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New gaming build; any good? lots of Qs

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June 19, 2011 9:09:13 PM

UPDATE: While making this build, I changed my mind from wanting a 1-monitor build, to wanting a 3-monitor build. Nevertheless, I am listing both builds here.

Criteria for builds:
* Fairly cheap,
* No 3D gaming,
* No bling,
* Small box,
* Possibility for water cooling (not required)

3-monitor build: (think I'm dubbing it "the killer toaster")

Rig:
Motherboard:
Asus Maximus IV GENE-Z
(microATX, supports two graphics card on x8/x8 PCIe 2.0 lanes)
http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/Maxi...
CPU:
Intel® Core™ i5-2500K
http://ark.intel.com/Product.aspx?id=52210
Memory:
2x Kingston HyperX blu 4GB
8GB RAM total
http://www.kingston.com/hyperx/products/blu.asp
Graphics:
XFX Radeon HD 6950 XXX (1GB) HD-695X-ZDDC
http://xfxforce.com/en-gb/products/graphiccards/hd%2060...
Storage:
Crucial RealSSD C300 128 GB
(I have more external storage)
http://www.crucial.com/store/partspecs.aspx?IMODULE=CT1...

Upgrades:
Upgrade 1:
AMD 7xxx card.
Upgrade 2:
AMD 7xxx card, CrossFire

Accessories:
Monitor:
3x ASUS VW224T (black)
(5040x1050 resolution)
http://www.asus.com/Display/LCD_Monitors/VW224T/
Case:
Lian-Li PC-V352.
http://www.lian-li.com/v2/en/product/product06.php?pr_i...

1-monitor build:

Rig:
Motherboard:
Gigabyte GA-Z68MX-UD2H-B3
(microATX; technically supports two graphics card on x8/x8, but they won't both fit)
http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=...
CPU:
Intel® Core™ i5-2500K
http://ark.intel.com/Product.aspx?id=52210
Memory:
2x Kingston HyperX blu 4GB
8GB RAM total
http://www.kingston.com/hyperx/products/blu.asp
Graphics:
XFX Radeon HD 6950 XXX (1GB) HD-695X-ZDDC
http://xfxforce.com/en-gb/products/graphiccards/hd%2060...
Storage:
Crucial RealSSD C300 128 GB
(I have more external storage)
http://www.crucial.com/store/partspecs.aspx?IMODULE=CT1...

Upgrades:
Upgrade 1:
AMD 7xxx card.

Accessories:
Monitor:
ViewSonic VX2739WM
(1920x1080 (HD))
http://www.viewsonic.com/products/vx2739wm.htm
Case:
Lian-Li PC-V352.
http://www.lian-li.com/v2/en/product/product06.php?pr_i...

***

Follow-up on http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/313658-31-help-build-... .

Hi folks,

I am assembling a gaming rig.

I would really appreciate some feedback on this build. I also have lots of questions at the end which I am very curious about.

I have not been following up on hardware developments over the last 5 years. I found the following review enlightening:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/p67-gaming-3-way-sl...

Based on this review (which says x58 isn't really that great at gaming), I came up with the [builds listed above].

Questions:

*) Motherboard:
The NF200 chip. Does NVidia only cooperate with NVidia, and should I therefore go for an NVidia graphics card?
Eventually I will have 2 graphics cards in this rig. Is this chip only useful if you plan on having 3 or 4? If so, then maybe I should downgrade the motherboard.

Answer: P67/Z68 motherboards are only capable of delivering full bandwidth to one PCIe x16 slot. Were you to use i.e. two PCIe x16 slots, the bandwidth to "the" PCIe x16 slot is split between the two slots, making them function in effect as PCIe x8 slots. While the NF200 chip helps increase bandwidth, this bandwidth is not utilized in a 2-graphic-card CrossFire/SLI mode at 1920x1080 resolution. At least not with the cards on the market today. Also, the NF200 chip adds a tiny delay to data being transferred from the CPU to the graphics card.

