Is the timing right to build this rig?

mwoodj

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I built my current rig in 2008. I'm ready to upgrade. I want to make sure that the money I am spending on this rig is well spent and that my timing is not bad.

I'm a software developer and my rig runs Gentoo Linux AMD64. That means I compile software A LOT. When working (or developing open-source) I am frequently compiling my code. I also compile huge amounts of code for great lengths of time when updating my system as Gentoo is a rolling release where all packages are built from source code. So it is worth it to me to get a fast processor. While I have read a lot about the jump from certain i5 CPU's to i7 CPU's not being enough of a performance boost to budget adjustment ratio, every bit of CPU performance will count when my machine is crunching away on a compile of X, KDE, or OpenOffice.

I intend to game on the machine under Linux as I have been doing for more than the past decade. I will need more gaming power than I did in the past though as Steam is rapidly deploying on Linux and with it they are bringing the source engine and Half-Life 3 when it gets released. I want to be able to play the current source games maxed and I will want to play HL3 maxed. I would also like to be able to max out Guild Wars 2 running in Wine. That requires a little more juice than maxing it out in Windows. Right now I can play with the settings on medium. So it is going to be worth it to me to get a good GPU. Due to the fact that my machine runs Linux my options are limited to Nvidia as it is beyond dispute that their Linux support, through their proprietary driver, is the best. I'm not interested in arguing about that. That's just the way it is.

So let me list the hardware I am interested in buying:

$194.99 - ASRock Z77 Professional LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
$319.99 - Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge 3.5GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor
$144.99 - G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2400 (PC3 19200) Desktop Memory
$559.99 - EVGA 04G-P4-3687-KR GeForce GTX 680 FTW+ w/Backplate 4GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16
$159.99 - CORSAIR HX Series HX850 850W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
$169.99 - COOLER MASTER HAF X Blue Edition RC-942-KKN3 Black Steel / Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case
$229.99 (x4 RAID10) = $919.96 - Western Digital WD VelociRaptor WD1000DHTZ 1TB 10000 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
$99.99 - Pioneer 15X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 5X DVD-RAM 12X BD-ROM 4MB Cache SATA Blu-ray Burner

Total: $2,569.89

I have already purchased the case. I have wanted the blue LED version for a long time and there was a great sell so I jumped on it.

The reason for choosing that motherboard is that it is the best board at that price point that meets all my requirements. Those would be:

- It has enough 6mb/s SATA ports for my RAID10. They do not have to be on a RAID controller as I will use mdraid (Linux software RAID) but they all need to be the right speed.
- It has at least one legacy PCI slot. I have a Sound Blaster Audigy 4 that I want to put in the system. That is still one of the best cards for Linux because it supports hardware mixing which means I have the ability to use pure ALSA with no PulseAudio or dmix. It also supports hardware driven MIDI with the ability to load in soundfonts which is something I use. So PCI is a must for me.
- It has eSATA on the back. I use eSATA so I need this feature.

I have never used an ASRock board before. Traditionally I always built using ASUS boards. I am relying on the reviews I have read that the ASRock board is a solid and well constructed board.

The reason for choosing the VelociRaptor driven RAID10 is that I would like to get speeds close to SSD's but I need a large amount of space. SSD's just aren't there yet. I know I could use SSD for root and a traditional drive for /home but I am just not interested in that solution. I have been running RAID0 for a long long time. I have been very lucky over the years and I have never lost a RAID0 in a way that I couldn't recover my data. Part of that is using mdraid instead of depending on a proprietary RAID controller. That means my RAID can be constructed on any machine with SATA ports and I can recover data as long as the drives can be accessed even if only intermittently. Still it is a big risk and I'm ready for some redundancy. I am not comfortable with depending on a RAID + parity solution. There are just too many things that can go wrong there. RAID10 seems to be the best solution when both redundancy and performance are considered. Using the VelociRaptor drives boosts the performance measure even more. Obviously I am willing to dump a lot of money into my data storage solution. I would prefer to do it one time as opposed to paying a fee for online backup.

So here are my main questions to you guys. It has been quite a while since I have built a new system and I have been too busy to pay close attention to the market. I appreciate your help.

1) Do you see any flaws in this rig or areas where a different solution would be better?

2) Is this a good time to build this rig? I don't know when new hardware is supposed to come out. I am ready to go ahead and buy this hardware now but I can wait for maybe 3 months or so if something big is going to happen in that timeframe.

3) Is there anything else I should be thinking about or aware of?

EDIT: The final build is here.
Final thoughts and pictures here.
 
