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My Core I7 Saga

Discussion in 'System Builder's Advice' started by Robert-The-Rambler, Dec 21, 2008.

  1. Robert-The-Rambler

    Robert-The-Rambler

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    A couple of weeks ago I set out to go Core I7 with gusto. Well I did complete my Core I7 project with some huge sucesses and some huge bone headed and expensive bungles. Here are the components I wound up with. I will link to Newegg to not only give you a chance to see what I got but also so you can see just how affordable it is to go Core I7.

    Case: Antec 300 with two front fans added and a side fan. (Has 140mm top fan and 120mm rear exhaust built in)

    The 300
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129042

    The front fans are Antec 120mm 3 speed fans set at low
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835209005

    The side fan is a red Thermaltake fan that has one high speed good for a powerful single intake but too loud to be used in tandem. With multi-gpu setups the less wires running around inside the case is better so I do not like connecting the 3 pin connector for speed control via the motherboard
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811999138

    The top fan and rear exhaust fan are both set at medium.

    Power Supply: Rosewill RX850-D-B (No longer availabe but I have a great suggestion from Antec the Truepower 1000 watt supply)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371012


    The motherboard: Gigabyte EX58-DS4
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128366
    HUGE BUNGLE: I was taking out graphics cards and failed to press the lock on one of the PCI Express slots thus snapping it in half. I'm on motherboard number 2. Don't work on your computer when you are tired and or otherwise impaired. <>__<>

    CPU: Core I7 920 (It is way faster than necessary but since when is that a bad thing)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115202

    Note: DO NOT USE THE STOCK COOLER. It sucks and is handily outdone by this mean looking easy to install monster that fits in my tidy Antec 300 with no problem at all.

    Aftermarket CPU Cooler: Vigor Monsoon III LT
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835702007

    It is so superior to the stock cooler it is not even close. I had idle temps of over 50 at stock speed and now I'm getting around 30 degrees celcius idle. I have not been able to test load temps but the thing doesn't seem to want to budge much when I check after running benchmarks like Devil May Cry 4 and FEAR. It is an absolute must. Just know that you need to attach a part provided with the Monsoon under your motherboard for mounting so it is best installed with a fresh build but even if you have to take everything apart it is still worth it.


    System RAM: 12 gigabytes of DDR3 1066 RAM (2 6 gig triple channel kits from Crucial)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148246

    Video Cards: There are three of them.
    1. Asus Radeon 4870 512 meg (Mine no longer available linking to comparable product)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121276

    I chose to lead the way with a 4870 because when you disable crossfire your single card performance will be higher than a 4850

    2. Asus Radeon 4850 512 meg(Mine no longer available)

    3. Asus Radeon 4850 512 meg
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161235
    The HIS model I linked to seems to be one of the growing minority that are still reference design and still single slot.

    When using 4850s in crossfire mode do not install later than Catalyst 8.10 drivers because 8.11 and 8.12 cause a BSOD and frankly the fix is not worth the aggravation. Not to mention that even if you manage to fix the BSOD it is still possible that crossfire will be disabled with those drivers. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? Its true.

    Sound Card: Soundblaster X-Fi Surround 5.1 USB in two channel mode outputting gorgeous 24 bit 96 khz stereo digital audio to my Kenwood VR-7070 receiver with a laser light toslink cable. I'm using DCM KX6 Series two bookshelf speakers and a KLH 120 watt 10" powered sub that goes down to 24 hz.

    Monitor: HP LP3065 30" IPS Monitor with 2560 * 1600 resolution
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824176071

    2560 * 1600 is a tough nut to crack due to frame buffer issues with 512 meg cards. It is great but you can get a surprisingly similar experience with a more stable frame rate with an HDTV like the Toshiba 32RV530U 1080p set.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16889253134

    The Sharp Aquos might be a good value as well.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16889101108
    They both cost around 700 and will look very comparable other than the 16:9 ration versus 16:10 which is not that big a deal.

    I recently bought the Sceptre X32BV-Full HD for $599 but unfortunately that awesome TV is now $1000!!!!!!! I guess I got a great deal from the egg around Black Friday. It is going in my other I7 rig that I will overview at another time.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16889112024

    Funny I had no idea it was THAT good a deal.

    Storage: 2 Western Digital 500 gig hard drives running independantly. I chose not to RAID with this setup deeming it unnecessary.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136178

    Removable Storage: 1 ASUS SATA DVD Burner and 2 ASUS SATA DVD ROM drives

    Operating System: Windows Vista Home Premium 64 bit OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116488

    I'll add a post with benchmark results in a little bit. I've been rambling here for almost two hours listing to cheesy 80s music. <>___<>
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2008
  2. lollerskater69 New Member

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    should have gotten 6gigs of 1600
     
  3. Robert-The-Rambler

    Robert-The-Rambler

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    Its too fast already.

    I'll give you an example in a few minutes.
     
