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First real gaming PC, please advise!

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August 22, 2008 8:38:04 PM

Hi all,

First of all, thank you for taking the time to look at my thread. As the title mentions, this will be my first fairly expensive gaming computer, and I could use some help. I've done a bit of research into each component, and this is what I have come up with for my build:

CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.4GHz FSB 1066, 8MB Quad Core
$189.99

CPU Cooling: Xigmatek S1283
$24.99 (After rebate)

Motherboard: Asus P5Q DELUXE Motherboard
$199.99

Memory: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-4GBPK
$109.99 (After rebate)

Hard Drive 1: Seagate ST3640323AS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
$89.99

Hard Drive 2: Seagate ST3640323AS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
$89.99

Optical Drive 1: ASUS 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model DRW-2014L1T - Retail
$34.99

Video Card: ASUS ATi 4870x2 2GB GDDR5
$559.99

Sound Card: On board

Case: Antec Gamer Nine Hundred ATX Mid Tower
$139.99

Power Supply: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V
$129.99 (After rebate)

Operating System: Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 64 bit OEM DSP OEI
$99.99

Mouse / Keyboard: G7/15
$139.99

Cables: DVI-D M/m 6.6 ft cable
$12.99

Speakers: Logitech Z-4 40 watts 2.1 Speaker
$69.98

Thermal Compound: OCZ OCZTFRZTC Freeze Extreme
$6.98

Cooler Bracket: Xigmatek
$6.99

Total - $1943

I have compared the prices with those of other online sites such as newegg, and they seem to be fairly competitive. If you see anything I would be grossly overpaying for, please let me know. I don't really have a set budget, but would like to keep it in this range, or lower if possible. I would also like any opinions on what, if anything should be up/side graded. I am not overly knowledgeable about most of these things, so I am simply taking an educated guess based on reviews I have read on each product. I know that in technology, nothing can be truly future proof, but, obviously, I would like my system to be as close as possible so I won't need to upgrade for a few years. Also, are there any major advancements due out in the near future that would warrant me postponing my purchase until their release? I know Directx 10.1 will be coming out soon, but most games aren't going to utilize it from what I have been told, and since gaming is what this machine will be used for, I don't see that becoming a factor.

Thank you in advance for your time and input,
Ph0enix33

More about : real gaming advise

August 22, 2008 8:52:36 PM

Drop the 280 for a 4870 x2, drop the sound card for later if you feel it's needed. Gamexstream 700w or corsair 750w tx.
drop the 2nd optical drive.
Can get 1.2tb HDD by getting two western digital 640gb drives instead and raiding them maybe?

Xigmatek S1283 cooler.
Maybe get the Q9550 cpu instead with these recommendations?
August 22, 2008 8:55:02 PM

what size and resolution will your gaming monitor be?

1. get a different psu. coolermaster has had issues. Corsair makes a good value 750w.
2. i would wait to get soundcard until you have tried the onboard. onboard sound has really improved and there have been so many issues with x-fi it probably isn't worth it. but before you decide i would listen to onboard. you may love it. if you don't then consider the xonar.

3. good choice of cpu and case and OS. hdd are nice. if you are looking to save money you totally can there but those are nice.

4. dvd drives. i would get 2 different brands (maybe liteon). reason is no drive is perfect. all are better and worse at different things. that way you can take advantage of the pros and offset the cons.
5. you can save money by only going 4gb. that is plenty for a great gaming rig. can always add more down the road if it becomes necessary but right now don't need it. if you are set on 8gb then one use for it would be to turn off the windows page file cache and let it use the ram for that. will speed things up a little.
6. gpu - recommendation will depend on resolution you are gaming at.
Related resources
August 22, 2008 8:56:02 PM

if you go with 4870x2 then different mobo (x48) because p45 is only x8/x8 but again need to see resolution first before recommend.
August 22, 2008 9:25:01 PM

Thanks for the quick responses.

I will be using a DVI to HDMI cable to connect the system to a 37" lcd monitor and playing at a 1920x1080 resolution. As far as gpu's are concerned, I really like nVidea and would prefer to stay with them. I looked at the power units and will be dropping the coolermaster for the 700 GamerXstream if needed, but the site I am buying from doesn't carry the corsair and is out of the GXtream at the moment, so would there be any others you would suggest? I'll also wait and test the onboard sound and see how that is. Memory has been changed to 4096 MB DDR II 800 Memory 240 Pin (Kingston) (1GB x 4). Will update my original list in the OP.
Thanks again for the help, and keep it coming!
August 22, 2008 9:28:36 PM

bdollar said:
if you go with 4870x2 then different mobo (x48) because p45 is only x8/x8 but again need to see resolution first before recommend.


the 4870x2 is a single card, so the motherboard he chose is fine.

