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$1408.42 First custom system ever... Advice/Opinions/tips please!

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December 28, 2010 12:59:02 PM

This is my new system i hope you guys like it. I will be using it for gaming, multi track audio recording, producing multi track electronic music, some programming, surfing the internet/downloading, and watching HD movies on my PC Monitors and TV.

Motherboard:
ASUS Sabertooth X58 LGA1366 DDR3 CrossFireX SLI 3PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 PCI USB 3.0 Motherboard... $193.54

CPU:
Intel Core i7 950 Quad Core Processor LGA1366 3.06GHZ Bloomfield 8MB LGA1366 4.8GT/S... $289.99

RAM:
OCZ Gold OCZ3G1600LV6GK 6GB DDR3 3X2GB DDR3-1600 PC3-12800 CL 8-8-8-24... $79.99

Video Card (GPU):
EVGA GeForce GTX 470 Superclocked 625MHZ Fermi 1280MB 3.4GHZ GDDR5 2XDVI Mini-HDMI PCI-E Video Card (012-P3-1472-AR)... $263.64

SSD (boot drive):
OCZ Vertex 2 Extended Sandforce 120GB 2.5IN SATA2 Solid State Disk Flash Drive SSD... $214.99

Case:
Cooler Master Elite 335 Black ATX Mid Tower Case 4X5.25 1X3.25 6X3.25INT Front USB Audio No PSU... $36.30

OS:
Windows 7 Pro 64bit... $139.99

Power Supply:
Corsair TX650W 650W ATX 12V 52A 24PIN ATX Power Supply Active PFC 120MM Fan... $89.99

HDD (data hard drive):
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3R HE103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive... $99.99

Total:
$1408.42+taxes

A few Notes...

-The RAM I picked is on the Qualified Vendors List for the motherboard
-The motherboard, power supply and HDD have 5 year warranties
-The SSD and CPU have 3 year warranties
-The GPU and RAM have lifetime warranties
-I already had the power supply before i knew i could afford a new GPU etc. otherwise i would prefer at least 750w but 650w is still WELL within the range approved by corsair.
-I Have a good DVD/CD reader/writer that i am using from an old system
-all prices are Canadian but im sure u guys can figure it out :p 
-I could get EVGA GeForce GTX 470 Fermi 607MHZ 1280MB GDDR5 2XDVI Mini-HDMI PCI-E Video Card (012-P3-1470-AR)... $239.97 instead
-I may, in the future, upgrade to a second video card and get a new power supply along with it of course.
-I will be using Kaspersky Internet Security 2011
-I will not be overclocking
-I will be in school for quite awhile so i will not have money for a long time again
-I have an external audio interface (M-Audio Profire 2626) which serves as my sound card
-The parts listed are not necessarily final
-I think this is the best possible build for the money/performance/reliability

Thanks everyone for checking out my build. I have been running a Pentium 4, 1gig of RAM, geforce 6200 128mb and an 80gig hdd with a crap mobo (that has had issues for a long time now) for over 5 years now and it wasnt a great computer to begin with. Needless to say i am sick and tired and overly anxious to start using a real computer. SUPER STOKED. again i hope you guys like it.

-Jake
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
December 28, 2010 2:24:07 PM

I'll go ahead and state that I have no idea on Canadian prices, and I'm not going to look them up for you.

Mobo: Not a huge fan of that board. I'd check out the Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R instead.

RAM: DO NOT TOUCH OCZ RAM. Especially with Intel boards. OCZ's DDR3 requires a lot of voltage to run correctly, and Intel boards are very strict about how much voltage the RAM can get. Also, don't just blindly go by the QVLs. They're not always accurate. Instead, look for a good set of 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 sticks from G.Skill, Corsair, Mushkin, Kingston or anyone else (in that order). Pick something that's in your budget.

GPU: Not a huge fan of the GTX 470/480. Instead, I'd check out the HD 6870 or HD 6950. Or if you're 100% stuck on nVidia, the GTX 460.

