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First time builder: 5k budget.. what am I missing?

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May 26, 2007 5:54:17 AM

Great community here!

I'm a first time builder... building largely to play games (upcoming Age of Conan for starters). I also do a significant amount of graphic design work as well though... so I also need a computer for work.

My budget is 5k... anyone see any problems with the components I've chosen to build a top-of-the-line gaming/graphic design computer:

Monitor:
Dell Monitor 3007WFP

Case:
LIAN LI PC-A10A Silver Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Processor:
Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 Conroe 2.93GHz 4M shared L2 Cache LGA

Graphics Cards:
2 x EVGA 768-P2-N835-AR GeForce 8800GTX

Power Supply:
OCZ OCZ1000PXS ATX12V / EPS12V 1000W Power Supply

MoBo:
ASUS Striker Extreme LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX The Ultimate Gaming Motherboard

RAM:
mushkin 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Chennel Kit Desktop Memory

RAM Drives:
2 x Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFDRTL 150GB 10,000 RPM Serial ATA150 Hard Drive

Data Drive:
Seagate FreeAgent ST305004FDA1E1-RK 500GB 7200 RPM

Estimates with that have me just over 5k. I don't need to order for another 6-8 weeks, so I'm expecting pricing to drop slightly, and in turn I'll probably pick up some addition cooling fans or something.

I don't want to go to Vista, but I want the absolute best looking games possible, and I think many new games will start to incorporate DX10... so I'm thinking I need to go Vista... in the next 2-3 months hopefully most of the drivers will also be stable.

Any glaring holes in this config? Anything you would do differently?

Thanks in advance.
May 26, 2007 5:57:30 AM

if you are goingto wait, then I would look at the newer Intel chips coming out. The x6800 will drop some in price but there will be others that better the price and upgrade the performance
May 26, 2007 6:13:22 AM

If yu are waiting for some time,may be you can get X38 based motherboard.
Related resources
May 26, 2007 6:22:03 AM

The OCZ PSU is good but if you want the best go with PC Power and Cooling.
May 26, 2007 6:45:29 AM

Unless you use XP or Vista 64bit, Your 4gb of ram is going to show up as 3gb or less, depending on how much memory your SLI cards have between them. While its true that 32 bit XP\Vista can handle 4gb, that will include every bit of memory from every device that uses memory. You might want to think about buying 3 gb ram to start with, 2x1gb & 2x512mb.

Personally, I wouldn't buy an EE chip. Not a good value. Get a step lower, overclock it, spend difference on Games or Software.

and . . What is a RAM Drive?

dung
May 26, 2007 8:23:46 AM

For Graphics work, I'd do some fast checking around some graphic design shops. I think you'll find a lot of them using the Apple cinema series...

You make no mention of what HSF you will use.

Cases are somewhat personal, I'd look at the stacker 832 as well. It seems to have better airflow charactistics. I am sure you'll get other recommendations as well.

You will need a 64 bit OS to take advantage of 4GB ram.

If you aren't willing to wait for the new x38 MB's I'd consider the intel 975bx2 for stability.

The Silverstone 1000 w unit is a better PSU, the PCP&C is even better but at a much higher cost factor. Jonnyguru.com has some good power supply information.
May 26, 2007 12:43:16 PM

Try a Q6600 instead of a X6800. Cheaper, and its quad-core vs dual-core. :D 
May 26, 2007 1:45:22 PM

i would say do't get 975x caus it supports 8x +8x.
whereas both 680i and x38 support 16x+16x
May 26, 2007 2:40:37 PM

But you need an nvidia mobo to run sli.

If I were you I'd get a better powersupply an Enermax or Pc power & Colling. That case isn't bad but get either another hd rack from lian li (cause it won't hold more than 2 hd's with a longer than normal power supply specially if its modular) or get a silverstone tj-09 or tj-07. Wait for the intel 6850 (1333 fsp).
May 26, 2007 3:20:02 PM

check out pentablets, I recomend Wacom. then again you propably have already and if not you aren't intrested... It's just that I would not want to start any graphics work without a wacom nowdays. then again i'm a little newbie so...
May 26, 2007 5:24:17 PM

I built this without a monitor for under 3k$
x6800
8800gtx
p5k asus (p35 chipset)
4 gigs crucial ballistix pc8500
antect trio 650 psu
thermaltake 8000bws case
zalman 9700 cooler
seagate 400 gig sata 3.0 ata 7200.10
plextar 16x dual layer dvd/rw
x-fi extreme gamers edition
t7800 7.1 creative speaker system

if anything on your list I would say go with a different board, the striker board is expensive and the p35 chipset has a faster memory controller.

the sli doesnt deliver nearly the performance to justify a second card, so you might want to look further iunto that and hear from people who have set up that way, I was going to do the same thing but after researching it I couldnt justify the extra $.

anyway that above list was under 3k$ you could get a nasty monitor speacilized key pad, and mouse, the second gtx even and still be under your budget.
you need great power, good memory and good cooling.

