New System Build, not built a PC since 2004 so any help would be great

Hi I have not built a PC since 2004 so I’ve spent the last few weeks cramming on the latest hardware and software developments. I’m hoping to build a system that will have future proofing but not need an upgrade in the next year or two. Also it has to run games like BF2142, Company of Heroes and be ready for DX10 games. In addition I need it for 2D/3D rendering work in various graphics programs so I’ve tried to go for Quad core, plus as much fast RAM as I can afford. I'm not really intending to overclock as I've never done it before, but I’ve read it is much easier now.
System as follows:

Intel Core 2 Quad Pro Q6600 Kensfield "Energy Efficient SLACR 95W Edition" 2.40GHz (1066FSB)
Gigabyte GA-X38-DS5
BFG GeForce 8800 GTS OC 512MB GDDR3 HDTV/Dual DVI PCIe2.0
Core 675MHz Memory 1940MHz
Corsair Dominator 2x 2GB 1066MHz
Coolmaster Real Power 700W modular
Coolermaster Elite 330 Midi Tower case
Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 500GB SATA-II 32MB Cache – OEM
Samsung SH-S203PBEBN 20x DVD±RW SATA Dual Layer Lightscribe ReWriter (Black) - OEM
Samsung SM2232BW – 22” native resolution 1680x1050
Vista Ultimate 64 OEM

Aprox: £1130

1. Is the graphics card a reliable make? and is a GTS OC better than an GT OC? Is the performance gain worth the cost?

2. Is Vista a reliable OS now as I have read a lot of negative rumours since its release? Did SP1 solve most of the problems? Seems to work well with games now drives are optimised for it

3. Is upgrading to a 64 bit OS it a good move at this time? And is Vista 64 or XP 64 the one to go for? I assume 32 bit programs are supported in some way within both options by an “emulator” of some sort.

4. Will a 700W PSU be enough?

5. I decided I wouldn’t go for an SLI motherboard as the GeForce 7 series seemed to have a few bugs still and the ASUS and MSI boards I researched seemed picky about what memory they would accept. I only looked at the 7 series as it is the only SLI chipset with 1066MHz RAM option. Did I make the right call on this?

6. What are my chances of getting all this working? Do you have any advice (or advice URL’s you have come across) that would help me avoid any major construction pit falls?

7. Overall what do you think of the system? Will it fit the specification?

Thanks for considering my system so far. Any thoughts you can contribute would be a great help.
5 answers Last reply
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  1. Looks like a good build to me.

    1. IMO the GTS is a worthy buy. You can't go wrong with the G92 GT or GTS though.

    2. I'm just about to load Vista 64 onto a new box myself. Most of the opinions I've seen at an OC forum that I frequent indicate that it's a solid OS. I've seen mixed reviews in the PC media but you know how the media loves to stir the pot. I think it will be fine.

    3. Yeah, 64 bit is a good move. It leaves you open for the future not only as far as 64bit apps go but with the option to increase memory to as much as 8GB.

    4. Yes. Should be plenty of PSU.

    5. I think you chose a solid mobo.

    6. As long as you don't screw it up then it should work fine. :D What kind of advice are you looking for? Just google "How to build a PC" or something if you're feeling unsure...there are lots of pictorial tutorials out there...nice rhyme.

    7. Looks like a good system that should serve you well and still has room for expansion if desired.

  2. Agreed on psu. Pick out a tier 1/2/3:

    No no no, cpu FSB doesn't have to match RAM speed. The Corsair Dominator will run at 533Mhz. In other words, it'll be a waste. Since you're not overclocking the cpu, you can get by with 533mhz ram. Since 800mhz costs about the same, you might as well get PC2-6400.

