all he needs if he plans to overclock. with the part I listed above, I was able to hit 4.3Ghz with 1.28v on the noctua and redline enhanced (6-8-6-24 1T). temps are very comfortable. he will be very happy with it.


4.3Ghz? That's crazy insane on just air!
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July 20, 2010 6:39:29 PM

You don't have to go with the mushkins btw I wouldn't have exept they are cheap in belgium and G.skills aren't available. PI ram doesn't fit under the d14 however. Maybe the tridents do, does anyone know?

and yeah my brother has the same problem with my d14. When he first saw it he said: "how hard did they try to find the ugliest colors to paint their fans in?"
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July 20, 2010 6:46:59 PM

Somebody_007 said:
You don't have to go with the mushkins btw I wouldn't have exept they are cheap in belgium and G.skills aren't available. PI ram doesn't fit under the d14 however. Maybe the tridents do, does anyone know?

and yeah my brother has the same problem with my d14. When he first saw it he said: "how hard did they try to find the ugliest colors to paint their fans in?"


It's like they held a focus group to find the most repulsive, poo-colored fans. Minor gripe, I suppose, if they are such great coolers.
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July 20, 2010 7:23:13 PM

thebluecasket said:
4.3Ghz? That's crazy insane on just air!


yeah i was quite impressed.. and thermally i have about 10C of headroom! may go for 4.5. we'll see
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July 20, 2010 7:23:35 PM

Mr Pizza said:
right, I said BASICALLY :p 


Thanks guys. Yeah, I'll probably forgo waiting for the 950 in favor of the 930, and just overclock that one.
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July 20, 2010 7:24:39 PM

Hard Line said:
yeah i was quite impressed.. and thermally i have about 10C of headroom! may go for 4.5. we'll see


Geez. And to imagine what water could do...
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July 20, 2010 7:46:04 PM

i was toying with that idea.. was gonna make a big copper rad and bury it in the back yard :D  imagine what a constant 40-50 degrees would do? evil grin... my last pc cried till it died...
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July 20, 2010 7:56:33 PM

I was thinking of putting the intake fans for a quad rad under an air conditioner. Sadly though I have neither in my cold belgium :p 
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July 20, 2010 8:04:49 PM

how about srao the rad to the air conditioner output :p  lol


but you are gonna do that, why not go phase change lol
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July 21, 2010 7:04:59 PM

skimanner said:
Well for $40 more you can get mushkin 3x2gb memory with 6 cas. Also with your interest in graphic design and the push into 3d technology you might want to spend the extra money to get a 3d ready monitor, asus has one for $400 but it's not sold on newegg, it's sold on amazon. That way you'll be all set for 3d, only thing you will be missing is the 3d glasses/kit which is $174 on newegg atm but you don't need to get right away, so no big deal


Eh, I don't think I'll spring for a 3D setup. If I had the extra cash, perhaps, but I would have to gimp my build to stay under budget. I've been fiddling with the items in my Newegg cart for the past day, trying to make sure the build is within budget. I just so happen to live in one of the 3 states (Cali) that Newegg charges sales tax for, so I have to pay roughly another $150 on top of the components, as well as about $30 shipping. If only I had friends or family, in say Arizona, who I could ship it to and have them ship it to me. Gah. Stupid, stupid sales tax.
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!