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Building First PC - Need Comments

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October 29, 2007 5:47:42 PM

Sup guys! I've been planning, researching and renovating my components for the past few months now. And I plan on getting this baby by the end of the year so I'm making some final adjustments and was hoping I could get some feedback & suggestions on my final choice. But before I show my list I think there's a few important things you need to know, right? So I guess I'll start on that.

Well umm, simply I want abit of a power house PC but not something that's over the edge. For instance I'd like to play some of the lastest games smoothly and wants it to be compatible with DX 10. For now I plan on starting off with XP and will eventually switch to Vista. I hope I gave all you needed to know, if you need more info just ask.

Here's my list. The ony part I defiantly need help on is my CD-Drive. I want something that's generally fast, has burning capabilities and can also play DVD's. Any suggestions?

Corsair XMS2 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2 SDRAM 800 Dual Channel
Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 Dual Core Processor
Nvidia GeoForce XFX Extreme 8800GTS (320mb) Video Card
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic 7.1 Sound Card
Corsair HX PSU 520W Power Supply
Gigabyte DS4 Motherboard
Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000 1 Terabyte Hard Drive
Artic Cooling Pro 7 (Might Not Fit)
Lian Li PC-B20B Case
NEC 7170A CD-Drive

More about : building comments

October 29, 2007 6:16:06 PM

Quote:
For instance I'd like to play some of the lastest games smoothly and wants it to be compatible with DX 10. For now I plan on starting off with XP and will eventually switch to Vista. I hope I gave all you needed to know, if you need more info just ask.
Good plan here. Just wait for Vista to at least have SP1 released to patch / fix any major flaws. I'm assuming you already know the DX10 only works on Vista since you said you just want your system to be "DX10 compatible".

1. Ram is fine.

2. Processor is ok. For a few $$ more you can upgrade to a Q6600. Really up to you how "future-proof" you want your system though.

3. Don't get the GTS. Hold off and buy the 8800GT (I believe it's just being released today) Cheaper and almost as good as the 8800GTX.

4. Sound Card - Don't use one my self, but if you want to spend the extra cash, go for it.

5. Corsair is pretty good for PSU's, and it looks like that model has enough Amps per rail to cover your VGA's power consumption. (I managed to run my GTS 640mb on a 420w RAIDmax with a +12v @ 14A) Upgrade to a Silencer 750w Quad or equivalent if you plan on going down the SLI road at some point in time.

6. Pretty good motherboard. The DS3 is the same thing minus the SLI, but it looks like they're the same price on newegg right now. So, just stick with the DS4.

7. It's a hard drive. What else should I say?

8. It looks like it's going to be a tight fit in that case, but if you're not going to OC, then just keep the retail cooler (unless you're buying an OEM processor, in which case good job remembering a cooler).

9. Never used a Lian Li case. Looks weird to set up.

10. Try a Samsung or Asus brand DVD RW+. Don't buy LG burners. The last 2 I've bought have been terrible and died in the first year of use, and trust me, it wasn't 24/7 burning for me either. It was like once every few weeks.
October 29, 2007 6:44:34 PM

I agree, the 8800GT will be a better buy. newegg has an XFX and an EVGA for 269 and 279 respectively. I also think that case looks a little awkward to set up. I think you could get a better cooling solution for less. Take a look at the Antec P182 for instance.

P182: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129025

8800GT's: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=2000380048+1069633099&name=PCI+Express+2.0

edit: they just added an Asus 8800GT to the list for 289.
Related resources
October 29, 2007 7:31:29 PM

There's also a BFG 8800 GT OC listed on BFG's site and reviewed at Guru3D. Not at newegg yet but I bet it will be there soon.

There's talk in that review about 90 degrees Celsius. I would recommend an Antec 900, because with that video card you need serious case cooling.
October 29, 2007 7:43:00 PM

rgeist554 said:
Quote:
For instance I'd like to play some of the lastest games smoothly and wants it to be compatible with DX 10. For now I plan on starting off with XP and will eventually switch to Vista. I hope I gave all you needed to know, if you need more info just ask.
Good plan here. Just wait for Vista to at least have SP1 released to patch / fix any major flaws. I'm assuming you already know the DX10 only works on Vista since you said you just want your system to be "DX10 compatible".

