Pre-Built Gaming/Multimedia Rig Specs, Looking For Opinions On Options

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by ampmoth, Jan 15, 2011.

  1. ampmoth

    ampmoth Member

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    I suppose I should warn you now that this post may be a bit long. I apologize for any rambling. Feel free to answer any or all questions you have knowledge about. Any help is better than none.

    My current pre-built (minus the GPU and PSU upgrade) non-gaming Dell computer has began having issues recently and instead of bothering to fix it up, I've opted to buy a new one designed for gaming and multimedia with a flexible budget of 3,000 USD with a monitor bought seperately. However only being moderately tech savvy, I have decided to come to you amazing people to help me answer my lingering questions before I finally make a purchase.

    I originally pondered getting an Alienware Aurora computer since my current is a Dell and I'm familar with the company, but upon further review I found out that overheating was a major issue. I proceeded to look around at cyberpower, Ibuypower and a few others, but reviews concerning blue screens, parts inserted incorrectly and missing pieces have made me wary. I found a company called Falcon Northwest ( http://www.falcon-nw.com ) that has had good reviews (the bad seeming to only come from the fact that it is a smaller company which causes customer service to be slower at times). I have my eyes on the Talon system with a three year warranty on parts and lifetime phone support.

    Here are some bits of information that may help you with the answers for my questions. I have no intention of overclocking anything on my system. I don't have the knowledge nor do I want to stress anything past what it is supposed to run as. I'm willing to pay a little extra to get the faster hardware that doesn't require overclocking to compete with top of the line hardware. Overheating on any component is a huge concern of mine since every computer I have owned has run into this issue. I'm really looking to avoid this.

    _______________________________________________

    This is what I'm possibly aimming for at this time (all of which can be found with further specs on the Talon builder on Falcon Northwest's website)..

    8.22''W x 17.25''H x 19''D Aluminum + Steel Tower W/ Three 120mm Performance Fans
    SilverStone ST1200W PSU (OR) 1000W
    P8P67 Deluxe
    i5 2500K 3.3GHZ (OR) i7 2600K 3.4GHZ (W/ LIQCOOL)
    8GB (4x2GB) 1333MHz DDR3 (OR) 16GB (4x4GB) 1333MHz DDR3
    GTX 460 1GB SLI (OR) GTX 570 1.28GB (OR) GTX 580 1.5GB
    Western Digital Caviar 1TB 7200RPM 6GB/s
    24x DVD Writer
    Internal Media Reader
    Windows 7 Home Premium

    Ranges between $2421 and $2863 of my $3000 flexible budget depending on options which does not include a monitor I will buy seperately.

    _______________________________________________


    Here is where the questions come in. I have listed the price differences between the ones with (OR) options above to see if it is worth the upgrade for the price.

    1 COMPANY & PRICE . Has anyone had an experience with Falcon Northwest or the Talon system before? Are there any websites you would reccomend that I have possibly missed? Am I going to be paying way too much in comparison to building my own? Is it really diffcult to build your own without any knowledge or help?

    2 PSU . $90 Difference. Is there any downside to having a power supply that is more powerful than what is required for your system? If I go the route of getting one GPU for now, I would like the option of switching to SLI down the road. Is 1200W overkill even for the top of the line options? Would 1000W be fine for any future advancement?

    3 CPU . $100 Difference. I have read on here and elsewhere that the i5 2500 is better because it can overclock easier, but I have no intentions of overclocking. Am I better off going with the i7 then?

    4 RAM . $111 Difference. I suspect 16GB is a bit overkill since I've noticed most of you are rarely above 4-6GB. Mainly just looking for input regarding whether or not that is worth the price or not or if I should hold off because the 8GB will be more than enough.

    5 GPU . Two 460s is a little more than getting one 570, and one 580 is a little more than getting two 460s. I have seen amazing reviews for the 460s, but since I have no intention for overclocking I'm wondering is it even worth getting them since people have claimed getting one GPU is sometimes better than two. The 570 and 580 I've seen mixed reviews about and seen a few issues. Is the 570 more stable than the 580? Price is not a huge deal here, I'm more concerned with performance. I am interested in potential SLI with the other two down the road.




    Thank you in advance for any answers I receive. I look forward to reading them.
     