i would definitely recommend the 4870x2 as opposed to the 280, if that is the price range you are in. The 280 is a good card, but you aren't getting a lower performing card for the same price. it truly blows every other card out of the water.
August 22, 2008 9:41:25 PM

I think you might find it easier to overclock if you get 2x2 gigs for your ram.
August 22, 2008 9:43:34 PM

I will look into the 4870's, but as I said, my preference lies with nVidia. I may have to purchase the gtx 280 elsewhere though, as the site seems to be overcharging for it. I don't know much on the technical side but the core speed says 602MHz on it, and costs $545, while the same 280 (I'm assuming) on newegg is $399. I cant really tell the difference in the cards, I had assumed there was just 1 version of the gtx 280, but new egg is bringing up 4 for me, with prices from $399-549, so if anyone could shed some light in that area, it would be most appreciated!
August 22, 2008 10:39:27 PM

1- Do not go for any of coolermaster or GamerXstream PSU, Enermax and Thermltake are better
2- It is not a matter of like or dislike 4870X2 is the king now
3- Do not ever use (4X1 G) memory and whu Kingston go for Mushkin or G.skill (2X2G)
4- Change your cooler to TRUE
5- Keep you mobo it's good and will run 4870X2 perfectly along with 800 or 1066 (2X2G) RAM
August 22, 2008 11:07:42 PM

The most important component for gaming is the VGA card. The GTX280 is a fine choice, and will be able to play anything out there very well. It should cost about $400. Some go higher because they are factory overclocked to the tune of about 10%. That premium does not seem worth it to me. Others are more expensive because they have factory installed water cooling. Also not worth it to me.
The 4870X2 is the new card on the block. In general, it is more capable than the GTX280, but it comes at a premium price of about $550. Is it worth it to you?
Remember, that these cutting edge cards will be somewhat dated in a year.

At the level of the E8500 or Q6600, the vga card is much more important for gaming than the cpu.
At that level, overclocking is good for bragging, but it will not net you as much increase
in FPS as a better vga card will. Today, very few games can make use of more than two cores.
Flight simulator X is an exception. It is not a trivial matter to code multi threaded programs,
and game vendors will not sell too many games that require quads to run.
I don't see this changing in the next couple of years.

Net: E8500 for the increased clock speed.

Most oem coolers will do the job, and keep the noise low. Xigmatek os very popular, and priced well http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Do get the oppptional backplate to avoid thise tricky push pin mounts.

There is no need for a premium priced motherboard unless you are planning on dual vga cards. You should be able to get a Nice P35 or P45 motherboard from Asus or Gigabyte for <$100.

Is there a need for two cd/dvd drives? A dvd burner will do everything. Samsung makes a quiet one.

I happen to like fastt hard drives, and the raptor is good. The velociraptor is even better, but it DOES make a difference. I like the strategy of a fast small system drive and a slower large drive for storage and backups.

You can save a bit on the case by using the Antec three hundred . http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It cools as well as the 900, and is a bit smaller. No "bling" though.

Don't skimp on the quality of the Power supply. The PC P&C silencer610 is a great deal at $79.95 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For ram, get 4gb in a 2x2gb matched kit. It preserves your option to upgrade to 8gb, and it is easier to overclock with just 2 sticks.
DDR2-800 from a quality vendor is fine. Faster is not much worth it. Think 1-2% inframe rates vs. synthetic benchmarks.

Vista home premium-64 is good. Do you qualify for an academic license?

---good luck---

August 22, 2008 11:12:38 PM

sorry guys. it has been one of those days. i was thinking 2x 4870. yes 4870x2 is one card and the p45 is perfectly fine and great mobo for it. suprised noone gave me a -1 . :)  :) 

+1 to not getting coolermaster or gamerxstream PSUs.
+1 to 2x2 gb Ram and Mushkin would be my choice
+1 to the x2 but if you go 280 it should be able to handle the res.
August 22, 2008 11:19:37 PM

one other thing to mention on the 4870x2. it is more but it has directx 10.1. may not be that big of a deal now we don't really know. but depending on how long you have this it might be another factor in making your decision. any games that take advantage of that will show the x2 way out in front of the 280.
August 22, 2008 11:49:31 PM

Wow,

I must say I am very impressed at the detailed and in depth responses I've gotten so far, thank you all very much. I have done a bit of research, and it seems most people are in agreement, and the 4870x2 is indeed the winner. I too thought the x2 symbolized 2 cards, but it seems it is 2 cards combined into one. Is there any difference in the 4870x2 and the R700? They both appear to be 2 4870s in 1 package. I'm also changing the memory again over to 2 2gig sticks of Mushkin. What power supply would be ideal? I have read mixed comments about particular brands and am a bit unsure what would be best. So far it looks like no on the coolmaster. I think I am going to have to change sites now, as the one I was planning on using doesn't carry Mushkin memory or the 4870x2. Looks like newegg is my new site! I am going to take the prices down for a bit until I can get them updated to neweggs specs.
August 23, 2008 1:48:30 AM

OK.

