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New system, but over-budget ... ideas?

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September 12, 2008 3:41:54 AM

EDIT: Corrected mem amount, number of HDs, changed from an OEM DVD burner to a retail version (extra $2 but a brand I'm familiar with anyways) and got a way better deal on the same case AND the PSU. Changed the RAM again. :) 

This is a really sad day for me ... I had a huge budget to work with quite some time ago, but rather than buying the system that I had configured ... I waited and my money seemed to disappear somehow. :whistle: 

Anyways, our financial situation has taken a massive downturn since then and my available budget that I can gather together seems to continue shrinking rather than what it is supposed to be doing. That made my wife and I have a talk and we have figured our budget to be exactly $1,500 and not a penny more ... so here I am looking for help and advice ...

I have configured a system that I really, really want. The problem is that I am already over budget and I just can't seem to find a way to squeeze my configuration small enough. There are several things that I can do to make it smaller, but those are changes that I'm not sure that I want to make. Also, several of the items that I am buying are OEM and as a computer building neophyte ... I have no clue what cables/connections/etc that I need to purchase for a complete system.

I will list my main interests and goals and then if you guys would ... please point me in the right directions and/or offer solutions/alternatives. I've also read that there are ways to get promotional codes for newegg (my most preferred site) to get discounts and such ... but I seem unable to find exactly where and how to find those.

Alright ... first of all, my computer is used for a vast majority of the time as a gamer. I do deal with lots of large files and do a lot of winrar'ing as well as burning massive amounts of DVDs. However, my first, top priority is for a gaming system.

My ideal goal is to end up with a super fast gaming machine that has massive storage space (I'm hoping to have two raid 0 configurations hence the four drives ... but again, I'm not sure if I have what I will need to do that or if I would have to purchase additional hardware).

Below is what I have configured so far, but remember that I would also like to purchase all the cables (or whatever else I will need) from newegg as well ... that way I know I have everything covered in one single, large purchase.


1 x LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model iHAS220-08 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$29.99 Free 3 Business Day Shipping
Total: $29.99

1 x Antec Nine Hundred Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - NINE HUNDRED
http://www.buy.com/prod/antec-nine-hundred-steel-atx-mi...
$149.00 -$50.47 Instant Savings
$98.53 Free 7 to 9 day Budget Shipping
Total: $98.53

2 x Seagate ST3640323AS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$89.90 Free 3 Business Day Shipping
Total: $179.80

1 x SAPPHIRE 100251SR Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB 512-bit (256-bit x 2) GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$549.99 3 Business Day Shipping $10.17
Total: $560.16

1 x CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
http://www.buy.com/prod/corsair-tx-750w-atx-12v-power-s...
OP: $135.95 -$23.96 Instant Savings
$111.99 Free 7 to 9 day Budget Shipping
Total: $111.99 + $20 Mail in rebate

mushkin 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model 996587 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$88.99 Free 3-7 Business Day Shipping
Total: $88.99 + $20 Mail in rebate

1 x ASUS P5Q Pro LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$139.99 Free 3 Business Day Shipping
Total: $139.00

1 x Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 Wolfdale 3.16GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80570E8500 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$189.99 Free 3 Business Day Shipping
Total: $189.99

1x Sunbeam CR-CCTF 120mm "Core Contact Freezer" CPU Cooler - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$39.99 Free 3 Business Day Shipping
Total: $39.99 + $5.00 Mail in rebate

1 x Arctic Silver AA-1.75G Thermal Compound - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$3.99 3 Business Day Shipping $6.99
Total: $10.98

Newegg Total: $1,233.53 (+$25 in mail-in-rebates after purchase)

Buy.com Total: $210.52 (+$20 in mail-in-rebates after purchase)

Grand Total: $1444.05


I realize that I could cut down on the hard drives to save $ (which will probably be my first downgrade).

