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Need some help/advice with my new gaming build

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Last response: in Systems
April 19, 2008 10:12:46 PM

Well I am looking to create a fairly high end gaming rig in the next month or so and I have been doing some research as to the best setup. I will be using this rig for fairly intensive gaming applications (Crysis, Oblivion, etc.) and so I am looking for a system that will perform well at near maxed settings (if possible) at 1920x1200 resolution. Just looking for some thoughts as to anything I should look into changing around. Current build idea:

  • Case: Thermaltake Armor Series VA8000BWS
  • Mobo: EVGA LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 780i
  • Video Card(s): 2x EVGA GeForce 8800GT 512
  • PS: Thermaltake W0116RU
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600
  • RAM: 2x G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) (with this I am torn as to whether I should stick with DDR2 800 or upgrade to DDR2 1066. Since I am planning on using 32-bit vista ultimate edition I believe I can only utilize 4GB max unless I am mistaken.)
  • HDD: Western Digital Raptor 150GB
  • Secondary HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 250GB
  • Monitor: SAMSUNG 2493HM Glossy Black 24"
  • After market cooling: ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro

    This build is currently sitting at around $2000, and though I am willing to spend that much if there are any suggestions for getting similar performance for a smaller price tag I would greatly appreciate it. I am not an expert overclocker, but I was planning on at least OCing my processor to around 3.0-3.2 GHz which I believe has been done fairly easily with the Freezer 7 Pro.

    Any suggested changes or just general advice would be greatly appreciated!

  • More about : advice gaming build

    April 20, 2008 1:30:34 AM

    Everything good as is. You might consider using 2x2 ram sticks instead of 4x1, just to leave room for possible future upgrade. Also consider Q9450 if you're willing to spend a little more. Keep in mind 780i reliably oc its fsb to 1600mhz, which is 3.6ghz in Q6600 and 3.2 in Q9450. If you oc just right, you'll be able to do better.
    April 20, 2008 6:53:24 AM

    I appreciate the feedback thus far, and I am definitely going to go for the 2x2 for ram. I am still curious as to whether people think getting 1066 ram vs 800 is worth the money or not performance wise.

    Also, about the CPU, I know that the Q6600 is going to be dropping in price, and the Q6700 (10x multiplier i believe) is also supposedly dropping down into my price range. My question is, if I was to "upgrade" from the Q6600 would it be better to get the Q6700 (for the higher multiplier and overclockability) or the Q9450 (for the 45nm tech and cooler temps/energy efficiency)?

    Also, very newbie question, do you think I can fit my current setup in a mid tower case, or do you think I should stick with a full tower? I have been going back and forth between them as I am not really sure what I'll need.

    One last question is whether or not it would be worth spending the extra money to upgrade from 2x 8800GT 512 cards to something else. From what I can tell, the only real differences between the 8800GT 512 card and the 8800GTS 512 or even the 9800 GTX 512 are an upgrade to 128 vs 112 stream processors and slightly faster GPU memory and core clock speeds. With the 8800GT being such a great deal, I just don't know if I can justify spending a great deal more money on something that won't give a decent performance boost.

    Any opinions, comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated, thank you!
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    April 20, 2008 1:34:06 PM

    Which cpu can oc higher depends on what motherboard you use. X38/48
    can oc their fsb so high that it effectively takes multiplier out of
    the equation. Therefore, X9450 will oc the highest among the three
    since it has the least heat problems. On lesser chipset boards, Q6700
    will likely win out due to its higher multiplier. Basically, if
    motherboard is bottleneck, Q6700 does better, if the cpu itself is
    bottleneck, Q9450 does better.

    G92 8800gt and 9800gtx's g92 are also binned higher and come with
    better coolers, thus allowing higher overclocks. But yes, 8800gt is
    still the best bang for the buck.
    April 21, 2008 1:46:07 AM

    excellent, thanks again for the response, dagger. Does anyone have any insight as to the 800/1066 RAM question or the full/mid tower question?

    I think i'm going to stick with the 780i board, since I believe my system will be more likely to bottleneck in the GPU for gaming purposes if I wasn't able to utilize SLI.
    April 21, 2008 2:56:59 PM

    Saccerdude24 said:
    excellent, thanks again for the response, dagger. Does anyone have any insight as to the 800/1066 RAM question or the full/mid tower question?

