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Just finished with my new build.....New builders READ

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February 20, 2008 9:17:17 AM

I don't know if any of you remember my posting in here a couple weeks ago about getting help with my first new build. I started off in the extremetech forums, so I have been spending most of my time there. I just figured I better stop by here and post my build and results. Especially for those out there looking to build their first rigs, and want good look at what can be had right now, and what it will get you.

First off let me start with the dollar value: $1500

That is how much I spend building what I am about to show you after I get $170 back in rebates. That is the price for the computer, and nothing else. I had everything else I need except for a new LCD monitor. For a monitor, I recommend the Dell Ultra Sharp 22" widescreen LCD. The quality is outstanding and its $292 to your door. Now, on with the build.

All parts were purchased at NewEgg:

Antec 900 case
ABS Tagan BZ900 psu
eVGA 780i A1 mobo
Intel Core2Duo E8400 45nm Wolfdale 3.0GHz, 1333MHz fsb cpu
Tuniq 120 Tower
Tiny tube of Arctic Silver 5
Corsair XMS2 (supersink) DDR2-800 2x2GB kit (4GB total @ 5-5-5-18)
eVGA 8800GTX 768MB (stock, 576/1350/900)
Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 500GB 32MB cache
Samsung DVD (DL/CD/LS) Sata Burner
Mitsumi floppy+media reader
Antec 120mm clear 3-stage fan

System specs before and after OC:

Stock: CPU - 3.0GHz / 1333MHz FSB / 9x / 1.3v | RAM - 800MHz / 1.9v / 5-5-5-18 | Vid - 576MHz core / 1350MHz shader / 900MHz memory

MaxOC: CPU - 4.25GHz / 2GHz FSB / 8.5x / 1.35v | RAM - 1GHz / 2.0v / 5-5-5-15 | Vid - 648MHz core / 1566MHz shader / 999MHz memory

I can probably still tighten up the memory timings, but I will worry about that later. Now for the benchmarks. CPU and Memory scores from SiSoft Sandra II sp1:

Benchmark | Factory | MaxOC

Dhrystone | 23288Mips | 33052Mips
Whetstone | 22090Mflops | 31350Mflops
MM Int x8 | 193131iit/s | 274408iit/s
MM Float x4 | 89933fit/s | 127528fit/s
Core Bandwidth | 8.75GB/s | 12.20GB/s
Core Latency | 30ns | 21ns
Int Buff'd | 6.79GB/s | 9.53GB/s
Float Buff'd | 6.77GB/s | 9.54GB/s
Mem Latency | 83ns | 60ns
Mem Bandwidth | 20.05GB/s | 27.25GB/s
PCmark05 | 8176 | 10344
3Dmark05 | 18238 | 23278
3Dmark06 | 11834 | 14209

The numbers speak for themselves, but if need a bit more info.... I can play Crysis with all settings maxed to Very High running 1680x1050 with 4xAA and still pull 25fps like it was nothing. CoD4 is a cake walk. I am, however, currently running Windows XP Pro 32-bit.

I used the config hack to get the Very high settings in Crysis, but am not using the DirX10 shaders. I am also not utilizing all of my RAM, but when I move to a 64-bit Vista platform, I won't be wasting the RAM that I do have (max on the board is 8GB with 4 slots)

For those of you out there that want fast, and want air cooled, there are plenty of options for $1500 or less. I chose the board and vid card for my own reasons, but you could go with something less expensive. On a side note, I also have a second GTX en route from NewEgg as I type this. I will post my new scores after I get it set.

For first time builders, here are some things I have found that people will tell you, that you shouldn't listen to:

- Don't get a GTX. ???? They are $360 after rebate right now on NewEgg? Why wouldn't you??? If you want to save money now, but have room to upgrade the system for less later, BUY A GTX! The only thing a dual GTX won't beat is a dual Ultra. Oh, and don't buy the superclocked one. It is easy to OC a stock gtx to superclock settings or more.

- Buy a Raptor. ???? Umm no. Don't do it. Its a waste of money for a loud addition to your rig. For what? Getting into a game 3-5secs faster? blah. Buy the Barracuda 7200.11 500GB/32MB. It is friggin fast, double the cache, more than 3x the room, and its cheaper!

- Don't rush into Vista if you aren't ready to handle the glitches. There are still enough of them to drive some people crazy. XP is still the best OS for gaming out there. Plus, you are more likely to have a copy of XP laying around, and don't have to front money for a new OS right now. Also, remember that dual-booting XP and Vista is RECOMMENDED.

