New build/Need reality check please

Hello -

I've built my last 3 pcs over the last 8 years, but still consider myself a bit green. At my last job I had someone who would keep me grounded as I picked parts, but it's been 3 years since then and I need a new system.

I have money but not much knowledge, and I'm not ashamed to say I used the recent Tom's article on high-end builds as a comparison. Pretty much the only thing I use it for is gaming.

I'm trying to force myself to a $4k budget, but I'll pay more for this or that if my choices are idiotic. Try not to judge too harshly, like I said I'm a bit of an amateur.

Also, I have chosen a "lower" end cpu because I expect to upgrade it in about 6 months or so. Also, I've never overclocked before, but am willing to start. Carefully.

-CPU: Intel core-duo 6600
-MB: EVGA 680i SLI 122-CK-NF68-A1
-RAM: I'm kind of lost here - do I want DDR2 1066 or just 800 or what?
-Vid Cards: 2 Evga 8800 GTXs (not the overclocked ones, the 575Mhzs)
-PSU: PPC 750Watt (from Tom's article)
-Monitor: Dell's 30-in (That stays, it would take an argument from a demi-god to convince me otherwise)
-HD: Hitachi's 1T, with a secondary HD for the swap file. Much thought went into this. I've found a lot of evidence that Raid-0 just isn't that useful in gaming. I'm happy to hear arguments otherwise, but it really has to be backed up by evidence.

Did I forget anything? Oh yeah, I'm making my own case, that'll be a trip, too.
Thanks in advance!
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More about build need reality check please
  1. Quote:

    -CPU: Intel core-duo 6600
    -MB: EVGA 680i SLI 122-CK-NF68-A1
    -RAM: I'm kind of lost here - do I want DDR2 1066 or just 800 or what?
    -Vid Cards: 2 Evga 8800 GTXs (not the overclocked ones, the 575Mhzs)
    -PSU: PPC 750Watt (from Tom's article)
    -Monitor: Dell's 30-in (That stays, it would take an argument from a demi-god to convince me otherwise)
    -HD: Hitachi's 1T, with a secondary HD for the swap file. Much thought went into this. I've found a lot of evidence that Raid-0 just isn't that useful in gaming. I'm happy to hear arguments otherwise, but it really has to be backed up by evidence.

    Did I forget anything? Oh yeah, I'm making my own case, that'll be a trip, too.
    Thanks in advance!


    Well Since the only thing I really see too terribly wrong with this in the RAm issue, let's work with that. The only reason you would need DDR2 1066 or 800 would be for extreme overclocking. Otherwise the 800 will serve you just fine. I am by no means an expert on this, I just know that's how it is. The RAM has to stay at a 1:1 ratio...and yeah. If you don't trust me just with that, you can ask someone else about exactly how that works.

    Normally I would cry when I see the sli rig, but for a monitor that size...

    2560x1600.. I tell you what... If I can get this to cost $2731, will you spend the rest of your $4k budget buying me one of those? :P
  2. Man, if you can do that we can go into business. Thanks for the thoughts; I've read some on that, but not enough. I'll decide whether I want to deal with some risky overclocking or play it safer.

    I hope I didn't come off as the "ha ha im rich ur not" type. After a decade of building last year's model, I'm finally at a financial point where I can build something that will last and I'll be very happy with. From what I'm reading it's possible Oblivion will disappoint as a game, but for me the visuals will probably make up for it. I'm definitely replaying HL2 again.
  3. Wow!!!

    I'd add a cooler for the CPU. Thermalright Ultra-120 gets great reviews these days.

    Some Noctua fans to keep the case cool and quiet. 120 mm is the best size.

    DDR2-800 is fine, just make sure it's on the approved list for the motherboard.

    The PSU is one of the best. I played with the calculator at
    http://www.extreme.outervision.com/PSUEngine
    and got 703W, even allowing for plenty of frills and an overclock to 3 GHz.
    If you upgrade to a quad later it will be a bit close to the limit, but the 45nm quads should consume less than 65nm versions so it's probably OK.

    How are you making the case? Wood? Foam for sound dampening?
  4. Argh! I ordered the monitor and they guarantee it on or before July 18th. Well, that gives me time to see if something else drops in price before then.

    Hey, cool, honestly that's exactly what I picked as my CPU cooler, I just hadn't listed it, nice to see someone else say it.

    As for the case, the whole project is a leap into the unknown for me. I haven't spent more than 1500 before, and I never had the guts to make the case.

    I'm revamping an old wood Ikea file cabinet. It has a folder-size drawer and two small drawers above; I'm only using the folder drawer area on the bottom. The platform for the motherboard will be attached to the drawer rails for easy sliding in and out. I'll stick the front back on as a removable door.

    I'm going to take off the wheels and make taller legs, because I'm going to cut a large hole in the bottom for the air intake, which I plan to filter. I'll have a 20cm fan (sold as a 25, gotta love marketing) blowing over the mb, and another 20 as the exhaust out the back. I'll have a 120 on the cpu cooler, and I have another I was planning to use on the back of the mb just in case.

