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I7-950 / gtx470 Higher End Build

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November 5, 2010 4:11:42 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: Around 1 month or when I get pissed at my Current Desktop

Budget Range: $1500

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Some Starcraft 2, random crysis, watching HD videos.

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com,

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: I favor Intel and Nvidia and Zalman. Maybe its just in my head.

Overclocking: Not Likley

SLI or Crossfire: Not Likley

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200 or 1920x1080

This is what I have right now:
http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...

In Short:
i7-950
EVGA gtx470
Corsair 3x2GB
Gigabyte Mobo

I'm looking for some advice on this, especially if anything is under or over powered relative to the rest of the parts.

November 5, 2010 4:59:53 AM

Personally, I'd scrap the SSD and run SLI GTX 470s! Or at least drop it down to a 60gb one or something, and go SLI GTX 460s. SSDs will give you quick boot times, but won't help you out with much else. Your processor can keep up with some beefy video cards, so I would recommend that before you spend a ton of money on a hard drive.

I personally went with the UD3R motherboard by Gigabyte instead of that one, it'll do almost everything that that one will, and save you $80 or so.

And lastly, don't forget to add a normal hard drive in there for storage and whatnot...
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November 5, 2010 5:49:25 AM

First of all, I have to say I wouldn't make this investment until I saw the Sandy Bridge cpus "early 1Q" next year. You could be walking away from +20% performance.

If you want to go ahead anyhow,

- I'd use different memory . . . this kit is from a quality vendor, faster and cheaper than the Corsair.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

- and I'd add a Samsung Spinpoint 1TB "D" drive:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Other than that, while I might choose different parts, the build looks very good.

Now its just a matter of whether you can wait a bit longer for . . . say . . . the i7 2600k. I want to evaluate it before I replace my 4 year old gaming quad core.

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November 5, 2010 10:56:00 AM

I would say your current CPU/Mobo choice is too heavy for the $$ and i'd hit a HD 6850CF GPU set up a.s.a.p


The Game Rundown: Finding CPU/GPU Bottlenecks, Part 2
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/game-performance-bo...
Quote:
Conclusion: A Trend Toward 3+ Cores

The average optimal number of CPU cores suggested by the test results is 2.75, showing a clear trend towards at least three CPU cores.The question of whether the CPU or GPU is most important is easily answered. If you don't have a multi-core CPU, then upgrade it. If you have a dual-core CPU at around 3 GHz, then invest your money into a graphics card, as most games are GPU-limited. This is not something that will change with new DirectX 11 games.


HD6K: single/CF review
http://www.anandtech.com/show/3987/amds-radeon-6870-685...

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November 5, 2010 3:54:26 PM

Thanks for the ideas. I will look into that other motherboard and RAM. So this new Sandy Bridge CPU, will it be made into a intel i7 cpu that fits LGA 1366 when it comes out in Q1. And is it suppose to be hex core or something?

Batchuka, This article is interesting where it sugguests around 3 cores is the number to go for, for games now. Most of the games on that list seem to recommend 2 or 4 cores, do you think that newer games like starcraft 2 and the next crysis actually made real use of say 4 cores?

I'll be getting a quad core regardless of what I get, but it would be interesting to see if starcraft 2 actually runs better on a quadcore versus my core duo that I run it on now.

Also I already use a 1TB and 2TB data drives that I will attach to this system, I am just getting the hardware and the OS drive which I plan to be the SSD. I see people are saying to go for a 60GB, which is enough for just the OS and a few applications But I see it filling up fast as I get more crap installed.

Is there much of a gain to installing say starcraft 2 or crysis to the SSD when I get it. Versus having it on a separate regualr 7200RPM HD. (as I do now)
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November 5, 2010 4:10:58 PM

Sandy Bridge will not be compatible with any existing sockets. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandy_Bridge_%28microarchi... for an overview. 2 and 4 cores at launch, 6 and 8 later on.

Starcraft 2 is capped at 2 cores. You may see slightly better performance with 3 or 4 cores, as background processes can run on the 3rd & 4th core, but SC2 won't use the additional cores for more performance.

Most games don't make use of more than 2 cores, partly due to it being difficult to parallelize much in games. There are certainly a few that do (some RTS games and GTA IV), but by and large, most games are still just using 1-2 cores.

If you can afford a 120 GB SSD, go for it. 60 GB is a typical suggestion around here to keep the costs down. Having your games on the SSD will only improve level loading and how long it takes to start the game after you click on the icon, there are no other real benefits.

