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Looking for some input on some build options I have

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June 17, 2008 1:05:32 PM

Hi

Longtime reader, first time poster... (ack I feel corny)

Its come time for me to build a new system - last time I did this was almost 8 years back - have had nice Toshiba laptop for the last couple of years - well long story short -
I need some input on choices for a desktop (because I am more likely to procrastinate)

Have two core builds as options a DDR 2 system suited to the lower end of my budget -

8gb OCZ DDR2 platinum
2 Samsung 500gb
Antec 900 gamer case
OCZ Xstream 750 watt
Intel CORE 2 QUAD Q9450 / 2.66GHz/ 12MB CACHE/ 1333MHz FSB

and the normal peripherals

Looking at three boards for this build

Asus P5E Deluxe (budgety side)
ASUS RAMPAGE-FORMULA
DFI LT X48-T2R LAN Party

for the ddr 3 systems as above but

OCZ 4G(2x2G) DDR3 1333 PC10666 Platinum Edition

and for the board

Asus STRIKER II NSE
LANPARTY UT X48-T3RS
ASUS P5E3-PREMIUM-WIFI

Now as for graphics was looking at either (anyone got other good brand tips)

xfx gtx280(though it feel like i am being gouged)
xfx 9800 xxx
xfx gtx260

I tend to go no higher than 1920*1200 but regularly game lower and like my bells and whistles (ie Bioshock, Crysis (though I am sick of reading it in benchmarks)
Chances are I may be swapping the graphics out after my next big contract (December) - the rest of the system I would like to get more life out of.
ATI?

Now the DDR3 systems hurt the bottom line (alot- about AUS$500 more) although with a gtx260 (or cheaper card) I can get 8gb DDR3 (top of the budget)

I would like to find a happy median and get opinions on how much life I could get out of a DDR2 system as opposed to DDR3.

Trying to keep it trim as I am trying to get cintiq 12wx at some point soon but should have that covered.

Any help is appreciated - first born son upon request (delivery time may vary)

Melancholy

More about : input build options

June 17, 2008 1:47:53 PM

Go with Rampage. The DFI is not for beginners. You'd be stumped trying to get an installed Windows to load. It did stump me. I figured it out though.

ATi is looking better every day, not only because the GTX200's will be overpriced & price-gouged, but also the RV770 benchmarks are decent, considering the prices. Competition is always good thing.
June 17, 2008 1:52:24 PM

For games, start with the vga card. Get the best you feel comfortable buying.
The new GTX280 is clearly the best, but it is pricey. It will run anything nicely without worrying about SLI.
I think the GTX 260 will be a better value.
I would look at EVGA for their good support, and for their "step-up" program. XFX is good also.

Cpu is good, particularly if you will be doing lots of multitasking. 8GB is good for that also.

Right now, DDR2 memory is king. It is MUCH less expensive than DDR3.
The C2D processors are not very sensitive to memory speeds.
Real world application tests(vs. synthetic benchmarks) show
no significant difference in performance between DDR2 and DDR3 memory. In fact,
there is less than 2% difference between the slowest and the fastest modules.
If you are trying for record overclocks, then all bets are off, and faster is better.
In my opinion, it is unwise to build a system around DDR3 today.
You are better served by starting with DDR2-800 memory.

Don't spend extra on the motherboard. Your performance is almost completely determined by the cpu you put in it(within 1-3%). Some motherboards will overclock easier, and higher. Only if you are an enthusiast looking for bragging level overclocks, should you look at anything really pricey. Look for a P45 based motherboard from a quality vendor like Asus, Gigabyte...etc. that has the features you need.

OCZ bought PC Power & cooling. They still sell some of the best psu's. The PC P&C silencer 610 at $89.99 after rebate is a steal. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... It has 49a on a single 12v rail which will run even the GTX 280 with power to spare.

For the hard drive configuration, consider instead a WD velociraptor for things that need performance, and a 750gb slower storage drive. You WILL notice that the velociraptor is snappier in everything you do.

---good luck---
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June 17, 2008 2:47:06 PM

@geofelt
Cheers for the reality check on the RAM. Think I was overcome with insanity -been researching parts so much that I developed vague megalomania. I tend to overclock but in a reserved fashion.
Was considering the raptor drives but was not sure - gonna get my supplier to price them for me.

