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My first personal build - Next-gen Gaming at 2000$

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  • Gaming
  • Next Generation
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July 29, 2007 9:30:48 AM

Hi, this is the first computer that I will be building for myself. It will be used for gaming mostly. I could use some advice although I'm set for most of my components except a few.

My goal is to get a machine that will keep me going for the next bunch of years, hopefully 5+ years. I selected future-proof components as much as I could. Also, if after a while everything goes well, I plan on doing some overclocking. Budget is 2000 $CAN right now, or around 1700 $US, since we canadians dont get uber-pro-Newegg-deals and have to pay taxes and extra shipping. So let me show you what I've picked so far, after hours of research!

All in canadian dollars:


Chassis

Cooler Master Centurion 5 - Silver-Black ATX Mid-Tower Case 49.99$
I am unsure if the airflow will be good enough for overclocking, but otherwise it seems the best bang for the buck imo. Looks decent too.


Power Supply

PC Power & Cooling Silencer, 610 W 151.20$
It has 83% efficiency, 610 Watt capacity and 49A on the single 12v rail, which seems safe enough to me, while not overkill, considering I might OC. A bit pricey but from what I've heard it's reliability is worth it, it has good reviews and all. Silent.


Motherboard

Gigabyte GA-P35C-DS3R 174.09$
It's the new P35 intel chipset. Supports both DDR2 and DDR3. Will support the upcoming Intel CPUs (45nm). People said it overclocked quite good too. No SLI but my budget doesn't really allow me to buy 2 video cards anyway. In a couple of years I'm sure I will be able to upgrade to another single video card at a good price.


CPU

Inter Core 2 Quad Q6600, 2.40 Ghz 289.99$ (with the bundle, pro deal)
4 cores omg! I guess 2.4Ghz is more than enough for current games, but it will truely start to shine once games begin supporting and adequately using the 4 cores at once. I'm prolly getting the g0 stepping which supposedly heats less.


CPU - Heatsink

Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme 52.71$
I am unsure if it will fit on my motherboard with everything installed. But from reviews I've read it is the best CPU cooler that isn't water cooling. It's pricey and doesn't come with a Fan, so I'm also considering the Tuniq Tower or the Scythe Infinity heatsinks


CPU - Fan

VANTEC SF8025L 80mm Fan 6.57$
Moves a lot of air and is cheap and quiet, apparently.


Memory

Patriot eXtreme Performance DDR2 800Mhz 2048MB PC6400 159.99$ (104.99$ after Mail-in-rebate)
Decent overclocker, low latency (4-4-4-12 at stock) and surprinsingly the best price/performance deal I could find in Canada. If I was US i woulda picked up the G.skill sticks. But yeah, there is also this US website that ships to Canada with a very good deal. Only thing is I'm not even sure if I should trust this store. They actually ask me my payment card info BEFORE I can make an account. And they won't tell me the canada shipping cost untill I do make an account. Don't know what you guys think? http://shop4.outpost.com/product/5283387;jsessionid=vPgFutCHeZyKwPcKwxdVEA**.node3?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG


Graphics Card

EVGA GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB 500Mhz GPU, PCI-E 419.99$ (389.99$ after M-I-R)
Best bang for the buck imo. Will run Crysis at high settings I believe, which is sick. I would like to OC it at some point but I'm not sure if I will need a special cooler or no. Depends on ambient temperature I guess


Hard Drive

Western Digital Caviar SE16, 320GB SATA300 78.99$
I don't really need extra virtual space as it is. Unless next-gen games take like 50gigs each, 320gb will be enough for me.


CD/DVD Writer/Reader

SONY AW-G170S Black 18x DVD Rewriter 38.88$
Had so many options here. Seems like there are tons of different models but only a few have been reviewed and they don't happen to be available in Canada... I think this one will do the job though.


LCD Monitor

Acer 22" AL2216WBD LCD Monitor 265.65$
God damn, I'm coming from a 16" almost 12 years old CRT monitor... can't wait to see the difference. 22" will be huge lol. Also at that crazy low price I've been doubting it's quality, but reviews across the web had mostly good reviews so... seems like the right choice. 1680x1050 resolution, my 8800 GTS will support that.


Speakers

Logitech x-230 2.1 Speaker System 40.66$
Cheap and will do the job. Usually use headphones anyway.


Keyboard/Mouse

Microsoft Comfort Curve 2000 Keyboard & Optical Mouse Set 22.37$
Don't want uber sophisticated stuff. Still unsure about the curve thing, but it's cheap. Reminds me why I am ordering online and not at local store!

So yeah that sums it all pretty much, sorry for the long post, I hope you computer guys read it... want opinions! I'm kinda in a hurry too lol lots of good deals are ending July 31th! Thanks in advance!

