First Build - Obvious Mistakes?

mrmarkb

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Hello! First time builder here, looking for any quick advice or critique on my build. My budget is $2,400US and I'm interested in ATI's Eyefinity technology for production and gaming. I own and operate a 3 man graphic design company and have always relied on Apple products for our hardware. We'd like to make the switch to Windows 7 and enjoy a bit of gaming on the side. Please let me know if there are any gaping holes in my build, and also if you spot any incompatible parts. Also, if you have any critique of the parts chosen, I am open to all suggestions. Thank you and have a good one!

Intel Core i7-930 2.8GHz
ASUS Rampage III Gene LGA
G.Skill Ripjaw Series 8GB DDR3 1333
ASUS ROG Matrix Radeon 5870 2GB
Intel X25-V SSD 40GB
Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional
Cooler Master HAF 932
Cooler Master Silent Pro 850w

Monitors:
2x ASUS VW246H 24"
Note: I have a 24" Apple Cinema Display HD that I plan to use as the main (center) monitor in this 3x1 setup.
 

mrmarkb

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Thanks for the input, I appreciate your enthusiasm as moving away from Apple is still a notion I'm wrapping my head around.

Cheers!
 

Haserath

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I see that you have 8GB of Ram there. The i7 930 uses triple channel Ram just to let you know, so it should be either 6GB or 12GB ;), unless you just want to stick with double channel RAM those will still work. Triple channel doesn't make that much difference anyway.
 

mrmarkb

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Thanks for the info Haserath. I think I'll bump down to 6GB (should be enough for my needs - CS5 and some gaming). My question now is 1333 or 1600? Comments I've seen suggest that i7 processors can't utilize 1600 without some modifications (I've also read of this issue causing problems for some). Any thoughts there?
 

Haserath

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The i7 doesn't benefit much from Ram faster than 1333mhz. You might as well just get decent Ram at 1333mhz, unless you can find Ram that is better for the same price.

You do have to overclock the processor to use 1600mhz RAM(the "uncore" has to be clocked faster to keep up with the RAM speed), because intel specified that it should use 1066mhz Ram. It can run much faster RAM than even 1600mhz, though, so I wouldn't worry about what you get.
 

mrmarkb

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What are your thoughts on ATX mobos? Are they just better for this size case? I can't find anything that informative on PSU choice. I went with the one listed as it was a newegg combo deal with the case. Do you think I need more juice or do you just not care for the cooler master brand PSU?

Thanks for the input!
 

Somebody_007

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yeah go with 6gb as said above preferable 1600 which is a pretty standard speed and shouldn't cost you too much.

Don't worry about intel's statements though. I clock my mushkins at 1600 cl6 with uncore and voltage at intel's stock.

The psu has plenty of power but cooler master isn't the best brand. xfx, silverstone and corsair are very reliable.

I despise the looks of the haf 932 but that's personal.

an mATX mobo in an atx case is far from a good choice. You have less pci slots and pay for compactness. Better an ud3r which has more pci slots and better cooling due to the larger size.

for the rest a 40gb ssd is pretty useless. Since 40gb is very very small.

for CS5 you'd want to go with nvdia due to CUDA.
 

mrmarkb

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Somebody_00,

Great input man, thanks. You're right about 1600 ram: not much more money than 1333. Where I lack understanding is that you have to clock your processor after the fact to get the extra boost. Seems odd to me (but what would you expect from an ex-Apple user).

I think I'll go with a Corsair PSU of the same wattage (they get great reviews on every site I've come across). I chose the case based on reviews, spaciousness, and air flow. I'm not that fond of the look either but I can't say I'm a fan of any of the cases I've come across (except the ones that cost $250+ which is not where I care to spend my money).

From what I'm understanding, folks are suggesting that Micro ATX boards are not my best fit as I'm paying extra for the reduced size which also comes with other issues (space, heat build-up, etc). I will look into a better board for my build (suggestions welcomed).

It looks like I will be going with a larger SSD (likely 80GB). I intend to use it for OS and Adobe Creative Suite (which is how I make a living). Stuff like games, media, and data can go on the other HD's. Is that an ill-advised setup?

I've read a lot about video cards and CS5 and my take on it is this: CS5 will show some increased performance running on certain nvidia cards, however the software also takes advantage of other cards (ATI for example). While gaming is not that high on my list, it would be nice to play games at high settings, across 3 monitors via Eyefinity. My personal experience with nvidia cards has been somewhat underwhelming and from what I read ATI still has the edge on nvidia concerning cards of this price range. Please correct me if I'm misinformed, I am certainly not set in stone on this!

Thanks again for your helpful input!
 

mrmarkb

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billygoat17,

Not a bad case choice and it's getting very high marks on its reviews. Thanks for the suggestion!

I know the graphics card chosen is a bit over the top for my needs, it's those darn WANTS that are getting in the way. For CS5, this computer should do quite well, with games on the side it should shine!

