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Old 03-25-2010, 12:56 PM   #1
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Default Returning Member Looking For Advice

Firstly, I just want to thank all of you for the advice you gave me years ago (can't actually remember how many years ago it was), as I asked a lot of questions about hardware in general so I could go out and build my first PC. I think it was around the time the 8800 GTX was top card on offer.

EDIT: Haha, just looked at my forum sig. That's how long it's been since I was last on here!

Secondly, I totally forgot about this forum and the amount of helpful people on here. Was reminded by clearing out my inbox the other day, so thought I'd come back and take a look around. Great to see that it still looks the same!

Right, onto my question. As you all know, it's nearing the end of the financial year which means bonuses are about to be handed out at work. I'm going to be spending pretty much all of mine on a new rig as I haven't upgraded for a bout a year and a half.

I'm outside of the loop again with regards what's going on in the hardware world, but after a few hours of research, I have come up with a spec that I feel should give me a top spec based on what's available on the current market and also some future proofing (not too much as I'm likely to upgrade in a year/year and a half). Was hoping you guys wouldn't mind looking over it and pointing out any major flaws/suggestions that you would change, as well as any inside tips on overclocking.

Here's the rig:

CPU: Intel Core i7 860 2.80GHz (Nehalem)

Mobo: Asus Maximus III Formula Intel P55 (Socket 1156) DDR3 Motherboard

RAM: OCZ Gold 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 2000MHz PC3-16000C

GPU: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 295 1792MB GDDR3

SSD: OCZ Vertex Series 120GB 2.5" SATA-II Solid State Hard Drive

PSU: OCZ Z-Series 1000w Modular '80 Plus Gold'

Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio 7.1 Sound Card

Case: Coolermaster RC-1000 Cosmos PURE Black Silent Full Tower Case


Now I have a couple of questions about the setup listed above.
  1. I've gone with the 860 CPU because the performance difference between that and the 870 is minimal, but the price difference is huge. Secondly, I don't have the cash for the 980.
  2. I've been a solid AMD & nVidia fan through and through, so this is the first ever PC I've built that uses an Intel CPU. AMD seem to be far behind Intel at the minute, am I right in thinking this?
  3. With me being an nVidia fan, I've chosen the GTX295 instead of the Ati 5970 series. The ATi card seems about 100 more expensive. Is there 100 worth of performance difference between the cards? Most reviews I've seen put them in the same league, with minor differences on each of the benchmarking tests.
  4. I've got plenty of normal SATA hard drives for storage, so the SSD is purely for Windows 7 and one or two games. You'll also notice that I'm a massive OCZ fanboy. Have used a lot of their products in the past and have been extremely pleased with the results. The new Vertex SSDs that they released seem to have some of the best stats around. Again, am I right in thinking this?
  5. I've currently got the Cosmos-S case, and really like the layout, air flow and design. Just moving to the all black case for a slightly more polished look. Couldn't see any other cases out there that came close to the amount of expansion bays, while also falling into a nice price bracket and looking more than just a plastic box. Any suggestions on other models?
I know there's a load of questions there, and I appreciate if you guys don't have the time to answer all of them, but any input would be exremely appreciated!

I suppose the most important question is; does that rig look good overall to you? If there's no glaring mistakes, then I'll be ordering the parts in a few weeks.

Oh and please ignore the sound card. It's only 30 on Overclockers and I'm not currently looking for extreme sound performance until I get a few more wage packets under my belt :P

Thanks!
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Old 03-25-2010, 02:28 PM   #2
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the first question would be what is the system gonna be used for...? having the best, latest and greatest system actually makes no sense if it's way overkill for what your uses will be, and would just be a waste of money...

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I suppose the most important question is; does that rig look good overall to you? If there's no glaring mistakes, then I'll be ordering the parts in a few weeks.
the only thing that really sticks out at first glance is the fact that you have a 3x2GB kit of DDR3 for a board that runs DDR3 in dual channel with 4 dimm slots, actually, all i5 boards run DDR3 in dual channel IIRC, I'd get two separate 2x2GB kits with what you have listed or get an i7 920 with a 1366 board that actually runs DDR3 in triple channel...
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Old 03-25-2010, 02:37 PM   #3
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Yes, AMD processors can not compete well with the Higher Intel's Lower and mid range could be argued.

People will tell you the ATI card is better because of DX11. ATI also seems to have control of the upper end market right now(could change soon) I how ever Like the Nvidia 295.

I only dream of SSD's can't help you much with experience there.

I'm not a fan of that case. However your looking for cosmetic reasons and that means everything is up to your taste. I buy cases for functionality like the Antec P180 series and Lian Li's K series

I Think I would make a few changes manily for personal reasons. Over all looks good though. SSD's are still over priced for me

Are you sure thats the Nehalem and not the Lynchfield

EDIT: yeah Look at the board I didn't even catch that 4 dimm slots.

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Old 03-25-2010, 03:16 PM   #4
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Yeah, totally forgot to include the use of the PC itself. I'll be using it for three things mainly; gaming, video encoding/photo editing and I do a lot of C#/C++ programming, along with writing my own shaders. All of them are just hobbies of mine, and I know you'll all say that this is a bit over-the-top for those sort of things, and yes I may have more money than sense, but I've got a close group of friends who are also massive hardware geeks, so being above their spec is important! (It's also a little game we've been runing for 5+ years) :P

Yeah, I totally didn't even check if the mobo supported tri-channel. Thanks for pointing that out. The 920 falls behind the 860 on most benchmarking tests, but would you choose the slightly lower performing CPU with tri-channel RAM over the better CPU and dual-channel RAM x2?

