Motherboard, etc., for i7 875k build

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Motherboard, etc., for i7 875k build

Postposted on Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:51 am

Hey guys.

I finally made the jump and got my processor (i7 875k for $200), so now I have 29 days to complete my build. My computer will be used mostly for photo editing, encryption, everyday use, and Starcraft II. So far I have:

CPU: Intel Core i7 875k
RAM: 4GB Corsair XMS3 1333 9-9-9-24
PSU: Corsair 650HX
HSF: CM Hyper 212+
Data Drives: WD Caviar Blacks
Monitor: Dell 2209WA

I think I'll temporarily get a Samsung Spinpoint F3 for my boot drive until the Intel 80GB G2 hits about $160, or get a next gen one (both probably will happen ~October). So the big decisions are motherboard and graphics card.

MB: Since I want to get a fast boot drive, I either need SATA 6gbps on the motherboard, or need to factor getting an add-in card into the cost. GIGABYTE GA-P55-UD3 is the cheapest with SATA 6gbps, but there's at least one review saying it doesn't work at full speed. The next are the ASUS P7P55D-E LX and GIGABYTE UD3P. I was planning on AMD until yesterday so I don't really know about these...

GPU: The only game I'll play is StarCraft II, so I just need a card that will play that on ultra with decent fps. I found a XFX 5770 for $130 after rebate, so I doubt there is anything better than that?

Case: I really want the new Corsair 600T, so I think I'll just get a temporary super-cheap case until it comes out, or possibly a Antec 300 or CM Centurion if I can get either one under $50. Good suggestions for a nice, quiet, LED-free case that might compete with the Corsair would be nice if there is anything out there.

Optical Drive: I don't have any BD discs, and won't pay much more for it over a regular DVD drive, so I assume I get the cheapest name brand burner off Newegg?

Thermal Paste: Don't really follow this. Do people still recommend the Antec Silver, or does it even matter?

Anything else: Anything I left out? I plan on getting an external DAC for sound, and just a cheap keyboard and mouse. I'm installing XP until I find a good deal on 7 or a technet subscription.

Any suggestions, comments, criticisms are welcome. Thanks!
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Re: Motherboard, etc., for i7 875k build

Postposted on Tue Jun 08, 2010 8:49 am

It looks good- just a few comments:

The problem with the P55 chipset and USB3/SATA3 is that Intel both has not put these technologies on their own chipset, nor have they accounted for the level of bandwidth these technologies need to connect externally.

Essentially, in order to electrically connect the extra chips needed for these two interfaces, the board maker either has to a) jack them into the CPUs PCIe lanes which are intended to be used by the GPU, which is the case of Gigabyte boards, and has the effect of dropping the available lanes for the GPU to 8 from 16, or b) take up all of the PCIe lanes on the southbridge, which is a disadvantage because the southbridge's connection to the CPU (there is no 'northbridge' on P55, it's the CPU) is slower than the combined bandwidth of the connections common (generally NEC) next generation controller chips are capable of, and is used by Asus.

It's a no-win situation, and exists because both because Intel kept an aging bus design for P55 between CPU and chipset, and because they did not endow the CPU with any extra PCIe lanes for use with devices aside from the GPU.

If it were me, I'd go with Asus' solution. You keep compatibility and don't reduce the speed of the GPU bus. Although I doubt either limitation will make a difference for you.

Also, while a next gen (G3?) Intel SSD might use SATA3, don't expect it to affect the performance of a mechanical drive more than the 1% due to increased cache transfer speeds. Also, don't expect there to be a huge useability difference with devices that do use SATA3 effectively. It's going to take more than one more generation of SSD controllers to make a real difference out of >300MB/s bandwidth from hard storage.

For your GPU, a cheap 5770 is probably the way to go if you're looking no further than SCII. I don't have any problem with the game on my GTX260, which is slightly faster.

I believe that cases are intensly personal. I would suggest that even the cheapest setup that would fit your selected components would do, especially if you intend to throw it away after use. Cases are just a system of mounts, and you lose very little outside of overclocking and noise control by going with a cheap solution, assuming that it doesn't collapse in on itself or submit you to arterial bleeding.

Thermal paste won't really matter unless you're going for an overclocking record. Use what comes with the HSF.
Canon 6D||[24-105/4L IS USM|100/2.8L Macro IS USM|70-300/4-5.6 IS USM|40/2.8 STM|50/1.4 USM|85/1.8 USM|Samyang/Bower 14/2.8 Full-Manual Rectilinear Wide-angle|
Canon EOS-M|11-22/4-5.6 IS STM|22/2 STM|EF-M 18-55/3.5-5.6 IS STM|
For sale!|24/2.8 IS USM
|
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Re: Motherboard, etc., for i7 875k build

Postposted on Tue Jun 08, 2010 9:27 am

It doesn't matter how bandwidth starved the 875k GPU is if he's using an HD 5770, right?
Last edited by grantmeaname on Tue Jun 08, 2010 9:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Motherboard, etc., for i7 875k build

Postposted on Tue Jun 08, 2010 9:38 am

grantmeaname wrote:It doesn't matter how bandwidth starved the 875k GPU is if he's using an HD 5770, right?


