Another newbie gaming build - would appreciate your help, guys!

Hey all,

I've been working (software dev) on pc's all my life but never actually built my own. pc . I would appreciate some comments/suggestions on a gaming/all-round rig that I would like to build. My budget is about £800, if possible.

I'm hoping I can get a decent i7/x58 build with this budget. bear in mind I'm not that knowledgeable on hardware :

CPU:i7 920 2.66Ghz 8MB cache - (£241)

Mobo - confused with the variations!:
I hear the ASUS P6T is great but I am finding so many variations, i don't know which to go for: P6T X58 Deluxe (£234), but it states it only supports 12GB max RAM and transfer rates 1600(O.C.) only?
P6T iX58 (what's diff between iX58 and X58?) (£204) has better RAM support than above?

P6T SE iX58 (£169) - much cheaper. Any big diff?

or a Gigabyte:
GA-EX58-UD4P iX58 (£218)
GA-EX58-UD5 iX58 (£223)

Am I spending too much on the mobo's?

RAM: I was thinking 3x 1GB after reading this,review-31549-3.html, but then saw another comment somewhere that i7 build should have 6GB RAM.
Any suggestions on brand and speed for RAM?

Vid Card: Hearing a lot about GTX 260 Core 216 . Would this be top end? What's one below? Nvidia or ATI?

PSU: No idea =( but I would like a reasonably good model - I leave my pc running almost 24/7.

Cooling: No idea, but not keen on doing liquid cooling. Also, I don't know much about using thermal pastes and etc.

Case: Coolermaster or Antec? Any suggestions on which model to go for? Something with good cooling architecture, some noise dampening and space for possible dual set up for new GPU models??

Hard drives: 1 Velociraptor 74GB for OS and apps. Another SATA 300GB for games and media.

OS: Should I go for Vista Home Premium 64bit? Would I have problems installing my current apps like Visual Studio 2008, Adobe CS4 and old windows 9x/ xp games and apps?

Sorry about the long post, but would really appreciate your help, guys. :)
38 answers Last reply
More about another newbie gaming build help guys
  1. windows 9x software might not work since vista64 only supports 32bit and 64bit software.

    Everything else will work though.

    Oh and go on You get free shipping for your whole order if you buy the p6t SE.

    drop the velociraptor for a vertex or apex ssd and get a 1tb caviar black for storage.

    also if you look on asus's site all the p6t mobo's go upto 2ghz via memory controller OC. and there's no difference between iX58 and X58.
  2. Gigabyte UD3R
    Low cost alternative which now supports CF and SLI with a bios update from Gigabyte.

    Corsair 650W TX Series PSU
    Excellent PSU for single GPU builds (aim for a 850 if you plan on going SLI)

    OCZ 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 1600MHz
    Good Ram

    Antec 1200 Twelve Hundred Full Tower Case - No PSU
    Excellent case, Slightly warmer but quieter
    Coolermaster HAF 932 Full Tower Case
    A little cooler / louder

    I agree with Helloworld and getting a SSD drive (if you can afford it) with some caviar blacks for storage, Skip the SSD if your budget limits you.
  3. thanks guys.
    oceanian, it's not game programming, just general web dev and .net stuff. But i do want it to be a good gaming rig as well- i wanna be able to run stuff like crysis far cry 2 and pretty much max settings with this won't believe this, but i've been running a p3 for 8 years and i'm craving a proper build....never oc'ed before, so im hoping to try it on the cpu and gpu once the whole thing is built and everything runs fine. btw, better off getting vista64 in general- make use of the 6GB ram?

    From what I understand SSD's are faster, but they don't last as long as the usual magnetic hd's?

    Helloworld, Are raptors not a good second choice instead of an SSD? Also, I was originally thinking of getting a seagate for the storage drive. Are the WD caviars better? Yeh i did check ASUS site. Hoping it was just wrong info on ebuyer site. bleh.

    KrisMRT, are the mobo's I specified pretty much top end? meaning I can go one or two notches below and still be ok with the gigabyte UD3R ?