However, rather than getting the C300, you should look at a SandForce 1200 drive such as the OCZ Agility/Vertex 2 120 GB, Mushkin Callisto, G.Skill Phoenix, etc. They're about $50-75 cheaper and offer equivalent/better performance.

Anandtech article about the C300's value compared to other drives
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November 5, 2010 5:04:12 PM

I can't see investing in a hi end MoBo and more expensive RAM of you are not going to OC...really no need for anything more than DDR3-1033

CPU / Cooler - If you are going to OC, look at this combo.....

Here's the 950 w/ Prolimatech CPU cooler ($15 savings)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Why the Mega ? It's simply outperforms everything else including the Zalmann
http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

Don't forget the TIM - $5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Why the Shin Etsu ? - http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

MoBo - Asus Sabertooth X58 LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboar w/ 5 year warranty - $200
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or

ASUS P6X58D-E LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 - $220
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or

ASUS Rampage III Formula LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - $290

See the comparison of all fou boards here ..... between the Giga and the Asus Formula, I'd take the Formula ... it gets an extra egg over the Giga in the newegg ratings but see if ya need all the feautures of a $290 board and opt for something less expensive if ya don't need 'em

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...|13-131-666^13-131-666-TS%2C13-131-641^13-131-641-TS%2C13-131-665^13-131-665-TS%2C13-128-422^13-128-422-TS

RAM - Corsair Memory has too long been riding on it's name and there are other choices. Some are just cheaper, some are cheaper with hi quality. Of late, Mushkin to my mind is offering the best price / performance option. I'd pick your overclock and then choose memory accordingly:

No overclock - DDR3-1066
Up to 25 % overclock - DDR3-1333
Up to 50% overclock - DDR-1600

The way this works is best explained here:

http://vip.asus.com/forum/view.aspx?id=2008122019104023...

In short, your default BCLK is 133 (133.33)

133 x 24 CPU multiplier = 3.2 Ghz CPU speed
133 x 8 memory multiplier = 1066 Memory Speed

At 25% OC, BCLK gets increased to 167
167 x 24 CPU multiplier = 4.0 Ghz CPU speed
167 x 8 memory multiplier = 1333Memory Speed (requires DDR3-1333)

With the 950, a 25% CPU OC is pretty much readily obtained with any good air cooler. If you're new to overlcocking, ya might wanna stop there. Another option would be:

At 25% OC, BCLK gets increased to 167
160 x 24 CPU multiplier = 3.84 Ghz CPU speed
160 x 10 memory multiplier = 1600Memory Speed (requires DDR3-1600)

After the DDR speed, the next choice is CAS setting, lower is better / faster. This is pretty much a price / performance choice depending on pricing "at the time". If it were me, for the 950, I'd go with 160 BCLK and 10 memory multiplier. That would mean DDR3-1600.

CAS 6 - These two Mushkin choices are $2 apart ($180 and $178 shipped). There was a nice discount thru yesterday but gone now. The OCZ Reapers are a bit cheaper but look a bit tall and might interfere w/ your CPU cooler.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CAS 7 - These Mushkins ate $110 .... At $70 savings, I'd give up the CAS 6 and get these.

CAS 8 - These corsair's are $135 but at $25 more than the above, that seals the deal for the CAS 7's.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GFX Card - Thanks to the release of the 6xxx series by ATI, the 470 has again dropped in price where it remains the "no brainer" choice. The 6xxx is competitive but just doesn't quite get to the 470's performance level.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-rad...

Quote:
Here is the bottom line: the Radeon HD 6850 is almost as fast as the GeForce GTX 460 1 GB, and the Radeon HD 6870 is almost as fast as the GeForce GTX 470.


The size PSU you hve chosen (850 watts) is more than enough for twin 470's so that's not going t be an issue.

Case / PSU - I'm starting an Antec DF-85 build tomorrow and will let you know how it turns out, but you've taken a significant step down with the PSU choice. The Corsair HX-850 would be a comparable choice but that case is specifically built to house an Antec CP-850 which is both quieter and better performer than the Corsair TX series. The reviews are quite conclusive. Jonnyguru gives the CP-850- a 10.0 "Performance Rating" (Corsair TX gets a 9.5). Only three four 850 watts PSU's make silentpcreview.com's Editor's Choice List ... Corsair AX850 / Seasonic M12D 850W / Antec CP-850 / Antec Signature 850

http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article971-page7.html

This PSU uses the CPX form factor which is unique to Antec hi-end cases. It's a larger size which gives the engineers room for "bigger and better" stuff, better cooling and quieter operation. Since the DF-85 is one of the few cases which can accommodate the CPX form factor, it would be a shame to waste the opportunity to take advantage of what it offers.

