Building a benchmarker for $3,200 (£2,000)

Hey guy's I'm planning to build something that will bench well, I posted this over at anandtech the other day and got no reply, was hoping you guys could be of more help. Here's my original post, thanks in advance.

I filled out the survey about what I would need and hopefully it will help :)

1. What YOUR PC will be used for. That means what types of tasks you'll be performing.

No idea, I have no reason for building this, other than I enjoy building things, I'll find something to do with it when I'm done

2. What YOUR budget is. A price range is acceptable as long as it's not more than a 20% spread

£2,000+ or - 20%

3. What country YOU will be buying YOUR parts from.

United Kingdom

4. IF YOU have a brand preference. That means, are you an Intel-Fanboy, AMD-Fanboy, ATI-Fanboy, nVidia-Fanboy, Seagate-Fanboy, WD-Fanboy, etc.

I have an Intel preference, and I've always been a fan of ATI but with a good argument I'd happily go Nvidia

5. If YOU intend on using any of YOUR current parts, and if so, what those parts are.

I've got hard drives, SSD's a spare 5870, monitors, keyboards, mice, peripherals as for other internals I'm going to be buying

6. IF YOU have searched and/or read similar threads.

I've read similar threads on this forum and tomshardware, but I though I'd start a new one for more specific suggestions

7. IF YOU plan on overclocking or run the system at default speeds.

Definately overclocking, watercooling is important to me here, ideally a prebuilt system for the stability but I'd probably enjoy building one, although I never have before.

8. What resolution YOU plan on gaming with.

I'm happy with 1080p, but If I feel the urge to increase that I'll get a 2560Xsomething monitor (not including this in the budget so I'll worry about it later)

9. WHEN do you plan to build it?

Between the end of this month and over Christmas

Ok so here's what I'm thinking something like an i7 x980, no idea why just like the sound of it, If I could I'd go for dual CPU's, no idea if there are motherboards for this, or the cost involved, can't imagine it's cheap.

I've every intention of overclocking to 4ghz to be honest I'm basically looking to build something that will do well in benchmarks then worry about what I'll do with it later, if this seems unfeasible with my budget then I'll move on, but basically I love to build stuff, I've got the money and the time, It's essentially just an intellectual exercise so please don't get hung up on "Why are you doing this?! Why don't you spend your money on something else...?!"

So guys I'm looking for motherboards, Power supplies, cases, RAM, watercooling posibilities, overclocking suggestions. Any ideas are welcome, I have bought nothing as of yet, at this moment this is in the design phase. Thanks in advance.

Also my budget is a rough guideline, I'm happy to double it (over a slightly longer period of time) if need be, but ideally this is what I've got now.

Would dual xeons be better?
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More about building benchmarker 200 000
  1. I'd say wait, in Q1 2011 Intel will release the new sockets. Apparently Sandy Bridge will be far superior to anything current.
  2. Here's a board for you:

    You can build quite a nice system off of that one... Just read up on some builds that people have done with that mobo and you'll get a few more ideas. You'll need a beefy case and PSU, as well as some fairly powerful cooling. An all out liquid system is quite nice, but is a lot of work... H50s / H70s aren't too bad, but you can even get processors to 4ghz with good air coolers (Megahalems, Zalman CNPS10x, even the Hyper 212+). I'd just go air myself...
  3. Are you going to run any heavy apps like games or photoshop? Or should this be made just towards overclocking and benhcmarking?

    I'll assume the latter so here we go:

    Dual CPU(I'm thinking i7 950 equivilant xeon) is possible, but your getting around the price point of a 980 when you go there and even though in total you'll have far more power most proggrams won't make use of so many cores(16 logical cores to be percise).

    But for benhcmarking 2 quads should do great not to mention seeing as this is more of an entertainement build might just aswell make it different from all the others.

    So let's begin

    Motherboard: the only one that can overlcock and support dual cpu:

    CPU: Either you or me will have to do some research here because when it comes to xeons they all sound the same to me, but according to toms,2767-14.html this one is great for overclocking

    RAM: 2 of these as they are the fastest out there. a watercoolers dream of a case. You'll definately need some modding to get the sr-2 to fit though.

