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$3000 gaming, multimedia, and work build I came up with

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August 24, 2007 4:20:20 PM

After a long time of researching (~1.5 months) I finally have an almost finalized
build for a system I will be purchasing in about 2 weeks. The total
(with 24" LCD and peripherals) comes to under $3000.



Case:
Thermaltake Armor Series VA8000BWS Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail



Motherboard:
GIGABYTE GA-P35C-DS3R LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail


PSU:
CORSAIR CMPSU-620HX ATX12V v2.2 and EPS12V 2.91 620W Power Supply - Retail


CPU:
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz LGA 775 Processor Model BX80562Q6600 - Retail


GPU:
BFG Tech BFGR88768GTXOC2E GeForce 8800GTX 768MB 384-bit GDDR3 PCI
Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail


RAM: 4GB 2x
Crucial Ballistix 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model BL2KIT12864AA804 - Retail


Sound:
HT OMEGA CLARO Plus+ 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card - Retail


Optical:
SAMSUNG 18X DVD±R DVD Burner With 12X DVD-RAM Write, LightScribe Technology Black SATA Model SH-S183L - OEM


HD:
Western Digital Caviar RE WD3200YS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM


Display:
LG L245WP-BN Black 24" 8ms Widescreen LCD Monitor w/ USB 2.0 and HDCP support - Retail


Keyboard:
Logitech Media Elite 967559-0403 Black USB + PS/2 Wired Standard Keyboard - Retail


Mouse:
Logitech G5 2-Tone 6 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Wired Laser Mouse - Retail


Speakers (will upgrade later):
Logitech X-230 32 Watts 2.1 Black Speakers - Retail


Cooling:
Tuniq Tower 120 P4 & K8 CPU Cooler - Retail +

Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM


OS:
Microsoft Windows Vista 64-Bit Home Premium for System Builders Single Pack DVD - OEM



There you have it... The total on newegg comes to $2826.09.
Because this is such a huge investment I need to make sure everything
works out perfectly and that I have the best possible system for the
money. Questions:



1. For the CPU cooler, would you recommend the Thermalright Ultra 120
Extreme or Ultima over the Tower? I will not be doing anything crazy
OCing wise (maybe 3.0-3.4 MAX on a G0 Quad). I've heard bad things
about Thermalright's quality control and I would hate to end up with a
concave cooler.



2. Would you recommend waiting another 1 or 2 weeks for the DDR2 version of the X38 boards?



3. How is my 24" display? This seems to be the most difficult part of
my build because I hear mixed reviews everywhere. I will have to order
on newegg because of lack of transportation to get to an electronics
store while I'm in school. Is there a better 24" WS I can get for the
money? It would be nice to have a low input lag for gaming but viewing
angle, clarity, and color depth are all important.



4. Is there a better case I should consider? I want a case that's cool
and quiet but I'm unwilling to spend more than $150 for this component.



5. Is the Corsair 620HX enough to power this system and possible a G92 or new ATI video card upgrade in the future?



6. Is there anything I can do to reduce the cost of this build or make it more quiet?



Any general suggestions or comments would be appreciated. Thanks!
August 24, 2007 5:19:44 PM

GPU - Go with anyone but BFG and XFX. Bfg are terribad and XFX used to be Pine who had a terrible track record.
Sound - A what... Get an audigy xifi
DVD - Samsung does not know howto make a dvdrw get at least a liteon and a plextor if you have the money
Mouse - if that is for gaming I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend getting even a cheap razer instead.

Most other things are okay PSU is fine LCD looks good. DDR3 isnt worth waiting for. Quiteness just make sure you dont use anything smaller then a 120 mm fan.
August 24, 2007 5:20:05 PM

1. For the CPU cooler, I would go with the Thermalright ultra 120 extreme/ultimate. I have the extreme on mind and it is nice and cool. Pulse it looks bad-a$$ too. I am running at 3.0 right now and I have total confidence that I can push up to 3.2 to 3.5 with a problem. The only problem I see is, what on earth needs that much powa!

