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Rusty Builder Needs Help with a Build.

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November 13, 2006 2:59:48 PM

Hey there, Tom's Hardware Denizens.

There comes a time in a man's life when more power is needed. I've finally decided to take the plunge and rebuild my ailing computer. How ailing is ailing?

Well, it'll run World of Warcraft at 3 frames per second.

Here's an example. I create a new character and in the first area, I swing at a rat. The rat runs away, and 10 seconds later, the rat flips over and dies. I'm sick of this low-powered pile, and with Vanguard: Saga of Heroes coming out in January, I want to be sure that I can play this thing with no problem, and have a kick ass system to boot.

Here's where you guys come in.

I'm wanting a rig that'll hold up for a couple of years at least, and I've got about $1500-$2000 to spend. I apparently picked the perfect time to upgrade, thanks to Vista being released soon and Direct X9 being replaced by Direct X10 in the near future. I'd like to use one of the new Intel dual core processors over an AMD, and I'd like to be able to go SLI or Crossfire in the future. I need suggestions for processor, motherboard, and video card. If possible, I'd like to be able to support Vista and a decent Direct X9 or, god willing, Direct X10.

I'd like to use the Intel Core 2 Duos, but don't have a clue which motherboard or video card set up would be most beneficial.

So...help? I need suggestions for single Processor, Motherboard with 2 16X slots, 2 gigs of Memory, Video Card, power supply, cooling....the works.

Thanks.

Ayerth

More about : rusty builder build

November 13, 2006 3:42:34 PM

Quote:
I've finally decided to take the plunge and rebuild my ailing computer. How ailing is ailing?

To look at "How ailing is ailing?" from a slightly different angle, are there any non-trivial components on your current system worth carrying over to a new build? HD? DVD or CD?

Do you already have DDR2 SDRAM or are you getting that also?

Would you ever need more than 2 PCI slots?

Just trying to frame the context of the question a littler further ...

-john, the redundant legacy dinosaur
November 13, 2006 3:59:11 PM

Quote:
I've finally decided to take the plunge and rebuild my ailing computer. How ailing is ailing?

To look at "How ailing is ailing?" from a slightly different angle, are there any non-trivial components on your current system worth carrying over to a new build? HD? DVD or CD?

Do you already have DDR2 SDRAM or are you getting that also?

Would you ever need more than 2 PCI slots?

Just trying to frame the context of the question a littler further ...

-john, the redundant legacy dinosaur

Thanks for your quick response, John.

The hard drive in the current system is a 10 gig Maxtor IDE hard drive with a secondary 4 gig Western Digital IDE drive, the CD/RW is an old 12x Creative Labs drive, the DVD rom is a hand-me-down from a friend who's manufacture I don't know...and the ram? 384 megs of PC 133, baby. :?

I'm wanting to start completely fresh, if possible. The only things that'll probably be ported from the old system to the new one will be the DVD, CD/RW, floppy drive and mabye the case. If I can get a good DVD Burner, then sure.

Thanks!

Nathan
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November 13, 2006 4:11:53 PM

I'm a newbie, but I just got everything for a build under $2k, without monitor, $2300 with 20" 4:3 lcd monitor. But, you might wanna do differently with some new things coming on line:

core 2 duo 6600 (I dunno, I still think the increased cache is worth it, but many say the difference doesn't support the increased cost over the 6400/6300, you can save a little here if you agree with the lower cache)

abit awd-max i975based mobo (you may wanna try the 965 based mobos and save 50-100, since they're showing they may beat the 975 chipset based boards, but are still a little "new", or you might try the very promising looking nvidia chipset based boards, but that may blow the budgie)

evga geforce 7900gto (which you might not be able to find anymore, and you may wanna go for the 8800 series now, which will blow your budgie, so maybe go for the 965 based mobo above)

2gig crucial ballistix ddr-800 ram (yeah, its not corsair, nor the the top of the line anything "tracer" "dominator" "gold" or whatever, but they're good and quick, straight from the source so to speak, and with good prices and rebates of recent. a no brainer for me.)

raptor x 150g hard drive (you can definately save money here by maybe deleting altogether)

two samsung spinpoint 250g hd's (yeah, smaller, but with the raptor for os and programs/games, these are just for video/photo editing. Here, you can get 2x 500g drives from WD)

ultra aluminus case and 550w modular pwr supply (decent case, good pwr supply, all on sale with rebate)

two samsung dvd ram r/w drives (new egg is cheap)

misc cables, etc.

