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Old September 4, 2010, 12:18 PM
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Default High End Gaming PC 2.5k-3.5k (Full Upgrade)

I've moving on from my old PC, so I'm doing a full upgrade (case+monitor). I want to build a PC that can handle fraps (video capture program) on high end games without dropping graphics settings down to much. I'd also like to keep the case as silent as possible. I don't do a lot of upgrading once I buy my PC unless its to add a new hard drive, so I'd like to keep this PC future proof. I've made the mistake before of not moving to DDR2 and PCI-E, so I don't want to make the same mistake again. I also don't overclock, but I might try it when the PC reaches the end of its life cycle.

Question: Does anyone use fraps a lot, and can tell me what kind of performance to expect from my dual card/CPU setup in new games. I'm now playing Kane & Lynch 2, Mafia 2, and Darkfall which is a FPS MMO with huge 300 player sieges.

Note: Both SohoDiffusion.com and Microbytes.com are retail stores in my area of Montreal.

Away here are the parts:
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Processor:

Intel Core i7 930 Quad Core Processor LGA1366 2.8GHZ 8MB L3 Cache
NCIX.com $328
SohoDiffusion.com $300
Microbytes.com $340

or

Intel Core i7 950 Quad Core Processor LGA1366 3.06GHZ 8MB L3 Cache
NCIX.com $350
SohoDiffusion.com $319
Microbytes.com $360

Note: Price cuts are nice:)

------------------------------------------------------------------

CPU Heatsink:

Noctua NH-U12P SE2 LGA775/1156/1366 AM2/AM3 I7/I5/PHENOM Heatpipe Cooler W/ 2XNH-P12 120MM Fans
NCIX.com $80
SohoDiffusion.com $75
Microbytes.com $77

Note: Noctua just seems like the best product overall, however I'm sure u guys know the other standouts in the CPU heatsink market.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Motherboard (Mid End):

ASUS P6X58D-E X58 ATX LGA1366 3PCI-E16 PCI-E1 2PCI CrossFire SLI USB3.0 SATA 6GB/S
NCIX.com $254
SohoDiffusion.com $253
Microbytes.com $267

or

GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R SKT.1366 INTL X58 3 CHANNEL DDR3 4 DIMM SATA3, USB3, RAID, ATX
NCIX.com $224
SohoDiffusion.com $233
Microbytes.com $252

or

EVGA X58 SLI3 ATX LGA1366 DDR3 3PCIE-16 2PCI-E1 1PCI SLI SATA3 USB3.0 GBLAN Motherboard
NCIX.com $224


----------------------

Motherboard (High End)

ASUS Rampage III Formula Rog X58 DDR3 ATX LGA1366 3PCI-E16 X-FI
NCIX.com $350 (suggested retail price?)

or

GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD5 SKT.1366 INT X58 3 CHANNEL DDR3, 6 DIMM, SATA, HD-AUDIO, RAID 5, TPM, ATX
NCIX.com $305
SohoDiffusion.com $280
Microbytes.com $314

or

EVGA X58 FTW3 ATX LGA1366 DDR3 3PCIE-16 PCI-E1 2PCI SLI SATA3 USB3.0 Dual GBLAN
NCIX.com $309

Note: The new eSata might be interesting for the future.
------------------------------------------------------------------

Memory:

Note: I never had a clue about memory really, so I'll just say I want a good set of DDR3 1600 6G ram from either G.SKILL or Mushkin. The ram should have good low level heatsinks, so there isn't a issue with them touching the CPU heatsink. My budget is $150-$250, with anything above that being a waste of money.

Question: If I add another 6G later can I really use the extra ram as storage to decrease load times on games? Also is setting ram to 1866 really that much better for i7 boards? I read both of those suggestions on these forums.

------------------------------------------------------------------

SSD Drives:

G.SKILL FM-25S2S-100GBP1 PHOENIX 100GB SANDFORCE 2.5IN SATA2
NCIX.com $420 (error?)
SohoDiffusion.com $300

or

OCZ Vertex 2 Extended Sandforce 120GB 2.5IN SATA2
NCIX.com $304
SohoDiffusion.com $347

or

Crucial RealSSD C300 128GB 2.5IN Solid State Disk Flash Drive SATA3 6GBPS
NCIX.com $306
SohoDiffusion.com $295

Note: The Crucial Sata3 SSD has better read speeds than above drives, and average write speeds.

Question: Should I go with 2 smaller SSDs?

