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buying gaming rig, need advice!

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August 18, 2007 3:20:31 AM

I'm planning on setting up a sweet gaming rig but I'm not very technical with computers. This is a customization of the Gamer Paladin 880-MX on ibuypower.com
http://www.ibuypower.com/ibp/store/configurator.aspx?mid=194
Can you tell me what you think and if you would choose different options as given on the website? Thanks!

CASE:
Thermaltake Armor Gaming Case w/25cm Fan Side Panel Windows, 420W Power Supply

PSU:
1000 Watt -- Thermaltake Toughpower W0132RU Power Supply

CPU:
Intel Core 2 Duo Processor E6850 (2x 3.0GHz/4MB L2 Cache/1333FSB)

COOLING SYSTEM:
[New !!!] iBUYPOWER Liquid CPU Cooling Fan System Kit --- [for INTEL CPU]

MOBO:
eVGA NForce 680i SLI Chipset w/7.1 Sound, Gb LAN, S-ATA Raid, USB 2.0 Dual PCI-E MB

RAM:
4096MB [1024MB X4] DDR2-800 PC6400 Memory Module Corsair XMS2 Xtreme w/Heat Spreader

GPU:
eVGA Nvidia GeForce 8800GTX 768MB

HARD DRIVE:
WD Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB 16M Cache Hard Drive

2ND HARD DRIVE:
500 GB HARD DRIVE [Serial-ATA-II, 3Gb, 7200 RPM, 16M Cache]

CD/DVD-DRIVE:
16x DVD-ROM Drive - Sony

CD/DVD-R DRIVE:
[Lightscribe Technology] 18X Dual Format/Double Layer DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW Drive

SOUNDCARD:
Creative Lab Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum Fatal1ty Champion Series

OS:
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 64bit

OTHER STUFF:
12-In-1 Internal Flash Media Card Reader/Writer

Surge Protector [Opti-UPS Surge Buster]

Rounded Cables for Floppy/HDD/CD/DVD/CD-RW/DVD-RW Drives
Professional wiring for all cables inside the system tower

Warranty Service Standard 3-Year Limited Warranty + Lifetime Technical Support

PRICE:
$2783.00

More about : buying gaming rig advice

August 18, 2007 7:24:17 AM

build it yourself is my first advice

second you don't need a 1000w psu, try a corsair 620hx, or silverstone strider 750w

third unless uo plan on using sli go with a p35 mobo, like the asus p5k or gigabyte p35-ds3r

fourth get 2x 2048mb ram so you can upgrade in the future and reuse it

thats about it but you should seriously consider building it yourself, much cheaper that way
August 18, 2007 12:22:45 PM

Let's see if you can save cost on building it yourself and having someone else do it for ya. I'm using the exact parts they are using and let's see how much the price difference is:

Case
Thermaltake Armor: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811133021
Price: $170

Power Supply
Thermaltake 1000w PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817153053&Tpk=W0132RU
Price: $330

Motherboard
EVGA 680i Mobo w 7.1 sound: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813188012
Price: $200

CPU
Intel E6850: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16819115028
Price: $330

Memory
Corsair 4GB XMS2 DDR2 800 Kit w/heat spreaders: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145178
Price: $254

Video Card
EVGA 8800GTX: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130072
Price: $530

HDD's
150GB Raptor: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16822136012
Price: $195

500GB Drive: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136073
Price: $110

DVD Drives
Sony Drive: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827131049
Price: $45

LightScribe DVD-R Drive: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827106073
Price: $37

Sound Card
Creative Labs Platnium Inifinity Card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829102014
Price: $180

Operating System

Vista 64 Home Premium: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116204
Price: $112

Homebuilt Price: $2,493
Professional Build's Price:: $2,783
Savings: $290

I matched every part they put in to the exact part on New Egg and the total build cost almost $300 less than IBuyPower do it themselves. They are charging you close to $300 bucks to build it for you and i'm sure some of that includes the warranty. Now as i built this rig up i seen a few things you won't need. Telling by the way they have thier parts it looks like you placed these in yourself. Here's some advice:

1) You dont need a 1000w PSU. That is WAY overkill. Look how much your paying for that PSU. $330 bucks!!!! To power a 8800GTX does not nead that much power. Look for a 600w or 700w PSU for sure. You'll save half the cost of dropping $330 on a single PSU.

2) Unless your doing something that needs it, having 2 DVD drives is not needed. This is a gaming rig so i dont see why you'll need two DVD drives

3) Unless you know how to maintain fix and troubleshoot liquid cooling (replacing liquid, removing/cleaning tubes, troubleshooting the pump, etc...) DON'T BUY IT. I've seen many people buy system with liquid cooling and the second something went wrong and they attempted to fix it themselves disaster followed. This was cause they didnt put it together in the first place and it was thier first time interacting with it. You can get yourself a Zalman fan like the 9700NT for about $60 bucks and it'll keep your cpu cool under load.

