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Please help out with a Long Overdue gaming PC upgrade: Pentium 3 to C2

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October 13, 2007 3:54:05 PM

Update Oct. 13: I've updated my current choices a bit based on the feedback I've received in the last 2 days - thanks a lot guys! Also, about OCing: I do want to have at least 3.0 GHz, even on the Q6600, but I doubt I'll go crazy with like 3.8+ GHz overclocks.
Update Oct. 14 (1st): I've done some more research and looking around, and decided on the PSU(Corsair HX620 w/ 8pin PCI-E), CPU(Q6600 G0), CPU Cooler(Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme), CPU Cooler Fan(Scythe Sff21f), CPU Cooler Thermal Grease(Arctic Silver 5 3.5g), Mobo (GA-P35-DS3L - slightly unsure about this). Now I just have to decide on the RAM. 2x1gb=2gb or 2x(2x1gb)=4 gb? Crucial or Corsair? CAS4? If I understand correctly, I won't need to overclock ram unless I go past 3.6 GHz on the Q6600, is that correct? At 3.6 GHz the FSB would be 400 Mhz, meaning 800 Mhz for DDR2... eh.. Need to read up more on this. :/ 
Update Oct. 14 (2nd): I bought the Corsair HX620W PSU, Scythe Fan and Raptor. Couldn't buy the rest because the MoBo I wanted (GA-P35-DS3L) was out of stock. =( Read my last reply for more details.
Update Oct. 14 (3rd): Ordered online the eVGA 8800GTX (for the peace of mind with the step-up program and quality/reliability/brandname hehe), GA-P35-DS3L (cheap but good enough for me, easy to upgrade later), Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme CPU Cooler (the best), Arctic Silver 5 thermal grease, Corsair 2GB PC2-6400C4 2x1gb kit (much cheaper compared to Crucial Ballistix, and enough headroom for 3.6 GHz OC). Woot! All that's left is to pick up the Q6600 G0 when the order arrives! =D

Hi,

Here's the deal. I'm almost done saving up for a much needed and long overdue upgrade to my gaming PC, and I need some help/pointers. Since I've been out of the hardware side of things for a quite while, I'm not really up to date on everything that's been going on. I know a bit about the current video cards and CPUs, but not much else (nor what's coming soon).

So my current desktop PC is this:
Pentium 3 500 MHz (OCed to 575 MHz)
ATI Radeon 8500 64 MB
512 MB PC133 RAM (upgraded, it was 128 originally)
20 GB 5400 RPM hard-drive (plus another 7200 RPM 10 GB one I've added recently)

Needless to say, it's pretty out of date. I've been wanting it to upgrade it ever since it got slow about 5 years ago lol. But I didn't have any money until now (I got a job, finally). I'm pretty used to playing games from ~2001-2002 and earlier and usually at like 5-15 FPS. So now I want to use this opportunity to get a monster gaming rig so that I can be totally blown away with it, just like I was when I got my first 3D accelerated video card like 7 years ago... Playing SoF1 on it, that was the ****. I want that feeling again heh.

Here are some games I'm planning to try out on it:
Bioshock
Half-Life 2/Episode One/Two
Portal
F.E.A.R.
Prey
GTA 4
Hitman: Blood Money
Rainbox Six: Vegas
Live for Speed, rFactor, some NFS games maybe
(as you can see, I'm mostly into FPS and driving games)

Anyway, I've done a bit of research and tried to choose the parts. My budget is around CAD$2000-$3000 (that's in Canadian dollars, but they're = to USD now), but I'd rather spend as little as possible (it's my own money, after all lol).

I'll list the components and write down what I've picked out, what I'm unsure about, etc. - please comment!

CPU
My current choice: Intel Core 2 Quad 2.4 GHz and OC it to 3.0 GHZ (Q6600 Stepping G0)
Past choices: Core 2 Duo 3.0GHz (E6850)
I want to spend: $200-300
How sure am I about it: Undecided, most likely the Q6600 if I can OC it to 3.0 GHz
I know I probably should just get a lower clocked C2D and OC it myself to 3.0 ghz, but I really like the sound of 3.0 GHz, and since it's C2D it'd be so awesome... I also know it might be a good idea to get a Quad core (Q6600) in the long-run, but I really want top end performance out of the "current" next-gen games and the highest Fps...
Update: Since I'll be getting cream of the crop CPU air cooling, I think I'll get the Q6600 and OC it to 3.0 or higher. This ought to keep me happy now and further into the future (vs. the C2D which might not be as effective in the multithreaded future).

Video card
My current choice: eVGA 8800GTX 768MB PCI-Express (768-P2-N831-AR)
How sure am I about it: Already bought, $560.
I want to spend: $600
I just have to have it... The sweet 8800 Gtx, it doesn't care about high resolutions or AA/AF. It's pretty old now (1 year), so I hope it won't be blown away out of the water within a month or two, like it did all other cards when it just came out..
No idea if the eVGA version is the best, but I see it mentioned everywhere and it seems to be good. Hope it is.

Monitor
My current choice: Dell 27" UltraSharp widescreen LCD monitor
I want to spend: $300-1000
How sure am I about it: Not very, depends on what resolutions the 8800GTX can handle..
I want a Dell LCD, they seem pretty good. On the one hand, I can go for a Dell 22" with 1680x1050 for like $300, but then there's the 24" with 1920x1200.. which sounds so awesome. But if I really want to be amazed, maybe I should just go for the 27"... I definitely don't want a 30" cuz the games would run too slow at 2560x resolution without 2 video cards.
Will the one 8800GTX handle current-~1 year from now games all right at 1920x, or should I just get a 1680x monitor for better FPS (I want it to be 100+.. or at least 60+)? I guess I could always play at lower resolution when it gets slow, so.. Dunno, 27" is very expensive too lol.

Motherboard
My Current choice: Gigabyte's GA-P35-DS3L
Past choices: Gigabyte's GA-P35C-DS3R/GA-P35-DS3R/GA-P35-DS3L or ASUS P5K (regular, not Deluxe).
I want to spend: $100-150-ish, unless it's absolutely necessary to spend more.
How sure am I about it: Already bought, $95. Hope the L model is as good as GA-P35C-DS3R in all other aspects but DDR3/RAID support - if so, I'll be happy with it.
Ok, this is the part I need the most help with. I've done some research and fished out the names of these two mobos... They seem to be all right for what I need, which is:
-1 video card, I don't think I'll be going for SLI
-DDR2 ram support, DDR3 is optional but I guess is nice to have for the future
-4 ram slots
-I've read that the Intel P35 chipset is pretty good..
-Standard features, a couple USB 2.0s, 3-4 SATA ports, LAN, sound, etc. nothing special
Between the two.. I like ASUS, but it seems Gigabyte might be a better choice since it allows me to upgrade to DDR3 in the future. But for now Im defnitely going with DDR2.
Update: I think I'll go for the Gigabyte P35x-DS3x. Now the question is which of these 3:
-GA-P35C-DS3R ($167): has RAID and DDR3 support
-GA-P35C-DS3R ($150): has RAID support
-GA-P35C-DS3L ($106): no RAID support
Those are the only differences as far as I can tell. Since I doubt I'll need RAID, maybe I should get the cheapest $105 one - that way I can upgrade it later on if the need arises, since I won't be losing much. Or maybe spend the $167 and have DDR3 support right away?

RAM
My Current choice: Corsiar Twin2X DDR2 PC-6400 800MHz XMS2 Xtreme Memory 2GB (2 x 1GB) Dual Channel Kit
Past choices: Crucial Ballistix (BL2KIT12864AA804) DDR2 800Mhz PC2 6400 2GB Kit (1GB x 2) 240-pin (and another 2GB in the future maybe)
I want to spend: $100-150
How sure am I about it: Already bought Corsair, $100 AR (vs. Crucial which is $147).
I know it's better to get a well known brand, but there are quite a few of them.. This corsair pack seems decent, so Ive picked it cuz it's the first one I found. I wanna get 2GB now, and maybe I'll get another 2GB later on if the need arises.
Update: I think I'll need to get something else if I'm going to OC that Q6600, I'll look into Crucial RAM. It seems pretty good too.

Hard-drive
My Current choice: WD Raptor 150 GB 10,000 RPM (and another WD Caviar 500 or 750 GB or two later on)
I want to spend: $200
How sure am I about it: Already bought, $205.
Just gonna get a fast raptor as my main drive, and get another 1 or 2 500/750~ish GB hard-drive for storage later.

