Going for the The Double-Stuff Workstation Oct 2011

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Going for the The Double-Stuff Workstation Oct 2011

Postposted on Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:34 pm

Afternoon Everyone,

A few years ago I built my own Sweeter Spot system and it was rock-solid until last week when my primary and backup HDs both suicided on me. While I have some tech geeks trying to recover the data from the backup I figure its time for a new machine. :D

I've got a budget of an easy $3K, have some experience building computers, and mostly use mine for gaming, graphic design, and 3ds Max. I've already got an NEC 24" monitor which has done pretty well for me.

Okay, here's what ol' Tech Report is suggesting:
Processor Intel Core i7-2600K 3.4GHz $314.99
Motherboard Asus P8Z68-V Pro $199.99
Memory Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 (x2) $60.99
Graphics MSI Radeon HD 6950 2GB (x2) $279.99
Storage Intel 510 Series 240GB $579.99
Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 3TB (x2) $159.99
LG WH12LS30 Blu-ray burner $69.99
Audio Asus Xonar DX $92.99
Power supply Corsair AX850W $189.99
Enclosure Corsair Obsidian Series 800D $279.99
Total $2,729.87

My first question is about cooling the cpu. With my last machine I installed a ZALMAN LED 92mm 2 Ball CPU Cooler but based it appears that its fallen out of style as compared to other cpu coolers. Right now I am thinking about either going with a COOLER MASTER GeminII 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6835103046 or a CORSAIR CWCH50-1 High Performance CPU Cooler http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6835181010. I don't actually overclock my PCs but my towers always seem to run a little hot. Thoughts? (Should I look into getting better quality fans for the inside of the tower?)

When it comes to graphic cards I have always done well with Nvidia. Can I swap out the Radeons for something comparable in the Nvidia family? Go nuts for GeForce GTX 580? Or am I just snorting pixie sticks?

The 3TB HDs looked sweet except for the fact that Newegg isn't carrying them anymore. Guess I could look at buying a pair of Samsung EcoGreen F4 2TB...

According to my research the Cosair PS is a bit noisy but that shouldn't be a problem, my plan is that my new machine would be in my spare room.

Well, that's everything I can think of. I'm open to suggestions/pointers as I'm a little rusty here. :)
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Re: Going for the The Double-Stuff Workstation Oct 2011

Postposted on Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:57 pm

I have a Corsair Obsidian 700D. I needed a big case to house a dual socket server board. I was so happy with the 700D that I was planning to upgrade my SLI gaming rig to a 700D so I could fit a Corsair H100. Oh how times have changed! Now I'm going to go with a Corsair Carbide 500R http://goo.gl/r9izY . The 700D is overkill.

Noise is not an issue with an Obsidian case. I have an AX1200, 4 fans and 2 H70's in my 700D and it is very quiet.

As far as CPU cooling is concerned I'd go with a H80 or a H100.
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Re: Going for the The Double-Stuff Workstation Oct 2011

Postposted on Wed Oct 19, 2011 7:46 pm

niblik wrote:I am thinking about... a CoolerMaster GeminII S
That is a fine processor cooler that's slightly less expensive than similarly-performing models from other companies.

niblik wrote:Should I look into getting better quality fans for the inside of the tower?
Since your budget is robust, yes. Look for a couple of PWM fans like the Scythe Kaze-Juni to work well with your motherboard's Q-Fan controller.

niblik wrote:Can I swap out the Radeons for something comparable in the Nvidia family? Go nuts for GeForce GTX 580?
A pair of Radeon HD6950s in Crossfire-X outperformed a pair of GeForce GTX570s in SLI in Tech Report's testing, while costing $200 less.

niblik wrote: The 3TB HDs look sweet...
Newegg has others in stock.
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Re: Going for the The Double-Stuff Workstation Oct 2011

Postposted on Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:57 am

Interesting info on keeping the tower cool;I will do some more research on the vid cards and get back to everyone. Thanks!

