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$1200 OCable, Expandable Gamer Rig

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  • Power Supplies
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June 17, 2007 4:49:47 AM

Hey,
I'm looking to build a computer ( the last one I built, I never ordered :S ). Here are the parts I have chosen so far:

Case + PSU:
Antec Nine Hundred
Thermaltake Toughpower 750W Modular Power Supply
COOLMAX CUG-700B ATX 12V( V.2.2) 700W Power Supply

I chose the Nine Hundred case because of its cooling; It has 2x front 120mm fans, one rear 120mm fan, and one top 200mm fan. The power supply offered a comfortable amount of power on every rail to power my system, as well as headroom for upgrades. It also is a combo deal at newegg, $35.00 savings. I changed the power supply to the toughpower, because it has a higher output, just as high efficiency, and it's modular. Not bad, eh?

Price: $264.98 $214.98

Motherboard
EVGA 122-CK-NF68-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI
EVGA 122-CK-NF68-T1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI

On the motherboard, I'm looking for a 775 for my E6600, plus it has the 680i chipset ( which, as I understand, seems to be a very good northbridge ). I changed the board to the A1 version upon reccomendation, because it has the paper manual and the cables that I need, instead of having to buy/download them separately.

Price: $199.99 $229.99

CPU and Cooling
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz 4M shared L2 Cache
ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro

Alright, I went for the E6600 based off of it's capabilities in the specification, the price, and the reviews - as well as it being the customer choice for 3 months - it says something about a CPU, mostly that it must be a very good one. As for the cooling, I haven't much experience in cooling solutions, but I like to err on the safe side, and having the cooling may keep this $230 beast from having a meltdown. I've decided to wait until July 22nd on the CPU; I can probably get a Q6600 for about the same price ( maybe a little more ). I also removed the cooling, I guess I'll buy a Tuniq Tower when I decide to overclock.

Price: $229.99 + $34.99 ~$250

Video Card
EVGA 320-P2-N815-AR GeForce 8800GTS 320MB

Alright - this is the beast that powers the gaming in this gaming rig. I opted for the 320Mb mostly because of the price - I was ( and am pretty close to ) spilling over into the $1300 category. I'm not sure about the cooling on this one - if anyone can recommend anything, I'm open to ideas.

Price: $299.99

Memory
G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800

For the memory, I was looking mostly for a 2x1gb kit - I need DDR 800 memory, and at least 2gb of dual channel memory. This is the solution that I found - but I'm not 100% sold on this memory. If someone can suggest a better one - let me know.

Price: $80.99

Operating System
Windows Vista Home Premium OEM

I may be able to grab a student discount on this one.
Newegg Price: $119.99

Shipping
Newegg says it will cost $17.52 to ship.

Total Cost:
$1,241.35
~1250



As stated before, I'm looking for options to knock the price down, but until then, I will try to get this before the rebates expire. I'm pretty sure that these parts are compatible - but if anyone notices anyone that my sight has fallen short of - let me know!

More about : 1200 ocable expandable gamer rig

June 17, 2007 5:36:38 AM

Case- Check out Frys.com, they have it for $99 shipped.
PSU- Frys.com also has the Thermaltake Truepower 750w 60a Modular PSU for $125. Better than the one you listed, in my opinion.

Combine the 2 and it's $225 shipped.

MB- I don't know about that one, there might be a better SLI MB for less, someone else will have to chime in about that.

CPU- A good choice. Don't go retail if you are buying an aftermarket cooler. If you hold off till next month to buy the CPU, the Q6600 will be about $250.

HS/Fan- an ok HS/Fan, not much of an overclocker, but it's cheap. If you want more performance, look at the Tuniq Tower 120 or Thermalright ultra 120 w/ an S-Flex SFF21F fan. Costs more, but cools much better. Really only important if you are serious about overclocking.

Video- Newegg.com has an eVga 8800GTS 640MB for $320. If you have your heart set on the 320MB, you should be able to find it under $270

RAM- The GSkill is good. Buy.com has the Crucial Ballistix 2gb ddr2-800 for $85 w/ free shipping. Might be a better deal.

