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$3000+ Build Draft, Please Review

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October 5, 2011 5:12:22 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: Early next week: 10/10-10/12
Budget Range: 3000-4000
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Music Editing/listening, Internet, Media Center
Parts Not Required: None
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg
Country of Origin: OK, USA
Parts Preferences: No particular preference
Overclocking: Yes
SLI or Crossfire: Yes
Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080
Additional Comments: Worried about Bottle necking the GPUs.


CPU: Intel Core i7-2600k $315
CPU Fan/Heatsink: Noctua NH-D14 120mm & 140mm SSO CPU Cooler $86
MoBo: ASUS Maximus IV Extreme $335
RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) $80
GPU: ASUS EAH6950 Radeon HD 6950 2GB x2 $580
Power: High Current Pro HCP-850 $175
SSD: Kingston HyperX 120G $245
HD: Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB 7200RPM 6.0Gb/s $60
Sound Card: ASUS Xonar Essence $176
Monitor: ASUS 23.6" HDMI Full 1080P x3 $537
Case: Silverstone Raven RV01 $230
Optical: ASUS Blu-ray Burner $90
USB 3.0: SIIG SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Bay Hub $75

Keyboard: Microsoft SIDEWINDER X4 Keyboard $47
Mouse: Saitek Cyborg R.A.T. 7 $85
Headphones: Sennheiser HD 558 $168
Mic: Logitech Desktop Microphone $20

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit - OEM $140
Virus Prot: ESET Smart Security 4.0 $60



Subtotal: $3534
Acc/Ship: $167
Total: $3701
October 5, 2011 5:24:49 PM

If you are spending $3k-4k don't get shitty TN panel monitors. Get some 23-27" IPS panels. (Dell, LG, Viewsonic come to mind)

You are also likely better off spending 2k this year and 2k in 2 years than 4k now.

1 DOA and 1 Dead after 1 week review on that PSU. Get a high end Corsair or Seasonic instead of Antec at this price range. Corsair has some beautiful high end modular supplies. AX850 Maybe?

Sound Cards are usually not worthwhile, but if you are doing sound editing then maybe it is, I usually recommend to try with on board before spending more.

Your insane motherboard has 8xUSB 3.0. Why on earth do you need a hub?

Unless you like ESET NOD32 Microsoft security essentials or whatever is pretty much the best you can get for free. Save yourself $60 you don't need to spend.
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October 5, 2011 5:27:08 PM

Rumor has it that 2700k will be released within a week or two to coincide with Bulldozer. It should have slightly higher base clock speed and higher overclocking potential. Something to think about...
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Related resources
October 5, 2011 5:37:47 PM

Those cards have the bios backup switch so be sure to unlock them to 6970s. http://www.techpowerup.com/articles/overclocking/vidcar...

Get a bigger HDD. They don't cost much, so upgrade it to 1tb. having to buy another one later is a pain.

Your monitor resolution is not 1920x1080. it's 5760x1080.

You don't need the USB thing. Your mobo has plenty of slots.

Those cards are huge, not sure how they'll fit on that board. But i'll let someone else verify.

Also that case is not standard, make sure you know how it works. Once again i'll let someone with more expertise comment.

Great build though imo.
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October 5, 2011 5:41:47 PM

That's a lot of money to play games and listen to music, IMHO.
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October 5, 2011 5:53:50 PM

@jitpublisher, while i agree on a personal level, i have rich friends to whom this makes perfect sense.

Also, battlemarz's comment about spending less now and upgrading sooner is worth thinking about.
Things that will last several years are the power supply (if you get a good one), the monitors, optical, maybe case, maybe cpu cooler.

The problem with downgrading is that your playing at 5760x1080, which is very challenging for your gpus. Also it's not much better of an experience than 1 2560x1600.
Maybe one of these:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Edit: get rid of the sound card too.
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October 5, 2011 6:20:36 PM

Quote:
Also it's not much better of an experience than 1 2560x1600.


I disagree. I am running 8000x1440 res and I will NEVER go back to single monitor. People say the bezels get in the way, but you don't really notice it.

@OP:

Try getting IPS panels. Dell (U2311 Ultrasharp) or LG (LED IPS236V-PN). U2411 or U2711 for high end.

In Eyefinity (or NV Surround), VRAM is MOST important. Min 1.5Gb. 2Gb if you want eye candy.

Tri Crossfire or Tri SLI would be recommended. Expensive, but saves hassles. Trust me, on high end setups/resolutions, you don't want to skimp on PSU or GPU components.

http://hardocp.com/article/2011/05/03/nvidia_3way_sli_a...

