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building for first time - big budget - need advice!

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December 31, 2006 11:01:29 PM

I've decided to try to build my first computer and I have a relatively big budget for it ~$3000-3500. I've done some research online and have picked out some parts from newegg, but I wanted to see if anyone has some advice for me that I could be missing. For instance, I've read some articles on the 680i SATA problem, but I'm guessing that should be fixed if I would order a mobo now. Anyway here is what I picked out:

CPU: Intel C2D E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz 4MB cache - $317

Motherboard: EVGA 122-CK-NF68-AR Socket T (LGA 775) NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX - $250

Memory: CORSAIR XMS2 DOMINATOR 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 - $310

Power supply: Tagan TG900-U95 ATX12V/ EPS12V 900W - $280

Video Card: eVGA 768-P2-N831-AR GeForce 8800GTX - Qty 2 - $1180 (total)

Hard drives: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200KS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA - Qty 2 - $180 (total)

Case: Thermaltake Armor Series VA8000BWS Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Full Tower - $150

Monitor: SCEPTRE X20WG-Naga Black 20.1" 5ms (GTG) DVI Widescreen LCD Monitor - $240

This total comes to ~$2910, but there are also some MIRs I didn't count, so that would make it about ~$150 less if I got all the rebates back (I haven't always had the best of luck with MIRs, so I won't count them in my calculation). Does anyone have any advice for me? I know I didn't have a sound card in there, but will I really need it? I'm not a big audiophile and just really want to use this computer to play some games and I don't care if they have the best sound coming from them. I also know I need to get an anti-static wristband when building this.

Thanks for any help!
December 31, 2006 11:14:41 PM

Get an aftermarket hsf like the scythe infinity, a 1000w Enermax Galaxy, and a tube of AS5 for the hsf.

With your budget i would seriously look into a water cooling system, of course, thats only if your going to oc this rig.

Other then that your build looks awesome, have fun with it.


oh, and heres that anti-static wristband.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16899888207
December 31, 2006 11:38:52 PM

hey 2 88 cards are nice but one would suffice.

i would go with one for now as it would or should last for a year.

then see how r600 is and the refresh from each company
i.e. ati and nv. goes in the middle of next year.

that would save you around 500$
Related resources
December 31, 2006 11:54:35 PM

Quote:
I've decided to try to build my first computer and I have a relatively big budget for it ~$3000-3500. I've done some research online and have picked out some parts from newegg, but I wanted to see if anyone has some advice for me that I could be missing. For instance, I've read some articles on the 680i SATA problem, but I'm guessing that should be fixed if I would order a mobo now. Anyway here is what I picked out:

CPU: Intel C2D E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz 4MB cache - $317

Motherboard: EVGA 122-CK-NF68-AR Socket T (LGA 775) NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX - $250

Memory: CORSAIR XMS2 DOMINATOR 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 - $310

Power supply: Tagan TG900-U95 ATX12V/ EPS12V 900W - $280

Video Card: eVGA 768-P2-N831-AR GeForce 8800GTX - Qty 2 - $1180 (total)

Hard drives: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200KS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA - Qty 2 - $180 (total)

Case: Thermaltake Armor Series VA8000BWS Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Full Tower - $150

Monitor: SCEPTRE X20WG-Naga Black 20.1" 5ms (GTG) DVI Widescreen LCD Monitor - $240

This total comes to ~$2910, but there are also some MIRs I didn't count, so that would make it about ~$150 less if I got all the rebates back (I haven't always had the best of luck with MIRs, so I won't count them in my calculation). Does anyone have any advice for me? I know I didn't have a sound card in there, but will I really need it? I'm not a big audiophile and just really want to use this computer to play some games and I don't care if they have the best sound coming from them. I also know I need to get an anti-static wristband when building this.

Thanks for any help!


After speaking with mpilchfamily... THG forums resident PSU expert... I would recommend a different power supply.

The PC P&C 750W PSU can handle that setup easily, and it it the absolute best out there... and currently going for $210... which would save you about $70 bones.

You could certainly do better in price on the case you have chosen... I always recommend the coolermaster centurion...$50 and dual fans layed out nicely... unless you just gotta have the flash.

The Dominators are nice but eVGA also recommends the Kingston HyperX DDR2 800 modules for the 122-CK mobo... they are currently $260 for the pair... SLI cert, and carrying the Micron D9s.

Just making those changes would afford you the E6700 CPU, and another set of RAM under the $3500 mark.

And after many reads on cooling I would suggest the Tuniq Tower 120 CPU cooler... it is in the top 5... cool... and low noise.
January 1, 2007 1:15:47 AM

Wow, first of all, thank you to everyone who has responded so fast! I really appreciate all the advice you have given. I'm sorry if these questions seem stupid, but I'm still really new at all of this.

1) PCAnalyst - Thanks for all your advice, your tips definitely saved me some money. I do have a question about the case you suggested though. Will that case be big enough to fit the mobo, the two 8800 GTX video cards, and the CPU cooler? The case was one of my weakest points because I know next to nothing about them, so I tried to just pick one that looked big enough and looked like it could keep components cool.

2) EnforcerFX - I'm not too sure what you mean by straining the power by the 20' screen. Are the video cards 'too powerful' for that monitor?

3) Sirheck - That's a good point that I didn't really think of. I'll reevaluate whether I actually want 2 or 1 video cards.

4) Apt403 - I'll definitely look into the scythe infinity and the water cooling system. Thanks for the suggestions and pointing me towards the anti-static wristband!
January 1, 2007 3:46:33 AM

About the monitor-

If I had your budget, then I'd go for the big monitor. It's the one component you will enjoy for several years. The rest is going to be dated in a couple years.

But this is the thing-

With a hi-res monitor you're really going to need those GTX's. So, now you've blown your budget. And if you go with a smaller monitor, then there's no need to waste money on all that graphics horsepower.

