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Need advice on $3000 build

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July 21, 2010 2:10:59 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within a few weeks.

BUDGET RANGE: Around $3000 with some wiggle room.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: gaming, surfing the internet, watching movies

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: ncix.com

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel, Nvidia

OVERCLOCKING: No / Maybe

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No / Maybe

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050

CPU: Intel Core i7 960 Quad Core Processor LGA1366 3.2GHZ Bloomfield 8MB LGA1366 4.8GT/S Retail Box ($645.71)
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=51240&vpn=BX8060...

Motherboard: Need advice on which one would go right with this build.

GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 480 Fermi 700MHZ 1536MB GDDR5 2XDVI MINI-HDMI PCI-E Video Card ($539.99)
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=51900&vpn=015-P3...

Memory: 2 x Corsair XMS3 Dominator TR3X6G1600C7D 6GB DDR3 3X2GB DDR3-1600 CL 7-7-7-20 Core i7 Memory Kit ($323.80)
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=40722&vpn=TR3X6G...

HDD: Western Digital WD2001FASS Caviar Black 2TB SATA2 7200RPM 3.6MS 64MB 3.5IN Dual Proc Hard Drive OEM ($199.99)
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=42775&vpn=WD2001...

Power Supply: Corsair TX850W 850W CMPSU-850TX 12V 70A 24PIN ATX Active PFC 140M Fan Power Supply ($184.99)
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=35156&vpn=CMPSU-...

CPU Cooling: Noctua NH-D14 LGA775/1156/1366/AM3 I7/I5/PHENOM Heatpipe Cooler W/ NF-P14 140MM & NF-P12 120MM Fan ($89.99)
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=47090&vpn=NH-D14...

DVD Writer: LG GH22LS50 22X/22X DVD+-RW SATA DVD Writer Lightscribe Black OEM ($35.54)
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=41927&vpn=GH22LS...

Blu-Ray Reader: LG BH10LS30 Bluray Writer 10X BD-R 16X DVD-RW Lightscribe SATA Retail Box ($159.99)
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=49301&vpn=BH10LS...

Sound Card: Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-FI Titanium FATAL1TY PCI-E 1X 24BIT Sound Card 7.1 Optical IN/OUT ($129.80)
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=30971&vpn=70SB08...

Case: Coolermaster Haf X EATX Tower Case Black 6X5.25 5X3.5INT No PS Front USB3.0 ($199.99)
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=53776&vpn=RC-942...

Operating System : Windows 7 Premium 64 Bit

Could I please get some help tweaking my build to make it better. Should I go with a 1TB hd and a ssd? Which SDD drives are good? Any help I can get would greatly be appreciated. I also would like to avoid overclocking, since I seriously lack knowledge on the subject but would be willing to give it a try if I must.

More about : advice 3000 build

July 21, 2010 2:29:42 AM

Most of the components seem like an utter waste of money.. How comfortable are you with an AMD build.?
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July 21, 2010 2:32:12 AM

Would heavily prefer Intel, how could an AMD build be better?
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Anonymous
July 21, 2010 3:13:02 AM

It wouldn't. No AMD CPU is as powerful as the i7-9xx series in games. At the moment, no games utilise six cores so you can't argue that the Phenom II X6s are better in games. I believe that unless you need something more powerful than anything AMD has to offer, AMD offer better value for money. You, however, have $3k to spend and you are looking for something more powerful.

I would definitely recommend that you step the CPU down to an i7-930. Yes, it runs 0.4GHz slower, but it could easily be overclocked to run at the same speed as the 960 and that Noctua NH-D14 which you've linked there is supposed to be very good, meaning that your chip won't heat up when it's running at that higher speed.

The motherboard: I would recommend this one. Reasons being that it supports all of you hardware, supports SATA 6GB/s and USB 3.0, which will be much more significant in times to come, and supports having two graphics cards at x16 (full speed basically).

Graphics Card: That's a nice graphics card. Get two of them to run in SLI. They offer great scaling and therefore you will get amazing performance.

RAM: I usually choose speed over latency, and therefore would choose this kit over the one you chose. It's 2000MHz RAM; incredibly fast, but the CAS latency is 9 instead of 7 (lower is better). For the moment most people only use about 3-4 gigs of RAM (even in games) so 6GB should be more than enough. I recommend that you buy one of these kits now and then, in the future, if you decide that you need more RAM, you get another identical or similar kit.

