Eyefinity Build

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by xitsej, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. xitsej

    xitsej n00b

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    Hi guys, thanks in advance for any input. I want to build a computer for eyefinity across three (1900x1200) monitors and am wondering if it can be done with a 1.5k budget (not including monitor cost).

    1) What will you be doing with this PC? Gaming? Photoshop? Web browsing? etc
    Eyefinity gaming hopefully. Games like BF3 and Guildwars 2 when they come out. For now, BFBC2, starcraft 2.
    2) What's your budget? Are tax and shipping included?
    1.5k give or take $150.
    3) Where do you live?
    Massachusetts, USA
    4) What exact parts do you need for that budget? CPU, RAM, case, etc. The word "Everything" is not a valid answer. Please list out all the parts you'll need.
    CPU, Mobo, case, graphics cards, Hard Drive, CPU cooler, case fans, PSU, RAM.
    5) If reusing any parts, what parts will you be reusing? Please be especially specific about the power supply. List make and model.
    None. Perhaps a CD/DVD drive
    6) Will you be overclocking?
    No.
    7) What size monitor do you have and/or plan to have?
    3 monitors: each 28", (1900x1200)
    8) When do you plan on building/buying the PC?
    Within a month.
    9) What features do you need in a motherboard? RAID? Firewire? Crossfire or SLI support? USB 3.0? SATA 6Gb/s? eSATA? Onboard video? etc.
    Crossfire
    10) Do you already have a legit and reusable/transferable OS key/license? If yes, what OS? Is it 32bit or 64bit?
    Yes, 64 bit.

    My current build (I'm especially wondering if this is the best video card setup and/or the cheapest way to get some good settings on games across three monitors).

    Case:Coolermaster Haf 922 - $110
    - Is this case big enough for the CPU cooler I'm buying and crossfire? I'm very willing to install additional case fans if case cooling is an issue.
    Motherboard: ASUS Sabertooth X58 - $195
    Graphics Card: 2x Radeon HD 6970 in crossfire - $340
    - Is this enough to play games at high settings across three monitors? Predictions about how this would do on a game like battlefield 3 are welcome
    CPU: Intel Core i7 - 960 (3.2 gHz) - $290
    HD: WD Caviar Black 1TB 7200RPM - $90
    CPU Cooler: Coolermaster V8 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler - $60
    PSU: Corsair HX850 - $148.50 (with coupon)
    RAM: Corsair DDR3 1600 6GB (3x2GB) - $75

    Thanks again.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2011
  2. Roman79

    Roman79 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Well since you said you're planning on buying in the next month, I'd recommend you wait until May before pulling the trigger. The new Intel Z68 chipset is due out early to mid May if memory serves.

    Is there a reason you're not going with a SB build? If your main use is gaming and you're only planning on 2 graphics cards, a P67 or Z68 board with a SB CPU might be worth looking into.

    EDIT: Here is some Z68 chipset info:

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/z68-express-lucidlogix-virtu-ssd-caching,2888.html
     
  3. xitsej

    xitsej n00b

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    My (perhaps incorrect) impression of the P67 chipset was that it did not offer much more to a gamer than the X58 chipset, especially considering the onboard graphics is not very useful when you have 2 graphics cards. I am also having some trouble finding a motherboard for LGA 1155 in the same price range with two PCIe2 slots that can run at x16 with 2 graphics cards (which I believe is somewhat important for video cards?).

    That said I Z68 does look interesting and I will probably wait for that to come out before buying anything, but for now (unless I am incorrect in something I said above) could we assume that the build will be an X58 build.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2011
  4. Dangman

    Dangman Ninja Editor SuperMod

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    Very incorrect. There's no little to no difference between x16 and X4 speeds let alone x4 speeds in real world games. As such, it does not matter if the motherboard has two PCI-E x16 slots that can run x16 each unless you really really love synthetic benchmarks.