all for like $1850 after rebates and shipping, then an HP 20" lcd 4:3 monitor for 400 more. For you, save on the raptor (200ish) and mobo (100ish), get a 8800 video card, and good to go!

good luck,

curt j.
November 13, 2006 4:17:59 PM

EVGA 680i motherboard $275
EVGA 8800GTS graphics $475
Intel C2D E6400 or E6600, depending on budget

That's just for starters, now go here for a list of SLI certified components to guarantee compatability when you can afford the second 8800GTS
http://www.slizone.com/object/slizone2_build.html
November 13, 2006 4:29:54 PM

I can respond quickly only because I'm not slowed down an excess of knowledge. If I actually had something to say worth saying it would take me longer. :wink:

So you'll be wanting a new case, PSU, HD and DVD-CD/RW. It's trivial, but I'll still ask. How do you feel about your keyboard and mouse. Probably want to refresh those too if you can, no? (IMHO you want an optical mouse if you don't have one already).

Will the cost of a copy of WinXP be part of your total cost?

The other standard question you'll be asked is what you intend to use the system for. Knowing whether you're going to try OC'ing or not will also influence people's recommendations for motherboards and memory. How hard you plan to game might influence video card recomendations.

-john

P.S. It's not often I bump into someone here who's running with less PC133 SDRAM than me. 8O :wink:
November 13, 2006 5:06:15 PM

I can help you out either way.with a brand new system,or CPUs.I also have a 5week old setup that you might be interested in. AMD FX60 dualcore / Asus A8N32-SLI Delux motherboard / & 2 Gigs of Corsair XMS CL2 Platnum. $600 plus shipping and its yours. Also at this moment I have a Brand New Intel E6700 for $485 Plus shipping,and a Brand New Intel X6800 for $825 plus shipping they are in Factory sealed Boxes. Also if your interested in a Brand New FX60 or FX62 I can get them within 24-36 hrs. everything will be shipped with USPS Express its $35 and you will have it within 24-36 hrs after payment I ship with USPS because they deliver 7 days a week and orders are always there by 3pm. You can check out prices where ever you like. Mine will be lower. You can contact me here or email me.
Stan
November 13, 2006 5:46:02 PM

More than likely, zjhonr, yes, I'm wanting brand new everything if at all possible. To be quite honest, I can get by with the optical drives and case that I currently have, but why not go all the way when you're doing it, neh? I do have a legitimate copy of WinXP, so that $50 won't be included in the cost, and as far as overclocking...I have to say "mabye." I've never tried overclocking before, but it's not something I'm ruling out for some time in the future. Once I get stable performance, It'll pretty much stay there until it needs a ram boost.

Oh, and John, earlier you asked if I ever would need more than 2 16X slots. More than likely, no, but if the board I claim comes with 3 or 4, then sure, I'll take 'em.

The system'll be mostly used for gaming with the occasional foray into Microsoft Word, Excel, etc.

Thanks everyone for your suggestions!

Ay
November 13, 2006 7:29:26 PM

Quote:
earlier you asked if I ever would need more than 2 16X slots.

What I meant to ask about was the number of PCI slots. An indirect way of asking if you had any PCI cards you wanted to carry forward or had any other reason to want more than just the 2 slots some Core 2 mobos come with. It sounds like you don't.

I usually associate the notation of "16x" (or "1x" or "4x") with PCI Express channels. About the only purpose I've seen PCIe used for at the moment is to plug in the video adapter. Main question there is if you want a SLI (or Crossfire) capable motherboard or if you just don't care.

I think you'll definitely want to go with a new case. Technically you could try to reuse the case you've got now, but the ventilation is better in the newer cases. Even though the Core 2 uses less power than the Intel CPUs that came before it, it still radiate a lot more heat than your P3. A good gaming quality graphics card will also generate a lot of heat. Your system will stay cooler with a new case with a few low-noise 120mm fans installed.

A lot of folks seem to like the Antec Nine Hundred Mid Tower Case, however it's not cheap. newegg sells it for about $156 shipped at the moment. 8O I haven't looked into it, but supposedly you can get it from Compusa for around $106 after a $30 rebate which expires November 18.

