taking the plunge

Zeno50

Junior Member
Dec 23, 2007
12
0
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I'm building a new rig to replace my current two year old machine. This will be my first Intel based system - all my previous builds found AMD to have the better bang/buck ratio, but that's not the case this time around by a long shot.

Use of this machine: Crysis, UT3, COD4
Budget: Under $2000
Country: USA
Brand preference: none
Overclocking: Yes, I want to overclock as much as possible.

Anyway, I've done some research and want to see what you guys think about this list.

  • * ASUS Striker Extreme LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX

    * Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 Conroe 3.0GHz

    * Kingston HyperX 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800

    * ASUS EN8800GT TOP/G/HTDP/512M GeForce 8800GT 512MB

    * Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD7500AAKS 750GB (in addition to this I'm going to use two 74 gig Raptors from my current system)

    * SAMSUNG 20X DVD±R DVD Burner

    * ZALMAN CNPS9700 LED 110mm 2 Ball CPU Cooler

    * COOLER MASTER COSMOS 1000 Case

    * PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 Quad (Crossfire Edition) EPS12V 750W Power Supply


I am concerned with a few things:

1. Should I get XP Pro 64 edition to run 4 gigs of RAM?

2. Is DDR2 800 fast enough? I want to overclock the E6850 Conroe and want to make sure the RAM isn't limiting me. Will I be able to set this RAM to 4-4-4 timings?

3. Are there any RAM compatibility issues with this motherboard?

4. Should I get a new n780i chipset motherboard. It looks like only EVGA has one out...would it be worth it to wait for the other vendors to release their versions of this chipset?

5. Is the 110mm Zalman any better than the 90mm one? Is this the best heatsink?

6. My current machine has an "XFi XtremeMusic".....should I get a new soundcard?


And my final question which kind of trumps all of these is: should I just wait for Penryn?
 

GuitarDaddy

Lifer
Nov 9, 2004
11,465
1
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1. Yes to fully utilize 4gb you need a 64bit OS
2. Yes, for the 1066fsb chips like the 6850 ddr2-800 will not hinder overclocking
3. Don't know
4. If you must have an SLI chipset the diff between 680I and 780I is the 780 supports the new 45nm CPU's, otherwize P35 or X38 chipset boards are generally a better choice.
5. Not sure about the difference, Zalmans are great low profile HSF's but they are not the best air coolers, Thermalrights, sythes, Tungiq are all better coolers
6. No you don't need another sound card
 

j0j081

Banned
Aug 26, 2007
1,090
0
0
I say you should spend less on things like the cpu (ie get the e6750 instead and oc it) then upgrade to Penryn if you even need to next year.
 

Blain

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
23,643
3
81
Wait for Penryn, you won't be sorry. ;)
No SLI MBs unless you're going to run two nVidia cards right now.
 

DSF

Diamond Member
Oct 6, 2007
4,902
0
71
Originally posted by: GuitarDaddy
1. Yes to fully utilize 4gb you need a 64bit OS
2. Yes, for the 1066fsb chips like the 6850 ddr2-800 will not hinder overclocking
3. Don't know
4. If you must have an SLI chipset the diff between 680I and 780I is the 780 supports the new 45nm CPU's, otherwize P35 or X38 chipset boards are generally a better choice.
5. Not sure about the difference, Zalmans are great low profile HSF's but they are not the best air coolers, Thermalrights, sythes, Tungiq are all better coolers
6. No you don't need another sound card

The 6850 is 1333 FSB, not 1066.
 

Denithor

Diamond Member
Apr 11, 2004
6,300
23
81
You are much better off with Vista 64 than XP 64 (crappy to no driver support in XP versus very good for newer equipment in Vista) to utilize 4GB memory.

DDR2-800 is the recommended speed for RAM, good quality memory will clock considerably past that speed if needed for overclocking your cpu.

e6750 is a much better value than e6850 and they will both overclock to about the same point.

