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New build, feedback appreciated.

leonheart87leonheart87 Member Posts: 14

Hi, I have recently come into some money and have decided to build myself a new gaming rig as my old one is rather outdated.

This is what I currently have;

CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 @ 2.83Ghz

Mobo: Asus P5N-E SLI

Case: Unknown

GPU: Nvidia 9500GT x2 (SLI)

PSU: 350V, unknown make

Memory: Corsair Value Select 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2

HDD: 750 GB Seagate Barracuda


This is what I'm thinking of building;

CPU: Intel Core i7 950 - http://www.ebuyer.com/product/166528

Cooler: Nocturna NH-D14 - http://www.ebuyer.com/product/195165

Mobo: Asus Sabertooth X58 - http://www.ebuyer.com/product/241996

Case: NZXT Lexa S - http://www.ebuyer.com/product/175611

GPU: Gainward GTX 460 2GB x2 (in SLI) -  http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/2GB-Gainward-GTX-460-3600MHz-GDDR5-GPU-700MHz-Shader-Clock-1350MHz-336-Cores-DL-DVI-D-Sub-HDMI

PSU: XFX 850W Black Edition Modular PSU - http://www.ebuyer.com/product/177664

Memory: Corsair 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 1600Mhz XMS3 CL9(9-9-9-24) - http://www.ebuyer.com/product/152640

HDD: Western Digital WD20EARS 2TB Hard Drive SATAII 64MB Cache - http://www.ebuyer.com/product/183971

I have plans to add an SSD and sound card when I get the extra funds. Have seen some reviews saying the 460s and i7 950 can overclock fairly well, so might give that a try too. However, if I can salvage my old CPU (been told it is decent), what should I be upgrading other than the PSU & GPU?

I have about £700 to spend, but already have the 2 GTX 460's. Any recommendations for alternative parts is welcomed, as it is my first build and don't want to cock it up :D

Thanks in advance for the help :)


  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,214

    A Core i7-950 is faster than the processor you have, but I don't think it's faster by enough to justify spending over £500 on a new processor, a new motherboard with the appropriate socket, and then new memory because the motherboard needs DDR3.  You'd be spending £500 for something that is maybe 30% faster than what you already have, and I don't think that's good value.  If you want a faster processor, you should at least wait for Sandy Bridge to launch in January, as then you'd probably be able to see somewhere around a 70% CPU performance improvement in an upgrade--and it would likely be cheaper, too.

    If you already bought the video cards, then I guess it's too late, but you probably have about a week before AMD launches something clearly better (better performance, less power, and cheaper) and they look like a bad purchase.

    What I'd recommend you do for now is to replace your power supply and use the new video cards in your old computer for a few months.  When Sandy Bridge launches, you can replace the motherboard, CPU, and memory then, and keep the new video cards and power supply that you just bought.  Maybe you'll need to replace the case now, too, and keep it when you replace other stuff in January.

    If you're overclocking, try the Core i7 2600K when it launches in January, as that has an unlocked multiplier.  Add 4 GB of DDR3 memory and a decent P67 chipset motherboard and you'll be set.

    Unless you're going for an unreasonably high overclock (as opposed to a more moderate overclock), this would probably be just as good for your needs as the one you've picked, and cheaper:


    Or you could pay a little more and go super high end on quality:


    The latter one is a rebranded Seasonic X-750, which is basically the best quality consumer power supply on the market.  I don't think it's necessary to pay quite that much for a power supply, though.

    If you're going to get an SSD, I'd do that at the same time that you replace the hard drive.  A Caviar Green is slow, which is fine if you're only using it for things like movies and music, but you don't want to run real programs off of that.

  • swing848swing848 Member UncommonPosts: 292

    Run some game benchmarks on your current rig.

    Purchase a new case and a good power supply.  Use the two video cards in your current motherboard, which was also suggested by Quizzical.

    Run the same game benchmarks and see what kind of increase you get.  You may be happy with what you now have.  Having the latest and greatest is "cool" or make you feel good, however, if you do not need it, you do not need it.  Buy a nice case instead and look at that.

    Some of the air from the video card will be exhausted inside the case, so, purchase a case that is well cooled.  Do not exhaust more air from the air than is taken in.  Many people make the mistake of putting too many fans in a case that pull air out as opposed to just slightly more air going into the case.  This causes the power supply to not pull enough air through the PSU case and will cause the fan to increase, and in a worst case scenario, cause the heat sinks and components to get too hot because not enough air can be pulled through the PSU case.

    Also, Quizzical suggested you wait a few months to see what Intel will be bringing to the market.  Whatever you decide, make sure there are enough PCIe lanes for you to use all of your devices at maximum throuput.

    Ignoring the wait, if you want more motherboard features, I prefer the Core i930, as it will run your video cards just fine, and you can overclock that motherboard to 3.2GHz, which again, is fast enough for your video cards.