EDIT: While reviewing Tech Reports article on the Corsair's Obsidian 800D tower that it mentions intenal fans sized at 140mm. Does this mean that only 140mm fans will fit? Don't want to buy a bunch of 120mm and find out the hard way...
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Re: Going for the The Double-Stuff Workstation Oct 2011

Postposted on Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:36 pm

niblik wrote:EDIT: While reviewing Tech Reports article on the Corsair's Obsidian 800D tower that it mentions intenal fans sized at 140mm. Does this mean that only 140mm fans will fit? Don't want to buy a bunch of 120mm and find out the hard way...


3 140mm Fans are in the case with 4 vacant 120mm fan mount points.
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Re: Going for the The Double-Stuff Workstation Oct 2011

Postposted on Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:57 pm

Thank you everyone who has posted comments and suggestions!

Okay, after doing some research this is what I am thinking of going with:

Processor Intel Core i7-2600K 3.4GHz $314.99
Motherboard Asus P8Z68-V Pro $199.99
Memory Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 (x2) $60.99
Graphics MSI Radeon Twin Frozr III HD 6950 2GB (x2) $299.99
Storage Intel 510 Series 240GB $579.99
SAMSUNG EcoGreen F4 2TB (Newegg limits to 1 per) $109.99
LG WH12LS30 Blu-ray burner $69.99
ASUS XONAR_XENSE 7.1 $299.99
Power supply Corsair AX850W $189.99
Enclosure Corsair Obsidian Series 800D $279.99

Extras
Scythe 120mm "Slipstream" Case Fan (x2-3) $13.99
COOLER MASTER GeminII 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler $38.45
Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound $12.98

Total $2860.28

What has really surprised me is that some of the brand names I used to trust have really dropped the ball based on the reviews of the products I’ve seen on Newegg and other sites. Was pretty scary reading some of the horror stories…

Also, it sounds like my 24” monitor really isn’t going to let me really see what this new comp can do. Anyone have any suggestions on good 30” monitors?
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Re: Going for the The Double-Stuff Workstation Oct 2011

Postposted on Thu Oct 20, 2011 5:53 pm

A good 24" 1920x1200 monitor is fine. If you're shopping for a 30" 2560x1600 model, the UltraSharp U3011 is appealing. It's available for as little as $1124 +tax.

If you're really wanting to drop another kilobuck or more on this system, you could consider some of the 3D LCD shutter glass systems (unless MagicEye gives you headaches).
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Re: Going for the The Double-Stuff Workstation Oct 2011

Postposted on Thu Oct 20, 2011 7:15 pm

I think you're correct. I did some more poking around and from what I've read the 24" monitor is still pretty solid for gaming; to be fair to my current NEC one, it's still in great shape. No bad pixels or odd screen errors.

And it won't kill me to wait and look again in a few months. :)

Looks like I am good to start ordering the parts!
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Re: Going for the The Double-Stuff Workstation Oct 2011

Postposted on Thu Oct 20, 2011 7:17 pm

niblik wrote:SAMSUNG EcoGreen F4 2TB (Newegg limits to 1 per) $109.99


As an aside, that's up $30 over a couple of days ago (I was going to pick up another 2TB in the next month or so, so I've been keeping an eye on prices).

The flooding overseas has hit NewEgg's HDD pricing with a vengence... all the 2 TB drives are like $20-40 more than they were at the beginning of the week.
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Re: Going for the The Double-Stuff Workstation Oct 2011

Postposted on Fri Oct 21, 2011 10:22 am

I was wondering about that as those drives were listed for around $80 when the latest Tech Report builder guide came out. Reminds me of trying to get my Intel E8400 3 Ghz processor when I built my last machine. The price for that processor kept skyrocketing and was very difficult to find.

Guess I better order my parts today before the price jumps again!
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Re: Going for the The Double-Stuff Workstation Oct 2011

Postposted on Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:33 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:A good 24" 1920x1200 monitor is fine. If you're shopping for a 30" 2560x1600 model, the UltraSharp U3011 is appealing. It's available for as little as $1124 +tax.

If you're really wanting to drop another kilobuck or more on this system, you could consider some of the 3D LCD shutter glass systems (unless MagicEye gives you headaches).


