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Pre-Order Check and Recommendations

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March 28, 2008 3:58:49 PM

Okay, I've been going back and forth and back and forth and thought it was time to get some other opinions. I'm building a new system for some gaming and lots of photoshop editing and processing. This is what I have come up with and could use any suggestions concerning recommended psu wattage and even alternatives to the video card. (Keep in mind I live in Canada).

  • MB - Asus P5K-E WiFi
  • CPU - Intel Q6600, GO version
  • RAM - Patriot 800MHz 2 x 2GB
  • HD - Seagate 7200rpm (32mb cache) 500GB, SATA-300
  • DVD-RW - Philips 20X with Lightscribe
  • DVD-RW - Samsung 20X
  • Video - eVGA GeForce 8800 GT, 512MB

  • Case - Still Debating, need one that won't be overly expensive (less than say $120 with fans, no psu), doesn't need to be pretty, no front 'door', lots of room for ventilation and cooling, plus room for 3-4 hard drives and two optical drives
    a) CoolerMaster CM690 ATX Mid-Tower Case for $75CAD
    b) Antec Nine Hundred - Ultimate Gamer Case for $110CAD
    c) Cooler Master Centurion 534 for $56 CAD
    d)Tisonic Breeze Black Tower Case for $70 CAD


  • PSU - here's the real question... how much wattage do I need? 550W? 600? more??
  • I've found Corsai 450 and 550W in my 'price range'. Also OCZ StealthXStream 500W, 600W and maybe 700W (do I need that much?). As for PC Cooling the 610W is doable. Any other brands I could look at? I guess I'm wondering how much wattage to run my system plus any near future additions (so I want a little 'head room', so to speak).

    My video choices are:
    a) EVGA GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB PCIe for $153
    b) EVGA GeForce 8800 GS 384MB PCIe 2.0 for $141 CAD
    c) EVGA GeForce 8800 GS Superclocked 384MB PCIe 2.0 for $141 CAD
    d) EVGA GeForce 8800 GT 512MB PCIe 2.0 for $190 CAD


    I'm also wanting a fairly quiet system.

    Help!!
    March 28, 2008 6:10:19 PM

    Another quick question (sorry if I seem to be all over the place, it's been that kind of day)...

    Based on the above and my use... can I get away with the stock fan? Or should I buy something like the Scythe Katana II??
    March 28, 2008 6:28:10 PM

    Ok first of all the Coolermaster Stacker 690 is a great case, it cools as well as the 900, looks good, and is easier to build a system in, slightly. I built my buddy a system with the 690, and am running a 900 right now, and my only regret is that I did not go with the Stacker 690. Also it is cheaper. The PC P&C 610w should be the PSU you get, it has plenty of power, and is very high quality. When buying a PSU the most important thing about it is the quality. A mid-low end 1000w will blow on you faster than a high end 500w with that system, seriously. I never buy a PSU that is lower than Tier1, and only Tier2 if there is a good reason. The PC P&C Silencer series is a true Tier1 PSU series, and I am running the 750w now. It IS quiet, it looks decent, I got the 750w Crossfire edition because I liked the price and red paint, and it gives full confidence in its stability and quality. Lastly, what are you requirements when it comes to fans?
    Related resources
    March 28, 2008 6:28:14 PM

    Leaving the CPU at stock speed? Stock fan's fine (though many people replace it anyway to make it run that bit cooler)

    Overclocking it? Get a new fan. Not heard anything about the Scythe Katana but I had a Scythe Ninja in my system and it was nice, but huge.

    Case: Judging by what kind of space you want anything will do. Every mid-tower (that I know of) can hold at least 4 hard drives, 3 optical drives, and 2 floppy drives. Go by what looks like it'd have good ventilation. Personally I like Cooler Master cases, others I know like Antec.

