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$2000 gaming rig - overdoing it?

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September 3, 2010 1:12:07 AM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Next month

BUDGET RANGE: Not more than $2250 with shipping and taxes

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Games...

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, speakers. I will probably buy new ones but not including in the budget.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg.ca, I will be looking for best prices in shops around my town and the internet once I know exactly what to get.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel / Nvidia (tired of amd/ati) Mid tower (had this full tower for like 10 years and sick of it)

OVERCLOCKING: No

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Sli

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200... more if you can find me a monitor that doesn't cost $2000 it self.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Quiet, won't burn out after a week. Won't need updating in the next year.


Now i,ve been browsing for a while and I think I've ended up with something that might be ok. The only thing I'm less used with is all the power usage. Is this psu enough? Too much? Should I got with a motherboard that only takes 2000mhz ram but costs less and upgrade to better ram? I don't want to overdo it either. I know that going Raid 0 with 2 ssd if probably faster and is also cheaper than buying a 120gb one. So is the sli card. Benchmarks show the 460 SLI going faster than the 470(or 480) and is cheaper. I also don't want to go to all the trouble of overclocking and cooling the system. I'd like to keep it stock. (Last time I overclocked it was my dx2-66 that went to a whooping 80mhz). i am also changing the monitor. I have a nice syncmaster lcd 19'' but it doesn't do 1920x1200 and isn't widescreen.

Here's the rig:

COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
$79.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

COOLER MASTER Silent Pro M600 RS-600-AMBA-D3 600W ATX12V V2.3 SLI Certified
$99.49
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

ASUS P6X58D-E LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
$249.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Intel Core i7-950 Bloomfield 3.06GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor BX80601950
$329.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

2x EVGA 01G-P3-1372-TR GeForce GTX 460 Superclocked (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support
$479.98
($239.99 each)
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop
$143.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

2x Corsair Force F40 CSSD-F40GB2 2.5" 40GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
$258.00
($129.00 each)
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burner Black SATA Model AD-7261S-0B LightScribe Support - OEM
$19.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

ASUS VW246H Glossy Black 24" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor
$229.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

Grand total with shipping : $2,075.19

Any advice would be good. I'm kind of in a limbo. I think that was I am getting is probably the best I could end up with, but I fear I am either missing on something big for a few bucks more or going way over my head and wasting money on stuff that won't perform as it should.

Thanks
September 3, 2010 1:43:59 AM

Although two GTX 460s in SLI would offer impressive performance now, that setup will leave you with no route to upgrade. If you don't ever want to bother with upgrading your components, that may be fine. Personally I would go with a single GTX 470, HD 5850, or HD 5870. That way I would be able to add a second one in the future, when games have become even more graphically demanding and those graphics cards have become outdated, cheaper.

I don't know that it's worth the effort/risk to Raid two SSDs. SSDs don't generally improve gaming performance very much, anyway. Here's an article on the subject of putting Sandforce SSDs in RAID 0:

http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

If you still want an SSD, the Crucial RealSSD C300 128GB has been praised recently for having the highest read speeds (it's the only SATA III SSD released so far) and generally very good performance overall. Despite being more than 50% larger than your raid setup, it isn't much more expensive at $284.

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...
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September 3, 2010 1:58:11 AM

That PSU is definitely a better choice and a better value.

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September 3, 2010 2:16:27 AM

Your case, Memory, DVD burner, and monitor seem like a good value, but you can get a single 120 GB SSD for the same price as your two 40GB SSDs.

Those video cards are expensive. You will be able to play all the games you want on just one, but if you get just one and plan to buy another later, don't buy the super clocked one, because you will never find one with the same clock speed a year from now. I made this mistake.


You can get a modular 600W PSU for less.

Edit: To sp12's point, a higher wattage rating doesn't necessarily mean it takes up more power. It means that it is capable of taking up more power when the components of your computer are swapped out for more power hungry ones. So if you upgrade later it will be good to go. That said, my computer runs under 300W on a 650W PSU.
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September 3, 2010 3:05:24 AM

If you want to save some money on the power supply, the XFX 650W power supply is fairly well regarded, 80 Plus bronze certified for efficiency, and modular. It's $84 after a $20 rebate. If you still want to go with two GTX 460s, this would be the cheapest, lowest output power supply that I would recommend.

