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1st build, which config? i7 960 v x6 1090t and much more help needed!!

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August 28, 2010 11:18:57 PM

Hello folks,

I too am in a similar situation (noob) and would love some advice on configuring my first self-built PC! Was advised to start a new thread, hope thats ok?!

Only really 2 things to consider -


1) I'm not made of money, but am willing to buy the best possible system for the cash - i am looking around the £1000 mark (about $1500) as a ceiling with the idea being to upgrade and improve the set-up over time (i.e. add more memory, extra graphics card etc) as need dictates and as money allows!

2) I don't do any extreme things with my PC. I am currently designing a website for my own (sales consultancy) business, but the adobe stuff I have works fine on my old dell desktop (Pentium 4 2.8ghz 1.49gb RAM ,XP Pro), I'm not using any large files, doing CAD work or any heavy photo/video editing.

I have just brought Starcraft 2 - which is crap on my laptop (i use for emails, internet, movies - lounging about on the sofa stuff) which is what pushed me into getting a new PC, otherwise I mainly game on xbox 360 (XBL: StabbyPetey80 or StabbyPete @ www.codnation.net)


The reason i have gone (or at least am aiming to go) with a 'top spec' PC is to future proof it as much as possible - get a good chip with plenty of space for adding bits on later, as opposed to what I did with my Dell, which was to get a medium spec/price machine (5 yrs ago) but which had no space for upgrading.

p.s. im in the UK, so some bits maybe different spec/named :s

So here are the specs on what I was thinking:
Will be using win7 x64 pro OS.

1 x Asus P6X58D-E, Intel X58, 1366, 6DDR3, 3PCI-Ex16, CrossfireX/SLI, 8CHHD Sound, USB3 & SATA6 ATX Mfr#: aP6X58D-E
1 x Intel Core i7 960 3.2GHz 8MB Cache LGA1366 Socket Mfr#: BX80601960
1 x Akasa Intel LGA1366 Copper Core heatsink with PWM Fan Mfr #: AK-980

OR
1 x AMD Phenom II X6 1090T 3.2HGz AM3 Black Edition Processor Mfr#:HDT90ZFBGRBOX
1 x Asus CROSSHAIR IV FORMULA 890FX Socket AM3 8 Channel Audio ATX Motherboard #: CROSSHAIR IV FORMULA
1 x Arctic Cooling Alpine 64 GT Socket 754, 939, AM2, AM2+ Processor Cooler Mfr#: AC-ALP-64GT


1 x Antec CP 850 Watt Continuous Power Supply Unit Mfr#:0761345-06881-9

2 x Kingston HyperX 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 DIMM 240-Pin 1600Mhz CL9 Mfr#: KHX1600C9D3K2/4

1 x LG 10x Internal SATA Blu-Ray Writer Drive with Software Mfr #: BH10LS30.AUAU

1 x Edimax Wireless N Draft 2.0 Pci Card manufacturer Mfr #: EW-7727IN
2 x Seagate SV35.5 1TB 3.5 SATA Internal Hard Drive Mfr #: ST31000525SV

1x Coolermaster Elite 335 Case - No PSU Mfr #: RC335KKN1GP

1 x Sapphire HD 5770 1GB GDDR5 Dual DVI HDMI DisplayPort HDCP PCI-E Graphics Card Mfr #: 11163-02-20R

OR

1 x Sapphire HD 5830 1GB GDDR5 DUAL DVI-I HDMI Display Port Out PCI-E Graphics Card Mfr #: 11169-00-51R


Based on what I have said for current usage (or future usage), which is better i7 960 or AMD 1090t? There seems to be a lot of angry people on a lot of forums with the net result being 'very little difference!' I have never even heard of overclocking until a few days ago researching this build - do I need to consider it? As I said im not going to be using anything too hardcore, but I am a tinkerer, so if one set-up is better than the other, or I can (say in a year or so) boost one better than the other, i'm open to it.

Without going into silly money which graphics card gets the most 'bang for the buck' - are there any better ones for similar budgets? I have used ATI before but am not adverse to Nvidia. I notice different companies make the same cards - is any manufacturer better or worse in this regard? I chose the above cards based on £ / spec and used www.hwcompare.com to narrow the search to the best performers for the £.

Do I really need a separate soundcard? I haven't included one in the spec, the only sound will be for movies/games - i don't know if blu-ray stuff will need or require it (for things like 'surround sound' if I plug it into my home cinema). I also have logitech speakers for boosting the sound, but from what I can gather the motherboard has more than what I need.

Can I make any simple savings by reducing the spec / getting different components whilst still keeping the system 'future proof'.