- eVGA is worth getting simply for their step-up program. Especially right now with new mobos and vidcards coming out soon. Not to mention they are a great company, and have great products. Yes the 780i boards MCP runs a little hot. Don't think it is that much of a problem, cause they board handles it just fine.

- No matter what anyone tells you, read up on every review and every spec site and follow you gut instinct. If anything just so you can only be mad at yourself for getting a POS, and not blame it on some guy in some forum on the other side of the world.

Good luck with your builds!
February 20, 2008 4:12:59 PM

Sauvage said:

- Don't get a GTX. ???? They are $360 after rebate right now on NewEgg? Why wouldn't you??? If you want to save money now, but have room to upgrade the system for less later, BUY A GTX! The only thing a dual GTX won't beat is a dual Ultra. Oh, and don't buy the superclocked one. It is easy to OC a stock gtx to superclock settings or more.

- Buy a Raptor. ???? Umm no. Don't do it. Its a waste of money for a loud addition to your rig. For what? Getting into a game 3-5secs faster? blah. Buy the Barracuda 7200.11 500GB/32MB. It is friggin fast, double the cache, more than 3x the room, and its cheaper!


These two statements contradict one another…

GTS -->GTX marginal gain for much money.

Barracuda 7200.11 -->Raptor marginal gain for much money.

Why is one acceptable to you but not the other?
February 20, 2008 4:13:52 PM

Nice Rig you built there... I would have gone for some CL4 Ram, thats the only thing i disagree with. Nice machine.
Related resources
February 20, 2008 5:19:59 PM

Wow, thanks for posting that. Hope you don't mind me copying it entirely for my first build ;) 

I have a few questions if you don't mind helping me out.

Unfortunately Newegg has been out of the E8800 for a while it seems, so I'm trying to decide whether I should buy it from Tiger Direct for $229 (+~$20 shipping), or buy the E6850 from newegg.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/ite...

Also, if I'm not planning on using a second GTX, at least not yet, would it make sense for me to get a less expensive PSU?

I plan on using the 28" hanns-G monitor newegg has, with a native resolution of 1920*1200.

Finally, I guess I'm missing some rebates you're getting, because I only get $50 off for the GPU and $40 for the memory as MIR's, was there a third one I'm missing?

Thanks a lot.
February 20, 2008 5:27:58 PM

Lets see.... I think my 4 rebates were $50 on vid card, $40 on memory, $30 on the case, and $50 on the PSU.

DONT buy the E6850! Its the older Conroe chip, not the newer Wolfdale. The E8*00 chips are the 45nm chips. They produce better speeds with less heat.

TigerDirect it a good place to shop as well.

If you plan on using bigger than a 22" monitor, you may really want to consider 2 vid cards. Especially for gaming. If 28" is what you are going with, don't get less than a 850w PSU now. That way you aren't kicking yourself later.

There are other places to shop around at. Pricewatch.com is a good place to start. Just always pay attention to the USER REVIEWS!

Good luck!
February 20, 2008 5:46:45 PM

noobsauce said:
Also, if I'm not planning on using a second GTX, at least not yet, would it make sense for me to get a less expensive PSU?

I plan on using the 28" hanns-G monitor newegg has, with a native resolution of 1920*1200.


If you're only running one video card I think you should cut back on the PSU. I'm a fan of the PCP&C 610W myself.

My 8800GTX performs pretty well with my 24" monitor which runs 1920x1200. If you're not planning on going SLI I'd opt for a P35 or X38 motherboard instead. If you do want the option of going SLI in the future though you should get the 780i board.
February 20, 2008 6:37:13 PM

I run my 24 inch monitor on a single GTX perfectly fine with resolution of 1920*1200

Running it on 28" hanns-G might require some SLI action.
February 20, 2008 6:39:55 PM

Ya, let me rephrase a bit. Gaming on monitors 22" and bigger benefit a good deal from multiple video cards. Gaming on a 28" screen you might find even a gtx or ultra struggling with CoD4, or Crysis on max settings using your native resolution and 4x AA.

You could save a lot of money buy going with a single card mobo, and a single vid card, and a 600-650w psu. Doing this, however, is going to pit you with frustration when you have to tone down settings and/or your resolution to get decent frame rates on the 28" screen.

So if I was in your shoes, I would go with the eVGA 780i and a 850w+ PSU and the single card for now. That way you have the option of running SLI down the road, without alot of added cost.

Going with the eVGA board also allows you access to their step-up program, in case these new boards coming out are really worth buying: Native 2.0 support, DDR3 support, 45nm support, and cooler running to boot.

Like I said before though. Nobody can tell you what to buy. Research everything and wait until you feel right about the part before you commit.
February 20, 2008 6:46:29 PM

grieve said:
These two statements contradict one another…

GTS -->GTX marginal gain for much money.