Classic catch22.
January 1, 2007 4:06:42 AM

Quote:
I've decided to try to build my first computer and I have a relatively big budget for it ~$3000-3500. I've done some research online and have picked out some parts from newegg, but I wanted to see if anyone has some advice for me that I could be missing. For instance, I've read some articles on the 680i SATA problem, but I'm guessing that should be fixed if I would order a mobo now. Anyway here is what I picked out:

CPU: Intel C2D E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz 4MB cache - $317

Motherboard: EVGA 122-CK-NF68-AR Socket T (LGA 775) NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX - $250

Memory: CORSAIR XMS2 DOMINATOR 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 - $310

Power supply: Tagan TG900-U95 ATX12V/ EPS12V 900W - $280

Video Card: eVGA 768-P2-N831-AR GeForce 8800GTX - Qty 2 - $1180 (total)

Hard drives: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200KS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA - Qty 2 - $180 (total)

Case: Thermaltake Armor Series VA8000BWS Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Full Tower - $150

Monitor: SCEPTRE X20WG-Naga Black 20.1" 5ms (GTG) DVI Widescreen LCD Monitor - $240

This total comes to ~$2910, but there are also some MIRs I didn't count, so that would make it about ~$150 less if I got all the rebates back (I haven't always had the best of luck with MIRs, so I won't count them in my calculation). Does anyone have any advice for me? I know I didn't have a sound card in there, but will I really need it? I'm not a big audiophile and just really want to use this computer to play some games and I don't care if they have the best sound coming from them. I also know I need to get an anti-static wristband when building this.

Thanks for any help!


You are clearly not paying attention, and are sufferring from a classic case of "too much money, not enough brains available" syndrome.

MoBo OK, as long as SATA problem fixed. RAM is fine also.

CPU - if you have 3500 to spend, why aren't you getting the top end CPU?

Including MIRs in your budget is foolish. Regardless of what MIRs are availble, you have to pay full price and taxes up front, and MIRs do not include taxes. Your budget needs some adjustments to handle up-front costs vs savings from MIRs, which take up to 12 weeks to come back.

Video card(s): I presume you are a gamer. The video cards you are proposing to get are DX-10 cards and there is no competiton for them. You will not get any specific advantage from them until Windows Vista is actually released and DX-10 games are released. You would be better off getting a single ATI X1950X? card for now, and putting the cash saved into other components in the new system. Wait until ATI releases their DX-10 based card and competition forces nVidea to drop prices. Who knows, ATI may produce a card that outperforms the nVidea card - it's happened before. As for DX-10 released as a component of Windows Vista, if you jump on the initial release of a new OS version from MS, you are not just stupid, you are a very strong Darwin Award candidte.

Case: why are you looking at a full tower case if you are only getting one hard drive? You shoud be looking at the Thermaltake Armour Jr case instead. Lots of drive space, compatable with liquid cooling systems, less expensive and upgradeable to BTX foramt as required..

Hard Drives: a single 150 GB Raptor is not enough. Take the money saved on video cards and case and get the followwing: 1 150 GB raptor, and at lleast 1 250+ GB SATA 7200 RPM drive.

Make 3 partitons on the Raptor:
first is 40 - 50 GB for OS and related files like swap / page file, Utilities, Application files that must be stored on C drive like fonts, hardware drivers, etc. You want to havew a fair bnit of available free space on the root drive for printer spool files.
Second is 10 - 15 Gb for your applications like your Office suite, Graphics, Video and audio software etc. Space used depends on number and size of apps.
Third is remaining space. Use to install games - faster load and access.

Second, slower drive: use for data and downloads. Seperate partitons for data and downloads recommended.

PS see comments in earlier posts.

Monitor: Viewsonic makes a nice 20" LCD TV/Monitor with better specs - eg 2 ms response. Probably less expensive too.

You have neglected to discuss the optical drives you are contemplating, nor have you mentioned the keyboard and mouse combo you want. I also note that you haven't mentioned if you are getting a standalone sonudcard and the speakers to go with your system. Standalone soundcard is always better than on-board sound.

You would be wise to reconsider the video card choice and expenditure in particular. You would also be wise to include the cost of the OS and critical uttilities and applications in your budget.

Hope this helps.
January 1, 2007 7:26:27 AM

Quote:
You are clearly not paying attention, and are sufferring from a classic case of "too much money, not enough brains available" syndrome.


Ok, thanks for all the advice so far. I'm graduating college in May and my parents just told me that they would give me a graduation present of a new computer with a $2500 budget and I am willing to put another $1000 if necessary (...I guess they were in the giving mode, and like I said, I'm a college student and college students=poor so I don't have a whole lot of money to throw around). I figured building a computer myself would allow me to get a better computer than from a retailer, so I just decided today to start researching how to build a computer and what parts I would need to buy. I know some of the things I put up were a bit foolish but that's why I posted on these forums to get some help.

Quote:
Video card(s): I presume you are a gamer. The video cards you are proposing to get are DX-10 cards and there is no competiton for them. You will not get any specific advantage from them until Windows Vista is actually released and DX-10 games are released. You would be better off getting a single ATI X1950X? card for now, and putting the cash saved into other components in the new system. Wait until ATI releases their DX-10 based card and competition forces nVidea to drop prices. Who knows, ATI may produce a card that outperforms the nVidea card - it's happened before. As for DX-10 released as a component of Windows Vista, if you jump on the initial release of a new OS version from MS, you are not just stupid, you are a very strong Darwin Award candidte.


You and sirheck make good points, and I guess two 8800 GTXs are a little over the top right now. Time for a stupid question, but can I put a Radeon X1950XTX 512MB card on the mobo I want to buy, or can I only put an nVidia card on it?

Quote:
Case: why are you looking at a full tower case if you are only getting one hard drive? You shoud be looking at the Thermaltake Armour Jr case instead. Lots of drive space, compatable with liquid cooling systems, less expensive and upgradeable to BTX foramt as required..


Like I said in an earlier post, I really don't know anything about cases, so if someone can point me in the right direction that would be nice. I think I'll go with that Raptor and SATA configuration and I want Raid 1 for the SATAs, so I'll need space for at least 3 hard drives, an optical drive, a floppy drive, and a CPU cooler.

Quote:
Monitor: Viewsonic makes a nice 20" LCD TV/Monitor with better specs - eg 2 ms response. Probably less expensive too.


Yeah, I'll probably go with a better monitor and apple_fritters makes a good point that a monitor is a good investment.

Quote:
You have neglected to discuss the optical drives you are contemplating, nor have you mentioned the keyboard and mouse combo you want. I also note that you haven't mentioned if you are getting a standalone sonudcard and the speakers to go with your system. Standalone soundcard is always better than on-board sound.


