First New Build - have a ton of questions

Hello All.

I'm building a new build and have a ton of questions. I pretty much have most of the components selected. I will be using this for gaming (city of heroes, ddo, warcraft) Web Design & Development (photoshop, illustrator & Flash) and Video Editing (Premier)

My questions about each component will go under the component listed:

Here's what I have so far: (If anyone knows a way that I can publicly show my newegg wishlist, please inform)

Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz 12MB L2 Cache LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor

ASUS RAMPAGE FORMULA LGA 775 Intel X48 ATX Intel Motherboard

Q: would like to eventually upgrade to the Intel Q9650 when prices are better. Will this mobo handle the upgrade?

Graphics Card:
SAPPHIRE 100245L Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card

Q: I will be using dual 24 inch monitors. I was told that Nvidias Dual monitor support was a lot better than ATI, though not sure. Is this true? I was looking at this instead: .

ZALMAN ZM850-HP 850W Continuous

Q: None really. I was told that this was a good one as well: , However, wanted something with a little more watts... Guess, just wanting more oppinions on this..

G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory

Q: Not sure about this one too. It came recommended. At the end of the Day, I just want the best ram for my Mobo. If you have a better
recommendation for this mobo/cpu combo, I would love to hear it

Hard Drive:
Seagate SV35.3 ST3500320SV 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

Q: I picked this because I have a good history with Seagate. I store most of my data on a home server on a external drive, so storage is not
a huge issue. But not sure. Would love recommendations. Would something like this be better? :

Thermaltake Armor+MX VH8000BWS Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Q: Picked this case mostly for the swinging door and easy access ports. Concerned about the cooling... Seems to only have a front and a back fan and the fan on the door. Will I need a case that allows better cooling?

CPU Fan + Heatsink

Q:??? I can really use your help on this one. The CPU is a quad, and I really want something good that will keep the CPU nice and cool. But I am honestly at a loss with this one. Also, I've never bonded a heatsink to a CPU before... Whats the best way to do this?

Operating System:

Q: Ok, really stumped here: My options:

1) Winxp Pro: I know this one really well. And I know it will support my apps and games. Light on resources also... but I know it will dies soon...

2) Vista 32bit: I have how it just adds eyecandy, with no real performance boosts over xp, so I never upgraded to it. It also still only recognizes only 3 gigs
of ram. Annoying.

3) Vista 64bit: If I made the Jump to Vista, then is this the route to go. I can have more ram then 3 gigs, and I heard it is over all faster, but what are the headaches associated with a 64 bit operating system. Will it be able to run my games? Applications. Please give me your recommendations on this.

I think that is most of it. If I forgot something, please point it out. Sorry to overdue this post, I just want to make sure that I'm heading in the right direction, and the folks at TH really seem to know their stuff.

Thanks for any help.
18 answers Last reply
More about build questions
  1. Yes, the Rampage formula will support an upgrade from Q9550 to Q9650. So will a cheaper P5E Deluxe or P5Q Pro. That upgrade doesn't make any sense at all anyway, why pay hundreds of dollars for a few % of additional speed? Overclock the Q9550 a bit if you see it reaching 100% in Task Manager a lot. I bet you won't see that.

    Don't worry about the Newegg wishlist. What you did is better, we can see what you picked without clicking a newegg link.

    nVidia's dual monitor support sucks big time, excuse my French. I have an 8800GTX and I can't play games and watch videos on the two monitors at the same time. It's really annoying, because I have tons of DVDs waiting to be watched from the time when the Canadian dollar was worth US$1.10. You'd expect better service from a $651 video card :(

    Graphics card: two 24" monitors have a lot of pixels, and having only 512MB of RAM will hurt a bit. Since you obviously have a good budget, I'd suggest a HD 4870 X2 card (around $550). Then you can have a much cheaper motherboard ($120 P5Q Pro for example).

    PSU: get a Corsair 750TX or a Silencer 750W. That saves you another $50 or $60 compared to the Zalman and will handle your setup just fine.
    The Silencer is $10 more and has a smarter layout IMO (the hot air goes out of the case, not vertically). Apart from that, both are top quality and very similar. I have a Silencer 750W myself, but the 750TX hadn't been invented yet when I bought it.

    The Velociraptor is very nice, better than the Seagate, but too expensive per GB IMO.

