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Build with the future in mind (PCI-E 3.0)

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January 3, 2012 7:07:31 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: Between now and April 2012
Budget Range: $1000 - $2000 CAD
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Movies, Video Editing, Documents
Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers.
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, TigerDirect, OTVTech
Country: Canada
Parts Preferences: Intel setup with a full tower and either 24" or 27" widescreen monitor. Will also hook up HDTV occasionally to stream.
Overclocking: I have no idea how to properly OC but I am willing to learn
SLI or Crossfire: In the future yes
Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 or whichever looks best on a widescreen monitor
Additional Comments: This will be a gaming machine mainly so I am going for straight Umph. I want to be able to play games like Skyrim and BF3 on ultra settings with no lag at all.




What I have in mind so far:


CPU: Intel i7-2600k 3.4GHz
MOBO: ASUS P8Z68-V Pro/Gen3
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (4x4GB) DDR3 1600MHz - 16GBXL
PSU: Cooler Master Rs850-AMBAJ3-US 850W
HDD: Seagate 320GB 7200 RPM 6.0GB/s (main HDD)
HDD: Seagate 500GB 7200 RPM 6.0GB/s (secondary HDD)
V.Card: HIS IceQ Turbo Radeon HD 6970 2GB




My main concern in regards to the CPU:

I have heard that if I have no urge to OC anything then I should stick with just an i7-2600, but if I feel like overclocking I can grab an i5-2500k and overclock that to be just as good as the 2600k. I want to point out that I specifically picked out the Z68 Mobo so I can swap in an Ivy Bridge CPU at a later date with no issues.

Would it be best to just save some money now and grab an i5-2500k and overclock it to where I like it (4.0GHz), stick with an i7-2600(k) or wait completely to purchased the CPU/Mobo in April?

If I pick up an i5-2500k and overclock it at all, do I need to match the RAM with the voltage increase or how does that work?



My second concern with the video card:

I would love to do some SLI/Crossfire but it seems the ATI 6970 is pretty awesome as it stands, so If I picked up 2x6950's would I notice much improvement or is that "old" technology at this point?



ending comments:

I want to build a computer that will play the best games on high settings for at least a couple years, so that is why I am so torn on whether to wait completely for the Ivy Bridge to come out and possibly a new video card will be out by then or just bite the bullet. Thanks for any help.

More about : build future mind pci

January 3, 2012 7:36:06 PM

This is great - I was going to ask many of the same questions for my build which uses the same core components...

IMO, getting the 6970 now and having the option to add another later for future-proofing is better than getting two 6950s now.

I've been agonizing over the CPU; everybody keeps saying how the i7 is overpowered for gaming (and my most recent version of that list backs off to the i5, against my instinct), but I wonder if it's not worth the $100 for future-proofing.

Except I'm also thinking about swapping in an Ivy Bridge CPU later, so why not save the $100 now and upgrade when the new CPUs come out?

Not much help for you here, Waffle - but I'll be following this thread with interest. Cheers.
January 3, 2012 7:37:17 PM

Quote:
I want to build a computer that will play the best games on high settings for at least a couple years, so that is why I am so torn on whether to wait completely for the Ivy Bridge to come out and possibly a new video card will be out by then or just bite the bullet. Thanks for any help.


If we're talking about past Intel boards and chipsets - Ivy Bridge is not going to be that much of an improvement over Sandy Bridge is now. Look at SB-E - it's basically a glorified Xeon that Intel can charge an arm and a leg for. When X58 hit - it set a new standard for tech. When Z68 hit, it too set a new standard for tech and this one is going to be hard to beat. What AMD proved with the FX series is that newer isn't always better. I'd go with SB right now - the i7-2600K outperforms CPUs costing 2 - 3 times as much and it's still an excellent processor that will be hard to beat for the money.

Quote:
I would love to do some SLI/Crossfire but it seems the ATI 6970 is pretty awesome as it stands, so If I picked up 2x6950's would I notice much improvement or is that "old" technology at this point?


The 6950 and the 6970 are pretty much the same card - from a design and performance standpoint anyways. I'm not going to say they're old technology since they've only been on the market a few months - but if you're going to spend that kind of money you should wait for the 7970.

Quote:
I have heard that if I have no urge to OC anything then I should stick with just an i7-2600. Also that if I feel like OC'ing I can grab an i5-2500k and OC that to be just as good as the 2600k. Also I want to point out that I specifically picked out the Z68 Mobo so I can swap in an Ivy Bridge CPU at a later date with no issues.


Z68 will support IB with a BIOS flash, just like AMD did with the FX series. If you're going to get the 2600 or the 2500, you should definitely get the K just to be on the safe side, as the ones without a K can't be overclocked.

Quote:
If it would be best to just save some money now and grab an i5-2500k and OC it to where I like it, I am at a loss as how that is done and how to match the RAM up with that (sequencing, MHz, etc).


