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Build Advice Building a £2k-ish "forward-looking" computer

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by PhoenixTank, 7 May 2010.

  1. PhoenixTank

    PhoenixTank From The Ashes

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    Okay, first up, I know it is impossible to future proof a computer, given how fast the industry moves, but I'm looking to spend a large amount now on solid foundations and slowly add to it as needed for the more flexible components (HDD, Graphics card etc) until I need to start from scratch again. See my current build below for a bit of context.


    Budget: £2,000 - £2,500 (or so)
    If I find exactly what I'm looking for in terms of parts, I'll be happy to throw down more cash for it. Budget doesn't include peripherals.

    Main uses of intended build:
    Video editing, other design work (Photoshop Illustrator etc.), probably 3D work too, gaming. I guess you could categorise it as a general purpose, high end computer.


    Parts Required:
    I've decided fairly firmly on some of these, but don't have a clue for others.
    Everything needs to work solidly with Win 7 x64.
    • CPU: i7 980X (Having 6 cores and solid overclock results is very appealing) OR i7 930
    • CPU FAN: Zalman CNPS9900. I greatly prefer this old style design compared to the new Zalman CPU fans.
    • Motherboard: GA-X58A-UD3R (Seems to perform as well as the GA-X58A-UD7, with matching features, but at a more reasonable price, and without the bulky chipset cooling system)
    • HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB (Normally a WD guy, but this was reviewed well)
    • RAM: Corsair Memory DDR3 1333MHz 12GB (6x2GB) (HX3X12G1333C9). Unsure here as to whether I should opt for faster memory and less capacity, or 12GB of this RAM. Can be upgraded later, of course, but prefer not to waste parts when I can.
    • GPU: Not a clue. I'm an Nvidia guy, and I much prefer their drivers, but not impressed with what I've read regarding the first generation Fermi line. I've waited 5 years to start fresh, I can wait a little longer if they intend to release another batch that addresses the concerns most seem to have.
    • Case: Thermaltake's more recent line of cases all seem to have various issues that turn me away from them... Looking for something with a good amount of room for expansion, good cooling, and a stylish look. Tool-free system if possible. 3pin case fans would be really great. A decent fan control unit would be a bonus. A window would be sweet too.
    • PSU: Erm, open to suggestions. Suitably high wattage to support component expansion, reliable and efficient would seem smart. Not informed on the benefits of modular PSUs. Someone would need to sell me on the idea.
    • Sound Card: Decent onboard sound will likely suffice for now. Standard Coax Digital Out would be needed if you were to suggest one.
    • DVD-RW: Any good SATA DVD-RW - No need for Lightscribe or similar.

    Not scavenging anything from the current PC, so if I have missed out something from the above list, it is an error on my part.



    As a bit of background, I'm using the first PC I ever built, as my current pc:
    • Intel P4 HT 3.4 GHz being cooled by a ZALMAN CNPS 9500 air cooler
    • Intel manufactured Socket478, 875P chipset motherboard
    • AGP XFX 7950GT, modded with ZALMAN VF900-Cu cooler
    • 3 Hard drives, 2 using SATA I (had just been introduced at the time), totalling about 1.5TB of storage space, triple booting Ubuntu, XP and Win7.
    • Thermaltake PSU (I forget the wattage) & Thermaltake Xaser III (3) case.

    It started life using a 3.0GHz CPU, one 20GB IDE HDD (scavenged from previous computer - and died a few months thereafter) and one 250GB SATA drive, and a Nvidia 5900XT.
    So, I've done a reasonable amount of upgrading since the start. So, please consider me competent, but out of the loop with the most recent developments.

    Monitor resolution:
    Right now, 1600 x 1200, but most likely will need/want to buy a new one. Interested in hooking up the second DVI/HDMI port to my 1080P TV.

    Storage requirements:
    For now, looking to start with a single 1TB HDD and add SSD(s) when the tech matures sufficiently.

    Will you be overclocking: Most likely, yes. It'd be a crime not to if I bought a 980X, right?

    Any motherboard requirements (no. of USB, Xfire/SLI, fan headers):
    SLI/Xfire ability, USB3 support. More or less similar to the UD3R motherboard I'm thinking of.

