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$1500-1600 - CF 6950 Gaming PC.

Last response: in Systems
August 7, 2011 9:03:04 PM

So, I am looking to build a gaming desktop that will withstand time and be able to completely dominate all current games, including play future games at high or ultra settings. So in essence, I want a high performance, future proof machine in the $1500-1600 range. (This is a potential christmas gift, so I really do not wish to push it in price.)

The GPUs I am considering, and most likely will be purchasing unless completely convinced otherwise, will be the CF 6950. I want to build a Desktop around these GPUs, catering to their cooling, and performance needs. (I will be playing mostly MMOs, with the occasional other games, FPS - wise, I will be playing on my consoles. Would a single 6970 be a better tactic to further future-proof my machine? So I might be able to just buy another one to CF in the future)

Approximate Purchase Date: Time doesn't matter, I am impatient and greedy, so I would prefer in the next couple of weeks. (I move back into college in 2 weeks, so I would have to either buy it quickly to receive and build it here, or delay, so it will be delivered to my apartment in college)

Budget Range: $1500-1600 (After Rebates / Discounts)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: The monitor will be used as a television and a computer monitor. So, watching television, however mainly gaming coming from the rig. Surfing the internet. Watch Blueray Movies (If my budget allows, this is only a luxury, not needed).

Parts Not Required: I need everything. Durable, Bang for your buck keyboard + mouse.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Whatever is reliable, free shipping, minimal tax, etc.

Country of Origin: United States

Parts Preferences: Quality Brands for optimal performance. (Bang for your buck, again)

Overclocking: I have never dabbled with it, but I would like the capabilities just in case.

SLI or Crossfire: Yes.

Monitor Resolution: 1920 x 1080

Additional Comments: Quiet PC with extremely thorough cooling, I want a withstanding, quality computer. Decent looking case would be nice.

So without further ado, the build that I have been dabbling with, and not to mention I will include questions at the end.

Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor - $219.99

CPU Cooler
COOLER MASTER V6 GT RR-V6GT-22PK-R1 120mm DynaLoop CPU Cooler w/ Universal bracket & Dual Fan - $59.04

ASUS P8Z68-V LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - $179.99

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL - $59.99

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive - $59.99

[2] SAPPHIRE 100312-3SR Radeon HD 6950 Dirt3 Edition 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity - $505.72

COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $109.99

Antec High Current Gamer Series HCG-750 750W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V v2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Certified 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply - $64.99

LG DVD Burner 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model GH24NS70 - OEM - $18.99

ASUS VH236H Black 23" 2ms Full HD Widescreen LCD Monitor w/ Speakers 300 cd/m2 20000 :1 (ASCR) - $159.99

TOTAL - $1444.


1. I have included the Sapphire 6950 GPUs, however, would the MSI Frzr III be a better investment, due to the extra 50 GHZ per card? Which 6950 have the better cooling and performance options, not to mention the ease of overclocking / unlocking?

2. PSU - Is the 750 PSU from Antec sufficient enough to handle the CF 6950?

3. Case - Is the Cooler Masater HAF 922 a sufficient case able to handle the CF 6950, do you believe the layout of the case allows for sufficient cooling for the cards, and is the Mid Tower large enough to handle everything?

4. Motherboard - Does the Asus P8Z68-V allow for proper spacing between the GPUs to disperse the heat, and overall aid for performance?

5. CPU Cooler - Will this cooler be good enough to safeguard against any temperature problems? Not to mention, will the fans be silent. I don't mind some sound, but a jet plane would not be nice.

Overall, my questions all stem to synergy. How does my particular build fare in terms of synergy among each product? If there are certain products that will work even better together, please suggest them. If there are cheaper options that will fare just as well as the ones I have listed, please list them, because cheaper is always better.

If I am able to save enough money, I might invest in a SSD. How beneficial are the SSDs? I have heard a lot about them, but I don't know if I should take the money out of my pocket for the performance.

So, any and all input would be completely awesome. Help me build the most bang for my buck / perfect computer in the $1500 range! Thank you!

More about : 1500 1600 6950 gaming

August 7, 2011 10:45:22 PM

Fantastic, thank you! Those coolers look better, and are cheaper! That will put me around 1380 mark.

However, I was thinking, I typically play MMOs and maybe the occasional RPG on the PC. I typically don't play FPS on the PC mainly because I play them on my consoles. So, I could save some money by going EVGA Geforce GTX 580 1.5GB video card.

I have heard, however, the CF will add 25% performance over the 580. Yet, in the future, I could always just buy a second 580 to meet my gaming needs and that will last for a LONG time.

Do you all believe this will be a better route? Not to mention, the saving of 50 bucks will put me down to around $1350, I could invest in a SSD which I have heard is priceless.

So basically, I am having a video card dilemma.

Should I purchase the CF 6950, or buy the GTX 580 + SSD. Which bang for my buck would be the most beneficial, in your guys opinion. If I push things, I might be able to just buy the 6950 + SSD.

OR, could I downgrade a bit on the motherboard which will save me even more money, and be able to run the single GTX 580 effeciently.

Oh the options! Ha, thank you.

