Any recommendations on my new PC?


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Hey everyone, new here to this forum so hello all.

I'm looking to buy a whole new PC in the next week or so to replace my old one which has sadly died. Having spent many many hours putting each component together into a list, I'm still having doubts and would very much appreciate having a third party (or two) give any advice. So without further delay, here are my choices:

Case: Antec P180
Motherboard: ASUS Socket 775 Intel P35
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad 6600
Graphics Card: Zotac Geforce 8800GT
Memory: Crucial DDR2 2Gb 800Mhz RAM
HDD: Western Digital Caviar 320Gb 16Mb buffer
CPU cooler: QuietPC Scythe Ninja-Plus heatpipe
OS: Windows XP Home Edition

I'm probably forgetting something, but heres the rest of the detail. I'm pretty big into gaming, and have a budget of between £1200-£1500. My current concerns are this:

1. the recently released 8800GT uses PCIe 2.0, thus I'd need a mobo that supports it, such as an x38, correct?

2. if that is the case, do I get the mobo that supports only DDR2, or spend that extra money on one that supports only DDR3 and get 2Gb of that instead.

3. I understand a new range of quad core processors will be released early next year, so would it be much of an improvement to wait for those?


I'd really appreciate any helpful input, its been years since I put a new PC together.

Many thanks,

Chriss
 
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Hi there welcome to the forum
happywave.gif


I'll answer what I can - just out of interest what is your motherboard model?


1. PCI-E 2 is completely backwards compatible. Think of it as AGP 4x to 8x - there is a theoretical bottleneck which probably won't make any differencei nthe real world.

2. DDR3 has no real-world advantage over DDR2. You can wait for those boards to arrive for sure, but you won't see any difference in normal use.
 

Adywebb

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To backup what PotGuy has said:

1. No, the card will support PCI-E 2.0 and below, so you are fine with the Asus P35, and they support the next generation 45nm CPU's (see 3)

2. DDR3 memory is hugely expensive at the moment, and it isn't going to give you that greater performance increase - so I would stick with DDR2 and get 4GB.

3. The new Penryn 45nm, and yes there will be an improvement in performance and power usage, but they will also be very expensive at first so I would stick with the Q6600, you can always upgrade a year or so later when they come down in price.

Make sure you budget for a quality PSU such as a Corsair HX620 too ;)


I have 2 Q6600 machines with Asus P5k-Deluxe boards overclocked from 2.4GHz to 3.4GHz and they run sweet as a nut with maximum temps of 45C running 100% 24/7 :thumb:
 
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Ahh yes the PSU, how could I forget. Thanks for the suggestion, I've heard good things about that model.

So I shouldn't suffer much loss in performance running a PCI-e 2.0 card in a PCI-e mobo?

I'm quite amazed at how much you have those PC's overclocked. May I ask how they are cooled?

I'll abandon DDR3 as you guys suggest, which also means I can get a mobo dedicated to DDR2. Having done a little reading I'm favouring an ASUS motherboard at the moment, apparently they're useful for overclocking.

I really appreciate the quick responses, I'm already some way to having my mind set at ease.
 

Adywebb

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Mine are cooled with Thermalright Ultra-120 Extremes together with YS-Tech FD1238 120mm fans.

PCI-e 2.0 gives a higher bandwidth per lane, but it isn't a limiting factor on GPU performance, so you will see little difference with your frame rate.

I rate the Asus P5k Deluxe very highly indeed - the additional cooling on the mosfets is excellent for higher overclocks :thumb:
 

floppybootstomp

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Just a thought. If using XP Home Edition 32 Bit, not much point in getting 4Gb of memory - correct?
 
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Adywebb

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True, in as much as it won't 'see' the full 4GB - but you do get to use more than 2GB in dual-channel mode and DDR2 is dirt cheap at the moment.

Another motherboard option for you MrChriss - how about the new Asus Maximus Formula, it will give you the X38 chipset, PCI-e 2.0 and also DDR2 - so ticks all the boxes. The only drawback is going to be price - around £185.
 
