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Please advise - New rig!!

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July 9, 2008 10:13:54 PM

Greetings to all

I am new to this forum and would greatly appreciate your advice.

I have been researching a new PC now and have slowly gone from considering an upgrade of core components of my current pc to a complete overhaul.

To get started here is a listing of my mostly 2 year old system. I could have kept this running another 6-12 months, but due to my graphics card failing and due to hastles with Overclockers.co.uk (DO NOT EVER BUY FROM THEM!) I have decided on a full rebuild.

OLD SYSTEM
* Asus A8N-SLi Premium nForce4 SLi (Socket 939) PCI-Express Motherboard (MB-111-AS)
* AMD Athlon 64 3700+ San Diego 90nm (Socket 939) - Retail (ADA3700BNBOX) (CP-121-AM)
* Connect3D ATI Radeon X1900 XT 512MB GDDR3 AVIVO TV-Out/Dual DVI (PCI-Express) - Retail (3056) (GX-047-CO)
-> Eventually RMA'ed after much hastle to a Powercolor HD 3850 GDDR3 512mb. I intend to sell this as new, as not opened.
* Corsair 2GB DDR XMS3200C2PT TwinX (2x1GB) CAS2 (MY-079-CS)
* Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Elite Pro
* Yeong Yang YY-0221 Cube Server Case -Black, Purchased additional THERMALTAKE A1280 12CM CASE FAN- front of case.
* 3 x Cooler Master AF9-25IM-74 Case Fan (92x92x25mm) - 2 back for hdds side of case, 1 side next to cpu.
* Antec TruePower 2.0 550W PSU (CA-028-AN)
* 2 x HITACHI Deskstar E7K500 HDS725050KLA360 (0A31619) 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
* 2 x Maxtor MaXLine Plus II SATA 250GB Hard Drive, 8MB Cache, 7200RPM, Model: 7Y250MO.
* Creative S750 7.1 Speakers
* Mitsubishi Diamond Plus 230Sb 22inch CRT
* BENQ DVD±RW DUAL LAYER 16x6x16x8x DW1640
* Logitech MX510 Mouse
* Zippy My Office Multimedia Keyboard
* Saitek P2600 Control Pad

From the above, I am likely to keep the speakers, the soundcard, the monitor, the DVD drive, the mouse, the keyboard and the control pad. However, I am not averse to a complete overhaul! I was also considering keeping the two 500gb drives, but am considering selling both to buy another 1tb drive 32mb cache.

I am fairly open to suggestion in regards to the new system, but the following is a rough guideline:
PLANNeD NEW SYSTEM
* Asus ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB GDDR5 TV-Out/Dual DVI/HDMI (PCI-Express) - Retail - Approx £230
-> Prefer Asus for 3 year warranty terms, but would consider other manufacturers with similar terms. Sapphire at £185-190 seems a reasonable price for 2 year warranty. Card would be expected to be worth around £30-40 after 2 years anyway.
-> Also considering 2* 4850 crossfire, but this is more expensive, does not have DDR5 and thus seems less upgradeable in the future. It also pumps out a lot of heat. For these reasons 4870 seems preferable.

* Corsair 4GB DDR2 XMS2 Dominator PC2-8500C5 TwinX (2x2GB) Supplied with Airflow Fan (TWIN2X4096-8500C5DF) 1066MHz at latencies of 5-5-5-15-2T at 2.1VDIMM.- £90 - £110
-> Also considering DDR3 if considered worthwhile. £150-190 for 4gb.

* Intel Quad Core Q6700 4 x 2.66Ghz 8Mb Cache 1066 FSB Quad Core Processor - £145 approx
- > Seems worth the small price difference from the Intel Core 2 Quad Pro Q6600 2.40GHz Guaranteed to run at 3.30GHZ (1466FSB) - Retail - £120-130
Either way, intend to overclock to around 3-3.3ghz.
- > Recently stumbled across reviews suggesting Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 2 x 3.16Ghz 6Mb Cache 1333 FSB Dual Core Processor - £150-160 or Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 2 x 3.00Ghz 6Mb Cache 1333 FSB Dual Core Processor £115- £130 may be better option.

* Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro Socket 775 CPU Cooler £15- £19 or ThermalTake Big Typhoon 120VX for Socket 775, AMD K8 amd AM2 £30- £35 considered. Or wait for the Arctic Freeze xtreme.

* Open to suggestion on motherboard, but Asus Rampage Formula S775 X48 Intel Chipset PCI-Express DDR2 Motherboard PCI-E or Asus Rampage Formula S775 X48 Intel Chipset PCI-Express DDR2 Motherboard PCI-E sound like the approximate requirements for effective system, though appears very expensive so may not need such pricey boards. £175 approx

* Similarly open to suggestion, but at a quick selction this seems reasonable: Zalman ZM850-HP Heatpipe Cooled High-efficiency 780W PSU equipped with a heat-pipe for effective cooling, providing power in a stable manner. £105 approx

* Western Digital VelociRaptor 300GB 10000RPM SATA-II 16MB Cache - £200 approx.
- > use as windows hdd. Was considering 2*150gb raptors in RAID-0, but does not seem worth the hastle. Limited benefit for high cost, increase risk of data loss, though of limited importance as only windows hdd.
-> Hearing lots of bad news about actual speed of velociraptor, but what will be best for games?

