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  • Critique this desktop build (goals, emphasis, and comparison included)

    Goals:
    1. Play games at 1920x1080 with high or better detail
    2. Specifically play Battlefield 3 online and Mass Effect 3

    Emphasis:
    * Simplicity and stability. My current rig has never been stable nor performed very well. Full bloom causes an instant reboot. For example, in Mass Effect 1 watching the "prothean beacon vision" is a guaranteed crash.
    * Mainstream without funky stuff...According to the Steam HW Survey, 2/3 of the install base is nVidia (not ATI)
    - 2/3 of the install base is Intel (not AMD)
    - Although Steam no longer shows this but before they stopped reporting...less than 5% were running SLI
    - Raid 1 HDD and max out SDRAM and load SW all into resident memory...cheaper, faster, and more stable than SSD or Raid 0

    Current rig:
    * Windows Experience Index of 4.5 (RAM) otherwise 5.9
    * Intel quad-core Q6600 (2.4Ghz)
    * nVidia Motherboard (nForce i680 chipset)
    * Dual nVidia 8800GTX (768GB) in SLI (cannot believe these cannot handle bloom)
    * 3GB RAM (scavenged from prior build)
    * Vista 32-bit
    * 250GB hard drive (this is full)
    * Onboard sound (SoundMAX...I think some of my crashing is here too)

    Proposed rig:
    * MSI P67A-GD55 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
    * Intel Core i5-2400 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz (3.4GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core
    * EVGA 01G-P3-1561-AR GeForce GTX 560 Ti FPB (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5
    * x2: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory
    * COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler
    * COOLER MASTER Silent Pro RSA00-AMBAJ3-US 1000W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS BRONZE
    * x2: HITACHI Deskstar 7K3000 HDS723020BLA642 (0f12115) 2TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
    * ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner
    * Scavenged and other...
    - Case (two 120mm front fans, one 120mm side fan, one 120mm rear fan, one 250mm top fan)
    - Windows 7 Professional x64 (I can get included in my company's corporate license for <$50)

    https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/M...px?ID=23463708

    (I published the wish list but am not sure that link will work.)

    Concerns:
    * I am not confident that there is a single GPU solution that will run 1080P with enough cushion for online play.

    Thoughts or recommendations?

    http://battlelog.battlefield.com/bf4/user/58Congo/

  • #2
    Re: Critique this desktop build (goals, emphasis, and comparison included)

    I haven't seen reliable system requirements for either of those games. If playing them with higher settings is a priority, then you will be taking a gamble.
    |TG-12th| Namebot

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    • #3
      Re: Critique this desktop build (goals, emphasis, and comparison included)

      personally, I would put more money into the power supply... even a 750 or 800 from pc power and cooling, sparkle, or silverstone will be a better choice.

      as for the ram, I say jump on 16... why not... others will tell you it is overkill... more never hurt anyone though.

      I would very much suggest a single 60gig or 120gig SSD and a large data drive. Once you set it up and move all the cache and temp files to the hhd, the ssd is pretty much static, and will wind up lasting decades. my Corsair f60 is showing that is has 22.4 years left at current usage (on 24 hours a day / 7 days a week.) All I did was move the cache, temp, and swapfile to a hhd. now the only things that ever get written the the ssd are updates and new programs. the ssd will be faster and just as stable as a single hdd. just like with anything though.... backup. macrium reflect is free and works flawlessly.
      Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -Albert Einstein
      The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity. -Harlan Ellison

      If all else fails: "rm -rf /"

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Critique this desktop build (goals, emphasis, and comparison included)

        Single GPUs are fine for running 1080p. I run 1920x1200 on a single card and it's fine. It'll also be less finicky than dual card set ups. Perhaps that's the source of your bloom caused crashes?

