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New Comp Fun: Give Me a Quick Opinion

Last response: in Systems
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November 6, 2008 9:51:08 PM

Looking for new computers is always a good time. I decided to build my own and went with the general themes: Oh **** that's big and The Inside of Your Rig is an Acid Trip. I'll list the parts, and why I chose them with the big questions at the end.

Antec TruePower Quattro TPQ-1000 1000W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply
https://cas.shsu.edu/owa/redir.aspx?C=94f47acdd7434a25b...
$149

Antec Twelve Hundred Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case
https://cas.shsu.edu/owa/redir.aspx?C=94f47acdd7434a25b...
$144

Came in a package deal. Come on you can never have too much power. Case has some awesome reviews and it glows blue. That's worth $50 alone. My only CONCERN is I want to run two GPUs in SLI (and possibly 3 very soon). I'm not sure the case has the slots for a few double slotted GPUs.


Acer P243WAid Black-Silver 24" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor with HDCP Support
https://cas.shsu.edu/owa/redir.aspx?C=94f47acdd7434a25b...
Big Screen + High Res + Fast refresh == Good Time.
$349

I am not a numbers guy. I just want Far Cry 2 to let me experience the real Africa in amazing detail, less the malaria and dysentery. Part of the reason I went with two GPUs.

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
https://cas.shsu.edu/owa/redir.aspx?C=94f47acdd7434a25b...
The faster 150GB raptors at 10,000 RPM cost about as much as two of these guys. I figure 2 in Raid 0 will be fast enough for most of my gaming needs. A couple more seconds of staring at my Windows start up is relaxing.
$129.98 for two

Logitech G15 2-Tone USB Wired Standard Gaming Keyboard
https://cas.shsu.edu/owa/redir.aspx?C=94f47acdd7434a25b...
I like stats just as much as the next guy. If one core is loaded a little more than another one I damnwell want to know. Naturally I would need a keyboard that could keep me up to date. Programmable for individual games, Oh yeah!
$89.99

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

https://cas.shsu.edu/owa/redir.aspx?C=94f47acdd7434a25b...
$99
In Bill we trust. I will miss XP but it doesn't have Direct X. That Gates is a crafty one.

Patriot Viper 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2000 (PC3 16000) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory
https://cas.shsu.edu/owa/redir.aspx?C=94f47acdd7434a25b...
This is a little pricey but I understand two sticks of 2 GB are better than 4 sticks of 1GB. Shouldn't limit my game playing.
$334.99

EVGA 132-CK-NF79-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 790i Ultra SLI ATX Intel Motherboard
https://cas.shsu.edu/owa/redir.aspx?C=94f47acdd7434a25b...
$349.99

I've read these can be buggy, and for my first build this guy is going to be fun. If I can get it running I hear it promotes OCing, which I definitely will be doing once I get it stable. I'm open to trying a good X48 board as long as it supports SLI. The consensus I have so far is NVIDIA GPU in SLI go with NVIDIA motherboard.

Logitech G5 2-Tone 7 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Laser Mouse
https://cas.shsu.edu/owa/redir.aspx?C=94f47acdd7434a25b...
$49.99

It's Blue, see the Antec Comment. A friend swears this is the best mouse ever and the newer ones are trying to hard. While it's awesome the new model can shapeshift, I don't have fat man hands. Until I need a dialing wand I'll be ok with the old one.

EVGA 896-P3-1267-AR GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 Superclocked Edition 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card

https://cas.shsu.edu/owa/redir.aspx?C=94f47acdd7434a25b...
$540 for two

Who doesn't have an opinion about GPUs. Give me yours. I'm already an Nvidia fan boy, though. It takes no genius to duct tape two older GPUs together one a board and have it run faster. I went with the bastard child of the 260 and 280 by EVGA. I hear BFG has a faster retail pre OCd bored, but they are prone to exploding and EVGA are nice guys. I also understand it's better to buy the stock card and OC it yourself. Save some $$. I've never done this, and I should have plenty of fun OCing the other parts.


ASUS 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model DRW-2014L1T
https://cas.shsu.edu/owa/redir.aspx?C=94f47acdd7434a25b...
$35

Does anyone really sweat what drive they get? Nope. Cheap Asian made POS that does the job.


Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80569Q9550
https://cas.shsu.edu/owa/redir.aspx?C=94f47acdd7434a25b...
$320

Lots of reading on this one. I am not crazy enough to go with the extreme chip sets. I'm hedging the fence between this and the 9650. I'm not sure I have the patience to wait until Black Friday to see if the i7s drop its price. This can OC well, something about E0 that I'll hope I luck out and get. If I can get it up above 3.5 I'll be set until this is a paper weight.

