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Starting to Look into Building a New Computer


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#1
RichieB16

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OK, over the last few months I have been thinking about building a new computer. When I saw the system specs for a couple new games I want that will be released soon (specifically Medal of Honor Airborne) I realized my computer didn't even meet the minimum system requirements for new games anymore...and that was the sign that it is time for a new computer.

So, I began to do a little reading (and I did some part searching on Newegg.com) to look at costs and such. Unfortunately, I have been out of the computer loop for a while and as a result I'm not sure exactly whats really good anymore. I think I have a decent grasp...but I wanted to ask around here (my brother recommended this place).

Anyway, I spent a couple hours over the weekend and just tried to piece a new system together looking at parts. This was a totally informal exercise...just trying to get my feet wet and see whats out there. My main goal is a decent gaming computer that will last me a while...hopefully a few years at least. I am probably going back to school in the Fall of 2008 (for dental school) and I would like a computer I can use for school but still have decent performance (so I can at least run games on lower settings) with minimal upgrades while I'm in school. I know its impossible to know for sure what will be a powerful enough machine in 3-4 years time...but here is the computer I came up with:

AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+
ASUS Crosshair Motherboard, nVidia 590 SLi
GeForce 8800GTS 640MB
2x 2GB Sticks of DDR2 800 RAM (not sure what brand to get...but this is the speed of RAM for mobo)
Western Digital 500GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Gamer 7.1 Sound Card
Logitech THX Z-5300e 280W RMS 5.1 Speakers
16x DVD-ROM SATA Drive
DVD-RW (18x DVD-R) SATA Drive
Windows Vista Home Premium

This is a little on the expensive side for me at the moment but I'm hoping that if I wait a few months (January?) the price will come down. Specifically, I have been told that the GeForce 9800 series cards are coming out in October so I would think those 8800 cards will drop in price in the months that follow. Also, I have a fairly new 250GB Hard Drive in my current machine but its not a SATA drive, and I feel I should convert to SATA as I heard its a big improvement. I figure if I'm making a nice machine I might as well do the whole thing. I probably don't need a sound card and new speakers, but I have a crappy 2.1 7 year old altec lansing speaker setup with integrated sound right now and I want something better. The price is a little worrisome, but I figure I can do it eventually. Does this seem like a decent setup that will last few for 3-4 years or so?

Also, one question I have is how large of a power supply would a system like this need? I have never been good at figuring that out and I don't want to mess it up. What are reliable power supply brands? All I need is something that will work and fit in a standard ATX desktop (or mid size tower) case. Also, possible upgrades down the road I was thinking about would be to add 4GB more of RAM (to the 8GB mobo max) and a second video card for the SLi function. So, I would need enough power for that possible upgrade as well (assuming SLi is worth it).

One more thing, what brand of RAM would you guys recommend. I used a Patriot RAM on Newegg as a price example, but is there a specific group of brands I should stick too?

One more thing, is it still a good idea to throw a floppy drive into machines...specially with the Vista OS. I have one in my XP computer so I can reformat the hard drive the old fashion way with a boot disk but is it really worth it anymore?

OK, so I know that is a lot at once...but I'm trying to get back into this as I begin the process of planning a computer. I have been out of the loop for a while so any help is really appreciated.

Thanks!!!
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#2
Troy

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Well it looks like you've been doing a lot of thinking, that's good to see. If you're interested, jackflash1991 is currently upgrading his own computer for that exact game, take a look at the thread here (if you haven't already read it).

I would recommend going with an Intel processor, specifically the Core 2 Duo with the 1333MHz FSB, such as this one. This would also mean going for a socket 775-compatible motherboard. SLI will give you better performance, but it is extremely costly for the price/performance ratio. If you do want to go this route, then you should probably look at the 650i or 680i chipset motherboards. If not, the P35 chipset is getting lots of fantastic reviews and would be the way to go.

A SATA hard drive is definitely the way to go, you should grab a new one as well as hang on to your old PATA drive for storage space. If you want better sound than the current onboard audio that you have, a brand new motherboard with onboard audio will be heaps better and you should hear a difference. I would recommend not getting a separate card at this stage, if you don't like it then you could always add one later.

A power supply to provide enough juice for this system really depends on your choices. If you choose to run SLI, then the power requirements will be hefty and so will the price. Good brands for PSU's include PC Power and Cooling, Silverstone, Sea Sonic, Antec, OCZ, and Thermaltake. If you go with SLI, look for one that is SLI-certified.

