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New i7 System — Feedback Desired

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December 16, 2010 11:21:50 AM

Hi TH Community,

I'm new here and trying about to try and build my first PC. I've read a lot of the more recent articles on Tom's Hardware and walked through the System Builder's to find the components that are right for me.

I set out to build an awesome $2000 machine that will last a few years. Below is what I have come up with. I am hoping to make these purchases immediately, but wanted to run them by the community to make sure I am not making any serious errors. In particular I am looking for advice on a CPU Cooler....I have been eying the Scythe Mugen 2 Rev. B, which gets good reviews here, but I am not sure if this is appropriate.

General advice on all other parts/choices appreciated as well. I have not bought anything yet, so all components can be swapped out.

Thanks in advance,

Ian

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My system:

CPU — Intel i7 950
CPU Cooler — Scythe Mugen 2 Rev. B
Motherboard — Asus Rampage III Formula
GPU — EVGA GeForce GTX 580 (Single Card now, maybe SLI later)
RAM — Crucial DDR3-1333 12GB Memory (4GB x 3)
SSD — Intel X25-M 120GB 2.5" SATA II Internal SSD — For OS, looked at 6Gb/s Crucial C300 but reliability often mentioned in user reviews, mistake?
HDD — 4 x Western Digital 1TB Caviar Black (Striped / Mirrored in a Raid 10 / 1+0 array)
Optical 1 — LG Blu-Ray Super Writer 10x
Optical 2 — Lite-On LightScribe 24X SATA DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Drive IHAS424-98
PSU — Antec TruPower Quattro 1000W (TPQ 1000)
Case — Antec 900 II 9-Bay Full Tower
OS — Windows 7 Pro 64-Bit

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Anything I am missing? I have never overclocked a PC, but would like to learn. I gather the i7 950 can be OC'd to 4 Ghz with relative ease. What can I do to ensure if I do OC the above that it stays cool and stable. Anything I need to add at the build phase?

Thank you. I really appreciate any feedback, even if I have made serious errors in the above choices...better to know now than build it and be stuck.

Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
December 16, 2010 1:55:25 PM

Hi iafrahilly

Point 1. Depending on what you're planning to use this for, drop down to 3x2GB DDR3 1600 RAM if you're into gaming. Anything above that would be major overkill.

Get the Asus Sabertooth x58. Will do almost anything that the Rampage Formula will do. What do you really need a $400 board for?

SSD- Intels are plenty good. You can also look at OCZ Vertex 2 and G.Skill Phoenix pro.

But all said and done really, with your budget, it will be a crying shame not to wait for the new Sandy Bridge range that Intel's gonna come out with in Jan. With both the sockets LGA 1156 and LGA 1366 being usurped, upgrading will be an issue.

I'll say hold on to your money just a little while longer.
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December 16, 2010 3:26:19 PM

Thanks for the reply calguyhunk.

You're right, the main use of the comp will be gaming, but I do a fair amount of video rendering...and I've have been told the added RAM may speed rendering times. That said, I have struggled with choosing the right speed/latency. The i7 950 says it can really only use DDR3-1333 or PC3-10600. I can OC this, but I am an amateur when it comes to that. I've also heard some people run into trouble with 1600's...saying they can't get them to run at there stock speed. Not sure what to do. Money is not a problem but the combined complication of speed, latency, OC performance and price has me confused as to what would be best. Any advice greatly appreciated. Any specific RAM modules you'd recommend? Anything you have used and like?

I can get the Asus Formula 3 for $264 on Amazon.com if I am buying Windows 7 at the same time (which I am), so it's not $400...that'd be nuts. I've read it is better than the Sabertooth mainly for SLI and Tri-SLI setups — better spacing. Was trying to buy something that will last for a couple of builds. Worth the extra $65? If not Sabertooth could be a great call.

Will check out those other SSDs. Thanks.

Lastly, I thought Sandy Bridge is meant to be mid-level processors only. The LG 1155 socket is new, but the higher performance LG 1186 won't come until Q311, right? Am I mistaken? Also, Sandy Bridge comes with on board graphics which in the last iteration weren't great. Do you know what people expectations are now? Are integrated graphics better now, or am I better off sticking with the separate EVGA GeForce GTX 580?

Thanks again calguyhunk, sorry for the second round of questions, really appreciate your advice. Just want to be sure I get this right.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 16, 2010 4:01:53 PM

iafrahilly said:

I can get the Asus Formula 3 for $264 on Amazon.com if I am buying Windows 7 at the same time (which I am), so it's not $400...that'd be nuts.
Mis-type. Thought I typed 300 instead of 400 :p 

You didn't say anything 'bout rendering. You can also go with an AMD 1090t if you wanna save some money.

And good with SLI doesn't mean bad for single GPU system. The Sabertooth has pretty much established itself as the ultimate go-to x58 mobo today. But at 265, you can never really go wrong with it even though you'll prolly never need all it's features. I still think it will be a bit of an overkill.

Sandy will come out with integrated graphics that still won't replace high end Graphics cards. The last iteration was actually very good when compared to the IGP of the AMD and LGA 775 boards. These will be even better hopefully, but they will in no way, shape or form replace graphics cards. They're not meant to.

Lastly, with the new stuff just days away, with a fairly high-end budget, just hold on for a couple of weeks and see the reviews and the benchmarks before investing is what I'll say.

RAM- Get DDR3 1600. If the price diff is not make or break. They will run 1600. Might need a voltage tweak. My 920+Asus Rampage II Gene runs 1600 Dominators just fine.

You should look at G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 12GB. Should run at the rated speed.
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December 16, 2010 4:15:48 PM

Thanks calguyhunk. Going to take your advice and wait for SB...probably rock the Sabertooth too. I'll take a look at the G.Skill RAM right now. Thank you again for the detailed replies. Truly appreciated.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 16, 2010 4:45:00 PM

You're welcome.
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December 26, 2010 1:35:10 AM

Best answer selected by iafrahilly.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 26, 2010 3:03:04 AM

Thanks, man. I appreciate it. Happy holidays :) 
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