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Suggest and Help Shape the Future of My New Gaming Rig

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December 13, 2006 11:49:19 AM

Hello!

I'm an American living in the very, very expensive country of Norway. I will be back in the States in a few days and would like to build or buy a new gaming computer to bring back here with me. With that said, I need to build or buy a new system within the next 20 days.

I've done a lot of research in the last several months and I've come up with my dream list of hardware. I've looked at the specs and read as many articles as I could, but I'm still unsure about a few components. Another issue for me is that I will need to transport it back to this country as checked-in luggage on an airplane. That subject deserves a post of it's own so I'll make one. I'm looking for suggestions on the following setup, please be blunt and let me know if I've overlooked something or if I'm going over the top!


-X6800 or an overclocked E6400/E6600
-eVGA nForce 680i SLI Motherboard
-2048MB DDR II 800 Memory 240 Pin Generic Brand
-eVGA GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB GDDR3, Dual DVI, HDCP
-Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi FATAL1TY (the one with the front I/O Console, NOT the XtremeGamer model)
-Western Digital Raptor 74GB 10,000RPM 16MB (for the main OS partition and important programs)
-2x/3x Western Digital Caviar SE 320GB IDE Ultra ATA100 Hard Drive
-LG 18X DVD RW w/ Lightscribe +- Dual Layer
-650 Watt Thermaltake Tough Power Extreme Power Supply W0104
-Cooling? (sort of depends on whether I overclock or not)
-Case? Thermaltake EUREKA VC8000SWA W/Window Full Tower Case (Silver)?


This computer will be primarily used for gaming until my 3-year-old computer finally dies. Then it will be used for everything. For those interested, the computer I am presently using is an Alienware Area 51-m 766 laptop (pentium 4 3.2, ATI 9600 128Mb AGP, 1 Gb RAM).

I already own a Dell 2005FPW monitor, which I managed to cram into a bag to bring back here the last time I was home. And so I will want to play the latest games at 1680x1050 with all the settings turned to high, and perhaps with AA and AF cranked up. Yes, that includes Oblivion!

My budget is to spend under 3000$US, preferably in the 2500$US range. I do not have money to burn or I would buy a computer here. I would like to save as much as possible without sacrificing too much performance.


1. As for the processor, I'm thinking about getting something I can overclock to save money.
(http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/10/10/cheap_thrills/pa...)
I've been reading about overclocking in my leisure time, but I don't know what the best cooling options are. Since many of the water-cooling solutions are large, I'll probably have to buy that where I live in Europe to avoid voltage issues.

2. Any recommended alternatives to the eVGA board? I definitely want the nForce 680i chipset.

3. For the memory, do you have suggestions on a brand or a speed? I've read OCZ is great, but it's pricey.

4. Considering what I mentioned above, is the 8800 GTX overkill? I do want DX10, however. Pertaining to the brands, which is better? Or are they pretty much the same?

5. For my main storage drives, do you recommend anything other than what I've chosen? Perhaps a Seagate Barracuda? I need a few drives because I store A LOT of files.

6. I have typically used Lite-On drives in the past, is the LG a good drive?

7. Is 650W committing power supply overkill? I don't know if I will go SLI or add a physics card in the future. Probably not.

8. I've previously mentioned that I haven't done much research on cooling. I want to overclock to the point of X6800 performance without the X6800 price. I have read the core2duo overclocking guide (http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/Core2Duo-Overcl...) but it seems rather complicated! They mention many cooling options, but I have no idea what would be best for me. I don't want a huge machine pumping water into my computer under my desk. I suppose an in-case option would be the best, otherwise I'll have to buy something external here in Norway to avoid voltage conflicts (220V as opposed to 110V).

9. Case options? I have a separate post on this dilemma, the topic is called "Case options, cooling, and taking a computer on an airplane :) "

PS: If I don't build it myself, I'm thinking of going with www.lucomputers.com. They're in Canada, do customs, and the prices are very, very good.
December 13, 2006 12:07:34 PM

ok, first of all i noticed that you have an IDE drive listed, IDE=VERY VERY BAD!!! get a sata drive instead.


Quote:

1. As for the processor, I'm thinking about getting something I can overclock to save money.
(http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/10/10/cheap_thrills/pa...)
I've been reading about overclocking in my leisure time, but I don't know what the best cooling options are. Since many of the water-cooling solutions are large, I'll probably have to buy that where I live in Europe to avoid voltage issues.


eh, you might as well get the E6600 and oc it, it'll save you a chunk of change.


Quote:

2. Any recommended alternatives to the eVGA board? I definitely want the nForce 680i chipset.


if youve got the extra cash i would get the Asus Striker Extreme instead.


Quote:

3. For the memory, do you have suggestions on a brand or a speed? I've read OCZ is great, but it's pricey.


heres the stuff ive got, i picked it because of the low timings.


