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First build, help me pick the hardware for gaming

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March 23, 2008 10:17:50 PM

I've already purchased a 24" samsung monitor, and I want to game at 1920x1200.
I bought a full tower case along with a 750W PCPC power supply.

This will be my first and last build for some time, so future proofing is not as important.

Therefor I'm thinking of going E8400 on the CPU, overclocked to ~3.8MHz.
I initially wanted a quad, but due to the gaming aspect of the rig and a somewhat
reasonable budget, the Dual Core seems like the better choice, but who knows?

Video card, probably one eVGA 8800GTS 512 (G92) initiallly.

Memory, looking at 4gigs (2x2) probably Crucial Ballistics PC6400 DDR2 $105

Motherboard, I have no dang clue lol. SLi would be nice, but the intel chipset boards are more
stable from what I've read. I need direction on this one badly as I can not decide which
way to go. DDR2 is much cheaper and for what I want, it seems like the right direction to go in.

OS will be 64bit Vista Home Premium or Vista Ultimate.
March 24, 2008 4:43:39 AM

The E8400 will be great for you if your main purpose is gaming. Consider this cpu cooler for your overclocking:
http://www.jab-tech.com/Xigmatek-HDT-S1283-Heat-pipe-Di...***$10-Mail-In-Rebate***-pr-4097.html

Your choice of memory and GPU should be fine, but your mobo and psu will heavily depend on whether or not you want SLI and your budget. Personally, I prefer single-GPU systems and would get a Gigabyte P35-DS3L or P35-DS3R depending on your needs and a Corsair 550VX.

If you have your heart set on SLI and have the budget to accommodate it, get a 680i board and the PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750W. Note that 680i boards should be able to support Wolfdales with a BIOS flash, but doesn't seem to be able to work with the new Penryn quad cores. Since you're keeping this cpu for a while, it shouldn't affect you though.

Can't help you with the Vista choices as I'm still using XP...
March 24, 2008 11:32:57 PM

Yes, I will need an aftermarket CPU cooler, I will look into that one.

I currently have the PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750W, so I'm good either way.

I guess the decision on SLi comes down to do I need it to game at
1920x1200? I bought a 24" monitor so I could get to that resolution,
I want to actually use it.
If yes then I will go SLi, if not I would rather get an intel chipset mobo
and only one graphics card.

Can you link to specific mother boards that you would reccommend given
the answer to the SLi question?
Related resources
March 25, 2008 4:35:57 AM

Sorry, for some reason I didn't even read that you already had a PSU. Makes things a little simpler. :lol: 

Most games today will still be at playable framerates with a 8800GTS at that resolution. Crysis is probably the only one that will give you some trouble. However, at that resolution, you should definitely see the benefits of going SLI. The only question is whether or not you have the budget to accommodate it.

If going SLI, you need to get an nVidia board. If budget is no problem, then get a 780i board like this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
If money is tighter, you can get a 680i board for $100 less (you won't be able to upgrade to a Penryn cpu in the future, but with a E8400 I don't think that's a problem). Reviews for the 680i seem to be more mixed while people seem to have an overall better experience with the 780i.

However, for the price of a 780i and two 8800GTS, you could get a P35 mobo like the Gigabyte P35-DS3L and a 9800GX2 for similar performance (some argue, better) at roughly the same cost. I'm still playing at 1280x1024 so I'm not too familiar with the best solutions for gaming at high resolutions. Might be better to get advice from someone else for that. :??: 
March 30, 2008 2:56:10 AM

After looking at the cost increase, running Crysis at 1920x1200 is not that critical :lol: 

What P35 or Intel mobo would you use if I were to just run one 8800GTS? I think that's a more
realistic budget option for me. Or possibly get the 780i and only one 8800GTS at this point.
Once they drop off in price this time next year, maybe pick one up or just upgrade again.
March 30, 2008 3:15:30 AM

If you are going to go with a intel chipset Motherboard, you should go with a ATI video card so that you can crossfire later. Maybe a 3870x2?
If thats out of your price range, a single 3870?
March 30, 2008 3:34:53 AM

The P35 boards are just about equal in performance, just get the one that has the features and options you want such as raid or firewire and SATA connections.
!