Novice needs help with games development build

My laptop has just died, and my trusty Athalon desktop (bought in 2002) is no longer up to the job. I work as a character artist in the games industry, so the machine will be used for photoshop, 3DSmax, and Zbrush work. I need it to render fast (which I think uses the CPU) but more importantly I need good realtime viewport performance (GPU?) especially when using advanced pixel shaders with direct x. I don't need a monitor or keyboard and mouse etc, just the PC internals ( I have an aluminum case). Any suggestions on parts would be excellent, I haven't a clue about what to get, this is what I have shortlisted so far:

Asus P5B Deluxe motherboard
Quad-Core Q6600
Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro
Nvidia 8600GT
2GB RAM (upgrade to 4GB shortly afterwards)
520W Corsair HX

I'm trying to keep to a £500 budget ($1050)

Not sure if Vista is worthwhile at this point, but from what I can gather from these XP64 has its advantages with 3D programs? I would like to take advantage of the added RAM with Vista though.

After doing a little bit of searching around I've noticed the new Q9300 is due out quite soon, is it worth waiting for?

Haven't done a build for ages so I'm probably miles off with this kit so far, could really use some advice!
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  1. For the most part,your system seems quite adequit.As for going with VISTA,I would say Not at the moment.Stick with XP PRO.Just make sure you have a decent graphics card.I was going to suggest a workstation option,but then I noticed the under 500 dollars thing.Go with what you have.Or,spend a few dollars more and get an 8800GT.That is worth the extra dollars.Goodluck.


    X2 5600+ STOCK (2.8GHZ)
    2X1GIG DDR2 800 IN DC MODE
    EVGA 7950 GX2 550/1400
    ACER 22IN WS LCD 1680X1050
    250GIG HD/320GIG HD
  2. After some digging around I've changed the specs quite a bit:

    Sticking with the Q6600, but changed to the Asus P5K-E, a 74 Gb Raptor, a 400 GB WD main drive, and I was going to go with 4GB (4x1GB) CorsairXMS2, DDR2 PC2-6400 (800) - 5-5-5-18. The graphics card has been dropped, a mate is lending me his old 7900 until I save up extra cash for a workstation card or a better graphics card.

    The ram is giving me a headache though, the 800 corsair mentioned above will cost me £150.66

    667 Kingston memory comes in at less than half the price at £80

    I could really do with saving money, but if the corsair ram will improve performance considerably I'm happy to pay. I probably wont be overclocking. Which ram should I go for? If you have other 4G compatible suggestions I'm happy to hear em :)
  3. Unless you overclock, the standard DDR2 667 will do nicely. The Corsair Value ram is another good, similar choice. If you go 4gb, you will need a 64 bit OS to take advantage. 32bit maxes out at around 3gb, Vista or XP. I think you will find XP 64 more stable and compatible than Vista.

    The newer Quad cores start at about $1k over here, so it may be a while before prices get reasonable.
  4. 667 will allow a 3G/1333 OC on the Q6600. That OC is a "free" (no voltage increase) simple OC and I recommend it, especially for your tasks. So save the dough and get the 667.

    Edit: That Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro uses the same push pin design as the stock HS. It is crap. Get a heatsink that uses a backplate and save yourself the grief.
  5. I suspect you are definitely going to need Both Vista and a DX10 hard in the long run. I presume you will need to test stuff in DX10 mode, which is not available under XP.
  6. Yeah, I'll be wanting to go with Vista and DX10 because of work, but I'm fairly sure the main programs I use (3dsMax, Photoshop, Zbrush) are all supported under 64 bit vista.

    So 667 value ram it is then. The artic cooler had already been ditched (along with the PSU-managed to acquire one from a friend)

    I was also thinking about using separate partitions for Max, ZBrush and Photoshop on the raptor. I've been told that max certainly benefits from having its own partition for its page file, along with one for photoshop's scratch disks. I figured if this is true then zbrush would also benefit, can anyone confirm this?
  7. Wow, the corsair value ram is cheap, only £60 for 4x1GB sticks. Is this really going to be suitable for my needs?
  8. I have used Corsair Value for years, and never had an issue. Neither it, nor the Kingston value like to be "tweaked", so plan on putting it in there and leaving it alone. The XMS2, and the HyperX are the tweakable variety.
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