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Suggestions or comments???

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Last response: in Systems
March 1, 2008 8:04:14 PM

It's my first personal build since 3-4 years I'm building my first personal machine in about 3-4 years; I helped a couple of people build their's, but they were mostly workstation and budget was more of a concern than performance (I directed most of them to Dell website so you get the idea ...).

I mostly intend to do some gaming (not high-end, mostly casual, but I like things to look good and smooth in 1680x1050) and some software development. I don't do audio/video encoding or editing, no 3D work either (CAD or else) and I got plenty of spare machines to run Web/DB servers for my development tasks. While researching for my next build, I read so many threads on so many hardware aspects that I think I'm just getting more confused in my own thoughts lol. So here is what I got so far, any comments or suggestions would be appreciated.

  • CPU: Intel E8400 - Retail
  • RAM: 4GB (2x2GB) OCZ Reaper DDR800 4-4-4-15
  • MB: EVGA 122-CK-NF68-T1 nForce 680i
  • PSU: Thermaltake Toughpower 650W QFan Series
  • Monitor: SAMSUNG 226BW Black 22" 2 ms (Already have)
  • GPU: EVGA GeForce 8800GT SC 512MB
  • Tower: Xaser3 V2000A (Already have)
  • HD1: 2x36GB WD Raptor (RAID 0) for dual/triple boot OS (Already got 1 and can get a second for ~50$)
  • HD2: Seagate 7200.11 500GB
    For the CPU I hesitated between the E8400, the Q6600 or Q9300 (when available), but since I will probably change the whole thing again in 2-3 years, I think there is no need for "future-proofing" for now.

    For the GPU it was a tougher decision; either a 3870 (in which case I would change the motherboard for a P35), a 9600GT or the 8800GT I selected. My main concern about the 8800GT is the heat and noise which I heart could be problematic. I found the EVGA is selling "AKIMBO" cards which are Dual-Slot GT, but nobody seems to have them. I also plan on getting a second card of whatever I will get in a year to prolong my gaming experience without switching my whole gear so SLI/XFire was kept in mind.

    Please note that I live in Montreal (Quebec), so if you know any good component retailers, feel free to let me know (I only know NCIX); I included NewEgg links simply because it seems to be the reference here.

    Thank you much.
  • More about : suggestions comments

    March 2, 2008 1:05:23 PM

    The list is great. Now if you're really concerned about noise, you should go with an 8800GTS 512MB for the dual-slot cooler which is quieter & cooler. Some of them cards after rebate cost the about the same as a regular GT. Even though you could buy an aftermarket cooler & swap the stock one out, it may cost more in the end than an 8800GTS after rebate.

    Why are you looking at 680i when it only supports Wolfdales? It can't do Yorkfields. At least, you should be looking at 780i. If you have no plans to sli, get a cheap-o DS3L.

    ncix, hands down. At checkout, price match directcanada.com for even lower prices.
    March 2, 2008 2:50:39 PM

    dropping the raptors and getting Samsung Spinpoint Ts would have been a better option... the raptors are now overpriced and not really that fast

    that said, if you can get them for so cheap, then hey; why not?
    Related resources
    March 2, 2008 5:14:01 PM

    akhilles said:
    The list is great. Now if you're really concerned about noise, you should go with an 8800GTS 512MB for the dual-slot cooler which is quieter & cooler. Some of them cards after rebate cost the about the same as a regular GT. Even though you could buy an aftermarket cooler & swap the stock one out, it may cost more in the end than an 8800GTS after rebate.
    You are quite right about the GT vs GTS. I first started to shop at stores around me and the price difference between the two was generaly more that 100$. After your post I started looking more closely at the prices using ShopBot, and the price difference seems to be not much more than what I would have to pay for 3rd party cooler.
    akhilles said:
    Why are you looking at 680i when it only supports Wolfdales? It can't do Yorkfields. At least, you should be looking at 780i. If you have no plans to sli, get a cheap-o DS3L.
    I looked at 680i because I didn't really mind the Yorkfield, but wanted the possibility of SLI as an upgrade path to expand the life of the system in a year. As a "compromise" would the 750i chipset be good? I know they support SLI only in x8-x8 mode instead of x16-x16, but given the boost in performance I saw in Tom's review for XFire, I don't think paying twice as much for a 780i board compared to a 750i board would be worth it for me (unless there are other features I am missing).
    March 2, 2008 5:30:20 PM

    amd_fanboi said:
    dropping the raptors and getting Samsung Spinpoint Ts would have been a better option... the raptors are now overpriced and not really that fast

