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bladerx

Building First Extreme Gaming Rig

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Hi Atomicans, I have never built a computer from scratch but I have upgraded a couple of pieces and loved it. I start university in september (Bachelor of Interactive Entertainment majoring in Games Programming at QANTM College) and I need my own computer. I love to game so that will be primarily what im going to be doing on it, but programming aswell and in the future I would like to hook up basicaly everything to it (42" tv when i get it + surround sound) but that can wait. I want to spend roughly 4500$ but I have room to wiggle if need be. I plan on overclocking although I have not done it before (I will be very careful), I dont care about how much noise it makes and I strongly desire a nice looking case (not just a box with a window - I dont feel like modding just yet) but here is what I am planning on and would like some opinions.

 

Blu-ray writer

ATI 5970 (or a decentish card - maybe use as physix card later - and wait till they release their next big thing which someone told me is around January)

coolermaster V10 (or maybe a liquid cooling kid like thermaltake pro water 880i)

windows 7 ultimate 64 bit

ocz 30gb agility (for OS only) + 600gb velociraptor

ocz z-series 1000w PSU

Thermaltake xaser VI (i strongly prefer full tower)

acer gd245hqbd 23.6" 2ms 120hz 80 000:1

 

and either:

gigabyte GA-x58A-UD3R with core i7 930 with mach xtreme 6gb black diamond 2000mhz triple channel

or:

MSI 890fxa-gd70 with AMD phenom II X6 1090T with mach xtreme 4gb (perhaps 2 sets) armor 2300 mhz dual channel

 

In the future I would like to get a nice sound card but that can wait. Any opinions on this would be very helpful, thanks for reading such a post :)

Edited by bladerx

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Hi Atomicans, I have never built a computer from scratch but I have upgraded a couple of pieces and loved it. I start university in september (Bachelor of Interactive Entertainment majoring in Games Programming at QANTM College) and I need my own computer. I love to game so that will be primarily what im going to be doing on it, but programming aswell and in the future I would like to hook up basicaly everything to it (42" tv when i get it + surround sound) but that can wait. I want to spend roughly 4500$ but I have room to wiggle if need be. I plan on overclocking although I have not done it before (I will be very careful), I dont care about how much noise it makes and I strongly desire a nice looking case (not just a box with a window - I dont feel like modding just yet) but here is what I am planning on and would like some opinions.

Nice budget, very large budget too! Is that 4500 for the computer system or other stuff as well?

 

Blu-ray writer

ATI 5970 (or a decentish card - maybe use as physix card later - and wait till they release their next big thing which someone told me is around January)

Take twin 5870's over the 5970, they are faster.

 

coolermaster V10 (or maybe a liquid cooling kid like thermaltake pro water 880i)

windows 7 ultimate 64 bit

Drop it down to 7 Pro unless you're getting ultimate for free or a reason. Ultimate is a waste and offers no benefits over Pro.

 

ocz 30gb agility (for OS only) + 600gb velociraptor

I'd recommend the new 50-60GB OCZ Vertex 2's over the outgoing Agility, much better performance. For such a price cap though, I'd recommend a 100GB Vertex 2 as a OS and program drive, dumping the velociraptor altogether. Put in a 500-1500GB drive depending on space needed.

 

ocz z-series 1000w PSU

Thermaltake xaser VI (i strongly prefer full tower)

acer gd245hqbd 23.6" 2ms 120hz 80 000:1

Nice tower!

 

and either:

gigabyte GA-x58A-UD3R with core i7 930 with mach xtreme 6gb black diamond 2000mhz triple channel

or:

MSI 890fxa-gd70 with AMD phenom II X6 1090T with mach xtreme 4gb (perhaps 2 sets) armor 2300 mhz dual channel

 

In the future I would like to get a nice sound card but that can wait. Any opinions on this would be very helpful, thanks for reading such a post :)

Why such low end choices for such a large budget? Is the budget just a limit or a recommended guide? 4500 goes a very long way, you're talking very high end there. Systems you're quoting with your listed specs come in under 2500, 2000 on a squeeze.

