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UPDATED**System built for Vista 64-bit $3500 BUDGET**UPDATED

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April 14, 2007 5:41:34 AM

Ok so here's the deal... I was going to build a 3k gaming tower but after some time,research and more money, i decided to take another take at this.

I will be buying the parts at the 22 of april (since i hear intel is cutting prices)
and i plan to use them system for a long long time to come.
I will be updating this as i go, but since this is my first ever build i need some direction for this machine.
here's what i think...please change it if you disagree

BUDGET: $3500 (discluding OS, and shiping)

CASE: COOLER MASTER Stacker RC-832-KKN1-GP Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail $259.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz LGA 775 Processor Model BX80562Q6600 - Retail $835.00
http://www.newegg.com/product/Product.asp?item=N82E1681...

GPU: EVGA 768-P2-N831-AR GeForce 8800GTX 768MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Video Card - Retail $559.99
http://www.newegg.com/product/Product.asp?item=N82E1681...

MOBO: EVGA 122-CK-NF68-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $239.99
http://www.newegg.com/product/Product.asp?item=N82E1681...

HD1 (gaming): Western Digital Raptor X WD1500AHFD 150GB 10,000 RPM Serial ATA150 Hard Drive - OEM $209.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1682...

HD2 (everything else): SAMSUNG SpinPoint T Series HD501LJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $129.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DiskDrive: already have a dvd/cd rom drive

***I plan to go 64bit so i'll get 4gb of ram, i dont think 2x2gb rams are compatible with the Mobo i have set up, If anyone knows a better build for X64 bit vista please tell.****

Memory: G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400PHU2-2GBHZ - Retail $169.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1682...

Memory: G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400PHU2-2GBHZ - Retail $169.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1682...

PSU: OCZ OCZ1000PXS ATX12V / EPS12V 1000W Power Supply - Retail $329.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1681...

CPU Cooling: ZALMAN 9700 LED 110mm 2 Ball CPU Cooler - Retail $59.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1683...

Soundcard: onboard

Speakers: Creative Inspire T6100 76 Watts 5.1 Speaker - Retail $79.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1683...

Montior: Dell UltraSharp 2407WFP Wide-Screen Black Flat Panel Monitor
$609
http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?c...
.


***TOTAL SO FAR****
$3870.....

Okay so i'm a little over my "budget".....But it should get better and closer to 3500 if Intel Decides to cut the price of the Q6600 (rumor says it'll be around $500) on April 22nd... since that's when ill be buying my parts anyways.

Anyone think they can do this list better than me with this budget on x64 bit vista????? If yes, then PLEASE comment and give me your opinion.

Thankyall for helping!.
April 14, 2007 9:48:41 AM

So far solid choices.
For memory I think I would go with 2x2gb ddr2-800. Running Vista- 64 allows more memory to be used and the 2 gb stick will save you 2 slots for later.
With your budget, get the best PSU - P&PC Silent 750W, or the 1k for the day you go SLI.
Would want a quieter rig or performance? Will you overclock?
April 14, 2007 11:46:11 AM

I would choose XP x64 for gaming. When gaming on Vista Ultimate x64 I have an average of 7fps lower than on XP.
Related resources
April 14, 2007 12:46:41 PM

Youre far away from hitting 3500 :) 

With such a budget I would get components that really DO last for some time, which means mostly peripherals:
- 27" WUXGA screen
- Creative X-Fi Xtreme Gamer Fatal1ty Professional Series
- Creative GigaWorks S750 THX 7.1
- Sennheiser PC161
- Razer Copperhead + Razer ProTools (leet neoprene bag included)
- Razer eXactMat w/ eXactRest
- good case that will provide good cooling and (lack of) noise
- stack up on fans, preferrably Scythe SFlex (in the corresponding sizes)
- Western Digital RaptorX 150GB (RaptorX cause they dont cost more and are cool)

Well, that all I can think of at the moment.
April 14, 2007 1:58:31 PM

$3500 is a lot. You should get a Core 2 Quad processor, like the Q6600. For air cooling, the Zalman CNPS9700 is fairly quiet and comes with a controller (although on that budget I'd recommend buying a decent external controller), but if you want overall performance, go with a Scythe Infinity (only problem with those is the stupid weight - not good if you plan to move the PC around a lot). I've also heard that the 680i boards aren't too good, so I'd say get an eVGA 650i board (they're more refined), or if you're overclocking, get something like a Gigabyte DS3/DS4 (see the C2D overclocking guide in the overclocking section of the forum for a list of recommended overclocking parts). Finally, I've heard mixed responses about Dell monitors, so I'd go with something by Samsung or Viewsonic.
April 14, 2007 8:57:33 PM

i doubt u can hit 3.5k with this build. lol

if u WANT to spend more money to reach 3.5k get another raptor and set up raid.