------------------------------------------------------------------

Hard Drives:

WESTERN DIGITAL 1TB CAVIAR BLACK 7200RPM 64MB CACHE SATA 6 GB/S
NCIX.com $104
SohoDiffusion.com $97
Microbytes.com $102

Note: Seems like the best option for storage.

------------------------------------------------------------------

BD/DVD/CD Drives:

PIONEER BDR-205BKS BLACK 12X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 5X DVD-RAM 8X BD-ROM 4MB CACHE SATA INTERNAL
NCIX.com $205
SohoDiffusion.com $203

Note: Best 12x BD drive on the market right now.

------------------------------------------------------------------

Power Supply:

Seasonic M12D 850W EPS12V 20/24PIN ATX Modular Power Supply Active PFC 80PLUS 8PIN PCI-E 120MM Fan
NCIX.com $250
SohoDiffusion.com $200

or

Corsair Professional HX850W 850W ATX 12V 70A 24PIN ATX Modular Power Supply Active PFC 140MM Fan
NICX.com $230
SohoDiffusion.com $203
Microbytes.com $252

Note: I think the XFX, Enermax, and Silverstone PSUs aren't bad either. I'd buy a 1000W for bit over $200+.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Video Cards 2x:

2xEVGA GeForce GTX 460 Fermi Superclocked EE 763MHZ 1024MB GDDR5 2XDVI Mini-HDMI PCI-E DX11 Video Card
NCIX.com 2x$293
SohoDiffusion.com 2x$270
Microbytes.com 2x$285

or

2xEVGA GeForce GTX 470 SUPERCLOCKED+ 625MHZ Fermi 1280MB 3.4GHZ GDDR5 2XDVI Mini-HDMI PCI-E Video Card
NCIX.com 2x$385
SohoDiffusion.com 2x$390

or

2 XFX Radeon HD 5870 XXX 875MHZ 1GB GDDR5 5GHZ 2XDVI HDMI Display Port DIRECTX11 PCI-E Video Card
NCIX.com 2x$500

Note: Looking at maybe putting a Arctic Cooling Accelero XTREME Plus into these in the future. I might just buy the cheaper cards, and add the Accelero.

----------------------------------------------------------------

Case:

Coolermaster ATCS840 ATX Tower Case Black 6X5.25 6X3.5INT 1X3.5EXT Front USB Firewire eSATA Audio
NCIX.com $211
SohoDiffusion.com $200
Microbytes.com $226

or

Coolermaster Haf X EATX Tower Case Black 6X5.25 5X3.5INT No PS Front USB3.0
NCIX.com $200
SohoDiffusion.com $180
Microbytes.com $205

Note: I Like the ATCS840 better than the Haf X, but its kinda hard to discount the future proof design of the Haf X. If the 840 had a revision much like the Haf series it would be a perfect case in my opinion. I'll have to make a post about that on the CM forums with my paintshop skills.:) I like a few other cases like the Corsair 800D, some Lian Li cases,and Ikonik Ra X10 Liquid Case.

----------------------------------------------------------------

Monitor:

Ostendo CRVD 43IN DLP (OSRAM's OSTAR-Projection) Curved Seamless Monitor 21:9/32:10 2880x900 10,000:1 MS 0.02 DVI-D and HDMI
Ostentdo.com $6.500

Note: I wish I had that kinda of money:)

HP LP2475W H-IPS 24IN Widescreen LCD Monitor 1920X1200 1000:1 6MS DVI HDMI Display Port PIP Pivot
NCIX.com $700
SohoDiffusion.com $620
Microbytes.com $710

Note: One of the best reviewed IPS monitors on the market after the change from S-IPS to H-IPS.

or

Dell U2410
Dell.ca $700 or $550

Note: Hard to pick between these two monitors, so any feedback would be great.

Question: If I wanted to go with a small IPS monitor (20IN+) to save money, which monitor would come close to either of the above 2 screens? Maybe there is a better IPS monitor I don't know about?

---------------------------------------------------------------

Operating system:

MICROSOFT WINDOWS 7 ULTIMATE 32/64BIT ENGLISH DVD FULL RETAIL VERSION
NCIX.com $335
SohoDiffusion.com $330
Newegg.ca $320

Note: I like not paying for service packs.

--------------------------------------------------------------

SSD Accessories:

Silverstone SDP08 2.5IN to 3.5IN Converter Drive Bay Adapter - Holds 2X 2.5IN SSD or Regular HDD
NCIX.com $13

--------------------------------------------------------------

Fans:

Note: I'm thinking about changing the case fans should I have sound and temp issues.

