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First home-build, feedback appreciated

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Anonymous
April 5, 2008 4:20:04 PM

I'm coming off a 6 month deployment and am getting a present for myself when I get back (less than a month now) and have been looking at things on newegg for the past few months and have came down to this:

PSU: Antec TPQ-850 ATX12V / EPS12V 850W
Mobo: EVGA NVIDIA nForce 790i
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600
CPU Heatsink/Fan: ZALMAN CNPS9700 LED 110mm 2 Ball CPU Cooler
Video Card: EVGA GeForce 9800 GTX(G92) 512MB
RAM: CORSAIR 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1333 SDRAM
Case: Antec 900
Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster SB0570 Audigy SE
Speakers: Logitech X-230 32 watts RMS 2.1
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache
Keyboard: Logitech G11
Mouse: Logitech G5
Monitor: Samsung 2253BW Black 22"
DVD Drive: Samsung SH-S203B

Comes out to around 2,000 which is the goal I had set before I started looking into my project. Any recommendations? Old computer is a XPS 400 that I'm giving to the wife so this isn't an upgrade. Reason for the mobo is I wanted one to support DDR3 1333 memory as well as have eSATA and Firewire ports for my external HD's. Biggest doubt I have is my PSU, would 650-700 W be enough or is 850 W perfect? Never one to overclock, I think this will be my first stab at it as well seeing as there's a lot of info on the Q6600 to overclock it safely.
April 5, 2008 4:45:33 PM

I'm gonna PM you.
April 5, 2008 5:07:11 PM

Well I thought I was, the net is slow at the moment... I'm deployed too.

Anywho something for you to bounce your build against to see what you like or dislike.

COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail ($84.99)

ASUS P5E LGA 775 Intel X38 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail ($224.99)

EVGA 512-P3-N841-AR GeForce 8800GTS (G92) 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail ($259.99)

ZALMAN ZM – 750 HP ATX12V / EPS12V 750W Power Supply - Retail ($189.99)

Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300 Yorkfield 2.5GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80580Q9300 - Retail ($299.99)

Kingston 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model KVR800D2N5K2/4G - Retail ($99.99) X 2 = $189.98

SAMSUNG SpinPoint T Series HD321KJ 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM ($69.99) X 2 = $139.98

LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner With 12X DVD-RAM Write Black SATA Model LH-20A1S - Retail ($29.99)

LITE-ON Black SATA DVD-ROM Drive Model DH-16D2S-04 - OEM ($17.99)

Microsoft Windows Vista 64-Bit Home Premium for System Builders Single Pack DVD - OEM ($99.99)

Total = $1,537.88

Related resources
Anonymous
April 5, 2008 5:23:09 PM

Oh yeah, forgot to put the OS: XP Pro 32-Bit (free from work)

Hmm, while looking for your mobo to check out the specs, I came across the ASUS P5E3 Deluxe which I actually like more than the one I listed in my build (everything pretty much the same except it has an extra eSATA port and is an Asus, which was something I didn't like about the one I planned on originally.

I was wrestling with whether or not to go for the Q9300, but seeing as how I still have a month left, I'm going to be keeping my eye on it and the reviews/testimonials that come out on it to see if I should go with it or not.

OT: Where are you deployed? I'm in Bahrain with the Navy.
April 5, 2008 5:28:27 PM

P5K-e is better.i heard the overclocking performance is not as good on the premium model.try it out yourself to proof me is im wrong or right.
April 5, 2008 5:33:17 PM

Ugh, the PM thing is driving me nuts over here, anyway I am in one of those well known "undisclosed locations" I'm near Saudi.
Anonymous
April 5, 2008 5:40:20 PM

Ahh, you're worse off than I am, stay safe dude.

Anyways, anyone have a recommendation on the Power Supply? Should I go lower or is 850W perfect?
April 5, 2008 7:02:47 PM

the second one seem to be more accurate.
Q6600+2GB DDR2+2 7200HDD+8800GTS
newegg come up with 581W
outervision come up with 351W
April 5, 2008 7:03:42 PM

Quote:
Ahh, you're worse off than I am, stay safe dude.

Anyways, anyone have a recommendation on the Power Supply? Should I go lower or is 850W perfect?


