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Help with gaming build that will last for 4-5 years

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February 20, 2008 9:26:07 PM

Hi,

A friend of mine want me to help him build a gaming pc that will last for about 4-5 years. Therefor I recommend him a quadcore, Q9450 but he's rather impatient so he might get the Q6600. My friend don't know alot about computers so he usually buys a expensive computer every 4-5year or so and very rarely upgrades until it's time to get a new computer.
Ok here's the specs so far:

reminder! I live in Sweden so newegg and tigerdirect aren't options for me.

DVD burner: Samsung SH-203B
(holding off on blu-ray burner until prices are down)

Case: Either Antec P182 or Silverstone TJ05
(He wants a quiet case so I thought of the P182, but Silverstone Temjin series are famous for their quality and cooling so I need some help to choose between the two. They cost roughly the same)

PSU: Thermaltake Toughpower 750W W0116 or Corsair 750TX
(They cost the same and I'm not sure which one is better)

Harddrive: Western Digital WD5000AAKS 500GB
(He's getting two of them. Does anyone else have better suggestions of harddirves?)

Soundcard: Auzentech X-Plosion
(he has already bought it)

Memory:
Corsair XMS2 4096MB DDR2 PC2-6400
(He's getting two of them to get 8GB of memory... who knows how much memory one will need in 4-5 years. I went with DDR2 cause DDR3 is still too expensive. I really want to use ballistic X though, but I couldn't find them in 2x2gb configuration, do you know of any ram better for oc at 2x2gb?)
Corsair Dominator Airflow Fan
(cooling for the ram. I'm assuming that they are compatible, but then is it really necessary?)

Motherboard:
Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3R rev 2.1
Gigabyte EP35-DS4
(Main reason is 1600MHz system bus will help when OC, I don't know if the extra cooling and features on the DS4 is worth the extra cost)
ABIT IX38-QuadGT
Asus Maximus Formula, X38
(If he's getting ATI cards he might as well get a X38 mobo for future crossfire configurations)

CPU: Intel C2Q Q6600 or Intel C2Q Q9450
(E8400 might be the better gaming cpu today but over the course of 4-5 years I think games will use four or more cores)

CPU Cooler:
Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme with Scythe S-FLEX 120mm Fan 28.0dBA
Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 PRO
(First I thought of the Ultra extreme but then isn't it quite the overkill? isn't the Freezer 7 pro enough?)

Thermal Paste: Arctic Silver 5
(pretty standard but is there any other better brands?)

GPU: Radeon HD3870x2 or EVGA GeForce 8800GTS 512MB
(If he's going to just get one card is the x2 worth the extra money over the GTS? If he gets a X38 board how good will crossfire and x2 work? He'll be gaming on a old 19" for now, but he will get a 24-30" monitor within a year)

OS: Vista Ultimate 64bit OEM


So there you have it. The whole system. We are expecting to build it in about two weeks. So what say you? Any thoughts? Do you think I'm on the right track? Every piece of advice are appreciated.

/zhaf

More about : gaming build years

February 20, 2008 9:37:33 PM

PSU, I think most guys will tell you the Corsair is better.
February 20, 2008 10:00:25 PM

Looks solid and should be good for a long time
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February 20, 2008 10:40:50 PM

Definitely need a board to support CrossFire.

I would get the HD3870x2.
That way you can pair it with another one later when 4GPU Xfire is supported.

Everything is going to get dated so fast, he will need to be able to stick two GPUs in there to make the system even usable in a few years.
February 21, 2008 12:43:49 AM

Realistically, that system will stay in the top 10-20% of systems for about 6 months.
After that, Nehalem will rear its ugly ass with onboard memory controller and fancy packaging. The Yorkies will then look like Pentium 4's when the Athlon 64 X2s first showed.
Apart from that, RV770s with DDR5 and an estimated 50% performance increase from the 3800s. HD 4870s and 4870 X2s will weak havoc.
Keep in mind that this release is going to be as soon as SUMMER '08.
With '09 rolling around, more models of Nehalem will surface as will Bulldozer-if no more delays, with the slated SIXTEEN CORES.
Your friend may be happy with this system, for a short while.
4-5 years is hard to say, especially the way the market shifts these days.
Remember 2003, when the FX-53 and 3200+ were king? That was five years ago, and look how the SINGLE CORE FX-53 and 3200+ look now.
Back when the Prescott days weren't known as the Prescott days... five years in the Computer industry seems like 20 years.
February 21, 2008 4:05:15 PM

Im gonna give another nod to the Corsair. most of their higher-end units are made by Seasonic, which makes some of the cleanest power and highest overall efficiencies of any powersupply i looked at.