    that said, if you can get them for so cheap, then hey; why not?
    Yeah I know, when I started my new build, I was planning to buy a new 74GB or 150GB Raptor, but then saw how much the other HDs had evolved and decided to drop the idea. Already having a 36GB Raptor, I would have felt bad having no use for it, but since it's size might have been an issue to dual-boot and triple-boot would have been out of the question. I looked on eBay to find a second one for RAID so I would have enough space to put 3 OS on them (probably XP, Vista and Linux). Given that, I will have a seperate set of drives for my OS so they wouldn't compete with my other drives for IO. All that for 50$ I think it's good idea and I get to keep using my trusty old Raptor :D .
    March 3, 2008 11:45:48 AM

    http://www.nvidia.com/docs/IO/35382/LC_nForce_INTEL_Dec...

    There are other feature differences between 780i & 750i. Both do Yorkfields. The old 6x0i can't. As shown in the pdf.

    Xfire is ATI whereas SLI is nVidia. How well Xfire does has nothing to do with SLI. You're planning to sli, correct? Google 780i & 750i reviews.
    March 3, 2008 12:26:57 PM

    i think the best price/performance option is akhilles's idea of a Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L ($89) with the aforementioned EVGA 8800GTS G92 512MB graphics card. The DS3L is a very stable easily OCable card that does not do SLI or RAID.
    SLI doubles the cost outlay for the gpus and requires a more expensive mobo, but it does not double the graphic benchmarks. The cost increases 110% but the graphics improvement is only 35%.

    I guess the counter to that argument is that if cost is not a factor, the extra 35% might be worth it.

    In any event, keep in mind the 9000 series is right around the corner, and the 9600 has already been released:
    EVGA 512-P3-N862-AR GeForce 9600 GT GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0

    edit: with the E8400 availability being zilch and the ebayers selling them for $300, where are you planning to buy your E8400 from? I read something about intel having a problem with the temperature sensor in the E8400 where one core reads normal and the other has a normal temp but reads very high. I also read something about the inexpensive 4 layer motherboards having some frequency interference with some of the 45nm chips. Also read that some folks believe intel is not shipping 45nm chips because there is no AMD competition and they want to clear their inventory of 65nm chips. I just hope intel gets all this sorted out and starts shipping/releasing their goodies soon.
    March 7, 2008 4:10:58 PM

    I revised my system's spec a bit based on many thread I've read about other builds and here is what I got:

  • CPU: Intel E8400 - Retail
  • RAM: 4GB (2x2GB) OCZ Reaper DDR800 4-4-4-15
  • MB: GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L
  • PSU: Thermaltake Toughpower 650W QFan Series
  • Monitor: SAMSUNG 226BW Black 22" 2 ms (Already have)
  • GPU: EVGA E-GEFORCE 8800GTS Crysis Edition
  • Tower: Xaser3 V2000A (Already have)
  • HD1: 2x36GB WD Raptor (RAID 0) for dual/triple boot OS (Already got 1 and can get a second for ~50$)
  • HD2: Seagate 7200.11 500GB
    Since by choosing a P35 board I basicaly ditched the SLI option, I guess the PSU is overkill, any good ~500W modular PSU to suggest?
    March 7, 2008 4:49:56 PM

    I really like my Antec NeoHE PSU. There's a 550w modular for = cost to my 500. Other than that check out Corsair 520hx. (Both are great, antec is a bit less expensive I think.)

    And just for the record, at the top I read your first sentence and thought you meant you were going to build in 3 or 4 years, but wanted to pick parts now... I got really confused. Just a sign I need more sleep. Everything else on your build looks good.
    March 7, 2008 4:56:28 PM

    pous said:
    And just for the record, at the top I read your first sentence and thought you meant you were going to build in 3 or 4 years, but wanted to pick parts now... I got really confused. Just a sign I need more sleep.
    Maybe it was I that needed more sleep when I wrote my post :p  English not being my native language might have had something to do with it also.
    March 7, 2008 5:15:34 PM

    aevm said:
    If you want to buy from NCIX and don't get their junk mail, here are some savings codes you could use:

    BFG 8800GTS 512MB, savings Code 27247-1051 saves you $32, another $30 mail-in rebate, you pay $288.19 CAD
    http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=27247&promoid=1051

    PC Power & Cooling Silencer 610W, savings Code 21113-1051, saves $25, you pay $110
    http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=21113&promoid=1051
    For the 8800GTS, I was acutally looking at the EVGA one; slightly increased clock speed (670Mhz vs 650Mhz) and it comes with Crysis for 11$ more.
    March 7, 2008 7:12:49 PM

    Nice! Yes, that's a better deal. I missed it because I was only looking at my latest e-mail from NCIX, not at the actual site.

