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First time build, your thoughts and compatibility check


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#1
ignarukih

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Hi folks,

Here's my new system idea. I'm looking at doing multimedia work, particularly graphic design, editing music (but not in a huge way, just some basic stuff in Audacity), games, and basically having a system which lasts.

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 8500
GPU: Sapphire Radeon 4870
O/S: Windows Vista Premium 64-bit (OEM)
Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster Audigy (OEM)
HDD: Western Digital VelociRaptor 300GB 10000 rpm
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3P
RAM: 4 GB DDR2 RAM - Corsair Dominator TWIN2X4096-8500C5DF w/fan, 1066mhz
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-2014L1T DVD Writer
Power Supply: Corsair TX750
Case: NZXT Alpha

I just have a few questions:
  • Can you see any compatibility issues?
  • Will the parts fit in the case?
  • Will stock cooling be sufficient for all of these parts, the CPU in particular?
  • Any other thoughts? Cheaper but equal alternatives for parts?
Also (sorry for the multiple edits!), since this is a computer that I'd like to last, I'd better mention the potential addons I'm considering for later on in the computer's life.

- A 1TB external (eSATA) HDD - there's a Western Digital model I had my eye on...
- another Sapphire 4870 in Crossfire
- 4 GB more RAM - I think the motherboard can handle up to 16GB, but it only has 4 DIMMs and I've never heard of a 4GB stick....

Will the power supply I've chosen have the headroom to support these parts?

Thanks folks!

Edited by ignarukih, 07 September 2008 - 06:05 AM.

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#2
Neil Jones

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Consider whether you need a 10,000 RPM drive when you can get a 500Gb 7200rpm drive probably cheaper.
That board is ATX so any standard ATX case will be fine.
There's no mention of eSATA with that board in its specs even though the picture on the Gigabyte site gives the impression it comes with it as standard. Check before buying.
The board supports up to 16Gb of memory and 4Gb memory sticks are available. Painfully priced, but available nevertheless.

Edited by Neil Jones, 07 September 2008 - 01:02 PM.

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#3
ignarukih

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Thanks for the help Neil.

I am keen on the performance boost of a 10,000 rpm drive, though I suppose it might be worth forfeiting it in favour of a cheaper Western Digital Caviar 640GB (7200rpm but with a 32MB cache I think, rather than 16MB on the VelociRaptor) or something along those lines.

With size I was concerned with the video card fitting (either a Sapphire Radeon 4870 or a VisionTek 4870) the case since it's pretty big as cards go apparrently.

If anyone can help me with whether or not the board is eSATA capable it'd be much appreciated. I've hunted pretty thoroughly myself, but haven't come up with anything conclusive - though the board does come with an eSATA bracket, it doesn't explicitly state that it is eSATA compatible. That's not a mistake I want to make!

Edited by ignarukih, 07 September 2008 - 10:32 PM.

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#4
Troy

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Hi there,

Gigabyte motherboards come with an eSATA bracket, they have two eSATA connections and one external molex power connection. My Gigabyte motherboard came with a cable that changes eSATA into normal SATA, and a molex to SATA power cable - great for simply plugging in a hard drive by itself for testing purposes.

Unfortunately, I eventually managed to find and test a burntout hard drive (just helping a friend), it decided to melt the power cable onto the drive. :)

If anyone ever has one they never use, I'd love one, because you can't buy them without a whole new motherboard!

So yes it all works, and it works well. Just make sure you set everything up right when you're building it. (make sure you plug the bracket in to the ports on the motherboard).

Cheers

Troy
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#5
warriorscot

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I would definitely go for a 7200rpm drive, in practice it is really hard to get the extra performance out of a raptor they need to be at speed and moving large files about to get that level of speed and most people unless they are hardcore video editors aren't going to see that performance and to be honest if you need that level of performance you would have more than one raptor in a raid setup.