*) Graphics:
I will buy a second HD 6950 later, and CrossFire them. Is there a bottleneck in my system which severely reduces the benefit of an extra card?
I will activate the dormant shaders on the HD 6950 later, as per http://www.techpowerup.com/articles/overclocking/vidcar... . Is this a bad idea?

Answer: No comment on bandwidth. On shaders: The latest HD 6950 do not have this "feature", so trying to update the BIOS with one that expects more shaders / with the HD 6970 BIOS can be dangerous.

*) CPU:
Should I get more GHz?
Should I get more L2 cache? (*very* expensive)
Should I go for AMD instead?

Answer: Extreme GHz pointless. Extreme cache pointless. Extreme #threads pointless. An Intel Core i5 will do (benchmarks linked below). No comment on AMD vs. Intel.

*) Memory:
CL9; is this normal/good? I seem to remember this number being lower many years ago.
Would you go for 32GB RAM? Is 16GB already overkill?

Answer: On CL9: Find CL7 RAM. On 16/32GB RAM: You shouldn't need more than 8GB.

*) Overclocking:
Can I squeeze some more performance out of it? If not, what is the weak link?

Answer: No comment.

*) Drives:
Is it rewarding to go for more than 2 SSDs in RAID 0 (diminishing returns and all)? If so, I need a different motherboard / an external RAID controller.

Answer: Apparently not; performance increase only noticeable with non-SSD drives.

*) Bottlenecks:
Are any components (CPU, RAM, busses) too fast/slow compared to the others?
How about when I add a graphics card?

Answer: No comment.

*) Cooling:
I want to experiment with watercooling when I purchase my second graphics card. I would appreciate a link to a watercooling howto made by people who know what they are doing.

Answer: Strong opinions for and against (mostly against). You lose the warranty of your graphics card if you remove the cooler to place a water-cooled cooling block on it.

*) Cabinet:
I originally considered the Lian-Li Armorsuit pc p80, but I find it somewhat large. If you know a no-nonsense cabinet (I am a fan of Lian-Li), or even a microATX motherboard which can house this build, I would much appreciate a link.

Answer: No comment.

*) PSU:
Feel free to recommend one, which can power 2 grapics cards.

Answer: PSU 750-850W Seasonic, Corsair, Antec, XFX.

Thanks!
Willard.

EDIT: Reordered the questions to make them digestible, summarized answers.

More about : gaming build good lots

Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
a b C Monitor
June 20, 2011 12:56:27 PM

Get the cheaper 2500K, it's just as fast in gaming.

Get some other SSD, the C300 has issues on that platform. Vertex2 or 3 or something. One is fine, RAID doesn't add much.

You can find 1.5V RAM kits 2x4GB G.Skill CAS 7 or 8.

Forget about the watercooling, it's not worth it.

PSU 750-850W Seasonic, Corsair, Antec, XFX.

What's your PC parts site, Newegg?



I would get a cheaper mobo and drop the crossfire, the new AMD 7xxx series will show up in the fall.
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 20, 2011 12:59:26 PM

Despite the conclusion made at the end of the article, the benchmarks seemed to indicate that even the NF200 bridge wasnt worth it (at least for cards like the 6950 and 570). In most of the tested games, there was less than 1 fps difference between p67 x8/x8 and p67 nf200 x16/x16 (and sometimes the x8/x8 came out ahead).
If you look at benchmarks of the i7-2600k vs i5-2500k you should reach similar conclusions.
There is little evidence to justify the purchase of an i7-2600k and nf200 board for gaming, especially when you consider that the same upgrade cost could be put towards 6970s (which is also not very cost effective, but at least more so).
To unlock the 6950's, you need to make sure you are buying a model where this is still possible. Most, if not all, of the models currently sold on newegg are not unlockable; the ones that were have been discontinued.
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June 20, 2011 2:03:03 PM

Thanks for your input :-)

I'm going to play chop-suey with your message; hope you don't mind.

mosox said:
What's your PC parts site, Newegg?

