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Noob Build... Reality Check Needed Plz

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January 25, 2007 1:23:30 AM

This is my first build. I am going to try overclocking, never done that before either. I have decided to pass on Liquid cooling for now. Any and all Help is appreciated.


Motherboard $200-$350
GigaByte GA-965P-DQ6 (rev. 2.0)
http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Products/Motherboard/Product...

CPU $320
Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6600 CPU
http://indigo.intel.com/compare_cpu/default.aspx?family...

Graphics Card $600
GigaByte GV-NX88X768H-RH GeForce 8800 GTX
http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Products/VGA/Products_Overvi...

Memory $360
Corsair TWIN2X2048-8500C5 DDR2 800 (2 Gigs Total)
http://www.corsair.com/corsair/products/specs/TWIN2X204...

Hard Drive $200
Western Digital Raptor WD1500AHFDRTL SATA 150GB 16MB Cache Hard Drive
http://www.westerndigital.com/en/products/Products.asp?...

Case $160
Thermaltake Armor VA8003BWS
http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/product/Chassis/fulltower...

PSU $230
PC Power & Cooling SILENCER® 750 QUAD
http://www.pcpower.com/products/viewproduct.php?show=S7...

Optical Drive $100
Samsung SH-S183L
http://www.samsung.com/Products/OpticalDiscDrive/DVDWri...

OS
Windows XP
www.microsoft.com

TOTAL $2320 + TAX

Future Upgrades

Quad Core
(2) R600
(additional) 2 Gigs RAM
(additional) WD Raptor X
Liquid Cooling
Windows Vista
January 25, 2007 10:42:59 AM

PC of the Day award goes to *drum rolls*
January 25, 2007 12:33:59 PM

This is a great setup. It looks like you've done your homework! A couple of comments/suggestions:

Memory - Unless you are going to extreme OC, I would get 800MHz memory. At the 1:1 ratio, if you OC your FSB to 400MHz, then your memory would be at 800MHz. 400MHz FSB is a pretty big OC. You put in your OP that this is DDR2 800, but it is DDR2 1066. It'll save you some cash.

CPU - Instead of the E6600, have you looked at the E4300? Although it runs at a 200 MHz FSB, you can easily OC this processor to to 266 MHz FSB and have the same speed as the E6600. Both processors have the same 9x multiplier. There are only two real drawbacks to the e4300 as compared to the 6600:

1 - 2MB cache. Not a huge performance difference.
2 - No Virtualization Technology

If you are planning on OCing, then I would highly reccomend the E4300 simply because it'll OC just as the E6600 will and costs about half the price.

Hard Drive - Not sure what your disk requirements are but how about another drive for data? Seagate's 7200.10 320GB is a steal at $95.

CPU Fan - If you are going to OC, you'll need a CPU fan other than the stock fan that comes with processor. Here's some good options:

Zalman - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16835118223

Scythe Infinity - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16835185027

Tuniq Tower - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16835154001

Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16835186134

Good luck and nice build!
Related resources
January 25, 2007 1:25:03 PM

Quote:
This is my first build. I am going to try overclocking, never done that before either. I have decided to pass on Liquid cooling for now. Any and all Help is appreciated.

Optical Drive $100
Samsung SH-S183L
http://www.samsung.com/Products/OpticalDiscDrive/DVDWri...




What's up with the $100 optical drive? You can get an excellent LG drive for $40 anywhere...
January 25, 2007 4:15:23 PM

Quote:

Memory - Unless you are going to extreme OC, I would get 800MHz memory. At the 1:1 ratio, if you OC your FSB to 400MHz, then your memory would be at 800MHz. 400MHz FSB is a pretty big OC. You put in your OP that this is DDR2 800, but it is DDR2 1066. It'll save you some cash.

If you are planning on OCing, then I would highly reccomend the E4300 simply because it'll OC just as the E6600 will and costs about half the price.

Hard Drive - Not sure what your disk requirements are but how about another drive for data? Seagate's 7200.10 320GB is a steal at $95.

CPU Fan - If you are going to OC, you'll need a CPU fan other than the stock fan that comes with processor. Here's some good options:

Zalman - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16835118223

Scythe Infinity - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16835185027

Tuniq Tower - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16835154001

Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16835186134


Those are all great points! You are correct, RAM is 1066. I think I will switch to 800MHZ, but I'll need to double check to b sure that it will work with the future upgrades. Seagate option is good as well, I'm also hoping that some bigger, faster, cheaper hard drives become available by the time I need some room. Also, great suggestions on fans. :wink:
January 25, 2007 4:18:48 PM

Quote:
This is my first build. I am going to try overclocking, never done that before either. I have decided to pass on Liquid cooling for now. Any and all Help is appreciated.

