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New Gaming Build -- I'm a noobie please double-check for me!

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December 27, 2008 9:53:34 PM

EDIT (Updated build):

PSU: PSU to PC Power & Cooling S75CF [$70]
Mobo: ASUS P5Q Pro LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard [$130]
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 Wolfdale 3.16GHz LGA 775 65W [$188]
CPU Fan: XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler [$27]
RAM: G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) [$50]
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 32MB Cache [$80]
DVD Burner: SAMSUNG 22X DVD Burner Black [$25]
GPU: HIS Radeon HD 4870 1GB [$240 ]
Case: NZXT TEMPEST [$70]
OS: MS Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit [$100]
----------------------------------

I've never built a computer before, but after several days of reading and trying to figure everything out I've settled on:

PSU: 750W ATX12V/EPS12V SLI NVIDIA SLI Certified(Dual 8800 GTX and below) CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply [$135]
Mobo: ASUS P5Q Pro LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard [$130]
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 Wolfdale 3.16GHz LGA 775 65W [$188]
CPU Fan: ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro 92mm CPU Cooler [$27]
RAM: G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) [$50]
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 32MB Cache [$80]
DVD Burner: SAMSUNG 22X DVD Burner Black [$25]
GPU: GeForce GTX 260 [$250 - $420]
Case: Antec 900 [$110]
OS: MS Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit [$100]

Please help me out with anything that needs to be switch out or reconsidered. I think the CPU(which i hope to OC a bit) and PSU will be pretty quiet but I'm unsure about the case and GPU.

I also don't know about the video card i'm getting.... It looks good but will it fit in that case and will it have a loud fan? There are multiple versions of the card with a huge range in price so I'm not sure which one to get either. Any feedback would be awesome! Another thing is if there is a significant bottleneck in this system please tell me because I can afford a few hundred more if i need to.
December 27, 2008 10:08:59 PM

Change the PSU to PC Power & Cooling S75CF ($70 at newegg after rebates)
I have that one and it's very quiet indeed.

Replace the cooler with a Xigmatek HDT-S1283.

With a Crossfire MB, I'd get a HIS HD 4870 1GB ($230 after rebates). For one thing, it's a bit faster than the GTX 260 Core 216. For another, you can add a second one in Crossfire. You can't do that with the GTX 260 and the P5Q Pro.

Change the case to NZXT Tempest. More fans, extremely roomy, same looks, only $60 after rebates.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341011
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161247
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146047

If you can afford a few hundred more and you add the savings from case and PSU, then get a HD 4870 X2 video card. It's the best thing you can do for a gaming PC these days.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814129114
There's a GTX 295 too. That will probably beat the HD 4870 X2, but it's not out yet and no idea how much it will cost and what it can actually do.

After that, if you still have money left for upgrades, change the E8500 to Q9550.
December 27, 2008 10:11:57 PM

Overall you have a good setup. There isn't any "real" info on the PSU, I would love to know who made it, or how many amps it as on the 12v rail(s). This is really the only problem spot I see. $135 is a good price for a 750W, so its probably a good PSU.

The only other issue I see is your E8500. This is a tough CPU to overclock, as its running so fast already. Others will correct me I'm sure, but the C2D tends to top out around 3.5-3.7GHz on air. This means you only have a few hundred megahertz to add. If you want lots of overclocking fun, grab a 7200 or a lower 8xxx and overclock that. People buy the E8500 because they don't want to run the risk of overclocking.

As for your GPU question, make sure you get the 216 SP card. The 192 SP cards are ok, but would get outclassed by the 4870 more often then not. Seeing as all cards are the same, look for a good warranty and bundle. This is how cards are separated these days.
Related resources
December 27, 2008 10:15:31 PM

Thanks for the feedback! Any idea how noisy the 4870 & NZXT case would be? I've heard the 4870's run hot, so would I need to get some extra cooling?
December 27, 2008 10:27:51 PM

With the NZXT Tempest? No worries about extra cooling. It has 6 fans, two of which are 140mm. That can cool anything.

About the GPU: for example in Crysis HD 4870 1GB gets 40 fps at 1680x1050, and the GTX 260 Core 216 gets 37 fps. Either would be quite fine IMO. Just be careful to avoid the 512MB HD 4870, as well as the older GTX 260 (192 SP) as 4745454b said.
http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.aspx?i=3415&p=4

Here's a comment about the HIS HD 4870 1GB, from a newegg customer:
Quote:

Cons: Not a whole lot to complain about.... It does run hot if you leave CCC to actively set the fan speed. But i chose to set it manually to 36% and the card is barely audible, but runs at about 58-61c LOAD!


You should do the same. With your case, I expect it will be less than 58c under load. Those temps are very good in fact. For example my 8800GTX works at about 80 degrees Celsius under load, and it's still just fine after a year and a half.
December 27, 2008 10:31:05 PM

One more thing: if you get the Antec 900 you'd have a switch allowing you to turn the fans down when not playing. That's good if you want the quietest box possible while just surfing or watching movies on the PC.