  4. Robert-The-Rambler

    Robert-The-Rambler

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  5. lollerskater69 New Member

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    that doesn't matter

    The ram running at a higher frequency really helps with ocing and more. plus ram doesnt play a significant role in gamaing as much as the gpu and cpu
     
  6. Robert-The-Rambler

    Robert-The-Rambler

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    Devil May Cry 4 @ 1920 * 1080p

    It seems that 1080p is an ideal resolution for 4800 series cards with 512 megs of RAM. Those numbers are with 8XFSAA max in game detail.
     

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    Last edited: Dec 21, 2008
  7. Robert-The-Rambler

    Robert-The-Rambler

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    COH DirectX 9 at 1080p max details

    150 aint too shabby. Here is to wishing I had a 1080p TV with 120hz refresh rate.
     

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  8. Binge

    Binge Overclocking Surrealism

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    You are quite mistaken, although it is nice to have headroom. Just listen to the man, he's writing this first to be heard before being criticized.
     
  9. Robert-The-Rambler

    Robert-The-Rambler

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    FEAR @ 1080p

    The minimum framerate in FEAR: Perseus Mandate triples when you go from 2560 * 1600 with this setup down to 1920 * 1080p. I had a 16 which is friggin awful at 2560 * 1600 and a great 49 at 1080p. That is either a sign of a frame buffer limit or something very wrong with the way ATI cards are designed. I do have an 8800 GTX around somewhere and I'm positive it will have a higher minimum frame rate than 16 at 2560 * 1600 max detail although it does have a larger 768 meg frame buffer. Although the benchmark says that only 1% of the time the framerate is below 25 in actual practice it is truly more prevalent and hinders gameplay significantly. 3 4800 series of cards in crossfire are supposed to be able to whip a GTX silly but FEAR especially drives ATI cards nuts at high resolutions with 512 meg frame buffers. I turn off Vsync because the frame rate is HIGHLY variable. I've never had the chance to test an ATI card with more memory to see if it is a frame buffer problem.
     

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    Last edited: Dec 21, 2008
  10. boredgunner

    boredgunner

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    I agree, 1600 mhz and above is the only way to get into DDR3! Apart from that, its a nice rig.
     
  11. Robert-The-Rambler

    Robert-The-Rambler

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    My other one has 6 of DDR3 1333

    I'm unfortunately awaiting my exchange for my DOA Foxconn Renaissance motherboard. Still I don't see where System RAM is a bottleneck at all here. I'm already absolutely out running the refresh rate of my monitor by a lot. Overclocking will be useless.
     
  12. Solaris17

    Solaris17 Creator Solaris Utility DVD

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    its already super fast dude dont listen to them their just jealous because they havent gone i7
     
  13. oli_ramsay

    oli_ramsay

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    I want a core i7 Sega!

    I wanna get 90000 FPS on sonic! :rockout:
     
  14. 3870x2

    3870x2

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    probably so, but i would have gone for high freq ram also.
     
  15. Solaris17

    Solaris17 Creator Solaris Utility DVD

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    who wouldnt? but if its a money limited issue and thats the best he could get let him love it. He already has ludicris amounts of bandwidth over everyone in this thread anyway regardless of his rams speed
     
  16. Robert-The-Rambler

    Robert-The-Rambler

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    I did check the prices

    I didn't like what I saw.
     
  17. Solaris17

    Solaris17 Creator Solaris Utility DVD

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    thats fair too i mean seriously im only getting like 3GB of ram when i get the $$ to do so...$$$ is rediculous and their not all that impressive...timing wise and $$ wise i cant justify the cost
     
  18. boredgunner

    boredgunner

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    DDR2 memory is available at that same speed (I have DDR2 1066) and even faster (1200 mhz). I just recommend taking advantage of what DDR3 is capable of. His PC is very fast, but 1066 mhz is below standard for DDR3 memory. It's like underclocking a Core 2 EXTREME processor.
     
  19. Solaris17

    Solaris17 Creator Solaris Utility DVD

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    wait he has 1066? i thought he had 1333?
     
  20. lollerskater69 New Member

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    =( STFU
     
  21. erocker

    erocker Super Moderator Staff Member

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    No, don't tell people to STFU. No need to respond to above post, punishment has been handed out. Everyone please post in a respectable and civilised manner and do not stray off topic. Thanks. :)
     
    lollerskater69 and SystemViper say thanks.
  22. SystemViper

    SystemViper

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    Nice System, Not sure how much you will gain from faster ram, i know for benchmarks and driving epeen numbers it always great, hey i got the kingston 2k's but also i run a lot of machines with less then highest speeds and in gaming or for specific functions, it just doesn't matter to a point....
     
  23. Binge

    Binge Overclocking Surrealism

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    I can run 4.2GHz at 1600MHz or 1200MHz with tighter timings. I see no difference in performance. 1333 can be clocked down to 1200MHz :rolleyes:
     
  24. Robert-The-Rambler

    Robert-The-Rambler

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    But it is in triple channel mode

    And the way the Core I7 platform is designed it offers more actual available bandwidth than other platforms. So DDR3 1066 has much more bandwidth than DDR2 1066 in practice here.
     

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