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Looking for input on a system I want to build

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Last response: in Systems
January 23, 2009 3:13:55 PM

Hi all - new to the site :hello:  - reading it a lot on recommendation of a friend while researching a new system. I am just looking for any advice/input on a system I am hoping to build. Some background:

-I am estimating to spend around $1500 Canadian (prices listed in CDN $). If I can stay in that price range or less, I will be happy.

-This is the first major new system I've built in some 7 years. I'd like my new system to be trailing edge or better so it will last me for some time (or be easy to upgrade).

-This will primarily be a gaming rig with focus on multitasking via web browsers, multiple MSNs, Winamp, and games running simultaneously sometimes.

-I will likely have the store I am going to purchase from (www.cedgec.com) build the system for me.


Knowing the above - I am looking for as much bang for my buck as possible, while also being mindful of having longevity in the system. Below is what I have my eye on, but I am also listing alternatives as well in the hopes that I can narrow my options down (and maybe save a few bucks).
Help? It would be much appreciated!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

CPU - Intel Core i7 920 2.66Ghz LGA1366 Bloomfield 8Mb Cache Quad Core Processor ($380)
(Could I do just as well with a high powered duo-core right now? Will it last me some time?)

Mobo - ASUS P6T X58 LGA1366 DDR3 3PCI-E16 PCI-E1 2PCI CrossFire SLI Sata2 ($310)
(Flexible on this...I just want something that will support my components and allow me to upgrade a wee bit?)

Vid Card - Asus or Sapphire Radeon 2Gb HD 4870x2 PCI-E GDDR5 Dvi/Tv ($550-650)

RAM - Ocz (2x2Gb) Gold XTC DDR3 PC3-1066 Dual Channel Memory ($145)
(My mobo might force me into DDR3, but again, if I switch up some components, can I get away with some fast DDR400?)

Power Supply/Case - This one is tricky as I am not overly picky with a case - other than it needs to be decent for cooling and if it has power already....great. I was aiming for 600w, but have been advised to go higher. I have not done any calculations as to what I WILL need for components. (Could be anywhere from $60-200)

Hard Drive - Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200Rpm 32Mb Cache Sata2 ($130)
(Flexbile on brand. I've never used SATA before and have a 500gb IDE drive I could use for whatever reason)

MISC - I am ok with onboard Sound and LAN. Assuming any MOBO will have USB 2.0. I want to have an # in 1 memory card reader (Flash etc) installed. I already have mouse, keyboard and monitor.
I would PREFER to continue using Windows XP home 32-bit. Not a fan of Vista. But if there are advantages, I will move OS.

Cooling - what fans/heatsinks can I add (or need)? And can I get away with a funky LED fan? Do I need to consider water cooling?



Thanks!! :love: 

More about : input system build

January 23, 2009 5:40:18 PM

Your motherboard is tri-channel DDR3. You should buy something like this:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...
You cannot use DDR400 :p 

We don't allow the purchase of bad power supplies around here. You will buy a decent one, even if you don't like it.

The Seagate drives have had some serious issues. They test fast, but the fail rate has been quite high. Stick with Western Digital Caviar Black.

See my guide and parts list for more info... I'm off to work on the parts list right now.
January 23, 2009 5:58:50 PM

Thanks Proximon. I did read your guide earlier. Very helpful thanks.
I guess what I am most worried about is having an i7 and DDR3 and such and having it be more than I need (having read other articles on this site that suggests not every game/piece of software uses/works with a quad core?

(I've been out of the loop for some years now, so I'm not all that well read.

Anyhow - could I save some money by just getting a fast duo core, DDR400 (or decent) Ram and an older but solid mobo? Or am I on the right track with my build as is?

Noted on the power supply - do I just need more wattage however
Related resources
January 23, 2009 6:09:40 PM

The HD 4870 X2 would be fine with a 750W PSU. I would recommend a Corsair 750TX (C$120):
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=26415&vpn=CMPSU-750TX&manufacture=CORSAIR

You should definitely get a quad-core CPU, based on your first post. I just don't think you need a Core i7. For your budget you might as well get a Q9550 or similar, which would allow you to save a lot on MB and RAM.

