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Newb 1st Build, Rate My $1335 Gaming Rig

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February 6, 2007 1:14:35 AM

Longtime lurker and first-time poster invites input. But first....
Many thanks and lots-o-kudos to the TGForumz members who offer guidance and/or opinion on build after build. It's rare I don't learn something new from each thread, and most are well written and on-topic.

Therefore, I humbly submit my Newegg sourced first build, and request any/all comments, input and suggestions.

New Components:
Case: Antec LifeStyle Sonata II w/ 450W SmartPower 2.0 P/S
M/B: Biostar TForce 965PT
CPU: E4300 Core 2 Duo
GPU: Foxconn 8800GTX (w/ gamepad & $45 rebate)
HD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 250GB SATA 3gps
DVD/CD: Lite-On 20X DVD/CD Burner w/ Lightscribe
OS: Windows Vista 32-Bit Home Premium OEM
Mouse: MS Habu Gaming Mouse
Speakers: Logitech X-540 5.1

Re-use Components:
RAM: Aeneon PC2-4200 512MB x4 (2 Gig total)
Keyboard: Logitech Wireless Keyboard
Monitor: Gateway 21" widescreen

Notes
CPU/RAM: Because I'm hoping to reuse the RAM (currently in a Dell 8400) and I may try a mild OC, I went with the E4300 w/ stock cooler.
GPU: Ok, try to follow me here. I've been a Nvidia fan since the early days (Riva 128 rocks!) and I'm tired of ATI's paper launches and the subsequent over-pricing once product hits the shelves. Combine this with the fact that I have a very narrow window within which to finance the build (tax return). The end result is that I need to buy while the buyin' is good (Nvidia) because future upgrades will be hard to get approved by the FFC (Family Finance Committee).
OS: I'm betting the performance loss due to early drivers will be overcome by the time DX10 games are able to really test the mighty 8800GTX. And I'll be ready for 'em! In the meantime, I'll be enjoying Lots-O-FPS at max detail on Oblivion.
Mouse: For the MS haters- MS mice just fit me best. Get over it (and yes, I know the Habu is as much RAZER as MS).

So the total for the build (less shipping & before rebates) is about $1350! As I noted before, this will be my first homebuilt. After one Gateway and two Dells, I'm looking forward to having better components at a cheaper price.

More about : newb 1st build rate 1335 gaming rig

February 6, 2007 1:55:40 AM

Either motherboard solution will do just fine.

Make sure that your Power supply will be sufficient. Antec power supplies are usually very good, but with an 8800, the power draw may be close to the rated capacity. I suggest a possible PSU upgrade.
Related resources
February 6, 2007 2:15:32 AM

Quote:
Either motherboard solution will do just fine.

Make sure that your Power supply will be sufficient. Antec power supplies are usually very good, but with an 8800, the power draw may be close to the rated capacity. I suggest a possible PSU upgrade.


A concern of mine also, though I expect upgrades and/or additions to be minimal (2nd HD maybe). I've read good things about the Coolermaster Centurion 5 ($50 @ NewEgg). What P/S would you combine with the Centurion?
February 6, 2007 2:24:14 AM

Yes go seperate case and PSU. You will be better off in the long run. I would go for 600 W but mostly your +12v rails Amp Rating needs to be 20-22 on one and 30-35 over all. If you are thinking of two GPUs, you will need more. Read the list in my sig, those are for two Xfire board set-ups. The 8800 will need more, maybe 50% more than one x1950.
That RAM might handle the e4300 at stock speeds, but you really should get PC5400 for the ideal 1:1 ratio.
February 6, 2007 2:36:23 AM

Quote:
That RAM might handle the e4300 at stock speeds, but you really should get PC5400 for the ideal 1:1 ratio.


I have a question here. (I am trying to learn something)

The M/B he selected is a Biostar TForce 965PT.
It has a fsb rating of 1066/800

Why would'nt the ideal 1:1 ratio come from using PC6400 800mhz or PC8500 1066mhz?
February 6, 2007 6:08:44 AM

I am not an O/C expert. What I have read is settings of the O/C e4300 is 9x800=667FSB and 3.0 MHZ. The memory and the FSB match there for the 1:1 ratio which is good, leaving memory with stock settings. You can buy DDR2-800 and it will at the same speed as the 667 stuff.
I am sure my figures are wrong somehow, I am trying to recall what I have been told with my last few brain cells.
February 6, 2007 2:17:58 PM

OK, so you do not look at the FSB of the MB alone, there are other contributing factors such as the multiplier, etc.?
February 6, 2007 7:31:58 PM

Ok. Here's how the FSB and RAM work together.

On Intel CPU's, the FSB is what is called "quad-pumped," meaning that the number shown in the bios, e.g) 266 mhz; is multiplied by four, for a total of 1066 mhz, or the advertized FSB.

Ram works in a different manner. DDR, or Double Data Rate Ram is what is called "double pumped." Thus meaning that, 266 multiplied by 2, resulting in a clock speed of 533 mhz.

Since the values of the RAM and CPU are running at the same native speed, they are in a 1:1 ratio.

(Sorry if that's confusing!)

Best of Luck
February 7, 2007 12:14:21 AM

Quote:
Yes go seperate case and PSU. You will be better off in the long run. I would go for 600 W but mostly your +12v rails Amp Rating needs to be 20-22 on one and 30-35 over all. If you are thinking of two GPUs, you will need more. Read the list in my sig, those are for two Xfire board set-ups. The 8800 will need more, maybe 50% more than one x1950.
That RAM might handle the e4300 at stock speeds, but you really should get PC5400 for the ideal 1:1 ratio.


Nice save. The SmartPower 2.0 PSU unit would have been marginal at best for the 8800GTX. Thanks.
After digging into the TGForumz PSU section, SilentPCReview, JonnyGuru and others, I've decided on an Antec True Power Trio 550W. This should cover the 8800 (only one, no plans for SLI), a mild OC, and still leave headroom for the next gen of graphics cards. This PSU meets with mpilchfamily's approval (who is obviously extremely well versed in these matters) and recieved a good review at SilentPCReview.
As for the case, I've spec'd an Antec SLK3000 case, which gets good rating at NewEgg.
This change bumps my total to $1400, but is money well spent, I think.

Concerning the RAM, the particular sticks I have were OC'ed with good results here:
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/memory/print/aeneon.ht...
so I'm hoping they will tolerate a mild OC in my new machine.
February 7, 2007 12:22:46 AM

An E6600 coupled with a 8800GTS would be a more balanced build. If the CPU can't keep up with the video card, you waste performance. Oblivion for instance requires a whole lotta CPU power to run well, and the video card alone can't cut it by itself.

As far as I know the nVidia drivers for Window Vista are, right now, abysmal, so if you really need Vista right now, prepare for some low gaming performance. Naturally, this problem should be resolved by a couple months.

I'd go with the Gigabyte DS3 motherboard someone reccomended earlier, or the ASUS P5N-SLI-E.
February 7, 2007 1:05:59 AM

Quote:
the nVidia drivers for Window Vista are, right now, abysmal



I thoroughly agree.
!