1. Ram is fine.

2. Processor is ok. For a few $$ more you can upgrade to a Q6600. Really up to you how "future-proof" you want your system though.

3. Don't get the GTS. Hold off and buy the 8800GT (I believe it's just being released today) Cheaper and almost as good as the 8800GTX.

4. Sound Card - Don't use one my self, but if you want to spend the extra cash, go for it.

5. Corsair is pretty good for PSU's, and it looks like that model has enough Amps per rail to cover your VGA's power consumption. (I managed to run my GTS 640mb on a 420w RAIDmax with a +12v @ 14A) Upgrade to a Silencer 750w Quad or equivalent if you plan on going down the SLI road at some point in time.

6. Pretty good motherboard. The DS3 is the same thing minus the SLI, but it looks like they're the same price on newegg right now. So, just stick with the DS4.

7. It's a hard drive. What else should I say?

8. It looks like it's going to be a tight fit in that case, but if you're not going to OC, then just keep the retail cooler (unless you're buying an OEM processor, in which case good job remembering a cooler).

9. Never used a Lian Li case. Looks weird to set up.

10. Try a Samsung or Asus brand DVD RW+. Don't buy LG burners. The last 2 I've bought have been terrible and died in the first year of use, and trust me, it wasn't 24/7 burning for me either. It was like once every few weeks.


I really like the WD7500AAKS. The OP should take a good look at it too. It comes to 30 cents/GB (the Hitachi 39 cents/GB) and it's extremely fast. There's a review at PC Perspective, btw.

You had bad luck with your LG's. My previous LG (3167B, IDE) has written about 700 DVDs over 2 years and it was still doing fine when I stopped using the old computer. My current LG (H62N, SATA) has done about 50 so far and it's also still fine. Anyway, Samsung makes a very popular DVD-RW drive, maybe that's the best option for the OP.

The 8800GT needs a PSU with at least 28A on the 12V rails. That was assuming an X6800, so I guess we should add a bit for Q6600. The 520HX will do all right for a single card.

Agreed about the Silencer 750W Quad for SLI. Get an eVGA 680i A1 motherboard if you are interested in SLI.

October 29, 2007 8:04:23 PM

aevm said:
The 8800GT needs a PSU with at least 28A on the 12V rails. That was assuming an X6800, so I guess we should add a bit for Q6600. The 520HX will do all right for a single card.

Agreed about the Silencer 750W Quad for SLI. Get an eVGA 680i A1 motherboard if you are interested in SLI.


Really? What site did you get the power rating from? EVGA's website says:
Quote:
Minimum of a 400 Watt power supply.
(Minimum recommended power supply with +12 Volt current rating of 22 Amp Amps.)
Minimum 450 Watt for SLI mode system.
(Minimum recommended power supply with +12 Volt current rating of 24 Amp Amps.)


That was one of the beautiful things about this card. Incredible power, for little power.

http://evga.com/products/moreinfo.asp?pn=512-P3-N801-A1&family=19
October 29, 2007 8:15:48 PM

I got it from the review at Guru3D. The card they were reviewing was a bit overclocked, so maybe they padded the number a bit. I think the 8800 GT is going to have about the same requirements as the 8800 GTS and it will be indistinguishable from a 8800 GTX on a 20" or 22" monitor. Yay!!! [:turpit:2]

Here are some more links:
http://www.bfgtech.com/bfgr88512gtoce.aspx
http://www.guru3d.com/article/Videocards/468
http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/nvidia_geforce_8800_gt_performance/
October 29, 2007 8:48:20 PM

Thanks for the great advice! I have a couple more questions and few things that are flying right over my head. Lol.

1) First what exactly is SLI? I've only heard about it.

2) Are you sure the Q6600 processor is really a worthy upgrade? I might not be the right person for it. I'm not using tons of applications nor do I do any kind of design or work. But if you tell me it's worth it, I'll go for it.

3) Is this the new 8800GT you recommended earlier? Or was it "ASUS"?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

4) Are you sure the Silence 750w isn't overkill? Or do my components really use a lot of power.

5) What would you say are the odds of a hard drive failing; losing all it's data. I have an external hard drive as back up but is there anything I can do to avoid this from happening.

