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New Build for Overclocking, Please Help.

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September 10, 2008 9:12:02 PM

Hey guys,

I need some help here figuring out if I have picked the right Hardware.

Maximum to spend is about $2000.

  • My goal is to overclock as close to 4Ghz as possible.
  • I will be watercooling this system (Thus the $700 gap price between current build and maximum amount)
  • Primary Usage : FPS Gaming (Battlefield Series, Call of Duty Series)

    Already Provided:
    Monitor (Dell E2007WFP 22" Widescreen 1680x1050 LCD w/ a wonderful blue vertical line WOOHOO DELL!)
    Logitech Z5500 Speakers
    Operating System (XP Home SP3)
    Soundcard (SB Audigy 2ZS)
    WD Raptor 10k HDD
    DVD-Rom Drive


    XFX MB-N780-ISH9 Motherboard
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    $238.24

    Intel Core 2 Duo E8600 Wolfdale 3.33GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    $274.99


    I have decided to go Quad Core, but am now trying to decide which one. Approximate CPU Budget $275-$400.


    OCZ Reaper HPC 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1150 (PC2 9200) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    $70.99($45.99 after $25.00 MIR) x2= $141.98 ($91.98 after MIR)


    OCZ Reaper HPC 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2RPR10664GK - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    $127.99 ($97.99 after $30.00 Mail-In Rebate)


    XFX GX280NZDF9 GeForce GTX 280 1GB 512-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
    Free Assassin's Creed w/ purchase, while supplies last
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    $449.99


    CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    $129.99 ($109.99 after $20.00 MIR)


    LITE-ON Black 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 20X DVD-R 8X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 24X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache E-IDE/ATAPI 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    $28.99


    ASUS 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model DRW-2014L1T - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    $39.99


    Total w/o MIR:
    Shipping:

    What do you think?



    Thanks!
  • More about : build overclocking

    September 11, 2008 11:21:56 AM

    A couple things come to mind:

    1. The P45 chipset is a better overclocker.
    2. With a GTX 280, or a 4870X2, you will never need a second card for that monitor, so SLI is not really an issue.

    This board comes with a water block on the northbridge, as well as some other nice features:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    Now as to water cooling in general, last I heard none of the retail kits were worth anything, except for swiftech.

    http://www.swiftech.com/

    What basically happens is you start looking into watercooling and then at some point realize that you'll be better off buying the parts you want. You are going to have to assemble it anyway.

    You should ask over in the cooling section for watercooling advice. There is also a big sticky there.
    September 11, 2008 1:41:54 PM

    OK, let's start with the good news: the combination you picked would work fine, and it would be very nice.

    However, there is room for improvement.

    Two or three GTX 280 cards on a 20" monitor are way overkill. You need a 1000W or 1500W PSU for them too. This means you don't need an SLI motherboard, and can't take advantage of the SLI anyway, not with that PSU/monitor. I suggest you get a (cheaper and more stable) P45 motherboard. Check out the GA-EP45-DS3R and the Asus P5Q Pro for example, they are around $150. You could even find cheaper P45 motherboards, with a single PCI-E slot and no RAID/eSATA/FireWire, if you want. (I kind of like the idea of a second slot because 22" LCD monitors are cheap and getting cheaper, and you need two slots for 3 or 4 monitors.)

    I'd prefer a Q9550 than a dual-core. Same speed whenever the HDD is the bottleneck (i.e. most of the time), much faster when the application is well programmed. You can get the Q9550 to 3.6 or 3.8 GHz using a $50 air cooling solution.

    Just curious, have you had water cooling before? Some people say it's more pain to maintain it than it's worth. I haven't tried it myself, though, so I don't know. With air cooling I just clean the dust whenever I remember, that's it.

    Are you sure you can get two rebates on the RAM? Some times the small print says one rebate per household. You might end up paying 141.98 (141.98 - 25 after MIR). Also, it's usually better to get 2x2GB rather than 4x1GB.

    Get a SATA burner. This way you won't have to worry about jumpers and you'll have a nice narrow cable that doesn't hurt airflow.

    Related resources
    September 11, 2008 2:18:29 PM

    I agree with AEVM With your monitor your not really even going to stress one card, so sli would be kind of silly. the P5Q is a great mobo, and right now you can grab one for $105.00 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... also unless your trying to get very high overclocks, you could probably just air cool with and achieve very respectable numbers. ~4.2-~4.6 with the proper memory and testing.
    September 12, 2008 5:56:53 AM

    Proximon said:
    1. The P45 chipset is a better overclocker.

    Aside from all brand preferences, and not worrying about a few features that I might not use (like SLI), would you say that the P45 is the best overclocking chipset if I went with a dual or quad?

    Ease of overclocking and stabiity are my biggest concerns with trying to push to, or above 4ghz.

    Proximon said:
    2. With a GTX 280, or a 4870X2, you will never need a second card for that monitor, so SLI is not really an issue.

    When you say that I am assuming you mean that unless I am going into the 1900x1200 range I wouldn't need more? Since my Dell has a vertical line I was thinking about contacting them about an exchange. The line is on the furthest left pixels of my screen and is bright blue.