  2. hallryu

    hallryu Don Altobello

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    Welcome to Guru3D :thumbup:

    At a glance the main points that stick out for me are:

    &

    = MADNESS
     
  3. ShadowMyth

    ShadowMyth Ancient Guru

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    ^ Gotta agree. It's cheaper & a better option to build your own.
     
  4. sykozis

    sykozis Ancient Guru

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    Falcon-Northwest is the last independent "boutique" company... You will be overpaying compared to building your own "performance equivalent" system.

    You won't need a 1200watt PSU unless you're looking for GTX580 SLI later....and 1000watt is still overkill for a single GTX580 or GTX460 SLI.

    The i5 2500K is simply put, the i7 2600K without HyperThreading. If this system is targetting games or multimedia...you don't need HyperThreading, thus the 2600K is not worth the cost. If you do any graphics or video editing or converting...the 2600K is worth it's cost difference.

    16GB of ram is overkill. Period. Stick with the 8GB. You'll be replacing that system before you'll need 16GB of ram.

    The GTX460 is a very good GPU, when it has good drivers. In most cases, SLI scales rather well. The GTX570 and 580, being of the same architecture will experience any and all problems that the GTX400 series is prone to. That being said...I would recommend the GTX580 as opposed to GTX460 SLI due to the simple fact that multi-GPU configurations are going to have issues....period. It's impossible to completely avoid. The question is whether or not those issues will directly impact YOU.
     

  5. ampmoth

    ampmoth Member

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    Thank you for the welcome, hallyru.

    Thank you for the responses, sykozis. Simple and exactly what I was looking to figure out.

    I suppose I'm curious to find out as well now...
    Is it terribly hard to put a rig together without any experience with building one/parts/computer layout? I know absolutely nothing about going about that nor do I have anyone that would be able to assist me face to face. I'm nervous about the idea of buying parts, messing up and having to shell out more money for new parts. About how much could I expect to spend to build my own that would be equivalent to the above?
     
  6. ShadowMyth

    ShadowMyth Ancient Guru

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    It's fairly simple to build your own PC as long as you research & buy the proper components. In most cases it's as simple as installing the hardware, OS, then proper drivers. If you have any knowledge of PCs then it's quite easy to figure out, especially if you use a resource like Guru3D.
     
  7. sykozis

    sykozis Ancient Guru

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    I could beat Falcon-Northwest's price by almost $800.....$1633 vs $2421...

    That's based on matching the specs/options you gave from Falcon-Northwest

    Most components come with installation guides to assist in installation.
     
  8. deltatux

    deltatux Ancient Guru

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    Well, this is where Guru3D is for help. Our community (incl. myself ofc) push people to build their own rig instead of having people waste their money having them prefab. Not only are they more expensive but they're a pain in the ass to fix, troubleshoot and upgrade. A computer is just a giant jigsaw puzzle. It's actually easier to assemble a rig than a jigsaw puzzle.

    To kick start you off, I'm assuming you're from the States, so here's a framework on what you can piece together:

    Intel Core i5 2500K ($224.99)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115072
    GIGABYTE GA-P67A-UD4 ($189.99)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128463
    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (4 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 F3-12800CL7Q-8GBRM ($139.99)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231329
    EVGA SuperClocked 012-P3-1572-AR GeForce GTX 570 (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 ($369.99)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130595
    Corsair Force CSSD-F240GB2-BRKT 2.5" 240GB SATA II SSD ($439.99)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820233126
    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive ($69.99)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152185
    COOLER MASTER HAF 932 Black RC-932-KWN3 Black ($139.99)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119230
    LG DVD+/-RW GH24NS50 ($18.99)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136177
    CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-850HX 850W ($169.99)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139011
    Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium x64 ($99.99)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116754

    Subtotal: $1863.90

    All prices in US Dollars from NewEgg.com. All applicable shipping and taxes extra. Prices are subject to chance without notice.

    This rig is design to kick ass and take name without going too crazy on the price.

    deltatux
     
  9. lehtv

    lehtv Ancient Guru

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    ^ Now that is what I call an excellent post.

    Yes, buying and putting together your own rig is not difficult. It may seem difficult because it's something you're new to, but once you start researching it, gathering some knowledge and finally doing it, you realise it's just A -> B -> C -> D -> E -> Done -> Power on.

