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Noob's first build: gaming PC $1000-1300

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March 24, 2008 6:22:36 PM

If you folks wouldn't mind, please take a loot at my build idea below. I've never put a system together completely, but have done many minor tweaks to my Dells over the years. Looking forward to trying to do one from scratch. Very happy to get any criticism/ideas/etc from you all.

Budget: I'd like to keep it under $1300 if possible. What I have below is about $1100 after rebates.
OS: Windows XP Pro, I have it already.
Overclocking: Don't plan on doing any.
Usage: Primarily will be used for gaming (WoW, Civ, others). May do a bit of .Net programming on it also.
Display: I tend to use a 1440x900 display.

Edit-I edited the below list. Parts are being ordered now.

Parts
Processor
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz 2 x 4MB L2 Cache LGA 775 Quad-Core Processor - Retail

This is the biggest question item I have. From what I read on the forum, the E8400 is desired for mid-range gaming systems, but seems to be largely unavailable at this time. The Q6600 was offered somewhere as a viable alternative, but I'm open to others in the same price range.


Edit-Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 Conroe 2.66GHz 4M shared L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail

Decided against the quad and went down rev for a dual core. For my usage this should be fine. And the cost savings is nice. I won't be overclocking.

Motherboard
GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX All Solid Capacitor Intel Motherboard - Retail

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

Is there a better choice for this on newegg? This comes with a game (Crysis), which I don't particularly care about.

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

Edit-CORSAIR XMS2 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail

Hard Drive 1
Seagate Barracuda ES.2 ST3250310NS 250GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

I may just go with two of these instead of a 500 and a 250. Planning on putting the OS and pagefile on the first, games and data on the second. Honestly, 250GB is way too big for the OS, even, but it doesn't seem cost effective to go smaller than this (and impossible to go smaller but retain 32MB cache.)

Hard Drive 2
Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

Case
Antec 900

Power Supply
Corsair 550VX

Corsair 550VX

Optical Drive
ASUS Black 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 20X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 14X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe - Retail
March 24, 2008 7:30:52 PM

This looks very similar to what I'm looking at as well.... Check out my thread there might be some answers there for ya.
Related resources
March 24, 2008 8:25:57 PM

Thanks for the buy.com link. That's great and I'll be sure to grab it once folks let me know if that unit is OK or not.

Looks like you and I had the same dilemma about CPU's, dhnf1. E8400 and E8200 seem unavailable. I wonder if the E6750 is better for gaming than the Q6600? The cost is certainly attractive.
March 24, 2008 8:51:24 PM

All very good choices.

That video card is the best choice on newegg. There's a BFG version that costs $5 less and comes clocked 5 MHz higher, but it doesn't have any game bundled. I think it's worth paying the $5 more to get the eVGA because the game makes a nice Christmas or birthday present for somebody. They'll never know you only paid $5 for it, it's $45 retail :) 

Between E8400 and Q6600: the E8400 is usually better in games, especially if you overclock. The only serious exception is Flight Simulator X. The Q6600 is usually better in scenarios that involve Visual Studio.Net and IE and FireFox and SQL Server and IIS and so on all running at the same time. Well, that's my scenario and the Q6600 does fine. TBH I don't think it matters. I'm sure an E8400 would do the job just fine. Same for games, they're often limited by the video card or hard drive, so you'd get exactly the same performance with E8400 or Q6600. Don't worry too much about this decision, you'll be fine either way.
March 24, 2008 8:55:25 PM

plunky said:
Thanks for the buy.com link. That's great and I'll be sure to grab it once folks let me know if that unit is OK or not.

Looks like you and I had the same dilemma about CPU's, dhnf1. E8400 and E8200 seem unavailable. I wonder if the E6750 is better for gaming than the Q6600? The cost is certainly attractive.


Yes the 550VX is OK. Trust me, it's been recommended in hundreds of threads here in the past few weeks.

The E6750 is, in theory, better for gaming than the Q6600, unless you're playing FSX and SupCom. Most games will only use one or two cores, and the E6750 wins because its two cores are clocked 10% higher than the Q6600 and cores 3 and 4 of the Q6600 are idle. In reality, you won't notice a difference because the difference is negligible at stock and because most games are not CPU-bound.
March 25, 2008 3:41:17 AM

Looks fine to me. You might want to try looking for the Xeon E3110, which is just the server equivalent to the E8400 and is a little easier to find.
March 25, 2008 1:52:27 PM

Thanks for the validation. I'm going with the e6750. Ordering the stuff today, I'll update this thread when I actually start building. I'm sure I'll have problems. :) 
March 25, 2008 2:14:05 PM

You guys don't think that RAM is stupidly expensive? $250 for 4 gigs of DDR2 800. You could save like $100 bucks and get something with a better CAS even. Am I missing something?
March 25, 2008 2:15:40 PM

Hope it's not too late to add.

