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Old September 17, 2008, 01:48 AM
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Default First actual build, need help with a couple questions

Hi everyone, it's nice to finally find a friendly community of tech lovers for a change! Especially one up here in Canada!
I'm in the midst of building my first from scratch gaming rig and I just wanted to run it by some people that know they're stuff! I was a hardcore FPS gamer for a long time (from Wolfenstein to Call of Duty 2 time frame) then my PC couldn't handle the newer games as well as I'd like so now I'm building a new one to run the new FPS games coming out this fall (FarCry 2, Call of Duty: World At War, Wolfenstein, Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway)
I don't have too much knowledge on hardware, I'm more of a software guy, but I've had a few friends try and help me out with what to get and how it all works in terms of compatability.

Ok, so consulting with a few people that have given me some tips, these are the essential parts I'm looking into. I'm hoping the build doesn't sound too rookie. There are a few parts I need some help and/or pointers on. Ok so the parts...

Motherboard: EVGA Nforce 780I SLI
Link: EVGA Nforce 780I SLI LGA775 ATX 3PCI-E16 1PCI-E1 2PCI SATA2 RAID Sound GBLAN 1394 Motherboard - DirectCanada

Processor: I'm looking into the Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 (3.0GHz)
Link: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 Quad Core Processor LGA775 3.0GHZ Yorkfield 1333FSB 12MB Retail Box - DirectCanada

Video Card: EVGA E-GEFORCE GTX 280 602MHZ 1024MB 2.214GHZ GDDR3 PCI-E Dual DVI-I HDCP HDTV Out Video Card
Link: EVGA E-GEFORCE GTX 280 602MHZ 1024MB 2.214GHZ GDDR3 PCI-E Dual DVI-I HDCP HDTV Out Video Card - DirectCanada

Power Supply: Corsair HX1000W CMPSU-1000HX 1000W ATX 20/24PIN ATX 80A 12V Afc Modular Power Supply W/ 140MM Fan (I know it's a big PSU but I'd like to have it in case I want to add another video card later on.)
Link: Corsair HX1000W CMPSU-1000HX 1000W ATX 20/24PIN ATX 80A 12V Afc Modular Power Supply W/ 140MM Fan - DirectCanada
(Also considering the Ultra X3 ULT40064 1000-Watt Power Supply)

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar SE16 640GB SATA2 7200RPM 16MB Hard Drive Oem 3YR Mfr Warranty
Link: Western Digital Caviar SE16 640GB SATA2 7200RPM 16MB Hard Drive Oem 3YR Mfr Warranty - DirectCanada

RAM: Corsair Dual Channel TWINX 4096MB PC6400 DDR2 800MHz Memory (2 x 2048MB)

Other parts:
a cheap DVD-RW drive
Link: Samsung SH-S223F Black SATA DVD+RW 22X8X16 DVD-RW 22X6X16 16X/12X DL INT DVD Writer OEM - DirectCanada
Sound Card (sound blaster Audigy)
Link: SOUND BLASTER AUDIGY SE 4L - DirectCanada
and I'll be running XP Home.

Ok so that's the essentials, now I have a few questions about weather it's a good idea to use all those parts for a system, cooling, and my case.

First, is it a good build? Haha kind of a blunt question but if it's not, any suggestions?

Second, for the CPU cooling unit or system, would the Thermalright ULTRA-120 Extreme 6 Heatpipe Cooler LGA775 Heatsink work well? I suppose it would have a lot to do with the case and air flow?
Thermalright ULTIMA-90 6 Heatpipe Cooler LGA775 AM2 CPU Heatsink *Fan Not Included* - DirectCanada
What fan(s) do I need to get with that? Just one 120mm?

Third, the case I at the present time would like to get is the:
Apevia X-Jupiter G Type ATX Full Tower Case - Clear Side, Front USB and FireWire Ports (I hope the PSU fits...) It's air cooled, and has 5 fan ports. I don't think the blowhole one will fit properly with such a big PSU from what I've read, but people suggest a smaller fan for that area.
Link to case: Welcome to Apevia.com | *X-JUPITERG-BK
Would that case be good enough for the system? If not, does anyone have any suggestions as to a better one for this situation? I'd like to have air cooled because I've never used liquid cooling and I'm a bit nervous about it. From what I've heard, air cooling can do just fine if setup properly.
Edit: Been looking at the Cooler Master stacker series...wondering if that might be a better choice of case for this system. But there's no temperature display or fan controls.
Basically I'm looking for a big case with a lot of room with a lot of fans that won't break the budget. Another one I see getting good reviews is the Tagan Black Pearl.