    There are plenty of good guides out there for how to actually go about building a rig, what components are compatible with what, what goes where, etc., and anything you're unsure about can be asked in the forums.

    At minimum it all you need is a set of philips screwdrivers, preferably magnetic. But it doesn't hurt to have things like pinchers, and isopropyl alcohol + q-pads in case you need to clean the CPU and heatsink for reinstallation.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2011
  10. ShadowMyth

    ShadowMyth Ancient Guru

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    ^ Indeed, deltatux is the man, even more so a man with patience. :)
     

  11. ampmoth

    ampmoth Member

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    Thanks a lot for the input guys, and especially deltatux for his list of components. I was working on this myself based on other posts in this forum. Finding Guru3D has lucked out as an amazing resource. I've made the decision to give this a shot. I hope it works out. Just a few more things..



    ASUS P8P67 PRO LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131682
    184.99


    From what I can see, the P8P67 looks better than the Gigabyte for the same price. Just looking for some validation on this and to make sure it would still work for the rest of the components.

    Antec Twelve Hundred Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129043
    159.99


    Little more expensive, little less room and fans have less power, but it has a 5 year warranty, room for more fans to be outfitted and air filters to block dust from entering the system. Not sure on which is more superior, or if the differences are marginal. Thoughts? Also, just for clarification, that PSU should still work in this case as well if I choose it?


    I could exchange the 570 for the following quite easily if I wanted to, correct? Would you still recommend the 570 over it?
    EVGA 015-P3-1580-AR GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) 1536MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130587&cm_re=gtx_580-_-14-130-587-_-Product
    509.99



    Would it hurt to add this? Do I need this on top of everything else?
    ZALMAN CNPS9900MAX-B 135mm Long life bearing CPU Cooler Blue LED
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835118074
    79.99

    If it wouldn't hurt, is there any other fan options that would be better or simiular? Is this one fine?


    What is the point of the Corsair Force 240GB drive? That is the only part of your layout I'm not quite understanding. Is it needed? Shouldn't I only need the 1TB?


    Probably a dumb question. Do I need to get a soundcard or is there an integrated built in? I don't care if my sound is integrated. Just want to make sure I'm not missing that.


    Anything I haven't listed here, I'm probably going to follow your layout for the most part except possibly exchanging out the DVD drive for a different one which shouldn't effect the rest of the components anyway. Right?
     
  12. DerSchniffles

    DerSchniffles Ancient Guru

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    Depending on the type of multimedia you do, I would say get the i7 2600k. If your encoding or decoding or doing anything with video/rendering, the hyperthreading is going to more than pay for itself.

    Also, dont forget that the i7 has tripple channel DDR3 so you need 3 chips to make it run at said channels.
     
  13. sykozis

    sykozis Ancient Guru

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    Here's the hardware I had priced earlier....with shipping, roughly $1633

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Uploaded with ImageShack.us

    sorry for the multiple screenies....
     
  14. ampmoth

    ampmoth Member

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    Thank you for the list of items, sykozis. A lot of what you've included follows along with what I was leaning towards while still incorporating some of deltatux's options. Much appreciated.
     
  15. lehtv

    lehtv Ancient Guru

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    i7 9xx series have a triple-channel memory controller, while the i7 2600(K) uses dual channel memory.

    @ampmoth

    GTX 580 is the fastest graphics chip you can get, and you pay a premium for simply having the fastest. GTX 570 is only 10% slower while costing much less; it will play any game perfectly at a much lower price. By the time games really start to tax GTX 570 more than you'd like, NVIDIA and ATI will have released new, more powerful graphics cards to which you can then upgrade, and sell your 570.

    With regard to cases:

    For optimal cooling and acoustic performance, you want many fans at low RPM rather than few at high RPM. This is for the same reason as having one large fan at low RPM is better than one small one at high rpm; you get the same airflow for less noise. It's best to look for a case that already includes many large and/or silent fans. You'll probably sit near the computer daily, so it would be ideal that the noise the computer makes isn't going to be a problem. If needed, get a fan controller for the front panel; most fans aren't speed adjustable if connected directly to the power supply, so they'll just run at max RPM and produce a lot of noise unless you connect them to the motherboard or a fan controller.

