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First timer, College work + gaming, medium budget

Last response: in Systems
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December 30, 2007 10:17:30 AM

Hello

Long time lurker, first time poster,
I'm starting from scratch here and it's my first build, plan to build around february/march if some release launches are announced soon otherwise i'll build in january when i'm back in the US. It'll be used for college related study work and gaming. Gaming-wise, I just want it to be the latest games decently (I don't expect 60+ fps in crysis with max settings or that kind of garbage, but i do want it to be smooth with decent settings).

Case
Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129021
Price: $120, $40.00 Mail-in Rebate

Love the design of the case, i've heard good stuff about it and judging by the reviews and the design, it has excellent airflow. Just a little worried about everything fitting nicely

[Paste]:Arctic Silver Ceramique Thermal Compound http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6835100009
$4.99

Power Supply
OCZ GameXStream OCZ700GXSSLI ATX12V 700W Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341002
Price: $130, $35.00 Mail-in Rebate
OCZ is rated as Tier 2 on the tiered psu list. Decent reviews, It should handle this build with ease and future upgrades. Open to suggestions on this.

Processor
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 G0 Stepping Kentsfield 2.40GHz 8MB L2
http://clubit.com/product_detail.cfm?itemno=CA1938452
Price: $280
My sights are set on the Q6600. Plan to buy an aftermarket cooler (possibly tuniq tower?) And OC it to at least 3.0 ghz, possibly 3.2ish. Purchasing from clubit, they're the only ones who guarantee a G0 stepping processor.

Hard Drive
Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB 10,000 RPM 16MB Cache Serial ATA150 Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136012
Price: $170
It's a little pricey but hey, it's fast isn't it ? In the future possibly adding a larger 750ish gb 7200 rpm drive when I save up some more cash, looking at the seagate barricuda.

Memory
G.SKILL 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1000 (PC2 8000) Dual Channel Kit
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231145
Price: $115
Cheap, relatively fast 4 gigs of ram. Not quite sure on this one. If anyone could reccomend some better Ram for around the same price i'd really appreciate it. Wouldn't mind some good 800 Mhz ram that's overclockable.


Mobo and Graphics
This is where I'm stuck. I'm leaning towards the ASUS MAXIMUS FORMULA LGA 775 Intel X38 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131227 Price $250) The problem is that I had originally intended to buy 1 8800GT (or a 9000 series if they announce a release date soon) and buy a second card in the future for SLI; but the X38 doesn't support SLI. Which leads me to the HD3870. Cheaper cards and they supposedly scale better in Crossfire, and i'd have the option for a second card in the near future if needed.

My options (as i see it, definitely open to suggestions)

1) Asus Maximus Formula (Price $250) + 8800GT (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125081 , preoverclocked, comes with zalman cooler, and cheapest one i could find , price $260) total cost- $510

or

2) the Maximus formula with HD3870 ($250 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102713
total cost- $500
As you can see, not a big difference price wise except for the fact that in the future i could add a second card.
or

3) The Evga 780i SLI Board ([/url] total cost - $600

Can anyone give me a solid reason to go with the Evga 780i SLI board ([url" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">that costs around $330 besides the fact that i can add a second card later (or 2x 9000 series)
Side note: would be hard to stay reasonably within budget with the 780i board.

CD/DVD Drives
Not sure what to pick here. open to suggestiosn , don't need anything fancy just the basic thing. Possibly one of the lite-on drives for around 30$

Operating System
I'm currently going for Windows Home Premium 64 bit system builders for $112. Ultimate is 180$ but I can't justify going with ultimate. Anyone can convince me otherwise?

Assuming I go with Asus Maximus Formula and the 8800GT, Grand Total so far without Tax and shipping is $1442. Add on a $35 for the Drive.

As for the display, I'm open to any suggestions. My original plan was to craiglist something or find a relative/friend to donate an old one till i can decide. I'll seriously consider anything under 200$

Hanns·G HW-191DPB Black 19" 5ms DVI Widescreen LCD Monitor
]) , current price : $340, was 330$ ten minutes ago and seems to go up daily. and and with an 8800GT...
total cost - $600

Can anyone give me a solid reason to go with the Evga 780i SLI board (
CD/DVD Drives
Not sure what to pick here. open to suggestiosn , don't need anything fancy just the basic thing. Possibly one of the lite-on drives for around 30$

Operating System
I'm currently going for Windows Home Premium 64 bit system builders for $112. Ultimate is 180$ but I can't justify going with ultimate. Anyone can convince me otherwise?

Assuming I go with Asus Maximus Formula and the 8800GT, Grand Total so far without Tax and shipping is $1442. Add on a $35 for the Drive.

As for the display, I'm open to any suggestions. My original plan was to craiglist something or find a relative/friend to donate an old one till i can decide. I'll seriously consider anything under 200$

Hanns·G HW-191DPB Black 19" 5ms DVI Widescreen LCD Monitor
" target="_blank">that costs around $330 besides the fact that i can add a second card later (or 2x 9000 series)
Side note: would be hard to stay reasonably within budget with the 780i board.

CD/DVD Drives
Not sure what to pick here. open to suggestiosn , don't need anything fancy just the basic thing. Possibly one of the lite-on drives for around 30$

Operating System
I'm currently going for Windows Home Premium 64 bit system builders for $112. Ultimate is 180$ but I can't justify going with ultimate. Anyone can convince me otherwise?