2. Um.... Mostly?

3. The monitor looks good, and has a great resolution. I don't know if I would trust LG though. But that just me.

4. I recommend the Gigabyte 3D Aurora 570 to everyone. This is 159.99 on new egg (its black).

5. I would think that the power supply is more then ample to power... if you are not running crossfire. Oh, I must say, I commend you for you choice of a video card. I have that one as well and in Oblivion with everything on I don’t think I get lower the 60 fps.... outside, but I may be mistaken (it is well over 30 and I run with v-sync on (you monitor can only run about 60fps, you can only see about 60fps, and on LCD monitors you can get tearing if you are pushing more fps then they can show). It runs through Bioshock (v-sync on as well; My LCD is 2ms delay or gtg time) like nothing. In both games I am running at 1650x1080 with everything turned up. I am looking at getting another in a couple of months just because.

6. Reduce cost? Quiet? To help silent your system, you can use the Thermalright without a fan. It will run, you cant really over-clock to much, but it is passively cooled. Make sure the fans you get are silent running. The video card runs silent, at least mine dose, and hard drive noise… well you always get that unless you dump another grand down the tube and go solid state.

If you are concerned about heat, change your case from that all steel to an aluminum case. That will have dissipate heat and it is still strong... just don't jump on them while holding a couple bags of concrete.


I hope this helps you!
Related resources
August 24, 2007 5:29:33 PM

Oofki said:
GPU - Go with anyone but BFG and XFX. Bfg are terribad and XFX used to be Pine who had a terrible track record.


No, BFG is good. I can agree a bit on behalf of XFX but I did have a 7800 from them that was rock solid.

Oofki said:

Sound - A what... Get an audigy xifi


There is some issues with the x-Fi in vista 64 bit, I know, I have one. There is loud popping and scratchy noises from time to time. You have to disable then re-enable it or uninstall then reinstall.

Oofki said:

DVD - Samsung does not know how to make a dvdrw get at least a liteon and a plextor if you have the money


I can actually agree with you about getting a Liteon. But I also trust Samsung as well. Love my TV from them and Love my monitor from them. Pulse I like their phones too.

Oofki said:

Mouse - if that is for gaming I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend getting even a cheap razer instead.


This is up to the user, he may like the feel of the Logitech (like it fits his hand better). But I do recommend like you to go with a Razer if you are going to be gaming a lot.

Oofki said:

Most other things are okay PSU is fine LCD looks good. DDR3 isnt worth waiting for. Quietness just make sure you don’t use anything smaller then a 120 mm fan.


Agree!!! DDR3 shows not enough improvement to pay for that (other then bandwidth, or did they fix the latency yet?). Just over clock you DDR2 800 to at least DDR 1000. You will be running a 5.9 rating in vista in no time! I know… I did it.
August 24, 2007 5:52:29 PM

Thanks for all of your suggestions thus far, guys. Just so you know, if I decide to go with the X38, I will be getting the DDR2 edition. I won't even consider going the DDR3 path until Nehalem and the new chipset is released from Intel.

As far as sound is concerned, I've done lots of research regarding Creative's line of cards and I've come to the conclusion that its a nightmare on Vista. The HT Omega Claro series, although a relatively small line of cards, offers audiophile quality sound for music and video at a reasonable price (only $30 more compared to the X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro). It also has very functional Vista drivers without the excess bloatware from Creative. It's only downfall, however, is that it doesn't fully support EAX, which is encoded in many of todays games so frame rates and quality will suffer, though barely noticeably.

I'm quite confident with my choice in BFG because of their 24/7 tech support and LIFETIME warranty, something I won't be getting if I go with EVGA. I don't include to use step-up either because I can't go on for 2 weeks without a system in college and EVGA charges hefty premiums on their service when the card can be had for almost $100 less with online retailers. Also, I've lived through 3 years with my Geforce FX Go5200 32mb so I'm pretty sure I can go on for a year with an 8800GTX without upgrading. ;) 

I'm still relatively unsure about my choice of the case, and especially the LCD... Those two parts could really go either way for me and I'll be open for more suggestions. Also, if there is anything else I can do to lower the cost and make this build quieter, please let me know!

