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First build in over 5 years - please critique

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May 10, 2007 4:16:54 PM

Hi everyone,

I've been lurking on this forum for quite a while now, trying to figure out a good midrange gaming rig. I've been waiting for cpu prices to drop and now that they have I'm ready to buy.

Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz LGA 775 Processor Model BX80557E6600 - $226

ASUS P5W DH DELUXE/WIFI-AP LGA 775 Intel 975X ATX Intel Motherboard - $209.99

EVGA 320-P2-N811-AR GeForce 8800GTS 320MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video $279.99

Antec LifeStyle SONATA II Piano Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $99.99

G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel $89.99

2 Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s OEM $79.99x2

PC Power & Cooling Silencer 610 EPS12V EPS12V 610W $159.99

Total price: $1225.93

I'm not going to sli or overclock. I wanted a nice quiet pc and the Sonata case appears to help. I thought about the P180 or P182, but these appear to be quite heavy and I want to be able to easily take this to lan parties. This will be my main desktop pc and I will be playing games like NWN2, Oblivion, CS2 and more.

I wanted a good dx10 card for the price and I chose the MB for the quad core upgrade path, firewire and wireless. Also, getting 2 seagate drives. I'm not sure whether I'll run these as separates or stripe them.

My target price range is below $1500.

Anyways, if you see anything fishy, please let me know. THANKS!

More about : build years critique

May 10, 2007 4:53:26 PM

Video Card: Wait until next Monday for the HD2900XT to come out. This may cause the 8800GTS to come down in price.

Wanting a "good" DX10 card is speculative right now to say the least. Yes, the 8800GTS is very good at DX9 games. DX10 games should have more eye-candy which means only one thing, it will tax the existing cards. Who knows how they will perform when DX10 games come out later this year.

Memory: I would look for a CAS latency of 4. With DDR2 800 being so cheap, DDR2 533 is not really an option. Though, when you put the DDR2 800 in the motherboard, you'll want to clock it down to 533 so it runs 1:1 FSB with the processor. And you should be able to get a CAS latency of 3 when you lower the speed of the memory.

Corsair XMS2 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2 800

And if you do decide to oc, you'll have the memory to do so.
May 10, 2007 5:13:28 PM

Thanks Perdueguy!

I wasn't aware of any new cards coming out. Heck, I've been waiting about 6 months to make this build, I can wait a few more days.

Originally, I had planned on just getting a low end video card like a 7600GT or a 7950xx. Then I was just going to wait until it was actually meaningful to get a DX10 card. But, since I want to play some of the latest games, I decided to get top notch card. I thought about the 8800GT, but I can't really see myself spending that much right now.

Good idea with the memory. I chose the current memory because I really don't know how much of a difference the timing would make. But if the benefit is sizable, I'm all for the change. Originally, I had some Corsair memory on my list , but the price skyrocket and it's now around $300 if I remember correctly.

thanks again.
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May 10, 2007 10:48:08 PM

If there's CAS4 533MHz RAM that's cheaper, then get that. As purdueguy rightly pointed out, you'll want the RAM at 533MHz if you're not overclocking. But, from what I've heard, the 800MHz RAM is pretty cheap now. You could equally get some CAS5 800MHz RAM and tighten the timings to CAS4 after you retard the speed to 533MHz.

On the case front, I had the same problem as you with the P180. However, NZXT are releasing the HUSH case this month (see their website), and it looks damn good. Much much lighter than the P180 (about 6kg), but still has quiet fans, rubber mounts for drives and PSU, as well as sound dampening foam inside the case.
May 10, 2007 10:59:24 PM

$89 is damn good memory, and more than most people will use, but I don't think the price has filtered down to slower RAM yet.
The build looks solid and I think you should not delay waiting to see what comes next. There will always something new, and then you upgrade as needed
May 10, 2007 11:23:02 PM

I will rather have a P5B Deluxe, just a newer chipset.
Don't worry about DX10, doesn't even exist yet.
I have no idea is that card is good enough for DX10 or still way slow.
I don't think you need to overclock with a E6600 (unless you really want to). The Penryn is out soon and that should be a big gain.
Check your PSU, I think it will work with the 8800GTS, but not the 8800GTX (or anything higher).
Upgrade to 2+ gigs for when you upgrade to Vista
a b B Homebuilt system
May 10, 2007 11:51:41 PM

That looks like a killer setup. You've obviously done your homework. All components are respectable in their price range. :trophy:

As someone said before, maybe wait for the 2900XT to come out on Monday so the vid card might be picked up for less.
Well done.
May 11, 2007 5:09:32 AM

Excellent ideas guys.

