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


Mad Cow

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I've already got the power supply. Keep that nose for bargains pointed at the Mobo, RAM and SSD!
What kind of CPU, mobo and RAM you looking for Nick. :loco: That still makes me laugh, up to and including your comment of "Thanks a lot dbag" in that thread. :D
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I've already got the power supply. Keep that nose for bargains pointed at the Mobo, RAM and SSD!
What kind of CPU, mobo and RAM you looking for Nick. :loco: That still makes me laugh, up to and including your comment of "Thanks a lot dbag" in that thread. :shrug:
Yeah, that was a real #####!

I'm waffling between the i5 and a Bloomfield i7 right now although I'll probably go i5. Mobo and RAM I'm not so sure but I plan on a single high end card (5870 most likely) rather than SLI.

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is the performance gain among these processors linear?

$279 i7 920 2.66

$289 i7 860 2.8

$569 i7 870 2.93

$579 i7 950 3.06

$999 i7 975 3.33

the 3.33 costs more then 3x (300%) the 2.66 yet doesn't even have a 30% gain in performance? Or do I need to factor in the quadcore (multiply x4)?

I don't remember clock speeds being this disparate in price.

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is the performance gain among these processors linear?$279 i7 920 2.66$289 i7 860 2.8$569 i7 870 2.93$579 i7 950 3.06$999 i7 975 3.33the 3.33 costs more then 3x (300%) the 2.66 yet doesn't even have a 30% gain in performance? Or do I need to factor in the quadcore (multiply x4)?I don't remember clock speeds being this disparate in price.

Some of those i7 are the Lynnfield (sp?) and some are Bloomfield. My limited understanding is the socket is different for each as is some of the memory construction which acounts for the cost difference. Zasda and MC, am I in the ballpark here?
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is the performance gain among these processors linear?$279 i7 920 2.66$289 i7 860 2.8$569 i7 870 2.93$579 i7 950 3.06$999 i7 975 3.33the 3.33 costs more then 3x (300%) the 2.66 yet doesn't even have a 30% gain in performance? Or do I need to factor in the quadcore (multiply x4)?I don't remember clock speeds being this disparate in price.

Nope, not linear at all. For what you are looking at, the i7 920 might be your best bet. The ones over $300 are merely for ePeens, IMO.
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This is from Maximum PC's i5 review and highlights my selection dilemma.

That brings us to the main question: Why even build a Bloomfield LGA1366 at this point if building a Lynnfield system will save you at least $100 on the board and a little on the RAM, and even more money if you opt for the ultra-budget Core i5-750?Here’s that fork in the road: Lynnfield is cheaper and gets you 90 percent the performance of a Bloomfield system, but early next year Intel will introduce a CPU code-named Gulftown, aka Core i9. Core i9 adds two more physical cores to the CPU and will likely be the first consumer hexacore CPU. With Hyper-Threading, that’s 12 threads available to the OS and enough to make the most jaded enthusiast perk up. Core i9, however, will only be available on the Bloomfield/LGA1366 platform. If you were to build a Lynnfield LGA1156 box there’d be no six-core for you! At least, not at this point. Intel said it has no plans for an LGA1156 hexacore. You see the dilemma. Save money now and build a really kick-### LGA1156 or spend the extra $200 to build an LGA1366 that has an easy upgrade path to six cores with Hyper-Threading. It’s not an easy choice to make under normal circumstances, but in this economic climate, it’s even harder—that $200 goes a long way toward a better GPU, better PSU, more RAM, or a bigger hard drive. The choice, however, is up to you.

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This is from Maximum PC's i5 review and highlights my selection dilemma.

That brings us to the main question: Why even build a Bloomfield LGA1366 at this point if building a Lynnfield system will save you at least $100 on the board and a little on the RAM, and even more money if you opt for the ultra-budget Core i5-750?Here’s that fork in the road: Lynnfield is cheaper and gets you 90 percent the performance of a Bloomfield system, but early next year Intel will introduce a CPU code-named Gulftown, aka Core i9. Core i9 adds two more physical cores to the CPU and will likely be the first consumer hexacore CPU. With Hyper-Threading, that’s 12 threads available to the OS and enough to make the most jaded enthusiast perk up. Core i9, however, will only be available on the Bloomfield/LGA1366 platform. If you were to build a Lynnfield LGA1156 box there’d be no six-core for you! At least, not at this point. Intel said it has no plans for an LGA1156 hexacore. You see the dilemma. Save money now and build a really kick-### LGA1156 or spend the extra $200 to build an LGA1366 that has an easy upgrade path to six cores with Hyper-Threading. It’s not an easy choice to make under normal circumstances, but in this economic climate, it’s even harder—that $200 goes a long way toward a better GPU, better PSU, more RAM, or a bigger hard drive. The choice, however, is up to you.

