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Feedback on gaming/music producing system

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September 22, 2010 1:16:34 PM

Hi everybody,

I want a new system for electronic music production and gaming. This is a system that was recommended to me:

Case: Antec Three Hundred
PCU: Cooler Master Real Power M 620 Watt, 24 Pins, Modular cabels
DVD: LG GH22NS50 S-ATA, Bulk, Black
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB, 7200 Rpm, 32 MB, S-ATA II/300
CPU: Intel Core I7 950 3.06 Ghz, Boxed, Excl. Videochip, Quad Core
Cooler: Scythe Yasya
MOBO: Asrock X58 EXTREME
GPU: Asus GeForce GTX 480 1536 MB
MEM: Corsair TR3X6G1600C9 6 GB, PC3-12800, 1600 MHz, 9, Non-ECC, Kit Of 3

It looks good to me, but im not really into it. My main concern is the Asrock motherboard, i've read ambigious stuff about it on some review sites. I would really appreciate some feedback from you guys, as i'm really in doubt what to do/buy.

--Ronny

More about : feedback gaming music producing system

a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
September 22, 2010 10:24:42 PM

If you don't plan on upgrading the GPU at all, I would suggest getting 2 GTX 460s instead of a 480, since they'll beat a 480 around the block all day long in SLI, and they actually cost less (only like $20 less). If you get the 460s, get the EVGA 1GB with the lifetime warranty. You'll also need a bigger PSU (750W should do it).

I also am a little concerned about the motherboard. Asrock is not bad but they're not know for the best quality either. I went with EVGA, but other good brands are ASUS and Gigabyte.

I would also change your RAM. Corsair has been having a lot of issues getting their RAM to work properly with the X58 chipset, since you manually have to set the RAM speed in your BIOS (Intel "limits" it to 1066). When I was building my computer I was strongly advised by the guys here on Tom's and reviewers to stay away from their RAM. It was also more expensive, and still seems to be a little.

I got the Patriot Viper II Sector 7 CAS 8 RAM (which is $10 +$25 MIR cheaper than the Corsair), but I would also suggest the Kingston HyperX and the G.Skill Ripjaws Series; all are close to the same price and are of the highest quality.
I bought this when it was $175, and it's gone down significantly in price (for the better). I've built several systems with Patriot and love it!
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
a b B Homebuilt system
September 22, 2010 11:27:52 PM

Another reason for considering a different mobo is USB 3.0 and SATA 3.0 support. These new standards permit much faster USB and disk drives to operate at full speed. Since this system should last a while, those devices may become important to you. Or not. One example:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128423

The psu choixe raises a couple of questions. I haven't found a qualified review of that particular make/model, and that leads us here to either not comment or recommend a brand/unit we know to be tested reliable. PSU problems are the most frequent issues here, and malfunctions cause the most difficult to diagnose problems, usually leading to "swap out the psu".

Second point is power. Its concievable that unit could run, eg, 2x460, because pushed to the max that system shouldn't draw more than 500-600W. But its better to allow for a power supply to age, and deliver less power reliably. Further, its nice to have them running at 80% or under, usually a comfortable and efficient load level.

So buying new, I'd recommend a 750W if you are considering 2x460 as an option, like this unit:

Antec Earthwatts 750W modular $85 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371026

Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
September 23, 2010 12:06:10 AM

SATA 3.0 isn't a huge advantage though, since the 6Gbps drives aren't even able to push out that much data yet. It'll take a few more years for the tech to get better and cheaper (SATA 3 drives are expensive right now).

I'd recommend the 650W Antec TruePower Series, since they rate their power by continuous output power, not maximum output. Otherwise, get a 750W max output PSU.
September 23, 2010 1:47:21 AM

@boiler1990, Twoboxer: i took your advice and revised my setup to this:

Case: Antec Three Hundred
PCU: Antec EarthWatts Series EA-750 750 Watt, 20+24 Pins, 80 Plus Rating
CPU: Intel Core I7 950 3.06 Ghz, Boxed, Excl. Videochip, Quad Core
GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 460 SC EE 1024 MB (2x SLI)
MEM: Kingston HyperX Triple Channel 6 GB, PC3-12800, 1600 MHz, 9, Non-ECC, Kit Of 3
MOBO: Asus P6X58D-E
Cooler: Scythe Yasya
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB, 7200 Rpm, 32 MB, S-ATA II/300
DVD: LG GH22NS50 S-ATA, Bulk, Black

@boiler1990: you recommended the 650W PSU in a later post.. Is that going to be enough? Because you first said I was going to need a 750W PSU, and as Twoboxer remarked, maybe it is better to get a 750W PSU and keep it at a 80% avg. load?

