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New gaming rig

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June 10, 2007 11:36:33 PM

I am looking to put together a new gaming rig for myself. I don't have a budget in mind just yet, but I do consider myself a hardcore gaming freak. It is important to me to make this computer last for the next 4 years at least being able to play the latest games that come out at a very high level.

I need help putting together my dream machine. Although I don't have a budget in mind, I don't have unlimited money either. Please don't list something that I don't really need like a quad core processor which I'll never use. High end video card is a MUST. It has to run on Vista of course. Try to list great products but not products I will never actually use. Hope this helps to set the parameters.

Who can build me a great machine that'll last me years?

BTW, I don't need a monitor.

More about : gaming rig

June 11, 2007 1:18:44 AM

Quote:
It is important to me to make this computer last for the next 4 years at least being able to play the latest games that come out at a very high level.

Please don't list something that I don't really need like a quad core processor which I'll never use. High end video card is a MUST. It has to run on Vista of course.


Unfortunately, those two requirements are pretty much mutually exclusive, any games that come out in the next 4 years will most likely be multithreaded and benefit from extra cores. You'll also have to upgrade your video card at least once in 4 years, more likely twice, in order to play game on at least high settings.
June 11, 2007 1:30:14 AM

From everything I've read, nothing is taking advantage of quad cores, nor will they for a long time. Dual core is what was being recommended and even that is barely being used.

As for the video card, I'll probably just get the best that;s available right now.
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June 11, 2007 1:31:49 AM

poo you gotta give us a price range to work with

insane people like me can put crazy stuff together :lol: 
June 11, 2007 1:40:33 AM

I share your enthusiasm and just built mine a few weeks ago it is awesome.

As a hard core gamer you would really appreciate it I am sure.
I will post some game fps and 3dmark scores for you to judge as well.
Every "GAMING" benchamrk out there shows the Quad core isnt the chip for gamers right now.
I went with the x6800.

You dont have to go that high, but I liek th eunlocked mulitplier, the cool temps and I run overclocked with stock voltage so just a change in th emath in the bios from 2.39 to 3.51 with a 1:1 ration and a 500 fsb, or a 2000 fsb effectively.

You can go with a 6700 in july and they are expected to drop in price towards the end of july.
After looking at all the benchkars and reviews, the 5500$ systems at ibuy or whatever I went with the following platform.

Asus p5k (p35 chipset)
intel dou core 2 Extreme x6800
4 x 1 gigs of crucial bal;listix pc8500
antec trio 650 power supply.
evga 8800gtx superclocked to 621/2000
thats the nuts and bolts of what runs my games.
I also grabbed an x-fi gamers card, 7.1 speakers, and I am running vista 64 ultimate

Now games
cs source, 1280x1024 highest settings in game, and in nvidia control panel everything cranked to highest quality, 100 fps min and above

fear again all these are everything cranked all the way up and either 1280x1024 or 1600x1200

fear lowest fps 85, average, 142, highest 421.

stalker hmm I will look again, over 100 though.

its this way with abotu every game i throw at it.

dx 10 lost planet demo was in the 40;s average.
3dmark scores:
http://service.futuremark.com/compare?3dm06=2135491 11936 3dmark 06


http://service.futuremark.com/compare?2k3=5385816 3dmark 03 42154 vista 64

http://service.futuremark.com/compare?3dm05=3115269


So you can see what a less expensive chip, like the 6700 or 6600 will do and otherwise I think the board, memory, power and vid card are the way to go.

If you are nuts about frame rates and full fx on in a crowded server you need to try a rig like this one out.

There was an article on the main page here at toms the other day about a pc from ibuyer or somthing, it was in a black thermaltake armor case, if you read that review and look at the specs and benches you will see, I built this for less that half of that system, and scored better in all benchmarks with my set up in that same case.

The bottom line is that until the next generation stuff comes out and is revised and games are optimized, this is about as good as it can get.
Hope that helps you some.
I pay no allegiance to name brand, i always build what is fastest for gaming at the time I am going to build so I am not pro nvidia or ati, or amd over intel, just saying look around, read the reviews on the p35 chipsets, the 8800gtx, and the x6800 and decide for yourself.

They all say the same thing, fastest gaming, yes, but often more expensive than the mainstream crowds will go with and so not always favorably rated based on price. for speed, cant beat em.

Lump
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
June 11, 2007 1:43:39 AM

I would get the Q6600, since we're talking long-term here. The games industry will notice the quad cores and optimize its products for them eventually, and I doubt it will take 4 years. The first games that can use 4 cores are already out (Supreme Commander), and once a company has the first such game out, all its later games will do the same because they reuse code.

