First-time $2000 CDN gaming build -- opinions please!

slngk

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Jun 11, 2009
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Hey all -- I've been toying with the idea of getting myself a new compy for a couple of months now, and have come up with most of the parts I think I'd like, but it'd be nice to have some more knowledgeable people than myself chip in :) I've never built my own computer before, so your advice is much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: within a month, ideally
BUDGET RANGE: $1500 to $2000 (Canadian dollars)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: gaming, multitasking (multiple browser instances, media player, mail app, RSS app, IM app, word processor, terminal emulator, etc. all running simultaneously), heavy compilation (linux system packages; can be up to a day of solid compiling)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitors, OS

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: http://pccanada.com/ (small local retailer I am comfortable with); any other reputable Toronto-area retailer you can suggest

PARTS PREFERENCES: Nvidia graphics cards for their Linux drivers

OVERCLOCKING: Yes

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: hadn't planned on SLI, but if I can A) get it in under budget and B) get it to work happily under Linux it's not out of the question

MONITOR RESOLUTION: I run two monitors for everything except gaming: one projector at 1920x1200 and one LCD at 1280x1024. For gaming I would like to use the projector on its own.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
- Linux drivers must be available for all parts
- I'd like a quiet system, but I'm worried about heat since I plan to overclock. As I understand it, this affects my choice of case and CPU cooler. I'm not brave enough to dive into liquid cooling (yet!), so I'd like to stick with air cooling.
- I'd like the CPU cooler to be easy to install / remove -- I'll have to clean it out quite frequently because of the massive amount of dust where I live.
- I'd like cable management! :D So I'd need cables long enough to hide behind the motherboard or a case small enough that long cables aren't necessary.
- Where I've got multiple parts listed in the same category, that means I wasn't able to choose :( Help please!

The Build:

CPU: Intel® Core i7 920 Quad Core 2.67-GHz, w/ 8Mb (Socket 1366) (Retail Box) w/ Heat Sink & Fan
http://pccanada.com/viewitem.asp?id=8634

CPU Cooler:
The fan favourite, the Xigmatek Dark Knight, isn't available at my store of choice, so I'm not sure what comparable options are. I don't want a heavy overclock -- only up to around 3GHz or so. The V8 looks OK; suggestions are welcome!
CoolerMaster® V8 Heat Sink & Fan, (Retail Box)
http://pccanada.com/viewitem.asp?id=8948

Motherboard:
Asus® P6T Deluxe V2, Socket 1366, Intel® X58 Chipset w/ PCI Express x16 (ATX)
http://pccanada.com/viewitem.asp?id=9178

RAM:
OCZ 6Gb PC3-12800 DDR3 Triple Channel Platinum Low-Voltage Edition (OCZ3P1600LV6GK)
http://pccanada.com/viewitem.asp?id=9119

PSU:
Antec® Signature 850 - 850W ATX12V v2.2 Power Supply (Retail Box)
http://pccanada.com/viewitem.asp?id=7961

Antec® TruePower Quattro 850 - 850W ATX12V Power Supply (Retail Box)
http://pccanada.com/viewitem.asp?id=6217

Corsair™ CMPSU-850TX 850W ATX 12V Ver 2.2 Power Supply (Retail Box)
http://pccanada.com/viewitem.asp?id=9547

Antec® TruePower Quattro 1000 - 1000W ATX12V Power Supply (Retail Box)
http://pccanada.com/viewitem.asp?id=6216

Not sure if I'll need a full 1000W, or if I should get one even if I don't need it now. The 1000W PSUs are also larger than the 850W ones, which affects case selection.

GPU:
Asus®Extreme ENGTX275/HTDI/896MD3 - GeForce™ GTX275 w/896Mb DDR3 & PCI Express 2.0 (Retail Box)
http://pccanada.com/viewitem.asp?id=9837
I read that the GTXes are large (4.376" x 10.51") so fitting one comfortably in a mid-tower case might be a bit of a challenge. Which brings us to...

Case:
Mid-Tower:

Antec® Nine Hundred Two Gamer Case, Black
http://pccanada.com/viewitem.asp?id=9090

CoolerMaster® Storm Scout Mid Tower ATX Case (Black)
http://pccanada.com/viewitem.asp?id=9833

Full-Tower:

CoolerMaster® Cosmos RC-1000 ATX Case (Silver/Black)
http://pccanada.com/viewitem.asp?id=7996

CoolerMaster® HAF 932 Full Tower ATX Case (Black)
http://pccanada.com/viewitem.asp?id=9430

Antec® Twelve Hundred Ultimate Gamer Case, Black
http://pccanada.com/viewitem.asp?id=7811

Errr... yeah, I'm a little torn :) Cooling capability and being able to fit the components are my main concerns here.

