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new gaming system - OC questions - opinions/critique please

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March 26, 2007 4:26:55 AM

I'm (still) looking at building a new pc. This is the second revision based on this thread. Thanks to everyone who has helped so far.

The main two requirements haven't changed.
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.

The big change is that I am now looking at overclocking. After doing more reading and seeing how helpful people are on these forums, I've decided to take the plunge and try some real overclocking.

Here was the system without OC:

Case: Antec P180 $130
PSU: Seasonic S12 Energy+ SS-650HT $160
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 $119
CPU: Intel C2D E6700 $522 (or C2D E6600 $313 [undecided])
RAM: 2GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 TWIN2X2048-6400 $140
GPU: EVGA GeForce 8800GTX KO $650
HD1: WD Raptor 150GB $180
HD2: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 500GB $145
CD: Lite-On LH-52NIP-185 $13
DVD-RW: Lite-On LH-20A1H-186 $39
Sound: SoundBlaster X-Fi XtremeGamer $80
OS: Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit $190
Keyboard: Logitech G15 $72
Monitor: Samsung 226BW $325

Total: $2710 (2501 with E6600)

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

For a good overclocking setup, here are my initial thoughts based on reading reviews/forums. Everything not listed here would be the same as above.

I believe the Antec P180 and Seasonic S12 Energy+ 650W are still good options.

Motherboard: EVGA 680i motherboard $230 (T1) or $250 (A1)

What is the difference between the T1 and A1 variants of the EVGA 680i motherboard? I couldn't find any info. Which (if either) is better for overclocking?

CPU: Intel C2D E6600 $313

From what I've read, the E6600 provides good overclocking and the 4MB cache helps performance. I've heard the E4300 is usually great at overclocking but sometimes doesn't oc much at all.

RAM: ???

What RAM should I get for overclocking? I've read everything from Patriot Extreme DDR2-800 ("value" ram supposedly good for overclocking) up to Corsair XMS2 DDR2-1200 (probably insanely good but also insane price).

GPU: EVGA GeForce 8800GTX $540

If I'm overclocking everything else, I may as well save some money and overclock video as well.

CPU Cooling: Scythe Ninja $40

I chose the Scythe Ninja because it is supposed to be good at cooling and quiet.

VGA Cooling: ???

I have no idea what, if anything, I need here or is good.

Other Cooling: ???

Do I need extra case cooling, RAM cooling, or anything else?
March 26, 2007 7:59:14 AM

I don't really understand why you would go anything over an e6400 processor wise other then worthless l2 cache if you plan on o/cing. Also tuniq tower is a better cooler and with that gfx card i see no reason for an sli board.
March 26, 2007 4:24:53 PM

Quote:
I don't really understand why you would go anything over an e6400 processor wise other then worthless l2 cache if you plan on o/cing. Also tuniq tower is a better cooler and with that gfx card i see no reason for an sli board.


Is the L2 cache worthless? I read the 4M L2 cache gives about 10% improvement over 2M at the same clock speed.

I'm not really getting the 680i for the SLI. From what I've read, the 680i is one of the best overclocking chipsets and it is one of the easiest and most hassle-free to overclock (easy and hassle-free sounds good to me since I've never done any serious overclocking before).

I don't think the Seasonic S12 Energy+ provides enough power to use two 8800GTX in SLI anyway. 49A on the +12v rails is plenty to power one 8800GTX but not enough for two. I would guess you would need at least a high-quality 750W PSU to do 8800GTX. Am I correct (on Seasonic not being enough and on at least a good 750W for 8800GTX SLI)?
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March 26, 2007 4:33:27 PM

Although not exactly worthless, the 4mb L2 isn't a big deal. Not even 10%. Maybe about the equivalent of 100mhz, at best.

The only difference between T1 and A1 that I know of is warranty stuffs. The boards themselves are the same. The 680i's overclocking is fancy but the DS3 is also a good OCer.

For CPU, I'd say save the money and get the e6600, the e6700's extra 267MHz is definitely not worth $200.

For RAM, any DDR2-800 is all you'd need. No point spending more on faster RAM, you wouldn't really use the speed.

