Time to build a new rig! It's been 5 years -- I'd love to get your advice.

doodler85

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Hi guys,

With the impending excitement of new games like Mechwarrior Online, Hawken, D3, etc., I'm thinking it's time for me to build a new rig. My last one was a Q6600 and it served me faithfully, but let it be known that after 5 years is time for one to retire. I'm a designer/developer so I am rationalizing this as a 'necessary upgrade' :)

After going through the usual benchmarks I scrapped together this rig:
http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=23558707

I have extra fans and I'm going to take the sound card from my old box.

Besides your feedback on the hardware, I'd love to know what kind of new tech should be taken into consideration. Is there anything coming out in the near future that is worth waiting for / will affect prices of existing hardware?

I have been reading about Intel SRT -- do you recommend it? I like the idea of keeping my files and applications on separate drives, and my original plan was to put all apps on the SSD and use the HDD for storage.

I already have a backup system that I'm going to carry over from my old rig so I'm not too worried about keeping things redundant.

I've also had some random BSOD trouble with my last build which I *think* was due to a cheaper Gigabyte mobo so I splurged on this new one. However, I am going a little above my price expectations (I wanted to keep it under $1000) so if you can suggest a way to cut down cost without a significant performance hit that would be great.

Like always, thanks so much guys.
 
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Fire&Blood

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Jan 13, 2009
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Mobo is very pricey, think twice before spending $260 on it. I went with Crucial M4 and love it. Get a Seasonic X 650W PS and a cheaper mobo if you want to slide back within budget. Otherwise, cool build.
 

doodler85

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Thanks for the reply!

That Seasonic actually comes to the same price as the Corsair (after rebate). What do you think the minimum wattage is that I can work with? I have a ton of external devices plugged in as well.

Could you recommend an alternative mobo? I'm not overclocking so my priorities are stability first, followed by the latest standards (USB 3 primarily). No need for onboard sound if it matters.

Do you have any preference (and reason) for one SSD drive over another? I'm still a little nervous about them after hearing about corruption issues a couple years ago. But with 500 megs/sec bandwidth they are certainly tempting :)
 

DSF

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Do you ever plan to use more than 1 video card? If not, 650W is enough. Plenty of growing room for upgrades down the road even. While I understand not cheaping out on the power supply, it's possible to get a good one without spending $150. That said, if you're not straining your budget, there are worse parts to overspend on.

As far as the motherboard, what do you need? Overclocking ability? # of SATA ports? SLI/Crossfire capability? Those things will really drive the motherboard choice. It's entirely possible a $100-110 Gigabyte or Asrock board would do you just fine, but maybe not. Depends on what you need/want.

(And just so it's clear, those less expensive boards would still overclock fine if you wanted to.)

Edit: Just reread your post and saw the bit about the Gigabyte mobo. I can certainly understand your sentiments, but all companies put out bum components, it's just the nature of the biz. Did you send it in for a replacement or anything? They're usually a decent company, and frequently recommended around here. There are plenty of good alternatives though.
 
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doodler85

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Ken g6

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Is there anything coming out in the near future that is worth waiting for / will affect prices of existing hardware?
Yes! Let's see...

- The AMD Radeon 7850 will be available in a week or two, around the $250 price point.

- nVIDIA's competing Kepler cards are supposed to come out within a week. Although that might be a soft launch, that ought to put downward pressure on GPU prices.

- Intel Ivy Bridge processors will be coming out in a few weeks, and they're a little faster than SB at stock. (No word on overclocking yet.)

Mobos really don't matter as much for overclocking as they used to. Since the CPU is the only part that overclocks, the main concern is getting enough power to the CPU. Hence heat sinks around CPU sockets on some models. This board appears to have more features than your selected evga, for less money.

See also [thread=2192841]Mfenn's standard build thread[/thread] to compare and contrast.
 

doodler85

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That standard build thread was really helpful, thanks!

