Building a New System around a New Monitor

My lovely wife bought me a great new monitor for Christmas:

http://www.gateway.com/accessories/product/1541000R.php?seg=hm
Gateway FPD2485W

Only thing is it to run in the native resolution of 1920x1200 really pushes my 4 year old computer beyond its intended purposes.

I've been getting ready to do a new build anyway, so I'm wondering what do I need to look for in the way of putting together this new computer to take advantage of all that my spiffy new monitor has to offer?

Thanks in advance.
13 answers Last reply
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  1. What are you going to use the computer for?
  2. Also, what is you're budget? Great wife, buys you a new monitor, which means you have to build a new machine, a real keeper :sol:
  3. Since your old computer can't handle 1920x1200 I will assume you use it for more than Solitaire.
    Demanding games like Crysis or Oblivion, at high resolutions, will require a good video card. Look at HD 3870 or 8800 GTS G92 512MB. The second one is more powerful but costs more. There's also the 8800GT, in between, but I can't recommend that one.

    If you pick a video card like that, you also need a good power supply that can handle it. A good example would be PC Power & Cooling Silencer 610W. Cheaper alternative: Corsair 550VX.

    Since you've kept the old computer for so long, I will assume you'd like the new PC to last a long time without upgrades too. Get a Q6600 CPU. It is overkill in most games today, but that will change in time. Cheaper alternative: E6750.

    The rest really depends on budget and your personal preferences.
  4. Stupid me not posting that information. Rookie mistake... sorry.

    Of course the occasional game is nice, but I use my computer to watch movies and downloaded video content (TV shows) and also do a fair amount of work in Photoshop since I do a lot of design work.

    So budget.... maybe $1,250ish? I read all the marathon builds, and definately got some good ideas there. It seems like in order to run at 1920x1200 it is more dependent on the video card, rather than the processor,... is this correct? Is a 8800GTS 512MB enough to do this?

    Is the q6600 CPU going to give me 'bang for my buck' right now, or am I paying for the 'latest technology'?

    Thanks!
  5. Q6600 really is a nice sweet spot. It is not the latest technology (not with the Penryn's coming right around the corner) and the price drops (if any) in the future are going to be minimal.

    Yea, the video card is used to run the big screen, but for less intensive gaming there is not as great need for a bleeding edge card. Remember the W started the problem, so go ahead and get the best card.

    BTW my rig: Q6600, 8800GTS 320mb, Dell 2407WFP-HC monitor (very similar to your Gateway). Used for heavy office multitasking with photoediting and webdevelopment. After hours ..... DVD and HDTV plus a few games.

    PS: Get 4GB or RAM, preferably 2x2 as the upgrade path to 8GB is less costly.
  6. Check out these benchmarks (and change the game in the third dropdown):
    http://www23.tomshardware.com/graphics_2007.html?modelx=33&model1=1057&model2=1060&chart=298

    The 8800 GTS G92 does not appear there, but it's very close to the results of the 8800GTX. That would definitely be your best choice, if you can fit it in the budget.
    Next is the 8800GT, which is almost as fast, a bit cheaper, but has some noise and heat problems because they cut corners on the cooler.
    After that comes the HD 3870 IMO.

    Any of those should be fine and last you for years. If you get the 8800GT make sure you get a case with good cooling, like Antec 900 for example - that should fix the problem.

    I've seen benchmarks for Photoshop where the Q6600 was 9% better than a higher clocked E6850 (which costs about the same). Yes the quad is latest technology, but at less that $300 it's a bargain. Mind you, it's 65nm tech, while "latest" is 45nm to be released in a few weeks. If you can wait for the Q9450 it's probably worth it.

    Here's a tip for the hard disk, if you want:
    http://www23.tomshardware.com/storage.html?modelx=33&model1=1047&model2=850&chart=49
    WD7500AAKS tops that chart and gets great reviews too.
  7. First thanks for the great responses.

    aevm said:
    Mind you, it's 65nm tech, while "latest" is 45nm to be released in a few weeks. If you can wait for the Q9450 it's probably worth it.


    Second, do we know how long until release? I can certainly wait if it really will make a big difference, but the question is will the Q9450 be cost effective when it comes out? Is a big enough change that you're going to want to wait to see what problems might arise? I always hate to get something when it first comes out, and then find out it has all kinds of compatibility issues that no one knew about until everyone started using it... know what I mean?

    Again, thanks!
  8. althius said:
    First thanks for the great responses.
    I always hate to get something when it first comes out, and then find out it has all kinds of compatibility issues that no one knew about until everyone started using it... know what I mean?
    Again, thanks!


