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New Gaming Rig: Need opinions, critique and advice!

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January 7, 2006 1:30:26 AM

Budget: Around $2000


LCD:
Viewsonic VX924 OR Viewsonic VX922

SPEAKERS:
Creative Inspire P7800 90 Watts 7.1 Speaker OR Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 Speaker

KEYBOARD:
Logitech G15 Gaming Keyboard

MOUSE:
Logitech G7

CASE:
Cooler Master CM Stacker 830

PSU:
OCZ OCZ600ADJSLI - 600W SLI Ready

MOTHERBOARD:
DFi LANPARTY UT NF4 SLI-DR Expert OR Abit Fatal1ty AN8 SLi

CPU:
AMD Opteron 165 Dual Core 64 bit OR AMD Opteron 170 OR AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+ OR AMD 64 X2 4400+

RAM:
2x OCZ EL DDR PC-4800 Dual Channel Platinum Elite Edition OR OCZ EB DDR PC-4000 2x1024MB Platinum Edition Dual Channel Kit OR Corsair TWINX2048-3200C2PRO

VIDEO CARD:
Gigabyte NVIDIA GeForce 7800GT GV-NX78T256D-ZK

HDD:
2x WD Caviar SE16 SATA 300 MB/s 250 GB Hard Drive (WD2500KS)

SOUND CARD:
Creative Labs X-Fi XtremeMusic

HEADPHONES:
iCEMAT Black Syberia Headset

CPU COOLER:
Thermalright SI-120

CASE FAN:
Cooler Master Cross Flow Fan (STF-B01-E1) AND 9x Cooler Master Ultra Silent Fans

OTHER:
Cooler Master NanoFusion(R9-GE7-PTK3) AND ATI TV WONDER PRO PCI PCI Interface TV Tuner Card

OPERATING SYSTEM
Microsoft Windows XP Professional X64 Edition

This computer will primarily be used for Gaming, Image Editing (Photoshop) and other high end tasks. Overclocking is a serious possibility in this computer's future, and, yes, i have overclocked in the past. It is a possibility that I could buy some/most/all of the components from a wholesale source.
The rest of the components would most likely be purchased from a site like newegg, unless someone could inform me of a less expensive way of purchasing them without being overcharged for shipping, or buying a used product.
Any and all advice, critiques, and/or opinions are welcome and appreciated. Please mention anything I have left out.
I realize that the total will likely come to more than $2000, but hopefully I will be able to manage. Thank You!

More about : gaming rig opinions critique advice

January 7, 2006 4:49:18 AM

Hi there....thats a Super Machine ur planning to build mate...Great...

I just feel maybe you could save some money by buying just one HDD and investing the saved money into the faster graphix card which i think is the GeForce 7800 GTX 512....

Cheerz
January 7, 2006 9:12:51 AM

If you go with the lanparty motherboard get the ocz memory, there have been some compatibility issuses with the corsair. The x2 4400 has larger onboard cache than the 4000+. Many peaple seem to like the opteron for overclocking, I have no experiance with that cpu, but I have found that the x2 4400 may be easily overclocked to 2.5 or 2.6 ghz. You can decrypt movies and game at the same time.
Related resources
January 7, 2006 6:49:40 PM

Ok, Thanks for the input.
I'm kinda leaning towards the AMD Opteron 175 Proc as it is only about $50 more than the 170, and the Viewsonic VX922 as it has an overall response time of 2 ms (not just Gray to Gray/Black to Black).

I still cant decide on which mobo and speakers to get, any opinions?

As for the ram, which would be better performance and compatability for me, 4x 512 DIM's of the OCZ PC4800 (dual channel), or two 1 gig stix of the OCZ PC 4000 (dual channel)?

I appreciate the advice on the HDD, but i'm finding it hard to justify the $750 price tag for the NVIDIA 7800GTX 512mb GFX card, and the 7800 GT and the 7800 GTX 256mb benchmarks are VERY close. Why spend $100 more for minimal performance increase? Also, I've been hearing about the ATI 1800 and it's saphire editions, would that be a better card for the $cash$?

Besides, the two 250 Gig HDD's will make a kickass 300mb/s, 500 GIG SATA2 RAID 0 Array to complement the 160 Gig WD I already have! :lol: 

More input would be GREATLY appreciated!!!

