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  • Win a year membership: Help build a gaming rig!

    It's been a long journey...

    ... over a year since I lost my gaming rig(s) to the fire and even longer since I've been able to play a game that wasn't web-based. I feel (hope) the time is finally coming (i.e. insurance money) for me to build a new gaming rig. I had three desktops lost but plan to rebuild only one. One very powerful gaming rig.

    And maybe a PS3, but that's another day. :-)

    So it is time for me to start looking at computer components again. I've looked over the past year and things keep changing. And will keep changing for that matter. But I've got to put a stake in the sand and pick my gaming weapon of choice. I imagine I can build something quite nice and still have some insurance money left over.

    So I've got a little proposition for my fellow TGers. Help me choose my components and have your name entered into a drawing for a year membership to TG. That's right... I'll use some of that extra money and help you enjoy gaming at TG. The only exception to this is if the insurance money fails to come through, then we're both out of luck. :-/

    Here's how this is going to work:
    1. For each component that you recommend and I use in my system, you're name will be entered into the drawing.
    2. You must be the first to recommend this component in this thread.
    3. You must provide a reason why this component is worth choosing. And it being 1337 isn't going to cut it.
    4. The components must meet my rig requirements (mentioned below).
    5. You cannot recommend two components of the same type (i.e. two video cards) unless they offer two different feature sets. If a new part comes out however, a second submission will be accepted.
    6. You may recommend components that will soon be released but I'm planning to purchase these by the end of the year.


    Let's get down to business.

    Requirements:
    This will be my only desktop in the house. It's primary use will be for gaming. It's secondary use will be as a central file server to maintain mp3s, photos, documents, etc. My laptops will backup to this desktop. I do upgrade components regularly but I'd like to future proof this machine as best as possible.

    At this time I don't have a budget limit, but that doesn't mean we need to buy the most expensive products unless they are worth it.

    Case:
    I've been a fan of Lian Li cases ever since I've built desktops. I'm not set on them however. What I'm looking for is a mid or full tower. I don't want the components / wires packed in restricting airflow and the case should be easy to work with. Something that provides ease of access to install / change components is important. The case should provide ample airflow to keep things cool. I don't really care for all of the fancy flashing lights but will consider the case if it meets the other objectives. The case should help to keep down the noise, but keeping components cool is more important. The size and number of the case fan slots is important. I do not plan to use liquid cooling so keep that in mind.

    I also have several cats that like to roam my office. The intake fans need to be able to filter out all that cat hair. I'm open to customizing this piece though. Other than that, I don't really plan to "mod" the case.

    Processor (CPU):
    I used to be an AMD fan until Intel blew their socks off. So unless there is a strong reason for AMD I will most likely being going the Intel route. Right now I'm leaning towards a quad-core unless there's a reason not to. I don't plan to overclock, but the capabilities to OC will be a plus if I change my mind down the road.

    CPU Cooler:
    If the stock cooler works, that's great. If there is a cooler that is quiet and offers better capabilities then I'm all for it.

    Motherboard:
    This may be one of the hard components to recommend because it varies by the video card and cpu. As I'm most likely heading down the Intel quad-core route, the mobo will probably have to go down that route. Again, I do not plan to OC but may eventually down the road. I'm not set on which video card (Nvidia / ATI) yet either. I do not plan to go SLI / Crossfire, however the option to down the road if needed will be a plus.

    As far as features of the mobo... I plan to have it hardwired to the net so I don't need wireless. I also only plan to make use of one ethernet port. I most likely will use a sound card so having powerful onboard sound or an included sound adapter may not be necessary.

    Memory:
    I expect to get at least 4 GB of memory and depending on the cost, I may go 8 GB. I do not plan to OC, but the capability to OC will be a plus. I'm still open to DDR2 or DDR3. Just remember that I want to future proof this rig as much as reasonably possible.

    Power (PSU):
    The PSU should be able to handle all of the components. I plan on a single video card, but may eventually go with two. Keep that in mind. The PSU should have component cables. I don't need extra cables restricting airflow or simply being difficult to manage.

