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a modification of a tom's hardware and ars technica rig

Last response: in Systems
July 19, 2007 3:19:24 AM

Hi, I'd like to build a new computer this summer and wanted to see what you guys thought of my build so far. I'm a moderately experienced builder (~ four years) but have recently stopped following up on the latest technologies. Here's what I want to do with it, and I think it will work:

Dual-boot Windows XP (and eventually Vista) and Ubuntu 7.04
Use Compiz Fusion and Beryl (the graphical goodness!) in Ubuntu
Game decently in DX10
Have the possibility to upgrade gfx to SLI (hence the mobo).

The specs didn't load properly so here we go:
-MSI P965 Platinum LGA 775 Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
-EVGA 320-P2-N811-AR GeForce 8800GTS 320MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Video Card - Retail
-Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz LGA 775 Processor Model BX80557E6600 - Retail
-Kingston HyperX 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model KHX6400D2K2/2G - Retail
-Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3320620AS (Perpendicular Recording Technology) 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
-Sony NEC Optiarc 18X DVD±R DVD Burner with 12X DVD-RAM Write Black SATA Model AD-7170S-0B - OEM

Thanks for any assistance you guys can provide.
July 19, 2007 5:43:13 AM

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July 19, 2007 10:54:52 AM

Oh good idea, this hasn't even crossed my mind!
July 19, 2007 11:13:37 AM

Do not get the Sony NEC Optiarc drives!!! they dont work in Vista. trust me I have one and wish I hadnt bought it. I have Vista 64, it refused to install on it, and after using another drive to install, it barely works and crashes the machine sometimes when it is used. And there are no drivers for it (only firmware).

get a phillips, an LG, or a Liteon.
July 19, 2007 12:15:11 PM

if you expect to game in DX10 DO NOT get the 320mb GTS with the idea of SLI-ing it later... (someone tell me if they get bored of me repeating myself)... games are already out that won't even let you select the "Textures: High" setting on the 320, get AT LEAST a 640GTS or even a GTX if you expect to get any kind of decent framerate in the first raft of proper DX10 games, and expect to SLI that to be able to set all settings to max

if Crytek's claims that a GTX will almost run Crysis with max settings (but not all max), then an OC'd SLI-640 set up should be able to run it with all settings max, but the limited texture memory on the 320 will limit your textures setting full stop

personally, I don't see the point of quad core yet, when all games to date run fine on any of the dual cores, doubly so when overclocked, just get an E2140 for now, overclock to 3ghz+ and then buy a quad core when there's a proven need (by which time there'll have been yet more price drops / more power per $)
July 19, 2007 12:22:50 PM

andybird, which titles will not let you set max detail on a 320 MB card?

Seriously, I bought a 640, and I'm wondering if I should have got the 320. tell me there was a method to my madness!
July 19, 2007 12:38:45 PM

Zorg said:
Get a P35 mobo w/DDR2 and a Q6600 after the price drop, which is in a few days.

See the goodness

P35 clocks a little higher but doesn't perform noticeably better. The board he picked is a proven top performer.

The board he picked is also a mediocre FSB overclocker, but with the processors he's considering he doesn't need to add much bus speed to get a good overclock.

July 20, 2007 12:11:01 AM

Hmm, after reading these comments it shows that I have quite a bit of research to do. I'll let you guys know how it goes. FYI my budget is about one thousand USD.
July 20, 2007 2:09:24 AM

Crashman said:
stealthfightrf117 said:
Get a P35 mobo w/DDR2 and a Q6600 after the price drop, which is in a few days.

See the goodness

P35 clocks a little higher but doesn't perform noticeably better. The board he picked is a proven top performer.

