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~$6500 for Gaming PC -- Suggestions & Improvements Needed

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January 3, 2011 1:08:29 AM

Hi everyone -- I'm looking to build my second home system and wanted to get the advice of the community on the following:

1) is everything I've selected compatible with each other?
2) any suggestions/changes/improvements to make the system better or just as good with reduced cost?

I've built one system (using help from this community) before so I have some experience, but I'm happy to hear any advice people have.

The budget is roughly $6,000 - $7,000 all in. Absolutely don't want to exceed that and if there's a way to save money without compromising the performance I'm all ears.

Proposed Specs:

----------

Mobo: ASUS Rampage III Extreme LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $380

CPU: Intel Core i7-980X Extreme Edition Gulftown 3.33GHz 6 x 256KB L2 Cache 12MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Six-Core Desktop Processor BX80613I7980X
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $1000

GPU: 2 x ASUS GeForce GTX580 1536 MB GDDR5 Graphics Card ENGTX580/2DI/1536MD5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $1050

Memory: Patriot Gamer Series 24GB (6 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model PGS324G1600ELHK
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=20-220-... $550

PSU: Thermaltake Toughpower W0133RU 1200W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply GeForce GTX 480 Certified
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $350

Case: SILVERSTONE TJ07-BW Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $350

Hard Drive #1 (SSD, for O/S): Crucial RealSSD C300 CTFDDAC128MAG-1G1CCA 2.5ʺ 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $300

Hard Drive #2 (storage): Western Digital Caviar Black WD2001FASS 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5ʺ Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $180

Optical Drive #1 (Blu-Ray Burner): ASUS Internal Blu-ray Burner Blu-ray Burner BW-12B1LT LightScribe Support - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $120

Optical Drive #2 (DVD/CD Burner): LITE-ON Black DVD Writer
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $22

Monitor: 8ms Height,Swivel Adjustable WideScreen LCD Monitor w/USB hub & Card Reader 300 cd/m2 1000:1
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $1270

Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Professional 70SB088600002 7.1 Channels 24-bit 96KHz PCI Express x1 Interface Sound Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $150

Speakers: Logitech Z-5500 505 Watts 5.1 Digital Speaker System
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $400

O/S: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $180

----------
Total as Configured: $6300

I'm also planning to water cool the system, and was planning to go with Danger Den unless someone has a superior suggestion. I don't know if using them means I need to get a case from them or if I'm fine using the case I picked...please advise!

Like I said, any changes or improvements or cost-saving measures are very welcome. Thanks in advance for the help.

More about : 6500 gaming suggestions improvements needed

January 3, 2011 2:56:21 AM

this is a silly setup... you are spending way to much and you havent even stated what you are going to be using the computer for... are you really that rich or just have no concept of budget?...
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January 3, 2011 3:10:39 AM

It's a gaming PC, as explicitly stated in the title of the post.

Also, let's try to keep it to constructive, helpful comments. If you think something is a waste of money and there's a similar part at a better value, please suggest it. If your only goal is to try and throw out one-liners, take it elsewhere. I've never had anyone make snide comments at this forum before. I've been saving for 4yrs to build this machine and want to get something worth the effort.
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January 3, 2011 3:17:47 AM

First off, do you wanna spend 6K$ on a computer ? You could max every single title out there without having to, but it's basically your choice. Verdict ?
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January 3, 2011 3:20:51 AM

I generally only build a new machine every 5 years, so I'd like to have something that will handle stuff at max into the future. With that said, I've tried to be clear that I don't want to spend money only for the sake of spending money. If there's a part that I could replace and get 85% of the speed with 30% of the cost, I definitely want to look at those options. I just don't want to build a "mid-range" system. But I'm willing to look at anything if someone more experienced than me has a good idea.
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January 3, 2011 3:42:03 AM

^ Frankly I was taken back seeing the budget, but it is your money and you know better what to do with it,...

As for the build, you should know that Intel is going to launch the LGA 1366 replacement - LGA 2011 in few months time,... As you have waited this long, IMO it would be wise to wait and see what those offer,...

Rest of the build -
PSU - I would suggest this one -
Corsair AX1200W 80+ Gold
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CASE - USB 3.0 in the front panel, also these are very good for watercooling
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Monitor -
I would suggest the newer revision
http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?c...
OR even the 27" looks very good
http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?c...

