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First Time Builder with a Few Questions

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March 13, 2011 3:13:27 PM

Hello,

I am embarking on building my first machine which is something I have always wanted to do but never had the cash to do it until now. I am building my computer mainly to play games, i.e. Rift and Skyrim when it comes out. Here is the build I am thinking of doing:

Antec 600 Black Case - 19.40" x 8.30" x 19.30"; 1x120mm exhaust fan, 2x120mm front hard drive fans, 1x200mm top exhaust fan
Antec TP 750W Power Supply
Asus P8P67-M Pro Motherboard LGA 1155 SATA 6gb/s
Intel Core i5 2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3ghz (3.7ghz Turbo Boost) Quad Core Processor
Asus EAH6950 Radeon HD 2GB 256-bit Graphics Card, Core Clock-810mhz
GSkill RipJaw RAM 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) CAS: 7, Timing: 7-7-7-21, Voltage: 1.5v
Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 7200 RPM Hard Drive
Asus DVDRW Drive-OEM
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit OEM

My first question is, generally, does this setup look good/no compatibility problems? I don't think there are any because I researched each item.

I tried to pick items that would allow me to try overclocking at some later point. I have never done it but would like to attempt CAREFULLY to do it down at some time down the road. This build seems like it will probably be plenty powerful already though.

Do I need a sound card or will the onboard sound be fine?

Next, my motherboard supports SLI/Crossfire but is it worth doing? The Asus graphics card on the list there looks like it will be awesome on its own. I can't really shell out the dough for two of that same card because it is already $300 for one of them. I could probably do two 1GB graphics cards, but would that be better than one 2GB card?

Last Question: I have not settled on a monitor yet. I want to get one for $300 or under and around 24". There are quite a few in that price range on Newegg that have a max resolution of 1920x1080, but I would like a max resolution of 1920x1200 if I can find one. Newegg has one in my price range with that resolution but it doesn't have an HDMI port which I would prefer. Should I settle for a 1920x1080 or try to find a 1920x1200. My video card supports up to 2560x1600, so I might as well attempt to get as high as possible without breaking the bank, right?! :D 

I am currently at $1,150 with everything I have selected (not including a monitor) and I want to stay under $1,500.

If anyone can give any advice on any of these questions I would appreciate it. Thanks!

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a b B Homebuilt system
March 13, 2011 4:33:30 PM

No compatibility issues.

I think that if you want to overclock then you will want an aftermarket heatsink to help keep the temps down. To make it easier to choose one I'd go for RAM without tall heatspreaders, as they basically just serve an aesthetic purpose nowadays, while making it harder in some cases to install RAM into the first RAM slot with large tower coolers.

Gaming rigs don't need more than 4GB atm, so you could save yourself some money there.
The G.Skill Sniper sets look like a good option for RAM without heatspreaders and having low voltage for Sandy Bridge.

You can save money on the 6950, these are significantly cheaper are rebate, and will perform virtually identically:
GIGABYTE GV-R695D5-2GD-B Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 $275 ($20 rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
MSI R6950-2PM2D2GD5 Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP $270 ($25 rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The 1GB 6950s look to me like they would have quieter fans, and I think most tests show that there isn't that much difference in performance between 6950 1GB and 2GB below very high resolutions, so for those reasons I would be considering a 1GB 6950.

No need to crossfire out of the gate, it is easy enough to add another graphics card later, if or when you need it, which probably won't be for a while at 1920x1080/1200. In reviews I've seen the maximum power consumption of systems with two 6950s always below 500W, so IMO you could save a bit of money and get a 650W still with plenty of overclocking headroom and upgrade possibilities.

I would buy this harddrive:
Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB $55
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
As it is cheaper than either WD Caviar Blue 1TB, and is still one of the fastest 1TB harddrives around.
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March 13, 2011 5:45:12 PM

Thanks for the great info Silvune. I will definitely take your advice on the hard drive and the video card. I have a couple a questions about the RAM and the PSU though.

While I agree that the RAM probably would be better off without the "jaw" heatspreaders on top, I picked out that RAM based on the low CAS and Timing because I've heard that those factors matter in overclocking. Again, I have never attempted overclocking on my previous PCs so I do not have any first hand experience on if it really does matter that much. I definitely want the option to have room for another fan in there though. The sniper gskill RAM that I looked up on Newegg has CAS: 9 Timing: 9-9-9-24. Will the difference of 2 in both of those make much difference?

The Antec 750W PSU I picked out currently has a $60 instant rebate on Newegg, so I could buy it for $100 instead of its usual price of $160 without even mailing anything in. It seems like a good deal and I was planning on probably getting it really soon before the instant rebate is gone. I've never picked out a PSU before, but I assume having more than I need probably isn't bad. Antec does have the same kind of PSU at 650W for $80, so I guess I could save $20 even after that instant rebate. Will a 650W be quieter (or any other benefits) than a 750W?

