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Time for Enthusiasts to Upgrade?

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December 2, 2011 4:42:14 PM

I have been following the intel developments, and as an individual I usually upgrade every three years or so. In 2008 I built a system around the Nehalem i7 960 (The first extreme) and I've got it running air cooled at 4.0ghz and having little issues of any kind. I use the system for both Games AND Work, and I could probably pinpoint my "bottleneck" at the single 1gb Graphics card.

That being said my anxiety about my next upgrade is pretty simple. I know the pros and cons of the new Extreme, and for work I do use premier pro, after effects and the Sorenson Suite for video encoding -- I will get "bang" for my buck going from my current processor to the new one. The only CPU concern I have is the rumor I find that the next Extreme chip addresses some functionality issues of the 3960x will be coming out in Feb/Mar 2012.

Graphically as I have stated I know my gaming FPS and certainly the rendering speeds would be improved by upgrading to 1 single 6970, but crossfire will add even more bang there. Similarly, with even less information circulating around about the HD6000 series, is there a time-line for the HD7000s or whatever they will be called? Hate to drop $800 on video cards and find them replaced a month later.

Also would love a recommendation on a Case for the new build. I'll keep the old one in the 800D and set it up as an HTPC. I like the Silverstone's with the PCI's venting out the top and the cables routed through the moulding of the case. I would like USB 3.0 on the built in parts, but that isn't a deal breaker. Cooler Master need not apply.

Thank you community!

Current System
i7 960X @ 4.0Ghz
Ultra 120 Extreme Cooler
6GB Corsair Ram at 1600
Asus Motherboard
Asus ATI 5890 Graphics
Corsair 1000 PSU
Xeno NIC
Claro PCI Audio
2x 300gb Velociraptors
Windows 7 x 64

New System
i7 3960x
Corsair H80 Cooler
16GB Corsair Ram at 1600
ASUS P9X79 PRO LGA 2011
2x Asus 6970 2gb
CORSAIR Professional Series HX1050
1/2 New SSDs

Likely scavenging from my 2008/9 Build:
C300 SATA 3 SSD 240gb HDD
Corsair P256 SATA 2 240gb HDD
December 2, 2011 6:21:28 PM

I have the raven 3... the silverstone one you're talking about... and though I love the case and it's capabilities I must warn you it is no easy setup... once it is setup it's great though... the biggest pain is if you want to put all the fans in it that you can... the drive cage fan installation is a pain in the ass... but I do love the case for it's rotated motherboard and efficient use of space. the 180s on the bottom are quiet when on low and tolerable when on high... overall 4.5/5

Also... the 800d was the other case I was looking at when i bought this one... and man that case looks so slick... did you have any issues with it?
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December 2, 2011 7:13:52 PM

Truthfully I love the 800D -- looking to be a little more "on the edge" design wise I guess on this next build. And the new Ravens have USB 3 I think. I saw another thread talking about the hot-swap drives in a Level 10 Thermaltake, but those drives aggravate me as they're still SATA 2/3.0gb rigged. It renders the SATA3 SSD and spinning drives unhotswappable. And since you essentially have to kill the hotswappability at that point, much better use can be had with that case real estate. Thanks for the Raven 3 nod! =D
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December 2, 2011 7:35:01 PM

the raven has "usb 3.0" but (and this is not an issue for me) the front IO panel does not have cables for USB 3.0 that connect to the mobo headers... it has USB cables that connect to the USB ports on the mobo's output... make sense?
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December 2, 2011 7:37:25 PM

slhpss said:
the raven has "usb 3.0" but (and this is not an issue for me) the front IO panel does not have cables for USB 3.0 that connect to the mobo headers... it has USB cables that connect to the USB ports on the mobo's output... make sense?
Sure it does, another reason for the case I am still considering the Thermaltake Level 10 (Black, not the snow!) for the simple fact that it interfaces directly with the motherboard to provide additional USB3.0, not just an extension of an existing connection.

