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Mad Cow's Build a Killer Gaming Rig on a Budget Thread

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that i5 is an overclocking beast! i've read that at stock speed (2.67 GHz) on the stock heatsink, it runs about 40 C at idle. i just changed the base clock from 133 to 200, the multiplier to 18, and set the memory for DDR3-1600. boom, 3.6 GHz at 40C with my water cooled system. no need to push it, although i think i could get up several ticks above 4 GHz if i tried.

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that i5 is an overclocking beast! i've read that at stock speed (2.67 GHz) on the stock heatsink, it runs about 40 C at idle. i just changed the base clock from 133 to 200, the multiplier to 18, and set the memory for DDR3-1600. boom, 3.6 GHz at 40C with my water cooled system. no need to push it, although i think i could get up several ticks above 4 GHz if i tried.

I should try some OC'ing with my i5, but as yet have left it at stock. It is a beast at stock. :)

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Love this thread.....I might start a similar thread but with a Home Theater PC

Edited by Harris

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Love this thread.....I might start a similar thread but with a Home Theater PC

:goodposting:Let me know if you do. I'm pretty happy running everything through my PC+PS3 setup, but I've become curious about other options. Read some great articles recently on the topic.

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Love this thread.....I might start a similar thread but with a Home Theater PC

I imagine Mad Cow would be happy to help with that. He has built his own HTPC and helped others build their own. I would imagine Mad Cow will be back sometime around 2:37PM on January 7th, but ya never know. :goodposting:

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Love this thread.....I might start a similar thread but with a Home Theater PC

:thumbup:Let me know if you do. I'm pretty happy running everything through my PC+PS3 setup, but I've become curious about other options. Read some great articles recently on the topic.
I would like this as well, but I'm going to build a home server and stream the media from there.

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Interesting nerd stats I thought I might share

http://kotaku.com/5444154/the-average-pc-g...f-december-2009

Steam's average gaming computer breakdown

interesting stats from the Steam servers:

only 2.4% use multiple GPUs.

21% of people still use 1280x1024 res.

geforce 8800 is most popular vid card with 10% usage rate

Roughly the same amount of people use four CPU cores as those whose CPU has only 1 core (21% each)

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I screwed up.

edit: sold it on ebay.

Edited by ShaqAttaq

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VisionTek Radeon HD 5850 for $252 shipped + Tax.

Pretty sweet deal if you're in the market. I'm going to build a new rig in March but if I were building today, it would start tonight with this.

Man, that is hard to pass up. I still keep thinking that they will come down a little more. All I am really needing it for at this point in BF:BC2 anyway.

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VisionTek Radeon HD 5850 for $252 shipped + Tax.

Pretty sweet deal if you're in the market. I'm going to build a new rig in March but if I were building today, it would start tonight with this.

Man, that is hard to pass up. I still keep thinking that they will come down a little more. All I am really needing it for at this point in BF:BC2 anyway.
me too. :shrug:

i'm not gonna lie. as much as i dislike MW2, it has been nice playing a shooter on my couch on the big screen. I MIGHT be buying BC2 on a console as well as PC.

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Love this thread.....I might start a similar thread but with a Home Theater PC

I imagine Mad Cow would be happy to help with that. He has built his own HTPC and helped others build their own. I would imagine Mad Cow will be back sometime around 2:37PM on January 7th, but ya never know. :yucky:
:unsure: for Mad Cow's return. Sick of the cable box in the bedroom. Thinking that I should just get a cheap netbook like the Acer Aspire Revo, put XMBC on it, and plug it into a wireless bridge so it can grab media from my StorCenter NAS. Already have a windows Media Center remote I'm not using that I could task to it. It's a standard-def TV so I'd also need a vga-to-rca adapter or two. Edited by Sarnoff

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Hey Cow, stupid question. I'm having trouble getting my microphone turned up loud enough for people to hear it in game. How do I turn it up? The problem I'm having with the sound card set up is there are like 25 different places for microphone volume. Any advice would be helpful.

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Hey Cow, stupid question. I'm having trouble getting my microphone turned up loud enough for people to hear it in game. How do I turn it up? The problem I'm having with the sound card set up is there are like 25 different places for microphone volume. Any advice would be helpful.

Are you running the mic through the mobo or a discrete card? Either way, I would look into the volume in Windows, and also whatever VOIP you might be using - in-game, or something like TS or Vent.

