FredSRichardson

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Okay, in my previous thread I was trying to work out an I7 build and I learned a lot from the excellent feedback of folks here. Now I've fine tuned my criteria a bit, but from reading various articles here and elsewhere I've gotten the feeling that certain things are "faith-based". That is, you can do well picking either approach, but people have very strong feelings about which one is "right". I'm quite n00b to this, so for my own sake I marked things I've already decided about (been converted?) as being "religious":

- This is a gaming rig that will be used for a few other things
- I've decided that I won't ever run SLI or xfire
- I'll be running on a 1680x1050 monitor
- I'm limited in space to a 19" monitor (ouch!)
- I'm sticking with WinXP (for now). This is a bit of a religious thing, so I won't go into it.
- I'm sticking with 32bit (for now). Another religious topic.
- I'm sticking with 2 cores. Yet another religious topic.
- I want to keep the cost down. Well, everyone can relate to this :p

I know at some point I'll make the leap to one of the 64bit windows OS's (Vista or Win7), but I'm completely unwilling to do it now.

I think I have an adequate PSU, case, dvd/cd/floppy but I'll have to check to be sure.

Here's what I have (sorry for all the TLA's):
-------------------------------------
PSU
PC Power & Cooling Silencer PPCS750QBL 750W ATX12V / EPS12V

ENC
LIAN LI V COOL PC-V1200B plus Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
---------------------------------------

Here's my shopping list:

ordered CPU (I could save $20 on the processor and get the 8400)
Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 Wolfdale 3.16GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - $190

ordered MBD
GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3R LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - $100 (after rebate)

GPU (a decent price performer at 1680x1050 according to Anandtech, might wait until 4890's come out)
Leaning towards a gtx 260/275/285 (depending where the prices fall)
[strike]SAPPHIRE Vapor-X Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - $200 (after rebate)[/strike]
[strike]SAPPHIRE 100260SR Radeon HD 4850 X2 1GB 512-bit (2 x 256-bit) GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - $260[/strike]

ordered MON
Acer X203Wbd Black 20" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 2500:1 ACM - $140 (from microcenter)

ordered RAM (I will eventually upgrade to a 64bit OS, but I'm happy with 2.3Gig for now)
G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - $45

ordered CLR (this is a good performer, and more importantly should fit on the mother board)
XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler - $40

That total is around $730 (so far)

I'm pretty close to my final shopping list, but advice and criticism are still more than welcome :)

-Fred
 

wamphyrix

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NOTE:

If you get 4 gigs of ram/memory and run Windows xp you will not be able to utilize all 4 gigs, for any ram/memory over 3 gigs you need a 64 bit operating system, Windows vista home professional 64 bit is what you need.


They do offer a 64 bit version of Windows XP but it is poorly supported.





 

FredSRichardson

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Thanks guys for the excellent feedback!

You're definitely right that I'll be stuck with something like a little over 2gig with this 1gig video card. There's a really good article explaining the issues here.

I guess a 64bit OS is inevitable some time in the near future, that might be my first upgrade, so I'll get the 4gig anyway (memory seems really cheap now).

Thank for the catch on the mobo description, link. I'll fix that to avoid confusion. I think I'll go with your suggestion on the memory as well.
 

FredSRichardson

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Proximon, I'm getting confused about RAM. Is it the case that I won't see any benefit from 1066 unless I overclock?

The corsair RAM I list above in the first post is on the Qualified Vendor List for this board and runs at 1066. Is the QVL enough to go by?

I noticed that the G.SKILL you recommended has a slightly tighter timing although it runs at the lower clock speed.

Both cost about the same.

I've also seen that some give G.SKILL a higher rating than Corsair.

So I'm confusing myself. Does it matter if the RAM model is listed in the QVL? Is there an advantage for 1066 memory over 800 memory if I'm not changing anything (i.e. OC'ing)? Should the CAS latency be a primary consideration?

Thanks very much for your help,

-Fred
 
The QVL is a list of RAM the happened to test. Generally any RAM that runs at or near the 1.8V standard will be compatible enough. There is no benefit from higher frequency RAM on an Intel LGA 775 board, but there is a slight improvement with lower latencies.

AMD builds get a better boost from 1066.

G.Skill does get slightly higher marks these days, but both vendors are good. Crucial is the once good company that needs to be avoided.

Voltage first, then latency and whatever headroom you need for overclocking.

There is nothing wrong with running RAM at a higher clock, and you might get a very tiny boost from it, but it's not worth any extra cash.

I own a 4GB OCZ Reaper 1066 kit, and the linked G.Skill running at 800Mhz. The G.Skill is faster.
 

FredSRichardson

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Why_Me: Okay, I get the message :) The issue for me is not so much game performance as getting a lot of legacy games and software to run. Eventually I'll have to get all that working either on Vista or Win7, but I don't want to take it on just yet.

Proximon: Thanks for the helpful info! I'll go with your recommendation, thanks!