    Intel Core i7 7700K, MB is Gigabyte Z270X-UD5
    SSD x2, 4TB WD Black HHD, 32GB RAM, MSI GTX 980 Ti Lightning LE video card

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,214

    The Core i7-930 has been replaced by the Core i7-950 for the same price, so the only reason to get the former is if you find it at a clearance price.  Intel's yields have presumably improved over the past two years since launch (yes, it really is about a two year old processor by now!) to the point that nearly everything that meets 930 bins also meets 950 bins, so there's no need for the former bin.

    The best chipset for the early Sandy Bridge processors will be P67, with 22 or so PCI Express 2.0 lanes.  That will allow you to run two video cards at x8 bandwidth each, but not two at x16.  Realistically, a GeForce GTX 460 isn't fast enough for the difference between x8 and x16 to matter in most games.  You will have to make sure that you get a motherboard that can run two PCI Express slots both at x8, rather than x16 and x4, though.  You'll also have to pay the "SLI tax", as motherboards have to pay a fee to Nvidia to keep Nvidia from artificially disabling SLI on the motherboard through their drivers.  CrossFire would incur the former extra expense, but not the latter.

    Unfortunately, Intel has gone with multiple desktop sockets in parallel, with different chipsets for different sockets.  This means that you have to get a high end processor for the high end socket if you want the high end chipset.  And then the high end Sandy Bridge socket won't release until long after the mainstream one.  In constrast, AMD doesn't do this.  AMD will let you get a motherboard with the high end 890FX chipset (best chipset for a desktop processor on the market) and pair it with a low end Sempron processor if you want to.

  • swing848swing848 Member UncommonPosts: 292

    Thank you for telling me about the price drop, I had forgotten, my memory is very poor and that often happens, however, with next generation CPUs just right around the corner the price drop makes good sense.  There is a slight difference in price that a few people may consider.  The 930 runs $200 and the 950 cost $230 at Microcenter.com.  Not a problem for many people, however, those on a tight budget may opt for the less expensive CPU as performance will not be a great deal different.  The lower cost of the i7-950 should make overclockers happy.

    As to binning, Intel has been binning perfectly good CPUs at a lower speed [i7-920 and i7-930 for example] in order to artificially inflate prices of higher binned CPUs and to milk the market.  Intel has a history of slowly releasing faster CPUs as time passes, often a "wow" factor or bragging rights tactic to pull consumers in, and one way to do that is to bin CPUs at a lower speed than it is actually capable of, a great boon to overclockers.  Binning is not primarily due to higher quality wafers, although the process is often improved as time passes resulting in a higher stepping.

    And, Intel is going to stop overclocking with most of it's new desktop CPU sockets 32nm parts.  That means if you want a faster CPU in a certain line you will have to wait until Intel decides to release it, and that time table will be driven to some degree by what AMD can challenge with.  In Intel's favor is the fact that most people do not overclock.

    Currently there is no reason for me to get something better than my Intel E8600, as it does everything I want at no more than 4GHz, and most chores are happy at 3.33GHz, stock speed.  If my health does not degenerate I may have nothing to look forward to until Haswell, the exception may be if I need something my current motherboard will not do or if it dies of old age. 

    However, Sandy Bridge comes with a "security" feature able to remotely disable a PC or erase information from hard drives without permission,  with Obama at the helm and his efforts to invade the personal space of citizens this is a little spooky.

    Intel Core i7 7700K, MB is Gigabyte Z270X-UD5
    SSD x2, 4TB WD Black HHD, 32GB RAM, MSI GTX 980 Ti Lightning LE video card

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 22,214

    Binning isn't just about how fast a processor can go, but also at what power consumption.  Recall that all Bloomfield processors have a TDP of 130 W.  If a processor a year ago could run at Core i7-950 speeds but required too much voltage or was too leaky so that it would go over 130 W, then Intel would toss it into the 920 bin.

    Yes, Intel did put a bunch of processors into lower bins that could have gone into higher bins, in order to have artificial market segmentation.  But the 920 bin existed because there were some processors that couldn't meet the specs of higher bins but could meet that bin.  Once there were virtually no such processors, Intel bumped the bottom bin from the 920 to the 930, and more recently, to the 950.

    Sandy Bridge will have K-series parts that allow overclocking up to 5.7 GHz.  The 5.7 GHz cap will be a problem for people going for extreme overclocks with liquid nitrogen, but not for anyone else.  Intel will probably charge you an extra $50 or so for the unlocked multiplier, like they're doing with the Core i7-875K.  Apparently it's likely that some non-K-series parts will allow moderate overclocking, too.  For example, a chip with a stock speed of 3.4 GHz that will by default turbo boost up to 3.8 GHz may well be able to be overclocked to run at 3.8 GHz all of the time.

  • swing848swing848 Member UncommonPosts: 292

    I did not state that all Intel CPUs were perfect.

    Intel Core i7 7700K, MB is Gigabyte Z270X-UD5
    SSD x2, 4TB WD Black HHD, 32GB RAM, MSI GTX 980 Ti Lightning LE video card

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