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Texan5224
03-02-2007, 05:37 AM
I'm finally having a custom computer built mostly for gaming http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif, but I really want some expert opinions on the side. A fellow co-worker is nice enough to build this for me, and even though he's got the brain and smarts to do it, I still thought it'd be smart to check here.

Basically we're looking at picking almost everything up at Frys electronics store, probably in about a week.

Here's our "list" so far, and in $US dollars...

Core2Duo E6600 2.4GHZ $297
EVGA Nvidia nforce 680i sli $259
2x SLI BFG GeForce 8800 GTX OC 768MB PCI Express (from Tigerdirect.com) $579 per card
OCZ DD2 2GB (2x1GB) PC2-6400 800 mhz duel channel $159
HD WD 500GB $140
SATA DVD/RW $100
Soundblaster X-FI Fatality $159

I'm looking at spending less than $3,000 US overall (monitor included), and even though this seems like a great deal, it really isn't when you consider that I haven't had a desktop in roughly seven years. I need something that can play SH4 and every other game that I have on my list, including the ones I already have.

I'm thinking that I may need better RAM, but I honestly don't know much about it. I'm leaning more towards 4gb as a total, depending upon the price.

My biggest concern is the processor, since I know very little about the current processors out there, including the idea of having two or four of them. I'm not sure if duo 2.4 is good or bad, or if I should look into quad core or a higher duo. My friend and fellow co-worker that will be building it claims that quads are a waste of money right now, because most games out there would be confused by it.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Just remember that I'm having it built in March, so I need to know rather soon what to get, and what not to get. If we do go to Frys this coming week, it will most likely be Tues, Wed, or Thurs.


Mr Smith

Liddabit
03-02-2007, 05:41 AM
I don't know much about these things.. but I managed to put one together recently too. Good fun http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif!

anyway, I found that most games I play don't even use SLI after I got it. Which was kind of disapointing. I would suggest checking the games you play to make sure they can use it before shelling out the extra money for the 2nd card.

Texan5224
03-02-2007, 05:58 AM
They do http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif If you check online, I believe it shows you how to enable the games that aren't on their list so they'll run SLI.

UPDATE: Here's the link... http://www.slizone.com/object/slizone2_game.html

Hope this helps...

Mr Smith

hward1983
03-02-2007, 06:48 AM
What kind of mb are you using texan?

Some mbs have some really good overclocking. That what I've done with my system.

Good hunting!!
Howard

Texan5224
03-02-2007, 07:06 AM
It will be an EVGA Nvidia 680i sli motherboard, unless I change it.


Mr Smith

TheRealPotoroo
03-02-2007, 09:08 AM
Originally posted by Texan5224:
Core2Duo E6600 2.4GHZ $297
EVGA Nvidia nforce 680i sli $259
2x SLI BFG GeForce 8800 GTX OC 768MB PCI Express (from Tigerdirect.com) $579 per card
OCZ DD2 2GB (2x1GB) PC2-6400 800 mhz duel channel $159
HD WD 500GB $140
SATA DVD/RW $100
Soundblaster X-FI Fatality $159
Killer system if bought today. The end of March should see the release of ATI's R600 DX10 video cards and AMD's AM3 CPUs. However, the PC game is constantly moving and at some point you just have to bite the bullet and buy the best you can at the time.

I'm thinking that I may need better RAM, but I honestly don't know much about it. I'm leaning more towards 4gb as a total, depending upon the price.
The memory speed is fine but you don't specify the recommended timings. You want DDR2-800 CAS2.


My biggest concern is the processor, since I know very little about the current processors out there, including the idea of having two or four of them. I'm not sure if duo 2.4 is good or bad, or if I should look into quad core or a higher duo. My friend and fellow co-worker that will be building it claims that quads are a waste of money right now, because most games out there would be confused by it.
Your friends are right but for the wrong reason (which is a worry). The E6600 is a good high-end CPU that will overclock well on the right motherboard. Quad-core is a waste of time and money for 99% of users right now but it's got nothing to do with games "getting confused". Most games are single-threaded, which means they can only ever run on one core at a time (it's actually harder than most people realise to make linear games multi-threaded). The benefit of having a dual-core is that you have an extra core to run background processes like firewalls or AV and stuff like voice communication apps, which means they're not stealing cycles from your game. The problem with a quad-core is simply that you'll have two cores effectively not utilised. The Windows kernel may distribute stuff across them but on the whole you'll have one core heavily loaded and three cores doing next to nothing, which is pointless.