    PSU: This mainly depends on what you plan to do in the future... Do you plan on running SLI at some stage? Or if not, an X2 card? How about drive quantity, do you plan on filling every last SATA and PATA port on your motherboard? Honestly for 'standard' non-SLI use you'd be fine with 600-650W, and that's being generous too. I have a 500W in my sub-system with 2 optical drives and 6 hard drives with a single 8800 GTS. Main one has a 1200W but let's not get into that system... it's a demon.

    GFX: Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong in anything I list here, this is off sheer memory and I could be wrong.

    Firstly, good job picking out EVGA, thair step-up plan is really useful for upgrading and whatnot. Secondly, the 8800 GT 512 would be what I recomend. Here's why:
    The 8800 GTS 320MB is sluggish. Doesn't use the new G92 chip which is a serious impact on its performance.
    The same is said for the 384 and Superclocked 384 ones.
    A GT 512 comes very close to matching the performance of the 684(I think it's 684) 8800GTX which is no mean feat for a card of its price. It's a bit more expensive but well worth the investment.

    Hope I was able to help out some little bit :) 
    March 28, 2008 6:35:10 PM

    Ah I see you meant CPU cooler, well I just so happen to know a great and affordable one. The Xigmatek S1283, it performs on the level of the TRU and TRUE, and costs half as much with a fan included. Be warned however it is very tall.
    March 28, 2008 6:47:31 PM

    Sounds like lots of good advice and always like to hear people recommending things that they have had personal experience with!

    I'm not planning on OC'ing any component.

    I'm not planning on running SLI. Not sure what an X2 card is (sorry).

    I've heard a lot of good things about EVGA, like their step-up plan and their warranty. I had already kind of decided on the 8800 GT but wanted to make sure I wasn't buying it just because of the 512MB. Sometimes you just need someone else to say "yep, that's a good choice."

    If I go with the Coolermaster 690 (which isn't a Stacker/Full tower case, it's a mid tower one. Are we referring to the same one? http://www.coolermaster.com/products/product.php?langua...) I can put the money I save from that toward the PC Cooling PSU.

    As to what my fan requirements are... what should they be? What exactly are you referring to? Case fans? CPU fans? VGA fans? etc... I notice that case can take up to 7 -120mm fans plus a 80mm behind the CPU, if you wanted. That's a lot of fans. Don't think I want that many and the ones I do have will need to be quiet. Does the case come with any? I didn't see any specified.
    a b ) Power supply
    March 28, 2008 7:01:35 PM

    For PSU go with Corsair 550VX.
    March 28, 2008 7:05:01 PM

    There are quite a few choices from Scythe. I read a couple of reviews that says the Ultra Kaze (your last url) is quiet loud. What about the Scythe Kama (http://www.scythe-usa.com/product/acc/020/dfspwm_detail...). It can be connected to the MB which can then increase or decrease it whenever necessary. Would that help keep it quieter? I don't mind if it gets louder when I'm loading it up but otherwise I'd prefer it to be quieter.
    March 28, 2008 7:08:28 PM

    Yeah the Ultra Kaze is loud, maybe the loudest 120mm fan on the market, but I like cooling. The Aerocool is not too loud, it has 16 blades so it can push a lot of air with out high RPMs.
    March 28, 2008 7:16:39 PM

    I notice that Corsair gives a 5 year warranty while PC Cooling is only 3.

    Would a 550VX give me enough room to grow? (I know it's only 60 watts less than the PC Cooling one, will that make a difference?)

    How many fans would you use for that 690 case? One in the front, one in the back? I just rechecked their site and it does come with the one in the front and one in the back. Here are the possible locations:

    Front :120 mm Blue LED fan x 1, 1200 rpm, 21 dBA,
    Rear : 120 mm standard fan, 1200 rpm, 21 dBA,
    Top : 120 or 140 mm fan x 2 (optional),
    Bottom : 120 mm fan x 1 (optional),
    Left: 120mm fan x 2 (one is optional)-up to 140mm fans

    Also, "The_Blood_Raven", since you've used that case, will I have to consider the lengths coming out of the PSU in order to properly manage the cords??
    March 30, 2008 3:33:03 PM

    Thanks everyone for all the insight, it proved to be very helpful!! :D 

    Looks like I'll be placing the following order tomorrow, bright and early, unless anyone comes up with warnings or advice to change my mind.