    Extra information about desired system:
    Err, as I've said, building a solid base system to occasionally upgrade and add components to.
    Case dimensions need to be close to 531 x 206 x 521mm (current case)

    Thanks for reading (and hopefully posting!) :)
     
  2. Instagib

    Instagib Minimodder

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    Just on the subject of modular PSUs; They are brilliant. A decent build can be let down asthetically by a messy cabling. Also, it can affect air flow in the case. Modular allows you to only use the lines you need and remove the others, making it much easier to do a decent cabling job.
    As for a make and model, a Corsair 850HX is a rock solid performer and offers plenty of wattage for a oc plus possible sli builds. There's a 1000W model if 850 isn't enough juice.
     
  3. masterjonny

    masterjonny What's a Dremel?

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    Okay, well a few things jump out;

    CPU: The 980X is an amazing chip, absolutely brilliant, but can you justify the price leap? I mean it's so much dearer, unless you really need that extra horsepower you could do so much with that money? I mean coming from a P4 to an i7 930 will be mind blowing, so better spend the cash elsewhere? And the 930 can OC to 4.0GHz quite happily :)

    CPU Cooler: Dude, really? I remember a cooler labs test a while ago in CPC and that did badly. You said in the requirements of the case we're a window would be nice, so yeah a good looking cooler would be nice. But I can't help but feel that will limit your OC. Consider the Corsair H50 or Polimatech Megahalem in a push/pull setup

    Mobo: Agreed. Good level of future proofing etc. However as the processor is so wonderfully excessive, considered a Asus Rampage III Extreme to go with it and match the excess? :

    HDD: Goood. Cutting back on the CPU might give you the budget for an SSD boot drive?

    RAM: Size or speed is up to you. Do you NEED 12GB? I personally use 12 as I code massively parallel algorithms. But if your not a graphics artist, programmer, or any other task that actually needs 12 I would go for 6GB of faster

    GPU: I'm not a fanboy, but I think ATi have got the current high end market sewn up. You've read the review's of Fermi. Hot, power thirsty, dearer....all of which could be justified for an amazing card, but according to bit-tech it was on average only 5-10% quicker than a 5870.

    Case: Opinion varies massively. Don't wanna make a call :p

    PSU: Modular means all the cables arent hard wired. You only add in what you need, like Molex, SATA etc. Makes for a much much tidier case. You should be looking at the Corsair HX series, the Enermax Revolution series and the be quiet! Dark Power range.

    Sound Card: If you don't need it don't buy it. But the Asus Xonar is a great card if you want one.

    DVD-RW: A nice OEM one in the same colour as your case. £11-15 expect to pay.
     
    Last edited: 7 May 2010
  4. llamafur

    llamafur WaterCooled fool

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    The titan fenrir CPU cooler is on of bit-techs favorites. I'd go for the titan over the zalman any day. For the GPU I would go with an ATI card unless you will be running any 'CUDA' based programs.
    ATIs 5000 series are just as good if not better than Nvidias cards as of rignt now.
     
  5. Bloody_Pete

    Bloody_Pete Technophile

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    +1 to everything Masterjonny said.

    How does this look?

    [​IMG]
     
  6. llamafur

    llamafur WaterCooled fool

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    @bloody_pete That GPU is a monster!!
     
  7. Bloody_Pete

    Bloody_Pete Technophile

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    with a £2k+ budget, why not? :p
     
  8. Ph4ZeD

    Ph4ZeD What's a Dremel?

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    No SSD on a build with that kind of budget is madness, you could easily afford a Intel/Vertex 2 drive.
     
  9. Nikols

    Nikols What's a Dremel?

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    I'll probably get shot down for this but Im looking at this from a future proof perspective...

    Would you not consider an am3 platform build? I've built a similar spec on AM3 and here is my thinking:
    1090T BE X6 Processor - 6 cores, up there with intel, second best to 980 for multithreaded apps. So what if you loose a few fps on current games, next year Bulldozer is out and the great thing with amd is first incarnations will more than likely drop into your MB. Next years intels will definately require a new motherboard aswell.
    Crosshair IV motherboard, supports up to 16gb 2000mhz ddr3. Plenty!
    Now with the money saved buy 2 x 5890's or 2 x 5870's
    Agree with the above post - modular PSU is class, plug in whatever cables you want and +1 for corsair - give you plenty of cables so future proofing is no problem.
     
