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Is my gaming system specification compatible to build? Please advise!

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November 13, 2010 7:23:19 PM

Hello,
I am putting a gaming desktop spec together and I would like to be 110% sure I haven't missed anything out for compatibility or advising more suitable components such as sufficient power/voltage(memory DIMM slots), interfaces, cabling, sufficient fans included(sufficient cooling?) etc.

No keyboard or monitor included in this list since I already got decent products :) 

I am aware that the motherboard has a internal sound card but due internet research, its been identified it produces hissing and popping occasionally, plus I budgeted for a higher quality external card as shown.

My component list is as follows:

Intel i7 950 CPU 3.06GHz
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/166528?utm_source=google&...

Coolermaster HAF X Black Tower Computer Case (ALREADY PURCHASED)
http://www.scan.co.uk/Product.aspx?WebProductID=1278470...

Corsair 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 1600MHz XMS3 Dominator Memory CL8(8-8-8--24) for i7 Motherboards TR3X3G1600C8D
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/152641?utm_source=google&...

ASUS GeForce GTX 480
http://www.scan.co.uk/Product.aspx?WebProductID=1195612...

Asus Rampage III Extreme Intel X58 1366 Motherboard
http://www.dabs.com/products/asus-rampage-iii-extreme-i...

Creative X-FI TITANIUM FATALITY PRO
http://www.dabs.com/products/creative-x-fi-titanium-fat...

Coolermaster Silent Pro Gold 1000W Modular PSU
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/235559?utm_source=google&...

120GB OCZ Vertex 2 3.5" SSD up to 285MB/s READ up to 275MB/s WRITE
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/120gb-ocz-vertex-2-35-ss...

Samsung HD103SJ Spinpoint F3 1TB Hard Drive SATAII 7200rpm 32MB Cache - OEM
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/173804

LG CH08LS10 8x BD-ROM with DVD±RW & LightScribe SATA Blu-Ray Drive - OEM Black
http://www.lambda-tek.com/componentshop/index.pl?origin...

All in 1 Internal Card Reader Plus One USB2 Port, Black (ALREADY PURCHASED)
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/108453?utm_source=google&...

OS Windows 7 64 bit supplied from my university for free :) 

Cyborg R.A.T.5 Gaming Mouse (ALREADY PURCHASED)
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/cyborg-rat5-gaming-mouse

Sound Blaster Arena Surround USB Gaming Headset
http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B002SW3HOO/ref=asc_df_B002SW...

I very much appreciate your feedback

Thanks...
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
November 13, 2010 7:41:01 PM

Some thoughts:
1) There is not a lot of value in an enthusiast X58 motherboard. A much cheaper X58 motherboard like the ASUS sabretooth will do as well and overclock easily to any sane level.
2) I would defer the sound card. Onboard HD sound is very good, and you can always add one later.
3) GTX480 is very good; but, can you use the savings to swing a GTX580? They are faster and cooler.
The graphics configuration is what will give you the best minimum frame rates.
4) I love the SSD's They make everything feel snappier. Make certain to set the SATA mode to AHCI(not IDE or raid) in the bios before loading the OS. It is necessary for trim support, and can't easily be changed later.
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
November 13, 2010 8:26:49 PM

^ Like Geofelt I also have some thoughts.

1) You haven't bought ALL of the components that are key to the build yet. And I think that you should wait, at least till the end of this month. I mean Cayman is coming out and that is expected to be on par if not better than the 580. Also SB (Sandy Bridge) is coming out soon and from the preview performances it looks to be much faster than the i7's of the current gen, even the i5 beat out the i7 880 and almost beat the i7 980X.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/3871/the-sandy-bridge-pre...

2) I think that, like Geofelt, that mobo is not needed, a Sabertooth would do just the same for cheaper and it has the same SATA 6 and USB 3 support like the Rampage Extreme.

3) Your not in the US so it's hard to say, but is there by any chance Mushkin over in Europe? I mean if there is, a prospect of a memory to look into is the Mushkin Ridgeback DDR3 6GB set, it's really a great brand and memory, lower timings than the dominators and a bit faster. Just a thing to look at.

4) Sound cards... Are kind of iffy, unless you have a sound system like Bose or something I don't think you need to spend that much money on a sound card. Use your mobo audio before, test it out. I mean I use my mobo audio and it's pristine and during gaming with my headset I can hear just fine locating footsteps.
Related resources
November 13, 2010 8:26:53 PM

Hey,
Thanks a lot for that feedback...

