First Time Build, Advice/Help Requested

I plan on going with a build for mostly gaming @ 1920x1200 resolution on a 24 inch monitor (which i have yet to purchase) any advice/help would be greatly appreciated. I am including everything that im purchasing for this build so if theres something else I need/should get Id appreciate the push in the right direction. I also will be using Vista 64bit so im unsure if theres going to be any hardware complications because of that.

Antec 1200 Case

WD 640 Hard Drive
Q9550 cpu

Asus p5q pro Motherboard (I know little of motherboards, other than this one supports only x8 in crossfire mode which is supposed to be bad for 1920x1200 resolution which is why im iffy about going for dual 4850s)

Visontek hd radeon 4870 512mb version (how much better would the 1g version be, and is it worth the extra 50$ plus me having to go with a brand less wellknown/worse warranty than visiontek like diamond or sapphire)

Antec tpq-850watt power supply

8 gigs (4x2) Corsair pc2 6400 ram

Q9550 cpu

Vista 64bit

xigmatek hdt-s1283 cpu cooler (do I need some thermal paste for this, or should i just use whatever comes allready on the cooler/stock cpu)

cpu retention bracket

This is my first build which i plan on ordering either late tonight or tommorow, any advice would be immensely appreciated. Should only be about 1300-1400 after rebates which I think is really good for this kind of build
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  1. A few improvements that I'd like to suggest.

    Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit English for System Builders 1pk DSP OEI DVD - OEM

    This is my personal favorite thermal paste:

    Arctic Silver Ceramique Thermal Compound - OEM

    also get this board for true X16/X16 PCI-E bandwidth:

    DFI LANPARTY DK X38-T2R LGA 775 Intel X38 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

    And you can get dual HD 4850s if you want now without running into any limitations. Other than that, everything looks great.
  2. Ah wow thanks I totally didnt realize that the Vista I had sitting in my shopping cart was basic instead of premium.
  3. The P5Q pro is not "bad" for crossfire. It's not the best choice though.

    Here's a comparison done with 4850s:

    If you are not sure that you are going to crossfire, P5Q would be OK, if you are sure you will, get an x48.

    You can and should just get 4Gb of RAM.

    8Gb will be more difficult for you to configure and unless you are doing 3D modeling or intensive Photoshop or some such you won't use the extra 4GB.

    You will need some thermal paste. You cannot use the paste that comes pre-applied to the stock cooler :) Arctic Silver 5 is the standard choice. There are others as well.

    You might see a difference in the future with the extra video memory. I don't think you loose much quality between different ATI brands... but you do get the best warranty with Visiontek.

    This would be a better RAM choice:
  4. Yeah im thinking ill just get the 4870 1g version, then upgrade in a few years to the next hot thing instead of just crossfiring it.

    So for the sake of a single gpu, is the p5q pro my best bet ?

    And I dont know a ton about ram, but the mushkin would be better because it has lower timings?

    And what do ya mean the ram would be harder to configure ? I thought I just had to install the OS with only 2 gigs, then add the rest and bam im good to go ?
  5. oh also for the 1g 4870 my choices are pretty muchc diamond, sapphire, gigabyte. All about the same price.

    Diamonds warranty is only 1 years, gigabyte is 3 years parts (2 years labor), and Sapphires doesnt say, but im pretty sure its also 3 years.

    Any suggestion on sapphire vs gigabyte ?
  6. When you fill up all four slots of RAM, most boards become quite finicky.

    Pick any board. Go to the website and look up the memory QVL (this is the list of memory that they actually tested for compatibility). You will see that they list almost no memory to fill all four slots... and when they do it's usually impossible to find any in stock anywhere.

    I'm not saying it can't be done. Often if you work with the memory vendor tech support they will find settings that will work. I am saying that it's likely not worth your hassle unless you really need it. Gaming will not be improved with 8GB, unless you intend to run more than one at once.

    The Mushkin memory I listed has two features; good timings and low voltage. the voltage will make it much more likely to work out of the box, whether the MB recognizes it or not. It will also make it more adjustable, cooler, and will probably leave room for further overclocks.

    The P5Q pro is a good single GPU board. it really boils down to what features you want at that point. Gigabyte and DFI also make good P45 boards.

    Personally, I like the P5Q -E for the improved cooling and power adjustments for overclocking. Also for the eSATA. It's usually just slightly more than the P5Q Pro.

    Gigabyte has a similar board at a similar price.

    As far as the 4870 goes... Diamond just shipped like a zillion bad 3870s and had to recall them, so they are out.

    Sapphire has been around as long as anyone making ATI cards, and they would be my choice.
  7. hmm, what about going with say 6 gigs ?

    That way I could use only 3 slots, and then I could turn off virtual memory.

    Because I would be totally satisfied with 6 gigs, especially if it wouldnt involve a major hassel
  8. You'll lose the performance gain you get from having dual channel memory. If you really feel you need 8 do this:

    This kit is on the QVL for the P5Q -E (and probably the pro) and is listed as working in all 4 slots at once:

    Note the high voltage requirement... if you have trouble getting a single stick to boot you might need to boot with another 1.8V stick, adjust the voltage, then power down and put in the OCZ.

    For further options look at the QVL... not sure what board you have settled on, but here is the P5Q -E QVL:

    I'm going to have a look see if DFI and Gigabyte have more memory options ;)
  9. Hmm the other one I came accross from some other forums was

    Alot of people said they had no problem plug and playing it with some basic systems, but I cant find anything specific for the p5q-e.

    Any opinion on this vs that ocz one ?
  10. Hey the voltage is better on the G skill and it's on the QVL, I say go for it.
  11. Now only if picking out a monitor was as simple as components.

    Im trying to find a reasonably priced monitor for 1920x1200.
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