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Adywebb, you suggest getting 4Gb then? I don't quite understand the concept of dual channel mode, but if I can afford to get 4Gb and it will boost my performance, I might as well.

If the performance difference running PCI-e 2.0 in a PCI-e mobo is negligible, I'll stick with a cheaper ASUS motherboard I think. Can't wait to order this now!
 

muckshifter

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Fyi

Memory does not boost performance per-say, but merely gives the OS & hardware that can use it more room in which to do so.


The dual-channel configuration alleviates the problem by doubling the amount of available memory bandwidth. Instead of a single memory channel, a second parallel channel is added. With two channels working simultaneously, the bottleneck is reduced. Rather than wait for memory technology to improve, dual-channel architecture simply takes the existing RAM technology and improves the method in which it is handled.

Having more total RAM available is generally more beneficial than maintaining dual-channel configuration.

:user:
 

floppybootstomp

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MrChriss said:
But the 32 bit version of Windows XP doesn't support 4Gb of memory does it?

Correct, it doesn't.

Win XP 32 bit will only see and use 3Gb at most, I found this out the hard way ;)

In my opinion any more than 2Gb RAM with that OS is a waste of money.

I think any extra cash would be better spent on a 500Gb hard disk as opposed to the 320Gb disk listed above.

I can also recommend the Noctua NH-U12F CPU cooler. I have one and it's very very good, especially when used with Arctic Silver thermal compound.
 
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Abarbarian

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Isn't it worth waitng to seewhat the new graphics cards are like . I read somewhere that cards are due to be released to outperform the 8800's .

512 MB



The GeForce 8800 GT is a very fast video card, and even faster in SLI. The 512 MB memory capacity could be a bottleneck for this video card in SLI. It will have a lot of performance to push pixels and textures at high resolutions with AA but it may not have the memory capacity to handle it. We’ve seen that at 2560x1600 the GT in SLI still chokes with 2X AA in UT3, but went on to match the single GTX and Ultra in performance. However, when we took the GT SLI down to 1920x1200 in UT3, where it wasn’t being memory bottlenecked, the framerates in SLI skyrocketed past the single GeForce 8800 Ultra.



If the future of DX10 games benefits from a greater memory capacity, as has been the trend we have seen, this video card could run into bottlenecks with SLI. It is something we will have to keep testing on new games. Once Crysis is out with SLI support it will be interesting to see how it performs.





PCI-Express 2.0



The GeForce 8800 GT is the first PCI-Express 2.0 (PCIe Gen2) capable video card. PCI-Express 2.0 allows higher bandwidth over the current PCI specification. This video card is backwards compatible and works on current motherboards; we had no problems on our EVGA 680i. PCI-Express 2.0 is more of a forward looking design, and right now there aren’t any real-world benefits to using it, it won’t improve your gaming experience.



Down the line, as games become more demanding and more is required of video cards, and especially in an SLI configuration, PCIe 2.0 may show signs of providing benefits. It is something we aren’t worried about as far as performance goes for right now, but it is a feature we will keep an eye on. If you are building a new system though today, it really is a no brainer to go ahead and get a motherboard with PCIe 2.0 support.





Performance per Watt and Performance Value



The GeForce 8800 GT is defining solid performance per watt and performance value in the video card realm. Here we have a video card that is $100 less than the GeForce 8800 GTS 640 MB but it performs faster with less wattage. It is perched performance-wise between the GeForce 8800 GTS and GeForce 8800 GTX. The GeForce 8800 GTX is still faster with its greater number of stream processors and a much higher memory bandwidth.



The GeForce 8800 GT however has some interesting specifications, and you cannot deny the fact it beats the 8800 GTS in these newest games. It would seem that the GT is poised to cannibalize the GTS product line. There is really no point in purchasing a GeForce 8800 GTS since the GeForce 8800 GT is less expensive and supplies a better gaming experience. NVIDIA has stated that you will be able to buy GeForce 8800 GTS based video cards through the holiday season and has called today’s debut a hard-launch so we should be looking for etail GT cards immediately.





