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First Homebuilt system attempt (C2D/8800GTX)

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November 21, 2006 3:15:14 PM

well, my AMD 3700 just isn't handleing the pace anymore, and my Geforce 5200 just refuses to run certain games... so i'l looking to upgrade, and since i want to go back to Intel, i've decided to build a whole new system (and leave my old one as a server) so i'm looking for a rig that should be able to handle most games
i've been looking around for a while now, and i'm almost convinced to try to build my own system rather than rely on the stock models... (although alienware 7500 series looks enticing....)

so i've put together a list of components, and i was hoping a few people here might be able to help me refine what i need... but being in Oz limits my selection somewhat :( 

CPU Intel Core 2 Duo E6600
CPU Intel Core 2 Duo E6300

Case Thermaltake Armor (LCS maybe)

Mobo Asus Striker Extreme: NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI*
Mobo Asus P5n32-e nForce 680i
Mobo BFG nForce 680i

PSU Thermaltake W0131 ToughPower 850W

RAM Corsair TWIN2X2048-6400C4PRO

GPU Asus 8800GTX
GPU BFG 8800GTX

alright, first off, Motherboard... i was interested in the striker, but unfortunately it looks as though it may be a little hard to get a hold of at the moment, but at the same time i'm planning on building this mid-late december, so it should be avaliable then... right? otherwise, i might have to go with either the lite version of the striker (p5n23-e i think) or the BFG board (which a friend recommended)

the only thing undecided about the case is if i'm going to go with the LCS version or not (a little help here would be appreciated, i've never seen let alone built a LCS system, would it be too much for a beginner?)

as to the CPU, i'm not sure if a 6300 or 6600 should suit.... i'll probably upgrade to a QX 6700 or equivilant once the price drops from lunar orbit, so would a 6300 hold out till then i wonder (aside from the extra $200 i would save)

the Graphics card, again i'm tossing up between BFG and Asus, and i'll probably go with whichever mobo i get since both are avaliable (and are the only two avaliable through my supplier ATM) and are the same price...

and finally, a quick question about ram timings, is higher or lower better? (with all the guides i've read, they just talk about changing them to whatever, but don't mention if 3,3,3 whatever is better or worse than 5,5,5....)
November 21, 2006 3:25:45 PM

Well, I've been hearing problems of OC'ing a 680i mobo with the 4mb cache conroe's, so keep that in consideration. The e6300 should prove to be perfectly fine. Although I myself would probably go for the e6600 and hope for a bios fix.

Mobo... the Striker is extermenly overpriced, I would sitck with the eVGA 680i... well, I would keep abreast of 680i reviews, but the eVGA 680i performs fairly well. Haven't heard much of the P5N32SLI-E, waiting on reviews for that.

Decent PSU, should take you places.

Ram is fine.

GPU wise... might want to take a look at this article.

http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2873

They recommend the eVGA with ACS cooling. Won't be out for another week or so, but if you can wait, definitly do so.

LCS... I don't see a point to entry level watercooling since it will only perform marginally better than the top air cooling. You might want to look at the Titan Amanda though, I hear it's only 70 bucks, but availability is still fairly limited.

Lower ram timing's are always better. 6400C4 is probably the best price per performance for memory right now. Stick with what you have.
November 21, 2006 3:41:25 PM

I can't provide any help regarding motherboards since I haven't kept up with them after I built my C2D rig using the MSI 975X Platinum.

With regards to the CPU, I think dishing out $$$ for the QX 6700 will be a waste of money unless you have apps that will take advantage of all those cores. If the rig is purely for gaming then it will be a waste of money because there aren't that many games that will take full advantage of quad cores. Over the next few years I think games will become fairly optimized for dual core CPU. Current generation games don't really take advantage of dual core CPUs yet. The exception is probably Quake 4 and any games using the same engine. But games like Oblivion only recieved a 10% increase in performance (at best) when comparing single to dual core CPUs. I don't recall where I've read the article, it was a while ago.

If for some reason you really want the QX 6700 then get the E6300 CPU. Otherwise, the E6600 represents the best bang for your buck. Using DDR2 800 RAM (lower timings are better, BTW) you can potentially OC it to 3.6GHZ (400MHz x 9 Clock Multiplier). Nothing to sneeze at if you can reach it.

For extreme overclocks; like 3.6GHz, water cooling is recommend. I don't have any experience with water cooling, but I have read that inexpensive water cooling solutions are only as good as the best air cooling solution.

GPU wise, if they are both the same price, then I would go with the one that offers the best bundle. If the bundles are the same too, then I would choose Asus.

I'm not that knowledgeable on RAM, but you will probably need to use benchmarks to see any improvements between average timings and low timings if the rest of your PC is very fast.
November 21, 2006 4:35:27 PM

Doughbuy is right on all points. The "newer" EVGA video card is worth the extra week or two wait.

As for the mobo I personally think that not only is the Asus way overpriced but the board layout is not as nice as the EVGA especially the expansion ports. I've only seen positive reviews of it and one site said it compared equally to the asus in every way except the EVGA was even better in layout, stability. Heres the most recent EVGA mobo articleI could find.

If you plan on doing some OCing they speak very favorably about this board. Either way it gives you something to think about in the next week or two until you build.

As a sidenote, I wouldn't give the Alienware 7500 a second look at all. Its fairly well agreed by most enthusiasts that the current 7500 is a really poor price/performance box. Google some reviews on it and it starts to become pretty clear.

Building your own PC can at first seem daunting but its really quite easier than most expect it to be and very rewarding after you're done and everything is up and running smooth. Good luck!
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