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1st build gaming rig - advice appreciated

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January 22, 2009 7:21:59 AM

This is my first build so any advice/criticism would be extremely welcome. I've only just started learning about hardware so don't be surprised if there's glaring issues with the build.

I'll just be using it for gaming, music, watching DVD's, and work. I already have a 22” LCD monitor so I'll have 1680x1050 res. Also, it'll be running on XP.

CPU - Intel E8600
MOBO - XFX nforce 780i (supports tri SLI)
RAM - OCZ 4gb 1066MHz Platinum DDR2
VIDEO - 2x eVGA GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB
POWER - Seasonic M12 SS-700HM
OPTICAL - Pioneer Dual Layer 20x 216BK
STORAGE - 2x Seagate 500GB 7200RPM (Raid 0)
CASE - Coolermaster CM690

I do have a few specific questions...

Will the motherboard fit in the case? (sorry about the dumb question)

Would a slightly more expensive quad core CPU be better for future proofing? I saw that the E8600 beat more expensive quads in the Crysis benchmarks, but perhaps a Q9550 would be better if it looks like games are going to be utilising more cores.

I read that the 780i wasn’t that power efficient; are there any better alternatives for an Intel SLI build?

Thanks!
January 22, 2009 7:37:09 AM

If you want SLI then the best route would be an x58 board with an i7, most sli boards for LGA 775 have a lot of issues. Better to go with xfire if you want to go with a core 2 quad or duo. For future proofing, Look at the Q9550 or the Q9650 (intel just slashed prices down to $316!), Duo's will likely fade out in the next couple years.

What is your budget? For $1500 you can build a decent i7. For ~$1250 a basic one.

Don't get seagate drives, they fail all the time. Go with Western Digital Caviar Black 640gb, about the fastest 7200RPM drives out there.

Not sure about that PSU, I haven't heard much about that company but usually a good name brand PSU is the best idea, since a failing PSU will take much of your system with it (there are some very entertaining/horrifying videos on youtube of flaming PC's as a result of failed PSU's). Look at PC Power & Cooling, Coolermaster Real Power Pro series, or Corsair; all solid PSU's.
January 22, 2009 8:30:53 AM

I got about 2400 (Australian dollars) to burn... I think that's about 1500 US. I think our hardware prices might be a bit higher, the Q9650 is about 540 AUD and the Q9550 is 429 AUD, i7 920 is 450.

Thanks for the tips about the hard drives and the psu!... I think I'll go look up those horrifying videos about PSU failure right now :)  It happened to my computer at work a few months back, just an old dell... no fire unfortunately, but the loud bang was pretty awesome.
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a b 4 Gaming
January 22, 2009 5:15:45 PM

@xthekidx: all good points, except I have to disagree about dropping the Seasonic and getting a CoolerMaster instead. That feels just wrong, sorry...

@OP:
Seasonic is one of the best PSU manufacturers, no worries there. They designed some of the most successful PSUs out there including the Corsair 650W and the PC Power & Cooling 750W. They specialize in high quality and silence, but their prices are rather high, at least in the USA and Canada. See if Corsair or PC P&C are cheaper where you live.

With a 22" monitor, you don't really need SLI or Crossfire. Also, a 780i MB with3 slots for video is way overkill, since your PSU can't take 3 of those cards.

Consider something like this:
Asus P5Q Pro or GA-EP45-UD3R or GA-EP45-UD3P
Q9550
GTX 295 or HD 4870 X2 or GTX 280 or HD 4870 1GB (I listed them with the most powerful/most expensive first)

January 22, 2009 6:02:36 PM

Well don't I feel foolish. Listen to the legend^^ he has never given bad advice.
a b 4 Gaming
January 22, 2009 6:11:31 PM

LOL, yes I have. For example I once told a guy to get a Freezer 7 Pro but, when he tried to install it, it didn't fit on his P5Q Deluxe. I don't think he likes me much now :( 

Your advice was fine too. The CoolerMaster RealPower 850W is indeed good stuff. CoolerMaster has a pretty bad rep, but it's because of some older models.
January 22, 2009 6:20:51 PM

also, just get one good video instead of 2 decent ones. It will cost you about the same for a gtx 285 as those 2 9800 gtx+'s and it will allow you to go sli in the future by adding another card, whereas you would have to throw out those other cards because they would be outdated.
January 22, 2009 6:25:11 PM

Yeah I am aware of coolermaster's bad rep, but their higher end psu's are good. I just wasn't aware of seasonic, guess I should do a little homework.
January 23, 2009 12:29:23 AM

aevm said:
Check this out.
http://www.eggxpert.com/forums/permalink/369181/323050/ShowThread.aspx#323050

About the MB fitting in the CM 690 - yes, the CM 690 is huge.

Not sure why you're buying DDR2-1066 but no CPU cooler. DDR2-800 is usually cheaper. You only need DDR2-1066 if you also get a high-end cooler and overclock a lot.