@akhilles
yeah I heard the DFI boards were 'fun' - got enough problems keeping everyone else computer running without further headache - though I can quickly make it the suppliers problem - which I am tempted to do to avoid warranty complications - loose alot of the fun though.

Gonna come up with a revised system build.

On a side note - Rampage's built in sound - would it cut mustard or should I shell out now rather than later for a creative x-fi?
June 17, 2008 3:00:26 PM

Onboard sound is very good these days. Try it first. You can always add a sound card later.
Some sound cards seem to cause problems. Research carefully if you go that way.

It is a good idea to see what ATI brings to the table in VGA cards.
They will probably be a good value, but not beat the GTX280 at the high end.

In third quarter, there will be price cuts for intel quads.
Eg.. Q9550 2.83 for $316 in 1000 units.
June 19, 2008 3:38:24 AM

So I just got a very competitive quote in for this build - bar a few issues with parts.

Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450, 2.66 GHz, 12 MB Cache0.00 %
Asus Rampage Formula0.00
00OCZ DDR2 Gold 4GB RAM kit0.00
Sony Card Reader MRW620-20.00
Western Digital Velociraptor 300gig
Albatron 9800GTX2 1gig
Antec Nine-Hundered Gamer case
Thermaltake ToughPower 750 Watt Active
Sony 20x Dual Layer SATA DVD Burner Black
5.1 Intel High Definition
10/100/1000 Net Broadband
Owners Handbook
3 Year Limited Hardware Warranty. Conditions Apply.
Asus Silent Square

Have asked them to double the ram and remove the net card and the sound card as not needed.

Any thoughts on the Albatron 9800gx2 vs 260 and 280
ocz platinum or gold?

It seems my constant pestering led them to cut thier throats on the price they were originally quoting

Thoughts?
June 19, 2008 12:28:08 PM

Albatron is not EVGA, but unless you're a beginner who blames something/someone else when you make a mistake, it's ok. You sound like you're best off with a well known brand.

If you're aiming for a low o/c like 3.2ghz, 800mhz ram will suffice. Otherwise, go with 1066mhz if it's about the same price.
June 19, 2008 1:10:47 PM

Looks like a reasonable combo, particularly if the price is right.

For 4gb of memory, try to get a kit in the 2x2gb configuration, instead of 4x1gb. This will preserve your option to go to 8gb later. Also, it is easier to overclock with 2 sticks instead of 4.

June 19, 2008 2:09:05 PM

actually getting 8gb right off the bat - they mucked up the quote... I can get certain wholesalers to provide parts cheaper but the warranty is worth paying a bit more-

I can't seem to find much on the albatron 9800gx2 - looks like a straight port of the reference design - Does anyone know anything about Albatron? easily oc'ed? worth moving up the food chain - xfx, evga (finding it hard to get them through my supplier and they are hedging towards all or nothing)

and is thier any word on the new ATI cards (besides speculation that has no real value)?

I am still debating just forking out for one of the 200 series as a single gpu solution (though the high temp is a worry - temperatures rocket up here during Summer) -

the 9800gx2 has the shader advantage and the gtx2xx has the memory advantage... (correct me if am wrong here) and what merit of physX?

I liked this 'game' more when decisions were a bit more clear cut :pt1cable: 

Thanks for the input thus far

(edit:: ha! The last desktop card I used into the ground was a Radeon 9800 xt - irony hit me (from radeon to nvidia with a only two characters different... though I try to avoid purchase decisions based on amusing unexpected coincidences)
June 20, 2008 10:21:04 AM

went and confirmed the new quote today - as above with 8gb 1066 ram.

Since I lucked out and am rolling straight into another contract for once (versus working minimal till December) I can pretty much afford to fiddle with new pieces (upgrade as i go) as I get them cause I have people who will happily buy the old second hand off me -

Basically the deal I have got out of them is too good to pass up or fiddle too much with (AUS$600 under estimates and barely above wholesale with three years parts and labor cover).

Thanks for the input was quite useful.
June 20, 2008 12:24:54 PM

physX makes things react more realistically w/o hogging the cpu/gpu. Without it, there's the software solution which is quite taxing on the cpu. physX processors are pretty much standard in the current/next-gen gaming.

http://www.nvidia.com/object/nvidia_physx.html

IMO, it doesn't matter how fast a card runs or how many bells & whistles it has. The point is to get a card that can run games at comfortable speed at your target resolution. An average 30-60 fps would be good.
!