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  • Switch's New 'Puter:

    After some frustration with my current video issues I've decided that it is time to build a new system. In all honesty, its completely possible that my mobo is failing and not the video card, but at 5 years old its not worth the trouble to fix or troubleshoot any further.

    Within the last 2 months I've purchased a new HD, a new optical drive, and a new PSU (2 days ago). Those are coming to the new system. It is also possible that I can use my current case (Antec Sonata) if I can't find a suitable case on the cheap. I really dislike flashy window cases. The clean look of the sonata is my style -- if you have any suggestions, fire away.

    Anyway, I'm modeling most of what I do off of the info I get on Toms Hardware and Anandtech. The recently published system builder on toms set up a good PC in the 'sub 2000' segment for just over 1000. Let's set my price range there... Keep in mind that I do already have 300 dollars in parts with and new HD, PSU, and DVD so spending 1000 now makes it a 1300 dollar system. I *want* to spend 0 dollars, but we'll do what we can to make it great with as little extra monies as possible.

    This system should be in it for the long haul. I expect another 5 years.... as it is, my current system still runs great, but the video problems make it necessary to buy a new AGP video card, and thats not worth it at this point... 200 bucks for a new AGP top end or 1000bucks for a whole new system upgraded to multi cores and PCIX
    _______________
    Carry Over Parts:
    _______________
    PSU:
    Antec Trio 650W

    HD:
    SATA WD 750 GB

    Optical SATA DVD-R/W
    Samsun SH-S203B

    _______________
    New Parts:
    _______________

    MOBO:
    I'm clueless here. I'm expecting to go with an intel chip and would like to get a board that would support over clocking should I chose to do it. I expect that I will go for a modest over clock at the least, since the recent batch of intel chips have been getting rave reviews on their over clocking flexibility. What board could I expect to do well here and be viable for the next several years.

    PROC:
    I have no idea what to get here. The Q6600 seems to be getting alot of recommendations, but Im really clueless with all the new releases and chip types, etc. I've been out of the tech business for 4 years now and I haven't kept up. What do I chose?

    MEMORY:
    This selection depends on the mobo, but I'm sure I could get 4GB of quality at $150 or less if I keep my eyes open.

    COOLING:
    Since I want to over clock, I was considering getting into that whole water thing. I'm not sure if thats really necessary though. Thoughts, suggestions? Right now I have a Scyth Ninja and 3x 120mm case fans. My tower is nearly silent (good 120's) and temps have been great with the scyth. If I stay with a non water heat sink I think I'd grab another Ninja or the Thermalright Ultra 120. Very similar, slightly better performance.

    VIDEO:
    Recent reviews of the HD4850 have me swooning. For that price/performance I was thinking 2x 4850's in cross fire.

    SOUND:
    I've always had a Creative SB card of one sort or another and I've always noticed the improved sound in game. Sure drivers could be a bit better for setting it up, but in game it was always great. I'm thinking of grabbing a cheap XFi at the least, if not investing in a 'better' one. Need to research if there's actually any difference between all the versions.



    Anyway -- start your engines and get to suggesting parts and builds!
    |TG|Switch

    Better known as:
    That noob who crashed the chopper.
    That noob who ran over the mine.
    That noob who TK'd me with a sniper rifle.
    That noob who hit that APC at 300m with light AT! Our APC...

  • #2
    Re: Switch's New 'Puter:

    First off: look into the Asus Xonar line of sound cards. Stay away from Creative if you possibly can, especially their lower end stuff. They intentionally disable features in the drivers that the hardware is capable of unless you buy their more expensive cards. Asus's drivers are pretty young still but at least they won't give you crappy customer support.

    Video card: If I were you, I'd get one 4870 instead of two 4850s. The power draw would be less and it would be almost as fast. Plus, some games don't support multi GPUs.

    CPU: The Q6600 is a great deal and a really good chip. I think its almost worth considering going for a Q9450 instead, just for the gains in IPC and the lower power usage and thermal envelope. They won't take as much voltage as a Q6600 and won't clock quite as high as a result plus they cost a bit more.