Get a good case with decent cooling. I have an Antec P160WF, which has lots of nice stuff like slide-out disk racks and rubber grommets to insulate vibration, etc, as well as provision for two 120mm case fans. It's the sort of quality you should be looking for. If you can afford a Lian Li get one. They're even better. Avoid any case with plastic doors.

Get a decent PSU. Decent does not mean "some humongous number of watts I pulled out of my backside" (which seems to be the most common method of sizing). By decent I mean an efficient PSU that will deliver what it promises (a couple of years back Tom's Hardware Guide did a torture test on thirty or forty brand-name PSUs - about 1/3 of them failed to meet their own specs).

Do NOT buy a PSU based on its nominal total wattage. That is so last century. What matters is its real 12v capacity. According to Nvidia, SLI 8800GTXs will peak at about 24.25A (12v 291W). You should find out what BFG says given the cards are factory overclocked. The 30A per 12v rail per card (that would be 60A for SLI!) is an Nvidia recommendation intended to cover their own rear ends because there are so many crappy PSUs out there. Add in another 10W for the CPU (depending on Vcore efficiency) and cooling fans, 1A (12W) for the HD in moderate use, 1.5A (18W) in case you use the DVD drive and you're looking at a minimum 12v 27A (320W) and they'd better be real amps, not nominal ones (I haven't factored in the Fatal1ty sound card or other 12v devices). That means a good PSU like the Antec NeoHE 550, which puts out a real 42A over 3 12v rails, would be more than adequate. It's also got 5v 20A and 3.3v 24A, both of which are heaps for any normal setup. Furthermore, Antec are one of the few manufacturers to measure their efficiency at 50C. Most measure at 40C (the hotter the PSU the less efficient it is). I've seen people in forums saying you need a 600W or even 700W PSU for SLI 8800GTXs but that's simply not backed up when you crunch the numbers.

Note though that you will need a PSU with 4 6-pin PCIe power connectors, two for each card. Other PSU brands worth looking at are PC Power & Cooling, Seasonic, Sparkle, Zippy and Zalman.

My favourite 120mm exhaust fan is Arctic Cooling's Arctic Fan 12. It shifts over 56CFM and it's amazingly quiet. For an intake fan get any of the quieter temperature controlled ones (mine is a Vantec Stealth). I run my exhaust fan full throttle all the time and my intake fan only spins up when the case temperature heats up. That way I create a condition inside the case called negative pressure, which helps ensure the hot air from the CPU gets sucked out the back instead of circulating around inside causing trouble.

CaptainCox1
03-02-2007, 09:46 AM
Killer rig indeed!. Not that different from mine actually. I wonder though...do you really need the 2x8800GTX's ? that card is good enough on its own. I would put my money on this instead
DELL 30" 1.413,42 € (http://accessories.euro.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?c=de&l=de&s=dhs&cs=dedhs1&sku=94054) Thats next on my wish list http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Rams...well I got these OCZ DDR2 PC2-8500 SLI-Ready Edition Dual Channel (http://www.ocztechnology.com/products/memory/ocz_ddr2_pc2_8500_sli_ready_edition_dual_channel) Yes I am a NVIDIA fan boy...BIG TIME! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif
I got the Lian-Li 1100B case (nothing beats that quallity) and a big fat Scythe Ninja for heat sink. OCed my 6600 to 3.4, 35-36 idle 48-50 load. Yep, my rig will be pretty good for the next six month's...after...well I guess I will get new stuff for Xmas, as always http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

Actually its all in my SIG

banzai_billy
03-02-2007, 07:54 PM
im looking for a boost of 1 gb of ram myself. I only have 512, does anyone know any good products?

Grrbob25
03-02-2007, 10:59 PM
estimating by your choices of computer stores......do you happen to live in northern Illinois?

TheRealPotoroo
03-03-2007, 07:25 PM
Originally posted by banzai_billy:
im looking for a boost of 1 gb of ram myself. I only have 512, does anyone know any good products?
For a stock rig any of the "value" lines from any of the brand names should be fine (Corsair, OCZ, Kingston, Giel, Crucial etc).

