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1'st Build....Please Advice

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Last response: in Systems
February 14, 2009 12:48:21 AM

Hi Guys,

I have been planning to build my 1’st system for a while now. I have been checking out everyone’s response for about a week on this forum. I really learnt a lot from you guys :)  , which helped me make up my mind. My last pc was from Gateway purchased in 2004, in Canada. I know this config would be ancient. It was a very stable PC so I was quite happy. Here’s a list of some of the upgrades I have been doing for a while now from the original setup. Please let me know what you think I need for the remaining items and what I can salvage from my old PC.

Gateway Specs:
1) Intel Pentium 4 Processor 550 – 3.40 GHz, 800 MHz FSB, 1 MB L2 cache
2) 1 GB DDR PC3200 Ram
3) 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Drive
4) 250 Gb SATA HDD
5) GPU: ATI Radeon X300 SE
6) PSU: 300 W

Partially Upgraded till last year:
1) 3 GB DDR PC3200 RAM (Unfortunately Win XP 32 bit ONLY Recognized 3.5 GB -> No Salvation for these guys I guess in my NEW Build)
2) 1 Seagate FreeAgent Desktop - 320 GB External Drive

Recently Purchased in Hopes of Upgrading to a Better Config (Last Month): (Price->Can $ incl of Tax)
1) Corsair VX550W 550W ATX Power Supply - SLI-Ready, SATA-Ready (From TigerDirect) ->C$ 149.6
2) 1 Seagate FreeAgent Desktop – 1 TB External Drive (From Futureshop)->C$ 170.00
3) BenQ E2400HD 24" Widescreen Full HD LCD Monitor ( From Tigerdirect)->C$ 431.66
4) XFX GeForce 8800 GT 512MB PCI-Express Video Card - Alpha Dog Edition ->C$ 354.58

Little did I realize that my Graphic card wouldn’t work on my ancient Motherboard. Sorry It sounds pretty dumb to try run it on anything not compatible with a SLI or ATI enabled Mobo. The Excitement lasted only a couple of hours :p . The goal was to be able to run some good adventure games and a have really fast PC. Right now my AWESOME monitor is displaying BLOATED up icons with my nice/Stable old GPU.

Either way, learnt from my mistakes and started looking into the tech websites like tomshardware.com for expert advice and brushing up on all the latest news. I have had an information overload in the past few weeks but I am glad I took this step. Now Here are a few things I have purchased in the last 1 week. I know about all the Buzz related to the new Intel Core i7 chips. But I found this good deal on NCIX.com the day before and went for the New MOBO and Ram. I will tell you the retail price on these were around C$ 700+, probably a little less or more depending on where you buy it from. I got it on a deal for C$340 including Tax and delivery.

1) EVGA Nforce 790I Ftw Digital Power LGA775 DDR3 3PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 2PCI SATA2 Sound GBLAN Motherboard
2) Aeneon Xtune AXH760UD10-18J-K-2G 2GB 2X1GB DDR3-1866 CL10-10-10 240PIN Dual Channel Memory Kit (2 sets – 4GB total)

I know this rules out the option for Intel Core i7. Due to this decision here, I need your advice on configuring the rest of my pc. THANKS FOR BEING PATIENT WITH ALL THE HISTORY I have been writing :) . I used the site www.shopbot.ca to check the lowest price for the PC components for online websites. Here are some of the Specs I think I will go for just to make it a bit more futureproof (say 2 years atleast) :) :

1) Thermaltake ArmorPlus(Armor+) VH6000BWS Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case –> C$ 254.49
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...(Computer+Cases+-+ATX+Form)-_-Thermaltake-_-11133056

2) Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 3.0GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80569Q9650 -> C$ 418.49 (Want to OC it in future OR RATHER when I learn how to do it based on your advice :)  )
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

3) Arctic Cooling MX-2 Thermal Compound Paste NON-ELECTRICAL Conductive 4 Gram ->C$ 9.00
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=26895

4) COOLER MASTER V8 RR-UV8-XBU1-GP 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler -> C$ 83.00
http://www.extreme-pc.ca/showproduct.asp?productid=3730...

5) Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders (Retail) – C$ 149.99
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

Am I missing anything else. Can my 500 W PSU support this Configuration if OC is performed. I intend to use the SLI feature in about an year’s time or do u think I need to find another 8800 GT 512 MB right now?. I Really appreciate your time and effort to help me with any tips :)  to build my 1’st PC :) .

More about : build advice

February 14, 2009 1:04:31 AM

That case is a bit overpriced. The antec 900 is a little cheaper and as good if not better.

