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Gaming rig for $4500

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May 21, 2011 6:24:09 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: Mid-June

Budget Range: $6000-7000

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, photo processing, coding

Parts Not Required: Completely new system, input is welcome on everything.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Whatever's cheapest; links are on newegg because that's easiest.

Country of Origin: US

Parts Preferences: Only preference is high quality stuff!

Overclocking: Open to the possibility (noise is a -)

SLI or Crossfire: Yes

Monitor Resolution: 2560 X 1600

Additional Comments: While performance is the first criteria, quiet would be awesome too (and I know there's tension between the two), tips on keeping the noise down would be helpful.

Background/Motivation: Used a T61 laptop for the past four years, and I'd like to jump to the front of the bleeding edge. I'd really appreciate your help/advice/input doing that (somewhat) affordably.

Prototype build: This is kind of a first dig at it by going through ibuypower and taking a look at the higher-end stuff. Feel free to let me know what's worth the money.

Case: COOLER MASTER HAF X RC-942-KKN1
$190 after mail-in

Processor: Intel® Core™ i7 990X Processor Extreme Edition (6x 3.46GHz/12MB L3 Cache)
$1000

Cooling system: Antec KUHLER H2O 920 Liquid Cooling System
$120

Memory: Kingston 12GB (3 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600)
$125

Graphics card: Dual ZOTAC ZT-50103-10P GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) 3G - This is obviously a big decision, not sure if this is worthwhile (all that memory).
$1080

Motherboard: Willing to take suggestions on this (something top of the line that can handle all of this), 6 gb/s RAID and USB 3.0 are a must.
$250

Hard Drive (primary): Open to suggestions, looking for solid state 160 - 256 GB
$450

Hard Drive (secondary): Open to suggestions, looking for reliable 2 TB 7200 RPM, something like the WD20EARS 2TB 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
$80

Optical Drive: SAMSUNG Black 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM
$70

Optical Drive (secondary): Any ole DVD reader SONY Black 18X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA DVD-ROM Drive
$17

Sound card: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Professional - not quite sure how much a higher end sound card improves the quality of sound, so any explanation is much appreciated (is my hearing that sensitive?).
$150

Network card: VisionTek Bigfoot Killer 2100 Gaming Network Card - not sure if anyone has benchmark tests or seen any quantitative way to measure gains via a more expensive network card. Please let me know if you have!
$90

Speakers: Logitech Z-5500 Digital Surround Sound Speaker System
$363

Total = $3985

Monitors are another separate beast… Currently looking at the dell U3011 and two TBD full screen monitors set up in portrait mode (1600 X 1200). If you know of any such monitors that would match size, please let me know. Allocating about $2000-2500 here.

Appreciate the look, and thanks for your time!

More about : gaming rig 4500

May 21, 2011 3:37:46 PM

the 990x is a wast of money when compared to a 2600k just get that. get 16gb of memory (4x4gb). why dont you just hook up your computer via ethernet that would give you the fastest connection. http://www.amazon.com/OCZ-Vertex-2-5-Inch-Solid-VTX3MI-... with the money you saved on the processor get this ssd. get the asrock p67 extreme6 motherboard 210 at newegg. why dont you get a 3rd monitor and get 2 6970's in crossfire or still get the 580's your choice.
May 21, 2011 4:07:13 PM

If gaming is the purpose theres no benefit from the 990X over the 2600K.
U also save 700$!!!!
Definitely stick to on board network card imo.
Also I 'd stick to on board sound. But that's just me.
Why not get a Bluray burner for around 100$? why just a reader when u can get a burner?
http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategor...
GPU : U should be good with 2X HD6950 2GBs for this resolution.
2X HD6970 are more than enough.
or 2X 570s. I honestly think 2x 580s are over kill.

U could use a nice PSU like one of these.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Related resources
May 21, 2011 4:30:19 PM

gametstr said:
If gaming is the purpose theres no benefit from the 990X over the 2600K.
U also save 700$!!!!
Definitely stick to on board network card imo.
Also I 'd stick to on board sound. But that's just me.
Why not get a Bluray burner for around 100$? why just a reader when u can get a burner?
http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategor...
GPU : U should be good with 2X HD6950 2GBs for this resolution.
2X HD6970 are more than enough.
or 2X 570s. I honestly think 2x 580s are over kill.

U could use a nice PSU like one of these.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Downgrading the processor is tempting, but honestly I think the distinction from quad core is worth it. Plus, if I ever decide to do some parallel coding, the six processors will provide a nice speed-up. Appreciate the feedback guys, and I definitely forgot about the PSU (I left $500 though!). The Corsair looks nice.
May 21, 2011 4:32:57 PM

with hyperthreading the 2600k has 8 cores and that will be nough for parralelll coding
May 21, 2011 7:07:23 PM

Yup imo the 990X is throwing money away when the sandybridge based i7 easily outperforms it especially at just over 300$.
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/142?vs=287
If u were to get into parallel coding u can always upgrade then (u saved a huge sum now anyway) and might get something even better than that 980X at an even sweeter price?
May 21, 2011 9:10:14 PM

gametstr said:
Yup imo the 990X is throwing money away when the sandybridge based i7 easily outperforms it especially at just over 300$.
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/142?vs=287
If u were to get into parallel coding u can always upgrade then (u saved a huge sum now anyway) and might get something even better than that 980X at an even sweeter price?