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Climber

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Where do you live and what size is your monitor. If you have a microcenter close by you can save a couple hundred dollars
 

mwoodj

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My monitors are 20" (1680x1050) and 17" (1280x1024). Sometime in the next year or so I will be replacing them with two 1080p monitors though somewhere between 20" and 24". I will have to decide carefully though as I actually have a triple head setup with the left-most monitor connected to a Mac and space is a concern.

I live in Huntsville, AL. There is no Micro Center close by. The only stores specializing in this stuff around here are a store called Gigaparts and one called Cable Mart. Neither are likely to have all of the exact parts I am interested in. Gigaparts carries a small selection of ASUS and the rest of their boards are all MSI.
 

Dangman

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Will you be overclocking?

Also Lady Luck must love you if your system is still running with that OCZ PSU in your sig.
 

mwoodj

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Will you be overclocking?

I do not intend to overclock and I will be sticking to air cooling. I did watercool, at one time, for a couple of years but I don't spend enough time tinkering with my hardware to keep up the maintenance anymore.

Also Lady Luck must love you if your system is still running with that OCZ PSU in your sig.

I actually had a 600W OCZ originally. It died a couple of years ago and OCZ replaced it with the 700W model free of charge. So at the least OCZ seems to be good about honoring their warranty. I have a system monitor constantly visible on my screen and I have never noticed the voltages changing wildly or jumping into unsafe territory. Maybe it is the luck of the draw. What do you think of the Corsair unit I included in the potential build?
 
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Dangman

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1) Do you see any flaws in this rig or areas where a different solution would be better?
It could be improved:
I'd go for the slightly cheaper Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H. It has a longer and better track record than the AsRock Z77 Professional. It also has the PCI slot a few spots below the top/first PCI-E x16 slot rather. That makes for a less awkward setup than with the Asrock's PCI slot being directly underneath the top/first PCI-E x16 slot.

Since you're not overclocking, save yourself the $30 and go with the regular Core i7 3770.

That RAM is rated at 1.65V. The max recommended RAM voltage for Intel CPUs is 1.5V. So ditch that RAM for 1.5V RAM otherwise you risk damage to the CPU. Also, don't get hung up on RAM speeds. It doesn't affect performance that much with current Intel CPUs. In fact, one can barely notice the difference between DDR3 1333 and DDR3 2400 speeds in everyday use. So DDR3 1600 RAM will fit your needs just fine.

You haven't mentioned any game so far that would remotely require the GTX 680 for 1920x1080, even in Linux. The GTX 670 should easily meet your performance needs considering that it can max out many games out there at a resolution of 2560x1600. Especially considering that you won't be getting 1080P monitors anytime soon. As such, the extra cash spent for the GTX 680 would just be wasted in that time. While I'd rather recommend the GTX 660Ti or even the GTX 660 for your low resolutions over your planned GTX 680, I'll split the difference and just recommend the GTX 670.

You haven't mentioned any plans for triple-SLI. As such, I see little reason for you to get a 850W PSU. A good quality 650W PSU would easily meet your power needs even if you plan on overclocking and using GTX 670 SLI. The Corsair HX650 is a solid choice.

2) Is this a good time to build this rig? I don't know when new hardware is supposed to come out. I am ready to go ahead and buy this hardware now but I can wait for maybe 3 months or so if something big is going to happen in that timeframe.
Intel is supposedly planning on releasing their new Haswell CPUs and related motherboards in June 2013. As such, if you can wait, I'd wait till Haswell is released. Though if you need the system now, then build a new system with the recommended improvements listed above.
3) Is there anything else I should be thinking about or aware of?
SATA 6.0GB/s only matters when you're using SSDs. Hard drives just barely crossed the limitations of SATA 1.5Gb/s let alone SATA 6.0Gb/s. So worrying about SATA 6.0Gb/s is a bit of a non-issue if you're not using SSDs.

Speaking of SSDs, I strongly recommend that you reconsider your stance on SSDs. They offer a level of responsiveness that just can't be matched by hard drives, even if those drives are in a RAID.

Also, why exactly do you need 1.8TB of high performance storage?
I have a system monitor constantly visible on my screen and I have never noticed the voltages changing wildly or jumping into unsafe territory.
Software voltage reading is inherently inaccurate. So whatever PSU voltages you see from ANY software is going to be inaccurate. You really need a multi-meter to see accurate PSU voltages.
 

mwoodj

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It could be improved:
I'd go for the slightly cheaper Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H. It has a longer and better track record than the AsRock Z77 Professional. It also has the PCI slot a few spots below the top/first PCI-E x16 slot rather. That makes for a less awkward setup than with the Asrock's PCI slot being directly underneath the top/first PCI-E x16 slot.

I will definitely take a look at that board and consider the change.

