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Q6600, 512mb 8800GTS build

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March 2, 2008 11:04:30 PM

I'm building my first gaming pc. I want it to last 2-3 years before upgrading.

I've already got the Q6600 ($200 at Microcenter) and BFG 512mb 8800Gts ($230 at Frys).

Still need case, mobo, PSU, optical drive, hard drive, and memory.

Case: Looking at Cooler Master Centrion 5 or Antec 900. I want every $ to count. Is the Antec worth the extra bones? I will probably be overclocking everything.

Mobo: Looking at GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX. This seems to be a good/great overclocking mobo. I'm not interested in SLI (don't think it's good bang for buck) or RAID.

PSU: Really need recommendations here. How much power do I need? What's the best bang/buck powersupply for reasonable overclocking?

Optical Drive: Any DVD-RW/CD-RW will do

Hard Drive: So my current PC hard drive is 40gb. I figured out that's too small, but how many gb do you really need? I'm not a video collector, and I'll have the DVD burner....

Memory: Crucial Ballistix 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel
This memory seems highly recommended for overclockers. It's a good deal on Newegg w/ $30 rebate, but I hate rebates.

Heatsink/Fans? Do I need them? The Q6600 and 8800GTS already come with fans and most cases come with fans. But I do want to overclock everything to a reasonable level.

Thanks for the help,

Kurt

March 2, 2008 11:57:59 PM

I recommend Antec P180/182 or 900 for a case. I think they're worth the extra $$ for the performance they offer.

DS3L is a great motherboard, buy one.

Look at Antec NeoHE 550, or Corsair HX520 for your needs. Other than that any 500-600w PSU will be fine for you, but make sure it's a quality one. Those are two very good PSU's for the money.

You can get a nice SATA DVD r/w drive for ~30.00. Go with whatever gets good reviews, there's not a whole lot of science to picking out a good one.

Go for the $70-80 price range on hard drive, anything less cost-wise and it's just horribly inefficiently spent money. Something between 250 and 320gb size you should get for that price range, and that should be plenty for you.

I understand hating rebates... I won't buy parts based on them and as such I recommend the 2x1gb G.Skill kit of DDR2 800 that is like 45.99 on newegg. It's awesome and it gets the job done. Also supports some OC if that's something you're going to pursue.

If you want to OC it's recommended to get a third party HSF for your CPU. Depending on how high you want to go with it you can get the cheap Arctic Freezer 7 Pro for like 26.99 at newegg, otherwise there's some that are 30-40 or even the zalmans which are up around 60-70. Again it all depends on how high you want to push your quad.

That should be about it I think, any more questions just ask, I'm sure others will have good advice as well :D 
March 3, 2008 12:08:49 AM

Case: More a matter of personal opinion, but I've heard nothing but good things about the Antec 900. I'm a Lian Li fan myself, but I could never afford one.

Mobo: Look no further than the DS3L. It has been great for me. Just make sure you have good airflow in your case because the P35 is a hot chipset.

PSU: Since you aren't interested in SLI you won't be needing anything extreme. A solid 500-600W unit will suit your needs. Here are a few recommendations listed according to their prices on Newegg:
XCLIO GREATPOWER 550W
CORSAIR VX550
SeaSonic S12 550W
CORSAIR HX520

Optical Drive: Yeah

HDD: Lot of good options out there. Western Digital, Samsung, and Seagate come to mind. The only thing I would avoid for sure is Maxtor.

HSF: Again, lots of good options. I'll throw in a couple of recommendations to get you started.
ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro: I absolutely have to mention this one. It is an incredible value.
ZEROtherm Nirvana NV120: ZEROtherm is relatively new on the scene, but their coolers have been getting great reviews and the Nirvana is no exception.
Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme: The grandaddy of them all, this is the best heatsink money can buy. It does not come with a fan.

The stock cooling on the 8800GTS is very good, no need to upgrade.

If you want any help with the DS3L there are a couple of helpful overclocking guides floating around these forums. I'd be glad to help too if you need.

Best of luck
Related resources
March 3, 2008 12:10:08 AM

Quote:
Haven't you seen enough examples? Theres at least 20 of these posts daily.