850W is future proof.if you can afford you should get 800W+ so you dont need to upgrade the PSu in the next 5 years or so.
April 6, 2008 4:37:06 PM

Ya I think newegg takes into account plugging in video cameras and joysticks and what not, and creates a "buffer" that way you don't need to buy something more than what newegg says, whereas with outervision it is more accurate but it is closer to your exact power usage. i bet though that a 650 will suit you nice at the specs that iluvgillgill posted and give you enough power to add HDD's later or something. but ya if you plan to buy another video card or something like that, 750 should still be way plenty though! And the zalman 750 sure is nice and has modular cabling i think.
April 6, 2008 4:53:29 PM

looks like a great build but you could save a ton of money and still get the same performance. I would stick with the q6600 but switch the mobo to gigabyte p35-ds3l and put in a 2x2 gig ram kit by crucial. ddr3 is good but not for the current price.
April 6, 2008 5:34:30 PM

^ Agreed.

My recommendations:
Q6600/Q9300(if possible)
P35-DS3R/P35-P5K (imo, no need for SLI or DDR3 for now)
Corsair 520HX or PP&C 610
2GB+ DDR2 800 RAM from good manufacture (ie, Crucial, Corsair, Patriot)
Everything else the same.
April 6, 2008 5:37:17 PM

iluvgillgill said:
850W is future proof.if you can afford you should get 800W+ so you dont need to upgrade the PSu in the next 5 years or so.

Not quite true. Remember you have to account for capacitor aging too. Depending on the PSU quality and working temperatures, load, etc, capacitor aging can be anywhere from 10% to 50% or so. I generaly replace PSU every build unless its less than 2.5 years old.
April 6, 2008 9:32:07 PM

i got a psu lasted 5 years and its still working.its a 550w PSU.and a build a pc for a friend a year ago. and the PSU let go on him.so really depend on brand which normally reflect the quality.a psu should last at least 3 years for normal use.

i wonder how long the PSU last for TG and all the other review website.that everytime the PC is turn on and it will run at 100% CPU and GPU load for benchmark and what not!:D 
Anonymous
April 7, 2008 5:02:53 AM

Wow, love the feedback so far. I've surfed this site quite a bit in the past for research and referencing but finally decided to sign up for this build. Thanks so far, I'm looking into all the recommendations now to see if I can change anything.

After using several power calculators 700W looks like it'd be just fine so if I can find a good 700W/750W PSU I'll use that instead.

Probably should have mentioned this earlier. I'll probably upgrade components individually every 2 years or so, and swap the current stuff I have to my wife's not-as-up-to-date desktop, so 5 years is a stretch for some of those parts, especially when they get taken out of my computer and put into hers which isn't going to be running as intense. When I did the aging, I did calculate it for 40%.

Other thing, with the mobo, the reason I chose that one was it was the only one within my price expectancy that supported DDR3 as well as having rear eSATA ports for my 1 TB's, but would DDR2 1066 be fast enough for most operations? My current XPS has 4 512 MB sticks of 533MHz, so I don't know how much the increase would be, just that DDR3 is gonna be the new standard so I was thinking of stepping in that direction now.
EDIT: Just thought of it now, but the 9800 GTX uses a PCI Express 2.0 x16 and the Gigabyte mobo's recommended don't have that capablity, although I did find this one:
MSI P7N Diamond LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Just not sure how well MSI mobo's are compared to for example Asus, which I've heard nothing but good reviews on.

Also was planning on changing over to the Q9300 for the faster FSB but if I'm going with DDR2 1066 memory the Q6600 would be fine, still uncertain on it.
April 7, 2008 3:47:44 PM

^ For RAM DDR2 800 is more than enough. Most DDR2 1060 RAM is just factory OCed DDR2 800. DDR3 is not needed now. When Nehalm comes out you will NEED new motherboard/CPU any way along with DDR3, and by that time DDR3 prices would have fallen. PCIe x16 2.0 is backward compatible with PCIe x16 1.x. Current GPUs don't even come close to using up the PCIe 1.x bandwidth. The 780i chipset is not matured enough at the current time.
April 8, 2008 9:45:06 AM

Don't know what happened to my account, but this is the original poster again.

