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Making my final decisions - help me out!

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June 5, 2008 2:51:48 PM

  • Aerocool ExtremeEngine 3T-Black Case (needs an exhaust fan...can take either 2x80mm or 1x120mm...suggestions welcome)
  • Aerocool HorsePower 750W PSU (some people apparently dont like Aerocool PSUs...i like to have stuff from the same brand but suggestions of other SLI-Certified, 750W PSUs will be welcome)
  • XFX nForce 780i MoBo
  • Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 (or should I go with the E7200 and save me some cash? Or, recommend a Quad Core)
  • OCZ SLI-Ready 4GB(2x2GB) DDR2 800 Memory (it was said to me that sli-ready memory is really not necessary. Please confirm and suggest other options...mainly ones that would lower the price but keep the performance)
  • Two (2) XFX 8800 GT Extreme Edition GPUs (I read somewhere this was the best "bang-for-your-buck" setup in the $300-$400 range...any suggestions though would be appreciated, dual or single configuration. Like I said I like to have stuff of the same brand so make sure suggestions are manufactured by XFX :kaola:  )
  • Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Gamer Fatality Sound Card (other suggestions welcome)
  • 1x Western Digital Raptor 150GB @ 10kRPM + Western Digital My Book 500GB @7200RPM External Drive (still not sure if this would work...I figured "best of both worlds" and went for the high speed of the Raptor for OS and programs and the capacity and mobility of the My Book...mobility is important for me...suggestions of any other similar configurations, single or multiple drives, will be appreciated)
  • Pioneer Black Blu-Ray ROM / DVD Burner (this rig will not only be for gaming..it will also be used as a personal home (room would be more appropriate than home :kaola:  ) theater. Again though, any suggestions will be welcome)
  • Samsung 2253BW Black 22" 5ms-2ms(GTG) LCD Monitor (I think this is a good choice)

    Thats basically it. Any suggestions other than the ones asked for each components will be very much appreciated since even though I am pretty much decided on these components it is still my first build and I am pretty much a noob.

    Keep in mind my top 3 priorities:
  • Great Gaming Potential (able to play games at medium to high settings for at least the next 2 years)
  • Able to function as a High-Def "Mini" Home Theater.
  • Upgrade potential for years to come. (this includes the ability to overclock if I ever get around to doing that)

    Miscellaneous Question(s):

    With a "high-airflow" case like the one I chose, will the stock CPU Cooler that comes with the chip be enough or should I invest in a 3rd party CPU fan/heatsink? What if I decide to overclock?
  • More about : making final decisions

    June 5, 2008 3:32:07 PM

    I should add that any other build suggestions that will serve the same purpose (see my top 3 priorities) will be very much appreciated.

    Also, any recommendations on how to lower the price tag whilst keeping true to my priorities and not lowering performance too much will be very welcome.
    June 5, 2008 3:32:12 PM

    hm i have never heard of this Aerocool brand. ill have to look it up. but i woud suggest a antec 300 for your case maybe like a corsair psu( i hear they are good) i would not suggest getting XFX any thing. i have an xfx graphics card and i would not buy another one. i would suggest getting the evga 780i mobo and either the msi 8800gt (they have dual wide copper coolers) or the evga 8800gt. i use two gb of the OSZ SLI-ready mem and i love it. i also have the sound blaster x-fi xtreme gamer and it rocks for games and music. the western digital is a good hard drive. the samsung monitors rock as well. i have the 22in from samsung and i love it. stick with the E8400 processor. and get like the tunic 120 cpu cooler from newegg
    Related resources
    June 5, 2008 4:30:41 PM

    Not familiar with the case. But if I had the choice between 2 12 cm. fans and one 20 cm fan, I'd take the 20. One large fan moving more slowly should be more quiet.

    Wait just a little while for the GT200 series video cards to hit the market to see if one of them is as good as 2 SLI'd 8800GT's. If so, you can save money on the motherboard.

    Stock Intel HSF is good for a low to moderate OC. If the HSF cannot extract the heat from the CPU, it will not matter how much air you move through the case. And a good HSF means you can run your case fans at a lower speed, decreasing the noise the system generates.

    Best midrange HSF out there now seems to be the Xigmatek S1283.
    June 5, 2008 6:11:07 PM

    I'd get a quad for all but a low budget build.

    get a second large HDD for movies, music, etc.