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
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September 3, 2010 3:13:12 AM

wielander said:
I don't know that it's worth the effort/risk to Raid two SSDs. SSDs don't generally improve gaming performance very much, anyway. Here's an article on the subject of putting Sandforce SSDs in RAID 0:

http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

If you still want an SSD, the Crucial RealSSD C300 128GB has been praised recently for having the highest read speeds (it's the only SATA III SSD released so far) and generally very good performance overall. Despite being more than 50% larger than your raid setup, it isn't much more expensive at $284.


Generally good advice (especially on the GPUs), but based on this Anandtech article, I'd only get the 256 GB C300. At most other capacities, I think a SandForce-1200 drive is a better buy. I say this owning a 128 GB C300 myself.

Thanks for the link on RAIDing SF SSDs, going to go read that in a little bit.
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September 3, 2010 3:24:47 AM

coldsleep said:
Generally good advice, but based on this Anandtech article, I'd only get the 256 GB C300. At most other capacities, I think a SandForce-1200 drive is a better buy.

Thanks for the link on RAIDing SF SSDs, going to go read that in a little bit.



That review from Anandtech came before the firmware update (which fixed alot of problems with the drive and added TRIM support). Tom's hardware included the 64GB Crucial C300 with the firmware update in their latest SSD review:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/windows-7-ssd-trim,...

They selected it as a good pick because of its faster read speeds and because the performance impact of the faster write speeds of sandforce drives is less noticable in real world computing situations. The write speeds for the 128GB C300 seem to fall right in between the 64GB and 128GB at ~145 MB/s. If the 256GB C300 runs away with the cake like everyone says, I think the C300 128GB and 120GB sandforce drives are in a dead heat.

The Crucial C300 drives are also cheaper than sandforce drives or at least the same price with a few more GB stacked on. I guess both are good options, though.

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September 3, 2010 3:32:47 AM

wielander said:
That review from Anandtech came before the firmware update (which fixed alot of problems with the drive and added TRIM support).


I read the Tom's review as well, but Anand indicated on the first page of the article that he had been testing the rev 2 firmware.

I think I read the conclusion of the Tom's article the opposite of how you read it.

This seemed like the significant comment on the 64 GB size.:
Quote:
Be advised that the 64 GB unit is significantly slower than the 256 GB flagship when it comes to writing data.


It should have slightly faster reads with a SATA III controller, but the writes are going to be significantly slower than a 60 GB SF-1200 drive.

I agree that either one is a good deal, but at smaller sizes, I'd still go with the SandForce drives. I guess I'd recommend to the OP that you read all you can before making a decision one way or the other on C300 vs. SF drives.
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September 3, 2010 3:39:08 AM

I reread the conclusion too; it's very confusing.

They give kind of a universal best value award to the C300 series, and then say that the C300 256GB is the best SSD outright. Then they say that the Sandforce drives are best at 100-120GB, which seems contradictory. Either a 60GB Sandforce drive should be better than the 64GB C300 or the 128GB C300 should be better than a 120GB Sandforce.

Transative property of SSDs:

Relative to Performance
C300 256 >> C300 128 >> C300 64
C300 256 >> Sandforce 240
Sandforce 240 ~ Sandforce 120 ~ Sandforce 60
C300 256 >> Sandforce 120, Sandforce 60
Sandforce 120 >> C300 64
Sandforce 120 ?? C300 128

Relative to Value
C300 >> Sandforce

They definitely are pro Sandforce at 120GB in the article, but they didn't review (and maybe weren't even aware of the existence of?) the 128GB C300 or a 60GB Sandforce so their conclusions seem premature/speculative in retrospect.
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September 3, 2010 4:50:21 PM

Thanks for the advice on the SSD and GPU.

I think you are right on the SSD and not going RAID will probably make it less trouble if it becomes unstable (seems RAID-0 can go wrong often).
Also will I be able to set it up in sata III right away or are the drivers not out/up to par yet?

You think with a single 470 gpu card I will be able to play the games on max details 1980x1200 for the next year or 2? Then in a couple years, I would be able to add a second one in SLI and improve performance for the nxt year or 2, making my rig probably right for the next 4 years ? Also it will be possible to add a second 3x2gb of ram.
That is why I would need a PSU that reflects the upgrade it say 2 years.

