I've been out of the PC game for awhile now. Bought my present system 2+ years ago. Back then it was at the top of the pile (3.2EE, 2G Rambus (remember that stuff?;)), x800xt, etc.)
Anyway, it's served me extremely well up until now but is finally starting to show its age. Can't run Bioshock without the new Pixel Shader, no DX10 support, and it's starting to hiccup on a lot of the next gen games. Meh.
Thought about stretching its life out a bit longer by picking up an x1950xt AGP, but I think I'll go ahead and retire it with a bit of its dignity intact.
Here's some guidelines:
-I'll be using it for gaming primarily, but I'm a photographer by trade... don't know if that'll make much of a difference processor/memory-wise, but I thought I'd throw it in there. Photoshop's a beast.
-I know little to nothing about the new processors and graphics cards. Like I said, haven't kept up at all. (I know some of them are dual/quad core and SLI's apparently still around. That's about it.)
-I won't be building it myself, so I'll likely be customizing and ordering from an online retailer. Any suggestions on which company to go with would be appreciated.
-I've got ~$1200 to work with. Could go a little higher if it'd be truly worth my while, (say, $1500 at the top end), but I'm shooting for the former if at all possible. That's for pc+assembly only. Don't need a new monitor or speakers.
-It'd be nice if I could run Crysis at a decent framerate when it comes out. :-)
So what I'm looking for is the best system possible given the parameters listed above. I used to check TH for most of my reviews and benchmarks, so this is the first place I'm coming to for some expert advice.
Thanks in advance. Your help is greatly appreciated!
First I want to say if at all possible wait until the end of the year as the new Nvidia cards and Intel 45nm chips will be out. The prices on the old stuff will drop a good bit come 1Q next year. If you can't wait try this setup and see what you think.
I'd get a smaller hdd for the OS/programs and use the 500GB for storage, makes life a lot easier when you have to reinstall Windows, don't have to worry about backing up data. I like Seagate and I think their smallest SATA drive is 80GB.
Anyone know of a good pc-building tutorial for a first timer? I'm thinking it'll be worth the time spent learning how to do it considering the money I'll be saving.
And if you know of one, a video tutorial would be ideal.
Suggest reading the manual for the Gigabyte DS3L board. There are any number of good building guides out there but when you actually build you'll be using mobo manual. Even if you don't get this board, basically all the instructions are the same. Once the machine is built you'll install Windows, then the drivers that come with the mobo, then any other hardware, e.g., wireless card, video card, audio card if you're not using the onboard audio, etc, and then your programs. The actual build the first time will about about 1 1/2 - 2 hours, the software to install and set up the you want can take a couple of days depending on how much software you're installing. http://www.gigabyte-usa.com/Support/Motherboard/Manual_...
Well, now that I've looked at some benchmarks, I think I'll be going with the E6850. At the same price it outperforms the Quad Q6600 in both games and Photoshop (surprisingly), and by a healthy margin.
So it looks like I'll be keeping my current setup (er, at least the case and a few of the bells and whistles) and replacing the PSU, MB, CPU, RAM, HD and graphics card.
PSU - SILVERSTONE DECATHLON 650w ($160)
CPU - Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 ($300)
MB - GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3P LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX ($160)
RAM - 2GB Patriot Extreme ($110)
HD - Western Digital 500GB ($110)
GC - GeForce 8800GTX ($500)
I'd actually say stick with the Q6600--the E6850 is faster for some stuff, but future Photoshops will be quad-core optimized (something you'll want as a pro photographer). XBitLabs did a nice comparison of the Q6600 G0 and E6850 G0...
The E6850 may be better now at stock speeds but if you are going to keep your rig for a while the Q6600 will take the lead by a wide margin as soon as photoshop and games are able to use the additional cores. Also you can very easily OC the Q6600 to 3G and even leave EIST enabled so that it will run at 2G until it is needed. The Q6600 is a significantly smarter choice if you can afford the extra money.
The "extra money" is a couple of bucks, E6850 and Q6600 are about the same price. Yeah, Q6600 is the way to go. Last time I saw a review like that the Q6600 was 9% faster in Photoshop than the E6850, both at stock.
I think if you stay around the $100 PSU like Zen & Sanji stated, you should be fine. Not sure if your really going to need SLI, since most single card GPU's do extremely well, in your price range. And if you wait a couple of months you can get the latest GPU's out that will probably smoke the current ones.