    Power supply: I'd go with some kind of corsair ax power supply. This one if you intend on upgrading seriously later on

    Then your GPUs : There really is nothing high end enough. Both ATI and Nvidia are bringing out there high end GPUs soon so I'd wait and stick with that 5870 for now.

    And it seems like you got all the other hardware.
  4. This is the only case that nativly supports the sr-2 It's great and should fit 1 single rad, 1 dual rad and 1 tripple rad internally, but it comes at a hefty price tag
  5. Ok guys thanks for the help, I'm definately interested in what you've suggested, the Dual CPU motherboard that you guys mentioned. does it support dual i7 or just Xeons? thanks again for all the advice.
  6. Just xeons sadly
  7. Mind sending me a hundred or 2? Could use it
  8. Don't have knowledge of UK sites so I will use newegg for reference only .... Here's a rig I built for a friend of my son's this weekend:

    Case - Antec DF-85 - $160
    Did 4 builds this week, one was w/ HAF-932 and one w/ DF-85 (two 300 Illusions). Won't do any more HAF-932 builds. For the same price, love the DF features including external 2.5" Hot Swappable SSD Port, "plug in" Hard Drives / SSD's, Air Filters, Exterior Fan Controls (watch the video)

    Optional Case Fan (For Video card) - Antec 761345-75026-4 120mm Red LED Case Fan - $18

    PSU - Antec CP-850 - $120

    Read about it

    MoBo - Rampage III Extreme is simply best MoBo .... so many features to make life easy.

    Read about it:,26.html

    The Combo below saves you $25 and includes Windows 7 professional 64 bit w/ the MoBo - $480

    CPU & CPU Cooler - Prolimatech Megahalems - $339
    i7-950 is best buy at the moment IMO, readily overclockable to over 4 GHz with decent case and cooler.
    Megahalems still rated as best cooler there is @ Read about it

    To my mind, water cooling has lost its appeal.....if ya need anything more than what the best air coolers can provide, you might start thinking about one of these :)

    TIM - Shin-Etsu Thermal Interface Material - $5
    Again, the best there is. Read about it

    CPU Fans - Two (2) Scythe Slip Stream 120mm x 25mm PWM Mid Speed Fan - (SY1225SL12LM-P) - $22
    These I may rethink in next build ..... seems using MoBo an speed control gives CPU Fan Error on boot. Dunno if the fan, the cable, the BIOS or something else just yet. Waiting for answers from TS.

    PWM Y-Splitter Adapter Cable - $7

    Memory - 3 x 2GB Matched Set of DDR3-1600, CAS 6. Mushkin Redline Model 998805 - $160 after MIR

    Hard Drive - Samsung F3 1 TB, 7200 rpm - $54 w/ Promo Code

    SSD - OCZ Vertex 2 OCZSSD3-2VTX120G 3.5" 120GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive= $205

    GFX Cards - Two (2) EVGA 012-P3-1472-AR GeForce GTX 470 (Fermi) SuperClocked Video Cards - $540 for both
    These run at 700 core clock versus 607 for "reference design". For $10 the "guaranteed" extra 15% was a no brainer.

    Monitor - Consider the ASUS VW266H $1920 x 1200 wide screen, 26" - $259
    Saw this for 1st time w/ this build .... very nice.

    Keyboard - Logitech G510 Wired Game Keyboard - $105

    Mouse - Logitech G500 Wired Laser 5700 dpi Gaming Mouse - $60

    Optical Drive - ASUS Model BC-08B1LT/BLK/B/ASUS - OEM (Reads Blue Ray / Writes DVD's) - $80

    Total Cost = $2,609

    That gives you an extra $600 to spend ..... Possible suggestions

    -Another SSD for RAID 0 on (use SATA III) would add $200
    -Another 470 for tri-SLI would add another $260
    -A bigger PSU would be needed for the 3rd GFX Card .... the "new king of PSU's according to Hard OCP is the Antec Hi Current Pro1200 - adds $170
    -If into photography, an IPS monitor from Dell in the 24 or 27" size would stretch that budget a little.
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