Building a Gaming Rig

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Lawndart
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Building a Gaming Rig

Postby Lawndart » Sat Mar 13, 2010 9:50 pm

I'm thinking about building a relatively inexpensive, but performance minded gaming rig. Anyone have any suggestions or recommendations? I'm all ears as I'm just starting to shop around a little bit and price out the parts to get the best bang for the buck.

This is the system I had in mind (or something close to it):

NZXT Tempest EVO Gaming Tower Case
Intel® Core™ i7 920 Processor (4x 2.66GHz/8MB L3 Cache)
Liquid CPU Cooling System
6 GB [2 GB X3] DDR3-1600 - Corsair
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 – 896MB
ASUS P6T
700 Watt -- Power Supply SLI Ready
1 TB HARD DRIVE -- 16M Cache, 7200 RPM, 3.0Gb/s
22X Dual Format/Double Layer DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW Drive
12-In-1 Internal Flash Media Card Reader/Writer
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit

I haven't priced the individual components for a build yet, but I've found this exact (customized) setup online for $1,260 including shipping. At a glance, does that price seem resonable or should I start pricing out the parts for a build myself...

Again, I'm just shopping around, but I'd be curious to see what everyone's specs are and/or if they were building something today, what they'd go for to get the best performance vs. price.

Upcoming vacation, bills (those ridiculous car insurances) are eating up most of my cash flow at the moment unfortunately and I hardly have any time home to talk about nowadays... but sometime soon, I might just build a new gaming rig - who knows!? :wink:
Last edited by Lawndart on Sun Mar 14, 2010 1:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Ray
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Postby Ray » Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:49 pm

Looks like a solid build that should keep up with games for some time to come.

The only thing I might suggest is a more powerful power supply - just in case you run SLI cards at some point, or get into overclocking.

The one I have:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817121037

and maybe add another GTX 260 and SLI them, or get a single GTX 295! :LOL: (the price is ridiculous though $500+!) I'm sure you'll be fine with a single 260 for the time being though.

I'd price out the parts for the build yourself - would probably end up cheaper. Plus it's more fun to build your own!

The 4 main sites I used were www.Newegg.com , www.ProVantage.com , www.TigerDirect.com , and www.ZipZoomFly.com
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Re: Building a Gaming Rig

Postby Tailhook » Sat Mar 13, 2010 11:08 pm

Lawndart wrote:NZXT Tempest EVO Gaming Tower Case


Nice.

Lawndart wrote:Intel® Core™ i7 920


There is a $6 difference between the 920 and 930 on Newegg. If you want the extra 200Mhz with a price difference of $6, then 930 all the way. ;)

Lawndart wrote:6 GB [2 GB X3] DDR3-1600 - Corsair


Nice. Do not get Dominators because they are just a waste of money. Corsair has sticks with the same exact timing but without the bigger heatsinks. My recommendation (currently out though).

Lawndart wrote:NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 – 896MB


Why GDDR3 and DX10 card if going W7? I recommend going ATi till NVidia comes out with some serious DDR5 and DX11 cards that are inexpensive, I know I am. For raw performance that would match the 5970's for less the cost, I would Crossfire 2 5770's. I may end up getting another 5770 XXX soon just for that. :twisted:

Lawndart wrote:ASUS P6T


Stay with the normal P6T (non-Deluxe). The P6T has 3 PCI-e's with 16x16x4. The Deluxe is 16x8x8. You will get better performance with 2 cards in both 16's. ;)

Lawndart wrote:700 Watt -- Power Supply SLI Ready


My recommendation

Lawndart wrote:1 TB HARD DRIVE -- 16M Cache, 7200 RPM, 3.0Gb/s


No, will want a 32MB cache. Western Digital only has 500, 640, and 750 Caviar Black hard drives. If you want slower access/read/write times, you CAN get a Caviar Blue but I recommend the Blacks. (I have 2 of them).

P.S. Are you planning on hand building it yourself or getting somebody to for you? I would be more than happy to build it for you then ship it back out to you. I already got 2 coming in and possibly another one in the next month for Alan. :) (Gunner knows him).
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Postby Teej » Sat Mar 13, 2010 11:15 pm

How depressing.

My first couple of hard drives were barely 32MB.

