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What does it take?

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March 25, 2011 3:25:07 PM

i am going to start by telling you what i will use my computer for.
I want to make this build based on dual monitors running at either 1920x1080 or 1920x1200 each. I do not do any heavy computing all i will be doing is playing games, surfing the net, occasionally watching a DVD and that's about it. I want to be able to play a game at high frame rates on one monitor while having a 2nd monitor have internet open, team-speak skype ext. i also want to be able to run 2 instances of some mmos(one on each monitor) like eve online. i want this computer to be fast and RELIABLE. and also enjoyable 2 years down the road without a complete rebuild.

games i am interested in purchasing and playing on this computer:
World of Tanks
Eve online
Dirt2
Dirt3
Call of duty
Dragonage1&2
World of Warcraft
America's Army
Anything else that comes in the future that grabs my attention


i want to use dual video cards to get the most out of dual monitor playing especially when running 2 eve accounts.
i am heavily leaning in the direction of the radeon 6990 because being a single graphics card form factor appeals to me. but i am willing to wait to see what nvidea brings to the table. also using the 6990 (or new nvidea when it comes out) will let me avoid motherboard headache because sli or xfire boards are complicated sometimes for me to chose one over the other.
i also dont want to have to overclock the processor because of my concerns of overclocking and the longevity of the computer.


So now that you know what i will use my computer for what hardware recommendations do you recommend for me?

not asking for a complete built list i do however have a few specific questions. (but you can make make a complete list if you want and i will appreciate it!)

how much does a SSD help out performance? I'm considering using a 80-120gb for installing the os and software.

what is the minimum processor that i would need that wouldn't bottleneck the Radeon 6990 or other dual graphics card solutions? is core i7 my only option? or will a core i5 or phenomx6 or even a phenomx4 be enough?

what is the most efficient modular power supply that i can get that will feed 2 hungry video cards (or 6990) that is not ludicrously overpriced (150 or less preferably a lot less)

what do you suggest for amount of ram? would 8gb be necessary for multitasking in this manner?

and finally the ultimate question: sli xfire? or a dual video card? (ie. gtx590/ radeon 6990) if you if you think SLI or xfire please reccomend me a motherboard both slots running at full 256bit is required. 3rd and 4th slots not necessary. i would also like one pci slot and one pci expressx1 slot open and usable



does anyone use their computer similar to the way i am planning to use my future computer? what do you have? do you feel, in your opinion that you overbuilt? do you wish you had a better processor or video card?(s) is something slowing you down?

thanks for taking the time for reading this and helping me out.
in conclusion, I basically want to know how powerful of a computer i will need to meet my goal of a smooth enjoyable experience running dual monitors in the manner i have described above. im not majorly concerned about price if that's what it takes that's what it takes.

Tower only. ITEMS NOT NECESSARY: Display,nic,accessories

More about : question

March 25, 2011 8:22:44 PM

i5 2500K is fine for gaming, though if you not going to OC at all, then a i7 may be better for you. I saw one board that did dual PCIe at x16x16; ASUS P8P67 WS REVOLUTION, I think it actually does 3 way SLi, most only do x8x8.

SSD is awesome get a 120 if you can. Corsair Force, Mushkin castillo, or G.skill and or the SF1200 that has 34 nm NAND or if if has 25nm NAND makes sure its not got the 4k write issue (OCZ vertex 2).

Tom's just reviewed the GTX 590 and they liked it better than the HD6990. I agree with their choice, as the review saids why not just get a couple of GTX 570's in SLi instead. I love mine, they aren't that loud, and the are great performers.

I like SLi and Nvidia because their drivers are always way more mature and they are quick to fix issues.

Modular PSU for 500 series in sli:

CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-750HX 750W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply $142
I am running 2 GTX 570's off one of these right now.

Ram is cheap right now go with 8GB of Ram. I suggest G.skill RipJaw X's if you go with the i5 or i7 Sandy Bridge CPU's.

hope this helps some
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March 26, 2011 8:23:12 AM

thanks for the input ! just kinda confused on how powerfull a computer this task. im going to be using my computer like this every day so i dont want to skimp and hate myself later for it. but that being said i dont want to overbuild because with a credit card its easy to get trigger happy adding stuff you really dont need thats why i'm here
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March 26, 2011 11:01:56 AM

emergancy exit said:

does anyone use their computer similar to the way i am planning to use my future computer? what do you have? do you feel, in your opinion that you overbuilt? do you wish you had a better processor or video card?(s) is something slowing you down?

thanks for taking the time for reading this and helping me out.
in conclusion, I basically want to know how powerful of a computer i will need to meet my goal of a smooth enjoyable experience running dual monitors in the manner i have described above. im not majorly concerned about price if that's what it takes that's what it takes.