Power-supply
My Current choice: Corsair HX620W PSU
I want to spend: $100-150~
How sure am I about it: Already bought, $130 AR.
It seems pretty important to get a good quality PSU, and I hear this one is pretty good (tier 2). Costs only $130 AR too.

Case
My Current choice: Cooler Master CM 690
I want to spend: $100 or less
How sure am I about it: Already bought, $71 after MIR.
Update: Thanks for the info, I've decided to get a CM 690 as it should suit my needs nicely.

So please let me know if this system sounds good, or if I should wait for something that'll come out sometime soon, cuz I want this new machine to be pretty close to top-end for at least a few months after I get it.

Sorry it's such a long post, but I tend to get wordy and I don't upgrade my PC often - so I have a lot of questions. I really want to get as much wow-factor (not the game) as possible, and I'm really excited, so I don't want to make bad choices (especially in RAM, Mobo, PSU and case - what I'm most unsure about) that I'll regret later.

Thanks to anyone who helps me out, 'preciate it. :) 
October 13, 2007 3:54:57 PM

I forgot to mention, I'll probably be buying all the parts at a local PC shop in my city - I really don't wanna deal with eBay or ordering stuff only from the US and such... I'll just pay a bit more but won't have to deal with the shipping wait and all the hassles.

So if you could pick out (replacement?) parts that are avaliable from here: Canada Computers - Your Neighbourhood Computer Store and Service Centre - PC Systems and Hardware Components, Notebooks, Electronics, and more. - That'd be super. Thanks. That's also where I'm getting my prices from.

Also: About overclocking - I would not mind doing it, as the current hardware seems very overclockable.. So I guess I might need some cooling solution too, what can I get in that department for like under $50? I don't wanna go crazy with OCing, just a bit when it gets slow..
a b à CPUs
October 13, 2007 4:25:44 PM

About the case, make sure the 8800GTX will fit in it cause its longer than normal ATX size motherboard, but any case that can fit an EATX mobo will be big enough

For heatsink maybe Tuniq Tower, Thermalright's Ultra 120 (vanilla or Extreme), or something else that can fit 120mm fan on it :) 

27'' monitor would awesome, but you would probably need SLI setup for smooth playing... I think 22'' or maybe 24'' would be better for single card setup
Related resources
October 13, 2007 4:32:39 PM

I'll keep that in mind about the case. I've heard the 8800GTX is unbelievably long.

Thanks for the good ideas about the cooling. I've just been reading about those two, and also the Scythe Ninja 1100P. But I'm not sure if they're all available at my local PC shop, so I might end up getting whatever's there (or if they have nothing, I'll buy it elsewhere later on).

There's no difference between Dell 27" and 24" monitors in resolution, they are both 1920x1200.
The 22" and 20" are 1680x1050.
But I guess I can always play at 1680x1050 even on a 24/27" monitor, it shouldn't look that bad. And I'll have the 1920x resolution for the OS desktop.
Just a matter of how much money I want to waste, hehe.

Thanks for your comments!
October 13, 2007 6:01:49 PM

The dell 27" is just stretched more, as in the same # of pixels, but one is larger and the other is not. if you opt for the larger display just for the size, then I would recomend a 32" HDTV 1080P if you get a good one they have a DVI port/HDMI port and the resolution is 1920x1080.

As for the motherboard, you should get the newer p35 chipset, and be prepared to spend $150-$200, the motherboard is the back bone of your computer, you shouldn't skimp on it. (I am a fan of ASUS myself)

For the case do you want quiet or noisy with lights? Go with an Antec p180/p180B/p182 for quiet. or go with an Antec 900 for more airflow, but louder/has blue lights. Both should fit a GTX

You have two options with the graphics card get a lower high range card like an 8800 GTS, and plan to upgrade next gen to the middle range (mind you some of the newest games won't run well with all settings on at those res's) or get the high end GTX and upgrade 2-3 generations later. it's all about if you want the good performance now, or you want decent performance (which will eventually be better) over a longer period of time.

The PSU I like is corsair 620 HX you might find for $100 AR

Intel is supposed to be releasing new processors soon using 45nm technology (thus are faster and cheaper). Plus they have faster quad cores.

Finally I would recomend looking for deals on http://forums.slickdeals.net/forumdisplay.php?f=9 (it is a user based forum where they post deals they find).

a c 203 à CPUs
October 13, 2007 6:57:02 PM

A good case choice in your price range: Cooler Master RC 690 $81CAD plus rebate Cooler Master RC 690 review
That $20 rebate is valid till 10/14 (tomorrow). No side window, but roomy, quiet and good cooling.

One good HSF in your price range is the Cooler Master GeminII $38 plus rebate CM GeminII review
(you'll need to order 1 (or 2) fans to go along with the cooler)
A couple decent mid-range HSFs from the site you mentioned are the Artic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro or CM Hyper TX2.

19x12 vs 16x10 monitors are both good choices for wide screen gaming but 16x10 is budget friendly.
There is really no "best" of the Gigabyte GA-P35-DS series. Just get the one with the features you need. DDR3 probably isnt something you need and DDR2 will be fine for the lifetime of your new motherboard.
With what you're looking at you'll be good to go with the next gen CPUs and GPUs for a mid-life upgrade.






a c 341 à CPUs
October 13, 2007 8:55:21 PM

Good job, shurcool! You have researched well, and presented it nicely. I can agree with all of your choices. As to some of the issues you raised:
On the monitor, get the 24" OR THE 27". The number of pixels is the same, but the 27" pixel size will be a bit larger. You can get a lot of data on one screen, and it can look small, so I think bigger is better for pixel size. For best quality, you should always run a LCD at it's native resolution. A 8800GTX should have no problem running anything even at that resolution.
On the motherboard, a P35 based board from ASUS or Gigabyte should be fine they will all perform about the same. They have by now mature BIOS'es. On the gigabyte web site, you can select several P35 boards for a side by side comparison of features. The cheapest will be the the GA-P35-ds3l. It has one pci-x16 slot, only 4 sata ports, and no raid(which you don't need). Examine the comparison carefully to see if there is anything that you want like a firewire port. I see no value in spending more for a dual DDR2/DDR3 board.
Ram is a good choice, but consider getting 4gb right away. You will be more likely to get kits which are identical. Memory vendors can change the memory specs a bit over time, and it can cause a problem if you get a second kit later. If you will be using a 32 bit os, you will only see about 3.3gb, but that is still a nice increase over 2gb. As to speed, the C2D processors are not very sensitive to RAM speed. The difference in real application performance(vs. synthetic benchmarks) is in the 2-4% range between the slowest and the fastest ram. It is not worth it unless you are trying for a high overclock. Saving a few hard page faults with 4gb will be worth more than that.
I like the hard drive strategy. 150gb raptor until it fills up, then add a second slower drive for overflow, storage, and backup later when you need it.
Case is a personal thing, and picking one out at a local store is a good idea. Be careful that it can hold a 8800GTX. The card is about 1.5" longer than a normal card. If you like front doors,quiet, and intake filters I can recommend the Antec P180/P182. If you want more bling, no doors, and optimum cooling look at the Antec 900. Both can hold the 8800GTX. For any case, go to the web site, and download the installation instructions to see if you like what you see. (good advice for the mobo, also)
I would add an oem cooler. The stock cooler can get noisy when pushed, and it does not cool as well as some of the better oem's. I like the type that use a large 120mm fan that directs the air directly out the back of the case. You will want to mount the cooler onto the mobo outside of the case so you can be certain that it is mounted squarely.
Get a SATA DVD burner. They work well, and make for neater cabling. I use the Samsung SH-S203B which is nice and quiet. You should not need a floppy, these days. Save some cabling clutter there, also.

When you put this all together, you should be very pleased, especially in comparison to your current system. Every component is a big step up from what you have now.

---good luck---
October 13, 2007 9:13:14 PM

Thanks so much, you guys have been very helpful!

Quote:
The dell 27" is just stretched more, as in the same # of pixels, but one is larger and the other is not. if you opt for the larger display just for the size, then I would recomend a 32" HDTV 1080P if you get a good one they have a DVI port/HDMI port and the resolution is 1920x1080.