Not sure where you're coming from here- the 875k doesn't have a GPU, as it's a native quad-core/eight-threaded 45nm part, but if it did, the PCIe lanes do not connect to the on-package GPU. Remember that on the 600-series and lower 32nm dual-core parts, the GPU is also the memory controller, the CPU connects to it through what resembles a front side bus of yore, and the PCIe lanes connect to the CPU. Essentially, RAM -> Intel on-package GPU -> CPU -> external GPU and P55 chipset. Only the connection to the CPU by an external GPU would be limited on a Gigabyte board by the usage of a third party USB3/SATA3 controller to 8 PCIe 2.0 lanes.
Canon 6D||[24-105/4L IS USM|100/2.8L Macro IS USM|70-300/4-5.6 IS USM|40/2.8 STM|50/1.4 USM|85/1.8 USM|Samyang/Bower 14/2.8 Full-Manual Rectilinear Wide-angle|
Canon EOS-M|11-22/4-5.6 IS STM|22/2 STM|EF-M 18-55/3.5-5.6 IS STM|
For sale!|24/2.8 IS USM
|
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Re: Motherboard, etc., for i7 875k build

Postposted on Tue Jun 08, 2010 9:39 am

It said the CPU's GPU lanes, and so I pulled a reading comprehension fail. I got it now...
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Re: Motherboard, etc., for i7 875k build

Postposted on Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:18 pm

BaconatedGrapefruit wrote:I finally made the jump and got my processor (i7 875k for $200)

:o Where do you get an i7 875K for only $200? The best I've seen is $299 after rebate.
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Re: Motherboard, etc., for i7 875k build

Postposted on Tue Jun 08, 2010 4:01 pm

I have a ga-p55a-ud3. I couldn't get the marvell drivers to work in raid0. My intel X-25m raid setup averaged like 146 mb/s with them. I tried all the new drivers, doing aclean install, secure erasing the drives, nothing worked.

I went to the gigabyte board on tweaktown and the solution was don't use the marvell ports, use the intel ports. WIth the intel ports I got like 581 mb/s. I'm pleased at the performance but not at the fact that somethign i paid for isn't working.
i7 2600k @4.4 ghz 1.26v - GA-P67X-UD3 - 16gb Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600mhz - Evga Geforce GTX 570 - 2x 120gb Vertex 3 Raid-0 - Seagate Barracude 1.5TB - Silverstone FT02- HP 2709M Monitor
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Re: Motherboard, etc., for i7 875k build

Postposted on Tue Jun 08, 2010 10:20 pm

djb wrote:
BaconatedGrapefruit wrote:I finally made the jump and got my processor (i7 875k for $200)

:o Where do you get an i7 875K for only $200? The best I've seen is $299 after rebate.


MicroCenter. They're not advertising it much, but I think it's good at least through Sunday. Make sure you call your closest store to make sure they have any in stock, as most stores are sold out by now.
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Re: Motherboard, etc., for i7 875k build

Postposted on Wed Jun 09, 2010 3:24 am

Sunburn74 wrote:I have a ga-p55a-ud3. I couldn't get the marvell drivers to work in raid0. My intel X-25m raid setup averaged like 146 mb/s with them. I tried all the new drivers, doing aclean install, secure erasing the drives, nothing worked.

I went to the gigabyte board on tweaktown and the solution was don't use the marvell ports, use the intel ports. WIth the intel ports I got like 581 mb/s. I'm pleased at the performance but not at the fact that somethign i paid for isn't working.


Outside of graphics controllers, I've leaned towards the idea that 'Intel controllers > all'. I also have very, very little respect for Marvell controllers and will not expect to rely on them outside of basic functionality in a new build. For Gigabyte's boards, I view the Marvell controller(s) as basic support for the next-gen interfaces and nothing more. If you want to do RAID with something integrated into a consumer board, Intel is as good as it's going to get, IMO.
Canon 6D||[24-105/4L IS USM|100/2.8L Macro IS USM|70-300/4-5.6 IS USM|40/2.8 STM|50/1.4 USM|85/1.8 USM|Samyang/Bower 14/2.8 Full-Manual Rectilinear Wide-angle|
Canon EOS-M|11-22/4-5.6 IS STM|22/2 STM|EF-M 18-55/3.5-5.6 IS STM|
For sale!|24/2.8 IS USM
|
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Re: Motherboard, etc., for i7 875k build