Since you're not overclocking, save yourself the $30 and go with the regular Core i7 3770.

Now this is a perfect example of why I came here with these questions before just hitting order on all this hardware. I did not know there were different versions of the i770. I thought i770k was it. It was the only one that showed up with the filters I enabled. I don't know how the regular i770 ended up being excluded. This will be my first experience building an Intel system since 2001 so bits of information like that are very helpful.

That RAM is rated at 1.65V. The max recommended RAM voltage for Intel CPUs is 1.5V. So ditch that RAM for 1.5V RAM otherwise you risk damage to the CPU. Also, don't get hung up on RAM speeds. It doesn't affect performance that much with current Intel CPUs. In fact, one can barely notice the difference between DDR3 1333 and DDR3 2400 speeds in everyday use. So DDR3 1600 RAM will fit your needs just fine.

I have been buying G.Skill for quite a while and have been happy with it. Is this still a recommended brand?

You haven't mentioned any game so far that would remotely require the GTX 680 for 1920x1080, even in Linux. The GTX 670 should easily meet your performance needs considering that it can max out many games out there at a resolution of 2560x1600. Especially considering that you won't be getting 1080P monitors anytime soon. As such, the extra cash spent for the GTX 680 would just be wasted in that time. While I'd rather recommend the GTX 660Ti or even the GTX 660 for your low resolutions over your planned GTX 680, I'll split the difference and just recommend the GTX 670.

Within the year I will have the higher resolution monitors so I would submit them as a consideration. I need a video card that will be sufficient when I make that upgrade. The choice of the GTX 680 was also a bit of future proofing. I will be running the card for a long time as evidenced by the fact that I'm still running the 9800 GTX+ now. So I'm thinking about what I may need out of it 2, 3, even 4 years down the road. It is unlikely that I will upgrade it for a long time. If I'm still overachieving with the choice of the GTX 680, even with those considerations, I would definitely consider saving money on the GPU in favor of the GTX 670. What do you think?

You haven't mentioned any plans for triple-SLI. As such, I see little reason for you to get a 850W PSU. A good quality 650W PSU would easily meet your power needs even if you plan on overclocking and using GTX 670 SLI. The Corsair HX650 is a solid choice.

I do not plan on using SLI at any time. That is why I'm shooting for a higher performing single card solution. SLI can be hit or miss on Linux in many situations. I came up with the number after adding a buffer to the result of a PSU calculator. I just reran it though and you are correct. I'm not sure what I put in last time that increased the value. I will look at the suggested PSU.

Intel is supposedly planning on releasing their new Haswell CPUs and related motherboards in June 2013. As such, if you can wait, I'd wait till Haswell is released. Though if you need the system now, then build a new system with the recommended improvements listed above.

June may be a little too far out. Someone is waiting to buy my current system and I don't want to hold them up too long. My understanding though is that Haswell is going to be a big change. Is it going to be enough that my investment might be a poor choice right now? Will Haswell be using the same socket?

SATA 6.0GB/s only matters when you're using SSDs. Hard drives just barely crossed the limitations of SATA 1.5Gb/s let alone SATA 6.0Gb/s. So worrying about SATA 6.0Gb/s is a bit of a non-issue if you're not using SSDs.

I do understand this. My decision here is mostly future proofing. I may decide at some point that I am ready to go SSD. Also if I do use 4 drives in my RAID configuration I want as much consistency as possible.

Speaking of SSDs, I strongly recommend that you reconsider your stance on SSDs. They offer a level of responsiveness that just can't be matched by hard drives, even if those drives are in a RAID.

This is something I have put a lot of thought and research into. I believe that I will get a level of performance out of the VelociRaptors in a RAID configuration that will be satisfactory to me while offering the amount of space that I want.

Also, why exactly do you need 1.8TB of high performance storage?

Let me break that into two parts. As far as wanting that much hdd space, I already have that much space in my desktop machine as it is and I am using more than half of it. That doesn't include external media network drives, other machines, etc. That is just in this machine. I move a lot of data through my machine so I need the high capacity drives. The second part would be needing that capacity in a high performance configuration. I like to partition my root in one big partition. That takes the guess work out of it for me while ensuring I don't allocate space to a section of the machine where I later find it is not needed. In addition filesystem indexing seems to be a taxing process especially if large amounts of data come, go, change, move... I want that process to be fast. I want virus scanning of the entire system to be fast. I don't want the drives to be a bottleneck when performing huge compiles. I just want disc access to be fast across the board and I'm willing to pay for it.

I really appreciate your help. I certainly don't want to waste money and I do want to make sure I get the best parts for my needs. I will definitely be changing some parts of my build thanks to your assistance.
 

