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Holiday Comp Build - Mobo/power supply/video card questions

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December 23, 2007 11:17:37 PM

Processor : Q6600, is this worth the 50 bucks more than the core 2 duo at the same speed?
Hard drive : 500 gb seagate barracuda 32 MB cache
RAM : 4 GB 2 sets of 2x1 dual channel gskill (was thinking I'd just get the 5 timing set instead of shelling out 80 bucks more for the 4 timings http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ... dunno if that's a bad idea)
Drives: Samsung 20x DVD burner and ASUS DVD rom drive
Sound card : creative xfi xtreme gamer
Case: Antec 900 (purchased at thanksgiving sale)
Monitor: 22 inch viewsonic (usually at 1680x1050) (already have this purchased and using currently)

Now I am not sure what to do

Video card: 1x evga 8800 GT 512mb for sure
I don't know if I should get two or not
Would 2 in SLI significantly improve my fps and game play in games like CoD 4, bf2142, and oblivion? (also future titles should be considered)

Power supply : corsair 520w (if SLI would I need to go to the 620w?)

Mobo: I have no idea, I would like recommendations on solid mobos (can recommend good deals and pricier ones if you are so compelled)

Should I get an after market cooler such as a zalman or tuniq tower?
I do not know much about overclocking and am not sure if I would do it (do not know how to at the moment)

I hope to make a relatively future proof system that will perform well for quite some time

I'd also like to order it over the holiday season instead of waiting for new products to come out, because I find that whenever I look to buy there's always something better that if only I waited another few months I could get. So I'd like to just bite the bullet and get it now without second thoughts.

Please make suggestions (this is my first system build)

December 23, 2007 11:34:50 PM

pretty solid so far....

you wont need SLI at that res on many games. Suggest sticking with a single card. In which case you dont need an SLI mobo. P35 intel chipset is awesome and will suit you Asus or Gigabyte are great. If you arent overclocking there is little need for a cooler. If you feel you need something get a Artic Freezer they will drop temps a little and are a bit quieter than stock intel coolers.
December 24, 2007 12:09:41 AM

Agreed with Chookman.

Don't worry about timings, they don't really matter if you don't overclock.

If you really want two DVD drives make them both burners, and pick two models that come with different software. The Samsung SH-S203B is excellent. Asus 1814-BLT gets great reviews too. LG also makes good burners.

Yes, Q6600 is worth it if future-proofing matters to you.

The 620HX is worth it if you want to be able to add a second video card. If not, 520HX will do great and it's cheaper. Also check out the PC Power & Cooling Silencer 610W, it's one of the best PSUs out there and may be cheaper than the 620HX.

For a single video card I'd recommend GA-P35-DS3R, For two nVidia cards I'd recommend waiting for 780i motherboards because right now only 680i cards support SLI well and they are not future-proof. They won't work with the new Intel CPUs promised for January, from what I've read. For two ATI cards there's Asus P5E, based on the latest chipset (X38), Keep in mind that one 8800GT beats one HD 3870, but two 8800GT cards do not beat two HD 3870 cards, because SLI is less efficient than Crossfire.

Edit: if you intend to use Vista you should know the X-Fi drivers are bad. Try onboard audio for a while, you might like it enough and save some cash. It depends on which motherboard you buy - some have better sound than others.
Related resources
December 24, 2007 4:34:10 AM

What would be a good alternate sound card if I do get one?

2x HD 3870 in crossfire will beat the more expensive GTs? Is nvidia going to change something in the near future to correct this? Also are the HD 3870s selling higher than their MSRP of 220, or am I just looking for them in the wrong places?
December 24, 2007 1:14:19 PM

Well, it's more of a tie I'd say. The HD 3870 Crossfire will do better in some games (Call of Juarez, Quake Wars), it will also do better in Half Life under some resolutions (but not all), but it will do worse in other games. 3DMark06 scores are tied, i.e. 8800 GT SLI will win or lose some of them depending on AA settings and resolution. In general, the GT seems to get more fps when AA is maxed, but the ATI cards deliver nicer-looking images. This is subjective, so look for reviews with images and see for yourself. I have no idea if nVidia can make SLI more efficient. I'm sure they're trying.

Prices - I'd just shop around. www.newegg.com is often the cheapest place, but sometimes you can find good prices at zipzoomfly or mwave or buy.com or ncixus or even FutureShop or Bestbuy. For example I'm going to get myself a Canon MP610 printer at half-price tonight when www.bestbuy.ca starts the Boxing Week sale :)  Newegg sells it for $180 right now, and I'll get it for $150 (regular $300 at BestBuy).

Sound cards with decent Vista drivers:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Description=HT+Omega&x=0&y=0
December 25, 2007 2:48:30 PM

What OS would be best? I know I need 64 bit to fully address 4 gigs of ram but I could just settle with 3 gigs and stay at 32 bit. I enjoy playing my old games quite a bit and don't really want to have problems trying to play them. Is vista worth it or should I just stick with XP to avoid the head aches?

Also are all of the 8800 GTS 512mb versions the new G92s? I'm leaning towards just getting one of those over the GT or possible dual card set ups at the moment.
December 25, 2007 6:40:46 PM

One thing you need to realize on dual video card setups ,if your using Nvida then you need a MB with a Nvida chipset. Intel chipsets will only do Crossfire,which uses ATI GPU's. Good luck and Merry Christmas
December 25, 2007 7:02:23 PM

cockerham said:
What OS would be best? I know I need 64 bit to fully address 4 gigs of ram but I could just settle with 3 gigs and stay at 32 bit. I enjoy playing my old games quite a bit and don't really want to have problems trying to play them. Is vista worth it or should I just stick with XP to avoid the head aches?

Also are all of the 8800 GTS 512mb versions the new G92s? I'm leaning towards just getting one of those over the GT or possible dual card set ups at the moment.


I'm using XP Media Center 32-bit and see 3.25 GB of RAM. My video card hides 0.75 GB, that's why I end up with 3.25 out of 4. With an 8800 GTS 512 MB you'd see 3.5 GB.

IMO the 8800GTS 512 is well worth the additional cost over the 8800GT because it's faster and has a good cooler.

Yes, 8800 GTS 512 MB are all G92. The old versions have either 320 or 640, not 512. They should have called it 8900GTX to avoid this confusion, but they didn't want to make it too obvious that 8800GTX is no longer the best.

XP is guaranteed to work with all your old games and devices (printer, etc.), while Vista may only support some of them. XP also gives you somewhat better fps in some games at some resolutions. On the other hand, Vista has DX10 and better security and will be supported with patches for lots of years to come. Vista's Aero interface is considered a plus by some and a big pain by others so I'm not sure if it's a point for XP or for Vista. You decide what makes more sense for you. When I bought XP Media Center, Vista and nVidia's drivers for it were a bit of a mess, so the choice was much easier.

!