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Making a new system in Japan and I need your advice and enlightenment!

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May 24, 2008 2:20:19 PM

Hello there :kaola:  I have been a long time reader of the forums here and have yet to post anything significant or contributing to the site, but please don't take this to heart as I ask for your guidance in making new rig in Japan.

I have been here for a few years now and lived my first year using a macbook while my gaming rig was sitting in Australia gathering dust. A good friend of mine disassembled it and bubble wrapped the parts, stuck them into the lian-li case and sent them over. I then built it again from scratch and overclocked the video card and cpu a little bit as I only had stock fans.

This is my old computer:

CPU = P43.2GHz OC'd to 3.52GHz
RAM = Corsair 3200 1.5GB
MOBO = Gigabyte something or other
CASE = Lian-li 60
GPU = Radeon 9600pro 256mb AGP OC'd to 576Mhz
HDD = Maxtor 120Gb + ext. Buffalo 500Gb
Screen = 32v Sony Bravia LCD

Now that was my first time building a computer and I was still in college then and the funds were a little tight, now I am working fulltime I would like to put together something that I feel I haven't cut corners on.

This is my proposal and also the prices in Japan at the moment for each piece.

CPU - Core2Quad Q9450 @ 2.66GHz FSB 1333 12Mb CACHE = 37,980yen

MOBO - ASUSTek Striker II Formula = 40,480yen

Memory - Twin 2x4096-8500 CEDF XMS2-8500 2GB*2 CL5 (Corsair Dominator) = 17,980yen x 2?

HDD - ST31000340AS - 1TB 7200rpm SerialATA 32MB Seagate = 21,840yen
WD1500ADFD - 150GB 10000rpm SerialATA 16MB = 21,420yen

PSU - Thermaltake W0116-01 ToughPower 750W = 29,800yen

GPU - Galaxy GF P98 GX2 - 9800GX2 GDDR3 1GB - core clock 600MHz - mem clock - 2GHz

Case - OWL-PCCG-10 Crystal Gazer - 23,800yen http://www.ark-pc.co.jp/item/OWL-PCCG-10+Crystal+Gazer+...

or

Zalman ZM-GT1000 = 54,800yen
http://www.zalman.co.kr/ENG/product/Product_Read.asp?id...


Notes:
-------

CPU
-----

I chose the CPU because it has a larger CACHE that the Q6600 and I have seen people overclock the Q6600 to around 3.2-3.4, so I thought the extra CACHE might help things along. What do you think or recommend?

Cooling
--------

I need help with cooling because with the graphics card and the raptor HDD etc the rig will run hot, I was thinking some Zalman CPU fans, but then I heard water cooling is the way to go. I have never installed water cooling before so I would have to research more, but if you guys think it is the better option as far as keeping things cold and quite, then that's what I'll buy.

Mobo
------

I chose the mobo because I think the layout of the copper heatsinks looks nice and it is a little cheaper than the striker II extreme by about $100.

Memory and OS
-------------------

The memory was an easy choice, 4gigs of dominator ram for under $200, I was thinking about getting 8gigs do you think it is worthwhile? I intend to play games, watch HD movies and that is about it really, any thoughts?

On the note of memory, and I know about the 3.25GB limit of XP, do you think 8 gigs and using vista ultimate would be better than 4 gigs and XP pro SP3? I have an OEM copy of Ultimate that I installed for fun on my current rig and it was really slow, I assume because of the ram and other limitation like my GPU.

Would vista ultimate run fast on the proposed rig? I have the OEM edition and was wondering if x64 is included in it. I heard that ultimate has a seperate x64 edition disc included, and mine was not a store copy if you get my drift.

HDD
-----

ok so for around $200 I can buy a 1TB HDD that runs at 7200 with a 32mb CACHE I was thinking of getting two of these and partitioning one for the OS. Then I was also thinking of getting the 10,000RPM raptor and sticking the OS on that and any game that I would be playing.

Which is a better option and why? The faster driver might make the system run hotter, if so around how much in temp?

GPU
-----

I know the new generation chip is coming out in summer and I am actually thinking of holding the build off until the new cards hit the market, but for now the card that I would like to have is the 9800GX2. The main reason is that my screen is a 32 inch Sony Bravia LCD and it has HDMI as well as a PC VGA input, so I thought it would make more sense to run the GPU through HDMI.

Is this correct or not? the max resolution of the screen is 1366x968 so native 720p and 1080i, I know for these resolutions the card is a bit overkill but I have read that HDMI looks comparably better than the VGA.

This build comes to about 2,500-$3000 USD that is including a cooling system between $0-$500.