    Video Card (GPU):
    I've been an NVidia fan as long as I can remember. I've found their drivers to be more reliable and their cards simply faster than ATI. Recently however, I've read that may not be the case anymore. I'm open to both brands. I'm looking for a strong GPU. As with everything else, I don't plan to OC but may eventually. I also plan on using a single card but may go SLI / Crossfire if the need arises. The temperature of the card is also important. The card will most likely have to support a 24" monitor.

    Sound Card:
    I've always purchased creative sound cards. I enjoy getting the EAX sounds. However I'm open to other options especially now that a few other makers offer those capabilities. I typically use a 5.1 headset for gaming so the card should support that.

    Speakers:
    I had a 4.1 set previously but didn't hook up the rears. My office doesn't really lend to running wires to the rear speakers. I'm very open to either a 2.1, 4.1 or 5.1 speaker set. I listen to music and occasionally watch movies but I didn't use my previous speakers a whole lot. If I do have rears, they either need to have long wires, extensions, or are wireless. Quality is important.

    Headset:
    I had the medusa 5.1 headset previously. I really enjoyed those. I do want at least a 5.1 headset. A boom attached is important. I don't want a mic laying around the desk if at all possible. If there is an option to easily switch between speakers and headset that is a plus.

    Case Fans:
    The size of the case fans is important but really depend on the case. The fans should be quiet. If they are manually controlled or temp controlled that is a plus... unless temp controlled is not a good option.

    Hard Drives (HDD):
    In the past I partitioned my HDDs and used multiple HDDs to segment what went where. One ran the OS... one was the storage... one was for gaming... etc. What I'm looking for is enough storage to hold music, photos, etc. Speed is important for gaming and access. Segmentation is important for when I reinstall the OS / applications so that I can easily do that w/o having to back music, photos, etc. up.

    So something else to consider if the setup of the HDDs. Are some or all run in RAID? Which RAID? Are some faster than others and what is that HDD used for?

    Media Drives (DVD):
    I had a DVD and CD writer in the past. I rarely made DVDs/CDs though but I'll probably want at least one to be a writer. I'll most likely go with two drives so I don't always have to transfer gaming discs. And it's simply easier to copy when I have two drives.

    I'm open to BluRay. I don't really see a need... but it may be cool to watch BluRay on my rig. This also depends on the sound system / headset and monitor choice.

    Keyboard:
    I had an ergo keyboard in the past. When I type a lot my wrists do get sore. I will consider any keyboard though. Wireless would be nice, but I need a keyboard that is responsive for gaming.

    Mouse:
    Already have one of these. :-)

    Monitor:
    I had a 22" widescreen in the past. I'm looking to go the 24" or greater route. Widescreen is preferable. The monitor needs to be responsive to gaming and if I do go the BluRay route, then it should present BluRay in all its glory.

    OS:
    I do plan to go Vista 64 bit.

    Battery Backup:
    I don't want to blow the machine with a power surg so I'll need something capable of handling all of the components for a reasonable amount of time. At least long enough to shut things down.

    Joystick:
    I had a saitek stick in the past. I don't fly much, but when I do I'll need something other than the mouse / keyboard.

    TV Card:
    I switched from cable to satellite and don't have a box in my office, so this component is out for now.

    What am I missing?
    What other component would be needed or cool to have?


    I don't necessarily have an end date set on this. In part it depends on the insurance company, however I do plan / hope to build something by the end of the year. Hopefully it won't take that long. I'll keep this original post updated with any selections and a status.
    |TG-12th| asch
    sigpic

  • #2
    Re: Win a year membership: Help build a gaming rig!

    Originally posted by asch View Post
    Case:
    I've been a fan of Lian Li cases ever since I've built desktops. I'm not set on them however. What I'm looking for is a mid or full tower. I don't want the components / wires packed in restricting airflow and the case should be easy to work with. Something that provides ease of access to install / change components is important. The case should provide ample airflow to keep things cool. I don't really care for all of the fancy flashing lights but will consider the case if it meets the other objectives. The case should help to keep down the noise, but keeping components cool is more important. The size and number of the case fan slots is important. I do not plan to use liquid cooling so keep that in mind.
    Originally posted by Cappy
    asch i have no experiance with this case but this is the case i WILL be buying for my next build. all you have to do is look at the specs and you will know why.

    how can you go wrong with this case??? it has everything you will ever need plus built in water cooling and should be plenty big enough for anything your going to do with it.

