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New Gaming Rig ... maybe a dream but

Lee Downham

Jun 16, 2008
My wife needs a new PC for her work, but nothing outstanding, so I thought I might be a bit cheeky and give her my current rig, which in truth is still fairly quick ... rough specs:
Quad Q6600 at ~2.8Ghz, Asus Striker Extreme, GSkill 4GB PC1200, 2 x Nvidia 8800GT in Sli ... lots of nice big HDD's etc ...
... and then I will get me a new rig for both my work and gaming pleeeaasure :th_wink:

Now this all depends very much on what Mr Taxman says to us soon ... but ... I was wondering (dreaming) about something along the lines of the following:

I7 920 2.66Ghz (or I7 860 2.8Ghz as they are similarly priced) <<--- what are major diffs tho pls???
Asus Rampage II Extreme > Asus fan, excellent board and XFI soundcard
ATI 5870 1GB >> triple view option (nick my wife's monitor, buy her a 24"):clap:
6GB or even better 8GB of some kinda good solid but fast RAM
Watercooled kit (summers here get hot, as do CPU's, graphics cards and Northbridges :p)
Coolermaster HAF 932 or similar case
2 or 3TB of WD Hdd's, either 750's or 1TB's <- need lots of space.
Windowz 7 Ultimate

As you may have guessed I am feeling rather lazy and don't have that much time right now to spend aeons reading up on recent and upcoming developments and stuff, so comments on the kit, a bit of help with alternative suggestions and info from those folks in the know would be seriously appreciated (including how much diff I will really see in the graphics from 2x8800GT in Sli versus the one 5870?) :thumb:

Dan Coldrick

Mar 17, 2008
All looks good mate, maybe get yourself a SSD if you can afford it if not the Samsung F3's are very good!, other then that though it will be a very solid rig, even the one your giving the wife is a nice system!

For the os
100% agree, my 5850 kills any game going right now, a 5870 is roughly 20% faster so god only knows what that baby can do.

Does anyone on RD have a 5870?
Sep 3, 2008
I'm looking at similar kit, I'm undecided between i7 860, 870 or i920, if I go i8xx it will be with a Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD5 or UD6 mobo (there is an equivalent X58 mobo) with the HAF 932 chassis, 8GB Ram (6GB if I go with i9xx) and a F3 1TB HD. I would have gone with another Asus mobo but they seem to have dropped USB 3.0 support from their new P55A boards.

I'm a bit traumatised at my decision to move away from AMD so can't quite bring myself to ditch nVidia and go with the 5870\5970 so will more than likely wait for Fermi.

I think one of the main things to consider is that with a socket 1366 mobo (i9xx CPU) you can run SLi\Crossfire at x16 where as on socket 1156 (i7 8xx) it would drop down to x8, so if SLi\Crossfire is a major want then i920 has to be the choice. The other main difference is triple channel RAM (i9xx) vs double channel (i8xx). I've been reading quite a bit this last week and both sockets seem to have pros & cons, with some people saying there is very little gain between x16 & x8 SLi\Crossfire and then others saying the opposite, the same applies to dual\triple channel RAM.
From what I've been reading if you're overclocking then the i920 overclocks better than both i860 and i870. I'm not planning on overclocking at the moment.

I'm also debating about WC, I think a full WC system will come later, I may start with the Corsair H50-1 which is about the same as a descent CPU Cooler.

Aug 26, 2008
I'm looking at similar kit, I'm undecided between i7 860, 870 or i920, if I go i8xx it will be with a Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD5 or UD6 mobo (there is an equivalent X58 mobo) with the HAF 932 chassis, 8GB Ram (6GB if I go with i9xx) and a F3 1TB HD. I would have gone with another Asus mobo but they seem to have dropped USB 3.0 support from their new P55A boards.
The Gigabyte's will be highly solid boards, personal favorite.

If you're willing to wait a little you may want get the UD7 which sports revised X58 chipset, SATA 3, USB 3.0 and four 16x PCI-E slots. But then it will probably be expensive.

Lee Downham

Jun 16, 2008
Nice rundown Eyghon ... this is the stuff I have been wanting to look into myself but not found the time as yet.