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This is just a rough idea from PCCasegear the kind of system you can get for 4500 ish. Change things around, use it as a guide but pretty much top end. Mind you this is can be had for cheaper on most parts like places such as MSY.

 

Intel Core i7 980X $1439.00

Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD5 Motherboard $369.00

12GB of 6x2GB OCZ PC3-12800 Intel i7 Edition DDR3-RAM $518.00

2X HIS ATI Radeon HD5870's (iCooler V Edition) $998.00

OCZ Vertex 2 60GB SSD Extended Capacity $269.00

Western Digital Green 1.5TB WD15EARS $125.00

Thermaltake Black Xaser VI with FREE LCS $243.00

Corsair TX-950 Power Supply $208.00

Samsung XL2370 23 Inch Widescreen LED Charcoal Black $389.00

 

Sub-Total: $4558.00

Edited by tyft

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My suggestion for ~$4,500:

 

Posted Image

CPU - The 930 is pretty much where it's at for gaming, IMO given games' and the vast majority of apps' complete lack of ability to use more than four cores (or in most cases even two), hex-core is close to pointless.

Memory - 1600 CL7 is as fast or faster than 2000 CL9, excellent value too.

GPU - Three of these (they're better cooled than stock ones, and you can adjust the voltage to maximise O/C, will be pretty amazing. With the motherboard you'll also be able to leave a space below all three cards, hence none of them will be starved for air.

SSD - Joint fastest SSD (along with the Crucial C300) on the planet, 120GB. Awesome :)

Case - The Xaser is pretty darn decent -it also has ten expansion slots, which allows for bigger and better motherbaords. FYI I'd recommend the Thermalright Venomos-X if you decide on another case and go with air cooling.

Monitor - 120Hz (be it for more visible FPS or 3D) is pretty gosh darn awesome. You certainly have the power to run it.

PSU - Best PSU in the world till the Corsair AX series become available. Unsurpassed build quality, very high efficiency and plenty of capacity to run a very extreme rig without going over 75% loading.

Motherboard - Has (dual) NF-200 chips, effectively giving you four PCIe x16 (electrical) lanes, along with USB3 & SATA III for maximum awesome. As noted above the seven slots allow you to have a free slot below each GPU, which will help significantly with cooling.

Edited by philo-sofa

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Thanks for the advice so far, so basically now I have decided that I will go with intel - so the ud9 mobo and either gulftown or the 930. But heres the part where i have had lots of different people saying different things:

- which ram to get (some people say higher mhz is better - yes I will overclock it but I do not know too much about it)

- which psu to get (I am trying to futureproof in some respects so higher wattage is better?)

-which graphics card (some people say overclocking 5970 is better than 2 overclocked 5870s - and an idea here is to go with a 480 to use for now and once newer graphics card comes out Il use this 1 as physics card and grab new one(s) which as i said i heard was in january)

 

I have also decided on windows 7 pro not ultimate (an unreliable friend told me it had better ram management which I have now investigated and found nothing)

Thanks for the tips so far :)

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philo-sofa suggestion is fairly good but i wouldnt spend so much on the mb despite how nice it is

psu is a little execive corsair hx850 would do but the enermax isnt a bad choice

 

i sure as hell wouldnt toutch any tt liquid cooling or the coolermaster v10

 

maybe take a peak at this hsf

Thermalright Cogage ARROW Twin Tower $65

Scythe Ultra Kaze 120mm Fan 3000rpm $19

 

i have a soft spot for this monitor since i just orderd one on special for $679

Dell™ 27" Ultrasharp Wide Screen Monitor 2560x1440 6ms ips $999

 

pysx is a useless gimmick at the moment imo but if you want it keep in mind that nvidia is doing its best to make it not work with a ati card in the system so you have to use hacked drivers which can be a pain unless you look at getting just nvidia cards instead of ati

Edited by Dasa

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At the moment for most things even a 5870 is overkill, you should really only spend ~2000 max IMO.

