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New gaming PC; $1500 - $2000 CAD budget

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December 9, 2007 3:16:51 AM

It's been a few years since I had built my computer, so I thought this Christmas (or soon after) would be a perfect time to start a new build. Keep in mind that my current computer was hardly top-of-the-line when I first bought it; Pentium IV 3.00 GHz, 512 MB RAM, 120 GB hard drive (+ another 250 GB one added on later), Radeon 9600 (which I upgraded to an AIW X800 XL about 1.5 years ago).

I will be using this machine mainly for games, with it moonlighting as a media center PC. It'll be hooked up to a 50" HDTV with 1280x720 resolution. It's not the greatest, but anything smaller and I'll need a pair of binoculars to read text from 10-15 feet away. I won't be doing any major overclocking, so no hardcore watercooling for me.

To give you guys a time frame, I will try to get as many parts as I can on Boxing Day. Whatever I don't get can wait for the first weekly sale in January (hurray for the GST decrease!).

This will basically be my first solo build, so I'm welcome to any and all suggestions regarding parts, build tips, etc. :) 

Anyways, here's a summary for anyone who doesn't want to read everything:

CPU: Q6600/E6850 http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=22211 or http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=25299
Motherboard: Asus Maximus Formula http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=27037
CPU Heatsink: Scythe Ninja Plus REV.B http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=21163
Power Supply: OCZ GameXStream 700W http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=18185
Memory: Patriot Extreme Performance 4GB PC2-6400 DDR2-800 CL4-4-4-12 http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=25352
Video Card: EVGA E-GEFORCE 8800GT Superclocked http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=26778
TV Tuner: Hauppauge WinTV HVR-1800 http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=26875
Hard Drive: Western Digital SE16 500GB http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=23266
Case: Antec P182 ATX Black Mid Tower Case http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=24122
Case Fans: Scythe Slip Stream Kaze Jyuni 120MM Fan 1200RPM http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=26747
DVD Writer: Samsung SH-S203N Black http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=26371
Headphones: Sennheiser RS146 Wireless RF Stereo Headphones http://search.ncix.com/displayproductdetail.php?sku=21954
Keyboard & Mouse: ?? - preferably wireless, 15 ft range, <$100

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Anyways, to my much longer explanation. :D 

Processor:
If I had to buy one right now, I would either get the E6850 or the Q6600.

I had been considering waiting for a Q9450 if the retail price wasn't too much higher than the E6850, but there have been rumors that the Yorkfield processors are being delayed until late February or early March. So, assuming the Wolfdale release dates are still in January, maybe I should wait for an E8300 or E8400 instead?

Another option is for me to throw in a Celeron 420 1.6 GHz as a temporary solution until the newer processors come out. Obviously, I won't be setting any performance records, but at least I'll be able to configure/tweak all of the other parts first. It's also cheap enough that it won't take a huge chunk out of my wallet.

Motherboard:
This is one part where I'm not quite sure what to get; I'm not up to date in the latest and greatest in motherboard technology. Right now, I've got the Asus Maximus Formula penciled in as it seems to be decent. The SupremeFX II is a nice bonus.

Anybody have any other suggestions for about the same price?

CPU Heatsink:
Right now, I'm looking at the Scythe Ninja Plus REV.B heatsink. How's the stock fan on these? If necessary, I can always replace it with another fan (perhaps another one of my case fans mentioned below?). My main concern with this heatsink is whether or not it will fit on the Asus Maximus Formula motherboard; the X-bit Labs review (http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/mainboards/display/asus-p5e_12.html) of that motherboard mentions that they had problems with massive CPU coolers. Maybe it's just me, but the REV.B seems pretty massive.

Power Supply:
How does the OCZ GameXStream 700W sound? OCZ seems like a fairly safe brand to me, and I haven't heard about any problems with the GameXStream PSUs.

Memory:
Currently, I'm considering the Patriot Extreme Performance 4GB PC2-6400 memory. It's got 4-4-4-12 timings, which sounds awesome. In the last weekly sale, NCIX had it for $174.99 after a $25.00 MIR, which sounds like a steal considering it normally goes for $265. Hopefully the price will be even better during the Boxing Day sale (fingers crossed :p  ).

Video Card:
Ah, the heart of any gaming rig. My hope is that nVidea comes out with the much anticipated 9 series sometime before April, so I can use EVGA's step-up program to upgrade. Currently, I am planning on buying the EVGA 8800GT Superclocked card.

TV Tuner:
I've actually only used ATI AIW products that double as TV tuners, so I have no experience with standalone cards. Anyways, it doesn't seem like there are that many decent choices available, so I went with the Hauppauge WinTV HVR-1800. The only problem is, I can't find a decent review of this from any reputable hardware site. In fact, I've only found one review, and that's from a blog (http://thinkinginpixels.com/2007/07/12/hauppauge-wintv-hvr-1800-review/).

Anyone have any recommendations for TV tuners?

