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Help me build a $4000 gaming rig.

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October 15, 2006 8:44:33 PM

I am able/willing to spend around $4000 to build the best gaming rig possible. Could someone help lay out/recommend specs for me? I'm not the most experience hardware nut. These are not set in stone (only the gf7950gx2 and the PSU because theyre already purchased). Ignore the rest and build me the best if you want :) 

CPU: Intel Core2 E6700 ($540)

PSU: Turbo-Cool 850 SSI ($495)

MOBO: Not sure...

GFX: XFX Geforce 7950GX2 ($600 - Already bought this)

SOUND: Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi 7.1 ($140)

RAM: I was thinking 4gigs of http://www.newegg.com/Product/CustratingReview.asp?Item... ?? Any suggestions?

HDDS: Need suggestions. I dont want raptor's and a raid config. I had alot of problems in the past and its just damn loud. Right not theres deals on WD4000KS 400G for $150.. how good are these?

CDROM/DVDR's: I was recommended SONY DRU-830A and CDX230AE/U... are there any better than these?

COOLING: Definitely need help here... I had alot of overheating problems with my old rig.

CASE: With that PSU I was recommended http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681... is best because it's a big MOFO! Could I maybe get a http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681... ?

Would really appreciate help. The deal on the 400g harddrives end today so a speedy reply on that topic would be great :) 

Thanks all!

More about : build 4000 gaming rig

October 15, 2006 8:55:59 PM

Wow, where do you get $4000 that you can just go spend on a computer? If I were you, I'd buy 2 nice computers. 1 for gaming, and a second for gaming or for a server.
October 15, 2006 8:59:19 PM

Quote:
Wow, where do you get $4000 that you can just go spend on a computer? If I were you, I'd buy 2 nice computers. 1 for gaming, and a second for gaming or for a server.


Im in the online marketing business and a few of my sites got alot of hits last month so I got a exta couple grand to spend :p 
Related resources
October 15, 2006 9:36:16 PM

um, I wouldn't spend it all at once. You actually mentioned some modest components for $4000, most of which I would consider very good deals. No 6800 extreme, no dual ati card system, not the platinum waste of money version of the x fi, etc.

I am also struggling finding a good Core 2 motherboard. I don't have the amount of money that you do, but most of them aren't that good. I think the Intel 965 chipsets are apparently the best, although they don't have sli. I wouldn't go quad sli though, as most games don't get any advantage of it - directx is less extensible than opengl.

If you do spend money, spend it on a nice monitor. The gx2 should support Apple's cinema 30 inch display. If you change your mind, and don't spend that much money, I got a Samsung 204 for $270, and I like it a lot.
October 15, 2006 9:53:23 PM

in case I wasn't completely clear, DO NOT USE SOFTWARE RAID!!! I had disasters with it, and wasted a lot of time. It wasn't ignorance, it was incompatible with linux. The motherboard bios would also occasionally fail to recognize that I had a raid system, and wouldn't boot. A good hardware raid system isn't cheap, but worth it, if you want to use raid.

if you don't need raid, maybe going with a raptor and a large drive for storage would be fine. If you are only gaming, I suggest the 150gb raptor.
October 15, 2006 10:01:13 PM

well i like the system but if i were you i wouldnt have boughten the gf 7950 because dx10 is around 3 weeks away and well it will toast any card out right now...
October 15, 2006 10:05:02 PM

Quote:
in case I wasn't completely clear, DO NOT USE SOFTWARE RAID!!! I had disasters with it, and wasted a lot of time. It wasn't ignorance, it was incompatible with linux. The motherboard bios would also occasionally fail to recognize that I had a raid system, and wouldn't boot. A good hardware raid system isn't cheap, but worth it, if you want to use raid.

if you don't need raid, maybe going with a raptor and a large drive for storage would be fine. If you are only gaming, I suggest the 150gb raptor.


the 150gb is a SATA drive right?
October 15, 2006 10:05:05 PM

Quote:
I am able/willing to spend around $4000 to build the best gaming rig possible.

CPU: Intel Core2 E6700 ($540)

GFX: XFX Geforce 7950GX2 ($600 - Already bought this)



Seriously, you're spending too much, especially if you're going to eschew raid 0(or 0+1) raptors.

