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New LGA 1366 / i7 950 Build, Rate/Advice? (revised)

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December 22, 2010 7:16:39 AM

Hello,

I've scoured NewEgg (and now some of the web, while taking suggestions from others), putting together the PC I plan on using for the next few years or so, once I can buy after Christmas. Feel free to take a look below at what I have; I'd like to hear your thoughts/ideas/suggestions/changes/criticisms/etc., or ways to save a few bucks while not sacrificing much performance would be great!

The PC will be used for gaming (probably StarCraft II @ 1080p), Photoshop, heavy Microsft Excel/Access querying/calculating, and the rest are pretty much basic tasks.

Approximate Purchase Date: ~12/27/2010

Budget Range: ~$1200.00

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Major Access/Excel Querying/Calculating, Gaming (StarCraft II), Photoshop, Internet & Text Editing

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Speakers, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: www.newegg.com, but will shop around if cheaper.

Country of Origin: United States

Parts Preferences: Quality over Price, most bang-for-the-buck

Overclocking: Possibly

SLI or Crossfire: Possibly

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: Would like it to be pretty quiet.

Questions:

[ ] G.Skill or Patriot RAM? Both have the exact same specs, except G.Skill is 1.5V vs Patriot @ 1.65V, but there's a $35 MIR for the Patriot. Which is better/preferred?
[ ] Is it worth $60 to upgrade from 1600 MHz RAM to 1866 MHz RAM?
[ ] Is it worth $50 to upgrade from the Radeon 6850 to 6870?
[ ] Any real use for having a BD-Rom yet? I have a PS3 that I watch Blu-Ray on, so if that's the only use it's going to have in the forseeable future, then I don't want it.
[ ] Is a 5.25" Fan Controller Panel useful?
[ ] Is a Hard Drive Cooler worth it with my case setup?
[ ] Has Sound Absorbing Foam really made a difference for anyone?

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NewEgg Total: $1113.44 (after $60 MIR)
Better Total (if shopping around): $1070.46 (after $60 MIR) (overall, a cheaper build than my original setup! Thanks for the help, even more is welcome!)

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Case - Cooler Master RC-692-KKN2
($89.98): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
($70.80): http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Advance-Mid-Tower-R...

Power Supply - CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W
($79.99 after $10 MIR): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard - ASUS Sabertooth X58
($199.99): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU - Core i7 950
($294.99): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

NewEgg Motherboard and CPU combo (save $30 overall)
($464.98) : http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Heatsink/Fan - COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus
($37.55): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
($25.74): http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-RR-B10-212P-G1-Univ...

Thermal Paste - Tuniq TX-2
($7.98): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
($5.99): http://www.platinummicro.com/product.asp?pf_id=CPTNTX2

HDD - 1 TB Samsung Spinpoint F3
($69.99): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
($59.99): http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=HD-HD103SJ&tit...
($59.99): http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Spinpoint-Cache-Desktop-H...

Memory - Patriot 12GB (3x4GB Kit) @ 1600 MHz (possibly expanding to 24GB in the future)
($164.99 after $35 MIR): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Card - Sapphire AMD Radeon 6850 (possibly expanding to a second card in the future)
($169.99 after $15 MIR): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD-RW - LG
($17.99): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Card Reader - Sabrent CRW-UINB
($10.00): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
December 22, 2010 7:45:33 AM

^ For what will the PC be used ?? Also you should know that Intel is going to launch their newer CPUs by Jan 5th, though they are not the replacement of the LGA 1366 socket(i7 9xx), but the preview performance indicates that they are as good, being a mid-range CPUs...

PSU - You wont need 750W PSU for the HD 5670,... It is a low powered card that doesnt even require additional power connectors,... Got above 500W only if you will be adding more than 1 graphic card,...

RAM - Better to get single kits instead,...
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December 22, 2010 7:51:00 AM

I am aware of the Sandy Bridge coming out next month, but I'm still debating on which will hold me the longest before having to buy a new one after this, the 1156 or the 1366 socket motherboards. I know Intel plans on releasing a new socket to replace the 1366 next year, but I don't know how much further they plan on going with the 1156 after the Sandy Bridge units, so my hands are tied... but still leaning toward the 1366.

(revising 1st post...) The PC will be used for gaming, Photoshop, and the rest are pretty much basic tasks.

I do plan on possibly adding a second card in the future, it's just not in my budget at the moment. Same goes for the RAM. Would 750W still be ideal, or can I still go lower?

That RAM actually is in a kit of 3, unless I'm misunderstanding you...
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December 22, 2010 7:58:12 AM

Sandy Bridge is on the 1155 socket, not 1156. Intel claims it will go to Ivy Bridge at least on socket 1155 (the 22nm shrink of Sandy), for what it's worth.

The RAM is in a kit of 3, but you may be able to get 12GB cheaper in single sticks. You most likely don't need DDR3-2000 sticks, 1600 will do and is far cheaper.

As for the PSU, I'd recommend taking a quick look at a power supply calculator (google it). The new Sandy Bridge stuff will take about the same amount of power as the current Lynnfield i5-7xx/i7-8xx chips.

You said you were gaming, it would help to know what kind of games, what quality settings you want to play at, and what screen resolution you'll be working at. A 5670 is quite adequate to play at 1280x1024, but will choke hard if you try to play current titles at 1080p. It's also not something you see Crossfired regularly, since 2x5670 is about equal to a 5770, which is hardly an expensive card (especially in a $1100 build).
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December 22, 2010 8:04:13 AM

^ Will you be overclocking your PC ??

