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Trying to finalize my decisions on my first build

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December 25, 2008 8:14:12 AM

I've spent a lot of time reading different reviews and guides and what not, and I think I've decided on the parts for my first build. Granted, I'm on a budget; I'm going to have an exponentially larger paycheck after being able to work a lot more during the holiday, and instead of being responsible and saving it, I'm going to spend it on a new computer, since all I have to pay for right now is food and gas. I'll have around 800 dollars to spend, but the closer to 600 I can make it, the happier I'll be. :D 

Anyway; I've got a Dell running on one of those dual core Pentium 4s that I just can't simply upgrade any further; I'll be using the GPU and PSU from it until I get more money later to upgrade them.

The parts I've picked out from Newegg:

Case: Cooler Master HAF 932
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(I know this could be cheaper, but I plan on venturing into overclocking, and the high air flow and cool look attracted me)

Mobo: MSI p7n sli platinum 750i
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU: Q6600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: Crucial Ballistix 4GB (2 x 2GB)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard Drive: WD Caviar 500gb
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Cooler: Xigmatek HDT-S1283
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
-with-
AS5 (Will this make a big enough of a difference?)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Optical Drive: Samsung dvd burner. Nothing special
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


GPU: I'll be using my trusty 8800gt
--until I have money for one of these fancy 55nm GTX 260s.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: Rosewill 550w
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
--Here's the main part in question; (I bought this originally with an 8800GTS because the stock power supply in my dell E510 wasn't going to cut it. Then I found out that I had a BTX case, and a dual slotted graphics card was out of the question. The 2nd slot was on top, facing solid metal of my case, and the heat sink collided with my CPU heat sink. Sending that back to newegg in return for a 8800gt made me sad) I'm not sure if a 550W power supply is going to cut it for my new system, or if Rosewill is reliable enough to be overclocking with.




So, my main goals here are to get an awesome computer for around 700 bucks that I can play anything on with acceptable amounts of eye candy, (I cannot WAIT for Starcraft 2!) and that will serve as a sturdy vessel for my first overclocking experience. When I got my last computer, the dell, (I love the thing but it's kinda screwed me over a few times with hardware) it was right before the Core 2 Duos came out. Granted, it is a dual core, and it's 3.0 ghz, but the fact that it's a Pentium 4 and not a Core 2, as I've come to realize, limits it a lot. Perhaps even to the point that it's bottlenecking my 8800gt. I'm hesitant to spend this money now, with the i7s coming out, in fear of setting myself up for a similar disappointment six months from now. Upgrading will always be an option for me, especially now that I'll have an ATX case, instead of the BTX bull that Dell was using four years ago. But if any of you think I'd be wiser to just wait until the i7 settles down in price, I'm ready to hear what you have to say.


Sorry for all the asides, haha. I appreciate all of your responses.
December 25, 2008 9:35:08 AM

Not a bad round of choices overall, except I'd get this motherboard instead: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The reason is that this board is a little cheaper, and it has better customer reviews. Your MSI board does not have a favorable set of reviews. Personally, I pay attention to what customers have said about something since the better the reviews, the less likely the product will be a lemon :p 
December 25, 2008 10:25:24 AM

Now I know ram speeds are usually negligable in performance, only having minor gains. But IMO I'd try and go for a 1066 or 1200 kit as the price difference is miniscule between them and the 800. I see you have chosen the Q6600, I'm going to assume you would want to overclock it even a bit to 2.7 or so, 1066 ram in this case would be a much preferred choice if an overclock is done.

Meh, my 2 cents. Hope you are expecting to get burned like I am, these 775 processors are most like gonna drop 7-15% in the next 3 months. :(  Then again, those bloody i7 will come down in price as well, impossible to win in the pc market. lol.
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December 25, 2008 10:43:48 AM

mobo:
i'd switch ur mobo to a P45 instead of that 750i for a couple of reasons.
1) that motherboard u picked out runs the second and third slots at 8x only, so it bottlenecks any SLI
2) the intel P45 chipsets from gigabyte and asus are known to be much better overclockers than the nvidia chipsets.
3) u can save money if u combo the P45's with the Q6600 like this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
or this one (with crossfire, altho it too is bottlenecked at 8x) http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

if u really care about SLI'ing, get a better mobo than that one


case:
Antec 900 is a very popular gamer case with plenty of airflow for much cheaper. get this if u want to save some money and put it on some other parts (especially the power supply): http://www.amazon.com/Antec-Nine-Hundred-Steel-Ultimate...

