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I am looking to build a PC that focuses on 3 things: HD Gaming, Photos

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August 25, 2010 6:14:51 AM

Hi all,
I am looking to build a PC that focuses on 3 things: HD Gaming, Photoshop & Video Editing and FutureProofing (for at least 5 years). I just do not know where to start components wise. This will be my first homebuilt PC and from what I researched, it is cheaper to build it yourself than buy alienware, etc.

Here is what I am looking for (fantasy list):
1) At least minimum 6GB RAM, max of maybe 16GB. I don't plan to start with 16GB, just having the option to expand is good. I understand I will have to use a 64-bit version of Windows 7 to use all of the ram and I am fine with that.

2) Quad Core i7. Near top of line. I realize I dont need a QC i7, but I do not want to be force to upgrade in the immediate future.

3) 2 of the best PCIe x16 Nvidia graphics cards right now (is it the GTX900 series) with 2GB or more of VRAM in SLI mode. (that can be scalable up to 3-4 cards down the line). And it must come with HDMI Out for my 37in TV.

4) 3 hard drives. 1 SSD of 80GB so for OS programs, 1 [300GB HD] for programs, music, games,etc and a 2TB Hard drive for archiving files, installers that will be partitioned into multiple sectors for installers, music, etc.

5) Of course a motherboard that runs 16 GB RAM and a case that has enough hard drive slots, at least 5 and adequate cooling methods that doesn’t require watercooling or liquid nitrogen ha.


The tasks to achieve are:

1) Max details on games such as Crysis with 1920 resolution, 4 X AA, maximum shadows, HDR, the works running at least at 50-60 FPS even on a 37 in TV through HDMI. Must be the same for Online games as well (lag not withstanding of course).

2) Smooth, lightning quick Photoshop editing in with very high resolution pictures. I am dabbling in Photoshop now but I like to know that if I need to expand or do multiple things at once, the system wont chug. This goes the same for video editing in After Effects with 1080p footage. I want 3 hour processing to become 1 hour processing lol

3) I want the system to last me at least 5 years or longer with as needed upgrades to the ram, video card, or processors, OS and not having to rebuild a computer from scratch. You know technology is outdated as soon as you buy it lol.

4) I want Firefox to run full screen 1080p youtube flash video on HDMI out on my 37in TV without lagging (half joking
http://img.tomshardware.com/forum/uk/icones/smilies/wah...

5) The budget I have set is 2000-2500$ and i am saving up to buy parts individually (probably the cheapest first, to let the price of the GPU's and CPU's that I am interested in drop).


Granted this list isn't everything. I didn't mention a mobo but of course it would be a Core i7 compatible with support for 2 PCI-e express cards and supporting 16GB of ram or more. Also I know its def a Intel/Nvidia set up I am going for, but that because I hadn't had good luck with AMD or ATI on separate occasions.

- So I turn to the forums, for suggestions, price points, necessary matching components such as mobo, an adequate case, and anything else. I just want to build a fast custom desktop that is powerful and that will be relevant in 5-7 years ( i know it is a lot of time but I am not made out of $2000).

a c 113 B Homebuilt system
August 25, 2010 7:50:13 AM


1) At least minimum 6GB RAM, max of maybe 16GB (Has to be a multiple of 3. 6, 12, 18, 24 are options.) I don't plan to start with 16GB, just having the option to expand is good. I understand I will have to use a 64-bit version of Windows 7 to use all of the ram and I am fine with that.

2) Quad Core i7. Near top of line. (No. If you want performance overclock an i7-930. If you are nervous about it buy two. You still save money. I realize I dont need a QC i7, but I do not want to be force to upgrade in the immediate future.

3) 2 of the best PCIe x16 Nvidia graphics cards right now (is it the GTX900 series) GTX 480 with 2GB or more of VRAM in SLI mode. (that can be scalable up to 3-4 cards down the line) Bad plan, additional cards give rapidly dwindling returns. And it must come with HDMI Out for my 37in TV. Inches don't matter. Resolution matters. Is it 1080p?

4) 3 hard drives. 1 SSD of 80GB (120GB at least) so for OS programs, 1 [300GB HD] for programs, music, games,etc and a 2TB Hard drive for archiving files, installers that will be partitioned into multiple sectors for installers, music, etc.

.....
1) Max details on games such as Crysis with 1920 resolution, 4 X AA, maximum shadows, HDR, the works running at least at 50-60 FPS even on a 37 in TV through HDMI. (Again we need resolution not inches) Must be the same for Online games as well (lag not withstanding of course).