Questions: I think I know this, but which fans are the best for sound and temp. Should I check watt usage before I install fans, as it seems like a lot of the higher end fans eat up a lot of power?


Thanks for the help.

Last edited by El Topo; September 4, 2010 at 12:26 PM.
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Old September 4, 2010, 01:08 PM
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Just a few things about purchasing items ect.

ssd is almost a complete waste of money. they will bump up your boot and install times, but will NOT increase frame rates to any noticable degree and likely load times will remain the same as well. Most people dont believe this, but search around, you wont find too many people oo ahhhhing ssd after they've made the purchase. If you DO decide to buy an ssd, almost all ssd drives come WITH a 3.5" drive bay, so you wont need to buy one. Get 2 smaller ones vs 1 bigger one and use fabs autobackup together with win 7 task schedualer to have your computer back up important files to the conventional hdd to reduce the risk of data loss due to stripe failure.

win 7 ultimate is a fools product. there is zero value to ultimate vs home premium for the regular guy. At least with vista they gave you dreamscene, but nothng with win 7.

a side note to service packs, you DONT pay more to have those included on the disk, and i HIGHLY recommend always buying the OS with the most current service pack pre installed as it'll save you time and effort later by NOT having to install it yourself. Also Win 7 currently has no service packs to speak of, so the point is moot.


Order EVERYTHING from NCIX. ncix does price matching, so if you find an item at another retailer you just click the price match button, copy/paste the URL of the competing etaler along with their price and ncix will match it. this will save you on shipping costs which will be very high if your buying little things here and there. Even at local stores you still have to pay for gas an your time to get it, so just get it from ncix an it'll all arrive together.

To price match open PriceCanada.com: Search. Compare. Buy. - Canadian Online Shopping Search and Comparison!, copy NCIX's PART NUMBER into the price canada search field (not the product name) This will find you the best online price to match at ncix. copy the etailers URL into the price match field at ncix, NOT the pricecanada URL. I've never been denied a PM from price canada, so what you see there you can pretty much bank on.

if your going to spend 2.5 / 3.5 k on a system and NOT have surround monitors your CRAZY get yourself a single 5870 the dumb dongle and 3 1650 x 1050 monitors (NO LARGER as it doesnt look any better larger and is very taxing on the cards regardless of if you xfire / sli) The reason i dont say surround with nvidia with the 460s is that very few games actually SLI well enough to warrent the cost of the second card. even though others will tell you it does. it doesnt. so get the high end 5870, the dongle and 3 x 1650 x 1050 monitors and have a good balanced system. I've got a little bit of experience (alot) with both nvidia and ati surround systems and this is my recommendation.

if nvidia 3d view interests you (its in your budget) you wont be able to do surround (3 monitors) as that would be out of your budget. if thats the case a single monitor with a single higher end single nvidia gpu is what i'd recomend, but SLI will help if that monitor is very high resolution as when you use 3d it effectivly doubles the work load on the gpu. the 3d will set you back abit, no more than a second vid card, but its pretty cool, though not really in a long term way.

930 CPU choice is solid, it overclocks fine most times to 4ghz which is about cap to noticable improvement. (which is why i dont recommend spending the extra on the other cpu) even 3.8 is fine if the temps start to make the fans more noisy than your tastes. There is almost zero noticable difference from 4 ghz to 3.8ghz
__________________

vista 64 on these rigs
Q9450 @ 3.5Ghz | E8400 @ 4.2Ghz
8gb Muskin Redline. | 2gb Kingston Hyperx
________________________________|_________________ ______________
EVGA 780i FTW ----\--||___||--/---- EVGA 780i SLI
Antec TP Quatro 1000W \ :==^==: / Antec TP Quatro 850W.
Nvidia 9800 GX2 X 2 SLI \|--o--|/ Nvidia 8800 GTS X 2 SLI
1X 500GB Western Digital. \_____/ 3X 150GB WD RAPTOR RAID-0

Last edited by tzetsin; September 4, 2010 at 01:18 PM.
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Old September 4, 2010, 03:59 PM
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Location: Windsor, ON
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Here are my suggestions...

