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First Ground up CAD/Gamer System build-review

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January 20, 2011 6:54:25 PM

So I've been interested in building my own Pc for a while. I've finally reached the point where I need a new unit so I've spec'd out pretty much everything I think I need but was hoping some of the more experianced builders could review and advise if I've got anything mis-matched etc.

I'm building a CAD/CAM machine that will also be used for some FPS games and some flight sims. [It's my own personal/home Pc]

Case : Corsair 800D
PS : Corsair Tx950w
MoBo : It's a toss up between the Gigabyte X58A-UD7 [Rev 1] or a EVGA X58 Classified 3 [E770]
CPU : i970 [LGA1366]
RAM : G.SKILL Ripjaws X F3-10666CL9D-8GBXL DDR3-1333 [24Gb total]
CPU Cooler : Coolmaster V8
OS HD : F60 Corsair SSD [single, no raid]
Storage HD : Seagate Barracuda XT 7200.12 2TB SATA 6.0GB/S 3.5IN
GPU : EVGA GTX 460 Superclocked 3.6Ghz x 1Gb [start w/ 1 card and if it I can run my CAD ok, then add 2nd [SLI]]
Optical Drv : Liteon DVDRW IHAS224-06 24X SATA
Blueray : Samsung SH-B123L 12X BD-ROM & DVD Burner Combo Internal SATA
OS :Win7 Pro 64b

I hope to upgrade to a complete water block system for the mobo [north, south and cpu] w/ a 3 x 120mm rad in the top of the 800D, but that is future state, once I'm comfortable OCing the i970 etc. For now I'll stick w/ the V8 cooler.

I'm not looking for ultimate OC performance as I do use this for CAD/CAM it does need to be stable but at the same time I don't want to be at the back of the pack as far as gaming performance is concerned.

Anyone have any direction as to which of the two motherboards a guy should pick? They seem pretty much straight up [even] but I could easily be missing something [I'm certainly not an expert at this stuff]

Also, anything seem 'out-of-balance' w/ this setup?

Thanks in advance!

JFG
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
January 21, 2011 2:37:05 PM

That's an extremely unbalanced build. $900 for the (obsolete) CPU? $260 for a case? 24 GB of RAM? And all of that with only a GTX 460?

A huge problem is that you're not using Sandy Brigde. Yes, the old i7s are a touch more powerful at stock, but the difference is practically nothing when you consider that the i7-2600K is $570 cheaper. Once you start overclocking, the i7-2500K will be more powerful. It can reach 4.0+ GHz without even trying. In addtion, you'd save a good $700-800 and get roughtly the same power at stock, possibly more depending on what exactly you're doing. I know once you overclock, the i7-2600K is going to be more powerful.

So here's what I'd recommend changing:

CPU: i7-2600K $330. And overclock the hell out of it...
Mobo: Asus P8P67 EVO $210

RAM: 2x G.Skill Ripjaws 2x4 GB (16 GB total) 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $160 each, $320 total. Even with CAD, 24 GB is extreme overkill. Hell, 8 GB is probably enough.

HSF: Notcua NH-D14 $90. The best air cooler out there.

SSD: I'd rather have the OCZ Vertex 2 80 GB for a little more. Or the OCZ Agility 2 or the G.Skill Phoenix Pro 80 GB. They're basically the same.

GPU: Horrible choice. You're handicapping everything with a weak card. Pick up the GTX 580 for $500. Unless you want to suck at gaming AND CAD...

HDD: I'm not a fan of the large Seagate drives. Their last generation had the problem of turning into bricks. Instead, pick up the Samsung Spinpoint F3 2 TB for $70 less. I'm not positive, but I think the F4 is also faster.

Case: I'd look at some of Lian Li's cheaper offerings. You shouldn't pay more than $100-175 (I think even over $100 is overkill) for a case. The PC-A70F is a good choice. You could easily save more if you went with a mid tower. I'd take a hard look at the HAF 922 at $100. Despite being labeled a mid-tower, it's more similar in size to a full tower. It's the highest value case you can find.

PSU: A 950W PSU is completely overkill. Even with the GTX 580. For the 460 (or SLI 460s), a 650W is all you'd need. Instead, I'd get a super efficient 850W. The Corsair AX850 is the cheapest 80+ Gold 850W PSU at $180. You could drop the efficiency to only silver to save money though.

I think that about covers it.
January 21, 2011 2:58:17 PM

Wow.... ok so.. back to the drawing board, sorta :) 

I've already got the i970 so that is not a change I can make. I use some CAD/CAM programs that use multi core fairly well so that was one of the bigger pulls to get to the hexi core.

The i970 was only released like 3months ago, it's outta-date already? I'm only going to try a mild OC. I've never Oc'd anything before so it's just to 'dip my toe' at this point.

I'll look at changing the RAM up. I think i will still go for 24Gb. I've got a latop w/ 8Gb right now and can stop it dead w/ the CAD program [it's pretty crazy how much ram it uses. The CAM is the same way] I've got 24Gb @ work on a dual core Xeon and I can still stop it dead! :) 

I'll try and find the Notcua [hope it fits the 1366] Since I'm staying w/ the i970, is there another mobo in the 1366 that you'd recommend?

SSD's I know nothing about so I'll defer to your recommendations.

GPU, it's cheaper than the 580 :)  Besides it very well may not run my CAD program [either the 460 or the 580] and I may end up going and buying a proper CAD GPU [Quadro 4000, I've got the 2000 at work and it's nice but a bit 'lite'] if the 460 does work then I'd buy another one and SLI it, if it doesn't then I can throw it in on weekends and switch it out w/ the Quadro when I need to.