Concerning the memory, I opted for PC3-12800 6GB triple channel kit by Kingston. And for the motherboard i picked the Asus P6X58D-E. I do need a legacy PCI slot for my professional soundcard. However, I'm not a motherboard expert. Could you please comment on this setup?

I really appreciate your professional feedback! Thank you guys!

--Ronny
a b B Homebuilt system
September 23, 2010 2:09:01 AM

Here's two benchmarks from respected orgs showing power consumption AT THE WALL for the ENTIRE system:

Anand Bench http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/181?vs=158

Way down at bottom, see "525W". (Also note 460 SLI vs 480 overall)

Tom's http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gtx-460-sli-geforce-gtx-480,2694-10.html

Shows 470W. (also shows 460SLI vs 480.

The 10% difference could be differences in psu efficiency, configuration, or differences in Furmark settings.

Taking 525W, and allowing 90% efficiency (higher than almost all psus), you need 470W from your PSU. Add back 50-75W for high cpu usage at the same time, and you're back at 525W-550.

So, 650W should be plenty to run a relatively normal 460SLI configuration. But you are at the edge of 80% - not a magic number - and the psu hasn't aged yet.

I've often advocated 650W for this config, but have become convinced people should be told 750W because they do not often follow our specific choice of psu. A Corsair 650W will suffice, but I would buy a 750W Corsair :) 
September 23, 2010 2:49:11 AM

Twoboxer said:

*snip*

I've often advocated 650W for this config, but have become convinced people should be told 750W because they do not often follow our specific choice of psu. A Corsair 650W will suffice, but I would buy a 750W Corsair :) 


Twoboxer, why do you prefer a Corsair PSU ? Just out of curiousity...

--Ronny
a b B Homebuilt system
September 23, 2010 3:13:35 AM

PSU failures are the most frequent here, so we tend to rely on known good brands/lines. These have been examined/reviewed by qualified third parties.

Seasonic hasn't made a stinker in years. They make psus for other folks. Corsair has never made/branded a "stinker" line. Antec can generally be trusted - its Earthwatts line is superior - but it also makes entry level products that are merely servicable, mostly.

Otherwise, it takes a qualified third-party review of each specific model to allow me (us) to recommend it. Check my comment on your original choice, the 620W CM. We like you, we don't want you back here :) 

So when talking about psus generally as I was, I didn't mention Seasonic (because they aren't pretty black, dunno how you would react to that) and I didn't mention Antec, because I don't want you to buy a 650 Antec Basiq.

You can often get a good bargain on a psu from another source by googling "brand model wattage review". If you can find detailed reviews - examination of parts, their sources, use of a scope to measure ripple and voltage under load, use of a controlled load for testing, testing at 45C-50C, etc - do it. It's fun, can be rewarding, but it takes more time than I have here though.

If you can't find that review, buy a Corsair, Seasonic, or Antec Earthwatts. The $10 or $20 you might save just ain't worth it.
September 23, 2010 3:26:25 AM

@Twoboxer: Thank you for the great explanation, and I agree with you, I'd rather spend some more to get great quality products. I want this setup to last for a while again, not to have it die in 1 week. ;) 

I'm pretty confident about this setup now. The only thing I'm not yet really sure about is the Asus motherboard. I'd like some recommendations from you guys.

Thank you! This has been a great help!

--Ronny
a b B Homebuilt system
September 23, 2010 3:44:04 AM

The mobo you have chosen is fine. Here's a review comparing it to its Gigabyte competitor, which is - as usual - $10 cheaper:

http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/motherboards/2010/08/2...[/url}

I gave you the conclusion page, but the first couple of pages might be worth reading.

Either of these is fine. Before you ask, I would choose Gigabyte. Before you ask, the reason is I had two EVGA board failures, one bad Asus mobo issue, bought a Gigabyte, and haven't looked at another mfg since. I now almost understand the "Gigabyte" language, and I don't want to spend time learning to speak "Asus".

This makes my choice irrelevant to you :) " target="_blank">http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/motherboards/2010/08/2...[/url}

I gave you the conclusion page, but the first couple of pages might be worth reading.

Either of these is fine. Before you ask, I would choose Gigabyte. Before you ask, the reason is I had two EVGA board failures, one bad Asus mobo issue, bought a Gigabyte, and haven't looked at another mfg since. I now almost understand the "Gigabyte" language, and I don't want to spend time learning to speak "Asus".

This makes my choice irrelevant to you :) 
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
September 23, 2010 6:06:46 PM

DeliQ said:


@boiler1990: you recommended the 650W PSU in a later post.. Is that going to be enough? Because you first said I was going to need a 750W PSU, and as Twoboxer remarked, maybe it is better to get a 750W PSU and keep it at a 80% avg. load?