OS- Vista Premium is good. Check out Directron.com for the academic edition upgrade. It's identical to the normal one, doesn't say "academic edition" anywhere in the OS, just on the disk. Got mine for $75 shipped

Hope this helps
June 17, 2007 10:37:05 AM

aren't you missing a harddrive? or do you not need one? :roll:

You have to ask yourself if you're going to OC or not. You only need aftermarket cooling and DDR2-667 or DDR2-800 for OCing. but considering how easy C2D's are to oc, I would think that you are!

Nice rig, maybe wait on 22 July and get a Quad 6600.
Related resources
June 17, 2007 2:25:07 PM

Yeah, I need to make some more money ( about $600 ) till I can buy a $1200 system anyways, so I'm going to end up waiting until ( July 22nd? ) to buy.


So, where is this $320 640mb card, and who makes it?


Also, I'm only listing the parts I need; I'm going to be cannibalizing my old computer for certain parts ( sound card, hard drive, peripherals ). However, I may end up going for another, bigger hard drive - if anyone can recommend one.
June 17, 2007 5:17:52 PM

you can find retail 8800 gts 320 for ~250. best buy has the bfg 8800 gts 640 for 310 + free shipping...currently backordered but you can add to cart and it will ship in 1 - 2 weeks.

get the A1 version of the mobo. it has paper manual, all the cables so you actually save money (sata cables, etc), and unlike the t1, the a1 has the very important LIFETIME WARRANTY!!!

i picked some crucial ddr2 1066 from newegg for 80 bucks...keep your eye on 2x1gb modules of ddr2 1066, ive seem them go as low as 80 frequently.

other than that, everything looks good. and good luck to ya
June 18, 2007 3:00:55 PM

Alright, I took the suggestions and edited my first post.
However, I'm still looking for input on the following:

- A good hard drive ( 100gb or more, 7200 RPM SATA 3Gb/s )
- A good, cheap, sound card ( >$50 ) - doesn't have to be XFi

As well, I'm accepting input on any more revisions of the components.

Thanks!
June 18, 2007 3:14:35 PM

For the motherboard. I would stick with the T1 board. Not only is it cheaper but it is the exact same board. You don't need all the extra stuff like the manual just download it from their site. I have had the T1 for 2 months now running solid @ 3.7Ghz.



Motherboard: EVGA T1
CPU: E6600 L646G494 @ 3.7Ghz. 1:1 Ratio Linked & Synced Voltage 1.44 Load Temp 45c
Idle Temp. 25c
SPP:1.45volts, MCP: 1.50volts
Memory: Mushkin PC2 8000 4-5-4-11, 2T Voltage 2.1
Swiftech Water Cooling H20-220
Video: One EVGA 8800GTS 320MB
Power Supply: Silverstone 750W
OS: XP Pro
June 18, 2007 4:10:33 PM

You are wasting a lot of money on your motherboard. This isn't going to be an SLi rig and the other features that the 680i has you probably will never use and most likely never even know about. Save about $100 and get a Gigabyte p965 DS3 or for future upgradability with Intel's upcoming cpu's get a Gigabyte P35 DS3R(DDR2 version).
They overclock just as well and have all the features you'd ever need.

Its really a waste of money to get the 680i if your not going to use SLi, and your budget puts you far away from doing that.
June 18, 2007 4:22:47 PM

I want the SLI there if/when I decide to buy another card.
As for the T1 vs. the A1, the lifetime warranty seems pretty important to me.

One other question; will this mobo also support the upcoming cpu's? And the quad cores?
June 18, 2007 5:01:14 PM

First, we all know that SLi with two weaker cards will not match the performance of a higher end card. In the future you will be better off buying a single newer graphics card than adding another 8800GTS 320mb, it will consume less power make less noise and most likely perform better than a SLi setup.

Also the 8800GTS 320mb card is not a good one to SLi because when you SLi you still only end up with 320mb, something that could become a limiting factor if you you thought you needed the extra horsepower of another card.

To me in a budget machine like this that board proves to be a waste of money, especially when you are looking for ways to lower your cost its an easy and simple decision i think.

