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3k Budget - pimp my build (current specs inc.)

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March 20, 2008 5:44:43 PM

This will be the first PC I have built on my own. I do have a friend who is more experienced helping me put it together. Where I really need the most help is in selecting the components. The primary purpose of this machine will be for gaming although I will also use it for programming.

Case: Cosmos RC-1000 (already purchased, but willingt to change if really neccesary)

Everything sans the case with pricing can be reviewed on this wishlist (I will paste it below as well): https://secure.newegg.com/NewVersion/Wishlist/PublicWis...

EDITED & UPDATED (to include MB): ASUS Striker II Formula LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

2x BFG Tech BFGE981024GX2E GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB (512MB per GPU) 512-bit (256-bit per GPU) GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail

Thermaltake W0131RU ATX12V / EPS12V 850W Power Supply - Retail

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz LGA 775 Quad-Core Processor Model BX80562Q6600 - Retail

CORSAIR 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TWIN2X4096-6400C5 - Retail

Western Digital Raptor X WD1500AHFD 150GB 10,000 RPM SATA 1.5Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

ASUS 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model DRW-2014L1T - Retail

Creative 70SB046A00000 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer Fatal1ty Professional Series - Retail

The subtotal on my wishlist comes to $2,476.92 -- well within my allotted budget. Although I am also interested in a water cooling solution for the graphics cards and CPU -- so please factor that into your considerations.

Thanks in advance for your input, i'm looking forward to hearing from everyone.

Zoop
March 20, 2008 6:24:42 PM

You may need a mobo and a monitor.
In your price range consider:
PC Power & cooling 750 Silencer PSU
(4 x 2) 8 gigs DDR2 800 Ram
Vista 64 Ultimate
Seagate 500 or 750 GB HD
Get a good CPU Cooler.
Get good speakers first. Try the sound thru on board first, then try a card if needed.
March 20, 2008 6:42:06 PM

Your gonna want more space. 1 TB drive for under $250 would be my choice in either seagate or WD, i've used both, WD is quieter.

Those video cards will be the difficult thing to cool with water, you may have to wait for someone to come out with the right blocks to get it done. I haven't seen the compatibility for mounting coolers on it yet.
Related resources
March 20, 2008 6:51:14 PM

Thanks for the suggestions thus far... I had selected the ASUS Striker Extreme MB but somehow I must have dropped it off the list... I'll update this post when I get home from work with the relevant information.

The monitor is already in place as well as I have a 24" ready to go. I also have some Boston Acoustics speakers and a sub but they are quite old. Anyway, the audio setup (replacing the speakers) is lower on my priority list than is getting the best components for my PC.

Any other suggestions? What Motherboards should I consider? Any advice on the RAM (links to newegg are awesome!) I should use? If it will be difficult (impossible?) to water cool these cards at first are there any good alternatives you can recommened? I'm guessing heat could be a problem. I'm also curious about what PSU people would rec...

Basically, the only thing I even remotely sure of is that i'd like to try a setup running 2x the 9800 GX2.

Thanks for the input so far - i'm open to any suggestions.

Zoop
March 20, 2008 6:52:56 PM

Good call on needing more HD space -- what is your opinion on using a 1TB drive versus putting two of the 150GB in raid 0? I am generally fond of using a large external HD to save all of my movies, songs etc. that eat up space. For the most part it's just some selective music, games and my development tools on my pc (.net, sql server etc)

Thanks,

Zoop
March 20, 2008 7:25:22 PM

Motherboard with a budget like that, to take full advantage of those video cards go with
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
someone else can help you pick out some highest speed memory, i just stick with corsair kits - going with ddr2 1066 or or 1333 would be good.

drive space is cheap, match the space you need at the moment + 50%.

Going raid on a primary drive is always a bad idea outside of a system you dont mind blowing away and reinstalling regularly. Just one of them having a loose cable can result in data corruption. Single drive there, and however you want to arrange storage space is great. Your case certainly has the real estate to keep everything inside, but would be eaten up quickly depending on water cooling solutions.
March 20, 2008 7:37:15 PM

zoopnfunk said:


EDITED (to include MB): ASUS P5E LGA 775 Intel X38 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

2x BFG Tech BFGE981024GX2E GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB (512MB per GPU) 512-bit (256-bit per GPU) GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail



you can not run SLI on the X38 chipset just thought I would let you know.
March 21, 2008 1:53:05 PM

Rip181 said:
you can not run SLI on the X38 chipset just thought I would let you know.


Do'h -- Thanks for the heads up. I've replaced the MB with this one: ASUS Striker II Formula LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

I am going to update the specs and totals above to reflect this change.

