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Approve my gaming rig!

Nineteen HundredNineteen Hundred Registered User regular
edited February 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm building my first computer, and I only have a vague idea of what I'm actually doing, so I thought I'd come here and get a stamp of approval before I waste my money. I've been researching this thing on and off for a few weeks, and I'll be ready to make an investment as early as next week (even if it's just a basic, non-gaming computer that I'll have to upgrade come my next paycheck). I'm not made of money, but I've decided I can live with about an $1100 hole in my pocket: Here's what I've come up with:

Motherboard: ASUS 750i - $159.99

Processor - Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0GHz: $229.99 (already bought and paid for, since they're going out of stock and rising in price)

Video Card - Zotac 8800GT AMP! Edition (overclocked): $259.00

Power Supply - OCZ StealthXStream 600W: $89.99 (I also saw this GameXStream, which I'm curious about, since it seems exactly the same, aside from an LED light and an extra $20 on the price tag)

RAM - Mushkin 2GB DDR2 800: $48.99

Hard Drive - Western Digital Caviar 250GB SATA: $69.99

This ASUS DVD Burner: $31.99

Case - Apevia X-Jupiter yada yada...: $74.99

$965.92; $726.91 for a basic build and a cheapo graphics card so it'll turn on, before taxes, shipping and the OS. Speaking of, and I know I'm just asking for it here, XP versus Vista? I have to buy one; my current PC is a ready-made Compaq. Keeping in mind that games will eventually have some worthwhile DX10 features, I'm thinking I should just put up with Vista right now and save myself $110 somewhere down the line, rather than buy XP (which is more expensive for some reason) and upgrade later. Besides, SP1 for Vista is coming out next month, right? Microsoft probably wants to fix the disaster they made.

Thoughts?

There was something important here. It's gone now.
Nineteen Hundred on

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    TechnicalityTechnicality Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Hmm.. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that just a stock 8800gt but they've bumped up the clock rate a bit (which anyone can do rather easily)? Heat sink looks like the standard one.

    Everything else looks good to me.

    Technicality on
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    ScrubletScrublet Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    What about sound? The Creative X-Fis are good...but there was that huge snap-crackle-pop problem when they came out. Is that fixed yet?

    Oh and I would just take the DX10 Vista plunge. You're going to have to do it eventually. But FYI, SP1 is not going to fix Vista. I just read an article that in some ways it creates new problems.

    Scrublet on
    subedii wrote: »
    I hear PC gaming is huge off the coast of Somalia right now.

    PSN: TheScrublet
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    AresProphetAresProphet Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    I've never heard of Zotac before, and after doing some Googling it seems like they're brand new. Newegg customers seem to like them though. I'd look into their warranty on video cards, I know that if you go through eVGA or XFX or BFG you get really good warranties, and I can vouch for eVGA's customer support being pretty helpful. Zotac seems alright, but you may want to do a little research on them first.

    Good picks all around, though the case looks to be a little lacking for cooling: it doesn't have an intake fan, which can cause airflow issues if you have lots of cables going everywhere. With an E8400 and an 8800GT you may want to rethink cooling, especially if you overclock the CPU (which I highly recommend on that chip, it gets some pretty insane numbers even on stock cooling). Two 120mm fans may be enough on stock speeds, but expect the fans on your heatsinks to spin up to max a lot and get pretty loud. I know my stock Intel HSF sounds like a goddamn jet engine when I put it under a serious load, I had to reduce my overclock to get it to acceptable noise levels. You can probably just solve this with a decent aftermarket cooler, but you may also want to try to find a case with at least 3 120mm fans, or a case with a 250mm fan or two.

    I know the case is the toughest part to recommend because it's a personal, aesthetic choice, but you have to consider technical stuff with the case too.

    Edit: as for sound, the mobo has onboard. Which is all you'll need, unless you do lots of recording and stuff. Or have a multi-thousand-dollar sound setup for your PC. The Realtek onboard chips are perfectly adequate.

    AresProphet on
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    RaereRaere Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    I would have gone with a Q6600 for a CPU, but it's probably too late. Quad-core might be kind of overkill just for gaming right now, but you'll definitely want one sooner rather than later. More games are using multithreading (Bioshock, Quake Wars are two big ones) and the price premium isn't that bad, considering you're basically doubling your theoretical processing capabilities.

    Don't bother with an X-Fi, they're overpriced and as far as I know, still have Vista driver issues. Anything better than AC'97 from Realtek is pretty good, most of them can do 32-bit sound and have great quality, plus you don't have a slot taken up.