EVGA 012-P3-1470-AR GeForce GTX 470 (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit
$339.99

Crucial RealSSD C300 CTFDDAC128MAG-1G1 2.5" 128GB SATA III
$274.00

These changes would make my rig 123,29$ cheaper.

I will then be able to pick the 650w XFX psu. Unless you think that when I upgrade to SLI I would lack power.

I was looking at this case yesterday and I think it would be a good choice.
The one you linked is also good. In the end I'll probably pick the one I like most and fits the money I have left to not go over budget.

LIAN LI Lancool PC-K62 Black 0.8 mm SECC, Plastic + Mesh ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
$106.99

edit: Do you think that a 140mb write is a little slow on the c300? Most drives have double that speed. The read is faster on the c300 though by almost 100mb/s. Then again I guess playing games doesn't require much writing. Faster write speed probably is more usefull to someone doing editing and such.
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September 3, 2010 5:51:31 PM

tabarnakus said:


Also will I be able to set it up in sata III right away or are the drivers not out/up to par yet?


It seems like both the Sata III motherboards and those Crucial C300 drives are ready to go. The C300s have been benchmarked on Sata III and all of the recent reviews on newegg are stellar. I've seen several motherboard reviews in which they mention they are running C300s on Sata III.

tabarnakus said:


You think with a single 470 gpu card I will be able to play the games on max details 1980x1200 for the next year or 2? Then in a couple years, I would be able to add a second one in SLI and improve performance for the nxt year or 2, making my rig probably right for the next 4 years ? Also it will be possible to add a second 3x2gb of ram.
That is why I would need a PSU that reflects the upgrade it say 2 years.


A single GTX 470 can do at least ~40 fps at 1980x1200 on some of the most demanding games out today. Obviously two GTX 460s are better, but in two years that second GTX 470 would cost a lot less than a second GTX 460 will today. You can look at the benchmarks here:

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/160?vs=181

tabarnakus said:


I will then be able to pick the 650w XFX psu. Unless you think that when I upgrade to SLI I would lack power.


If you choose the GTX 470, you would need the 850W power supply to comfortably run two in SLI. Otherwise, the 650W one will be plenty.

tabarnakus said:


I was looking at this case yesterday and I think it would be a good choice.
The one you linked is also good. In the end I'll probably pick the one I like most and fits the money I have left to not go over budget.

LIAN LI Lancool PC-K62 Black 0.8 mm SECC, Plastic + Mesh ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
$106.99


I like Lian Li cases a lot (they are well built and look professional). I don't think you can go wrong between those choices.

tabarnakus said:


edit: Do you think that a 140mb write is a little slow on the c300? Most drives have double that speed. The read is faster on the c300 though by almost 100mb/s. Then again I guess playing games doesn't require much writing. Faster write speed probably is more usefull to someone doing editing and such.


They talk about the impact of the impact of the slower write speeds in the toms hardware article (note that they are reviewing the 64GB one that has half the write speed of the 128GB, 70 MB/s).

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/windows-7-ssd-trim,...

Look at the gaming throughput benchmark for reference. The lower write speed just doesn't show up that much in application tests (the c300 64GB 70MB/s matches the 256GB 200MB/s). The write speed only really showed up when files were being transfered/imported.
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September 4, 2010 1:58:07 AM

Wow thank you all for the good advise.

Here's what my rig would look like as of tonight :

COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
$89.98
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

XFX Black Edition XPS-850W-BES 850W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active
$149.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

ASUS P6X58D-E LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
$249.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6813131641

Intel Core i7-950 Bloomfield 3.06GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor BX80601950
$329.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 9115211CVF

EVGA 012-P3-1470-AR GeForce GTX 470 (Fermi) 1280MB
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Item...
combo with
OCZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Voltage Desktop Memory
$484.98
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Item...