Never been the biggest fan of 3D and not sure how I would enjoy it with gaming. I've read some negative feedback about gaming at 2560x1600 so I figure I'll stick with my 24" 1920x1200 for the time being.

I will remember the 30" you mentioned and look into it down the road.
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Re: Going for the The Double-Stuff Workstation Oct 2011

Postposted on Fri Oct 21, 2011 1:11 pm

niblik wrote:Never been the biggest fan of 3D and not sure how I would enjoy it with gaming. I've read some negative feedback about gaming at 2560x1600 so I figure I'll stick with my 24" 1920x1200 for the time being.

I will remember the 30" you mentioned and look into it down the road.


Yeah, some people have issues with getting motion sickness when gaming at that screen size and resolution. Other people complain that it hurts their eyes, or they get headaches. If you are the type that never get motion sickness or get headaches from watching on a 60" TV right in front of it... then you should be fine.
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Re: Going for the The Double-Stuff Workstation Oct 2011

Postposted on Fri Oct 21, 2011 2:56 pm

Yeah, some people have issues with getting motion sickness when gaming at that screen size and resolution. Other people complain that it hurts their eyes, or they get headaches. If you are the type that never get motion sickness or get headaches from watching on a 60" TV right in front of it... then you should be fine.


Unfortunately, I do suffer from motion sickness from time to time... which might explain why I don't enjoy 3D as much as others. :)
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Re: Going for the The Double-Stuff Workstation Oct 2011

Postposted on Fri Oct 21, 2011 3:02 pm

I would go sli 570s they are only 30$ more or so and i think they pack more punch then 2 6950s,plus you get physics and mabey 3d down the road,I was a amd fanboy but if my 560s overclocked can tap the bumper of the 6950s i know 570s can pass them.But if your sold on the 6950s get the sapphire toxic,they are preclocked to 6970s and have dual bios preloaded with unlocked shaders....if you can find them.
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Re: Going for the The Double-Stuff Workstation Oct 2011

Postposted on Fri Oct 21, 2011 4:12 pm

The 2600K is $300 at NCIX. And if you happen to live near a Microcenter store, you can get them cheaper yet ($280). But then you'll probably pay sales tax.
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Re: Going for the The Double-Stuff Workstation Oct 2011

Postposted on Fri Oct 21, 2011 6:54 pm

vargis14 wrote:I would go sli 570s they are only 30$ more or so and I think they pack more punch than 2 6950s.
JustAnEngineer wrote: A pair of Radeon HD6950s in Crossfire-X outperformed a pair of GeForce GTX570s in SLI in Tech Report's testing, while costing $200 less.
Read the fine article.
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Re: Going for the The Double-Stuff Workstation Oct 2011

Postposted on Fri Oct 21, 2011 8:07 pm

niblik wrote:I was wondering about that as those drives were listed for around $80 when the latest Tech Report builder guide came out.


Since there was no way I could hold out storage-wise for a few months until prices likely stabilize - and my original plan of waiting until Black Friday for possible HDD sales out the window - I actually picked up a HDD that was on sale from Best Buy today - $79.99 Western Digital retail box 2TB green drive (cost me $84 with sales tax). The exact model I purchased is $139 shipped on NewEgg at the moment - and even the bare drive is $129 shipped!

Would never have thought of Best Buy until I saw something on an AVS thread today about the sale price.
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Re: Going for the The Double-Stuff Workstation Oct 2011

Postposted on Fri Oct 21, 2011 8:36 pm

insulin_junkie72 wrote:I actually picked up a HDD that was on sale from Best Buy today - $79.99 Western Digital retail box 2TB green drive (cost me $84 with sales tax). The exact model I purchased is $139 shipped on NewEgg at the moment - and even the bare drive is $129 shipped!

Would never have thought of Best Buy until I saw something on an AVS thread today about the sale price.

Yeah, hard drive prices seem to be really wonky right now. I picked up a 2 TB Hitachi at the local TigerDirect CompUSA outlet store for $69.99 (+ tax) today. It wasn't listed on their web site at all; I just stopped in on my way to work to see what hard drives they had in stock, and there it was! :wink:
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Re: Going for the The Double-Stuff Workstation Oct 2011

Postposted on Fri Oct 21, 2011 10:20 pm

Ragnar Dan wrote:The 2600K is $300 at NCIX. And if you happen to live near a Microcenter store, you can get them cheaper yet ($280). But then you'll probably pay sales tax.


