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Build advice on a high end machine

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July 24, 2010 2:56:25 PM

Ladies (if any of you are out there, bless you) and Gentlemen.

I am humbly seeking your feedback, and have three questions as you read the details:

1) Will the memory work, even though it is not listed on the ASUS QVL (qualified vendor list)?

2) ATI/nVidia is not yet decided. Want to spend the minimum in the initial build, but still be able to play all current games at acceptable resolutions and fps, and be able to upgrade in the future.

3) Looking for case recommendations. It just has to fit, not look good. Prefer not to cut myself while building it out.

Any other advice the good people of TH wish to offer will be gladly accepted. Seeking cheaper price or better performance without blowing the budget. Have not found any bundles so far.

Here is the scenario:

Planning a high end build that'll give you a nose bleed if you get too close. Assembling this for a friend that said "my last 5 PCs have all been second tier, and I have always been disappointed" Well, that is going to change!

Here are the parts: Total budget is around $2500, as specified currently, $2389.

CPU Core i7 980X for $1,000

Motherboard ASUS Rampage III Extreme for $390

GPU: Gigabyte ATI 5850 $280 after rebate. Leaning towards ATI but could be talked out of it for the right price. Want to go mid-tier here, and leave room for upgrade later.

RAM: Patriot DDR3 2000 $206
Have a question about compatibility, since this model number is not in the ASUS QVL (qualified vendor list).

Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 - Ugly Betty for a mere $93

Storage: WD 64 Gb SSD, already purchased for $120 at New Egg deal of the day. HDD will pull from previous system.

PSU: Corsair 850 W Already purchased for $110

Case Full tower preferred (may need it to fit the Noctua) Looking for plain box, no bling, no windows (except the OS, unfortunately). $140? Found this XCLIO Windtunnel for $90. Interested if there is another case out there that is better within $50 more, including shipping.

OS: Windows for $100

Just for the record, here is the paperwork:

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Completed over next 4 to 6 weeks

BUDGET RANGE: about $2,500, After Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Best performance possible, gaming, bragging rights, longevity

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Hard Drive, SSD, keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, PSU

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Local Micro Center or Frys, provided the price plus tax beats the on-line option plus shipping. For online: newegg.com or other 5 star rated vendor if parts are cheaper. Watching for sales of desired components.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: United States

PARTS PREFERENCES: Asus motherboard (since last 5 builds have been Asus), everything else needs to overclock.

OVERCLOCKING: Absolutely

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes, nVidia or ATI is not totally decided.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080

Thank you in advance for your participation.
July 24, 2010 2:59:37 PM

is this build for gaming?

if so, drop the i7-980X and get the i7-930, take the $700 saved and the $280 from the GPU and get 2 5870's (this will also lower the price of the build by about $180-200)
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July 24, 2010 3:16:22 PM

Thank you for your response. My friend wants to become an enthusiast, and has requested the fastest machine possible within his budget. Here is the assumption from above: Best performance possible, gaming, bragging rights, longevity.
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July 24, 2010 3:17:58 PM

As asked, advice is limited when we don't know what your friend wants it for. I'm going to operate under the assumption that it's a gaming rig.

As the above user said, a 930 would be much better suited for a gamer. Quad-cores have yet to fully come into their own in gaming integration, so don't worry about futureproofing; hex-cores are really only useful if you're building a folding machine, which I'm, again, assuming you're not.

The 5850 is easily beaten by the 5870 for a single card, and a 5970 beats both of these. Bear in mind that a 5970 is TWO 5870s on a single unit, although it does perform weaker than crossfired 5870s. Of course, you can then crossfire the 5970 later for ridiculous performance. But its crossfire scales badly, iirc, so it's probably not worth $1400.

I don't think that this is a gaming machine, though, as your 'meh' (at least as high-end GPUs go) choice of card suggests otherwise. If you want a gaming rig, you MUST have a good card; frankly, my suggestion would be the same as the above poster; ditch the hex, get a 930, and dualfire 5870s. You (or your friend) can upgrade to tri and then quadfire if the scaling is ever improved/future games can make use of multiple GPUs in parallel.

EDIT: Okay, you replied while I was posting. Hex cores are pointless for gaming -- some would argue quads are themselves too much. If your friend wants a gaming rig, you can NOT skimp on graphics card -- go for the dual 5870s.
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July 24, 2010 3:23:15 PM

and i would drop the WD SSD, not the best considering you could take the money saved from the i7 drop to grab the OCZ Vertex 2 OCZSSD2-2VTXE60G 2.5" 60GB

just don't forget to tell him to OC the i7 to 3.8+ GHz, that IMO has more bragging rights then spending $1000 on a cpu for the same gaming performace
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July 24, 2010 3:26:12 PM

mindless728 said:
and i would drop the WD SSD, not the best considering you could take the money saved from the i7 drop to grab the OCZ Vertex 2 OCZSSD2-2VTXE60G 2.5" 60GB

just don't forget to tell him to OC the i7 to 3.8+ GHz, that IMO has more bragging rights then spending $1000 on a cpu for the same gaming performace


Yes, this.

With the money you save in cutting down from hex-core, you can get a crap-ton of extraneous cooling equipment and, of course, liquid cooling.
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July 24, 2010 3:39:59 PM

wannaturnuptheheat said:
Yes, this.

With the money you save in cutting down from hex-core, you can get a crap-ton of extraneous cooling equipment and, of course, liquid cooling.


you didn't notice, he already had the Noctua NH-D14, that itself is plenty
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July 24, 2010 3:40:46 PM

i suggest for the case. maybe a haff X.
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July 24, 2010 3:48:42 PM

Thank you all for you contributions. Just to clarify: this machine is going to be used first and foremost for overclocking. Initially on air, with liquid, DICE or ln2 as possible upgrades. Think HWBOT. Gaming is only secondary, and he already talked me out of an i5 750 and an i7 930.
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July 24, 2010 3:53:00 PM

eloric said:
Thank you all for you contributions. Just to clarify: this machine is going to be used first and foremost for overclocking. Initially on air, with liquid, DICE or ln2 as possible upgrades. Think HWBOT. Gaming is only secondary, and he already talked me out of an i5 750 and an i7 930.


Ah... literally, just overclocking (I looked up HWBOT, unfamiliar with it)...

My experience ends at practicality...

Anyways, I still say swap out the 5850 for a 5870, even a single one, as a single one of these can handle even the most intensive games at good resolutions/detail levels; your friend will thank you for not skimping on gaming performance when he gets bored of playing supercomputer.
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Best solution

July 24, 2010 4:00:32 PM

eloric said:
Thank you all for you contributions. Just to clarify: this machine is going to be used first and foremost for overclocking. Initially on air, with liquid, DICE or ln2 as possible upgrades. Think HWBOT. Gaming is only secondary, and he already talked me out of an i5 750 and an i7 930.


well for that you pretty much have to get the 980x just for the unlocked multiplier (as i don't see getting the base clock up real high for the LN2 runs)

though i agree, get the 5870, for a budget this size an extra $100 is nothing (especially considering he is going to burn through components when doing the LN2 runs)
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July 24, 2010 5:42:13 PM

Thanks for the GPU advice. 5870 it is.
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July 26, 2010 4:26:37 PM

Best answer selected by eloric.
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July 26, 2010 4:28:09 PM

Appreciate all the advice mindless gave here. He read all the notes that I posted, and gave fair consideration to my respones. Obviously his handle is an oxymoron.
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July 26, 2010 4:43:16 PM

glad i could help, and i have heard that about my handle before
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