Video card: 8800 GTX has the best chance of being useful 4 years from now at highest settings.

Give us a budget and a timeframe. For example can you wait until July 22. How about Christmas?
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
June 11, 2007 1:49:44 AM

Do you intend to overclock? A lot of stuff you'll read on this forum makes sense only if you do.
June 11, 2007 1:55:11 AM

Actually we also really need to know your monitor's maximum resolution. If it's only 1600x1200 or so then that will make the video card selection a lot easier. A similar card will work well on a 24" at 1920x1200. But on a 30" at 2560x1600 you're probably better off going SLI...
June 11, 2007 3:16:40 AM

OK. I'll try to make things a little narrower for you.

1) Maximum top limit money wise is probably $3000 Canadian, but as I said, I can stretch this if necessary.
2) Don't worry about the video card too much. I'll probably get the geForce 8800 GTX or Ultra.
3) I will not overclock as I cannot afford to replace parts I fry.
4) I already have the Razor Tarantula and Razor Copperhead so I don't need to know mouse and keyboard
5) I already have a DVD burner and player.
6) I know a bunch of you are preaching the quad cores, but I've heard they are a) not used much yet, and b) are actually slower than the high end single and dual cores for most things (read this in PC Gamer mag)

Basically I need : Case, power supply, MOBO, RAM, HD, and some kinda cooling system (water cooling intrigues me). (and anything else I'm forgetting)
One other thing. I would like it not to be particularly noisy. Try to keep the parts reasonably quiet. Having said that, I would definitely be interested in at least a 10,000 RPM SATA HD.
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
June 11, 2007 1:49:16 PM

That's a pretty good budget. Some ideas:

Q6600
BFG 8800 GTX OC2
Gigabyte GA 680i SLI
4 GB of DDR2-800, probably Crucial Ballistix
Zalman 9700
Seagate 2x500 GB
X-Fi ExtremeMusic or ExtremeGamer
Thermaltake 850W
Lian-Li PC-73

That's what I'm getting for myself in 2 months, it will come to C$ 3500 or 3700 including GST and PST. Don't know if they're all compatible yet...

Some of those pieces are overkill, I know, for example $400 for a case is silly when a $150 P182 is also quiet. Or $400 for a mobo when the $150 DS3 model would also do. Read some reviews and decide for yourself if you care about the differences enough to pay extra.

Good luck, and let us know what you get :D 

Edit: I forgot, the price includes Win XP Pro and a few fans too.
June 11, 2007 2:20:35 PM

$5000 anyone? That is gonna be uber expensive mofo.
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
June 11, 2007 2:58:09 PM

Well, it's Canadian dollars, they're a bit smaller. Also, 14% of that is sales tax. You guys are so lucky with your newegg, I wish it shipped to Canada :x
June 11, 2007 3:16:59 PM

Quote:
3) I will not overclock as I cannot afford to replace parts I fry.


I overclock so I can afford to replace the parts I fry.

Buying a $200 CPU and running it to $1000 CPU stock speeds means I can get through a few and still be quids in. And Ive not fried one yet.

And, if you can build a rig that will play top end games at the highest resolutions for the next 4 years without anyform of upgrade then I'm a Dutchman.
June 11, 2007 8:45:04 PM

not to beat a dead horse here but,
the x6800 is in his budget, it is clearly superior to the 6600, he said he wants the best he can afford for his games.


look at the charts here, you can look at anandtech, or anyother pc site there all the same.

10 fps a second more in a game is alot to a guy who nutty about his gaming experience.

http://www23.tomshardware.com/cpu.html?modelx=33&model1...

I dont know why budget minded guys refuse to accept that some people are willing to pay the premium for the best.

you guys are basicaly saying, hell you dont need to play it that fast, play it at a lesser speed and be happy so you save 200$, and I just think based on his post that he isnt looking for a pretty good system for 300$ less than a great system.

I would go with my earlier recommendation and not skimp on the chip.
He is not going to overclock, so with an unlocked multiplier he can adjust his fsb and stay in spec and be much faster than a 6600 at stock spec.

that translates into better gaming performance which is why he is considering a build, I say get the x6800 now or in 4 to 5 weeks when it drops a little in price.
I paid 890$ for mine, you can do a lot better even now if you shop around.