I suggest you drop that E6700 to an E6600, get some decent cooling (zalman all-copper heatsink and fan, or similar... water is a pain), and OC it. Don't drop lower than the E6600, though, because no OCing will give you more L2 cache.

As for your graphics card situation, just sit on enough of that money to buy a DX10 card or two when they come out. If you have surplus cash burning a hole in your pocket after all that, dump it in a bigger display.
October 15, 2006 10:07:59 PM

I would suggest a nice fast 400GB HD backup with 2XIRAM's with 8GB's of RAM. I dont know if 2 IRAM can run in RAID but even if not there faster than any HD youll get. Just think of the possiblitys with both your OS and virual memory on the 2 IRAM's. If your wanting to game you can place almost any game in 8GB's and reduce your level load times.
October 15, 2006 10:15:36 PM

loading is sequential, not random access. it is not that much faster. an idrive would be a waste of money better spent on a nice monitor, or even a nice plasma tv.

actually the plasma televisions do not have that great resolution. i would suggest

http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-HL-S5687W-1080p-DLP-HDTV/...

if you want to get rid of some money fast.
October 15, 2006 10:19:34 PM

Quote:
the 150gb is a SATA drive right?


yeah
October 15, 2006 10:20:14 PM

Quote:
well i like the system but if i were you i wouldnt have boughten the gf 7950 because dx10 is around 3 weeks away and well it will toast any card out right now...


for an extra $300, perhaps. And no, it's 3 months away, not 3 weeks.
October 15, 2006 10:26:23 PM

Quote:
well i like the system but if i were you i wouldnt have boughten the gf 7950 because dx10 is around 3 weeks away and well it will toast any card out right now...


for an extra $300, perhaps. And no, it's 3 months away, not 3 weeks.

nVidia DX10 is 3 weeks away, bucko. And, since he's got an nVidia card in hand, my guess is that he's not enough of an ATi fanboy to sit and weep soft tears waiting for the ATi offering.
October 15, 2006 10:26:25 PM

What drive are you using? Sequential went out with the VCR and the Cassette tape. Your correct that the money would be better spent on a plasma but he may have one. He really didnt even list a monitor or plasma. I was thinking he already had 1.
October 15, 2006 10:31:31 PM

To the nearest $10, this is what I think you are looking at. You should find the best prices at pricegrabber and techbargains. You can use my site, ntung.com, because it has search buttons for both.

US$500 cpu (http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php?masterid...[]=page,209,1)
US$130 700w power supply (http://www.pricegrabber.com/p__OCZ_OCZ_OCZ700GXSSLI_Gam...)
US$600 graphics
US$140 sound card
US$200 150 raptor (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...)
US$300 1ghz ddr2
US$40 DVD
US$170 Galaxy II liquid cooling (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1683...)
US$120 case

Total: US$2200.

I would certainly consider the other poster's suggestion to go to the E6600. Dropping the water cooling if you don't overclock much will allow you to get an LCD and the hd television.
October 15, 2006 10:32:56 PM

Quote:
nVidia DX10 is 3 weeks away, bucko. And, since he's got an nVidia card in hand, my guess is that he's not enough of an ATi fanboy to sit and weep soft tears waiting for the ATi offering.


really? okay, I guess I'm not up to date. anyway, what's purchased is purchased. No need to regret it, the gx2 is a fine card. I also dislike ati.
October 15, 2006 10:36:07 PM

Quote:
What drive are you using? Sequential went out with the VCR and the Cassette tape. Your correct that the money would be better spent on a plasma but he may have one. He really didnt even list a monitor or plasma. I was thinking he already had 1.


I mean sequential access. When loading a game, the random access feature of memory or the idrive doesn't matter. it's not that much faster.

http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=2480&p=...

Not that much better. And you need to buy 8gb of ram? Spend it on the DirectX 10 care mentioned earlier, or even an Intel extreme edition. No offense, and I don't mean to simply take a contrary stance, this is just what I heard. Also, 8gb of ram might only hold 2 games, depending on what you play (sc3 is 4gb). anandtech uses the 74gb raptor, the 150 should be even faster.
October 15, 2006 10:45:52 PM

Quote:
What drive are you using? Sequential went out with the VCR and the Cassette tape. Your correct that the money would be better spent on a plasma but he may have one. He really didnt even list a monitor or plasma. I was thinking he already had 1.


