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First Time Build - please help

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May 24, 2008 7:50:04 PM

im looking into building my first system this summer. i really want something that will last 3-4 years and wont be total garbage by the time i get a new one. I did some research and this is what i came up with. i'd appreciate any helpful comments.



Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700 Kentsfield 2.66GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80562Q6700- $279.99

ASRock 4Core1600P35-WiFi+ LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard- $129.99

EVGA 512-P3-N871-AR GeForce 9800 GTX(G92) 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card- $299.99

RAIDMAX SMILODON ATX-612WBP Black SECC STEEL ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 500W Power Supply- $94.99

Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB 10000 RPM SATA 1.5Gb/s Hard Drive- $169.99

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive- $59.99
Pioneer 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black IDE Model DVR-115DBK- $29.99

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1000 (PC2 8000) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8000CL5D-4GBPQ- $84.99

More about : time build

May 24, 2008 7:57:59 PM

I'd consider a new mobo, but your along the right lines choosing a P35. AsRock mobo's are fine... if your going to leave your comp at stock for the rest of it's life time.

If it's just the built in wifi you want and possible overclocking, go for Asus's P5K Premium :
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=MB...

I would suggest the Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L, but it seems to have problems with more than 6400 RAM.

If you still want the 8000 RAM, but on the cheap try Asus P5K SE Intel P35.

Also try to buy the case separate with a better quality PSU. 500W should be ok, but to be on the safe side go 600W.

P.S don't go cheap on your PSU get a high Tier one for the quad and a GTX!
May 24, 2008 8:10:16 PM

Q6600 would do just as well(for $60 less) if you plan to overclock. If so get a XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 cooler for $37 from newegg.com.

I would also recommend a Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS3R board over that ASRock (or if you need WIFI the ASUS P5K-E/WIFI : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ).

RAIDMAX is not a brand I trust to make a good PSU so skip the CASE and PSU combo.
I would recommend Cooler Master RC-690 CASE ( http://www.buy.com/prod/cooler-master-690-without-power... ) and a Corsair VX 550W PSU ( http://www.buy.com/prod/corsair-vx-550w-atx-power-suppl... ).

HDD : I would recommend 2x WD6400AAKS for $200 instead (640GB, almost as fast as the Raptor).
ODD : I would recommend an SATA model DVD Burner instead of the IDE one.

For a Q6700/Q6600 build you don't really need fast 1000MHz RAM. The one you picked is good and cheap but a cheaper 800MHz (PC2-6400) kit would do also. No need to change that.
Related resources
May 24, 2008 8:12:48 PM

Since you're not building again for 3-4 years, be patient and wait another month. The velociraptor HD will be 35% faster than the current raptor - it should be available mid-June or sooner: http://www.pcsforeveryone.com/Product/Western_Digital/W...

The next generation of GPU's from nvidia and ati come out next month also, another (even more important) reason to consider waiting.


ASRock MB's don't have a great reputation compared to Gigabyte, Asus, and Intel boards. I'm a big fan of Gigabyte boards b/c they have a great reputation for a reason and for me personally they've been reliable and easy to overclock. This is a terrific budget board:
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E168...

or if you want PCI-E 2.0 support and might consider crossfire at some point, then this one looks super nice:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=N...


Upgrade your PSU as well - Corsair, Antec, PC Power and Cooling are names to look at.
May 24, 2008 9:25:37 PM

thanks for the replies,

i dont really wanna wait for the next generation - it seems that all the new hardware is ovepriced even if it has small performance gains. that's why i dint wanna go for the new Q9450 processor and don't wanna wait for the new hard drives and video cards.



Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700 Kentsfield 2.66GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80562Q6700- $279.99

i dont mind paying a little more for the performance gain. i dont plan to oc since that might reduce the life of the system. i figure that a stock cooler would be enough in this case. right?

ASRock 4Core1600P35-WiFi+ LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard- $129.99

i dont really care about the wireless feature of this board. i did like that this board had support for DDR3 if i decide to upgrade when it gets cheaper. some of you said that this board might not be very reliable. would anyone suggest a more reliable board with both DDR2 & 3 slots or at least a dependable budget board that would support the other components listed.

