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First computer build...any advice appreciated...QX6700

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January 21, 2007 6:41:59 PM

(1st post)
I've never built a system, but have changed PS, cards and memory etc. I'm concerned not only about the parts I choose, but also if I'm able to test and optimize when I'm up and running.
I wil be using this processor primarily for photography, often manipulating files as large as 1 gb each in Photoshop. I also use the UnrealEditor and hope to get into Maya and 3DStudioMax...that's why my interest is towards the latest 3d cards and multitasking capability.
I have shopped the Canadian online stores as well as local shops and can put together the following for about $5400.00 cdn, without monitor.
If you have any advice concerning specific parts and choices, I would really appreciate that.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
-Thermaltake Kandalf VA9000 SWA1, or the Extreme Edition VA 9004 SWA
* I prefer to not go with Liquid Cooling...concerned about up-keep & expense.
-Intel Core2 Extreme QX6700 Quad Core Processor
-Asus Striker Extreme 680i LGA775 Conroe ATX DDR2
- Dual (4G) Corsair XMS2 Twin 8500CSD, DD2-1066, CL5-5-5-15-2T
OR Corsair XMS2 Dominator 8888, CL-4-4-4-12
-Corsair Dominator Airflow Memory Fan
-BFG GeForce 8800 GTX 575MHZ 768MB OR the same 8800 GTXoc
* Unsure of MFG. Asus/EVGA/BFG/XFX/Leadtek ???? I like the BFG warranty! It's been suggested that I should get an Asus card because the Motherboard is Asus. True?
(I'll be adding a second Video card when the prices drop.)
-Zalman CNPS9700NT fan-
-Enermax Galaxy 1000W PS (Is there a better 1000w unit available?)
- (2)Seagate Barracuda ES 500GB Sata2 3GB/s 7200RPM 16MB CacheNCQ
* I'm interested in Raid 5 but don't know how to set up for that.
Currently I back up manually to two Seagate external drives
-Plextor PX-755SA 16X8X16 DVD-RW 16X, 16X6X16 DL 10X/6X CDRW, 48X24X48Sata
-Sound Blaster X-FI Platinum 24 BIT Sound card
-LogitechG15 Keyboard OR Logitech Dinovo Edge (I'm not going wireless.)
-Logitech G5 Mouse
-D-Link Xtreme N Gigabit Router
-XP Pro
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I'm tempted to have someone build this for me, but I would like the experience. I will be wishing for good-luck if I try this myself! :mrgreen:
January 21, 2007 11:22:16 PM

So it's serious work, you want stability. I'd highly suggest you get a mature motherboard such as ASUS P5B-DELUXE, GIGABYTE DQ6, INTEL D975XBX OR D975XBX2.

No, it's not true that ASUS video must run on ASUS board. You can run an Ati card on an nVidia chipset motherboard i.e. 570/590/680i. However, you can't run Ati Crossfire on an SLI mobo & vice versa.

When you power on the pc with the e1000w, the room lights dim & you feel the power of the psu. j/k. It does dim in my room.

If you haven't built a pc by yourself, you should not risk this $5000 build. Pay $50-100 to a coworker/friend to build it for you. Follow up with them after it's built on any issues you run into.
January 21, 2007 11:26:38 PM

Wow that system will scream. I suggest the P5B Deluxe, I have it along with an E6600 and it's great.
Related resources
January 22, 2007 12:24:34 AM

Akhilles,

Yes...serious work for this rig, and stability is important. I thought from what I've heard that the QX-6700 and the 680i ran smoothly together without issues. I am new to this however so appreciate your caution. I'll check into the other Motherboards you mention. I suppose that if I were to go with say a P5B, I would need to select different memory.
I also appreciate your suggestion to have a friend/builder put this together...I can see myself stuck over basic issues and problems not knowing the quick fixes etc.
Crossfire...Is there a mod available for the configuration I listed?
Thanks for the help...appreciated!!
January 22, 2007 12:29:57 AM

Quazzy,

You are also suggesting the Asus P5B...what's the difference performance wise in comparison to the 680i? Will the P5B match up well with the QX-6700? Sorry if this is obvious...I'm very new to all this.
Thanks!!!
January 22, 2007 1:15:05 AM

No problem, I was new at this too, but am kind of getting it now. :)  Well, personally I don't know performance-wise, but I can tell you the P5B Deluxe is a mature and strong mobo. I would check the motherboard forum, specifically the ASUS one.
January 22, 2007 1:23:51 AM

what kind of beast is your video card?!
January 22, 2007 2:01:33 AM

Here's a link to the power supply listings. The one you have chosen is marked as a Tier One power supply. It can't get much better than that! :D 
However, there is an ever so slightly better power supply in the PC Power and Cooling PSU. Which is here. Unfortunately, its also $200 more, so I would just stay with what you have! :lol: 

Best of Luck
January 22, 2007 2:17:15 AM

Thanks Quazzy!!

