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Over the Top Gaming System Build

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November 11, 2007 7:57:54 AM

Hello everyone! I just joined the forum and am looking forward to participating here.

I am getting ready to build my first dream machine and I would like to hear your opinions and advice! Firstly, I will state that this is not going to be a value/performance machine, I am going for performance. I have never tried to build an enthusiast machine before, and have never attempted a serious over-clocking of harware either, but I am very eager to start! I have about a $4000 budget and already own some nice media components that will help make up this system.

Here is a list of parts that I already own:
  • Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi Elite Pro
  • Yamaha RX-V659BL 7.1 Channel Digital Home Theater Receiver
  • Klipsch Quintet III Home Theater System
  • Klipsch Synergy Sub-10 Subwoofer
  • HP LP3065 30-inch Widescreen LCD Monitor
  • MS Vista 64-bit Ultimate

    These are the parts that I am looking to buy:
  • ASUS Striker Extreme LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX
  • Patriot Extreme Performance 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model PDC24G6400LLK
  • Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz LGA 775 Processor Model BX80562Q6600 (G0 Stepping)
  • (2) EVGA 768-P2-N887-AR GeForce 8800Ultra Superclocked 768MB 384-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card
  • LG Blu-ray/HD DVD-ROM & 16X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model GGC-H20L
  • (2) Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD7500AAKS 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

    I am a bit stumped on the case, psu, and cooling though. I checked out Asetek's phase cooling (remarkable looking stuff!), but I think this would probably put me over budget, so liquid cooling will probably have to be the solution. I am not daunted by modifying a case and I think that I would want the liquid cooling components outside of the case. Any advice on this or the system in general would be greatly appreciated! I dread the thought of gathering all of this hardware and having it not work together. Thanks.



    November 11, 2007 8:39:01 AM

    more money than sense?
    November 11, 2007 8:51:47 AM

    You just trying to be the big boy on the block???Ok.You need at least 1000 watt PSU.Case simply needs to hold all components,so you might try RAIDMAX.As for cooling,liquid will be more than sufficient as long as it's all put together the right way.You might consider two radiators instead of one.And make sure you have a resevoir so you can keep it topped up.Other than that you seem good to go.Goodluck.

    Dahak

    M2N32-SLI DELUXE WE
    X2 5600+ STOCK (2.8GHZ)
    2X1GIG DDR2 800 IN DC MODE
    TOUGHPOWER 850WATT PSU
    EVGA 7950 GX2 550/1400
    SMILIDON RAIDMAX GAMING CASE
    ACER 22IN WS LCD 1680X1050
    250GIG HD/320GIG HD
    G5 GAMING MOUSE
    LOGITECH Z-5500 5.1 SURROUND SYSTEM
    500WATS CONTINUOUS,1000 PEAK
    WIN XP MCE SP2
    Related resources
    November 11, 2007 9:12:46 AM

    Quote:
    You just trying to be the big boy on the block???

    Naw, I just want to have an extreme machine. The 'block' can go jump off a bridge! ;) 

    I had figured that I would probably need the 1000 watt PSU, although I have read that they can be a bit noisy. Anybody have any experience with this? I also like the idea of a case where the hard drives are mounted in the rear of the case. This seems really logical from a heat standpoint, but I have never seen it in practice. Thanks for the reply!
    November 11, 2007 6:03:05 PM

    Maybe a skulltrail system would suit you? Hopefully it won't be as short lived as the FX-7x 4x4 platform; but it would give you the performance you seem to crave :) 

    Or go for a x38 board (or x48 next year) and DDR3... although yeah, you might go over budget :)  (even with 4000$ you still need to budget lol)

    Or wait a few weeks for the QX9650 (I don't know when it's out or wether it would be worth it for you)

    GL :D 
    November 11, 2007 6:50:20 PM

    4K budget but going for a Q6600? that is a price/performance component you said you ddnt want hehe

    go for the Q6700 or the QX range
    November 11, 2007 7:23:21 PM

    I assume you're going to play games, in which case I would recommend the E6850 over the q6600. Games are only just starting to support dual core, very very few support quad.

    You'll want at least a 1k watt PSU. I personally prefer the black version of the Armor, with the 25cm side fan. Its amazing. Don't bother with ddr3, it has only a tiny performance difference, and costs ridicules amounts of money (even for a 4k budget).
    November 11, 2007 7:57:31 PM

    Bad time to build extreme highend... especially with CPU the highend Penryn is only around the corner, the Ultras are a waste IMO atm. you dont really need a 1000W PSU just something solid 12v rail. 750W PCPC would do the job more than enough. Lian Li A71 is an awesome case to fit all this in, great air flow too.
    November 12, 2007 3:56:48 PM

    Thanks for all of the input guys. I am sticking with the quad because I do quite a few processor intensive tasks, and I also want to write software optimized for it. That Asus case looks really nice (especially in black). What's the headroom above the CPU like for after-market cooling? I read that you need to mind cable lengths with it though, and I would rather not put extensions on if I did not have to. Will have to check the specs on the PSU (thanks for that link starcraftfanatic!). Does anyone know of a good reference on the net telling how to determine a system's power load?

    Quote:
    Bad time to build extreme highend... especially with CPU the highend Penryn is only around the corner, the Ultras are a waste IMO atm.


    I agree. It would have been better to wait untill the new graphics cards and chipsets were out, but that will be months away. The reason why I went with the insanley expensive Ultras was based on the fact that they will run at the same frequencies as an OC'ed GTX but at a lower voltage. Reports are that there is still a good amount of head room for further frequency improvements. My hope is that this will push the system to where I will need it to be when playing @ 2560 x 1600. This decsion was the most hard for me and I am definetly getting far less value for the money here.

