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Thread: Advice for new gaming rig build

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    Advice for new gaming rig build

    Hey,

    First post here, so, I'm going to try and make it a good one. The story is, I have an outdated computer and want to get a new one. I don't really want to get something stingy, because "You buy cheap, you buy twice.", so I've been looking, processor-wise, into Intel's Core i7's.

    Before I came here I was speaking to a local guy who said if i want a fast PC I don't need to go all out on the processor. His advice was;

    • High spec Core 2 Duo processor (up to 3GHz)
    • 4GB+ of RAM
    • Graphics card with as much RAM as possible
    • 2 SATA HDDs arranged in RAID 0


    Now, the reason I chose the i7 was not solely because it's the newest processor out, but because I wanted to have ample future-proofing. The last PC I got was a factory-made 2.8GHz Pentium 4 machine (made by iQon.ie) in 2004. By that time, however, the Core 2 Duo processor was beggining to take off, so, even at the time of purchasing the computer it was quite out of date.

    In terms of graphics cards, I've had a lot of bad experiences with my ATi Radeon 9600XT and, even though ATi cards have got much better since then, Nvidia seem to have taken the lead at the minute.

    RAM, if the processor if going to be Core i7, should be DDR3 to take full advantage of the system.

    I've compiled a basket of components that were recommended on SCAN.co.uk

    • Creative Sound Blaster Audigy SE 7.1 OEM PCI Sound card
    • 2x500 GB Samsung HD501LJ Spinpoint T166, SATA II, 7200 rpm, 16MB cache, 8.9 ms, NCQ
    • LG GGC-H20L Lightscribe SATA 16xDVD+-R +RWx8/-RW x6 Also READS - Blu-Ray & HD Discs black - Retail
    • NorthQ Siberian Tiger Liquid Cooling All AMD/Intel with 120mm Ceramic NorthQ Fan control. Retail
    • Coolermaster HAF932 Black, High Air Flow Tower Case w/o PSU
    • 6GB (3x2GB) Corsair Dominator DDR3, PC3-12800 (1600), 240 Pin, Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 8, DHX, EPP
    • 1792MB EVGA GTX 295 55nm, PCI-E 2.0 (x16), 2000MHz GDDR3, GPU 576 MHz, 480 Cores, HDMI
    • 24" Iiyama PLE2407HDS-B1 Widescreen LCD, 1920 x 1080, 2ms, DVI/HDMI/VGA - 1080p HD Ready, PC/MAC
    • Asus P6T SE, Intel X58, Sok 1366, PCI-E 2.0 (x16), DDR3 2000/1866/1800, SATA 3Gb/s, SATA RAID, ATX
    • Intel Core i7 920, D0 (SLBEJ), S1366 (B), Nehalem, 2.66GHz, 8MB CACHE, 20x Multiplier, 130W, Retail
    • 850W Corsair HX Series PSU, ATX, EPS12V, Modular, UK Version


    All in all, it totals to around £1600 inc. p&p. What I would like to ask of you in the Hexus community is, is there any way to make this cheaper but still keep the quality, or can I change the components listed but still create an equally as powerful machine?

    Thanks,

    Declan.

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    Re: Advice for new gaming rig build

    Well the graphics card can have all the ram it wants in the world, but it may be slow clocked with little processing power.

    The 295's good, but a little overkill for a 24" monitor in my opinion.

    Dont see why you'd want RAID0, it's entirely up to yourself. You'll get some performance increase from RAID0 but i myself perfer to seperate drives and if you have a fast drive ie an F1 or something you'll be fine.

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    Re: Advice for new gaming rig build

    If this is just for gaming then you can get the same performance for much less money. The resolution is too low for that graphics card, cooler is naff, 500GB are fine as long as they are single platter, if not they will be slower compared to similarly priced drives with 320GB platters or bigger.

    Lovely Blu ray drive though, it's the quietest in operation that I've ever heard

    For me I'd get an AMD system. You won't actually have to buy twice as AMD are leaving a decent path for upgrade should you need one. The idea of you buy stingy you buy twice is sound to a point but core i7 won't last much longer than a similarly specced AMD chip and the system will end up costing a fair wedge more.

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    Re: Advice for new gaming rig build

    Dont see why you'd want RAID0
    This was only recommended by a man I know who makes PCs locally as he said it would make the system faster. I had no idea what RAID0 even meant until he told me

    You won't actually have to buy twice as AMD are leaving a decent path for upgrade
    So, what you're saying is if, say, AMD released a new Phenom processor, it would be of the same chipset, meaning I would need to buy a new motherboard? Also, I thought the Phenom II barely even gave the Core 2 Quad processors a run for their money, never mind the i7?

