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Building a computer around the Asus P5N32-E PLUS, Worth it?

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June 12, 2007 3:19:26 PM

Hey everyone, over the past few months I have made two or three seperate build topics and recived amazing amounts of help and suggestions that have saved me a lot of time, effort and dissapointment! :p 

Due to unexpected cirumstances and significantly reduced budgets I have decided to hold off on the building until August - September time ( Probably August )

I have put many different combinations of builds together on www.overclockers.co.uk and come to a point where I consider that my build was perfected and future-proof, however, a lot of talk about new chipsets and DDR-3 RAM and 45nm cpus has put me in the state of mind that Im upgrading to a technology that is starting to be phased out..

I shall list my prospected August time build and the worries that I have accompanying each part and I would be very grateful if anyone could alleviate my worrys on any of the parts in question :D 

Case - Antec Nine Hundred - I am pretty much decided on this, the looks are right up my street and according to reviews its a biig case with plenty of room for parts and minimal fiddly bits in installation.

Mobo - Asus P5N32-E PLUS - No, Im not one of the many people that belive sli doubles your performance and my budget certainly doesnt allow for two Gpu's but this board attracts me because it has all the features of the 680i chipset with none of the bugs.

Couple this with rock solid stability, user freindly and highly tweakable bios and a lot of headroom for overclocking and its a great deal.

However, the problem I have with this board is it doesn't support 1333fsb Cpus (officially) or DDR3 Ram, is this a problem? Am I buying into technology that will be redundant in a year or so's time?

Cpu - Intel Q6600 Quad Core Cpu - With the July 22'nd price cuts this baby comes crashing into my price range, which at first sounds great, but I have to ask myself why are Quad Cores dropping to prices Lower than the highest end dual core so soon?

Also my main worry is that when true quad core cpus come out ( All 4 Cores having a shared cache ) rather than effectivley two E6600's stuck together, will these Q6600's become redundant and unoptimized to work with new game engines that make use of the fact all 4 cores share a cache..

Gpu - Nvidia 8800 GTX BFG OC - A Pretty impressive overclocked 8800 GTX that rivals the Ultra in some respects and will hopefully drive my moniter at 1680 x 1050 resoultion no problem

However. The nature of Graphics cards are that they become outdated so quickly that almost as soon as its delivered there is a better version out, so you can understand my hesitation in buying 6+ months old technology and to make it even more of a gamble 6+ month old technology that is the first generation of Dx10 cards made by nvidia....

I would be majorly pissed If I brought this card mid august only to find out that the 8900 or 9 series Gpus were out for christmas and if Nvidia did such an amazing job at their first dx10 gpu I can only imagine how much better their next card will be suited to the subtleties of dx10 that they didn't have time to play around with before the release of the 8800's

Psu - OCZ modxstream 780Watt cpu - I was going to go for a 620watt corsair unit but with 4gb of ram a 8800gtx and a quad core cpu I though a more powerful psu was in order, plus it is only £3 more expensive than the Corsair model and just as reliable.

RAM - 4Gb Corsair Dominator Ram Cl 15 timings I think ( not good with RAM)

- No objections here from me, solid ram and 4gb seems a good amount to have due to Vista being a hog and my descision to go 64 bit.

HDD - 250Gb RE western digital Caviar - Going to set up a raid 0 I think but I want more advice on the dangers of doing so because Im the kind of person that likes a stable system rather than a bleeding edge fast one.

OS - Vista Home Premium 64 bit OEM - I know vista sucks but Im a sucker for new shiny things and I think a change of operating system will be a nice visual compliment from my change to a good computer from a Pentium D based one that is consistenly annoying.

Plus I want to take advantage of DX10. built in security features, the self organizing games directory and the other things Vista offers apart from crashes and numerous bugs.

Oh and 64 bit because crysis has 64 bit only features, it supports more ram and can take advantage of cpu's a bit better IIRC .


Well thats about it for my system, it inludes a Creative X-Fi Xtreme Gamer Soundcard and im aware that sound cards dont work with positional audio in games on vista without alchemy so thats a must have :p 

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Thats the (rather lengthy) run down of my system, but my question to you all is, Is the X38 or p35 chipset worth waiting for, will it offer good prices and more performance benfits to a gamer who wants to play this generation of titles, such as hellgate london, Crysis, Bioshock and half life 2 episode 2 at their absolute best or should I go for this build that I have opted to wait until august to buy, Im aware that it is stupid to think that such as system as I describe above will become redundant after a year or so.

But I want to ask you people, who know alot more about the upcoming hardware than I do, is X38 and p35 going to be a revelation, will it be must have hardware that offers much increased performance, or will it just be yet more bleeding edge products that are just for enthusiasts?

The only remedy to my problem I came across was this paticular motherboard. Gigabyte GA_P35C_DS3R (Socket 775) PCI-Express DDR2 & DDR3 Motherboard

It supports upcoming penryn cpus and DDR2 and 3 memory but I couldn't find definitive reviews on it and so im reluctant to change to a motherboard that may be only half the p35 based motherboard it could be and a less than stellar performer at DDR2 and Core 2 Quad support and overclocking aswell..

If anyone has any information, negative or positive about that motherboard I would be thankful If you could post it :) 


Im really sorry for that huge post and im not expecting anyone to read it all to be honest, but if you do, then many thanks even if you can't help ! :D 

P.S My Budget is around £1650 which, equates to, according to X-rates.com 3,248 USD 8O - This includes monitor, speakers, OS, and Tools.



Thanks alot!! - Liam
June 12, 2007 3:38:58 PM

Quote:
However, the problem I have with this board is it doesn't support 1333fsb Cpus (officially) or DDR3 Ram, is this a problem? Am I buying into technology that will be redundant in a year or so's time?