Do not go SLI/Crossfire with a single card today and the intent to buy another in the future. At that future time a single card will offer better performance than your two cards in dual mode (example: two 7900GT cards are nowhere close to the performance of a single 8800GT). Plus there are many problems with the scaling of multi-GPU setups (sometimes you get 20% advantage, sometimes 50%, but sometimes you also lose performance to a single card of the same type, it's a crapshoot).
 

secretanchitman

Diamond Member
Apr 11, 2001
9,352
21
91
forget the e6850 and get either the e6750 or even a G0 q6600.

go with vista x64 and dont look back if you want a 64 bit os.

do you need to sli? if not, go with an intel mobo...its very stable and great.
 

DSF

Diamond Member
Oct 6, 2007
4,902
0
71
Can you be more specific about your overclocking goals? An E2xxx or E4xxx chip would overclock very well, probably beyond 3GHz if you want to push things. The E6xxx series are probably going to top out around 3.6GHz anyway due to lower multipliers. You might be able to save yourself a lot of money and get a chip with nearly the same performance. Also, as secretanchitman said, you could get a Q6600 and overclock that to 3+GHz. I don't know whether the extra two cores would be useful to you or not.

Since you're looking at overclocking, I'd go with a P35 chipset instead of NForce. Put the money you save in the bank, and you'll have enough to buy a brand new video card when it comes time to upgrade.

I'm running 4 GB of RAM in Windows XP 32 right now, but at the same time I plan to move to Vista eventually. (Getting a free copy through that Microsoft survey program.)

Don't know about the relative performance of the 110mm and 90mm heatsinks. Around here the Thermalright Ultra-120 extreme and the Tuniq Tower are usually considered the two best. I'm using a ZeroTherm BTF90 in my rig, and I have to say it does a very good job. Nice and quiet.
 

Zeno50

Junior Member
Dec 23, 2007
12
0
0
Thanks for the responses! I have a few more questions though now...

1. Ok, I will begrudgingly go with Vista. I thought maybe I would avoid it a bit longer but this would be a good time to make the switch with a new computer and all.

2. I've narrowed it down to E6750 and the Q6600. What would be the advantage of the quad core here? I would overclock in both cases. As far as my OCing goals I would just want to go as far as possible with air cooling without hitting a dangerous vcore setting.

3. Ok, it's between P35 and X38 since I don't think I will SLI. I'm not really interested in DDR3 from what I've read (high price, not any faster), but should I get a DDR2 X38 board because they're newer. Which vendor has the best offering here?

4. Lots have recommended the Tuniq tower so I think I'll go with that - the thermalright doesn't come with a fan?

Thanks again.

 

Zeno50

Junior Member
Dec 23, 2007
12
0
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Originally posted by: Blain
Originally posted by: Blain
Wait for Penryn, you won't be sorry. ;)

Well could that include building to be Penryn compatible or you think it would really be worth it to not build at all until Penryn?
 

j0j081

Banned
Aug 26, 2007
1,090
0
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Originally posted by: Denithor
You are much better off with Vista 64 than XP 64 (crappy to no driver support in XP versus very good for newer equipment in Vista) to utilize 4GB memory.
I disagree with you about that. XP x64 Edition used to have really poor driver support but I use it for gaming quite a bit now and it works great on my fairly old hardware. Maybe if you have a wide range of addons by smaller companies for example a tv tuner card the drivers wouldn't be very good but for the most part I think they are leaps and bounds beyond what they were shortly after it was released.
 

Zeno50

Junior Member
Dec 23, 2007
12
0
0
Ok, so what does everyone think is the best board (chipset and vendor) to go with to be Penryn compatible? Do I need to go DDR3?

j0j081: I think the only drivers I need are chipset, x-fi soundcard, and nvidia. You've had a good experience with xp64? I know many are saying to go with vista but from what I've been reading it's still kind of a mess.