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...135&CatId=1510
    Thanks for the suggestion Cappy... but I'm looking to avoid liquid cooling.
    |TG-12th| asch
    sigpic

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    • #3
      Re: Win a year membership: Help build a gaming rig!

      woooops my fault,, i miss read it,, thought it said you plan on going to luquid cooling so keep that in mind... my fault bro,, sry you can delete it if you so wish

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Win a year membership: Help build a gaming rig!

        I would have to recommend the Corsair TX750W.
        It's powerful enough for SLI (Advertised for SLI as well)/CF (depending on if your GPU kills kittens it's so power hungry), has pretty good performance, and will last for a very long time. Corsair products are pretty good and I couldn't say anything bad about corsair parts right now. (Heck, all my other friends that have built have picked up a corsair 750W and have no problems with it other than the colour for some lol). The PSU is also cheaper than most 750W out there I've found.

        http://www.corsairmemory.com/products/tx.aspx

        Also, if you want to buy any extra case fans (and plan on having your computer on a lot) pickup these. http://www.scythe-usa.com/product/ac...ex_detail.html
        The bearings last for around 150 000 hours. The fans are also pretty quiet for their speeds and sizes. I'm going to be picking up a pair of these (the 1600 RPM ones) by the end of this year as well and I haven't seen any bad reviews for it. I'm used to loud fans (dying GPU fan right now) so these will be quiet for me. Apparently the 1600 RPM one produces less noise than a stock Intel CPU fan (and isn't noticeable with a stock CPU fan running).

        Also case fans don't really need temp control unless your computer is horrible for heat. Make sure when you install the fans though to have more air blowing in than out. You end up with less dust inside the case.
        Last edited by Pistolfied; 09-05-2008, 08:25 PM.

        Damnit Blizzard, fix ZvT already >.<
        In Soviet Russian, Arma admins are nice to you!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Win a year membership: Help build a gaming rig!

          Since you listed your machine as agaming rig I wouldn't really blow the cash on a quad core, a speedy E8500 at 3.16GHz its fast now and later on when you feel the need for a bit more umph you can reach 4.4GHz which is quite an improvement.

          now if this machine is going to be more than just gaming and you plan on running a lot of multithread applications (which there a precious few of) I would recommend the Q9550.
          its basically two E8xxx series chips packaged together, so there is plenty of room to overclock later in the future.

          if you leave the E8500 at stock speeds the provided cooler will do fine and you wont have any heat problems but for better cooling and quieter running you can go with the cheaper Xigmatek HDT-S1283. If your budget can handle it the Thermalright Ultra-120 is also a good choice.

          reviews can be seen for the Xigmatek and the Thermalright. I will say that I have the Xigmatek fan that comes with that cooler in my case right now working as a exhaust fan and it runs smoothly and quietly.

          Quick note: I highly recommend and aftermarket cooler for the Q9550 simply to reduce the total heat of the chip and provide more stable running conditions, better safe than sorry.
          Last edited by Reaperassault; 09-05-2008, 10:35 PM. Reason: quick note
          Reapator, overlord of ponies

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          • #6
            Re: Win a year membership: Help build a gaming rig!

            Originally posted by kittykatnub View Post
            I would have to recommend the Corsair TX750W.
            It's powerful enough for SLI (Advertised for SLI as well)/CF (depending on if your GPU kills kittens it's so power hungry)
            I'd second that PSU, i own one and run nice and cool. Be prepared to have a ton of cable to and a cpu the weighs 10 ten pounds.

            If you have a larger case and you want a single powerful card from Nvidea and cash isn't a problem, a Nvidea 260 or 280 is as powerful as you can get from them. It's just that they are huge in size and cost.
            |TG-6th|SirNerd

            My Resume includes Pirate, Mercenary, and a Devil Dog, what else do you want.

            Pain is Inevitable, Suffering is Optional.

            When you can't run anymore, you crawl and when you can't do that, you find someone to carry you.

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            • #7
              Re: Win a year membership: Help build a gaming rig!

              I might as well add in the RAM at this point as well.

              DDR2 is the way to go right now as prices on DDR3 make the minor improvements it offers not worth the cost of the hardware i.e. DDR2 would be $100 and DDR3 would be $200 for a few extra MHz that don't really make a difference.

