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First build ever -- worried about choices of hardware

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March 21, 2008 7:21:55 PM

:hello:  Hi Everyone,

I've been reading a couple posts around here, and the more I read, the more worried I become (and overwhelmed with the various setups that everyone is doing). I'm worried about whether everything will work together relatively well and whether i'm buying stuff that I do not need. Compared to most people, I'm hoping to start relatively (somewhat) simple. I'd like to build a good machine that can be used as is for decent gaming: no overclocking, maybe RAID, no SLI (1 graphics card is enough for me). From this, maybe I can start learning more to mod more one step at a time...at least for now, i'd like to start with something relatively stable...

Can you guys give me a lookover for the hardware i'm thinking about picking up? the OS i plan to run is windows XP and perhaps dualboot with linux.

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor
Motherboard: (??) Asus Striker Extreme
Video Card:EVGA 768-P2-N831-AR GeForce 8800GTX 768MB
Sound Card: (??) on board sound card?
Memory:Crucial Ballistix 4GB
HardDrive:WD Caviar SE16 500GB
Tower: LIAN LI PC-60APLUSII Silver Computer Case
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling S75QB EPS12V 750W Power Supply

For no SLI and over clocking would the ASUS Striker might be too much? as for the sound card...would the onboard sound be enough or should i spot for something higher end?

:love:  Thanks ahead of time!!
March 21, 2008 7:53:36 PM

The asus striker extreme is quite expensive, particularly since you will not use all it's features. For a good simple mobo, look at the Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L or DS3R.

Onboard sound is quite good. Try it first, you can always add a sound card later. I'm betting you won't.

The 8800GTX is a fine card, but it is no longer the fastest single card, and may be overpriced. The 8800GTS-512-G92 is almost as fast, and costs considerably less. The new 9800GX2 is now the fastest, but it costs a bunch.

For any single vga card system, the PC P&C silencer610 should be sufficient. It has 49 good amps on the single 12v rail.
March 21, 2008 7:58:14 PM

The system you listed would work fine. Those are not generally the components I would buy, but it looks like your budget is past where I would be shopping. There are a great many "right" systems you could build.

My suggestion is to give a desired price range for the system. For instance, you've selected one heck of a motherboard. It's a beast, but do you need it and all of its features? Perhaps a lower priced 8800GTS 512 would be a better fit, or maybe we want to look at stretching towards a faster CPU...

It's a little easier to try and give feedback on a system for $1000, $1500, or $2000 versus looking at your components and nit picking if they are balanced. I'm guessing that your primary concern is the ability to play graphically intensive games? If so, the system will also be well suited for most other common computing tasks except for heavy image/video editing (want more than one hard drive probably) and scientific computation(tailored to the job).
Related resources
March 21, 2008 8:00:19 PM

Like geofelt said, drop the Asus striker and get somthing cheaper, like a gigabyte p35 ds3l. It will save you alot. You said you wont overclock or SLI anyways, so the Gigabyte will work just fine.

I wouldnt get a 8800 gtx, get a 8800 gts g92, its only a little slower but much cheaper, so that will help you save some more money. That power supply brand is great, they make quality PSU. But like geofelt said, 750watts is overkill. just get the 610 watt model.

Good luck!
March 21, 2008 8:20:15 PM

As others have said here you MB is overkill for gaming. If gaming is your primary goal spend less on the MB and more on first the graphics setup and second the CPU. Soundcard - if you are playing on-line team games like Counterstike etc. a headset with integral mic is much better than speakers. As someone says above - you can add it later and you probaby won't unless you also intend to use you PC as a HTPC.

nix the 8800 GTX and go with either the 8800GT 512MB of GTS version of the same, in fact you could SLI 2 x 8800GT's for the same price as a GTX (and get better performance) or with the money you save on the MB and SC you could go for a 9800GX2
March 22, 2008 12:41:17 AM

Instead of the WD hd, I'd go with the Seagate 7200.11 500gb. I've heard nothing but good things about this, 32mb cache, and only ~20 bucks more than the Caviar
March 22, 2008 1:02:46 AM