Crucial RealSSD C300 CTFDDAC128MAG-1G1 2.5" 128GB SATA III
$274.00
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burner Black SATA Model AD-7261S-0B LightScribe Support - OEM
$19.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6827118040

ASUS VW246H Glossy Black 24" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor
$229.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6824236049

Grand total with shipping : $1,984.17

The benchmarks on the GPU wasn't very exciting, the gtx460 way overpowering the single 470 imo, but 40fps is way enough (especially when you've been playing games at 20fps for the past year). And I can always update in a year or two and get a second 470 for some nice frame rate.
The SSD bench on the other hand is very nice! Especially for what i will be using it for.

Now I just have to check which version of win7 is the best for me and I should be on my way to owning a nice rig!

Think I might post my rig in that contest you have on the forum, it's skimming just under 2k$ =) (although you all worked just as much as me on it hehe)

Thank you all, if you got other good advice on this ''pre-final'' list let me know.
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September 4, 2010 2:30:34 AM

Um.. why the FUC)K are you getting an i7 950????? Learn to overclock and get a i7 930 or this WHOLE BUILD IS WORTHLESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SRRY for meh french but wow :p 
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September 4, 2010 2:43:54 AM

you should read what I filled in my ''how to ask for build advice'' that you so proudly put in your signature and see that I DON'T want to overclock. And wtf it's 20$ more...
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September 4, 2010 2:45:08 AM

tabarnakus said:
you should read what I filled in my ''how to ask for build advice'' that you so proudly put in your signature and see that I DON'T want to overclock. And wtf it's 20$ more...

I said LEARN, but really, you are wasting money if you don't overclock. Even if you do know and are iffy, just read some articles and stuff, OC'in is say easier and safer these days
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September 4, 2010 2:46:33 AM

It would cost me more in heatsinks than buying the 950
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September 4, 2010 2:48:41 AM

tabarnakus said:
It would cost me more in heatsinks than buying the 950

but the 950 is only at 3ghz... get an i7 930 and overclock to 4ghz therefore surpassing the 950 for about the same price. And way better performance.

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

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

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

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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September 4, 2010 2:51:47 AM

How unstable can it get ? Will it shorten my cpu's life? I'm not one to change all my parts every few months. Also how hard is it ? I know there are tons of faqs on the net but I don't want to start tweaking with voltage and whatnot in my bios and even less with jumpers or other stuff on the mobo itself.
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September 4, 2010 2:55:00 AM

Hey Pizza whats up with the language. The OP said he didn't want to overclock. Why act like a fool and tell him to learn when maybe he doesn't want to. The 950 is 10.00 more than the 930 right now so its a no brainer.

Why do some people feel they are so superior to op's asking for some help? You lost all credibility.
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September 4, 2010 2:59:44 AM

IMO overclocking is fine as long as you don't mess with voltages and get an aftermarket heatsink. The majority of CPUs are rated so low because they start producing exponentially more heat as the clockspeed rises.

So, that i7-930 might be stable on stock voltage all the way up to 3.7ghz, but ends up producing 145 watts of heat while doing so, so it has to be rated down to a speed where it can match the TDP.

Overclocking starts getting dangerous when you start changing voltage/leaving options on auto. Realistically, if you set a processor to run at too high of a speed, it will simply return an error/throttle/refuse to boot. Set a processor's voltage too high and it's fried.
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September 4, 2010 3:06:13 AM

Ok thanks. I still got a few weeks before I buy all of this so I might start checking forums, but I doubt I'll be doing any.

In the long run I guess it doesn't matter all that much anyways, in a couple year I could always change the cpu to something faster and unless i'm mistaken, for games gpu power is probably gonna be the bottleneck before the cpu.
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September 4, 2010 3:07:58 AM

If you're waiting a few weeks come back then. ATI, AMD, Intel, and all SSD manufacturers are going to have refreshes coming out shortly.
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September 4, 2010 3:29:19 AM

Shortly is not well-known beyond 'before Q1 2011', but it puts price pressure on the current stock of items.