EVGA 512-P3-N871-AR GeForce 9800 GTX(G92) 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card- $299.99

i dont plan on using this card in SLI anytime soon. the only problem that i see with this one is that it is HUGE. has anyone had experience with these?

RAIDMAX SMILODON ATX-612WBP Black SECC STEEL ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 500W Power Supply- $94.99


since some of you said that this case might not be very good, im thinking of going with the cooler master rc690 that Andrius suggested and a separate PSU. i hope the case is large enough to fit the 9800gtx. any suggestions are welcome.


Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB 10000 RPM SATA 1.5Gb/s Hard Drive- $169.99

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive- $59.99


i was thinking of using the 10000 rpm drive as the boot disk and the other one to store the less useful files. any suggestions on these?

Pioneer 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black IDE Model DVR-115DBK- $29.99

what is the difference between IDE & SATA DVD drives? which one is better?

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1000 (PC2 8000) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8000CL5D-4GBPQ- $84.99


would there be a noticible difference between PC2-8000 & PC2-6400? i've read that some os dont recognize all 4gb of ram. anyone know anything about this? is it something i should think about before purchasing these?
May 24, 2008 10:20:29 PM

A combo-memory board : GA-EP35C-DS3R (DDR2 and DDR3)
These are poor value but since you won't overclock it might be irrelevant.
The board you picked doesn't support SLI. If you want SLI you need a NVIDIA chipset based board (just so you know).

While we're at "new tech" why did you pick a 9800GTX? The 8800GTS is the same card just 25MHz slower clocked (650MHz vs 675MHz). The 8800GTS/9800GTX will fit into the RC-690 without issues. Make sure you get a good PSU for it.

The 10000rpm boot/system drive is a good idea (I have two of them) but it's poor value. I've already given you my advice on harddrives above.

SATA is better because of the slimer data cable. It's easier to route and doesn't block airflow. It's performance won't change but since it's a new system why buy an IDE model? Trying to save $5?

Memory speed makes close to no difference. The one you picked is cheap so I didn't recommend changing it. Any PC2-6400 quality kit will work.
I recommend Corsair, Geil, Kingston, Mushkin brand kits to my friends.
WindowsXP 32bit supports a maximum of around 3.3GB RAM with the graphics card you picked.
WindowsXP/Vista 64bit supports more.

EDIT: The stock cooler will do fine if you don't plan to overclock but be ready for ~50°C idle and ~70°C load temperatures with it. :) 
May 25, 2008 6:44:56 PM

first of all, im a total noob. so i blame the noobiness for some of the dumb choices made. youre totally right about the 8800GTS - i looked at the benchmark charts and it performs only 10-15% worse than the 9800gtx at half the price. you're probably right about the HDD as well - i totally didnt realize you were talking about putting two 640GB drives in RAID0 (this is what i initially thought: why do i need 1.2TB of space - d'ohh - :)  ). lets try this again - here's a new parts list:


Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700 Kentsfield 2.66GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80562Q6700- $279.99

ASUS P5N-E SLI LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 650i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard- $119.99
OR BFG Tech BFG680i SLi LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard- $139.99 after rebate

ok, since i decided to go with 8800gts, i have reconsidered SLI. i dont know if i wanna make it sli to start off with, but i want the option of upgrading it to sli in the future. one of the mobo's says that it operates as 8x & 8x in SLI instead of 16 & 16. would i notice a difference? also, i gave up on the DDR2/DDR3 combo board.


ECS N8800GTS-512MX GeForce 8800GTS (G92) 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card- $169.99 after rebate

nothing to say here. this is the cheapest i could find this card for

Cooler Master 690 without Power Supply - RC-690-KKN1-GP- $79.99

as suggested by Andrius.

Corsair VX 550W ATX Power Supply - CMPSU-550VX- $69.99

also suggested by Andrius.

2 X Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive- $199.98

for raid 0

Pioneer 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model DVR-215DBK- $30.99

sata instead of ide


OCZ SLI-Ready Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory- $63.99 after rebate

i dont think that the motherboards listed above support the faster memory i had before, so i found these.

