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Gulftown i7-990x - is it worth building a system around?

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  • Intel i7
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September 5, 2011 3:30:18 PM

All,

I'm about to build a system, primarily for gaming. I've been offered an unused i7-990x by a friend. Is it worth building around this, or should I start from scratch with something else? Budget would be $1k-$2k.

Are there any known limitations with Gulftown? I've read conflicting information about SLI and the 9xx series. I'll probably end up with a single mid-high end card rather than multiple graphics cards.

I used to keep up with all this stuff, but work and family life's overtaken the total number of hours in the day.

Thanks

AoN



More about : gulftown 990x worth building system

September 5, 2011 3:37:03 PM

A 990x is FAR in excess of anything current gaming will demand, so yeah, I'd say it's worth building around if you've got the cash.
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September 5, 2011 4:56:26 PM

Yeah, why spend lots of money in a 990x when you can have the i7 2600k for much less! I would never buy a 990x, after all the reviews Ive seen compared to the i7 Sandybridge,it can deliver the same performance or just about.Go for the Sandybridge mate,then get a nice set of powerful ram and you will be more than happy. Spend the rest of the money in a SLI set/ SSD
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a c 103 à CPUs
September 5, 2011 4:58:47 PM

Unless you are offered it for $200 or less go with a 2500K for ma gaming build.
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September 5, 2011 10:00:59 PM

I should clarify- the chip is offered free.

Thanks, AoN
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September 5, 2011 10:13:11 PM

If offered free. Take it and run far far FAR AWAY. But first make sure it's a legit thing and test it in someones system. If it does turn out to be the real deal, then you got the real deal. Or you can sell it to some dumb idiot for $800 and buy urself a sandy bridge pc...


Either way, if its real. You win.

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September 5, 2011 10:23:35 PM

Yes! By all means take it! I agree with lilotimz, if it's legit, you can build a system around it, if you don't want to you can sell it and get some extra cash.
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a c 127 à CPUs
September 5, 2011 10:28:08 PM

If free then a $1K+ 6 core CPU is well worth the rest of the build materials.

But make sure to get a very nice mobo, all X58s support CFX or SLI and some nice high end triple channel RAM like Corsair vengance.
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a c 103 à CPUs
September 5, 2011 11:07:40 PM

I would sell it to someone thats wants it for an upgrade as the whole platform will soon be replaced, or wait until it is and try to get second user motherboard from someone thats upgradeing.
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September 6, 2011 1:07:04 AM

I would also sell it as well and use it all for a nice sandy bridge build on a 2500k for gaming or 2600k if you do more than that. Probably 2500k so you could save more cash for ivy when it comes out.
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September 6, 2011 1:21:01 AM

If it is indeed the real deal, and free, by all means.....take it and build a system around it. As to the people suggesting that you sell it, you may find it difficult to find someone willing to pay a decent amount for it, since the i7-2600k can be had for $300. But you can build a very nice and decent lasting system with that cpu, so go for it if all is kosher.
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September 6, 2011 1:26:48 AM

Seems a little dodgy to sell it if your mate is giving it to you for free.

A 1366 mobo looks more expensive than a 1155 one, ram looks fairly similar. Sandybridge will have a better upgrade path, but the 990x is overkill anyway. Only downside is if your friend rips you off, so check the chip first, but i assume he is honest.

I would take the free 990x, but you will be happy with a 2500k with an aftermarket cooler.
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September 6, 2011 2:25:08 AM

i7 990X is great for gaming. It is excessive for it and costs alot, thus you rarely see it recommended for gaming only builds. However 1366 is a great dual card platform as it has enough PCI-E lanes to do a full 2 x 16x.
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September 6, 2011 12:40:41 PM

This compares a 990X to a SB 2600k
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/core-i7-26...

If the box still has the metallic strip still intact you could try to sell it to a socket 1156 diehard. Price I saw on E-bay was $760.00 for the 990X but don't know how many they are selling. It would cost you ~$225 or so to get a MoBo and triple channel memory for an 1156 set up. For $225 you can get a 2500K SB said to be the sweet spot for a SB gaming rig.
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September 6, 2011 12:58:19 PM

LGA 1366 - 1156 is the old dual channel (Lynnfield) platform that Sandybridge (1155) replaced.
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September 6, 2011 10:26:11 PM

Thanks for the useful information.

Accepting and then sellling the chip is not an option, it's being offered for me to use not sell.

The offeror is a very good friend, and honest.

My only risk here is the dollars spent in the hardware surrounding the CPU :) 

Thanks,

AoN.
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September 6, 2011 10:37:10 PM

Then I would say use it. The parts to finish the 990X system cost less than an entire SB system. Your gaming performance will be about the same as a SB system, however if you ever use a program that can run 5 or 6 parallel threads, the 990X will be faster.
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a b à CPUs
September 6, 2011 11:10:02 PM

Not to mention that the 990x is more powerful than anything you would ever want for quite a while. Even though sandy bridge is more powerful, my i7 at stock speed is still more than enough for any games and any normal task today, tomorow, and the day after and i got it in 2009!!!

