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Revised build - still seeking help!

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February 4, 2008 10:29:24 AM

Hi all, I posted a draft build (my first) a few weeks ago, and thankfully that got torn to shreds by a few people :p . I've got a revised build planned out, some constructive criticism (or not : P) would really help me out : D.

The system will mainly be for gaming (CoD 4, Crysis etc. on quite high graphics), but I can't spend a fortune - ideally around (don't mind if it's a bit over) AU $1000-1100 (roughly US$900-1000).

Here's what I have so far: (all prices are in USD! - and just thought I'd add that this is y 'higher' system...there's a lot i could scale down slightly, like the RAM and HDD, to get the price down.)



CPU: Intel E2200, OC'd to 6000+ stock levels (not exactly sure what speed that is...) - $96


MB: Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L, $110. Just need it to support crossfire really, and hopefully the next range of graphics cards, although this might be asking a bit much : P.


Video: Asus/Gigabyte/HIS Radeon 3870 - $271.
a) I'm planning on upgrading to 2 of whatever video card I buy whenever i feel like i need to - probably 18 months or so. Is this worth it? That is, will 2 video cards running in crossfire give me a significant increase in framerates etc? For that matter, can I run two different cards?
b) I could also get an 8800GT for $50 more...worth it?
c) The HIS is $10 cheaper - not much, but should I get it over the Asus/GB?


RAM: 2Gb PQA DDR2 1066 - $74
Is it worth going for 1066 over 800? How much of a difference would the speed make in high-end games?


HDD: Seagate SATA 7200RPM 320Gb - $92
Is it worth waiting for SATA2? And how much difference does cache size make?


Monitor: Need a decent, cheap 19" monitor that will be used for games - not too sure about the ramifications of 2ms/5ms etc...~$210 at a guess?


Optical: Asus 18x DVD-RW, $35.


Case: Absolutely clueless here. Have been told to steer away from inbuilt PSUs, but apart from that, I don't have too many guidelines. Doesn't have to look good, I just need it to work well with these parts. ~$100 I would guess.


PSU: Once again, no idea. Needs to be able to handle two video cards in crosswire and be reasonably quiet. Other than that, as cheap as possible : P. once again, around ~$100 I guess.

I'm keeping my old kb/m for now, and Vista/XP will be about $90.


___________________

Total cost: USD $1098
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So....fire away :p ....

More about : revised build seeking

February 4, 2008 11:15:41 AM

The system will mainly be for gaming (CoD 4, Crysis etc. on quite high graphics), but I can't spend a fortune - ideally around (don't mind if it's a bit over) AU $1000-1100 (roughly US$900-1000).

Call of duty 4 will run fine with the suggested improvements following this post, good luck getting crysis to run well without a few revisions.

CPU: Intel E2200, OC'd to 6000+ stock levels (not exactly sure what speed that is...) - $96

Very weak for a mid-high end gaming computer, 100 dollars more nets you the fastest gaming processor the E8400 (Until the new chips come out).

Video: Asus/Gigabyte/HIS Radeon 3870 - $271.
a) I'm planning on upgrading to 2 of whatever video card I buy whenever i feel like i need to - probably 18 months or so. Is this worth it? That is, will 2 video cards running in crossfire give me a significant increase in framerates etc? For that matter, can I run two different cards?
b) I could also get an 8800GT for $50 more...worth it?
c) The HIS is $10 cheaper - not much, but should I get it over the Asus/GB?


A) Don't do so without a better processor, if you're going to wait 18 months for a second video card, just get a new single videocard, will probably outclass anything out now for cheap. The crossfire setup allows you to use 2 videocards, but I don't suggest shelling out the money for a crossfire or Sli/Tri-Sli board unless you buy 2 cards now.

b) The 8800Gt is reviewed as being faster by tomshardware, http://www.tomshardware.com/2008/02/04/best_cards_febru...

b2) Get a single card unless you plan to upgrade that processor, go for the better videocard and don't plan on sli or crossfire if you won't get another card for 18 months. 8800GT is great, 8800GTS G92 is better, but more expensive.

c) Don't know

MB: Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L, $110. Just need it to support crossfire really, and hopefully the next range of graphics cards, although this might be asking a bit much : P.

You won't need crossfire if you're really going to wait 18 months..