for the case i would go with the lian li v2100 plus 2 series, HUGE, quiet, sleek.

make sure your power supply had 4xPCI-E rails cause gtx has 2 power connectors to run.

dell monitors are expensive lol i would get samsung 226bw 22" wide screen only 300 bucks

get a Xi-FI series sound card from creative, the fatal1ty FPS or the pro.

definitely get a razer mouse, my preference is the the deathadder.
also get the eXactMat its really nice.

and good luck hitting 3.5k =]
April 15, 2007 7:39:55 AM

OK after reading your opinions and extensive browsing i updated my list. It looks much different and i'm currently over my budget.... but im hoping there will be a Q6600 price cut on april 22 like the rumors says....

BTW:. Does anyone know if i need to get some extra extension cables/cords since the Stacker is so huge of a case??? and i'd also like to know if getting 3rd party case fans is worth it....
April 15, 2007 10:08:00 AM

Again, 3500 is a pretty big budget, so you may want to consider getting a case you like the look of that supports 12cm fans, and then get separate fans that're uber quiet, like this Noctua fan (sorry it's a bit ugly and on a UK site, it's just as an idea).
April 15, 2007 7:20:03 PM

I have 4 Noctua NF-12 1200rpm Fans. They are SILENT and move a TON of air.
a b B Homebuilt system
April 15, 2007 8:45:46 PM

Solid build. Good to go. :D  . Bit IMO you should change the CPU to a QX6700.
a b B Homebuilt system
April 15, 2007 8:46:41 PM

Solid build. Good to go. :D  . Bit IMO you should change the CPU to a QX6700. And get XP with an upgrade coupon for Vista, because gaming in Vista right now is not very good.
April 15, 2007 8:48:58 PM

for $3500 you should have a sound card, its hard to go wrong with an xfi.
April 15, 2007 9:43:27 PM

Quote:
for $3500 you should have a sound card, its hard to go wrong with an xfi.


Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Elite Pro
April 16, 2007 5:21:37 AM

Shadow703793- Don't you need some nice water cooling for that processor??

Proof- I am already over my 3500 budget and i don't plan to get 7.1 speakers, only 5.1. but if you can make my list better and cheap enough to get a decent sound card then that would be great.
April 16, 2007 5:48:11 AM

I would also go for a 74gb raptor for your OS. Perhaps a different motherboard. I'm not a huge fan of the nvidia reference boards (known to kill hardware) Go with a top of the line board with the P965 chipset, or the ASUS version of the nVidia chipset. Either way your system is going to kick some ass! :D 
April 16, 2007 5:52:15 AM

Yeah, I would also go with the QX6700. Sure it's clocked higher at stock, and it overclocks more than the Q6600 because while the architecture is similar the QX6700 is updated and it doesn't hit a wall like the Q6600
April 16, 2007 9:29:45 AM

Ah, so you're over budget now? Ok, time to make a few adjustments then.

For a start, quad core is recommended for use with watercooling (sorry, only just found this out recently). These are pretty pricey compared to your cooling solutions, so maybe consider switching back to a core 2 duo? If you're not overclocking, get the E6600, if you are, get the E6320 (although the E4300 is a good overclocker, on your budget, you should be looking to get a processor with 4MB of cache). On the aftermarket cooler front, someone on this forum compared the Zalman 9500, Scythe Ninja and Noctua NH-U12F. They found the Noctua to be the best for performance and noise, but I personally think the Zalman looks nicer, so it's up to you what you prioritise.

If you're not overclocking, then you don't need DDR2 800 RAM -> switch it to DDR2 533 RAM. Also, 2GB of RAM is more than enough for now - you could always add another set of 2GB later on.

If you are overclocking, get a proven overclocking board like the Gigabyte DS3 (which I think is cheaper than the 680i board).

Also, you added an aftermarket VGA cooler. May I ask why? The 8800GTX is already a mega powerhouse, and if you buy one from eVGA, XFX or BFG, it will come with adequate cooling.