I mean sequential access. When loading a game, the random access feature of memory or the idrive doesn't matter. it's not that much faster.

http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=2480&p=...

Not that much better. And you need to buy 8gb of ram? Spend it on the DirectX 10 care mentioned earlier, or even an Intel extreme edition. No offense, and I don't mean to simply take a contrary stance, this is just what I heard. Also, 8gb of ram might only hold 2 games, depending on what you play (sc3 is 4gb). anandtech uses the 74gb raptor, the 150 should be even faster.
True but thats using only 1 IRAM. The bandwith limit is the real hold up and 2 IRAM's would double the thoughput. That would farther place the IRAM ahead. Stepping back a page look at what 1 IRAM does to the boot time.
http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=2480&p=...
This isnt even taking into consideration the wear and tear taking off the HD. The HD is way less likly to fail due to the massive number of seeks the IRAM will be taking in place of the HD. You could place 2GB's on each IRAM and get the added bandwidth at half the price.
October 15, 2006 10:49:19 PM

the differences you mention are consistently around 5 seconds or less, and that is the older raptor without any raid. As I said, it is sequential, it will not double. I've never had an hard drive fail; they come with good warranties and have been manufactured for years and years. Better watch out for your battery dying on the iram, then you lose your entire operating system. not worth it.
October 15, 2006 11:08:48 PM

another issue with iram - it would be a pain partitioning, particularly because windows doesn't have the vfs that linux does.
October 15, 2006 11:10:17 PM

Quote:
the differences you mention are consistently around 5 seconds or less, and that is the older raptor without any raid. As I said, it is sequential, it will not double. I've never had an hard drive fail; they come with good warranties and have been manufactured for years and years. Better watch out for your battery dying on the iram, then you lose your entire operating system. not worth it.

The second Raptor would only make a small increase where the IRAM having doulble the bandwidth would and most likly use it all. Understand RAM is measured in Nanoseconds where HD's are measured in Millisoconds. The same RAM setting on your mobo a HD could not touch for performance. So what is slowing the IRAM down? Its the SATA bandwidth. 2X IRAM's would get double the bandwidth but 2 Raptors old or new couldn't use up 1 SATA's bandwidth. It could come close to double the performance.

I have never had an HD to fail but I never use the same HD as a boot drive for more than 2 years. I replace the boot HD use old HD as a storage drive. Now the IRAM shows better performance thats a fact and 2 would show even great benefits. The OP said he doesn't want a RAID so I see no other choice for good loading.

I DX10 wouldnt outperform 2 7900's in sli enough to justify any added cost so thats just not going to occur for atleast a year or more. By that time the OP my have $1000 to place on a DX10 GPU that would make a good performance gain over 2 7900's in SLI.
October 15, 2006 11:19:04 PM

um, your new points appear sort of baseless. I don't know what the microseconds / nanoseconds is about, I said nothing of the sort. Looking at individual statistics usually isn't as relevant as a benchmark.

you didn't address the use of volatile storage to hold the operating system, nor the issue of partitioning, nor the issue of only holding 2 large games, nor the issue of costing several times a raptor and not being a replacement for it.

you don't have to argue. I don't think there's any debate it's a bit faster. Why don't we just let the original poster decide if it's worth it to him? He does seem to have some money to spend.

yeah, too bad he already bought the dx9 video card. oh well.
October 15, 2006 11:23:29 PM

Quote:
um, your new points appear sort of baseless. I don't know what the microseconds / nanoseconds is about, I said nothing of the sort. Looking at individual statistics usually isn't as relevant as a benchmark.

you didn't address the use of volatile storage to hold the operating system, nor the issue of partitioning, nor the issue of only holding 2 large games, nor the issue of costing several times a raptor and not being a replacement for it.

yeah, too bad he already bought the dx9 video card. oh well.