Sunbeam CR-CCTF 120mm "Core Contact Freezer" CPU Cooler - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$40 [Edit: Changed Heatsink]

My cooling option. Antec 1200 + 9700 should keep temps down. I really want to learn how to WATER COOL my system, but that might be a future project.


Budget:
I have $3k to work with and I've spent about 2.7 of it. I want to know if I should spend my remaining money on ANOTHER GPU or a FASTER CPU.

Question 1: I'm a gamer. Lets assume I'll play at 1920 x 1200 on a 24" screen with a little AA. What's going to limit me the most, the amount I can OC my CPU or my 2 SLI GPU.

Question 2: Someone who can see the whole picture. Have I spent the money I have properly? Did I sink more money in one area that I could use in another to achieve higher FPS.

Question 3: Did I miss anything? I could always spend the last bit on a nice water cooling system, a set of speakers, or rainbow color the inside of my case with LEDs.

Final Thoughts:
Catching up with everything I've missed since I bought my last comp 7 years ago has been a lot of fun. Like always there are a ton of conflicting thoughts. This probably won't last me another 7 but I'd like to stretch it out as long as possible. Thanks for reading. Take a couple seconds to give me your thoughts on anything I brought up.

Have fun guys,
Chris
November 6, 2008 11:20:16 PM

You have a simular budget as I did when I built mine over a month ago. I chose the Q9650 and the ATI 4870 card with 8gb of Muskin DDR2 instead of the DDR3. But I suppose with 3K to spend you can do this option as well. Not sure about the mobo those I've heard some not so great reviews for it. I chose a P45 board for my build.
November 6, 2008 11:45:51 PM

OK...a couple of things to start.

The Antec 1200 is pretty big. There is not doubt you can fit dual GPUs in that thing (even if they are dual slotted).

Get a Western Digital 640 GB HDD instead of the 500 GB - way better performance. Great price - only like $70 dollars or so for a great drive.

I would suggest saving money by ditching the 790i and the nvidia GPUs and go for an X48 and a 4870 or 4870x2 (or get two of either one).

If you get rid of the 790i, that means you can buy DDR2 memory - a way better option - cheaper, and no difference in performance.

I'd look for DDR2 800 RAM that has good timings and standard voltage (1.8v) or something close. Mushkin has a good set. Crucial has a set at 2.0 with 4-4-4-12 timings.

I wouldn't spend the extra couple hundred dollars to go with the 9650 (and a small multiplier difference). You're fine with the 9550.

If you plan to overclock, get an aftermarket cooler - Xigmatek with a retention bracket is a good one. It's a good price and works great - check www.frostytech.com for their take.

I think that covers it. Let us know if we can help you more. Have fun with your build.
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November 7, 2008 2:26:34 AM

Thanks for the feedback, guys. Zero, I'm reading through reviews for the P45 and, reluctantly, I'm going back to look at ATIs cards. Huron, after some digging I found there was a 4850x2 just released. This might make Nvidia drop the prices of their cards again, unless they manage to break the fourth wall and release a new series. I'm definitely looking into an actual heat sink. A Xigmatek 120 Ultra is starting to look good. If I do take some of the cuts you recommend I could also go ahead and water-cool it.

I am having a hard time differentiating between DDR2 and 3. As most things go newer is usually better, but there seems to be some lag time before the next gen catches up. When I read reviews they usually talk about GPU and CPU dependencies. Nobody brings up how much memory you need. Am I to assume that games today are not memory dependant?

Anyone else? Just takes a couple lines to get your opinion out there.
November 7, 2008 6:24:52 AM

DDR3 is not worth it at all. There are no benefits (if any, they are extremely minimal) as of yet. With Nehalem release (end of the year), DDR3 will become necessary, and may come down in price, but right now, it's really expensive.

I honestly believe that you'd be happy with an X48 and a 4870 or 4870x2, or a P45 and a 4870x2.

I'm not and ATI or nvidia fan - I have a 780i board myself. If I were to build today, I would got P45 or X48 and one of the ATI offerings.

About the memory - if you want a rundown of using different amounts of memory, check this out:

http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2008/07/08/is-more-mem...

There are plenty of sites reviewing DDR2 vs DDR3 - just google that, and you'll find more than enough reading to keep you busy in that topic area.

If you feel comfortable watercooling, go ahead. Usually you'll watercool if you want your computer to be really quiet, or if you overclock a ton and want it to stay cool. With your Antec 1200, quiet will probably not be the norm (3x120mm in front, 1x120mm side, 2x120mm back, and a 250mm fan on top. That'll be lots of air moving, and plenty of noise, unless on low).

Let us know if we can answer anything else.
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