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$1500-2000 Gaming Rig, please help!

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December 6, 2007 8:37:01 PM

Hello everyone, I will be making a new system soon and advice would be appreciated :p  This will be my first time building a computer since I would like to build it myself rather than buy an already made computer from Dell or something. I will be using the system primarily for gaming, but also for the use of engineering design software (Autocad, CATIA, etc.)

Here goes:

CPU: Intel Pentium Dual Core E2180 Dual Core Processor LGA775 2.0GHZ 800FSB 1MB Retail Box
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=26099&vpn=BX80557E2180&manufacture=Intel
I will upgrade this to a mid-range penryn when they are released.

HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 3.5IN 500GB SATA2 8.5MS 7200RPM 32MB Cache NCQ Hard Drive
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=27144&vpn=ST3500320AS&manufacture=Seagate

PSU: Corsair HX520 CMPSU-520HX 520W ATX Triple 12V 40A Continuous 24PIN ATX Modular 120MM Power Supply
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=19832&vpn=CMPSU-520HX&manufacture=CORSAIR


RAM: 2x Corsair XMS2 TWIN2X2048-6400C4 2GB 2X1GB PC2-6400 DDR2-800 CL 4-4-4-12 240PIN Dual Channel Memory http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=18580&vpn=TWIN2X2048-6400C4&manufacture=CORSAIR

Video Card: The new 8800 GTS 512mb... No prices anywhere, I'm assuming its 350$ if I can get it the day it comes out. I would like to buy EVGA so I could step up to the newer cards if they come out before my step up period finishes.

Case: Antec Nine Hundred Mid Tower Gamer Case 900 ATX 9 Drive Bay No PS Top USB2.0 1394 Audio
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=21123&vpn=NINE%20HUNDRED&manufacture=ANTEC
Will this fit everything I want? I can't buy anything larger than a mid tower case due to space restrictions.

MOBO: I have no idea to be honest, I heard Gigabyte made good mother boards, and that one of the P35 chipset ones they make is a proven board that I can overclock well with. Does anyone have any idea which this is? Or should I grab an X38 with PCIE 2.0 for newer generation video cards?

Extra Cooling:
I would like to overclock my video card a bit and my processor to 3.2GHZ+. Do I need extra cooling to do this? I would like to stay with Air cooling. Do you recommend any heatsinks/thermal paste?

Monitor: I was thinking the Samsung SyncMaster 245B 24IN Widescreen Black LCD Monitor 1920X1200 3000:1 5MS VGA DVI HAS
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=24159&vpn=LS24HUBCBQ/XAA&manufacture=Samsung

OS: Vista 64bit Ultimate (I already have this)


I am a Canadian citizen and will therefore be buying in Canada. I know a few good sites (Ncix, Canada computers for example) and a few smaller places where I would be able to get deals and may not necessarily buy from Ncix (I used Ncix links).

Priced out on Ncix this setup came to about $1750 before rebates ($1650 after rebates), assuming the mother board would cost $130 and the video card $350. Do you guys recommend any changes to this setup, or know of anything I could replace that would save me money while not decreasing performance?

Thank you :D 

EDIT: Updated list based on some suggestions.

More about : 1500 2000 gaming rig

December 6, 2007 9:15:26 PM

Youve been reading havent you... the choices you have made are solid and i wouldnt change much.

You do know Penryn is comming ~Q1 2008? which will beat the Q6600 at ~price

Any P35 from Asus Gigabyte or Abit would be great match for Q6600. Look at the boards features that you need and choose accordingly

Onboard sound will be fine. If you find its lacking later on you can always add one.

Cooling, not sure on what will fit the new GTS... current ones i like are Thermaltake DuOrb and Thermalright HR-03. CPU you cant go past Thermalright 120 Ultra Extreme and a quality 120mm fan to attach to it. You may or may not get 3.2ghz depends on CPU quality.

I own a Dell 2407-HC which is nice... i still get a little ghosting while gaming but i dont notice it much. Dell have also released a cheap 24" that runs a a TN 6bit panel, which should be better for gaming, but may lack in colour on your movies/CAD/photo work. I believe the 245B is a TN hence the fast refresh rate... i dont know much about these models, though ive heard samsung panels can get some tearing and input lag due to image processing.

You could increase to 4gb ram since your using 64bit Vista (a little hungray) something like this http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=25352&vpn=OCZ2P8004GK&manufacture=OCZ%20Technology
December 6, 2007 9:33:40 PM

Thank you for the quick reply and suggestions chookman.