The board he picked is also a mediocre FSB overclocker, but with the processors he's considering he doesn't need to add much bus speed to get a good overclock.
I always like to hear your opinion. Let me explain my post in more detail and you can tell me where I went wrong. First, nowhere in his post did he mention any kind of overclock. The reason that I recommended the P35 board over the P965 is due to the trouble free overclock to 1333 with no increase in voltage, and the better bandwidth numbers for the Bearlake chipset, as well as support for Penryn. I won't get into my recommendation of the Q6600 because you didn't address that. Here are some quotes from the Article that are pertinent:
It is a noteworthy advantage with the P35 chipset motherboards that every Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad processor we tested on the P35 boards ran at 1333 FSB speeds at the stock multiplier without the need to increase voltage. This is a significant, free, and pain-free overclock provided courtesy of the new 1333 bus speed option. The only exception to this was our top-line X6800 which did require a mild voltage boost to run at 333x11 (3.67GHz).

All of the CPUs listed above in our table are 1066 FSB processors, but all ran fine at 1333 FSB at default multiplier and default voltage. Of course this is the FSB frequency Intel will be introducing on their soon-to-be-announced processors. This little side effect will make the P35 with DDR2 a favorite overclockers' board with current Intel Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad processors. A $189 E6420 can perform even better than an E6700 just by selecting a 1333 bus on P35 and leaving everything else at default. Likewise, a $500 Q6600 will outperform the ~$1000 QX6700 with just a bus speed change.

This little side effect will certainly be noticed by Intel. We have to wonder how fast the 1066 processors may start disappearing with this kind of free, painless overclocking available with the new P35 boards.
While the purpose of this review was to compare DDR3 and DDR2 performance, something completely different emerged from the memory bandwidth tests. Namely, the memory controller on the P35 is definitely an improvement over the P965 memory controller. This is evident whether the P35 is running DDR2 or DDR3 memory.
In Standard/Buffered memory bandwidth, the P35 (Bearlake) chipset is providing a 16% to 18% improvement in memory bandwidth compared to the P965. This is a significant improvement. The Unbuffered improvement is smaller, in the range of 4% to 8%. These bandwidth improvements may or may not translate into improved system performance. We will examine that in the SuperPi and Gaming benchmarks.
With pure number crunching, the P35 yields a 2% to 3% improvement in SuperPi results. While this is a small improvement, it is consistent across speeds and test results. As seen in the memory bandwidth results, the performance difference is the P35 chipset, and not the DDR3. It really doesn't matter if you run DDR2 or DDR3 on the P35; you will get slightly better number crunching performance with P35.
We were really surprised at the gaming test results. We really did not expect the bandwidth improvement of P35 to have much impact on gaming results, but Far Cry showed a 2% to 5% improvement in performance just comparing P35 to P965 under the same conditions. It really didn't matter whether P35 was running DDR2 or DDR3; the improvement was essentially the same.
That means the real performance surprise in these tests is that the revised memory controller in the Bearlake chipset improves buffered memory bandwidth by 16% to 18%, with a real-world improvement in gaming and application performance of 2 to 5%. This is a pretty impressive improvement for a memory controller update. To repeat an old saying please remember that memory is just one small part of the system, so a 2% to 5% increase in gaming from the memory controller alone means the P35 memory controller is significantly improved over the P965 chipset.
That brings up the more difficult question: what to buy today? That is a much more complicated question. If you are looking for a new system, definitely choose the new P35 chipset over the P965, as it is a better memory performer.At launch we are told DDR3 will be much more expensive than DDR2. Prices are expected to be about $480 for a 2GB DDR3 kit. At that lofty price it is difficult to recommend DDR3 over DDR2, when DDR2 performs just the same on the P35 chipset and decent 2GB kits can be had for under $150 now.
The winner for now is the P35 chipset, whether you feed it DDR2 with fast timings or higher speed DDR3. The 1333 bus speed introduced by P35 is also a winner - at least in terms of overclocking. As stated in the review, almost every Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad we tried in the P35 ASUS P5K and P5K3 ran at 1333 FSB at the default multiplier and default voltage. The only processors that required any voltage increase were the top line Core 2 Extreme processors. This free 25% overclock, which still allows everything else in the system to run at default values, is exciting. It is so exciting we have to wonder how long Intel will allow this in the marketplace.