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First System Build - Gaming Rig - Components inside!

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February 11, 2009 2:02:00 AM

I am in dire need of an upgrade, so I thought I would build myself a PC. This system will be pretty much exclusively used for gaming, aside from general purpose computing. I'm new to the build-you-own scene, and so I thought I would seek advice from the knowledge base here. Below is a list of components I was thinking of using for my new rig. I'll need everything to put together a fully-functioning system, so if I've missed anything please let me know. Note that all prices are in Canadian dollars:

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor $202.99

UPDATED: GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard $159.99

UPDATED: G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory x2 $136.08

SAPPHIRE 100251SR Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB 512-bit (256-bit x 2) GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card $528.09

CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply $159.99

UPDATED: XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler $45.99

UPDATED: Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive $98.49

LG Black 22X (CAV) DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X (CAV) DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 22X DVD±R DVD Burner $29.99

NZXT TEMPEST Crafted Series CS-NT-TEM-B Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $134.09

UPDATED: Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders $149.99

Subtotal: $1,645.69
Taxes: $197.64
Shipping: $65.09
Total: $1,908.42

Things to keep in mind are that I will probably want to overclock the CPU as much as possible on standard air cooling while remaining very stable. I will also be getting a 24" monitor running at a resolution of 1920x1200 locally, as well as a 2.1 speaker system. Keyboard and mouse are already owned as well.

As far as budget is concerned, this is about as high as I would like to go, and if I could I would rather spend much less. I am looking for a gaming system that will run pretty much anything at the specified resolution, and with that being said, if the GPU listed is overkill feel free to make suggestions.

Thanks in advance for your comments, help, and suggestions! I look forward to putting this together.
February 11, 2009 2:04:38 AM

With that graphics card on 32 bit OS your system will only be able to see 2GB of your 4GB of RAM, I believe.
February 11, 2009 3:35:32 AM

Get tis mobo instead...very very gud compared to the intel u have chosen for...
just a few bucks more but certainly worth it...
GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
$159.99
Free Shipping*
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Faster and bigger HDD for abt $6 more...
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $98.49
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

Other specs looks gud but i feel ushould either overclock ur e8400 or buy a faster cpu to keep up with the 4870X2....but it shuld be fine...
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February 11, 2009 4:13:39 AM

Xigmatech Dark Knight is a better cooler For about the same price, I would go for that. I would also get the Mobo that gkay09 suggested.

Definitely get 64bit OS with that Card, you will severely limit your performance with a 32bit os.

Better timings on this ram at low voltages and just a few bucks more than what you are paying for that Patriot ram
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

You would probably be fine running a GTX 285 at that resolution and not have any problems, so that could save you some money. But I would not go below that.
February 11, 2009 4:28:10 AM

First of all, go to NCIX.com because they have better prices and weekly sales that will save you a few bucks. They have a new sale that starts every Wednesday and they can price match. Also look at directcanada.com.

For your needs, you could also look at the E7400 or E7500 to save a little bit of cash. They will overclock to comparable levels.

Get the Gigabyte EP45-UD3R mobo because it's cheaper and you can't Crossfire the 4870x2 on a P45 chipset anyway (because you will have exceeded the x8 lane's capacity).

+1 on the 4870x2 card--I would definitely go with this.

The Corsair 750TX is great, but I think that the PCP&C Silencer 750 is cheaper (especially the red one).

Look at the G.Skill Pi Black DDR2-800 RAM suggested by xthekidx. Or comparable Mushkin if cheaper in Canada.

Get the Xigmatek HDT-S1283 heatsink with Thermalright LGA 775 Bolt-Thru kit and MX-2 thermal paste. It's cheaper than your selection.

If it's cheaper, the Samsung SH-S223F optical drive does the same job.

Get the Caviar Black 640GB drive--it's faster for less.

Definitely get the 64-bit version of Vista Home Premium SP1--you've got a lot of wasted RAM under 32-bit.

This should be a very sweet gaming build!
February 11, 2009 6:13:42 AM

Alright, so I've made a few changes based on your feedback as follows:

G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory x2 $136.08

I added another 4GB of memory to this system. Will I see any large benefits from having 8GB of memory, or is the previous amount of 4GB sufficient?

XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler $45.99

With the amount of positive feedback I've read about this CPU cooler, coupled with the fact that it is about $20 cheaper than the previous product I chose, I'd be insane not to go with the HDT-S1283. Regarding the thermal glue, I'm not too familiar with such a product, however this should improve cooling by a couple degrees and eliminate the risk of short circuit, making my overclocking plans safer, correct?

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard $159.99

Definitely don't need a CrossFire board for the setup I am planning, so this seems to be a perfect fit for price to performance ratio.

Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive $98.49

Don't know how I missed this, honestly. For about $7 I'm getting another 140GB; can't go wrong there.

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders $149.99

Updated Total (including shipping and taxes): $1,908.42

A couple of you have commented on the selection of CPU. After overclocking, will this still be a bottleneck for the system?
February 11, 2009 2:41:19 PM

I do not know first-hand, but would be concerned about driver and/or scaling issues with any X2 card. With that high resolution, 512MB might not be quite enough. Unless a primary game is Crysis, you might do just fine with a 1GB version of the HD4870. That would save some money.
February 11, 2009 5:18:55 PM

Your cpu will be fine for gaming, its a little lacking when it comes to mutlitasking abilities, but for most games, with the exception of GTA4 it will do just great.
February 12, 2009 12:58:11 AM

You do not need 8GB for gaming; 4GB is plenty. However, depending on what your "general purpose computing" is, 8GB may or may not be useful. If you work with large data files or like to have many apps open at once, then 8GB is useful. If you run many different programs, then prefetch will also take advantage of 8GB. One simple way to test your needs is to start with 4GB and then only get another 4GB if you find that the computer is going to the swap file a lot. RAM is about the easiest thing to install, so it doesn't hurt to start with 2 sticks if you need to save money.

You must use thermal paste with a cooler. If you want to overclock, then I wouldn't go with anything less than MX-2. The thermal paste fills in the microscopic pits and valleys of the mating surfaces to enhance thermal conductivity between the CPU heatspreader and the heatsink base. MX-2 is electrically non-conductive, which is why some prefer it over Arctic Silver 5 (i.e. no short-circuits if you apply too much and it squirts out all over the place).

For Gigabyte mobos, the EP45-UD3R is the non-Crossfire version. The UD3P is the Crossfire version. There's a few bucks difference.

A highly overclocked E8400 (say FSB 440-470 at full 9x multiplier) will not bottleneck you at all and would go just fine with the 4870x2 card.

jtt283 is absolutely right, and it depends on the individual game. It's really up to you whether you want to roll the dice on the 4870x2 and if you are really into Crysis, then it might be better to get the GTX 295 (Crysis works better with nVidia). However, one factor in its favour is that drivers do improve over time. I assumed that you had reasons for getting the 4870x2, but do look at benchmarks if you haven't done so already.

Btw, I quite like your build as a gaming rig.
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