Does anyone have any other suggestions? I'm trying to get the most bang for my buck!

Thanks...
March 21, 2008 2:40:17 PM

Abit IP 35 Pro
8800 GTS 512
Seagate 750 HD
Q6600 GO
8 GB (4 x 2GB) DDR2 800
PC P&C Silencer 750
Xigmatek HDT-S1283 heatsink
20X DVD RW Sata
Vista 64 Ultimate
Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 Speakers
March 21, 2008 2:45:49 PM

If you are going to get 2 9800GX2's then you had better pony up the dough for a QX9650 or QX9770, or just get one 9800GX2 for now.
March 21, 2008 2:57:21 PM

Watercooling will just about max out your budget but will be worth the cost if your really into gaming. I have a system running an AMD 6400+ X2 and it is supposted to be one of the hottest running cpu's. I have a Koolance EXOS2 cooling system running to the cpu, memory, and twin ATi 3870's and my system never runs above 33c. My primary uses for the computer are gaming and video editing. The EXOS system monitors the coolent temps at 3 different spots of your choice, I monitor cpu, top video card and coolent flow out of the radiator. The only parts of the coolent system that I can not move to a newer system would be the video card waterblocks since they are made for that model card. The CPU waterblock currently works on any CPU on the market today. The nice thing about the Koolance waterblocks on the video cards is that you can use Koolance's hard line kit between the cards instead of hose.
March 21, 2008 3:05:22 PM

^Agreed. Get Water cooling for your rig or You could spend about $1.3k and get a 30"+ LCD and a good Water rig.
March 21, 2008 3:24:03 PM

those GPUs will bottleneck your CPU I suggest an extreme edition quad
March 21, 2008 7:03:33 PM

boonality said:
If you are going to get 2 9800GX2's then you had better pony up the dough for a QX9650 or QX9770, or just get one 9800GX2 for now.


I have to agree...that CPU is far too old for 2x 9800GX2s! Just doesn't make sense when your GPUs are so badass and expensive to be running some old tech, hot quad core.

Plus, you also better be running a 30" badass monitor...Dell 3007WFP-HC or better at the least.
March 21, 2008 7:36:42 PM

Will be interesting to see how Thermatakes phase cooling comes out. Hope its far better then the leaky watercooling system they sell. Man I almost made the mistake and bought one of those. Good thing I did a little research on the product.
March 21, 2008 7:52:48 PM

The GPU's to cpu bottleneck will be really noticed only when running a game that does not use multiple cores - in which case you will want the fastest core speed you can, while staying quad core. 3 GHz or above will be fine, and the the q6600 will fit that bill easy. the 9000 series has such a price premium on it its not worth it.
March 21, 2008 8:25:34 PM

rockbyter said:
The GPU's to cpu bottleneck will be really noticed only when running a game that does not use multiple cores - in which case you will want the fastest core speed you can, while staying quad core. 3 GHz or above will be fine, and the the q6600 will fit that bill easy. the 9000 series has such a price premium on it its not worth it.


I agree to a point but...

If your going to spend $3K on a computer, you are better off with getting the best bang for your buck in all areas, and the Q6600 is a nice overclocker but it's also the oldest quad core out. The Q9450 will be a better processor and it's not that much more money when your talking inside the budget your working with. It will server your GPU's better in the end than the Q6600. Especially if you play games such as FSX :) 
March 22, 2008 12:47:26 AM

Two questions boonality:

1.) The Q9450 is still not out, correct?
2.) What is FSX?
March 22, 2008 1:16:21 AM

FSX = Microsoft Flight Simulator X
March 22, 2008 8:48:46 AM

No it isn't out yet, to my knowledge they will be released shortly though. The QXxxxx processors are very expensive, but in my opinion better than the Q6700. However the Q6600 is the best performance/dollar quad out as of today... but have patience, that is changing shortly. But dual cores are a good option, I just don't prefer them as Quads (depending on your application for sure!) are a better processor. Again that depends on your applications, if you play games that are single threaded or are only aware of 2 cores regardless of how many exist physically or logically, then a dual core will do you just fine.
March 22, 2008 5:04:14 PM

It's that patience thing that is really begging to hurt...Intel is dragging their feet because they are so far ahead of the competition (AMD). They are cleaning out old stock and forcing people to buy a super-over-priced Quad Core if they run both applications/games that take advantage of quad core and ones which don't!

