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#1
Fred Richardson

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I've been chasing my tail on this for a while now. I'd like to make a machine that meets the following criteria:
  • Looks nice in the living room.
  • Isn't too noisy
  • Performs well running new games with pretty graphics (e.g. Oblivian)
  • Has some future upgrade possibilities
But I have to ask, am I total dupe to marketing if I'm obsessed with the following technologies?
  • CPU: AMD X2 3800+ to 4400+ dual core processor
  • MOBO: NVIDIA nForce SPP 100 / nForce 4 SLI chip set
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 7900 (GT/GTX) (256/512)
I honestly think I will benefit from a dual core CPU for the day to day stuff. But does SLI make sense? My rational there is that I'll probably buy one graphics card and double it up later on when the card prices drop. I'd like to avoid the feeling that my graphics aren't as pretty as they could be or that my system is lagging due to poor build decisions, but ultimately I plan to use a 19" LCD display with this rig. Would I do just as well or better with a different configuration centered around a single ATI Radeon 1900XT(X) (dropping SLI and adopting, um, whatever the other thing is)?

Here's the complete configuration I'm looking at (newegg-ing it). I think my budget may be a bit out-of-control but here goes:
  • Lian Li V COOL PC-V1200B plus Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
    The case looks nice. There's no drive door and having the ports on the front is important. I've heard it described as "quiet" (the plus version has an extra fan). But I guess it depends on what's inside there and what it's doing...
  • ASUS A8N32-SLI Deluxe Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce SPP 100 ATX AMD Motherboard
    I looked at the comperable MSI and Lanparty offerings, but this one seems to be "the favorite" (and I wasn't crazy about the fan on the MSI board). By "favorite", I mean that a lot of people bought this board, not that they all considered it flawless.
  • XFX PV-T71G-UDF7 GeForce 7900 GT (470MHz) 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card
    The 7900 is temporarily MIA, but otherwise it seems to be a cooler (and generally better) version of the 7800. The GT/256MB card is 300$ or more while GTX/512MB card is a bit less than double that. My goal was to pay less than 400$ for a graphics card, but I may have to rethink that.
  • AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ Manchester 1GHz HT Socket 939 Dual Core Processor Model ADA4200BVBOX
    Right now AMD is ahead by a nose, and I think I'll try to stick with the dual core thing. I've heard that it may be better to go with opterons and overclock, I may be to old for over-clocking... (but then I have bought into the OC'er type of gear).
  • CORSAIR XMS 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Unbuffered Dual Channel Kit System Memory Model Twinx2048-3200c2pt
    I know I want at least 1Gig, and since I'm already in way over my head, I might as well put in 2 gig now and get it over with.
  • ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 64 Pro Cooling Fan with Heatsink
    I read a nice review of this cooler on a similar rig (same mobo and case anyway). The word "quiet" was also mentioned. I'm also thinking that investing in a more efficient cooling system should quiet down the system a fair amount.
  • FSP Group (Fortron Source) FX700-GLN ATX12V/ EPS12V 700W All-In-One Power Supply
    I tend to make a lot of "just in case" decisions. SLI makes sense "just in case" I want to add another video card. The XMS memory makes sense "just in case" I want to try lowing the CAS timings. The cooling unit makes sense "just in case" I want to over clock the CPU. And a 700 Watt psu makes sense "just in case" I want to do all of the above. That said, it's all kind of a waist if I end up doing none of it.
  • ViewSonic VX924 Black/Silver 19" 3ms gray-to-gray (avg.); 6ms white-black-white (typ)' LCD Monitor
    Like I said, a 19" monitor. Perhaps this doesn't really require very much GPU power at evern the highest settings? Maybe it really does (I'd feel like less of a dupe).
  • Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card
    I don't really need an audio card. Actually, I'm probably going to use this thing under head phones, I might ditch this card for now until I really need one. I'm also not sure I can use the front audio ports if I have another sound card (though I can't see why not).
  • Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD4000KS 400GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
    This is another popular item (this type of drive that is). The trend is to create a RAID0 array out of 2 (perhaps smaller) of these drives (creating one bigger and faster drive). Actually, I should probably do that since it's a clear win. Another trend is to buy 2 modest sized 10,000 RPM drives (e.g. WD 74Gig Raptor) and create a RAID1 array (this creates one smaller drive - the size of a single disk - with faster read times. The disk is mirrored so you can keep running if one of the drives fails). I believe the idea is to install the OS on the RAID1 and everything else on the RAID0. I might just put in a RAID0. RAID01 sounds really neat, but I have no idea if it's supported (and I'd have to buy 4 drives).
  • PLEXTOR 18X DVD±R DVD Burner included Replaceable beige front bezel Black E-IDE/ATAPI Model PX-760A/SW BL
  • PLEXTOR CD Burner Black IDE Model PX-230A/SW-BL
    I'm really tired of shoddy CD/RW and DVD/RW drives and Plextor is supposed to make some higher quality ones. I thought NEC was rated well also. I read some advice somewhere that it's worth getting the SATA version of the Plextor DVD drive. I'll look into it "just in case" it matters lol.
  • SONY Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal Floppy Drive Windows 98SE/ ME/ 2000/ XP
    Wow. We never managed to adopt the metric system and we can't seem to get rid of the floppy drives. What is it that Europe and the Macintosh have that we don't? Okay, I didn't want to start an argument. Actually, the price tag I'm running up here reminds me of the old days when I'd trade several choice limbs for a Macintosh. Those were the days...
If you're still reading this, then you're quite a trooper and I truely appreciate and applaud your time and patience (it's okay if you just scanned, don't bother going back to see if you missed anything because you probably didn't). I'm very grateful for any advice or insight you might have on this whole computer building thing. There's really no substitute for experience and I've had very little in this area.