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Hey Cow, stupid question. I'm having trouble getting my microphone turned up loud enough for people to hear it in game. How do I turn it up? The problem I'm having with the sound card set up is there are like 25 different places for microphone volume. Any advice would be helpful.

Are you running the mic through the mobo or a discrete card? Either way, I would look into the volume in Windows, and also whatever VOIP you might be using - in-game, or something like TS or Vent.
Running it through the soundblaster card. All volume controls I can find are cranked way up. Everyone tells me they can barely hear me. It's for in-game, not TS.

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would a 60 gig SSD be enough to do what we need to do? Newegg has one today on a pretty good deal.

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Hey Cow, stupid question. I'm having trouble getting my microphone turned up loud enough for people to hear it in game. How do I turn it up? The problem I'm having with the sound card set up is there are like 25 different places for microphone volume. Any advice would be helpful.

Are you running the mic through the mobo or a discrete card? Either way, I would look into the volume in Windows, and also whatever VOIP you might be using - in-game, or something like TS or Vent.
Running it through the soundblaster card. All volume controls I can find are cranked way up. Everyone tells me they can barely hear me. It's for in-game, not TS.
I can attest. Can barely hear him sometimes. I always wanna say "What was that?", and then I'm swarmed by zombies.

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Hey Cow, stupid question. I'm having trouble getting my microphone turned up loud enough for people to hear it in game. How do I turn it up? The problem I'm having with the sound card set up is there are like 25 different places for microphone volume. Any advice would be helpful.

Are you running the mic through the mobo or a discrete card? Either way, I would look into the volume in Windows, and also whatever VOIP you might be using - in-game, or something like TS or Vent.
Running it through the soundblaster card. All volume controls I can find are cranked way up. Everyone tells me they can barely hear me. It's for in-game, not TS.
I can attest. Can barely hear him sometimes. I always wanna say "What was that?", and then I'm swarmed by zombies.
:thumbdown: I'm thinking of chucking these new headphones in the trash.

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would a 60 gig SSD be enough to do what we need to do? Newegg has one today on a pretty good deal.

Yep - I would think so to get started.

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would a 60 gig SSD be enough to do what we need to do? Newegg has one today on a pretty good deal.

Yep - I would think so to get started.
what would you need more space for? should i just wait till march and hope the bigger drives go lower in price (the one today is an OCZ 60 gig for 179 after MIR)

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would a 60 gig SSD be enough to do what we need to do? Newegg has one today on a pretty good deal.

Yep - I would think so to get started.
what would you need more space for? should i just wait till march and hope the bigger drives go lower in price (the one today is an OCZ 60 gig for 179 after MIR)
Well, I have an 80 GB and I still have 45 GB free right now after a few games and OS. I think 60 would be fun to an upgrade, though 80 is a sweet spot right now.

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It was indeed the video card. Swapped it out for a new one and it worked fine. I RMA'ed the old one - now I'm trying to decide whether to by a new 5XXX video card and sell the 4890 or just wait for the 4890 to come back from the manufacturer.

Oh I think you know the answer to that one, my friend. Enjoy your new 5850! :wub:
Considering how long it will take to get a replacement card back from MSI and how much I want to start playing Dragon Age, I'm thinking the same way you are.
:hifive:Then just turn around and sell the 4890 on eBay and get some of the :rolleyes: back.
So after 2 months, MSI decided they would send me the invoice price I paid for the card back instead of a refurbed card. Works out great for me as I already bought the 5850 for not much more. Alas, I STILL have not been able to play dragon age because a new baby is taking up all my time. I don't think I've had more than 30 consecutive free minutes in the last 2 months.

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It was indeed the video card. Swapped it out for a new one and it worked fine. I RMA'ed the old one - now I'm trying to decide whether to by a new 5XXX video card and sell the 4890 or just wait for the 4890 to come back from the manufacturer.

Oh I think you know the answer to that one, my friend. Enjoy your new 5850! :thumbdown:
Considering how long it will take to get a replacement card back from MSI and how much I want to start playing Dragon Age, I'm thinking the same way you are.
:thumbup:Then just turn around and sell the 4890 on eBay and get some of the :thumbdown: back.
So after 2 months, MSI decided they would send me the invoice price I paid for the card back instead of a refurbed card. Works out great for me as I already bought the 5850 for not much more. Alas, I STILL have not been able to play dragon age because a new baby is taking up all my time. I don't think I've had more than 30 consecutive free minutes in the last 2 months.
Sounds about right. :( Good luck on finding time.