Have I missed anything??!!?! Like a separate graphics card / system fan?

As you can tell im not too familiar with the terminology or process - if there is anything I haven't explained properly or is unintentionally confusing / at odds please let me know

Would love to hear from you guys and any help / advice would be greatly appreciated!
August 29, 2010 1:05:51 AM

Another thing I am having trouble getting my head around is the heat generated- on a few other threads there are mentions of some of these components heating up and that the basic fans/coolers I have may not be adequate - can someone advise on what I need to do to make sure this doesn't happen? thank you very much!
August 29, 2010 1:19:39 AM

Just to kick it off, the Antec CP 850 is different form factor than the usual ATX PSUs, so if you would like that you should check out Antec P183, P193 and 1200 which support it..
From you describe the i
Related resources
August 29, 2010 1:33:57 AM

Just to kick it off on the Intel build..
First, the Antec CP 850 is different form factor than the usual ATX PSUs, so if you would like that you should check out Antec P183, P193 and 1200 which support it..
From the way you describe it, the i7-930 would save you some that could be spent in upgrading the GPU..
Sorry my phone is annoying so no more from me for now!

Double post as edit would not and to get the whole text in
a b B Homebuilt system
August 29, 2010 1:39:18 AM

I will point out that the Antec CP-850 is a CPX formfactor PSU, which is not compatible with ATX cases. The only cases it will fit in are the Antec 1200, P183 & P193. So either get one of those cases or change PSU.

Also the RAM runs at 1.7 or 1.9V according to what I've found from googling the part number. Which is a bit high for DDR3 in the first place IMO, and secondly Intel CPUs can be damaged by RAM voltages above 1.65V. So I would change that. Thirdly it produces more heat and will consume more power than a lower voltage set, albeit it not by much.
If you don't to plan to do anything extreme with this system then definitely don't get 8GB straight out of the gates. I would put the money saved towards a higher quality case that will be able to handle all the upgrading you are planning on doing. I suppose you could start off with a cheaper case until you've found something that you know you'll want to keep for ages, as a good case can be reused through multiple builds.

I don't know anything about that Seagate HDD really, except that it's unlikely to be any faster than the cheaper Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB, which is also known for being a quiet performance drive.

As for the graphics card, I'd discount the 5830 as it's hot, loud and power hungry compared to the 5770 and the GTX 460, the latter of which performs very similarly if not better than it. So now it's between the 5770 and GTX 460. I think it's logical that if you go to an AMD build it's best to stick with an ATI card if you want the option to CF, as AMD chipsets on AMD motherboards are likely to be better and more feature-rich (SATA6G & USB3) than Nvidia chipset motherboards.
hwcompare looks like it only looks at memory bandwidth, which is only one of many factors in determining the performance of a GPU.
The differences between card manufacturers can be clock speeds, size, fan, and then warranty & customer support. The size would be important if you were using an old or small case. Clock speeds aren't that important as it's possible to OC to match a pre-OCed card, altho one that's already more highly clocked will have been binned higher, so can probably OC higher again. I don't really care about warranties & customer support, so the only thing that I really think matters is the fan, which has an impact on the noise & temperature that the card produce.

I also don't believe that that Akasa cooler is a worthwhile upgrade from the stock Intel heatsink. Same for the Arctic Cooling Alpine 64GT over the AMD stock heatsink.

No, you don't need a soundcard, as onboard sound these days is pretty good. The only reason you would need to consider a soundcard is if you worked with audio on more than a casual basis.

The issue of heat. Heat shouldn't be a problem at stock speeds, unless the part was badly designed (such as GTX 465, 470, 480), or possibly it was a bad one out of the production line. A good way to avoid heat problems is to have a case with good airflow, which can be achieved simply by having at least one intake, two exhausts and tidy cables. A case with good airflow can mean that stock cooling of parts is perfectly adequate. When you start overclocking however is when you should really think about aftermarket cooling and more aggressive airflow. It's probably pretty hard to get components to overheat in a modern case that costs more than ~30 pounds that uses the fans that are installed.

As for which processor to go with, the i7-960 will beat the AMD 1090T in everything except heavily threaded programs, which tend to be video editing, rendering programs (and not all of them). How much depends on the program, and the only way to find out if it's significant is to see them tested, ie benchmarks/reviews. So I think the i7-960 might be the better choice, unless you want to upgrade CPU at any point, in which case an AMD AM3 build might be better. Another thing to be aware of is that Intel's Sandy Bridge processors (next major architecture change over Nehalem) are due out early next year, which might have an impact on the cost of current CPUs/parts. If you can wait five months it would be interesting to see what happens.
August 29, 2010 2:28:31 AM

IMO an 1000$ system now with 500$ for upgrades later would be better. If you want upgrades only parts that would need changing in the near (~3 year) future would be the i5, motherboard, and GPU. Everything else should keep for the lifetime of this build. IMO I would toss an SSD in there after the refresh later this year.

sp12 said:


i5-760 210$
MSI-P55a-G55 105$
G.skill eco series 99$
850 watt XFX black edition PSU 105$
Samsung F3 75$
Litescribe DVD burner 20$
GTX 470 240-270$
HAF 922 90$

944 total?



