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First Time Building Alone! Intensive Gaming + Engineering Design

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August 25, 2010 4:00:23 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Next couple of days

BUDGET RANGE: $2500.00-3000.00 after rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Intensive Gaming, Engineering Design (AutoCAD, Solidworks, Autodesk Inventor) + some 3DS Max 8 (not much), and I use the Adobe Creative Suite quite often (Photoshop, Premiere, and minor on Dreamweaver)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard (re-using bluetooth Logitech Playstation 3 keyboard), mouse (re-using bluetooth mouse), monitors (this will be hooked up to 2-Panasonic Plasma 50" G-10 televisions at 1920x1080 resolution with DVI/HDMI adapters from back of GPU), speakers (built in on TV and will use onboard sound), OS (Win 7 64bit Ultimate from Student Purchase through college -- price $15.00 paid for already)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, amazon.com, and frys.com (in-store pickup pref)

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: nVidia, corsair, intel, etc... major brands pref.

OVERCLOCKING: Yes

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes, nVidia in dual SLI

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080

THE BUILD:

This will be the first time I build a desktop by myself although I helped a friend twice so I am relatively new to this. Some things I did get a deal on because I bought them off friends and some of the parts I already have but would still like the input on whether or not to replace, etc...

OS: Win 7-64 Bit -- Have
Case: Silverstone Raven RV02 -- newegg $139.99 w/mir
PSU: Corsair HX1000 -- newegg $189.99 w/mir

Mobo: EVGA e760 Classified -- A friend is willing to sell me his for $250... should I go with this or get something else in its place? tigerdirect priced this at $320.00 w/mir + tax...
CPU: Intel i7 960 Bloomfield -- Have (bought off a friend for $350.00)
Ram: Corsair Dominator DDR3 1600 12gb -- Have (bought all 12gb off friend for $275.00) this is probably overkill but that mobo is triple channel so I guess I either install 6gb or 12gb...
GPU: Dual Gigabyte nVidia Geforce GTX 480 in SLI -- $449.99 + Have (got one for free! as a gift so I will buy the second one)
SSD: Intel x25-M SSDSA2MH080G2R5 80GB SATA II Solid State Drive -- newegg $199.99
HHD: WD Caviar Black 1TB 7200rpm hard drive -- $70.00 (new off ebay X-D)
DVD-RW: LG Black 10X Blu-ray Burner WH10LS30 -- newegg $110.00 plus my father is going to let me yank one of his DVD-RW drives out of his old computer to have a second.
Soundcard: Onboard
Monitors: Described above in re-usables

HSF: ??? Need some advice and also some guidelines on how to orient the fan in this particular case/setup.

Cost: $2129.83 (w/tax & after mir) and assuming I purchase my friends mobo
Things missing from this cost are HSF

Any help or constructive criticisim would be appreciated. Thanks.

More about : time building intensive gaming engineering design

August 25, 2010 4:07:03 PM

Also, I am worried about the heat inside the case... I read that nVidia approved the RV02 case for Dual SLI but seems a little sketchy to me. What do you guys think?

Another thing, I do like to Dual box MMO's at highest settings (was able to back on FFXI but can't with FFXIV on currect rig in benchmark) while also running video editing software (Adobe Premiere + Camtasia and some little bitty programs like SnagIt). When I am doing Engineering based things I will most likely have AutoCAD and Solidworks running simulanteosly or Solidworks/Inventor and 3DS Max and sometimes I keep Matlab running in the background if I get tired of doing what I am doing and need to do calcs. Just wanted to give a clearer picture of what I am trying to accomplish. Thanks.
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August 25, 2010 4:11:12 PM

Not that great. You're getting a lot of overly expensive parts from questionable sources. Here's what I'd look at:

CPU/SSD: i7-980X and OCZ Agility 2 180 GB $1,355 after rebate
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R $210
RAM: 2x Corsair XMS3 3x2 GB 2000 mhz CAS Latency 9 $360 $275
GPU/PSU: Sivlerstone 1000W and GTX 480 $580 after rebates
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $75
Case: HAF 922 $90
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $18 with promo code Free. BluRay is pointless for computers. Wait for it to be crazy cheap or have a real use.
HSF: Noctua NH-D14 $90

Total: $2,689. Might be a bit over consider the sunk cost of the i7-960, but you can pick up a smaller SSD to offset that. Or sell it online.

Why didn't you just list everything you have and what you wanted to spend on the rest? It's almost impossible to pick out the prices from that convoluted list...
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August 25, 2010 4:11:52 PM

for this kind of budget, 5970 is the best idea. 480s are powerhungry and hot.

also, get a spinpoint f3 instead of the caviar.
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August 25, 2010 4:21:31 PM

If I didn't already have one, I would but since I have one... might as well use it and not go through the hassle of selling it and then buying the 5970's.

I appreciate the redirect for the HDD from you both.

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August 25, 2010 4:26:26 PM

@reainvie: Not ture, considering the CAD and engineering uses. Those tasks basically eliminate ATI altogether.
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August 25, 2010 4:30:41 PM

MadAdmiral said:
Not that great. You're getting a lot of overly expensive parts from questionable sources. Here's what I'd look at:

CPU/SSD: i7-980X and OCZ Agility 2 180 GB $1,355 after rebate
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R $210
RAM: 2x Corsair XMS3 3x2 GB 2000 mhz CAS Latency 9 $360 $275
GPU/PSU: Sivlerstone 1000W and GTX 480 $580 after rebates
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $75
Case: HAF 922 $90
Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $18 with promo code Free. BluRay is pointless for computers. Wait for it to be crazy cheap or have a real use.
HSF: Noctua NH-D14 $90

Total: $2,689. Might be a bit over consider the sunk cost of the i7-960, but you can pick up a smaller SSD to offset that. Or sell it online.

