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potential new highish spec build

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Hey all.

 

I'm thinking about building a new i7/1366 system with the following specs:

CPU: i7 950 @ about 4GHz

CPU cooler: Noctua NH-U12P SE2

Mobo: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R rev2 or Asus P6X58D-E (The Gigabyte should prevent a possible loss of 2 SATA ports which may happen on the Asus when the last PCIE slot is used for a second large videocard to have better cooling for the first videocard)

RAM: 6GB (3x2GB) Triple Channel Kit - Mushkin Ridgeback 998826 (1600MHz 6-8-6-24 tall heatsink) or Mushkin FrostByte Redline 988805 (1600MHz 6-8-6-24 short heatsink)

Videocards (first time SLIing): 2 x GTX 480 in SLI (cheapest brand with reference cooler, see how noise/heat goes and if need be risk voiding the warranties with two Zalman VF3000F coolers or just go with more expensive Zotac Amps or something from the start if the hypothetical budget can stretch that far)

PSU: Corsair TX950 (more efficient and cheaper than the HX1000 although non modular)

Case: Coolermaster HAF X (when the system is built this aint going to be moving in a hurry!)

Extra videocard fan for case's vcard fan duct: Coolermaster 120mm Silent Red LED fan (90CFM @ 19dBA @ 2000rpm - still dont believe this; will have to test!)

Monitor (3rd 16:10 24" for 5760x1200 2D surround - 16:10 models are getting scarce now eh?): Samsung 2443BW+ (to go along with my Dell U2410 and old BenQ G2400W)

HDD: 2 x 1TB Samsung Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ

SSD: was looking at an OCZ Vertex 2 60GB for the system drive but figured the cash is better spent on the vcards (upped the spec from 470 SLI)

Soundcard: was considering an Asus Essence STX (PCIE 1x slot) but also moved this cash to the vcard budget (have to see how my old SB Audigy 2 ZS Plat Pro (PCI) fares in the new mobo)

DVDRW: cannibalized from current system

 

Now the questions (hopefully not too convoluted)!

 

Anyone know if you can run dual SLI on the Gigabyte mobo if you use the first PCIE 16x slot (16x speed) and the fourth PCIE 16x slot (8x speed) with the included what looks like a 12cm flexible SLI bridge or the included solid 3-way SLI bridge? The manual doesnt appear to show a bios option to choose PCIE speeds so internal auto mode may be an issue without the middle slots populated.

 

Similarly, can you run dual SLI on the Asus mobo if you use the first and third PCIE 16x slots? In the manual you can set the lanes to run at 16x16x1x, 16x8x8x or auto so I assume it can be done. It only comes with what seems to be a flexible dual SLI 8cm bridge and a solid 3-way SLI bridge (can this be used for cards only on its first and third connector?) so maybe a flexible 12cm (or larger if needed for larger vcard coolers and it exists) may be necessary if its possible.

 

How significant do you think the noise level of dual reference heatsink GTX 480s would be if they had empty slot/s between them for extra cooling, a 200mm side case fan blowing down on them and a 120mm highish flow fan blowing on them from their front edges? Would non reference cooling be necessary?

 

Minor potential issue:

If anyone has the Gigabyte mobo with the Noctua heatsink and the Mushkin ram, do the ridgeback heatsinks (46mm from connectors to top of heatshink) clear the Noctua fan? The Noctua site says the fan can be raised so this could be a non issue. I'm guessing its fine as i've seen someone on a thread with that cooler and ram on the Asus mobo which is similar. Otherwise if it wont clear the fan and I happen to go with the Gigabyte i'll change the spec to the FrostByte heatsink Mushkins (38mm connectors to top of heatsink).

 

Thanks for your replies in advance.

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i would up the hsf to the thermalright dual 140mm hsf or the noctua equiv but i wouldnt be looking for tall ram

look at corsair ax 850

those fans are ~32db+ 2000rpm 90cfm they get there 19db rating when slowed to about 800rpm

gtx480 can be hot but that case with a gap should keep them under control but obviously neither the case or the gtx480 will be quiet

the cards should work fine spaced out running 16x8x if the flexi bridge will reach

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Hey man looks like you have done quite alot or research in your build design. I priced up your system with some slight tweeks. I could'nt find the precise RAM you picked so I inserted something of good value.