Thanks, -SiLeNt
January 7, 2006 8:27:22 PM

what about a asus motherboard, i reckon a Creative Speaker system will perform exellent with the sound card u are gonna get. (it will get the most outta it). i think u should get a X2 Cpu...it looks like a great computer coming right up..
January 8, 2006 12:00:56 AM

Thanks for the link Crazy, very usefull!

Any Creative Speakers in particular benno? (or anyone for that matter?)

Which ram,
4x 512 DDR PC-4800 (From OCZ)
or
2x 1 GIG DDR PC-4000 (From OCZ)

Also, any reason to go Athlon X2 4400 instead of staying Opteron 175?
(or reasons for going X2 instead of Opteron in general?)

Any THG Staff/Members have anything to say/add?
(with their expert advice :wink: )
January 8, 2006 2:50:25 AM

Just a note - the 4000+ you linked is not an X2 - There is no X2 4000+. :) 

Get 2x1gig. AMD's onboard memory controller needs the Memory's command timing set to 2T instead of 1T for 4 sticks of RAM. The performance loss is more than the loss due to the lower OC-ability - just run the RAM on a divider to get best CPU speed.

Are you overclocking? If you overclock get the Opteron 165 (first choice) 170 (2nd) or 175 (3rd). All 3 should OC nearly the same.

If you're not OCing, then get the cheaper of the 2 since the stats are the same.

Mike.
January 8, 2006 4:12:19 AM

Budget: Around $2000


LCD:
Viewsonic VX922

SPEAKERS:
Creative Inspire P7800 90 Watts 7.1 Speaker OR Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 Speaker

KEYBOARD:
Logitech G15 Gaming Keyboard

MOUSE:
Logitech G7

CASE:
Cooler Master CM Stacker 830

PSU:
OCZ OCZ600ADJSLI - 600W SLI Ready

MOTHERBOARD:
DFi LANPARTY UT NF4 SLI-DR Expert OR Abit Fatal1ty AN8 SLi

CPU:
AMD Opteron 165 OR AMD Opteron 170 OR AMD Opteron 175 OR AMD 64 X2 4400+

RAM: OCZ EB DDR PC-4000 2x1024MB Platinum Edition Dual Channel Kit

VIDEO CARD:
Gigabyte NVIDIA GeForce 7800GT GV-NX78T256D-ZK

HDD:
2x WD Caviar SE16 SATA 300 MB/s 250 GB Hard Drive (WD2500KS)

SOUND CARD:
Creative Labs X-Fi XtremeMusic

HEADPHONES:
iCEMAT Black Syberia Headset

CPU COOLER:
Thermalright SI-120

CASE FAN:
Cooler Master Cross Flow Fan (STF-B01-E1) AND 5x Cooler Master Ultra Silent Fans

OTHER:
Cooler Master NanoFusion(R9-GE7-PTK3) AND ATI TV WONDER PRO PCI PCI Interface TV Tuner Card

OPERATING SYSTEM
Microsoft Windows XP Professional X64 Edition

This computer will primarily be used for Gaming, Image Editing (Photoshop) and other high end tasks. Overclocking is a serious possibility in this computer's future, and, yes, i have overclocked in the past. It is a possibility that I could buy some/most/all of the components from a wholesale source.
The rest of the components would most likely be purchased from a site like newegg, unless someone could inform me of a less expensive way of purchasing them without being overcharged for shipping, or buying a used product.
Any and all advice, critiques, and/or opinions are welcome and appreciated. Please mention anything I have left out.
I realize that the total will likely come to more than $2000, but hopefully I will be able to manage. Thank You!
January 8, 2006 10:04:00 AM

np, found that link on the abit site

which board are you taking now?
January 8, 2006 11:23:33 AM

Got your PM - replying here so everyone can comment.

The 3 Opty's only differences are the base clock:
165: 1.8ghz, 1mb L2/core
170: 2.0ghz, 1mb L2/core
175: 2.2ghz, 1mb L2/core (same spec as X2-4400+)

Since all 3 are really the same piece of silicon, its all luck if you draw one that OC's like crazy or one that doesn't. Since they're AMD's server part, they're tested much more thoroughly than normal so almost any of them will reach the chip's limits. The 165 is reported to hit 3.0ghz on air with little trouble, and so should the 175, but I wouldn't expect much better than that, and since the whole idea of overclocking is to get faster hardware for a cheaper price the less expensive one's are the better deals. So, no difference except price for an overclocker.