If you are using 32-bit Vista, you won't need any more than 3GB RAM because that's about all 32-bit can use. Further upgrades will be ignored by the operating system. Using 64-bit, however, will allow for the extra RAM and so it will be worth it. Just be warned that 64-bit Vista is not compatible with as many programs and peripherals as 32-bit is. Good RAM brands include Kingston (HyperX), Corsair, Mushkin, OCZ, and Crucial. In particular, OCZ has some excellent rebates on www.newegg.com right now.

If you have a floppy drive in your current machine, then just keep it stored away and if you ever need it then you can just hook it up.
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#3
jackflash1991

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Ok, lets start the list you made already.

AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+
ASUS Crosshair Motherboard, nVidia 590 SLi
GeForce 8800GTS 640MB
2x 2GB Sticks of DDR2 800 RAM (not sure what brand to get...but this is the speed of RAM for mobo)
Western Digital 500GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Gamer 7.1 Sound Card
Logitech THX Z-5300e 280W RMS 5.1 Speakers
16x DVD-ROM SATA Drive
DVD-RW (18x DVD-R) SATA Drive
Windows Vista Home Premium

AMDs are no longer on top. The Intel core 2 Duos are now the best bang for your buck. I would suggest a Intel e6750, here: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16819115029
For the GeForce 8800GTS I would go for the 320MB version rather then the 640MB version. The 640MB version is not as cost efficient as the 320MB version. Here: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16814150171
4GBs seems like a lot. Most games only need 2GBs, 3GBs if you want to be overkill. Do you overclock?
Sound card is good.
And the OS looks good.
The power supply we can figure out once we have everything in order. I like the brand Antec though. They don't have fancy paint jobs and cable management systems but they are cost efficient and reliable.

Also take a look at this article to get you up to speed with everything: http://techreport.co...icles.x/12808/1
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#4
RichieB16

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Wow, I'm surprised to hear that the AMD processors aren't that good anymore...I seem to remember in the older days that they were the preferred CPU for a game machine plus were a lot more cost effective. But, you guys are the modern experts...so if the Intel Core 2 Duo processors are the way to go then I guess I should listen. :whistling: With the e6750 processor being better than the Athlon 64 X2 6000+...I can't go wrong with only a $30 price increase. Is the Intel processor a substantial increase or just a little better?

I guess the next question is what motherboard to go with. To be honest, I was never that knowledgeable about chip sets in the first place, so as you can imagine I know nothing about the newer one's. What would be a good motherboard for my setup. A couple things I would like on it other than a good chip set is 6 USB 2.0 ports (2 in front if possible), up to 8GB RAM compatible, 2 PCI Express 16x slots (SLI compatible), SATA compatible, 24-pin power. I think this is fairly normal these days (or so it appears)...but I'm not sure what to really look for in a motherboard anymore.

One CPU/motherboard question concerning Intel...how good have they been about keeping the same socket? When I was looking at various AMD processors, it seems like each line has a different socket which really limits the computers upgradability IMHO. Has Intel been more dedicated to a socket or have they been changing as well.

Also, I know that the cost effectiveness of SLI has been mentioned earlier and my thought was it was something I would do in a couple years. Maybe when my system was getting a little slow and the card had dropped to the $100-$150 range. I could then throw in a second video card and some more RAM and maybe it would be a little better then. However, the extra strong power supply needed for this might not make it worth it.

Finally, are the GeForce 9 Series cards being released in the next couple of months as I have been told? If so, how much of a drop (and how fast) should I expect the 8 series prices to drop. I'm not planning on building my computer for a few months yet (hopefully early 2008) so I was thinking that those cards might have dropped quite a bit.
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#5
jackflash1991

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Is the Intel processor a substantial increase or just a little better?

Take a look for yourself, here: http://www23.tomshar...m...3&chart=425
Most top of the line computers are Intel.

I guess the next question is what motherboard to go with. To be honest, I was never that knowledgeable about chip sets in the first place, so as you can imagine I know nothing about the newer one's. What would be a good motherboard for my setup. A couple things I would like on it other than a good chip set is 6 USB 2.0 ports (2 in front if possible), up to 8GB RAM compatible, 2 PCI Express 16x slots (SLI compatible), SATA compatible, 24-pin power. I think this is fairly normal these days (or so it appears)...but I'm not sure what to really look for in a motherboard anymore.

As for the board I got this: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813130081
It seems like you want the option for SLI and are going to use it a long time down the road so I would get a 650i Nvidia board. The GIGABYTE is a very good board but it does not like the E6750. To use the board with the E6750 you have to update the BIOS to F7. The ABIT is great if you don't overclock because it freaks out when you try to. The ASUS seems ok but I would like someone else's confirmation. And the MSI is a Newegg "1x Winner of Customer Choice Award - Intel Motherboards"

Finally, are the GeForce 9 Series cards being released in the next couple of months as I have been told? If so, how much of a drop (and how fast) should I expect the 8 series prices to drop. I'm not planning on building my computer for a few months yet (hopefully early 2008) so I was thinking that those cards might have dropped quite a bit.

