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Hard earned money, many decisions to make, 1st timer.

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August 27, 2006 10:21:47 PM

Okay I've been a gaming enthusiast for my whole life. 21 now and I've never had quite enough cash flow to make any big purchases until now. Saved up money and don't want to waste it but want to splurge on gaming computer. Budget is 3500$, I'm very anxious about this, because I go onto newegg and type in x1900xtx and I get 15 versions of the same thing. wtf, need solid answers. Would sincerely be greatful for any advice.

Heres a list of what I've come up with so far:

CPU: Core2Duo E6600

GPU: Dual x1900xtx, which type is strictly gaming no xtras?

Mobo: What mobo would work with this? obviously needs x/fire

Memory: 2Gigs of ram not sure what company to go with? maybe corsair?

Monitor: Not sure at all what monitor I should get, trying to research so many options, I've looked at VS vp191b, but need quality suggestions.

Hard Drive: I'm not sure at all what hard drive to get, leaning towards raptor 150gb for starter, im not sure why everyone needs 500gbs of space, I'm not into ripping dvd's. I just want to play the newest games at a high pace. Need help.

Optical Drive: I've heard nec nd-3550a is good but not sure,need solid advice?

I'm sorry for the long post but I feel so overwhelmed and lost? I need a lot of answers, I humbly thank anyone for their help.
August 27, 2006 10:44:40 PM

I'm sorry i'm trying to be patient but I really need advice.
August 27, 2006 10:54:34 PM

COuple things:

1) You cannot Crossfire 1900XTX cards. That setup does not exist, due to the stupid Crossfire requirement or having to use master and slave cards. You wil have to go 1900XT (which really isnt that much different) or wait for 1950XTX. Now, on the other hand, going Xfire/SLI right now with DX10 cards coming soon is not a very good idea at all. Stick to ONE card.

2) Not really any good XFire Core2 boards out there right now. There a few good ALI SLI boards though.

3) Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 CAS4 for your RAM. Good for overclocking too.

4) Raptor 74GB + 250-300GB drive for everything else. Games can take up to 10GB now, so thats why you need the space.
Related resources
August 27, 2006 10:58:09 PM

This is beautiful, finally a high budget to play around with hehe. Well take this slowly because with a high budget like that there are tons of paths to follow and more if you dont have a monitor etc.

Ive got a few questions,
Do you need to go with ATI or would you be open for nvida??
Are you open for water cooling??
What is the top resolution yould like to play at??
Have you thought of any cases??
How much hard drive space do you think youll need??
Do you have speakers, mouse and keyboard yould like to reuse??
Is sound very important to you??

In the meantime, you should get informed reading this article about upcoming ATI cards.
August 27, 2006 11:01:27 PM

Few problems I see:

December = DX10 = new cards = neet!
And by that time im sure theres a new processor out that will be better.
and Vista.

So in terms of that, i'd stick with something small for now, and pimp it out with DX10 / Vista < only problem with vista, is i dont know if everything will suppport it right away.

You can really get any ram, but just make sure you get 2 1gig sticks of the EXACT kind, so you can dual channel ^^

LCD's are good monitors, take less power, are smaller; CRTs are bigger, more power, but better quality to me. Also, no chance of dead pixels. but if you do get an LCD, make sure the company has a zero dead pixel warrenty, like LG.

Harddrive; raptor = awsome. I think I read somewhere that there is better coming out, but im sure it will be expensive, so raptor is fine, really fast it'self.

Hope my tidbits help.
August 27, 2006 11:30:36 PM

Thanks for help all. I initially wanted to double up on 1900xt because i've heard thats a good, fast choice as of right now. You also get good bang for buck. I'm open to every choice whether it be nvidia or ati.

Water cooling for cpu, gpu or what. I've heard the new C2duos take a lot less to run and generate a lot less heat than amds as of now. If i can get away reliably with not water cooling thats what i want to do.

I want the best bang for the buck on the monitor 19" to 20" dont care whether crt or lcd. It has to have a good response time if lcd. As far as resolutions go I'm not sure what I want to go with. I don't want to pay up the ass right now for the best resolution. Just something that looks great.

Basically i want to buy a near top end components right now and ride them until I need to upgrade, sometime past the new dx10 stuff.
August 27, 2006 11:42:47 PM

For graphics stick to a single card for now until DX10 (7600GT is a good budget card or i went for a 7900GT figuring i can get resell value when i get DX10 and i can still max out all my current games with good frames)

Mobo:A good one now if you dont want x-fire or SLI would be the DQ6 but if you are willing to wait just a bit longer nVidia will have its nForce590 Intel out soon.