I hear ya. I use mine very similar to what you do. you can see my system specs in the my tag line. my regret is noise. I built my LAN gamer for just that(portable gaming), but it can get a little loud some times when have to crank up the fans to keep her cool. it not as loud as the SLi'd 8800GT's I had in a rig a few years ago, but it is noticeable if I have it sitting on my desk next to me. if its on the floor I barely hear it. at a LAN party I don't really notice it, because everyone else's RIG's are much more noisy.

I am getting ready to build my son a new RIG, he wants to do multi monitor and surround gaming, so I will be building him a very silent RIG. his computer is right next to the wife's and if its humming away... we won't be happy. That being said, I have been doing a lot of research on building silent PC's. If you don't want to put up with a bunch of noise, stay away from the HD 6990, it's LOUD. the GTX 590 is better, but not quiet by any means. I think these are more power than you may need any way.

If this advice hits home with you, I will share my proposed build for my son's RIG with you.
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March 27, 2011 9:44:43 AM

im not too too woried about noise at the present im sure as noisy as some of these graphics cards/cases are i can almost guarantee that my old computer is louder so im just kinda used to it i guess.

so i guess we are all unanimous on i5 2500k is the minimum?
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March 27, 2011 2:44:17 PM

emergancy exit said:
im not too too woried about noise at the present im sure as noisy as some of these graphics cards/cases are i can almost guarantee that my old computer is louder so im just kinda used to it i guess.

so i guess we are all unanimous on i5 2500k is the minimum?


as a minimum, yes. If you have the extra $100, and are not planing on OC'ing the i5 then go for the i7 2600K to help future proof your rig a little.
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March 27, 2011 6:35:13 PM

thanks im usually on the up and up when it comes with graphics cards but i still have a lot to learn when it comes to processors. i know the more expensive usually the better and i know about clock speeds and cache but i do not know what the capabilities and the limits of each specific processor is other then the ones i have purchased myself and have used hands on.
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March 27, 2011 7:23:02 PM

If your going with a top of the line graphic card are we to assume you want the top of the line CPU? If that is the case, then get the i7 990x...It would go well with that 6990 or 590 which ever one you choose to go with. jarreddread the above poster^ check his signature line to see his specs. that rig is good for what your doing as gaming seems to be the main goal. Personally I don't have the money for a 6990 or an i7..My rig is an AMD X4, on a 890GX board with 8gb's an 60gb SSD and a single 6870 it does what I need it to do and it cost me right at $1200.00
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March 27, 2011 10:47:35 PM

its the what cpu question + what motherboard question that has me stumped the most. i think ive prettymuch figgured out im going to go with the 6990 or gtx590 because the only two motherboards ive seen that have true 16x+16x sli/xfire for sandy bridge is $350-400 and i can get the same features on a micro ATX board for $150 with just one pci express slot. that 200 dollar difference will buy me a core i7 and then i dont have to worry anymore i guess.

DEAR TOMS: please do a CPU comparison with SLI and Xfire and start with i7 and scale all the way down to i3 so i can look at high end cpu scaling with the cpu. i cannot be the only person with this on my mind>?

anyone ever read a recent review from another site where they did this?
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March 27, 2011 11:47:52 PM

IMO I would get the i7 2600 and an ASUS P67 board
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March 28, 2011 12:55:46 AM

thanks everyone so far. for evryone who keeps pasting the "how to ask for advice" thread your not helping at all. i think that guide is just a little bit impersonal this is not a "i only have x amount of money what do i get" this thread is more about "i want to go this fast what do i need"
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March 28, 2011 8:05:44 AM

emergancy exit said:

DEAR TOMS: please do a CPU comparison with SLI and Xfire and start with i7 and scale all the way down to i3 so i can look at high end cpu scaling with the cpu. i cannot be the only person with this on my mind>?

anyone ever read a recent review from another site where they did this?



I second that motion. How much CPU do we really need?
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March 28, 2011 11:34:10 AM

This Tom's article shows some CPU scaling using a sing GTX580. the idea was to eliminate GPU bottle necking and show how the different CPU's performed. I think in a way this can be used as a guide to how much CPU is needed in Game and such in general.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/sandy-bridge-core-i...

I remember another article I read (pre-sandy bridge) that talked about SLI scaling and how the i7 was the solution vs the i5 and AMD. I couldn't find the article though. I did find this one about SLi scaling the PCIe lanes x16x16 vs x8x8, the test showed only about 4% difference, but cited a CPU bottle neck was skewing some results. They we using a OC'd i7-920 (4Ghz)to test with. So CPU does make a difference in SLI to a point?

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/pcie-geforce-gtx-48...