Postposted on Fri Jun 11, 2010 12:30 am

Thanks a bunch man. I didn't know that about the SATA6/USB3 implementation on 1156, as I had been planning on 1366 or AM3. Because of the immature controllers and their implementation, I decided to just go with a EVGA P55 SLI, as it came out to $100 after rebates and has 2 x16 and an x4 slot, so I have options for adding an SATA6/USB3 add-on card, as well as all my other requirements (2 esata, coax s/pdif out, and an ok warranty). I also splurged and ordered the best (imo) consumer SSD for my boot drive. Case, Mobo, GPU, and PSU arrive tomorrow, and the SSD on Monday. I'll assemble Saturday then install an OS Monday night.

Parts - price after rebates
Intel i7 875k - $200+tax
EVGA P55 SLI - $100
XFX 5770 - $150
4GB Corsair XMS3 - $67
OCZ Vertex 2 (50GB) - $150
WD Caviar Black (1TB) - $80
Corsair HX650 - $80
Antec 300 - $30
CM Hyper 212+ - $25
Total - $882

Not too bad for a fairly high-end non-gaming rig (better performing for my needs than the Sweeter Spot, for the price of the Utility Player). I have a 1 year old Dell 2209WA I paid $202 for and 2 more Caviar blacks I got for $90 each, so I just need to grab a burner and wifi card locally (or grab them out of another box) and I'm set. Thanks to everyone else in the thread, and every other thread I read over the last 2 years that helped inform me. :)

Airmantharp wrote:It looks good- just a few comments:

The problem with the P55 chipset and USB3/SATA3 is that Intel both has not put these technologies on their own chipset, nor have they accounted for the level of bandwidth these technologies need to connect externally.

Essentially, in order to electrically connect the extra chips needed for these two interfaces, the board maker either has to a) jack them into the CPUs PCIe lanes which are intended to be used by the GPU, which is the case of Gigabyte boards, and has the effect of dropping the available lanes for the GPU to 8 from 16, or b) take up all of the PCIe lanes on the southbridge, which is a disadvantage because the southbridge's connection to the CPU (there is no 'northbridge' on P55, it's the CPU) is slower than the combined bandwidth of the connections common (generally NEC) next generation controller chips are capable of, and is used by Asus.

It's a no-win situation, and exists because both because Intel kept an aging bus design for P55 between CPU and chipset, and because they did not endow the CPU with any extra PCIe lanes for use with devices aside from the GPU.

If it were me, I'd go with Asus' solution. You keep compatibility and don't reduce the speed of the GPU bus. Although I doubt either limitation will make a difference for you.

Also, while a next gen (G3?) Intel SSD might use SATA3, don't expect it to affect the performance of a mechanical drive more than the 1% due to increased cache transfer speeds. Also, don't expect there to be a huge useability difference with devices that do use SATA3 effectively. It's going to take more than one more generation of SSD controllers to make a real difference out of >300MB/s bandwidth from hard storage.

For your GPU, a cheap 5770 is probably the way to go if you're looking no further than SCII. I don't have any problem with the game on my GTX260, which is slightly faster.

I believe that cases are intensly personal. I would suggest that even the cheapest setup that would fit your selected components would do, especially if you intend to throw it away after use. Cases are just a system of mounts, and you lose very little outside of overclocking and noise control by going with a cheap solution, assuming that it doesn't collapse in on itself or submit you to arterial bleeding.

Thermal paste won't really matter unless you're going for an overclocking record. Use what comes with the HSF.
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Re: Motherboard, etc., for i7 875k build

Postposted on Sun Jun 13, 2010 11:46 am

So the bottomline is that the current crop of SATA3/USB3 implementations are kind of crappy? I'm tempted with that 875K too, even without the MicroCenter advantage.

I know the darkish green side is supposed to be better in terms of those new interfaces, right? But the 875K is such a special chip and is for now at such a wonderful price (compared to the 870)... Decisions, decisions... :o
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Re: Motherboard, etc., for i7 875k build

Postposted on Mon Jun 14, 2010 7:37 pm

SATA3 (6 Gb/s) on the Intel platforms is add-on junk. On AMD, it's integrated into the SB850 south bridge (paired with the 870, 890FX, 880G and 890GX north bridges), and appears to work just fine.

USB3 is currently an add-on controller in either camp. Most currently-available implementations use the NEC controller chip. Better/faster/cheaper implementations are sure to come along later, but most reviews say that this solution works satisfactorily.

I'd look at the GA-P55-USB3 (ATX) or GA-H55M-USB3 (micro-ATX) if I wanted an inexpensive LGA 1156 motherboard for the Core i7-875K processor.
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