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New Build with a bunch of questions

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May 3, 2008 5:33:49 PM

Hello,

I'm helping a friend of mine put together a build for a new computer. I'm no expert, but I've done plenty of research and I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on what I'm doing. However, I have quite a few questions about some of the specifics of this build as well as upcoming tech and price/performance. This PC will be used primarily for gaming. The budget is ~$1500 (I'm not sure on specifics). And the goal is to have it last for a while, which means it probably won't be overclocked to start, but will be important down the road as the parts start to become outdated. So, here is what I've tenatively put together:

Case: Coolermaster 690 http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16811119137 - $79.99

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EX38-DS4 http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16813128089 - $206.99

Video Card: EVGA 9800 GTX http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16814130339 - $299.99

PSU: Corsair 620 Watt http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16817139002 - $169.99

CPU: E8400 http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16819115037 - $199.99

CPU Cooler: Xigamatek 120mm Rifle CPU cooler http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16835233003 - $36.99

HD: Seagate 250 GB 32 MB Cache http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16822148309 - $79.99

DVD: Lite-On http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16827106072 - $32.99

OS: Vista 64 bit OEM - $99.99

So, here are my questions. I know there are two ways of thinking about the dual core vs quad core debate. On one hand, most games aren't written for multiple cores and the adoption rate doesn't seem to be that great. However, in the next year or so, new games may incorporate these, especially with the way Intel seems to be heading with their new processors. So, what is the current consensus on this? Is the e8400 a safe bet or would a quad core be a better choice for performance and longevity?

Secondly, I know there is a lot of new tech coming out in the relatively near future, such as new video cards from nvidia and ati. Is there any consensus on whether this new tech is gonna be worth it to hold off a month or two on this build, especially considering the goal of long term performance on this machine.

Lastly, I could use some advice on the motherboard and RAM. I was going to put down the Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L, but I heard that the X38 chipset was a better overclocker and I figured it would probably be more upgradeable in the future. However, I'm a bit confused about what RAM to get for this. I figure that the highest my friend would take the FSB to overclock would be to 400 mhz (so 3.6ghz on the e8400), which would be perfect for the ddr2 800 mhz RAM, but this board's standard is 1200 mhz....I'm not even sure what that is. Is ddr2 1200 just oc'ed ddr2 1066? I was under the impression that 1066 was just oc'ed 800. Would ddr2 800 or ddr2 1066 even be compatible with this board?As you can tell, I'm a bit confused on the RAM issue.

In short, any advice you may have would be very helpful, but I particularly need it on the RAM and MB.

If you need any more info, let me know.

Thanks,

X

More about : build bunch questions

May 3, 2008 5:46:35 PM

The highest official JEDEC ram speed for DDR2 is 800MHz, so you could say anything above that would technically be overclocked DDR2-800. The 1200MHz means the maximum speed you can run the ram at without overclocking the FSB, you can still run the memory at 1:1 and get 400MHz FSB with 800MHz ram.
May 3, 2008 5:53:47 PM

For gaming, it's quad for 2+ years, dual for less than 2 years. Since right now, for gaming, gpu is the bottlenck, not cpu, faster overclocked dual may translate to exactly 0 fps increase. It's pointless. In 2 years, when there are more quad applications out and your cpu is past its prime, quad will perform better.

Basically, dual perform better when it doesn't matter, quad perform better when it does.

If early benchmarks are real, 4870, coming out at the end of May (this month), is worth waiting for. Especially considering x38 support crossfire and use pcie2.0.
http://forums.legitreviews.com/about15370.html

Ddr2 ram beyond 800mhz are factory overclocked 800mhz sticks, and may default back to 800 on auto. If that happens, just manually set it in bios. Don't worry about 1:1 ratio, it makes little real world performance difference.


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May 3, 2008 6:29:58 PM

Thanks for your responses. That helps in my understanding of the underlying components. Is there much of a performance increase from ddr2 800 to ddr2 1066? I ask because there is a fairly significant increase in price. Also, I haven't used Gigabyte before. I know they are reputable, but does anyone have experience with this particular product or can they recomend a similar MB as being better for about the same price? (or cheaper =) )

Any comments on the rest of the build are welcome as well.