Assuming I go with Asus Maximus Formula and the 8800GT, Grand Total so far without Tax and shipping is $1442. Add on a $35 for the Drive.

As for the display, I'm open to any suggestions. My original plan was to craiglist something or find a relative/friend to donate an old one till i can decide. I'll seriously consider anything under 200$

Hanns·G HW-191DPB Black 19" 5ms DVI Widescreen LCD Monitor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'd appreciate any advice or substitutions. (Especially to bring down the price). If anyone notices any compatibility issues please let me know
" target="_blank">http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=N82E16824254005" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'd appreciate any advice or substitutions. (Especially to bring down the price). If anyone notices any compatibility issues please let me know
December 30, 2007 11:47:46 AM

If you're 100% certain you can afford SLI/CF, go for it. Otherwise, don't bother. Surely right now they're the top dogs, but 2008 will see new things. The new nVidia gpu is coming out soon (01/2008).

The word on the street is that nvidia made a suggestion to 8800gt manufacturers to reduce the cost in order to compete with HD3870. In other words, the HD3870 is the better bang for the buck. If you go with a CF (Asus Maximus) setup, it will cost you less than a comparable 8800GT SLI build.
December 30, 2007 1:21:58 PM

I would go with the X38 and crossfire two 512 3850's, or do the same with a P35 (but the PCI-E lanes lack of bandwidth would hurt). the 780i is mainly for using three cards in SLI with support for 45nm.
Another alternative for the graphics card is to grab a 512 GTS, as it performs as well as a GTX.
As far as drives are concerned, just get a nice $25 one from any big manufacturer.
Related resources
December 30, 2007 3:56:01 PM

I did consider putting in a GTS, but since i initially was going for a single card setup (hence the maximus, crossfiring two ATI's came as an afterthough) but didn't think it was worth it since i'd probably be upgrading in the late spring time to a 9000 series (if and when they're released)

I find it difficult to believe that i chose all compatible components with no noob mistakes on the first try, despite doing my research.
December 30, 2007 3:59:14 PM

Drive: Samsung SH-203B
December 30, 2007 5:39:35 PM

I wouldn't recommend SLI with that size screen. You will be maxing at 1280x1024 if it has that native res (my 19" does) and you only really get a good performance:p rice gain when you hit large resolutions like 1920x11200 and above. This mobo will be cheaper, VERY EASILY overclocked and allows for DDR3 if you want to get some in the future.

Mobo -> http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681... $149.99 w/ -$10 instant

I also like to have too much memory in as few slots as possible so with that mobo I'd recommend this DDR2 800. (awesome reviews)
Memory -> http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1682... 4GB (2x 2GB) $117.99

I'm also a college student looking to build a budget, upgradeable, super fast computer and your build is fairly similar to mine. I'd just go with 64 Bit Home Premium to get the features Vista is known for. That PSU is good and I'm getting one for myself as well. I myself can't justify the extra money for the 10,000 RPM drive because I have never been one to care too much for loading times but I may get a small raptor in the future for my OS and games when I get more money.
December 30, 2007 6:23:10 PM

I would say no to the Raptor. It's performance gains aren't really worth it considering the low capacity and high cost.
December 30, 2007 6:26:53 PM

Okay, if not a raptor, then what? My second choice was the Seagate Barricuda 750gb if i can find a good deal on it. Anyone anyone suggestions? Also, i was wondering about the OS; What exactly is the difference between the system builder's copy and the retail package, besides the fancy box?
December 30, 2007 6:33:16 PM

Won't let me edit, meant to type Anyone have any other suggestions?

@ henry, the memory is a good deal, but a lot of people seem to have trouble overclocking it; not sure if it'll be that much of a deal but I'd like to keep the option open. Have you tried out the ram and can give your opinion on it?
December 30, 2007 6:37:54 PM

I'm just a newbie, but couldn't you sve some dollars by getting a P35 MOB for $100 +/- few bucks and still be able to upgrade to a penron, overclock, and run 2 HD3870?
December 30, 2007 7:30:01 PM

Wasn't sure about P35 mob, it'll probably do penrynn but not sure after that. The x38 was with futureproofing in mind. And I'm heavily leaning towards picking up a http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125081
Gigabyte 8800GT Factory OC'd to 700mhz Core, comes with a pre-installed zalman cooler. AND it's cheaper than all the competition. Seems like a win-win to me. The fact that the 8800GT scores better than the 3870 in most tests , combined with this low price for such a great card, and the realization that SLI is indeed not as helpful for low resolutions kinda sealed the deal for me.
December 30, 2007 7:38:39 PM

I'm not a big overclocker but the features are there if you want to with that mobo.
I personally don't have that ram as of yet but I am still looking around for the perfect set-up for my build. Also it's fairly cheap yet high performance ram and people don't have problems with overclocking it, it is just that people seem to be unable to overclock as much as they would like.
Also, personally I like going with a known/proven good brand for video cards and evga is one I know to be pretty good as well as BFG, XFX, Asus.
While I don't know about gigabyte's 8800gt just by reading the first few reviews it seems it has some freezing issues (probably video ram related) so it may be cheaper but of course, you get what you pay for.
!