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NEW GAMER PC. ME NOOB NEED HELP DX10.1

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Anonymous
October 22, 2008 4:09:56 PM

Hi all,

This is my 1st post on Toms Hardware....so go easy on me...

The time has come for a new gamer PC. I want to play DX10.1 games with ease...(I the .1 is new and not really supported yet but this PC has to last me about 2 years). It won't be overclocked but I think i'll need SLi or Crossfire, I'm thinking of going for a GTX280 then buy another a few months down the line.

Ok here it goes....

Case - I have a few ideas nothing definate yet, some HTPC type thing that will fit/cool all the below
Mobo - Crossfire or Sli is a must :o 
Memory - I can work that out based on the MOBO.
Chip - Fast Quad core Q6600 upwards - Yes quad core for the new games that are not out yet.
PSU - sorted.
HDD - 2 x 500GB - sorted
Graphics - :o  :o  :o  - major issue


The issue I really have is with what MOBO and Graphics cards to go for, I can suss the rest out.
Price is no object but VALUE is... I know I can knock up a PC for £3k but how much better is it compared to a £1K machine....It's a 300% increase in price but is it in performance?..usually yes, but not 300% increase.

I don't know exactly what P45 750i yadda yadda is. The more I'm reading the more confused I'm getting.

So in essence I'm looking for advice on a mobo and graphics card something that has one card in there now (GTX 280) and another in there in a few months. (I say that, but I'll end up buying it the very next day cause I jsut love the eye candy).

What do you think??





More about : gamer noob dx10

October 22, 2008 4:33:55 PM

If you want DirectX 10.1 you have to go with an ATI card. nVidia cards only support DirectX 10.0 so far AFAIK.

Case: get something roomy and well cooled. E.g. RC-690
Motherboard: since you need ATI and want Crossfire, look for a X48 motherboard. E.g. P5E Deluxe
Memory: DDR2-800, 2x2GB.
CPU: Q9550
PSU: 750TX
HDD: two WD6400AAKS. Forget the 500GB disks, they are slower.
Graphics: HD 4870 1GB

If you mean the part about buying the second card very soon, you might as well get a cheaper motherboard (P5Q Pro) and get a double card right away, i.e. a HD 4870 X2. It's cheaper and simpler to install that way.



October 22, 2008 4:36:23 PM

for the MB get a X38 or X48 with crossfire...

ATI is the only way for DX10.1
Nvidia is DX10.0 only

So get a 4870 now and another later, or you could get a 4780 X2 now... and add another one later.
Related resources
October 22, 2008 4:52:04 PM

Honestly, it doesn't look like DX 10.1 is going to be gaining much traction anyway. More than likely DX 11 will be the next jump. So, keep that in mind.
October 22, 2008 5:46:06 PM

Here are some added thoughts to confuse you even more:
1) I don't know of any HTPC case that can hold a top end graphics card(forget two) and cool it adequately. Look for something like the Antec 300.
2) SLI has been a poor upgrade path in the past. It should be used only by
those who will not currently be satisfied by the fastest available single vga card
which is currently the 4870X2. The 4870, GTX260, or 9800GX2
offer very good performance for the money now.
To get SLI. you have to spend more up front for a SLI capable mobo,a
more powerful SLI capable PSU, and better case cooling. Upgrading a single card later with a
second equal card does not get you 2x increase, it is more like 1.1x to 1.5x depending on the game.
At that time, you will still be paying top dollar for a card that is closer to
being obsolete.
It would be better to sell the old card and use the proceeds
towards a better new generation single card.
Is sli/crossfire really a Must?
3) At the level of the E8500 or Q9450, the vga card is much more important for gaming than the cpu.
At that level, overclocking is good for bragging, but it will not net you as much increase
in FPS as a better vga card will. Today, very few games can make use of more than two cores.
Flight simulator X and supreme commander are exceptions. It is not a trivial matter to code multi threaded programs,
and game vendors will not sell too many games that require quads to run.
I don't see this changing in the next couple of years.

