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Please Judge My Build: HydraLogix Gaming PC ~1500Euro

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December 29, 2010 7:36:14 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: ASAP - My wife wants me to stop obsessing and just order. I think I could get her to chill for a week or so, but she wants me to order by tomorrow! :ouch: 


Budget Range: ~1500 Euro. Don't care too much about rebates.


System Usage from Most to Least Important:
Gaming (GTA IV, Mass Effect 2, Civilization 5, Starcraft 2, Total War series, LOTR: Online, COD series), Movies/TV, Internet, Music

Parts Not Required: Speakers - I've got a set of 5.1 speakers that came with my current Dell. I'm hoping I'll be able to use them on the new machine. For reference - Dell MMS 5650 5.1 Surround System. HDD - I've got 2 Seagate 7200 HDDs at 150 and 500GB plus an external 1.5TB, so storage shouldn't be an issue. Opticals - I've got a DVD burner and an external CD burner from my old machine that should be fine.


Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Unfortunately newegg doesn't deliver to Germany, so I'm using idealo.de. Great prices from what I can tell, though some of the retailers it links to are a bit dodgy so the lowest price isn't always the one to choose. Also, I've got one Amazon.de link in there because it's got a ridiculous price I can't seem to beat anywhere.


Country of Origin: Germany


Parts Preferences: Not totally committed to anything, but I'd prefer to go AMD because I don't want to get screwed in intel's imminent architecture switch. As noted in the title, I'm intrigued by Lucid's HydraLogix chip and would like to use a Mobo that incorporates it. AFAIK, there are only 2.


Overclocking: Yes. I have no experience with OC'ing, but my Mobo of choice has an automated utility for it and I'm sure the wonderful Tom's community will guide me through manual OC'ing if and when I get around to it.


SLI or Crossfire: Yes, potentially both. The idea I'm working with is starting with one AMD 6950 now, then grabbing another one when the prices come down. I'm also toying with the idea of eventually adding a cheap nVidia card as a dedicated PhyX board.


Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 native. Eyefinity would be sweet down the line, but I can't afford 3 monitors ATM.


Additional Comments: After a long time away from the PC world, I'm diving back in with both feet. I posted an earlier thread with my first ideas for this build, but I've learned so much between then and now that I figured it was better to start over again with the advice process. I've built machines before, but the last time was before 2000, so literally EVERYTHING has changed. I feel brand new again. Please evaluate my build and add in anything I'm forgetting or not considering including cables, kits, etc.

Build

Case:
*Option 1 - Antec Nine Hundred Two v3 @ 113.50 Euro
*Option 2 - CoolerMaster HAF932 @ 116.43 Euro
*Option 3 - CoolerMaster Storm Sniper @ 126.77 Euro

Mobo: MSI 870A-GD60 Fuzion @ 99 Euro

CPU: Phenom II X4 955 BE C3 Box @ 127.70 Euro

GPU: Sapphire Radeon HD 6950 2GB @ 255.84 Euro

PSU:
*Option 1 - BeQuiet! 700W @ 79.90 Euro
*Option 2 - Seasonic SS-750HT-F3 750W @ 102.37 Euro
*Option 3 - Seasonic X-750 750W @ 152.94 Euro

RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws PC3-10666 CL-7 8GB Kit (2x4GB) @ 118.80 Euro

SSD:
*Option 1 - OCZ Vertex 2 120GB 3.5 Form @ 183.90 Euro
*Option 2 - OCZ Agility 2 120GB 3.5 Form @ 189.90 Euro

Cooling: Corsair H70 Hydro Cooling @ 81.78 Euro

Monitor:
*Option 1 - LG W2443T @ 145 Euro
*Option 2 - Iiyama ProLite E2409HDS-1 @ 172.18 Euro
*Option 3 - LG W2453V-PF @ 189 Euro

Keyboard: Merc Stealth Gaming Keyboard @ 39.95 Euro

Mouse: Logitech MX518 @ 26.33 Euro

OS: Windows 7 Home 64-bit English @ 83.49 Euro

Extra cooling: CoolerMaster Blademaster R4-BMBS-20PK-R0 120mm @ 9.95 Euro

Final Price: 1365.14 - 1501.45 Euro plus Shipping

Build Notes
I'm really torn on the 3 cases. I've heard good things about them all, I'm leaning toward the Antec purely because of price reasons, but I've also heard that the HAF932 is particularly good for water cooled systems, but I'm not sure why.