A bit of background just in case I haven't yet managed to bore you into a coma...

My current computer is a zd7000. I've bought into the desktop replacement scheme because I liked the idea of a semi-portable system that I could play 3D games on as well as handle a variety of other computing tasks. This rig is primarily for living room use so portability has never really an issue. But the tradeoffs of this type of system are an issue (I could go on, but I'd exceed the maximum post length). The fact is that I really do like the laptop overall, but it's not really a good solution for a gamer.

So my curiosity was piqued when I read a suggestion to another dissatisified zd7000 owner who wanted a (semi) portable gaming machine to "go out and get a Shuttle." I'd never heard of the Shuttle, and I was very excited when I saw one of these neat little boxes. The whole Small Form Factor (SFF) idea kind of took off in my mind as a completely groovy compromise between a desktop tower and a desktop replacement laptop. And one of those things really would look great in my living room! But after drooling over many configurations and looking into various boxes (there are some other nice enclosures out there like the Monarch Hornet, and Monarch's also come out with a high end mATX board), I realized that I'd have to make another performance tradeoff. It's true that I did build up a fantasy Shuttle SN26-P1 system very similar to the configuration above (it has a nForce 4 SLI micro ATX board that can take the dual core AMD X2 CPU's), but I knew that it would run hot and loud, and might not perform as well as a desktop (for the same $$$). But maybe I should also go back and take another look at that shuttle.

Edited by Fred Richardson, 05 April 2006 - 06:10 PM.

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#2
jrm20

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I've been chasing my tail on this for a while now. I'd like to make a machine that meets the following criteria:

  • Looks nice in the living room.
  • Isn't too noisy
  • Performs well running new games with pretty graphics (e.g. Oblivian)
  • Has some future upgrade possibilities
But I have to ask, am I total dupe to marketing if I'm obsessed with the following technologies?
  • CPU: AMD X2 3800+ to 4400+ dual core processor
  • MOBO: NVIDIA nForce SPP 100 / nForce 4 SLI chip set
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 7900 (GT/GTX) (256/512)
I honestly think I will benefit from a dual core CPU for the day to day stuff. But does SLI make sense? My rational there is that I'll probably buy one graphics card and double it up later on when the card prices drop. I'd like to avoid the feeling that my graphics aren't as pretty as they could be or that my system is lagging due to poor build decisions, but ultimately I plan to use a 19" LCD display with this rig. Would I do just as well or better with a different configuration centered around a single ATI Radeon 1900XT(X) (dropping SLI and adopting, um, whatever the other thing is)?

