Building the Ultimate Gaming PC

OK, so I started a post in the CPU section trying to decide between a AMD 64 FX-60 and FX-57 and now am more confused than ever. lol

(If I sound at all crabby in any part of this, I'm sorry. It's just the more research I do, the more confused I become!)

- Here's the Deal -
I'm a (now) single programmer (AMX, Java) who wants to venture much deeper into the extreme PC world where my heart really lies (and always has). I'm selling everything I own and working my butt off to build this baby and want to create an absolute masterpiece. (Plus I'd rather drop my cash into my PC than the bartenders pocket :wink: )

I'm setting out to build the ultimate gaming PC. I'm a newbie to custom building and need all the help I can get!! I want to create a WC'd, OC'd to the MAX MoNsTeR. It should be able to tear anything that I can throw at it to shreds at least for the next year (or two?).

The project is happening NOW and I'm not waiting for AM2. As CompGeek said "It will be the same as 939 with DDR2 and i doubt prices on a X2 4800 that already gives you a great bang for buck will greatly decrease." and I agree from the research I've done...I know upgradability will be an issue but I'll probably want to swap my MB and processor next year anyway...I get bored easily lol.

It's not really benchmarks I'm looking for but performance. I want to run Doom or Quake FULL TILT BOOGIE and have a beautiful result.

Cost really isn't a huge factor. It's not that I want to spend a fortune, god knows I don't have it, but I don't want to cut any corners and be sorry later either. I'd rather spend more now and "do it once, do it right." I'll drink a few more cups of coffee and jam the overtime to make this happen. 8O

($2500-$3000 would be good though...)

I have a ThermalTake Armor Case (I know but I like it...) that I am going to mod to the limits of my imagination.

I just got my Asus A8N32-SLI (Ai Life Ed.) motherboard so I can use a 939 socket processor, i think Im about 98% set on the FX-60.

AND...I'm NOT partial to ANY manufacturer...I want the best equipment, not the best name!!

Here's where I'm hitting the roadblocks now more than ever:

- Water Cooling -
Any suggestions on where I can get good info on building my own? I'm considering a Koolance Exos-2 but would rather build my own custom tank inside the case. This enters the question of liquid volume, pumps, fans, radiator and waterblocks and all I've been able to find are reviews and "you should build your own" but how do I determine the specs?

- Video Cards -
So the motherboard supports SLI at true dual 16-bit instead of chopping it down to 8-bit. (Or so I've been led to believe...) Unless I'm really out in left-field here, that means that I can't do crossfire unless I swap motherboards. The many, many reviews that I've read, this Asus board kicks ass in the 939 category and that's why I already bought it.
SO now what? I think that I am going to wait a couple weeks to see what the 7900 GT & GTX have to offer. I have to say though that 2x 7800GTX's are looking good at this point...but how about choosing a manufacturer!? I like the Asus name but that's only because it's one I know and trust.

RAM: Corsair TWINX2048-4000PT

HD: 2x WD Raptor 150G (RAID 0) with some other large WD HD for backup

Sound Card: 7.1 suggestions?

POWER SUPPLY: 600W+ I know, but from who and why??

Other cool stuff??? I like gauges, gadgets, etc. that will just really add to the wow factor in the case :D


Thanks in advance for the help guys!! Any advice you can offer me on any part of this is greatly appreciated!!!
36 answers Last reply
More about building ultimate gaming
  1. Quote:
    Go with the 4800+ X2 or an Opteron, the FX-60 is really great, but is so much more expensive. If you want to really overclock, and money is no object, you might justify the FX-60 as it has an unlocked multiplier. As for the video card, at this point I think it would be better to wait the two weeks and atleast see what the 7900 series is like before making your decision. Or you could do what I did, buy a 7800 series from e-VGA and you will have 90 days to take advantage of their step-up program to use your full purchase price tword the purchase of a 7900.


    My original post still holds true, and I would go with the FX-60 for MAX overclocking as it has the unlocked multiplier.

    If it's toys you are looking for:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16829102189
    I have no use for the drive bay thing, but you might, but it will add a cool looking toy to the front of your case.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813999251
    A neat row of dials always adds good looks.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820300901
    Card Readers are a plus.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817121909
    These make your computer look more serious and bring more air in.

