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Hello, Gentleman. A moment of your time? Final Build!

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August 25, 2008 5:27:46 PM

Edit: Changed Hardrive to 500gb(up from 250), Decided on Corsair DHX memory


Hello, all. This is my near final list of desired parts for my new desktop. Primary purpose would be for gaming. This is my first time building a PC so I don’t know all too much about it, but I did leave OC and Crossfire options open…I think. But yeah, critique my build, let me know if I could go better on some spots or if things aren’t compatible. I have some questions at the end of the list :D 

Motherboard - $159.99
ASUS P5Q-E LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Processor - $169.99
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Card - $289.99
POWERCOLOR AX4870 512MD5-PPH Radeon HD 4870 512MB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM - $105.00
CORSAIR XMS2 DHX 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Hard Drive - $69.99
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 (Perpendicular Recording) ST3500630AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Processor Cooler - $34.99
XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Processor Cooler Bracket
XIGMATEK ACK-I7751 Retention Bracket - $6.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thermal Compound
ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound - $6.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power Supply - $119.99
CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V NVIDIA SLI Ready ATI CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD Drive - $23.99
LITE-ON Black 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 20X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 20X DVD±R DVD Burner - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case - $84.99
COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OS
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit English for System Builders 1pk DSP OEI DVD - $99.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total : $1172.89

Questions:

1. Does the manufacturer of the parts have any effect of the compatibility of the parts? Are certain manufactures known for better quality and effectiveness? If so, are there any in my list that I should stay away from?

2. I have three different RAM listed. I’m pretty sure the last two would be better than the first because of their better timings (the #-#-#-#). Which one would you recommend?

3. Are there any tips on getting good deals through Newegg? I know they have the rebates… Do they actually work? Would it be foolish to calculate my total cost after all rebates? I know they have special offers at certain times, but other than waiting for said offers… are there any other ways I could save some bucks?

4. Case(sigh). I’m torn between a couple of cases. I want it to be somewhat quiet. Of course, I want it to have adequate cooling/temp and obviously have it be able to fit all my parts. I was thinking Antec 900(scared of possible noise), Coolermaster RC-690, and also, on the expensive side Coolermaster Cosmos 1000(Reviews say it’s big and quiet). What would you all recommend?

5. Monitors. I’m building this new PC from scratch and I will also need a monitor. I’m looking in the area of 20’’ – 24’’. Does 22’’ plus stretch your games out if they don’t support the aspect ratio? I think most games are 4:3 aspect ratio, but sometimes offer it for 16:10, which is what I think the big monitors use. I would like to have a 22’’ or 24’’ monitor, but I don’t want to worry about the game being stretched out. (Games I want to play at max settings are some FPS like GoW or Half Life 2, World of Warcraft, City of Heroes, Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3(when they come out), of course all at highest possible settings). Additionally, I hear that you want a sub 5 ms time. High contrast ratio 3000:1 +, and brightness around 330cd/m2. So, yeah. You guys know of any good big LCD gaming monitors :D 

Sorry for all the questions. I’m really excited, almost going to order my parts, but just checking to see if everything is good to go.

Thanks in advance.
I look forward to hearing your responses,

Jeff
August 25, 2008 6:23:18 PM

It's a good list.

(1) No problems in compatibility in your list. Usually the MFGR source doesnt have an effect on compatibiliy - especially if you buy from the well known MFGR - which you have chosen.

(2) Cas5 RAM @ 1.8volts is likely able to run at Cas4 @ 2.1volts with a bit of tweaking just as the Cas4 2.1volt memory. In any case there is very little performance difference between them. From your list CORSAIR DHX would be the one I'd suggest.

(3) Your total cost is what is charged to your credit card. You can use one of the search engines to check prices - watch for the shipping charges though. Buy.com has the RC-690 case for $71.78 (plus $23.71 for total cost of $95.49) NewEgg has the case for $84.99 (plus $18.99 for total cost of $103.98 but has a $15 rebate - price after rebate $88.98).
[:wr2] Zipzoomfly has the RC-690 for $69.99 (plus $9.83 shipping to my zip for $79.82 and no rebate hassle).
The best way to save some money is to buy less expensive parts - ie, RC-690 case over the Cosmos.

(4) Choose your case last, look at what is left in your budget and pick the case you like best that fits in your budget.

(5) Have a budget for your monitor yet? DELL ULTRASHARP 2208WFP
A contrast ratio of 3000:1 could mean that the monitor has a native contrast ratio of 800:1 but uses some software tricks (underpower the backlight lamp) to get an adjusted dynamic contrast. More useful for watching videos than for gaming.
Most games have support for widescreen monitors - either natively or through tweaks for older games. Widescreen Gaming Forum
August 25, 2008 6:54:50 PM

(1) Your build looks good. Don't see that you'd have any compatability issues.

