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please critique: potential new highend build

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February 8, 2008 7:33:12 PM

I'm attempting to build a new system to replace my p4 2.6 non ht machine... Must haves: quad core, support for lots of drives, RAID/0. I'm going for speed here... I sometimes game (FPS type games), sometimes run VMs (microsoft virtual server), sql express, visual studio 2008 pro, sometimes do video encoding (i have 26 years of tv episodes to start converting from PAL to NTSC and encode to disk). Please let me know if the following parts are in fact compatible (my fear is that I'll buy a PSU or MoBo or Case that doesn't work w/ the rest). As a bonus I'd like it to be pretty quiet. Oh, and my display tops out at 1600x1200.

Proc: Intel QX9650 http://www.buy.com/retail/product.asp?sku=206230847&SearchEngine=Shopper&SearchTerm=206230847&Type=PE&Category=Comp&Gad=0&dcaid=15889


Case: NZXT Apollo ATX Mid Tower http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146025


MoBo: ASUS Maximus Extreme http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131235


RAM: Patriot Viper 4gb PC3 12800 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820220285


PSU: PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750W http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817703009


GPU: XFX GeForce 8800GT 512MB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150252


Sound: SB Audigy SE (don't care) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829102002


HD: Striped Raptor Raid/0 2x150gb 10k RPM as OS Drive http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136012


and FAN: AeroCool Dominator http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835129048


For a grand total of : $2924.86 + tax & shipping

Good, bad, or something won't be compatible?

I should add that I would probably like to overclock the CPU at some point, and I undersand that the RAM I've selected isn't very overclockable... I'm ok w/ that -- not crazy about messing around w/ RAM timings anyway.
February 8, 2008 8:06:22 PM

what's the budget???

i'd recommend spalshing out on a higher-end card, ie the 8800GTS 512, or waiting for the new 9800...
February 8, 2008 8:57:02 PM

An interesting build lol. I was trying to figure out why optimum price/performance didn't apply to your choice of cpu, mobo, and memory yet seemed to dictate your choice of graphics card.

I can only presume you view the 8800GT as "good enough" for your current use, perhaps to be replaced by next gen whatever. The rest of the rig will certainly support that lol.

I'd never seen this cooler before . . . wait, let me check one more place . . . nope, no trustworthy review/comparison that I could find quickly. While it certainly looks big, capable, and quiet, without other info I'd probably have chosen either the Arctic Freezer 7 Pro for simplicity, effectiveness, and dramatic ease of installation . . . or one of the top rated stronger performers from here to be safe:

http://www.anandtech.com/casecoolingpsus/showdoc.aspx?i=3210&p=8

Cool case, too. Not for me personally, but I can see the appeal. Mobo, case, psu, and graphics card should fit together fine from the NewEgg reviews.

Have fun putting it together!
Related resources
February 8, 2008 9:04:53 PM

amd_fanboi said:
what's the budget???

i'd recommend spalshing out on a higher-end card, ie the 8800GTS 512, or waiting for the new 9800...



Trying to sneak this one in under $3000 (i'm taking some liberty w/ the tax/shipping). An extra hundred on top of the rest might be difficult -- I do have to keep this within the WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor).

I'll look into the 8800GTS 512's. Is there that much of a diff between the GTS and the GT? The reviews I saw actually had the GTS benchmarking LOWER than the GT: http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3140&p=7 for one.

PS: thanks very much for the reply.
February 8, 2008 9:11:54 PM

Twoboxer said:
An interesting build lol. I was trying to figure out why optimum price/performance didn't apply to your choice of cpu, mobo, and memory yet seemed to dictate your choice of graphics card.

I can only presume you view the 8800GT as "good enough" for your current use, perhaps to be replaced by next gen whatever. The rest of the rig will certainly support that lol.


There you go... that's my mindset exactly. In fact, I have a GeForce 6600 that I could cannibalize... but that seems downright criminal in this build.


Twoboxer said:

I'd never seen this cooler before . . . wait, let me check one more place . . . nope, no trustworthy review/comparison that I could find quickly. While it certainly looks big, capable, and quiet, without other info I'd probably have chosen either the Arctic Freezer 7 Pro for simplicity, effectiveness, and dramatic ease of installation . . . or one of the top rated stronger performers from here to be safe:

http://www.anandtech.com/casecoolingpsus/showdoc.aspx?i=3210&p=8


This is where you drill right to my inexperience in choosing a fan. I will definitely research the fans that you've generously linked here.