Barracuda 7200.11 -->Raptor marginal gain for much money.

Why is one acceptable to you but not the other?


The GTX is decent gain across the board from the GTS, unless you are talking about the new 512MB GTS. From what I have seen on the prices, $360 is but a tad more than the GTS prices.

Everyone knows that Raptor's read faster, but all that means is slightly (even less slightly now than ever) faster load times. Unless you have a thing for always being the first one in the game to wait around for other players, it means nothing else.

The 7200.11 scores a considerable amount better than the Raptor on everything other than just "reading", it runs cooler, it has 3.3x the room, and its considerably cheaper.

February 20, 2008 7:36:02 PM

Sauvage said:
The GTX is decent gain across the board from the GTS, unless you are talking about the new 512MB GTS. From what I have seen on the prices, $360 is but a tad more than the GTS prices.


Why would i be talking about an old GTS? It is like discussing B3 stepping on a new build.
February 20, 2008 7:42:08 PM

Sauvage said:
The GTX is decent gain across the board from the GTS, unless you are talking about the new 512MB GTS. From what I have seen on the prices, $360 is but a tad more than the GTS prices.

Everyone knows that Raptor's read faster, but all that means is slightly (even less slightly now than ever) faster load times. Unless you have a thing for always being the first one in the game to wait around for other players, it means nothing else.

The 7200.11 scores a considerable amount better than the Raptor on everything other than just "reading", it runs cooler, it has 3.3x the room, and its considerably cheaper.


I dont think this answered the question...

Why is one acceptable to you but not the other? Both offer marginal gain for a lot of money. (Raptor/GTX)

I believe both the GTS and 7200.11 are the better buy. Yet you support purchasing a GTX and not a Raptor, both are a waste of funds.
February 20, 2008 7:58:08 PM

For the record though, I do think the GTX would be a better upgrade then a Raptor.
February 20, 2008 10:19:41 PM

Ok, I see we are agreeing on the Raptor. Why you think that the comparison is the same is where I am getting lost.

The GTX is $50 more than the GTS 512MB (G92). The Raptor is $50 more than the Barracuda. In the HDD scenario for $50 all you got was a ever so slightly faster load time. Not to mention all the drawbacks.

With the cards you are getting an extra 256M of memory, and an extra 128 pipes for the memory. Maybe only slight gains, but gains across the board. I have not seen a review on the stock GTS's overclocking abilities, so I can only base my decision on stock vs stock.

To me, $50 for gains across the board, the extra memory, and extra pipes seems very worth it. Not like the Raptor, where all I get is an extra 3 seconds waiting for everyone else to join the game. If you want to get technical I would have had to buy 3 150GB Raptors to Equal a single Barracuda 7200.11 500GB. Thats a big difference in price.

Hopefully that answers your question.
February 20, 2008 11:35:30 PM

I saw that deal on the GTX as well, I was leaning toward the GTS, but the GTX is looking pretty good, hope my taxes get here soon.
February 21, 2008 12:23:59 AM

Nice rig. Good to see that you didn't skimp on the PSU.
February 21, 2008 2:22:26 AM

I got my Wolfie from Microcenter for $183, and i got myself an HD3870X2 for $383. I'm very happy Rocking the 14,414pts in 3dMark06. I personally, however, would recc the WD500gig RE2 over that particular seagate. most tests show the 32mb cache not doing alot, and in some cases, hurting performance.

for a PSU, I TOTALLY Recommend a Seasonic M12 700W. it is the CLEANEST power supply i have ever seen anyone test, and it is DEAD SILENT thanks to 80%+ efficiency certification.
February 21, 2008 4:09:29 PM

I have been looking at the 3870x2 as well. It is definitely pulling better numbers, but keep in mind that the card also beat out 2x 3870's in xfire. It is a single card with 2 GPU's.

You could go that route. Then you would probably be better off going with a single PCIe x16 amd board.

Just keep in mind that nvidia is getting ready to put out their version. Another good reason to get the eVGA GTX. It is in the step-up program....
February 21, 2008 4:18:27 PM

noobsauce said:
Hey guys, what do you think of this PSU?
ETASIS ET850 ATX12V / EPS12V True 850W, Max 950W Power Supply 100 - 240 V UL, cUL, CB, TUV, MEMKO -

Price: $189.99
Sale Price: $159.99

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

Few customer reviews, but pretty strong. Highly recommended (I think) by this power supply review thread. Also about a hundred bucks cheaper than the Tagan. http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=10...


