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Newbie building gaming system

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  • New Build
  • Gaming
  • Intel
  • AMD
  • Systems
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October 2, 2008 11:34:45 AM

Hi guys, I'm a newbie building a gaming system, and would like some of the experts here to review the following specs that I'm going to build. (not a overclocker) Currently I have two system in mind, 1 intel, 1 AMD:

Intel PC:

Intel Q6600 SLACR

Gigabyte GA-EP43-DS3R

CoolerMaster RP-550PCAR/CM-550WEX 550W

Corsair 2G(2x XMS2 1GB) PC-8500 (1066MHz) DDR2 RAM, 2x240-pin DIMMs, Non ECC, Unbuffered, 5-5-5-18, Dominator Airflow Fan

Gigabyte GF9800GT, 1GB, GDDR3

AMD PC:

AMD Phenom X4 9950 Quad-Core

MSI K9A2GM-FIH

Zalman CNPS9700NT

RAM, PSU and graphics card is the same as above


Really appreciate some comments and feedback. Thanks in advance.

More about : newbie building gaming system

October 2, 2008 11:48:43 AM

Welcome to the fourm!

Of the two options you list, the Q6600 build will be a little faster.
A few things you need to change, however, would be you PSU and RAM.

CoolerMaster PSU's are pretty junkey and this is one component you do not want to skimp out on.
Look at a quality 450w+ PSU from Corsair, Enermax, PCP&C, Silverstone, Seasonic or the Antec Earthwatts line.

DDR2 1066 is a waste of cash and 2Gb is bare minimum.
What you need to look at is 4Gb of DDR2 800 with 4-4-4-x timings.
It will access stored data at the exact same speed as DDR2 1066 5-5-5-x and the larger ammount will help speed you system up.

It is to bad you are not willing to overclock :( 
The Q6600 is an excellent overclocker and can easily and safely be bumped to 3.0Ghz bye changing just two fields in the BIOS. It should have no issues at this speed on stock cooling even (of course I would recommend something better).
October 2, 2008 12:04:46 PM

zhuoyan said:
Hi guys, I'm a newbie building a gaming system, and would like some of the experts here to review the following specs that I'm going to build. (not a overclocker) Currently I have two system in mind, 1 intel, 1 AMD:

Intel PC:

Intel Q6600 SLACR

Gigabyte GA-EP43-DS3R

CoolerMaster RP-550PCAR/CM-550WEX 550W

Corsair 2G(2x XMS2 1GB) PC-8500 (1066MHz) DDR2 RAM, 2x240-pin DIMMs, Non ECC, Unbuffered, 5-5-5-18, Dominator Airflow Fan

Gigabyte GF9800GT, 1GB, GDDR3

AMD PC:

AMD Phenom X4 9950 Quad-Core

MSI K9A2GM-FIH

Zalman CNPS9700NT

RAM, PSU and graphics card is the same as above


Really appreciate some comments and feedback. Thanks in advance.



i had a q6600,got rid of it,other than formatting the primary hdd partition faster than lightning,i saw no real benefit not many of the games that i currently have or will purchase will absolutely need a quad core plus they take 2x the energy of a dual,and i was used to the onboard memory controller of the amd cpu's,so i got a 5000+BE,so much for that.
Personally i would not buy a zalman cooler for my cpu because,,they spread their heat all over the place i am a control freak when it comes to getting rid of excessive heat,,so i have
an arctic cooler 64 pro,the 7pro is the intel version,it pushes the cpu heat to the back of the case where the exhaust fan can do it's thing.
Note,,whatever ram you buy make sure that the mobo you are considering support it..:) 

Related resources
October 2, 2008 12:09:17 PM

firstly thanks for the prompt reply! :) 

I thought DDR2 1066 will make alot of difference in terms of performance, and as far as I know, I'll need to be running on a 64 bit OS to be able to support 4Gb of RAM, and how compatible is the 64bit OS with games? and software..

What are the pros and cons of overclocking? And what CPU will you recommend if I'm not overclocking it?

