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Need a little advice on components

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May 29, 2008 5:57:45 PM

hello all, I have read the forum hoping to find some things and while I did find some things like the power supply calculator that tells me what wattage PS i need to get, some things I haven't found so please forgive me if I just missed them.

Now to the heart of my problem. I am about to upgrade my system with a new mobo, CPU, RAM and video card. I probably dont count as a super hardcore gamer but I do like to play world of warcraft, the sims and Microsoft flight simulator with some Unreal Tournament on the side. I'm currently looking at the following components and would appreciate any advice.

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

Motherboard - ASUS P5N-D LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 750i SLI ATX

RAM - Patriot Extreme Performance 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)

Video Card - EVGA 512-P3-N861-AR GeForce 9600 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready

Now the CPU and the video card I have researched fairly thoroughly and feel they meet my needs fine. My biggest questions really are with the motherboard and RAM. Is this considered a good motherboard and what others should I be looking at? As for the RAM this is my first time dealing with DDR2 and I notice that the CAS latency seems a little different than with DDR. Is a CAS of 4 considered good or what specs should I be looking for with that?

And while the PS calculator said I need to get between a 700-800W PS I'm really confused about the brands and what people think are good. In my current tower I had an Antec 550W Neo with only a fan on the bottom and no fan in the rear, was modular. It stopped working after a year. I put in a Thermaltake that has worked fine for 2 years now but has me wondering if Antec is still the good brand I thought or if I just got an unlucky bad PS. Also, I noticed while looking that many high end PS's have only 1 fan to them. Is this not the issue I thought it was and they cool well or should I be looking at a 2 fan PS? Also, is the number of rails it has important? I noticed several reviews on power supplies I was looking at it seemed hardcore users seem to prefer 1 rail but is that really the cae where 1 rail is best?

Any help is much appreciated.

More about : advice components

a c 105 ) Power supply
May 29, 2008 6:27:34 PM

First of all, plugging your proposed components into the PSU calculator at http://www.extreme.outervision.com/PSUEngine, I show a requirement of 280W before any overclocking. A quad-core CPU is still counted as a single socket. You don't want to run a PSU at or near max capacity for efficiency and longevity reasons, but a quality 450W-550W unit should be sufficient. Choose a model from tier-3 or better from the list at http://www.tomswiki.com/page/Tiered+PSU+Listings?t=anon.
A single fan in the PSU should be sufficient.
Although there can be advantages to a single strong rail (like no leftover capacity "stuck" on an under-used rail), for all practical intents and purposes, for a typical system it really doesn't matter.
I'm thinking that Asus is about to look either stupid or dishonest, depending on how their spat with Gigabyte turns out. That doesn't mean the latter is snowy white, but I'd choose a board from Gigabyte or Abit these days. An example of each would be GA-P35-DS3L or IP35-E.
May 29, 2008 7:15:05 PM

Yeah I had gotten 280w as well until I noticed the things for RAM, how many HD's and DVD burners I'd be using (2-4GB RAM and 2 HDD and 2 burners), and also budgested for a 2nd video card in SLI mode in case I wanted to upgrade and got a lil over 650w. One thing about the rail thing I'm not clear on is how many amps and stuff that delivers. I don't want to underpower things like my video card and such.

Oh one other thing on the RAM. I had heard 32 bit Win XP will only recognize up to 3GB RAM but recently heard this may not be true. If so would it be good to go ahead and put 4GB in and if so should I use 2x2Gb or 4x1GB?
Related resources
May 29, 2008 7:28:11 PM

wildkitten said:

Oh one other thing on the RAM. I had heard 32 bit Win XP will only recognize up to 3GB RAM but recently heard this may not be true. If so would it be good to go ahead and put 4GB in and if so should I use 2x2Gb or 4x1GB?

Oh it's true... just search the forums on that topic... MILLIONS of people ask "Where is my 4th GB?" It happens so often it's almost funny... almost.
a b ) Power supply
May 29, 2008 7:45:51 PM

I would recommend a GA-EP35-DS3L or GA-EP35-DS3R, and use the savings to upgrade the video to 8800GTS G92 512MB.
(Get the DS3R if you expect to have more than 3 hard disks.)

Get 4GB (2x2GB) if possible. This one works fine in the DS3L and DS3R, for example.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231122

The quad is a must for Flight Simulator. Learn to overclock, add a HDT-S1283 cooler, and you'll get a major improvement in that game.