Performance should have improved with latest drivers.

Try Antec or Corsair for SOLID PSU.

Don't bother with USB 3.0 Hub. You have 8 on your MB.

Lastly, have you considered a Maximus IV Extreme-Z MB (ie Z68 chipset)? More of a complete package IMO.

Good luck with build.


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October 5, 2011 7:33:30 PM

sorry bro that sound card wont fit after putting in 2 of those cards.........im running 2 of those but the 6970 versions.......you'll have no slot left for the sound card......

but thats ok..... that mobo has the fx sound anyway......

dont sweat it......
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October 5, 2011 8:36:07 PM

hunuok said:
Quote:
Also it's not much better of an experience than 1 2560x1600.


I disagree. I am running 8000x1440 res and I will NEVER go back to single monitor. People say the bezels get in the way, but you don't really notice it.

@OP:

Try getting IPS panels. Dell (U2311 Ultrasharp) or LG (LED IPS236V-PN). U2411 or U2711 for high end.

In Eyefinity (or NV Surround), VRAM is MOST important. Min 1.5Gb. 2Gb if you want eye candy.

Tri Crossfire or Tri SLI would be recommended. Expensive, but saves hassles. Trust me, on high end setups/resolutions, you don't want to skimp on PSU or GPU components.

http://hardocp.com/article/2011/05/03/nvidia_3way_sli_a...

Performance should have improved with latest drivers.

Try Antec or Corsair for SOLID PSU.

Don't bother with USB 3.0 Hub. You have 8 on your MB.

Lastly, have you considered a Maximus IV Extreme-Z MB (ie Z68 chipset)? More of a complete package IMO.

Good luck with build.


A 2560x1600 monitor has more vertical pixels than 3 1920x1080, allowing you to see more without turning your head. While i agree that your setup (tri 2560x1440?) is better than one 2560x1600, it doesn't compare with op's choice of three 1920x1080 since it costs way more. So i'd still say one large 2560x1600 display is better than tri 1920x1080.

tri crossfire would be awesome, though the mobo would need to change (or use smaller gpus) and the psu would too. Also wouldn't be needed for a single 2560x1600 display.

He selected the Maximus IV Extreme-Z MB already, he just forgot to write "-Z". Click on the link.
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October 5, 2011 9:22:50 PM


Update/Edited build
Comments:
I'm a bit of an audiophile so I'm really wanting to keep the sound card. It was mentioned that it may not fit, but looking at videos, reviews, and dimensions I think it will. The case turns the mobo at a 90 degree angle so I'm not totally sure about it. Can anyone verify?

Also, I'm not going with the intel hex core with the intent on upgrading in a year or so and taking the i7 into a work station computer for parents/work.

I'm not worried about spending too much money. Maybe it is a lot for games and music, but ya know, it'll last a long time and it'll be fun. Don't steal my thunder :kaola: 

I had the usb 3.0 slot in it to make a more convenient connection to 3.0 and totally forgot that the 3.0 connections would be at the top of the case because of the mobo flip. Thanks for pointing that out! :pt1cable: 

I use a lot of external HDDs and have a server in the house so I don't think I need to get any more space for the computer. Easy to upgrade later if I end up eating those words.

Monitors upgraded to ISP (thanks battlemarz), and a nicer PS. Anything else?

CPU: Intel Core i7-2600k $315
CPU Fan/Heatsink: Noctua NH-D14 120mm & 140mm SSO CPU Cooler $86
MoBo: ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z $335
RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) $80
GPU: ASUS EAH6950 Radeon HD 6950 2GB x2 $580
Power: SeaSonic X Series X-850 850W $210
SSD: Kingston HyperX 120G $245
HD: Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB 7200RPM 6.0Gb/s $60
Sound Card: ASUS Xonar Essence $176
Monitor: ASUS 23" IPS Panel HDMI LED LCD x3 $570
Case: Silverstone Raven RV01 $230
Optical: ASUS Blu-ray Burner $90

Keyboard: Microsoft SIDEWINDER X4 Keyboard $47
Mouse: Saitek Cyborg R.A.T. 7 $85
Headphones: Sennheiser HD 558 $168
Mic: Logitech Desktop Microphone $20

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit - OEM $140
Virus Prot: ESET Smart Security 4.0 $60



