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Please Review My ~$3000 Gaming Rig

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August 21, 2010 9:17:29 PM

Please review and comment/advise on: Compatibility of components, potential performance bottlenecks, future-proof/ease-of-upgrade. Thanks in advance so much!:

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: this week
BUDGET RANGE: ~$3000
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, HD movies, Music/video/podcast streaming
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, speakers
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg.com
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: US
PARTS PREFERENCES:
OVERCLOCKING: Maybe
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe
MONITOR RESOLUTION: currently 21" 1680x1050, but considering upgrade to either 30" or largest 3D-ready (23"?) if it's worth it. (is 3D worth it yet? Or regular larger 30" better?)
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: See components under consideration below:

Antec Twelve Hundred Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-OR-
Antec P183 Black Aluminum / Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-OR-
ASRock X58 Extreme 3 LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...

Intel Core i7-960 Bloomfield 3.2GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80601960
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...

XIGMATEK Intel Core i7 compatible Dark Knight-S1283V REV.W with ACK-I5361 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler I7 i5 775 AMD compatible
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

XIGMATEK ACK-I5361 Intel Core i7/Core i5 compatible Bracket Set
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...

CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-750HX 750W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...
-OR-
CORSAIR Professional Series AX1200 1200W ATX12V v2.31 / EPS12V v2.92 SLI Certified 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR DOMINATOR 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TR3X6G1600C8D
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...

1x SAPPHIRE Vapor-X 100281VX-2SR Radeon HD 5870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-OR-
2x SPARKLE SXX4601024D5SNM GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Crucial CT128M225 2.5" 128GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...

Western Digital VelociRaptor WD6000HLHX 600GB 10000 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-OR-
HITACHI Deskstar 7K1000.C HDS721010CLA332 (0F10383) 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...

LG WH10LS30K 10X Blu-ray Burner - LightScribe Support - Bulk - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...

Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...

Antec 761345-75024-0 120mm Blue LED Case Fan
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

StarUSA DIY-RHF-03 3.5" to 5.25" Hard Drive Mounting Bracket Item #N82E16816215156
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OKGEAR 36" SATA 6Gb/s round cable,straight to right angle Model OK36A3RUB12 Item #N82E16812123363
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Dell UltraSharp 3008WFP 30-inch Widescreen Flat Panel Monitor
http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B001JI92KQ/ref=d...
-OR-
Alienware OptXTM 3D AW2310 23" Full HD
http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/products/Displays/pr...
-With-
NVIDIA 3D Vision Glasses Kit Model 942107010003001
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

More about : review 3000 gaming rig

August 21, 2010 9:37:29 PM

I'd get the alienware display with the 3d. Thos 30inch displays are just to expensive.

For the rest: I'd get 2 480s, 470s or 460s or a single 480 depending on which you prefer.

You don't need sata cables they come with the mobo.

Do you really need a blue ray burner?

I'd get a corsair ax power supply size depending on your GPU solution.

For the mobo get the gigabyte they are more performance oriented instead of feature.

As Hard drive the spinpoint f3 will probably suit your needs best.

As for the SSD this one http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... is faster

as for the cooler it well blows consider this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... or a custom water cooling setup.

as for the case maybe something more stylish and better quality like: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... or the best air cooled case out there http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And then as CPU get the 930 the 960 is bassically the same but overpriced.
August 22, 2010 5:07:46 AM

Thanks for the advice. I will switch out the SSD and the CPU for starters and modify the PSU accordingly. For the display, am I likely to turn off 3D after the novelty wears off, or does it really improve feeling immersed in the game despite the 23" size? If not, I'd prefer the 30" regular display for a similar effect and for other apps.

For the GPUs, I read the Fermi's get hot and loud. Are 2 GeForce GTX 460's that much better than the Sapphire Radeon HD 5870 for long gaming sessions?

Is the Corsair Hydo H70 worth the extra money over the Xizmatex Dark Knight cooler?