Dangman

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I have been buying G.Skill for quite a while and have been happy with it. Is this still a recommended brand?
Still a good brand.

Within the year I will have the higher resolution monitors so I would submit them as a consideration. I need a video card that will be sufficient when I make that upgrade. The choice of the GTX 680 was also a bit of future proofing. I will be running the card for a long time as evidenced by the fact that I'm still running the 9800 GTX+ now. So I'm thinking about what I may need out of it 2, 3, even 4 years down the road. It is unlikely that I will upgrade it for a long time. If I'm still overachieving with the choice of the GTX 680, even with those considerations, I would definitely consider saving money on the GPU in favor of the GTX 670. What do you think?
IMO, generally it's better to upgrade over time to meet the performance needs of that time rather than buy a high-end part in the hopes of "future proofing" it. That's generally been my philosophy when it comes to coming up with PC builds. As such, I'm still sticking with my GTX 670 recommendation especially considering that there's a $190 price difference between the two GPUs. The GTX 680 will not last you that much longer to justify that $190 price tag. You're better off saving that $190 for a future video card upgrade or better parts (more on that later).

June may be a little too far out. Someone is waiting to buy my current system and I don't want to hold them up too long. My understanding though is that Haswell is going to be a big change. Is it going to be enough that my investment might be a poor choice right now? Will Haswell be using the same socket??
Early rumors are saying that Haswell may only be 5 to 10% faster than current Intel CPUs. But again those are rumors. Haswell will not be using the same socket: It will be using an entirely new and different socket that'll be incompatible with all current Intel sockets.

Whether or not your purchase would be a poor choice is largely dependent on badly you want/need an upgrade. Like I said, if you can wait, wait. If you can't, buy.

Let me break that into two parts. As far as wanting that much hdd space, I already have that much space in my desktop machine as it is and I am using more than half of it. That doesn't include external media network drives, other machines, etc. That is just in this machine. I move a lot of data through my machine so I need the high capacity drives. The second part would be needing that capacity in a high performance configuration. I like to partition my root in one big partition. That takes the guess work out of it for me while ensuring I don't allocate space to a section of the machine where I later find it is not needed. In addition filesystem indexing seems to be a taxing process especially if large amounts of data come, go, change, move... I want that process to be fast. I want virus scanning of the entire system to be fast. I don't want the drives to be a bottleneck when performing huge compiles. I just want disc access to be fast across the board and I'm willing to pay for it.

Well here's the thing: With the recommendations I made earlier, you should be saving around $300 or so. That's more than enough to cover most of the costs of a 512GB SSD like the Crucial m4 512GB or a 256GB SSD if you're fine with that. Yes it is a tad more of a hassle to deal with two storage systems but as many people over in the Data Storage Systems can attest to, once you go SSD, hard drives will just seem slow, even Raptors. So it's well worth that little extra hassle IMO.
 

mwoodj

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I think I'm convinced on the GPU. So you have likely influenced a change in the Mobo, CPU, PSU, RAM, GPU. That's practically the whole system. I'm still resistant on the hdd change.

Going with the SSD solution I am breaking up my partitions between drives. So where do I break it up? Well I have many games installed in /usr/local as well as /opt. In addition any games installed through WINE are somewhere on the /home partition. Steam installs its games into the /home partition unless I change its installation configuration. I also have most system bins sitting in /bin and /usr/bin. System compiles take place in /var/tmp. My work and personal compiles take place in various places under /home. But I would also have large amounts of media under /home that I would not want to keep on the SSD. So really I'm not only looking at needing to break my partitions up among drives, I'm looking at either partitioning on a very granular level (such as putting $HOME/Steam and $HOME/.wine on the SSD while putting $HOME/Media or $HOME/GiantDataRepo on non-SSD) or creating non-standard partitions and strategically placed symlinks. I think it could turn into a maintenance nightmare.

In addition I am dropping the redundancy unless I decide to mirror the SSD. That really blows the cost difference away. Just two of the 512MB SSD's would consume the entire cost of the four raptors while I would still need to invest in a high capacity solution for the non-SSD partitions. I understand that when SSD's fail you are often able to read but not write. That isn't always the case though.

Have I made this overly complicated somewhere? Also consider how much my system binaries change as I update over time with a rolling release Linux distribution. The system files stored on my drive will change much more frequently than they do on Windows. Won't that reduce the lifespan of the SSD considerably?

Thanks again for your advice.
 