Here's the complete configuration I'm looking at (newegg-ing it). I think my budget may be a bit out-of-control but here goes:
  • Lian Li V COOL PC-V1200B plus Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
    The case looks nice. There's no drive door and having the ports on the front is important. I've heard it described as "quiet" (the plus version has an extra fan). But I guess it depends on what's inside there and what it's doing...
  • ASUS A8N32-SLI Deluxe Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce SPP 100 ATX AMD Motherboard
    I looked at the comperable MSI and Lanparty offerings, but this one seems to be "the favorite" (and I wasn't crazy about the fan on the MSI board). By "favorite", I mean that a lot of people bought this board, not that they all considered it flawless.
  • XFX PV-T71G-UDF7 GeForce 7900 GT (470MHz) 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card
    The 7900 is temporarily MIA, but otherwise it seems to be a cooler (and generally better) version of the 7800. The GT/256MB card is 300$ or more while GTX/512MB card is a bit less than double that. My goal was to pay less than 400$ for a graphics card, but I may have to rethink that.
  • AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ Manchester 1GHz HT Socket 939 Dual Core Processor Model ADA4200BVBOX
    Right now AMD is ahead by a nose, and I think I'll try to stick with the dual core thing. I've heard that it may be better to go with opterons and overclock, I may be to old for over-clocking... (but then I have bought into the OC'er type of gear).
  • CORSAIR XMS 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Unbuffered Dual Channel Kit System Memory Model Twinx2048-3200c2pt
    I know I want at least 1Gig, and since I'm already in way over my head, I might as well put in 2 gig now and get it over with.
  • ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 64 Pro Cooling Fan with Heatsink
    I read a nice review of this cooler on a similar rig (same mobo and case anyway). The word "quiet" was also mentioned. I'm also thinking that investing in a more efficient cooling system should quiet down the system a fair amount.
  • FSP Group (Fortron Source) FX700-GLN ATX12V/ EPS12V 700W All-In-One Power Supply
    I tend to make a lot of "just in case" decisions. SLI makes sense "just in case" I want to add another video card. The XMS memory makes sense "just in case" I want to try lowing the CAS timings. The cooling unit makes sense "just in case" I want to over clock the CPU. And a 700 Watt psu makes sense "just in case" I want to do all of the above. That said, it's all kind of a waist if I end up doing none of it.
  • ViewSonic VX924 Black/Silver 19" 3ms gray-to-gray (avg.); 6ms white-black-white (typ)' LCD Monitor
    Like I said, a 19" monitor. Perhaps this doesn't really require very much GPU power at evern the highest settings? Maybe it really does (I'd feel like less of a dupe).
  • Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card
    I don't really need an audio card. Actually, I'm probably going to use this thing under head phones, I might ditch this card for now until I really need one. I'm also not sure I can use the front audio ports if I have another sound card (though I can't see why not).
  • Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD4000KS 400GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
    This is another popular item (this type of drive that is). The trend is to create a RAID0 array out of 2 (perhaps smaller) of these drives (creating one bigger and faster drive). Actually, I should probably do that since it's a clear win. Another trend is to buy 2 modest sized 10,000 RPM drives (e.g. WD 74Gig Raptor) and create a RAID1 array (this creates one smaller drive - the size of a single disk - with faster read times. The disk is mirrored so you can keep running if one of the drives fails). I believe the idea is to install the OS on the RAID1 and everything else on the RAID0. I might just put in a RAID0. RAID01 sounds really neat, but I have no idea if it's supported (and I'd have to buy 4 drives).
  • PLEXTOR 18X DVD±R DVD Burner included Replaceable beige front bezel Black E-IDE/ATAPI Model PX-760A/SW BL
  • PLEXTOR CD Burner Black IDE Model PX-230A/SW-BL
    I'm really tired of shoddy CD/RW and DVD/RW drives and Plextor is supposed to make some higher quality ones. I thought NEC was rated well also. I read some advice somewhere that it's worth getting the SATA version of the Plextor DVD drive. I'll look into it "just in case" it matters lol.
  • SONY Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal Floppy Drive Windows 98SE/ ME/ 2000/ XP
    Wow. We never managed to adopt the metric system and we can't seem to get rid of the floppy drives. What is it that Europe and the Macintosh have that we don't? Okay, I didn't want to start an argument. Actually, the price tag I'm running up here reminds me of the old days when I'd trade several choice limbs for a Macintosh. Those were the days...
If you're still reading this, then you're quite a trooper and I truely appreciate and applaud your time and patience (it's okay if you just scanned, don't bother going back to see if you missed anything because you probably didn't). I'm very grateful for any advice or insight you might have on this whole computer building thing. There's really no substitute for experience and I've had very little in this area.

