build advice appreciated
This is the first PC I've decided to put together since PII's were roaming the earth, so I'd like a sanity check and appreciate any advice people have for me. I'm technically competent but have been buying pre-built units for a while, so just rusty (current gamer is a Mac Pro laptop of all things).
This PC will be used primarily for gaming. I play a lot of WoW, and while even my lamo Mac Pro laptop can run it, I'd like to be able to crank up the video options a bit, get surround sound (damn the connector and lack of DTS encoder on Mac notebooks!) and have a Ventrilo client with normalization so I'm not subjected to retards with bad mike setups.
It'd also be nice to be able to try out Warhammer Online (and then come back to WoW 1 week later like everyone else I know).
I'm keeping my 30" Apple Cinema Display, so I'm hoping for something that is comfortable driving MMO's at 2550x1600 or whatever it is. I have no desire to use my PC to watch movies since my TV is about 20' away from my office. I haven't played anything fast paced since my Counter Strike days, so don't want to invest in a lot of (noisy and expensive) HW in order to run Crysis or whatever, but I don't need to skimp if I can buy some future proofing. I'm comfortable spending around $2500 for the system (without speakers, monitor, keyboard etc). I can go higher if needed but would probably take some convincing, since it seems like you can get a lot of machine for about $1500 these days. I'd like to buy soon (before Wrath) but can wait if there's a compelling reason to.
I live in Ontario and will be buying from Canadian vendors if possible (likely NCIX and/or TigerDirect). I have no real brand preferences - they've all irritated me at one time or another. I have no interest in overclocking, and *hate* to reboot my PC as I usually have about 50 windows opened in various apps, so stability is important to me. Low power at idle would also be nice.
Here is my current thinking: with Nehelam around the corner, spend a little more on the case and power supply (as a platform to reuse for a couple of years), a middling amount for graphics card and as little as I can for a MB and CPU that will get replaced in a year or so when Nehelem's are dropping in price.
After a bunch of reading, here is my first take on a system (about $1750 currently):
Silverstone FT01-BX Case $240
- another option would be Antec 182; how quiet is FT01?
Seasonic S12 650W Power Supply $175
- know this is expensive but I'm hoping it'll be compatible with Nehelem MB's - anyone know? I'm assuming 650W should be fine as long as I'm not running dual GPU's
Asus P5Q Pro $140
Intel E8400 retail (3Ghz) $180
- saving some money here since these will likely be first parts to be upgraded
- may get some PWM fans and aftermarket CPU cooler to cut down on noise instead of stock retail CPU/case fans
Corsair Dominator 2x2G DDR2-1066 $182
- prices have really been jumping around lately, is going to DDR2-1066 worth it over DDR2-800?
EVGA GTX 260 Core 216 with 896 MB $375
- was also considering a 1GB 4870. I'm currently leaning towards the Nvidia because it seems to be a little less power hungry, and the 1G 4870's are in short supply; am bugged that I can't SLI this without going to an Nvidia MB/chipset, but am likely to just replace card in a few years rather than try and hunt down a compatible card to pair it with anyway; I'm assuming that the larger memory would help a lot at higher res's, even with lightweight games like WoW/Warhammer, so trying to avoid ubiquitous 512MB cards
Seagate 7200.11 500G 32MB cache drive $92
- don't need a lot of storage, will never fill up 500G. Heard conflicting things about 7200.11's as far as reliability - any better choices?
Samsung SH-S223Q DVD Writer $35
- no real desire for a Blue Ray drive
Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit $140
Creative Labs Fatality Titanium $140
- much of a difference over built-in audio? Have Logitech Z5500 speakers
Another option (appealing after a frustrating bout with NCIX) is to chuck it all and buy a Blackbird 02, but while cool that would involve spending a lot of money on HW I don't really need, and the air-cooled one would likely be noisier as well. Besides, where's the fun in that.
Thanks for any and all advice!
Oh, links would probably save people some time, wouldn't they? Sorry about that.
Asus P5Q - NCIX.com - Buy ASUS P5Q Pro ATX LGA775 P45 DDR2 2PCI-E16 CrossFire 3PCI-E1 2PCI SATA2 Sound GBLAN eSATA Motherboard - P5Q Pro In Canada.
E8400 - NCIX - Intel E8400, Core 2 Due E8400 Wolfdale Dual-Core Processor
Case - NCIX.com - Buy Silverstone Fortress FT01-BW ATX Black Aluminum Case 5X5.25 7X3.5INT No PS W/ Window - SST-FT01-BW In Canada.
Power Supply - NCIX.com - Buy Seasonic S12 Energy Plus 650W EPS12V 20/24PIN ATX Power Supply Active PFC 80PLUS 6PIN PCI-E 120MM - SS-650HT In Canada.