    I'm also thinking 4GB of RAM. DDR800 is dirt cheap right now, for an extra $50 you can double your capacity. Some games are already pushing the 2GB threshold, so you might as well future-proof yourself.

    EDIT: If you're looking for better cooling for a case, check this bad boy out. That's what I'm going to get when I build a new rig.

    EDIT2: Sure you want an 8800GT? The 9600GT just came out today, and look:

    16533.png

    It's cheaper, too. More benchmarks.

    Raere on
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    Nova_CNova_C I have the need The need for speedRegistered User regular
    edited February 2008
    That's not the whole story about the 9600GT though. The 8800GT 512MB soundly beats it. Only when the 8800 is locked down to 256MB does it fall behind (The 9600GT has 512 MB on it). Also, the 9600 is still based on the same chipset as the 8600s, so it's not a new line from NVidia (So calling it a 9000 is retarded on NVidia's part).

    I'd still recommend the 8800GT over it so long as you get the 512MB version.

    Nova_C on
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    Iceman.USAFIceman.USAF Major East CoastRegistered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Agreed. 8800GT for the win, I have one, I love it.

    I have an XFX 8800GT 512mb model with the 640 clock core (the Box said "Alpha Dog" edition, whatever the hell that means.)

    Anyways, I'd go with a name brand video card. Never heard of Zotac before, try an Asus or EVGA perhaps?

    Iceman.USAF on
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    Xenocide GeekXenocide Geek Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    bfgtech makes the best nvidia cards.

    don't go with anything else. they have a lifetime warranty, 24/7 tech support.

    Xenocide Geek on
    i wanted love, i needed love
    most of all, most of all
    someone said true love was dead
    but i'm bound to fall
    bound to fall for you
    oh what can i do
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    AresProphetAresProphet Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Raere wrote: »
    I would have gone with a Q6600 for a CPU, but it's probably too late. Quad-core might be kind of overkill just for gaming right now, but you'll definitely want one sooner rather than later. More games are using multithreading (Bioshock, Quake Wars are two big ones) and the price premium isn't that bad, considering you're basically doubling your theoretical processing capabilities.

    Don't bother with an X-Fi, they're overpriced and as far as I know, still have Vista driver issues. Anything better than AC'97 from Realtek is pretty good, most of them can do 32-bit sound and have great quality, plus you don't have a slot taken up.

    I'm also thinking 4GB of RAM. DDR800 is dirt cheap right now, for an extra $50 you can double your capacity. Some games are already pushing the 2GB threshold, so you might as well future-proof yourself.

    EDIT: If you're looking for better cooling for a case, check this bad boy out. That's what I'm going to get when I build a new rig.

    Okay, for one, as others have pointed out the 9600GT is a waste of money right now. The 512MB GT is the sweet spot for gaming rigs until the 9800s hit and demonstrate that they're a significant step up.

    For two, 4GB of RAM is basically worthless unless he gets 64bit Vista, which is a can of worms I don't really recommend opening at this point in time for most people.

    Third, there are like four games that can take advantage of a quad-core CPU, and having two faster cores > having four slower cores for gaming right now, and for the foreseeable (2-3 years) future. It may and probably will change, and it's going to depend on what games you play, but as a blanket recommendation quad-core isn't a wise decision. A lot of games that don't take advantage of multi-threading can become CPU-limited when they have tons of RAM and a top-end GPU. Going from 2.4GHz to 3.0GHz is a big step up. The e8400 apparently clocks to over 3.6GHz, on stock cooling, without even changing the stock voltage, which is pretty impressive.

    That case isn't bad, though it's twice the price of what he's picked. Lots of fans.

    Edit: Tom's has a great article, as usual, looking at the advantages of the E8000 series.

    Double edit: the e8400 ties or beats the e6850 in just about everything at $40 less. It beats the Q6600 soundly in everything gaming-related, the only places the Q6600 performs better are in benchmark tests and in things like video encoding and photoshop, which is normal for quad- versus dual-core comaprisons. Games still aren't optimized for multi-threading.