Twoboxer said:

Cool case, too. Not for me personally, but I can see the appeal. Mobo, case, psu, and graphics card should fit together fine from the NewEgg reviews.

Have fun putting it together!


Thanks... It actually reminds me of the alienware cases, without their crazy pricepoints. I was waffling between that case and this which comes with a 1000W peak power supply, but couldn't find any info on that power supply and it had me nervous.:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119136
February 8, 2008 9:23:04 PM

Twoboxer said:
I'd probably have chosen either the Arctic Freezer 7 Pro for simplicity, effectiveness, and dramatic ease of installation . . .


Great reviews AND lower cost... seems like a no-brainer. Updated my build with the Arctic Freezer 7 Pro. Thanks!
February 8, 2008 9:35:33 PM

Thanks for the clarification -- I will have to consider that upgrade...
February 8, 2008 9:36:29 PM

Oh, and the inconsistency behind which is their higher-end model, the GT or GTS really bugs me! :) 
February 8, 2008 9:53:25 PM

no prob, i made same mistake, its the only reason i knew
February 8, 2008 10:03:46 PM

I'm actually surprised noone said the RAM was overkill...
February 8, 2008 10:17:07 PM

OK, to summarize changes, for 2966.86 thanks to TwoBoxer's fan upgrade & discount, as well as the upgrade as per amd_fanboi and cmdr_keen (i loved that game, btw) to the 8800GTS, I am still in the realm of reality (I'll have to sneak Crysis on there as well :)  But at least i get vista and server 2008 for free).

Any thoughts on EBay parts?
February 8, 2008 10:45:24 PM

what i would do:

I would get a Q6600 and OC it rather than get a QX9650.

I read what you said about OCing. But OCing is nothing more than changing a few numbers in BIOS, and there are a million guides out there that walk you through it. If you have the intelligence to throw parts together to build a computer, you have the smarts needed to OC.

What I want you to do is go to the overclocking section of Toms and read the sticky about OCing.

And what I would like also is if any other forum members more advanced than me (I'm still wet behind the ears) have an opinion one way or the other, teach me something :) 
February 9, 2008 12:06:38 AM

The 4mb L2 cache vs the 12MB L2 Cache in the QX9650 is what most drove me to the 9650.. and to have the highest-end proc as I'm not going to be upgrading for a while. The current build was approved by the wife w/ no remarks, surprisingly.... so I guess I'm just going to start the ordering... The wait is the killer part!
February 9, 2008 12:10:24 AM

Lots of wasted money on CPU and RAM.
Q6600 with DDR2 far more reasonable.

Don't buy eBay.
February 9, 2008 1:17:00 AM

aardwolf said:
The 4mb L2 cache vs the 12MB L2 Cache in the QX9650 is what most drove me to the 9650..
$1075 for the QX9650
$275 for the Q6600

so you think it is a good deal paying $800 for 8mb more of cache?

most builders i would venture to say do not even look at how much cache a processor has in determining what CPU to buy.

for $800 you could have some really nice upgrades - you could upgrade your case, upgrade your PSU, put a total of 8GB RAM, and/or add water cooling to it for that.

do what you want with your money, but I would say when someone who knows what they are doing orders a QX9650, it is for a watercooled OCed system.

here is a what a nice QX9650 system looks like, just don't buy it (we think it is a scam):
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3001...

Also, PC3 RAM is another complete waste of your money.
February 9, 2008 2:05:24 AM

Yes, drop the DDR3 PC3 ram. And I think it's right on about the QX9650. It's new, it's fast, it's so new it costs way too much! The Q6600 is enough, get a great Mobo that will be able to run the QX in 6-8 months at half the cost it is now. And increases the WAF a lot! You might look at getting a TB drive, or at least a 750. You gotta ton of stuff to process, where are you gonna put it? And the Raptors for your needs is kinda overkill. Maybe one for the OS. Think about a better case for cooling. Antec 900, very popular air cooled case. Has two 120's in front, a 120 in back and a 200mm on top, and a hole for a 120 on the side. The case you chose is pretty weak for a case for your system and if you OC...... Did I mention air cooling and good airflow?

But it's your money. Don't forget future things you will need. Better case fans, better aftermarket coolers for GPU and NB etc. Great thermal paste for the new HS your gonna buy. Ohh wire management odds and ends. Etc etc etc. Once ya start you aint gonna stop LOL!

Stop by Petras and Jab Tech and many more specialty shops to see what goodies are out there.