    If you can wait, then from the above the Q6600 would be best but the price will likely come down with the new release. Either the Gigabyte or ASUS P35s would be good mobo. The ASUS has a lot more features and you can get the same board without onboard WIFI if you prefer for the same price Can compare the mat newegg to see the difference
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16813128059
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16813131196
  9. Theoretically, the Q9450 should look like this, compared to the Q6600:

    --- 10% faster clock (at stock)
    --- 5% or so faster at the same clock thanks to some improvements
    --- faster divisions thanks to new redesigned floating point processor
    --- new SSE4 instructions (useful with new software when encoding videos)
    --- $316 price (rumor) - may be higher at first if demand is huge
    --- about the same power consumption (but with higher speed)
    better overclocking

    It was supposed to be released this week, but it was delayed. No idea until when, sorry.

    There have been reports of incompatibility between Penryn (including Q9450) and 680i motherboards (i.e. the SLI boards based on nVidia chipsets). P35 motherboards should be fine, but we'll only know for sure after the Q9450 is released and reviewed.

    Yeah, I see your point. Why take the risks and do the unpaid beta testing when there are so many volunteers out there anyway. I waited more than 6 months before I got my 8800GTX, for the same reason. Its drivers still have bugs even now. :) OK, maybe you should just get the Q6600. A Q9450 might not make a difference anyway. My Q6600 waits for the hard disk most of the time, so an upgrade to Q9450 wouldn't save me any time at all in my work.
  10. Will someone please take a look at this list and see if there are any "Holy-Crap-What-Are-You-Doing"s or even any "Man-That-Seems-Like-A-Bad-Idea-To-Me"s?

    I spent the most time researching the MOBO. I think I'm pretty happy, but I still do have some doubts. Also, let me know if I missed anything important. Remember, the end goal is to do as many things as possible in 1920x1200.

    Case: Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16811129021

    Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3R LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16813128050

    GPU: XFX PVT88PYDF4 GeForce 8800GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail (This is out of stock, so I might need to make an adjustment)
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16814150252

    Power Supply: CORSAIR CMPSU-520HX ATX12V v2.2 and EPS12V 2.91 520W Power Supply - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16817139001

    CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz LGA 775 Quad-Core Processor Model BX80562Q6600 - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16819115017

    Memory: Patriot Extreme Performance 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model (Getting two of these to total 4GB of RAM)
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16820220144

    Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD7500AAKS 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16822136131

    DVD/CD: Sony NEC Optiarc 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model AD-7190S - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16827118002

    CPU Heatsink: ZALMAN CNPS 9700 NT 110mm 2 Ball Ultra Quiet CPU Cooler - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16835118020

    Total Cost Before Shipping:
    $1,314.90

    A Few Notes:

    I choose the Antec 900 because of its superior air-cooling, I went with the Zalman over the Tower 120 because I tend to move my computer around a lot and I read that moving the Tower too much can put stress on the Motherboard.

    Hard Drive was chosen for the excellent $/GB (thank aevm).

    I read many great things about the XFX 8800GT, which may explain why it is out-of-stock.

    I chose the 520HX due to its modular design, since I read it was important in the Antec 900. I did read someone somewhere else rail against the use of modular PSUs, so now I am little worried. If I change the PSU, then I'll need to change the Case too I suppose.

    The memory was the same memory used in the mid-build in the marathon build article, so seemed good to me.

    See above for why I went with Q6600, and like I said eariler, I am really stressed about the MOBO. There just seem to be soooo many choices all so very close to all the other choices.

    I'm also still really torn between XP and Vista. Every thing I read makes me change my mind from the last thing I read...
  11. althius said:
    Will someone please take a look at this list and see if there are any "Holy-Crap-What-Are-You-Doing"s or even any "Man-That-Seems-Like-A-Bad-Idea-To-Me"s?

    I spent the most time researching the MOBO. I think I'm pretty happy, but I still do have some doubts. Also, let me know if I missed anything important. Remember, the end goal is to do as many things as possible in 1920x1200.

    Case: Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16811129021

    Case preferences very subjective - Antec quality is usually good, have used their products many times.

    Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3R LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16813128050

    My preference here would be for the Asus boards, I have used Gigabyte in the past and I have not been happy with the long term experience, I would recommend one of the Asus P5K series

    GPU: XFX PVT88PYDF4 GeForce 8800GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail (This is out of stock, so I might need to make an adjustment)
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16814150252

    This again is a personal preference, I am currently using an XFX7900GTX but if I was building a system today for the uses that you state, I would be looking at the ATI 38XX series, better for HTPC use, specially if you are not using Vista. See HTPC reviews (or video card reviews for HTPC use) on this site, you will see that the nVidia based cards have some significant shortcomings compared to the ATI.