Are there any features in the 7000 series that are worth chipping in for? Or is it more evolutionary in nature? I'm trying not to pay more than $200 for a graphics card if possible.

Do you have any thoughts on ASRock vs EVGA? I've been reading good things about ASRock in customer-service terms but they give me very... gigabyte-y vibes. Like mid/mid-low-end-value-boards-that-are-feature-rich-but-like-to-die company vibes. As far as I know EVGA is quality through and through. Am I wrong? (I'm just going with vibes here)

DSF said:
As far as the motherboard, what do you need? Overclocking ability? # of SATA ports? SLI/Crossfire capability?
Sorry, I forget to get back to you. As long as I have at least 4 SATA ports and ESATA splitting I'm good. I'm hoping for at least 2 USB 3.0 ports as well, and built in firewire support is always nice. No need for SLI, I just need something solid.
 
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Charlie98

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Nov 6, 2011
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If you don't plan on OC'ing you can just get a i5 2500... no 'K' model (the 'K' is the unlocked version.) Also, if you are near a MicroCenter, they have the i5/mobo deal going on again for March, you can save some pretty good coin, even getting the 2500K.

Do you really need 16GB RAM? You might just start with a set of 2x 4GB and monitor your RAM useage... chances are you'll be OK with just 8GB.

I have one of the lower-end Gigabyte mobos and it has been nothing but great for me. I have my 2500K OC'ed a bit with no stability problems even given the limited control in the BIOS. I don't think mine has eSATA, which you listed as a requirement (I have one on my case, the HAF912 doesn't...) but the UD2H and UD3H boards do, but at that point you are at the price of the eVGA.

...everything else looks pretty good.
 

DSF

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So salvaging does seem like a pretty decent idea. Do you think 500 watts is enough to power a Q6600 with a 8800 GTS? I have an older, crappier graphics card that I can swap it out with if there's a problem.

And it'd save $150. Thanks for the idea!
Well just to be clear, I wasn't exactly suggesting salvaging. PSUs do wear out over time, and a faulty power supply can potentially take a whole rig with it when it goes.

I have a Corsair in my current machine, which is also approaching 5 years. When I build my new one, which I hope to do around Christmas, I'll probably get a new supply just for the peace of mind.

My point was more that quality power supplies that will do you just fine can be had for about half of what you were set to pay.
 

Charlie98

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This would proabably serve your PSU needs... It's what I should have bought, but the 750w was like $2 more at the time...
 

Bryf50

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Nov 11, 2006
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Well just to be clear, I wasn't exactly suggesting salvaging. PSUs do wear out over time, and a faulty power supply can potentially take a whole rig with it when it goes.

I have a Corsair in my current machine, which is also approaching 5 years. When I build my new one, which I hope to do around Christmas, I'll probably get a new supply just for the peace of mind.

My point was more that quality power supplies that will do you just fine can be had for about half of what you were set to pay.
While what you say can be true I think that's way over cautious. I can't imagine not using a perfectly good 750w power supply from a solid brand just because its a little old. I'd reuse the power supply without a second thought.

And the 500 watter will do just fine with a q6600 and 8800gts.
 

Fire&Blood

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Jan 13, 2009
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Thanks for the reply!

That Seasonic actually comes to the same price as the Corsair (after rebate). What do you think the minimum wattage is that I can work with? I have a ton of external devices plugged in as well.

Could you recommend an alternative mobo? I'm not overclocking so my priorities are stability first, followed by the latest standards (USB 3 primarily). No need for onboard sound if it matters.

Do you have any preference (and reason) for one SSD drive over another? I'm still a little nervous about them after hearing about corruption issues a couple years ago. But with 500 megs/sec bandwidth they are certainly tempting :)
Based on my own experiences, the best 5 OEM's have about the same likelihood producing a lemon. I say scale down, some features on these high end boards are useless to the average user.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128495

I recently got 1st SSD as well. Buy one. I spent a great deal of time studying performance, reliability and price and went with the Crucial M4.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820148442

Get this, you can hook up your washer & dryer too: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817151088
 

DSF

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While what you say can be true I think that's way over cautious. I can't imagine not using a perfectly good 750w power supply from a solid brand just because its a little old. I'd reuse the power supply without a second thought.

