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Sooth Slayer

Seeking advice on a $1500 build

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The final decision?

 

Component	Model							Retail	Ship/Tax	Sub-total	MIR	Total
CPU:		Intel Core i5 2500K					$179.99 $15.59 		$195.58 	-	$195.58 
GPU:		ZOTAC ZT-40408-10P GeForce GTX 460			$149.99 $7.56 		$157.55 	$30 	$127.55 
RAM:		CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600		$46.99 	-		$46.99 		-	$46.99 
HDD:		Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2CCA 2.5 128GB SSD w/ Transfer Kit	$214.99 -		$214.99 	-	$214.99 
PSU:		XFX Core Edition PRO650W				$89.99 	$5.99 		$95.98 		$30 	$65.98 
DVD:		LG 22x DVD±RW Burner					$18.99 	$1.64 		$20.63 		-	$20.63 
Case:		COOLER MASTER RC-692-KKN2 CM690 II Advanced		$89.99 	$7.99 		$97.98	 	$10 	$87.98 
Mobo:		ASRock Z68 Extreme4 Gen3				$139.99 $12.12 		$152.11 	-	$152.11 
Cooler:		Scythe Mugen 3 SCMG-3000				$49.99 	-		$49.99 		-	$49.99 

	Total:							$980.91	$50.89 		$1,031.80 	$70 	$961.80 

 

SSD:

I really don't want to mess with the SandForce controller. They've been working on the firmware thing for a while now, which says to me that either their engineers are a bunch of incompetents, or it's a more serious issue that requires a more serious fix. They may well manage to get it figured out and unlock the potential of these drives with a simple patch. It's also possible that it turns out to be a design flaw and they have to physically fix the hardware. My biggest concern is that whatever they do to fix it impacts performance, and these drives never reach their full potential. This is all speculation, but with the M4, I don't have to worry about any of that. I know that not everyone is having an issue with the SandForce controllers, and there's nothing to say that the one I got wouldn't work, but I still think I'd rather side-step the issue all together.

 

Mobo:

You've convinced me on the Gen3. I'm looking at the ASRock Z68 EXTREME4 GEN3, as I'd make good use of its PS/2 port. I should note that this pricing is based on a Microcenter bundle. My local MC is currently sold out of this mobo, and their next shipment isn't until next Fri. If everything else is good, I'd be okay ordering the other parts, and then waiting until next Fri to see if they get any more in stock. If they do, great! Let's hope the prices haven't changed. If they don't, no loss. I can always order from somewhere else, though it'll cost about $50 extra.

 

PSU:

The Corsair is nice, but I don't really see any reason to pick it over the XFX. As for the SeaSonic, I don't think it's worth the $65 premium to go from bronze to gold.

 

GPU:

FWIW, that 6950 ships with the 6970 BIOS already onboard. There's a switch on the card that lets you select between the stock and unlocked BIOS.

 

I've given up on the 580. As you say, there really isn't any way to justify the expense. I think I'll go with the 460 for now, and upgrade to the next gen when they start becoming available. Later on, say, 12 months from now, I can pick up an Ivy Bridge, and then 12 months after that look into PCI-e 3. Sound like a plan?

 

Did you loose a bet? Where did all the money go? Ivy bridge will be out in 4 months. Don't upgrade in 12 months upgrade when the new stuff come out and sell the old stuff so you don't loose that much. Buy stuff cheap so you can ditch it for the new generation. The crap about SSD's are misleading. The same social panic about SSD's is similar to the social panic that lead to the downfall of the america stock exchange. Don't fall prey to fear and just go with the sanforce 2281 controller.

 

I don't know how many times I need to say it on this website, but here I go again.... Get two 60Gb SSD's. One as a boot drive and one for caching. I guarantee you you will be much happier. Just don't buy the crucial stuff. Unless you are building something for a small business, the premium for the controller is not worth it.

 

GPU is fine, but you WILL be upgrading to the AMD 7000 series if you want to game on the system. Gtx 460 is not going to cut it for very long.

 

For a 50 buck cooler just keep it simple and go with the coolermaster evo. Get another fan and run the thing in push pull if you need it to.

 

For the power supply........ohhhhh boy. Yes corsair is so worth the premium. If your power supply goes bad corsair is the first company you want supporting your product. It is a well built PSU that is the closest thing to bullet proof you will see in the PSU product line.

 

I don't really know what happened to your 1500 dollar budget, but I think for the moment you have room for a blu-ray drive?

 

Lastly, how would you make good use of the PS2 port? I am pretty sure mobo companies leave those on the board for the nostalgia and nothing more. If you have something that uses a ps2 cable, then I would suggest you replace it quickly.