Subtotal: $3947
Acc/Ship: $198
Total: $3695
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October 6, 2011 1:11:01 AM

i5 2500k- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 220$ nothing that you are doing is heavily threaded so an i7 2600k is not worth it

Asrock Z68 Extreme7 Gen3- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 275$ there are reasons this is the best enthusiast motherboard here

Corsair 8gb 1600mhz- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 59$ cl8 ram is not worth 20$+ more because you will hardly see a difference. the only noticeable difference is in benchmarks

Gigabyte GTX580 3072mb- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... x2=1100$ the extra memory is helpful at higher resolutions. and w/gtx 580's you can actually put aa with the higher resolutions and get near maxing out games if not max them out totally

OCZ ZX 1000w- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 200$

Crucial M4 128gb- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 198$ the sanforce controllers are very unreliable. the crucial m4 has new firmware that increases its speed by 20% and is cheaper and much more reliable

Samsung F3 1tb- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 50$ after promo code the f3 1tb is faster than the wd black hdd's and they are cheaper

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 150$ save some money you probably wont hear a difference both are excellent sound cards

Gateway 24" 1920x1080 2ms Full HD LED- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... x3=570$ after promo code 2ms monitors are recommended for gaming. 1" does make a noticeable difference in size though

Silverstone FT02B-W- http://www.amazon.com/SilverStone-Aluminum-Uni-Body-Com... 240$ the raven rv01 has a lot of problems. the ft02 is the best case silverstone is making right now

Asus 12x Blu Ray Burner- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 90$

Sidewinder X4- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 47$

Logitech G9x- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 70$ the cyborgs are notorious for being less than durable

Sennheiser HD 558- 168$

Logitech USB Desktop Microphone- 20$

Windows professional 64bit oem- 140$

virus pro- NONE! almost all security you have to pay for is not worth it. my friend got vipre (virus protection) through a tomshardware giveaway thing (im not sure but it costs money without it) and he got a virus. he ran many tests with vipre and couldnt get it off and he called me and i told him to get malwarebytes and spybots search and destroy. first test with malwarebytes and the virus was off and his computer was fast again.

Total=~3500$
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October 6, 2011 2:12:14 AM

Go with a mechanical keyboard with Cherry Brown or Black key switches. If your going all out, go for some nice to touch stuff. It makes a big difference.

I like the Razor Blackwidow Ultimate Stealth edition. Thats I use, and its the bomb.
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October 6, 2011 2:49:05 AM

Im not sure you are getting the best motherboard. Sure, it has a lot of USB 3.0 an even 2 e-sata, but do you need that? Currently I own 1 device that is USB 3.0 and 1 device that is e-sata. Btw, they are both external backup drives. In aditiion, this motherboard has no fireweire or blutetoogh or integrated wi-fi....for that price range you can find mobos that offer these features. The mobo recomendation above is actually a great one

I would also like to add that your storage options i insanely bottlenecking this system. Are you planning on using Z69 ssd cache feature? If yes, than its ok. But Im a fan of having an ALL SSD system. If you can afford it, you may want to RAID 0 your HDD. BTW.....dude, get a backup option. WD My Passport is personal favorite

Why do you need the extra USB 3.o hubs? Seriously how many USB 3.0 are you planning on buying?

Regarding anti-virus, MSE will do the work and its free
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October 6, 2011 3:03:58 AM

The Mobo proposed has 4 3.0 slots which is probably just fine - eight is rather excessive. So I've gotten on board as far as that goes.

As far as SSD only system, I've certainly thought about it. That is one thought behind only getting 500GB HDD is for a catch all in non-essential material that are going to spend a lot of time on the back burner. My current intention is certainly to add SSDs in the future.

Thanks for the thought on backup options - I handle a lot of external HDDs in life (which is why the usb 3.0 was so important), so I shouldn't have a problem finding a backup source.


What I'm really worried about at the moment is if an i5 would bottleneck the GPUs. A tri-monitor setup is a priority for a lot of the work I do so I'm pretty comfortable with the GPUs (probably going to upgrade in a year or two anyway). Sadly, I haven't been able to find much opinion on the subject. Any thoughts?
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Best solution

October 6, 2011 5:41:51 AM

while usually an i5 is enough for gaming, with your budget there is not reason to not get a 2600k. Some games have started using HT and more will in the future. They also overclock better (i could be wrong about that though, but i heard they bin the better cpus for i7s.) An i5 won't bottneck the gpus though. It just won't be as future proof.

Crucial m4 is a good choice. 128 GB will run out if you install many programs on it (check the size of your current program folder).