I can't give an opinion on it, as I am not familiar with it. Just remember that you get what you pay for. Skimping on the PSU can, and most likely will, cause trouble down the road. Least of which means buying a new PSU. Worst case means buying a whole new rig.

Hunt down any and all reviews, bench and stress tests on products before buying, and make sure you are buying the same product you looked at.
February 21, 2008 4:47:20 PM

The 8800 GTS 512MBs are the G92s which still beat out the basically everything except the overpriced GTX and overpriced Ultra. The 8800 GTS 512MBs are your best bet for good performance when going SLI.

Why are you recommending the 9600GT over the G92 8800 GTS 512MB?
Anonymous
February 21, 2008 5:08:41 PM

gtx is a good choice because you can upgrade later with a second and play at ultra high res 2560+. the people recommending gt's and then saying the diff between a 28 and 24" monitor must not understand that the size doesnt matter if the resolution is the same... the gt's are nice but when you get higher res with aa good luck playing with good frames =p ....atleast in crysis.
February 21, 2008 5:26:59 PM

noobsauce said:
Agh, also this guy is trying to persuade me to buy a 3870X2 instead of the GTX, based on this thread - http://www.rage3d.com/board/showthread.php?t=33914862#p...

Any thoughts?


At this moment and for the last year the 8800GTX is/was the best (fastest) Video card. Until NVIDIA releases 9800GT/GTS/GTX the 8800GTX will remain top dog.
February 21, 2008 5:27:08 PM

I'm happy with my 8800GT 512. I'm going to get another one and put them in SLI. I'm already able to play virtually every game out there with the highest settings, without spending thousands of dollars to get three 8800 Ultra's in 3-way SLI.

grieve said:
At this moment and for the last year the 8800GTX is/was the best (fastest) Video card. Until NVIDIA releases 9800GT/GTS/GTX the 8800GTX will remain top dog.


Umm, no. The Ultra is technically the top dog, and has been for the past 8 months or so.
February 21, 2008 5:47:49 PM

Ok, well between the GTX and the 3870X2, is the GTX still better, despite those tests that are saying the 3870X2 wins? I'm specifically concerned about 1920X1200, since that's what I'll be playing at. I'm definitely pulling for the GTX, I just have to set my mind at rest.

http://www.rage3d.com/board/showthread.php?t=33914862#p...
February 21, 2008 8:16:05 PM

resonance451 said:
I'm happy with my 8800GT 512. I'm going to get another one and put them in SLI. I'm already able to play virtually every game out there with the highest settings, without spending thousands of dollars to get three 8800 Ultra's in 3-way SLI.



Umm, no. The Ultra is technically the top dog, and has been for the past 8 months or so.


The Ultras are GTX overclocked, with a different cooler.

SOO UMM YES
February 22, 2008 1:36:44 AM

What a fun day! I can't wait till the Q9550 comes out!

I got to add a new addition to my rig today:



After running the first benchmark, I decided to persuade my cpu into OCing just a bit more.





Oddly enough, I came up 300 3dmarks under on my 4.41GHz scores from my 4.25GHz. It wasn't the CPU either. The CPU scored 200 more points, but the 2.0 scored 200 points less, and the 3.0 scored a whopping 500 points less. I am still not sure what was going on, unless it was simply because of the bus speeds. Either way I give you my final FutureMark scores with 3Dmark06 being at 4.25GHz and the other 2 being at 4.41GHz (vid cards @ 648/999/1566 for all)



I am gonna tinker with it again tomorrow. I will try to figure out why my higher OC got a lower 2.0 & 3.0 score and if I can work it out, I am gonna try to for 20k, 28k, and 11k.
February 22, 2008 2:49:30 AM

holy carp. i'd like to know what temps Tcase and Tjunc you're hitting with those speeds
February 22, 2008 3:28:11 AM

From what I have found out about the E8400, Intel states that the only temp you need to worry about is the CPU temp. Core temps are not to be focused on. They say that just over 61 C on CPU temp is max safe operating range.

At that OC I was idling at 37 C cpu temp, and it got to 58 C under full load. I was putting a bit more voltage to the chip than the 1.45v max, but that is only because eVGA's 780i board is slightly off with the Wolfdales. Whatever I set the vcore to it will boot up at -.05v. So I set it to 1.5v it booted at 1.45 but after the benches it was reading 1.464 in cpuz.

