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future proof $2000 gaming rig

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November 20, 2008 12:29:27 AM

- SAMSUNG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model
-NZXT TEMPEST Crafted Series CS-NT-TEM-B Black Steel / Plastic ATX
-Western Digital VelociRaptor WD1500HLFS 150GB 10000 RPM SATA
-Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s
-Acer P243WAid Black-Silver 24" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD
-Antec TPQ-850 850W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready
-Logitech G15 2-Tone USB Wired Standard Gaming Keyboard
-Logitech G5 2-Tone 7 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Laser Mouse
-GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3R LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard
- Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit English
-ZALMAN CNPS9700 LED 110mm 2 Ball CPU Cooler
-SAPPHIRE 100251SR Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB 512-bit (256-bit x 2) GDDR5
-CORSAIR 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual
-Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core

$2135- 120MIR= $2015

What do you think of this build? I have to have the 4870x2 because i want to play games on 1900x1200 resolution. any suggestions for a dif. power supply?
November 20, 2008 2:20:09 AM

the Nvidia GTX 260 Core 216 896mb card is a better buy than the 4870.
November 20, 2008 2:28:35 AM

NO HE IS GETTING THE 4870X2 which is better. Everything looks amzing on that build!!
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November 20, 2008 2:46:49 AM

Not very future proof ,sine the I7 powns the q9550.
November 20, 2008 3:43:12 AM

What does future-proof actually mean? I think everyone who uses the word has their own secret definition.

To me future-proofing a PC means that when the *inevitable* next big PC thing comes along you are in the best position to pop that piece of kit into your existing PC with the least expense and fuss.

To some it instead means that their rig, when put together, is going to stay just that way forever and they want future software products to run as well as current software products do.

See the difference? Two completely different methodologies, but both using the same buzz-word. shows how really useless buzz words are to convey meaning.

In this case, I'd ditch the case and get an aluminum case with a slide out tray. Easier to work on, in the future. And runs better than any steel case, every day.

Other than that, besides the personal bias I have against 10K drives (noisy beasts) you have a real gaming rig that will last long into the future. You might wish to invest in a better HSF, the 9700 is old and busted. the Noctua NH-U12P is where it's at for performance and quiet, not that you would notice with all the racket your other gear is going to make. BZZZZZZ. WHHRRRRR.
November 20, 2008 4:03:54 AM

There is such a thing as 'future proof'? The last time someone advised me of a 'future proof' rig, was way back when I bought a Thunderbird 750Mhz, 1GB ram, Voodoo 5500, Soundblaster Live and a 17" Flatscreen CRT.... pffft!
November 20, 2008 10:51:37 AM

well, i guess when i say future proof, i mean, i want this rig to last a solid 3 years min. and hopefully maybe get 5 years of solid use on it. maybe not 5 years of heavy gaming but I at least want it to hold up in the last few years i use it pretty well. i decided with the 4870x2 because i want to play 1900x1200 on a 24inch monitor. do you think i should drop the raptor drive? i just like the idea of installing windows in under 10 mins. also is the Noctua NH-U12P better?

another questions, is the i7 really worth it over the q9550? if i go i7 that not only means a 250+ mobo but also ddr3 ram. i have also read that the q9550 is really very comparable to the low end i7. i do not play on spending 500+ on the cpu. in my opinion the q9550 is a better value all around with minimal performance loss to the i7.
November 20, 2008 2:30:05 PM

heres mty 2 cents on what to get

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

cheaper...almost as effective

um..

a slide out mobo tray would do good or you can keep that case if not get one with a slide out mobo tray like this

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

but the 2nd one is pretty ugly

also... if you want a cheaper and almsot as effective video card get this

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

their would bed a bunch more to fix but for that price...you can do WHOLE lot better ur build is kinda blah...u could get a much better mobo also
November 20, 2008 2:32:48 PM

Excellent build.

You could get a PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750W for $104 instead of the TPQ-850 for $150. Still, the TPQ-850 is excellent too and the extra power may be handy if you want to add TV tuners and hard disks and so on.

+1 for the NH-U12P. www.ncix.com sells it, for example.