More about : personal build gen gaming 2000

July 29, 2007 11:00:53 AM

as far i i can say that this rig is quite good, but i think u should change the psu. i dont mean that it is weak or something but u should take not less than 750W because then it can cope with the future upgrades. if u can get a PC Power & Cooling psu with 750W then it will be very good, as it has more than enough amps in 12V rail. hope i helped.
a b 4 Gaming
July 29, 2007 12:18:52 PM

Very nice rig , a 8800gts 640 is very good for 1680x1050

DX10+QUAD CORE = Enjoy it :D 
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July 29, 2007 12:31:51 PM

Have you checked out the Antec 900 case? Also Tigerdirect has 2nd HDs 500gig at 119.00. My drive C is also a WD Raptor 10k, but that was 239.00.
July 29, 2007 9:03:19 PM

I'm a bit on a tight budget right now for the 750W P&C psu =/ but yeah I would agree that I would have more head room for future upgrades. However when comes the time to upgrade I guess I'll have the money to afford a better PSU as well as other stuff. So I think I'll stick with the 610W for now.

I did consider Antec 900 but its price is twice as much the case I picked. It has 3 fans (2intake and 1exhaust). I've heard from someone that it's better to have as many on each side. Any words on this? Was unsure so I decided to put the 50$ elsewhere.

After reconsidering my RAM I might actually go with Crucial Ballistix. http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?affiliateid=4352418&sku=24641
Good choice?
July 29, 2007 9:25:13 PM

You have to create a negative air flow in your system. More exhaust than intake. You achieve lower temperatures that way, as oppose to trapping hot air in your system. There are plenty of tutorials on this all throughout the net. But I understand your situation. Be creative in the number, use and placement of your fans to ensure your system will last a long time.
Note the CFM on each fan and calculate your needs.
I also agree with the others about the PSU. Try not to skimp there. Pay now or pay later.
July 30, 2007 8:29:56 AM

New concern: Thermalright has a list of compatible motherboards for their Ultra-120 Extreme heatsink, and my P35c DS3R doesn't appear in that list :( . P35 DS3R does though, if that means anything? http://www.thermalright.com/a_page/Ultra-120-MCL.htm

Should I look for another heatsink? I've heard good things about Zalman. Anyone know the difference between their 9500 and 9700 models? Other options would be Scythe Infinity or Tuniq Tower. I heard Tuniq had compatibility issues with DS3 motherboards but it's still unclear. Scythe Infinity seems like a pain to install... Zalman?

Another concern I have is the positioning of the heatsink I'll get. I have no idea which way my Heatsink fan should be facing... Blow hot air out of the case through the back (is that even possible for a HSF)? Or suck in air hanging around memory sticks? But that's warm air no? Not very adequate to cool down the heatsink. Or suck in air coming from my graphics card, same problem... I'm a bit lost there.

Other than that, any comments on the memory switch to Crucial from Patriot? Thanks!
July 30, 2007 10:31:14 AM

Well actually I have the P35 DS3P MB with a Thermaltake Typhoon. Very lg Heat Sink, but man does it do the job. The Scythe Infinity was also a consideration of mine as well. Bottom line, so as not to waste ur time, make sure, no question, that your MB supports the HS you have choosen. Take some quick measurements to ensure you have clearance all around. With the Typhoon you had to remove the MB. Yes it's a pain but worth it, given it's size. The back plate adds to the support. Also you want to remove the heat sink hot air from the case asap. Face your fan towards the rear exhaust fan if possible. You can get a memory cooler for 19.00 if u want to cool your memory as well.
As far as the memory, there too make sure ur MB supports ur memory selection. I have Kingston, dual chl 800Mhz. The new GB MB definitely supports dual chl no problem. The site MB will have a list of compatible memory, down to the part number if need be.
Spending the time now to thoroughly research compatability with all your products will save you headaches down the road.
I hope I've helped.

July 30, 2007 11:47:21 AM

The P35C-DS3R is identical to the P35-DS3R aside from its two additional DDR3 memory slots. I'm pretty sure these aren't close enough to the CPU to get in the way of a heatsink, so if the P35-DS3R is okay, I don't see why the P35C wouldn't be.
July 30, 2007 12:39:10 PM

Hey, this is suppose to be the fun part. Enjoy it!
a b 4 Gaming
July 30, 2007 2:05:29 PM

Paranoid advice #1: I would ditch the Sony and get an LG, just because I don't want any CD from Sony within a kilometer of my PC.

Paranoid advice #2: Get your RAM from a local shop or www.ncix.com, don't trust that weird store with your credit card data.

Agreed about the PC P&C 750W. I just got one for CAD $195 at a local shop in Ottawa. Get that one if you go with a GTX. 610W is plenty for GTS.

