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Help me ! Gaming "Rig" first time builder...

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December 23, 2008 7:39:16 AM

Alright here's the deal.... My budget is about 2k (but the cheaper the better) and I want to build myself a PC that will be great for gaming (FPS Games/SOME RPG's) and for 3ds Max/Mudbox/Photoshop/etc work. I already have a monitor and a sound system. I plan on using Windows XP 64 bit for this, by the way. Here it is!

Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST31000333AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Intel Core i7 940 Nehalem 2.93GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601940 - Retail
Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
EVGA 132-BL-E758-A1 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9T-6GBNQ - Retail
EVGA 896-P3-1265-AR GeForce GTX 260 Gore 216 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
COOLMAX CUG-950B 950W ATX12V V.2.2 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
Logitech 920-000914 Black Wired Ultra-thin Illuminated Keyboard - Retail
RAZER Lachesis RZ01-00170100-R3M1 Banshee Blue 9 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Laser Gaming Mouse - Retail
LG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model GH22LS30 - OEM

I (to be totally honest) have pretty much no idea what I'm doing. Just selecting the prettiest looking things based on my limited new-found knowledge of this stuff. I have not decided on the case yet, I will most likely be dropping the RAM to 4GB and the HD to 750GB just to save money, since I don't need that much. Basically, I want to know if this is a great system that will last me for 4+ years (with the minor upgrade here and there every year) and I want to know if ALL of this stuff is compatible and will do the job I expect it to.

Heh, making this post I kinda feel a little weird buying a computer for this much... If you guys can, on top of my previous questions also tell me if I can get a not so much worse build for less money (1300-1500ish?) maybe with overclocking. I will probably overclock anyways, but you know it's hard to explain... Buyer's remorse before I even bought it I guess?

Well I hope you guys can help me with all of my dumb questions and stuff... (I really hope I didn't forget anything...)
December 23, 2008 7:53:20 AM

The 940 is certainly NOT a good deal. You are the only person I have even seen suggest it in the last 2 weeks.

Get the 920. Or we could shave off about 200 bucks on a Q9550 build. However, then you are more limited in graphics card selections and not quite so future proof.

Then there is the MAJOR problem on the build. The PSU:
http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...

If you intend to run two of those video cards in SLI, then this PSU would be all you need:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You may find some more certainty in my guide posted on these forums... link is in my sig.
December 23, 2008 8:17:21 AM

Thanks a lot for the reply! I have changed what you suggested and now it costs 200 less... every bit helps. Thanks again.

I plan on getting another 260 in a few months, so that PSU you suggested is great I assume.

Would the Antec 900 case fit all this in and provide good air flow etc? I still am confused about which case I should get... More lights = bigger peepee right?

Oh and about internet, I always connect wirelessly so is there some kind of internal internet connector thingy I can get or do I have to buy the USB one?
Related resources
December 23, 2008 8:30:34 AM

I'm not a fan of the PSU mounting in the bottom of the case, especially in an SLI/CF system, which is why I'd stay away from the Antec 900 in that situation. My roommate last year had that case, and an SLI setup, and in my opinion, it was a big mess.

For you internet, you get a card that goes into an available PCI slot. It will usually have an antenna that comes out of the back or some sort. DO NOT get a USB!!!!! The ones I've tried are nothing but headaches. I used this one for a while, and it was setup and working in less than 5 minutes-Cheap too!
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
December 23, 2008 8:49:32 AM

Alright thanks man. I will get that.

To be honest I don't REALLY like the Antec 900 anyways... For me, these 3 cases look the coolest out of the ones I have seen on Newegg...

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

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

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

I'm hoping someone can tell me which is the best/sturdiest/easiest to set up case for the parts I have selected, and feel free to recommend me one.