Maybe get a GA-EP45-UD3P instead of the UD3R. You pay a few more bucks but get a second PCI-E x16 slot. I'm not suggesting Crossfire, but if you ever want to use 3 or 4 monitors the second slot can be used with a $30 video card which would handle monitors #3 and #4.
November 20, 2008 6:45:56 PM

At 1920x1200, you can get by with a single 4870 for the next 6-8 months and then add a second one for less money than spending 500-600$ on a x2 right now. Take the money saved and put it towards a 300gig raptor and a q9650 instead. You could also save some money on the motherboard but there you'd have to check what are the components that you really need to suit your needs.
November 20, 2008 7:07:41 PM

antiacid said:
At 1920x1200, you can get by with a single 4870 for the next 6-8 months and then add a second one for less money than spending 500-600$ on a x2 right now. Take the money saved and put it towards a 300gig raptor and a q9650 instead. You could also save some money on the motherboard but there you'd have to check what are the components that you really need to suit your needs.


Are you kidding??? Q9650 ($540) +velociraptor 300GB ($240) + HD 4870 1GB ($275, Sapphire) will be a lot worse than Q9550 ($320) + WD6400AAKS ($75) + HD 4870 X2 ($520, Sapphire) and it will cost $1055 instead of $915. true, a slightly better CPU and a faster HDD are nice for encoding videos or whatever, but in games the second config wins hands down, and it's cheaper and has more HDD space too. And another thing: to do HD 4870 Crossfire properly without bottlenecks you need a $225 X48 motherboard, while the HD 4870 X2 is happy in a $100 P45. :kaola: 

November 20, 2008 7:27:34 PM

aevm,
the q9650 can be stable at 4.5ghz, which the q9550 cannot do. I would know, that's what I run at the moment ;) 
As for the raptor 150 vs 300gig, I'm just assuming that you'd want to keep the raptor for a little while, aka future-proofing. That was all considering you'd be happy with just a gtx260 216 or an hd4870. I mean, there's obvious gains to take a 4870x2 in terms of performance but you also have to remember that you're moving away from the perf/dollar sweet spot and that you get a card that runs ridiculously hot OR noisy.
In my personal view, a p5q pro with 2x 4870 bought now and in a couple of months is the better option :) 
November 20, 2008 7:28:45 PM

bf2gameplaya said:
besides the personal bias I have against 10K drives (noisy beasts)

Apparently bf2gameplaya hasn't been following the recent hard drives. Previous 10,000 RPM drives were a bit noisy, but the new VelociRaptors are just as quiet as 7200RPM drives. The price/performance ratio isn't very good, but they are fast and certainly aren't "noisy beasts".

Here's a nice review if anyone's interested:

http://techreport.com/articles.x/14964
November 20, 2008 8:16:10 PM

well i like the raptor for a boot drive for my os and running games off of it. the new line of raptors are not as loud as the old ones. and i think the 150 and 300 are pretty much the same except for capacity.

also i think i am pretty set on getting the 4870x2. plus i think a single 4870 will have some trouble running 1900x1200 resolution with maxed settings.

as for the cpu, i am convinced the q9550 is a better bang for the buck then the 200 dollar more q9650.

as for the heat sink, what about the XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler, it is about 40 (after MIR) bucks cheaper than the zalman9700.

i have debated about the power supply. i mean i think i dont want to go below 750W with a 4870x2. the quattro is a solid psu and i like it because of the fan is perfect for a bottom mounted psu. I really like the case (NZXT tempest) because of the 6 fans, plenty of room (but not a full size tower) and the cable management holes. so the quattro (designed for the antec 900 and 1200) is perfect for the case. However, coolmaster makes like a 60 buck 750 watt after rebate, thermaltake has a solid 750W as well. i dont know if i want to downgrade. in addition, the quattro is 80plus bronze certified and modular, something the leading 750W psu do not have.


and yes i could probably build a different rig for 1700 bucks (not included os, keyboard and monitor), but the heart of my build is the 4870x2. i felt the need that if i splurge on one thing, it will be the thing most important to me, the graphics card. i dont think my cpu and other parts will limit the graphics card, so i feel with this build it is like a bare minimum for harnessing the true power of the 4870x2.
November 20, 2008 8:18:13 PM

in addition, i meant to post that i will get the UD3P, (aevm). i totally agree, the UD3P is worth the extra cash, and right now on newegg with the rebates its only 5 dollars more than the UD3R
November 20, 2008 8:48:02 PM

i would also like to say that these are my opinions. while i have researched this build for a while, i do not think it is perfect. i welcome all criticism as if i didnt, i wouldn't be posting
November 21, 2008 12:38:59 AM

You've done a much better job than the average guy who comes here with a list of parts asking for opinions. Nice work...