Hard Drive/SSD: That's a good drive there; I use Western Digitals and so far nothing's gone wrong with any of them. If you're looking at getting an SSD, you can fit it in your budget, so why not get a smallish SSD and use it simply to install Windows on and programs/files which you use a lot. That way your boot times will improve massively and so will access times for anything on there. You can then get that same 2TB drive to store everything else.

Power Supply: Fine, yeah. Corsair's a good brand and 850W is more than enough power.

Cooler: Good cooler, stick with it. If you really aren't going to do any overclocking or you're only going to overclock by a small amount then you won't be needing that; the processor comes with one in the box which is enough to keep it cool most of the time.

Drives: Look good, I assume you've only selected the Blu-Ray burner because you're actually going to use it, otherwise it's a waste of money :p 

Sound card: you won't be needing that at all unless you are planning on doing some serious music production / recording / mastering at professional quality. Your motherboard has 7.1 HD audio built in (all have some build in, most surround sound) which is perfectly fine for normal things such as listening to music, playing games, watching films etc. You will be really hard pushed to notice any difference in quality when doing stuff like that between integrated motherboard sound and a $100+ sound card.

Case: Whoa, that's massive. It's an E-ATX (extended ATX) case which is way too large for almost any system. I recommend you get its little brother, the HAF 922. It still has enough space for plenty of drives and so on and offers amazing cooling for your entire system.

OS: Great :D 

With the i7-930, the motherboard I suggested, 6GB of RAM, two GTX 480s, a 2TB hard drive, the CPU cooler, both the drives, the Corsair TX850W and the HAF 922 the total cost is $2634.44. That leaves you room to get an SSD if you'd like or upgrade something else, or, of course, spend the money on something different :) 

EDIT: I looked at my post and it's very very long... I thought I'd include my final build suggestion at the bottom, not to make it longer but to make it easier for you to understand the parts I'm telling you to buy.

CPU: Core i7 930 - $309.99
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 - $89.99
Motherboard: Gigabyte X58A-UD3R - $223.99
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws 6GB 2000MHz - $219.99
Graphics Cards: EVGA GTX 480 1.5GB X2 - $1079.98
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB - $199.99
Solid State Drive: Kingston SSDNow 128GB - $199.99
Blu-Ray: LG Blu-Ray writer - $159.99
DVD: LG DVD Writer - $35.54
Power Supply: Corsair TX850W - $184.99
Case: Cooler Master HAF 922 - $129.99

Total: $2834.43 (I haven't included rebates as I'm from the UK and they don't exist over here so I'm just not use to dealing with them or noticing them)

Sorry for the massive post but hopefully I have been helpful. It's 4:30 AM here so I'm off to bed now :) 
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July 21, 2010 3:24:53 AM

Wow that's great thank-you, the link for the motherboard doesn't work. I will make these changes now, thanks.
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July 21, 2010 3:28:23 AM

Might want to rethink your graphics card as well! The GTX480 is OVERKILL for 1680X1050 considering the ATI 5770 is more than enough. This system is way overkill for your monitor. I AM NOT a gamer, but even I know that this system is overkill. Might want to wait till you get more responses before you buy.
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July 21, 2010 3:30:45 AM

Well I do plan to upgrade to a larger monitor some time soon. Yeah i will.
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Anonymous
July 21, 2010 3:32:24 AM

It would be impossible to get a system that wasn't, at least in some way, overkill for $3000 CAD. Motherboard link'll be fixed in a sec but I really must go to bed :) 
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July 21, 2010 3:34:13 AM

Look at Tom's graphics guides. You will see even at 1920X1080, they don't even recommend the GTX480 at all. Unless you plan on going to a 30" 2560X1600, might want to do some more research. Just trying to help you save some money.
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July 21, 2010 3:39:07 AM

The current point in favor of a high-end AMD build is that AMD has indicated that they plan to release a new processor (Bulldozer) for the AM3 socket next year. All of Intel's current line-up is scheduled to be replaced within the next year (both socket 1156 & 1366).

That being said, for gaming, you really really really don't need the i7-960, the i7-930 is fine for gaming. Very few games these days are CPU-limited. 12 GB RAM is also unnecessary for gaming, and Dominators cost a lot more than other kits with nearly the same specs. I should point out that most people report that the Noctua NH-D14 blocks at least one RAM slot if you're using RAM with tall heat spreaders, so you'd have trouble getting 12 GB of those Dominators in most motherboards anyway.

