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Enthusiast Gaming Rig - please critique

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December 4, 2010 9:12:02 PM

Hi guys. It has been about 8 years since I last built a PC, and the first time my focus has been gaming-specific. I have been doing research for about a month now, and am curious about the opinions of others in these forums. My target budget is ~2000.00, but I won't be heart broken if I go over that amount. I purchased the following during Black Friday sales:
(all from Newegg)
- HAF 932 case
- Cooler Master Silent Pro 800W modular PSU
- Asus OEM DVD-RW
- Logitech MX 518 mouse

I am currently planning on the following components (from Newegg, Amazon, or ? depending on price):
- Asus Rampage III Formula
- Intel Core i7 950
- Noctua NH-D14 CPU cooler/fan
- EVGA GTX 470
- G.Skill 12 GB (2X(3X2)) DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
- 2 X SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4 320 GB HDD (for RAID 0 for OS/Games)
- SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4 2TB HDD (Storage)
- Samsung SH-B123L Bluray
- Benq x2410t 120Hz 3D LED gaming monitor (if it is available in the US in the ~400 range)
- Logitech G110 gaming keyboard (possibly an MS Sidewinder X4)

Later on down the line, my current plan is to add another GTX 470 (once prices dip to the 150-200 range) for SLI. Please critique this build, as I am open to any constructive suggestions. I am currently planning on late December/early January for most purchases, as I have a feeling Sandy Bridge and new GPUs will drive down prices my current choices. I am torn between whether or not I should embrace the new MoBos, CPUs and GPUs, or if I should be satisfied with nice savings, and what I currently consider to be a fairly "hardcore" build. I enjoy all types of gaming from modern RPG's and FPS games, to Indie puzzle games on Steam. In all reality, this rig will be used for gaming, surfing the net, and watching movies (probably in that order).

Thoughts?

a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
December 4, 2010 9:30:25 PM

well i would suggest adding a XFX HD-587X-ZNFC Radeon HD 5870 1GB instead of the 470 and add this OCZ RevoDrive (SSD) drive but will set u back about 600$

CORSAIR XMS 12GB (3 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 since ur gonna run in triple channel and its faster ram and settings and the rest is fine

if i where u and u can afford go with these parts and ull game very high settings unless u want a 5970 but thats cost alot, let me know thnxs


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December 4, 2010 10:35:17 PM

I've heard that the power consumption and heat from a 5870 is better than the footprint from a GTX 470, but are the drivers and performance better? How about when crossfired (vs SLI from 2 X 470)?
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
December 4, 2010 10:56:49 PM

1) For gaming, spend your budget first on a great graphics card. Something like the GTX580, or possibly the amd 69xx answer coming this month. For a single monitor at 1920 x 1200, you will not need more. Do not consider multi gpu's unless you have to. some games do not scale well with multiple gpu's in either a single card like the 5970 or with sli. If you are planning on a 2560 x 1600 monitor, or three monitors for surround gaming, only then plan on sli/crossfire.

2) The i7-950 is a great cpu. Are you near a microcenter where you can get one for $230?

3) The asus formula iii is a great motherboard, but very expensive. Get it only if you are seeking record overclocks, or triple sli.
There are many good $200 X58 motherboards. The asus sabretooth comes to mind at $200:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

4) For the os and apps, ditch the raid-0 drives. Get a SSD instead. Performance will be much better.


5) But... being so close to the sandy bridge launch, I would wait. A less than top end early sample SB cpu is equal to the the i7-980X in gaming.
Read about it here: http://www.anandtech.com/show/3871/the-sandy-bridge-pre...


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December 5, 2010 5:07:08 AM

geofelt said:
1) For gaming, spend your budget first on a great graphics card. Something like the GTX580, or possibly the amd 69xx answer coming this month. For a single monitor at 1920 x 1200, you will not need more. Do not consider multi gpu's unless you have to. some games do not scale well with multiple gpu's in either a single card like the 5970 or with sli. If you are planning on a 2560 x 1600 monitor, or three monitors for surround gaming, only then plan on sli/crossfire.

2) The i7-950 is a great cpu. Are you near a microcenter where you can get one for $230?

3) The asus formula iii is a great motherboard, but very expensive. Get it only if you are seeking record overclocks, or triple sli.
There are many good $200 X58 motherboards. The asus sabretooth comes to mind at $200:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

4) For the os and apps, ditch the raid-0 drives. Get a SSD instead. Performance will be much better.


