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First time building gaming system

By NateDoggy
Dec 14, 2010
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  1. Hi everyone

    I am extremely new to this so please bear with me. I am attempting to build a system for the first time and only have basic knowledge of computer hardware.

    The system I am looking to build is:

    M/B
    GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

    CPU
    Intel Core i7-870 Lynnfield 2.93GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 95W

    RAM
    CORSAIR XMS3 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666)

    HDD
    Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5"

    Video
    2 x ASUS EAH5850 DirectCU TOP/2DIS/1GD5 Radeon HD 5850 (Cypress Pro) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card w/ ATI Eyefinity

    Optical
    Standard DVD Burner

    Sound
    ASUS Xonar D1 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PC

    Ethernet
    Onboard

    Case
    Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case, comes with Three Fans-1x Front Blue LED 120mm Fan, 1x Top 140mm Fan, 1x Rear 120mm Fan, option Fans-2x Side 120mm Fan

    PSU
    Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W Continuous Power ATX12V Ver.2.2 / EPS12V version 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC "compatible with Core i7/Core i5" Power Supply

    Generally I just need some advice and opinions on this system, as I said I am just learning all of this now and it is simply from researching online.
    Will this system be compatible? Is there a way I can lessen the cost without reducing the performance a lot? Have I selected bad parts to use? Bad brands? Will this system be capable of running all games at high detail? Etc etc

    And in particular,

    Because the M/B supports triple channel, am i correct in getting 6gb 1333mhz? Will this boost performance a lot?

    Is this system capable of being overclocked massively? If not, why is this so? What do I need to match up re: M/B CPU & RAM to get the most out of the system? I have read a little about matching FSB speeds but the posts I have found are really confusing regarding different types of RAM etc.



    I know this is a lot and most will probably ignore this post but ANY information at all would be much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,
    Nath

    PS I did post links to newegg.com for every product listed above but it will not allow me because I am new to the forum, sorry about that but all items can be found on newegg.com
  2. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,895   +88

    Hi Nate,
    That will be capable of some great OC'ing. A couple of suggestions.
    1) For the same or less $ you can get 2x 6870's. I highly recommend the ASUS EAH5850 DirectCU TOP cards though. I have 2 of my 4x 5850 system are the ASUS EAH5850 DirectCU TOP cards and they are the best version out there IMO.
    2) I think you can get the corsair XMS 3 PC 12800 (1600) for the same price as what you have listed. I use this ram a lot and recommend it as well.
    3) I would get into the 750W/60A PSU area with an overclocked CPU and 2x 5850's OC'ed. They will be using 200-225 W each by themselves.
    The triple channel 'kit' is what you want for that board. A high end gamer like this here can benefit from 8GB's of ram, so you might want to consider getting another 6GB kit while prices are low if you can swing it.
    Hope that helps :)
  3. NateDoggy

    NateDoggy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi Red

    Thanks for the quick reply.

    1)Yes I have read good things about the 5850's and they dominate in the FPS benchmarks when used in CF
    2) So I can use 1600? Because the M/B specs(memory standard) are DDR3 2200/1333/1066/800. Does this mean 1600 is not compatible? This really confuses me(and this is what gets me with the OCing as well, matching FSB's between MB CPU and RAM depending on channels etc)
    3) Thanks I wasnt sure on the PSU so I thought I would understate with a cheaper one and see what people suggest
    4) So are you suggesting 12GB total?!?

    Also, I just noticed my M/B is LGA 1366(socket type) and the i7-870 is LGA 1156. Does this mean the they are not compatible? And if so, am I better off going to the i7-950(as it is LGA 1366) or should I get a different M/B. I have read that the i7-870 is the best i7 to get for OCing
  4. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,895   +88

    The i7 950 is only 20$ more. i would pickup one of those. and yes, they have to match.
  5. NateDoggy

    NateDoggy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok so doesnt look like Im getting much of a response, but I have since done some more research, so I will be more specific.

    My minimum requirements for the system are:
    A) i7 (1366 or 1156)
    B) 4gb+ RAM
    C) USB 3.0
    D) Crossfire Support


    I have tabled 4 options for a Gaming System build below.
    Note: I have left out HDD, Optical drive, Case & PSU because they will remain the same in each system. I have also left out the Graphics card because I currently own an Asus EAH5850 which I will be using.

