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Sub $2.5k desktop build

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May 27, 2011 5:51:29 AM

Hello, I was looking for help with a new PC build, and would like the input of those more knowlegeable than me (which shouldn't be that hard lol). Well, here is my info per the How To Ask For New Build Advice thread...

Approximate Purchase Date: ASAP, but at least by the end of June

Budget Range: prefer below $2,500 US before any mail-in type rebates, but have about 100 dollars extra if needed for a really good reason...

System Usage from Most to Least Important: This needs to be multi-purpose, capable of entertainment, good gaming, college work, and well everything really

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, or open to others that have similar sterling reputations

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: Intel CPU, full tower, all else negotiable, but would prefer reputable and long lasting over saving a buck or two

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Yes, but not yet

Monitor Resolution: I would like my rig to be easily capable of 1920x1200

Additional Comments: It needs to be relevant and capable in 6 years with only minor upgrades here and there (ie adding more memory, adding a graphics card for SLI, etc...

I appreciate everyones thoughts, and will include a list of parts I was thinking on. I would like your input, and if you have any ideas and/or substitutions I should make, please tell me with an explanation so I understand...

Thanks to everyone in advance!

[b]My possible build, running Windows 7 Ultimate x64 (includes prices from newegg before mail in rebates):

OPTICAL DRIVES:
SAMSUNG CD/DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-222AB - OEM $20.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Pioneer Black Blu-ray Burner SATA BDR-206DBKS $113.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Card Reader:
AeroCool FP-01 55-in-1 Card Reader w/Flip-up LCD Screen $49.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard Drives:
Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $59.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Wireless Card:
Rosewill RNX-N300 IEEE 802.11b/g/n Wireless-N 2.0 PCI (1T2R) Up to 300Mbps download and 150 Mbps upload Data Rates/ WPA/WPA2 ... $21.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphics Cards:
EVGA SuperClocked 015-P3-1582-AR GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) 1536MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support $489.99 (I expect to eventually buy a second one of these after prices drop)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
ZOTAC ZT-40408-10P GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card $156.99 (this is a back up card, and possibly a physx card while I wait to double my 580)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory:
CORSAIR Vengeance 12GB (3 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMZ12GX3M3A1600C9 $149.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard: I can't decide between these three possibilities:
Intel BOXDX58SO2 LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard $259.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GIGABYTE G1.Guerrilla LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard $299.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
ASUS Rampage III Formula LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard $284.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU:
Intel Core i7-960 Bloomfield 3.2GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80601960 $279.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Extra Case Fans:
4 MASSCOOL FD12025S1L3/4 120mm Case Fan $19.16
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Cooling:
CORSAIR Hydro H70 CWCH70 120mm High Performance CPU Cooler $104.81
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU:
CORSAIR Professional Series AX1200 1200W ATX12V v2.31 / EPS12V v2.92 SLI Certified 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active ... $279.99 & Price when combined (bundle deal) with the 800d case listed below: $529.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case:
Corsair Obsidian Series 800D CC800DW Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case $279.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


One other question: should I get a separate fan controller that can be mounted in one of 5.25 inch bays? Or is that silly?
[/b]


Ok, new after recommendations build:

b]My possible build (includes prices from newegg before mail in rebates):[/b]

OS:
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit 1-Pack - OEM $179.99

OPTICAL DRIVES:
SONY Black Blu-ray Burner SATA BD-5300S-0B - OEM $99.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Hard Drives:
Seagate SV35 Series ST31000526SV 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - $74.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SSD:
OCZ Solid 3 SLD3-25SAT3-120G 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC $219.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Graphics Cards:
2x XFX HD-697A-CNDC Radeon HD 6970 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity $759.98 ($379.99 each)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard:
ASUS P8Z68-V PRO LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard $209.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU & Memory Bundle:
Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I72600K
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
BUNDLE PRICE: $384.98

CPU Cooling:
Noctua NH-D14 120mm & 140mm SSO CPU Cooler $89.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: ok, which one is a better buy for me?
CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-850HX 850W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply $164.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
OR
PC Power and Cooling Silencer 910W High Performance 80PLUS Silver SLI CrossFire ready Power Supply $179.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case:
NZXT Phantom PHAN-001BK Black Steel / Plastic Enthusiast ATX Full Tower Computer Case $139.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



For a total of: $2,339.88 before mail in rebates.

More about : desktop build

May 27, 2011 3:40:01 PM
May 27, 2011 3:57:28 PM

Really no need to be spending more than $2k on a PC unless you're going for 3D or eyefinity.

Do you plan on doing any workstation tasks? If not, then you don't need 12gb of RAM.
CPU wise, don't bother with 1366. SB is better and cheaper. An i5-2500k for $230 is as far as you'll need to go is you don't plan on workstation tasks.

If you do, then a i7-2600k would be the choice.

Mobo wise a GA p67A UD4 or Asus P8P67 pro would be fine if you don't need quick synch. Asus has had some issues reported though, so GA may be better bet.

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

If you need quick synch a GA z68 ud3h. Asus also has a z68, but it's a lot more money for same features as above.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

Any particular reason for BD burner? Nothing a BD does an external HD can't do better.

Physx is long dead and abandoned by Nvidia. IE, don't bother.

Really don't need a 1200W PSU. A 850W is more than enough for your setup, even with 2 GTX 580's.

2 great options are
Corsair ax850 $183
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Kingwin lazer gold 850w $155
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Small water isn't worth the cost. It's louder and worse performing than big air.
The NH-D14, Silver Arrow and Archon are all cheaper, quieter and better performing than a H70.

Fan controller wise, that's really up to you. The built in ones are very limited in range of control. However, the fans themselves aren't exactly the best either and have a limited v control range. If you do want to have more control over fan speeds you'll need to get your own fans and pair them with a good fan controller.

However, the 800D isn't exactly meant to be an air cooling case. In fact, its pretty horrible for air cooling.

HD wise, a samsung spinpoint F3 1tb or 7200.12 seagate is better.
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Related resources
May 27, 2011 4:19:46 PM



This build is very good but I would change the motherboard. Gigabyte did something strange with about half of their Z68 boards; they removed all support for the IGP (Intergraded Graphic on Processor) from those boards. By doing this the removed all support for overclocking of the graphics and support for the Intel® QuickSync technology and Lucidlogix Virtu software or even using the IGP for backup video. The board that was selected is like this, in that it doesn’t have support for the IGP. So if you like Gigabyte goes with this board http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... or if you want Asus go with this one http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... either way you will get a great board and an outstanding system.

One more thing you want to add in an SSD drive to take advantage of Intel Smart Response Technology otherwise known as SSD caching. With the 5 year warranty on the Intel SSD 320 80GB it will work great for SSD caching.

Christian Wood
Intel Enthusiast Team
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May 27, 2011 5:25:03 PM

IntelEnthusiast

Didn't know about that thing with that board, thanks.
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May 27, 2011 5:43:15 PM

COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Item #: N82E16811119197
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
-$10.00 Instant
$109.98
$99.98


SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #: N82E16822152185
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
$64.99


Noctua NH-D14 120mm & 140mm SSO CPU Cooler
Item #: N82E16835608018
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
$89.99


SONY Black Blu-ray Burner SATA BD-5300S-0B - OEM
Item #: N82E16827118050
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
-$20.00 Instant
$119.99
$99.99


OCZ Vertex 3 Series – MAX IOPS Edition VTX3MI-25SAT3-120G 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
Item #: N82E16820227714
Return Policy: Limited Replacement Only Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
-$10.00 Instant
$319.99
$309.99


ASUS ENGTX580 DCII/2DIS/1536MD5 GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) 1536MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video ...
Item #: N82E16814121429
Return Policy: VGA Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-1000HX 1000W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active ...
Item #: N82E16817139007
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
-$50.00 Instant
-$35.00 Combo
$10.00 Mail-in Rebate Card
$779.98
$694.98


Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I72600K
Item #: N82E16819115070
Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM
Item #: N82E16820231445
Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy
-$30.00 Combo
$414.98
$384.98


ASUS ENGTX580 DCII/2DIS/1536MD5 GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) 1536MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video ...
Item #: N82E16814121429
Return Policy: VGA Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
ASUS P8P67 WS REVOLUTION LGA 1155 Intel P67 / NVIDIA NF200 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Item #: N82E16813131714
Return Policy: Limited Replacement Only Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
-$10.00 Instant
-$20.00 Combo
$769.98
$739.98
Subtotal: $2,484.88
Shipping: $11.15
Grand Total: $2,496.03
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May 28, 2011 5:22:45 AM

IntelEnthusiast said:
This build is very good but I would change the motherboard. Gigabyte did something strange with about half of their Z68 boards; they removed all support for the IGP (Intergraded Graphic on Processor) from those boards. By doing this the removed all support for overclocking of the graphics and support for the Intel® QuickSync technology and Lucidlogix Virtu software or even using the IGP for backup video. The board that was selected is like this, in that it doesn’t have support for the IGP. So if you like Gigabyte goes with this board http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... or if you want Asus go with this one http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... either way you will get a great board and an outstanding system.

