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Im building a PC and need your expert opinions


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#1 Dr. Joe

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 10:40 PM

So I am planning on building my first Gaming PC. Ive read a million reviews on Newegg about the different hardware components. After much thought this is what I think Ive decided on:

Case: Cooler Master HAF X

CPU: i7-960

Heatsink: Haven't really looked into this yet

Motherboard: ASUS P6X58D Premium

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 16GB DDR3 1600

Power Supply: ABS Majesty series MJ1100-M

Graphics Card: EVGA 012-P3-1470-AR GeForce GTX 470 (still unsure about this)

SSD: Intel X25-M SSDSA2MH120G2K5

Wireless Card: Rosewill RNX-N300X

Optical Drive: I was debating between the Sony BD-5300S-0B and the LG WH10LS30

I dont plan on overclocking my system because I just dont see the need. Im not really sure which heatsink I should get. And as far as the Optical drive, I'm not really sure which drive is better. And lastly, the graphics card seems like a winner, but I would like to hear some opinions on it. Also I was planning on using an extra 26 in LCD Insignia 720p TV as my monitor. Is that ok or is it worth getting a new monitor? Thanks in advance for any help/advice. :thumbsup:

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#2 DJBPace07

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 12:51 AM

There are a few things you should consider, first, that CPU socket is going away in favor of LGA 2011 and LGA 1155, so you're buying a dying CPU. Also, unless you are squeezing every last FPS out of a game, the high-end i7's aren't really that much of a boon in actual performance since at higher resolutions, the GPU picks up the graphical processing. Second, don't believe everything you read at Newegg, some people really do know what they are doing and post excellent reviews, some don't know what they are talking about or cause issues themselves. In other words, take Newegg, and any product reviews from the public, with a large grain of salt. What is your budget and what games do you play? Here's an idea:

Case: COOLER MASTER COSMOS 1000 RC-1000-KSN1-GP - This is mostly a style choice, I really like the Cosmos, it is an elegant, well-engineered case. $199

Motherboard/CPU

Intel: MSI P67A-GD65 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 - Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz - This is the new Intel Sandy Bridge CPU and revised chipset. The motherboard is supports both SLI and Crossfire. A little while back, Intel had issues with chipsets and withdrew all LGA 1155 motherboards from service, now they are revised and back on sale. This CPU should do well, it is a very good overclocker and should come very close, if not beat, the i7 960. $179 + $328

AMD: MSI 890FXA-GD70 AM3 AMD 890FX - AMD Phenom II X6 1100T Black Edition Thuban 3.3GHz - Over at camp AMD, things are a little less expensive and a little less powerful. The motherboard uses the AMD flagship chipset with USB 3.0 built-in directly to the chipset and allows for AMD Crossfire. The CPU isn't quite as powerful as Intel's offering, unless you use programs that can use all six cores. For most people, this would do well in gaming. $199 + $229

---

Power Supply: XFX Black Edition XPS-850W-BES 850W - Unless you are running two dual GPU cards, a 1100W PSU is overkill, in fact, this PSU in Crossfire/SLI may still be a little much. Alternatives include, PC Power and Cooling Silencer 760W, SeaSonic X750 Gold 750W, Sparkle Computer Corp GOLD CLASS SCC-750AF 750W, and ENERMAX NAXN 82+ ENM750AWT 750W. $149

Graphics Card: XFX HD-695X-ZNFC Radeon HD 6950 1GB - There are better choices for around the same price point as the GTX 470. This card will outperform the GTX 470 for the same price. If you have a large monitor (Over 1920 x 1200 resolution) or use super sample anti aliasing, a 2GB model is suggested. If you want something at about the GTX 470 level of performance, but costs less, the XFX HD-687A-ZNFC Radeon HD 6870 1GB will work. If you want something that outperforms all of these cards, the PowerColor AX6970 2GBD5-M2DH Radeon HD 6970 2GB is a good choice. $254 (Before $20 mail-in rebate)

Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit - You need this. $99

Wireless NIC: Linksys WMP600N IEEE 802.11a/b/g, IEEE 802.11n - I suggest a card that at least has 802.11n in it. $49

Cooler: Scythe Ninja 3 SCNJ-3000 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler - Scythe usually makes good coolers. $48

Everything else should be compatible.

As for your monitor question, I say no, TV's rarely do well as monitors with lower resolutions and refresh rates. Get yourself a good LED LCD monitor.

