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Future SLI

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October 3, 2007 1:25:13 AM

EDIT: I realized my mobo wasn't SLI, so I have (temporarily/permanently?) replaced it.



Please critique my rig:

I will use it for surfing, some photoshop, perhaps some 3D modelling, maybe rendering. But for simplicity's sake, let's say I'm interested in running new games at fairly high settings smoothly - Crysis/BioShock/World in Conflict.

This is my first time putting one together. My goal is to be able to go SLI in the future, but I don't want to now. My reasoning is that I can get a good card at the moment that can play new games well (I think). And then in a couple years or something I can double it up with SLI and get back up to speed. If I were to drop down in card quality a couple notches (I don't want to spend a fortune and get 2 top of the line cards right now), I could get good production for a decent price, but no room for expansion, besides complete replacement.


CPU: Intel's Core 2 Duo E6750 2.66Ghz
seems to be better at everything at the moment compared to AMD, even gaming. Plus I think I found a good deal for less than $200. At the moment, I am considering using the factory heatsink and have not looked into CPU cooling fans.

mobo: EVGA 122-CK-NF68-T1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
It gets pretty good reviews. I believe this one is compatible with all of my options, but I'm here to make sure. $200 also seemed like a decent price.

graphics: MSI NX8800GTX-T2D768E-HD OC GeForce 8800GTX 768MB 384-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
Pricey for me, but gets a significant jump in performance over the rest of the pack. Again, I want to be sure to be able to play well right now, and then get another card and go SLI some time in the future. Is there another card I should consider that will perform well on it's own today, and be significantly cheaper? ATI's new HD2900 PRO?

RAM: OCZ Gold 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2G8002GK - Retail
800Mhz at the moment becuase I found a decent deal for these sticks. My motherboard specs shows 1200. Yet websites such as Kingston and Crucial recommend me sticks that are not 1200. Why? Apparently, it's not a requirement for compatibility. Would 1200 maximize the memory? Is it worth the price? Expansion is interesting here too. I would assume eventually I will want more i.e. 4GB total probably. I understand that Windows Vista 32-bit only recognizes 3 GBs while 64-bit recognizes more. It seems like the 2 versions are the same price at newegg. Why would anyone select 32-bit? I've heard some games might not work in 64-bit?

Case: LIAN LI PC-A10A Silver Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
sweet. I'm an architect so I really appreciate their looks. I do not appreciate the price....but....I understand that 8800GTX cards are (A) Big and (B) hot. The reviews say that this case is (A) spatious enough for these cards and (B) very cool due to large and numerous fans. I could perhaps be convinced to get a cheaper case (I saw a decent looking one by Antec but it's steel) but I want to be sure that my system will work nicely and be cool enough. Especially if i do eventually go SLI and get 2 of these big, hot cards. I know this case will rock, but does my reasoning for the price make sense?

PSU: OCZ GameXStream OCZ700GXSSLI ATX12V 700W Power Supply - Retail
Is OCZ trustworthy enough? Is 750W a good number for me? I am thinking about the future here too, as in 2 8800GTXs and 4GB total ram (perhaps).

HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3400620AS 400GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
At the moment, I don't store many mp3s or movies or photos on my computer. I store some. Any shows or movies I might download, I delete after watching. photos I burn to disc. No ipod at the moment, but probably in a couple years. Then maybe I'll be storing some mp3s. But the point is, I don't need a ton of storage. I want to partition this drive to separate OS, programs, data for access speed. Does it make sense to get 2 Drives to further increase speed/organization/simplicity or will i get the same desired results by simply partitioning this one?


If you read and respond to all that i will heed your advice with great care.

More about : future sli

October 3, 2007 2:44:46 AM

SLI isn't going to run on a P35 board unless nVidia changes its policies about chipsets and SLI. Also, SLI doesn't double performance, and in a few years time, you will be able to get a much better single card for about the same price as another 8800. I'd skip on the OCZ power supply they have been shown to have problems at high loads. A Corsair HX620 should easily handle your system, is modular and is of great quality. Everything else looks like it should make a great system, if you can afford to get a Q6600 instead of the E6750, I'd recommend putting in the extra money.
October 3, 2007 3:27:04 AM

Agreed with above.

