Buying a new PC, Comments on Config?



  • I have an intel iMac duo core 2.44ghz 4gb ram 500gb hd box and it works fine, but a simple "context switch" between apps that run in Windows/Leopard is proving painful (save, exit, reboot, launch, load, and then in reverse to switch back). While I like the box, the apps I use really force me to live in the Windows world. As such, I've decided to get myself an all-out work-horse/game-playing monster that will still be a kick-a** box in 3-4 years.

    What do you think of this config (I'm guessing ~ $6 - 6.5K)... anything I missed?

    Thanks!

    intel extreme quad core qx9770 @ 3.2ghz, oc'd to ~4ghz
    nVidia 790i ultra core 2 quad 1600mhz fsb mobo
    Vista-64bit
    8gb ddr3 ram @ 1600mhz oc'd to match mobo fsb 
        (I deal w/large data sets and the extra ram will help)
    1000w corsair power supply
    cooler master haf 932 case
    2xraptor 300gb 10K rpm hd (raid 0)
    2xnVidia sli gtx280-1gb (Crysis)
    optical 1: dvd rw, cd rw
    optical 2: blu ray burner
    gb ethernet
    extra cooling all around (cpu copper heatpipe heat sink, case and memory fans)
        - not sure about this, or some variant of single/double loop liquid cooling
    24" widescreen (it's going under a hutch, so this is as big as will fit)
    I don't need wireless and there's a wide screen tv on the wall next to where
    we keep it, so there's no need for a tuner...


  •  You might want to investigate the Ars Technica System Guides, which they publish a few times a year. They build out three different levels of system: Budget Box, Hot Rod, and God Box, and include rationale for their hardware choices and rough cost estimates.



  • Will do - thanks!



  •  The whole thing's a bit too far out of my range (I go more for value/money) so I can't offer much advice on performance. I do know a thing or two about building quiet PCs though. From the looks of it, it seems like you're in for jet-engine levels of noise, so my advice would be to get aftermarket coolers for everything. CPU, case, VGA, if it moves it has to be replaced. Given the amount of money you'll be paying, the price for the coolers would be pocket change.  Now you can pick any decent brand for those, but I'd strongly recommend Zalman. Their fans even have rpm controls so if you plug those into a front panel, you can easily switch the PC from watching-movie-quiet to game-playing-warzone-loud.

    As for water cooling you should only go for that if you're looking for serious cooling or a very quiet PC. Otherwise it's just one extra thing to worry about.

    Also you might want to put in some sort of filter on the intake fans if the case doesn't already have one, because with the volume of air you'll need to move through that PC, it'll be choked with dust in a few months. 

    Finally the SLI setup might get in the way of a decent aftermarket fan, plus you only get a percentage of the potential of the second card in games.   



  • @snoofle said:

    ... that will still be a kick-a** box in 3-4 years.

    What do you think of this config (I'm guessing ~ $6 - 6.5K)... anything I missed?

    ...

     

    If that's what you want you would be better to spend $2000 now and $2000 in 2-3 years.  You really start getting diminishing returns over $2000 because the high end stuff runs at such a markup.  And it doesn't really matter how expensive the thing you buy is, in 4 years new technology will be out (pixel shaders 4, USB3, DDR4, smaller chips, PCI-Express 3, or anything else) that will by definition make your box not the newest technology (and hence, not "kick-ass").  I'm not saying you won't be able to play all the new games that come out, you will because game makers try very hard to make their games run on lower spec computers.   However, I think if you go for a $2K computer every 2-3 years you will alwaysbe able to say that your computer kicks ass.  Another think to keep in mind, you can always upgrade.  What I do is buy the best motherboard on the market with all the new technology, and then later I upgrade the components.  So right now I have PCI-Express 2 and DDR3 with the slowest spead DDR3 memory you can buy (that was the only thing out when I built) and a bottom of the barrel PCI-E2 card (which is still better than most PCI-E cards.  So when my machine starts to slow down I just upgrade those things (and the processor) and I basically have a brand new computer. 



  • Tster said everything I wanted to say.

    Your $6000 will last you 4-5 years, but so will a $2000 machine. That's $4000 burnt, for which you could have gotten 2 new ones.



    And remember that good maintenance will keep your device zippy for years even if it's strictly not the fastest thing out there. I'm running a 4+ year old machine that's WAY WAY more responsive in every area than the freshest machines we use at work, because everybody treats their PC's like shit. Except for me. My work machine is currently 6 years old and runs just as bad as my neighbour's 1-year old totally mis-treated apparatus. Hell, I could reformat&reinstall, and then it'll be the fastest one in the office.



  • OK, I know im 1.5 weeks late with this, but I have to agree with everyone else about their comments.

    The Q9650 will overclock to 4GHz with ease saving you a huge amount of money, but depending on what your actually doing with the machine an E8400 (dual core) overclocked to 4GHz will probably give you the exact same performance (especially in games).

    Why Buy ram and overclock to 1600GHz when you can buy 1600GHz DDR3 for almost the same price (bout 5-10% more expensive atm than 1333GHz).

    I really hate nForce chipsets lately ( lots of bugs as of late and very picky when it comes to memory compatability). Much prefer Intels P45 or X48 chipsets (although stay clear of MSI with the X48 atm, their having issues with the FSB maxing out at 200MHz).

    Unless your using it for work related stuff in which you have to don't bother with the 2 raptors, particularly when it comes to games. Games will not avail what so ever of the extra speed since they're usually designed such that all related data for levels are stored together in a single blob archive to minimise seek times.

     Ok, good job on choosing nVidea over ATI on the graphics cards. Going from benchmarks the 4870 x2 well out performs the GTX 280, however when it come to actual workload from what i've seen nVidea does seem to top the charts. I'm put under the impression that the 4870 x2 was actually designed to top benchmarks and not designed for its actual use of game rendering. Plus the many driver issues (particularly shadows) with all ATI's cards atm they really don't cut it for me. And also you get some "Professional" features not available on radeon cards. with these two cards you would want to at least get a res of at least 1920 x 1200, otherwise just drop to a single card as you wont acually benefit from the two atm. and you can always upgrade to a second later for a cheaper price when you need it.

     

    HOWEVER, if you really must get an all out ass kicking machine: DON'T buy one now, as in a few months time intels new generation of processors will be out (Socket LGA1366 X58 chipset based motherboards for these are already being stocked in suppliers).

    Oh and Nahalem (32nm fabrication process) is due out late next year which supports up to 6 cores for desktop/workstation/server environment or up to 8 cores for workstation/server environment.

     

     



  • @snoofle said:

    I have an intel iMac duo core 2.44ghz 4gb ram 500gb hd box and it works fine, but a simple "context switch" between apps that run in Windows/Leopard is proving painful (save, exit, reboot, launch, load, and then in reverse to switch back). While I like the box, the apps I use really force me to live in the Windows world.


    Now I am really late to the party, but have you tried VMware Fusion? It would seem to solve the real problem for only a couple of hundred $$$


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