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Old 03-30-2008, 05:05 AM   #11
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Default Re: Building your own system: Buyer's guide

High-end $1500 gaming/enthusiast PC:

With $1500 you can build a very nice PC that is capable of running demanding games at high resolutions and max detail. I will also include some part recommendations for video editing and encoding as well.

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819115046
This is Intel's new E8xxx range of CPUs. They are manufactured using the new 45nm process and therefore provide better performance, consume less power, and produce less heat than 65nm parts.
For video editing etc, I recommend a quad core, the Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz 2 x 4MB L2 Cache http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819115017 If you are a video editor, you will see big advantages from using a quad core, wheras games are better suited to higher clock speeds that are found in dual core CPUs.

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-EX38-DS4 LGA 775 Intel X38 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128089
Because of the chosen GPU, I have swapped SLI, for Crossfire support. This Gigabyte board also supports the new 1600MHz CPUs due in Q2 2008.

Memory: Patriot Extreme Performance 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820220269
4GB is great for a high end build at the moment and DDR3 just isn't justifiable enough right now. The performance difference between DDR2 and DDR3 is very small, the difference in price however, is huge. This Patriot kit boast CAS 4 latencies and two 2GB modules which leaves two DIMMs free for upgrades.

HDD: Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB 10,000 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 1.5Gb/s Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822136012
SAMSUNG SpinPoint T Series HD501LJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822152052
Finally! A big enough budget to be able to waste money on a Raptor! Nah, I'm just joking, Raptors I great and make loading screens that little bit less frustrating. Store your OS and games on the Raptor and all your media and files on the 500GB 7200RPM drive.

Case: Like I said before, this is really a personal preference. I'd like to make a few suggestions though:
-GIGABYTE 3D AURORA GZ-FSCA1-ANB Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811233002
Aluminium and a full tower, perfect for this build!
-Antec Performance One P180 Silver cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811129154
If you want silence, the the Antec P180 is the right choice.

Disk drive: Sony NEC Optiarc Black 20X DVD+R
No need to change anything here, SATA of course so nice, neat, thin cables.

PSU: XIGMATEK MC NRP-MC651 ATX12V Ver.2.2 / EPS12V Ver. 2.92 650W Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817815001
Xigmatek are relatively new on the block, but their PSUs are of good quality, and they better be as we don't want anything damaging all those shiney new expensive components!

GPU: SAPPHIRE 100221SR Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB (512MB x 2) 256-bit GDDR3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814102723
At $400, $200 less than the 9800GX2, the HD 3870X2 still has a market. More powerful than the 8800 ULTRA, and unstoppable when two are paired in CrossfireX, even versus two 9800GX2s in SLI. Effectively two HD 3870s in Crossfire on one PCB, this card is one of the best.

Price: (at time of writing)
CPU: $250
Motherboard: $207
Memory: $97
PSU: $110
HDDs: $170 + $105
Case: ~$100
Disk drive: $27
GPU: $400
TOTAL: $1477

Other options: if you don't mind waiting a few more seconds at loading screens, then you can ditch the Raptor and spend the money elsewhere, on 9800GX2 for exemple: Leadtek PX9800GX2 GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB 512-bit GDDR3 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814122050 This would bring about 20% on average gaming performance for $170 more than the HD 3870X2, and as we're abandoning the Raptor, everything evens itself out.




Section two: Builds for overclockers:



Low cost $500 overclocker's PC:



This build will be based around overclocking grade parts that provide brilliant performance for the money when overclocked:

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ Brisbane 2.6GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM2 65W Dual-Core Black Edition Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819103194
For $89, you can have what every overclocker dreams of, an unlocked multiplier. One simple change and you can have this CPU running at 3.0GHz to 3.2GHz. Of course, there are many more options that the more experienced overclocker can fiddle with to extract even more performance. At 3.2Ghz, this processor is roughly as fast as the Core 2 Duo E6750.

CPU cooler: OCZ Vendetta 92mm Ball CPU Cooler http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835202005
ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 64 Pro 92mm CPU Cooler http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835185125
Of course, to achieve a decent OC, you'll need an aftermarket cooler. But on a budget like this, a Zalman 9700 is out of the question. These are two brilliant price to performance coolers that will give you a lot more OC'ing room.

Motherboard: ECS A770M-A AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813135069
We don't have a whole lot of money to spend, but $65 can get you an AMD 770 chipset, PCI-E 2.0 support as well an AM2+ socket which will support the new Phenom CPUs.