Thanks - I didn't know that. I'm not planning on OCing (at least not just yet) so I should probably get DDR2-800.

Glad to hear the case is big enough, I've got my heart set on that one.

I think I'll go with the Seasonic, the price is pretty reasonable at 189 AUD (124 USD).

I'm a bit of a Nvidia fan and I want to be able to go with SLI in the future, even if I just get one card at the moment. Most of the motherboards I've looked at only have support for Crossfire. Is there really much difference between going with SLI or Crossfire?
a b 4 Gaming
January 23, 2009 12:45:40 PM

That's because the best selling motherboards these days are based on Intel's P45 chipset, and nVidia refused to support SLI with P45. Big mistake on nVidia's part, as it turned out.

Between SLI and Crossfire: it depends on your favorite games. Some games scale very well with Crossfire, others with SLI, others with neither. If you play lots of games then it doesn't matter which way you go. If you only play one or two games then it's best to see what those games prefer. For example CoD prefers Crossfire and Crysis prefers SLI.
January 24, 2009 6:45:50 AM

I'm not really that hung up on any particular genre, so I guess it doesn't matter.

I've made a few revisions - how does this look? I'm not sure which ram would suit. The 850W PSU should be enough to handle SLI if I add another 260 later on.

CPU - Intel Core i7 920
MOBO - eVGA X58 SLI
RAM - ??
VIDEO - XFX GTX 260+
POWER - Seasonic M12D-850
OPTICAL - Pioneer Dual Layer 20x 216BK
STORAGE - 2x Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB
CASE - Coolermaster CM690

Also, thanks for helping me out xthekidx and aevm, I appreciate it :) 
January 24, 2009 7:30:40 PM

Look for this one:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or

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

Those kits have the best timings that I am aware of at 1600 mhz, although some would argue that the difference (in game/application performance) between 1600 and 1333 is negligible and not worth the cost. I am of the opinion though that once games are capable of using the bandwidth provided by the higher clocked memory it will be worth it.
January 25, 2009 3:38:53 PM

That'll work fine.
January 25, 2009 6:13:49 PM

xthekidx said:
If you want SLI then the best route would be an x58 board with an i7, most sli boards for LGA 775 have a lot of issues. Better to go with xfire if you want to go with a core 2 quad or duo. For future proofing, Look at the Q9550 or the Q9650 (intel just slashed prices down to $316!), Duo's will likely fade out in the next couple years.

What is your budget? For $1500 you can build a decent i7. For ~$1250 a basic one.

Don't get seagate drives, they fail all the time. Go with Western Digital Caviar Black 640gb, about the fastest 7200RPM drives out there.

Not sure about that PSU, I haven't heard much about that company but usually a good name brand PSU is the best idea, since a failing PSU will take much of your system with it (there are some very entertaining/horrifying videos on youtube of flaming PC's as a result of failed PSU's). Look at PC Power & Cooling, Coolermaster Real Power Pro series, or Corsair; all solid PSU's.


This guy is pretty much on point.

One tip. For the resolution the OP is going to run I would save the money on the 2nd gpu. That display will never allow you to take advantage of a multiple GPU platform. Single gpu solutions for the win! When you break the 1900 resolution barrier then sli/xfire shows its muscle. Keep in mind you are going to be OCing your CPU to carry that muscle around.
January 25, 2009 6:15:10 PM

midnight_dreary said:
I'm not really that hung up on any particular genre, so I guess it doesn't matter.

I've made a few revisions - how does this look? I'm not sure which ram would suit. The 850W PSU should be enough to handle SLI if I add another 260 later on.

CPU - Intel Core i7 920
MOBO - eVGA X58 SLI
RAM - ??
VIDEO - XFX GTX 260+
POWER - Seasonic M12D-850
OPTICAL - Pioneer Dual Layer 20x 216BK
STORAGE - 2x Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB
CASE - Coolermaster CM690

Also, thanks for helping me out xthekidx and aevm, I appreciate it :) 

January 25, 2009 9:20:03 PM

I was thinking about getting a 500GB Seagate hard drive myself (ST3500320AS specifically) since it's one of the few hard drives with a 32MB buffer that I've been able to find at such a low price but all this talk about how Seagate keeps screwing up their hard drives lately has me worried. Is the 32MB buffer that important, especially for read times, or should I go with a safer, 16MB choice?
a b 4 Gaming
January 25, 2009 9:44:11 PM

Get a WD6401AALS, it's one of the best drives these days.

The 32MB/16MB thing doesn't make a huge difference. For example WD6401AALS has 32MB and it's about 10% faster than its older version WD6400AAKS which has 16MB. However, the WD6401AALS has other improvements too, so the extra cache is not completely responsible for the extra 10% speed. I'm guessing the extra cache adds 3% or 5% to the speed at most.
January 25, 2009 9:54:55 PM

Non of the stores that I can order from have WD6401AALS but they do have WD6400AAKS and if it's just a question of 10% in speed then it will do just fine.
thanks
!