BTW, does anyone know an online retailer that sells the Xeon X3220 G0 for about as much as the Q6600? The only reason why I've picked the Q6600 is because there are retailers that are guarenteeing the G0 stepping, but I'm unable to find the Xeon anywhere (or maybe I haven't looked around enough).
August 24, 2007 6:07:05 PM

Thanks for that link, srtboy!
August 24, 2007 6:43:49 PM

asdftt123 said:

Thermaltake Armor Series VA8000BWS Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail
GIGABYTE GA-P35C-DS3R LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
CORSAIR CMPSU-620HX ATX12V v2.2 and EPS12V 2.91 620W Power Supply - Retail
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz LGA 775 Processor Model BX80562Q6600 - Retail
BFG Tech BFGR88768GTXOC2E GeForce 8800GTX 768MB 384-bit GDDR3 PCI
Crucial Ballistix 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
HT OMEGA CLARO Plus+ 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card - Retail
SAMSUNG 18X DVD±R DVD Burner With 12X DVD-RAM Write, LightScribe Technology Black SATA Model SH-S183L - Western Digital Caviar RE WD3200YS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
LG L245WP-BN Black 24" 8ms Widescreen LCD Monitor w/ USB 2.0 and HDCP support - Retail
Logitech Media Elite 967559-0403 Black USB + PS/2 Wired Standard Keyboard - Retail
Tuniq Tower 120 P4 & K8 CPU Cooler - Retail +

1. For the CPU cooler, would you recommend the Thermalright Ultra 120
Extreme or Ultima over the Tower? I will not be doing anything crazy
OCing wise (maybe 3.0-3.4 MAX on a G0 Quad). I've heard bad things
about Thermalright's quality control and I would hate to end up with a
concave cooler.

2. Would you recommend waiting another 1 or 2 weeks for the DDR2 version of the X38 boards?

3. How is my 24" display? This seems to be the most difficult part of
my build because I hear mixed reviews everywhere. I will have to order
on newegg because of lack of transportation to get to an electronics
store while I'm in school. Is there a better 24" WS I can get for the
money? It would be nice to have a low input lag for gaming but viewing
angle, clarity, and color depth are all important.

4. Is there a better case I should consider? I want a case that's cool
and quiet but I'm unwilling to spend more than $150 for this component.

5. Is the Corsair 620HX enough to power this system and possible a G92 or new ATI video card upgrade in the future?

6. Is there anything I can do to reduce the cost of this build or make it more quiet?


Q6600 is a good choice, I got one too.

The Thermaltake case is nice. I got a Silverstone TJ09, which is nicer, but more expensive. I also added 3 S-Flex fans to my case, they keep it all nice and cool. (I was getting 28 Celsius at idle yesterday, and 47 Celsius after running all 4 cores at 77% for two hours)

I got the GA-P35C-DS3R. GA-P35-DS3R comes without DDR3 support and (I'm not sure) fewer cables.

I got the BFG 8800 GTX OC2 and I love it. I can't hear it.

RAM - I got OCZ Vista Upgrade 2x2GB. Cheaper, and I can upgrade to 8 GB because I use 2 GB modules.

HT OMEGA - I got an X-Fi XtremeMusic. I use XP so I don't have driver issues. Look at Auzentech too, maybe.

Samsung - it's quieter than my LG-H62N; no idea if it's as good as the H62N though.

WD3200YS 320GB - I think WD5000AAKS is better value.

Monitor - get it from a local shop that allows returns with no conditions. Newegg will refuse to exchange it or refund it if it has 2 red pixels and 3 yellow pixels in the center of the screen, for example. I got mine from FutureShop and it only had one red pixel. I exchanged it for a perfect one without any difficulty or cost.

I would prefer the Thermaltake Ultra 120 Extreme to anything else. All the comparative reviews show it at #1 for both silence and cooling. I got a Scythe Ninja but only after my local shop refused to fetch an Ultra 120 or even allow me to bring it myself from other places. I can't order from newegg either, I'm in Canada.

I wouldn't wait for X38. Maybe in other cases, yes, but not if you buy a BFG 8800 GTX OC2. That card will last you so long that you'll not need PCI-E 2.0 or SLI/Crossfire for years, and after that you'll want a new PC or at least a new mobo+cpu anyway.

The 620HX PSU is fine. I got something better (PC P&C Silencer 750W) but I needed it to support a lot of hard disks too. You don't need to go that far.

August 24, 2007 7:02:44 PM

Wow that is a lot of money for a that system. You must be rich, keep in mind its going to be obsolete in like 6 months, if you spent half the money now and half later you might be better off?