Memory: mushkin 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) with EPP Profile Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820146673
Mushkin makes some of the best overclocking memory kits available. This kit which runs at 800MHz with CAS 4 latencies is capable of reaching speeds of up to 1100MHz. Read this article for more information: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/mem...0_7.html#sect0

PSU: Antec earthwatts EA500 ATX12V v2.0 500W Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817371007
With dual 12V rails and an Antec sticker on the side, this is the perfect low-cost PSU for a cheap overclocking system.

Case: COOLER MASTER Elite 330 RC-330-KKN1-GP Black SECC ATX Mid Tower
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811119115
I'm a big fan of this cheap and cheerful case. In fact, my system is sitting in one right now! The perforated front panel and dual 120mm fans provide good airflow to keep those overclocked parts nice and cool.

HDD: Western Digital Caviar SE WD1600AAJS 160GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822136075
As we don't have $150 to spend on a Raptor here, this 7200RPM Western Digital drive will do nicely.

Disk drive: Sony NEC Optiarc Black 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827118002
Boooring... let's get to the graphics card!!

GPU: ASUS EAH3650 TOP/HTDI/256M/A Radeon HD 3650 256MB 128-bit GDDR3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814121232
The HD 3650 is a 55nm part which means that it's very overclockable. Complete with an improved cooler, you should be able to squeeze lots more performance out of this card than what the stock speeds allow for.

Price: (at time of writing)
CPU: $89
CPU cooler: ~$30
Motherboard: $65
PSU: $60
HDD: $48
Case: $40
Disk drive: $27
Memory: $50
Graphics card: $90
TOTAL: $494 before rebates.
Price after rebates: $439

Options:

EVGA 384-P3-N851-AR GeForce 8800GS 384MB 192-bit GDDR3 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814130332
If you feel that you can go a bit above your $500 budget, then the G92 based 8800GS will bring a decent performance boost for it's $50 price increase over the HD 3650.

MSI K9A2 CF-F AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813130138
Pay $25 more for a 790X and you can have Crossfire support. A nice bonus if you would like to add another ATI card later.

And to seperate this build from the next $1000 one, you can boost your gaming performance a fair bit with an MSI NX8800GTS 512M OC GeForce 8800GTS (G92) 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814127325
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Old 03-31-2008, 09:03 PM   #12
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Default Re: Building your own system: Buyer's guide

lemme know when you are ready for the builds to be taken from this.
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Old 04-01-2008, 01:10 PM   #13
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Default Re: Building your own system: Buyer's guide

$1000 overclocker's build:

Spending this much on a new PC with overclocking grade parts can bring big performance increases when you OC. Enough to keep up with much more expensive rigs.

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819115046
The E8400 is a fantastic overclocker. Many people have been reporting 4.3GHz+ on air cooling! And as we will we adding an aftermarket cooler, $50 is saved by buying the OEM version.

CPU cooler: Tuniq Tower 120 P4 & K8 CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835154001
Definitley give the Thermalright ULTRA 120 Extreme a run for it's money, and costs quite a bit less as well. One of the best air coolers available and won't limit the E8400's huge overclocking potential. I'm hoping to get one myself.

Motherboard: MSI P35 Neo2-FR LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813130098
The P35 is an excellent chipset which allows for high FSB speeds that are required when overclocking. This board from MSI has excellent heatpipe cooling which is important when using higher voltages.

Memory: mushkin 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820146731
A higher budget allows us to double the amount of memory and this can bring a nice performance increase especially in Vista.

PSU: OCZ StealthXStream OCZ600SXS ATX12V / EPS12V 600W Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817341010
As I said earlier. This PSU has plently of power to run an overclocked system and is made by a quality manufacturer. 80%+ efficiency too and compliance with ATX 2.2 standards. Nice and quiet hence the "Stealth" title.

HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822148288
The hard disk is actually the biggest bottleneck when performing general desktop tasks. The 32MB cache on this 500GB drive should eradicate this.

Case: GIGABYTE 3D AURORA GZ-FSCA1-ANB Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811233002
This is just a suggestion from me, it's up to the buyer's personal preference. The 3D Aurora is a great case for just over $100. It's aluminium, huge and has great cooling capabilities.

Disk drive: Sony NEC Optiarc Black 20X DVD+R
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827118002
It's just a solid reliable DVD drive. Does the job... quietly.

GPU: ZOTAC ZT-88TES3P-FSP GeForce 8800GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814500007
The 8800GT is a great card for the money, and this is a great price for one from a good brand (Zotac is better known as Sapphire). The G92 has plenty of OC'ing potentail as well.
MSI NX8800GTS 512M OC GeForce 8800GTS (G92) 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814127325
Spend a little bit more and you can have a cooler, quieter, and slightly better performing card.

