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Mobo, GPU, CPU advice for "gaming" rig

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June 18, 2007 9:24:43 PM

I'm building my first homebuilt system. It'll be used mostly for gaming, in addition to everyday stuff (internet, office apps, etc.). I've been compiling a list of essential components and I'm trying to coordinate motherboard, CPU, and GPU. Right now my plans are to start with one 8800GTS (not sure if 320 or 640MB) for my GPU and put a second one in later on down the road. I've got my resolution at 1680x1050. Would the 320MB be good enough for this with maxed out video options? Or is there a huge difference with the 640MB version?

Next, I've been looking at the Core 2 Duo E6600 for my CPU. But from what I've heard, with the Intel price cuts coming in July, the Core 2 Quad Q6600 will cost what the E6600 does now. Is it even worth getting the Q instead of the E? Or should I just move the saved money to other parts?

Then there's the problem of I'm not sure of what mobo to get. I've done a lot of reading on these forums and independent research. Indeed I want the SLI capability for the future, so that means either 680i or 650i mobo. I've been eyeing up the ASUS P5N32-E board. Any other suggestions on reliable boards? For that matter, I've heard rumors of 680i boards frying memory? If that's true, I guess I go with a 650i board. Also, I don't plan on doing much, if any, overclocking.

I haven't decided on RAM yet, as that'll be decided by my mobo. I'm thinking 2GB capacity (speed=whatever the mobo can handle) to start.

Other Specs:
Antec 900 case
Antec TruePower Trio 650W PSU
Viewsonic vx2035wm monitor
WD RE Caviar 250GB SATA HDD (2 of 'em)
E6600 or Q6600 CPU
8800GTS GPU
Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Gamer
Windows XP SP2 OS (Will upgrade to Vista in future)

Any and all help/ideas/suggestions are welcome and appreciated. Thanks in advance. Sorry for the long post.
June 18, 2007 9:35:18 PM

Great Case
Great PSU

For a resolution like that id say 640mb version just to be on the safe side.

If you plan on stripping then you might want bigger hard drives if you plan on raiding it'll be ok.
June 18, 2007 9:42:11 PM

As it stands, I plan on using one HDD as a mirror of the other to back it up. I don't really have tons of music or movies to take up a lot of space, mostly just docs, software files, some music. Would it be advisable to start with a larger hard drive? I have other internal bays to add other hard drives if I run out of space.
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June 19, 2007 2:19:46 AM

Update: Based on what I've read, I think I might be better off getting an 8800GTX and abandoning the SLI capability in order to get a motherboard that is more future-proof. From all I've read, having 1 better GPU (GTX) is better than having 2 lesser GPUs (2 GTS 640MB). Any thoughts?
June 19, 2007 4:31:22 AM

Well it all depends on what you're going to be playing/doing. There are certain cases where, yes, two 8800GTS cards will be faster than a single 8800GTX when you crank up the details and AA+AF. Other games will have major issues with SLI (few and far between but they're out there) and you will see little to no performance benefit. It all just boils down to what you will be playing and what you budget is now. If you have the money, get the single 8800GTX/Ultra now and add a second one later when it's running out of breath in those shiny new DX10 titles that will make the GTX sweat.

You still really can't go wrong with two 8800GTS 640 cards though, but my two cents say that for that price your money will be much better spent if you just bite the bullet now and get a single 8800 Ultra for that much - you will have room to add another later when the price drops to GTS levels :) 

Bottom line - you're right with what you said. I'd go for the GTX/Ultra now versus the dual 8800GTS. You can get another later when you really need it.
June 19, 2007 4:42:35 AM

Quote:

You still really can't go wrong with two 8800GTS 640 cards though, but my two cents say that for that price your money will be much better spent if you just bite the bullet now and get a single 8800 Ultra for that much - you will have room to add another later when the price drops to GTS levels :) 

Bottom line - you're right with what you said. I'd go for the GTX/Ultra now versus the dual 8800GTS. You can get another later when you really need it.


Ew, please don't waste your money on the Ultra. It is priced to high and boasts very little performance increase over the GTX. In your case, go with the single 8800GTX. If you want a mobo idea, I would say (as I always do) go for intel's new p35 chipset. These are especially good if you want to future proof (or attempt to) your system. And as for the processor goes, wait for the Q6600. It's just like the E6600, except for that whole part about having twice as many cores.. Most things can't use all the cores yet, but the time will come soon and you will regret it if you buy the E6600 now and then the Q6600 later, when you could have skipped the E6600.

As to your first question, technically a 320MB would be good enough for that resolution, but there are always those wierd exceptions...

One other thing, if you buy an eVGA video card, lets say the 8800GTX. They have a step up program where you can return your old card for the next one up, paying the price difference. So if you buy the 8800GTX now, you could then wait for the new line of cards to come out (eventually) and buy one of those instead of another 8800GTX. Just a Thought..
June 19, 2007 5:12:37 AM

Looks good, but I would change the sound card. Yes Creative is the Top leader in sound cards, but is bloated in their software for it that takes a good portion of your computer resources. Plus Creative is still having drivers problem for Vista.

Here is a upcoming sound card you should at least look at before buying. Bluegears b-Enspirer 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Interface Sound Card. It costs $109.00 at NewEgg.

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