I could also save big $ by going with a cheaper graphics card (I could probably get two cheaper cards and crossfire them and still save good $), but I'm really trying to find a way to avoid that.

The 8 gigs of memory could be chopped in half to save a bit, but again ... I'm really wary of going that route as I will be running vista ultimate 64 bit and I want as much memory as I can get my hands on.

I could save $20 by getting the e8400 rather than the e8500, but I've got virtually no OCing experience and I am not 100% sure that I will be able to OC it and/or feel comfortable leaving it at an OCed speed. While not much faster, the e8500 is faster than the e8400 at stock ... and for $20 I find it hard to change without knowing I'll be OCing.

The Zalman air cooler is expensive, but I've read that it is simply the best air cooling I can get in that price range and lower and if I DO try OCing ... with my limited experience I figured that the cooler I can keep the proc, the better.

I realize that I am trying to build a higher-end 'budget' system on a lower-end budget ... but I'm desperate to try and find a way to get the most for my $s. Any help/advice/suggestions would be seriously welcomed!

Also, I know that it will make things even more difficult ... but to know exactly where I stand I will also need to know what stuff I need to buy to make the OEMs ready to run. I desperately need that figured in as well when any suggestions or changes are made (and even if they aren't I still need to know). I might be able to come up with a few more hundred dollars, but that isn't 100% gauranteed.

Thanks for any and all help!!

Narcissus

More about : system budget ideas

September 12, 2008 4:07:01 AM

I have 4GB of ram in 64-bit Home Premium and it's butter smooth. Don't get 8GB of ram when DDR2 has its days numbered.

Hard drives are only going to get cheaper. Unless you have 3TB of stuff now, just get more as yours fill up.

After dirt's suggestions it's looking to be an extremely capable gaming system for the price.
Related resources
September 12, 2008 4:24:15 AM

@ dirt = Nice idea! I have been trying to get it all from a single place (plus I'm a huge fan of Newegg), but when you are talking about a $60 difference ... the tiny extra bit of hassle makes me think it is worth it. Thanks for that!

I'll update the first post to reflect the changes. :) 

@ chris = Really?!? My understanding (obviously I was wrong) was that vista = ram eating monster and that 64-bit vista = far, far worse. Thanks for the correction and I'll update that change as well.


Also, I want to throw out there that I still don't have the cables and such that I need to make the OEM parts 'ready to slap in'. Running on the the above configuration, could you let me know exactly what I'll need (so I can add cost + shipping, etc).

Also ... should I chop the HDs in half (2) or just knock it all the way down to 1? If I do have 2 ... will I need anything else for a raid 0 set-up?

Thanks a billion!

Narcissus
September 12, 2008 4:42:10 AM

Chris is right, 4 GB is plenty for all but a few applications. More won't hurt, but no rush.
Your motherboard will come with the SATA cables(4). The motherboard has the ICH10R SB, you won't need anything else for raid 0
September 12, 2008 4:55:27 AM

dirtmountain said:
Chris is right, 4 GB is plenty for all but a few applications. More won't hurt, but no rush.
Your motherboard will come with the SATA cables(4). The motherboard has the ICH10R SB, you won't need anything else for raid 0


Thanks for the confirmation on the ram. Good stuff to know. :) 

As far as the SATA cables ... I realize that would cover the hard drive(s), but is that also what the DVD burner would need?

glenngjp said:
While you're on Buy.com, your selected PSU is over there for cheaper as well:
http://www.buy.com/prod/corsair-tx-750w-atx-12v-power-s...


I'll take a look and make that change as well! Thanks much!

If there are any changes in hardware that anyone thinks they might suggest, please let me know as I will probably be ordering some time tomorrow. Did I make a good choice or should I aim in a slightly different direction instead?

Narcissus
September 12, 2008 5:02:15 AM

Spend an extra $5 on a retail burner and get the cable and the software disc at the same time.
September 12, 2008 5:17:58 AM

dirtmountain said:
Spend an extra $5 on a retail burner and get the cable and the software disc at the same time.