Re: the SI-120. It's arguably the best cooler out there right now - a lot of that is because you can pick your fan - an low-rpm quiet one for silent cooling or some monstrous blower that sounds like a jet engine that'll cool like an A/C (ok, exaggeration there... :wink: ). You'll get as far as any CPU can on air with that.

As far as speakers and cases, I haven't a clue - never was much of a music afficiando, so a pair of 10-yr-old Inland's make my system talk today... I'm definitely the wrong one to ask about speakers. Same with cases really - I'm into $20 cheapys. I'm so cheap I'm looking into finding replacement switches for my old AT style cases so I can reuse them with ATX hardware...

Mike.
January 8, 2006 12:59:59 PM

The Psu seems a bit expensive to me,
Personaly I would go with something like the Antec neo 550, 1st its almost half the price of the Ocz and second it has the detachable cables to keep things tidy.

Also Im not a coolmaster case expert, but do you need 9 fans, according to the product page the crossflow fan replaces the 4 fans on the side panel, meaning you only need 5 extra fans.

From what I have seen I would expect the optys to hit around 2.6ghz, but this is not a gaurante. If the optys stock speed is too low for you to live with incase it wont overclock get the x2. If you want to take a risk go opty.
January 8, 2006 1:35:55 PM

dude as far as your ram goes you want to get 2x1gb of pc3200. If you are sticking with amd you must use only ddr. I have read up lots as I am planning on something similar to your tower and anything over pc3200 isnt as stable and the performance gains are not much. I would personally stick with just the standard luxury pc 3200. They will perform great. I try to stick with corsair cause it is actually a US company unlike OZC which is asian (not sure if chinese or not). For the kinda stuff you are doing you will definitly need 2gb. You could slide by with 1 but it will most likely create a bottleneck with the rest of the high end stuff. If you are planning on overclocking you want to go with the opteron. Opterons and x2s are the same well at least the dual core model opterons but the opterons are more geared to server style work and are better for overclocking because they are tailored to deal more with high end server components. So like you say you are planning on ocin then I would go with that although remember every processor is different and it is possible to get same oc from an x2 but more likely higher with opteron. Good luck dude.
January 8, 2006 3:48:01 PM

Ok, Thank you to all who have provided advice so far.

From what Fishman said, the AMD Opteron 165 seems like the better deal of the three. (If I'm wrong, correct me plz)

Didn't know that the CM Stacker 830's cross flow fan (optional/extra) took the place of the 4 fans on the side pannel. Good to know, thanks sleepdeprived! Changed product list to match.

It was my understanding, Ghaleon, that Corsair memory had some major compatability issues with the DFi LANParty mobo's. Is that true?

Cant decide between the DFi and ABIT motherboards. The DFi seems like an overall higher quality product, but I have heard major horror stories on sites like DFi Street such as The Expert series mobo's eating Opty proc's out of the box. Also not sure about a few reviews on NewEgg about the new DFi LANParty UT NF4 SLI-DR Expert only running at 8x PCIe when using SLI. Input anyone?

I was planning on going with 2 gigs (2x 1024) of ram all along, however, I was under the impression that OCZ 5000 had high performance increases when compared to the OCZ 4000, which in turn had some performance increase when compared to the 3200 series.

One of the questions that I asked fishman i will put to the general public: What is a high quality case (on par with the CM 830) that has equivilant airflow/cooling but is less $$$? ($250 for CM 830)

Im also looking into PSU's for $less$ than the OCZ that I had picked out, suggestions???

Opinions on which speakers to get?

Also, recommendations on which 120mm fan to get with the Thermalright SI-120?

Again thanks to everyone who has helped me with this quest!
Keep the posts coming (Plz!)

-SiLeNt
January 8, 2006 8:59:16 PM

Ok, you asked for cheap places to buy all this stuff besides newegg, well using pricegrabber.com is great (just make sure the bottom line price option is enabled to include shipping), and actually amazon has some pretty good deals on hardware as well.

Another good website to check out would be mysuperpc.com, I think his opinions are valid for building computers, and he has some good recomendations as well. Good luck.
January 9, 2006 1:37:17 AM

Ok, thanks crazy and smirkus.

