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"Best Bang For Buck" System - May 2008

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May 2, 2008 6:36:27 PM

I'll make this fast. I want to buy/upgrade my PC in about 1-2 weeks (for Age of Conan). I want to get the "best bang for buck" hardware - price is not an issue, price : performance ratio is. So if you all could give me your opinions that would be awesome. Also it would be nice if you could include prices and/or links. All hardware that is has been released or will be released by late May/early June is fair game.

Things You Need To Know:

- I upgrade every 3+ years...so this is LONGTERM.
- I already have the HDs (10k Raptor 75gb, 500gb Seagate)
- I already have the graphics card (8800GT)
- I really don't like to OC, but am willing. However, I need to see significant benefits running on air and not overheat.
- Yes, I am a gamer.

What I Might Need: This isn't as important for me right now - my old parts can still work here.

- I already CD Drive, keyboard/Mouse, Speakers, PSU (Antec Earthwatt 430W), Monitor, Sound Card - though I won't mind getting new ones.

What I Definitely Need: Any good monitors or sound cards at a good value can be add here.

- Case:
- RAM:
- CPU:
- MOBO:

What I Am Thinking of Getting:

- Case: Antec 900, Antec P180, Antec P182, Thermaltake Armor, Cooler Master Cosmos, Cooler Master RC-690, so many more.
- RAM: So many to choose from...2x2gb ($100)...DDR2 1066 FSB
- CPU: e8400, Q6600, Q9300, Q9450
- MOBO: Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L/R...x38...not sure a lot of options....SLI or no SLI...?


Questions I Have:

- What the difference between e8400 vs. Q6600 in gaming?
- Do you still think the 8800GT/GTS is "best bang for buck"?
- Is SLI worth it, if I plan on longterm use? It seems like every year a new single-card solution can perform better than most SLI from a year ago. If that is the case than I'll stick with single-slot solution.
- I am looking for DDR2 1066 FSB - correct? (for optimal performance without overclocking).

Remember: Price is not an issue, I just want "best bang for buck" and hardware that will last me longterm.

More about : bang buck system 2008

May 2, 2008 7:03:17 PM

E8400 is dual core, 45nm, produce less heat and thus oc higher, q6600 is quad core, 65nm, produce more heat and thus oc lower.

E8400 runs at 3.0ghz stock, and typical oc on air is 4.0ghz, an increase of 1ghz across 2 cores. Q6600 runs at 2.4ghz stock, and typical oc on air is 3.6ghz, an increase of 1.2ghz across 4 cores. At the higher 4ghz x 2 cores, e8400 is faster when running older applications that use 2 or fewer threads (use 1 or 2 cores). At the lower 3.6ghz x 4 cores, q6600 is faster when running new applications that use 4 or more threads (use all 4 cores, no idling core wasted). Most applications today, and nearly all games already out so far (exceptions including Lost Planet and Supreme Commander) only use 1-2 cores, thus faster on e8400. For less than 2 years, get e8400, for 2+ years, get q6600 or other quad cores.

8800gt and g92 8800gts is best bang for buck right now.

Sli is not worth it. Graphics technology moves way too fast. Also, sli motherboards are overpriced with inferior overclocking performance. Sli is not compatibe with crossfire. Nvidia and Ati historically take turns as industry leader. Sli should not be considered an advantage over crossfire in the long run.

ddr2 800 is best bang for the buck right now. 1066 is close. But keep in mind most 1066 ddr2 are factory oced 800 sticks, and may default back to 800 if not set manually.

If you do not overclock, you are not getting best bang for your buck.
May 2, 2008 7:06:24 PM

long term CPU - q9450 http://www.tankguys.biz/product_info.php?products_id=18...
short-term cpu e8400
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

RAM - doesn't matter much. DDR2 800 is still the best price/performance, get something good like crucial ballistix
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mobo - i'd say you're correct on the SLI vs single solution quandry. You save $ on the board and the cards if you just upgrade your single-card solution every year or two. Of course, getting an SLI board gives you the option of doubling up later. Then you hope that SLI is better than Xfire, etc.

Case - I have the P182, it's great. The 900 lacks a bit in cable management, but has better airflow than the P182. I drilled a hole in my side panel to add a fan. Most people won't want to do that.

Related resources
May 2, 2008 7:07:26 PM

What the difference between e8400 vs. Q6600 in gaming?
In highly multi-threaded games (not that many right now), the Q6600 quad cores would give a noticeable boost. Many games right now, benefit more from fewer, but faster cores so many would be faster on E8400 (3GHz) than on Q6600 (2.4GHz). Newer games will probably be optimized for multi-cores, but if the bottle-neck is the GPU, it won't change much.