Hard Drive:
The Western Digital SE16 500GB sounds good.

Case:
After some deliberation, I finally decided on the Antec P182 case. Sounds like a solid case; decent cooling, quiet, and well designed. Will this case be large enough to fit everything I listed above? Again, the humongous Scythe Ninja Plus REV.B makes me slightly nervous. :unsure:

Case Fans:
The Antec P182 has two open fan slots, so I would like to fill them up with the Scythe Slip Stream Kaze Jyuni at 1200 RPM. At 68.5 CFM for only 24 DBA, the specs sound great. Then again, I'm also tempted to go for the Kaze Jyuni at 1900 RPM. It's just over 50% louder at 37 DBA, but it also pushes 110.31 CFM of air. Will the difference be really noticeable in the P182?

DVD Writer:
Again, I'm not too sure which one is "best," but I picked the one that sounded good (at least from the specs): Samsung SH-S203N.

Headphones:
Since this is going to be a PC hooked up to a TV for most of the time, I thought it would be best to buy a pair of wireless headphones. Just so I don't need to distract everyone else with whatever I'm playing or watching. The best pair that I can afford on NCIX would be the Sennheiser RS146. Does anybody have any experience with this product?

Keyboard & Mouse:
I'm actually not too sure what to get here. Again, both will need to be wireless. Ideally, the mouse would have a docking station to recharge, and both the keyboard and mouse would have about 15 feet of range. Preferably, both together will come to less than $100. Any suggestions?

---

Okay, so according to my calculations, everything together comes in at under $1900 (I factored in GST and also allocated $70 for shipping). I'm also hoping to snag one of those "free ground shipping on entire order" specials. ;) 

Again, my main concern with the parts I mentioned above is compatibility (and whether or not that blasted huge cooler will work with everything else :lol:  ).

I welcome any and all suggestions, comments, derisive laughter, etc. that you guys may have. :) 

More about : gaming 1500 2000 cad budget

December 9, 2007 5:14:27 AM

Hmm, I would get the Q6600 and take advantage of AT LEAST the 'free' overclock to 3.0Ghz, and then to 3.2 or higher maybe with voltage tweaking. Reason is that the the dual core E6850 may beat the Q6600 in lots of games right now, but what you need to keep in mind is that the Q6600 still plays those games way above barely playable fps. And then when you look at new games that take advantage of the extra cores, the Q6600 pulls out ahead, especially when it's overlocked to 3+Ghz.

For the motherboard, if you plan on getting a 8800GT then I would recommend you just get P35 board, such as the Gigabyte P35-DS3L thats less than $100 because it over clocks really well and has all your basic features (even firewire and stuff I believe). X38 boards are basically only necessary if you plan on going with a Crossfire GPU setup because some of have two PCIe 16x slots running at full 16x electrical, where as P35 boards will have one PCIe @ 16x, and the second at 8x or more often 4x (mean a 2nd GPU would run slower). But this only matters for Crossfire (ATI cards), since you need an nVidia motherboard if you wanna SLI their cards. So if you want to get the X38, you need to SERIOUSLY consider the 3870 instead of the 8800GT, with the intention of adding a second (or more) 3870 or other ATI cards for Crossfire down the road. Otherwise, get a cheaper and much better value P35 board if you stick with the 8800GT.

I wouldnt consider the OCZ PSUs the greatest quality. If I were to buy right now, I'd probably go with the Antec Neo Blue 650W Modular PSU. Great price, awesome reviews. Otherwise, check out Corsair, Silverstone, and Seasonis for the 600W range, depending if you want to add more GPUs down the road or not.


I have no experience with that heatsink, my choice would be either the Tuniq 120mm Tower or of course the Thermalright 120 Ultra (which doesnt come with a 120mm fan, grab a Scythe or Yate Loon).

One last tidbit... don't forget to price match at NCIX! check out shopbot or pricegrabber (the Canadian versions) to find the lowest prices. Best bet is to search by product # as that's universal (or should be..), DirectCanada.com is an affiliate of NCIX and generally always has lower prices, so that's a good place to start if you don't want to go thru the process of searching and linknig to all the results of shopbot or pricegrabber.

Good luck!!!
December 9, 2007 6:47:30 PM

Thanks, jevon!

The most up to date information I've heard is that the release date for the new Intel processors will be January 20, 2008. That's really tempting me into waiting. Too bad Intel doesn't offer a step up program like EVGA! :lol: 

Anyways, I'm considering changing my motherboard to the Abit IP35 Pro. It's cheaper, and can still do everything I need it to do. I'm also thinking of changing my heatsink to the Thermalright ULTRA-120. Of course, I'll need to purchase an extra fan for it.

I've also chosen the IOGEAR Long Range Wireless KB/Mouse. It sounds like everything I wanted... long range, decent price, dock for the mouse.

I'd still like to hear a few more opinions if anyone else would like to share! :) 
!