    System 1 $665 (1366, Gigabyte)
    i7 950
    Gigabyte X58A-UD3R
    6GB G Skill DDR3 1600 i7 kit (3 x 2gb) [triple channel]

    System 2 $570 (1156, Gigabyte)
    i7 870
    Gigabyte P55A-UD3
    8GB Corsair DDR3 1333 (4 x 2gb) [dual channel]

    System 3 $608 (1366, Asrock)
    i7-950
    ASROCK X58 EXTREME
    6GB G Skill DDR3 1600 i7 kit (3 x 2gb) [triple channel]

    System 4 $545 (1156, Asrock)
    i7-870
    AsRock P55 Pro/USB3
    8GB Corsair DDR3 1333 (4 x 2gb) [dual channel]


    As I have mentioned earlier this will be my first build so please excuse the stupid questions(I just want to make sure I get the right components)

    1) Which system would have the best performance and what would you recommend? Why?
    (gaming would be the most intense activity I do, other than that it is just simply internet browsing, video playback- some conversion but no editing; and excel/word work)

    2) Are all these systems compatible? If not, can you please explain why so that I do not make the same mistake again

    3) Will all of these systems have the features I want? (see Minimum requirements above)

    4) In the dual channel(1156) systems, am I better off getting 4 x 2GB(Corsair 1333mhz) or 2 x 4GB(Kingmax 1600mhz)? It is roughly the same price and I understand that if I got the 4 x 2GB I cannot upgrade later(on the P55 M/B's) but I do not see myself needing more than 8GB in the near future, so just in terms of performance.

    5) I am planning on using a Widetech 550w Power Supply. Will this be sufficient for the systems listed above if a) I have 1 ATI5850 and b) for when I upgrade to 2 running in CF(not for a while)

    Thanks so much to anyone who takes the time to view this! I am frantically trying to get this system done in time for christmas.

    Nath

    PS I know Sandy Bridge is coming out soon, but from what I can tell it is more beneficial for systems without a dedicated GPU(not good for gaming) so I dont want to pay for something I wont be using.
  6. Mizzou

    Mizzou TS Enthusiast Posts: 930

    Hi NateDoggy,

    If this is your first system build it looks like you're heading in the right direction. I would personally favor your first option with the i7-950 and Gigabyte motherboard, have had good luck with Gigabyte although I'm using ASUS P6T6 WS Revolution for my Intel rig. Since you already have a HD5850 adding a second definitely seems like the thing to do.

    Would probably go with a little bit stronger power supply, running Crossfire and overclocking will push your peak power requirements up quite a bit. Corsair is a brand worth looking at for both power supply and memory, I'm currently running 6BG of Dominator GT with the cooling fans and it has been rock solid. You might want to consider upgrading the stock cpu cooler if you do a lot of gaming. Have subscribed to your thread and will be checking back to see how your project is coming along.

    Anyway, new here myself and just trying to get to know some of folks around here.
  7. NateDoggy

    NateDoggy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks a lot Mizzou! It is really hard to learn all this when you have never attempted it, the more of it I understand the more there seems to be to learn. When someone who actually knows what there talking about takes the time out to give you a hand its great, really appreciate it.

    I'm now deciding between a few different Power Supplies, I was trying to save some cash there but its probably not a good idea.
    I don't know when I will be upgrading to the dual 5850's, it could be a month or it could be a year. So if I can get one capable of running the initial setup with only 1 5850 I might just upgrade the PSU when I purchase the 2nd card, depending on the price difference in what is required. At the moment im looking at an extra $150 for a decent brand with 700w+

    What do you think of these? (for both setups)
    Antec EarthWatts EA-500 500W
    Thermaltake 700W ATX GAMING Power Supply PSU 700W
    750W "Antec" EarthWatts ATX Power Supply

    I can get the 500w Antec relatively cheap and upgrade later if It will handle the initial system.

    I have decided to go Gigabyte as well, but I think Im gonna go the i7-870(1156) system, only because of the $100 price difference + extra 2gb ram, and have since found a benchmark test at anandtech.com/bench/cpu/2 if you want a look(I cant post links yet)
  8. Mizzou

    Mizzou TS Enthusiast Posts: 930

    Right now you can get the Corsair 650 for $89.99 or the 750 for $109.99 on newegg.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139005

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139006

    I'm running the Corsair 850 modular in my AMD rig and the HX 1000 for the Intel (more extreme rig) ... both are rock solid.

    Nothing wrong in going with the i7-870 and socket 1156 ... from what I've seen you should have no problem hitting 4 GHz. Suggest going with the fastest memory that you can fit into your budget, this will give you more headroom and simplify your overclocking efforts down the line.