Texan5224
03-04-2007, 04:33 AM
Originally posted by TheRealPotoroo:
Killer system if bought today. The end of March should see the release of ATI's R600 DX10 video cards and AMD's AM3 CPUs. However, the PC game is constantly moving and at some point you just have to bite the bullet and buy the best you can at the time.


Funny you should mention Ati's new card, as I ran into some articles about it, along with Nvidia's new 8900 series which is supposed to blow away ATI's release. If Nvidia's new line of cards was guaranteed to be released within a month, I might wait, but it wouldn't be worth it if you ended up waiting till this summer.




Your friends are right but for the wrong reason (which is a worry). The E6600 is a good high-end CPU that will overclock well on the right motherboard. Quad-core is a waste of time and money for 99% of users right now but it's got nothing to do with games "getting confused". Most games are single-threaded, which means they can only ever run on one core at a time (it's actually harder than most people realise to make linear games multi-threaded). The benefit of having a dual-core is that you have an extra core to run background processes like firewalls or AV and stuff like voice communication apps, which means they're not stealing cycles from your game. The problem with a quad-core is simply that you'll have two cores effectively not utilised. The Windows kernel may distribute stuff across them but on the whole you'll have one core heavily loaded and three cores doing next to nothing, which is pointless.

I believe this is what my friend was trying to get across. I'm just not good at interpretations. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

BTW, thanks for all of the assistance in terms of recommendations for a decent powersupply and case. Honestly I was looking more at the total # of watts. I'll have to print out this thread so my friend can read this and decide on what's best. Thermaltake seems to be an option for what I'll need; we'll wait and see.

Again, thanks!


From CaptainCox1

Killer rig indeed!. Not that different from mine actually. I wonder though...do you really need the 2x8800GTX's ?


Yes and no would be my answer. For some reason I see the need to go ahead and buy two of the same brand. Sooner or later you'll need both cards anyway, so I might as well see what it's like to experience some serious gaming for a year or two.



DELL 30" 1.413,42 € Thats next on my wish list Wink


I happened to be in the HDTV section of Bestbuy yesterday and drooled over the possibility of a large screen flat panel that could act as both a monitor and tv. Dell is a good brand for LCD, but I wonder if the money is worth it as it's just for the pc I believe. Considering you could buy a different brand that includes HDTV that can act as both a television AND monitor, that would be a nice option, and worth the money. I doubt it's a viable option though since the roles of LCD are different than that of an HDTV. I'll probably end up having to buy a 21"+ for the computer, and then see about saving up $1,000-1,500 US dollars for a real tv with HDTV.

I haven't completely ruled out a Dell monitor either, including the 30" as a future possibility. That right there would be another good reason for having two high end video cards.
http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif



Rams...well I got these OCZ DDR2 PC2-8500 SLI-Ready Edition Dual Channel Yes I am a NVIDIA fan boy...BIG TIME! Thumbs Up


I believe that's one that I looked at and liked through Frys.



I got the Lian-Li 1100B case (nothing beats that quallity) and a big fat Scythe Ninja for heat sink. OCed my 6600 to 3.4, 35-36 idle 48-50 load. Yep, my rig will be pretty good for the next six month's...

Six months? Let's hope they last for more than a year! As for the case, I checked it out online and it really didn't appeal to me. I also checked on the Ninja which was a different idea for cooling.

All I know is that I will need some type of decent cooling system as you have, and my friend is advising me to stay away liquid cooling systems. His reason for this is both price and risk of a leak.


From Grrbob25

estimating by your choices of computer stores......do you happen to live in northern Illinois?


I better not be living in Illinois... The thought of a St. Louis Cardinals fan living in Cubs territory; oh my!

Try Texas http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

CaptainCox1
03-04-2007, 07:26 AM
Just a small remark on the Lian-Li case. That particular case I choose because of its inconspicuous design, its simply "simple" looking, me like http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif But Lian-Li has ALOT! of cases, whats so good about them is the thoroughly thought out interior design and Quality! Take another look here for example, its German but the pics speak for themselves.
LINK (http://www.caseking.de/shop/catalog/default.php?cPath=29_88)
PIC 1 Interior (http://www.caseking.de/shop/catalog/images/GELI_058_2g.jpg?pID=3372)
PIC2 INTERIOR (http://www.caseking.de/shop/catalog/images/GELI_058_3g.jpg?pID=3372)

Review and Explanation of Features (http://www.overclockercafe.com/Reviews/cases/Lian_Li_PC-V1000/pg_2.htm)

Oh and dont forget that you need a pretty BIG!!! PCU for that rig...SLI 2x8800GTX...maybe talking a 1200W here http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif I always used Tagan couse of the clever cable manegment design and quallity. Running a Tagan 800W at the mo.

