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First time building a custom rig, need motherboard and case help

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November 28, 2010 7:46:52 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: Mid-January (unless there is a good reason to wait) 
Budget Range: Reasonable value, matching GPU and CPU
System Usage from Most to Least Important: surfing Internet, school/work multitasking, playing games (RA3/AoE3/CoD), watching netflix 
Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, speakers, monitor
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg, tigerdirect, eBay, open to suggestions
Country of Origin: USA (California)
Overclocking: Maybe, if RA3 or AOE3 need it 
SLI: Yes
Monitor Resolution: 1920x??? (depends on monitor)
 
Additional Comments: I'd like it to be quiet when I'm not gaming. When I am gaming, I don't mind a little noise but I wouldn't want a tornado in my room

I've already figured out the easy stuff :-)
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition
CPU cooling: ProlimaTech MegaHalems Rev B
GPU: 2x GeForce GTX 480 1.5GB SLI
GPU cooling: Zalman VF3000F
Ram: 16GB min (4x4GB), would like 6 slots but not necessary
DVD/CD-RW combo drive

I need advice on a few things
1) 2 120mm fans for the MegaHalems. I'd like them to be able to run slower when processor is under light load, but kick it up when under heavier loads.
2) motherboard that can hold the heavy beast that is the Megahalems, and have enough room for two GTX 480, each equipped with the thick Zalman VF3000F. Also needs room for 4-6 sticks of RAM and an option for an external 5.1/7.1 surround sound capable sound card. I'd need a minimum of 4 USB 2.0 ports, and at least 1 USB 3.0 port. On board wireless networking is nice, but not necessary

3. Assuming a motherboard can be found, what kind of a PSU would I need? One calculator told me 500W, another said 700W, another said 1000W, and another said a whopping 1500W! Who do I believe?

Thanks for everyone's help,
Gian
November 28, 2010 10:08:38 AM

Err the GTX 580 is considered a better but than GTX 480 and even then respectable hardware sites/reviewers are advising not to buy it immediately but await Cayman Pro/XT as it is over priced @@
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4008/nvidias-geforce-gtx-...
Quote:
Meanwhile the AMD camp is gearing up for their own launches. The 6900 series is due to launch before the year is out, bringing with it AMD’s new Cayman GPU. There’s little we know or can say at this point, but as a part positioned above the 6800 series we’re certainly hoping for a slugfest. At $500 the GTX 580 is pricey (much like the GTX 480 before it), and while this isn’t unusual for the high-end market we wouldn’t mind seeing NVIDIA and AMD bring a high-intensity battle to the high-end, something that we’ve been sorely missing for the last year. Until we see the 6900 series we wouldn’t make any bets, but we can certainly look forward to it later this year.

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November 28, 2010 2:58:27 PM

Thanks batuchka. I didn't realize that. I was going to buy the video cards used for about $175 each. I don't really plan on buying a new $500+ video card, so I decided on the GTX480 since it had lots of users wanting to dump their cards (apparently in anticipation for the Cayman release and the better 580).

So i pretty much am just going to play Red Alert 3 and Age of Empires 3, and I'd like to get those with max everything (including water), hopefully getting at least a respectable 30FPS with heavy graphics load, but aiming for a buttery 50FPS. Would a pair of GTX 460 satisfy that requirement? I can get those slightly used for about $275-$300 total.

Or would it be worth it to take the step up to the pair of "awkward" GTX480 for $350 total ($50-75 more).
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November 28, 2010 4:51:29 PM

460's. You'd need a bigger PSU for 480's.. 2 480's need 800W if not Ocing and pro around 900W ocing.

460's will work wirh 750W.

also you don't need to buy the 965be, get the 955be and up the multiplier 1.
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November 28, 2010 7:45:52 PM

I see. Thanks for the advice.

So assuming an OCed pair of 460's, would upping the multiplier by 1 or 2 on the 955BE require a 1000W PSU to be safe?
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November 28, 2010 8:03:17 PM

did that mean 480's?

you cant hit 750W with gtx 460's.
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November 28, 2010 8:07:04 PM

Oops, my fault I misread it.