The 680i supports the current quad cores and the newer 1333mhz fsb quad cores but compatibility with the new penryn cpus is still up in the air.
June 18, 2007 5:05:11 PM

Quote:
I want the SLI there if/when I decide to buy another card.
As for the T1 vs. the A1, the lifetime warranty seems pretty important to me.


Unless you have a large monitor, there is no need for SLI. Buy an EVGA card and just trade up in another 90 days. A lot better deal in my opinion to trade up for a better card than to buy a second outdated card later
June 18, 2007 5:30:10 PM

I believe the A1 revision was to correct an issue with O/C on quadcore CPUs.
June 18, 2007 6:52:16 PM

Quote:
First, we all know that SLi with two weaker cards will not match the performance of a higher end card. In the future you will be better off buying a single newer graphics card than adding another 8800GTS 320mb, it will consume less power make less noise and most likely perform better than a SLi setup.

Also the 8800GTS 320mb card is not a good one to SLi because when you SLi you still only end up with 320mb, something that could become a limiting factor if you you thought you needed the extra horsepower of another card.

To me in a budget machine like this that board proves to be a waste of money, especially when you are looking for ways to lower your cost its an easy and simple decision i think.

The 680i supports the current quad cores and the newer 1333mhz fsb quad cores but compatibility with the new penryn cpus is still up in the air.


Alrighty then - can you tell me what the differences are between the Intel P35 chipset and the nVIDIA 680i chipset are?


Also - this is the board I found that matched what you suggested earlier; would it be sufficient? I also noticed that it supports DDR3, for future compatibility. Looks like a neat board - also, if I went with this board, would you recommend buying a separate LAN/Sound card?

If I drop the motherboard down to something about this price, I think I may also bump the video card up to a 640mb 8800GTS; I assume that this board is capable of supporting it?
June 19, 2007 12:26:59 AM

-The difference between the 680i and P35 is that the 680i obviously supports SLi and the P35 does not. The P35 is intel's newest chipset and is said to supports intel's future 45nm processors while the 680i might it is unknown right now. They both overclock about the same, which is really the main decided factor when getting a mobo like this and the 680i most likely will support more SATA drives and other things like 16usb ports instead of 12 that you just won't even use.

The board i recommend is the This One. It only supports DDR2 but that is completely fine because DDR2 isn't moving out very soon and by the time DDR3 even becomes mainstream your computer will be ancient. I think this is the best decision as the 680i is completely unnecessary in this case.

The motherboard comes with onboard lan as does almost every motherboard these days and will be more than sufficient for any enthusiast. As far as a soundcard goes things are right in the middle of change with Vista as it does not do sound the same way previous OS's have, so soundcards like the X-Fi lineup are not compatible. I think the sound on there will be more than sufficient for the time being until other newer soundcards are out that support Vista.

Yes of course this board is capable of supporting a 8800GTS 640mb and any other PCIe graphics card. You never mentioned what monitor size and resolution you'll be using this computer with, that could have an effect on whether you need the extra memory or whether you could just save your money.
June 19, 2007 1:47:36 AM

The monitor I'm currently using is a 19" monitor, running at 1280*1024.
June 19, 2007 2:17:11 AM

Unless you plan on upgrading that some time soon or in the majority life time of the graphic card you plan on getting stick with the 8800GTS 320mb.
June 19, 2007 2:34:34 AM

At those resolutions the 8800 320MB should be fine. The 640MB probably wouldn't offer much in the way of a performance upgrade at that resolution. If you go back in the archives to the launch of the 8800 320 near the beginning of the year they compared the 320 and 640 versions and the 640 only started to out perform the 320 at higher resolutions.

The P35 would be a good choice if SLI won't be needed, which, unless you have a lot of money, SLI isn't usually recommended.