I think I might be a little bit confused. The 4870x2 is indeed just 1 card correct? If so, is that better than getting 2 normal 4870 cards and using crossfire? I think the best option would be to get the psu for a dual card setup, in case I want to add a second 4870x2 later.
August 23, 2008 2:21:06 AM

yes it is one card and has better results then 2 4870s crossfired. the x2 is the way to go. now on to your other part. at your resolution the 4870x2 is plenty. you will be able to run very high settings and be set. crossfiring increases your build price quite a bit. because you need more $$ on the psu, you need more money on another card and then really if you want to take advantage of the other card you need more $$ on a mobo because the p45 only crossfires x8/x8 instead of x16/x16. so you would need x48 mobo most likely. not to mention unless you are planning a recent monitor upgrade you don't need it at that resolution. and if you aren't getting the new monitor for awhile by the time you do there is probably gonig to be a better single card anyhow so you won't need crossfire. my .02.

and again sorry for creating the confusion on the card number. it was an embarrassing moment for me. :) 
August 23, 2008 2:55:49 AM

No problem at all bdollar. I was actually a bit confused about the subject before I even posted here, so it wasn't by your doing by any means. That was also a very helpful response. I do plan on keeping this monitor for quite some time, so I think sticking with a p45 board and using a lone x2 is going to be the way to go. Like you said, that will also cut some cost off of the package in the form of a smaller power unit. I think I've got my system as good as it will get for the price. I am going to get the prices from newegg posted up here and be sure I'm not getting ripped on anything, and get the build ordered. Any last minute tips from anyone?
August 23, 2008 3:38:02 AM

best of luck. i really think that will be great build for the money. enjoy!
August 23, 2008 6:48:42 AM

List and prices are updated. My current plan is to get about half of the system from a site called Lucomputers.com, (overclocked cpu, mobo, both HDD, opt drive 1, case, and OS) and buy the rest of the pieces individually from newegg (cooler, memory, opt. drive 2, grap. card, psu, and speakers will be from newegg). I am also looking into a wireless mouse and keyboard set, but haven't found one that sticks out. Anyway, just wanted to keep everyone up to date.
Thanks

Edit: Order code was not working for LUcomputers, so I just listed the components I am getting from that site, as well as which ones will come from newegg.
August 23, 2008 7:08:41 AM

don't know if fits in your price range. but the logitech g7 wireless mouse is awesome. it comes with 2 lithium batteries and a charger that charges quick. so one can be charging while other in use so can swap out without losing any time and don't run through a bunch of disposables. no lag in gaming at all. only potential negative is it has 6 buttons not 7. plenty for me but others may not like that. no recs on keyboard but i love that mouse.
August 23, 2008 4:38:07 PM

After looking up some info, I think I really like the Logitech Wave Pro, but sadly it won't be out for about 2 months, so I will probably look into something else. The g7 looked very reliable, but I really do not like the looks of the g15 keyboard, which is what the g7 is generally sold with. If I can find a suitable replacement for the g15, I will probably go ahead and get it, and just upgrade when the Wave Pro comes out.
August 24, 2008 6:22:39 AM

Back with a small update. Some people are saying 600w isn't enough for the 4870x2. I think I will need to upgrade to the CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V to be safe. Updating components list to show this change. Also, I have some very basic questions I was hoping someone could answer. As mentioned, this will be the first time I've ever done anything resembling putting a PC together. Do I need to order any of the screws, cables or other small items I may have looked over? Sorry for the dumb questions, just want to make sure I will have everything I need. I will be ordering the case, proc, both hard drives, the mobo, both optical drives and the OS from one place, who I assume will assemble those parts, so all that will be left for me to do will be install the cooler, memory, video card, and psu, which I'm hoping wont be too hard. I've found a couple of guides that are of some help with this process, but if anyone has a favorite guide please feel free to post it!
August 25, 2008 5:56:20 PM

Any comments on the quality of the corsair psu? And what would be the best DVI to HDMI cable for me to get? I have a Monster brand one at the moment but it needs replacing. I would not be opposed to a double hdmi cable, but I'm not sure if my computer will have an HDMI port.
August 25, 2008 6:05:59 PM

corsair makes great psu's. so you will be very happy with that. the 4870x2 comes with dvi to hdmi adapter
August 25, 2008 10:51:29 PM

cool. Any tips on a new cable? What brands are good, what should I try to keep away from, that sort of thing
August 26, 2008 12:14:49 AM

? you mean instead of the one it comes with?
August 26, 2008 1:19:27 AM

I thought the x2 only came with an adapter to change to port type to div or hdmi. Does it include the cable as well?
August 26, 2008 1:45:25 AM

ok i thought it said hdmi cable but it says hdtv cable. but i would think that is the same thing. what other cable would an hdtv cable be? but you may want to find out for sure. someone on here probably knows. :) 
August 30, 2008 8:02:45 PM

What "pin" cables will I need to run from the PSU to the vid card? I have read that the 4870x2 requires a 6 AND 8 pin PCIE cable, but am not sure what to buy. A poster in another forum said he uses this adapter:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168..., but I'm not sure thats what I'm looking for....