I understand that some people like to leave the upgrade path open, but in reality I have never upgraded a CPU without also upgrading the mobo. Maybe I don't upgrade frequently enough but I never saw a same-socket CPU upgrade ever providing enough bang for the buck to be worthwhile. The only part I tend to upgrade in isolation is the vidcard. So in this case, I'd just go Core i5 and worry about the future when it matters. Edited by Zasada
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This is from Maximum PC's i5 review and highlights my selection dilemma.

That brings us to the main question: Why even build a Bloomfield LGA1366 at this point if building a Lynnfield system will save you at least $100 on the board and a little on the RAM, and even more money if you opt for the ultra-budget Core i5-750?Here’s that fork in the road: Lynnfield is cheaper and gets you 90 percent the performance of a Bloomfield system, but early next year Intel will introduce a CPU code-named Gulftown, aka Core i9. Core i9 adds two more physical cores to the CPU and will likely be the first consumer hexacore CPU. With Hyper-Threading, that’s 12 threads available to the OS and enough to make the most jaded enthusiast perk up. Core i9, however, will only be available on the Bloomfield/LGA1366 platform. If you were to build a Lynnfield LGA1156 box there’d be no six-core for you! At least, not at this point. Intel said it has no plans for an LGA1156 hexacore. You see the dilemma. Save money now and build a really kick-### LGA1156 or spend the extra $200 to build an LGA1366 that has an easy upgrade path to six cores with Hyper-Threading. It’s not an easy choice to make under normal circumstances, but in this economic climate, it’s even harder—that $200 goes a long way toward a better GPU, better PSU, more RAM, or a bigger hard drive. The choice, however, is up to you.

I understand that some people like to leave the upgrade path open, but in reality I have never upgraded a CPU without also upgrading the mobo. Maybe I don't upgrade frequently enough but I never saw a same-socket CPU upgrade ever providing enough bang for the buck to be worthwhile. The only part I tend to upgrade in isolation is the vidcard. So in this case, I'd just go Core i5 and worry about the future when it matters.
:goodposting: By the time you need to upgrade, there is a new socket anyway. That i5 will last at least 2 years, especially if you are only gaming. I figure I am saving $250 by going this route, and am happy as can be.
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eh maybe I'll just wait for Core i9 :goodposting:

But then you are waiting till January-February AND paying premium for that tech. Grab a i5 or i7 920 now and be happy now for the next couple of years.
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eh maybe I'll just wait for Core i9 :rolleyes:

But then you are waiting till January-February AND paying premium for that tech. Grab a i5 or i7 920 now and be happy now for the next couple of years.
I'm not really in that much of a rush, plus I'd like to see SSD prices come down like for the OCZ Colossus 120GB.
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Hey Z,

Any idea if the Asus Triton 78 is compatible with socket 1156? I know I have seen it as multi-socket and advertises all AMD, Intel 775 and even Intel 1366. Not sure about my 1156. The reason I ask is I picked one up on a whim for $9.99 and it looks cool. :confused::bag:

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Hey Z,Any idea if the Asus Triton 78 is compatible with socket 1156? I know I have seen it as multi-socket and advertises all AMD, Intel 775 and even Intel 1366. Not sure about my 1156. The reason I ask is I picked one up on a whim for $9.99 and it looks cool. :bs::lmao:

Can't find anything that says it does. Sorry.
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Hey Z,Any idea if the Asus Triton 78 is compatible with socket 1156? I know I have seen it as multi-socket and advertises all AMD, Intel 775 and even Intel 1366. Not sure about my 1156. The reason I ask is I picked one up on a whim for $9.99 and it looks cool. :heart::bag:

Can't find anything that says it does. Sorry.
Think I am just gonna pop it open and take a look at how the posts look.
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Hey Z,Any idea if the Asus Triton 78 is compatible with socket 1156? I know I have seen it as multi-socket and advertises all AMD, Intel 775 and even Intel 1366. Not sure about my 1156. The reason I ask is I picked one up on a whim for $9.99 and it looks cool. :thumbdown::thumbup:

Can't find anything that says it does. Sorry.
Well, I assembled the heatsink and there is no reason it should NOT work. Post holes line up exactly. Think I will try this one first. It looks like it has a better system to it perhaps.I will update as I can.
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I've added everything into a new egg cart that I would need except for the GPU. I used all the same parts as MC. Coming in at $1236 with a case, power supply and Windows 7 pro 64bit OEM. I need to try to shave off a few hundred bucks and get it ordered this week. If I take parts from the current machine, I can probably get it down to about $950 sans video card. Those SSDs are a killer to the budget!

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I've added everything into a new egg cart that I would need except for the GPU. I used all the same parts as MC. Coming in at $1236 with a case, power supply and Windows 7 pro 64bit OEM. I need to try to shave off a few hundred bucks and get it ordered this week. If I take parts from the current machine, I can probably get it down to about $950 sans video card. Those SSDs are a killer to the budget!

Make a wishlist and share with us a link.
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Vermeil's Wish List

It doesn't add combo items, so I had to add them separately. The combo price comes in $100 cheaper and there is an additional $120 bucks or so of mail in rebate.

Be leery of those mail in rebates. When I put mine together a couple of months ago, I had 4 or 5 mail in rebates, plus I was supposed to get a rebate on sales tax because I bought the pieces during Tennessee's No Tax Weekend. I was told by Newegg that only applied to whole computers (which was not what they advertised), and I have only received 2 of the rebates (One of which was supposed to be $30, but came in as $15 and said "up to $30"). I love Newegg and their prices, but their rebates and specials are pretty shady.
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Vermeil's Wish List

It doesn't add combo items, so I had to add them separately. The combo price comes in $100 cheaper and there is an additional $120 bucks or so of mail in rebate.

Be leery of those mail in rebates. When I put mine together a couple of months ago, I had 4 or 5 mail in rebates, plus I was supposed to get a rebate on sales tax because I bought the pieces during Tennessee's No Tax Weekend. I was told by Newegg that only applied to whole computers (which was not what they advertised), and I have only received 2 of the rebates (One of which was supposed to be $30, but came in as $15 and said "up to $30"). I love Newegg and their prices, but their rebates and specials are pretty shady.
I typically don't do the mail in rebates. I'm lazy. It's a nice mental push to purchase though!
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Vermeil's Wish List

It doesn't add combo items, so I had to add them separately. The combo price comes in $100 cheaper and there is an additional $120 bucks or so of mail in rebate.

Be leery of those mail in rebates. When I put mine together a couple of months ago, I had 4 or 5 mail in rebates, plus I was supposed to get a rebate on sales tax because I bought the pieces during Tennessee's No Tax Weekend. I was told by Newegg that only applied to whole computers (which was not what they advertised), and I have only received 2 of the rebates (One of which was supposed to be $30, but came in as $15 and said "up to $30"). I love Newegg and their prices, but their rebates and specials are pretty shady.
I typically don't do the mail in rebates. I'm lazy. It's a nice mental push to purchase though!
Yeah, I hear ya. What got me was the fact that I wasn't even going to start the build yet, but the "no tax" offer pushed me over the edge, and then they didn't honor it. Oh well, still love my new computer. :whistle: If it helps you at all, this is what I ended up with:

Case - Thermaltake Armor+MX VH8000BWS Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Mid Tower

CPU - Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz

MB - MSI X58 Eclipse SLI LGA 1366

RAM - CORSAIR XMS3 12GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM

GPU - 2x EVGA 512-P3-N871-AR GeForce 9800 GTX+ in SLI

PSU - ENERMAX REVOLUTION85+ 950W 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Power Supply

SSD - Intel X25-M 80GB SATA II Internal SSD

HDD - Western Digital 1TB 7200 RPM SATA Internal Hard Drive

DVD-ROM - SONY Black 18X SATA DVD-ROM Drive

Burner - LG Black SATA Internal Blu-ray Burner

TV Tuner - ASUS My Cinema-PHC3-100/NAQ/FM/AV/RC TV Tuner Card

Card Reader - AFT XM-35U BLACK USB 2.0 Kiosk Card Reader

Monitor - SAMSUNG 2343BWX 23" 5ms 16:9 Widescreen LCD Monitor

Mouse - Logitech G7 Cordless Laser 2000 dpi Mouse

Keyboard - Logitech G11 Gaming Keyboard

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Vermeil's Wish List

It doesn't add combo items, so I had to add them separately. The combo price comes in $100 cheaper and there is an additional $120 bucks or so of mail in rebate.