So assuming an OCed 955BE and a pair of OCed 460s, a 750W PSU would provide enough stability for a long gaming session of 3-4 hours (1-2 games of AoE3)?
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November 28, 2010 8:37:21 PM

yup.
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November 28, 2010 11:57:10 PM

so here's an update

CPU: AMD Phenom X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2Ghz with a Zalman CPNS10x Extreme for cooling

GPU: GeForce GTX 460 1GB SLI
x2, each equipped with a ZALMAN VF3000F(GTX470/465). Is this cooler compatible with the GTX460 as well?

RAM: 4 x 4GB sticks, either G.Skill or Corsair. Any real reasons as to why one is better than the other?

Now I just need to know which motherboard to get. I've picked out a few from reputable manufacturers and I'd like some input on which one seems best. Again, my main features I need are
--the ports and space to run two of my GPU/cooler combos via SLI.
--The ports should be 16x/16x (or 8x/8x at the very least) to get the best out of my GPUs.
--The ones I picked are 16x/16x or 8x/8x, please correct me if I am wrong about that.
--The one I don't know is if there is enough space to run my combo since the Zalman is quite thick, so input here is especially appreciated.

--at least 4 USB ports (I believe they all have at least 4)
ASUS M4A79T Deluxe AM3 DDR3 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard

MSI NF750-G55 AM3 NVIDIA nForce 750a SLI HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard

BIOSTAR T5 XE CFX-SLI LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard

ASUS M4A89TD PRO/USB3 AM3 AMD 890FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard

Of course, all advice and suggestions are welcome! Lots of thanks for the help so far.
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November 29, 2010 12:06:09 AM

wow.
1 of those mobo's is for intel lga 1156.

and the only 1 that can SLI without hacking it is the mis nforce one.

and Idk about the cpu cooler. I doubt it but you'd have to look up the physical specs of the cards, I think the gtx 470 is longer.
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November 29, 2010 12:29:15 AM

oof. Man I have a lot to learn. I need to go slower when checking these out...

Do you have any recommendations?
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November 29, 2010 12:39:58 AM

If all you are playing is Ra3/CoD/AoE3, the 460 SLI is going to be overkill, let alone 2x 480. I would probably go for one gtx460 and an i5 760, so if you feel the need to play SC2 you can play that at max.

Additionally, black ops/all other CoD games should be no problem, the gtx460 1gb got almost 70FPS on max settings, 16x AA and 1900x1200 resolution.
http://www.legitreviews.com/images/reviews/1465/cod.jpg

This should easily max out RA3 and AoE3, I am personally running AoE3 at max settings with a Pentium 4 HT 3.00ghz and a 9500gt :p 
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November 29, 2010 12:50:07 AM

i also didn't really pay attention that you went with an amd processor. amd + nvidia are just generally a bad idea. either switch to an i5 760 and asus p7p55d-e pro, or stay with amd but switch the gpu to radeon 6850's.
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November 29, 2010 12:51:45 AM

duk3, does that include maxing out your water graphics and AA? I know for both RA3 (especially with the Japanese) and AoE3, maxing those settings are what really kill the frame rate.

The reason I chose the Phenom II X4 955/965 is to help make my desktop more future proof. I will eventually play SC2, as RTS is my favorite comp game genre. I also chose it because I could get it used at a relatively nice discount.

I wanted to SLI the 460 initially, then saw the little price difference in used parts for 480 and decided to SLI those. Then I found out why no one wanted them, so now I'm back to the 460.

I'm wondering if I should switch to 2 x Radeon HD 6850 in CrossFire, to give me more motherboard options. I prefer not to buy intel as it tends to be not very value-oriented.
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November 29, 2010 1:16:33 AM

so here's an update

CPU: AMD Phenom X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2Ghz with a Zalman CPNS10x Extreme for cooling

GPU: Radeon HD6850

RAM: 4 x 4GB sticks, either G.Skill or Corsair. Any real reasons as to why one is better than the other?