    I take it corsair's are great for psu's? will have a look at the cases. if i go for antec, what would u suggest for cooling? any suggestions for one of those cases where theyre designed in such a way that it maximises cooling without needing too many fans, avoids dust build up etc, or are these features pretty standard these days?

    im so clueless :P
  4. You should definitely get a 64-bit OS. You would only be able to use around 3GB with a 32-bit OS with no option of adding more RAM in the future. Most 32-bit applications work just fine with 64-bit Vista. 16-bit applications won't run at all on a 64-bit OS, but who uses those anymore?

    Seagate has been having some serious reliability and firmware problems lately. I would avoid them until they prove they've got everything sorted out.

    Yes, Corsair PSU's are some of the best made.
  5. There's no such thing as a Velociraptor 74GB. The Raptor 74GB is ancient technology from the dark days before PMR and will disappoint you. A WD6401AALS will be faster and probably cheaper and 9 times larger.

    You should be looking at quad CPUs for .Net programming, yes, but i7 is not a good option on your budget. You end up spending a fortune on a MB and RAM and with very little money for a decent graphics card. Consider something like this:

    Q9550/GA-EP45-UD3P/2x2GB DDR2-800 (two sets for a total of 8GB, to make Visual Studio happy)


    Phenom II 940/GA-MA790GP-UD4H/same RAM as above

    You can free some money this way for a better graphics card, like GTX 285 or at least HD 4890.

    PSU: something like Corsair 650TX would be good.

    I'd stick with WD for storage these days because it's safer.
  6. +1 to aevm's suggestions. One thing, though: The Velociraptor 74GB does exist, but I wouldn't recommend it.

    I highly recommend the WD6401AALS suggested above.
  7. LOL, they made a 74GB version indeed. I had no idea. I did check Newegg, just to make sure they didn't have such a thing.

    $161 is a ridiculous price for it, with the 150GB Velociraptor at $160 with free shipping at Newegg.
  8. I know. It sure seems like a rip-off to me. There's not even any mention of the drive on Western Digital's web site.
  9. depends what the platter density is.

    go for a 4890 and OC it though since it will be just as powerful as the GTX 285 but cheaper.

    edit: forgot to add that as long as you don't defrag and have a cool enviroment around the SSD then the SSD will last longer than a HDD.
  10. hmm..following the discussion with aevm and thekid on this thread here, I think it's probably uhm..not such a bad idea for me to forego the i7/X58 build and settle for the q9550s/P45?

    Here's what I'm thinking now:
    Mobo: as aevm suggested GA-EP45-UD3P (am I right in assuming that Gigabyte's P-ending models are top range compared to others like R-ending?) (£132) or a ASUS P5Q-E (£110)
    I would like to go for cheaper P5Q-E unless you guys have some comments?


    Phenom II 940/GA-MA790GP-UD4H (never ventured into AMD territory. between this and the above setup, are there only minor differences, and overall performance + OC perf would be similar?)

    CASE: After Kris's suggestions, I think I'm sold on Antec 1200.
    GPU: aevm suggested HD 4890 (silly question - are these latest? newer than 4850?) Any there any pros/cons over choosing a PhenomII or Q9550 to go with an AMD HD 48xx GPU?

    PSU: Corsair 650 TX seems to be the main suggestion, but quick look at specs seems to imply it's designed for nvidia's SLI (meaning I should get an nvidia card or does that not matter?)

    HD: WD Caviar blacks are de facto I think. If I get a 1TB drive, would it be ok in terms of good practiceif I stick everything (OS, games, apps) on that one drive, assuming I partition it? Or maybe get 2x500GB (but not RAIDed)?

    sorry about so many questions again...I do appreciate all your comments !
  11. The main differences between GA-EP45-UD3P and GA-Ep45-UD3R: the "P" has 2 PCI-E slots (with support for Crossfire) and 2 PCI slots and 2 LAN chipsets, while the GA-EP45-UD3R has one PCI-E slot (so no Crossfire with that one), 3 PCI slots, a single LAN chipset. If you're a gamer, the "P" is the future-proof choice. if not, the "R" is the smarter choice, especially if you need all sorts of PCI cards. The P5Q-E is a very good board too, so go for it if it's cheaper than the Gigabyte in your area.

