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Planning First time home build.

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January 21, 2011 8:22:53 PM

Hey all, after years of thinking about it,I am finally ready to build a system. The planning is harder than I thought and I have a few questions.
First, some of the basics I was thinking about
cpu-Core i7-2600K-
GPU Radeon HD 5850 (x2)
Boot Drive- OCZ Vertex SSD
Storage Drive- Western Digital Caviar Black WD5002AALX 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s -plenty of room for me
I also want to get a separate sound card because I do some basic home recording (m-audio maybe)

So here are my questions
1)For Gaming: is the two mid range videocards better than one top end one
2) If I do use the two 5850's and have a sound card, am I going to be able to fit this on most boards or do I have to consider certain ones. I find the whole PCI-e thing confusings with the X15,X8, X4 multipliers so I am not sure about runnign out of slots.

Finally, I don't have strong feelings about the case looks besides subtle. Is there any reason I should not buil in a antec 300 or thermaltake V3. Will I need something bigger if I don't have a ton of drives?
Thanks so much for any advice.
January 21, 2011 8:43:36 PM

interesting! does the 6gb/s really seem faster to people who have used both?, has that been a bottle neck. I guess mostly my choice was review based but if the performance is better I could sacrifice the space for sure.
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January 21, 2011 9:14:42 PM

Firstly, you won't need the i7 processor. Save yourself 100 dollars and get the i5. It's less 2mb of cache, and hyperthreading, with gives 4 'virtual cores' which is good for multi-tasking. Seeing as you're not using it for extensive multitasking, you don't need it.
I would suggest a single card rather than 2. Some games don't get any advantage when using 2 cards. Try a 6950/6970, if you want to stay AMD.
Using a hard drive rather than an SSD, you won't need a SATA 6 Gb/s connection. Only with solid state drives will you need that. Also, the Samsung Spinpoint F3 seems to be the favorite over the WD HDD you're looking at.
Most cases have about 6 or more slots for HDDs. It's easy to see how many slots it has, though. It will be in the details section of the product as you're looking at it on newgrounds.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
January 21, 2011 9:39:13 PM

1) In my opinion, a single great graphics card is better than dual cards, so long as it will do the job.
I think dual 5850 card is not the best arrangement if you have achoice.
You may need dual cards( better than 5850) if you are planning on a 2560 x 1600 monitor or triple monitor surround gaming.
Otherwise, a single card like the GTX570 or 6970 will give you good gaming at 1080P resolution.
You will avoid issues with games that do not perform with dual gpu's.
You will also preserve your option to go sli later.

2) A full ATX motherboard will have 7 expansion slots. Each graphics card will take two slots. Just make certain that the slot type you need will not be covered by the graphics card/s. A micro-ATX board will have 4 slots, and be cheaper. With your sound card, you will be limited to one graphics card.

3) I happen to like the Antec 300. There is plenty of room, so long as you do not need to fill all 6 3.5" drive bays.
No problem with what you listed, and then some.

4) Sandy bridge is a shockingly capable processor. The 2500K is marginally slower at stock, but perhaps the equal when overclocked to the 2600K
If the extra $100 for the 2600K is not an issue, get it. If you are on a budget, and the $100 is important to you, spend it to upgrade your video card from say a GTX570 to a GTX580. You will get better gaming

5) Get a decent cpu cooler up front, you will OC easier, and higher. Prolimatech megahalems rev b is about the best and easy to install. Or, the CM hyper 212 is almost as good at half the price. Either is better than the stock cooler if you will OC.

6) Download and read the motherboard and case manuals now. They will answer many questions.

7) Today, there is not a lot of performance difference among SSD's of the same capacity. Synthetic benchmarks are all over the place, but they bear little relation to YOUR access pattern. There is a lot of marketing hype touting sequential performance. Most users do 90% small random reads. You will be happy with any current SSD. Do remember to specify AHCI as the sata mode in the bios to get trim support.

-----good luck-----
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
January 21, 2011 9:48:53 PM

For some of my budget suggests you could go here :D 
http://www.squidoo.com/electronicandmore

Well as good as the 5850 is, the scaling on the old 5xxx series cards aren't as good as the 6xxx series. In my opinion you should go for 6850 CF if you do get dual cards. Maybe even look into the price drop of the 6870 since there is going to be a 6950 1GB.

Oh and your SSD I hope you mean the Vertex 2, not the Vertex original.
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January 21, 2011 9:57:26 PM

madmonkeymusic said:
interesting! does the 6gb/s really seem faster to people who have used both?, has that been a bottle neck. I guess mostly my choice was review based but if the performance is better I could sacrifice the space for sure.