I don't feel qualified to make specific recommendations about motherboards or memory since I can't speak from any direct experience. (I'm still trying to figure out what to buy to upgrade my system). All I know is what I've read ... and sometimes not even that much. :wink:

If you're interested, I can try to point you to some of the enthusiast site articles I've read while trying to figure out what I'm going to buy. Don't know how much research you've already done ... or want to do. :) 

I think I can safely say that, until this week, the most popular Core 2 chipset was the Intel 965. Then Nvidia released their 600i series and it seems it is now considered the best chipset for a Core 2 system, primarily because of how well it overclocks. (Here's a link to an AnandTech article about the 600i series chipset if you're curious).
November 13, 2006 8:35:11 PM

Rusty Builder,

I would strongly recommend an Intel C2D platform. I recently upgraded my rig from an AMD Dual Core Opteron @ 2.8Ghz (equivalent to AMD's current Flagship FX-62) to the rig in my sig, and the performance increase was nothing short of astonishing.

Check out this THG article which tested the FX-62 & C2D processors.

http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/08/02/thg_tuning_test/

The C2D's have lower power consumption, run cooler, process more per clock, and are affordable. If you plan to overclock, then you'll be pleasently surprised to find that they clock up better than anything that's been produced in recent years, since the Celeron 300A. The Intel stock cooler is barely adequate for moderate overclocking, so plan on something better.

Also, remember that since the slowest subsystem in today's fast computers is storage, it makes sense to take advantage of RAID0, a feature which your new motherboard will have. It isn't necessary to buy the fastest drives available, but RAID0 will give you a huge boost such as cutting your boot times in half, opening large programs fast, AntiVirus scans, defragging, and any other processes that are hard drive intensive.

The parts I selected for my own rig, which you see below, appeared in many reviews including Tom's, were highly recommended, and were paintakingly researched before any purchasing decisions were made. I've been completely and thoroughly satisfied with every component, so I'm confident that you couldn't go wrong with any of these parts.

Building a new rig is an adventurous, exciting and arduous process, with a huge perpetual learning curve, so as you've been away from the latest in computer technology for awhile, I can empathise with you. The greatest reward is that when your new rig is up and running and tuned, it's uniquely yours, and it's faster, better, and more sitisfying than anything available off the retail shelf.

Good luck, and enjoy your new build!
November 13, 2006 9:59:26 PM

just a quick list from newegg to get you started
ATX Computer Cases

JUST PC R900 Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail
Model #: R900
Item #: N82E16811200028

$179.99 $179.99
Internal Hard Drives

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200KS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Model #: WD3200KS
Item #: N82E16822136003

$99.99 $99.99
Video Cards

XFX PVT80FSHF9 GeForce 8800GTX 768MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Video Card - Retail
Model #: PVT80FSHF9
Item #: N82E16814150205

$649.99 $649.99
Power Supplies

COOLMAX CTG-850 ATX12V 850W Power Supply - Retail
Model #: CTG-850
Item #: N82E16817159019

$75.00 Mail-in Rebate

$299.99 -$20.00 Instant
$279.99
Desktop Memory

CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TWIN2X2048-6400C4 - Retail
Model #: TWIN2X2048-6400C4
Item #: N82E16820145034

$40.00 Mail-in Rebate

$299.00 $299.00
Intel-compatible Motherboards

eVGA 122-CK-NF68-AR Socket T (LGA 775) NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Model #: 122-CK-NF68-AR
Item #: N82E16813188009

$259.99 $259.99
Combo

Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz LGA 775 Processor Model BX80557E6600 - Retail
Model #: BX80557E6600
Item #: N82E16819115003

$362.98 -$49.99 Combo
$312.99
UBISOFT Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter - OEM
Model #: GHOST RECON ADV WARF
Item #: N82E16800992001

Subtotal: $2,081.94
November 13, 2006 10:54:59 PM

I think one of the main reasons people respond to these posts is because we all like to play with the "What if???" daydream. In this case I thought I'd take it one step further and try flesh out what a system similar to CompuTronix's would actually cost to build if you just went to newegg today and bought the parts.

Below is a list I tried to base on CompuTronix's post. I had to take some liberties because I really don't know exactly which parts he has in all cases.

I picked an Asus X1900XT video card and Rosewill case without much thought. (I hope the case actually would work with the other components, but I didn't actually check. :oops: ) I picked a Plextor SATA drive mostly because the IDE ports on the 965 motherboards seem to get complaints on a regular basis. I have no idea how good the Plextor drive is, but I figured since it's a Plextor it shouldn't be too bad. :) 

Prices listed should include the approximate newegg shipping charge. I hope the links to newegg are correct but I didn't check them all.