I noticed that the ram you suggested had 5-4-4-15 timing. While I have no idea what these timings mean, I notice that people often prefer 4-4-4-12 timings. Will using RAM with 5-4-4-15 timing decrease performance or increase it, or even change it at all?

And I believe that the new GTS comes with a dual slot cooler (the sample that nVidia sent tweaktown had one anyway) so on second thought, I don't think I'll need any third party coolers to overclock it.

As for Penryn, I was originally going to build this computer back in August but decided to wait for the new Penryn chips and nVidia cards (at the time, everyone believed we would be getting the new series GTX and Ultras around now) but that doesn't seem to be the case. I miss gaming on my computer lol (all I have to use is this laptop, which is incapable of gaming well) so I would like to build this computer over my Christmas break.

Do you think it would be feasible to buy a cheap processor for now, and when Penryn comes out, upgrade to one of those?
Related resources
December 6, 2007 9:54:49 PM

Lower timings are better... generally means the RAM will go closer to its maximum bandwidth and snapper response. However, to actually notice the difference between CAS4 and CAS5 is negledgable. The difference between 2gb - 4gb would be more noticable.

http://www.tweaktown.com/articles/1237/nvidia_g92_overclocked_gt_vs_gts_512/index.html Overclocking advantures of 8800GT and new 8800GTS done by tweaktown.

HAHA seems youve been waiting a long time then... If you are sick of it, get it now... up to you about penryn... the Q6600 should do you unless nehalem comes out or even till AMD get there act sorted out. you should be looking about the same price for midrange penryn as the current Q6600. So your choice... something like a e2180 with some Overclocking would be a nice tide me over, if you wish to go that way.
December 6, 2007 10:28:27 PM

Alright I updated the list based on your suggestions. A few things though:

For the ram, I posted that I was getting 4gb originally, maybe you missed the 2x :p .. which leads to a question. Is the ram you picked out better quality than the one I did? I notice its over double the price (after $80 MIR total for 4gb) of the ram I picked out.

Another question about ram. I know most people choose 800mhz ram for the 1:1 timing ratio it achieves with the Q6600. Would i be better off getting faster RAM to achieve 1:1 with The Penryn processor I will get, which has a higher FSB?

For the motherboard, I know P35 supports 45nm technology, but I don't know of any P35s with PCIE2.0. I know the most recent nVidia cards support PCIE2.0 and I can safely guess that the new series cards (9xxx or whatever they will be called) will also. So.. Should i look into X38 motherboards for the PCIE2.0 advantage? I think its very possible that they will benefit from the additional bandwidth that PCIE2.0 would support. I know its hard to predict future tech, but do you think they will utilize 2.0 enough to warrant switching to X38?

!!EDIT:
Regarding the previous paragraph, I just found this on Ncix:
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=26284&vpn=GA-P35-DS4&manufacture=Gigabyte.
The specs says it has 1 PCIE x16 slot. Does this provide the same bandwidth and have the same effect as PCIE2.0? If it does, I believe this would be a good choice for my build as I do not plan on running SLI or Crossfire in the foreseeable future. Does anyone have any opinions on this?
December 7, 2007 1:59:39 AM

The RAM i picked the main difference is the one i picked is a 2x2 whereas your going for 4x1... 2x2 is better for upgradability thats about it.

1:1 with Q6600 at stock would be 533mhz RAM so dont get conserned with your 800mhz. Even if you got an eXtreme quad penryn at 1600mhz the 800mhz stuff will still run 1:1 with it fine albiet with no room to overclock (if your that way inclined)

Current PCIe2.0 cards will not take advantage of the extra bandwidth at all. Although future ones should (dont know how far along this will be). X38 main benefit is 1600mhz FSB support (EXTREME PENRYNS) PCIe2.0 and full 16x speed on both PCIe16x slots for better crossfire performance. If you want penryn you maybe a little more "future proofed" (if there is such a thing anymore) and able to run 1600FSB CPUs
December 7, 2007 8:37:37 PM

Ah I see, I will change to 2x2gb sticks for the RAM choice.

The new Penryn I was looking at was the Q9450 I believe. It has 1333 FSB so the 1600 FSB support on the X38 isn't a big concern for me. Also, I won't ever be doing SLI or Crossfire so I'm not looking at that capability.

Now, assuming that the new 9000 series cards WILL require more bandwidth than PCIe 1.0, do you think the board I picked out in my previous post is a good choice?

Since I want to overclock the new Penryn I will get to as close to 4.0 GHZ as I can, what kind of speed should I look for in my RAM? The Penryn will have an 8x multiplier (I read this on Wikipedia).
December 9, 2007 8:08:53 PM

Would anyone else be able to make suggestions?
!