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*Help* Building a new i7 Computer + SLI

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#1
Hi

I'm planning on upgrading my system in the next 3 months to this:

Q6600 @ 3.20 to i7 930 or 950

Asus Rampage III Extreme ($360) or EVGA X58 FTW3 motherboard. ($269)

4GB DDR2 Corsair Dominator @ 800mhz 4-4-4-12 to 6GB DDR3 1600mhz 8-8-8-24 ram.

EVGA GTX 260 to 2x EVGA GTX 460 SC Edition.

Creative XtremeGamers to Asus Xonar Essense ST (Supposed to sound better than the STX version)

So here are my questions:

Q1 : Could you tell me about a good ram which has the specs that I want ?

Q2: The Rampage III Extreme has 4 PCI-E slots and 1 PCI slot which I was planning to use for the sound card, the problem is if I used the recommended config for the SLI which is using slot 1 and 3, the PCI slot would be covered so my question is, can I install one card in slot 1 and the second one in slot 4 ? would this be a problem for example the SLI bridge length or bandwidth issues.

Q3: Is the Asus motherboard worth the extra $100 ? or should I just stick with the EVGA motherboard ?

Q4: Is it worth upgrading the soundcard or should I just stick with the one I have or just stay on On-board which is "Supposed" to be good on the Asus motherboard.


Sorry for the long question, bad English and I hope that someone replies....


Thanks in advance.
 

CDdude55

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#2
Q1: Don't know what your budget is but some good kits with those specs i would say are:

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 ... (ripjaws are awesome btw)
CORSAIR DOMINATOR 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM...
CORSAIR DOMINATOR-GT 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SD...
G.SKILL PI 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1... (are actually lower then 8-8-8-24)
Crucial Ballistix Tracer 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR...

These are all good kits, and i think they are all very good quality. Take your pick.:)

Q2: Yep it seems like the only solution to that problem would be to either put the second card right under the first card(slot 2) or in slot 4. But from the looks of it i don't think the bridge will reach unless you use a 4-way SLI bridge instead of a standard 2-way or 3-way. Though according to this, you won't lose any bandwidth by using only two cards:

Four x16 PCIe 2.0 slots (supports x16; x16/x16; x16,x8,x8 and x8/x8/x8/x8).

All the slots are x16, but as you throw in three or more cards that's when it starts to take a small hit.

Q3: EVGA and ASUS are both very good quality board, you really won't go wrong with either, they both have native support for USB 3.0 and SATA 3, BUT the EVGA board only supports 3-way SLI or crossfire as opposed to the ASUS board which supprts 4-way SLI and crossfire, but it is a bit more expensive. Other than that they're both great overclockers and it's really all a matter of what you can afford and what you need, really though, if you don't plan on 4-way anything, then really the EVGA board will be more then enough and for a cheaper price. But if you're looking for all out balls to the wall performance with having support for more then 3 cards then the ASUS board is your best bet. I believe they both also support 6 cores out of the box. So really, it's your pick at the end of the day. Just remember to pick the board that you are going to actually utilize as many features as possible on.

Q4: I would suggest to not use the Onboard sound, it actually would help in your case to get a sound card that can fit in a x4 slot, that way you don't have to move the second to the lowest slot. But it still depends on you, if you are content with the sound quality of your current sound card, then by all means keep your current, as even if you have to move the second card down, you won't be losing much bandwidth and you'll have some extra money in your pocket by not picking up a new sound card(though you will more likely need a longer SLI/crossfire bridge if you don't have one, like a 4-way bridge would be good). If you're considering to upgrade from your current sound card to a more quality PCI x4 sound card, and it's within budget, then i say why not. That way you can have the cards where you want them to be, and still reap the rewards of having better sound.

Hope i helped in some way.:)
 
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#3
Q1: Don't know what your budget is but some good kits with those specs i would say are:

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 ... (ripjaws are awesome btw)
CORSAIR DOMINATOR 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM...
CORSAIR DOMINATOR-GT 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SD...
G.SKILL PI 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1... (are actually lower then 8-8-8-24)
Crucial Ballistix Tracer 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR...

These are all good kits, and i think they are all very good quality. Take your pick.:)

Q2: Yep it seems like the only solution to that problem would be to either put the second card right under the first card(slot 2) or in slot 4. But from the looks of it i don't think the bridge will reach unless you use a 4-way SLI bridge instead of a standard 2-way or 3-way. Though according to this, you won't lose any bandwidth by using only two cards:



http://www.guru3d.com/imageview.php?image=23588
All the slots are x16, but as you throw in three or more cards that's when it starts to take a small hit.