    Cold Cathode lights, and Lighted Fans
  2. Thanks for both posts today man. :D

    It looks like SLI may not necessarily be the best option as the general opinion seems to be that the technology has a ways to go...

    I certainly don't mind having only one video card - I just want the best possible performance whatever that option may be.

    Any thoughts on the ASUS N7800GT DUAL?
  3. You're better off getting an X1900 XTX.
  4. I agree, SLi is not worth it, costs way to much. That ASUS card is kind of an oddity, and for the money two 7800GTs in SLi would cost less (that's what the card actully is anyway) and a 7800GTX alone would probably be better. I'm running a single 7800GT, best bang for the buck, and I intend to upgrade to a 7900GT in early may when I have reached the end of my step-up period, hopefully I will be able to do the upgrade for like $100-$150 if prices are down a bit from the initial release.
  5. I think I'm going to give it a couple weeks and see what the 7900 looks like myself...it'll take me longer than that to get the case-mods done anyway.

    What manufacturer did you choose for your 7800? I was just checking them out and it looks like the BFG OC'd isn't a bad choice but I don't know anything about them.

    Any suggestions on choosing a manufacturer??
  6. Quote:
    You're better off getting an X1900 XTX.


    OK dude, so you have Dual evga Geforce 7800 GT's...what gives?

    There's gotta be something that you don't like about the cards and wish you had purchased the X1900 XTX instead...
  7. because the x1900xtx is the fastest card out right now and for the price its not that horrible, 600 bux, as opposed to its competitor from nvidia the gtx512 which is never in stock at the nice low price of 999 bux, i guess the choice is up to u... im sure he got his 7800gt's before 1900xtx was launched... id say buy 1900xtx now, maybe get an xfire board so u can get a 2nd for even more performance... but waiting for the 7900 is kinda a waste since nvidia might not be able to produce them fast enoguh....
  8. since you are not in a hurry to get cards watch ebay for deals. i got a msi 7800 gtx with riddick game and full bundle for $399 a while back when they sold for almost $500. ($449 now) i just picked up a 7800gtx for $359 bucks on monday night .its a brand new xfx overclocked to 490/ 1300. and i might do sli setup or try to resell this for profit.this card is selling for $499 now on newegg's site.just watch and bid, good luck
  9. First of get the fx-60 since stock it is exelent let alone if you want to OC.It is just a alround good cpu expeccialy if you want to OC.For video card wait to see what nvidia has to offer with the 7900 since you said the mods will take a while to do.On the sound card there are two cards i recomend.
    If you are going for the best performance you can get then get this
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16829102191
    If you want still good performance but for less then get this
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16829102189
    But i would go for the latter.Personal opinion
  10. over 150 for a sound card is a waste unless ur using prof apps and a 7.1 thx sound system... if u r then spend the 300 on sound... but remember its 300 less for videocard/memory...
  11. @Smokey

    I guess you should go for an FX-60 because 939 is going bye bye and the FX-57 is only the fastest with a clean gaming system. If you have a bunch of other things open (Flash, for example) you will love the sweetness of dual-core. The FX-60 will actually let you stream 320KBps audio while playing Quake or archive Outlook while online with Q3.

    It's unfortunate that AM2 is coming in June, but if you can wait you'll have an upgrade path. But if you watercool, you can probably get to 3.2GHz with some nice OCZ so you will have the fastest machine around, bar none. I have a 4400+ at stock with 2GB @ 3-3-3-8 and I am reminded of the fastest Alpha I ever used so yeah, a water-cooled FX60 is the way to go now. If you can switch out in a few months, then pop in a new AM2 with an FX62. I can imagine what 4GB of DDR2 will be like.
  12. Waoo you are really gonne spend some serious cash on this :)
    i'm actually kind of like you but i usually think about 2 things

    1) which components give me the best value.
    2) How long will i have the pc

    I build my box for 2 month ago and i was choosing my CPU. the cost different from 4200+ to 4400+ and above was like double so i choose the 4200+ x2.
    Also when i check the performance i don't see that big of a performance so why spend 3 time money on a cpu i think.

    When it comes to graphic card i went for 7800 GTX since it was and i think still is the best card. Dual will consume a heck more power and deliver about same as this card and also consider the noice (personally i don't like water cooling but that's just me).

