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Newbie $1300 build

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February 27, 2008 10:34:50 PM

After doing tons of research, I have finally arrived at what I believe should be a pretty solid gaming computer. Yeah I could spend more cash for tip-top performance, but from what I've gathered this system should allow me to play games like Call of Duty 4 on high settings with no problems, and should give me the ability to do a little overclocking.

Gigabyte GA-P35-DS4 motherboard
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 processor
Corsair XMS2 DHX 4 GB (2x2) DDR2-800 Dual Channel memory
MSI GeForce 8800GT OC 512 MB 256-bit DDR3 video card
Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 500 GB hard drive
Liteon DVD-RW drive
Silverstone DA700 700 Watt PSU
Cooler Master Cosmos case

Total: $1335 on Newegg - $60 mail-in rebate

...and I already own a Creative SB Audigy 4 sound card and Logitech Z-2300 2.1 speakers.

Any suggestions before I order this? I know about the new processors coming out, but don't feel like waiting.

Thanks

More about : newbie 1300 build

February 27, 2008 11:16:48 PM

looks like a solid build to me
February 27, 2008 11:34:06 PM

Looks good, can't really fault any of the listed components. Usually people choose a bad PSU since they lack knowledge on them, but that Silverstone is Tier 1, so nice choice there. Not a personal fan of the case, but if you like the looks and don't care about its insane weight/size then its a fine choice.
Related resources
February 28, 2008 12:08:27 AM

The case is the one part on that list that'd I'd most readily switch out. Any suggestions? Just looking for a case that's gonna give me room to work, won't cut me up, and is designed with cooling in mind.

PS Aside from that list of parts, do I need to buy any other little accessories like fans, cables, tools, etc? I am building from complete scratch.
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
February 28, 2008 2:37:57 AM

The Antec 900 is very popular for a good reason - its a great case.
Another great case to take a look at is the CoolerMaster RC-690 @ $80 Now it might seem less expensive but compare ths shipping charges. The Antec is Free Shipping and the RC-690 is not.
CM RC-690 review Antec 900 review

Both cases have enough cooling to start out with. Its easy to add extra fans later if you think you need any more.
Excellent choice of PSU. I was going to suggest the 650W model would be plenty (it would) but noticed the price between the 650 and 700 was only $15.

A little overclocking - the stock Intel HSF is fine. A little more overclocking? Time to think about an after market HSF.
You might as well install one at the start so you don't have to re-handle the CPU.
The CoolerMaster Hyper TX2 @ $22 is an excellent choice in mid-range coolers. THG Cooler Review
For even more agressive overclocking the Tuniq Tower 120 and Zalman 9700 coolers work well.

February 28, 2008 2:58:41 AM

Thanks for the replies and advice, I think I'm ready to order now...only things I'm changing from the original is:

Antec Nine Hundred Case
+ 1 Silverstone FM121 120mm case fan (side)
+ Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro (found some benchmarks and this seemed to be the best budget cooler)
February 28, 2008 8:57:15 PM

XIGMATEK HDT-RS1283 120mm CPU Cooler - Retail $39

Here is the review with comparisons to all the other heatsinks on page 5: FrostyTech's CPU Cooler Review

Also, see your other thread, I put a few optional suggestions there.

Lastly, the Silverstone fan seems kind of loud at 40 dB. Silent PC Review favors noctua and scythe. the scythe use S-FDB bearings which make it more expensive, quieter, and much longer lasting. the difference between the loudest scythe (28 dB) and the silverstone (40 dB) means the silverstone will appear to sound more than twice as loud to the human ear. Here is a review of dBs.

If you keep reading that last link about dBs, you will see that you could actually use 10 of the scythe fans in your case (if you could find a way to mount them all :)  ) and those TEN scythe fans would still be quieter than just ONE Silverstone. Not to say the Silverstone is a bad fan at all, just not a quiet fan.

