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New Computer (Read 19038 times)
Nightcrawler
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New Computer
Jan 7th, 2011 at 11:54am
 
Does anybody around here build their own computer? Have you built any recently? Are you considering building one soon? I don't think I've ever made a topic like this on TransCorp before. The time seems good to build a new rig. With the release of Intel's Sandy Bridge, AMD's latest Radeons, memory prices falling again, SSD's becoming more affordable, quite a few things are aligning to make this a good time. My current PC is also about 5 years old.

I'm still flip flopping on a few items and working on reigning in the budget a bit, but tentatively, I will have:

CPU:      Intel i5 2500K  -
Bought

Graphics:      Zotac Nvidia Geforce GTX 560 Ti 1GB -
Bought

Motherboard:      Asus P8P67 PRO -
Bought

Memory:      R.Skill 2x4GB 8GB RAM -
Bought

SSD:        Crucial RealSSD C300 128GB
Bought

HDD:      Samsung Spinpoint F4 2TB -
Bought

Case:      Lian Li Lancool PC-K62 -
Bought

Power Supply:      Seasonic X-650 650W -
Bought



If you aren't building a computer, you may as well use this thread to post the specs of your current rig! It's not like this topic would clutter with lots of responses on this board. Tongue
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« Last Edit: Mar 26th, 2011 at 11:21am by Nightcrawler »  

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Re: New Computer
Reply #1 - Jan 7th, 2011 at 9:33pm
 
I don't think you need to spend that much.  Better to keep the money for more frequent upgrades.

You probably won't notice the difference between 2500K and 2600K, except for the $100 in your pocket.  See this site:
http://www.semiaccurate.com/2011/01/02/introduction-sandy-bridge/
http://www.semiaccurate.com/2011/01/03/intel-core-i7-2600k-review/

Personally, I would rather go for a fanless video card than a top-of-the-line heater, or at least one which can drive more monitors than average (see AMD's Eyefinity variations, and check out the specialty cards with up to 6 display outputs).

For the SSD, I think the gold standard at the moment is the Crucial RealSSD C300 series with SATA3 (6Gbps) support.  You'll probably want to go bigger than 60GB too (perhaps 128GB will suffice); the $150 difference between 64 and 128GB will probably be better spent here than on the $100 for the extra CPU, and the $50 difference between the 6850 to 6870.  (I agree on the HDD for media etc.)

Everything else seems fine, but the power supply is a bit hefty.  It's going to blow heat.
Even at 80+ efficiency, you'll have 120W of heat in your room (80% is a good rating, and they are most efficient close to rated capacity).  You probably only need a 400W supply with a system like that unless your hobby is liquid nitrogen overclocking...

-Dave
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Re: New Computer
Reply #2 - Jan 8th, 2011 at 12:05pm
 
Dave Shadoff wrote on Jan 7th, 2011 at 9:33pm:
I don't think you need to spend that much.  Better to keep the money for more frequent upgrades.


I don't upgrade anything more than RAM. I typically build my PC to last as-is for 5 to 10 years even. Typically when I'm done (typically 4-5 years) with my PC, it gets handed down to another in my family as my current rig is now.

Quote:
You probably won't notice the difference between 2500K and 2600K, except for the $100 in your pocket.  See this site:
http://www.semiaccurate.com/2011/01/02/introduction-sandy-bridge/
http://www.semiaccurate.com/2011/01/03/intel-core-i7-2600k-review/