Do you still think the 8800GT/GTS is "best bang for buck"?
IMO yes, the new 9800GTX are 25-50% pricier, but only give 5-10% more performance ...

Is SLI worth it, if I plan on longterm use? It seems like every year a new single-card solution can perform better than most SLI from a year ago. If that is the case than I'll stick with single-slot solution.
I think SLI is only worth it if you are building a high-end system.

I am looking for DDR2 1066 FSB - correct? (for optimal performance without overclocking).
DDR2-1066 is only factory overclocked DDR2-800 and I know some P35 boards have trouble supporting them. I think any good DDR2-800 will be more than enough if you don't overclock.
May 2, 2008 7:19:24 PM

CPU: E7200 check out review here
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/core2duo-e...
its retail is $133 45nm with 2.53ghz and can be easily oced to 3.8ghz with good air cooler.

MB: GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L $90
everybody recommends this one mostly and theres a good reason why
good overclock and trust me and don't get SLI. It's not worth the gain, plus people always say they add a new video card but by the time they get it, theres always better ones and they are reluctant to get the same video card for sli.

RAM: W/E the above poster said. DDR2 800 Crucial is good. if you want you can get 4GB. Crucial got cheaper thou and they stop using the better chips, but it doesn't matter much if you don't overclock the RAM.

CASE: the ones you name are very good. If you want cheaper get those $50 Centurion 534 or 5.

CPU HEATSINK: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I think this one is the one people are starting to recommend. Saw some recommendations on this forum.

HOPE I helped.




May 2, 2008 7:24:14 PM

Well, as I'm sure you may have read. Today's games don't generally take much advantage of a quad core. If you want the best performance today that'd be with a dual core, and the Intel C2's overclock so easily its almost hard not to want overclock...at least a little bit. I'd say the best bang for your buck, for a gaming system would be the E8400. When its running at say, 3.6Ghz it'll be a cooler than an overclocked Q6600 at the same speed, on air.

I saw that you're considering a CoolerMaster Cosmos (either S or 1000). I'd have to steer you away from that. Its a VERY quiet case however, with some nice features but the side panels are a nightmare and the Cosmos 1000 weighs a frick'n ton when loaded. You said price wasn't an issue so you may want to treat yourself when it comes to your enclosure, Silver Stone and Lian-Li make some exquisite cases that'll last, not necessarily cheap, but quite nice.

On the mobo, yes, I'm biased but I'd recommend an Asus. In your case either an Rampage Formula (X48) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... . Nice, nice boards and they TRULY make overclocking simple while being granular enough for the enthusiast. The CPU Level-Up feature simply allows you to pick the CPU you want to emulate and it does everything else. Added candy for the the overclocking newb but all the scalpels you could want for surgery. There'll be no dual-card SLi but I'm not a big fan of SLi (seems not to be a good price/performance option unless you're gaming at like uber resolutions and your games benefit from it). ...but if you really want SLi consider this puppy: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DD2 1066, yeahs ...as that'd help with higher overclocks, and why buy DD2800 when you can get the extra headroom for just a little bit more on a 3+ year build?

This looks like an exciting time for you. Enjoy!

May 2, 2008 7:53:58 PM

^Sorry for negative vote, I accidently clicked it... don't take as a offense.
May 2, 2008 8:07:42 PM

I am planning a build in 2 weeks, I have chosen the Silverstone TJ09. It is an awesome case, with excellant reviews all over the net. Check it out. It's pricey, but I am a firm believer in you get what you pay for. Yes the Antec 900 is a really good case, I geuss it's just not for me. Hope this helps.

SILVERSTONE TJ09-BW Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Item #: N82E16811163073
May 2, 2008 8:15:35 PM

bryan240g said:
I am planning a build in 2 weeks, I have chosen the Silverstone TJ09. It is an awesome case, with excellant reviews all over the net. Check it out. It's pricey, but I am a firm believer in you get what you pay for. Yes the Antec 900 is a really good case, I geuss it's just not for me. Hope this helps.