I'll try to put together a list for you to see how that would work out. The x58 motherboard are nice, with slots for 3 video cards, but with a 750W PSU and a HD 4870 X2 you can't really add even a second card, let alone a third, and it wouldn't scale well in games anyway. You might as well save about $200 with a P45 motherboard, and maybe $100 with DDR2-800 instead of DDR3.
January 23, 2009 6:12:21 PM

You do not need to consider water cooling. That's for serious overclockers only, or maybe for the rabid audiophile who wants perfect silence. It's a pain to maintain and it would blow your budget to do it properly.

Vista Home Premium 64-bit would be a better choice than Xp 32-bit. With XP 32-bit you don't get DirectX 10, and it would only see 2GB or 3GB of RAM because the video card has a lot of RAM on it and it needs addressing space for it.
January 23, 2009 6:21:12 PM

Thanks muchly aevm! Perfect feedback for me. Interested in the trade off's on less new but still great tech for lower prices. Esp. if I don't need to go to DDR3 ram since the other stuff is so much cheaper.

I think I will only see myself using one video card ever - I'm not too picky and not that wealthy either :) 
January 23, 2009 6:21:20 PM

Your PSU wattage needs are mostly dictated by your GPU choice... you can pick the wattage later. Mostly you want other things in a PSU. Stable voltage, low voltage ripple, low noise/heat, warranty, etc. It's a far more important part of your computer than you may think.

As to whether you need dual core or quad, that's more up to your computing habits and the programs you use.

It sounds to me as if you would be advised to get a Q9650 and P45 board. RAM would be much cheaper, and you would free up enough cash to cover a decent PSU and case, and possibly even upgrade your video card.

You folks are still waiting for the Q9650 price to drop though, so you might have to settle for Q9550:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Gigabyte UD3P P45 board
G.Skill DDR2 800
EVGA GTX 280 I think aevm recommended a 4870X2... it's faster, but I like the single-GPU solution better for the price.
PC P&C 750W
Cooler Master HAF




January 23, 2009 6:26:57 PM

You could try something like this (prices from www.ncix.com)

GA-EP45-UD3P $162
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=34003&vpn=GA%2DEP45%2DUD3P&manufacture=Gigabyte

Q9550 $392
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=30576&vpn=BX80569Q9550&manufacture=Intel

Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 X2 750MHZ 2GB GDDR5 $616
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=32691&vpn=21137%2D00%2D40R&manufacture=SAPPHIRE

Corsair 750TX $120
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=26415&vpn=CMPSU-750TX&manufacture=CORSAIR

G.SKILL F2-6400CL4D-4GBPI-B PC2-6400 4GB 2X2GB DDR2-800 CL4-4-4-12 240PIN Pi Black Series Memory Kit $68.33
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=33651&vpn=F2%2D6400CL4D%2D4GBPI%2DB&manufacture=G%2ESKILL

WD 640GB $101
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=34286&vpn=WD6401AALS&manufacture=Western%20Digital%20WD

Antec 300 $80
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=29812&vpn=THREE%20HUNDRED&manufacture=ANTEC

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium Edition 64BIT DVD OEM $146
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=22438&vpn=66I%2D00788&manufacture=Microsoft

Samsung SH-S223F/BEBN 22X $33
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=35591&vpn=SH%2DS223F%2FBEBN&manufacture=Samsung

Total $1718.

Let me check ncix's weekly junk mail now, maybe there are some coupons there you could use.

Try www.memoryexpress.com too. Maybe try some price-matching.

Depending on your province, you may not have to pay PST.



January 23, 2009 6:28:42 PM

LOL, I hadn't seen Proximon's post above. Great minds think alike :) 

I even had the HAF 932 on my list too, but I switched to Antec 300 to save $100.

It looks like Newegg.ca is cheaper than NCIX for those parts.
January 23, 2009 6:36:35 PM

With either GTX 280 or HD 4870 X2 you'll be fine at 1680x1050 or less, IMO. If you have to cut costs and settle for the GTX 280 don't feel too bad, it's still a very good card.