    So if you gonne pay 2-3 times more for just a few % more performance i would save the money and change the system in let's say 2 year when the 2+ core is out and also a new GPU generation as the 7800GTX is pretty damn awsome in my opinion.

    So as a conclusion i think the 4400+ or 4800+ do the job pretty damn nice with a 7800GTX. You can run all games maxed out (i play lot of WOW and halflife2 before with max settings with no probleme). I choose these cpu's for they have 1M cache. Not sure if you get so much better performance with a FX60 really. For me it seems like the performance is on the GPU and since i never had any problem with even my 4200+ x2 i don't know why you should spend so much more money on a FX when it cost almost 3 time as much.

    Well i hope i helped you :)

    Good luck
  13. Recommendations:
    PSU: OCZ Powerstream 600w. My 520 f*cking kicks ass with adjustable rails, and I can't imagine how nice the 600 must be, as it's the same thing with more wattage.
    Cooling: Are you really hardcore? Build your own phase changing to bring that FX60 to -100c and oc to 3.8. Look into that at http://xtremesystems.org/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=80.
    For -50c or so, and maybe get to 3.6, look into the Vapochill XE series of pre-build phase-changers.
    SLi: Forget it. Pain in the ass, and expensive as well. Get an x1900xtx, it will easily outperform 2 gtx's, and the upgrade path for the 7900gtx is there.
    Sorry, but you wasted your money getting the dual x16 pci-e board. However, it does have 8 phase power, so it is quite the overclocker.
    Memory: You may want to look into the PC4000 crucial Ballistix, as they hit 290 htt.
  14. he has to buy something, nvidia was in the lead, now it's ati, then it will nvidia , and then be ati, and then it will be nvidia.......anyways why buy an sli mother board and then put an ati card in there that doesn't make sense it probably will work though.
  15. Quote:
    he has to buy something, nvidia was in the lead, now it's ati, then it will nvidia , and then be ati, and then it will be nvidia.......anyways why buy an sli mother board and then put an ati card in there that doesn't make sense it probably will work though.


    Probably? you kidding?

    ----
    It will work, and it will pound the crap out of two 7800gt's/gtx's and even the gtx 512's in some situations. That and, it's a hell of a lot cheaper and more efficient. Remember, the more parallelism and additions and crap you put on a system, the less efficient the end result is. The only truly highly efficient dual type of interface would be RAID 0, as the performance is really there. But for paying two times the price of a video card, you don't get two times the performance, and that is insane as far as I tell.
  16. So your a programmer? With dual graphics and stuff your getting a lot of noise as I understand. A lot. Hope you still can concentrate on your code man...
  17. Quote:
    So your a programmer? With dual graphics and stuff your getting a lot of noise as I understand. A lot. Hope you still can concentrate on your code man...


    Yeah man...fortunately it's more of a 1st language to me than english is! lol

    This is exactly the results I was looking for though...some real world information. Just because a product looks great on paper doesn't mean anything in the field. Most of you guys have a lot more hands-on experience than I do and know what the best really is.

    I've learned that sometimes the best products are the ones you hear about least...the best kept secrets so to speak...that's why I'm not partial to any manufacturer & why I came here.

    I want the best performance and highest reliability for the money. I don't want the coolest logo or something from the company that has the best ad-campaign. I know in my high-end a/v industry those are the products that suck the most!

    Thanks for all the help so far guys and keep the suggestions coming...the path is getting clearer all the time! (believe it or not)

    Now, I have to go make another pot of coffee....lol
  18. Quote:
    he has to buy something, nvidia was in the lead, now it's ati, then it will nvidia , and then be ati, and then it will be nvidia.......anyways why buy an sli mother board and then put an ati card in there that doesn't make sense it probably will work though.


    Probably? you kidding?

    ----
    It will work, and it will pound the crap out of two 7800gt's/gtx's and even the gtx 512's in some situations. That and, it's a hell of a lot cheaper and more efficient. Remember, the more parallelism and additions and crap you put on a system, the less efficient the end result is. The only truly highly efficient dual type of interface would be RAID 0, as the performance is really there. But for paying two times the price of a video card, you don't get two times the performance, and that is insane as far as I tell.
    First off ofcourse you wont get twice the performance for sli/crossfire.Second of course two 7800GTX will beat a x1900xt that is just insane to think otherise.But i do have to say that there is one situation that x1900xt or xtx is faster than two 7800GTX256 and that is when AA and AF are enabled but otherise the two 7800GTX is faster
  19. Quote:
    he has to buy something, nvidia was in the lead, now it's ati, then it will nvidia , and then be ati, and then it will be nvidia.......anyways why buy an sli mother board and then put an ati card in there that doesn't make sense it probably will work though.