 

something like:

 

-i7 860

-4gb DDR3

-Corsair 700D case

-Gigabyte P55A UD3R

-HD5870/GTX480 your preference

-Corsair HX650 PSU

-Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB HDD

-random brand dvd burner

-Corsair H50 cooler

-Since your hooking everything up to a tv get a cheap 24" LCD to tide you over.

 

should be about $2000ish

 

Just remember in the last ~3years technology prices have really changed alot and you really only need to spend about half what you used to to get great performance.

Edited by nesquick

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In spite of having the worst insult possible cast (being disagreed with, dear lords!) I actually do agree with Nes and DASA; my build (and anything priced in that range) is fundamentally going to be epic overkill - you're well past the point of diminishing returns if you actually build a $4,500 rig. However if you have a massive wad of disposable cash, and the urge to build something truly 'OMFGWTFHAX!!' then it will stand as a testament to man's ability to build things just because they'll be absolutely bloody awesome :) However if you're not loaded, I'd be very much inclined to grab something more along the $2-3k lines - e.g. nes' build with an ASUS P7P55D-E, or a variant of it with an i7 930/ASUS P6X58D-E, along with a single 5870 or 5970.

 

@ DASA, with tri-fired, voltage increased & O/C'd 5870's you'd be looking at up to 700w TDP from the GPU's, along with 200w from an O/C'd 930 and say 70w for the memory, board, HDD's and USB devices. AFAIK real usage would equate to a 700-750w draw, but IMO that's inadvisable for the HX-850, good as it is. IMO my build would genuinely do best from with a KW class PSU. In that 1KW class, the price difference between the Revolution 1250 and quality competitors is pretty tiny (even the HX-1000 is only $30 cheaper), and given that efficiency peaks at around 50% usage, and the sheer load draw for my build would be pretty costly in and of itself, it actually makes financial sense to go with the Revolution 1250.

 

I'd also disagree about the Bigwater 680i - whilst there's a tendency to not look to kindly on all-in-one W/C and I sure as hell wouldn't buy one (it was free from PCCG) the 680i actually isn't a 'terribad' unit, and since it's free, hey, what the heck. I do agree however on not touching the 1.5kg of fail that is the V10. Similarly the 27" Ultrasharp is an incredible monitor - one worth cutting back on other parts for (UD9 and the third third 5870) although for FPS' 120Hz is pretty magical. I had no idea the U2711 was so bloody cheap in Aussie; over here it's $AU1500 damnnit!

Edited by philo-sofa

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I'd definitely get the 27" monitor of which they speak - I love my old 28" (27.5" actually) ViewSonic (the Dell is far superior)

personally, I wouldn't touch anything with the Tt brand on it.

I'm not keen on Gigabyte - lot's of people think otherwise, but I've had nothing but problems with their products.

I ended up with the cheapest 1600Mhz 6G kit of G.Skill RAM at MSY - at stock it's CL9 2T, but I've had them up to 1824Mhz 1T, which ain't half bad - the Corsair Doms that I had previously wouldn't do that!

enjoy your new build

:)

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@ DASA, with tri-fired, voltage increased & O/C'd 5870's you'd be looking at up to 700w TDP from the GPU's, along with 200w from an O/C'd 930 and say 70w for the memory, board, HDD's and USB devices. AFAIK real usage would equate to a 700-750w draw, but IMO that's inadvisable for the HX-850, good as it is. IMO my build would genuinely do best from with a KW class PSU. In that 1KW class, the price difference between the Revolution 1250 and quality competitors is pretty tiny (even the HX-1000 is only $30 cheaper), and given that efficiency peaks at around 50% usage, and the sheer load draw for my build would be pretty costly in and of itself, it actually makes financial sense to go with the Revolution 1250.