What a bytch :lol: 
March 3, 2008 3:04:21 AM

Thanks for the help. There's an OCZ Stealthxstream 600W PSU at Microcenter for $60 after rebate. Seems a little cheap for a 600, but OCZ is respected?
March 3, 2008 3:05:34 AM

The Corsair VX550 is $77 after rebate at Microcenter. I'm guessing it's the better choice...
March 3, 2008 10:01:50 AM

i would think so... saw an Arctic cooling 700W PSU for £40 in a store once...

ran away from it.

if you're OCing, the Antec is little short of a breath of fresh air...

no wait :p . but yes it is worth the extra outlay... and i can agree with an AC freezer 7 PRO being a good deal; i have one myself and i must say, i love it...
March 3, 2008 10:57:52 AM

Its nice to see someone else from Orange County finely, Microcenter off the 55 freeway has better prices than NewEgg on some things. Crucial's Ballistix 2GB (2 x 1GB) PC2 6400 will overclock very well and are known to be one of the best top overclockers, mine hit 1200MHz @ 2.2v. Can't go wrong with GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L as they OC well for the money and are stable, reliable mobo's. Corsair's 520HX is a very good choice and can run two 8800GTX's, so power isn't a problem. Quads run hotter than dual cores so something like a Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme or a Tuniq Tower 120 will do nicely.


homerdog seems to have nail it, I pretty much would have suggested something along the same lines. If your going to keep your new build for 2-3 years you want it to last by running things on the cool side by using the best CPU coolers out there. Microcenter has the Coolmaster Cosmos which is a little more money but worth every penny, maybe you could get it on sale.


March 3, 2008 3:36:54 PM

Thanks for the help guys.

If I go with the Antec 900 case, do I still need a cooling system?
If I need a cooling system with either case, shy should I spend the extra $40 on the Antec? (Both are a good deal at Microcenter right now Centurion 5 for $48 and Antec 900 for $90).

I don't care about looks, and both cases seem to be universally loved at Newegg.

March 3, 2008 3:53:57 PM

Yes, you should still get a decent HSF (heatsink/fan). The Freezer 7 Pro that I linked up above is a real winner for the price.

As for case fans, the 900 should come with plenty, but you might have to buy a couple of extras for the Centurion.
March 3, 2008 7:05:13 PM

Hey the BFG 8800 GTS has the following specs for power:

425W PCI Express-compliant system power supply with a combined 12V current rating of 28A or more
One 6Pin PCI Express supplementary power connector

A lot of the power supplies recommended above don't have a 12V 28amp rail. Is this important?
March 3, 2008 7:43:38 PM

I have the CoolerMaster Centurion 5, and I really like it, especially as it is a very affordable case. A larger grate on the side for a 120mm fan would've been nice though. Also, I can move all my drives with ease in the case.
March 3, 2008 7:52:25 PM

billiardicus said:
A lot of the power supplies recommended above don't have a 12V 28amp rail. Is this important?

Actually they all do. Some power supplies have multiple 12V rails. Take the SeaSonic S12 for example.

As you can see it has 4 12V rails each rated at 18A. The max combined load for all of the 12V rails is 41A.

Theoretically it is better to have a large single 12V rail, but if done right a multi-rail PSU shouldn't cause any problems.
March 3, 2008 7:55:12 PM

if you are a hardcore gamer and want people to know it get the 900, but if you want a more subtle case go for the centurion (unless you are looking at the one with a window) 70$ extra fro the 900 isn t worth it to me, but i am not really into the led's and windows and stuff.

as for psu you want a 28-30A rails for graphics. you ll most likely be forced to buy 800-1000w because of this, the thermaltake toughpower 850 is a good option if you want modularized (which you may want because 900 is mid tower, all depends on how much stuff is going in the case i guess) whatever you decide, buy a decent psu. it will last a long time and keep your hardware going without damaging it
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817153043
i think you can get lower wattage too, so it doesnt cost that much but i am not sure
March 3, 2008 7:58:06 PM

I am currently using a Q6600 (@3.2GHz atm) with a Gigabyte P35C-DS3R, BFG 8800GTS 512MB and Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme.

Great build.

I would recommend the cheaper of the two cases and throw your money at PSU and CPU cooler instead :) 

I would buy a Corsair HX620W PSU. It really impressed me. Also, the Q6600 reaches 90 degrees celcius :o  at 100% load on all 4 cores with a stock cooler, so it really makes sense to change the cooler out :) 
March 3, 2008 8:44:30 PM

I really appreciate the help here. According to this link:http://www.jonnyguru.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1460
A lot of the power supplies are actually making 28amps at the 12V rail even though the specs say they're not. Any thoughts on this?

By the way so far I've purchased:
Q6600
BFG 512 8800GTS
GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L
Crucial Ballistix 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800

Ewiz has the Arctic Freezer Pro 7 for $25+Tax shipped, so I'm about to pull the trigger on that based upon everyone's advice.

Thanks guys,
Kurt
March 3, 2008 8:45:10 PM

homerdog said:
Actually they all do. Some power supplies have multiple 12V rails. Take the SeaSonic S12 for example.
http://c1.neweggimages.com/NeweggImage/productimage/17-151-027-07.jpg
As you can see it has 4 12V rails each rated at 18A. The max combined load for all of the 12V rails is 41A.

Theoretically it is better to have a large single 12V rail, but if done right a multi-rail PSU shouldn't cause any problems.