SSD - Instead of a single 128GB, buy 2x 64GB, costs less and in RAID 0, would be a lot faster,...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Speakers - ~$60 cheaper at amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-THX-Certified-Digital-Su...
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January 3, 2011 3:46:20 AM

Ok great, at least you know what you want !

First thing first: You'll have to wait until Sandy Bridge is officially revealed which is during the CES later this week.
It's the next generation of Intel processor, and we've heard it's worth the wait. So for now, we'll try to work on the rest of your build:

Mobo: Sandy Bridge

CPU: Sandy Bridge

GPU: I guess we should wait to choose your Mobo first, but you'll pretty much go for HD6990 (Crossfire or not) when they are revealed which again should be soon (Q1 2011).

Memory: For gaming, more than 6-8GB is useless. So you'll want to get the best sticks available out there.

PSU: Corsair Pro Series AX1200 Gold
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Case: Personal choice. For now, I think nothing beats the Corsair 800D.
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Hard Drive #1 (SSD, for O/S): Crucial RealSSD C300 CTFDDAC128MAG-1G1CCA 2.5ʺ 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820148362 $300

Great SSD, you could get more storage.

Hard Drive #2 (storage): http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

Optical Drive #1 (Blu-Ray Burner): ASUS Internal Blu-ray Burner Blu-ray Burner BW-12B1LT LightScribe Support - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6827135234 $120

Optical Drive #2 (DVD/CD Burner): LITE-ON Black DVD Writer
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6827106334 $22

Monitor: 8ms of response time is horrendous for gaming.

I love Samsung : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Get 2 of those !

Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Professional 70SB088600002 7.1 Channels 24-bit 96KHz PCI Express x1 Interface Sound Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6829102019 $150

Not necessary, you won't make the difference.

Speakers: Logitech Z-5500 505 Watts 5.1 Digital Speaker System
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6836121120 $400

O/S: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6832116762 $180

Any questions ?
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January 3, 2011 4:29:22 AM

Awesome feedback F1RST and gkay09. Much appreciated. It's getting a little late for me to check through all the links but I will do so tomorrow and get back with any questions or feedback.

Quick question on Sandy Bridge -- I've been vaguely following and if it's going to be a substantial improvement I might wait. When I built my last machine they were just coming out with the Core microarchitecture. So I have missed a couple generations. My recollection was that when the chips were first released though that they were both very rare (and thus very expensive) and ran very hot.

Granted my CPU is already slated to cost $1000; but like I said I'm at the top of my budget now and if it's going to be months for the new chips to be available or the Mobo companies to put out new boards, and I'm only going to be able to find something for $1600, it's probably too much for me [I really don't know if I can *raise* the price on any component from what I already wrote down].

So if you guys have any more ideas, maybe after CES, I'm happy to hear the advice.

As for the rest of the stuff, I'll get back to you tomorrow. Thanks again.
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January 3, 2011 4:33:59 AM

andronimus2002 said:
Awesome feedback F1RST and gkay09. Much appreciated. It's getting a little late for me to check through all the links but I will do so tomorrow and get back with any questions or feedback.

Quick question on Sandy Bridge -- I've been vaguely following and if it's going to be a substantial improvement I might wait. When I built my last machine they were just coming out with the Core microarchitecture. So I have missed a couple generations. My recollection was that when the chips were first released though that they were both very rare (and thus very expensive) and ran very hot.

Granted my CPU is already slated to cost $1000; but like I said I'm at the top of my budget now and if it's going to be months for the new chips to be available or the Mobo companies to put out new boards, and I'm only going to be able to find something for $1600, it's probably too much for me [I really don't know if I can *raise* the price on any component from what I already wrote down].

So if you guys have any more ideas, maybe after CES, I'm happy to hear the advice.

As for the rest of the stuff, I'll get back to you tomorrow. Thanks again.


The sandy bridge parts being released in a few days area are middle range Sandy bridge parts.
however, they are tauted as being equal to the i7 980X and the high end SB parts will be coming out in months.

However, the mid range parts that we are saying you should buy, will save you many hundreds of dollars - Probably around the $500 mark, for the same performance. It is also worthy to note, even if say, the SB processor is 10% faster than the i7 980X, the gaming performance wont increase by 10% as CPU generally isnt the bottleneck.

