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$2000 Gaming/AutoCAD build

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April 24, 2011 4:34:42 AM

Hello All,
I'm working on my first build. I was hoping to get some feedback on what I have in mind. Any recommendations, advice, glaring omissions ... Anything you have to offer would be greatly appreciated.
TIA, Jack


Approximate Purchase Date: Mid May 2011
Budget Range: $2100 max.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, AutoCAD, general home use.

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.ca, but if the price is better elsewhere, I'm not too picky.

Country of Origin: Canada

Parts Preferences: I have most parts picked, but I'm not attached to any of them.

Overclocking: Probably not.

SLI or Crossfire: If it's in the budget.




CHASSIS: COOLER MASTER HAF 932 Advanced RC-932-KKN5-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower Compucase Case with USB 3.0 and Black Interior
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

SSD: Crucial RealSSD C300 CTFDDAC064MAG-1G1 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

PSU: COOLER MASTER Silent Pro Gold Series RS800-80GAD3-US 800W ATX 12V v2.3 / EPS 12V v2.92 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

MOBO: ASUS Crosshair IV Extreme AM3 AMD 890FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Extended ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

PROCESSOR: AMD Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition Thuban 3.3GHz, 3.7GHz Turbo Socket AM3 125W Six-Core Desktop Processor HDE00ZFBGRBOX
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

VIDEO CARD: HIS H697FT2G2M Radeon HD 6970 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

OPTICAL DRIVE 1: LITE-ON Black 12X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 12X DVD-RAM 8X BD-ROM 8MB Cache SATA Internal Blu-ray Burner 12X Blu-ray Burner with Blu-ray 3D feature Model iHBS112 - OEM
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

OPTICAL DRIVE 2: LITE-ON Black 8X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal BD-COMBO Model ihes108-29 - OEM
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

MEDIA CARD READER: Rosewill RCR-IM5001 USB2.0 75 in 1 internal Card Reader w/ 3 ports USB2.0 Hub / eSATA port / Extra silver face plate / Molex Power
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...
April 24, 2011 5:07:23 AM

Hi Jack .... I am Jack too :)  I have a engineering consulting business which obviously uses AutoCAD.....we also do consulting in the field of hardware to run AutoCAD on.....my kids are gamers and they've drawn me in as CAD boxes have long made great gaming boxes .

Things I have learned over the years ....

2D AutoCAD favors nVidia
3D Rendering favors nVidia
AutoCAD favors Intel

Case / PSU - I usually recommend more sedate cases for AutoCAD uses as they generally sit in an office setting. The Antec P193 / P183 and 1200 usually lead my list as they fit CPX form factor PSU's and are very solid. In a home setting, the 1200 and the HAF-932 were my fav's but they both showing signs of age. The DF-85 and HAF-X are the "current" models and both are very, very good. Personally I prefer the DF-85 ..... again, CPX form factor capability is high among my list of preferences due to the extreme quietness of these PSU's. I'm also not a fan of the HAF's "tool less" features which to my hands feel flimsy and can sometimes be hard to snap in.

MoBo - Sandy Bridge rules for gaming and 2D AutoCAD .... 3D w/ heavy rendering likes 1366 platform. Go w/ x16 x16 GFX lanes if ya this appeals to ya:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/p67-gaming-3-way-sl...

Otherwise, this combo is good and saves $185:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Item...

GFX - 2D CAD has of late been an issue w/ ATI ....apparently a drivers issue which never seems to quite get fully resolved.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/2d-windows-gdi,2539...

There's been a driver update that greatly improved, but not wholly eliminated, the situation but feedback I get is that users are still running scared on the topic.

RAM -Avoid the tall heatsinks if ya going to be over clocking (recommended) as it will likely interfere w/ CPU cooler. I use 8 GB in my builds, only go to 16 if doing rendering.

Opticals - 3 of them ? I haven't built a box with even 2 of 'em in over 4 years. Writes to disk are now so fast that dupe drives no longer in vogue.

This is $2,064 ....drop the cooler / TIM if ya sure ya not gonna OC

Antec DF-85 - $170 http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
Antec CP-850 - $140 http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
ASUS P8P67 WS Revolution - $260 http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
Intel Core i5-2600K - $310 http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
Scythe SCMG 2100 - $38 http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...
Shin Etsu - $6 http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...
(2 x 4GB) Mushkin CAS 7 - $140 http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...
Asus GTX 560 (900MHz) - $235 http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
Same - $235
Spinpoint F3 1TB 7200 rpm - $75 http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...
OCZ Vertex 3 2.5" 120GB - $300 http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...
Plextor BR Combo Drive w/ LS - $110 http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...
55 in 1 Card Reader - $45 http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

BR media is hugely expensive so I generally don't recommend. If ya wanna go there, Asus BR Writer is $10 more.
April 24, 2011 5:24:08 AM

Thanks for the quick reply Mr. Naylor. (I figured we'd better stop using 'Jack'). I'm distraught to learn about the issues with ATI and AutoCAD. Thanks for that info. It seems I might have to completely re-think this thing.
Related resources
April 24, 2011 5:41:30 AM

jack_hitz said:
Thanks for the quick reply Mr. Naylor. (I figured we'd better stop using 'Jack'). I'm distraught to learn about the issues with ATI and AutoCAD. Thanks for that info. Also that third optical drive isn't actually there. t's the by-product of sloppy copy and pasting.