If you do want the SLI option, I'd recommend eVGA 680 A1 and PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750W.

Also strongly recommend Q6600, since you're interested in Crysis and you're looking for a longer term solution.

Two drives can increase speed, depending on what you're doing. For example if you compress videos and the source hard drive is not the same as the target hard drive, your speed will go up a lot.
Related resources
October 3, 2007 4:07:36 AM

Wow, thanks for catching my mobo. I actually just saw that before checking back here so I found a placeholder for the moment. I don't know how I let it slip in with my other SLI mobo options...

Video Card: I'm definately interested in SLI down the road. I realize that it won't double my performance. But it seems like 2 of today's top of the line cards would be better than 1 of the future's. 8800s will have dropped in price in a couple years, so getting another will be a lot cheaper than starting over with a new top of the line card. don't you think?

PSU: What is modular? That Corsair looks good. But will 620w be enough? Or were you thinking 620w if i didn't get the 8800GTX? The PC Power & Cooling one looks nice as well. Both Crossfire and SLI versions. Should I be looking for SLI certification for PSUs?

CPU: I'm surprised to here the Quad recommended, because I've heard that it doesn't really do much more for gaming. I think I did hear something about Crysis taking advantage of it somewhat, but is it really that big of a difference? The E6750 was a good deal cheaper too, i believe.

HDD: I will not be compressing video. Maybe photoshopping. Otherwise is it more logical to just get a single drive?
October 3, 2007 5:28:08 AM

I find SLI a bit of a waste as an upgrade as most times a dual card of yesterdays tech will not be much performance increase over todays highend. Look at 7900GTX SLI now against 8800GTX the 8800 wipes the floor with it. 2x8800GTS are around the same as 8800GTX an awesomely highend single will be in the vacinity of a dual card without the SLI driver issues.

If you are going SLI youd be better off with a bigger PSU than 620, id be looking at 700+ (not crazy though) Tier 1 or 2 on the tom charts.

Crysis is scaled for Quad performance so we will see a performance increase with quads in this as well as future games, as always its going to be more dependant on your GPU though

If you are looking at RAID-0 will give you performance increase will also give you are bigger HDD for usually cheaper than on huge one. This will also double the chance of disk failure though and once one drive dies data is lost.
October 3, 2007 7:12:22 AM

The point of SLI for me is that while dual cards of yesterdays tech may not be above and beyond today's, but buying yesterday's card is much cheaper than buying today's. So I'll still have very serviceable graphics for a reasonable price.

i'm looking into 700+w for a psu.
October 3, 2007 2:35:05 PM

About the quad: Flight Simulator, Crysis, Supreme Commander can use it properly. Photoshop will be 9% faster on a Q6600 than on a E6850, at least if you happen to do the same sort of things with it as the reviewers at Anandtech. It's more future-proof too.

The PSU: a Corsair 620HX is plenty for a system with a single video card, yes. With 700W+ you are prepared for when you add a second video card, but it's overkill until then.

October 3, 2007 3:57:06 PM

The OCZ GameXStream 700W is a nice unit HOWEVER is rated beyond what it actually can push (Somewhere below the Corsair 620HX), and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone but it is still a decent unit. For the system you are planning I would get the PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750W (Any color is just fine) or an Antec TruePower Quattro (either 850 or 1000W), because if you buy a smaller unit now to save maybe $100 you will have to buy another bigger unit down the road to (For $200) to be able to use SLI.

and I would get eVGA over MSI for nvidia graphics cards, because they are simply the best for them (XFX and BFG are close second), but with this I'm not saying there's anything wrong with MSI. Also about the RAM, I would get Crucial Ballistix DDR2 800 or 1066, most likely the BEST ram out there in my opinion.