944 total?

Edit: none of my links worked :/ , had to put them in quotes.
August 29, 2010 1:58:52 PM

thank you very much all, its good solid advice and VERY useful! (especially about the PSU lol, missed that!) So given the feedback I have come up with this:

1 x Asus P6X58D-E, Intel X58, 1366, 6DDR3, 3PCI-Ex16, CrossfireX/SLI, 8CHHD Sound, USB3 & SATA6 ATX Mfr#: aP6X58D-E

1 x Intel Core i7 960 3.2GHz 8MB Cache LGA1366 Socket Mfr#: BX80601960

1 x Akasa Intel LGA1366 Copper Core heatsink with PWM Fan Mfr #: AK-980

1 x XFX 850W Black Edition Single Rail Modular Power Supply Mfr #: P1-850B-NLG9
1 x Antec TreuPower Quattro 850Watt Continuous Power 80+ Power Supply Unit Mfr #: TPQ-850GB

1 x OCZ 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1600MHz/PC3-12800 Obsidian i5 Memory Kit 1.65V CL9(9-9-9-24) Mfr #: OCZ3OB1600LV4GK

1x M Storm Scout Case - 120mm and 2x 140mm Fans Included - No PSU Mfr #: SGC-2000-KKN1 or Antec 300 Three hundred

1 x Sapphire HD 5770 1GB GDDR5 Dual DVI HDMI DisplayPort HDCP PCI-E Graphics Card Mfr #: 11163-02-20R

@agges - thanks I got the jist, technical problems aside.

@all I have changed the PSU - a choice of 2 - both 850W but one is single rail and one quad rail, both around the same price. I have no idea what that means or how one is better/more efficient than another :s Found the XFX black u mentioned.

re: the SSD - I have looked at that but atm the seagate is £60 for 1tb and the ssd is £100 for 60gb! My plan was - and you have confirmed it - to wait 6months until the prices come down. Then I will either RAID the other 2 drives or simply put one of the seagates in an external box, or my old Dell (which i use to stream movies / music thru my xbox)

Sound card - thank you - no more to be said!

@silvune and @ sp12 Excellent calls on the Samsung F3 - hadn't noticed it before, and have always had Seagate, found online for £42 (the Seagate was £60) exact same specs. RESULT!

@silvune. Sir, you speak golddust! Have swapped out the Kingston for the OCZ, a bit more pricey but as you note, designed for the ix systems and come in at 1.5v so should be no problems there.

I appreciate the point about the cooling fan, but I would like to put it in now as part of the system so save tinkering later on. Also (main reason) I do tend to keep my PC in a fairly warm room upstairs - the place where it is going is next to the airing cupboard (stores the house central heating - can't be helped) so for the sake of £12 better safe than sorry.

Didn't realise that cases were so important (a box that you put the bits in) I thought the glam expensive stuff was for the hardcore modders, so using the saved money on the HDD I went for that case - seems large enough. either that or the Antex 300.

I am going for the best chip I can afford at the moment...I appreciate all of your comments on that but a) can't / won't wait! There is always something better on the way, and b) the money I have is a rebate from the taxman, if I don't get the bits now I never will!!!

Given the comments I think the i7 960 will be excellent, and last for several years without any trouble. My old Dell P4 is still going strong after 5-6-7 years and as mentioned it can cope with anything I will be throwing at it, even if I do double up the other parts on the system.

Lastly the graphics card. I am quite happy with the 5770 1gb it seems a good solid card, capable of playing any game out this year or next, hdmi, multiple monitors and crossfire ready and at £135 its a bit of a bargain... or have i just erred?!
August 29, 2010 2:02:35 PM

@sp12 - forgot to say, went for the Blu-Ray player as my gf has decided that we need one. This was my compromise instead of shelling out £150 on a stand alone version! *pu$$ywhipped* lol
a b B Homebuilt system
August 29, 2010 2:50:07 PM

I'm not saying you shouldn't get an aftermarket cooler, I'm saying that that Akasa one is likely to be crap, it looks extremely similar to the stock LGA 1366 heatsink. So I recommend you get something else. Such as the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro Rev 2 or Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus.