Yeah, I understand that... The reason I wanted to go for the 27" is cuz I will be playing some racing games with a G25 wheel, and that puts me quite far away from the monitor. I know a 32" HDTV would probably not be much more expensive than the 27" Dell monitor, but it'll be sitting on my not-that-large desk, which I doubt can fit a TV on it (it'd be overkill). But I'll think about it. A 22" screen is sooo much cheaper ($300 with taxes and all). ;/

Quote:
As for the motherboard, you should get the newer p35 chipset, and be prepared to spend $150-$200, the motherboard is the back bone of your computer, you shouldn't skimp on it. (I am a fan of ASUS myself)

You make a good point. My concern about the ASUS board is that I really don't need all the extra features of the ASUS P5K Deluxe w/ WIFI AP (and the added cost), but I'm not sure if a vanilla P5K will be as good as the P5K Deluxe that everyone seems to be reviewing. I couldn't find a single review of the vanilla P5K - so that makes me unsure about it.

Whereas I've seen a few favourable reviews of the GA-P35C-DS3R. I'd just have to figure out which one of the series would be best for me.

Quote:
For the case do you want quiet or noisy with lights?

Hmm, that's a tough one. On the one hand, I wouldn't mind having a cool case with a window and blue lights, all that bling, but on the other hand, it'll be sitting under the table so I don't really care lol. I guess the lights/window are optional - but a good performance/cooling/not very noisy are more important to me.
I'll take a look at those Cooler Master 690 RC-690 and Antec 900 cases, thanks for the info.

Quote:
The PSU I like is corsair 620 HX you might find for $100 AR

Well, I can only get it $130, but I think I will get it after all. Just to be sure it'll be ok, since everyone seems to be recommending it.

Quote:
Intel is supposed to be releasing new processors soon using 45nm technology (thus are faster and cheaper). Plus they have faster quad cores.

Hmm, now I'm starting to think - maybe I should just get the Q6600 G0 stepping and overclock it to 3.0 GHz. It'll definitely be better in the long run, even if the newer 45nm CPUs come out... Will a 3.0 GHz Q6600 be pretty close to a stock E6850 in single-threaded games?

Quote:
Cooler Master GeminII

How does it compare to Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme or Scythe SCNJ-1100P? Only problem with those is I can't buy them at the local shop.

Thanks again!
a c 203 à CPUs
October 13, 2007 10:41:12 PM


It's not one of the top performing HSF but its good price (with rebate) and good performance won't hold your system back even while overclocking. Read more details here: CM GeminII review @ AnandTech

C2Q/C2D @ 3.0Ghz performance should be close enough that you won't notice any differences in single threaded games. A few games are starting to show that 4 cores can make a difference like Supreme Commander and Lost Planet.

More E6850/Q6600 benchmarks here: Xbit Labs review


October 14, 2007 12:20:35 AM

There are a few things wrong with this system....Here are my thoughts...Cosidering you have a 2-3k dollar budget you have a lot of wiggle room to get quality parts...


CPU-

Are you planning to overclock?...If so it makes no sense to get a dual core. I only recommend dual cores to people who don't plan to overclock as they would benefit form the higher clock speed then more cores. Considering how old your current rig is...I bet this system is to last just as long. If that's the case grab a quad core as it is the future which can't be denied. Crysis which is also a FPS which you like is multithreaded, so it will benefit from quad cores. The choice is yours though. If you aren't planning to or are afraid of overclocking...Just grab a dual core. If you plan to OC at all get a quad...Also keep in mind the affordable quad core penryn solutions come out in january 2008. You might want to just nab something decent until that time...Or just go ahead and nab something now to last you for a few years.

I can't stress this enough though. If you plan to Oc at all don't get a dual...seems like you want this rig to last you for years..Which makes it a unworthy purchase.


Graphics Card-

This is the tough segment. I'm planning to build myself a new rig as well. I just can't justify spending 500 on a year old card. Choice is yours if you want to do this. But it's good to see you picked out a EVGA card..Although I doubt the step up would last until the 9800 is released...Unless nvidia plans to have a surprise release in november. Overall though a great card. You might want to look into getting a XFX model instead. IMO the EVGA program is overrated. Yea you have 3 months to step up...yea you have a limited life time warranty. But it doesn't cover over clocking or anything. With XFX's warranty you get a double lifetime warranty. You can even sell the card with the lifetime warranty to a new buyer. They just have to register the product...XFX also has a no hassle overclock warranty as well. No matter what you do to it you're still covered. It makes it a better buy in my eyes. Let's say the 9800 GTX comes out sometime q1/q2...You can just take the XFX model and pop it up on ebay for 50-150 below the current retail cost...Place a couple hundred or so ontop of it and purchase the new high end. IMO it's a much better buy. Choice is yours though.

You might also want to wait until november to see what nvidia rolls out as well as ATI....


Monitor -

This is the segment that requires the most research. There is no perfect LCD monitor. They all have strengths and weaknesses..It's all about choosing a monitor that has the strengths you desire. PVA/MVA are likely to have the most ghosting...Which the dells 24" & 27" happen to use. If you want some really detailed consumer based reviews check out

http://www.hardforum.com/forumdisplay.php?f=78

Browse through the first 5 or so pages and you can get a LOT of detail on every panel. Some threads dedicated to certain models that range up to 100 + pages. A very active community that helps you really get down to the problems of each monitor...as they are reviewed and owned by people that have them. There are also a few users on their who know quite a large amount of information regarding TFT Technology....You would really benefit from looking into this. Also make sure you check out the top sticky thread which states "TFT Technology Breakdown" to understand the differences of the panel types. IMO LCD technology has way too many faults...I'm personally going to nab a high end Sony FW900 24" widescreen CRT till FED rolls out in 2009/2010.


Motherboard -

You can get away with a reasonable budget for the mobo. For a great price/performance ratio look into the Gigabyte p35-DS3R. Or if you want you can grab the Asus p5k also...They are both in the same category in terms of price performance. But the gigabyte is a great overclocker for it's price. If you want..Even though they are pricey..You can look around for a X38 board. They are just about being released and are in their infant stages. But as newer bios releases come out they should push past the p35 in terms of performance...ATM they are pretty much quite similar...Although the x38 supports PCI-E 2.0....This will give you more upgrading headroom in the future without having to nab a new motherboard to support newer cards down the road. Although most people would just end up getting a new board...It's good to know when PCI-E 2.0 cards really start taking over the market that you can just swap your card for a replacement.


RAM -

Are you planning to overclock?..If so stay away from corsair. A LARGE portion of their chips are switching over to promo ic's....A lot of corsair customers are extremely unhappy with the new change. If you don't plan to OC they'll do you fine. If you plan to OC make sure you get D9 micron modules. They are wonderful overclockers that have lots of headroom..As well as being able to handle higher voltages more efficiently. Unlike the promo chips...You'll be able to overclock farther...and longer without degrading the life of your chips quickly. Micron chips are the most desired since they are wonderful overclockers...

Here are some 800 mhz rated crucial modules that run Micron D9GMH chips....

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

Here's a 1066 version if you really want to overclock as far as possible based on your cpu...

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



There is one better candidate then the D9GMH from micron...It's the Micron D9GKX....They tend to overclock farther and are better with tighter timings...Although the company that put these ram modules together isn't very well known...Here's one from newegg....But I've heard great things from the D9GKX series..

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=N...


Both crucial and buffalo offer lifetime warranties like most major memory manufacturers. In terms of ram...I always recommend grabbing all your ram in one purchase...Later down the road there might be few revisions which can cause some instability...ESPECIALLY if they end up switching IC's to something else...Just like Corsair did with D9 microns to Promo Ic's.....It's not too often that it happens but I prefer to get my ram all in one package...If you want to get a 2x2 setup there is one pair that I know of that uses D9 chips as well. Although keep in mind 2x2 is still in its infancy. 1066 varations of 2x2 only run at a 667 rated speed....Also keep in mind that it' easier to OC with 2 sticks compared to four....Here is a good pair of memory for a 2x2 setup...Keep in mind though that density also comes into play for OC'ing...2x2 is still young. These overclock well but not near as well as 2x1 gb solutions..But with this 2x2 benefit you can go 8gb in the future..

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

Choice is yours on which ram you want. Stay away from corsair atm...They have quite a few of their customers angry considering their cheaper quality IC's now...If you want an even more extensive list on Micron chips. Just go to google and type in Micron D9GMH List of Micron D9GKX list...Browse through the results and see which modules have them. To double check the accuracy..Take the model number of the modules they spoke of and give it a google search with the D9 chips they stated were in use. I would help you out with this but going through ram modules is the most time consuming part imo...when it comes to grabbing the IC's you prefer and all the choices you have...