    In addition, the $225 Core i5 2500K CPU will outperform that i7 960 CPU hands down. So outside of a very very specific situations, none of which applies to you, you really should be looking at a Core i5 2500K + Z68 route next month. As Roman79 said, please come back next month, 2-3 weeks before you buy, and ask for advice then.

    And no, don't go with that setup. It does have a few issues.
     
  5. tonytnnt

    tonytnnt Gawd

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    It doesn't offer much more to the gamer besides the same gaming performance at a lower price.

    Where do you live in Massachusetts? Near the Microcenter in Cambridge?

    Because I would really consider going with this bundle instead. A 2600k @ 4.0 GHz on a P67 x8/x8 is less than 1 % slower than a i7-920 @ 4.0 GHz on an X58 x16/x16 according to this review (I wasn't able to find too many reviews on the subject.) However, I'll admit the highest resolution they looked at was 2560x1600. I really think it's a wash, but with that Microcenter deal you're getting a comparable CPU with a good motherboard for about the same price as your build's CPU. That frees up another $150 in your build, which you could use on say, getting three 6950s assuming you got the P8P67 Pro from the bundle. For gaming, the performance difference between the 2500k and the 2600k is non-existant, and they're both very good overclockers (though I saw from the sticky you're not interested in OCing.)

    Also, if you're not overclocking, there's no reason to spend $60 on an aftermarket HSF.

    That $90 WD Black 1TB gets the same performance as the $55 1TB Samsung F3.

    For Sandy Bridge, RAM isn't very important. Almost any DDR3 1333MHz CL9 RAM will do. This $80 8GB G.Skill set is all you need.

    Assuming you get 3 6950s at $275 each you'll have a system that looks like this.

    $350 for Intel 2500k + Asus P8P67 Pro (Microcenter, price doesn't include tax.) Use the stock heatsink/fan.
    $80 - RAM
    $825 ($275 each) - 3 x XFX Radeon 6950s
    $55 - Samsung F3 1 TB
    $110 - Coolermaster HAF922
    $200 to $230 (get more input on this. I didn't want to lowball your PSU on a system with three graphics cards.) - Antec TPQ1200 1200W PSU or Corsair HX1000 1000W PSU

    Total: About $1620.

    Alternatively, you can go with a lower budget by doing this:

    $300 for Intel 2500k + MSI P67A-GD55 (Microcenter, price doesn't include tax.) Use the stock heatsink/fan.
    $80 - RAM
    $680 ($340 each) - 2 x Radeon 6970s
    $55 - Samsung F3 1 TB
    $110 - Coolermaster HAF922
    $150 - Corsair HX850

    Total: About $1375.

    So I've gone about $150 under your budget, and $150 over your budget. You can shave a bit off the expensive one, or add a bit to the cheaper one, to get what you want. Either way it's cheaper than your original build and provides as good or better performance for gaming.
     
  6. xitsej

    xitsej n00b

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    Thanks so much everyone who contributed so far.

    @tonytnnt I really like the second (cheaper) build you gave, and yes I am close enough to Cambridge to go to Microcenter.

    So does anyone else have comments on this build:
    $300 for Intel 2500k + MSI P67A-GD55 (Microcenter, price doesn't include tax.) Use the stock heatsink/fan.
    $80 - RAM
    $680 ($340 each) - 2 x Radeon 6970s
    $55 - Samsung F3 1 TB
    $110 - Coolermaster HAF922
    $150 - Corsair HX850

    More specifically I have 3 questions:
    1) Will 2 Radeon 6970s will be adequate for good settings on current games or games coming out within the year with a 5760x1200 resolution (I've read the [H] review and it appears it is adequate for everything tested but F1)?
    2) Is it still worth waiting for the Z68 chipset? (Will it offer better performance for the same or lower price).
    3) Will the Haf 922 have enough airflow for 2 70-90ÂșC video cards inside what is technically a mid-tower case?
     