I too went with the x6800, I know the less expensive 6600 can reach 6800 speeds, but I also know the x6800 can meet specs that arent even available so I opted to spend the exra money on the chip, I will grab a Q core later this summer after prices drop in July and try it out on the same rig to see if the Q has any benefit for me.
looks like a great rig though, glad to see somneone else building high end.
Lump
May 26, 2007 10:54:53 PM

Thanks guys! While I have the budget for the parts, I don't have the experience to really dig in and determine what I need. I really appreciate the feedback!
May 27, 2007 7:44:34 PM

With a 5k budget i'd atleast expect a Raptor hdd & a dual monitor setup. Also, check out Crucial Ballistix memory, they've got some good stuff.

Edit: Nvm, I see the Raptors now.
July 21, 2007 2:41:12 PM

Hey Guys.. thanks again.

After further review and reading lots of reviews and recommendations, I've revamped my part list a bit and started ordering pieces:

Monitor:
UltraSharp 3007WFP-HC http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?c=us&l=en&s=dhs&cs=19&sku=222-7175

Case & Powersupply:
COOLER MASTER Stacker 830 Evolution RC-830-KKR3-GP Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower Computer Case
Real Power Pro 1000W Power Supply

I got a bundle deal on these.. both were highly rated: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16811119136

RAM:
2 x OCZ Flex XLC 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1150 (PC2 9200) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820227184

Video Card:
2 x EVGA 768-P2-N835-AR GeForce 8800GTX 768MB

Processor:
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16819115017


Motherboard:

MSI x38.. supposedly available in August

OS / Application Drives:
2 x Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB 10,000 RPM Serial ATA150 Hard Drive RAID 0

Data Drive:
SAMSUNG SpinPoint T Series HD501LJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

Optical Drive:
Sony NEC Optiarc 18X DVD±R DVD Burner With 12X DVD-RAM Write

Soundcard:
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum Fatal1ty Champion

Cooling:
VIGOR GAMING CLT-M2I 92mm Thermal Electric CPU Cooler

OS
Vista... but I don't know what version I should get for 64 bit


Do you see any glaring problems with this set up? I want Vista for DX10, but I'm undecided on which version to shoot for. ALso, can someone recommend a good raid 0 controller for my raptors?

Thanks guys!
July 21, 2007 3:38:47 PM

Quote:
Soundcard:
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum Fatal1ty Champion


Would suggest this Sound Card below, since they do have Vista Drivers that work. Which Creative is having a hard time getting Drivers to work fully.

bluegears b-Enspirer 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Interface Sound Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www. bgears.com/b-Enspirer.html

Now on Raid Controller, most motherboards come with decent onboard Raid Controller now of days. Since you might be limited to how many PCI slots on new motherboard, specially doing SLi. But here is link from NewEgg on Sata Controller's cards. Prices vary from low to ultra high and PCI to PCIE interface.

http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategory=410&n ame=Controllers-RAID-Cards

Hope this helps you out some.
July 21, 2007 5:14:22 PM

I have no comment on the OP but I just wanted to say thanks supremelaw, that was a interesting read and I am sure many people would agree with me that it was nice of you to take the time to write it.
July 21, 2007 7:48:27 PM

Thanks for taking the time to write that supremelaw. I'll go with your suggestion and put my OS on one RE2 SATA/300. I suppose that makes sense anyway.. as I think about it, my data drives are really the ones I don't want to lose. So maybe I buy this single 500GB for my OS and my apps, and then two other drives in RAID 1 for my data.

Thanks again!
July 22, 2007 6:06:59 PM

by the way if you are going to get vista, don't bother with the more expensive versions if the only thing u want is directx 10 from it (visual effects look nice but they aren't worth the money)
July 22, 2007 7:38:01 PM

Don't get that psu, the ocz proxtreem is good, but the gamextreem is crap. Get an Enermax Galaxy 1000 watt psu if you're going top of the line.

Yes, get vista 64 bit. It is worth it and you wont notice any performance differences, its all just a bunch of FUD that people spread in these forums because they will have to pay for their os instead of crack it like they did with xp (bring on the flames).

For hdd get a 150gb raptor for your OS and games. Then get a Hitachi 1TB hdd for your other files. For really insane storage get two 1tb hdd and Aid 0 them.

Don't bother getting an xfi as it wont work in ANY games you play. Creative is really slow on these vista drivers so I would recommend using integrated until they release fully functional drivers.

Again, get vista 64 bit.
July 22, 2007 9:25:41 PM

Here's my $.02. With such a large buget 5k, here we go.

Motherboard $285
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DDR2 RAM $160 PER 4GIGS
http://shop3.outpost.com/product/5220687

VIDEO CARDS $600ea= $1200
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU INTEL QX6800 $1000

PSU $415
http://www.pcpower.com/products/viewproduct.php?show=T1...

CASE $260
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HD $400ea
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU COOLER $65
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD Drives $100 or so.

LCD $1270
http://www.pricegrabber.com/user_sales_getprod.php?mast... lot_id=7055104

$5050

You really need 6k. lol I would wait for the X38 Motherboards, rumer has it they will support SLI. i WOULD ALSO FIND THE NEW QX6850 CPU. And I like this Ram better Mushkin PC8500 4GIG KIT. $680 at newegg.