Certainly arguable. You get 2MB extra of L3 cache, which on an architecture with limited L2 cache can make a difference depending on the application thread sizes being run. Take the extreme edition i7s. What's the difference? Cache. Hyperthreading also comes with the 2600 which makes a sizable difference on multi-threaded applications or instances where cores are saturated for any reason. It keeps the execution cores fed when there are idle stages in the pipeline. It's somewhat useful now and scales considerably several years from now when a quad core is starting to show it's age and cores are saturated. You'll get up to 20% of the performance of a few more real cores.  It can go a good distance on longevity. Also, the 2600K may be the only one to get the upgraded stock cooler (heatpipe based). The 2500K may get it as well, there is currently confusion going around on that. A decent cooler like that takes up half the cost difference already. Not to mention, you get a better piece of silicon for overclocking. Testing on a bin of 2600K's has yielded higher results than a bin of 2500K parts by significant margins. Also, the price differences are not quite determined as the chips don't go on general sale until next week. Microcenter for instance is offering a killer deal Sunday at deep discount on both chips in store only.

Certainly these points arguable into their translation of real world savings. I haven't ruled out the 2500K, but I think there is definitely something to be had there for the plan I have in mind for my machine and what I will be doing with it.

Quote:
Personally, I would rather go for a fanless video card than a top-of-the-line heater, or at least one which can drive more monitors than average (see AMD's Eyefinity variations, and check out the specialty cards with up to 6 display outputs).


Do they have fanless DX11 generation cards? I don't recall seeing them. I am looking in the mid-range. It's difficult to pass up the latest AMD generation for newer standards/technology. The HDMI 1.4a port comes to mind. Nvidia is apparently poor at HDMI and I will be using this PC for my TV for years to come for sure.

Both the 6850 and 6870 are mostly near silent, and are low power (especially the 6850), and no where near top of the line. You must be thinking of the 6950 and 6970.

I'd certainly entertain another option if it could meet my needs. Remember, I will probably never upgrade the video card. What fanless card would you recommend?

Quote:
For the SSD, I think the gold standard at the moment is the Crucial RealSSD C300 series with SATA3 (6Gbps) support.  You'll probably want to go bigger than 60GB too (perhaps 128GB will suffice); the $150 difference between 64 and 128GB will probably be better spent here than on the $100 for the extra CPU, and the $50 difference between the 6850 to 6870.  (I agree on the HDD for media etc.)


Not a big fan of the C300. It's basically Sandforce vs. Marvel controller differences. C300 can edge out the Vertex 2 in read a little in some situations, but nearly all situations have it not doing well at write. Actually just the other day the Vertex 3 was announced. Seems like next gen SSD's are right around the corner. I may try and wait a few more weeks. Not sure when they will come to retail.

By the way, take a look at this review:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/3812/the-ssd-diaries-crucials-realssd-c300

That sums up my opinion pretty well on the C300 vs. Vertex 2.

Quote:
Everything else seems fine, but the power supply is a bit hefty.  It's going to blow heat.
Even at 80+ efficiency, you'll have 120W of heat in your room (80% is a good rating, and they are most efficient close to rated capacity).  You probably only need a 400W supply with a system like that unless your hobby is liquid nitrogen overclocking...


My hobbies do include overclocking, though it's cost prohibitive to use liquid nitrogen. Wink You realize power supply draw is only as much as the load, right? Whether you have a 100W supply or a 1000W watt supply, when your system draws 100W it draws 100W and thus the efficiency is based on the load. I certainly understand the system I am building is likely not to exceed 400W under full load. Seasonic makes the best power supplies in the industry for a number of reasons. They don't make too many low watt supplies. They're actually more expensive (better series). Great supplies, but they command a higher price tag.  Their 5XXW supplies are nearly the exact same price as their 6XXW supplies in the M12II series, so there was no sense getting less for the same price (can be exactly the same price depending on retailer and deal). I am keeping watch. Occasionally you can get the X series very close to the same price point.

By the way, I pull the 80+ certificates for all supplies I'm interested in as well as third party testing with full overview of board circuitry. I am an electrical engineer and have built AC to DC power supplies myself. Wink
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Re: New Computer
Reply #3 - Jan 8th, 2011 at 10:27pm
 
Nightcrawler wrote on Jan 8th, 2011 at 12:05pm:
Quote:
You probably won't notice the difference between 2500K and 2600K, except for the $100 in your pocket. 