    Cooling: Scythe Ninja and TRUE 120 are both great heatsinks. If you want to save a few bucks for similar performance (a bit better than the Scythe, not quite as good as a lapped TRUE), I'd recommend a Xigmatek HDT-1283. I have one and it is an amazing heat sink. Another good option is an OCZ Vendetta 2 but it costs a bit more. You have to lap the TRUE 120 to beat the performance of those two and that is apparently a fairly arduous process.

    Motherboard: Bamboo is your guy here. :)
    sigpic

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Switch's New 'Puter:

      http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835101009
      would be a great cooler, i run it on my AMD 6400X2, which is well known for running very hot, and it runs at a measly 40c under 100% load, i also have 5 120mm fans in my antec p180 case all running at lowest setting
      as for the video cards, ATI has pretty much taken the lead with their HD4x series, their price/performance is outstanding, and their performance is par or better than nvidia this round. i dont know if the 2x 4850 or 1 4870 would be better tho
      powered by Windows 7

      . . . .

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Switch's New 'Puter:

        http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm

        I should have posted this earlier but here is a pretty comprehensive list of the best heatsinks for Intel and AMD. The Sunbeam that is listed as #1 for Intel HSFs is supposed to have a really bad fastening mechanism and apparently falls off after a while. The Xigmatek (#2) has an available bolt-through kit that is highly recommended. (the same sort of kit is recommended to replace Intel's push pins for all of those tower type CPU coolers.) The Thermalright Ultra 120 series ships with a base that isn't perfectly flat and needs to be lapped in order to achieve it's full potential.

        Anyhow, I hope the list is helpful to you.
        sigpic

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Switch's New 'Puter:

          Lets see.

          CPU: It depends on what you want to do with your computer. The quad cores are being used in some instances but still not main stream. The dual cores that are clocked higher will give you better FPS in games for the most part. However in the future (your 5 year time frame) I could see more then two cores being used in main stream software/games.

          As such I would go down the quad core route.
          $329 for this Q9450 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819115042

          Or save some coin and get a Q6600 for $189 (no heatsink)
          http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819115018

          However seeing as your going to keep this for 5 years the 9450 may serve you better?

          RAM
          I would say at this point going with DDR3 is acceptable. Here is a good 2x2gb Corsair kit for $198. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820145198

          If you want to go DDR2 you can save almost $100. Either way get something from Corsair, OCZ or another reputable source. Don't get value/generic ram!!! The performance gain from DDR3 may not be that much but if your keeping this system for 5 years then it might be worth it?

          Motherboard :icon24:
          This is probably the most crucial part. I wish I could say with confidence buy this part X. However things change so much and I havent kept up. The intel chips still seem to be your best bet. If you get DDR3 get a board that accepts it (duh) From the reviews I have seen the mixed DDR3/2 boards are not a good option. Pick your ram and stay with a dedicated mobo for it. Gigabyte and Asus are usually the top boards. DFI is a good option if you want to overclock really heavily but may not be worth purchasing if you only want a mild overclock?

          Your choices are going to be a P45 or a X38 or X48 board. Be sure to get one that supports your FSB and will support the Q9450 without a BIOS flash. Some people have purchased boards that will support the Q9450 only after the BIOS flash, so if you don't have a compatable CPU to run the flash first your stuck :row__637: Most of the X48 and P45 boards should be ready for them.

          Video Card
          I would also suggest the 4870 over a crossfire 4850 at this point simply because you don't really need that much power, yet. However I would get a crossfire motherboard. So in a year or two when the 4870's have dropped to dirt cheap you grab another one and then crossfire it to extend the life of your system. You may need a new PSU at that point but again the price of a good 750w PSU will be cheap by then. As already pointed out, ATi has cards in the sweet spot right now and if crossfire keep improving you will be able to take advantage down the road.

