Gaming rig for $4500

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!
19 answers Last reply
More about gaming 4500
  1. 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-25SAT3-240G/dp/B004W7D6QW/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1305992014&sr=8-2 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.
  2. 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?SubCategory=600&name=Blu-Ray-Burners
    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=N82E16817151102
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139007
  3. 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?SubCategory=600&name=Blu-Ray-Burners
    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=N82E16817151102
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139007


    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 $500 though!). The Corsair looks nice.
  4. with hyperthreading the 2600k has 8 cores and that will be nough for parralelll coding
  5. Yup imo the 990X is throwing money away when the sandybridge based i7 easily outperforms it especially at just over 300$.
    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?
  6. 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.
  7. Forget the 990X. Get yourself a nice Z68 motherboard and a i7-2600K.

    Bigfoot nic is a complete waste of money.
  8. 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)
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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-drive-versus-7200-performance

    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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. '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...
  16. edit: oops read it wrong, ignore this.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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
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