I run the Wolfie at 4Ghz, 2GHz fsb @ 1.35v and the mem at 1GHz @ 2.0v 5-4-4-10 when not benching.
February 22, 2008 4:38:28 AM

Dude, didnt i just see that comp on a toms review? lol
February 22, 2008 4:39:52 AM

Did you? Show me the link, cause I didn't see it.
February 22, 2008 12:33:04 PM

well, I wouldnt listen to what intel says, but what they specify. yes, the wolfdales are massively more efficient energy-wise, but Intel still specifies a Tcase of 72.5C before throttling, and a Tjunc max of 105C. I know what you're talking about wrt the voltage differential. I stopped bumping mine at a 1.314 which reports 1.280-1.296v in CPU-Z, which is what I go by. Now, mine's just a daily OC on Intel cooling in a warm room, so my Tcase peaks @ 60, but i got to 3.7 running pretty low voltage, which was my ultimate goal. I left it at 3.6, but im thinking if i bump the NB voltage slightly I could hit 4GHz with the same thermals. My memory will also run 5-5-4-12 @ 1120 with 2.10v so I'm pretty happy :) 

I'm thinking about swapping the Coolers out and going for another run for 4Ghz, problem is I have this nice CM Hyper 212 is about 20mm too tall for my case :( 

I just saw 1.464 + no water cooling + 4.4GHz and thought, DAYUM!

You did steal a bit of my mojo though because i had Hit 16,414 on 3dMark06 :( 
February 22, 2008 1:35:30 PM

I am running at my everyday speeds right now. 4GHz, 2GHz fsb, 1.36v, ram 1GHz @ 2.0v, vid 621/1008/1566. CoreTemp and Everest are both showing my core temps (Tj) at 54C, and Everest says my cpu temp (Tc) is 37C. My MCP is running a bit hot since I have had the door shut for a while and is at 100C, and my vid cards are at 59C.

My vid card fans are at 80%, my Tuniq Tower is about 60%, my PSU is on normal, my 3x 120mm intakes are at medium, my 120mm exhaust is at med, and my 200mm exhaust is on high. This is what it stays at. Vid cards jump to 100% when gaming.

Oddly enough, nVidia's new 3D spinning monitor says my Tj temps are 48C. I need to find a good constant recording graph monitor to run in the background while gaming so I can see what my normal load temps are.

When running benches at 4.41GHz I had every fan set to high. Idle temp at 1.46v was 38C.

Sorry about your mojo. Hopefully I don't take anymore later today when I try to pass the 20k mark! =) Sorry if the post is incoherent as I need sleep. Been up all night reading about SLI
February 22, 2008 2:55:31 PM

sauvage are you using coretemp to get those temps?
February 22, 2008 9:11:02 PM

Sauvage said:
I am running at my everyday speeds right now. 4GHz, 2GHz fsb, 1.36v, ram 1GHz @ 2.0v, vid 621/1008/1566. CoreTemp and Everest are both showing my core temps (Tj) at 54C, and Everest says my cpu temp (Tc) is 37C.

Ahh you are running Coretemp, I should have read a little better.

WOW 4GHZ OC with 37C idle, what is your ambient temperature?

February 22, 2008 10:05:39 PM

lol I really don't know. Gonna have to pick up a thermometer to find out. This is the hottest room in the house at all times, even when the computer is off. Last night I gave my temps after I had been shut up in the room with the door closed for hours.

Currently, with the ceiling fan on low, a low watt floor lamp on, and my door open (they way I normally have it) the computer has been on for about 2 hours and my core temps are 52C and my CPU temp is 33C. Just guessing, it is probably 71F in here right now.

I got nothing but kudos for the Antec 900, the Tuniq 120, and the Wolfdale chip. Even on the relatively warm 780i board they stay about as cool as you could ask for. Matter o fact, I believe that at one point I had the chip clocked to 4GHz @ 1.3v and it still ran fine. I am going to have to check that out again.
February 22, 2008 10:43:42 PM

blacksci said:
heres the link.

http://www.tomsgames.com/us/site/flash_videos/quick_loo...

its a video just so ya know, but yeah, check it out your comp looks almost identical.


HAHAH, that is funny!

I found a link to that PC only it has a single vid card and they want $3300 for it.

Differences from mine are: Dominator RAM, 680i, not as good PSU, 2 OS's, single vid card, X-Fi card, extra DVD player, keyboard and mouse, and Q6600.

So mine $1900 -50 for PSU, -50 for mobo, +80 for X-Fi, +15 for DVD, +250 for OS's, +150 for key&mouse, +60 for ram, +50 for CPU, -$450 for single vid = $1955

Hmm, I think maybe I will start building my own line just like mine, add in Vista Premium 64-bit or XP Pro 32bit and sell them for $2500.
February 22, 2008 10:51:00 PM

Lol, yeah it looks pretty damn similiar.
!