RAM: depends on Mobo if you go with the DQ6 the patriot like i have works great and over clocks very well but if you wait and get a nForce 590 or 570 board then youll want RAM with EPP in which case you can get corsair which is a bit more expensive but will perform better because of the EPP.

Monitor:D epending on how big you want i can say from experience the viewsonic VX2025WM is an amazing monitor. I have 2 of them in my house and neither has a single dead pixel plus it dosent ghost during games. it is a 20.1" widescreen at 1680x1050(WSXGA)

Hard drive:Well a raptor is best but in all honesty in gaming i dont think youll notice a difference in performance. It will benefit you in startup time if you install OS to it. But look at some normal drives also because for the same price or a 150GB raptor you can get a 320GB seagate with PRT which will run all your games fine.

Optical:I am a die hard LiteOn Fan because ive used probably around 10 of them and not a single one has died. in fact I still have one from probably 1999-2000 around then that is still kickin. Plus they are priced very well.

CPU:Good choice :D 

now some things you didnt mention is a soundcard keyboard mice and speakers.

Soundcard:If you dont need a panel in the front to plug things into and dont need digital (optical and such) then go with teh X-fi extreme music if you do want the front panel then the X-fi platnum will do you just fine

Keyboard:p ersonally i think the logitech G-11 is a great keyboard. Same as the G15 but without the screen. only problem is i dont think its out yet so if you are impatient or want the screen(couldnt tell you how it works) then get the G-15 but if you have a keyboard you can stick with for awhile wait for the G-11.

Mouse:o nce again Logitech G-7 is good unless you want corded then the G-5 is your best pick as it is the G-7 just corded.

Speakers:Logitech z-5500 is good 5.1 if you want surround. If you dont id still look at logitechs but just look at some lower models and find one that suits your power needs(logitech speakers are of top quality construction and offer some of the best sound i have ever heard.)

and i think that should cover it but you really should think about waiting for DX-10 cards before you go and get a crossfire setup now but if you absoluetly have to get a crossfire setup now then get the X1950XTX which should be availible within a few weeks or so.
August 28, 2006 12:04:52 AM

I would recomend the Viewsonic VX922, which is an awsome LCD monitor. (Believe me, I own one)
Again, no need for Crossfire or SLI, not the time right now. X1800XT or X1900XT is plenty.
For memory, DDR2-800 with CAS 4. Corsair or Patriot should both be fine.
Good choice on processor.
Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
HDD, WD Raptor would be good.
For DVD burner, Lite-on or Pioneer or Sony would all be ok.
August 28, 2006 12:23:06 AM

I'd get a Geforce 7600GT to hold you over until DX10 cards.
August 28, 2006 7:40:35 AM

Well, im not going to spend your whole budget because you will most likely want to upgrade in a few months. So well keep it "low" lol

Motherboard:
P5W DH Deluxe - Asus link.
This is THE motherboard to get if youre going CF on intel, its based on the 975X Intel chipset but it overclocks and performances better than the current 965B. It has everything you can imagine you will need and much more. If you dont believe me, check out this Anandtech article.
$270 on monarch.

EDITED:
Processor:
Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 Conroe
Considering the price and the slighty better performance of the X6800, and the doubled price, this one seems to be a better option. With some luck and good cooler it should reach 4ghz as well. Even so this are such good processor that you may not need to overclock them in some time.
$579.00

RAM:
2 x Patriot 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) CAS4
4 gigs straight up! lol Patriot is as reliable as Corsair but cheaper. It should easly overclock to 8000 at CAS5 so I see no point in getting DDR2 1000.
$420

Hard drive:
2 x Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 (Perpendicular Recording) 250GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s
Raptors are simply overpriced, the barracuda w/PRT will perform nearly the same and quieter. These two in a RAID configuration should proove enough capacity and performance.
$160

Video card:
Here is where it gets a little tricky. I share the opinion of many in this thread to get something small now and upgrade to a CF DX10 setup when its avaible. What I dont share, its the thought that you should do this in dec, wait a little. In the anandtech article you can check out the new cards. Get one of those (the X1950XT seems to be revolutionary) and hold on to it until either DX10 is cheaper or you until you feel that you need it.