    I had timed this build to coincide with the Penryn release of the 12th. I then heard that I would not be able to get one for a few weeks if at all. Intel now lists it on thier site, but nothing on newegg. I just checked on Tiger-Direct and they had one and I SNAPPED IT UP! I decided to drop the Blue-Ray/HD DVD Drive to help counter balance the penryn. I am stoked!

    November 12, 2007 4:55:19 PM

    Sounds almost like the system I'm building. I'd suggest the Antec 900 case. It's pretty much all fan (200mm blow hole on top). The new revisions of this case have 2 rubber grommets for water cooling as well which gives you options if you decide to go down that route. I know NewEgg doesn't have the current pictures of the back of this case on their site.

    As far as the PSU, I got the Thermaltake Toughpower 750 watt (great reviews, modular, quiet fan, 80+ efficiency and 12v rails). I was unsure of what I wanted for a video card and was about to get the G80 8800 GTS. Supposedly the new G92 8800 GTS will be coming out the beginning of next month so I'll wait for that and use a filler card I have right now (7300 LE). Hopefully we'll see some promising benchmarks for it. Maybe on par with the current Ultra's and need less power? Anyway, good luck with your build and hope it helped.
    November 12, 2007 5:15:44 PM

    You call THAT high end? Where is the QX9650? Where's the Quad SLI? The SSDs in RAID? The Matrox Triple Head2Go and three monitors?
    November 12, 2007 5:18:45 PM

    The striker extreme is, by most accounts, an excellent motherboard. However, this week the NDA agreements on nvidia's new high-end motherboard chipset, the 780, expire. I'd strongly recommend waiting to see how the boards will perform... I gather they will feature, at a minimum, support for PCI-Express 2.0 and 1600Mhz FSB chips. Also, I know it's not likely that Phenom will outperform Penryn (or even an overclocked Q6600), but given the new AMD chipset, GPUs, and the lower-clocked Phenoms are officially released this week (the 15th?), I really don't think it's much of a sacrifice to wait for a couple of weeks to see how they do, especially when you're spending this much money. As much as anything else they should lower the price of existing hardware.

    Having said all that, your current plans look awesome and I can't imagine you'll have any complaints at all if you built it exactly as is! Further, given AMD's recent track record, I'm not sure how much of a hard launch the stuff announced this week will be. I hope though... I'd love to be able to ditch my s939 opteron for a Phenom!
    November 12, 2007 6:31:54 PM

    First, I like your balls.... err check that, your guts. Building a performance only machine is definitely something not very many would ever undertake.

    Second, you are building a performance machine at the wrong time right now. Just absolutely the wrong time. The 680i chipset is about to go obsolete in just a few months when the 780i hits, the 8 series will soon be replaced by a DX10.1 9 series (probably based on the G90 core, with a rev.2 G92 for the lower priced cards), and the Penryn processors, which are far faster than the Kentsfields at the same speed, will be launching next month and in January.

    Bad, bad time for a performance build.

    If money is truly no object, I would go for the Penryn (sounds like you did, WOOT! can I pay you to use the computer for a little bit?), and wait for the 780i motherboards. The Penryn starts with a 333 FSB, so thats maxing out a 680i to start. The 780i is only a few days beyond the Penryn launch I hear, and the 9 series (or completely refreshed 8 series with the new 65nm cores) should be out to coincide with the 3800 launch, if not a few days later.

    In other words, since you went and got that Penryn Extreme, go ahead and build the PC in December or late this month when the rest of the parts are out. Hell, the 3800 still has a chance to beat everything else out on the market! And the 65nm process of the 8800GT will use lower voltages than a 8800Ultra at stock, so upping to 8800Ultra voltage should give you equal or more power than an Ultra.

    In other words, buy the new 65nm 3800s or refreshed 8 series (possibly 9 series is what it will be called) later this month. Then, your performance shall be completed.

    PS: Get a new monitor. Sounds like this will be a gaming PC as well as a Home Theater PC (hence the home theater surround and Blu-Ray HD DVD drive you wanted).

    Tip: go work at Bestbuy on an occasional seasonal basis this holiday. I work there, and the company is so understaffed for this season they are taking nearly anyone. I cannot tell you anything specific as that would get me fired, but lets say its possible to get a 42" screen of a specific well known manufacturer for far below its retail price right now. FAR below. If you get in, you can become part of BlueShirtNation (the BestBuy forums you have to be an employee to post on) and I can guide your hand to cheap HT and Computer products like you never dreamed of.
    November 12, 2007 6:53:35 PM

    PS: Get a Blu-Ray drive if you want to watch movies. Not now, but when you can.
    November 12, 2007 7:25:15 PM

    ya can look at dual PS cases and solutions, and go w/ some serious cooling, i see ya wanna throw money at it like crazy look at vapochill cases, you will love em, liquid nitrogen cooling.
    November 19, 2007 3:53:32 AM

    Thank you for all of the replies.

    Bad news. It turns out that even though ASUS markets the Striker Extreme with the words 'Support Intel® next generation 45nm Multi-core CPU', this is a half-truth at best. In order to use the Q9650 with this board you need a BIOS update which, suprise suprise, is not released yet. Since I upgraded from an older AMD chip then I am scratching my head as to how I am going to flash the BIOS when it actually does arrive. Sigh...
    November 19, 2007 3:31:29 PM

    Just buy the cheapest socket 775 CPU you can find so you can use it to flash the bios and then just return it. Newegg has a Celeron 420 for $44 and even if you had to pay the 15% restocking fee that's only like $7. Unless you know someone you can borrow a CPU from.
    !