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Please critique a newb's list

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September 17, 2008 6:02:50 PM

Hey all, this will be my first do-it-yourself computer build ever. It will be used almost exclusively for gaming (fallout 3 making me get new pc...my current is 4+ yrs old). Looking for any and all feedback. I hope to eventually experiment in some light to moderate cpu overclocking, but probably won't right away. My biggest question is the cpu as I am on the fence for cheaper dual core or more $ quad. My budget is approximately $1500. I already have a monitor, mouse, speakers, etc. Any suggestions for a newb to make this as easy as possible? THANKS.

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-DS3R LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $129.99

CPU:
1) Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80569Q9550 - Retail $319.99
OR
2) Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 Wolfdale 3.16GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail $189.99

VisionTek 900244 Radeon HD 4870 512MB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card $279.99

OCZ Reaper HPC Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2RPR800C44GK $82.99

COOLER MASTER COSMOS 1000 RC-1000-KSN1-GP Black/ Silver Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail
COOLER MASTER Real Power Pro RS-750-ACAA-A1 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
Combo Price $299.98 (was going to get corsair 750 watt psu but this looked like a decent combo deal)

(POSSIBLE ALTERNATE CASE: COOLER MASTER HAF 932 RC-932-KKN1-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case $159.99)

SONY Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal Floppy Drive Windows 98SE/ ME/ 2000/ XP $7.99

Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3750330AS 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive $109.99

SAMSUNG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model SH-S223Q/BEBN $27.99

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card $90.99

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 32-bit English 1pk for System Builders DSP OEI DVD $99.99

Tuniq Tower 120 Universal CPU Cooler 120mm Cooling Fan and Fan Controller/Heatsink $49.99

all prices based on newegg....total with the quad cpu right now is $1499 before tax/shipping ($1369 w/duo)

More about : critique newb list

September 17, 2008 6:15:06 PM

Unless you have a specific need for a floppy, you probably don't need one. Everything today is on CD or DVD, so floppy drives aren't really necessary anymore.

The Western Digital 640GB HDD (WD6400AAKS) will be faster and cheaper ($85). It's up to you to decide how important the extra 110GB of storage is.

Unless you have a pretty decent speaker setup, you probably don't need the descrete sound card. Onboard sound has come a long way, and unless you're a real audiophile you'll probably never notice the difference.

You should definitely get 64-bit Vista Home Premium. If you're buying a new licence of Vista there really isn't any reason or excuse not to get the 64-bit. It's the same price and it'll allow you to fully utilize your memory.
September 17, 2008 6:27:36 PM

+1 for the WD6400AAKS drive, onboard sound, and 64-bit Vista.

I personally would look for a case without a power supply and go with your original instinct of the 750W Corsair PSU. The Corsair will be a much higher quality PSU. You definitely don't want to take any chances on your PSU with a nice build like this.

I don't like to recommend cases since they are more a matter of taste, but the Antec 300 & 900 cases have awesome airflow if you like their design.
Related resources
September 17, 2008 6:33:23 PM

That's an aweful lot to spend on that PSU/CASE. You could likely spend about $125 and still have what you need.

For Starters, forget doing CF on that Mobo.
The P45's CF setup is limited and you will see some bottlenecking with the 4850. It will likely be serious with the 4870.

Case - $60 Shipped.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PSU - $90 Shipped (Save 20% more if bought today.)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

That case and PSU will easily handle and E8500 and Dual 4870 GPUs if you upgrade.

Use the Extra $150 to Either get an X48 Mobo that can handle the other 4870 when you buy it, or keep the Mobo and use the Money to get the 4870x2 now. ( Use the $150 and The Money saved by using the E8500 instead of the Quad.)
September 17, 2008 6:58:06 PM

or get the Antec 300 case for $10 less here!
Antec Three Hundred ATX Computer Case
PSU - $104 - $20 = $84!!! One of the better PSU that you can own right now. Has 5 yr. warranty and plenty of connectors!
Corsair TX 750W ATX 12V Power Supply

I'd probably go with 4850's in crossfire, for the added performance with minimal cost (~$325). Just make sure you get a decent x-fire board to go with it.
September 20, 2008 7:25:26 PM

Hey all. After the input from this board and another I have edited my build and trimmed it a little. I am hoping to order it today or tomorrow so any last minute critique is welcome. Thanks again.

Already have Coolermaster HAF 932 case, Corsair 750watt PSU, SATA cables, Arctic Silver 5, Crysis Warhead purchased locally. Below are Newegg items.

SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 22X DVD-R 16X DVD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe - OEM $27.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827151173

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $84.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822136218

VisionTek 900244 Radeon HD 4870 512MB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail $279.99 (and $25 rebate=$254.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814129113

mushkin 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail $85.99 ($20 rebate=$65.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820146731

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-DS3R LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard $126.99 ($20 rebate=$106.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128344

Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 Wolfdale 3.16GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail $189.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819115036

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit English for System Builders 1pk DSP OEI DVD - OEM $99.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16832116488

Sunbeam CR-CCTF 120mm "Core Contact Freezer" CPU Cooler - Retail $39.99 ($5 rebate=$34.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835207004

Price $1017 shipped before rebates (not incl. case/psu....$1300 w/case/psu)
September 20, 2008 8:23:05 PM

If you want just a bit faster memory than these will do the trick for CAS4 timings and $4 less (after MIR):
Crucial Ballistix 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail

I still feel that the Xigmatek cooler is a good buy.
XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler - Retail
~$41 shipped at mWave over the ~$46 price at newegg
Frosty Tech's review of the Xigmatek HDT-s1283!!!

Other than the couple of options I listed above, you look like you have a good setup!!
September 20, 2008 9:45:09 PM

I have gone back and forth between those two coolers (Sunbeam vs. Xigmatek)...just feel like they rape you for $6.99 shipping on a $6.99 retention bracket for the Xigmatek...and newegg is the only place I can find that sells that bracket. But I guess if I am spending $1000+ already whats another $6.99.

Another question...is it worth bumping the 4870 512mb to one of the new 4870 1GB. Sapphire, HIS, and Diamond brands are available but I cannot find any reviews yet on them, and the Visiontek (512mb) is highly rated. I am going to start off using my 4 yr old 21" viewsonic lcd but eventually I will probably upgrade to a 24" widescreen lcd (maybe 6 mos to 1 yr). The price difference with rebates is about $40. Think I could see the difference?
September 20, 2008 11:39:07 PM

A quick google search found:
Sapphire 4870 review
Legit's review of HIS 4850/4870
Diamond 4870 review from Neoseeker.com

Not to confuse things, but if your only going to do some mild OC'ing of the CPU than I'd either stick with the stock CPU HSF or even go with the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 pro show at newegg, but I'd buy for $16.38 + $9.35 shipping = $25.73 here

Well as far as the 1gb GPU instead of the 512mb GPU, that'll depend on whether or not you want to spend the $40 more. It might help in certain situations and might give you better performance, so you'll have to decide on that one. I've only read a couple of reviews that give about a 10% performance increase with 1gb version. Hexus review of 1gb 4870
September 21, 2008 12:44:37 AM

You have a good point. Since this is my first build I might be just as well using the stock cooler and making sure I can get the darn thing to work first before considering overclocking.

Sorry, to clarify I meant reviews of those 1gb models. I wasn't trying to ask you to do extra google search work for me. I appreciate all your help. -MK
October 1, 2008 12:45:57 AM

Hey all. Wanted to let you know I finished building my PC over the weekend with the parts below and I had no problems. It ran the first time I hit the power button and I can now play Crysis on the highest settings at 1600x1200 with 4x AA, etc, and it looks damn good. Thank you everyone for your advice. To anyone debating whether or not to build yourself, do it. I am no technical wizard so if I can do it most can. Thanks again.

Coolermaster HAF 932 case

Corsair 750watt PSU

SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 22X DVD-R 16X DVD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 22X DVD±R DVD Burner http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVD_recorder with LightScribe - OEM $27.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827151173

Western Digital http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $84.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822136218

VisionTek 900244 Radeon HD 4870 512MB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail $279.99 (and $25 rebate=$254.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814129113

mushkin 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DDR2_SDRAM SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail $85.99 ($20 rebate=$65.99)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820146731

Asus P5Q Pro Intel P45 motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel Core http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Core 2 Duo E8500 Wolfdale 3.16GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-core Processor - Retail $189.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819115036

Microsoft Windows Vista http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit English for System Builders 1pk DSP OEI DVD - OEM $99.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16832116488

Xigmatek S1283 cpu cooler with bracket
October 1, 2008 4:57:30 AM

NICE!!! Glad to hear it all worked out for you!
October 1, 2008 5:03:55 AM

Pretty nice, however I'd think about the Sound card. Sometimes these guys can be too practical and don't see the point for it. It is in my opinion a great upgrade, but not a must-have. Will you hear quality improvements? Definitely. Can you benchmark them? I wish...

I was one of the skeptics that thought onboard was enough, but I had about a hundred bucks lying around and decided to buy it just for fun, since it couldn't hurt. To be completely honest, out of all the things I've bought for this PC, this has been the most rewarding upgrade of all (Probably because I didn't really expect any sound quality improvements).

The X-Fi (Or any other decent sound card like Asus Xonar) are truly a marvelous purchase in my opinion for those that have the money and want to give themselves a treat.
October 1, 2008 6:22:34 AM

Assuming you can hook up a decent set of speakers. In my house I use headphones, because there really isn't any other way to have it.
!