Hard Drives -

your choices are fine. for high budget builds I always recommend a raptor for heavy gaming and video/photo/3d work...WD drives are grand too. Personally I prefer seagate...I've used MANY drives from all sorts of manufacturers...IBM, WD, Maxtor, Seagate....and the list goes on. but overall WD and Seagate have given me the best results. Half of my WD drives have died so far though..While all of my seagate drives are still alive and kicking. Also make sure you look at the warranties as well...The Raptor has a 5 years warranty..But most of the Caviar drives have a 3 years warranty except for a few models...All the seagates I've looked at have a 5 year warranty..


Power supply -

One thing you don't want to go cheap on is a PSU...If it goes out it can take your entire rig with it. Not a great investment...Overall though your choice wasn't bad at all..The GameXStream, EvoStream, and ProXStream are all tier 2 PSU's....Great choices..even though the StealthXStream isn't on the list at all...Should be a tier 2 as all of them seem to be from the same product line. You might want to get a better unit though...Look into this one...

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

It's a tier 1 powersupply for a fantastic price. Most people nab the Corsair HX620 which is a great powersupply. Costs the same on newegg as the Silverstone 650DA...They have the same amperage levels. But the Silverstone is tier 1 which offers better reliability...It also comes with a 8 pin PCI-E connector for newer graphics cards. While the HX620 doesn't. You can get the 8 pin connector from corsair but you have to call them and ask for it...As well as pay for shipping for the modular cable. Both these psu's are modular. I would recommend trying to spend the extra 60 to get a tier 1 if possible...Although a tier 2 will be fine as well..Here's a list of tiered psu's...Considering your budget...Try to get a tier 2 or tier 1..Stay away from anything else...

http://forums.overclockersclub.com/index.php?showtopic=...


Case -

This is personal preference really...But make sure you try to nab something with good airflow...Although you can get some cheap cases for 100 or less...I'd recommend going with what others have suggested...A Antec P180/182 or 900 model is great for the money. Also look into the Thermaltake Armor series...Here are 3 variations of the armor series..

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

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

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

...Any of these or the others mentioned should do fine. If you plan to OC you want a good case with airflow. Heck..Even if you don't OC...considering your budget...get a good case that can keep everything nice and cool.


Optical drives -

choose whatever you wish.all pretty much the same...I'd recommend getting SATA versions compared to IDE...As it will be better for airflow..


CPU Cooling -

Choice is yours..I always make sure to nab quality cooling. If you aren't planning to OC the stock cooler will be fine. If you do plan to oc look around for an alternative. Use the image in the previous posts to make your choice. If you are planning to OC HEAVILY...I'd recommend either a tuniq tower...Or Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme, Or even the Thermalright Ultima 90 (Not the ultra 90)....The tuniq tower has a 120 mm fan inserted in the middle of the heatsink. While the ultra and ultima don't come with a fan. But they come with 120 mm brackets to add your own. This is where it's a great cooler. Just slap on a high cfm fan and your good to go. Personally I like a mixture of low noise and high cfm..So the Scythe S-flex Sff21f fits my tastes...

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

Don't worry about the price on newegg..you can get it much cheaper from other places...around 10-14 dollars. Choice is yours on what you want for cooling. The thermalright ultra 120 cost with the fan is a bit high..almost 80-90....you also have to slap on some Arctic Silver 5 for the best cooling possible. The tuniq tower has a more affordable solution but still pricey. Or you can just nab some of the other coolors. Once again..I only recommend these if you're oc'ing...if not then don't worry about it..Just use the stock heatsink or a arctic freezer 7 pro which is a great VALUE heatsink..around 20 bucks and does a better job then the stock.



Well..that's pretty much it..If you have any questions just post..I'll respond when I can...Regarding store purchases. It's almost impossible to grab most the parts mentioned at retail stores. I've helped a few people who live in canada as well as europe/london...Almost every time they head over to a local store..They end up with a cheaper quality parts which really isn't up to snuff...meanwhile online solutions can get you every quality part you desire...This is one reason why I ALWAYS purchase computer hardware online..In almost all cases they are cheaper..so it equals out with shipping..Plus they head directly to me so I don't have to hunt them down. Returning defective products are the only downside...RMA'ing as well..But I've only had this happen once..Overall I think online purchasing is the best way to make sure you get the best quality parts for your money...

BTW...Almost forgot..If you do plan to go quadcore and plan to OC...Try to nab a G0 Stepping model...I was going to recommend buying it from clubit.com ....but considering you're from canada I don't know if that would help. although the b3 stepping is still fine..the G0 is just cooler and has a higher temperature threshold...So they are great overclockers.
a c 203 à CPUs
October 14, 2007 12:59:45 AM

Hmm, now I'm starting to think - maybe I should just get the Q6600 G0
stepping and overclock it to 3.0 GHz. It'll definitely be better in the
long run, even if the newer 45nm CPUs come out... Will a 3.0 GHz Q6600
be pretty close to a stock E6850 in single-threaded games?
said:
Hmm, now I'm starting to think - maybe I should just get the Q6600 G0
stepping and overclock it to 3.0 GHz. It'll definitely be better in the
long run, even if the newer 45nm CPUs come out... Will a 3.0 GHz Q6600
be pretty close to a stock E6850 in single-threaded games?
Maybe the better question would be:
- Will a 3.0 GHz Q6600
be pretty close to a 3.6Ghz E6850 in single-threaded games?

Would you overclock the Q6600 but not OC the E6850? Probably not and taking the Q6600 to 3Ghz (25% or 9x340FSB) should be compared to the E6850 pushing close to 3.8Ghz. Even a 20% OC would have the E6850 @ 3.6Ghz (9x400FSB). At those speeds (E6850 @ 3.6Ghz and Q6600 @ 3Ghz) you'll start to notice higher performance in any single threaded game that isnt yet GPU limited. And the gap between multicore games like Supreme Commander and Lost Planet will narrow.


October 14, 2007 5:17:45 AM

First of all, Kamrooz and WR2 - ty so much for such detailed help! =D

I'm starting to think I will probably get the Q6600 if they have the G0 stepping version, and OC it to 3.0 GHz or so. I'd use the Cooler Master GeminII CPU cooler for now, since its very cheap and the only one I can get from the local shop at this time. If I can get my hands on a better cooler later on, I'll try to grab one.

If I got the E6850, I doubt I'd be motivated enough to OC it that much... Maybe to 3.2~. At least not right away.

For the graphics card, the XFX version unfortunately is not avaliable at that shop, so I think I'll stick with eVGA and suffer the consequences of it being harder to resell later hehe (and also unable to OC it, it seems =( ).

I've compared the GA-P35x-DS3x mobos and of the 3 with 1 PCI-e 16x slot (I don't need a 2nd one), priced $105, $150 and $167 for GA-P35-DS3L, GA-P35-DS3R and GA-P35C-DS3R respectively, I think I'll get the cheapest one (the L one). It's only missing RAID support (which I probably won't need) and DDR3 support (since the mobo's only $100, it'll be easier to upgrade it when DDR3 becomes the standard), so why not.

RAM - I can get the Crucial one, if it uses the better Micron chips. Just unsure if I should get 4 GB right away or stick with 2... If I ever switch to Vista, it'll probably like having more than 2 GB to waste on nothing. :/  Most likely I'll get 2 now, it should suit my needs quite well for now and I'll use Windows XP.

Power supply - Again, only the Corsair 620W one is avaliable at the shop. I really don't wanna deal with buying many components online right now, it's just too much hassle in Canada. I can deal with buying a cooler online, but not something I can't run the system without - if it takes weeks to get here and ends up being more expensive (1. since it's a better quality, more expensive item, and 2. all the shipping and duty taxes fees). The Corsair 620W PSU seems like a very good quality unit, so hopefully it'll be all right. Thanks for all the suggestions and useful info Kamrooz.
October 14, 2007 5:24:08 AM

I just have one more concern about the Corsair 620W PSU, you said:

"It [Silverstone] also comes with a 8 pin PCI-E connector for newer graphics cards. While the HX620 doesn't. You can get the 8 pin connector from corsair but you have to call them and ask for it...As well as pay for shipping for the modular cable."

What exactly does that mean to me if I do get the Corsair and a 8800GTX? Is there no way to power it without that 8 pin connector, or is it just a matter of convenience or something?
a c 203 à CPUs
October 14, 2007 11:34:49 AM

shurcooL said:
I'm starting to think I will probably get the Q6600 if they have the G0 stepping version, and OC it to 3.0 GHz or so. I'd use the Cooler Master GeminII CPU cooler for now, since its very cheap and the only one I can get from the local shop at this time. If I can get my hands on a better cooler later on, I'll try to grab one.

