TechSpot

New i7 System(s), would love some input

By justinkeith
Jul 26, 2009
  1. My roomate and i are both building new computers and they are probably going to end up being the same build. He will be starting from the ground up while i have a few pieces i may or may not use.

    The computers are going to be mostly for gaming. Games like TF2, Crysis, Aion(when it comes out), CS Source, and TOR (again, when it comes out). I'd also like to be able to play most anything coming out in the next few years without upgrading.

    Budget: 1000-1200ish for the PC + OS. We already have monitors, keyboards, etc.

    Stuff i already have:
    Vista Ultimate 64-bit w/ Windows7 coupon - $189.99
    Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor - $279.99
    Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $107.49
    Antec EA650 650W Continuous Power ATX12V Ver.2.2 / EPS12V version 2.91 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - $76.99
    EVGA 512-P3-N871-AR GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - $129.99
    ASUS Silent Knight II 92mm Sleeve CPU Cooler -$Don't remember

    I'll be using the CPU, OS, and case but i don't have to use the other stuff. The PSU would be nice to keep if it'll handle this system and possibly a GTX 285. I'm not sure if the CPU cooler would be worth using or not as i'm not sure if its good enough, i bet i'll have to get some sort of adapter for it to fit the 1366 socket too.

    Here are some ideas i'm kicking around, i'm definitely open to any and all opinions.

    Mobo:
    ASUS P6T LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - $239.99

    RAM:
    CORSAIR DOMINATOR 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Model TR3X6G1600C8D - $159.00
    G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Model F3-12800CL9T-6GBNQ - $104.99
    I have a really hard time understanding the timing of RAM aka 9-9-9-25 vs 7-7-7-24, etc. Also the G.Skill is much cheaper. So i'm definately looking for some help on RAM.

    Hard Drive:
    I'm looking at either a VelociRaptor or a SSD for the OS and Apps. Since both of these are kinda small i'll probably need another 7200rpm for storage. I don't have a ton of stuff to store but i don't want to load up the fast drives. I'm not familiar with the difference between SATA and SATA II but it seems like a lot of the SSDs are SATA II. So some enlightenment on that issue would be great.

    Western Digital Caviar Blue WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - $59.99
    Western Digital VelociRaptor WD1500HLFS 150GB 10000 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - $179.99
    Intel X25-M SSDSA2MH080G1 80GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid state disk (SSD) - $304.99

    Video Card:
    I could just buy another 9800 gtx+ for $130 and run it SLI. Or i may just get a much nicer card like a GTX 285. I could also just use the card i have and upgrade later, as i bet the 9800 would handle most games that i'd play right now.
    EVGA 01G-P3-1180-AR GeForce GTX 285 1GB 512-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - $339.99

    I'll still possibly need a CPU cooler, psu, whatever else, let me know!

    I'm not settled on anything except the i7 920 at this point since i already have it in box but i would definitely like to use any pieces i already have if they wouldn't hinder the system at all.

    Thanks!
     
  2. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,481   +44

    You wont need a cpu cooler if you're not oc'ing at all

    As ram modules have been getting faster(mhz) its required that the timings are increased for stability. If you're not going anything major, like extreme oc'ing I wouldnt worry about the timings too much, go with the cheaper brand.

    sata 2 is the most recent interface and now is a standard for motherboards, its rated at 3gbs oppose to sata 1 at 1.5gbs. If you have the money I'd personally suggest buying an ssd for your os, my boot up times are about 18 seconds to windows, oppose to 2 raptors i had running in raid 0 at 42 seconds. I'd also recommend a HDD for storage, something over 500gb's, depending on how much of a storage ***** you are. I'd put games on a raptor drive if you're going to get one. My brother owns that same intel ssd and its even faster than mine. I plan to get one for my os when I upgrade to win7. The western Digital drive is fine imo, its just for storage anyway.

    You should probably just buy the gtx285 now, you wont regret it. Although if you're not running a monitor larger than 22" you may not see much benefit over a lower end card, like a 260/275. Your ATI alternatives would be a 4870 1GB or a 4890. Your 98oogtx will hold that i7 back in terms of what it can do.

    The i7 draws 140~ watts at full load, at least the 920 does at stock, I've already tested it. Although mine is oc' I'm actually drawing about that much at idle.

    As far as the psu, It would be okay, with one 285 or something lower, but definately not enough for 2 as im sure you can guess, just saying incase you decide to add another int he future, but one 285 will last you for some time on any monitor smaller than 26-28 inches.
     
  3. justinkeith

    justinkeith TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    I don't think i'll be doing any extreme OC'ing but i was going to have a friend from work look at it and show me how to OC some, just small tweaks.

    If i have a SSD i can put the OS and all apps on it can't i?

    I definitely dont want to be worried about the psu.

    I'll be using a 23" Samsung monitor

    I'm sure i'll need some sort of cpu cooling, you think the heatsink that comes with the i7 will be good enough for some moderate OCing?
     
  4. klepto12

    klepto12 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,115   +9

    if your worried about games mainly just go for an amd rig it will be just as good at games and will be cheaper.
     
  5. justinkeith

    justinkeith TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    i thought about that but i already have the i7 that i got for a crazy low price a little bit ago.
     