That's my biggest concern is the air flow and cooling of the system because I've again read a lot of cases where people are running this processor hot, so I really don't know what more I would need. If it comes down to it and nobody thinks the cooling system will cut it, I can maybe downgrade to a different processor (Q9550 or Q9400) in light of affording a more expensive case if necessary. *crosses fingers that doesn't happen*
I'm also wondering about the compound or solution you put on the processor before the fan or cooling unit and how that works.

I'm probably not going to overclock anything because well if I get something like that I don't need any more power out of it.
Again I'm sorry if I sound rookie with all of this, it's interesting and fun to learn, and that's what I want to keep doing...learning about it. Plus it's my first build so I want to make sure I don't screw anything up, especially because it's a bit of an investment. With the listed parts I'm getting a total of around $2000-$2100 or so. I'm also going to be ordering all the available parts through Direct Canada, from the looks of it they seem to have a good reputation. (Except for a few people saying they order through NCIX instead, so I hope there's nothing wrong with Direct Canada.) So if anyone chooses to give any opinions or suggestions that would be so greatly appreciated. I won't be ordering the parts for another week or maybe a bit longer.

I know it's a lot of reading, and a lot of questions and I just want to say that any help will be greatly appreciated and not overlooked.

Thanks for reading,
Brian.

Last edited by Brian; September 17, 2008 at 03:45 AM.
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Old September 17, 2008, 03:12 AM
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1. It's a nice build but you can do better for less cash. I'll let others with more experience chime in and give more suggestions.

2. The Thermalright ULTRA-120 Extreme used to be the king cooler (I have one) but it has lost it's crown to the Ocz Vandetta 2 which is much cheaper! It comes with it's own fan but I'd recommend a Sythe S-Flex as a replacement or Noctua P12 for a quieter fan.

3. No experience with that case but I would wonder about quality.

You say you don't want to overclock that processor but I'd recommend getting the Q9450 (2.66 GHz) for almost $300 less and putting a mild overclock on it to bring it up to 3 GHz. I'd go higher if possible but I respect that you don't want to push your proc. This way you get the same performance as the Q9650 but get to put another $250 or so into other parts.

If the rig is for just gaming and web surfing maybe you could consider a dual core instead? Up to you.

Others will come along and comment more so I'll leave it to them...

Welcome to HWC by the way.
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Old September 17, 2008, 03:18 AM
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Thank you for the tips, I will definitely be looking into the Ocz Vendetta for the cooling.
The only concern I have, and I should have mentioned it before, I don't want to overclock right now, I may later on. But that is a good idea saving $250 and definitely worth consideration.
As for the dual core idea, I'm a web designer so I'll be doing a lot of graphic design with it as well, but again worth much consideration. Is a dual core really as good as a quad for gaming?

P.S. thanks for the welcome
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Old September 17, 2008, 04:25 AM
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Depends. Most games are optimizd for dual core configz, but some games like crysis, DMC4 and other games that show the "Runs great on [w/e quad]" utilize all cores. but yea, dont get any "QX" just get "Q" for quads. they overclock alot. DAMN late for skewl :P,
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Old September 17, 2008, 05:49 AM
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For design work I think quad's a good idea. To get the Q9450 to 3 GHz you "should" be able to remain under Intel's voltage spec. I've read of many people getting there on stock volts but that is not guaranteed. Not much risk if you don't go over spec on the voltage and hell with the money you save compared to the Q9650 you could almost buy a spare just incase LoL!

I was looking at getting a Q9450 hoping to get it to 3.4GHz for some crunching goodness but have decided to get another E8400 and hope it can do 4.2 or 4.4 'cause my current one only does 3.8 :(.