SILVERSTONE TJ09-BW Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Item #: N82E16811163073


Just curious... What does aluminum do for a case except driving up cost? You're not building an airplane. :na: 
May 2, 2008 8:21:45 PM

Yeah I know, and the case being aluminum means nothing to me. I just really like it. And I like all the positive reviews aswell, plus it cools excellant. Before you tell me about all the other cheaper case's out there(Antec 900), I know there are alot of them. I happen to really like the quality of the case, the design, layout, and like I stated earlier the cooling is excellant.
May 2, 2008 8:22:15 PM

Inexpensive quad core build with SLI and easy 3.4GHz overclock...

CPU: Q6600, $199.99 (if you have Micro Center near you)
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0257938

MOBO: GA-N650SLI-DS4L, $93.79 shipped (no 45nm support)
http://www.buy.com/prod/giga-byte-ga-n650sli-ds4l-desktop-board-core-2-extreme-quad-core-core/q/loc/101/206427666.html

Memory: what everyone else said, Crucial Ballistix Tracer, $30.99 after rebate.

2nd Video Card: EVGA 8800 GT 512, $159.99 shipped
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130318

Power Supply: PCP&C 750 Watt, $129.99 after rebate.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817703009

Case: P182, $139.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129025&Tpk=p182
May 2, 2008 8:23:42 PM

dagger said:
Just curious... What does aluminum do for a case except driving up cost? You're not building an airplane. :na: 
It's lighter and has better thermal conductivity so the casing is somehow a heatskink to the casing's internal air. Other than that, it's aesthetic preference.
May 2, 2008 8:24:44 PM

dagger said:
Just curious... What does aluminum do for a case except driving up cost? You're not building an airplane. :na: 



Aaaaah. Aluminum dissipates heat quite well. Hence, why they use it in heatsinks. Come on, you guys know this.

EDIT: I see this point has been made already. Aluminum is also light. ...and like I posted earlier. SilverStone and Lian-Li make some exquisite cases.
May 2, 2008 8:25:59 PM

So then you guys are onboard with my choice of case?
May 2, 2008 8:29:01 PM

Well, I've heard the Antec 900 cools nicely but is a bit noisy and offers a challenge in cable management. If that doesn't bother you, there's a lot of air flow going through that bugger.
May 2, 2008 8:33:29 PM

halcyon said:
Aaaaah. Aluminum dissipates heat quite well. Hence, why they use it in heatsinks. Come on, you guys know this.

EDIT: I see this point has been made already. Aluminum is also light. ...and like I posted earlier. SilverStone and Lian-Li make some exquisite cases.


Meh, just use a case with mesh front. Poke it full of holes to let air through and whatnot. :na: 

Btw, what is "Aluminum Bezel?" I just realized my case is aluminum too. Or is Benzel something else?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
May 2, 2008 8:37:56 PM

I would not spend that much money on a case Sure the silverstone is nice but it is expensive. I would go with Antec 900 and if you don't like the look of it Go with the 180 or 182. But if you got that kind of money to spend on case than go ahead silverstone looks solid.
May 2, 2008 8:38:05 PM

WOW guys! very fast replies! ill take this all into consideration for my new build in 1-2 weeks.

1 thing tho: Q6600 vs e8400....what is the actual % difference in games? I know e8400 is faster/better for gaming but if it isn't that big a difference...i see no reason to buy it over the Q6600 - which I believe will eventually outperform the e8400 even in gaming..in the future - correct? I am willing to take a slight hit on gaming performance now for an increase in longevity of my PC...
May 2, 2008 8:39:52 PM

Yeah Antec 900 is a bit noisy so if that might bother you go with the P182. But if cooling is more important for you than Antec 900 is a solid choice.
May 2, 2008 8:43:06 PM

qmalik said:
WOW guys! very fast replies! ill take this all into consideration for my new build in 1-2 weeks.

1 thing tho: Q6600 vs e8400....what is the actual % difference in games? I know e8400 is faster/better for gaming but if it isn't that big a difference...i see no reason to buy it over the Q6600 - which I believe will eventually outperform the e8400 even in gaming..in the future - correct?


Yes, right now, e8400 perform better, but the gpu is the bottleneck, not the cpu, so it doesn't matter. q6600 will perform better later on. Basically, e8400 is faster when it doesn't matter, q6600 is faster when it does.
May 2, 2008 8:48:55 PM

dagger said:
Meh, just use a case with mesh front. Poke it full of holes to let air through and whatnot. :na: 

Btw, what is "Aluminum Bezel?" I just realized my case is aluminum too. Or is Benzel something else?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Aluminum Bezel is the front face.
May 2, 2008 8:52:10 PM

qmalik said:
WOW guys! very fast replies! ill take this all into consideration for my new build in 1-2 weeks.