Case: That's a really small case to be throwing all of this into. I'd check out the Coolermaster 690, Antec 900 (or 902), HAF 912, HAF 922 or anything from Lian Li instead. Don't spend more than what the HAF 922 costs, as that's possibly the best case out there.

I think that about does it considering you already have the PSU. I will point out that 650W would be good enough for dual 460s, and it MIGHT be ok for dual 6870s.
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December 28, 2010 2:50:55 PM

jKron said:
This is my new system i hope you guys like it. I will be using it for gaming, multi track audio recording, producing multi track electronic music, some programming, surfing the internet/downloading, and watching HD movies on my PC Monitors and TV.

Motherboard:
ASUS Sabertooth X58 LGA1366 DDR3 CrossFireX SLI 3PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 PCI USB 3.0 Motherboard... $193.54
I don't know much about motherboards, to tell you the truth. What I do know is that you want a decent N-bridge, 1600 RAM compatible without OCing (if you can), and the correct number of PCI-e x16 slots for your build. Other than that, I can't really tell you much about your board choice at the moment, so I would look to the other poster's post.
CPU:
Intel Core i7 950 Quad Core Processor LGA1366 3.06GHZ Bloomfield 8MB LGA1366 4.8GT/S... $289.99
The CPU is powerful, but it may be a bit overkill. You could probably go with a cheaper CPU and get near, if not the same performance.
RAM:
OCZ Gold OCZ3G1600LV6GK 6GB DDR3 3X2GB DDR3-1600 PC3-12800 CL 8-8-8-24... $79.99
Go with G.skill 1600 RAM. More reliable and a favorite of hard-core gamers/gaming rig builders.
Video Card (GPU):
EVGA GeForce GTX 470 Superclocked 625MHZ Fermi 1280MB 3.4GHZ GDDR5 2XDVI Mini-HDMI PCI-E Video Card (012-P3-1472-AR)... $263.64
I would go wit hthe GTX 460 Superclocked. It's cheaper and is also more highly recommended than the other GTX, like the other poster said.

SSD (boot drive):
OCZ Vertex 2 Extended Sandforce 120GB 2.5IN SATA2 Solid State Disk Flash Drive SSD... $214.99
Before settling for this SSD, when you finalize your choice for your MOBO, look up some benchmarks on SSD-mobo combinations running at your N-bridge (or something like that) to see which will give the best performance with your mobo. This may be confusing, if it is, just ignore it.
Case:
Cooler Master Elite 335 Black ATX Mid Tower Case 4X5.25 1X3.25 6X3.25INT Front USB Audio No PSU... $36.30 I would go with an Antec. 600 or 900. Maybe even the 300, that's what I'm going with. Here is the link to the 300 I'm going with, here.

OS:
Windows 7 Pro 64bit... $139.99
This is a personal choice, so I can't really comment on it. For my build, I will be going with the $99 OEM system builder version of Win7 Home Prem

Power Supply:
Corsair TX650W 650W ATX 12V 52A 24PIN ATX Power Supply Active PFC 120MM Fan... $89.99
That's the same PSU I will be going with for my build, so I think it is a good choice. More than powerful enough (I think) for your build, good brand with high quality parts, and isn't to expensive/worth the money.

HDD (data hard drive):
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3R HE103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive... $99.99

Total:
$1408.42+taxes

A few Notes...

