Yet another new build by a newb

Hey fellers.

I used to build my own computers about 7-10 years ago. My last build lasted until now (amazingly). I haven't been into gaming so there was no need for a powerful machine before. But even mundane tasks seem to take forever now, so I wanted to upgrade.

To my amazement, they don't make mobo for pc133 memory anymore? What's up with that? Anyhow, putting together a new system has been both fun and frustrating because of the infinite options.

I'm reusing some of my previous stuff like dvd burner and ATX case (4 fans) but that seems about it. :? I wanted to reuse my Raidmax 420w power supply but that doesn't appear to be enough.

I wanted to rebuild on the cheap and I'm at $585 right now without a PSU. What I put together so far (it's not state of the art but will do for me):

CPU: Athlon 64 4000+ San Diego Socket 939
Mobo: Biostar TForce4 SLI Socket 939
RAM: Corsair ValueSelect 2gb DDR400 (yes i know about xms)
Video: Two BFG Tech GeForce 7600GT 256MB (for SLI)
HD: Two IDE Hitachi Deskstar 160GB 7200rpm 8mb cache (RAID 0)

PSU: Thinking about a OCZ GameXStream OCZ700GXSSLI 700w

Here are my questions:
1. Is the PSU too much? I'm only getting it because the mobo manual recommends more than 500w PSU for SLI setups. Otherwise, I'd spend a buck and get a 20-pin to 24-pin adapter. The PSU would actually be 20% of the entire cost of the new system ($150/$735).
2. Is this system overclockable?
3. What is the SPDIF for?
4. I have lots of extra plugs coming from the front of my case for TPA, blah, blah, and D1, D2, etc. and can't find a spot for them on the mobo. What are these used for?

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  1. Why do you wanna get 2 7600GTs? Just get one decent card like a 7950GT. Also Im not sure but your old PSU might be enough to run that system. 700w is definatley way too much
  2. Quote:
    1. Is the PSU too much? I'm only getting it because the mobo manual recommends more than 500w PSU for SLI setups. Otherwise, I'd spend a buck and get a 20-pin to 24-pin adapter. The PSU would actually be 20% of the entire cost of the new system ($150/$735).

    IMO, you can't have too much of a PSU. The more power capabilities that it has, the better its going to be in 5 or 6 years. Also, if you plan to overclock, you're gonna need a more powerful supply than the bare minimum, as your computer is going to be drawing significantly more power than its spec'd to.

    2. Is this system overclockable?

    Yes it is. But you may want to look into getting a higher quality heatsink to do it with. The stock may just not cut it.

    3. What is the SPDIF for?

    Its for a digital audio connection between devices. If you're talking about optical SPDIF, you could get a high-quality sound system and connect it by an optical SPDIF connection and get higher quality signal transmission.

    4. I have lots of extra plugs coming from the front of my case for TPA, blah, blah, and D1, D2, etc. and can't find a spot for them on the mobo. What are these used for?

    Not sure what they are used for. If its pushing 7 or 8 years old, they may just be completely useless, as they may be totally outdated. The only ones you really need are the power and reset connections. There might also be front audio connections and maybe even some old USB port connections. A link to the case might help in the resolution of this question.
  3. A 7950GT costs 270 on newegg before rebate of 20 bucks. My two 7600GTs will be total of $159 AFTER rebates.
  4. Have to second the one video card not two. I also agree on the PSU bigger is always better. If your going to overclock you could also consider the Opteron 146.
  5. I'd drop the Hitachi Deathstars and get something a little more durable, like WD.

    Get the best PSU you can afford IMO

    A 7950GT will outperform 2x7600GT SLI and you won't be limited by games that only support one card. You get full bennefits of a single 7950GT card in a single-card game vs. only being able to use one 7600GT, which will make you cry.
  6. If you are going for a new build - seriously consider what you really want to reuse. A 7 year powersupply is probably NOT what you want in the new system - so it's a good idea to replace it (as you have indicated.)

    The optical drives - sure keep them until they break. I would also suggest that you replace your hard drive if it is also 7 years old (as you appear to have noted). You can always keep the old drive for various internet junk. BTW - you probably do not need to go RAID unless you have a real need.

    I would suggest that you consider a new case. If your case is original - then it is beige and probably has 4 loud (and old) 80mm fans. One or two might even be 60mm fans. I would suggest a good case selection would have at least 2 120mm fans (one input, one output), and USB/Firewire ports that are not at the base of the case (unless you keep your case elevated somehow.)

    If you do NOT want to do any serious gaming - then even one 7600GT is overkill. I have one in my system and I can play most games at an acceptable level. SLI sounds nice - but it does not provide a linear improvement in graphics - Most folks I know just use one good card. I would lean towards one 7600GT (or even 7900GT) which should keep you very happy for a long time. Nobody I know uses SLI if they do not either play games or do CAD work.

