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Last response: in Systems
May 6, 2008 4:51:08 PM

New system build - main parameters

Gaming performance
Futureproofing (upgrade path)
Cooling (for overclocks)
Price performance

So the setup I'm looking at would be Q6600 based (I like mutli-tasking). I'm open to safe overclocks, but I don't have loads of time to pour into trying/testing extreme oc setups, so I think the price performance of the Q6600 is a good starting point. From the future proofing standpoint I am thinking of going with a x38 based motherboard. From this link I see that they are recommending a P35 based mobo from the standpoint that you will never reach the potential of the x38 board. I wonder if this would limit further processor upgrades (i.e. QX series processors)?

Memory wise, I am going for 8GB of DDR2-8500, for a Vista x64 setup. Will this board support the Kingston memory?

From the video side I am thinking a 3870 based card, from the price performance standpoint, but also to allow for a Crossfire upgrade path when warranted (Crysis?). Right now I play World or Warcraft, and Call of Duty 4, so i think the single 3870 setup will have enough horsepower, even at high quality settings.

Case, cooling, and PSU are tailored for reliable power under load, heat dissipation, and low noise. Any comments about the expected noise levels are appreciated, along with thoughts on the level of overkill; I've designed this part of the system for a 3 year lifecycle, based on the future upgrades mentioned above, but have I overdone it?

Anyways, on to the parts list.

Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Quad-Core (BX80562Q6600)

Motherboard: Asus Maximus Formula Socket 775 Intel X38

Memory: Kingston HyperX (KHX8500D2K2/4G) 4GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066MHZ (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit

Video: Asus EAH3870/G/HTDI/512M ATI Radeon HD 3870

Case: Antec P182 Advanced Super Mid Tower Case

Power: PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 Quad 750W

CPU Cooling: XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 CPU Cooler

HDD: Western Digital Caviar (WD6400AAKS) 640GB

So some other low prioirty thoughts --

RAID or not: will I improve performance by implementing a RAID set for the system drive?
Good 1650x10xx displays?
Any other ideas?


More about : build opinions options

May 6, 2008 5:07:27 PM

It's quite beautiful.

If you can afford a 3870X2 instead of a 3870 go for it.

You don't really need DDR2-1066 if you're not after a major overclock. DDR2-800 could save you some cash and you lose nothing.
Same for the Xigmatek, it's excellent but not really needed for a mild overclock.

I love the P182, but it's not the best choice for something with two video cards. How about a full-tower instead? CoolerMaster Stacker, Thermaltake Armor for example.

RAID - don't bother. You won't get much benefit in games. Besides, you only picked one disk. RAID 0 needs two disks and is bad for data safety, and smarter types of RAID need 3 or more disks.

Displays: I'd pick a 22" by Samsung.
May 6, 2008 5:10:48 PM

DDR2-1066 may not work reliably on a P35 board. I agree with aevm's comments about the memory as well.
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May 6, 2008 5:15:21 PM

I was thinking of taking the Q6600 to the 3.2 - 3.4 range, hence the Xigmatek plus it's quiet at low temps :) 

The DDR2- 1066 was for futureproofing as well, this would be required for running a FSB-1600 native processor, correct?

What kind of issue would I have with the P182 & 2 GPUs? It looks like a standard setup internally, and I wouldn't be adding any other cards. Also it seems to be very quite and reasonably cool.

May 6, 2008 5:17:54 PM

You could save about $50 on the motherboard by going P5E. It will reach 400MHz stock. That puts a Q6600 at 3.6GHz.

You can also save some money on the RAM.
Unless you decide to go above 450MHz FSB quality DDR2 800MHz RAM will do just fine (Corsair, Geil, Mushkin, Kingston,...).
EDIT : 1066MHz RAM would be needed to run native FSB above 1800MHz (450MHzx4). That would put a Q6600 at 4.0GHz+.
At that point it will likely melt during the hot summer months. ;) 

The ASUS HD3870 is the most expensive one in local shops about ($40 more than Sapphire or Gigabyte) so recheck the price you might get a cheaper one.

