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New build review

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October 2, 2012 1:11:53 AM

I'm planning on ordering the below at the end of the month and am doing what I can between now and then to tweak the parts for my price range ($1,500 tops, below comes to about $1,300). I've built my own machine before but options have definitely widened over the last several years so I just want some input maybe on something that's better for cheaper, hidden gotchas etc. Thanks in advance.

Le build:

Rosewill Challenger ATX Mid Tower

WD Blue 1 TB SATA III
Samsung 830 128 GB SSD

Intel i7-3770K Ivy Bridge 3.5 GHz

G.Skill Ripjaw X 16 GB Pack (2x8 GB)

XFX Double D Radeon 7950 3 GB 384-bit

XFX Core Edition PRO650W

HP Black 21.5" Monitor with Display Port

ASRock Z77 Pro3

Lite-On Blu-Ray Drive

Rosewill RNX-N300X Wireless Adapter

Logitech Mouse/Keyboard Combo Being a programmer I don't invest highly in a keyboard I smash the crap out of over just a few months. :) 

I'm focused mostly on longevity of the build. I have no problems upgrading but sort of pride myself on "do it once, do it right" with the whole balancing act of doing it within a budget.

Edit after aznshinobi suggestions.

More about : build review

a c 91 B Homebuilt system
October 2, 2012 1:25:26 AM

You honestly could do much better. Per your budget too. The SSD isn't to say that it is bad, but the Samsung 830 series is better. Raidmax, I haven't heard too many good things about them. I give them the benefit of the doubt but perhaps check out others?

Anyways...

Check out my $1000 build here:
http://www.squidoo.com/electronicandmore#module14731235...
You'll be getting a better GPU (much better), a better SSD, more reliable and modular PSU, as well as a motherboard that will actually allow you to overclock and Crossfire 8x/8x in the future.

If you really want the 16GB I'd opt for 2x8GB instead of 4x4GB. That way you have room in the future for more ram, even though 16GB is already overkill especially for programming IMO. I did programming and the school used 8GB and ran just fine.

As for the i7, are you planning to run anything that'll utilize the multiple threads? If not, there is moot point to get it. Otherwise, go for it. I think the i5 3570K would be fine for just programming without utilizing threads.
October 2, 2012 2:06:05 AM

I won't presume on your programming knowledge but I can easily max out my current 4 core machine and really want hyper threading if possible. I run a lot of stuff simultaneously and task switch often from an application stand point. For example, as I write this I have chrome open with about 20 tabs which includes a fairly taxing flash game (never thought I'd say that) and am sitting at about 35% utilization. But, when I'm doing dev work it's nothing strange for me to have a couple dozen tabs open, visual studio, sql server, tfs doing it's thing, etc. I realize I'll get huge gains just going from my 2 GHz to the 3.5 on that chip but threading support will see the biggest gains going forward with what I've seen in the "latest and greatest" realm of application architecture not to mention I do multithreaded operations where possible so there's some "eat your own dogfood" going on. I was considering the octocore bulldozer from AMD but was rather blown away from the charts comparing it to the i7 sandy bridge version and just decided to go ivy bridge since they're about identical price wise.

I do like your suggestion about the 7950, though. Good catch, thanks. The 7970 is pretty attractive but the dollar/improvement is a lot better with the 7950. 500 more stream processors and 50% interface boost for $50? That's a no brainer.

Also took your advice on the RAM and SSD. Yay, trade offs.

Thanks!
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a c 91 B Homebuilt system
October 2, 2012 3:00:03 AM

Ahh alright, I'm just coming from basic Eclipse. So perhaps that is why. But... yeah, I'm OCD about tabs so I can only really have like 3 open at a time. If I'm typing long replies like these then perhaps I open up a few bookmark pages for evidence.

Have you looked at the PSU and MB? I would opt for Z77 to overclock and have the ability for 32GB of RAM if you wanted. The PSU is just because it's more reliable and rated at a better efficiency than the Raidmax. Wouldn't quite be trusting that particular model.

