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[New System Build] 2000$ budget. First full build for me.

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September 2, 2008 8:10:03 AM

Background, what I want: Gaming speed and power; longevity. This computer will also be used for high end audio/video editing, and used with a 5.1 surround sound system. The internet is almost always on, computer will be running 24/7 This is the first computer that I've put together from scratch, and I want to be able to overclock and tweak system settings. Also, I'm really doing my homework on this one. With Starcraft II and Diablo 3 on the horizon, I want to be ready. I would be nice to play through the games I can't hardly run now as well. Supreme Commander, Crisis, Bio Shock... What I'm using now I AM NOT happy with for the amount I paid.

Components: (I can't seem to get the wish list to work, so it'll be a copy paste adventure -_-)

Motherboard: ASUS RAMPAGE FORMULA LGA 775 Intel X48 ATX Intel Motherboard
Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Explanation: Seemed to be a good base board for overclocking and getting on DDR2, since I don't want to pay for DDR3. Coming with built in sound that is above standard on board is a plus as well.

Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz 12MB L2 Cache LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor
Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Explanation: Fast, but not the 3.0GHz for 200$ more. Not worth it to me. Plus I can overclock.

CPU Cooling: ASUS Silent Square EVO 92mm Vapo Bearing CPU Cooler
Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Explanation: Going to be overclocking, but not enough to mess with liquid cooling and risk leaks. This was expensive, so I'm open to alternatives. This sold me on it's ability to be controlled by CPU heat.

Power Supply: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply
Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Explanation: 750w and selling on how stable it is. I'm hoping if I need or want to upgrade, this does what I want. Without the price tag of some of the 1100/1200w supplies.

Video Card: MSI RX3870X2-T2D1G OC Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB 512-bit (256-bit x 2) GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card
Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Explanation: I've been an NVidia user for forever and a day; but a friend of mine suggested that I look into ATI. For the money, this seems to be a far better deal in terms of performance.

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Explanation: I have a 500GB external now, I am not going for massive space so much as reliability and holding most or all of my games without uninstalls and reinstall. I considered more than one HD, but can't really see the point if this one is 500GB. I'm a neat freak when it comes to my files, so everything is pretty organized and easy to find.

CD Rom: ASUS Black 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 20X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 14X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe
Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Explanation: Lite-Scribe, DVD burner. I also considered getting 2 CD drives to cut down on wear and tear. This to burn, and another to install/play from. Thoughts on this? Thoughts on the Blu-Ray burners and pricetags on them? Doesn't seem worth it to me to be honest.

RAM: CORSAIR DOMINATOR 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory (8GB total)
link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
OR
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory
link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Explanation: I can get 4 GB of the G.SKILL for 112$ or 8GB of CORSAIR for 278$ The cheap stuff works okay, but the corsair is better to overclock and I don't have to upgrade it later. Thoughts on this? Worth the extra money?

Monitor: ASUS VW222U Black 22" 2ms(GTG) Widescreen LCD Monitor with HDCP support 300 cd/m2 1000:1 (ASCR 2000:1) Built in Speakers - Retail
link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Explanation: Good for gaming, built in speakers is a plus for when I don't want to be hooked into surround or have my headphones on.

Keyboard: Saitek PZ30AU Black 104 Normal Keys 4 Function Keys USB Wired Standard Eclipse Keyboard
Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Explanation: I've seen and used this, good gaming board while not too fancy. I also considered the G15.
Link to G15: http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/keyboards/keyboard/de...
Is the Saitek to G15 worth the 50$ for the monitoring and other features (macros do sound kinda nice...) the G15 has to offer?

Case: Sunbeam Transformer IC-TR-B Blue Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case
Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Explanation: Looks good, plenty of places for fans. Why have just another box? I was advised to change out the stock fans for fans with speed controllers on them.

Cooling modifications: Antec 761345-75022-6 80mm Red LED Case Fan (x3) Antec 761345-75026-4 120mm Red LED Case Fan (x2)
Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Link: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Explanation: Speed controls on these fans, and a friend told me Antec are very good, very quiet fans; I would prolly want to replace the stock fans on that case.

O/S: Vista. Need it. Hate it. 100$

& Arctic Silver to put the CPU cooler on. 5$

Total price: 1,937.83$





Questions while looking at my list of components:

RAM: The FSB of this board is 1600/1333MHz. Speed of both RAM is 1066. I would say that can be clocked up some, but am I in danger of wasting the 2gb ram and paying for more ram than I can access?

Fans Specifically: All of my fans have variable speed 3 settings. Am I going to be turning 5 knobs up/down or can I streamline the process with a single large speed controller? Would I want to just max them and leave them?

Cooling: Other than a non stock CPU cooler and total fan replacement, I haven't done much with cooling. The GPU cooler is stock. There is no specific ram or HD cooler. Am I going to need any additional cooling?

Tweaking/Overclocking: Am I going to need anything additional for this? The ASUS board supposedly comes with what I need to change settings in the BIOS, but I have never overclocked or really done any hardware tweaking before.

Generally Compatibility: Does all of this work together without there being some oversight? Too much in one area and not in another?


