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Prepping for another new system build

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January 9, 2008 3:53:56 PM

A friend of mine is going to be sending me a pair of 500 gig SATA drives for essentially free, which has prompted me to start looking into building a new PC (replacing my P4-3GHz system). My primary applications are games, with some office work/writing/etc. Please take a look at this list:

ASUS P5E LGA 775 Intel X38 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz 2 x 4MB L2 Cache LGA 775 Quad-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1000 (PC2 8000) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 Quad (Crossfire Edition) EPS12V 750W Power Supply 100 - 240 V UL,
CE, CB, RoHS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LIAN LI PC-60BPLUSII W Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

EVGA 512-P3-N841-A3 GeForce 8800GTS (G92) 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 HDCP Ready SLI
Supported Video Card (with intent to purchase a 2nd one at some point for SLI)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PHILIPS 2-Tone 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 20X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X
CD-R 24X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Am I missing anything? Do I need custom cooling or will the stock CPU cooler suffice? Anything on this list
not compatible or known to be poor quality? Do I need a flash-memory/media reader (going to assume that floppies
aren't needed at this point). Also, are people currently moving to Vista at this point? I'm thinking Vista for DX10, but a couple of my RL friend say that DX10 currently isn't that big a deal and that Vista's still got some performance problems. I'm leery though about getting XP, then being forced to upgrade the OS yet again in the immediate future, so I was thinking about just jumping forward so that the system would be good for the long-term.

More about : prepping system build

January 9, 2008 7:45:33 PM

i think you need to go with a geforce 8800gtx oc 768mb instead of the geforce 8800gts 512 mb you mentioned.alwayd get the best of the best when it comes to video cards.
January 9, 2008 8:06:33 PM

inspecter71 said:
i think you need to go with a geforce 8800gtx oc 768mb instead of the geforce 8800gts 512 mb you mentioned.alwayd get the best of the best when it comes to video cards.

Would the GTX also work to get one now, then get another one later to run SLI? Also, does the PSU I have listed able to run both cards (or even a single GTX for that matter)?
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January 9, 2008 8:18:00 PM

NOW FIRST THIS CARD IS QUITE EXPENSIVE,I WOULD THINK SO YES AT 750 WATTS,I AM IN THE MIDDLE OF MY BUILD AS WE SPEAK AND I AM USING AN 850 WATT QAUTTRO BY ANTEC AND I WAS TOLD I WOULD BE RUNNING OVERKILL WITH MY PSU AND IONLY HAVE A 100 WATTS HIGHER THAN YOU YOU HAVE A STRONG POWER SUPPLY, THATS JUST AN EXPENSIVE CARD BETWEEN 400 AND 500 DOLLARS.
January 9, 2008 8:19:51 PM

Yes the PSU will handle the cards just fine. Good selection on the PSU btw. As for the graphics card just get 1x 8800GTX you can SLI another 8800GTX later. Get a good CPU cooler if you plan to OC the CPU. Might want to consider a GPU cooler too.

The case is nice, but you could get an Antec 900 for cheaper and use that money on a new HDD. Possibly a WD Raptor (?)
January 9, 2008 8:38:46 PM

I'm getting a pair of 500gig HDDs for free from a friend (some kind of charity give-away). I was told by many that Lian-Li cases are high-quality, so I've always wanted to get my hands on one. I also considered Silverstone (my current PC uses a Silverstone, which isn't that bad).

I generally don't OC; call me old-school, over-cautious or just plain lazy. That said, I debated the idea of a liquid-cooling setup, because yes, sometimes heat is an issue. But I don't do system builds all that often, so I was concerned about the technical challenges for such a system might be daunting. I also considered an advanced air-cooler for the CPU, but I need to do some more research on which brands/models are good and can fit in the case I pick (this one or the Antec or any other).
January 17, 2008 3:16:31 PM

Tried doing some more research and someone on another board said that the Intel X38 chipset cannot do SLI. True or false? Do I need to go Nvidia nForce to have that option in the future?

Also, can someone clarify what Kentfield vs Conroe vs (any other chip factor) is in terms of the CPU? What's this 45mm wafer I'm hearing about?
February 4, 2008 2:03:39 PM

Bump.

My friend has sent me the drives (2 500Gb Hitachi SATAs) so this is no longer just an academic exercise.

Anyone know the details on what I need to run this setup for future SLI? Does the MoBo have to be a specific chipset or just have 2 PCIx16 slots?
February 4, 2008 2:18:55 PM

It has to suport SLI for nVidia, or Crossfire if you change your mind and go ATI.

There is always a better Vid card just around the corner, I suggest going midgrade and upgrade to the next gen midgrade as aposed to buing top of the line and staying with it till its a dinosaur.
same goes for CPUs
February 4, 2008 2:20:39 PM

PS. SLI doesn't make good economic sense.
rule of thumb 50% increase in $ = x2 performance.
with SLI x2 $ = 50% increase in performance
February 4, 2008 3:48:18 PM

First of all, you don't really need a Q6600 for games and Office. An E8400 would work better in games. One notable exception, if you play Flight Simulator X absolutely do get the Q6600.