I've had no issues with the Cosmos-S in the year and half I've had it, so am going to stick with Coolermaster for the time being.

Yeah it is the Lynchfield (copy & paste ftw), but I have heard the Bloomfield is a little better on performance (however this may be when it comes to OC the system, not sure).

The Ati card does have DX11, but I mean by the time that DX11 starts getting used across the gaming industry as a common standard is a little way off, and so I'll probably be ready to upgrade to the newer generation of cards when it does. For today's games, I'm still leaning towards the nVidia card as I can't justify the extra cash on an ATi card that yields a small performance upgrade.

Thanks for the replies.
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Old 03-25-2010, 03:35 PM   #5
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Yeah, totally forgot to include the use of the PC itself. I'll be using it for three things mainly; gaming, video encoding/photo editing and I do a lot of C#/C++ programming, along with writing my own shaders. All of them are just hobbies of mine, and I know you'll all say that this is a bit over-the-top for those sort of things, and yes I may have more money than sense, but I've got a close group of friends who are also massive hardware geeks, so being above their spec is important! (It's also a little game we've been runing for 5+ years) :P

Yeah, I totally didn't even check if the mobo supported tri-channel. Thanks for pointing that out. The 920 falls behind the 860 on most benchmarking tests, but would you choose the slightly lower performing CPU with tri-channel RAM over the better CPU and dual-channel RAM x2?

I've had no issues with the Cosmos-S in the year and half I've had it, so am going to stick with Coolermaster for the time being.

Yeah it is the Lynchfield (copy & paste ftw), but I have heard the Bloomfield is a little better on performance (however this may be when it comes to OC the system, not sure).

The Ati card does have DX11, but I mean by the time that DX11 starts getting used across the gaming industry as a common standard is a little way off, and so I'll probably be ready to upgrade to the newer generation of cards when it does. For today's games, I'm still leaning towards the nVidia card as I can't justify the extra cash on an ATi card that yields a small performance upgrade.

Thanks for the replies.
the 920 with triple channel memory will really shine with the video encoding from what I've read (for my uses my Q6600 is fine for now, though I wish it wasn't a B3, , so I don't have any on hands experience), also the socket 1366 platform seems more future proof at the moment...
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Old 03-25-2010, 05:47 PM   #6
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I would definitely go with an ATi, they are doing awesome atm with their cards. HOWEVER, last I read the new GTX480 will be coming out this friday. So, we'll have to see how it stands up to ATi's offerings.
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Old 03-25-2010, 06:14 PM   #7
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I would definitely go with an ATi, they are doing awesome atm with their cards. HOWEVER, last I read the new GTX480 will be coming out this friday. So, we'll have to see how it stands up to ATi's offerings.
Aha, thanks for the heads up! I'll keep my eyes open for reviews. My only concern with it is the fact it's nVidia's new card, so they will innevitably stick a price tag on it bigger than the current 5970, which might see it pop over the 600 mark for just a basic model.

Got my fingers crossed it doesn't though!

Just seen the following article for specs and price:

http://www.engadget.com/2010/03/19/n...ricing-emerge/

I'm sure you're all aware of the details though. However, price of the 480 is only $500, which should make it around 340 here in the UK. However, not sure if the specs will match up to the 5970. Will have to wait and see I guess...

Oh, another quick question based around wol-va-rine's advice.

There are two versions of both the X58 and P55 chipsets. The more expensive of the two providing the newer SATA and USB connections. Obvious question, are these worth the extra 50?

Sorry to keep spamming the forum with questions, but are there issues with the amount of 5970s available in the UK? Overclockers are only taking pre-orders for the 5970s across every brand of the card. AFAIK, the card was released in November 09 right? OR is there some sort of delay on the European launch? Apologies for the nooby questions, been out of the loop for a while.
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Old 03-25-2010, 09:29 PM   #8
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There are two versions of both the X58 and P55 chipsets. The more expensive of the two providing the newer SATA and USB connections. Obvious question, are these worth the extra 50?

Sorry to keep spamming the forum with questions, but are there issues with the amount of 5970s available in the UK? Overclockers are only taking pre-orders for the 5970s across every brand of the card. AFAIK, the card was released in November 09 right? OR is there some sort of delay on the European launch? Apologies for the nooby questions, been out of the loop for a while.
considering the whole system specs I wouldn't think the newer connections would really improve performance much, and I think the availability of 5970s everywhere is pretty much the same, they're hard to get a hold of here in the states as well...
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Old 03-27-2010, 12:22 PM   #9
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Early GTX480 reviews are out, looks like it's not that bad of a card, provided you have a hell of a PSU.
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Old 03-27-2010, 01:22 PM   #10
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Yeah, I've been reading up on the card. However, it doesn't seem to come close to the 5970. I'm happy spending 530 on a 5970 as I feel it will last me at least a year and a half, hopefully longer.

Bit scared by the temperatures of the 480, and the amount of power it consumes. I've gone with the OCZ Z-Series 1000W PSU, which has a massive 83A in the +12V rail, which should keep a card like the 480 steady, even under full load.
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