Net: E8500 for the increased clock speed.

Also, Nehalem quads are supposed to be here in November. If your cpu budget is over $300 or so, and you want a quad,you will want a new i7. The new X58 motherboards will support both sli and crossfire, giving you a choice about graphics cards.
Can you wait?
October 22, 2008 6:25:53 PM

geofelt said:

Also, Nehalem quads are supposed to be here in November. If your cpu budget is over $300 or so, and you want a quad,you will want a new i7. The new X58 motherboards will support both sli and crossfire, giving you a choice about graphics cards.
Can you wait?


x58 motherboards incoming at 500$ pricetag!

equivalent clock speed i7 at 400-500$ as well! weeee! spend ahoy!

In all seriousness, buy a q9550 now, OC it and forget about Nehalem completely until the following die shrink. You'll save ridiculous money and perform just as good (let's not forget that drivers are bound to be shaky at first and that this new technology hasn't been proven to be reliable just yet).

Regarding gfx cards, it pretty much all depends at which resolution you wish to play. If you are going for 1900x1200 4xAA 8xAF, you need a card with 1gig ram (ie HD4870) and possibly 2x to really get those high FPS (if you really have up to £3000 to spend). If you want to play at 1680x1050, you can manage with a 512mb card. Performance per dollar, go with 2x 4850 or 2x 4870 and skip those expensive gtx280.
October 22, 2008 6:37:17 PM

True that. I'd just add that when it comes to performance per dollar, a $120 P5Q Pro + $550 HD 4870 X2 will beat a $220 P5E Deluxe + two $310 HD 4870 1 GB (prices at newegg, all cards by Sapphire).

The trick is that with the HD 4870 X2 you can do with a less expensive MB because it doesn't need to do Crossfire at full 16x+16x. The disadvantage of course is you have to pay up-front for the whole thing, you can't pay 220+310 now and another 310 later.

Edit: OK, the 2 x HD 4870 scenario does have an added advantage. You get 4 DVI outputs and can use 3 or 4 monitors.
October 22, 2008 7:10:25 PM

aevm said:
True that. I'd just add that when it comes to performance per dollar, a $120 P5Q Pro + $550 HD 4870 X2 will beat a $220 P5E Deluxe + two $310 HD 4870 1 GB (prices at newegg, all cards by Sapphire).

The trick is that with the HD 4870 X2 you can do with a less expensive MB because it doesn't need to do Crossfire at full 16x+16x. The disadvantage of course is you have to pay up-front for the whole thing, you can't pay 220+310 now and another 310 later.

Edit: OK, the 2 x HD 4870 scenario does have an added advantage. You get 4 DVI outputs and can use 3 or 4 monitors.


YES! 4x 24inch monitors! mwuahahaa! Oh? What's that? I need to buy a bigger house now?

The good side of buying a slightly more expensive mobo with 2x pcie slots is that in a year from now, the 2nd vid card will cost 50% of the price so you might end up saving money overall. Keep that in mind :) 
October 22, 2008 8:51:27 PM

True.

BTW, if we're talking about a HD 4870 X2 now and another later, then the PSU needs to be something like Corsair HX1000. A 750W PSU is perfect for two HD 4870 cards or a single HD 4870 X2.
October 22, 2008 9:05:28 PM

I fully agree with aevm. You will def need an X48 motherboard. The P45's will reduce one of your video cards to 8x.

If you are going DDR2, there is NO reason to go faster than PC800 for any bus speed less than or equal to 1600 (Which all are). You can verify this with benchmarks, or by the fact that there will be a bottleneck any faster.

ATI 4870 is DX 10.1, and that's what you want

I'd suggest 8GB of RAM if you plan on keeping this a while and have an extra $50. (People will not agree with me here for a fully gaming PC, but is any PC that?)

Q9550 - I will elaborate on this a bit

The Dual Core system may slightly perform better on games, but let's look at the benefit of more cores more in depth.

