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Comments On This Rig Please...

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June 6, 2006 11:09:50 PM

Greetings all. This is my first post to the forum. I've really enjoyed and benefited from TH Guides, and I look forward to the same from the forum. I have recently purchased components from tigerdirect to replace my aging system, and I am wanting some feedback / opinions on my new setup. I am bracing myself for a variety of hot opinions here, but before responding, please keep a couple of things in mind:

1. My pockets are not bottomless. I didn't want to spend over $1000 on this, yet I still wanted to get a solid, respectable gaming system (I realize "respectable" depends on your viewpoint).

2. My old system is pretty out of date, so far as gaming goes. So I am assuming that, while the new components I purchased may not be bleeding edge, I will see a great performance increase in comparison to my old system. My old specs...

MSI K7N2 Delta MS-6570 Motherboard (nForce2 chipset)
Athlon XP 2400+
2 x 256MB DDR PC2700 RAM in Dual Channel Mode
nVidia geForce 6800 LE 128MB
Maxtor DiamondMax 10 / 160 GB / 7200 / 16MB / ATA-133
Sony DVD-ROM DDU1621
Sony DVD-RW DRU-700A (Dual Layer)
Sound Blaster Live! Platinum
Generic 350-watt power supply (having probs powering my video card due to poor amperage on 12V rail I think)
19" Hyundai Imagequest L90D+


Components I am keeping for my new system (for budget reasons, and b/c I still think they will serve my purposes very well):
- the hard drive (yes SATA and/or a RAID 0 setup would be nice, but I believe this Maxtor will be good for now. Plenty of capacity for me and the 16MB cache is nice)
- the Sony DVD-RW drive (I plan on using this for everything in the new system; the CD-ROM read speed may be a bit less than the SONY DDU1621, but I am thinking it won't make that much difference)
- the monitor (a great 8ms monitor w/ favorable reviews from THG and elsewhere)

Ok...so in addition to those three components above I plan on transferring over, here are the new components I bought for about $1050 total (price includes shipping but subtracts rebates):

Power Up Black ATX Mid-Tower Case with Front USB and Audio Ports and Touch-Sensitive Controls (not a modder's case, but I think it looks nice enough and should go w/ the color scheme of other components; comes with 3 fans)
eVGA nForce4 SLI 133-K8-NF41 Sckt 939 motherboard (gives me SATA, SLI, and 4GB memory upgradability...and a very reasonable price tag at $79.99)
Ultra X-Finity 500-Watt PSU / SATA & SLI-ready / 16A on rail1 and 18A on rail2 (nvidia's website certifies this PSU as SLI-capable)
Athlon 64 3500+ (Venice core)
Ultra 2GB PC3200 DDR 400MHz (2 x 1GB sticks for Dual Channel) (I think the CAS latency on these is 3...not the best, but for my budget, I think it was a good deal at $139...I'm looking forward to going from 512MB to 2GB!)
XFX 7900 GT / 256MB / 520/1500 (had $30 rebate on this...got it at $269, admittedly, the most I've ever spent on a video card)
SoundBlaster Audigy 2-ZS
Logitch X-530 5.1 speakers (my first 5.1 setup!)
Microsoft Comfort Curve Keyboard 2000
Logitech G5 Laser Mouse

also bought some Arctic Silver 5 for my thermal grease


So what do you think? Solid components for around $1000? Any major blunders or oversights? Would you agree this should be a major improvement in comparison to my old system? If it helps to know, I don't really plan on doing any overclocking.

Thanks for any responses! Feel free to be exhuberant in your encouragment and gentle in your criticism.

More about : comments rig

June 7, 2006 12:39:23 AM

Quote:

Ok...so in addition to those three components above I plan on transferring over, here are the new components I bought for about $1050 total (price includes shipping but subtracts rebates):