I live in Sweden, and am currently using http://www.edbpriser.dk/ , which is a Danish meta-search engine for Danish (and a couple of Swedish) online IT stores.

Know of a more appropriate place to order my PC from within the EU? (modulo shipping expenses)

mosox said:
PSU 750-850W Seasonic, Corsair, Antec, XFX.

Great, thanks.

mosox said:
Get some other SSD, the C300 has issues on that platform. Vertex2 or 3 or something. One is fine, RAID doesn't add much.

Roger. The Corsair Performance 3 drives, and the OCZ drives, seem next in line in punch/price.

http://www.corsair.com/solid-state-drives/performance-3...

Would that drive work?

mosox said:
One is fine, RAID doesn't add much.

Doesn't RAID0-ing two drives improve read/write throughput by ~50%? This is a big improvement.

Are you saying that I only see this improvement when booting or copying/encoding/compressing files, and not while gaming?

mosox said:
You can find 1.5V RAM kits 2x4GB G.Skill CAS 7 or 8.

Found a Kingston HyperX Genesis 2x4GB kit with CAS 7 for an affordable price. That should do the trick, unless Kingston have started sucking through the years.

mosox said:
Forget about the watercooling, it's not worth it.

Could you elaborate? I had the impression that the process of setting up watercooling was well-understood by now. Doesn't it cool as well? Isn't it more silent? Does it require a professional, and therefore, are the risks too great when setting it up at home?

mosox said:
Get the cheaper 2500K, it's just as fast in gaming.

The difference is indeed minute; I just did a comparison. i7 has HyperThreading (which Windows 7 supports), a slightly bigger cache, and can run twice the number of concurrent threads. Have games *still* not caught up with multithreading / multicore? Maybe I should start programming computer games...

mosox said:
I would get a cheaper mobo and drop the crossfire, the new AMD 7xxx series will show up in the fall.

I was under the impression that I would see a substantial kick in performance by using two graphics cards in CrossFire/SLI mode. Is this only true for very-high-resolution setups? Is there a rule-of-thumb explaining when you need/benefit-from CrossFire/SLI-ing cards?

As for the AMD 7xxx, are you suggesting I wait with the whole purchase until these cards arrive, or buy a crap-card until then (aren't the crap cards cheap now because new ones are coming)? Won't these AMD 7xxx cards be crazy-expensive?
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June 20, 2011 2:26:45 PM

Thanks for your thoughts :-)

genghiskron said:
Despite the conclusion made at the end of the article, the benchmarks seemed to indicate that even the NF200 bridge wasnt worth it (at least for cards like the 6950 and 570). In most of the tested games, there was less than 1 fps difference between p67 x8/x8 and p67 nf200 x16/x16 (and sometimes the x8/x8 came out ahead).

:-P Perhaps you can explain to me what this x8/x8 and x16/x16 business is (or point me at an explanation). I admit I am on a field. Is it nummerical indicator for the bandwidth to the card? Does it involve pixel pipelines?

genghiskron said:
If you look at benchmarks of the i7-2600k vs i5-2500k you should reach similar conclusions.
There is little evidence to justify the purchase of an i7-2600k and nf200 board for gaming, especially when you consider that the same upgrade cost could be put towards 6970s (which is also not very cost effective, but at least more so).

Alright; I'll axe the motherboard and CPU, and will update this thread when I have found a suitable replacement.

genghiskron said:
To unlock the 6950's, you need to make sure you are buying a model where this is still possible. Most, if not all, of the models currently sold on newegg are not unlockable; the ones that were have been discontinued.

And I reckon most, if not all, of the unlockable cards in the market are already bought by enthusiasts ;-) So maybe I'll just drop the hackery and get a decent graphics card instead.

P.S: You know the band Genghis Tron? :-P
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a b B Homebuilt system
June 20, 2011 2:43:14 PM

Props to Genghis on his thoughts.