              Corsair has to be one of my favorite RAM companies and they offer very solid products which I can also attest to having 2 sets of XMS2 DDR2-800 for a total of 4GB. These are rated to run at 5-5-5-18 timings, 800MHz @ 1.8V and I currently have then running 4-4-4-12, 800MHz @1.85V and have never encountered a problem yet.

              now for you I would go a head and get the 4GB (2x2) kit of XMS2 which saves slots and is more reliable. DDR2-800 is plenty fast and still has room left to overclock later on. If you do happen to need faster speed to run 1:1 with your CPU on an overclock you can simply slack the timings down to 5-5-5-15 and crank the speed up to where you need it, seeing as there are a few other corsair products that use the same ram modules as these that run at higher speeds I would deem this very possible and unlikely to run into any snags in the process.

              to achieve the 8GB simply add another kit and there you go.
              Reapator, overlord of ponies

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Win a year membership: Help build a gaming rig!

                Originally posted by Reaperassault View Post
                I might as well add in the RAM at this point as well.

                DDR2 is the way to go right now as prices on DDR3 make the minor improvements it offers not worth the cost of the hardware i.e. DDR2 would be $100 and DDR3 would be $200 for a few extra MHz that don't really make a difference.

                Corsair has to be one of my favorite RAM companies and they offer very solid products which I can also attest to having 2 sets of XMS2 DDR2-800 for a total of 4GB. These are rated to run at 5-5-5-18 timings, 800MHz @ 1.8V and I currently have then running 4-4-4-12, 800MHz @1.85V and have never encountered a problem yet.

                now for you I would go a head and get the 4GB (2x2) kit of XMS2 which saves slots and is more reliable. DDR2-800 is plenty fast and still has room left to overclock later on. If you do happen to need faster speed to run 1:1 with your CPU on an overclock you can simply slack the timings down to 5-5-5-15 and crank the speed up to where you need it, seeing as there are a few other corsair products that use the same ram modules as these that run at higher speeds I would deem this very possible and unlikely to run into any snags in the process.

                to achieve the 8GB simply add another kit and there you go.
                Newegg is having a special right now, $27 for 2 gb of ddr2 800 corsair memory shipped after rebate! I second corsair memory as well, they've served me well in the past and I'll continue to buy from them in the future.

                I didn't join a squad once and this guy named Nardini took me into the back room and beat me with a sock of oranges.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Win a year membership: Help build a gaming rig!

                  Case:
                  Antec cases are, imho, very quality built cases. i personally have the p180, but they successor is the p182. it comes in silver, mirror, or black, about 150 at newegg. the back side of the 182 comes off and has about a half inch of room to allow you to do all your cabling behind the mobo tray so you dont see any of it when looking in the case from the normal side, it has 4 places to put 120mm fans, and comes with 3. one on top, by where the cpu is, one in back (normal placement) where the cpu is.. one in the front, which is filtered, to prevent dust from entering the case; blows right where the graphics card is... a great plus. and one in the bottom cage where the psu and hard drives go, which is separated to prevent psu and hard drive heat from going to the mobo area, 2 separate, cooler areas.
                  Processor (CPU):
                  http://www.tacticalgamer.com/newrepl...eply&p=1083980
                  has had great reviews, and it is, imho, the best price/performance niche
                  CPU Cooler:
                  the above processor comes with a HSF, which if you dont overclock, should be more than sufficient. if you want to drop a bit on aftermarket cooling then i recommend (and currently use)
                  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835101017
                  it is very quiet, and keeps my relatively hot AMD 6400 at a crisp, refreshing 38c fully loaded, 31c idle, and if you are a dumbarse like me and accidently unplug your cpu fan while tinkering inside your case (yes.. happened to me yesterday) it will keep it at 66c idle with a fanspeed of 0rpm... sigh, hope that doesnt have future problems lol
                  Motherboard:
                  i reccomend ASUS motherboards, but i wont blindly link an asus motherboard, but i havent been in the intel motherboard loop for a long time.
                  some things you should look at when deciding...
                  p45 northbridge chipset: i know a fair few of people that have upgraded their mobo to this chipset and everyone was thrilled at how it performs.
                  DDR 3
                  again, this is motherboar specific, so linking would be irrelevant depending on the motherboard.