Why didn't you just list everything you have and what you wanted to spend on the rest? It's almost impossible to pick out the prices from that convoluted list...


Ok I'll reformat:

Parts I have:

$350 - CPU: i7 960 Bloomfield - (sell? to buy i7 980x?)
$0 - GPU: GTX 480
$275 - Ram: Corsair Dominator DDR3 1600

Question 1: Sell i7 960 and buy i7 980x?
Question 2: Because I have this RAM, use it?

Parts Need:

Mobo
SSD
HDD
PSU
Case
HSF
Optical (would like to have Blu-Ray but I guess I can use my PS3 for that)

Is this easier to pick out? Hmm, I don't know if I would classify my buddies as questionable but I trust them for the most part. The GPU and CPU have not been used so they are still in the box. Ram, yes was installed but no overclocking.
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August 25, 2010 4:37:57 PM

1.) In my opinion, yes. Or at least sell and buy and i7-930 and pocket the difference. You won't be likely to lose anything on the sale, and even if you do, the loss will be small. Compared to the 960, the 980 is going to destroy the non-gaming applications. Therefore, you'd be gaining a lot of processing power for almost no additional cost.

2.) No. You'll need a nVidia card for the non-gaming uses, and buying two 5970s would be a terrible waste of money. Even if you didn't need nVidia, a single 5970 would be a better idea.

3.) Go ahead. I generally don't like the Dominators because they're way overpriced, but since you've got them for cheap, go ahead and use them.

That's definitely an easier way to look at it.

The problem I have with BluRay right now is that it's so expensive, and there is nothing it does besides play movies. In addition, BluRay is far from being in common use, which makes it needed even less. Prices will come down a lot in the coming years, so that's when you should buy it. The only other time to buy a BR drive would be when a computer specific use emerges. Basically, if they start releasing all the new games only on BR discs, then you should buy a BR drive despite the price. Until either the drives are cheap or a use emerges, you shouldn't bother with it.

Considering you already have a PS3, there is absolutely no gain from having your computer able to use BR.
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August 25, 2010 4:55:35 PM

@MadAdmiral or anyone

Thanks for the help. I appreciate it. One more thing and I know this is dumb aka and I should suck it up and wait... but I am pretty impatient. I had an ex that is beta testing ffxiv and it I purchase an Intel SSD you get a free beta test key (aka play this weekend instead of 9/22)

However lame that may sound, it is enticing so at the cost of upping the price... would the Intel X25 160GB be akin to the OCZ 180GB with just crappy write speeds? I realize it is less bang for more bucks but unfortunately when it comes to ff I am unreasonable. Thoughts (if you tell me to suck it up I guess I can live with that).
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August 25, 2010 4:58:50 PM

ok, since you have the 960, keep it and use it. No point paying for a $1000 processor when you have a good one already. Also keep the GPU. If you already have the RAM keep it. if you haven't got it, go for the faster suggestion by MadAdmiral

I'd get a decent X58 board that can do at lest SLI x2.

You can probly manage with your one 480, but a second one in SLI can't hurt. I wouldn't go to triple SLI, heat management and power usage gets excessive. Gigabyte and MSI make good ones ($139 and $159 on Newegg for them)

the Samsung Spinpoint F3/F4 drives are the fastest Sata 2 drives around, so they are probably your best choice. the F4 is 320 GB, the F3s are 500GB and 1TB in size.

for an SSD, I;d get the OCZ Sata III model at 64 or 128 GB as a boot drive.

a HSF is unnecessary unless you plan to overclock, or you got an OEM chip without a fan. Zalman and Coolermaster fans are highly regarded if you need one.

get a cheap DVD burner for $18-22.


If you want to SLI, you'll want an 850W supply. Top brands are Antec, Sea Sonic, Corsair, Cooler Master, OCZ, and Thermaltake

Case aesthetics are very subjective, many of the same top makes of power supplies also make top flight cases.
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August 25, 2010 5:05:56 PM

You'll need more than 850W for the 480 SLI. You'll definitely want 1000W to be safe.

As for the i7-980, you could easily get by with the 960. I'd at least look into selling it though. If you can sell if for what you paid for it, you might as well get the best build possible right now. After all, you wouldn't lose anything on the upgrade that way. It's possible you could even get more for it than what you paid, but I can't say that for certain. I'm not great at knowing the second hand market's prices.

I wouldn't bother with any devices with SATA III yet. The speeds just aren't there yet. The OCZ Agility 2 series of SSDs are a lot faster than the Intel. The Agility 2 uses the newest architecture for SSDs, so buying anything less than the drives that use it would be a waste.

You do realize that Final Fantasy 14 is going to be out in less than a week right? The release date is 9/29/10 according to Newegg.
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August 25, 2010 5:21:43 PM

FFXIV limited open beta starts in 1 week (by invite after submission of beta tester application) and CE release is 9/22 and RE is 9/29 :-)

But I do suppose you are correct in your logic with the SSDs. I guess I just needed to hear it to resist temptation.

I agree with the 1000W PSU suggestion as well, don't want to push it. Thanks to both for the input. I will look into the resale value of the CPU and if I can't get my money back then I will keep it, otherwise I will look into finding the best packaged deal on i7-980.
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August 25, 2010 5:40:01 PM

Why do I think it's already September? I'm out of it right now...
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August 25, 2010 7:47:37 PM

well, Mad, its only about a week until september now.

Time flies and all that
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!