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Virtual world exploration + video editing?

Post Date: 2010-08-02

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Torley View Drop Down
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  Quote Torley Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Topic: Virtual world exploration + video editing?
    Posted: 02 Aug 2010 at 12:46am
Friendly greetings! I've learned a lot from these forums so far — I appreciate a vibrant, helpful community. In addition to emailing DS, I wanted to ask for informed opinions on the following system, please.

What's important to me:

  • My main uses will be virtual world Second Life (heavy on CPU + GPU + RAM) and video editing (Sony Vegas). This computer complements a Mac Pro (audio workstation) and will be replacing an aging Q6600 w/8800 GTS.

  • Value (bang-for-the-buck), but I'm willing to push a little further into enthusiast territory. (I was earlier looking at an AMD-based system but it seems high-end performance here favors Intel.)

  • I'd like to choose the components (case, cooling) that have a great shot at overclocking further, towards the higher-end of what DS can do (3.9 GHz?).

  • I hope this machine will be fairly quiet. I plan to have it sit under my desk and am not overly concerned about aesthetics, but a durable case is important. I've read multiple opinions that "noise suppression" works against cooling ("thermos"?), so I didn't opt for it.

  • I already have a license for Windows 7 and I want to add my own HDs, an SSD + WD Caviar Black.

  • That being said, it's also important that hard drives are easily swappable without having to deal with SATA cable tangles. I'm used to how it's done in my Mac Pro so if the case I selected is a poor choice, please let me know!

  • USB 3.0 and SATA 6 seem interesting but aren't big priorities to me; seems like a add-in PCI-E card will be cheaper later, which is why I stuck with the X58 Micro Edition SLI motherboard.

Thanks in advance for your advice on the following.

http://www.digitalstormonline.com/comploadsaved.asp?id=427538

Chassis Model: Special Deal Hot Seller - Cooler Master CM Storm Sniper
Exterior Finish: - Standard Factory Finish
Trim Accents: - Standard Factory Finish
Processor: Intel Core i7 930 2.8GHz (Quad Core)
Motherboard: EVGA X58 Micro Edition SLI (Intel X58 Chipset)
System Memory: 6GB DDR3 1600MHz Digital Storm Certified Performance Series (Highly Recommended) (Hand Tested)
Power Supply: 750W Digital Storm Certified (Dual SLI Compatible) (Silent Edition Recommended)
Expansion Bay: - No Thanks
Hard Drive Set 1: Operating System: - No Thanks
Set 1 Raid Options: - No Thanks
Hard Drive Set 2: Multimedia\Data: - No Thanks
Hard Drive Set 3: Backup\Misc.: - No Thanks
Optical Drive 1: DVD-R/RW/CD-R/RW (DVD Writer 24x / CD-Writer 48x)
Optical Drive 2: - No Thanks
Internet Access: High Speed Network Port (Supports High-Speed Cable / DSL / Network Connections)
Video Card: 1x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 1.2GB (Includes PhysX Technology)
Add-on Card: - No Thanks
Sound Card: Integrated Motherboard Audio
Extreme Cooling: AIR: Stage 1: Noctua Dual 120mm Fans High Performance Cooler (Compatible With ONLY i7 Processors)
H20 Tube Color:- Not Applicable, I do not have a FrostChill or Sub-Zero LCS Cooling System Selected
Chassis Airflow: Standard Factory Chassis Fans
Internal Lighting: - No Thanks
Enhancements: - No Thanks
Chassis Mods: - No Thanks
Noise Reduction: - No Thanks
Boost Processor: FREE: Stage 1: Overclock the processor between 3.3GHz to 3.9GHz (Cooling Upgrade Recommended)
Boost Video Card: FREE: Yes, Overclock the video card(s) as much as possible with complete stability
Boost Memory: - No Thanks, Please do not overclock my memory
Boost OS: - No Thanks, Please do not tweak the services on the operating system
Windows OS: - No Thanks, Please test my memory, I will be responsible for software based support
Restore Kit: Digital Storm Specialized Recovery System (DVD Image Based)
Virus Protection: - No Thanks
Office: - No Thanks
Benchmarking: - No Thanks
Install/Test Game: FREE: Hot-selling game with a NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250 or above graphics card
Display: - No Thanks
Surge Shield: - No Thanks
Speakers: - No Thanks
Keyboard: - No Thanks
Mouse: - No Thanks
External Storage: - No Thanks
Exclusive T-Shirt: FREE: Digital Storm T-Shirt - Black (Large)
Priority Build: - No Thanks, Ship Within 5-15 Business Days After Order Is Successfully Processed
Warranty: Life-time Expert Customer Care with 3 Year Limited Warranty