I also like the LG 22 inch LCD with 2 ms refresh and ultra sharp picture, better than the 24 inch, plus it is about 300 bucks less at 349.00

I just speced a q6600 for 1400 bucks, with no Monitor.

I would go for Raid Stripped disk drives as it is a huge bottle neck. I am not sure your motherboard supports this.

If you want the fasest system have you thought about upgrading the processor? It is the KEY.

Intel is releasing the x38 chipset which has some very nice features, last I heard it was going to be released sep 31.

Just my 2 cents.

Here is what I came up with:

Motherboard Intel DX38BT - "Bonetrail", Support RAID and on the fly Overclocking 1333 FSB $250.00
Processor Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Quad-Core Processor 2.4GHz, 1066FSB, LGA775, 8MB cache Retail ***Free Shipping*** $279.90
DDR2 HyperX Kingston HyperX KHX6400D2K2/2G 2GB Kit DDR2-800 PC2-6400 Memory Retail ***Free Shipping*** $133.99
Hard Drives Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250620AS 250GB Serial ATA (3.0Gb/s) 7200RPM Hard Drive w/16MB $71.13
Hard Drives Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250620AS 250GB Serial ATA (3.0Gb/s) 7200RPM Hard Drive w/16MB $71.13
Video Card BFG Tech BFGR88320GTSOCE GeForce 8800GTS 320MB 320-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP - Retail $309.99
DVD Burner LG GSA-H55NB 20X IDE DVD Burner Beige DVD±RW Bulk ***Free Shipping*** $38.99
DVD Drive LG Beige IDE DVD-ROM Drive Model GDR-H30NB - OEM $23.83
Floppy Drive Sony FD MPF920Z161/131 1.44MB 3.5in Floppy Disk Drive (Beige) ***Free Shipping*** $13.99
CASE? Antec SOHO AMG1080 $180.00
Total $1,372.95

August 24, 2007 7:52:08 PM

Everything looks ok. Just a few minor suggestions

For that budget I'd get a better HD array. A second drive for "storage" or a RAID-0 array and an external drive for a backup solution. Also, a fast flash drive to use with readyboost (or whatever it's called).

Are you sure you need 4gb RAM? What kind of "work" are you doing? If not you could save a bundle of money there and RAM upgrade would be very easy to do later on as an upgrade (and would leave you the option to upgrade to 6gb if you really need it without wasting money).

For gaming I've actually found that the bigger monitors just mean I have to set the monitor farther away to keep it all properly in my field of focus. I plan on stepping down to a 19" widescreen in the near future.

You should itemize the prices you're looking at and get feedback on them. Newegg has a tendency to gouge on popular high-end items.

$3k is a lot, but it doesn't look like you've made any silly choices. I'm just glad it's not me forking out that much for a 'puter xD
August 24, 2007 8:17:25 PM

Flasher702, go for the 20 in wide screen, the 19 inch wide screen is really a 18 inch screen with extra space on the sides... the 20 inch is really a 19 inch etc..

August 24, 2007 9:14:36 PM

Yes, I tried to make this build as cost effective as possible (yet powerful), but somehow it came up to just under 3k. :(  I'm also far from rich because I'm a college student on a budget and I had to work lots of overtime this summer to make enough money for this system. I absolutely need and feel I deserve a system upgrade since I've been using my old Dell laptop for college (1.6ghz Pentium M, 768mb DDR 333, Geforce FX Go5200 32mb) and it's starting to overheat and die on me. Once I purchase this system I don't plan to purchase another system for at least 2 or 3 years so I need this system to last. I'm going with 4gb of RAM and a 24" LCD since I do a lot of multitasking, but I also want this machine to be future proof to an extent. I figure I won't mind dishing out a decent sum of money on a nice display since it can retain good resale value and it can be carried over to another system unlike the other hardware.

I'm considering an external HD with this system mostly for moving over music and other files from my laptop to my new system but as far as RAID arrays, Raptors, and multiple HD's, I don't think it's necessary until I absolutely need more storage space.
August 24, 2007 11:14:07 PM

well lets see... $3000 dollars... Hmmm...

I can see that you are easily impressed by flashing lights and "Bling". Does your mommy know that you intend to spend $3000 on a computer to play games with?

