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About $1200 for a Gaming Rig, complete newbie, seeking advice.

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May 26, 2008 7:44:39 PM

Hi there;

I'm looking to spend about $1200 (though I would be willing to go slightly higher) on my first-ever self-built system. I'm looking for input on components.

Here is my situation:

I intend to use my HDTV as my computer's monitor, so my resolution is going to be set by my TV's native resolution. I don't know offhand what that resolution is, but it isn't extremely high.

I want to be able to plug the system in to my TV/XBox/PS3's receiver/sound system, instead of having to purchase seperate computer speakers. I realize that I may have to buy a high-end sound card to accomplish this.

I'm looking to run Vista Home Premium 64.

I do intend to overclock whatever components I can.

I am torn between the Q9300 and Q6600 Quad-Core Processors.

I'm unsure if I should be taking SLI in to my motherboard consideration. Right now I'm going with DDR2 1066 Corsair Ram (4GB), but I'm thinking I want to be able to upgrade to DDR3 without replacing the mb evetually. However, all of the motherboards that support SLI and DDR2/3 are out of my price range. DDR3 is currently out of my price range and doesn't perform as well, to boot.

I couldn't care less about the looks on the system, just want to make sure the cooling is enough, as far as cases go.

Any suggestions for components?
May 26, 2008 8:04:36 PM

My recommendations:

Q6600
P35-DS3x (ie P35-DS3L); X38-DS4; P5K
8800GT/(G92)8800GTS
2GB+ DDR2 800 (DDR2 1066 seems to have compatibility problems) 4GB recommended.
7200.11 HDD(s)
PP&C 610 or Corsair 550/520/650

If OCing:
XIGMATEK- S1283

There is no need for SLI unless you want to play above 1600*1200. No need for DDR3 now either, as Nehalm will require new Motherboard/CPU, and will drive down DDR3 prices.



May 26, 2008 8:14:40 PM

Thanks for the reply.

I still can't figure out why the overwhelimg consensus is for the Q6600 instead of the other processor I mentioned. I would think the 45nm would allow for higher overclocking, combined with a higher FSB and it being a native Quad-Core, as opposed to the Q6600 just being two Dual-Cores. I'm just about ready to say "hell with it" and go with popular opinion there, though.

Will those MB's onboard sound have enough for me to be able to plug in to an external receiver?

I've heard about 1066's compatability issues, but I haven't heard exactly what those issues are. Some people I've talked to have told me that I should try to match my Ram's processor speed with what the MB lists as supporting- for example, the P35-DS3L you mentioned is 1066. I do intend to go with 4 GB.

As I mentioned, I do intend to overclock the processor to about 3 GHz (possibly more.. but again, I've never built a system before, so I'm leery).

The games I intend to be running are Age of Conan (a resource hog if ever there was one), Starcraft 2 when it is released, etc.
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May 26, 2008 8:15:33 PM

Strongly agree with Shadow.

Prices would be...

Q6600/E8400...$190
Gigabyte P35-DS3L...$85
Corsair 4GB ddr2 800... $80
Seagate 7200.11 500GB... $85
Corsair 550VX... $70
Xigmatek S1283... $36
8800GTS 512mb: $190 ....

Total: $745

That saves a lot of dough from your $1200 budget and still give you a heck of a performance. A little patience and ~$100 more gets you the Radeon 4870 when it releases 2 weeks later.
May 26, 2008 8:29:58 PM

In reply to your second post...

the Q6600 costs a lot cheaper than the Q9300.... and the Q9300 performs only a bit better (7%) than the Q6600...not much. So for an $85 price difference, Q9300 is not recommended.

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/core2quad-...

The only big difference is that the Q9300 consumes less power than the Q6600.

Anyhow since you mentioned gaming, nething Q9300 nor Q6600 is reccommended... instead you should get the E8400 which performs better and is the most popular gaming CPU out there. Games atm are not quite utilising the quads and duals are performing better in games and almost all other apps. Get the Q6600 if you're into heavy duty Vid Editing....if its mainly gaming, get the E8400.
May 26, 2008 8:30:14 PM

For low price, look at Directron.com. I buyed almost all of the components of my newest Gaming system there, and i'm really satisfied.