1 thing tho: Q6600 vs e8400....what is the actual % difference in games? I know e8400 is faster/better for gaming but if it isn't that big a difference...i see no reason to buy it over the Q6600 - which I believe will eventually outperform the e8400 even in gaming..in the future - correct? I am willing to take a slight hit on gaming performance now for an increase in longevity of my PC...


I think you'll only really notice a real-world difference at low resolutions in games. Like Dagger said, the GPU is the real bottleneck right now.
I built my Q6600 system with the intention of not upgrading for at least 3 years, and I'm hoping more developers will be making games that utilize more cores like Supreme Commander. Huuuge difference from my previous dual-core setup. Plus I like to encode in the background while I game, saves me a lot of time every day.
May 2, 2008 9:07:45 PM

OK GREAT! thanks...so far this is what I am thinking:

- Case: Antec 900, Antec P180, Antec P182...all look good for the price ($100)
- CPU: Q6600 G0 ($199)
- MOBO: Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L ($100)
- RAM: OCZ Reaper HPC 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) $100 (look below)
_________________________________

Total: $500...not bad to update my 4 year old machine! love prices these days!

Questions:

(1) Which of these RAM do you recommend: (all are 2x2GB, DDR2 1066, cost $110-140)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
OCZ Reaper HPC: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... <--leaning toward
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

hmm...maybe I should pay like $30-40 less for DDR2 800....

(2) Would it be wise or foolish to get a MOBO with DDR3 capability? I know right now its pointless...but is that how it will always be - yes/no/maybe? If someone can tell me with like ...99% sure-ability if DDR3 will be worth it in the future (1-2 years) I will consider another mobo. If on the other hand everyone is sure...DDR3 will remain as is..than ill stick with DDR2 - seeing as DDR3 is a waste of money right now.


Lastly, anymore opinions/comments on my current build upgrade?

@ LORD: GIGA-BYTE GA-N650SLI-DS4L: http://www.buy.com/prod/giga-byte-ga-n650sli-ds4l-deskt... - how does this compare to the P35? the price is very attractive.
May 2, 2008 9:23:59 PM

@OP:If you are planing on getting RAM natively higher than DDR2 800 be aware that there will be compatibility issues. Many users reports and my personal testing has shown that there is a very good chance you will run in to issues with RAM higher than DDR2 800, such as DDR2 1066. I recommend you get quality DDR2 800 RAM and run them at 1:1 ratio or overclock the RAM. This issue dose not apply to DDR2 800 RAM that has been overclocked.
Just get some DDR2 800 from Crucial, Corsair or other good brand name.
There is also no point in getting a DDR3 motherboards. Soon as Nehalm comes out DDR3 prices would probably drop quite a bit. If interested in OCing on the DS3L see:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/forum2.php?config=tom...
May 2, 2008 9:24:43 PM

Stick with ddr2 for now. In a few years ddr3 will come down in price. Besides the gains are worth the money for ddr3. I almost went with ddr3 as money isn't a factor in my build either. But then these guys steered me back to ddr2, besides in a few years, you'll wanna upgrade. If your like me that is. A system only last about 2 years, then I gotta upgrade. I am going with this ram it is first on your list.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6820231166
May 2, 2008 9:29:51 PM

nice guide Shadow...bookmarked..will be going to that after i buy my new parts.
May 2, 2008 9:37:40 PM

btw: if i was NOT to overclock my 6600Q...wouldn't that mean 1066 RAM would be pointless...and even the 800 would be more than enough...so no difference? or would i see a difference even if i didn't OC the ram?

<---never OC'ed Ram before. Only, CPU = 2 times & GFX cards = a lot

damn...i need to learn about RAM more...
May 2, 2008 10:08:07 PM

qmalik said:
btw: if i was NOT to overclock my 6600Q...wouldn't that mean 1066 RAM would be pointless...and even the 800 would be more than enough...so no difference? or would i see a difference even if i didn't OC the ram?

<---never OC'ed Ram before. Only, CPU = 2 times & GFX cards = a lot

damn...i need to learn about RAM more...

You should overclock. A Q6600 or E8400 without overclocking is unheard of. Don't worry about ratio for ram. They make little difference. Set it at whatever you need.
May 2, 2008 10:17:04 PM

deathsycthehe11 said:
CPU: E7200 check out review here
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/core2duo-e...
its retail is $133 45nm with 2.53ghz and can be easily oced to 3.8ghz with good air cooler.

