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Advice needed on first build

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May 24, 2008 1:02:15 PM

hi,
this is my first real build. I have been searching the net for a month and assembled this configuration, yet i have some questions/considerations before actually buying it.
I will probably not overclock unless it becomes really necessary, same with SLI/Crossfire. I use my pc for databases and in the first place gaming, I like to play new games at a regular base meaning I upgrade once a year and want to be able to play every single game out there.

-Motherboard: MSI X48C Platinum (DDR2 and DDR3, I will use DDR2 800 for 1or 2 years then switch to DDR3, also has an FSB of 1600 for future upgrades) I have no questions here, I'm pretty sure I will buy this motherboard and no other.

-Processor: Intel Q9450 (quad cores are the future, even though at this moment I'll be better off with the E8500, I want to think ahead, games will be made for quad core soon) questions: will I have problems with the cooling? I read some quad cores run too hot for the stock cooler.

-Memory: 4GB DDR2 800Mhz CL4. I came across either corsair, CSZ Reaper, Kingston Hyper X or Patriot extreme, all 2x2GB CL4 kits. Questions: What is it about the voltages? I have seen 800Mhz kits of 1.8 and 2.1 V? Which ones should I look for? I will probably never overclock memory. And secondly: I have XP Pro now, will I really need to buy vista 64 bit? If I install 4GB RAM on XP, will it still use dual channel? This is really important as this motherboard only has 2 slots for DDR2. so my options are either 2x1GB full dual channel, 1x2GB + 1x512 and apparently no dual channel or 2x2 GB wich is what I really want but 32 bit OS dont support over 3GB. So if i do this anyway, how will it work? Will I have 3GB trough dual channel or what? Help would be welcome on this as this is my biggest question of all.

-Hard Drives: 2 X Samsung spinpoint 320GB 16MB + my old IDE 80GB drive for extra backup (I will not use RAID unless i have money left for an extra HD, then I would use RAID0 for games and have one HD for backup, we have lots of pictures of our baby and I cannot afford to lose them in RAID O)

-GPU: Geforce GX2 (non debateble, I will buy this card.) Questions: There are many different providers if this card, some are clocked higher then others, some supply games etc. I let my eye fall on the XFX Black edition wich is clocked at 700Mhz. What are the downsides of these things? what do you think is the best buy for your money?

-Case: So far any case with a window. I let my eye fall on the Antec Nine Hundred. Questions: What should I take in consideration when choosing a case with this build? I also have a Zalman multi fan speed controller on my present pc (ZM-MFC1) and like to put it in this new build.

-PSU: Minimum 850W. (OCZ gamextream/ Chieftec CFT-1000 G-DF/ Gygabite Odin Pro etc) Questions: This is my second important question, with this build what is the minimum PSU i will need? I figured 850W will suffice but will it??? Any recommendations on a good enough PSU would be appreciated. bear in mind that this build is price/quality related.

-Other questions:
1) OS: I am thinking on getting vista 64 bit simply for the 4GB RAM support. will i have problems with this? I read different reports according to driver support, games etc. for my usage being mainly new games what are the pro's/cons for this? Or should I just sick with XP Pro for the time being? It would save me 200€... Would I be able to play everything I want with just 2GB of RAM? If so then i can wait untill i upgrade to DDR3 in 1 or 2 years and then upgrade to Vista 64. Nevertheless I only build a new pc once in 4-5 years so if its worth it I would go for the whole thing right now and get Vista 64 now IF its worth it for my usage.
2) PSU: for the Geforce 9800 GX2 I need additional connectors, what PSU should I take that supplies these?
3) Audio: this motherboard has an integrated 7,1 ALC888 audio chip, Yet an X-FI card doesnt cost the world and I am willing to pay for that IF it will increase performance. I use a 5.1 sound system now and have no intentions to buy a 7.1 speaker system. So the only reason to buy an extra soundcard would be performance (better gameplay because the CPU doesn't need to look for the sound) Should I look for a sound card or do you think the onboard chip will suffice without a loss in performance?