A bit of background just in case I haven't yet managed to bore you into a coma...

My current computer is a zd7000. I've bought into the desktop replacement scheme because I liked the idea of a semi-portable system that I could play 3D games on as well as handle a variety of other computing tasks. This rig is primarily for living room use so portability has never really an issue. But the tradeoffs of this type of system are an issue (I could go on, but I'd exceed the maximum post length). The fact is that I really do like the laptop overall, but it's not really a good solution for a gamer.

So my curiosity was piqued when I read a suggestion to another dissatisified zd7000 owner who wanted a (semi) portable gaming machine to "go out and get a Shuttle." I'd never heard of the Shuttle, and I was very excited when I saw one of these neat little boxes. The whole Small Form Factor (SFF) idea kind of took off in my mind as a completely groovy compromise between a desktop tower and a desktop replacement laptop. And one of those things really would look great in my living room! But after drooling over many configurations and looking into various boxes (there are some other nice enclosures out there like the Monarch Hornet, and Monarch's also come out with a high end mATX board), I realized that I'd have to make another performance tradeoff. It's true that I did build up a fantasy Shuttle SN26-P1 system very similar to the configuration above (it has a nForce 4 SLI micro ATX board that can take the dual core AMD X2 CPU's), but I knew that it would run hot and loud, and might not perform as well as a desktop (for the same $$$). But maybe I should also go back and take another look at that shuttle.



Your selection looks nice and it would be a solid build. The 4200+ x2 is all you need with 2gb of ram and your set. I dont like asus motherboards but that is just my opinnion. That powersupply seems alittle overboard but I did read that it is one of the few to power a 7900 series video card with plenty of juice in sli.
I read somewhere that other powersupplies dont have quite enough juice to power 2 7900 series in sli mode that is.. If you only want one 7900 series video card just get an antec 550Watt power supply with sli support.

the monarch hornet your talking about come with rather small powersupplies and they wont allow you to upgrade it and I dont know how big of a one you could put in there yourself. The last time I checked it had a 350watt powersupply included with all hornets. (this was a couple months ago). The viewsonic monitor you chose is nice but see if you can find a samsung with similar (ms) time for cheaper so it can save you a few bucks.
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#3
Fred Richardson

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Your selection looks nice and it would be a solid build. The 4200+ x2 is all you need with 2gb of ram and your set. I dont like asus motherboards but that is just my opinnion. That powersupply seems alittle overboard but I did read that it is one of the few to power a 7900 series video card with plenty of juice in sli.
I read somewhere that other powersupplies dont have quite enough juice to power 2 7900 series in sli mode that is.. If you only want one 7900 series video card just get an antec 550Watt power supply with sli support.

the monarch hornet your talking about come with rather small powersupplies and they wont allow you to upgrade it and I dont know how big of a one you could put in there yourself. The last time I checked it had a 350watt powersupply included with all hornets. (this was a couple months ago). The viewsonic monitor you chose is nice but see if you can find a samsung with similar (ms) time for cheaper so it can save you a few bucks.


Thank you for the help! Yes, the psu is probably over the top, but you never know I might get 2 7900 GT cards.

