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First time build, can you take a look at my shopping list?

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May 21, 2006 3:05:33 AM

Wow, what an awesome forum! This will be my first build ever,but because of this forum I'm more at ease with a lot of my choices. However, I wanted to run my projected shopping list by you and see what you thought.

My primary use for the computer is Online Gaming (specifically EverQuest II). I'm not going SLI to start with but want the option to upgrade in the near future. Overclocking is a possiblity later, but actually far from my mind as I've never done it before and don't want to screw anything up.

The prices next to the items are the lowest (but Reliable) stores listed online. I'm not on an extremely tight budget, but don't want to sleep with my new PC on the couch when my wife sees the end price. The specs below would run me about $2300 +shipping/handling, want to stay in the range of $2300-2500.

Please any advise you can give will be greatly appreciated.

Case:
1. Antec Performance One P180 (00761345818001) ATX Mid-Tower Case ($119.99) without power supply - I personnally like the separation of the components and the PSU, although concerned with the Heat raising aspect.

Power Supply:
1. SeaSonic S12-600 (S12600) 600-Watt Power Supply ( $160.00 ) - More for upgrading later.

Motherboard:
1. ASUS A8N32-SLI Deluxe (90M9L1E0G0EAY) Motherboard ( $199.99 ) - Seemed to be the best board for SLI upgrade with the 2 PCI-e 16X slots.

Processor:
1. AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600+, 2.4 GHz (ADA4600BVBOX) ( $547.00 ) - While i would love to buy the FX-60, I can't see myself paying $1,000+ for a processor and don't see that big an improvement from the 4600 to 4800.

Memory:
1. Kingston 400MHz 1 GB PC3200 DDR RAM (kvr400x64c3a/1g) ( $83.99 x2 = $167.98 ) - Would 2GB be sufficent? Are the benefits noticable upgrading to 4GB?

Cooler:
1. Thermalright SI-120 Cooling Fan, Heatsink With Fan ( $49.87 ) - The processor comes with a Heatsink and fan, do I need to upgrade this?

Video Card:
1. BFG Technologies GeForce™ 7900 GTX OC™, (512 MB) PCI Express Graphic Card ( $541.98 ) - No real preferrence over the X1900, but from talking with a few techs around the local area, they tend to lean toward the 7900 GTX.

Sound Card:
Creative SOUND BLASTER X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS 7.1 Channels 24-bit 96KHz PCI ( $283.00 ) - I want a booming system, but just as a general question, how much will using the onboard sound booge down the system? Is this something I could maybe put off and buy later as an upgrade?

Hard Drive:
1. Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3320620AS (Perpendicular Recording Technology) 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM ( $129.99 ) - How important is it to run 2 HDD? Would partitioning the HD into 2 parts work the same? If 2nd is needed, would a 36GB be big enough and is the 10000 RPM noticably better than the 7200 RPM? Also what is the benefit of going 16MB Cache rather than 8MB Cache?

CD/DVD Burner:
1. SAMSUNG 16X DVD±R DVD Burner With 5X DVD-RAM Write and LightScribe Black ATA/ATAPI Model SH-S162L/BEBN – OEM ( $39.99 x2 = $79.98 ) - Caught my eye with the DVD-RAM and Lightscribe. Might be a novelity to have now, but later could be the standard.

Please let me know if I'm close or just way off base with any of my choices or reasoning. Again thanks for all the help you all give my sharing your experience/expertise with the rest of us newbs.

Tykster
Presently in the PC Stone Ages
May 21, 2006 4:09:14 AM

Ok lets see....

Motherboard: OK

CPU: Grab a 4400+ and overclock it... I know you said you don't want to yet, but honestly.. it's incredibly hard to screw up an overclock and not have a way to fix it. Especially with the Asus boards. If you set the FSB or ram frequency too high, or adjust something else the system can't handle, the BIOS on the Asus boards will automatically reset itself to the defaults. I should note that the 4400+ has 2MB of L2 cache, whereas the 4600+ has only 1MB.

Suggested Replacement: Athlon X2 4400+

Memory: If you plan on overclocking, get some PC3700 or PC4000. That way you have much more room to OC because the ram is rated to run at the higher frequency anyway. Since this is a gaming system, definitly go to 2GB... 4 is overkill though and some say it will actually reduce overall performance.

Suggested replacement: OCZ Gold Edition 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR-500 (PC-4000) @ 3-3-2-8

Cooler: OK, but to answer your question, If you are going to overclock, the stock cooler will work, but an aftermarket heatsink like the TR SI-120, or the Zalman CNPS9500 are must-have's (especially for a gaming rig like this one)

Video Card: OK

Sound Card: OK | The onboard sound will hurt performance.... but by any noticable amount? Probably not. If you are big about sound when playing games and can afford this card, then go for it.

