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First time gaming build

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August 9, 2008 7:53:59 PM

After getting some great advice on these forums I have decided on these parts for my new gaming build. I have a few questions regarding them and if anyone could help that would be great.

First off, are they all compatible and will they all fit? Is it hard for a first time builder like myself to crossfire two graphics cards? Will this system run too hot, and should I look into getting a heatsink or other cooling system? Will I need any extra cords or connectors to build this or will what comes with it be enough?

ASUS 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model DRW-2014L1T - Retail
Item #: N82E16827135156

Antec P182 Gun Metal Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Item #: N82E16811129025

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Item #: N82E16822136218

Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Item #: N82E16822148288

ASUS Xonar DX 7.1 Channels PCI Express Interface Sound Card - Retail
Item #: N82E16829132006

CORSAIR CMPSU-1000HX 1000W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 Power Supply - Retail
Item #: N82E16817139007

Creative Inspire T6100 76 Watts 5.1 Speaker - Retail
Item #: N82E16836116025

2 x G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1000 (PC2 8000) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8000CL5D-4GBPQ - Retail
Item #: N82E16820231145

GIGABYTE GA-X48-DQ6 LGA 775 Intel X48 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Item #: N82E16813128331

Microsoft Windows Vista 64-Bit Ultimate for System Builders Single Pack DVD - OEM

Video cards - 2 4870x2 crossfired

I was working with a budget of around 3000 dollars, so anything you can suggest that may make this better I would greatly appreciate. Thanks in advance.


More about : time gaming build

August 9, 2008 8:05:13 PM

1. Motherboard(X48-DQ6), HDD (7200.11), case,DVD RW looks good. PSU is good but it may be an overkill(?)

2. Are you serious on doing a 2*4870X2s????? What LCD do you play on??? Also do you really need that sound card?

3. Get DDR2 800 RAM.

4. Seriously $3000 for a first build is quite risky. Tone it down to a $1000 or so build. You can game just as well on a $1k build as on the $3k build.

5. For CPU I recommend E8400/Q6600/Q9450 depending on if you do video/photo editing,etc.
August 9, 2008 8:15:28 PM

Before spending $3,000 on a build now, did you consider that when Nehalem comes out later this year it will require a new socket so you will not be able to upgrade to any future CPU's?

However. for a $3,000 system I would consider either SSD HD's or the new Velociraptor if size and heat are not an issue.

Do you plan to overclock? If so, yes you should buy a new heatsink. In your price range - many use water cooling which is even better. I am hesitant to recommend it on a first build - you might want to consider it a later mod.

Related resources
August 9, 2008 9:46:56 PM

In terms of the video cards, ideally I want to get the best possible card(s) for gaming, and after doing some research it seems like crossfiring the two 4870x2s would be the best choice. Is this not the case?

About the RAM, what is the difference between the 1000 and the 800 DDR2?

I had the Q9450 on my list, however I see I didn't put it here.

Sound card wise I could probably lose it to be honest.

I hadn't planned on overclocking, however I might.

I may just wait for Nehalem to come out, since I don't absolutely need a new computer right now. Would this be a wise decision?

Thanks for all your help.
August 9, 2008 10:02:46 PM

Truehawk said:
In terms of the video cards, ideally I want to get the best possible card(s) for gaming, and after doing some research it seems like crossfiring the two 4870x2s would be the best choice. Is this not the case?
Something is only as good as its capacity to fulfill a need. Depending on what games you are playing and at what resolution it might just be too much; above 60 FPS, eyes won't see the difference, only the ego will :p .
August 9, 2008 11:06:16 PM

I guess the question I am asking is whether it would be worth it to crossfire two 4870x2s? Or should I simply buy one and it would work fine for the time being.

Also, I am open to suggestions on a cheaper build which would equate to the same gaming performance. This is by no means final, it was more of a starting place for the final build.
August 9, 2008 11:47:24 PM

Unless you have a really high resolution monitor, it probably won't worth it. But you never told us the resolution you are planning to use.
August 10, 2008 1:25:41 AM

^Exactly! I asked this earlier too.