One more thing you want to add in an SSD drive to take advantage of Intel Smart Response Technology otherwise known as SSD caching. With the 5 year warranty on the Intel SSD 320 80GB it will work great for SSD caching.

Christian Wood
Intel Enthusiast Team



This feature is very interesting to me, but it frustrates me that the only 3-way capable SLI motherboard on Newegg for the Z68 is $350. That is pushing me to the P67...
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May 28, 2011 5:29:30 AM

for your case go nzxt phantom
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May 28, 2011 5:30:41 AM

banthracis said:
Really no need to be spending more than $2k on a PC unless you're going for 3D or eyefinity.

Do you plan on doing any workstation tasks? If not, then you don't need 12gb of RAM.
CPU wise, don't bother with 1366. SB is better and cheaper. An i5-2500k for $230 is as far as you'll need to go is you don't plan on workstation tasks.

If you do, then a i7-2600k would be the choice.

Mobo wise a GA p67A UD4 or Asus P8P67 pro would be fine if you don't need quick synch. Asus has had some issues reported though, so GA may be better bet.

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

If you need quick synch a GA z68 ud3h. Asus also has a z68, but it's a lot more money for same features as above.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

Any particular reason for BD burner? Nothing a BD does an external HD can't do better.

Physx is long dead and abandoned by Nvidia. IE, don't bother.

Really don't need a 1200W PSU. A 850W is more than enough for your setup, even with 2 GTX 580's.

2 great options are
Corsair ax850 $183
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Kingwin lazer gold 850w $155
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Small water isn't worth the cost. It's louder and worse performing than big air.
The NH-D14, Silver Arrow and Archon are all cheaper, quieter and better performing than a H70.

Fan controller wise, that's really up to you. The built in ones are very limited in range of control. However, the fans themselves aren't exactly the best either and have a limited v control range. If you do want to have more control over fan speeds you'll need to get your own fans and pair them with a good fan controller.

However, the 800D isn't exactly meant to be an air cooling case. In fact, its pretty horrible for air cooling.

HD wise, a samsung spinpoint F3 1tb or 7200.12 seagate is better.



Wow, you made a number of excellent points that I didn't know/consider. This is really helpful! I do plan on doing some workstation tasks, so will go with the 2600k. I was also looking at the ASUS P8P67 WS REVOLUTION board that genghiskron recommended, but I am confused as to what the real value of quick synch is, and was wondering what problems Asus is having. The z68 boards seem to lack the expandability of the others, is this a correct interpretation? What full size case would you recommend for air cooling?
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May 28, 2011 5:33:10 AM

since it is probably your first time oc'ing you might want to go with a more user friendly bios. get the asrock p67 extreme4 motherboard and i agree get a 6970
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May 28, 2011 5:35:35 AM

mjmjpfaff said:
for your case go nzxt phantom



That looks like a nice case for a fair price! I'll keep that as a option! Do you think it compares with the haf-x?
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May 28, 2011 5:38:39 AM

mjmjpfaff said:
since it is probably your first time oc'ing you might want to go with a more user friendly bios. get the asrock p67 extreme4 motherboard and i agree get a 6970



Oh, its definitely my first time trying this lol. I was really leaning to the gtx580, I'm curious why the 6970 also seems to be a popular recommendation, can you explain to me the benefits?
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May 28, 2011 5:39:59 AM

You don't need three video cards capability on the mobo.
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May 28, 2011 5:40:01 AM

better cable management, competitive cooling, it has its own fan control built in so it is quieter, and i personally think it looks nicer. if you are thinking about getting an ssd the corsair force 3's are about to come out using the same controller the vertex 3's use which will drive the price of the 120 gb ssd down 80$
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May 28, 2011 5:42:54 AM

mosox said:
You don't need three video cards capability on the mobo.



That won't effect me down the road at all? I really don't know, so I figure I'll ask!
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May 28, 2011 5:43:50 AM

psu hx 850- actually a gold rated psu (91% efficient)
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May 28, 2011 5:48:07 AM

genghiskron said:
COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Item #: N82E16811119197
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
-$10.00 Instant
$109.98
$99.98


SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #: N82E16822152185
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
$64.99


Noctua NH-D14 120mm & 140mm SSO CPU Cooler
Item #: N82E16835608018
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
$89.99


SONY Black Blu-ray Burner SATA BD-5300S-0B - OEM
Item #: N82E16827118050
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
-$20.00 Instant
$119.99
$99.99


OCZ Vertex 3 Series – MAX IOPS Edition VTX3MI-25SAT3-120G 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
Item #: N82E16820227714
Return Policy: Limited Replacement Only Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
-$10.00 Instant
$319.99
$309.99


ASUS ENGTX580 DCII/2DIS/1536MD5 GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) 1536MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video ...
Item #: N82E16814121429
Return Policy: VGA Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-1000HX 1000W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active ...
Item #: N82E16817139007
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
-$50.00 Instant
-$35.00 Combo
$10.00 Mail-in Rebate Card
$779.98
$694.98


Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I72600K
Item #: N82E16819115070
Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM
Item #: N82E16820231445
Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy
-$30.00 Combo
$414.98
$384.98


ASUS ENGTX580 DCII/2DIS/1536MD5 GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) 1536MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video ...
Item #: N82E16814121429
Return Policy: VGA Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
ASUS P8P67 WS REVOLUTION LGA 1155 Intel P67 / NVIDIA NF200 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Item #: N82E16813131714
Return Policy: Limited Replacement Only Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
-$10.00 Instant
-$20.00 Combo
$769.98
$739.98
Subtotal: $2,484.88
Shipping: $11.15
Grand Total: $2,496.03



Man, this gave me a lot to think about! I love some of your combos and good stuff you pointed out!
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May 28, 2011 5:54:02 AM

mjmjpfaff said:
psu hx 850- actually a gold rated psu (91% efficient)



I'm gonna look at that! What is the benefit of a 6970 vs the gtx580? is performance that close? I was under the impression that the 580 was a much better card...
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May 28, 2011 5:59:52 AM

The 580 is like 10% faster but much more expensive. Anyway those two 6970s I linked are overclocked and about on par with the 580.
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May 28, 2011 6:09:10 AM

mosox said:
The 580 is like 10% faster but much more expensive. Anyway those two 6970s I linked are overclocked and about on par with the 580.



Thanks for answering so many of my questions! I see what you're saying, and would love to save that money! I was wondering then, the xfx model has a lifetime warranty, would that be better considering the cost? Or is that useless?
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May 28, 2011 9:56:18 AM

Wow are you getting a lot of advice - I guess I'll jump in. Guys the OP lists a $2500 budget - let loose a little :-)

1. Stay with the AX 1200 because you are going to either CF or SLI two serious high watt GPUs. Yes it is way more power than you will use but that is good because this unit may be the most efficient and quiet on the market. The Seasonic is a great unit and it will probably carry the two 580s in SLI but if it is similar to the Corsair 850 HX it will move into the 75% + capacity range which is less efficient and less quiet. the AX 1200 will yawn with two 580s connected to it (or two 6970s). Add to this that the AX 1200 is fully modular, it is nearly silent in operation (very important for me) and it has a 7-year warranty. Finally the cost difference is like $50 which is trivial considering your budget

2. If you have the money, two 580s or two 6970s will crush any other choices for your gaming needs. The question is do you need that much? Only you can answer that question. If you game a lot with high capacity games like Metro 2033, then probably it will be of benefit to you. But you can play any game on the planet with two ATI 6950s in crossfire, just not at the highest settings and that CF setup is a whole lot cheaper. I am not trying to talk you into a cheaper set up, I just want you to have all the options set before you so that you can make the best choice for your needs

3. With your budget and broad stated uses I think that the 2600K is worth the extra $100. The 2500K is also a cheaper choice and it is a tremendous CPU. Having owned an I-7 950 I can say from experience that these two CPUs crush the 950 in performance