    If I did upgrade to a 1900x1200 monitor, still the same scenario? I won't be doing 2+ screens in the near future though. I did it in the past and didn't like the results.

    In terms of SLI, My thoughts were about whether it's best to go with a lower card version like 8800GTS in SLI or 4850 in Crossfire or just going with a GTX280. I wouldn't do dual GTX 280 or 4870X2 simply due to the overkill price factor.

    Is it safe to assume that the GTX 280 is the better option, especially if I am considering watercooling?

    Proximon said:
    This board comes with a water block on the northbridge, as well as some other nice features:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    Now as to water cooling in general, last I heard none of the retail kits were worth anything, except for swiftech.

    http://www.swiftech.com/

    What basically happens is you start looking into watercooling and then at some point realize that you'll be better off buying the parts you want. You are going to have to assemble it anyway.

    You should ask over in the cooling section for watercooling advice. There is also a big sticky there.


    Thanks for the advice on that. I guess my main reason for thinking about getting a pre-made kit was due to the lower chance of user error in selecting parts and setting those up, especially with leaking in mind. Although I would rather not buy a MoBo with the waterblock already installed simply because I would be left to wonder about the install quality.

    However, as you mention, it seems that the more reviews I read from users, the more that it appears the all-in-one cases are more hassle then building your own, and leaking is more of an issue with them. (Although it's interesting to note that most site reviews hail them as the end-all of watercooling, or just list their good points without noting the bad. One example is with a Thermaltake system where the barbs were lightly screwed in and came loose a lot leading to leaks...)

    I have done a lot of reading through the THG as well as the overclocking and liquid cooling sites elsewhere, but I am having a really hard time just trying to pick out my own pump.

    Thanks for responding to me though Proximon, I definitely need to assistance.


    aevm said:
    However, there is room for improvement.

    Two or three GTX 280 cards on a 20" monitor are way overkill. You need a 1000W or 1500W PSU for them too. This means you don't need an SLI motherboard, and can't take advantage of the SLI anyway, not with that PSU/monitor. I suggest you get a (cheaper and more stable) P45 motherboard. Check out the GA-EP45-DS3R and the Asus P5Q Pro for example, they are around $150. You could even find cheaper P45 motherboards, with a single PCI-E slot and no RAID/eSATA/FireWire, if you want. (I kind of like the idea of a second slot because 22" LCD monitors are cheap and getting cheaper, and you need two slots for 3 or 4 monitors.)

    I'd prefer a Q9550 than a dual-core. Same speed whenever the HDD is the bottleneck (i.e. most of the time), much faster when the application is well programmed. You can get the Q9550 to 3.6 or 3.8 GHz using a $50 air cooling solution.

    Just curious, have you had water cooling before? Some people say it's more pain to maintain it than it's worth. I haven't tried it myself, though, so I don't know. With air cooling I just clean the dust whenever I remember, that's it.

    Are you sure you can get two rebates on the RAM? Some times the small print says one rebate per household. You might end up paying 141.98 (141.98 - 25 after MIR). Also, it's usually better to get 2x2GB rather than 4x1GB.

    Get a SATA burner. This way you won't have to worry about jumpers and you'll have a nice narrow cable that doesn't hurt airflow.


    Thanks for the info on the burner. I just slapped a lightscribe on the build at the last second and didn't read all of the specs. Nice catch! I am not sure on the Ram rebate as I can order my parts to 3 or 4 addresses which are available and secure to myself.

    And as far as the RAM goes, I was assuming that the latencies would inherently be higher due to the larger capacity. Is the added need for communication to multiple modules (4 instead of 2) going to cause more performance drop then the latency change due to capacity?

    If there is a better ram out there for this setup to overclock with, please let me know, I can go up in price quite a bit from the OCZ Reaper.

    You listed the Q5500 citing the HDD bottleneck, but is that a major issue during gaming? I definitely want to push the 4ghz realm though. As a result, if I do choose quad core, shouldn't I go with a CPU labeled and not just binned at a higher clock speed?

    Perhaps something more along the lines of a Core2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz 45nm? 4Ghz is definitely where I want to run the system at though.

    As far as the monitor, I might upgrade to a 1900x1200 24" [or larger screen size] after building my rig, but will NOT be doing multiple screens. Still no issue for the GTX 280?


    quietfly said:
    I agree with AEVM With your monitor your not really even going to stress one card, so sli would be kind of silly. the P5Q is a great mobo, and right now you can grab one for $105.00 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... also unless your trying to get very high overclocks, you could probably just air cool with and achieve very respectable numbers. ~4.2-~4.6 with the proper memory and testing.


    For the MoBo I am not as concerned with the lowest price point or having some features I might not use as much as overall overclocking ability and stability at those overclocks.

    In terms of watercooling, I am a little stuck on the idea partially because I have wanted to do it for many years. I am also assuming that the temp drops of watercooling can add longevity and stability to my build, especially since my current P4 rig raises the ambient temp in my PC room by 10-15 degrees in a gaming session.