RE: Asus - I do like their mobo's, and have been rather chuffed with the ones I have owned, they have been rock solid in performance and longevity.
The Rampage II Extreme has a full creative X-FI soundcard bundled with it which will save a wedge of money, and will of course bring looooovely sound with it, so much better than most "on board" / bundled systems - at least that is my experience.

Personal feelings are that the triple channel and x16 SLi/crossfire boards might not be showing many advantages as yet, but as drivers and apps become a bit more sorted and start to use the new tech to the full, then they will defo "gap" the older tech ... or maybe not, as there have been many screw ups in this kinda thing historically :waiting:

RE: ATI v Nvidia ... I have long been in the Nvidia camp (although have owned a couple of ATI cards in the past), so am having the opposite troubles to you in jumping to ATI, esp as I have heard that Nvidia cards are supposed to be better optimised for use with Adobe and Photoshop products ... which is the other reason for me wanting a big powerhouse of a rig.
SLI/Crossfire is always an option ... esp if I can up the performance of my machine in a year or two's time for less than half the cost of a new card (which is what I did with this one I have here)

RE: coolers ... I was looking at the same thing Eyghon ... simple bolt on watercooler at the same price as a decent air cooled block, and as it should be more effective it HAS to be a good thing hasn't it?? ... I am also not sure I will have the time nor patience to make a pretty job of a full watercooling system, so the inside of the HAF would look like a bowl of luminous spagetti that had been dropped on the floor and trodden in :D
This time around I honestly just wanna get a fast system up and running without too much fuss, try to keep it tidy in the process but not spend my life building it ... once it is running, I am sure I would not be bothered to do a complete rebuild to tidy things up and cable them right.

Think I have been building PC's too long now and have too many other things on and too little time to care THAT much about making the prettiest machine going, but ... it would be nice if I did it right first time (for a change) :D
Sep 3, 2008
Well I'm still price checking and then re-checking and adding up and jumbling the figures :bulgy-eyes:

The HAF932 arrived today, I could almost live in it, massive compared to my current Antec 900, also got the Logitech G9x mouse today and Router Netgear WNDR3700 should be here Monday.

I'm still very much in three minds over the CPU & Mobo combi, I am now looking at:

i7 920 System
Intel Core i7 920 2.66Ghz (Nehalem) (Socket LGA1366) Retail
Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7 Intel X58 (Socket 1366)
Total: £486.03

i7 950 System
Intel Core i7-950 Quad Core Processor
Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7 Intel X58 (Socket 1366)
Totals: £687.53

i7 870 System (UD5)
Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD5 Socket 1156 DDR3 SATA3 USB3.0
Intel Core i7 870 2.93GHz Lynnfield Quad Core 8Mb Cache LGA1156, Retail
Totals: £569.51

along with:
Samsung HD103SJ SpinPoint F3 1TB
850W CoolerMaster M850 Real Power Power
Asus Xonar D2X 7.1 PCI-Express Sound Card

I've ruled out full WC for the time being. I think I might give the H50 a miss too because while it is a sealed system it is prone to evaporation and no water or drop in water level means less effective cooling. The H50 is still just about on the table though along with a Noctua NH-U12P SE2 Dual Fan Quiet CPU Cooler, the new Noctua D-14 or Prolimatech Megahalems Performance CPU Cooler or Prolimatech Mega Shadow Performance CPU Cooler.

As far as RAM goes you have to be careful which RAM you go for because all the above mentioned Coolers overhang the RAM slots so Mem Sticks with tall heat sinks would have problems, this is one reason the H50 is still on the table as it cools on a par with the Air Coolers but doesn't interfere with the RAM slots.

I have several different sticks in mind, some I have yet to check if they have tall heat sinks or not:


I have considered Kingston 4gb (2x2gb) Ddr3 2000mhz Hyperx T1 Xmp I5 Memory Kit Cl8(8-8-8-24) 1.65v for the 1156 board.


