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Zotac Amp! GTX 480 in SLI - Gaming Rig... $4000 (help)

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July 30, 2010 6:06:07 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: ASAP

BUDGET RANGE: $4000-ish... I will pay for the best performance.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: I really need everything except 3d monitor and glasses - they are already on the way.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg.com, Amazon.com

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: by brand or type (e.g.: I would like to use an AMD CPU & Biostar mobo with a 24" LCD and full tower case)

OVERCLOCKING: Yes

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080 (3d)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I've decided that water cooling doesn't seem fun - so air only, thus the GPU's. I want 2x480 SLI with future upgrade options to 3-SLI... as I'm hoping display technology for 3d surround will mature.

Concerns about the Zotac 480's and their size. Want to make sure to have appropriate sized MoBo to use these in best SLI formation. Haven't had a lot of luck Google-ing this information.

I also read some concerns about the case/mobo I've chosen making it a tough fit for a cpu cooler. Case is listed as certified for the UD9, however... but I'm not married to it (or the MoBo, as described above).

Open to SSD.




This is what I have so far - please advise and/or add additional parts.


CPU - Intel Core i7-980X Extreme Edition Gulftown 3.33GHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MoBo - GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD9
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

($1480 combo)

GPU - 2 x ZOTAC AMP! ZT-40102-10P GeForce GTX 480
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

($1020)

CPU Cooler - Noctua NH-D14 120mm & 140mm SSO CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

($90)

HDD - 2 x Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

($170 promo)

Case - LIAN LI PC-P80 Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU - SPARKLE COMPUTER CORP Gold Class GW-EPS1250DA 1250W ATX12V / EPS12V 80 PLUS GOLD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

($500 combo)

Keyboard - RAZER Lycosa Black USB Wired Game Keyboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mouse - RAZER DeathAdder Precision Optical Gaming Mouse - 3.5G Infrared Sensor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

($120 combo)

OS - Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

($90 in combo with GPU's)

DVD - ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

($24)


Total = $3560-ish w/shipping


Thanks for any help!
July 30, 2010 6:37:20 AM

Pretty good build man congrats. But I'd save some money and go for 3d surround. For example a 930 is ample power and a Rampage III extreme is all the mobo you'll ever need.
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July 30, 2010 9:47:34 AM

Not saying u didn't research well enuff :

No respectable reviewer has stated Fermi GTX 470/480 a better buy than HD 5850/5870 and GTX 480 consumes more power than Hemlock HD 5970 FYI....
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July 30, 2010 10:13:12 AM

true but nonetheless 480s offer the best upgrade path of any card. 3-way 480s make minced meat of dual 5970. And with the ud9 there's the option of even going 4-way.

single 470/480 isn't bang for buck by any means but the sli scaling pushes them in the lead once you start adding more. 470 sli for example is on par with 5870 CF. 470 sli is cheaper, hotter, more feature rich and less effiecient.

IMO when you're going with a 4-way capable 64lane mobo 5970s are out of the question. 5870s scale badly and 5850s are relativly underkill. Thus nvidia seems a better option.

Besides ati doesn't support the already purchased 3d vision.
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July 30, 2010 10:39:34 AM

Am not suggesting he go Hemlock CF just highlighting noise at load/temps issue @@
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July 30, 2010 10:42:41 AM

aaah ok then nevermind.

I thought a 5970 was louder than a 480?

It is hot(it can handle higher temps than a 5970 though) and very very inefficient though as batuchka said.
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July 30, 2010 1:35:07 PM

If you have a $4000 budget why wouldn't you add an ssd?

You made a nice choice on the PSU, that machine is gonna need some mad power. The mobo you chose is definitely overkill but it is nice. If you want to drop the price a little the evga board combo with the cpu will also run tri sli fine, granted one slot will be x8 and there won't be any spare pci slots. Is 3 480's really necessary though? How well do three of those beasts scale? I haven't looked at reviews of cards in tri sli lately.

I can honestly say one thing though that build is a gamer's wet dream :D 
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July 30, 2010 1:48:04 PM

One HD 5970 is more than enough for any game out there. You don't game better at 200 fps.
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July 30, 2010 1:48:36 PM

If I might add some insanity here.

Why no evga sr-2 with dual quad xeons. It costs around the same as ud9+980. and will be equivilant to dual 930s(slightly better as xeons are apperently binned higher).

Granted it won't be as good in games as a 980, but in multi threaded apps it would win. If you don't use those then nevermind.
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July 30, 2010 3:03:26 PM

Is GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 480 (Fermi) GV-N480D5-15I-B Video Card as good as the Zotac? It's about $50 cheaper.
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July 30, 2010 3:12:02 PM

I'd agree that not adding an SSD to this build would be criminal.

