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new gaming system [revision B] - opinions/critique please

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March 25, 2007 6:26:50 PM

I'm looking at building a new pc. This is revision 1 based on feedback in this thread. The primary requirements are:

1) Gaming. Primarily, MMO, RPG, turn-based strategy, and misc. Probably not (but maybe) RTS or FPS.
2) Quiet(ish). I had a previous pc that worked great but sounded like a wind tunnel.
3) I will not be overclocking.

To make the post easier to scan quickly, I put the items in slightly larger and dark blue with reasoning, comments, and questions after each.

Case: Antec P180 $130

Should be quieter than the Antec 900 and still have adequate cooling.

PSU: Seasonic S12 Energy+ SS-650HT $160

Corsair PSU is made by Seasonic anyway and the Energy+ is much quieter.

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 $119

This seems to be the most often recommended P965 board on the forums.

CPU: Intel C2D E6700 $522 -or- Intel C2D E6600 $313

Since I'm not overclocking, I'm looking at going with the E6700. However, the E6600 is definitely a better performance/price ratio.

RAM: 2GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 TWIN2X2048-6400 $140 -or- 2GB Mushkin DDR2-800 996527 $180

I was going to go with 4GB but then read that Vista 32-bit only really currently supports a little over 3GB so figured I'd wait to buy more.

The Corsair RAM should work and is quite cheap. However, it seems to have a fair number of negative reviews on NewEgg (mostly about DOA sticks and RMA problems) but still manages 4 stars. The Mushkin RAM is getting much better user reviews (5 star) but only has ~30 reviews so far (about 1/10 the number of Corsair reviews). Thoughts?

GPU: EVGA GeForce 8800GTX KO $650

I'm not overclocking and not doing SLI so I figured I'd pay the premium for 8800GTX with factory overclock (and still get the lifetime warranty).

HD1: WD Raptor 150GB $180
HD2: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 500GB $145

I've seen 1-2 posts commenting that certain capacities of Seagate 7200.10 are more "stable" than others. Is the 500GB good or should I switch capacity?

If the Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000 is out when I order, I may go with that instead of HD1 and HD2. Thoughts?

CD: Lite-On LH-52NIP-185 $13
DVD-RW: Lite-On LH-20A1H-186 $39

For the CD and DVD drives, I noticed that Lite-On has SATA versions of each model but they do not appear to be supported on the Lite-On website. Should I stick with PATA optical drives or go with the SATA versions (each is only $1-2 more).

As to why CD-ROM instead of DVD-ROM, it's because I've always gotten much better performance/quality when ripping CDs (still several hundred to go before I've digitized all of my collection) from CD-ROM than from DVD-ROM (or CD or DVD burners). This may have improved in the last few years but I thought I'd just stick with a CD-ROM.

Sound: SoundBlaster X-Fi XtremeGamer $80

I didn't see any reason to spend more for not much gain.

OS: Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit $190

With an 8800, it really only makes sense to go with Vista. Ultimate seems a safe bet for features (it has it all). I'm going with 32-bit since I've read many places that Vista 64-bit is driver hell.

Keyboard: Logitech G15 $72

I currently have a Z-Board but found I prefer using the Fang so figured I'd try another gaming oriented keyboard.

Monitor: Samsung 226BW $325

This looks like a very nice monitor (22" with 2ms response). This will be my first widescreen (currently have a 19" non-widescreen LCD with 25ms response). Anything I should know about using a widescreen? Will most games display fully in a widescreen? Will some only use a traditional aspect ratio (and leave blanks on the sides)?

Power/Cooling:
From what I've read and been told, the PSU should provide plenty of power for the system (including the 8800GTX) and there should be adequate cooling. If you disagree with either, please let me know why you disagree. I definitely don't want to end up with inadequate power and/or cooling.
[/b]
March 25, 2007 6:32:36 PM

Quote:
I'm looking at building a new pc. This is revision 1 based on feedback in this thread. The primary requirements are:

1) Gaming. Primarily, MMO, RPG, turn-based strategy, and misc. Probably not (but maybe) RTS or FPS.
2) Quiet(ish). I had a previous pc that worked great but sounded like a wind tunnel.
3) I will not be overclocking.

To make the post easier to scan quickly, I put the items in slightly larger and dark blue with reasoning, comments, and questions after each.

Case: Antec P180 $130

Should be quieter than the Antec 900 and still have adequate cooling.
Looks good. Looks good.

PSU: Seasonic S12 Energy+ SS-650HT $160

Corsair PSU is made by Seasonic anyway and the Energy+ is much quieter.
Looks good. Looks good.

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 $119

This seems to be the most often recommended P965 board on the forums.
A-yup. If you're not overclocking, you may be able to go cheaper.

CPU: Intel C2D E6700 $522 -or- Intel C2D E6600 $313

Since I'm not overclocking, I'm looking at going with the E6700. However, the E6600 is definitely a better performance/price ratio.

Be sure to check the CPU charts to see the perf differences.