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I'm trying to wrap my head around what someone could possibly need 16+GB of ram for.

128k was state of the art in the mid 80s. 16GB will be weak in 10 years.

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I'm trying to wrap my head around what someone could possibly need 16+GB of ram for.

Visualization like geoscience interpretation, or medical imaging.16Gb of RAM at work is a fair to modest amount in our Linux boxes.

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Looking at replacing my current PC as it has started randomly crashing a lot and I can't access the BIOS (boots up into Windows XP just fine but hangs up at a black screen when I try going into BIOS) :wall:

Any recommendations for a good value motherboard? I want to go with the Intel i5-750 processor so it will need to be a LGA1156 socket. I'm not an overclocker and do not have any plans of doing the Crossfire or SLI video card configurations.

I just want a low cost rock solid mobo :lmao:

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Looking at replacing my current PC as it has started randomly crashing a lot and I can't access the BIOS (boots up into Windows XP just fine but hangs up at a black screen when I try going into BIOS) :shrug: Any recommendations for a good value motherboard? I want to go with the Intel i5-750 processor so it will need to be a LGA1156 socket. I'm not an overclocker and do not have any plans of doing the Crossfire or SLI video card configurations.I just want a low cost rock solid mobo :)

Take a look at the one I chose, Joe. The ASROck P55 Pro is a great value and has all the fun stuff, including Crossfire and easy OC tweaking.

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Looking at replacing my current PC as it has started randomly crashing a lot and I can't access the BIOS (boots up into Windows XP just fine but hangs up at a black screen when I try going into BIOS) :) Any recommendations for a good value motherboard? I want to go with the Intel i5-750 processor so it will need to be a LGA1156 socket. I'm not an overclocker and do not have any plans of doing the Crossfire or SLI video card configurations.I just want a low cost rock solid mobo :(

Take a look at the one I chose, Joe. The ASROck P55 Pro is a great value and has all the fun stuff, including Crossfire and easy OC tweaking.
I have pretty much the same system as the Cow. It's good stuff. My only complaint is the audio and headphones. I went with the sound card and analog headset, and it all stinks. I need to carve out some time to find a solution.

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Looking at replacing my current PC as it has started randomly crashing a lot and I can't access the BIOS (boots up into Windows XP just fine but hangs up at a black screen when I try going into BIOS) :lmao:

Any recommendations for a good value motherboard? I want to go with the Intel i5-750 processor so it will need to be a LGA1156 socket. I'm not an overclocker and do not have any plans of doing the Crossfire or SLI video card configurations.

I just want a low cost rock solid mobo :lmao:

Take a look at the one I chose, Joe. The ASROck P55 Pro is a great value and has all the fun stuff, including Crossfire and easy OC tweaking.
I can save $50.00 by going with this one.

Also an ASRock brand but I wonder if I'm going too cheap. :lmao:

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Looking at replacing my current PC as it has started randomly crashing a lot and I can't access the BIOS (boots up into Windows XP just fine but hangs up at a black screen when I try going into BIOS) :wall:

Any recommendations for a good value motherboard? I want to go with the Intel i5-750 processor so it will need to be a LGA1156 socket. I'm not an overclocker and do not have any plans of doing the Crossfire or SLI video card configurations.

I just want a low cost rock solid mobo :)

Take a look at the one I chose, Joe. The ASROck P55 Pro is a great value and has all the fun stuff, including Crossfire and easy OC tweaking.
I can save $50.00 by going with this one.

Also an ASRock brand but I wonder if I'm going too cheap. :coffee:

Reviews are just fine, it seems. :) In case you did not know, ASRock is built by Asus, sort of their "cool" line, so to speak. I have been pretty happy with them, aside from lack of BIOS documentation, which is pretty darn common with EVERY mobo maker out there, so it is not a knock on Asus/ASRock per se.

One quick note, though - there are NO IDE slots on that board. Something to consider if you were gonna pull IDE components from an old build.

Edited by Mad Cow

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This is my board Only $20 more than the other you are looking at, BTW.