@OP: What LCD are you using??
August 10, 2008 12:56:42 PM

I just finished my first build, and my thinking with the CPU was to get the Q9450 at the $330 price point, and then in a year, year and a half, I can spend a couple hundred bucks and upgrade to the QX9770. I believe that's currently the most powerful CPU to fit in the same socket.

By the way, the Q9550 is now only $10 more than the Q9450 at Newegg, so you should probably opt for that one. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
August 10, 2008 1:09:08 PM

At a resolution of 1680x1050, a single 4870x2 will be able to tackle most games without flinching except, perhaps, Crysis. Then again, is it worth an extra 500$ to get an extra 5-10FPS (for other games, you probably won't notice the difference since a single card already pushed more than 60 FPS.
August 10, 2008 1:19:15 PM

ExistNY said:
I just finished my first build, and my thinking with the CPU was to get the Q9450 at the $330 price point, and then in a year, year and a half, I can spend a couple hundred bucks and upgrade to the QX9770. I believe that's currently the most powerful CPU to fit in the same socket.

By the way, the Q9550 is now only $10 more than the Q9450 at Newegg, so you should probably opt for that one. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I don't know if they will ever drop prices on extreme line or if they will release a non-extreme version. There is a Q9650 planned sometime this year, but no news regarding the QX9770.

Moreover in a year, year and a half, Nehalem will be out. If you want an "intermediary" upgrade, better start with a Q6600, then upgrade to a Q9650 then Nehalem. You could also do as I did, start with a Dual Core and plan on upgrading to a Quad before switching to Nehalem. Since I mostly do gaming on my machine and very few games take full advantage of quad cores, it seemed the smartest decision at the time.
August 10, 2008 8:07:40 PM

Thanks for all the help. I think I will probably opt for a single 4870x2 at the moment, and if necessary I can add another in the future.

Do you think it would be worth it to wait for nehalem? I figured I could make a build now that will last me a few years and I figured nehalem would be quite pricey when it came out. If I can make a computer now that will last me for 5 ish years then I would be happy, however if nehalem is going to be the way to go and required in about 2 years then I may decide to wait.

I also have decided that I probably will overclock, so could anyone recommend a good heatsink to buy? Thanks.
August 10, 2008 8:14:32 PM

If you want/can to wait till mid next year for Nehalem go for it. Nehalem won't be affordable easily till then.
August 10, 2008 8:39:02 PM

Not sure if I want to wait that long to upgrade my computer. Will I really be limiting myself that much if I only want a computer to last for around 4 or 5 years if I don't wait for nehalem?
August 10, 2008 9:02:51 PM

Couple things.

The Q9650 is allready on newegg for 560.

In all honesty getting the Q9550 is probably your best bet as far as processors go. (its just a much better offer especically if you dont plan on doing hard core overclocking)

I would think getting a single 4870x2 and then eventually upgrading to a second in the future (when the price drops) is the smart way to go.

Also if your monitor doesnt have a native resolution of 1920x 1200 I think you would be MUCH better off spending a little less on the comp and getting a new monitor.

24 inch tn panel monitor with a low ms @ 1920x1200 is gonna make you drool
August 10, 2008 9:13:29 PM

Thanks for the advice, will probably go with a Q9550 and just not overclock. Any recommendations on a monitor? Haven't had much experience with them to be honest.
August 10, 2008 9:21:12 PM

For a monitor your best bet is buying it from an actual store (not ordering it online).

Alot of people complain about ordering monitors from newegg (or any other online website) because they end up with dead pixels and having to return things over the internet ends up being a major hassel (not to mention you cant look at it online)

But personally I would make sure it has a natvie resolution of 1920x 1200 (which pretty much means 24 inch monitors and up) and then for gaming you are going to want a lower response time (Ideally 5-6 ms if not lower).

Also TN panels tend to look nicer and have better viewing angles (although they are also more expensive and have higher response times)

To tell if a monitor is TN it will usually have a higher viewing angle (the overwhelming majority of them are 178/178) if the viewing angle is around 160 (which is most normal ones) then its almost certainly not TN.

But overall just go to whatever store is near you and just look at them and see what you like.
August 10, 2008 9:49:26 PM

Good deal, thanks for the heads up.