Edited by Torley - 02 Aug 2010 at 12:48am
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Raif View Drop Down
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  Quote Raif Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 02 Aug 2010 at 4:35am
whats your resolution? this way we can keep from under or over kill in terms of gpu power

whats your budget?

any other uses besides the video editing?

keep in mind the overclock depends mostly on the individual chip, yes cooling upgrades help but it is mainly the chip itself. think of it like this.... you bake a batch of cupcakes although the mold is identical each cupcake comes out differently. this is exactly the same for chips some overclock better the one laying right next to it or visa versa.

if your goign to purchase things outside of ds, they are not covered under warranty and you only have the manufacturer/ seller warranty. if you do that send the parts to ds so they can install them and test your computer. with out a hard drive your getting a blank system that was unable to be fully tested.

in terms of power supplies go with the corsair it is a much better quality psu it is more reliable and it has a better warranty. although we will you know exactly what psu you need after we know exactly what gpu you need, but first we need to know your budget.

you can also send them the copy of your mac os to them as well. this is a custom computer shop and they will do practically everything,if they don't have what you want they will order it or you can send it to them.

wait for real usb 3 and sata 3 to come out before you get it, right now it is fake usb sata 3. they nerfing your pcie slots for the boost to usb/sata 3. so in laymens terms your losing gpu power for usb/sata 3, in my mind not worth it.
2.5 Ghz Core duo
Nvidia 9500 gt
3 gb 1033 Mhz ram

if we can't answer a question shoot a e-mail here.

sarah@digitalstormonline.com
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  Quote Dragoonseal Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 02 Aug 2010 at 4:49am
Originally posted by Raif

if you do that send the parts to ds so they can install them and test your computer. with out a hard drive your getting a blank system that was unable to be fully tested.

They have extra HDDs around that they temporarily use in the PC to test all the rest of the components.

wait for real usb 3 and sata 3 to come out before you get it, right now it is fake usb sata 3. they nerfing your pcie slots for the boost to usb/sata 3. so in laymens terms your losing gpu power for usb/sata 3, in my mind not worth it.

Some motherboards take this route for the fake SATA III and USB 3.0, but not all of them suck PCIe 2.0 lane bandwidth to do it. I think mostly Gigabyte boards did this, but there are likely others as well. But regardless of the method used you definitely don't want to use Marvell's fake SATA III anyway, it just has really terrible performance. Details on some of the various methods used on current motherboards to implement Marvell's fake SATA III and what kind of actual performance you get out of it are detailed in this thread.
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  Quote Torley Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 02 Aug 2010 at 8:58am
Originally posted by Raif

whats your resolution? this way we can keep from under or over kill in terms of gpu power

whats your budget?

any other uses besides the video editing?


@Raif Thanks for asking!

- My budget (not counting other things I'm going to add) is around $1,700 but I'm willing to be flexible if there's a phenomenally awesome "piece of the puzzle" that will help me in the long-term.

- Besides video editing, Second Life as stated. That's a big one. I'm not a heavy gamer but oh, I DO want to enjoy Deus Ex 3 to its fullest when that's out.

- I've read that about overclocking before, good analogy.

- To clarify, I'm not planning to Hackintosh this rig at all. I'm using this PC *alongside* a Mac Pro.

- Any other advocates for the 750W Corsair TX? I take it that the "Digital Storm Certified" one could be picked from a number of models?

@Dragoonseal I never heard of fake SATA III before! Thanks for the heads-up.
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  Quote Dragoonseal Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 02 Aug 2010 at 9:14am
Originally posted by Torley

- Any other advocates for the 750W Corsair TX?

Not I. I've yet to see anything showing a superiority of Corsair branded PSUs over Digital Storm's.

Alex from the Digital Storm team says good things about DS's brand of PSUs (TechNPS), in that they are manufactured by the same companies that make PSUs for all the top PSU brands.
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  Quote Torley Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 02 Aug 2010 at 9:29am
@Dragoonseal Thanks for the references. Always interesting when something is the "same" part, just has a different brand on it.

