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Final check before I buy

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April 12, 2012 7:13:17 PM

Hi all...

I have built many systems over the past couple of years - all generations and levels of sandry bridge (and everything in between - from Core Duo 478 desktops through to Q6600 overclocked).

I want to build a system that will play EVERYTHING @ max settings and remain a solid system for a couple of years. I have researched most of the parts and they seem cutting edge, within their price brackets...

> Intel Core i7 3930K (C2) Unlocked - £449
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/intel-core-i7-3930k-enth...

> Asus Rampage IV Formula X79 (with BF3) Game Board - £268.55
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/asus-rampage-iv-formula-...(x16)-a

> EVGA GTX 680 Keplar - £443.62
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/2gb-evga-gtx-680-28nm-pc...

> Corsair X79 Dominator GT 16Gb 2133Mhz Cas 9 - £193.39
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/16gb-(4x4gb)-corsair-ddr3-dominator-gt-pc3-17066-(2133)-non-ecc-cas-9-11-10-27-xmp-dhx-pro-15v

> Corsair HX 850W Modular PSU - £125.82
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/850w-psu-corsair-hx-cmps...

> Corsair SSD Force Series 3 240Gb 6Gb/s - £199.49
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/240gb-corsair-force-seri...

> Lian-Li PC-X500FB Black Window Case - £251.98
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/lian-li-pc-x500fb-black-...

> Transcend 2gb Vertical USB (for quick backup) - £20.32
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/2gb-transcend-vertical-u...

Any comments welcome :)  (constructive) I was considering getting the Extreme version of the motherboard - but this is E-ATX so case choice would change.

More about : final check buy

April 12, 2012 7:19:47 PM

That will be a pretty powerful system. Only things I would get differently are the RAM (2133 is a waste and the tall heat sinks won't be good for any coolers you may plan to install) and SSD (Sandforce is likely to give you lots of issues and BSODs):

RAM: http://www.scan.co.uk/products/16gb-(4x4gb)-corsair-ddr3-vengeance-lp-jet-black-pc3-12800-(1600)-non-ecc-cas-9-9-9-24-xmp-15v

SSD: http://www.scan.co.uk/products/128gb-crucial-realssd-m4...

Otherwise everything else looks good. I wouldn't include the USB drive in your budget - get a DVD burner instead.
April 12, 2012 7:28:34 PM

Ok I made a change with the RAM...saved a cheeky £100

Only question I have was regarding the Sandforce - they have been getting amazing ratings - why the caution? I was considering these as alternatives to the one I chose (also a Sandforce) :

> OCZ Vertex 3
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/240gb-ocz-technology-ver...

> Corsair Force GT 24Gb
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/240gb-corsair-force-seri...

Or taking the plunge and moving across to insane speeds (double that of Sata III offerings) using PCI-E (this is ample space for me)

> Revo Drive 120Gb
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/120gb-ocz-revodrive-3-25...

Related resources
April 12, 2012 7:29:20 PM

Wouldn't bother with the i7 3930K, get an i7 2600k and spend the difference you save on that and the motherboard (you'll need a Z68 or Z77 one with the i7 2600k) on a second GPU.
April 12, 2012 7:31:18 PM

lmartinefc said:
Ok I made a change with the RAM...saved a cheeky £100

Only question I have was regarding the Sandforce - they have been getting amazing ratings - why the caution? I was considering these as alternatives to the one I chose (also a Sandforce) :

> OCZ Vertex 3
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/240gb-ocz-technology-ver...

> Corsair Force GT 24Gb
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/240gb-corsair-force-seri...

Or taking the plunge and moving across to insane speeds (double that of Sata III offerings) using PCI-E (this is ample space for me)

> Revo Drive 120Gb
http://www.scan.co.uk/products/120gb-ocz-revodrive-3-25...


The Revo Drive is the new Velociraptor - it's an insanely expensive, very limited storage gimmick that has far more room for failure than anything else you can get. You also forfeit a PCI slot in case you want to SLI your build down the road.

