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$3,000 gaming beast PC

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October 23, 2010 3:03:35 AM

G'day all,

Looking to build. Very first time builder. I've owned one other desktop in my life, a store-build. Since then, nothing but laptops for work. I've gone into probably TOO much detail - sorry - but I wanted to explain my thinking.

Kinda happy with my proposal ('cept memory... monitor), but seeking a review and any helpful facts or advice that might better perfect this beast.

Approximate Purchase Date: Next week, maybe the week after (depending on answers)
Budget Range: Below estimate is $4,000. Makes me cringe, but I'll probably still do it. Have spec'ed $5,000 builds. $5k makes me too nauseous to try, esp. when it's way outa date in a year.
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, video file conversions, part-time TV recorder, Web development and programming, file keeper
System Usage - Mandatory minimum: Above all else, this rig should allow me to play GTA IV at more than the present 9fps, and, for all this money, at more than 40fps; I dream of more than 60fps.
Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse. Have an old MS keyb and G500 already. Open to suggestions.
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Stuck in Oz. I've been referring to CPL's prices in the Green Guide for years, and unless folks have a better idea, I'll probably buy from them. Read on.
Country of Origin: Awwwstraaaaalia
Part Preferences: Nvidia, Intel.
Overclocking: Yes, would like to, when I figure out what it means and how to do it without frying my mobo
SLI or Crossfire: Yes, would like to, when I figure out what it means... no, srsly, when the gpu halves in price. So, in six months.
Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200 is my absolute minimum. 2560x1600 is my preference, but since I baulk at paying $1400 for a monitor, I may have to settle for something less. Why the minimum? 'Cuz I bought a laptop four years ago and IT had a 1920x1200 monitor. I am nothing short of astounded that monitors haven't moved on from there, but I refuse to have a four year old lappy with better resolution than my brand-spanking new $4,000 desktop. R - E - F - U - S - E
Self-Build: Unlikely. While I have no problem connecting up power supplies or plugging disks, the thought of plugging a 1366-pin $400 cpu into a $500 motherboard, and all the thermal pastes 'n' heat-sink/fans scares the daylights outa me. (I wish I'd built my own back in the P5 days, when it was 100 actual solid pins instead of 1000+ cathair-fine connectors.) I've heard one too many horror stories. So, that's the core reason I'd go to CPL: they'll put it together for me for a hundred bucks or so. No, I won't learn anything, but I don't need to hurry on that, really don't expect to be putting machines together every three months. This is a definite newbie build.
Additional Comments: (e.g.: Need to have a window and lots of bling, I would like a quiet PC) Yeah, those sound good.
CPU selected to date: Intel Core i7-950 3.06GHz Originally wanted i7-980x, but the expense was too much to bear. And then I got talked out of the 960 because I'm getting maybe 2fps extra in a game for, what, double the price? au$329
Mobo selected to date: GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD5 LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 I've already once asked what the difference between the UDs is, and it seems too slight, so knowing the 9 is out (I don't need quad-sli; or the expense) I picked the middle option: the 5. au$348
CPU-fan selected to date: Noctua NH-D14 120mm & 140mm SSO CPU Cooler Read nothing but good reviews for this one. Since I might end-up o/c, I figured I should be ready au$109
Memory selected to date: To be honest, I know it'll be 3x4GB 1600 DDR3s, but I can't tell the difference between all these codes: wtf is C8, C9 or C8D? Oh, but my mobo doesn't have 1600 as a standard speed?! (Why 12GB? VMs and a burning desire to never, ever, ever run out of memory again. 32-bit o/s sucks for that.) Kingston Corsair and Gskill appear to be the main brands down under. (Three Corsair 4GB 1600C8 i7 comes to au$348)
GPU selected to date: EVGA 015-P3-1480-AR GeForce GTX 480 (Fermi) 1536MB 'cuz I read EVGA hold their own against GA au$599
Case selected to date: COOLER MASTER HAF X Black Steel/Plastic ATX Full Tower 'cuz I like lotsa airflow so I don't have run the fans at 90% and seal the computer in a soundproof room; plus I read ppl's complaints my first choice, the Antec 902, was simply too squeezy. (I like the new Antec Lanboy air Yellow Black/Yellow 'cuz modular appeals, and I suspect I'm a ricer at heart.) au$245
Fan Controller selected to date: Scythe Kaze Master Pro 5.25 Fan Controller But not sure. I don't want to lose oversight of temperatures, so I'd at least like to be able to override the mobo. But, if I buy this am I forever turning dials? au$65 (CPL don't stock apparently) (Also considered the AeroCool Touch 2000 for a little extra rice, but I read nothing but bad about "fancy" front-panel displays dying a month later.)
Power Supply selected to date: CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-1000HX 1000W ATX12V 'cuz I read a glowing review of this that made me jump. My only issue: I orig' chose a 1200W, but was told, even with sli 480s, 1kW should be plenty. Sure enough, power tests I've seen playing Crysis confirm 650W outa the gpus, though furmark tests pull it up to 850W. That's cutting a 1000W PS a little too fine, imho. So, 1000 or 1200? au$299
HDDs selected to date: On HDD, I have gone back-n-forth plenty. My original aim was to follow the (probably now too old) "rule" of one disk o/s, one swap/temp-space (eg; video), one general data, one programs. To wit, I have gone with these:
O/S disk drive selected to date: OCZ Vertex-2E 3.5" 120GB (SSD) (Note; Newegg says its the Vertex2. CPL the 2E. ?!) au$295
Most other programs HDD selected to date: WD Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" 'cuz it's dirt cheap! (No, alright, it's not, buuut...) au$115
Swapspace HDD selected to date: WD Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" 'cuz it's fast and not too expensive au$115
Data HDD selected to date: WD Caviar Green WD20EARS 2TB SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" x2 in Raid1 au$270 (for the pair)
DVD selected to date: Probably a LG Bluray BH10LS30 Writer au$139 (closest on Newegg: LG WH10LS30K 10X Blu-ray Burner), though their reviews depress me. (CPL offer nothing better.) Or else just a $31 DVD writer.
Monitor selected to date: Refer above. While I would LIKE a 2560x1600 monitor, they are as rare as hen's teeth. I know of only two (below $2k) in Australia: the Dell Ultrasharp 3008WFP 30" for the inglorious au$1,599 or the Dell UltraSharp U3011 30" for a similarly absurd au$1,899. And since both those prices are beyond ridiculous, I guess I'm reduced to a 1920x1200, but have no idea what. est. au$600
Aggregate Price: All this comes to, roughly, au$3,963.