I've found that sound cards are unnecessary these days, unless you're an extreme audiophile. Generally I'd recommend building without, and then if you find you're not pleased with the sound, add a sound card after the fact. That PSU is unlikely to power 2x 480 if you plan to SLI in the future, but otherwise, it's an excellent choice. Check out www.slizone.com for recommended PSUs. Lastly, Blu-ray writers aren't really needed by most people right now...do you intend to do be burning info where a Blu-ray reader & regular DVD burner just won't suffice?

At your budget, I think that you probably should go for an SSD + HDD setup. It's hard to explain the difference it makes in day-to-day usage, but it's well worth it if you have the money available.

Another thing, at your budget, it seems like you could afford to buy a new monitor. :) 

I do think you're on the right track, however. I'm not going to try to talk you out of nVidia for your graphics solution, but is there a specific reason you've decided to go that route?

Full build below. I'm using newegg.ca, I find it easier to navigate/search than ncix...hope you don't mind.

CPU - i7-930 - $299
Mobo - Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R - $220
RAM - Corsair XMS3 1600 MHz CL7 6 GB kit - $189
HSF - Noctua NH-D14 - $110
GPU - Gigabyte GTX 480 - $474
SSD - Crucial RealSSD C300 128 Gb - $400
HDD - WD Caviar Black 2 TB - $270 - you could go with a Seagate 2 TB for $240, or if you don't really need 2 TB, there are competitive Seagate ($80), Samsung ($80), and WD ($105) 1 TB drives
DVD - Lite On SATA DVD burner - $20
Blu-ray reader - Lite On Blu-ray combo drive - $80 (picked over cheaper straight readers as it's 8x, rather than the 4x readers available between $65-75
PSU - Corsair 950 TX - $170 - could spend more here if you want, this is just the lowest I'd go
Case - HAF X - $205 - I think case choice is very personal, I'll just mention there are obviously cheaper but still good cases available if you want
OS - Win 7 Home Premium 64-bit OEM - $105

Total: $2542 - well under your budget in case you want to get a higher-rated PSU, or if ncix's prices differ wildly.

EDIT: Wow, way slow, apparently.
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July 21, 2010 3:41:10 AM

runswindows95 said:
Look at Tom's graphics guides. You will see even at 1920X1080, they don't even recommend the GTX480 at all. Unless you plan on going to a 30" 2560X1600, might want to do some more research. Just trying to help you save some money.


It completely depends on what games you play and at what settings. You could easily make a number of games choppy by maxing the settings with a single GTX 480 @ 1920x1080. For $3k, you could squeeze in another 480 and max any game you wanted to. It would also future-proof yourself, in case you upgraded monitors or decided on multiple monitors.

I would also recommend an SSD at that price point.
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July 21, 2010 4:26:58 AM

coldsleep said:

12 GB RAM is also unnecessary for gaming, and Dominators cost a lot more than other kits with nearly the same specs. I should point out that most people report that the Noctua NH-D14 blocks at least one RAM slot if you're using RAM with tall heat spreaders, so you'd have trouble getting 12 GB of those Dominators in most motherboards anyway.

Lastly, Blu-ray writers aren't really needed by most people right now...do you intend to do be burning info where a Blu-ray reader & regular DVD burner just won't suffice?

Another thing, at your budget, it seems like you could afford to buy a new monitor. :) 

I do think you're on the right track, however. I'm not going to try to talk you out of nVidia for your graphics solution, but is there a specific reason you've decided to go that route


Alright looks like then I probably won't need 12 gigs of ram so Noctua NH-D14 should be ok then. Hold on now I think I've confused my self, I don't plan to do very much burning or anything. Since I do most of my watching at a computer I would add a blu-ray drive. That is what is can do right?

Looks like I will be going with a SDD + HDD then. I went back and fourth between the 470 and 480 for weeks, then just decided that if I'm going to spend that much money, I might as well just go with the 480.

Do you have any recommendations for a good 120hz monitor?
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July 21, 2010 4:36:49 AM

Xen9228 said:
Alright looks like then I probably won't need 12 gigs of ram so Noctua NH-D14 should be ok then. Hold on now I think I've confused my self, I don't plan to do very much burning or anything. Since I do most of my watching at a computer I would add a blu-ray drive. That is what is can do right?