Lump
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
June 11, 2007 9:03:28 PM

Right. I don't expect the X6800 to drop in price but he'll be able to get a QX6850 for US$999 or an E6850 for $266, and those should beat even the X6800 :p  Wow, how would a nice multithreaded game work on the QX6850...
June 12, 2007 10:11:02 PM

If you really want to make your computer last 4 years, you should be getting a quad core because like other people have said, more cores is the future.
June 13, 2007 2:59:32 AM

well future proof is still within spec, he can always in a year or two when the games are out and supported grab a Q core which by then in this range will be far less expensive and then effective, whereas now to play the games that are out now, the day he builds it, the extreme duo core is the way to go.

Now that being said yeah if you can grab a 6850 or other chip for the same price as a x6800 now then maybe thats a better way to go, but I assume that the 6800 will drop in price as well and maybe a better option unless the 6850 offers enough performance increase to justify the extra $ at that point.

so lets say you can grab a 6800 for 700$ and you get 100 fps in a given game with it and the rest of the set up, then the 6850 is out for 1000.00 and gives you 103 fps to 105 fps then that would be a personal choice to make, not enough of a jump in my opinion, but again it all depends on the guy who has to sit at those keys when fraggin.

I would love to see the q6700 and x6800 hit the 500$ range, I would grab a Q core then to try it out and maybe use in another pc.

Lastly on overclocking.
You dont have to fry anything these days when overclocking.
Overclocking today is really a lot less overclocking and simple settings in the bios supported by the hardware.
So you can "adjust" your settings in a multitude of ways and never increase your voltage or generate new heat.

by getting memory that will let you run a higher fsb and in sync with the memory will run faster and not run any hotter or even barely out of spec.

The advantage to the 6800 is you can lower or raise your multiplier allowing you to raise your front side bus and still run within the specs the chip came at.

I run mine at 3.51 and it runs cool, no voltage increases, and it runs at 500 fsb, and 1000 on the memory which is 1:1 ratio and in all the tests I have done with this rig, that runs the best, fastest and still stable as stock speeds.
So its not really overclocking.

The old days when we took a 100 fsb and got it to run at 110 or 113 and raised the multiplier and increased voltage and brought in good cooling, etc.. that was ovcerclocking.
I ran a 800 mhz tbird at 143 fsb and almost 1200 mhz on air cooling, that required a pencil trick, and other mods, those days are gone, those days drove the industry to offer overclocking tools and bios revisions, and safe ways to overclock as a popular trend, but really you are just taking the full potential otu of the chip.

Now you can run these chips without the threat of frying them unless you get carried away.
But you can run a 6800 at 3.51 and with a 1:1 ratio and mine runs at 84 F with air cooling, the only after market cooling item i have is the zalman 9700.

When I built my ht p4 800 fsb 3.2 E 1 gig of ddr,and x800xt plat it was overkill at that time, it lasted me three years without upgrades, well i went from 2.6 to a 3.2 a year after I had it but otherswise it was fine, although a few weeks ago when i replaced it looking at what is out it seemed pretty dated, such is the case in all pc purchases.

there will always be somthing around the corner, but as long as all the games I can get my hands on at the time are able to run as best that i can get them i am happy.


Lump
June 14, 2007 2:28:14 PM

Thanks for all the input guys. Based on what I've read here, and alot of web surfing, I've put together most of a system I think would be excellent. Could you guys check it out and make sure it will all work together properly and I didn't mess up on anything. Also, I have a few questions underneath I would like some help with :

Video Card - EVGA e-GeForce 8800 GTX w/ ACS3
processor - Core™2 Extreme processor X6800
MOBO - eVGA NVidia nForce 680i SLI 775 A1 Version
Memory - 2x 2GB Kit (BL2KIT12864AA1065) Crucial Ballistix DDR2 PC2-8500 NON-ECC UNBUFFERED
Sound Card - SoundBlaster X-Fi Platinum Fatal1ty Champion Series

Questions
1) Will everything work together that I've stated above? Did I screw anything up?
2) I need help with a power supply for all this. I assume it needs to be big and I don't want to skimp on it, but I'd like one that isn't too loud as well.
3) kinda like #2, should I look at water coolign because of its efficiency and quietness? If so, do you have something in mind?
4) For the MOBO, is the A1 or T1 version better?
5) I need to buy 1 really fast SATA drive. Which model and brand should I go for?
June 16, 2007 2:43:50 PM

bump. Anyone can answer my last post?
June 16, 2007 9:03:48 PM

I'm not really an expert but for the PSU, I'd hit the PSU section of the forums. Lots of excellent info in there, including a list of quality PSUs. For you're setup I think you're going to want 700w+. Dunno if you need PC2-8500, 6400 DDR2 would probably do.. again, others can probably answer this better.