The Corsair PSU will be better than alright. And unless you get one thats been sitting on the shelves for a couple months (not likely -it's a popular PSU) you'll get a Corsair with the 8 (6+2) pin connectors. Not that it matters to you right away as the 8800GTX uses two 2x6 pin PCI-e connectors (only the ATI HD 2900XT/Pro are currently using an 8 pin connector). Here is a review of the Corsair HX620 @HardwareCanuks that highlights performance vs. Silverstone 650DA that was also suggested. Note the comments about the 8 pin connectors. The Corsair also has nice power cable lengths which is most important if you get a bottom mounted PSU case like the Antec 900 or CM RC-690.

RAM - As Kamrooz said its easier to OC with 2x1GB than 4x1GB or 2x2GB. Since you've settled on the Q6600 and want to OC to the 3Ghz range you wont actually be OC'ing your RAM even if you stick with the DDR2 800 (2x400FSB = 800 rating). To get a 3Ghz OC on the Q6600 you'd have the FSB pushed to 333Mhz (333Mhz x 9 = 2997Mhz or 2.97Ghz). Since you're not going to be OC'ing your RAM it isnt as important to choose superior OCing RAM.

RAID - Friends don't let friends do RAID on personal general purpose and gaming systems. It's more hassle and potential problems than most people need in their PCs.

CPU/Cooling - I don't think you'll regret choosing the Q6600 even if you don't overclock. Its still a powerful CPU at 2.4Ghz. But its also so very easy to overclock anyway [:wr2:5] . Since you arent looking for extreme overclock results I'm pretty there won't be any need to replace the CM GeminII CPU cooler. Its 85% of extreme performance cooling for a 50% price point [:wr2] . I always recommend running a system at stock for at least two weeks for a shakedown period. After that OC in increments (for example 2 weeks at 2.7Ghz 300Mhz x 9) toward your top goal.
October 14, 2007 3:34:42 PM

Awesome, thanks WR2!

I've done some more research and looking around, and this is what I came up with.

PSU: Corsair HX620 - most likely with the newer 8-pin PCI-e connectors
I think the local shop has the new ones with the 8-pin connectors. Even if not, I'll just have to get them from Corsair so I won't be missing out on much (just added hassle).

CPU: Q6600 G0 stepping - Woot, the local shop has the G0 version!

Cooler: Thermalright ULTRA-120 Extreme
I found it on Canadadirect.com for $50, so I think I'll grab it. It'll let me OC my Q6600 G0 more safely and probably a lot further.

Fan for Cooler: Scythe S-flex Sff21f - it's a great one - thanks Kamrooz.
Local shop has em for $17. :D 

Thermal grease for CPU cooler: Arctic Silver 5 3.5g - Apparently its really good, and for only $8 why not get it.
Local shop is out of stock, but I'll get it from canadirect along with the cooler. Might as well go for the best CPU air cooling I can, and this'll help.

Mobo: Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L (wow, I've actually memorized this by now lol)
It's cheap ($105), has all the features I need, fits the Ultra 120 Extreme and will be easy to replace later (since it's cheap) when I need to upgrade (be it DDR3 or PCI-E 2.0 or RAID, etc.). Supposed to overclock pretty well also, if it's the same as the GA-P35C-DS3R anyway (it should be, other than the missing DDR3/RAID support).

RAM: This is the only part I'm still unsure about. 2x1gb=2gb or 2x(2x1gb)=4 gb? Crucial or Corsair? CAS4? If I understand correctly, I won't need to overclock ram unless I go past 3.6 GHz on the Q6600, is that correct? At 3.6 GHz the FSB would be 400 Mhz, meaning 800 Mhz for DDR2... eh.. Need to read up more on this. :/ 
October 14, 2007 10:01:09 PM

Another update: I nearly bought everything (but the monitor) today. But the local shop had run out of the GA-P35-DS3L mobos, and I can't find it anywhere else in Toronto. So it looks like I'll be ordering it from Directcanada.com, along with the cooler+thermal grease.

I did buy the Corsair HX620W, Scythe SFF21F fan for the future CPU cooler, and the WD Raptor.

Now, I have to find out the following. Does the newer Corsair HX620W PSU that comes with the 8-pin PCI-E connector have a different looking box or any way to find out without looking inside the box? Because on my box it doesn't mention it, and there are no stickers. So does that mean mine doesn't have the newer version with 8-pin PCI-E, or is there still a chance it might have it inside?

I'll keep it unopened for now, and I can exchange it during the next 7 days if they'll have a newer shipment of them, hopefully it'll be one with the 8-pin PCI-E connector. Although this is all very useless at this time, hehe.
October 14, 2007 10:25:43 PM

Just woke up..otherwise I would of replied sooner..

For the PSU..If you go with either the Corsair 620HX, or the Silverstone 650DA....Both are fantastic cpu's. Only reason I recommended the silverstone is because most people nab the HX620 which is a tier 2 psu...While the silverstone 650DA is a Tier 1...It also already comes with the 8 pin PCI-E connector already packaged. Note though...You won't really need the 8 pin PCI-E connector now unless you have a ATI 2900 series card...I'm not sure about the 8800 though as I haven't had the pleasure of looking at one in terms of its connectors..Heck you can still power the 2900 with two 6 pin connectors...or one 6 pin and a 8 pin which would unlock the overdrive function...But as time rolls on most newer cards will adapt the 8 pin...So it'd be nice to have. You can still get it from corsair if you get the 620hx..Just give them a ring. But yea, I just recommended the 650DA because it's tier 1...and the same price as the Corsair HX620...which most people don't realize. the 650DA is tier 1...while it's bigger brothers (750 and 850 versions) are tier 2.

Regarding the ram. If you aren't going to be oc'ing above and beyond 3 ghz then no need to worry. I wouldn't recommend spending a large amount of money on ram. If you're just going to 3ghz...pc2 6400 will do you fine. I would recommend the Crucial Baliistix modules here....

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

Fantastic chips for the price. They run D9GMH microns. For the money they are a great value...

Choice is yours though on what you want. The only 2x2 gb D9 micron modules I know are the mushkin modules.

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

But do keep in mind chip densities come into play as well. 2x2 atm simply doesn't OC as well as 2x1 modules. But even so you should be able to hit your oc with these if you want to get 2x2..You're not going to be pushing them very hard to begin with. But if not you can grab the crucial sticks. OCZ just released some tasty 2x2 kits...

http://www.ocztechnology.com/products/memory/ocz_ddr2_p...

I just posted on their forum asking what IC's they use. As soon as they respond I'll post back if you're interested at all. If they use d9 micron it's worth nabbing...But even so the crucial ballistix are great modules as well. they use D9GMH d9 microns...Stay with either D9GMH or D9GKX....IMO D9GKX would oc farther with tighter timings..But they are rarer now-a-days....Since you're not oc'ing that far I'd just nab some D9GMH modules.


edit--

Bah..typed this up when you were typing..ohh well...lol

Regarding the Corsair 620hx. That's what I was mentioning. They do NOT come with the 8 pin. You don't NEED the 8 pin for a 8800 GTX...only the 2900 ATM..but in the future cards will begin adapting the 8 pin if they need the extra power draw. the 650DA comes with the 8 pin which Is why I recommended it. If you want a 8 pin connector just call corsair. They will ship it to you...the connector is free but you have to pay shipping. Choice is yours though if you REALLY REALLY want to have it...

edit--

BTW..regarding the mobo..grab that one or either the p35-DS3R...try to stay away from the ddr2/ddr3 version that has both...numerous people have had problems with dual memory boards.
October 14, 2007 10:34:56 PM

Kamrooz said:
But yea, I just recommended the 650DA because it's tier 1...and the same price as the Corsair HX620...which most people don't realize. the 650DA is tier 1...while it's bigger brothers (750 and 850 versions) are tier 2.

Hi, thanks again, I just wanted to quickly reply to that.

The forum thread you provided says the opposite:

Tier 1 Brands - The Most Powerful And Stable Components On The Market
Silverstone OP/DA >700W

Tier 2 Brands - Top Quality components With Top Notch Stability - For Those With Price/Availability Issues With Tier 1
Silverstone OP/DA <700W

Either way, I've already bought the Corsair HX620W. Now I'm trying to find out if the newer ones with the 8-pin PCI-e cables included look any different from the outside (ie. a slightly different box, serial number or a sticker attached to it). The one I got doesn't seem to mention anything about it, so either it's the older version, or they both look the same. If I don't open it now, I can exchange it within 7 days for a (hopefully) newer relased one.
October 14, 2007 10:45:47 PM

Bah...I checked once way back never bothered to double check. Indeed my bad on that. Phew...Well they are both tier 2 then...still good..lol..