PSU:
OCZ GameXStream 600W Power Supply
Very nice power supply, FOUR 12vrails, PFC, SLI compatible(itll work on CF too), high efficiency, good reviews and it looks good! You can find it in 700W version but honestly I think its overkill.
$110

Sound Card:
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic 7.1 Channels 24-bit 96KHz
Top of the line product, honestly you dont need anything more than that if you arent an audiophile or sound pro. The Fatal1ty claims to have faster gaming performance but IMO it isnt worth it for the price.
$120

Speakers:
Logitech Z-5500 505 Watts 5.1 Speaker
Amazing 5.1 surround system with really high signal to noise ratio. Ill let the newegg reviews speak for me.
$260

Monitor:
SAMSUNG 204B-BK Black 20.1" 5ms LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 800:1 0.255mm Pixel Pitch
You said you wanted bang for buck? fast responsiveness? 20"? Here it is! This monitor has a top resolution of 1600x1200 wich is the lowest resolution at wich a CF setup will really start to shine. Monitors with higher resolution run at ~$650+ so this is considered a sweet spot.
$290

Mouse:
Logitech G5 Laser
Just check the reviews on newegg theyll tell you theres no better mouse. Its laser with high interchanble dpi. Get the G7 if you rather wireless.
$52

Keyboard:
Just pick w/e you feel confortable with, some ppl rather a fast keyboard, others a simple one others a lighted one. Endless possibilities. Just make sure it wont break or something lol check the reviews.

EDITED:
HSF:
you pick! lol
ZALMAN CNPS9500 LED 92mm 2 Ball Blue LED Light Cooling Fan with Heatsink
The best out of all the Zalman, heard nothing but wonders from this.
Thermaltake Big Typhoon CL-P0114 120mm Cooling Fan with Heatsink
Another amazing HSF, this time from thermaltake. 5 stars average, 500+ reviews.
MCX775-V™ heatsink for Intel® Pentium® 4 (LGA775) processors
If youre feeling bold get this Heatsink from swiftech. Theyre knowed to be one of the best water cooling retailers, surely they wont fail you with air cooling.
Ild recommend you do some research and look up for professional reviews and comparisons to help you pick the best of them.


*takes breath back* I strongly recommend the mobo, unless you wanna wait for the nvidia 590 chipsets for Intel, wich dont have a defined date yet and dont promise to be groundbreaking. But as it is for today (and very possibly tomorrow) that is simply the best motherboard for Conroe and CF.

let me know what youre thinking and on what youll finally decide =]
August 28, 2006 10:41:21 AM

i agree with most of what the previous powster said except for the processor. reason being that the E6600/700 can OC just as far if not farthur than the X6800 and for oh around 500-600 less. you already know my opinion on video and for Mobo personally i dont like the 975X but thats because ill never use X-fire(especially since compared to SLI its not nearly as good.) and for the ram you dont need 4GB. do what I and others will and get 2GB for now and when the need arises you can just get another 2GB kit later biut for now 2GB will satisfy every need. although if you do wait for the nForc 590 or get a 570(basically the same but with only 16x SLI as opposed to 32X) you will want to get corsair ram so you can have the advantage of EPP which patriot does not offer (not an issue at all if you dont get the new nForce mobos) and the extreme music is a great sound card if you dont want the front panel (personally i need it as im an AV tech for my school.)
August 28, 2006 5:24:02 PM

Quote:
COuple things:

1) You cannot Crossfire 1900XTX cards. That setup does not exist, due to the stupid Crossfire requirement or having to use master and slave cards. You wil have to go 1900XT (which really isnt that much different) or wait for 1950XTX. Now, on the other hand, going Xfire/SLI right now with DX10 cards coming soon is not a very good idea at all. Stick to ONE card.

2) Not really any good XFire Core2 boards out there right now. There a few good ALI SLI boards though.

3) Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 CAS4 for your RAM. Good for overclocking too.

4) Raptor 74GB + 250-300GB drive for everything else. Games can take up to 10GB now, so thats why you need the space.


Ummm.. he can Crossfire an x1900XTX with an x1900 Crossfire if he wants. He will get more performance compared to an x1900XT with an x1900 Crossfire. This is due to the Crossfire's Tile Based rendering approach. Load is balanced accordingly. Though I would definatly recommend he crossfire an x1900XT with an x1900 Crossfire.

Going nVIDIA right now makes no sense as there cards suck for the price. A Crossfire setup will cost him less then a single 7950GX2 due to the x1900XT price drop... and it will perform MUCH MUCH better. Especially with AA and AF.