PRICE:
CPU: $200
Motherboard: $120
Memory: $108
PSU: $90
CPU cooler: $50
HDD: $110
Disk drive: $27
Case: ~$100
GPU: $220
TOTAL: $1035 before rebates, $955 after rebates.

Options:
If you'd like to spend a bit more, or just do things a little differently, then you could go for some Patriot RAM:
Patriot Viper 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820220293 It overclocks nicely and is a decent alternative to Mushkin.

SAPPHIRE 100221SR Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB (512MB x 2) 256-bit GDDR3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814102723
And to seperate this build from the more expensive one I will be doing later, I have chosen the HD 3870 X2. It outperforms a single G92 card by a fair amount in games that Crossfire scales well in. So if you've got some extra money left over, this isn't a bad buy.

$1500 overclocker's build:

The perfect budget IMO, I'd loved to have had this much to spend on mine.

CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz 2 x 4MB L2 Cache LGA 775 Quad-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819115018
OK, for this $1500 build, I think I will finally recommend a quad. Prices of the Q6600 are only going to go down and the performance of these increases dramatically when they are running at 3.6GHz. Of course, you'll need a decent mobo and cooler to go that high.

CPU cooler: Tuniq Tower 120 P4 & K8 CPU Cooler#
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835154001
Who is going to pay $65 on an ULTRA 120 Extreme plus $20 for a decent fan when you can get equivalent performance for $50 and a good quality 9 blade fan is uncluded. One of the best air coolers available and will get the Q6600 to 3.6 no probs.

Motherboard: ABIT IP35 Pro LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813127030
I debated between a P35 or an X38 for this build and ended up choosing the Abit IP35 PRO and spending the extra money on a xxxxxxx. This board is great for overclocking and is a match for the X38 at anything. PCI-E 2.0 isn't required at the moment and by the time it is, Nehalem will have been released, then replaced and 9800GX2s will be going for $20 on eBay.

Memory: mushkin 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820146731
There is no need for 1066MHz RAM in this build, the performance difference is negligible, and this memory from Mushkin can run at 1066MHz with CAS 5 timings anyway. The Q6600 also only requires a 400 FSB to do 3.6GHz. 400 with a memory divider of 1:1, with dual data rate (DDR)=800MHz.

PSU: Seasonic S12 Energy Plus SS-650HT ATX12V / EPS12V 650W Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817151028
A Q6600 at 3.6GHz is a big strain on the PSU, couple that with a high end GPU, and that's a big power draw. So, I decided to recommend something a bit more "heavy duty" than the OCZ, this Seasonic should do the trick. They make some excellent highly reliable and stable PSUs.

HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822148288
Who needs Raptors? An overclocking build is all about raw performance, and all Raptors do is shave a couple of seconds off loading times. I will put one in the options later though.

Disk drive: Sony NEC Optiarc Black 20X DVD+R
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16827118002
It's reliable... and it's not beige.

Case: GIGABYTE 3D AURORA GZ-FSCA1-ANB Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811233002
This is just a suggestion as the choice of case is based on personal preference. But I'm sure that nobody will be disspointed with this case.

GPU: MSI N9800GX2-M2D1G GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB (512MB per GPU) 512-bit (256-bit per GPU) GDDR3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814127337
Wow, we can fit one of these into the build if we drop the X38. This is the best performing single card on the market. It's really two G92 8800GTSs stuck together. It even has two PCBs and an SLI bridge. This is a very good price for one and I recommend it for this build if you are a gamer and play at high resolutions.

PRICE:
CPU: $235
CPU cooler: $50
Motherboard: $170
Memory: $108
HDD: $110
Disk drive: $27
PSU: $134
Case: ~$110
GPU: $560
TOTAL: $1504 without rebates.
Total with rebates: $1474

Options:
If you don't play loads of games, but you do quite a bit of encoding etc, then a Raptor would be beneficial:
Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB 10,000 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 1.5Gb/s Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822136012
And if you still want to stick within the $1500 budget, and want a Raptor, then you can accomodate one by choosing AMD's multi-GPU card:
SAPPHIRE 100221SR Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB (512MB x 2) 256-bit GDDR3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814102723
It will still perform better than the 8800 ULTRA in most benchmarks and can match the 9800GX2 in a select few. Even surpass it in 3DMark.
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Old 04-01-2008, 04:13 PM   #14
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Default Re: Building your own system: Buyer's guide

Alright, I've copied the posts into a new thread. I'm keeping that one closed so All your builds are on top. Once we get the builds in, I"ll open it. Keep posting your builds here and I'll work on putting them in the sticky.
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