4. For the broad needs you list I think the Z68 boards are a better fit. You may end up editing video or using the SSD cache from what you are saying. Only you can make that call. The cost difference between the Z68 and P67 boards is about $40, which is not much considering your budget. I like the Asus mobos or the Asrock

5. According to the reviews that I have read the Corsair 800D does do a decent job of cooling but it is not in the same league as the Coolermaster HAF X 942 and Silverstone FT02 Fortress which are probably the best two cooling cases with the FT02 being the best. But all of these cases are huge (even the Fortress) and so be aware of that

But for you, since you will not need more than two cards you might want to look at the Corsair 650D which is the midtower version of the 800D. It cools better (the cooling has been improved on the 650D), it has the same stunning looks as the 800D, it has USB 3.o and a hot-swap Sata III drive, it is amazingly well thought out and completely toolless and it is only $180 after rebates. I simply love this case. There is a review of it here:

http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1596/

It is also big enough to put any components you want in it but it is a midtower

6. I second the recommendation to go to the Noctua NH-D14, it may be the be CPU air cooler on the market and it remains reasonably quiet at full fans (46 DB). It beats the H70 in cooling and is quieter and cheaper

7. (8GB of RAM) 2 x 4GB of DDR3 1866 CL8 or CL9 Ram will get you superb performance with the 2600K - you really don't need more unless you are an extremely heavy power user.

8. The XFX warranty is one of the best in the business

9. You can get the 800D and the Corsair AX 1200 for about the same price as the bundle separately so get whatever case you want and don' t worry about the bundle. Look for sales and you will save even more

Hope this helps :-) Good luck with your build
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May 28, 2011 2:25:44 PM

The build i have provided gives you:
An i7-2600k
The fastest dual gpu setup currently available.
The fastest 120gb SSD currently available (making SSD caching completely irrelevant)
A mobo with full x16/x16 pci-e lane support
One of the best CPU coolers available.
A blu-ray player (edit: burner)
A power supply that will easily handle dual gtx 580's with a 9.5 rating on Jonnyguru.
8gb 1600mhz CL8 ram

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l
May 28, 2011 3:02:42 PM

OK, so couple points. In regards to a NF200 equipped mobo like the Asus revolution, it's not worth the cost unless you plan on using 3 or more GPU's, which at least for gaming is a huge waste of money due to horrible scaling at that point.

What the NF200 chip does is regulate bandwidth btwn PCIe devices. The total PCIe bandwidth doesn't change, but it's better directed to where needed. You can take a read through
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/p67-gaming-3-way-sl...

A single GTX 580 or 6970 will play any game out there with all the eyecandy turned up at 1080p, and wont have issues with.
There really is no need to xfire or sli top end cards for the sake of a single 1200p monitor.

Crysis 1920x1200 benchmarks are here
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4061/amds-radeon-hd-6970-...

If you do workstation tasks, quick synch is a hardware based encoding/transcoding system developed by Intel. It is much faster, and more importantly, produces better quality than CUDA.

However, for GPGPU tasks besides encoding/transcoding, CUDA is still king, for now anyway.

You need a h67 or z68 mobo to utilize quick sync. However, only the z68 allows you to overclock as well. P67 allows you to overclock, but not to use quick synch. However, price wise, z68 and p67 mobo's are the same right now, so really no point not to go z68.


Now, as for the power supply choice. PSU's are most efficient between 25 and 85% load. That's where the whole 80+ rating systems comes in. Efficiency is measured at 25%, 50%, 85% and 100% load.

Now, 580SLI system using a power hungry nehalem uses 777 watts under furmark, which is a much higher load than possible under normal conditions. This is power at the socket. Assuming 85% efficiency, the actual power usage is only 660W. . So this is you worst case scenario. Under gaming, like in crysis, you're only using 620w at the socket, or 527W assuming 85% efficiency. Idle power is only 205w at the socket, or 174 actual, which is where you'll be at for simple things like browsing internet, watching a movie or using microsoft office.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4012/nvidias-geforce-gtx-...

For a 1200W PSU, you're looking at max efficiency btwn 300 and 1020 Watts. The problem here is that most of the time you're only at ~170w, and even under gaming you're using 527w, only halfway into the sweet zone.

For a 850W psu, your sweet zone is 212.5W to 722.5W, which well encompasses your 174 idle and 660 max possible.

In fact, at low load 125w, or where you'll be with a single gtx 580, you're looking at a horrendous 84.1% efficiency for the ax1200. Unfortunately, they didn't test at 174W, but the efficiency will only be a little better.
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...

On the other hand, for the ax850 175w give you 86.7% efficiency, which is where your PC will be at most of the time in with a sli 580 system.
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...

So paying more money for a huge overpowered PSU is really not worth it. There's really no benefit.

Case choice wise, the decision really depends on personal aesthetics choice and whether you want to emphasize high airflow, or low noise or a balance.

For an SLI PC, the top choice for quiet and high airflow is the RV 02-E or FT02, though both are expensive, $180 and $250 respectively.

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May 28, 2011 3:06:25 PM

flong said:
Wow are you getting a lot of advice - I guess I'll jump in. Guys the OP lists a $2500 budget - let loose a little :-)

1. Stay with the AX 1200 because you are going to either CF or SLI two serious high watt GPUs. Yes it is way more power than you will use but that is good because this unit may be the most efficient and quiet on the market. The Seasonic is a great unit and it will probably carry the two 580s in SLI but if it is similar to the Corsair 850 HX it will move into the 75% + capacity range which is less efficient and less quiet. the AX 1200 will yawn with two 580s connected to it (or two 6970s). Add to this that the AX 1200 is fully modular, it is nearly silent in operation (very important for me) and it has a 7-year warranty. Finally the cost difference is like $50 which is trivial considering your budget

2. If you have the money, two 580s or two 6970s will crush any other choices for your gaming needs. The question is do you need that much? Only you can answer that question. If you game a lot with high capacity games like Metro 2033, then probably it will be of benefit to you. But you can play any game on the planet with two ATI 6950s in crossfire, just not at the highest settings and that CF setup is a whole lot cheaper. I am not trying to talk you into a cheaper set up, I just want you to have all the options set before you so that you can make the best choice for your needs

3. With your budget and broad stated uses I think that the 2600K is worth the extra $100. The 2500K is also a cheaper choice and it is a tremendous CPU. Having owned an I-7 950 I can say from experience that these two CPUs crush the 950 in performance

4. For the broad needs you list I think the Z68 boards are a better fit. You may end up editing video or using the SSD cache from what you are saying. Only you can make that call. The cost difference between the Z68 and P67 boards is about $40, which is not much considering your budget. I like the Asus mobos or the Asrock

5. According to the reviews that I have read the Corsair 800D does do a decent job of cooling but it is not in the same league as the Coolermaster HAF X 942 and Silverstone FT02 Fortress which are probably the best two cooling cases with the FT02 being the best. But all of these cases are huge (even the Fortress) and so be aware of that

But for you, since you will not need more than two cards you might want to look at the Corsair 650D which is the midtower version of the 800D. It cools better (the cooling has been improved on the 650D), it has the same stunning looks as the 800D, it has USB 3.o and a hot-swap Sata III drive, it is amazingly well thought out and completely toolless and it is only $180 after rebates. I simply love this case. There is a review of it here:

http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1596/

It is also big enough to put any components you want in it but it is a midtower

6. I second the recommendation to go to the Noctua NH-D14, it may be the be CPU air cooler on the market and it remains reasonably quiet at full fans (46 DB). It beats the H70 in cooling and is quieter and cheaper

7. (8GB of RAM) 2 x 4GB of DDR3 1866 CL8 or CL9 Ram will get you superb performance with the 2600K - you really don't need more unless you are an extremely heavy power user.

8. The XFX warranty is one of the best in the business

9. You can get the 800D and the Corsair AX 1200 for about the same price as the bundle separately so get whatever case you want and don' t worry about the bundle. Look for sales and you will save even more

Hope this helps :-) Good luck with your build

an ax 1200 for 2 6970's. ha! might as well burn your money
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May 28, 2011 3:07:51 PM

with that said stay with the hx 850
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May 28, 2011 4:41:04 PM

Ok, after reading and factoring in all the info and recommendations you guys have submitted, I have tried to factor it all in to the best of my ability and have come up with the following build. Let me know if this works/is better than the previous.

