Im going to cut to the chase, I am about to build my very first system. My budget is 1000-1200$. Im looking to build a future proof system that will be reliable and not break down in 2 months. I play lots of games.
Now i have been really lingering over my motherboard and processor. With my budget, i have really been considering building my system around an i7 processor, since its high end i can be sure that i will be getting good performance and compatibility for years to come. I have been looking all over the internet, mostly new egg, and i cant seem to find a motherboard that is reliable for the i7.
The best rated MBs on newegg for i7 1366 x58 do not have nearly enough ratings for me to consider them reliable, after reading the feedback im worried about dropping about 250-300 for a board that might break down in a short amount of time, or have the worry of the board having problems from the get go. Which makes me turn my attention to the i5, and i5 boards, seeing that they have been circulating for like 2 years i might be able to have peace of mind when ordering them.
So for a newbie, should i follow through on attempting an i7 build? Or should i go with the i5?
Has anyone built a i7 system that can school me on a board to get?
What advice can anyone give me for my newbieness?
You should definitely not go i7. Now that Sandy Bridge i5s are around, it's a complete waste of money. An overclocked 2500k is as high as you'll need; the difference between it and a 990x is tiny and practically useless (for gaming). For a motherboard, go by features and reviews instead of tiny differences in performance. You'll want P67 express to maximize a k-series. With both motherboard and cpu, past a certain price point it would be better to throw the money other places, like a solid psu and a beastly gpu.
This is a quite large budget; have you considered SLI/Crossfire?
LGA 1155 (Sandy Bridge) is the route most of us will suggest you here.. However, with the inherent chipset issues and many folks experiencing problems, I won't force on it (more since you are worried about breakdowns).. What is the primary work you are going to use the PC for..?
The primary work ill be doing will probably be playing games at high performance, and because of that, yes i have considered SLI and Crossfire. But im not that well read on either.
My purchase decision for SLI and Crossfire is based only on me understanding that a MB is built "ready" for either. Along with a PSU being ready and certified for SLI and Crossfire and the number of PCIe slots available because (correct me if im wrong) SLI and Crossfire will require multiple GPUs. I expect to learn more about SLI and Crossfire once i have my hands on a system that can support them.
Also i have heard terms used like 3-way SLI, or True SLI. But i really cant tell you what they mean. Like i said, im new, so any advice or schooling anyone can give me will be greatly, greatly appreciated.
I should mention, that a PC that can support SLI and Crossfire will probably be essential in my purchase. That being said, im sure everyone can see why i would want a high end system, not only for my personal preference as far as performance and reliability, but also so i can educate myself further by actually applying certain platforms and concepts.
Without a high end system i cant expect myself to learn as much as i can. I need to be able to apply what i learn, and even if i cant afford 4 Gpus at the moment, i would like to have the possibility of implementing stuff like Crossfire and SLI in the future without having to purchase a new MB or somthing like that.
Well the first thing you should about multiple GPU system is that going above two cards is utter waste of money.. Not only the price to performance drops considerably there but there is also increase in power needs and heat generation.. A max two card setup is ideal and plenty considering the potential of todays cards.. One can argue that games will become complex with time requiring more graphics horsepower but so will the cards get better.. Performance given by a Couple of powerful cards used together about three years ago is being bested by a single card nowadays..
Getting back to the original query, if you need both SLI and Crossfire potential in one system then you have Intel as your only option currently.. For your needs and budget, a Z68 setup will be good.. For the CPU i'll recommend the core i5 2500k..
Well consider running a top end single graphics card to start with so you have the option to upgrade later when you need some more juice. Like the others said the i5 2500k is the gamers choice right now, depending on your purchase date you might want to go with a z68 motherboard. The z68 is the newer chipset and is still coming to market, so the current selection is limited. If your purchasing in the near future the p67 might be the way to go since the new features of the z68 don't benefit a gamer anyways.
When trying to see how many GPU's a M/B can run look at how many pci-e x16 slots it has and what bandwidth they run at when more than one slot is populated. Stay away from (x16,x4) M/B's since they are not crossfire friendly for just two GPU's you will want (x8,x8) when two slots are populated.
A good single GPU to start with would be an OC gtx 560 ti or an HD 6950, or anything above these.
Alright, here is just my two cents if you want to future proof your system. I've been researching this stuff for the last 3 months for my own build, which was about $1k, so I understand what you might be looking for. Here are my recommendations for you.
CPU: Core i5-2500K
The only difference between the new Sandy Bridge i7's and the i5's is that the i7's have hyperthreading enabled that the i5's do not. Hyperthreading only helps you out if you're running multi-threaded applications. Even with hyperthreading though it's not that huge of a performance booster. For $100 less you can get essentially the same processor.
Mobo: ASUS P8Z68-V Pro
I just picked up this mobo for myself. It's brand spankin' new as of last week and it has received high praise for what it can accomplish. With the new Z68 chipset, with the combination of a discrete graphics card and LucidLogix's Virtu program you can enable Intel's Quick Sync video from your processor. What this enables is video encoding times which are between ~2-3 times faster then a discrete graphics card encoder like NVIDIA's CUDA. If you plan on doing any video editing, I would highly recommend the Z68 over the P67 anyday. Also I can't forget the excellent UEFI BIOS. ASUS has outdone themselves with this one. A fully skinned mouse-driven BIOS that even the noobiest of computer geeks can figure out how to use. One of the best in the business if you know what I mean.
GPU: Any NVIDIA 560 GTX Ti
I also purchased this card for my build. I didn't want to get a 470 or 480 because those cards are generally longer and might not fit in your case if it's a mid-tower or below. They are also priced much higher then the 560 GTX Ti. Personally the one I picked was the MSI Twin Frozr II, which has dual fans for extra cooling efficiency. It also has an overclocking utility which can allow you to push it almost to 1GHz, which is almost unheard of for a 560 GTX Ti. Oh, not that it matters, but you can probably play Crysis on this on max with it's stock settings, if not with a little overclocking help.
SLI or Crossfire: Up to you
I've read multiple reviews that shows that SLI may slightly beat Crossfire overall, but they're almost about the same depending on what cards you use. If you happen to get the 560 GTX Ti, you might not even have to SLI it, unless you have some super awesome game that you want to play that has insanely high specs.
Power Supply: 750-1000 watts
Not touched on a lot is what power supply you should get for a system. This should mainly depend on what graphics cards you're using. If you go with a single 560 GTX Ti, 750 watts should be plenty. If you SLI it, you may need anywhere from 850 to 1000 watts depending on what other components you have. I recommend Corsair, Antec, or Seasonic for your power supply. A popular model is the Corsair 750TXV2, a relatively new yet excellent PSU priced at just a tad bit over $100.
If you want me to write you a novel about the other parts you should consider, just let me know.