When putting this together am I going to need anything else that I don't have listed? A network card or some extra cables or anything I am missing? This is my first build and not sure if I have everything that is needed. Thanks.
August 10, 2008 10:22:05 PM

Thermal compound ?

Also check the things you ordered because generally speaking anything that says OEM doesnt come with all the wires and what not it needs. (read the product description)

And im also interested what anyone else says you need since im putting together almost the exact same build as you.

(im going with the Antec 1200 case, and the 860watt PC power & cooling psu. Its got a longer warranty, a better reputation, and its product life is estimated at twice that of the corsair which is the power supply I actually almost bought. And im just gonna dish out a little extra to get the Rampage Formula motherboard since most people think its prob one of the best x48)


So yeah anyone know what else is needed please let him and I both know ;p
August 10, 2008 11:00:42 PM

Truehawk said:
Good deal, thanks for the heads up.

When putting this together am I going to need anything else that I don't have listed? A network card or some extra cables or anything I am missing? This is my first build and not sure if I have everything that is needed. Thanks.
Most MB come with 1 or 2 integrated Gigabit NICs (but no network cables), SATA cables, IDE cables, FLOPPY cable. So beside a thermal paste for that new cooler, you shouldn't need much.
August 11, 2008 1:28:51 AM

Zenthar said:
I don't know if they will ever drop prices on extreme line or if they will release a non-extreme version. There is a Q9650 planned sometime this year, but no news regarding the QX9770.

Moreover in a year, year and a half, Nehalem will be out. If you want an "intermediary" upgrade, better start with a Q6600, then upgrade to a Q9650 then Nehalem. You could also do as I did, start with a Dual Core and plan on upgrading to a Quad before switching to Nehalem. Since I mostly do gaming on my machine and very few games take full advantage of quad cores, it seemed the smartest decision at the time.


Well, I bought the Q9450 from Newegg around July 25, and built my PC last Monday ... missed the Q9550 at the same price-point by just 10 days or so. But so it goes; no sense in crying over what's done. I think the QX9___ are bound to drop in price as they slowly become rendered obsolete by Nehalem. I won't be going to Nehalem at least until 2011.
August 11, 2008 2:19:14 AM

Zenthar said:
Most MB come with 1 or 2 integrated Gigabit NICs (but no network cables), SATA cables, IDE cables, FLOPPY cable. So beside a thermal paste for that new cooler, you shouldn't need much.


In terms of thermal paste, is it fine to not use any extra thermal paste if you don't plan on putting in a heatsink? Or should I still invest in it? I guess I really don't know what the thermal paste is exactly used for and where to use it.

I didn't think I would have to put in a new cooler unless I planned to overclock, which I wasn't sure about either way since I have never done it before.

Thanks for all the help, really has helped me a lot.
August 11, 2008 2:23:11 AM

If you don't OC, you can manage with stock cooler (otherwise Intel wouldn't give a 3 year warranty with a cooler that would fry a CPU). If you want you cold always OC later to prolong the useful life of the CPU, that's what I did with my old Athlon XP.
August 11, 2008 2:32:15 AM

So if I don't plan on overclocking I don't need any thermal paste or a new cooler?
August 11, 2008 2:54:00 AM

heh yeah I know I was talking to a friend before and he said the same thing.

If you were going to go with that Corsair youd prob be better off with that one, but if you want something cheaper, with a decent rep and modular

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

aint a bad idea.
August 11, 2008 2:59:15 AM

The only thing about the PSU is that I don't know how to tell if it will fit in the case or not. I was looking at this case in particular as an alternative and not sure how to tell if a PSU I wanted would fit in it. For example, looking at this power supply: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

or my original case:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
August 11, 2008 3:22:09 AM

lol I was just looking at your ram and its the same exact stuff I had in my shopping cart on new egg a few hours ago.

But I was looking around and alot of people said that 1000/1066 ram seems to have a lot of compatability issues with some motherboards, (not to mention it shouldnt make much of a difference)

So I decided to go with something with lower timings/cheaper.