 

Please let us know if your 1500 is still the budget. You have gone from one extreme to the other pretty quickly, and if we are to better assist you, then we need to know why did it go from a quality build to something so out of place? I certainly mean no disrespect, but I am very confused. Please fill us in on the budget or what is going through your mind with parts so that we can guide you better. :popcorn:

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I don't know why people keep knocking the GTX 460 1GB. Two of them in SLI is still my favorite set-up, even over two GTX 570's in SLI. You can't beat the performance/price at the $210 mark (if you get them used or open box).

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:withstupid: and always have been on the SLI'd 460's :biggrin: They scale beautifully together, OC like beasts, and just run damn smooth :thumbsup:

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With $1500 to spend, I would first cram three of these and at least an HD6970 in the budget. :)

 

That's if the rig is intended for gaming, of course.

 

i got three of those exact screens in eyefinity and they are very nice. i would go 3 screens over an ssd, but i got both, so its not an issue

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:withstupid: and always have been on the SLI'd 460's :biggrin: They scale beautifully together, OC like beasts, and just run damn smooth :thumbsup:

 

Both of you need to read the rest of the posts. We are looking for a single card solution to play MW3 or some really high end game at max settings, but that is cheap enough to upgrade to the new generation of video cards. While the 460 is a nice card, we aren't putting in in SLI so the beauty of the best so to say is lost. A cheap AMD card that out performs it would be best to get him to the spring months when the GEN 3 cards come out.

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Limiting ones self to a one card solution is dumb. If the OP doesn't know any better, sometimes you have to give people the best option, even though it's not what they think they may want.

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The final decision?

 

Component	Model							Retail	Ship/Tax	Sub-total	MIR	Total
HDD:		Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2CCA 2.5 128GB SSD w/ Transfer Kit	$214.99 -		$214.99 	-	$214.99 

	Total:							$980.91	$50.89 		$1,031.80 	$70 	$961.80 

 

GPU:

FWIW, that 6950 ships with the 6970 BIOS already onboard. There's a switch on the card that lets you select between the stock and unlocked BIOS.

 

I've given up on the 580. As you say, there really isn't any way to justify the expense. I think I'll go with the 460 for now, and upgrade to the next gen when they start becoming available. Later on, say, 12 months from now, I can pick up an Ivy Bridge, and then 12 months after that look into PCI-e 3. Sound like a plan?

 

Yup, sounds like a plan. :)

 

Far as the SSD goes though, you can buy the same exact SSD without the transfer kit. Personally I'd buy it without it and save a few extra bones.

 

When HDD prices come back to earth, pick one up ASAP. SSD space goes QUICK! You want to make sure you leave 20% free on it to keep optimal performance. To illustrate how quickly the space goes:

 

You start off with 119GB (that is what a 128GB drive is reduced to before anything is even installed):

- 14GB just for Win7

- 8GB for hiberfil.sys (actually based on how much RAM you have - BUT this can be reclaimed by turning off hibernation)

- ~10GB for pagefile

- 23.8GB is 20% of your drive

 

Say you turn off hibernation and reduce your PageFile, so let's not factor those at the moment you are still reduced to: 81.2 GB

 

Sounds like a lot but keep in mind all you have at this time is Windows installed. No apps, no games, etc. So you roughly have 80GB to play with for Apps and Games. Actually I would say less because I left PageFile on its default setting because I see a performance hit reducing/removing it. Many games are around 12GB (BF3 and SC2 are for example) or more, slightly less in some cases - like 8GB.

 

Run the stuff you care about most off of your SSD so you have SSD speed 100% of the time on those games/apps. Then when you get a normal HDD install your other games, Steam, and stuff on that.

 

 

I don't know how many times I need to say it on this website, but here I go again.... Get two 60Gb SSD's. One as a boot drive and one for caching. I guarantee you you will be much happier. Just don't buy the crucial stuff. Unless you are building something for a small business, the premium for the controller is not worth it.

 

For a 50 buck cooler just keep it simple and go with the coolermaster evo. Get another fan and run the thing in push pull if you need it to.

 

For the power supply........ohhhhh boy. Yes corsair is so worth the premium. If your power supply goes bad corsair is the first company you want supporting your product. It is a well built PSU that is the closest thing to bullet proof you will see in the PSU product line.

 

I don't really know what happened to your 1500 dollar budget, but I think for the moment you have room for a blu-ray drive?

 

Lastly, how would you make good use of the PS2 port? I am pretty sure mobo companies leave those on the board for the nostalgia and nothing more. If you have something that uses a ps2 cable, then I would suggest you replace it quickly.