    The HD 4890 is ATI's latest gaming card. It was released a couple of weeks ago.

    No pros or cons about Q9550/Phenom II 940. In games you'd have a very hard time distinguishing them. Each wins some gaming benchmarks, and the differences are small all the time. The Q9550 costs more, but it's worth it for some people because it is faster in various non-gaming applications.

    Don't worry about Crossfire/SLI designations for a PSU. They are meaningless. But to answer your question - it does NOT matter. The 650TX works fine with two ATI cards or two nVidia cards (as long as the cards don't consume too much and don't need too many PCI-E connectors).

    If a PSU has two PCI-E connectors then PSU manufacturers are happy to say it's Crossfire and SLI-ready. The nasty truth is that it may very well not be. For example there are 500W PSUs with two PCI-E connectors out there that would blow up with a single high-end gaming card, let alone with two. For another example, some cards need 4 PCI-E connectors for Crossfire (or SLI). Anyway, the 650TX is a top-quality PSU and can support HD 4890 Crossfire. The only issue is that it has only 2 PCI-E connectors. If you buy Sapphire HD 4890 cards the problem is solved nicely because that flavor comes with molex-PCI-E adapters and then you can have two such cards with a 650TX without buying any adapters separately. Other manufacturers may include such adapters too. You can see them in this image for example:

    You're probably better off with two WD6401AALS drives (WD Caviar Black 640GB) than with two 500 GB drives. Better price per GB (at least in North America), slightly better speed, more room.

    A single 1 TB drive with two partitions would be my third choice. That's because some times you do things like compressing a large video, and it helps a lot if the source and target are on different physical drives rather than on partitions of the same physical drive. It reduces head movements a lot and makes the operation a lot faster.
  12. aevm, thanks a lot. I think I'm getting there!
    Case: Antec 1200
    Mobo: P5Q-E
    CPU: Q9550 (thanks for the info about the q9550/phenomII. Just what I needed to hear....)
    RAM: OCZ 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2 800Mhz CL5(5-5-5-18) not sure what the numbers in dashes at the end mean. Is it important? Also, does RAM clock speed matter? 800Mhz vs 1600Mhz? Also, copper pipe cooled RAM? Would this make a big difference for newbies like me, or is it targeted at high end modders?

    HD: most likely 2 x WD6401AALS (it does seem to be a better deal)

    GPU: Thinking I will get the HD 4890. This seems a good price in the UK - Sapphire make

    PSU: I'm still not very good at expectations for a good PSU and Wattage. So you're saying 650TX will be good enough for 2X Sapphire HD 4890's? What if I do some overclocking (minimal) on CPU and GPU? Would that still suffice?
    Corsair 650TX has a single rail +12V and Antec Truepower 650W has 3 x 12V rails. What's all that about? Would the Antec be better in this case?

    There's also a modular version. . I read somewhere that a modular PSU is good, but I can't remember why. What do you think? Also, you've mentioned that the corsair works fine with 2X sapphire HD 4890 because it comes with molex pcie connectors. Would the Antec Truepowers be ok or should I just stick to Corsair?

    Lastly, if I am thinking about getting a second crossfire in future (say 6mnths to 1 yr), should I futureproof my PSU by getting 850W now?
  13. The 5-5-5-18 numbers are called memory timings. In particular 5-5-5-18 is pretty bad. If you don't overclock (or just a little), you don't have to care. If you look for a big overclock, it's worth paying 11 pounds more for this:

    Corsair 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2 800MHz/PC2-6400 XMS2 DHX Memory Non-ECC Unbuffered CL4(4-4-4-12) Lifetime Warranty

    Yes, it's a good price for the HD 4890 in the UK at 189 pounds. Compare for example with the XFX GTX 275 at 225 pounds - a card with pretty much the same performance. Mind you, you'd need a different MB for two GTX 275 cards anyway.