Power Up Black ATX Mid-Tower Case with Front USB and Audio Ports and Touch-Sensitive Controls (not a modder's case, but I think it looks nice enough and should go w/ the color scheme of other components; comes with 3 fans)
eVGA nForce4 SLI 133-K8-NF41 Sckt 939 motherboard (gives me SATA, SLI, and 4GB memory upgradability...and a very reasonable price tag at $79.99)
Ultra X-Finity 500-Watt PSU / SATA & SLI-ready / 16A on rail1 and 18A on rail2 (nvidia's website certifies this PSU as SLI-capable)
Athlon 64 3500+ (Venice core)
Ultra 2GB PC3200 DDR 400MHz (2 x 1GB sticks for Dual Channel) (I think the CAS latency on these is 3...not the best, but for my budget, I think it was a good deal at $139...I'm looking forward to going from 512MB to 2GB!)
XFX 7900 GT / 256MB / 520/1500 (had $30 rebate on this...got it at $269, admittedly, the most I've ever spent on a video card)
SoundBlaster Audigy 2-ZS
Logitch X-530 5.1 speakers (my first 5.1 setup!)
Microsoft Comfort Curve Keyboard 2000
Logitech G5 Laser Mouse

also bought some Arctic Silver 5 for my thermal grease


Where did you find that motherboard for $79? The only place I can find it is ZipZoomFly and its $95. Hope you were not looking at one time special or something.

Consider going AM2 for the chance to upgrade to 65nm CPUs in December which should offer a nice performance increase. I might think about going 3000+ AM2 with 1-2GB of DDR2-800 RAM. The 3000+ overclocks nicely and would be a great CPU.

As it stands, though, its a nice system.. just a suggestion for future upgrading purposes.

EDIT: Stick with namebrand RAM. Here are 2 choices for DDR400.

Corsair XMS CLS 2 ($151 after MIR)

Corsair XMS CLS 3 ($129 after MIR)
a b B Homebuilt system
June 7, 2006 1:47:51 AM

Nice rig. I spent too many years and too much cash bleeding to death on cutting edge technology. I have settled into buying components that are 9 months to a year old. Hardware glitches are worked out, drivers are mature, and the cost for performance ratio **Value** is great. Everyone would love to have braggin rights about being the first on the block to own a Conroe or AM2, but I'll patiently wait another year before I spend my hard earned cash on them.
You are going to be mighty happy with that new rig, enjoy it!
Related resources
June 7, 2006 2:44:40 AM

Just to let you know, people off Newegg and even eVGA (for example) have ALL STATED ISSUES WITH PSU'S THAT DO NOT HAVE AT LEAST 18A ON THE 12V RAIL! As a word of caution, don't cheat yourself out of a good PSU. Check the reviews on it to make sure it'll handle what you want....

Also, AM2 will provide more upgradeability. But you can always wait for Conroe...
June 7, 2006 3:53:55 AM

Quote:
Just to let you know, people off Newegg and even eVGA (for example) have ALL STATED ISSUES WITH PSU'S THAT DO NOT HAVE AT LEAST 18A ON THE 12V RAIL! As a word of caution, don't cheat yourself out of a good PSU. Check the reviews on it to make sure it'll handle what you want....


I'm not exactly sure what your talking about as he states he is getting

Quote:
Ultra X-Finity 500-Watt PSU / SATA & SLI-ready / 16A on rail1 and 18A on rail2 (nvidia's website certifies this PSU as SLI-capable)


this will be plenty of power for his 7900GT...i'm not sure what your referring to but he will have atleast 26-28 Amps on the 12V rail...and my X1800XT only takes 24.5 Amps on full load, and they are more power hungry than the 7900s...now regarding SLI im not sure it would be the best bet, but i doubt he'll go that direction

as far as that SoundBlaster Audigy 2-ZS , i would wait and use the onboard sound untill you can get an X-Fi card...or you could just get one on newegg right now for only $81.99 after MIR, but that its a one day sale of $10...
June 7, 2006 7:10:20 AM

Thanks for the responses guys!

To shadowduck...
Check this link out (hope it works): http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/category/catego...|c:1569|c:1745|&Sort=3&Recs=10
Tigerdirect is selling the mobo for $79.99 while supplies last.

As far as the AM2 suggestions, I'm sure that would be great; however, while it looks like I could get a AM2 processor for as much as I paid for the 3500+, I am assuming other expenses would go up like my motherboard and RAM (if I wanted DDR2)??? Would I notice that much of an improvement over the 3500+? Also, shadowduck...are you saying I should get an AM2 mobo so I can get another processor in December (the 65nm one)? If so, that wouldn't be in my budget. :cry:  I'll need to stick with whatever processor I get now for at least 2-3 years.