Well I'm off to bed... thanks for the help so far guys
December 23, 2008 9:01:25 AM

I really wish more people spread the word about this case. I personally own it. I guess the aesthetics might be a drawback to some people, but honestly, this case features just about everything you could want. It's easy to work in, extremely quiet, and doesn't feel cheap like my old Centurion 5. In my opinion, the case has been worth every penny.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
December 23, 2008 9:51:42 AM

CPU - Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 - Retail $299.99
Motherboard - ASUS P6T Deluxe LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $299.99
Memory - OCZ XMP Ready Series 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ3X1600LV6GK - Retail $229.99

Hard Drives - G.SKILL FM-25S2S-128GB 2.5" 128GB SATA II Internal Solid state disk (SSD) - Retail - $249.00
Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST31500341AS 1.5TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive (bare drive) - OEM $129.99

DVD-ROM - Pioneer 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model DVR-216DBK - OEM - $24.99

Video Card - ASUS EAH4870 DK/HTDI/1GD5 Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail - $249.99

Sound Card - ASUS Xonar D2X 7.1 Channels PCI Express Interface Sound Card - Retail - $169.99

Case - Antec Twelve Hundred Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail - $159.99
PSU - CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail - $159.99

Keyboard/Mouse - Logitech 967562-0403 2-Tone USB Bluetooth Wireless Slim diNovo Media Desktop Laser - Retail $155.99
Vista Home Ultimate 64bit - $99.99

Total - $2229.89

As you can see this is a pricey system and your not even getting the best video card. Reason is that the I7 is new and expensive. 2 ways of dropping the price are to switch to the older LGA775 CPU and Motherboard with DDR2 RAM. I wouldn't. The small difference in price isn't worth it. Keep the new tech that won't require an upgrade. The other way is to drop the price of the case, PSU, etc... That's not advisable since how often will somebody upgrade a case or power supply? Never? Buy something nice and stick with it. A case can last for years and years so buy good.

The only thing I can think of is to delete items which arn't required but can be added later on. Such as the Solid State Drive. I added this to give wicked performance on an already wicked system. You can also delete the sound card and use on board for now. Removing both of these gives a total of $1810.90 which is within budget.

Now here is a bit of info for you. Asus board since they just plain work. If your not a big computer geek get an Asus. They work, they work good. For memeory I gave DDR3 1600 which gives room for overclocking. I also choose good timings and OCZ which are very stable and reliable especially when overclocking. Wicked warranty as well which I doubt you'll ever need. For the price there is no need to choose other than the 1.5TB drive. Seagates are good with a good warranty. You could add a SOlid State drive for your OS and Apps but they are pricey. Just a cheapo DVD-RW for now. If you need BLueray it can be added. Just a plain 4870 video card but with 1GB. This is a great card for the price and a second one can be added down the line. I choose Asus cause the price was right for a half decent card. If you want something better the 4870X2 is good but very pricey just like hte new Geforce 295 stuff. I picked a good case and PSU but that's up to you. Whichever case you like I guess. The Antec is a great case and it has good cable routing behind the motherboard tray. I can't think of a better case in its price range. But in the end its up to a case you like. I just picked a good PSU for a decent price....nothing too extreme. I picked the Asus sound card cause they have the fewest driver issues of all the brands, and Asus also emulates EAX 5 which is a plus. Logitech Bluetooth combo. Bluetooth you want for wireless, and it was a nice combo for the price and has the separate numpad which is nice. I put in Vista 64bit. It's only $100 and obvious that you don't own an OS since you said your going to use XP. Go Vista and get with the times and Direct X 10+ which XP doesn't support.

The only downfall to my build is that I didn't included a heatsink. There isn't much selection for LGA1333 right now so I left it out. Use the OEM heatsink I guess. This is a good build with a premium price tag. Just don't get pissed in a years time when you take a look at I7 systems and DDR3 and see how low the prices get. It's new and the prices are a bit high...but it's not too bad and is a worthy purchase.

December 23, 2008 12:37:01 PM

A big case with lots of airflow is the best way to keep your parts cool and keep things quiet. For instance, most of the fans on my Silverstone TJ09 only need to run at very low RPM to keep my overclocked E8400 and 4870 cool.

This is why the Cooler Master HAF and the Antec 1200 get such high marks around here.

The NZXT Tempest you linked is decently cooled, but is not quite the same quality as the others I have linked.

If I were getting a Lian Li, it would likely be this one.


December 23, 2008 6:00:09 PM

Gondo - Thanks for the help, but it seems you have included a few things there that I simply do not need. For example, the 2nd HD and the 1.5TB (my old comp had a 750gb and I didn't fill it up in 3 years) so that is overkill for sure at least for me. I have a sound system that I will be hooking up to the computer so I don't need a sound card right?

