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Bottlenecking, psu and os questions

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December 19, 2008 1:50:22 AM

Here are the parts that I'm getting for my gaming/overclocking rig:

1. E8400 Core 2 Duo
2. eVGA nForce 790i ULTRA SLI motherboard - 1600MHz FSB, support to 2000Mhz DDR3 RAM, tri SLI, ESA(yay...)
3. Corsair Dominator DDR3-PC14440 (1800MHz) 2GB RAM
4. Western Digital Velociraptor 150GB, 16MB Cache, 10k rpm, SATA 2 HDD
5. 2x (SLI config) Asus 9800GTX+ 512MB (Dark Knight Edition - 738/2200
6. 22" 1680x1050 Samsung 2243BW widescreen monitor
7. Antec True Power QUattro 850W (multi 12V rail)
8. Logitech G51

And that's about all you guys need to know to help me.

What I am concerned about is:
1. Are any of these components bottlenecking any other components?
2. Will my PSU (with multiple rails) be able to run stably my OVERCLOCKED components?
3. This system is made purely for gaming. Should I get XP or Vista? 32-bit or 64-bit?

Yes - I do realize there are forums out there addressing the OS issues. However, these were dated a long time ago, when Vista was not service-packed, and manufacturers didn't make 64-bit drivers.

I also read up at multiple forums and I found out that Vista doesn't support surround sound due to the lack of EAX hardware support thingy thingy. Meaning I would have to buy a sound card, costing me more $$$. However, Vista has DX10 support while XP doesn't.

Also, if I were to be absolutely FORCED to buy a sound card, what would be a good recommendation? As I know the Logitech G51 is a mid-range gaming sound system so buyng an extemely high end sound card wouldn't be worth it.

Yes I do realize it's a lot of questions but I've been losing sleep over them the past week. :( 

EDIT: Plz dun tell me to go AMD/ATI Crossfire, or tell me to change parts over a personal whim/preference to a certain brand. However, do tell me to change parts due to overkill of performance of one part over another.
December 19, 2008 10:43:21 AM

The ASUS Xonar is better for a home theater system than for gaming.

Creative cards are usually better for gaming; the difference between them is usually cache size, and slightly better playback or extra audio options. The problem is that some motherboards, especially nforce chipsets, will not work right with the card (major sound distortions).
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December 19, 2008 1:40:01 PM

Thanks for your reply, evongugg.

So.. I went to the computer shop today and they said that Vista 64-bit has no problems with surround sound (meaning I don't have to get a sound card) - Is this true? Are all forum posters in the past noobs who don't know how to twiddle with settings to enable true surround sound? I am also thinking about getting an i7 setup... As it is a only a bit more expensive, and the LGA775 socket is going to be extinct soon.. And i7 setup would include:

Intel Core i7 920 2.66GHz
Triple Channel Corsair XMS3 - 3GB/1600MHz
Gigabyte GA-EX58 EXTREME motherboard
Thermaltake ToughPower QFan 850W

S.. i7 or E8400? About USD$137 difference.
December 19, 2008 2:36:31 PM

For that price difference I'd pick the i7 for sure. You can also save a little money by just going with the GA-EX58-UD5 instead of the extreme.

GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD5 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $298.99

If you used that board it would make the price difference closer to $100.

Is there a reason you chose the Thermaltake PSU instead of the Antec one for the i7 build? The Thermaltake PSU's about $60 more than the Antec on newegg. I'd pick the Antec PSU over the Thermaltake one anyway. If you stuck with the Antec PSU and used the GA-EX58-UD5 the price difference between the first build and the i7 build is only $40 - $50.
December 19, 2008 2:44:29 PM

It depends. If you want to play GTA 4, then take your mind off a dual-core CPU, the game is so crappily ported from Xbox and optimised for PC, it runs like POS on anything under a quad-core system. If you plan to play any other game on the market, go ahead.
December 19, 2008 2:50:26 PM

Quote:
For that price difference I'd pick the i7 for sure. You can also save a little money by just going with the GA-EX58-UD5 instead of the extreme.

GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD5 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813128362 $298.99

If you used that board it would make the price difference closer to $100.

Is there a reason you chose the Thermaltake PSU instead of the Antec one for the i7 build? The Thermaltake PSU's about $60 more than the Antec on newegg. I'd pick the Antec PSU over the Thermaltake one anyway. If you stuck with the Antec PSU and used the GA-EX58-UD5 the price difference between the first build and the i7 build is only $40 - $50.


So unless I wanna play GTA4, Core 2 Duo is the way to go?

I just realized that rhymes - lol.

EDIT: I just realized I've never replied to the quote above.

