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Looking for feedback on a proposed i7 950 system.

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December 30, 2010 2:19:57 AM

Hey, guys.

I'm looking for quick feedback on a system I'm planning to put together. I made a system about eighteen months ago, but sadly had to sell it about four or five months ago. For purposes of giving feedback, just assume I'm completely clueless. It's safest!

First thing's first: proposed specifications.


Case: Corsair Graphite 600T Midi Tower Case
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-X58-USB3 Intel X58 DDR3 Motherboard
CPU: Intel Core i7 950 3.06GHz
GPU: nVidia GeForce GTX 580 1536MB
RAM: Patriot Viper 2 6GB (3x2GB) PC3-12800C8 1600MHz Triple Channel Memory
Boot Drive: Intel X25-M Mainstream 120GB 2.5" SATA-II Solid State Hard Drive
HDD: Samsung SpinPoint F3 1TB
ODD: 2* LG GH24NS50 24x DVD±RW SATA ReWriter
PSU: Corsair HX 1000W ATX Modular SLI Compliant Power Supply


My thoughts at the moment:

1. The links there are for the components I plan to buy. Yes, I could get them cheaper elsewhere and it's entirely possible (and, indeed, quite likely!) that I'll trawl the internet for a couple of hours to find the best deals. I just happened to use that website to find the majority of my components and the rest kind of fell in to place. I'm a big fan of the customer service at Overclockers, so I'm happy, if it comes to it, just to buy everything from them. But rest assured, I will search out cheaper deals.

2. I plan to eventually upgrade both the motherboard and CPU, probably in a couple of years, when prices begin to come down. At that point I would intend buying a second GeForce 580 to run in SLI with the one I buy just now. For that reason, the motherboard I chose is pretty much the cheapest 1336 board I could find. I make the assumption that by the time I upgrade my CPU and motherboard, we'll be looking at a new and improved chipset - heck, the Sandy Bridge is already promising to run on a 1155 chipset - so I won't be looking to run SLI on this particular motherboard. Around the time I upgrade my CPU and motherboard I would also intend to stick another HDD into the system for extra storage. Because I only want one GPU and one HDD on this motherboard, I'm happy with the cheaper model. I don't know if this is asking for trouble.

3. I don't know if I have to buy the same brand of GPU to run SLI, or just the same model of card. I expect to run two GeForce 580s in SLI in a couple of years - do I have to buy the exact same card, down to the company who are producing it (in this case, OcUK), or could I buy, say an EVGA or Asus card and stick 'em together with the one I listed?

4. I would like to be able to use both ODD at the same time to rip DVDs. I have a substantial collection of DVDs and I want to transfer them onto the computer. Ideally, I want to be able to use my computer while this is going on. I would ideally intend ripping dual DVDs while playing games. My gaming use will be mainly focused on World of Warcraft, Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 (because I'm a total Blizzard-wh*re!), but I also want to be able to play Crysis, CoD:MW2 and the like. Is my computer powerful enough to do that?

5. Will my PSU be sufficient to cover an upgraded CPU, SLI and a second HDD? From what I've read, I'm a good 400W over what I need for my current set-up.

5. Is that case big enough? And, if it is big enough for the components I've proposed, is it still big enough when I upgrade to SLI and a second HDD?

6. What's the best use of extra space on the boot drive? I appreciate that 120GB is plenty big for an SSD - I just don't know exactly what's best put into it, to take advantage of it being made of non-moving win.


If I get a green-light from you guy, I'm willing to put this into buying mode within the day. I'd prefer not to wait beyond tomorrow night to order bits, but I appreciate I'm coming at you kinda strong with very little notice. Honestly, any advice at all would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

More about : feedback proposed 950 system

December 30, 2010 12:46:57 PM

Wait for a couple of weeks, Intel is releasing a new socket and new better CPUs.
December 30, 2010 3:44:57 PM

Hey, thanks for replying!

This is the Sandy Bridge, right? Is it not the case that someone will always be releasing something newer and better? I mean, computer hardware develops so quickly it's never going to be possible to have the newest and the best for more than a few weeks, no?

Other than waiting for the new socket/CPUs, is there anything else you suggest for the build?

Cheers!
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December 30, 2010 4:10:48 PM

The 580 hs a lousy price/performance value. By the time you'll need another one it will be obsolete and you won't get another one anyway so it's best to either go crossfire or SLI right away or buy a cheaper video card and replace it later. You can get two HD 6850/6870 or GTX 460 and those are faster than the 580. Or get a single HD 6950/6970/GTX570.
December 30, 2010 4:41:05 PM

Actually, thinking about it you're totally right there. I had expected that within a couple of years an SLI 580 would be valid, but looking back at the build I put together only eighteen months ago, I think I had the GTX 275 - no way that in six months it will be valid to SLI that and hope it can keep up with the big guns. Good call, thanks.

I've read obscenely good reviews of the GTX 570. I'll reconsider my approach!