But neither of those drives I would recommend due to the Sandforce controller used - you're far more likely to get BSODs and errors than with the Marvell controller used on the M4.
April 12, 2012 7:32:13 PM

I was considering an i7 2600K - but would love 6 cores (+HT) - I know this would spank anything that I could throw at it and then some. And newer games are already supporting 6 cores.

In terms of a second GPU - the GTX 580 has 512 cores (the 590 I assume has 1024 cores) but the GTX 680 has an insane 1536 cores and 2Gb memory.

I game at 1920 x 1080 so I do not think a second GPU would make any difference to my gaming with the newest titles at max settings? Correct me if i'm wrong...(based on cores and memory requirement)
April 12, 2012 7:33:07 PM

Thanks for confirming g-unit - which are the best controllers to use? Just so I can look at a range of drives around this price / size point...
April 12, 2012 7:37:23 PM

Unless you have some compelling reason to get 16GB of memory, I'd go with 8. There really just isn't any added value for having that much for the vast majority of applications, and games would need to inflate their memory footprint about 1000% to make use of it.

Instead, I'd snag 8GB of DDR3-1600 with the best latencies around. It performs very close to the super high end stuff, but at a fraction of the cost.

Edit: Left this post up while away from the computer for a minute and there are already like half a dozen people saying the same thing.
April 12, 2012 7:43:09 PM

More than 8gbs of ram is a wast of money for gaming even when trying to future proof.
April 12, 2012 7:58:53 PM

With new CPUs and GPUs coming right around the corner, I'd hold off for a few weeks. Ivy Bridge will perform a little better than the equivalent Sandy Bridge CPU, at the same price point, using less power (and very possibly overclocking even better). Resulting GPU wars may drive prices down like they did last generation. As it is, spending 440 pounds on a GPU isn't very economical.

Multi-GPU setups are more complicated, and do have drawbacks (micro-stuttering if your FPS drops too low and more idle heat and power usage ...but the latter is less an issue with current 7xxx AMD cards), but you'll probably get more value buying 2x 220 pound cards. That's probably 7850 neighborhood, and the equivalent Nvidia card (660 or 660 ti?). Anecdotally, I spent $350 on my 2x 5850 over a year ago before rebates and I'd still be hard pressed to buy a single GPU that's faster for less money.

With the RAM, go 4x4GB sticks if you get a quad-channel board + CPU, otherwise 2x4GB sticks. Gaming isn't largely dependent on RAM capacity and speed. 8GB sticks cost significantly more, also high speed memory costs more. You will probably see diminishing returns for your money after 4GB 1600mhz cas9 sticks.

That's my two pence, but I think your first post looks like a killer system. I think you're overspending a bit, but I'm a miser.
April 12, 2012 8:12:59 PM

When exactly is Ivy bridge coming out? I don't want to be in the cycle of waiting round for the next thing. Tried that before and there are always delays / set backs...then promise of something newer. Would like to bite the bullet and buy now, but if it's only a matter of weeks then I will wait. 130w did look very high :) 

I thought a single GTX 680 would present least problems (regarding heat, setup, SLI support) and most consistency across all games (with or without SLI support). With room to upgrade in the future if I need to...but hoping this won't be the case :) 

Currently running an Intel T2700 2.33Ghz with 2Gb Crucial DDR2 and an Intel X25-M - can't even get a PCI graphics card to work as it's an HP 7710.UK OEM board :( 
April 12, 2012 8:27:11 PM

lmartinefc said:
When exactly is Ivy bridge coming out?