* 2 x Samsung SpinPoint F1 1TB SATA-II 32MB Cache, plenty of storage to replace all existing hdds. - £100 each approx

* Antec Twelve Hundred Ultimate Gamer Case £100-£110 or Coolermaster Stacker 830 - Nvidia Special Edition - £160- £170
-> Yet to decide on decent case to replace my server case. The main reason for replacing existing case is to decrease heat and to obtain a case that provides a better solution at filtering dust. I could buy dust filters and mod case to add extra fans, but I'm not sure this will be as effective at cooling as new case. I don't want any issues with overclocking CPU or with gfx cards jumping, as appeared to be the case with the x1900xt overheating at around 70C (not overly hot for this card!) on Colin Mcrae Dirt (no real probs with other games).

Will max out with as many fans as considered necessary. My room is fairly warm in the summer. Water cooling seems like a lot of money for performance that will unlikely be of significance in most games for the high extra cost.

SUMMARY
Ok there we go a rough spec. It feels like I have spent ages researching to not get very far. Every time I research one component I start finding new information, e.g. originally was going to get 3870x2, but 4870 came out. Tempted to wait for 4870x2, but may not be worth the extra money, in terms of processor causing bottleneck.

I am uncertain in terms of motherboard, but X48 seems best to allow potential for crossfire, though I have never previously gone this route and wonder if I actually ever will, but there is no other board that seems to provide any other particulalry useful benefits in comparison.

DDR2 vs DDR3 seems unclear at this stage, with most suggesting DDR3 boards and RAM is not worth the extra cost, but it doesn't seem to be overly significant at the moment.

The 780 w PSU appears reasonable to ensure no worries with power. This may even be more then required, but would rather be safe with too much power then risk any performance issues with power defeciency.

As for the case, what I really want is something that can house all of that discussed above at the coolest temperature possible. I am not too worried about sound, but would preferably if quietier. Also particularly concerned about having decent dust protection, as current server case is happy to blow dust all over the place! I particularly like the style of my server case though. All the LEDs on these other cases seems distracting and annoying, especially if leaving PC on overnight or watching a film, etc. Would much prefer case with LEDs not on show, which is main concern about the Antec case that otherwise seems like excellent value.

Basically, I am happy to listen to suggestion on any part of the pc, including what I should/ shouldn't overclock. I have no experience with overclocking, so would like to keep it as straight forward as possible, but am certainly willing to do what is required to get good value for money with high performance. I do not play pc games as much as I used to, but when I do play I want to maximise the experience.

I have considered a new monitor for years, but do not see much benefit in LCD over CRT. LCD appears to limit resolution to maximise performance, i.e. native resolution, risk of dead pixels, ghosting (though appears to be less of an issue in last couple of years).

This is by far my biggest pc building project, so would greatly appreciate assistance across all fields. Any piece of information would be greatly appreciated. I do not necessarily have a strict budget one way or the other, but am interested in maximising price to performance. I do not see benefit in paying another £500 for components that will give a performance boost that is only going to be noticed in a benchmark and not in games!

More about : advise rig

July 9, 2008 11:10:12 PM

You say your room gets warm?

I would look at a larger cooling solution then, that will move more air around:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
That would be an air solution.

You are worried about heat a great deal. Ok then, do something more effective with it. Move all the heat outside of your case with a water cooling solution... Yes, you would void the warranty on the video card(s), but they could be tested first to be safe. This would also reduce the need for airflow through your case, and make changing those filters less frequent.

As far as your MB, you should decide to crossfire or not then pick. The P45 is less money and just fine with a single video card.

If you are hoping to not upgrade again for some time, get a quad-core. If you tend to load up your operating environment with a bunch of processes and applications, get quad. If you just want the best possible speed in today's games and want bragging rights on how far you pushed your CPU, then a Dual-core Wolfdale is the way to go.
July 10, 2008 9:05:59 AM

Hi thanks a lot for your responce. There are few reasons that I havn't considered water cooling:
a) It appears to be very expensive and thus does not appear to justify the cost in terms of benefits.

b) Although I am not overly concerned in learning how to do it, it is fairly significant commitment in terms of learning what is required, what are the key components, etc.

C) Unlike air cooling, I am concerned about the lack of longevity in the sense that the components are made to fit the components at current and are not necessarily transferable to a future system. Maybe you could correct me on this if there is a way to upgrade or change parts of the system for new chipsets, etc.

D) I think air cooling is probably sufficient. I am not planning to push a dual core or quad core to the extremes, only to push them as far as required to get strong performance in games and in processing generally. A 2.4ghz q6600 up to 3-3.3ghz, or I have even heard up to 3.6hz is not particularly difficult using a good air solution. Cases such as the stacker or Antec 1200 appear to be significantly better cooling solutions then my current cube server case, so I think I should be ok provided I have the right case.

