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Opinions/Feedback/Recommendations - new build monster machine

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January 27, 2012 1:45:46 PM

I'm looking to build a monster gaming machine for around $3k with Eyefinity capability (3 monitors) within the next 2 weeks. I'd like to hear everyone's opinion on what I've chosen, and if you think I should go with something different and why. Thanks in advance. I'm purchasing everything from Newegg.

1
Logitech G9x Black Wired Laser Gaming Mouse
Item #:N82E16826104261
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
$99.99
$64.99


1
HIS IceQ Turbo Radeon HD 6970 H697QT2G2M Video Card with Eyefinity
Item #:N82E16814161382
Return Policy: VGA Standard Return Policy
$359.99
$319.99


1
Logitech Black Wired Keyboard
Item #:N82E16823126100
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
$119.99
$89.99


1
Crucial Ballistix 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2000 (PC3 16000) Desktop Memory
Item #:N82E16820148458
Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy
$99.99


1
AeroCool FP-01 55-in-1 Card Reader w/Flip-up LCD Screen
Item #:N82E16820314001
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
$59.99


1
ERGOTRON 33-296-195 LX Triple/Dual Display Lift Stand
Item #:N82E16824994002
Return Policy: Limited Replacement Only Return Policy
$299.99
$252.99


1
Seagate Barracuda Green 1.5TB 3.5" SATA 6.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #:N82E16822148725
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
$119.99


1
COOLER MASTER HAF 932 Advanced Blue Edition RC-932-KKN3-GP Computer Case
Item #:N82E16811119213
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
$179.99
$169.99


1
ASUS P8Z68 DELUXE/GEN3 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
Item #:N82E16813131791
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
$269.99
$254.99


1
Intel Core i7-2600K 3.4GHz LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor
Item #:N82E16819115070
Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy
$319.99


1
Rosewill LIGHTNING Series LIGHTNING-800 800W ATX12V/EPS12V 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active-PFC Power Supply
Item #:N82E16817182238
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
$169.99
$139.99


1
OCZ Vertex 2 OCZSSD2-2VTXE120G 2.5" MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
Item #:N82E16820227551
Return Policy: Limited Replacement Only Return Policy
$199.99
$155.99


1
ASUS Black Blu-ray Burner SATA BW-12B1ST/BLK/G/AS
Item #:N82E16827135252
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
$89.99
$79.99


1
Logitech QuickCam Orbit AF WebCam
Item #:N82E16826104087
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
$112.99
$105.99


3
Acer S211HLbd 21.5'' 5ms LED-Backlight LCD Monitor Slim Design
Item #:N82E16824009261
Return Policy: Monitor Standard Return Policy
$509.97
$419.97

1
COOLER MASTER V8 RR-UV8-XBU1-GP 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler Intel Core i7 compatible
Item #: N82E16835103055
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
-$10.00 Instant
$15.00 Mail-in Rebate
$59.99
$49.99
January 27, 2012 2:30:50 PM

There are a few things I would change there:

GPU - That card on it's own isn't going to be great across 3 monitors, I would recommend an HD 7970 or some kind of SLI/Crossfire setup. We can certainly free up some funds elsewhere to make this possible.

RAM - The higher frequency of the RAM is going to make virtually no difference in games so I would go with 1600Mhz.

MOBO - This is a tad expensive, personally I would change to an ASRock Z68 Extreme3. If you want to stick with ASUS though I'd go for the ASUS P8Z68-V. You wouldn't really be losing out on a lot and you would save cash to put it where it matters, graphics.

CPU - That i7 is going to perform almost the same as an i5-2500k in games, the main difference is the hyperthreading and games don't really utilise it.

SSD - OCZ have been pretty unreliable for SSD's, I'd go for a Crucial M4.