And the 500 watter will do just fine with a q6600 and 8800gts.
With a five-year-old PSU, I agree with you. It sounds like the OP is like me, and only builds a system every four or five years.

I don't mind a five-year-old unit, but thinking ahead, I'm not really comfortable with an eight- or ten-year-old one. Personal preference really, as I don't have any hard data.
 

doodler85

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Based on my own experiences, the best 5 OEM's have about the same likelihood producing a lemon. I say scale down, some features on these high end boards are useless to the average user.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128495
Do you have anything in particular against the EVGA board (or reason to choose the GigaByte instead)? After rebate the EVGA is only $109 ($100 off), so if it's merely a matter of cost I am willing to pay a little more for peace of mind and a few shiny additions.

DSF said:
With a five-year-old PSU, I agree with you. It sounds like the OP is like me, and only builds a system every four or five years.

I don't mind a five-year-old unit, but thinking ahead, I'm not really comfortable with an eight- or ten-year-old one. Personal preference really, as I don't have any hard data.
I just checked my NewEgg history and I purchased that PSU two years after the initial build, so it is still young (warranty is for five years). I think I'm going to keep using it (at least for two years) and give some purpose back to the poor guy in my closet.

charlie98 said:
Do you really need 16GB RAM? You might just start with a set of 2x 4GB and monitor your RAM useage... chances are you'll be OK with just 8GB.
I sometimes work with gigantic files in Photoshop and have a slew of other stuff open, so with the cost of RAM being so low these days I can't see the harm in being a little over-prepared :)

Thanks again for all of your feedback, guys. Now I have to deal with the realization that money costs money and buckle up for a big wallet dent.

On the other hand... http://www.gametrailers.com/video/gdc-2012-mechwarrior-online/727870
 

Charlie98

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I sometimes work with gigantic files in Photoshop and have a slew of other stuff open, so with the cost of RAM being so low these days I can't see the harm in being a little over-prepared :)

I saw that... based on my lame useage I don't ever go over 3GB (that I've seen, although I'm fixing to start video editing.) It is cheap now, that's for sure, and cheap insurance.
 

mfenn

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Hmm, $100 off. I dunno if that is a hot deal or if they are just desperately trying to dump stock. EVGA isn't really a mobo company, and they don't "get it" in a lot of the decisions that they make. Anyway, I would probably take a chance at $110 given the board's featureset.

Also, do you specifically need any of the features of the Pro version of Windows 7?
 

doodler85

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Good point with Windows, I thought I knew the difference but apparently I'm a sucker for professional lingo.

If you don't trust EVGA who would you choose for a mobo? I might not be buying this rig in time for the discount so it is worth considering other alternatives. Would you go with Asus (like the Asus P8Z68 Pro/GEN3), Gigabyte, ASRock? Again, I'm looking for stability much more than overclocking potential.
 

Charlie98

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Since you are not OC'ing any of the more mainstream boards are OK, as long as they have the features you want. I've seen good things about Asus, ASRock, even straightup Intel boards as well as my Gigabyte.

If you are looking on Newegg and checking the board features, make sure you double-check with the manufacturer... NE specs can be wrong sometimes, or lacking information.
 

mfenn

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If you don't trust EVGA who would you choose for a mobo? I might not be buying this rig in time for the discount so it is worth considering other alternatives. Would you go with Asus (like the Asus P8Z68 Pro/GEN3), Gigabyte, ASRock? Again, I'm looking for stability much more than overclocking potential.

I go for whichever board by any out of ASUS, ASRock, Gigabyte, Intel, or MSI that has the features I want/need and costs the least. Usually that means ASRock or Gigabyte, but I have no bias for or against the others.

Does anyone use RST? Recommend it? Nay?

RST (RAID software) or SRT (SSD caching)?