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First build - Gaming System

Last response: in Systems
June 2, 2011 3:35:33 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: By end of July

Budget Range: $1500-2500... I prefer to be under 2000 so I can upgrade monitors sooner, but if spending a littler extra is a better value I'm open to it.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, office work

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, speakers, monitors, ODD, 2x2GB Corsair Dominator GT 2000 MHz, possibly 500GB HDD out of old 2 year old system

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, Amazon, open to others

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: Intel CPU, 2x Radeon HD6950

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Yes

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 and up (when I upgrade monitors)

Additional Comments: I've been debating between i5-2500k and i7-2600k. My biggest worry is if the 2 6950 cards will fit on the mother board and in the case.


OS: Win 7 Home Premium
CPU: i5-2500k or i7-2600k
GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD7-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
SILVERSTONE RAVEN RV02B-EW Matte black reinforced plastic outer shell, 0.8mm Steel body ATX Full Tower Computer Case
OCZ Vertex 3 VTX3-25SAT3-120G 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
MSI R6950 Twin Frozr II OC Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity
CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-850HX 850W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
Antec KUHLER H2O 920 Liquid Cooling System

Alternative Parts
COOLER MASTER HAF 932 Advanced RC-932-KKN5-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower Compucase Case with USB 3.0 and Black Interior
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

Currently Own
CORSAIR DOMINATOR GT 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2000 (PC3 16000) Desktop Memory Model CMT4GX3M2A2000C8

More about : build gaming system

June 2, 2011 3:44:35 AM

If I'm going overkill on certain items, I'm open to suggestions that are a better value vs performance, such as i5-2500k vs i7-2600k.
June 2, 2011 4:04:17 AM

If your purchase is end of July, you might want to wait & see if the Bulldozer chip has finally come out & how it stacks up with the Sandybridge. The FX990 mobos for bulldozer are coming out in ~1 week.

Based on your list, if it's for gaming i-5 2500k is good & you save ~$100+ pending if you have a microcenter you can pick one up for $179.99

The Raven RV02b-EW = one sexy looking case & I kind of wished I went for that vs my Haf-X

Adding another 4gb of ram will be nice

Other than that, solid build, as I'm guessing you're going to flash the 6950s to 6970s on that msi card.
Related resources
June 2, 2011 4:26:34 AM

Is the MB overkill? I went with it because of the x16/x16 in CF, does x16/x16 provide a major benefit over x8/x8. Also will the MB have enough room to fit the 6950s? I use to work distribution/oem and would build out systems but I've never messed with GPUs that take up 2 slots.
June 2, 2011 4:43:47 AM

Some would say yes for the extra ~3~5% performance you get with x16/x16, but for some every performance gain is a plus. That's ultimately up to you to decide if it's worth the extra ~$100 bucks.

I took at the motherboard layout on newegg & the 2x pci-e x16 slots are spaced like most other boards, so I don't really see any advantage there. You won't have any issues with spacing based on the motherboard & with a full tower, it shouldn't be a problem either.

I haven't had the chance to work with the sexy Raven RV02b-EW case, but if you're worried about spacing due to the vertical layout of the mobo, for basically the same price you can go with the Haf-X which is a traditional layout with TONS of room & one of the best airflow cases. It's the primary reason why I ultimately didn't go for the Raven RV02b-EW.
June 2, 2011 9:07:13 PM

That page compares x8/x8 to x16/x16 when used with a 6950, and the difference is less than 1%. You can get a better value from a cheaper MB.

Also, why are you looking at a Z68 board? If you use it for the SSD caching, instead buy a smaller capacity SSD. If you use it for the video editing, that's justified.
June 2, 2011 9:23:57 PM

The only reason I was looking at the Z68 was because it was popping up on the "best gaming pcs" as of May. I've been out of system building (use to work disti and OEM) so I haven't built anything in 3 years and have no idea on the best values now. What would your opinion be a good Sandy Bridge board? I've never OC but plan on doing it with this system.

BTW I appreciate everyone's help!
June 2, 2011 10:37:19 PM

I'd look at:

If you aren't using the Z68 features, you can get a better value from a P67 board. And since 8x/8x crossfire is identical to 16x/16x, I'd look at these two boards. The ASRock board is a crazy value for what it's worth (high overclocking and crossfire), the ASUS board is there if you feel more comfortable buying a bigger name board with additonal bells and whistles.
June 8, 2011 1:42:38 AM

To update, so far I've purchased
OS: Win 7 Home Premium 64 Retail
CPU: i7-2600K
MB: Asus P8P67
HDD: WD Caviar Black 1TB
PSU: Thermaltake TR2 RX 750W Bronze
Purchased these together locally off craigslist for $650 (Newegg: $850)

Case: Silverstone Fortress FT02 - Silver version - Purchased for $175 (Newegg: $249)
Memory: Corsair Dominator GT 4GB 2000MHz - Purchased for $86 (Newegg: $130)

Remaining Products:
GPU: 2x MSI HD6950 2GB
SSD: OCZ Vertex 3

Current Cost: ~$915
Current Savings: ~315

Thank you everyone for all the help! I appreciate it very much