-The RAM I picked is on the Qualified Vendors List for the motherboard
-The motherboard, power supply and HDD have 5 year warranties
-The SSD and CPU have 3 year warranties
-The GPU and RAM have lifetime warranties
-I already had the power supply before i knew i could afford a new GPU etc. otherwise i would prefer at least 750w but 650w is still WELL within the range approved by corsair.
-I Have a good DVD/CD reader/writer that i am using from an old system
-all prices are Canadian but im sure u guys can figure it out :p 
-I could get EVGA GeForce GTX 470 Fermi 607MHZ 1280MB GDDR5 2XDVI Mini-HDMI PCI-E Video Card (012-P3-1470-AR)... $239.97 instead
-I may, in the future, upgrade to a second video card and get a new power supply along with it of course.
-I will be using Kaspersky Internet Security 2011
-I will not be overclocking
-I will be in school for quite awhile so i will not have money for a long time again
-I have an external audio interface (M-Audio Profire 2626) which serves as my sound card
-The parts listed are not necessarily final
-I think this is the best possible build for the money/performance/reliability

Thanks everyone for checking out my build. I have been running a Pentium 4, 1gig of RAM, geforce 6200 128mb and an 80gig hdd with a crap mobo (that has had issues for a long time now) for over 5 years now and it wasnt a great computer to begin with. Needless to say i am sick and tired and overly anxious to start using a real computer. SUPER STOKED. again i hope you guys like it.

-Jake



My responses are in bold. I hope they're helpful.
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Related resources
December 28, 2010 4:55:28 PM

Canadian prices are roughly the same as US prices... maybe around 5 percent more expensive in Canada but not as a rule :p  Sometimes the US has really good deals.

Mobo: I am a fan of the 5 year warranty... the board has everything i need and will fit all the necessary components and is also made using very durable, high quality materials. I am not exactly sure why u dont like this one MadAdmiral but i would like to know. The gigabyte has a 3 year warranty and is also made from very nice materials. It is more fully featured although does not seem to have anything extra that i need. It is a very beautiful board and a worthy competition at about $210. The layout of either board works fine for me and both seem very compatible. I am still not ready to change my mind tho. To me the sabertooth seems really well made, benchmarks well, and I like it.

RAM: You have me a little scared about the OCZ... i was originally going to go for some gskill ram but i was also a little influenced by the QVL tho not blind :p ... it does seem like a nice set of ocz ram, is it REALLY that big of a NONO?... it will cost me about 9 bucks to return it which im willing to spend if it rly worth it and i can find a good deal.
-G.SKILL PI Series 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7T-6GBPI 7-8-7-24-2n... $122.49. A bit of a jump from $79.99 but i suppose i could honestly afford it if its REALLY worth it.
-G.SKILL F3-12800CL8T-6GBRM Ripjaws 6GB 3X2GB DDR3-1600 CL8-8-8-24 240PIN Triple Channel i7 Memory... $98.90. same speed and timings as ocz and still $30 more if u include the cost to return the ocz ram.
-I would welcome other recommendations for some good gskill ram and ill see if i can find a good deal (didn't see any 1600 7-7-7-24 during a quick look). I've also read that some of the lower spec/priced gskill ram overclocks very well although i dont think i would want to do this if it voids the warranty.

GPU: maybe you guys are right... its just not worth that extra little bit of performance... but there is that extra little bit.. i might be willing to "step down" to the 460 i guess. Toms Hardware recommends the 470 for its price as well as the 460. I will get more power out of the 470 and can get another one later for even more power... two 460's is nice but cant do everything :p  two 470's can do more/ more future proof.
-EVGA GeForce GTX 460 Fermi Superclocked EE 763MHZ 1024MB GDDR5 2XDVI Mini-HDMI PCI-E DX11 Video Card (01G-P3-1373-AR)... $179.79 or else about $210 if i cant get that price.

Case: Is it to small bcuz of cooling? remember no overclock... i was planning on doing some creative cutting if i needed to make room for a video card or something... i have the means to do a nice job on customizing it to fit :p  and im pretty sure it will work. $36... also i kinda prefer top mount PSU over bottom mount.

Thank you both very much for your responses,

-Jake
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
December 28, 2010 5:31:59 PM

Mobo: I'm not a fan of the board because it's overpriced. Tom's has reviewed boards a lot, and the Gigabyte board constantly wins the best value. I wouldn't spend more than what it costs.