                  Memory:
                  ddr3 was very costly per gig when i built my latest rig, but it is as cheap as ddr2 was back when i built... if you are going vistax64, which i highly recommend, you can disable your page/swap file, which i have done, and run 8gb, using all of the 8gb. this makes the whole OS very very noticibly faster, not having to queue the swap file on the hard drive every time you click a button. i run no page/swap file with my 8gb and i have had no problems doing so
                  Power (PSU):
                  i use an antec trio 650w psu. for testing purposes, i have OC my CPU, GPU, all while using 3 hard drives, 2 cd roms, and about 6 USB devices. 650 should be the minimum for todays systems imho, you want to draw less than 80% of your psu capacity during normal usage to prevent premature failure of psu components. i think 750 is a save bet for the system i am recommending.
                  Video Card (GPU):
                  i fell in love with the 4870 the moment it came out. the single 4870 comparable to the gtx260 for half the price, and in the current gen of graphic cards, nvidia has had horsecrap drivers and ATI has been the one with very stable drivers. if you want to have a graphic card that will put out for a few years, i recommend the 4870x2. it is stomping all over the gtx280 on 75% of all the games, and near-monthly driver updates add more improvement to crossfire(via internal architecture) scaling.
                  Sound Card:
                  i have, for the most part, used onboard audio. my current mobo is a gaming mobo, which CAME WITH a pci-e x1 audio card. if you have an audigy already, i dont see any sense in upgrading.
                  Speakers:

                  Headset:
                  baracuda megalodon... the headset i have been drooling over for a month..... $150, usb connectivity.. easily switch your headphones and speakers by unplugging the usb cord.... 7.1 sound.... o so succulent sound
                  Case Fans:
                  the case i recommended above comes with 3 very quiet, 3 speed fans. they are antec brand, which i recommend highly
                  Hard Drives (HDD):
                  i am a fan of seagate hard drives. i dont think you can go wrong with either seagate or WD, but i wouldnt get anything else. i use raid 0. when i installed vista x64, the default drivers noticed the raid drive during instalation. raid0 is faster, but it isnt secure (its just as secure as a single drive) in the fact that if the drive crashes, your info is lost... same as a single drive. size is dependent on the user. i have 2x320gb totaling (after format) 596GB. i am a little over half full, having 30 movies, a handful of them being blu-ray rips (7gb movies) about 10,000 songs; and all my steam games installed... about 40gb.. 25 games
                  Media Drives (DVD):
                  blu ray is definitly nice. but it is still at the pricing stage that tosses alot of perspective buyers away, i would buy it it a year... but not right now
                  Keyboard:
                  the logitech g15 is nice. i have it, i recommend it. but not alot of people agree with me that the g15 is worth the price. i can type 80-120 wpm on it without a problem, and it is wired, so gaming isnt a problem (its what its made for)
                  Mouse:
                  you have a mouse but not a keyboard? jk... i prefer wireless mice, i use them for gaming, and at first.. my wireless mosue was bluetooth, it would suffer from packet loss. but my current 2.4ghz rf mouse has no problems whatsoever.
                  it is aL
                  Logitech VX revolution

                  yes it is a laptop mouse. i have very big hands, and the mouse is the perfect shape for the grip i use on my mouse (claw grip... where your palm doesnt rest on the top of the mouse, and you direct your mouse with simultaneous finger movements in one direction, instead of pushing it with your palm.)

                  Monitor:
                  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16824001264
                  that is the monitor i have been trying to talk myself into buying all summer. it has very good reviews, and it is a samsung (the best lcd manufacturer imho.)

                  OS:
                  I do plan to go Vista 64 bit. <-- good.... i would have recommended that if u didnt say that

                  Battery Backup:
                  i dont know anything about this, but APC is a brand i have heard of
                  powered by Windows 7

                  . . . .

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Win a year membership: Help build a gaming rig!

                    Several folks have asked me about the budget. I'm expecting around $5k from the insurance company. I do plan to spend a good bit of it because otherwise they depreciate the cash value. I still want value for the money, but I have a lot of wiggle room.
                    |TG-12th| asch
                    sigpic

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Win a year membership: Help build a gaming rig!

