I think it's time to do a complete overhaul. I can't play at any decent settings.
Purpose: I am an avid gamer. I play mostly MMO's - WoW, LOTRO, and soon to be Warhammer.
Resolution: From 1024x768 to 1240x1028 (no higher)
Budget: somewhere around the 1,000-1,500 range
Here's what I've chosen so far:
Processor: Core 2 Duo E8500 w/ Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro
Video: 2x4870's (haven't chosen model yet)
Memory: 2x2gb OCZ Reaper HPC ed
PS: Thermaltake 850w
Case: Antec 900
HD: 80gb + 750gb HD hard drives
QUESTION: I know there are several mobo's out there, does anyone have some recommendations for this setup? I know some pose issues w/ spacing for dual video card setups and other things.
Also, if you have any other recommendations or advice regarding my setup, pls feel free to comment. I live in the US, will probably order through NewEgg, and this is primarily for MMORPG gaming - around 1,000-1,500 budget. I will OC the processor and video cards. My aim, of course, is max performance.
With what you are trying to do i would get a x38 or x48 mother board. The rampage Formula is a great board and you can use ddr2 so this is a plus to me right now because of price/performance issue. I have 2 of these one with a e8400 overclocked to 4ghz and one with a q6600 over clocker to 3.4ghz.. So this board works really well and is easy to overclock..
Thanks all for the advice - x48 it is, overclocking is important to me, so I'm glad this one makes it simple to manage.
aevm - I keep hearing all this debate about the PSU and 2x4870's. With a 750 will I be able to effectively OC without problems? Also I do want to use higher res, but my monitor is retarded and small. Thanks for the advice on the cooler. I was/am a bit worried on proper cooling.
Would most of you choose the e8500 over the q6600?
(This applies to all brands of HD 4870, it's just that at Newegg Visiontek's cards actually say what PSU you need, while others like Asus and Sapphire usually don't bother.)
Your system is quite reasonable, with only 2 hard disks and 3 fans, so yes I think a 750W PSU leaves you enough room for upgrades and overclocking.
Of course, if you'd feel better with an 850W and/or want a modular PSU, then that Thermaltake 850W is fine too. BTW, there's also an Antec TPQ-850 that costs $20 less than the Thermaltake 850W, also modular, also very good reviews. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371009&Tpk=TPQ-850
Between E8500 and Q6600:
1. If you play Flight Simulator get the Q6600
2. If you encode videos get the Q6600
3. If you do work on the PC (programming, database, etc.) get the Q6600
4. If your computer will often do things in the background while you play games, again get the Q6600.
5. If you know anybody who would be impressed hearing you have a quad core CPU, get the Q6600
6. If none of the above, then the E8500 is better.
It's really not very important. Both CPUs are fast enough not to cause bottlenecks in any game (except Flight Simulator). Both are so fast that they will in fact wait on the HDD and GPU most of the time, not being used at 100%. That is, you'll get exactly the same result with either of them most of the time, because other parts of the system will hit their limits before the CPU.
I might need some HD help as well because some concepts are beyond me.
I'm guessing that a 3.0gbs vs 1.5gbs transfer rate is more important than 10,000rpm vs 7,200 rpm? The reason I ask is because there is only 1 10,000 3.0gbs HD and it's $300. So I'm going to get either a 10,000 1.5gbs hd or a 7,200 3.0gbs HD.
The 3.0gbs vs 1.5gbs transfer rate is actually less important than it looks. Even 1.5 gbps is a lot, and disks don't come close to using it all. For example the average read/write rate of the WD6400AAKS is about 90 MB/s, i.e. about half of 1.5 gbps. And that's one of the fastest disks available today.
10,000rpm vs 7,200 rpm matters when accessing lots of small files or very fragmented files. In these cases the faster rotation will help find the first sector faster, and if the file only has a sector or a few then the speed of finding that first sector is very important.
Data density matters a lot more than the rpm when dealing with large files (say, loading a game level, editing videos, etc.). There it may take longer to find the first sector, but then reading or writing the next 1000 sectors is faster and that more than makes up for it.
The older 1.5 gbps Raptor drives have the 10000 rpm but a weak data density, so they're best for the small files scenario.
The WD6400AAKS (or other modern 7200 rpm drives, like Seagate's 1 TB or Samsung's Spinpoint F1 1TB) have only 7200 rpm but huge data density, so they're best for the large files scenario.
The Velociraptor (that 10000 rpm 300 GB $300 thing you've seen) has both and its best at everything, but the price is annoying.
Resolution: From 1024x768 to 1240x1028 (no higher)
Is the resolution pretty much carved in stone?
If the answer is yes and you want the Q6600 you can save $100 with a P45 based motherboard and not lose any performance to the x8/x8 Crossfire mode. X48 Crossfire mode is x16/x16 and at higher resolutions give slightly better performance at higher resolutions - at the lower resolutions it's almost no difference at all.
As for overclocking the Q6600 is going to top out around 3.6Ghz on either the X48 or P45. No real advantage in getting the more expensive board.
A possible upgrade to a 20", 22" or 24" widescreen monitor? Keeping the X48 motherboard would make more sense.
no, I'd like to go higher, but I need a new monitor and I'm satisfied with my current one. I want to use all of my budget on upgrading core pc components then shell out $250 of my budget on a bigger flat panel, which would have greatly reduced my performance parts I chose.
I will get a bigger monitor in the future and play at higher res =)