That would be IRAM's software and lets see IRAM's software. The software sets it up and it used the HD as a secondary boot drive. You said it would not double but 2 IRAM's can get very close to doubling loads. HD's in RAID on the other hand cant because thoughput doesnt limit them on SATA.
October 15, 2006 11:27:20 PM

still baseless without any expert opinions or better yet actual benchmarks.
October 15, 2006 11:34:37 PM

oh, about the milliseconds / nanoseconds, are you referencing this line in Anandtech's review?

"Access time goes from milliseconds (1 x 10-3) down to nanoseconds (1 x 10-9), and transfer rate doesn't vary, so it should be more consistent"

That's about access time. As I said, most game loading is sequential.

"The software sets it up and it used [sic?] the HD as a secondary boot drive" are you saying both can be boot drives?

"You said it would not double but 2 IRAM's can get very close to doubling loads" okay, so maybe you save 10 seconds instead of 5. Still no benchmarks / expert backup. For almost $1000, on any few games of your choice.

Still to address: volatile storage, partitioning will still be a pain (so it gets setup, you still have to split some program files on a different drive), holding a few games, cost. i.e. nothing refuted yet.
October 15, 2006 11:35:35 PM

sounds a lot like software raid. i had bad experiences with that.
October 15, 2006 11:36:03 PM

Quote:
still baseless without any expert opinions or better yet actual benchmarks.

True but whats he going to spend the money on? 1 DX10 GPU with almost no perforamance increase. 2 DX10 in which case he'll need a 1KW PSU by the requirments ive seen. Spending $4000 on a new system he may already have an old one with 2GB's of DDR RAM. As for an expert opinion you have mine and the benchmarks I dont see a RAID beating the scores on the 1 IRAM.
October 15, 2006 11:40:51 PM

"As for an expert opinion you have mine" - uh whoa, given your confusion about access time and transfer rates. sorry. okay, if you seriously have credentials, show them...

I agree RAID is not as fast. However you get 1.5 tb instead of 8gb. It's not black and white. iram may get "cool" points - solid state storage is a neat idea, but I dunno if I would spend the money, or use it to store my operating system. Anandtech says there is no automatic hard drive backup, although the battery system seems better than I thought.
October 16, 2006 12:06:53 AM

Quote:
"As for an expert opinion you have mine" - uh whoa, given your confusion about access time and transfer rates. sorry. okay, if you seriously have credentials, show them...

I agree RAID is not as fast. However you get 1.5 tb instead of 8gb. It's not black and white. iram may get "cool" points - solid state storage is a neat idea, but I dunno if I would spend the money, or use it to store my operating system. Anandtech says there is no automatic hard drive backup, although the battery system seems better than I thought.

True theres no automatic backup but then again its only a copy of whats on HD. See RAID is truly only good for 2 types of programs. Databases and video editing/rendering need more space that any Random Access Memory design can hold. Games and OS's on the other hand are small and can fit in many SSD. Microsoft and Samsung has a 32GB SSD that runs on PATA which due to the size can even outperform RAIDS. While I would like to suggest the 32GB SSD its upwards of $2000 and THG did a article over this not to long ago.

I know the black and white of the IRAM and small programs up to 16GB's can get a nice boost. Now would you like 2 hot bricks in your PC case as a RAID or only 1 hot brick and 2 cool IRAMS? Do you want 2 HD's sucking up to 20 watts or 1 HD sucking around 10 watts and a IRAM using less than a watt? All good commonly know advantages of RAM over HD's.

My credentials is firstly hard to give out over the Internet nor would any smart person do so. I can tell you I teach programming at CSU. I use the IRAM and it works great on loading my programs.
October 16, 2006 12:18:13 AM

Quote:
I am able/willing to spend around $4000 to build the best gaming rig possible.