I would go for the XFX 850W out of those two if they are infact a similar price, as it has higher efficiency, which means that it wastes less electricity/power/energy as heat, which means that the fan doesn't have to spin as fast to keep it adequately cool. The number of rails doesn't really matter, it's the quality that matters. BTW the Antec Truepower Quattro only has 768watts combined on it's 12V rails, so it is less powerful than the XFX as well. Not that you even need a 770W PSU for your build...

A 5770 at £135 is a good price thesedays.
August 29, 2010 4:02:01 PM

Silvune said:
I'm not saying you shouldn't get an aftermarket cooler, I'm saying that that Akasa one is likely to be crap, it looks extremely similar to the stock LGA 1366 heatsink. So I recommend you get something else. Such as the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro Rev 2 or Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus.

I would go for the XFX 850W out of those two if they are infact a similar price, as it has higher efficiency, which means that it wastes less electricity/power/energy as heat, which means that the fan doesn't have to spin as fast to keep it adequately cool. The number of rails doesn't really matter, it's the quality that matters. BTW the Antec Truepower Quattro only has 768watts combined on it's 12V rails, so it is less powerful than the XFX as well. Not that you even need a 770W PSU for your build...

A 5770 at £135 is a good price thesedays.



Aha apologies - misunderstood on the cooling. I think this is the one you mean: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/176157


These are the PSU I was looking at after the previous posts:

http://www.dabs.com/products/xfx-850w-black-edition-sin...

http://www.dabs.com/products/antec-tpq-850-truepower-qu...

Your last post has cemented my decision to go for the xfx black - a few other people in this forum are using it / recommending it and the specs of the Antec don't read right.

Your right of course - I think I could probably suffice with 500w but am planning on doubling up the GPU and adding more mem later so I figure for the extra £30-£40 go with a unit that will last whatever happens.

I think we are pretty much there... The only thing I am not sure on is the case, will any of these 3 do?

Coolermaster: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/165238 at £63

The antec 300 seems popular and at £47 reasonable: http://www.ebuyer.com/product/143854

I'm not bothered about pretty although the 900 at £70 does look sweet...!

http://www.dabs.com/products/antec-900-nine-hundred-ult...


Oh and I found this: 1 x Best Value Samsung S-ATA Blu-Ray Combo Player (8X Read) Retail Mfr#: SH-B083L/RSBP Not great but it does the job - i only really use the DVD for games / software and occasionally burning the odd CD for the car..
August 29, 2010 4:25:27 PM

So this is the spec I have ended up with.. total build £934 inc VAT and delivery:

1 x AMD Phenom II X6 1090T 3.2HGz AM3 Black Edition Processor Mfr#:HDT90ZFBGRBOX
1 x Asus CROSSHAIR IV FORMULA 890FX Socket AM3 8 Channel Audio ATX Motherboard #: CROSSHAIR IV FORMULA
1 x Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro rev 2 Socket 775, 1156, 1366, AM2, AM3 Heatpipe CPU Cooler Mfr#: #: AC-FRZ-7PR2

1 x Antec 300 Three Hundred Case Mfr #: 0761345-08300-3 (tbc)
1 x OCZ 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1600MHZ Gold AMD Memory Kit CL8 1.65V Mfr #: OCZ3G1600LVAM4GK
2 x Samsung 1TB Spinpoint F3 7200rpm SATA 3Gb/s 32MB Mfr#: HD103SJ
1 x XFX 850W Black Edition Single Rail Modular Power Supply
Mfr#: P1-850B-NLG9

1 x Sapphire HD 5770 1GB GDDR5 Dual DVI HDMI DisplayPort HDCP PCI-E Graphics Card Mfr #: 11163-02-20R

1 x Best Value Samsung S-ATA Blu-Ray Combo Player (8X Read) Retail Mfr#: SH-B083L/RSBP

1 x Edimax Wireless N Draft 2.0 Pci Card manufacturer Mfr #: EW-7727IN


I completely flip-flopped on the processor... at the end of the day the intel i7 was £430 and the AMD £225, the motherboards were pretty much the same in both price and spec (Intel £153, AMD £162) and the RAM memory was almost identical (I: £86 v A: £83).

For what I am going to be using it for I cannot see any practical difference in paying an extra £200 for the admittedly slightly better i7 chip apart from bragging rights, and being totally honest, no-one I know would care in the slightest anyway!

In addition, the savings mean I could double on the GPU's (or have a good night out) and that as previously mentioned the AMD chip is likely to get a (little) bit more out of the ATI cards.

