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1st time builder, help with build components, midrange gamer

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January 17, 2007 1:39:15 PM

I'm a first timer to building a computer, but decided it was worth the price. I just wanted to get some feedback on the parts I've chosen. Thanks.

Thermaltake armor case
Core 2 duo 6600
EVGA nForce 680i MB
eVGA 8800 GTS video
OCZ platinum ddr2 1066 1gb x 2 memory
WD Caviar 160gb, 7200 rpm HD x 2
Lite-on 20x DVD durner
Sceptre 20.1" dvi widescreen monitor
coolmax ctg-750w power supply
zalman cnps9500 cpu cooler

I can do this for about $2300 on Newegg, but have flex room up or down
January 17, 2007 4:33:12 PM

Very solid specs.

The psu should be avoided. slizone.com has a list of certified psus. or take a look at what psu 8800 users have.

http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=974240

The hdd isn't raptor, I take it. You may want to get Seagate 7200.10 hard disks. Unless you raid, get a large one instead.

The cpu cooler & 1066mhz ram aren't necessary unless you overclock. 533/667/800 will be more than enough.
January 17, 2007 4:51:25 PM

Good suggestion for a PSU? I looked at the list and didn't find that many options not on the "don't buy" list
Related resources
January 17, 2007 5:47:56 PM

I should add, I've never OC'd not sure I'm going to try - need a good stable computer for the family that can still run my games. Also, anything about the evga MB? Thanks
January 17, 2007 6:54:54 PM

akhilles advice was right on the mark

Quote:
I should add, I've never OC'd not sure I'm going to try - need a good stable computer for the family that can still run my games. Also, anything about the evga MB? Thanks


In that case, you may have overspent on your RAM. 533 will meet your needs just fine with stock speeds. 800 is typically the sweet spot on the cost/benefit curve if you want to play with timings. Above that, the bang for the buck goes down pretty quickly.

2 HDs only makes sense if you want to mirror. As akhilles suggested, I'd go with a single larger 7200.10 if you're not looking to mirror.
January 17, 2007 7:33:07 PM

Quote:
Good suggestion for a PSU? I looked at the list and didn't find that many options not on the "don't buy" list


What's your price range. Will you be going SLI? A good 500w PSU will have plenty of power for your system even if you overclock your CPU.

I generally recommend Seasonic PSUs. I personal use the S12 500:

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

If you really want more than 500w of power then consider the following short list of Seasonic PSUs:

Seasonc PSUs over 500w

Here's a list of Antec NeoHE PSUs that provide at least 500w of power.
January 17, 2007 7:37:49 PM

I'll second the recommendation for a Seasonic unit. They are top of the heap for anyone wanting a virtually silent PSU, with pretty solid efficiency as well.
January 17, 2007 7:43:50 PM

Quote:

OCZ platinum ddr2 1066 1gb x 2 memory


I'm not a big fan of OCZ RAM, people have been having problems with their RAM in the past few months. Maybe the cleaned up their act, but if it were my build I would definitely avoid them.

I prefer Cosair RAM, they may be only slightly more expensive, but thier RAM is rock solid. A few dollars extra is worth the peace of mind.

CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 675 - $209 with free shipping after $30 rebate.

CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 - $216 with free shipping after a $40 rebate.

If you are not going to overclock at all then you can simply buy DDR2 533 RAM. If you want to do a "mild" overclock then buy DDR2 667/675 RAM. But for only a few more $$ you can get DDR2 800 RAM for some truly extreme overclocking should you decide to do so.
January 17, 2007 8:00:13 PM

Looks like a nice setup. I just purchased the BFG 8800 GTX off newegg with a 50.00 rebate. But I think the GTS is also a good value and should last you some time, plus it is DirectX 10 capable!
January 17, 2007 8:04:24 PM

Not planning on SLI for now, athought the MB can do it. I had another frind recommend the Corsair memory, so I'll change that. Maybe drop one HD, get a larger capacity, and upgrade to a 8800 gtx video card?
January 17, 2007 8:14:18 PM

Just looked at the Seasonic. If I do an 8800 GTX, will I need more than a PSU higher than 500 if I don't do SLI?
January 17, 2007 8:33:41 PM

Quote:
Just looked at the Seasonic. If I do an 8800 GTX, will I need more than a PSU higher than 500 if I don't do SLI?