Looks like I will be going with a SDD + HDD then. I went back and fourth between the 470 and 480 for weeks, then just decided that if I'm going to spend that much money, I might as well just go with the 480.

Do you have any recommendations for a good 120hz monitor?


Yeah, I'd just go with a Blu-ray reader or combo (Blu-ray reader + DVD burner) drive if you have no real need to burn Blu-ray discs. You could even do without the $20 DVD burner in my build if you just want the one combo drive.

Honestly, there are so few 120 Hz monitors out there, and monitors are a relatively mature technology, it probably doesn't matter all that much. Just go with a brand you know/trust, and with a monitor that has features that you like. To paraphrase banthracis, it's like going to an office supply store and asking which pencil they recommend.
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July 21, 2010 5:07:55 AM

Xen9228 said:
Would heavily prefer Intel, how could an AMD build be better?


The only reason a gamer (as i suppose you are) would need an X58 setup is when he/she is planning for a multi GPU setup straight away (SLI mostly) which is not the case with you supposedly.. The AMD point out was purely on the fact that you could get more for your money.. But it looks like you've all the components sorted out (and it surely looks impressive).. So all the best.. Enjoy your rig..
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July 21, 2010 10:21:33 AM

For the Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R does ddr3 1600 work with it. Under the specs it doesn't say that it does. I've read some review for it and they say it does, but I just want to be sure.
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July 21, 2010 1:06:29 PM

1600 speeds arent in spec for any mobo as per intels cpu spec. anything above 1333 is considered overclocking. long story short, itll work.

ide be concerned with the cpu cooler you picked. is the $110 monster gonna block ram slots/ heat spreaders? does it cool that much better than a CM hyper 212+? i use the hyper on a 920 @ 1.4v / 3.9 ghz. changing that could save you 80 hot ones.($).
further, a i7 920 can be clocked into a 930, for another savings, around $50. hell, it can be clocked into a 960 and not miss a beat preformance wise.
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July 21, 2010 1:21:55 PM

coldsleep said:
To paraphrase banthracis, it's like going to an office supply store and asking which pencil they recommend.


Now that's one I've got to remember. But I heard that the first generation 120hz screens aren't good. As in syncmasters and viewsonics. Meaning the only ones left are acers and asus. I heard the asus is the best.

First of all forget amd. all i7 CPUs make minced meat out of all AMD CPUs in gaming.

Second of all 920s, 930s and 960s are not the same CPUs with a different clock speed. The higher the number the higher they are binned meaning the higher the better. IMO anything above a 930 with the exeption of a 980 in some cases isn't worth it. So i'd go with a 930.
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July 21, 2010 5:12:19 PM

Somebody_007 said:
First of all forget amd. all i7 CPUs make minced meat out of all AMD CPUs in gaming.


Except that at any reasonable resolution, the processor doesn't really matter. Almost all modern games are GPU-bound, not CPU-bound.

Note that I'm not suggesting that he go with AMD, I was just pointing out the primary reason to do so right now. The i7-930 is a great chip, but the fact remains that if you want to upgrade in the near future to a new chip, AMD is the only game in town, as far as all the info suggests.

Reasons not to go with AMD: SLI support is lacking/sketchy, i7s have hyperthreading (though it doesn't matter for gaming), Intel processors are currently better at more high-end/demanding tasks.
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July 21, 2010 6:39:34 PM

guavasauce said:
1600 speeds arent in spec for any mobo as per intels cpu spec. anything above 1333 is considered overclocking. long story short, itll work.

ide be concerned with the cpu cooler you picked. is the $110 monster gonna block ram slots/ heat spreaders? does it cool that much better than a CM hyper 212+? i use the hyper on a 920 @ 1.4v / 3.9 ghz. changing that could save you 80 hot ones.($).
further, a i7 920 can be clocked into a 930, for another savings, around $50. hell, it can be clocked into a 960 and not miss a beat preformance wise.


Acutally, on newegg a 930 is CHEAPER than a 920, plus it's a guaranteed D0, and it was binned a little better.
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July 21, 2010 7:03:39 PM

Yeah I know that AMD is powerful enough now but it's the future which is important this I'm in favor of a powerful quad core.

and btw I wasn't saying you said amd was better it was just a general statement for the thread.