Q3: EVGA and ASUS are both very good quality board, you really won't go wrong with either, they both have native support for USB 3.0 and SATA 3, BUT the EVGA board only supports 3-way SLI or crossfire as opposed to the ASUS board which supprts 4-way SLI and crossfire, but it is a bit more expensive. Other than that they're both great overclockers and it's really all a matter of what you can afford and what you need, really though, if you don't plan on 4-way anything, then really the EVGA board will be more then enough and for a cheaper price. But if you're looking for all out balls to the wall performance with having support for more then 3 cards then the ASUS board is your best bet. I believe they both also support 6 cores out of the box. So really, it's your pick at the end of the day. Just remember to pick the board that you are going to actually utilize as many features as possible on.

Q4: I would suggest to not use the Onboard sound, it actually would help in your case to get a sound card that can fit in a x4 slot, that way you don't have to move the second to the lowest slot. But it still depends on you, if you are content with the sound quality of your current sound card, then by all means keep your current, as even if you have to move the second card down, you won't be losing much bandwidth and you'll have some extra money in your pocket by not picking up a new sound card(though you will more likely need a longer SLI/crossfire bridge if you don't have one, like a 4-way bridge would be good). If you're considering to upgrade from your current sound card to a more quality PCI x4 sound card, and it's within budget, then i say why not. That way you can have the cards where you want them to be, and still reap the rewards of having better sound.

Hope i helped in some way.:)
Thanks a lot man, I didn't think that someone is going to replay.

Just a last short question, you see I'm planning on overclocking the CPU to 4.0GHz with Corsair H50, the Asus motherboard is supposed to have lots of features and thing like that, do you think that these features are just marketing things and won't make any real difference ?

There is a high chance that I will get the Asus motherboard since it's in-stock in my country unlike the EVGA motherboard and it's supposed to be superior, I'm willing to pay an extra $100 instead of feeling frustrated for not buying it :p


Thanks again :)
 

CDdude55

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#4
Thanks a lot man, I didn't think that someone is going to replay.

Just a last short question, you see I'm planning on overclocking the CPU to 4.0GHz with Corsair H50, the Asus motherboard is supposed to have lots of features and thing like that, do you think that these features are just marketing things and won't make any real difference ?

There is a high chance that I will get the Asus motherboard since it's in-stock in my country unlike the EVGA motherboard and it's supposed to be superior, I'm willing to pay an extra $100 instead of feeling frustrated for not buying it :p


Thanks again :)
Depends what the features are, from what i have seen and read about the board i haven't seen any gimmicky features that stick out to me. Like i said before though, theres not a huge amount of difference between that board and the EVGA one besides a couple of extra features.(4-way SLI being the big one). I say the ASUS board is worth the money if you're going to actually be using it's features to a good extent. If not, you could easily get away with that EVGA board, as it still pretty much has the same features, but just not a lot extra like the ASUS board does.
 
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#5
Depends what the features are, from what i have seen and read about the board i haven't seen any gimmicky features that stick out to me. Like i said before though, theres not a huge amount of difference between that board and the EVGA one besides a couple of extra features.(4-way SLI being the big one). I say the ASUS board is worth the money if you're going to actually be using it's features to a good extent. If not, you could easily get away with that EVGA board, as it still pretty much has the same features, but just not a lot extra like the ASUS board does.
hmmmm....

I guess I'll wait for a couple of weeks to make a little research.

Anyway, thanks for giving me a little of your time to answer my questions :)
 

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#6
If you have the Q6600, don't bother to update. Its still a very capable chip and I think it will serve you well for another year or so. Upgrade your graphics card first and see how it goes.
 

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#7
I recently came from a q8200 and I can tell you its a worthy upgrade. Also, 4GHz is normally a very easy target... I'm using a Ud3R which is sort of a "budget" x58 motherboard and im running 4.13ghz on a bad batch cpu .
 
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#8
If you have the Q6600, don't bother to update. Its still a very capable chip and I think it will serve you well for another year or so. Upgrade your graphics card first and see how it goes.
You see, I thought about that but then I remembered that the 6-core cpu's are coming so I thought that I will upgrade to a i7 930 or i950 and keep it for 1.5 or 2 years then by that time their will be more advanced 6-cores which will probably won't be as expensive as now.

I try to upgrade my graphic cards/cpu whenever 2 or 3 generations has been released so I can feel the performance boost.
 
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#9
Kinda ridiculous if u throw away your Q6600 away, still a very decent CPU. :D
Can u tell me the specs of your old Q6600 system :D
 
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#10
Kinda ridiculous if u throw away your Q6600 away, still a very decent CPU. :D
Can u tell me the specs of your old Q6600 system :D
I agree, the Q6600 is very good still, unless the OP is doing encoding, rendering, graphic design etc on a daily basis there is no need to change CPUs.


I thought that I will upgrade to a i7 930 or i950 and keep it for 1.5 or 2 years then by that time their will be more advanced 6-cores which will probably won't be as expensive as now.
Or you can buy a AMD Phenom II X6 and you'll have a 6 core processor now for cheaper than a i7 4 core.
 