I think your idea of just saving some $ on the MB and going mATX with a GTX 590 is a good one, keeping it simple!.
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March 28, 2011 2:42:58 PM

The P8P67-M Pro is the best SB micro-ATX board I have found. But I already have a 560Ti so I want to add another video card later. Its just too small for me (getting P67 Sabertooth)....
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March 28, 2011 3:44:14 PM

majin ssj eric said:
The P8P67-M Pro is the best SB micro-ATX board I have found. But I already have a 560Ti so I want to add another video card later. Its just too small for me (getting P67 Sabertooth)....


the P8P67-M Pro rocks! running it in SLI in a mATX Vulcan case with 2x GTX570's. its a little tight, but my side fan blows down on them so they to get that hot. no issues so far, I just installed my replacement Rev 3 board and its solid.
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March 28, 2011 10:14:30 PM

thanks for the motherboard recomendation! i found a similer MB but only thing i diddint like about it was just 2 memory dimms this one has four!
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March 29, 2011 7:43:33 AM

@jared thanks for the link to the article on SLI scaling of dual 16x vs dual 8x was shocked to find out there really is not much differnce thats good to know because motherboards with dual 16x have RETARDED pricing right now.
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March 29, 2011 8:31:21 AM

emergancy exit said:
@jared thanks for the link to the article on SLI scaling of dual 16x vs dual 8x was shocked to find out there really is not much differnce thats good to know because motherboards with dual 16x have RETARDED pricing right now.


Glad to be able to enlighten you. Actually, I didn't know either until I ran across it researching your question and how much CPU do we really need. Thats one thing I like about these forums, I'm always learning something new.

Good luck with the build. If there is any more advice you need just let me know... my wife says I'm full of it :) 
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March 29, 2011 8:53:37 AM

Some General advice, if you want dual screens at that res at VERY HIGH detail, go for the Nvidia SLI option. The GTX590 and matx mobo seems like a great option for you.

SLI doesn't work in all games and driver support is often flaky, but it's the only way you're going to be able to drive dual screens in a game properly, or two instances of WoW with detail on high.

You're right to focus on Intel Sandy bridge for the CPU, you could get away with a lower CPU like an AMD quadcore, but a couple of years down the line you really will be kicking yourself that you didn't go for the Intel.

Forget the i7, the only major difference between it and the i5 is that the i7 has Hyper Threading, which speeds up Excel and SQL Server but can actually slow down a lot of games. Get the i5.

Finally, as suggested above, do make sure you include a Solid State drive with a Sandforce controller. You will certainly need it if you plan on running 2 instances of games at the same time, unless you really like Hard disk thrashing and waiting lonnnng times for stuff to load.
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March 29, 2011 4:50:32 PM

Ten98 said:
Some General advice, if you want dual screens at that res at VERY HIGH detail, go for the Nvidia SLI option. The GTX590 and matx mobo seems like a great option for you.

SLI doesn't work in all games and driver support is often flaky, but it's the only way you're going to be able to drive dual screens in a game properly, or two instances of WoW with detail on high.

You're right to focus on Intel Sandy bridge for the CPU, you could get away with a lower CPU like an AMD quadcore, but a couple of years down the line you really will be kicking yourself that you didn't go for the Intel.

Forget the i7, the only major difference between it and the i5 is that the i7 has Hyper Threading, which speeds up Excel and SQL Server but can actually slow down a lot of games. Get the i5.

Finally, as suggested above, do make sure you include a Solid State drive with a Sandforce controller. You will certainly need it if you plan on running 2 instances of games at the same time, unless you really like Hard disk thrashing and waiting lonnnng times for stuff to load.



thanks for the sugestions going to get at least the 2500k if my funds can stretch a few extra bucks (i.e credit card max haha) i'll try to get the i7 2600k

does this SSD have a sandforce driver? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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March 29, 2011 7:07:03 PM

emergancy exit said:
does this SSD have a sandforce driver? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


yes, but it is slower, 1/5 the speed, than the Vertex 2 at writing small files, only a 10k write vs typical 50k of the Vertex 2. they also have had a lot of DOA or dead after a few weeks. I would stay away from the OCZ Vertex2's for a a while until OZC fixes the 25nm NAND issue:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ocz-vertex-2-25nm-s...

your best bet for a SF1222 ~120GB SSD at around $200 are:

Mushkin Enhanced Callisto Deluxe MKNSSDCL120GB-DX 2.5" 120GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
Item #: N82E16820226152
-$10.00 Instant
$244.99
$234.99

G.SKILL Sniper Gaming Series FM-25S2S-120GBSR 2.5" 120GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
Item #: N82E16820231415
-$10.00 Instant
$239.99
$229.99

Corsair Force CSSD-F115GB2-BRKT-A 2.5" 115GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
Item #: N82E16820233160
$219.99
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