PHEW!
Thanks for hearing me out; 2000$ is my goal, that's what I have to spend, but if I can get the same for less, or a 'deal' for a few bucks more; I'd like to make those sort of changes. Also, this is the first full PC I've done, so I'm looking for suggestions and criticism. My Dell desktop has lasted forever and a day, and had ram and hard drive upgrades, 3 mice, 2 keyboards, and outlasted 3 printers. Then I got this Alienware M9700 laptop without doing my homework, Which I very much regret. The moral of the story is: Do your homework. So, thank you all.

-HewhoisntIam
September 2, 2008 11:50:30 AM

This is where you go to learn about CPU cooling.

Your CPU cooling solution:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835233003
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835233019
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835100007


ATI 4870

WD 640Gb
This drive is faster than the 500gb and better cost per Gb.

Aesthetics is impoprtant when considering a case, but have a look at Antec Cases. They are far better for a big build like this, with better cooling. The 1200 especially. If not one of those, have a look at the more flashy NZXTs, many of which are better coolers.

A fan controller is often a good idea. Look at various cases first.

Finally, I would look for a slightly larger PSU... if you are planning to get a second video card at some point. The Hiper 880W is an excellent PSU with a nice price tag.

September 2, 2008 11:55:32 AM

Oh, and to get the whole wish list going:

-you first save a wishlist by naming it.
-then you find the saved wishlist in the saved tab.
-put a check by it in the box, then select "share."
-now view it and cut and paste the url.

You should get 64 bit vista premium. It's very good now and will allow you to access up to 16Gb memory.
Related resources
September 2, 2008 12:23:41 PM

I would seriously consider holding off one month for the release of the Nehalem Processor. You should be able to get it in October, unless you really need to build.

If you were on a lower budget, I would say build now but your budget will fit very nicely into Intel's Next Gen Stuff coming next month.
September 2, 2008 12:28:37 PM

If you're going to be grilling your pc like you say, there is only really one choice in terms of case: Antec1200 - although you may not get the looks that others would prefer, the first thing you need to consider is cooling functionality. The Antec = 3 front fans, one side fan (optional) , one beastly top fan and 2 rear fans. They are all LED fans so will look cool (as does the case IMO - Black metal) and they have dust filters which are vital, considering the amount of air you'll be shifting. Coolermaster are also good, but Antec really win in terms of air circulation. The Antec also has external switches to control all its fans

i believe the Corsair Dominators come with a free cooling fan (at least in the UK) so that would also prove useful to you. Proximon would have to advise you on how much heat that RAM would produce.

I would also condsider teh Artic Freezer Pro 7 - cheap with great cooling. Unless you're really pushing your system, this should give you great performance
September 2, 2008 2:39:32 PM

+1 to the 4870. if you need to cut costs to afford it then go with ddr2 800 ram at 1.8v. can overclock if you need to but unless doing an extreme overclock the 1066 won't give you much benefit. mushkin makes great ram and has a great deal after mail in rebate right now 2x2 gb for $69:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

+1 to the wd640gb. best price per gb and great performance. $85

x48 board is only necessary if plan on crossfiring in the near future. othewise you can save $ on a good p45 board (p5q for example). if not crossfiring in the near future then by the time you are ready probably better single card out there to upgrade to anyhow. and quite honestly on a 22inch monitor you can crossfire on the p45 board at x8/x8 without losing much from the x16/x16 you would get on the x48. where that matters most is 1920x1200 resolution and above.

+1 to the antec case. even 900 is great case but if you can get the 1200 that would be as advertised above, a very good choice.
September 2, 2008 3:16:42 PM

As others have said, opt for a single 4870 instead of a 3870x2.

I just recently got the Asus DVD burner you have on your list and I have loved it so far. It's extremely quiet, even when burning or lightscribing at max speed.

The Saitek Eclipse is a pretty good keyboard - I used to have it but then it started to glitch out on me so I replaced it with a Logitech G11 and haven't looked back. Consider spending the extra 20 bucks or whatever the difference is. I love having a knob for volume instead of buttons and the extra G-keys seem useful.
September 2, 2008 9:13:20 PM

Okay, the 3870x2 has been changed for a 4870. Case changed to the antec 1200. HD changed for the better one.

I like this ram: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

As far as a change in board for the x48 p45 change, I didn't find a comparable p45 ASUS board I liked, the Maximus II, The only real thing I see as an upgrade is going from 8GB ram to 16. The P5Q doesn't have anything but stock audio on board where the Maximus II has x-fi. I really don't want to buy an audio card. Save 20-30 bucks here?

Now, lets talk Vista for a second. 32 bit, 100$. 64 bit, 330$. Do I want the 64 bit and why? The vista is what's tipping the budget at the moment, to 2200$

As far as waiting for Intel's new chip. I've got mixed feelings about that. I'm reading here http://arstechnica.com/articles/paedia/cpu/what-you-nee... about it. With any brand new thing, as soon as it comes out, you pay premium price. It doesn't seem to me like waiting 6 months for this would be worth it, since most games now seem to be much more reliant on your graphics card than CPU. But I'm always open to the discussion. Thanks for the input so far.