I had Vista on a different computer... I think I will decide on operating system later on when I am ordering. (Still a few days away from being able to order)

Oh, is that RAM you selected better than the one I did? I think I just picked one with good reviews from top sellers, I didn't really put any thought in that choice. I would replace that one for yours though as long as its better heh.
But basically that build is very similar to mine if you take away the extra HD and sound card, just the video card I selected is a lot better as far as I know.

I actually like the Antec 1200 a lot, thanks for the that Proximon I think I will be getting that. It's between that and the Tempest now I guess, but I think I will go with the 1200.

So is that all I need? Just possibly replace the RAM, settle on a case and operating system, and the build is complete?
December 23, 2008 7:42:30 PM

Just an update, this is my current wishlist.

- Antec Twelve Hundred Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail
- EVGA 132-BL-E758-A1 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
- EVGA 896-P3-1265-AR GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
- CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
- Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 - Retail
- G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9T-6GBNQ - Retail
- Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST31000333AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
- Logitech 920-000914 Black Wired Ultra-thin Illuminated Keyboard - Retail
- RAZER Lachesis RZ01-00170100-R3M1 Banshee Blue 9 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Laser Gaming Mouse - Retail
- LG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model GH22LS30 OEM
- EDIMAX EW-7128G PCI Wireless Card - Retail

I'm under my budget by a good 400, so I'm thinking about getting this RAM and GPU instead.

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

Would just like to know how it looks overall, and if the GPU and RAM (upgrade?) is worth it and gonna make it a nice amount better. Thanks in advance..
December 23, 2008 8:17:51 PM

The build looks good!

I don't know if I'd spend that much on the RAM upgrade. The timings only go from 9-9-9-24 to 8-8-8-24. If you're considering a RAM upgrade, you might want to consider this one:

G.SKILL PI Black 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $239.99

That RAM's $10 cheaper than the Corsair and has a little better timings (8-8-8-21). I still don't know if it's worth $50 or not though.

I don't know if I'd spend over $100 for a GTX 280 upgrade either. The 850W PSU would be pushing it with SLI GTX 280's also I think. I'd keep the GTX 260 Core 216 and use the EVGA stup up program to get a new GTX 295 when they come out if they perform as well as it looks like they will.
December 23, 2008 8:30:45 PM

All right, I have substituted the RAM for that, and I will just keep this GTX and then get that new one later on. I was planning on getting another 260 in a couple months for SLI, but I guess I will just get the 295 single card.

So my total is 1700 which is awesome, thanks to everyone who helped me by the way. I just wanna know if that is IT, I don't need to buy ANYTHING more to get online and do whatever, right? (Excluding OS)

By the way, can anyone recommend me some lengthy guides on building a computer with this case or similar? I heard from a few people that the instruction manuals from each part are good enough, if anyone can confirm that I guess I can just decide on the OS already and order!
December 23, 2008 10:25:49 PM

The only thing holding me back from getting Vista is I am not sure if I will be able to play Call of Duty 2 on it... Someone told me that you can only play it on XP.

If it can I will just get it and dual boot with Windows 7 when the BETA publicly comes out...
December 23, 2008 11:58:48 PM

Bump before I gotta leave for a while.
December 24, 2008 2:02:53 AM

Do I need a sound card if I already plan on using my sound system? Someone told me that you still need one and some kinda heatsink... But Idk how reliable he is and I'm pretty naive right now but I do think that I have all I need... Would just like to make sure
December 24, 2008 4:25:06 AM

Bumpy for my questions..
December 24, 2008 4:28:34 AM

You don't need a sound card. Most people won't see a difference in sound quality between a card and onboard sound. At one time, onboard sound used up precious CPU cycles and so sound cards were recommended. These days, the amount of resources used is insignificant.

You may want an after-market CPU cooler if you intend to overclock the CPU.
This one is not available at newegg yet but is getting decent marks:
http://www.frozencpu.com/products/8431/cpu-cma-15/Coole...


December 24, 2008 4:43:27 AM

Thank you! I plan on OCing but not too much... I saw that people got up to like 3.6GHz on just stock air cooling so I figure I will try that.. if not when I am upgrading the GTX I will also buy a cooler if I can't OC normally.