I also agree with this remember the 40-60 rule :)

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At the moment for most things even a 5870 is overkill, you should really only spend ~2000 max IMO.

ah yes but u see people dont live life to 'get by' on what is acceptable, why do people by Lamborghini's when they drive only in the city? Why do people crave the more expensive object because it looks better? Because we are always striving for more, in my case its not 'just to own it' but it also futureproofs myself for a little while whilst allowing me to enjoy the top of the line for a while, technicaly civilisation could be at its peak if you believe that me building more is overkill - because technicaly we can survive exactly where we are now. My family has been in somewhat financial deprivation for a while - i used to work at mcdonalds and had 4 grand saved up (which i was going to spend on a tv and sound system at the time) but needed to spend it on the family, it has been 3 years since and I have just finished school and got a new job. So for all this time of sharing a 5 year old computer with the power of an electric fan, and having the money to spend (on a future in the gaming industry mind you) I believe that my decision for spending this money is far from rediculous. I love computers and gaming, and to be able to build myself and own a top of the line computer will finaly be able to make my 3 year wait for my money back worth it.

Edited by bladerx

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If you want to go with a liquid cooling kit, go with the swiftech one, or just order your own seperate parts, its not different that putting a kit together anyway..

 

But stay away from TT stuff.

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Agree. Almost all of Thermaltake's stuff is cheap rubbish.

Edited by SquallStrife

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the 850w corsair would be fine yes it would be nearing its rated limit with linpack and fur running at the same time but under gaming load it would probably only use ~500w max with a 24\7 oc

i had a q9450 @ 3.9ghz 1.52v with two 4870x2 running off a tx750 for a few quick benchmarks where it peaked at 760w ac during the fur tests in 3dmark

three 5870 use a lot less power than two 4870x2

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At the moment for most things even a 5870 is overkill, you should really only spend ~2000 max IMO.

ah yes but u see people dont live life to 'get by' on what is acceptable, why do people by Lamborghini's when they drive only in the city? Why do people crave the more expensive object because it looks better? Because we are always striving for more, in my case its not 'just to own it' but it also futureproofs myself for a little while whilst allowing me to enjoy the top of the line for a while, technicaly civilisation could be at its peak if you believe that me building more is overkill - because technicaly we can survive exactly where we are now. My family has been in somewhat financial deprivation for a while - i used to work at mcdonalds and had 4 grand saved up (which i was going to spend on a tv and sound system at the time) but needed to spend it on the family, it has been 3 years since and I have just finished school and got a new job. So for all this time of sharing a 5 year old computer with the power of an electric fan, and having the money to spend (on a future in the gaming industry mind you) I believe that my decision for spending this money is far from rediculous. I love computers and gaming, and to be able to build myself and own a top of the line computer will finaly be able to make my 3 year wait for my money back worth it.

 

I used to be of that mentality, you will realise soon enough though that a machine costing $2000ish is going to do the same as a machine costing you $4000 pretty much with games once the framerate is kept over 60fps minimum with max details you won't see a difference between either machines ;)

 

Im not saying don't go buy it im just advising you that its a waste of money to spend that much on a box alone.

Edited by nesquick

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Im not saying don't go buy it im just advising you that its a waste of money to spend that much on a box alone.

+1 to that. seriously if you want the best performance and enjoyment out of your computer and you still want to spend that much, spend 2k on the box and another 2k on the screen and speakers etc. like a Dell 3008wfp, and that logitech 5.1 system (cant remember the name.

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the 850w corsair would be fine yes it would be nearing its rated limit with linpack and fur running at the same time but under gaming load it would probably only use ~500w max with a 24\7 oc

i had a q9450 @ 3.9ghz 1.52v with two 4870x2 running off a tx750 for a few quick benchmarks where it peaked at 760w ac during the fur tests in 3dmark

three 5870 use a lot less power than two 4870x2

If there's anyone I know with whom I'm comfortable saying 'this mofo knows more about hardware than me', it's you Dasa, but here I'm gonna have do disagree with you, in part because running Furmark only stresses a single core to about 50%. Below is Toms measured power consumption from a 4.0GHz i7 with dual 5870's:

 