The other mobo I was looking at is this MSI Diamond, which is pretty similar except that it has a small fan on one of the bridges (where the ASUS has passive heat pipes). I'm not planning on an Audio card and the MSI has pretty decent on-board audio so I might take another look at that. I'll also take another look at the DFI Lanparty.
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#4
warriorscot

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The fan makes no noise at all and cooling wise its better than passive, and you can replace it with a nice LED chipset fan so it looks cool. But its virtually silent your gfx card and cpu will make MUCH more noise than it.

SLI wise you usually want to do it at the time its usually not a viable upgrade option cost/performance wise.

Its a good set up. Its good youve got a floppy you have obviously done you homework, temps are metric so dont worry i think its just because 3.5inch sound better than 8.9 centimetres.
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#5
Himitsu

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Make sure to take note of the timings on your ram when you buy it,
it seems like you know well enough what you are doing.

For my rig I went with the --DFI LANPARTY nF4 SLI-DR Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 SLI ATX AMD Motherboard

not a fan of asus myself this one checks out with a ton more ports comes with a carrier, and has amazing bus speeds. If you plan to do overclocking this has been rated the top overclockers board for it's award winning bios ^^ not trying to sell it to ya.. but it has some nice bios features..

people have said theyve had compatibility issues with some components with it.. if you read all the newegg
reviews.. but I never had any myself and i threw my rig together spur of the moment a year ago.

as for the extra sound card.. most newer mobos come with really decent on board audio already..
you may want to check it out before you spend the extra money on a card that takes up another slot.. ^^

Case fans are destined to break down.. never count on them- even the nicest cases' fans usually dont out last 12-18 months from what I have both read and experienced.

with CPU power packing like that.. I hope you are planning on doing some serious multitasking and that money is no object. Games like WoW and such pretty much have to be assigned one of the CPUs whiel the other runs the other tasks.. and while I dont know all the details on this.. they still seem like a good deal to me because i do everything at once on multiple monitors. You may want to research a little more before you dive into DCore.

Water cooling might be a mighty fine choice if you go this route.. i've found that my computer heats my entire room up.. bad.. and my case has 8 fans <,< -that is with 1 processor and dual sli

while you are going all out it seems.. dont forget the eluminX backlit keyboard.. i couldnt live without mine >< if you get a cheaper brandname.. the letters rub off the keys!! its crazy! with eluminX its easy to game with no light.. some of my friends complain it blinds them though :whistling: then again.. I am a girl and just liek glowy things @.@

good luck and have fun. you can usually find all your pc building answers ont he net.. the guru3d forum is another good place for answers as well.

Edited by Himitsu, 06 April 2006 - 06:14 AM.

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#6
p-zero

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It looks like a nice setup. The MSI board from what Ive read is not 32x in sli its only 16X. So in my opinion whats the point of an sli board if its only 16x. The asus board is REALLY nice. The ONLY problem Ive had with it was when I was trying to re-flash BIOS, it wouldnt recognize my drives in DOS mode. I contacted ASUS and theyre willing to RMA it no prob. Im using an Antec 500w sli compatible PSU, have no problems with that. And for the water cooling, whats the point? If you have a nice case with good airflow you wont need it. Mine runs at 38(mobo) 41/42(CPU) under load. When I OCed it to a 2.5 (its 1.8 normal) temps only went up 5/6 degrees. And as for the ram, before you buy it make sure its on the qualified vendors list regardless of which mobo you get. The X-Fi card is SWEET! One of the best sounding audio devices Ive heard. But, if you dont want it the onboard audio of the a8n32 sounds good as well.
And as far as OCing goes, when I ran mine @2.5Ghz it made no noticable difference at all. Just temps went up. My comp literally boots to the desktop in about 30 seconds. All I can say is this thing is FAST!
And as far as the Gfx cards go Id say wait till the new DX10 series comes out. Instaed of buying that 7900 get 2 6800gs's, theyve dropped in price so you could get 2 for less than half the price of one of your 7900's. I looked and the futuremark results and found that a guy with a similar setup to mine got a score of around 9500 with the 6800GS's. Which is way more than enough to run ANY game at maximum settings. To me the SLI was definitly worth the extra cash.
-Pete.
PS: ASUS also just released the ATi version sli board a8r32. But Ive heard theyre having compatibility issues with it and certain games. Just my 2 cents.