Optical Drive $100
Samsung SH-S183L
http://www.samsung.com/Products/OpticalDiscDrive/DVDWri...




What's up with the $100 optical drive? You can get an excellent LG drive for $40 anywhere...

Probably because I thought I needed a SATA dual write drive, and the Plextor and Samsung were the only ones that popped up in searches. Doesthe SATA improve performance for drive?
January 25, 2007 6:56:01 PM

Quote:
Probably because I thought I needed a SATA dual write drive, and the Plextor and Samsung were the only ones that popped up in searches. Does the SATA improve performance for drive?

No, it's not a performance issue. Optical drives simply don't move data that fast to begin with.

The reason that SATA drives are becoming the preferred way to go is because the industry, led by Intel, is moving relentlessly towards removing all support for Parallel ATA (PATA) from the motherboard.

The current ICH8 or ICH8R southbridge chipsets from Intel have already completely dropped support for PATA. Since most people still have a PATA optical drive, motherboard makers currently include a third-party PATA controller chip on their Intel boards to remedy the omission of PATA from the Intel chipset. Often the chipset includes an additional SATA controller as well as the PATA and this is used to add either 2 extra SATA ports or an eSATA capability to the board.

But this won't last long. At some point in the future motherboards will no longer include a PATA connector. If you have a SATA optical drive then you don't need to worry about any of this. I'm guessing this is probably why you saw a SATA optical drive as the preferred way to go.

-john, the ostensibly clueless redundant legacy dinosaur
January 25, 2007 7:47:32 PM

Quote:
The GGB36x PATA/SATA controller gave me several issues when RAID was enabled in the BIOS. I wasn’t able to use a PATA optical drive with this controller while an SATA RAID array was configured on the controller.

Yeah. Definitely not special. Particularly so for a motherboard that costs as much as a GIGABYTE GA-965P-DQ6 2.0 does. Hopefully Gigabyte will have a BIOS upgrade out soon that fixes that problem. But going with a SATA optical drive is another way to do an end run around it. :) 

-john, the ostensibly clueless redundant legacy dinosaur
January 25, 2007 7:54:01 PM

Or you could try the blue orb II found on newegg.com It has a blue LED $33.99
January 25, 2007 8:20:13 PM

Because blue LEDs makes the hsf cools even better, amirite?!?!? :lol: 
To be serious, make sure you have the space on your motherboard to stick a blue orb II on there in case of some capacitors in the way if you go that route. Not sure how it compares to the other cheap cooler (arctic freezer pro 7) if at all but I think it should work out well.
January 25, 2007 8:40:00 PM

It's funny you mention the LED temp. I spent about an hour contemplating a non LED version, but went ahead with the Zalman S9500 w/LED. Something a bit unsettling about introducing a heat source into a fan designed to remove heat from CPU. :lol: 
January 26, 2007 12:07:14 AM

With Everybody's Wisdom, I Have This Update:


Motherboard $200-$350
GigaByte GA-965P-DQ6 (rev. 2.0)
http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Products/Motherboard/Product...

CPU $320
Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6600 CPU
http://indigo.intel.com/compare_cpu/default.aspx?family...

Graphics Card $600
GigaByte GV-NX88X768H-RH GeForce 8800 GTX
http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Products/VGA/Products_Overvi...

Memory $260
Corsair TWIN2X2048-6400C4 DDR2 800MHZ (2 Gigs Total)
http://www.corsair.com/corsair/products/specs/TWIN2X204...

Hard Drive $200
Western Digital Raptor WD1500AHFDRTL SATA 150GB 16MB Cache Hard Drive
http://www.westerndigital.com/en/products/Products.asp?...

Case $160
Thermaltake Armor VA8003BWS
http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/product/Chassis/fulltower...

PSU $230
PC Power & Cooling SILENCER® 750 QUAD
http://www.pcpower.com/products/viewproduct.php?show=S7...

Cooling for CPU $50
Zalman CNPS9500 LED CPU Cooler Retail
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product...

Optical Drive $100
Samsung SH-S183L
http://www.samsung.com/Products/OpticalDiscDrive/DVDWri...