Thanks for the great RAM suggestion. I had wondered about that...wasn't sure how reliable and gamer-worthy ULTRA brand was. Unless someone else has any other memory suggestions for that price range, I think I'll try to go with your suggested Corsair XMS CLS 2 sticks (assuming I can return the ULTRA sticks without problems). The platinum heat spreaders on those Corsairs are a nice touch.

Would you recommend this OCZ pack over the Corsair?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...
better timings???


To JITPublisher...
Thanks! :D  You share my philosophy on buying tech toys...staying behind the curve and getting great bang for your buck.


To prozac26, PCKid777, and IcY18...
Thanks for the replies! What kind of specific upgrades (beside DDR2 memory) would the AM2 setup get me? I understand what you are saying, but I guess my concern is the fact that whatever I'm buying now will not be up for upgrades for probably 2-3 years due to financial limitations. So I would not be able to spend $1000 now on an AM2 setup and then more $$$ in 6 mos. for other upgrades. Am I missing out on something here?

I may upgrade to SLI with a second 7900 GT down the road. Of course, by then I may be better off just replacing the one card with a newer model (I am assuming that Ultra PSU will be able to handle SLI since it is certified for it). I might possibly upgrade to SATA drives later too.

PCKid777 -- have you heard any negative review specifically about that Ultra PSU?

IcY18 -- thanks for the sound card suggestion. I might go that route. Some of the reviews of that card are complaining about crackling or popping sounds. Should I be concerned about this?
Hmmm...on second thought, I may need to stick w/ the Audigy...I need the firewire port (mobo doesn't have one).
June 7, 2006 10:18:33 AM

I think the comp is quite good for the budget you have.....
June 7, 2006 1:45:15 PM

Thanks for the thumbs up wun911, and thanks for the advice prozac26.

Any mobo / processor / memory recommendations if I went AM2 route (keeping in mind my budget).

Also, if I stay with the socket 939, any recommendations on the Corsair vs. OCZ memory mentioned in previous post?
June 7, 2006 3:01:59 PM

Ahh, Tiger Direct.. they are hellish, be wary and hope you actually get the product. They will also bend you over and kill you with shipping. It is not horrible on that item, $7 for ground. Hope you actually get the product though, so many people don't. At least there is no mail in rebate.

Assuming you go AM2 for a moment.

MSI board- non-SLI: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813130050

MSI board with SLI:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813130050

The first one is the same price as your evga board, the second one is $109 and adds RAID 5 along with SLI.

Corsair XMS RAM (5 CLS) for $189 after MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820145590

Corsair XMS RAM (4 CLS- what you want)- $257
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820145023

Ohh! Here is at deal.. OCZ 2GB CLS 4, DDR2-800 $186 after MIR!
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820227089
GET that :) .

As for the CPU, the AM2 3500+ is $189, which is basically the same price as the S939 version. You can save money by getting a 3000+ and doing some overclocking howver. Its $109. The OCZ/Corsair RAM will work great!
June 7, 2006 3:52:50 PM

Thanks again for the feedback, Shadowduck. Ok, I have decided to go ahead and stay with my Socket 939 setup for these reasons:

1. Apparently, there is no immediate performance increase in switching to the AM2 platform.

2. I am hesitant to jump on board the latest technology. If we could fast forward 6 mos. or so, I might consider this. I'd like to see any potential bugs worked out. As it is to date, I would think the 939 would be a more proven / supported platform. For instance, note the complaints on those motherboards you suggested for the AM2 platform from newegg. Maybe motherboard, or chipset, or memory, or user prob, but I would think stuff like this is a consideration with the latest and greatest.

3. While the strength of going AM2 is upgradability down the road, I do not plan on doing any real upgrading for another 2-3 years anyway. Since I can buy a 939 platform today w/ the same performance as AM2 today, I see no reason to go AM2 route, as I will not be benefiting in the near future from the scalability due to budget constraints. In 2-3 years, I can look at whatever proven technology is about 1 year behind the curve (maybe AM2).

I certainly do appreciate the recommendations! While I'm holding off on AM2, I have decided to take up your suggestions regarding the Corsair memory and the X-Fi Xtreme Music card. The EAX 5.0 support will be nice. :D  While the lack of firewire on the X-Fi concerned me since the mobo doesn't have it, I realized I have an older firewire PCI card I can just pop in.