-He
September 2, 2008 9:25:38 PM

whoa. why is vista 64 bit $330?? that should be $110 for premium and $170 for ultimate. are you looking ay a 3 pack?
September 2, 2008 9:31:08 PM

GOOD CALL bdollar!

>.<

How does 110$ sound?

*facepalm*
September 2, 2008 9:34:19 PM

and yes you want 64 bit for $10 more. :)  :) 
September 2, 2008 9:34:34 PM

Vista 32/64 are the same price.
You just need to make sure you are comparing the same products.
(OEM/System Builder/Upgrade/Retail) etc.....

#2 - There should be minimal premium on the Nehalem.
In fact the "Tray Price" Intel charges for the 2.66Ghz Nehalem which would be less than the "Tray Price" for the CPU you have listed. It should also easily outperform it.

It will require DDR3 and a High-End Mobo, but you are already getting the High End Mobo.


September 2, 2008 9:39:10 PM

This mobo is DDR2 only I believe. DDR3 will easily hike up the price another whatever whatever (300$ is my first thought, between changing boards and getting 4GB of stix) I'm still reading on the Nehalem, but I'm leaning towards not waiting... I dunno. Still up in the air on this.
September 2, 2008 9:50:51 PM

i personally wouldn't wait. but that is me. i don't want to be first. it might be good but with anything new there are probably kinks to work out. you can build a great rig now and a few years down the road when it is more mature make the switch. but again that is just my personal preference. maybe it will be released next month and be awesome with minimal issues. i just like to know what i am getting.
September 3, 2008 3:22:14 AM

ok since you had such dept i will try and do the same....

first a overall basic score i will give you 8.5/10 i will tell why later

ok lets answer your questions....

RAM: your ram looks just fine the FSB should work ok

FANS: you could steam line them all of my fans do the same thing and i don't change them so unless you plan on changing them frequently i wouldn't worry. also with soo many fans if they are on med or low you will get great air flow.

Cooling: the stock stuff will work fine for stock and mild overclocks if you are hoping for super overclocks then may be but i think you are just fine

OCing: the motherboard has everything you need no worries

compatiblity: at a glance everything looks good

phew thats done ok on to the score/comments

first i dont think that is the motherboard for you it is a good motherboard but here is why i would go with a Gigabyte X48 DS4 it is similar just no sound add on but here is the thing it is $50 cheaper i would then spend that on a real sound card which will out preform any thing that Asus will give you....(-.5)

next the CPU cooler i would go with either the xigmatek hd or the zalman 9700 (-.5)

GPU: the 4870 kills the 3870X2 and is about the same price plus it doesn't have the multi GPU problems.... (-.5)

RAM: i would go with corsair..... no deduction..... and all 8GB will work if you have a 64bit version of vista that is what you need to check.....

CASE: ok i make it a point of not mentioning cases because a lot of times they are opinions but i wanted to mention this.... sunbeam i have heard is not the greatest case maker i would look around and see if there is something you like better i could recommend the antec 900 but like i said it is opinion

so not a bad score high end rigs can be tough and it is your first build i would have given my first build like a 6/10 so....

hope this helps and good luck





September 3, 2008 6:41:03 AM

Thanks. I've changed some cooling options, but I think I like that 750w PSU. The 880w is considerably more, and I think more power than I'll need if I'm not using a dual card. Still looking at PSUs though.

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

Seems better than what I have for the price.

Total new price tag 1983$

Plus whatever I get in rebates, should be around 100$
September 3, 2008 1:32:48 PM

i would stick with corsair, pc power and cooling or even antec or ocz. they are top brands whos performance records speaks for itself. I just wouldn't leave my $2k setup to an "offbrand" psu. the potential harm is bye bye computer. someone on here can probably post the site that rates the brands and has more details. may want to check that out before you make a decision. just because i haven't used them doesn't mean they aren't good. but i would get some data if you are using a lesser known brand.
September 3, 2008 6:31:30 PM

hiper review: http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-r...

corsair review: http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/505/8

The big selling point to me on the corsair is that it's just 1 rail, versus 4 rails balance on the other. I don't have a whole lot of experience with PSUs though.

A friend of mine swears by pc power and cooling, and for the price, they'd better be the best. It's a toss up between the corsair and the hiper. Right now I have the corsair for 50$ less. Unless you think this setup, or future dual card setups, would benefit from a 750 to 880 upgrade?
September 3, 2008 11:43:57 PM

PSU rails are much like circuits in your home. They are not separate power sources, they are just capped by something similar to circuit breakers.

Some companies are worried that they will get in trouble for having a single rail, so they lie and say that they have multiple rails... but the standard is no longer enforced.

True multi-rail CPUs have to have labeled rails so that you can balance the load, and not put, for instance both connections on a 4870X2 on one rail.

Compare those reviews to this one:
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...
This site, and this guy especially, sets the standard for a PSU review. Note the ripple analysis, and the dissection and analysis of the parts. Only a very few reviewers actually do this.

I think the 750TX will work fine. I think the Hiper should only be bought if the price is not a big issue.
!