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Gaming rig to last a year/18months, ~$1500

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August 28, 2007 8:58:25 PM

First off, I've read similar posts in this forums and others for suggestions, and have taken my own spin so this system covers what I wanted. I apologize if you're bored of this type of post.

I am doing a full rebuild, and am considering buying high end (but not top of the line) parts now and then upgrading in a 12-24months when prices for Vista SP1, DX10.1 cards (i.e. 9xxx series), DX10 and DX10.1 games have fallen, as well as there being a larger market for these games. The upgrade would probably cover another 2gigs of RAM, Vista 64 bit SP1, Penryn CPU, and a DX10.1 9xxx card (~$1000 depending on how prices end up).

I've come to realize that future proofing is an unreachable ideal - better to stay a step or two behind and let prices drop. I'd like to be able to run current titles (Company of Heroes, World in Conflict, Age of Empires III, F.E.A.R...etc.) on high (not necessarily max - though that would be preferable) settings and run future games on medium (high if possible).

So I’ve done a lot of research and reading and have been thinking about this rebuild for a while now. I’m a little nervous about building my first system, with a few concerns listed at the end of this post. This is my hardware list so far; the only things not included are headset/speakers/monitor (already have; only relevant one is the monitor: Samsung 213T max res 1600x1200). Any helpful information/comments/suggestions/advice would be greatly appreciated. Keep in mind this is going to be on my 32bit version of XP.

350 EVGA 8800GTS 640mb (plan to overlock to somewhere around 600MHz GPU core clock/ 1030MHz RAM clock): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

190 for an Intel Core 2 Duo E6420 2.13GHz (plan to overclock to 3.2-3.6GHz): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

65 Heatsink/Fan (with the 120mm Scythe S-Flex 1600 RPM fan): http://www.heatsinkfactory.com/Thermalright-Ultima-90-C...

Memory:
140 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... or
110 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Any reason to pick one over the other?

160 for a Gigabyte DS3P : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I’ve also heard good things about ASUS P5K and the ABIT IP35 boards. Any thoughts on those?

195 Raptor 150GB 10,000RPM Drive (only 1 Raptor for OS/applications; all storage on separate networked server computer) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

35 Phillips SATA Optical Drive: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
There is an identical Samsung one – any thoughts on that? For example does one have better customer support or a better warranty?

125 Corsair 520HX Power Supply (520W): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

130 Antec P180: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

40 for a Logitech MX518 mouse: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

45 for a Saitek Keyboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This totals to: $1460; still need to add shipping and subtract rebates

The most likely compatibility problem I can see that high performance ram is spec'd above the 1.8V default, and you sometimes need a normal stick of ram to get the board to POST so that you can increase the memory voltage to the 2+V my suggestions are spec’d at. I have memory from my current system that I can just ‘borrow’ for this issue.

Also, how do I check if my motherboard BIOS has an automatic fan speed control (basically does the Gigabyte DS3P have it?) And does the Scythe S-FLEX SFF21F 120mm Case Fan have a fan speed sensor? (i.e. if my mobo has automatic fan speed control, will this fan utilize it? If not, what should I do?)

Finally, do I need/should I get a cooler for my graphics card? This comes highly recommended:
55 (plus a fan ~$10 – any suggestions?) for a http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Not sure what else to ask about – any kind of advice, suggestion, or comment would be awesome. I’ll check back regularly so feel free to ask any questions. Thanks a lot!
August 28, 2007 9:18:33 PM

One of the better pre-builds I've seen...kudos on the GPU/CPU/heatsink/fan/memory and case choices.

The crucial will do you just fine, I think both are d9..?

It's 70$ AR,,,FYI


I don't believe you need a cooler, unless for OCing heavily...
August 28, 2007 11:18:10 PM

I'm on the same boat as you and agree with your outlook on future proofing. Here are my suggestions.

$295 eVGA 8800 GTS 640mb AC, AR, Fatcash @ DELL w/ FS
http://www.fatwallet.com/t/18/760177

$199 Intel E6750
http://www.clubit.com/product_detail.cfm?itemno=A1938254

HSF -Alternatives... The latter two are higher performance, but the artic cooler is nice at its price.
Artic Cooler 7 $20-30
Tuniq Tower 120 $45-60
Scythe Ninja rev. b $35 - 40

Memory - Crucial for $110

HD: Raptor or $70 ($65 if promo is still going on) Seagate Single Platter Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB. Best 7200 alternative for a raptor. Check reviews.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148262

$31 - SAMSUNG 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-203B
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E16827151153

If you don't need extra feature like firewire, esata, raid on the MB go with
$90 GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L LGA775
http://www.clubit.com/product_detail.cfm?itemno=CA4830813

$100 after sh + rebate Corsair CMPSU-520HX 520W
http://www.clubit.com/product_detail.cfm?itemno=CA6200026

There has been 3 antec deals within the past 3 weeks. They are dead atm
Antec Nine Hundred Computer Case $79.99 No Rebates at Frys and Frys.com
Antec P180b at CompUSA $69.99
Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel Mid Tower Computer Case - $69.99 + FREE shipping @ Newegg (reg $140)

So if you're patient and vigilante, you can get a good deal on a case.

You might want a gaming mouse pad with that optical mouse if you don't already have one.