If he plans on doing Crossfire, and warding off the future, Spring for a Gigabyte X38-DQ6. It's what I'm currently running, and I'm VERY HAPPY with it. If you want a good nVidia setup graphics-wise, you'd be better off with a eVGA 780i board so it supports SLI.

Go with the Silverstone case. I had to fight myself for not snagging a TJ04 for $100.

Thermal paste? Masscool x23. have fun finding it though. Arctic Silver Ceramique seems better than AS5 though, so that may be a good route.

the only way to really get something of a future-resistant CPU is to spring for a QX9650, but since i doubt your friend wants to drop a k on a CPU that's getting surpassed by Wolfdales in some areas, prolly not a great choice. I disagree Quad-Core will get more relavent than it already is. As it stands, there are a handful of apps that are really taking advantage of DUAL cores. 4-5years I think more applications will take advantage of 64-bit computing and the new SSE extensions than 4 cores.

for Hard Drives, get the RE2 versions of those drives. they are more geared for enterprises and have longer warranties (5 years)

the 3870X2 is LOUD. it's quite fast though. If your friend is going to be running higher res games(i assume he is with the 24" monitor coming) It will probably stay on top longer, and when the new ATi cards come out, Quadfire with a 3870X2 and 4870X2 will very likely be feasible, and even the drivers will unlock alot of speed over the course of it's life. when I had Catalyst 8.1s going to the 8.2s, it was the easiest driver update I've ever done, period.
February 21, 2008 5:55:18 PM

If you want something that will remain high-end for 4-5 years, I'd just spend the $3000 and do it right.
February 21, 2008 6:35:16 PM

In general, it's better to buy a more mainstream computer and save the money, and upgrade to a second mainstream computer in 2 years than to go all out once.

That said, there are parts that you can expect to last that timeframe. The PSU and the case will likely last you plenty long, though.

I have a P182, and I like it, though I don't have much to compare to.

As for PSUs, it's hard to go with a Seasonic build (some Corsair, PC P&C, Seasonic, others, I'm sure). I'm going to move downmarket in the PSU dept, and suggest a Corsair HX520, which should support any system that isn't crazy (and I mean really crazy). If you feel the need to futureproof more with this, then the HX620 should be more than sufficient. Alternately, there's a PC P&C 610 that is highly recommended as well. (as a note, I run a e2160 @ 3GHz with a 8800GT on an Antec 380W PSU)

If you (he) can wait, the Q9450 is probably the better choice.

I'd buy the 8800gts (perhaps from EVGA and take part in a stepup program to a 9800gtx?), and save the extra money for a future upgrade.
a c 230 4 Gaming
February 21, 2008 7:12:11 PM

Personally, unless I have strong reasons (i.e peep has money for PCP&C) I try and use same vendor PSU and Case as I have had issues with cables reaching where they have to go when I mixed and it's a PITA to wait and build when ya waiting for brown truck to go back and forth. So all I am saying is take a look at Thermaltake Cases and Antec PSU's.

I'd put the Samsung F1 and Seagate 7200.11's well above anything from WD, including the Raptor. See Tomshardware storage section and see the reviews on the F1 and the "terabyte roundup" from Nov. 7 2008.

Lotta options until he decides whether he going nVidia or ATI (I prefer nVidia) so will withold comment there. Again, when I don't have a strong reason, I prefer to go with same vendor for MoBo and VidCard when option presents itself as it eliminates the TS peeps telling you it's the other guy's problem. Love being able to cut them off and say "but they are both yours".