  10. Ph4ZeD

    Ph4ZeD What's a Dremel?

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    Yeah you will get slapped down for silly suggestions like AMD hexacores. In Bit-Techs review, they simply didnt hold up against an i7 930. And buying all the components brand new for an AMD system costs the same as i7.
     
  11. MaverickWill

    MaverickWill Dirty CPC Mackem

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    The i7-980X will not need replacing for 5 years - let's be honest, guys. That's the most forward-looking part of the lot.
     
  12. Nikols

    Nikols What's a Dremel?

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    Open your eyes to the world wide web and read more than one review. 1090 gets creamed in single threaded apps but not in muti threaded. As I said I was coming at this from a future proof perspective. The savings I was eluding to were against the 980, and the fact that a crosshair 4 is £100 cheaper than its intel counterpart. Also the main point of my response was that you can have a 1090T now and then a next gen cpu next year running on the same guts which at that time would equate to savings against buying a 930 now and upgrading it and the mobo next year. If it looks like AMD are finally getting their act together is in not worth considering from the perspective that what you buy now will be comaptable with future hardware releases?
     
    Last edited: 7 May 2010
  13. rollo

    rollo Modder

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    980 is a good buy no douts

    12gb of ram is useful for coding I have that myself

    5870 is still the card I'd use buy 2 If you want more performance

    5970 is poor really really poor it's hot noisy and not a great performer if you get a bad driver for new games

    SSd is a must

    tranq cooler would be best

    it's quiet and excellent at what it does
     
  14. Instagib

    Instagib Minimodder

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    Have a cookie sir.
    I'm really starting to get annoyed with intel and their must-have-a-new-socket-every-year attitude. It smaks of milking. AMD at least have always maintained some degree of backwards compatibility which is beginning to look more and more attractive by the day.

    Instagib - jaded Intel Fanboy.
     
  15. Pete J

    Pete J Employed scum

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    Here we go:

    Motherboard: Asus Rampage III Extreme £330
    Don't mess around with the mobo when building a high end computer, get the best! That SATA 6GB will be handy for future proofing. This board will help you with overclocking.

    CPU: 980X £805
    If you really are into heavy image editing etc, then maybe you should go for it. It'll certainly last you ages and you should be able to clock beyond 4GHz with a decent cooler. Speaking of which:

    CPU Cooler: H50 £62

    Case: Lian Li PC-A70FB £148
    No side window unfortunately but Lian-Li make lurvely cases.

    DVD drive: Sony DRU-870s £22
    Why not?!

    RAM: Corsair XMS3, DDR3 PC3-12800 £145
    6GB is enough for almost anything but depends exactly what you are doing. I've managed to almost max 12GB out with some of my simulations.

    PSU: 1000W Corsair CMPSU-1000HXUK £186
    In the future, you may want to run tri crossfire/SLI. Best be prepared!

    GPUs: 2xPowercolor ATI Radeon HD 5870 £620
    Depends how much you like gaming! This will make current games FLY.

    Hard drive: 2xSpinpoint F3 1TB RAID0 £115
    2TB storage and nice, fast access time. However, you should bear in mind that RAID0 has a very, very small chance of failing.

    Operating system: Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit £111
    Because everyone likes to think they're a professional!

    This bring the total to: £2544 (a bit over, but hey)

    I personally haven't experienced using an SSD but a lot of people rave about them. It may be worth investing in one, in which case you could downgrade the 5870s to 5850s.

    Good luck! Remember to post picks of your build!
     
  16. Nikols

    Nikols What's a Dremel?

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    Similar to my build, tho I dont have an SSD...

    AMD Alternative

    1000W Corsair CMPSU-1000HXUK, ATX, EPS12V, PS/2, Modular Power Supply, UK Version, 5 Year Warranty
    LN22022
    Item in stock. 1000W Corsair CMPSU-1000HXUK, ATX, EPS12V, PS/2, Modular Power Supply, UK Version, 5 Year Warranty 28 day installation damage insurance with Scansure available on this product £158.69 £186.46

    Creative X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Champion Soundcard PCI-E -
    LN24528
    Item in stock. Creative X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Champion Soundcard PCI-E - 28 day installation damage insurance with Scansure available on this product £136.57 £160.47