The Mobo looks sexy and seems to have everything I want, highlighted by the HydraLogix chip and 16x/16x Crossfire capability. The only thing that worries me is the RAM compatibility. I've seen in various places that it won't take PC3-12800, but some people say it can with an OC, but I don't know what kind of OC they're talking about, the board or the RAM itself.

I feel pretty good about my CPU/GPU choice. I can go to an X6 when they get cheaper and I can unlock the 6950 to a 6970 (Thanks for the heads-up Tom's!). The dual 6950(unlocked) Crossfire config should be wicked!

The PSU choices are all about price. I know Seasonic is the most trusted brand among power users, so I'll probably go that way, but I can't seem to figure out the advantage of the X series over the SS series. The X series is about 50 Euro more expensive though. The Be Quiet! unit seems to be reliable enough and it's a ridiculous bargain at 80 Euro.

Wanted to go with PC3-12800, but I've read that the performance difference isn't a big one.

Can't figure out what the difference is between the Agility and Vertex series. Price is about the same.

I want to go with liquid cooling just because it's super quiet and it makes me feel much better about OC'ing. I've heard the H70 is really good for the price and more importantly, easy to set up for water cooling newbies like me. Is it true?

All of the monitors listed are 24". Options 2 and 3 for the monitors are at about the same price point. The Iiyama came highly recommended by a German magazine, the LG came from Proximon's list of "serious gaming monitors". Option 1 saves me a nice chunk of change (40-50Euro), but I read a review that it doesn't live up to its 2ms reaction time in real use. Can anybody verify?

I need a mouse and the MX518 is an old standby. Can anybody recommend a newer model that will blow me away? I'm a finger-mover, i.e. I rest the heel of my hand on the mousepad.

I couldn't find a reason to spend more on the OS. Is there any compelling reason for a gamer to upgrade to Pro or Ultimate?

Thanks
Thanks in advance to those who read and respond to this thread. I really appreciate the help and my wife will be SO happy when I'm finally done speccing this thing. :D 
December 30, 2010 5:10:29 PM

Wow, still no responses. Come on guys, I need your help. Somebody help me out, please!
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Best solution

December 30, 2010 7:39:28 PM

Well, I'm not one to nitpick and second-guess a build to death, but...

1) Antec or Lian Li cases beat Coolermaster for fit and finish and overall quality, no contest.
2) The Seasonic "X" PSUs may be the best available right now. Among the differences from the HT are full modular cabling and 80+ Gold certification. If you can afford it, this is the one to buy.
3) A quality air cooler will do as well as that prepackaged closed loop. A direct-touch 120mm cooler like a Hyper 212+ will be as quiet as the 120mm fan on the H70, and handle any reasonable overclock.
4) Socket AM3 is also going to be rendered obsolete by Bulldozer. Your system will do very well, but maximum performance in a multi-GPU setup will most likely be realized with an Intel LGA1366 system, which should remain viable for years.
So...instead of "obsessing," you might suggest to your wife that if you wait just another couple of weeks, the release of Sandy Bridge will likely lower the prices of existing parts. If she does not agree, you're still going to end up with a nice system.
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December 30, 2010 7:50:02 PM

Onus said:
Well, I'm not one to nitpick and second-guess a build to death, but...

1) Antec or Lian Li cases beat Coolermaster for fit and finish and overall quality, no contest.
2) The Seasonic "X" PSUs may be the best available right now. Among the differences from the HT are full modular cabling and 80+ Gold certification. If you can afford it, this is the one to buy.
3) A quality air cooler will do as well as that prepackaged closed loop. A direct-touch 120mm cooler like a Hyper 212+ will be as quiet as the 120mm fan on the H70, and handle any reasonable overclock.
4) Socket AM3 is also going to be rendered obsolete by Bulldozer. Your system will do very well, but maximum performance in a multi-GPU setup will most likely be realized with an Intel LGA1366 system, which should remain viable for years.
So...instead of "obsessing," you might suggest to your wife that if you wait just another couple of weeks, the release of Sandy Bridge will likely lower the prices of existing parts. If she does not agree, you're still going to end up with a nice system.