OS
Windows XP
www.microsoft.com

TOTAL $2270 + TAX

Future Upgrades

Quad Core
(2) R600
(additional) 2 Gigs RAM
(additional) WD Raptor X
Liquid Cooling
Windows Vista


I have a post in the OC room to see if this all checks out.
January 26, 2007 1:12:42 AM

Sounds like a nice build, good luck with your first.

Since you didn't give any price requirements, I'd suggest these changes that can save you some money:

E4300 instead of E6600. You already said you want to overclock. It runs at the same 9x multiplier, but uses an 800MHz bus. This means you could, theoretically, overclock to 3.6GHz and still use stock 800MHz RAM speed. RAM overclocks less well than CPUs do, so this is a big plus. And at $180 at newegg, it's pretty darn cheap. The difference between 2MB and 4MB doesn't affect overall performance that much, and the 2MBs tend to overclock better anyways.

With an E4300, because of the RAM, you can go with a cheaper set of DIMMs. I would use the OCZ DDR2-800s, 2GB runs about $240 (tho newegg has a rebate, makes it about $205). Since you'd have to reach >3.6GHz to make use of RAM speeds beyond 800MHz, these would be well suited to the task. I've always found Corsair to be expensive, perhaps unjustly so.

I'm not sure what you plan to do with the PC, but you'll need more than 150GB. Yes, the Raptor is a fast drive. For price, I'd swap it out for a Seagate 7200.10 320GB. The 7200.10 uses perpendicular recording, which allows it to be the fastest 7200RPM drive available, which makes it #2 overall, behind the Raptor. Now, if you wanted to get fancy you could get 2 of the 7200.10 250GB ($80 each) and make a RAID0 partition. In terms of read/write, it would beat a Raptor and comes in at a 500GB partition. This would help games load faster, and given your graphics card, I'd say you wouldn't mind such a thing.

Now, an 8800GTS isn't really that much slower than an 8800GTX. It's still the 2nd fastest card available. For price/perfomance, I'd say the GTS is better than the GTX. The GTS boards also tend to overclock fairy well, enough to cut the diffence between the two in half.

As already said, why are you getting a $100 optical drive? The $35-$40 DVD burners are very good, and Lite-On even makes some SATA burners which should work with your board (BTW, nice pick).

If you haven't considered noise, now would be the time. It's hard to say how loud something will be when you build it, and a lot depends on the case. You might want to consider the Antec P180. It's a quiet case, and has a pretty unique design where the PSU and HDD are seperated from the motherboard. This reduces sources of heat around the CPU by moving the PSU down to the bottom and isolating it. Generally, the fan on the PSU is enough to keep the HDD(s) cool, especially so if a front fan is also used.

You also didn't specify a monitor. Since LCDs pretty much suck at non-native resolutions, your games might not look so good if you have to run it at lower resolutions, though maybe you won't notice. This is one good reason for an 8800GTX(/S). Widescreens are also nice if you watch movies on it. Otherwise, I'd probably go with a CRT. Still has the best picture quality, and with support for almost every resolution imaginable, everything looks good. Then again, LCDs look cool and have DVI.
January 26, 2007 1:54:45 AM

I agree that you should look into the E4300. I think that you could end up getting the same performance for half the cost. I also must suggest a differend HSF. Here is a review of the 9500 getting smoked by a scythe infinity.
http://www.xoxideforums.com/air-cooling-airflow/74819-r...

From reviews i have read and peoples opinions you can't get any better Air cooling than the tuniq tower 120.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1683...


Here is also a link to a scythe inf.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1683...




Also to save some more money here is an OCZ 720W PSU for $165 after MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

I must also agree that you could save some dough by going with a GTS. It won't be getting slowed down by games anytime soon, and you said that you want to upgrade to the R600. So I'd go with the GTS for the next 6 months until really taxing DX10 games start coming out.

Difference between GTS and GTX = 200 fps or 150 fps... which means u can't tell a difference.
January 26, 2007 2:34:58 AM

Quote:
Motherboard $200-$350
GigaByte GA-965P-DQ6 (rev. 2.0)

Cooling for CPU $50
Zalman CNPS9500 LED CPU Cooler Retail

The thing about the Zalman CNPS9500 ... and also the follow on versions the ZALMAN 9700 and ZALMAN CNPS 9700 NT ... is that it appears to require a backplate to mount it. Normally no problem, but the Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6 already has a huge sucking heat sink on the bottom of the motherboard under the CPU where the backplate would go. Gigabyte refers to this "feature" as "Crazy Cool". Here's a link to a pic from a review. I think you'll need to remove the heatsink in order to mount any of these Zalman heat sinks.