Now I just need to know which motherboard to get. I've picked out a few from reputable manufacturers and I'd like some input on which one seems best. I like the fact that this board supports CrossfireX (muahahaha just collect one card a month for 4 months, and I'd have 4 Radeon 6850's at 8x... for no reason at all except to say I do)

How is this one?
ASUS M4A79T Deluxe AM3 DDR3 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard

Any tips on which brand of the Radeon HD6850 has good cooler but is decently quiet?

Of course, all advice and suggestions are welcome! Lots of thanks for the help so far.
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November 29, 2010 1:19:06 AM

I have max graphics on everything with the 9500gt, however I don't play water maps very much and I am playing at 1280*1024.

Intel is a good option, especially if you are looking at playing SC2, as Intel processors do a lot better:
http://www.techspot.com/review/305-starcraft2-performan...
Also, anything beyond a single gtx 460 is pointless for SC2:
http://www.techspot.com/review/305-starcraft2-performan...

EDIT: Can't believe I didn't notice, 16gb of ram is such massive overkill for everything you are doing, 4gb is enough.
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November 29, 2010 1:23:35 AM

As I prefer the japanese for RA3, I like to play water heavy maps... So it can really kill the frame rate on my poor laptop. To the point where my intergrated graphics card works so hard on even LOW that the game crashes.

I can't argue with the results, but I can't justify spending 300 on an intel processor without waiting for the Sandy bridge announcement that might just drop prices waaay down

its a shame SC2 only supports 2 cores...
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November 29, 2010 2:29:47 AM

$300? $200 is where the i5 750/i5 760 is at.
According to this review, the author encountered the max framerate of 30fps with a 280gtx with all settings maxed, something that the 460gtx easily beats, so you should be fine, even on water maps. If not, you could get another 460gtx.
http://www.gamingheaven.com/gamingreviews.php?reviewid=...
You don't need the Megahalems unless you are planning for a 4ghz+ OC, a Hyper 212+ should be more than enough for stock-4ghz.

Additionally, the Zalman GPU coolers are really unnecessary for the 460, as it runs cooler than the 470/80, and many of them already have good aftermarket cooling (DirectCU, Hawk)
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November 29, 2010 2:39:10 AM

how about the i7 920? would that be a good buy at $150ish?
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November 29, 2010 2:41:26 AM

At $150, that would be a great buy.
However, you'll have to get an x58 motherboard and 6gb of ram to go with that processor.
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November 29, 2010 3:33:32 AM

I got an offer from a friend.


Case: ANTEC 300 ATX midtower
4 120mm case fans (three visible from front and side glow blue)
140mm case fan on top panel
PSU: 800w Power Supply
Mobo: ASUS crosshair iv formula
CPU: AMD Phenom X6 1090T BE
RAM: Kingston Hyperx 4gb DDR3 1800
GPU: XFX 5870
HP CD/DVD Burner w/lightscribe
1TB 7200RPM hard drive
Windows 7 Ultimate

All this for $750. It sounds worth it for sure. The motherboard itself is quite expensive. I just want to grab your guy's opinions? I'll probably still throw in the aftermarket CPU cooler, and tweak the air flow to create a little positive pressure inside.
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November 29, 2010 3:39:04 AM

That sounds like a good deal, what is the exact power supply?
You may want to upgrade that as well depending on the brand.
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November 29, 2010 3:50:08 AM

That's a great PSU, I'd go for it.
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November 29, 2010 11:59:56 AM

^good build good price.
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November 30, 2010 3:22:44 AM

When I'm adding memory, is there a big deal between latency and speed? I'm not OCing my ram, so which would be a good value:

All the following are for a pair of G.Skill Ripjaw 4GB sticks with the price in parenthesis
speed 1333 - latency 9 ($90)
speed 1333 - latency 7 ($169)
speed 1600 - latency 8 ($185)
speed 1600 - latency 7 ($190)

Is it relatively easy to change the stock latency or speed, or is it really worth the extra $$$ to get both high speed and low latency? I'd really like to keep the price around $300 for 4 sticks. I'm also open to lower priced alternatives that are compatible with the build I am buying.
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November 30, 2010 4:22:09 AM

Basically, what I'm going to do is to utilize one of the sticks as a swap file to improve hard drive retrieval speed, on of the sticks for the video cards to commandeer, and the last two sticks to work as pure RAM.

