I am going to be building a new gaming computer and have tried to read up and get as much information as possible before starting my build/ordering parts. As I have been reading a few questions have surfaced I have been unable to answer.
1) NF200? I read in one article on Tom's that the NF200 was nearly essential if I planned to run 2x GPU in SLI, which I intend to do. That article referenced the ASUS P8P67 WS Revolution as having NF200. If I go with a newer Z68 board is the NF200 still needed or are the issues it prevented no longer prevalent with the Z68 sets?
2) It's been awhile since I have built a unit, my last rig had as my main gaming HD 2 of the 10,000 RPM Raptors in RAID setup. I realize the new SSD drives are the way to go, my question is, can you set them up in a RAID to split data as with the old mechanical drives? Is this needed? I would be looking at say 2 x of 120 GB SSD = 240 GB (roughly).
3) Z68 board or P67 board. Lots of threads on there about this I know, my question specifically is, can I turn off the SSD cache system if I plan to run 2 large SSD's anyway for my main drives? I would have a 2TB or 3TB mechanical drive for storage (video, music, etc..). I may do a fair amount of video editing, conversion, etc.. which was why I was leaning towards the Z68 boards.
4) From reading reviews I want to use the Scythe SCMG-3000 120 mm Heat Pipe CPU Cooler. Everyone talks about how big these are, and I have read case reviews where folks say they had to remove a case door fan to get the cooler clearance, or in some cases even remove the door itself. Yet I can't find projected case dimensions from the CPU top to the door/door fan, to even check ahead of time if my cooler would fit a specific case. Am I missing something here?
I am torn between MB's currently, narrowed down to 3 so far (see below) but I am open to other options. I like ASUS and would prefer to stay with them. My 3 choices currently are:
ASUS P8P67 Deluxe ($219)
ASUS P8P67 WS Revolution ($239)
ASUS P8Z68 Deluxe ($249)
With only $30 between these price is really not an issue, I want the best board that will take me into the future. I will mostly be gaming on this computer but also doing some video editing, etc... so is the Z68 my only real choice? Are there Z68 boards with NF200 (if this is needed?).
My other components so far that I am considering:
ASUS GTX 560 Ti x 2 in SLI (I will run 2 cards in SLI but will probably never go to 3 x SLI )
Kingston HyperX DDR3 1600 - 16 GB
Windows 7 64 bit
Scythe SCMG-3000 120mm Heat Pipe CPU Cooler
SSD - have not picked out size or brand yet
Storage drive - will go for a 2TB or larger 6GB/s unit
Any input is appreciated. I want to build a solid unit that will last me awhile - when it is time to upgrade I normally pass my current computer on to my kids/wife and build new again, so once I build this I really have no need to upgrade it in the future.
Well you definitely have a lot of questions, so let me see what I can help you with here...
1. First off I do suggest a board with the NF200 chip if you are going to be running SLI/xfire. This will provide some more bandwidth to the PCIe lanes when utilized. The Z68 has pluses when using for things like video and audio work.
2. The problem with SSD's in RAID is the fact that TRIM does not support RAID. They will run great for like a month then you will see performance degradation due to TRIM not working. Your best bet is to just use the SSD in a non-raid setup until TRIM can support RAID.
3. The SSD cache options are enabled and disabled so you can set it up how you please, and are not forced to use it. I suggest the Z68 though if you are doing video/audio work as you had mentioned.
4. The best thing that I can recommend is doing some googling and see if anyone has that case and is running that cooler, and see if they ran into any problems with it.
ASRock just released several new motherboards in their Gen3 line. I am mentioning this because I think you mentioned future-proofing a bit. The new Gen3 mobo's support PCIe 3.0 when paired with an Ivybridge processor (not yet out) and has a lot of features including the NF200 chip. There are currently three out on Newegg.com and more releasing soon. I am actually waiting for the Extreme7 Gen3 to release for my current build, which ASRock told me it is supposed to come out in the US this week.
1. NF200 is useless unless 3-WAY it adds latency but offers the 3-WAY SLI option. The GTX 560 series is limited to 2-WAY and 3-WAY is NOT possible. You'd need a GTX 570/580 for 3-WAY (4-WAY on a few LGA 1366).
Further a SATA3 (6Gb/s) 'Interface' on a mechanical HDD has nothing to do with its' speed; HDD are 120MB/s~140MB/s in other words they saturate the old SATA I ports, 1/2 SATA II, 1/4 SATA III.
3. Z68's ace in the hole is Quick Sync limited to MPEG-2/4 encoding which is only a fraction of the encoding available. SRT is limited to 64GB or smaller SSD so RAID 0 240GB couldn't be used in any intelligent way - yes you could partition-off 64GB but even then in RAID 0 + Partition 'I' wouldn't even try it other than for 'screwing around' and never in my 'real' rig. Pure Gaming there's no upside to the Z68.
I found a good article/test that looks at the Nvidia NF200 systems. I wanted to get a better handle on this since I want the best option for my 2 x SLI GPU approach.
As stated above the NF200 only helps with system performance IF you are using 3 or more graphics cards (3 x SLI or Crossfire). When using 2 x SLI or Crossfire the standard Intel x8/x8 is actually just as fast as jumping to the NF200 x16/x16. I know based on numbers that doesn't make sense but you can read this article that explains it further.