And the KO card is a lot more expensive than the vanilla, and you could just OC the vanilla. 8800 KO isn't worth it IMO for all the extra money. The Superclocked might be if you don't want to OC yourself. As for coolers, the stock 8800 cooler is pretty good, I wouldnt be too concerned about replacing it.
March 26, 2007 5:12:12 PM

Corsair; wouldnt be my first DDR2 recommendation.....

G.Skill or Crucial maybe.... PDP is good, but I have no oc'ing experience with it and DDR2. I have a set of DDR400, seems to be decent stuff.

As for your HDD's, I'd just mirror two SATA150's that come damn close to the Raptor performance and still cost less; not to mention heat and noise.

Sound card: seriously folkes, I've been reading (and personally see/heard) great things from Auzentech, give them a look see.

DVD:RW

As much as I love light-on for my DVD-ROM - grab a burner with good quality otherwise you'll be kicking yourself in the head later with how many coasters your gonna make. Plextor be thy name.
March 26, 2007 5:15:11 PM

Had I felt more comfortable with OC'ing at the time, I would have saved some $$ and gone with the e6600. If you're not going to SLI, then go with the board you picked out. If you think you'll want to in the future, go with the eVGA 680i. Go to eVGA's website and check to see what the latest board revision is--I can't remember if it's the A1 or T1, but one of them makes it better for upgrading to a quad core in the future if you think that's what you want to do. Other than that, others here have given you great advice and that looks like an awesome system. Have fun with it!
March 26, 2007 5:42:44 PM

::e6600, no question about it

::Tuniq Tower 120 or Thermalright Ultra 120 + Scythe 120mm fan

::D DR2 800, unless you're looking to hit 500MHz+ FSB
Corsairs are fine
Crucials are good but a bit more expensive

::A1 vs T1 - better OC for kentsfield, not neccessary, both will work with Kentsfield. A1 will allow you to hit higher FSB (while stable) when using Kentsfield quad core processor - not sure if this is CONFIRMED but it is intended for this purpose.

::For quieter operation - bigger fans with lower RPM, Raptors will be noisy

Unless you are desperate for a high end machine, wait for Kuma/Barcelona/R600 benchmarks and price drops of current gen stuff.
March 26, 2007 8:42:36 PM

Quote:
::Tuniq Tower 120 or Thermalright Ultra 120 + Scythe 120mm fan


Why these instead of the Scythe Ninja? They cool a little better but are a fair bit noisier (from what I can find).

Quote:
::D DR2 800, unless you're looking to hit 500MHz+ FSB
Corsairs are fine
Crucials are good but a bit more expensive


If I end up overclocking, I'd like to overclock as much as possible. I tend to extremes (no overclocking or really overclock).

Quote:
::A1 vs T1 - better OC for kentsfield, not neccessary, both will work with Kentsfield. A1 will allow you to hit higher FSB (while stable) when using Kentsfield quad core processor - not sure if this is CONFIRMED but it is intended for this purpose.


Thanks for the info. This is the first real answer I've seen on what the difference is.

Quote:
::For quieter operation - bigger fans with lower RPM, Raptors will be noisy


Comparatively, yes but it shouldn't be noticable. My current system is very quiet and has a Raptor in it. From what I've seen, HDDs are a minor contributor to system noise.

Quote:
Unless you are desperate for a high end machine, wait for Kuma/Barcelona/R600 benchmarks and price drops of current gen stuff.


There's no reason I have to upgrade. We'll see how long it takes me to order and what else is out by then. R600 got delayed until May, right? I know C2Ds are due for a price cut in late April. What are Kuma and Barcelona and when are they due out?
March 26, 2007 10:25:05 PM

You will definitely not overclock past 500mhz on air so no need for better ram then 800mhz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
that would be some great and inexpensive ram for you. Also the tuniq tower is very good cooler and is not loud at all you can only hear it when you set the fan to 2000rpm and you cant hear it at all at 1000rpm and their is only a 1-2 degree difference between these settings.
March 28, 2007 1:40:09 PM

How can he not get beyond 500mhz on air???
March 28, 2007 1:48:02 PM

He might be confused with the an earlier poster and 500 FSB. The CPU runs at 2.4GHZ stock (e6600).
March 28, 2007 2:29:35 PM

good system design:

The only advise on changes I would give is you could save money on a lower CPU if your overclocking.