1) I will keep the rampage III extreme I think since I would rather not overclock the system since I am using air cooling instead of water cooling methods. Might be crucial if keeping the desktop running for hours.

2) I think your probably right, and to test out the built in sound quality and later decide if its necessary to purchase an external sound card. Maybe I wont receive the sound problems some others are having.

3)I totally agree, I didnt notice they are releasing these new cards, for sure I will take the budget from the external sound card to increase budget for the GTX580. One thing does concern me though about the 580 regarding the width, it says its dual slot??? That means to say it will take up a lot of space on the motherboard blocking way for anything else? In the case if I want to actually get a external sound card later for example.

4) Got it :) 

Thanks for your feedback geofelt...
Anyone else, please feel welcomed to provide feedback...
November 13, 2010 8:54:07 PM

Thanks aznshinobi for your feedback,

Im not sure of what Cayman is exactly, but I assume its the new ATI 6900 series graphics card that will be in competition with Nvidia's GTX580??

The only problem with a new CPU coming out is that the price will be through the roof...im looking for a very good motherboard that runs all those components perfectly without overclocking. At worst, just overclock the RAM as Im not sure its compatible with 1600MHz without overclocking?

How come the sabertooth is so much cheaper then compared to the rampage extreme III??

And yes, I will test the onboard HD audio first :) 

Regarding the memory, I done some research and Mushkin are not better than Corsair since the compatibility to both the Sabertooth and Rampage III are supporting 7-7-7-24 timings on a maximum of 2x2GB modules whereas the corsair is certified to accomodate 4x2GB modules at a slightly higher 8-8-8-24 timings on the rampage and sabertooth mobo's. My source is directly from ASUS motherboards spec sheets that can be found at:

http://uk.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=AM2RChl84MZrKh6J&t...

and

http://uk.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=jy0uafxYBCrJwksC&t...

if you click on the tab where it says "Memory Support List" and download depending either:
Rampage III Extreme Memory QVL
Sabertooth X58 Device QVL

Open the ZIP file and open the PDFs and go the 1600MHz section.

Thanks for your advice :) 
November 13, 2010 8:57:08 PM

anyone else, please add your advice :) 
thanks
a c 136 B Homebuilt system
November 13, 2010 9:20:59 PM

If you are not over clocking the you especially dont need the more expensive motherboard . It will not increase performance and the cheaper board will run well anyway .
Im not sure why anyone would think of SSD'd now
The OCZ revodrive 2 is an SSD hard drive plugging in through a pci-e x4 slot . It makes sata connected ssd's look slow

Ditching the sound card , and evening dropping back to a 930 i7 to pay for it makes more sense in terms of raw performance
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
November 13, 2010 10:00:51 PM

1) Read this sandy bridge preview:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/3871/the-sandy-bridge-pre...
Because it is built on a 32nm process, Intel can get twice as many chips out of a 300mm wafer, cutting their cost of production in half. If they were to price them "through the roof" , they will not sell many and lose business to AMD. Prices are expected to be comparable to today's chips, and deliver better performance for the same price. If your need is not urgent, I would wait.
2) The rampage III extreme is a total waste for you. It's purpose is to be able to run quad sli graphics systems, and be able to overclock to record levels. If you anticipate no more than two cards, or an overclock of less than 3.6 (very easy to do and safe)or so, the sabertooth will do the job.
3) The 6970 has been deferred until Dec 13. It is hoped that it will equal the GTX580, but that is unknown, as is the price.
4) The nehalem processors (including i7-930) have an excellent memory controller. It can keep the cpu fed with data from any speed ram and any timings. The difference in real application performance or FPS is on the order of 1-3% between the slowest and fastest ram. Don't spend extra on faster ram. Do not be seduced by synthetic benchmark comparisons which are impressive, but meaningless. For any ram you are considering, go to the ram vendor's site, and access their configurator. Enter your motherboard and you will get a list of supported ram kits. Select one of those kits. If you ever should have a problem, you want to have supported ram. The ram configurators are often more current than the motherboard QVL lists. Also, nobody is going to recommend 4GB for a X58 motherboard. You will want a 6gb kit which happens to be a very nice size..
November 13, 2010 10:38:11 PM

Yes I think I will take the sabertooth TUF X58 motherboard instead.

And I did what you said, I went to corsairs website and found this compatible memory and hence found a UK vendor:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B002M3LLYM/ref=asc_df_B002M3...

It comes in 4x2Gb dominator modules which means I will have a wonderful 8GB total for a price of 233.65 GBP.