So lame!
April 2, 2008 6:41:12 PM

Thanks for all the replies, i'm currently weighing a number of options and factoring in the information gathered in this thread. I'm starting to wonder if I should either go with 2x 9800 gtx or just one 9800 gx2.

i'm going to create a revised wishlist on newegg later this week and will post the results to this thread...

thanks for all of the input thus far.
April 2, 2008 7:05:10 PM

I've seen some QX6700 on pricegrabber for like $ 560, has any one bought one of those?
April 5, 2008 12:17:15 AM

Here is a link to my updated 'wishlist' on newegg (will list components below as well).

https://secure.newegg.com/NewVersion/Wishlist/PublicWis...

A few notes: This build does not include the water cooling but I am 100% sure I am going to water cool this system. Also, as some have noted above I do have a 24" monitor. Also, I will likely double the HD and use a raid 0 setup but the HD is the least of my worries ATM as I have pleanty of secondary storage available. And as noted above I already have a case picked out (but if it isn't compatible for some reason I would be willing to change it)

Here are my major concerns at this point: Will the CPU I have choosen support the 2x 9800 GX2 setup I have on the wishlist, or will it cause a bottleneck? If it isn't enough, what would be a good alternative. I've looked into two models mentioned above but they take me out of my budget.

Second, is the RAM I have picked out okay, or can someone recommend something better? And will the PSU I have selected provide enough juice?

Finally, would I be better off scrapping the whole 2x GX2 idea in favor of a single GX2 setup? Or, as I suggested above, would I get better performance from 2x 9800 GTX than 1 GX2?

I will likely have more questions based on your replies but I don't want to flood this thread with too much information. Below I will list the key compenents from the wishlist link.

EVGA 132-CK-NF79-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 790i Ultra SLI DDR3 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

2x BFG Tech BFGE981024GX2E GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB (512MB per GPU) 512-bit (256-bit per GPU) GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail

Thermaltake W0131RU ATX12V / EPS12V 850W Power Supply - Retail

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80570E8400 - Retail

CORSAIR 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TWIN2X4096-6400C5 - Retail

Western Digital Raptor X WD1500AHFD 150GB 10,000 RPM SATA 1.5Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

ASUS 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model DRW-2014L1T - Retail

Creative 70SB046A00000 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer Fatal1ty Professional Series - Retail

Also, is there anything i'm missing aside from water cooling/additional fans?

I'm hopefully going to start ordering components this weekend / monday so your input, as always, is greatly appreciated.
April 5, 2008 12:51:51 AM

get a q9300 instead of the q6600
April 5, 2008 1:39:52 AM

You can't run that ddr2 ram on the 790i its ddr3 ram only.
April 5, 2008 2:23:59 AM

Ah thanks for the heads up... i've updated my list on newegg (same link as above). It's essentially the same except I replaced the RAM and the CPU with the following:

Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300 Yorkfield 2.5GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model EU80580PJ0606M - OEM

and

CORSAIR XMS3 DHX 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TW3X4G1600C9DHX - Retail

will that work/anything else? running close to the end of the budget and need to save a bit of room for liquid cooling this as well.
April 5, 2008 3:02:21 PM

Good job on different RAM, better OCing and more futureproof.
April 6, 2008 12:56:17 PM

Thanks to everyone for your collective input on this thread. Barring any last minute objections/wtf r u doing alerts this is the build I plan on going with. I am planning on placing my order this afternoon so please speak now or forever hold your peace :) ...

EVGA 132-CK-NF79-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 790i Ultra SLI DDR3 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

2x XFX PVT98FYDF9 GeForce 9800 GTX(G92) 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail (note: I decided on the GTX model for two reasons... it saves me money and in this hardOCP review it actually outperforms the GX2 in a quad setup for most games/applications)

Thermaltake W0131RU ATX12V / EPS12V 850W Power Supply - Retail (will this suffice?)

Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300 Yorkfield 2.5GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model EU80580PJ0606M - OEM

CORSAIR XMS3 DHX 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TW3X4G1600C9DHX - Retail

Western Digital Raptor X WD1500AHFD 150GB 10,000 RPM SATA 1.5Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM (depending on the amount of $$ I have left I may go for two of these in a raid 0 configuration)

ASUS 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model DRW-2014L1T - Retail

Creative 70SB046A00000 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer Fatal1ty Professional Series - Retail

Of course I will also be water cooling this rig -- I am currently waiting on the right cooling blocks to come out for the 9800gtx cards.

Any last minute tweaks, tips, suggestions or warnings?

Thanks again for your input... i'd be lost without your assistance.

edit (updated link on newegg): https://secure.newegg.com/NewVersion/Wishlist/PublicWis...
!