Dunno about your other questions. OC the e6750 to 3.2GHZ easily, 3.4-3.6 should be good. You'd save about $315 going with some of the stuff I listed.

I'm guessing an upgrade to a quad, 9800gts/gtx, vista 64 and adding another 2gb of ram should cost about $600-$700 in a year. Sell the e6750 and 8800gts for about $300 total. This is what I'm planning on.
Related resources
August 29, 2007 4:52:58 AM

sorry I don't know that much...what does this mean?

"It's 70$ AR,,,FYI "


EDIT: nevermind figured it out - After Rebate, right?
August 29, 2007 5:17:38 AM

and also - p180 vs p182 vs p180b...all close in price. not really sure what's going on....

also the prices are (after rebate + shipping) 149 v 109 v 160...are the benefits of the more expensive models worth it?
August 29, 2007 7:31:20 AM

Ram: Go with Crucial Ballistix DDR2 800 or 1066 for big overclock. $109.99 at NewEgg

CPU cooler: Go Tuniq Tower 120 $64.99 at NewEgg

PC case: Go Antec 900 for great cooling and the extra space.

CPU: Go E6750 as other poster said $199.99

All your other choices are great. With this set-up you'll be good for some time.
August 29, 2007 4:26:08 PM

E6550 seems like a $25 cheaper version of the E6750 because you can overclock the E6550 to get the E6750 speeds, right? Or am I missing something?

And how helpful would the Q6600 really be for an extra $100 over the E6550/E6750 for what I’m trying to do? Granted, if I go $100 less now and then want to upgrade in 18months the Q6600 prices won’t be below $100…but then won’t the next gen (Penryn) have even better stuff at comparable prices?
August 29, 2007 5:00:57 PM

fyi, Penryn benchmarks at anandtech seem dissapointing...5% increase over core 2 duo...but this is just "beta"
August 29, 2007 5:03:26 PM

interesting....this is a tough decision.

also - the case debate now lies between 109 for an antec p180b or 140 for an antec 900. is the extra cooling power necessary/worth the money?
August 29, 2007 6:02:15 PM

Evallone: Antec 900 is only worth it if you are overclocking a LOT on just air cooling. Otherwise, I would say go with the 180b. It is designed to be quiet, but it also has really good airflow.
August 30, 2007 8:01:26 AM

For the next 18 months its not like you are going to suffer in games because you don't have a quad core. Save the extra $100 and spend it on your G-card or wireless gaming mouse from Logitec G5 or G7.
August 30, 2007 2:02:58 PM

if i wanted to keep this 3 years....would it be worth it then?
August 30, 2007 3:40:09 PM

and how can i make sure I get the G0 stepping on not B3?

and if i'm going to overclock the q6600 will the ultima 90 be fine or should i go to the thermalright 120 extreme?
August 30, 2007 4:23:56 PM

evallone: If you want to guarantee getting G0, buy it from ClubIT:

http://www.clubit.com/product_detail.cfm?itemno=CA19384...

The Ultima 90 will be 3-5 degrees hotter than the 120 Extreme, depending on how high you overclock. If you go with the 90, get atleast a 92mm fan. A 120mm fan (they include special clips since a 120mm fan will be taller than the heatsink) will give you 1-2 degrees better than 92mm.
August 30, 2007 6:26:39 PM

i can get the ultima 90 with scythe s-flex 1600 rpm fan for $70 total (including shipping).

The 120 extreme with the same fan would be $95. Is a couple degrees difference worth $25....i have no idea about all this.
August 30, 2007 11:29:51 PM

No, I don't think it's worth the extra $25. Are you even overclocking? If not, don't bother buying an expensive third-party heatsink. Either use the stock or get an Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro. It's only $25 on newegg and will cool a lot better than stock.
August 31, 2007 4:21:18 PM

yea i'll OC to 3.2-3.6 - whatever is safe. I'm thinking 3.2 will serve me fine for the next couple years - should I go for the extra cooling to go a little higher (3.4-3.6?)
August 31, 2007 7:45:38 PM

Perhaps your could explain your choice of power supply again? You mentioned an upgrade further on. I think buying a power supply to last you 3-5 years is the way to go.

Great post there mecc. I believe you may have found me a motherboard ;)  :sol: 


Evallone: Samsung supposedly make quieter drives because they have built in load balancing systems to deal with cheap DVD-Rs that don't spin perfectly/balancedly (my new word of the day :whistle:  )

Marvelous links in this thread. Thank you for all the help!
August 31, 2007 9:25:48 PM

aren't the 9xxx series supposed to be more power efficient than the 8800 series? so shouldn't a 520 be alright for them too, if it can handle a GTS in my current setup?
August 31, 2007 10:47:39 PM

evallone said:
if i wanted to keep this 3 years....would it be worth it then?


If you really are going to keep the build for 3 years then really get the quad core.
August 31, 2007 10:50:46 PM

evallone said:
yea i'll OC to 3.2-3.6 - whatever is safe. I'm thinking 3.2 will serve me fine for the next couple years - should I go for the extra cooling to go a little higher (3.4-3.6?)


If you want to get the highest OC on your Q6600 get the Tuniq Tower 120 for 64.99 at NewEgg.
August 31, 2007 10:56:22 PM

and the 520 W should be fine, right? even if i want to step up to a 9xxx when they come out? (or if release is too late for evga step up, in about 18months when the prices drop)
!