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first full new build...fill in the blanks

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January 10, 2007 5:16:49 PM

Hi folks,

I'm assembling a list for my first full new build. Would like it to be a pretty good gaming system, but do have to watch the budget a bit. Don't want to spend much more than $1800 now, and if the components are coming out cheaper that's fine, then I can spring for a new monitor as well.

Here's what I've got so far (I'd appreciate all feedback, critiques as to current components as well as suggestions for future ones):

Intel Core2 Duo E6600
Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3
Radeon X1950XT
ANTEC True Power Trio 650W PSU
& peripherals from current computer, + some TBD DVD drives

What I'd like some feedback on:

WD Raptor 74GB with a larger storage drive verus just 1 320 GB 7200 hard drive. Am I going to notice the boost or will some other bit of my system already bottleneck it? I don't store that much music or anything, so it'll principally just be games.

RAM suggestions? again, should i go top of the line, or will my video card be the primary bottleneck when playing games like Oblivion, AOE3 etc. I play mostly RPG/strategy games. Also, brand recommendations?

Case suggestions?

Thanks much,
meg

More about : full build fill blanks

January 10, 2007 7:26:37 PM

rather than get raptor and another HDD get two 250gb HDDs and RAID0 them

if you want good ram get supertalent but any good brand is good. Get 800mhz cl4 ram, 2gb
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January 10, 2007 8:52:10 PM

Quote:
Hi folks,

I'm assembling a list for my first full new build. Would like it to be a pretty good gaming system, but do have to watch the budget a bit. Don't want to spend much more than $1800 now, and if the components are coming out cheaper that's fine, then I can spring for a new monitor as well.

Here's what I've got so far (I'd appreciate all feedback, critiques as to current components as well as suggestions for future ones):

Intel Core2 Duo E6600
Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3
Radeon X1950XT
ANTEC True Power Trio 650W PSU
& peripherals from current computer, + some TBD DVD drives

What I'd like some feedback on:

WD Raptor 74GB with a larger storage drive verus just 1 320 GB 7200 hard drive. Am I going to notice the boost or will some other bit of my system already bottleneck it? I don't store that much music or anything, so it'll principally just be games.

RAM suggestions? again, should i go top of the line, or will my video card be the primary bottleneck when playing games like Oblivion, AOE3 etc. I play mostly RPG/strategy games. Also, brand recommendations?

Case suggestions?

Thanks much,
meg


Ok... well, big question: Do you plan to OC? If you don't then you can stick with like... 667MHz RAM or maybe 533MHz... depending on what kind of performance you're looking for. Also... how much space will you need? A raptor is a good drive but it won't help with the loading times on games since the game will be on the RAM once you start it. Maybe a little boost on the initial bootup, but that's about it.

RAID 0 in general isn't worth the money unless you have some sort of like streaming video or video editing or something that requires a lot of sequential reads. A single drive is good enough and... yeah.

RAM brands? Corsair or OCZ are pretty good. Make sure you get at least 2 gigs if you can. I personally use Kingston... but then again I'm running dual xeon 5160s.

If you're playing Oblivion then you'll probably have a bottleneck with the GPU there. Oblivion is HIGHLY resource intensive, but you should already be aware of this.

Anyways, happy building and hope I could be of some help!

EDIT: Sorry about the double-post but something went wrong...
January 11, 2007 1:23:28 PM

Thanks so much.

I'm not sure about the OCing. I probably won't to start with, but I'd like the option. I'm sure I'll get curious as my tech skills develop. :)  Plus, if I'm pricing things right, it's not that much more (~$50) for the 800 than the slower, right?

I should probably mention here that i'm upgrading from an old computer (I won't even put the specs here, because everyone will laugh, but suffice it to say it's got RDRAM), so my rationale on this is that the X1950XT is going to be a massive jump up...I know i'm chatting with a bunch of cutting edgers here, but I can't justify to myself the jump up to the 8800 series.

any case, cooling suggestions?
January 11, 2007 1:41:12 PM

A lot of folks use Thermaltake cases, but I like the Antec P180. It's big but can run 4 case fans (it comes with 3). For CPU cooling, unless you are planning to OC, stick with the stock fan that comes with the processor. If you are going to OC or buy an OEM cpu, I like the AC Freezer 7 Pro. Scythe and Thermaltake make some good CPU fans as well.
January 11, 2007 2:22:36 PM

Quote:
...but suffice it to say it's got RDRAM


If you aren't using your pc for anything else you might wanna consider selling the different bits of hardware on ebay or something. RDRAM is going for a song at the moment, got £50 for 256mb the other month, and my old 2.4Ghz P4 northwood went for just over £60 too...
January 11, 2007 4:14:16 PM

At your budget I'd go E6600 or E6400. The 6600 has more cache I think so its a nice choice. I may be wrong though off the top of my head.

I prefer Abit boards. Better RMA, uGuru, better quality construction, better support, CMOS reset via kiaboard shortcut, better website, Audiomax, etc...

Memory I'd go PC4200 DDR2 which runs at 533MHZ. Unless you want to overclock then this is fine. If you want to overclock go higher speed. Get the cheapest 2GB kit you can find from a name brand company like OCZ, Corsair, Mushkin, Geil, etc... The 2 best are Corsair and OCZ with OCZ being my favorite. If you can get some memory with better timings for $10 more or so its worth it.