*note* its expensive on newegg right now. they usually put it on sale for $100-$110 with free shipping.


Power Supply:
Rosewill is not a reliable brand. get one from Corsair, PC Power and Cooling, OCZ, or Antec. try to get one that is 80+ certified (more reliable and provides better power to ur parts instead of creating heat). and remember, u dont want to go cheap on the one part that can die out AND take along all the other parts connected to it with it!


HD:
get the western digital 640GB drive. it has higher-density platters so its faster than the rest. get this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or if u really care about the 32MB cache:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


RAM
personal preference but i'd get the G SKill PI Black ram:

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

it overclocks to 1066 if that is what u'd want but i think ddr2 800 will be enough for u. it also has better rated timings than the crucial ballistix, altho according to a recent anandtech article, ur ram is just fine and its rated stats are actually higher than what the company says they are.

*edit* here is the RAM article i was talking about: http://anandtech.com/guides/showdoc.aspx?i=3476&p=3


Artic Silver
yes, it's worth it if ur overclocking. for just a few measly dollars, u can lower ur temps by a few degrees and squeeze that extra performance out of the CPU.


on another note, what is ur monitor's resolution? u might not need a GTX 260/280 if u have a low-resolution monitor.
that's about all i can think of for now. merry christmas =)
December 25, 2008 11:06:37 AM

Oh my - some interesting advice so far.

+1 - Rosewill is not a reliable PSU brand. If you can, get a better brand - Corsair, PC Power and Cooling, Antec Earthwatts, etc.

Get a Western Digital 640 GB HDD - much better performance for just a little bit more.

The comment about the RAM is ridiculous - it's good for you RAM to be in a 1:1 ratio with your FSB. If you were to overclock the Q6600 up to a 1:1 ratio with your RAM, you'd get it to 3.6. If you wanted to go further, Crucial Ballistix have proven to be very overclockable. If you were going to OC that CPU in a major way, you might want to check into 1066, but if not, DDR2 will actually be more than enough.

Another +1 for a P45 - I have an SLI board, but if you don't plan on SLI for sure, or will upgrade your GPU in the future and don't plan on 2 GPUs, the P45 is a good option.

Take what newegg reviewers say with a grain of salt. Not all are experienced and many review items there without owning the item. It's an OK starting point, but check around the hardware sites for more legit reviews.

Good luck.
December 25, 2008 6:41:19 PM

Ok, wow.

From this I've definitely decided to switch to that 640gb Western Digital, for sure, and pick out a more reliable power supply. Since I'll be getting a new power supply now, I know to look for 80+ certified (not really sure what that means though), but I'm not sure how much wattage I'll need. With the ultimate goal of having dual GTX 260s, what ballpark am I looking at here? I'll also want to have room for at least 4 hard drives (although it may not happen for a while; I've got plenty of space already, but I want to have the option to keep adding internal drives until my case or mobo is full).

As for my monitor resolution, I'll be running at 1680 x 1050 on my shiny new Samsung T220 (got it for $229 after a promo code and rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As for the RAM, I had picked the Ballistix out for the good review from Tom's Hardware; it's supposed to be very overclockable. I do want to be able to take the Q6600 as far as possible though; 3.6 would be great, but I've seen claims of 3.9, which would be awesome. I don't have the fullest understanding of overclocking yet, since my only experience has been reading as much as I can. I don't have any hands on experience. I don't want anything to limit my processor other than the processor itself; if I need to get faster ram in order to clear a path for my processor, I'll go for it, but if overclocking the ram to 1066 is possible and needed to get to higher processor speeds, I'll stick with the Ballistix. That is, unless any of you think that getting that RAM to 1066 would be difficult or dangerous. I'd liked the idea of getting that 800 RAM up to 1066, especially since the Tom's article said it was so overclockable.

