Been waiting since last year to build a new rig and I was hoping to catch the new Nvidia 9800 card, but my current rig has DIED. I'm left with NO PC so I'm trying to build with an eye towards the future. System is going to be used for gaming (alot), photoshop and video editing (sometimes), storage of movies/songs, etc. and a good bit of business (wife is a teacher and will use it from time to time).
1. I don't want to OC but would like to keep that option available for future
2. I have no clue how to do RAID...if it's THAT much better than regular HD set up, I'll consider, just don't know what else you have to buy to get it running.
3. Budget...roughly $2k to $2.5k
Here is what I've put together so far from reviewing the forumns, and talking to alot of my gamer friends.
Case: I plan to air cool...any suggestion on fan set up in this box would be helpful. This case seem ok?
Thermaltake Armor Series VA8003SWA Silver ATX Full Tower Computer Case w/ 25CM Fan - Retail
Motherboard: I'm leary of Asus...I'm currently on an older Asus board and it was a VERY picky board when it came to BIOS revisions. Caused me so much heartache over the years I've had to stay with the original BIOS. Having said that..here is my pick. I wanted to get a board with DDR3, but I'm going to wait til next year to make that move.
Video Card: I have been waiting and waiting on the new GeForce 9800GTX, but I've heard today that they are pushing it back even further (from Feb. 14 to April/May). And since my box is down, I'll just order one of these for now. Is this a card that needs a cooler or will it be fine stock?
PSU: This one was advised by a friend of mine who swears by it...I'm leary of it being a "Crossfire" edition plus will it be enough to run everything I want. I asked alot of these questions last year as well...sorry !
PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 Quad (Crossfire Edition) EPS12V 750W Power Supply - Retail
Processor: I'd like one that has the ability to overcloak but can hold it's own stock with no OC'ing needed. Would this be a wise purchase? And with a life of more than a few months
Memory: I've been a Corsair believer for a long time...even when my beloved Corsair crapped out on me last year (sent it back to them, they replaced it but it never really performed the same). I'm a glutton for punishment so I'm going with them again.
Hard Drives: I was told to get a "fast 10k" first drive and then pick up a seond drive...and then I was told it wouldn't make much difference in my games....so unless someone knows a good fast first drive..here is what I picked up from my earlier post as a good drive set.
2 ea. Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Monitor: I wanted to go 24" but someone said make sure it was 2ms and when I looked at the 2ms 24" monitors, they were a bit out of my price range. So, I thought this one might be ok.
LG L226WTY-BF Black 22" 2ms DVI Widescreen LCD Monitor - Retail
DVD Burner I used to get 2 drives, but my friend told me one would do fine and I couldn't think of any arguement off the top of my head to refute him...so here is the one I thought would be good.
LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model LH-20A1L-05 - OEM
There you have it...I already have my keyboard (Logitech G15) and mouse (something older by Logitech as well). I was going to go with a soundcard but he told me I'd get just as good sound from the onboard sound that's found on the mobo so I'm not sure. Any help in that area would be great. Also, should I go XP or Vista. I have a MS dealer brother-in-law who can get my Vista Ultimate 64bit for next to nothing. But he swears that as a gamer, I'll hate myself in the morning if I go with Vista over XP. Other reviewers seem to say there aren't any problems with gaming on Vista but I'm not sure since I've read horror stories saying there was. Suggestions?
Any help you can give me is appreciated. Sorry for the long post but I want to get this right before I drop the money on a new system.
SPECIAL thanks to Aevm (hope I spelled it right) and Mazier who helped me alot with responses before when I asked about a system my wife was going to buy me for Christmas (this same system).
Drop Q6600, and go for Penry Q9300 (available in a few weeks)for same price. Q9300 will perform better, and overclocks better than q6600 at lower temperatures. If you cant wait for Nvidia 9800x2, you might want ATI 3870x2. This card will play any game you throw at it, at max settings.
Well, if the current rig has DIED, then I guess waiting a few weeks for Q9300 is not an option. Q6600 is the best you can do for future-proofing right now. Don't worry too much about it. The differences between a stock Q6600 and a massively overclocked QX9650 (or Q9300 or Q9450) are largely academic, i.e. they actually do the same thing most of the time, because the hard disk and/or video card will prevent both of them from working at 100%. For example in FSX the CPU overclocking or the faster Penryn quads would help (a lot), but in most other games you wouldn't see a real difference. In video encoding the stock Q6600 is already faster than most hard disks can support, so a faster CPU won't gain you even a second.