So basically, if you get Sandy Bridge mid range (The best middle ranger thats coming out) then youll be getting the same performance, newer technology AND lastly, save many hundreds of $$
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January 3, 2011 4:44:34 AM

vibhas said:
The sandy bridge parts being released in a few days area are middle range Sandy bridge parts.
however, they are tauted as being equal to the i7 980X and the high end SB parts will be coming out in months.

However, the mid range parts that we are saying you should buy, will save you many hundreds of dollars - Probably around the $500 mark, for the same performance. It is also worthy to note, even if say, the SB processor is 10% faster than the i7 980X, the gaming performance wont increase by 10% as CPU generally isnt the bottleneck.

So basically, if you get Sandy Bridge mid range (The best middle ranger thats coming out) then youll be getting the same performance, newer technology AND lastly, save many hundreds of $$


2600K is Enthusiast. It is set to replace the i7 950. It's not mid range.

Intel Q1-Q4 Roadmap:

Extreme: i7 990x
Enthusiast: 2600-2600K
Mainstream: bla bla bla we don't care.
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January 3, 2011 5:08:40 AM

2600K is an enthusiast product but not i7 950 replacement.
It will replace i7 870

LGA 1156(i5 6xx, 7xx, i7 8xx CPUs) - replaced by LGA 1155(i5 and i7 2xxx CPUs)
LGA 1366(i7 9xx CPUs ) - replaced by LGA 2011 CPUs

Even though Intel will launch 990X, but it wont have the Best performance crown once the LGA 2011 CPUs launch - Q2 or early Q3
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January 3, 2011 5:14:39 AM

gkay09 said:
2600K is an enthusiast product but not i7 950 replacement.
It will replace i7 870

LGA 1156(i5 6xx, 7xx, i7 8xx CPUs) - replaced by LGA 1155(i5 and i7 2xxx CPUs)
LGA 1366(i7 9xx CPUs ) - replaced by LGA 2011 CPUs

Even though Intel will launch 990X, but it wont have the Best performance crown once the LGA 2011 CPUs launch - Q2 or early Q3


Yeah, I know your answer would be more logical, but I clearly read (If only I could find that article) that the 2600K was meant to replace the current 950.

I'll try to find where I saw it.

EDIT:

That's not it, but it says the same thing.
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January 3, 2011 5:25:26 AM

^ There is not much concrete info about LGA 2011 or its CPUs, but it is sure that it is the replacement of the LGA 1366 socket though and these websites wont speculate with such less info which is the reason why they dont put these on the articles,...
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January 3, 2011 5:41:52 AM

Yeah, you're probably right. Still, 1366 replacement probably won't be released before Q3 2011. So it all depends on wether he wants to wait or not.
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January 3, 2011 10:03:47 AM

990x comes in Q1 2011 and based on Gulftown 6 core. It's not on SB new 32nm architecture. The clock speed of 990x is 3.46GHz. It still has six cores, twelve hypertreaded cores as well as QPI at 6.4GT/s and doesn’t have any integrated graphics core. I don’t see many reasons to be excited about 990x.

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January 3, 2011 10:45:02 AM

andronimus2002 said:
Hi everyone -- I'm looking to build my second home system and wanted to get the advice of the community on the following:

1) is everything I've selected compatible with each other?
2) any suggestions/changes/improvements to make the system better or just as good with reduced cost?

I've built one system (using help from this community) before so I have some experience, but I'm happy to hear any advice people have.

The budget is roughly $6,000 - $7,000 all in. Absolutely don't want to exceed that and if there's a way to save money without compromising the performance I'm all ears.

Proposed Specs:

----------

Mobo: ASUS Rampage III Extreme LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $380

CPU: Intel Core i7-980X Extreme Edition Gulftown 3.33GHz 6 x 256KB L2 Cache 12MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Six-Core Desktop Processor BX80613I7980X
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $1000

GPU: 2 x ASUS GeForce GTX580 1536 MB GDDR5 Graphics Card ENGTX580/2DI/1536MD5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $1050

Memory: Patriot Gamer Series 24GB (6 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model PGS324G1600ELHK
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=20-220-... $550

PSU: Thermaltake Toughpower W0133RU 1200W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply GeForce GTX 480 Certified
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $350

Case: SILVERSTONE TJ07-BW Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $350

Hard Drive #1 (SSD, for O/S): Crucial RealSSD C300 CTFDDAC128MAG-1G1CCA 2.5ʺ 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $300

Hard Drive #2 (storage): Western Digital Caviar Black WD2001FASS 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5ʺ Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $180