Have you tried getting your local stores to price match? My favourite local store had the best deals in town at everything, except the BFG 8800 GTX OC2 was $770. I showed them a competitor's site with a price of $651 and they matched it :) 

I really would try for a GTX, even if it means not buying the speakers yet and borrowing $200. I saw a Crysis trailer last week and it was stuttering. Now, I'm assuming people who have access to Crysis also have better than a 8800 GTS, so I'm not sure a GTS is good enough.
July 31, 2007 6:33:06 AM

Hmm... Someone just made me realize the impact of having a side air duct in my case; it's going to affect airflow, right? Can I actually remove that thing?

If not then I believe it would make more sense to get a non-tower HSF (ie. 1 fan facing upward, instead of the sides) so that warm air is taken out through the side air duct hole? Am I correct?

I would have to consider the Big Typhoon as well if that's the case. Any other HSF's you guys can think of that are not Tower-like?

--

After looking up mobo's memory support list as you suggested I'm definately going to get the Crucial sticks. Patriot wasn't mentionned anywhere on the list, phew! You might just have spared me from a whole lot of trouble Mayers, Thank you. :) 

And yes, looking up for local store prices is on my next-things-to-do list! Hopefully I can save here and there and invest those savings into a GTX or something. :) 

Really appreciate all the advices so far!

--

-EDIT- Just another thought, with the setup I mentioned, would I be able to set the Heatsink Fan as an Intake fan? Sucking in air from outside the case through the side window? That could prove to perform well no?
July 31, 2007 10:44:44 AM

I idea is to remove the hot air generated in the case asap. The HSF should pull the hot air away from the fins quickly and then your other rear case fans should then exhaust the hot air. Maybe even guide that hot air through the side duct. Or maybe you could mount an exhaust fan there. Not sure of the details on your case.
July 31, 2007 11:19:19 AM

I have a Centurion 5, and its fans are reasonably good, and it keeps my Athlon XP 2600+ at a nice temp for the stock cooler and the weather here, the 80mm Keeps your HDDs really cool, and the 120mm can take out quite a bit of air.

The Toolless system is very nice, only the Expansion port ones can break easy, I have broken two, but the two on my GfX are working fine (The metal bit on the GfX card is bent, so its harder to keep it in place.)

I wanna see how it looks when your done, as I was thinking of getting a 9700NT for mine when I get my new stuff :p .

Also, Judging from my Ruler (Might not be right though) a GTX will *just* fit, but don't take that as fact, as I only mesured with a ruler, and not a actual card.
July 31, 2007 12:48:58 PM

If you are really looking to future proof as much as possible, you might want to wait until late August or September and purchase an X38 chipset motherboard when they are released. Assuming that some will work with both DDR2 and DDR3 RAM (which will likely happen), you'll be much better off in that not only will you be able to use cheap DDR2 RAM today but you'll be able to switch to DDR3 RAM when the price comes down and the RAM gets better. Even better yet, you'll also have PCI Express 2.0 slots on your mobo for the future generation of video cards and won't have to get a new mobo just to get top-notch graphics in another couple years.

I'm in the middle of finalizing my build and I was going to go with a P35 mobo but I'm going to wait another month or two. The only major drawback is that the x38 chipset boards will likely be a bit more expensive than the P35 boards (maybe even by as much as $100 - although that is pure speculation on my part).

Hope this helps!

-J.
July 31, 2007 11:00:33 PM

Excellent advice there Journeyman. I couldn't agree more. Running DDR3 RAM Dual Chl at 1033 is going to make a world of difference. But like you said, DDR3 RAM is expensive, the graphics bds will be as well, plus the cost of the newest Mobo. You might be talkin about an extra 500.00. Plus I was a bit impatient. Just couldn't wait any more. But I would love to hear more from you when you upgrade. Sounds like it'll be an awesome machine.
July 31, 2007 11:02:58 PM

I meant Sleepyhead. Sorry
July 31, 2007 11:54:55 PM

Actually my mobo will support DDR3 as well. And yeah I can't really afford 500$ more. :pt1cable: 

I'm just now about to order from NCIX! Only buying CPU, graphics card and memory sticks from them though. Rest will be from DirectCanada. So I still have time to make a decision for HSF, case, mobo and psu. So that's good!

Hopefully I will take advantage of this NCIX super sale, i'm quite borderline! Specials ending in a few hours lol.

Thanks everyone for the great support, we're almost done! :D 
August 1, 2007 12:36:50 AM

Good luck dude. I hope it all works out for you.
August 1, 2007 11:40:06 PM

Hrm... thinking about switching the P&C PSU I previously choose with this one instead. Corsair CMPSU-620HX (same price as the P&C in Canada) comes with:

-10 more Watt (lol)
-1 more combined Amp (lol)
-More, MODULAR cables for better Airflow
-120mm exhaust fan, instead of P&C's 80mm
-a 30$ Mail in Rebate

I've heard it's made by SeaSonic too which is a good thing I believe. No apparent reason to go with P&C to me!
!