Dangman

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Going with the SSD solution I am breaking up my partitions between drives. So where do I break it up? Well I have many games installed in /usr/local as well as /opt. In addition any games installed through WINE are somewhere on the /home partition. Steam installs its games into the /home partition unless I change its installation configuration. I also have most system bins sitting in /bin and /usr/bin. System compiles take place in /var/tmp. My work and personal compiles take place in various places under /home. But I would also have large amounts of media under /home that I would not want to keep on the SSD. So really I'm not only looking at needing to break my partitions up among drives, I'm looking at either partitioning on a very granular level (such as putting $HOME/Steam and $HOME/.wine on the SSD while putting $HOME/Media or $HOME/GiantDataRepo on non-SSD) or creating non-standard partitions and strategically placed symlinks. I think it could turn into a maintenance nightmare.
Not that big of a nightmare. Generally we recommend keeping the OS + critical/heavily used applications on the SSD alongside a few game installs if they can fit. The HDD is used to store media and not-so important or heavily played games. If you check throughout this subforum as well as the Data Storage subforum, the split I just mentioned has been done for quite some time now. Yes that did require people to modify the way they store and install programs, games, and media. But they all adapted to it since it provided one of the better performance increases to the system.

In addition I am dropping the redundancy unless I decide to mirror the SSD. That really blows the cost difference away. Just two of the 512MB SSD's would consume the entire cost of the four raptors while I would still need to invest in a high capacity solution for the non-SSD partitions.
Thats a fair point if you are serious about redundancy.
I understand that when SSD's fail you are often able to read but not write. That isn't always the case though.
I've seen that reported elsewhere but I've never seen any proof whatsoever that's actually the case. As far as I can tell, when SSDs fail, they fail like hard drives.

Have I made this overly complicated somewhere?
The system files stored on my drive will change much more frequently than they do on Windows. Won't that reduce the lifespan of the SSD considerably?.
Nope. With most good quality SSDs nowadays, you would have to write data to the SSD non-stop 24/7 for 5 straight years before you even begin to see a decrease in the lifespan of the SSD.
 

mwoodj

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So leaving the decision on SSD's on the table for me to think about, here is where I'm at with the recommendations that have been made:

$189.99 - GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UD5H LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
$289.99 - Intel Core i7-3770 Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor
$129.99 - G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory
$439.99 - EVGA 04G-P4-3673-KR GeForce GTX 670 FTW+ 4GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
$119.99 - CORSAIR Professional Series HX650 650W ATX12V v2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
$169.99 - COOLER MASTER HAF X Blue Edition RC-942-KKN3 Black Steel / Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case
$229.99 (x4 RAID10) = $919.96 - Western Digital WD VelociRaptor WD1000DHTZ 1TB 10000 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
$99.99 - Pioneer 15X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 5X DVD-RAM 12X BD-ROM 4MB Cache SATA Blu-ray Burner

Total: $2,359.89

So that's a difference of $210. I feel pretty good about those changes. I compared the two motherboards and I do think the Gigabyte board has everything I need plus some nice additions compared to the ASRock such as a lot more USB 3.0 ports. The ASRock board also has some thing on it that I have zero interest in so I like this switch. I'm going to trust you on the recommendation of lower speed RAM but I did go ahead and stick with lower latency. Let me know if you think I picked the right GTX 670. I have never purchased an EVGA card before but I have read good things about them.

Does anyone know if there are issues with bottom mounting the HX650 in a full tower when it comes to the length of the PSU and mobo cables? I know some PSU's are problematic in this area.

I think my wife will be happy to see the cost of my build going down. It would seem like asking a bunch of hardware enthusiasts their opinion would run he risk of going in the opposite direction.
 

Dangman

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I'm going to trust you on the recommendation of lower speed RAM but I did go ahead and stick with lower latency.
Lower latency doesn't affect overall system performance that much. So even CAS 9 would be fine. But if you're willing to pay for it, go for it. With that said, I'd personally aim for a 2 x 8GB set since that'll allow you to uprade to 32GB of RAM later on without having to ditch or leave aside any RAM.
Let me know if you think I picked the right GTX 670. I have never purchased an EVGA card before but I have read good things about them.
I don't think you need a 4GB VRAM card since you're not doing multi-monitor gaming where that extra VRAM would come in handy. Nor have you mentioned playing BF3 or Skyrim with the HD texture pack. So you should be fine with the GTX 670 2GB.

eVGA is a solid company when it comes to video cards. Wouldn't trust them for motherboards however.
Does anyone know if there are issues with bottom mounting the HX650 in a full tower when it comes to the length of the PSU and mobo cables? I know some PSU's are problematic in this area.
Can't recall seeing that specific PSU and case combo together.
It would seem like asking a bunch of hardware enthusiasts their opinion would run he risk of going in the opposite direction.
That does happen sometimes.
 

mwoodj

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I don't think you need a 4GB VRAM card since you're not doing multi-monitor gaming where that extra VRAM would come in handy. Nor have you mentioned playing BF3 or Skyrim with the HD texture pack. So you should be fine with the GTX 670 2GB.