    I always enjoy the research phase, kind of like foreplay and it's free.
  9. NateDoggy

    NateDoggy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Lol I suppose thats one way to look at it.
    Now that I have been doing some research Ive realised how interesting it all is. I can safely say I dont think this will be my only build, I'm addicted before I've even begun lol, lets just hope I can get it working to start with :)

    So I have purchased my parts, all bar the power supply.

    On its way:

    M/B - Gigabyte P55A-UD3
    CPU - Core i7 870
    Memory - Kingmax DDR-3-1333 4GB single stick x 2 (8GB)
    HDD - WD 1TB SATA2 64MB buffer
    Case - GW Thunder 308 Case (no power)
    LG Burner
    Logitech lx310 (KB/M combo)

    And I have my Asus 5850 DirectCU and 23" LG 1080p LCD waiting at home.
    I cant wait for it to get here!

    So now just the PSU...

    I decided to splash out and get a good one to start with and save the hassle of upgrading later, and why not, it can only be beneficial and may increase performance anyway.

    Thanks again Mizzou for that info, I had a look at the Corsiar models you suggested but I actually live in Australia(sorry probably should have mentioned that earlier) so I can't use newegg :( and there are large price differences in products.
    For example the cheapest I can find the 650tx is $130-135 and the 750tx $160-165 (even though $1AUD = $0.9884US)

    So keeping that in mind I have narrowed it down to two products that I think I can get RELATIVELY cheap

    Corsair 850HX $210 - I know this is an awesome PSU, everything about it. It is still expensive compared to what you guys can get it for (but it is only a 23% increase on the US price rather than 50% as with the 650 and 750 TX models)

    OR

    SevenTeam ST-1000E-AD (1000w EPS 2.91v series 80plus) $161 - Some experts say that this PSU is outstanding! And others say it is only just "good", which is not good enough ;) considering how sweet the 850HX is.
    Im beginning to think some experts, such us JG, are taking away from this card in their reviews because of how hard it is to obtain in North America, and maybe it is actually just as good if not better than the 850HX???
    Can I please have everyone's opinion on this? Has anyone had experience or heard of people dealing with the SevenTeam ST-1000E-AD?

    I just want to make sure it will power the system as good as the 850HX or close to because I can get it $50 cheaper. I think I would have relative advantage in buying the SevenTeam because it is manufactured here.

    Thanks in advance
  10. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,551   +97

    Do you need the system immediately?
    The new "Sandy Bridge" chipsets and processors from Intel are just around the corner. With these and then later in 2011 both the 1156 and 1366 sockets will be retired, although the 1366 will live slightly longer. Either wait for "Sandy Bridge" which seems to be the main/general level replacement for the 1156 sockets (they are making it socket 1155, petty huh!), or invest in the 1366 socket. If you don't need the system quick smart then waiting and still buying 1366 might pay off. The new tech might cause the older socket tech to drop in price a bit.

    I've been considering upgrading the system in my "System specs" drop down for a while so this is something I've had under consideration too.

    Whatever PSU you buy, get more than 500W. I've used both Enermax and Antec PSUs in the past and like the quality of them and haven't had any issues with either brand. As long as it is a reliable brand over 500w you'll be fine. Just don't buy an unknown brand of 1000w as some of them can't even supply the power a "premium" brand 650w unit can.

    You can use the calculator at the Thermaltake site to get an idea of how much power you will need - http://www.thermaltake.outervision.com/Power

    A good guide to quality in a PSU is "80 PLUS" certification - http://www.plugloadsolutions.com/80PlusPowerSupplies.aspx
    (think my shuttle has a 450w unit which is 80 PLUS certified driving it)

    Oops : "So I have purchased my parts, all bar the power supply."
    Didn't see that. I'm sure the system will be fine and last you a good few years at least :)
  11. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 4,378   +98

    If it was me I would choose the Corsair HX850. I currently own the Corsair HX750 and the quality is fantastic, backed by a 7 year warranty as well.

    850w is more than plenty to handle a overclocked i7 870, with overclocked HD5850/HD6870's in CF.

    I would only consider the 1kw PSU if you planned on running 3 way CF later on - But even then, I would run a secondary PSU, like a Booster pack (450w) or something instead of running it all off of the same PSU.
     
  12. NateDoggy

    NateDoggy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks so much Arris and Leeky!
    I really had no idea how much I power I needed. I have used a couple of calculators online and keep getting different results.

    I have now purchased Antec Truepower 750 (TP-750). What do think?
    I read EXTREMELY good reviews about it and I could get it a lot cheaper than the two I mentioned previously. Now that I know I dont need that much power anyway, I had figured it was better to overcompensate but I got to save some money, thanks again.

