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June 6, 2011 7:32:59 AM

I would like some input on the below to-be-built gaming desktop.

Budget $2000.00

It will be running Windows 7 64bit.

Case is not included as I have not decided on one but it will be a full tower.

Monitor, keyboard, mouse not needed.


Motherboard: ASUS Sabertooth X58 LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Processor: Intel Core i7-950 Bloomfield 3.06GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor BX80601950
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

RAM (QVL): Kingston HyperX 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model KHX1600C9D3K3/6GX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Cards 2 SLI: EVGA SuperClocked 01G-P3-1563-AR GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power Supply: Antec TPQ-1200 1200W Continuous Power with PowerCache Technology SLI Ready CrossFire Certified 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SSD: Kingston SSDNow V+100 SVP100S2B/96GR 2.5" 96GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HD: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD10EALX 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Optical: ASUS Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Anything that should be changed? Comments? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

More about : build input advice

a b B Homebuilt system
June 6, 2011 8:18:12 AM

Drop the Kingston RAM, and grab some G.Skill or Mushkin. Otherwise it looks good to me, I recommend the Coolermaster HAF X, or the HAF 932 Advance (both have USB3, and plenty of room).
June 6, 2011 8:28:42 AM

IH8U said:
Drop the Kingston RAM, and grab some G.Skill or Mushkin. Otherwise it looks good to me, I recommend the Coolermaster HAF X, or the HAF 932 Advance (both have USB3, and plenty of room).


Why do you recommend dropping the Kingston RAM?
Related resources
June 6, 2011 8:44:17 AM

Can I recommend switching out the CPU and MoBo.

Whilst that 950 six core is great, it's somewhat redundant for gaming because no current games use more than 4 cores.

The new Sandybridge CPUs (socket 1155, 4 cores) have really brilliant performance: price ratio, and are actually real performers. Right up to the 980x, the Sandybridge CPUs will perform for gaming and won't let you down, and can be OCed very well with appropriate cooling, and have higher stock clock speeds. They also generates less heat.

May I suggest Intel i5 2500k:

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

The 2500k is cheaper than your chosen CPU, and I'd suggest will perform better. The 'K' on the end denotes that it can be OCed (ie, the i5 2500 cannot be OCed)

If you find the 2500k lacking (though it's optimal for gaming - perhaps you video edit, etc?), you could go for the i7 2600k, which has Hyperthreading technology, and is a bit more powerful.

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

However, for gaming, the 2600k's benefits are redundant. 2500k is all you'd need.

-------------------------------------------------

Obviously you'd need a 1155 socket MoBo, such as the Sabertooth 1155 version:

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

Or P8P67 Pro:

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

-------------------------------------------------

Also, your HDD is Caviar Blue. Whilst that's an alright HDD, you could go for the Caviar Black, which is optimised for speed and performance, at the cost of noise and heat.

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

---------------------------------------------------

As for your GPUs, whilst SLI 560Ti's are great (better than 570, slightly faster than 580 *supposedly*), you could get a single GTX 580 for a similar (perhaps cheaper) price, which whilst slightly (*marginally*) slower, will run cooler, and allow you a better upgrade path, without the problems SLI can pose.

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

---------------------------------------------------

Good luck with your build, whatever you choose :) 

(*Edits: Edited in info + linkies*)
a b B Homebuilt system
June 6, 2011 8:46:14 AM

Kingston has gone downhill RAM wise for me (they seem to be focusing on SSD's). I've had more DOA chips (or plain unstable/unable to OC) from kingston than anyone else. G.Skill seems to take an OC better, and Mushkin has even better customer support than either (though it is more pricy).
June 6, 2011 9:11:21 AM

Nihilis said:
Can I recommend switching out the CPU and MoBo.

Whilst that 950 six core is great, it's somewhat redundant for gaming because no current games use more than 4 cores.

The new Sandybridge CPUs (socket 1155, 4 cores) have really brilliant performance: price ratio, and are actually real performers. Right up to the 980x, the Sandybridge CPUs will perform for gaming and won't let you down, and can be OCed very well with appropriate cooling, and have higher stock clock speeds. They also generates less heat.