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somewhat off-topic, but didn't want to start a new topic and you guys are the experts. is it possible to get a quality laptop that can run games with low-end system requirements (e.g., Starcraft 2 or Civ) without spending a ton of $? Something like this would seemingly meet Starcraft 2's requirements, except the video card (which seems to be the major hang-up with laptops generally).

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somewhat off-topic, but didn't want to start a new topic and you guys are the experts. is it possible to get a quality laptop that can run games with low-end system requirements (e.g., Starcraft 2 or Civ) without spending a ton of $? Something like this would seemingly meet Starcraft 2's requirements, except the video card (which seems to be the major hang-up with laptops generally).

How much are you willing to spend?

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somewhat off-topic, but didn't want to start a new topic and you guys are the experts. is it possible to get a quality laptop that can run games with low-end system requirements (e.g., Starcraft 2 or Civ) without spending a ton of $? Something like this would seemingly meet Starcraft 2's requirements, except the video card (which seems to be the major hang-up with laptops generally).

How much are you willing to spend?
Preferably no more than $1000-1100. I've seen some pretty capable gaming laptops in the 1550-2500 range, but I'm really just looking for something that will run low-end games... The laptop will primarily be for business use.

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somewhat off-topic, but didn't want to start a new topic and you guys are the experts. is it possible to get a quality laptop that can run games with low-end system requirements (e.g., Starcraft 2 or Civ) without spending a ton of $? Something like this would seemingly meet Starcraft 2's requirements, except the video card (which seems to be the major hang-up with laptops generally).

How much are you willing to spend?
Preferably no more than $1000-1100. I've seen some pretty capable gaming laptops in the 1550-2500 range, but I'm really just looking for something that will run low-end games... The laptop will primarily be for business use.
Oh easily. I got a laptop from Best Buy a little over a year ago for around $1000 that plays current games very well.

$1100

$770

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somewhat off-topic, but didn't want to start a new topic and you guys are the experts. is it possible to get a quality laptop that can run games with low-end system requirements (e.g., Starcraft 2 or Civ) without spending a ton of $? Something like this would seemingly meet Starcraft 2's requirements, except the video card (which seems to be the major hang-up with laptops generally).

How much are you willing to spend?
Preferably no more than $1000-1100. I've seen some pretty capable gaming laptops in the 1550-2500 range, but I'm really just looking for something that will run low-end games... The laptop will primarily be for business use.
Oh easily. I got a laptop from Best Buy a little over a year ago for around $1000 that plays current games very well.

$1100

$770

Thanks :thumbup:

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somewhat off-topic, but didn't want to start a new topic and you guys are the experts. is it possible to get a quality laptop that can run games with low-end system requirements (e.g., Starcraft 2 or Civ) without spending a ton of $? Something like this would seemingly meet Starcraft 2's requirements, except the video card (which seems to be the major hang-up with laptops generally).

How much are you willing to spend?
Preferably no more than $1000-1100. I've seen some pretty capable gaming laptops in the 1550-2500 range, but I'm really just looking for something that will run low-end games... The laptop will primarily be for business use.
Oh easily. I got a laptop from Best Buy a little over a year ago for around $1000 that plays current games very well.

$1100

$770

Thanks :bow:
I have the Asus except with a smaller screen and it is fantastic.

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I have the Asus except with a smaller screen and it is fantastic.

Are they solidly built? I've had OK experiences with my current HP, but the wife's Dell has had all sorts of minor problems. Also, is it small enough to fit in a standard laptop carrying case? It looks like a lot of the reviews are knocking these laptops with dedicated video cards for their size; this wouldn't be a big deal to me other than having to buy new stuff to carry it in.

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I have the Asus except with a smaller screen and it is fantastic.

Are they solidly built? I've had OK experiences with my current HP, but the wife's Dell has had all sorts of minor problems. Also, is it small enough to fit in a standard laptop carrying case? It looks like a lot of the reviews are knocking these laptops with dedicated video cards for their size; this wouldn't be a big deal to me other than having to buy new stuff to carry it in.
Asus is a solid company. Built on a gaming reputation. Great components and I love the laptop.

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Mad Cow, wondered if I could get your opinion. Just lost the hard drive on my desktop and I'm looking at replacing the system with a new desktop.

Main uses will be working from home and gaming. Need a pretty decent cpu for some of the stuff I do for work, and a lot of RAM. I'm aiming for that spot just before prices start to really climb without much bang for the buck. Dual monitor a must. Want great framerates for gaming and also would like to eventually go from 2 to 3 monitors for gaming and regular use both.