I said in my first post that I'm not a big audiophile, so I probably won't get a soundcard, unless someone convinces me it's really necessary. I'm not really picky with sound. I forgot to mention that I have speakers, a mouse, a keyboard, and the OS software already so I won't need to buy those.

Thanks for all the advice and keep it coming!
January 9, 2007 12:26:43 AM

Quote:
You are clearly not paying attention, and are sufferring from a classic case of "too much money, not enough brains available" syndrome.


Ok, thanks for all the advice so far. I'm graduating college in May and my parents just told me that they would give me a graduation present of a new computer with a $2500 budget and I am willing to put another $1000 if necessary (...I guess they were in the giving mode, and like I said, I'm a college student and college students=poor so I don't have a whole lot of money to throw around). I figured building a computer myself would allow me to get a better computer than from a retailer, so I just decided today to start researching how to build a computer and what parts I would need to buy. I know some of the things I put up were a bit foolish but that's why I posted on these forums to get some help.

$3500 to spend on a new system is not small, regardless of how you got it. Given that you have access to the web and THG, your questions and proposed system are not positive indicators of your ability and performance. You may wish to consider reviewing and improving your research skills.

Quote:
Video card(s): I presume you are a gamer. The video cards you are proposing to get are DX-10 cards and there is no competiton for them. You will not get any specific advantage from them until Windows Vista is actually released and DX-10 games are released. You would be better off getting a single ATI X1950X? card for now, and putting the cash saved into other components in the new system. Wait until ATI releases their DX-10 based card and competition forces nVidea to drop prices. Who knows, ATI may produce a card that outperforms the nVidea card - it's happened before. As for DX-10 released as a component of Windows Vista, if you jump on the initial release of a new OS version from MS, you are not just stupid, you are a very strong Darwin Award candidte.


You and sirheck make good points, and I guess two 8800 GTXs are a little over the top right now. Time for a stupid question, but can I put a Radeon X1950XTX 512MB card on the mobo I want to buy, or can I only put an nVidia card on it?

As long as the MoBo supports PCIe video cards, the brand is irrelevant. See also comments about research skills above.

Quote:
Case: why are you looking at a full tower case if you are only getting one hard drive? You shoud be looking at the Thermaltake Armour Jr case instead. Lots of drive space, compatable with liquid cooling systems, less expensive and upgradeable to BTX foramt as required..


Like I said in an earlier post, I really don't know anything about cases, so if someone can point me in the right direction that would be nice. I think I'll go with that Raptor and SATA configuration and I want Raid 1 for the SATAs, so I'll need space for at least 3 hard drives, an optical drive, a floppy drive, and a CPU cooler.

Cases made by Antec, Thermaltake, Lian-Li, Coolermaster and others have been reviewed on THG. There is nothing preventing you from doing a search on THG for case reviews, or visiting the web-sites of the assorted manufacturers to get more info. Colloquially, this is called "doing your homework". What's your excuse for failing to do your homework? Let me guess - the dog ate it.
Quote:
Monitor: Viewsonic makes a nice 20" LCD TV/Monitor with better specs - eg 2 ms response. Probably less expensive too.


Yeah, I'll probably go with a better monitor and apple_fritters makes a good point that a monitor is a good investment.

No kidding. Homework again. And don't forget to investigate the pros and cons of CRT vs LCD dispalays.

Quote:
You have neglected to discuss the optical drives you are contemplating, nor have you mentioned the keyboard and mouse combo you want. I also note that you haven't mentioned if you are getting a standalone sonudcard and the speakers to go with your system. Standalone soundcard is always better than on-board sound.


I said in my first post that I'm not a big audiophile, so I probably won't get a soundcard, unless someone convinces me it's really necessary. I'm not really picky with sound. I forgot to mention that I have speakers, a mouse, a keyboard, and the OS software already so I won't need to buy those.

Soundcard can improve game performance in some cases. There was a discussion about this in September 06. You may want to follow this up. Also, many games are coded to use and take advantage of specific features and capabilities of Soundblaster cards. Given that the price of a bare-bones OEM version of the X-Fi card is $70 US, what is stopping you from getting one? Especially since you can order all of the extras and goodies from SB online later?

Thanks for all the advice and keep it comin[/color]g!
January 9, 2007 1:15:31 AM

WizardOz - The advice you gave was worthwhile, however, there is no need to lace it with rudeness and sarcasm. The guy came looking for help, not to be insulted.
January 10, 2007 3:22:24 AM

Quote:
WizardOz - The advice you gave was worthwhile, however, there is no need to lace it with rudeness and sarcasm. The guy came looking for help, not to be insulted.


Thank you for bringing my performance shortcomings to my attention. I mean this most sincerely, and I will consider this most carefully.

In my own defence, I would request that you consider with equal care the entire thread, my original comments and the fact that the post that caused you concern was essentially a rehash of my original response to the questions. More critcally, you fail to note that the embedded quotes are from a post made by MYSELF earlier in the thread. And the response of the OP is quite clearly indicating that the individual is not paying attention to the responses. And is demonstrably expecting someone else to do the basic research / homework for them. Keep in mind that this individual is a current Univercity grad, so should be extremely familiar and comfortable with searching the web and specific sites.

You may feel that my second response to the OP was rude, obnoxious, sarcastic and nasty. And that I had no justification for my "attitude". I don't agree. See comments above.

Nevertheless, I repeat my initial thanks and will examine my performance.
January 10, 2007 1:50:33 PM

That's a nice fat budget to work with. My comments:

1) With this budget, go with the C2E - either the quad QX6700 or the dual core X6800 (nothing can tap the power of the quad yet, but what's another $30 at this point?)

2) Good Mobo

3) The memory is good, but you may find some cheaper alternatives that you can still OC with

4) I echo what PCAnalyst reccomends on the PSU

5) With the raw power of the 8800 GTX, I would go with only one. There are no games that can truly take advantage of DX10 currently and there won't be for a while - much less with 2 in SLI.

6) Instead of the Caviars, get one 150GB Raptor (for OS and Apps), and 2 Seagate 7200.10 320GB in RAID0 (for data).

7) Cases are a matter of cooling, space needed, and personal preference. Referring to #6, you'll only need room for 3 HDD, but you also need to consider the size of the GPU

8) Nice monitor, but with this budget, I'd go with a 24" and 2ms if available.