6) Can you recommend me a good samsung model CD Drive. :) 

7) I really wanted to go with my Lian Li B20 because of it's sound dampening. So are you saying everything besides an extra cooler will fit in there? If so, will the cases fans be enough cooling. Well you tell me the P182 does the same thing but is bigger, I'll get it. I'm most interested in good cooling and sound dampening.

8) I plan on getting 2.1 speakers. I wanted 5.1 but I think it's kind of overkill, espically when I won't have the back speakers behind me, only diagionally. I decided to go with the Logitech Z-2300, are these the best & lastest 2.1's out there?

9) This the thing I'm worried about the most. I want to move all of my data from my old PC to the new one but because I'm running Win98 nothing at all appears to be compatible, virtually trapping my stuff. I've had suggestions about making it a "slave drive" or simply connecting the two computers via USB. Will either of these work?

10) Lastly I also wanted the best LCD screen out there. Not for work or design but for games and movies. I came across the 20" LCD widescreen ViewSonic VX2025WM. Do you think it's really that good or do you have other recommendations?

I appreicate anyone helping me build my dream PC. It's really over-due for me so I'll be ssoo happy once I make this.

October 29, 2007 10:17:50 PM

1) SLI means Scalable Link Interface. It allows you to run two of the same graphics cards at once to increase your performance. You need an SLI capable motherboard to run it. ATI's version is Crossfire.

2)It depends. The E6750 would give you performance now, but the Q6600 would give you better life on your system as more applications are made that can use all 4 cores.

3) that is one of the 8800GT's we were talking about. newegg.com has 4 of them on their website. I think the EVGA one would be better since I like the idea of their step-up program.

4) You would only need the Silencer if you wanted to SLI your graphics, otherwise the Corsair you have is fine.

5) Hit and miss with the hard dirves IMO.

6) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827151153

7)The P182 also has sound dampening material in it. The only thing we are concerned with with the Lian Li is the awkward cooling set-up they have which might be a pain to set up your system.

8)Looking at the same set. They seem to be a good set-up with decent ratings.

9)not sure. not my area of expertise.

10)I'm a fan of Dell monitors. They have a decent 20'', but I'm not sure what panel it uses.

Hope this helps.
October 29, 2007 10:57:45 PM

1. SLI means using two 8800 GT (or 8800 GTX) cards. Don't bother, it's not necessary for 1680x1050.

2. Yes, I'd get the Q6600

3. The step-up program is mostly useless, but go with eVGA anyway for their quality and support

4. At your resolution you don't need SLI, so you don't need 750W. 520HX is fine.

5. In my experience, the external hard disks are unreliable for backup. I haven't had an internal disk fail in 10 years, and I had 3 external disks dying in the last 3 years. The internal ones were mostly Western Digital, by the way.
I do my backups by using a folder on a second internal disk and also a USB 4 GB drive. Whenever I get 4 GB to save I burn it on a DVD and make two copies. There's really no way I'll lose anything that way... This may be paranoid, of course. :D 

6. Yup, that's the one I was thinking of. There's also a Lightscribe version but I wouldn't bother.

7. The P182 has decent cooling and sound dampening. I am confused right now by conflicting information in reviews - some say the 8800 GT runs at 72 Celsius, some say 90. If 72 is closer to the truth then P182 would do very nicely. If 90, I'm not so sure.

8. Z-2300 are great, but I have no idea if they are the best. Check out what Klipsch has to offer too.

9. USB should work, but it will take forever. If your old PC has USB 1 instead of 2 then forget it, it's hopeless. You could try using DVD-RW disks, if we're only talking about 20 GB or less. If it's a lot more, it's probably best to move the old hard disk into the new PC and then copy directly from the old disk to the new one.

10. I use a VX2025WM at work. It's excellent for what I need there, and I even watched a couple of movies on it and they were fine. I got an LG 20" and a Samsung 216BW at home. Both are excellent for games and can be bought for less than $300. Generally, Samsung gets better reviews and has more features, but not all those features are useful and LG tends to cost less. Whatever monitor you buy, buy it locally from a place that lets you exchange or return monitors without restrictions or restocking fees. That is, if you find dead pixels you should be able to get another monitor in exchange. Future Shop does this in Canada, for example.


