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Parts Selection

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January 13, 2007 1:41:48 AM

Appologies in advance for being verbose. Skip to the specs if you desire to critique and get out quickly -- I'm concerned about cost/benefit and compatability mainly.

OK, I'm in the process of parts selection (hoping to order in the next few days) for a major upgrade/rebuild/new build. Some background on my goals: Right now I'm on a ~6 year old machine; longevity is a goal for me more than upgrading constantly to keep the latest eye candy, but as long as I'm upgrading I want to do it right. Trying to keep costs as low as possible, but price is more or less secondary to having a well oiled machine that will last me ~4 years before an overhaul. I'll be keeping my current speakers, monitor, CD/DVD drives, harddrive , mouse, and the case I've got. There shouldn't be compatability issues with those, I presume? Different people tell me different things on the HD.

Currently, I'm looking at this setup for new parts:

Processor: Intel Duo E6400
Big question: How quick is a mild overclock going to kill this thing, and how should I factor that into my desire not to replace/rebuild anytime soon? I'm new to the overclocking game, but am looking to save some cash by doing a mild overclock (fancy stuff can wait until I get the hang of it and actually need the speed a year or so down the line). Might I even get by with an E6300?

Mobo: ASUS P5B Deluxe LGA 775 Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard
I know little about mobo selection... I hear this works well though. Comments?

Ram: CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
More knowlegable people than I say RAM can be a bottleneck: will this model work and overclock mildly and all that jazz?

Graphics: SAPPHIRE 100186L Radeon X1950XT 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 VIVO PCI Express x16
I'm torn on the graphics card. I'm leaning towards just upgrading this a couple years (in the 2-3 range) down the line if it becomes necessary: DX10 can wait. "$500+ is just too much for one part" -- Me, on the 8800 GTX cost. Is my reasoning OK? Oh, and what about that specific X1950XT model? I apparently don't know enough to understand what all those crazy abbreviations afterwards mean. Is there a significant difference for someone that's just going to be gaming?

Stock cooling (I'm uninterested in the hastle of water cooling -- the only upgrade I'd consider here is a bigger fan/s)

PSU: No idea; if I don't know what GPU I'm getting, I don't really know where to start on this, I figure. Help?

I hope I didn't forget anything, but this should get things started. Anything I should know when doing my first complete build? I've replaced a part here and there, but I'm still mostly a newbie.

More about : parts selection

January 13, 2007 1:53:31 AM

Quote:


Processor: Intel Duo E6400
Big question: How quick is a mild overclock going to kill this thing, and how should I factor that into my desire not to replace/rebuild anytime soon? I'm new to the overclocking game, but am looking to save some cash by doing a mild overclock (fancy stuff can wait until I get the hang of it and actually need the speed a year or so down the line). Might I even get by with an E6300?


To answer your question briefly, the E6400 can over-clock to a higher speed while still using DDR667 ram. (No need for DDR800 until you need a 400 MHZ FSB which is 3.6 GHZ. With DDR667 + 6400 you can still hit 333 x 9 = 2.997 GHZ) As far as a mild over-clock. Really even an amateur over-clocker can hit 2.8 on a 6400 and 2.6 on a 6300 easily if done correctly. With even more testing, you could probably hit 3.0+ on either. The difference is hitting 3.0 with a 6400 can be done on DDR667 ram, while the 6300 needs DDR800 ram to hit that point because of its 8x multiplier. EDIT: Also, it will take more than just mild over-clocking to kill even 5 years off your CPU's lifetime. CPU's generally can last 10 years. To take off 5 years from that, you'd have to be a very abusive owner, run them @ load all the time and not calculate the timings perfectly.

If you time the ram right, FSB right, test it properly, you'll have no problem running a C2D @ 3.0 GHZ for 5 years. :D 

Quote:
Mobo: ASUS P5B Deluxe LGA 775 Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard
I know little about mobo selection... I hear this works well though. Comments?


It's really great, leaves the option of an SLI upgrade in the future to 2x GPU cards. The only board I've heard of being comparable is the EVGA.

Quote:
Ram: CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
More knowlegable people than I say RAM can be a bottleneck: will this model work and overclock mildly and all that jazz?


Bottlenecking ram doesn't hurt performance, it just means you have a really powerful part that isn't being used to its fullest. It's like having a car with a governor chip that only lets it go 120 miles per hour, but having a 350 horse power engine that can hit speeds of 160 miles per hour. It'll do 120 just fine, it's just capable of doing 160. If you get the 6400, you can use quality DDR667 ram and still hit 3 GHZ, but if you use the 6300 and plan on hitting or going above 2.8 GHZ, you'll need DDR800 ram to do it stable.

Quote:
Graphics: SAPPHIRE 100186L Radeon X1950XT 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 VIVO PCI Express x16
I'm torn on the graphics card. I'm leaning towards just upgrading this a couple years (in the 2-3 range) down the line if it becomes necessary: DX10 can wait. "$500+ is just too much for one part" -- Me, on the 8800 GTX cost. Is my reasoning OK? Oh, and what about that specific X1950XT model? I apparently don't know enough to understand what all those crazy abbreviations afterwards mean. Is there a significant difference for someone that's just going to be gaming?