Yep, I think you guys have convinced me on the 2600 vs the 990X. I got thrown by adjectives like Extreme and X.. In that case, I'm thinking of a top-of-the-line motherboard to compensate. Any ideas?

Also, if there's anything that you feel is worth mentioning that I can upgrade, please let me know. Money isn't too much of an issue, and I would really like to maximize performance.
May 21, 2011 10:28:48 PM

Forget the 990X. Get yourself a nice Z68 motherboard and a i7-2600K.

Bigfoot nic is a complete waste of money.
May 21, 2011 10:39:35 PM

If sound is an issue (and money/time aren't), add liquid cooling to your gpus. You might want to replace any fans in your case with non-CM ones (not sure about the fans on that case, but all CM fans I've seen have been relatively loud).

Actually i don't like that case (aesthetically) at all, but to each his own. Now this is a nice case.

Also, if you're getting a big enough ssd for prgms and os, get a 5400rpm hdd for storage. They're quieter and i believe (someone correct me if i'm wrong) they have faster continuous read/write speed.
(page file and prgrm loading benefit from a 7200 rpm, but you're ssd handles this much better. The storage drive does mostly continuous read/writes)
May 21, 2011 11:28:50 PM

if it was me i would wait until the z68 MBs came out and also wait for the ivy bridge cpus to come out to see whats in store. 2 6970s would be enough.
May 21, 2011 11:38:45 PM

slicedtoad said:
If sound is an issue (and money/time aren't), add liquid cooling to your gpus. You might want to replace any fans in your case with non-CM ones (not sure about the fans on that case, but all CM fans I've seen have been relatively loud).


I'm a little leery of liquid cooling. I'm a bit wary of introducing liquid to expensive computer parts, especially with the cost involved.

slicedtoad said:

Actually i don't like that case (aesthetically) at all, but to each his own. Now this is a nice case.


Thanks for the advice, I think the reviews have sold me on that.

slicedtoad said:

Also, if you're getting a big enough ssd for prgms and os, get a 5400rpm hdd for storage. They're quieter and i believe (someone correct me if i'm wrong) they have faster continuous read/write speed.
(page file and prgrm loading benefit from a 7200 rpm, but you're ssd handles this much better. The storage drive does mostly continuous read/writes)


Seems counterintuitive that r/w is faster on a 5400 rpm drive. I'll look into it.

yaoers98 said:
if it was me i would wait until the z68 MBs came out and also wait for the ivy bridge cpus to come out to see whats in store. 2 6970s would be enough.


Is there any time frame on this? I'm waiting on Dell's periodic discount of the U3011, so I have some flexibility.
May 21, 2011 11:38:51 PM

i agree with yaoer on the gpu. 2 6970s are a better choice. Though for $140 less you could get 2 6950s and mod them (a simple, failsafe firmware update) to fully functional 6970s.
Here's a guide and info.
modded 6950s tend to run hotter though. not dangerously but enough to require the fan to rev up a bit.

edit: looking at that link again, it seems the modded 6950 doesn't run hotter than the 6970, nvm.
May 21, 2011 11:50:47 PM

Overwhelming said:

Seems counterintuitive that r/w is faster on a 5400 rpm drive. I'll look into it.


here's a thread talking about it: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/255853-32-5400-hard-d...

quick explanation: data density is higher in 5400rpm drives, resulting in faster continuous read or write speeds, but slower i/o per second because the disc spins slower.
May 22, 2011 1:59:36 AM

yaoers98 said:
if it was me i would wait until the z68 MBs came out and also wait for the ivy bridge cpus to come out to see whats in store. 2 6970s would be enough.



They are out for a few weeks now.
May 22, 2011 5:56:34 AM

So now that u r going with the 2600K
look at a board like asus p8p67 ws revolution.
also drop those triple channel RAM since they r not supported by the mobo/cpu.
May 22, 2011 7:56:07 AM

'gaming network card'-----waste of $90, plus shipping....; any MB will have decent onboard Gigabit LAN port or two.....

As for your $1000 video card (twice the mem, but not a dual580), I'd expect it to perform no better than a standard GTX580, short of the release of some new 40" monitor with 3500x2200 resolution....

i concur with advice to crossfire a pair of 6950s or 6970s...
May 22, 2011 8:24:58 PM

edit: oops read it wrong, ignore this.
May 22, 2011 9:04:18 PM

mdd1963 said:
'gaming network card'-----waste of $90, plus shipping....; any MB will have decent onboard Gigabit LAN port or two.....

As for your $1000 video card (twice the mem, but not a dual580), I'd expect it to perform no better than a standard GTX580, short of the release of some new 40" monitor with 3500x2200 resolution....

i concur with advice to crossfire a pair of 6950s or 6970s...


Planning on two 1.5 gb 580s now. Should be around 1k for both.
May 22, 2011 9:24:10 PM

gametstr said:
Yup imo the 990X is throwing money away when the sandybridge based i7 easily outperforms it especially at just over 300$.
http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/142?vs=287

+1

And if your heart is set on 12 threads, I believe hex-core sandy bridges are coming out in the second half of this year.
May 23, 2011 2:19:46 AM

avi0013 said:
+1

And if your heart is set on 12 threads, I believe hex-core sandy bridges are coming out in the second half of this year.


Yep, I think I'll wait for Bulldozer; makes sense since I'm already waiting for U3011 discounts from Dell
!