          Sound Card
          AuzenTech makes their own version of the Creative X-Fi cards. Basically they make a much better version of Creatives offering while being able to support the latest version of EAX (something only these two companies offer). AuzenTech has much better components and aparently the drivers are better?

          http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16829156005

          Im not sure about the Asus cards. I'm still using an old Audigy 2 so my knowledge is a little dated :row__579: What card do you have now?

          Case
          If you like your current case then save some coin and keep it. However I recently moved up from my old Antec case to a CoolerMaster 690 and I'm much happier with the extra room and cooling it offers. It was much easier to route cables and get good airflow going. It isn't to loud but I have a fan controller handling 5 fans, no seriously its not loud.

          http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811119137

          At $75 its also one of the cheaper but well set up cases. It is a tool-less design for the most part and like I said has some nice features with room to play with. The look is simple though the included front 120mm fan is a blue LED and can be seen through the front (swap it out if you want?)

          OS
          You don't mention what OS you have or plan to use. My suggestion would be to grab a copy of Vista 64 eventually, skip the 32bit version. No harm in keeping your current XP but it won't use more then 3.2GB of ram (not a big deal really)

          Well that is a shot in the dark and not really that specific. Hope it gets you on track? Ask away.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Switch's New 'Puter:

            DDR3 is still a a rip off stay away from it.

            For the motherboard just chose one that has all the features you want at the best price, avoiding any that have 20 reviewers stating the same fatal problem.

            I would suggest against buying a video card now with the intention of adding another in Xfire/SLI at a significant time later. Most likely when the time comes for you to upgrade it will cost less to just buy a single better card. Consider that getting a motherboard that is Xfire capable and a PSU that can power 2 cards is money that could instead be saved to buy a better single GPU in the future.
            |TG-12th| Namebot

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Switch's New 'Puter:

              I'll throw in my two cents here.

              RAM

              If you can wait another 6 months to a year, DDR3 might become affordable. If you can't, DDR2 800 seems to be the best bet right now as it is the most popular.

              Sound

              I'll just throw out here the card I was and am still considering for my 1 week old computer: HT Omega Striker 7.1

              Motherboard

              If you decide to go Gigabyte, be warned that you might run into some memory compatibility issues. GA doesn't publish on their website what RAM modules and serials are compatible with their mobos. For some boards, the memory issue is resolved by flashing to the latest BIOS revision.

              ECS is one brand I would stay away from. They aren't known for quality or reliability, although their recent offerings seem to be more feature rich.

              ASUS and Intel are pretty much solid boards that you can't go wrong with. Just don't go bargain bin, since some of those cheaper boards lack some features that one might consider "needed" in today's rigs.
              |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
              TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
              Former 9th & 13th

              Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
              Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





              SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

              TG Primer and Rules

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Switch's New 'Puter:

                Go here and keep an eye out for deals. Make sure you go in to the forums, hot deals, and click on thread started to get the most recent deals. Recently, I purchased an AMD 5000 Black box for $30 and a AMD Phenom 9600 for $90. If you keep your eyes open, you can find some really great deal. Personally, I like AMD more than Intel because even though people rave about Intel's, in actuality that are not that much faster and they cost a lot more. Check out toms hardware charts here to get accurate comparison for your parts.

                Happy Hunting!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Switch's New 'Puter:

                  OS Question: 64-bit processor compatibility

                  I was thinking of going for a 64 bit OS to take advantage of the extra memory capacity -- but I was always under the impression that you need a compatible processor to utilize a 64 bit os? Am I wrong about that or have all modern procs stepped up to that?

                  Also, how is software now? Am I going to be experience problems that negate any benefits that extra ram might provide? I don't care how fast things load if they crash shortly there after, you know?
                  |TG|Switch

                  Better known as:
                  That noob who crashed the chopper.
                  That noob who ran over the mine.
                  That noob who TK'd me with a sniper rifle.
                  That noob who hit that APC at 300m with light AT! Our APC...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Switch's New 'Puter:

                    If you get an AMD 64 or Intel Core2 based CPU, you have 64 bit support. I'm running 64 bit Vista and I love it. I didn't like it as much when I only had 2GB of RAM though.
                    sigpic

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Switch's New 'Puter:

                      Most of the newer processors out nowadays have 64-bit support.

