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Building new PC (yeah, another person asking for advice :P)

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January 1, 2007 3:09:13 PM

well ive got about £1300-1400 to spend on new PC, which ill start buying parts for in the next week or 2.

im looking at...

Graphics: BFG GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB GDDR3 HDTV/Dual DVI [£387]
(tho hoping ATI will release there card soon so i have a choice of cards)

Memory: Corsair 2GB DDR2 XMS2-6400C5 TwinX (2x1GB) [£176.24]
ive seen the Dominater ram but its about £150-200 more expencive, cant beleive its worth that. (is it?)

Intel Core 2 DUO E6600 "LGA775 Conroe" 2.40GHz (1066FSB) [£215]
ive been looking at this processor since its release, for the price it seems a pretty kick-ass processor, and concidering its £215 when the next processor up is £130 more for 270mhz, anyway would the 6600 be a good processor for a gaming setup or should i look higher? (i dont want the gfx running at xx speed cause the processors holding it back or anything)


Motherboard: I have no idea, it seems theres new mobos appearing constantly, i probley wont be overclocking but i love a motherboard with "gadgets" included. and it has to be able to do dual-graphics, since in 2 years or so time when the comp gets abit dated i can just stick in another gfx card for £100 & be back on top again(in theory) [Rough guess £100-120]

Soundcard: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS Edition [£136]
not 100% decided on sound card yet so can be changed or knocked off depending on ppls views...

Case: Thermaltake VA7000SWA Shark Aluminium Full Tower [£86]
my current case is a thermaltake xaser case & i was very impressed with everything about it, so ill probley stick with thermaltake.. the shark case seems to look the part aswell.

and ill be using my existing RAID-0 Raptor hard drives.

can anyone find a fault with my selection of parts? or see where i can improve performance/parts for an extra couple of quid?
(i dont wanna learn a week after ive built it i could of gotten a 50% performance increase if i spent an extra £5 on blablabla)

any advice would be useful & sorry i know ppl must be getting sick of "IM BUILDING A NEW PC! HELP!" posts, just add me to the collection lol
January 1, 2007 3:53:11 PM

Graphics: 8800+ in my opinion is the only way to go; as one of the few DX10 compatible cards, anything else at this point would be a pretty big waste of income in my opinion.

Memory: There are corsair fanboi's around; I'm not one of them. :) 
Nothing but problems so far with their memory; had 2 head 1gb dimms of the XMS series ram. All from different Etailers and instore purchases. the RMA process on the 'lifetime warranty' is a joke .. 2 weeks of jumping through hoops and a 4 week turn around time after.. so 6 weeks without the ram you need (you end up buying more ram in the mean time reguardless) I'd suggest Kingston, cheaper ram, same if not better job than corsair, unless yer an O/C nut you'll see no difference.


Processor: Seems a reasonable choice considering, I generally stick with AMD myself; mostly due to the local stores around here having higher quality mainboards stocked for AMD, not intel. You want a fast processor; I would prolly stick with a high end dual core; as depending on AMD's push adding in GPU's into cpu's the multicore battle could go either way; as with the graphics, higher clock on the processor tends to yield better results, I built a sli system awhile back with AMD 3800+ 64/x2 (dual core) and the results were cpu bottle necks due to low thruput per core :(  Please keep that in mind (also keep in mind your memory/cpu sockets will change, mainboard should be your first consideration in my opinion.

Mainboard: Biggest system building err that I most commonly see; one word; Asus. Best mainboards I've ever worked with; Gigabyte, MSI, DFi.. all respectable; but as with stabability and reliability nothing I've seen touches asus yet. Get a decient mainboard, you should be spending around 120+ $ (USD) on this for a decient system. Weigh the 'fluff' options out tho; there's alot of stuff you may never realistically use. SLi for example; where as sounds like a good idea; unless your running a very large display at high resolutions; the speed increase just isn't there, I was 'very' disappointed in the lack of performance (even at high resolutions) for SLi, Raid controllers onboard are also a very nice option to look into, as Sata raid arrays can really speed up your overall system performace at low cost.

Soundcard: Creative sound blaster X-FI,
I personally own the Mp3 music version of this card; in my opinion this should probably be your last consideration; as aside from some extra processing on samples; audio technology really hasn't seen any major improvements in the past 5+ years. I would probably go with the Mp3 card (x-fi) the software .. as with anything from soundblaster is more than a little buggy; and frequently stalls/crashes. However the cards do have a noticeable difference.. specifically on 5.1+ or better speaker setups. If you plan on using or 4 speakers I might suggest reconsidering even getting the sound card as most decient mainboards now a day have some ac97 onboard audio built in which usually seems to do the ticket on anything but a high end surround speaker system.