Certainly arguable. You get 2MB extra of L3 cache, which on an architecture with limited L2 cache can make a difference depending on the application thread sizes being run. Take the extreme edition i7s. What's the difference? Cache. Hyperthreading also comes with the 2600 which makes a sizable difference on multi-threaded applications or instances where cores are saturated for any reason. It keeps the execution cores fed when there are idle stages in the pipeline. It's somewhat useful now and scales considerably several years from now when a quad core is starting to show it's age and cores are saturated. You'll get up to 20% of the performance of a few more real cores.


Well, it's your money, but (at least as far as list price is concerned) for 50% more money I'd like to see more than the possibility of another 20% performance at some point in the ambiguous future, when people finally work out how to parallelize threads across cores.  They've already been working on this for 10-30 years (depending on how you look at it), and another 5 years isn't likely to change things too much.  You've already got 4 cores, which is going to be hard to saturate.  8 virtual cores... well, I guess it's possible if you're running a bunch of virtual machines.  Video transcoding is already offloaded to special instruction sets on this chip, and/or GPUs, so the #1 consumer of multiple cores is back off the map.  Virtualization will be the next big consumer.

Quote:
Personally, I would rather go for a fanless video card than a top-of-the-line heater, or at least one which can drive more monitors than average (see AMD's Eyefinity variations, and check out the specialty cards with up to 6 display outputs).
Quote:
Do they have fanless DX11 generation cards? I don't recall seeing them. I am looking in the mid-range. It's difficult to pass up the latest AMD generation for newer standards/technology. The HDMI 1.4a port comes to mind. Nvidia is apparently poor at HDMI and I will be using this PC for my TV for years to come for sure.


True, I also haven't seen fanless 6xxx ones yet - they usually come out quite a bit after a new generation, likely at the die-shrink half-generation transition about 6-9 months later.  I heard rumors of an HD6350, but I haven't seen press releases yet.  The 6xxx generation isn't truly that much more advanced than the 5xxx though, and the most intriguing thing I saw in either generation was Eyefinity multi-monitor output, which is about the only thing I would personally sacrifice my heat envelope for.  But then again, I don't play modern 3D games, so your mileage may vary.

Quote:
Quote:
For the SSD, I think the gold standard at the moment is the Crucial RealSSD C300 series with SATA3 (6Gbps) support.  You'll probably want to go bigger than 60GB too (perhaps 128GB will suffice)


Not a big fan of the C300. It's basically Sandforce vs. Marvel controller differences. C300 can edge out the Vertex 2 in read a little in some situations, but nearly all situations have it not doing well at write. Actually just the other day the Vertex 3 was announced. Seems like next gen SSD's are right around the corner. I may try and wait a few more weeks. Not sure when they will come to retail.


Well, next generation is just around the corner and worth waiting for.  Anything can happen at a generational change like that.

As the Crucial drive demonstrates, the difference from 3Gbps to 6Gbps is one that you will be able to feel, and that was the core of why I thought it was a good match for a newer system.  If you were driving either of those drives on old SATA2 3Gbps, I'd also recommend Vertex2.  Both drives have had several firmware upgrades since then - which have actually shown meaningful differences in benchmarks - so you should probably be looking at a more recent review for a clearer picture, if you are intent on getting a drive from the generation on the shelves right now.

A few things that you will see if you surf reviews:
1) 64GB drives are slower than 128GB drives, even when spread across the same number of chips (as those chips are generally lower density and thus previous-generation).  This is reason #1 to get a larger drive.
2) Drives tend to slow down over time, based on % full; some more than others.  This is reason #2 to get a bigger drive - to keep it less full.
3) Most likely, your computer usage over the next 5 years will start to involve the use of multiple virtual machine images (ie. VMWare/VirtualBox/etc.); you will want to place these images on your root drive, even though you will likely pseudo-net-mount much of their file access.  This is reason #3 to get a bigger drive.
4) You will not find a Vertex2 review on a drive smaller than 100GB.  I wonder why that is...  anyway, I would take it as a sign to get the 100/120GB version at a minimum.