Something I just thought of though. Two GTX 280's might be bottle necked by a 2.66 or 3 GHz proc so that could be a waste of money (someone correct me if I'm wrong please). If so I'd recommend an Intel chipset over nVidea as they seem less problematic from the reading I've been doing and just stick with one GTX280. Unless you have a monster monitor one card is probably all you need anyway those cards are way fast.
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Old September 17, 2008, 05:55 AM
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If you're worried about cooling, why not get an Antec 900 case? It has some major cooling, and runs lightly on the wallet ($119 at the store I bought it).
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Old September 17, 2008, 09:23 AM
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My turn to chime in here. When building a gaming system, work backwards. Pick your monitor size/resolution first, then pick parts to drive them at the FPS you want.

If you're using anything less than a 24" or 1920x1080, the GTX 280 is overkill, IMO. Also, I've heard of TONS of problems with people using Nvidia chipsets having their mobo's blow up, far more than the Intel chipsets. If you're set on SLI, go for it, but usually you don't get twice the framerate by dropping in a second card at a later date. You're better off buying the newest generation single card solution.

CPU - Get the Q9550, you're spending an extra $200 for 0.17Ghz. I can almost guarantee you could mildly overclock it to 3.0 without a voltage change just by bumping the FSB to 352 from 333. Stick with the Quad if you're doing anything else besides gaming and surfing on it, but if it's a pure gamer, the Duo's are faster. Very few games utilize more than 2 cores as yet, and benefit more from the higher clock speeds on the Duo.

Case - The Stackers and Black Pearls are awesome cases. If they're in your budget you'd be much happier with them in the long run.

PSU, HDD and Ram are good. The Audigy stinks. Sorry. Get a Xonar DX.

Good luck with your build.
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Old September 17, 2008, 09:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SugarJ View Post
My turn to chime in here. When building a gaming system, work backwards. Pick your monitor size/resolution first, then pick parts to drive them at the FPS you want.

If you're using anything less than a 24" or 1920x1080, the GTX 280 is overkill, IMO. Also, I've heard of TONS of problems with people using Nvidia chipsets having their mobo's blow up, far more than the Intel chipsets. If you're set on SLI, go for it, but usually you don't get twice the framerate by dropping in a second card at a later date. You're better off buying the newest generation single card solution.

CPU - Get the Q9550, you're spending an extra $200 for 0.17Ghz. I can almost guarantee you could mildly overclock it to 3.0 without a voltage change just by bumping the FSB to 352 from 333. Stick with the Quad if you're doing anything else besides gaming and surfing on it, but if it's a pure gamer, the Duo's are faster. Very few games utilize more than 2 cores as yet, and benefit more from the higher clock speeds on the Duo.

Case - The Stackers and Black Pearls are awesome cases. If they're in your budget you'd be much happier with them in the long run.

PSU, HDD and Ram are good. The Audigy stinks. Sorry. Get a Xonar DX.

Good luck with your build.

Ok let me work through this post here. Bear with me haha. First build so I have to keep going through things. You suggest using a different motherboard, an Intel rather than the nforce 780i? Have you any suggestions as to which? One that's equivalent (or better) to the nforce for close to the money and is good for a gaming rig? You say the nvidia boards are less reliable and more prone to blow up? (sorry having to confirm everything, still learning CPU hardware language) Also, (pretty rookie question) they're blowing up because of the board, not the fact that the GTX 280 is running on a smaller res?

I guess I'll settle with the Q9550 and be REALLY careful trying to OC it to 3ghz since I've never OC'd anything before. With the money saved on the chip maybe I can get a bigger monitor.

As for the case...I'm tearing between 3 different ones here. The Antec 1200 (or whichever in the series is a full tower case), the Stacker series, and the Black Pearl. Is any one of them better than the other, I'd like to get enough cooling for sure.

Thanks for your replies everyone, I'm learning and it's greatly appreciated!
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Old September 17, 2008, 09:43 AM
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I'll second (or is it third) getting an intel chipset unless you're absolutely sold on going SLI at some point in the future. Other than that... you should check out your on-board audio if you're not looking to spend a lot of money on a dedicated audio card.
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Old September 17, 2008, 09:52 AM
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Welcome to HWC Brian. Love your avatar!

Diddo on Intel chip set. I can't really speak for anything beyond my own rig, because I was just like you back in May. There have certainly been some new Intel chip sets come out since I built mine. I do like what I've got though.

Let us know what you settle on and definitely post a build log. Good luck!


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