Optical Drive #1 (Blu-Ray Burner): ASUS Internal Blu-ray Burner Blu-ray Burner BW-12B1LT LightScribe Support - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $120

Optical Drive #2 (DVD/CD Burner): LITE-ON Black DVD Writer
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $22

Monitor: 8ms Height,Swivel Adjustable WideScreen LCD Monitor w/USB hub & Card Reader 300 cd/m2 1000:1
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $1270

Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Professional 70SB088600002 7.1 Channels 24-bit 96KHz PCI Express x1 Interface Sound Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $150

Speakers: Logitech Z-5500 505 Watts 5.1 Digital Speaker System
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $400

O/S: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $180

----------
Total as Configured: $6300

I'm also planning to water cool the system, and was planning to go with Danger Den unless someone has a superior suggestion. I don't know if using them means I need to get a case from them or if I'm fine using the case I picked...please advise!

Like I said, any changes or improvements or cost-saving measures are very welcome. Thanks in advance for the help.



What about Gigabyte mobo? Many reviews n forum talk about GA-X58A-UD7 vs RAMPAGE III EXTREME and it looks both get some score. In my opinion, UD7 is as good as R3X, but, UD7 is cheaper (about $30 at newegg.com)
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January 3, 2011 10:55:20 AM

The higher your resolution, the progressively less impact the cpu has in framerates, so much so that $200-$250 quad core processors frequently score/ produce results nearly identical to the i7/980....( if getting 63 fps with max settings compared to 61 fps is worth the extra $800 for a 980x, knock yourself out.)

Granted, $1200+ of the budget is monitor...; no getting around it. most 30" monitors are not cheap!

However, I'd look here for ways to cut a *few* corners, saving approximately $1500 in the process....

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4074/digitalstorm-blackop...

Shaving the i7/980 down by $500-$700 to a 'mere' quad core is a nice start!
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January 3, 2011 11:59:48 AM

if you want your computer to last five years and you have $7000, then spend like $2000 now and $1000 each year to keep it up to specs... would be less wise to blow it all at once on parts that are hardly better than ones that cost a fraction of their price and in 5 years you will have had a much better computer the whole time other than at the very begging (but honestly even if u don't spend 6-7 g right away you will likely hardly notice a toll on your performance at that point)
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January 3, 2011 12:00:59 PM

look up 980x vs i5 7xx (750,760 etc) ;) 
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January 3, 2011 12:06:07 PM

but yea thats just if you want to theoretically get the most out of your money
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January 3, 2011 12:24:19 PM

jKron said:
if you want your computer to last five years and you have $7000, then spend like $2000 now and $1000 each year to keep it up to specs... would be less wise to blow it all at once on parts that are hardly better than ones that cost a fraction of their price and in 5 years you will have had a much better computer the whole time other than at the very begging (but honestly even if u don't spend 6-7 g right away you will likely hardly notice a toll on your performance at that point)


It's a nice idea. But, $1k next year, $1k next 2 years, $1k next 3 years, $1k next 4 years. At the 5th, he'll have had another $7k. So, he can spend $3k now... (not $2k... ). Correct me, I'm not good at math.. :lol: 

However, you're a lucky man andronimus... ;)  (sounds like someone getting jealous here..)


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January 3, 2011 1:54:10 PM

Thanks to all who have contributed so far. I'm at work so still haven't been able to take an extensive look at the suggestions made but I will do so when I arrive home tonight.

As a quick look, though, I'm not interested in waiting years and years to get the system built. Part of this is necessity (the mobo on my other system gave out a week ago) and part is just general impatience.

However, I definitely *do* agree with the suggestions that if there's something awesome right on the horizon, that I could wait a short while.

Also, the suggestions about downgrading the chip sound pretty reasonable to me and are exactly what I was talking about -- if the difference between the absolute best chip and the second or third best is going to be a 4% difference in frame rates and a $500 savings, that's definitely worth moving to. Despite everyone's apparant thoughts, I don't have unlimited money here!

The only reason I picked the top chip, actually, was because I had read that the processor was the bottleneck in most high-end setups these days because the 580's in SLI are already more than any game or application needs. I've seen setups with tri-linked 580s or even a quad, and it said it was a complete waste and nothing can make use of the power. So I figured that I would keep it to 2, but then I didn't want to get bottlenecked by my processor. Again, I'm not a huge expert, so any clarity on this point is appreciated.
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January 3, 2011 1:58:13 PM

andronimus2002 said:
Thanks to all who have contributed so far. I'm at work so still haven't been able to take an extensive look at the suggestions made but I will do so when I arrive home tonight.