 

Please let us know if your 1500 is still the budget. You have gone from one extreme to the other pretty quickly, and if we are to better assist you, then we need to know why did it go from a quality build to something so out of place? I certainly mean no disrespect, but I am very confused. Please fill us in on the budget or what is going through your mind with parts so that we can guide you better. :popcorn:

 

I agree with the Evo and Corsair PSU, but it is his money so if he wants that PSU and Cooler well then I can't blame him. I just wouldn't trust an XFX PSU, that is just me though. :dunno:

 

Some people like PS/2 because it is the only true way to reduce ghosting/N-Key Rollover (NKRO) on keyboards. It's a personal preference thing. (not mine mind you just explaining why)

 

Far as two 60GBs SSDs - that would be a waste since he doesn't even have a platter drive in this build so he couldn't use SRT if he wanted to. Plus I see no reason to use SRT when you can afford a 120GB SSD or more. I can see why El_Capitan does it, but he also has 3 SSDs so why not at that point. I will take SSD performance 100% of the time over situational SRT use. Remember SRT only helps when are you are accessing the same files over and over. SRT has to learn your behavior before it becomes effective, so if you are constantly accessing different files or playing different games you really aren't getting the full benefit of SRT. Where as if you have a 128GB SSD, it doesn't matter what your behavior is... you are going to get SSD performance (which is faster than SRT speed) 100% of the time on anything on that SSD.

 

As far as his $1500 budget goes, he will still be spending close to $1500 ...it is just now going to be spread out as the newer tech comes. Spending less now so he can afford Ivy Bridge and the 7k series ATI (or nVIDIA) when they release.

 

 

Limiting ones self to a one card solution is dumb. If the OP doesn't know any better, sometimes you have to give people the best option, even though it's not what they think they may want.

 

Its not that 460s are bad, like TjjAngel said ...he is going with one now to reduce cost so he can purchase the newer gen cards next year. I honestly see no reason to invest in SLI/CF now when the new gen cards are promising to beat most SLI/CF solutions and reach close to 6990 speeds when they release. So get by with a cheap solution now, buy a bad arse new gen card next year, than possibly SLI/CF that new gen card down the line. :blush:

Edited by Fogel

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Its not that 460s are bad, like TjjAngel said ...he is going with one now to reduce cost so he can purchase the newer gen cards next year. I honestly see no reason to invest in SLI/CF now when the new gen cards are promising to beat most SLI/CF solutions and reach close to 6990 speeds when they release. So get by with a cheap solution now, buy a bad arse new gen card next year, than possibly SLI/CF that new gen card down the line. :blush:

Any single card that's more expensive than two GTX 460 1GB's for SLI ($210 if you shop right) are the GTX 560 Ti, HD 6950, HD 6970, GTX 570, and GTX 580. None of those can single card options can beat that setup performance-wise. You guys are trying to tell the OP to invest in one of those cards as a cheaper solution when those are about the same price as the setup I'm suggesting?

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Any single card that's more expensive than two GTX 460 1GB's for SLI ($210 if you shop right) are the GTX 560 Ti, HD 6950, HD 6970, GTX 570, and GTX 580. None of those can single card options can beat that setup performance-wise. You guys are trying to tell the OP to invest in one of those cards as a cheaper solution when those are about the same price as the setup I'm suggesting?

 

Note quite - invest in a single GTX 460 now.

When the ATI 7000 series or nVIDIA 600 series releases next year - upgrade to that.

 

The 560 ti, 6950, 6970, 570, and 580 are no longer even in the equation.

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Don't upgrade in 12 months upgrade when the new stuff come out and sell the old stuff so you don't loose that much.

12 months was never a firm timetable, but rather a rough outline. I gave it 12 months figuring the Ivy's might need time to mature, and the pricing time to settle. IDK what the price diff. would be between buying early and selling soon vs. waiting for prices to drop and selling later. I suspect the advantage would go to the former, but it's anyone's guess as to whether or not the diff. would be significant. At any rate, that's not a decision I need to make today. Part of the value of this build is the ability to upgrade to Ivy at some point down the road. Whether it's sooner or later depends on several factors, so there's not much point worrying about it now. In either case, I'm sure the 2500k will carry me like a champ without slowing me down.

 

GPU is fine, but you WILL be upgrading to the AMD 7000 series if you want to game on the system.

Yes. Yes I will. That or Kepler. ;)

 

For a 50 buck cooler just keep it simple and go with the coolermaster evo.

Here's how I settled on the Mugen. I had it down to three options: the 212 Evo, the Mugen 3, and the NH-D14. Three coolers, in three price ranges, with three levels of performance. I wasn't able to find many reviews of either the Evo or the Mugen 3, and I haven't been able to find any putting them head-to-head, so I went off results based on the Mugen 2 and the 212+. Based on Benchmark Reviews, I went with the Mugen over the NH-D14. Based on Tom's Hardware's head-to-head, as well as other reviews that didn't have them side-by-side, I chose the Mugen over the 212. I know full well that it's unfair to compare the performance of the older models, but I had a lot of trouble finding quality reviews of the newer versions.