A NOTE: I should have stated that I really needed to include windows 7 ultimate x64 in the build price! I have to factor that in. So here is my updated list:


My possible build (includes prices from newegg before mail in rebates):

OS:
Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit 1-Pack - OEM $179.99

OPTICAL DRIVES:
SONY Black Blu-ray Burner SATA BD-5300S-0B - OEM $99.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Hard Drives:
Seagate SV35 Series ST31000526SV 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - $74.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SSD:
OCZ Solid 3 SLD3-25SAT3-120G 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC $219.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Graphics Cards:
2x XFX HD-697A-CNDC Radeon HD 6970 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity $759.98 ($379.99 each)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard:
ASUS P8Z68-V PRO LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard $209.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU & Memory Bundle:
Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I72600K
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL8D-8GBXM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
BUNDLE PRICE: $384.98

CPU Cooling:
Noctua NH-D14 120mm & 140mm SSO CPU Cooler $89.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: ok, which one is a better buy for me?
CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-850HX 850W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply $164.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
OR
PC Power and Cooling Silencer 910W High Performance 80PLUS Silver SLI CrossFire ready Power Supply $179.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case:
NZXT Phantom PHAN-001BK Black Steel / Plastic Enthusiast ATX Full Tower Computer Case $139.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



For a total of: $2,339.88 before mail in rebates.

So, my question is, is there anything I need to change? Or add? Or is this a good set up?

Oh, almost forgot! I really want to thank all of you for your input. I feel much more confident about where this is going, and I feel you guys really improved my bang for my buck!
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May 28, 2011 6:08:11 PM

You're spending a lot of money on this setup, which for what you're getting seems off.

For ex, I'm currently building a <21dba at idle eyefinity gaming PC and my cost for components is about the same, despite having much more hardware.

Here's my cost breakdown before the the case modding, sound dampening, monitors and sleeving stuff is thrown in.

HSF
Thermalright HR02 + AC MX-4 $71 shipped from Superbiiz, using 15% off deal
http://www.superbiiz.com/

SSD's
Intel 160gb X25-M $200 from Overclock.net sales forum
Intel 160gb 320 $250 from Overclock.net sales forum

HD's
Spinpoint F4 2tb x3 $70 each, $210 shipped from Newegg using promo code EMCKEHC22
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case
Silverstone FT02- $240 shipped from amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/SilverStone-Aluminum-Uni-Body-Com...

CPU
i7-2600k $250 from microcenter (tax included)
http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/expired-deals/1098750/?...

Mobo
GA-Z68X-UD3H $178 shipped from newegg
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM
G Skill 8 gb DDR3 1600 $76 shipped after promo code from newegg
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU
2gb HD 6950 x2 $250 each. Shaders unlocked to 6970's. $500 shipped from Overclock.net sales forums

PSU
AX850 $183 shipped from Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Professional-Performance-...


Total: $2158 including shipping and taxes

No OS or BD drive, but those add $200 more, so I end up about the same cost as you with those added.

Granted I'm using unlocked 6950's instead of 6970's, but I've also got 3 2tb HD's, 2 160gb Intel SSD's, a more expensive case, and an 80+ gold PSU.

If there any specific reason you need win 7 ultimate as opposed to pro?
If you're a student or know a student you can grab win 7 pro for $30
http://www.microsoft.com/student/en/us/windows/buynow/d...

Same with the BD burner. If you don't need it, it's a big chunk of money.

Also, as I mentioned earlier, if you aren't using eyefinity, then no need for 2 6970's. That'll save you a ton there as well.

Swapping HD to a spinpoint F3 1tb will also save you a little money.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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May 28, 2011 6:16:40 PM

for your mobo make it a asrock p67 extreme4 i dont think you will benefit from a z68 with that big of an ssd and you are using discrete graphics. also make your hdd a samsung spinpoint f3 1tb at amazon for 60$
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May 28, 2011 6:18:42 PM

and get the hx 850 psu
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May 29, 2011 12:48:20 AM

banthracis said:
OK, so couple points. In regards to a NF200 equipped mobo like the Asus revolution, it's not worth the cost unless you plan on using 3 or more GPU's, which at least for gaming is a huge waste of money due to horrible scaling at that point.

What the NF200 chip does is regulate bandwidth btwn PCIe devices. The total PCIe bandwidth doesn't change, but it's better directed to where needed. You can take a read through
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/p67-gaming-3-way-sl...

A single GTX 580 or 6970 will play any game out there with all the eyecandy turned up at 1080p, and wont have issues with.
There really is no need to xfire or sli top end cards for the sake of a single 1200p monitor.

Crysis 1920x1200 benchmarks are here
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4061/amds-radeon-hd-6970-...

If you do workstation tasks, quick synch is a hardware based encoding/transcoding system developed by Intel. It is much faster, and more importantly, produces better quality than CUDA.

However, for GPGPU tasks besides encoding/transcoding, CUDA is still king, for now anyway.

You need a h67 or z68 mobo to utilize quick sync. However, only the z68 allows you to overclock as well. P67 allows you to overclock, but not to use quick synch. However, price wise, z68 and p67 mobo's are the same right now, so really no point not to go z68.


Now, as for the power supply choice. PSU's are most efficient between 25 and 85% load. That's where the whole 80+ rating systems comes in. Efficiency is measured at 25%, 50%, 85% and 100% load.

Now, 580SLI system using a power hungry nehalem uses 777 watts under furmark, which is a much higher load than possible under normal conditions. This is power at the socket. Assuming 85% efficiency, the actual power usage is only 660W. . So this is you worst case scenario. Under gaming, like in crysis, you're only using 620w at the socket, or 527W assuming 85% efficiency. Idle power is only 205w at the socket, or 174 actual, which is where you'll be at for simple things like browsing internet, watching a movie or using microsoft office.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4012/nvidias-geforce-gtx-...

For a 1200W PSU, you're looking at max efficiency btwn 300 and 1020 Watts. The problem here is that most of the time you're only at ~170w, and even under gaming you're using 527w, only halfway into the sweet zone.

For a 850W psu, your sweet zone is 212.5W to 722.5W, which well encompasses your 174 idle and 660 max possible.

In fact, at low load 125w, or where you'll be with a single gtx 580, you're looking at a horrendous 84.1% efficiency for the ax1200. Unfortunately, they didn't test at 174W, but the efficiency will only be a little better.
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...

On the other hand, for the ax850 175w give you 86.7% efficiency, which is where your PC will be at most of the time in with a sli 580 system.
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...

So paying more money for a huge overpowered PSU is really not worth it. There's really no benefit.

Case choice wise, the decision really depends on personal aesthetics choice and whether you want to emphasize high airflow, or low noise or a balance.

For an SLI PC, the top choice for quiet and high airflow is the RV 02-E or FT02, though both are expensive, $180 and $250 respectively.


This is an excellent post ^ - very well thought out and substantiated. There are however a couple of mistakes if I follow your reasoning correctly.

1. You assume with a single that the AX 1200 will operate at the same efficiency as the Johnny Guru 10.1% load level 84.1%. It appears, and correct me if I am wrong, that you do not take into account any other draws on the system, like the case, the case fans, the CPU cooler, the HDDs, the Mobo, etc. All of these take power to. But that may be what you mean by an "SLI system".

But if we take your own calculations and say that normal use is 174 W - then the efficiency would not be 84.1% - it would start to rise over the 10.1% mark up towards the 88.5%. Until that exact voltage was tested we don't know what the actual efficiency would be

2. It also appears that your 174 W does not include the one or two GPUs running a low load. I am not sure that I know what two 580s will use by themselves at low load but 174 W seems pretty low

3. The "sweet spot" of the AX 1200 arguably begins a 238W where it is 88.5% efficient (per the JG test). I think it is a pretty good assumption that a two card 580 SLI system with all the bells and whistles will be at least at this wattage most of the time - although I admit I have no hard proof

4. You subtract the wattage "at the socket" for your 85% efficiency statement, here is the quote:

Quote:
Now, 580SLI system using a power hungry nehalem uses 777 watts under furmark, which is a much higher load than possible under normal conditions. This is power at the socket. Assuming 85% efficiency, the actual power usage is only 660W.


Now I will be the first to admit it has been a long time since I took the electrical section in my college physics class, but shoudn't you ADD 15% more power to what the PSU has to supply. After all, per your statment, you are saying that we have 85% efficiency but the demand is 660 W.

If the components using the power that the PSU supplies are inefficient - which is what I think you mean - then the PSU has to supply more power to meet the component's needs.

Like I said, it has been a long time since I delved into the electrical engineering world and so I certainly may not be understanding you correctly.