I am not sure when and have not heard anything about them. I might look into it tonight or tomorrow.

Edited by jackflash1991, 29 August 2007 - 10:37 PM.

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#6
jackflash1991

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I am hearing November 2007 but that might just be a rumor.

G92 will be released in November 2007 timeframe in the form of "GeForce 9800" series.

"G92" GeForce 9800 GTX specs.

- 65nm process technology at TSMC.
- Over one billion transistors.
- Second Generation Unified Shader Architecture.
- Double precsion support (FP64).
- GPGPU native.
- Over one TeraFLOPS of shader processing power.
- MADD+ADD configuration for the shader untis (2+1 FLOPS=3 FLOPS per ALU)
- Fully Scalar design.
- 512-bit memory interface.
- 1024MB GDDR4 graphics memory.
- DirectX 10.1 support.
- OpenGL 3.0 Support.
- eDRAM die for "FREE 4xAA".
- built in Audio Chip.
- built in tesselation unit (in the graphics core"
- Improved AA and AF quality levels

PRICE!!!!!!!


price for the GeForce 9800 GTX will be 549-649 USD.

price for the GeForce 9800 GTS will be 399-449 USD.


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#7
Troy

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That's ridiculous! DX10 isn't hardly going to get a chance before DX11-compatible cards come out...

If you aren't planning on building for a few months, things will definitely have changed by then, so just start learning where we are now, and then keep up to know what the best buys are when you are actually ready to buy.
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#8
RichieB16

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Well, I'm going to build as soon as possible...but I have some other expenditures at the moment (my car just broke and I have to travel to dental school interviews). One more question I have is, is the nVidia 680SLi really worth the extra money over a 650? I've been thinking about the SLI function and I'm starting to wonder if its really worth doing...even down the road. I'd imagine I'd need a lot bigger power supply in this system so I could even consider SLI and that probably makes it not worth it.

So, I have heard a lot of good things about the P35 boards...so maybe thats what I should go with. I was looking around Newegg and I found this one...but I've never heard of the company: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813127030 . Is this a decent company and I just haven't been paying attention or is it somewhat generic and therefore should be avoided?

Also, my previous questions about the Series 9 video cards was because I really would like to get an 8800GTX but right now its a bit out of my price range and therefore an 8800GTS 320MB is the current plan. However, if the GTX is affordable in a couple months then maybe I'll get that one.
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#9
jackflash1991

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If you are borderline SLI then I would go with the 650i. The 680i's PCI-E is 16x when SLI and the 650i's PCI is 8x when SLI but 16x when just running one card. I wanted the SLI also but realized that it just is not worth it. If a new DirectX 11 comes then I would get that card instead of investing in two out of date cards.

I'm actually getting the regular version of that board the ABIT IP35-E. I'm not exactly sure of the Pro version.
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#10
james_8970

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Just a note here you guys it says DX10.1, I'm doubtful if DX11 developments has even begun as Microsoft is still hard at work on their current project, DX10, with the DX10.1 update being released around the time frame of SP1 if I remember correctly. DX10.1 will be similar on DX10 to what we saw with DX9.0C on DX9.
James

Edited by james_8970, 31 August 2007 - 12:54 PM.

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#11
jackflash1991

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Yeah but I mean when DirectX 11 actually come out.
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#12
james_8970

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It'd be pointless to say to wait to buy till DX11 comes as you could be waiting waiting for as long as 5 years, probably longer.
James
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#13
jackflash1991

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I have a feeling it will be shorter. If not I guess I will get a 8800GTX or one of those new cards coming out in November in a year or 2.
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#14
james_8970

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It will likely be shorter but development from DX9 to the point DX10 was released was a month short of 4 years. Either way there is alot of time left till DX11 is launched meaning it isn't a valid reason to for a new GPU purchase.
James
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#15
SOORENA

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Just to clarify to you folks, I read somewhere that the title of the P35 mobos have SLI in them but it says crossfire in the descriptions. I have never seen a board that suports both so I would research before going into SLI or Crossfire with a P35. Also that system will last you a while. DX10 will be around for a couple of years before DX11 comes out as James stated.

Soorena

EDIT: I was just looking at newegg and man THIS mobo is sexy. (I have a thing for DFI).

Edited by SOORENA, 31 August 2007 - 08:06 PM.

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