Edited by p-zero, 06 April 2006 - 07:58 AM.

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#7
warriorscot

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A8r32 is a crossfire board NOT a Sli board they are completely different and currently incompatible technology.

Unless you are doing sli with a 7900 or a 7800 then you wont notice the difference between the 32 and the 16 as the bandwidth isnt the biggest factor, they could have use AGP for longer but they switched to PCI-e not for the x16 but for its higher power handling ability.

I would go the single card, SLI is totally unneccesary especially with DX10 this year, and for SLI the mobos and PSUs need to be the bigger more expensive vareities, you can save a 100 bucks just by not having SLI which its maing purpose is A for high reolution users(so unless you have a monitor capable of better than 1600x1200 resolutions dont bother) and B con people into spending the money to buy two cards then replace two cards.

If i were picking a highend mobo i would go for the MSI or the DFI.
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#8
p-zero

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My mistake scot, its a DUAL GFX card board running at 16x each.
http://usa.asus.com/...042&modelmenu=1
-Pete.
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#9
Fred Richardson

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Wow, looks like I found the right place to ask questions!

For my rig I went with the --DFI LANPARTY nF4 SLI-DR Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 SLI ATX AMD Motherboard

not a fan of asus myself this one checks out with a ton more ports comes with a carrier, and has amazing bus speeds. If you plan to do overclocking this has been rated the top overclockers board for it's award winning bios ^^ not trying to sell it to ya.. but it has some nice bios features..

I'm also pretty luke warm on ASUS, and the Lanparty looks really tempting if I go the SLI route. Really the only place I can see where ASUS has an edge here is that so many people are using or struggling with it and ASUS does provide some support. But the Lanparty (and the MSI) are a bit more appealing (probably if I don't go SLI as well).

people have said theyve had compatibility issues with some components with it.. if you read all the newegg
reviews.. but I never had any myself and i threw my rig together spur of the moment a year ago.

Newegg is great, but I think I've realized that I can't get scared off by the negative reports alone. The ASUS doesn't get a perfect score (the MSI and DFI boards do), so I think any of these Mobo's will have certain issues. The more problems I can anticipate the better off I'll be (especially since I have relatively little experience with system building).

as for the extra sound card.. most newer mobos come with really decent on board audio already..
you may want to check it out before you spend the extra money on a card that takes up another slot.. ^^

Good point! I'm going to toss the sound card for now, there are too many reasons not to get one :blink:

Case fans are destined to break down.. never count on them- even the nicest cases' fans usually dont out last 12-18 months from what I have both read and experienced.

with CPU power packing like that.. I hope you are planning on doing some serious multitasking and that money is no object. Games like WoW and such pretty much have to be assigned one of the CPUs whiel the other runs the other tasks.. and while I dont know all the details on this.. they still seem like a good deal to me because i do everything at once on multiple monitors. You may want to research a little more before you dive into DCore.

Water cooling might be a mighty fine choice if you go this route.. i've found that my computer heats my entire room up.. bad.. and my case has 8 fans <,< -that is with 1 processor and dual sli

Thank you for brining up the heat issue! Water cooling is a bit scary, but I guess I better look into it. The Arctic Cool is probably only good for keeping the CPU under control. The case I'm looking at comes with 3 stock 12cm fans and 2 air ducts (one for psu and one for cpu), it sounds like from what you're saying that this might not cut it if I go the SLI route. I'm pretty sure I'll take advantage of the dual core (I like to do a lot of stuff at once).

while you are going all out it seems.. dont forget the eluminX backlit keyboard.. i couldnt live without mine >< if you get a cheaper brandname.. the letters rub off the keys!! its crazy! with eluminX its easy to game with no light.. some of my friends complain it blinds them though :whistling: then again.. I am a girl and just liek glowy things @.@

Heh, that's a neat idea but it'll drive my wife nuts. We both hang out in the living room. I play on the computer while she watches TV. Blinking lights and noise are my biggest worries (so none of those flashy case mods for me).

good luck and have fun. you can usually find all your pc building answers ont he net.. the guru3d forum is another good place for answers as well.