The Caviar is fine to use, 16MB of cache will keep you on good performance. 32MB is over kill for a 500GB drive, unless you plan to do video editing, or turn the computer into a Server. If you don't have a high resolution monitor then the 8800GTX is over kill and the 8800GTS is a good pick. Your PSU doesn't have to be that high I would say something between 450W and 550W should give you enough power for what you want, and for expansion and upgrading, the power output on the rails and the reliability of it are what you should focus on (something that can provide more power to the GPU and maybe the CPU if you latter want to upgrade). Unless you plan to get a 64 bit OS don't get more then 3 GB of ram (2GB works fine for me). The Mobo doesn't have to be that high end, in your case, but getting a mobo that will let you do some overclocking will give you the option to do that latter, if you want to play around with it. And the possessor doesn't need to be a 3.0ghz, save your self money and get one that runs at 2.4GHZ or just above.

Edit: Ohh yea, and unless you're an Audio file on board sound will probably be all you need.
March 22, 2008 7:46:12 AM

Since you're considering RAID and only want a single GPU, I would suggest the Gigabyte P35 DS3R. Ignore the people saying to get the DS3L since its missing onboard RAID.
March 22, 2008 4:28:55 PM

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor
A good choice, but recently many people also suggested a cheaper but nice Xeon E3110, perhaps you can also consider it.

Motherboard: (??) Asus Striker Extreme
If you don't plan to maximize its potential than just try something cheaper. I wanna buy ASUS P5E X38.

Video Card:EVGA 768-P2-N831-AR GeForce 8800GTX 768MB
Good.

Sound Card: (??) on board sound card?
I think on board sound is enough.

Memory:Crucial Ballistix 4GB
Good

HardDrive:WD Caviar SE16 500GB
Drop this and go for SEAGATE 7200.11 500GB 32MB. I have bought it and it is really good. Trust me an mlig911 on this one.

Tower: LIAN LI PC-60APLUSII Silver Computer Case
Good

Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling S75QB EPS12V 750W Power Supply
Still acceptable but without OC and only one VGA-Card, I think 650w is enough. But 750W is still acceptable just in case if you wanna OC it or SLI it someday.
March 23, 2008 3:24:37 AM

Thanks for all the replies!

As nmathew suggested, my ideal budget is around 1000 +/- 100 dollars for the entire system. And with the changes, i'm getting closer :wahoo: 

I'm really excited to build this and hook it up to my 47" HDTV as a monitor!!

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor (230)
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-P35C-DS3R LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard - ($150)
Video Card:EVGA 768-P2-N831-AR GeForce 8800GTX 768MB ($415)
Sound Card: on board sound card (0)
Memory:Crucial Ballistix 4GB ($115)
HardDrive:Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM ($110)
Tower: LIAN LI PC-60APLUSII Silver Computer Case
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling S75QB EPS12V 750W Power Supply ($120)

I kept the 3GHZ and 4 GB of ram for day job...that way i can support my gamin and drawing habits :D 

Hope this setup is ok~
March 23, 2008 3:55:37 AM

oops i meant to write 610 W instead for that Powersupply....i think the general consensus was that i was packing too much power ^_^;
March 23, 2008 4:20:30 AM

Yes the PCP&C 610w Silencer is a good model. I'd even go with the Corsair vx 550w PSU. It has plenty of power for your current setup and some room for other upgrades later. It's also ~$55 cheaper than the 610w Silencer and ~$105 cheaper than the 750w Quad. Don't get me wrong, the PCP&C PSU's are nice, but for your current build and budget, you'd be better off with the Corsair. It's the same one Chuckm posted earlier. It has 41A on the 12V rails, so you'll have plenty of power.
Corsair VX 550W ATX Power Supply - CMPSU-550VX
http://www.buy.com/prod/Corsair-VX-550W-Power-Supply/q/...