    I think i'm going to stick with the 780i board, since I believe my system will be more likely to bottleneck in the GPU for gaming purposes if I wasn't able to utilize SLI.

    800mhz ddr2 is best bang for the buck right now. If you want 1066mhz ddr2, be careful, some models are just factory overclocked 800mhz models, and will default back to 800mhz after installation if not set manually.

    780i is a decent overclocker, and perform as well as p35. Keep in mind Nvidia makes far better graphics card now, but later it may change, as Nvidia and ATI historically took turns as graphics leader. X38/48 supports Crossfire.
    April 21, 2008 7:35:37 PM

    *prepare for wall of text*

    Well, after doing a bunch of reading and research in different areas I have come up with a secondary build idea that allows me to shave off a bit over $500 from my original build idea. I would love any opinions about my new build, as well as how it might compare to my original idea.

    New Build:

  • Case: COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 ATX Mid Tower $54
  • Mobo: ASUS P5E X38 $225
  • Graphics: EVGA GeForce 9800 GTX(G92) 512MB $299
  • Power: PCP&C S75QB 750W $150
  • Processor: Intel Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz $240
  • RAM: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) $75
  • HDD: 2x Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 250GB in RAID 0 $130
  • Monitor: SAMSUNG 2253BW Black 22" $299
  • DVD Drive: Pioneer 20X DVD±R DVD Burner $27
  • Cooling: ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro $32

  • Total system cost: ~$1544

  • Original system cost (posted above): ~$2056

    Now my reasons for some of the changes were due to some articles on Anandtech along with a bunch of reading on this forum and others. I've heard that SLI really is only worth it at 1920x1200+ resolutions, and that even then the performance increases often don't justify the huge increase in cost. In addition, with the coming of new Intel video technology, along with the changing computer world in general, I don't know if its really a wise investment.

    For the Raptor hard drive, I read that the performance boost over 2 newer Seagate drives in RAID 0 was minimal.

    As for full/mid tower, I'm really still not sure. I might end up going with a full tower just for the increased airflow capability considering I'm planning on doing some semi-serious overclocking. (looking to get my Q6600 up to around the 3.4-3.6 range, run my memory at tight timings, and maybe look into clocking the GPU as well.)

    I changed down to the 22" monitor from the 24" since I'll be perfectly happy to game at 1680 resolutions. By doing that, I was able to change out the 780i board for the X38, and get a single 9800 GTX instead of using SLI. As for the power supply change, I read that the PCP&C PSU's are excellent.

    My questions now are (assuming you just survived my new wall of text):

    1) Does this system look like it will run well as a whole? (no obvious bottlenecks?)
    2) Is any part really overkill for what I want to do with the system?
    3) Any general opinions on matters

    April 21, 2008 8:24:11 PM

    System looks good. No obvious bottlenecks, and everything looks fairly balanced. But keep in mind 9800gtx only perform slightly better than a single g92 8800gts, and is not the best value right now. The single 9800gtx perform far below 2x8800gt in both low and high resolutions, it's just in low resolution, the fps is so high with either one that it doesn't make a noticable difference.

    There have been no official 3870 price drop, but stores have been dropping them unofficially recently due to poor sales. Now, you can get 2 for $320, or $260 after mail in rebate. At this price, it gives Nvidia a run for best value in Crossfire. Or you can spend a little more on a single 3870x2 card to leave room for possible quad Crossfire.
    April 21, 2008 11:47:01 PM

    hmm, I think I may just get a single 8800gt instead of the 9800gtx. Here's my logic:

    - According to anandtech's benchmark studies, the 8800gt only loses out by 8-10 fps when compared to the 9800gtx, and as you said, dagger, these frame rates are so high already that it wouldnt make a huge difference.

    - I can get the 8800gt for $189 ($159 after rebates) and so I shave off another $110 ($140) from my system, bringing the price down to a comfortable $1434 ($1404).

    - Since there are some nice new cards slated for the upcoming months, I can spend that saved money towards them in the future if necessary.