So thats motherboard and RAM out the way as well as the graphics card more or less.

So the only thing left is the choice of a CPU which you are advising me to wait until this sandy bridge processor comes out in Jan or whenever?

What you think?
Thanks

Again, anyone else, please feel free to comment :) 
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
November 14, 2010 12:31:31 AM

Uh.... Don't go 8 gigs unless you are planning to wait for SB (Sandy bridge) one difference between SB and the current 1366 line is SB motherboards offer quad channel memory support, the 1366 socket only offers triple channel. So if you going to get 4x2 then wait for SB. If you want to get the 1366 (so the current lineup) I recommend getting 6 gigs because of the triple channel support.

As for CPU, if you did see me and geofelts sandy bridge preview link, as you can see just the i5 2400S beats out the i7s of the current gen so I think you should wait IMO.

Cayman was originally just to compete with the 480, but Nvidia rushed the 580 launch from Febuary of next year to this month so now Cayman is competing with the 580. The strongest of the Cayman lineup is the 6970, the other is a 6950. And there is speculation of the last one which is like the 5970, in that it is two (i tihnk) down clocked 6970s into one card. But currently the 6990 is speculation don't expect that to be released soon.

What I'm getting at is the 6970 was/is expected to beat the 480 by 20% and run cooler and consume less power. Then 580 released, more rumors surfaced and AMD said that the 6970 should be 50% better than the 6870 so that'd put the 6970 in 580 performance range.
November 14, 2010 10:09:10 AM

Yea maybe your right, I wont take the benefit fully of 8GB unless I got the quad channel architecture.
So that means I have to wait until January sometime for Intel to release new SB Motherboards, CPU's and compatible RAM listings....

I guess the rest of the system still fits perfectly including a GTX580 unless someone else can make a comment?

Thanks
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
November 14, 2010 10:22:48 AM

Welll... imo, compatible ram is just stupid, I use Patriot ram all the time and it's not on my MSI's compatibility list but it works just as specified. But if you worried, the boards are already made, so are Chips, intel is just working on tweaking them a bit at this point as well as BIOS stuff probably and drivers+chipsets. Otherwise SB is done. Gigabyte leaked there boards already, and Intel already said SB can OC to 4.9ghz so clearly everything is figured out, its not just the release date.

Yes the 580 is fine, but I think if you were going to wait for SB, I think you should just wait for the Caymans as well.. See whats to be expected =P
November 14, 2010 10:44:22 AM

Well, I like to be sure it all fits like a glove in terms of size and good performance.

What will be the new socket? I mean its not going to use this x58 chip set anymore on a 1366 skirting. What motherboards will be compatible with the Sandy bridge CPU's?

And price/performance wise of the graphics card I will just have to wait until it comes down to those last components to buy.
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
November 14, 2010 10:58:14 AM

1366 will not be updated after SB comes out says intel. The SB sockets will be 1155 and another I think, something like 1365 or something. Umm mobos have been leaked you could just go on Google and search up Sandy Bridge motherboard leaks or something.

Those previews for the chip are solid, intel already leaked stuff themselves, apparently on air they OC'd a SB (they will not name which) up to 4.9ghz. Did hella fast on Cinebench 11.0 Umm... Graphics wise is speculation but is where it should be at the 580 level. Umm you shouldn't buy anything now, but that's my IMO. You could get the 1366 socket now, I'm just saying if you CAN wait, then I would.
November 14, 2010 12:16:30 PM

Yep, will wait for it. I will pay close attention to the better socket set and price too when it gets released. I assume the higher the socket number I.e 1365>1155 the higher performance chipset it is??

Im leaving the CPU, motherboard, RAM and graphics card last to buy, im just purchasing the other components such as headset, optical drive, 2nd HDD (leaving to see if SDD price drops over new year) and power supply.

Thanks for providing advice everyone.
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
November 14, 2010 9:07:06 PM

Ummm not necessarily, like 1156 got the i7 875K and that was a great chip as it could OC way better and cooler than most i7 9xx. I would think that 1155 is just more energy efficient.

Umm SSD prices will not drop price anytime soon, they might even get more expensive. Prices all depend on the company, as for now, the S599 is already cheap. And very fast any how.

Uhh yes the F3 would be good as well to buy now, and I can't remember your getting the XFX 850/750 correct?
November 14, 2010 9:45:22 PM

XFX 850/750?? Whats that?

I was wondering, is DDR4 going to be released early? (I know DDR3 recently got released like 2 years ago) Since it says Sandy bridge will support quad channel memory support, does that have anything to do with DDR4? Or is it just able to support 4x2GB working together nicely?