    Try a case like RC-690 or NZXT Tempest if you want serious cooling.

    CPU cooler: don't buy anything. You don't sound like an overclocker, and if you don't overclock the stock cooler of the Q9550 will do nicely. You can overclock the Q9550 to match or beat the stock Q9650 without buying an aftermarket cooler.

    Windows: Vista 64-bit Home Premium. Compared to XP, it has Direct X10 which means some games look better. Compared to Vista 32-bit, it sees all the RAM.
  2. All very sensible and cost aware suggestions by aevm, at least 2x2 GB of the DDR2 RAM you picked is fine. If the HD4870x2 is just too much for your budget, go with a HD4870 1 GB instead of the 512.
  3. aevm always has good advice.
  4. thanks for the sound advice. Let me make a correction. I use dual monitors, but will most likely stick to one for gaming. 500+ is a bit over my budget.

    I do overclock a bit on my athlon 64 3800 box I have now, so I will likely overclock down the road.

    Will I have application and gaming issues on Vista 64bit?
  5. If you run a 24" monitor, please get a 1GB video card. A 512GB video card does not have enough ram, you will loose performance big time. 4870 1GB or a GTX 260 would be plenty.
  6. Yeah, the HD 4870 1GB is worth the extra cash on a 24" monitor. Not so much on a smaller monitor.

    The GTX 260 is a good card too, but then the X48 motherboard is a weird match.
  7. the X48 motherboard is a weird match for the GTX 260? Or my system setup.
  8. It's a weird combination of MB and video card. The MB supports Crossfire and the video card supports SLI. The combination will work, but you pay extra for future proofing and don't actually receive it.
  9. Are there motherboards that will support both in case would want to get a Nvidia card one day?
  10. Some X58 motherboards will, but you'll have to wait a month or two for those :). Also as Aevm said go for a HD4870 1GB.
  11. Not yet. There will be some x58 motherboards, working with i7 CPUs. They will accept 2 or 3 AMD cards, or 2 or 3 nVidia cards (but not a mix of AMD+nVidia).

    There's a project called Hydra that's trying to allow mixing, but I don't expect any results soon because it needs big changes in Windows itself. Right now if you try to install AMD and nVidia drivers on the same machine you will regret it.

    I think I managed to confuse you. Sorry about that. You started nicely there with X48 + HD 4850 + 850W PSU. That's as future proof as it gets. If you cut the cost with P5E Deluxe and 750TX, you can upgrade the video to HD 4870 1GB without changing the budget too much. Later you can add another HD 4870 1GB, but that is only worth it if you play games a lot and have a 24" monitor or larger.
  12. I've decided to go with this


    And the 4870 1GB after all... I'm leaning towards vista 64bit ultimate OEM. Just a little worried that It won't run my 32 bit applications....
  13. What 32-bit applications are you worried about? 64-bit Vista has run all my 32-bit software just fine. It has two installation directories, one for 64-bit applications and one for 32-bit applications. The OS takes care of all that for you so you don't have to worry.

    Do you need Vista Ultimate? 64-bit Vista Home Premium is only $100.

    Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit English for System Builders 1pk DSP OEI DVD - OEM $99.99

    Here's a link to the differences between the versions of Vista:
  14. what about Ram? Woud you recommend different Ram for this X48 board? The memory standard for this board is: DDR2 1200(OC)/1066/800 .

    I would like to have the best performing ram for this board...
  15. You are going to work on this computer, not just game, right? If that's true I suggest you stay away from overclocking because stability is more important than extra speed. Without overclocking, DDR2-800 is absolutely enough. You could spend more and get DDR2-1066 or higher, but it's not going to make a visible difference.

    The G.Skill you've picked has great timings, BTW, 4-4-4-12 at 1.9V.
  16. aevm said:
    You are going to work on this computer, not just game, right? If that's true I suggest you stay away from overclocking because stability is more important than extra speed. Without overclocking, DDR2-800 is absolutely enough. You could spend more and get DDR2-1066 or higher, but it's not going to make a visible difference.

    The G.Skill you've picked has great timings, BTW, 4-4-4-12 at 1.9V.

    aevm if you could spend little bit of your time on my config i would really apprecieate that

  17. Sure, no problem. You've got some pretty bad advice there in fact, what with the HD 4870 X2s in Crossfire on a P45. Good thing we caught that one :)
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