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The specs on my first build. Any advice for a first timer?

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November 16, 2010 7:41:48 AM

So I've been tinkering with computers since I was 4, and I'm fairly versed at fixing them (hardware and software), but I've never built one before. Before I do, I want to make sure everything is compatible and I don't have any obvious oversights. This is what I've got planned so far:

* Intel Core i7-950 Bloomfield 3.06GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
* ASUS Sabertooth X58 LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
* CORSAIR XMS3 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
* EVGA GeForce GTX 470 (Fermi) SuperClocked 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
* CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
* Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
* Windows 7 Ultimate, 64 bit

As far as hard drives go, I'll probably buy a new one off ebay, something ~300GB 6Gb/s 10,000RPM SATA, reputable brand, for my primary (more just for my OS and maybe a game I want to load as fast as possible).

* Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive <-- Secondary
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CD/DVD drive - I'm planning on pulling one out of my outdated Alienware since it's got a bunch. Should be sufficient. I don't plan on running anything more than an OS install off a disk anyway.

My immediate concerns are (1) whether or not I can run memory at 1600mhz with an i7, and (2) whether or not it is worth buying 4 2's [ram] even though the i7 is triple channel. (3) Is it worth buying a 6Gb/s HD at 7200RPM? Or should I just go with the 3Gb/s? (4) I'm looking into this for gaming and graphic/web design, and I've heard some people say the i7 isn't necessary unless you're running Auto CAD or Maya. Well I'm thinking into the future, trying to be etra sure [albeit crazy]. I don't want any performance issues or lag, even if I've got Photoshop CS5, COD: Black OPS (Extreme Settings), 5 browsers @ 5 windows each, iTunes, MS Word all open at the same time. I know it sounds ridiculous but I'm not too concerned with sounding sane considering I regularly have this all open at once. If the i5 can still handle what I want, then I may switch.

If I'm overlooking anything or if there's an obvious "wtf are you thinking here?" please let me know! Again I know a fair bit about how it all works I've just never planned one out before, so any advice would be great before I make an investment.

Thanks guys!
November 16, 2010 8:12:03 AM

For your questions...
1) You can run the RAM at the rated speeds, but you would have to overclock the CPU too...

2) Better to get a Tri-Channel kit so that it takes advantage of the Tri-Channel memory controller on the i7

3) SATA 6GB/s for a mechanical drive is just a marketing gimmick as they still dont utlize even half of the SATA 3GB/s's bandwidth...

4) The i5s are pretty good CPUs...Even at stock speeds they are pretty decent compared the i7s and offer very good performance when overclocked...
So if overclocking and not too serious graphic work, then the i5s are fine

Some suggestions on the current parts -
Change to this RAM + Mobo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

CASE - Check these out - These are comparatively newer and with slightly better features...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Boot Drive - Why not get a SSD ? The 10K RPM drives dont offer any significant increase in performance in general tasks compared to the current gen 7200RPM drives, but with a SSD, the difference is very noticeable...
So for OS and some apps - SSD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD - Samsung F3 1TB
http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=HD-HD103SJ&tit...

If plans for overclock - CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

PSU - Even a 750W would suffice for GTX 470 SLI, and this one offers very good performance...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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November 16, 2010 1:29:14 PM

AH! This sounds great actually. I'm taking all of this into account and I'm learning. Just interesting to see that the SSD seems to have a transfer of only ~250Gb/s. Maybe I'm just reading it wrong, or as you said the whole 3/6/Gb/s is all bull.

AAnyway, thanks so much for your advice. I'll most definitely change a few things up and improve this baby. Very excited!
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November 16, 2010 1:31:38 PM

yeah, nothing yet saturates SATA 2 (3Gb/s) except for VERY top-end SSD drives. SATA 3 (6 Gb/s) if a next-gen thing which will be much more useful in a year or two.
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November 16, 2010 8:05:42 PM

I happen to have Ultimate already is all. Otherwise I wouldn't bother and just stick with Home Premium or the like.

Well at least I'll grab a board that CAN use the 6, just in case I want to upgrade down the line. All good so far, thanks guys :) 
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