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Plz Advise: ~$4000 Gaming Build

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July 21, 2010 8:03:19 PM

Hi Tom's Hardware!
This is the first computer I've ever built, and I've decided to make it a water cooled powerhouse (at least in my own humble judgment). Anyways I know that to do so is to court disaster, and so I'm asking around to see if anyone has any advice or comments regarding the components I've selected. Thanks for your help!


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APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This week

BUDGET RANGE: 3500 - 4000 (before monitor)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming!!!

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS, soundcard

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, ncix.com, Mountain Mods

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada

PARTS PREFERENCES: listed below

OVERCLOCKING: Yes!

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yup

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 2650x1600

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Here are the parts I have in mind:

Asus P6X58D (-e or premium, but probably e; far as I can tell they're the same board except for a second ethernet controller and "intel turbo boost" on the premium)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131614

i7 930 2.8 GHz (I plan to overclock this significantly, probably up to about 4 GHz)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115225

2x EVGA GTX 480 Hydro Copper FTW in SLI
http://www.evga.com/products/moreInfo.asp?pn=015-P3-1489-AR&family=GeForce%20400%20Series%20Family

Corsair Dominator 6GB (eventually 12GB)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145224&cm_re=corsair_dominator-_-20-145-224-_-Product

4x Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB drive (in raid 10 or maybe just raid 0)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152185

Plextor Black 8x BD rom
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827249055

Antec TPQ-1200 1200W psu
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Cooling:
2x Swiftech MCP 655 pumps
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835108082

Swiftech Apogee XT LGA1366 Cpu water block
http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=45229&vpn=APOGEE%20XT...

2x Black Ice GTX 360 radiators
http://www.mountainmods.com/black-ice-gtx-360-p-576.html

12x Scythe S-Flex SFF21F 120mm Case Fans (6 for rads, and probably a few more to add airflow to the case- wouldn't mind some advice on this either)
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835185006

All of this will go in a Mountain Mods u2-ufo case:
http://www.mountainmods.com/CYO_picker.php


My biggest concern is that the psu, jacked as it is, may not meet my specific power needs (is the amperage sufficient?). Also, someone on the overclock.net forums had bad things to say about the GTX 480 hydro copper FTW. Advice about those two things would be most valued, but comments about anything involved are more than welcome. Drop some knowledge on me please and thank you!
Anonymous
July 21, 2010 8:12:46 PM

Most of that looks good, but I personally wouldn't get a Blu-Ray drive (if you really want/need it then fine) and I would get a 128GB SSD plus a 2TB hard drive. That way you can put Windows and frequently used programs/files on the SSD to improve speed (about 3x) and dump the rest of your stuff on the HDD. I would get this motherboard as it is cheaper, supports higher RAM speeds and USB 3.0 and SATA 6GB/s. I would also get this RAM as I can't see any major differences and it is much cheaper. The PSU will be enough but I can't help you on the water cooling as I don't know anything about it :( 
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July 21, 2010 8:31:02 PM

+1

exept for the ram. OCZ has a very bad reputation of selling things that aren't as good as they should be. Corsair is the opposite. And for 60bucks more you can buy a waterblock for dominators giving you quite some OC headroom. Which is the point of this build right?

exept I'd get the ga x58a ud7 as motherboard. It's a very good board and has a built in waterblock which is a cool feature and saves you a 100dollars if you want to go watercooling on your mobo which isn't extremely useful but hey neither is a 4k build.

BTW why a mountanmods? a tj07 can house everything you listed while actually looking like a computer. ;) 

Also you pay a lot of money for those 480s. are you sure those are good waterblocks? I myself don't have a clue but I'd suspect EKs or Swifttech's waterblocks to be better.
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July 21, 2010 8:35:03 PM

Anonymous said:
Most of that looks good, but I personally wouldn't get a Blu-Ray drive (if you really want/need it then fine) and I would get a 128GB SSD plus a 2TB hard drive. That way you can put Windows and frequently used programs/files on the SSD to improve speed (about 3x) and dump the rest of your stuff on the HDD. I would get this motherboard as it is cheaper, supports higher RAM speeds and USB 3.0 and SATA 6GB/s. I would also get this RAM as I can't see any major differences and it is much cheaper. The PSU will be enough but I can't help you on the water cooling as I don't know anything about it :( 