Combined.
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Re: Building a Gaming Rig

Postby Ray » Sat Mar 13, 2010 11:43 pm

I'd really recommend the 1000W Kingwin Mach 1 power supply.

Not only is it very powerful and puts out clean power - the modular connectors REALLY clean up the case and they're much easier to work with, not nearly as messy.
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Postby Lawndart » Sun Mar 14, 2010 1:10 am

I made a quick price comparison between the following components on sites like Newegg and TigerDirect, then using the same specs at www.iBuyPower.com and in most cases the DIY build ends up more pricey - go figure! :? I can't quite seem to match the gamer specials (customized of course) when buying all components separately for a build.

I put together this combo for under $1,300 (still just toying around):

NZXT Tempest EVO Gaming Tower Case
Intel® Core™ i7 930 Processor (4x 2.8GHz/8MB L3 Cache)
Liquid CPU Cooling System w/ 120mm Radiator [SOCKET-1366]
6 GB [2 GB X3] DDR3-1600 - Corsair
XFX ATI Radeon HD 5770 - 1GB
ASUS P6T
750 Watt -- Corsair CMPSU-750TX Power Supply SLI Ready
1.5 TB HARD DRIVE -- 32M Cache, 7200 RPM, 3.0Gb/s
22X Dual Format/Double Layer DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW Drive
12-In-1 Internal Flash Media Card Reader/Writer
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit


What if any benefit is there in having Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate vs. Home Premium for a gaming rig? I could read up on it, but I'm too tired and don't care enough at the moment, so if someone has a quick answer...
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Postby Tailhook » Sun Mar 14, 2010 3:25 am

Lawndart wrote:What if any benefit is there in having Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate vs. Home Premium for a gaming rig? I could read up on it, but I'm too tired and don't care enough at the moment, so if someone has a quick answer...


More chit. :LOL:

Unless you can find yourself a version of Ultimate, I would go for Home or Pro 64bit.
Last edited by Tailhook on Sun Mar 14, 2010 4:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Rhino » Sun Mar 14, 2010 3:28 am

Get Pro. You can run something in "XP Mode" with it, whereas with 7 Home you can't. There's also a low RAM cap with the Home editions. You can get an OEM version for pretty cheap.

Heres a comparison chart -

Image
Image
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Postby Gunner » Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:32 am

Looks like you are on the right track.

My specs:
Case? who needs a case? :wink:

Intel® Core™ i7 920 Processor (4x 2.66GHz/8MB L3 Cache)
Liquid CPU Cooling System (My chiller died so I'm back to 120mm radiator & it holds temps just fine with a 3600 MHz overclock)
6 GB [2 GB X3] DDR3-1600 - Corsair
EVGA superclocked GeForce GTX 275 – 896MB
ASUS P6T
OCZ 700 Watt -- Power Supply SLI Ready
5 Assorted SATA hard drives totaling 3.5 TB
DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW Drive

Triple boot... XP 64-Bit (2 separate O/S) and XP 32-Bit

I haven't found anything this won't run well - Both Crysis and BC2 average over 65 FPS with everything maxed, 16x AA, 3940x1024 on Triplehead.

The one thing that came to mind when I read your first list is the same thing Ray said... make sure your power supply has plenty of room for expansion, and DON'T skimp on quality! I consider P/S one of the most important components.
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Postby Ray » Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:43 am

Liquid cooling system, are you sure you need that?

How much are you planning to overclock it?

You can get a nice overclock on air, I'm up 1,000Mhz over stock on air with a mediocre heat sink. You won't see any gain from OC'ing in games unless you're running SLI cards - and even then two 5770's won't really be bottlenecked much by that CPU at stock speeds.

Also it seems the minimum recommended power supply for 2 x 5770's is ~600W. If you're going to be O/C'ing it at all get that one I linked, it's $50 more. The power supply is really the most important component of the build, don't skimp on it.

The modular connectors on that Mach 1 PS alone are worth the $50, much easier to work with and less crap in your case.

