Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

System of All Systems

Last response: in Systems
Share
December 3, 2007 4:20:08 AM

Hi All,

I'm building a new PC for my dad (he wants a gaming machine, but mostly bragging rights). Wanted to know what your thoughts on the following, and if you had any suggestions. I plan on overclocking this to a full 1600 FSB . . . I need recommendations on cooling (and water cooled or not?), cases, powersupplies, etc. Pretty sure the math works out in terms of the overclocking, but it never hurts to get a second pair of eyes.

MB: Asus P5E3 ($320)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

CPU: 2.4 Ghz Q6600 (SL ACR [G0 step] for overclocking) ($280)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

RAM: DDR 3-1600 (2GB PC3-12800)
(ANYONE HEARD OF Supertalent or Patriot?)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682... ($380)
OR
http://www.axiontech.com/prdt.php?item=80233 ($390)
OR
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000UY3L20?smid=A29PHU0KPCGV8S... ($470)

Edit:
From
VIDEO: ATI Firegl v 3600 ($250 x 2 = $500)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...


TO
VIDEO: ATI 3870 (512 MB Ram) ($250 x 2 = $500)
http://www.xpcgear.com/100215l.html


HD: WD RAPTOR 150GB (16 MB CACHE) ($150)($150)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


SOUND: XFI Xtreme Gamer ($90)
http://www.electronicsshowplace.com/sb-x-fi-xtremegamer...

Physics Card ($100)
(Optional. Is the physics card really worth it? Please confirm this is also PCI express and that the mobo will handle that? No sense in putting it in a PCI slot. Just added this on a whim.)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...



There was a case that had 2 120 mm fans which I thought was pretty nice in addition to a direct chip intake. Not sure what kind of case I need for this mobo though or anything like that.

More about : system systems

December 3, 2007 5:33:31 AM

The physics card is useless, and unless you can hear rats having sex in Paris, onboard audio has always been fine. The only extreme attribute about the raptor is it's price, DDR3 is too expensive to justify it over the ridiculously cheap DDR2, and Nvidia is a way better graphics choice. You're also choosing to spend $320 on an OPEN BOX motherboard. You don't need to watercool, as you should definitely tone down that processor, which would only need an aftermarket cooler to begin with (yes, even after overclocking). Try to keep your dad's real needs in mind, because all in all, you've messed up on your choice of every component listed here. Unless your dad is a dedicated gamer (Sim city is not gaming), most of this is useless.

If you don't know what kind of case you need for that motherboard, then you probably don't know enough about computers to be building this thing, don't you think?

Buy a Dell or something.
December 3, 2007 6:55:15 AM

why don't u get a pair of nvidia 8800gt 512 mb cards and sli these little monsters?!
Related resources
December 3, 2007 9:57:54 AM

Is there a reason you chose a FireGL card? AFAIK, all the ATI Fire* cards are designed for workstation (i.e. CAD) use, and are horribly expensive for regular people for what you get. One thread I saw suggested that card is based on an ATI 2600Pro, and with 256MB of RAM, I wouldn't doubt it. If you trust Wikipedia, try here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATI_FireGL

Going for 2 of ATI 3870 or 8800GT cards would make way more sense to me. If that card is truly based on a 2600Pro, you'd be VERY disappointed with the gaming performance. To get even the performance of a 2900XT (which is beat by both the cards I mentioned), you'd have to go to a FireGL V8600, which was about $1900 MSRP, as of August. Even if the price has dropped by 50%, it's still way overkill for a consumer card, and you'd still get better performance from the 3870 or 8800GT.

My personal preference would be for the 2x3870. I like the dual-slot cooler, which allows the card to blow the hot air out the back directly, rather than recirculating the warm air inside the case. But then you might have issues (depending on the MB) in fitting 2 of the dual slot cards on that MB. The 8800GT's might get better performance, although it seems the Crossfire system scales better than the SLI right now.

And personally, I would either drop the Raptor drives (were you planning on RAIDing them?) or at least add another large volume drive (like a 500GB). Keep in mind the risks of RAID when it comes to data loss. I somehow doubt your Dad would be a happy camper if one of the drives failed and he lost everything on the computer.