    6GB (3x2GB) Corsair Dominator, DDR3 PC3-12800 (1600), CAS 8-8-8-24, DHX, XMP, 1.65V
    LN25447
    Item in stock. 6GB (3x2GB) Corsair Dominator, DDR3 PC3-12800 (1600), CAS 8-8-8-24, DHX, XMP, 1.65V 28 day installation damage insurance with Scansure available on this product £159.12 £186.97

    LG CH08LS10.AUAU 8x Blu-Ray Reader,16x DVD±R, 8x +RW, 6x -RW, 5x RAM - OEM
    LN28159
    Item in stock. LG CH08LS10.AUAU 8x Blu-Ray Reader,16x DVD±R, 8x +RW, 6x -RW, 5x RAM - OEM 28 day installation damage insurance with Scansure available on this product £58.28 £68.48

    Corsair H50-1 Hydro Series High-performance CPU Watercooler, LGA775/1156/1366, AM2/2+/AM3 *NEW V2* LN29006
    Item in stock. Corsair H50-1 Hydro Series High-performance CPU Watercooler, LGA775/1156/1366, AM2/2+/AM3 *NEW V2* 28 day installation damage insurance with Scansure available on this product £52.89 £62.15

    2 x 1GB Sapphire HD 5870 Vapor-X OC, PCI-E 2.0, 5GHz GDDR5, GPU 875MHz, 1600 Cores, 2x DVI-I/ DP/ HDMI LN31993
    Item in stock. 1GB Sapphire HD 5870 Vapor-X OC, PCI-E 2.0, 5GHz GDDR5, GPU 875MHz, 1600 Cores, 2x DVI-I/ DP/ HDMI 28 day installation damage insurance with Scansure available on this product £591.72 £695.27

    1TB Western Digital WD1002FAEX Caviar Black, SATA 6Gb/s, 7200rpm, 64MB Cache, 8 ms
    LN32170
    Item in stock. 1TB Western Digital WD1002FAEX Caviar Black, SATA 6Gb/s, 7200rpm, 64MB Cache, 8 ms 28 day installation damage insurance with Scansure available on this product £69.67 £81.86

    128GB Kingston SSDNow V 2.5" SSD, SATA 3Gb/s, Read 200MB/s, Write 160MB/s
    LN32455
    Item in stock. 128GB Kingston SSDNow V 2.5" SSD, SATA 3Gb/s, Read 200MB/s, Write 160MB/s 28 day installation damage insurance with Scansure available on this product £174.93 £205.54

    AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition, Thuban, Sok AM3, 3.2GHz, 9MB Total Cache, 125W, Retail
    LN32798
    Item in stock. AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition, Thuban, Sok AM3, 3.2GHz, 9MB Total Cache, 125W, Retail 28 day installation damage insurance with Scansure available on this product £199.99 £234.99

    Asus Crosshair IV Formula, AMD 890FX, SAM3, PCI-E 2.0, DDR3 1600/1800/1866, SATA 6Gb/s RAID, ATX
    LN33070
    Item in stock. Asus Crosshair IV Formula, AMD 890FX, SAM3, PCI-E 2.0, DDR3 1600/1800/1866, SATA 6Gb/s RAID, ATX 28 day installation damage insurance with Scansure available on this product £140.89 £165.55

    Net Total
    £1,742.75
    Carriage
    £9.43
    Vat
    £306.64
    Total
    £2,058.82
     
    Last edited: 7 May 2010
  17. Ph4ZeD

    Ph4ZeD What's a Dremel?

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    PSU is a bit OTT for the build above. I could actually run both of those cards on my HX620 PSU :)
     
  18. Nikols

    Nikols What's a Dremel?

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    Agree with you! but tis about as future compatible as u get, unless it gets outlawed on account of its carbon footprint.... it comes with its own little smog cloud f.o.c.
     
  19. Pie_uk

    Pie_uk British beef, in Britain

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    or buy my 200sx your'll have more fun :D.

    1000W psu! wowsers. Could power my house with that lol
     
  20. Bloody_Pete

    Bloody_Pete Technophile

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    Erm... Is everyone just going to ignore the spec I did? As it's exactly what everyone is suggesting (the non AMD people that is)... And the only reason I popped in a 5870 is for the cost, as you can drop in any highend graphics setup for that cost :)
     

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