Should go something like this...
Asus P6X58D-E ~$200
3x2gb DDR3 1.5V memory should cost ~$50 and going down
Hard drive should be $50 for a WD or Samsung spinpoint f3
case ~$50-60 or more depending your tastes
PSU should be $50 + depending if you get a single gpu or 2 gpus
windows 7 64 bit $100
GPU should start at a gtx 560 ti or hd 6870 ~$200-230

Should cost you around 800-900$...
I dont think i can really fit that much stuff into a sandy bridge system without compromising on something imho.
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September 6, 2011 11:16:24 PM

Of course not. i7 990x is an extreme overkill for gaming especially considering the price. LGA 1155 is the newest platform and infact the i7 2600k is faster per clock in gaming than the i7 990x. But I'm only talking about gaming, if you're going to use your rig only for gaming then the i7 2600k and even the i5 2500k is a better choice. i7 extreme edition processors like the i7 990 and 980x are mainly for workstation systems and extreme multi-tasking. They are not needed for gaming
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September 10, 2011 11:43:42 PM

Thanks everyone for the advice so far. I've settled on:

Motherboard = ASUS P6X58-E PRO
GPU = 2 x Radeon HD 6950 2 GB in CrossFire

Primary gaming will be to play BFBC2, and (upcoming) BF3. NVidia might be a better option than ATI, but most recommendations seem to be for the 2x Radeon 6950s at the moment.

What's the recommended memory to add to this, if I'm thinking about over-clocking with air cooling? I'm assuming either 6 or 12Gb (6 slots on the board).

Now to find a case that I can bear to look at...

AoN
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September 10, 2011 11:45:42 PM

Recommended memory is always tri channel 3x1 or 3x2gb.

If would load up on the memory as it is dirt cheap these days (oh i remember how 3x2gb cost like $140...) and will continuously keep going lower.

Recommended memory would be corsair or patriot i think. You might wanna search overclockersnet to see what is used on the systems over there or visit tom's overclocking section and ask around.
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September 11, 2011 3:33:18 AM

I would not use all six slots at once unless you need 24GB of ram. The memory controller is already strained if you go over 1333 with 4GB sticks - six sticks will just strain it more.

I'd recommend 3 4GB sticks in the 1333-1600 range, CAS8 or lower, 1.5V. GSkill, Corsair, and several others are all great.

Case: can't help you there - all personal preference. Are there any you like the looks of (even if you don';t like the rest of the case or it is too expensive)?
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September 18, 2011 1:45:23 AM

EXT64 said:
I would not use all six slots at once unless you need 24GB of ram. The memory controller is already strained if you go over 1333 with 4GB sticks - six sticks will just strain it more.

I'd recommend 3 4GB sticks in the 1333-1600 range, CAS8 or lower, 1.5V. GSkill, Corsair, and several others are all great.

Case: can't help you there - all personal preference. Are there any you like the looks of (even if you don';t like the rest of the case or it is too expensive)?



Neophyte memory purchase questions:

Why 1.5V memory?

Should I avoid 1.6/1.65V?

Why 1333 to 1600? Will I be able to overclock it?

Is there a benefit to getting three all at once (are they matched?) or is one at a time ok?

Thanks again,

AoN.
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September 18, 2011 4:21:07 AM

Those are my preferences, others will certainly work.

1.5V - yes, 1.65V and under works with the i7, however there is a lot of good memory now that is 1.5V (and technically the DDR3 spec is 1.5V), so why put higher strain on the memory controller and waste more power (run hotter) for nothing? However, if you find a set of 1.65V that is cheap or you really like, that is fine.

The Gulftown memory controller isn't super strong at stock volts (especially with 4GB sticks) so you won't get the ram to super high clocks easily. The official stock is 1066 (which is fine to run at). Since 1333 and 1600 ram is pretty cheap these days, I usually get it, even if I end up underclocking the ram. If you underclock the ram, you can tighten the timings. Ram performance is a function of both speed and timings, so you want a nice balance.

There was a recent article on ram performance that found DDR3 1600 CAS8 was the point at which very little performance was gained by going higher (for gaming/consumer apps).

My favorite set for building is 1.5V, DDR3 1600, CAS 9 (or 8) ram. I then usually run it at 1333 and tighten the timings to 8 (or 7).

However, don't fret too much about the ram. LGA 1366 has great bandwidth and ok latency even at stock, so for games or many normal apps, I doubt you will see much improvement from 1600+ speed memory.
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September 25, 2011 3:48:37 PM

OK, here's where I'm at so far:

Gigabyte Assassin G1 Motherboard - only board with enough pci-e slots for 2 6950s with space between & some left over.

Lian Li PC90 Case - one of the few cases big enough for the motherboard that I could bear to look at.

Cooler Master Silent Pro Gold 1000W PSU - newegg PSU calculator recommends a minimum of 860

Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 3x4GB PC1600 - based on ext64's discussion above

Noctua NHD14 Cooler - think I'll be playing with overclocking at some point.

2x Sapphire Toxic Radeon 6950 2GB- if they're ever stocked at Newegg again :)  I just hope they're not too noisy.

SSD of some kind - TBD, will add later.
Win 7 variant, didn't decide which yet.

Which means that my initial estimate of "about a thousand dollars" is more like "oh well, it was closer to two".

AoN

PS, please disregard the following emoticon, it's a request from my daughter :sleep: 
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September 25, 2011 4:12:24 PM

Wow, that is an awesome setup. I have a feeling that you are going to really like this computer :bounce: 
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