Note: Can anyone else out there confirm or refute if the Zalman needs a backplate to mount?

BTW, have you given any thought to what thermal paste you'll use. The one I expect that everyone will recommend is
Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound ~$11 shipped
but there is also
ARCTIC COOLING MX-1 also ~$11 shipped
(One advantage of the MX-1 is that it is non-conductive. Arctic Silver contains silver particles and so is somewhat conductive).

Since you're somewhat into overkill :)  I'd also recommend
Arctic Silver ACN-60ML Thermal material Remover & Surface Purifier
You can clean up thermal paste just fine with high purity (~90%) isopropyl alcohol. But this stuff claims it will do a better job. Maybe it does. Can't hurt (I think).

Quote:
OS Windows XP
www.microsoft.com

Not sure if it matters, but I think you can still get a Vista coupon with XP if you buy it now. Don't know if the coupon is actually worth getting or not. Just thought I'd mention it so you could consider it ... or not. :) 

-john, the ostensibly clueless redundant legacy dinosaur
January 26, 2007 4:01:04 AM

Quote:
As far as mounting, I have read in a couple of places that people need a mounting plate for back when installing, but I can't really say for sure.

Turns out that the comment about conflicts with the Crazy Cool heatsink when mounting the Zalman HSF backplate were actually on the first page of the HardOCP GIGABYTE GA-965P-DQ6 2.0 review you posted a link to earlier in this thread. Don't know how I forgot that earlier. :roll: I quoted an exerpt below. The emphasis in the middle of the quote was also added by me.

Quote:
The CPU area of the GA-965P-DQ6 is well thought out. There are no flaws I could find with this specific area. Due to the size of the cooling system, it is possible that some of the larger heat sinks that border on the obscene might not work. One note is the metal plate on the bottom of the board. The plate on the bottom of the board is somewhat thick and could in fact interfere with the mounting hardware for several cooling solutions such as the ones from Zalman. The plate is removable, but its not the easiest thing to do. Personally, I find it bothersome that companies put stuff like this on here. I was very upset with ASUS and a couple of other manufacturers for gluing on the stock mounting hardware. This is similarly annoying. It can be removed, but only with great care.

-john, the ostensibly clueless redundant legacy dinosaur
January 26, 2007 4:19:19 AM

True, however I am the optimistic type, and all I remembered is that it is removable :) 
January 26, 2007 4:31:51 AM

BTW, regarding the backplate, Zalman's website has intallation animations that show the backplate on the 9700. I'd paste the direct lnk, but those darn flash sites prevent me.

http://www.zalmanusa.com/
January 26, 2007 4:56:28 AM

Quote:

E4300 instead of E6600. You already said you want to overclock. It runs at the same 9x multiplier, but uses an 800MHz bus. This means you could, theoretically, overclock to 3.6GHz and still use stock 800MHz RAM speed. RAM overclocks less well than CPUs do, so this is a big plus. And at $180 at newegg, it's pretty darn cheap. The difference between 2MB and 4MB doesn't affect overall performance that much, and the 2MBs tend to overclock better anyways.

With an E4300, because of the RAM, you can go with a cheaper set of DIMMs. I would use the OCZ DDR2-800s, 2GB runs about $240 (tho newegg has a rebate, makes it about $205). Since you'd have to reach >3.6GHz to make use of RAM speeds beyond 800MHz, these would be well suited to the task. I've always found Corsair to be expensive, perhaps unjustly so.

I'm not sure what you plan to do with the PC, but you'll need more than 150GB. Yes, the Raptor is a fast drive. For price, I'd swap it out for a Seagate 7200.10 320GB. The 7200.10 uses perpendicular recording, which allows it to be the fastest 7200RPM drive available, which makes it #2 overall, behind the Raptor. Now, if you wanted to get fancy you could get 2 of the 7200.10 250GB ($80 each) and make a RAID0 partition. In terms of read/write, it would beat a Raptor and comes in at a 500GB partition. This would help games load faster, and given your graphics card, I'd say you wouldn't mind such a thing.


I'm going to prove that I have never done a build... I really am a bit confused by the first two paragraphs. I'm a noob, and I think some of the concepts escape me. I think the CPU is an intentional half way point for me. In the event that I decide not to overclock, perhaps I can tred water with the E6600 until I go Quad Core. I'd like to overclock, but I know what I don't know; I really have no concept of what overclocking really means in terms of potential to fry my stuff. Who knows, I'm likely going to wind up doing it regardless, that's just the curious type I am. Exploding PC, here I come!