Antec PSUs are generally getting excellent reviews. CoolerMaster not so much.

The Xigmatek HDT-S1283 is quieter than the Zalman 9700 and cools a little better too.
November 21, 2008 12:46:12 AM

Read this article if you want. It shows a big bunch of CPUs, all tested in various games with a HD 4870 X2 at 1920x1200. The Q9550 2.83GHz is not there, but you can use the numbers for Q9650. If you OC it to 3.6GHz you should get the same kind of numbers they have right at the top of those charts :) 
http://www.legionhardware.com/document.php?id=770&p=2


November 21, 2008 12:57:02 AM

thanks for the link, i think i may end up keeping the antec psu, just because it seems good for the bottom mounted psu case, as well as modular cabling. i may switch the zalman with the xigamatek hdt-s1283, its much cheaper and if it is quieter and performs better might be a no brainer. does the xigamatek come with thermal grease, or is it better to get Artic Freezer brand, also would i need a retention bracket, i notice a lot of people getting an additional retention bracket with the xigamatek.

i checked out the article, seems like the 4870x2 is rock solid. i have heard people getting the q9550 with water cooling to upwards of 4.2 ghz. i am sure i can oc it to about 3.6 on air cooling, especially with 6 fans in the NZXT tempest case.
November 21, 2008 1:27:02 AM

The modular cabling isn't much good on a fully loaded system where almost all the cables are plugged in anyway.

Yeah the Xigmatek comes with paste, but lots of user reviews say it's junk. I'd get some MX-2 instead. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835186020

The retention bracket helps if you hate push-pins, and especially if the PC is going to be transported a lot (LAN parties for example). Read the user reviews here and then decide if you want it.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835233019 Make sure you get the ACK-I7751 and not the ACK-I7753.

November 21, 2008 1:38:18 AM

if you want a gaming rig
dont get a Q9550
and E8600 IS MUCH FASTER than Q9550 in any game because it is dualcore
its cheaper too
go to the benchmarks on this site to look for your self
November 21, 2008 11:07:48 AM

Why is the Xigmatek+Retension bracket better than the Zalman CPS9700?

Also what is the difference between Asus p5q Pro and the Gigabye EP3P?

As a side note, I think I will be moving my computer around a fair amount and I was worried about the heatsink damaging the mobo. I think if I decide to get the xigmatek i will definitely get the retention bracket.

I guess the general consensus is all stock thermal past sucks and you should just spend the extra 7 bucks to get good paste?
November 21, 2008 12:39:04 PM

for thermal paste, the difference between stock and mx-2 or as5 is 1-4 degree in most cases. I won't "make or break" your build :p 

Anyhow, if you are dead set on using a 4870x2, why don't you go for a q9650? You'll be cpu limited before you get gpu limited if I read the reviews properly ;) 
November 21, 2008 12:40:29 PM

I am a fan of the Asus p5q Pro vs the gigbyte EP3P. This is probally my bios towards asus vs gigbyte though. Other than that I think you've done your homework. You have a very solid build compaired to most people that come into these forums asking for help.

My suggestions: Your PSU is good for your build. Might want to see if you can get a combo deal at new egg with that thing. I know quote often that the antec PSU's go with combo deals. Same with the Q9550... its on a combo deal with the Asus P5Q Pro @ newegg. Can save an easy 30 bucks.

Another great cpu HeatSink/Cooler is that Tunic Tower 120. I have not currently worked with one so I do not know how good installation is, but I do know that it has for others been the best cooling solution out there. There is a heated debate what's the better cooler TT120 or Xig. Can't go wrong with either one so pick the cheaper one imo.

I would reccomend against the dual core. Games are starting to come out that are more multi core friendly. With the release of core i7, multi core support will start becoming even more mainstream. Unless your a hard core overclocker, I say stick with the q9550. The only reason I would switch the cpu would be for the new core i7. +1 on this build. Well done
November 22, 2008 3:41:26 PM

I will check out those heat sink coolers, i guess ultimately there is not a huge price difference in all of the coolers.

well if i were to switch out the q9550 for the q9560 i mine as well go with the i7 920. i dont know. i have debated whether i want to scratch this build and try to go fro an i7 build. i dont know if the new technology is really worth the cash over this build though.
!