Gunner, I gotta call BS on that running Crysis at that resolution maxed out at anything over 10 FPS. :LOL: I'm curious what your avg FPS in the benchmark is - run it without AA/AF on Very High for 3 loops DX10 and 64-Bit. I'll try it when I get home and we'll compare - I'm curious, your system does seem to perform very well in Lock On compared to mine.
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Postby Lawndart » Sun Mar 14, 2010 2:10 pm

Thanks everyone for your input, it really helps! I'm not planning on buying anything yet, mainly because I won't have enough time to build it, let alone play on it (as much as I'd like to) until later this spring (?). I'm just doing my homework now, and I always enjoy shopping around for electronics! :D

Another reason for getting a beefier PSU I've found is, even though they are relatively inexpensive to upgrade and easy to replace whenever needed, the installation of all cords and connectors in the case can be a real nightmare and mess. I'm totally with you on the clean case concept there Ray!

I don't think I'll need a liquid cooling system, but there was a better deal on that instead of the air cooled systems (non-stock) that I compared with. My other reason for liquid cooling is that it is quieter in general and my current rig sounds like I'm flying a prop while in the jet, so I'm definitely buying something with a noise reduction fan/heatsink or liquid cooling, hence why it seemed a good idea too.

The most talked about difference between Windows 7 Home Premium and Professional seems to be the "Windows XP Mode". What exactly does this do that the Home Premuim version can't do and is it required by any (older) programs you're running?
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Postby Gunner » Mon Mar 15, 2010 11:25 am

Ray wrote:Gunner, I gotta call BS on that running Crysis at that resolution maxed out at anything over 10 FPS. :LOL: I'm curious what your avg FPS in the benchmark is - run it without AA/AF on Very High for 3 loops DX10 and 64-Bit. I'll try it when I get home and we'll compare - I'm curious, your system does seem to perform very well in Lock On compared to mine.


You caught me! :oops: I looked up that benchmark and it was a little lower than I remembered. (It was at 1280x1024 that had higher FPS).
Image

Can't do another test with you right away, I uninstalled Crysis a while back - we'll do it when I get it back in. However, are you telling me there is a way to install DX10 on an XP system? I have not been able to find any way to get it to work on XP...
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Postby Ray » Mon Mar 15, 2010 4:21 pm

Ah - gotcha, that makes more sense. No need for a comparison then, :LOL:

You can't run DX10 in XP but you can run a config file (Google CCC 2.21 Crysis) which is a .cfg file that gives you the visuals that are a bit nicer than Very High settings, while giving better performance. It has a custom TOD as well, which makes a very noticeable difference in the lighting, saturation and colors - it looks much nicer and more realistic.

I don't really play Crysis anymore but will fire it up from time to time just to admire the graphics. Hard to believe it came out in '07 and is still the best looking game out there.
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Postby Tailhook » Tue Mar 16, 2010 11:33 am

Lawndart wrote:1.5 TB HARD DRIVE -- 32M Cache, 7200 RPM, 3.0Gb/s


Found the 1TB WDCB if you are interested. :)

This is from a Newegg review. Just to get a sense of the greatness. Benchmarked using WinXP 32-Bit.

Raptor
Avg. Transfer Rate: 72.1 MB/Sec
Access Time: 8.1 ms
Burst Rate: 115.3 MB/Sec
Operating Temp: 107 degrees F

Caviar Black
Avg. Transfer Rate: 72.7 MB/Sec
Access Time: 12.5 ms
Burst Rate: 146.8 MB/Sec
Operating Temp: 87 degrees F
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Lawndart
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Noobish Q about dual boot

Postby Lawndart » Wed Mar 24, 2010 10:00 pm

I've never had a system setup with dual boot, but I'm seriously thinking about building a new rig and using dual boot (Win XP 32-Bit & Win 7 64-Bit). I suppose if I installed Win 7 Professional (with Windows "XP Mode") I technically wouldn't need to be running any additional version of Win XP, but I like the idea of having a clean version of Windows XP to boot up completely separate from any other OS, and at the same time also be able to run Win 7 as my default OS. Sort of having the best of both worlds...

So, my noobish question about dual boot is: How is it setup and what do I need (aside from a copy of Win 7 and XP)?

Gunner & Ray, you two seem to worship dual boot. Do you have any really good "how-to" links to share (examples below) or steps you guys follow?

SevenForums: Windows 7 - Dual Boot Installation with Windows 7 and XP
TechSpot: Dual Boot Windows 7 with XP/Vista in three easy steps

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