Also, with either of them on a P45/750W setup you can't add a second card anyway, so it's good you're not interested in that.

The PC P&C 750W Proximon found is better than the Corsair 750W I found. I was going to recommend the PC P&C myself but it was $20 more at NCIX. At newegg.ca prices, the PC P&C is a better choice.

Check out the RC-690 case too, it's very popular.
$87
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119137

January 23, 2009 6:43:28 PM

Do you think the 4870x2 has the edge though? (And will I get more out of it over the long-haul?)
January 23, 2009 6:46:50 PM

(Orrrrrr is there any value is slapping 2 cheap but efficient cards in crossfire? Assuming I won't get enough longevity out of that tho?)
January 23, 2009 7:28:35 PM

one more query - could I instead do windows xp in 64-bit?
(not a vista fan.....)
January 23, 2009 7:46:08 PM

XP 64-bit is excellent for business work. I'm using it right now as I type. Very stable, runs Visual Studio like a champion. However, game companies don't normally test their products on it. They test on XP 32 and Vista 64. You're taking a pretty big risk with XP 64. Some games may work, some won't.

Between GTX 280 and HD 4870 X2. The HD 4870 X2 has the edge all right, but some times it's overkill. It depends on the game.

Some poorly programmed games like Crysis will just ignore the second GPU, and you end up with results like 42 fps for GTX 280 and 40 fps for HD 4870 X2 (both at 1680x1050)
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3372&p=6
At 1920x1200, the HD 4870 X2 wins (40 fps vs 36 fps). In general, with a 24" monitor or larger the HD 4870 X2 is worth it IMO.


Then you have games developed by competent people, where the results are like 37 fps for GTX 280 and 60 fps for HD 4870 X2. (Age of Conan, 1680x1050)
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3372&p=5


Also, there are games where it doesn't matter. E.g. GRID (GTX 280 gets 65 fps, HD 4870 X2 gets 98 fps), where on paper the ATI card spanks nVidia's card but in reality they are equal because the monitor refreshes at 60 Hz.
Same thing in Oblivion (HD 4870 X2 ahead by 20 fps but the GTX 280 is still good enough to max a 22" monitor). Same thing in Quake Wars (ATI ahead by 43 fps but it doesn't matter).


January 23, 2009 8:25:34 PM

Quote:

GA-EP45-UD3P $162
http://www.ncix.com/products/index [...] e=Gigabyte

Q9550 $392
http://www.ncix.com/products/index [...] ture=Intel

Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 X2 750MHZ 2GB GDDR5 $616
http://www.ncix.com/products/index [...] e=SAPPHIRE

Corsair 750TX $120
http://www.ncix.com/products/index [...] re=CORSAIR

G.SKILL F2-6400CL4D-4GBPI-B PC2-6400 4GB 2X2GB DDR2-800 CL4-4-4-12 240PIN Pi Black Series Memory Kit $68.33
http://www.ncix.com/products/index [...] =G%2ESKILL

WD 640GB $101
http://www.ncix.com/products/index [...] gital%20WD

Antec 300 $80
http://www.ncix.com/products/index [...] ture=ANTEC

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium Edition 64BIT DVD OEM $146
http://www.ncix.com/products/index [...] =Microsoft

Samsung SH-S223F/BEBN 22X $33
http://www.ncix.com/products/index [...] re=Samsung

Total $1718.

Good set up, but imo, if you drop the card down to a 4850/4830 you could get a Core i7 for that price. You can probably CrossFire later with either setup.

Also a question that hasn't been asked from the OP:
What games do you plan to run and at what resolution?
January 23, 2009 8:33:25 PM

Quote:
XP 64-bit is excellent for business work. I'm using it right now as I type

+1. I too run XP x64, and MOST games DO run fine (and some times you need to set them to Compatibility mode). I can attest these games will/should run fine on XP x64:
Crysis (including Warhead)
Spore
Half Life
CSS
Warcraft (including WoW)
Starcraft
Halo CE
Far Cry 2
Sim City

Possible problems:
GTA4
Oblivion
January 24, 2009 12:11:20 AM

That's not bad at all, actually :) 

I haven't tried installing games on my work PC (with XP-64). Most of my programs did work, except for WinRar and WinZip (they work but without the ability to right-click in Windows Explorer and send commands from there), the Norton antivirus, Spybot, our bug-tracking software, and a couple of other things. Mind you, some of those would probably refuse to work on Vista too. Also, I couldn't find a 64-bit driver for our HP color laser printer, so I've been reduced to B/W printouts on our other printer ever since I upgraded.
January 24, 2009 12:42:20 AM

^Really? I can do that in Explorer.