Official date is the 29th of this month, but rumors are it's been pushed forward to the 23rd for some models.
April 12, 2012 8:27:18 PM

Ivy Bridge will be released in April. Doing a quick search, it looks like the release date was pushed up from the 29th to 23rd.

gtx680 is certainly a solid choice and the best single card out. The downside being flagship cards are usually price inflated (which is mostly true for all flagship PC parts). I was just pointing out multi-GPU setups can offer better performance with some downsides. I don't have any issues with my setup and don't notice any micro-stutter at > 50 fps. You may run into the occasional problem, but nothing insurmountable if you like figuring things out. Both ways have pros and cons.
April 12, 2012 8:38:10 PM

So....I will wait until Ivy Bridge comes out and hope there is a 6 core offering at better rates, with a decent Asus RoG gaming board available (or will Sandybridge-E and Ivy both be compatible socket 2011 in every aspect?)
April 12, 2012 8:47:29 PM

Games might say they support it but they probably only use 2 cores. Battlefield 3 for example, accesses 4 cores but only uses 2 of the 4. I think the Ivy Bridge 2600k replacement would be a much better choice than the 3930k.

Going to be an awesome PC :) 
April 12, 2012 8:51:02 PM

lmartinefc said:
Thanks for confirming g-unit - which are the best controllers to use? Just so I can look at a range of drives around this price / size point...


Drives that use the Marvell / Micron controller such as the M4, Samsung 830, Sandisk and Kingston drives are far less likely to give you problems that the Sandforce drives like OCZ Vertex 3, Solid 3, and Corsair Force 3 would.
April 12, 2012 8:59:44 PM

lmartinefc said:
So....I will wait until Ivy Bridge comes out and hope there is a 6 core offering at better rates

There are no six core IVB chips. The actual chip lineup leaked something like six months ago. They're basically just upgrades of existing SB chips. Figure a 15% performance increase on any given processor at the same price point, with lower TDP and (I'm expecting) better overclocking as a result of the die shrink and lower heat.
April 12, 2012 9:00:03 PM

lmartinefc said:
So....I will wait until Ivy Bridge comes out and hope there is a 6 core offering at better rates, with a decent Asus RoG gaming board available (or will Sandybridge-E and Ivy both be compatible socket 2011 in every aspect?)


Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge will share socket 1155 motherboards. Ivy Bridge-E will share socket 2011 with Sandy Bridge-E and is scheduled for Q4. If you absolutely must have a 6-core CPU, Sandy Bridge-E is the way to go for the foreseeable future. I think you'll get better gaming performance from a 4-core Ivy Bridge than you will a 6-core Sandy Bridge-E, though. Games DO use more than 2 cores (some require at least 2), but 4 cores is mainstream and you won't find many that are optimized for 6 cores. The faster clock vs clock, along with likely better overclocking should make the Ivy Bridge i5/i7 a better gamer than Sandy Bridge-E. And added bonus: you'll save a lot of money.
April 12, 2012 10:09:28 PM

Hmmmm....I will just get the Sandybridge-E. Whether I go for Ivy or Sandy I would not be overclocking in any case. And this way I get the benefit of 2 extra cores and quad channel RAM.

Combined with the GPU it should dominate anything (games) for the next 2 years, might lose a few FPS compares to an overclocked Ivy but that will likely equate to a couple of FPS on an already high count... :) 

Thanks for all the info guy...legends!
April 12, 2012 10:14:23 PM

Why buy a k series chip if you're not going to overclock? That's the whole point of them, the unlocked multiplier for overclocking.

Also, your CPU speed has literally no impact on the vast majority of games. If you want better performance, you'll get WAY better bang for your buck by investing that cash into an SLI/Crossfire setup.
April 12, 2012 10:17:52 PM

Sorry I should have made that clearer. I have no *immediate* intention to overclock. If in a couple of years the box is lagging then I will put in a watercooling loop and clock the sh*t out if it, and plug in whatever DirectX variant of card has been newly released (or rebranded as has become the norm)
April 12, 2012 10:30:01 PM

Ahh, ok. I'd probably just crank that sucker up out of the box. Get it up as high as it can go without touching the voltage so you're not really putting any extra strain on it. Free performance is always good in my book.
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