Need advice for building desktop with dual GTX 580 cards

I need a windows desktop for use at home and I decided to make a project out of it. For the first time in my life, I'm trying to build my own DIY desktop from individual components.

It will be used primarily for the following tasks
- 1080p video editing (Avid MC5, Premiere Pro CS5) with dual monitors
- BD authoring (NetBlender, Encore CS5)
- working with extremely large outdoor advertising image files in Creative Suite apps
- occasional gaming (but I want it to be able to run demanding upcoming 2011 games)
- possible future upgrade for 3D BD authoring

I've been doing a bit more research and I'm leaning towards buying the following components from Newegg.

The Asus Rampage III Extreme mobo provides the following integrated ports:
- 4 x PCI-e 2.0 x16 slots (supports x16/x16, x16/x8/x8, x8/x8/x8/x8)
- 2 x SATA 6GB/s
- 2 x USB 3.0
- 1 x eSATA 3GB/s
- 1 x Optical S/PDIF out
- 7 x USB 2.0
- 1 x Firewire 1394a

I plan to install the following PCI-e cards

(1) OCZ PCI-e SSD card in x16

and then I have two options for the video card
---->Either 1 x GTX 580 card in x16
---->or 2 x GTX 580 card in x8
which is better? it seems like this high performance card would be bottlenecked by the x8 slot,
is there a different mobo that will not gimp the 2nd and 3rd x16 slots?

Here is what my shopping cart is looking like:
1 x ASUS Rampage III Extreme LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Item #: N82E16813131642

1 x Intel Core i7-990X Extreme Edition Nehalem 3.46GHz LGA 1366 130W Six-Core Desktop Processor BX80613I7990X
Item #: N82E16819115079

2 x ASUS ENGTX580 DCII/2DIS/1536MD5 GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) 1536MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video ...
Item #: N82E16814121429
Core Clock: 782 MHz
Memory Clock: 4008 MHz
($504.99 each)

3 x Patriot Gamer 2 Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model PGD38G1333ELK
Item #: N82E16820220557
-$5.00 Instant
$20.00 Mail-in Rebate Card
($94.99 each - total 24GB)

2 x LITE-ON Blu-ray Burner with 3D Playback SATA iHBS212 LightScribe
Item #: N82E16827106348
($129.99 each)

1 x OCZ Z-Drive R2 P88 OCZSSDPX-ZD2P881T PCI-E 1TB PCI Express MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
Item #: N82E16820227517
Sequential Access - Read:up to 1.4GB/s
Sequential Access - Write: up to 1.4GB/s
Power Consumption (Active):20W
512MB on board Cache Sustained Write: up to 950MB/s
MTBF:1,000,000 hours
-$650.00 Instant

Subtotal: $6,734.91

now I have absolutely no idea about the following:

- which case would be best (quiet, understated, no colored lights, noise reduction panels, large enough for dual graphics cards and can fit all the components and these ports
- 2 x SATA 6GB/s
- 2 x USB 3.0
- 1 x eSATA 3GB/s
- 1 x Optical S/PDIF out
- 7 x USB 2.0
- 1 x Firewire 1394a
- Dual GTX 580 video ports (2 x HDMI, 2 x DisplayPort, 4 x DVI)

- which power supply is ideal (I think I need a 1500w power supply)

- do I need to buy some sort of SLI bridge to link the video cards, or does the fact that this mobo is "SLI ready" mean that I don't need any additional bridge component?

- fans with quiet mode? best cooling solution? water? do I need to apply thermal paste myself? any good tutorials for this? (the OCZ SSD max operating temperature is 70 degrees C. Will it be difficult to keep sufficiently cool?)

- I want to add a Raid0 configuration of 4 x 2TB WD Caviar Black 7200 RPM drives. Is it better to do this internal and add internal Raid controller, or is there some external Raid solution that be better?

- is there anything else I'm missing from my shopping cart?
8 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. That mobo runs dual cards @ 16x &'s in your post. It runs three vid cards @ 8x. Since you plan on only running two vid cards.....And yes that mobo is SLI ready.

    900w - 1000w psu will be more than plenty for two of those cards. $184.99
    SILVERSTONE ST1000-P 1000W ATX 12V v2.3 & EPS 12V 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

    Also you have DDR3 dual channel up there, the 1336 boards require DDR3 triple channel RAM. $239.99 FREE SHIPPING
    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 12GB (3 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2000 (PC3 16000) Desktop Memory Model F3-16000CL9T-12GBRM
  2. Thanks very much for the helpful advice why me!