Thanks again,

X
May 3, 2008 6:40:54 PM

exentrick said:
Thanks for your responses. That helps in my understanding of the underlying components. Is there much of a performance increase from ddr2 800 to ddr2 1066? I ask because there is a fairly significant increase in price. Also, I haven't used Gigabyte before. I know they are reputable, but does anyone have experience with this particular product or can they recomend a similar MB as being better for about the same price? (or cheaper =) )

Any comments on the rest of the build are welcome as well.

Thanks again,

X

You won't notice a difference between 800 and 1066. Most 1066 sticks will default back to 800mhz on auto, since they're factory overclocked 800 sticks. Just set it manually in bios if that happens.

All x38 motherboards overclock about the same. I use the exact same model. Stable as a rock.
May 3, 2008 7:07:24 PM

I'd just grab a 4gb set of DDR2-800, your friend wont need anything more to overclock unless he wants to get start getting into watercooling.

I completely agree with Dagger on the Dual vs Quad choice.

I dont think there's really a 'bad' X38 board out there, I'd just get the lowest priced one (After checking out a few reviews on it of course just to be sure!). However, if you do choose an X38 I'd buy an ATI card because the most significant difference between X38 and P35 is the ability to run two ATI cards in Crossfire at full x16 speed/electrical. With P35's, the second card would only run at x4 which is a bottleneck.

With that in mind, it just might be worth waiting to see what the 4870 brings to the table. I'm thinking of snagging one if it's as groovy as rumoured, then adding a 4870x2 down the road possibly since I believe they are being released some time after the 4870 launch.

Also, you might consider the PC Power and Cooling 750W PSU - especially if you want to efficiently Crossfire 4870's (would need to go higher for two 4870x2s). Newegg has them for $149, $119 after the rebate so I think it's a much better buy than the 620W Corsair (which is still an excellent PSU, along with the PC&P 750W).
May 3, 2008 8:31:28 PM

Based on your post, dagger, I've been looking for a good, reasonably priced quad core. The only two that make sense are the Q6600 and Q9300. I'm hesitant to reccomend the Q6600 to my friend as the 45nm tech seems so much better, but the 7.5 multiplier on the Q9300 is a joke and the prices on the rest of the Q9xxx series are ridiculous. What are your opinions on this?

Jevon, it would be preferable to get a modular power supply, so what do you think of this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817379006? It seems like a reasonable price for a good efficiency, modular, well reviewed 750 watt ps.

I've also switched RAM to DDR2 800: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16820146731
It runs at 1.8v, has good timings at 5-4-4-12, is relatively cheap at $90 and is well rated.

Your thoughts and opinions are greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

X
May 3, 2008 9:59:36 PM

By "tech," I'm assuming your friend meant processor architecture. In
that, the 65nm kentsfield and 45nm yorkfield is almost identical. The
kentsfield -> yorkfield changeover is a die shrink. The underlying
architecture is the same. Intel cpu development follows an alternating
pattern of die shrink -> architecture revision. The next generation
will be based on the same 45nm process, but using a new architecture.
The new 45nm chips perform about the same amount of work per cycle,
meaning per mhz, the processing power is about the same. But Yorkfield
runs much cooler and consume less power.



Q9300 will do if you use x38/48 motherboard with high fsb ceiling. But
keep in mind at stock, the q9300 runs at 2.5ghz and is only 7% faster
than q6600 at 2.4ghz on typical benchmarks. On gaming benchmarks, the
gap is smaller. Q9300 also use 2x3=6mb l2 cache, compared to q6600's
2x4=8mb cache and q9450's 2x6=12mb cache, which is a step backward.
Q9450 is the one that offers real performance increase over q6600. Get
q9450 for best performance, if budget allows. Get q6600 for best bang
for the buck, if budget do not allow. Better to avoid q9300.



That psu will be more than good enough to handle your hardware. Name
brand too. It sure is expensive for 750watt though. This is the one I
use. It's cheap, more powerful, shunned by many people for being
generic brand, but judging by the good reviews, you couldn't tell.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



The ram is very good according to specs. But the voltage is listed at
"1.8," as opposed to, say "1.8-2.2". The low stock voltage is useful if
the sticks can handle higher voltage. That way, you can give it more
juice to overclock or tighten timings further. If it can't handle any
more than 1.8, it's not useful. Also, there are a couple of bad
reviews, I'd read them to see if they mean anything or are just noobs
whinning.
!