I really wish power supply manufacturers would list this simple rating for amps on the stickers for the new time builder.
March 3, 2008 9:51:34 PM

systemlord said:
I really wish power supply manufacturers would list this simple rating for amps on the stickers for the new time builder.

That would be nice, but I don't see that happening. The less people know, the more likely they are to say "OMG that PSU has more Wattssssss111!!!" Manufacturers benefit from consumer ignorance.

On a related note, I die a little inside when I see someone buying anything made by Bose.
March 4, 2008 1:07:22 AM

homerdog said:
That would be nice, but I don't see that happening. The less people know, the more likely they are to say "OMG that PSU has more Wattssssss111!!!" Manufacturers benefit from consumer ignorance.

On a related note, I die a little inside when I see someone buying anything made by Bose.


O man I hear you there! I have a THX certified (M&K) 5.1 surround sound system and after hearing that for some time and then hearing Bose, you lose the full sound spectrum with Bose. Loss of midrange etc...

Back to the topic, I went to Corsair's homepage and they talk about combined 12V rails. You can't combine four 12V rails with 18 amps x4, it don't work like that. On my Enermax Infiniti 720W it clearly shows a total of 56 amps on the (meaning across all the rails) 12V rails.
March 4, 2008 1:13:09 AM

would anyone care to explain how to combine rails so you can get the required amps for your graphocs card (reccomended 28-30A) out of 2 18 A. if this is possible you can save a bunch as opposde to buying a psu with natice 28A
March 4, 2008 2:28:24 AM

First you need to understand the relationship between Watts, Amps, and Volts. W = VxA.

An 8800GTS is physically capable of drawing 150W, but in reality it will never draw that much. Graphics cards run off of the 12V rail. Thus the 8800GTS has a theoretical maximum power draw of 12.5A on the 12V rail (150W/12V=12.5A). Again, it will never actually draw that much.

A quality multi-rail PSU will split the 12V rails between your components in a way such that no 1 rail is ever overloaded. In a purely hypothetical example, say you GPU draws 12.5A and your CPU draws 10A. Your PSU is comprised of 2 12V rails, each rated at 18A. If rail #1 is dedicated to powering the GPU and rail #2 is dedicated to the CPU you obviously will not have any problems. This is almost always the case with multi-rail power supplies.

Sorry I've got to go to bed, but if you need me to continue I will be happy to help in the morning :) 
March 4, 2008 4:07:36 AM

If the card can only use 150W, then why does the spec say 425 W @ 28 amps?
March 4, 2008 4:36:59 AM

billiardicus said:
If the card can only use 150W, then why does the spec say 425 W @ 28 amps?


Well for everything else with some headroom. My whole system uses 350 watts and needs a 30 amp minumum on the 12V rails, knowone makes a 350W 30amp PSU. Just because you have a 425W PSU doesn't mean it can put out 425 watts, not with an 80% efficiency rating. It would have to be 100% efficiency to put out 425W, that won't happen ever. Plus having a PSU at 100% load will kill it very quick.

March 4, 2008 10:53:56 AM

billiardicus said:
If the card can only use 150W, then why does the spec say 425 W @ 28 amps?

That's 28A for the entire system, not just the GPU.
March 4, 2008 5:27:35 PM

I TOTALLY recommend the Seasonic PSU. they actually make most if not all the Corsair PSUs, PC Power & Cooling as well. I have their M12-700, which if you read it's review in JohnnyGuru, that it's quiet, efficient (if not the most efficient one he has a review on) and it delivers the cleanest power of any PSU he's ever tested.
March 4, 2008 6:56:53 PM

i thought about the exact same things you said too systemlord, but its not as simple as you say it is. other factors also apply. there is a reason for why they only supply 12V rails with 18A and above, if only 12,5 A was needed then why do this..? GPU's are the most powerconsuming parts in a build and may use more, especially in the future.
besides 425 @ 28A for the entire sytem will be at most one 12V 18A rail.....
March 4, 2008 8:15:04 PM

I appreciate everyone's input. I ended getting the Antec Earthwatts EA500 based upon the JohnnyGuru thread and positive reviews from Newegg customers with a similar build as mine.

The hardware part is complete:

COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC
Antec earthwatts EA500
GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz
ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro
Crucial Ballistix 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800
BFG Tech GeForce 8800GTS (G92) 512MB
Western Digital Caviar SE WD2500AAJS 250GB
SAMSUNG Black 20X DVD+R

I scored all this for $824 after tax, shipping, and rebates (Fatwallet.com FTW!).

Now it's time for software. I've spent the last couple of hours reading XP vs Vista threads. I've gathered that it's generally not recommended to UPGRADE to Vista yet, but since I'll have to buy a new OS anyway, I might as well get Vista.