MB: GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L $90
everybody recommends this one mostly and theres a good reason why
good overclock and trust me and don't get SLI. It's not worth the gain, plus people always say they add a new video card but by the time they get it, theres always better ones and they are reluctant to get the same video card for sli.

RAM: W/E the above poster said. DDR2 800 Crucial is good. if you want you can get 4GB. Crucial got cheaper thou and they stop using the better chips, but it doesn't matter much if you don't overclock the RAM.

CASE: the ones you name are very good. If you want cheaper get those $50 Centurion 534 or 5.

CPU HEATSINK: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I think this one is the one people are starting to recommend. Saw some recommendations on this forum.

HOPE I helped.



Now that sounds like a best bang for the buck system to me. ;) 
May 2, 2008 10:49:59 PM

qmalik said:
@ LORD: GIGA-BYTE GA-N650SLI-DS4L: http://www.buy.com/prod/giga-byte-ga-n650sli-ds4l-deskt... - how does this compare to the P35? the price is very attractive.


Love my GA-N650SLI-DS4L. I have a friend with a GA-P35-DS3L, and I have the exact same overclock options in the BIOS (don't forget to hit Control-F1 in the BIOS to display advanced overclocking features for either board). The chipset is different but you really won't see any difference between the two aside from the SLI and 1 less regular PCI slot on the DS4L, and of course the lack of 45nm cpu support on the DS4L. It's a Lite board so it doesn't have a ton of ports and add-ons but for your purposes and mine I think it's fantastic!
Just waiting for a buddy to drop off the second 8800 640 I bought from him so I can SLI before my cards are totally obsolete.
May 2, 2008 10:58:10 PM

Lord Gornak said:
Love my GA-N650SLI-DS4L. I have a friend with a GA-P35-DS3L, and I have the exact same overclock options in the BIOS (don't forget to hit Control-F1 in the BIOS to display advanced overclocking features for either board). The chipset is different but you really won't see any difference between the two aside from the SLI and 1 less regular PCI slot on the DS4L, and of course the lack of 45nm cpu support on the DS4L. It's a Lite board so it doesn't have a ton of ports and add-ons but for your purposes and mine I think it's fantastic!
Just waiting for a buddy to drop off the second 8800 640 I bought from him so I can SLI before my cards are totally obsolete.

650i chipset are among the worst there is. Google "ram killer" for details regarding 650i. :na: 
May 2, 2008 10:59:13 PM

So like the guys have been saying, the DDR2 1066 memory you are paying a premium price for is DDR2 800 memory that has been overclocked. Why not get some quality DDR2 800 memory and oc that?

So I work with AMD mostly so I might be somewhat misinformed about the FSB overclocking. Typically there are 2 ways to overclock your processor, adjusting the frequency multiplier of your processor, and adjusting the front side bus frequency. Most folks do a little of both to produce the highest stable frequency to run their machine at.

Adjusting the fsb frequency is going to overclock the ram, depending on the multiplier. FSB on DDR2 800 boards starts at 200Mhz. With a Q6600 at 2.4 Ghz that would be a 12x multiplier, 12 X 200. This is the part I am not 100% sure of, I've never owned a q6600.

Since this is ddr2 ram were talkng about, that means the ram will run at 200 mhz X 4 or 800 mhz. DDR= Dual data rate= X2. DDR2 = ddr x2 equals front side bus x4.

So whether you want to oc your ram or oc your proc is up to you.

The Q6600 is one of the best processors out there. and it is a year old. It will be a good processor for awhile to come.

The new 8400 series Intels are very good processors, and run cooler and overclock very well, they are built on a newer 45nm architecture. I don't think you can go wrong either way.
May 2, 2008 11:16:17 PM

The memory Bus doesn't have to run synchronously with the FSB, the FSB could run at 1333 or 1066MHz and the memory could still run at full 800MHz.

The Q6600 has a FSB of 1066MHz so 266MHz in reality and therefore has a multiplier of 9.

Moreover, for AMD only Black Editions (BE) CPUs have unlocked multiplier, for Intel it's the highly overpriced Extreme edition.
May 3, 2008 12:00:59 AM

dagger said:
650i chipset are among the worst there is. Google "ram killer" for details regarding 650i. :na: 


That was definitely true with the first revisions of 650 boards in late 2006 and early-mid 2007. The only reason I took a chance with this board is because I read somewhere that the chipset problems were fixed sometime last year.
The 650 DS4L came out in Oct '07 so I figured I'd be safe as long as I paid attention to the memory compatibility list on gigabyte's website.
!