Sounds like a good idea to me. I'll go look around and see what I find (then update first post). Thanks yet again!

Narcissus
September 12, 2008 5:34:52 AM

There we go. Edited the first post to reflect the new burner.

Now that we have that worked out ... I have an extra $110 to spare. Where and to what should I put it? Should I go with more ram or maybe upgrade that 4 gigs to something better? Keep in mind that I would like to OC this computer some (yet keep it 100% stable). I'm not sure, but I believe that RAM can have an effect on OC abilities, correct me if I'm wrong. So should I get more or better ram?

Or maybe I would be better served to up the hard drives back to 2 so I can throw them into a raid config?

Thoughts?

September 12, 2008 6:11:31 AM

OMG! I was just reading the reviews on that ram when I came here! I'm between pages 3 to 4 of the reviews. :pt1cable: 

Got a fantastic headset, keyboard, mouse, and monitor. I'll follow those links and take a look around. I'm still laughing about the ram. Hahaha! ;) 

Narcissus
September 12, 2008 6:21:33 AM

dirtmountain said:
Headset? card reader? USB toys? Flash drives? external hard drive?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/608


USB cup warmer - Retail? ROFLMAO!

Wireless USB ... I had never even heard of it till reading that article. I'm not a huge fan of wireless keyboard/mouse items as I always seemed to have issues with them working well. That has been a year or two ... but wireless USB? Bah ... I'm starting to feel old. :o 

I still haven't decided on more ram or another HD ... but I have to admit that the USB cup warmer just might win the race!
September 12, 2008 6:29:35 AM

I think u can spend the extra cash for a higher output power supply as u are goin for the 4870X2, U can crossfire it later when the prices come down and then u don have to spend xtra cash on the power supply again...and check if the mobo provides full x16 lanes on both the slots so u can utilize the power of the gpus fully....jus a thought...
September 12, 2008 6:35:36 AM

Mayb u could try this power supply
This should be able to handle 2 4870X2 when u put in a new one later for crossfire...

OCZ EliteXStream OCZ1000EXS 1000W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$219.99
($184.99 after $35.00 Mail-In Rebate)
September 12, 2008 6:37:37 AM

The thermal grease that comes with the Zalman cooler (probably ZM-TG2) is probably not more than 1 degree worse than the AS. it's not a lot fo money, but why bother? (With a cheap cooler company, you should buy AS, but Zalman makes good stuff.)
September 12, 2008 6:37:55 AM

Honestly investing in better RAM will not affect your performance as much as investing in a better CPU. If you plan to upgrade your CPU down the line then investing in better RAM now will ensure that you get maximum performance out of it. If you will probably just build a new system then don't bother. As far as limiting your overclocking potential you can just lower the divider, which will probably make your RAM run lower than it's advertised speed depending on what you set your divider and FSB to.
September 12, 2008 6:38:50 AM

gkay09 said:
I think u can spend the extra cash for a higher output power supply as u are goin for the 4870X2, U can crossfire it later when the prices come down and then u don have to spend xtra cash on the power supply again...and check if the mobo provides full x16 lanes on both the slots so u can utilize the power of the gpus fully....jus a thought...


That isn't a bad idea at all ... the problem is I have no clue what I'm reading under specifications. The reason why I say that is because the board lists:

Quote:
2 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots, support ATI CrossFireX technology at x8 link
(black at max. x8 link)


I don't know much about SLI or Crossfire, but since it has two PCI-e 2.0 x16 slots ... I would think that it would run dual cards at x16. Yet after that it says that it supports Crossfire at x8.

Anyone know?
September 12, 2008 6:57:19 AM

banshee13 said:
The thermal grease that comes with the Zalman cooler (probably ZM-TG2) is probably not more than 1 degree worse than the AS. it's not a lot fo money, but why bother? (With a cheap cooler company, you should buy AS, but Zalman makes good stuff.)