I was searching for comp parts and found Corsair Memory for a bit cheaper. 4gb for $111.90 plus a $40 rebate supposedly. ($71.90 after rebate)

http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?Product...

I don't know anything about the store, so take the link for what it's worth.
March 25, 2008 2:27:52 PM

Yeah I either copied the wrong link or they changed the price on that since yesterday. I went with http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Edit-the link isn't working for some reason. Anyway. It comes to $84 after a rebate.

CORSAIR XMS2 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TWIN2X4096-6400C5DHX - Retail

Edit - Removed dot. Thanks aevm.
March 25, 2008 2:30:48 PM

Isn't that laptop memory? edit: nevermind seems to be that link issue...
March 25, 2008 2:35:39 PM

You've got the dot inside the URL, that's why the link is not working.

So, you got the Corsair XMS2 4GB 5-5-5-18 for $84. Sounds good :) 
March 25, 2008 2:55:08 PM

plunky said:
Yeah I either copied the wrong link or they changed the price on that since yesterday. I went with http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168....

Edit-the link isn't working for some reason. Anyway. It comes to $84 after a rebate.

CORSAIR XMS2 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TWIN2X4096-6400C5DHX - Retail


That link is broken.
I'd recommend this, 5-4-4-12 timing, highly overclockable, and cheap.

Also, if you plan to overclock, a x38 chipset motherboard is worth the extra money. With 1600mhz FSB native, and oc potential much higher, your cpu will be the bottleneck for overclocking, not motherboard, which is as it should be.

e8400 is favorite for overclockers. That's why gamers like it. e6750 is still more overclockable than q6600, but by a much smaller margin. Q6600 is a good overclocker itself, but is held back by heat generated from 4 65nm cores. The e8400 perform better than Q6600 on programs not optimized for quad cores, but by a small margin. Keep in mind, once games become quad core optimized, the q6600 will outperform duel cores by a massive amount. But some say games will never be quad optimized, so it's a gamble.
March 25, 2008 4:17:00 PM

unless you plan on using a 64 bit os your only gonna be seeing about 3.5 gigs of that ram
March 25, 2008 4:49:29 PM

spartan_warrior said:
unless you plan on using a 64 bit os your only gonna be seeing about 3.5 gigs of that ram


True, but with 4 GB for only $84 it's worth it anyway :D 

March 26, 2008 4:35:59 AM

I know, I come a little too late since you have ordered the items.
Honestly, I wanna suggest the E8400 or E3110 just like the others did.
And I wanna suggest also the ATI X3870 and X38 Mobos, but well...you've ordered them...
March 26, 2008 5:02:51 AM

Looks good but whats with the overly expensive memory
April 7, 2008 8:42:36 PM

Just an update: build went fine. Thanks for all the help guys. Loving the new system, I get 55ish FPS in WoW 25 man raids.

There were a couple hiccups: one LED that was in the Antec documentation didn't seem to exist (maybe it's hiding somewhere. don't particularly care) and the onboard sound didn't play nice. It was probably a driver problem, but I got tired of looking at it and just threw an old sound card in.
April 8, 2008 1:12:55 AM

hahaha all that effort just to play WoW. LOL You probably could have gotten away with a X2, 2GB RAM, and 740G integrated graphics. System wouldn't have needed more than 300W - savings of over $500.

A friend spent $1500 on a Q6700, 4GB, 8800GT WoW computer and when I'm feeling down I think of that for a laugh.
April 8, 2008 2:21:04 AM

OK, you want a really good laugh? I spent $3000 (Q6600, 8800GTX OC2). The idea was to play Hellgate:London, mostly. I didn't like Hellgate after all, $70 wasted. My favorite games are Luxor and Diablo 2. They worked pretty well even on Pentium 3/MX 4000.

On the bright side, I hear there's a game out called Frontlines which looks better than Crysis. It needs you to turn settings to low, on a machine that can handle Crysis on medium. Maybe I'll try that one. If your friend discovers it too he'll be happy he got that 8800GT.
April 8, 2008 2:41:07 PM

tj_the_first said:
hahaha all that effort just to play WoW. LOL You probably could have gotten away with a X2, 2GB RAM, and 740G integrated graphics. System wouldn't have needed more than 300W - savings of over $500.

A friend spent $1500 on a Q6700, 4GB, 8800GT WoW computer and when I'm feeling down I think of that for a laugh.


Thanks for pooping on my thread, now GTFO. I don't buy systems very often, and I wanted it to work for a long time. WoW is my main game, but it ain't the whole story.
April 9, 2008 4:29:38 AM

to plunky : Agreed.
Buying computer very often is stupid. I have only 2 computers at home and I buy a complete new system after seeing if a new windows or OS come on the market and if they need a new spesification to run it properly. So my old system was D805 then I've replaced it with E4300 (after 4 years) then because someone has bought this system I have bought a new one with E3110 (after 1 year). The other one was AMD single core 3800+ then after 4 years X2 5200+ till now (I am thinking about buying X4 though)
!