    Very grateful you pointed out the correct memory type.

    That mobo runs dual cards @ 16x &'s in your post. It runs three vid cards @ 8x. Since you plan on only running two vid cards.....And yes that mobo is SLI ready.

    My understanding is that the OCZ PCI-e drive has to be installed to one of the x16 slots in order to get the full benefit.

    This would mean that I can either

    (A) use one video card in x16 mode (the other x16 slot being used by the SSD drive) and forget about dual video cards, or

    (B) use the SSD drive in x16 and dual video cards in x8 slots. (in other words, in x16/x8/x8 configuration, or am I misreading the mobo specs?)

    --that is unless there is a better mobo that can run at least three PCI-e slots at x16 (and has integrated ports for USB 3.0, SATA 6GB/s, etc.)
  3. There has been some issues with the sata 6 ports on those boards. I would research those boards before purchasing one. I am unfortunately one of those experience problems with the sata 6. Not had a chance to rma it and see if it fixes the problems.
  4. I'm actually running a Rampage III Extreme w/ i7 980X, and I've seen no issues with the SATA III 6GB/s ports. One thing I want to know is, do you absolutely positively need the 1TB RevoDrive immediately? OCZ's next generation RevoDrives will be far faster, while maintaining a similar, if not lower price point. Keep that in mind.

    Also, if I were you I'd throw in four SATA II 2TB drives in RAID10 for backup rather than RAID0. RAID0 is not redundant, so if one drive fails, all your files are gone. The onboard RAID controller for the SATA II ports is excellent, though don't even bother with the SATA III RAID controller. I have 2x 1TB WD Caviar Black on SATA III and I get better performance with Windows RAID. Marvell smh.
  5. At some point when $$ becomes less of an issue what peeps do at professional/enterprise level is go server class hardware like dual/quad socket server mobos, FirePro/Quadro GPUs, etc
  6. Best answer
    If ya need more than two, the NF200 chipset allows this boards to run more than two cards @ x16. It supports "3Way SLI + PhysX at Real X16"

    On the other hand, no STA III / USB 3

    The R3E is a great, great board. I have done about 6 builds with it and all went "easy as cake, piece of pie". As far as the problem with the SATA 6 ports, part of it is nomenclature. There is no such thing as SATA 6 ..... what is the latest and greatest is SATA III which happens to have a speed of 6 GB/s. In bios and post will show as sata 3 (III), in os will show as sata 6 (6 GB/sec). Can read up about it a bit here:

    Cases - Unfortunately, most of the high end cases are geared towards gamers who tend to like the lightie things. For your intended build and intended usage, from a mechanical and features standpoint, the ideal case would be the DF-85 ... lage enough to hold everything, superb air flow, easy access air inlet filters, "Fleet Swap" storage bays, CPU cutout, excellent cable routing features ... yada yada yada ..... and even a "hot swappable" 2.5" external bay for copying ya movies, photos etc. onto and taking them conveniently on the road or to copy to another box. Unfortunately, much like the HAF-X, the styling is a bit aggressive and the fans light up.

    Thee understated Antec P183 is also a great case .... well constructed with aim towards deadening sound and decent cooling. Fits the CPX form factor PSU's which is also a big plus if quietness is your goal.

    For twin 570's and OC'ing, I'd go with an 850 watter; twin 580's 1,000 watts is plenty. Since you can fit CPX form factor, no reason not to take advantage of it.

    CPU Cooler - The best self contained water cooler out right now is the Antec Kuhler 620 .... check the 920 if it's released before buy time

    Priced to compete with high-end air coolers, the Kühler offers similar performance and a lower noise level. It's the first compact liquid cooler I've tested that can honestly be considered as competition for the likes of the Cooler Master V6 GT, Prolimatech Megahalems, and Thermalright Venomous X. ....The performance of the Antec Kühler H20 620 was excellent, exceeding that of every other water cooler I've tested and encroaching on the performance range of the very best air coolers.

    RAM - With all those dollars spent, don't understand the budget model CAS 9 DDR3-1333 (BTW, one generally buys triple module sets for 1366 .... but since you filled all slots, they would still run in triple channel mode). With 12 GB (two 3 x 2GB sets), I'd get the Mushkin CAS 6 DDRS-1600 Radioactive. RAM is "supposedly" sold in matched sets, whether that's true or not I guess depends on the company. There is no physical difference however between the modules in 3 triple set and a double set and I certainly can't fathom how much more difficult it might be matching up 2 sets of triple channel RAM with 3 sets of double channel RAM, if at all. Given my experience adding RAM 2-3 years after original build, I'm guessing chances or problems are small. If ya wanna give it a shot and go for 24 GB, grab 3 of the Mushkin Enhanced Redline 8GB (2 x 4GB) CAS 7 DDR3 1600 Model 996981. personally, I'd go with 12 GB of CAS 6

    SSD - I put in the vertex 2's for the purposes of having a complete build but I'd do the Sandforce 3 models which will be twice as fast come April-May. One for OS and Programs, one for temp files, page file, scratch disk.