I have heard the DQ6 had some problems with RAID setups when overclocking in the same article zjohnr just mentioned.
January 26, 2007 5:53:47 AM

If you are scared or intimidated by overclocking, don't be. It's easy but it's NOT entirely painless and you aren't likely to screw things up unless you go real crazy with the voltages and the like. Regardless, you'll probably be doing CMOS resets and running prime95, orthos, superpi, 3dmark, memtest, etc. etc. just to make sure your system is running perfectly. Granted, you'll be running them regardless at least once to make sure everything is ok on stock settings but you'll be running them more after you start trying to tighten down timings or overclock. You'll be getting more performance for your money this way at the expense of your time.

Feel free to read up on the e4300 as simply writing stuff down that is already done is kinda redundant. In summary, overclocking is easier with the e4300 because of it's lower default FSB.
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=290...
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/core2duo-e...

If you just don't think you'll risk your machine to overclocking, that's fine. Stick with what you have. Oh um, also, it's quite hard to do RAID with just one drive there so that may not really apply in your case.

As for AS5 or MX-1, to be honest, whichever. They really perform very similarly and both require you to only use a little amount anyway. Mx-1 is harder to spread but a trick is to use your heatsink to lightly rub it around if necessary. Not too much though. If anything comes preapplied like with the arctic freezer pro 7, read up on the after market cooler to see if it's generic as it's probably not and you can use it without buying additional thermal grease (but it's useful to have around just in case.) I'm currently using MX-1 so this may skew my viewpoint.

What isn't really talked about in building your own computer which isn't all entirely necessary but for just general ease, you should probably have some tools already at your disposal such as perhaps some needle nose pliers (small jumpers and big fingers? nooo problem.) and a ratcheting screwdriver. If it has multibit magnetic heads, avoid using them inside your case. Granted, you can use a NORMAL screwdriver but heck, a ratcheting one will save you some arm work for outside the case if you really need to do some work with fitting in fans where there isn't an easy slot and the like (more useful for cheap cases.) Other things that are helpful are some extra screws, nuts and washers. Especially the last item because there are times where a screw is just loose and won't screw in tightly. Sure it may not be a problem if it's the 3rd or fourth screw holding your hard drive but it's more of an issue with it's your 2nd screw suspending your PSU in the air in your case. Last thing you want is to take a chance that your PSU will drop down on to your oh so expensive video card (ok, so the chances of this happening are nil since most cases normally have a small railings underneath on the sides but hey, better be safe than sorry.)
The extra screws and nuts are useful for when you decide to add some odd fan in some place it isn't supposed to go or for whatever. Of course, you can always use those black plastic ties instead (tie-knots?) which are also useful for cable management. Edit: Forgot to mention, have a shotglass or a bowl or one of those cardboard boxes that they ship your stuff in around to put loose screws in that you are about to use.
January 27, 2007 4:04:18 AM

Quote:
(One advantage of the MX-1 is that it is non-conductive. Arctic Silver contains silver particles and so is somewhat conductive).


So what is the purpose of thermal grease? I thought it was to improve conductivity? Wouldn't the silver particles help?
January 27, 2007 4:36:08 AM

Quote:
(One advantage of the MX-1 is that it is non-conductive. Arctic Silver contains silver particles and so is somewhat conductive).


So what is the purpose of thermal grease? I thought it was to improve conductivity? Wouldn't the silver particles help?

Thermal Grease is used to help make the CPU cooler by making it easier for Heat to transfer to the Heatsink and Fan.

Your build looks good, I suggest a E6300 C2D, that way you've got performance and overclocking in one, And I think theres a guide on Overclocking on these forums somewhere.....
January 27, 2007 4:45:43 AM

Sorry, thought it'd be obvious as to what I meant. They are both -thermally- conductive but AS5 can be electrically conductive which is, needless to say in electronic environment, bad. It's been designed to be much safer of course but it's still recommended to be very careful. I've never had an experience where AS5 killed my machine or anyone else's that I know that have used it (basically people using mine which is why I have none left) but neither have I gone out of my way to test how well designed AS5 is. If you'd like to be the tester, feel free to let us know your results.

Ceramanique is their other thermal grease which isn't electrically conductive but at the same time, people report a few degrees difference between this and AS5.
!