Have I forgotten something?

I really appreciate peoples' forebearance reading through this wurge, and would welcome any thoughts, particularly on the questions of:
  • What are these memory product codes and what memory should I be getting?
  • Whether buying DDR3-1600s is a waste if the mobo doesn't explictly handle it. Will this require o/c to get the mobo to do 1600? If not 1600, is 1333 fast enough for what I want, or am I forced onto the hyper-expensive DDR3-2200s?
  • Whether 1000W is enough to accomodate two 480s. This calculator says it marginally isn't, buuuut... if the tests of sli480s says 650W...
  • Am I wasting my time getting a fan controller and should just let the mobo manage things?
  • Whether I am wasting money on an SSD if I am looking at WD Blacks anyway?
  • Do I remotely have a viable HDD configuration worth thinking about?

    Plus, the overarching question of whether this is even close to a well-designed build. While I've probably poured (FFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU...-) 100 hours into this, reading reviews, specs, listening to ppl's opinions, it's not like I'm an expert.

    As I said, sorry it's so long.
  • More about : 000 gaming beast

    October 23, 2010 11:58:18 PM

    Hey, I'm going to be posting a few repleys here. I'll try and find a "cheap" monitor with your requested definition and I'll get you the answers on the whole RAM issue. And if I can I'll help you in other places... Though it is a shame your not building your own.
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    Best solution

    October 24, 2010 12:21:49 AM

    Ok, I found a few 2560x1600 monitors below $1,500 USD, I'll try and convert the prices.
    First off on tigerdirect.com I found a monitor from HP.
    Tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-details.asp?edpno=2578169&carld=3774
    Priced at $1,199.99USD/$1219.91AUD
    this monitor is 30" and has a very good ratings, but for gaming it may not be your best choice becouse it has a 12ms response time. When it comes to gaming, especially at high FPS you want at most an 8ms response time.

    The second monitor was also found on tigerdirect.com
    tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-details.asp?edpno=6291667&catld=3774
    priced at $1,149.99USD/$1,169.08AUD
    this monitor is cheaper than the previous, I can't say much for the reviews since there's only 1. This monitor has a 7ms response time so if you absolutly have to have such a high definition monitor this is probably your best bet for gaming unless you are willing to scrounge up the extra $1000. This montior is also 30".