And about the incompatibility on 64-bit OS, I am using right now XP 64 and I have Vista 64 too (Using XP 64 just because I got one a little less than a month ago, seeing which one I like better) and let me tell you, the only game I found not to work so far on either OS is Commander Keen (The only old game I have, the rest are 2004 to present date), but that is not a surprise since it's a 16-bit app and 64-Bit OS don't run 16-bit at all. I recommend you get either Vista 64, only because of the DX10 support, if you don't care about that then consider XP 64 too.
October 4, 2007 1:11:07 AM

A very informative reply. thanks.

psu: The 750w PC power and cooling seems like a good fit. Couldn't find the 850w Antec unit. I definately don't want to have to buy another down the road.

video card: I've been considering a different brand than MSI, but I've heard that it's really no different. Same nVidia card inside. there are some big rebates at the moment that bring xfx and bfg cards down close to msi's price.

ram: my mother lists it's memory standard as 1200. Does that mean that it maximizes 1200 memory sticks or that it can't be faster than 1200 or what?

OS: i've decided on vista over xp and i definately want DX10. that's reassuring that everything works for you, although i have heard elsewhere of things not working. such as Daemon tools for one.
October 4, 2007 1:26:55 AM

Well... I'm using Daemon Tools Pro at the moment (Latest build) and I used Daemon Tools X64 in the past too, no problems whatsoever. (If anything I recommend Daemon tools Pro because you can make images so easily). If you are going to get vista, then get Home Premium 64, the other versions are not worth it (Especially ultimate.)

Just checking the 680i A1, and saw the memory standards, that means that it supports 533, 667, 800, and all other frequencies up to DDR2 1200, with overclocking it might go beyond that. (Not that you really need anything other than DDR2 800 for the foreseeable future).

I'll just lay it out like this, even though I have nothing against MSI and they might even follow nvidia reference, you will most likely never see me buying an nvidia card from other than EVGA, BFG, or XFX. I don't want to recommend you getting an MSI card that I wouldn't want to get myself in the first place, sounds hypocritical to say the least.
October 4, 2007 4:49:25 AM

video card: I truly appreciate your recommendation, and may in fact get one of those 3, as I have them bookmarked. I'm just curious as to HOW msi might produce an inferior product due to the fact that they use the same nVidia card?

RAM: good to know. it seems like a good amount of people are satisfied with 800, and that there are some better deals for it too, so i'll probably go with it.

OS: also good to know that daemon tools is working for you. I looked again at the site that told me it didn't work, and it actually says it doesn't work in XP-64, not Vista. So perhaps that explains it. I had definately been planning on Home Premium.
October 4, 2007 5:28:07 AM

The reason I wouldn't buy from MSI is more than anything their support and warranty. EVGA is known to have excellent customer support, responsive RMA process, and an extensive lifetime warranty that even covers overclocking. Same thing goes for XFX and BFG. While MSI may not have the worst customer support, it certainly is nowhere near on par with EVGA, I rather pay $10-20 more over the MSI for an EVGA card that gives me peace of mind. (And in fact that's what I did with my EVGA GTS over a $25 cheaper PNY GTS I saw).

EDIT: That site must be wrong, because I'm using Daemon Tools Pro PERFECTLY on XP 64, and im sure Daemon Tools X64 works just fine.
October 4, 2007 6:28:31 AM

aha, now that makes sense. I probably should value warranty and support if i'm going to drop $500. Would this apply if i bought from newegg too? I've never used them before, but I hear they take almost anything back.

Well, I must say, I had never heard of the site before. But apparently it is wrong about daemon tools atleast.

new question:
I am now planning on getting 2 HDs for my new system build.

My idea is that the first drive will be high speed/performance and will be the smaller drive. I will make 2 partitions. The first will be for my OS and the 2nd will be for programs.

The second drive will emphasize price per GB and will be the larger drive. I will probably also make 2 partitions or so. This drive will be for digital data/media and downloads.


I assume this will create better speed, organization and will offer the cheapest solution.

My question is regarding what speeds to look for. The HD charts on this site are most informative, but I'm curious as to what I should be looking for in each drive - particularly in the first for maximum OS and program performance. You can sort the charts by topics such as "Interface Performance", "random access time", "read transfer rate" etc. What should I be paying particular attention to, for each drive?
October 4, 2007 12:09:57 PM

Newegg will take them back, but for 30 days only, after that you have to deal with the manufacturer, that's why I rather go with eVGA. Especially since the price difference is only $20.