There are better Crossfire boards then SLI boards right now. The Asus P5W DH Deluxe is arguably the best motherboard you can buy (taking all other boards into account (AMD or Intel)). It supports Crossfire.. so I don't see why you can claim there are no good Crossfire boards.
August 29, 2006 2:11:18 AM

Quote:
i agree with most of what the previous powster said except for the processor. reason being that the E6600/700 can OC just as far if not farthur than the X6800 and for oh around 500-600 less. you already know my opinion on video and for Mobo personally i dont like the 975X but thats because ill never use X-fire(especially since compared to SLI its not nearly as good.) and for the ram you dont need 4GB. do what I and others will and get 2GB for now and when the need arises you can just get another 2GB kit later biut for now 2GB will satisfy every need. although if you do wait for the nForc 590 or get a 570(basically the same but with only 16x SLI as opposed to 32X) you will want to get corsair ram so you can have the advantage of EPP which patriot does not offer (not an issue at all if you dont get the new nForce mobos) and the extreme music is a great sound card if you dont want the front panel (personally i need it as im an AV tech for my school.)


He does have a point, I didnt realize that the E6700 performed so closely to the X6800, and by half the price! I changed my post by the way.
I know 2gigs is enough for now but the whole point of building an expesive system like this is to simply have the bestest performance you could afford so instead of upgrading later just trow them in now, RAM prices go down really slowly anyways so now much would be lost by going 4 gigs now.
August 29, 2006 3:39:02 AM

Quote:
Okay I've been a gaming enthusiast for my whole life. 21 now and I've never had quite enough cash flow to make any big purchases until now. Saved up money and don't want to waste it but want to splurge on gaming computer. Budget is 3500$, I'm very anxious about this, because I go onto newegg and type in x1900xtx and I get 15 versions of the same thing. wtf, need solid answers. Would sincerely be greatful for any advice.

Heres a list of what I've come up with so far:

CPU: Core2Duo E6600

GPU: Dual x1900xtx, which type is strictly gaming no xtras?

Mobo: What mobo would work with this? obviously needs x/fire

Memory: 2Gigs of ram not sure what company to go with? maybe corsair?

Monitor: Not sure at all what monitor I should get, trying to research so many options, I've looked at VS vp191b, but need quality suggestions.

Hard Drive: I'm not sure at all what hard drive to get, leaning towards raptor 150gb for starter, im not sure why everyone needs 500gbs of space, I'm not into ripping dvd's. I just want to play the newest games at a high pace. Need help.

Optical Drive: I've heard nec nd-3550a is good but not sure,need solid advice?

I'm sorry for the long post but I feel so overwhelmed and lost? I need a lot of answers, I humbly thank anyone for their help.


MB: Gigabyte or DFI.
I like the DFI board better.

PSU: people overlook this or try to "save money". The only ones I now use after 10 years of building is PC P&C! If you OC with these PSU's you almost never need to raise volts....they are that well built and "clean".

CASE: Most people just say "this one looks nice!". Keep your parts inside the case as cool as you can...I like Coolermaster.
Always remove the exit fan guard on the case as you can get up to 70% better airflow.

HD: The fastest HD now made is the new Seagate 7200.10's and come in sizes from 200-750GB's.
They are faster than a Raptor,run cooler and cost alot less.

As for the GFX card(s),your eyes like most peoples may never see those extra 6-10 fps with SLI/XFIRE so you may just want to start off with only one.

The DFI forums have some very nice movies on how to do alot of things.....changeing chipset/cpu/gfx coolers ect,along with alot of help in setting up your brand of RAM to get every Mhz you can out of it (DFI MB's let you change about 20 things in the RAM settings).

If you plan ahead and build/OC you can have a system that will out preform a $10,000 Falcon for about $1,000.
August 29, 2006 3:52:15 AM

Quote:

Basically i want to buy a near top end components right now and ride them until I need to upgrade, sometime past the new dx10 stuff.


Then ild have to say definetly get a X1900XTX or a X1950XT, depending how the prices end up being, and stay with it until you feel like you want that DX10 X-fire setup. Waiting for Vista ultimate to get stable and cards to get just a tad cheaper would be a good time.
Anyhow youll have the money since, if you go similar to my setup, youll have about $1,000 laying aroundfor future upgrades.
If you feel you want even more you could go for a fatal1ty sound card, or more storage (doubt youll ever need it) or get the creative gigaworks speakers, even that IMO the z-5500 are better.

ok now I'M the impatient one! get here and comment your thoughts so we can keep shaping this rig out!
September 1, 2006 8:45:40 AM

I have to stand corrected for myself.
With Intel CPUs the TIMINGS are what you should be worrying about, based on this article.
Try getting CAS3 even if its low speed. These are the ones I could find in newegg.
And yeah, for gaming, 2 gigs seems to be enough for now, so you could save your money there.
September 2, 2006 9:10:24 AM

yes but if you look DDR2 800 at 4-4-4-12 almost always is the best and the DDR2 800 will OC higher than the slower speed stuff (usually) so i would still recommedn 2 x 1GB patriot @ DDR2 800 4-4-4-12 timings.
!