And yeah AMD offers a better upgrade path, but IMO when it's time to replace a 930 it's better to replace the mobo aswell.
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July 27, 2010 1:15:08 PM

Thanks guys for all the help. If at some point in the future I want to buy another 480 would a 1000w psu be enough to power both of them? Never mind found the answer to my question.

Is the Corsair HX1000W a PSU or is their any better one available?


http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=28797&vpn=CMPSU-...

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July 27, 2010 2:06:12 PM

the hx1000w is a psu lol.

and yes it's a good choice.
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July 27, 2010 2:10:26 PM

The Corsair HX 1000 will efficiently power two GTX 480's.. If you could really go one more tier up then the Corsair AX 1200 is the best PSU available currently..
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July 27, 2010 2:38:45 PM

As with what most people said, if you're going to get the noctua heatsink, you might as well go with i7 930 and OC that to ~4 ghz. with that mobo and heatsink you might as well...

also is there any reason for ncix and not newegg.ca (newegg has better prices i think)

anyways i would suggest:

CPU+Mobo: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.437359 [299+230-16 = 513]


PSU:
is fine, corsair 850 is very effecient, id say 1000W is an overkill


GPU:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127510&cm_re=fermi_460-_-14-127-510-_-Product
2x 460's are way better than 480, for less moneys too. read the reviews, many have critiqued at the high end fermi's being VERy hot, just read around. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-460-sli-geforce-gtx-480,2694.html

if you really want ( but i dont think you need) 2x 480, go for it cause you have the budget. just saying if you dont want 2x 480, 2x 460 is the way to go

RAM: is fine

HDD: i think 2 F3's in raid is better and also cheaper! than the wd 2tb black. with the money you save from cpu and graphics, you could also SSD if you like
2 x http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152185

Sound: You dont really need a sound card, general opinion is that onboard audio is more than enough, especially for gaming.
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July 30, 2010 6:21:01 PM

Emperus do I really need 1200W PSU though? What would be a good alternative to the Noctua NH-D14?
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July 30, 2010 6:51:55 PM

Xen9228 said:
Emperus do I really need 1200W PSU though? What would be a good alternative to the Noctua NH-D14?


No you don't.. Especially, when you are not going for a GTX 480 multi GPU setup right away.. But if you are insisted on getting the 1000W model then i'd suggest you to go one step up and get the AX 1200.. To answer your second query, the Noctua cooler is among the best top of the line coolers for an LGA 1366 processor.. You'll be able to unleash your processors entire fury with it.. It'd be difficult and mostly unnecessary to suggest a viable air cooling alternative to it.. May be a good liquid cooling kit will prove better by a little margin..
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July 30, 2010 6:57:02 PM

I would drop the 480 and go with 2, 470's in SLI and buy a new monitor. Also the processor you have listed is WAY WAY overboard unless you plan on assisting NASA ... an i7 860, 870, or 920 is plenty-O'Toole, and perhaps save some money on the 12 gigs of RAM ... do you really need that much?

Also Stay AWAY from SSD's for now until they're ruffle proof..... Go with Velociraptors in RAID 0 and Definately get 1TB [or more] for storage.

Cog
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July 30, 2010 7:04:03 PM

cognitoo said:
I
Also Stay AWAY from SSD's for now until they're ruffle proof..... Go with Velociraptors in RAID 0 and Definately get 1TB [or more] for storage.


SSDs are fine. Velociraptors are a very difficult sell at this point, as they cost nearly as much as SSDs, yet they're slower (at minimum) by a factor of 10. There are some caveats, and they're not for all builds, but the problems with the first generation SSDs have largely been ironed out.

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July 30, 2010 7:20:28 PM

Ok thanks Emperus, now I'm having trouble choosing between two SSD the Crucial RealSSD C300 128GB or the OCZ Vertex 2 Extended Sandforce 120GB which one do you guys recommend?
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July 30, 2010 8:22:02 PM

Xen9228 said:
Ok thanks Emperus, now I'm having trouble choosing between two SSD the Crucial RealSSD C300 128GB or the OCZ Vertex 2 Extended Sandforce 120GB which one do you guys recommend?


They're both good choices. The Vertex 2 offers a little more performance at that size. The C300 is on an amazing sale right now, though.
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