For Antivirus google TNod. It'll give you nod32 (the best AV) for free with very little hassle.

The r.a.t.7 is wonderful, i have one. It would only break if you stuffed it in bag everyday or something.

Go try out keyboards at a large computer store. Finding one you like can be hard from reviews only. A local store will allow you to return the ones you don't want. My experience with anything razer is hit and miss. Sometime they are wonderful and sometime the products have crippling flaws. For example, their wireless mouse that "sleeps" ever 5 seconds of inactivity. I have the black widow keyboard though and it's great.

If you're an audiophile then you don't want those headphones. Go with the Sennheiser HD 25 II. They're a bit hard to find outside of europe but ebay will hook you up with one for about $200. Ask any reputable source and they'll confirm that the HD 25 IIs are the best for music. I wouldn't have suggested them as most people like gaming headphones, but the ones you selected aren't.

I also agree with mjmjpfaff's case suggestions. If you don't like how it looks at least change from that Raven. I like corsair's obsidian series, either this one or the smaller one. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
but there are plenty of good cases.
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October 6, 2011 5:57:45 AM

I think that at this point, more $100 for an i7 is ok, specially if it will calm your mind
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October 6, 2011 6:43:03 AM

I would lose that RAM with the cake cutter heat spreaders unless you plan on combing your hair with them. All the do is impede the cpu h/s and nothing more.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $79.99 FREE SHIPPING
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model F3-14900CL9D-8GBXL

or...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $58.99 FREE SHIPPING
CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Low Profile Desktop Memory Model CML8GX3M2A1600C9

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $274.99 FREE SHIPPING
ASRock Z68 Extreme7 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=Z68%20Extre... <----- A better look at that board

http://www.asrock.com/microsite/PCIe3/ <----- PCI-E 3.0

http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/4272/asrock_z68_extrem... <----- Review of that board with benchmarks

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/z68a-gd80-p8z68-del... <----- Review of that board done last week here on Toms. It earned Tom’s Hardware Best Enthusiast-Class Award

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $594.00 FREE SHIPPING
MSI N580GTX Lightning Xtreme Edition GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) 3072MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $199.99 - $179.99 after mail-in rebate card FREE SHIPPING
OCZ ZX Series 1000W Fully-Modular 80PLUS Gold High Performance Power Supply compatible with Intel Sandybridge Core i3 i5 i7 and AMD Phenom

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... $703.99 - $20.00 Mail In Rebates
PC Power and Cooling Silencer Mk II 950W High Performance 80PLUS Silver SLI CrossFire ready Power Supply
MSI N580GTX Lightning Xtreme Edition GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) 3072MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

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October 6, 2011 9:43:38 PM

Update/Edited build
Comments: Pretty close to a final draft.

Anyone know if two graphics cards and a sound card will fit in the Raven, or in the XL?


CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K $220
CPU Fan/Heatsink: Noctua NH-D14 120mm & 140mm SSO CPU Cooler $86
MoBo: ASRock Z68 Extreme7 $275
RAM: CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) Low Profile Desktop Memory $59
GPU: ASUS EAH6950 Radeon HD 6950 2GB x2 $580
Power: SeaSonic X Series X-850 850W $210
SSD: Kingston HyperX 120G $245
HD: Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB 7200RPM 6.0Gb/s $60
Sound Card: ASUS Xonar Essence $176
Monitor: ASUS 23" IPS Panel HDMI LED LCD x3 $570
Case: Silverstone Raven RV01 $230 OR Fractal Design Define XL $160
Optical: ASUS Blu-ray Burner $90

Keyboard: RAZER Black USB Wired BlackWidow $99
Mouse: Saitek Cyborg R.A.T. 7 $85
Headphones: Sennheiser HD 25 II $200
Mic: Logitech Desktop Microphone $20

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit - OEM $140




Subtotal: $3345
Acc/Ship: $188
Total: $3533
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October 6, 2011 10:47:38 PM

2 6950's only use 750w. and 2 6950's are hardly enough gpu power for a tri monitor setup. i suggest getting 2 6970's and a cheaper 850w psu
the kingston hyperx is not worth the extra $ over the m4 128gb since the m4 is so much more reliable
the wd caviar black hdd's are slower than the samsung spinpoint f3 1tb and it is cheaper
the rv01 sucks compared to the rv02, rv03, and ft02 (all silverstone). they all cool better than the rv01
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October 7, 2011 4:36:41 PM

Best answer selected by spencerific.
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