4) Do a lil more research if you haven't already on going Vista 64. See if your hardware has 64-bit drivers available (i'm sure they do but give yourself piece of mind). I'm just on the fence of Vista and 64bit all together but i am hearing it is becoming a lil bit more stable. I just dont want to see a great gaming rig like this get hampered by incompatibilty driver issues. Safe bet i'd say get the 32-bit home premium first and upgrade to 64-bit later. Just my opinion.

Now i also find there are areas you can save cost. Let's see what your new price would look like:

Thermaltake 700W PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817153039
Price: $170

No 2nd DVD drive:
Price: -$45

New Homebuilt Price: $2,288
Savings: $495

There is still alot of room to save cost here. Going with a 8800GTS instead of GTX will shave off $200 bucks. Dumping the raptor will save ya an additional $150 but i am a gamer too and i LOOOOOOOOOOOVE my raptor drive, lol, so keep it. But the final choice is yours. As you can see i saved ya between $300 to $500 bucks to build it yourself. The process of home building is not that all complicated and to do it and having that skill is INVALUEABLE. It's like riding a bike. Unless you learn to fall a few times you'll never know how to ride.
Related resources
August 18, 2007 12:30:23 PM

looks good but build it yourself if u can , cuz its cheaper ,also well for PSU , that board looks good , u might want my PSU , it very nice too ,

for ram , get OCZ reaper ram , they OC like hell :D 

for motherboard ,if u really dont want SLI , get P35 instead and save some money ,

for CPU , E6850 is awesome , but if u want QuadCore ,then get Q6600 , comparison :
http://anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/intel/showdoc.aspx?i=3...
August 18, 2007 9:57:37 PM

wingsofzion, thanks a million for your advice, i suppose i should build it myself but i live on an army base and i don't know a single person around here who has built a computer, i'm just worried about screwing something up.

yes, i will just go with a regular fan cooling system instead of liquid. i thought it might sound a little messy.

i actually read the reviews on the sony cd-drive and it seems that it isnt very reliable so i'll need to choose something else.

after reading nearly every review of Vista x64 on newegg, i think i'm just going to stick with XP until vista is more stable. apparently my 2 favorite games aren't even working with vista in x32 or x64! forget it, i'll just wait until vista is more stable.

also, the only reason i chose a 1000w power supply is because i plan on going sli with two cards in the future. having a 1000w psu isn't going to hurt it for now will it?

other than that i think i'll start asking around and see if i can't find someone who can give me a little help with building the computer myself

thanks again!
August 18, 2007 10:19:30 PM

If you need a Big PSU then get the PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 or Antec TruePower Quattro 850W/1000W PSUs for about $200, those are enough for any air cooled dual-card setups. I'd also drop the X-Fi card, that'll save you about $150 unless you're an audiophile.

I would also go with the Antec Nine Hundred case instead if you don't mind noise, simply because it's a cooling beast :)  It's suddenly my favorite case now because of that.
August 19, 2007 1:24:31 AM

firstroundko108 said:
apparently my 2 favorite games aren't even working with vista in x32 or x64!
That really surprises me. What are those two games? There are almost always a trick to get games running in Vista if they don't already run well. I can actually run old DOS and WinME games (Monster Truck Madness) on top of Vista.
If you can't bear to leave your favorite games behind check out VOGONS (very old games on new systems)
I'd hate to see you buy XP now and then have to upgrade to Vista in a couple months to play the new DX10 games in the pipeline.

SLI might make sense if your gaming experiance is above 1600x1200 screen resolution. But spending $1000 on 2 8800GTXs when the 9800GTX is just a few months away would be a mistake IMO. It usually makes MORE sense to upgrade to a single next gen video cards - put that extra $500 for the 2nd 8800GTX to really good use. Get a 9800GTX with it.

You can always add a 2nd hard drive later. The performance difference between Raptors and a good 500GB disk isnt nearly as much as it was a couple years ago - Raptor vs older 120GB/200GB HDs. Skip the Raptor.
Start without getting the sound card. If you're unhappy with the onboard sound system its an easy upgrade later.

Another website you might want to look at is MWave.com. You can order your system parts and then pay them a flat fee to assemble and test if for you $80. At IBuyPower each part you choose has a built in markup. The total price should fall in between "build it yourself" and "IBuyPower".