Are you intending to use more than one monitor? Multiple GPU rigs run in two variants: using two older GPUs in SLI/Xfire to boost graphics performance for a single monitor; using multiple GPUs to boost multiple monitor performance. It looks like you intend to do the later.

For SLI/Xfirre two GPUs provide the most bang for the buck. In certain apps you get 190% for 2 GPUs compated to 1. After 2 GPUs there are diminsihing returns on additional GPUs (some as low as 5% additional, or a physx card). So running the Nvidia nf200 will be of little or no use for any single monitor rig. Multiple monitor and 3D aming is different. You will see a definite difference in resolution and fps when you are running 3 monitors and have a 16 X/16 X rig. Because of the bandwidth needed to run multiple monitors the extra PCIe lanes come into play.

3D gaming is a whole 'nother animal, where you need 120 Hz monitors to do 3D. AS you are going with AMD and not Nvidia, I assume that you are not going 3D.

Regarding the water cooling there are some new developments in that area. Asatek is supposed to be coming out with a combined GPU CPU closed loop cooler (I have seen the pre-announcement), and this looks like a great solution for most home builders. But, as of now, it is vaporware.



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a b B Homebuilt system
a b C Monitor
June 20, 2011 3:05:07 PM

2500K vs 2600K

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4083/the-sandy-bridge-rev...
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/297649-10-2500k-260...

The 7xxx series will sport a new architecture and most likely will trash the current generation. They won't cost an arm and a leg though, there will be cards for every price point and I doubt that you will be able to CF a 7xxx card with a 6xxx one. Also both CF and SLI have issues in some game so it's better to stick with one video card. A HD 6950/6970 is fine for now.

Those can run anything:
http://www.edbpriser.dk/Product/Details.aspx?pid=467800...
http://www.edbpriser.dk/Product/Details.aspx?pid=493593...

Cheaper nice mobo, still high end and crossfire
http://www.edbpriser.dk/Product/Details.aspx?pid=501094...

Watercooling is expensive, tricky and you lose the warranty for the video card. There are air CPU coolers and stock video cards that are quite silent.

SSD raid0 - unlike the HDD raid0 you will barely notice a perforamnce increase.

Storage HDD
http://www.edbpriser.dk/Product/Details.aspx?pid=641124

PSU
http://www.edbpriser.dk/Product/Details.aspx?pid=439166...
http://www.edbpriser.dk/Product/Details.aspx?pid=431572...
http://www.edbpriser.dk/Product/Details.aspx?pid=419147...

RAM 1.5V - not 1.6 or 1.65V 1333 or 1600. All the RAM will work at 1333 anyway so you don't need more han this.
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June 21, 2011 1:05:51 AM

mosox said:
I would get a cheaper mobo and drop the crossfire, the new AMD 7xxx series will show up in the fall.


Are you suggesting he wait and buy a 7xxx card? The reason I ask is that I am doing a similar build in the future(around December). Is it a good time to buy when a video card just comes out? I know this is almost universally not true for other products.
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a b B Homebuilt system
a b C Monitor
June 21, 2011 1:31:04 AM

If he can't wait he can get a card for now and later, within a year or so a new 7 series. In December you will be able to compare the price/performance and make a decision. The current cards will be cheaper anyway.
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June 21, 2011 5:41:57 AM

OK gonna shut down the "don't watercool" people and probably piss them off in the process.

Watercooling is definitely worth it, but not for the performance aspects. A high end CPU and two high end GPU's are not only going to be loud, their going to require excessive air intake / exhaust to keep them cool. This ends up being loud, NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO. If you want to game without the constant sound of high pitch whirling fans, then your going to need to watercool. That or live in a freezer, take your pick.

Putting full size water blocks onto the GPU's alone reduces the noise level significantly. Putting one on the CPU just enhances the effect further. You can then use large fans to pass air over a radiator mounted on the top of your case and then two slow moving fans for the case itself, one for intake and one for the PSU.