Any idea about the CPU or the GPU questions I raised Shpss? And thank you for your replies so far!
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December 2, 2011 7:46:02 PM

personally if I had a 960 I would keep it for now and just upgrade the video card.. that 960 is still a top performer and like you said keppler and the 7000 series amd vid cards should be out soon... I personally am waiting for Ivy Bridge to come out, but if I had a 960x I would probably hold off a little longer and just upgrade in bits... vid card etc...

you on the other hand seem like the type to drop 2 grand on a system all at once... in which case i say go for it the specs you listed are great...

the thermaltake level 10 is a beauty but I wouldn't get one unless I could afford the aluminum version which I think is like 600 bucks extra or more... also I have the H60 cooler from corsair and it works great... h80 is essentially the same with a thicker radiator and a fan controller built in (if I remember correctly) if you do go with the silverstone your only real mounting option is opposed to the recommendation (that is mount it with fans exhausting on top where they recommend it go on an intake fan) but like I said mine is like that and works great.

and if you need new fans for your system (space for 7 120s in the silverstone) I have noctuas and they are awesome, but some of the fan slots (discluding the drive cage ones... so 3 of them) should be able to take thermalright ty-140s which are 140mm fans that fit in most 120 spots... very nice....

for SSDs the crowd around here always recommends the crucial M4s so I would have to go with that since I have little experience with SSDs
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December 2, 2011 8:59:20 PM

Really surprised to see a Premier user running an ATI/AMD card ..... most want CUDA for use with the Mercury playback engine

http://blogs.adobe.com/premiereprotraining/2011/02/cuda...

here's a list of cards that "officially" support CUDA

http://www.adobe.com/products/premiere/tech-specs.html

Tho, unofficially, you can enable CUDA on any current series card
http://www.studio1productions.com/Articles/PremiereCS5....

As for gaming, twin 560 Ti (900MHz) outperform twin 6970's for a whole lot less money and do it w/ a 850 watt PSU.

Guru3D uses the following games in their test suite, COD-MW, Bad Company 2, Dirt 2, Far Cry 2, Metro 2033, Dawn of Discovery, Crysis Warhead. Total fps (summing fps in each game @ 1920 x 1200) for the various options in parenthesis (single card / SL or CF) are tabulated below along with their cost in dollars per frame single card - CF or SLI:

$ 320.00 6970 (526/825) $ 0.61 - $ 0.78
$ 215.00 560 Ti - 900 Mhz (495/862) $ 0.43 - $ 0.50
$ 340.00 570 (524/873) $ 0.65 - $ 0.78
$ 500.00 580 (616/953) $ 0.81 - $ 1.05

560 Ti (900MHz) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
570 *(official CUDA support) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'm not at all impressed by the H series coolers from Corsair..... damned loud too. Hre's a comparison of a big air cooler with teh H70
http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

Based upon this review, I bought the Arrow..... it's dead silent at 4.8Gz on a 2600k....temps in low - mid 70's

HD - Seagate Momentus
http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

The Corsair HX series is an excellent line, unfortunately the 1050 is a bit of a dud by comparison .... it's 8.5 jonnyguru performance rating pales next to its little brother's 10.0 (HX850).

RAM - Link doesn't work, just make sure it's the low profile Vengeance not the silly stuff with the toothy heat sinks that server no purpose.

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

Case - Have you considered the Antec 1200 V3 ..... V3 has USB 3 connector to mobo, fantastic cooling , variable speed control built in on all fans and the ability to take CPX form factor PSU's......Note that the Antec CP-850 gets a 10.0 performance rating from jonnyguru.com and is $115 ..... the Corsair HX850 was costing ya $30 more while getting only an 8.5 performance rating from jonnyguru.

But yes, I too have become quite enamored with the Level 10 GT after reading the review on the Snow

http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...

I'd prolly put a Seasonic X series 850 or 860 in it or a XFX Core Edition.
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December 3, 2011 12:58:40 AM

JackNaylorPE said:
Really surprised to see a Premier user running an ATI/AMD card ..... most want CUDA for use with the Mercury playback engine
I had been an NVIDA fan-boy from 2000-2009. If you can't tell by my post, a brand that makes quality and earns my trust earns my repeat business. For NVIDIA products that was EVGA. I had the EVGA motherboard, NIC card and GPU in my system. At one point the motherboard and GPUs went haywire. A phantom reoccuring "FF" error code on the mobo and inexplicable freezes and dumps from the video card. If this was a gaming machine solely, it would not have been so frustrating. This impacted work, every component EVGA replaced, which they did relatively quickly I might add, just failed to solve the problem. GPUs, MoBos, PSU, the Raptors, RAM and more kept being RMA'd until I just said I am spending more in outgoing shipping on all of this and might as well just do a total replacement. Having enjoyed my experience with an Asus laptop, and of course doing my research and consulting the community here, I went over to ASUS products. Although I think the video card is a sapphire. I might seem to know a whole lot about all of this, but the truth is I do not, I know enough to be dangerous, but I rely on customer reviews and web comparissons to make my decisions most of the time, and of course fantastic people like you who take the time to analyze my needs and intentions and educate me.