Ahh thanks for that. Truthfully, I didn't even think about the fact that the CPU cooler would have grease of its own. Good way to save $10 (after shipping costs). Thanks. :) 

megamanx00 said:
Honestly investing in better RAM will not affect your performance as much as investing in a better CPU. If you plan to upgrade your CPU down the line then investing in better RAM now will ensure that you get maximum performance out of it. If you will probably just build a new system then don't bother. As far as limiting your overclocking potential you can just lower the divider, which will probably make your RAM run lower than it's advertised speed depending on what you set your divider and FSB to.


As far as getting a better CPU: I considered getting the 9450 quad, but decided against it for several reasons:

1: it is sold out on newegg (which I'm now learning doesn't always have the best deals).
2: It runs quite a bit slower than the e8400/e8500 in regards to gaming (which is my main goal).
3: I'm not 100% positive I can OC or will feel comfortable keeping my proc OCed and the q9450 would then be noticably slower than the e8x00 series procs.

Upgrading will be an issue in a year to a year and a half when the new series of procs and mobo arrive ... but not much I can do to be ready for that beyond having a system that I'll be happy with until the new ones arrive. As a gamer, that makes me think that the e8x00s are the prime targets for me.

Unless there are better c2d procs better than the e8500 that are anywhere near my price range (I only know of xtreme edition ones and they are way too much $ for the little added performance from what I've read). I hope that makes sense and I'm not showing just how computer illiterate I've become over the years. :o 

In regards to your comments about lowering the divider and all of that ... please be aware that my OCing exp is so limited that in your short comment, I became totally lost. Are you saying that I can OC my proc, but it would slow down my ram? Sorry ... I'm just not OC savvy. :( 

EDIT: Or were you refering to the RAM as faster by lowering the timings ... hence speed increases?

Narcissus
September 12, 2008 7:00:23 AM

Narcissus said:
That isn't a bad idea at all ... the problem is I have no clue what I'm reading under specifications. The reason why I say that is because the board lists:

Quote:
2 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots, support ATI CrossFireX technology at x8 link
(black at max. x8 link)


I don't know much about SLI or Crossfire, but since it has two PCI-e 2.0 x16 slots ... I would think that it would run dual cards at x16. Yet after that it says that it supports Crossfire at x8.

Anyone know?


No the mobo cannot run both the cards in crossfire in x16 because it doesnt have enough memory lanes to run them onboard...so when u insert another card, it will auto arrange the config to provide 8 memory lanes to each of the card...

Well from what i have seen is that nearly all the mobos in this price range support crossfire in this mode only(x8 x8)...so its not much of a problem...

And u can seriously consider upgrading your power supply cos it will really help u when u want to put in an another 4870X2, and 750 watts will not be sufficient for those power hungry monsters...
September 12, 2008 7:05:03 AM

gkay09 said:
No the mobo cannot run both the cards in crossfire in x16 because it doesnt have enough memory lanes to run them onboard...so when u insert another card, it will auto arrange the config to provide 8 memory lanes to each of the card...

Well from what i have seen is that nearly all the mobos in this price range support crossfire in this mode only(x8 x8)...so its not much of a problem...


Well, I'm sure that would provide a performance gain (running two 4870 X2 in crossfire), but because of that x8 limiting factor ... woul it really be worth the expense?

Narcissus
September 12, 2008 7:12:40 AM

Narcissus said:
Well, I'm sure that would provide a performance gain (running two 4870 X2 in crossfire), but because of that x8 limiting factor ... woul it really be worth the expense?

Narcissus


Well mayb if u r planning to go wit another 4870X2(obviously which u are not as i can see from the post) then it can be a little let down...

But i dont think that there will be any noticable performance issue (except increased fps :kaola:  ) when u put in another card...the x8 x8 wouldnt affect...