Hard Drive: OK | a 10000 RPM drive will have faster access times than a 7200RPM drive, however they are also louder and produce more heat. A bigger buffer in the drive allows for faster load times of frequently accessed data. Generally speaking, the bigger the buffer, the better.

Optical Drive: OK | Except for the Lightscribe part. IMO, Lightscribe is for lazy people who don't want to pull out a Sharpie and label burned disks themselves.
May 21, 2006 5:18:41 AM

Quote:
Ok lets see....

Motherboard: OK

CPU: Grab a 4400+ and overclock it... I know you said you don't want to yet, but honestly.. it's incredibly hard to screw up an overclock and not have a way to fix it. Especially with the Asus boards. If you set the FSB or ram frequency too high, or adjust something else the system can't handle, the BIOS on the Asus boards will automatically reset itself to the defaults. I should note that the 4400+ has 2MB of L2 cache, whereas the 4600+ has only 1MB.

Suggested Replacement: Athlon X2 4400+

Memory: If you plan on overclocking, get some PC3700 or PC4000. That way you have much more room to OC because the ram is rated to run at the higher frequency anyway. Since this is a gaming system, definitly go to 2GB... 4 is overkill though and some say it will actually reduce overall performance.

Suggested replacement: OCZ Gold Edition 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR-500 (PC-4000) @ 3-3-2-8

Cooler: OK, but to answer your question, If you are going to overclock, the stock cooler will work, but an aftermarket heatsink like the TR SI-120, or the Zalman CNPS9500 are must-have's (especially for a gaming rig like this one)

Video Card: OK

Sound Card: OK | The onboard sound will hurt performance.... but by any noticable amount? Probably not. If you are big about sound when playing games and can afford this card, then go for it.

Hard Drive: OK | a 10000 RPM drive will have faster access times than a 7200RPM drive, however they are also louder and produce more heat. A bigger buffer in the drive allows for faster load times of frequently accessed data. Generally speaking, the bigger the buffer, the better.

Optical Drive: OK | Except for the Lightscribe part. IMO, Lightscribe is for lazy people who don't want to pull out a Sharpie and label burned disks themselves.



I mostly agree, except you don't really need a $200 motherboard. The fact the A8N32 has 2 x16 ports is meaningless. There is no difference right now. Unless you can afford SLI in 90 days, SLI is pointless anyway so really consider this. I would change the motherboard to a DFI board like this one: DFI Lanparty UT nF4 SLI-DR. Not only is this board cheaper, its only going to give you a much better overcloker.

The 4600+ is an outdated CPU, don't go with it. As the other poster suggested you can go with a 4400+. Or you can go with an Opteron 165 or 170 and overclock either one easily past the 4400+.
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May 21, 2006 5:50:57 AM

Get a 4400+, it costs less and has 2MB of cache instead of 1MB. You can always overclock, you can never add cache. I have a 4400+ and it runs at the 4600+/4800+ (2.4GHz) speeds on stock cooling.

One big thing, get an EVGA video card if you are buying a nVidia card. There is no contest here. Not that there is anything really wrong with BFG, but EVGA provides the complete package like no other company. When buying a GeForce video card EVGA is the only way to go. EVGA has a lifetime warranty that allows overclocking and changing the stock cooling system. All the other companies forbid both of those. BFG even is low enough to only cover the fan, the only moving part, for one year. EVGA overclocks better, they always have the best cooling systems, they have the newest drivers before everyone else (right now we have 84.56 while every other manufacturer has 84.21) and EVGA has 24/7 phone support (you always get right through). They also have a Step-Up program, where they give you your FULL purchase price you paid for a card tword the purchase of a better card within the first 90 days (you have to send back the old card, they won't let you have two). I just stepped up my 7800GT CO SE to a 7900GT KO for $55. EVGA is the only way to go.
May 22, 2006 11:37:10 PM

You should wait for 6 more weeks, you will soon aquired the best cpu, the Conroe, cheaper and way faster then AMD with 64bit. Why build yesterday technology. Be patient and wait. $500 is a lot just for a CPU. Conroe is starting at $200 and benchies has beaten the FX-60 flat out by 20-40% in performance and uses less power. The Real Cool and quite. :lol: 
May 23, 2006 12:06:22 AM

I have A8n-32 Delux mb and use the onboard sound. I have no problems with it.

Now, having said that, the reason I use the onboard sound is because I have 2 BFT 7900GTX's in my rig, and have NO place to put a sound card!

MSI makes a dual 16X sli board which places the pci slots a bit different. I would kinda suggest going with that board.
May 23, 2006 12:13:13 AM

I'm gonna be jealous of your power supply... but if you buy that $200 sound card it'll help make me feel better... that's a total scam. Buy the Xtreme Music X-Fi... virtually everyone here will tell you it'll do you fine... I have one and love it.

I have an X2-4400+ and it went to 2.4 GHz with absolutely no effort at all... 2.6 required a little extra cooling, but at that speed I essentially have an FX-60... not too shabby.
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