Extras - If you are going this far and plan on OCing, might as well look into watercooling. I don't know anything about watercooling, but there are plenty on the forums who do.
January 10, 2007 4:30:05 PM

Quote:
WizardOz - The advice you gave was worthwhile, however, there is no need to lace it with rudeness and sarcasm. The guy came looking for help, not to be insulted.


I found that display of wit a bit jarring myself. The young man asking the question has shown that he is smart enough to have done a good deal of research about what he thinks will be the best build for his money and he is definitely smart by coming to a forum filled with intelligent folks who have been there and built that. It's a shame that every once in a while someone feels it necessary to show how much smarter they are than everyone else in such a manner. I'm not even at the point of having imagined my new computer. Still in info gathering mode, man things change quickly. I'm looking at the Gateway FX530 line (always had and have Gateway computers) and looking at how much computer I could build for that amount of money or so. I always end up adding ram, hard drives, power supplies, cards and whatnot so I'm thinking along the lines of building my own with a more versatile motherboard and top line cpu than I usually end up with and so on. So I'm still reading the posts and listening to the opinions and gaining information. Great site, great info and knowledge out there and in here.
January 14, 2007 11:36:32 PM

Quote:
That's a nice fat budget to work with. My comments:

1) With this budget, go with the C2E - either the quad QX6700 or the dual core X6800 (nothing can tap the power of the quad yet, but what's another $30 at this point?)

Generally agree, but strategic spending is a good thing. Don't overbuy components, especially if htere is zero support for a particular component. Why waste money on X that could be speent on Y and get a real performance advantage from Y?

2) Good Mobo

3) The memory is good, but you may find some cheaper alternatives that you can still OC with

Just make sure that the RQAM manufacturer warranties the product even if you do OC it. Some do, some don't. Warranty is always a good thing.

4) I echo what PCAnalyst reccomends on the PSU

5) With the raw power of the 8800 GTX, I would go with only one. There are no games that can truly take advantage of DX10 currently and there won't be for a while - much less with 2 in SLI.

A relevant consideration is that there is no competetion for this product and what the market will bear is the price you pay. Also, niether DX-10, nor any games or software for it are available- the DX-10 advantage here is what exactly?

6) Instead of the Caviars, get one 150GB Raptor (for OS and Apps), and 2 Seagate 7200.10 320GB in RAID0 (for data).

You may wish to follow up on partitoning

7) Cases are a matter of cooling, space needed, and personal preference. Referring to #6, you'll only need room for 3 HDD, but you also need to consider the size of the GPU

A good MId-ATX case is a good idea. Don't forget the PSU.

8) Nice monitor, but with this budget, I'd go with a 24" and 2ms if available.

The bigger the monitor, the further away from it one has to be to see all parts comfortably. So why are you suggesting a screen that is best vierwed from a minimum of 6 feet / 2 m away? Lets also try and remember the space available on the desktop. I didn't see any indication in the OP that unlimnited desk or wall space was available. I try and tailor my suggestions and recommendations to fit what the OP has said. What's your story?

Extras - If you are going this far and plan on OCing, might as well look into watercooling. I don't know anything about watercooling, but there are plenty on the forums who do.
January 15, 2007 2:39:06 AM

Quote:
That's a nice fat budget to work with. My comments:

1) With this budget, go with the C2E - either the quad QX6700 or the dual core X6800 (nothing can tap the power of the quad yet, but what's another $30 at this point?)

Generally agree, but strategic spending is a good thing. Don't overbuy components, especially if htere is zero support for a particular component. Why waste money on X that could be speent on Y and get a real performance advantage from Y?

I agree that strategic spending is a good thing. However, the OP says "big budget" in the topic and wants to buy one of the two best processors on the market. I alludded to the fact that there is nothing to take advantage of the quad-core, therefore I feel my suggestion is right on target.

2) Good Mobo

3) The memory is good, but you may find some cheaper alternatives that you can still OC with

Just make sure that the RQAM manufacturer warranties the product even if you do OC it. Some do, some don't. Warranty is always a good thing.

Good point. I know Asus mobos are picky with memory, but I'm not sure about eVGA.

4) I echo what PCAnalyst reccomends on the PSU

5) With the raw power of the 8800 GTX, I would go with only one. There are no games that can truly take advantage of DX10 currently and there won't be for a while - much less with 2 in SLI.

A relevant consideration is that there is no competetion for this product and what the market will bear is the price you pay. Also, niether DX-10, nor any games or software for it are available- the DX-10 advantage here is what exactly?

The DX10 is a measure against so-called "future proofing". Personally, I'm all for getting a much cheaper DX9 7xxx card - saves money. In a year or so DX10 will be far more popular and the software will be there to justify the expense. However, if the buyer wants one, then that is their perogative. I just don't suggest running two of these cards in SLI - at least for now.

6) Instead of the Caviars, get one 150GB Raptor (for OS and Apps), and 2 Seagate 7200.10 320GB in RAID0 (for data).

You may wish to follow up on partitoning

Couldn't agree with Wizard any more here. There are definitely advantages to partitioning and/or having multiple drives. If you have any questions regarding this matter, Wizard knows quite a bit and should be more than happy to help you in this area.

7) Cases are a matter of cooling, space needed, and personal preference. Referring to #6, you'll only need room for 3 HDD, but you also need to consider the size of the GPU

A good MId-ATX case is a good idea. Don't forget the PSU.

8) Nice monitor, but with this budget, I'd go with a 24" and 2ms if available.

The bigger the monitor, the further away from it one has to be to see all parts comfortably. So why are you suggesting a screen that is best vierwed from a minimum of 6 feet / 2 m away? Lets also try and remember the space available on the desktop. I didn't see any indication in the OP that unlimnited desk or wall space was available. I try and tailor my suggestions and recommendations to fit what the OP has said. What's your story?

My suggestion was based the large budget and the "savings" from not getting that extra 8800 card. Why not get a monitor that can actually benefit from the 8800 card? I didn't see any indication from the OP that there is a limitation on desk or wall space that would prohibit the use of a 24" widescreen.

Extras - If you are going this far and plan on OCing, might as well look into watercooling. I don't know anything about watercooling, but there are plenty on the forums who do.
January 15, 2007 4:17:19 AM

Quote:
That's a nice fat budget to work with. My comments:

1) With this budget, go with the C2E - either the quad QX6700 or the dual core X6800 (nothing can tap the power of the quad yet, but what's another $30 at this point?)

