I'm trying to build a gaming system to leave as is for a couple years or so, and then over-clock and/or upgrade to keep up. I'm not interested in Crisis so that's a good start no? After spending all day on this I decided to post it for your comments before I go crash. I think I might need a better PSU but other than that I don't know. Thanks for your time
Processors (CPUs) Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Quad Core Processor LGA775 Kentsfield 2.40GHZ 1066FSB 8MB 1 $309.99
Motherboards Gigabyte GA-P35C-DS3R ATX LGA775 Conroe P35 DDR2/DDR3 1PCI-E16 SATA RAID Sound GBLAN Motherboard 1 $166.52
Memory (RAM) Mushkin SP PC2-6400 4GB 2X2GB DDR2-800 CL5-5-5-18 240PIN DIMM Dual Channel Memory Kit 1 $134.99
Video Cards Diamond Viper Radeon HD 3850 256MB GDDR3 PCI-E Dual DVI-I HDCP HDMI HDTV Out Video Card 2 $359.98
CPU Heatsinks Zalman CNPS9500 At LGA775 Heatsink Fan 92MM Fan 1300-2650RPM 18-27.5DBA 1 $60.44
Computer Cases Antec Nine Hundred Mid Tower Gamer Case 900 ATX 9 Drive Bay No PS Top USB2.0 1394 Audio 1 $117.02
Power Supplies Corsair CMPSU-620HX 620W ATX Triple 12V 50A 24PIN ATX Modular Power Supply 120MM Fan 2X PCI-E 1 $164.99
Hard Drives Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 3.5IN 500GB SATA2 8.5MS 7200RPM 32MB Cache NCQ Hard Drive 1 $143.82
DVD Writers Samsung SH-S203B Black SATA DVD+RW 20X8X16 DVD-RW 20X6X16 DL 18X/12X INT DVD Writer OEM W/ Vista SW 1 $39.75
LCD Monitors Samsung SyncMaster 206BW 20IN Widescreen LCD Black 1680X1050 3000:1 2MS VGA DVI-D HDCP 1 $268.99
DVD Drives LG 16X Black DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM IDE UDMA33 INT OEM 1 $25.13
I plan to transfer the Windows XP Home Edition from my current pc to this new build and then upgrade to Vista 64-bit when Vista has fewer problems. I'm trying to give myself options years from now with the DDR3 compatible mobo. My thoughts on using the Quad-Core are that it should be fast enough to run the single threaded games with these graphics cards, and it will be better than a C2D in two or three years when games are written for Quads, but I'm just guessing here. Finally I don't know if I should get a sound card because the Radeon HD 3850 description says it has "Built-in HDMI with Multi-channel 5.1 surround audio" but I'm not sure what that means.
That build looks pretty good, but you can probably find some other ram with tighter timings for a little cheaper.
Finally I don't know if I should get a sound card because the Radeon HD 3850 description says it has "Built-in HDMI with Multi-channel 5.1 surround audio" but I'm not sure what that means.
Honestly, unless you're using some high-quality surround sound speakers in your room, you won't notice the difference in sound quality. As for performance gains, with that system, not even on-board sound would really impact performance. So just stick with the sounds on the 3850 or onboard sound... unless you just want to spend more money
HDMI carries audio and video in one cable. Where that is handy is when hooking up to a home theater system or a TV with HDMI inputs.
I wouldn't bother with XP Home. You have more memory then it will support (unless you just don't want to use it).
Most of the "problems" that you read about with Vista are from people that have never used it. There are a lot of people that just jump on the anti MS bandwagon and start bashing them without seeing these "problems" themselves. It's really easy just to take other peoples opinions as opposed to making your own. Vista is not perfect, but I think it's a great stable OS. I have had 0 issues with it so far. I say give Vista a shot.
I'll be using some nice 5.1 headphones for sound. I'm leaning away from getting a sound card because it looks to be about $100 for a decent one. If as you say, it won't increase performance then that's another strike against it. I wish I had some idea what the difference would be in sound quality between on board and a card though. I guess I'll just get it without and if I'm not happy with the sound I can always order the card later.
There is some 4-4-4-12 RAM in a 2X1 GB kit that I was initially considering but the first kit has a mail-in rebate which I suspect is 50/50 that you'll ever get it, and the second kit would be about $110 (no rebate). Maybe I'll wait a week and see if I can find some better RAM on sale. I do want to start with 4GB total. My thinking with the current RAM choice is that I could add 4GB in a year or two, matching what I have, and $135 seemed cheep for 4GB RAM to me. If I go with 1GB sticks I'll have all the slots filled at 4GB total and will have to replace it all down the road.
I need to find out if I'd save money transfering XP Home over and then upgrading to Vista 64-bit. If I can save money that way I'll go that route and upgrade immediately. If not I'll get Vista 64-bit to begin with.
I've decided to scrap the build because the parts I really want are a bit too expensive for me now or out of stock. Plus the idea I had of over-clocking the CPU in perhaps 2 or 3 years time is misguided in that I could end up with one of the older versions that doesn't over-clock well. I just wish there was a retailer of systems I could trust to design a system really well without hosing me. Ah well. Maybe in January they'll want to sell something to a saturated market and will have more time to think about the systems they build. I wanted to spend about 1650 and this thing is ballooning towards 2300.