Is it worth going for 1066 over 800? How much of a difference would the speed make in high-end games?

Negligible, it is better to get good overclocking DDR2 800 RAM than DDR2 1066 RAM because of the price difference. If you don't plan on overclocking G.Skill offers a very cheap set of RAM for DDR2 800 with AWESOME timings, look around for it.

HDD: Seagate SATA 7200RPM 320Gb - $92
Is it worth waiting for SATA2? And how much difference does cache size make?


Don't bother waiting, make sure you get a seagate 7200.11 and it has 3.0gb/s transfer rate

Monitor: Need a decent, cheap 19" monitor that will be used for games - not too sure about the ramifications of 2ms/5ms etc...~$210 at a guess?

On newegg they are very cheap, but you live in europe, I would get CRT if you find the LCDs with low refresh rates to be too expensive. Viewsonic is a pretty good brand, but read reviews.

Case: Absolutely clueless here. Have been told to steer away from inbuilt PSUs, but apart from that, I don't have too many guidelines. Doesn't have to look good, I just need it to work well with these parts. ~$100 I would guess.

With 2 cards you will need a full sized case due to their size and airflow problems, well you don't need one, it just helps a lot with airflow issues. Get a Stacker case if you can afford it and plan on getting 2 big Videocards, otherwise any Mid-Tower ATX case is fine, I like Antec, Thermaltake, and Coolermaster cases.

PSU: Once again, no idea. Needs to be able to handle two video cards in crosswire and be reasonably quiet. Other than that, as cheap as possible : P. once again, around ~$100 I guess.

Try to get 18A or above with the 8800GT, as for the ATI card I have no idea. You'll need around 560-600 watts if you plan on one video card, for two I would get one with at least 730 or more, make sure it has good +12V Amperage ratings (18A is good for the 8800GTS G92, and the 8800GT, don't know about ATI).

By the way Nvidia cards need Sli, they don't work with crossfire.
February 5, 2008 2:31:08 AM

Thanks for your help nossr, I've revised my build, with a few things still to sort out. The price has blown out quite a bit, but I'm not going to be buying for a month or two anyway so I'm not too concerned. Here it is:

CPU: Intel ATX E6550 CORE 2 DUO 2.33GHz 4MB CACHE/1333FSB/LGA775 - how overclockable is this? And is it worth getting a cheaper chip and OCing?

Video: Jetway GeForce 8800GT 512MB DDR3 PCIEx16 HDCP 2xDVI-I HDTV

Mobo: Gigabyte P35-DS3L (S775 FSB1333 DDR2 PCIEx16 SATA2 GbLAN ATX VDBIOS Durable)

RAM: DDR2 2048MB(2x1G)PC6400 800Mhz Kingston (also considering that G.Skill, nossr)

HDD: Seagate SATAII NCQ 320GB 7200RPM 16mb Cache

Monitor: Viewsonic VX1932WM 19" LCD, 2ms 1440x900

Case: Cooler Master Centurion 534 Case Black RC-534-KKN2 534

PSU: Not sure - based on the rest of my system, could anyone recommend anything? I think I'm giving up on the idea of Crossfire.

Optical: Pioneer DVR-212BK 18x Dual Black OEM SATA

OS: Microsoft Windows XP Home OEM

Suggestions?
Related resources
February 5, 2008 2:35:49 AM

2nd card in 18 months = useless
A second card at all usually = worthless
That E2200 will be fine for the build...Not any different than the E6550. Games are GPU dependent not cpu

GPU = 8800GT or G92 GTS if you can stretch it (GT= loud and hot)
Ram = Crucial Ballistix DDR2-800 (great stuff but not sure of prices near you)
Case = Antec 900
PSU = Corsair (520 or 620 HXs) or PC P&C

Ill help out more tomorrow but its just late :D 
February 5, 2008 2:38:13 AM

hahah, no probs, thanks! i'm looking into the case and psu now, and that processor revision will shave another $100 off :p 
February 5, 2008 2:40:17 AM

yea take a look at the above (changed a little)

Ill help out tom. after school :p 
February 5, 2008 3:14:19 AM

just looked at your build silverion, it's pretty much identical to what i'm planning on - what kind of performance do you get in high end games? crysis, cod4, etc etc...

anyway, i looked at the case and i'm looking for something under $90, preferably. i was just wondering what features of the case made you suggest it?