        But if you're goal is to play specific future games at a high setting, why not wait till those games are out - or at least almost out. There will be better hardware for the same or lower prices by then.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Critique this desktop build (goals, emphasis, and comparison included)

          Looks good but (and I will write this in all caps for emphasis), STAY AWAY FROM MSI MOTHERBOARDS! Also, while the GTX560 is a great card, we don't know what Battlefield 3 is going to require. You might either stick with your 8800s and upgrade the card when BF3 comes out or opt for a 580 or 6990. I see no reason why your 8800GTXs can't handle bloom. My old Radeon 2900XT did it just fine and it wasn't exactly a stellar video card.
          sigpic

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          • #6
            Re: Critique this desktop build (goals, emphasis, and comparison included)

            I just built a very similar system and I love it. I went with the H67 chipset though as I needed to save a few bucks. So no dedicated GPU, aftermarket cooling, or dedicated Sound. I plan to transfer this MoBo into an HTPC in the future and replace with a nice overclockable board, and then really let loose!

            I started out with an MSI board and abosolutely hated it. Not only was it defective, but the MSI software is rubbish. I will only use Asus and Gigabyte boards from now on.

            Why not step up the processor to the 2500k? For a few more bucks you get extra oomph right out of the box, as well as overclockability.

            I would also suggest a smaller HDD for your OS. The larger the drive, the more likely it is to fail. Use a single-platter (usually 500gb or less) for your OS and as large as you want for storage.

            You might want to do some research on your GPU. I think that is one of the "special" models. Meaning; limited production. This is going to be a pain for you in the future if you want to upgrated to SLI.

            If you do go ahead with it, let me know how it runs current games. I have only been able to play older games with low settings on my system, as I don't have my GPU yet.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Critique this desktop build (goals, emphasis, and comparison included)

              I agree with Rapt, you should step up to an i5 2500k for ~$30 more. Overclocking on Sandy Bridge K processors is as easy as adjusting the multiplier up and down, but it is basically impossible to do on locked sandy bridge processors such as the i5 2400.

              I heard MSI's reputation for motherboards is actually pretty decent now, but I still haven't seen any compelling reasons to choose any brand over Asus or Gigabyte. I would suggest an equivalent Asus P8P67 motherboard over the MSI one.

              According to newegg, the Cooler Master silent pro is a gold-certified PSU? The $200 one? That's quite a bit more power than you need for your proposed rig. You can get away with a 650 or 750 watt PSU and still have a ton of overheard. If you plan on going with an SLI/Crossfire setup in the future, then all you need is 750 or 850 watts and that's still playing it safe.

              I think Bucket's suggestion about using your 8800GTX's until you get closer to BF3 was a pretty good idea. That way you can get a better idea of what BF3 will require, newer GPUs should be out by then and you should be able to get more GPU for your dollar. The 560 Ti is a great card no doubt, but I'm just not entirely confident that this card, or any other card from this generation, will be able to run BF3 at high resolutions and high settings.

              Everything else in your build looked great though
              "Looking for brahs to come fight crime with me" - Unload



              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Critique this desktop build (goals, emphasis, and comparison included)

                Better motherboard with a 2500K bundle deal to save $63 from buying separately.

                P8P67 Pro + 2500K

                As for the PSU you cant go wrong with Corsair, Seasonic or Silverstone 600W-800W (higher for dual gfx or future upgrades)

                Video Cards, your have a great choice with the Geforce 560Ti. Here is an updated list for video cards from April 2011 Toms Hardware - Best Graphics Cards For The Money: April 2011

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Critique this desktop build (goals, emphasis, and comparison included)

                  I think I know why your current rig is so unstable SKI-RACER:

                  * 3GB RAM (scavenged from prior build)
                  It's a dual-channel DDR2 mobo right? And I also guess you have a some mix-and-matched RAM in there? That is more than likely why you have random restarts, crashes, BSODs, etc.

                  You want to go with 2 DIMMs with same capacity, speed, voltage, and timings settings. This means buying matched pairs of RAM, not scavenging RAM from other systems and just plugging them in expecting everything to be peachy.