Looked at the link you gave me smirkus. Decent, but a little outdated.

Still wondering if it would be safe to get a DFi LANParty UT NF4 SLI-DR Expert mobo (for use with the AMD Opteron).

If they overclock the same, i'm leaning towards the AMD Opteron 165 instead of the 170 or 175. (if a 165 overclocked to a 175 or 180's speed is less stable than a genuine 175 or 180 proc, please let me know!) Also, is it too risky to go with the Opteron series, or should I go X2? (you're scaring me with the "some chips overclock and some dont" talk)

Is it true that the OCZ PC4000 Platinum ram would be less stable than, say, OCZ PC3200 Platinum ram?

With the $$$ I save on going with the 165, should I go to a 7800 GTX 256mb instead of just a 7800GT?

Which 120mm fan should I get for the Thermalright SI-120?

And, any Ideas on a case equivilant to the Cooler Master 830 that is less expensive?

-Thanks-

Please, help me to wrap this up!
January 10, 2006 1:46:33 PM

The DFI is an awesome overclockers board - the Opteron will work fine with it.

Every Opteron CPU is the same CPU structure (same with every Venice core'd A64 & every Prescott 'j' & every...) - its just that microscopic differences in the channels & circuits on the die and variations in material purity (and other reasons I'm sure) cause slight differences between each CPU - even 2 CPU's right next to each other in the center of a wafer. So The mfg tests each chip and the best become (say, for the San Diego core) FX-57's, the next best 55's, etc, down to chips that won't even do 3400+, so those get tossed. Opterons are tested more thoroughly because they are the server/workstation chip - its even more important that they work reliably. So nearly any Opteron 175 will overclock better than nearly any X2 4400 (even though they have the same specs). Your exact overclocking results will depend on the individual chip you get.

Stability is guaranteed by AMD at stock speeds with quality equipment. If you overclock, you're running your CPU above the speed recommended by AMD so it's your responsibility to ensure it is stable.

I doubt the RAM is less stable between the 2 models, but I don't know specifically.

If your budget can afford the GTX, get the GTX if you want. Both are good - the GT is awesome for its price, the GTX is even faster.., at a price. If the price is acceptable, get it.

Just a thought on fans - try one of these Panaflo 120mm . One's quieter, one pushes more air. And if you use a fan controller you can make either of them whisper quiet. There may be better fans too - I just did a quick search for Panaflow @ newegg.

Case? I like $20 cheapies, so I stay out of the case debate.

Mike.
January 10, 2006 2:58:29 PM

Have you looked at the Antec P180? You should be able to pick it up for under $120 and it has good airflow and plenty of space for all your goodies. I recently built a new dev box using this case and I really like the setup (just don't use the video card shroud - it's useless).

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
January 10, 2006 4:49:13 PM

all nf4 sli bords run at 8x in sli mode, except the ones that say x16 after it like http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

but it is a bit prict
i like my comp
DFI Lanparty Ultra Nf4 ultar d
4200 x2
evga 7800 gt
1 gig (2*512) geil ram
segate sata 120 gig hd
lanpary case
and black lights to make it look ASOM
o and a 470 watt power suply
January 10, 2006 8:33:19 PM

Ok, thanks FreshMeat and Shadghost, and thank you especially fishmahn (again)!
January 10, 2006 8:54:24 PM

The speakers could use some improvement... :wink: If you are going to dump some serious coinage into a sound card, a decent set of speakers will make a huge difference. I absolutely love my Logitech Z-680's. I don't do anything above 5.1 sound - above that there are too many speakers and wires. If you plan on gaming and really feeling submersed in the sound, you should get at least a 4.1 setup.

When I gamed in college, having surround sound helped me locate where I was getting shot from. Its great really. I also liked to feel the game - and let the adjacent apartments feel every frag grenade and rocket explosion too...
Key things to look for in a great set of PC speakers:
THX Certification
High Signal-noise ratio (>90db)
RMS power to the sub at least 100W - min 30-40 per satellite
Flexible inputs

My current pick would be the Logitech Z-5500. They have a rebate through newegg and are only 220... They also have build-in dolby decoding.

Best thing to do is to go to a computer store and listen to them. They all have different sound qualities - pick the one you like.
!