I'll probably get some money back from selling the kingston but still.... I'll go head and order a pair of the speed 1333 kits then tomorrow afternoon unless I hear some conflicting advice.
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November 30, 2010 4:29:25 AM

That sounds good, you may not want to wait on getting the 8gb of ram kit as that is a black friday/cyber monday deal, so I'd get it now rather than later.
By the way, video cards don't take over your ram.
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November 30, 2010 4:40:31 AM

That's in a 32 bit OS, pretty sure that doesn't apply to 64 bit, which you'll definitely need if you want to have an overkill 16gb of ram.
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November 30, 2010 1:59:03 PM

"In a 64-bit system with a powerful graphics card, 8 GB of RAM really is a must if you're going to play demanding games. This is the case regardless of whether you're using 32-bit or 64-bit applications. However, even more than 8 GB of RAM can be subjectively noticed while playing. There is no real need for 16 GB of RAM, though."
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ram-memory-upgrade,...
"An additional 3059 MB of memory is now at the card's disposal."
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December 5, 2010 8:57:14 PM

So an update on my situation. Friend sold his system for more to another person (with my blessings) as he had money issues and needed more than I could pay.

So I'm back to building my own system. Here's what I have so far:

Case: Apevia X-Cruiser2 ATX Mid, Red ($90)
MoBo: ASUS Crosshair IV Formula ($180)
CPU: AMD Phenom II X6 1090T with Corsair H50 cooler ($180)
GPU: Sapphire HD5770 (Juniper XT) ($110)
RAM: 4x 4GB G-Skill (16GB) total ($180)
HDD: 2x Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB ($85)
CD/DVD: 2x Asus combo drives ($40)
Total: $865 (not bad IMO)

Now I need a PSU. Is it a bad idea to buy a used one?

I have an offer for this one: Thermaltake 850W Modular
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

He's selling for $75 shipped, its about a year old, with about 500 hours of gaming on it. Is it worth it?
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Best solution

December 6, 2010 2:39:28 AM

1090T is going to be slower than the x4 955 unless you are doing some serious multitasking, H50 has some leaking problems and also is overpriced in comparison to its performance. 16gb is just overkill, go with 8gb and then get more if you feel like you absolutely have to.
Of course if your work is some intensive editing program, than the 1090T and 16gb of ram would be useful.
I don't like used PSUs, also, 850w is overkill for the computer.
Something like this would work just fine:
$70 after mail in rebate: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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December 6, 2010 4:51:07 AM

I have a home business to run as well as a lot of data compilation for research. Since I got permission from the head researcher to do data compilation and analysis from home, I decided that the six core processor and 16GB RAM would be a worthwhile investment. And with a girlfriend who likes to watch her TV dramas while I work, I will eventually be running two, maybe even 3 monitors.

I will putting in a second video card eventually, and installing a water cooling system (since I'm a guy who loves DIY projects) so I'll be needing some extra head room with the PSU. I'd rather have too much W in my PSU than have too little 1% of the time and have my computer shut down in the middle of work.

Well I pulled the trigger on it already, and now I just need hard drives and a cd/dvd drive. As always, thanks for all the advice
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December 6, 2010 5:20:36 AM

Best answer selected by singnflip4life.
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December 6, 2010 5:34:54 AM

Sounds good, it should work out well with the monitors, data compilation and girlfriend watching TV.
Good luck with the build and future WC!
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December 6, 2010 12:29:01 PM

This topic has been closed by Maziar
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