    AresProphet on
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    gneGnegneGne Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Bit-Tech approves of the Zotac 8800GT
    http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2008/02/11/zotac_geforce_8800_gt_512mb_amp_edition/8

    I am more worried about the PSU, I would rather take the safe route and get a Corsair unit. OCZ made a few shitty units I think.
    Also, I'm not sure about the nvidia mobo's at the moment, what do they offer over the P35 boards?
    Also get the Samsung SH203B DVD drive, it got good reviews on cdfreaks.

    gneGne on
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    Nineteen HundredNineteen Hundred Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    I always thought OCZ had a quality reputation, and the reviews on the one I picked are all in all pretty good. I am reconsidering, though, as I've decided on this case. Apparently, the cables aren't quite long enough. Cooling on the case, though, should be adequate enough while still being cheaper than Raere's suggestion. And if I ever do decide to overclock the CPU (the concept of which terrifies me), I can buy a fan and heatsink down the line. I'm upgrading from a 2.53 GHz Pentium 4, so I'll be impressed enough with the stock settings already. Thanks, for the advice! Keep it coming.

    EDIT: On the mobo, I just picked something recent that somehow still had a serial port. I've got a Wacom that I'm not looking to replace, and those serial-USB converters look kind of dodgy.

    Nineteen Hundred on
    There was something important here. It's gone now.
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    UrianUrian __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2008
    Raere wrote: »
    I would have gone with a Q6600 for a CPU, but it's probably too late. Quad-core might be kind of overkill just for gaming right now, but you'll definitely want one sooner rather than later. More games are using multithreading (Bioshock, Quake Wars are two big ones) and the price premium isn't that bad, considering you're basically doubling your theoretical processing capabilities.

    Don't bother with an X-Fi, they're overpriced and as far as I know, still have Vista driver issues. Anything better than AC'97 from Realtek is pretty good, most of them can do 32-bit sound and have great quality, plus you don't have a slot taken up.

    I'm also thinking 4GB of RAM. DDR800 is dirt cheap right now, for an extra $50 you can double your capacity. Some games are already pushing the 2GB threshold, so you might as well future-proof yourself.

    EDIT: If you're looking for better cooling for a case, check this bad boy out. That's what I'm going to get when I build a new rig.

    Okay, for one, as others have pointed out the 9600GT is a waste of money right now. The 512MB GT is the sweet spot for gaming rigs until the 9800s hit and demonstrate that they're a significant step up.

    For two, 4GB of RAM is basically worthless unless he gets 64bit Vista, which is a can of worms I don't really recommend opening at this point in time for most people.

    Third, there are like four games that can take advantage of a quad-core CPU, and having two faster cores > having four slower cores for gaming right now, and for the foreseeable (2-3 years) future. It may and probably will change, and it's going to depend on what games you play, but as a blanket recommendation quad-core isn't a wise decision. A lot of games that don't take advantage of multi-threading can become CPU-limited when they have tons of RAM and a top-end GPU. Going from 2.4GHz to 3.0GHz is a big step up. The e8400 apparently clocks to over 3.6GHz, on stock cooling, without even changing the stock voltage, which is pretty impressive.

    That case isn't bad, though it's twice the price of what he's picked. Lots of fans.

    Edit: Tom's has a great article, as usual, looking at the advantages of the E8000 series.

    Double edit: the e8400 ties or beats the e6850 in just about everything at $40 less. It beats the Q6600 soundly in everything gaming-related, the only places the Q6600 performs better are in benchmark tests and in things like video encoding and photoshop, which is normal for quad- versus dual-core comaprisons. Games still aren't optimized for multi-threading.

    How does the x6800 compare to those two you mentioned at the end?

    Urian on
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    Iceman.USAFIceman.USAF Major East CoastRegistered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Raere wrote: »
    I would have gone with a Q6600 for a CPU, but it's probably too late. Quad-core might be kind of overkill just for gaming right now, but you'll definitely want one sooner rather than later. More games are using multithreading (Bioshock, Quake Wars are two big ones) and the price premium isn't that bad, considering you're basically doubling your theoretical processing capabilities.

    Don't bother with an X-Fi, they're overpriced and as far as I know, still have Vista driver issues. Anything better than AC'97 from Realtek is pretty good, most of them can do 32-bit sound and have great quality, plus you don't have a slot taken up.

    I'm also thinking 4GB of RAM. DDR800 is dirt cheap right now, for an extra $50 you can double your capacity. Some games are already pushing the 2GB threshold, so you might as well future-proof yourself.

    EDIT: If you're looking for better cooling for a case, check this bad boy out. That's what I'm going to get when I build a new rig.

    Okay, for one, as others have pointed out the 9600GT is a waste of money right now. The 512MB GT is the sweet spot for gaming rigs until the 9800s hit and demonstrate that they're a significant step up.