    1066 MHz RAM is useful when you are looking for a major overclock. Not your case, so don't bother.
  14. Thanks. This is the same price as the corsair you mentioned, but has higher memory timings. What do you think?

    By the way, any thoughts on the PSU? Antec Truepower any good?
  15. The Corsair 650TX has a single rail, but a good one, with 52A.

    The Antec TruePower Trio has 3 rails, but they can't all function at maximum at the same time. Combined, they end up with 52A again. The Corsair makes life simpler with the single rail, because then you don't have to worry about balancing loads. It's also a better PSU in general, IMO. Mind you, Antec does excellent work too. It's just that the particular Corsair model is really good.

    Modular PSUs are just like regular PSUs, except they cost more and you can detach the cables you don't need and keep them in the closet instead of having to worry about stuffing them in some hard drive cage or tying them up. It's convenient for people who spend lots of time messing with the computer. Not really a useful feature for somebody who just wants to build it once and maybe upgrade it a bit once or twice. It may improve airflow, by removing unneeded cables, but it won't do you much good if you're going to need most of the cables anyway.

    You don't really need 850W for HD 4890 Crossfire. The 650TX would do. There's a Corsair 750W (100 pounds) too. That's already powerful enough and has 4 PCI-E connectors. TBH the 850W PSU would be worth it here only if you intend to have a dual TV tuner and a sound card and lots of fans and hard drives and who knows what else.
  16. no you want lower timings.

    add them up, divide them by 4, lowest number wins. so one equals 6 and the other 8.25. go figure.
  17. You can get more info and customer reviews for RAM here:

    Corsair TWIN2X4096-6400C4DHX

    OCZ OCZ2RPR10664GK

    Both get good user reviews. What I don't like is they both have large heat spreaders, so you may have a problem if you want to use a large aftermarket CPU cooler and fill all the RAM slots.

    I'd get this one:
    Crucial 4GB (2X2GB) DDR2 800MHz/PC2-6400 Ballistix Memory £44.99

    I even found a happy reviewer at Newegg using it with a P5Q-E. Better user ratings than the other two (79% happy, as opposed to 72% Corsair and 69% OCZ). No large spreaders. Good timings 4-4-4-12 at only 2.0V (not 2.1V like the Corsair, so it's better than the Corsair).
  18. Oops, I only gave you the Newegg link. That's useful for info, but they don't sell to the UK. Here's the link to the same product at ebuyer:

    BTW, the trick is to get the manufacturer code (for example BL2KIT25664AA80A in this case) from the ebuyer site and then search for it in the Newegg site if you want more info or reviews.
  19. Hey aevm, helloworld, thanks for the explanation! Really appreciate it. I think I'm gonna save all this information locally on my pc!
    I know you can find out just about anything on the net, but nothing beats having an experienced person explain it to you. we go again:
    Case: Antec 1200

    Mobo: Asus P5Q-E

    CPU: Q9550 2.83 Ghz (OEM version is £216 and retail is £247. OEM version mentions that it doesn't come with heatsink nor fan.

    Thinking of getting the OEM and getting a cooler. Arctic cooling is only about £17, so the total would still be cheaper than retail. What do you think? Or can you suggest another cooler or should I wait till I build everything and see what space is like? I hope to overclock a bit, maybe to 3.0Ghz or just below) Also, the OEM reviews talk about the chip being EO stepping. What's that?

    RAM: Crucial 4GB (2X2GB) DDR2 800MHz/PC2-6400 Ballistix Memory (thx for the link)

    HD: 2 x WD6401AALS

    GPU: Sapphire HD 4890.

    PSU: Corsair TX 650W

    Also thinking of getting one or two UV cathode lights.

    So, hopefully the Corsair TX 650W should be able to power all of the above.

    Shouldn't encounter any problems with the config above, should I?
  20. Looks good.

    Yes the 650TX can power all that. Maybe get rid of the lights when/if you add the second video card, but it's not really important.