I think I'll stay with what I originally had. I don't see a big enough difference in speed benefit by spending the extra $100 on tighter ram. Also, I'll keep the p5w as it has what I need, including a quad core upgrade path. So, unless i'm missing something huge here, I'll just wait a few days for the 2900xt to come out and see if there is a price drop for my card.

Thanks again.
May 11, 2007 7:27:51 PM

You'll be able to tighten the timings on the G.Skill RAM anyways when you drop it down to 533MHz.
May 11, 2007 11:23:45 PM

I think the Asus P5W DH is a little overkill, if you don't overclock. Abit AB9-pro is around $130, and there are other good 975X chipset motherboards that are good too and below $100. I am planning on getting the P5W DH only because it has high overclocking potential.

And I think you PSU is a little overkill too... I think as long as the PSU is stable and can handle the power it is fine. I just bought an Ultra X-Finity 600w for $65, (super deal with $65 rebate). I think if you save that money and bump up the 320 GTS to 640 GTS or even a GTX it would be better. If you think the GTX is overkill then consider how long it will last you before you need to upgrade again compared to GTS. I think it it better in the long run.

I wrote an article about Price vs. Performance vs. Time please check it out.
http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/Price-Performance-Time-Marathon-Day-ftopict236661.html
May 12, 2007 2:30:55 AM

The reason I went with the Asus P5W was for the builtin wireless, firewire and also for the Quad core upgrade path. Most boards don't have all three.

But I see your point about the OC'ing.. which I'm starting to think that I might try. I've never OC'd before and I was worrying that it could limit the lifespan of my cpu. Not sure if that is based in reality or not, but it's what I've heard. I'll decide by the end of the weekend, which also means I'll get better ram.

Also, my monitor is a 37" Westinghouse HDTV, with 1080p resolution, 1920x1080. I'm not sure how that calculates into what you mentioned in your article, but the resolution isn't too high.

I don't think I can justify the $300 increase for the 8800GTX based on the performance increase according to THG vga charts. Paying twice the cash for about 15-20% increase. But thanks for mentioning it, I'll have to look into the kind of performance others are getting with games like NWN2, which I'll be playing. If the GTS is barely cutting it, I might just bite the bullet and get the GTX.
May 12, 2007 3:09:44 AM

That is a very nice build for your money spingadus. You certainly took care in your configuring. Your mobo is feature rich and you picked out a PSU that packs a punch when things get hot and nasty. Go for it and enjoy!

VQ
May 12, 2007 8:41:41 AM

The 8800GTX is substansially more powerful than the GTS. However, that difference won't show up in games until DX10 games come out really. Current games just don't push the cards enough yet. Be aware though that you're still paying a premium for both the GTX and GTS as they're the only DX10 cards. Even with the 2900 coming out, the GTX will still be the most powerful, and hence will come with a slight premium on the price tag. You may want to consider going to the 640MB GTS at the least, just because 1920x1080 is a high enough resolution to warrant the extra RAM.
On the overclocking side, the C2D processors are easy to overclock. However, you shouldn't feel pressured to do it just because a lot of people here do. A moderate overclock with adequate cooling shouldn't shorten your life by any significant amount (bear in mind that most components are designed to last up to 10 years), but it overclock very heavily, then that can have an impact on component life. If you did overclock, you might be able to fit in an 8800GTX by going with a cheap E4300 CPU and Gigabyte DS3 mainboard overclocked. You could still stick with the G.Skill RAM and run it as CAS4 @ 667MHz (you could overclock more than that, but it's up to you if you want to push the processor to its limit).
!