The 8800GT is old and won't play games very well. Running SLI would help. That psu will be cutting it close. Under load a single card will suck ~ 200W.
February 14, 2009 1:09:58 AM

Your PSU should be fine if you are only going with one graphics card, but i'm not sure that 33A will be enough for SLI. The 8800gt needs 22A per card, that's 44A total, and your PSU only has 33. So I would either get the one card now, and upgrade the PSU/extra 8800gt later, or buy them both now.

//EDIT here is a good PSU for SLI, the same company as the one you have, just more beefy, and enough amps to handle SLI:
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...
Related resources
February 14, 2009 1:14:57 AM

Thanx for the response aford10. I will check out the antec 900.

I took that case because it was Thermaltake brand and it had the motherboard slide out feature apart from being a Full Tower case for adding extra slots and PCI slots in future. It also looked really spacious.

I know it's old, but for the time being I have purchased it and won't be able to return it for a better one. So i guess i am stuck with it. IT's not that BAD a card is it? IT's able to play games like crysis and some GPU intensive games which came out last year. How much improvement are we talking about in performance if I plurge a bit more and get another similar card.

Would you recommend a 750W or 1000W PSU to support the above mentioned config?
February 14, 2009 1:17:38 AM

wolfseeker2828 said:
Your PSU should be fine if you are only going with one graphics card, but i'm not sure that 33A will be enough for SLI. The 8800gt needs 22A per card, that's 44A total, and your PSU only has 33. So I would either get the one card now, and upgrade the PSU/extra 8800gt later, or buy them both now.

//EDIT here is a good PSU for SLI, the same company as the one you have, just more beefy, and enough amps to handle SLI:
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...


So does a 750 W provide more Amps for the SLI config? or do you think i should upgrade a to better card and PSU after a year's time frame?

Thanx for the link :) 
February 14, 2009 1:19:44 AM

You have made some mistakes in your purchases so far, but let's not discuss those as it's just water under the bridge.

For less money, this is a far superior case:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
Better cooling, better cable management.

Cooler:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

You chose a REALLY nice monitor... but you are not going to have the GPU to power it. Adding a second 8800GT, if you can find one, would still require a PSU upgrade and would not be a great idea.

You are better off getting a GTX 260 now, and adding a second at some point. You should get a Corsair 850TX to go along with it, or at least a 750TX... Ah, I see they are the same price on newegg.ca. Get the 850TX:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

February 14, 2009 1:22:56 AM

yes, the 750w has 60A on the 12v rail, in English that means that it can handle 2 8800gt's. I say you should try getting the new PSU and 8800gt right now, because your monitor is big enough that you definitely will be able to notice the difference between one and two cards.
February 14, 2009 1:25:58 AM

Thanx Proximon....I will consider the change in the CASE as well as the upgrade to corsair 850TX. I just needed a Full Tower case.

AS far as the GPU is concerned i am stuck with 8800 GT for a while now. Since you consider it to be a waste to invest in another similar card for a minor improvement in performance. I will stick with it for 8 mths to an year and upgrade to the GTX 260 or better to support my monitor. IS this fine?
February 14, 2009 1:29:57 AM

wolfseeker2828 said:
yes, the 750w has 60A on the 12v rail, in English that means that it can handle 2 8800gt's. I say you should try getting the new PSU and 8800gt right now, because your monitor is big enough that you definitely will be able to notice the difference between one and two cards.


Lol..thanx for making it simple :p .....I will go with the 850 Corsair one which was suggested earlier by Proximon. So you think i should go for the 2'nd card. What kind of a difference do you think it will produce. Will it be better resolution than just 1 card or will it improve the picture quality for movies and games?.....Is it really a good investment or do u think i should wait it out and buy some real good ones in 6 mths to an years time frame
February 14, 2009 1:36:39 AM

Your 24" monitor is going to easily overwork that poor card. An 8800GT is a work horse that will try to do whatever you tell it to do... so go easy on it, and keep those settings turned down.

There are a nummber of good threads around with picures of the HAF in service. Let me see if I can find one for you...
February 14, 2009 1:39:46 AM

Is my choice in regards to the Processor good enough?
February 14, 2009 1:43:45 AM

Proximon said:
Your 24" monitor is going to easily overwork that poor card. An 8800GT is a work horse that will try to do whatever you tell it to do... so go easy on it, and keep those settings turned down.

There are a nummber of good threads around with picures of the HAF in service. Let me see if I can find one for you...



Overwork? ......Do you think improving the speed of the CPU via OC would improve the situation here? 2'nd card would be NEEDed according to you. I don't know how to improvise on the GPU setting or how to OC the CPU as yet...... I might get a Tv-Tuner card later on to watch movies etc. Would the 2'nd card help in this process?
February 14, 2009 1:52:32 AM

I simply mean that when you are playing graphically intensive games, keep the settings within the game in the medium range and not high. Don't let the card struggle trying to render very high quality textures, etc.