Any suggestions and all advice, comments are welcome and appreciated, thankyou in advance for the knowledge, help and guidance.

Gargamel


More about : making system japan advice enlightenment

May 24, 2008 2:59:47 PM

That is quite a nice configuration.

My thoughts :
If you want to overclock the Q9450 beyond 3.2GHz go for an ASUS RAMPAGE FORMULA. You will loose SLI but you might not need it with GTX 280 / HD4870 and 1366x768. The NVIDIA chipsets have some issues that still need to be resolved so if you wait a bit it might be a good pick anyway.

Your RAM choice is perfect for high FSB overclocks. I would go for 8GB as Vista is a memory hog. But it's useless to go for 8GB if you don't have the 64bit edition.

CASE : this is quite simply the "most silly" choice you made. (IMO:) )
Keep your LIAN-LI case. Both other cases are rubish compared to it. Depending on price you could also get something new from LIAN-LI.
If you want a cheaper alternative check out the Cooler Master RC-690.

HDD : With a front 120mm intake fan my 2 Raptors are around 30°C (not hot at all) so no worries there. Your backup/storage drive choice is as good as it gets (I'd buy two for RAID1, data redunancy).

Cooling : You need good airflow (120mm front intake, 120mm rear/top exhaust (top for PSU if it's mounted above the motherboard). A good graphics card exhausts the heat from the case so no worries there.

A good CPU cooler is a must : http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm
XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 for great value (~$37/33EUR).
Thermalright Ultra 120 eXtreme + Scythe S-FLEX SFF21F (~$75/70EUR).
You can probably pick any one from the left list and be happy.
If you still want watercooling a Swiftech H20-220 Compact kit or the like would be a cheap entry and would be enough for upto 4.0GHz on the CPU. If you want to spend more consider DIY (D-Tek Fuzion block, Laing DDC pump, ThermoChill PA 120.2 radiator). For more info read this : http://forums.extremeoverclocking.com/showthread.php?t=...

Your LCDTV will limit SLI benefits so I'd go for a cheaper card or wait until GTX 280/260 or HD48x0 comes out. The 9800GX2 is utter overkill and a gigantic waste of money.

That's about everything I have to say. :) 
May 24, 2008 3:13:48 PM

Thankyou very much for the insightful reply, I was a bit iffy on the case because the lian-li, however simply it may be, it really great with thumb screws and mounted sliding mobo panel. I will have to try and get a lian-li case over here somewhere.

Graphics card is my main concern, I was wondering if the two entry models of Nvidia's will have HDMI input, I don't like using a dongle from DVI. Thanks for the reply again, I hope I can get some tips on water cooling and weather it is quieter and or better for this build.
Related resources
May 24, 2008 3:23:23 PM

My advice is on watercooling is simple.
It's higher maintenence than aircooling. If you don't want the extra hassle of draining purging and refilling your system every 3-6 months go with air.

If you are a "tweaker" and need to play around with your system (I am) you could give watercooling a try. It's quieter with the right components.

But if you are careful with picking a case it's not that big of a difference.
I hear my all-but-CPU passive cooled system (coil) whine under load over the 4x1200rpm Scythe fans.

I've also updated the first post with another link on watercooling parts.

You can get cheaper cards with HDMI adapters (the 2" short ones).
Some manufacturers also make models with HDMI ports but they are harder to find in some places (say backwater Europe).
May 25, 2008 8:18:09 AM

I was thinking about gettingsome after market heatsinks for the CPU and GPU, the dominator set of ram comes with it's own set of fans (will this be sufficient for overclocking?)

As for the CPU heatsink, I was looking at the new Thermaltake dual orb, it looks pretty and seems to do a decent job, what do you think?

Also I am a wondering about case choices, I know the lian-li is a great case but I was thinking about having something more visable this time around. Any thoughts on something that keeps tempretures down, has thumbscrews similar to the lian-li and has a glass or perspex panel and or entire casing?

Thanks Andrius for your guidance.
May 25, 2008 1:18:50 PM

Well if you want "bling" try the Antec Nine Hundred (midtower ~$120) or Twelve Hundred (a big monster at ~$220). I'm not sure about thumbscrews but they have windowed sidepanels. Then there's the Coolermaster RC-690 (optiona windowed sidepanel), the NZXT Tempest

Some links : (the CM 590 and 690 have an optional windowed sidepanel)
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/CoolerMaster/Centuri...
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/NZXT/Tempest
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Sigma/Luna_WB
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Thermaltake/XaserVI
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/CoolerMaster/RC_690

EDIT: I posted a link about the best performing/most silent coolers above.
Here it is again in case you missed it : http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm
The left is "performance" the right is "silence".
Since you want to go with an overclocked quadcore I'd pick one from the left.
The XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 has a "RedScorpion" edition with a red fan that looks flashy. It's an excellent cooler and quite cheap ($37). I have one on an older socket939 Athlon 64 and it's cooled passively.
http://www.xigmatek.com/product/air-redscorpions1283.ph...
The successor : http://www.xigmatek.com/product/air-achilless1284.php (costs $45).