I would also do some digging, find out what games support the Physx card. There's a reason why they haven't caught on yet, I would guess. I'd look at dropping the Physx card and increasing the budget for the graphics cards. Maybe wait for the refreshed 8800GTS's to come out. I'd even throw away the sound card to put more money on the graphics card(s), if required.

Clint
December 3, 2007 1:28:36 PM

Iron:

I said this was mostly for bragging rights and while he doesn't need a lot of it, is willing to spend the money and wants it. I'm not "up-to-latest" on a lot of the hardware but do have a Master degree in CS and know what I'm doing in terms of building. If I wanted to go spend $1000 on a dell I could do that but would be left back in the stone age. Hardware is getting to the point where you get a much better bang for your buck. And from what I read about ddr2 as opposed to ddr3, I remember it was supposed to be a great improvement.

Sunny:
In my research Crossfire beat the SLI.

Clint:
Thanks for some actual suggestions :-).
For the 3870, 8800 . . . are they both crossfire compatible? If so I'll definately do more research in terms of the video cards.

Edit:
Only the 3870 will work with the crossfire, so updating the video cards to this:
http://www.xpcgear.com/100215l.html

As for the HD: There's already a 500GB external in play as a media drive and what not (from the old system); this is specifically a OS/Applications drive.

Thanks very much for the suggestions. Does everything check out with running this at 1600?
December 3, 2007 1:55:39 PM

You should really wait a month for the build and get newer stuff.

Everything here will be quite dated by Mid January.

1) The Penryn Chips will be out and OC much bettter in Q01
2) The x38 Board can't handle NVIDIA Boards only ATI. The Newer NVIDIA 8800GTS boards which will be faster than the 8800GT should ship in about a week.
December 3, 2007 2:49:53 PM

Hi Zen,

Thanks for the suggestions but I feel like if I wait till January then in another month the latest and greatest will be released again. It's the way of the technology world. Articles say Intel will be releasing updates much more often with less changes to prevent AMD from taking the lead again. The nature of technology (not to mention Murphy's Law) will be that tomorrow will always be a better computer.
December 3, 2007 3:28:47 PM

Usually I would agree, next month is better stuff then this month is common. But we are at a special point now. A new proc generation is around the corner, new video cards are hardly available thus paying a lot more. Price cuts are announced. I know you don't give a lot about the money you let your daddy pay, but still.

Crossfire isn't better then SLI. You just need a Nvidia chipset for SLI. Most motherboards can, if enough slots, have crossfire.

DDR3 is overpriced at the moment. If you want, you can pay more and get a bit more performance from it, but I would advice getting the best ddr2 chips you can find and plug in.
December 3, 2007 3:41:58 PM

ged325 said:

I said this was mostly for bragging rights and while he doesn't need a lot of it, is willing to spend the money and wants it.


And god forbid you save the guy some money? If he asks you to shoot him in the foot, will you do it?

ged325 said:

I'm not "up-to-latest" on a lot of the hardware but do have a Master degree in CS and know what I'm doing in terms of building.


You asked if that ATX motherboard would fit in that case. Unless you bought that case in the 80s, YES!

ged325 said:

If I wanted to go spend $1000 on a dell I could do that but would be left back in the stone age. Hardware is getting to the point where you get a much better bang for your buck.


If it's a web browsing machine, Dell has some quite capable ones for ~$600

ged325 said:

from what I read about ddr2 as opposed to ddr3, I remember it was supposed to be a great improvement.


Read again



Conclusion

The purpose of this comparison of DDR3 and DDR2 was to determine whether DDR3 really brought any better performance to the Core 2 platform. However, the test was designed so that any performance improvements that were brought by the new P35 (Bearlake) chipset would be captured and could be isolated. P35 supports either DDR2 or DDR3, and we found no real difference in current performance of DDR2 and DDR3 on the P35 platform. Both were equally faster than the same DDR2 on the P965 chipset.

That means the real performance surprise in these tests is that the revised memory controller in the Bearlake chipset improves buffered memory bandwidth by 16% to 18%, with a real-world improvement in gaming and application performance of 2 to 5%. This is a pretty impressive improvement for a memory controller update. To repeat an old saying please remember that memory is just one small part of the system, so a 2% to 5% increase in gaming from the memory controller alone means the P35 memory controller is significantly improved over the P965 chipset.