CASE: Corsair 600T, 700D or 800D, Cooler Master HAF X, Zalman GS1000 Plus, Thermaltake Element V
PSU: Corsair AX or HX series. The AX is the newer Gold certified series for better power efficiency. 850W would do 2 480's in SLI, so there's plenty of headroom for 2 460's or 470's in SLI
Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R SKT.1366 INTL X58 3 CHANNEL DDR3 4 DIMM SATA3, USB3, RAID, ATX
CPU: Intel Core i7 950 Quad Core Processor LGA1366 3.06GHZ 8MB L3 Cache
Cooler: Cooler Master V6GT, Thermalright Venomous X, Thermaltake Frio
RAM: G Skill F3-12800CL9T-6GBNQ or Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 998778
SSD: OCZ Vertex 2 Extended Sandforce 120GB 2.5IN SATA2, if your thinking of getting 2 for RAID, its not advisable as you lose TRIM support.
HDD: WESTERN DIGITAL 1TB CAVIAR BLACK 7200RPM 64MB CACHE SATA 6 GB/S
GPU: 2xEVGA GeForce GTX 470 Fermi Superclocked 625MHZ 1280MB 3.4GHZ GDDR5 2XDVI Mini-HDMI PCI-E
OPT: PIONEER BDR-205BKS Blu-ray Writer
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium, unless Ultimate has certain features you really need or just want the bragging rights

Monitor: I've heard both are good, but I'll leave it up to the others to comment on which one is the best for you.

If you drop the SSD and swap the 2 470's for a 5870, then you could get 3 Dell U2410's to max out the 3.5k budget.

I agree with tzetsin about shopping at NCIX.com and using their Price Matching feature. It will definitely save you some cash so you can spend it elsewhere or save it for something else.

Good luck with your build
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Old September 4, 2010, 04:36 PM
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Smile New Builds

Be sure to use shopbot or some other price matching software as the prices you're listing are even higher than the sites you're referring to. eg NCIX P6X58D-E $254, on their site it's $240. Anything you can get new gen, usb3 or sata 3 I would get as it's faster, newer technology. The HDD is a good choice, but look at the Samsung as well. It's actually faster, though it wouldn't be noticeable in 99.9% of uses.
I own the Asus P6X58D-E board and would recommend it. The rampage III extreme is a great board but unless you're benchmarking or going for OC extremes regularly, not worth the extra $.
I own Mushkin Ram and when I contacted different memory manufacturers they mentioned that the 1366 systems seem to like the 1866 best. The 1600s are quite good and popular and you wouldn't notice any difference unless doing the same as the mobo. Extreme end use. If that's the case, you would go 2000 mhz or higher.
Modular psus are so nice for cable management and keeping a clean and neat system. I own the HX 1000 and it's taken everything I've ever thrown at it including a pair of 5970s in xfire without even getting warm. So Corsair is a great choice. There are a few good psus to choose from. While too high a psu is silly to most, it'll only draw what it needs and with more headway it will last longer from not being stressed.
If you like the HAF series, then the X is great because of roominess, good air flow, hot swappable HDD bays, USB 3 ports and a gpu cooling fan shroud to help keep temps in line.
Regardless of what you choose in the end, any of the setups you have listed will make a darn good system.
Good luck with your build and enjoy the new system.
Oh, if you're considering going to a higher end sli like the 480 at any point in time, make sure the motherboard has a 2nd molex connector for the pci-e as the draw for 2 or more cards has been known to melt pins on the 24 pin power connection for a single power source.
The experts on this site should be able to tweak anything you choose to make it that much better.
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Old September 5, 2010, 11:09 AM
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To tzetsin:

I agree that SSDs are kinda a waste of money, but I'll take every advantage I can get when playing games. From what I read in reviews and forums about SSDs its really one of the biggest upgrades u can make if u have a good CPU and VGA setup already. I've been thinking about maybe switching my primary HD to the new 600GB SATA3 Western Digital VelociRaptors, but after reading reviews on it in comparison to SSDs its a hard choice to make. 600GB SATA3 Western Digital VelociRaptors cost about the same as a good 120GB SSD. The only other thing that bugs me about an SSD is the fact that u only have a limited amount of writes. People suggest this as a negative of SSDs, but after reading a bit about it doesn't seem like an issue. Now I'm looking at hybrid, ram and pci SSDs as another option for faster speeds. I hope I'll be able to find a balance. Any help would be great in this area as I'm really not that familiar with advanced storage drive options.

I'll comment on the other suggestions shortly.

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Old September 5, 2010, 11:39 AM
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First thing I would like to say is do not listen to tzetsin about the SSD. They are really one of the best upgrades you can put into a system. Yes you notice it most on boot times but to make a high end build without one just makes no sense. Out of the drives you mentioned I highly recommend the OCZ Vertex 2, I have been putting those into machines at work and they are very good drives. Although if you could afford it I would maybe say get a larger one, but then again 120GB will be good enough for most and the larger ones are still way too much. Oh and the Vertex 2 comes with the 2.5" to 3.5" adapter.