    The resolution is too low for that graphics card
    1920 x 1080 is low?!? Is 2560 x XXXX more like the resolution and GX295 is built for?

    Would it be better to just buy a 1/1.5TB Spinpoint instead of the RAID0 combo? And the cooler, any less naff ones about but at a decent price?

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    Re: Advice for new gaming rig build

    i agree the the raid is a bit of a waste as unless you know what your doing it can be daunting and if anything happens to it you loose all your data.

    the 295 is a waste too as the 275 is about £250 cheaper and more than enough for gaming.

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    Re: Advice for new gaming rig build

    I would buy better value stuff and include an SSD for a more responsive system. G.Skill falcon SSD is probably the best value and is identical to the OCZ vertex but cheaper. 640GB drives are guaranteed to have 320GB platters and performance & price is good. Solid state drives will fall in price and increase in capacity rapidly so it's extravagant but far more fun & will outperform the RAID0. You might want to wait for i5 and P55 stuff from Intel.

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    Re: Advice for new gaming rig build

    Yeah, i agree with scimping on anything above a 275 GTX, anything more and your just burning money for minor gains.

    Also you may want to take a look at this: Patriot Memory's Torqx SSD Beats Intel's X25-M if your looking at SSD's.

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    Re: Advice for new gaming rig build

    Well phenom II certainly do give Core 2 a good run, betters them last time I checked and what you have to consider is the amount of CPU any current game actually requires.. very little comparitvely.

    It's the GPU which bares the load of the games and although speccing a GTX295 certainly eliminates that as a problem it is a massive overkill (yes 1920 x 1080 is far too low for it to be worthwhile, much like a 4870X2 and such like). HD4890, GTX275 or at most a GTX285 will be required for now and a long time from now.

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    Re: Advice for new gaming rig build

    Id say if you can afford it a 4850 X2 2GB. Seems to put the squeeze on the 285 and is cheaper, also scores well in the gaming benchmarks on the Hexus (and others) tests.

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    Re: Advice for new gaming rig build

    You could:

    Get a gf275 or a 4870X2.

    Get 1333mhz DDR3 6 gig kit as thats a bit cheaper and u wont really notice the difference.

    If speed is important and you dont want to spend a great deal on a drive get a WD raptor. Theyre noisey but theyre quick. I have a 74 gig raptor and it was about 60 quid? Its pretty quick and i am pleased with the performance for the price. I didnt get SSD right away, i didnt want to pay 140 quid for 1 SSD drive when i can get 2 raptors for the same price.

    And i thought most Asus boards come with 7.1 soundcards now anyways? I think the rampage GENE does anyway.

    Hope that helps you out a bit

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    Re: Advice for new gaming rig build

    i7 or the 1366 socket isn't going to go away. But it is the enthusiasts choice and will be more expensive. The benefit of the i7 920 is it's overclock potential. There are plenty of them running at 4Ghz+ with little strain, making it bang for buck by far the best deal. Scan and overclockers do good deals on these, often as part of a bundle.

    +1 for either the 4890 or the GTX275. Both are available on OC versions. This choice is down to personal preference or the best deal you can get on either. If you're feeling wealthy then the 4870 X2 is almost as powerful as the GTX295, but subtsantially cheaper. There are more than a few threads on this very topic here.

    The following is a USian article but very useful on this sort of advice. It does provide a number of options to choose between, in all of your major components.
    http://arstechnica.com/hardware/guid...-edition.ars/2

    I'm in the (slow) process of doing exactly your build and my choices were the Antec300, i7920 OC, Gigabyte X58 UD5, 6Gb RAM and Hitachi 1Tb. For video at 1920*1080 - either 4890 or GTX275 OC, (Boot disk TBA, but SSD looks too expensive.)

    Hope this helps. Let us know how you get on.
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    Re: Advice for new gaming rig build

    The following is a USian article...
    I checked it out and it was quite informative, especially with respect to the choice of graphics card. Both the HD4870 and GTX275 are give great bang for buck, but, driver-wise, I think NVidia have the upper hand over ATi. Is this assumption correct?

    An SSD does sound tempting with the near-instant access of data and that fact that prices are falling like hot potatoes for hard drives lately, but what about the limited amount of writes? I mentioned the SSD's to a guy I know locally and he said that, once the heads start revving up, the HDD's are just as fast as the SSD's. Now, is that a wee white lie?

    As regards to RAM, 1333MHz is grand but it wouldn't do the system justice if I tried to overclock, which is what the i7 seems to be good at. Hence, I chose 1666Mhz.