Generally agree, but strategic spending is a good thing. Don't overbuy components, especially if htere is zero support for a particular component. Why waste money on X that could be speent on Y and get a real performance advantage from Y?

I agree that strategic spending is a good thing. However, the OP says "big budget" in the topic and wants to buy one of the two best processors on the market. I alludded to the fact that there is nothing to take advantage of the quad-core, therefore I feel my suggestion is right on target.

Fine and generally agree, but if we are in fact applying strategic spending, who says all the available budget has to be spent up front, all at once? Or are we supposed to apply the fiscal year-end spending spree approach?

2) Good Mobo

3) The memory is good, but you may find some cheaper alternatives that you can still OC with

Just make sure that the RQAM manufacturer warranties the product even if you do OC it. Some do, some don't. Warranty is always a good thing.

Good point. I know Asus mobos are picky with memory, but I'm not sure about eVGA.

Always check the MoBo manufacturere's site for specific info. Then check cpompatible RAM manufacturer's sites for additional info. It may be possible to use the "value" line of product instead of the "premium" line, saving significant cash.

4) I echo what PCAnalyst reccomends on the PSU

5) With the raw power of the 8800 GTX, I would go with only one. There are no games that can truly take advantage of DX10 currently and there won't be for a while - much less with 2 in SLI.

A relevant consideration is that there is no competetion for this product and what the market will bear is the price you pay. Also, niether DX-10, nor any games or software for it are available- the DX-10 advantage here is what exactly?

The DX10 is a measure against so-called "future proofing". Personally, I'm all for getting a much cheaper DX9 7xxx card - saves money. In a year or so DX10 will be far more popular and the software will be there to justify the expense. However, if the buyer wants one, then that is their perogative. I just don't suggest running two of these cards in SLI - at least for now.

Buyers prerogative is absolutely correct, but $3500 is actually not that much when you consider that systems from Falcon, Alienware and VooDooPC, among others, start at $5,000. So, careful budgeting and strategic spending and not paying for vapour-ware capabilities are reasonable and legitimate considerations. Saving a C-note by waiting for competiton in the GFX card market is a bad thing how?. We also note the recent test on THG that showed the current 8800 series of cards absolutely require the top-end Intel CPU to get "full" (no DX-10, so can't really reach full capability). Big extra expenditure here, but is it reasonable and justifiable? I'll bet that the next generation, especially with ATI competition will be much improved and less expensive. And so it goes..

6) Instead of the Caviars, get one 150GB Raptor (for OS and Apps), and 2 Seagate 7200.10 320GB in RAID0 (for data).

You may wish to follow up on partitoning

Couldn't agree with Wizard any more here. There are definitely advantages to partitioning and/or having multiple drives. If you have any questions regarding this matter, Wizard knows quite a bit and should be more than happy to help you in this area.


Thank you for that positive comment and endorserment. And yes, I would be happy to help.


7) Cases are a matter of cooling, space needed, and personal preference. Referring to #6, you'll only need room for 3 HDD, but you also need to consider the size of the GPU

A good MId-ATX case is a good idea. Don't forget the PSU.

You may wish to also consider future needs to upgrade to BTX standard. I would recommend a very serious look at the Thermaltake Armor Jr or Armor cases. No PSU included, but extremely nice cases. The jr is what I am getting next.

8) Nice monitor, but with this budget, I'd go with a 24" and 2ms if available.

The bigger the monitor, the further away from it one has to be to see all parts comfortably. So why are you suggesting a screen that is best vierwed from a minimum of 6 feet / 2 m away? Lets also try and remember the space available on the desktop. I didn't see any indication in the OP that unlimnited desk or wall space was available. I try and tailor my suggestions and recommendations to fit what the OP has said. What's your story?

My suggestion was based the large budget and the "savings" from not getting that extra 8800 card. Why not get a monitor that can actually benefit from the 8800 card? I didn't see any indication from the OP that there is a limitation on desk or wall space that would prohibit the use of a 24" widescreen.


When making recommendations it is a good idea to keep physical reality in mind. Given the usual distances betweeen the user and the monitor, anything larger than a 20" LCD is a very poor recommendation. This is because at the 2.5 to 3.5 foot distance normally observed between a user and the screen, anything bigger than 20" dioagonal will not be seen / viewed correctly in its entirety. If you don't believe me, just check out the viewing distance considered appropruiate for a 25" to 27" TV -a lot farther than 3 ft / 1m. And yet, the normal viewing distance for a computer monitor is around 3 ft / 1m. Please explain the accceptability of the discrepancy.

Extras - If you are going this far and plan on OCing, might as well look into watercooling. I don't know anything about watercooling, but there are plenty on the forums who do.
January 15, 2007 4:34:50 AM

Okay, first of all-

WizardOZ, for being such an obnoxious person that uses such an asinine and inconvenient method of replying to other people's posts, I agree with most of what you say.

PinkCaddy, you're giving bad advice.

Dante8700, to add to what others have said and be a little more courteous while I do it, I'll say this.

Quote:
Intel C2D E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz 4MB cache - $317


It's honestly unnecessary. You could get a 6400 for $220 or a 6300 for $190, over-clock and hit the same processing power as a stock 6700 or 6800. Sure, the 6600 can over-clock too but, what the hell would you need all that power for? You're playing games, not trying to render the world with DX10 shaders and the powers of Jesus. For gaming @ max settings, you could use a 6300 or 6400 @ 3.0 gigahertz for the next 2.5 years, comfortably.

Quote:
EVGA 122-CK-NF68-AR Socket T (LGA 775) NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX - $250


Okay this is decent, but really there's no reason to use this card over an Asus P5B Deluxe. The raid issue also hasn't been resolved unfortunately. I'll give you a piece of advice I learned about motherboards. The issues never get fixed. I bought my DFI Ultra-D LanParty on my budget PC when they launched, I still have to use the Marvell ethernet port.

