Critiques welcome...opinions wanted

I'm building a new PC that's for "gaming/multimedia"... These are the specs... budget can't really go much more then this... :/ BUT I'm trying to figure out whether or not the Q9450 is REALLY worth the extra $120.00 or so over the very nice $2XX.XX price tag slapped on the Q6600 you can find on Newegg... this is where I'd like some opinions...

here's the "new" rig's specs...

COOLER MASTER Stacker 830 Evolution RC-830-KKN3-GP Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower

EVGA 123-YW-E175-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 750i FTW SLI ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
(should I wate for the 780i?)

EVGA 512-P3-N845-AR GeForce 8800GTS (G92) KO 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail (x2)

Thermaltake Toughpower W0172RU 850W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply - Retail

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz LGA 775 Quad-Core Processor Model

CORSAIR DOMINATOR 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual (x2)

SAMSUNG 245T-BLACK Black 24" 6ms HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor - Retail

Pioneer 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model DVR-215DBK - OEM

SONY Black and Gray SATA Blu-ray DVD-ROM Drive Model BDUX10S - Retail

Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 64-bit English 1pk DSP OEI DVD - OEM

ZALMAN CNPS9700 LED 110mm 2 Ball CPU Cooler - Retail

Scythe S-FLEX SFF21F 120mm Case Fan - Retail

The hard drives I have will suffice, my boot is a WD raptor, and I also have a 500GB... I appreciate your feedback :bounce:
29 answers Last reply
More about critiques welcome opinions wanted
  1. the q6600 is just fine! also go for the 780i if you were to spend a little more money.
  2. If you overclock, the Q6600 can reach 3.6 GHz. The Q9450 won't beat that by enough to justify the extra $120 IMO. The Q9450 is worth it if you refuse to overclock or if you need the new SSE4 instructions for multimedia processing and have recent software that can use them.

    I'd get a Xigmatek HDT-S1283 cooler instead of the Zalman. That saves you a bit.

    I'd get a $50 cheaper Silencer 750W instead of the Toughpower 850W.

    With all these savings, you can now replace the eVGA 8800GTS G92 with two MSI 8800GTS G92 :) If it's still not enough, replace the case with an RC-690.
  3. Something I'd look into is the monitor just a bit. It's a good monitor, but at 6ms it will be just a bit sluggish if your planning to game on it. I'd say the rest of the system looks good though.
  4. My thoughts on this build:
    Replace the ZALMAN CNPS9700 with the XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 ($37 on newegg). I put this first because I think it's the biggest "flaw" in your selection (no offense). ;)

    Stick with Q6600 (for now the short supply of Q9450s makes it too expensive). You also don't need the more expensive Domiantor RAM. Take two Corsair DHX C4 kits for $184 after MIR.

    In my mind a SLI motherboard only makes sense if you plan to do SLI right from the start. A good $130 P35 (P5K-E, GA-EP35-DS3R) will do if you only plan to use 1 graphics card. In that case you can also save a bit on the wattage of the PSU. Corsair VX 550W is a great buy for $70 at

    Great LCD pick! Good luck.
  5. Yeah, I like that LCD a lot, except for the price of course.

    At 24" I think SLI makes sense. It depends on the games of course.
  6. I agree with aevm's first post; no opinion on the second. I'd replace the case anyway. The 690 is nice.
  7. Sorry, forgot to add the "x2" after the EVGA cards... I WILL be running those in SLI... :) Thanks for all the input!!! My thoughts on the q9450 are the same, to much for the "upgrade"... just wanted other opinions to make sure I'm not missing something! Good advice on the Silencer, I was looking at that but weary due to the reviews? Good PSU? I know PC Power and Cooling is a very reputable company.... I've just always had thermaltake and I've never had a problem. The monitor choice is due to the fact that I create graphics (graphic design/illustration) as well as game... plus it's one of the only "low response time" monitors that I can find at that size that have HDCP... I also am going to be using this rig as a blu-ray machine. However, if you guys know of other monitors w/reputable color, good response time, about that size, and has HDCP let me know! At the moment I have a dell ultrasharp 24" that I'd love to keep, but no I'm trying to sell that to put toward this new bohemeth...

