After some advice from this forum a week or so ago, I've decided to spend a bit more and go ahead with an Intel build even though I've always been an AMD fan. This rig will be used for 1600x900 gaming primarily, and also general PC stuff like watching netflix, surfing, etc. I play a lot of CPU intense games like FSX, GTAIV, rts games like Supreme Commander, etc, as well as all the rest of them. Basically I want it to be able to run anything I throw at it with ease. Skyrim looks awesome and I wanna be ready for that when it launches as well.
Here's what I've come up with, I know I could make it a little bit cheaper by cutting back on some non-essentials, but an extra 50 bucks or so isnt a huge deal so I've chosen a few items for visual appeal as well. Please tell me what you think.
I'll be ordering in the next week or possibly up to 2 weeks (waiting on a check in the mail) so there's time to make adjustments. I really appreciate any feedback, and thanks "Why_me" for convincing me to go intel.
You could go ASRock Extreme4 (around $160) for mobo and CM690II (around $90) and shave $120 or so but you seem to be stuck on that case. Everything else looks good but I would suggest a new GPU. Even two 4850's are vastly outperformed by the newer generation of single cards.....
I appreciate the input, majin. I'm not stuck on the motherboard at all, and I've looked at ASrock boards. Is there any other advantage to that board aside from price? Looks like the only extreme 4 board newegg has in stock right now is an open box, which normally wouldnt bother me but for the motherboard I'd rather not take the chance with missing cables.
I am sort of stuck on the case. I could reuse my old one and save a ton, but to be honest a case is really important to me, after all it's what I look at every day. So for me it's worth the money to make sure my PC looks as good as it performs. Since I have a nice big check coming at me, I dont know when the next time I'll be able to throw real money at a PC (probably 3-4 years) I feel like it's worth it to splurge a bit on a case I really like.
I've looked for benchmarks for Xfired 4850s vs. the newer cards and cant seem to find any. Would you suggest a reasonably priced card that would significantly outperform them?
The GTX 560TI and the Radeon 6950 are the two best value-per-performance cards out there. I got mine for $260 (superclocked) and the 6950 is just a few bucks more. Both OC very well. The 2GB 6950 can actually be reflashed to a 6970 if you want....
Checking the charts here at TH, it looks like X-fired 4850s are basically on the same tier as the 6950.
I dont see direct benchmarks anywhere comparing the 2 so it's sort of all I have to go by. Would the performance increase be that much? Or, the better question really, would crossfired 4850s really be insufficient for running anything at 1600 x 900 at high to very high settings?
What does "basically on the same tier" mean? A difference of 10fps (average) could be a deal breaker.
The biggest advantages to buying a single 6950 is the fact that it is a single card, it is a DX11 card, and it uses new tech. For me, those are enough reasons to buy it. I, in fact, did buy one...an MSI 2GB version for $244 when/if I get the rebate. I now game at 1920x1080 and this card kills everything so far (just Homefront and Crysis 2 so far, lol. And yes, I know neither of these are incredibly taxing). I can't wait til the DX11 patch for the latter to see how my GPU does. Also keep in mind that Crossfiring HD 6xxx series cards has vastly improved over previous generations.
And yes, there is the option to unlock the dormant shaders. However, by the sound of it, this option will cease to exist after awhile. And, you must get a 2GB version to do this.
I second majin's recommendation on a different case, but I respect your reasons. I have a HAF 912 with red fans and I love the look. I believe Thermaltake makes a case with colorshift fans. Lemme see if I can find it...yeah, nevermind. It's $180 shipped, lol. (click here)
Have you thought about an aftermarket heatsink for that 2500k? If you don't plan on overclocking, it is not needed. But an overclock down the road will increase the longevity of your rig.
Back to your case. That's almost 25% of your total budget. I just don't think that's a good buy. I don't think spending that much for a case is a good investment. And to think that a case might be holding you back from a good GPU...but it is your decision. That's just my $.02.
I got to thinking about your PSU. Good brand, good wattage. But how much power do you need? Tom's did an article about SLI vs. Crossfire and two 6950s with a 2600k OCd to 4.0GHz only pulled 432 watts at the wall during Furmark. Furmark with a single 6950 used 256 watts. Both totals are complete system draw. (Click here)
XFX XXX Edition 650 watt PSU 80 Plus Bronze $65 after rebate, free shipping (click here)
I think this should be plenty for a single 6950 and adequate for Crossfired 6950s. Will someone please verify this? I'm not a PSU guru.
nd - I really appreciate the feedback. As far as what same tier means, Im not sure how to interperet that since, as I mentioned, I havent seen benchmarks for crossfired 4850s vs. the 6950. I'm not sure if it's a difference of 2 fps or 10 fps, and whether the baseline is 30 fps or 60 fps (I am the type that doesnt need 75 fps, 45 and up is OK with me usually, anything else is bragging rights).
In other words, my 4850s might give me a minimum 50 fps in everything at 1600x900, and the 6950 might give me 70, and I would be OK with that since 50 is quite playable for me. I cant determine numbers though, all the documentation I can find is the chart here at TH.
As far as overclocking, I might in the future but right now it seems like that i5 is going to be plenty fast stock and the GPU the bottleneck so Im not worried about it.
I've just been informed (literally as I am typing this) by my wife that I have a $1200 limit lol. I have a week or 2 to toy with this build so I'm sure I can pull off a nice machine, I just want to make it the best all around I can.
I really appreciate the feedback!
Oh - the power supply, yes, it's a bit overkill. I knew that when choosing it but I'd like to keep it overpowered so Im ready for any upgrades I might do in the future.
Well with the $1200 limit, might I suggest a 1920x1080 monitor. I recently upgraded from a 1680x1050 and the slight resolution increase was very noticeable. This, however, might force a GPU upgrade as well...