What caught my eye was the sound card and Vista... I remember it was a big deal a while ago that a lot of sound cards are fubar running in Vista, and I'm not sure if this has changed? I'm building 2 rigs soon and I don't think I'm going to be going with Vista yet, so I don't have a definitive answer there for you. Just an FYI

Also for you Canucks, I'm in Ontario and will most likely be ordering from directcanada.com. They're out in B.C., as are NCIX.com, and if you order from them you only have to pay the 6% tax.. just an FYI, as the more you spend the %s start to add up ;)  Directcanada does free shipping too, and I think full system shipping insurance is something like 1.4% of the build price so it still saves some $.

Anyway...carry on :) 
June 17, 2007 1:23:26 AM

I'll say this again, if you want to future proof, you should be getting a core. Eventually, and I would bet your life on it, that within four years games will be quad threaded.

You should look into watercooling if you want to overclock. You said before that you don't want to, so there really isn't a point for you to watercool your computer.

Plug this hardware into a power supply calculator and see what you get, and get a high quality power supply like Seasonic, FSP, Silverstone, etc....and not Antec, they've been failing in the quality department recently.

In my experience there isn't too much performance difference between hard drives, unless they're older or a Raptor.
June 17, 2007 2:15:23 AM

I don't see how you can be worried about frying a chip and still be interested in Water cooling. Like lumper said overclocking isn't the overclocking of yesteryear. With the stuff out there now it is silly not to overlock, they made it just too easy. You want water cooling if you are interested in doing big overclocks, otherwise it isn't worth the risk of a leak and frying everything anyway.
June 18, 2007 3:56:06 PM

4) For the MOBO, is the A1 or T1 version better?

Can someone answer that for me?
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
June 18, 2007 5:31:10 PM

Quote:
Thanks for all the input guys. Based on what I've read here, and alot of web surfing, I've put together most of a system I think would be excellent. Could you guys check it out and make sure it will all work together properly and I didn't mess up on anything. Also, I have a few questions underneath I would like some help with :

Video Card - EVGA e-GeForce 8800 GTX w/ ACS3
processor - Core™2 Extreme processor X6800
MOBO - eVGA NVidia nForce 680i SLI 775 A1 Version
Memory - 2x 2GB Kit (BL2KIT12864AA1065) Crucial Ballistix DDR2 PC2-8500 NON-ECC UNBUFFERED
Sound Card - SoundBlaster X-Fi Platinum Fatal1ty Champion Series

Questions
1) Will everything work together that I've stated above? Did I screw anything up?
2) I need help with a power supply for all this. I assume it needs to be big and I don't want to skimp on it, but I'd like one that isn't too loud as well.
3) kinda like #2, should I look at water coolign because of its efficiency and quietness? If so, do you have something in mind?
4) For the MOBO, is the A1 or T1 version better?
5) I need to buy 1 really fast SATA drive. Which model and brand should I go for?


That memory is overkill since you don't overclock. PC2-6400 would do nicely. Don't know if the eVGA mobo accepts PC2-8500 either, check with eVGA before buying.

The CPU: why would you buy a dual core X6800 now if you can get a quad-core QX6850 in a month for the same price?

PSU: Thermaltake Toughpower 850W

Forget watercooling, it makes sense only if you overclock.

I'd go with A1 simply because I know it's good. Haven't read anything about T1. It may be the best mobo ever, I just don't know.

Really fast SATA drive: you can get a few Raptors and set up a RAID, or just get a 500 GB 7200.10 Seagate. The second solution costs C$130 and it's simple and quiet. The first solution costs several times more, it's noisy, and it's faster in some scenarios. I'd go with the Seagate.

X-Fi Platinum - no. Get the ExtremeGamer or ExtremeMusic for 1/3 of the price, unless you are a musician.
June 19, 2007 2:06:08 PM

The only reason I was leery of going for the quad core is because all the reviews I have read state that they are actually SLOWER than running games on the dual core.
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
June 19, 2007 2:39:18 PM

Ummm, were they comparing apples with apples, i.e. same frequency? That is, a Q6600 and an E6600 should behave about the same in an application that doesn't use the 3rd and 4th core of the Q6600. A Q6600 will lose against an X6800 if the application only uses one or two cores because the X6800 has a higher frequency. I think the X6800 is still better than the Q6600 in most games, and this will last for another 6 months or a year. Not much more though... Game developers have to adapt to multiple cores or they'll fall behind.
June 19, 2007 3:51:17 PM

What about Monitor. Does anyone know the best 19-24" monitor out there for gaming?
June 19, 2007 4:08:23 PM

A1 includes a manual.
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
June 19, 2007 4:41:52 PM

Quote:
What about Monitor. Does anyone know the best 19-24" monitor out there for gaming?