Lastly, want a good really experianced look before you buy? Post your list at OC Forums and xtreme forums for some really professional expert OC/system builders input.

The 8800GT 512. Is plenty as long as you don't need to play Crysis at max on a GIANT screen, like a 24" WS and need everything turned on. If you do need that, spend $1000 on two GTS 640 MB cards and SLI them. May I suggest Only EVGA who has a 90 day upgrade policy if something comes out in 90 days you like more.

Cooling. Think about future OC'ing. You want a case with at least 3 120mm fans on it to start on the case alone. You will need to upgrade the Vid cooling someday, you can OC the vid and get much better performance. And with OC, many of us feel the Northbridge chip needs better than stock cooling. At least, a special fan blowing on it to supplement the case air flow. Did I mention good case cooling?

Look at Thermalright for all your cooling heatsink needs past stock. They always beat everyone else. There are other close ones at a bit cheaper though. Read before you buy PLEASE! Spend a week or two at the real OC forums I mentioned before you waste all your WAF money. I liked the WAF concept a LOT!
February 9, 2008 1:10:08 PM

Very reasonable replies about the Q6600 vs the QX9650 -- I may have had buyers remorse about that one.

Cutting down to Q6600, swapping out the PSU with a corsair 620W sli

http://www.buy.com/prod/corsair-620w-sli-certified-modular-atx-power-supply/q/loc/101/203270718.html

Gets me to 2163.86. Now... As far as the RAM goes, what would be the best as far as DDR2 goes (read about the poor latencies of the DDR3 I had picked out for 629.99)? If the ram comes down a little, I'll go all out w/ 2 screaming 8800's as Conumdrum suggests.

Suggestions for thermal paste (I feel stupid for forgetting that totally!)?

Not convinced on the Antec 900 -- just how loud is this case? A current complaint from the wife is that she can hear my PC from anywhere on the 2nd floor (my office AND our bedroom are on there!).

Oh, and drives are one thing I'm not worried about -- I've got tons of SATA caviar's just laying around unused. (Upgrades I haven't gotten around to on MediaPC, HomeServer, and Merlin (my main virtual server pc).
February 9, 2008 1:39:49 PM

OK -- with changes:

PROC Q6600 $277 newegg
CASE Antec 900 $110 newegg
MOBO Asus Maximus Extreme $350 newegg
RAM GeiL Evo One 2x2GB DDR2 1066 $221 newegg
PSU Corsair 620W SLI cert $139 newegg
GPU(!) 2xEVGA 8800GTX 768mb $900 newegg
SOUND garbage creative $30 newegg
HD 2xraptor $400 newegg
FAN ArcticCooler 7 Pro $26.99 newegg

Need: Thermal Paste, Cabling?, Northbridge sink/fans, copy of Crysis, RAM for wife's pc (wouldn't be fair, would it?)

Thoughts/Suggestions? I'm worried about a) the power supply being enough w/ 2 8800gtx's and b) the case fitting both 8800gtx's... how will I know if it fits and c) heat -- am I going to have room to overclock with those 2 beasts in there?
February 9, 2008 1:54:25 PM

not 8800GTX... please... the hd3850 in crossfire at least equals one of them, and is cheaper... if you're after that kind of performance, then just slap in an HD3870-X2 and crossifre it, then wait for AMD to do their driver magic ^^ ...

the case will be great for cooling... the fans are adjustable, speedwise, so you can merely put them on low...

raptors... not necessary... the samsung spinpoint 500gb is offering pretty similar performance, and offers a lot more gb per $

w/ the arctic cooling freezer 7 pro, the thermal paste is applied... try a thermaltake ultra-120 or Zalman cnps9700LEd, the former being better...

and you'll need a beefier PSU to oc those babies...
February 9, 2008 2:02:01 PM

amd_fanboi said:
not 8800GTX... please... the hd3850 in crossfire at least equals one of them, and is cheaper... if you're after that kind of performance, then just slap in an HD3870-X2 and crossifre it, then wait for AMD to do their driver magic ^^ ...

the case will be great for cooling... the fans are adjustable, speedwise, so you can merely put them on low...

raptors... not necessary... the samsung spinpoint 500gb is offering pretty similar performance, and offers a lot more gb per $

w/ the arctic cooling freezer 7 pro, the thermal paste is applied... try a thermaltake ultra-120 or Zalman cnps9700LEd, the former being better...

and you'll need a beefier PSU to oc those babies...


With previous experience, ATI is out of the question. I hate their driver support -- really, really, really hate. I've had so many problems w/ them over the years (All-in-wonder, I'm looking in your general direction) that I can't support them.

