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Decisions Decisions, Can someone give me some help!!!

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June 17, 2007 2:38:13 PM

Long time reader, recently just starting to post…. Need some help these days. Right now I am getting ready to build a completely new system and need to select the right MoBo. As this is a critical part I am trying to really do all my homework before making this decision and could use some help from many of the experts how there and all the experience every has had to date.

Basically I am open to any MoBo at this time but I will limit that based on my current PC plans and hardware. I am an avid gamer and will more than likely only over clock a little bit, ideally a safe and conservative amount as I am still very new.

So here goes my thoughts,

OS would be Vista Ultimate (64)

Processor would be Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 Kentsfield 2.66GHz LGA 775, but I would like to be able to upgrade this as much as possible in the future, this is a big REQ, I hate changing MoBos, if possible I would hope that what ever the selection is it would support the Penryn, although I doubt it would.

I would be going with DDR2 Ram, 4 – 8 Gigs, what ever the board could support range from 800 – 1066. RAM is an area where I am no expert in at the moment and I am very open to comments suggestions and ideas. I am not against DDR3 but just don’t know much about it, how new it is, how stable it is, cost, selection, etc…

Harddirves would be a 160 Raptor with two 750G back ups in Raid 1. Basically I would use one 750 for media storage and backup of the 160 and than run that with the second 750 under Raid 1

Graphic Cards, I am leaning towards running two EVGA 768-P2-N831-AR GeForce 8800GTX 768MB so I think SLI is a must.

Secondary thoughts would be a dual Ethernet and overall space, I am not going anywhere near water cooled. Also, I understand that PCIE is changing soon and for now that isn’t a big issue for me, I don’t see that being something I would need for at least a year, or two even.

As for Bells and Whistles, well I am open to any and all, not sure how many little extras I would use, or do make use of these days.

Thanks again!!!
June 17, 2007 3:51:35 PM

I personally like this mobo from DFI, unless you can wait a month or 2 and go with the new P38 mobo that is coming out. But do not know if the P38 will be running DDR2 or DDR3. Below is link for the DFI mobo.

DFI LP UT NF680I LT SLI-T2 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i LT SLI ATX $299.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Here is a Link of a review of this board by TG Forumz member Proof, very informative.
http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/DFI-LANParty-UT...

As for ram, mobo does support DDR800. You definately would want to get ram with the Micron D9 chips on it, here are 2 brand you should look at below.

G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit $104.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

and

mushkin eXtreme Performance 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) $121.99 ($106.99 after $15.00 Mail-In Rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

On your HD's choices, would go with 2> 320gb seagates in raid 0 and have the 750gb as storage. Main reason is the newer Sata II HD's when in raid 0 are almost as good as a single Raptor 150gb HD and at half the cost. You can read more on this on this Forumz.

Rest of selection looks pretty good. Good Luck on what you decide to go with, since you are the only one that needs to be happy with it.
June 17, 2007 8:40:10 PM

Yoosty! Well what can I say, Thanks, great comments, really. I looked at the MoBo and so far everything I have seen gives this a good standing in my book. As for waiting a Month or so, not sure if I can do that, my system is having issues running some of the basic new games out these days, I really need to do a build, and fast. Just waiting for the price to drop in the CPU market is hurting, but if the P38 is out at that time I will certainly consider it.

Some of the other comments brought up a few points, I will certainly look into going with the two 320G drives over the one 150 Raptor, especially if the performance is close by comparison. A few thoughts though, one, as this would be my system drive and I am not very familiar with RAID just yet, how easy is it to set up the RAID 0 Configuration and install Windows. From my reading seems to be a few folks had some problems, I myself, from what I have read, would have assumed it wasn't a big deal, but alas assuming could be my demise. Second question, could I run a RAID 0 with the two drives and than a RAID 1 with the two drives linked to the third, the 750, I really didn't know if that was possible, or even the best way to go. Lastly, as I am trying to protect my files and such, how challenging is a restore from the back up drive when you have a RAID 0 configuration. I will openly admit, I haven't played with RAID set ups in the past.

Regarding the RAM, I will certainly check into the two brands you recommended. I will be honest and say that I do not know anything with regards to the Micron D9 Chips, so without being too much off base can I ask what the deal is here? Also, given the selection you recommended I was wondering if they had a single stick 2G model, I am planning to run Vista 64bit so I was going to go all out and try to run 8G total. Here is the one I found on Newegg but wasn't sure it if had the Micron D9 chips you were referring too.

G.SKILL 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Again, my thanks as your input has inspired me to do some new research, and in keeping with the flavor of the post, I am always open to suggestions on other MoBos!!!