    HD - No need for SATA III, you're outta ports. Since just for storage, any of the big 3 will work, (Seagate 7200.12, Spinpoint F3 or WD Black) but I'd go with the 7200,12 for the significantly lower noise and temperature.

    Optical - Only need one .... with today's storage speeds, no need for 2nd.

    Monitor - Gotta be an IPS panel for PhotoShop.

    KB/Mouse - Nothing too fancy.

    As to the questions:

    -SLI Bridge comes with mobo

    -No self contained water cooling system has beaten the best air coolers. The Kuhler 620 beat all but one when fitted with Delta 113 cfm fan. I'd suggest sandwiching the Kuhler's radiator between the case fan and the Kuhler's fan, you should be able to approach the performance that it showed w/ the Delta w/o all the noise associated with the delta fan.

    -Many coolers come with fans and Thermal paste, some don't. The Kuhler does. If ya buy ya own, Shin Etsu (sold by newegg under Masscool brand) is the top performer.

    -4 x 2B is a huge amount of storage .... My engineering firm has 20 years of work output (including CAD and Renderings) on two 1 TB HDs in RAID 1 ..... 1 TB total ..... and that also includes an i-Tunes server (no movies)

    If ya need that much storage, I'd suggest an NAS and use the proprietary X-RAID

    Case - $180 - Antec P193
    PSU - $150 - Antec CP-1000
    MoBo - $380 - Asus Rampage 3 Extreme
    CPU - $1,050 - Intel i7-990x
    Cooler - $80 - Antec Kuhler 620
    RAM - $180 - 2 x (3 x 2GB) Mushkin CAS 6
    GFX - $510 - Asus 580 GTX OC'd
    GFX - $510 - Same
    HD - $65 - Seagate 7200.12
    HD - $65 - Same
    SSD - $185 - OCZ Vertex 2 3.5" 120GB
    SSD - $185 Same
    Card Reader $35 AFT XM-35U
    DVD Writer - $120 - ASUS BR Model BW-12B1LT
    OS - $140 - Win 7-64 Pro OEM
    Monitor - $1,400 - Dell U3011 IP2560 x 1600
    Keyboard - $65 - Logitech G110
    Mouse - $53 - Logitech G500

    Cost $5,353 w/o any combo discounts
  7. This is all excellent advice, thanks very much to everyone who has responded.

    batuchka said:
    At some point when $$ becomes less of an issue what peeps do at professional/enterprise level is go server class hardware like dual/quad socket server mobos, FirePro/Quadro GPUs, etc

    I was also considering a Xeon board with 8 or 12 cores and a workstation video card, however, I decided against both for the following reasons. Let me know if you think this is misguided, as my understanding of CPU and GPU architecture is very limited.

    1. I know that a machine with many cores would help with video encoding tasks or perhaps authoring/rendering tasks. However, the primary editing app that I use is Avid Media Composer 5. It is a 32-bit application that has to be run in a sort of Windows XP mode. At the office I use a 12-core MacPro, and I'm not sure how much Avid or FCP are benefiting from all those cores, as FCP is also a 32-bit application, which I understand are not very optimized for multi-threading. I hope that a 6-core i7-990x is sufficient CPU for demanding multi-threading tasks that I might need to perform on my home computer.

    2. If I understand correctly, workstation cards are terrible for running demanding games. However, gaming cards are not so terribly bad at work-related tasks. For example, my MacPro at the office came with a gaming card, a Radeon HD5870, and it seems to perform well enough. I will be using this machine primarily for video editing/authoring/creative suite tasks, but occasionally I will run demanding games at least at 1920x1080, perhaps higher, perhaps even 3D.

    The NVIDIA cards provide GPU acceleration for the Mercury Playback Engine when working in Photoshop, After Effects and Premiere. This allows for fluid image panning and zoom, better real-time editing and color correction, as well as real-time 3D title rendering for not only Quadro cards but also the GTX 470 and supposedly they are working on the drivers for the Fermi cards as well.
  8. Best answer selected by moviemarketing.
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