I also liked your monitor suggestion but I'm tightly constrained for space. I really want a 19" size (18" x 14" frame) at the 1680x1050 resolution. There aren't a lot of choices in that category, but the Acer looks very popular.

Now the cooler...
 
Yes Acer and ASUS are both OK budget monitor choices. If you can, go to a store and shop for monitors. Shipping is a huge expense and if there is a problem you'll have to ship it back.

Often a smaller local parts store will have several good monitors and will have the latest shooter loaded up and ready to roll, so you can really see what you are getting.
 

FredSRichardson

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Great advice, thanks Proximon. It would be nice to see one of these up close.

Now I'm trying to figure out cooling. I guess I need something that'll fit in my case (which seems plenty big), provide enough cooling and also run somewhat quiet. Quiet may not be so important when I think about the fan on the GPU whining away.

xthekidx suggestion looks really good. The more I read about the XIGMATEK Dark Knight the more I like it.
 

pcgamer12

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XP 64-bit is a nightmare. Try to get drivers for a wireless modem on that. It won't work because no company will write drivers for it. Also, lots of programs have 64-bit for Vista but not 64-bit for XP. If you're going 64-bit then get Vista or Win 7 when it comes out. 1 GB of VRAM will suck because you'll only have about 2.35-2.7 GB of usable RAM.

Also, like said above, buy your monitor at a local store. You can compare and not have less of a hassle.

Also, I've noticed that lower latency RAM is nimbler than higher latency RAM. 4-4-4-12 2T > 5-5-5-12 2T for example.

Your motherboard is solid. Gigabyte motherboards always are.
 

FredSRichardson

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Thanks pcgamer12. I was never considering WinxXP64. I will at some point make the leap to one of the other windows 64bit OS's (Vista or Win7), but I'm not willing to do it now.
 

FredSRichardson

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Okay, I've edited the original post. This is looking close to my final shopping list, but I'd love to hear more comments or criticism. You guys are great!

I did a cleaning up on my list. The only real change is the cooler. My case is opaque so the DK's sleek looks are wasted on me. The Sunbeam CR-CCTF comes recommended by frostytech as a top performer.
 



Yes and I will recommend the Sunbeam where appropriate, but that is not in this build.

The heatsinks surrounding your socket will make it impossible to press down the clips needed to secure the Sunbeam CCTF. The Sunbeam uses a system very similar to an AMD cooler. Because of the size of the actual cooler and the height of your heat sinks, there would be no room for your fingers to push down the clips.

The Xigmatek uses bolt screws. It's far easier to install on this type of motherboard. Frostytech does a great job scientifically measuring thermal transfer, but they don't actually test the coolers in motherboards :)

Look at the way my Xigmatek sits on my board. The Sunbeam is the same size:
cpu2.jpg



That's one a P5Q-E. The Gigabyte board is tighter.

 

FredSRichardson

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I've found a serious problem with my build. I didn't realize that the 1850-X2 a dual GPU unit. Seems obvious now (X2 - doh!). The board that performs so well on the Anandtech benchmarks is actually the 2Gig version of this. This would be crazy to use with a 32bit version of windows (1.3Gig of available ram?). I've also heard some stability issues. I was generally hoping to avoid xFire and SLI; now I'll add dual-GPU to the list.

The 4870 1Gig is the next in line. The nVidia GTX boards are too expensive for me. I heard that the 4890 is about to come out, and I'm not in a rush (I still have my X1800XT lol). So I might see if some prices come down, or if the 4890 is a viable option.
 

xthekidx

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No, it depends on which cooler you get. I personally would prefer a cooler that blows at my exhaust fan to get all the hot air out of the case as fast as you can. Having hot air blow from your CPU onto your GPU isn't what I would suggest. The Scythe Mugen 2 (comparable to the Xigmatek in price and performance) allows you to mount a fan (or two if you want) on any side of the cooler so you can customize your cooling for your needs.
http://www.heatsinkfactory.com/scythe-mugen-2-cpu-cooler---scmg-2000.html
 
No, typically they blow out the back. Mine is oriented like that because I have a bottom mounted PSU and two exhaust fans in the top of my case. The fan blows through the cooler.

(That's an older version of the Xigmatek. Yours will be nickel plated and come with the bracket needed.)
 

xthekidx

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The 1gb version of that GPU will do well also, the extra memory doesn't give that much performance boost until you get to higher resolutions. You can use the 4850x2 1gb and I think you will have fine performance.
 

xthekidx

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OK if you want to avoid a Dual GPU setup then look at this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127409
It will perform better than a 4870 1gb due to the 14% OC of the core and 5% memory, (GTX 260 core 216 and 4870 1GB are roughly equal in performance at stock speeds, but the GTX 260 consumes less energy and has lower temps) and its the cheapest GTX 260 core 216 with 55nm process available to boot. At $160 after rebate its quite a deal.