Don't build a high end machine now and just use the rest left over to upgrade when better parts come out. I.e. spend $2-3k now then the rest later on.
October 16, 2006 12:35:24 AM

If you wanted the best gaming pc you allready forgot about the direct x 10 nvidia 8800gt(x) cards comming out next month allready. oops. Well that wont be the best gaming pc for you then......but good luck in finding some other good hardware like a raptor harddisk that will perform better then other hdd's (harddisks) while loading maps for example.
October 16, 2006 12:38:56 AM

Quote:
If you wanted the best gaming pc you allready forgot about the direct x 10 nvidia 8800gt(x) cards comming out next month allready. oops. Well that wont be the best gaming pc for you then......but good luck in finding some other good hardware like a raptor harddisk that will perform better then other hdd's (harddisks) while loading maps for example.


yeah because they already have 300 DX10 games lined up for 2007. [/sarcasm]

i like to stay away from first generation.. remember dx7? -_-

anyways thanks for the suggestions guys. What RAM do you recommend?
October 16, 2006 1:09:29 AM

Quote:
oh, about the milliseconds / nanoseconds, are you referencing this line in Anandtech's review?

"Access time goes from milliseconds (1 x 10-3) down to nanoseconds (1 x 10-9), and transfer rate doesn't vary, so it should be more consistent"

That's about access time. As I said, most game loading is sequential.

"The software sets it up and it used [sic?] the HD as a secondary boot drive" are you saying both can be boot drives?

"You said it would not double but 2 IRAM's can get very close to doubling loads" okay, so maybe you save 10 seconds instead of 5. Still no benchmarks / expert backup. For almost $1000, on any few games of your choice.

Still to address: volatile storage, partitioning will still be a pain (so it gets setup, you still have to split some program files on a different drive), holding a few games, cost. i.e. nothing refuted yet.

No I was simply stating the differance in RAM to HD/s but that does sum up what I was getting at. True it is access time of the IRAM but note the second part. This is because IRAM can max out the bandwidth of SATA and must slow down access when the bandwidth limit is meet. Sequential the HD cant get anywhere close to the bandwidth of SATA and to that point no matter sequential or random only thoughput make any differance.

Any HD can be a boot drive you only need set it in which OS you use. In older Microsoft OS thats fdisk and XP bootlog me thinks. Finally I though loading faster was better. O'well lets go back to the 5400rpm HD's.

For the volatile storage its all safe on your HD and true not all programs will fit. The point is giving the 1 program you use most the boost or on low RAM systems placing the virtual memory on the IRAM would give all programs a nice boost.
October 16, 2006 2:23:00 AM

Quote:
True theres no automatic backup but then again its only a copy of whats on HD.thanks for admitting something, I guess you're not just arguing. See RAID is truly only good for 2 types of programs. Databases and video editing/rendering need more space that any Random Access Memory design can hold. Games and OS's on the other hand are small and can fit in many SSD you better take this back. Oblivion is 4.6 gb. Fear takes 3 gb. Splinter Cell 4 will require 8gb. Microsoft and Samsung has a 32GB SSD that runs on PATA which due to the size can even outperform RAIDS. While I would like to suggest the 32GB SSD its upwards of $2000 and THG did a article over this not to long ago okay, neat.

I know the black and white of the IRAM and small programs up to 16GB's can get a nice boost never debated. Now would you like 2 hot bricks in your PC case as a RAID or only 1 hot brick and 2 cool IRAMS? Do you want 2 HD's sucking up to 20 watts or 1 HD sucking around 10 watts and a IRAM using less than a watt? All good commonly know advantages of RAM over HD's. good point. not a refute for the other reasons though.

My credentials is firstly hard to give out over the Internet nor would any smart person do so. I can tell you I teach programming at CSU. I use the IRAM and it works great on loading my programs.This is the use I would have for it as well; relaunching things hundreds of times when debugging.


As a programmer at CSU, you (and myself as well) might not see this from someone who doesn't like messing around with technical things. I don't know about the original poster, but he might not like having to mess around installing some things to one drive, etc. In fact, I don't think even raid is a good idea, even if it's quality hardware raid.
October 16, 2006 2:31:25 AM

Quote:
No I was simply stating the differance [sic?] in RAM to HD/s but that does sum up what I was getting at. True it is access time of the IRAM but note the second part right, then why did you bring up the access time in the first place?. This is because IRAM can max out the bandwidth of SATA and must slow down access when the bandwidth limit is meet. Sequential the HD cant get anywhere close to the bandwidth of SATA and to that point no matter sequential or random only thoughput [sic?] make any differance [sic?]. err...I hate to pick on grammar, but it's difficult for me to make sense of this...my point is that sequential does make a difference because the hard drive is performing closer to its theoretical ability.