Thanks for your experienced point of view on the PSU :D 
October 2, 2008 12:12:32 PM

dokk2 said:
i had a q6600,got rid of it,other than formatting the primary hdd partition faster than lightning,i saw no real benefit not many of the games that i currently have or will purchase will absolutely need a quad core plus they take 2x the energy of a dual,and i was used to the onboard memory controller of the amd cpu's,so i got a 5000+BE,so much for that.
Personally i would not buy a zalman cooler for my cpu because,,they spread their heat all over the place i am a control freak when it comes to getting rid of excessive heat,,so i have
an arctic cooler 64 pro,the 7pro is the intel version,it pushes the cpu heat to the back of the case where the exhaust fan can do it's thing.
Note,,whatever ram you buy make sure that the mobo you are considering support it..:) 


Hi dokk2, from what you have mentioned, you are recommending AMD rather than Intel?

On the other hand, what RAM do you recommend?
October 2, 2008 12:22:30 PM

and just quickly about the RAM, this will sound like a super stupid question for most of you, but is 4-4-4-x better or 5-5-5-x ?
October 2, 2008 12:24:24 PM

Glad to be of service!

No, you will see, at most, a 1-2% increase in performance with DDR2 1066.
Most apps will see no increase at all.

You are half correct about a 32 bit Os and 4Gb of RAM.
A 32 bit Os can see a total of 4Gb between the RAM, GPU, BIOS, sound card and all other system resources.
In practice, with Windows Xp, a 512Mb GPU and 4Gb of RAM, you would be able to use just under 3.5Gb of the RAM.
With a 64bit Os, like Vista 64, you will not have this issue and can use all 4Gb.
IMO, Vista 64 is just as good for gaming as Xp after the release of Sp1.

Pros and cons of overclocking your CPU?
Well lets see...

Off the top of my head for Pros:
Overclocking will make your CPU run faster and speed up most everything on your system.
It can save you $$$ bye letting you purchase a value CPU and run it at the same speed, or faster, as a $1500 CPU.
It is a fun learning experience.

Cons:
It will run a bit hotter without an aftermarket cooler (like the afore mentioned Artic Cooling Freezeer 7 Pro).
It does not make Intel/AMD extra cash on their high end CPU's.

It is kinda hard to screw up oveclocking as long as you use you head about it.
There are tons of guides, like This one, and plenty of experienced people who can help you along.
Overclocked or not, my recommendation is still for the Q6600.
Intel's current CPU's are faster and more energy efficient clock for clock than anything AMD is offering.
Even with the 200Mhz speed difference in favor of AMD, the Q6600 is generally faster.
October 2, 2008 12:31:34 PM

which brand of RAM will you recommend? From what I have heard, Corsair will be a better choice for RAM. Which one exactly will you recommend?
October 2, 2008 12:32:54 PM

zhuoyan said:
and just quickly about the RAM, this will sound like a super stupid question for most of you, but is 4-4-4-x better or 5-5-5-x ?


In the case of RAM timings, lower is better.
The first number is the most important of the bunch, CL or Cas Latency.
What it tells you is how many cycles it will take from requesting data to returning data.
In the case of DDR2 800 CL4 vs DDR2 1066 CL5, they both have nearly the exact same access time due to the upped CL.



For some light reading on what the numbers mean, see these links:

Understanding RAM Timings
How memory frequency affects latency - Tighter timings vs. Higher speeds?
TTR's Guide to Determining Optimum Overclocked System Performance Points
October 2, 2008 12:35:48 PM

zhuoyan said:
which brand of RAM will you recommend? From what I have heard, Corsair will be a better choice for RAM. Which one exactly will you recommend?


