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Report on Assembled PC - GTX280, Age of Conan, etc

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  • New Build
  • Overclocking
  • Systems
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June 24, 2008 12:40:16 PM

Well my parts arrived and I've finished building and overclocking my PC. I had a lot of help choosing my parts by reading these forums, so I thought I would come back and report on my finished product and maybe answer any questions anyone has about it. The whole system cost me $1700 including shipping and after rebates.

Processor - Q6600
I bought the retail version but since I didn't use the heatsink I probably could have bought the OEM. My plan was to overclock this 2.4 processor to 3.0 and I was able to pull this off pretty easily. The chip does run hot though and mine requires what seems like a lot of voltage. Idle temps are usually 35-38 and 100% load temps are right at 65. To get stable at 3.0 I used the lowest available voltage on all settings and a vcore 1 or 2 increments above 1.325. Tested with Prime95 overnight with no errors.

Mobo - Asus P5Q Deluxe
This is a great motherboard. No complaints. Easy to work with and an excellent bios. I guess I will mention that I tested to see how high I could set the FSB and still post. I couldn't get much over 355 which seems really low. I haven't seen many other people report having this issue, so it may be user error on my part. Anyway it didn't have any problem reaching the 333 I needed for my build so I'm happy. It also comes with some great utilities and the cool option to go straight to the internet at boot instead of entering the OS.

Vid Card - EVGA GeForce GTX280
This card is H-U-G-E. I pulled it out of the box and literally spent a few minutes just marvelling at it. No wonder the things is so expensive. We b!tch about the price but it probably costs that much just to make! Anyway installation was kind of difficult because of the size. It stretches all the way into hard drive cage and covers over some SATA ports on the mobo. It's also heavy and getting it into the PCI slot while matching up to the rear of the case is hard without putting a lot of pressure on the mobo. Don't install it until you're finished with everything else including cable management. There's no room to work in the case with it installed. The fan noise is noticeable when it ramps up. It doesn't bother me but I know some people are sensative. This card also comes with an EVGA overclocking utility. I haven't tried it yet until the rest of my system breaks in but it looks very easy to use. I'll discuss the performance in the section at the bottom.

Case - Antec 900
Very nice case. I almost didn't buy it because I missed the $40 rebate but I'm glad I did. Very roomy and built well. Lots of options including removable hard drive cages and an optional fan mount on the back of one cage. The fans all come with switches and 3 settings. At medium they are virtually silent. I went ahead and set mine on high since my processor runs a little hot. On high they are audible but the GTX280 is way louder anyway. It also has several ports behind the mobo tray which allow you to hide and route cables. Fit my heatsink with no problem.

PSU - Corsair 650TX
Very nice PSU. It even comes wrapped in a niftly little Corsair draw-string cloth bag. My only complaint is that the cables could be a little longer. I had to wrap everything around the edges of the case because the GTX is so big. The 8pin mobo connector almost didn't reach. I could have gone straight over the card but that would have been ugly. Also if the 24pin connector were a little longer I could have routed it behind the mobo tray but it was too short. It isn't much of a complaint though. The 6+2 pin connectors had no problem snapping into the GTX.

Heatsink - Xigmatek S1283 120mm
I thought the GTX was big then I opened this thing. I was afraid it wouldn't fit in my case but I had zero problems. The fan mounts to the heatsink with rubber pins. I thought I was going to break them trying to pull them into the holes in the fan but they stayed intact. It takes a tremendous amount of pressure with pliers to pull them in though. I didn't test with the stock fan but I'm sure this monster is keeping my core cooler. I also bought the screw mount under the mobo. The pins that snap into the mobo probably would have been sufficient but the mount is only like $5.

RAM - Corsair XMS2 2 X 2GB DDR2 800
Tested with Memtest86 at listed 4-4-4-12 and 2.1v with no failures. Not much else to say here except it was also inexpensive.

OS - Windows Vista Home 64
Only took like 15 minutes to complete installation. No driver issues. Was able to install service pack 1 from the automatic windoes updater. Recognized all my RAM with no problems during installation. System scores 5.9 on the windows rating thing... whatever that's worth.

HD - Seagate Barracuda 7200.11
Very fast and very quiet. Comes with a jumper you have to set to enable SATA3. If you buy OEM there aren't any obvious instructions about the jumper except tiny print on the label. You should look for it to change the setting because the default isn't 3.

Performance
Well I tested on 3dmark06 and score right around 16,000. That's pretty decent but I don't put a lot of stock in the synthetic benchmarks. It will probably improve as they tweak the drivers and my system settles in.

Age of Conan is amazing though. My experience is a little strange. Once I got my system stable after a few days I installed the game. I was logged into Tarantia and I was immediately dissappointed to see my FPS at 25ish. I thought if that was what I got by default, then when I turned everything on it would only get worse. That's the weird part. I started adding and increasing display quality but the FPS stayed exactly the same. I don't understand it but it's great! I can literally turn on EVERYTHING and get rock solid FPS even in the big cities. I'm talking about bloom, 8Q AA, high shadows, 3000m render distance... everything. In the cities I get as low as 25 FPS depending on how many people are on screen etc. By myself in the wilderness I get as high as +100. I think the fact that the FPS doesn't change with the settings means something other than the vid card is a bottleneck in my system but I'm still extremely happy.

I love my build with no buyer's remorse. I think it's a beast that will easily last for a few years. I don't think I've even unlocked the full potential of the GTX. Nothing I can set on Conan seems to phase it. Just thinking about that makes me warm and fuzzy on the inside :na: 

More about : report assembled gtx280 age conan

June 24, 2008 2:06:55 PM

thanks for the review. i enjoyed reading.

btw, the 260/280 probably costs like 100$ to make lol.
a c 86 K Overclocking
June 24, 2008 2:22:41 PM

Your low FPS with lots of people and items around could very well be your connection speed. I hve seen it before.

Ping the server, check your ping and data rate at speakeasy.net and speedtest.net.
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June 24, 2008 2:26:12 PM

My system is a Q6600 with an 8800GT and I get around 30-40 FPS on mine with everything set to "high" at 1920x1200. No AA or Bloom.

Keith
June 24, 2008 3:09:25 PM

regarding the FPS I know that SWG, at least when I first played it in 2005 they capped your frame rate at 25.....maybe Conan is the same.
!