  • Asus P5K-E/WiFI-AP - Intel P35 (Core 2 Duo/Quad) PCI-E Socket 775 Motherboard
  • Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 (2.40 GHz) Quad-Core Socket 775 Processor - Retail with fan - GO Version
  • Patriot Extreme 4096MB Dual Channel PC6400 DDR2 800MHz Memory (2 x 2048MB)
  • Cooler Master CM 690 Mid Tower Case w/Front USB, FireWire, Audio, eSATA Ports
  • PC Power & Cooling Silencer 610W (Copper) Power Supply
  • Philips SPD6004BD IDE Lightscribe DVD Burner- 20x DVD±R Burn, 16x DVD ROM Read, 8x DVD+RW, 8x DVD±R DL,
  • 12x DVD-RAM, 48x24x CD-R/RW, Retail Black
  • LG GH20NS10 Super Multi SATA Drive - 20x DVD±R, 8x DVD±RW, 12x DVD±R DL
  • Scythe Kama PWM 120mm Fan w/4-Pin PWM Power Connector x 2
  • EVGA GeForce 8800 GT Video Card - 512MB DDR3, PCI Express 2.0, SLI Ready, (Dual Link) Dual DVI, HDTV
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 500GB - SATA 3Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

    What do you all think? Sound like a decent machine???
    March 30, 2008 5:44:24 PM

    Not planning on OC'ing, but if I ever change my mind I will definitely get a different CPU cooler.

    Thanks!
    March 30, 2008 7:07:15 PM

    Good job on going with the PC P&C 610w, the Corsair is nice but not that nice. Also the cooler you CPU runs the longer it's life span, and I have found that the stock Intel cooler has a tendency to slowly work its way loose and possible fry your CPU. Even if your not overclocking the Intel stock cooler is terrible, and I would replace it if I were you.
    March 30, 2008 8:02:33 PM

    Everytime I turn around there's something else to 'budget' into the mix!! :( 

    I will consider an aftermarket cpu cooler, or will get a different one in the near future.
    March 31, 2008 2:10:56 AM

    Photosytes said:
    Everytime I turn around there's something else to 'budget' into the mix!! :( 

    I will consider an aftermarket cpu cooler, or will get a different one in the near future.


    Just be aware that you will probably have to pull the board from the case.
    a b ) Power supply
    March 31, 2008 2:47:56 AM

    Photosytes said:
    Everytime I turn around there's something else to 'budget' into the mix!! :( 

    I will consider an aftermarket cpu cooler, or will get a different one in the near future.

    Well you could get it now and just buy the Corsair vx 550w PSU. It's close to the PCP&C 610w PSU. It's going for $65 right now in the US (after $20 MIR), which makes it $55 cheaper than the PCP&C 610w PSU. So if you really need to allow more room in the budget, than that is one thing you could do. You could also drop down a bit on the mobo and get a Gigabyte DS3R for about $20 cheaper. It's a very good board and will allow you to OC the q6600 pretty well. Now these are just minor tweaks on your overall build that would allow more $ (about $75) for upgrades or other parts. I'd personally go with the 8800gts 512mb (g92) GPU over the 8800gt, because it runs cooler (due to dual slot cooling solution) and is about 10% faster. I'd still stick with the rest of your build, since it looks very good.
    March 31, 2008 2:53:05 AM

    ^ The Corsair 550w is nice, but is absolutely no substitute.
    a b ) Power supply
    March 31, 2008 4:41:34 AM

    Never said it was a subsitute, but at $65 you can't touch it.
    March 31, 2008 1:41:19 PM

    As much as I would love the 8800 gts card, it's at least $100 more than the 8800 gt. I'm already stretching my budget farther than I wanted and just can't justify it. Having said that, I would definitely love a cooler running card, but who wouldn't?

