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Building a High Performance PC

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February 27, 2011 4:46:41 AM

I am a custom build noob and I have no idea what I am doing.

I work from home and I would like a high performance machine to meet my needs. I would like to upgrade anything possible so that the PC will run flawlessly while also somewhat having a sensibility for price. I have no idea about compatibility, but I have received some advice from a couple buddies on certain components. I do not plan on gaming as this will be primarily a business machine, but I may want to consider it in the future. So without further ado:

PRICE: $2,800

Case: CoolerMaster Storm Sniper Mid-Tower Gaming Case [+83] (Original Color)
Internal USB Extension Module: None
Neon Light Upgrade: None
Extra Case Fan Upgrade: Maximum Enermax 120MM Case Cooling Fans for selected case (Maximum Silent Operation) [+29] (500-1,200 RPM White Color with White LED Twister Bearing 8-14 dBA [+16])
Noise Reduction Technology: Sound Absorbing Foam on Side, Top And Bottom panels [+29]
Power Supply Gasket [+5]
Anti-Vibration Fan Mounts [+9]
CPU: Intel® Core™ i7-970 3.20 GHz 12M Intel Smart Cache LGA1366 [+290]
Venom Boost Fast And Efficient Factory Overclocking: Extreme OC (Extreme Overclock 20% or more) [+49]
Cooling Fan: * CoolerMaster V8 Gaming CPU Cooling Fan (Extreme Silent Operation at only 22dBA + Overclock Proof) [+22]
Motherboard: (3-Way SLI Support) EVGA X58 SLI™ 3 Intel X58 Chipset SLI/CrossFireX Triple-Channel DDR3/1600+ ATX Mainboard w/ 7.1 HD Audio, GbLAN, USB3.0, 2 x SATA-III, RAID, 3 Gen2 PCIe, 2 PCIe X1 & 1 PCI [+45]
Motherboard Expansion Card: None
Memory: 12GB (4GBx3) DDR3/1600MHz Triple Channel Memory Module [+292] (Corsair or Major Brand)
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 1GB 16X PCIe Video Card [+120] (Major Brand Powered by NVIDIA)
Video Card 2: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 1GB 16X PCIe Video Card [+195] (Major Brand Powered by NVIDIA)
Video Card 3: None
Dedicated PHYSX Card: None
Multiple Video Card Settings: Non-SLI/Non-CrossFireX Mode Supports Multiple Monitors
Power Supply Upgrade: * 950 Watts - Corsair CMPSU-950TX 80 Plus Power Supply - Quad SLI Ready [+157]
Hard Drive: 64 GB A-Data S501 V2 SATA III 6.0G/s Gaming MLC Solid State Disk [+79] (Single Hard Drive)
Data Hard Drive: 2TB (2TBx1) SATA-III 6.0Gb/s 64MB Cache 7200RPM HDD [+127] (Single Hard Drive)
Hard Drive Cooling Fan: Vigor iSURF II Hard Disk Drive Cooling System [+21] (3 x Systems [+42])
External Hard Drive (USB3.0/2.0/eSATA): None
USB Flash Drive: None
Optical Drive: * Asus BC-08B1LT 8X Blu-Ray Player & DVDRW Combo [+44] (BLACK COLOR)
Optical Drive 2: None
Sound: HIGH DEFINITION ON-BOARD 7.1 AUDIO
3D Vision Glasses: None
LCD Monitor: None
2nd Monitor: None
3rd Monitor: None
Speakers: None
Network: Onboard Gigabit LAN Network
Network Switch: None
Keyboard: Xtreme Gear (Black Color) Multimedia/Internet USB Keyboard
Mouse: XtremeGear Optical USB 3 Buttons Gaming Mouse
Mouse Pad: None
Gaming Gear: None
Extra Thermal Display: None
Wireless 802.11B/G Network Card: None
External Wireless Network Card: None
Wireless 802.11 B/G/N Access Point: None
Bluetooth: None
Flash Media Reader/Writer: None
Video Camera: None
Headset: None
Printer: None
Cable: None
Power Protection: None
Surge Protector: None
IEEE1394 Card: None
USB Port: Built-in USB 2.0 Ports
Operating System: Microsoft® Windows® 7 Home Premium [+104] (64-bit Edition)
Media Center Remote Control & TV Tuner: None
Office Suite: None
Games: None
Ultra Care Option: Ultra Enhanced Packaging Solution - Protect Your Dream System During Transit [+19]
CoolerMaster Thermal Fusion 400 Extreme Performance CPU - Thermal Compound Optimized for Thermal Dissipation [+10]
Professional Wiring for All WIRING Inside The System Chassis - Minimize Cable Exposure, Maximize Airflow in Your System [+19]
Service: STANDARD WARRANTY: 3-YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY PLUS LIFE-TIME TECHNICAL SUPPORT
Rush Service: RUSH!!! READY TO SHIP IN NEXT BUSINESS DAY [+109]
February 27, 2011 8:18:52 AM