I'll make up a build now to show you what I would go for.
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Related resources
January 27, 2012 2:42:37 PM

i5-2500k - $229.99
8GB G.Skill RipjawsX 1600Mhz - $46.99
ASRock Z68 Extreme3 - $121.99
2 x Sapphire HD 6970 2GB - $699.98 ($349.99 each)
Crucial M4 128GB - $179.99
Seagate Barracuda Green 1.5TB - $119.99
Seasonic SS-850HT 850W - $119.99
ASUS Bluray Burner - $79.99
Coolermaster HAF 922 - $94.99

$1693.90 Total

The only places you would lose performance are in places where it would make little to no difference for games, you would also get a faster, more reliable SSD and far better graphics performance.
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January 27, 2012 2:50:25 PM

Thanks for the great suggestions! Do you think 2 6970's would give me better performance over a single 7970 3gb? I definitely want to do the Eyefinity stuff at a pretty decent framerate. Would I need a larger Xfire bridge?


jmsellars1 said:
i5-2500k - $229.99
8GB G.Skill RipjawsX 1600Mhz - $46.99
ASRock Z68 Extreme3 - $121.99
2 x Sapphire HD 6970 2GB - $699.98 ($349.99 each)
Crucial M4 128GB - $179.99
Seagate Barracuda Green 1.5TB - $119.99
Seasonic SS-850HT 850W - $119.99
ASUS Bluray Burner - $79.99
Coolermaster HAF 922 - $94.99

$1693.90 Total

The only places you would lose performance are in places where it would make little to no difference for games, you would also get a faster, more reliable SSD and far better graphics performance.

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January 27, 2012 2:54:10 PM

Got any plans for cooling your cpu?

:p 

I guess with the money you're throwing, you'll either want it quiet or overclockable.
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January 27, 2012 2:57:52 PM

Actually noise isn't a factor I care about. I couldn't care less if there's a mild hum - I just don't want it to sound like a vacuum cleaner when its on ;) 

And yes, I'm spending about $3k total - so any cooling recommendations are highly appreciated :)  FYI - I'm not a major OC guy - I may later on in its life cycle, but right off the bat I'm not worried about OC.


billybobser said:
Got any plans for cooling your cpu?

:p 

I guess with the money you're throwing, you'll either want it quiet or overclockable.

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January 27, 2012 3:03:33 PM

I'd recommend 7970 the most
or a pair of 6950 (2GB) not 6970
Also I would go with at least 3-24" monitors...3-27" would be godly awesome
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January 27, 2012 3:17:54 PM

I just breezed thru some benches and at such a high resolutions such as 5760x1080 you will probably need 3 way CF 6950/70 or 2 x 7970 to play really flawlessly. Still with your 3k budget it is doable.
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January 27, 2012 3:33:12 PM

2 x HD 6970 is probably going to be better than a HD 7970 yeah.

I wouldn't worry about cooling too much, virtually any aftermarket cooler will be fine for the CPU and the GPU's should be fine with a case like the HAF 922 or 932.

However you decide to go about this, I would get 2 cards. If using a single card for 3 monitors you would need an active displayport adapter to do Eyefinity iirc and these can be expensive. With 2 cards you should just be able to do 3 x DVI or something as far as I know. I wouldn't bother with 3 cards because the 3rd card doesn't add all that much performance. Ideally you want 2 x HD 7970 but 2 x HD 6970 or GTX 580 would be good.
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Best solution

January 27, 2012 3:47:03 PM

Dump the tall toothy heat sinks. The only cooling effect of these big coolers is that they "look cool". While they served a purpose (when they were effective) w/ DDR2, they are absolutely useless on DDR3.

http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...
Quote:
At more than 2" tall in certain areas the Corsair Vengeance could pose a problem for users like me who use large coolers such as the Scythe Mugen 2. I was able to use the Corsair Vengeance only after I mounted the fan on my cooler on the backside. Size is definitely a concern with heat spreaders of this size and therefore I encourage users to check that they will have enough space under their heatsinks before purchasing the Corsair Vengeance kit.


http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten...
Quote:
The problem I have with the Corsair Vengeance is the same I have with many kits of RAM on the market. Companies insist on putting large coolers on their RAM and it limits the choice in CPU heatsinks that can be used within users system. DDR3 does not require these elaborate coolers with its lower voltages which translate to lower temperatures then RAM saw during the DDR, and DDR2 era. Corsair is correcting this with low profile versions of its Vengeance line but ultimately I would like to see the average size of coolers drop instead of having to look for specific low profile versions of a memory line.


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

On the HD, "green" is code for "slow". Yes, it saves electric so it's "green" but at the cost of performance.

