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New high-end gaming rig

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November 6, 2010 5:23:54 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: Dec 2010

Budget Range: around $2,500

System Usage from Most to Least Important: high-end gaming

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, peripherals

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com and tigerdirect.com

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences and Selections:
1) Intel i7 950
2) ASUS Rampage III Formula
3) G.SKILL Ripjaw Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1333 SDRAM x 3 = 24GB total
4) Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s
5) CORSAIR Professional Series AX1200 1200W ATX12V v2.31 PSU
6) Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
7) COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-G1
8) MSI ATI Radeon 5970 x 1
9) ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner

I was not considering the following components, unless they are suggested:
1) Sound card (I plan on using motherboard audio)
2) SSD (I imagine I will get some disagreement here)

Overclocking: Maybe, but probably not

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe, depends on suggestions for video cards

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200

Additional Comments: Right now this setup has me sitting around $2,200

Concerns:
1) Will the setup above (especially considering the Radeon 5970 and COOLER MASTER) fit into the mid-tower case?
2) Am I overdoing it on the RAM?
3) The online calculators I've used have suggested at least 1000W, but I see some similar system specs on lower watts. I really, really want to make sure my system is protected.
4) Based on benchmarks I've seen online, this rig should run Crysis at max settings. Would you concur? If not, where should I put my money? I saw no real advantage in CPUs above the 950, and I cannot afford a 970 or 980x.
5) If I got a SSD, I could really only afford 128GB max. What should be installed to this drive if I buy it? Windows, Steam, all other games? And then just place all my other Program Files stuff and documents, music, etc on the WD?
6) Any chance a newer version of any of these components is coming out in the next month or so? Interested in some potential price drops.

I think that's a good start for now. I'll await your suggestions and go from there. Thanks!

More about : high end gaming rig

November 6, 2010 6:18:00 AM

One thing right off the bat: Would it be reasonable to switch from the ASUS Rampage III Formula to the ASRock X58, seeing as though it's over $100 cheaper and appears similar in specs? Will the on-board Realtek ALC890 audio on the ASRock provide the same or better sound than the X-Fi 2 on the Formula?
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November 6, 2010 6:20:57 AM

2) Yes. 3x2GB is all that's needed for gaming. Even on a 64-bit system, no one task can use more than 4GB.
3) A good 750W will really, really protect that system. Under Furmark, a PC with a 5970 draws 465W from the wall, or 420W from the PSU. You can run with less, too.
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/165
4) Probably true at 1920, but nothing runs Crysis at over 30FPS max settings at 2560 :) 
http://www.anandtech.com/show/2877/8
5) Windows and the games you are currently using. Everything else gets moved to the WD.
6) 69XXs are due out . . . soon. Dunno if/when nVidia will respond. Intel's Sandy Bridge cpus are due out 1Q 2011. If you can hold 2-3 months, you'll hit the beginning of a new cpu cycle rather than the end of this one.
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November 6, 2010 6:22:27 AM

Stick with Asus or Gigabyte mobos for this rig. But there's no need/benefit to buy their most expensive boards, since you are not going to maximum OC . . . if you OC at all.
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November 6, 2010 7:01:25 AM

Thank you for the helpful and quick replies! Based on your recommendations, I've altered my initial setup to the following:

Same
1) Intel i7 950
2) ASUS Rampage III Formula
3) Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s
4) Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
5) COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-G1
6) MSI ATI Radeon 5970 x 1
7) ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner

Changes
1) CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W ATX12V 2.2
2) Crucial RealSSD C300 CTFDDAC128MAG-1G1 2.5" 128GB SATA III
3) G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 x 2 = 8GB

Any problems with these changes? This new setup has me at about $2,000, which is perfect.

As far as waiting for price drops... man, that's tough. To be honest, I'm happy I'm getting this system built as cheaply as I am. Granted, this is my first build, so I wasn't really sure what to expect with a decent gaming system. I initially had the 980x, 5970 in CF, etc and was pushing $5000. The only component I'm a little unhappy about regarding price is the 5970. However, it seems like more and more brands of 5970s are going out of stock. And if they all do, I don't want to be stuck with only the 6970 available, which may be out of my price range. I have no idea how rational this fear is. As far as the CPU, at a little under $300 I feel ok with the price.
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November 6, 2010 7:01:39 AM

Best answer selected by StonieJ.
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