Your reasoning is fine. 8800GTX is a Ferrari when all you want to do is race Civics. You can race Civics just fine with a Corvette (X1950XT). 8800GTX only really makes a night/day difference when you play games like Oblivion @ max settings at resolutions higher than 1900x1200 with 4xAA and 16x AF. The thing is, I can't guarantee the X1950XT can last 2-3 years at max settings, but then again, neither can the 8800GTX. The market demand is constantly changing, just ask yourself what kind of budget you'd like to spend on graphics. X1950XT is king of the 300 or less department, and if you plan on spending 300 a year, you can definitely last til your next upgrade if you get that card.

Quote:
Stock cooling (I'm uninterested in the hastle of water cooling -- the only upgrade I'd consider here is a bigger fan/s)


This depends on use. If you're planning on joining the mile high club (3.0+ GHZ on a 6400/6300) then you should plan on at least getting upgraded air cooling. Scythe- Infinity or Arctic Cooling Freezer Pro 7 comes to mind. The 6400 has better results in the 3.0+ range with air cooling.

Quote:
PSU: No idea; if I don't know what GPU I'm getting, I don't really know where to start on this, I figure. Help?


OCZ GameXStream 700. Get that and it'll suit all your needs whether it be SLI, X1950XTX or a single 8800GTX. For TWO 8800 GTX's (over 1000$ set up) you'd need an 800 or 950, but I doubt you're getting two GTX's so the 700 is perfect.

Quote:
I hope I didn't forget anything, but this should get things started. Anything I should know when doing my first complete build? I've replaced a part here and there, but I'm still mostly a newbie.


List all the parts and we'll tell you what works and doesn't work. :D 
January 13, 2007 5:18:34 PM

Quote:

To answer your question briefly, the E6400 can over-clock to a higher speed while still using DDR667 ram. (No need for DDR800 until you need a 400 MHZ FSB which is 3.6 GHZ. With DDR667 + 6400 you can still hit 333 x 9 = 2.997 GHZ) As far as a mild over-clock. Really even an amateur over-clocker can hit 2.8 on a 6400 and 2.6 on a 6300 easily if done correctly. With even more testing, you could probably hit 3.0+ on either. The difference is hitting 3.0 with a 6400 can be done on DDR667 ram, while the 6300 needs DDR800 ram to hit that point because of its 8x multiplier. EDIT: Also, it will take more than just mild over-clocking to kill even 5 years off your CPU's lifetime. CPU's generally can last 10 years. To take off 5 years from that, you'd have to be a very abusive owner, run them @ load all the time and not calculate the timings perfectly.

If you time the ram right, FSB right, test it properly, you'll have no problem running a C2D @ 3.0 GHZ for 5 years. :D 

Awesome. That's pretty much what I figured, but I wanted to be sure.

Quote:
Ram: CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
More knowlegable people than I say RAM can be a bottleneck: will this model work and overclock mildly and all that jazz?


Bottlenecking ram doesn't hurt performance, it just means you have a really powerful part that isn't being used to its fullest. It's like having a car with a governor chip that only lets it go 120 miles per hour, but having a 350 horse power engine that can hit speeds of 160 miles per hour. It'll do 120 just fine, it's just capable of doing 160. If you get the 6400, you can use quality DDR667 ram and still hit 3 GHZ, but if you use the 6300 and plan on hitting or going above 2.8 GHZ, you'll need DDR800 ram to do it stable.
Hrmm... I'll take that into consideration. Thanks! Any suggested brand/deal on DDR667 so I can compare a bit on my own?

Quote:

Your reasoning is fine. 8800GTX is a Ferrari when all you want to do is race Civics. You can race Civics just fine with a Corvette (X1950XT). 8800GTX only really makes a night/day difference when you play games like Oblivion @ max settings at resolutions higher than 1900x1200 with 4xAA and 16x AF. The thing is, I can't guarantee the X1950XT can last 2-3 years at max settings, but then again, neither can the 8800GTX. The market demand is constantly changing, just ask yourself what kind of budget you'd like to spend on graphics. X1950XT is king of the 300 or less department, and if you plan on spending 300 a year, you can definitely last til your next upgrade if you get that card.

That's more or less what I thought. Sweet. That pretty much settles it; if I need a new card 3 years down the line, I'll have the cash available again anyway. I was hoping to avoid the 300 a year expenditure and sacrifice some eye candy. Looks like I can do that; good deal.

Quote:
This depends on use. If you're planning on joining the mile high club (3.0+ GHZ on a 6400/6300) then you should plan on at least getting upgraded air cooling. Scythe- Infinity or Arctic Cooling Freezer Pro 7 comes to mind. The 6400 has better results in the 3.0+ range with air cooling.

My thoughts are that I can relax a bit on the overclock and avoid that expense for as long as possible, knowing I can always stuff in the fan and crank up the throttle later. But now I'm considering it, since it's just ~$30. Why put off for later what you can do now?

Quote:
PSU: No idea; if I don't know what GPU I'm getting, I don't really know where to start on this, I figure. Help?


OCZ GameXStream 700. Get that and it'll suit all your needs whether it be SLI, X1950XTX or a single 8800GTX. For TWO 8800 GTX's (over 1000$ set up) you'd need an 800 or 950, but I doubt you're getting two GTX's so the 700 is perfect.
Thanks. That sounds like it'll be plenty if not more than enough for me then; could I get by with less, like a 600W? Or am I looking at that kind of price+power no matter what so it can keep up with and ahead of the overclocking?

Quote:
List all the parts and we'll tell you what works and doesn't work. :D 

That's pretty much the entirety of the new materials. I don't think I should have compatability issues with the rest of it; I've never heard of someone's mouse not working. 8)
!