If the PSU does have to supply more power because of the inefficiencies of the components and its own inefficiency then your 174 W number is incorrect and the entire basis of your argument is untenable because the PSU must supply more power to correct the inefficiencies of components.

Also, if I did misunderstand you, it appears that you do not take into account the extra "wasted" power that the PSU has to supply to make up for imperfect inefficiencies of the components

4. You state,
Quote:
For a 850W psu, your sweet zone is 212.5W to 722.5W, which well encompasses your 174 idle and 660 max possible.


However, I respectfully think that you are just plain wrong with this statement. Reading the reviews for the 850 HX the efficiency for the unit begins to go down at approximately the 563 W range and by the time it reaches 684 w it is only 86.5% efficient. If you state as you do that 84.5% is unacceptable (terrible in your words) then by the time the 850 HX approaches 772 W it is nearing the very efficiency that you just called terrible in one sentence and the later on call the "sweet spot" of an 850 W unit

5. You apparently have not read the reviews of the 850 HX or you don't remember them. Once the unit reachs 75% capacity it can get loud. It is not terribly loud but it is certainly audible. The AX 1200 will never have this problem.

6. The 850 HX once it reaches 75% capacity also heats up. It does an excellent job of controlling heat but it does get hotter. Again the AX 1200 will never have this problem so it won't heat up your case as much

Despite my criticisms, I really do like your post. You do your own thinking. My response in Item #4 may not be entirely correct because I am not sure I followed your reasoning for efficiencies.

That being said, one of the things that I consider before I ever mention the AX 1200 is whether or not the user will at least reach the bottom of the efficiency range under normal use. I love this unit after hearing many first-hand testimonies from actual owners.

One such owner is a frequent poster to this forum and he runs an SLI setup similar to what we are discussing. He raves about the PSU calling a "beast," "it is so quiet I cannot even hear it'" "it never breaks a sweat." That is from a frequent poster in Tom's Hardware forums. And keep in mind, his setup is very similar to the proposed system we are discussing.

It appears that he does not agree with your numbers and he owns the unit and is very knowledgeable in building computers. I actually own the 850 HX and I recommend it a lot because it is an excellent unit. I don't think it is the best unit when you start talking about two 580s in SLI. In fact, earlier in a different thread I was acidically criticized for suggesting the 850 HX because later in the discussion, two 580s came up. I didn't say that it was the best unit for two 580s in SLI - but I got dressed down for even thinking that the 850 HX could power such a setup, which is kind of ironic in a funny way if you think about it :-).

I do think that the 850 HX will power two 580s, I just don't think it will do it as well as the AX 1200 - it is just that simple. A lot of SLI and crossfire owners of the AX 1200 give it rave reviews.

I don't agree with you that this type of heavy user system will not reach 238 W and 88.5% efficiency in normal use without gaming. Watching a movie can tax a GPU also. Multi-tasking can task a GPU. I had an ATI 5850 with the Corsair 750 HX in an I-7 920 sytem and I can say from first-hand experience that the 750 HX had to speed up its fan often as did the ATI 5850 and I am not a gamer (I own one game).

I do think that for the cost difference involve the AX 1200 is a much better choice for this system than an 850 unit. Even though the HX 850 will put out over 1000W, it won't do it as efficiently, as quietly and stay as cool as the AX 1200.
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May 29, 2011 2:35:34 AM

Just a side note, I just was in a thread where one of the posters had just bought the Silverstone FT02 Fortress and I asked him how noisy it was. He mentioned that the cooling was phenomenal but you could definitely hear the fans. This kind of makes sense because the case exhausts out the top. I was very curious to see what someone who owned the case said about noise.

I love the FT02 and it is probably the best air cooling case in existence with the HAF X 942 following close on its heels. That being said, it is not the most quiet case for SLI - at least judging from what the owner was saying. Probably the HAF X is quieter because of its larger fans and rear exhaust, but I don't like the looks as much. You would have to go to a more enclosed case for real quiet, but then you lose the cooling.

You were right to recommend it - it is a great case.

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May 29, 2011 3:17:03 AM

Anandtechs full testing procedures for their GPU tests are well documented.

Testing is done with a i7-920 overclocked to @ 3.33 ghz.
Power draw is measured at the socket and is total system power. So includes everything below.
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4008/nvidias-geforce-gtx-...

SLI system, means power usage with 2 GTX 580's. OP is actually only using 1 to start, so his initial power needs will be even less.

I'll talking about the AX850, not the HX850. These are different PSU's with vastly different efficiencies ad sound levels.

You don't add 15% for the DC output of a PSU, you take away 15%, this is basic ECE 101 stuff. In the jonnyguru article linked, you'll notice this listed as the DC Watts/
AC Watts column. AC is what you get from the outlet, DC is what your PSU turns it into to power your PC.

Let's take the low load test for example. AC intake of 145W, with an efficiency of 84.1% nets you 122W (145 * .85) which is exactly what's listed there.

Efficiency below 25% or above 85% for any PSU is poor and MUCH less than that middle sweet range, which low loads being the worst.

Take a look at this anandtech article
http://www.anandtech.com/show/2624/3

The need for a huge PSU is a common misconception due to shitty PSU companies that vastly overrate their parts. As a result, GPU companies recommend much higher Wattage PSU's than you need, so they don't get angry complaints from people who buy a 800W Diabloetek and wonder why they can't power a single gtx 580 on it.
FYI, the answer is because a 800W diablotek is in reality a 300W PSU.

On the other hand, high end PSU's companies vastly UNDERATE their PSU's. Seasonics, kingwins and Delta PSU can all easily do 110% or 120% of their rated load without an issue.


As for the FT02. It's quiet. Dead quiet. In fact, if you read the reviews as SPCR, it is 19 dba with all fans set to low.
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1015-page4.html

SPCR tested the internally identical Raven 2 with a xfire 4870 setup and it was under 30dBA at full load.
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1002-page7.html

No one else out there does sound testing with a 11dBA anechoic chamber, and SPCR is the single best source for silent PC testing.
FYI 10dba is the limit of human hearing.
20 dBa is a noise equivalent of a silent recording studio
30 dBA is the noise equivalent of a quiet suburban bedroom at night.

Tell your friend to read through SPCR's articles and forums. If his system is loud he's either got very strict definition of quiet, or he's doing something very wrong.

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May 29, 2011 6:47:54 AM

banthracis said:
Anandtechs full testing procedures for their GPU tests are well documented.

Testing is done with a i7-920 overclocked to @ 3.33 ghz.
Power draw is measured at the socket and is total system power. So includes everything below.
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4008/nvidias-geforce-gtx-...

SLI system, means power usage with 2 GTX 580's. OP is actually only using 1 to start, so his initial power needs will be even less.

I'll talking about the AX850, not the HX850. These are different PSU's with vastly different efficiencies ad sound levels.

You don't add 15% for the DC output of a PSU, you take away 15%, this is basic ECE 101 stuff. In the jonnyguru article linked, you'll notice this listed as the DC Watts/
AC Watts column. AC is what you get from the outlet, DC is what your PSU turns it into to power your PC.

Let's take the low load test for example. AC intake of 145W, with an efficiency of 84.1% nets you 122W (145 * .85) which is exactly what's listed there.

Efficiency below 25% or above 85% for any PSU is poor and MUCH less than that middle sweet range, which low loads being the worst.

Take a look at this anandtech article
http://www.anandtech.com/show/2624/3

The need for a huge PSU is a common misconception due to shitty PSU companies that vastly overrate their parts. As a result, GPU companies recommend much higher Wattage PSU's than you need, so they don't get angry complaints from people who buy a 800W Diabloetek and wonder why they can't power a single gtx 580 on it.
FYI, the answer is because a 800W diablotek is in reality a 300W PSU.

On the other hand, high end PSU's companies vastly UNDERATE their PSU's. Seasonics, kingwins and Delta PSU can all easily do 110% or 120% of their rated load without an issue.


As for the FT02. It's quiet. Dead quiet. In fact, if you read the reviews as SPCR, it is 19 dba with all fans set to low.
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1015-page4.html

SPCR tested the internally identical Raven 2 with a xfire 4870 setup and it was under 30dBA at full load.
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1002-page7.html

No one else out there does sound testing with a 11dBA anechoic chamber, and SPCR is the single best source for silent PC testing.
FYI 10dba is the limit of human hearing.
20 dBa is a noise equivalent of a silent recording studio
30 dBA is the noise equivalent of a quiet suburban bedroom at night.

