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Need advices for a new system

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November 3, 2008 2:30:41 AM

I am planning to build a new system for running serious applications (Adobe Photoshop CS2 / CS3, Lightroom 2) and gaming (Far Cry 2, Fallout 3, Bio Shock).

My friend is offering me a GeForce 8600GT DDR3 512MB PCI-E for free, so I'm wondering what's better: 1) get another 8600GT card and run it in parellel, or 2) forget the free card and get a newer, more powerful card? And if so, what's a good one?

What's a good motherboard to go with it?

My budget is around 1200 USD, +/- 200. About $200 is going towards a 22in Monitor...

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November 3, 2008 3:08:25 AM

Good friend, but the card is not really appropriate for your level of build, it will be much too slow, even in SLI.

Motherboard - Asus or Gigabyte P45
CPU - Q6600 or E8400
RAM - 2x2 GB DDR2 800 1.8v
Power supply - 450w for single card, 550w for crossfire, Corsair or PC Power and Cooling or Antec or another quality badged PSU
Graphic card HD4850
November 3, 2008 3:12:49 AM


two 8600s are easily outdone by newer cards

get a radeon 4850 instead, it's the best card for your dollar right now

any modern mobo should work fine with the gfx card, intel or amd

intel is faster nowadays with core2

a motherboard based on a P45 chipset, like this one
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

and a core2 quad q6600 from intel
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
it runs at 2.4ghz, but you should be able to easily OC that to about 2.8-3.0 with a better aftermarket cooler

i think that would be a good base to start from
Related resources
November 3, 2008 3:15:53 AM

with respects to your friend etc tell him to stuff the 8600 that is like buying yesterdays 7600 except that it is a pci-e instead of agp...
now then, just to get you started,i am running an asus m2n-e mobo with an asus 8600 gt,2gig crucial ballistics ram,, an ocz stealth X stream 600w psu all powered by an amd 5000+ be running at 2.9+g,with a ideazon merc stealth keybd and a logitech mx 610 rat,and an oem 5.1 creative sound card hooked to logitech z-540 speakers,presently running fallout 3 like silk,and btw forget about far cry 2,terrible rent it first if you can,if not,," beg borrow or steal it" ,,but do not buy it until you have tried it..:) 
November 3, 2008 3:34:55 AM

dirtmountain said:
Good friend, but the card is not really appropriate for your level of build, it will be much too slow, even in SLI.

Motherboard - Asus or Gigabyte P45
CPU - Q6600 or E8400
RAM - 2x2 GB DDR2 800 1.8v
Power supply - 450w for single card, 550w for crossfire, Corsair or PC Power and Cooling or Antec or another quality badged PSU
Graphic card HD4850


kamkal said:
two 8600s are easily outdone by newer cards

get a radeon 4850 instead, it's the best card for your dollar right now

any modern mobo should work fine with the gfx card, intel or amd

intel is faster nowadays with core2

a motherboard based on a P45 chipset, like this one
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

and a core2 quad q6600 from intel
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
it runs at 2.4ghz, but you should be able to easily OC that to about 2.8-3.0 with a better aftermarket cooler

i think that would be a good base to start from


I read the System Builder Marathon article on the $1500 machine, and I think for CPU, I'd go for the Q6600 as well. I probably won't OC it at the beginning -- if I need that power later on, might go that route.

So if I get two HD4850 to run in Crossfire, and let's assume I do indeed OC the CPU to around 2.8-3.0 in the future, what sort of cooling would you guys recommend (and the case to go with it)? I really, really don't wanna do water cooling though -- would conventional cooling be enough (along with the 550w power supply that dirtmountain suggested)?

Lastly, RAM -- my friend has another free offer of 2gb of RAM, PC2 6400. How does this compare to the "DDR2 800 1.8v"?

Thanks a lot for the help guys -- the last time I did any system building was almost 5 years ago (it's running a P4 2.6Ghz with a Asus 9600XT graphics card.. LOL). My hardware knowledge is absolutely, completely outdated!!
November 3, 2008 1:10:12 PM


case: cooler master 690 or antec 900 are good choices
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
if you want something a bit bigger, antec 1200, or cooler master stacker series
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

cpu cooler: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
thermalright ultra 120
bit expensive but works well

cpu fan: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
since the heatsink above doesnt come with a fan


the ram you friend is offering is DDR2-800 as well, is it two matched pairs of 1GB each? if it's matched pairs i would take them anyways
you can always still buy 2x2GB and then have 6GB of ram still running in dual channel mode
ram: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