                      For gaming I recommend the "Nostromo SpeedPad n52". All the keys under your fingertips and all are programmable. I can play without it. I used to hit the wrong key a lot when using the keyboard but now all my games are programmed to use the same keys.

                      I recommend the Dell 24". I love mine.

                      For photography I use Spyder3 to calibrate the colors on my monitor. I want the colors to be correct when I have them printed.

                      I play COD4, CIV4, MS Flight Simulator and my rig works well. If I had to redo it I would get the ATI 4870x2 for graphic.

                      My rig:
                      Motherboard: EVGA 780i
                      Graphic Card: EVGA NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 512
                      Monitor: Dell 2407WFP-HC
                      DVD: Philips SPD6104P SCSI DVD
                      Sound: Creative X-FI Audio
                      Power Supply: Corsair TX750W
                      CPU: E8400
                      Memory: Patriot 4G 2Gx2
                      Hard Drive: 500G
                      Case: Antec P182
                      OS: Windows Vista Home Premium 64
                      The Old Guy
                      kin3
                      sigpic


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                      • #12
                        Re: Win a year membership: Help build a gaming rig!

                        Video card: NVidia 8800GT. Why an 8800GT? It has the best performance per price (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...rd,2011-2.html). It will handle most games on the market right now with relative ease. I run every game I have on max settings (BF2142, Assasin's Creed, BioShock). For $120, this card cannot be beat. I like BFG a lot (great support, reliable cards), but they are a bit pricier ($150 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814143118).

                        Mouse pad: (I'm not trying to be funny): Exactmat by Razer. This mousepad will outlive every other component you have. It provides an excellent surface, can be washed in the sink and can take any abuse you give it. People usually scoff at spending $25 on a mat, but consider just how much of your time is spent moving the mouse. My mat is the only piece of equipment that I've never ever ever had a complaint about. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...ZER-_-26999016

                        I second Reaper's suggestions on Memory. DDR2 is so delightfully cheap right now.

                        Your $5K budget is HUGE for a gaming rig. I would not spend more than $1500 - use the rest of the money for upgrades as time goes on. Bleeding edge gear is never value priced.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Win a year membership: Help build a gaming rig!

                          $5000 is a lot! You could build a great gaming rig and still buy a PS3... the 80GB version... and some games.

                          Would you consider building two great PCs? Then you'll have one PC to yourself and the other for the family.

                          - It's who you game with.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Win a year membership: Help build a gaming rig!

                            For a 24" monitor I would suggest the Acer P243W. Its HDCP complaint and will not cause trouble when you watch movies on your rig. The monitor also has an HDMI port on it so that you can watch full HD content at 1080p.

                            and speaking of HD content might as well suggest a BR drive and an optical drive.
                            The LG Bly-Ray player seems to be affordable and also runs at 6x to get the best performance you can. Just be wary of the included playback software as it lacks proper audio support and only has 2-channel.

                            As for a regular DVD/CD drive might I suggest a Samsung DVD burner. Speeds are higher than most and the drive offers Duel Layer burning as well to get the most out of DVDs.
                            Reapator, overlord of ponies

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                            • #15
                              Re: Win a year membership: Help build a gaming rig!

                              Guess, I'll chime in my suggestions for hardware:

                              Case

                              Depending on if you're a fan of roomy and tall (server-esk) cases, I would recommend any of the following:
                              • Antec P180B/P182 (almost no difference between the two)
                                This case has a steel divider separating the motherboard area from the PSU. The PSU also has a rack which is needed in order to mount the PSU of your choice. It has two hard drive bays (bottom mounts vertical, top mounts horizontal). All the drive bays have silicone gromets that soften vibrations and reduce noise levels. The optical drive areas allow you to mount drives onto rails and remove/install them by sliding them in and out. This is the only case that has a 3-ply sound dampening shell to reduce noise from the system internals.
                              • Antec Three Hundred
                                This is the smaller cousin of the Twelve Hundred. The basic design is the same with a few differences. This case is slightly shorter than a P180/P182. It has a honeycomb grill front that acts to filter the air (dust, etc.) while at the same time allows air to flow in through the front aided by two 120mm fans. There's a back and top 120 mm fan as well. Plus (compared to the P180/182): There isn't a steel dividing the motherboard area from the PSU bay in the bottom. This really helps when you decide to organize the wiring in your case. Although it doesn't have sound dampening, it does have silicone drive gromets.
                              • Antec Twelve Hundred
                                Imagine the SOHO towers from 10 years ago. That about sums up the roomy interior and height of this case. Plus: The top fan, unlike the Three Hundred, is a 8-inch diameter fan and not a 120mm. The front has the same grill design as the Three Hundred but features 3 120mm fans each with a removable wind tunnel (allows for an additional 3 fans to be installed at the end of each "wind tunnel"). Although it doesn't have sound dampening, it does have silicone drive gromets.