Every time a new thread or process (the difference between the two is in memory sharing and you do not need to worry about this) is switched on the CPU, there are some overhead clock cycles wasted. Realize how many different threads/processes are running on your computer! Go to task manager and show threads, I have over 200 running right now. Each of these are switched out many times a second (think about your mouse being smooth). Going quad core over dual core divides the context switching losses in half. This is because each core can now handle its own thread (which hyperthreading DOES NOT do). However, games are usually single threaded, so a faster CPU single core will run a game faster than a quad core of 1/4 the speed. Roughly 4 times faster, minus all the context switching. But, the dual cores are not twice as fast, and the context switching losses are significant. If you keep a clean system and run nothing else while playing a game, you will most likely see the benefit of dual cores with faster clocks over quad, but I just do not think it is worth all the other losses.

The real problem computer scientists face is how to write programs for a 1,000,000 core processor on the Von Neumann Architecture. This will require an entirely new kind of thinking, but is the way things are going.
October 22, 2008 9:10:51 PM

Whoa, 200 processes??? That's insane. I only have 42, including Visual Studio, Outlook, SourceSafe, 4 browsers of different kinds. But yeah, good point, a quad makes sense, what with the bloated operating systems and with people doing multiple things in parallel.

It's X48, not X45. :) 
October 22, 2008 9:13:03 PM

200 Threads, not processes, you have to show those with view -> select columns.

Threads all share memory with each other, but still get switched in and out. Processes are often composed of many threads.

Thanks for the fix also!
October 23, 2008 1:20:31 AM

Oh, OK, I thought you meant processes, sorry. I enabled the threads count like you said, and now I'm scared. Why does PowerDVD need 19 threads just to play Indiana Jones??? And winamp needs 8 threads just to sit on pause while playing an mp3. I've got 383 threads, yikes!!!

Edit: BTW, this is a pretty clean system. I check for spyware a lot with several programs, I stopped all the Windows services I don't need and disabled them a long time ago, etc. Yeah, I sure am glad I have a quad now. :) 
October 23, 2008 2:01:09 AM

I think some of those threads are tacked on by windows, maybe to set priorities or something. I just wrote a simple single threaded application and it took 3 threads in both release and debug modes. It would be interesting to learn why that is.

I have read that people believe that these threads are:

The GC thread
The finalization thread
The ThreadPool manager

I'm wondering if Visual Studio adds these threads. I may try a different language.

Ok it is, I just ran some old Ada code and it gives only one thread.
October 23, 2008 3:04:42 AM

You wrote it in C# or VB.Net, right? It's because your managed code is actually interpreted, not native code. When you start the app you actually run the interpreter, not just your app. It's transparent on Windows but very obvious under Linux, where you run .Net apps by calling the Mono interpreter and passing the app path as a parameter.

October 23, 2008 4:37:52 AM

I did write in C# which compiles to the .net framwork. However, you may know more than me about this, but I think you are confusing Java and C#. Java runs through the Java Virtual machine after it compiles to Java (Gotta love the use of Java for two different uses), Whereas C# compiles to the .net framework, but I don't think that goes through an interpreter like Java does, and can run on any native assembly isntruction set which it was compiled for. Let me know if I'm wrong here.
Anonymous
October 23, 2008 12:03:52 PM

OMG!...thanks for all the responses....ok this is what I've thought...

Graphics card will be 4870X2 @ £350
Q9450 chip @ £200

I've come to conclusion that upgrading is a bit overrated. Any upgrading I've looked at in the past usually means a whole new machine. Maybe better off selling this and buying the new gen stuff again in 2 years rather than messing with it. This is purely a games machines there will be no MS office or email,films and Mp3s being downloaded. I have my current machines for that.

Now I'm looking for advice on 2 mobos that will hold the 4870x2 and the Q9450.

Option 1 - No Crossfire, just a straight mobo that will handle these parts well.
Option 2 - With cross fire incase I decide to 'upgrade' in a year taking into account I need a high power PSU.

