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Help with bulding a new rig for work/pleasure

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July 13, 2012 2:21:46 AM

Hello everyone, I am in the process of building a new rig. To give a little background on my technical know-how, I have built a couple of gaming rigs when I was younger from scratch but never with my own budget. One for my dad, and one for a friend and I pretty much put the most expensive parts together I could find on Newegg (that were still rated highly). This will be my first system for myself, I would like to get the Stryker case. I have been considering making it my first AMD rig, and looking into the idea of water-cooling (but only because it looks cool, not because I think I need to). With that said money is not a huge issue, I originally budgeted 3k until I slowly realized a lot of things I wanted (like 32gb) or RAM was just overkill, and I could do a nice system on 2k-ish.

With that said, here is what I plan to use my system for. I am a "Technology forensics" student (and an online student) and have about a little less than a year until I graduate. I would like a system I can potentially use in the future for conducting analyses of systems, and for using at school now. I will need to be able to perform scans and analyses using VMware, VirtualBox, etc- so I was wondering if 16GB is good enough (seems to be) or if I should just get 32GB RAM and call it a day? In reality- the system will probably be used for 90% gaming. I don't know that I will change careers after I get my degree and if I do I doubt I will start out working from home on my own system...Would be nice though.

With that said- I was looking at the AMD FX8150. Please don't flame me for this- I have heard enough crap about AMD VS Intel from my research with nothing concrete except "Intel is better because......because it is!!". Choosing the CPU has been the hardest part of this. Again, money is not an issue but I was interested in an AMD system and the 8150 seems to have improved since it came out last year. I have never had any issues with Intel but would like to see how AMD is. When I built my dad's rig a few years ago it was the first 64bit system I built and everyone said stay away because of driver issues. I rolled the dice and it seems to have paid off... but I would combine it with a Crosshair V Mobo, and most likely either two SLI GPU's or one of the newer 3GB 7970 GPU's on Newegg for around 500$.

I have never really found water-cooling to be necessary- if you know how to set your fans up and get a decent CPU cooler, it seems like you don't really need anything else. Plus water in my computer makes me nervous as hell since I've never done it. If I did everything I wanted to with this system, would I have to worry about heat? And should i be as worried about water-cooling as I am? Because it seems pretty high maintenance.

So- tl;dr-
Want gaming rig that can also be used for computer forensics work (VMware, system and hard drive analysis, etc)

Plan to use CM Stryker Case

Debating AMD Vs Intel (considering FX8150- will the 8 cores help with the forensics stuff? Will it be good enough for gaming, and is there any hope the "problems" with the chip will improve in the future?)

16GB Ram good enough?

Need advice on water-cooling VS conventional cooling methods.

Best GPU for the buck? 1 great one or two decent ones SLI'd together?

2k-3k budget. Prefer to stay lower (duh).

Also, would a 1000 Watt PSU work for whatever I go with?

Sorry for the lengthy post. I'm sure you all understand I want to make a good investment.
July 13, 2012 3:58:42 AM

8150 struggles against the SB i5, doesn't even come close to the i7. I reckon the same goes for the Intel's IB processors.

For gaming 8 Gb is good enough, 16 is overkill but I'm not sure on the requirements of your other work.
July 13, 2012 5:43:34 PM

Thanks- so the i7 is definitely king here? Do you see the 8150 making a difference if games or any other applications start utilizing all 8 cores? I have read different schools of thought about how the FX8150 will work better with Windows 8 as Windows 8 is supposed to fully realize all 8 cores properly. It appears a decently-priced i7 is the best best and upgrading it whenever intel comes out with something new.

What is the best intel chip out right now? And what is the best intel chip out under $500?

Between these two- which i7?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

I am not too excited about dropping almost 600$ on an i7. I don't think it is necessary and would rather spend the cash on graphics.

Which motherboard do you recommend?
Related resources
July 13, 2012 8:01:24 PM

http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/AMD-FX-8150-vs-C...

Which used:

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

I haven't been keeping up with any benchmarks lately on the IB so I don't know which is best. I would look around at the tests of the IB vs. SB, but I'm thinking the 8150 is going to get left in the dust. If I'm not mistaken it runs hotter than any of them as well.

From what I've seen, before IB processors everyone was recommending a Z68 mobo, but have since been recommending the Z77.