Guess I will be buying it tonight! So excited lol
December 27, 2008 12:02:33 PM

Ok. The Antec 1200 has 2 ports in the back for watercooling pipes. It also has holes in the motherboard tray where you can run all your cables and hide them behind the tray. Behind the tray it has all the spots to tie your cables and it comes with many ties. The PSU mounts on the bottom which I like. I have no idea why others hate this? I have no problem with cables reaching. Tons of fans included (not addons), and all blue lights which most people prefer. it also comes with speed controllers for every fan in case you want to reduce noise while watching movies. There is noting fancy like in the NZXT and similar silent cases. Those cases have foam and plastic ports to make your case super silent...but its a pain to work with these cases and I hate them. The shape of the Antec also allows for the best USB port plasment up front I have ever seen. It also has ESATA up front which is a plus. Get with the times and every case should have ESATA. The top of the case also has a tray to lie your odds and ends, pencils, books, whatever. The wibndow also only shows the back half of the case, not the front half with the ungl drives and steel showing. The fans are also standard sizes, unlike Thermaltake which tends to use odd sizes which are hard to find. Overall a great case at a great price. Quality is top notch as well just like Lian-Li, Silverstone, etc.... One of the best.

As for the hard drive. I put 1.5TB cause the difference between that and a 500gb is only around $50 or less. It's crazy how cheap a 1.5TB is. Also think of 3 years down the line which do you want? A 500GB or a 1.5TB? Which is easier to pawn off or sell? If you do go cheaper, then consider 2 500GB drives and raid them for an automatic backup or higher sped.

As for your RAM. DDR3 1333 is standard speed. DDR31600 allows for overclocking. Also the I7 uses 3 sticks of RAM for triple channel...just like DDR2 usd dual channel. So you want a triple channel kit with 3 sticks or 6GB. Just get any 6GB kir DDR3 1600. Look at the price and timings. Get the cheapest RAM with good timings. sEven if something with worse timings is half the price go for it since its a great price. DDR3 1600 is more important than timings. Brand doesn't matter, as long as it's somthing good with lifetime warranty. Not no name brand ram. Corsaig, Crucial, GSkill, Mushkin, OCZ, etc.... it's all the same. They all jsut buy memory chips and build the sticks....all the same basically.

What else? Oh yeah your sound system. Look for a motherboard with SPDIF optical out. You can hook that to your sound system. What's nice about optical is you can get any length cable you want and it's cheap...just fibre optic. Or you can use HDMI out...get sound and video to your receiver...then send the HDMI video to an LCD or Plasma TV from your receiver. Sound cards, motherboards, video cards all support HDMI now and some motherboards have HDMI onboard. But I think you'll be going optical SPDIF out and run a DVI cable to an LCD monitor.

The benefit of using a sound card is higher quality sound as well as processing. Onboard sound uses let's say 8% of your CPU to pocess the sound. A sound card uses only 2% to process your sound. So when playing games, your FPS should increase when using a sound card since you have more CPU available. Onboard sound is getting better so its not as big an issue now, but soundcards still rule. You'll also have access to special effect programed into games. Such as EAX 5. You need a sound card for this. Good news is you can use on board sound with your stereo now, then upgrade to a soundcard down the line if you like.

AS for motherboard. There are many good brands, EVGA, DFI, Asus, etc... I just chooses Asus cause of its reputation, reliability, stability, warranty, etc... I was always an Abit fan until they went bust. Now I uses Asus with no problems. I am a computer consultant and own a store cattering to high end gaming systems and coporate servers. What I recommend in a built is...if in doubt choose an Asus. Same goes for cases...if in doubt or you don't know choose an Antec. Power supplies....Antec. Optical Drives - Pioneer or Plextor if you have the cash. Get the idea...those are fail safe options if your not the tech savy type who knows everything about computers.

But in the end I say there are many good choices...mine are not the only choices...and it's up to you in the end. Pick a case you like the look of and don't go only by my choice. I give you a guide to go by and hlp you out but you have the ultimate decision in the end. Ask many questions and get what you like and something you'll still enjoy 2 years down the road.
!