I'm currently considering something along the lines of the following.

i7 950 or 960 3Ghz, overclocked

Dual Radeon 5850 graphics cards

12 GB DDR3 1600Mhz tri-channel RAM

128 GB Crucial SSD harddrive

1 TB Western SATA3 harddrive

BR/CD/DVD read/writer

Asetek 570LC Liquid Cooling

I was originally going to go with an i5 750 cpu to save money, but found out if I did it would limit my options in going to three graphics cards somewhere down the road, so went with the i7 950.

I'm probably going to just have a company build it as I hate dealing with hardware, even if it costs me a little bit extra. Motherboard may be limited by which company I end up going with. I was going with the ASUS Rampage III Extreme for the time being as I compare prices on different sites.

Anything in that build that just screams to you of waste of money without gain, or that I might not be aware of how one of those choices is going to limit me in the future? I had considered going with nVidia so I could later add a third graphics card, but I think the dual 5850s will last long enough that when I'm ready to go to three graphics cards I'll probably want to upgrade them and can switch to nVidia then.

Edit to add: Also, any kind of feel for how much of a difference a dedicated PhysX card makes for gaming? The sites I was looking at that did graphics cards comparisons didn't go into it at least in the articles I read. Obviously if I go with the ATI card I couldn't have one, but do the ATI cards make up for the lack of one?

Edited by GregR

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Mad Cow, wondered if I could get your opinion. Just lost the hard drive on my desktop and I'm looking at replacing the system with a new desktop.

Main uses will be working from home and gaming. Need a pretty decent cpu for some of the stuff I do for work, and a lot of RAM. I'm aiming for that spot just before prices start to really climb without much bang for the buck. Dual monitor a must. Want great framerates for gaming and also would like to eventually go from 2 to 3 monitors for gaming and regular use both.

I'm currently considering something along the lines of the following.

i7 950 or 960 3Ghz, overclocked

Dual Radeon 5850 graphics cards

12 GB DDR3 1600Mhz tri-channel RAM

128 GB Crucial SSD harddrive

1 TB Western SATA3 harddrive

BR/CD/DVD read/writer

Asetek 570LC Liquid Cooling

I was originally going to go with an i5 750 cpu to save money, but found out if I did it would limit my options in going to three graphics cards somewhere down the road, so went with the i7 950.

I'm probably going to just have a company build it as I hate dealing with hardware, even if it costs me a little bit extra. Motherboard may be limited by which company I end up going with. I was going with the ASUS Rampage III Extreme for the time being as I compare prices on different sites.

Anything in that build that just screams to you of waste of money without gain, or that I might not be aware of how one of those choices is going to limit me in the future? I had considered going with nVidia so I could later add a third graphics card, but I think the dual 5850s will last long enough that when I'm ready to go to three graphics cards I'll probably want to upgrade them and can switch to nVidia then.

Edit to add: Also, any kind of feel for how much of a difference a dedicated PhysX card makes for gaming? The sites I was looking at that did graphics cards comparisons didn't go into it at least in the articles I read. Obviously if I go with the ATI card I couldn't have one, but do the ATI cards make up for the lack of one?

My two cents:

CPU: If you're going with a more expensive CPU to give you a tri-SLI options in the future, but then say that tri-SLI is likely not going to be a cost efffective upgrade down the road (true), then you're not really aligning your CPU goals with your vidcard goals. I'd go with the i5 760 and overclock it. Save the cash for when you do a full rig upgrade down the road (rarely is adding another vidcard the best upgrade answer when the newest generation of vidcards are out). Which brings me to my next point:

Vidcard: AMD is releasing its refreshed line of vidcards on Friday. Not sure if they'll be at retail then, but at your price point, I really would wait to see how good they are and when retail availability will hit before pulling the trigger on this rig. It's true that there is always something better in the future, but in this case the "better" is right around the corner, and you can afford to wait a week to see what it is and how much of a performance bump you'll get. Also, you don't necessarily need to go SLI to get multi-monitor support. ATI/AMD have some great eyefiniti cards these days that can handle up to six monitors.

RAM: What specifically do you need 12GB for? I have 8GB right now and seriously I never see more than 4GB in use. Even when gaming. If you're doing some serious photo editing then the RAM could be useful, but otherwise I'd just drop down to 8GB and get a bigger SSD.