Case: Only one case I can suggest; Antec p-180 case. it does cost 100$+ here in north america; and does not come with a powersupply. This is hands down the best case I've ever used. Well designed; sturdy (and heavy) stock; 4 120mm fans (1 air tunnel, 1 intake, 2 exhaust) which allows a large amount of intake air OVER the HDD's .. on my raptor raid0 array I almost melted the previous case before this; this is well designed and a high quality case; again.. this isn't a good area to skimp. Hot components = slow.. shortened life. drop a couple extra quid and look for this case.

Power Supply: Something that was missin from you list; I would suggest 'atleast' a 700w psu; I would personally avoid and dual rail (on the 15v) and do some research on these; I ended up getting a 740w supply by OCZ and paid a pretty penny for it; most mainboards currently require atleast a 550w psu; that's before your graphics cards and extra hard drives ect. I wouldn't go lower than a 700; especially if you considering SLi for the future. Todays systems take a brual amount of power to run properly, a little over kill is generally better than anything, which is kind of sad considering atleast at time of this writing; companies I usually stuck to with psu's (antec) make nothing past the 550w/HE psu's which sadly won't even post most of todays top end mainboards even with nominal loads in them.


That should be about it; remember to make sure to pick up a decient UPS/Power supply for this new system; one zap you lose it :) 

Good luck :) 
January 1, 2007 10:22:28 PM

wow nice reply :) 

memory ill look into, i only turned to corsair as i was using Cruical Ballistix ram & it busted, sent it back, they returned it said theres no problems, i launched it back again & they sent me another few sticks.. worked for about 3 months then same problem, launched it back, they replaced admiting it was faulty, 3months.... in the end i said forget it & bought corsair and have had no problems in about a year now. but if u think i can save some money by getting kingston & not notice a performance drop (unless i overclock) ill have a look at it :) 

processor, sounds like the E6600 will be a good choice in ur opinion, it deffinately nails my current amd64 3500 (newcastle) processor in the benchmarks.

mainboard, yeah ill deffinately need on-board RAID controlers since ill be raiding my raptors & dont want to have to buy a card to do it. and my past 2 builds have been MSI mobos & omg >< there horrible in my opinion, none of the software (live update etc) works properly. ill deffinately be going for asus since i hear good things about them, gigabyte also seem to be liked aswell tho so ill probley have a look at them too.

soundcard, ill look into the music edition... tho i liked the FPS since it has a £25 rebate atm & comes with a front panel (i use headphones alot, annoying going behind PC).

case, ill look at that antec case u suggested but i dont think much will turn me away from thermaltake.

powersupply, yeah i forgot to say in my above post.. tbh im lost with the whole powersupply situation... the whole "rails" n things just goes over my head tho ppl tell me a main cause for crashing on a high-end system is due to a cheapy PSU so ill have to get a decent 1... just really have no clue what (help? lol)

Edit:
my systems have always been AMD so im new to the intel thing.... whats the best gaming chipset for intel? im faced with

Intel 775 (975X Chipset)
Intel 775 (965P Chipset)

which one should i be looking at?
Related resources
January 2, 2007 12:14:15 AM

I just built a new core duo system and I actually recommend the gigabyte ds3 mobo. Regarding the sound card, you don't even really need one in my opinion. The onboard sound is pretty good for the ds3. The case you are interested seems good but if you want a side window you might be interested in the Lian-Li 65. Also regarding ram, you only need ddr 533 if you are NOT GOING TO OVERCLOCK. Ram normally runs at a 2:1 ratio with the fsb. Since the conroe fsb is 266 then you can use 533 ram. Don't get dominator, it's a waste. You can just get regular corsair ram if you want. I have corsair ram in my current setup and it has cause me no problems except that it doesn't overlcock very well at all. Also ati is supposed to release their new dx10 cards in january so just wait a few more weeks to get it. The new card is about 20% better in games than the 8800 so it is worth the wait. I don't know about the power supply either but I just don't like antec. The power rails are a little weak. That's really all.
January 2, 2007 1:08:50 AM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

That's the PSU I use on my multi GPU gaming rig; excellent however it does cost a fair deal; prior to the past.. oh .. 5 years or so .. PSU's have not been a 'huge deal' in systems as the power draw before never really seemed like a big deal, latley I've even seen systems 'fail' with 800w power supplies.

Which brings me to 'rails'. Please listen carefully here as this is probably one of the largest pain in the rear ends.

Manafacturers have 'done it' again and generally based 'power/quality' of power supplies by 'wattage'. This sadly has little more than the occasional correlation with actual in practice performance.

Something akin to people believing how Processor performance is tied to the clock speed, which generally is a trend; in all actuality a 3.0 ghz Intel P2 (highly/impossibly overclocked) would stand no chance vs a 2.4 ghz core from todays current processors; point and case.