Thank you! I still have some work to do but at least I think I have a better idea of what direction to go in next. :help:
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#10
warriorscot

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Fans can last for years and years they will break down but so will everything else in the computer, two 120mm fans is all you need for a cool and quiet system and if you get good antec, akasa or vantec fans then they will last a while, you buy cheap stuff dont complain when it breaks.

Water cooling i wouldnt reccomend you are looking at 150-200 for the decent stuff and its not something you can skimp on the cheap kits arent worth it.

Asuss reputation for there AMD socket boards is pretty bad where MSI and DFI have excellent reputations, it doesnt matter a huge amount how good the supprt is(its good as well mind you) those boards rarely go wrong and dont have alot of compatibility issues.

Keyboard wise a good one is a nice investment, i just got a Zboard and i love it, it was a little extravagent but i thought i would treat myself and you dont need a light to game in the dark really, if you game alot then you know where the keys are instinctivley. A good mouse is always nice i got a razer diamondback and its very nice, logitech mice are also nice. A good keyboard and mouse is a nice treat for yourself the best computer is useless if you use a 5 buck keyboard and mouse and an old fish bowl for a monitor.
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#11
p-zero

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Fred, check out the saitek eclipse KB. Its really nice, has quiet keys, the backlighting has 3 settings bright,dim, off. Its really comfortable, and even on the brightest setting its not overly bright. It also has volume controls right on it, with a mute button. My rig recognized it immediatly with no drivers.
-Pete.
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#12
Fred Richardson

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It looks like a nice setup. The MSI board from what Ive read is not 32x in sli its only 16X. So in my opinion whats the point of an sli board if its only 16x. The asus board is REALLY nice. The ONLY problem Ive had with it was when I was trying to re-flash BIOS, it wouldnt recognize my drives in DOS mode. I contacted ASUS and theyre willing to RMA it no prob. Im using an Antec 500w sli compatible PSU, have no problems with that.

I'm beginning to think that the SLI route really has 3 good high-end options (and perhaps a lot more less high-end options). The MSI, DFI and ASUS models all seem to be pretty good each with there pros and cons. Some people don't like the MSI active cooling (the fan can get in the way of some coolers, but that can be worked around), the DFI is OC'd by default which can be a good or bad thing and the ASUS has had a bunch of little problems but ASUS has been good at addressing them.

And for the water cooling, whats the point? If you have a nice case with good airflow you wont need it. Mine runs at 38(mobo) 41/42(CPU) under load. When I OCed it to a 2.5 (its 1.8 normal) temps only went up 5/6 degrees. And as for the ram, before you buy it make sure its on the qualified vendors list regardless of which mobo you get. The X-Fi card is SWEET! One of the best sounding audio devices Ive heard. But, if you dont want it the onboard audio of the a8n32 sounds good as well.
And as far as OCing goes, when I ran mine @2.5Ghz it made no noticable difference at all. Just temps went up. My comp literally boots to the desktop in about 30 seconds. All I can say is this thing is FAST!

I guess I'm also unclear on the need for water cooling. In an SLI config, high end cards may cause me problems. I think (though I could be wrong) that the Arctic cooler will handle the CPU pretty well. This is a high end case so I suspect the fans are pretty decent.

And as far as the Gfx cards go Id say wait till the new DX10 series comes out. Instaed of buying that 7900 get 2 6800gs's, theyve dropped in price so you could get 2 for less than half the price of one of your 7900's. I looked and the futuremark results and found that a guy with a similar setup to mine got a score of around 9500 with the 6800GS's. Which is way more than enough to run ANY game at maximum settings. To me the SLI was definitly worth the extra cash.