Everything goes together and the cooling should be sufficient, for the CPU i would go for a quad core, probably the Q6600 yes its older but its still got the muscle and the extra cores are a nice bit of future proofing and handy for multi tasking. There isn't much difference between them when you weigh up the pros and cons but given what you say you want to use the system for I think the 4 cores might be more useful to you and it does overclock very well if you need more speed later.

Case wise Im not a fan of the brand you picked, but I am picky I generally only go with Antec or maybe a coolermaster or thermaltake, the other brands are either not up to scratch or just a touch too expensive for a case. I would recommend Antec all of their cases are good quality and have good features for a not bank breaking price. I've got a P182 which is fantastic, a little tricky in places to install the system but once it is in it is fantastic.
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#6
ignarukih

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Hey, here's my revised and hopefully final version! I managed to bring the price down a bit.
Can you see any compatibility issues? Thoughts on the HDD? I hear the particular one I'm going for is pretty fast for a 7200rpm drive.

Case: Antec Three Hundred ATX Mid Tower Case.
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3P
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 3.16GHz, 1333MHz FSB, Socket 775, Retail pack with fan
HDD: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS HDD, 640GB, 7200rpm, 16MB Cache SATA-2
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-2014L1T DVD Writer, Internal, SATA, Black, Lightscribe
Memory: Corsair XMS2 DHX, TWIN2X4096-6400C4DHX, 2x2GB, DDR2-800, PC2-6400, CL4, DIMM
Video Card: Sapphire HD Radeon 4870, 512MB
Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster Audigy SE, 7.1, PCI, OEM
Power Supply: Corsair TX750 ATX PSU
OS: Windows Vista Premium 64-bit, DVD, OEM.
Cooling: Arctic Cooling Freezer Pro 7 (for LGA 775)

Thanks.

Edited by ignarukih, 10 September 2008 - 10:57 PM.

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#7
warriorscot

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Looks good, the 4870 might be a little overkill on the vid card, I generally think that getting the best value mid range card and just replace it more often is the better way to go than getting the top of the range everytime as the technology changes so much its better to keep with the trend than hold out. Unless you are gaming with a monitor resolution higher than 1900x1200 a 4850 is just as good or even a really cheap 9800GT, the cards are so powerful now that even an 8800GT on a system like that will run crysis maxed out on a 1680x1050 monitor which is the most common. But up to you there is really no wrong answer its a personal choice what you pick as both ways it will end up a good system.
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#8
ignarukih

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Haha, be glad I didn't go for a 4870 X2!
But seriously, thanks for the input. I'll have a think about the card, but it's good to know that the rest of the system's in order.
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#9
warriorscot

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Yeah its perfectly fine, the main thing between ATI and Nvidia at the moment for me is the CUDA for Nvidia. It isn't used much now but I think it will play a big part in the future of the desktop. It basically allows you to run applications on the graphics card, at the moment only folding, physics and some hardcore scientific simulation. I think it will really take off in the future I think especially as they improve how it handles the physics, at the moment you can run physX on the GPUs alongside the game and it only costs a few fps to do it but as time progresses it will get even better with more impressive physX at a lower fps cost.

ATI has a power advantage at the moment now that they have properly implemented the unified architectures and faster memory, when AMD took over and rejiggered things at ATI it set them back about a year in desktop cards which was why Nvidia got that little bit of breathing room with the 8 series and briefly took back the top performer crown even if it was only for a little while. With ATI pushing the new memory types first ddr4 and now ddr5 they have a slight technology advantage and have always had superior image production when compared to Nvidia.

I ramble on but you can look stuff up for yourself, there isn't a wrong choice.
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#10
ignarukih

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Hmm... the reason I decided on the 4870 in the first place was that I heard the price/power ratio was really good. Sorry to ask an incredibly lazy question, but you are an expert, so what's the Nvidia equivalent card in the price range? The PhysX aspect does appeal quite a bit.

Nvidia cards are interchangable with my 4870 right? I don't need a different motherboard?
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#11
warriorscot

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Yeah all the cards are interchangeable, you don't need a different board.