You probably won't see much of a difference at this level, but that SATA 6.0 SSD that masterasia recommended will go past 300MB/s throughput, which is the limit of SATA 3.0. There's a short review here http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/windows-7-ssd-trim,...

Even if you don't buy a SSD that fast right now, you'll want to get a motherboard that supports SATA 6.0, otherwise you're future upgrade options could be a bit limited.


As for case size. . . . As long as all the parts are going to fit, it isn't super important, but I built my first PC in a Antec three hundred, and the second in a Cooler Master HAF 922. Let me tell you, the second was a lot more fun. Having a big spacious case to build in makes your life a lot easier during assembly, and it makes cable management a lot better. Plus, some high-end GPU's are pretty damned long, and are a real son of a bitch to get into smaller cases, even if you can do it.

I'd definitely back up the recommendation to get the i5 2500K too, the 2600K is a great processor, don't get me wrong, but you're paying 100$ for maybe 50$ of performance. Plus you only get the benefit of that performance during the use of certain applications. I went with the 2600K myself, but drool worthy though it may be, what it isn't is worth it's price tag. As mentioned though, if you're not too tight on cash, and want to try some video editing, or bank on hyper-threading support appearing in video games, the 2600K might be good for you (but it's still not a good deal, tbh).


I can't speak for ATI cards, but often two lesser cards is better than one higher range card. A nvidia example would be GTX 460's in SLI, versus a single GTX 580. The 580 loses, not by much, but it does. I believe it [the GTX 580] is the more costly option too.

The disadvantage is with games that don't make good use of SLI or crossfireX, and in that the older cards are just that, older, so they will become outdated/unsupported just that much faster.

Edit: Other disadvantages include power use, heat, installation, and building your system around SLI.
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 21, 2011 10:21:00 PM

I say go with two 6870s over the two 5850s, unless you're going to be coding double precision GPU apps :p .
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
January 22, 2011 3:03:20 AM

Yakri, your thinking of two 460's = 1 480. It's more like 2 6950 > 1 580 or 2 6870's OC'd (greater by a bit keep in mind the 6850's are OC'd) > 1 580.

As for the SSD, that crucial isn't worth the cost since OCZ is coming out with the Vertex 3 SATA 6 and I think the other brand is.... A-data? Can't remember which, those, if info from OCZ is true, will have high reads and writes, I think reads up to 480. But as of now, normal HDDs in SATA 6 are not really optimized, nor ar SATA 6 SSDs since the Sandforce controllers aren't out yet.
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January 22, 2011 4:07:04 AM

aznshinobi said:
Yakri, your thinking of two 460's = 1 480. It's more like 2 6950 > 1 580 or 2 6870's OC'd (greater by a bit keep in mind the 6850's are OC'd) > 1 580.

As for the SSD, that crucial isn't worth the cost since OCZ is coming out with the Vertex 3 SATA 6 and I think the other brand is.... A-data? Can't remember which, those, if info from OCZ is true, will have high reads and writes, I think reads up to 480. But as of now, normal HDDs in SATA 6 are not really optimized, nor ar SATA 6 SSDs since the Sandforce controllers aren't out yet.


Hmm, I'm not sure what you mean, unless you meant "460's = 1 580," and the four was just a typo, because I would have been more correct to say they're about even.


In some cases the 460s will pass the single 580 in benchmarks, sometimes by a large margin, but this is usually in the very high ranges of fps (I.e. when the 580 is getting 100 fps, the 460's get 130). They also usually pass the 580 in lower resolutions. In higher resolutions (say, the 2560x1600 range), performance is about even, with one or another of the cards pulling a little ahead.


Anyway, whether to SLI or not depends on the cards, or if you want over the top performance.

460's in SLI would probably be a better deal currently due to their price, but I don't know if there's a similar comparison in the radeon cards.

I'd probably setup up a system that -could- run SLI/crossfireX if I wanted it to, and get the single higher end card. The idea being that either you can go SLI later, or buy another high end single card. Then you get the advantage of having one of the latest generation of graphics cards too.

But if money is tight, you might be better off with a SLI/crossfireX option, if it is in your case, cheaper.
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January 23, 2011 3:31:03 PM

Thanks all for the help. Lots to take in but going one step down with the CPU is a good advice and looking into higher end single cards for now with the idea of, you can always add a second one later seems to make sense.
Cheers all and thanks again
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
January 23, 2011 7:43:42 PM

no problem, good luck with the build!
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