*********************************************************************************

i7-930 and Gigabyte UD5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

You only have so many slots. Buy 12GB up front if you think you really need it, in a 3x4GB kit, but I doubt you will need it.
G.skill 6GB DDR3 1600 CL7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HAF X and win 7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Corsair HX850
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GTX 480 times two
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.Skill Pheonix 120GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

WD Caviar Black 2TB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Samsung Blu-ray combo drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Prolimatech Megahalems Rev.B CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

August 25, 2010 4:44:18 PM

Thanks for the input. I am sorry that I left off a few details.

1) I would aim for a (mobo) max of 24GB with a min of 6 or 12 GB.

2) I did review the i7-930 and the overclock performance in comparison to say the i7-975 extreme and you are right, it is worth the money, beating the extreme in most tests. But what about cooling? I believe at OC it runs at 4.3GHZ from a base of 2.8GHZ.

3) So is the GTX480 in SLI is the best option and the best bang for buck? Are GPU And I did read somewhere that multiple (more than 3) cards aren't really worth it at the moment. The TV is 37in HD with 1080p output (1920x1080).

4) So a 120GB SSD would better a better option than 80GB because of the install size of Windows 7 64-bit?


I am reviewing the links provided, thankfully I actually use Newegg (love them) and have credit with them. Any thing else I should be wary of or take note?
Related resources
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
August 25, 2010 7:31:12 PM

1) Yes, but you only get 6 slots with most boards. So if you really think you might use 24GB some day, you need to start with 12.... and if you populate all the slots, that makes overclocking a bit harder.

2) You get the luck of the draw on what the CPU will overclock to. As far as cooling, I linked one of the most powerful CPU coolers.
If you want more you'll have to drop 3-400 on water cooling and add an extra day or two build time.... not really a first-timer thing.

3) Best bang for the buck..... It's a very close race there. You have to look at individual cards. GTX 480 runs hot and may get loud. GTX 460 is probably the best bang for the buck, and it runs cooler. But then it's not quite as powerful. Closer than you might think.
If you wait about a month or so Nvidia is supposed to come out with new cards more like the GTX 460 in performance and heat.

5) Yes, and the swap file and various things that really insist on living on the same partition... plus a game or two that really benefits like Crysis.

I think it's covered.
a b B Homebuilt system
August 25, 2010 7:38:05 PM

I'd agree with Proximon pretty much across the board, with the following comments.

I'd say that dual 480s offers the best performance, while dual 460s offers the best value.

The 120 GB SSD is the way to go because for $80 more, you get 50% more capacity, and faster reads. You also get much faster writes than the Intel X25-M 80 GB. The SandForce-1200 controller drives (of which the G.Skill Phoenix Pro is one) are the way to go at pretty much every size except 256 GB right now. The 80 GB Intel X25-M is still a good SSD, but it's outclassed at most price points, and is really only ideal if you have exactly $200 or so left in your budget and you really want an SSD today that needs to be bigger than 60 GB.

More SSD reading if you want:
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.
Anandtech article about the C300's value compared to other drives
March 8, 2011 5:42:39 PM

I know I am resurrecting an old thread but as I finally settled down to get the money together for the computer, I was thinking....since more than six months has passed (which is like a year in computer technology ;) , does everyone still agree that Proximon's list is still the best (long-term) bang for the buck? And this includes 120GB SSD suggested by coldsleep.

I figured it is easier to see the original post in stead of starting a new once since this is a comparisons question.
a b B Homebuilt system
March 8, 2011 6:55:27 PM

Switch the base of your system with an i5-2500K, and if you need hyperthreading get the i7-2600K (sounds more like what you need). That changes your motherboard requirements to a P67 chipset and RAM requirements to dual-channel kits.

The SSD should be updated to the OCZ Vertex 2 or Vertex 3 (soon to be released).

I would also consider updating the 480s -> 580s.
March 8, 2011 8:22:31 PM

boiler1990 said:
Switch the base of your system with an i5-2500K, and if you need hyperthreading get the i7-2600K (sounds more like what you need). That changes your motherboard requirements to a P67 chipset and RAM requirements to dual-channel kits.

The SSD should be updated to the OCZ Vertex 2 or Vertex 3 (soon to be released).

I would also consider updating the 480s -> 580s.



Thanks. I looked at the i7-2600k because it is exactly what i need. What a perfect find lol. And I was researching the 580s (which actually made me remember to update this thread). I did add the OCZ Vertex 3 into my list as well.

I am moving ahead with the Sandybridge but what do you think of the ASUS P8P67 WS Revolution for the mobo?
!