Well now that you mention it... it is quite possible that I will want to play Skyrim with the high-resolution pack. I also hope to play TES Online. Hopefully OpenMW is going to make big progress this year as well and I will be able to play it with high-resolution textures and advanced shader effects. I still think the 2GB card would be enough but I don't mind throwing an extra $50 at the video card to be certain.
 

mwoodj

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Alright I switched to the 2x8GB memory pair. While looking at the reviews for the HX650 I noticed that a lot of people have compained of a "chirp" sound when the fan siwtches on and off (which it does as the load changes.) That is the sort of thing that would drive me nuts. This does not seem to be an issue with the HX750.
 
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Get an SSD. It will be the best investment you spend money on, hands down. Even if that means just getting a single 512, then doing a backup on one of the 1TB hard drives you pick up. Heck I would even go with a 3TB HDD for storage/backup purposes, or a couple of them. Still cheaper than your 4x hdd setup and the SSD will still be faster.
 

Dangman

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While looking at the reviews for the HX650 I noticed that a lot of people have compained of a "chirp" sound when the fan siwtches on and off (which it does as the load changes.) That is the sort of thing that would drive me nuts. This does not seem to be an issue with the HX750.
Not surprising since the HX750 and HX 650 come from two different PSU manufacturers and design. If the issue is that huge for you, then yes go for the HX750. Or check out the Seasonic X650 or Corsair AX750.
 

mwoodj

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I still think the reliability and capacity of the RAID10 configuration is a worthy compromise in comparison to an SSD solution. If a drive fails in this setup I can conitnue to use my system while I wait for the replacement. There is no downtime. There is no reinstallation. Duplication is invisible and self maintained. It isn't like I'm passing up SSD performance for that of a single 7200 RPM hdd. Those VelociRaptor drives in a RAID10 configuration should be quite an upgrade from my 2 WD Black drives in RAID0.

I'm still weighing the options when it comes to the storage solution. Either way this is where the most money is going to be sunk. I want to get it right.

Thanks again for the advice. When I hit the purchase button I think I'm going to be feeling very confident about the build.
 

mwoodj

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Well you guys have really gotten into my head on the storage solution issue. I am now debating between an SSD solution and the VelociRaptor RAID10 solution. So I've gone through my hdd contents and I believe I have come to two conclusions that weigh on this decision.

1) It is time for me to introduce some level of redundancy so that a drive failure is not catastrophic.
2) I can break up my data a number of ways if needed to meet some capacity restraints.

So here is the recap of my original solution:

$229.99 (x4 RAID10) = $919.96 - Western Digital WD VelociRaptor WD1000DHTZ 1TB 10000 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

Here is what I'm thinking for an SSD solution:

$349.99 - SAMSUNG 840 Series MZ-7TD500BW 2.5" 500GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
$169.99 (x2 RAID1) = $339.98 - Seagate Barracuda STBD3000100 3TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive Kit

Total: $689.97

I would partition the SSD as my root (/) drive and install onto it. Then I would partition the two HDD's into a RAID1 array and have it auto-mount somewhere in my filesystem (/sgraid1 for example.) Then I would use symlinks in my /home partition to the raid1 for anything that I don't need on the SSD. This would include games with fast load times (a lot of older games already have instant load times on the drives I'm using now) and large development projects that I'm not actively working on. Secondly I would use duplicity and crontab to maintain automatic incremental backups of the SSD contents on the RAID1 drives. That fills my requirements in a number of ways:

1) I have redundancy provided by the RAID1 array for both the data I don't keep on my SSD and for the incremental backup of the SSD.
2) I get the performance of SSD where it counts but I also have the read performance the RAID1 provides for the rest of my data.
3) I actually end up with more performance and more space for less money.

The only downsides are that I have to do some level of data management to keep from filling up the SSD and a drive failure does not result in a degraded state that I can continue to work with. If the SSD fails I'm down until it gets replaced.

Any thoughts? Do these newer SSD drives still benefit from TRIM support (it seems that I can enable it by adding the 'discard' option to the partition mount options)?

Thanks again for all the help.
 
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Dangman

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Sounds good to me. Yes SSDs still need TRIM support.
 

mwoodj

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I've been reading the reviews on that Gigabyte board and there seems to be two common complaints that worry me. The first is that the PCI-E slot housing is easily separated from the board and impossible to reattach. The second is that a lot of people seem to have an issue with the board dying after a few months. Looking through the ASRock reviews I don't see many people complaining about the board dying. Most of the negative reviews for the ASRock seem to be DOA boards. So it seems that, for most people, if they get a working board they are in good shape.

