Approximate Purchase Date: Early October (Building week of Oct. 17th) Budget Range: Roughly 2,000 USD... a bit over is okay. System Usage: 1. Gaming 2. Music recording (Protools) Parts Not Required: Mouse/Keyboard (Need monitor but have money outside the 2k budget for that) Preferred Website(s) for Parts: No preferance. Linked everything to NewEgg for now, I will shop
around before actually purchasing for best deals. Shopping tips are welcomed. Country of Origin: United States Overclocking: In the future. SLI or Crossfire: In the future. Monitor Resolution: Don't know.
How does the build below look? Any fatal errors? Bottlenecks? Compatability issues? Do you think this will be too complicated for a first-time build? This computer has to last me for several years (6-8 at least) with occassional upgrades but nothing drastic. I guess a decent upgrade path is a theme for this one.
The build is based off of MadAdmiral's post on the first page of the 'High-End Intel Gaming PC' competition thread. Many of my choices were the same or similar to his before even reading the thread (CPU, MOBO, GPU). And certain features, like PSU and SSDs, I don't know enough about to make my own decisions on. So I used this as a starting point at least.
The only changes I made were upgrading from the i7-930 to i7-950, switching to a full-tower case (my thinking is upgradability and airflow (and since I have the space), does it cause any compatibility problems with the other parts?), and added the HSF he recommended.
Building PCs is basically new to me. I have read the stickies/guides here at TH (very helpful), followed the forums for awhile, and watched a lot of Youtube on the subject. Unfortunately, I have one shot at a full-power machine with no prior experience. I do have some contacts that can help if things aren't going well.
Does the PSU give me enough headroom for upgrading?
I am considering downgrading the GPU to a 5870... that handles SC2 well enough at fairly high settings according to the 'SC2 revisited' article. This would give me a bit more to spend on the monitor and leave some room for unexpected expenses. I could upgrade later when the price drops (or go crossfire according to the compatability chart on Maziar's faq). What do you think?
Thanks for the reply, somebody_007. I am going to take your advice and drop the SSD, but I am still a bit torn on the GPU...
I am building this machine for Star Craft 2 specifically (which I should have said flat-out in the original post, sorry), and from what I gather SC2 isn't built to take advantage of Crossfire/SLI setups. So with that in mind, my thinking is to splurge on a single GPU (for now) and get the 5970.
If I do indeed add another GPU down the road, it won't be for 2-3 years, so I want to get a nice one now, even if the price is going to fall eventually. This pushes the budget at $650, but is doable - especially by losing the SSD.
if you only plan on running two video cards at most then I would consider a 1156 setup. the x58 motherboards are only really good if you plan on running more than 2 pci express slots(video cards, ssd pci-express etc)
So now I am a bit confused on these "Crossfire ready" cards. I was thinking these are cards that are ready to be paired with another "Crossfire ready" card. But they are actually two-cards-in-one and will already be in Crossfire?
@zucchini: I see your point on the 1156 setup. I was going the x58 to keep the most options/upgradability open in the future, but thinking more about it with your added insight, I doubt I would be going with more than two cards on this machine. Maybe it is "back to the drawing board." On the other hand, the cost difference between the going Intel Core i7-950 + GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R vs. the CPU + MOBO on your 1156 setup is only $30 or so. Maybe keeping options open in the future is worth the extra $30 now? I can't decide.
I think I'll wait for any input on the crossfire/crashing with SC2 before making any more decisions. If anyone can clear up the crossfire ready cards for me, I would greatly appreciate that too. I'm going to take another look at the faq.
The audio work is just a personal hobby, albeit a serious one. It can be quite demanding on the RAM when layering dozens of tracks. My 2002 machine just can't quite cut it. But I'm definitely focusing on the gaming aspect with this PC and hoping the massive performance upgrade over my 2002 machine should be enough to handle Protools without a problem. Getting cut off in the middle of recording a sick riff because the comp can't handle it really sucks. I am not serious enough about the audio quality to really buy certain parts for it. Though I am curious what the advantage of the CPU you listed for Music software based PCs is. If the computer will be able to handle the multiple tracks without lagging out (errors, cancels current take) then I'll be happy.