Good luck.

July 22, 2007 11:01:31 PM

LoopyChicken said:
Hey Guys.. thanks again.

After further review and reading lots of reviews and recommendations, I've revamped my part list a bit and started ordering pieces:

Monitor:
UltraSharp 3007WFP-HC http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?c=us&l=en&s=dhs&cs=19&sku=222-7175

Case & Powersupply:
COOLER MASTER Stacker 830 Evolution RC-830-KKR3-GP Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower Computer Case
Real Power Pro 1000W Power Supply

I got a bundle deal on these.. both were highly rated: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16811119136

RAM:
2 x OCZ Flex XLC 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1150 (PC2 9200) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820227184

Video Card:
2 x EVGA 768-P2-N835-AR GeForce 8800GTX 768MB

Processor:
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16819115017


Motherboard:

MSI x38.. supposedly available in August

OS / Application Drives:
2 x Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB 10,000 RPM Serial ATA150 Hard Drive RAID 0

Data Drive:
SAMSUNG SpinPoint T Series HD501LJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

Optical Drive:
Sony NEC Optiarc 18X DVD±R DVD Burner With 12X DVD-RAM Write

Soundcard:
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum Fatal1ty Champion

Cooling:
VIGOR GAMING CLT-M2I 92mm Thermal Electric CPU Cooler

OS
Vista... but I don't know what version I should get for 64 bit


Do you see any glaring problems with this set up? I want Vista for DX10, but I'm undecided on which version to shoot for. ALso, can someone recommend a good raid 0 controller for my raptors?

Thanks guys!


You need a Nvidia chipset to use SLI (680i or 650i), I havn't seen anything that says X38 will support SLI only ATI's crossfire. To use SLI in a multi monitor setup I think you also need a external box to split the signal as SLI is ment for a single monitor setup.
July 23, 2007 5:12:41 AM

Yoosty said:
Quote:
Soundcard:
Would suggest this Sound Card below...
Quote:


Thanks Yoosty.. ready soem reviews.. and going to go with this card instead.

spuddyt said:
by the way if you are going to get vista, don't bother with the more expensive versions if the only thing u want is directx 10 from it (visual effects look nice but they aren't worth the money)


The screens I've seen for DX10 are marginally better.. and you're right, probably not worth the expense of Vista if that's where they stayed... but I anticipate the games of next year utilizing this technology to put out some extreme stuff... and I want to be prepared for that. I also want to need 64 for 4GB of RAM.

I got the Q6600 cpu because of the price drop. I got the GO step model.. so hopefully will OC above and beyond the 3GHz... then I'll keep that till AMDs new one hits the market next year (or I'll by the qx6850 once it drops from 1k).

Never OC'd anything before though.. chances are I'll fry everything on the first try.. :) 
July 23, 2007 6:40:52 AM

Stick with the Stacker, lots of room and good air circulation.

stick with the striker or go with the new x38 chipsets ( try DFI or ASUS and set yourself up for crossfired 2900xt's

the qx6850 should be at the same price right about now, you may want to get that instead of q6600.

stay with the fastest ram you can get ( i think it was OCZ flex pc9200 )

for hsf, i would choose ether advanced watercooling loop or a thermalright 120 ultra extreme setup in a push/pull setting. i wouldnt go near that tec cooler. very loud ive heard.

dont bother with 8800 ultras no matter waht anyone says, theyre a plain rip and you can oc gtxs your self.

for a sound card.. get one that works. at 5K luxury should be expected. so make sure your getting somthing you wont regret.

1 250GB/raptor for os and everyday apps. 2 250/320/500GB (raid 0) for applications and video storage ( if your handling massive amounts of video data.) a raptor for pagefiling tho, you might as well put it on the windows partition,

also, ive heard that seagate are also making there own version of the raptor. might want to look out for those.
waht ever you do, dont get a p35 chipset unless its got that crosslink on those asus boards ( blitz formula and blitz extreme ). for your whopping 5K "budget" settling for 2nd best IMHO is not accepable ^^>

happy building. toms hardware forums.
July 23, 2007 9:26:15 PM

eric, there is a crack for vista already although im not using it I just checked 4 curiosity
July 23, 2007 10:33:44 PM

btw my friend was running counter strike at 60 fps before he upgraded to vista, but now hes on vista, same hardware and settings he gets 40 fps. It really does slow it down although with 2 8800 gtxs that isnt likely to be much of an issue for you.
July 24, 2007 12:11:55 AM

LoopyChicken,

I do a significant amount of graphics work as well and went a similar route as you. Im not sure what programs you use, but generally 2 video cards are overkill, especially 8800GTX's. If you're using any 3d programs you may want to hold off on the 8800's and vista, as the drivers are really glitchy. I'd suggest a bigger case for more HD Expansion and cooling. PM me with what programs you'll use and i'll help if i can
July 24, 2007 10:03:54 AM

i think youre forgetting hes gonna use a 30" monitor and most likely not upgrade again very soon..

i say stick with the 8800s good for gaming and for your 3d work. its better to have too much than too little orr as they say have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.
!