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

is what im going with. (2 of them for 8 gigs )

You could also check out Corsair who has some great stuff with lifetime warrantys, I just chose these because I liked the way it looks plus it has low timings.
August 11, 2008 12:02:20 PM

If he is going with that mobo, why not just go for something like 2x2GB Patriot Extreme Performance DDR3 1600 Ram instead of the DDR 2? Yeah, its expensive, but is will at least maximize the capacity of the board.

Also, regarding resolution, wouldn't it be also alright (I am assuming you have an LCD TV) to just hook up the PC directly to the TV for even higher resolution than a regular monitor? Least you would get is 32".
August 11, 2008 8:42:13 PM

From all that I have seen there really is no point in spending the extra money on the DDR3 because it isn't that much of a performance increase. Is this not the case?
August 11, 2008 11:12:01 PM

Ok here is my theoretical final build:

ASUS 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model DRW-2014L1T - Retail

XCLIO A380BK Fully Black High Gloss Finish SECC 1.0mm thickness ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

CORSAIR CMPSU-1000HX 1000W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 Power Supply - Retail

OCZ Reaper HPC Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2RPR800C44GK - Retail

GIGABYTE GA-X48-DQ6 LGA 775 Intel X48 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80569Q9550 - Retail

Microsoft Windows Vista 64-Bit Ultimate for System Builders Single Pack DVD - OEM

GPU - 4870x2

With a monitor that will bring me to around 2500 -2600. Anything you would change? Any advice would be great, even if it is just that it looks good =) Thanks for all the help, was very good advice.
August 11, 2008 11:17:50 PM

Your hard drives are OEM so youre likely gonna need to order cables for them.
August 12, 2008 2:14:18 AM

dcm1602 said:
Your hard drives are OEM so youre likely gonna need to order cables for them.
SATA data cables come with motherboard and SATA power cables come with PSU, no?
August 12, 2008 4:14:57 AM

You have one powerful system spec'd there. I won't be playing you any games.

But I still think in the range you are in you should consider the new Velociraptor or an SSD drive to maximize performance - although since the HD not one of the key components I am not sure exactly how much it would impact game performance - but it sure would help boot and loading times. I don't think you mentioned what else, if anything you might be using case for but in other applications with more data read and writes it could have a significant impact. The Velociraptor might make it a little noisier while the SSD is quiet.

Also you said that you would probably overclock but I don't see a heatsink on your list. Did I miss it or did you decide to stick with stock?

Also keep in mind that two years from now the performance advantage will go to those with Nahelem processors and DDR3 memory. If you are considering only one 4870x2 video card right now, you might consider just getting a less expensive single PCIe board now (although I am not sure which ones would do justice to the x2) and less expensive CPU (which would more than support the x2) and then change out just the mobo-CPU-memory in a year or 2 - unless of course you plan to do this anyway even with the more expensive components now.
August 12, 2008 12:32:45 PM

I decided not to overclock at the time being. In a few years if the performance increase from nehalem really is that great then I will simply upgrade at that point.

In terms of the computer itself, I plan on simply using it solely for gaming. I have a very powerful laptop I use for all else, so that won't be a problem.

I had heard that the WD6400AAKS is comparable to the velociraptor in terms of speed for a much lower price, so I opted for that.
August 12, 2008 4:40:10 PM

^ That's not exactly true. NOTHING else on the market can come close to the performance of the VelocyRaptor. It comes close to the Raptor.
August 13, 2008 7:04:39 AM

Shadow703793 said:
^ That's not exactly true. NOTHING else on the market can come close to the performance of the VelocyRaptor. It comes close to the Raptor.


Generally agree, unless one is ready to spend substantially more for a quality SSD.

See this article

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/HDD-SATA-VelociRapt...
August 13, 2008 5:40:20 PM

^True. But the write speeds for the SSDs are a bit lower than the Veloci.
August 15, 2008 5:37:37 AM

I suppose the write speeds of some SSD's may be slower than Velo - so what? The range of performance on SSD's is quite large - just like it is for various SATA drives. But SSD prices have been dropping and one can find drives that cost only a little more with substantially better performance. So it it totally untrue to say that "nothing else on the market can come close" when infact there are drives on the market that can beat it. And velo is very noisy while SSD is perfectly silent.
But, as I said twice above, in a high end system focussed on performance, either an SSD or Velo may be a much better choice than a standard SATA drive.
!