Which OS would you recommend? i'd appreciate any other comments, improvements i could make that are not overly expensive or better deals on the hardware. Thanks.
May 25, 2008 10:30:33 PM

The CPU and case are great picks so no comment there.

Motherboard:
I'd say go for 680i if you plan on going with a 6x0i chipset.
Here's a cheaper board (in case you missed it) :
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I would tell you to buy a newer board but since you are not after bleeding edge performance I'll just post a link to one (750i, 2 x16 slots 2.0), $150) :
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphics card : the 8800GTS 512MB version is a good decision. ECS doesn't have the best of reputations but it's cheap (I'd go for one at ~$225, say EVGA, XFX, BFG, GIGABYTE, ASUS or so but that's just me).

PSU : If you want to go 8800GTS SLI you'll need a bit more than 550W but you can always upgrade later if you decide to go SLI. Just so you know.
Good 750W PSUs :
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.buy.com/prod/corsair-tx-750w-atx-12v-power-s...

Disk drives :
I don't think you need RAID0 (infact I'd recommend you go RAID1 for data redundancy in case a drive fails but again that's just me). If you go for RAID0 make sure you have a backup plan. You also need a floppy to install Windows XP in case you decide to go with RAID0 or RAID1. You could also go for two drives without RAID one for OS and programs/games, one for pagefile and data.

DVDRW
There are cheaper burners like this :
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
but there's no need to change that for $5.
More:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

OS: My advice is go with Windows Vista since it's a new build.
If you plan to do work on this computer you could choose Windows XP. I still use it and I use my home computers to do work. If I were building a pure gaming rig I'd probably go with Vista.
May 25, 2008 11:18:44 PM

Andrius, you're giving great advice, maybe you could give me some, I'm looking at this rig, $1550 before tax from www.canadacomputers.com

Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Ultimate Gamer Case $101.99

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 64-Bit (OEM)
$129.99

OCZ StealthXStream 600W Power Supply - Active PFC, 120mm Fan (OCZ600SXS) $81.99

Seagate Barracuda (ST3250410AS) 7200.10 250GB SATA2 8.5MS 7200RPM 16MB Cache Hard Drive
$57.99

OCZ (OCZ2N800SR4GK) NVIDIA SLI Ready XTC 4GB DDR2 2X2GB PC2-6400 DDR2-800 CL 5-4-4-15 Memory Kit
$119.99

OCZ OCZ Vanquisher CPU Cooler For Sockets AMD 754/939/AM2, Intel LGA775*
$20.99

Zotac 8800GT 512MB AMP! Edition (ZT-88TES3P-FCP) nVidia GeForce 8800GT Chipset (700Mhz) 512MB (2000Mhz) GDDR3 Dual Dual-Link DVI PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card
2 $179.99 $359.98

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Socket LGA775, 3 GHz, 1333 MHz FSB, 6MB L2 Cache, 45nm (Retail Box) (BX80570E8400)
$219.99

EVGA 132-CK-NF78-A1 3-Way SLI Socket 775 nVidia nForce 780i Chipset Dual-Channel DDR2 533/667/800/1200Mhz Support 1066/1333 FSB 7.1-Ch HD Audio 3x PCI-Express x16 Graphic Slots
$254.99

Samsung SyncMaster 2053BW Black 20" Dual Mode Wide LCD 2ms, 1680x1050, 8000:1
249.99

There is also about $75-100 in rebates on this setup
Thanks!!
May 25, 2008 11:56:38 PM

@crbriand
Looks like a very solid selection.
You are missing an optical drive : DVDRW
http://www.canadacomputers.com/index.php?do=ShowProduct...

My other thougths (general advice, you did great on your own):
Case: great pick.

Graphics :
I would go for 2x 8800GTS (better cooling with direct heat exhaust is a major plus for SLI rigs). Or you could wait till June 18th for GTX 280/260 to come out (I guess you would only need 1 at 1680x1050 but who knows).

PSU:
The OCZ PSU is a bit weak for 2x 8800GT(S) (more buy reputation than wattage, since they are ~110W parts ). I would tell you to buy a Corsair TX 750W or PC Power & Cooling 750W Silencer (links from newegg above) but from what I know they are really expensive in Canada.