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#3 dpunisher

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 10:15 AM

First, take Newegg reviews with a grain of salt. Too many clueless idiots post reviews there.

Power supply- MJ1100Mis mediocre in almost every way. It earned a "Fail" from the Hardocp review. http://www.hardocp.com/article/2010/01/22/abs_majesty_mj1100m_1100w_power_supply_review

Memory- X58 chipsets/I7 9XX CPUs have 3 channels of memory, so you need to purchase memory in 3s. 3X2gig=6gig, or 3X4gig=12gig. Always try to run 3 sticks instead of filling up all 6 slots. Try for memory rated to run DDR3 1600 at 1.5V.

Videocard- no need to go with a 4XX series now. In the $350 range, an ATI 6970, or an NVidia 570 are really close in performance. If you are going for big resolutions, trend towards the 6970.

Hard drive- make sure that 12ogig is big enough for you. It is easy to run out of room with some games taking up 10gigs+ of drive space. You might consider another larger hard drive just for storage while keeping the OS/apps/a few games on the SSD.

CPU cooler- it you are not going to overclock, stock is fine. Now, why you don't want to overclock is beyond me, but to each his own. Good air coolers- not too wild/heavy/expensive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835233029
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103065&cm_re=hyper_212%2b-_-35-103-065-_-Product

Now having written all that, DJBPace07 is absolutely right on with his suggestions. If you are going for a new build, a Socket 1155 Sandybridge is the only real way to go if you need a high perf Intel build. Clock for clock it beats I7 9XX CPUs. Not unusual for 2600Ks to get to 4.5ghz, and match that with 8gigs of RAM, you have a system that will be happy for a couple of years until you get the upgrade itch again. The new board revisions are here, so 1155 is good to go. If you are concerned primarily with gaming performance, Intel is the best solution now.

I am a retired Ford tech. Next to Fords, any computer is a piece of cake. (The cake, its not a lie)

3770K @4.5, Corsair H100, GTX780, 16gig Samsung, Obsidian 700 (yes there is a 700)


#4 Dr. Joe

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 10:52 AM

Thank for the great response but I have some questions. Ive been reading up on the Sandy Bridge processors and I cant seem to find a clear cut winner between the i7-2600 and the i7-960. One person even said it wasn't upgrading but more "side-grading". However, I do want to be able to upgrade in the future if i want to but I also read something about LGA 2011 coming out later this year. So will this mean that the 1155 will become obsolete when the 2011 comes out? Also I noticed that the wireless card you recommended only gets 54 Mbps. So would something like the TP-LINK TL-WN851N be better? As for graphics cards, I have always been a fan of NVIDIA GeForce. Everything DJBPace mentioned though is Radeon. Is NVIDIA not good? As for the monitor I figured the TV wouldn't be that great. Ill prob just end up getting a new monitor. For the power supply I was thinking about adding one video card now and then one later when I get the money. That why I chose the high wattage psu. WHat would be a good psu for my situation? And would it be better the get a 570 like dpunisher said or get a 470 and double or triple it up when I get the chance?

Edited by Dr. Joe, 08 March 2011 - 11:02 AM.


#5 dpunisher

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 12:35 PM

It is "sidegrading", but only if you already have an i7 9XX/X58 system now. It isn't worth the $500+ to upgrade from that to a Sandybridge rig at this time. Now, if you are going for a new build, it is a slightly different story as a Socket 1155/Sandybridge will give more bang for the buck easily. Socket 1155 will be the mainstream for the remainder of the year into the early part of 2012. Ivy bridge (due maybe 1Q2012) will use the same socket, but current boards likely won't support it. Socket 2011 will be unto itself as the top end/enthusiast/big money offering much like Socket 1366 was when it was new.

As far as video cards, I think the GTX570 is the sweet spot in the NVidia lineup (~$320 after rebates etc). If I was to go SLI, a 570 would be near the top of my list. I can't speak for what others post, but this forum does trend towards ATI/AMD builds. When I am on a budget, I trend towards AMD myself (my last 3 customer builds attest to that). If I have the budget to play with, and need to build a rig primarily for gaming, I trend toward Intel. If you figure in the overclocking headroom on the 2600K, it becomes really attractive from both a performance and price standpoint as well.