If you feel the need 16GB is fine. I just use heavy Photoshop with stitching of huge huge panoramas and 8GB does me fine. But perhaps it's not as taxing as programming.
October 2, 2012 3:13:29 PM

The PSU and MB options are a bit more spendy than what I have and brings me really close to my max, which I'd like to avoid if possible. After the tweaks I made the bottom line comes to around $1,380. I do admit this leaves me a tad disappointed as I was hoping to get some OC action but then read today the H77 doesn't allow that. I don't see myself going the X-Fire route with the graphics card so upgrading to the Z77 would be for that icing factor only.

I chose the PSU I did simply due to the fact it had the wattage I was looking for as well as being top rated in it's category on newegg. I probably should get something with a certification rating to realize some energy savings, be "green," etc but that's not all that important to me to be honest. I've had a great overall experience with hardware so that's probably why I'm not too picky about it. Stuff I build seems to either come broken or it lasts for years. In the last decade, for example, I've only had a single hard drive failure and that was from me tinkering unnecessarily a few years ago.

As for RAM, I know 16 GB is more than I'll commonly need for now. However, there are some things I plan on doing with it like setting up some RAM drives for certain games, disabling the page file, as well as having a healthy future buffer, as it were. The mobo I have listed supports 32 GB max as well so there's even more room to grow there especially since I only occupy half the slots now.
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
October 2, 2012 11:49:10 PM

Top rating on Newegg is not the same as actually being efficient and dependable. I personally would not trust that particular Raidmax in the long run. Newegg users are not usually the experts who load test and know all about products. They still give stupid ratings like 5 eggs for motherboards like Asus ROG boards or the Sabertooth when they have terrible price performance in comparison to Asrock/Gigabyte boards. Some reviews are completely inaccurate too, coming from the Newegg users that is.

If you don't see yourself Crossfiring, then you should go with this PSU;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Cheap, efficient, and reliable.

As for the motherboard, if you don't plan on Crossfiring:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

October 3, 2012 2:30:35 AM

I took your suggestion on the motherboard. Nice find.

On the PSU, I think what you suggested is a tad under wattage. If the CPU maxes out that's 577 W just for the graphics card and CPU not counting the other devices (granted, which aren't much). So, I went to the XFX site and ended up selecting their recommended PSU for the card.
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
October 3, 2012 3:09:31 AM

No CPU maxes out at 577. That's impossible. Otherwise nobody would be making 500w psus at all... How is that even possible if the CPUs TDP is 125w without overclocking....

Think about it.

125w (CPU) + 250w (7970) + System I'll give you 50w and that's for an system with a lot of cathodes/lights and HDDs = 425w.

You don't require a 650w+ PSU.
October 3, 2012 3:18:19 AM

500 W as recommended for GPU + 77 for CPU. I never said the CPU alone would suck up 577 W.
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
October 3, 2012 4:13:10 AM

? Yes... And the 125w of the CPU + the 250w of the 7970 only equals 375. I will flat out tell you right now that the 500w is an overestimate for people but if you really think you'll need it. I won't debate with you as the specs of the TDPs prove themselves.
October 3, 2012 11:34:55 AM

Thanks for the price check.

Why would the minimum listed power supply be listed at 500W? It's dangerous to underpower your equipment. I don't really see how you can say that number is overestimated unless you've hooked it up to a meter and stressed the card until it stopped working.
a c 91 B Homebuilt system
October 4, 2012 4:04:56 AM

Most manufacturers overestimate just to be safe. TDP for chips rated are pretty accurate though.

It is dangerous to UNDER POWER your system, say you ran that system on a CX430 (430w) but a 520w would efficient enough. I know for a fact it is overestimated because I've seen total system power consumptions. That's how. Usually those PSU calculators are overestimates as well.

http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/amd_radeon_hd_7970...
That is simply enough proof I think. It shows a power hungry system with the GPU (7970) on load simply having a system load of 355w, that's with an overclocked i7 965 @ 3.75ghz, keep in mind the first gen i7's were very power hungry. They also going further to state they are using Water cooling and Cathodes that put the system power draw 50-100w above an average system...
!