You make a good point about RAM speeds, but other than that, they're extremely similar boards. Newegg has a deal on right now where the asus board comes with the processor I want at a $35 discount, which basically nullifies the price difference. What tips me in favor of the asus board is that it received considerably better reviews on newegg (70% 5 star vs. 55% 5 star) which I take to reflect a difference in quality and reliability. Also, I've found a pretty comprehensive source describing the settings for overclocking my i7930 up to 4.0 ghz with the asus board. As a newb, that's a plus.
Your idea about an SSD is definitely worth considering, and I'll have to think about how much I value bluray playback. My concern about SSD's is longevity right now, I understand that they wear out pretty quickly. But I have to admit, insta-booting into windows would really make my day.
Thanks for your thoughts and advice! I really appreciate them.
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Best solution

July 21, 2010 8:45:01 PM

You shouldn't really look at specified ram speeds of the mobo. Both boards will handle the speeds you throw at it. Whatever they say they are specified to do.

Don't trust newegg ratings to much. Most mobo problems which cause the bad ratings are due to the lack of skill of the builder not the quality of the mobo. Read proffesional reviews it's much more reliable ;) 

and btw ssd booting is far from instant here's a good indicator of ssd improvements

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

as for the psu I'd get this one
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

it's fully modular so you can buy the correct length individually sleeved cables for perfect cable management. It's also very good and powerfull enough :D 
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July 21, 2010 8:46:46 PM

Somebody_007 said:
+1

exept for the ram. OCZ has a very bad reputation of selling things that aren't as good as they should be. Corsair is the opposite. And for 60bucks more you can buy a waterblock for dominators giving you quite some OC headroom. Which is the point of this build right?

exept I'd get the ga x58a ud7 as motherboard. It's a very good board and has a built in waterblock which is a cool feature and saves you a 100dollars if you want to go watercooling on your mobo which isn't extremely useful but hey neither is a 4k build.

BTW why a mountanmods? a tj07 can house everything you listed while actually looking like a computer. ;) 

Also you pay a lot of money for those 480s. are you sure those are good waterblocks? I myself don't have a clue but I'd suspect EKs or Swifttech's waterblocks to be better.


I recall looking at the ud7 and ultimately deciding I preferred the P6x58D, but I'll be darned if I can remember why. I'll have to compare them again.
As for the case- are you really sure that I can fit two 120x3 radiators and two pumps into a tj07? You could be right, as I don't have the best sense of the scale of these things, having never built a box before, but from what I've seen the only way to get two radiators that size into an atx full tower of any kind is with some serious modding and sacrificing of hard drive bays. I like that the mountain mods case is huge and ridiculous, I can tell all my friends that my computer is really the weighted companion cube ;) 
But seriously, the extra space seems like a boon to a first time builder without any cable management or planning experience, and I don't care too much what the thing looks like.
As for the water blocks on the hydro coppers, my understanding is that they actually are swiftech water blocks; that's what EVGA is saying anyways. You pay a little extra to have the blocks put on by EVGA, but then you don't have to worry about voiding your warranty just to get the blocks on.

Thanks for your advice, I appreciate the vindication of my RAM choice, and I'll definitely look into the ud7 again. Cheers!
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Anonymous
July 21, 2010 8:47:23 PM

I'm not sure exactly how long SSDs are supposed to last but I think by people saying shorter lives they might mean 5 years or so (I've had 12 year old hard drives). That's fair enough about the Asus board, I have heard good things about it overclocking but I'm not sure about the Gigabyte so by all means go with it.
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July 21, 2010 9:03:51 PM

I prefer the ud7 due to the waterblock. And toms isn't a fan of the board either they prefer the RIIIE.

SSDs used to have a problem whioch made them go slower when they aged. This is solved with win7 though.

And as for the tj07. I'm sorry I was wrong you can't fit in 2 triple rads. You can fit in 1 tripple-quad next to the psu at the sacrafice of the HDD cage(who needs that anyways?). One dual rad above the mobo and I presume 1 dual rad in front of the psu. One tripple and one dual will be adequate though.
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July 21, 2010 9:04:51 PM

ares1214 said:
i highly recommend you go with this motherboard:

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

it is pretty much the best 1366 mobo out there.


