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Preliminary build review

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August 4, 2008 5:06:08 AM

Greetings,

I am currently planning on building a new PC within the next month and am starting to prepare for the expense. This was a hard deal for me as for one, I have always used AMD and Nvidia for my computing needs. However, after much review and other advice from others I have been hearing Intel and ATI are kicking both of their tails... so I have decided to look into them.

Below I have put together a "rough draft" of some research I have put together into a new rig, but would like some advice especially on the motherboard... as I know nothing about Intel systems and only know about the Wolfdale processor from reviews... if there is better, or another superior board around the same price that would be recommended. Also, after review the following questions:

A) This PC will be used mainly for gaming, with included anyone's recommendations, what rating would you give it 1 (low end) - 10 (high end)

B) I am also building for the sake of the upcoming Aion and Stargate mmo's, currently I play WoW... will this PC should handle upcoming gaming needs?

C) My current PC plays WoW like a champ, all that I am playing as nothing else interests me that is out currently... would I be good to build now or wait?

D) Any trims to the current build without sacrificing too much power? Currently I am borderline from the budget I wanted, which is once reason I always went AMD because of the price. From question 2 though, I have heard a 3.0 processor is needed unless I have heard wrong.



Case: Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - 119.99

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

Power Supply: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX - 119.99

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

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz - 169.99

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

CPU Fan: ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro 92mm CPU Cooler - 31.99

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

Motherboard: ASUS P5Q Pro - 139.99

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

Video Card:ASUS EAH4850/HTDI/512M Radeon HD 4850 - 187.99

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

Memory: Crucial Ballistix 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 - 58.99

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

HD: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s OEM - 89.99 x2

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

DVD-R: SAMSUNG Black 20X DVD+R - 27.99

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

External Components

Monitor:ViewSonic X Series VX1932wm - 189.99

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

OS: Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium - 109.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Total = $1,304.89 +tax

Thanks for your time and review,
~JD
August 4, 2008 5:23:26 AM

Your build seems ok (but you could save lot on RAM and some on mobo), but I'll only answer to question C)

Wait till the MMO you are waiting is out, hell, try to play the beta if any and who knows, maybe you won't even need to upgrade :p 
August 4, 2008 5:36:27 AM

Agree with Bigburn. As long as what you're playing at this moment is fine, then don't build a new system, wait till they're actually released or you're playing the Beta. Prices usually improve with time and something better is always on the horizon.
Right now DDR3 is a very poor value, it adds little to performance, but costs a lot. Check out anothe P45 or a X48 if you want top performance in Crossfire. While OCZ makes good power supplies, Corsair makes better and usually cheaper, check out the 750TX.
Related resources
August 4, 2008 5:37:07 AM

It's hard predict what the final demands will be for any MMO.

This is a good system, but you can trim some fat off.

E8400
ASUS P5Q Pro
4 Gigs DDR2 800

There I have saved you quite a bit of cash and you have lost almost NO performance.

Spend some of it on a 4870. They vent out the back as well, which will keep your system cooler and healthier.

There now you have a better performer for about the same or even a bit less cash.
August 4, 2008 5:48:46 AM

I agree - if your current system comfortably meets your needs hold off on the upgrade as price/performance always improves. Right now you should particularly consider that the new Intel Nehalem processors due out later this year will use a new socket - so any mobo you get now will be "obsolete" - or at least severely upgrade limited - in the very near future.
August 4, 2008 4:51:44 PM

I forgot to mention that, even though my current PC is up to par for my current needs (WoW) I am only renting it which is bad on my part but I was desperate since out of the blue my old rig of 6 years died on me when I moved to my new apt (cpu fan died, didn't know and cascade effect on cpu and m/b. I don't mind the renting, just that I would rather start the project and make sure it is up to par then paying something I won't own.

Also, the ram I was thinking that as well but only picked it because according to the specs of that particular board it required the ddr3.

Liking the suggestions though:

Motherboard : ASUS P5Q Pro - 139.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz - 169.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Ram: Crucial Ballistix 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 - 58.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

New total = 1299.89

Btw, what exactly is Crossfire?

Thanks for everyone's input so far!

~JD
August 4, 2008 8:35:09 PM

You did not relist the graphics card - does that mean you still plan to use the 4850? If so you might be making a mistake. To spend $1300 on a system for gaming and only have a 4850 grahics card - at about $190 - is a serious misallocation of resources - or at least one that means you have some other priorities that are a lot higher than maximizing game performance.