The Vector GFX issue is worth re-investigating ..... I know THG did a follow up article that said it got much better ...... but system builders still shying away. On the other front 3D Rendering benefits from CUDA and ATI can't help ya there.

But look at it this way ..... Guru3D uses the following games in their test suite, COD-MW, Bad Company 2, Dirt 2, Far Cry 2, Metro 2033, Dawn of Discovery, Crysis Warhead. Total fps (summing fps in each game @ 1920 x 1200) for the various options in parenthesis (single card / SL or CF) are tabulated below along with their cost in dollars per frame single card - CF or SLI:

That 6970 scores 526 fps ($0.72 per frame) w/ a single card, 825 in CF ($0.92 per frame) and costs $380 each

The 560 Ti - 900 Mhz scores 495 fps ($0.47 per frame) as a single card but 862 ($0.55 per frame) in SLI while costing only $235

Note: Again, that's at 1920 x 1200 ... at 2560 x 1600, ATI's cards w/ 2GB have an advantage.
April 24, 2011 5:48:24 AM

Most of myAutoCad use is pretty light (as a cabinetmaker, laying out floor plans and elevations of Kitchens and media Units). I doubt that I will ever use any 3d function of ACAD, but I'd like to have enough power to be able to, without frustration. Ultimately my wife gave me $2k to build the best machine I can get, but there won't be any upgrading for a long time in the future.I'm definitely appreciating your feedback. Thanks
April 24, 2011 6:44:20 AM

All orders over $50 CAD @ Direct Canada are Free Shipping

This build includes dual factory over clocked gtx 560's in SLI. These cards will clock a lot higher ...just to let you know. Anyways this build is just to give you an idea. The links to the cpu's (2500K & 2600K) is what you want to look at.

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=11130AC0874&v... $159.85
Cooler Master Haf 932 Advanced Full Tower EATX Case 7X5.25 2X3.5 5X3.5INT USB3.0 eSATA 1394 Black

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=11180AC5235&v... $135.49
Corsair Professional HX750W 750W ATX 12V 62A 24PIN ATX Modular Power Supply Active PFC 140MM Fan

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=11830BD0300&v... $178.70
Gigabyte P67A-UD4-B3 ATX LGA1155 P67 DDR3 2PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 2PCI SLI SATA3 USB3.0 Motherboard

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=12200BD9917&v... $309.79
Intel Core I7 2600K Quad Core Unlocked Hyperthreading Processor LGA1155 3.4GHZ Sandy Bridge 8MB

or...

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=12200BD1527&v... $206.54
Intel Core I5 2500K Quad Core Unlocked Processor LGA1155 3.3GHZ Sandy Bridge 6MB

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=11130AC8843&v... $24.69
Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus Direct Touch 4 Heatpipe Heatsink AM2 AM3 LGA1366 LGA1155 LGA1156 120MM

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=15380BD5211&v... $81.95
G.SKILL Ripjaws X F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL 8GB 2X4GB DDR3-1600 CL9-9-9-24 Memory

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=25350DR0783&v... $84.69
Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA3 6GB/S 7200RPM 64MB Cache 3.5IN Dual Proc Hard Drive OEM

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=11230DR4318&v... $222.67
Crucial RealSSD C300 128GB 2.5IN Solid State Disk Flash Drive SATA3 6Gbps

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=12980BD8066&v... $237.18 MIR $222.18
MSI GeForce GTX 560 Ti Twin Frozr OC 880MHZ 1GB GDDR5 Dual DVI Mini-HDMI DX11 PCI-E Video Card

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=12980BD8066&v... $237.18 MIR $222.18
MSI GeForce GTX 560 Ti Twin Frozr OC 880MHZ 1GB GDDR5 Dual DVI Mini-HDMI DX11 PCI-E Video Card

http://www.directcanada.com/products/?sku=10530DR5213&v... $21.32
ASUS DRW-24B1ST 24X SATA DVD Writer OEM Black

*** In regards to the 2500K and 2600K, the 2600K is hyper threaded enabled, and the 2500K is not.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/288?vs=287 <----- 2500K vs 2600K benchmarks

Down below are some links to reviews on these cpu's.

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

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4083/the-sandy-bridge-rev...

http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cpus/2011/01/03/intel-...

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i7-990x-extrem... <---- Sandy Bridge cpu vs $1,000 i7-990X Extreme Edition cpu
April 24, 2011 7:02:05 AM

JackNaylorPE seems to have a pretty good build.

Some points:
1) 60GB won't be enough after a while (I had 35GB shortly after installing Windows 7 but it crept up to 60GB due to updates, programs and Windows backups for "System Restore Points" which is important).