I'd also drop the 8800gtx and go with the 8800gts (g92) version. It's 90-95% the speed of the 8800gtx. It consumes less power and runs cooler too. Oh, and it's about $100 cheaper too. The rest of the build looks good and solid.
March 23, 2008 1:34:51 PM

Thanks so much you guys! You guys are so awesome~ :love:  I feel a lot more confident building this system (at least on the hardware side :)  )

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor (230)
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-P35C-DS3R LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard - ($150)
Video Card:EVGA GeForce 8800GTs 512MB ($250)
Sound Card: on board sound card (0)
Memory:Crucial Ballistix 4GB ($115)
HardDrive:Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM ($110)
Tower: LIAN LI PC-60APLUSII Silver Computer Case
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling S75QB EPS12V 610W Power Supply ($120)

Comes out to a wooping grand total of: $1095 + DVD-ROM...wherever i find one that is :)  I am estimating no more than 50 on the DVD-ROm...
March 23, 2008 6:06:33 PM

You can save some money and go for the GA-EP35-DS3R variant of the mobo. The version you chose can do DDR2 and DDR3 but not at the same time. You should only get it if you plan to switch to DDR3 in the future. However, by the time DDR3 becomes more affordable you would probably want to change the mobo altogether for something that supports the Nehalems or newer.
March 23, 2008 7:55:18 PM

oushi said:
You can save some money and go for the GA-EP35-DS3R variant of the mobo. The version you chose can do DDR2 and DDR3 but not at the same time. You should only get it if you plan to switch to DDR3 in the future. However, by the time DDR3 becomes more affordable you would probably want to change the mobo altogether for something that supports the Nehalems or newer.

^^ Agreed
March 23, 2008 8:19:01 PM

SuicideSilence said:
^^ Agreed


It is the C in P35C that gives it the DDR3 capability. It also limits you to 4gb on the board.
I agree, the DS3R is a good pick.
March 24, 2008 4:56:45 AM

made the changes and placing the order on new egg! :bounce:  so excited!

Thanks everyone for your help~~~ :love: 
March 24, 2008 5:18:54 AM

What did you order? And let us know how it all turns out :) 
March 24, 2008 5:28:41 AM

Here's the final list :) 

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor (230)
Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-EP35-DS3R- ($122)
Video Card:EVGA GeForce 8800GTs 512MB ($250)
Sound Card: on board sound card (0)
Memory:Crucial Ballistix 4GB ($115)
HardDrive:Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM ($110)
Tower: LIAN LI PC-60BPLUSII Black Computer Case
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling S75QB EPS12V 610W Power Supply ($120)
DVD Burner Samsung SH-S203N OEM (To be ordered) - 30 bucks

I'll defin let you know how it turns out...i'm keeping my fingers crossed that the physical building process will go smoothly :) 
March 24, 2008 5:57:19 AM

In your final list, I can see a 610W PSU.
I guess you wanna OC the Processor, because you have still more than enough power for it. But where is the proper Heatsink and Fan?
I suggest that you should use the Zalman cnps9700. I have been a huge fan of it.
March 24, 2008 6:54:42 AM

I'd go with the Xigmatech s1283. It's about the same amount of $ and performs way better than the Zalman 9700. It's almost as good as the $65-85 Thermalright 120mm cooler and only costs $44 shipped!!
XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Frosty techs review of it. You can decide, but I'm betting if you read the review you'll be hooked on it!
Frosty’s Review of Xigmatech HDT-S1283 CPU Cooler
http://www.frostytech.com/articleview.cfm?articleid=223...
March 24, 2008 7:40:16 AM

Final list looks great! Hope the actual building part goes well. :) 

Since you're not overclocking, you don't really need a new HSF. Even if you decide to do it in the future, the stock cooler will suffice for moderate increases. However, if you want to get even bolder in the future I would second lunyone's pick.
March 24, 2008 1:28:57 PM

:sweat:  pardon my stupid question...but is the stock fan the one that comes with the processor?

I'm kinda stuck ordering parts for my vid card on newegg.... Is there a better one of the two?

EVGA 512-P3-N841-A3 GeForce 8800GTS (G92) 512MB

or

EVGA 512-P3-N845-AR GeForce 8800GTS 512MB

I'm tempted to say 845 cuz it's a higher model #...but as i've learned bigger doesn't always mean better ^_^;;;

thanks :sweat: 
!