Like I said its just creating a safe path for upgrade in the future...so u wouldnt have to change your powersupply for the 2 cards...
(just a info saw 8800GTX for about 199$, which were more than 600$ when released...and 2 of them in sli can still beat the latest cards(obviously not sli ing the new ones) in some games...so it will be the same with your X2)....
September 12, 2008 7:21:02 AM

Actually, I was keeping that option open. I saw the two 2.0 x16 pci-e slots and just assumed that if I ever wanted to crossfire two of those puppies ... that mobo could do it with no sacrifices. :sigh:

Also wanted to give you a fast apology as my last post sounds like I was attacking you/your idea. I didn't mean it that way at all and if you took it that way: my sincerest apologies. Its late, I'm tired, and I didn't proof-read it to check for implied meanings. :( 

Here in just a bit, I'm going to hit the hay and get some sleep (busy day tomorrow) ... but any suggestions/thoughts/comments are welcome. I will be checking this thread before placing my orders just in case ...

Thanks everyone for all the fantastic help and ideas!

Narcissus
September 12, 2008 10:55:43 AM

I was doing a bit of research on the CPU coolers available and now I'm doubting my choice. Here are the main reasons why:

In the user reviews on Newegg ... a user reviews the Zalman I chose:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=3...
Quote of user 'Toramo':
Other Thoughts: Not really a con but I had to Dremel a bit off one side of the back mounting plate so it wouldn't put pressure on some of the motherboard resistors.


Obviously, I do not want to have to take a dremel tool to my new cooler to prevent putting pressure on any resistors. That user did give it 5 'eggs' and went on and on about how great it was, but I believe that having to dremel on the thing is a very serious con. He has a different case, but his proc and mobo are the same as the ones I chose ...

The second reason is that I found this review/comparison:
http://www.frostytech.com/articleview.cfm?articleid=227...
That list shows that the Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer cools considerably better and is considerably quieter than the Zalman 9700 that I have chosen.

After further research, I'm finding it to be far less expensive than the Zalman as well.

I also found numerous reviews of the Sunbeamtech where people who were previously using the Zalman (same model as the one I chose) were amazed at how much cooler and quieter the Sunbeamtech is.

Now, I realize that sites can often be mis-leading for kick-back reasons of some sort or another ... so I am asking here: Is this really better (or even as good) as the Zalman 9700 that I chose above??

Narcissus
September 12, 2008 1:12:10 PM

get the Asus M3A32-MVP Deluxe/Wi-Fi AMD 790FX (Socket AM2) PCI-Express DDR2 Motherboard

this board supports dual X16,

or tri X16/X8/X8

or quad X8 crossfireX !!!

only issue is this is AM2 socket and i see you like intel.

but saying that there should be boards like this that support intel!
September 12, 2008 1:29:19 PM

the reason why the sunbeam cools better is because its HUUUUGE ive seen pics and it looks bigger than my house!!!

the zalman 9700 or 9700-NT nvidia will work fine for that system.

the sunbeam is one of those coolers that look massive, horible and prob stop airflow lol well they would in my p182 it prob wouldnt even fit from what ive seen
September 12, 2008 1:48:02 PM

If you want to xfire the 4870x2 at any point at full rated speeds then you would need to go to an X38/48 based MOBO. With that said, unless you are running a monitor that is 1900x1220 or higher then xfire or SLI would be a waste. Even then the only game that will challenge the 4870x2 at the highest resolutions is Crysis and that is a game that provides about 6 hours of fun. Should you decide to upgrade the MOBO here are a couple of suggestions.
Open Box: ASUS MAXIMUS FORMULA LGA 775 Intel X38 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Open Box: ASUS RAMPAGE FORMULA LGA 775 Intel X48 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Both boards are "open box" which means you would need to buy the sata cable seperately and if anything is wrong with the board it has to be returned within 14 days instead of 30.
September 12, 2008 2:19:33 PM

just get the e8400 and OC it, CPU built these days are basically meant for OCing. It wouldn't even suprise me that the e8400 and e8500 are the exact same chip but just that the e8500 is at a higher default clock (didn't do any research to validify my statement but based upon common knowledge). With your mobo and cooler, you're definitely safe on OC and should be very simple.