In that price range you should have at least a 4870 or maybe a pair of 4850's.

Crossfire is the ATI process to run two or more graphics cards (such as a pair of 4850's) on a mobo designed for that purpose. nVidia calls their counterpart SLI.
August 5, 2008 1:12:17 AM

No, the number is just fine when you include the monitor as he has done. He's got he option to crossfire later if he wants.

joeydtx:
Crossfire is when you link two ATI cards together, to improve performance over a single card. It requires a motherboard that will support it. It's not a 100% increase, but more like 50%.

Since your selected monitor runs at 1440x900, you will not have any need for more graphics power for a while.

The RAM you selected is OK I guess. Not what I would choose. You would be better off with 2x2, such as:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
August 6, 2008 6:24:43 AM

Proximon said:
No, the number is just fine when you include the monitor as he has done.


From his $1300 cost, take away the $189 for the monitor and $109 for OS and you have the classic $1,000 build.

Here is THG's recent $1,000 build.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/System-Builder-Mara...

Note that they designed it to allocate $376 for twin 8800GT video cards. I think if they designed it today they would now go with twin HD4850's for the same money. Here is the latest graphics card round up where the twin HD4850's are the ONLY card recommended above $280 (although they do provide an alternative for those already stuck with SLI and needing an upgrade path). THG states "At this performance level and at this price, we have a hard time recommending anything more expensive than two Radeon 4850s."

So for the same $1,000, joeydtx could have a top of the line gaming rig. So I don't think the number is just fine if his primary objective is to maximize the gaming rig for the money - and he did say gaming was his main use.
August 6, 2008 7:01:30 AM

I hadn't looked at that link in a while :) 

I don't agree with everything there or maybe things have changed somewhat. The balance of parts is interesting.

Seems to me that at 1440x900, one 4850 will do everything fine and leave you with the option for a second card later.

He did say he wanted a 3Ghz or better processor.

You are right though, we COULD build a better gaming rig with some other changes thrown in.

First off, a decent 22" monitor, then go from there.

I'll whip up a better list.
August 6, 2008 7:30:07 AM

Ok Joey here you go.

This list will give you a far better gaming experience, and will leave some room for upgrading later with another 4870:

https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.as...

I have trimmed down the HDs to one, got a cheaper but just as good case, and downgraded the PSU to one that is currently on sale and a good buy.

In exchange you get 4 gigs RAM, a 4870 GPU, and a bigger nicer monitor.... oh and Vista 64 bit, and a minor change on the optical drive.

Just under 1300 before tax and shipping, but there are a few good rebates to mail in.
August 7, 2008 6:30:09 PM

Wow guys sorry for the late response, been cooped up at work and had a lot of stuff to do this week but finally im done with it.

I did not realized the 4870 would have that much power over a 4850, i was checking some benchmark tests on websites and it was a fair amount over the 50. I think this latest set up compiled by Proximon will be the one I will follow, except on the case... I already picked up the 900 lol. I will also maybe in another month pick up a 2nd 4870 for the x-fire config... the only problem is getting away from the thing of beauty after that lol.

Thanks a lot guys for helping out, after it is done you shold see the final product in the sometime around next month.

~JD
August 9, 2008 8:43:36 PM

Yes, for a single card build the 4870 gives a nice little jump up from 4850. Bit if you are contemplating crossfire - consider what the THG article said - "At this performance level and at this price, we have a hard time recommending anything more expensive than two Radeon 4850s." They did not recommend anything faster - mainstream or enthusiast. So if going crossfire- you might consider sticking with the 4850's and saving yourself $200 - maybe save it towards changing out mobo and memory when want to upgrade after Nehalem comes out.
August 10, 2008 3:26:12 AM

From a price/performance view only I agree with that. If someone would just make a 4850 with a cooling solution like the 4870 I would be much happier.

Here's the way I'm thinking about this:

One 4870 will give good frame rates in any game I can think of at full settings with a resolution of 1680x1050.

One 4870 will generate WAY LESS heat on the inside of the case than two 4850s. It vents out the back. Even the well-cooled MSI 4850 just dumps it's heat inside the case.

With one 4870 you meet, in this case, your budget, and can upgrade later if future games need even more GPU power.
!