EDIT: After further reading, I believe I would need a 6 to 6 pin cable, and an 8 (6+2) to 8 (6+2) cable to properly power the card. Is that correct?
August 31, 2008 2:16:11 AM

Thread seems to be dying, but I do have a few more questions if you all can spare the time. Where do you suggest I get hard drives from? For some insane reason, ALL of newegg's Seagate / WD drives are OEM, which I particularly despise. The reviews of OEM drives I have read are all horror stories ending in the drive failing and having no warranty, or at the very least not including the needed components which one must purchase separately, a hastle I would rather avoid. I am looking for a retail version of a good 500gb hard drive as I intend on using 2, rather than the single 1TB drive I was planning on buying before.
Thanks
August 31, 2008 3:00:44 AM

I have 2 x 500gb Seagate 7200.11 from Newegg. 1 failed within a week. Newegg replaced the drive and I had the new one within 3 days. Other then that I have never had a problem with OEM drives. Get the 1 of the drives below. They are much faster and have greater capacity for $20 per drive less.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Other then that the only thing I would change would be the RAM to a mushkin DDR2 800.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The Mushkin mem you picked has already been OC'd to reach the 1066 (hence the 2.1v)


August 31, 2008 3:13:05 AM

Thank you for the reply, but I would really prefer to avoid OEM at all costs, just a personal thing with me. Why would you suggest the non OC'd ram over the ones I had chosen? I'm sure there is a reason, but I would most likely OC the ones you posted anyway, so it would end in the same result it seems.
August 31, 2008 11:11:41 PM

That is correct but in this case you would not have to pay for it.
September 2, 2008 6:02:14 AM

Moving to the Mushkin Ascents. Newegg is out of the original sticks I was going to get, but it seems the Ascents are better anyway, and are only $10 higher.
September 6, 2008 11:57:45 PM

Due to some financial issues, I had to delay ordering my system for a week, but should finally be doing so on monday. I was planning on getting the OEM version of Home Premium, but it doesn't look like newegg has it anymore. All I see are OEI DSP versions. Can anyone enlighten me as to what OEI DSP means? I ran a search and found several different answers for DSP, but none for OEI, and would just like confirmation before I purchase that OS.
Thanks
September 7, 2008 1:18:12 AM

maybe grab the one off tiger direct it would be very similar prices... other than that that rig looks pretty much perfect now! GL!
September 7, 2008 3:21:54 AM

Tiger direct lists its OEM vistas as being DSP as well, though they don't say OEI as neweggs do. Still can't find much on either of the terms (OEI/ DSP), so not too sure what to buy.
September 7, 2008 3:42:30 AM

hmmmm wikipedia says DSP is Digital Signal Processing... only thing is i have no idea what that means :o 
September 8, 2008 10:31:57 PM

Finally got it ordered. Had to swap in a few changes at the last minute since newegg was out of some of my items. I had to switch to G. Skill memory, but it has gotten great reviews and seems to be as good as the Mushkin sticks I was planning on getting. I also went with the OEI DSP OS, though I still don't know what that means. My last change was a small., I swapped the Lite On burner for an ASUS one, since it had the best review aside from the one that was out of stock. Anyway, I hope I got all the correct parts, and will post a performance report once I get the system put together and run the tests on it.

Thanks to all who contributed to this thread, you were of immense help, and I couldn't have build such a fantastic system without you.
September 13, 2008 1:18:02 AM

Hey everyone,

Got my parts in and put together at Bestbuy. So far, I am a bit frustrated in general, not sure if my problems are due to poor installation on BB's part or the actual items are defective. My first, and biggest concern is the graphics card. I got it installed, along with a few games and was expecting to be blown away. The only fame I have all the patches downloaded for, and consequently the only game I can test is World of Warcraft. WoW isn't know for its particularly demading graphics, but im only getting 20-30fps (all settings maxed) and the screen "skips" every few seconds, which is the real problem. My other issues are the system not recognizing 1 of my hard drives (again, not sure if this is and installation problem or the drive is faulty), and the usb ports being misaligned. The last problem I am certain is on best Buy, as they clearly assembled the ports incorrectly. Not sure if this would still be in the correct forum, but figured it should go under the original thread.
Thanks,
!