3D gaming is amazing, but only if you sink the money into it, don't go cheap. The 120hz monitor is going to be approx $400 USD, possibly $350. Their worth it though, extremely high quality and easy on the eyes. To push 1920x1080@120 fps your going to need a very high end GPU solution, so expect to pay for that as well. Properly put together the effect is amazing, although it'll take a few weeks to get used to.

Here is my rig, its up for an overhaul after bull dozer gets released.

AMD Phenom II x4 940BE 3.0Ghz, clocked @ 3.5Ghz
Asus M4N72 motherboard
8GB DDR2-800
NVidia GTX-285 x 2 SLI
4 x 320GB 7200 RPM SATA RAID0
Samsung DVDRW
Cosmos-S Case
Customr Water kit for the CPU and GPU's. Includes one black ice pro 3x120 radiator and one smaller 1x120 radiator, 2 full size water blocks for the card and a standard CPU waterblock. 1 Double bay reservoir holds the water.

Even with all that, the system gets hot during full game play, I can put my hand over the top and feel hot air blowing up. Running this rig without the WC ends with it being loud as hell when I start a game.
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June 21, 2011 12:24:32 PM

Wow, thanks for all the input folks :-) things are really falling into place only now after swimming through all those reviews and wikipedia articles.

chesteracorgi said:
Are you intending to use more than one monitor? Multiple GPU rigs run in two variants: using two older GPUs in SLI/Xfire to boost graphics performance for a single monitor; using multiple GPUs to boost multiple monitor performance. It looks like you intend to do the later.

I actually intend to do the former :-P I will only have one monitor. I haven't seen many games make use of multiple monitors in a clever way, so I don't see the point of having more (other than impressing your friends, and I couldn't care less about what they think).

You are saying, then, that I will do fine with a single, decent GPU? Can I then buy another card later down the road and CrossFire/SLI them to extend the life of my rig, or will that still only be useful for very-high-res / multiple-monitor setups?

chesteracorgi said:
For SLI/Xfirre two GPUs provide the most bang for the buck. In certain apps you get 190% for 2 GPUs compated to 1. After 2 GPUs there are diminsihing returns on additional GPUs (some as low as 5% additional, or a physx card). So running the Nvidia nf200 will be of little or no use for any single monitor rig. Multiple monitor and 3D aming is different. You will see a definite difference in resolution and fps when you are running 3 monitors and have a 16 X/16 X rig. Because of the bandwidth needed to run multiple monitors the extra PCIe lanes come into play.

This confirms that I don't need high demands on my motherboards (PCIe lanes). Thanks.

chesteracorgi said:
3D gaming is a whole 'nother animal, where you need 120 Hz monitors to do 3D. AS you are going with AMD and not Nvidia, I assume that you are not going 3D.

Indeed, I am not going 3D. I think "the whole 3D thing" needs to mature before I even consider it. For instance, RealD 3D movies (stereoscopic 3D) give me a headache before I finish 1 movie. So I bought these: http://www.2d-glasses.com/ . Work like a charm, except for subtitles, but who reads those.

Maybe my next rig will be a 3D rig. But that will be at least 3 years from now.

chesteracorgi said:
Regarding the water cooling there are some new developments in that area. Asatek is supposed to be coming out with a combined GPU CPU closed loop cooler (I have seen the pre-announcement), and this looks like a great solution for most home builders. But, as of now, it is vaporware.

Duke Nukem Forever didn't take forever :-) I'll keep an eye on Asatek.

willardthor said:
As for the AMD 7xxx, are you suggesting I wait with the whole purchase until these cards arrive, or buy a crap-card until then (aren't the crap cards cheap now because new ones are coming)? Won't these AMD 7xxx cards be crazy-expensive?
timothy2180 said:
Are you suggesting he wait and buy a 7xxx card? The reason I ask is that I am doing a similar build in the future(around December). Is it a good time to buy when a video card just comes out? I know this is almost universally not true for other products.
mosox said:
The 7xxx series will sport a new architecture and most likely will trash the current generation. They won't cost an arm and a leg though, there will be cards for every price point and I doubt that you will be able to CF a 7xxx card with a 6xxx one. Also both CF and SLI have issues in some game so it's better to stick with one video card. A HD 6950/6970 is fine for now. [...] If he can't wait he can get a card for now and later, within a year or so a new 7 series. In December you will be able to compare the price/performance and make a decision. The current cards will be cheaper anyway.