Power supply, a 1KW unit is not out of the question. Here is a new writeup on the 6990, http://www.hardocp.com/article/2011/03/07/amd_radeon_hd_6990_antilles_video_card_review and they have power usage on page 8 of the review (6990, 6870 crossfire, 580 SLI, 570 SLI). Real world, you are looking at ~650 watts of actual power draw for a system with SLI 570s. To keep the PSU in it's sweet spot, a 900W-1KW PSU is about right, with a bit to spare. 3 review sites that actually load test PSUs- HardOCP,Hardware Secrets, and JonnyGuru. I do not have a lot of experience with higher wattage PSUs so research away.

As far a a wireless card, it all depends on what wireless router you have. If your router doesn't support 300MBs, then having a super high speed wireless card is pointless. Some of the high speed connections are semi proprietary, so read the fine print about what it takes to acheive those high speeds.

I am a retired Ford tech. Next to Fords, any computer is a piece of cake. (The cake, its not a lie)

3770K @4.5, Corsair H100, GTX780, 16gig Samsung, Obsidian 700 (yes there is a 700)


#6 Dr. Joe

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 01:41 PM

Thanks again for the response. I just looked at motherboards for the i7-2600K and none of them say they support SLI. Assuming they do support SLI, I was debating between the MSI P67A-GD65 (B3) and the ASUS MAXIMUS IV EXTREME (REV 3.0) since those are the only 2 on newegg with 4 memory slots. There wasnt that great of a selection. And looking at these two motherboards, they only have 2 pci express 2 x16 slots so doesnt that mean I can only hook up two video cards? And what manufacturer do you recommend for the 570?

Edited by Dr. Joe, 08 March 2011 - 01:42 PM.


#7 dpunisher

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 05:32 PM

Hold off a week or two. There will be lots of new 1155 boards out this week as the OEMs ship them. As far as I know, the 1155 (P67) chipsets are good for at least dual SLI, that expensive ROG Maximus Extreme is good for triple SLI, but it is an EATX board, and that price is ridiculous. A lot of mid tower cases don't hold an EATX board. There will be plenty of new 1155 P67 boards in a week or so, that will give you a much wider selection to choose from.

To elaborate on PCIE lanes a bit. X58/Socket1366 boards have 32 total PCIE lanes, so you can run 2 cards SLI'ed at full 16X bandwidth. Any more cards, like triple SLI, then you run one card at 16X, and two cards at 8X. Socket 1155 boards have 16 PCIE lanes total. So you can figure that 2 cards SLI'ed will only run at 8X each. Truthfully, that is not a real problem. The difference between running a high end card at 16X vs 8X is only about 3-5%. Problem is when you go triple SLI, you end up with 8X, 4X and 4X, and that costs a bit of performance. OEMs get around this by using a "bridge chip", in the case of the Asus board you posted, an NF200. This increases the total amount of PCIE lanes, but at the cost of about, wait for it, 3-5% of performance. Look around for benchmarks as to how well triple SLI scales, you might not be happy with what you find as the law of diminishing returns apply.

Best NVidia OEM........EVGA hands down.

I am a retired Ford tech. Next to Fords, any computer is a piece of cake. (The cake, its not a lie)

3770K @4.5, Corsair H100, GTX780, 16gig Samsung, Obsidian 700 (yes there is a 700)


#8 Dr. Joe

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 08:58 PM

Awesome. Thanks for all the help. So what you are saying is that the difference between 16x and 8x is only 3-5% but the drop off to 4x is a lot more. I mean if the difference is only 3-5% that aint bad. I only really plan on doing 2 cards anyway. For modern games do i need any more than 2?

#9 DJBPace07

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 11:29 PM

The motherboard I linked to in my post does have SLI and Crossfire, it is not on Newegg's site but at MSI's site. The reason I suggested AMD cards, remember ATI is gone, is becuase you usually get around the same performance for a less expensive card. I've had Nvidia card for many years, going back and forth between them and ATI/AMD. I recently switched to AMD because the ForceWare drivers Nvidia uses aren't good and caused crashing outside of gaming. For me, it is usually value versus performance. When it comes to using SLI or Crossfire, it is usually a better idea to do it with two high-end cards, two Radeon 6970's or GTX 580's, given the performance gains and the increased power draw. It should be noted that the Radeon 6990 is a dual GPU card with two GPU's on one PCB. Dual GPU cards always have a much higher power draw. With multi-GPU setups, performance gains decrease substantially beyond two cards.

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#10 Dr. Joe

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 11:02 PM

Thanks for all the great responses. Looks like I am probably going to wait until newegg gets more motherboards or until the 2011 comes out whichever comes first. Thanks for the help.




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