RAM: 2GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 TWIN2X2048-6400 $140 -or- 2GB Mushkin DDR2-800 996527 $180

I was going to go with 4GB but then read that Vista 32-bit only really currently supports a little over 3GB so figured I'd wait to buy more.

The Corsair RAM should work and is quite cheap. However, it seems to have a fair number of negative reviews on NewEgg (mostly about DOA sticks and RMA problems) but still manages 4 stars. The Mushkin RAM is getting much better user reviews (5 star) but only has ~30 reviews so far (about 1/10 the number of Corsair reviews). Thoughts?

If you're not overclocking you may be able to go cheaper.

GPU: EVGA GeForce 8800GTX KO $650

I'm not overclocking and not doing SLI so I figured I'd pay the premium for 8800GTX with factory overclock (and still get the lifetime warranty).

Personally, the GTX is SO great right now it doesn't need to be overclocked but if you don't intend to upgrade then it'll be good.

HD1: WD Raptor 150GB $180
HD2: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 500GB $145

I've seen 1-2 posts commenting that certain capacities of Seagate 7200.10 are more "stable" than others. Is the 500GB good or should I switch capacity?
Can't help you there, sorry.

If the Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000 is out when I order, I may go with that instead of HD1 and HD2. Thoughts?

CD: Lite-On LH-52NIP-185 $13
DVD-RW: Lite-On LH-20A1H-186 $39

For the CD and DVD drives, I noticed that Lite-On has SATA versions of each model but they do not appear to be supported on the Lite-On website. Should I stick with PATA optical drives or go with the SATA versions (each is only $1-2 more).

I'm going with SATA because it bypasses the Jmicron controller. That's just me.

As to why CD-ROM instead of DVD-ROM, it's because I've always gotten much better performance/quality when ripping CDs (still several hundred to go before I've digitized all of my collection) from CD-ROM than from DVD-ROM (or CD or DVD burners). This may have improved in the last few years but I thought I'd just stick with a CD-ROM.

Sound: SoundBlaster X-Fi XtremeGamer $80

I didn't see any reason to spend more for not much gain.
I hope you have a good sound system.

OS: Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit $190

With an 8800, it really only makes sense to go with Vista. Ultimate seems a safe bet for features (it has it all). I'm going with 32-bit since I've read many places that Vista 64-bit is driver hell.

Vista 64-bit IS driver hell. XP 64-bit is worse. Do your research and it won't be as bad.

Keyboard: Logitech G15 $72

I currently have a Z-Board but found I prefer using the Fang so figured I'd try another gaming oriented keyboard.

Monitor: Samsung 226BW $325

This looks like a very nice monitor (22" with 2ms response). This will be my first widescreen (currently have a 19" non-widescreen LCD with 25ms response). Anything I should know about using a widescreen? Will most games display fully in a widescreen? Will some only use a traditional aspect ratio (and leave blanks on the sides)?
It may stretch for some games.

Power/Cooling:
From what I've read and been told, the PSU should provide plenty of power for the system (including the 8800GTX) and there should be adequate cooling. If you disagree with either, please let me know why you disagree. I definitely don't want to end up with inadequate power and/or cooling.
It looks adequate.
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Overall this looks very solid.
[/b]
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March 25, 2007 6:41:57 PM

Pretty nice build, you are going to be very satisfied with you're choice here and will enjoy those games you wish to play at pretty decent fps or even more.

Since you're no overclocking go with the E6600 to save you a little money but maybe people would also recommend the 6700.
March 25, 2007 6:55:31 PM

I'd say it's a very good build! But, you had mentioned that normal CD/ROM drives rip faster than DVD-ROM/Combo drives. You must be kidding right? All you gotta do to get great read/write speeds and avoid the hastle of over-junking your system, is to get a decent combo that does it all from a good brand. LiteOn isn't a great brand. Samsung, Sony, Phillips are all great CD/DVD media drives. And to ensure that you get the speed you want, just check out the specs on the box or manual of the drive. All in all, the system rocks! 8)
March 25, 2007 7:51:23 PM

Quote:
I'd say it's a very good build! But, you had mentioned that normal CD/ROM drives rip faster than DVD-ROM/Combo drives. You must be kidding right? All you gotta do to get great read/write speeds and avoid the hastle of over-junking your system, is to get a decent combo that does it all from a good brand. LiteOn isn't a great brand. Samsung, Sony, Phillips are all great CD/DVD media drives. And to ensure that you get the speed you want, just check out the specs on the box or manual of the drive. All in all, the system rocks! 8)


Nope. Actually I've tried DVD-ROM or CD/DVD burners from Sony, Pioneer, and Plextor and have always gotten much better ripping performance (and sometimes quality) from any of the CD-ROM drives I've had. No idea why - just my experience over multiple drives and multiple years.

Thanks for the recommendations for other brands to look at. I may change from Lite-On to one of those (wasn't set on them - just one I'd heard was decent and it was inexpensive).

[edit: corrected Pioneer brand name]
!