    The soundcard is just another way to take load of the CPU, but if it doesn't make that much of an impact, I guess it can be scrapped.

    What would be the advantages and disadvantages of waiting for the i5 to be released and getting it instead of the i7?

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    Re: Advice for new gaming rig build

    Quote Originally Posted by decky1990 View Post
    An SSD does sound tempting with the near-instant access of data and that fact that prices are falling like hot potatoes for hard drives lately, but what about the limited amount of writes? I mentioned the SSD's to a guy I know locally and he said that, once the heads start revving up, the HDD's are just as fast as the SSD's. Now, is that a wee white lie?
    I am sure he totally believes that is true, and if you only focus on transfer rate rather than how applications actually perform he would be right.

    Adding more spindles in RAID arrays or other sneaky tricks (dedicated swap drives for example) has been a performance trick for decades, but SSDs change all that.

    Also, a graphics card should have the fastest ram possible, the amount is not as important as long as you have "enough". In fact 1GB seems to be the sweet spot right now assuming recent games at high resolution.

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    Re: Advice for new gaming rig build

    Quote Originally Posted by decky1990 View Post
    I checked it out and it was quite informative, especially with respect to the choice of graphics card. Both the HD4870 and GTX275 are give great bang for buck, but, driver-wise, I think NVidia have the upper hand over ATi. Is this assumption correct?

    An SSD does sound tempting with the near-instant access of data and that fact that prices are falling like hot potatoes for hard drives lately, but what about the limited amount of writes? I mentioned the SSD's to a guy I know locally and he said that, once the heads start revving up, the HDD's are just as fast as the SSD's. Now, is that a wee white lie?

    As regards to RAM, 1333MHz is grand but it wouldn't do the system justice if I tried to overclock, which is what the i7 seems to be good at. Hence, I chose 1666Mhz.

    The soundcard is just another way to take load of the CPU, but if it doesn't make that much of an impact, I guess it can be scrapped.

    What would be the advantages and disadvantages of waiting for the i5 to be released and getting it instead of the i7?
    The high-end i5s will provide you with better performance than the low-end i7s such as the 920 at stock frequency, but at a much lower total system cost. However, this bang/buck advantage goes away if you overclock the i7, and it's performance goes up. Obviously, we don't yet have any data on how the i5s will overclock, or what performance gains can be made.

    Video card drivers ? Sheesh, almost impossible to get a clear answer on that. I've seen people swear on/at both products/companies. I've always been an NV owner, but am now leaning towards the 4870 x2. In the end I'll buy what I can get the best deal on, and gives me the most longevity.

    I'm not really qualified to comment on SSDs, but I think the difference is between seek time versus data throughput speeds is what is confusing the issue.
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    Re: Advice for new gaming rig build

    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    ...but SSDs change all that.
    So, if I were to purchase a hard drive, would it be solely SSD for everything or an SSD for, say, the OS and software, then some sort of HDD for my personal data?

    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    Also, a graphics card should have the fastest ram possible, the amount is not as important as long as you have "enough". In fact 1GB seems to be the sweet spot right now assuming recent games at high resolution.
    I was checking SCAN for graphics cards as you have described; the ATi cards seemed to fit more with what you were saying, as regards to the amount of RAM, whereas the NVidia cards tended to have 896MB or 1792MB etc.

    The fastest RAM seemed to be with the EVGA cards but hot-damn, they expensive!

    Another thing: GDDR3(NVidia) vs GDDR5(ATi)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phage View Post
    The high-end i5s will provide you with better performance than the low-end i7s such as the 920 at stock frequency, but at a much lower total system cost.
    Maybe my best plan of action would be to wait until some specs or even sneaky hardware tests are performed (if that happens in the tech-world) on these chips before I think about purchasing one to see if they overclock as well as the i7.

    Thanks,

    Declan.

    EDIT: Just checked out a review of the GTX275 against the HD4890 (more expensive than the HD4870) and the GTX275 out-performed the HD4890 in nearly all occasions so I think the GTX275 will be the GPU of choice.
    Last edited by decky1990; 24-06-2009 at 02:43 PM. Reason: Read a review on two GPU's

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    Re: Advice for new gaming rig build

    Quote Originally Posted by decky1990 View Post
    Maybe my best plan of action would be to wait until some specs or even sneaky hardware tests are performed (if that happens in the tech-world) on these chips before I think about purchasing one to see if they overclock as well as the i7.
    Engineering sample of an i5

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    By Grey Fox in forum SHOPPING AND CLASSIFIEDS
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    Last Post: 16-08-2006, 08:52 AM

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