May I suggest Intel i5 2500k:

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

Obviously you'd need a 1155 socket MoBo, such as the Sabertooth 1155 version:

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

Or P8P67 Pro:

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

-------------------------------------------------

Also, your HDD is Caviar Blue. Whilst that's an alright HDD, you could go for the Caviar Black, which is optimised for speed and performance, at the cost of noise and heat.

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

---------------------------------------------------

As for your GPUs, whilst SLI 560Ti's are great (better than 570, slightly faster than 580 *supposedly*), you could get a single GTX 580 for a similar (perhaps cheaper) price, which whilst slightly (*marginally*) slower, will run cooler, and allow you a better upgrade path, without the problems SLI can pose.

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

---------------------------------------------------

Good luck with your build, whatever you choose :) 


I should probably explain more. I plan on using the computer for a 30" and 40" lcd's and playing new games in very high resolutions with max graphics. I am also building it to be fairly future proof.... meaning at least for 2 years no upgrades needed. Does that change anything? I do have more room in my budget to increase. I really overlooked the power of the i5 sandybridge. Very impressive. Why would Intel make an i5 more powerful than an i7?
June 6, 2011 9:24:35 AM

^ I have no idea why :)  Perhaps the end result was better than they assumed it would be :) 

Perhaps because Sandybridge architecture (and later in 2012 IvyBridge) is the path they're choosing to expand upon for their future CPUs.

It doesn't change much as far as I'm aware. For the graphics, if you wanted it to be futureproof in the true sense of the word, I'd suggest getting the 580 graphics.

It is slightly slower, meaning over your 2 year no upgrade duration it will perform to a somewhat lesser degree than the 560 Ti's, but you could go SLI for the 580s at a later point for a massive performance jump, or you could stick with the 580 for 2 years (you'd lose only a little vs the dual 560Ti's), saving a bit of money, and then upgrade to another future release GPU after that. But that's just my opinion, don't take it as law :) 

My argument is that you have to jump onto the ladder somewhere, and whereas if you get a single GPU, you spend a little less and can double up or upgrade later, if you go SLI straight away you've basically got no future options other than to get a completely new GPU (unless you go Tri-SLI.) Personally, I'd rather get a newer, more powerful single card than two older, individually less powerful cards, jumping onto the ladder higher up, but that's just me.

As for the HDD, I'd still suggest Caviar Black over Caviar Blue.
June 6, 2011 9:44:26 AM

Nihilis said:
^ I have no idea why :)  Perhaps the end result was better than they assumed it would be :) 

Perhaps because Sandybridge architecture (and later in 2012 IvyBridge) is the path they're choosing to expand upon for their future CPUs.

It doesn't change much as far as I'm aware. For the graphics, if you wanted it to be futureproof in the true sense of the word, I'd suggest getting the 580 graphics.

It is slightly slower, meaning over your 2 year no upgrade duration it will perform to a somewhat lesser degree than the 560 Ti's, but you could go SLI for the 580s at a later point for a massive performance jump, or you could stick with the 580 for 2 years (you'd lose only a little vs the dual 560Ti's), saving a bit of money, and then upgrade to another future release GPU after that. But that's just my opinion, don't take it as law :) 

My argument is that you have to jump onto the ladder somewhere, and whereas if you get a single GPU, you spend a little less and can double up or upgrade later, if you go SLI straight away you've basically got no future options other than to get a completely new GPU (unless you go Tri-SLI.) Personally, I'd rather get a newer, more powerful single card than two older, individually less powerful cards, jumping onto the ladder higher up, but that's just me.

As for the HDD, I'd still suggest Caviar Black over Caviar Blue.


I will reconsider the 580 then.

The sabertooth mobo you recommended - its states it runs PCIe "2 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (single at x16 or dual at x8/x8 mode)." Does that mean it can run both x16 video cards at full speed with SLI? Is there a really big difference between the x58, p67 and z68 chipsets other than the processors it can run?
June 6, 2011 9:57:59 AM

^ As someone whose never really delved into SLI workings beyond the basics, I can't answer that accurately. I wouldn't want to guess else I misinform you.