The EX-58 Extreme is for overclocking =) and in Australia the Thermaltake 850W ToughPower QFan is cheaper than the Antec True Power Quattro 850W.
December 19, 2008 2:57:23 PM

I don't agree with that. There are more games out right now that support quad cores than just GTA4. More and more new games coming out will also start supporting quad cores. If you can get an i7 build for close to the same price as a Core2Duo build, I say you'd be a fool to pick Core2Duo. I also know for a fact that the i7 chips are amazing overclockers. I've personally seen a 920 do 4.2GHz on air.
December 19, 2008 3:01:03 PM

However.. How is the upgradeability of the Gigabyte GA-EX58 EXTREME motherboard? How soon will it be eclipsed by other upcoming LGA-1366 boards? LGA1366 is still a new tech, and new tech progresses really fast. I'm worried that in a few months time they come up with a motherboard that absolutely rapes the flying f*** out of the EX58 Extreme.
December 19, 2008 3:10:15 PM

If you wait to buy hardware because you're waiting for the next big thing, you'll never buy anything. The X58 is the current top-of-the-line Intel chipset. I don't know what more they can add to the X58 chipset. It's already proven itself as a great chipset and it supports both crossfire and SLI. The next Intel chipsets to be released will actually be a more mainstream model. There will also be mainstream LGA1166 Intel chips released within the next few months.
December 19, 2008 3:15:32 PM

Err.... forgive me for being a noob... But what's 'mainstream' in terms of chipsets?
December 19, 2008 3:18:02 PM

+1 for shortstuff's comments. If two rigs are simlar priced between a core2 vs i7, you have to pick the i7. The i7 is just a straight up better processor and the x58 like shortstuff noted is really a great board. It has proven itself in some pretty grusome benchtests and was left standing.
December 19, 2008 3:23:25 PM

Well, if you take the LGA775 boards as an example then the P43/P45 chipsets would be considered 'mainstream' and the X48 would be considered 'enthusiast'. Intel usually releases the mainstream parts first and then releases the enthusiast parts later. They decided to do it backwards with the i7. They released the enthusiast parts first and will be releasing mainstream parts later. You don't have to worry about X58 being replaced with something better anytime in the near future.
December 19, 2008 3:23:47 PM

So now it's either

Intel Core i7 920 2.66GHz 8MB L2 Cache $459
Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme 1366 RT w/120mm fan $125
Gigabyte GA-EX58 EXTREME $549
Corsair 3GB triple channel TR3X3G1600C9 1600MHz $319

ASUS 9800GTX+ 738/2200 512MB x2 $630
Thermaltake Armor+ MX $165
Thermaltake iCage $39
Thermaltake 850W Toughpower QFan $279
Logitech G51 $179
Samsung 2243BW $315
ASUS DVDRW 20x SATA2 $40
Western Digital Caviar Blue 640GB 7200rpm 16MB Cache, SATA 2 $121
Razer Copperhead Tempest Blue $54
Razer Tarantula $139
Razer Destructor $59

TOTAL $3,227





OR

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3.00GHz 6MB L2 Cache $255
Zalman CNPS9700NT $115
XFX nForce 790i ULTRA SLI $479
Corsair 2GB dual channel TWIN3XDHX PC12800 1600MHz x2 $358

ASUS 9800GTX+ 738/2200 512MB x2 $630
Thermaltake Armor+ MX $165
Thermaltake iCage $39
Thermaltake 850W Toughpower QFan $279
Logitech G51 $179
Samsung 2243BW $315
ASUS DVDRW 20x SATA2 $40
Western Digital Caviar Blue 640GB 7200rpm 16MB Cache, SATA 2 $121
Razer Copperhead Tempest Blue $54
Razer Tarantula $139
Razer Destructor $59

TOTAL $3,472






All prices listed are in AUD. I'm giving out the full specs so you guys can evaluate the systems in terms of overclockability, stability, reliability and longevity.

Thanks shortstuff for your replies so far. It's been a lot of help.

Could someone clear up the Vista/surround sound issue? It's giving me a headache.

December 19, 2008 3:31:29 PM

The i7 build costs less? I didn't check the math, but it seems like the totals aren't correct. Either way, between those two builds it's no contest! The i7 is superior in every way. You get a much better CPU, you don't have to deal with a crappy Nvidia chipset motherboard, you get 3GB of RAM instead of 2GB, you're not going with a socket that's nearing the end of its life, etc...

I'll let someone who's dealt with the surround sound issue comment on that. As far as I know, though, all the issues with Vista and sound issues has been fixed.
December 19, 2008 3:34:54 PM

Whoops... Yeah got the prices the wrong way round...

Thanks shorstuff_m. I'll be buying the computer sometime after Christmas (Hopefully by then they'll have some of that gimmicky 'After-Christmas Sale' BS going on - heheheheh) Oh and before you go, are any of the components not matced? Graphic cards not being able to keep up with the i7, HDD too slow, RAM not being able to keep up with the i7's bleeding speed?

Now waiting for someone to clear up the Vista/Surround Sound issue =)
December 19, 2008 3:45:20 PM

What other graphics card options do you have for around the same AUD$630.