(2) I'm going to suggest the Corsair DHX, Corsair is great memory, typically solid reliability, and the timings are good. The cooling ability on the DHX is a bonus.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

(3) I'll agree with the above poster. Search around for your best deals. Sometimes it's Newegg. Sometimes its not. I usually pick the part I want, and search for it through www.pricegrabber.com That way you can find the best price on individual parts. Sometimes you can save a bunch, sometimes just a little. I usually end up buying from www.tigerdirect.com as they have typically had good deals when I've been ready to buy.

(4) I haven't done much research on cases for a while. Can't help much there. Just make sure it is big enough to fit modern (huge) video cards, and has lots of places for extra cooling fans. ;) 

(5) I play all my games (older and newer) with a 16:9 (widescreen) 19" monitor at 1440x900. Never had any issue with stuff becoming stretched or distorted. In fact, its when I try to run 4:3 aspect ratios on my monitor that stuff gets squished.

For gaming purposes, buy a monitor with a good response time (usually rated like 5ms, 8ms, etc). Lower is better. Get a good contrast ratio as WR2 recommended above. Contrast ratio will be XXX : 1 format, the higher the XXX value the better your contrast ratio is (better black/white & colors usualy).

Get a monitor that hooks up to your video card directly through DVI (no VGA) so you can get better quality and higher resolutions.

*EDIT* Oh, by the way. Was going to suggest a larger hard drive. 250GB isn't a whole lot when you consider most games now days are 8GB+ for installs. Plus all your music, pictures, whatever else you do. Personally, because I like to have a few games installed so I can play whatever I feel like, I think 250GB is a little short of space.

The bigger you go, the less likely you'll be to fill it and want to buy a new harddrive soon. :)  The Seagate brand you have chosen now is good. Western Digital is also good (mostly what I've always had). I've had some Maxtor drives too, which are fine, but every Maxtor drive I've ever owned has made audible noise. My Western Digital (WD) drives are always pretty silent.
Related resources
August 25, 2008 6:59:34 PM

you did mention that you thought you left crossfire options open.... This is only half true. The MOBO you got will only run the second GPU at 8x instead of the full 16x. I would look at a x48 or a x38 MOBO. Little bit more money, but you also get that extra bit of performance.
August 25, 2008 7:10:45 PM

jerreece said:
Oh, by the way. Was going to suggest a larger hard drive. 250GB isn't a whole lot when you consider most games now days are 8GB+ for installs. Plus all your music, pictures, whatever else you do. Personally, because I like to have a few games installed so I can play whatever I feel like, I think 250GB is a little short of space.


I agree here. Or, you could get a second hard dive. I personally have games on one and OS and other apps on another. I've reformatted a lot and get tired of having to reinstall all the games each time.

I don't think you'll have any problems with aspect ratios in most games. I've got 16:9 and 16:10 aspect ratio monitors and the games I play work on either one.
August 25, 2008 8:13:57 PM

Very good list - another person who has done some homework.

Just check you can't get an E8500 for a little bit more.

I think everyone has addressed the questions already.

Good luck.
Jeremy
August 25, 2008 10:39:32 PM

Thanks for all the replies! Really good info.

@WR2
Thanks for the ram choice. I definitely hear good things about Corsair and I'll use that one.

As far as monitor budget...I don't really have one. Nothing too outlandish, but I could go a little higher(into $400's) than the one you linked, but the one you linked looks really good. Have any others you know of that are good for gaming?

Thanks a bunch for all the informative responses :D 


@jerreece

Thanks for your responses.

Yeah after reading WR2's posts you definitely reassure me on both the ram and monitor questions. Thanks for the great link to compare prices. I will most certainly use that to hopefully get some better deals. Is Tigerdirect as good as Newegg? I just hear so many good things about Newegg, so I don't know how well the others are.

And good call about the HD space, I should probably get more. Since i'll have a comp to run all these games, I will probably need more space.

@slayeron444

Thanks for that heads up. How much more would a x48 or x38 board be? I'm wondering if I should go that rought. Or just stay with this board and possibly get enough courage to overclock it. What does everyone else recommend?

@titaniumcloud
Thanks! Yeah I was thinking I could do that at a future time, because I hear it increases speed to have one drive for boot and games and storage on other.

@jpdykes
Thanks for your reply!

Also, for anyone out there who would know or has heard of this...I posted my list on another forum and someone mention how my Asus's mobo's auto voltage will undervolt my CPU and will frequent crashes and lockups. He said it's easily manually adjusted, but I don't know how "easy" is for a first time builder like me.

Has anyone else heard of this problem. It seems pretty specific because he mention it was an Asus board. I think he had it happen to him. Is this a concern? Should I look for something else?