About the HDD, in my opinion it's not worth it the price of a raptor (Fastest desktop drive) for the kind of performance you get (maybe half the time booting into the OS and faster loading times in games), with drives getting faster and faster it's really not worth it. But it's your choice. What you are looking for here is a 10,000RPM Western Digital Raptor.

There's always the second possibility which is to buy a Single Drive (Barracuda 750GB or Hitachi 1TB) and if you are not satisfied with the speed you're getting, then buy another and set them in a RAID array. I'm not particularly handy with those arrays, since I'm more than happy with the speed of my 7.2K rpm hitachi deskstar.

Some quality hard drives? Western Digital Caviars, Seagate Barracudas, Hitachi Deskstars. I wouldn't buy Maxtor or Samsung, I just don't trust them to keep my data, at least for me, they are not as reliable as they should be (Maybe I've had bad luck... who knows).
October 4, 2007 8:18:35 PM

Seagate just came out with new drives(of course about 2 weeks after I picked up a pair of 500 gigs) so you may want to wait till they are stocked to pick them up if you decide to go with seagate
October 4, 2007 9:49:26 PM

Two years ago, people spent $600 for the 7800GTX, an extra $100 on a sli capable board, $80 extra for a sli capable PSU. They were "future proofing, and planning to upgrade to sli. They now can buy that second 7800gtx for $220, and get a system that can't compete with today's single 8800GTX. Are they pleased with their strategy today?
A 8800gtx can run anything out there today. Only if it can't would I suggest sli today. Better yet, wait for NVIDIA's new high end, due out in time for Christmas.
October 4, 2007 11:18:58 PM

Well the G92 due to christmas is the 8800GT, which should be slower than the GTS, so what good could waiting do to him? He would end up buying the same GTX at the same price and losing 2 months of game time also.
October 4, 2007 11:25:03 PM

Quote:
Better yet, wait for NVIDIA's new high end, due out in time for Christmas.


NVIDIA's new G92 that i believe you are talking about is a mid-range and designed to sit between the 8800's and 8600's... My guess is to be called 8700 (logical YES). This will bring a die shrink to 65nm and may prove to have nice OCing abilities for the die shrink will mean less power = less hear, but will still not touch the GTX.

Get a GTX now if you are a gammer and playing at higher res's

EDIT: Damn you emp you got there before me
October 5, 2007 12:48:27 AM

chookman said:
Quote:
Better yet, wait for NVIDIA's new high end, due out in time for Christmas.


NVIDIA's new G92 that i believe you are talking about is a mid-range and designed to sit between the 8800's and 8600's... My guess is to be called 8700 (logical YES). This will bring a die shrink to 65nm and may prove to have nice OCing abilities for the die shrink will mean less power = less hear, but will still not touch the GTX.

Get a GTX now if you are a gammer and playing at higher res's

EDIT: Damn you emp you got there before me



They messed up the naming scheme, there's an 8700 already, for laptops. :lol: 
October 5, 2007 1:16:04 AM

Heres An insane idea just thought about it!
Get an 8800GTX when u get the money buy a 2nd 1
and in 2008 is it 1q or 2q get the Bios update for the 680i so it will support TRIPLE SLI!! and get another 8800GTX + the new sli bridge which is like 6x2 .... no more space for soundcards unfortunatly and u would have to change PSU... hmmm

Wait get the new 8800GT it should support triple sli as well i suppose since nvidia's started adding dual sli bridge teeth on their GTX's
October 5, 2007 1:58:12 AM

@aevm

LOL they can never get naming right can they
October 5, 2007 5:45:41 AM

I appreciate all the help guys. i think i'm going to go with a solid GTX and get another in TBD. probably when they drop in price significantly or games could use it.

no one can explain to me the different chart ratings for HDDs?
October 5, 2007 3:06:08 PM

My suggestion for HDD: Keep it simple, get a single WD raptor150 10,000 rpm. Use only one partition. It is the best performing drive you can get today. If and when the 150gb becomes full, add another 7200 rpm drive for added capacity and backup.

