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New Gaming Rig Build (P5N32-E SLI/Q6700/8800GTX)

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October 17, 2007 7:51:57 PM

This build is used for light work and heavy gaming (typically RTS, RPG, strategy in 1280x1024 resolution or higher depending on load). Heat is sometimes a problem as I live in Florida and the ambient in the house is typically no lower than 75 F. I really don’t bother overclocking despite several good intentions to do so. The current build (late 2004) is as follows (asterik indicates will use with new system unless someone tells me it is a bad idea).

Monitor: Viewsonic P225f CRT*
Case: Silverstone SST-TJ06 windtunnel*
OS: Windows XP Home w/SP2*
PS: Silverstone SST-ST52F (520W Zeus)*
MoB: Asus A8V Deluxe (VIA K8T800 Pro/VT 8237)
CPU: Athlon 64 3500+ (sk939)
Mem: 2x1 GB OCZ EL PC3200
GPU: 1x BFG 6800 Ultra
Optical Drive: NEC ND 3500A (16x dual layer)*
Floppy/Reader: SIIG 9:1 Reader 2.0 JXR143900215*
Hard Drive: 1x Seagate 160 GB Sata II (7,200/8MB) ST3160827AS*
Sound: Sblaster Xi-Fi*
Spkrs: Cyber Acoustic A5640 5.1/140w*

So what we are looking at is the “standard” MoB/CPU/Mem/GPU replacement. Those existing components will be passed on to my son’s computer. Budget for upgrade is around $1,500, but I am willing to go up to $2,000 if it provides more bang/longer life.

Time frame is between now and early November. I keep saying I will wait for next year’s significant changes, but it seems like there is always something better 6 months down the road…so I am tired of waiting and want to have the new system up and running for the long Thanksgiving weekend.

Currently, I was thinking along these lines:

MoB: ASUS P5N32-E SLI Plus [$195]
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700 (LGA 775) [$540]
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mem: 2x1 GB OCZ DDR2 800 [$100]
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: 1x BFG 8800 GTX 768 MB (regular) [$530]
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

My thinking was that this will allow me to interim upgrade the processor and SLI the 8800 in a about 1.5 years.
I do have a couple of concerns:

(1) Is my power supply still good enough? (I know when I SLI I will probably need to upgrade)

(2) Do I also need to upgrade my optical and hard drives for better performance?

(3) Is Windows XP Professional a better choice than the Home version? Alternatively, should I go the Windows Vista route and opt for the 64-bit version and plop 4GB memory in it?

(4) Any significant events/releases scheduled to occur within next 30 days that would effect my proposed build/prices?

As always, your comments are very welcome.
October 17, 2007 8:13:06 PM

1_For single 8800GTX, its enough , but for 2 8800GTX its not

2_You have a good Optical Drive

3_XP professional is better for gaming , also XP is better than VISTA (for now) in games , i suggest u going with XP 64 , i love mine ,its very good (i also have vista 32 for watching movies and for some games that require vista)

4_I dont know but I havent heard anything will come out this month

Instead of Q6700 , get Q6600 and OC, even if u dont OC a Q6600 , the difference between Q6600 and Q6700 isnt much, by doing that u will some money , use that money and get 4GB RAM

overall it looks fine
October 17, 2007 8:38:31 PM

Heavy gaming huh?

If that's the case, go for Vista 64.

DX9 under Vista is on par with DX9 under XP. With a GTX, the difference will be negligable if any.

Plus, you'll already be ready for 64bit gaming if it ever comes and DX10.

I have a Q6600 and a GTX. Every games runs smooth as at 1680 x 1050 (max res of my monitor).

Another option is to dual boot, but IMO, it's not necessary, Vista is fine.
Related resources
October 24, 2007 1:18:52 AM

*** UPDATE ***

Thanks for the comments everyone. OK, based on comments and additional research over the past week, this is my current snap shot of the new build:

FROM EXISTING BUILD:
Monitor: Viewsonic P225f CRT
Case: Silverstone SST-TJ06 windtunnel
OS: Windows XP Home w/SP2
Floppy/Reader: SIIG 9:1 Reader 2.0 JXR143900215
Hard Drive: 1x Seagate 160 GB Sata II (7,200/8MB) ST3160827AS
Sound: Sblaster Xi-Fi
Spkrs: Cyber Acoustic A5640 5.1/140w

NEW COMPONENTS:
MoB: EVGA 680i A1 [$219]
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...

CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 [$285]
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...

Mem: 2x1 GB Corsair DDR2 1066 [$141 after $40 MIR]
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1682...