Quote:
CORSAIR XMS2 DOMINATOR 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 - $310


Uh, this is okay, I guess? But really like WizardOZ said, you're having too much of the "I have so much money to spend I'm gonna throw it away" syndrome. Firstly, are you planning on over-clocking to like 4 gigahertz? If so, why? This is a gaming PC, not a record-breaker. If you just want to over-clock to get bang for buck, just remember once you go higher than the 6300, you don't need DDR800 ram. My 6400 is at 2.8 ghz with DDR667 ram, and I haven't even upped the voltage yet! I'd be at 3.0 ghz if I upped the voltage and still have a 1:1 ratio.

Quote:
Tagan TG900-U95 ATX12V/ EPS12V 900W - $280


Again, why? You should stop looking at the most expensive part in each category, and think more about total values. You don't need a 900 watt Tagan. You're trying to power one gaming PC, not 10 gaming PC's in your neighborhood. Get an OCZ GSX 700. They're $140, have a rebate, and they can power two 8800 GTXs comfortably.

Quote:
eVGA 768-P2-N831-AR GeForce 8800GTX - Qty 2 - $1180 (total)


This was just so stupid, I can't even begin. Firstly, what if the R600 comes out in a couple of months, and it's so much better than the 8800, the 8800 turns into what happened to GeForce line back when the 9700 Pro came out? I bet all the people that bought the first GeForce FX's really felt like jackasses, and you will too, because not only did you sink your teeth in one bad investment, you sunk your teeth in TWO!

Get an X1950XTX. You can play any DX9 game at max settings with that card and it's heaps cheaper.

Quote:
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200KS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA - Qty 2 - $180 (total)


I agree with what WizardOZ said. You could easily just get a 74 GB Raptor for your applications, and a 150 or a single 320 for data storage. I don't really like the Raptor. I don't think they're worth it, but the load times might be worth it.

Quote:
Thermaltake Armor Series VA8000BWS Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Full Tower - $150


Get an Armor Jr. seriously. You don't need a full size case unless you're planning on storing over 4 hard-drives, 2 optical drives, a floppy drive, a lol-zip disc drive, a platinum sound-card bay and a media bay. It's also a pain in the ass to chug around some huge full size tower. You could also invest in a Lian Li, but the Thermaltake Armor Jr is nice.

Quote:
SCEPTRE X20WG-Naga Black 20.1" 5ms (GTG) DVI Widescreen LCD Monitor - $240


You know what I recommend? Do everything I suggested, and drop this monitor from the list entirely. Get a "17 Trinitron CRT, and spend all the money you saved on a HDTV with HDMI and DVI support and hook your PC up to THAT!

You have 3500 to spend? Why not spend 2 grand on the tower, have top of the line parts and performance, and spend the other 1500 on a badass TV to enjoy your games on?
January 15, 2007 4:52:05 AM

Quote:
WizardOz - The advice you gave was worthwhile, however, there is no need to lace it with rudeness and sarcasm. The guy came looking for help, not to be insulted.


I found that display of wit a bit jarring myself. The young man asking the question has shown that he is smart enough to have done a good deal of research about what he thinks will be the best build for his money and he is definitely smart by coming to a forum filled with intelligent folks who have been there and built that. It's a shame that every once in a while someone feels it necessary to show how much smarter they are than everyone else in such a manner. I'm not even at the point of having imagined my new computer. Still in info gathering mode, man things change quickly. I'm looking at the Gateway FX530 line (always had and have Gateway computers) and looking at how much computer I could build for that amount of money or so. I always end up adding ram, hard drives, power supplies, cards and whatnot so I'm thinking along the lines of building my own with a more versatile motherboard and top line cpu than I usually end up with and so on. So I'm still reading the posts and listening to the opinions and gaining information. Great site, great info and knowledge out there and in here.

Ya know buddy, regardless of how "jarring' my second response to the OP may have been, even in your considered and professional opinion, regardless of how harsh, sarcastic and obnoxious it may have been it totally blows anything you have to say out of the water. Unpleasant and difficult as my response that you object amy have been, it still contained on-topic, correct and appropriate technical inmformation. As do my subsequent posts here. You have spent a lot of time making negative comments about me and the content of my post, but you have not said anything directly useful to answering the OP's question.

So who actually is the more helpful poster here?
January 15, 2007 5:51:25 AM

With your budget a G8800 is a fine choice. WizardOz neglects to mention that it easily out performs any other Gfx card at all currently available games (And is only 150 dollars more than the X 1950 XTX). Either get some cheap 100-200 dollar range gfx card and save for when R600 comes out, or get a G80 GTS or GTX. No need for 2 GTXs. With the money you save you could look into a QX6700, a quad core intel. I would probably stay away from it until games support quad core processors, but I also don't have a 3500 dollar budget for a new computer.

Edit: Oh, and if you're going to order it from a site and not put it together yourself, I highly recommend ABS Ultimate X8. It comes with a very nice liquid cooling system and is extraordinarily reasonably priced for a pre assembled high end gaming rig with support.
January 15, 2007 11:26:18 PM

Quote:
With your budget a G8800 is a fine choice. WizardOz neglects to mention that it easily out performs any other Gfx card at all currently available games (And is only 150 dollars more than the X 1950 XTX). Either get some cheap 100-200 dollar range gfx card and save for when R600 comes out, or get a G80 GTS or GTX. No need for 2 GTXs. With the money you save you could look into a QX6700, a quad core intel. I would probably stay away from it until games support quad core processors, but I also don't have a 3500 dollar budget for a new computer.

Edit: Oh, and if you're going to order it from a site and not put it together yourself, I highly recommend ABS Ultimate X8. It comes with a very nice liquid cooling system and is extraordinarily reasonably priced for a pre assembled high end gaming rig with support.


Ummm.. I didn't say anything about the relative performance of the 8800 because it is a cold hard fact that it does. I didn't see any need to state the obvious.

My point was, and remains, that because there is no competitive product available, one pays a hefty premium for that performance. And, as I noted above, the 8800 requires the top-end - read most expensive - Intel CPU to achieve best possible performance, according to a very recent test here at THG. Are you suggesting that the performance tests at THG are dubious and unreliable?

Suddenly, the price difference for "best gfx performance" is not a mere $150.00. It is between $400 and $1000 depending on whether one looks at the 6700 or 6800 C2D CPU. Big, big difference. And you justify this difference how?

Even with a fairly generous budget like the OP has, strategic spending is a very wise approach.