Wattage (Watts) = Voltage (Volts) X Amperage (Amps)

In a nutshell in laymans;

Voltage = Pressure of electrical current, think of this as 'speed' if you wish.

Amperage = Is the measure of the amount of electrons being pushed down a (in this case) wire.

Watts = A measurement of volume of electrical current the device is/can move.

Volts and Amps are directly related to the Wattage (total sum/volume) of electricity pushed over a given period of time.

So the question now of 'why' single rail? dual rail? quad rail?

As with everything else in computing; it's all about trade offs.

For example; lets say the PSU I Linked to you in the original post.
This runs at: 10Amps @ 115Volts or 5Amps @ 230Volts

10 amps X 115 Volts = 1150 (watts)

or

5 amps X 230 Volts = 1150 (watts)

Amps and voltage can vary to give the same ending wattage.

+3.3@36A,
+5V@30A,
+12V1@18A,
+12V2@18A,
+12V3@18A,
+12V4@18A,
-12V@0.8A,
+5VSB@3.0A

In the spammy example above lists the voltage and amperage for the given 'rails', the power supply is 'divided' into different voltages. 3.3, 5, and 12, traditionally. The 3volt 'rail' or division usually runs such things as case fans; floppy drives. The 5volt rail is almost exclusivley tied to the molex connectors inside your box; the 12 volt rails are generally used in conjunction with the processor itself.

The idea of dividing these into 'rails', is so for example that if you plug in some cheapo case fan with a short in it; you don't end up spiking (and frying) everything connected to the power supply, more contained and more well managed/cleaner power being delivered to your devices.

When people talk of 'dual rails' they mean it has 2; 12volt rails. Where as the example above actually has 4.

the problem that you run into with dual rails is that when you split a rail into two parts; you obviously half the current/amperage to each of the rails that you split.

Lets say you have a dual rail PSU; and for arguments sake the first V12 rail is taken by your monster processor (actual power consumptions vary and will almost never be a straight 12v.. atleast not for long..) where as the voltage for your rails stay the same, the amperage gets divided.
Example: You take a garden hose with a constant pressure and a constant volume of water; (water is electricity in this example). Now if you take this hose (one V12 rail) and split it into two hoses of half the diamater (dual v12) the pressure on the water is still equal; (you are still pushing the same amount of electrical current) however it's now divided by half; so the actual wattage reaching a single rail on the v12 is essentially halved.

For the average user this is no big deal; however if you are using very high end components it becomes a huge issue; specifically with over clocking and trying to raise power needs of specifically the processor.

In some cases; specifically with some models of Antec 'HE' series (Their top end commerical psu's) some asus mainboards with base processor, ram and 1 hdd will simply not boot. The V12 is too weak to even get the board going and this can lead to problems.

Aside from that the problem becomes compounded two fold for the following two reasons:

#1: If the wattage for your PSU is low or close to your max limit (running a 450watt psu on a SLi, dual/quad core system for example) splitting the 12 volt pipe means you will probably be 'wasting' or not able to use the whole 12 volts on the second rail. If your already running your PSU near it's limits, this is a bad thing.

#2: Commerical advertizing: Sadly as with most everything else in Tech work; it's a product of hype and is about as clear as the current HDTV 1080i vs 1080p is to most. You buy a 1000 watt power supply; varying manafacturer from manfacturer this is 1000 watt 'burst', not sustainable. So realisitically you might beable to sustain 550 watts from that power supply without frying it; this is -very- misleading. Where as some of the better companies (Antec and OCZ in my opinion) for psu's. They will rate theirs at sustainable thru-put. So a 550watt Antec PSU may very well have more 'actual' wattage thru put potential than some no-name 800watt psu. Confusing and misleading?

Very much so.

So all this considered my advice: Don't skimp on a power supply; it can be very simple or the worlds largest hassle. I prefer either variable rails or single rail psu's myself; as I do over clock things and much prefer more power vs less.

(variable rails is where the PSU splits the rails into 2 or 4 rails and will automatically adjust how much wattage is going to those rails dynamically as needed, giving you the extra rails without the overhead, these are usually found in high end/expencive psu's)

So stick with a good brand/reputable company; and always shoot higher than what you need by just a little bit.. Forward thinking.. if you wanna SLi this system later on; will your PSU beable to handle it? You want good consistant/clean power running to your components for them to work 'as intended', also a good power supply running at 30% max load will create alot less heat aswell.

End note: Spend a couple extra bucks on a good case and PSU; these are two very over looked areas of any system build and are absolutley critical to your total system and system performance.