The 4870 is good value for money, although the 4850 is even better value to be honest not knowing if you use a very high def monitor I can't say exactly wether you would need a 4870 over a 50. As a rule anything over 1600x1200 needs a beefier card. If you go to this site http://www.tomshardw...view-31315.html it gives a really good break down of what cards are the best buys on a monthly basis and lets you compare Nvidia and ATI options.

The GTX 260 is the equivalent to a 4870, the 4870 is really just a 4850 but with amazingly fast ddr5 memory on it. The GTX 260 is a scarily fast GPU with slightly slower memory as nvidia doesn't/can't use DDR4 and DDR5 memory so they compensate with the GPUs which they use a very different approach from ATI to build which gives them an edge in real world performance compared to ATI GPUs even though in theory ATI GPUs should be faster.

ATI is working on physics on the cards but with Nvidia owning PhysX they were able to beat them to the punch meaning they had a bigger head start than ATI and a better established market as allot of games support PhysX to some degree.
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#12
ignarukih

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So wow, I have a lot of questions... Apologies for excessive n00bness but maybe this is interesting for others too. Anyway.

How does ATI physics support compare to Nvidia?

Are they two incompatible uh, 'protocols' ie like Direct3D vs 3dfx back in the day, where they don't work for a particular game unless it specifically supports them?

Or is physics acceleration physics acceleration no matter the brand...?
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#13
warriorscot

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No they are competing at the moment ATI is working on its own physics standard, however Nvidia may open source Physx at some point. The technology for running apps on GPUs is common to both companies as they developed it towards competing in a new sector of general purpose processing units for extra power for things like AI or simulations. Nvidia took the lead in physics because of them acquiring PhysX and when they combined it with the work on using GPUs for other things(CUDA) they took a big step into that arena, and pretty unique in that it lets you run it on any GPU and not a separate card which is what both ATI and NVidia were working on before hand.

Before Ageia was taken over most people thought ATI was going to the first to do physics on a GPU but Nvidia just shot right into the lead with it and are the first to really apply it. And because PhysX has been kicking around a while it has some game support which ATI would lack as the only other big competition in Physis software is from Havoc which was recently acquired by Intel.

Whether or not the will all become compatible nobody knows. Nvidia or ATI could in theory get any of the physics software packs to run on its GPUs its just getting the competing standards to play nice and let them both make changes to the drivers to allow the GPUs to handle what was normally not a GPU thing. Folding is the first big app to run on either GPU and really shows the potential of being able to run applications on graphics cards which are after all just mini computers and their design makes them really good a certain types of operations that a normal CPU is not perhaps as good at.
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#14
ignarukih

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Thanks for all that information. I guess I'm not too worried about missing out on PhysX capabilities with the 4870 since it's powerful and the physics processing appears at this stage to be more of a software issue...

So here's my final (I think!) build.
Only the top two components have changed.

I'm kind of concerned about fitting the PSU in this case as well as there being some temperature issues, but I hear that it's a great case overall.

Case: Lian Li PC-A05B
Motherboard: Asus P5Q-E
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 3.16GHz, 1333MHz FSB, Socket 775, Retail pack with fan
HDD: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS HDD, 640GB, 7200rpm, 16MB Cache SATA-2
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-2014L1T DVD Writer, Internal, SATA, Black, Lightscribe
Memory: Corsair XMS2 DHX, TWIN2X4096-6400C4DHX, 2x2GB, DDR2-800, PC2-6400, CL4, DIMM
Video Card: Sapphire HD Radeon 4870, 512MB
Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster Audigy SE, 7.1, PCI, OEM
Power Supply: Corsair TX750 ATX PSU
OS: Windows Vista Premium 64-bit, DVD, OEM.
Cooling: Arctic Cooling Freezer Pro 7 (for LGA 775)

Edited by ignarukih, 11 September 2008 - 08:00 PM.

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