If you do mount several fans in the case, the easiest way to adjust their speed is with one of these:
or
(note: pictures are clickable links to newegg)
February 28, 2008 9:21:35 PM

I would debate to yourself wether going with ATI for dx10.1 support would change your GPU purchase. Other then that have you considered moving to a 64bit OS?

As for your GPU brand avoid factory OCed everything. Asus offers great utilities for OCing and factory clocks out of the box along with the best fan controls to keep your card cool with 4 temp %speed settings. It also offers on demand OCing that allows you to expand the life of the card by not constantly keeping the card OCed. I own the Asus 8800GT single slot and I sit at 44-45c no higher under load compared to some of these other brands that are either at 100% fan speed or cooking your case at 80c.
February 28, 2008 10:36:03 PM

That's a good looking build lschmidt. The stock 8800GT cooler is kind of crappy and loud. Consider upgrading to a 512MB 8800GTS.

Also remember to get a 64bit OS so you can put that RAM to good use!

Best of luck.
February 28, 2008 10:51:21 PM

homerdog said:
That's a good looking build lschmidt. The stock 8800GT cooler is kind of crappy and loud. Consider upgrading to a 512MB 8800GTS.

Also remember to get a 64bit OS so you can put that RAM to good use!

Best of luck.


Actually, Vista 32-bit will handle 4gb of RAM fine, and if you use 64-bit, there are lots of driver issues, and in his case, no benefit.

And what I consider a major advantage of the 8800GT (at least the EVGA 512mb) is the fact that it's single-wide.
February 29, 2008 12:18:41 AM

resonance451 said:
Actually, Vista 32-bit will handle 4gb of RAM fine

Argh, why must people post when they don't know what they're talking about :??: 

Here you go:
32-Bit Vista Memory Limits
February 29, 2008 12:52:51 AM

http://www.tomshardware.com/2008/02/15/vista_workshop/p...

In here you can see all the memory limitation on the respective Windows OS. With note that all 32bit application will only recognized 3.5GB, no matter your OS (Vista or XP) -> same article on page 5.

But resonance has his point, IMO 0.5 missing on Vista/XP 32 is negligible since from my experience, unless you're running a super massive applications: multitasking etc, even the 2GB are not fully utilized (yet). True that the trend there will be more and more memory hungry applications in the future, but as of now 3.5GB or 4GB is still overkill :)  By the time we had this applications around, all our current hardware will be obsolette I think.

All of this fact convince me not to go up to 64bit Vista. Especially no matter our system is, Vista will tax our system around 10-20%. I'm still content with my ol' 32 bit XP. Well, TBH I'm wanting to see DirectX 10 capabilities badly :p , but adding around 100-200$ for OS and the headache of backward compatibilities still hinder me ..
February 29, 2008 1:07:49 AM

It isn't really the missing .5GB that matters, it's the 2GB application limit. Under 32bit Windows a single application only has access to 2GB of virtual address space.

When an application hits the 2GB limit you will get an immediate CTD. This has happened to me with multiple games (The Witcher, Crysis, Sins of a Solar Empire, Supreme Commander) and it isn't going to get any better.There are workarounds to let 32bit applications address up to ~3GB, but ultimately 32bit is a dead end and nobody wants to have to reinstall their OS after 6 months.

Linkage (or you could just take my word for it :)  ):
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
February 29, 2008 1:40:04 AM

Nice point homerdog :)  My hat for you :) 

Yes I'm aware of this 2GB limitation .. Btw what is CTD? Sorry for noob question :p 

And to my experience, I never had any problem (yet). I'm playing Crysis too, but witcher, Sins, Supreme, no I don't play those. I'm playing on 1440 (19") tho.

Well, I'm imposing that I'm not upgrading (yet) to Vista64 since I just want to save some money and tons of backward compatibilities issue (with existing 32 bit applications). If the time comes, and it will come, I will upgrade. Maybe early or late next year, with upgrading to Nehalem at the same time (hopefully my wife will allow me :) )

So my idea is, if we already had windows, better to use the existing one. BUt for new system, better to get straight to 64 ..
February 29, 2008 1:52:30 AM

CTD = Crash To Desktop

I run 1440x900 too, and I have to admit The Witcher only crashed on me once and that was before I performed the BCDEdit to allow 3GB per application. Actually after doing that I never crashed again in any other games either...