Tell your friend to read through SPCR's articles and forums. If his system is loud he's either got very strict definition of quiet, or he's doing something very wrong.


I'm sorry banthracis (why that name???) but this post disappointed me.

1. You didn't address my point. Regardless of the terminology that you use, the PSU has to put MORE not LESS power out for inefficient components. Therefore the "socket" power, and by this I think you mean the actual power the PSU draws, will be MORE not less than the theoretical power to power the components. The difference will depend on how efficient each component is.

I was hoping for a thoughtful clarification of of your terms, instead I got a 3rd grade insult, which is a disservice to everyone. This is anything but ECE 101 which, by the way I passed easily

2. Using your own numbers, I showed you that several of your conclusions are wrong and you did not address this

3. I see from your Anandtech article that you used a single 580 at idle at the basis for all of your statements. Come on, you have wasted everyone's time and you have mislead the OP. THIS IS AN ENTIRE COMPUTER NOT ONE GTX 580 THAT THE PSU MUST POWER. I can't believe you listed the power for one 580 at idle for your argument. For normal everyday use as you mention, you have to add in the case, the case fans, the CPU cooler fans, the HDDs, the mobo, the RAM, the monitor and anything else that draws power.

This easily puts the the OP's non-gaming power draw into the very large "sweet spot" of the AX 1200 which is over 238W. I actually thought you had done some serious homework

4. We have been talking about the HX 850 not the AX 850, which by the way does not even meet gold standards according to JG's review and actually is less efficient than the 850 HX at several wattages

5.
Quote:
Efficiency below 25% or above 85% for any PSU is poor and MUCH less than that middle sweet range, which low loads being the worst.


I demonstrated to you with actual numbers from the 850 HX that this is incorrect and so it would depend on which 850 PSU that you select. I would be careful about using this generality. The 850 HX is one of the best 850W PSUs out there.

6.
Quote:
The need for a huge PSU is a common misconception due to shitty PSU companies that vastly overrate their parts.


I doubt any professional will consider either the 850 HX or the AX 1200 to be "shitty PSUs" and so you make no point here. We are discussing what best fits the OP's needs from a list of HIGH QUALITY PSUs. I am aware that Corsair underrates their PSUs, I have mentioned several times

7. The person I spoke about OWNs the FT02 and so that is why I wanted his first-hand impressions on the noise. You are kind of beating a dead horse here though because I agree with you that it is a great case that the OP should consider regardless of how quiet or loud it is.

I have been frustrated by the different professional reviews lack of clear sound reporting with various cases and their sometimes weird methods of testing sound pressure. That is why of late, when I see someone in the forum who owns the actual case I'm interested in I ask them to comment.

Thank you for providing the links to Silent PC. They do indeed appear to bolster you case that the FT02 is quiet but it depends on how they take their measurments.

For example in reading the reviews for the Corsair 650D I found sound (DB) rating for the case in professional reviews ranged from 32 DB on full fan, to 51 DB on full fan. This frustrated me immensely because it is important to me how loud a case is. That is why I ask owners now.

8. I noticed from the sytem that you are building that you are using the AX 850. I am not sure why you would choose a PSU that failed to make it's quality rating of gold, which costs more than the 850 HX and is actually less efficient at sever important wattage capacities???

Here is the JG review: http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...

The AX 850 is supposed to be a gold rate PSU and in JG's test it was not even close. So if you are recommending it to the OP, I guess I have to ask in stunned disbelief why? It is certainly Corsairs weakest PSU as far as professional reviews.

To sum all of this up to the OP. It is very simple. The indisputable facts are that the proposed system we are talking about with either one or two 580s will always be above the AX 1200 best minimum efficiency of 238W at which it was 88.5% efficient in Johnny Guru's review (now remember that Johnny Guru's PSU reviews are nearly sacred in the computer community LOL). From their it quickly goes up to 90% efficient and it STAYS there. The 850W PSUs NEVER come close to this performance after you get over 50% capacity.

If you SLI two 580s, any 850 W PSU will drop down into the low 80s in efficiency and it will probably be very hot and very loud because you will tax it above the 75% capacity

Therefore, for your needs there really is no comparison between the 850 HX, the AX 850 and the AX 1200. Hands down the AX 1200 will run more quietly, cooler and it will be significantly more efficient than any 850 PSU we have discussed here.

This means you will save money on power, your PC will be very quiet and the AX 1200 will not be a heat box inside your case. This will help extend the life of your components and you will be able to use the AX 1200 for at least 7 years because Corsair has the best warranty in the business. If you run a 580 SLI system you will have more than enough power and the PSU will still be quiet, cool and efficient. The 850 PSU will not because efficiencies will drop into the low 80s.

To top all of this off, the absolutely astounding superiority of the AX 1200 is available to you for the miserly sum of $70 + more than the AX 850 which failed to even make its claimed gold rating. Damn that's a lot extra of money for what is possibly the best rated 1200 PSU in existence mjmjpfaff. Right now you can pick up the AX 1200 for $273 with shipping and tax at newegg and it frequently goes on sale for less.

There really is no comparison if you look at the facts.
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May 29, 2011 3:00:51 PM

hey flong he wont go with 580's in sli and i think that 2 6950's because any game at 1900x1200 will be maxed out by them. so can you please show me now that an ax1200 isnt a waste of money since a hx 850 will handle them any day
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May 29, 2011 3:29:44 PM

Flong you're just trolling at this point.

It's stated very clearly the power values I linked ARE TOTAL SYSTEM POWER. NOT JUST A GTX 580. Since you refuse to actually read articles I link, here's it all spelled out for you.

Anandtechs test sytem, with:
1. i7-920 overclocked to 3.33ghz
2. Asus ramapge II extreme
3. OCZ summit 120gb
4. Patriot Viper DDR3-1333 3 x 2GB
5. 2 gtx 580's run in sli

Uses:
At full load under furmark, 777 watts TOTAL SYSTEM POWER measured at the socket, IE AC power intake.
Gaming under Crysis, 620 watts TOTAL SYSTEM POWER measured at the socket, IE AC power intake.
At idle, 205 watts TOTAL SYSTEM POWER measured at the socket, IE AC power intake.

I can't believed you passed ECE 101 if you think a PSU magically takes AC power and Outputs MORE DC wattage than it takes in.

Look up transformer efficiency.

If you bother to read SPCR's testing methodology, they use industry standards, with professional sound testing equipment in a 11dBa anechoic chamber. The aren't using some cheap meter in a noisy lab like everyone else does, which is why they are acknowledge as THE best silent computing review site around.

Also, read the actual jonnyguru article on the AX850...
Quote:
If we look at test 3, 5 and 8 (20%, 50% and 100%), we can see that we just missed the 80 Plus Gold criteria (87%, 90%, 87%) with this unit. Instead, we have very respectable silver performance. The numbers are so close, it's barely worth mentioning. Different variables come into play that could cause the efficiency to be slightly different between my unit and the one that 80 Plus tested, such as how the loads are distributed across the rails or how well the connection is between the modular cables and the PSU body or the connection between the connectors and the load tester itself.


Further I called diablotek shitty, and called Seasonic, Kingwin and Delta good. Actually read what I write?

Finally, did you even bother reading the anandtech article I linked? The max efficiency range is explained quite clearly there, and YES, EVERY PSU on the planet bar none, has a worse efficiency below 25% or above 85% load than btwn 25% and 85% load....

If you really want to argue that point then go take it up with the editors of Anandtech or JonnyGuru.

In fact, here's a link to PM Jonny himself. Feel free to check with him about anything I've told you about PSU's.
http://www.overclock.net/member.php?u=35240
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May 29, 2011 3:48:08 PM

well put banthracis. those 1366 cpu's are really inefficient flong since we are talking about sandy bridge
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May 29, 2011 3:54:03 PM

Thanks mjmjpfaff. I really don't understand why flong is the one person trying to push the OP to buy a 1200W PSU when everyone else here is stating the opposite.
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May 29, 2011 6:51:15 PM

banthracis said:
Flong you're just trolling at this point.

It's stated very clearly the power values I linked ARE TOTAL SYSTEM POWER. NOT JUST A GTX 580. Since you refuse to actually read articles I link, here's it all spelled out for you.

Anandtechs test sytem, with:
1. i7-920 overclocked to 3.33ghz
2. Asus ramapge II extreme
3. OCZ summit 120gb
4. Patriot Viper DDR3-1333 3 x 2GB
5. 2 gtx 580's run in sli

Uses:
At full load under furmark, 777 watts TOTAL SYSTEM POWER measured at the socket, IE AC power intake.
Gaming under Crysis, 620 watts TOTAL SYSTEM POWER measured at the socket, IE AC power intake.
At idle, 205 watts TOTAL SYSTEM POWER measured at the socket, IE AC power intake.

