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<2000$ Gaming PC - First Build - Need Advice

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January 2, 2011 3:47:39 PM

I've owned overpriced prebuilt gaming systems for years due to a family connection to Dell and after frustration with them and Alienware I've finally decided to take on my first custom build.
I'm looking for a top of the line system with room for upgrades down the road.
Currently in the rough draft stages, will be purchased ~1 month from now
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System Use: Gaming first priority, IDL Computation and some programming work secondary

Inherited Parts: Antec 1000W psu from previous Alienware system
2X 320gb seagate 7200rpm storage drives
120gb OCZ Vertex 2 Series ssd for OS and programs
24" 1920X1200 Samsung 245bw monitor

Build:

Case: Antex 1200

Size and weight not an issue for me, liked the look of this case and I will be adding in a fan for the side slot initially. Would like to look into watercooling later on (complete beginner on that front, appreciate any recommendations).

Motherboard: EVGA X58 FTW3

Always loved evga boards, and this one seemed to offer decent OC' support, I don't mind the price for the sake of future proofing but if there are more stable boards with similar feature sets, am open to suggestions

CPU: I7 950

Would like to overclock to at least 4 ghz, on air initially if possible, any recommendations for a good HSF or intro level closed circuit water cooling system appreciated

Memory: Corsair Dominator 3x2gb DDR31600

Room to upgrade to 12gb later if the system needs it

Graphics: EVGA GTX570

Plan on another 570 in SLI when the first card begins to get taxed or if I decide to upgrade to a 3d monitor setup

Overclocking: I plan on OC'ing the cpu, it will be a 24/7 unit however, so stability is paramount.

Cooling: As stated above, I plan on working with air cooling initially, but I would like to setup a watercooling system for the cpu and the graphics cards later on, especially when I get to the point where I have two 570's in SLI.
Noise level is not too significant of an issue, but I don't want this thing to keep me awake if it's idling at night

Experience: As I stated above, I've been using prebuilt gaming pc's for about 8 years now, and generally know my way around a computer. I've performed upgrades on several and am confident with putting a basic system together. However, I am still a relative beginner in terms of overclocking cpu's and memory and cooling systems.

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Live in the US and I prefer using newegg for parts.
Using newegg, the parts above (for the initial build, solo graphics card on air cooling) came out to just over 1200$, however this does not include a quality cpu HSF which I need recommendations


If there's any more information I can provide, please let me know.
January 2, 2011 6:29:33 PM

There are a few cpu bound games, butmost games at 1080P or above are limited by the gpu by far more than the cpu; overclocking the cpu by 400-600 MHz to get 3-4 more frame/sec at high res in most games seems a waste, leading to merely excess heat and power draw.
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January 2, 2011 6:39:55 PM

So you're saying that the 4ghz overclock is unnecessary? Does that hold true even when feeding to 2 570's in sli? And if so what kind of target OC should I look for (if any)/ what cooling would be necessary to achieve that?
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January 2, 2011 6:53:16 PM

Case - $180 - Antec DF-85 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Case Fans - $18 - Antec Red 120 mm http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PSU - $120 - Antec CP850 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
MoBo - $200 - Asus Sabertooth http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CPU - $295 - Intel i7-950 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Cooler - $62 - Prolimatech Megahalems http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
TIM - $5 - Shin Etsu http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CPU Fan - $11 - Scythe SY1225SL12LM-P http://www.frozencpu.com/products/10026/fan-639/Scythe_...
CPU Fan - $11 - Same
Fan Cable - $8 - Akasa PWM AK-CB002 http://www.frozencpu.com/products/10350/cab-183/Akasa_P...
RAM - $118 - 3 x 2GB OCZ CAS 6 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GFX - $370 - EVGA GTX 570 SC http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GFX - $270 - Same
HD - $75 - Spinpoint F3 1TB 7200 rpm http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SSD - Later - OCZ Vertex 2 3.5" 120GB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
DVD Writer - $80 - ASUS BR Model BC-08B1LT http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
OS - $139 - Win 7-64 Pro OEM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total $1,962

As to your questions / comments:

The DF-85 is the successor to the 1200. I have both as well as a HAF-932. The DF allows mounting a CPU cooler w/0 taking the MoBo off the tray. It has swappable HD / SSD bays and most important....the time to remove / clean / replace the air filters in the 1200 is about 7 minutes....in the DF, it's seconds

You should have no problem getting to 4 GHz on air. Follow this guide:

http://vip.asus.com/forum/view.aspx?id=2008122019104023...

The RAM you have chosen is CAS 8 has very tall heatsinks which will likely interfere with the CPU cooler. The ones in build above are CAS 6 (CAS Latency = the time the RAM waits between handling each instruction, so lower is better) and low profile.

The DF-85 and CP-850 run very quiet
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January 2, 2011 7:12:21 PM

Thanks Jack, I agree with you the DF makes more sense over the 1200. I also appreciate the suggestions on cooling.

I have a 1000W power supply unit in my current desktop, (not quite sure of the model as it is at my apartment and I'm home for the holidays), is there any reason not to reuse that?
Same goes for the old seagate hard drives?


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