===========================================

Enewmen,

I'll be running one of the 8800 GTX cards...not sure which one yet. Looking at BFG, XFX and Asus.

=============================================
January 22, 2007 2:24:07 AM

Sirrobin,

I agree, that $200.00 for a slightly better PS doesn't make sense. The Enermax is more than I originally set out to get and I'm sure it will do the job.
Thanks for the info and link...much appreciated!!
January 22, 2007 2:33:47 AM

Quote:
So it's serious work, you want stability. I'd highly suggest you get a mature motherboard such as ASUS P5B-DELUXE, GIGABYTE DQ6, INTEL D975XBX OR D975XBX2.

Akhilles,
I checked out the boards you've mentioned and noticed some excellent reports about stability and OC etc with the Intel D975XBX2. It is likely going to be my choice now, because I certainly don't want any stability problems. I'll be busy enough without having to troubleshoot issues with the Extreme 680i and I'll not want to be waiting for fixes that may not develop for some time. I'll keep checking to see if any new patches show improvements, but I'll be buying soon and so might have to pass on the 680i.
Your suggestion is an important one...thanks again!!!!
January 22, 2007 11:04:14 AM

Glad to be of help.

QX6700 or any cpu per se has no issues. 680i is the one that has some issues for some people. I'm sure there are some technies with the same setup & 0 issues. Well, they're technies.

http://vip.asus.com/forum/topic.aspx?SLanguage=en-us&mo...

The memory is ok. You can find compatibile ram at corsair site:

http://www.corsairmemory.com/

In the middle of the homepage, there are 2 drop-down menus. These are P5B-DX memory modules.

CM2X1024-5400C4 DDR2-675 (XM2S-5400C4) 1GB 4-4-4-12-2T
CM2X1024-6400 DDR2-800 (XM2S-6400) 1GB 5-5-5-15-2T
CM2X1024-6400PRO DDR2-800 (XM2S-6400) 1GB 5-5-5-15-2T
CM2X512-5400C4 DDR2-675 (XM2S-5400C4) 512MB 4-4-4-12-2T
CM2X512-5400C4PRO DDR2-675 (XM2S-5400C4) 512MB 4-4-4-12-2T
CM2X512A-6400 DDR2-800 (XM2S-6400) 512MB 5-5-5-15-2T
TWIN2X1024-5400C4 DDR2-675 (XM2S-5400C4) 1GB Kit (2 x 512MB) 4-4-4-12-2T
TWIN2X1024-5400C4PRO DDR2-675 (XM2S-5400C4) 1GB Kit (2 x 512MB) 4-4-4-12-2T
TWIN2X1024-8500 DDR2-1066 (XM2S-8500) 1GB Kit (2 x 512MB) 5-5-5-15-2T
TWIN2X1024A-6400 DDR2-800 (XM2S-6400) 1GB Kit (2 x 512MB) 5-5-5-15-2T
TWIN2X2048-10000C5DF DDR2-1250 (XMS2-10000) 2GB Kit (2 x 1GB) 5-5-5-18-2T
TWIN2X2048-5400C4 DDR2-675 (XM2S-5400C4) 2GB Kit (2 x 1GB) 4-4-4-12-2T
TWIN2X2048-5400C4PRO DDR2-675 (XM2S-5400C4) 2GB Kit (2 x 1GB) 4-4-4-12-2T
TWIN2X2048-5400C4PT DDR2-675 (XM2S-5400C4) 2GB Kit (2 x 1GB) 4-4-4-12-2T
TWIN2X2048-6400 DDR2-800 (XM2S-6400) 2GB Kit (2 x 1GB) 5-5-5-15-2T
TWIN2X2048-6400C4D DDR2-800 C4 2GB Kit (2 x 1GB) 4-4-4-12-2T
TWIN2X2048-6400PRO DDR2-800 (XM2S-6400) 2GB Kit (2 x 1GB) 5-5-5-15-2T
TWIN2X2048-8500C5 DDR2-1066 (XM2S-8500) 2GB Kit (2 x 1GB) 5-5-5-15-2T
TWIN2X2048-8500C5D DDR2-1066 (XM2S-8500) 2GB Kit (2 x 1GB) 5-5-5-15-2T
TWIN2X2048-8888C4DF DDR2-1111 (XMS2-8888) 2GB Kit (2 x 1GB) 4-4-4-12-2T
TWIN2XP2048-6400C4 TWIN2XP2048-6400C4 2GB Kit (2 x 1GB) 4-4-4-12-2T
VS1GB533D2 DDR2-533 (PC2-4200) 1GB 4-4-4-12-2T
VS1GB667D2 DDR2-667 (PC2-5300) 1GB 5-5-5-15-2T
VS1GBKIT533D2 DDR2-533 (PC2-4200) 1GB Kit (2 x 512MB) 4-4-4-12-2T
VS1GBKIT667D2 DDR2-667 (PC2-5300) 1GB Kit (2 x 512MB) 5-5-5-15-2T
VS256MB533D2 DDR2-533 (PC2-4200) 256MB 4-4-4-12-2T
VS2GBKIT533D2 DDR2-533 (PC2-4200) 2GB Kit (2 x 1GB) 4-4-4-12-2T
VS2GBKIT667D2 DDR2-667 (PC2-5300) 2GB Kit (2 x 1GB) 5-5-5-15-2T
VS512MB667D2 DDR2-667 (PC2-5300) 512MB 5-5-5-15-2T
VS512MBKIT533D2 DDR2-533 (PC2-4200) 512MB Kit (2 x 256MB) 4-4-4-12-2T