Regarding the hx620...Not sure regarding the new boxed models. It should state on the box....Unless they didn't care for it which I really doubt...But yea..tried to give a search via google but seems difficult to pull any info on it....I haven't really looked into if they even released a new model..But not pulling up anything worth noting on google.
October 14, 2007 10:49:40 PM

All right, no worries about the newer HX620W box. I guess I'll open it later and find out.

I was typing a response in another IE window, but it froze up. I was just saying that I'll be getting the GA-P35-DS3L if I can, and if not, then the GA-P35-DS3R. No need for a DDR3-supporting board, as it'll be cheaper to upgrade it to a better (at the time) mobo when DDR3 becomes the standard.
October 14, 2007 10:53:49 PM

Oh, just one more thing. I think I've got all the info I need about everything now, so thanks for everything. I just wanted to add that I might go as far as 3.6 GHz on that Q6600 G0 with the Thermaright Ultra 120 Extreme. If that changes your RAM recommendations at all (I think that's still within the 800 MHz non-OCed-limit that the regular DDR2 800 MHz PC2-6400 RAM supports).

Actually, I just thought of another point. I might as well order the XFX version of GeForce 8800GTX from Directcanada.com also, and I see they have a slightly overclocked version for the same price. Does that sound like a good buy to you?

All 3 XFX 8800GTX they have
$575 - XFX GeForce 8800GTX Extreme 600MHZ 768MB 1.9GHZ GDDR3 Dual DVI-I HDTV Out HDCP DIRECTX10 Video Card
October 14, 2007 11:20:20 PM

That's definitely interesting. seems to be cheaper then the 575 clocked version. If so nab it..lol..

Regarding the OC..it depends on the multiplier you are using. But I've read of people going above 1000 rated speed on the 800 rated modules. So you'll be fine with it. If you want to be safe although and be within the spec rating you can nab the 1066 modules..

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

Choice is yours though. But just remember that the bus speed is quad pumped for the rated FSB. The multiplier works against the bus speed to bring out the speed of your processor. wheter it be 7x, 8x, 9x, etc is up to you. Running a bus speed of 400 with a 9x multiplier would get you 3.6 ghz...Also just take the bus speed at double it for what your memory would be running at for a 1:1 ratio.

Choice is yours on which you take though..For my new rig I'm going to nab some water cooling and 1066 modules...can't wait to oc the new penryns ^_^...although it's a few months down the road >_<.
October 14, 2007 11:23:07 PM

Isn't the multiplier locked to 9 on the Q6600? It's only the Extreme (with an X in the code name) Core 2's that have an unlocked multiplier, from what I've read. Isn't that true? So yea, I was thinking of keeping it at 9 (since I think it's locked) times 400 FSB = 3.6 GHz and memory at 800 MHz.
October 14, 2007 11:35:56 PM

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/240284-29-9x333-8x375...

I'm actually not sure since I don't own a C2D...This rig is ancient..3.2 prescott. But I've read many times that it is locked while I see threads like that. Overall since I don't have a c2d or overclocked one...never really took it into account to find out..I believe that one has to be unlocked though...as everyone states q6600 are locked at 9x...but not sure..
October 14, 2007 11:41:27 PM

Oh, I think I found out. It's unlocked, but 9x is max. Meaning you can go 9x or 8x or 7x, etc. lower is unlocked, but higher than 9 is locked. Not 100% sure if this is correct, but that's what someone said.
October 15, 2007 3:58:40 AM

I've made the online order from DirectCanada.com for everything but the CPU and Monitor. Hopefully it'll work out well. xFingersx. Read the 3rd update on Oct. 14 in the original post for info on my choices. Thanks to all for help so much, couldn't have done it without ya! :p 
October 15, 2007 4:37:16 AM

everything looks good..Although I would of nabbed the crucial sticks still. Corsair swapping out for cheaper IC's is a bit dissapointing..Personally I would never settle for anything but microns...You can tighten the timings on them pretty well and have lots of OC headroom...considering how cheap they are in price also makes them a fantastic buy....100% quality ram.

regardless though nice rig...I would of only had a difference in the ram purchase...enjoy it though ^_^.
a c 203 à CPUs
October 15, 2007 10:08:12 PM

Wow;
Going from a 3Ghz overclock target to a 3.6Ghz target. Thats a full 1.2Ghz & 50% over the stock 2.4Ghz.
Thats in the range I'd call extreme. After you've found out how high you can run the CPU you might want to think about a 3.2Ghz (400mhz x 8 multi or 360 x 9) for 24/7 operations.
Keep us posted on how the build goes and what you end up with as top and 24/7 performance
October 15, 2007 11:07:24 PM

Yea, I probably will keep it at around 3 for a while and go higher later if needed.

Btw, I opened the Corsair HX620W PSU box (couldn't wait any longer) and it did have the 6+2 PCI-E connectors! So everything's perfect so far. Now I just hope the online shipment arrives. They've already processed the order, but haven't shipped it yet.
October 22, 2007 7:10:21 PM

Ok, this is my current status.

I got the shipment from DirectCanada.com last Thursday, but it was missing the video card. I called them, and they said it was unavaliable at the time, but it's coming in from their other warehouse, and I should have it sometime early this week. Hope so.

Anyway, meanwhile, last Friday I bought the last two items: the Q6600 G0 stepping CPU and an ATI Radeon HD2400 Pro 256 MB (gonna return it when I get the 8800GTX - I just needed a cheap PCI EXpress video card meanwhile to test the system). I put the system together the same day, and have been messing around with it over the weekend.

Unfortunately, I'm far from satisfied with the experience so far. The system seems very unstable at times, and often it gives me blue screens/reboots and such. I haven't even gotten to overclocking it yet - it's that unstable at normal speeds! =/

I'm really not sure what the problem is. It might be the software causing instability (namely the EasyTune5 utility from Gigabyte that adjusts some BIOS settings), because when I go into BIOS and reset the settings to defaults, it seems to work fine until I load up the EasyTune5 utility (it usually starts at Windows start-up).

At first I installed Windows XP, but that did not go very smoothly. After the clean install, it didn't have networking/USB 2.0 and no sound. But when I was installing the chipset drivers from the Mobo CD, the installation froze and left them half-way installed (I'm guessing, as the networking worked afterwards, but the rest didn't). A lot of applications I tried kept crashing and it did not feel very stable in general.

Then I tried a fresh install of Vista. At first, everything was really smooth, but later on I ran into problems. When I was running the Everest system stability test, after a min or two it kept failing. When I dled UT3 Demo and ran the setup, it gave me BSOD twice.

I guess I'll wait for the 8800 to arrive and start over again (with Win XP) - this time without installing the EasyTune5 and just working with BIOS manually. Hopefully that'll keep the system more stable...

Also, so far I can get the Q6600 to idle at around 29 degrees C at the lowest (when I set the CPU fan to max RPM), is that good? I'm unsure because I see 5 temperatures for the CPU in Everest: Just the regular "CPU temperature" which is usually 29-34 degs C at idle, and also a "Core n temperature" for all 4 cores, which usually are around 10-25 degres higher than the regular CPU temp (at about 40-55 degs C). Which one should I be looking at? Is it normal for Core 1 temp to be that high (55~ish)? The regaulr "CPU temperature" also jumps up from 30~ to 45~ degs C when under full load (all 4 cores at 100%) in about 3-5 seconds. :|
October 23, 2007 12:25:17 AM

I've tried overclocking it a bit from the BIOS. Got it to 3.2 GHz (8x400), and it seems to be more stable than at the stock speed. At stock clocks, I couldn't even get Super Pi Mod 1.5 to complete the calculations for 2M digits (it kept freezing as soon as it started, or after a few seconds of running). Only Super Pi 1.11e worked ocassionally. Now it seems to work better, but I still doubt it's 100% stable. =/

Just look at the insane (12 degrees C) difference between temps of Cores 1, 4 and 2, 3! Is that normal? Or did I not apply the thermal grease correctly? :S

a c 203 à CPUs
October 23, 2007 2:26:41 PM

The EasyTune software doesnt have a great reputation but some people use it with it a lot of success. Have you checked for any available updates? Have the latest BIOS installed? Overclocking from BIOS is where you'll probably get the best results.