GPU: 1x EVGA 8800 GTX 768 MB (regular) [$529 after $40 MIR]
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...

PSU: PC P&C 750W Quad Silencer [$179]
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...

Optical: 2x Lite-On 20x DVD Burner (LH-20A1L) [$37 each]
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1682...

Add’l Hard Drive: WD Caviar SE16 750GB [$190]
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1682...

CPU Cooling: Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro 92mm [$20]
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1683...


I have a couple of remaining questions/concerns:

(1) I was torn between going 680i for SLI versus getting the ASUS P5K for DDR3 compatibility in the future. I figured there was more of a chance of me picking up an extra 6800 GTX in the next year than upgrading to DDR3 memory. But if I am missing some other benefit to the P35 express chipset, please let me know.

(2) I would very much like to use my current Temjin (TJ-06) Windtunnel case. Is anyone still using this one? Will I have any issues with fitting the above hardware in it? I am especially concerned about fitting that CPU cooler in the windtunnel itself. As there is only a few inches clearance.

-Note, I thought long and hard about the Vista/64 issue, and based on the fact that I still have a lot of very old games on my hard drive that I play frequently (Ascendancy, X-Com, etc.), I am going to hold out for another year or two.

Thanks for your continued input.

October 24, 2007 10:16:03 AM

1_Dont worry about DDR3 (Buy a DDR2 board with confidence), if u want SLI, that EVGA is a solid board , but if u dont want SLI, u can get a P35 board

2_I dont have this case , so i dont know

October 24, 2007 12:17:26 PM



I have both of these and they are running flawless for me:

ASUS P5N32-E SLI
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700



I have dual EVGA 8800 GTX cards@768 superclocked out of box

1x BFG 8800 GTX 768 MB (I'm sure this will work for you)

Powersupply should be SLI ready in description as there are two power plugs for each card that have to be plugged into the 8800 GTX cards

I'm using the Stacker 832 CoolerMaster Tower and it's awesome - maybe check into that - has lots of friendly features such as pull out interior so you can work on system out of the case easier etc..
October 24, 2007 2:16:20 PM

Quote:
1_Dont worry about DDR3 (Buy a DDR2 board with confidence), if u want SLI, that EVGA is a solid board , but if u dont want SLI, u can get a P35 board


I was under the impression that P35 chipset supported SLI, it was X38 that currently only supports CrossFire?
October 24, 2007 3:15:25 PM

I dont think p35 board supports SLI. Nvidia won't license to intel i believe.
I had the exact dilema as you're having (p35, evga 680i, or p5n), but i settled on p5n32-e sli board, (I forget why, I think better in benchmarks, and oc'ing, google it) .
Very very nice OC'ing ability's in the bios, and can hit into the 500's on the buss (and support for the new 45nm processors). But yea don't worry about ddr3 man.
If you push yur board to 500mhz(2000fsb) and run a 1:1 yur ram will be at about 1000mhz, and that reaper memory u want will take it with the right voltage, not to mention to cpu speed would be off the chain even for the new ones comin out.
So yea i'd say your good to go.



Peace.
October 24, 2007 3:20:02 PM

P35 and X38 support CrossFire (however if u hack the drivers , u can use SLI on a CrossFire board)
October 31, 2007 4:20:58 PM

*** FURTHER UPDATE ***

Thanks for the additional comments everyone. I am certainly glad I waited on this based on the initial reviews of the 8800GT, it looks like a no-brainer. Anyway, modified build looks like this

FROM EXISTING BUILD:
Monitor: Viewsonic P225f CRT
Case: Silverstone SST-TJ06 windtunnel
Floppy/Reader: SIIG 9:1 Reader 2.0 JXR143900215
Hard Drive: 1x Seagate 160 GB Sata II (7,200/8MB) ST3160827AS
Sound: Sblaster Xi-Fi
Spkrs: Cyber Acoustic A5640 5.1/140w

NEW COMPONENTS:
MoB: EVGA 680i A1 [$229 before $20 MIR]
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...

CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 (G0 step) [$280]
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...

Mem: 2x2 GB Patriot DDR2 800 [$195 before $25 MIR]
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: 1x EVGA 8800 GT 512 MB (regular) [approx $250 once stabilize]

PSU: Silverstone Zeus 850W [$190 before $40 MIR]
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Optical: 2x Lite-On 20x DVD Burner (LH-20A1L) [$37 each]
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1682...

Add’l Hard Drive: WD Caviar SE16 750GB [$190]
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1682...