XP x64
As far as drivers go, yeah that's a problem esp. with printers and WiFi. Btw, why Norton?????
January 24, 2009 12:57:20 AM

LOL, Norton, it's company policy, the IT guy picked it. I'm now using Microsoft Forefront and it's not bad at all.

Thanks for telling me about WinRar. I'll find some other versions and try them. It would be really nice to fix that.
January 24, 2009 11:33:26 AM

Nice suggestions by aevm and proximon.

I too have used XP x64 - I had some issues with some games sometimes as well.

You will have less issues now that Vista x64 is more mainstream, but sometimes you might have to edit installers to make it OK on XP x64 - I used orca, an .msi editor, to help. There are tutorials out there to help as well.

I never understood the Norton issues either. I finally switched to Vista x64, via a really cheap upgrade. The other one that is a pain is iTunes on XP x64.
January 24, 2009 1:06:41 PM

Vista 64.....until the formal release of Windows 7, it is the only way to go.
January 24, 2009 6:38:38 PM

Yup, Orca works ok some times.
January 25, 2009 9:26:52 PM

What could I do in the meantime regarding the OS? I don't think I can wait long enough to wait for Win 7 :D 

In response to an earlier question: I'm gonna wanna be able to play things like TF2, L4D, Counterstrike, and older FPS' like the Battlefield Series, and Star Wars Galaxies (the emulator version if its ever done). CoD 4 & '5'. Looking forward I want to be able to play Diablo 3, the rumored SW Battlefront 3. etc...Oh and the new SW MMO by Bioware.

My Radeon All in Wonder 9800 Pro just died on me in the call. A buddy has given me his 9600 All in Wonder to use for now. So I've been running most of the (released) games above fine for over 5 years on that 9800, a P4 2.4 on a P4PE board with 1 gig of ram. I want to get that sort of longevity out of my new system (and not feeling the need to be a perfectionist with it either).
January 26, 2009 12:12:37 PM

You could get the Beta of Windows 7 as on OS, then just buy it when it is released.
January 26, 2009 12:55:44 PM

huron said:
You could get the Beta of Windows 7 as on OS, then just buy it when it is released.


I thought I'd read that when the beta was up, they'd lock 7 down until you purchase a copy? Any idea?

Otherwise I think that's what I'll wind up doing. Thanks Huron!
January 26, 2009 7:50:19 PM

Good deal. I hope it works out for you. For the most part, it seems Windows 7 is pretty stable and the drivers from Vista work in it, so none of those early adopter worries (well probably some bugs, but not like your GPU not working like in early Vista days).
February 5, 2009 7:44:10 PM

Me again....just updating this thread with the build I've researched the most and more or less decided on (thanks in part to the feedback I received here). I can get the price between $1480-1650 depending on the fluctuation of component price and website (before shipping and taxes). Hoping to get a local store to price match. Any other feedback would be appreciated. Thanks again!

-COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black Computer Case
-CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W Power Supply
-GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P ATX Intel Motherboard
-Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 2.83GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor
-SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 4870 X2 100251SR Video Card
-G.SKILL 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Quad Kit Desktop Memory
-SAMSUNG Spinpoint F1 1TB 3.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
-nMEDIAPC ZE-C98 All-in-one USB 2.0 Card Reader with USB/IEEE 1394/e-SATA Port/HD Audio Ports

Alternate case that I kinda want and might yet get:
-XCLIO A380BK Fully Black Computer Case With Side Panel Window
February 10, 2009 1:59:06 AM

Agreed - crazy lights/fans, the XClio is a monster.