I'm not a big fan of Ati or Crossfire. Can't help you with that. This guy was able to do just that.

http://forums.vr-zone.com/showthread.php?t=97691

Your 8800 is a nVidia card. It won't run in CF. only in SLI. There is a modified geforce driver for running SLI on non-SLI mobos. I've run it successfully with 2 7900gtx's on DQ6.

One thing about modded drivers is that they're always not up to date & may be discontinued any time the developers deem fit.

http://www.google.com/search?client=opera&rls=en&q=85.9...

This guy runs SLI on Ati mobo. Just proved what I said above.

http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showpost.php?p=1491...

Intel D975XBX2 is a very good board. I would've bought it if my DQ6 wasn't a deal. It's codenamed Bad Axe 2.

At stock speeds, the P965 mobos perform about the same. Give or take 5%. Some mobo makers cheat by increasing the FSB or CPU by a few mhz so they look good on benchmarks. However, it's the board's overclockability that makes a big difference. Most of these boards can do FSB 500mhz with the right parts.

So QX6700 has a multiplier 10 & the default C2D FSB is 266. The default cpu speed is 10 x 266 = 2.6 Ghz. 10 x 500 = 5000 or 5 Ghz overclocked vs 2.66Ghz stock. With the cpu cooler & the case you chose, I think it can handle the heat. Perhaps, try 3.5 - 4.0 Ghz, just to be safe.

http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/11/13/shootout_at_the_...

http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/11/13/shootout_at_the_...

QX6700 is ok with P5B-DX.

http://support.asus.com/cpusupport/cpusupport.aspx?SLan...

Core 2 Extreme QX6700 (4 cores,2.66GHz,1066FSB,L2:2X4MB,rev.B3) ALL 0711

Ask the store to confirm that the bios is 0711 or later.
January 22, 2007 12:00:51 PM

The 680i is a GREAT motherboard... it overclocks like MAD!

If you want to go SLI then I suggest a board that will in fact allow you to go SLI.

Why not get the best that is available if you can afford it.

Thats what I was after, and I use the GIMP which is a source version of Photoshop.
January 22, 2007 10:40:23 PM

Akhilles,

Thanks very much once again for taking so much time to help me!! I'm pleased to have the links you've provided because being new to all this means I don't know where I should be looking for info etc.
I didn't realize the XBX2 isn't an SLI board. :oops:  That option may not be important for me, especially given the capability of the BadAX. However, I guess it is tempting to go for the 680i so as to have that option with ongoing driver support.

You mention the case I chose (Kandalf)...is this a good choice with enough room or should I be looking at something else?
Is there anything I'm missing in the way of parts? I will order the cooling fans for the 8800. Also, I see that the BFG card comes in a version that is water cooled. Is that done with an outboard cooling system,....and should I consider that?

I appreciate the heads up about the Bios 0711!

This is quite the forum...sure glad I happened on it.
Thank you!!!
January 22, 2007 10:48:21 PM

PCAnalyst,

Looking at your setup I see you're running pretty much what I'm after. Have you had issues with the 680i? And I will check into the CoolerMaster Stacker as well as your case. Is there anything else you suggest I add on?
I agree with you that one should get the latest if it's affordable. I am not trying to save money on the board...there isn't a great digfference price wise. I am not tech savey so want to have a system that doesn't require daily fiddling and tweaking etc., although i'm not shy to learn how to optimise the system.
I wanted to ask if there was a reason why you've gone with eVGA. I am confused by all the various manufacturers.