I would not go SLI, one 8800 gtx and beat two 7900 gtx in sli mode. I think I also read one 8800 gtx can beat 7950 in sli mode. To me it is just worth waiting another year for a newer edition especially when one card can beat out two of the older editions.
January 17, 2007 9:10:37 PM

Quote:
I'm a first timer to building a computer, but decided it was worth the price. I just wanted to get some feedback on the parts I've chosen. Thanks.

Thermaltake armor case
Core 2 duo 6600
EVGA nForce 680i MB
eVGA 8800 GTS video
OCZ platinum ddr2 1066 1gb x 2 memory
WD Caviar 160gb, 7200 rpm HD x 2
Lite-on 20x DVD durner
Sceptre 20.1" dvi widescreen monitor
coolmax ctg-750w power supply
zalman cnps9500 cpu cooler

I can do this for about $2300 on Newegg, but have flex room up or down


For the most part... all good stuff. The case you have is huge, I have a thermaltake mid-tower and it has enough room for all I do which is more than most.

Crucial is better than OCZ when it comes to memory. I'd go with them. Look at the timings, those are very important. Mhz is not as important as timings. ie: DDR2 timings suck vs DDR timings, as a result DDR running at half the mhz can stand up darn well vs DDR2 at this time in benchmarks.

For HDDs, go seagate, with a possible exception of getting a raptor for your OS and frequently used software. 160gigs is not enough these days.
Seagate is where it's at with HDDs at the moment.

You don't need the zalman cooler unless you plan on overclocking bigtime, and really... there's just about no need to do that at this point. Your processor will handle 99% of what you can throw at it just fine at stock speeds. The stock cooler and your case will cool your cpu just fine, even into moderate overclockland.

I'd consider a top of the line DX9 for half the price you're paying for your DX10 card. Nothing uses DX10 at the moment, and it will be some time before anything does. The smart thing to do is to wait on DX10. Prices will come down and technology will improve by the time a good DX10 game is on the market. And consider too that you'll have to switch to Vista in order to make use of DX10. Basically, video cards have been on a trend for the last couple years of being worth half or less than what you paid for it in 6 months. Consider that and how soon you'll be able to make use of what NVidia is charging you an extra couple hundred for.

Also, keep in mind that SLI certification is just an advertising gimmick and money in NVidia's pocket. While EVGA is an awesome company your motherboard is expensive as &!@#! I'd look for a new one. It shouldn't take too long to locate one with all you need at half the price. If it's missing something (like mine is missing firewire and I couldn't care less as I never use firewire) you can buy a card for cheap that has what it's missing I'm sure. That MB is not worth over $200. Almost no MB is, if any is.

Finally, for you monitor. Buy it in a store rather than order it online. While they are rare, even one dead pixel is returnable in a store. Newegg, as much as I love em, doesn't accept returned montiors unless there are 8 dead pixels. Yeah, it'll cost a tinsy bit more, but you don't have to worry you'll be stuck with any dead pixels. Also... There's alot more to monitors that just the spec #s. I have no clue about Spectre as a company. When I researched monitors last year I found Samsung and certain Viewsonic models to be the best. There are reasons that some 20 inch monitors are much more expensive than others, some of these reasons are actually good. Finding a good monitor actually isn't all that easy. There's a real lot of crap out there and it'll be worth your while to really learn what's good and what isn't. Also, actually seeing the monitor in action compared to others will be very educational. Two monitors may have the same published specs, but may be much different in quailty of picture. Getting that expensive vid card is somewhat redundant when your display isn't the best. You're better off spending more money on a great monitor and less on a vid card than vice versa.
January 17, 2007 9:30:24 PM

For a midrange gamer, you sure ended up with some high end parts.
January 17, 2007 9:31:35 PM

Quote:
Just looked at the Seasonic. If I do an 8800 GTX, will I need more than a PSU higher than 500 if I don't do SLI?