Also, another thought: I know while overclocking potential depends on the specific chip itself, I'd still like to optimize other elements to gain odds in my favor — for example, obviously, a better cooling system will generally allow more overclocking headroom than a mediocre one, right?
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  Quote Dragoonseal Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 02 Aug 2010 at 10:27am
Originally posted by Torley

Also, another thought: I know while overclocking potential depends on the specific chip itself, I'd still like to optimize other elements to gain odds in my favor — for example, obviously, a better cooling system will generally allow more overclocking headroom than a mediocre one, right?

Right.

I'd say you are selling yourself short with the Sniper case, I would select the HAF 932. The 932 has unmatched air flow and is fairly huge, you shouldn't have any issue with SATA cable tangles or getting in the way whether or not you make sure of the cable management area behind the motherboard (seen here).

If you wanted a few extra degrees better cooling you also could select the larger Noctua NH-D14 cooler. The smaller Noctua is a better bang for the buck buy, but hey a few degrees cooler is a few degrees cooler and the NH-D14 isn't too much more.

Those two changes will pretty much max you out for air cooling. Beyond that you would have to switch up to a liquid cooling system, but there aren't much gains to be had so it isn't a cost effective option. Good air cooling will already get any 920/930 to 4.2GHz.

Beside those I would probably select the EVGA x58 LE instead of the Micro, since you mentioned possibly getting add on cards in the future for say USB 3.0. The LE is basically just the Micro but with more PCIe slots. So a build more like this:

Ticket #427656, Price: $1551

You mentioned supplying your own HDD and SSD, do you already have them? While I'd be hard pressed to say there are many actual "bad" SSDs there are ones that just perform heaps better than others but yet also have similar GB/$ price points. I'd recommend an Intel or SandForce SSD if you haven't made the purchase yet.
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  Quote Torley Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 02 Aug 2010 at 11:20am
@Dragoonseal- I'll check out the HAF 932, do you know offhand if it has easy drive caddies or a way to swap drives that's more akin to the Mac Pro? That's important to me. UPDATE: Looks like HAF 932 and Sniper have similar 3.5" drive holders.

- Appreciate your cooling info, too, and I'll research that motherboard.

- I'm thinking to buy another Crucial CT128M225 (I got one for $225 on eBay awhile back for my Mac Pro) as I've had good results with it. I've seen great SandForce benchmarks in Maximum PC and others, so I'm still open to choices! My expansion HDD will likely be a 1TB Western Digital Caviar Black.


Edited by Torley - 02 Aug 2010 at 11:45am
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  Quote Dragoonseal Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 02 Aug 2010 at 11:54am
Originally posted by Torley

- I'm thinking to buy another Crucial CT128M225 (I got one for $225 on eBay awhile back for my Mac Pro) as I've had good results with it. I've seen great SandForce benchmarks in Maximum PC and others, so I'm still open to choices!

That is an old Indilinx Barefoot controller SSD. Don't get any more of those. I mean they're still 10 times faster than any conventional HDD with small file read/writes, so I hesitate to call them "bad" per se, but they never came down in price nearly as much as they should have.

Intel and SandForce SSDs have literately 10+ times faster small file read/write speeds than those Indilinx Barefoot SSDs, or 100+ times faster than conventional HDDs if you will. They're also both much more resilient to performance degradation. Their GB/$ price points are only a tad higher so they are the much better buy.

My expansion HDD will likely be a 1TB Western Digital Caviar Black.

Just keep in mind there's only around a 5% performance difference between the more expensive 1TB 64MB cache WD Caviar Black and more generic 1TB 32MB cache HDD options like Seagate and Hitachi. And when talking conventional HDD numbers, which are particularly small and sad, that is a very insignificant and unnoticeable difference. So don't worry about brand or performance when making a HDD selection, just go by GB/$.

EDIT:
I'll check out the HAF 932, do you know offhand if it has easy drive caddies or a way to swap drives that's more akin to the Mac Pro? That's important to me. UPDATE: Looks like HAF 932 and Sniper have similar 3.5" drive holders.

Not sure what the caddies in the Mac Pro are like but the HAF 932 has tool-less design HDD bays. They're pretty hassle free.