Quote:
Quote:
Everything else seems fine, but the power supply is a bit hefty.  It's going to blow heat.


My hobbies do include overclocking, though it's cost prohibitive to use liquid nitrogen. Wink You realize power supply draw is only as much as the load, right? Whether you have a 100W supply or a 1000W watt supply, when your system draws 100W it draws 100W and thus the efficiency is based on the load.


Mostly true.  Power supply draw = load + waste.  At 100W load, an 80%+ efficiency 600W supply will actually not generally be 80%+ efficiency; it will be less.  And even if it were 80% efficient @ 100W of load, that would still mean 25W of heat dumped into your room.

Edit: I re-read about the "80 Plus" rating system, which alleviated my concerns about the efficiency of supplies over a wider range.  If you're getting something that's actually 80 PLUS, you're fine.

Based on what I'm reading about Sandy Bridge, you'll be spending less time on your overclocking hobby... it's harder to achieve, and you probably won't be able to feel it anyway, with their somewhat decent turbo mode.
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Re: New Computer
Reply #4 - Jan 9th, 2011 at 10:41am
 
I hear what you're saying on the 2500K vs. 2600K. I think what will drive my determining factor will be to watch the price points and deals offered over the next few weeks and see exactly how much difference there is. There's also bundle deals you can get. I have to concur, if it truly stays at $100, that's probably not worth it. Though $50 likely would be to me. I noticed quite a few places are going on sale today with it. Prices are high on all compared to the killer Microcenter deal today. It's in-store only. I don't live close to any though. Otherwise, it's too good to pass up.

Good points on the SSDs. I'd like to get a next generation drive, I just don't know when they will come to stores. I hate when products are 'announced', but no indication of when you can actually get one is there. If it's a few weeks, fine. If it's a few months. That's too long. In this industry, you can always wait for the next thing around corner. There's always something there. Smiley I'm just not keen on the price premium for the larger drives here. It's substantial. Perhaps if I juggle around some funds.


Quote:
Based on what I'm reading about Sandy Bridge, you'll be spending less time on your overclocking hobby... it's harder to achieve, and you probably won't be able to feel it anyway, with their somewhat decent turbo mode.


Yes, it's much easier this generation. I imagine you'd probably feel the difference between 3.3Ghz (only turbos to 3.7Ghz) and say 4.5Ghz full time (reasonable overclock from reports on 2500K/2600K). You certainly will on a single threaded application. There's a variety of ways you can set these guys up to balance performance and heat. It even lets you change the TDP yourself. The best thing is, they will still be able to downclock to 1.6Ghz at idle. Certainly our PCs are idling more times than they are not.

You just hit the key phrase though, 'feel it'. That's the magic in all of this. What will you end up feeling real world for each of these things vs. your money? That's a difficult question to answer definitively. It's also a perception question. This reminds me of the audio world. Some will swear vinyls sound better than CDs and they need tube amplifiers because they sound better etc. MP3's such as less than 320kbps. One speaker is better than another due to frequency response above 20khz (above normal hearing range). Is any of it true? I'm sure some of it is and some of it isn't. Mileage certainly varies from person to person and the same kind of thing is in the PC world.

We can look at benchmarks all day long and read reviews until we're blue (I know I have). It's still just not going to give you that definitive answer if you will notice a difference and if it's worth the money until you have it. And something that may be worthwhile or noticeable to me may not be to you.