    Probably? you kidding?

    ----
    It will work, and it will pound the crap out of two 7800gt's/gtx's and even the gtx 512's in some situations. That and, it's a hell of a lot cheaper and more efficient. Remember, the more parallelism and additions and crap you put on a system, the less efficient the end result is. The only truly highly efficient dual type of interface would be RAID 0, as the performance is really there. But for paying two times the price of a video card, you don't get two times the performance, and that is insane as far as I tell.
    First off ofcourse you wont get twice the performance for sli/crossfire.Second of course two 7800GTX will beat a x1900xt that is just insane to think otherise.But i do have to say that there is one situation that x1900xt or xtx is faster than two 7800GTX256 and that is when AA and AF are enabled but otherise the two 7800GTX is faster
    Who the hell pays nearly a grand for a graphics solution and doesn't turn AA/AF as high as it goes? I mean, come on. The X1900XTX is the best ultra high end value as well as best high end performance.
  20. i do agree but sli/crossfire can be a less expensive setup opposed to getting a brand new card
  21. Yeah, when you buy 2 shitty cards you can't expect a new card's power for a cheaper price. An x1900xtx wins against 7800gtx's in sli 256 and in a lot of cases the 512's in sli and that sure as shit isn't any cheaper than a single x1900xtx...a single gtx256 is about $500 while an x1900xtx is $650 or so, and the 512 gtx's are still more than the x1900xtx's alone.
  22. i expecially like crossfie since it performs just as good as sli and has no restrction.like putting two different cards together
  23. Quote:
    i expecially like crossfie since it performs just as good as sli and has no restrction.like putting two different cards together


    Buying some expensive, retarded card for only crossfire isn't a restriction, especially since it must be in the same class? And since cards can't perform higher than that? No restrictions? Sli has gotten better as you can have 2 different bios', 2 different clock speeds and such, but it's still an insanely overpriced undervalued product.
  24. first of 7800 gtx 256 are nice cards and the reason the x1900xtx performs better with AA and AF is because the new arcutecture is better with AA and AF on than nvidia.so dont get your panties in a bunch you ati fanboy
  25. I would come back with somthing but your grammer sucks.I cant understand any of what you just said
  26. Quote:
    first of 7800 gtx 256 are nice cards and the reason the x1900xtx performs better with AA and AF is because the new arcutecture is better with AA and AF on than nvidia.so dont get your panties in a bunch you ati fanboy

    You caught me red handed with my 6800gt. Also, the X1900XTX without AA/AF is still more powerful than the Sli'ed 7800's in farcry, doom, an d half life 2. http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/01/24/ati_radeon_x1900_heats_up_with_48_pixel_pipelines/page10.html
    http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/01/24/ati_radeon_x1900_heats_up_with_48_pixel_pipelines/page9.html
    Check the charts, since you aren't going to take my word for it.
  27. Quote:
    I would come back with somthing but your grammer sucks.I cant understand any of what you just said

    Let me explain this slowly.
    1. To run crossfire, you need a specific card for crossfire only that must be in the same series as the other card.
    2. If the second card you wish to run is more powerful than the crossfire card, you are f*cked, as it must dumb down to the slowest card available.
    3. Crossfire currently does not support multiple core speeds and frequencies.
    4. SLi, unlike Crossfire, requires more hardware.

    After these points, crossfire is very limited by the crossfire card available and by the drivers it uses.
  28. Man you got angre.I love pushing peoples buttons.
  29. Quote:
    Man you got angre.I love pushing peoples buttons.

    Lol, sorry if i was a little blunt there. Having a bad day. I anhiliated a Thinkpad last night and bent the case after beating it senseless; needed a new keyboard.
  30. Yeah i would say that was a bad day and bye the way i acctually agree with you.That other stuff i said i was just playing around.I do hope though that they can work with sli/crossfire and make them worth it.
  31. Quote:
    You're better off getting an X1900 XTX.