Yeah but I believe right now microcenter will take 80 off any z68 mobo if you buy the 2600k from them.
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Re: Going for the The Double-Stuff Workstation Oct 2011

Postposted on Sat Oct 22, 2011 11:28 am

Grrrrr... Newegg was out of the video cards that I wanted to get so I ordered them from two other online retailers.

They charged me, sent me receipts and emails, and then neglected to mention that they didn't ACTUALLY have the items in stock and they would ship them eventually... at some time in the future.

Canceling both orders now and going back to see what newegg has in the Radeon 6950 department. Guess the MSI R6950 Twin Frozr III PE/OC Radeon HD 6950 2GB is crazy rare for some reason. :(
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Re: Going for the The Double-Stuff Workstation Oct 2011

Postposted on Sat Oct 22, 2011 11:54 am

Given the cost of the Intel 510 as compared to the Crucial M4 and their relative performance as compared to each other, one could debate if the Intel drive is worth the premium. The warranty lengths on both drives are the same, so you'd have to be sold on Intel providing better build quality, firmware, and a support experience. I'm not sure how much data is out there to empirically show an advantage in those cases over Crucial.

Intel 510 250GB: 569.49
Crucial M4 256GB: 380.99

Difference: 188.50
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Re: Going for the The Double-Stuff Workstation Oct 2011

Postposted on Sat Oct 22, 2011 12:02 pm

just brew it! wrote:
insulin_junkie72 wrote:I actually picked up a HDD that was on sale from Best Buy today - $79.99 Western Digital retail box 2TB green drive (cost me $84 with sales tax). The exact model I purchased is $139 shipped on NewEgg at the moment - and even the bare drive is $129 shipped!

Would never have thought of Best Buy until I saw something on an AVS thread today about the sale price.

Yeah, hard drive prices seem to be really wonky right now. I picked up a 2 TB Hitachi at the local TigerDirect CompUSA outlet store for $69.99 (+ tax) today. It wasn't listed on their web site at all; I just stopped in on my way to work to see what hard drives they had in stock, and there it was! :wink:


Guess I'll be giving them a visit today to see what they have. I actually want another 2TB Greendrive for backup...
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Re: Going for the The Double-Stuff Workstation Oct 2011

Postposted on Sat Oct 22, 2011 2:06 pm

Ryu Connor wrote:Given the cost of the Intel 510 as compared to the Crucial M4 and their relative performance as compared to each other, one could debate if the Intel drive is worth the premium. The warranty lengths on both drives are the same, so you'd have to be sold on Intel providing better build quality, firmware, and a support experience. I'm not sure how much data is out there to empirically show an advantage in those cases over Crucial.

Intel 510 250GB: 569.49
Crucial M4 256GB: 380.99

Difference: 188.50


Hmmmm, odd that the Intel 510 is recommended for the Double-Stuff build considering the info in the article you linked. To be fair, the build guild is at least 3 months older than the test in the article... so that may be a factor there.

Guess I need to do more research next time.
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Re: Going for the The Double-Stuff Workstation Oct 2011

Postposted on Thu Oct 27, 2011 4:21 pm

Recieved most of the parts and digging through the documentation. The Corsair Case does not come with a manual, you have to download it from the web. Personally, considering the cost, I find that to be a disservice to the customer.

Of course, I just noticed that a new guild has come out for builds... I'll be curious to see what's changed.
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Re: Going for the The Double-Stuff Workstation Oct 2011

Postposted on Thu Oct 27, 2011 5:03 pm

My recommendations:

PS: Go for the Seasonic Gold X850
Video Card: Yes go for the GTX 580 (either the Lightning or Lightning Extreme by MSI) AMD makes great chips, I just like CUDA and PhysX
HSF: Choose an all in one liquid solution by either Corsair or Antec (both designed by the same company)
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Re: Going for the The Double-Stuff Workstation Oct 2011

Postposted on Thu Oct 27, 2011 5:10 pm

niblik wrote:The Corsair Case does not come with a manual, you have to download it from the web. Personally, considering the cost, I find that to be a disservice to the customer.