Seems like you can pick up Vista OEM basic ~$75. I can't find XP for less anyway....
March 4, 2008 10:31:16 PM

billiardicus said:
I appreciate everyone's input. I ended getting the Antec Earthwatts EA500 based upon the JohnnyGuru thread and positive reviews from Newegg customers with a similar build as mine.

The hardware part is complete:

COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC
Antec earthwatts EA500
GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz
ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro
Crucial Ballistix 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800
BFG Tech GeForce 8800GTS (G92) 512MB
Western Digital Caviar SE WD2500AAJS 250GB
SAMSUNG Black 20X DVD+R

I scored all this for $824 after tax, shipping, and rebates (Fatwallet.com FTW!).

Now it's time for software. I've spent the last couple of hours reading XP vs Vista threads. I've gathered that it's generally not recommended to UPGRADE to Vista yet, but since I'll have to buy a new OS anyway, I might as well get Vista.

Seems like you can pick up Vista OEM basic ~$75. I can't find XP for less anyway....


One last thing, you don't need to run the Crucial's 4-4-4-12 800MHz 2.2v. I run mine @ 2.0v and have 24 hours Prime95 tested as well as many Memtests passes with no errors.
March 5, 2008 8:25:37 PM

The parts are starting to arrive.

The DVD drive arrived just as a drive in a plastic bag. No cable. Which begs the dumb questoin: What cables/connectors should I expect to buy? I bought an OEM hard drive as well. Will I need to buy cables for it too?
March 5, 2008 8:47:37 PM

Wait and see what's in the mobo box ;) 
March 14, 2008 3:32:44 PM

Well I put everything together last night. Booted up and installed Vista 32 bit (looking to upgrade to 64bit) with no problems. Ran Crysis on high, etc. Ran 3dMark06 and got a 11400. The CPU test killed me (I as at ~1 fps). Will start overclocking tonight.

Specs:
COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC
Antec earthwatts EA500
GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz
ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro
Crucial Ballistix 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800
BFG Tech GeForce 8800GTS (G92) 512MB
Western Digital Caviar SE WD2500AAJS 250GB
SAMSUNG Black 20X DVD+R
Windows Vista Home Basic 32 bit (OEM)
Acer 22" Widescreen
Logitech Z-5500

I'll keep updating this thread w/ my build info. Hopefully it will help others out.

March 14, 2008 3:41:49 PM

nice work... enjoy :) 
March 14, 2008 4:24:45 PM

see any ghost in 5ms?
March 14, 2008 4:43:16 PM

spotless said:
see any ghost in 5ms?


I'm still a noob, I don't know what you're talking about. I did see some screen tearing during Crysis cutsceens. Not sure what causes that. Is my 3dmark06 score normal?
March 14, 2008 5:12:30 PM

It is lower than the highest out there but DARN good for the money you've invested. I'd say that's a good score.
March 15, 2008 12:37:49 AM

I ran 3dMark06 again with everything else closed.
Stock: 11449

I overclocked the video card using the stickied "How To" on this forum:
70% fan speed
Core: 802 mhz
Shader: 1966 mhz
Memory: 972 mhz

The core temp is ~59C while running ATI tool artifact scanner for several minutes. Stock was 78C.

New 3dMark06 score: 11635

Question: Is it okay that I'm 20C below the stock temp? I set the fan at 70% because at that speed it makes the same noise as the other fans.


Now it's time to oc the Q6600.
March 15, 2008 5:28:25 AM

OC'ed the Q6600 to 3.0ghz. 3dMark06 = 13528

I'm ocing on air, and I'm only at ~65C stressed stock fan, so there's more to be had....

For some reason, I'm having trouble with the Freezer Pro. Maybe I installed it wrong...twice...
March 15, 2008 9:44:38 AM

The Freezer Pro is a great cooler for the price, but whilst it's OK for a mild OC @ 3ghz and above you really ought to start looking at the Scythe's and Tsunami types.
March 15, 2008 2:04:42 PM

Yeah, I'm looking at better cooling options right now.

For the noobs: I was trying to save money, so I got a cheap HSF (Arctic Freezer Pro 7). I'm not saying it's bad yet, but my particular one is either defective or suck at installing it correctly. Either way, OCing is awesome performance/$, and the HSF is crucial. HSF may be the best bang/buck you can get.
March 15, 2008 3:29:28 PM

Okay, I suck at installing the Freezer. Here's the link explaining that
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/248988-28-q6600-runni...

Got it in correctly now. The Q6600 is running at 3.1ghz with all cores ~59 C. I've got the Vcore set at 1.3V. I haven't tried to lower it and test for stability yet. Gonna do some more tweeking....
March 15, 2008 3:54:20 PM

Q6600 now OCed to 3.2 ghz. Still on 1.3v. Changed fan settings to 100% all the time. Cores are all at or below 50C.

The Q6600 is a monster!!
!