DDR3 at introduction is saddled with pretty dismal memory timings. As you can see in our test bed chart, SPD timings are 6-6-6-15 at DDR3-800, 7-7-7-20 at DDR3-1066 and 9-9-9-25 at DDR3-1333. Despite the slower timings DDR3 runs at higher speeds than any DDR2 we have tested, and we will have official JEDEC timings for DDR3 to 1600 with the current JEDEC standard, and possibly ever faster with any future JEDEC update.

Even at slow timings, DDR3 shows a great deal of promise. It is as fast as very fast DDR2 on the P965, but it can't match the same DDR2 memory performance on the P35. DDR3 can run at higher speeds than DDR2 and as faster memory timings inevitably appear DDR3 will be the right choice for computer enthusiasts looking for the best performance. While we can't prove better latency or significantly better performance with the slow timings of launch DDR3, the evidence is all there in these tests. DDR3 will get faster in speed and will provide the best performance in the long term.

That brings up the more difficult question: what to buy today? That is a much more complicated question. If you are looking for a new system, definitely choose the new P35 chipset over the P965, as it is a better memory performer. At launch we are told DDR3 will be much more expensive than DDR2. Prices are expected to be about $480 for a 2GB DDR3 kit. [b said:
At that lofty price it is difficult to recommend DDR3 over DDR2, when DDR2 performs just the same on the P35 chipset and decent 2GB kits can be had for under $150 now.

Two conditions would shift the recommendation to DDR3 instead. When DDR3 prices come close to DDR2 then buy DDR3 instead. More significantly, when DDR3 becomes available at higher speeds and/or faster timings then definitely choose DDR3 if you are looking for performance - even if the price is higher.

We asked many memory vendors when they thought price parity and fast DDR3 timings might be available. The more skeptical said not until late 2008, while the more optimistic felt it would happen by the end of 2007. Until either or both events happens there is no compelling reason to buy DDR3. However, there is no doubt at all that DDR3 is in your future as the top-performing memory you can buy. Some will also buy it because it is the future and they can likely carry their DDR3 supporting board a little further into the future.

AMD's launch of their Phenom processors will also be something to consider for it's potential impact on DDR3 adoption. Phenom will initially launch with DDR2 only. If AMD can regain the performance crown, the shift to DDR3 may be further delayed, just like what happened with the DDR to DDR2 shift.

The winner for now is the P35 chipset, whether you feed it DDR2 with fast timings or higher speed DDR3. The 1333 bus speed introduced by P35 is also a winner - at least in terms of overclocking. As stated in the review, almost every Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad we tried in the P35 ASUS P5K and P5K3 ran at 1333 FSB at the default multiplier and default voltage. The only processors that required any voltage increase were the top line Core 2 Extreme processors. This free 25% overclock, which still allows everything else in the system to run at default values, is exciting. It is so exciting we have to wonder how long Intel will allow this in the marketplace.

DDR3 may not be in your buying plan today, but it will certainly be there in the future. As DDR3 prices drop and/or timings improve, it will be the performance choice. For today, the best performance choice is either today's DDR2 or tomorrow's DDR3 on the P35 chipset instead.
]
Conclusion

The purpose of this comparison of DDR3 and DDR2 was to determine whether DDR3 really brought any better performance to the Core 2 platform. However, the test was designed so that any performance improvements that were brought by the new P35 (Bearlake) chipset would be captured and could be isolated. P35 supports either DDR2 or DDR3, and we found no real difference in current performance of DDR2 and DDR3 on the P35 platform. Both were equally faster than the same DDR2 on the P965 chipset.

That means the real performance surprise in these tests is that the revised memory controller in the Bearlake chipset improves buffered memory bandwidth by 16% to 18%, with a real-world improvement in gaming and application performance of 2 to 5%. This is a pretty impressive improvement for a memory controller update. To repeat an old saying please remember that memory is just one small part of the system, so a 2% to 5% increase in gaming from the memory controller alone means the P35 memory controller is significantly improved over the P965 chipset.

DDR3 at introduction is saddled with pretty dismal memory timings. As you can see in our test bed chart, SPD timings are 6-6-6-15 at DDR3-800, 7-7-7-20 at DDR3-1066 and 9-9-9-25 at DDR3-1333. Despite the slower timings DDR3 runs at higher speeds than any DDR2 we have tested, and we will have official JEDEC timings for DDR3 to 1600 with the current JEDEC standard, and possibly ever faster with any future JEDEC update.