    This is either going to rock or fall on its face, we'll see. I'm still very open to more advice on hardware, especially ram. I saw the mushkin ddr2 800, or the ocz, but I have been out of the game too long to know good names anymore. How closely should I follow the manufacturer's support list for ram? Are those marketing tools or useful lists?
  5. These Crucial cas 4 800mhz. sticks use the Micron D9 chips, are almost a third of the price from the begining of the year, and are also SLI ready(yea,I know, all DDR2 is "SLI ready") This is the best ram for the price.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820146565
  6. Yep, go with those Crucial posted by Foz. They have the Micron D9 in them. Good stuff.
  7. Hey, cool, thanks. Is there any reason to be crazy and get 4 gigs? I can easily get WinXP 64, but is there any reason to think I'll get much benefit?
  8. Nah, 4 gigs is a waste. There would be no benefit. Stick with 2 gigs.
  9. Build looks pretty good. You can get by with the DDR2-800 Ram as others have mentioned. Should still give you overclock room if you want mild to moderate later.

    My only concern now that you elaborated on teh case a little is your cooling setup. I assume if you're using a file drawer rail for the mobo that it will be laying horizontal and facing up. To have the one intake fan in the bottom of the drawer (which normally would be a good spot) this will leave the mobo in a position to block all or nearly all intake air from getting to the "top" where all the components are. Maybe you've thought of some vent/routing way around this already but just mentioning it. Now if you are orienting the mobo Vertically then its not going to be an issue as long as the intake is on the "front" side of the mobo. Just something that immediately stuck out at me :) Build looks awesome otherwise.
  10. Thanks again aboout the RAM advice, though that exact one is out of stock at newegg. Ah well, I can wait another week.

    Very good point about the case, here I'm kinda flying by the seat of my pants. You're right that I meant to mount it horizontally.

    I'm going to attempt to post a crappy text diagram of my case, and hopefully I can edit it if it looks like crap:
    ___________________
    |................................->
    |................................->
    |...................................|
    |...................................|
    |...->.............................|
    |...->.............................|
    |....===========.......|
    |__.........___________|
    .......^^^^

    The arrows at the bottom don't represent a fan, just a large filtered intake hole. The other 2 are the 20cm fans, so the fan across the mb doesn't have a direct connection to the intake.
    So my fear is that the fresh air will simply come up, flow across the bottom of the motherboard, then up and out while the fan across the motherboard blows recirculated hot air around.

    If anyone is cringing with this plan I'd like to know. I didn't want to make the holes in the front for sake of appearance, so I might figure out a pseudo-ducting system instead.

    I'm going to go at it in stages, too, where I assemble it all and run it with the front off, then put it on and monitor temps for a while.
  11. What I'd probably do in your situation, assuming the cabinet drawer is tall enough, is to just orient the mobo vertically against one side on a rail if possible. That way you get tons of airflow if you want it and theres little obstruction to it. At work now and quite swamped today but I'm sure you can picture it in your mind. Just see if there is enough vertical room, otherwise I might put a fan on that bottom intake and see if I can route the air around one side of the mobo to the top, either way sounds like your original idea will look and be pretty neat but will trap lots of heat on the bottom side of the board and exhaust little air on the top side. That would be troubling to me after spending so much on a system.
  12. Ok caught a breather here at work for a sec it seems. Upon reading your last post a second time I think what I see you doing is having the air flow from one intake on one side wall of the cabinet to an exhaust higher up on the other side wall correct? If thats the case then it might work out ok actually and the gaps on the edges of the mobo should leave enough space for the "slight" resulting vacuum to pull a little air from under the mobo from that "filtered hole" in the bottom. That might actually work, I think I misunderstood for a second and thought you had no true exhaust :)

    If you want tho you could always put two more "cross flowing" fans under the mobo instead of one directly in the bottom, just use really quiet fans just to move that air a little more efficiently and I think it might work better overall. I do think now that your way will work ok though :) G'luck with it, post pics when you get it all done with your build I'm sure many would love to see it :)
  13. Random Thought:

    If you do mount the MoBo horizontally, be careful with supporting it. The newer gfx cards are pretty heavy... If you are running two GTXs, with all the other stuff, your MoBo could potentially have some bending/breaking issues. You could put a few support bars or something underneath to reduce this risk and try to keep room for the air to flow. You might want to try moving the higher fan to the top of the case, putting another one on the front of it (at the MoBo height) and then the 20cm in the rear for exhaust.
    I'm not sure... still sort of confused on the whole layout. :?
  14. Sorry for the delay in responding, it's been a drag the last couple days.
    Thanks very much for the ideas - honestly like with all my ideas since I can't draw worth a darn they usually end up staying in my head until I execute them, so I'm not totally clear on my layout either.

    Talon, you could easily be right about the airflow; I'll run some temp tests with the door off at first, see where it stabilizes, then put the door on and watch it carefully. I have room to mount it either direction; I was just hoping to not have to have the thermalright 120 horizontal - of course I haven't seen or mounted one before so maybe it won't be so bad.

    As for support, yeah you're right on the money there FS, I will be careful about that as well. I want to leave as much of the underside exposed for cooling but I had a computer once that didn't have enough motherboard mounts and got a bit jittery when I saw how much they could bend.

    This might be a stupid question, but can we post pictures here? I don't see the insert image button but maybe I'm blind.
  15. You have to upload images to a different site... Then you can post a link to them. Or use the "Img" button for the link.
  16. I'm a first time overclocker and when I started I went from stock to 3.6GHz. My temps were good so I thought this is good enough I'm done. That took 15 minutes to overclock with a 1200mhz OC, I run my RAM at 1:1 as it has better latency than 2:3, 4:5. My Crucial's are running @ 3-3-3-8 @ 800MHz rather than 5-5-5-15 @1200MHz. That first number refers to CAS latency and the lower the faster your RAM is running. Good luck on your build!
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