    The Gigabyte MB would only save me $20, like you said, and doesn't offer eSATA, which I need for an external drive. But I appreciate the suggestion.

    So, the last main decision is the aftermarket CPU cooler. It needs to fit on the Asus board (not interferring with the board's 'pipes') and in the Coolmaster 690 case (which has the PSU mounted on the bottom of the case). Which of the following would you most recommend for cooling properties while still being fairly quiet??

    i) Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro Copper Heatpipe CPU Cooler for $28
    ii) Scythe Katana 2 - 3 Heat Pipe CPU Cooler with 100mm Fan for $30
    iii) Scythe Ninja Mini - 6 Heat Pipe CPU Cooler with 80mm Fan for $36
    iv) Scythe Mine Rev. B - 3 Heat Pipe CPU Cooler with 100mm Fan for $40
    v) Thermalright Ultima-90 Heat Pipe CPU Cooler for $43 (plus a 92 or 120mm fan)

    Remember that I don't plan on OC'ing but I will have 4-5 drives plus the 8800gt card.
    March 31, 2008 2:16:56 PM

    If you're not OCing, I wouldn't bother with an aftermarket cooler (especially if you're on a budget!) I have my machine for gaming and CS3 use and I doubt I'd never notice the CPU fan (on a CPU that has a much higher TDP than the Q6600 125W vs. 95W). I have a CM690 and it has fantastic airflow and my components idle at very low temp. The only suggestion I have is if on a budget and not gaming, drop the 8800GT. A HD3850/3870 or 8800GS will give all the performance you need. People seem addicted to recommending these cards, but if you're not gaming it's an utter waste! Even more so the GTS....
    March 31, 2008 2:46:49 PM

    I must say I'm bouncing back and forth like crazy on this build.

    I can go with the 8800gt for $190 (EVGA) or the HD3870 for $200 (ATI). Pros and Cons? EVGA has a better warranty than ATI. My board is Crossfire ready but will I ever use it? I was assuming that I wouldn't so it wouldn't matter that I was buying an nVidia card. Plus, I've read the ATI card has some driver issues still. But, which runs cooler and better? For basically the same price I'm sitting on the fence but need to make up my mind!!
    March 31, 2008 2:55:29 PM

    I would go with the 8800gt its cheaper and runs faster. The 8800gt does run a little hot over the 3870 because its a single slot. I wouldnt get to ati card cf lacks support.
    March 31, 2008 4:23:56 PM

    My apologies, I should have made my comment a little clearer! An 8800GT is going to be MASSIVE overkill for any video or photo editing and if you're not gaming. For the money you said about above, the 8800GT performs better, but i'd prefer the 3870 for it's dual slot cooler. Basically, what sort of games are you going to be playing? If it's modern then something like the 3870/8800GT is a good choice. If it's older stuff a much cheaper card will suffice and run cooler/require less power and be quieter, as a generalisation. :) 
    March 31, 2008 4:57:26 PM

    If you haven't ordered the case or the power supply yet, do what I did.....

    2 birds, one $90 stone (free shipping too)....

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

    Comes with an Antec EarthWatts 500, which has an 80% efficiency rating, should be more than enough for your set up, especially if you're not planning on overclocking much.
    March 31, 2008 7:12:23 PM

    Thanks for the case/PSU suggestion. I did actually finalize my 'brain' and stopped second guessing everything. I placed the order and will hopefully have all the parts by the end of the week or at least next week. Then comes the fun. Putting together all the lego pieces. Just like being a kid again!!

    I'll post any problems I have, maybe a couple of pics and overall impression.

    Thanks to everyone!!
    !