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Gaming Rig Build w/ Eyefinity setup

Last response: in Systems
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July 27, 2011 8:02:22 PM

Hello all!
With the upcoming release of Battlefield 3 I am looking to do a major gaming rig overhaul. I've been researching quite a bit what I believe to be the gear I will need to meet that need, and would like a sanity check for anything glaringly wrong.

Here's what I've got, as I may be able to cannibalize a couple of items (generalized)
1) Motherboard: ASUS P5Q Pro (No)
2) RAM: Corsair Dominator 1066 2x2GB (No)
3) CPU: Intel Quad Q9450 (No)
4) GPU: ATI 5850 1GB (No)
5) DVD Drive: LITE-ON DVD+-R 20x (Yes)
6) HDD: 2x Western Digital 640GB (Yes, for backups and storage)
7) PSU: Corsair 650W (Maybe..)
8) OS: WIN 7 64 bit (Yes)
9) Tower: Cooler Master Centurion 5 (No)
10) Screens: Eyefinity 3x1 setup w/ a center 24" flanked by a 22" on each side (Yes)

Here's what I want to do / am thinking about doing:
  • Gaming rig almost exclusively
  • Play BF3 online with at least medium to high settings (my crew and I will be playing this for the next 3-4 years)
  • Fast load times, fast responsive play in game. Initial thought was a small SSD for game install / fast load time and then set the OS to run EVERYTHING on RAM (ja, I know windows is supposed to handle this optimally, but why risk it if I have the RAM)
  • Initial start with a single GPU, but with an eye to easily crossfire down the road if need be
  • Air cooling only, no water cooling, regardless of future upgrades
  • Potential for some OC down the road if needed
  • Spend the money on solid components for what I need, and not for what I don't need

    My current thoughts, and rationale:
    1) Motherboard: ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z - I know the ASUS P8P67s have been a top choice (for the CPU I am looking at), but I like what I see / reviews on this no-nonsense, well laid out, functional MOBO w/ CF capabality. ASUS have been good boards for me. Solid review here. . But don't need a mATX with my case, so am open to similary performing / priced mobos.
    2) RAM: 2x 4GB DDR3-1600 w/ 'tight' timings, best rated / value manufacturer at the time - From understanding RAM doesn't play into OC as much anymore, just needs to match the speed needs of the CPU and to have enough of it.
    3) CPU: i5 2500k: Solid CPU, can be readily OC'd if need be, solid for gaming and excellent price point - i7 2600k is only $100 more, but I don't need the hyper threading / addtl cache for what I am doing.
    4) GPU: AMD 6970 2GB: 2GB VRAM to help with Eyefinity, about half the cost of a 6990 but with better than 50% performance - See notes on concerns below, this is still the 'diciest' of my choices. I believe this is a good starting point and if not enough kick, can attempt a 2x CF 6970 in the future. Looked at the NVidia, prefer the ATI for multi-screen gaming / types of games I play
    5) DVD Drive: No change
    6) HDD: 2x Western Digital 640GB PLUS a 16/32GB SSD - Game would be installed on the SSD, map loads from the SSD would be much faster than on the WD's I have. OS would remain on existing WD drives.
    7) PSU: Corsair 650W: Should be able to reuse this with a single GPU, if I go to CF in the future I would need to replace with a higher rated one.
    8) OS: WIN 7 64 bit: No change
    9) Tower: CoolerMaster HAF X - Full tower with plenty of room to house everything I have and more. Superb ratings on airflow cooling and I believe would handle future CF setup without issue if need be.
    10) Screens: No change

    GPU Concerns: I've kicked around a number of options, from my above proposed setup to a single 6990 (4GB), to twin 6950's OCd to 6970s (but you cant readily get the 'unlocked' ones to do this anymore). A big consideration in this was the concerns with microstutter (or just stutter if you like) with a Eyefinity / CF setup. Many posts say to be safe to get a single card with as much VRAM as you can (cause Eyefinity like VRAM), more recent ones with the 6 series cards describe far fewer issues / means to address microstutter issues making a Eyefinity / CF setup viable. Thought was to see if a single 6970 could handle it, then CF it up in the future if need be?

    Please advise of thoughts on general approaches to better this build or with specific recommendations for alternate components and why. Thanks again for everyone's time!

    Oh, and I'm looking to pull the trigger to buy in the next couple of weeks (Labor Day at the latest) to be ready for the Beta I hope to get into :) 
    a b 4 Gaming
    July 28, 2011 1:21:21 AM

    All of your choices look great to me. I think the HD 6950 would probably cut it if you wanted to save a bit money but no harm in something a bit more powerful if you can afford it. One thing i will say, presumably you will buy BF3 on steam? If so all of your steam games have to go on a single drive as far as i know. So it may be worth getting a bigger SSD.
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    July 28, 2011 1:09:45 PM

    Thanks for taking the time to review, appreciated. I actually like my games on disk (old fashioned I know), but I've had some other friends make similar comments on getting a larger SSD so I'll definitely look into that.

    Anyone else have any other thoughts? Especially on the mobo and GPU selections?
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    a b 4 Gaming
    July 28, 2011 2:21:40 PM

    Well like i said on the GPU, that one is great. On the mobo, i think that one is overpriced but you seem to have your reasons for getting it so who am i to argue? Theres definitely nothing wrong with it.
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