SSD: I have the Crucial RealSSD you reference above, and while it screams on sequential reads at 6Gb/sec, the Sandforce drives are generally faster on IOPS. OCZ's Vertex2 uses this controller. Also, we are a month or two away from the new NAND modules hitting the market, which will see prices drop quite noticeably.

Optical: BD burners are really overrated right now. The media is expensive and reliability is very suspect using burned discs in standalone players. FYI.

General: If you save a bit of cash on the CPU, RAM, and optical drive, you could put yourself into 30" monitor territory. I run a 30" Dell and love it. Something to consider.

PhysX: It's more of an afterthought now. Old code, compatibility issues, and not every game is going to support it. I'd pass, but I would love to hear Mad Cow's thoughts on it too.

I'm pretty envious. At the price point you're working with, it's clear you're going to get a sweet rig. Keep us in the loop!

Edited by Zasada

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Whatever you do just don't flash your bios. Bad stuff. Just terrible.

Heh, I was having a problem with my current rig and a bios flash fixed it perfectly.

The problem was super strange. I was running a 0.7ghz overclock on my Core i5 750, and I recently purchased one of the new wireless Logitech trackballs (Logitech M570). It uses one of those tiny unifying USB receivers. So I plug the receiver in, and the rig won't even POST. Goes into a continuous reboot cycle. Unplug the receiver, it boots fine. Strange -- never seen that before. Also, if I plug the receiver into one of the (powered) ports on my monitor, everything is fine too. I only run into the POST problem when I plug the receiver into a USB port on my mobo.

So after troubleshooting for a bit (which included messing with the voltage on my CPU and RAM) and no fix, I flashed the BIOS. Instantly fixed. Go figure. Should have done that first!

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Mad Cow, wondered if I could get your opinion. Just lost the hard drive on my desktop and I'm looking at replacing the system with a new desktop.

Main uses will be working from home and gaming. Need a pretty decent cpu for some of the stuff I do for work, and a lot of RAM. I'm aiming for that spot just before prices start to really climb without much bang for the buck. Dual monitor a must. Want great framerates for gaming and also would like to eventually go from 2 to 3 monitors for gaming and regular use both.

I'm currently considering something along the lines of the following.

i7 950 or 960 3Ghz, overclocked

Dual Radeon 5850 graphics cards

12 GB DDR3 1600Mhz tri-channel RAM

128 GB Crucial SSD harddrive

1 TB Western SATA3 harddrive

BR/CD/DVD read/writer

Asetek 570LC Liquid Cooling

I was originally going to go with an i5 750 cpu to save money, but found out if I did it would limit my options in going to three graphics cards somewhere down the road, so went with the i7 950.

I'm probably going to just have a company build it as I hate dealing with hardware, even if it costs me a little bit extra. Motherboard may be limited by which company I end up going with. I was going with the ASUS Rampage III Extreme for the time being as I compare prices on different sites.

Anything in that build that just screams to you of waste of money without gain, or that I might not be aware of how one of those choices is going to limit me in the future? I had considered going with nVidia so I could later add a third graphics card, but I think the dual 5850s will last long enough that when I'm ready to go to three graphics cards I'll probably want to upgrade them and can switch to nVidia then.

Edit to add: Also, any kind of feel for how much of a difference a dedicated PhysX card makes for gaming? The sites I was looking at that did graphics cards comparisons didn't go into it at least in the articles I read. Obviously if I go with the ATI card I couldn't have one, but do the ATI cards make up for the lack of one?

My two cents:

CPU: If you're going with a more expensive CPU to give you a tri-SLI options in the future, but then say that tri-SLI is likely not going to be a cost efffective upgrade down the road (true), then you're not really aligning your CPU goals with your vidcard goals. I'd go with the i5 760 and overclock it. Save the cash for when you do a full rig upgrade down the road (rarely is adding another vidcard the best upgrade answer when the newest generation of vidcards are out). Which brings me to my next point:

Vidcard: AMD is releasing its refreshed line of vidcards on Friday. Not sure if they'll be at retail then, but at your price point, I really would wait to see how good they are and when retail availability will hit before pulling the trigger on this rig. It's true that there is always something better in the future, but in this case the "better" is right around the corner, and you can afford to wait a week to see what it is and how much of a performance bump you'll get. Also, you don't necessarily need to go SLI to get multi-monitor support. ATI/AMD have some great eyefiniti cards these days that can handle up to six monitors.