Anyway the point is that we're already over 2GB, and it probably won't be long before we're over 3GB, and then all of us 32bitters are screwed :( 

I will soon be making the switch to 64bit since I don't want to get too comfortable and have to move everything over in a year. I also have access to a free 64bit Ultimate license. Gotta love those university technology fees :kaola: 
February 29, 2008 2:13:03 AM

True . . You're making your point there. It's pretty difficult for me since I don't have those university leisure anymore .. But hopefully next year I can get it again since I'm planning to continue my study :) 
February 29, 2008 4:31:20 AM

Ok, well a little update...

I did end up switching out the silverstone fan to a scythe.

I also threw in the 6-knob fan controller. The case will have 5 fans. Will I be able to add the cpu cooler fan as the 6th?

I also stuck with the AC Freezer 7 Pro, and it's supposed to come with thermal compound applied already.

Last thing is that the only OEM product is the HDD. So will I need to pick up a cable for that?

And as for the video card comment, I went with the MSI because the cooler that comes on the fan is already upgraded. As for GT vs. GTS, I read in multiple places that the 8800GT 512MB is faster than the 8800GTS 320MB, and to get the 8800GTS 620MB it would have been extra money for marginal improvements.

Also, somebody mentioned to stay away from factory OC'd cards. Why? Just because it's OC'd at the factory, can't I still OC it even more if I want? Or set it back to stock?
February 29, 2008 7:31:26 AM

isn't the AC Freezer 7 Pro a 92mm fan? 120mm fans are better bang for the buck and quieter too for the same CFM airflow (because noise is generated by RPM and for the same CFM a 120mm fan can spin slower).

I think there may be other opinions on the CPU fan. The zalman fan controller comes with a special cable that has an extra 4 pin connector that will allow you to connect it to the mobo header just so the mobo can monitor the fan speed but not change it, only you can change it with the knob.

however, since your mobo CPU fan header will adjust the CPU cooler fan speed based on CPU temps, perhaps just for the CPU fan, leave the fan controller out of the equation completely, so that when your CPU gets hot, the mobo can speed up the fan. when the CPU is cool the fan will be slow and silent, and when you are gaming your brains out, you won't hear the CPU fan whizzing around because of all the game noise.

also, just curious, what didn't you like about the XIGMATEK HDT-RS1283 120mm CPU Cooler ?

here is a picture and a link about HDD Silencing to read if you like:

HDD Silencing
February 29, 2008 12:18:27 PM

lschmidt said:
Ok, well a little update...

I did end up switching out the silverstone fan to a scythe.

I also threw in the 6-knob fan controller. The case will have 5 fans. Will I be able to add the cpu cooler fan as the 6th?

I also stuck with the AC Freezer 7 Pro, and it's supposed to come with thermal compound applied already.

Last thing is that the only OEM product is the HDD. So will I need to pick up a cable for that?

And as for the video card comment, I went with the MSI because the cooler that comes on the fan is already upgraded. As for GT vs. GTS, I read in multiple places that the 8800GT 512MB is faster than the 8800GTS 320MB, and to get the 8800GTS 620MB it would have been extra money for marginal improvements.

Also, somebody mentioned to stay away from factory OC'd cards. Why? Just because it's OC'd at the factory, can't I still OC it even more if I want? Or set it back to stock?

AC Freezer 7 Pro is good, especially for the price.

The motherboard should come with a couple of SATA cables so you shouldn't have to buy any.

There is a 512MB 8800GTS that is faster than the 8800GT and both the 320MB and 640MB GTSs. That is the card that I recommended you upgrade to, but that MSI card looks good.