For the rest i would appreciate any advice you people have to offer. tom's Hardware is actually the ONLY site I trust completely and I'm talking of at least 8 years monitoring hardware sites. There are plenty of other hardware sites but I feel the community here resembles most with my own ideas. so help me if you can, just bear in mind i am not a freak, i will probably not overclock and just want to be able to get high performance, NOT the highest as this is either unaffordeble or unreliable(overclocking beyond what makes sence). I can get this entire build for less then 1400€ So don't advice me with a build that goes double that amount.

thank you in advance!
Tom

More about : advice needed build

May 24, 2008 1:49:42 PM

Warlock said:
I will probably not overclock unless it becomes really necessary, same with SLI/Crossfire. I use my pc for databases and in the first place gaming, I like to play new games at a regular base meaning I upgrade once a year and want to be able to play every single game out there.

-Motherboard: MSI X48C Platinum (DDR2 and DDR3, I will use DDR2 800 for 1or 2 years then switch to DDR3, also has an FSB of 1600 for future upgrades) I have no questions here, I'm pretty sure I will buy this motherboard and no other.

-Processor: Intel Q9450 (quad cores are the future, even though at this moment I'll be better off with the E8500, I want to think ahead, games will be made for quad core soon) questions: will I have problems with the cooling? I read some quad cores run too hot for the stock cooler.
Overall, very nice rig, but I think you should reconsider the motherboard and maybe wait for the GPU a bit.

I know you had no questions about the motherboard, but I think it is just overkill; you are probably paying +150$ for features you will never use.
  • Intel will be introducing a new socket by the en of the year and it will probably become mainstream by the time you want to upgrade.
  • Right now, the only LGA775 CPUs using FSB1600 are Extremes which are way overpriced.
  • Given the 2 above statements, the next "affordable" Intel processor released that will use FSB1600 will probably not fit your board.
  • The X48 only supports XFire and you are buying a NVidia gfx, so obviously (as you stated yourself) dual-cards isn't really of interest.
  • You said yourself that you want to upgrade every 1-2 year, so no need to buy a CPU "for the future", it will probably take at east 1 year for the market to shift more toward quad cores.

    My suggestion:
  • Buy a basic board that does the job well like a Gigabyte DS3L (~90$), there will be no performance loss compared to X48.
  • Buy an E8400 (~200$), a good 3rd party HSF like the HDT-S1283 (best noise/price/cooling right now ~40$) and OC to 3.6GHz (simply raise the FSB to 400MHz, not even sure you need other adjustments).
  • ATI is releasing cards in less than a month, you might want to wait and see what they have to offer.
  • In a year, look at your need and the state of the market and upgrade CPU to quad if you think it will be useful for your kind of gaming and/or upgrade GPU.
  • In 2 years change the whole thing for the new Nehalem or whatever Intel has to offer then with its new socket.

    May 24, 2008 2:44:49 PM

    ^ Completely agree with everything Zenthar said, I'll throw in my 2 cents on the sound card. First off, the Creative driver support in Vista completely sucks. Go with the on-board first, if you aren't happy with it, then buy a sound card OTHER than anything from Creative. Trust me here. With Vista you lose many of the features you bought the X-Fi card for. It was great in XP, when I upgraded to Vista, I was totally shocked and dismayed with the Vista drivers.
    Vista+Creative=way bad deal.
    And lastly, the on-board sound will not hinder your performance. Today's multi-cored CPU's are more than enough to handle the little extra "umf" needed to run the on-board module without sacrificing gaming performance. No worries.
    Related resources
    May 24, 2008 2:49:45 PM