October 29, 2007 11:51:06 PM

Snowypup said:
Corsair XMS2 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2 SDRAM 800 Dual Channel
Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 Dual Core Processor
Nvidia GeoForce XFX Extreme 8800GTS (320mb) Video Card
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic 7.1 Sound Card
Corsair HX PSU 520W Power Supply
Gigabyte DS4 Motherboard
Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000 1 Terabyte Hard Drive
Artic Cooling Pro 7 (Might Not Fit)
Lian Li PC-B20B CaseNEC 7170A CD-Drive
Nice build! I'd go for the 8800GT. If you are not going to O/C, step the RAM down to 667. You can also pass on the sound card, the mobo has good onboard audio. You'll get better performance and more redundancy with multiple drives than a single big one. Try the stock CPU cooler before you blow a wad on an upgrade. Lite-on makes decent DVD/CD drives at a good price. I like the Gigabyte Triton case. This build is right at the price/performance sweet spot.
October 30, 2007 2:22:10 AM

Thanks! Everything seems to be alright. A few minor changes and some great suggestions. But! You guys seriously made me wonder about the 1TB HD. Hmm.

Would it really be a better idea to have two 500GB HD's rather then one huge one. Even though the Deskstar is getting good reviews. Does it give a considerable boost in dependability and performance? And would someone be kind enough to explain the in's and out's of having two hard drives.

Aevm I'm interested to learn more about your methods of safe guarding your data. When you said "using a folder on a second internal disk", do you mean that a secondary internal hard drive is immune to crash and is safe.. or something like that. I plan on safe guarding a lot of data, within the 50-100GB range that grows gradually.

Lastly! (I swear!) Do you guys have any final comments on the cases. It's just that I seriously heard some really great stuff about Lian Li, espically their lastest stuff. And with theses components (No SLI), will I really need a cooling kit? If so what hi-quality stuff do you recommend.
October 30, 2007 1:10:10 PM

Quote:
Would it really be a better idea to have two 500GB HD's rather then one huge one. Even though the Deskstar is getting good reviews. Does it give a considerable boost in dependability and performance? And would someone be kind enough to explain the in's and out's of having two hard drives.
With two drives you can get better load speeds by running them in a RAID configuration. RAID 0 (Striped Set) specifically will improve seek times, but provides no redundancy... so if one drive fails, the other does as well. RAID 1 (Mirrored Array) requires 2 drives and makes a "mirrored" copy on said drives. If one hard drive fails, you will still have all your files and be up and running - There is a slight decrease in write speeds with this option, but seek speeds are also slightly increased.

Quote:
Lastly! (I swear!) Do you guys have any final comments on the cases. It's just that I seriously heard some really great stuff about Lian Li, espically their lastest stuff. And with theses components (No SLI), will I really need a cooling kit? If so what hi-quality stuff do you recommend.
You probably don't need a cooling kit unless you plan to OC. If not, just keep your case in a well ventilated area and keep your cables bundled and out of the way of airflow. :) 
October 30, 2007 2:06:08 PM

I had an AC Freezer 7 Pro before I upgraded. I think it is one of the best economy coolers around. The footprint is not much larger than the stock HSF, so it should fit your motherboard. It will work fine for moderate OC'ing - say to 3.3 or 3.4 GHz or so. If you plan to push the CPU to its limit (probably somewhere past 3.6 GHZ), you will need better cooling (Tuniq, Thermalright, or something similar).

The AC Freezer uses Intel style push pins for mounting. I suggest that you install the HSF and memory while the motherboard is outside the case.

"Aevm I'm interested to learn more about your methods of safe guarding your data. When you said "using a folder on a second internal disk", do you mean that a secondary internal hard drive is immune to crash and is safe.. or something like that."

Any hard drive can crash. But the odds of two separate hard drives failing are pretty small. Well, maybe during a thunderstorm. And if your system got fried by lightning, Raid 1 probably would not have helped.
October 30, 2007 3:29:37 PM

jsc said:


"Aevm I'm interested to learn more about your methods of safe guarding your data. When you said "using a folder on a second internal disk", do you mean that a secondary internal hard drive is immune to crash and is safe.. or something like that."

Any hard drive can crash. But the odds of two separate hard drives failing are pretty small. Well, maybe during a thunderstorm. And if your system got fried by lightning, Raid 1 probably would not have helped.