Be leery of those mail in rebates. When I put mine together a couple of months ago, I had 4 or 5 mail in rebates, plus I was supposed to get a rebate on sales tax because I bought the pieces during Tennessee's No Tax Weekend. I was told by Newegg that only applied to whole computers (which was not what they advertised), and I have only received 2 of the rebates (One of which was supposed to be $30, but came in as $15 and said "up to $30"). I love Newegg and their prices, but their rebates and specials are pretty shady.
I had pretty good luck with my rebates. I built a new system a few months ago and every component had a mail in rebate except the hard drives. I got them all within 3 months although I had to "remind" the case manufacturer about my rebate. Some of the rebates were debit cards not checks however. Between rebates and combo deals you can do pretty well.
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Oh, and my copy of Windows 7 Ultimate came today from my stepfather as well. I am preparing to build this bad boy right now. :shrug:

Z, any word on keeping the SSD on all the time or shutting down?

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Loving this new case. Highly recommend it. Makes for easy cable organization and hiding. The 3.5" HDD cage is very nice. PSU below is a great idea as well. The only thing I am lacking at this point is a 3.5 to 5.25" adapter for my card reader. I also need to yank the 1 TB HDD from the old tower, but that can wait a little bit. I am so used to when you install a CPU you have to insert pins. This whole lay it flat on there dealio just feels wrong.

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Oh, and my copy of Windows 7 Ultimate came today from my stepfather as well. I am preparing to build this bad boy right now. :thumbup:

Z, any word on keeping the SSD on all the time or shutting down?

You're fine to keep it on. Just try to minimize the number of things that your PC does to access the SSD during that time (indexing, any kind of logging, etc). You just want to minimize the number of unnecessary read/writes. Supposedly you would need to degfrag 24/7 for three years to wear the drive out, but I'm just playing it safe.

I'm sure years from now this kind of paranoia will be akin to people turning off their LCDs to avoid burn-in (which we now know can't happen).

ETA: Fixed. Only writes wear the drive. Not reads.

Edited by Zasada
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Oh, and my copy of Windows 7 Ultimate came today from my stepfather as well. I am preparing to build this bad boy right now. :confused:

Z, any word on keeping the SSD on all the time or shutting down?

You're fine to keep it on. Just try to minimize the number of things that your PC does to access the SSD during that time (indexing, any kind of logging, etc). You just want to minimize the number of unnecessary read/writes. Supposedly you would need to degfrag 24/7 for three years to wear the drive out, but I'm just playing it safe.

I'm sure years from now this kind of paranoia will be akin to people turning off their LCDs to avoid burn-in (which we now know can't happen).

ETA: Fixed. Only writes wear the drive. Not reads.

Cool, good to know. I am going to begin Windows 7 Ultimate install tomorrow AM at work.
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Oh, and my copy of Windows 7 Ultimate came today from my stepfather as well. I am preparing to build this bad boy right now. :confused:

Z, any word on keeping the SSD on all the time or shutting down?

You're fine to keep it on. Just try to minimize the number of things that your PC does to access the SSD during that time (indexing, any kind of logging, etc). You just want to minimize the number of unnecessary read/writes. Supposedly you would need to degfrag 24/7 for three years to wear the drive out, but I'm just playing it safe.

I'm sure years from now this kind of paranoia will be akin to people turning off their LCDs to avoid burn-in (which we now know can't happen).

ETA: Fixed. Only writes wear the drive. Not reads.

Cool, good to know. I am going to begin Windows 7 Ultimate install tomorrow AM at work.
MC, i would really like to hear your Windows 7 experience (install and use). I'm building a test box to load 7.

Sweet hookup with the stepdad!

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Oh, and my copy of Windows 7 Ultimate came today from my stepfather as well. I am preparing to build this bad boy right now. :confused:

Z, any word on keeping the SSD on all the time or shutting down?

You're fine to keep it on. Just try to minimize the number of things that your PC does to access the SSD during that time (indexing, any kind of logging, etc). You just want to minimize the number of unnecessary read/writes. Supposedly you would need to degfrag 24/7 for three years to wear the drive out, but I'm just playing it safe.