Thanks, Shadow, that was the answer on the GPU I was hoping for. I've altered my original setups posts a little and this should be my final setup:

Case: Antec 900 $120
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Mobo: ASUS P5KC, $139
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600, $249
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CPU Cooler: Zalman 9700, $50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM: 2 (1GBx2) Corsair Dominator 240 Pin DDR2 1066, $89
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GPU: NVIDIA 9800 GTX, $330
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PSU: PC Power & Cooling S75QB EPS12V 750W, $160
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 750GB 32MB Cache, $150
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
DVD Drive: Samsung SH-S203B, $28
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Monitor: Samsung 2253BW Black 22", $270
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Sound: Creative Sound Blaster SB0570 Audigy SE, $30
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Speakers: Logitech X-230 32 watts RMS, $39
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Keyboard: Logitech G11, $59
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Mouse: Logitech G5, $32
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
OS: Windows XP Pro 32-Bit, FREE

Total: ~$1750
April 8, 2008 2:21:11 PM

Two things I noticed for your configuration if you go with the MSI P7N Diamond LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI ATX MOBO

1) the MSI MOBO has the Creative X-Fi CA0110-IBG audio chip. Save some money and use the onboard audio. I doubt you would be able to hear a difference with those cheap speakers anyways.

2) Lose the substandard speakers and get some Klipsch pro media speakers. You will then Rock the House. I consistently get complements on the sound quality of mine surpassing others home stereos (clearly they do not have elaborate home setups ;) 
http://www.klipsch.com/products/lists/computer-speakers...


3) The hard drive is the slowest part of your computer. A cheap speed boost that will more than compensate slow RAM vs fast RAM at equal densities. The MSI MOBO has the ability to do RAID. You will see a huge bump in performance by running RAID 0. This will require a second hard drive of the same size as the first. I recommend going with a matched pair. The Raid 0 config will double the chance of a hard drive failure but will also double your hard drive space and almost double your hard drive access speed. This is big when performing video editing or anything else that uses the hard drive a lot.

If you are worried about the increased potential of a hard drive failure wiping out your system either keep a backup on one of those tera-drives (BounceBack works well) or do a Raid 0 + 1.

A RAID 0+1 will require 4 drives and you will not see the space from two of them. The only advantage over RAID 0 is that you will be protected from a hard drive failure wiping out your system.
A good article on RAID:
http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/07/02/raid_scaling_cha...

Good luck,

www.themousejockey.com
April 8, 2008 2:25:47 PM

Two things I noticed for your configuration if you go with the MSI P7N Diamond LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI ATX MOBO

1) the MSI MOBO has the Creative X-Fi CA0110-IBG audio chip. Save some money and use the onboard audio. I doubt you would be able to hear a difference with those cheap speakers anyways.

2) Lose the substandard speakers and get some Klipsch pro media speakers. You will then Rock the House. I consistently get complements on the sound quality of mine surpassing others home stereos (clearly they do not have elaborate home setups ;) 
http://www.klipsch.com/products/li [...] akers.aspx


3) The hard drive is the slowest part of your computer. A cheap speed boost that will more than compensate slow RAM vs fast RAM at equal densities. The MSI MOBO has the ability to do RAID. You will see a huge bump in performance by running RAID 0. This will require a second hard drive of the same size as the first. I recommend going with a matched pair. The Raid 0 config will double the chance of a hard drive failure but will also double your hard drive space and almost double your hard drive access speed. This is big when performing video editing or anything else that uses the hard drive a lot.

If you are worried about the increased potential of a hard drive failure wiping out your system either keep a backup on one of those tera-drives (BounceBack works well) or do a Raid 0 + 1.

A RAID 0+1 will require 4 drives and you will not see the space from two of them. The only advantage over RAID 0 is that you will be protected from a hard drive failure wiping out your system.
A good article on RAID:
http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/0 [...] ng_charts/

Good luck,

www.themousejockey.com
April 8, 2008 7:38:47 PM

Well, time to change the mobo again. Read more on both of them and they both had RAM problems, as well as the MSI one having numerous problems on first bootup and flashing. Think I'm going to go with this one for the same price.
GIGABYTE GA-EP35C-DS3R LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Dynamic Energy Saver Ultra Durable II Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Not any significant problems with it except for PATA/IDE and PS/2 interfaces which won't apply to me anyway.
And for board compatibility, RAM:
OCZ SLI-Ready Edition 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Now another mobo that caught my interest was the GIGABYTE GA-EX38-DS4 LGA 775 Intel X38 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Anyone here have experience with it and can comment on it?