Thanks
Related resources
June 17, 2007 9:21:44 PM

Go to this thread I repied to earlier todau on setting up Raid 0.

http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/Issue-ftopict24...

Good choice on ram, but there are some more out there that you might want to check out. Like these below.

CORSAIR XMS2 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel $269.00 ($229.00 after $40.00 Mail-In Rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

mushkin 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel $249.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

mushkin 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel $684.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or this one.

GeIL Black Dragon 8GB(4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Quad Channel $569.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Best thing to remember on getting 2 sticks of ram or more, is to get Match Stick sets. Since there is no review on the Geil, I do not know how it will perform, but they are a Match Stick set. So that is something to consider. Plus check on what the mobo manufacture suggest on ram to be used.
June 17, 2007 9:44:41 PM

Great, I will check out the thread you mentioned, in the mean time i agree, forgot to check for Matching sets. I found a few G.Skill at newegg, I was wondering if you could suggest on of the three series. In the meantime, how can I tell if the memory has the Micron D9 chips, better question what does it bring to the table….

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?submit=E...(2+x+2GB)

Overall any suggestions, based from your experience, on a particular brand of memory. Heat, reliability, performance, etc.

Thanks
June 18, 2007 3:05:43 AM

Ok, here are some Links that will help you out. By the way the Micron D9 memory chips are the best chips for memory.

This is a review on some D9 ram makes.
http://www.hwupgrade.com/articles/print/memory/15/ddr2-...

Here is a Lists on Ram and what type of chips they use. It is about 6 months out of date, but still good reference.
http://ramlist.infinityx.nl/ddr2/

It is also good to go to the Manufacture website and ask them by either posting an email to them or posting in their forums.

Some more info on another match set of ram 2 sticks of 2gb by Cosair.
http://www.corsairmicro.com/_datasheets/QUAD2X4096-6400...

You have alot of reading to do to decide what you want. :roll:
June 18, 2007 3:55:43 PM

Okay,

Still reading up on the RAM but have narrowed down my MoBo selections to a top five boards and would like to get everyone’s opinion based on my overall objective listed above.

Right now I am considering the following boards:

Higher cost for these three boards
ASUS Striker Extreme
Gigabyte GA-N680SLI-DQ6
DFI LP UT NF680I LT SLI-T2

Lower Cost on these two boards
EVGA 122-CK-NF68-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI
MSI P6N Diamond


All thoughts are welcomed!
a b V Motherboard
June 18, 2007 5:04:01 PM

You could wait until July 22 and get a Q6700 instead of QX6700, save $400 or so. The QX6700 overclocks better, as far as I understand, but you're not going for overclocking records.

If SLI is a must forget P35 and X38, you need 680i or a 650i/680i hybrid like the P5N32-E SLI Plus. Get an Asus P5N32-E SLI Plus (the "Plus" is important, it's 650i), or an Asus P5N32-E SLI (without the Plus, it's 680i) or the Striker or the Gigabyte N680i-SLI-DQ6. The DQ6 has the best features (and customer support) but it's also the most expensive of these 4.
June 19, 2007 12:44:42 PM

Okay,

So I have narrowed my selection down to three boards.

ASUS Striker Extreme

Gigabyte GA-N680SLI-DQ6

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

What I am looking for some input from anyone who has used any one of these boards. Basically I am concerned because with the Striker and the Gigabyte board I have read a lot of mixed reviews, many are positive but some complain about BIOS issues and such and I wanted to get everyone’s feedback. So far I have not located to much on the EVGA board so I am wondering what everyone else has seen at this time.

Finally, as always, I am still very open to suggestions on other boards I may not have considered!

Thanks
June 19, 2007 3:00:11 PM

Link for EVGA 122-CK-NF68-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You can check out the reviews there and also near bottom of page on left side there will be a link to mobo home page. I know Evga has a forum you can check out.

Still like the 680i from DFI, see they have more drivers for Vista then others. http://www.dfi.com.tw/Support/Download/driver_download_...

ASUS Striker Extreme
Memory is an absolute nightmare on this board
Other Thoughts: This is a motherboard built for pros or very experienced amatuers. This is not a board well-suited for a first or even second system build. Being a high-end component, it requires that *everything* else in your system be high end as well. If you cut corners anywhere, your experience will not be positive. That shouldn't scare you aware, but rather make you think twice about whether you really need this level of performance.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Gigabyte GA-N680SLI-DQ6
Missing drivers for raid on CD.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hope this helps out.
!