                              Processor

                              I'd go with a quad-core at this point. They're cheap enough nowadays when compared to higher-end dual-cores.

                              Your best bet is probably the Core 2 Quad Q9450. It is clocked at 2.66 Ghz and you should be easily able to OC it to 4 GHz with a good cooler. It is the new 45nm chip, has 12 MB of cache (versus the 6 MB on the Q9400). It's price is about half of the 3.0 GHz quad-core and performs better than the more expensive cousin once overclocked beyond 3.0 GHz.

                              Motherboard

                              I recommend one of the higher-end ASUS boards (P5Q, Striker, Maximus Formula, etc.). All of the higher-end ASUS boards are OC friendly and are built with enthusiasts in mind. I own a P5Q myself and can attest to the number of overclocking options available on just my board.

                              Hard Drives

                              I recommend and suggest Seagate drives. They have a long reputation for reliability and good performance. If you're more into the latest and fastest, then go for Western Digital. Although it has a checkered reliability history, their hard drives seem to have improved the last few years. Speed and performance has been their trademark as well.

                              I suggest going for a drive with 16 MB of cache. Since your budget is very high, you might as well get a drive with a higher cache memory. This should speed up read and write performance a bit.

                              As for RAID, it almost doubles the performance of reading/writing data (compared to a single drive). With Strip RAID (RAID 0), if one of your drives fail, kiss your data goodbye. With Mirror RAID (RAID 1), the second drive is basically a constant clone if your first drive. Therefore if the first drive fails, you still have the cloned backup. There's also RAID 5 and my understanding of this it is like RAID 1 + RAID 0. For example, you have 4 HDDs, 2 are in RAID 0, and the other two are in RAID 1 mirroring the first two strip RAIDed drives.

                              Sound Card

                              I'll recommend a alternative to the Creative lineup that I've been looking at for a while: HT Omega Claro.

                              It supports EAX2, has optical outs, uses solid-state capacitors instead of traditional caps (more reliable), gold-plated connectors, 7.1, 192 khz, 24-bit, and supports Dolby Digital and DTS hardware decoding.

                              Media Drives

                              I've always been a fan of Lite-On drives. They may be a bit louder than other drives, but performance has always been top notch and they have proven reliable in the past 5 years that I've been using them.

                              I don't have much faith in Sony nowadays since I've used 3-4 drives (DVD-ROMs to Burners) and all but one has failed on me within 2 years of normal usage. Another thing I've noticed is where the drives are manufactured now. The older drives used to produced in Japan (quality stuff) and over the last few years they've been coming out of China, Taiwan, and lately Thailand. It might just be that the quality control has lacked some since the drives seem to switch production plants every 6-12 months.

                              If you really want a BR drive, get one that reads BR disks, they're going for about $200 now on NewEgg. Burners cost about 75% more to about double. Here's the list for Blu-Ray Drives and the list for Blu-Ray Burners.

                              Get SATA! It doesn't block airflow like the old IDE/ribbon cables and provides more bandwidth. Just two thin cables. Much easier to route and work with.

                              Speakers

                              If you have the room (or a big studio) to house your setup, I suggest this set: Logitech Z-5500 505 Watts 5.1.

                              A friend owns the set and having listened to it while he has played a variety of music from Classical to Rock to World, and even gaming. Nice thunderous bass when you want it and the bass isn't too muddled but proves pretty rounded out when playing pieces that aren't bass heavy. It's basically the closest thing to a home theater set for your PC.
                              |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

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