My question is this. I have been reading mixed reviews of the X38 chipset. I understand that SLI is not currently supported, only crossfire. This doesn't really concern me as I only play to be running 1x8800GTX. What chipset would you buy if you were upgrading now and would you go for DDR2 or DDR3 as both the P35/X38 chipsets seem to support both depending on which board you buy.
Next, I am still better off buying a faster dual core than a slightly slower quad core? Bare in mind this rig will be used primarily for gaming.
Lastly, the RAM i have gone for runs at 1066mhz, but the board and the cpu run at 1300mhz. I assume this isn't going to be an issue. I have been told it is a waste of time buying anything above 800mhz atm? I will be upgrading to 4gb (4x1gb) in about a month.
Lastly, have the components I detailed above known to be compatible with each other?
I would go for a p35 board instead of the x38. The asus p5k-se is just one example. Select a board for the features you will use. Your ram is an excellent choice, but if you can find some crucial or corsair pc6400 for significantly less, I would get that instead. You won't need sli or crossfire with just one video card, but you'll need a good power supply. Don't know what brands you have in the uk, but corsair, pc power and cooling, and seasonic are the top brands in the states. I would get around 600 watts, with 22-26 amps on each 12v rail.
UK has most every brand of psu's US has, but the price differences...
Yes, get a good make & model. The minimium for an 8800gtx pc is 500W combined 34A on +12v. It's a good idea to get a slightly more powerful psu than needed cuz down the road, you won't have to upgrade the psu for a while. Refer to this listing for good psu's:
If you don't need the advanced function provided by the X38 boards on the market, then you may just go for P35 boards, they perform just solid good even for overclocking...X38 is rather meaningless in current state if you don't do CrossFire...
If you don't overclock, a cheap P35 board will just serve you the solid performance just like any other board, just depends on whether you consider all solid capacitors around the whole board is a bonus point for a board. And if you don't overclock, just dual channel DDR2-800 will serve you good enough...
E6850 will do you a better result for gaming, while Q6600 maybe a better candidate if you are working with multi-threaded applications...
Your RAM choice is good, but if you consider overclocking, you may end up better with a pair of DDR2-1333, if your rig is for gaming...
G0 revision Q6600 will perform a bit better at overclock and just a lot cooler compare to the not-so-energy-efficient older stepping...
I am also about to order 64bit Vista (yer yer i know its sucky). Are drivers for the mobo I have bought available in 64 bit flavour? As i believe I need a 64bit OS when I get my extra 2gb of memory.
I am probably going to go for a mild overclock too. Around 3ghz most likely. Never done this before and not familer with this mobos BIOS. Might need a step by step instruction specific to this hardware combination. I know I raise the FSB until it becomes unstable, then start nudging up the voltage. As for any of the other settings and RAM inplications, I am clueless :-)
Stick with a mild OC to 3G/1333, with a good aftermarket cooler. All you will need to do is lock the PCIe bus to 100 and raise the FSB. Make sure you check the RAM speed, Gigabyte likes to preset a divider based on the RAM SPD and then holds the divider so the RAM runs way too fast. So you may need to adjust the divider if the Asus works the same way.
CPU_Speed = FSB (1066, unless you overclock) * Multiplier (8x, locked for q6600)
If the RAM is run "synchronously", it will run at half the FSB speed, or 533. When you use two modules at 533 in dual channel mode, this makes sense.
The mobo can run at up to 1333 FSB, or 333 FSB clock (the FSB is quad pumped, or operates at 4x the clock speed). In actual fact, the mobo can probably do better than this.
A mild overclock from a 1066(266 clock, 533 ram) FSB processor might be to 1333 (333 clock, 667 ram), and a big overclock might be to 1600FSB(400 clock, 800 ram). Reviews of mobos frequently find they max out at around 450 clock.
Of course, your processor generates more heat and becomes unstable as you increase the clock speed and FSB, and you will need a good cooler to reach higher speed, and you may need to increase the voltage of the processor (also ups the heat).
You're right, FSB clock*multiplier is the CPU speed, wasn't paying enough attention. 1333 is simply 333*4, and since FSB numbers are quad pumped, you just need to divide by 4 to get the clock.
You can run RAM at any number of ratios, but there isn't much performance increase over synchronous for current intel processors. You can run the ram at a 3:2 (800:533) ratio, but the system won't be much faster than 1:1, given the current large sizes of intel's cache.
Given current prices, ddr2-800 isn't really more expensive than ddr-533, so most people recommend ddr2-800 in case of overclocking, or FSB1600 processors.
multiplier x true FSB is the CPU speed. 9x333= 3.0 = E6850.
1333 FSB is a marketing term actually, used to signify that the FSB is "quad pumped". 333x4=1333.
I have a similar system to what you're planning
e6850. I had a choice between e6850 and q6600 at the same price. I chose to stay dual core as it was a little faster and I wasn't doing anything able to use more than 2 cores.
Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3R. chose this because it had 8 sata ports. all of my drives are sata, including the DVDRW and DVD-ROM. Plus it was only $130 and it looked nice.
OCZ gold 2GB PC6400. chose this because it allowed me to overclock to 3.6 and stay within spec of the RAM. But personally, I don't overclock because it generates heat which means the computer gets louder as the fans speed up to accommodate. At 3.0GHz, it's fast enough I think.
8800GTX. Because it was the best single card I wanted to pay for. I don't really want to run SLI or Xfire because of the heat and noise issue.