RAM: What specifically do you need 12GB for? I have 8GB right now and seriously I never see more than 4GB in use. Even when gaming. If you're doing some serious photo editing then the RAM could be useful, but otherwise I'd just drop down to 8GB and get a bigger SSD.

SSD: I have the Crucial RealSSD you reference above, and while it screams on sequential reads at 6Gb/sec, the Sandforce drives are generally faster on IOPS. OCZ's Vertex2 uses this controller. Also, we are a month or two away from the new NAND modules hitting the market, which will see prices drop quite noticeably.

Optical: BD burners are really overrated right now. The media is expensive and reliability is very suspect using burned discs in standalone players. FYI.

General: If you save a bit of cash on the CPU, RAM, and optical drive, you could put yourself into 30" monitor territory. I run a 30" Dell and love it. Something to consider.

PhysX: It's more of an afterthought now. Old code, compatibility issues, and not every game is going to support it. I'd pass, but I would love to hear Mad Cow's thoughts on it too.

I'm pretty envious. At the price point you're working with, it's clear you're going to get a sweet rig. Keep us in the loop!

Appreciate the feedback. Didn't realize the new vidcard release was so imminent. I'll wait and see what happens. Was thinking about getting a cheap laptop as well so I don't have to use my work one, and that can probably help hold me over for a bit if it means some big savings.

On the RAM, yeah, it possibly could be overkill. I would occasionally get use out of it... amongst other things I'm a database programmer and have local databases installed for dev work, plus we do have some pretty high end geoscience 3D visualization software. But, the local databases are just occasional use and I keep them shut down otherwise... and the visualization software I only would use at home rarely when someone asks for my help with it as I don't work in that area anymore. If nothing else I could start with less and get the larger size so I can just add another module to double it later.

Do you think the faster SSD is worth the extra money then? The 100 GB OCZ Vertex 2 costs about the same as the 128 GB Crucial on the site that had both of them available (Origin).

On the BD burner, are there problems then with say, burning a movie to BD for play in a PS3? That would probably be my biggest use of it. Otherwise I don't tend to burn many discs so yes, could save some money there.

Cyberpowerpc has a free upgrade to the i7 950 going right now and they keep extending it when it runs out it looks like, so if it's still available I'll probably stick with it. The i7 950 overclocked with 6 GB of RAM from there is the same price right now than the i5 760 overclocked with 8 GB of RAM.

Edited by GregR

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On the BD burner, are there problems then with say, burning a movie to BD for play in a PS3? That would probably be my biggest use of it. Otherwise I don't tend to burn many discs so yes, could save some money there.

To piggyback on what Zasada said, the problem is the cost of media and reliability. I put a BD burner in my rig that I built a year ago, and I have yet to burn a single Blu-Ray disc. Prices of the media has them close to $20 a disc, so at this time, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to burn Blu-Ray with it. If the price ever comes down I will consider it, but not until then.

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On the BD burner, are there problems then with say, burning a movie to BD for play in a PS3? That would probably be my biggest use of it. Otherwise I don't tend to burn many discs so yes, could save some money there.

To piggyback on what Zasada said, the problem is the cost of media and reliability. I put a BD burner in my rig that I built a year ago, and I have yet to burn a single Blu-Ray disc. Prices of the media has them close to $20 a disc, so at this time, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to burn Blu-Ray with it. If the price ever comes down I will consider it, but not until then.
:confused: On my rig, I just bought a Blu-Ray reader for $50 shipped. I haven't burned a damn thing in years thanks to iPods.

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On the BD burner, are there problems then with say, burning a movie to BD for play in a PS3? That would probably be my biggest use of it. Otherwise I don't tend to burn many discs so yes, could save some money there.

To piggyback on what Zasada said, the problem is the cost of media and reliability. I put a BD burner in my rig that I built a year ago, and I have yet to burn a single Blu-Ray disc. Prices of the media has them close to $20 a disc, so at this time, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to burn Blu-Ray with it. If the price ever comes down I will consider it, but not until then.
:) On my rig, I just bought a Blu-Ray reader for $50 shipped. I haven't burned a damn thing in years thanks to iPods.
Yup, and with the ability to stream media you can just rip the disk and stream the files to your TV with [insert one of the myriad of streamers here].

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