And as for the RAM, when I first saw your post, I think it was linked to a 3x (2x2GB kit) so I had said that, but now its fine,...

Video card - If it is going to be for gaming, then you would need a more powerful video card,... What kind of games you play and what is the monitor's resolution,...
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December 22, 2010 8:11:53 AM

@dertechie: Heh, typo, 1155 is correct, sorry; haven't slept at all yet tonight. As for the memory, I saw that the processor could OC to 2000 MHz, so I'd thought I'd get RAM that would be capable of reaching that as well.

@gkay: I did edit it about 5 minutes after the initial post, I had just found it after the fact, so you must've just got to it before I did, sorry. Yes, I do plan on OC'ing the machine somewhat, depending on if its needed; If I don't have to, I won't, but if I need to, I want to make sure I have the room/specs to.

For the gaming, I've been wanting to get into StarCraft II (my monitor is 1080p capable), but I don't believe my current PC is up for it, regardless of what the minimum system requirements for the game are. As for Photoshop, I'd say I work on it about 3 hours a weekend, my machine bogs down quite a bit using some different filters, so I'd like to improve on that.

Mainly, I want to future-proof my machine as much as I can, which is why it may seem like I go for overkill on some things.
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Best solution

December 22, 2010 8:34:28 AM

^ Here is a slightly reworked build -
i7 950 + ASUS Sabertooth X58
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
Advantages -
- 5 Years warranty
- Has in-built eSATA

Disadvantages -
- Overclocking is kind of limited - But dont think its a slouch though - It can easily overclock the CPUs to say 3.6-3.8GHz easy(IMO this is the best speeds in terms of performance/ power consumed)

So if you are not planning for extreme overclocking, then there is no reason not to go with this board

RAM -
IMO the 1600MHz would suffice,...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD - Samsung F3 1TB
SATA 6GB/s is unnecessary for mechanical drives as they have yet to saturate SATA 3GB/s speeds,...it is just a marketing gimmick if you ask me,...
http://www.superbiiz.com/detail.php?name=HD-HD103SJ&tit...

CASE - That is a good one, but if you planning to keep the build for a long time, then get a better quality case with added features -
Cooler Master CM 690 II Advance
http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Advance-Mid-Tower-R...

CPU Cooler - Arguably the best budget cooler out there,...
CM Hyper 212+
http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-RR-B10-212P-G1-Univ...

Video card - Atleast HD 6850
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Or something more powerful just in case you might get interested in other FPS games,...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU - That 750W should give you good headroom if planning for HD 6850/ 6870 Crossfire later on...

Thermal paste - Drop the AS5, the one that comes with the cooler would be as good,... Or get TX-2
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December 22, 2010 2:00:40 PM

OK, so your modification bumps it up another $50, but all in all, it would work better when coming to gaming, except I have 1 small issue with it...

I went with the WD HDD, not because of the SATA III, but because of the 64MB Cache vs the 32 MB. However, I do notice the seek time on the Samsung is 8.9 vs 11.0 ms on the WD.

Is 2x the Cache or the +2.1 ms seek time going to be more critical for what I'm doing? The loss of 360 GB doesn't phase me; I can't even fill up the 500 I have now.

Also, for the new case, would two more fans on the side of the case be overkill for how ventilated it already is, plus already having 3 fans (1 @ 120mm, 2 @ 140mm)?
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December 23, 2010 2:46:59 AM

^ HDD -
The F3s are newer, they have a 2 500GB platter, hence less moving parts so lower access time,... And as for you question, the seek time matters more - Lower the better in general and because of the platter design, they make up for the cache, so low cache wouldnt affect the performance,...
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/storage/2009/10/06/sam...

CASE - Well the stock fans would suffice IMO,... Add more fans when you add 1 more 6850 later on,...
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December 24, 2010 3:33:44 PM

All right, I've revised everything with the recommended suggestions, and tweaked some myself; thanks for all your help!

Now let's see if there's a way to improve it any more, any more help is welcome!

Here are questions that I've added if anyone else wants to throw in their opinion:

Questions:

[ ] G.Skill or Patriot RAM? Both have the exact same specs, except G.Skill is 1.5V vs Patriot @ 1.65V, but there's a $35 MIR for the Patriot. Which is better/preferred?
[ ] Is it worth $60 to upgrade from 1600 MHz RAM to 1866 MHz RAM?
[ ] Is it worth $50 to upgrade from the Radeon 6850 to 6870?
[ ] Any real use for having a BD-Rom yet? I have a PS3 that I watch Blu-Ray on, so if that's the only use it's going to have in the forseeable future, then I don't want it.
[ ] Is a 5.25" Fan Controller Panel useful?
[ ] Is a Hard Drive Cooler worth it with my case setup?
[ ] Has Sound Absorbing Foam really made a difference for anyone?
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December 27, 2010 2:26:10 AM

^ For your questions -
1. RAM - GSKillz is more preferred, but if Mail-In-Rebates work for you, then get the Mushkin - $20 in rebates,...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2. I doubt, unless you have planned for extreme overclock

3. Depends on the games you play,...Also if you planning to stick with 1 card for sometime, then the 6870 might be a good buy,...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

4. If you have PS3, then I doubt its worth it,...

5. Depends on the fan configuration that your case will have,...but I have not seen people complaining about the fans on the 690 though,...

6. The front fan will blow air through the HDD cage, so I doubt you would need an additional cooler for the HDDs,...

7. If done right, then it might reduce the noise level from the cooler, HDDs,...
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January 1, 2011 2:27:00 PM

Best answer selected by zylicyde.
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