Thanks again!
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 14, 2011 7:08:37 AM

The MB you have listed it only a mATX, but a good MB. I have is in my mATX LAN Gaming Rig. The ASUS P8P67 - Pro is the ATX version of the same board (more expansion slots and a second LAN controller (Intel) which is supposed to be better for LAN gaming.

The G.SKILL RIPJAWS are kind of tall and you may have issues with heat sink clearance (I have these too, but the RIPJAWS X DDR3 1600's) luckily my Gemini II heat sink can be rotated to accommodate them. for over clocking I would take the RIPJAWS X (built for the P67 boards). The G.Skill Snipers are lower profile, not sure how they would be for OC. I not OC'ing mine hardly at all 1648Mhz. I would spend the extra $ and just get the DDR3 1600's and not worry about OC them.
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) SDRAM DDR3 1600 F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM N82E16820231445

I like 8GB for gaming with WIN 7, less swap file usage. you should see a speed increase (less lag) in games like the new elder scrolls when it comes out (pre caching map terrain as you move thought the map), though they say 4Gb is fine, I prefer 8GB Ram is cheap right now, so go for 8Gbs'.

Always get the biggest PSU you can in case you later want to SLI/Xfire. Antec and Corsair make good ones, look at the reviews. I also prefer the modular PSU's for better cable management. The one you have listed is fine though.

I second Silvune's advice on the HD. WD blue and green series are not that fast, only the black series is good as a boot/gaming drive.

Silvune's advice on the GPU seems solid also. I'm and nVidia fan myself, so I'll recommend GTX 560 Ti of if you have $ a GTX 570.

MSI N560GTX-TI Twin Frozr II/OC GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB $250
EVGA 01G-P3-1561-AR GeForce GTX 560 Ti FPB (Fermi) 1GB $250
newegg is sold out of my recommendation for a GTX 570 (EVGA SuperClocked 012-P3-1572-AR) $360


Your question on the 1920x1200 LCD's not having HDMI ports:

HDMI typically is associated with 1080p (1920x1080) which widescreen 16:9 ratio format (Blu Ray)

1920x1200 is widescreen 16:10 ratio format. so putting a HDMI interface on the this monitor wouldn't make any sense, as it would have black band top and bottom or force the a non-native resolution and wouldn't look as sharp.

That being said, I prefer 1920x1200 for gaming, but these monitors are always more expensive than the 1920x1080 ones. (I have both, the 1920x1200 on my desktop CPU and a 1920x1080 on my mATX LAN gaming rig).



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a b B Homebuilt system
March 14, 2011 10:09:45 AM

The Antec Truepower New TPN-750 hasn't been $160 for a long time, and won't be that price ever again. I guess I'm biased because I will never need even a 650W PSU for myself. But like I said you definitely can run 6950s crossfire on a 650W PSU. If you want to keep as wide a possibility of upgrades open down the road then it would be wise to get a 750W PSU.

RAM (speed, CAS latency or voltage) has no bearing on bus overclocking the CPU on Sandy Bridge AFAIK. If you are wanting to overclock the RAM, then it is primarily low voltage that I would look for.

Quote:
1920x1200 is widescreen 16:10 ratio format. so putting a HDMI interface on the this monitor wouldn't make any sense, as it would have black band top and bottom or force the a non-native resolution and wouldn't look as sharp.
It sounds like you are saying that HDMI doesn't support resolutions above 1920x1080, which isn't true, wikipedia states the maximum supported res of HDMI 1.4 to be roughly 3000x2000. So there won't be any black bands on a 1920x1200 screen powered by HDMI, unless 1920x1080 resolution is chosen in game or something and when playing movies.

This link also backups higher than 1920x1080 resolutions are available on HDMI: http://www.hdmi.org/manufacturer/hdmi_1_4/hdmi_1_4_faq....
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 14, 2011 12:06:00 PM

Quote:
It sounds like you are saying that HDMI doesn't support resolutions above 1920x1080, which isn't true, wikipedia states the maximum supported res of HDMI 1.4 to be roughly 3000x2000. So there won't be any black bands on a 1920x1200 screen powered by HDMI, unless 1920x1080 resolution is chosen in game or something and when playing movies.


Pulled out the Wiki on me did ya? :o 

what I meant is that the accepted HD resolution is 1920x1080 (1080i/p) and 1366x768 (720p) 16:9 aspect ratio. 1920x1200 is 16:10 is odd and not the 1080i/p standard. not that it wouldn't work, but it would look different and not as good in native resolution and aspect ratio. you can still find some older dvd movies that use 16:10 widescreen but not a Blu Ray. Like Beta and VHS. Beta was better and so is 16:10, but VHS and 16:9 won in the end. you can find 16:10 LCD with HDMI, they are just rare.

I pretty sure if you piped a 16:9 1080p from a blu ray to a 1920x1200 16:10 monitor, it would either have to stretch it or display "as is" (bands 60 lines top and bottom).


for Knuxson's use, it depends on what he wants the HDMI port for. most PC games support 16:10 and 16:9. If he want to pipe in Blu Ray or a game consul then he should go with 16:9 1920x1080.

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