Usually CPU is the temp measured on the heatspreader of the CPU itself while the other temps (core temps) are measured inside on the silicon.

Temps look good/safe for Q6600 stepping 0 (from this thread Core 2 Quad and Duo Temperature Guide)
-Tcase/Tjunction- (casing/core)
--70--/--80--80--80--80-- Hot
--65--/--75--75--75--75-- Warm
--60--/--70--70--70--70-- Safe
--25--/--35--35--35--35-- Cool
It looks like core 1 & 4 are running during the stress test and core 2 & 3 are idle.

It would have been impossible to have a thermal compound error on the CPU heatspreader and have such a good result under stress. There might be a configuration option to have Everest use all four cores.
Time for you to spend some time in the overclocking forum now, reading the guides there and learning the ins and outs of FSB/RAM ratios, memory dividers, timings and voltages. 3.2Ghz stable at what looks like stock vcore isnt bad.
October 23, 2007 6:54:20 PM

Thanks WR2. To answer your questions, I was using the latest EasyTune5 (dled the latest version, and checked for updates from within the app). I've also flashed to the latest BIOS version for my board (it's F5 now, was F4 originally).

Thanks for the info about the temps. I've done some more reading around (including that great link you provided), and I have a much better understanding of the temps now.

I don't think cores 1 and 4 are getting any more load than 2 and 3, since all 4 cores were under 100% load. Also, the 8-12 degs C difference is always there. Be it at load or idle, at 2.4 GHz or 3.2. According to that C2Q guide, it shouldn't be that high:

"(C) Offsets between Cores of up to 5c for Quad`s and 3c for Duo`s are normal."

One of the C2D/C2Q overclocking guides (http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/240001-29-howto-overc...) had the following picture for applying AS5:



I've used MUCH much less AS5 than that! Probably one fifth of that amount. It wasn't a nice thick line like that, but a squished faint line. I had no idea it was supposed to be thick like that.

So here's what I'm gonna do. First of all, I'll try playing around with Vcore a bit. Right now it's set to auto, and I'll try to set it manually to 1.25 or 1.3 or so, and see if that makes the system stable at 2.4 GHz. The problem right now is, it's not 100% stable at ANY speed, even stock!

Then, in a few days when I have time, I'll take off the heat sink, and reapply it again, this time using a bit more AS5. I'll also check how flat the CPU and Heat sink are with a razor - I only eyeballed it when I was installing it.

I'm really hoping that adding a bit voltage will make the system 100% stable at 2.4 GHz, at least then I'll know not all hope is lost. Cuz right now I'm thinking maybe I should exchange the mobo or CPU (or RAM? I have no idea what's the problem) for a new one. :Z

PS. What is the default Vcore (CPU voltage) for a Q6600 G0? I can't really find the answer on any official sources.
a c 203 à CPUs
October 24, 2007 4:13:19 AM

Im not sure what the stock VCore for a stepping 0 is but 1.130v comes to mind. Best way to check is to clear all CMOS setting to default and make notes on the settings.

Before you start talking about mobo or CPU exchanges you have to look at what options you're using for the RAM.
I'd set the FSB/RAM ratio to 1:1, loosen up the timings and decide what your RAM voltages should be set at.
Then go back and test to get stable at stock before you start overclock testing.

Unless you see any signs of CPU overheat I'd not change anything you've done so far. Your temps are in good shape.
October 25, 2007 4:00:26 AM

Phew, it seems that things are getting better, I got the system to be pretty stable and not crash/BSOD/freeze randomly. I've upped the CPU voltage a bit (to 1.27~ in BIOS, but it shows up as 1.23 in cpuz at idle/1.184 at full load), and also played somewhat with the RAM settings (upped to 2.0v from 1.8v, set timings to 4-4-4-12 and lots of other misc. changes). Most importantly, I got Windows XP Pro to install properly by using an install disk with SP2 slipstreamed. That made things go much more smoother!

However, there's still the problem with the CPU core temps. Both Core Temp 0.95.4 beta and Everest show the same readings more or less. 2 of the cores are always about 10 degrees higher than the CPU casing temperature, and the other 2 cores are usually 1-3 degrees C lower(!) - something that is physically impossible. In fact, sometimes those 2 lower core temps are below the MOBO temps - which means something is definitely not right.

Take a look at these 3 screens. The most strange thing is, most often it's cores 1,4 that are higher and 2,3 that are lower, but other times THEY SWITCH their temperatures around in REAL-TIME (like once every few seconds)! Incredible, isn't it?

- Running 1 instance of SuperPiMod, notice cores 1,4 running hotter, cores 2,3 running cooler than CPU temp AND mobo temp!
- Same thing happens even under full 100% load on all 4 cores, cores 2&3 are still running cooler than CPU temp, or so the sensors say.
- This time around (still full 100% load), it's suddenly cores 1,2 running hot, and cores 3 & 4 running cool!

There are 2 things I can do... First is take out the mobo, remove the cpu, clean it off (check its and the HS' flatness) and reapply the heat sink+AS5 from scratch. And see if it fixes the sensors/temps somehow.

Or I could just skip that step and try to exchange the CPU for another one (I bought it locally, so it's not a big hassle; unlike the mobo, which I got online). Since it's the inner core temperature sensors that are whacko, I'm guessing it's most likely the CPU, or maybe the Mobo, or even something I did wrong while installing one into the other. =/

Edit: Just wanted to add another observation, there are times when Everest is showing one set of cores as hot/cold (ie. 1&4, 2&3) while Core Temp 0.95.4 shows a different combination (ie. 1&2, 3&4) - but this is probably due to the update frequence as it doesn't last long (it happens when the cores 'swap' their temps around, I guess).
a c 203 à CPUs
October 25, 2007 8:07:29 AM

On the whole it sounds like you're making progress. IMO....:
(1) Your temps are still fine! Do not take out the mobo, do not remove the cpu, do not etc etc etc .. Relax a bit.
(2) Your memory timings (4-4-4-12) are tight! You didn't mention what RAM divider you're using. RAM should be #1 suspect for stability issues.
(3) "and lots of other misc. changes" Unless you are changing 1 thing at a time how will you know what change makes your system unstable during overclock? Start with a fully stable system. That means stable at 266FSB, stock voltages and your RAM divider set to 1:1 (making your RAM DDR2 533) and with timings of 5-5-5-15. Test it lots! You'll use your knowledge of the base line stable tests to better understand what is happening during OC'ing.
(4) Relax some more. Your temps are still fine. When you overclock the motherboard temps (usually measured at northbridge heatsink) do go up. Your motherboard temps looked OK here: http://img86.imageshack.us/img86/4621/cputemps2kf7.jpg

"2 of the cores are always about 10 degrees higher than the CPU casing temperature, and the other 2 cores are usually 1-3 degrees C lower(!) -something that is physically impossible".
Yes is is possible. Think about it and come up with the answer why it is possible. You want to understand what your system is doing during overclocking. (to be fair it may not be the exact case of why your core temps are different)

"The most strange thing is, most often it's cores 1,4 that are higher and 2,3 that are lower, but other times THEY SWITCH their temperatures around in REAL-TIME (like once every few seconds)! Incredible, isn't it? "
What is strange about that? Lower temps mean the core is cooler because its not working as hard as the other cores? Isn't that what you would expect? The Temps over time also look OK.

(5) It looks like you have SpeedStep still enabled? I saw a x6.0 multiplier in there somewhere. During stability and OC testing have it set off. There maybe other items to have set off for testing and OC. Check the OC'ing guides again.

(6) Ok, yes you may have an issue with your HSF mating the CPU IHS that is skewing the temp reports. But unless the temps spike too high (over 65C at stock) during stress testing then its a secondary problem to getting a stable system! Get it stable, test it, and then go on from there. I don't know enough about Everest to know it might be contributing to skewed temp results. Try some other bencharks like four instances of Prime95 (one for each core) while watching the temps over time report.
October 25, 2007 9:38:58 PM

shurcooL said:
Ok, this is my current status.

I got the shipment from DirectCanada.com last Thursday, but it was missing the video card. I called them, and they said it was unavaliable at the time, but it's coming in from their other warehouse, and I should have it sometime early this week. Hope so.



BTW, I usually go to TD for my stuff but I did pick up a EVGA 8800GTX at filtech cause it was a lot cheaper($539).

So is their Q6600 Retail Box($279), too late I guess.

http://www.filtechcomputer.com/

EDIT: just noticed TD has a cheap 8800GTX http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item..."