Even at slow timings, DDR3 shows a great deal of promise. It is as fast as very fast DDR2 on the P965, but it can't match the same DDR2 memory performance on the P35. DDR3 can run at higher speeds than DDR2 and as faster memory timings inevitably appear DDR3 will be the right choice for computer enthusiasts looking for the best performance. While we can't prove better latency or significantly better performance with the slow timings of launch DDR3, the evidence is all there in these tests. DDR3 will get faster in speed and will provide the best performance in the long term.

That brings up the more difficult question: what to buy today? That is a much more complicated question. If you are looking for a new system, definitely choose the new P35 chipset over the P965, as it is a better memory performer. At launch we are told DDR3 will be much more expensive than DDR2. Prices are expected to be about $480 for a 2GB DDR3 kit. At that lofty price it is difficult to recommend DDR3 over DDR2, when DDR2 performs just the same on the P35 chipset and decent 2GB kits can be had for under $150 now.

Two conditions would shift the recommendation to DDR3 instead. When DDR3 prices come close to DDR2 then buy DDR3 instead. More significantly, when DDR3 becomes available at higher speeds and/or faster timings then definitely choose DDR3 if you are looking for performance - even if the price is higher.

We asked many memory vendors when they thought price parity and fast DDR3 timings might be available. The more skeptical said not until late 2008, while the more optimistic felt it would happen by the end of 2007. Until either or both events happens there is no compelling reason to buy DDR3. However, there is no doubt at all that DDR3 is in your future as the top-performing memory you can buy. Some will also buy it because it is the future and they can likely carry their DDR3 supporting board a little further into the future.

AMD's launch of their Phenom processors will also be something to consider for it's potential impact on DDR3 adoption. Phenom will initially launch with DDR2 only. If AMD can regain the performance crown, the shift to DDR3 may be further delayed, just like what happened with the DDR to DDR2 shift.

The winner for now is the P35 chipset, whether you feed it DDR2 with fast timings or higher speed DDR3. The 1333 bus speed introduced by P35 is also a winner - at least in terms of overclocking. As stated in the review, almost every Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad we tried in the P35 ASUS P5K and P5K3 ran at 1333 FSB at the default multiplier and default voltage. The only processors that required any voltage increase were the top line Core 2 Extreme processors. This free 25% overclock, which still allows everything else in the system to run at default values, is exciting. It is so exciting we have to wonder how long Intel will allow this in the marketplace.

DDR3 may not be in your buying plan today, but it will certainly be there in the future. As DDR3 prices drop and/or timings improve, it will be the performance choice. For today, the best performance choice is either today's DDR2 or tomorrow's DDR3 on the P35 chipset instead.
[/b]
a c 126 K Overclocking
December 3, 2007 4:38:09 PM

If you want bragging rights, then be careful that you don't get laughing stock parts. DDR3 today has almost no performance value. You would get more bragging rights from 8gb of memory, even if it was DDR2. I would pick 4gb, and vista home premium-64.

The best cpu for bragging rights would be the QX9650. At $1345 if you can find one, I think it's way overvalued, but if you are willing to get the best...ok. As a more reasonable alternative look at the E6850. It is the best for games, and is the fastest standard clock speed processor out there.

For games, you will want the best vga card out there. Currrently, it is the 8800GT. ( well the 8800GTX-ultra, but it is on the way out) I would wait a week for the 8800GTS-512 which should be a bit faster, and have a nice two slot cooler.

For this kind of a build, the raptor150 is great. Add a nice 750gb storage drive.

The key to bragging rights will be the case, and how appealing it looks. If you want "bling", I can't help you. For quiet, the Antec Solo, designer 500, and it's other models are very good and classy. Read some reviews. Lian-li and silverstone also make some very nice cases. Any case that supports a ATX mobo will be ok.

For a nice unique keyboard, look at the microsoft ergonomic 4000.

Get a Samsung 305T display. It will be the most impressive part of the system. Equally good, get a pair of samsung 275T monitors.

---good luck---
December 3, 2007 6:44:54 PM

Iron:
I'm not buying the best of everything, but I know my dad, and if he said he wants a gaming machine to do nothing better than search the web, that's what he asked for, and that's what he's going to get. There is a budget involved (though more than a "normal" person would spend on a PC), and that's why uou're not seeing me a buy a $1,000 chip so I don't know where you're getting this vibe that I'm trying to waste his money and/or that money is unlimited.