Core 2 Duo E6600 4M L2, 2.4GHz (OC'd to 3.6GHz) $313
Zalman CNPS9500 92mm HSF $69
ASUS P5W DH DELUXE/WIFI-AP 975X ATX $257
Corsair XMS2 2x1GB DDR2-800 (PC2 6400) $259 after $40 Rebate, (Ends 14 Nov 2006?)
Asus EAX1900XT 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 HTVDP (OC'd 700/1700?) $277
WD Raptor 150GB 10kRPM 16MB cche SATA (RAID 0) $450 (2 @ $225 each)
Plextor PX-755SA SATA DVD/CD Burner $92 (after $20 Rebate)
ENERMAX EG495AX-VE FMA ATX12V Ver 2.2 485W PSU $98
Rosewill R5601-BK Dual 120mm Fans ATX MidTower Case $58 (discounted)

Total comes to $1873. 8O

So Ayerth, is a really screamin' fine system like CompuTronix's or Wgfalcon's $2,082 one 8O the direction you are thinking of going? I ask because my first instinct is to pipe in with "He could probably be happy for a lot less $$$!" post. However, I actually don't know what you want so I don't know if there's any reason to suggest alternative approaches. :wink:

If you're at all curious about what the other end of the cost-to-build spectrum might look like, then you might find this post interesting: GUIDE: 3GHz Core 2 Duo System for $631

-john, the redundant legacy dinosaur
November 13, 2006 11:50:34 PM

Rusty Builder,

Some additional recommendations come to mind. When considering which CPU to purchase, remember that part of what you're paying for is the CPU multiplier, the probability of a cleaner silicon fabrication, (branding), and a higher overclocking potential, which is somewhat a roll ot the dice anyway. A higher CPU multiplier also means more overclocking flexibility when matching a motherboard for it's Front Side Bus overclockability.

zjohnr brings up some good thoughts regarding cases and cooling. Current systems produce more heat and are more difficult to cool than ever before, so we can't place enough emphasis on this issue. More and more is being written about the hot topic of cooling, but I've noted that little attention is being focused on addressing one of the hotest source of "heat polution" inside the case of a gaming rig, the graphics card(s).

Since many gaming rigs are overclocked, (GPU's as well as CPU's), much care has been given to assure that the CPU runs cool. Speaking stricly in terms of an air cooled system, graphics card(s) that are not designed to exaust their heat outside the case, will raise the ambient temperature inside the case, thus causing the CPU (hard drives, motherboard, memory, etc.) to follow scale, which greatly decreases the efficiency of the entire cooling scheme, and may overwhelm the thermal capacity of the case to cool all it's components adequately.

Many after market air cooling solutions for graphics cards miss this point completely, and still fail to exaust their heat from the case, again leaving an extreme amount of additional heat to be merely recirculated inside an already warm case. Users often purchase and install these coolers, because they feel that the manufacturer's "overboard exaust" solution is a bit too loud, (ATI X850, X18800, X1900, etc.), only to discover that all system temps have risen sharply. In electronics, cool always comes before quiet, and as such, requires appropriate forethought and consideration.

When choosing a graphics card(s) solution for your new rig, remember that you're also paying for a cooling solution that ideally, should benefit the entire system. You'll find that there's a wider selection among ATI based cards in dealing with this form of "heat polution", but I'm glad to see that the nVidia based cards are also implementing the "overboard exaust" solution. Either chipmaker has some great cards available, so whatever you decide upon, try to choose a card that doesn't "heat polute" your new rig.

Before starting your build, if your case has stamped fan grills, you may wish to consider performing some sheet metal modifications to improve airflow. Remove the stamped airflow-restricting grills, (Dremel tools are excellent for this job), and replace them with cage-style grills, which attach with the fan's screws. Intake and exaust improvements to airflow through the case can make a tremendous difference in overall system cooling performance. Finally, when building your new rig, take some extra time to assure that all wiring and cables are creatively routed and tie wrapped, so as to not impede airflow, and keep your chips chilled.

Again, good luck, and enjoy your adventure!
November 14, 2006 2:39:22 PM

FWIW, here's a link to a thread about the problems of heat management that remain even when using a (supposedly) low-power Core 2 Duo.
Motherboard northbridge reaches 120c (!) and dies

Maybe it's not directly related to anything discussed here, but I found it interesting.

And while I'm at it ... and since it actually is somewhat related to the subject of this thread :wink: ... here's a link to the entry in the poster's blog about the build. He says a few words about why he choose the components he did.
Building and Overclocking a Core 2 Duo System

As always, just FWIW,

-john, the redundant legacy dinosaur
!