$534 (- $35 Rebate, even thoug those things are a rip off), but you do get a nice T-Shirt ;-)" target="_blank">http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item..."

$534 (- $35 Rebate, even thoug those things are a rip off), but you do get a nice T-Shirt ;-)
October 26, 2007 4:03:58 AM

Thanks for the info, SpeedyVV, but I've already paid for everything (but the monitor, gonna hold off on that for a bit). The same eVGA 8800GTX is like $540 now on the site where I ordered it for $560 2 weeks ago. So much for 1-3 business day processing. But I did call them today, and the guy said it's been finally shipped, so hopefully I'll have it tomorrow! =D

Sorry not to follow your advice WR2, which I do appreciate, but I really had to fix that under-usage of AS5 on the heatsink.

So I took it off, the CPU too, cleaned them both (there was barely any AS5 on either, it covered maybe 20% of the surface with a tiny thin layer), and re-mounted everything. This time using a nice thick line of AS5. I've eyeballed the CPU, and it seemed pretty flat, but when I put up a razor blade against the TR U120E, it was flat along one direction (the same that the AS5 application line goes), but slightly convex in the perpendicular direction! So I guess it's really important to use quite a bit of thermal compound in my case so that it'll fill in the gaps between CPU/HS.

Let's just say the results speak for themselves - the average CPU case/Cores temperatures have dropped by 10 degrees C at full load.

Here are the temps at full load on all four cores at 3.2 GHz (8x400), CPU is 38~ and 2 of the cores 40~, other 2 (this time 1st and 3rd - first time I see this combination) 50~. It used to be exactly 10 degrees higher before.



I've also tried using SpeedFan 4.33. It actually shows that all 4 cores have about equal temps (something that both Everest and Core Temp do not show), however all 4 of the core temps seemed to be 25 degrees lower? As you can see in the screenshot, I've added an offset of 25 to all. From what I've read, that offset should usually be 15 degrees C. But also the delta between CPU case and Core temps should be around 10~ degs, not zero. =\

I think I might keep the CPU since it seems to give good temps and runs pretty smoothly so far at the higher voltage (set to 1.281 in BIOS, appears as 1.23~ in CPUz at idle and 1.84~ at full load)... And just accept the fact it kinda has messed up Digital Thermal Sensors. ;|
October 27, 2007 2:40:08 AM

Wow, I got my 8800GTX today! :D 

56668 3D Marks in 3DMark2001 SE (default, 1024x),
18673 3D Marks in 3DMark05 (default, 1024x),
30k XSMarks in GL Excess (1280x1024),
130~ fps in UT3 Demo (at 1280x1024, max settings),
300-500 fps in Re-Volt, etc.

That's with the CPU at 3.2 GHz, mem at 800 MHz 4-4-4-12, and default nvidia drivers v163.75 - I haven't touched any options in it yet (this is my first nVidia card, I've always used ATI in the past).

Now I just need to get a monitor that's not broken, so I can see all the cool effects this thing's putting out in all their glory, hehe.
October 27, 2007 4:55:47 AM

Another satisfied nVidia customer :D 
October 28, 2007 6:54:38 PM

I was thinking about the monitor and decided to go for 22" or 24", spending about $300-550~ before taxes. Between the two sizes, I'm thinking 24" is better since it's more futureproof for desktop/internet/development/movies, but somewhat less long-lasting for games (ie. I'd have to upgrade the video card very often to keep up with the newer games and have them run smoothly at 1920x1200). I could always play at lower res (1680x1050) even on a 24" monitor, it would almost be the same at 1:1 pixel mapping mode.

So I was considering Samsung and recently LG. I don't want Dell because I'd rather buy locally so I can return easily/not wait for shipping.

I've looked at these models (going from least to most interested in):
-22" Samsung 225BW/226BW (S version is best, but there are also the A/C which aren't as good) using a TN panel - $340
-24" Samsung 245B using a TN panel, but according to digitalversus.com it has some pretty bad ghosting...; also I'm not sure if it supports 1:1 pixel mapping - $500
-24" LG 245WP/246WP(-BN) - uses MVA panel, seems to have much more features (1:1 pixel, rotation+height+tilt+swivel, component input, Picture in Picture, USB, pc audio out) than Samsung 245B - $550

Since I can get the LG one for only $550, at the moment it's looking as the best buy. How does it compare to the Samsung 245B? The Samsung 244T is very expensive ($680) but is probably more equal to the LG, but I don't wanna pay that much.

Also, anyone know the difference between:
LG 245WP/246WP and 256WP-BN? I'm guessing the -BN just means black. Where as for 245/256 one is glossy and the other isn't... Is it the panel, or the outside case though?
October 29, 2007 6:43:10 PM

Ok, so I'm between a rock and a hard place. I've narrowed down my choice to either LG 24" 246WP-BN or Samsung 24" 245BW, but I can't decide between the two. I went to Future Shop today and compared the two side by side (connected to different computers, however), and the choice should be clear to go for the LG but it's not for 2 reasons:
1. The Samsung 245BW seems to have slightly better colours/picture quality than LG, and I've tried many different Vista desktop backgrounds - the Samsung always came out with a brighter and more vivid, better looking image
2. The LG seems to have slightly blurry text/pixels, as if it wasn't "in focus", compared to Samsung which has a much sharper image

I really want to get the LG (because of its plethora of extra features and better specs), but those 2 reasons are making me unsure.

I've tried messing around with the LG's options, set its thing to sRGB like suggested, had it perform auto-calibration for the resolution and everything, but to no avail. The Samsung 245BW still had better looking colours and sharper text.

However, both monitors were connected via VGA. They both were using 'Generic PnP Display' driver. I'm REALLY hoping that's the reason LG did worse, and under a properly configured, DVI-connection with proper drivers and some sort of colour calibration, the problems of text-fuzziness and duller colours on the LG would no longer be there compared to the Samsung.
Do you guys think that'll be the case?

Here's my current plan. I still wanna buy the monitor today cuz I'm unpatient and plus I can still get those $50 off (I talked to a sales guy there, he'll hook me up even tho apparently the sale ended at 9 AM today lol), and I think I'll get the LG and hope it'll be better in a properly configured and calibrated environment (I have no idea about monitor calibration atm, I'll have to research that) like my home, plus it'll be a different box (maybe the display model is somewhat defective?). In any case, I'll have 14 days to return the monitor if I don't like it.

One last thing I can do before buying, is swap the two monitors so that they're connected to the other computer, and see if maybe it's the video card on the computer that the LG was connected to that was giving a bad VGA signal or something (whereas the Samsung was connected to a good video card). If that doesn't help... I don't even know. I like the Samsung's image quality so much more.

Edit: Just to clarify, I've compared both monitors at their native resolution of 1920x1200 @ 60 Hz - so that's not it.
a c 341 à CPUs
October 29, 2007 8:51:26 PM

It is possible that the reason that the colors and text did not look right on the LG monitor is that it might be only a 6 bit color display instead of 8 bit. The specs on the LG site do not say, and I think if it were better, they would tout it. The samsung can display 16.7m colors((8bit) vs the unknown on the lg which I suspect is only 16.2 or 6 bit.
I do like a 176 degree viewing angle vs. the samsung 160 degree. In the end, Get the one that looks the best to you. You will be looking at it for a long time. I would even suggest that if you need to spend more, consider it to get the best. If you really want to test them properly, connect them both to the same video card that you will be using.
October 30, 2007 1:52:45 AM

I took the plunge and went for the LG 24" 256WP-BN (cost me CAD$495 after $55 off from the 1 day sale) - in fact I'm looking at it as I'm typing this! :D  Omg, it's just spectacular. I know even a 20" would probably be amazing in my eyes after a broken 17", but damn, sitting in front of this thing is like being in a movie theater... FIRST ROW!

I figured out why the LG seemed fuzzy, in the nVidia control panel there were some adjustments that I had for some reason missed. Image sharpening was set to 0%. Setting it to 40% made the picture 100% clear and sharp. Phew. Same with colours, just playing with the contrast and brightness a bit made the picture quality MUCH better and the colours VERY vivid!

My first impression so far is: WOW!!!!!!!!!!!! I love it. Even Crysis runs pretty smoothly at full 1920x1200 res, and it's just unbelievablely nice!

Thanks a TON to everyone for their input and comments with everything; I couldn't have built this amazing system without your help! Btw, to all others wondering about the Samsung 245BN - I think it's also a great monitor in terms of picture quality/colours/response time and (no) ghosting. The main reason I went for the LG is because it's packed with features which and is great for the price.
!