    For two, 4GB of RAM is basically worthless unless he gets 64bit Vista, which is a can of worms I don't really recommend opening at this point in time for most people.

    Third, there are like four games that can take advantage of a quad-core CPU, and having two faster cores > having four slower cores for gaming right now, and for the foreseeable (2-3 years) future. It may and probably will change, and it's going to depend on what games you play, but as a blanket recommendation quad-core isn't a wise decision. A lot of games that don't take advantage of multi-threading can become CPU-limited when they have tons of RAM and a top-end GPU. Going from 2.4GHz to 3.0GHz is a big step up. The e8400 apparently clocks to over 3.6GHz, on stock cooling, without even changing the stock voltage, which is pretty impressive.

    That case isn't bad, though it's twice the price of what he's picked. Lots of fans.

    Edit: Tom's has a great article, as usual, looking at the advantages of the E8000 series.

    Double edit: the e8400 ties or beats the e6850 in just about everything at $40 less. It beats the Q6600 soundly in everything gaming-related, the only places the Q6600 performs better are in benchmark tests and in things like video encoding and photoshop, which is normal for quad- versus dual-core comaprisons. Games still aren't optimized for multi-threading.

    You, Sir, are quite silly.

    Vista 64 is awesome. I <3 it.

    Iceman.USAF on
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    DeusfauxDeusfaux Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    I'm building my first computer, and I only have a vague idea of what I'm actually doing, so I thought I'd come here and get a stamp of approval before I waste my money. I've been researching this thing on and off for a few weeks, and I'll be ready to make an investment as early as next week (even if it's just a basic, non-gaming computer that I'll have to upgrade come my next paycheck). I'm not made of money, but I've decided I can live with about an $1100 hole in my pocket: Here's what I've come up with:

    Motherboard: ASUS 750i - $159.99

    Intel chipset boards are best for Core 2 Duos. Get an intel P35 based board.

    Processor - Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0GHz: $229.99 (already bought and paid for, since they're going out of stock and rising in price)

    Not bad

    Video Card - Zotac 8800GT AMP! Edition (overclocked): $259.00

    You could get an 8800GTS 512 for $249.99 after MIR on NCIX. If you care about sound, the GTS will be much quieter and cool better.

    If you dont care, you could do much muhc better on the GT price. Like, under $200


    Power Supply - OCZ StealthXStream 600W: $89.99 (I also saw this GameXStream, which I'm curious about, since it seems exactly the same, aside from an LED light and an extra $20 on the price tag)

    Go with a Corsair HX 620.

    RAM - Mushkin 2GB DDR2 800: $48.99

    As long as the timings on that is 4-4-4 or better. If not, OCZ has 2GB package for like $30 after MIR for DDR800 4-4-4

    Hard Drive - Western Digital Caviar 250GB SATA: $69.99

    Go for at least 320, if not 500GB. You're not getting your max money's worth at 250


    This ASUS DVD Burner: $31.99

    Sure, seems fine. I like LG personally

    Case - Apevia X-Jupiter yada yada...: $74.99

    Dunno much about it, but I'd sooner get an Antec SOLO or P182 or 900 depending on your budget and what you're looking for.


    $965.92; $726.91 for a basic build and a cheapo graphics card so it'll turn on, before taxes, shipping and the OS. Speaking of, and I know I'm just asking for it here, XP versus Vista? I have to buy one; my current PC is a ready-made Compaq. Keeping in mind that games will eventually have some worthwhile DX10 features, I'm thinking I should just put up with Vista right now and save myself $110 somewhere down the line, rather than buy XP (which is more expensive for some reason) and upgrade later. Besides, SP1 for Vista is coming out next month, right? Microsoft probably wants to fix the disaster they made.

    Thoughts?

    Deusfaux on
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    Nineteen HundredNineteen Hundred Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Hmm. MIRs are nice, but I can't help considering the up front cost. I know it's a better deal in the long run, but right now I need to hang onto as much money as I can.

    So I think it's a good idea to jack up the price of this thing a little. I'm now considering this Kingston HyperX memory. Better timings (whatever those do for me) with not too much of a markup from what I was considering before.

    I looked up that power supply, and it's twice as expensive as what I was looking at, and I'm not sure exactly what advantages it's offering. That's probably just because I know nothing of power supplies, so would you mind explaining?

    As for the hard drive, I had originally picked out a 500GB, but went with the 250 to cut costs. Besides, I will never possibly use that much space anyway.