Thanks...I am so excited to build this box! Upgrading from a Dell Dimension XPS Gen 4.
Related resources
August 22, 2010 5:30:40 AM

The 30in also the advantage of being IPS. A single 470 is probably better than a single 5850, but for 2560 resolutions I'd probably be getting dual 460s.

DO not get the i7-960, get the 930 and overclock it for half the price.

Ram could be better with either: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

PSU is superoverkill, and therefore will give you crap efficiencies. Get this for 105$.

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

Case is large, and probably overkill. HAF 932 or 922 would be as nice but cheaper.
August 22, 2010 9:41:33 AM

I haven't used 3D myself. But I'm assuming it's little different from the movie theatres probably slightly better. There probably won't be things flying at you as you might have seen in some 3D demos like in legoland, because that's a huge amount of work. If you watch a movie in 3D you have things flying at you either it's just to much work. I think it'll just look a little nicer as more rounded more realistic but you'll get used to it quickly and then yeah it won't be amazing any more. The 30inch screen may be nicer but that really isn't worth the price. I'd get an eyefinity setup and if there's enough money in the budget a 3d surround setup(eyefinity in 3d in other words the ultimate gaming experience).

I also have the option to go 3d but i'm going to get eyefinity instead.

Fermi is hot yes but it can handle those temps and uses an external exhaust system so the case doesn't really heat up because of the high temps. Thus it matters little and shouldn't really be considered. And no fermi isn't loud really it's just a common assumption because hot and loud go well together.

But the 460 is the ultimate version of fermi and is cooler(even though it can handle higher temps) and quieter than ati competition and yes 460 sli will destroy a 5870

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-460-sli...

Is the h70 worth it? Well it's the best cooler you don't have to put together yourself meaning you can dial down the fans and have a very quiet pc. Or overclock very high and have a very fast one. When you're looking at the best it's never really bang for buck, but it's worth it's money over the other high end coolers and it will humiliate your dark knight. That's all I can say.

as for the ram. Corsair ram is extremely high quality. Overclockable, very fast, sturdy and it comes with a lifetime warrenty. I'm a fan of corsair they produce high quality products with long warrenties be it at a slightly higher price than the competition. IMO dominators are the way to go especially if you buy more corsair things then customer support is easy.

http://www.bjorn3d.com/read.php?cID=1432&pageID=5949

as for psu I'd get a fully modular one as in a corsair ax since I don't know any others. It makes cable management much easier and nicer because you can buy cables to size. But yeah you need to find a power supply that suits your system or you will get crap efficiencies.

About the case. IMO you can't bay to much for one you like. As you'll need to brag about it and stare at it when your MW2 loads. ANd well I don't like the haf series at all. Interior is horrible for acble management. It's also darn ugly and not painted. And from the outside it also looks crap IMO. And also compared to the case I mentioned before which is smaller and doesn't have mesh everywhere(and still beats all the haf cases by quite a margin) the High Airflow Series really don't live up to their name.

just my 2 cents.
August 22, 2010 10:55:48 PM

Ok, READY TO BUY! Here's my updated list...still looking like a solid build? Thanks everyone for your input!:

1 $159.99 Antec Twelve Hundred Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
1 $209.99 GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
1 $289.99 Intel Core i7-930 Bloomfield 2.8GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80601930 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
1 $109.99 CORSAIR Hydro H70 CWCH70 120mm High Performance CPU Cooler http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
1 $189.99 CORSAIR Professional Series AX850 850W ATX12V v2.31 / EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
1 $209.99 CORSAIR DOMINATOR 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TR3X6G1600C8D http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...
2 $499.98 Palit NE5X460HF1102 GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) Sonic Platinum Overclocking Edition 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
1 $274.99 Crucial RealSSD C300 CTFDDAC128MAG-1G1 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
1 $279.00 Western Digital VelociRaptor WD6000HLHX 600GB 10000 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
1 $74.99 SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
1 $109.99 LG WH10LS30K 10X Blu-ray Burner - LightScribe Support - Bulk - OEM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...
1 $174.99 Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...
1 $16.99 Antec 761345-75024-0 120mm Blue LED Case Fan http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
2 $11.98 StarUSA DIY-RHF-03 3.5" to 5.25" Hard Drive Mounting Bracket Item #N82E16816215156 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
1 $419.99 Alienware OptXTM 3D AW2310 23" Full HD Display http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/products/Displays/pr...
1 $179.99 NVIDIA 3D Vision Glasses Kit Model 942107010003001 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
2 $31.90 Sorbothane Sheet, Shock Absorbing 12"x12"x1/8" Item #3037000 http://scientificsonline.com/product.asp?pn=3037000&bhc...
2 $17.90 Akust NoiseBuster Pro "Slim" http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_p...
1 $36.99 Eggcrate foam http://cgi.ebay.com/Studio-Foam-Eggcrate-Convoluted-2-5...