Thanks for your reply!!
January 22, 2007 11:13:28 PM

Motherboard is awesome... evga is both Vid Card and Mobo maker - makes for nice compatibility assurance... and great Tech Support from eVGA.

There were about 2% of the boards that had problems with SATA drives but those have since been fixed with updates to BIOS. eVGA and Nvidia worked very hard to fix the issues for the few that had them, and that says a great deal about how they run their business.

There were other issues that have also been addressed - they are just common things that is to be expected from new hardware.
January 22, 2007 11:45:08 PM

Quote:
Your 8800 is a nVidia card. It won't run in CF. only in SLI. There is a modified geforce driver for running SLI on non-SLI mobos. I've run it successfully with 2 7900gtx's on DQ6.

One thing about modded drivers is that they're always not up to date & may be discontinued any time the developers deem fit.

http://www.google.com/search?client=opera&rls=en&q=85.9...

This guy runs SLI on Ati mobo. Just proved what I said above.


If he's going for stability and he wants SLi, I think an official SLi board no matter how long its out on the market, will be more stable than an unofficial driver on a crossfire board.
January 22, 2007 11:51:22 PM

Quote:

-Thermaltake Kandalf VA9000 SWA1, or the Extreme Edition VA 9004 SWA
* I prefer to not go with Liquid Cooling...concerned about up-keep & expense.
-Intel Core2 Extreme QX6700 Quad Core Processor
-Asus Striker Extreme 680i LGA775 Conroe ATX DDR2
- Dual (4G) Corsair XMS2 Twin 8500CSD, DD2-1066, CL5-5-5-15-2T
OR Corsair XMS2 Dominator 8888, CL-4-4-4-12
-Corsair Dominator Airflow Memory Fan
-BFG GeForce 8800 GTX 575MHZ 768MB OR the same 8800 GTXoc
* Unsure of MFG. Asus/EVGA/BFG/XFX/Leadtek ???? I like the BFG warranty! It's been suggested that I should get an Asus card because the Motherboard is Asus. True?
(I'll be adding a second Video card when the prices drop.)
-Zalman CNPS9700NT fan-
-Enermax Galaxy 1000W PS (Is there a better 1000w unit available?)
- (2)Seagate Barracuda ES 500GB Sata2 3GB/s 7200RPM 16MB CacheNCQ
* I'm interested in Raid 5 but don't know how to set up for that.
Currently I back up manually to two Seagate external drives
-Plextor PX-755SA 16X8X16 DVD-RW 16X, 16X6X16 DL 10X/6X CDRW, 48X24X48Sata
-Sound Blaster X-FI Platinum 24 BIT Sound card
-LogitechG15 Keyboard OR Logitech Dinovo Edge (I'm not going wireless.)
-Logitech G5 Mouse
-D-Link Xtreme N Gigabit Router
-XP Pro


I'm going for a very similar build. I ordered my parts last week and should have them within the next two days (Its my first build too). If I run into any problems with the 680i and the QX6700 I'll let you know.

Here is what I ordered.

1 PCS 320138 NZXT LEXA Black Aluminium Chassi,
Screwless design, (Without PSU)
1 PCS 119228 LG DVD Drive, GDR-8164RBB, 16x52,
BlackOEM
1 PCS 328703 LG DVD±RW burner, GSA-H12LRB, 18x,
Dual, LightScribe, Black Retail
1 PCS 314208 Thermaltake Blue Orb II CPU Cooler,
Blue Light, 17dBA Socket 775/754/939/940
1 PCS 327539 Point of View GeForce 8800GTX 768MB,
GDDR3, PCI-Express, DVI/Tv-Out, Retail
1 PCS 329724 ABIT IN9 32X-MAX WiFi, nForce-680i SLI,
Socket-775,ATX,2xGbLAN,DDR2,2xPCI-Ex16
1 PCS 326820 Razer Tarantula Gaming Keyboard,
US-Layout
1 PCS 314163 Razer Copperhead Tempest Blue, 2000dpi
Laser Mouse, USB
1 PCS 329931 OCZ Technology Powersupply ATX/EPS 850W,
120mm Fan, SATA, 4/8pin CPU, 20/24pin
1 PCS 327436 Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 2.67GHz
Socket LGA775, 8MB, BOXED w/fan
1 PCS 324460 OCZ Platinum DDR2 PC6400 2048MB KIT,
w/two 1024MB PC6400 XTC,CL4-4-4-16, Rev2
2 PCS 320144 Western Digital Raptor 74GB SATA
16MB 10000RPM
1 PCS 327642 Microsoft Windows XP MCE 2005 UK URP2
Software OEM

I will probably upgrade to an X-Fi in the near future if the on board sound is not top notch, will get another 2gb of ram and a second 8800gtx in the next 12 months.
January 23, 2007 1:19:31 AM

The Kandalf has an aluminum front bezel & steel case. Not entirely aluminum. The cooling is top of the line. The front bezel is perforated: dust gets stuck/builds up in the vents after a while hence reducing the cooling efficiency. The hard disk cage is rear-in: you might have to remove a card/sata cables/ etc. to install/uninstall a hard disk. $200 cdn is a bit too much for a case not entirely made with aluminum.