August 19, 2007 7:55:25 AM

WR2,

thank you for the link to mwave.com, $80 is a lot better than $300-400 for installation.

the two games i wanted to play were bf1942 and america's army, a couple guys i play with in my clan couldn't get them to work with x64 but from what you're saying i'm sure it's possible.

i think i'll hold off on the 2nd video card then and wait for the 9800gtx.
i decided on an antec900 case (thanx emp) instead because it had good cooling, i just hope the space isn't too tight for everything i want.

also, i don't know much about cooling, but do i need any other fans besides those on the antec900 and a zalman for my cpu?
August 19, 2007 11:59:36 AM

firstroundko108 said:
do i need any other fans besides those on the antec900 and a zalman for my cpu?
Not likely!!! The 900 has 2 120mm fans at the front, 1 120mm fan at the back and then there is that 200mm top fan. Plus the PSU fan. And the case has plenty of room. The ZALMAN CNPS9700 LED CPU Fan should match the LED color of the ANTEC case fans. It's not the "best" cooler but its very good and looks good inside the case as well.

MWave is a pretty good deal if you're not wanting to build yourself. But its not perfect - for example.
Power Suppy Unit - ANTEC QUATTRO 850W TRUEPOWER suggested list price: $219
MWave price: $189 NewEgg price: $169 after $50 rebate Of course dealing with the Mfgrs rebate process is usually a real pain anyway.

From the AA forums: AA Runs on Vista 64bit
From the HardOCP forums: BF 1942 on Vista64
I've also seen plenty of complaints about the games NOT running on Vista. The people having most problems were using PCs upgraded from WinXP to Vista with the games previously installed on XP. Re-installing the game under Vista worked for many. Other people having problems with games under Vista didnt know some of the recommended tricks such as using Vista's WinXP Compatibility mode and/or use the "Run program as Administrator". Some problems were fixed with updated hardware drivers. For some games (didnt see any for AA or BF) there are game patchs for Vista. A lot of people with video cards with 256MB of video RAM found that dis-abling the AeroGlass Vista interface fixed some performance issues as well. It looks like -if you want to bad enough- most (but not all) games have a way to get them working on Vista 64.

I know 64bit OS is popular these days because people want 4GB of RAM but 32bit OS and 2GB (or 3GB) RAM are a really good option for serious gamers.
August 19, 2007 9:38:27 PM

okay well thank you once again wr2 i really appreciate the help. i have a couple more questions.

does a cd/dvd-r read manufactured disks just as well as it records on to disks? i feel stupid but i wasn't sure if they do both or if i need to buy a cd/dvd-rom drive and a cd/dvd-r drive. could you possible give me a link to a drive on mwave that plays as well as records because i'm having trouble...

also mwave offers "data cable options," is this where i choose "better" cables for the installation?

here is the setup i have going now.


ASSEMBLY & TESTING - Add to Cart

case
ANTEC NINE HUNDRED (BLACK) ATX TOWER CASE NO POWER SUPPLY 3x5.25" 6x3.5"(hidden) 6x5.25"(hidden) W/WINDOWED SIDE PANEL, FRONT I/O CONNECTORS & 120mm CASE FAN x 3

cpu
INTEL CORE 2 DUO E6850 (BX80557E6850) 3.0GHZ EM64T DUAL CORE W/4MB CACHE 1333MHZ LGA775-PIN RETAIL BOXED W/COOLING FAN (3 YEARS WARRANTY)ARCTIC SILVER 5 COMPOUND

cd/dvd-rom drive (this one looks like it reads/writes all except hd and blue-ray)
LITE-ON LH-20A1L-06 20X SUPERALLWRITE SATA+LIGHTSCRIBE (Black)(Retail)

mobo
EVGA 122-CK-NF68-A1 nVIDIA nFORCE 680I SLI CHIPSET ATX FORM FACTOR 2xPCI-E(X16)/2xPCI-E(X1)/2xPCI/4xDDR2 W/SATA2 RAID,DUAL LAN(Gb),1394,USB 2.0 & AUDIO (CPU

psu
ANTEC QUATTRO 850 850W TRUEPOWER QUATTRO ATX 12V / EPS12V RoHS & 80PLUS CERTIFIED UL & FCC POWER SUPPLY

os
MICROSOFT WINDOWS VISTA 64BIT HOME PREMIUM 1PK DVD (DSP/OEM) #66I-00788

soundcard (yeah i still want it!)
CREATIVE LABS SOUNDBLASTER X-FI XTREMEGAMER FATAL1TY PROFESSIONAL SERIES 7.1 24-BIT PCI (Retail)

graphics card
EVGA 768-P2-N831-AR GEFORCE 8800GTX 768MB DDR3 PCI-Express w/HDCP DVI+DVI+HDTVOut ROHS

cpu fan
ZALMAN CNPS9700 NT COPPER BASE CPU COOLING FAN FOR AMD (SOCKET 754/939/940/AM2) AND INTEL (SOCKET 775) PROCESSOR W/4 PIN CONNECTOR