EVGA GTX 260 Core 216 - NCIX.com - Buy EVGA E-GEFORCE GTX 260 Core 216 576MHZ 896MB 1.99GHZ GDDR3 PCI-E Dual DVI-I HDCP HDTV Out Video Card - 896-P3-1265-AR In Canada.
Memory - NCIX.com - Buy Corsair XMS2 Dominator TWIN2X4096-8500C5DF 4GB 2X2GB PC2-8500 DDR2-1066 CL5-5-5-15 240PIN Memory Kit - TWIN2X4096-8500C5DF In Canada.
Hard Drive - NCIX.com - Buy Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 3.5IN 500GB SATA2 8.5MS 7200RPM 32MB Cache NCQ Hard Drive OEM - ST3500320AS In Canada.
OS - NCIX.com - Buy Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium Edition 64BIT DVD OEM - 66I-00788 In Canada.
DVD Writer - NCIX.com - Buy Samsung SH-S223Q/BEBN Black DVD+RW 22X8X16 DVD-RW 22X6X16 DL16X/12X Lightscribe DVD Writer SATA OEM - SH-S223Q/BEBN In Canada.
Sound Card - NCIX.com - Buy Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-FI Titanium FATAL1TY PCI-E 1X 24BIT Sound Card 7.1 Optical IN/OUT - 70SB088600003 In Canada.
you can pick up a 9800 GX2 for around 280 right now (use price compare on this site to find the lowest price, then price match it at NCIX so you can still order all your stuff from there)
Since you want to go with such a high resolution, SLI might be the best option for you, the 9800 GX2 pairs two 8800 gts 512mb grapics cards into one unit, runs them in SLI for outstanding high resolution performance. The performance at higher resolutions is comparable to the 280, which is to say that the GX2 is cheeper and more powerful than the 260 and will also run in SLI mode on an intel chipset board, no problem.
Otherwise it looks fine.
Might want to consider aftermarket cooling for your CPU as well if you want to overclock.
Looks like a real nice build Hreidmar. Don't forget to post a build log and btw welcome to HWC!
:thumb: :thumb: :thumb:
Looking like a pretty solid build to me. If you're sure that you won't be overclocking, you can grab DDR2-800 sticks without much fear. The performance improvements of DDR2-1066 are pretty meager in gaming, if at all. The Corsair 750TX PSU would give you a little more future-proofing without breaking the bank, and they're solid units. Also popular are the PC Power & Cooling Silencer series, although you pay a bit of premium for the name, imo.
Even if you don't overclock, a mid-range aftermarket heatsink will save you from having to listen to the stock cooler whine. And if you do give into temptation in the future, and decide to overclock... well, no harm, right?
Thanks for the advice all!
I took your suggestions and switched to the Corsair 750W PS and the WD Caviar 640G drive - even tho it's 16MB cache instead of the Seagates 32MB, reviews seemed to indicate it being quite quiet, which is a big plus for me.
I also decided to go for a 280 GTX since the Canuck's Price Compare got me an EVGA board for $399, which wasn't that much more than the Core 216. I was contemplating the 9800 GX2 as suggested, but like the idea of being able to SLI with a 2nd 280 GTX when I nab a Nehelem next year. Also, I did some more research and it looks like even a 280 may be struggling to get decent frame rates at 2550x1600.
I also split the difference on memory and ended up with 2x2g of Mushkin Redline PC8000 DDR2. This was based purely on what looked like it could ship right now - I was a bit nervous about that since I haven't spent any time researching RAM, but I noticed a couple of you guys had Mushkin in your profiles, so what the heck.
I got it all through DirectCanada.com, which also made me happy since NCIX kind of left a bad taste in my mouth over a recent transaction. Hopefully Hardware Canucks gets some sort of recognition for me hitting the site thru the Price Compare feature.
Total bill came to slightly less than $1700 with taxes/free shipping, and I have a chance at $60 or so in mail-in rebates :P This is my first time ordering through DirectCanada - they seemed to have pretty good prices on everything, and I like not having to try and get em to price match. I may give em a call tomorrow and make sure that everything is, in fact, in stock and ready to ship, since I seem to recall the FT01 cases being pretty new and harder to come by.
About the CPU cooling you guys mentioned - anyone have suggestions? I don't mind a bit of noise when under heavy load, but would like something that is pretty quiet when just web browsing etc. Would passive cooling be better or something with a large PWM fan? I have time to research and think about this since I have no intention to overclock anytime soon.
Anyway, thanks again for all the advice guys!
Honestly, put out the bucks and get an OCZ Vendetta II witha bolt thru kit. Even if you don't overclock, it will give your system longevity and give your cpu a longer lifespan. My E8400 (which isn't, and never will be, overclocked) has one (though using the stupid push pin system). My cpu cores idle at about 31C to 35C (depending on whether the EPU engine has it downclocked to 2GHz or not). My cpu cores haven't hit past 45C yet. (I use RealTemp)
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