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My First Build Specs, Comments Sought

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Last response: in Systems
March 24, 2011 10:05:33 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: June to September 2011
Budget Range: $2,000 to $2,800
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (RTS, shooter), multitasking, internet, financial model spreadsheets
Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS
Preferred Website(s) for Parts:,,
Country of Origin: USA
Parts Preferences: Brand name, top quality, warranted
Over-clocking: Yes, tweaking to a small degree, not interested in extreme over-clocking
SLI or Crossfire: Maybe, if it makes sense
Monitor Resolution: will be using dual Samsung Synch Master 24” 1920x1200
Additional Comments: I want a high-end gaming rig, running Windows7 4-bit, that I can take pride in having built myself and show off. I want more than I need, but also a balance system with minimal bottlenecks. This will be my first build. I am reading the boards and reviews and watching lots of YouTube video on un-boxing, how tos, etc.

Here is what I have come up with currently. Comments, critique, and suggestions are welcome and sought.

Intel Core i7 950 3.06GHz 8M L3 Cache LGA1366

ASUS LGA 1366 Intel X58 Republic of Gamers ATX Motherboard Rampage III Formula

Corsair Dominator GT 12 GB (3 x 4GB) Memory Kit for Intel Core i7 Triple Channel Kit 2000MHz DDR3 SDRAM

Graphics Card
2 x MSI GeForce GTX560 1 GB DDR5 2DVI/Mini HDMI PCI-Express Video Card N560GTX TI TWIN FROZR II OC in SLI

Power Supply
Cooler Master 1000W Silent Pro Gold Series

2 x Seagate Momentus XT 500 GB 7200RPM SATA 3Gb/s 32 MB Cache 2.5 Inch SSD Hybrid Drive ST95005620AS in RAID1

Cooler-Master HAF X: Ultimate Full Size Gaming Chassis

CPU Cooling
Corsair Hydro Series H70 High Performance CPU Cooler CWCH70

Cooler Master R4-LUS-07AR-GP MegaFlow 200mm LED Case Fan (Red)

Lite-On LightScribe 24X SATA DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Drive IHAS424-98 - Retail (Black)

Impecca CRSX 01 USB 2.0 SD Card Reader - Red

AeroCool Touch2000 Fan Controller

Corsair Airflow PRO LED Memory Activity and Temperature Monitor CMXAFPRO

HP Pavilion Media Center m820n, stock mobo, 4 GB RAM, GTX 450 GPU, 500w PSU, dual Samsung Synch Master 24"

More about : build specs comments sought

March 24, 2011 10:16:01 PM

Make that 4 x Seagate Momentus 500 GB in RAID 10. :-) Sorry for the typos.

Best solution

March 24, 2011 10:25:41 PM

Since you aren't buying now you should wait for LGA 2011.

There is no good reason to use LGA 1366 in a new build, unless perhaps you are using two GTX 590s, and LGA 2011 comes out in "Q3" according to most sources.

If you need more processing power earlier than that, you should be looking at a P67 board and i7-2600K, which would give you superior processing power over the 950.

Also it's doubtful you need 12GB of RAM. 8GB will probably do.

Your PSU is a bit overkill. I would recommend one of these



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March 24, 2011 10:36:05 PM

the main things I would change:

Swap the CPU, Mobo & Ram for:

i5-2500K ($230) or i7-2600K ($335)
MSI P67A-G45 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 motherboard ($140)
8 GB DDR3-1600 ($100)
Also get the Thermaltake Frio ($58) or Xigmatek Aegir ($60) air coolers, which are both top-10 choices on Frostytech
Rather than 2 of the momentus drives, I'd get an A-Data S599 64 GB for $115, and a 1 TB Seagate Sata 3.0 1 TB, currently on sale for $60 (cheaper than the Sata 2 model)
March 25, 2011 3:25:54 AM

Your biggest bottleneck is going to be your hard drives. I would definitely go SSD. Look for the OCZ Vertex 2 with the new Sandforce controller. Since you are spending the $$$, get a 256 GB so you can load it up with all your games and such. Then spend a $100 for a fast 2TB drive.

If you are sold on going with a four drive RAID 10, then spend the money to get a decent RAID controller. But that will cost you some $ too.

Just my thoughts.
March 25, 2011 3:34:12 AM

definitely go with a sandy bridge processor. 2500k or 2600k.
this board, Asrock Extreme4:
And go with Samsung spinpoint f4 or f3 for your storage drives... cheaper and faster and better all around.

As far as a case, if you got the money go with a HAF-X.

For GPU's, SLI 2x Gigabyte 560 TI windforce.

Max out your ram however u see fit.

I would also recommend waiting on a OCZ Vertex 3 for your OS drive.
March 25, 2011 3:42:55 AM

chumly said:
I would also recommend waiting on a OCZ Vertex 3 for your OS drive.

Yeah...that's what I meant :-)

Also, please read this before going with RAID: Post on RAID controllers

Basically, for a 4 drive setup, you will notice a performance difference between onboard RAID and buying a good ($~$350) PCIe controller. The other key element is, what will you do in two years when your motherboard dies, taking the RAID array with it? With a controller, you can just pull the card and drives and pop them in a new system. With an onboard RAID setup, well, you are out of luck.
March 26, 2011 9:39:41 AM

Thank you, everyone, for your generous comments. I'm going to switch to the i7 2600K and P67 mobo. I like the Asus Momentus IV, as do many people it seems! I like the Sabertooth as well but I'm trying to stick with the red theme. I've adjusted the RAM spec accordingly. I'd love to put the OS on an SSD but have concern about the reliability comments I've read?? I also need to stick something in mobo pci slot 1 so both GPUs in slots 2 and 4 will run at 16x, but RAID controllers are so expensive! I'm told running the OS on two SSDs in RAID0 is risky? I know the experts can offer any guarentees and in the end I will have to go one way or the other. I have had an HDD fail on me once, maybe that won't happen again and I don't need a RAID array? I have the the money to do this right, in a few months anyway. Thanks folks! :-)
March 26, 2011 5:37:11 PM

Just get a good SSD for the OS. The OCZ Vertex 3's are amazing. Intel's SSDs are also very good, and quite reliable.

You can do Raid 0 or Raid 1 without a controller. But if a drive fails in Raid 0, you better have a good image-based backup, cuz your array just went fatal.

Raid 10 is great, but you really need a controller with onboard cache and co-processor to pull it off.

Perhaps the best solution is two SSD's in RAID 1. You will get a ton of I/O performance and very snappy GUI, plus you will have a mirror in case the drive fails.
April 2, 2011 3:29:48 PM

Best answer selected by BigT-66.