    I hear soundblaster and Vista are not friends
    June 5, 2008 6:26:34 PM

    @OP: If you plan to put huge amounts of data on the external USB HDD at once you will be bottle necked by the USB 2.0 bandwidth. Why not just get a 7200.11 HDD (~500GB?) and a smaller USB HDD?
    June 5, 2008 6:32:34 PM

    i use a sound blaster x-fi extreme gamer and it works great on vista 32bit.
    June 5, 2008 6:48:42 PM

    I know nothing about that case either - why not an Antec 900? If you make a comparison it will give us an idea about your prefered specs for a case.

    PSU - agree with Fife's lover - go with Corsair or similar. Suggest the 750w now on sale for only $120 AR (depending on what you plan to add you may be able to get away with the 620w with SLI but the 750 is on deep sale)

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    Stay with the E8400.

    For memory, you don't need SLI ready - go with the best top end memory you can find ON SALE. Save yourself a few bucks here. Here is some OCZ memory with good timings and only 1.8v for $66

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    You can find cheaper deals with good memory. Consider your mobo list of approved memory.

    If you want to have a large volume of external data - make sure you get an eSATA connection on your mobo and get an eSATA capable drive - could also have USB for maximum flexibility in connecting to other devices if necessary.

    June 5, 2008 6:52:33 PM

  • How 'bout the Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz? I heard it's easily overclocked to 3.0GHz. OEM is only about $6 more than the retail E8400 but since I was suggested a 3rd party cpu cooler anyways I think it's worthe it.

  • I've only ever read good things about XFX and, SLI or not, I think I wanna stick to the XFX 780i just for how futureproof it is.

  • And yes, I think that for my needs just having one (1) large 7200RPM HDD and one not-so-large external would suffice. Any good, cheap ones out there?
    June 5, 2008 7:01:37 PM

    rockyjohn said:
    I know nothing about that case either - why not an Antec 900? If you make a comparison it will give us an idea about your prefered specs for a case.


    Only bad comment I've read about the case I chose is that it does not have a removable mobo bay but I say , bleh!

    The reason I chose it was (1) for the looks, and (2) the massive airflow capacity. It has a 14cm fan blowing air directly at the HDD Bay and a massive 25cm fan blowing air right into the MoBo, especially in the GPU area. Plus it has three (3) speed control nobs for the two big fans and one user-assigned which is perfect for either the exhaust fan or the CPU fan as a nice bonus.
    June 5, 2008 7:14:05 PM

    Quote:

    * And yes, I think that for my needs just having one (1) large 7200RPM HDD and one not-so-large external would suffice. Any good, cheap ones out there?

    How much space do you need? 120GB? 32GB? 500GB?
    June 5, 2008 7:14:24 PM

    seagate makes good hard drives and not too expensive.
    June 5, 2008 7:36:43 PM

    I read up some more on the Aerocool case I had chosen and although I still think it's a solid buy, at least for my tastes, I couldn't help but look at some other cases. Two that stand out for me are:

    Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    and

    Antec Performance One P180 Silver cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    What do you think?

    I think my sweetspot for total drive space is between 320G-500G. So maybe a 250G internal with a 150G external?
    June 5, 2008 8:13:45 PM

    go for the antec 900. lot better case than teh p180. will keep your system a lot cooler. although you will be able to hear your case. its not the loudest case but its not silent.
    June 5, 2008 9:26:22 PM

    Weighing out the Aerocool I had initially chosen vs. the Antec 900. It might be a hard choice.

    Looks: The Aerocool ExtremeEngine 3T has the best looks by far in my opinion even though the Antec is quite cool-looking itself the turbine design concept of the Aerocool just turns heads.

    Aerocool, 1 pts.
    Antec, 0 pts.

    Cooling: As mentioned before the Aerocool case has fantastic airflow even without an exhaust fan. The Antec 900 does not stay behind though. It comes with 2x120mm fans for front intake and a top mounted 200mm and rear mounted 120mm as it's exhaust. In conclusion, both have fantastic airflow and cooling capabilities.

    Aerocool, 2 pts.
    Antec, 1 pts.

