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My next computer? Opinions appreciated

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September 7, 2006 2:54:18 AM

Hi everyone. I've been researching a new box to replace my getting-more-antiquated-by-the-day 2.4GHz P4 and I've come up with the following. Note I've been out of the DIY market for the past 4 years or so, and am just starting to get back in the swing of things with all the new technologies.


CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo X6800 Extreme
Mobo: ASUS P5W DH Deluxe
RAM: Corsair XMS2 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2-800 (TWIN2X2048-6400C4PRO)
GPU: ASUS EN7950GX2 GeForce 7950GX2
Case: Gigabyte Poseidon
HD: Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFDRTL
CD/DVD: LITE-ON DVD-RW ATAPI IDE (SHM-165H6S)
PSU: PC Power and Cooling Silencer 610


Yeah, it probably seems like a bit of an overkill, but I tend to keep my systems quite awhile and want them to be viable for a number of years.

So what do you think? I'm aiming for a quiet system with good air cooling that'll give me great performance in general. Ever since my LeadTek 6800 AGP went belly-up a few months ago, I've been surviving on an old 4600, so I'm really itching to get that 7950 and see what games these days are supposed to really look like :-) I'm also now pretty sure the 7950 will work with the P5W, but if someone knows of issues, please let me know.

One thing I'm not sure about is whether or not I'll be overclocking, but I want to keep the option open. From reading the forums, it seems like the new C2D has great OC results without water cooling, and from past experience, I've had great luck with ASUS mobos when it comes to OC capabilities (and quality in general).

As for the case, I know it's not a Lian Li or a P180, but I have some constraints I'm working under. First, it has to fit into a 10"Wx20"Hx24"D enclosure (that eliminates a lot of popular ones). I wanted good air flow, a quiet design, and a sturdy box. More nitpicky requirements are a conveniently-placed I/O panel (I don't like them at the bottom of the case), no annoying bay doors (yes, I know they keep dust out, but I just don't like them), black color, and a cool, yet understated, design :-) And after looking all last night, the Poseidon seems to fit the bill nicely.

I'm unsure if the PSU isn't overkill with this setup, but everyone here seems to like PC Power and Cooling and, as I already mentioned, I want as quiet of a design as possible. Is 610W too much do you think?

Any comments, advice, or ridicule would be appreciated :-) Thanks in advance!

Oggy

More about : computer opinions appreciated

September 7, 2006 3:29:07 AM

610 will not be too much if you are OCing since you are getting a 7950GX2.

I would definitely settle for a 6600 or a 6700 instead of the 6800, the price hike is too much to justify for the 6800 unless you really really need that processing power right now. Save that money for another 2gigs of ram to use with vista.
September 7, 2006 4:01:41 AM

Quote:
610 will not be too much if you are OCing since you are getting a 7950GX2.

I would definitely settle for a 6600 or a 6700 instead of the 6800, the price hike is too much to justify for the 6800 unless you really really need that processing power right now. Save that money for another 2gigs of ram to use with vista.


I agree, personally i would go for 6600 and then OC.
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September 7, 2006 5:28:45 AM

Quote:
610 will not be too much if you are OCing since you are getting a 7950GX2.

I would definitely settle for a 6600 or a 6700 instead of the 6800, the price hike is too much to justify for the 6800 unless you really really need that processing power right now. Save that money for another 2gigs of ram to use with vista.


I agree, personally i would go for 6600 and then OC.

Would an overclocked 6700 at, say, 3.2GHz, outperform a standard clocked 2.93GHz Extreme? From what I've seen on the hardforum C2D overclocking database, some people have gotten to 3.4 and even 3.6 without water cooling. If both the 6700 and the 6800 perform the same at 3.0+ GHz, then yeah, I might as well save myself the extra $500.

Also, if I were to get another set of Corsairs for 4GB now, would there be any issues with Windows XP Professional? This may be a tad off-topic, but I know XP will only recognize 2GB for application memory and use any additional memory (up to another 2GB, I believe) for kernal/OS usage. Would there be any performance hit for having 4GB of memory in XP Pro (non-64 bit version), would it perform better, or be about the same? And what about having the /3GB switch active in the boot.ini file? Less, more, or the same performance?

How's the rest of the system look?

Thanks guys.

Oggy
September 7, 2006 7:53:00 PM

everything else on the list looks pretty good (it seems u have a lot of $$$ to blow 8) )

I believe that the 6600 or 6700 clocked the same as a 6800 would provide equivalent performance. I would need someone to verify this.

I'm not 100% sure how much that extra 2 gigs over the 2 gigs would work for windows XP. I would wait till vista comes out then buy that extra 2 gigs. just my humbel opinion :) 
September 8, 2006 12:17:23 AM

Quote:
everything else on the list looks pretty good (it seems u have a lot of $$$ to blow 8) )

Yeah, well, I tend to keep these monsters around for a few years so I can justify spending more on them :-D

Oh, before I forget... will the HSF that comes with the retail CPU provide enough cooling for OCing, or do you think I'd need a fancier one? If so, any recommendations?

Oggy
September 8, 2006 12:29:13 AM

4GB of RAM on XP 32bit will actually hurt performance. XP will only see 3.5GB of it as well. On the off chance that it does indicate 4GB is present (which has happened), it will onl use 3.5GB of it. Get 2 x 1GB sticks for now, then upgrade to 64bit Vista a few months after it's release (NOT right away). Once you have moved to 64bit Vista, get another 2 x 1GB set for 4GB total.