    Those are the only 2 I could find. I hope this helped.
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    October 24, 2010 12:23:50 AM

    Oh, I forgot to mention that most games don't have a display defintion of 2560x1200, so you will probably be wasting your money with it, especially if your only going with one or two graphics cards.
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    October 24, 2010 12:36:38 AM

    Ok, I've done a little research for your RAM coding. These codes refer to the latency timing. For the best information on what this is and what you should go with I'm going to refer you to my source, I could explain this all but probably not as well.
    Http://www.directron.com/howtochoosme.html
    read through it and try and figure out as much as you can, if you have furthur questions post them, i'll try to answer them to the best of my abilities, and I'm sure that there are other people that will know more.
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    October 24, 2010 12:54:53 AM

    For your PSU issue, a 1000w should be enough, however if you want to be safe then I would recomend a 1200w, but that is only if you are planing on upgrading and are positive you will be overclocking in the future.
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    October 24, 2010 2:28:30 AM

    ASRock P55 Extreme4
    http://www.mwave.com.au/sku-28023369-ASRock_P55_Extreme...
    Intel Core i7 875K
    http://www.mwave.com.au/sku-19010205-Intel_Core_i7_875K...
    G.Skill 4GB (2x 2GB) Dual Channel Kit, PC3-12800 (1600MHz)
    http://www.mwave.com.au/sku-37140435-G_Skill_4GB_%282x_...
    Samsung SpinPoint F3 Desktop Class - Hard drive - 1 TB
    http://www.mwave.com.au/sku-22040155-Samsung_SpinPoint_..."_SATA_300_7
    OCZ Vertex 2 120GB SATA II 3.5"
    http://www.mwave.com.au/sku-22140387-OCZ_Vertex_2_120GB..."_Solid_State_Drive_0_1ms_Seek_Time_Read_285M
    LG BH10LS30 Internal SATA 10x Blu-Ray Rewriter
    http://www.mwave.com.au/sku-17090043-LG_BH10LS30_Intern...
    XFX 750W Black Edition Modular
    http://www.mwave.com.au/sku-34040583-XFX_750W_Black_Edi...
    Cooler Master HAF X
    http://www.mwave.com.au/sku-16011324-Cooler_Master_HAF_..."_Drive_
    Noctua D14
    http://www.mwave.com.au/sku-18020532-Noctua_D14_All_In_...
    ASUS VE276Q
    http://www.mwave.com.au/sku-27140032-ASUS_VE276Q_27"_Widescreen_LCD_Monitor_1920_x_1080_Resolution_300_cd_m2_Bri

    $2,214.80

    Two HD 6870 (wait a few days for those)

    http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ATI/Radeon_HD_6870_C...
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    October 24, 2010 3:20:21 AM

    Dude geeknation.. don't post so many damn replies at once.. against forum rules!
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    October 24, 2010 4:04:44 AM

    Yeah, I'm sorry about that, I tend to do that when I'm using my ipod, makes it a little easier, and it won't let me edit. I'll try to use my computer more often
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    October 24, 2010 12:24:49 PM

    geeknation said:
    The second monitor was also found on tigerdirect.com
    tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-details.asp?edpno=6291667&catld=3774
    priced at $1,149.99USD/$1,169.08AUD
    this monitor is cheaper than the previous, I can't say much for the reviews since there's only 1. This monitor has a 7ms response time so if you absolutly have to have such a high definition monitor this is probably your best bet for gaming unless you are willing to scrounge up the extra $1000. This montior is also 30".

    Geek, you're a legend for reviving my all-but-dead thread and all the input, which I am still digesting.

    Unfortunately, this is what it feels like to live in my a$$-end-of-nowhere of a country: http://www.shopbot.com.au/m/?m=HP+ZR30w

    The very same country, I might add, that is CLOSER to the Asia you Americans are importing that HP monitor from. And it costs us $800 more for... what, closer shipping? :fou: 
    Shame, really, 'cuz it doesn't look like a bad monitor.

    Thanks, too, Mosox. Wondering whether you're suggesting or asking, but I love the techpowerup link. INTERESTING reading!!
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    October 24, 2010 1:14:18 PM

    hes suggesting the 6870s or if u can wait see what the specs of the 6900 series will be and their prices

    cuz as it is now the 6870s beat out 470s in MOST games and are cheaper only reason now i see to go nvidia is if you want 3d as ATIs 3d is meh but ATI does have eyefinity!

    and with the 6k series the CrossfireX scaling has gone through the roof
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    October 25, 2010 1:03:17 AM

    Ooh, dude that sucks... But yet again HP is an American company so that might have a lot to due with pricing... A Mercedes is cheap in Europe as compared to America. Not to mention Hewlette-Packard probably has some kinda deal with the Chinese.
    I guess you'll just <HTML><I>have<I/><HTML/> to settle for 1920x1200... Lol.

    Edit: ^^^lol, HTML fail!!
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    November 24, 2010 3:08:40 AM

    Best answer selected by aragond.
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    !