As a quick look, though, I'm not interested in waiting years and years to get the system built. Part of this is necessity (the mobo on my other system gave out a week ago) and part is just general impatience.

However, I definitely *do* agree with the suggestions that if there's something awesome right on the horizon, that I could wait a short while.

Also, the suggestions about downgrading the chip sound pretty reasonable to me and are exactly what I was talking about -- if the difference between the absolute best chip and the second or third best is going to be a 4% difference in frame rates and a $500 savings, that's definitely worth moving to. Despite everyone's apparant thoughts, I don't have unlimited money here!

The only reason I picked the top chip, actually, was because I had read that the processor was the bottleneck in most high-end setups these days because the 580's in SLI are already more than any game or application needs. I've seen setups with tri-linked 580s or even a quad, and it said it was a complete waste and nothing can make use of the power. So I figured that I would keep it to 2, but then I didn't want to get bottlenecked by my processor. Again, I'm not a huge expert, so any clarity on this point is appreciated.


Intel 2600K + Radeon HD 6990 is the way to go. You shouldn't have to wait too much and you'll have a top notch system.
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January 3, 2011 2:52:59 PM

andronimus2002 said:
Thanks to all who have contributed so far. I'm at work so still haven't been able to take an extensive look at the suggestions made but I will do so when I arrive home tonight.

As a quick look, though, I'm not interested in waiting years and years to get the system built. Part of this is necessity (the mobo on my other system gave out a week ago) and part is just general impatience.

However, I definitely *do* agree with the suggestions that if there's something awesome right on the horizon, that I could wait a short while.

Also, the suggestions about downgrading the chip sound pretty reasonable to me and are exactly what I was talking about -- if the difference between the absolute best chip and the second or third best is going to be a 4% difference in frame rates and a $500 savings, that's definitely worth moving to. Despite everyone's apparant thoughts, I don't have unlimited money here!

The only reason I picked the top chip, actually, was because I had read that the processor was the bottleneck in most high-end setups these days because the 580's in SLI are already more than any game or application needs. I've seen setups with tri-linked 580s or even a quad, and it said it was a complete waste and nothing can make use of the power. So I figured that I would keep it to 2, but then I didn't want to get bottlenecked by my processor. Again, I'm not a huge expert, so any clarity on this point is appreciated.

They werent suggesting that you build the system slowly over the next couple of years, they were suggesting to build a system at a lower price, then when it starts to show some age upgrade it. Which is what I would recommended considering how fast tech becomes outdated.
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January 3, 2011 7:31:13 PM

zooted said:
They werent suggesting that you build the system slowly over the next couple of years, they were suggesting to build a system at a lower price, then when it starts to show some age upgrade it. Which is what I would recommended considering how fast tech becomes outdated.



indeed
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January 3, 2011 9:27:16 PM

Personally, I see no reason to delay your build if you've already saved the money and you're content with your budget. But then, I've never been a proponent of "practicality" when it comes to gaming rigs! That said, I think "side-grading" over to a Sandy Bridge 2600K just makes too much sense, and would provide nearly equal performance while saving you no less than $500. And as much as I love overkill and overbuilding, 24GB of RAM for a gaming rig (even a gaming leviathan) just seems like smashing an egg with 20 sledgehammers.
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January 3, 2011 9:30:14 PM

Cool guys -- great feedback. Seems like I will definitely cut down on the RAM (what's enough...8GB?) and try to wait for the Sandy Bridge, both of which will save a lot for no real change in performance. Does anyone know when these will actually become Street Available? And will I have to wait for a mobo provider to put something together or will it fit into an existing board that's of good quality?
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January 3, 2011 10:55:27 PM

Personally, I don't like to wait any longer. It's hard for me to imagine what will be coming in next few months, or years. Comp tech develops so fast. New CPUs, mobos, video cards, what else..? I don't want to always upgrade my system all the time because for me it would be wasting my time and energy, and money too of course.

I choose i7-950 and 12Gb RAM instead of 980x and 24Gb RAM for saving some money as many games or softwares don't utilize 6 core CPU. It also saves u around $700 and still gives optimal performance for your needs. And for the other parts, I'm fine with them.