I'm really curious about the PSU -- recommended unit that could handle the 8800's?
February 9, 2008 2:19:04 PM

I'm now looking at ThermalTake's beefy 1200W supply http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817153054 to power it... trying to figure out if the PSU and the 8800's (SLI'ed -- you said 2x3850 equals one -- i'd like the performance of both -- but I'm not seeing enough gain in crossfiring 2xhd3870x2 for the cash).
February 9, 2008 2:29:39 PM

Wow... and the coolermaster cosmos is a thing of beauty and $190 isn't terrible...I'm just wondering how many fans I get with this thing out of the box... but I do have some old slot fans and Internal HD fans that can be cannibalized.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119138

Current price is now $2730. This might just be my system. Looking to actually have this thing ordered by tomorrow night.
February 9, 2008 2:53:02 PM

Nice build you got going but two 8800 GTX's is overkill. If your monitor is limited to 16 x 12, one GTX will be more than enough. This way, you save some money and can use it to pick up the next gen card when the GTX isn't enough. Right now, there are no games it can't handle at the highest settings, especially at 16x12.
February 9, 2008 2:58:00 PM

I think you would be better off with your first choice of PSU. The PC P&C Silencer 750 is one of the best on the market and can be found for around $150.

Which case you choose is very subjective, the Antec 900 is a good case and inexpensive but personally I love mine although it's quite a bit more expensive. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I would choose the Ultra 120 Extreme over the Freezer 7 Pro, both are good coolers but the Thermalright is better.

It has been debated on these boards quite a bit but I see no reason to get a Raptor. The Seagate 7200.11 is just as fast and a lot less expensive.

What monitor will you be using? I have 2 GT's in SLI at 1920x1200 and can play any game maxed out except for Crysis. 2 GTX's offer very little performance gain over 2 GT's or 2 of the newer GTS's to justify twice the cost.

Why do you want to buy 1066 RAM? The Q6600 runs at 1066FSB and if you overclock it to 1600FSB which would give you a speed of 3.6 you will be running 1:1 with DDR2 800. Something like this would be a great choice http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

February 9, 2008 3:15:03 PM

but I'm not seeing enough gain in crossfiring 2xhd3870x2 for the cash).

ehm... the card is better than the ultra... and cheaper... adn you see no gain in crossfiring it??? is there something i'm missing?
February 9, 2008 9:04:55 PM

Very interesting replies... My monitor IS limited to 16x12 (Samsung SyncMaster 213T) -- but perhaps if the price is this much less, say with only a single 8800GTX, I may toss in a new display as well.

I really want screaming load performance (& I'll admit it, some bragging rights), so that's why the raptors; and that's only $340 anyway.

Thanks for the RAM suggestion, AUsch30 -- that's been changed in my plan.

amd_fanboi: I'm seeing the hd3870x2 for $449 at the egg, and the ultra for $400 after rebate. I'm still looking into some comparison on this, etc. Any issues w/ the Asus Maximus Extreme mobo I had picked, and the hd3870x2?

Oh, and as for the case I selected, I loved the way the internals looked in this post: http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1261510 -- he seemed to have so much room and wiring job is something I'll strive to attempt matching.

February 9, 2008 9:59:47 PM

amd_fanboi: ok, after taking some time and reading about both the 8800 and the hd3870x2 head-to-head, I may have to concede the point. I just wasn't getting that hd3870x2 IS a crossfire unto itself. And getting 2 of those would actually be 4 gpus, not 2 -- sweet at all cranked up in Crysis.

Also, going with the Zalman fan for $60.

All said (& perhaps done), I'm looking at a cost of $2679.72 (+tax & shipping) compared w/ my initial $2924. Not bad considering all of the upgrades from suggestions in this thread. Thank you all for your thoughts in this... I'm impressed by how you guys cared about value/perf ratio, and it's not even your money. That really says a lot about the quality of people on this board.