    Vista is inevitable because Microsoft will discontinue support for XP either this summer or next one if the petition for extending the support goes through. BTW, they're doing Windows 7. In other words, pick up a Vista 32/64 Home Premium right now since you're buying a pc & you can get a discount on Vista.
  3. Thanks for replying.
    I had hadn’t considered quality issues with power supplies before; well nothing beyond price or weight. From the list you linked too, the Coolmaster Real Power is considered a tier 4. After doing some reading around I found a similar list that only recommends Coolmaster Real Power Pro 1000W as a tier 3, with no mention of anything lower.
    So how big a difference is there between tiers and how reliable are these lists, as some items contradict others? Should I go with the most recent list? How do they determine a power supplies tier level? If I do get the Coolmaster Real Power 700W will I regret it?

    From these two reviews the PSU does not show any serious flaws and seems solid enough. Am I missing something?

    As for the RAM, I chose the Corsair Dominator 2x 2GB 1066MHz for two reasons:
    1. Corsair seemed to be the most compatible RAM brand (according to the Corsair RAM compatibility search)
    2. With the MB RAM speed rated at 1066MHz I thought RAM of an equal speed would take advantage of that. Is this speed considered an overclocking option only for DDR2, even when the MB states it will use it?
    So is my RAM a poor choice?

    Having had a look around the Overclocking forums I see the Q6600 Kensfield O stepping features in a lot of OC system designs. If I did try to overclock my system would the motherboard and PSU as I currently have them listed produce a worth while and stable performance gain? Or would I have to radically rethink my systems component choices? (I realize I would have to get something better than the standard CPU cooler )

    I had some doubts about my graphics card choice, as the nVidia 9800 series is gradually being released. But I’m feeling more confident now having read that the 9800 is just an OC 8800 with better drivers.,review-30590-14.html
    So an OC 8800GTS 512MB should be fine for the near future. Am I right or have I missed some vital info?

    My question about building the system really referred to any info you may have or know of, about PC building. For instance are their any tests I should run during construction or do I just put it all together and flick the power on? What is the procedure for installing Vista 64? Or should I just google or read instillation documentation?
  4. If you can get a GTS for under $250, go for it. 800mhz RAM is fine and will save you money or allow you to go to 8gb, which might be useful for rendering work. For a PSU, consider this corsair
    It has plenty of amps, and you won't need any more watts than what it supplies.

    As for Vista 64, I sure hope it works good because I'm getting my copy tommorow, along with extra 2gb of memory and a 640gb hard drive to put it on :)
  5. We're not saying other parts won't work. They will. But wouldn't you want something that lasts a long time? Hence, we look for price & quality.

    X38 & X48 are a waste if they're not overclocked. You can run them at stock speeds, but it'll be a waste. If you want a stock pc, why not a Dell? Your new stock pc won't be light years away from Dell's with similar parts. However, once you overclock, your new pc will be miles away from Dell's, HP's, IBM's stock pcs. The other difference is quality. You get to pick out the quality parts for your pc.

    Overclocking is running a part beyond its specs. If you run 1066mhz ram at 1066mhz, it's not overclocking. Some newbies would disagree. Well, they're beginners. The tricky part is getting the ram to run at 1066mhz while keeping your cpu at stock. My suggestion still stands: Q6600 + DDR2-800. Why?

    9 x 400 = 3.6ghz

    That's the highest stable speed Q6600 can go on air. So:

    400 x 2 = 800mhz

    The fastest ram the Q6600 will need to max out at 3.6ghz is 800mhz. That brings back to my original suggestion of ram. That's pushing the envelope. You want safe. Try:

    333 x 9 = 2997 or 3ghz

    That's what most Q6600 overclockers do on air cooling. Then:

    333 x 2 = 666mhz

    Any capable ram will run at 666mhz. If you buy 1066mhz ram, you can try:

    333 x 3 = 999mhz

    That's about the max the ram will run at stably. Yup, it will make a difference in your apps & games. But will that difference be worth it? Only you can decide.

    The mobo manual touches on building a pc. Read through the chapter. Then print this out:

    The minimum you should do is set up boot order in bios to boot from cd/dvd 1st.
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