I was thinking about modding my case, which shouldn't be too difficult, but I do not think it would be as effective at filtering dust, as many cases appear to be set up for this particular purpose. On the following guidelines what case would you recommend:
* Outstanding air cooling solution, preferably including a number of silent fans to reduce the cost of purchasing a number of fans seperately. £15 a pop for a decent fan is fairly hefty if needing up to 9 fans, though 9 is probably way more then is needed for any case, even if the case allows for this!
* Excellent filtering system to restrict dust from entering the case and to allow for ease of clean. I have seen this discussed for a few different cases.
* Minimal LED's, particularly on the front - looks nice, but is ultimately quite distracting when leaving it on over night, or watching a movie, etc.
* Good value. I am not concerned about spending a decent amount on the case, as I would expect it to live through at least the next 2-3 systems, if not more!
* Provides space for at least 4 hdds, but preferably up to 6 to allow for any temporary additions or future additions, also provides a better airflow if more space in the case!
* Provides space for a significant CPU heatsink and fan. I have the Antec xtreme in mind, which looks up there with the largest of heatsink solutions!
* 3-4 useable drive bays is probably all that would ever be required (currently using 2, but considering space if adding fan control or music system, etc but cases such as the 1200 do provide a good cooling solution with fans in place of the drive bays if not being used.

That is probably all, anything else like usb ports at the front, etc is a bonus, but not of key importance.
July 10, 2008 10:54:19 AM

smoo-v said:
Hi thanks a lot for your responce. There are few reasons that I havn't considered water cooling:
a) It appears to be very expensive and thus does not appear to justify the cost in terms of benefits.
True, I was working off what I perceived to be your heat anxiety level. :lol: 

b) Although I am not overly concerned in learning how to do it, it is fairly significant commitment in terms of learning what is required, what are the key components, etc.
Depends on your background. Ever replaced the water pump on a car?

C) Unlike air cooling, I am concerned about the lack of longevity in the sense that the components are made to fit the components at current and are not necessarily transferable to a future system. Maybe you could correct me on this if there is a way to upgrade or change parts of the system for new chipsets, etc.
The only parts that must be replaced are the (expensive) "blocks," the parts that go on the chips. If a system is carefully assembled from scratch, it can last for quite a while.


D) I think air cooling is probably sufficient. I am not planning to push a dual core or quad core to the extremes, only to push them as far as required to get strong performance in games and in processing generally. A 2.4ghz q6600 up to 3-3.3ghz, or I have even heard up to 3.6hz is not particularly difficult using a good air solution. Cases such as the stacker or Antec 1200 appear to be significantly better cooling solutions then my current cube server case, so I think I should be ok provided I have the right case.
Yes, seems like air is what you want. Don't neglect aesthetics. Pick a case you will like to look at. I'm a Silverstone type myself.
http://www.silverstonetek.com/images/products/tj10-esa/tj10-3-4-view.jpg

I was thinking about modding my case, which shouldn't be too difficult, but I do not think it would be as effective at filtering dust, as many cases appear to be set up for this particular purpose. On the following guidelines what case would you recommend:
* Outstanding air cooling solution, preferably including a number of silent fans to reduce the cost of purchasing a number of fans seperately. £15 a pop for a decent fan is fairly hefty if needing up to 9 fans, though 9 is probably way more then is needed for any case, even if the case allows for this!
* Excellent filtering system to restrict dust from entering the case and to allow for ease of clean. I have seen this discussed for a few different cases.
* Minimal LED's, particularly on the front - looks nice, but is ultimately quite distracting when leaving it on over night, or watching a movie, etc.
* Good value. I am not concerned about spending a decent amount on the case, as I would expect it to live through at least the next 2-3 systems, if not more!
* Provides space for at least 4 hdds, but preferably up to 6 to allow for any temporary additions or future additions, also provides a better airflow if more space in the case!
* Provides space for a significant CPU heatsink and fan. I have the Antec xtreme in mind, which looks up there with the largest of heatsink solutions!
* 3-4 useable drive bays is probably all that would ever be required (currently using 2, but considering space if adding fan control or music system, etc but cases such as the 1200 do provide a good cooling solution with fans in place of the drive bays if not being used.


My personal picks:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119138
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811133021 Too flashy for me but a good case.
Your Antec 1200 is a great choice.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811233026looks interesting.


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811163075 I own this one... I wouldn't trade it for anything. It's VERY expensive and does not come with all fans though. Some of the thickest metal ever put on a case. No plastic. Excellent HD cooling, only B+ MB cooling though. Slide out MB tray.

As far as filters go, I look at it this way:

- The more air you move, the more frequently you will have to clean them. It will be a pain.
- If you do not have much dust to begin with, they aren't really needed.
- They will end up restricting air flow and burning out fan motors if neglected.

Me, I just buy a pack of compressed air cans from Costco and I'm set for years... my side panel takes maybe 10 seconds to open, and every 2-3 months I spend 2 minutes blowing out the case. Modern video cards are well enclosed, so you won't miss dust under the edge of the GPU cooler like you could on older cards. Most of the best cases do not seem to have filters, so you'll likely make your own or do without.


!