Sweet, thanks so much for the feedback!

1) So you say the 902v3 no doubt? What about the Lancool K62? Who wins in Lian Li vs. Antec in your opinion?

2) Excellent answer, I couldn't find that out anywhere. Still not sure if it's worth the price difference though, the HT is still 80 plus (bronze or silver, I think) and the modular cabling is just for ease in setup, right?

3) Yeah, I've been gathering that slowly. I've always wanted a water cooled machine, but I guess it just doesn't make sense to do unless I'm going to go whole-hog and get a real DIY kit, not a pre-packaged one. I hope I'll be able to keep my OC reasonable, hehe.

4) I haven't seen a release date for Bulldozer and I can't wait indefinitely. Also, it was my understanding that AMD would not be abandoning AM3, even after Bulldozer's release. Anyway, I've at least got an upgrade step, if not a path, by going to a hexacore. I just dont want to do it now because it's too costly, but once all the new CPUs are out it should get way cheaper. You've confused me a bit here at the end though, I thought 1366 was being replaced by 2011?
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December 30, 2010 9:41:41 PM

1) I just made a general observation about Lian Li cases; case is such a personal choice that you'd have to choose the actual model. I'm satisfied that the fit and finish will be excellent. Antec has some quieter models, but IMHO Lian Li really looks nice. Both have their own special touches, like vibration-isolating mounts, removable filters, etc. Check some reviews around the web, but that's a choice you'll have to make.
2) Modular cabling can reduce the clutter of excess cables, which sometimes block airflow. If you get a case where the PSU mounts on the bottom, that will be less of an issue.
3) If performance is "good enough," all an OC will do is increase your power bill.
4) Even if LGA1366 goes away next year, a system based on it should have sufficient performance to be viable for years. The same is true of AM3, although the Intel platform handles multi-GPU setups better, AND can do Crossfire OR SLI, whereas an AMD board will do one or the other (generally Crossfire).
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December 30, 2010 10:22:07 PM

Onus said:
1) I just made a general observation about Lian Li cases; case is such a personal choice that you'd have to choose the actual model. I'm satisfied that the fit and finish will be excellent. Antec has some quieter models, but IMHO Lian Li really looks nice. Both have their own special touches, like vibration-isolating mounts, removable filters, etc. Check some reviews around the web, but that's a choice you'll have to make.
2) Modular cabling can reduce the clutter of excess cables, which sometimes block airflow. If you get a case where the PSU mounts on the bottom, that will be less of an issue.
3) If performance is "good enough," all an OC will do is increase your power bill.
4) Even if LGA1366 goes away next year, a system based on it should have sufficient performance to be viable for years. The same is true of AM3, although the Intel platform handles multi-GPU setups better, AND can do Crossfire OR SLI, whereas an AMD board will do one or the other (generally Crossfire).

1) I was afraid you'd say that. :lol: 

2) Got it. All of the cases I'm considering are bottom-mounters and since it's not really a quality issue, I may just save myself 50 bucks there. Also, I rechecked and the HT is 80+ silver, so not a big step down.

3) Roger that.

4) That's why I'm using this HydraLogix config, it can do Crossfire, SLI, or both simultaneously! The very few reviews I've found about this board are extremely positive, the only thing that worries me is despite the fact that it's supposedly so revolutionary, nobody's really talking about it. I only discovered it through an embedded advertisement, otherwise I'd have never known about it because VERY few sites have reviewed it and almost nobody seems to have it. Oh well, guess eventually I'm just going to have to take the plunge.

Thanks again for replying, you're awesome. If nobody else responds by the time I wake up tomorrow, I'll consider this solved and give you best answer.
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December 30, 2010 10:55:18 PM

Onus said:
Socket AM3 is also going to be rendered obsolete by Bulldozer.