    Yes Q9550 OEM+ Freezer 7 Pro is a better deal than Q9550 retail, since the Freezer is way better than the stock cooler. I found a reviewer at Newegg using that combination of MB and cooler, so it should fit all right.

    "E0 stepping" is good news. It means a newer version of the CPU, with better overclocking and lower power consumption.
  21. cool. my only gripe is that the i7 920 is only £4 more expensive than the q9550. but an x58 mobo and ram would be a lot more i guess. well, il post updates/pics when i get the components and start my build.
    thanks again!
  22. ddr3 isn't actually that much more expensive, expect it to be £20 more than ddr2 and you'd get 1gb less ram.

    the motherboards aren't that much more expensive either, £60 if we compare mid-end boards since the P6T SE is only £165.

    look on and get an oem 920 with a intel 1366 heatsink along with a P6T SE motherboard and 3x1gb of ddr3-1600 ram.(oem cpu + heatsink because it saves you £5, P6T SE because you get free shipping and 3x1gb of ddr3-1600 because it's only £2 more that ddr3-1333 of the same amount.)
  23. hmm..thing is, if i was to get i7/x58, i would avoid the mid boards like p65-se and go for p6t. that would cost more. I think I'll stick to my config for now...

    quick question: I'm thinking of getting the P5Q Deluxe board now. It apparently takes DDR3 RAM.

    Does that mean it CAN take DDR3, but will also take DDR2?
  24. - features at the bottom, quickboot and easytune6 seems like very useful tools for newbie overclocking.

    P5Q-E /deluxe doesn't seem to have stuff like that. What is your take?

    Would you say UD3P is better for newbie overclocking? I've read that both boards provide similar perf. for overclocking, but i guess that's if you know what you're doing.
  25. iirc the P6T SE is better than the standard P6T

    also if you go 775, then the P5Q's generally overclock better iirc.
  26. hey guys, believe it or not, I still haven't completed my build, but I've certainly gained a lot more insight into the components/platforms.

    I know I've said this many times, but I've calculated and recalculated, and have now budgeted for an i7 build.

    Going for:
    -cm storm sniper case
    -i7 920
    -asus p6t deluxe v2
    -corsair 750w tx
    -sapphire hd 4890 OC
    -640gb wd caviar black
    -xig dark knight

    The big question is, what RAM to get? From aevm& helloworld's posts earlier, the DDR2 lower timings are better. But does that apply to DDR3? I was reading some posts on this forum and this : , and the one with the higher performance has high clock speeds and high memory timings.

    Any thoughts/ suggestions for RAM for this build?
  27. Since you're getting the i7 920, you have to get DDR3. Yeah, lower timings are better than higher timings for DDR3 too.

    I love that Storm Sniper case :)

    Good build, go for it.

    There's a good combo here for example:
    for the MB you wanted and RAM. You end up paying $116 for 6GB of this:
    CORSAIR DOMINATOR 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
    (8-8-8-24 at 1.65V)
  28. In the article you've quoted, look here:

    Ignoring the synthetic benchmarks and looking at the gaming ones, you see the DDR3-1600 9-9-9-20 and the DDR3-1333 8-8-8-20 trading blows. That's because one has higher clocks (which helps) but the other one has better timings (which also helps) so they end up about the same. The RAM I recommended above is DDR3-1600 8-8-8-24 which means it beats both of those because it has the advantages of both. It's a bit expensive though...
  29. This kit is DDR3 1600 with 8-8-8-21 timings @ 1.65v.

    G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail $89.99
  30. thanks. the ddr 1600 8-8-8-24 is a good ram, but out of my budget =(

    check this out (not to mention the extortionate prices we pay this side of the pond):

    OCZ 6GB Gold DDR3 1333Mhz 9-9-9-20 at 1.65v £74.98
    OCZ 6GB Gold DDR3 1600Mhz 8-8-8-24 at 1.65v £84.99
    ocz 6gb 1333Mhz 7-7-7-20 at 1.6v £75.99
    corsair xms 3 1333 9-9-9-24 at 1.5v £73.17
    g.skill 1333 9-9-9-24 at 1.5v £73.59 (they don't have the model that shortstuff mentioned, with low timings)

    What do you think would be the best value for money? probably the ocz 1333 with 7-7-7-20 at £75.99. Thing is, this model is a standard one, without the gold trimmings usually.