    Thanks for the advice from you two as well. I could use all the help I can get!
    September 12, 2008 7:17:02 AM

    I don't think it's mandatory that you get a quad core. Game coders are shifting to multi-thread gradually, and Intel is obviously banking on the future or 4, 6, and even 8 cores.

    The more cores you put in a CPU, the more heat you'll have to dissipate when you OC.

    Personally, I would rather have 4 cores running at 3.6Ghz than 2 at 4Ghz.

    As far as resolutions and FPS:
    At some point it becomes a matter of bragging rights only. Even on a 25x16 30" monitor, you will pass a point beyond which your $2K rig plays Far Cry 2 exactly the same as the 4K rig.

    The problem is firstly, that some people notice a difference between 30 FPS and 40 FPS, while others do not. Secondly, it's very difficult to predict future game performance. If trends hold true however, any combination of GPUs you buy today will be pretty much useless in 5 or 6 years.

    Here's what I think. You really want to OC. This is best done on an Intel chipset. If not P45 then x48.

    If you see a higher resolution monitor in your future, then you really want an x48 and two 4870s.
    September 12, 2008 2:45:44 PM

    100% agreed with Proximon.

    Also consider a P45 and a HD 4870X2. That's close in price to X48+ 2*HD 4870 and has more RAM. The additional RAM is useful at higher resolutions.
    September 12, 2008 7:09:10 PM

    As set as I was with the idea of just doing dual core, I keep going back to the charts to see the clock speeds compared with looking at other people's overclocks on certain systems.

    I notice that with the right setup, similar performance can be achieved. Perhaps those few times that I make a movie or run a system scan will be worth the extra cores since it would be reasonably within reach of the clock speed I desire.

    Afterall, I look at people like they are crazy when they buy the absolute best chip on the market, paying sometimes $500+ for an extra measly 200mhz in stock speed. That same mindset has to transfer over now for me where I don't need the absolute best overclocked speed, but something that I can feel satisfied with. So evne if I could push the dual faster, probably best value to go with the quad.

    As you mentioned Proximon, more cores = more heat, and since I am watercooling, I might as well make the most out of the cooling and go quad core.

    So that is my final decision, the only problem is now... Which quad to go with.

    As far as the GPU, the more I have started to narrow down my watercooling search to a custom, self built system, the more I look into waterblocks.

    Now, while I don't mind spend an extra $100 on CPU, ram or a different MoBo, a huge hunk of metal?

    And at current glance most of the GPU blocks that are of decent quality seem to be running in the $100 realm per block. So if I went with a 4870X2 instead of 2 4870s in crossfire, I would essentially be saving $100 just be only needing one waterblock. Same logic applies for the GTX 280.

    ...So I think you guys have also helped me to come to that decision in one way or another that I am now going to do quad core as well as a single GPU. Thanks!


    I am going to update the first post to reflect that for other readers.

    On the MoBo, what is the big advatage of the X48, as it's one that I haven't looked into yet?
    September 12, 2008 8:47:17 PM

    x48 advantage over p45: 16x+16x in Crossfire instead of 8x+8x. You don't care, with a single 4870 x2.
    September 13, 2008 6:39:36 PM

    So if everything is built as-is:

    Changes:
    I bumped it up to 8GBs of RAM.
    Chose the Q9550 for clock speed and 45nm.
    Picked the Rampage Formula due to reviews on it's overclocking abilities.


    CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80569Q9550 - Retail
    $325

    MoBo: ASUS RAMPAGE FORMULA LGA 775 Intel X48 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
    $290

    RAM: OCZ Reaper HPC 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) x2 for 8Gbs
    $98 x2 = $196

    GPU: XFX GX280NZDF9 GeForce GTX 280 1GB 512-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP
    $450

    P/S: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V
    $130

    ROM:ASUS 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model DRW-2014L1T - Retail
    $40

    TOTAL:
    $1431


    Room for improvement anywhere?
    September 13, 2008 10:25:33 PM

    You don't need 8 GB of RAM for gaming. You don't need a $300 X48 motherboard for a single video card, especially if it's not a Crossfire card.
    You could save a bit with 4 GB and P45.

    Apart from that, absolutely nothing wrong with this build. It's very impressive :) 
    September 13, 2008 10:31:49 PM

    Well, as aevm said the only reason to get x48 is for crossfire at x16. You are getting an nVidia GTX 280 though.

    Since you aren't going to use that second PCI-E x16, you should really consider a P45 chipset. Personally, I had my P5Q -E booting into XP with the FSB set to 533... on air.

    Also, the P45 chipset should accommodate 8Gb RAM easier than x48. Max RAM on the P45 is 16Gb.
    September 14, 2008 8:55:47 AM

    Oops, sorry about that, I was leaving for work and was reading where AEVM said:
    aevm said:
    x48 advantage over p45: 16x+16x in Crossfire instead of 8x+8x. You don't care, with a single 4870 x2.

    ...and I pasted information from my ATI/Vista build form, not my nVidia one.

    !