If you plan on future SLI the X boards might be a better choice as cross fire x > p boards.

In term of cooling, the Xigmatek HDT-S1283 is cheaper (nearly 1/2 the cost) and better, though aesthetic wise the zalman will look better.

The gpu you listed is awsome, though the 4870 single card is plenty fast for nearly all the games out so far. You could save that money for a new (maybe even faster than X2) by next yr. Hell I have the 8800GT (currently could be bought for $110 avg) and I could play all games other than crysis at high level! Still the X2 is still a very sweet card, just that I don't justify pouring so much money into the card when only 1-2 games will actually need that power...
September 12, 2008 2:20:43 PM

Build looks good, but you were looking for ideas:

The Antec 900 is a good case, but look at the Antec300. It has better cooling, is cheaper($69.95), but no "bling" http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Interestingly, newegg is offering a "combo" deal which includes the Antec 650w psu for $159--. Shop for the case. They are heavy, and shipping can add a bunch to the cost.

For Newegg deals, go into your account, and enable their sending of a newsletter etc. There are some very good ones, but you need to be prepared to jump on them when they show up.

You asked about a better cpu, for gaming, and there is a E8600, for$270, but I don't think it is worth the extra.

Most oem coolers will do fine. How noisy they are is determined by the fan size and how fast it spins. For a good cheaper cooler, look at the Xigmatek
S1283 rifle cooler for $35. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Plan on getting the optional back plate mounting kit to avoid those pesky pushpins.

I agree with getting a single top end vga card. The 4870X2 is currently at the top, but the GTX280 is not far behind, depending on what games you play. It is $150 less. Your upgrade path will be to sell your old card, and replace it with the then fastest single vga card. If you follow this strategy, you will not need a motherboard with two pcie-x16 slots, and you will not need an overly strong psu.

The PC P&C silencer610 is a top tier psu, and it is only $90 or so. It will power any single vga card out there, and do it at all temperature ranges. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Look for a motherboard from Asus or gigabyte that has the features that you want. You should be able to find one for <$100. For example, the Gigabyte DS3L http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you will do any multitasking, consider 8gb. DDR2 ram is cheap, and the core2 cpu's are not very sensitive to memory speeds. Look for a pair of 4gb kits (2x2gb) from a quality vendor. Don't worry about specs. You will get more value out of more ram than a couple of percentabe points in speed. Corsair is a good value for $59. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Go to their web site to verify that the ram you picked is compatible with the motherboard that you picked. Other ram vendors like Kingston and Patriot have configurators also.

Shopping tips for Vista:
1) Do you qualify for an academic license?
If so, you can get Vista at a discounted price.
2) Look for an upgrade version of home premium instead of OEM.
Upgrade is a retail version which gives you support from microsoft, unlike OEM(AKA system builder),
and allows a more hassel-free ability to transfer the os to a different pc(motherboard).
For $10, microsoft will send you the 64 bit DVD.
I saw Vista home premium upgrade recently at Costco for $85, amazon for $89.
There is a legitimate two step instalation process to install an upgrade version
You install vista from the cd, but do not initially enter the product code.

Just tell the install which version you bought, and do not activate.
After it installs, you have a fully functional vista for 30 days.
Step 2 is to insert the cd again, while running vista and then do an upgrade.
This time, enter your product code, and activate.
After activation. you may delete the initial version which is named windows.old.

3) Do you possibly need Ultimate? There are very few features that the home user would want.
Check out the differences on the microsoft Vista web site.
If you get a retail or upgrade version, you will still be able to upgrade to ultimate later.