Corsair is good as is Mushkin, G.Skill, OCZ, GeIL, SupperTallent and Patriot.
Generally speaking, you should go for the least expensive you can locate with the desired capacity, speed and timings.
October 2, 2008 12:56:17 PM

many thanks again. Since I'll probably got for
Corsair TWIN2X2048-6400C4(1GX2)
2G (2x XMS2 1GB) DDRII-800 (PC-6400C): 2x240-pin DIMMs, Non ECC Unbuffered, 4-4-4-12

does the model of mobo i use matters in terms of performance? Or as long as they are compatible it will be fine? I'm looking at Gigabyte G31 for this case
October 2, 2008 1:11:50 PM

That set should work fine for you but again, look for the cheapest from a good brand.
If you can afford it, jump up to 4Gb.

The G31 is a pretty low end Mb but it should work just fine for a budget system.
It will not be a star overclocker and is not quite cutting edge but it should run your Q6600@ 3.0Ghz just fine.
October 2, 2008 1:27:42 PM

as others have noted...if your funds allow it, go for 4gb...

the G31 is the most basic of intel mobos...it doesnt have all the bells and whistles other intel mobos have...but if you dont need these extras, they do just fine...the gigabyte and biostar (Tseries) would be my recommendations...
October 3, 2008 2:32:19 AM

i see, in this case i shall go for 4gb. And just to reaffirm again, if I'm not overclocking, G31 and the higher-end mobos wouldn't make a difference in terms of performance?

On the other hand, regarding the graphics card, is Gigabyte GF9800GT, 1GB, GDDR3? In terms of best value, which graphics card would you guys recommend?

Thanks again for all your kind advice, really appreciate it.
October 3, 2008 2:40:07 AM

the 9800gt is a pretty good card, but if your just looking at a single graphics card system, a geforce 9800gtx or 8800gts 512mb would do nicely, that is if you love nvidia. If you want solid performance, go with an ati radeon hd 4850, they are pretty nice but it depends on ur resolution and how much money you wanna spend.
October 3, 2008 3:10:23 AM

I have browsed around many reviews and realised that HD4850 is a lot better than 9800gt.

At the moment, I have 2 graphics card in mind:
1. Gigabyte GF9800GT, 1GB, GDDR3
2. Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 (Or any other suggestion other than sapphire)

Any suggestions?
October 3, 2008 3:35:12 AM

Is it true that the ATI cards perform better with AMD processors? AMD's Phenom series appear to be inferior to Intels Core 2s, but I'm not entirely sure on that either.
October 3, 2008 4:54:18 AM

not necessarily...
October 3, 2008 6:50:07 AM

zhuoyan said:
Is it true that the ATI cards perform better with AMD processors? AMD's Phenom series appear to be inferior to Intels Core 2s, but I'm not entirely sure on that either.


No, they perform best with what ever CPU can get them data the fastest, currently Intel.
If you have the choice, I would highly recomend the 4850.
It is a much better card that outperforms a 9800GTX+ in nearly every game.
Saphire is a good brand, if you can swing a few extra $, check out the HIS IceQ lineup.
October 3, 2008 10:09:40 AM

outlw6669 said:
Corsair is good as is Mushkin, G.Skill, OCZ, GeIL, SupperTallent and Patriot.
Generally speaking, you should go for the least expensive you can locate with the desired capacity, speed and timings.


After browsing through some of the RAMs, I think the following two RAMs is most suitable for me:

1. OCZ PC2-6400 2GBX2 REAPERX HPC EPP 4-4-3

2. OCZ DDR2 PC2-6400 Reaper CL4 2x2GB 800MHz 4-4-4-15

Since the second option is cheaper, I will most likely go for that. Is that a good choice?

I can't seem to locate a good mobo that support these RAMs though, any ideas?
October 5, 2008 11:15:27 AM

Yes, OCZ's Reaper series will work great for you.
They are high quality sticks and are good overclockers.
Any current motherboard can run them with no issues.
You should have no issues running them on a G31 based Mb.
October 6, 2008 5:09:23 AM

Heard that nehalem will be taking over soon(at the end of this year?) Do I have to worry about that? I reckon nehalem wouldn't be affordable at the early stage? Perhaps nehalem price will be more reasonable in 3-4 years time?

Having said that, perhaps it would be better for me to purchase the quad-cores at the end of this year after the nehalem is released and the pricing for the older processors will drop?
!