ASUS P5N32-E SLI Plus chipset is Nvidia 650. It support FSB 1333.

Quote:
With the chipset designations out of the way, let's get to the real differences. All three designs officially support front-side bus speeds up to 1333MHz, so the upcoming Intel processors are guaranteed to work and each design offers very good to excellent overclocking capabilities with the 680i SLI offering the best overclocking rates to date in testing.

http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2958

DDR3 still costs too much. It'll took at least 3 years to become affordable.
June 12, 2007 4:03:33 PM

How often do you plan on upgrading? Because if what you're trying to do is future proof for a while, then you are wise to wait just a couple more months. Get the best quad you can get, the qx6800 (i think), and no need to SLI unless your want/need outrageous resolutions. Which, if what you listed is your preferred resolution, is not outrageous. One graphics card will do. I suggest buying the 8800 GTS 320 for the meantime, or an x1950XT. Save your money and buy yourself a nice Christmas present (the new 900 cards by nvidia). By that time, some of the Direct X 10 games might actually be out.

When August rolls around, make a decision on the motherboard. Remember, though, by the time that technology is going to be used, there will probably be better motherboards out.

Stick with what you plan on buying for DDR2 memory for the time being.

Everything else looks good. Case-wise, consider the ThermalTake Armor. Although a good case, the Antec 900 is a little smaller than you think.
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June 12, 2007 5:01:25 PM

Hmm, well I think waiting for the new gpus is a good idea and that will probably be my tactic but im still unsure as to wait for the X38 chipset, any other opinions or advice on this?

*Bump*

Thanks so far guys! :) 
June 12, 2007 5:13:06 PM

If you want my opinion, I'd skip the idea of getting one of those motherboards. When the technology actually starts getting used on a broad basis, there will be better motherboards out. Stick with the stability of current motherboards and upgrade later. Motherboards aren't that expensive to upgrade. Pain in the arse, but not expensive.
a b B Homebuilt system
June 12, 2007 5:35:21 PM

X38 should be out by the end of August, so you might as well wait a bit more and see how it does in reviews. It depends on DDR3 though (except the MSI boards which will unoficially support DDR2) so I'm not really ready for X38 this year. Maybe by my next upgrade in 2012, if DDR3 is still around :p 

Somebody recommended a QX6800. Frankly I think it's not worth the difference (US $999 versus $266 for the Q6600) unless you overclock. There will also be a QX6850, also $999. I don't know exactly how they differ, btw.

I'm getting a computer very much like yours at the same time. I will go with a 680i mobo though (P5N32-E SLI or Striker or Gigabyte GA 680i). Are you sure the 680i bugs are still there? I suppose they've fixed most of them by now, let alone by August...
June 12, 2007 5:57:54 PM

Well Thanks for all you help and I think I will go for my planned build, sure there will be better technology there but tbh developers wont start making games that can't run well on current hardware until a major proportion of the gaming audience moves from one chipset to another, so I probably dont have to worry about devs making games a quad core and 8800 gtx cant handle for a while :p 

and to aevm, the mobo im getting, the p5n32-e SLI PLUS is a 650i motherboard that has all the properties of 680i mobos like dual 16x pci-e slots and support for 1333 fsb cpus

the bugs I mentioned with 680i boards such as the striker extreme are mainly RAM related, they claim to support up to 8gb of ram but in actual fact getting them to work with all 4 slots filled is a pain in the arse.

Most people have had to settle with only having 2gb 2x1gb or buying 2x 2gb sticks so they can avoid using the second two slots..

The board Im getting, the P5N32-E SLI PLUS has no such problems because it uses 650i chipset with 680i features.
( I reccommend if you get a p5n32-e sli you should try and get the plus one, its more stable apparently)
June 12, 2007 5:59:15 PM

Though, just to be safe im still getting 2x2gb sticks instead of filling all the slots up. :p 
a b B Homebuilt system
June 12, 2007 6:35:17 PM

Good to know, thanks.

In 680i the second PCI-E slot runs at 16x, in 650i at 8x. Since you don't care about SLI that's not a problem for you.

Not sure if the Plus has eSATA ports but there are cards for that anyway. USB 2.0 and/or Firewire are fine for all sane purposes, who needs eSATA.

The Plus version is very popular on this forum because it overclocks great.
June 12, 2007 8:06:58 PM

Smart idea. I have an evga 680i motherboard. Most of the kinks are worked out but there are still memory issues that I and many others can attest to. I have my memory in the alternate slots because my computer randomly crashed with them in the normal slots. Runs peachy keen now. I would go with the GA DS3 motherboard - I've heard many good things about that one.
June 12, 2007 8:55:39 PM

It's not really a full on 650i chipset but a hybrid chipset asus created themselves. They combined the northbridge from one, and the southbridge from another chipset (can't remember what chipsets but there was a thread about this).It's actually supporting dual 16 lanes PCI-express so you can do full SLI.
It even uses 680i chipset drivers about which was some confusion when the boards had just come out. And it does support 1333 FSB but it's not clear just yet wether it also supports the upcoming CPU's due to some voltage requirements I believe.
The plus board also has some memory issues where some configurations will not run with four slots filled, and even with two slots it's a little picky about what mem you put in it. Read up on the asus forums as there is a post there for this board that has many posters stating their working mem config.
GL

*edit* by upcoming CPU's i mean the penryn, not the 6*50 1333 FSB ones. They *should* work just fine
a b B Homebuilt system
June 12, 2007 9:18:01 PM

Thanks!

So, is there a board with no known bugs at this point??? I'm starting to feel a bit discouraged here. I mean, really, if even the $364 Striker crashes...
!