                  Motherboards nowadays have dual-channel and triple-channel RAM slots and as such are very picky. Thus gone are the days when you can just mix-and-match RAM at will. If you do, then likely, you'll have a host of weird problems (from random BSODs to random reboots, programs CTD'ing with no apparent reason, etc).

                  * Vista 32-bit
                  Drivers + Vista never really went that well together. Chipset makers never wrote good enough and stable enough drivers for Vista and memory management isn't as good as Windows 7. This fortunately is not the case with Windows 7.

                  * 250GB hard drive (this is full)
                  Bad. Very bad. You should leave at least 20 GBs of free space so Windows has room for a page file and swap space. Otherwise, you'd run into various problems.

                  Also...

                  - Raid 1 HDD...
                  Keep in mind RAID 1 means that second HDD mirrors the data in the first HDD (basically think of it as automated backup of every file change you make on that first hard drive -- if you create a file, it gets copied over, if you delete a file, that same file gets deleted on the second drive). This means single drive performance, so if you were expecting improved performance and such, you'd have to look at RAID 0 (strip RAID) or RAID 0+1 or RAID 1+0 (combination of striping and mirroring).

                  and max out SDRAM
                  Okay, let me ask you this before "maxing out" on RAM:

                  a) Do you routinely use more than 4 GBs of RAM?
                  b) Do you expect to routinely need to use more than 4 GBs of RAM in the near future?

                  If you answer "no" to A, then you really don't need to max out on RAM. It doesn't offer any performance increase if you do. The increase only happens when you've hit the limit on RAM usage.

                  and load SW all into resident memory...
                  Okay, here I think you're talking about disabling paging file (aka virtual memory). First off, not gonna happen. Your system (and Windows) needs virtual memory for all kinds of processes and programs. So even if you disabled the page file, at some point, Windows will just re-enable because it needs it to run a program or because you ran out of free physical RAM or some combination of the two.

                  cheaper, faster, and more stable than SSD or Raid 0
                  If the above (the loading everything into RAM) was possible and the data ordering, etc in the low-level side was 100% efficient, it might be faster than a SSD or RAID 0.

                  Would it be cheaper than either? No. To truly make that system work, we'd have to get rid of the HDD completely and have RAM be dual-purpose, both for data storage (ha!) and temporary data storage (volatility). So if you have 100 GBs of programs installed and use, then you'd need 120 GBs+ of RAM in order to store all those programs, have enough room for normal operations, and have some little extra space for swap files.

                  The other problems is that RAM in itself would have to be redesigned, thus requiring a whole new board, etc. RAM is volatile, meaning when you power off your machine, everything in those RAM sticks are erased. Thus all your programs, files, and OS would be gone every time you restarted your machine or shut it off and turned it back on. Imagine the hassle of having to reinstall everything!

                  As is, loading everything into RAM would not mean a more stable system. It'd probably be the worst idea yet.

                  Did I mention the cost of 100+ GBs of RAM? Or what about the fact that no single DIMM of RAM has a higher density than 4 GBs right now (no 8+ GB DIMMs). Also, I can only think of one consumer board (ASUS's Intel flagship) and a few server boards that can even handle 24 GBs or more RAM. Those boards are very expensive ($250+).
                  Last edited by Acreo Aeneas; 05-02-2011, 05:36 PM.
                  |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
                  TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
                  Former 9th & 13th

                  Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
                  Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





                  SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

                  TG Primer and Rules

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Critique this desktop build (goals, emphasis, and comparison included)

                    Thanks for the replies everyone.

                    I misspoke when I said "scavenged." It's a matched set of memory but I don't know the speed because it came from my prior build.

                    I also wasn't clear about loading into memory. I have always had great load times into pub BF games because I use a lot of RAM. There was only one person I knew who could consistently beat me into a server. He was using Alcohol 120% (?) and loading the entire BF game into RAM image and never accessed his HDD. Reading the description of that software, however, it is unclear to me whether it only creates a RAM image of an optical disk or rather if it also does a HDD image.