---good luck---




September 12, 2008 2:58:52 PM

The Xigmatek HDT-S1283 is generally considered the best bang for your buck cooler:

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

You will also want to get the retention bracket:

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

This cooler offers direct touch heatpipes and will save you some money. It will probably cool better and be quiter than the Zalman anyway. This is coming from an owner of a Zalman cooler. I love my Zalman cooler, but they are expensive and some of the newer coolers work better for less $.
September 12, 2008 8:24:09 PM

EDIT: I just wanted to note that it sounds like I'm arguing my preferences, but my intention is simply to show what I am thinking about each item/subject. Please correct me if I'm wrong or show me what I might be missing ... not trying to argue, just explain. Thanks.

First off: thanks everyone for the additional suggestions and ideas. I'm short on time at the moment, but I'm trying to sift through some of those links and look around.

mexpedip said:
If you want to xfire the 4870x2 at any point at full rated speeds then you would need to go to an X38/48 based MOBO. With that said, unless you are running a monitor that is 1900x1220 or higher then xfire or SLI would be a waste.


I don't actually 'plan' on doing so, but when I saw the board I chose supported the two 2.0 x16 pci-e slots ... I just assumed that it would be a viable option in the future. I plan on upgrading when the new proc/mobos come out in a year or so, so as far as upgrading my current pick of a mobo ... I don't really think it will be needed.

wgdz said:
just get the e8400 and OC it, CPU built these days are basically meant for OCing. It wouldn't even suprise me that the e8400 and e8500 are the exact same chip but just that the e8500 is at a higher default clock (didn't do any research to validify my statement but based upon common knowledge). With your mobo and cooler, you're definitely safe on OC and should be very simple.


The e8400 and the e8500 are virtually the same, but the e8500 has an extra 0.5 multiplier and runs a tad bit faster at stock. Not much better than the e8400, but since it is better (slightly) at stock and at OC I think it is worth the extra $20.

Also, keep in mind that I'm not OC savvy and somewhat worried about keeping it OCed (hopefully that will wear off with a little more understanding/exp), so even though it might be easy and simple for most ... to me it is more than a little stressful.

wgdz said:
In term of cooling, the Xigmatek HDT-S1283 is cheaper (nearly 1/2 the cost) and better, though aesthetic wise the zalman will look better.


The Xigmatek is only $5 cheaper than the Sunbeam I'm now looking at. According to the site that I listed above, it doesn't perform quite as well. Again, I admit that some sites can be very biased ... but from doing a bit of cross searching on google, all I can find are similar results to the ones I've already found.

The Zalman is quite literally twice the price as either of those two and the Sunbeam seems much more efficient. Not nearly as good-looking, but I'm concerned with performance/longevity far more than the appearance.

wgdz said:
The gpu you listed is awsome, though the 4870 single card is plenty fast for nearly all the games out so far. You could save that money for a new (maybe even faster than X2) by next yr. Hell I have the 8800GT (currently could be bought for $110 avg) and I could play all games other than crysis at high level! Still the X2 is still a very sweet card, just that I don't justify pouring so much money into the card when only 1-2 games will actually need that power...


I kicked around that thought as well, but I'm still seriously leaning towards the HD4870 X2. My reasoning for that is that I'm partly just enamored with the best card that I can get. On top of that however ... I really believe that with that card in my case, upgrading won't be a priority for quite some time.

I realize that it won't be the best forever, but I really think that I would be happier splurging more now than simply upgrading sooner. I went through that same ordeal when the ati 9800xt first came out. That was the best purchase of a graphics card that I have ever made. I'm hoping the HD4870 X2 will do the same for me.

geofelt said:
The Antec 900 is a good case, but look at the Antec300. It has better cooling, is cheaper($69.95), but no "bling" http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Interestingly, newegg is offering a "combo" deal which includes the Antec 650w psu for $159--. Shop for the case. They are heavy, and shipping can add a bunch to the cost.