For the price the 1950XT is a wicked board.

I'd swap your PSU for a modular one. If you want to stick with Antec than the NEO is good. Otherwise there is OCZ, Zalman, Enermax, etc.... A few good modular PSUs out there.

A nice case is Antec p180 or nine hundred series. Coolermaster makes a nice one. Many good cases. Looks have a big effect so buy what you like. I'd get a case with teh PSU on the bottom instead of top.

Hard drives go for the 320GB. get 2 drives so you can raid them and you have a backup incase 1 drive crashes. I'd go 250gb or 320gb. 320gb seems to be the best value now. Definitely Seagate Barracudy SATA II 300mb/sec. Don't go Raptor. Save the cash for a new monitor.

I'd get a 22-22" widescreen LCD. The cheapest is fine and will probably be an acer or benq. Stay away from the elcheapo chinese knockoffs.

Pioneer for the DVD-RW unless you spend the cash on a Plextor SATA.

Logitech laser mouse and keyboard. Unless that knew microsoft combo is out for sale with the rechargable backlit keyboard. I'd get that over a logitech g11 anyday.

Creative speakers. I prefer them ober logitech. The gigaworks 7.1 kits are amazing for the price. $500 and you basically have a $3000 home stereo. If you have a stereo just hook the computer up to that.

You should be able to pull all of that for under $1800 US. here's what I'd get from newegg.com. I'll price it up.

Abit AW9D Max $210
Intel E6400 $220
OCZ platinum 2gb kit DDRII800 4/5/4/15 $207
2x Seagate Baracuda 400GB SATA II 2 x $120
LiteOn SATA DVD-RW $31
eVGA 8800GTS $370
OCZ Modstream 520W BTX modular PSU $90
Antec nine hundred case $125
Zalman CNPS9500 $48
Artic Silver 5 Compound $6
Acer 22" Widescreen LCD AL2223Wd $300

Total $1867 excluding speakers, keyboard, mouse

This is not bad for your $1800 budget considering the upgrade to the 8800gts video card. You're also getting a 22" widescreen LCD in here too. You have a Zalman heatsink, good compound, and 800mhz RAM so you're set to start overclocking. you're set for Raid and 800GB of hard drive, and a modular power supply and SATA DVD-RW so cable management will be fun. The only thing I'd absolutely remove is to lower the card to a 1950XT which is not wise since its nice to have the DX10 card which will last the test of time. I would remove the LCD and use your old CRT for now and buy the LCD later.
January 11, 2007 4:57:14 PM

Nice setup from qondo, but I would get a different and better power supply. Only 28A on the 12V rails isn't much for this system. I would look into the Seasonic S12 Energy 550W & 650W...
January 12, 2007 12:38:30 PM

Yeah a btter PSU is recommended. But at $90 the OCZ is nice. There are many good ones. I cut down the original power supply I prices to fit the $1800 budget. I reduced the E6600 which has 4mb cache to the E6400 with only 2MB cache just to fit the budget. You can always overclock the E6400 and get good results anyways.

I cut out the Plextor SATA for the cheaper Liteon SATA. If you want IDE then Pioneer or NEC are the way to go.

The case I choose Antec cause its good, has the PSU on bototm layout, and isn't that bad looking. You can choose whatever you like though.

Overall you get a basic idea and should be on your way.
January 12, 2007 1:46:48 PM

Thanks to all for the suggestions. I'm still not quite sold on the graphics card upgrade.

In terms of cable modularity, do you guys really find that it helps cooling much, or just for appearances, becuase really, the only one who'll be looking at the case much is my cat. Also, this system will be run in a generally cool room...rarely above 68F/20C, on hardwood, does that affect my need for post stock cooling?

Incorporating some suggestions, here's where I'm at now:

Antec 900 (although the coolermaster centurion is tempting because it's so cheap. boy they both are, erhem... very glowy/blue. maybe as a 28yo female I just dont get these things :) 
Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3
Sapphire 1950XT
Corsair CMPSU-620HX power supply
Intel C2D E6600
Corsair XMS 2GB DDR2 800
Segate Barracuda 7200.10 320 GB Hard drive. I'm not sure if I'm interested in RAID1 at this point.
January 12, 2007 2:38:26 PM

Looks good to me although I would personally get rid of the gigabyte board. Just my preference though. the money saved by going with the 1950XT allows the upgrade to E6600 and you have money left to dish out on the LCD and possible a nice logitech g11 combo or the new microsoft backlit keyboard combo.
January 12, 2007 3:06:40 PM

My only caveat with the DS3 is it doesn't have Firewire or eSATA. But that's just a personal preference. Everything I hear about the board is good, so nice choice!
January 12, 2007 3:27:44 PM

I'm not totally married to the gigabyte board. just based off of the fact that I've some experience with them, and they fared okay in the TH review article.

Any opinions on the Abit AB9 pro?
January 12, 2007 4:34:45 PM

Abit!!! ABit!!! ABIT!!!

I love em!!!!!
January 13, 2007 7:04:16 AM

the ab9 pro has a very bisare layout. Read some reviews and youll see. Perhaps you could look at the p5b-e asus board which is also quite good.
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