Here's what I'll do.

Initial setup: HD 6950 graphics card (will use it for 1/2 to 1 year; any of you want to buy it when I'm done with it?)

Upgrade 1: AMD 7xxx card

Upgrade 2: Another AMD 7xxx cards, and CrossFire them.

This might place constraints on the motherboard (and CPU and RAM?). Will my current choice be able to house and make use of two AMD 7xxx cards?

mosox said:
RAM 1.5V - not 1.6 or 1.65V 1333 or 1600. All the RAM will work at 1333 anyway so you don't need more han this.
Corsair XMS3 2x4GB Dual-channel DDR3 http://www.corsair.com/memory/xms-classic/xms3-ddr3-mem... have an SPD voltage of 1.5V (but were "tested" at 1.65V). These however have CL9. The only RAM sold on http://www.edbpriser.dk/ with 1.5V and CL7 is various value RAMs. RAM is easy to mail; if you know of cheap-but-decent 1.5V CL7 4GB RAM blocks in the EU (I won't pay import tax when buying within EU), then I would be most grateful.

By the way, why is 1.5V so important? Heat generation? Overclocking?
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a b B Homebuilt system
a b C Monitor
June 21, 2011 12:36:42 PM

Don't get that RAM, will try to find something. Good call on the GPU.
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June 21, 2011 1:20:19 PM

Replaced

Memory:
4x Kingston HyperX blu DDR3-1333 4GB
16GB RAM total
http://www.kingston.com/hyperx/products/blu.asp

with

Memory:
2x Corsair XMS3 2x4GB Dual-channel DDR
16GB RAM total
http://www.corsair.com/memory/xms-classic/xms3-ddr3-mem...

reason: Voltage, cheap.

Replaced

Motherboard:
P8P67 WS Revolution
http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/P8P6...

with

Motherboard:
Gigabyte GA-Z68MX-UD2H-B3
(microATX, can house 2 graphics cards in CrossFire, both at PCIe x8)
http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=...

reason: Old board was bling; only useful if you go massive-resolution, crazy-3D. I'm doing neither. New board can house two graphics cards (good for later upgrade), and has a microATX form factor, so I can fit my rig in a slightly smaller case (although I might have to get creative with heat dissipation).

Do you guys know if the new AMD 7xxx cards require the full bandwidth of a PCIe x16 slot? If so, I would need to find a motherboard which delivers full bandwidth to two PCIe x16 slots (if I use the PCIe x8 and the PCIe x16 slots of my current motherboard, both slots will have the same bandwidth as a standard PCIe x8 slot (as the bandwidth of the PCIe x16 slot is being cut in half to serve two slots)).
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a b B Homebuilt system
a b C Monitor
June 21, 2011 2:03:56 PM

Silent video card with lifetime warranty - easier to sell later
(you need to register the card on the XFX site with 30 days of purchase)

Found it in only one shop, you need to ask them if it's indeed the ZDDC dual fan card (the code HD695XZDDC in there is good but they have no pics).

http://www.computersalg.dk/produkt/782110

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

Found a cheaper one
http://www.markit.eu/dk/da/xfx-radeon-hd-6950-xxx-grafi...
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June 21, 2011 3:57:10 PM

mosox said:
Silent video card with lifetime warranty - easier to sell later
(you need to register the card on the XFX site with 30 days of purchase)

Found it in only one shop, you need to ask them if it's indeed the ZDDC dual fan card (the code HD695XZDDC in there is good but they have no pics).

http://www.computersalg.dk/produkt/782110

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

Found a cheaper one
http://www.markit.eu/dk/da/xfx-radeon-hd-6950-xxx-grafi...