Go with the Evga 8800GTX non AC3' and save $50, trust me there isn't any difference in it and the regular 8800GTX which OC's just as well and the cooling thing is a gimmick.

Also consider dual boot with XP and Vista. I wouldn't go Vista all out especially if its to be a "gaming" PC.

And last if you ever have aspirations of making it a gaming champ make sure your mobo is SLI 16X capable and consider a larger PS for possible upgrade to more graphics power.

enjoy
March 28, 2007 3:49:36 PM

Quote:
good system design:

The only advise on changes I would give is you could save money on a lower CPU if your overclocking.

Go with the Evga 8800GTX non AC3' and save $50, trust me there isn't any difference in it and the regular 8800GTX which OC's just as well and the cooling thing is a gimmick.

Also consider dual boot with XP and Vista. I wouldn't go Vista all out especially if its to be a "gaming" PC.

And last if you ever have aspirations of making it a gaming champ make sure your mobo is SLI 16X capable and consider a larger PS for possible upgrade to more graphics power.

enjoy


I know I could save money by getting a cheaper cpu but I'm not sure how much I'll really be overclocking so I'll spend the money on an E6600 (possibly E6700 if I wait until after price cuts April 22). If I get the DS3 mobo, the RAM could limit my cpu overclock (if I understand correctly).

I probably will go with either the straight EVGA 8800GTX or possibly the SC as I have had multiple people say that the KO isn't worth it.

Any advice on setting up dual boot of XP and Vista? I haven't done dual-booting since MS-DOS days.

I really doubt I will ever feel the need to SLI a monster like the 8800GTX. If nothing else, I'm getting tired of researching parts at this point and don't feel like finding a different PSU I like (although I might get motivated again sometime before I order). ;) 
March 28, 2007 4:33:56 PM

Quote:
I know I could save money by getting a cheaper cpu but I'm not sure how much I'll really be overclocking so I'll spend the money on an E6600 (possibly E6700 if I wait until after price cuts April 22). If I get the DS3 mobo, the RAM could limit my cpu overclock (if I understand correctly).

I probably will go with either the straight EVGA 8800GTX or possibly the SC as I have had multiple people say that the KO isn't worth it.

Any advice on setting up dual boot of XP and Vista? I haven't done dual-booting since MS-DOS days.

I really doubt I will ever feel the need to SLI a monster like the 8800GTX. If nothing else, I'm getting tired of researching parts at this point and don't feel like finding a different PSU I like (although I might get motivated again sometime before I order). ;) 


sounds like you have some time to figure it all out.

On XP dual boot. Install Windows XP SP2 first regular on your Drive C: as normal. Then once you have it set up, install Vista on separate drive or partition choosing the Vista option of secondary OS. If you want the boot up performance of your Raptor drive to be part of Vista, make sure you partition the Raptor first so you can install it on a second partition of the same drive or Vista won't allow you to put both XP and Vista on the same drive or partition. On boot up a OS choice screen will come up where you can choose previous OS or Visat. Vista will auto launch if you do not pick prior first since it was the last OS installed. I think for gaming you will find yourself using XP much more often.

And on SLI, never say never, consider the beast. The PC Power and Cooling 750 and the 1Kw BFG are both affordable quality high power PS's

good luck.
March 30, 2007 8:18:50 AM

Quote:
How can he not get beyond 500mhz on air???

Sorry, I meant to write fsb :oops:  .
March 30, 2007 5:16:58 PM

I dont expect him to get anywhere near that high..... even if he used water...
March 30, 2007 6:19:52 PM

I don't either. I'd be happy with 400 FSB (800 RAM and 3.6 CPU (assuming E6600 with its x9 multiplier)).
March 30, 2007 6:28:07 PM

Quote:
I don't either. I'd be happy with 400 FSB (800 RAM and 3.6 CPU (assuming E6600 with its x9 multiplier)).


500Mhz FSB and above is not unheard of although not mainstream. It depends on the quality of your motherboard first, CPU second and memory third as you can separate the memory FSB from the CPU FSB and in essence remove the Memory from the FSB equation.

Mine will hit 475Mhz FSB before the CPU starts to cry uncle seriously(3.8Ghz), at 465Mhz it runs for a while and errors out heavy apps and games. at 450Mhz it says no problem and runs merrily about its way.
!