I'm not sure about the TT dual orb's performance but I wouldn't put form over function on a "hot" quad. ;) 
May 26, 2008 1:29:11 AM

I checked out that XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 Red Scorpion edition and I must say I like that and being red it would go well with the Spider case. I like how the pipes directly touch the CPU, it looks really well made too better than the spinning orbs hehe.

Will I need extra fans for the GPU with the Armorsuit PC-80R?

What else do you recommend me putting in the case? Do you think sound dampening is a waste? Maybe some red cathodes so the Spider glows?

This what I am thinking after taking in the advice above:

CPU - Core2Quad Q9450 @ 2.66GHz FSB 1333 12Mb CACHE = 37,980yen

MOBO - ASUSTek Rampage Formula = 35,980yen

Memory - Twin 2x4096-8500 CEDF XMS2-8500 2GB*2 CL5 (Corsair Dominator) = 17,980yen x 2?

HDD - ST31000340AS - 1TB 7200rpm SerialATA 32MB Seagate = 21,840yen - Storage use
WD1500ADFD - 150GB 10000rpm SerialATA 16MB = 21,420yen - OS use

PSU - Thermaltake W0116-01 ToughPower 750W = 29,800yen

CPU HS - XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 Red Scorpion edition = 4,800yen

Case - Armorsuit PC-80R = 70,000yen or so (not sure about this case, it is perfect but the price is stretching my budget.)

Without the case it costs me 187,780yen just under 2k and the case pushing it to 2.5k oh I forgot the GPU lol. One second,

GPU - I agree that the 9800Gx2 is a bit of overkill and will go for the GTX 280 / HD4870 when they come out next month. So I am estimating that they will cost under $500 here in Japan so I need to add another 50,000 yen hmm this is getting expensive when I think about that red case.

So the balance comes out to exactly $3k

I checked out the site for the motherboard and it has a great number of overclocking functions, it's great!
May 26, 2008 1:34:05 PM

That case is one of a kind in many ways.
I personaly like the A77 more but I'm not really a bling person so that's that. Red cathodes are cheap so you can add them if you like. They won't impact budget alot (about $15 for a quality kit with a switch and two cathodes). I like my case not glowing or at least being able to turn it off.

Make sure you get the backplate and screw mounting kit for the XIGMATEK cooler (~$7).
Crossbow-ACK-I7751 for the Red Scorpion HDT-S1283
http://www.xigmatek.com/product/accessory-crossbow-adk-...
or
Crossbow-ACK-I7753 for the Achilles HDT-S1284
http://www.xigmatek.com/product/accessory-crossbow-adk-...

That motherboard(Rampage) should take your Q9450 to about 3.6GHz on stock settings without much tinkering. With the ATI/AMD graphics cards you can also use CrossFire on that board. The GTX 280/260 will likely not be cheap.

PSU: I would get a Corsair, Seasonic, PC Power & Cooling 750W unit.
The TT 750W is good enough for quality but I trust those above more.

Budget:
It's a high performance rig so it costs alot of money. It's the same here in backwater Europe. $3k buys you about what you are getting.
~$500 Q9450
~$360 Rampage Formula
~$375 8GB Corsair Dominator
~$250 150GB WD Raptor
~$300 1TB Seagate 7200.11
~$225 Corsair TX-750W PSU
~$300 Large Quality Tower Case (not Lian-Li).
~$700 for a high level graphics card.
-----
~$3000 Total. Expensive!
May 26, 2008 7:55:59 PM

Andrius said:

Make sure you get the backplate and screw mounting kit for the XIGMATEK cooler (~$7).
Crossbow-ACK-I7751 for the Red Scorpion HDT-S1283
http://www.xigmatek.com/product/accessory-crossbow-adk-...
or
Crossbow-ACK-I7753 for the Achilles HDT-S1284
http://www.xigmatek.com/product/accessory-crossbow-adk-...