However, you could read this article which seems to suggest that there's little difference in SLI between 8x and 16x speeds :)  http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/pcie-geforce-gtx-48...

As for the chipsets, it's mainly things such as channel memory, PCIe speeds, SLI capabilities, etc. x58 can't handle Sandy Bridge I believe. P67 and Z68 can.
June 6, 2011 6:43:40 PM

I'd go with the CPU and Mobo that Nihilis recommended (either Mobo will work well).

Your PSU is way overboard. That PSU is for like Quad SLI'd GTX 580s. I'd go with something in the 850W range. Seasonic is my favorite brand but anything from Antec, Corsair, XFX, or PC Power and Cooling will work too.

The H70 isn't a particularly good cooler. The only reason I'd get it is if I wanted to put a performance CPU in a small case and didn't have room for a big Air cooler. Get something like the CoolerMaster Hyper 212+ which has great bang for buck (about $30). Or if you are interested in the top end, a Noctua NH-D14 or the NH-C14 (They both run around $90).

I'd also get rid of that Kingston SSD. Its been pretty poorly reviewed. Something from OCZ, Intel, or Crucial/Micron will serve you well. ADATA also makes some decent SSDs.

For a storage HDD I'd recommend the Samsung Spinpoint F3. They offer a good balance of space, performance, and price.

For your video card you mentioned you'd be using this computer with 30" and 40" LCDs at "very high resolutions? Do you mean you are going to be using two separate monitors at the same time? And by "very high resolutions" do you mean 2560X1600? The answers to these questions will dramatically affect GPU recommendations.

June 6, 2011 8:57:43 PM

subasteve5800 said:
I'd go with the CPU and Mobo that Nihilis recommended (either Mobo will work well).

Your PSU is way overboard. That PSU is for like Quad SLI'd GTX 580s. I'd go with something in the 850W range. Seasonic is my favorite brand but anything from Antec, Corsair, XFX, or PC Power and Cooling will work too.

The H70 isn't a particularly good cooler. The only reason I'd get it is if I wanted to put a performance CPU in a small case and didn't have room for a big Air cooler. Get something like the CoolerMaster Hyper 212+ which has great bang for buck (about $30). Or if you are interested in the top end, a Noctua NH-D14 or the NH-C14 (They both run around $90).

I'd also get rid of that Kingston SSD. Its been pretty poorly reviewed. Something from OCZ, Intel, or Crucial/Micron will serve you well. ADATA also makes some decent SSDs.

For a storage HDD I'd recommend the Samsung Spinpoint F3. They offer a good balance of space, performance, and price.

For your video card you mentioned you'd be using this computer with 30" and 40" LCDs at "very high resolutions? Do you mean you are going to be using two separate monitors at the same time? And by "very high resolutions" do you mean 2560X1600? The answers to these questions will dramatically affect GPU recommendations.


I calculated the power source I needed with Newegg's power source calculator and it said I needed one at 950w. I don't know how reliable that is.

I find mixed reviews on the H70. I'm really not sure about it or what I should do for my cooling solution.

I think I'm going to do away with the Kingston SSD for a Crucial Vertex 3.

I plan on using the cards at max graphics/resolution on each screen separately. Not dual screened.

Lastly, I'm torn on getting the i5 sandy bridge or a better performing i7 that isn't sandy bridge. Your thoughts?
June 6, 2011 9:31:50 PM

We'll before we settle on a PSU, we should figure out what GPUs are going to be used, Since they are generally the largest power draw in a gaming rig. Before we can figure out what GPU you should be using we need to know the resolution of the monitors you are going to be using. "Max resolution" is sort of meaningless because there are monitors with a Max resolution of 1024x768 and there are monitors that have a max resolution more than double that. If you know what monitors you are going to be using you should post a link or some specs. (If these are TVs then the highest resolution is going to be 1080p which is 1920x1080) If you don't know we should assume 1920x1080 as that's the most common resolution out today.

The H70 is a decent cooler. The problem is its not a decent cooler for its price. It's cool to say you have a water cooler but when you think about it, the H70 is simply an air cooler with cooling stack moved away from the socket. Instead of standard cooling (where the heat goes CPU-->Faceplate-->Heat Pipes-->Fins-->Air) the H70 goes CPU-->Faceplate-->Water-->Fins-->Air. The actual heat dissipation is the done by the air anyway.