It could be improved:
It also has the PCI slot a few spots below the top/first PCI-E x16 slot rather. That makes for a less awkward setup than with the Asrock's PCI slot being directly underneath the top/first PCI-E x16 slot.

The ASRock has two PCI slots. One of them is close to the bottom of the board. So I don't think this is actually going to be an issue. I only need one PCI slot so I can just use the one on the bottom.

Does ASRock have known quality issues or something that would push me to go with the Gigabyte despite the mixed reviews for that model? Thanks!
 
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AsRock's quality issues has been seen first hand by HardOCP doing back to back testing of the same motherboard. They got one board (I think AsRock sent it to them) and it did fairly well, then they bought one at a retailer and that one didn't do so well and was obviously not the same quality as the one AsRock sent them.

Also Asrock's warranty in the past was below the industry standard of 3+ years. I believe they had a 1 year or 2 year warranty; so we in GenHard tend to avoid them.

As for redundancy, if you really can't live with your system being down while a potential drive gets sent in for RMA; then you could still afford a much, much smaller SSD strictly as a backup OS drive. Since all your data will be on a backup, it might be a little complex to get that all sorted but symbolic links are easy in Linux.
 

Dangman

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AsRock's quality issues has been seen first hand by HardOCP doing back to back testing of the same motherboard. They got one board (I think AsRock sent it to them) and it did fairly well, then they bought one at a retailer and that one didn't do so well and was obviously not the same quality as the one AsRock sent them.
That's kinda changed now: HardOCP recently bought an Asrock Z77 Extreme4 retail and it seem to do relatively well with the exception of the thin PCB.
Also Asrock's warranty in the past was below the industry standard of 3+ years. I believe they had a 1 year or 2 year warranty; so we in GenHard tend to avoid them.
Fair point. But apparently Newegg says the warranty for the Asrock Z77 Professional is now three years.
 
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I'll still remain skeptical for at least another generation of motherboards from them.

Yeah I know it's three years now, hence why I said "in the past" in that sentence.
 

Dangman

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I'll still remain skeptical for at least another generation of motherboards from them.

Yeah I know it's three years now, hence why I said "in the past" in that sentence.

Fair enough.
 

SpeedyVV

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Real interesting read.

but the SSD is a must!!!

Specially with all that compilation.
 

Quartz-1

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If you're not going to overclock, get the 3770, not the 3770K as the K model has some virtualisation features disabled.

I know you've already purchased your case, but you might care to have a gander at the semi-silent build in my sig.
 

mwoodj

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That's kinda changed now: HardOCP recently bought an Asrock Z77 Extreme4 retail and it seem to do relatively well with the exception of the thin PCB.

Fair point. But apparently Newegg says the warranty for the Asrock Z77 Professional is now three years.

So do you have an opinion on the concern I expressed? I'm leaning back towards the ASRock at this point.
 

Dangman

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I still share Skillz's distrust of Asrock despite recent evidence showing that AsRock is getting better.

So in other words, you gotta decide for yourself.
 

mwoodj

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Could it be beneficial for me to take the savings from the data solution and put them into an X79 solution that meets my motherboard requirements? While my options seem limited among Z77 boards, given my needs, X79 seems to have all the things I want as a typical configuration. How does an i7-3820 with ASUS Sabertooth X79 (maybe +quad channel) solution compare to the i7-3770 with the two boards I'm considering?

Thanks!
 

Dangman

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Could it be beneficial for me to take the savings from the data solution and put them into an X79 solution that meets my motherboard requirements?
Not really. Generally there are three good reasons to go X79:
1) You will be buy a six-core CPU
2) Your intended usage will exceed 32GB of RAM
3) You plan on using triple or quad-SLI.

Since you only listed the quad-core Core i7 3820 and not the six-core Core i7 3930K, nor have you posted a need for more than 32GB of RAM support, or any plans for triple/quad SLI, doesn't make much sense to go X79.

How does an i7-3820 with ASUS Sabertooth X79 (maybe +quad channel) solution compare to the i7-3770 with the two boards I'm considering?
Virtually the same CPU performance actually. The only real edge that proposed X79 setup has over your Z77 setup is the RAM and you haven't mentioned needing more than 32GB of RAM. So that kinda defeats the purpose.
 

mwoodj

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I suspected your response would go roughly like that based on what I know about X79.

I think I'm starting to zero in on the build now. What if I toss this board in the mix?

GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UP5 TH LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

It isn't paper thin like an ASRock and there are no complaints of the PCI-E housing lifting right off the board or of it suddenly dying a few months down the road. It looks like it is generally considered a solidly constructed, well designed board. In comparison to the other boards it loses a couple of 6GB/s SATA connectors but I don't need more than what this board provides. It looks like a winner to me.
 