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#11
@Dent1: Right now in Viet Nam, a Core 2 Quad Q8400 is pretty expensive (probably 170-180 USD) I can't even imagine why, almost the same price to the i3 540 (around 200 USD) :banghead: Still love Core 2 Quad and Phenom II X4, great CPU
 
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#12
@Dent1: Right now in Viet Nam, a Core 2 Quad Q8400 is pretty expensive (probably 170-180 USD) I can't even imagine why, almost the same price to the i3 540 (around 200 USD) :banghead: Still love Core 2 Quad and Phenom II X4, great CPU
That is the same in every country. Its because the Core 2 Quads are being phased out and in some cases they've stopped being produced so the prices go up. Its like gold, the more gold there is the value goes down, the less gold there is the value goes up. The i3s are new and are in demmand so it isnt rare because of this people are buying it so the prices go down.


Look up the price of the Phenom II X6 1055T and see if its the same price or cheaper than the i7 in your country.
 
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#13
If I wasn't wrong, the X6 1055T costs around 300 USD which is pretty nice, almost the same to the i7 860 :confused: which is pretty imbalance I gotta say :D But they're at the same performance.
 
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#14
Kinda ridiculous if u throw away your Q6600 away, still a very decent CPU. :D
Can u tell me the specs of your old Q6600 system :D
Check my system specs.

Anyway it's not like I'm going to throw it or sell it, I'm just going to use the leftovers from this system to build another one for my little brother.

hmmmm....this gave me a new option, since my current motherboard has only one PCI-E slot, I can buy a LGA 775 motherboard which supports SLI and forget about the i7 system, grab another GTX 460....but still, no UBS 3.0, no new SATA.....dunno.

Anyway I still have 3 months to think about it.

I'll wait and see what happens.
 
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#15
Yep, that's hurt the most. No SATA3 and USB3. :banghead: Try to grab some NVIDIA nForce 790i Ultra :D That's the best for u :D :rockout:
 
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#16
Yep, that's hurt the most. No SATA3 and USB3. :banghead: Try to grab some NVIDIA nForce 790i Ultra :D That's the best for u :D :rockout:
I was just referring at the future-proof features since I transfer files which are like 4 to 170GB a lot -.-
 

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#19
First up, there are a lot of PCI-E x 1 to USB3 :D
Secondly, you can use SATA3 drives in SATA2 port no problem
@Witcher: Probably it can :D
 

CDdude55

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#20
hmmm....

ok do you think that a Q6600 @ 3.20 or 3.60 can handle a GTX 460 SLI without a bottleneck ?
Should be fine, don't stress yourself out with bottlenecks... no matter what there will always be some kind of bottleneck happening in your system.
 
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#21
@CDdude: What about me, still remember my system?? Same question with the 8600GT DDR3 and HD4650 DDR4 :confused:
 
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#22
Ok so I've just checked the 790i Ultra, the price is almost $300 which is a rip-off, I could get a DDR3 motherboard with that money. I found this one:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0011UPBCK/?tag=tec06d-20

http://xfxforce.com/en-us/products/motherboards/7series/780i.aspx

My concern is will I be able to overclock with this board ? oc to Q6600 @ 3.20 and ram at 800mhz 4-4-4-12 ?

my current has a 1600 FSB whereas this one has only 1333.

NOTE: there is a small problem with this motherboard, it's refurbished, so should I expect any problems since I've never bought a refurbished product.
 

Mussels

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#23
nforce chipset boards are known to not OC very well, especially with quads.

IMO, dont replace your board if your'e staying 775 - just save up and get an x58 board with SLI support.

If you need/want USB 3.0 in the meantime, grab a PCI-E 1x card as mentioned.
 

CDdude55

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#24
@CDdude: What about me, still remember my system?? Same question with the 8600GT DDR3 and HD4650 DDR4 :confused:
Both the 8600 GT and HD 4650 are very low end cards, so something like a P4 should keep up to a good extent. Especially if you're doing things like gaming, where the GPU tends to be more important, you shouldn't suffer with that P4 to bad with those two cards.

But still in your case, i would consider a full system upgrade if you can afford it, as you'll see a day and night difference from moving up to even a Core 2 Duo setup.

Remember that if you're throwing in a low end video card with such a low end CPU, the less a bottleneck will exist in that area. But again, don't expect a huge boost in performance with those cards.(though they still are way better then your ancient X300)
 
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#25
UPDATE: Since I really don't have enough budget to upgrade my system to a fully i7 system, I ordered 2 EVGA GTX460 1GB SC + XFX 780i SLI motherboard, I know I know, the motherboard might be bad but I found it with a very reasonable price ($69), I just hope that everything arrives intact, the last thing I need is DOA's because in my case, I won't be able to return it, it's just like gambling.

Hopefully these new hardware will keep me maxing out most games for the next year.