Quote:

4. Considering what I mentioned above, is the 8800 GTX overkill? I do want DX10, however. Pertaining to the brands, which is better? Or are they pretty much the same?


if youve got the $$$ the 8800gtx is the best card right now, and with your budget it seems as though you have the cash.


Quote:
5. For my main storage drives, do you recommend anything other than what I've chosen? Perhaps a Seagate Barracuda? I need a few drives because I store A LOT of files.


first thing i wrote. seriously.


Quote:

6. I have typically used Lite-On drives in the past, is the LG a good drive?


im bad with optical drives, no comment.


Quote:

7. Is 650W committing power supply overkill? I don't know if I will go SLI or add a physics card in the future. Probably not.


it may be underkill, i would get the 700w version instead. more power can never hurt.


Quote:

8. I've previously mentioned that I haven't done much research on cooling. I want to overclock to the point of X6800 performance without the X6800 price. I have read the core2duo overclocking guide (http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/Core2Duo-Overcl...) but it seems rather complicated! They mention many cooling options, but I have no idea what would be best for me. I don't want a huge machine pumping water into my computer under my desk. I suppose an in-case option would be the best, otherwise I'll have to buy something external here in Norway to avoid voltage conflicts (220V as opposed to 110V).


im assuming your talking about water cooling, again, no comment.


Quote:

9. Case options? I have a separate post on this dilemma, the topic is called "Case options, cooling, and taking a computer on an airplane :) "


i like the thermaltake armor case myself, but its the size of a small city, so it might not be the best thing to try taking on a plane.


Quote:

PS: If I don't build it myself, I'm thinking of going with www.lucomputers.com. They're in Canada, do customs, and the prices are very, very good.


never heard of them, although i dont exactly keep up on the latest and greatest canadian custom pc shops.
December 13, 2006 5:04:02 PM

Agree with Apt.


Further (the numbers below don't correspond to your number FYI):

1) you don't need liquid cooling to overclock a 6600 to 6800 speed. Waste of money.
2) you don't need a 6800 to do gaming. Waste of money.
3) you don't need low-timings memory for gaming. Waste of money. C2D chips don't care so much about timings. It's more about the bandwidth and FSB for overclocking....performance difference will be so slim you won't even bat an eye.
4) spend the money you've just saved on better memory than generic crap. Get SuperTalent or OCZ for the price.
5) get a SATA drive, kill the IDE stuff. Seagate Barracude will do fine, 320 gig is great deal right now.
6) A GTX might be overkill.....a GTS will do exceptionally well I'm sure if you're at 1680 rez. Depends on your budget I guess.
7) case: whatever strikes your fancy and is in your budget. If you go with a 8800GTS and no liquid cooling, you've already saved yourself a bundle of cash, but then you can save even more by getting a "normal-sized" case. And/or get a NICE one.....a Silverstone or Lian-Li would be the icing on the cake for your rig ;) 


Drop the CPU, save some $$ and get a GTX if you're doing some hardcore gaming, it's a much better investment of $$. And get some good RAM to OC.

Good luck.
December 13, 2006 6:04:31 PM

Thanks to both of you for pointing these things out to me. I didn't even realise that I had chosen an IDE drive! *GULP*

Please tell me what you think about this setup now:

-Processor: Should I get the E6400 or E6600 and overclock?
-ASUS Striker Extreme Socket T (LGA 775) NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX *VS* eVGA nForce 680i SLI Motherboard? I'm assuming the difference is mainly in overclocking?
-700 Watt Thermaltake Tough Power Extreme Power Supply W0105 (just because I have a 700 W power supply doesn't mean it will be using all 700 W all the time, right? Electricity is expensive here.
-SUPER TALENT 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory *VS* OCZ 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-pin DDR2 800
-NVidia GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB GDDR3, Dual DVI, HDCP either eVGA, BFG, ASUS, or XFX??? If I get the ASUS mobo, I'll probably get the ASUS video card.
-Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi FATAL1TY (the one with the front I/O Console, NOT the XtremeGamer model). I'm set on this one.
-Western Digital Raptor 74GB 10,000RPM 16MB (for the main OS partition and important programs)
-2x Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 SATA 320 GB
-LG 18X DVD RW w/ Lightscribe +- Dual Layer
-Case.... I'll have to look into this further. Something aesthetically pleasing, but not huge is what I'm looking for.
-Cooling? Perhaps this is something for the overclock forum, but if I don't need liquid cooling, what's the best in-case solution for this?

I started out as a hard-core computer enthusiast kid back in the days of "IBM Clones", BBS's, and 2400 baud modems. It's very difficult to get back into it now, something like 15 years later. It's not so much that learning is harder the older you get, it's more like finding time for it is harder. Thank you for your help. :D 
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