Back to the issues, That article is based on a p35 chipset. Next time compare apples with apples please:
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?sites...

See below for why I'm hesitant to drop to ddr2.

geofelt:

I hear what you're saying regarding ddr3. Here's my issue:
While ddr2 and ddr3 are similiar in performance now as time goes on DDR3 will begin to enlarge that gap. In order to make the jump to ddr3 at that point you need a new board and new memory, the ddr2 is a waste. You can always just replace the ram for an upgrade or upgrade to 4-8 gb later as needed.

As far as the case goes he's looking for quiet and I'm looking for something with enough cooling to keep the chip happy.



a c 126 K Overclocking
December 3, 2007 7:08:47 PM

The C2D processors are not very sensitive to memory speeds. The speed of memory, either DDR2 or DDR3 with a C2D processor does not translate into any significant increase in real application performance(as compared to synthetic benchmarks) It is on the order of 1-2%. If you are going for high overclocks, then that is another matter. The upcoming nehalem processors will have an on-board memory controller, so DDR3 will probably become the norm then. You will also need a new mobo then. Invest the money you save now on DDR2 vs. DDR3, and I'll bet it will buy you much more later whenever you upgrade to nehalem.

For an interesting review and comparison of the trade-off between cooling, and noise, read this review of the antec-900, solo, and lian-li-G70. The interesting conclusion is that at the same noise level, all three cases cooled the same. The 900 could cool best at higher noise, and the solo could be the quietest at lower cooling. http://www.bjorn3d.com/read.php?cID=996&pageID=2747
December 4, 2007 3:34:25 AM

ged325 said:
Iron:
I'm not buying the best of everything, but I know my dad, and if he said he wants a gaming machine to do nothing better than search the web, that's what he asked for, and that's what he's going to get. There is a budget involved (though more than a "normal" person would spend on a PC), and that's why uou're not seeing me a buy a $1,000 chip so I don't know where you're getting this vibe that I'm trying to waste his money and/or that money is unlimited.


I'd definitely be the first person to say you're not buying the best of everything. As a matter of fact, that's what I've been saying throughout this thread. That's fine that you want to build your Dad a gaming rig. That's actually pretty cool! But you're trying to budget this out for 1840 without cooling, optical drives, monitor, speakers or OS. You also just so happen to have chosen the newest, shiniest parts, without seeming to know anything about their performance benefits, which leads me to my next point:

ged325 said:

Back to the issues, That article is based on a p35 chipset. Next time compare apples with apples please:
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?sites...


I'm sorry, were you talking about this little gem:


Deciding whether to make the change to DDR3 is not very difficult: you can afford the buy-in, or you cannot. Given the choice, especially considering the rate at which DDR2 prices continue to plummet, it should come as no surprise that a large majority of users will probably find themselves in a rather favorable situation - one in which the benefits of staying with DDR2 for a little while longer make too much sense to move at this point.
said:

Deciding whether to make the change to DDR3 is not very difficult: you can afford the buy-in, or you cannot. Given the choice, especially considering the rate at which DDR2 prices continue to plummet, it should come as no surprise that a large majority of users will probably find themselves in a rather favorable situation - one in which the benefits of staying with DDR2 for a little while longer make too much sense to move at this point.


If you're building this machine in summer of 08, great, go DDR3, it would probably be worth it.
December 4, 2007 4:44:31 AM

Wait, the ONLY PURPOSE of this system is to surf the web? If that is true, hate to break it to you, but all you need is a $600 Dell or HP and a really good connection. SLI, Crossfire, DDR3, and all the other high-end performance stuff won't make a system go any faster online than a budget system with enough RAM (2GB) and a decent CPU (Athlon X2 or the E21X0). If he wants bragging rights, get him a good 1080p LCD TV that he can use as a monitor and a nice speaker system because the average person will be more impressed with the externals than the internals.
December 4, 2007 5:56:22 AM

runswindows95 said:
If he wants bragging rights, get him a good 1080p LCD TV that he can use as a monitor and a nice speaker system because the average person will be more impressed with the externals than the internals.


Don't forget a case...with a window and LEDs! :sol: 
!