That is actually impossible to speculate until you get your build up and running. There's so many different combinations of parts and cooling configurations that every system is unique and going to give you different results every time.

Now for the components :lol:  :

Quote:
CPU: Intel i7-2600k 3.4GHz (OC option)


If you're going for the OC option you for sure want a good aftermarket cooler. There's plenty of good ones out there for not a lot of money.

Quote:
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (4x4GB) DDR3 1600MHz - 16GBXL


If you're going for just gaming alone, 8GB will plenty.

Quote:

HDD: Seagate 320GB 7200 RPM 6.0GB/s (main HDD)
HDD: Seagate 500GB 7200 RPM 6.0GB/s (secondary HDD)


It's certainly not a bad idea to have two separate drives, but the best way to go is to get a small SSD like the Crucial M4, and a larger 500 - 1TB hard drive. With HD prices the way they are now it would put a serious dent in your budget to go with those drives.

Quote:

I've been agonizing over the CPU; everybody keeps saying how the i7 is overpowered for gaming (and my most recent version of that list backs off to the i5, against my instinct), but I wonder if it's not worth the $100 for future-proofing.

Except I'm also thinking about swapping in an Ivy Bridge CPU later, so why not save the $100 now and upgrade when the new CPUs come out?


Again I say that IB is not going to make that much of a dramatic improvement over SB. The i5-2500K is still the best CPU you can get for the money right now, IB isn't going to be available until well into the summer if I'm reading Intel's news about it correctly.
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January 3, 2012 7:52:45 PM

Quote:
If we're talking about past Intel boards and chipsets - Ivy Bridge is not going to be that much of an improvement over Sandy Bridge is now. Look at SB-E - it's basically a glorified Xeon that Intel can charge an arm and a leg for. When X58 hit - it set a new standard for tech. When Z68 hit, it too set a new standard for tech and this one is going to be hard to beat. What AMD proved with the FX series is that newer isn't always better. I'd go with SB right now - the i7-2600K outperforms CPUs costing 2 - 3 times as much and it's still an excellent processor that will be hard to beat for the money.


Quote:
Again I say that IB is not going to make that much of a dramatic improvement over SB. The i5-2500K is still the best CPU you can get for the money right now, IB isn't going to be available until well into the summer if I'm reading Intel's news about it correctly.


So from what I gather I could go either way with this one and still end up happy. The i5-2500k is the best bang for buck and will overclock just as well as the i7 but costs a good $100 less. If the IB is going to be as you say then I really shouldnt even worry about upgrading to it at a later date and possibly just go with the best I can get right now.


Quote:
The 6950 and the 6970 are pretty much the same card - from a design and performance standpoint anyways. I'm not going to say they're old technology since they've only been on the market a few months - but if you're going to spend that kind of money you should wait for the 7970.


I'm not completely sold on only ATI/AMD but the 6970 does appeal to me greatly right now. I am interested in the 7970 but I am a little worried about their support off the get go, and if it's actually going to change much. I see the 7970 is set to release this week so I will wait until that happens to see how it performs.


Quote:

Z68 will support IB with a BIOS flash, just like AMD did with the FX series. If you're going to get the 2600 or the 2500, you should definitely get the K just to be on the safe side, as the ones without a K can't be overclocked.


I agree.


Quote:
That is actually impossible to speculate until you get your build up and running. There's so many different combinations of parts and cooling configurations that every system is unique and going to give you different results every time.


I had no idea I had to have the build up and running to figure out the memory sequencing, that is good to know!


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1) If you're going for the OC option you for sure want a good aftermarket cooler. There's plenty of good ones out there for not a lot of money.

2) If you're going for just gaming alone, 8GB will plenty.

3) It's certainly not a bad idea to have two separate drives, but the best way to go is to get a small SSD like the Crucial M4, and a larger 500 - 1TB hard drive. With HD prices the way they are now it would put a serious dent in your budget to go with those drives.


1) I have a ZALMAN CNPS9500 picked out for a heatsink but if there is a better option out there please let me know!

2) I do a bit of video editing when I am in the mood, would 8GB still be able to handle that?

3) My current desktop has 160(main, 2x250(secondary) and I hadn't even looked at SSD as I assumed they were all ridiculously expensive. I just checked out a few prices and might look into picking up a 120-160 SSD (depending on other parts decided on).

January 3, 2012 7:54:42 PM

Do not buy a CoolerMaster PSU - it will screw up your PC. Buy a Corsair AX850 instead.
January 3, 2012 8:49:38 PM

Okay I did a bit more research and I believe this will be my setup (from newegg) with a plan of 4.5GHz from the CPU. Plans will include swapping in a 250GB or larger SSD when prices drop a bit more, as well as adding in another HIS IceQ when the new card comes out and prices drop down. Let me know if you have any other suggestions!




Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
$92.99

CORSAIR Professional Series Gold AX850 (CMPSU-850AX) 850W ATX12V v2.31 / EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular
$199.99

Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics
$329.99

HIS IceQ Turbo H697QT2G2M Radeon HD 6970 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video
-$20.00 Instant
$20.00 Mail-in Rebate Card
$359.99
$339.99

G.SKILL Sniper Low Voltage Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR2
$50.99

ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
$219.99

ZALMAN CNPS9500 AT 2 Ball CPU Cooling Fan/Heatsink
$44.99
January 3, 2012 9:06:30 PM

Quote:
So from what I gather I could go either way with this one and still end up happy. The i5-2500k is the best bang for buck and will overclock just as well as the i7 but costs a good $100 less. If the IB is going to be as you say then I really shouldnt even worry about upgrading to it at a later date and possibly just go with the best I can get right now.


Yes - it's not going to be a drastic improvement, just a minor one. Like P55 was to X58.

Quote:
I'm not completely sold on only ATI/AMD but the 6970 does appeal to me greatly right now. I am interested in the 7970 but I am a little worried about their support off the get go, and if it's actually going to change much. I see the 7970 is set to release this week so I will wait until that happens to see how it performs.


No matter which way you go both will be excellent choices. The GPU is where you'll see the biggest improvements on your rig, not the CPU. The 7970 is going to be amazing but you'll pay a hefty premium for it (I think it's ~$530 initially depending on manufacturer). The GTX 580 is a good choice but with the high cost I'd hold off a bit until the next series of NVIDIA GPUs are announced. The biggest difference between the two is that AMD's Eyefinity is amazing for setting up multiple monitors, where NVIDIA doesn't have anything remotely close. NVIDIA is better for tweaking and overclocking, but most GPU manufacturers do that anyways so you don't have to. :lol: 

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1) I have a ZALMAN CNPS9500 picked out for a heatsink but if there is a better option out there please let me know!


It's an OK choice for sure - this would be a far better option for not much more money - Noctua NH-U9B or this - EVGA M020. Both fan and heat sink combos deliver about equivalent performance to what a single 120mm closed block liquid loop (Corsair H80 / Antec Kuhler) would.

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2) I do a bit of video editing when I am in the mood, would 8GB still be able to handle that?


Yes but if you get more - just make sure that all modules are the same. Most Z68 will support 16GB at max, a few of the higher end models will support 32GB.

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3) My current desktop has 160(main, 2x250(secondary) and I hadn't even looked at SSD as I assumed they were all ridiculously expensive. I just checked out a few prices and might look into picking up a 120-160 SSD (depending on other parts decided on).


Reuse your old HDs for sure. Get an SSD for your primary then reuse your old HDs as your secondary. The Crucial M4 is one of the best, but I keep hearing good things about the Mushkin Chronos series.

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HIS IceQ Turbo H697QT2G2M Radeon HD 6970 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video


Sapphire would be a better brand than HIS - but if you want to wait - go for the 7950.
January 11, 2012 12:32:27 PM

I have decided to go a different route after many hours of research. I wanted a computer that would be the latest and greatest (first ever) and If I were to do that right now I would still lose out on a CPU upgrade (Ivy Bridge) to enable PCI-E 3.0 and USB 3.0. It also doesn't make sense to throw in an ATI 7970 if a 6870 plays BF3/Skyrim just fine. So with that in mind here is my new build with a footnote at the end regarding the plans for the future.


OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - Newegg $109.99
Processor: I69-2500K ::Intel Core i5-2500K - TigerDirect $224.97
Processor Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus - TigerDirect $35.99
Motherboard: ASUS P8Z68-V/GEN3 LGA 1155 - Newegg $189.99
Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB DDR3 1600 - Newegg $30.99
Power Supply: SeaSonic M12II 850 SS-850AM 850W - Newegg $159.99
Video: SAPPHIRE 100314-3L Radeon HD 6870 1GB - Newegg $179.99

Case: Lian Li PC-A77FB Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower - DirectCanada $290.00 (purchased)

Eventual Additions: Clear side case window from Lian, 7 new case fans (White LED), 2 new fans for the 212+ (red LED), fan controller, new monitor(s).


Footnote:

I am always welcome to some better ideas or even somewhere that has the same thing for cheaper! The current idea is that this computer will run BF3 just fine on max settings and nothing else is going to come out and challenge that (that I want to play) for a little while. So I will run with this setup until a game comes out that requires a bit more juice (HL3? BF4?) and then upgrade to an Ivy Bridge and probably ATI 7950x2.

The other issue is PCI-E 3.0. I picked up the Mobo that can handle it but there is no point in buying a video card for full price right now that is going to be limited by the CPU, so I will just wait to upgrade those 2 key components at a later date when prices will be down and a game is out that actually uses it.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns!
!