Need a critique before I order

I'm getting ready to order parts for a new build but before I do I'd like to hear your thoughts on these parts. My goal is to have a decent gaming machine with the ability to upgrade next year and the year after. Currently my main game is LOTRO and I'd like to be able to play on the highest settings at 1650x1080 with dx 10 graphics enabled (22" wide screen lcd monitor). I also play Oblivion and Neverwinter Knights and a few other rpg games. I want to be able to play dx10 games. I'd like to hear your comments on the parts I've chosen, whether they will work well together, whether I've chosen a highend part and paired it with a mid or low end part, i.e. the motherboard is great but why the hell did you pick that video card or cpu? Comments along those lines would be appreciated. Money is not a limiting factor but I don't want to spend top dollar for top line products. I'm looking for the most bang for the buck product but with the idea that I can upgrade for a year or two. I don't plan on overclocking now, but would like the ability to overclock in the future. No extreme overclocking, just what can be safely done with air cooling and then only moderate overclocking. Here are the parts I'm considering:

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

GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX All Solid Capacitor Intel Motherboard - Retail

MSI NX8800GTS 512M OC GeForce 8800GTS (G92) 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80570E8400 - Retail

Crucial Ballistix Tracer 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model BL2KIT12864AL804 - Retail

Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Model #: ST3500320AS

Update SAMSUNG 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model SH-S203N - OEM
Model #: SH-S203N

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 32-bit English 1pk DSP OEI DVD - OEM
Model #: 66I-02059

ZALMAN CNPS9700 LED 110mm 2 Ball CPU Cooler - Retail
Model #: CNPS9700 LED
16 answers Last reply
More about need critique order
  1. Nice rig...
    perhaps go for 4 gigs ram, the stuff you chose is only 60$, you would see a considerable performance increase in Vista if you had 4 giger.

    you may want to pick out a PSU?!
  2. You are missing a PSU! I recommend a Corsair VX 450W or 550W.

    This hard disk drive (WD6400AAKS) has better performance and cost/gigabyte:

    This cooler (XIGMATEK S1283) is cheaper and cools better :

    I would go for 4GB (2x2GB) RAM and Vista 64-bit:

    Other choices are good!
  3. I like your choices, in general, apart from the cooler.

    Get 4 GB of RAM, in 2x2GB sticks. It will help because Vista likes more RAM, and it will allow upgrading to 8 GB later.

    I'd also recommend the 64-bit version of Vista. The only difference should be that the 64-bit version will see 4GB instead of 3.5 and will support 8 GB later if you add more.

    The Zalman 9700 is expensive and gets noisy under load and it's overkill for moderate overclocks anyway. Get an Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro or nothing at all. Your CPU is retail, it comes with a good cooler already, use that.

    Add $10 and get a WD6400AAKS instead of the Seagate 500GB. You get 140GB more and the WD is a bit faster too due to higher data density.

    This build would probably work better if you also add a PSU. This one should be fine:

    Edit: Andrius got there first, and as you can see he's got almost the same comments. I swear I hadn't seen his reply when I posted mine.
  4. aevm said:
    Edit: Andrius got there first, and as you can see he's got almost the same comments. I swear I hadn't seen his reply when I posted mine.
    Great minds think alike. :D
  5. Andrius said:
    Great minds think alike. :D

    Exactly !!! :hello:
  6. Thanks for the replies and suggestions. Added the power supply CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX ATX12V V2.2 550W Power Supply - Retail

    Changed the cpu cooler to ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro 92mm CPU Cooler - Retail

    Changed the hard drive to Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

    One more question. If as part of a future upgrade I wanted to sli another 8800 gts to the system will the motherboard and power supply be sufficient? I seem to have read that the 8800gts takes up at leat two slots? And if i did upgrade do I have two pcie x16 slots? Not sure I know what I'm talking about here and maybe I'm getting ahead of myself.
  7. I've read that LOTRO is having some problems with systems that have 4 gigs of memory and thus I was reluctant to go with the 64 bit o/s with 4 gigs of memory. I'll check into that some more and reevaluate the o/s and memory. Thanks
  8. Like other people said:
    If you go Vista, might as well be 64 bits
    If you go 64 bits, might as well go 4GB or more

    With that setup, you should be more than able to play LOTRO with 1680x1050; I got something very similar and even Crysis is playable (~25FPS+) at that resolution with HIGH resolution with minimal tweaking.
  9. For SLI you need a SLI capable motherboard (nvidia 750i/780i chipset).

    At your resolution (1440x900) it's not really worth the trouble (nvidia chipsets are having another go at a difficult childhood - data corruption issues).
    When your 8800GTS runs out of steam for new games (in about 12 to 18 months) just buy a new $200-$250 graphics card. That's my opinion.
    Space is not really that much of a problem. 550W would probably not be enough for SLI either but you could risk it with 1HDD and 1ODD.
  10. Although I see you want DX10, unless you know your preferred games and other apps are compatible with Vista, I would forsake DX10 to go with XP, a known quantity which works. Of course, if you know they work, game on!

    I agree with evongugg, in particular on the PSU and cooler. He has used some very informative links.

    I just built my new rig in that CM690 case, and I really like it; spacious, great airflow, and not as flashy as the Antec 900. Particularly in a non-windowed case, you can do better than the Zalman cooler.
  11. One thing that might help, for upgrade purposes, is getting a motherboard with PCI-E 2.0 slots. That is, two years from now, a high-end video card will probably still work in the GA-P35-DS3L, but it may not work at its maximum speed because of bandwidth restrictions imposed by the PCI-E 1 slot.

    The problem with this is that a motherboard like that costs a lot more than the GA-P35-DS3L. For example the GA-EX38-DS4 is $207 instead of $90. I wouldn't do it just for the PCI-E 2.0. Do switch to the GA-EX38-DS4 if you want these advantages over the DS3L:

    - RAID
    - 2 more SATA cables + eSATA bracket
    - FireWire
    - ability to have 2 video cards (which would allow 3 or even 4 monitors)
    - Crossfire (if your next upgrade is buying two ATI cards, in 2010 or so)
  12. Thank you everyone for your comments and suggestions. You have been very helpful. I feel a lot more confident purchasing the components.

    I will stick with the single graphics card solution and forget about sli for the next couple of years. Still deciding on Vista 64 and extra ram or Vista 32.
  13. IMO, if you go Vista, might as well go 64 bits since Vista is RAM hungry.
  14. Think Long and Hard about the RAID.....I'm disappointed I missed that on my order.....
  15. njxc500 said:
    Think Long and Hard about the RAID.....I'm disappointed I missed that on my order.....

    @OP: if you just want RAID, the easiest thing IMO is to upgrade to GA-EP35-DS3R. About $40 more than the DS3L, it gives you RAID and 8 SATA ports instead of 4 and two additional SATA cables. Pretty good deal IMO. The DS3L is a great motherboard, but the 4 ports limit is bad for upgrading purposes.
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