i would avoid water cooling, it's high maintenance

for crossfire i'd get this PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
650 watt corsair
November 3, 2008 5:18:14 PM

kamkal said:
case: cooler master 690 or antec 900 are good choices
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
if you want something a bit bigger, antec 1200, or cooler master stacker series
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

cpu cooler: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
thermalright ultra 120
bit expensive but works well

cpu fan: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
since the heatsink above doesnt come with a fan


the ram you friend is offering is DDR2-800 as well, is it two matched pairs of 1GB each? if it's matched pairs i would take them anyways
you can always still buy 2x2GB and then have 6GB of ram still running in dual channel mode
ram: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

i would avoid water cooling, it's high maintenance

for crossfire i'd get this PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
650 watt corsair


I looked at the user reviews on the CPU cooler (Thermalright Ultra 120), while it seems like it does its job very well, installing it is a real hassle (the fan-clip issues, the uneven CPU surface, etc.). This is only going to be my second DIY system, so I don't think I'm up to the task for anything that complicated. Are there any good alternatives?

I'm gonna go with the Antec 900 case -- love the design!

I'm looking at the CPU -- $10 difference between the OEM and retail version on Newegg. Is the $10 worth it for the documentations etc.? Or does the OEM version come with sufficient installation instructions?

Mobo -- How should I choose between ASUS (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131296) and Gigabyte (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128358)? Gigabyte's memory standard is "DDR2 1333" compare to ASUS's "DDR2 1200", does that mean Gigabyte's is faster? What else should be the deciding factors between the two?

GPU -- two 1GB HD4850 or two 512MB HD4850? I'm looking at the Sapphire cards, but let's say if I go with the Gigabyte Mobo, would it make any difference if I go with a Gigabyte video card?

Lastly, RAM -- yes, I believe my friend actually has 2 matched pairs of 2GB each -- so I'll be getting 4gb of RAM free :D 
November 3, 2008 5:34:03 PM

oem version of the cpu doesnt come with a cooling fan either, so as long as your still getting the cpu cooler prob wont matter either way. You can usually get info on installation online and if you cant figure it out someone here can probably help you out. As far as the mobo choice the gigabyte is faster, but unless your memmory runs at 1333 (which if your friend is giving you his spare stuff is probably not even 1200) so that shouldnt be your deciding factor either. I am partial to Asus but both are going to be excellent. The video card won't work better if you have gigabyte mobo and gigabyte vid... but the cards dont add memory together so if you have a 1 gig board thats what you get for memmory and same with the 512 so if you can afford the 1GB grab it.
November 3, 2008 10:39:02 PM

the gigabyte says it can do x16/x8 crossfire
where the asus says x8/x8

i'd go with the gigabyte, after rebate its cheaper as well

if yer buddy is givin you 2 pairs of 1GB then you are good to go with memory

with intel systems, memory doesnt have to be super fast

if you want more gfx power u may want to look at even a 4870 or gtx 260 core 216 instead


the thermalright u120 is what im using and it wasnt that hard to install, it's much easier when the board is out of the case hehe

another one that's supposed to be good is this
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
with the retention bracket
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

November 5, 2008 12:29:19 AM

kamkal said:
the gigabyte says it can do x16/x8 crossfire
where the asus says x8/x8

i'd go with the gigabyte, after rebate its cheaper as well

if yer buddy is givin you 2 pairs of 1GB then you are good to go with memory

with intel systems, memory doesnt have to be super fast

if you want more gfx power u may want to look at even a 4870 or gtx 260 core 216 instead


the thermalright u120 is what im using and it wasnt that hard to install, it's much easier when the board is out of the case hehe

another one that's supposed to be good is this
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
with the retention bracket
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I don't think I'll be looking at a 4870... can a single 4870 out-perform two crossfired 4850? Also, when I'm looking at gfx cards, I probably shouldn't get those versions that are already overclocked right (e.g. most are clocked at 625MHz, a few are OC'ed to 675MHz)?

Regarding the thermalright u120, did you have to "lab" (whatever that means) the surface? It's just something I read from the user reviews, and it sounds like it's something involving sandpaper and extra labour other than putting the pieces together. I'm also worried about some reviewers claiming concerns with the flexing of the Mobo due to the heavy weight of the u120.

For the CPU, is the Q6700 worth the extra $80 compared to Q6600?

Lastly.. for you regulars who shop on newegg.com ... do they usually have a thanksgiving sale and therefore I should wait a few weeks, or should I get the parts now while some of the rebates are still in effect?
!