I'll take a look at it and see what the differences are between the two cases. I'm not entirely sure what you mean by more 'bling'. I chose the Antec 900 for the great cooling that it was supposed to give, but if the Antec 300 cools better ... My only concern (I haven't looked yet!) is size. I need a case with enough room for a very large cooler and that massive graphics card.

geofelt said:
You asked about a better cpu, for gaming, and there is a E8600, for$270, but I don't think it is worth the extra.


I looked up the e8600 and you are right ... it isn't nearly worth the extra $100+ price tag.

geofelt said:
Most oem coolers will do fine. How noisy they are is determined by the fan size and how fast it spins. For a good cheaper cooler, look at the Xigmatek
S1283 rifle cooler for $35. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Plan on getting the optional back plate mounting kit to avoid those pesky pushpins.


I have the same concerns as listed above. I'm thinking that the Sunbeamtech cooler is better all the way around and only $5 more than the Xigmatek (plus no need for a backing plate that costs another $10-$15 with shipping).

geofelt said:
I agree with getting a single top end vga card. The 4870X2 is currently at the top, but the GTX280 is not far behind, depending on what games you play. It is $150 less. Your upgrade path will be to sell your old card, and replace it with the then fastest single vga card. If you follow this strategy, you will not need a motherboard with two pcie-x16 slots, and you will not need an overly strong psu.


That is very much along my initial lines of thinking. +1 for the confirmation! ;) 

geofelt said:
The PC P&C silencer610 is a top tier psu, and it is only $90 or so. It will power any single vga card out there, and do it at all temperature ranges. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


That would probably work for me, but I'm planning on adding several more HDs and at least another DVD burner in the very near future. Since the 750 that I chose has more power, would it still be a smarter idea to get? I've had numerous PSUs that crapped out on me and I was hoping to go bigger than actually needed this time. Less load = longer life, right?

Considering the $20-ish difference ($90 range and $111.99), would I be better still getting the 750 or getting the 610 you suggest?

geofelt said:
Look for a motherboard from Asus or gigabyte that has the features that you want. You should be able to find one for <$100. For example, the Gigabyte DS3L http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


My knowledge of mobos is severely lacking. Unless it is in plain english, I won't know what I'm looking for. I read a billion newegg reviews on a billion boards and chose a mobo that had the most reviews from people that were running a system as close to the one I wanted as possible. Then when I came here, I saw that numerous people were suggesting that board as a really good one. :shrug:

geofelt said:
If you will do any multitasking, consider 8gb. DDR2 ram is cheap, and the core2 cpu's are not very sensitive to memory speeds. Look for a pair of 4gb kits (2x2gb) from a quality vendor. Don't worry about specs. You will get more value out of more ram than a couple of percentabe points in speed. Corsair is a good value for $59. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Go to their web site to verify that the ram you picked is compatible with the motherboard that you picked. Other ram vendors like Kingston and Patriot have configurators also.


I am actually now considering whether I want to run Vista or XP. I have a copy of Vista 64-bit ultimate that I planned on installing (and forcing myself to get used to the changes), but since I'll be upgrading my system in around a year ... I'm thinking it might be beneficial to put that off until then. Doing that would prevent the need for 8gigs of DDR2 ... which will be phased out before too much longer (or so I've been told and have read).

What do we think would be best?

shortstuff_mt said:
The Xigmatek HDT-S1283 is generally considered the best bang for your buck cooler:

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

You will also want to get the retention bracket:

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

This cooler offers direct touch heatpipes and will save you some money. It will probably cool better and be quiter than the Zalman anyway. This is coming from an owner of a Zalman cooler. I love my Zalman cooler, but they are expensive and some of the newer coolers work better for less $.


Thanks for that suggestion (see my thoughts above). What do you think of the Sunbeam CR-CCTF 120mm "Core Contact Freezer" CPU Cooler?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
and comparison chart:
http://www.frostytech.com/articleview.cfm?articleid=227...

Thanks all and sorry for the massive post!

Narcissus
!