Edited by Dragoonseal - 02 Aug 2010 at 11:58am
Lilim
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  Quote Torley Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 02 Aug 2010 at 4:41pm
@Dragoonseal Fascinating. Can you please point me to the benchmark results re: those SSD speeds? The ones that influenced my buying decision earlier were from MacLife, which recommended the CT128M225 and noted that Mac OS X doesn't have TRIM (so this may have affected other things).
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  Quote Dragoonseal Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 02 Aug 2010 at 5:50pm
Well there are plenty of places to grab numbers from, just Google for reviews on any SSD you're interested in and there should be plenty of benchmarks of various common sorts.

I usually use the Anandtech SSD Bench compilation for quick references and comparisons. Just use any of the Indilinx MLC SSDs as reference, most all Indilinx Barefoot drives perform extremely similarly.

Not quite as bad as I remember, so I guess only a few times slower with small performance and not 10 times slower, but still crap for the price. SandForce and Intel SSDs have a much better performance/price ratio, as well as their superior degradation resistance, they're the best drives for when TRIM is not available.
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  Quote Torley Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 02 Aug 2010 at 6:35pm
@Dragoonseal I typically google  for benchmarks but was curious if there was a particular source you found enlightening.

Any thoughts on why I might want to pick the HAF 932 over the HAF 922? I tend to prefer smaller cases, unless the extra space will help with cooling. I don't intend to expand a significant amount.
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  Quote Dragoonseal Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 02 Aug 2010 at 6:54pm
Originally posted by Torley

@Dragoonseal I typically google  for benchmarks but was curious if there was a particular source you found enlightening.

Ah alright. I regularly read a number of different Storage forums and any good SSD worth considering usually has benchmarks get posted by various users. Also I find searching Google Images is a for the name of a SSD is a surprisingly easy way to find benchmark screenshots for them.

I do always filter back to Anandtech a lot though, for notable SSD news, SSD reviews, and that Bench compilation for quick references.

Any thoughts on why I might want to pick the HAF 932 over the HAF 922? I tend to prefer smaller cases, unless the extra space will help with cooling. I don't intend to expand a significant amount.

The HAF 922 has 2x 200mm and 1x 120mm fans.
The HAF 932 has 3x 230mm and 1x 140mm fans.

So the bigger 932 definitely has the air flow advantage, which is why I recommend it if the budget allows. The 922's air flow is respectable as well though so it makes a good budget case.
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  Quote Torley Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 02 Aug 2010 at 7:59pm
I'm thankful you've been so responsive throughout the day, Dragoonseal. I like Anandtech too but I owe it to myself to read more about their SSD info.

Well, I bit the bullet and made the order based on your recommendations! The only thing I changed was the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 to 480 — so I went a bit over but for long-term gains, I'm hopeful this'll be worth it.

I notice you have 3 x Intel X25-M G2 (80GB), but if there was a new 100-128GB SSD you'd get (from within the Intel and SandForce controller selection) on the value side, what would you specifically recommend?
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  Quote Dragoonseal Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 03 Aug 2010 at 12:06am
Originally posted by Torley

Well, I bit the bullet and made the order based on your recommendations! The only thing I changed was the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 to 480 — so I went a bit over but for long-term gains, I'm hopeful this'll be worth it.

Grats. Find something to do for a few weeks so you don't go stir crazy waiting on the new PC. Hahaha

I notice you have 3 x Intel X25-M G2 (80GB), but if there was a new 100-128GB SSD you'd get (from within the Intel and SandForce controller selection) on the value side, what would you specifically recommend?

Hmm. If I were getting SSD space right now I would probably get 2x Intel X25-M 80GB, or 3x Intel X25-V 40GB.

Up until recently a close second choice for me would of been a couple SandForce SSDs, higher price points than Intel but faster write speeds, I just don't need the write speed much. But unfortunately in the last week or two I've found out a few unsavory enough things to strike them off my list.

For one they compress data on the fly as they write data. This has the great benefit of not only writing to the drive less but also significantly speeding up writing of compressible data. Sadly SSD benchmarks use highly compressible repetitive data and this gives SandForce SSDs inflated write speed numbers. This I've known for some time but lately I'm seeing more and more indications that their write speeds on non highly compressible data is actually fairly unimpressive. But worse is that I come across this thread, in which it is revealed that SandForce drives benchmark artificially high when brand new but within a few days once Garbage Collection has mapped the drive the controller's DuraClass technology will significantly limit/throttle the drives speeds and it will never recover back to the fresh out of the box speeds that only lasts for a few days.

Funny how they fail to mention that when advertising their performance numbers.
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R.I.P. Sinbad the cat (November 16, 1996 - April 18, 2011)
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