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Last build was P3 500Mhz... Been awhile... Please Advise...

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July 6, 2008 10:59:29 PM

My last PC was a Sony Vaio that I was very disappointed in. Eventually the PSU blew up and fried just about everything. Oh well, it was an aging machine anyway. (P4 3.2 Ghz on an 800Mhz FSB, 8X AGP, and PC3200 DDR Ram)

I'm done buying computers retail after my last experience. Now it's time to construct my new gaming machine. However the last machine I built was a P3 500, so it's been awhile.

I'm trying to avoid any pitfalls I might drop into, and I thought you guys might be of much help.

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This new machine will be an Intel Core 2 Quad.

I plan on putting in 8 Gigs of DDR2 Ram @ 800 Mhz.

I will most likely utilize the new SLi technology with dual video cards. I was leaning towards dual GeForce 9800's...

(I plan on getting an Ageia PhysX card as well) [ Nvidia isn't building that technology into their cards yet are they?? ]

I will probably be using a raid setup with multiple hard drives for speed.

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I think my main concern is the power supply... What am I going to need? I was thinking about putting in a good 550W or 600W PSU. However, when I shop around for computer cases I read a lot of customer reviews talking about using 1000+W PSU's. How much "BEEF" is my PSU going to need?

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Keeping my new PC clean and cool is another big concern. I could dust my whole house by simply turning my Sony Vaio on. :lol:  The case collected dust like crazy. This led to fans locking up on me. The broken fans led to a hot PSU that eventually blew up and fried everything.

How much cooling am I going to need in this new machine... Dual Video cards, a 2-4 HD RAID array, an overclocked Core 2 Quad, and powerful PSU has got to create A LOT of heat... Any advice here?

(Liquid cooling is out. This PC will be in the basement of a house that is often not A/C Cooled. With Liquid cooling, condensation would be a huge problem. )

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The Sound system... The last time I built a machine most all Motherboards came with some sort of built in sound card... However, these integrated sound cards were often very crappy. I always turned them off from the bios and installed a Soundblaster card. However, I'm not sure I would even have room for a Soundblaster in this build. ( With Dual SLi video cards and a PhysX card)

Are the initegrated sound boards any good in todays market?

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The CPU... Going with Intel Core 2 Quad... but which one should I get? I am interested in over-clocking this machine and I've heard the Q6600 is great for OC'in. However, it does not run at the 1333 Mhz Front Side Bus does it? Are there any 1333 Mhz FSB Core 2 Quads that OC well?

( BTW, I'm a novice to Over-Clocking PC's... For all I know you can force the Q6600 to run at 1333 Mhz )


- Witt


PS - Sorry for the windy Post. My thanks to those whom took the time to read it and offer advice...


July 6, 2008 11:21:46 PM

q9450 has 1333fsb, ageia physx card is useless because i think the new nvidia drivers support ageia physx on the 9800 series cards (?), 8gigs is pretty useless(4 gbs should be enough,just make sure you use x64 OS), and ati 4850 is on par, if not, better than the 9800 series(and cheaper), so you might wanna consider that... besides, no new games besides ut3 really uses the ageia physx, not worth it yet IMO.


please, correct me if im wrong on any of this
July 6, 2008 11:35:56 PM

Let's see... where to begin?

What kind of resolution are you going to be running? It's likely that dual graphics cards aren't necessary.

Don't get a PhysX card. Nvidia has drivers out that enable physics computation to be done on their graphics cards. There is some indication that AMD cards will be able to support some of these features too, though not necessarily officially. http://www.tomshardware.com/news/nvidia-physx-ati,5764....

Nvidia chipsets have been real headaches for some people, and the Intel chipsets seem to be much more polished. Since AMD's new cards (4850 and 4870) are extremely competetive, and often outright better than their Nvidia counterparts, it could be a good idea to consider CrossfireX instead of SLi if you're really set on dual graphics cards. In that case, shoot for a nice X38 or X48 board - those all tend to have rich feature sets and lots of overclocking options.

When choosing a PSU, important things to consider are: how many 6-pin or 8-pin connectors does it have? How many amps are there on the 12V rail(s) (multiply the number of amps by the voltage to get the total Wattage on a given rail), and compare with the expected draw of the cards. Also, make sure the power supply has good efficiency (look for 80+ certified units) and plenty of SATA power connectors.

8GB of RAM is likely to be difficult to overclock. 4GB should be more than sufficient for reasonable workloads. I have yet to utilize my full 4GB (well, the 3.5 GB available since I'm using a 32-bit OS).

Unless you have extremely good speakers or have special cabling needs, an addon audio card is not likely necessary, but if you're really into it, look at the Asus Xonar cards.

As a last note, I'm not convinced that RAID is really worth it, but I'm sure other forum posters will violently disagree with me on that...
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July 6, 2008 11:38:56 PM

Oh, and as for a case, I'm really a big fan of Antec cases and love my P182, but I think that Coolermaster and Thermaltake have some great alternatives.

I love my Noctua CPU cooler: http://www.anandtech.com/casecoolingpsus/showdoc.aspx?i..., but a lot of people will steer you toward a Xigmatec and Scythe fans. I'm not convinced that it makes a huge amount of difference, unless you're trying to squeeze every last MHz out of your CPU.
July 6, 2008 11:54:13 PM

if you look under overclocking right here on Tom's you will find a review wherein they used a Q6600 on an MSI mobo.and why Tom's recommends the quad core,,good place to start...:) 
July 7, 2008 1:08:11 AM

zipz0p said:
What kind of resolution are you going to be running? It's likely that dual graphics cards aren't necessary.


