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Check my build, if you'd please!

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March 27, 2011 2:05:50 AM

I'm a software guy, occasional professional game developer (last worked on a popular sports title), and general nice guy looking to vet a build.

Here's the standard Newegg list:

1xASUS P8P67 LE (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - $144.99

1xOCZ Agility 2 OCZSSD2-2AGTE120G 2.5" 120GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - $204.99

1xKingston HyperX 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model KHX1600C9D3K2/8GX - $99.99

1xEVGA 768-P3-1362-TR GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) Superclocked 768MB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video... - $179.99

1xAntec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $59.95

3xScythe S-FLEX SFF21E 120mm Case Fan - $50.97($16.99 ea)

1xMicrosoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM - $99.99

1xCORSAIR Enthusiast Series CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible... - $89.99

1xIntel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I72600K - $328.99

2xSeagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive - $119.98($59.99 ea)

1xCOOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel... - $34.99

Total: $1,404.82

More of a gaming system, naturally, but I'll inevitably be testing ideas on it too.

8 Gigs ram is for virtualization and emulator work, along with debugging tools.

RAID 1Tb drives are for an extra layer of data redundancy - like to keep the system alive when I have to replace a drive. Downtime is annoying.

Non-super-ultra video card is because I prefer to buy newer, cheaper cards to use the latest features, while not slipping into programming to the upper 1%. That, and playing games don't really need more than the mid range for a great 1920x1200 experience in recent years, and I prefer a fairly silent, cool PC to a dual-CPU acting like a running car engine in the room.

That said, a nice SSD will help minimize load times - which are very nice to minimize after loading the same test sequence for the 100th time. For testing user experience, just copy to the HD for testing.

600w PSU won't really be needed with the configuration - but it's nice to be able to swap in a few HDs, or other random power draws without having to worry about power hickups as much, and the extra premium was low.

The CPU is the only real luxury, but the benchmarks show a real enough difference that I can stomach the extra cost over the lifetime of the system without any real regret (I'm a scrooge-level tightwad).

What do you think? Good choices so far? Nerdy pedantry is more than welcome!

Ryan Fenton

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March 27, 2011 2:18:31 AM

I'm an amateur at best, but with some of the recent shopping around I've done, I've learned that those new CPUs are exciting... I think the hyperthreading in the i7 2600k is going to help with your virtualization, over, say, the i5 2500k which I'm partial to (with no real-world experience with it). Don't feel yucky about the $100.

I can tell you that on the box of your GPU it's going to call for at least 450w. I'd say 600w isn't "overkill", but comfortable.

Now, more educated people in these departments can confirm or deny my statements, and everyone reading can have a nice night :) 

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March 27, 2011 2:43:57 AM

Thanks for the input - it's all welcome.

I also like to cook, so I tend to value all my purchases in terms of food ingredients it would buy - which tends to make optional purchases feel like wasting food.

Delicious, delicious wasted food.

Fortunately, that new CPU looks delicious in terms of possibilities too - so I can stomach it.

It's a wonder I'm not a fat programmer.

Ryan Fenton
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March 27, 2011 2:53:19 AM

I'd say it's a pretty awesome machine, but I'd go with 4x2GB RAM - this way you'd populate all the DIMM slots for maximum possible bandwidth. Ok, so you can't go to 16GB RAM unless you purchase 4x4GB, but 8GB for a home machine is plenty!

And I'd go for x2 SATA III Solid State disks in a RAID Stripe, it might be better to get x2 60GB disks if the price is better. SATA II SSD in RAID 0 won't work, there isn't enough bandwidth in SATA II to achieve the potential speeds you can realise with SSD RAID stripe.

The RAID mirror with 1TB is a good idea, but you won't be able to use these disks in another machine (well on another South bridge chipset), so if you have the disks when you buy another machine you'll need to trash the data - a work around is to buy a PCI Express add-in card which will allow you to keep the Mirror available for any system.
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
March 27, 2011 3:08:44 AM

Uh... check out my build guide below.... It seems like your getting a lot less out of your budget. With 1500$ (counting OS) you should be able to get so much more than just that.

Better PSU:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The rest my guide states. You don't need 120gb of SSD. 60GB is good enough for just boot and storing at LEAST 5 games. Also you should probably get Samsung F3's instead. SATA 6 really isn't optimized for HDDs yet. However for SSDs they are. You should wait out on the SSD for the SF-2200 SSDS. Preview here:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/vertex-3-sandforce-...

CHCECK OUT MA BUILD GUIDE!
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March 27, 2011 3:09:55 AM

I was considering the 2ssd raid - but TRIM is too important for having a stable load over high usage for me to consider losing it for the sake of benchmark bragging. When SSDs inevitably get rapidly cheaper and smarter, I'll make the jump - but for now, I can live with 1xSSD speeds for TRIM. I'll be reading/writing a lot of files frequently, in succession - not so good over time without TRIM, from my limited understanding.

The whole point of the 2xHD raid mirror is uptime on drive failure. I'll also be backing up - but having the whole machine unusable until I purchase a replacement AND wait for backup to load to the new drive is far too painful. The mirror raid means I just pop in a cheap 1TB 7200 drive, let the mirror tools rebuild the mirror, then go. While I wait for the drive, I still have a working system. Doesn't prevent double-catastrophes or bad data from corrupting both drives... but it makes many failures much less annoying. $50 insurance against a lot of annoyance is worth the cost.

Ryan Fenton
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
March 27, 2011 3:15:17 AM

^ RAID 1 is in no way a good way to back up your system. You are better of getting a separate drive and letting Win7 do the back up for you.

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March 27, 2011 3:24:58 AM

Indeed - that's why I don't use the RAID for backup - but for keeping uptime when failures occur. It's a way to keep the system usable if a drive fails - not for backup. Backup is separate.

Ryan Fenton
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March 27, 2011 3:44:06 AM

yes RAID 1 is a good idea, but I was only pointing out the RAID array will be useless in another machine... if you purchase a cheapo PCI express SATA II add in card, problem resolved, you can move the card and the array.

And obviously if one disk crashes, you have the other hot disk, and a $50 replacement + plus the uptime you need
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March 27, 2011 3:46:59 AM

I wouldn't fancy backing up 1TB of data regularly over LAN or USB @ 35MB/sec it will take the rest of your life!

35MB/sec = bottleneck from HDD write speeds
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March 27, 2011 4:04:29 AM

It's all tiered backups - backup from CPU to cache, cache to ram, from ram to SDD, from SDD to HD, and from HD to ... more HDs you only connect overnight sometimes. Then the CPU loads data from the HD, and the circle of content moves on.

*holds up a newborn hard drive in a majestic scene with inspirational music*
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April 3, 2011 3:25:43 AM

Best answer selected by Ryan Fenton.
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