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

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July 22, 2007 11:19:38 PM

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.

More about : dilemma raid graphics card quad dual

July 23, 2007 1:11:40 AM

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.
July 23, 2007 11:26:13 AM

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.
July 23, 2007 12:07:16 PM

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.
!