Finally, you might be able to save a bit on the power supply. I'm fairly sure the Corsair HX 620W PSU will be able to cope as it has a total of 50A on the +12V rails. I'm not 100% on that though, so it's worth asking someone else on here to check that.
April 16, 2007 10:27:47 AM

get logitech Z 2300 speakers - u won't be disappointed - rock the house!
April 16, 2007 11:03:02 AM

Quote:
Ah, so you're over budget now? Ok, time to make a few adjustments then.

For a start, quad core is recommended for use with watercooling (sorry, only just found this out recently). These are pretty pricey compared to your cooling solutions, so maybe consider switching back to a core 2 duo? If you're not overclocking, get the E6600, if you are, get the E6320 (although the E4300 is a good overclocker, on your budget, you should be looking to get a processor with 4MB of cache). On the aftermarket cooler front, someone on this forum compared the Zalman 9500, Scythe Ninja and Noctua NH-U12F. They found the Noctua to be the best for performance and noise, but I personally think the Zalman looks nicer, so it's up to you what you prioritise.

If you're not overclocking, then you don't need DDR2 800 RAM -> switch it to DDR2 533 RAM. Also, 2GB of RAM is more than enough for now - you could always add another set of 2GB later on.

If you are overclocking, get a proven overclocking board like the Gigabyte DS3 (which I think is cheaper than the 680i board).

Also, you added an aftermarket VGA cooler. May I ask why? The 8800GTX is already a mega powerhouse, and if you buy one from eVGA, XFX or BFG, it will come with adequate cooling.

Finally, you might be able to save a bit on the power supply. I'm fairly sure the Corsair HX 620W PSU will be able to cope as it has a total of 50A on the +12V rails. I'm not 100% on that though, so it's worth asking someone else on here to check that.


The Corsair PSU won't do an 8800GTX SLi. Not enough power. It may be rated for it, but I have tried and failed. Also, wait for the 8950GX2s and the qx6800. Get a kickass custom water cooling setup with parts from some of the elite manufacturers (i.e. Aqua Computer, Stinger, and PolarFlo).
April 16, 2007 11:41:19 AM

C2D E4300 x2(incase one is a shiat overclock) $260
super dooper water cooler. $450
DFI RD600 mainboard $170
ATI 2900XT *2 $800
Corsair DDR2-800 CL3 $300
Seagate 320GB SATAII HDD *4 Raid 0 $400
Thermaltake ToughPower 850W $150 (whisper quiet)
Antec P180 $170
Creative X-fi $200 one
22" Widescreen $700
G15 Gaming keyboard $ 70
Razer copperhead mouse $80
Logitech X-530 $80

ehh... thats about all i can think of, that is $3830 quite far out of your budget, but, awesome!
April 16, 2007 11:44:59 AM

Proof, I wasn't suggesting SLi 8800GTX's. But cheers for noting that anyways. Any idea when the 8950GX2s are out?
April 16, 2007 11:46:40 AM

Also, the QX6800 aren't commercially available - they're only being given to boutique system builders (see the THG article on the front page).
April 16, 2007 12:32:38 PM

I just put this together on newegg if you want to have a quick look over:

Coolermaster Stacker 830 RC - $259.99
Raptor X 150GB - $209.99
SCythe S-FLEX 120mm case fan (x3) - $42.87
Zalman CNPS9700 Cooler - $59.99
Seagate Barracuda ST3400620AS 400GB HDD (x2) - $239.98
Logitech G11 keyboard - $54.99
Logitech MX Revolution mouse - $79.99 (if you want, get a Razer mouse, matter of taste really)
G.Skill 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2 800 RAM - $159.99 (add another one of these if you want)
Samsung 226BW 22" widescreen monitor - $319.99
Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 (rev. 1.3) mainboard - $109.99
Corsair 620W HX PSU - $169.99
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 - $970
BFG 8800GTX @ 626MHz - $599.99
Creative GigaWorks 5.1 speakers - $335.99
-----------------------
Total - $3613.74

This is over your budget, but hopefully the price cuts on the 22nd will bring the QX6700 to a more reasonable price.
April 16, 2007 1:06:35 PM

Honestly, with that budget, you may want to wait a couple of weeks and see what happens. The release of ATI's new cards and the drop in Intel prices are worth waiting for. (I think at least) You will be able to get your CPU for around 60% of what you're paying now, and with that could upgrade from a 24" to a 30" monitor.