Like this:

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

or one of the ASRock Z77 mobo's like:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
July 13, 2012 10:32:38 PM

Well, a lot of people say they want to build a high end system and then get shot down and told it's a waste of money. I say if you got it, do whatever the heck you want with it. Plus, I think there might be a format for which they want you to follow when posting an idea for a new rig like this, which is more streamlined and tells them exactly what you are looking for. I think it's in the stickies. You would probably get more feedback in that case.
July 14, 2012 1:46:51 AM

I bought the 3930k to upgrade my 'Everything PC', which used to be my 'Gaming PC' until I messed up my hand and can't use 'wasd' anymore. I have been using it to try to learn what I can about virtualization technology on my own, and it is amazing what this chip can do with VirtualBox. I plan on trying to build a little network at some point in VMWare Workstation, and I have no doubt that this box will handle it smoothly.

The 3930k really is overkill. I have been keeping Asus' monitoring software up on my second monitor, out of the way, and it rarely reaches up into the 3.8GHz Turbo Boost multipliers, which means that a lot of CPU power is just going to waste. I don't at all feel like I have wasted any money, however. It means that while I don't always need the abilities of the CPU, it is capable of busting out some bitwise smackdown on anything I might ever need to throw at it. It also means that I won't have to upgrade for quite some time. I kept my Core 2 Quad Q6600 for over 4 years, and I'm convinced that this processor will be relevant for that long also.

It is certainly more than you will ever need for 'gaming'. If a person comes into the forum looking to build a gaming PC, then it makes sense to shoot them down when they want to blow all that money on the 3930k. This is because games tend to have one main thread that handles most, if not all, of the calculations related to object movement prediction and the processing of information sent from the server. They will spawn helper threads, but the helper threads tend to be very simple and rarely need anywhere near the processing power that is required of the main game thread. That means that you really only need a dual-core chip to run a game, with quad-core chips helping to make sure that other processes don't slow down the main game thread. You can get a Sandy Bridge i5 to overclock very close to as high as you can get the 3930k to overclock, so at least 3 threads are sitting there with nothing to do, and you pay quite a premium for those three threads you don't need.

If you ever bust out some serious video editing or transcoding software, then the extra threads start to pay for themselves. The same is true as soon as you decide that you want to use any kind of virtualization, because the i7-3930k supports both VT-x and VT-d (at least, now it does...make sure they didn't give you the old C1 stepping model...the new chips are C2 stepping, and they support VT-d). Having 6 cores that support HT gives you a lot of room for virtual machines.

So, tl;dr ;) 

If you want to get that chip, and you don't mind letting it run cold most of the time, then that's your business. People who are using it for nothing but gaming and Microsoft Office get laughed out of the forums, but when it comes to VMWare, you might find a good use for it.
July 14, 2012 3:05:51 AM

I understand why they are shot down. But if a person says they've got 5 grand to blow on a computer, by all means give them the components 5 grand will buy.
July 14, 2012 4:44:05 AM

macten said:
I understand why they are shot down. But if a person says they've got 5 grand to blow on a computer, by all means give them the components 5 grand will buy.

I totally agree. That's what I did with my money. I could've saved loads of money on the i5-2500K that would have been all I needed, but I got the 3930K. I don't regret 'wasting' any money, because when I try to transcode a video every once in a while, I don't have to sit there and cuss for as long. To me, that is worth every penny. :) 
July 14, 2012 6:14:43 PM

Thanks for the advice. As far as the difference in C1 and C2 for thr 3930k, how would I tell the difference?

Isn't the i5 sandy bridge around 200-250$? For $300- wouldn't the i7 3820 be a better bet?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Lastly, have you ever built a water-cooled system? Any advice on it?
July 14, 2012 6:33:35 PM

Krieger0311 said:
Thanks for the advice. As far as the difference in C1 and C2 for thr 3930k, how would I tell the difference?

Isn't the i5 sandy bridge around 200-250$? For $300- wouldn't the i7 3820 be a better bet?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Lastly, have you ever built a water-cooled system? Any advice on it?