I'd recommend a widescreen 22" with 2 ms or 5 ms response time and 1680x1050 native resolution. The 24" monitors are nice, and some of them even offer 1920x1200 pixels, but they cost twice as much as some 22" models (which typically work at 1680x1050). Also, at 1920x1200 you already need an expensive video card (or two).

As for brands: Samsung, Viewsonic, LG are all good as far as I know. Benq and Acer sometimes get bad reviews, but that doesn't mean you can't find a good product made by them. Dell and HP make some good monitors too but overpriced IMO.

Try to get your monitor from a place with a good return policy, even if it costs more. Lots of stores won't exchange or refund your monitor just because it has a dead pixel stuck on red in the center of the screen, and if that happens it ruins the whole thing IMO. I was lucky when it happened to me becaue FutureShop has good policies and they just let me try another monitor right there and take that one instead.
June 20, 2007 12:31:13 AM

Ok how many times do I have to say, you wanted to future proof for the NEXT FOUR YEARS, THEREFORE YOU SHOULD GET A QUAD CORE.

The industry does take time with making things multi-threaded, but it will get there in four years, trust me.
June 20, 2007 5:27:57 PM

Since many of you are saying I should go quad core, I suppose I should wait for the latest and greatest.

Do you think I should wait for the QX8650? I assume this is the best that will be available. When is it going to come out?
June 20, 2007 5:51:49 PM

Quote:
4) For the MOBO, is the A1 or T1 version better?

Can someone answer that for me?


there are no physical differences between the a1 and t1, just extra cables and documentation (the a1 has the extras), but use the manual on evgas website, as there are some errors in the printed manual.

oh yeah, the a1 has a lifetime warranty unlike the t1 :wink:
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
June 20, 2007 7:22:51 PM

Quote:
Since many of you are saying I should go quad core, I suppose I should wait for the latest and greatest.

Do you think I should wait for the QX8650? I assume this is the best that will be available. When is it going to come out?


I'd get a Q6600. I don't think anybody should wait for the QX6850, but you started talking about the X6800. Both X6800 and QX6850 are very good but massively overpriced at around $1000. Good for overclockers going for the record and for impressing your friends, but not good value for money. If impressing your friends is important then the QX6850 is more impressive than the X6800. QX6850 is the best that will be available this year. It will be released on July 22.
June 20, 2007 8:15:41 PM

There was a bit too much to read so if I'm stating something that's been said I apologize.

If you're planning to build a rig to last your 4 years don't buy now. Wait till around the end of the year to get a x38 chipset with a penryn processor. This way you'll have a PCI Express 2.0 that has double the bandwith of the current PCIExpress 1.1...Around this time the new g90 series from nvidia and R700 series will be released (But possible delays with the R700...lol). These new upcoming graphics card will be coming around the release of crysis and will be the first TRUE DX10 capabale cards (IMO). The 8800 series is truly fantastic but it's probably the case that you won't be able to play on extremely high settings on DX10 titles that will be released in the upcoming time. So just wait it out for a few months until these new processors/gpu/motherboards come out. IF you buy now you're going to kick yourself when they roll out because of the performance difference. the G90 is about two times as powerful as a 8800 GTX...I'm not saying you'll get double the frame rate but spec wise. Penryn will be 45 nm so the power draw and heat output will be lower as well. As well as the modifications they made, Penryn will be faster then the current C2D out by a respectable amount..

Overall..Don't buy now. It's not worth it. Right now is currently the WORST time to buy a new rig with all the technological advancements coming around the corner. Penryn should be out within 4 months. Same scenario with the x38 chipset. The G90's are do out near the end of this year.

The choice is up to you.
a b B Homebuilt system
a b 4 Gaming
June 20, 2007 8:33:43 PM

Yup. Lots of goodies coming. But then lots of goodies are always coming if you're willing to wait 6 months.

At least with Penryn we have a good idea what it will do and when. With nVidia though nobody knows for sure either the date or the specifications or the price. ATI is even worse, they have all these delays. I wish they didn't keep it all so secret...

I wonder what kind of PSU is needed for an SLI with two GeForce 9800 GTX cards (or whatever they will be called). How about the case, even the 8800 GTX doesn't fit in smaller cases, how big will the 9800 be? This is fun :lol: 
!