    As far as the fan, No offense taken, as I said, trying to get a critique on this and coming from an "art" background...I've had much worse (for instance... a piece got taken off the wall in school and my teacher created a paper airplane out of it and told me that was a much better use for the about rough!) Do you know of any temp specs on it? What it brought the q6600 down to compared to the zaleman? Wouldn't the fact that it has aluminum fins make it inferior? (not overly familiar w/this brand...going off of "base knowledge")

    I will def. look into that memory though ,wasn't sure as I was reading in many reviews "go dominator"...

    again keep the critiques commin' and thank you fro those who already have :)
  8. The Silencer 750W is a good PSU. According to Anandtech, it's the best PSU they tested in 2007.

    I have one myself and have no complaints.

    The Toughpower 850W is also good, but you just don't need to go that far. OK, maybe you do, if you want to add a lot of hard disks and USB devices and PCI cards and fans and lights.

    The 245T is a S-PVA panel, i.e. better colors and viewing angles than the cheap TN panel monitors. The TN monitors are perfect for games because they cost less and respond faster, but you're doing more than games. TBH, if I didn't have 2 monitors already and the mortgage was finished, I'd get a 245T or even a 305T right now for myself.

    The main reason why I'd prefer the HDT-S1283 to the Zalman is acoustics at high load. The Xigmatek is quieter. It's also cheaper, but obviously saving $20 is not your first priority, judging from the rest of the build :) It also cools a few degrees better. Read this for example:
  9. I posted you a link about the coolers. XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 is second. The ZALMAN is ninth. I think this is what you are looking for
    At LOW fan speed the XIGMATEK cools .8°C degree less than the ZALMAN at HIGH fan speed. It's 20dB less noisy than the ZALMAN at that point.
    At HIGH fan speed it cools 2.2°C better and is still 6dB less noisy.
    It also costs about half that of the ZALMAN (last I checked).

    I back the SLI statements. It's good if you have to go for it from the start.
    780i would be better but it's more expensive. If you can't justify the extra cost go for 750i. The difference in performance will be very small.
  10. In all honesty saving any money I can would be a BONUS... a good amount of the system is being funded by my previous system and that lovely "extra tax" thing we're getting... plus w/the ratings that it cools better...sounds like a better deal! I know that the 780i is better then the standard 750i... however the 750i "FTW' series was ranked as a good upgrade...I've heard that the 780i "FTW" was coming out but... haven't heard much on that since... I'll def. have to look into the PC power and cooling... I have a good amt of USB's... but we'll see what happens

    again thanks :)
  11. 3.6GHz QC 150W (max)
    2x 8800GTS ~ 300W (150W per card max)
    100W for MB, RAM
    50W for HDDs, ODDs.
    25W for 10 USB devices
    625W around 80% load for a 750W PSU.
    125W for other stuff/margin.

    I'd say you're good.
  12. Thanks for all the help everyone, have another question. does anyone know a website or place you can get a q6600 that's guaranteed to be g0 stepping and SLACR?? or is that pretty much standard now? I'd like to order from newegg but they don't state if it's g0 or not... also i keep reading that's it's pretty much "luck" on if you get one that will overclock to 3.6ghz... that true? Also Will the Corsair XMS2 series memory be good for overclocking to 3.6 stabily? (or close to it?) I've chosen to go w/the 780i MB also... any help on this would be appreciated!
  13. I've installed several Corsair DHX C4 kits. They have no issues running at 400MHz FSB. They overclock to about 450MHz FSB at 4-4-4-12 timings. Above 450MHz the need 5-5-5-12/15/18 depending on board and layout (2 or 4 modules). I've never needed to go above 400MHz with a Q6600.
  14. AFAIK Intel stopped making the B3 stepping in the summer of 2007. I wouldn't worry about getting one of those after all this time.

    If you want to be sure, buy a Q6700. That one is only G0, and I've seen people getting it to 4GHz on air cooling. :)
  15. W/the q6700? Wow...may have to look into that!
  16. Word of the Q6700 hasn't reached saturation yet. Hardly anyone knows what it is. ;)
  17. So the Q6700 is worth the little bit extra? :) Also, I'm in a bit of a bind about the case... I REALLY like the stacker 830, all of the options you can get w/the mb tray, love the look of it... but it's $60.00 more then the Cosmos 1000... Plus for the stacker you need to buy additional fans... I'm really torn between the two... and the "want" part of me is saying to go for the stacker, but the "need" part of me is telling me to go for something much cheaper, or even a "mid ground" and go w/the cosmos.... If, you guys think the stacker beneficial, what would you guys recommend as case fans...the one's i have listed good? or over priced for performance? and, the "ultimate" question.... XP x64? or Vista...x64? I've been reading the DX10 will "officially" be coming out for xp at some point...and that there are drivers out there for it now... SO... question is as stands... thanks guys for your help!
  18. The Cosmos 1000 is a silent case. Most Stackers are quite loud.
    The Cosmos S is just like the Stacker (loud and open with great airflow).
    You could also get a Cooler Master RC-690 (great case). I'm still waiting on one windowed version for a friends build (shipping to backwater Europe is slower than a snail on sedatives, 8 days and counting).

