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Please critique this gaming rig

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April 25, 2008 4:23:57 PM

Hello all! I am in need of some opinions on how this gaming rig will look/perform. Please leave any comments on what would work best with the set up I have in mind or if I need to make any hardware changes, and please explain why.

Budget: $600-900 ($1000 is kind of a stretch for my wallet, but I might make it happen). I want to get a computer set up for Age of Conan and WAR:o nline. Does Vista OS effect gameplay performance at all?


Motherboard: XFX nForce 680i LT SLI Motherboard (does this MoBo have two PCI-e 2.0, or just one?)
Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Processor 2.40GHz OEM
RAM: OCZ 4096MB PC6400 DDR2 Memory (2 x 2048MB)
HDD: Maxtor 100GB (from old comp)
PSU: OCZ / GameXStream / 700-Watt / ATX / 120mm Fan / -SATA Ready / SLI Ready / EPS / Active PFC / Power Supply

GPU: I have a few I'm interested in and will probably purchase two of the same one and SLI.

-EVGA GeForce 8800 GT Video Card - 512MB DDR3, PCI Express 2.0, SLI Ready, (Dual Link) Dual DVI, HDTV, Video Card

-XFX GeForce 8800 GS Video Card - 384MB DDR2, PCI Express 2.0, SLI Ready, (Dual Link) Dual DVI, HDTV, Video Card

-XFX GeForce 9600 GT Video Card - 512MB GDDR3, PCI Express 2.0, SLI Ready, (Dual Link) Dual DVI, HDTV, Video Card

XFX GeForce 8800 GS XXX Video Card - Alpha Dog Edition, 384MB DDR3, PCI Express 2.0, SLI Ready, (Dual Link) Dual DVI, HDTV, Video Card

-XFX GeForce 8800 GT Video Card - Alpha Dog Edition, FREE Company of Heroes PC Game, 512MB DDR3, PCI Express 2.0, SLI Ready, (Dual Link) Dual DVI, HDTV, HDCP, Video Card


-In need of a good CPU cooler. I've never over-clocked before, but if it can enhance my gaming performance, please recommend a cooler to OC.
-What are your opinions on Vista? I'm conflicted with whether or not to invest in this OS because I hear it has a lot of bugs. Will having Vista enhance my gaming in any way?
-The 4GB of RAM will probably be necessary if I were to use Vista, but if I used XP, would you recommend I still get 4GB RAM?
-The MoBo is XFX. Will Non-XFX GPU's work well with the MoBo, or would you recommend going pure XFX?
-Do you think I should wait a month or two to see if new computer hardware comes out, thus lowering the prices of the hardware I just listed?
-Is PCI-e and PCI-e 2.0 the same as PCI-e X 16?
-What is the difference between 680i SLi LT vs the 750i SLi FTW? The the price disparity because the 680i comes with one PCI-e 2.0 slot (does it come w/ one or two?) versus the 750i which has two PCI-e 2.0 slots. They both look the same to me.

I apologize for such a long post. This is the first time building a computer and I just want to get everything perfect!

I appreciate any assistance and feedback! Thank you!

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April 25, 2008 4:52:33 PM

For the Graphics card option I would not pick any of those. I would rather suggest the MSI 8800GT. I own it and I have no regrets. Cool and silent cant ask for more....maybe longer warranty.
April 25, 2008 4:55:16 PM

I'll definitely look into all your suggestions. Appreciate the comments.
April 25, 2008 4:58:51 PM

Hi Evongugg,
XFX is a brand. Nvidia & ATI are the GPU makes of the processing chips. I personally am a huge fan of BFG video cards. They come with a lifetime warranty and it is a US company. they also make two of three versions of each card, Standard, OC, & OC2. Personally, you might want to look at the 8800 GT, which runs cooler and faster than the GS, as it has a newer GPU chip.

I will try to answer all of your questions.

Overclocking the CPU, yes this will make your games run faster, but on a Q6600 2.4 overclocked to 3.0 ghz.. I am not sure you will notice much difference. Your only bottle neck is going to be the GPU. (Overlocking components can cause damage and shorten their lifespan.)

With Vista you can get Directx 10 support. Windows XP only supports Directx 9.0. However, you can upgrade the OS later if you want. There are only a few games, like Crysis which even support Directx 10. Not sure it is really worth it. DX9.0 looks great to me.

2GB of ram is more than enough. However, with prices so cheap, go for 4GB, even though you will only see about 3 gigs listed by Windows, as it is a 32 bit OS. (I bought 4 gigs this week, for myself)

Yes any GPU will work on the motherboard, as long as it is PCI-Express 1.0 or 2.0. No, PCI 2.0 is faster and has more bandwidth for the GPU slots, however, you will not reach your bandwidth limits with the above listed GPUs and this system.

I am not going to get into the chipsets, I don't know much about nvidias chip sets, and I don't feel like researching it for you. Just check ou the website. Based on your price limits, I think this is a no brainer...

I would also recommend you read some review on each of the questions you have asked and try to get educated. Tom's reviews are great learning tools, even thought they are always pushing the limits, and you are just building a gaming machine.

GL & Get vTec



April 25, 2008 6:31:24 PM

I second the call for the Xigmatek S1283 Rifle CPU Cooler.

You didn't mention a case in this build. If you are planning to purchase an aftermarket cooler, make sure that your case can fit the darned thing. My Lian-Li PC60 was able to fit the Xigmatek S1283 by a millimeter or 2...close!
April 26, 2008 3:24:58 AM

I've done some research and I am considering a completely different set up now.

Some of the new features:
MoBo: (Both intel X38) Asus P5E LGA $224.99 newegg
Abit IX38 Quad GT 219.99 newegg
CPU: Intel C2D E8400 Wolfdale 3.0Ghz $189.99 newegg
GPU: Option 1
(combo deal newegg)
Two BGH GeForce 880GT 512MB 256 GDDR3 + BFG PSU (650W)
Price: $429.97

Option 2 (will buy another one of this card for (169.99)
(combo deal newegg)
One EVGA GeForce 9600 GT 512MB 256 GDDR3 + RAIDMAX PSU (700W)
Price of combo: $244.98
Price of combo plus another EVGA GPU: like $415

My question is which will perform better SLi? The 8800GT or the 9600GT?
Also, how is my hardware starting to look? =)
For Option 1, will that PSU be enough wattage for running those two GPU's in SLi?
April 26, 2008 8:36:52 PM

Looks good, but the PSU's you chose are crap. RAIDMAX and BFG make terrible PSUs.

Also, you cannot do SLI on X38 only crossfire. You need to change the GTs to HD3870s
!