    Sounds like a nice build. I agree with Zenthar about the graphics card... you might want to wait a couple months as both ATI and Nvidia are due to release new stuff soon. Concerning the operating system, I'd stick with XP. With Windows 7 due to release in the next couple years (so soon after vista), there's debate about whether vista will see the same fate as Windows Me. May or may not happen, but I wouldn't risk spending money on a potentially worthless operating system; XP is very capable. As far as the ram issue, I'm not sure about the details of the limiations, but I can tell you that I am running Windows XP, 2GB DDR2-800, an e8400, and a Geforce 8800GTS 512 OC and Crysis (the most graphic-intensive game on the market) runs flawlessly at 1680x1050, all settings at high, and 4x antialiasing. All that to say that 2GB of ram shouldn't limit you much at all. Anyway, I hope that helps; have fun with your first build!
    May 24, 2008 3:47:05 PM

    thank you for the replies so far.
    ok,
    first off, Zenthar, thank you for your comments, they make perfectly sence, but I may have given the wrong impression regarding my upgrades. when i upgrade it is usually RAM and GPU. so far the Motherboard and CPU have always been in tandem (once in 4-5 years complete new pc remember). I chose this motherboard because I can upgrade everything except the motherboard itself, meaning I will deffinatly upgrade RAM & GPU in 3 years max, IF opportunity arises I can upgrade to a newer CPU in this time asswell although this is absolutely not my intend. I know about the new intel CPU and for me personally this will be for my next build over 5 years or so. The reason why this motherboard is almost non-negotionable is because of the PCI 2.0 and support for both DDR2 for the time being and in 2 years DDR3. This way I can easely upgrade without needing to buy a new motherboard/CPU. GPU and RAM are my primary concerns about gaming, performance relies mainly on these things, this motherboard gives me room for the next 3-4 years, quad core will be usual by then, wich is why I go for the Q9450 right now, normally I wont need to upgrade this to be able to play games in the next years.
    Other then that I will take your advice and wait 1, maximum 2 months for the GPU and see what comes out. I agree with you on the whole picture but like i said, I don't want to upgrade motherboard and cpu for 4-5 years wich is when I make an entire new build, CPU might be upgraded if finances allow it, but probably wont.

    jitpublisher & ezmo85: thank you for your advice. i will trust the both of you and opt for 2GB of RAM instead and leave my XP Pro for now. Also obviously there is no need to buy an extra soundcard with a quad core (wich is what I expected) so I will take your advice and go for the onboard chip.

    i would still appreciate any answers to the rest of my questions though.

    thank you very much so far.
    May 24, 2008 4:09:07 PM

    Zenthar said:
    Overall, very nice rig, but I think you should reconsider the motherboard and maybe wait for the GPU a bit.

    I know you had no questions about the motherboard, but I think it is just overkill; you are probably paying +150$ for features you will never use.
  • Intel will be introducing a new socket by the en of the year and it will probably become mainstream by the time you want to upgrade.
  • Right now, the only LGA775 CPUs using FSB1600 are Extremes which are way overpriced.
  • Given the 2 above statements, the next "affordable" Intel processor released that will use FSB1600 will probably not fit your board.
  • The X48 only supports XFire and you are buying a NVidia gfx, so obviously (as you stated yourself) dual-cards isn't really of interest.
  • You said yourself that you want to upgrade every 1-2 year, so no need to buy a CPU "for the future", it will probably take at east 1 year for the market to shift more toward quad cores.

    My suggestion:
  • Buy a basic board that does the job well like a Gigabyte DS3L (~90$), there will be no performance loss compared to X48.
  • Buy an E8400 (~200$), a good 3rd party HSF like the HDT-S1283 (best noise/price/cooling right now ~40$) and OC to 3.6GHz (simply raise the FSB to 400MHz, not even sure you need other adjustments).
  • ATI is releasing cards in less than a month, you might want to wait and see what they have to offer.
  • In a year, look at your need and the state of the market and upgrade CPU to quad if you think it will be useful for your kind of gaming and/or upgrade GPU.
  • In 2 years change the whole thing for the new Nehalem or whatever Intel has to offer then with its new socket.

  • Agreed. Well said.
    !