    Since you didn't say what programs/task you intend to use I'm going to say go with VISTA 64bit. Buying a new computer seems like the best time to switch to a new OS.

    If you don't want the risk of getting a B3 Q6600 (it's unlikely at this point) get the Q6700. It has a higher multiplier and is binned higher (probably lower power consumption). It's not worth it in my opinion but it's still very good value compared to Q9450/Q9300.
  19. Awesome, I'll have to look into those as well and figure out what I want. As far as programs go I use a WIDE variety, obviously I'm a "gamer", not "hardcore" but not a "lightweight" either. I also use many graphic programs, Adobe suite (photoshop, illustrator, indesign, flash etc.) As well as things such as "Maya" zbrush, 3dSM (hence the heavy hitter memory and xpu, I'd go xeon but I game a little more then I use the 3d programs) MOST of the 3d programs have an instal for 64bit so that's not a worry but I just wanted to some opinions on what to install, I was leaning w/vista as I remember XP's initial release and...well it was scary... (ppl seem to forget that...) I'll prob. end up going w/the q6600 unless there are just inherent benefits to going w/ the 6750... I'll be doing some more homework, but that's still $80.00 save or to put toward something else. As always, thanks for the input!
  20. Ok, I think I have a handle on my "final" system... couple "last" questions within about a few parts...but for the most part I think "I might be done".... so here we go:

    Pioneer 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model DVR-215DBK - OEM

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

    SAMSUNG 245T-BLACK Black 24" 6ms HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor

    EVGA 512-P3-N845-AR GeForce 8800GTS (G92) KO 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card (x2)

    SONY Black and Gray SATA Blu-ray DVD-ROM Drive Model BDUX10S

    Creative 70SB046A00000 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer Fatal1ty Professional Series -->(Ok, I'm a little weary of this and this is an item I need advice on... I was looking at the HT OMEGA CLARO Plus+ but it states that it has no EAX support...does that matter a lot?... so any thoughts between these? Or, anyone know of a GOOD sound card that has HD audio for blu-ray (DTS/DD) as well as EAX support that would be better then the X-Fi?)

    Thermaltake Toughpower W0172RU 850W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply

    Microsoft FA6-00010 Black USB Wired Ergonomics Keyboard Mouse Included

    Logitech MX Revolution Black 7 Buttons 2 x Wheels USB RF Wireless Laser Mouse

    CORSAIR XMS2 DHX 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TWIN2X4096-6400C4DHX (x2)

    EVGA 132-CK-NF78-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard

    Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz LGA 775 Quad-Core Processor Model BX80562Q6600

    Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 64-bit English 1pk DSP OEI DVD

    Scythe S-FLEX SFF21F 120mm Case Fan ---> (x4-5...replace case fans...unless they're good enough...what do you think of these fans?? good? recommend better fans that are better priced?)

    XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler

    Ok I think that's everything... as for Hard drives, using what I've got... (Raptor drive and a 500GB for storage)... If anyone knows of or has seen good deals on any of these parts would you please post it?? Thanks again everyone for all your help!
  21. The case fans you get with a CM RC-690 are quite good. I replaced my 4 year old CM Ultra silent case fans with SFF21Fs recently so I'm biased but I don't think you need to replace them (give them a try (1 month or so) and if they bother you get the SFF21E or F (the F is quite loud if unregulated but it gives you that "extra" airflow if you need it).

    As for the soundcard I have never used EAX (it's value is null for me). I'd also stay far away from anything with Fatal1ty in it's name (pure marketing and no value). The X-Fi Extreme Music was the sweetspot (goldplated I/O, below 100 EUR, great features, zero Fatal1ty extras). Since they canceled it Creative has no product I would buy (the Elite Pro is just 100 EUR too much for what you get).
  22. I think you need to give up EAX, because Creative's drivers for Vista are a pain. I'd get that HT Omega Claro. Why do you need EAX actually? I haven't used it either.