What is it about the xpower that would lead you to reccomend it over the asus board? It does look good, but I'm at the point where I have to see a concrete advantage in order to change the components I've mentally invested myself in :) 

I'm going to keep investigating though. "Military Grade Components"? that sounds hella good.
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July 21, 2010 9:09:39 PM

want proof?

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/rampage-iii-extreme...

now, feel free to look over the entire article, however i assure you, if a mobo wins in performance, its by less than 1%. Thats the only page that actually shows differences. btw, the asus board it is being tested against is actually better than the one you linked.
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July 21, 2010 9:29:18 PM

ares1214 said:
want proof?

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/rampage-iii-extreme...

now, feel free to look over the entire article, however i assure you, if a mobo wins in performance, its by less than 1%. Thats the only page that actually shows differences. btw, the asus board it is being tested against is actually better than the one you linked.

Yeah, I looked at that and I've been checking other reviews. It looks like an impressive board and I'm pretty much sold. My only concern is that, again, I'm a total newb. I've never built a system, let alone overclocked one before. The P6x58d is tried and tested to the point where I can find detailed specs for overclocking my cpu on it to several stable clock speeds. The xpower is gonna mean more guesswork for me I imagine, and at a $100 price increase. I'll have to think this one over, but thanks again for your helpful advice.
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July 21, 2010 9:30:57 PM

The performance difference is neglectable and the temp difference aswell since I'm advising to go watercooled. And also those temps are only the vrm temps the bridge temps are most likely better on the other boards because they have much larger heatsinks especially the ud7 and ud9. It is however suprisingly efficient.

So my conclusion is: the big bang has amazing voltage regulators and doesn't support 3-way sli(properly at least). For the rest their's nothing that really sets it apart IMO

Thus I would go with the ud7 due to the built in waterblock and 3-way capability.
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July 21, 2010 9:34:48 PM

if he plans on doing 3 way cards (which i dont) then maybe, but overall, its by far the best. and to OP, i have a MSI board currently, their bios is about as easy as they get, yet also extremely complex when you want to be. MSI makes the best bios IMO, but Asus is probably tied. im not a fan of gigabyte.
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July 22, 2010 8:10:43 AM

we know you like msi and not gigabyte but unless you find something concrete to prove msi is better exept better voltage regulators and subjective opinions I don't see how it's a better board.
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July 22, 2010 12:18:17 PM

did you not just see the link? performance difference should be and were negligible, and yet the MSI proved to be much more efficient, cool, and used less power. if he does tri-sli, maybe another board, but anything thats not 3 cards or above, MSI is the best board for 1366. it even costs quite a bit less, 70 or 80 bucks.
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July 22, 2010 12:18:59 PM

thats like me saying "besides the hyperthreading and architecture of the i7, i dont see why its a good cpu" :lol: 
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July 22, 2010 4:07:35 PM

well so my conclusion holds ground it's got good voltage regulators, but that'where it ends.

What I don't like about it is that it doesn't have heatpipes connecting each heatsink. Meaning mounting a waterblock is made difficult if not impossible. Whereas the 30dollar more expensive ud7 has much better cooling, a built-in waterblock and many LEDs.
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July 22, 2010 4:10:38 PM

ok, many LEDs doesnt really count. it actually has extremely good heatpipes. if it has such bad cooling, funny how it keep everything the coolest.
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July 22, 2010 5:11:24 PM

LEDs are important. That way you know immediatly when you've got high temps or high voltages. And we know MSI put some amazing voltage regulators in that board which explains the low VRM temps. But not "EVERYTHING"is the coolest only the VRMs. Looking at the lack of heatpipes and the rather small heatsinks it's realtively obvious that the other boards keep the bridges cooler.
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July 22, 2010 5:22:08 PM

do you have proof of that? size doesnt always matter ya know :lol: 
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July 22, 2010 5:33:07 PM

lol are you sure? :p  Neh It's hard to find bridge temp comparisons sadly :s
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July 22, 2010 6:08:45 PM

haha, well ive heard that since they are either very thick or made of very high quality parts, they are actually very good.
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July 29, 2010 12:29:24 AM

Best answer selected by DrHellno.
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