I have been looking at a 24" Widescreen LCD monitor I found for about $475... It had some good reviews from gamers that were using it, a 5ns response time, and should not ghost... It runs at a pretty rediculous resolution too... I wish I had the exact specs handy. As I'm VERY unfamiliar with Widescreen resolutions I don't remember what it's capable of. I belive it was 1900+ Pixels from left to right.

zipz0p said:
Don't get a PhysX card. Nvidia has drivers out that enable physics computation to be done on their graphics cards. There is some indication that AMD cards will be able to support some of these features too, though not necessarily officially. http://www.tomshardware.com/news/nvidia-physx-ati,5764....


So Nvidia HAS placed the PhysX functionality into their newer video cards? I was under the impression that this would take place with Nvidia's next line of graphics cards after the 9800.... But I never read a statement that specifically said that.

However, when I went to the Nvidia website and did a search on Ageia PhysX I quickly found an article that said this was to come very soon. (I wonder how old that article was...)

zipz0p said:
When choosing a PSU, important things to consider are: how many 6-pin or 8-pin connectors does it have? How many amps are there on the 12V rail(s) (multiply the number of amps by the voltage to get the total Wattage on a given rail), and compare with the expected draw of the cards. Also, make sure the power supply has good efficiency (look for 80+ certified units) and plenty of SATA power connectors.


My current thinking is that I will order my computer case (with NO PSU in it) and the motherboard... I will mount the motherboard in the case and then order the Power Supply Unit.

As I have never used any SLi, Crossfire, SATA, or RAID technology in my older computers. This should make me better informed when I move to buy a PSU... But I am still somewhat confused about the specifications on current PSU's... Back when I built my P3 500 all that was required was a 400 Watt PSU and you could throw in damn near anything you wanted... that is NOT the case now. Especially when planning to Over-Clock the system.

Any other advice in this dept. would be very helpful...

zipz0p said:
8GB of RAM is likely to be difficult to overclock. 4GB should be more than sufficient for reasonable workloads. I have yet to utilize my full 4GB (well, the 3.5 GB available since I'm using a 32-bit OS).


Most of the motherboards I have looked at, have an 8 GB maximum on the ram. I am also pretty dead set on placing the maximum amount of ram into this machine...

Hrmmm... Let me ask you this... How does Windows Vista behave with Drive Swapping? (Virtual Memory) My dream computer would have so much ram that I could simply turn drive swapping completely off... Now, I don't think even 8 GB of ram is enough to turn the Virtual memory completely off. Vista uses quite a bit more ram than XP.

What's important to understand is, I HATE VIRTUAL MEMORY. Drive swapping kills the performance of your computer and is the cause of 80% of the bottlenecks that occur. (In my experience)

I'm sure a RAID array would help this out quite a bit, but I really want to limit the amount of drive swapping to a bare minimum.

What kind of problems am I going to run into while trying to over-clock 8 Gigs? Is Crucial Balistix Ram good for Over-Clocking?

zipz0p said:
As a last note, I'm not convinced that RAID is really worth it, but I'm sure other forum posters will violently disagree with me on that...


:lol:  I'm going to be one of those people that violently disagree with your opinion of RAID... If you have a 4 drive RAID array, then 25% of any given data is written to each drive... Therefore your read / write times are 4 times the rate of a single drive. Four Platters are better than one! :) 

Redundant RAID arrays are even better... All information is chopped up and written to the drives several times in different orders.

10 years ago I worked for a web hosting company. They had a very expensive 10 Drive RAID array attached to one of the web servers. All 10 drives were in hot swappable drive bays... I was able to physically remove six of the ten drives from the server without dropping a single web site! WOOT!


- Witt
July 7, 2008 1:13:33 AM

zipz0p said:
Oh, and as for a case, I'm really a big fan of Antec cases and love my P182, but I think that Coolermaster and Thermaltake have some great alternatives.

I love my Noctua CPU cooler: http://www.anandtech.com/casecoolingpsus/showdoc.aspx?i..., but a lot of people will steer you toward a Xigmatec and Scythe fans. I'm not convinced that it makes a huge amount of difference, unless you're trying to squeeze every last MHz out of your CPU.


I too am a big fan of Antec cases... They also have very good power supplies... I like Enlite and Inwin cases too. However, they are a little plain looking....

I think I'm going to get something a little more expensive. I was looking at a couple Thermaltake cases. I also saw some nice Apevia cases.

Prolly going to spend around $120-$175 on a case. Why not? After all, the Case is the one component you're forced to look at every day. :) 

- Witt
July 7, 2008 1:22:09 AM

eklipz330 said:
q9450 has 1333fsb, ageia physx card is useless because i think the new nvidia drivers support ageia physx on the 9800 series cards (?), 8gigs is pretty useless(4 gbs should be enough,just make sure you use x64 OS), and ati 4850 is on par, if not, better than the 9800 series(and cheaper), so you might wanna consider that... besides, no new games besides ut3 really uses the ageia physx, not worth it yet IMO.


please, correct me if im wrong on any of this


I will look into the q9450, I just wonder how easy it is to Over-Clock.

As for PhysX functionality. If it's supported on Nvidia cards, that's fine... But I want the functionality in my new PC. There are more games out there that use PhysX than you might think... ( Age of Empires 3 has some minor PhysX functions in it. ) UT3 is prolly the game engine that puts it to the best use... But you also have to consider the DOZENS of games coming in the near future that will be using the UT3 graphics engine. All of these will have the same PhysX functionality that UT3 does... It's built into the UT3 game engine.

I could be totally wrong, but I don't see PhysX going away anytime soon.


Okay... as for the 64 bit OS... Please inform me, because I really don't know much about it.

ALL Core 2 Quad processors can run a 64 bit OS, right??? Aren't all copies of Windows Vista 64 bit too??? I really don't know!

- Witt
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