Also, which motherboards will suit Sandy bridge processors? I mean specific models, or is it any socket number that you said works with sandy bridge CPU's?
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
November 14, 2010 10:08:36 PM

I don't think DDR4 is coming out anytime soon as SB leaked boards all only supported DDR3. Well don't even fully use DDR3 ram currently.

Umm the XFX 850 is a great PSU and will run any card you want really, it's a superb PSU and would save you 50$ from that Silent Pro gold, however the Silent Pro Gold is a great PSU.

XFX 850: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Review: http://www.hardocp.com/article/2009/12/10/xfx_black_edi...
November 14, 2010 11:46:19 PM

Thinking about it again, I dont really need a better CPU and motherboard tecnically if im only going to get a fraction of better ram running in quad formation opposed to triple channel and I guess it will be a bit cheaper...im not going to be running simulations or anything like that non stop so I dont see the point really for sandy bridge for me.

I will get the currently listed 1000W supply since I will probs later on get another GTX580 and put them in SLI for 3d gaming (if i can get another 2 screens!)

I think I will be very happy with 6GB, the sabertooth motherboard and i7 950 CPU since its rather cheap now...
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
November 15, 2010 3:48:56 AM

Erm.... why the 580? With the 570 looking promising I wouldn't suggest you get it, although performance is better, heat and power consumption are still like the 480. In SLI the 580 gets super hot... Expecially the top card... I would wait for the 570 or 6970 at least to see if they are better or cooler. Just my IMO. It's only 1 month, can you really not wait?
November 15, 2010 11:26:49 AM

The 580 has better performance, and about overheating...shouldnt be a problem with the HAF X case, take a look at this video, exactly my case with 4, thats right, 4 gtx480s in quad sli mode

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IJwtgX8cWI

And about the CPU...im really doubtful it would be cheap when they release it, they have to make money, and always, when things are new they will cost a lot, and for my purposes, I somewhat dont see the benefit of spending more for a CPU that I wont really need. Most of the time the CPU usage is always in the 10-50% margin for gaming purposes.

The only reason why im leaning towards it is because of being able to accomodate quad channel memory support.
BUT, having said that...do you guys think you can have 3x4GB sticks forming triple channel memory on the sabertooth x58 board? This forms a total of 12GB...OR since its got 6 DIMMs, to have 6x2GB sticks to make 12GB on TWO triple channels???? Is that possible? Is it wise? Does it work effectively? (1600MHz)
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
November 15, 2010 1:49:52 PM

dimondia said:
The 580 has better performance, and about overheating...shouldnt be a problem with the HAF X case, take a look at this video, exactly my case with 4, thats right, 4 gtx480s in quad sli mode

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IJwtgX8cWI

And about the CPU...im really doubtful it would be cheap when they release it, they have to make money, and always, when things are new they will cost a lot, and for my purposes, I somewhat dont see the benefit of spending more for a CPU that I wont really need. Most of the time the CPU usage is always in the 10-50% margin for gaming purposes.

The only reason why im leaning towards it is because of being able to accomodate quad channel memory support.
BUT, having said that...do you guys think you can have 3x4GB sticks forming triple channel memory on the sabertooth x58 board? This forms a total of 12GB...OR since its got 6 DIMMs, to have 6x2GB sticks to make 12GB on TWO triple channels???? Is that possible? Is it wise? Does it work effectively? (1600MHz)


If you get a X58 based motherboard, it will have 6 ram slots and be capable of triple channel operation. I would populate with a three stick kit of whatever capacity you need. 6gb = 3 x 2gb, or 12gb = 3 x 4gb. That leaves you room for expansion.
Triple channel is not that important on a X58 chipset(or dual channel on a P55 for that matter). You are looking at a 1-3% difference in real application performance or FPS(vs. synthetic benchmarks which are impressive, but meaningless) between slow dual channel and fast triple channel kits. Do not spend much more for faster ram. Spend your extra cash elsewhere.
November 15, 2010 2:17:54 PM

Yea I think the RAM is sensible to go for a 6GB (2x3GB) dominator memory model with 8-8-8-24 timings and keep the sabertooth motherboard, the i7 950 CPU and this RAM running for the next 3 years or so and then when DDR4 comes out to upgrade to a new motherboard, CPU and DDR4 RAM and possibly new graphics card....this will fit nicely with the rest of the stuff I have including the 1000W power supply in case I decide to get dual graphics...
!