Thank You! I have been looking for this kit for a while an no body seems to know what I was talking about or didn't now about it. Now I can get rid of those cr@ppy pins.
May 26, 2008 9:15:31 PM

@Shadow703793
I just found it on their website a few days ago after reading a review of the Achilles. I saw that it uses a different mount kit and checked the product web page and there it was in the accessories. It's also been on newegg for a few days.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I thought it was compatible with other socket 775 screws and backplate kits if you removed the pushpins. I guess I was wrong.
May 26, 2008 10:23:36 PM

lol, didn't check it a few days ago. Last time I checked was ~2-3 weeks ago. lol, it's out of stock @ newegg. I guess all the XIGMATEK owners bought it out. :p 
May 26, 2008 11:02:16 PM

I'm still happy I bought a TRUE!
All those pushpin fans(like the reviewer on Toms) make me laugh. :) 

Backplate, springs and screws FTW!
May 26, 2008 11:09:12 PM

here's a few thoughts to keep in mind for your build, which sounds like it's well on it's way.

Your screen resolution is less than that of a 24" monitor, and that should affect your considerations for the VGA card.
to begin with, the 9800X2 has 2 pcb's that face each other, and i don't know of any aftermarket cooling air or water that will fit it. If you wait for the next Gen video cards to come out, then you might as well wait for next gen processor too, and before you know it, a year has gone by. if you need a new computer now, then buy what's on the market now, and perhaps just get a place holder card like the 8800GT that won't cost you too much, and should suffice until the next gen is out. you can then ebay your old card, to offset the expense. speaking of expense...

why go with the striker II formula unless you're running triple SLI? (which would be nuts for the resolution your tv/monitor supports.) Personally, if i upgrade to the 700 series chipset, it would be to the evga 750i ftw "for the win!" it offers most of you would likely be looking for, and is another $100 saved. also keep in mind that the LGA 775 is nearing it's end of life and you aren't going to have much of a processor upgrade path.

and if you want to save another couple hundred, don't buy the raptor. these days, most of the Terabyte drives have comprable speed, and you can just create a partition to load your OS and programs to, to keep them separate from your storage.

4GB's of Ram is plenty and Corsair is the best, and Vista Ultimate comes with both 32 & 64bit versions, so you get 'em all. I have a Q6600 & 4GB of ram, and even with lots of Adobe programs open i haven't exceeded 3.5GB usage at any time. most often it stays around the 2 - 2.5GB mark for RAM utilization.

your probably fine with that psu, but remember if you ever have to RMA your powersupply, then you are going to pay for shipping, and that's one of those hidden costs you have to keep an eye out for. I went with a PCP&C 750w "silencer" and while it isn't what you would call 'silent' it is a damn good psu.

for the case, i always just look for something that's big and has free shipping. I got a great deal on my Antec P182, but it's not quite as roomy as i would like.

anyway, i hope that helps
May 28, 2008 12:59:29 AM

Andrius said:
I'm still happy I bought a TRUE!
All those pushpin fans(like the reviewer on Toms) make me laugh. :) 

Backplate, springs and screws FTW!

I agree as well :sol: 
May 30, 2008 4:32:24 AM

I have been reading around about overclocking the CPU - Core2Quad Q9450 @ 2.66GHz FSB 1333 12Mb CACHE and I was wondering if I will run into any bottlenecks using the Twin 2x4096-8500 CEDF XMS2-8500 2GB*2 CL5 (Corsair Dominator) ram I have selected?

Somewhere I read that by changing the FSB of the 9450 to 400 I can get a stable clock speed of around 3.20GHz.

http://techgage.com/print/intel_core_2_quad_q9450_266gh...

P.S. As for the case I have opted not to get the spider as it is just too much and I would rather save it for other components or another 3TB of HDD space etc. I am thinking of the mid tower ATX case with two inlets for water cooling if I eventually go liquid on this rig. The Lian-Li Pc-P60 the smaller version of the full tower -P80 which is the retail version of the spider case anyway.

I was wondering though when I eventually get it set up and try and over clock the CPU etc, will I have heat problems if I decide to go air and get the heatsink for the CPU, thermal paste etc?

Then if I adjust the voltage I can go a bit higher, however with my ram is that still possible?
May 30, 2008 10:59:00 AM

RAM : Twin 2x4096-8500 CEDF XMS2-8500 2GB*2 CL5 (Corsair Dominator)
The short answer is no, it won't bottleneck you in any way.

The long answer is below if you want to read it:
The RAM you picked is rated at 1066MHz DDR (533MHz physical frequency).
Intel's current RAM layout is organized in dual channel data rate.
FSB is quad pumped so raising the FSB to say 450MHz (3.6GHZ=8x450MHz on a Q9450) equals 1800MHz (4x450MHz) data rate.
The 533MHz of your RAM provide a maximum (unoverclocked) data rate of 2133MHz (4x533MHz).