RAID: modern motherboards, except for the cheaper models, do support RAID. That is, you don't need to buy special RAID cards, unless you want to. There's a great article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID. RAID can help with that video encoding issue for example, making a Penryn more useful than a Q6600 or making overclocking useful. However, before you do RAID you need to make sure you understand the types of RAID and pick the best one for your needs.
The best video cards out there are the 8800 Ultra and 8800 GTX. Those are overpriced and based on older 80 nm tech. Next is HD 3870 X2 (released today!) at $450, 55 nm technology. Next is 8800GTS G92 512 MB (65 nm). After that comes 8800GT (best avoided, unless you find a version with a good cooler, like the Gigabyte) and HD 3870.
If you're not happy with Asus then your best choice is the other big manufacturer, Gigabyte. I like their GA-X38-DS4, for example.
Considering that your budget is good and you want X38 (which supports Crossfire, not SLI), and you do a lot of gaming and want future-proofing, I will advise in favor of the HD 3870X2. This will allow you to add a second video card later and use Crossfire. With X38 and an nVidia card your only upgrade option is to sell the card and replace it. Mind you, that's often a very good approach, but it's nice to have more options. Also, the X2 is faster.
I especially liked the reviews at Anandtech and HardOCP, but there are a lot of others too.
The case and PSU are very good and already good enough for Crossfire.
The Crossfire version of the Silencer is better because it has 6/8 PCI-E connectors i.e. they can work as 6-pin or as 8-pin, not just as 6-pin. The "Quad" version only has 6-pin connectors. The HD 3870X2 needs the 8 pin connectors if you want to overclock it. That's the only difference between Quad and Crossfire versions AFAIK. Either would be fine for SLI too (for example if you prefer to get an eVGA 780i motherboard and two 8800GTS G92 cards).
How about a Samsung 245BW, is that too much too? BTW, "2ms" is really not a serious requirement. 5 ms or even 8 ms is fine. The only problem is that some manufacturers claim response times they are not really delivering. Check reviews before you buy.
Onboard audio is generally good, unless you've got excellent speakers and are an audiophile. Try it. You can always add an X-Fi for $100 if you feel it's necessary.
XP is probably still the best choice for gaming. I want to see Vista SP1 out and measured first, before making that step. I'm sure eventually we'll all use Vista, because the next choice (Windows 7) is expected only in 2011 or even later, and we can't use XP without security patches for that long...
The WD5000AAKS is a good fast drive. I have 3 of them and can't complain. They were one of the smartest choices when I bought them. However, WD7500AAKS and some Seagate 7200.11 models beat them. Samsung Spinpoint F1 1TB is the fastest drive on the market now for dealing with videos. Raptors and other 10K drives may have shorter access times (i.e. they find the file faster) but once the file is found and read or written the F1 will be faster and it will finish the job before the Raptor (unless the disk is very fragmented).
780i would make sense if you plan to sli. you're buying a current-gen nvidia card & am going to upgrade to the next nvidia card. If you have no plans for dual cards, then any 600W psu is fine as long as it's good quality. PCP&C is the top dog, but I hear they got bought out by OCZ.
Otherwise, if you're set on X38, go with HD3870X2, you won't be disappointed.
Thanks so much for your advice....just another question if you don't mind...if I can manage another week or two (or three...) without a PC (can use my wife's ancient rig to get email or come to work and use the MS Office programs here if I need to), would I be better off with a X48 board and one of the new intel chips about to be released? Or will it be more money for something I won't find usable? Anandtech just posted a really nice review on an Asus X48 board that uses DDR2 and DDR3 and that's something I'm looking forward to for future use. Plus would said board run with that X3870x2 card you spoke of earlier? I really wish Nvidia would go ahead and release that GeForce 9800x2 or GTX card since I trust them alot more than ATI/AMD but I'll go with an ATI/AMD card if it's going to be best.
The review is about a DDR2-only motherboard (Rampage Formula). They will review the DDR3 version (Rampage Extreme) later when they get it. Personally, I don't see yet the advantages of x48 over x38. Yeah, I think you'd just pay for things you won't use. Anyway, yes, X48 motherboards should work with the HD 3870X2, even with two of them in Crossfire.
Thanks again for your time and response. I'll have a few more questions soon...since I'm trying to learn to be a savy and informed purchaser...but man, this stuff is about as clear as mud. Everytime I think I got my arms around a concept, another point is raised.