No. 500W Seasonic will easily handle a system including the GTX. In most instances, it would even handle SLI.
January 18, 2007 1:05:40 AM

I really appreciate all the help. I guess I considered it midrange given the mid-2K price. I see all the premade companies gaming rigs at around 5K for their higher end rigs. I'm going to change to 1 HD, larger, and try Seagate. Any better ideas for MB? I'll go with the Corsair memory. I think I'll still use the 8800 GTS GPU - about 100-150 less. Thanks for the info on the monitors.
January 18, 2007 5:18:36 PM

Quote:
I really appreciate all the help. I guess I considered it midrange given the mid-2K price. I see all the premade companies gaming rigs at around 5K for their higher end rigs. I'm going to change to 1 HD, larger, and try Seagate. Any better ideas for MB?


Premade companies gaming rigs are overpriced bigtime. While they put quality stuff in their rigs, they charge a big premium for their name, and whatever support they offer. One of those 5K rigs could likely be built for half that by anyone who knows what they are doing. No joke, that's how much they are overpriced. My uncle recently spent $3500 for an alienware and I just about choked when he told me what was in it. Roughly, I could have built his machine for about $2000, and that included the ridiculously expensive and unneccessary cost of the SLI setup he has. But he's happy as he bought into the advertising and the echoing of that advertising here on these forums. All I know is that Guild Wars looks better on my machine than it does on his even though he likely gets 100+ frames per second vs my 60ish. Why?

Two reasons: 1. My monitor looks way better than his does even though his is much larger. I have a Samsung, he has a Sony.

2. And this is the really important one, the human eye is only capable of so much. When you get above 40 and especially 60 FPS, no one can really tell the difference with the naked eye. Even on the best monitors.

As for your MB, thats not an easy question to answer as it depends on what is important to you and what you want to do with it. A big consideration is what ram you want to get. As I said before, MHZ is not where it's at.

When all costs vs performances are considered at this point in time you're seriously better off scoring a dual core AMD on the 939 socket rather than anything on the AM2 or an intel. The reason being (and you can look at the benchmarks on Tom's even to see this), is that as I've already said: DDR2 really isn't all that better, and sometimes even it isn't better in benchmarks vs DDR. With 939 you'll score a way cheaper MB capable of doing anything that the latest intel or AM2 MBs are with the exception of running DDR2, and you'll also score a mid ranged processor that might even outperform your chosen processor at the same price or slightly more.

If money is no object then yes, intel is where it's at. But when it is, AMD and 939 is still where it's at. Don't fall for the advertising.

Assuming though you don't want to change processers:

Generally you can't go wrong with ASUS these days for a company that offers mid ranged products. ABIT, Gigabyte and MSI are also usually worth considering. DFI is good but most always overpriced. Even Intel is known to make good motherboards for their processors. Hop over to newegg and use their advanced search to find what you need.

Check this out:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.asp?Submit=EN...
January 18, 2007 9:01:24 PM

You might want to look into the issues of the nvidia designed 680i boards. It's still seems like an immature bios despite the fact that they fixed the most pressing problems of the HD corruption (at least, so it seems. Of course, this also means that the 680i can only get better.) There is sound trouble that I heard about and probably a few other assorted frustrating yet not system killing issues. This may or may not affect you of course since even as it is, the 680i seems to have proven themselves to people who can afford them (and review sites.)

I disagree with the fact that you should consider something other than the c2d line at the moment unless you are simply upgrading components rather than purchasing a total revamp. Maybe if you were severely cash limited that may be an issue but even then, most people can easily do entry level c2d. Depending on how much a person skimps, it may not provide the best oc'ing potential but in the coming weeks, the e4300 should be dropping in price and allowing even the more cash strapped people to take a look. Maybe I'm looking at the wrong places but it just seems readily apparent that the c2d offers better performance for your money especially when you consider overclocking. That's what matters in the end for budget gamers. For "I put forth my next paycheck for a computer instead of eating" people, intel wins the performance race there as well. Certainly, AMD doesn't have a horrible line up and their stuff is still solid but I'm not terribly sure it compares favourbly.
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