What I've stated above are just my opinion. Wish I could do better next time...
Good Luck :) 
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January 3, 2011 11:00:51 PM

I believe the Sandy Bridge launch is set for January 5.
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January 4, 2011 1:09:10 AM

Truth be told, unless you simply thrive on framerate robbing 16xAA/32AF at 2560x1600, you could likely get by with one GTX580....
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January 4, 2011 1:20:44 AM

A single GTX580 gets 50-70 fps in most games at 2560x1600....; in Crysis, it's worth about 30 fps....still 'playable'.....; up to the original poster to decide if the one title is worth the other $500 to increase performance to 50 fps.....

Cost savings potential? Another $500 or so....likely the cost of the flagship card two years from now.

Another option....two GTX570s in SLI, saving about $300 or so, but still great performance in any games out....
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January 4, 2011 1:04:48 PM

dumbest *F%CKING* time to buy a PC.. Wait until enthusiast intel mobo / cpus.. Also, if your going to spend 1000$+ on cpu - DON'T unless you're watercooling. Secondly, I agree with everyone else, unless your running dumbass settings like 16xAA/32AF multi-monitor display; a single 580 will be no different to a sli.. It really seems like your flailing a heap of money around not knowing WTF to do with it.

EDIT: WTF.. 24gb ram? Thats just stupid...
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January 4, 2011 1:46:37 PM

andronimus2002 has come here for advice - it seems to me that although f1st, gkay09 and others are giving you great advice, many others are biting your head off because of your huge budget!!

It is perfectly understandable to think that the more you spend the better you get, especially if you haven't been keeping track of current tech - so it should come as a pleasant surprise that this really isn't the case and once you go over £1200/$1500 it really is the law of diminishing returns.....exponentially.

I congratulate you on being able to build literally any combination you want with your budget, so please bear in mind the following to get the best performance whilst preserving the majority of your savings:

1. SandyBridge has been released since starting this thread - although cpus probably wont be available in shops until the 9th.

On the basis of the initial reviews (see Tom's or Bit-tech), you really would be silly to get anything else.

A 2600k will overclock no probs to 4.5ghz (more with good cooling) whilst keeping temps and power usage around the levels of current low-end CPUs.
If you read the reviews , the only time a 980x will outperform a 2600k is in heavy media benchmarks - When you do encode a 1080p video or whatever, are you really going to mind the extra 10 secs that the 2600k takes over the 980x??
didn't think so - especially when the 2600 takes top spot in everything else
(see http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cpus/2011/01/03/intel-...)

The 2600k is anticipated to sell for about $315

Don't wait for the upcoming (later this year) extreme versions of the Sandy Bridge either - they'll no doubt be the best but I doubt you'll notice much difference.

2. As others have said - one gtx 580 is enough. If its performance really annoys you, get another and plug it in down the line, but I doubt you will.

Avoid the 6990 - it will be the fastest on paper but it is still just 2 GPUs shoved on the same card. Having myself owned a 4870x2 (the same card, just 2 versions old) I am all to familiar with the continuing nightmare that is a dual GPU setup from AMD/ATI (due to their terrible driver support). The problems aren't quantifiable on paper but they include stuttering , crashes, stupidly low framerates at times, general weird artifacts on screen. Don't get me wrong - it's good most of the time, but you don't want to be 2 months down the line and not able to play your favourite games well due to bad drivers.
If you don't believe me just go to AMD's Catalyst forums and read all the problem posts relating to xfire or multi GPU setups.


In terms of the rest of the components, I like F1RST's build - although I would make the following changes:

1. Always go for a big monitor over dual screens - if you need to multi task, just have 2 windows open on the one screen. If you want the best monitor out there, go for the Dell Ultrasharps - I would personally say that bigger that 24" is a strain on your eyes, but that's your preference. Samsung are also a great alternative.

2. consider 1 30gb ssd for windows and then 2 64 gb ssds in raid for your programs. Then get 2 spin point f4 for your storage with one backing up the other.

3. don't bother with the the soundcard until after you have built the main rig - the new mobos for Sandy Bridge will have great audio and if that isn't enough you can always buy a soundcard later.

4. With you budget you should definately splurge on a razr mamba, cyborg RAT7 or other good mouse!

5. You won't need a full watercooling setup - they now seem to be obsolete as cpus are ever cooler - get a Corsair H50 instead


all in all congrats and please don't chuck away your cash on a 980x!!!