As for Adobe -- I did not know that certain aspects of the video card, specific features like CUDA for instance were integrated and built into Premier. I am going to look into those ASUS 560's you posted. At that rate I wonder why I'd not do a 3-way SLI and what those results might look like. I'm drooling looking at the Asus Mars II... but the price... !


I'm not at all impressed by the H series coolers from Corsair..... damned loud too. Hre's a comparison of a big air cooler with teh H70. Based upon this review, I bought the Arrow..... it's dead silent at 4.8Gz on a 2600k....temps in low - mid 70's
Excellent points, and solid data. I had read other reviews about the performance but given that turning on my desktop by comparisson to my desktop more or less remands any audio recording to sound like the deck of an aircraft carrier, noise is something I am seeking to reduce in this build.

The toothy stuff looked nice... :(  Truthfully RAM is the area of the PC I am most in the dark. Voltage and all the rest is lost on me. I let my ram run the way it is when it pops out of the box. And sure, I'll grab two of those Momentuses -- 750gbs would be a nice addition -- although I couldn't find information about Seagate's warranty program, WD has been a dream the FEW times I've had to deal with them.


Case - Have you considered the Antec 1200 V3 ..... V3 has USB 3 connector to mobo, fantastic cooling , variable speed control built in on all fans and the ability to take CPX form factor || PSU's......Note that the Antec CP-850 gets a 10.0 performance rating from jonnyguru.com and is $115 ..... the Corsair HX850 was costing ya $30 more while getting only an 8.5 performance rating from jonnyguru.
I looked at the Twelve Hundred and to show my vanity, I just don't like the look. I don't think I'll ever truly be over departing from an 800D, but even with the connectivity, I'm still somewhat playing to my fanciful desire for a elegant case. The more I read and research the Level 10, I'll probably just order it tomorrow and take off the "hotswap" backplane.
slhpss said:
personally if I had a 960 I would keep it for now and just upgrade the video card.. that 960 is still a top performer and like you said keppler and the 7000 series amd vid cards should be out soon... I personally am waiting for Ivy Bridge to come out, but if I had a 960x I would probably hold off a little longer and just upgrade in bits... vid card etc... you on the other hand seem like the type to drop 2 grand on a system all at once... in which case i say go for it the specs you listed are great...
Hopefully your last comment there doesn't put me in the dumb/dope category! What I like about the new 3930/3960 is that they do have demonstratable effectiveness over the early gen sandy-bridge and represent the first forray back into the enthusiast area cards. But when it comes down to it, I don't know that I'll be buying into an extreme processor any time again. I really don't think I'll be doing much overclocking in the near future. So if I get anything chipwise at present it'll be that 3930 i7 that just peeped out.

the thermaltake level 10 is a beauty but I wouldn't get one unless I could afford the aluminum version which I think is like 600 bucks extra or more... also I have the H60 cooler from corsair and it works great... h80 is essentially the same with a thicker radiator and a fan controller built in (if I remember correctly) if you do go with the silverstone your only real mounting option is opposed to the recommendation (that is mount it with fans exhausting on top where they recommend it go on an intake fan) but like I said mine is like that and works great. for SSDs the crowd around here always recommends the crucial M4s so I would have to go with that since I have little experience with SSDs
I had heard the aluminum version had some issues with heat-chokes because of the "ergnomic" compartmentalizing of the case. As for the next SSD, those look solid and I am also investigating the PCI SSDs and the pros and cons of those.

Thank you both for your excellent and thorough and timely replies. I love Tom's, I should play here more often.
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December 3, 2011 2:52:53 AM

nah, not throwing you into the dumb/dope category... a few years back when I didn't have as many bills... and a wife.... I was the same way... *** I bought the AMD athlon x2 4800 like the day it came out... for 1000 bucks... now I just have a different point of view and try to stretch my dollars a bit more... just puts us in different categories about what we're willing to spend on what. I agree if I was gonna go with SB-E I would go with the 3630 since the difference in performance is minimal and the price difference is substantial... on the other hand the PCI-E SSDs look beast... wish I could afford them... cudos to your beast of a build and please do let us know what you end up getting.
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December 3, 2011 10:46:19 AM

Best answer selected by wshinds.
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