                      I haven't experienced any problems other than the crappy Logitech Setpoint software (for x64 Vista).

                      - Graphics drivers are fine with no problems whatsoever.
                      - Onboard audio drivers work just fine. Vista's support for HD audio is a plus. :)
                      - My wireless card 64-bit beta drivers also work like a charm (MSI PC60G).
                      - My Brother MFC-240C also has 64-bit drivers and works fine. The installer needs to get updated though. Vista thought it "crashed/stopped working" after the drivers were installed.

                      Most of my 32-bit programs work fine (as well as my games). From Counter-Strike: Source to Photoshop CS3 to Microsoft Word, etc.
                      |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
                      TG World of Tanks Clan Executive Officer
                      Former 9th & 13th

                      Pronounciation: Eh-Cree-Oh Ah-Nay-Ess
                      Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





                      SSDs I Own: Kingston HyperX 3K (240 GB), Samsung 840 Pro (256 GB), Samsung 840 EVO (250 GB), Samsung 840 x 2 (120 GB), Plextor M5S (120 GB), OCZ Vertex (30 GB)

                      TG Primer and Rules

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Switch's New 'Puter:

                        I'm having trouble deciding on a mobo/proc. I'd like this build to last a long while and I'm afraid to get a less expensive mobo that won't allow for future upgrades. As far as the proc, I'm comfortable with the selection, but Im afraid there is some price drop coming soon that I'm not aware of.

                        Feed back please.


                        Tentative build:

                        PROC:$330
                        Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450 Yorkfield 2.66GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80569Q9450 - Retail
                        http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819115042

                        HEATSINK:$50
                        Scythe SCNJ-2000 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler - Retail
                        http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835185074

                        MOBO:$250
                        DFI LP LT X48-T2R LGA 775 Intel X48 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
                        http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813136046

                        MEM: $105
                        G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-4GBPK - Retail
                        http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820231166

                        VGA: $270 (after rebate)
                        HIS Hightech H487F512P Radeon HD 4870 512MB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
                        http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814161236
                        |TG|Switch

                        Better known as:
                        That noob who crashed the chopper.
                        That noob who ran over the mine.
                        That noob who TK'd me with a sniper rifle.
                        That noob who hit that APC at 300m with light AT! Our APC...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Switch's New 'Puter:

                          Originally posted by Switch View Post
                          I'm having trouble deciding on a mobo/proc. I'd like this build to last a long while and I'm afraid to get a less expensive mobo that won't allow for future upgrades. As far as the proc, I'm comfortable with the selection, but Im afraid there is some price drop coming soon that I'm not aware of.
                          I like it. A price drop is a given.. and it'll be the day after you plug the chip into the board - it might be reasonable to step back to a dual core instead of the quad - it'll still be a big boost for you and you can plug a quad core in later.

                          Oh, and it you are using an x64 OS.. like Vista - go with an 8GB set of ram - you'll probably see more immediate benefit from that instead of the Quad.
                          sigpic


                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Switch's New 'Puter:

                            I would consider looking into a different CPU cooler. both the OCZ Vendetta 2 and the Xigmatek HDT-1283 cost less and perform better than the one you're planning on using. The Scythe is a high quality unit as well but when there is stuff available that performs better for less money...

                            *EDIT* That's what I get for talking out of my ass. It looks like that is a brand new cooler on the market and none of the usual sites have reviews up for it yet. Maybe it does outperform the HDT stuff. Given the price, I still would wait for some reviews before buying.
                            sigpic

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Switch's New 'Puter:

                              The Nehalm processors are coming out this winter. They will of course need a new mobo. You won't be able to benefit from them if that is what your thinking? (at least I don't think you will?)

                              The list you have there is a nice build. There is some great DFI forums if you do get one of their mobo's. Lots of info on OC'ing to be had.

                              Comment

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