TheRealPotoroo
03-04-2007, 08:42 AM
Originally posted by CaptainCox1:
Oh and dont forget that you need a pretty BIG!!! PCU for that rig...SLI 2x8800GTX...maybe talking a 1200W here http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif
I'm so glad you made it plain you're joking.

CaptainCox1
03-04-2007, 08:48 AM
Nvidia recommends a 450-watt power supply in a PC with a high-end dual-core chip and a typical combination of internal hardware. But the trick is that the power supply must have two PCI Express card power connectors to plug into the two sockets on the back of the card. Most modern power supplies should have the necessary connectors. If you want to add two 8800 GTX cards in an SLI configuration, however, you've got a challenge on your hands.

Nvidia hasn't released a driver that will run the GeForce 8800 GTX in SLI mode as of the time of this writing, but it may have one out soon. Thus, we didn't get to test it, but Nvidia did share the power supply specs with us. To run two GeForce 8800 GTX cards in SLI mode, Nvidia recommends at least a 750-watt power supply. But some of the recommended models on its SLI compatibility list go as high as 850 and even 1,000 watts.
That article is a bit oldish but basically correct.
LINK (http://reviews.cnet.com/Nvidia_GeForce_8800_GTX/4505-8902_7-32132889.html)

I am known for my sarcatsic humor http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-tongue.gif

TheRealPotoroo
03-04-2007, 09:58 AM
Originally posted by CaptainCox1:
To run two GeForce 8800 GTX cards in SLI mode, Nvidia recommends at least a 750-watt power supply. But some of the recommended models on its SLI compatibility list go as high as 850 and even 1,000 watts.
That article is a bit oldish but basically correct.
It's old and significantly overstates the case. You and I might understand why but most people won't, and sure as God made little green apples there will be someone out there who will ignore the wink and take you seriously.

Since the 8800GTX is a 12v device nominal total wattage isn't relevant, only real 12v capacity is. For a single card Nvidia publicly specifies 12v 30A (360W). That would make SLI 720W (probably more like 710W since the 30A requirement is for system capacity). Add in 5v and 3.3v capacity and you'll easily get a 750W - 800W PSU requirement.

OTOH, Nvidia revealed to Xbitlabs the real power consumption for the card (not system) is about 145.5W (12.125A). That makes SLI 291W (24.25A). There's a hell of a difference between 710W and 291W. So where does the discrepancy come from?

I suggest the key difference is between nominal and real 12v capacity. Let's reexamine the Antec NeoHE 550 I referred to earlier. On paper it has 3 x 12v 18A rails (=54A = 648W). Yet Antec specifies its real 12v total capacity at 504W (42A). You might get 18A on one rail but never from all three at once. So I think Nvidia are deliberately overstating the requirement to cover the facts that:

1. Real 12v capacity is less than the nominal 12v capacity even on good PSUs;
2. Most PSU's on the market are rubbish;
3. Most PSUs on the market are old;
4. The 12v 30A requirement is for a system (Intel EX6800) with one 8800GTX, HD, etc.

You might argue that anyone buying an 8800GTX will probably also buy a decent PSU but that's not always going to be true and Nvidia have to try to protect themselves from the types who would otherwise try to put twin 8800GTXs in their budget Dell.

Now, the EX6800 TDP is 75W. Since the Vcore uses a DC-DC transformer we can estimate the CPU's 12v usage (assuming 90% efficiency):

75/12 * 0.9 = 5.7W.

That's next to nothing. So is the 1A your typical 7200rpm HD draws under moderate use. It's barely worth worrying about given the relatively massive power consumption of SLI 8800GTXs. We still end up with a real world system consumption of a tad under 300W, or 25A - for SLI!

Even if you believe some of the more pessimistic estimates you can find around the place, say, 200W per card, then you still only end up with 410W (36.1A) system load. If the NeoHE had 4 6-pin PCIe connectors (by default it ships only with 2) it would handle that load with ease. Even my NeoHE 500 has a real 12v capacity of 456W (38A), so it should be able to squeak it in. And in fact an SLI 8800GTX test has been done with a 500W PSU (Intel E6700 CPU), and it ran 3DMark06 just fine (http://www.theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=36612).