Second, 8800GTS G92 and 8800GTX are bad choices for that X38 mobo. The 8800GTX is a bad choice in general, considering that the cheaper HD 3870X2 beats it in most games. For an X38 setup I recommend the HD 3870X2 because (1) it's faster than the 8800GTS G92 in most games and (2) you can add another later and enable Crossfire.

The PSU you picked is Anandtech's best PSU of 2007, I got one myself, great choice, and it will support two HD 3870X2s. Make sure you pick the Crossfire Edition (nice work, you already did!) because it has 6/8 pin connectors and that will allow you to overclock an HD 3870X2. It works with 6-pin connectors too, but you won't have access to some options in Catalyst.

The RAM you picked is very good. A bit overkill since you don't sound like an overclocker, but at that price it's a very good deal. Add an Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro. If you want the Q6600 get the OEM version to save a few bucks, you only lose the fan and the Freezer replaces it anyway.

Floppies are not needed. That is, some mobos need it for BIOS flashing or RAID, but not all. You won't have to do either, I think. You can always add a floppy if it turns out to be needed. Same for the sound card, btw.

A card reader is needed if you have a digital camera.

Yeah, I'd get Vista. The first service pack is already in beta, and after that Vista should be pretty good. It will give fewer fps in games, but with that hardware I wouldn't worry. You'd also get DirectX 10 (e.g. ability to set graphics to very high in Crysis). More importantly, XP will stop getting security updates after April 2009 AFAIK, and the viruses will have a wonderful time hurting all the XP users left around with known unpatched vulnerabilities. Just keep in mind that using Vista comes with a learning curve, i.e. you'll curse Microsoft quite a bit until you figure out where they put some things that used to be so easy to find in XP.



February 4, 2008 3:50:10 PM

Shadow703793 said:
Yes the PSU will handle the cards just fine. Good selection on the PSU btw. As for the graphics card just get 1x 8800GTX you can SLI another 8800GTX later. Get a good CPU cooler if you plan to OC the CPU. Might want to consider a GPU cooler too.

The case is nice, but you could get an Antec 900 for cheaper and use that money on a new HDD. Possibly a WD Raptor (?)


Shadow, when you try to enable 8800GTX SLI on that X38 motherboard, may I watch? I would REALLY love to see how you do that :lol:  :lol: 
February 4, 2008 7:52:17 PM

Thanks for the reply. By E8400, you're talking about this, correct?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

From what I can tell, it's slightly faster clock speed, but only dual-core vs quad-core. I take it you are saying that the current generation of games are only scalar, and won't benefit from the multiprocessors, correct?

Does Crossfire (ie, getting 2 HD 3870X2s) need a special chipset? Ie, will it work on an Intel X38 chipset motherboard as I have listed, or do I have to change to a different one?

I don't use a digital camera, so if I need a media reader, I can always add an external USB one. My sound requirements are pretty basic (games), so I'm guessing that on-board sounds these days will handle me.
February 4, 2008 8:00:00 PM

Yup, that's the E8400. OMG, 99% give it 5 stars :) 

Correct on the second question too. We have a ton of threads about higher-clocked dual-core vs lower-clocked quad-core. Search for "E6850 vs Q6600" for example if you want. Today's games prefer the higher-clocked dual-core, especially if you don't run anything serious in the background while playing. The exceptions are Flight Simulator X (benefits A LOT from quads, with the latest patch), Supreme Commander (some benefit), Hellgate and Crysis and CoH (negligible benefits so far, more promised in future patches). The quads are especially good in DVD Shrink or similar applications.

Yes, Crossfire requires a special chipset, it's called X38. It works on the P35 chipset too but not as well. It also works on some other chipsets but those are obsolete (X965, X975) or require AMD CPUs.
February 5, 2008 2:49:06 PM

Putting the list together, along with some comments from a RL friend (the guy who sent me the drives).

Any thoughts about the MoBo? My friend suggests waiting for the X48 chipset to come out; for one, to consider getting and two, at the minimum, anticipating that the X38 would drop in price. Is that coming soon? I've generally stuck with Asus because they've been good to me over the years, but apparently the other candidate was the Asus Maximus Formula (recently examined on THC), but they didn't give what I consider a clear-cut thumbs up vs the one I have listed above (about $30 cheaper right now).

Looking at the ATI 3870x2s; NewEgg has around 6 models, ranging from Visiontek, Sapphire, GeCube, Powercolor, HIS and MIS. Any people have any specific experiences? Also, I'm assuming you can take 2 3870x2 and set them up Crossfire, correct? (probably not needed right now, but possibly in the future)

February 5, 2008 3:36:33 PM

AFAIK high-end motherboards don't really drop in price that much. Just look at the Striker Extreme, still almost $300. Wait until x48 is out if you want, but don't get your hopes up too high about price cuts in x38. It doesn't help that x48 is not that different from x38 either.

I don't have an HD 3870X2. I did own a Sapphire card years ago and it was fine. That doesn't mean Sapphire is the best of those ATI partners, of course, it just means I'd personally look at it first when doing the research. Sapphire is the biggest ATI partner, AFAIK.

Yes, with an X38 motherboard you will be able to put two HD 3870X2 cards in Crossfire later. You can't do it right now AFAIK because the drivers aren't ready yet, but they should be ready in a few weeks from what I've read. Of course, you can install both cards and use them with separate monitors for now, just not in Crossfire on the same monitor.
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