The only thing I need to confirm before I order is that all these bits will work together and they are the right specs - that again I haven't missed something completely obvious... The Toms Hardware forum seal of approval as it were...
a b B Homebuilt system
August 29, 2010 6:48:50 PM

Yes any of those three would be perfectly adequate. I think the one that can accommodate the longest graphics card is the Antec 900, which can take a 5970, whereas I would only expect a 5870 (which is the second longest graphics card available today) to fit in the other two. The Antec 300 doesn't come with cable routing holes, which can help tremendously with cable management.

As the Antec 300 doesn't have a front intake fan, I would suggest getting one. Silverstone AP121 is what I would buy if I was buying an intake fan, as I've seen a video where it pushed smoke further and more directed than other standard Silverstone fans, so it will get cool air to the components in a more focussed fashion. You could just get something around the £5 mark and that would be fine tho as the Antec harddrive cages don't get in the way of air like they do in some cases.

As far as I'm concerned the Asus Crosshair IV Formula is a bit of a 'bragging rights' motherboard, as you can get similar specs for less. I think I would get one of these over it:
MSI 890FXA-GD70 £145
Asus M4A89TD Pro £139 - doesn't have USB3.

It's not that ATI cards work better with AMD processors. It's just if you wanted to SLI two Nvidia graphics cards, you'd have to get a Nvidia chipset motherboard, and there is less choice of such motherboards and they have less features than AM3, notably the lack of SATA6G & USB3.

But basically yea, it's good to go.
August 29, 2010 7:32:17 PM

Fantastic. Thank you very much for your help and advice.
August 29, 2010 7:36:51 PM

Now, how does one close/solve this thread?!
September 1, 2010 11:12:46 PM

So after a lot of searching around UK websites for the best prices I have gone for this set-up:


1 x AMD Phenom II X6 1090T 3.2HGz AM3 Black Edition Processor

1 x Asus CROSSHAIR IV FORMULA 890FX Socket AM3 8 Channel Audio ATX Motherboard (Poncy I know, but easier to overclock down the line!)

1 x Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro rev 2 Socket 775, 1156, 1366, AM2, AM3 Heatpipe CPU Cooler

1 x Antec 900 Case (it was on promotion on one site (www.overclockers.co.uk) for the same price as the Coolermaster scout was that I had priced up for.

1 x G.SKILL Flare 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 PC3-14400C7 1800MHz Dual Channel Kit

1 x 1TB Western Digital WD1002FAEX Caviar Black 3.5" SATA III Hard Drive (the Samsung F3 was awesomely priced for the spec, but this was £15 more, and is SATA III, not II)

1 x XFX 850W Black Edition Single Rail Modular Power Supply

1 x Samsung S-ATA Blu-Ray Combo Player (8X Read) Retail Mfr#: SH-B083L/RSBP

1 x Edimax Wireless N Draft 2.0 Pci Card manufacturer Mfr #: EW-7727IN

and to top it off, thanks again to overclockers.co.uk...

1 x XFX ATI Radeon HD 5850 1024MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card ***Supplied with Stalker & Stormrise Games*** (OK so I wasn't bothered about the games, but at £165 it was a complete bargain, twice the spec of the original 5770 I was looking at and only £30 more!)


Total price, including next day delivery, £1027.95 (around $1500 of your US dollars). RESULT! Thanks once again to all who posted for your help and assistance. If you look at the end build you have all contributed to what I hope to be a fantastic system. Thanks to the advice here and a bit of astute shopping around, I have not only increased the spec and quality of the build, but saved enough on my initial budget to buy a pucker 22" widescreen monitor and have enough left over for a fancy meal for 2 :D  (I would invite you, but my gf called dibs!) I will recommend the site to anyone that mentions PC's to me and will probably be back in a few days when the components arrive and I can't fit the buggers together!! Pete
a b B Homebuilt system
September 1, 2010 11:45:39 PM

Well seeing as this is a discussion thread all you can do to mark it solved is to change the thread title.

It's not like any of the other mobos that were suggested would have been difficult to overclock. Infact the MSI would have been the easiest of the lot due to OCGenie - one of the better auto-OCing utilities.

OCUK is definitely a good site for cut-price specials.

Nice RAM.

The FAEX does boot about 2 seconds faster than the Samsung Spinpoint F3 according to this article, IMO the speed up is hardly worth it. And the interface makes next no difference to it's speed. The only drives that will make use of SATA III are SSDs, and they don't do it fully yet.

But overall it will indeed be a fantastic system. Just spending lots of time on this forum can make you nitpick like crazy. Good luck building, you'll be fine. Put the motherboard together (apart from the GPU), put the psu in, get a rough idea of where the cables go, put the mobo in the case and connect everything up.
!