I don't know why anyone would recommend that you stay away from factory OC'd cards, but you shouldn't pay extra for one. Oftentimes the OC'd cards are the same price as stock though, so there's no reason not to pick one up if that is the case.
February 29, 2008 1:44:18 PM

Ok, couple questions quick. I can still modify my order right now...

For the video card, how much of an improvement over the MSI 8800GT (factory OC'd and with the upgraded dual slot cooling - see link below) would the EVGA 8800GTS G92 512MB be? Assuming I overclocked each card regardless of what speeds they come set at from the factory. It would be an extra $60, how much of an improvement would I see? And is there a difference in DX support for the two cards?

Here are the links:

Card I am planning on getting: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Card I could upgrade to for extra $60: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also, as for the 8800GTS there is an 8800GTS for $340 that has all the same specs as the link I just gave, the only difference is the model number:

Orig. $290 - EVGA 512-P3-N841-AR - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Orig. $340 - EVGA 512-P3-N841-A3 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Any idea what the difference is in those two? I would only consider getting the one that's original $290, and only if it'd be worth $60 more than the MSI (that's the diff. after mail-in rebates) I linked to above (the card I'm planning on getting).

Thanks! I will be ordering in about an hour or so, so please help me choose quickly!

February 29, 2008 3:34:05 PM

Ok, well the order is now processed at Newegg so I can't change anything. Here's what I ended up with:

Gigabyte GA-P35-DS4 Rev. 2.0 Motherboard
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 G0 Processor
Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro CPU Cooler
Corsair XMS2 DHX 4GB (2x2) Memory
MSI NX8800 GT OC 256-bit 512 MB Video Card (w/ the upgraded cooling)
Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 HDD
Lite-On DVD RW (SATA)
Silverstone DA700 700W PSU
Scythe S-FLEX SFF21F case fan
Zalman MFC1 Plus-B Black 6 Channel Multi Fan Controller
Antec Nine Hundred Case
XTRAC mouse pad
Belkin Wrist Strap
Free Lost Planet Game (with the processor)

Subtotal: $1,344.44 (including shipping)
Less Mail-in rebates: $60

Final Total: $1,284.44

Afterthoughts: I was extremely close to upgrading my video card to the EVGA 8800 GTS (G92) 256-bit 512 MB for an extra $60. However, I'm not as extreme as some gamers so I settled for the cheaper card. From reading benchmarks and reviews, I would have seen about a 10% - 15% increase in FPS for most games, had I gone for the better card - however the price would have gone up 30%. I was also trying to decide between the Xigmatek S1283 and AC Freezer 7 Pro CPU coolers, but since I wanted to get my order shipped today I didn't have enough time to research the Xigmatech.

How do you think I did price-wise? And how should this build hold up for games? I'll be running XP and DX9.
February 29, 2008 3:41:47 PM

lschmidt said:
For the video card, how much of an improvement over the MSI 8800GT (factory OC'd and with the upgraded dual slot cooling - see link below) would the EVGA 8800GTS G92 512MB be? Assuming I overclocked each card regardless of what speeds they come set at from the factory. It would be an extra $60, how much of an improvement would I see?

Not enough to warrant an extra $60 in my opinion.
lschmidt said:

And is there a difference in DX support for the two cards?

No
lschmidt said:

Also, as for the 8800GTS there is an 8800GTS for $340 that has all the same specs as the link I just gave, the only difference is the model number:

Orig. $290 - EVGA 512-P3-N841-AR - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Orig. $340 - EVGA 512-P3-N841-A3 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Any idea what the difference is in those two? I would only consider getting the one that's original $290, and only if it'd be worth $60 more than the MSI (that's the diff. after mail-in rebates) I linked to above (the card I'm planning on getting).

I think the only difference is the bundle. A3 comes with Crysis and AR doesn't.
lschmidt said:

Thanks! I will be ordering in about an hour or so, so please help me choose quickly!

What's the rush? Nah just kidding, go ahead and order already! :bounce: 

Edit: As usual I'm too slow :( 
!