SSD - Faster boot launch times but adds little to gaming, still I see it as a worthwhile addition .... at up to $200 or so for a $120 GB size. Also, unless you gonna utilize the hot swap thingie on the DF-85 for ya bot drive, I'd get a 3.5 model. Check out the Vertex 2 alternative at $205
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Monitor - You listed either 1920 x 1200 or 1920 x 1080 as your choice....having both, I'd suggest the 1920 x 1200.....you'll get to love playing games or watching movies at 1920 x 1080 and still having your task bar and other doo dads visible at the bottom of the screen.

Hard Drive - 120 GB ain't goinna be enough. The Seagate 7200.12 and Spinpoint F3 are great choices but at $15 off for the 1 TB F3, ($54) it's another "no brainer".
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November 5, 2010 7:05:20 PM

coldsleep said:
. . . Having your games on the SSD will only improve level loading and how long it takes to start the game after you click on the icon, there are no other real benefits. . . .
I think there's one other place SSDs help in gaming:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/sandy-bridge-idf-20...

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November 5, 2010 7:34:24 PM

Twoboxer said:
I think there's one other place SSDs help in gaming:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/sandy-bridge-idf-20...


Yeah, I wasn't strictly arguing against one, as I have one myself.

I guess it would be more accurate to say that it's not going to provide a major improvement in gaming, but in some cases it will smooth out gameplay a little. It's not going to be a noticeable boost to fps or anything, though. And I can't imagine the SC2 thing mentioned in the article is anything more than a few hundred milliseconds (which is something, but not something very useful).
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November 5, 2010 7:49:52 PM

^ Agreed. IMO, an SSD is likely the last place to invest in for gaming performance at this point in time. Significant $, relatively insignificant gaming gains.
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November 5, 2010 7:54:06 PM

Starcraft 2 is about the only place a SSD will help more than a 2nd Video Card however.

But yeah my first recommendation still stands....
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November 6, 2010 4:33:47 AM

endoftheline2 said:

Batchuka, This article is interesting where it sugguests around 3 cores is the number to go for, for games now. Most of the games on that list seem to recommend 2 or 4 cores, do you think that newer games like starcraft 2 and the next crysis actually made real use of say 4 cores?


Our very own forums recommends an X2 2.5 preferably 3ghz for SC2 and Crysis is about as GPU dependent (with no scaling with cores) game out there @@ The point is: the literature online available hammering how much games now and later would still be heavily GPU driven is huge! No point blowing away money for little to nil gain


From my vault of benches, statistics and facts

CPU scaling: Crysis K8 dual core to i7 Nehalem!
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November 6, 2010 5:00:21 AM

While I personally agree it'll be quite some time before games use more threads/cores, I'm not going to ignore the importance of raw cpu speed/power.

EG, in an MMORPG with 25-75 toons on screen, all dressed differently and acting independently . . . it takes more than gpu power to move them around the screen and administer combat interaction.
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November 6, 2010 4:39:55 PM

Twoboxer said:
While I personally agree it'll be quite some time before games use more threads/cores, I'm not going to ignore the importance of raw cpu speed/power.

EG, in an MMORPG with 25-75 toons on screen, all dressed differently and acting independently . . . it takes more than gpu power to move them around the screen and administer combat interaction.


This is certainly true, not sure if you were referring to WoW, but I have seen this in wow, where my GTX260 was not enough to render a ton of people in game, and it looked like my slower E6700 Core 2 Duo was holding me back.
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November 6, 2010 5:02:28 PM

I have a GTS250, and it does fine in WoW. I have an i7-930 with 6GB of RAM.
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November 6, 2010 5:03:36 PM

WoW (and Blizzard games in general) is going to be more CPU-bound than most games though really.
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November 6, 2010 5:41:51 PM

^ That was the point - but its not just Blizzard . . . EQ, EQ2 and other MMORPGs. There is SO much more going on, and the newer MMOs are by their nature going to be worse.

@davewolfgang: That doesn't surprise me - you have a great cpu and enough RAM to give WoW and add-ons the full 4GB without pushing Vent and other stuff you have running out of memory.

I use three different boxes for MMOs (currently WoW), 2 at a time.
- QX6700 @3.2GHz WinXP 4GB & a 5870,
- Q6850 @3.0GHz Win7 4GB & a 250GTS,
- i5 750 @3.0GHz Win7 8GB, a 5750, and an SSD for WoW.

Which one has the highest FPS and smoothest game play at 1920x1200? The i5 750 has numerically highest FPS, but the game play is indistinguishable during raids.
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