But I do recognise that a new gen single card is more than likely better than
any previous card so that's Option 1 covered.

Hope that makes sense.

Thanks again for all your help guyz.
October 23, 2008 3:50:34 PM

EricKit2 said:
I did write in C# which compiles to the .net framwork. However, you may know more than me about this, but I think you are confusing Java and C#. Java runs through the Java Virtual machine after it compiles to Java (Gotta love the use of Java for two different uses), Whereas C# compiles to the .net framework, but I don't think that goes through an interpreter like Java does, and can run on any native assembly isntruction set which it was compiled for. Let me know if I'm wrong here.



First of all sorry I clicked the down rating icon instead of the quote icon. I didn't mean to do that :) 

When you write a C# application and you compile you create a .exe file that contains codes in a language called MSIL (Microsoft Intermediate Language) and some metadata for various purposes. It doesn't contain native 80x86 code. Then there's a "Just-in-time" compiler that reads those codes and generates the native code when you run the app. There's an example here if you want:
http://www.codersource.net/csharp_tutorial_intermediate_language.html
Anyway, don't worry about it. It's totally not worth studying. I've been programming .Net for a living for 7 years now and never had a need to actually write or even read MSIL. I just had to study it for the Microsoft certifications :) 


@Toms Mate: sorry for straying off topic.

Q9450 + HD 4870X2 should give you a fantastic gaming box.

I think just a straight P45 mobo is enough. Crossfiring two HD 4870 X2 cards is very expensive (an X48 MB like P5E Deluxe or GA-X48-DS4 is about $100 more than a P45 like P5Q Pro or GA-EP45-DS3R; 1000W PSU instead of 750W PSU means $150 more; the second card itself means $500 more or so). It doesn't even scale so well because games are usually optimized for 2 GPUs, not for 4.

There are even cheaper P45 motherboards with a single PCI-E slot and no RAID/eSATA/FireWire and fewer SATA ports (GA-EP45-DS3L, etc.) but I'd still prefer one with two slots. That way you can add a HD 3450 and hook up 3 or 4 monitors.








October 23, 2008 7:23:37 PM

aevm,
I am going for the same build practically, going for a single 4870x2 card.
You have suggested P45 mobo. Since it is a single card and I am not planing to do crossfire. Does it really matter if I go lets say with P35 or even with nvidia chip one like 650i or 680i? Even Nvidia chip mobo will accept one ATI card right? Just trying to find whats cheaper.(planning to do overclocking for quad core though)
October 23, 2008 7:32:40 PM

steve303 said:
aevm,
I am going for the same build practically, going for a single 4870x2 card.
You have suggested P45 mobo. Since it is a single card and I am not planing to do crossfire. Does it really matter if I go lets say with P35 or even with nvidia chip one like 650i or 680i? Even Nvidia chip mobo will accept one ATI card right? Just trying to find whats cheaper.(planning to do overclocking for quad core though)

You really need to start your own thread for this question instead of hijacking this one. I will, however, answer your question. The Nvidia chipsets are not as stable as the Intel ones. The only reason to go with an Nvidia board is if you need it for SLI. The P35 chipset is old technology. If the P45 chipset is out of your budget check out the P43 chipset boards. This board is a great entry level option:

GIGABYTE GA-EP43-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P43 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $86.99
October 23, 2008 7:53:45 PM

+1 to that. If your budget is low, go for the GA-EP43-DS3L indeed.

If you can afford an extra $30 or whatever, get a GA-EP45-DS3R or Asus P5Q Pro. You get a ton of extra features that way. For example the P5Q Pro adds RAID, FireWire, eSATA, more SATA ports, you can hook 3 or 4 monitors to it instead of 2 (adding a $30 HD 3450).
October 23, 2008 8:20:39 PM

Thanks a lot of such a fast answer. Sorry, Not too versed in the hijacking rules. Does it become my thread since I have hijacked it? Is it possible to double hijack it(like double dare)? :D  . Just kidding. Thanks again.
!