RAM: OCZ's sticks often use high voltages (usually around 1.7V) to run correctly. Intel boards will only tolerate RAM that uses 1.65V. So I'd say it's a big issue. I try to avoid OCZ's RAM as much as possible just to avoid any potential issues. After all, there's a reason they're the cheapest sticks around...

GPU: The problem with the 470 isn't it's power. The problem is it's power consumptoin and heat. To run a single 470, you'll want at least a 650W PSU. To run them in SLI, you need at least an 850W. By comparision, the 460 in SLI only needs a 650W unit. In addition, the two cards perform fairly similarly once you've SLIed them. The 460 is only a little weak by itself. Basically, once you hit the 460, the next steps up are all ATI cards (the 68xx series and 68xx series) or the GTX 580. Because of what you're doing, I'd want a nVidia card. That means the 460.

The exact card doesn't make a huge difference. Basically, get one of the cheaper cards or get the EVGA FTW edition. Tom's did a review of the overclocked card, and concluded it may actually be worth the added cost.

Case: It's too small to fit the 470 (or higher end GPUs) comfortably. It's a pretty small case. Once you're trying to get a bigger GPU than the HD 5770 in it, I'd start getting concerned. Unfortunately, performance cases are tending to move away from top mounted PSUs. Bottom mounted PSUs are just easier to install and don't interfer with cooling by having cords blocking airflow.
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December 28, 2010 6:12:25 PM

im going to cut the hard drive bays to make room... you may not be comfortable doing this but i have the means and dont mind altering things like that :p .
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December 28, 2010 6:16:35 PM

any good set of gskill that you know of which isn't too pricey?
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December 28, 2010 6:24:11 PM

I'm definitely going to check out the article on the FTW models sounds interesting...
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December 28, 2010 6:28:44 PM

I like it a lot especially for a first time builder its got a lot of good choices. I reccomend changing your memory to gskill or some other company. Understand that the slowest component in a computer is your top speed that OCZ would be the bottleneck in most games and by a huge margin if you really want good speed I recommend either. (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168..., ddr3 1600 cas 6) or (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168..., ddr3 2133 cas 7). Don't be light on the memory, As its what will be the first bottleneck to your cpu's overall performance in games so really your memory should be more important then even your hard drive at this point in time for an overall gaming computer. consider getting maybe a 750 or even 850 corsair psu if you plan on ever doing any sli, because 650 while its more then sufficient for 1 gpu is just a tad too little to sli 2 gpu's, the price also should not be that big of a difference for a 750 and it would save you a bit of money then if you had to replace the 650 down the road to SLI. Another thing is microcenter is selling the i7 950 for 229 so it might be better to get it from them save the 60 bucks and get everything else at newegg or what ever other place you were thinking of buying. I also would question your SSD, its a great choice, but why not try a crucial c300 they are cheaper and a bit faster as well. Also that case should not be what you want, you want a lot more, I would at minimum reccomend an Antec 902 for your cheapest option. Honestly if your sticking with a 470 I would reccomend a silverstone raven RV02-B, or coolermaster HAF-X. Surprisingly the Raven beats the HAF-x I have tested my 470 against other's with the identical gpu in an haf-x and my silverstone beat their temps by about 8c. I get an overclock of 875/750/2078 24/7 and it runs in games from 63c to 71c. I think though if you want to live with a cheap case step yourself down from the 470 and go with a 460, it runs much cooler and survive stock with much crappier cases. The 460 does perform at stock pretty close to the 470 in most games, and when overclocked 460 overclocks well, but the 470 will kill the 460 if its cooled right just usually to cool the 470 is not quite price efficient. The 460 though has shown some weaknesses in dx11 in 3dmark11 the 460 scores a merely p3000 while the 470 scores p4500-5000 range so while the 460 does good in dx10.1 games, future dx11 it looks like it might only perform about 60-66% of the 470's performance. My Final question is why don't you think of the new sandybridge processors that are comming out soon you could for about 300 bucks pick up an i7 2600k. I don't know specifics but with it being so close to being released it might have a little benefit. I know andantech reviewed the i5 2400 with turbo off and it equaled in performance to the same speed of the i7 880 so I suspect the i7 2600k will be a bit faster than the i7 950 now.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
December 28, 2010 6:36:47 PM