CPU Cooling: Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro 92mm [$20]
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1683...

OS: Windows XP Professional 32-bit w/SP2B OEM [$140]
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Changes/reasons were as follows:

(1) Switched memory to 4GB so I am ready for Vista once it comes into vogue towards to the end of next year (I realize I will only "see" 3GB of it for now)

(2) Switch PSU for extra 100W as well as longer cables that will work well with my Silverstone case

(3) Switched graphics card for latest bang/buck (this may change mid-November if something else comes out better...)

(4) Added OS because I realized my son cannot use Windows 98SE with 2GB (he will use my existing XP Home edition).

This will leave me with an updgrade path of Vista/SLI/45nm CPU/+4GB Memory at some point in future.

Anyone see any problems with this final make-up? My plan is to pull the trigger mid-November (but before Thanksgiving) so that I can see what Nvideo will release.

Thanks for your continued input.
October 31, 2007 4:50:54 PM

looks very nice
October 31, 2007 5:46:20 PM

I would suggest getting the P5N32-E SLI rather than the Evga board. They are pretty much the same but the Asus is $5 less and you don't have to deal with a Mail in Rebate. If you get the Asus board I've had the best luck with the 1102 BIOS and am currently running my E6300 at FSB1600 for a speed of 2.8 stable, I've had the board stable up to FSB1900.
October 31, 2007 7:10:25 PM

Tampa_Gamer said:
*** FURTHER UPDATE ***

Thanks for the additional comments everyone. I am certainly glad I waited on this based on the initial reviews of the 8800GT, it looks like a no-brainer. Anyway, modified build looks like this

FROM EXISTING BUILD:
Monitor: Viewsonic P225f CRT
Case: Silverstone SST-TJ06 windtunnel
Floppy/Reader: SIIG 9:1 Reader 2.0 JXR143900215
Hard Drive: 1x Seagate 160 GB Sata II (7,200/8MB) ST3160827AS
Sound: Sblaster Xi-Fi
Spkrs: Cyber Acoustic A5640 5.1/140w

NEW COMPONENTS:
MoB: EVGA 680i A1 [$229 before $20 MIR]
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...

CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 (G0 step) [$280]
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...

Mem: 2x2 GB Patriot DDR2 800 [$195 before $25 MIR]
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: 1x EVGA 8800 GT 512 MB (regular) [approx $250 once stabilize]

PSU: Silverstone Zeus 850W [$190 before $40 MIR]
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Optical: 2x Lite-On 20x DVD Burner (LH-20A1L) [$37 each]
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1682...

Add’l Hard Drive: WD Caviar SE16 750GB [$190]
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1682...

CPU Cooling: Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro 92mm [$20]
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1683...

OS: Windows XP Professional 32-bit w/SP2B OEM [$140]
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Changes/reasons were as follows:

(1) Switched memory to 4GB so I am ready for Vista once it comes into vogue towards to the end of next year (I realize I will only "see" 3GB of it for now)

(2) Switch PSU for extra 100W as well as longer cables that will work well with my Silverstone case

(3) Switched graphics card for latest bang/buck (this may change mid-November if something else comes out better...)

(4) Added OS because I realized my son cannot use Windows 98SE with 2GB (he will use my existing XP Home edition).

This will leave me with an updgrade path of Vista/SLI/45nm CPU/+4GB Memory at some point in future.

Anyone see any problems with this final make-up? My plan is to pull the trigger mid-November (but before Thanksgiving) so that I can see what Nvideo will release.

Thanks for your continued input.


It is absolutely perfect.

OK, maybe change one of the Lite-On drives to a Samsung - you may discover that one drive is better for some things and the other is better for others, and it's nice to have a choice. Also, this way you get two different sets of software.

I'm not quite sure about the TJ06. It's a great case, but with an 80mm fan and two 120mm fans and no mounts for more fans, and a high ambient temperature, it may not cool well enough to handle two hot video cards and a quad. The 8800 GT is much hotter than the 8800 GTX, according to reviews. I got a TJ09 and added 3 more fans (SFF21E), for a total of five 120mm fans. There's also the CoolerMaster Stacker
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119103
which can handle 7 120mm fans.

Whatever case you use, make sure the PSU fits inside...

November 1, 2007 5:47:16 AM

i forgot to say , if u have the money for a 8800GTX ,go for it, as aevm said , a 8800gt is hotter, also 8800GTX is faster (in resolutions under 1920x1200, the difference isnt much , but in resolutions like 1920x1200 or higher, a 8800GTX is alot better) so if u can afford a GTX, go for it
!