    Also - I am not sure if you realize that the 939 socket is being phased out - in favor for the new Socket A. This is fine if you want to keep your cost down - but for future upgrades or replacements, you may end up spending more down the road. I would suggest you replace the CPU/MB with either a socket A - or a Core2Duo.

    Good luck with the build - keep planning and checking costs - new systems these days are much easier to build than 10 years ago - no need to worry about IRQ or DMA settings - most everything is plug and play.

  7. Have to agree on the SLI set up with 2 7600 GTs. Not the best bang for the buck. Neither is the 7950GT IMO. The X1950Pro gives it a run for it's money for about $70 less. The 7900GS is a good option too. Better than dual 7600s and not much more expensive.

    I think you can do better for your money than a 939 system which will be all but obsolete soon. Take a look at my sig. Everything I bought was $730 shipped and included my PSU which isn't listed. (Ignore the 80gig drive, it's from my old rig.) Only thing I didn't get was a case, monitor, and dvd burner.
  8. Ok, this talk about single card vs SLI got me curious. I found a review of an SLI setup vs single 7600GT here:

    The conclusion is that SLI provides from 40-80% faster processing than a single card. From Tom's VGA Chart, the 7950GT provides anywhere from 20-100% improvement. To me, the bang for buck would be to go SLI since it's $160 vs $245.

    My old case is actually pretty nice with 4 80mm fans. 1 on side and 1 on front for intake. The other 2 are on the back for output. I found the OCZ GameXStream 600w for around $90 after rebate so I'll probably go with that PSU.
  9. Ok - if you want SLI - get it - I would just build the system with one card and add the second if you really think you need the graphics power. That is one of the selling points of SLI - you can improve your graphics by simply adding a second card - but note that your article supports the statement that it is not a linear improvement.

    I would like to know why you think you need this much power for graphics - as I have been very satisfied with my single 7600GT when playing games or surfing or even office programs.

    The OCZ powersupply is a good choice - solid name, good technology.

    As for the case - it's beige right? You seem to be avoiding the question. Do you secretly covet the color beige? Have you sought professional help for this problem? There is probably a chapter of the beige computers anonomous in your area - though since they are anonomous, it might be tricky to find them.

    Ok - the real point of a new case is to provide the connectivity to USB and Firewire on the front of the case, and to provide space and airflow for the other components. 2 - 120mm fans is reccomended, more is better - this gives you good airflow and a much quieter system. This is probably something that can be put off for a while - so don't worry about it. If you do have a fan or two that sounds a bit off (due to age), then you can probably just replace it with a like sized fan.

  10. Benchmarks for BFG7600GT OC SLI vs XFX7950GT

    BFG 7600GT OC SLI:
    3DMark06 Vertex Shader - 252 / 73
    3DMark06 Pixel Shader - 240
    (increasing resolution starting with 1024 x 768)
    Doom 3 Data - 147..143..131..128..96..71
    Half-Life 2 Data - 180..142..127..159..120..87
    Far Cry Data - 110..109..104..105..87..65
    Splinter Cell 3 Data - 107..76..57..93..64..46

    XFX 7950GT:
    3DMark06 Vertex Shader - 189 / 56
    3DMark06 Pixel Shader - 241
    (increasing resolution starting with 1024 x 768)
    Doom 3 Data - 218..164..126..132..91..67
    Half-Life 2 Data - 276..242..203..253..160..134
    Far Cry Data - 168..157..125..134..94..70
    Splinter Cell 3 Data - 102..72..54..88..61..45

    These are benchmarks I pulled from neoseeker tests. From the numbers, there are clearly some instances where a 7950GT outperforms a dual 7600GT, but at higher resolutions they are on par and on Splinter Cell, the 7600 setup outperformed the 7950GT at all resolutions.

    I've already purchased the video cards but for argument's sake, for the money, I'd say the SLI setup is clearly the better choice. I'd love to hear reasons for the other side.
  11. Thanks for the reply, Averice.

    My case is silver and red with a silver logo Z inside a circle. Not sure what kind of case i got. There's blue LED all over though. It has 2 USB and one 1394 port in front. And just so you know...I have a brother in the Beige Case Anonymous group. It's a sensitive issue so don't joke about it, please.

    And i keep asking myself why i'm getting SLI. I guess the technology intrigues me. Heck for 95% of what I do, a single card with the dual DVI would suffice. But I want to check out some new strategy PC games and I suppose I don't want to worry about adding a second card later.
  12. I hope your brother recognized that he had a problem before any family intervention had to occur - Those are always a 'crap shoot' on how they will impact a family. The important thing is he is getting the support he needs, and hopefully the healing has already begun. I hope I can speak for the rest of the Forumz, that we all hope that he can one day conquer this problem and hopefully lead a prosperous and productive life - possibly serving as a rolemodel for others with this afliction.

    Getting Technology for technology sake is reason enough. I can respect the desire to play with SLI. I would suggest that you build and test with one card - keeping benchmarks, and then put in the SLI. This way you can figure out what your personal improvement was. Kinda geeky - but what the heck.

    Have fun.
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