22" Samsung LCD in $300 range.

RAID will increas performance no doubt but you need a solid backup plan. WD6400AAKS is a great pick.

The CPU, CPU Cooler, Case, PSU, HDD are perfect.

PS : There should be no issues with getting 2 cards in the P182.
The upper HDD cage might be blocked by very long cards but would work as a cold air duct to supply fresh air to the 2 GPUs.
May 6, 2008 5:27:04 PM

All right, buy the Xigmatek, it makes sense for 3.4 GHz. I thought we were talking under 3 GHz here.

The P182 is fine for two HD 3870 cards (they are 9" long and there's enough room for them). If you get a HD 3870X2 instead of the two HD 3870, you get a chance to add another card later, but that card is 10.5" long and it interferes with the upper hard disk cage in the P182. If you get a single HD 3870 now and later add a newer ATI card, that card may also be 10.5" long or more. The way I see it, cards keep growing, even if the transistors get smaller. This is all probably OK, especially if you don't need a lot of hard drives. You can just use the lower cage.
May 6, 2008 5:33:04 PM

All right, I retract my objections to the P182. I'm just annoyed because I wanted one myself but couldn't fit an 8800GTX and 5 hard disks in it so I ended up paying $200 more for the TJ-09. You don't have to do the same, fortunately.

I just wanted to mention there are two Silencer 750W models. Get the one labeled Crossfire Edition. It has 6/8-pin PCI-E connectors rather than fixed 6-pin, and that's good for ATI's high-end cards.
May 6, 2008 5:58:20 PM

^I've grown tired of these hard drive cages.
The TJ-09 looks way better and I've always thougt the P182 looks like a high end fridge (the mirror finished version even more so). ;) 
May 6, 2008 6:11:56 PM

Andrius said:
^I've grown tired of these hard drive cages.
The TJ-09 looks way better and I've always thougt the P182 looks like a high end fridge (the mirror finished version even more so). ;) 

I heard that the mirror finished version comes with a soft cloth for cleaning up fingerprints :lol:  :lol: 
May 6, 2008 6:14:56 PM

you can even consider a Q9300. it runs cooler, draws less power but is slightly less overclockable
May 6, 2008 6:23:21 PM

Or the Q6700. It gets to 4 GHz on air, thanks to a 10x multiplier, and it had a serious price cut recently.
May 6, 2008 6:58:11 PM

Q9300 is a strange chip. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone at it's current $285 pricepoint. Make it a $190 pickup and I'd get one myself. As it stands. The Q6600/Q6700 both own it in price/performance aspects. The price difference makes it better to buy a good aftermarket cooler for a Q6600/Q6700.
Aside from that the top potential overclock for a Q9300 is only 3.6GHz (480MHz FSB).
May 6, 2008 7:16:17 PM

MadnessIsOcing said:

Case, cooling, and PSU are tailored for reliable power under load, heat dissipation, and low noise. Any comments about the expected noise levels are appreciated, along with thoughts on the level of overkill;

I have read several respected reviews that say the PC Power and Cooling Silencer PSU's are not that silent. They are more silent than PC Power's standard units, but still noticeably louder than quiet PSU's like Corsair CMPSU and Seasonic. However I don't have one - can any users comment?
May 6, 2008 7:30:00 PM

My Silencer 750W is silent all right. It's designed by Seasonic, just like the Corsair 620HX, so don't expect any major differences.
May 6, 2008 7:58:39 PM

^In a very quiet environment (like running 4 Scythe SFF21F @ 1200rpm) I hear coil whine (motherboard and graphics card) over the Corsair PSU.
I also hear it spinning very slowly at times (not enough load I guess). Silencers (from what I've read in reviews) only get "loud" when the 80mm rear fan spins up (hot ambient). In a good silent case like P182 both would be close to inaudiable.