Now, I'm really rather keen to get going with this build and I was wondering how much we can expect Sandy Bridge to affect the CPU market. Will it mostly impact on the current top-end CPUs, do you think, or will the price impact filter down through the i3/i5 lines?

On that note, actually, going slightly off-topic: do you think that an i5 760 system with a GTX 460/470/570 (I don't like the 480) would be capable of standing up to what I want it to do? (Dual-DVD-ripping while gaming is probably my largest regular draw on the system.)
December 31, 2010 10:02:02 AM

A pair of GTX460 (1 GB) cards however, is less than a single GTX580, and gives excellent performance per dollar spent!
December 31, 2010 10:16:53 AM

MDD I'm sorry but I beg to differ.
The 1 gig version of the card weighs in at around $320 for 2 of em, whilst the 768mb version is around $240-260 for 2.
IMHO, $60 for 2-4% difference isn't much - 2-3% for 1920x1200- resolutions and lower and 4% for 2560x1600 resolutions. The extra 250ish mb doesn't really help much in this case compared to performance - He'll be getting 33 instead of 34 fps, or 66 instead of 69 fps. That much isn't really enough to warrant $60 or so more.

Lastly, I'd recommend you truly wait for SB. It really is worth the wait with the 1155 socket ones coming out having performance around on par with the i7 980X and lower for a significantly lower price.
No point buying an i7 now - it certainly will lower the price of all processors...if that processor wants to sell.
Either i5 now or SB in a few weeks, no point taking the middle ground. The i5 however performs easily enough on anything you do - However as you want great performance, the processors WILL give you reasonable performance gains - not 2-3 %, but certainly more than $60 more too.
December 31, 2010 11:54:10 AM

I'd get the 6950 and unlock it to a 6970.That would be the best bang for buck.I'd also choose the NZXT Phantom over the graphite 600t as it is a full tower case with all the pros that come with that.
January 1, 2011 2:51:16 PM

Thanks again for feedback, guys. Sorry for lack of response - my netbook blue-screened right when all the shops were closed, so my access is limited.

Right, what I've heard about SB is that the initial 1155 will be replacing 1156 but NOT 1336. 1336, from what I hear, will stay as the top-end CPU until Q3/4 2011 when they release the SB E' Series, which will finally replace our beloved i7 9xxs. So, here's a question: given that the i7 won't be replaced for another nine months, is it still worth waiting and holding off on a build? Is 1155 going to replace i7 as the top-end card and, if not, why would 1336 prices drop?

MDD, I had the same idea myself. I agree. The SLI 460s, from benchmarks I've read, actually outperforms the 580 in many cases and it costs over £100 less to SLI 460s than to run a single 580 in Britain. However, vibhas, I haven't seen benchmarks that include SLI 460 768MB - I'll look into that because, if you're right that performance increase is so low, then I agree that the price hike isn't worth it.

BeCoolBro, it seems to me that nVidia are ruling the roost at the moment. I would need to do some serious research and read up on plenty of benchmarks, but I kind of just assume that, because nVidia has the current top-end GPU, they can afford for their lower-end cards to be a bit cheaper. Would the 6970 outperform SLI 460s? And is it cheaper? That's a genuine question - I don't know.

As for the NZXT, I'll check it out. One of the things I really like about the Graphite is the look of it. The appearance of the case is really rather important to me, as I guess it probably is to everyone. I'll fully have a look at the NZXT, though. Thanks for the recommendation!
January 1, 2011 3:03:05 PM

I have a somewhat similar build I am currently working on.

I would recommend a HAF 922 case. Relatively inexpensive, but will easily fit 2 x 580 GTX cards. Its a mid-tower case, but huge!

I also strongly recommend either a 570 GTX or a pair of 6870s (OR you could do a pair of 6950s for about 600.00 and then tweak the bios to turn them into 6970s :) 

Another thing to think about. You can can get three Samsung F4 320 gig drives for around 128.00. Putting these in RAID 0 will give you insane performance and would make an excellent application drive.

Good luck with your build!
January 3, 2011 7:19:51 PM

Primedius, cheers for the case recommendation. I've put the build on the back-burner to wait and see what's happening with SB, since I can't seem to find any information on it anywhere.

It's odd. Presumably, if the SB LGA1155 were not replacing the current LGA1336, Intel would let us know, in order to keep us buying the more expensive CPUs. But I haven't heard anything to the contrary, so I'm left confused.

Re: the GPU, I think I'm going to look at the GTX460 in SLI, or possibly the GTX570, depending on price. I read that the SLI is the better performer and I think it's cheaper, too, so it's win-win.

I'm not entirely clear on RAIDing my HDs. I'll need to read up on how it works and what the effect is before I do anything. I guess that essentially RAID 0 turns all three drives into one single, big drive, except because there are still physically three drives the CPU and RAM have three times the amount of access, which increases speed... uhm... three times? :D 

I'll read up on it and find out. Thanks for the advice, though!
!