***
EDIT: for PSUs, the Corsair CMPSU-450VX looks good (and cheap), that is if it can run everything on the system...thoughts?
***
February 5, 2008 9:26:31 AM

On a 19" I can play Crysis and CoD4 on max settings with good speeds. (very rare slow downs in Crysis)

The Antec 900 is not very large but has amazing airflow....little loud for some at max but I dont care too much about it

Im not sure of the 450. Good Psu...but you should look at the 550VX or the 520HX (same but modular)
February 5, 2008 10:12:33 AM

dm88 said:
Thanks for your help nossr, I've revised my build, with a few things still to sort out. The price has blown out quite a bit, but I'm not going to be buying for a month or two anyway so I'm not too concerned. Here it is:

CPU: Intel ATX E6550 CORE 2 DUO 2.33GHz 4MB CACHE/1333FSB/LGA775 - how overclockable is this? And is it worth getting a cheaper chip and OCing?
CPU is nice and solid, you can get cheaper, but might want to OC them later. You could even go with a e2180 and OC it to 3 ghz easily, so that would save you about $70-80 over the e6550. The e6550 is no slouch either, so you can decide.

Video: Jetway GeForce 8800GT 512MB DDR3 PCIEx16 HDCP 2xDVI-I HDTV
I'd opt for a 8800gts 512mb (g92) if you can afford it. It's probably about $50 more than the 8800gt, but has a dual slot cooler solution (means cooler/quieter) and is only 2nd to the 3870x2 that was just released.

Mobo: Gigabyte P35-DS3L (S775 FSB1333 DDR2 PCIEx16 SATA2 GbLAN ATX VDBIOS Durable)
Gigabyte just released a DS3G and looks quite nice. It's about $10 USD cheaper here in the U.S., so you might find the same where your at. Otherwise the DS3L is the perfect budget OC'ing mobo out there right now. :) 
GIGABYTE GA-P35-S3G LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: DDR2 2048MB(2x1G)PC6400 800Mhz Kingston (also considering that G.Skill, nossr)
I'd go with Corsair or Crucial CAS 4 RAM. Not sure if the one you selected is CAS 4, but the normal speed is CAS 5. The CAS 4 stuff will OC (if you ever want to do that) easier and higher than the CAS 5 stuff and is usually not much more than the CAS 5 stuff. I linked a couple sets below.
Corsair CAS 4 stuff :) 
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Crucial CAS 4!
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: Seagate SATAII NCQ 320GB 7200RPM 16mb Cache
Looks good to me. You can go cheaper, if needed, but 320gb's right now seems like a decent starting point.

Monitor: Viewsonic VX1932WM 19" LCD, 2ms 1440x900
Love my 19" LCD WS by Acer. Viewsonic is usually pretty good. Not sure about their prices, but not a bad buy at all.

Case: Cooler Master Centurion 534 Case Black RC-534-KKN2 534
Nice Case to get. You could opt for the CM 690, which is almost as good as the Antec 900 that was stated earlier. It is usually cheaper than the Antec 900 and can even fit 2 8800gtx's (which are long) in it, so you might consider it. Otherwise your CM Cent 534 is a nice case too.
Linkage to CM 690 below. It can be had for around $50 here in the US, after a $30 mail-in-rebate, but generally is close to $90 without a mail-in-rebate.

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

PSU: Not sure - based on the rest of my system, could anyone recommend anything? I think I'm giving up on the idea of Crossfire.
If you stick with a "Single" GPU solution (I recommend this) than the Corsair vx450w PSU will work just fine. It has a 5 yr. warranty and is solid. See my link in my signature that references what a quality 380w PSU can do w/a 8800gtx and an e6600 OC'd.

Optical: Pioneer DVR-212BK 18x Dual Black OEM SATA
Only thing here that I'd recommend is get the "Retail" version, so you can have the DVD Burning software included with the burner. I use Liteon, but Pioneer is good too.

OS: Microsoft Windows XP Home OEM
OS looks good for a budget build. I prefer XP Pro, but I didn't really have to pay for it, otherwise I would've got XP home too.