HDDs:
1x Seagate Barracuda (ST3500320AS) 7200.11 SATA NCQ 3.0Gb/s 500GB 32MB Cache (already owned)

1x 1TB Western Digital® Caviar® Black™ SATAII-300 7200RPM 32Mb OEM
http://pccanada.com/viewitem.asp?id=7971

Optical:
LG GH22LS40 Dual Layer DVD±R/RW Drive w/ LightScribe (SATA) OEM, Black
http://pccanada.com/viewitem.asp?id=9168


Phew. I think that's everything. If I've forgotten anything, let me know. Thanks for your help! :)
 

not moose

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Apr 21, 2009
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Antec 900 / 1200 / Storm Scout - Air cooling.
Cosmos S - Water cooling.
HAF 932 - Water or air cooling.

I would personally go with the HAF 932 for the cable management, massive fans and the ability to water cool in the future. Its a huge case and can house alot. If you want a silent case on air cooling the Antec P183 is perfect.

The Corsair 850TX is overkill for your current setup, but if you have future plans for SLI and water cooling keep it. The only thing wrong with it that it isn't modular, so cable management can be a little annoying.

[strike]Go with the Western Digital Caviar Black series for hard drive, they have a 5 year warranty and there 640gb and 1tb models are faster than Seagate.[/strike] You editted when I was replying, get another Seagate drive and run 2tb in raid0.

Order your GTX 275 online, you will get it cheaper than PCC. EVGA GTX 275. Other than that everything looks good.
 

Griezz

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May 15, 2008
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First of all, a shout out to a local boy. :) I live just a few blocks from Premiere Computers Canada, and have gotten my last 2 PCs from them.

Regarding your comments about whether or not to do SLI, I strongly suggest that you check out the benchmarks here at Tom's Hardware. I was surprised to hear that, with some games, going SLI with the latest cards actually LOWERS the performance.

As for the parts themselves, I've read that the CoolerMaster Hyper N520 is actually better than their V8. As for the case, I agree with the previous message: if it's cooling over noise, choose the HAF. Otherwise, go for the suggested P183.
 

slngk

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Jun 11, 2009
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Thanks, smithereen and not moose!

I'll probably end up going with the HAF 932; a friend of mine has one so I'm taking a peek inside. It's a beast! Nice and quiet too, I guess because of the massive fans. The P183 was the first case I considered, but discarded since I didn't think it'd be cool enough on its own.

I'll stick with the 850TX as well for a little bit of future-proofing.

So just a couple more questions, then:

- not moose: why the EVGA instead of the ASUS card?
- smithereen: why the OCZ power supply instead of the Corsair?
- anyone and everyone: will the V8 fit happily on the P6T Deluxe V2? The motherboard has a couple of wedge-shaped heatsinks around the CPU socket, with the wide end of the wedge down on the motherboard and the narrow end pointing towards the side of the case, but the heatpipes on the V8 might slope up enough to clear them. The 920's stock cooler has a few millimetres of clearance on the closest side, but it's just a big cylinder -- no sloping sides. Does anyone have any experience with this?
 

slngk

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Jun 11, 2009
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Thanks Griezz; you replied while I was typing up my last post :) I got my last PC from PCC as well -- they've got great service.

Somehow I haven't stumbled across the Hyper N520 in my research... I'll go take a look. And I'll revisit the P183 -- I love the look of it, but I didn't think it could sufficiently cool an overclocked 920 and fit the beast of a GTX275 inside without hitting the drive bays. My old case is a P160 -- I love that thing to death :) Is the P183 similarly roomy inside?
 

Griezz

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May 15, 2008
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Review of N520 at a compatriot site:
http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-reviews/17512-cooler-master-hyper-n520-cpu-cooler-review.html

As for the case... in truth, my recommendation would be for a case that isn't sold by PCC, although another favorite local place, TigerDirect, does have it. It's the NzxT BETA, a dirt cheap case with all the cool features:
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4665543&CatId=32

However, for what PCC does carry, it's still a toss-up between the P183 (silence) vs, HAF (cooling)... although even the Antec 902 you mentioned could work. If I do go to PCC for my next computer, the 902 is what I would get.
 

Griezz

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May 15, 2008
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By the way, I discovered the Newegg.ca (the Canadian outlet of Newegg.com) and I priced the items you list (the 902 case, Antec TPQ850 P/S, an equivalent cooler). Including shipping, handling and taxes, theitems you list come to $1913.43 CDN, just barely making your budget.
 

not moose

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EVGA offers a two year warranty. Of course if you read the page I linked, you would see you need to register the video card within 30 days - which shouldn't be a problem. Stick with your Corsair power supply.

I would stick with the V8 just to have your case and heatsink matching, not to mention the v8 prices are dropping. Send xthekidx a PM, he has a V8 on his P6T so I would assume it will fit fine.