I can't believed you passed ECE 101 if you think a PSU magically takes AC power and Outputs MORE DC wattage than it takes in.

Look up transformer efficiency.

If you bother to read SPCR's testing methodology, they use industry standards, with professional sound testing equipment in a 11dBa anechoic chamber. The aren't using some cheap meter in a noisy lab like everyone else does, which is why they are acknowledge as THE best silent computing review site around.

Also, read the actual jonnyguru article on the AX850...
Quote:
If we look at test 3, 5 and 8 (20%, 50% and 100%), we can see that we just missed the 80 Plus Gold criteria (87%, 90%, 87%) with this unit. Instead, we have very respectable silver performance. The numbers are so close, it's barely worth mentioning. Different variables come into play that could cause the efficiency to be slightly different between my unit and the one that 80 Plus tested, such as how the loads are distributed across the rails or how well the connection is between the modular cables and the PSU body or the connection between the connectors and the load tester itself.


Further I called diablotek shitty, and called Seasonic, Kingwin and Delta good. Actually read what I write?

Finally, did you even bother reading the anandtech article I linked? The max efficiency range is explained quite clearly there, and YES, EVERY PSU on the planet bar none, has a worse efficiency below 25% or above 85% load than btwn 25% and 85% load....

If you really want to argue that point then go take it up with the editors of Anandtech or JonnyGuru.

In fact, here's a link to PM Jonny himself. Feel free to check with him about anything I've told you about PSU's.
http://www.overclock.net/member.php?u=35240



Banthracis I am not Trolling - you didn't answer the comments I made and you made a lot of false statements. I have provided substantiation for my statements and I have invited you to respond to defend your comments.

If anyone is trolling it is you with your snide ECE comments! You really come across as arrogant. I ask you to clarify what efficiencies you are talking about and you respond with a 3rd grade insult. At my college they teach programming in ECE 100 not electrical engineering - or circuits. So are you even using the right class for your insults??? We are not discussing programming issues here.

You still don't understand what I am saying. Any PSU must supply MORE power not less if it is dealing with inefficiencies of various components. EACH component will draw more not less power. That is what I was talking about. This is a general principle in electrical engineering.

You are talking about the 777 watts that are shown on the Anadtech graph for crysis and you are saying that the "socket" draw is 640 W in actual power. My comment to you was I am not sure how you are arriving at those numbers. I am not very familiar with how Anandtech lists its wattages. You then responded by saying it is basic ECE 101 - which didn't answer the question. But they are somewhat irrelevant anyway at this point.

You evidently are just glossing over my responses and are not taking the time to understand them. Of course every PSU in general follows a broad - 25% - 85% efficiency range that goes without saying. However we are talking about specific PSU efficiencies for THIS application. That is why I reviewed the specific efficiencies of the 850 HX to show that at over 538 W it begins to drop in efficiency. And so if you have two 580s in SLI and you are gaming you will quickly drop out of the "sweet spot" of the efficiency range for that PSU. That is why that PSU is a poor choice for THIS OP's needs.

Amusingly you then switch to the AX 850 and say that you were talking about the AX 850 and recommending that when everyone has been talking about the HX 850. Then when I point out that Johnny Guru's review of the AX 850 showed that it didn't even make its gold rating you say well - JG said it did just miss it.

You really just don't get it. The AX 850 was supposed to be a gold rated PSU and it didn't make the cut. It doesn't matter how much it missed by. Quality PSUs make the cut - it is as simple as that.

To be fair to you, the HardOCP review of the AX 850 was much better and though they didn't take specific measurements, they thought it would make the gold rating. That being said, the JG review made me not consider the AX 850 when I bought the HX 850. Honestly can you think of anyone who wants to pay extra for a gold-plus rated PSU and then have the PSU come up short? That is why it is somewhat unbelievable that you would recommend it at all.

The "system" that you are referring to in the Anandtech is a 920 base system with no other peripherals listed. That is what you are basing your whole argument on. Anandtech does not say this system has extra fans, a aftermarket cpu cooler, how many hard drives, what is the monitor draw on the card, etc. They don't specify this in their test setup. My point is that from their description I am not sure that this is representative of a real world system power usage for a single 580 card or an SLI 580 setup. It appears that Anantech was trying to isolate the card's power usage as much as possible and so they didn't want to muddy the water by adding other items to their test system which is understandable.

To be fair to you, I did misunderstand that the 777 W and the 208 W idle power that they use did include the limited 920 system they describe. I apologize for not being fair with you on this point.

That being said, it takes very few real world adds to the Anandtech system to get the idle into the efficiency sweet spot of the AX 1200 at 238 W.

And your assertion that the real world power draw of a single 580 complete system that we are talking about (not the limited Anandtech test system) will not draw at least 238 W is unsupported by the reviews that you have submitted. Your argument is therefore unsupported.

You need to show that the real-world system we are discussing with a single 580 will not hit 238W in normal non-gaming usage to support your argument. I don't think you will be able to do it.

And remember banthracis, we are not talking about idle PSU usage here anyway - we are talking about non-gaming usuage which does put demands on the PSU. The Anandtech numbers you are citing are idle numbers when nothing is going on.

We won't even discuss gaming efficiencies and SLI because then it becomes clear that you have no argument whatsoever. Even the limited Anandtech test system goes way out of the efficiency range sweet spot of the AX and HX 850 PSUs when an SLI system is considered.

I suppose that your solution to help the OP to solve the 82% efficiency, high heat, and noise issues of the AX 850 and HX 850 PSUs when used with a two-card 580 SLI system would be to go and buy a bigger PSU.

Hmmm, I would recommend the AX 1200 as a possible solution.
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May 29, 2011 7:16:04 PM

mjmjpfaff said:
hey flong he wont go with 580's in sli and i think that 2 6950's because any game at 1900x1200 will be maxed out by them. so can you please show me now that an ax1200 isnt a waste of money since a hx 850 will handle them any day


I am not sure how you can really make that statement at all. How is buying the AX 1200 which is arguably the highest rated, most efficient, gold rated, 1200 W PSU in existence "a waste of money." Only Antec's 1200W PSU is in the same league as the AX 1200. How can buying such a high quality PSU be a "waste of money." Further, we are not dealing with an $500 budget here, there is sufficient budget to purchase a high quality PSU.

We have now conveniently switched from 580s to 6950s which use much less power but let me answer that question.

As bathrancis has pointed out, once PSUs are pushed past 75% - 80% they lose efficiency (he said 85% but we will give him the benefit of the doubt).

While I doubt that any crossfire system with two 6950s will approach that 80% usage, what we are really talking about is that with the HX 850, efficiency starts to go down at 538 W. The intelligent thing to do would be to analyze all of the system power requirements to see if it approaches this usage.

I don't know the 6950 power draw off hand, but after analyzing the total system power requirements of a crossfire system the normal everday low demand use exceeded 238 W, then the AX 1200 would be an excellent choice.

Remember mjmjpfaff that the 850 W PSUs also drop in efficiency as you go below 200W. So the 850W PSUs will drop in efficiency just as much as the AX 1200 will. I would check to see which PSU gives the best efficiencies over the projected power usage of the computer.

You are all wound up about spending $70 or $80 extra on a larger PSU of high quality in a $2000 computer and I simply don't agree with you. You seem to think that is a real problem and I don't agree. Especially when you are talking about Corsair which has the best warranty in the business.

For myself, if the low demand power usage of my system was in the 225W range I would not hesitate to buy a high quality PSU like the AX 1200 and spend the extra money over an 850 W PSU of similar quality.