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January 4, 2011 5:06:15 PM

fruees said:
In terms of the rest of the components, I like F1RST's build - although I would make the following changes:

1. Always go for a big monitor over dual screens - if you need to multi task, just have 2 windows open on the one screen. If you want the best monitor out there, go for the Dell Ultrasharps - I would personally say that bigger that 24" is a strain on your eyes, but that's your preference. Samsung are also a great alternative.

2. consider 1 30gb ssd for windows and then 2 64 gb ssds in raid for your programs. Then get 2 spin point f4 for your storage with one backing up the other.

3. don't bother with the the soundcard until after you have built the main rig - the new mobos for Sandy Bridge will have great audio and if that isn't enough you can always buy a soundcard later.

4. With you budget you should definately splurge on a razr mamba, cyborg RAT7 or other good mouse!

5. You won't need a full watercooling setup - they now seem to be obsolete as cpus are ever cooler - get a Corsair H50 instead


all in all congrats and please don't chuck away your cash on a 980x!!!


1. It really depends on what you prefer basically but the Ultrasharps monitors all seem awesome. The 24' model is my next monitor for sure !

2. I just don't like working with RAID, so I usually just buy a bigger HDD, but he's probably right.

3. TRUE.

4. RAT7 isn't a good mouse for the price. Yeah it's cool and HIGHLY customizable, but the material and the way it's built is pretty cheap. The Mamba is the Ferrari of Mice for now, but I read some bad reviews of customers on it. THIS is making me change my mind. I currently own a DeathAdder and it's a perfect mouse really.

5. Watercooling is just a pain in the ass vs a great air cooling. The H50 is probably your best option with the Noctua NH-D14.

A 980x is really useless, even with your budget.
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January 5, 2011 4:43:44 AM

F1RST said:
1. It really depends on what you prefer basically but the Ultrasharps monitors all seem awesome. The 24' model is my next monitor for sure !

2. I just don't like working with RAID, so I usually just buy a bigger HDD, but he's probably right.

3. TRUE.

4. RAT7 isn't a good mouse for the price. Yeah it's cool and HIGHLY customizable, but the material and the way it's built is pretty cheap. The Mamba is the Ferrari of Mice for now, but I read some bad reviews of customers on it. THIS is making me change my mind. I currently own a DeathAdder and it's a perfect mouse really.

5. Watercooling is just a pain in the ass vs a great air cooling. The H50 is probably your best option with the Noctua NH-D14.

A 980x is really useless, even with your budget.


I think he means use RAID 0 so the drives mirror themselves... if one cell on a flash drive fails, the whole drive fails and your data is lost. Each individual cell has a limited number of writes so it WILL eventually fail and when that does happen its nice to have a backup because its SUPER unlikely both will fail at the same time.
The other thing to note on that is, the bigger the ssd and the less use it gets, the longer it will last. The reason is because TRIM in windows 7 cycles through using each cell so that they wear evenly, thus the more cells the longer it lasts. Some drives have been known to fail at very unexpected points (although they are improving the tech) in their life tho so its always good to be covered with two drives in raid.
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January 5, 2011 10:00:55 AM

RAID 1 is mirroring, RAID 0 is simple striping across two or more drives, but with no fault tolerance...
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January 5, 2011 10:38:27 AM

@jkron: Indeed I do mean mirror the storage drives

@mdd1963: Indeed he does mean RAID 1 (as do I)

@ both of you - if the OP has 1 small ssd for windows, yes TRIM will work. Since TRIM doesn't currently work with RAID 0, it wouldn't work on the 2 ssds in RAID 0 for programs.
However, if he instead got 1 128gb ssd for the programs would TRIM work on that?

Essentially I am asking if TRIM just "cleans" the boot drive, or if it "cleans" every ssd in the rig, regardless of whether it is for windows or for programs?

I am inclined to think it just works on the boot drive.... Please correct if I am wrong

Sorry for hijacking the thread with my questions : )
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January 8, 2011 5:20:28 PM

Thanks for all the help guys...will be posting the revised build shortly and would appreciate any additional suggestions or improvements so I can make final improvements and hopefully order something very soon...
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January 8, 2011 6:34:50 PM

Thanks for the help all. I've been able to cut more than $1,000 off the cost through your advice. The updated build:

Processor: Sandy Bridge 2600K, when available. ~$350

Motherboard: Socket 1155 Board -- Does anyone have any strong opinion/suggestions/links? ~$300

GPU: 1 or 2 x ASUS GeForce GTX580 1536 MB GDDR5 Graphics Card ENGTX580/2DI/1536MD5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $525 or $1050
I've heard and understand the concerns people have about not needing 2 GPUs. I may only grab one, but I figure either way it can be a game time decision!