Cheers!
 

mrmarkb

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Wisecracker,

Those are some serious savings. I will have to look into them, although I have a close friend who's helping me build this things once I've ordered parts (let's just refer to him as Wormtongue) and he's got me set on Intel's chipset. I do appreciate all your suggestions though, thanks for your research!
 

Somebody_007

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Currently amd can only dream of having a cpu to match the 930 in gaming performance so IMO stick with it.

Now Nvidia and ATI are neck at neck if you don't care about physx, CUDA and 3D. But then you do care about CUDA. So Nvidia has the edge in this build. IMO get 460gtx sli. It'll make minced meat of your 5870. I mean it'll really destroy it.

http://www.guru3d.com/article/geforce-gtx-460-sli-review/1

read through that review(it's about the 0.7gb 460 you can get the 1gb version aswell and get a respectable performance boost.) Keep in mind your 5870 is more expensive than 460 sli and it doesn't even come close to performing like it.

And then there's CUDA which will accelerate CS5 which I assume matters to you. Nothing ATI has will improve CS5 over nvidia.

also you can game on 3 screens with nvidia since a few months ago.

All in all 460sli will give you far far more for less. It's a little less upgradeable at stock. But 3 1gb overclocked 460s will beat 3 overclocked 5870s. So really it's a no-brainer.

I know more for less sounds to good to be true but 460s are the best bang for buck on the market by miles ask any self respcting geek :D.

as for the case I can give you plenty around the 200 margin. And I'd gladly pay 50 dollars more for looks(you also get better quality as a bonus :D)

Good cases with OK looks for an OK price

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811133086&cm_re=thermaltake_element_g-_-11-133-086-_-Product

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129058&cm_re=antec_900-_-11-129-058-_-Product

better cases with better looks

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119138&cm_re=cooler_master_cosmos-_-11-119-138-_-Product

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129043&cm_re=antec_1200-_-11-129-043-_-Product

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119187

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112240&Tpk=lian%20li%20pc-p50

and the ultimate

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112244&cm_re=lian_li_pc_a71f-_-11-112-244-_-Product

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811163162&cm_re=silverstone_ft02-_-11-163-162-_-Product

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811163165&cm_re=ft02-_-11-163-165-_-Product

All of these cases are good any will satisfy your needs. The last silverstone has the best airflow of any case I can think of. Beats the former champions by a few degrees(cpu temp). Which is quite significant. That's the difference between a 40dollar cpu cooler and 80/90 dollar one.

IMO get the one you like the looks of in the end you'll be staring at it for quite a whil anyways.
 

mrmarkb

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Somebody_00,

Incredible feedback, thank you.

In terms of the video card, I will need to do some (a lot) of reading on what you've said. I appreciate you bringing this to my attention. Two quick questions for you are: 1.) How substantial is the CUDA based acceleration for CS5? 2.) By what means is gaming across 3 monitors available from nvidia?

Regarding the cases, those are indeed some great choices. I guess my big problem is that I don't like flashy cases (i.e. led fans, painted colors, etc). I find myself gravitating to the plain-jane, no frills cases (typically, black) which tend to be the on the lower end of the price spectrum. I would hate to get a case that doesn't fit my equipment well in terms of spaciousness and/or airflow (cooling).

Thanks again for contributing. Hope to hear again from you!
 

pcworm

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hi
using 2 NVidia cards allows you to play across 3 monitors, gives you 3d vision (no 3d options from AMD/ATI) and enables cuda..I might be mistaken about the number of cards but 2 should be enough
as for cuda.. actually, great performance boost, esp in cs5 video software (forgot the name)and noticeable boost in photoshop (some filters are implemented in cuda)
I am a CUDA programmer myself, and if implemented correctly, it ROCKS
 

texbldr

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I am putting together an Adobe CS build myself and would add somebody_007 has put you on the right path.

As of now, the approved nVidia cards for CS5 are here, half way down the page on the right:

nVidia CS5 Cards

Today, the only approved gaming-oriented card is the GeForce GTX 285. Others should follow. You could go with a Quadro, which is primarily oriented toward workstation / rendering use.

I was doing some reading in the hardware section of the Adobe forum. I got the impression that one could add a text patch to some properties / settings files and get cards other than the 285 to work. Then, there are file mods that can be made to get a GeForce to function as a Quadro. How well this works I am not sure. You would have to research that further via Google.

Also, I was under the impression from my reading on Adobe that SLI or multiple GPUs did not have that much performance impact on Adobe CS. On that, I am not sure and could be mistaken.

Overall though, your build is developing quite nicely.

 

texbldr

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Other things you may want to note:

On the Asus website, at the page for your mobo, they should have a listing of approved memory for that board. You may want to verify the memory you order is on the list. My understanding is that if you want to do something like move up from 6 gig to 12, your chances of success are greater if the memory is on the list.

Also, in critiques of Adobe CS5 builds in the Adobe Forum, the gurus usually recommend a quality PSU, like a Corsair, with a minimum of 850 watts. So, you may not want to go lower than that. I suppose that presumes one is using a power hungry card like a GTX 285.
 

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