2TB 7200 rpm model for just a bit more
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or this model which comes with a free DVD Burner for $135
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The price premium on the 2600k comes form it's ability to provide Hyerthreading (HT) which is great for multi threaded apps .... if you not doing video editing, rendering or other HT enable apps, I'd consider the 2500k and save $90 or so ..... on teh other hand, if you fell the extra 0.1 GHz is worth the $90, I can't see how ya can ignore tha 2700k which gets you another 0.1GHz for just $50 more.....in short, teh 2500k or 2700k is what I'd be buying, hard to make a case for the 2600k.

Rosewill PSU's won't be found on many enthusiasts buy lists.

8.0 performance rating http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...
9.0 performance rating http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...

Why buy those when ya can get these for less money ?

$120 CP-850 10.0 performance rating (limited to 4 Antec cases)
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...

Quote:
[The CP-850] is completely unmatched by any ATX unit on the market I can think of. You'd have to spend twice as much as this thing costs to find the next best thing, performance wise.


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

$160 HX850 10.0 performance rating
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$90 XFX Core Edition 850
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The case and PSU should always be considered in combination.In this article for example, they go into etail how the design of the case affects PSU operation, noise and case cooling:

Quote:
A serious consideration is that in each of the [four] compatible Antec cases, the CP-850 mounts on the bottom, and the intake for the PSU is quite separate from the rest of the system. In the P193 and P183, the PSU is in an entirely separate thermal chamber, and in the model 1200 [and DF-85], a direct path can be maintained to the directly opposite, wide-open front vent. This means that our extreme hot box test conditions never apply to the CP-850; in other words, SPCR's test environment is unrealistically hot for the CP-850. Our atypical spot check with a room ambient thermal test showed the CP-850 would reach only 24 dBA@1m at 700W load in a 27°C working environment. This is ridiculously quiet for such high power output.

The above is an obviously unfair advantage for the CP-850... but what of it? Antec has used an integrated systems approach for its CP-850 and its best cases, and if that approach is an advantage over all other case/PSU combinations, then, all the more power to Antec!......

For the quiet-seeking computer gaming enthusiast, the CP-850 (along with any of the [four] compatible cases) is something of a godsend. Fantastically stable power, super low noise at any power load, long expected reliability due to excellent cooling, modular cabling, and all at a price that's no higher than many high end 6~700W models. That you're limited to one of three well-executed high cases from Antec — one mostly for silence (P183), [two] mostly for gaming (1200[ and DF-85]) and one that's really an ultimate everyman case (P193) — is not exactly a hardship either.


I like the HAF-932 but it's been squeeze outta my Top 5 list as all things being equal, I like the 1200 V3, DF-85 HAF-X ], Level 10GT and Corsair 500R better.

Vertex 2 is a last generation SSD. According to the link below it falls into "Tier 19", which makes it about half as fast as a Tier 3 which is only $45 more.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-review-benchmar...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also be careful of the reliability FUD .... OCZ was the first to recognize a BSOD problem but teh competitors point the finger soon found themselves in the same boat.

Crucials' SSD issue
http://www.anandtech.com/show/5308/crucial-to-fix-m4-bs...

Samsung SSD Issue
http://www.anandtech.com/show/5460/samsung-updates-the-...

Intel SSD Issue
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4625/intel-testing-firmwa...

The price on ya monitor is about $400 higher than it should be. I'd consider a 120 Hz model if buget allows:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I see no advantage on the "Deluxe" MoBo, if OI recall correctly, the extra $50 over the Pro gets you a 2n LAN connection an a firewire port......I' get the Pro version an pocket the $50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...|13-131-790^13-131-790-TS%2C13-131-791^13-131-791-TS

The big three are the Phantek PH-TC14, Thermalright Silver Arrow an Noctua H-14 ...all at $80+ ..... however if ya want something that comes within a degree or 2 of those, I' suggest the CM Hyper 612 PWM or Scythe Mugen 3, both of which run about $50.

While it's true that one 6970 supports Eyefinity ..... assuming hat you can play modern games on 3 monitors is a mistake. With just one monitor (1920 x 1200), the 6970 gets less than 30 fps in Metro 2033 .... with three monitors, you gonna be down to < 10 fps. At the very least you are going to need SLI / CF ..... to play the more demanding games at 5760 x 1200, you are talking three 580's or three 7970's

As for two 6970's, I' do some research ..... I don't have anything handy at 5760 x 1200 but at 1920 x 1200, the 6970's don't fare that well compared to the cheaper 560's. 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.