A Corsair 550VX or OCZ StealthXStream 600W or Silencer 610W should be fine for this setup. The OCZ is on sale at newegg now.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341010
May 29, 2008 7:53:07 PM

i would say you should get a 680i mobo. i have heard that all the 50's are not so good( 650i,750i,) i have a bfg 680i and i love it. aevm is right about the psu.
May 29, 2008 8:00:14 PM

The nForce 750i no like. My choice would be P35, X38, x48 MB
If you dont plan on RAID choose Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L, if you can find one. I have reservations still about the GA-EP35-DS3L.
If you need RAID then GA-EP35-DS3P.
For your RAM I would go 2X-2gb for a total of 4. You will only address @ 3.5gb with XP 32bit but you will be in dual channel. If you put 3x-1gb you will be in single channel. (dual channel better)
Also if you dont want to mess with RAM voltages choose RAM that runs 1.8-1.9v @800mhz if choosing a Gigabyte board.
For a power supply for your system CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX 550W
May 29, 2008 8:11:29 PM

So running 4Gb (2x2GB) right now with 32 bit Win XP wont mess up the OS or cause errors even though all of it cant be addressed?

As far as the PS 600w should be ok with 2 HDD and 2 burners and even an upgrade with a second video card in SLI if i choose to go that way? I had been looking at the OCZ GameXStream OCZ700GXSSLI 700W but the 600w would be a definate savings.

Also what is considered the best chipset to look for on an Intel LGA 775 board? Seems like theres a lot and I'm sorta lost. Also I looked up the GA-EP35-DS3P because I like the 2 PCI-x 16x slots but it says the second slot runs at x4 and I thought to run SLI mode it needed both slots to run at x8?
a b ) Power supply
May 29, 2008 8:40:55 PM

No, not at all. I'm running XP 32 with 4 GB and have been for a year now. I just see 3.25, that's all. You'd see 3.5, because your graphics card has less RAM than mine. With two cards, you'd see 2.75GB or 3.25GB, it depends.

If you're going to add a second video card then get the 700W OCZ, or even better the Silencer 750W while it's still on sale at newegg. In this case you also need a SLI motherboard, so get back to the P5N-D. You can't use P35 (i.e. GA-EP35-DS3P) or X38 for two nVidia cards. You need 750i (e.g. P5N-D) or 780i (e.g. XFX 780i, eVGA 780i).
May 29, 2008 8:47:18 PM

Yeah the mobo I don't wanna skimp on to much since I may decide to upgrade to a higher end video card (hence why I'm getting the EVGA with their upgrade policy). Someone mentioned a possible flakiness with the 750i chipset. Is there something with them I should be concerned about and is the 780i worth the extra money over a 750i? And seems like that OCZ 700w will be the PS i want.
May 29, 2008 8:57:53 PM

If you go 2xGPU then you need more amps. CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W
That PSU might be a little over kill but you wont go wrong esp at $109.
The best chipset is x48 then x38 and P35.
Intel chip sets do not support SLI. ( dual nvidia cards) 1 nvidia card NP
Does support Crossfire. (dual ATI cards).

FYI:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/x48-790i-chipset,19...
a b ) Power supply
May 29, 2008 9:03:38 PM

The 780i allows 3 video cards instead of just two, that's the biggest difference. You won't benefit from it anyway because 9600GT or 8800GTS don't support Triple SLI.

If you're sure you want two video cards but don't trust nVidia's chipsets, then your other option is an X38 or X48 motherboard with two AMD cards in Crossfire. For example P5E X38 or aBit IX38 QuadGT or GA-EX38-DS4 or GA-EX48-DS4, with a HD 3870 or HD 3870X2 for now, and adding a second card later (which can be HD 3870, HD 3870X2 or even HD 4870 or HD 4870X2). Something like 3870X2 + 4870X2 will totally humiliate even two 8800GTS cards in SLI, but I think it will need Vista and a 1000W power supply.
May 29, 2008 10:06:03 PM

While the Intel chipsets may be better, is it just a feature difference or is there a major performance issue or is it something i don't even need to worry about?
a b ) Power supply
May 30, 2008 12:08:26 AM

The only major feature difference IMO is that x38/x48 support Crossfire and 750i/780 support SLI. Apart from that, the x38 and x48 seem to be better for overclocking.

There's no major performance difference AFAIK - a video card or hard disk or CPU (at stock) will work just the same whether in an x38 or a 780i. OK, maybe the HDD speed will vary by a few percentage points depending on the MB, but it's nothing you'd notice in real life.
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