I suggest that you stop wasting your parents money and start studying.


August 24, 2007 11:28:15 PM

Bogus1 said:
well lets see... $3000 dollars... Hmmm...

I can see that you are easily impressed by flashing lights and "Bling". Does your mommy know that you intend to spend $3000 on a computer to play games with?

I suggest that you stop wasting your parents money and start studying.


If you would have had the patience to read the entire thread you would have noticed that every penny of this build is coming from my own pocket since I'm not the kind of person to relies on parents to finance purchases such as this. If you don't have anything constructive to contribute to this thread then don't bother saying anything at all. As a kind suggestion, next time use your brain and some intelligence before jumping to conclusions. Your ill-mannered comments aren't appreciated.
August 24, 2007 11:51:22 PM

I agree 100% with you asdftt123. If bogus1 doesnt want to help get outta this forum.

IMHO I would go with 2 - 19" monitors VS 1 24". I am sure most people will tell me I am full of it. I agree with Flasher702 about screen size. I played a few games on my friends new pc with a 24-27" monitor(can remember exact size) but it was too big I couldnt keep the whole screen in focus and play the games. With 2 monitors you can play games and work at the same time. Or have your game full screen on 1 PC and have music player on the other and not have to alt tab.

Thats just my $0.02
August 25, 2007 4:50:35 AM

Thank you for your response, nickc07. I've been starting to think that the 24" LCD is overkill also, and I'll probably be better suited with a single 22". There is a huge price gap between the two and I probably wouldn't have been able to take advantage of the 24" anyways. Does anyone know any nice 22" WS LCD's with reasonably low input lag? Also, is there any difference in quality between these two different sized displays or is the only difference the resolution difference? Thanks a bunch.
August 25, 2007 5:13:24 AM

An 850 psu would future proff you,and make dam sure its good clean power like pc p and c,corsair,etc.....gl.
August 25, 2007 6:11:07 AM

Bogus1 said:
well lets see... $3000 dollars... Hmmm...

I can see that you are easily impressed by flashing lights and "Bling". Does your mommy know that you intend to spend $3000 on a computer to play games with?

I suggest that you stop wasting your parents money and start studying.


Just a little reminder ..... some of us on here are old enough to be grandparents.
August 25, 2007 6:47:39 AM

nickc07 said:
I agree 100% with you asdftt123. If bogus1 doesnt want to help get outta this forum.

IMHO I would go with 2 - 19" monitors VS 1 24". I am sure most people will tell me I am full of it. I agree with Flasher702 about screen size. I played a few games on my friends new pc with a 24-27" monitor(can remember exact size) but it was too big I couldnt keep the whole screen in focus and play the games. With 2 monitors you can play games and work at the same time. Or have your game full screen on 1 PC and have music player on the other and not have to alt tab.

Thats just my $0.02


I don't think you're full of it at all. I just recently "discovered" dual monitors, and now I wonder how I ever lived without it! :)  I personally have 2-20" Spectres. They were very inexpensive, and look outstanding with 0 dead pixels.

I also agree with byrddogg. There is no reason these days to spend 3 grand on a pc. Things get outdated so fast, and you can do so much for so little. Shoot for $1500, and save the rest for later to upgrade components as needed (like the vid-card which is usually the first thing to get "old").

Nate
August 25, 2007 7:03:28 AM

asdftt123 said:
Thank you for your response, nickc07. I've been starting to think that the 24" LCD is overkill also, and I'll probably be better suited with a single 22". There is a huge price gap between the two and I probably wouldn't have been able to take advantage of the 24" anyways. Does anyone know any nice 22" WS LCD's with reasonably low input lag? Also, is there any difference in quality between these two different sized displays or is the only difference the resolution difference? Thanks a bunch.


The thing about getting a 24" monitor (at 1920x1200) vs say a 20" (at 1600x1200) is that all of the "extra space" is horizontal, which in my opinion, isn't that important. The vertical is identical. I'd rather have more vertical space and the only way to do that is to go all the way to a 30", which way too expensive right now ($1200+).

As for quality, thats nearly impossible to answer as what looks good to one person may not look good to another. All I can say is there are great looking 20-22" monitors out there. You've probably already done this, but read up on the reviews at newegg. That's how I got mine, and I wasn't disappointed.
!