Also should I still stick with onboard audio for those boards and get the Klipsch sound system or is it back to the Creative card?
April 8, 2008 7:55:31 PM

^ I recommend you get DDR2 800 RAM, many motherboards (notably the P35-DS3x/DS4x boards) seems to have problems with RAM natively clocked above DDR2 800 (unless they are in the QVL list).
April 9, 2008 3:11:12 AM

I noticed that problem mainly while reading about the ASUS and MSI motherboards, not really with the GIGABYTE ones, but ok. Good change on the motherboards? Looking forward to the board after reading about its capabilities and options. ^_^
April 9, 2008 7:27:29 AM

Ahh, now I see what you meant Shadow, even @ DDR2 800 with Dual Channel I can reach the 1333 FSB of a good motherboard, doh! I'll just look for 800 w/ better timings. Thanks a lot.

BTW, the OCZ RAM for that board was in the QVL, so would that be straight then? Or would you still suggest just getting DDR2 800 w/ better timings?
April 9, 2008 10:57:41 AM

With latest changes (motherboard, RAM, and speakers)

Case: Antec 900 $120
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-EP35C-DS3R LGA 775 Intel P35 Dynamic Energy Saver Ultra Durable II, $139
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600, $249
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CPU Cooler: Zalman 9700, $50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
RAM: Crucial Ballistix Tracer 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 4-4-4-12, $61
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
GPU: NVIDIA 9800 GTX, $330
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PSU: PC Power & Cooling S75QB EPS12V 750W, $160
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 500GB 32MB Cache, $110
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
DVD Drive: Samsung SH-S203B, $28
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Monitor: Samsung 2253BW Black 22", $270
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Sound: Creative Sound Blaster SB0570 Audigy SE, $30 ?? (Need this?)
http://www.amazon.com/Klipsch-ProMedia-Certified-Comput...
Speakers: Klipsch Pro Media 2.1 Sound, $124
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Keyboard: Logitech G11, $59
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Mouse: Logitech G5, $32
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
OS: Windows XP Pro 32-Bit, FREE

Total: ~$1762 [just $12 more w/ the Klipsch :) ]
April 9, 2008 12:24:52 PM

^ Will check it out now and post again once its complete. Now to just wait another month :(  Its driving me crazy, I can't wait to put this thing together and try it out! Have my calender marked on the day I can order my parts and will stay up all night the day I get back from deployment with it, lol.

BTW: Thanks for all the feedback, helped out a lot. :) 
April 9, 2008 9:42:43 PM

Good luck. For a little bit more help on the actual assembling checkout:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/forum2.php?config=tom...
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/forum2.php?config=tom...

A few pointers:

1. Take necessary ESD precautions

2. Inspect the parts for damage when you open them, if damaged return it and say it was a DOA (dead on arrival) part

3. If something doesn't fit nicely DON'T FORCE IT! (mainly RAM, CPU,etc)

4. Use the motherboard spacers (most new builders forget this)

5. Double check your work, cables (esp front panel USB), and all connections

6.If you run in to problems just ask for help on the Forums here, or PM me

7. Keep the cables away from fan,etc and the cables organized

8. When installing case fans make sure the air is flowing the way you wan to (remember not to try and create a vacuume effect, in other words don't make fans work against each other), if not just flip the fan

9. HAVE FUN! :) 
April 10, 2008 12:29:09 AM

Few Notes:

1. Zalman's site doesn't list quads as being officially supported on the 9700's; I'm not quite sure what to make of that. The 8700 does list quads but the 8700 didn't make the grade here:

http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3279&p=4

This was the winner in Tom's test

http://www.tomshardware.com/2008/02/20/cpu_cooler_chart...

And I haven't seen anything beat it yet in a side by side comparison. Of course it has a bit of an unfair edge having an additional under the CPU socket heatsink.