The 3820 is a decent quad-core processor, but it only gives you a couple of advantages over over i7 CPUs. It does have quad-channel RAM capabilities, so it could give you a huge advantage when using programs that utilize RAM heavily (such as Photoshop and other Adobe products). It also has the ability to use 40 PCIE lanes. This is a huge advantage if you are going to use multiple GPUs for some reason, or if you are going to use a couple of GPUs and a high-performance RAID controller. I can't think of any real reason to need 40 PCIE lanes unless you're going to use a few of those Nvidia Tesla cards to do some sort of high-performance computing project. It would be really hard to convince anyone you really needed a lot of PCIE lanes unless you were building some custom card that sprays huge amounts of data back and forth to the CPU/RAM.

One other advantage to the 3820 is that it may also have the VT-d instructions. You'd have to check Intel's specs on it. I'm not sure what the story is with other CPUs from Intel when it comes to VT-d support. As for the 3930K, they stopped making the C1 stepping version. Any new 3930K should be C2 stepping unless you get it from a manufacturer that has a bunch of the old ones that they didn't manage to sell already.

I'd certainly pick it over a $300 Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge CPU that costs the same amount, because I do use software that needs a good connection to its RAM. I would just rather go all the way and get the 6-core 3930K if I was going to spend the money on a motherboard and RAM that are compatible.

I've never built a water-cooled system. I certainly wouldn't be comfortable building a custom loop and trying to keep it filled with coolant. I might get one of those closed-loop liquid cooling systems, though, like the Corsair H80 or H100. The certainly help with the X79 chipset because the CPU is surrounded by DIMM slots, and the big air-coolers force you to buy RAM that has low-profile heat spreaders. If you go water-cooled, then you can use any RAM you want without having to think about the size of your heatsinks.
July 15, 2012 4:31:12 AM

Thanks again! What do you think I should go with in terms of GPU? looking to keep it around 500$ or below. Would two SLI cards be better than one good card? I always worry about heat with two SLI cards jammed in there so close together. I was looking at the 3GB Radeon cards before I came here...now that I am leaning towards Intel I would rather just get an NVIDIA card. I have had good luck with EVGA in the past, any idea on if this card is worth it?

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

I didn't even know we were up to 4gig GPU's yet! haha
a b B Homebuilt system
July 15, 2012 5:03:58 AM

For peeps looking into a sort or workstation-gamer kindda config and where $$ is tight i wouldn't dismiss a heavily OCed PhenomII X6/970 AM3+ combo if Microcenter is an option but more likely an Ivy 1155 "K" and Z77 is a starting point when $$ is less of an issue
http://www.microcenter.com/specials/promotions/AMDbundl...
July 15, 2012 5:53:09 AM

Krieger0311 said:
Thanks again! What do you think I should go with in terms of GPU? looking to keep it around 500$ or below. Would two SLI cards be better than one good card? I always worry about heat with two SLI cards jammed in there so close together. I was looking at the 3GB Radeon cards before I came here...now that I am leaning towards Intel I would rather just get an NVIDIA card. I have had good luck with EVGA in the past, any idea on if this card is worth it?

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

I didn't even know we were up to 4gig GPU's yet! haha


I'm assuming this is just for when you decide to do some gaming, right?

I'll tell you what. When I upgraded from my Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 to the i7-3930K, I decided to just keep my EVGA Nvidia GTX 470. I spent a lot of money buying that card when it first came out (I got it the first day it was released from Newegg). I also planned on using that "beast" of a card for the next few years, because I am not the type of person who can afford to spend that much money on a graphics card.

I haven't been able to play games for the past year, so I don't know if the newest games have gone beyond my imagination, but my guess is that it is still capable of playing any game out there on the highest settings while still getting at least 60fps. I'm sure that if you buy that card you linked to, you will have no problem playing any game you want for at least the next two years on the highest settings, so long as you aren't playing on more than one 1920x1080 or 1920x1200 monitor. If you play on multiple monitors, or on monitors that have significantly-higher resolutions, then you may start needing to consider SLI.

SLI is only capable of so much. I would prefer to buy the single card that does it all rather than attempting to guess which card you can double up into an SLI setup to get the same effect. Generally SLI gives you the performance of one and a half or one and two-thirds of the card you are using. That means that to equal a 680, you would have to buy at least two GTX 660s, but you may have to use two 670s to get the same performance. That ends up costing more than the single card. In my eyes, SLI is a good way of upgrading your GPU later rather than buying the newest gen card to replace it, or if you want to go beyond the abilities of the best card that is currently available.
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