The stock heatsink that comes with the Core 2 chips is good for about 600-800Mhz of overclocking. After that point, you would need an aftermarket cooler. I have a Zalman CNPS9500 on my Pentium 4 630, which will eventually be moved to the Core 2 system I'm planning to build. It really won't be necessary but I got it now because i wanted to keep my 630 as cool as possible. For large amounts of overclocking on a Core 2, that cooler will definitly get the job done.
September 8, 2006 1:07:55 AM

im using a thermaltake big typhoon, its very big and very good.

if you can, get the scythe ninja plus if you want, they are very good also.

I would just get a aftermarket HSF when you order everything else, sometimes it is a pain to pull off old one and put in new. Might as well do everything at once.
September 8, 2006 6:58:40 AM

Quote:
4GB of RAM on XP 32bit will actually hurt performance.

Yeah, I thought I had read that somewhere, which is why I asked. I'll just get the extra 2GB when Vista comes out.

Quote:
The stock heatsink that comes with the Core 2 chips is good for about 600-800Mhz of overclocking. After that point, you would need an aftermarket cooler.

I'm now planning on getting the E6700 at 2.66GHz. I don't think I'll be pushing it past 3.4GHz, so I'll just stick with the stock HSF for now. Thanks for the info!

Oggy
September 8, 2006 8:07:36 AM
September 8, 2006 1:37:38 PM

Quote:


And I'm sure I've forgotten something :-D


Case fans? =P

maybe a simple HD cooler for your raptor would be good too.

I hope you have fun building it 8) .
September 8, 2006 8:15:15 PM

Quote:
Drop the SATA DVD Rom drive. There's no need for it since you are already planning to put a DVD burner in this system.


Thanks Proph. Actually, that was on purpose. I like having two drives for making disc duplication easier. Yeah, it's unneeded and yes, I'm being too lazy to just swap the disc out, but what the heck, it's only another $30 :D 

Oggy
September 8, 2006 8:54:40 PM

Quote:
Case fans? =P

maybe a simple HD cooler for your raptor would be good too.

I hope you have fun building it 8) .


Hmmm... according to what I've read on the Poseidon case (and from pictures I've seen of the inside), the Raptor will be situated right behind the front fan, so it should get first shot at the cool air coming into the case. Enough do you think?

As for additional fans, the case does have two (intake in front, exhaust at the rear), plus I'm planning on using the side mesh option rather than the clear gee-whiz window for added ventilation. Think another side fan is in order? Or maybe another front/rear fan, assuming there's a place for them (or a place I can make for them)? I'm gonna OC this beast up to about 3.2GHz, I'm thinking, but Prophecy said there won't be a problem with the stock HSF at that speed.

And since you mentioned this, I read somewhere that the chipset on the P5W can get rather toasty. Think it would need a HSF?

The last machine I built was for my g/f's parents 2 years ago, so yeah, I'm gonna have fun with this one :D 

Oggy
September 9, 2006 12:39:21 AM

If there is room on the side then certainly put one in to blow airinside. i have not seen the case personally but if you get mesh side, why not just twist tie all the fans you can get your hands on to circulate air? (I have 3 fans on the side of my case, 1 which had screw holes for and 2 strapped onto the mesh)

the NB should get additional cooling, a simple solution is to glue or strap on a small fan (40mm will do) and put it on the chipset. Unless your side fan is directly ontop of the NB (depending on where the holes on the Poisedon is).
September 18, 2006 12:41:27 PM

Well, I did it. All finished and in the case :)  My only addition was an X-Fi Fatal1ty edition (I just didn't trust the onboard audio). Once I turned off the variable speed for the CPU fan, everything runs great at 333MHz FSB and 1.4 vCore (3.33GHz). Ran Prime95 all night with no problems.

I also OCed my 7950 to 550/700 and it works just fine. I tried some higher values, but got artifacting on 3DMark06, so I took it down a few notches. Since I've read many places that the card works great at 600/800, I'm guess I just need better cooling to get it stable at max OC.

Typical temperature of the CPU is about 38-44, MB temp seems a bit warm at about 45-48. At load, CPU goes to about 54 or so. The video card has an idle temp of about 51-53, goes to about 65 during the benchmarks.

And speaking of benchmarks, here's a couple:

3DMark06 (standard 1280x1024)
Overall 9299
SM2.0 4023
HDR/SM3.0 3870
CPU 2805

PCMark05: 8593 (system tests)

World of Warcraft (not a benchmark, just me tooling around):
1600x1200, maximum video settings, slightly lower OC on the video card than I have now
Typical framerate of 80-101
Wandering around near the auction house bridge in Ironforge (called Lag-forge by most players), about 60-70 FPS (!!!!)

Oblivion, before I OCed the video: 45-60 FPS outside the sewers at the start of the game (1280x1024, everything maxed, 4xAA, no HDR)

So there it is! A big thanks to everyone who gave me advice, I'm very happy with my new toy :)  Now if I can just figure out how to get a wireless keyboard and mouse working with a KVM switch...
September 18, 2006 1:34:24 PM

Quote:
Well, I did it. All finished and in the case :) 


Glad it worked out well. Also good to see you come back with the update.
!