HDD cheaper is better :) 

Since I'm sticking w/ the i970, any cases that would better fit [depends on the mobo recommendation I guess]. I like the idea of the 800d simply for 'growth'. At some point I'll be upgrading [prob skip the Sandy Bridge and plan for the next one {I forget the name}] and I'd end up w/ the same case [not have to buy a new one]

I've seen recommendations all over the place on PS ratings. I'd rather be a bit 'over size' than under as it seems my luck is that, if it's at all marginal it will burn out [only my experiance]. I'll looke at the Ax850, I think the 950 that I had spec'd [Tx950w] was only like $110 through NCIX.com.

Thanks a bunch for the help/direction!!

JFG
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
January 21, 2011 3:56:14 PM

Techincally, the i7-9xx aren't outdated yet. The technical replacement for the LGA1366 socket is the LGA1365 socket, which is due out sometime soon. It just happens the LGA1155 CPUs are better than the LGA1366 CPUs.

Since you've already got the CPU, switch the board to a Gigaybte GA-X58A-UD3R. It's cheap, but very reliable and has a number of features.

Keep the RAM you had, since you've got get triple channel sticks for the LGA1366.

The Notcua will fit the LGA1366 socket.

You won't have to buy a new case regardless of what CPU you use. The standard motherboard size (ATX) is used in pretty much every mid tower or full tower. You don't need a $260 case for "growth". Save yourself some money. I'd at least look around at the other options.
January 21, 2011 6:05:51 PM

Laptops are slow on all counts, comes of puting things in a small package on battery power. Some mother boards are exceeding ATX spec to fit everything on, not a problem at your level. SSB are Solid State Hard drives, much faster operating times than spin type drives.
I would also suspect CAD monitors are predicated to multiscreen use rather than any performance enhancements. Gamers run two or three monitors at times, though the CAD MAY OFFER more pixels for larger screens, but not under $1000-2000.
I have not heard the CAD cards use different video chips?? Am I wrong.
If you can load a cad program in a gaming rig and see.
January 21, 2011 6:14:26 PM

Laptops are slow on all counts, comes of puting things in a small package on battery power. Some mother boards are exceeding ATX spec to fit everything on, not a problem at your level. SSB are Solid State Hard drives, much faster operating times than spin type drives.
I would also suspect CAD monitors are predicated to multiscreen use rather than any performance enhancements. Gamers run two or three monitors at times, though the CAD MAY OFFER more pixels for larger screens, but not under $1000-2000.
I have not heard the CAD cards use different video chips?? Am I wrong.
If you can load a cad program in a gaming rig and see.
AS far as cases go, airflow/cooling and build ease and security are important but pick one you enjoy looking at.
January 22, 2011 12:51:39 AM

Thanks MadAdmiral, I'll post back once I get my orders in for parts and get things coming.

Walterm, I've run CAD stuff for several years [~6] on multiscreens. It's by no means a requirement but it does make the workflow alot easier. There is no screens specific to CAD [like there are for vid or picture work] I'm just using a el' cheapo 1920 x 1080 24" screen at work. I guess if I was trying to do truel color product renderings or something I'd want a better screen. While I do, do renderings fairly regularly they aren't that critical so I opted for the cheaper screens rather than spending an arm and a leg on them.

As to CAD vid-cards, interestingly enough there is a LARGE difference in performance [and cost] a really good CAD card will run in the $2-4000 range. They are generally refered to as 'workstation Cards' and are built more towards calculating large amounts of data but not in the same way that a gaming card generates detail and frame rates. I've used workstation cards to play games and such and while they are certainly better than anything 'onboard' [do they still make mobo's w/ 'onboard vid'] they certainly were not up to the same standard as a gaming board, the same is true in reverse [gaming cards for CAD use].

Back in the day there was alot of commonality between the gaming cards and the workstation cards, the main difference being heat sinks and drivers. Infact there was guys who had figured out how to soft-mod a game card and fool the PC into thinking it was a high end workstation card. While the performance generally was only 1/2 that of the actual work station card, at least the pc would treat it as an approved card and allow it to do the full rendering gammit [albeit at 1/2 the speed of the 'real deal']. I've always been a proponent of 'buy the right stuff for the job' but this one time I'm trying to bend the rules and see what I get. [I've actually never owned a 'gaming vid-card' they have always been work station cards [all 6-7 of them].

My intent w/ the Evga 460 is to try and run the CAD program on it and see if I can get acceptable results, I've heard variying results from others who have tried. For the most part it's pretty spotty but for the price of a cheaper card it's worth it [and when the opportunity arises to have a 'gaming weekend' I can always throw the Evga card back into the machine and switch to 'gaming mode']. I'm not holding my breath, I think I'll still end up owning a Quadro card sooner, rather than later.

I know the Admiral doesn't think I need a 800d case, but I think that is still the one I'll end up w/. I like the looks, features and quality of the case so.. heck I may just have to splurge on one component. I think I will prob end up w/ the Evga X58 Classified board still and that is also reason to get the larger case, it is nearly the same size as the E-ATX but w/ the ATX screw pattern [it's 3/4" wider than ATX when measured L-R]. However, I'm still on the fence when it comes to boards, I like both the Gigabyte X58A-UD7 as well as the Evga x58 classified..

Choices, choices...

Thanks for the help and direction guys!

JFG
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