    I had a little look into Sandy Bridge and it was tempting, but I am currently using a broken down notebook so I needed it right away :)
    Plus although it is supposed to be a much faster processor, I thought Sandy Bridge was mainly about integrated graphics, which I dont need.
    I went the 1156 socket chip :(
    If I do decide to upgrade to Sandy Chip later it is only the M/B I need to replace isnt it?? In which case it only cost me $130 anyway, instead of $240 for the 1366 socket M/B(Gigabyte x58)
  13. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 4,378   +98

    I purchased my Corsair HX750 with the intention of running i5/i7 with 2x HD6870's, so in that respect your fine with it.

    I think Sandy Bridge is 1155 socket, so you'd need to change both the CPU and Motherboard. I wouldn't worry though, you needed it now, and you have a nice system.
  14. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,551   +97

    What Leeky said, the system you have ordered will do you for 2-3 years at least. No need to be thinking of the next upgrade already :)

    I've seen benchmarks of the i5 2400 (http://www.anandtech.com/show/3871/the-sandy-bridge-preview-three-wins-in-a-row/11) giving almost the same gaming performance as the i7 980x, even beating it slightly in World Of Warcraft at 1680x1050. So even though its a mainstream / integrated graphics release and not the performance level (socket 2011 end of 2011/start 2012) next generation it seems to be offering quite a decent level of performance.

    That being said AMD's next processor line are rumored to be AM3 socket (their current socket) compatible. So if their next release is competitive to the intel lineup I might go back to an AMD system again.

    The Antec should be solid. Always had good stable supply on the 12v and 5v rails from the 550 Trupower (I think that's what I have in an old skeleton of a system in a cupboard). If it was a better price than the other ones you listed then I think you've done well.
  15. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,286   +24

    An LGA1366-based build would be best-suited for a high-end multi-GPU setup, due to the availability of a greater number of PCI-Express lanes. LGA1156 has the PCI-E controller on the CPU itself (almost eliminating any latency due to the QPI connection to the PCI-E controller on LGA1366 boards) and making it best-suited for a single-GPU setup.

    You would also have been better off going with an 80 Plus Gold certified PSU, given the very powerful system you're planning on building.
  16. NateDoggy

    NateDoggy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I did not know that. But I dont plan on running more than 2 cards anyway, and they may not be for a while, so single card setup could be for maybe a year.

    I thought that was only a measure of efficiency, not output. So it will draw 750w when outputting 600w(at 80%).
    I suppose everyone has different opinions but I am now pretty confident this PSU will run my system no worries, even with 5850's in CF.
    Antec TP-750
    http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=Story4&reid=140
    9/10 from jonnyguru (9.5 for performance)
    http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Antec-TruePower-New-750-W-TP-750-Power-Supply-Review/766/10
    http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=679&type=expert&pid=8
    "Antec has combined quality features from their high-end Signature Series with the affordable pricing of the TruePower line with the introduction of the TruePower New series"
  17. NateDoggy

    NateDoggy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Leeky:

    Yes the HX750 is a much better PSU but from what I can tell the Antec TP-750 if better than the TX750, and cheaper for me:
    Corsair HX850 $190
    Corsair TX750 $150
    Antec TP750 $130
    The decision was made easy by the prices here in Oz. On newegg.com the RRP of the TP750 is $20US more than the TX750 and only $10 less than the HX, score!

    Arris:
    The AMD sounds like the smarter option. I am still very new to all this and had a basic knowledge of intel already, I thought I'd be better off concentrating on learning all I can about one type of system so I didnt bother with AMD at all. Maybe next time :)

    My mate has had a system for about 2 years (i7-920, 4gb, GTX260) and he tells me there are currently no games out that he cant handle sweetly, and he has never had to overclock. I dont know how true this is but if this is the case I am fine with not being 'future-proof'. I figure 5850's in crossfire should be fine for a long time, and I have room to OC.
    I will probably want to build again within a year :)

    EDIT: Sorry the model above for $190 is supposed to be HX750(not 850)
  18. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 4,378   +98

    The Antec is certainly better value. I could have spent less myself, but I was happy with spending what I did, so thought sod it. :haha:
  19. Mizzou

    Mizzou TS Enthusiast Posts: 930

    Sure looks like things are coming together nicely, this will be a very capable system. Be sure to take plenty of pictures as you're putting this rig together.
  20. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,286   +24

    Yes, but a more efficient PSU is better for a high-end system since it not only ensures utility bill savings, but the greater efficiency means that it will run cooler as well.


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