                    Here is an update based on everyone's feedback. I didn't go with the SSD (price/performance). Instead I went with 4 HDDs so they can be arrayed into RAID 1+0 (10).

                    However, I am concerned that there was a recall with the P67 chipset that affects the SATA 3.0GB/s?

                    CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core BX80623I52500K
                    MOBO: ASRock P67 EXTREME4 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

                    RAM: (x2) G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRM (8GB total)

                    VGA: EVGA SuperClocked 012-P3-1572-AR GeForce GTX 570 (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready

                    HDD: (x4) Western Digital Caviar Black WD5001AALS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

                    PSS: CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-850HX 850W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

                    COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler

                    DVD: ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner

                    http://battlelog.battlefield.com/bf4/user/58Congo/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Critique this desktop build (goals, emphasis, and comparison included)

                      The P67 recall will have a revisioned motherboard with a B3 label. Your motherboard in the description has that label so it will be okay.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Critique this desktop build (goals, emphasis, and comparison included)

                        The Socket 1155 error has been fixed. You want to make sure that your Motherboard says that it has "B3 Stepping". As long as you buy it new, you are almost guaranteed to have a fixed one.

                        RAID 1? I am not super familiar with RAID, but I am pretty sure that RAID 1 is just a 4 part copy, not an actual performance increase. This is primarily used for redundancy. Your system is pretty darn fast already, and worrying about read/write speed is pretty insignificant at this point. While some people will disagree, I don't think you need to worry about your HDD until every other part of your system is maxed.

                        Also, that HDD is SUPER loud. I returned mine because it was so loud. Not defective, just loud. When seeking it is as loud as an antique computer. I'm talking like Floppy Disk drive loud.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Critique this desktop build (goals, emphasis, and comparison included)

                          Don't build for the future.

                          ASUS MoBs are awesome.

                          Don't buy first gen consumer products.

                          Anticipate a reasonable upgrade path -- what are you willing to spend next year? This answer will determine what is a reasonable purchase this year -- anticipate replacing a component or two every 12 months.
                          sigpic

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                          • #14
                            Re: Critique this desktop build (goals, emphasis, and comparison included)

                            Originally posted by Ski-Racer View Post
                            I misspoke when I said "scavenged." It's a matched set of memory but I don't know the speed because it came from my prior build.
                            That still doesn't work. You have 2 matches sets, both with pairs of differing densities. I'm guessing one pair is a 2x1 GB and the other is 2x512 MB. In order for your system to run at it's best and most stable, all four sticks should be of the same density and should matched accordingly. Meaning: 4x1 GB or a 4x512 MB config.

                            I also wasn't clear about loading into memory. I have always had great load times into pub BF games because I use a lot of RAM. There was only one person I knew who could consistently beat me into a server. He was using Alcohol 120% (?) and loading the entire BF game into RAM image and never accessed his HDD. Reading the description of that software, however, it is unclear to me whether it only creates a RAM image of an optical disk or rather if it also does a HDD image.
                            With drive emulators and image copies of the physical DVD, you are still reading from the HDD. The reason why that person (or anyone else who does similar) loads a bit faster is because all the data is read from the HDD rather than from the HDD and from the ODD (DVD drive). DVD read speeds are far slower than HDD read speeds, hence when the game needs to verify you have a legit copy of the game by reading from the DVD and/or reading other needed files from the disk, it slows down your loading times.

                            One reason why most of us here buy through some digital distribution service. No more disk to worry about and faster loading times. (Other reasons include: easy ability to backup our games, we can always retrieve the most current copy if our systems die on us, offers us "one" place where most (or all) of our gaming content resides so we're not hunting around the house for that lost disk, etc.)
                            |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
                            TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
                            Former 9th & 13th

                            Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
                            Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





                            SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

                            TG Primer and Rules

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