What the purpose of the the Thermaltake iCage in your build? Your case already has fan cooled HDD drive bays.
December 19, 2008 3:47:16 PM

And do you need TWO keyboards?
In the C2D build: Corsair TWIN3XDHX DDR3 1600 won't work in the nForce 790i which needs DDR2
December 19, 2008 3:56:07 PM

WR2 said:
And do you need TWO keyboards?
In the C2D build: Corsair TWIN3XDHX DDR3 1600 won't work in the nForce 790i which needs DDR2


Umm.. The nForce 790i Ultra SLI chipset only does DDR3.. I'm sure of that..

Only one keyboard - the Razer Tarantula
December 19, 2008 4:49:59 PM

You're right. I saw Logitech G51 and thought G15. 790i is DDR3 also I'd missed that tidbit.
December 19, 2008 5:40:03 PM

Hi Rick. Yes I do plan on running Vista64. However, my main concerns are the support for true surround sound in games. Something to do with Vista no longer supporting Direct Sound 3D/EAX hardware acceleration or something similar. I'm not too sure. I've read on a few forums and apparently some not-that-old games that use Direct Sound 3D for surround sound can only run 2.1 on Vista. I was hoping you would be able to clarify this.
December 20, 2008 6:51:32 AM

So I went to the computer shop (again) and these are the finalized specs:

Intel Core i7 920 2.66GHz 8MB L2 Cahce - $459
Gigabyte GA-EX58 EXREME - $549
Corsair 6GB TR3X6G1333C9 (Triple channel, 1333MHz) - $400
ASUS 9800GTX+ 738/2200 512MB x2 - $630
Thermaltake Armor+ MX - $165
Thermaltake iCage (As the 9800GTX+s are really long, I'm not going to use the removable HDD cage provided with the Armor+ MX, and insted use three 5.25" bays to put my hard-disk, therefore leaving lots of space for the Graphic cards and also improved airflow to the graphic cards and the HDD) - $39
Thermaltake 850W ToughPower QFan Modular PSU - $279
Logitech G51 5.1 surround speakers - $179
ASUS DVD-RW 20X SATA-IO - $40
Western Digital Caviar Blue 640GB 7200rpm 16MB Cache SATA IO - $121
Samsung 2243BW 22" 5ms widescreen monitor - $315
Razer Lachesis - $85
Razer Tarantula - $139
Razer Destructor - $59

Total is AUD$3459. With a free Logitech Precision Wired Controller xDDDD Which is bloody cheap. All prices quoted above are in AUD.

I'm still not too sure about the iCage though.. I've read a few reviews stating that the HDD cage that comes with the Armor+MX CAN be mounted onto 5.25" bays, therefore eliminating the need for me to get the iCage. However, if this is true, does my HDD need cooling? I'm only getting one.
December 20, 2008 6:29:43 PM

Your HDD shouldn't need any aftermarket cooling in a well ventilated case like the Armor+ MX.
And based on customer reviews 9800GTX & GTX 280/260 will fit without removing the HDD cage.
A good source of customer reviews is the NewEgg website: Armor+ MX customer reviews Search for GTX.
example:
December 21, 2008 12:26:23 AM

Thanks for your reply, WR2/

The 9800GTX and GTX+ are of the same dimensions, but I'm getting the 9800GTX+, which has the 2 6-pin PCIe connector at the end of the card, not the side. So I would need a little bit more clearance coz of the 6-pin plugs from the PSU.

Readind up the reviews page you sent me:

Cons: Nothing much. The instructions for connecting the case leds and power button to the MB are pretty skimpy. Also i can barely fit my EVGA GeForce 9800 GTX+ graphics card in this case it is about one half of a centimeter from the HDD bay.
February 12, 2009 5:14:12 PM

Thanks for all the help guys!!! My current system specs:

Intel Core i7 920 clocked to 3.66GHz (Turbo Boost enabled - 3.8+GHz)
NOCTUA NH-U12P Special Edition SE1366 (comes with 2x NF-P12 fans)
GIGABYTE GA-EX58 EXTREME
Corsair XMS3 triple channel 1333 MHz DDR3 RAM (Overclocked to 1520ish 9-9-9-24)
Sapphire Radeon HD4870X2 on Catalyst 9.1 (OCed to 790/990)
Thermaltake QFan TruePower 850W
Thermaltake Amor+ FULL TOWER w/ 1x 230mm, 5x 140mm and 2x 120mm
Thermaltake iCage
Samsung 2243BW 22" monitor
Razer Tarantula
Razer Copperhead Tempest Blue
Razer Destructor
Logitech G51

Thanks a lot for the support, guys!!! Now thinking of getting a bigger badder PSU because when I do 4.0GHz (turbo boost DISABLED), it BSODs, no matter how much voltage I throw into VCore and QPI/Vtt. Pretty sure it isn't a temperature problems, judging by the LEDs on the motherboard.
!