CPU Cooler - Thermalright IFX-14 w/ Scythe SY1225SL12M


February 21, 2008 7:33:15 PM

Also keep in mind that all LGA775 CPUs will become history when Nehalm comes out (end of 2009?), therefor you WILL NOT be able to upgrade to the newer CPUs(Nehalm). Nehalm requires a new motherboard(three different sockets for CPU one for mainstream, high end, sever,etc) possibly a new PSU (connectors might be different), and also new DDR3 RAM etc.
a b 4 Gaming
February 21, 2008 7:46:08 PM

Your build bears an uncanny resemblance to my build.

In a year, the cpu and the vga card will become somewhat obsolete. The vga card will be easy to upgrade, and that is the critical component for gaming. With that, you should be happy for a few more years.

At the level of Q6600 or E8500, the vga card power is the critical gaming factor, not the cpu.
With few exceptions, current games can't take advantage of more than two cores.
flight simulator X is an exception).
For the same price, about $300, you can get either a Q6600 2.4 or a E8500 3.19.
It makes more sense to me to take advantage of the higher clock speed of the duo cpu.
In addition, the new Exxx cpu's are 10% faster in games clock for clock than their predecessors.
They will take less power, and run cooler. Indications are that they will overclock higher and easier.
February 21, 2008 7:52:10 PM

He is talking about futureproofing it though, and I doubt that computer games will stick to just two core for much longer. They've been talking about using four for quite some time, and there's no reason to believe they won't start doing it now, particularly because quad cores are starting to become mainstream nowadays. That said, the 8400 and 8500 are still a great bet.
February 21, 2008 7:58:37 PM

go for AMD... you'll be able to upgrade it later... as Shadow said, Nealem is coming...

quad crossfire, and a phenom B3...
February 21, 2008 7:59:33 PM

resonance451 said:
If you want something that will remain high-end for 4-5 years, I'd just spend the $3000 and do it right.



Or you could spend half that now and get almost the system youre talking about... then save the other half to get a nehalem system in 2 years that will blow any $3000 system you buy now out of the water
February 21, 2008 8:37:51 PM

amd_fanboi said:
go for AMD... you'll be able to upgrade it later... as Shadow said, Nealem is coming...

quad crossfire, and a phenom B3...


Quad crossfire? For what?

And you won't be able to upgrade AMD, they keep changing sockets every chance they get. So as soon as they release a new line of something, you'll have to get a new mobo.

940, 939, 940 that wasn't compatible with the original, AM2, AM2+, etc.
February 21, 2008 10:30:24 PM

Hi guys! thanks for the awesome replies so far!
I know what a lot of you are saying about not spending a fortune on a gaming pc at this time. But it's not I who set the criteria as it's my friends computer. As I said earlier he really don't understand pc hardware and don't want to get involved in this area. All he wants is a computer that will be able to play the games coming out in 4 years time. Note play not play with ultra high settings. He sits with a P4 radeon 9800xt atm so he can't play any of the new games. He therefore needs a new PC asap! He might as well wait for the q9450 as they're just around the corner now. But I don't think that he'll wait until june for new gpus from either nvidia or ati. As he have already made up his mind on spending this kind of money on a gaming pc so what I need help with now is rather what build will satisfy him the most at the current situation rather than if it's smart to spend money on an high end pc.
It's pretty much settled that it'll be a intel quad core and it's settled that he will get 8gb DDR2 of ram. But I'm still not really satisfied with the one I choose. So any suggestions on 8gb ram better than the corsair one I posted?
I still need feedback on the cpu cooler. Will the Freezer 7 pro be enough to OC the q9450?
I need more feedback on the case. As I'm familiar with the p182 as I've build several computer with that (or p180) case. But the Silverstone cases have gotten some great reviews and I'm eager to try them out. I'll look into other cases too but it primarily these two.
I'll check the samsung and Seagate HDDs. Would you suggest to raid them? or won't it have a big impact on gaming?
February 21, 2008 10:38:05 PM

second note.

I'm not shure if the evga step up program is any good outside US. The shipping and tax will cost a fortune.
Anyone have experience with evga step up and lives in europe, preferably the nordic region?
February 21, 2008 11:23:33 PM

8gb RAM requires Vista 64-bit which has driver problems.

Stick with 4gb and 32-bit Vista.
February 22, 2008 2:41:55 AM

wait for a Skulltrail Mobo and run Dual E8400s?

There's more than one way to get quad core :D 
!