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Dangman

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That mobo only makes sense IMO if you're actually going to use the Thunderbolt feature right out of the box. Otherwise, the extra cash for that mobo isn't worth it.
 

mwoodj

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Man you sure do like to stick to the requirements. I'm going to go with it. If those concerns were a huge problem I expect people would be warning me about it. So here is where I'm at:

$189.99 - GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UD5H LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
$289.99 - Intel Core i7-3770 Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor
$124.99 - G.SKILL Trident X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory
$439.99 - EVGA 04G-P4-3673-KR GeForce GTX 670 FTW+ 4GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
$149.99 - CORSAIR HX Series HX750 750W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
$169.99 - COOLER MASTER HAF X Blue Edition RC-942-KKN3 Black Steel / Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case
$349.99 - SAMSUNG 840 Series MZ-7TD500BW 2.5" 500GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
$169.99 (x2 RAID1) = $339.98 - Seagate Barracuda STBD3000100 3TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive Kit
$99.99 - Pioneer 15X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 5X DVD-RAM 12X BD-ROM 4MB Cache SATA Blu-ray Burner

Total: $2,154.90

That is a difference of $414.99 from where I started and I think this build is much better honed to my needs. I feel a lot more confident about it than I did when I started this thread. I'm going to wait a few days in case anyone else has any suggestions and I will look around to see if I can find any better deals. In a few days I will go ahead and order it.

Thanks for helping me out guys and for gently nudging me in the right direction. I think the Samsung 840 is going to blow me away. Thanks for paying so much attention to my thread Danny Bui. It has turned into a long read. When I'm done with the build I might as well just make the hostname DannyBui lol.
 

Dangman

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Man you sure do like to stick to the requirements.
Thats how I keep PC builds under or at budget :D
I'm going to go with it. If those concerns were a huge problem I expect people would be warning me about it.
If you want to be absolutely sure and don't mind the possibility of people recommending expensive mobos that don't meet your needs, ask in the Intel forum about any GA-Z77X-UD5H users who may have problems with their mobo.
Thanks for helping me out guys and for gently nudging me in the right direction. I think the Samsung 840 is going to blow me away. Thanks for paying so much attention to my thread Danny Bui. It has turned into a long read. When I'm done with the build I might as well just make the hostname DannyBui lol.
No prob and please don't. :D

EDIT: Oh for the PSU, check out the Newegg Seasonic SS-660XP which is on sale RIGHT NOW for the next ten hours for $110 with "$30 off w/ promo code EMCYTZT2904":
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151121

Awesome review of it here:
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2013...um660_660w_power_supply_review/1#.URbM5mcdd7c

If you're too lazy: just read this: "When you buy a Seasonic PLATINUM-660 you are simply getting exactly what you paid for; quite possibly the best PSU we have ever reviewed."
 
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Climber

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I'll still remain skeptical for at least another generation of motherboards from them.

Yeah I know it's three years now, hence why I said "in the past" in that sentence.

I've built more than 3 dozen builds with this generations z77 boards and haven't had a single return or problem with any of the builds. For the price they can't be beat.
 

Quartz-1

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I don't see a CPU cooler in there. You're going to get very annoyed at the stock Intel cooler very quickly.
 

mwoodj

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What would you recommend? A long long time ago I bought an aftermarket cooler for a Palamino chip. It was an SLK-800 combined with a Tornado 80mm. That thing cooled really well but the tornado sounded like a jet engine. After that I started water cooling. I did that for a few years and then a leak sprung from one of the waterblocks soaking a bunch of my components. I've been using stock coolers ever since. Anyway, I am definitely willing to add a better cooling solution to my budget but I would like to stick to air and the quieter the better.
 
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Coolermaster 212+ or EVO, great coolers that won't break the bank.
 

mwoodj

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EDIT: Oh for the PSU, check out the Newegg Seasonic SS-660XP which is on sale RIGHT NOW for the next ten hours for $110 with "$30 off w/ promo code EMCYTZT2904":
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151121

Awesome review of it here:
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2013...um660_660w_power_supply_review/1#.URbM5mcdd7c

If you're too lazy: just read this: "When you buy a Seasonic PLATINUM-660 you are simply getting exactly what you paid for; quite possibly the best PSU we have ever reviewed."

I'm not too lazy but I do appreciate you providing the summary. I did go ahead and read the review. This is a no-brainer so I will be buying this within the next couple of hours. Thanks!

EDIT: Oh! They also have a $20.00 mail-in rebate so when that is considered it comes out to $89.99
 
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