    Power Supply: CORSAIR CMPSU-520HX ATX12V v2.2 and EPS12V 2.91 520W Power Supply - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16817139001

    There is some controversy wrt to modular vs non-modular, as a retired electronics tech with 37 years of experience, I would say that there is a lot of misinformation being generated on this issue. That said, my own recommendation would be for PC Power & Cooling Silencer 610, quality of your power supply is critical to system stability.

    CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz LGA 775 Quad-Core Processor Model BX80562Q6600 - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16819115017

    Not much to say about this, its a good processor, have built 2 systems in the last 5 months with these.

    Memory: Patriot Extreme Performance 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model (Getting two of these to total 4GB of RAM)
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16820220144

    I have had no problems with Patriot memory, I've used it for 3 system upgrades in the last few months. For the 2 Q6600 desktop systems I built recently I used Crucial Ballistix, works well with Asus mobo.

    Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD7500AAKS 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16822136131

    I tend to use Seagate drives for the 5 year warranty, plus in my experience have had fewer problems than with WD drives.

    DVD/CD: Sony NEC Optiarc 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model AD-7190S - OEM
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16827118002

    Your personal preference here, commodity product.

    CPU Heatsink: ZALMAN CNPS 9700 NT 110mm 2 Ball Ultra Quiet CPU Cooler - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16835118020

    Zalman coolers work great, not much more you can say, only downside on them is price.

    Total Cost Before Shipping:
    $1,314.90

    A Few Notes:

    I choose the Antec 900 because of its superior air-cooling, I went with the Zalman over the Tower 120 because I tend to move my computer around a lot and I read that moving the Tower too much can put stress on the Motherboard.

    Hard Drive was chosen for the excellent $/GB (thank aevm).

    I read many great things about the XFX 8800GT, which may explain why it is out-of-stock.

    I chose the 520HX due to its modular design, since I read it was important in the Antec 900. I did read someone somewhere else rail against the use of modular PSUs, so now I am little worried. If I change the PSU, then I'll need to change the Case too I suppose.

    Check the dimensions of whatever PS you are thinking about, that will tell you if it will fit the case.

    The memory was the same memory used in the mid-build in the marathon build article, so seemed good to me.

    See above for why I went with Q6600, and like I said eariler, I am really stressed about the MOBO. There just seem to be soooo many choices all so very close to all the other choices.

    Make sure the mobo you select has the features you need, ie Firewire, eSata, etc.

    I'm also still really torn between XP and Vista. Every thing I read makes me change my mind from the last thing I read...


    I run systems with both, and have encountered very few if any significant issues with Vista, the only real annoyance from a software perspective was having to upgrade my burner software. You haven't idicated which if any discrete sound card you are considering, bear in mind that Vista and Creative sound card drivers have issues, with some modes not working properly or at all under Vista.
  12. You did a very good job at a very good price. I've become a big fan of 2 hdd, one for the OS/programs and the other for data. You can of course partition a single drive but with prices so low, it makes life a lot easier and less stressful when you have to install Windows. As for mobo, between Gigabyte and ASUS there is really no meaningful performance or quality differences It really comes down to the features you want/need and what will serve you in the future. Unless you need the advanced RAID setting on that board, you could save with the DS3L. Personally, I think the ASUS P5E with firewire makes more sense. I use firewire with my camcorder. I like the idea of 6 SATA connectors, within the last month I've ended up with 4 hdd in one of my machines, never thought it would happen. Same with the eSATA, don't need it now but certainly good in the future like an external drive. If I could build this machine, someday, it would likely be the one hardwired to the router but if for whatever reason I needed it wirelessly, even temporarily, I have it and don't need to mess with installing a wireless card. The fact that other people may not agree doesn't mean they're wrong and I'm right or vice versa. Just means our preferences and needs are different. At most I think you have 4 boards to consider, the 2 Gigabyte and 2 ASUS. If you're definitely not interested in the ASUS, the you have 2. Regardless, do a comparison of the finalists on newegg and look at the features, nothing else, you've probably read too many reviews already. If your old enough to remember pencil and paper :) could even write them down and check them off. Make your decision and never think about it again. Kind of like getting married, best to not think about what the alternative might have been like :sol:
  13. I like that config, no problems. Maybe get 2x2GB RAM so you can upgrade to 8 GB later without having to throw out any 1GB sticks.

    The burner is not one of my favorites, but I do tend to boycott Sony so don't mind me. I like Samsung's SATA burners, or Asus DRW-1814BLT or PX-810SA.

    If you go with Vista and need a good sound card with working drivers, go to www.newegg.com and search for "HT Omega".
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