Who knows, ATI's DX-10 product may not only outperform the 8800 series, it won't absolutely require the most expensive CPU in a product line to achieve this. And, even if it doesn't quite outperform nVidea's product, but its overall performance is not CPU model dependent, than you know which one is the better choice. Especially since one can't actually see the difference between 150 and 190 FPS, let alone 187 vs 190.

When I offer advice, recomendations and suggestions I make a serious effort to include information about both sides of an issue. This way, the querant is able to make a reasonably well-informed decision, allowing for the limitations of my own knowledge, skills and experience. Mind you, politeness counts a lot.

As opposed to individuals like you who are caught up in the "faster is better, regardless of the current cost" wave.

Why do you have such a lack of respect for the people you are attempting to "help"?
January 15, 2007 11:39:01 PM

I am sorry that you feel that the way I tend to reply to posts is Quote assinine and inconvenient Unquote, and that I am therfore Quote Obnoxious Unquote.

Tragically, I find this to be the best way to avoid the problem of the people I am replying to claiming not to have said what they said, or "forgetting" what they said 2 or 3 posts previously in the same effing thread.

You may wish to reconsider your comments.

I am firmly convinced that a very significant percentage of posters in these forums suffer from ADHD and are failing to take their meds.
January 15, 2007 11:42:32 PM

Like what WizardOZ said, but I'll add even more to that.

Until they make a benchmark series that uses a more modest CPU, like a 6400 or a 6600 that pits the 8800 series cards against the 1950 series cards and 7950 series cards, you have no idea how well it will perform on anything but a 6700 or 6800.

You know what's sad? The same people that bite the bullet and buy an 8800 sometimes come back, disappointed with the performance versus the cost, and the same people that recommended it, not only disregard their complaints, but flame them and call them ignorant.

It's sad that such an extremely distasteful and ignorant approach to computer building has surfaced the market discussions, but what can we do? It certainly isn't in the moderator's best interests to go around wrathfully banning every idiot on the board. The population would likely drop to the triple digits had that begun to happen.

The best thing I can tell you is, unless you're using a Q 6800 or 6700, you will not be using the 8800 at its best, but consider that a 1950XT or 7950GTX doesn't need that kind of CPU power. It's likely that the "big difference" an 8800 beats its competitors by, isn't such a big difference when it's on an E6400 or E6300, over-clocked or not.

It's also important to note, Oblivion and Doom 3 Engine games are the only benchmarks where there's such a large scale difference between Nvidia G80s and ATI's best competitors.

Anyone spending more than $250 on a graphics card at this point is making a mistake. Why?

Whether the R600 stomps out the G80 or not, doesn't change the fact that the R600 will pressure Nvidia into making two important steps:
1) Lowering the price on the current model 8800 GTS/GTX
2) Releasing mid-range cards that might offer better bang for buck with cut down G80 cores.
January 15, 2007 11:51:49 PM

Hear Hear!!!
January 16, 2007 12:32:40 AM

Coming from a fellow poor college student, I would say spring for a larger monitor... ~24in or so. You'll love one of those for a long time. Echoing what others have said, wait on the second GPU. Once R600 comes out, you should be able to buy a second GTX for a lower price.
January 16, 2007 12:03:48 PM

Quote:

Ummm.. I didn't say anything about the relative performance of the 8800 because it is a cold hard fact that it does. I didn't see any need to state the obvious.

My point was, and remains, that because there is no competitive product available, one pays a hefty premium for that performance. And, as I noted above, the 8800 requires the top-end - read most expensive - Intel CPU to achieve best possible performance, according to a very recent test here at THG. Are you suggesting that the performance tests at THG are dubious and unreliable?

Suddenly, the price difference for "best gfx performance" is not a mere $150.00. It is between $400 and $1000 depending on whether one looks at the 6700 or 6800 C2D CPU. Big, big difference. And you justify this difference how?


Who knows, ATI's DX-10 product may not only outperform the 8800 series, it won't absolutely require the most expensive CPU in a product line to achieve this. And, even if it doesn't quite outperform nVidea's product, but its overall performance is not CPU model dependent, than you know which one is the better choice. Especially since one can't actually see the difference between 150 and 190 FPS, let alone 187 vs 190.

When I offer advice, recomendations and suggestions I make a serious effort to include information about both sides of an issue. This way, the querant is able to make a reasonably well-informed decision, allowing for the limitations of my own knowledge, skills and experience. Mind you, politeness counts a lot.

As opposed to individuals like you who are caught up in the "faster is better, regardless of the current cost" wave.

Why do you have such a lack of respect for the people you are attempting to "help"?


From the top:

Hence I said you neglect to mention. Not you were unaware. Not you mislead. You neglect to mention, which you did.

An overclocked E6600 will easily handle the 8800 GTX without bottlenecking, which totally negates your 400-1000 dollar argument. But the OP is looking to spend around 3k, which I presume to mean he has some cash to throw around comfortably on a system. If he's looking to spend 3k there's nothing wrong with going top of the line everything. I would never recommend an E6700 or an EX6800 to anyone, but a QX6700 may be worth it to someone with this OP's budget.

Your point about ATI's DX 10 product looks fine to me. And that's the only valid caution I see in regards to someone wanting to spend 3k on a rig and considering an 8800 GTX. It's entirely possible that waiting a month will get you a better card at a better price.

Yes, when someone says they want to spend 3k on a rig, I believe Faster is Better regardless of cost. Because 3k is going way beyond getting just what you need no matter how you spend it. You can deck out a nearly top of the line rig for less than 2k spent on Newegg. 3k is going to get you bragging rights.

As for showing you respect, your previous posts had been extreme, sarcastic, and condescending, I saw no reason to pull punches. Your subsequent responses have been far more considerate, and so I apologize if I misread your tone and offended you with my response.

If I were going to spend 3500 on a system RIGHT NOW, I would go ahead and get a G8800, a really nice 20-22' gaming LCD monitor, your mobo, your memory, a QX6700, a single raptor and two 350 GB seagate SATA IIs, a really nice case designed for quiet cooling, and a very nice PSU that will be ready to handle SLIed GTXs if the need arises in the future.

Basically I like your original setup for your budget. Drop an 8800 GTX and pick up a QX6700 and a 74 GB raptor (120 dollars maybe?). Should come out nearly even. Or drop the QX6700 for an E6600 and only spend your parents money. Save your own if you don't already have a good job lined up for post graduation ;) .