  6. klepto12

    klepto12 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,115   +9

  7. justinkeith

    justinkeith TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    ah ok, well thanks then man, i'll run it by him and see what he thinks of an AMD system.
     
  8. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    I'd recommend a GTX 275 instead of the GTX 285. Similar performance, for a far lesser price. Go for an XFX one for their excellent warranty coverage (if you're in North America). You can also go with another 9800GTX, but SLI scaling in games varies and is heavily driver-dependent, so YMMV.

    I would have chosen a better PSU. But it will do, even for two 9800GTXs.

    And lastly, for a mobo, I recommend the GA-EX58-UD3R.
     
  9. justinkeith

    justinkeith TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    Yes i am in North America and i'll check out the XFX GTX 275. If they are similar performance there is no use spending the extra money so i appreciate that.

    The PSU is in my old system, i was just trying to salvage some old parts if i could, so i can upgrade if it would be worth it. Did you have any in mind?

    I did read up on that board and it seemed to have a lot of unhappy reviews. This could be people upset about stuff that wouldnt really matter to me. I currently have a gigabit board and it seems to work just fine so maybe i'll snag one and see how it works for me.
     
  10. syde

    syde TS Rookie Posts: 113

    Hey fella whats TOR? :)
     
  11. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,481   +44

    Just my input, but I figure that maybe 10-15% of unhappy people cause their own heart ache, that board is in fact a decent board. I'm not saying there arent any boards that dont have issues straight out of the box. But you have to consider user error. People not probably grounding themselves before handing things, static discharge happens, and most people dont realize they've done it when its done.

    I'll wait for rage on a recommendation on a psu because it seems he's the head in that department for sure.
     
  12. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    Realize that Newegg reviews do not mean much, since they do not accurately reflect the quality of the product. Look at these reviews of the motherboard and decide for yourself:
    http://www.hardocp.com/article/2009/07/22/gigabyte_ex58ud3r_motherboard_review
    http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/gigabyte_ga_ex58-ud3r_review/
    http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,2845,2343395,00.asp?kc=ETRSS03039TX1K0000564
    http://www.hitechlegion.com/reviews/motherboards/315-gigabyte-ga-ex58-ud3r

    As for a PSU, look at the Corsair 750TX and PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750, and get whichever's cheaper. You can't go wrong with either.
     
  13. justinkeith

    justinkeith TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    Haha yeah I expected some of the newegg reviews are from user error. I'll definitely consider that. Can't argue with saving money!

    Thanks for the help guys.

    TOR is the new star wars mmo that I'll probably get suckered into playing! Do some searching, it should be a decent game!
     
  14. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    I recommend this RAM kit for its great price and XMP settings that allow you to run it at 1800MHz CL9 without issues, assuming the GA-EX58-UD3R supports that particular XMP. Even if it doesn't, the RAM will run fine at its default timings.
     
  15. justinkeith

    justinkeith TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    sounds good to me.

    So i guess my last couple questions are going to be..

    What cooling should i use for the CPU? Any extra fans in the Antec 900?

    Which SSD to go with? One that is big enough to store my OS and apps, getting a good product, for a good price. I would bet 64-128g would be fine.
     
  16. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,481   +44

    How much are you willing to spend on the ssd, that will determine what choices you have.
     
  17. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    I can't seem to find a backplate for your current cooler; I suggest getting a Xigmatek HDT-S1283 and a Xigmatek Crossbow LGA1366 retention kit for it. Should be significantly better than the ASUS cooler.

    As for the Antec 900, no the fans that it comes with are good enough. Also, you may need to remove the lower HDD cage(s) for the GTX 275 to fit.
     
  18. justinkeith

    justinkeith TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    alright i'll check out that cooler.

    I really like the intel X-25M at 80g, but then i did some more research and it seems that this is a good model, little more money, but a good bit more space.
    OCZ Vertex Series OCZSSD2-1VTX120G 2.5" 120GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid state disk (SSD)

    I don't know if i need the extra room but i figured i'd put my OS and games on it. I still haven't done enough reading to see if its even worth the money at this point for a strictly gaming machine. Who knows

    *EDIT: i realize i didnt answer your money question on the SSD haha, its not really an issue as long as i'm getting the most value. I'm happy at the $300ish mark tho.
     
  19. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    I'd recommend this drive. Performance should be fantastic owing to the large 128MB cache, and it comes with shock protection and a 10-year warranty. It's hard to go wrong with it IMO.
     
  20. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,481   +44

  21. syde

    syde TS Rookie Posts: 113

    ahhh Old Republic...like all of the SW game looks to good to be true..which is probably true o.O
     
  22. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    The Summit is crazy-fast too, but lacks the larger warranty and vibration resistance of the Patriot drive. Still, it's an excellent alternative. It does look cooler too. :)
     
  23. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,481   +44

    lol I dont think we're after looks, in terms of a drive, you can never see those through any pc window. The warranty would be a plus though
     
  24. justinkeith

    justinkeith TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    Haha yeah i don't care what it looks like, just want fast and good quality
     
  25. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    LOL it was just a joke. Maybe I should've put "jk" at the end instead of a smiley. ;)

    Both are great companies though; the Patriot is available for the same price with the same specs and a larger warranty to boot, so I would think it's the better buy.
     
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