None of the G.Skill sets are that expensive. I think their base 1333 mhz CAS Latency 9 sticks are $50 (the cheapest is the Corsair XMS3 set at $40) and their 1600 mhz CL 7 set (the best for overclocking) is the cheapest at $70.

I forgot to mention the release of Sandy Bridge. It's due out in a couple of weeks (Jan. 9th I think), and the performance is a big step up. I'm not going to try and guess exactly what kind of performance gains you'll see or what prices they'll be selling them at, much less if you'll actually be able to find them in stock. I just know that it will change the landscape drastically. At the very least, the prices on current CPUs should decrease. I would definitely wait to see what happens when these new chips are released.
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December 28, 2010 6:44:29 PM

Andantech shows for a sandybridge with hyperthreading enabled gets 10% better performance for each ghz compared to the original i7's. So an i7 950 at 3.06 ghz (289.99) stock compared to an i7 2600k ($305) would roughly mean the sandybridge would perform 22.22% better with both processors having turbo boost off and with turbo boost on both processors about 25.2% better. So its worth thinking about.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
December 28, 2010 6:53:25 PM

What I saw was that the 10% was comparing clock speed to clock speed. The actual performance was something around 23% without turbo or hyperthreading. The preview guessed that you'd get another 3-7% from turbo.

I'm just not going to guess what price Intel's going to ask for the chips. After all, this is the company that wants $295 extra for an additional 0.14 GHz (the i7-960 to i7-950)...
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December 28, 2010 6:57:02 PM

prices have already been estimated that the i7 2600 will be between 294-305. All these processors are mainstream processors so none of them will be ranging in the 500+ dollar range. Those will come out in q3 2011. The top end I7's will still beat these new sandybridge processors. I am sure that the price for the i7 960 will go down, if you remember the 950 was also 300 bucks more then the 920 and it came down. This is just all intentional. I don't think we can expect the i7 980x to become more reasonable though.
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December 29, 2010 3:59:05 AM

Most of this looks pretty solid, but I do have two qualms.

As people have already stated, Sandy Bridge hits in a week and will of course rework the midrange landscape around itself. It's worth at least seeing what it can do if you haven't yet bought the parts.

You mentioned that you were going to do a lot of audio work on this box. If that's the case, you may want to consider a different graphics card. GF100 based cards (GTX 480, 470, 465) are well known for being hot and loud. They're not terrible at idle but they are rather loud under load. If you need CUDA, take a look at GTX 460 roundup, those cards are nice and quiet. Otherwise, consider the 6850/6870/6950, all of which are going to be quieter (especially under load), particularly some of the 6850s (but find a review, some of them are a little overly aggressive with the fan profiles).
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December 29, 2010 4:13:22 AM

yea i guess i got a little overly anxious about grabbing my gear and should wait till i see what changes Q1 makes too the hardware-scape... i have purchased some of components already but it is not a big deal for me to return some of them if it worth it... id rather get the best *** i can while i still have money cuz as i said in my original post (which some people clearly did not read thouroughly) i will not have money for a long time after this (not that i could be THAT dissapointed by the i7 950 but yea)...
im gunna do some research on the sandy bridge and see what sort of mobo options i may have. I think you guys have me convinced on the 460... do most people agree the FTW if relatively worth it if u can afford it?
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December 29, 2010 4:16:16 AM

looks like i might have to bite the bullet and put out a little more for some better RAM
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December 29, 2010 6:13:41 AM

Check out my thread for some additional insight

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/301674-13-1000-1200...