5) But... being so close to the sandy bridge launch, I would wait. A less than top end early sample SB cpu is equal to the the i7-980X in gaming.
Read about it here: http://www.anandtech.com/show/3871/the-sandy-bridge-pre...



Thanks for the input. Unfortunately I am not near a Microcenter, but see that they are selling the i7 950 for 200.00 now! I think overclocking might be fun to mess with, as I am fairly technical, and enjoy hardware. Is the Sabretooth also a decent board to overclock with? I wasn't aware that games had issue with SLI setups, but I will look into that. I heard the 580 runs a bit cooler than the 470, but think it may be a bit overpriced currently. What is your opinion on Nvidia vs. ATI? Are you currently running an SSD as your main OS drive, and if so, do you have any model recommendations.
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Best solution

a c 84 B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
December 5, 2010 5:37:07 PM

djfp said:
Thanks for the input. Unfortunately I am not near a Microcenter, but see that they are selling the i7 950 for 200.00 now! I think overclocking might be fun to mess with, as I am fairly technical, and enjoy hardware. Is the Sabretooth also a decent board to overclock with? I wasn't aware that games had issue with SLI setups, but I will look into that. I heard the 580 runs a bit cooler than the 470, but think it may be a bit overpriced currently. What is your opinion on Nvidia vs. ATI? Are you currently running an SSD as your main OS drive, and if so, do you have any model recommendations.


Overclocking is trivial with the X58 chipset. At least to modest levels. Just change the BCLK from 133 to 200 or so, leaving all the voltages at default.

I think Sabretooth or any other X58 board will give you good overclocks. I like the 5 year warranty on the sabretooth. Only a few games have trouble with sli or crossfire; I would not much worry about that. Just don't expect double the performance with two cards.

I happen to like Nvidia, but my experience with ATI was good also. No real reason. SLI does seem to scale better with Nvidia dual cards. Do not anguish over differences; you mostly get what you pay for, it is very competitive these days.

I currently use a Intel X25-M 160gb Gen2 SSD as my boot and only drive. It has performed well for me, and I recommend it. It is very difficult to use synthetic benchmarks to assess what your performance will be. Intel and others will have 25nm based gen3 SSD's in the marketplace shortly. Expect to get a bit better performance, and more capacity for your dollar. It is also a competitive marketplace. A bit of waiting might be in order.
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December 5, 2010 6:23:20 PM

Best answer selected by djfp.
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December 5, 2010 6:26:33 PM

geofelt said:
Overclocking is trivial with the X58 chipset. At least to modest levels. Just change the BCLK from 133 to 200 or so, leaving all the voltages at default.

I think Sabretooth or any other X58 board will give you good overclocks. I like the 5 year warranty on the sabretooth. Only a few games have trouble with sli or crossfire; I would not much worry about that. Just don't expect double the performance with two cards.

I happen to like Nvidia, but my experience with ATI was good also. No real reason. SLI does seem to scale better with Nvidia dual cards. Do not anguish over differences; you mostly get what you pay for, it is very competitive these days.

I currently use a Intel X25-M 160gb Gen2 SSD as my boot and only drive. It has performed well for me, and I recommend it. It is very difficult to use synthetic benchmarks to assess what your performance will be. Intel and others will have 25nm based gen3 SSD's in the marketplace shortly. Expect to get a bit better performance, and more capacity for your dollar. It is also a competitive marketplace. A bit of waiting might be in order.



I did a bit more research on GTX580 last night, and I think with the amount of $$$ I am putting into this rig, it is well worth the price/performance ratio. I think I am likely going to pull the trigger before Xmas, as I have about a week off to enjoy setup and long gaming sessions, and am therefore going to go with the i7 950. I am hoping that some online vender will get closer to Microcenter's insane pricing. Thanks for all your input!
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a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
February 15, 2011 7:52:39 PM

yes combination of the i7 950 and gtx 580 will be a great success :D . if u wanna game in high details ull be rocking the casbar :D 
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a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
February 15, 2011 7:53:06 PM

yes combo of cpu-gpu there will be a fine choice :D 
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a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
February 15, 2011 7:54:57 PM

yes combo of cpu-gpu there will be a fine choice :D 
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