I'm glad you brought this up! Yes, I'll definitely consider the 6800's for an SLI rig (and read up on the DX10's). This is where I really need some perspective :whistling: Thanks!
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#13
Fred Richardson

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Unless you are doing sli with a 7900 or a 7800 then you wont notice the difference between the 32 and the 16 as the bandwidth isnt the biggest factor, they could have use AGP for longer but they switched to PCI-e not for the x16 but for its higher power handling ability.

I would go the single card, SLI is totally unneccesary especially with DX10 this year, and for SLI the mobos and PSUs need to be the bigger more expensive vareities, you can save a 100 bucks just by not having SLI which its maing purpose is A for high reolution users(so unless you have a monitor capable of better than 1600x1200 resolutions dont bother) and B con people into spending the money to buy two cards then replace two cards.

If i were picking a highend mobo i would go for the MSI or the DFI.

I'm really glad to hear this perspective. I'm not completely keen on the idea of running (and buying) 2 graphics cards, and the fact is that I'll be using a 19" monitor (1280x1024) so I'm not sure I'd notice the difference. The points you make about the power supply and mobo are also a concern

Now the trouble is that I really need to start over again to figure out how to go the non-SLI route. Any suggestions on that front? I assume we're still talking PCI-express, just not (neccesarily) the nForce 4 chip set.

I noticed that you have an SLI mobo listed in you sig: "MSI K8 neo4 platinum". Did you go for an SLI config because you're running at a higher resolution?
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#14
warriorscot

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Mines isnt an SLI config, the nforce 4 SLI motherboards came later nforce4 board in vanilla and ultra variant started and are still largely available in non SLI configuration. the platinum is the same as the diamond SLI mobo but it doesnt have the second full size PCI-e slot or the SLI chip, uses the same nforce4 ultra chipset has the same peripherals(apart from a wireless controller but i have a belkin one allready), i use the same size and resolution of monitor as you, and i use an x800xl gfx card and i can run games at either there highest setting or close as and thats got a bit more power than a 6800GS does. So whatever you chose its going to be pretty good, a 7900GT will manage all high settings pretty much.

A single card like a 6800GS or a 7800GS would be more than adequate, they are powerful enough to run most games at hignh/medium settings, and a 7900GT has enough juice to do anything you want.

The fan might block one of those new arctic X1 they look huge, but i just put on a VF-900 and its the best you can get at the moment and it fits on and its nowhere near the chipset fan, also passive cooling chipsets use bigger heatsinks to compnesate for the lack of a fan so fitting a big cooler to a gfx card might be hard with one of those as well.

You dont really have to change for a non SLI route, you can sitll even use an SLI mobo if you really want, decding not to do SLI means that if you want to save money you can get a cheaper non SLI mobo(identical to the SLI in performance if not better and you get your extra PCI and PCI-e x4 slot). And you can get away with a PSU of 400-500W range rather than the 500-600W range for SLI.
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#15
Fred Richardson

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The fan might block one of those new arctic X1 they look huge, but i just put on a VF-900 and its the best you can get at the moment and it fits on and its nowhere near the chipset fan, also passive cooling chipsets use bigger heatsinks to compnesate for the lack of a fan so fitting a big cooler to a gfx card might be hard with one of those as well.

I read through a bunch of reviews of the MSI Diamond and they all expressed some unhappiness about the fan (it's a small fan and it's very close to the CPU socket). On the other hand, I think they were able to make more roomusing "active cooling".

You dont really have to change for a non SLI route, you can sitll even use an SLI mobo if you really want, decding not to do SLI means that if you want to save money you can get a cheaper non SLI mobo(identical to the SLI in performance if not better and you get your extra PCI and PCI-e x4 slot). And you can get away with a PSU of 400-500W range rather than the 500-600W range for SLI.

I'll have to keep mulling this over a bit more. If I go with a high end board, I'll probably steer clear of the DFI Lanparty, but only because it's really an experts board (reading the forums over at www.dfi-street.com is a bit frightening). That leaves MSI which I think may be the best all-around choice for me.
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