With 1400, your case, ram, video card, motherboard sucks badly and in a overclocker's perspective it is a waste of cash when you can get better with your cash. My thread consists of canadian dollars too. Props for being Canadian.
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December 29, 2010 6:54:42 AM

thank you to everyone who responded and did not read my notes you guys are awesome..........
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December 29, 2010 7:54:53 AM

so far i'm thinking...

RAM: definitely going to look for a set of fast gskill sticks with low voltage...

GPU: definitely going for a 460... i wont be going with the FTW because of the 2 year warranty as opposed to lifetime for other models.

CPU & Mobo: I will see what happens with sandy bridge before I take my stuff out of the box because i already have it. If I think its a worthwhile transaction I'll return it and get the sandy bridge stuff... my concerns are availability and the extra cost to get 8 gigs of ram instead of 6... I still really like the 5 year warranty on the sabretooth as well. I will not be overclocking.

Case: Going to stick with it for now.

SSD and PSU: both done deals. not really worth reconsidering.
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December 30, 2010 4:03:47 AM

jKron said:
so far i'm thinking...

RAM: definitely going to look for a set of fast gskill sticks with low voltage...

GPU: definitely going for a 460... i wont be going with the FTW because of the 2 year warranty as opposed to lifetime for other models.

CPU & Mobo: I will see what happens with sandy bridge before I take my stuff out of the box because i already have it. If I think its a worthwhile transaction I'll return it and get the sandy bridge stuff... my concerns are availability and the extra cost to get 8 gigs of ram instead of 6... I still really like the 5 year warranty on the sabretooth as well. I will not be overclocking.

Case: Going to stick with it for now.

SSD and PSU: both done deals. not really worth reconsidering.



Lots of people have reported problems with OCZ Ram. I can personally talk to the quality of the Gskills Ripjaw RAM people are mentioning. It's what I use. BTW, Newegg has a 15% off deal on all RAM thru today. Code is DKMEM15 at checkout. To think that my RAM was around $100 earlier this year and now it's half that.

Invest in a better case. I have the Storm Scout from Coolermaster that works great.
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December 30, 2010 9:09:46 PM

i am look at either

G.SKILL F3-12800CL6T-6GBPI Pi Series 6GB 3X2GB DDR3-1600 CL6-8-6-20 240PIN Triple Channel Memory Kit... $124.99 (not price shown)

http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=52461&vpn=F3...

or

G.SKILL PI Series 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7T-6GBPI 7-8-7-24-2N... $112.49

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...


id easily pay the difference for the CAS 6 set but wondering if anyone thinks voltage will be an issue...

if anyone knows any better 6gb sets let me know... remember i will not be OCing above stated timings
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December 30, 2010 10:51:13 PM

wut i mean to say is i will not be overclocking above advertised specs
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January 10, 2011 9:01:33 PM

If you're not going to be using the hard drive in a RAID configuration, you could save a few bucks and get the SpinPoint F3 drive instead of the F3R. The only difference between the two is if it ever finds a bad sector and takes a few moments to relocate it to a reserved portion of your hard drive. The F3R simply sends some kind of response every 8 seconds so the RAID controller doesn't think the drive died and starts rebuilding on the remaining drives. The F3 responds when it's done relocating the bad sector which could be from a second to a couple of minutes depending on the load of the drive.
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January 13, 2011 5:28:59 AM

EdFromOhio said:
If you're not going to be using the hard drive in a RAID configuration, you could save a few bucks and get the SpinPoint F3 drive instead of the F3R. The only difference between the two is if it ever finds a bad sector and takes a few moments to relocate it to a reserved portion of your hard drive. The F3R simply sends some kind of response every 8 seconds so the RAID controller doesn't think the drive died and starts rebuilding on the remaining drives. The F3 responds when it's done relocating the bad sector which could be from a second to a couple of minutes depending on the load of the drive.


the other difference is the 5 year warranty :p 
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