Posted Image

561w under load (that's PSU loading, not at the wall). Add in another 190w for the third GPU and you're already at 750 - fair's fair and call that ~620w under a real life (non synthetic) load, however add in another 80w for addition CPU loading in a multi-core aware game like BC2 or FC2, and overclock and overvolt the 5870's (say another 70w) and you're at 770w for a realistic ingame GPU draw. At that level the HX-850 would be running at 91% of rated max load, which will not give optimal efficiency, nor have a positive effect on the life expectancy of the PSU. The Revolution 1250 however, would be running at 62% load, which is pretty much ideal. If the Revolution 1250 commanded a significant price premium I'd be pretty happy with an HX-1000 or Revolution 1050 as I would expect real loading to be 77% or less, and that's ok, however given that tiny price difference between it and either of those other PSU's I'd still say the 1250w is the optimal price/efficiency/longevity choice. Course, I do heartily agree on trimming away the third card and board to get a U2711 unless the OP is a hardcore FPS gamer, so it may be a somewhat academic point.

 

 

 

I reckon you'd be better off with 2 gtx480s or 2 2gb 5870s rather than 3 5870s tbh.

The two GTX 480's would be quite loud and a bit too hot for my liking TBH. With a board with 2+ slots between the x16 slots, it'd be a decent choice, but I wouldn't go for a reference cooled GTX 480 myself - seriously a GPU that can actually melt cables? Not so keen on the 2GB 5870's either - there's just no RL perfromance gain outside of eyefinity 3 or eyefinity 6 setups from the 2GB cards, and even then the difference is not worth the cost.

 

 

Im not saying don't go buy it im just advising you that its a waste of money to spend that much on a box alone.

+1 to that. seriously if you want the best performance and enjoyment out of your computer and you still want to spend that much, spend 2k on the box and another 2k on the screen and speakers etc. like a Dell 3008wfp, and that logitech 5.1 system (cant remember the name.

 

+1 ish. The U2711 is generally a superior monitor to the 3008WFP, so if money's not much of an object maybe $3.5K on the box and $1k on the monitor?

Edited by philo-sofa

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eh, I don't know much about the dell monitors. Just I figured the bigger size would be better =P

but yea you could go with the 27" (think it still has that ridiculous resolution) and that would allow for a faster build.

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cant really prove one way or the other without the hardware to test and the 5870 power use dose go up a bit with overclocking especially if you feed it 1.35v and clock it to 1000mhz+ but most cards dont need that much extra v and i dont think i would want to feed them that on air

there is a bit of guess work in my recommendation of the 850w psu (tantryl is better at working out what psu is needed) and while im fairly confident in it a few of you are not may as well just get the enermax 1kw to be safe then you have room to add a heap of hdd lights and fans maybe even a 4th gpu for physx ect.

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philo - my suggestion was based on the fact that he wanted to get water cooling, in which case 2 480s would be ideal imo.

 

Mix that with the 120hz screen he wants and he is ready for 3d gaming if he decides to buy a headset.

 

As for the 2gb 5870s - I had a bit of a brain fart, it was sposed to be in reply to dasa's comments about getting the 27" dell, which would require more than 1gb of ram for most games these days :)

 

And the 2gb 5870s arent a whole heap more expensive than a 1gb, especially when you have 4.5k to blow XD

 

You could build 2 great rigs for that much or 4 decent ones haha.

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^^ ahh K got it. 480's as part of a W/C loop would be pretty uber :)

 

Even with a 27" screen tho, the 2GB 5870's just don't give that much of a performance benefit - both Toms and Anandtech basically said 'only useful for Eyefinity 6' otherwise the performance improvement is tiny.

Edited by philo-sofa

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Agree. Almost all of Thermaltake's stuff is cheap rubbish.

 

i used to be one of the RA guys for TT and yes i would agree i wouldnt touch anything with the TT logo on it except the LEVEL 10 case!

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Agree. Almost all of Thermaltake's stuff is cheap rubbish.

 

i used to be one of the RA guys for TT and yes i would agree i wouldnt touch anything with the TT logo on it except the LEVEL 10 case!

 

There tough power PSU's are good. Cant think of anything else though lol

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