Basically, I look for these in a case:

120mm intake & exhaust
sideway harddisk cage
dust filter(s)

Do you mean this card? It has a water block on it so you'd need a complete water cooling system.

http://www.bfgtech.com/8800GTX_768_PCIe_wc.html

Your list misses a monitor.

Sink is spot on. You don't want modded drivers. Whatever you like.
January 23, 2007 1:20:47 AM

PC...thanks!!! I'll be checking into eVGA. I thought is was pretty much as you say...most of the cards are fine...it's more a matter of package offering and support.
...appreciated!!!
January 23, 2007 1:30:53 AM

Sink,

I wish you good luck with your build!! Please let me know how it goes. I'm not sure I'm up to this and so may be looking for someone near me (Toronto) to put it all together.
I'll have a look into some of the parts you've listed. Your memory looks interesting. So does the Blue Orb. I was not aware that the 6700 could be ordered with a fan.
Thanks for the reply...looking forward to hearing that you're up and running with great performance.
January 23, 2007 1:38:40 AM

Akhilles,

I'll check out other cases then, especially one with a side hard disc cage...so many to choose from. Perhaps Tai Chi? nVidia has a case designed for SLI but it's $300.00 US.
...appreciated!!!!

Monitor...I'm heavy into digital photography and love my 19" Sony CRT, but it's developing some slight hot-spots. I'm noy sold on LCD's but I know that's the route I have to go. I hope I can find one that calibrates well with the image quality I'm used to. I can't afford the Eizo i want, and am looking at the Apple 30", Dell, Samsung or Lacie. I need to get into the stores with some of my own files.
January 23, 2007 11:10:01 AM

Cases:
http://www.antec.com/us/productDetails.php?ProdID=81800 $160 cdn
http://www.antec.com/us/productDetails.php?ProdID=81600 $160 cdn

The P180 in silver/black may not fit the long psu (if the middle bottom fan mount can be removed, yes). Ask the store. The P160 in silver will fit any psu. P160 has a version without window.

I'm not saying you must get a fully aluminum case. Something at reasonal price with the features I mentioned.

I'm on crt. Can't help you with lcd.

You can pay a local computer store to build the pc for you. Just ask around.
January 23, 2007 1:24:47 PM

Quote:
Cases:
http://www.antec.com/us/productDetails.php?ProdID=81800 $160 cdn
http://www.antec.com/us/productDetails.php?ProdID=81600 $160 cdn

The P180 in silver/black may not fit the long psu (if the middle bottom fan mount can be removed, yes).

The fan in the P180 can be removed. Antec makes high quality cases, I highly recommend them. In the case of the P160, I would not recommend it in this instance, because it may have insufficient cooling for this setup. The P180, on the other hand has 3 120mm fans, with a slot for another at the front of the case. Should be enough for most people's needs.

Best of Luck
January 24, 2007 1:13:29 PM

My build went completely successfully. I've installed Photoshop cs2, AutoCAD 2007, Oblivion and F.E.A.R. and everyone of them runs smooth with full 1920*1200 resolution.

The Blue Orb II caused me a bit of trouble during the installation, I had to install and un-install 2 - 3 times to plug in all the wires to my mobo. It barley fits, it touches both my Power Supply and Chip set heat sink. Next time i'll just install the brackets and leave the cooler till last. It is good though, I am reading 37 degrees on my CPU and graphics card while idle. and 45 - 50 while under load. There is a little room to overclock there but I'll leave it at stock for the moment.

The on-board sound absolutely sucks so I put in my old Audigy 2 until I buy an X-Fi. When I was installing windows I didn't realise I needed a floppy to install on a RAID. So I had to rob one out of my sisters pc till I had it set up. Also my power supply only comes with two pci-e power cables and you need two for one 8800gtx, which means I'll have to get a new one if I want to go SLi.

Here are some photos. Click to enlarge.

January 24, 2007 1:18:53 PM

You could split the lines with Molex adapters.... a lot cheaper.
!