Two 6970's ($320 each) get 825 fps in Guru3D's test suite compared to 862 fps for twin 900Mhz 560 Ti's ($215 each)....That's $100 more per card for 37 less fps. The 560's have way more OC headroom than the 6970's do ....but .... the 6970's generally do better at higher resolutions. Still, I don't think games like Metro 2033 will be able to be played at decent fps at 5760 x 1200 / 1080 with ultra settings.

My thinking is, if I was gonna build a gaming rig and investing in three quality monitors ..... I wouldn't do it with anything less than three 580's / 680's or 7970's. However, historically AMD / ATI has not done well with more than 2 cards in CF and Id wanna see some reviews saying this problem has been licked before investing $1600 + in GFX cards. In short, I'd wait until June till well after the reference card "Revison A" hardware from both camps has passed into history, the Revision B and C are out with beefed up VRM's, better coolers and tweaked out at the factory OC's.
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January 27, 2012 4:34:25 PM

ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
Item #: N82E16827135204
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
$18.99


COOLER MASTER HAF 932 Advanced Blue Edition RC-932-KKN3-GP ATX Full Tower Computer Case with USB 3.0, Black Interior and ...
Item #: N82E16811119213
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
-$10.00 Instant
$10.00 Mail-in Rebate
$179.99
$169.99


SAMSUNG S24A300B High Glossy Black 24" Full HD LED BackLight LCD Monitor
Item #: N82E16824001486
Return Policy: Monitor Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
-$80.00 Instant
$809.97
$569.97
($189.99 each)


GIGABYTE GV-R797OC-3GD Radeon HD 7970 3GB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
Item #: N82E16814125413
Return Policy: VGA Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
$1,219.98
($609.99 each)


Antec CP-1000 1000W Continuous ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V v2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply Exclusively ...
Item #: N82E16817371036
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
-$20.00 Instant
$169.99
$149.99


Microsoft SIDEWINDER X4 Keyboard
Item #: N82E16823109191
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
-$13.00 Instant
$59.99
$46.99


Cyborg CCB437080002/04/1 Black USB Wired Laser R.A.T. 7 Gaming Mouse
Item #: N82E16826102062
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
-$18.99 Instant
$99.99
$81.00


Patriot G series ‘Sector 5’ Edition 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model PGV38G1600ELK
Item #: N82E16820220484
Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy
$41.99
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Patriot Signature Series 8GB Micro SDHC Flash Card w/ Adapter Model PSF8GMCSDHC43P
Item #: N82E16820220523
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
-$7.99 Saving
$7.99
$0.00


ASUS P8P67 DELUXE (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
Item #: N82E16813131701
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
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$209.99


Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000 ...
Item #: N82E16819115072
Return Policy: Iron Egg Replacement-Only Return Policy
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$229.99


Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
Item #: N82E16820148442
Return Policy: Limited Replacement Only Return Policy
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$179.99

The Total $2918.87 and $10 mail in rebate
In few months when HDD prices fall get 2T drive. 128GB SSD is fine for OS and handfull of games...so unless you download tons of whatever that SSD should be fine if not just grab any HDD.

So you are getting 2-7970 and 3-24" monitors....that is kick azz
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January 27, 2012 4:43:09 PM

Sounds like the perfect final build plans to me
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January 27, 2012 6:12:17 PM

On the SSD's, it is true what they say about the OCZ drives. They have been hideously unreliable. I worked at Ebuyer in the UK for a few months and saw most of what was returned. Out of all the SSD's returned, about 80% were OCZ. That doesn't mean to say the other drives are bombproof I know, they can all have their problems sometimes but personally I would go for the Crucial, Intel or Samsung drives.
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January 27, 2012 8:06:17 PM

I am always so amazed at how helpful everyone is! Thank you all for your input. The hardest part is trying to decide who has the "Best Answer" after all is said and done... I wish I could say all of them were in this case. Thanks everyone! Your input helped me spend 3000 properly :D 
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January 27, 2012 8:06:34 PM

Best answer selected by Shazma0527.
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