Just wanted to add a little bit about this point for the people at home. I've been doing some Bulldozer reading and though I still can't find a solid release date anywhere, (apparently they've already missed their first release target in 2010, so they're a bit shy about setting another hard date in case they still aren't ready) I have been able to determine that the 8 core Bulldozer workstation model codenamed Zambezi is designed to run on an AM3+ slot, so it should be backward compatible and provide an upgrade path for current users of AM3 socket boards.
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December 30, 2010 11:22:49 PM

Hmmm, I thought I had read that the SOCKET (AM3+) is backwards compatible, but the chips are not, meaning current AMD AM3 CPUs can be used in the new AM3+ slot, but Bulldozer will REQUIRE AM3+. Yes, I know that's backwards from how AM2+ worked.
Someone just did a review of Hydralogic...may have been Tom's...checking...hmmm, yes it was, but on an Intel board. Here's the conclusion: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/lucidlogix-hydralog...
I think it can be summarized to "it holds a lot of promise, but right now may not be a whole lot more than a gimmick. Your results may vary considerably, and may not be worth the price."
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December 30, 2010 11:27:11 PM

Here: http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Inside-the-AMD-B...
"Although AMD didn’t say any specifics of the CPUs that will be launched, they mentioned that the first desktop CPUs based on the Bulldozer architecture will require a new CPU socket, called AM3+, which will also be compatible with current socket AM3 processors. Socket AM3+ CPUs, however, won’t be compatible with socket AM3 motherboards."
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December 30, 2010 11:47:02 PM

Onus said:
Here: http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Inside-the-AMD-B...
"Although AMD didn’t say any specifics of the CPUs that will be launched, they mentioned that the first desktop CPUs based on the Bulldozer architecture will require a new CPU socket, called AM3+, which will also be compatible with current socket AM3 processors. Socket AM3+ CPUs, however, won’t be compatible with socket AM3 motherboards."

Doh! That really is backwards from the logic used in the previous gen. Thanks for straightening it out though.
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December 31, 2010 12:02:26 AM

Onus said:
Someone just did a review of Hydralogic...may have been Tom's...checking...hmmm, yes it was, but on an Intel board. Here's the conclusion: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/lucidlogix-hydralog...
I think it can be summarized to "it holds a lot of promise, but right now may not be a whole lot more than a gimmick. Your results may vary considerably, and may not be worth the price."

I read that review, but if I'm understanding it correctly it isn't the same mobo that I'm considering. The Tom's review seems to be talking about the Fuzion "vanilla", whereas this Overclock3D review (which is considerably more favorable) talks about a Fuzion Power Edition. I can't find anything using that precise wording, but when I search Idealo.de, I come up with a basic Fuzion and a Fuzion-GD60 which seems to be more in line with the specs listed in the OC3D review. Take a look and see if you see what I see. The basic Fuzion is based on the older 770 chipset, whereas the GD60 is based on the 870 and apparently benefits from it pretty heftily.

Also, the biggest beef Tom's seemed to have with the board was it's price point, which also seems to have changed considerably. I'm looking at picking it up for 99 Euro which = 131 USD. Considerably better than the ~$200 for the intel variant reviewed by Tom's.
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December 31, 2010 12:16:52 AM

Well then, it may be a worthwhile risk. It is not something I've tried, so I can't offer anything more solid. My games are not sufficiently demanding (at least not yet) to need more than one GPU.
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December 31, 2010 7:54:33 AM

Best answer selected by Psychodabble.
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December 31, 2010 5:39:25 PM

Thanks. Have fun with your build. What did you decide to get?
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January 2, 2011 2:26:49 AM

At your budget, I'd definitely be building an Intel i5 or i7 based system so will skip those parts

Case - Look at thr DF-35 as an alternative to the 902

PSU - the 750 is an "awkward size". This 850 is cheaper and as good or better thn any of the PSU's lisyed (10.0 rating on jonnyguru.com)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


SSD - Vertex 2 or Crucial C300

Monitor - Asus LED
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM - Your RAM is not rated for overclocking. Get a set of DDR3-1600

Cooler / TIM - The Scythe 2100 / Shin Etsu are the top finishers over at benchmarkreviews.com
http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...
http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...
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January 2, 2011 12:25:00 PM

After saying he can't use Newegg, the guy cited a specific German site for purchases.
Other than a brief comment about LGA1366 for multiple GPUs, that I think is relevant for someone considering AM3, I generally don't try to second guess too much; it really doesn't matter. as powerful as modern CPUs are.
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