Replaced

Graphics:
HIS Radeon HD 6950 IceQ X Turbo (2 GB)
http://www.hisdigital.com/un/product2-611.shtml

with

Graphics:
XFX Radeon HD 6950 XXX (1GB) HD-695X-ZDDC
http://xfxforce.com/en-gb/products/graphiccards/hd%2060...

reason: This card is temporary until I get the AMD 7xxx card. So a) it does not need enormous memory, and b) I need to be able to sell it. So 1GB RAM is okay, and this new card has lifetime warranty.

mosox said:
RAM
http://www.edbpriser.dk/Product/Details.aspx?pid=442834...
or
http://www.edbpriser.dk/Product/Details.aspx?pid=483589...

Most likely you won't use 16GB ever. 8GB is perfectly fine.


Replaced

Memory:
2x Corsair XMS3 2x4GB Dual-channel DDR
16GB RAM total
http://www.corsair.com/memory/xms-classic/xms3-ddr3-mem...

with

RAM
2x Kingston HyperX blu 4GB
8GB RAM total
http://www.kingston.com/hyperx/products/blu.asp

reason: 1.5V

mosox said:
You can't put two video cards in a small case.

Can't, or shouldn't? :-)

Check this case: Lian-Li PC-V352.

http://www.lian-li.com/v2/en/product/product06.php?pr_i...

The motherboard lays on the bottom of the case, the case has slots in the back for all 4 PCIe cards, and there is enough space to have these monstrous graphic cards in two of them.

It's a bit weird to have the disk tray open out of the side, but the more I look at this case, the more I like it (how often to you use the drive anyway?).
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June 22, 2011 1:23:21 PM

chesteracorgi said:
It looks like you intend to [use] multiple GPUs to boost multiple monitor performance.

For SLI/Xfirre two GPUs provide the most bang for the buck. In certain apps you get 190% for 2 GPUs compated to 1. After 2 GPUs there are diminsihing returns on additional GPUs (some as low as 5% additional, or a physx card). So running the Nvidia nf200 will be of little or no use for any single monitor rig. Multiple monitor and 3D gaming is different. You will see a definite difference in resolution and fps when you are running 3 monitors and have a 16 X/16 X rig. Because of the bandwidth needed to run multiple monitors the extra PCIe lanes come into play.

I changed my mind :-) I've been scouting gaming rigs on YouTube, and seeing videos like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pK7Dn7ONLwU made me think back to all the times where there was a great scenery to behold in a game, but where my view, through one screen, of the surroundings was like looking through a monocular (lots of panning to inspect the surroundings). In particular, playing driving simulations with three displays looks *amazing*.

I still won't be going for stereoscopic 3D, such as NVidia 3D vision.

Now the question is, since I am planning ahead for a AMD 7xxx CrossFire, should I be getting an x58 motherboard which supports x16/x16? Will this new generation of graphics cards need this bandwidth?

Until I know the answer to this:

Replacing

Motherboard:
Gigabyte GA-Z68MX-UD2H-B3
(microATX, can house 2 graphics cards in CrossFire, both at PCIe x8)
http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=...

with

Monitor:
3x ASUS VW224T
http://www.asus.com/Display/LCD_Monitors/VW224T/

Motherboard:
Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3
http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=...

reason: monitors are cheap, and not-crappy. motherboard supports x8/x8

In case people get curious, I will maintain two builds in the first message on this thread; one for single-display, one for three displays. The single display rig needs only one graphics card, and can therefore be put in a microATX cabinet, the three display rig greatly benefits from multiple graphics cards, and thus will be fitted into an ATX motherboard/cabinet unless a suitable microATX motherboard is found.
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June 29, 2011 12:22:02 PM

Best answer selected by willardthor.
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!