    Here's a savings code (worth $19) for that Seagate 7200.11 500GB: 27144-1051. It comes to $107 that way.
    http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=27144&promoid=1051

    Or get a WD7500AAKS for $150, using code 25561-1051
    http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=25561&promoid=1051
    It's a bit faster, quieter, cheaper per GB, but it has only 3 years warranty instead of 5.

    Save $10 on that RAM with this URL:
    http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=26564&promoid=1051
    instead of this:
    http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=26564
    March 8, 2008 11:20:09 AM

    Go with the PCP&C, arguably the best psu maker on the planet, until it was bought out by OCZ.
    March 8, 2008 11:02:08 PM

    I have free time, let me make you a great/cheap computer for about 1000$:


    AMD X2 5000+ $99.99:


    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6819103194


    ASUS M2N-SLI Deluxe $134.99:


    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813131013


    CORSAIR XMS2 (2 x 1GB) DDR2 800 $102.00:


    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820145034


    Antec TPQ-850 850W $150.00:


    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6817371011


    Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower $119.99


    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] ntec%2b900


    PNY 8800GT in SLI 2X($213.00) = $426.00:


    http://www.techonweb.com/products/ [...] 3KR&src=FG


    ViewSonic VG2230wm 22" $206.25:


    http://www.superdigitalmedia.com/p [...] ts_id=2360


    Logitech G51 155 watts RMS 5.1 Surround Sound $129.99:


    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6836121012


    Microsoft Comfort Curve Keyboard Mouse Included $21.99:


    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6823109156


    Well I added this all up and this computer costs about 1400$ which is 400$ over what I estimated. This is just about the best/cheapest gaming computer that you can buy currently. I know this is way over ur price ceiling...i just wanted to let you in on what the best/cheapest gaming computer would look like and how much it would cost. By the way...my computer was worth about 2000$, in its day...and this computer would kick my computer's ass. Have fun :) .
    March 9, 2008 1:07:43 AM

    Ill be perfectly honest and say that most 3870s or 8800GTs dont perform "well" at 1680x1050. That is basicly the end of the operational design. You real want a bigger card if that is your native resolution. Im not saying it wont play well just that dont expect to run more then 70% of the games on high detail at that resolution.

    Aside from picking the right card for your resolution you have to decide if DX10.1 and future updates are important to you. If they are you have to go with ATI. If not Nvidia is a great choice.
    March 9, 2008 2:03:03 PM

    jerseygamer, agreed. I game on 1440x900 with 8800gt. There's an occasional stutter. Only noticable in driving/flight sims with moving backgrounds.

    Or you could lower the graphic settings at that resolution.
    March 9, 2008 2:12:22 PM

    akhilles said:
    jerseygamer, agreed. I game on 1440x900 with 8800gt. There's an occasional stutter. Only noticable in driving/flight sims with moving backgrounds.

    Or you could lower the graphic settings at that resolution.
    I decided to go with the GTS for the better cooler, the free game and the little added performance.

    Anyway I don't mind having to lower the quality or resolution a bit if it's needed; hell I had a 9700Pro until a year ago (and would probably still have it if I didn't dammage it when trying to remove the HSF) so I don't feel the urge to upgrade that often.
    March 9, 2008 2:23:37 PM

    I ordered every part yesterday, with all instant and mail-in rebates (and given I planned on re-using a couple old parts) it will total about 1050$ (CAD/USD, pretty much the same :p ).

    Unfortunately the E8400 seem back-order pretty-much everywhere. I got orders placed at 2 stores and will wait to see which one gets it first. Anyone got hints on where I could get one in Canada (or anywhere shipping to Canada)?
    March 10, 2008 12:07:18 PM

    I doubt you can find E8400 online. Maybe in brick & mortar stores. Call. I found mine at a store that's a 30-min drive from home.
    March 11, 2008 1:41:19 PM

    I worked around the E8400 availability issue ... ordered a Xeon E3110 after seeing many posts telling they are basically the same thing. I've seen posts about E3110 in gaming and overclockability; if they are not exactly the same ... the difference is so negligeable that is is well worth the lower price AND the fact that I can actually get one :p .
    March 12, 2008 11:34:15 AM

    Yes yes yes yes.... shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. quiet. The average buyer doesn't know this. The e3110 is the same thing for $210. Damn. I should've waited. lol. I could sell my e8400 which many are dying for for more than what I paid for & pick up an e3110. hehehe. Same thing happened when Q6600 was nowhere to be found. There were Xeon equivalents for less.