I'm sure years from now this kind of paranoia will be akin to people turning off their LCDs to avoid burn-in (which we now know can't happen).

ETA: Fixed. Only writes wear the drive. Not reads.

Cool, good to know. I am going to begin Windows 7 Ultimate install tomorrow AM at work.
MC, i would really like to hear your Windows 7 experience (install and use). I'm building a test box to load 7.

Sweet hookup with the stepdad!

There is no doubt I will be updating here tomorrow. I might even time it with the SSD and such.
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i've never had a problem with a newegg rebate

Same. I always get mine.BTW Nick, your wishlist is showing up empty. Que pasa?
As usual, I can't get the damn thing to work. It's there, but it doesn't come up when you search for it or link to it even though it's shared as a public list. I'll keep trying.
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Not sure about SSD's though. Something tells me i'd want instructions for something like that.

Nah. My fiancee's dog chewed up mine as they fell to the floor while I was putting the rig together. They're pretty self explanatory. A SATA connection and a power connection.
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Generally OEM should be a few bucks cheaper and I have never had a problem. I have bought OEM opticals, CPU's, HDD's, etc.

So would that OEM drive I linked to have the TRIM command, or is that a product of the operating system? With the case that SSD is $319 which is still a pretty good deal, although not Mad Cow good.
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Generally OEM should be a few bucks cheaper and I have never had a problem. I have bought OEM opticals, CPU's, HDD's, etc.

So would that OEM drive I linked to have the TRIM command, or is that a product of the operating system? With the case that SSD is $319 which is still a pretty good deal, although not Mad Cow good.
People can always dream can't they? :2cents:
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Generally OEM should be a few bucks cheaper and I have never had a problem. I have bought OEM opticals, CPU's, HDD's, etc.

So would that OEM drive I linked to have the TRIM command, or is that a product of the operating system? With the case that SSD is $319 which is still a pretty good deal, although not Mad Cow good.
The OS (such as Win7) and the hardware need to support it.
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Generally OEM should be a few bucks cheaper and I have never had a problem. I have bought OEM opticals, CPU's, HDD's, etc.

So would that OEM drive I linked to have the TRIM command, or is that a product of the operating system? With the case that SSD is $319 which is still a pretty good deal, although not Mad Cow good.
The OS (such as Win7) and the hardware need to support it.
There seems to be some conflicting info on that drive I linked, the Intel X25-M Mainstream SSDSA2MH080G2C1. Anyone know if it supports TRIM? If so, I'm pulling the trigger.
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Generally OEM should be a few bucks cheaper and I have never had a problem. I have bought OEM opticals, CPU's, HDD's, etc.

So would that OEM drive I linked to have the TRIM command, or is that a product of the operating system? With the case that SSD is $319 which is still a pretty good deal, although not Mad Cow good.
The OS (such as Win7) and the hardware need to support it.
There seems to be some conflicting info on that drive I linked, the Intel X25-M Mainstream SSDSA2MH080G2C1. Anyone know if it supports TRIM? If so, I'm pulling the trigger.
It is my understanding that Windows 7 sends the TRIM command to the SSD and that yes, Intel does support that.
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Generally OEM should be a few bucks cheaper and I have never had a problem. I have bought OEM opticals, CPU's, HDD's, etc.

So would that OEM drive I linked to have the TRIM command, or is that a product of the operating system? With the case that SSD is $319 which is still a pretty good deal, although not Mad Cow good.
The OS (such as Win7) and the hardware need to support it.
There seems to be some conflicting info on that drive I linked, the Intel X25-M Mainstream SSDSA2MH080G2C1. Anyone know if it supports TRIM? If so, I'm pulling the trigger.
It is my understanding that Windows 7 sends the TRIM command to the SSD and that yes, Intel does support that.
From a little research the original x25-m does not support TRIM, unless there has been a firmware update, I realize these posts are a little old, but even googling for more I am not finding any evidence it supports TRIM (yet):

http://communities.intel.com/message/13408

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see if you can find the firmware update about it, this claims it should be coming too:

http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=3605

TRIM isn’t yet supported, but the 34nm drives will get a firmware update when Windows 7 launches enabling TRIM. XP and Vista users will get a performance enhancing utility (read: manual TRIM utility). It seems that 50nm users are SOL with regards to TRIM support. Bad form Intel, very bad form.

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