    Thinking I'll get OCZ 6GB Gold DDR3 1600Mhz 8-8-8-24 at 1.65v £84.99 . Reasonable?
  31. Just placed the order. Phew. Took like forever. Am getting:

    -CM Storm Sniper
    -i7 920 D0 stepping (SLBEJ)
    -Asus P6t Deluxe V2
    -Corsair 750W TX
    -OCZ 6GB Gold DDR3 1600Mhz 8-8-8-24 at 1.65v
    -640GB caviar black
    -Lite on DVD +- RW 20x
    -Sapphire HD 4890 OC'ed
    -Titan Fenrir TTC-NK85TZ cooler

    Whooo...can't wait. delivery in 2 days.....should be an interesting weekend.

    Any suggestions on handling the parts (e.g. how to keep static free)?? I've not done this before .....scary..
  32. I've never heard of the Titan Fenrir. I found a review which makes it look pretty good. Mind you, they compare it with a bunch of obscure coolers so I'm still not sure how good it is. Still, it seems to be better than the CoolerMaster V8, which is very popular. That's a good sign. The installation details here may help you a bit:

    The rest of the build looks excellent.

    Static free:
    - lock the cat/dog in a different room
    - do not work on carpet
    - touch computer parts only by the edges
    - before you pick up any part, touch something big and metallic and preferably unpainted (kitchen sink, fridge, whatever)

    There are anti-static wrist straps too, if you want to be extra cautious. Here's an example:
    However, I couldn't find anything of the sort at ebuyer, or All I got back was camera accessories :) I wonder if this is one of those differences between American English and British English and they're called something totally different in the UK.
  33. It was actually a toss-up between the Fenrir and the Xig Dark Knight, but they don't sell the Dark Knight with the 1366 brackets over here, so the DK would've cost me an extra £10 over the Fenrir.

    I ultimately made the decision based on Frostytech's review. The website seems pretty comprehensive for heatsink cooling stuff..
    The Fenrir came out 1, top for value. Actually cools better than the DK, but that's probably because the top speed of the fan goes into 2000rpm and its much much louder! I liked the looks of DK better but I decided to go for value for money heh.

    Static- duly noted! I dunno...I think we just don't get a lot of stuff over here. U've heard of anti-static wrist straps...not sure if it's the same wording, but I know exactly what you're talking about. I think technicians use them at their workstations commonly. We probably just don;t have that kind of stuff for the consumer market over here.... sadly...
  34. sigh...finally completed my build by nothing shows up on screen. had anti static wrist strap. read all the manuals. nothing. nada. i dont know if my p6t deluxe v2 mobo has a built in speaker but everything lights up (the gpu card has 3 red leds which light up) when i Switch on the power, but theres no beep sound and nothing on the screen. i went thru this but nothing worked for me....all the fans are spinning (cpu hsf and gpu fan and chassis fans)...any suggestions on how to test POST? I dont even know if its doing that....
  35. its the same list i went through. read all the posts/comments on that thread as well. gonna post a new thread ..
  36. The three red lights on your GPU suggest it isn't getting the correct amount of power. Do you have both 6-pin power connectors plugged into the GPU? Are you sure you went through every step of the checklist? Problems like your are very common and often solved by one of the steps in the checklist.
  37. yeah. went thru the whole checklist. i think i need to get a pc speaker to properly identify any boot beep codes i guess. a bit harder to find electronic components in the uk tho. i started new thread here :

    you're right, the 3 leds indicate a problem with power supply and overheating. I've plugged both 6 pin plugs from psu. tried the 4pin molex to 6 pin (supplied with gpu box) and that didnt work either. tried booting without any power connections to gpu and the same 3 red leds still appear. could it be a psu problem or gpu? or mobo?
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