(If you guys know a quality SSD that I should buy, by all means link it!)
Related resources
August 7, 2011 11:14:45 PM

CF 6950's far outperform a 580, and for the price of 2 580's you can get 6990+6950 or 3x6950's for less or 3*6970's for only a little more all of which comfortably outperform 2*580 SLI. So if your looking for bang for you buck and future scalability then AMD is on top at the moment.

I would advise this mobo: over the one listed, although if you want to tri-fire this will run at x8/x8/x4 and you may want to spend more on say an ASUS WS Revolution which will do x16/x8/x8.

In terms of an SSD, i would have normally advised this: as the best 120GB drive (personally I don't think 60GB is worth bothering with but thats just me) but I just had one die after only a week so consider this:

And yes, if you can afford it, invest in an SSD. They are expensive though and in terms of gaming performance your going to get better gains spending your cash on your GPU.
August 8, 2011 12:01:01 AM

Sweet, you definitely put those into perspective. The twin 6950 will suffice.

Now, any preference into the brand? I would prefer the cooler, more OC / unlockable ones. Sapphire, or MSI perhaps?

SSD, there is this one which I am going to purchase.

It was highlighted on in this article.

So ...

CPU - Check.

Cpu Cooler - Check. (Did the package deal)

Motherboard ... I found this motherboard, which was cheaper, and not to mention highly recommended ...

MOBO - Check.
Memory - Check.
HD - Check.
GPU - I have decided to stay with the 2x Radeon 6950, due to the great scaling and support with CF. My only dilemma is, which brand for overall best performance?
Case - Check.
PSU - Check (Unless the 750W may not be enough.)
OD - Are there any better options? If not, check.
Monitor - Check.

Otherwise, only things need clarifying are the GPU / OD.

Any suggestions for cheap and quality wireless mouse / keyboard?

August 8, 2011 12:21:49 AM

i think the one you have chosen (sapphire) is perfect. it is not only the cheapest, its from a reputable brand and it has a dual fan cooling system. youre not going to find an unlockable one these days, but you should be able to give it a bit of an overclock. dont expect too much from hd6950's though, in that department.

the asrock extreme 4 is a great board

my #1 ssd pick would be the crucial m4 for reasons of reliability, but the solid 3 isnt necessarily a bad choice.

750w is enough
August 8, 2011 1:19:34 AM

Thank you guys! Much appreciated.

Cpu - i5 2500k
Cpu Cooler - (Combo) Scythe SNJ - 3000
Motherboard - ASRock Extreme 4
Memory - GSkill Ripjaws 8g 1600 (2x4)
SSD - Crucial M4 or OCZ Solid.
HD - Samsung Spinpoint or Seagate Barracuda (Combo with OD)
GPU - 2x Sapphire 6950 CF
Case - Cool Master HAF 922
Power Supply - Antec 750W
OD - LG GH24NS70 (like 18 bucks)
Monitor - Asus 23 inch.

So basically I am set. However little price discrepancies I have to take care of.

Genghis you suggested the Crucial M4 due to reliability, however, it is about ~$40 more than the reviewed OCZ Solid 3. You said the OCZ wasn't bad, but I don't want it to *** out on me. It was reviewed as a good card.

Anyone else have opinions between the two SSD?

Hard Drive wise. I can opt for the Samsung Spinpoint for 59.99, or I can get a combo of the Seagate Barracuda + OD for about 63 bucks. So in essence I would save $20 bucks here for the bundle.

Is the Seagate Barracuda a good HD, or would the 20 bucks be necessary for the Spinpoint?

Thank you guys. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

I have the CPU, Cooler, Motherboard, GPU, Monitor, Memory, Case, PSU all decided.

Thank you guys, almost there!
August 8, 2011 3:00:22 AM

So I made the decision. I am most likely going to shell out an extra 80 bucks for reliable and more quality products.

Gaming Machine / Desktop:

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz Quad-Core Processor

CPU Cooler: Scythe SCNJ-3000 110.3 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler

Motherboard: ASRock P67 Extreme 4 (B3) ATX LGA1155 Motherboard

Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory

SD: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk

HD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive

GPU: Sapphire Radeon HD 6950 2GB Video Card x 2 (Crossfire)

Case: Cooler Master HAF 922 ATX Mid Tower Case

Power Supply: Antec 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply


Monitor: Asus VH236H 23.0" Monitor

Overall Price: ~$1590.

I do believe I am set, and completely solid. If you guys find ANYTHING that might improve my future system, or overall make it cheaper with the same quality or marginally less. LET ME KNOW!

Thank you for ALL the help everyone!
August 8, 2011 1:24:25 PM

Build looks good. Definately made a good choice on the mobo (P67 or Z68 cant go wrong), the Crucial M4 is also a solid SSD. And by the Sapphire I assume you mean the Dirt 3 edition? Good choice :) 

Looks good mate, all the best with the build.
August 9, 2011 4:53:24 AM

Yessir, I did mean the SCMG-3000. I just linked / described the wrong one!

However, you guys were priceless in help, I couldn't do it without your guys assistance. I am really, really thankful for all the help.

Once I get my finances in order, I will be ordering the parts ASAP!. I am thoroughly excited :) 

(In terms of the monitor size, I am not that big on size, I could care less. With the rebate on the other one, its like 40-50 bucks cheaper. So saves me a little)

Thank you all! I am eternally grateful.