    You also want a case that has good cable management, as that will improve airflow within the case and make changing components and just generally digging inside your computer for whatever reason much easier. Lastly there are lots of things you find out about after working with a couple of cases, but you can also find out alot from reviews; I suggest going over at least a handful of gaming / high performance case reviews to see what is on offer and which case has the qualities you need.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2011

  16. sykozis

    sykozis Ancient Guru

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    The attempt when laying out that selection of components earlier was to keep in line with the specs/options you gave for the Falcon-Northwest system you were inquiring about. I tried to select same brand/performance components where possible/feasible. In some cases, brands were substituted due to improved performance claims of others on the forum, like the Spinpoint F3 harddrive. The CoolIt "watercooling" system is there simply to closer match the specs/options you listed from Falcon-Northwest...though you could achieve similar or better temps with a simple forced-air setup or proper custom watercooling setup. If you choose this route though, I do recommend using a utility such as RealTemp to monitor temps and regularly inspect the watercooling system for leaks.
     
  17. thobel

    thobel Member

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    Originpc.com has some great service and support with some better options imo (custom real water cooling (EK blocks etc) with a quick glance you can get a the same sorta system with slightly better parts from Originpc imo.
     
  18. DerSchniffles

    DerSchniffles Ancient Guru

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    ack, i totally forgot about that >.< thanks for the correction
     
  19. ampmoth

    ampmoth Member

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    Thobel, I checked out OriginPC, but the prices are about the same as Falcon Northwest. I never found OriginPC on my own so thank you.








    Here is my build. I believe I've checked into all of it to make sure it is all compatible with each other, but I'd much appreciate someone taking a look and making sure I'm all set before I purchase anything. Also, please let me know if I'm missing anything. I believe I have all of it listed, but I could be missing something crucial. Feel free to list anything extra I should consider.

    Total is $1553.90, about $1000 cheaper than what it would've cost me to get it pre-built which means I have plenty of money left over even if I mess up (optimistically hoping I don't).


    CASE : 159.99
    Antec Twelve Hundred Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129043

    PSU : 159.99
    KINGWIN Mach 1 ABT-1000MA1S 1000W ATX / BTX SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ..._re=1000w_power_supply-_-17-121-037-_-Product

    MOTHERBOARD : 184.99
    ASUS P8P67 PRO LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131682

    CPU : 224.99
    Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52500K
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115072

    CPU COOLER : 34.99
    COOLER MASTER Hyper N 520 RR-920-N520-GP 92mm Sleeve CPU Cooler Intel Core i7 compatible
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103057

    RAM : 139.99
    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7Q-8GBRM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231329

    HARDDRIVE: 69.99
    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152185

    GPU : 369.99
    EVGA SuperClocked 012-P3-1572-AR GeForce GTX 570 (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130595

    DVD : 18.99
    LG DVD Burner - Bulk Black SATA Model GH24NS50 - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136177

    OPS : 189.99
    Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Full
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116716
     
  20. lehtv

    lehtv Ancient Guru

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    Some thoughts on that:

    Never heard of Kingwin. Newegg says it's only 3 year warranty too. A powerful good quality power supply like that should last you across many builds to be honest, so 3 year warranty just isn't cutting it IMO. 850W is fine for dual GTX 570 if you plan to go that route, especially if you get one of the high end 850W models. E.g. seasonic X-850 or Corsair AX-850. Or get a better 1000W(+) PSU, others may help you with suggestions.

    Not sure about this; is LGA1155 memory supposed to be 1.5v ideally, or is 1.6v ok?

    Everything else you've included looks great IMO.

    Since you're way below your original budget, consider an SSD for your OS drive. It will make everyday use and application loading a lot faster and snappier. Though since the M/B supports Sata 6gb/s, I'd wait until new Sata 6gb SSDs are released in a few weeks / month or two, they're supposed to be quite a leap ahead from the current SSDs.

    What about a sound card? One with good equaliser / post processing functions can really improve gaming, movies and music especially on headphones. I can say my Xonar DX is great. It comes with Dolby Headphone, I know I keep advertising it whenever I can but it's just that nice to have :p

    Lastly, Win 7 retail isn't really worth paying for, just get the OEM 64bit version, it's only $99.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2011

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