As far as sound goes, it depends on your speakers. If you have really nice speakers you might want a discrete sound card. As far as which one, anything OTHER than the Xfi. I think the driver issued have been worked out, but the EAX is broken now in Vista I guess, so there are better cards for the money. I got an HT Omega Striker 7.1 and it's great in Vista. Should be the same as an Xfi gamer, $60, and has optical and coaxial outputs. If you are using headphones or some simple 2.1 speakers, then the integrated sound should be fine.
June 19, 2007 3:10:45 AM

Alrighty then, a 320mb is what I'll go with. On newegg, there are three evga 8800gts 320mb variants, and the only differences that I can spot are in the core clock:

1: $279.99
Core Clock - 500MHz
Memory Spd - 1600MHz

2: $299.99
Core Clock: 576MHz
Memory Spd - 1700MHz

3: $329.99
Core Clock: 588MHz
Memory Spd - 1840MHz

Also, are these basically just factory-overclocked boards with different heatsink/fan cooling? If they're all the same except for the clock, will I be able to manually up it? If not, which one would be a good choice for the money?
June 19, 2007 4:45:29 AM

Just get the base model, you can overclock it yourself. Plus it has a mail in rebate! Who doesn't love those? With it it's only $260!
June 19, 2007 12:06:44 PM

The first two have the exact same cooling while the third one uses EVGA ACS3 cooling thing. Its supposed to be very good which is why its clocked considerably higher than the other two.

I'd probably just get the base model and you could easily up the frequencies with ATiTool.
June 19, 2007 5:45:40 PM

Ok, so by getting the lower-end parts on the motherboard and the video card, I've dropped the price to about $1000; Now, my question is, since I'm running Vista, and since I'm a gamer, should I notch up the memory to 4gb?

Also, if I should go ahead and get the extra 2Gb, should I switch from getting 2(2x1Gb) Kits to 1(2x2Gb) Kit?

Thanks. :D 

Also: Should I jump up to the DDR2 1066 instead of DDR2 800?
June 19, 2007 6:20:13 PM

Unless you want to spend the extra money i would stick with DDR2-800 with 4-4-4-12 timings. It will match the oc capability of your chip. I also would not opt for 2x2Gb as its way to expensive for high grade stuff and you can easily buy cheap 2x1gb and get more cheap stuff later .
June 19, 2007 6:44:01 PM

How does this look?

G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

-Dual Channel
-CAS Latency: 4
-Timings: 4-4-4-12

$104.99

IcY18: When you say chip, are you talking about the CPU? If so, I'm waiting til l July 22nd or later to buy the cpu, where I will switch to a Q6600 - does it have the same properties as this E6600?
June 19, 2007 8:50:31 PM

Gskill is good. frys.com has some 800 4-4-4-12 on sale for $90. I would link it for you but I'm on my phone. Anyone able to hook this guy up?

You can go 64bit if you are willing to put up with the hassle. Vista is already going to be a pain on occation so you might not want to exaserbate the problems by tossing 64bit on top of that. Try out the 32bit with 4Gb of RAM, only some of it won't be recognized, and you can switch to 64bit when SP1 comes out and everything is stable. Just a suggestion.
June 20, 2007 3:09:09 AM

Thats great ram, I've recommended it many times.

And yes i was referring to your cpu, what i meant was that you will be able to run your cpu and memory at a 1:1 ratio all the way up to 450mhz on the fsb because DDR2-800 with 4-4-4-12 is capable of that. Although i was not sure if you would be capable to handle the heat from your processor at such a high fsb.

So for example you should most likely be able to hit a 400fsb with the E6600 but if you did that with the Q6600 the heat output would be too much to handle.

You can lower the multiplier to keep the fsb and memory at a higher speed while keeping the cpu speed at something your cooling can handle though.
June 20, 2007 3:52:46 AM

How much would installing a Tuniq Tower help? Or would it not fit well in the case I have selected ( the nine hundred? )

The other cooling I found was the Zalman CNPS9500.

In either case, would I need to buy Thermal Paste as well? ( And would the Arctic Silver 5 Compound work? Or do I need a different thermal compound? )
June 20, 2007 12:38:00 PM

A Tuniq Tower 120 would be much better than that Zalman 9500.

You would need to buy thermal paste, while Artic Silver 5 used to be the standard there is better stuff out there like Arctic Cooling MX-1 and Arctice Silver Ceramique and Shin Itsu X23, i believe thats the name atleast.
!