The Bottom Line



The GeForce 8800 GT impressed us greatly; it provides a better gameplay experience than the GeForce 8800 GTS for less money. That is a good deal in our book. Given the huge 90nm die size that NVIDIA has been stuck with for the last year, I am sure it is a welcomed product for it as well. Nothing about the core architecture has changed, but NVIDIA was still able to take the GeForce 8 series and manipulate it in a way that it could execute performance between the GTS and GTX in a lower power envelope, and most importantly less money from your pocket. And don’t fool yourself either; NVIDIA is not just being Mr. Nice Guy. It is preparing for a real threat from AMD’s RV670 GPU that is soon to be launched on an even smaller process.



Right now though, the GeForce 8800 GT offers you the best value on the planet when it comes to 3D gaming cards. You won’t be disappointed in its performance, and you won’t be disappointed in the cost. This was a reference-clocked video card; imagine how much faster factory overclocked video cards might perform? We will surely see double width coolers on faster clocked cards. With prices for the 8800 GT in the sub-$300 range you just simply cannot go wrong with the GeForce 8800 GT. The GT is a solid choice in video card value.



UPDATE - 10/29/07-8:29am: A very interesting addendum to this. I just got off the phone with BFG Tech and NVIDIA has been doing some strange things lately. As of this morning, the GeForce 8800 GTS 640MB (unsure on the 320MB) will have its stream processors officially increased to 112, the same as the GT. This should put the GTS back ahead of the GT as per the paper specs. However, the separation in the products is still going to be very small except for those of you wanting to run high resolutions with AA turned on. To do that you are still going to need a $400+ video card..or so. Our new spec GTS is on the way to us now and we will of course be updating you. Given the GT's faster clocks and possibly larger texture unit, we will have to wait and see. Undoubtedly though, the 8800 GT remains a stellar value at the expected price points.





Digg

The "update" is what I'm on about .

user.gif
 
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An interesting article. I was originally going to go for an 8800GTX, but having seen a few benchmark tests of the GT, for around £100 cheaper it just seemed logical to go with that. Plus I'd feel less guilty about upgrading it in a years time.
 
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I have now decided upon a fairly different setup, any suggestions would be greatly welcomed.

CPU: Core 2 Quad Q6600 (g0 stepping)

Motherboard: Asustek S775 Intel P35 PCI-E ATX

RAM: Crucial 2x1GB 240-Pin DIMM PC2-6400 Unbuffered Non-ECC CL4

Case: Antec P180 Black SPCR Advanced Super Mid Tower - No PSU

PSU: Corsair HX Series 620W Modular PSU - ATX12V v2.2 APFC

Graphics Card: XFX GeForce 8800GT 512MB DDR3 PCIE Dual DVI Alpha Dog XXX Edition

OS HDD: Western Digital Raptor 74GB S150 16MB 10000RPM

HDD: Western Digital Caviar 500GB S300 16mb 7200rpm

CPU Cooling: Zalman CNPS7700-CU Super Flower Socket 478, 754, 940, 775 & 939 CPU Cooler

External HDD: Western Digital 500GB

OS: Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition SP2b OEM

Monitor: Samsung SM226BW 22" Widescreen TFT Monitor 1680x1050 3000:1 300cd/m2 2ms VGA/DVI



Any suggestions welcome.

Many thanks,

Chriss
 

floppybootstomp

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All looking very good :thumb:

Just one thing: the Noctua Cooler I linked to above will far outperform the Zalman you've listed and be just as quiet, if not quieter.

However, for the money, the Zalman 7700 is a good cooler.
 

Adywebb

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I like it alot too :nod:


Like Flops has said, the Zalman is a good HS, but probably won't give you as high clocks as the Noctua or the Thermalright Ultra 120.
 
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I only deviated from the suggested CPU cooling suggestions simply because they don't sell the Noctua on either dabs or ebuyer, where I'm buying everything else from. Having said that I'm gonna get it from Overclockers seperately.

Edit: Its available on Dabs, HUZZAH!
 
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The Noctua it is I think. You guys have been extremely helpful and I really appreciate it. No doubt in a few days I'll have changed my mind on something. What a stressful experience this has been!
 
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