And on peripherals. I'm looking at the Microsoft Reclusa Keyboard($60) and Logitech G5 Laser Mouse($50 on newegg). Anyone have suggestions for keyboard or mouse i'm all ears. Looking to go cheap on both...so if you know any. Also, last thing I need are speakers. Looking to get some good quality, but also inexspensive stero speakers.

Thanks for all the help.
August 26, 2008 3:17:36 PM

The keyboard and mouse question is important enough that I suggest you visit a local store like BestBuy, Staples, Office Depot, or a local computer superstore and give the keyboards and mice a hands on test to see which you like best.
You might also get a chance to check out some Samsung and LG LCD monitors would be top alternatives to the Dell monitor I listed. (At the Dell store be careful to check the availability dates - the one I listed is 1-2 weeks! not 1-2 days like the other model - with webcam that is $10 more). Personally, I'd rather have a height adjustable monitor than a webcam. But I do like that the monitors have USB ports, a very handy feature for game controllers like joystick, gamepad or steering wheel.

The Asus or Gigabyte X38/X48 motherboards would be about $70~$75 more than the P5Q-E. For a single card setup there is hardly any performance difference between P45 and X38/X48 motherboards. For a dual card, Crossfire setup and 1680x1050 (22" or 20" monitor) there might be a few frames per second difference depending on the game and game settings. For a 24" 1920x1200 24" the differences are slighly larger, somewhere around 5%. And 1920x1200 is about the resolution where you'd want to start thinking about a 2nd video card anyway. At the 30" monitor resolution of 2560x1600 the difference in bandwidth between the 2x 8 lane P45 and 2x 16 lane X38/X48 is highest
Benchmarks here: Legion Hardware P35/X38/P45/X48 Crossfire review
[:wr2] I think the P5Q-E and a 22" monitor is a good sweet spot in performance with either a single video card or dual video card setup. I've always felt that about the time you feel you might need a 2nd video card is about the time to upgrade the video card to a next gen GPU anyway.

I havent heard too much about the Asus motherboard problem you mentioned. I feel pretty confident that if it would happen a BIOS update would solve it. More likely to occur with only certain motherboard/CPU combos I would think. The user review comments @ NewEgg don't really add much detail but do show good success with the E8400.
August 27, 2008 2:07:35 AM

Hi, I am considering a nearly identical build! My only questions:

I want to do minimal modifications/installation. Do I really need a thermal compound/cooler/bracket with this build if I don't overclock? Would heat be a problem? Since I'm not OCing should I get something different?

Is this the right power supply? Any bang per buck of going lower?

I will never crossfire (I'm a 1-video card man), is this still optimal or can I downgrade xfire support and save money?

Is this stuff low risk to assemble? Haven't built a PC since the 80s, don't wanna fry anything.
August 27, 2008 4:59:06 PM

shadesofgrey, how did the build go? Did they all fit in the case well? Performance good? I want to order a near-identical system next week...
August 27, 2008 6:20:25 PM

Pleasehelpbuild,

- If you don't want to overclock you can stay with the retail heat sink that comes with the processors.

- For one graphics card you could use a tamer power supply, however this Corsair one is good value and well regarded, it is also compatible with the i7 systems so should last out at least the next two builds.

- If you aren't using Xfire you can drop down to a P45, P43 or P35 chipset. There was a Tom's group test the other day, check that out for the board that suits you best. P45 will be most expensive down to P35 the cheapest.

- It seems fairly difficult to fry PC components. You might want an anti-static wrist band if you are worried.

Jeremy
August 30, 2008 1:51:19 AM

Hey guys! I’m back. I found these three monitors that are suppose to be good for gaming? Would you guys recommend them? What do you think of them?

BenQ G2400WD Black 24" 5ms
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or
LG L227WTG-PF Black 22" 2ms Widescreen LCD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or
SAMSUNG 226BW Black 22" 2 ms
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or
SAMSUNG 2253BW Black 22" 2ms
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=N...


These look to be ok gaming monitors?
August 30, 2008 2:49:43 PM

I can vouch for the 226BW, it seems to be fine for gaming in my experience.

Jeremy
August 30, 2008 3:34:54 PM

Thanks for the reply!

Yeah I have heard good things about the 226BW, but it says it is deactivated on Newegg. I wouldn't know where to get it. I also have heard great things about the LG L227WTG-PF. I don't know what to do!!! Once when I know which monitor, I will then order all my parts.

Anymore input from people would be appreciated!!
August 30, 2008 3:58:03 PM

Is there any way you can go to a shop and have a look at some? Even if it isn't the exact models (although preferable) you might just spot something to tell them apart.

Jeremy
!