So, if a good 500W PSU ran SLI 8800GTXs just fine, is there value in recommending something more powerful? There is some, for as PSUs age they become less efficient, so maybe a 600W with appropriate 12v capacity would be a good idea. But 750W or 800W or even 1000W? Not unless you're also running RAID 1+ 0 arrays or something else that's also going to load the PSU.

Texan5224
03-07-2007, 06:21 PM
Well, I just back from Frys today. We ended up buying everything we needed there.

Here's what I picked out in the end...

Antec P180 Silver Case
Zalman CNPs9700 LED cooling
Intel Core2Duo E6600
EVGA nforce 680i SLI 775
2x BFG GeForce 8800GTX OC
2x Phillips 16X INT. DVDRW
Patriot 4GB DDR2
2x MXT 400 GB SATA
SoundBlaster XFI Fatality
WINXP Home
Viewsonic 20" Wide Screen LCD

In writing this, I needed to use my Invoice for the list. To my surpise, my grand total didn't incude the sound card or power supply. Or at least I'm not seeing them listed.

It's pretty sad when you have a sales rep that follows you around, and then comes up with an invoice to bring to the front. Please understand that he was with us the entire time.

Then you take that to the register, and then have to run down that same sales rep for a new invoice that includes the monitor and processor, and wait for roughly thirty minutes before the the credit goes through for their credit card signup. In the mean time, I add another Hard drive to the list, as the sales rep must have forgotten that I wanted two. In that thirty to forty minutes, they chose NOT to check my items as they should have. While they added the cost of the extra hardrive, they failed to make sure that the invoice was correct.

Then once we leave, the person at the front door checks our items at the front, along with the invoice. A quick check that obviously leaves one wondering who in the world is running that place. Granted, we had about twenty items, but that's at least three times that they failed to get it right and make sure that I was being charged the correct amount. I'll guarantee you that if they had added these costs in, I would have said to hell with the extra hardrive, and also would have chosen to cut something else out to make budget.

Question... What would you guys or gals do in this situation? Do you call them and have these already installed items charged to your credit card, and return other items to make up the difference? We're talking a total of roughly $400 US dollars.

Edit: They forget to add the keyboard to the invoice as well. A cheap one, yes, but another blunder. Good God, I think I'll put the invoice down now!

Mr Smith

edjcox
03-07-2007, 10:16 PM
As a volume buyer you got the volume discount...

Ony hope warranty work is not required where the invoice comes into play.

Retail runs 20 -35 % profit so Mr. Smith congratulations on your purchase.

ijozic2
03-08-2007, 01:36 AM
Originally posted by Texan5224:
Viewsonic 20" Wide Screen LCD


Hmm, it's a waste to have two 8800GTX cards in SLI to run games at 1680*1050 when one could have run it. I'd suggest at least some 23/24" LCD (like Philips 230WP7NS with S-IPS matrix or the new Nec 2490) or, even better, the 30" S-IPS (HP L3065 or Dell 3007FPW or 3007FPW-HC) if you can afford it.

The fact that you didn't mention the PSU is concerning since you really need a PSU which can give you enough power on 12V (like e.g. Seasonic S12+ 550W; probably even the Seasonic S12-500 would cut it).

Texan5224
03-08-2007, 03:08 AM
Originally posted by ijozic2:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Texan5224:
Viewsonic 20" Wide Screen LCD




Hmm, it's a waste to have two 8800GTX cards in SLI to run games at 1680*1050 when one could have run it. I'd suggest at least some 23/24" LCD (like Philips 230WP7NS with S-IPS matrix or the new Nec 2490) or, even better, the 30" S-IPS (HP L3065 or Dell 3007FPW or 3007FPW-HC) if you can afford it.

The fact that you didn't mention the PSU is concerning since you really need a PSU which can give you enough power on 12V (like e.g. Seasonic S12+ 550W; probably even the Seasonic S12-500 would cut it). </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

The Dell is on my list, but it might take six months to have enough money to buy the 30".

As for the powersupply, the reason I didn't list it was because I didn't have the name of it listed on the invoice. IIRC, it's a Coolermaster Real Power Pro 850W


Mr Smith