Any HD can be a boot drive you only need set it in which OS you use. In older Microsoft OS thats fdisk and XP bootlog me thinks. Finally I though loading faster was better. O'well lets go back to the 5400rpm HD's. I dunno what you're talking about; the raptor is a 10k rpm hard drive.

For the volatile storage its all safe on your HD and true not all programs will fit. The point is giving the 1 program you use most the boost or on low RAM systems placing the virtual memory on the IRAM would give all programs a nice boost. right, but as Anandtech mentioned, it's not as good as having more system ram. If he has money to burn, perhaps 4gb of system ram, a total difference of US$200, would make more sense.


I believe you that it successfully emulates a hard drive, the problem is that it's not the same drive, and not mounted in a VFS system like Linux. With Windows, you have to bother installing most programs to the "D" drive, and one program and Windows to the "C" drive.
October 16, 2006 2:33:22 AM

Quote:
anyways thanks for the suggestions guys. What RAM do you recommend?


already mentioned. please read all of the posts (I guess you can skip some of the iram debate).
October 16, 2006 2:49:30 AM

Quote:
However, the influence of the fast i-RAM drive is not as noticeable in daily use as one might think.


Here is the opinion from the experts here at Tom's Hardware.
October 16, 2006 3:06:50 AM

Quote:
anyways thanks for the suggestions guys. What RAM do you recommend?


already mentioned. please read all of the posts (I guess you can skip some of the iram debate).

sorry... i got distracted by this....... debate?
October 16, 2006 3:58:16 AM

Quote:
COOLING: Definitely need help here... I had alot of overheating problems with my old rig.


Prometeia Mach II GT THE BEST
October 16, 2006 4:00:16 AM

Quote:
...I am also struggling finding a good Core 2 motherboard. I don't have the amount of money that you do, but most of them aren't that good. I think the Intel 965 chipsets are apparently the best, although they don't have sli. I wouldn't go quad sli though, as most games don't get any advantage of it - directx is less extensible than opengl....


According to Tom's hardware, if you don't need a very fast overclock,

http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/10/11/four_975x_mother...

the MSI motherboard is recommended. I have bought MSI boards before (for amd systems) and they are very reliable. I don't know if you want to overclock at all. If you do, I suggested some cooling things on page 1.

The motherboard you were looking at got better user reviews on newegg though. I don't know. Here is the newegg page for the motherboard. It is quite a bit cheaper.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
October 16, 2006 4:07:44 AM

Quote:
Prometeia Mach II GT THE BEST


from what I see - I don't have one - the Asetek Vapochill ls (Socket LGA775) is better, and $150 cheaper.

http://www.svc.com/04-l-1150.html

you are wrong, asetek 240W @ -25,5'C / 0W @ -48'C

promie 0 - 200 Watt @ -65 to -35C at 22C ambient temperature :lol:  8)
October 16, 2006 12:14:53 PM

X6800
Unlocked multipliers up to x15, definetly worth the grand if youve got it!

Gskill DDR2 800 CL4 HZ will OC to 533+Mhz CL5 and ~500Mhz CL4.
Or any DDR2 <1000 CL4, CL5 uses the same chips as the Gskill.

Asus P5W DH or Abit AW9D-MAX
The Abit is the best OCer out there but the Asus might proove more funtional.

I do recommend the Raptor 150GB, its got an excelllent price tag compared to the other raptor drives and its unbeated in the SATA market.
Yes, 400GB is a very nice deal for $150 but check the specs.

Get a big ass screen, one that goes over 16x10, to take full advantage of the 7950GX2 and the future high-end DX10 cards that are to come.
October 16, 2006 1:22:15 PM

I'm too lazy to read through all the replies, but I hope someone pointed out how dumb it was to buy a $600 DX9 video card in Oct 2006... G80 based cards are due any day now and ATI's response (probably an even higher performing card) isn't too far behind. That $600 card is going to be outclassed in no time... hope you saved some money for a DX10 card.
!