A moderate overclock is a good idea, but won't take the load off the GPU.

The card will have NO problems playing any movies, or even Blu-ray movies. Only 3D games will tax the card.
February 14, 2009 2:05:03 AM

yeah it does look roomy enough....I will keep my options open. I am planning to purchase the remaining components by end of next week...After i get my tax returns :) 
February 14, 2009 2:13:27 AM

Regarding CPUs, the Q9550 is a bit better value for the money compared to the Q9650, and the Q6600 is an even better value if you overclock.
February 14, 2009 2:16:48 AM

hmmm .....i was reading on some tech site that since the price of the Q9650 has come down...and is about 70 to 80 bucks more than Q9550. IT would be better in the long run for OC and stable performance ?
February 14, 2009 2:34:11 AM

Only difference is that the 9650 has 0.5 higher multiplier and guaranteed E0 stepping, while there's a chance you could get C1 stepping with the 9550. That multiplier difference won't translate into much of a real world difference. However, the opportunity cost of that price difference is very high, since the money could be better spent elsewhere to balance out your rig, and you do have a few more components to buy... ;) 
February 14, 2009 2:46:26 AM

Akebono 98 said:
Only difference is that the 9650 has 0.5 higher multiplier and guaranteed E0 stepping, while there's a chance you could get C1 stepping with the 9550. That multiplier difference won't translate into much of a real world difference. However, the opportunity cost of that price difference is very high, since the money could be better spent elsewhere to balance out your rig, and you do have a few more components to buy... ;) 


Thanks for tip....I will keep that in mind :) 
February 16, 2009 2:34:53 AM

Thanks for all your responses. I think i will go for the Antex 900 case, along with XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 CPU fan & the 850W Corsair PSU.

Once i check the performance after assembling the pc (HOPEFULLY by the end of this month), I might consider going for an extra 8800GT. Just to keep the graphics aspect stable.
February 16, 2009 4:34:23 PM

I have a question. IF i want to upgrade to XFX DIVISION OF PINE GEFORCE GTX280 PCI-E2.0 1GB GDDR3 HDCP ROHS in about 2 to 3 months. Do you guys think that the power supply 850W would be enough to full fill the requirements?

Probably purchase from this store(close by) or any online store depending on price variations:
http://www.lucomputers.com/product_parts_detail.asp?cla...
February 16, 2009 4:58:15 PM

the PSU will power it but don't get a 280, get a 4870 if you don't want to sli, or even a 4870x2 if you can find one cheap enough(it's also the second most powerful single card out there). but the 4870 will be quite a bit cheaper than the 280, infact over here in the UK sometimes it's a good £60 less ($90)
February 16, 2009 5:10:00 PM

i think my board :EVGA Nforce 790I Ftw Digital Power LGA775 DDR3 3PCI-E16 2PCI-E1 2PCI SATA2 Sound GBLAN Motherboard.... can only support SLI card right? Please correct me if i am wrong.....

For the time being i am going to manage with 8800GT for a couple of months :) ....Needed advice on whether a new GPU in the SLI series would be or rather could be supporeted with PSU of 850W that i intend to purchase?
February 16, 2009 5:15:44 PM

Have you received the card yet; and/or opened the package?
If your supplier offers a refund option;

**You could have a more capable card in under a week via refund with minor shipping losses.
February 16, 2009 5:37:58 PM

you mean the motherboard or GPU?....GPU card i had it since boxing day sale in December last week...so that's ruled out. Motherboard i got on a good deal i believe....so i guess i will stick with it for the time being :) 
February 16, 2009 9:12:46 PM

Yes, the board only supports SLI
Yes, the corsair 850W would be enough to push gtx280's in SLI.
That's a nice, but extremely expensive graphics package.
February 16, 2009 10:06:44 PM

wolfseeker2828 said:
Your PSU should be fine if you are only going with one graphics card, but i'm not sure that 33A will be enough for SLI. The 8800gt needs 22A per card, that's 44A total, and your PSU only has 33. So I would either get the one card now, and upgrade the PSU/extra 8800gt later, or buy them both now.

//EDIT here is a good PSU for SLI, the same company as the one you have, just more beefy, and enough amps to handle SLI:
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...


AAAHHHHH, do u use your head, that 22A rating or whatever it is for the 8800GT is for THE ENTIRE SYSTEM. The only video card around that uses 20 amps (or close to it) BY ITSELF is the GTX 280 so no the OP doent need at least 44A for only 2 8800GT's I have the Corsair 750TX 60 A rail with a 3.7ghz Q6600 and 2 overclocked gtx 260 Core 216 750/1512/1100, I KNOW!!!!
February 16, 2009 10:09:36 PM

hmmm......i am not sure about this concept...but is it possible to run a 8800 GT on 1 of the PCIx2.0 and another gtx280 on the 2'nd one....Would it even work?....i read that it was to be the same board or it won't run.