1st hard drive (for games)
WD 150GB RAPTOR X WD1500AHFD 10000RPM 16MB SATA-150 3.5" W/CRYSTAL-CLEAR LENS (Retail)

2nd hard drive
SEAGATE 500GB ST3500630AS SATA300 7200RPM 16B (Bare drive)

memory
OCZ OCZ2N1066SR2GK 2GB KIT (1GB x 2) PC2-8500 1066MHZ 5-5-5-15 nVIDIA SLI CERTIFIED 240-PIN DDR2 DIMM W/HEAT SPREADER


one thing that annoys me is that mwave doesn't sell 2gb sticks of ram, so i think i'll give these ocz's to my brother once i get ahold of some 2gb sticks from newegg.

is there anything you would change?



August 19, 2007 10:24:20 PM

firstroundko108 said:
wingsofzion, thanks a million for your advice, i suppose i should build it myself but i live on an army base and i don't know a single person around here who has built a computer, i'm just worried about screwing something up.

yes, i will just go with a regular fan cooling system instead of liquid. i thought it might sound a little messy.

i actually read the reviews on the sony cd-drive and it seems that it isnt very reliable so i'll need to choose something else.

after reading nearly every review of Vista x64 on newegg, i think i'm just going to stick with XP until vista is more stable. apparently my 2 favorite games aren't even working with vista in x32 or x64! forget it, i'll just wait until vista is more stable.

there are much better places to read revives of vista then on newegg.
August 19, 2007 11:55:15 PM

also in addition to the new specs i laid out above, a customer review on newegg of the psu i chose said that it wouldnt power his 8800gtx. does that sound like bs?

also my mobo will support the RAM i chose right?



August 20, 2007 12:34:25 AM

CD/DVD-RWs have no problems reading CDs/DVDs. They do it all. The one you listed will work fine.
I think the data cable option is replacing the flat ribbon cables with round data cables. Improves airflow for better case cooling, makes cable management easier and looks better.

The cooler you picked - ZALMAN CNPS9700 NT COPPER BASE CPU COOLING FAN - has the green LED option. Your Antec 900 case has the blue LED fans. The other choice ZALMAN CNPS9700 LED also has the blue LEDs.

Everything else on your list looks good. Including the RAM for that motherboard. It's a good choice.
Go ahead and add a USB Flash Drive (thumb drive) for Vista Ready Boost. CORSAIR 2GB FLASH VOYAGER GT
I always recommend some good power protection something like: Opti-UPS GS1100B 1100VA/550W UPS
would be good insurance considering where you are (Fairbanks & barracks?). See if you can't pick one up in Fairbanks vs having MWave ship it (they're heavy and will have a large-ish shipping charge)

The ANTEC QUATTRO 850W will power TWO 8800GTXs. One GTX requires a 450W PSU.


-> Don't forget keyboard, mouse and speakers - like Logitech G-15, Logitech MX518 8 button mouse and Logitech THX Z-5300e speakers.
August 20, 2007 12:50:04 AM

OK, one change.
The USB Flash Drive at Mwave looks more expensive that it should be.
At NewEgg you can get Corsair 4GB Flash Voyage GT $70 after rebate.
That double the size for the same price as Mwave for a few bucks more.
You won't need the flash drive to get the system running. You can add it anytime.
August 20, 2007 12:56:38 AM

One last hint. If you havent done so already sign up for the MWave newsletter and get a coupon code you can use to get $10 (or more) off your order.
August 20, 2007 2:10:59 AM

Thanks a million for all your help!

I didn't even know about Vista Ready Boost, wow that's amazing! I can't wait to see what kind of performance boost I can get with a 4gb flash drive.

I chose a logitech gaming keyboard which i have used before and a logitech g5 mouse. i have a creative labs 5.1 speaker system, i'm going to try and pick up a 7.1 in town somewhere.
The only downfall is that my shipping cost is $154, but altogether I'm still saving alot of money compared to ibuypower.com

i just ordered it and i can't wait until it gets here!! i'll let you know how everything works out when it arrives!

thanks again!
August 20, 2007 3:39:46 AM

Vista Superfetch/Ready Boost probably isnt as amazing as you probably think. Still its got some possiblities.
Check the THG Vista Superfetch/Ready Boost analysis. With 2GB or RAM the boost is very small.
But the rumors are that SP1 will improve the performance enough to make it more powerful.

Hope everything goes well for you.

!