The GTX 460s in SLI used ~400-450W or so, so add that to the power needs of the CPU and you'll be right near 600-650W. The differences between the 650W I suggested in the later post and the 750W Twoboxer and I suggested before is pretty simple.

The Antec 650W Continuous Power PSU will provide a tested 650W minimum continuously to your system.

A standard 750W Maximum Power PSU can provide 750W, but not very often (usually just a spike), so a 750W running at 85% efficiency is 637.5W, and is not necessarily a continuous supply of power.

Both PSUs will work, but you just need to be careful of what measurement the PSU manufacturer is giving you.


As far as your GPU selection goes, save a few bucks and get the EVGA GTX 460 EE Stock card (not OCed); You can OC it, and 2 460s OCed in SLI only draw under 510W. You can save another $20 there. You can get it for the same price on Amazon.com and Newegg.com, but Amazon has free shipping (if you have Prime, you can get it in 2 days!)

Overclocking the GPUs is easy. I downloaded MSI Afterburner (to use on the GTX 460 I just recommended you), and then you just set the core clock/shader clock, and memory clock using sliders. If you get really into it, you can do some research and tweak the voltages to get higher clocks, but it's really not necessary.
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
September 23, 2010 6:12:50 PM

DeliQ said:
@Twoboxer: Thank you for the great explanation, and I agree with you, I'd rather spend some more to get great quality products. I want this setup to last for a while again, not to have it die in 1 week. ;) 

I'm pretty confident about this setup now. The only thing I'm not yet really sure about is the Asus motherboard. I'd like some recommendations from you guys.


As long as you stick with the major brands in Motherboards (ASUS, EVGA, Gigabyte, even *sigh* Intel), you'll be ok. They all have very good lifetimes, but occasionally you get a bad egg here or there (it's hard to ship these 100% damage free). As long as you get a decent warranty (~3 yrs), you should be ok.

If you'd like to look at some other PSUs, I would recommend all of Corsair's models, the XFX Black Edition 750W, Seasonic (which makes Corsair and the XFX BE PSUs), and the Antec TruePower series.
OCZ, Thermaltake, Coolermaster and the like are really hit or miss out there, but you should be comfortable with one of the above one's we've recommended.
September 23, 2010 6:22:27 PM

@boiler1990: Ok I see, thank you! I like to stick with ASUS mobos, they never let me down. (just from personal experience) About the PSU, Twoboxer also recommended a Corsair PSU, although I was kind of settled on the Antec EarthWatts one, I'll take it into reconsideration.

Finally, some friends of mine recommended cooling paste (is that the correct term?). Is that really worth it? Like spend a few bucks on paste? I'm not really a big time overclocker...

Thank you guys,

--Ronny
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
September 23, 2010 6:38:56 PM

Corsair's PSUs may have a better efficiency rating than the EarthWatts series. It's only 80 Plus certified, but it isn't Bronze, Silver, or Gold. It's not bad, just disappointing. Corsair will definitely be a little more expensive, but I'd say the extra $10-20 is worth it.


If you're using a decent cooler, you'll want a good thermal paste/compound. Now, that's not to say that the stock paste is going to kill your computer, but it will run a bit cooler, and it's a relatively small investment ($10).
Arctic Silver 5 is highly regarded, and it's fairly cheap: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

All you do is put a little on the CPU cooler base (where it sits on the CPU) and a dab on top of the CPU itself once it's in place, and then try to get a nice smooth surface using an old credit card or something flat and plastic. If you placed the dry base on the CPU, there would be air gaps, which don't transfer heat as quickly as a thermal paste (which has metal/ceramic bits inside it).

It really makes a big deal when you're doing heavy work on your computer (editing, games, etc.) for long periods of time; you'd probably see a several degrees Celsius difference between stock and Arctic Silver.
September 24, 2010 6:52:15 PM

I placed the order :D  This is the final configuration (just to keep you guys updated):

Case: Antec Three Hundred
PCU: Corsair AX750 750 Watt, 20+24 Pins, 80 Plus Rating
CPU: Intel Core I7 950 3.06 Ghz, Boxed, Excl. Videochip, Quad Core
GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 460 SC EE 1024 MB (2x SLI)
MEM: Kingston HyperX Triple Channel 6 GB, PC3-12800, 1600 MHz, 9, Non-ECC, Kit Of 3
MOBO: Asus P6X58D-E
Cooler: Scythe Yasya
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB, 7200 Rpm, 32 MB, S-ATA II/300
DVD: LG GH22NS50 S-ATA, Bulk, Black

I'm really excited! Thank you for all the great feedback guys!

--Ronny
a b B Homebuilt system
September 24, 2010 11:19:54 PM

You *should* be excited - nice rig.

You are quite welcome, good luck with the rig, and ENJOY the build and use.
!