That is a big plus as far as I am concerned. I've got all the manuals on my iPad when I start a build.
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Re: Going for the The Double-Stuff Workstation Oct 2011

Postposted on Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:22 pm

Sucess!

After gathering up the parts I finished building the computer three days ago and have been testing it since. So far its been solid and I haven't had any issues with it. Now to details. I did hit a few snags with the hardware side that mostly dealt with physical space between components and a few items that were out of stock.

The Cooler Master GeminII was too big when placed next too the Corsair Vengence heat sinks. I was forced to pick up a Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus which is more a vertical oriented cpu cooler. It's snug next to the Ram heat sinks but has the bonus of pulling air directly across them for extra cooling. I guess I will keep the GeminII as an emergency backup.

I had also planned on picking up a ASUS Xonar Xense but after doing more research I came to realize that it wasn't for me. I went with a more classic soundcard format: Xonar DX. I picked up the Logitech Speaker System Z623 which is working great with the soundcard. Bass is really sweet on it!

The Radeon Twin Frozr III video cards must be insanely popular because I couldn't find them anywhere in stock. I went with one model down and did the Twin Frozr II in SLI. They heat up quickly but there are some great software controls that come with them to help you set up how aggressive you want to be with their cooling. And once the graphic load drops down they cool off crazy quick.

The Corsair 800D is truly a beast (as some of you warned me) and I have some great pictures of it's box and the tower itself to show how huge it is. It comes three fans already and I installed an extra three; the fans are pretty quiet and all of them are the same color as the case. As I don't have any LEDs and such in the components or fan the whole assembly is a Darth Vader black! The only blinking lights are the power button and hardrive LED on the front panel.

Cons:
As I mentioned in earlier posts, far too many of the components come with either no documentation or just plan terrible ones. As I don't have pad or a laptop its a serious pain to deal with this. Corsair was a big abuser of this as I had to download everything I needed from online resources. Radeon comes in second with their terrible documentation for their video cards. The Slipstream 120mm case fans come in Japanese language packaging (who knew?) but I was able to figure them out by looking at the fans already in the case. The Power Supply had nicely marked cables but was completely unlabeled itself; once again, I had to go online to find the details I needed.

I do want to note that none of my complaints are based on Tech Report.

Pros:
The Tech Report itself is a huge one; being able to build a system that has already been pretested by pros takes a lot of stress out of the process. There are a lot of good articles for research hear and I learned a lot by reading through the forums.

I picked on Corsair before, but now I also need to give them some praise. All of their stuff showed up well packaged and with all of their parts. The power supply came in a separate black bag, with the Corsair logo, when I opened up its box. Classy! The modular cable setup too a bit of getting used to but is a great concept in my book... I was also pleased that the cables themselves were clearly labeled and insulated.

I have a lot of praise for the Corsair 800D case. It has a visually powerful presence and a ton of room to work with inside. I don't know about you guys, but I don't have the smallest hands so I found this to be a blessing. Installing SSD and regular HDs was clean and painless. Installing my Blu Ray player involved no screws of any kind! Another huge bonus is all the cable holes that are scattered throughout this beauty. I'm not very clean with my cabling but this build actually looks nice. If you get a chance to poke around in one of these cases I think you will be pleased as well. Be warned, it does take a bit of upper body strength to move around. :)

Lastly, the Asus P8Z68 has some of the best documentation when compared to everything else. There is no Northbridge fans and such but plenty of cooling fins (is that what they call them?) CPU installation went without a hitch. I also found out that this motherboard is very popular with some of my local computer stores. One of them told me that its their first choice when building pre-made systems. The motherboard is very fan friendly and I believe has six dedicated spots to plug your case fans in. There is also some great software that they included for controlling your CPU fan.

In conclusion, a big education for me and a very happy result.

My thanks to everyone who commented and gave me advice on this! :)
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