If the AX 1200 cost was $150 more than yes, cost would start to become a realistic issue to consider. But that is not the case. Frankly I feel silly even have to discuss an $70 upgrade to a better PSU on a $2000 - $2500 system. The only caveat would be does the total CF system use enough minimum power (non-gaming low-demand) to get to the 88.5% efficiency rating of the AX 1200 at 238 W.
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May 30, 2011 5:14:23 AM

I am feeling very conflicted about graphics. Crossfire 6970s or sli gtx 580s? Which will be "relevant" longer? I am conflicted as I have seen differing results in tests, where it seems to be a toss up depending on the game... So, the deal breaker for me is which set up will last longer, and I can't decide between the value of 6970 and the performance of 580, but when you pair them, the 6970s seem to catch up... OR, should I go with a single 6990 card, and wait for my money to catch up and crossfire it when I need to/can afford to in 2-3 years?
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May 30, 2011 6:01:16 AM

590/580x2/6970x2. the 6990 is way too loud
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May 30, 2011 9:34:33 AM

tall guy john said:
I am feeling very conflicted about graphics. Crossfire 6970s or sli gtx 580s? Which will be "relevant" longer? I am conflicted as I have seen differing results in tests, where it seems to be a toss up depending on the game... So, the deal breaker for me is which set up will last longer, and I can't decide between the value of 6970 and the performance of 580, but when you pair them, the 6970s seem to catch up... OR, should I go with a single 6990 card, and wait for my money to catch up and crossfire it when I need to/can afford to in 2-3 years?


You are one of the few in this forum that has the budget to discuss running two GTX 580s in SLI or two 6970s in crossfire. The real answer depends on how serious a gamer you are. The only real use for such graphics power would be very serious gaming.

Honestly with two 580s or two 6970s combined I doubt that you would max out on any game in existence (but keep in mind I am not a serious gamer). The only scenario I could think of is if you ran two or three hi-resolution (27" or 30") monitors which has not been discussed.

The contrast between the two systems would be fairly simple:

1. The 580s will be faster and quieter than the 6970s, but not a whole lot. And really, will you need that difference in performance. I think a serious gamer should answer that question. Chances are you would not.

2. You are concerned about the longevity of the system and you should be. Newer and better video cards are being released almost on a yearly basis. This is why currently I most often recommend two 6950s in crossfire for gaming systems (for people who want to run two cards) because of their lower cost. If you spend $450 or so on a crossfire system that can run just about every game at max settings, it is a lot less painful when it becomes outdated than if you spend $1000 on an SLI or crossfire system that is outdated.

There is a good chance that your video cards will be out-of-date within a year to a year and a half after you purchase them as far as being the newest and best.

For example, just a little over a year ago the best and most desired GTX video card was the GTX 480 which was noisy, expensive, a virtual heater in the your computer and ate power like there was no tomorrow. Though heavily criticized, it was very fast for its time and many enthusiasts modified their cooling systems just to accommodate this card. Now a year later and no one would really consider using a GTX 480 unless it was given to them as a gift.

The point is you probably cannot future proof your video card purchase - the technology moves too fast. That is why two 6950s in crossfire is a good option because you don't have that much invested in the current generation cards relatively speaking.

3. If you are rich enough than none of this matters and you can update your cards at will. But most people cannot afford to spend $1000 on video cards then replace them every year.

If you are unsure, you might want to go the cheaper route for now and go with Tom's Hardware's recommendation of two 6950 cards in crossfire. If you look for sales you can do this for under $500. It will give you a system more than sufficient to play any computer game. I am fairly sure that you can run three 1920 x 1080 monitors off of this system also if you should choose to do so - but check this before you buy the cards.

For max power, the two 580s will deliver, but you will pay a premium for that performance and a year from now you may be in the same situation as those who paid a lot for their GTX 480 SLI systems.

BTW I am not putting down GTX 480 owners, it is a very powerful card and their systems will certainly still play any game they want to play at max settings.
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May 30, 2011 10:22:58 AM

flong, you keep advocating for downgrading the video cards and increase the PSU power to 1200W.

Also who cares about 87% vs 90% efficiency?

I would get one HD 6970 (best bang for the buck, can run anything in full HD) and replace it with a 7xxx series when it won't be able to run the games. And a cheaper mobo and PSU.
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May 30, 2011 10:34:23 AM

mosox said:

Also who cares about 87% vs 90% efficiency?

I would get one HD 6970 (best bang for the buck, can run anything in full HD) and replace it with a 7xxx series when it won't be able to run the games. And a cheaper mobo and PSU.


Well that depend on situation but with kW+ PSUs considering you load them for 24/7 it save 0.25MW electricity per year.
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May 30, 2011 10:43:16 AM

mosox said:
flong, you keep advocating for downgrading the video cards and increase the PSU power to 1200W.

Also who cares about 87% vs 90% efficiency?

I would get one HD 6970 (best bang for the buck, can run anything in full HD) and replace it with a 7xxx series when it won't be able to run the games. And a cheaper mobo and PSU.


It certainly is a viable alternative however it appears that you did not read the OPs original goals. A single 6970 will play all games but not at max settings. Further, I agree with Tom's Hardware's analysis that the 6970 is too expensive compared to the crossfire system of two 6950s.

Also I am not "advocating" for anything - I am presenting options to the OP. The OP is smart to consider the longevity of this system, especially the video cards, before he spends as much as $1100 on two GTX 580. If the OP is independently wealthy this is not an issue and they can afford the most powerful option of an SLI 580 system and not have to worry about it going out of date because they can update their system whenever they choose.

If the OP is not wealthy, and they are concerned about the cards going out of date, then one alternative to consider is to crossfire two 6950s which is less than half the price of an SLI 580 system.

These are two options for the OP - I advocate neither. The option you present is a third option but I do not think it meets the OP goals for the best gaming machine and possible multi- monitor system. The OP is not requesting the cheapest system that will do the job - read the original post. The OP is not looking for the "best bang for the buck" $1200 system.

Finally, the concern about efficiency is not a difference between 87% and 90% as you say- it is a difference between 80% and 90%+, which is significant. But it is much more than a 10% efficiency difference, it is about having a cooler,, quieter and more efficient PSU for approximately $70 (than the AX 850) more on a $2500 gaming system budget. It is also about the OP having the added benefit of being able to have more than enough power to overclock and run three HD monitors without having to worry about buying a new PSU because the 850W units being discussed would not do the job. The AX 1200 will run the CF or SLI system more efficiently, nearly silently and will not heat up the OP's case. The same can not be said for the HX 850 (which I own BTW).

Please take time to understand what the OP is asking for before you criticize others who have invested that time.
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May 30, 2011 11:29:42 AM

xrodney said:
Well that depend on situation but with kW+ PSUs considering you load them for 24/7 it save 0.25MW electricity per year.


Tom's Hardware had an interesting article on how much power a high-end computer system consumes and I was quite surprised by the numbers. I don't remember the specifics but my thought was that gamers must have very high power bills ha, ha. Anyway, all the more reason to buy a quiet and efficient PSU to help trim those numbers. Afterall, gamers game 24/7 right :-)
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May 30, 2011 1:55:04 PM

flong said:

1. The 580s will be faster and quieter than the 6970s, but not a whole lot. And really, will you need that difference in performance. I think a serious gamer should answer that question. Chances are you would not.

2. You are concerned about the longevity of the system and you should be. Newer and better video cards are being released almost on a yearly basis. This is why currently I most often recommend two 6950s in crossfire for gaming systems (for people who want to run two cards) because of their lower cost. If you spend $450 or so on a crossfire system that can run just about every game at max settings, it is a lot less painful when it becomes outdated than if you spend $1000 on an SLI or crossfire system that is outdated.

There is a good chance that your video cards will be out-of-date within a year to a year and a half after you purchase them as far as being the newest and best.

For example, just a little over a year ago the best and most desired GTX video card was the GTX 480 which was noisy, expensive, a virtual heater in the your computer and ate power like there was no tomorrow. Though heavily criticized, it was very fast for its time and many enthusiasts modified their cooling systems just to accommodate this card. Now a year later and no one would really consider using a GTX 480 unless it was given to them as a gift.

The point is you probably cannot future proof your video card purchase - the technology moves too fast. That is why two 6950s in crossfire is a good option because you don't have that much invested in the current generation cards relatively speaking.

3. If you are rich enough than none of this matters and you can update your cards at will. But most people cannot afford to spend $1000 on video cards then replace them every year.

If you are unsure, you might want to go the cheaper route for now and go with Tom's Hardware's recommendation of two 6950 cards in crossfire. If you look for sales you can do this for under $500. It will give you a system more than sufficient to play any computer game. I am fairly sure that you can run three 1920 x 1080 monitors off of this system also if you should choose to do so - but check this before you buy the cards.

i totally agree with you flong dual 6950's are the way to go becuase technology is just going to keep moving faster.
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May 31, 2011 2:03:00 AM

I see what you guys are saying, and I'm leaning to those 6950s, but I would only be able to spend this $2.5k total once in 6 years, or upgrade a 500 dollar card investement every 3 or so, and I'm trying to find that balance, and it ain't easy lol.
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