I'd go with one of the following options:
120 GB Vertex 2 - $430
Crucial C300 256 GB - $580

Or if you want to create an SSD RAID 0 array
Crucial C300 128 GB - Sale price of $265 each = $530
OCZ Vertex 2 60 GB - $175 each = $350, but currently out of stock

Anandtech's SSD Relapse - a good overview of the technology, but a few months old, so the product recommendations are a bit dated.
bit-tech SSD Buyer's Guide - pretty recent, good overview of the various controllers
techreport article on SSD value - recent, includes comparisons vs. traditional HDDs.
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July 30, 2010 4:02:52 PM

My thinking on the Nvidia cards is...

1) I've always had good luck with Nvidia cards and driver support.

2) The SLI scaling seems to be substantially superior to X-Fire.

3) I want this rig to be able to handle 3d surround... so I think SLI w/ physx.. or 3-SLI will give me the experience I want at that level.


My only hesitation on the SSD is that I've heard it really won't add any FPS to my games and the youtube videos showing apps loading a few seconds quicker don't really excite me.

The Xotacs are chosen because they have the attached cooling... but are also larger than normal 480's.. thus my cocern about getting a MoBo with the right slot configuration.

I'm happy to spend less - believe me! I just want to make sure I get the performance I want now and for the 2/3 year future.
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July 30, 2010 4:37:09 PM

typhaon said:

My only hesitation on the SSD is that I've heard it really won't add any FPS to my games and the youtube videos showing apps loading a few seconds quicker don't really excite me.


It doesn't improve ingame fps, true. It will improve level loading/zoning/loading saved games/whatever, though.

I'm just having trouble reconciling buying a 980X and tri/quad SLI with getting standard mechanical hard drives.

There's not a whole lot of gaming benefit to getting the 980X...you would see more of an impact on your day-to-day computing by spending that money on an SSD or another graphics card rather than the 6-core processor. Almost all modern games are GPU-limited, not CPU-limited.
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July 30, 2010 7:13:16 PM

With a GPU upgrade you're paying $100+ more for 10-20% performance improvement.

For top end RAM, you pay $40-$50 more for a 1% performance increase.

Getting a 980x CPU, you're paying $700+ for 30% performance increase.

Getting an SSD (intel X25-M specifically), you're paying $150 more for a 100%-10,000% performance increase, depending on benchmark.

You do the math.

Ps. I wouldn't get a indilux controller SSD though. For a boot drive, it's random read/write that's important. For a storage drive sustained read/write is important.

The new Sandforce controllers are great at both, but very expensive per GB.

Intel controller is great at random read/writes, bad at sustained write.

Indilux is great at sustained read/write, sucks at random read/write.

Therefor, for a boot drive, go Intel or sandforce. So OCZ vertex 2, agility 2, vertex LE, or Intel X25-M.
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July 30, 2010 8:36:54 PM

If you bought a $4000 gaming PC two years ago, now it would be obsolete and blown out of the water by a much cheaper rig bought now. It's much better to get only what you need and keep upgrading. And as I said, gaming at 50 fps is exactly the same thing as gaming at 200 fps. That's why they don't make movies at 50 fps, the quality is exactly the same.

Two years from now every punk will enjoy his mighty 10 Tflops DX12 video card on PCIe 3.0, his 8-core 4GHz 80 watt CPU and his DDR4 (at a half of your budget) while you'll be stuck with a dead socket and a bunch of hot, power hungry, obsolete parts.
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July 30, 2010 8:45:46 PM

don't exagerrate. 2 years ago you could get a system which would still seem pretty good now exept maybe for storage.

cases: no change
mobos: exept for usb3 and sata3 little change
ram: ddr3 was there but no 4gb modules
cpu: you could get a 920 then
gpu: this is a bit outdated
storage: also a bit outdated

But for the most part a 2 year old system would still be very good now.
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July 30, 2010 8:47:39 PM

Somebody_007 said:
don't exagerrate. 2 years ago you could get a system which would still seem pretty good now exept maybe for storage.

cases: no change
mobos: exept for usb3 and sata3 little change
ram: ddr3 was there but no 4gb modules
cpu: you could get a 920 then
gpu: this is a bit outdated
storage: also a bit outdated

But for the most part a 2 year old system would still be very good now.

3*GTX 280s wouldn't be THAT bad.
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August 6, 2010 9:22:57 AM

Just a follow-up note...


2 Zotac Amp! 480 GTX's DO fit in the GA-X58A-UD9... just barely, they cover 6 of the 7 slots combined.

The GSkill Trident 3x2GB Ram also DOES just barely fit with the Noctua HD-D14 cooler over the CPU... had to raise the forward facing fan on the cooler just a bit, but not much. The nearest slot to the cooler, however could not fit one of the "taller" RAM modules

I had read something about fit issues with the GA-X58A-UD9 and the Lian Li PC-P80... seemed fine to me.

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August 7, 2011 2:14:18 AM

OH MY GOD MAN.... you dont know i want to go back in time and tell you WAIT!!!! IF YOU HAD WAITED you will have gotten a 15 - 20% faster system for a lot less.... NO ONE CAN DO ANYTHING NOW....
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August 7, 2011 2:18:35 AM

lolnecro
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!