Memory:CORSAIR DOMINATOR GT 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2000 (PC3 16000) Desktop Memory with Airflow Fan Model CMT8GX3M2A2000C9
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $235
This seems to be the top available RAM if I want 8GB; seems the 24GB I had originally put in was huge overkill. Again, if someone has a better suggestion, let me know.

PSU: CORSAIR Professional Series AX1200 1200W ATX12V v2.31 / EPS12V v2.92 SLI Certified 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $280
Picked it cause several recommendations from forum members.

Case: Corsair Obsidian Series 800D CC800DW Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $270
Personal preference but many seemed to like this one.

Hard Drive #1 (SSD, for O/S and Programs): Crucial RealSSD C300 CTFDDAC256MAG-1G1 2.5" 256GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $490
Wanted to get a slightly larger one for more programs since I'm saving much money elsewhere. Don't really want to bother setting up multiple drives in RAID, though if people think it makes a huge difference I can look...

Hard Drive #2 (storage): Western Digital Caviar Black WD2001FASS 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5ʺ Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $180
People seemed to like this drive. I don't do a ton of video stuff so I doubt I need more than 2TB initially.

Optical Drive #1: ASUS Internal Blu-ray Burner Blu-ray Burner BW-12B1LT LightScribe Support - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $120
No complaints about this...

Optical Drive #2: LITE-ON Black DVD Writer
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $20
No complaints about this...

Sound Card: None.
Seems like most agreed this isn't necessary on a new mainboard. I'll leave it out and save $$$.

Monitor: Dell UltraSharp U3011 30" Height, Swivel & Tilt Adjustable Widescreen LCD Monitor 370 cd/m2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $1380
Slightly better response time than the one I originally picked. I definitely want one big monitor and do not want to run a dual screen setup. So I just want the best one available without spending anymore than this (not going to buy one of the ones for $2500)

Speakers: Logitech Z-5500 505 Watts 5.1 Digital Speaker System
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $400
Same as before.

O/S: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $180
Same as before.

Cooling: Seems like air cooling is probably okay, or using one of the self-contained water cooling modules. Either way, I can handle this myself.

Keyboard/Mouse: Personal pref, though I'll take your suggestions and get something nice!

Total as configured: $5255 (with 2 GPUs) or $4730 (with 1)

The main missing thing I need help on is to have a good motherboard suggested. But also importantly, if anyone has any final suggestions, changes, or improvements, on any component, please let me know! I appreciate all the help this far -- saved me a bunch and I think I'll have a significantly better machine in the end.
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January 8, 2011 6:40:26 PM

Looks like an awesome build....great choice on the case. If you know how to do water cooling, then I would definitely take advantage of the great case you chose
Good Luck!
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January 8, 2011 11:54:47 PM

Thanks PCGAMER. Any of the other commentators on my build have any final suggestions or changes?
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January 9, 2011 7:20:11 AM

Andronimus just remember that monitor is huge, so make sure you will be able to sit far enough away when gaming!

That case is great, the only 2 suggestions I would have are:

1. get a corsair H50 over air cooling (slightly better than the best air coolers and quieter - temps will be same at idle but it will outperform under load)

2. Go for 2 seperate ssds for boot drive then programs - you're pc will be faster for it in the long run and it means that every time you reinstall/format it won't be such a hassle.

3. remember that with that OEM copy of win7 you can't reinstall if you change mobo I believe... May not bother you that much as win 8 should be out end of this year.

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January 9, 2011 9:33:43 AM

Do you really need a 1200W PSU?
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January 9, 2011 12:35:31 PM

+1 Don macabre - I don't think he needs a 1200w psu - I'd even go so far as to say he could get away with 1000w with 2 gtx 580. If he has the £ makes no difference though, may as well get the 1200 for future piece of mind (due to psu degradation 4 yrs down the line...)

@ mbkcod4 - I would still go with the 30" Dell - better resolution and arguably the best picture of any monitor available..
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