 

CPU: $349 i7-950

MoBo:$245 Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R Rev2

RAM: $179 6GB G.Skill Ripjaws F3-12800CL8T-6GBRM (3x2GB) DDR3 1600Mhz 1.6V

 

GFX:$1327 2x Gigabyte GeForce GTX 480 1536MB ($549ea) + 2x Zalman VF3000F ($85ea)

+ Noctua NF-S12B FLX 120mm ($29) for case gpu air duct.

HDD: $138 2x1TB Samsung SpinPoint F3 HD103SJ

PSU: $259 Corsair AX850 Gold

CASE:$249 CoolerMaster HAF X

 

LCD: $315 24 inch Samsung 2443BW+

HsinkF:$108 Noctua NH-D14

 

Total:$3169

 

Now personally it seems very expensive and alot of trouble with your graphics card and cooling solution. Personally I would just get a HD5970 2GB for ~$750 and be done with it, it will run 3 monitors no worries.

In that case you could drop the PSU to an AX750 and this build would cost $2569.

 

What is your budget?

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Hey thanks Dasa for clearing up the case of the unbelievable fan.

Two recommendations for a lower wattage AX psu eh? hmm will consider it.

 

nukejockey yea the HAF series seems a good choice for hot vcards due to the significant side cooling (the 932 could have even more forceful (if unfiltered by default) cooling with 4 x optional 120mm fans if the noise was bearable). I hear the HAF X is to be SLI certified not that that matters much. I had been considering the Silverstone Raven RV02 which may well be quieter and have a more interesting design than the HAF but its less practical hard drive wise and may not be as handy at cooling the vcard/s.

 

Harro2 thanks for the revisions. I'll consider the G.Skill 8-8-8-24 ram (the 1.6V as opposed to the usual 1.65V may be useful) or maybe even the OCZ OCZ3P1600LV6GK 7-7-7-24 1.65V with no heatsink fins jutting above the pcb for $190 at pccg, the Noctua NH-D14, case fan and the 5970 yet again. Heh been going back and forth frequently on the videocard/s! I want to keep the build below $3k although the cheaper the better.

 

Still worried that dual SLI/crossfire in the first and fourth PCIE slots may not be allowed on the Gigabyte (crossfire assuming I finally switch to the ATI dark side *eh em* AMD 5970 and got another down the track when they are cheaper - it better scale well!).

As the current Radeons dont seem to suffer heat wise as badly as the GF 470/480, can 2 x standard cooling 5970s be installed right next to each other and cool themselves ok or would the fan be straining next to the second card?. Maybe GTX 470 SLI is a more sensible option as well in comparison to GTX 480 SLI.

Does anyone have experience with nVidia 2D surround vs AMD Eyefinity? Does 2D surround only work with games that nVidia has optimised the drivers for or does any game that can render at wide res just work ok (with potential fov tweaks) until driver optimisation? Does Eyefinity only work in titles with 'profiles'? How does that work? Are AMD videocard drivers still a little flaky?

Finally, do people generally prefer the GA-X58A-UD3R (a few more connectors (2 of the extra SATA ports that use the Gigabyte chip are slower so may be best used for optical drives), ever so slightly better ocing and 12 phase power in rev2 vs 8 phase in rev1) over the P6X58D-E (16 phase power, selectable PCIE lane speeds and an arguably better look)?

Edited by RSB

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Hey thanks Dasa for clearing up the case of the unbelievable fan.

Two recommendations for a lower wattage AX psu eh? hmm will consider it.

 

nukejockey yea the HAF series seems a good choice for hot vcards due to the significant side cooling (the 932 could have even more forceful (if unfiltered by default) cooling with 4 x optional 120mm fans if the noise was bearable). I hear the HAF X is to be SLI certified not that that matters much. I had been considering the Silverstone Raven RV02 which may well be quieter and have a more interesting design than the HAF but its less practical hard drive wise and may not be as handy at cooling the vcard/s.

 

Harro2 thanks for the revisions. I'll consider the G.Skill 8-8-8-24 ram (the 1.6V as opposed to the usual 1.65V may be useful) or maybe even the OCZ OCZ3P1600LV6GK 7-7-7-24 1.65V with no heatsink fins jutting above the pcb for $190 at pccg, the Noctua NH-D14, case fan and the 5970 yet again. Heh been going back and forth frequently on the videocard/s! I want to keep the build below $3k although the cheaper the better.