As for the motherboard, I'm definitely open to changing, as I'd like to be able to overclock my processor as freely as possible, and don't want the motherboard limiting me either.
Though I won't be doing SLI for a while, I'd liked the idea of having it as an option. How much will the 8x limit the SLI performance? It may be six to eight months before I buy a second video card, but I plan on buying the first 260 as soon as I have the money. The big check I'm waiting for comes Jan. 2, and it may be enough with what I already have to get the first one now, but probably not. Either way, I doubt my 8800gt will be able to do very much at 1680. It does pretty well at 1280x1024, which is what I've been on forever. But I'm not sure about 1680 (the new monitor won't be here til Tuesday)

Point being, I'm definitely willing to do a P45 instead of the 750i, especially if it will make overclocking easier, but which would should I get to allow for the possibility of SLI in the future?

I really appreciate all your help. Merry Christmas!

Edit

So I didn't realize until after some poking around that the intel boards don't do SLI :lol: 

After knowing this, I'm trying to decide if I should resign to only ever having one GTX 260, or if I should consider ATI over nvidia. I've always preferred nvidia, but I seem to be hearing more and more about ATI these days.

So I guess that brings a few bigger questions into play: SLI or Crossfire? Or should I just stick with one card forever (or until the next major upgrade)? And if I do, should I stick with the planned 260 or consider an ATI card?

Resigning to only use one card with this system will save me a lot of money, but I'm just not sure. Any advice you guys have will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again
December 25, 2008 7:57:34 PM

Hello Diesel,

I really like your advice you provided here.. I too am building a new system and very much agree with your choices as I have just stepped down from making an I7 build list. The price quickly rose to 2000.00 and was highly advised to build the P45 system instead which would give me more bang for the buck. If you can see my post under New System Builds... I would really appreciate your help. I am taking note of all your suggestions here and will be recompiling my purchase list from new egg. I wanted to go over it with you and the rest of the experts here before the final purchase.
I just wanted to say again.. You are pretty cool taking the time to provide all this helpful information for people like me who have been out of the loop for quite some time. It is really helpful to me.
December 25, 2008 11:28:16 PM

If you are dead set on SLI, get the 750i or 780i board and one GTX 260, with the option for another in the future.

The GTX 260 and the 4870 perform very similarly and you might be better served by a P45 board and the ATI card. P45s will leave the option for crossfire in the future. The P45 boards are better overclockers.

From everything I've read the difference between x16 and x8 in SLI or Crossfire is only something like 3% at the high end. I don't believe this should be a great concern.

Good deal on getting a better PSU and the HDD change. Also, my crucial ballistix have been great for me.

Nice job on getting a Samsung monitor - I love mine.
December 26, 2008 12:27:39 AM

Yeah, after reading up on the ATI cards all day I've decided that I'll buy a 1gb 4870 as soon as I have the money, and I've decided to grab a combo deal for the motherboard and processor

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

As for the power supply, does Cooler Master have a good reputation? I really dig the looks of the HAF case I'd picked out, despite the extra cost associated with it. Aesthetics are important to me, and even though the Antec 900 is cool, the flat black and red LEDs appeal a lot more to me than the blue LEDs I see everywhere. Considering that, there's a combo deal with a 700w UCP power supply that takes 80 bucks off. Granted, the power supply was expensive to begin with, but the combo savings bring it down to the price of a normal psu (I think, I didn't spend a long time pricing those)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Huron, I appreciate your vote of confidence in the Ballistix. I'll be sticking with them.

On the hard drive, how much of a difference will the 32MB cache make? I mean it's only a few dollars difference, but if it's only a little bit of a difference, I think I'll just stick with 16MB. I guess I don't really know what the cache does... :( 


Thanks again
December 27, 2008 1:46:58 AM

CoolerMaster PSUs are OK, but not top tier. You don't like to skimp on PSUs.

Good deal on the Ballistix. I love mine.

The aesthetics is really up to you. I have an Antec 900 and it's fabulous. It does look cool in blue too, but if you like red and that's important, go ahead.

Nope, the cache size does not show a significant improvement. The WD 640 GB HDD are really good. If you are looking for slightly better performance, get the black model - it's a little more, but even better.
!