EDIT 1: Looks like Vertex 3 SSDs aren't going to make it retail until sometime in Q2. Looks like there's at at least several more months before the next SSD wave. Probably won't get to ride that wave. Sad

EDIT 2: Looks like the midget HSF unit is being sent with retail 2500K and 2600K and not the nice heat-pipe one many reviewers got. That certainly devalues them in my eyes. The see-saw is starting to swing in 2500K's favor now.
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« Last Edit: Jan 10th, 2011 at 1:11pm by Nightcrawler »  

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Re: New Computer
Reply #5 - Jan 10th, 2011 at 2:24pm
 
Damn good choices.

I should mention the 69xx series isn't much faster than the 68xx series. The 69xx series in general is sort of around the speed of Nvidia's last gen(The 4xx). Not much of a speed up at all. The flipside is that the 69xx will get faster with driver updates, so it's more future proof.

All in all, you made a good choice, but don't count out the 69xx series quite yet. Give some reviews a good look over. I suggest www.techreport.com's and www.xbitlabs.com's.

I can't speak to your motherboard choice, as Mobos have never been my specialty.

If you're gonna OC a 95 watt TDP CPU, I'd get an aftermarket cooler. I hear that the Cooler Master Hyper 212+ is an incredibly good cooler.
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Re: New Computer
Reply #6 - Jan 10th, 2011 at 2:58pm
 
I.S.T. wrote on Jan 10th, 2011 at 2:24pm:
I should mention the 69xx series isn't much faster than the 68xx series. The 69xx series in general is sort of around the speed of Nvidia's last gen(The 4xx). Not much of a speed up at all. The flipside is that the 69xx will get faster with driver updates, so it's more future proof.

All in all, you made a good choice, but don't count out the 69xx series quite yet. Give some reviews a good look over. I suggest www.techreport.com's and www.xbitlabs.com's.


I read you can also unlock and flash the 6950 into a 6970. That adds even more value. Unfortunately, there is about a $100 price difference between 68XX and 69XX series which isn't quite worth it to me. This happens to be an area where I am OK with shaving some dollars.  I may end up even going down to the 6850. I will keep watch. There have been some good deals here that put the 6950 into a respectable price point. It would be nice to have one. I'm just not sure it can come down in price enough for me.

Quote:
If you're gonna OC a 95 watt TDP CPU, I'd get an aftermarket cooler. I hear that the Cooler Master Hyper 212+ is an incredibly good cooler.


I have also heard good things about that cooler. It's also somewhat inexpensive. Originally, the stock cooler was going to be damn good (for once!), but it turned out a few days ago, the good one was only sent to reviewers and the current retail shipments use the crappier one. So, now I would need an aftermarket one. This one is definitely up there on my list.


RealSSD C400

RealSSD C400 was announced and may go into mass manufacturing sometime in February. Pricing is supposed to be similar to the C300. Be nice to catch one of those guys if possible.

It may prove prudent to wait a few more weeks yet.
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Re: New Computer
Reply #7 - Jan 10th, 2011 at 4:21pm
 
I just read that you're planning on having the PC last five years. If that is the case, I'd get a 69xx series unless you don't play many PC games.

As for the unlocking, beware on that. Right now, it seems they are doing what Intel used to do and making so many good chips that they point blank have to disable some for their cheaper models, but still, you could get one that doesn't work well unlocked.

I know you said Nvidia is out of the picture, but they are going to release a new card later this month(One site says the 25th, but they're known for being unreliable and in general not understanding the deeper levels of technical info).

I'd advise you ask around on techreport's forums on that HDMI issue. I hate to pimp them again, but the userbase there is unusually educated/smart for a PC hardware forum. Very small amount of n00bs/idiots/dipshits/whathaveyou there.

FWIW, I've never heard of the HDMI issue, but that's not saying much...
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Re: New Computer
Reply #8 - Jan 11th, 2011 at 10:44am
 
HDMI aside, Nvidia just doesn't seem to have anything good to offer at that price point. What do they have? The GTX 460? It's a decent card and cheap. However, it generally under-performs compared to the 6850 and has much higher power draw at the same general price point. There's just not much in its favor.