Also, I think that getting a 22" monitor is stupid if you have the money. The extra resolution of a 24" is AMAZING! Trust me on this one :wink:
April 16, 2007 2:21:33 PM

Quote:
Also, the QX6800 aren't commercially available - they're only being given to boutique system builders (see the THG article on the front page).


Yeah, but for $3500 he could buy a stripped down alienware and rip that QX6800 out and sell the rest on ebay and then still have enough money to build a kickass rig.
April 16, 2007 2:23:04 PM

Quote:
Proof, I wasn't suggesting SLi 8800GTX's. But cheers for noting that anyways. Any idea when the 8950GX2s are out?


When they do come out, you can bet your sweet @$$ I am STepping Up my GTX for one and buying a second one. I don't care if I have to promise eVGA my firstborn son, I am getting two 8950GX2s.
April 17, 2007 4:55:55 AM

lol, i hope you have the combined driver fun of the people who got the 7900GX2s and the 8800s really early, lol, jks
April 17, 2007 5:38:00 AM

Quote:
Honestly, with that budget, you may want to wait a couple of weeks and see what happens. The release of ATI's new cards and the drop in Intel prices are worth waiting for. (I think at least) You will be able to get your CPU for around 60% of what you're paying now, and with that could upgrade from a 24" to a 30" monitor.

Also, I think that getting a 22" monitor is stupid if you have the money. The extra resolution of a 24" is AMAZING! Trust me on this one :wink:


i dont mind waiting a couple of weeks, but when is this all this price cutting acutally going to happen?
April 17, 2007 6:22:18 AM

Quote:
I would choose XP x64 for gaming. When gaming on Vista Ultimate x64 I have an average of 7fps lower than on XP.


You wouldn't even be able to see a difference from a 7fps drop, stick with the Vista x64.
April 17, 2007 7:33:27 AM

They happen very quickly as people want to buy at those prices on THAT day so vendors will have new prices as soon as they can to avoid missing any early sales.
April 17, 2007 9:16:22 AM

I guess i CAN wait till the end of may for a dual GPU card....i'd rather get something right now but i remember my brother getting the 7800GT just to see the 7900gt come out soon after for a cheaper price, then getting blown away with the 7950gx2. If dual core GPUs are THAT much better, then i might have to wait till may....

and what is with all the topics and comments talking about how the Q6600 is not a "true" quad core??? When is the "true Quad" core coming out??? and i was wondering if there's a better Mobo for x64bit Vista and overclocking. I do plan on overclocking to atleast 3.0-3.2 Ghz with my CPU and i will eventually upgrade my videocard. I also really rather have a 2x2gb ram set instead of going 4x1gb.... can someone help me out with that issue??

and does anyone have any info on when the "true" quad core and the r600 (dual GPU) is being released??... i heard the r600 is sometime during may but idk about the Processor.

P.S. I really rather not go with watercooling, but on zalman's website they don't say anything about being able to cool a Q6600. I thought only the QX6700-QX6800 NEEDED to be water cooled, not the Q6600.
April 17, 2007 9:34:59 AM

The quad core extremes need to be watercooled, but I'd recommend it with the Q6600 as well, just because it's TDP is 105W compared to the 65W of core 2 duos. The Gigabyte DS3 is an awesome mobo for overclocking, and it supports 2GB chips (although those are stupidly expensive). You need to make sure you get one of the newest revisions of the DS3 so that you have support for quad core and FSB1333. Considering the price of the 2GB RAM chips, you should just get 4x1GB. 4GB will last you ages as it is, 8GB would just be overkill.
You're right about the R600 being released in May. Originally, it was going to be March, but it's been delayed so that ATI can make the cards DX10.1 specifiction. I don't know when AMD's new CPU's come out, though. I suspect Nvidia will release the next generation of G80 cards around the same time as the R600 to compete.
If you really don't want to watercool, go with the Zalman CNPS9700 if aesthetics are important, or the Noctua if performance and noise are more important.
April 17, 2007 11:21:12 AM

AMD will release the world's first native quad core. Also, I just ordered another 8800GTX and I will step them both up when the new cards come out. I also ordered a 22" HD monitor because my Cinema Display had a mouse thrown into it...
!