In future(3 to 6 months) if i go for GTX 280.....850W should hopefully support 2 of these GPUs together in sync right?
February 16, 2009 10:12:35 PM

teamlosigp said:
AAAHHHHH, do u use your head, that 22A rating or whatever it is for the 8800GT is for THE ENTIRE SYSTEM. The only video card around that uses 20 amps (or close to it) BY ITSELF is the GTX 280 so no the OP doent need at least 44A for only 2 8800GT's I have the Corsair 750TX 60 A rail with a 3.7ghz Q6600 and 2 overclocked gtx 260 Core 216 750/1512/1100, I KNOW!!!!



Thanks for clearing that up :) . I will go for a better PSU than what i currently have(500W) either way, since you never know if they bring out another monster of a card in the next year. Good old 850W should be able to give me the properly supply....
February 16, 2009 10:17:27 PM

Ya unless you are looking into tri, quad sli or crossfire really anything beyond a quality 750-850 watt Corsair or PCP&C is an absolute waste
February 16, 2009 10:19:01 PM

OH ya u can run the 8800GT in the lower slot with the GTX 280 in the upper one however the 8800GT will be used strictly for physics and the only game that benefits from that is Mirrors edge so u make the call
February 16, 2009 10:19:27 PM

teamlosigp said:
Ya unless you are looking into tri, quad sli or crossfire really anything beyond a quality 750-850 watt Corsair or PCP&C is an absolute waste


Thanks teamlosigp, I will stick with 850W with a peace of mind right now :) .....As far as my previous question. We can't use 2 different GPU's on a SLI configuration right ?
February 16, 2009 10:21:32 PM

teamlosigp said:
OH ya u can run the 8800GT in the lower slot with the GTX 280 in the upper one however the 8800GT will be used strictly for physics and the only game that benefits from that is Mirrors edge so u make the call


Lower and Upper Slot ???? IS there a way to determine which has priority out of the 3 PCIx2.0. And is there thread with discussion to understand this concept without bother someone 1 Question at a time :p ...sorry for the trouble
February 16, 2009 10:22:55 PM

Nope like i said only if the 8800GT is SPECIFICALLY used for physx otherwise not (which is a waste using the 8800GT for physix in my opinion i tried it with an old 8800 GTS 320mb, 0 performance gains in games like Far CRy 2, Crysis, TF2, COD4 etc)
February 16, 2009 10:24:08 PM

Ya sorry the 8800 GT if u used it for physx would go in the slot below the GTX 280 which would be in the slot closest to the NB
February 16, 2009 10:30:28 PM

teamlosigp said:
Ya sorry the 8800 GT if u used it for physx would go in the slot below the GTX 280 which would be in the slot closest to the NB


Hmm.....NB? Sorry for being a Noob at this......I will follow your instructions on the setup.....I am guessing you want me to setup the GTX 280 when i get it closes to the center of the motherboard and 8800Gt closer to the edge of the motherboad.......Based on what you said...there won't be any performance gain by doing this right?
February 17, 2009 12:29:46 AM

With the exception of mirrors edge you wont see a perfromance gain

Put the GTX 280 in the PCI-E slot closest to the North Bridge or Processor, then put the 8800GT in the PCI-E slot closest under the gtx 280 and DO NOT use an SLI connector between the 2 cards
February 17, 2009 12:46:46 AM

teamlosigp said:
With the exception of mirrors edge you wont see a perfromance gain

Put the GTX 280 in the PCI-E slot closest to the North Bridge or Processor, then put the 8800GT in the PCI-E slot closest under the gtx 280 and DO NOT use an SLI connector between the 2 cards


Thanks for the explanation :) ....Will message as any other concern arises....appreciate your help :) 
March 5, 2009 6:24:13 PM

Hi guys,

I got everything and finally finished assembling the tower. One issue i faced was that the XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 cooler wasn't staying stable and kept falling over because of it's size and weight. The base wasn't able to keep it steadily held into the motherboard. I was very gentle with the setup and especially carefull mounting this fan on the processor. Finally i took it off and placed my stock fan which came with the processor.

Right now the bios shows normal temp for GPU and board (i.e Around 30 to 45 deg). But CPU was at 75 to 80 deg. I am at work right now. I will go back home and update the temperature of the CPU after a quick restart. I left it running since yesterday. Is this temp normal for a Q9650.

Please advice. Thanks :)