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Building a new gaming rig

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November 22, 2008 5:39:35 AM

Please suggest which one of the options is better. I would like to go for the i7 option to future proof. both are under $1200

i went to cyberpowerpc and configured this configuration for less than $1200. It doesn't include windows vista but I don't see anything else missing. Also it has a lot of freebies. Is this a good deal should I try to build this myself. Any disadvantages. Please comment:

# *BASE_PRICE: [+799]
# CAS: Apevia X-Dreamer Mid-Tower 350W Case w/ Window & Temperature Display [-33] (BLUE COLOR)
# CPU: Intel® Core™2 i7-920 2.66 GHz 8M L3 Cache LGA1366
# CD: (Special Price) LG 20X DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW DRIVE DUAL LAYER (BLACK COLOR)
# FREEBIE_CU1: FREE! (FarCry2) Game
# FREEBIE_CU2: FREE! CyberPower Multi-Purpose Carrying Briefcase ($19.99 Value)
# FREEBIE_CU3: FREE! Cyberpower Unleash The Power T-Shirt ($19 Value)
# FAN: Intel LGA1366 Certified CPU Fan & Heatsink
# FREEBIE_VC: FREE! (Age of Conan) Game
# HDD: Extreme Performance (RAID-0) with 2 Identical Hard Drives [+11] (320GB (160GBx2) SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 8MB Cache 7200RPM HDD [+12])
# IEEE_CARD: IEEE 1394 CARD AND DRIVER [+19]
# KEYBOARD: (Keyboard & Mouse Combo) Logitech Cordless Desktop EX 110 Keyboard & Mouse [+24]
# MOTHERBOARD: MSI X58 Platinum Intel X58 Chipset SLI/CrossFireX Mainboard Triple-Channel DDR3/1600 SATA RAID w/ eSATA,Dual GbLAN,USB2.0,IEEE1394a,&7.1Audio
# MEMORY: (Req.DDR3 MainBoard) 3GB (3x1GB) PC1333 DDR3 PC3 10666 Triple Channel Memory (Corsair or Major Brand)
# NETWORK: ONBOARD 10/100 NETWORK CARD
# POWERSUPPLY: 750 Watts Power Supplies [+24] (Ultra Lifetime Series Pro)
# SERVICE: STANDARD WARRANTY: 3-YEAR LIMITED WARRANTY PLUS 24/7 LIFE-TIME TECHNICAL SUPPORT
# SOUND: 3D WAVE ON-BOARD 5.1 SOUND CARD
# USB: Built-in USB 2.0 Ports
# VIDEO: NVIDIA GeForce GTX260 896MB 16X PCI Express [+256] (Major Brand Powered by NVIDIA)
# WNC: PCI Wireless 802.11g 54Mbps Network Interface Card [+19]
# _PRICE: (+1129)

The second one is Q9550 system also for $1200:
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 CPU - $320
Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P Intel P45 Motherboard - $130
2 x G.Skill F2-6400CL5D-4GBPQ 2 x 2GB DDR2 800 RAM - $90
MSI N260GTX-T2D896 OC GeForce GTX 260 896MB PCI-E Video Card - $215
Western Digital WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - $75
Samsung SH-222F 22X DVD±R SATA DVD Burner - $26
Corsair 750TX 750W PSU - $105
Cooler Master RC-690-KKN1-GP ATX Case - $75
Xigmatek HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle HSF - $32 & Retention Bracket - $8.50
Windows Vista Home Premium 64bit SP1 OEM - $100

More about : building gaming rig

November 22, 2008 6:41:57 AM

Is this a gaming machine? You can do better by ordering parts from newegg.

Start with the second setup ($1176). Switch to E8500 (save $130). Save another $40 by changing the RAM to something cheaper but still 2x2GB DDR2-800. Save $40 by removing the cooler and using the stock HSF. Save $30 with a P5Q Pro. Then use the savings to upgrade to Sapphire HD 4850 X2 ($390). Your total is $1111 i.e. $65 less, and the fps will be much better.

The first setup has too much junk and uncertainty for my taste, TBH. They list onboard network and onboard audio just to impress clueless people who don't know that any motherboard these days has those. They don't even specify which brand of video card they will use. In such cases I always assume the worst and I'm usually proven right :)  You're paying for a 350W PSU that you just throw away. The two older drives in RAID will not be that much faster than a WD6400AAKS alone, and they have a lot less room and increased risk of losing the data. The Apevia X-Dreamer has 2 small fans, which is inappropriate for a gaming box IMO. Compare with the RC-690 which has 3 bigger fans and total room for 7, or with the NZXT tempest ($90 at newegg) with 6 fans. The i7-920 is a beauty but not when surrounded by those other parts.


November 22, 2008 6:46:30 AM

ok. my idea is not to buy this one from cyberpower but to build one myself buying the components from newegg. the video card is GTX260. Is crossfire better than a single high end card?
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November 22, 2008 7:04:02 AM

do i need to use windows vista 64 bit with i7? or can I use windows xp 64 bit? can i play games on a 3 gb 64 bit windows vista?
November 22, 2008 7:08:08 AM

Quote:
Is crossfire better than a single high end card?

Only if the crossfired cards are high-end themselves. For example Crossfire with HD 3450 cards is useless, nowhere near the GTX 260. Crossfire with HD 4850 1GB (or a single HD 4850 X2 2GB) is better than the GTX 260.

The best approach is to look at benchmarks for your favorite games. Some games support Crossfire well (e.g. CoD4). Others (like Crysis) not so much. It depends on how skilled the programmers were, IMO. If I needed to hire a developer now I'd prefer one from the CoD team to one from the Crysis team.

Here are some numbers. Personally I care about 1680x1050 most, but your monitor may support a different resolution.

FEAR, 1680x1050, GTX 260=123fps, HD 4850X2=181fps
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Sapphire/HD_4850_X2/12.html

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Sapphire/HD_4850_X2/6.html
CoD4, 1680x1050, GTX 260=88fps, HD 4850X2=103fps

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Sapphire/HD_4850_X2/9.html
Crysis, 1680x1050, GTX 260=32.6fps, HD 4850X2=33.9fps

November 22, 2008 7:15:48 AM

salilsurendran said:
do i need to use windows vista 64 bit with i7? or can I use windows xp 64 bit? can i play games on a 3 gb 64 bit windows vista?


You need Vista if you want DirectX10. XP only has DirectX9. Crysis looks better in DirectX10, for example.

Yes you can use Vista 64 with i7.

I wouldn't use XP 64-bit for a gaming machine. I use it at work and like it, but it's meant for business and games are not usually well tested on it. They're mostly tested on XP 32 and Vista 64.

Yes you can play games on 3GB/Vista. The only serious difference between 3 GB and 6 GB is that with 3 GB the minimum fps will be lower. That is, when the game slows, it's a lot easier to notice it on systems with less RAM. The average and max fps aren't that different between 3 GB and 6 GB.

!