The vertex 3 is one of the top performing SSDs out today. The crucial m4 is also a nice one.

The i5 Sandy Bridge is a much better processor. Anandtech has a great benchmarking tool called "bench" that you can use to compare all sorts of stuff. (Here's a link http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/100?vs=288 ) You can see that the i5-2500K equals or beats the i7-950 in most benchmarks. And these benchmarks were done AT STOCK. The sandy bridge chip will overclock much better (and easier, with the unlocked multiplier) giving it an even greater performance edge.
June 6, 2011 9:44:14 PM

subasteve5800 said:
We'll before we settle on a PSU, we should figure out what GPUs are going to be used, Since they are generally the largest power draw in a gaming rig. Before we can figure out what GPU you should be using we need to know the resolution of the monitors you are going to be using. "Max resolution" is sort of meaningless because there are monitors with a Max resolution of 1024x768 and there are monitors that have a max resolution more than double that. If you know what monitors you are going to be using you should post a link or some specs. (If these are TVs then the highest resolution is going to be 1080p which is 1920x1080) If you don't know we should assume 1920x1080 as that's the most common resolution out today.

The H70 is a decent cooler. The problem is its not a decent cooler for its price. It's cool to say you have a water cooler but when you think about it, the H70 is simply an air cooler with cooling stack moved away from the socket. Instead of standard cooling (where the heat goes CPU-->Faceplate-->Heat Pipes-->Fins-->Air) the H70 goes CPU-->Faceplate-->Water-->Fins-->Air. The actual heat dissipation is the done by the air anyway.

The vertex 3 is one of the top performing SSDs out today. The crucial m4 is also a nice one.

The i5 Sandy Bridge is a much better processor. Anandtech has a great benchmarking tool called "bench" that you can use to compare all sorts of stuff. (Here's a link http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/100?vs=288 ) You can see that the i5-2500K equals or beats the i7-950 in most benchmarks. And these benchmarks were done AT STOCK. The sandy bridge chip will overclock much better (and easier, with the unlocked multiplier) giving it an even greater performance edge.


Let's stick with the 1080p resolutions because they 1080p.
June 7, 2011 5:02:33 PM

Ok. I had some spare time during lunch and I put together a new build.

Case: Silverstone Raven RV02B-EW - $190
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: Intel i5-2500K - $225
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MOBO: Asus P8Z68-V PRO - $210
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: 8GB (2x4GB) G.Skill Ripjaws 1600Mhz CAS9 - $87
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Data HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB - $65
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SSD: OCZ Vertex 3 120GB - $253
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: 2 x Gigabyte HD 6970 2GB OC Edition - $710 ($355 each)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: Corsair CMPSU-950TX 950w PSU - $155
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 - $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD Burner: Asus Burner - $21
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total Price $2005.89 + Shipping ($51 to my house) - Rebates ($10 mail in).

This thing will fly. If you feel like saving some money you can go fo a single 6970. Even a single 6970 should still be enough to play most current and upcoming games on Max settings (you may have to forgo some AA) at 1080p.

I went with the Silverstone case because I love it. I think the thermal and noise management is superb and its pretty stylish to boot.

I also went with a new Z68 Motherboard. Its not quite as pretty as the Sabertooth but its a very good board and the Z68 chipset will give you access to SSD caching and Quicksync video encoding if you ever feel the urge to use those features.

I chose an 8GB ram kit because its so cheap right now and in a high end build like this 8 gigs is becoming the new norm.

I wasn't super happy with the PSU I picked. Its a kick ass PSU for sure and is powerful enough to handle dual 6970s but it isn't modular and I really like modular PSUs for cable management. The extra $70 bucks was just too much of a premium to pay though.

As I mentioned, the Noctua cooler is one of, if not the, best coolers around. Short of a high-end custom water cooling setup, this is pretty much the tops. Especially if you consider noise and not just thermals.

Overall it is an awesome build. If I had two grand to drop this is probably how I'd do it.
!