I've got a K9A2 Platinum, that support Quad Crossfire and DDR2, so you probably can find something that support SLI with Intel socket (if you absolutely want it) in your price tag, as my entire machine cost me under 1000$, including the material I used for my custom LCS. So you could get a nice IFX-14 in your price tag that will give you great OC possibility, if you are not at ease with building a liquid cooling system.

There is also a magnificent 575W Power Supply, SLI/Xfire ready at only $27! I've owned one for one years now and never get problems with it.
May 26, 2008 9:15:29 PM

get a good x-fi sound card. 64 bit support is good ive heard. my newly bought x fi xtremegamer runs perfectly with eax, all the fancy stuff on vista home premium 32. creative has really cleaned up their act. vista drivers with the package, mini case brackets, case badge, no bloatware like aol, lots of good software, auto update program, alchemy on the cd, u just need to update, dont even bother looking on the web, much easier to use cd. i would recommend a better x-fi because of ur reciever, speaker setup, i use 2.0 speakers so i dont care about it. but it seems u do, make sure the x fi u get has the right jacks/ports. i have run to absolutely no problems using my x fi. to anyone who says creative sucks or whatever, please tell me if u actually have a x fi, i can see if u have an audigy and dont want to pay 10 bucks for alchemy which is free to x fi users. back up ur statements.
May 26, 2008 10:32:09 PM

Quote:

I've heard about 1066's compatability issues, but I haven't heard exactly what those issues are. Some people I've talked to have told me that I should try to match my Ram's processor speed with what the MB lists as supporting- for example, the P35-DS3L you mentioned is 1066. I do intend to go with 4 GB.

The "problems" are BSODs (if you can get Windows to boot) or Memtest86+ fails in ~10-20minutes.
May 27, 2008 3:00:13 AM

AVSexton said:
Thanks for the reply.

I still can't figure out why the overwhelimg consensus is for the Q6600 instead of the other processor I mentioned. I would think the 45nm would allow for higher overclocking, combined with a higher FSB and it being a native Quad-Core, as opposed to the Q6600 just being two Dual-Cores. I'm just about ready to say "hell with it" and go with popular opinion there, though.

...


Who lied to you? Its still two duals glued together.
May 27, 2008 10:09:52 PM

^Indeed. This will be so until Nehalm. Intel currently doesn't have native Quad Core, but it is surprising to see that they are actually doing better than the Phenom native-quad core design.
May 28, 2008 1:54:11 AM

I think I have settled on the following:

Not going to bother with SLI, I have been convincesd that it really isn't worth it unless you are SLI-ing two top-end cards, which I will never do.
Not going to bother with future-proofing for DDR3.

The big questions still in my head:
Will the sound cards that have been mentioned connect to a mid-grade receiver?
Where can I find more info about DDR800 vs DDR1066 RAM? I'm confused, since many of the MBs I'm looking at say their native RAM support is 1066. Is this solely an overclocking concern?
Should I really overclock? I am a complete novice at computer building, but it seems like all of the current processors are lacking unless you OC.
Any final thoughts on Quad vs Dual core, knowing that I onlu intend to use this computer for gaming, media viewing/listening, and general internet applications?
How big is the speed advantage of Raid-0ing two 250GB HDs instead of getting 1 500GB HD?
May 28, 2008 7:15:55 PM

^Try the onboard and then decide if it's good or not and then get a good sound card.

OCing is an option. It is not necessary but it delivers higher end performance with a lower end product for a fraction of the cost (ie E2180 @3Ghz, is almost equal to a E6350/E6600)

Unless doing heavy file transfers get a single 500GB 7200.11 HDD instead of doing RAID. The 7200.11 HDDs are almost as fast as the Raptors.
!