Total: ~$3300
August 22, 2010 11:18:06 PM

You could save 80$ on the PSU (~45% of the cost) by dropping to that XFX black edition I listed.

Ram is bad, 1.65 volts. Get a G.skill 1.5 volt kit at 1600 speed.

You can move to dual GTX 470s for 20$ more. That's an average of 25% (and in some cases, 50%+) more performance for 10$ more per card. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Velociraptor is only marginally (10%) faster than your 1TB drive, I'd drop it to be honest.

H70 actually performs worse than the Noctua 74 air cooler, which is 75$.

The HAF 932 is a nicer case than that Antec, but the styling may not be to your liking. It's a personal choice there.
August 23, 2010 8:38:05 AM

Meh the ax850 is fully modular which is a neat feature. It's also more efficient and has a longer warrenty.

Mmm dominators are amazing kits I doubt those G.skills would beat them. Btw these http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... are the same but much cheaper. What ram is rated to do and what ram can do is very different. For example my ram is rated for 1.65 but can beat those G.skills at 1.5

Yeah velociraptors are quite a waste of money.

Can you show me some benchmarks? I'm pretty sure there isn't an air cooler that can beat the h70. It really is a big improvement over the h50.

About the case I like neither really, but given the choice I'd get the antec. But that's just personal take whatever you like.
August 23, 2010 9:57:22 AM

Admittedly, the only parts of the XFX that aren't modular are the ones you have to have -- mobo connector, at least one PCIe connector, at least a 4-pin CPU connector. I don't think the bump in efficiency and 2 years more warranty is worth a 75$ premium.

Yes and no, I'm more concerned about IMC lifespan and overclocking with 1.65 voltage ram, there's been a few cases of fried i7's at just 1.7 volts on the IMC. I'm fine with just about any kit with 1.5 volts and 1600 speed for overclocking.

http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm

What happens with the H70 is that over a few hours the water will saturate in temperature on an overclocked CPU (it is, after all, a single-rad design), at which point it has rising temps beyond a good air cooler.
August 23, 2010 10:21:55 AM

Yeah of course you need to connect those cables anyways but if all cables are modular you can buy them to length making the cable management much better. Granted it may not be worth it to everyone but IMO on a system like this it's worth considering. Let the builder decide which he prefers ;) .

As for the ram well all I'm saying is you can probably get a very decent clock out of those dominators at 1.5v. I'm running my mushkins which are rated at 1.65 at 1.5 and I've had some succesful Overclocks at that voltage but I dialed back into stock because it doesn't really make a difference anyways. And again from corsair you get a good warrenty and customer service.

As for the h70 I haven't seen any benchmarks proving what you speak of, but it is possible. http://www.hexus.net/content/item.php?item=25823&page=5 here you see that afte 30minutes the h70 is still in the lead. And 30min full load is still far more stress than a CPU ussually undergoes. My 930 never pushes beyong 20-30 percent in games and anything else I use for that matter. Only in compressing and extracting my CPU has a hard time. So all in al I think the h70 will provide the best temps on average.

http://www.hexus.net/content/item.php?item=25823&page=5
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