Go to www.storagereview.com for some good information. Look particularly at the single user benchmark comparisons. They also have a forum.
October 5, 2007 11:09:50 PM

geofelt said:
Two years ago, people spent $600 for the 7800GTX, an extra $100 on a sli capable board, $80 extra for a sli capable PSU. They were "future proofing, and planning to upgrade to sli. They now can buy that second 7800gtx for $220, and get a system that can't compete with today's single 8800GTX. Are they pleased with their strategy today?

This is what I did (actually I originally bought 2x 6800gt, then switched them for a single 7800gtx). Today, I am still running that system, and haven't bothered considering a 2nd 7800gtx). So, no I am not pleased with that strategy.

A 8800gtx can run anything out there today. Only if it can't would I suggest sli today. Better yet, wait for NVIDIA's new high end, due out in time for Christmas.


I am building a intel quad core based system now (gigabyte x38 ddr2 board), I am holding on and going to continue to use my 7800gtx until either nvidia (preferrably) or ATI get their next gen parts (pcie v2) on the shelves (even if its 2008).

If nvidia continues to keep SLI exclusive to nforce boards, then I may end up going with a crossfire setup (assuming it is a sensible option) at some point in the future.

It baffles my mind, why nvidia would want to screw themselves twice by keeping SLI > Nforce only..

So I buy an intel board, they lose a) the price of the nforce chip (Minimal) b) instead of selling me 2 nvidia cards potentially force me (and anyone else) to buy two ATI cards (huge loss).

Intel has to hate it too, since now that ATI = AMD, they are forced by nvidia to support crossfire instead of SLI.

Its freaking retarded.
October 6, 2007 1:58:04 AM

I'm down to my final decisions now and am confused about PSU designs. When would I want the PSU's fan to be on the top and when would I want it to be on the bottom? Here's the same PSU, only difference is the fan location:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Presumably, it would have something to do with my case selection, but there is no info about it. Just ATX, which it is. Anyway, here's my case:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
October 6, 2007 2:19:57 AM

I would not buy that unit if I were you, it may be cheaper, but it's a Rosewill after, basically cheap units that are not to be recommended to anyone. Don't let good reviews on newegg fool you, people reviewing in newegg usually are clueless.

If you are looking for a SLI system down the road, then I believe you should choose a good unit to go with it, because at the heavy loads that the SLI setup will put the PSU under, it will need a rock solid unit to keep it working without any problems in the future. Remember that the unit's power output is just one of the things to consider, you also need a unit made with high quality components to give you stability and reliability. Two units I'd recommend for this are Antec TruePower Quattro and PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750.
October 6, 2007 4:33:27 AM

For your case, it does not matter which type of fan orientation the fan has. The lian-li mounts it on the bottom, in it's own chamber. For a conventional top mount, some people like the hoizontal 120mm fan type, thinking that the larger fan will be quieter, and help evacuate the cpu heat. Others like the rear mounted smaller fan, thinking that the cpu heat should not go through the psu, making it work harder.

In any case, either rosewill psu is a poor buy. Pick one of the upper tiers from this list: http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=10...
The PC P&C silencer 610 would be a better choice for $120 direct from them. If you will want two high end vga cards in sli down the road, then the PC P&C silencer750 should be safe.
October 6, 2007 6:51:13 AM

thanks. i'm glad you commented on rosewill being poor because i was hesitant about them to begin with. i've had lots of PC P&C recommendations though. might go with them.

I'm also somewhat concerned about heat due to the 8800 GTX so it seems to make more sense to push heat directly out of the case right then up. even though 120mm is quieter.
October 6, 2007 8:07:53 PM

The 8800GTS/GTX are great cards, but they will be the biggest heat generators in your computer.
It is good that the stock cooler expels most of the heat out back through the extra slot. The stock coolers are quiet too.
OEM replacement coolers are good at extracting heat from the GPU chips, but without rear exhausts they don't help the whole system because the recirculated hot air puts added load on the cpu and case coolers.
The 8800 has four slits which let hot air back into the system which increases the case heat, and ultimately puts extra load on the cpu cooler.
I have found it very effective to add a slot cooler like this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Mount it just below the 8800. It has a speed knob so you can adjust the cooling vs. noise equation.
This will help both vga and cpu temperatures.
!