 

If you have something that uses a ps2 cable, then I would suggest you replace it quickly.

I have an IBM keyboard from back in the day. I won't be replacing it anytime soon. (read: ever) :wub:

 

...sometimes you have to give people the best option, even though it's not what they think they may want.

+1. If you're interested, take a look at my original config. There's been no shortage of productive input.

 

...you can buy the same exact SSD without the transfer kit.

When I spec'd this, the x-fer kit was actually cheaper. It is kinda neat, but it's not something I gotta have. I'll just go with whatever's cheaper ATOP.

 

When HDD prices come back to earth, pick one up ASAP. SSD space goes QUICK!

I'm well aware of that, though I appreciate the illustration. That 20% overhead thing is OS based, right? I haven't heard anything about SSD performance degrading with % used. Also, is that just on the primary, or do all drives benefit from the headroom? (My understanding is that it applies across the board.)

 

...I see a performance hit reducing/removing it [PageFile].

Is that only when gaming, or with general desktop usage as well? Anecdotally, it seems like even if I have way more than enough RAM, Windows still performs better with a PageFile.

 

I just wouldn't trust an XFX PSU, that is just me though.

If it's good enough for JonnyGURU, it's good enough for me. :thumbsup:

 

I should note that the first page of that review is one of the funniest I've seen. If you're familiar with the site, then you know that's saying alot!

 

None of those single card options can beat that setup performance-wise.

That depends on how you look at it. For sheer FPS? No. The 460 SLI wins hands down. But when you consider framerate consistency (i.e., microstuttering), then IMO, the single cards hold the upper hand. I've never run with dual cards, but I strongly suspect that I would both notice and be bothered this phenomenon.

 

 

:phew:

 

Thanks everybody! I really do appreciate the input, and I hope this post wasn't too tedious!

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That depends on how you look at it. For sheer FPS? No. The 460 SLI wins hands down. But when you consider framerate consistency (i.e., microstuttering), then IMO, the single cards hold the upper hand. I've never run with dual cards, but I strongly suspect that I would both notice and be bothered this phenomenon.

That is one long multi-quote post!

 

Well, there is no framerate inconsistencies if you know what you're doing. I've seen microstuttering on two HD 6870's in Xfire (though one card might have been bad), but never with two GTX 460 1GB's in SLI, except when I had an NF200 chipset. When the MIN FPS dips to single digits, or if your VRAM is having stability issues, you'll get inconsistencies. Hopefully I can point that out in my Test Review.

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Both of you need to read the rest of the posts. We are looking for a single card solution to play MW3 or some really high end game at max settings, but that is cheap enough to upgrade to the new generation of video cards. While the 460 is a nice card, we aren't putting in in SLI so the beauty of the best so to say is lost. A cheap AMD card that out performs it would be best to get him to the spring months when the GEN 3 cards come out.

So are you and Sooth Slayer building this rig together as you use the term "we" a few times? /sarcastic comedy

 

The point you are making is to play MW3 or another "high end" game at MAX settings, what cheap single card solution do you propose can do this? Capi made a great suggestion on a way the OP could actually play a game right now maxed for around $200, I still have yet to hear a better suggestion to do this! He could always sell the 460's down the line when he was ready to upgrade. Which I might add will probably still be desired by buyers and if he got a great deal on them now (like Capi said they are out there) he could even come out to close to even on the sale, basically "renting" so to speak a very nice GPU setup that will actually max out games. But if you have a better single card solution that will in fact max current games out, please....I'm all ears (not holding my breath though ;))

 

What cheap AMD card are you suggesting Angel?

 

Its not that 460s are bad, like TjjAngel said ...he is going with one now to reduce cost so he can purchase the newer gen cards next year. I honestly see no reason to invest in SLI/CF now when the new gen cards are promising to beat most SLI/CF solutions and reach close to 6990 speeds when they release. So get by with a cheap solution now, buy a bad arse new gen card next year, than possibly SLI/CF that new gen card down the line. :blush

 

Any single card that's more expensive than two GTX 460 1GB's for SLI ($210 if you shop right) are the GTX 560 Ti, HD 6950, HD 6970, GTX 570, and GTX 580. None of those can single card options can beat that setup performance-wise. You guys are trying to tell the OP to invest in one of those cards as a cheaper solution when those are about the same price as the setup I'm suggesting?

So the point here is to wait for a next gen card that reach close to 6990 speeds? This is just funny to me since the $200ish (2) GTX 460 SLI setup beat the 5970, and is probably "closer"to the 6990 speeds than most people realize....Did I say for $200ish??????

 

Capi, maybe it's just time you stop giving great GTX 460 SLI advice, which will in turn allow me to stop agreeing with you :lol:

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