  7. tonytnnt

    tonytnnt Gawd

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    1) Maybe? There's a lot of big games coming out this fall so time will tell.
    2) No idea on pricing. I would guess higher than the P67 but no guarantees. The big performance boost I've seen is the SSD caching (you use a 64GB or smaller SSD as a cache for your magnetic hard drive.) However, that won't be a huge boost, and could be rendered moot by just getting a 120 GB flash drive.
    3) I suspect the 2, 200mm fans and 1, 120mm fan already installed in there will move air quite well. However, if you don't feel like you have quite enough of a dustbuster, you can install another 200mm fan on the side and some other size fan on the bottom of the case. Watching the video for that case also made me wish I hadn't cheaped out and gotten an Antec 300, but oh well. The case is big enough for full size cards and your airflow should be pretty good on that case. The MSI boards also have their PCIe x16 slots setup in such a way that you can always have one extra slot around the card when in Crossfire/SLI. You also chose reference cooled Radeon 6970s which do a better job of pushing heat out the back of the case through the GPU's dedicated vent as compared to some other cooler designs out there.

    Other ideas:

    A) Ram suggestion: $80 - G.SKILL Value Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
    B) Motherboard suggestion: I like the MSI P67 boards a lot (I might be biased because I have one.) However, if you're concerned about games coming out a year from now on your Crossfire 6970 Eyefinity setup, you could pay the extra $50 now and get the Asus P8P67 Pro from my triple Crossfire build to keep that option open going into the future. Or you could just sell your 6970s in a year and buy the next big thing.
    C) Don't forget a DVD drive unless you're reusing your old one.
    D) Check prices for these parts at Microcenter. Sometimes with the tax it's cheaper or the same price there. I think they price match too, but don't quote me on that as I no longer live in a city with a Microcenter (I went to college in Boston but was too ignorant to know of their greatness.)
    E) Other power supplies to consider (the HX-850 is technically "the best" of this list but you could save a bit by getting one of these and still be okay for performance. Here's an HX850 review.)
    $120 - XFX Core Edition PRO850W (P1-850S-NLB9) 850W (see this review.)
    $125 - Seasonic SS-850HT 850W (I think the XFX PSU above is actually based on this design.)
    $140 - CORSAIR Enthusiast Series CMPSU-850TX 850W
    $150 - CORSAIR TX Series CMPSU-950TX 950W (see this review.)
    F) Updated total for you

    $300 - Intel Core i5-2500k + MSI P67A-GD55
    $80 - G.SKILL Value Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
    $680 - 2 x Radeon 6970s
    $55 - Samsung F3 1 TB
    $100 (with free shipping!) - Coolermaster HAF922
    $150 (with whatever coupon you have) - Corsair HX850 (is the coupon only good on the Corsair HX line?)
    Total: $1365
     
  8. eddie500

    eddie500 Gawd

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    Why did someone post that it is worth waiting for the Z68 chipset, should I wait for my SLI configuaration?
     
  9. Dangman

    Dangman Ninja Editor SuperMod

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    Well because the Z68 chipset is basically an updated version of the P67 chipset which allows you to use the onboard video of the CPU. This is great for troubleshooting purposes in case of your video cards dying and makes it less of a waste that you're buying a CPU with a feature you can't use currently if you want to overclock (the onboard video)
     
  10. xitsej

    xitsej n00b

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    Quick question:
    You recommended the 8GB gskill set for $80. I have a 15% off memory coupon and is there any reason I shouldn't snatch this $70 (2x4GB) set that looks nicer and is DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)?

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231416

    The only difference I could see in the comparison is that under "Features" it said:
    "Designed for Intel LGA 1156 Core i5 / i7 CPUs and AMD AM3 CPUs"
    Is that actually a problem or no?

    Thanks again.
     
  11. tonytnnt

    tonytnnt Gawd

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    That $70 memory should be fine. What motherboard did you end up going with?
     
  12. xitsej

    xitsej n00b

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    I haven't bought a Mobo yet but both the MSI P67A-GD55 and the Asus P8P67 Pro (which I'm leaning towards due to upgradability) are listed on the combatability page.
     
  13. tonytnnt

    tonytnnt Gawd

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    Both are good, just up to you for what features you want.