Then there's the GTX 470. It's priced a bit higher than the 6870, louder, and arguable in performance advantage or disadvantage over the 6870. Do you happen to know of one that is as quiet and as cheap as the 6870?

Hey, I'd like to go Nvidia. I've dealt with some ATI driver hell in the past. I'm a little frightened of going back there. However, at this stage in the game, I'm not sure Nvidia just doesn't have any good offerings at that price point.


I did read the GTX 560 is supposed to come the end of the month. Price may be $279. Too high to make any difference. It could push down the GTX470 though. Guess we'll find out soon.
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« Last Edit: Jan 11th, 2011 at 2:09pm by Nightcrawler »  

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Re: New Computer
Reply #9 - Jan 16th, 2011 at 1:07pm
 
I did some quick price checks and review, and found a fair bit of the OCed models can out perform the 6850 and not cost more than 20 more.

The only question is noise.

The reviews I used were on www.techreport.com and www.xbitlabs.com

FWIW, I'm not talking the extremely OCed to over 800 MHZ models, I'm speaking of the milder OCed ones.
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Re: New Computer
Reply #10 - Jan 17th, 2011 at 8:57am
 
Yeah. It would appear a 6850 can also be overclocked to perform on par with 6870. Definitely noise and power are in question here. The articles I saw suggested noise was up on both (GTX460 and 6850) when overclocked that much. I don't know if I would be into overclocking the video cards or not. Video card coolers (AMD and Nvidia) in general are louder than good CPU coolers.

AMD also offers a DisplayPort port. It's unknown yet whether this will really replace HDMI or not, but Apple and Dell also have started to use it. DVI was slow to be adopted, but eventually became standard. I suppose I could always get another video card down the road if it did become a big deal. Chances are probably slim that it would ever be a problem for me. I'm sure HDMI and DVI will be around for years to come.

Details are slowly leaking on the GTX560 (coming Jan 25th supposedly). The price may fall better in line than what initial reports say. Now, I'm seeing possibly $199.

It's going to be a tough call. I can see the merits in several options here. Couple that with the differences between manufactures of the same card makes a choice even tougher.
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Re: New Computer
Reply #11 - Jan 17th, 2011 at 1:18pm
 
Yeah, waiting really is the best option here.

Also, DP will take over, given Intel has added support for it in Sandy Bridge. the only problem is how fast. Nvidia is slowing progress with the lack of support in their cards... *sigh*
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Re: New Computer
Reply #12 - Jan 25th, 2011 at 11:36am
 
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Re: New Computer
Reply #13 - Jan 26th, 2011 at 8:42am
 
Yeah, I've been reading about them. It seems Nvidia came out swinging. Obviously, it's the new price vs. performance king being nearly on par with the 6950. Still no display port, although I read the chip supports it if someone were to build it in. No one did yet. Seems they still have on again off again HDMI audio issues with their drivers. I've read about that for a few years now.

More importantly, it's still $249. I was really thinking about scalping a bit here and coming in at $200 or under. I'd rather have a next gen SSD in a few weeks. I'm sure I will have the funds to spend the extra on both.

You can get the 6850 for around $160 now (w/rebate) and the 6870 for $215 (w/rebate). I was considering dropping to the 6850 for the large cost savings.

Perhaps if there is a sale or rebate over the next few weeks, a 560 can come home with me. We'll see. The only other thing I'm waiting for is the Crucial M4 SSDs to make it to market in February. You can wait forever in the computer world for the next big thing, but that should do it I think for me. I'm sure I will have to pay an early adopter's fee on it though.

The secret is to not check the tech news or prices after you build it. You'll never know what you missed out on.  Grin
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Re: New Computer
Reply #14 - Feb 1st, 2011 at 7:35am
 
Hell, I forgot to reply to this.

Yeah, it seems that if you're using HDMI audio, Nvidia isn't really a good solution right now.
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