These are some I have considered for the 1366 mobo:
Crucial Ballistix Tracer 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 PC3-12800C8 (1600MHz) Tri-Channel (BL3KIT25664TB1608) (quite a bit over budget)
GeIL Ultra Series 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 PC3-12800 (1600MHz) Tri-Channel (GU36GB1600C7TC)
OCZ Gold 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 PC3-12800C8 1600MHz Triple Channel Kit
Crucial Ballistix 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 PC3-12800C8 1600MHz Triple Channel Kit
Patriot Viper 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 PC3-12800C8 1600MHz Triple Channel kit
6GB Corsair XMS3 1600MHz Triple Channel Memory Kit - TR3X6G1600C8

Is there any real world advantage to be gained going from 12800, 14400+ to 16000+ if I'm not currently planning on overclocking, would I be better off looking at lower latency 12800 or 14400+?

I would welcome any comments on the above.

One of the main considerations for me is future proofing, so when I upgrade I try to go as near top tier as I can but then hold on to it for 3 years or so. I think the 920 is the overclocking rig, the 870 gaming rig and 950 raw power and most future proofed. Which ever way I go it will have Fermi.

Feb 19, 2007
hey Eyghon
for me a i7 - 950 and 870 are a bit overkill
i if was you i would go or the 920 or 860, overclock them to a 950 or 870 and put the money in more ram and/or graphics card:wink:

for ram i read a long time that the higher the number, the faster the ram is if the cas is also low.....if it has higher cas value, then it might be as slow/fast as a lower mhz but with lower cas value. but i might be wrong:)

Lee Downham

Jun 16, 2008
cas, CTC, tras, latency ... :th_sur:
... I (re-)read about what all these numbers mean and will do for you each time I get some new ram ... but tbh I get bored silly trying to work it all out and usually opt for a good bit of ram that is recommended and reputed to be fast :cyclops:

RE: CPU ... a few years ago overclocking a CPU was frowned upon by the likes of Intel and AMD, so much so that they were locking chips and "hard" workarounds like jumping connectors on CPU's was required in order to unlock them ... but these days, Nvidia and other manufacturers seem to support it whole heartedly and even have their own guides on how to best overclock CPU's, graphics cards and their motherboards.

So what am I saying with all this ... I would do as Christopher suggests, but a lesser CPU and overclock the hell out of it ... I would bet that the stock speeds on many CPU's are even reduced on purpose to make them look like they overclock a lot further, and to make people think they are getting better deals and kings of overclocks :act-up:

BTW ... nice bunch of info there Eyghon ... my purchase is still a dream.

Lee Downham

Jun 16, 2008
Wish I had mate ... as I said, my dream is just that, and will prolly not happen unless I get a very big reduction in the tax bill we are expecting ... and also, a decent amount of money back from the insurance company after our lovely old camper van was nicked ~2 weeks back (which is likewise highly unlikely :sad:)

... but if things do go in our favour then wouldn't such a machine (+SSD drive) be such a sweet thing :wink2:
Sep 3, 2008
I don't think SSD's are really practical for the money right now, the cheapest 128GB SSD on OCUK is about £165 and that will probably be a let down on performance at that price. I could fill a 128GB SSD many times over, I have 60GB of games installed at the minute, Modern Warfare 2 alone is 11GB, Race\GTR-E\STCC including add-on tracks etc is 11GB and my Win7 64bit install is around 20GB. I installed Win7 when that was released but I haven't re-installed the vast majority of stuff because I'm waiting to do the rebuild first.

I have just ordered a 1TB HD for £57 so SSD's will have to come down a hell of a long way and increase in size before I would buy one, no way am I paying £500+ for a 256GB SSD, that would buy a 5970 or Fermi card when they come out. I will look at SSD's in 2011.

The CPU prices are really what is causing me problems at the minute, the cheapest option 920 (2.66GHz) is £211, 870 (2.93GHz) can be had for £393 a big jump over the 920 but then the spanner in the works is the 950 D0 (3.06GHz) which is £411, so if you're going 870 you may as well spend the extra and get the 950 which means you would also be going with the X58 with it's obvious advantage of dual x16 PCIe's and triple channel RAM. The rub is the Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7 (the best X58 mobo available right now with SATA 6.0 & USB 3.0) is £264 compared to £168 for the Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD5, the top Gigabyte P55 mobo is the GA-P55A-UD6 and that is £204 but the only difference over the UD5 is 24 phase power vs 12 phase power on the UD5. If going 9xx it would make sense to wait for the GA-X58A-UD5\6 but I have really itchy fingers right now especially with prices on the rise and VAT going back up to at leat 17.5% in the new year :thinking:
Feb 19, 2007
I would still go or the 920 or the 860 and overclock them :)
use the rest of the money on SSD, install only windows 7 on it and install the games & programs on the other bigger HD that you have :)