    EDIT: Also, for my motherboard choice, I went with SLI because I still want that option. I'll eventually be picking up a hi-res monitor and I want to be sure I can handle games at its native resolution.

    Nineteen Hundred on
    There was something important here. It's gone now.
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    Goose!Goose! That's me, honey Show me the way home, honeyRegistered User regular
    edited February 2008
    I still say my gaming rig is the balls. I spent between 600-700, and can run my games at max settings. :D

    Goose! on
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    AresProphetAresProphet Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Urian wrote: »
    How does the x6800 compare to those two you mentioned at the end?

    They test the e8500 and e8400 against the qx9650 and qx6850. The qx6850 will cost you four times as much as an e8400. The qx9650 is even more than that.

    The e8500 edges out everything they tested against in almost every test that isn't specifically designed to favor quad-core processors. There's a few games the QX series do better in, apparently, but overall the new E8000s are the shit. The e8400 isn't too far behind the QX series in performance, and beats the QX6850 in many tests, and at a quarter of the price that's pretty good.

    The e8500 isn't available on Newegg yet but some sites have it listed as just shy of $300. It performs slightly better than the e8400 for just $50 more, which is a pretty good upgrade. If you can get ahold of one. Then again, you can basically turn your e8400 into an e8500 with some extremely minor overclocking and save the $50.

    AresProphet on
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    DeusfauxDeusfaux Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    I see the power supply for 109 on NCIX after $20 MIR.

    It's one of the best power supplies on the market. One of the absolutel quiestest, best build quality, MODULAR cables, good looking, good warranty, etc etc.

    Deusfaux on
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    UrianUrian __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2008
    Urian wrote: »
    How does the x6800 compare to those two you mentioned at the end?

    They test the e8500 and e8400 against the qx9650 and qx6850. The qx6850 will cost you four times as much as an e8400. The qx9650 is even more than that.

    The e8500 edges out everything they tested against in almost every test that isn't specifically designed to favor quad-core processors. There's a few games the QX series do better in, apparently, but overall the new E8000s are the shit. The e8400 isn't too far behind the QX series in performance, and beats the QX6850 in many tests, and at a quarter of the price that's pretty good.

    The e8500 isn't available on Newegg yet but some sites have it listed as just shy of $300. It performs slightly better than the e8400 for just $50 more, which is a pretty good upgrade. If you can get ahold of one. Then again, you can basically turn your e8400 into an e8500 with some extremely minor overclocking and save the $50.

    I was talking about the dual core x6800 that I have, got it in August 06 when I got my computer. I was just curious if I should consider upgrading to one of the new e8000's any time soon.

    Urian on
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    AresProphetAresProphet Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Urian wrote: »
    Urian wrote: »
    How does the x6800 compare to those two you mentioned at the end?

    They test the e8500 and e8400 against the qx9650 and qx6850. The qx6850 will cost you four times as much as an e8400. The qx9650 is even more than that.

    The e8500 edges out everything they tested against in almost every test that isn't specifically designed to favor quad-core processors. There's a few games the QX series do better in, apparently, but overall the new E8000s are the shit. The e8400 isn't too far behind the QX series in performance, and beats the QX6850 in many tests, and at a quarter of the price that's pretty good.

    The e8500 isn't available on Newegg yet but some sites have it listed as just shy of $300. It performs slightly better than the e8400 for just $50 more, which is a pretty good upgrade. If you can get ahold of one. Then again, you can basically turn your e8400 into an e8500 with some extremely minor overclocking and save the $50.

    I was talking about the dual core x6800 that I have, got it in August 06 when I got my computer. I was just curious if I should consider upgrading to one of the new e8000's any time soon.

    Depends on how much you're willing to spend.

    If you want a substantial upgrade you may want to wait until the e8600s come out, which should be before the end of the year. If all you're worried about is pure performance, price be damned, shelling out $280 for a (small, but noticeable) upgrade isn't terrible.

    I assume the x6800 doesn't perform as well as the qx6850 they tested, because that'd be consistent with how Intel numbers their processors. But I could be way off the mark on that, and you may want to dig around for a direct comparison of the e8000s to the x6800.

    AresProphet on
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    UrianUrian __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2008
    I'll probably just wait for the new ones at the end of the year. Performance is fine, and as long as these new processors run on my motherboard right now then i'm golden. But I might get a quad core instead depending on how much games utilize them by the end of 08

    Urian on
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