    LOL I did get an Extreme Music, and it was canceled a week or two later. I had to choose between Extreme Music and Extreme Gamer at the time, and I happened to read some reviews saying that the Extreme Gamer had some second-quality components in it. Lucky me...

    The Logitech MX Revolution is the most expensive mouse ever, or close, right? You'll be disappointed. Most people prefer a wired mouse for games.
  23. Ok, sounds like a plan.... still having the tear between the cases...but I think i'm making a wise choice in going for the "cheaper costing" one...
  24. x-fi drivers fro vista 32bit and 64bit are amazing. they are better now. trust me. onboard audio is decent for music and movies but for games they blw especially for first person shooters. i think ud be better served with a q9450 and the 750i ftw board which is nice. sli is good for ur 1920 by 1200 resolution. i wouldnt waste all ur money on case fans, 1 intake 1 outake is good. plus ur psu fan, ur cpu fan, ur graphics card fan too but blows air out the case. ur 8800gts 512mb has a great cooler, and stock intel coolers are simple to install, cool great already even with overclocks, id recommend an arctic cooler freezer 7 pro for 27 usd if u want to oc. get a lite on 20x dvd burner, more reliable, and tons of good reviews. i dont trust pioneer, plus lite-on has amazing support, flash ur dvd burner easy off their website with their program to accept even more media, it even has technology to ensure u dont get coasters. works 100% so far with my old dvd- and + media. too much power, but with ur sli board, its all GGOOOOODDD!!! hopefully ur computer will be quiet. i can vouch that ur monitor is gonna look awesome, maybe the encasing will be cheap, idk, but my 2053bw has cheap plastic outside but it looks highend. but its cheap plastic with piano black gloss paint. save urself some money and get a G15 rev 2.0 and any old keyboard. wireless mouses blow, they have to be battery swapped all to often, weak signals give u mouse lag, trust me, i have a vx revolution, the laptop version. biggest waste of money i ever spent. it does sh-t for me now. ultimate is a waste, home premium is where its at. but if u even list vista ultimate, i could really question ur sanity. w/e its a waste of money.
  25. I've decided to stick with my current keyboard and mouse as they're good enough for now and still work... :) (they're erganomic too so that's no issue as I like that, and seeing that I do graphics a's nice to have something that's easy on my wrists...) I'm looking around for the x-fi xtreme music, can find a few on google, but it seems my best bet is eBay...

    (this the one you have aevm? recommend?

    I'm not going to pay for the extra fans yet... I'll wait and see how the case performs, of course, good advice...just not thinking.

    Pcgamer12, do you have any personal experience in overclocking the q9450?? What did you get for your clocks/temps? You have any screen shots?? If there's a defintite increase that can't be ignored I'll def. pop for the q9450, however, from everything I've read, with the restricted multiplier, it seems the q9450 is quite hard to overclock... everyone pretty much states the same "if you're not overclocking, go w/the 9450, if you are, stick w/the q6600."

    alrighty, as always thanks for the input!
  26. I've got this card:

    It's very good, especially with high-end speakers like the Z-5500. I would recommend it, but only if you can still buy it new somewhere.

    Newegg has the Fatal1ty card right now with a $50 rebate. With that rebate I think it's a good deal.
  27. What's the difference? Is there a big difference in the cards? I know that the Fatal1ty card has a few more "bells and whistles"....but what are they??
  28. ^Mostly the stickers and visuals, maybe the front bay for the more expensive version and X-RAM (or something like that). I'd get it for $90 but here it cost way more.
  29. Alrighty folks, I'm hoping this will be my last question...

    Samsung 245T (read that some have a buzzing...not a HUGE problem...but how loud?)


    2407WFP-HC (doesn't have hd mini ports...but I have a hdmi to DVI converter...reading nothing but good reviews on this one...)

    or if you guys know of a different monitor that HAS HDCP, GREAT color, and a decant response time I'm all ears :) I like dell and Samsung b/c i've never had a problem and they always have decant quality stuff

    I'd love to get a 30" but the price turns me away and i've been reading the HDCP/blu-ray DOES NOT like DVI-D what so ever...and you have to lower the resolution below even 1900x1200. Also I looked into the Dell 27" but... alas again price, and over all the response time was ****...
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