Suggestions?
February 5, 2008 11:53:04 AM

If you are a serious gamer get the e8400. The2xxx series have 1mb and the e8400 has 6MB cache. It makes a difference in games but nothing else. Also the e8400 is stock 3.0 and can be overclocked to 4.0 with stock volts or a minor increase in volts.

If your gonna be spending $270 for a graphic card you might as well drop in another $130 and get the 3870x2 which is the best card on the market as of this post. This setup adds around $370 more to your price but is well worth it.
February 6, 2008 4:29:13 AM

Hmmm....I'm considering that 8800GTS roadrunner, but I'm just wondering one thing: why are the 8800GTS 640Mb versions cheaper than the standard 512Mb? Is there any significant difference?
February 6, 2008 5:23:19 AM

dm88 said:
Hmmm....I'm considering that 8800GTS roadrunner, but I'm just wondering one thing: why are the 8800GTS 640Mb versions cheaper than the standard 512Mb? Is there any significant difference?

Yes, the 8800gts 320mb and 640mb versions are the older (g80) versions and are not the newest versions (g92). The 8800gts 512mb is the latest version (g92) that has come out from nVidia and is =>a 8800gtx (g80). If you can afford the 8800gts 512mb (g92) version at ~$300 than I'd go for that.
February 6, 2008 5:35:08 AM

A-Data Vitesta ram also runs very well on the Gigabyte boards and can be had pretty cheap.
February 6, 2008 8:05:55 AM

if you want ATI still, for whatever reason, then you need 30A for the 12V rails, and 38A for the 12V rails on Xfire... that's coming from my HD3870's manual :) .
February 6, 2008 12:54:52 PM

dm88 said:
Hmmm....I'm considering that 8800GTS roadrunner, but I'm just wondering one thing: why are the 8800GTS 640Mb versions cheaper than the standard 512Mb? Is there any significant difference?

I did not and do not rcommend 800GTS. I recommend the ATI 3870x2 that has been out for like 2 weeks. It competes head to head with the 8800GTX/Ultra and cost a couple hundred less. IMHO ATI has better graphics. FPS has been and can be manipulated by drivers. Seeing is believing in my book. Im not a fan biy either. I'm running Nvidia in all 3 of my rigs. My HTPC would have a ATI in it except I wanted a card with HDMI out for my 42" monitor not some adapter crap. I need true HDMI so I can output video and sound through the same cable. If ATI makes a new card with true HDMI I will upgrade asap.
February 8, 2008 3:28:58 AM

Ah my mistake RR :p .

Thanks once again for all the help everyone, here's the next installment in this ongoing saga. Hopefully this is close to a final build now, just need to finalise a couple of things then watch the prices drop a little as I save up :p .

CPU: 1. E2200, OC'd reasonably highly.

Video: 1. Jetway 8800GT 512MB - should I fork out for a more reputable/well-known brand? This was crazy cheap. Also thinking about an 8800 GTS 512Mb.

Mobo: 1. Gigabyte P35-DS3L AU

RAM: 2. DDR2 2048MB(2x1G)PC6400 800Mhz Kingston, (also considering 4Gb of it or 2 Gb of that epic G.Skill)

HDD: 1. Seagate SATAII NCQ 320GB 7200RPM 16mb Cache


Monitor*: 1. Viewsonic VX1932WM 19" LCD, 2ms 1440x900 - still not sure about widescreen (for gaming), can anyone vouch for it? :p 

Case*: 1. Cooler Master Centurion 534 Case Black RC-534-KKN2 534

PSU: 1. Corsair HX-520 ATX Power Supply, 120mm fan Instock (might be able to skimp on this and go for an HX-420...)

Optical: 1. Pioneer DVR-212BK 18x Dual Black OEM SATA

OS: 1. Microsoft Windows XP Home

Replacing KB/M later and also buying a cooler at some point - possibly when I get Crysis : P...

thoughts?

Edit: just thought I'd give a vague goal perhaps - running crysis, full settings, at 1600x1200. not sure if that's going to happen with this rig, it's really not the end of the world if it doesn't :p 
February 8, 2008 3:33:05 AM

Looks good. Definately go wide screen. I got my new one today.
February 8, 2008 4:20:09 AM

Looks good. Go with 8800gts 512mb (g92) if you can afford it. Otherwise the 8800gt will be fine, just runs pretty warm and is only single slot cooling solution.
!