You can achieve the same thing with the Tempest if you get a fan controller.
December 27, 2008 11:49:38 PM

Thanks for the tips aevm. I read up on everything and decided to go with ALL of your suggestions (except I'm not sure if the X2 is worth the extra $250 for my broke a$$). My updated build looks like this:

PSU: PSU to PC Power & Cooling S75CF [$70]
Mobo: ASUS P5Q Pro LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard [$130]
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 Wolfdale 3.16GHz LGA 775 65W [$188]
CPU Fan: XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler [$27]
RAM: G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) [$50]
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 32MB Cache [$80]
DVD Burner: SAMSUNG 22X DVD Burner Black [$25]
GPU: HIS Radeon HD 4870 1GB [$240 ]
Case: NZXT TEMPEST [$70]
OS: MS Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit [$100]

Does anybody have any other suggestions or thoughts about this setup before I order? 4745454b mentioned that maybe I should consider getting a different CPU. Should I get the Quadcore 2.4Ghz or something? Another thing I just realized is this build is turning out to be pretty inexpensive so maybe I SHOULD go with the X2 or some other upgrade. Thoughts anybody?
December 27, 2008 11:53:15 PM

What size monitor will you be using?
December 28, 2008 12:07:33 AM

At those prices, you'd be silly not to buy an i7... I paid twice as much for my 650 watt PSU and twice as much for my NZXT Tempest...

Don't buy a 4870X2, that'd be a waste of money for the performance gained in relation to your monitor. If you have money to burn, try the Gigabyte X58 with an i7 920.
December 28, 2008 12:13:50 AM

You're talking about these i assume:

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

If I got these instead I think I'd have to get DDR3 but everything else in my edited build would work fine, right?

What would be the advantages to upgrading these things? (sorry for being rather ignorant -- I'm trying to learn as much as possible here!) I know the quad core would be good for multiple processes and certain single processes, but would the better mobo help other than to just accomodate ddr3 and i7 CPU?
December 28, 2008 12:20:21 AM

DDR3 memory, cooler, etc. You could keep the case, PSU, and drives/cards. Everything else would need to go.
December 28, 2008 1:01:06 AM

You won't see a huge difference right now in video games, but it is future proofing. Quad cores are becoming very mainstream, so quad core support in games will be coming.

You're in a dilemma though. You're monitor is big and good enough alright. It is not outdated, but not that great at the same time (1920x1200 resolution would be perfect). Your next upgrade would be a video card, but that monitor doesn't really require it.
December 28, 2008 1:21:39 AM

If you switch to i7 you need an X58 motherboard and 3x1GB or 3x2Gb DDR3. That adds an extra $250 or so to the cost, unfortunately. The cooler would need to be LGA1366, not LGA775.

You could upgrade the E8500 to Q9550, or change it to Q6600, for future-proofing. You can get some idea of the impact here:
http://www.legionhardware.com/document.php?id=775&p=2
In FSX a quad would make a huge difference, while in other games the difference will not be noticeable and in fact the E8500 may do better. If you encode videos or do certain types of work (programming, databases, CAD) a quad could be a major improvement, depending on what software you use and how smart it is. Future games are supposed to prefer quads, but nobody knows how soon that will happen. Proper multithreaded programming is the nastiest problem in software development. I know because I've done a bit myself :) 


For a 22" monitor a single HD 4870 1GB is good. For example it can do Crysis with 40 fps at 1680x1050, according to a review at Anandtech. Add a second one if you ever buy a 24" or 30" monitor and your card doesn't prove up to the new challenge.


December 28, 2008 1:38:34 AM

Sounds good to me. I'm going to go ahead and order then. This is only going to cost about $1,100 after rebates so in a couple years I can upgrade everything if needs be without regret.

Thanks for all the info guys (especially aevm for the very detailed and thorough responses)!
January 1, 2009 8:23:06 PM

I know this is an old thread but could somebody answer one more quick question for me?

Will Vista Home Premium 64bit support all this hardware? I heard that home edition doesn't support dual processors.... Am I getting the wrong version of windows here? Should I be getting ultimate edition or something?
January 1, 2009 8:41:17 PM

Will Vista Home Premium 64bit support all this hardware? Yes

I heard that home edition doesn't support dual processors.... ASUS P5Q Pro is a single processor MB so you're OK. Just one socket for the CPU = single processor. Even though your E8500 has dual cores it's still a single processor. A Quad core Q6600 or Q9550 is also a single processor.

Am I getting the wrong version of windows here? Should I be getting ultimate edition or something? Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit is exactly what you want. Vista versions compared
January 1, 2009 8:41:57 PM

Short answer, any version of Vista or XP is fine for what you bought. People do tend to avoid the 64bit version of XP due to driver issues.

Long answer, MS had to change their license rules when dual core CPUs came about. Way back when, if you wanted to have two CPUs, you have to have two sockets. Sockets is how MS decided how much you should pay. If you were a home user, you probably only had the single socket/core. Servers and workstations often had two sockets, allowing for two seperate CPUs/Cores. This meant they needed to run the pro/server editions of windows. When multi core CPUs came out, MS drop the core requirement, and stuck with the socket requirement. Home should not work with dual socket motherboards, but you can still use the multi core CPUs in the one that will be seen.
January 1, 2009 8:49:48 PM

Ok - Thanks guys!
January 1, 2009 9:31:07 PM

yeah xp 64 bit is a bit buggy...
!