2. The monitor is fine for gaming but if you gonna do anything else where color accuracy is important, I'd suggest not getting a TN panel. The Lenovo 200x is a S-PVA panel which gives much better color accuracy. It's about $160 more but the Lenovo also has 1920 x 1200 resolution which is good for HDTV and connection to console games.

3. If you doing SLI, I'd prefer the Asus Striker II Extreme based preliminary reviews. I also like the little riser card thingie on the Asus boards for sound which would allow you to skip on a separate sound card.. However, I'd pair it with the Asus vid cards too. If you dead set on the EVGA video, I'd stay with single source tech support and get the EVGA MoBo. I assume you thinking on a second 9800GTX someday or why SLI ?

If you are thinking someday going to a 2nd vid card, check the list here for acceptable PSU's for twin 9800GTX's

http://www.slizone.com/object/slizone_build_psu.html

The 850 will work with twin 8800's

If you not doing SLI, then I'd go with "Sauron's MoBo".

http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3229



April 10, 2008 5:48:48 AM

@ Shadow, thanks for the links and pointers, I had a whole build guide compiled from multiple sources, but then my little 40GB external I keep everything on had to be reformatted and no software I had could get it back, so that'll be good to have, especially since they're tomshardware links. ESD is a major concern for me, seeing as I've never thought about it before when I worked on my previous XPS (luckily I never had a problem with it) and as read on another thread, I'll assemble the main parts on a cardboard box outside the case to make sure I can at least boot properly before assembling the rest in the case. Also wanted to thank you on the offer for help, after its assembled I'll post some pictures up (assuming it all works without a hitch) and maybe ask for some help in testing everything to make sure its running at full specs.

@ JackNaylorPE, I'm scrubbing the 9700, and looking into something else (checking out the pro's of the top 3 on frostytech). I'm mainly using it for gaming, I'm not HD crazed atm (don't even own an HDTV or PS3 [yet!]) and will just be using 1 9800 for now. Need to at least "update" my wifes computer before I can upgrade mines anymore ;)  (the case from the XPS has crappy airflow and everything runs pretty high in temp, RAM could also be upgraded, overall about a $300 project keeping the other stuff like my 7800 GTX since the only games she really play are Guild Wars and Counter Strike Source). By that time I'd re-evaluate what I currently have since the market and prices will have changed dramatically by then.
April 10, 2008 3:32:57 PM

ainokea said:
checking out the pro's of the top 3 on frostytech


The problem with most Top Ten listings is that I can't seem to find one site that lists all of the coolers on the market. Frosty hasn't tested the IFX-14 for example.....but on other site's I have seen it outperform the top ones on their list.

Though, frankly I am a bit perplexed by Frostytech's site as their "Top 5 Lists" have 10 items in them indicating to me at least that they "ain't to good with the math thing" :) 
April 10, 2008 6:22:21 PM

ainokea said:
@ Shadow, thanks for the links and pointers, I had a whole build guide compiled from multiple sources, but then my little 40GB external I keep everything on had to be reformatted and no software I had could get it back, so that'll be good to have, especially since they're tomshardware links. ESD is a major concern for me,
........

If ESD is a real concern get a ESD mat,wristband,etc. They are about $10 or so for a mat/wristband. See:
http://www.microcenter.com/search/search_results.phtml?...
or any other site.

Just remember to ground your self (touch PC case) before touching any thing if you don't want to buy a anti static mat. I use one since I build PCs (for family,friends, etc for $) quite often so it was worth the investment for me.
April 10, 2008 11:03:54 PM

Hope ya don't mind Ainokea, but I am gonna use your system to build my own..it looks real good!
April 12, 2008 5:59:22 AM

@ Raxus, No sweat, that's a big compliment for me. I spent so many hours and revised my build list so many times to get the numbers and specs right, if it helps someone else out that's an even bigger payoff. If you build it before mid-May, please PM me to tell me how it works out for you as I won't be able to build mine until then. Oh yeah, for the CPU cooler I switched it out for the Xigmatek HDT-S1283. Its about $13 dollars cheaper (put some towards getting AS-5) and performs better than the 9700.

@ Shadow, I am worried about ESD but I plan on building it on my dining table or kitchen countertop (already have a spray bottle to mist the opposite side of the room) and can get a ESD strap from work.

Thanks!
!