3.6GHz should be no problem on air cooling (with a good cooler like the XIGMATEK listed above or better). The stock Intel cooler might be a bit weak for 3.6GHz but should handle 3.2GHz with high 60ies temperatures.

If you want 4.0GHz or more you should invest in a Q9550 or even QX9650 but that's expensive. I doubt however that you will reach 4.0GHz with the Q9450 (quadcore FSB wall is the limiting factor). If you get a good chip it is however very possible.

The RAM will likely not present a limit until you reach a FSB of 533MHz. At that point your Q9450 would be runing at 4.266GHz and that is a bit of wishful thinking from me. :) 
May 30, 2008 4:49:39 PM

Thanks again Andrius, I am still a novice at overclocking and have been trying to get as much information as possible without trying to overwhelm myself at the same time.

Your answers are always spot on and a pleasure to read!

On a side note I have an old P4 3.2GHz that I slightly oc'd using the stock fan, it is only a 10% increase but I enjoy the extra speed in the old thing. I tried to push it further but it wouldn't boot up, I don't think I know the exact way to manually overclock yet. I know how to get into the bios and switch the settings to manual and then I have access to core voltage etc but that is when I get confused :(  I have to practice on this rig before I make my next one.

Any articles that I should be looking at in particular? I have been searching through the forums all day and am still a bit confused. Thanks again Andrius


June 1, 2008 2:49:19 PM

Thanks Andrius, by the way I think I am going to take the dive and go liquid this time. I decided to put everything on credit card and get something I really want that I can tinker and maintain.

As I will be going into Akihabara this weekend, it is the electronic mecha of Japan, also only 40 minutes away from my apartment and I think I can get all I need there.

I know alot of people who start out with liquid lean towards kits, there is a big water kit I can pick up for just under $200 here, I think thermaltake make them. I just checked it, BigWater 760i CL-W0121 it is one that you have the reservoir in the 5.25 inch bay.

http://www.thermaltake.co.jp/product/Liguid/DIY/cl-w012...

Do you think it would be a good starters kit? I am a little worried about the hoses being too weak and what not, I read that the starter kits have cheap parts and leak easily etc.

Sorry for the onslaught of questions, I have been thinking about this system non-stop and all the information you have provided I have read over again and again with delight.

I am thinking, due to cost the pc-p80R while beutiful, and only limited to 300 cases, is a little too expensive and was thinking about the pc-p60, the retail mid tower with two pre drilled ports for a water cooling system.

Let me grab a link for that, http://lian-li.com/v2/en/product/product06.php?pr_index...

Well I am off to look through that link you gave me on overclocking, I just started reading it and it looks fascinating, thanks again!
June 1, 2008 5:50:43 PM

I have a TT Bigwater 745 kit. I bought it to learn about the details so I can build a DIY project later. The only thing I don't like about the BW-760i are the quick release plastic clamps (they don't look that durable to me).
On the BW745 kit everything has metal compression (screw-in) barbs and I've been running this for 6 months without a leak. The pump is rubish but it's a cheap kit so that's that.

A good pump like the Laing DDC costs $75-$100 depending on model and extras. Here's my list for my eventual (DIY watercooling) project:
pump : http://www.petrastechshop.com/laddcwpeddto.html
CPU wb : http://www.petrastechshop.com/dfuv2uncpuwa.html + http://www.petrastechshop.com/qucomiinford.html
Radiator : http://www.petrastechshop.com/thpara2.html
aditonal : 3meters of fitting PVC tube, 10pcs compression fittings,
a cheap PVC fluid container, metal T line, 20 or so zipties
4liters of destilled water, (BMW) anti-corossion additive, teflon tape.
Optional : flow meter, temperature sensors and fittings.
Totals to around $400 and change but it'll cost me more. It's worth the investment IMO. The BW kits are of low quality and performance so I wouldn't put one on a (highly overclocked) quadcore.

With Lian-Li it's a sure win. If you like it go for it. ;) 
June 2, 2008 12:09:06 AM

Thanks again Andrius, I was thinking along the same lines as you about getting a starter kit then upgrading later. I will see what I can find as far as parts go in Akihabara this weekend, if I can get a better pump, proper tubing and such then I might just do that.

I am also thinking about a clear side panel for the case, but the is neither here nor there, the main purpose is the primary components, after that I will think about bells and whistles.
!