We know Intel has 25nm flash for SSDs in mass production, as well as 32nm Sandy Bridge in final revisions. And we know ATI has the 6000 series out to board partners. However, just because the hardware is there doesn't mean it will launch at a specific date.
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September 4, 2010 3:53:55 AM

I don't like the idea of buying a gpu with the idea that you can buy another one in a year or two a much reduced price. I still have an 8800gt paid $229 and for a good little while I wanted a second one but nvidia revamped it to a 9800gt and you could only buy a new 8800gt at expensive prices or get a used one which I couldn't find anything I really wanted at a good price when I wanted one a little over a year later.
So bet that the gtx 470 wont be for sale in 2 years and you'll have to get a used one. If you think you'll buy another one ins 6 months thats a different story but you never know what the market will do in that time period even if the hd6xxx series comes out. For instance the 5850 is just starting to make it back to its entry into the market at $269.
I would just get the pair of gtx 460s now and plan on selling and upgrading in 2 years if thats what you want to do.
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September 4, 2010 4:59:58 AM

sp12 said:
Shortly is not well-known beyond 'before Q1 2011', but it puts price pressure on the current stock of items.

We know Intel has 25nm flash for SSDs in mass production, as well as 32nm Sandy Bridge in final revisions. And we know ATI has the 6000 series out to board partners. However, just because the hardware is there doesn't mean it will launch at a specific date.


Yeah, I think it's important to keep in mind that there will always be something better coming out.


Sandy Bridge won't come out until next year, and the i7-950 has already been cut in price in preparation for it. Sandy Bridge also isn't the replacement for Bloomfield and socket 1366; it's an early replacement for Clarkdale and socket 1156. The i7-960 through i7-990X will still be Intel's fastest processors, and socket 1366 won't be phased out until a year from now. The i7-920 through i7-950 are a great value right now, and prices probably won't be cut all that much farther while they're still available.
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September 5, 2010 3:31:18 AM

Good point on the 2xgtx460... I haven't though about selling them after a few years to get a bit of money to buy a new one. And who knows maybe another single card will be very strong and it won't cost so much to upgrade in 2 years. I'll see what I decide untill then.
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September 5, 2010 3:33:51 AM

Oh btw if I go back to the SLI gtx460 will I be alright with a 650 psu or should I keep the 850w? Keeping the 850 probably would make it fool proof for future updates, but it's an easy $50 off right now that I can put on the gpus.
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September 5, 2010 4:16:38 AM

650W would be just enough for two GTX 460s in SLI as long as it's one of the better PSUs that have been mentioned. You would be drawing around ~525W at full load, without any overclock.
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September 5, 2010 4:33:38 AM

Alright thanks.

I've changed my i7-950 for the i7-930, since on newegg there are tons of combos with it, I save 30$ with the asus mobo combo + it's 30$ less. I don't think there is that much of a difference in power. Switched back to a 650w psu and 2xgtx460 gpus. Now i'm at 1,983$ grand total. Also changed the ram to G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 1600.
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September 5, 2010 4:35:55 AM

IMO the higher wattage PSUs would be safer, especially as it's really only 10$ more expensive after rebates/coupon codes.
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September 5, 2010 4:46:11 AM

Are you sure I would only be drawing 525w at full load? The benchs on the gtx460 sli gives it 525w only for the cards, which means only 125w would be left for the rest of the computer? It might not work that way though, sorry i'm a real newb when it comes to power consumption!
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September 5, 2010 4:46:44 AM

Yeah you might be right about that though!
On top of that the 850w is free shipping and theres a code to save 20$ making it like 12$ more.
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September 5, 2010 5:23:28 AM

tabarnakus said:
Are you sure I would only be drawing 525w at full load? The benchs on the gtx460 sli gives it 525w only for the cards, which means only 125w would be left for the rest of the computer? It might not work that way though, sorry i'm a real newb when it comes to power consumption!


Those benchmarks for the GTX460 SLI are for the whole test system; the cards alone draw ~300W. :p 


In Bench on Anandtech their test system used 528w with two GTX 460s in SLI. I plugged your complete build into Extreme Outer Vision's Power Supply Calculator, substituting a GTX 480 and adding 50W, to get the 525W number (that includes drives, peripherals, and fans). This power supply calculator is usually liberal with the watts if anything (CPU's are rated at TDP, peripherals and drives are at max spec).


You are still probably better off with the 850W PSU.
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September 6, 2010 5:12:09 AM

That Mobo you listed for $249 is now $219. I just bought the same one.
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September 6, 2010 5:44:48 AM

Nice, but it's still 249$ on newegg.ca ... weird.
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