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Building a new system - Need advice / rating on hardware

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April 22, 2007 7:56:27 PM

Hi All,

Im a noob to the THWForums, but been visiting THW for many years now, anyhoot i am building a new system and could do with some feedback on the spec.

I am about to purchase:

CPU:
x1 Intel Core 2 Duo E6700, Socket 775, 2.67 GHz, 1066MHz FSB, 4MB Cache, Retail

Motherboard:
x1 Asus Striker Extreme NF680i SLI, S 775, PCI-E (x16), DDR2 533/667/800, SATA II, SATA RAID, ATX

Memory:
x2 2GB (2x1GB) CorsairTwinX XMS2 Dominator,DDR2 PC2-6400,240 Pins, NonECC Unbuffered, CAS 4-4-4-12, EPP (Total 4gb ram)

Graphics Card:
x 1 640MB BFG Technology 8800GTS Overclocked PCI-E(x16) Mem 1600MHz GPU 550MHz 96 Streams HDTV/2 x DVI-I

Hard Drives:
x4 250 Gb Western Digital WD2500JS Caviar SE, SATA300, 7200 rpm, 8MB Cache, 8.9 ms (Raid 0)

Screen/Display:
x1 22" Viewsonic Q22wb Black LCD, 1680x1050, VGA/DVI, 5 ms, 900:1, 300 cd/m2, Widescreen, VESA

Case:
x1 Xclio A380 SuperTower Black with Window with 25cm Front Super Cooling Fan Screwless w/o PSU

PSU:
750W Xclio X12S4P4 Modular SLi U-Quiet 14cm Fan 87%+ Efficiency Quad+12v EPS 4SATA 4 PCI-E

Need a good air cooling too - not sure - Coolmaster? Will want to O/C system later on...

Total cost is around £1500
April 22, 2007 8:27:28 PM

It looks like money is not a serious object here. I'd go for a Q6600 or even a QX6700. It won't bring any benefit over the E6700 in some applications but in others it will wipe the floor with the E6700.

Maybe save some cash by getting the P5N32-E SLI instead of the Striker.

4 GB of RAM is overkill, unless you're willing to be a guinea pig for Vista. I'd stick with XP and 2 GB for this year.
April 22, 2007 9:00:38 PM

Thanks for your reply dsidious,

I suppose if i forgo the additional 2gb of ram and put it towards cpu, then i could afford the entry level quad :

Intel Core 2 Quad-Core Q6600, 775, 2.40 GHz, 1066MHz FSB, 8MB Cache, Retail (£340)

I just figured 4gb would eliminate issues with buying another matched pair in the future, but as you say, there's issues with that amount of ram anyway... tbh - im avoiding Vista completely - im sure its nice and all that, but i dont buy into any OS straight away, too many issues. XP Pro x64 should be fine i guess - at least the hardware would work... unless of course im missing something with Vista - ie does it make better use of the Quad core? I was under the impression Vista had a lot of overheads on the system = xp was at least reliable and compatible ...

What is the difference between the P5N32-E SLI and the Striker?

If i do go Quad core - do you think i need to change the build? ie faster ram/different mobo?

Thanks again - advice is appreciated!!

Cheers
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April 22, 2007 9:35:17 PM

Vista does have better support for multiple cores, that's the theory. However, if the drivers for the various parts are buggy (e.g. the 8800 GTX drivers) then it's all pointless.

The main differences between Striker and P5N32-E SLI:

- Striker costs about $100 more
- Striker has more eSATA ports. For example you can connect 4 external drives instead of 2, or something like that.
- Striker has nice LEDs inside. Very useful if you buy the PC to look inside it all the time. Personally, I prefer looking at the monitor :p 
- Striker has a more complicated cooling system. The jury is still out on whether it's actually better.
- Striker comes with a "Republic of Gamers" ring. It won't impress the girls but it could be handy to impress geeks or children :twisted:

There was a great review a few weeks ago, but unfortunately I forgot where I found it. It was comparing these two motherboards and the conclusion was that the Striker is not worth it. I especially liked it because I had been planning to get a Striker myself. You can probably find it with Google...
April 23, 2007 3:07:52 AM

Ok So if i plop for the other mobo, i did a search - it was available in a few flavours, the one that stands out to me is the :

Asus P5N32-E SLI NF680i SLI, S 775, PCI-E (x16), DDR2 533/667/800, SATA II, SATA RAID, ATX


I dont feel the need for external sata ports, nor am im that bothered over lights in the case :lol: 

I have always been an ABit guy in the past, right from the bh6 i think - it used to drive my Celeron 300a at 500mhz 8O So this will be my first venture into any other mobo make.

PSU - if im uping to quad core - would you recommend:

750w Silverstone SST-OP750, 60A on single +12V rail, 80% efficiency, 4x6pin PCI-E, 1x8pin PCI-E RoHS


I do have one more question that i have thought of (if you dont mind) :

I am buying x4 sata300 drives in the expectation i can make them into a Raid0 setup therefore getting the performance of 4x300mbs =1.2mb ? Is that theory right? Or does setting a Raid0 with x4 sata300 switch the drives to sata150? Therefore only achieving 4x150 = 600mbs

Thanks again for you help!!
April 23, 2007 1:30:00 PM

The PSU sounds very nice, but I'd look for a review on the Web or at least the manufacturer's Web page. If you're going for a SLI motherboard you should at least make sure the PSU is also SLI-capable. I strongly suspect that it is, at 750 W.

Typically PSU efficiency is between 65% and 85% so I'd say 80% is very good (85% PSUs cost a lot). There's a sticky thread somewhere on Tom's about PSUs, I'd look for it.

I really don't know much about RAID. I've just read in a book yesterday that using Raid0 for anything other than a server is not worth it. But then, that's just one author's opinion, others may disagree. The total access time needed to read or write a chunk of data to/from disk consists of reading from the FAT or NTFS tables or whatever, then finding the right track on disk, then waiting for it to rotate to the right place, then writing or reading. Raid0 helps only with some of these parts, others are still done at the same speed as with just one disk. I'm guessing that the Raid0 will be faster if you read or write a huge file, but not for small and frequent accesses.
Also, if one of the 4 disks fails you lose all data, which means your risk of hard disk failure is increased.

From what I've read in the forum so far, both Raid0 and the Raptors make loading levels in games faster, but once the level is loaded there's no noticeable difference.

I'm not saying don't use Raid0, OK? Definitely get advice from somebody who really knows. Personally though I'd just get a Raptor 150 GB (on sale at newegg these days) and a 500 GB drive for storage, and add another 1.5 TB drive in 2 years or so :p  Or just get 2 of the 500 GB if storage is important.

Good luck with your build :D  :D 
April 24, 2007 3:54:13 PM

Hi = well i have gone and done it... need to assembly yet, but im back from the shops!

Here's the run down of what i went for in the end:

Memory:
x1 2GB (2x1GB) CorsairTwinX XMS2 Dominator,DDR2 PC2-6400,240 Pins, NonECC Unbuffered, CAS 4-4-4-12, EPP (Total 2gb ram)

Graphics:
x 1 640mb BFG 8800GTS PCIE O/C'ed

CPU:
x1 Intel QX6700 Extreme Quad core (this was a hard one to pass the misses!)

Motherboard:
x 1 Asus P5n32-E SLi NF680o S775

Display:
x1 22" Vsonic OPT Q22W TFT DVI

PSU:
x1 Silverstone 850w Modular Quad12v rail

Case:
x1 Xclio A380 Case (black)

HD:
x1 WD1500AHFD Clear Raptor

DVD/CD Drive:
x1 LiteON 20x DVDRW RAM SATA

...and a standard floppy drive...


Thanks again to TH for making so many guides/tests/reviews available - all of which has helped shape my purchase.

Thanks again also to you dsidious - your help has been useful

Looking forward to getting the system up and running now :twisted:

Question - im going for xp for now - do i take it i go x64 route?
!