$2,800 without an LCD monitor? Ouch! I guess you must already have a good LCD monitor you're happy with?
One that takes TWO GTX 460s to do business graphics? And a 950W power supply.
And I see you upgraded to a Tri-SLI (3! video card) motherboard.

Putting Noise Reduction Technology: Sound Absorbing Foam on Side, Top And Bottom panels on a gaming case with two high power video cards? With extra fans all over the place too.

Since you must need this in a real hurry (Rush Service: RUSH!!!)
you probably mostly want to know there are no compatibility problems.

No single item is outrageously priced. It's just all of them added together gets you a price tag quite a bit higher than you actually need to do business.
Hope your business is doing really good.

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February 27, 2011 8:39:02 AM

I checked the HP website and priced a somewhat similarly equipped HPE590t for about $2200
with just 1 GTX 460 video card and without a lot of the performance options like gaming case, overclocking, huge PSU, extra fans and HDD coolers.

The SSD might be slower than expected due to some A-data shenanigans.
ADATA Quietly Replaces S501 SSD with a Slower Version Dubbed S501 V2
http://news.softpedia.com/news/ADATA-Quietly-Replaces-S...
-> Still.. it IS a SSD.

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February 27, 2011 8:44:26 AM

The HP website also offers a $1600 HPE-580t with Core i7-950 CPU, 12GB RAM, 160GB SSD, 1TB HDD, Blu-Ray writer and 1 GTX 460 video card.
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February 27, 2011 11:35:22 AM

wow... do you really need a prebuilt? you could build something a lot better at a much lower price...
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February 27, 2011 2:46:10 PM

Would you be interested in spending about $1000 less and still getting a high performance computer?
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February 27, 2011 2:49:46 PM

I already have a 30" 3008wfp Dell monitor and plan on getting 2 20" monitors as well, thus the need for 2 video cards. My business is doing fine, has very little expenses, and relies heavily on how well my computer performs so it makes senses to go all out and get exactly what I need without putting myself on a budget, but at the same time without going overboard.

I would prefer pre-built as that would be easiest for me, but if there is a HUGE difference in price for the same or better PC I would consider it. I just have no clue what I am doing when it comes to this.
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February 27, 2011 2:54:50 PM

Yes, I would be interested if the performance isn't negatively effected. I really want everything to run flawlessly.
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February 27, 2011 3:47:53 PM

Do you already have a keyboard and mouse combo you really like? I had been surprised you hadn't got a better set in your list of parts.

Since your business relies heavily on your computer do you have a contingency plan on what to do it's not available or the the power is out for an extended period or you need to be away from home unexpectedly? A laptop could be that kind of business continuity tool.

Starting with the base X-58 Configurator
http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/system/CyberPower_X58_Confi...

Case choice is a very personal thing and if you liked the CM Storm Sniper it's a fine choice. It's four included fans are all that you will need.
For noise reduction options the only one I'd suggest is the power supply gasket. The case fans are large and turn relatively slow while moving a lot of air to keep the case relatively silent.