IF you can wait another month or two, do so. Find out how well the R600 performs compared to the 8800. If nothing else it should drop the price of the 8800 GTX a bit.
January 17, 2007 12:18:10 AM

Quote:

Ummm.. I didn't say anything about the relative performance of the 8800 because it is a cold hard fact that it does. I didn't see any need to state the obvious.

My point was, and remains, that because there is no competitive product available, one pays a hefty premium for that performance. And, as I noted above, the 8800 requires the top-end - read most expensive - Intel CPU to achieve best possible performance, according to a very recent test here at THG. Are you suggesting that the performance tests at THG are dubious and unreliable?

Suddenly, the price difference for "best gfx performance" is not a mere $150.00. It is between $400 and $1000 depending on whether one looks at the 6700 or 6800 C2D CPU. Big, big difference. And you justify this difference how?


Who knows, ATI's DX-10 product may not only outperform the 8800 series, it won't absolutely require the most expensive CPU in a product line to achieve this. And, even if it doesn't quite outperform nVidea's product, but its overall performance is not CPU model dependent, than you know which one is the better choice. Especially since one can't actually see the difference between 150 and 190 FPS, let alone 187 vs 190.

When I offer advice, recomendations and suggestions I make a serious effort to include information about both sides of an issue. This way, the querant is able to make a reasonably well-informed decision, allowing for the limitations of my own knowledge, skills and experience. Mind you, politeness counts a lot.

As opposed to individuals like you who are caught up in the "faster is better, regardless of the current cost" wave.

Why do you have such a lack of respect for the people you are attempting to "help"?


From the top:

Hence I said you neglect to mention. Not you were unaware. Not you mislead. You neglect to mention, which you did.

I'm curious. Why, in your considered opinion, do you think the OP was looking to buy not one (1), but two (2) 8800's and run them in SLi mode? A reasonable answer is that OP is fully aware of the performance advantage of the 8800 cards. So why raise the issue explicitely?

An overclocked E6600 will easily handle the 8800 GTX without bottlenecking, which totally negates your 400-1000 dollar argument. But the OP is looking to spend around 3k, which I presume to mean he has some cash to throw around comfortably on a system. If he's looking to spend 3k there's nothing wrong with going top of the line everything. I would never recommend an E6700 or an EX6800 to anyone, but a QX6700 may be worth it to someone with this OP's budget.

For starters, the OP has never indicated any intention to OC - so my point about specific CPU models and price difference remains valid and relevant.

Also, OC-ing introduces a bunch of other considerations and costs. Not the least of which are warranty and hardware failure issues. You may want to keep in mind that the budget the OP has to work with is best and most accurately described as a windfall. The OP most likely will not be in any financial position, after spending all their available cash, to replace any components that fry from OC-ing problems.

Under such circumstances, suggesting the OP get into OC-ing is bad and irresponsible advice at best. Are you ready to replace any components that fail due to any combination of inherent risks of OC and failures to apply adequate cooling systems? You say you aren't? I didn't think so.

Your point about ATI's DX 10 product looks fine to me. And that's the only valid caution I see in regards to someone wanting to spend 3k on a rig and considering an 8800 GTX. It's entirely possible that waiting a month will get you a better card at a better price.

Ya Think? While we are there, I can think of a bunch of very good and reasonable justifications for getting a much lower-performing card than the X1950?, setting aside a bunch of cash for the gfx card and waiting a couple of months until competiton results in both a drop in the price of the 8800 series or the release of the next generation of nVidea product. Strategic spending rules, again.


Yes, when someone says they want to spend 3k on a rig, I believe Faster is Better regardless of cost. Because 3k is going way beyond getting just what you need no matter how you spend it. You can deck out a nearly top of the line rig for less than 2k spent on Newegg. 3k is going to get you bragging rights.

Well, newegg isn't the only source of parts, and is unavailable to many.

Bragging rights are a whole different issue, but stupid pissing contests are meaningless, especially since the amount the OP has to spend will not gain entry into the really high performance range.

And $3500 is the barely the top price for a midrange gaming system. As I noted elsewhere in this thread, systems from AlienWare, Falcon et al start at $5,000.00. And if I were to assemble my dream system, the total price would be between $10K to $15K. Suddenly, $3500 is not that much, and the need for strategic spending is valid.

I note that you haven't addressed the price of OS, apps, games, other software nor peripherals like mouse, keyboard, game controllers, monitor, printer, scanner, sound-card and speakers in your budget and spending analysis.

Perhaps you could explain to the OP and the rest of us how you justify not including all these other necessary costs in your "fastest is best" approach, which guarantees no money left over for all these other concerns?

As for showing you respect, your previous posts had been extreme, sarcastic, and condescending, I saw no reason to pull punches. Your subsequent responses have been far more considerate, and so I apologize if I misread your tone and offended you with my response.

I wasn't asking you to respect me. And you clearly have absolutely no idea of what an "extreme", nevermind truly obnoxious post really is. I was asking you why you have such contempt for the OP that you offer such poorly considered, inappropriate and bad advice to the OP.

As for the tone of my second response to the OP, well, buddy was clearly not paying attention and needed a reminder. But even that post contained legitimate and correct information. I am not offended by your response per se. I am very concerned by the flawed logic and clearly evident failures to read and understand what was actually said.


If I were going to spend 3500 on a system RIGHT NOW, I would go ahead and get a G8800, a really nice 20-22' gaming LCD monitor, your mobo, your memory, a QX6700, a single raptor and two 350 GB seagate SATA IIs, a really nice case designed for quiet cooling, and a very nice PSU that will be ready to handle SLIed GTXs if the need arises in the future.

Basically I like your original setup for your budget. Drop an 8800 GTX and pick up a QX6700 and a 74 GB raptor (120 dollars maybe?). Should come out nearly even. Or drop the QX6700 for an E6600 and only spend your parents money. Save your own if you don't already have a good job lined up for post graduation ;) .

Basically, I agree, with exception of gfx card and CPU and including other pertinant comments above. Raptor size should be 150 GB, given the price/GB ratio. OP should apply strategic spending considerations to CPU, gfx card and peripherals and software.

IF you can wait another month or two, do so. Find out how well the R600 performs compared to the 8800. If nothing else it should drop the price of the 8800 GTX a bit.

My responses in blue.

I trust this is clear and helpful.
!