You could save some cash on the CPU (if you intend to overclock) by going with a E7200 (I've seen a link for around $145 Canadian on it). It should overclock just as high (~around 4.0GHz should be reachable on that 780i).

And the standard CPU cooling advice (XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 with screw mounting/backplate kit if you can get it cheap, say $40 or less).
Cooler : http://www.canadacomputers.com/index.php?do=ShowProduct...
backplate-kit : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: I would tell you to get a 7200.11 seagate drive but it's $25 or so more (320GB). Or the WD6400AAKS but that's $107.

If you need to reduce cost go for a P35 and drop to one 8800GTS or like I said above wait for GTX 280/260 and get P45 in late June.

That's that. You did your homework very well. :D 
If you need something more specific ask away.
May 26, 2008 12:54:56 AM

I havn't planned on overclocking anything, but maybe i'll look into it, seems to be a normal thing to do these days.
May 26, 2008 12:56:24 AM

Thanks!! I really appreciate the help and you're right the other PSU's are quite expensive, 160+

I forgot to mention, but I have a good sound card and optical drive from my old rig that I plan on using in this new one.

Thanks again!!!
May 26, 2008 11:44:28 PM

Thanks Andrius. you have been very helpful. i think im almost done picking the hardware for this build. i dropped one of the hard drives (i dont think i need the performance or redundancy of 2 drives), decided to go with the 750i motherboard, 2x 8800gts in sli, and a 750W PSU. im also thinking of switching to the OEM version of the Q6700 processor and the HDT-S1283 cooler that was recommended to crbriand. do you need the separate bracket or are the clips that come with it enough? what about the thermal paste - is the stuff that comes with the cooler good enough? i dont really mind spending a couple more bucks - just wondering if you need it. The parts list is below.



SAMSUNG 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S203B
$26.99


COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
$79.99


Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
$99.99


2X ECS N8800GTS-512MX GeForce 8800GTS (G92) 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card
$339.98
($169.99 each) after rebate


CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply
$119.99 after rebate

OCZ SLI-Ready Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2N800SR4GK
$63.99 after rebate


ASUS P5N-D LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 750i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard
$149.99


Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700 Kentsfield 2.66GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model HH80562PH0678MK
$259.99


XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler
$36.99


im thinking of getting the x64 version of vista (~$100). i read some older articles about compatibility issues and/or driver problems. Does anyone know about this? any advice? how can i make sure everything's compatible? thanks again
May 27, 2008 12:08:53 AM

Are you guys sure that the RC-690 case is wide enough to accomodate the xigmatek cooler? My guess would be probably, but that thing is pretty huge.
May 27, 2008 12:17:02 AM

The seperate backplate-kit is highly recommended. I'd buy one for $7 no doubt about it. The pushpins are less "foolproof" to mount and can cause issues with boards bending/warping.

The paste that comes with the cooler is generally good enough. If you want to "play around" with temperatures you could get some Arctic Silver 5 or MX2. The second is nonconductive and I would recommend you use nonconductive paste if you are not experienced in using it.

The OEM Q6700 is probably cheaper but you only get a 1year warranty. Think about it. I've never had an Intel chip die on me so I can't say much about the value of it's warranty. :) 

The hardware you picked should not have any issues on Vista now. I don't use Vista myself but it's been out over a year and people are mostly happy with it. Vista x64 is absolutely the way to go for a new build IMO.
May 27, 2008 12:29:50 AM

@modode
Yes. It is wide enough but you might have to remove the side intake fan.
Since the case has mounts for 7 or so fans it's not an issue to place it elsewhere. The P5N-D's CPU socket is quite close to the upper edge so it shouldn't be necessary to remove it. It's a very open case so airflow is not really an issue.

I've placed it in the front top spot as an exhaust in a friend's build.
(Q6600 + HDT-1283, 4GB RAM Corsair DHX, GA-EP35-DSR, HD3470, 2xWD6400AAKS, CMPSU-550VX and the CM RC-690.
May 29, 2008 3:34:07 AM

Thanks Andrius. you've given some great advice. i've ordered all the parts and hopefully wont have too tough a time assembling them. Thanks again.
!