Options:
CM Storm Sniper
Noise Reduction PSU gasket
Core i7-960 3.20 GHz CPU
Extreme OC to 3.8Ghz
CoolerMaster V8 Gaming CPU Cooler
ASUS Sabertooth X58 motherboard (it does have a 3rd PCI-e x16 slot for a 3rd video card - just that it runs @ x4)
GeForce GTX 560 Ti 1GB Video Card #1 for the 2560x1600 monitor
GeForce GTS 450 1GB Video Card #2 for the dual 20" LCDs
Corsair Professional Series CMPSU-AX750 750 Watts -old 80 Plus Power Supply
60GB Corsair Force 60GB SSD boot disk
1TB x 2 (1TB Capacity) Raid 1 High Performance with Data Security
LG WH10-LS30K 10X Blu-Ray writer
Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Ultra Enhanced Packaging Solution
Professional Wiring
RUSH!!! READY TO SHIP IN NEXT BUSINESS DAY

About $2267
More than I hoped. And still a very powerful system with top quality parts.
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February 27, 2011 5:31:41 PM

Thanks for your help WR2, I really appreciate it!

Yes, I already have a mouse/keyboard that I am comfortable with. I can always buy them later on if I have the urge to.

I have a couple laptops with me along with PDAnet on my droid to use in case of a power outage, internet problems, or if I'm traveling. The better of the two is showing a SMART hard drive error which sparked my decision to finally upgrade. I'm fine with using my current laptop as a backup for now.

The case was recommended to me from one of my buddies. I'm fine with it, most of the cases on there are a bit ugly to me and this one doesn't repulse me.

I appreciate you taking the time to reconfigure everything. I do have a few questions though:

- How much of a downgrade is going from a 6core to a 4core? Will I notice the difference?

- I heard that if I want stability I should stay away from overclocking? I'm not sure what this means, but is this something to worry about?

- What is x4? I doubt I would go past a 3 monitor setup, but I may want a 30 30 30 setup (as opposed to 20 30 20) in the future. Doubtful, but possible.

- I heard that ideally I should be getting the same graphics card, is this true?

- I don't see a RAM option on your list of components. Which option do you suggest? 4x3 1600?

- Lastly, I want the PC to be silent and protected from overheating. You hinted at this being true, but I just want to make sure.


The total price using your list (with the 4x3 1600 ram) comes to $2481 (with rush and care options) for me.
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Best solution

February 27, 2011 6:25:57 PM

I had added a 12GB (2GBx6) DDR3/1600MHz Triple Channel Memory Module in the $2267 package but neglected to list it.
That 12GB (4GBx3) DDR3/1333MHz Triple Channel Memory option for $30 more would leave a future upgrade option for 24GB
and you would not notice the difference in DDR3 1333/1600 performance. I also think 12GB is all you'd ever need. Thats a huge amount of RAM.

Here is a CPU performance benchmark comparison. i7-960 3.2Ghz wasn't an option so I used the slower i7-950 3.06Ghz
Core i7 970 - 3.20GHz vs Core i7 950 - 3.06GHz
Keeping in mind the 3.2Ghz i7-960 would perform better the SysMark 2007 Overall + Productivity scores are probably the best
indication it would be hard for you to notice the difference.
The areas where the six cores start to make a real difference - video creation and rendering - like CineBench10, PovRay, 3dsMax aren't your everyday business tools.

With the long proven track record in i7 & X-58 overclocking I'd say this is a safe bet with minimal risk. But yes, a non-overclocked system is likely to be more stable but you can't say that overclocking alone will make the system less stable.

A high performance video card works best in a x16 or x8 electrical video card slot. But for a low or mid-range video card, especially one that is running 2D business monitors and not 3D gaming a x4 electrical video card slot is just fine. This gives you a future option of adding two more video cards.

If you are running the two video cards ganged together (Crossfire X or SLI mode) you definitely want to have matched cards.
If the video cards are running independently, GTX 560Ti for the Dell U3008wfp and the GTS 450 running the two new monitors there isn't a need for a matched set of video cards.

No PC system is going to be silent. You can expect a good system like this to be quiet and not have any annoying audio characteristics like loud fans, varying pitch noise or annoying hums, etc. The four fans on the CM Storm case should be quite and keep the system cool even when it's time to fire up a game to relax.

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March 7, 2011 1:14:02 AM

Best answer selected by simplicity8.
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