As for Windows 7, take a look here: Which one is right for you? - Microsoft Windows that will show you the differences. I think the biggest difference is the XP mode, there is also the remote desktop that can be useful as well. Personally I would say Pro is the best version, but that is just me.

Back to drives again, for regular storage I would recommend going with 2TB drives, maybe the WD 2TB black. It may seem like over kill but trust me it is not hard to fill up drives.

For PSU, I think I would recommend the Corsair AX850, better than the HX850. Or you could get the AX1200, but that may be a little over kill.

Now with video cards, that is a tough one. I know I am a fan of the eVGA cards so I know that is what I lean towards. The issue is the 470 vs 460, and that is sort of a tough one, but considering you want it to last I guess the 470 will have longer staying power.

And for the monitor I would go with the Dell and again that is just personal preference. Also there is the fact that if you do have a problem with the monitor they ship you a new one first without you shipping the old one back, not many people cross ship.

I will try to comment on the rest of the build later, but that's it from me for now.
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Old September 5, 2010, 01:03 PM
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Did you forget the audio system?
Building a high end gaming rig without high end gaming sound is seriously missing a big chunk of the picture.
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Old September 5, 2010, 03:15 PM
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Yes I gotta say an SSD is anything but a waste of $$$...sure, no difference in game, but load times for any Apps including shut-down / start-up are lightening fast.......how many times do we have to go through a "re-boot" process while changing drivers, installing updates etc......I tend to think its one of the best improvements one can make to their machine....I like em so much I have em in my Notebook.....find my kids / wife Notebook with standard HDD's is painful...I'm spoiled ;)
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Old September 5, 2010, 04:22 PM
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I also want to say to go with an SSD I have a OCZ 96GB Vertex II series SSD and I have Windows on it along with my applications (iTunes, VLC, Chrome ect..) and the games I play the most, I have too many games for an SSD so I just put the ones I play the most on.

And you do notice a in load times for games as well single and multiplayer the game opens and is ready to go very fast, the maps load really fast as well I am always the first in game even when I am not the host in MW2 sometimes other people are so slow they don't get in before the timer runs out and I am normally half way to their base by the time they are in and get some really easy kills because they are not expecting me lol.
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Old September 6, 2010, 01:37 AM
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Note: This is a stock system, thus the reason for the higher end parts (i7 950 turbo mode). I'd only overclock at the end of the PCs half life. Also thx for the price matching web site links, I'm sure they will come in handy.

Windows 7:
After looking again at the features I think I'm going to switch to Professional Edition.

Monitor:
The reason I don't like the 3 monitor setup is due to the bezels in between each screen would annoy me. I couldn't enjoy games like that, and I'd probably end up playing on the middle screen. It would be interesting in MMOs however, as I could use one screen to play the game, the second screen for vent, and the third screen for the games online map. Another problem with 3 screens is the heat they would generate, and the energy they would use. I could go with 3 Dell U2410s, but I'd rather save the space on my desk for Playsatation 3, XBOX 360, and any external drives I might use. My purchase is still a month away, so I might change my mind by then. Cross shipping is nice on Dell, and I'll be checking the site every day to see if they have a deal for around $400.

Video Cards:
I'm thinking of switching to a single card, and adding a second card a little later. If that's the case I'll probably buy the Arctic Cooling Accelero XTREME Plus for the 480. From what I read about the VGA heatsink its the most silent/cool solution for most high end cards. As for 3D gaming I think its a gimmick, and would only be interested in 3D for watching movies. I'd rather setup my home cinema for that, but I can't say there is a huge amount of 3D movies I like, so its more of a future upgrade. I believe fraps is CPU dependent, but I think a good GPU does help fps a bit during video capture.

Power Supply:
If I do go with the single 480 to sli setup later I'll probably switch the PSU AX1200 as suggested to support the extra components. Kinda blows their isn't a AX1000 so I can save some money.

Sound Card:
I didn't add it because I'm still doing research on sound cards. I can deal with on board sound til I figure that out. If u have any suggestions I'd like to hear them. I'm not a big fan of creative. From past research I learned that a lot of sound card solutions have problems. I play games with an astro gaming headset+amp that does DH for surround sound. It works really well, and isn't a gimmick like those multi speaker headsets.

Thx for the help.
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