    Features: Both have some cool features but Antec definitely gets the point on this battle. While the Aerocool case comes mounted with fan speed controls the Antec does not seem to, at least not up front like the Aerocool, even though the fans that come with the case have 3-speeds. I am assuming the fans in the Antec have individual speed controls mounted on each fan. Whether this is true or not and whether this is a problem or not has not yet been researched or decided. Aerocool also has more 5.25 slots.

    Thats where the Aerocool features end. The number of bays in the Antec (5.25 and/or 3.5) is variable. Base bezel configuration is: 2x front fans, 6 Internal 3.5 bays and 3 external 5.25. You can choose to use only one front fan and have 6x5.25 bays and 3x3.5 bays or you could get rid of any intake fans altogether and have a total of 9x5.25 bays all of which can be used as external 5.25 bays or internal 3.5 bays to your discretion. Downside to this configuration is the obvious decline in airflow.

    Antec also has features to install an optional mid-mounted 120mm fan (inside the case just behind the HDD Bay) for direct ventilation to the GPU and/or CPU and another optional side-mounted 120mm fan. The two fans are not included.

    Other cool Antec features are the tray for your media peripherals (MP3 Player, Camer, etc.) and top-mounted I/O ports.

    Aerocool, 2 pts.
    Antec, 2 pts.

    As you can see the choice is hard if, like me, the looks of the case matter and as said, that Aerocool case just looks well...cool!

    But to be truthful I really think the Antec would be the better buy even if it costs a few dozen more $$when you include the cost of the 2 optional fans, if one decides to use them. I for one would install at least a side-mounted one.
    June 5, 2008 11:08:00 PM

    Thanks for all the tips guys. I am definitely making some changes and doing a bit more research.

    Keep those suggestions coming!

    Remember, I am a total noob on this so absolutely any advice will be welcome!
    June 5, 2008 11:35:56 PM

    whats your budget for a case?
    June 5, 2008 11:50:50 PM

    mcgreek said:
    whats your budget for a case?


    I would rather not spend more than $100 for the case (not including optional fans)
    June 6, 2008 12:12:42 AM

    The Antec 900 case is a favorite of many - so is the P182. I would prefer the latter because it is quiter, has great airflow even if not as fantastic as 900, and I like the front door and simplistic style.

    The CM 690 is a well regarded mainstream case - I prefer the P182 (which also costs more) but I do like the eSATA ports on front of CM 690 which would be handy if you plan to use an external drive a lot and it has eSATA.

    If you are looking for a roomy case with strong airflow, you might consider the TAGAN Monolth (good name) on sale for $100 - it has 2 x 250mm fans with individual controls on the side. I am not to keen on the blue neon design on the front but youi might like it.

    http://www.directron.com/csmonolith.html

    June 6, 2008 12:38:41 AM

    That TAGAN is pretty cool but it looks like an air conditioning unit=-P

    Thanks for suggesting it tho.

    I think I'm gonna stick to the CM 690 over the Antec 900 cause it's less pricey and it has all the good features of the Antec and then some.
    June 6, 2008 9:25:16 PM

    I've been doing some more research and reading more forums and I have managed to drop the total price of my build by about ~$500!

    Here's the new setup:

    Case: Cooler Master 690
    PSU: Corsair 750TX
    MoBo: XFX nForce 780i
    CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E7200
    RAM: OCZ SLI_Ready Edition 4GB(2x2GB)
    GPU: Two (2) XFX nVidia GeForce 9600 GT
    Sound: Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Gamer Fatality
    HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 500GB 32MB
    Burner: Pioneer Black Blu-Ray Rom / DVD Burner
    Monitor: Samsung 2253BW Black 22" 5ms,2ms(GTG)

    I am still open to suggestions!
    June 6, 2008 10:19:54 PM

    Quote:


    Case: Cooler Master 690
    PSU: Corsair 750TX
    MoBo: XFX nForce 780i
    CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E7200
    RAM: OCZ SLI_Ready Edition 4GB(2x2GB)
    GPU: Two (2) XFX nVidia GeForce 9600 GT
    Sound: Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Gamer Fatality
    HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 500GB 32MB
    Burner: Pioneer Black Blu-Ray Rom / DVD Burner
    Monitor: Samsung 2253BW Black 22" 5ms,2ms(GTG)

    Looks good :D .
    !