Directing me to newegg also enabled me to find my 3500+ $35 cheaper than at TigerDirect. I used the difference to upgrade to the X-Fi card.

Thanks for all the help guys!

Incidentally, that mobo came in the mail today safe and sound!
June 8, 2006 6:40:31 AM

sweet deal hope the rigt works nicely for you
June 8, 2006 4:35:01 PM

Thanks IcY18!

Stim - thanks for the great heads-up. I'm definitely interested in getting that 3800+. Looks solid on TH Cpu comparisons, especially in gaming. I can return the 3500+ from newegg.

However, I notice that 3800+ doesn't come with heatsink / fan. Can you guys make any good / affordable recommendations for a heatsink / fan for the 3800+? (I have no overclocking plans)

Interestingly, they do have a 3800+ Newcastle core w/ the heatsink / fan for $285! That's quite a difference in price, considering the Venice core is better and a heatsink / fan shouldn't make $120 difference!

Let me know what you think. Also, would everyone recommend ZipZoomFly?

And another question...do you think my hard drive I'm keeping (Maxtor DiamondMax 10 / UltraATA-133 / 160GB / 7200 / 16MB Cache) is going to cause any significant gaming bottlenecks in this system (I'm not too worried about level load times, but basically in-game performance...how often is the hdd accessed anyway once the game starts, especially if you have 2GB of memory?)

Thanks!
June 8, 2006 6:13:33 PM

Wow, is this for real?
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product...

The 3800+ Venice for $165??? I know it doesn't include heatsink and fan, but doesn't that seem like a great deal? Am I overlooking something here, or is this the same Athlon 3800+ Venice core that other site's are selling in the $250-350 range...the same CPU that scored high on several of the tests in the Spring '06 CPU Charts on Tom's Hardware site???

Recommend?

Also...when it says HyperTransport technology allows up to 2000MHz system bus, I assume that doesn't mean the processor will run at that frequency. What does the Venice core 3800+ run at? Is it 200MHz x 4 = 800MHz effective? I'm confused about these numbers...sometimes I'll see 2000MHz, sometimes 1GHz, and I've seen the 800MHz figure too.

Thanks! Really appreciate the help.
June 8, 2006 6:23:21 PM

Guys that a retail CPU.. with heatsink/fan and 3 year warranty.
June 8, 2006 6:29:22 PM

It says retail, but it doesn't mention heatsink / fan, just the warranty. On the other hand, the 3800+ Newcastle core also says retail, but specifically states it includes fan and heatsink. It is going for $285.
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product...

I called and apparently it is just the warranty on the Venice, no heatsink / fan. I thought retail was supposed to include that. But at any rate...still, $165 is a great deal isn't it?
June 8, 2006 8:11:31 PM

Ok, well...I spoke with zipzoomfly again and they said that it DOES come with the heatsink and fan...wow

It is Rev. E3. I spoke with AMD and they said the latest rev. on that processor is E6, but they said there is no performance difference between that and the E3.

Unless someone has some good reason why I shouldn't do this, I am going to jump all over this deal. Is this too good to be true? Is no one else impressed by this?
June 8, 2006 9:02:12 PM

Well, I meant for a Sli PSU... Since he stated "Sli certified", I assumed (my bad, I guess) that he would eventually want to upgrade to Sli. If he did, then he's gonna run into power issues:

To Aarames: Here's a link to some reviews on an X-Finity PSU:

http://stores.tomshardware.com/rating_getprodrev.php/pr...

I hope that link works; if you glance through the reviews, a few will comment on the Sli issue.
June 9, 2006 11:24:23 PM

PCKid777 - thanks again for the response. I probably won't be using it for SLI, although it was nice to have the option. Thanks for the link. Why have nVidia's SLI-ready certification if it doesn't really mean SLI-ready???
June 10, 2006 12:58:01 AM

Although a PSU may be "Sli-certified", it could just be on a limited scale. For ex., it's probably only Sli-capable for low-end GPUs (i.e. the 6800XTs or something... ) . Sorry if I caused any confusion, but I just wanted to point out the limitations of the Ultra X-Finity PSU.
June 10, 2006 1:01:39 AM

Got it. But you do think it will be more than sufficient for a single 7900 GT right?
June 10, 2006 2:41:29 AM

Ya, it should be. The 18A for the 12V line should meet the min. req., since I think the 18A req. is for the 7900GTX...
!