I agree with the 120GB OCZ Vertex. V2 is $100 cheaper but V3 is 2x the speed. Your choice, but that money could be put towards a GTX580 instead of a GTX 560 Ti or getting a second GTX560 Ti for SLI (you'd need to compare prices and benchmarks to see the best value such as 2xGTX560 Ti vs GTX580).

2) Get a 2TB WD Green drive as a second drive for Windows Image backups (Acronis or similar.). I recommend all GAMES be installed on the hard drive (must specify game path manually. I have my STEAM games folder here as well.)

3) GTX 560 Ti is a great card. You can add another for amazing performance and little cost, however you will add more noise and many games run at the highest level with no second card.

4) Case: Antec 300 is great.

5) make sure your CPU fan speed works properly. I had to switch the BIOS fan speed control from "Auto" to "Voltage". If fan speed doesn't work the fan runs at 100% at all times which is very loud.

6) A 650W, quality PSU is adequate for most single-card solutions but if you think you'll go SLI you need to consider between an 850W to 1000W depending on which card you get. You should spend a little time reading.

*The largest factor in gaming performance is the graphics card(s) used. The only large drawback to SLI or Crossfire is the added noise. I recommend starting with the GTX 560 Ti then adding a second one LATER if it is not enough.

other:
1) Steam is awesome for games
2) 4xAA and VSync need to be forced in some games (google how to do that for NVidia). Mass Effect looks far better with AA enabled but it must be forced.
3) noise is important to consider. You should have something like this:
- 120mm case fan, front-bottom (constant, very-low speed)
- 120mm case fan, top-rear or top-top (constant, very-low speed) *in-line with the CPU fan
- 120mm CPU heatsink fan (variable through BIOS) *in-line with top-rear or top-top case fan
- PSU (automatic)
- graphics (automatic)
*There is a LOT of difference between graphics cards for noise quality. Compare the noise and cooling differences between cards of the same type. I believe the Asus GTX 560 Ti DCII is a good card.
April 24, 2011 7:18:09 AM

photonboy said:
JackNaylorPE seems to have a pretty good build.

Some points:
1) 60GB won't be enough after a while (I had 35GB shortly after installing Windows 7 but it crept up to 60GB due to updates, programs and Windows backups for "System Restore Points" which is important).

I agree with the 120GB OCZ Vertex. V2 is $100 cheaper but V3 is 2x the speed. Your choice, but that money could be put towards a GTX580 instead of a GTX 560 Ti or getting a second GTX560 Ti for SLI (you'd need to compare prices and benchmarks to see the best value such as 2xGTX560 Ti vs GTX580).

2) Get a 2TB WD Green drive as a second drive for Windows Image backups (Acronis or similar.). I recommend all GAMES be installed on the hard drive (must specify game path manually. I have my STEAM games folder here as well.)

3) GTX 560 Ti is a great card. You can add another for amazing performance and little cost, however you will add more noise and many games run at the highest level with no second card.

4) Case: Antec 300 is great.

5) make sure your CPU fan speed works properly. I had to switch the BIOS fan speed control from "Auto" to "Voltage". If fan speed doesn't work the fan runs at 100% at all times which is very loud.

6) A 650W, quality PSU is adequate for most single-card solutions but if you think you'll go SLI you need to consider between an 850W to 1000W depending on which card you get. You should spend a little time reading.

*The largest factor in gaming performance is the graphics card(s) used. The only large drawback to SLI or Crossfire is the added noise. I recommend starting with the GTX 560 Ti then adding a second one LATER if it is not enough.

other:
1) Steam is awesome for games
2) 4xAA and VSync need to be forced in some games (google how to do that for NVidia). Mass Effect looks far better with AA enabled but it must be forced.
3) noise is important to consider. You should have something like this:
- 120mm case fan, front-bottom (constant, very-low speed)
- 120mm case fan, top-rear or top-top (constant, very-low speed) *in-line with the CPU fan
- 120mm CPU heatsink fan (variable through BIOS) *in-line with top-rear or top-top case fan
- PSU (automatic)
- graphics (automatic)
*There is a LOT of difference between graphics cards for noise quality. Compare the noise and cooling differences between cards of the same type. I believe the Asus GTX 560 Ti DCII is a good card.

A 650w for a single 560? Not hardly. A decent 500w psu will push one of those cards, and a 750w not only easily push two of them in SLI, but gives you plenty of juice and then some left over for extra drives, fans, over clocking, etc...

Antec 300 is ok for a "budget single card set up", but for a dual card set up with after market h/s a CM HAF 912, CM HAF 922, CM Scout is where it's at. These 560's are a smallish card but even then an Antec 300 would be cramped not to mention that case has no 2.5" bays for SSD, and no 3.0 USB ports.

As far as benchmarks, dual 560's in SLI > gtx 580. The 580 is a on an older chip set and die than these new 560's, and they run hotter and require a ton of juice. ...in essence, they are power hogs.

!