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First Build, need your help

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December 26, 2006 8:48:24 PM

Hi, this will be my first time building my own computer. I want the computer for gaming and thats about it. I was planning on spending about $1,200 on it, but I'm willing to go a little above that.

Some things I want in it are the Core 2 Duo 6400, and 8800GTX and 2 gigs of ram. I was wondering if yourguys could help me with the rest, and put the prices together. I mainly want to focus on those 3 things. The only thing I plan on storing on the hard drive is games, so it doesn't need to be massive. I don't need a moniter and a keyboard or a mouse. Tips on keeping the thing cool would be helpful also.

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December 26, 2006 10:04:23 PM

Are u planning to overclock? if so u will need decent ram to go with the processor and a decent motherboard. Overclocking will get the most from your hardware.

The gigabyte DS3 is a good overclockable motherboard and is good value. PC6400 800MHz RAM would be good with decent timings (4-4-4-12). A custom cooler would be beneficial, check wusy's guide at http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/Core2Duo-Overcl...

The GTX may be excessive, the GTS is a very good card and depending on how much you want to spend it may be an alternative.

U will need a decent case and a good psu, probably 550W minimum from a reputable manfacturer.
December 27, 2006 1:30:25 AM

I think I'll take your advice and get the GTS. Do you know what the "Step up" program is? I've heard about how it upgrades your video card or something, but I cant find anything about it.
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December 27, 2006 2:01:24 AM

I personally don't think overclocking is necessary yet for this cpu (the 6400, or, for that matter, even an 6300 or AMD 4200 or better), since it would be difficult to max out these dual cores much. In fact, if you ever noticed (use cntrol-alt-delete in Windows XP to monitor the cpu) that the cpu is indeed maxed out more than a few seconds at a time, something is wrong, and reboot is the simplest first step, lol. Basically, it's way fast, and won't be the slow part in the computer anytime soon, IMO. Someone tell me what all they are running if they max out this cpu routinely, and it's not a software bug.
December 27, 2006 10:19:03 AM

U will see performance benefits tho, if ur rippling a cd for example, it may take 3 minutes rather than 4. It is noticeable and gives performance of the higher processors. The CPU doesnt need to be running 100% to see the benefits, everything will be running faster.
December 27, 2006 11:02:12 AM

Don't forget to get a decent PSU. And remember wattage is not everything, look at the amps the rails provide.
December 27, 2006 12:00:59 PM

I don't know if you will be able to get everything you want for $1200 - the 8800's are still pretty expensive.

My build: cost me around $1500

CPU-E6600 - AC Freezer Pro 7
ASUS P5B MB
Seagate Barracuda (perp. rec.) 250Gig
2GB Corsair TWIN2X2048-6400C4
Antec P180B case
FSPGroup FX600-GLN 600W PS
XFX 7600GT
19" Benq 5ms Plasma

Now most of MY expense was on the CPU (Purchased when new to the market), the memory, the case and the power supply.

I would suggest you build something a bit similar in terms of quality components. I chose the 7600GT because I wanted to get the new DX10 cards - once there was some maturity in the product and there were offerings from both Nvidia and ATI.

You could probably build a solid base system with a lesser video card for $1200 - and be happy for the time being. If you insist on the 8800GTS - and still only have the budget of $1200 - you may need to compromize on some components.

DO NOT scrimp on the power supply (check Nvidia's website for approved PS's), the memory or the motherboard. AND a good case with at least 2 120mm fans is advisable for good airflow.

You can pass for now on an aftermarket heatsink and fan - as the stock equipment works very well for even slight over clocks.

I am not sure if this helps - but it should help you manage your expectations. You may be able to build your dream machine for $1200 with the 8800GTS - just be sure you are getting solid components all the way around. Check reviews, plan and budget your system from various online vendors (though Newegg is by far the favorite of the masses.)


Cheers.
December 27, 2006 2:19:44 PM

Get a decent PSU like a thermaltake thoughpower 750W so that whatever card you get and however many drives you buy you will never have toworry about wattage or amperage or any of that stuff for a very long time

You could use the evga step-up program and get something like a 7950GT then swap it for a DX10 card although Im not sure how that works so youll need to have a look at the terms and conditions. Otherwise you could just buy a 8800GTS now and save yourself all the fuss.

Do you plan on OCing or not? 2gb ram is good and an E6400 or E6600
December 27, 2006 5:20:21 PM

I was planning on overclocking a little down the line. I've never done it before though.

Also with this stuff would I need a full tower or a mid tower?
December 27, 2006 5:35:39 PM

Full or Mid tower will do. The Thermaltake Armor series is very popular and has excellent airflow. The P180 from Antec is also quite nice. More volume in the case generally improves the thermal environment. Having at least 2 solid 120mm fans is reccomended.

See if you can find out from the manufacturers if the 8800GTX/S (the GTS is slightly shorter than the GTX) can be installed - it is a very long card.

Read the forumz, look at newegg, and see what works for you. I like the P180B for the clean looks - others will like the neon and the windows. It's a matter of taste.
December 28, 2006 4:25:46 PM

A mid tower should do for your config. I got myself a Thermaltake Kandalf (bigtower with lots of nice features), but I have 3 barracudas(totalling 850GB (damn, almost reached a TB) +DL DVD RW recorder, a GF 7800GTX, 4 gigs of ram and a dual-core AMD 4400. So I wanted things to stay cool.
P.S.: This was top-of-the-line hardware in december 2005 (I got myself this PC for my birthday), it is a tad outdated by now. But still, most games run really well on my 19" Sony
!