Dilemma - RAID vs. Graphics card, + Quad or Dual?

Hi guys, I am looking at buying a new computer in Canada, and I decided to wait until the price cuts that occurred today.

I am buying from this company:
Memory Expresshttp://www.memoryexpress.net

This computer is going to serve as an all-purpose computer: it will be set up in my basement, and hooked up to my 40" Samsung LNT-4061F HDTV (which has a resolution of 1950x1080). I will be using it for gaming, surfing the internet, watching movies, etc. (Once Blu-ray/HDDVD gets cheap and popular at rental stores, I plan to stick in an HD drive. If I ever get the chance, I might add in a Hauppage PVR card too. I am not concerned about those right now, though.)

I also plan on overclocking the CPU somewhat, although it will be my first time so I will not be pushing the boundaries of what is possible. I am looking for a decent and stable overclock using a $40n cooler or whatnot.

My budget is about $1500 Canadian. The Canadian dollar is worth slightly less than American, however.
I have been doing research, and came up with this (it's right up on my budget):

Cooler Master Mystique 631 Case (looked at HTPC cases, but have no rack for them really)

Core 2 Duo Q6600

2gig 6400 RAM OCZ

600W OCZ StealthXStream PSU

ASUS P5N-E SLI

2x 250GB Seagate 7200s w/NQZ in RAID 0

LG DVDRW

Zalman Cooler

Windows Vista Premium

2M HDMI Cable (or should it be DVI to HDMI?)

eVGA 8800GTS 320MB

So, basically my concerns are as follows.

I have a huge-resolution display. The 320MB video card I heard may not be able to handle this well. I am open to upgrading it but I need to shed some money elsewhere. Would the X2900 be a good choice (I would have to change my mobo), or is the 640MB 8800 or the GTX the better choice? I think it would be tough to afford the GTX.

So does RAID really do a lot, or should I save 70 bucks and get rid of the 2nd hard drive to upgrade the graphics?

I heard the Q6600 is hot. I don't want to spend too much money on a cooler. I would be happy to OC the quad-core to 3GHz, but I am not sure what kind of a cooler can do this for cheap.

Are the four cores worth it? (I don't do video encoding often). Or should I downgrade to the E6750 (how does it overclock?) and use the extra money towards the GFX?

Finally, would the Antec Sonata III case be good for what I am attempting to achieve? It doesn't seem to have as much cooling or nearly as much style, but once again, it could save me 100bucks because it comes with a PSU (is it good enough?).


All your suggestions are greatly appreciated. I hope to make a purchase later this week.
3 answers Last reply
More about dilemma raid graphics card quad dual
  1. Don't worry about the raid right now.Going with dual core will save you a little money esp. if you are overclocking and if your mobo supports it you can get a quad later.I would go with the gts 640 minimum but if you can save a little with those things I mentioned you might be able to swing the GTX.Other than that it looks like it will be a good rig.I just looked at newegg and there was only about 70$ difference between Q6600 and E6600 I don't know what it is in Canada though.Even E4300 OC's like crazy.
  2. I would probably rather go with quad core. yeah you wont see much of a difference now. but for a little more you get potentially double the performance? when your multitasking load gets heavier, a quad core will do much better.

    As for RAID, I recently built a PC with a RAID 0 array (2 x Seagate 7200.10 320GB drives). Cant say it seems amazingly stupendously fast. I'd have to run the same pc with only a single drive to get a subjective evaluation of the difference, but I'm not sure its enough to be bothered about. then again, winamp did scan my 20 GB's of mp3's pretty quickly.

    even so, I doubt its worth the expense. 1 500 GB drive is probably good enough.

    get either a 2900XT or 8800 GTS 640, personally I would go for the GTS because of AA performance, lower noise and lower power consumption. also shorter so its easier to fit into cases.
  3. Don't bother with RAID for now.

    The Sonata III PSU is ok but I dunno if I'd trust it to power a quad core, 8800GTS-based rig. Much safer to get the PSU/case combo you have listed.

    I'd recommend going for the 640MB 8800GTS if you have a fairly high resolution.
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