 

Still worried that dual SLI/crossfire in the first and fourth PCIE slots may not be allowed on the Gigabyte (crossfire assuming I finally switch to the ATI dark side *eh em* AMD 5970 and got another down the track when they are cheaper - it better scale well!).

As the current Radeons dont seem to suffer heat wise as badly as the GF 470/480, can 2 x standard cooling 5970s be installed right next to each other and cool themselves ok or would the fan be straining next to the second card?. Maybe GTX 470 SLI is a more sensible option as well in comparison to GTX 480 SLI.

Does anyone have experience with nVidia 2D surround vs AMD Eyefinity? Does 2D surround only work with games that nVidia has optimised the drivers for or does any game that can render at wide res just work ok (with potential fov tweaks) until driver optimisation? Does Eyefinity only work in titles with 'profiles'? How does that work? Are AMD videocard drivers still a little flaky?

Finally, do people generally prefer the GA-X58A-UD3R (a few more connectors (2 of the extra SATA ports that use the Gigabyte chip are slower so may be best used for optical drives), ever so slightly better ocing and 12 phase power in rev2 vs 8 phase in rev1) over the P6X58D-E (16 phase power, selectable PCIE lane speeds and an arguably better look)?

 

i was going to do a simlar build with haf X and a gigabyte board (the ud7) and Dinos22 said you put them in 1st and 3rd slot to allow for spacing of the cards (and so they can breathe). looking forward to seeing the build when you do it... i was all set on a ud7,haf x,480,i7 50 build a while back and was going to do it but becuase its so close to the end of year i figured it would better to wait and get the stuff next year....as a stop gap for sandy bridge E...

 

 

as for board choices:

 

do you need 2 lan ports? -ud5 or ud7

do high end overclocking? ud7 (but the ud3r is also very good at overclocking)

 

check out the extra features of the boards and if you dont NEED them then go with ud3r and be happy!

Edited by jdog

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Hey jdog. I'd probably go with the UD3R rev2 as I dont need the added extras of the UD5/7 and it seems more popular than the Asus.

 

Asus and Gigabyte dont seem bothered about responding to my queries about whether you can run dual SLI/crossfire in the first and third (Asus) or first and fourth pcie slots (Gigabyte). In either mobo this would allow for dual three slot cooler vcards which no one seems to run two of but would help temps significantly and maybe power usage a little (also would allow reference two slot cards to have an extra gap slot). I'm guessing three slots per card is probably unnecessary for two 5870s or two 5970s though.

 

What Dinos22 said about placing the vcards in slots 1&3 on the UD3R would be the standard 16x16x operation (only for dual slot cooler vcards) so there would be little to no clearance between the first and second vcards.

 

Checking out the flexible SLI bridge in more UD3R reviews show it is as long as the solid tri SLI bridge so I assume Gigabyte means it can be used to run dual SLI on the first and fourth pcie slots. More reviewers should cover these possibilities with the large hsfs coming out now as replacements or as standard on special videocard versions.

 

I have mainly been looking at GTX4xx SLI because it seems like they would keep up framerate levels in general better than the respective radeons at 5760x1200. That and nVidia seem more supporting of 3D displays which I may upgrade to when they are more affordable and of comparable size. This may be a slight moot point though as 3D output at that res would undoubtedly destroy the framerates even with GTX480 SLI in newer titles thus calling for res/details to be lowered to compensate.

 

However, checking through the wikipedia page on ATI gpus, the November announced/released? Radeon 69xx series may well be worth waiting for. From the specs i'm guessing the 6950/6970 may have 120%/150% performance of the 5870 but (further guessing) with more acceptable than fermi power/temps/noise. In addition to that, the notes section mentions something called HD3D! Hmm.

 

If I cant wait and build the system in the interim I wonder if I can get by with a stop gap of a cheap GTX275 to go with my existing one. May be a waste though.

 

I dont think that an i7 @ 4GHz will present an issue to feed dual vcards at the moment so I probably wont wait for sandy bridge. As a luxury issue, dual/tri SLI reviews at guru3d show quite impressive scaling on the GTX470/480 although they claim that their i7 965 @ 3.7GHz is creating a bottleneck for tri SLI.

Edited by RSB

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I have a HAF 932 and bought the dust filter kit for it from PCCG. My little XFX 5770 only gets to 53 degrees at its hottest that I have seen so far. That case pumps so much air through and its quiet also.

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