As with the Processors; I used to be an Intel fanboi, admittedly; and I've turned AMD; mostly for the principles of heat. Personally I would go with a AM2 midrage dual core 64 AMD cpu; but that again is my personal preference, intel has been picking up the slack and in some reguards passing AMD in performance, however most of that I see if high end, at the end of the day CPU brand is about preference and superstition :)  Few people are middle of the road (same deal with Nvidia vs ATi) on this topic; both are great processors; I would pick one or another at this point simply based on price and chipsets used on the mainboards for it.

Hope this didn't complicate things more than it helps.
January 2, 2007 1:53:44 AM

Any reason for such a high-end sound card? The X-fi series, I think, are very, very overpriced. I have onboard sound and it suits me very well. If you need something more, look for the Mwave cards.
January 2, 2007 2:54:18 AM

Instead of the fatal1ty x-fi, get the xtreme music.
January 2, 2007 3:52:20 AM

I am confused and maybe the creator of the thread is too. If volts x amps = watts, why do the specs for the power supply you showed a link for appear to have over 1k watts of power? Am I missing something or what?
January 2, 2007 10:54:02 AM

Quote:
I am confused and maybe the creator of the thread is too. If volts x amps = watts, why do the specs for the power supply you showed a link for appear to have over 1k watts of power? Am I missing something or what?


lol ive not read that reply properly yet, taking it by year between paracetimol for the headaches ^^

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CA...

psu, but i heard these silent things usually overheat after extended use... or has that changed? (been awhile since i built a pc) will admit the sales pitch is winning me over..


"The SLI-Ready GameXStream 600/700 Watt power supplies are designed specifically for the demanding computing environments of PC Enthusiasts, Power Users, and Gamers. As more and more gamers take advantage of the gaming benefits offered by multi-GPU technology the need for improved power supply solutions increases greatly. The GameXStream features high-quality components to ensure your PC’s vital hardware is supplied with clean, stable and reliable power without compromising effectiveness. Kept ultra-cool with a large 120mm fan, the GameXStream remains virtually silent and supremely cool even at peak loads. The highly efficient GameXStream core is sheltered in a standard dimension chassis, resulting in a smaller footprint and more legroom for system-cooling modifications. GameXStream PSUs provide Active PFC to effectively regulate input voltage to deliver superior operation in a wider range of environments and countries with varying voltages. Second to no other gaming PSU, the GameXStream’s unprecedented quality and performance is the ultimate solution for serious gamers."
January 2, 2007 12:10:52 PM

because the amps rated on the 12v rails are the maximum possible when no load is applied on the other 12v rails. if all rails are loaded then ampage will not be at this maximum rating which is very misleading
January 2, 2007 3:39:34 PM

this might seem like an odd question...

the guy above posts E6600 is 266fsb.... i gather they run on a multiplier etc so its

266*4 = 1066fsb (its advertised as having 1066fsb)

but 266*4 = 1064...

anyone able to explain that? lol
January 2, 2007 6:47:14 PM

It actually ends up being slightly higher than 266. I know it's odd but I'm guessing the microprocessor industry doesn't pay any mind to a fraction of a mhz. Also the fsb changes slightly for whatever reason to that may be why.
January 2, 2007 7:03:00 PM

Quote:
It actually ends up being slightly higher than 266. I know it's odd but I'm guessing the microprocessor industry doesn't pay any mind to a fraction of a mhz. Also the fsb changes slightly for whatever reason to that may be why.


ahh kk thought that might be the case

Anyway..... my new PC so far consists of:

Case:
£86.94 - Thermaltake VA7000SWA Shark Aluminium Full Tower

Processor:
£215.01 - Intel Core 2 DUO E6600


Graphics Card: (Will be waiting for ATI to release there card tho)
£387.74 - BFG GeForce 8800GTX 768MB GDDR3

Memory:
£173 - Corsair 2GB DDR2 XMS2-6400C5 TwinX (2x1GB)


Soundcard:
£51.11 - Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Music

Powersupply:
£99.86 OCZ GameXStream 700w Silent SLI Ready ATX2 (Assume this works with crossfire too?)

Operating System:
£135.11 Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate 64-Bit Edition DVD - OEM - 1Pk


finally after looking at 100s of motherboards i think decided on 2 motherboards to pick from

Motherboard #1:
Abit AW9D-MAX Intel 975X (Socket 775) PCI-Express DDR2
Motherboard #2:
Asus P5W DH Deluxe WiFi (Socket 775) PCI-Express DDR2 Motherboard (i assume this 1 wont work with SLi setup, so ill look at this 1 again if i go with ATI's DX10 card)



so, now the final question....

is there any compatibility /stability issues with the above i should know about before i spend my cash in a couple of weeks time?

any advice be great :) 
!