Yup. The main cause of losing files is user mistakes. If I accidentally delete a file or folder and it's too big for the recycle bin, then I can recover it from the copy I have on the other disk. Also, being on a different physical disk (not just a different partition) means I'm protected if the first hard disk dies. Chances are the two hard disks won't die at the same time. And yes, if there's a storm and both disks are killed by it I still have the tiny USB drive that sits on the shelf and won't be affected. Of course, it's annoying that every evening when I stop working I have to copy any new files to two different places, but I sleep better if I don't worry about losing all I've done for the last month or so.

There are types of RAID that can provide additional data safety. That is, instead of copying the files manually every day they'd just be updated on two disks at the same time as soon as you change them. This, however, is more complicated, occupies an entire second disk (when all I really need is a few GB), and it also means you can't recover from yesterday's backup if you screw up. Do some research, it may be a good solution for you or not.

I also used to use a DVD-RW disk instead of the USB drive. Unfortunately DVD-RW disks turned out to be unreliable - after a couple of weeks of reusing the same disk daily, the disk started giving errors and needed to be reformatted or even changed. I tried various brands, didn't help much. Maybe the software is buggy (InCD, comes with the LG DVD drives), I don't know.

If you use external hard disks make sure you get a reliable brand. I would trust Western Digital 100%. LaCie seems to work nicely too, I just didn't have it for long enough to vouch for it. I did get burned with Comstar and I/O Magic.
October 31, 2007 11:04:13 AM

Thanks again! :) 

Any opinions on the the "Ergo Mouse". It seems pretty comfy.
And anyone know any sweet keyboards?
October 31, 2007 1:06:03 PM

I just bought a $7 cheap PS/2 keyboard on newegg and I have to say it works a lot better than the $70 Saitek I had. My advice, really read reviews before you buy an expensive USB keyboard. There seems to be a common issue with them where keys will randomly re-assign them selves... and not even the manufacturer can give a solution. (ex. i = 39^jh)
October 31, 2007 1:44:57 PM

I've used a $15 Microsoft mouse for 3 years before it broke down. And that included lots of weekends hacking and slashing in Diablo 2... Now I have a $40 Logitech mouse and I love it. I've managed to finish Titan Quest with it and it's still working. The important thing is to avoid any wireless mouse, I think. Those are not suitable for intensive games because they tend to lag.
November 1, 2007 1:54:52 PM

aevm said:


I also used to use a DVD-RW disk instead of the USB drive. Unfortunately DVD-RW disks turned out to be unreliable - after a couple of weeks of reusing the same disk daily, the disk started giving errors and needed to be reformatted or even changed. I tried various brands, didn't help much. Maybe the software is buggy (InCD, comes with the LG DVD drives), I don't know.

If you use external hard disks make sure you get a reliable brand. I would trust Western Digital 100%. LaCie seems to work nicely too, I just didn't have it for long enough to vouch for it. I did get burned with Comstar and I/O Magic.


Things I do not trust for data backup:

Rewriteable DVD's - single layer media is faster and more reliable and media is now relatively expensive

Dual layer DVD's - slow and some brands are really unreliable. I had 5 out of a tube of 20 Memorex's fail with Samsung
and Plextor DL DVD drives. DL Verbatim's seem pretty good (used primarily for movies).

UDF packet writing software (InCD, for example) - When I first saw it (Easy CD Creator 4.0), I thought, "What a great
idea." It just wasn't reliable. And compared to the value of my data, media is cheap.

Multisession recording of CD's or DVD's - Don't trust it for data, and ... media is cheap.

External USB drives with unknown brands of hard drives inside

November 1, 2007 3:37:06 PM

Quote:
I've used a $15 Microsoft mouse for 3 years before it broke down. And that included lots of weekends hacking and slashing in Diablo 2... Now I have a $40 Logitech mouse and I love it. I've managed to finish Titan Quest with it and it's still working. The important thing is to avoid any wireless mouse, I think. Those are not suitable for intensive games because they tend to lag.
Yeah, I don't really like wireless mice. Just something about having to run and get new batteries at some critical time got to me :D . The lag issue is bad as well, while it doesn't happen too often, sometimes you can get the mouse too far way from the receiver and it gets choppy.
November 1, 2007 5:33:15 PM

I don't think anyone has pointed it out yet, but if you plan on using this as a Vista rig eventually, I would NOT get a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi card. The driver support in Vista is TERRIBLE.

I'd get either a bluegears b-enspirer or a card from HT Omega - either the Striker or the Claro.
!