why not the 950 or 870? simply because when you put it in price/performance, the 920 and 860 will come out better. (950 and 870 cost so much more for just a small performance boost, while you can do that the same with the 920 or 860 and overclock them)
Sep 3, 2008
I'm not really questioning whether SSD's are faster but whether the cost can be justified.
The speed differential is shown very clearly here along with the advantage of the shake test (not much of an advantage in the desktop market though): [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJMGAdpCLVg&NR=1&feature=fvwp[/ame] but is it really worth the cost?, I mean a 64GB drive just to run the OS can cost anywhere from £100 to £600 (for an Intel Extreme), there has to be a big difference in performance between those drives, you surely can't get the same performance from a £92 (64GB) drive and say a £324 (60GB) drive.
I guess it's probably going to be the same scenario with SSD's as it is with CPU's, the £92 drive will no doubt easily out perform a SATAII drive (SATA 6.0 should narrow the gap a tad) but is there a big enough difference between a £92 & £300+ SSD to warrant the extra cost?
I've now got to go investigate SSD's as if I didn't have enough on my plate with CPU's and RAM :bulgy-eyes::coffee2:


Bob Miley

Sep 14, 2008
I was of the understanding that at the moment SSD is like a USB pen, has limited writes. You could not have a page file on SSD as it would only last a very short time so the page file would need to go on HDD which would decrease the speed advantage. The other point is you should never defrag SSD as this adds to the write times.

Maybe this will be sorted soon and by that time the price will probably come down to make it worth the expense, but for me HDD is the only way to go at the moment.

David Zafiu

May 12, 2009
I am waiting to earn some money to buy a gaming computer too.My specs in the wishlist are:

AMD Phenom II X4 965 - 3.4Ghz
Motherboard MSI 790FX GD70 - 2133 O.C
Graphic card Sapphire Radeon HD5870 1GB
4GB Ram at 2000Mhz
Source Cooler Master M750W
HAF932 ......and more other gadgets.
I hope it will worths.Please don't say anything about my AMD Quad because i know most of you have chosed Intel products.It's very much to talk about this. :)

Derek Day

Nov 8, 2009
I would love to put together another gaming rig. The last time I did cost me way to much but still does the trick for a 3 year old unit. I did upgrade the processor to a quad core and it only cost $180 for the intel Q6600 when purchased, its probably $40 now lol.

I changed to a p30 bios and over clocked it from 2.4 to 3.5. The system is air cooled and I ran prime95 to stress it. It hauled ass like a champ and shes super stable. Just the CPU earned over 5600 points on 3Dmark06. Its not amazing, but still nothing to sneeze at.

My motherboard is a XFX 680i SLI LTi, 4 gig of crucial ballistic @ 1066. 2 evga 8800gts ssc editions (life time warranty too) lol. A 1000w Mushkin power supply and 10,000 rpm 300gig barracuda hard drive.

Before I switched to vista I was using XP pro 64bit. Had my cards over clocked with rivatuner to 1148 (mem) 1520 (shader) 692 (core). Did back to back 3Dmark runs and got an average score of 21,200. With vista it did an average of 20,600. My clocks for normal use with my flight sim were 1006 (mem) 1350 (shader) 640 (core) which are just a touch higher then stock (mem, core) and it scores 18,600 like that and I can fly a very heavy and super demanding flight sim glitch free for hours on end at full tilt everything.

Some of my flights are over 8hrs of flying time alone and take 10hrs to complete. Not to bad for a system on air, dont think I will ever get rid of it. Don't get me wrong, I would kill to have the newest gear again, but the only thing that can really push what I got now is FSX. Got to much time and money in FS9 and its silky. So if you want to save some loot you don't have to go for the latest gadgets to get your mits on a performer. Find some dude who upgraded his system and didnt need too Then benifit from his huge loss of cash and wait for proper Dx11 stuff to come out, or shoot yourself in the foot and then kick yourself in the ass.

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