    OK dude, so you have Dual evga Geforce 7800 GT's...what gives?

    There's gotta be something that you don't like about the cards and wish you had purchased the X1900 XTX instead...
    They're great cards, but he was asking about the ASUS dual 7800 GT card. It's priced around 800$ and at that price an X1900 would be a much better choice
    Quote:
    because the x1900xtx is the fastest card out right now and for the price its not that horrible, 600 bux, as opposed to its competitor from nvidia the gtx512 which is never in stock at the nice low price of 999 bux, i guess the choice is up to u... im sure he got his 7800gt's before 1900xtx was launched... id say buy 1900xtx now, maybe get an xfire board so u can get a 2nd for even more performance... but waiting for the 7900 is kinda a waste since nvidia might not be able to produce them fast enoguh....

    You're right about the X1900 XT not being out when I bought these cards, however I'm still very happy with what I bought.
  32. if i had 700 to blow on a video card i would personally go with the x1900xtx, i guess im a little biased towards ati, for no reason in particular i just am impressed with the 3 cards ive owned from them... also id rather have a single card over sli, sli is much less reliable, in some instances it cant even keep up wit ha single 7800gt... its still a new tech and isnt as refined as the pricetag says it is... until sli offers a solid 50% perforamnce increase its not worth the extra money, to me at least. the x1900xtx will offer faster frames at higher resolutions with AA and AF all the way up thanks to 512 memory and tighter higher clocked memory...
  33. Quote:
    You're better off getting an X1900 XTX.


    OK dude, so you have Dual evga Geforce 7800 GT's...what gives?

    There's gotta be something that you don't like about the cards and wish you had purchased the X1900 XTX instead...
    They're great cards, but he was asking about the ASUS dual 7800 GT card. It's priced around 800$ and at that price an X1900 would be a much better choice
    Quote:
    because the x1900xtx is the fastest card out right now and for the price its not that horrible, 600 bux, as opposed to its competitor from nvidia the gtx512 which is never in stock at the nice low price of 999 bux, i guess the choice is up to u... im sure he got his 7800gt's before 1900xtx was launched... id say buy 1900xtx now, maybe get an xfire board so u can get a 2nd for even more performance... but waiting for the 7900 is kinda a waste since nvidia might not be able to produce them fast enoguh....

    You're right about the X1900 XT not being out when I bought these cards, however I'm still very happy with what I bought.

    I in no way mean to diss your build, but SLi is very, very pricey and SLi is a good upgrade path, but when it comes to a point where you can buy a single card that in most situations can outperform a massive set up of 2 cards, I can't see the logic in paying even more money when you can buy one big 'ol beast. Also, SLi adds a lot off stress on the psu, the motherboard, and generates a shitload of heat that is very difficult to remove. Overclocking with SLi doesn't yield as well with single cards, and overall I think it just loses its value. That and, its harder to do aftermarket cooling on SLi as well, and when he wants to upgrade, it's a lot simpler as he can get rid of the single card on ebay faster if he wishes. My point is, even if he bought two of the most powerful cards and put them together, in another month something half the price will come out that will beat them in most situations and it will be regretting to wonder why he spent so much dough on that setup that is basically obsolete.
  34. Quote:
    if i had 700 to blow on a video card i would personally go with the x1900xtx, i guess im a little biased towards ati, for no reason in particular i just am impressed with the 3 cards ive owned from them... also id rather have a single card over sli, sli is much less reliable, in some instances it cant even keep up wit ha single 7800gt... its still a new tech and isnt as refined as the pricetag says it is... until sli offers a solid 50% perforamnce increase its not worth the extra money, to me at least. the x1900xtx will offer faster frames at higher resolutions with AA and AF all the way up thanks to 512 memory and tighter higher clocked memory...

    yeah, thats my point. despite paying 2x as much, you don't get 30% more performance. that's just silly..
  35. yeah deffinetly go with a single card setup.And the x1900xtx is perfect for just that.
  36. Don't get ANY Dell., HP, etc. This is not their strong area.
    Alienware is the only system company that makes (non-server/non boring workstation) high-end PCs for games and real graphics work.
    Please correct me if I am wrong about something.
    I have yet to see a XTX from Dell.
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