Now I gotta make sure there's enough cooling in the case (gotta see what comes w/ it, and what to upgrade / implement), and then the painful part of submitting the order (somehow I wound up w/ all newegg parts), the interminable waiting for boxes @ work... and then the Big Build! I will be posting pics when completed.
February 9, 2008 10:46:42 PM

I take that back... I'm going to wait on the water cooling until I understand more about it. I'd like to have this system built in about 1.5 weeks, and that's not enough time to devote to research on products and techniques for water cooling. $2670 looks like it (+ I should add Vista on there -- unless I can transfer the license from my current pc... anyone know? (it was not an upgrade license; it was a full-install))
February 9, 2008 11:25:03 PM

you should be fine with that build... i'd still say drop the raptors, but hey...

enjoy ^^
February 10, 2008 12:25:32 AM

aardwolf said:
OK -- with changes:

PROC Q6600 $277 newegg
CASE Antec 900 $110 newegg
MOBO Asus Maximus Extreme $350 newegg
RAM GeiL Evo One 2x2GB DDR2 1066 $221 newegg
PSU Corsair 620W SLI cert $139 newegg
GPU(!) 2xEVGA 8800GTX 768mb $900 newegg
SOUND garbage creative $30 newegg
HD 2xraptor $400 newegg
FAN ArcticCooler 7 Pro $26.99 newegg

Need: Thermal Paste, Cabling?, Northbridge sink/fans, copy of Crysis, RAM for wife's pc (wouldn't be fair, would it?)

Thoughts/Suggestions? I'm worried about a) the power supply being enough w/ 2 8800gtx's and b) the case fitting both 8800gtx's... how will I know if it fits and c) heat -- am I going to have room to overclock with those 2 beasts in there?

Asus Maximus Extreme - is a DDR3 motherboard.
Asus Maximus Formula - is the DDR2 version.
Soon the X48 versions of these boards will be in stock in March with their names changing from Maximus to Rampage:
http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3208
February 10, 2008 1:45:35 AM

(thermal paste you asked about - get arctic silver 5 paste, and arctiClean to clean them first. here is the web page for them if you want to read more: http://www.arcticsilver.com/ and here is another page with detailed instructions for how to apply the thermal interface material http://www.arcticsilver.com/instructions.htm)

COOLERMASTER COSMOS VS ANTEC NINE HUNDRED

the coolermaster cosmos is a FULL tower case, the antec nine hundred is a MID tower case.

OF COURSE there will be more room. You would have more room in ANY FULL tower case.

As for cooling ability, the antec has FIVE fans, four being 120mm and one being 200mm. It beats the pants off the cosmos. And the antec is remarkably quiet from the outside, considering that it is a f*cking wind tunnel inside.

I almost bought a cooler master cosmos because its looks "fit" better in a professional environment. but then i realized that made me a very superficial person. at half the price and twice the cooling the antec (for me) is a better fit.

the antec, with the glowing blue LED fans, looks out of place in a professional office, but looks great at home. it is more of a gamer/overclockers enthusiasts case.

OTHER VERY NICE CASES

When I see prospective new builds involving things like the QX9650 there is usually some very very high end case, that goes with the build, if for nothing else, just the bragging rights for how it looks. For example, here is a Lian-Li PC-V1000 case from http://www.pcper.com/



cases that are made mostly of heat-dissipating aluminum are expensive, because aluminum is expensive. Aluminum cases are not only great for heat-dissipation, they are 4 times lighter as well. And they look good wherever you put them.. home, office, anywhere.

Another Lian-Li case, the PC-V1200 (I think), from http://www.epicycle.org.uk/



So peek at the Lian-Li cases if you have a moment. Here is their web site: http://lian-li.com/ or just click on the picture below:

February 10, 2008 12:50:16 PM

a_dude: yikes! Thanks for that catch. Changed to Maximus Formula (didn't realize the DDR2 physically would not work in a DDR3 board -- thought I was leaving myself room to upgrade in the future).
February 10, 2008 3:33:22 PM

It should. This card is so new it will take a few 1000 sold and tried in many configs before you will know for sure.

I had a 900 case with a 8800GT. I don't think the cards are any longer than the 8800GT because many peeps couldn't use it. The 900 still had an inch or two of card room left. I didn't use the HD fan mount on the inside though, but many peeps don't use it in the 900 anyway.

Thats gonna be a screamer card BTW, the new dual core GPU's are gonna be the new standard.
February 10, 2008 6:14:03 PM

Thanks again, all of you for the help. Going to order on newegg now (& my wife's RAM direct from crucial, as it's cheaper there ;)  )
February 10, 2008 6:59:01 PM

if you can hold out you may want to consider to Q9450 if you can wait for its release later this month or next month it will perform between the q6600 and the QX9650, but be priced a lot closer to the q6600. Just a thought. the q9450 will be 12MB L2 cache and 2.66MHZ with 1333 FSB so it is only .34 MHZ slower than the QX9650 but should be much cheaper in the 316-350 price range when it comes out.
!