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SMALLEST case? (GeForce8800GTX, Intel Core 2 Duo E6600)

  • Homebuilt
  • Systems
Last response: in Systems
December 30, 2006 4:02:40 AM

The old machine is dying (4+yrs), and I'm looking for help to spec my new box (my first truly homebuilt).

- Heavy development box (long C++ compiles)
- Limited gaming (not much)
- Some video (not much)
- Lots of pixels (will be driving Dell 3007WFP at 2560x1600)
- Probably XP (currently Win2K, would consider Vista, maybe MacOS)
- No plans for overclocking
- Don't need SLI (e.g., 2xGeForce 8800), but I suppose in a couple years if the second card is cheap I might throw it in there)

I'd like to "future-proof" the box as much as possible (the wife said "yes" THIS time, but no guarantee on next time.) In today's terms, I've concluded "future-proofing" means:

- Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 (maybe E6700)
- GeForce 8800 GTX (w/DIVX 10)
- 2xGB DDR2 SDRAM Dual Channel (?brand)
- WD Raptor 150GB Serial ATA150 (10,000 RPM 16 MB cache)
- Sans Digital MS2UT External RAID (w/pair of Raptor 150GB 10,000RPM, interface to mobo w/eSATA, RAID 1, hosting all development files)

I'd *prefer* as small a box as possible (SFF would be neat), but with the GeForce 8800 GTX at almost 11", I know I need a case to hold it. Since I'm relying on an external RAID, this box only needs to hold ONE hard drive and the graphics card (ok, and an optical drive too). What's the smallest mobo/case I can use? Specifically:

- ? GOOD motherboard (Asus, Intel, NVidia, etc.): Want SPEED and RELIABILITY (prefer higher bus rates, don't care much about features because won't run internal RAID, etc.)
- ? GOOD case (will go to full tower if needed to keep things cool, thinking about the CM Stacker 830 or 832, maybe an Antec)
- ? GOOD power supply (for system stability I'm willing to invest in an over-powered unit)
- ? Extra fans, temp sensors, etc. (probably dependent on mobo/case combo)

- I've read a lot on the latency/clocking tradeoffs for DDR2 SDRAM on this processor, and it's not clear to me if I need to get high-end memory or not (if I'm not overclocking, do I need Mushkin Redline XP2-800?)

In short, I'm ready to invest in quality parts if they make a difference. I'd prefer small, but I'd go to a full-size case with six-to-nine fans if that's really what's needed to get stability and long life out of the graphics card and processor. (Of course, quiet is preferred, I like the idea of more-and-bigger fans running at lower RPMs.)

Any suggestions would be *greatly* appreciated (as I said, this is my first real "homebuilt", and I want the parts to actually *fit* *together*). ;-))

More about : smallest case geforce8800gtx intel core duo e6600

December 30, 2006 4:46:09 AM

If you're doing "limited gaming" why would you spend $600 on a videocard? :?
December 30, 2006 12:40:54 PM

If you're doing "limited gaming" why would you spend $600 on a videocard? Confused

Good point, but mostly for DIVX10 (it's the only card available), and when I occasionally *want* video/games or do 3D development/modeling, I want it to work. If I go Vista, isn't DIVX10 kinda required for video playback? ( was that "future-proofing" idea).

Also, NewEgg has three cards at $559 and one at $549 after rebate, which is half the price of what I'll be spending on my $1K monitor (Dell 3007WFP at 2560x1600), so it didn't seem too far out-of-line. I'm expecting this system to come in around ~$2600+ (including monitor), so the GeForce 8800 GTX would be ~20% of the system cost (expensive, but not ridiculous). This is a high-end monitor, and I want the updates flawless (since I look at it all day).

Actually, I'd planned on the 1950XTX, until I talked myself into DIVX10. Will it make a difference if I go Vista? (...because I could get the 1950XTX in a SFF case, right?)
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December 30, 2006 1:08:07 PM

I don't know where you heard about needing DX10 for video playback in vista. I've never heard of this myself, and I'm pretty sure it's not necessary.
December 30, 2006 2:25:06 PM

It's not. In Vista you will be using DX10 no matter what card you have. You just wont have all the features that DX10 has to offer.
December 30, 2006 7:04:34 PM

Ok, another day wasted (when I was supposed to be working), and I have tentative confirmation you can get at least a single GeForce 8800 GTX in the following SFF cases:

- QMicra (big SFF, takes standard ATX mobo)
- Shuttle P-series (micro-ATX, won't fit two for SLI, but don't need that)
- ?maybe SG01 Evolution (micro-ATX, but trying to serve high-end gamers)

But, my *interesting* find is the small-footprint "tower-cube":
- Thermaltake Mozart Tx <;

The tower is interesting... it's tall, fits everything, but with a small footprint (they're trying to make it two systems -- top and bottom). Maybe my Sans Digital MS2UT External RAID will fit in the top...

In other news, the R600 (rumored to be released 20-Jan-2007) is giving me pause, since that's supposed to be a better DIVX10 card (but it's gonna cost a fortune I'll bet...)

So should I just get the 1950 PRO or something for now?