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Thread: New Guy...




  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    1

    Default New Guy...

    Hey All,

    I've been wanting to do it for years and now the time has come. I am going to be building my first high quality gaming rig. I have been looking around and have found a couple of things that I am looking for. They are listed below:

    - SLI is a must.
    - Water Cooled.
    - Want to be able to Overclock

    Those are pretty much the basics what i'm looking from someone is for them to be able to sit down (at their computer) and help me pick the right products.

    Price as of right now is some where around 2400-2700$.


    Let Me know what you guys think.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Minnesota, United States
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    4,543

    Default Re: New Guy...

    Assuming we're talking U.S., shop at Newegg where possible.

    I wouldn't recommend a dual-GPU solution of any kind, but if you want SLI, that's fine. As long as you understand that you're paying several hundred dollars for around 10% higher usable framerates (it will be closer to 40% in most actual numbers, but your eye can't tell and your monitor won't display them anyway). It's certainly a waste of money with top-of-the-line cards. A 7900GT is about the most I'd ever SLI. I won't even consider Crossfire due to some technical limitation that (IMO) make it pointless. I'd specifically recommend you get dual 7900GTs. If you change your mind and don't do SLI, I'd recommend an X1900XTX.

    Can't help you with watercooling, but if and when Darthtanion sees this post, he'll help you. He's the man to talk to when it comes to liquid cooling systems. The on piece of advice I'll provide is this: Don't watercool the GPUs. If you've got them SLId, it's more than enough already. Watercooling them will reduce the effectiveness of the watercooling system, and it probably won't affect graphical performance in the long run.

    Hard not to overclock at this point. You'll be covered here easily

    For starters, you're going to need a nice SLI motherboard. I'd recommend DFI if you want higher overclocks, but there are several good companies. You can either go with a nForce 4 SLI or nForce 4 SLI x16. The x16 will provide more PCI-E bandwidth, but unless you have plans of using a quad-GPU system in the near future, it's not particularly useful. If you have the money to burn, I guess you might as well get one. If you don't go SLI, just get an nForce 4 Ultra board. I suppose ATI's chipset is even worth considering. It doesn't make huge difference otherwise.

    For a processor, you'll want a socket 939 Opteron, preferably a 170. With your water, you'll probably hit 3GHz easily. You can find them at some online retailers, eBay, and hardware trading forums (I see them all the time on Anandtech). Make sure you don't skimp on the water block for this.

    For RAM, you'll want two 1GB sticks of low-latency PC3200 or something with a higher speed rating. I haven't been paying enough attention to RAM lately to tell you what's especially effective at overclocking (not that it will make a huge difference), but I'm sure someone can. At the very least, just get low-latency (e.g. CAS 2-3-3) or high speed (e.g. PC4000) as I said. If you are bothered by long loading times and follow my advice regarding monitors (towards the bottom), you might consider having three or even four GBs. It will drastically reduce overclockability and give as much as
    a 5% framerate hit (which likely won't matter anyway), but loading times in some of the more RAMtensive (I seriously just made that word up, and I feel kind of stupid having done so) games will see a big bonus.

    Get whatever hard drive and CD drives you want. Some fast hard drives (e.g. Western Digital Raptor) can help things, and putting them in a RAID 01, 10, or 0 array will boost speed as well (and the former two will increase reliability as well). If you don't want to deal with a lot of hard drives or RAID, just grab yourself a big (200-300GB) Serial ATA hard drive, preferably with 16MB cache and maybe even SATA 2 (AKA SATA 3.0 gb/s). RAID and/or faster drives will have a similar impact on loading times as more RAM will, however they will have no detectable affect on framerates.

    You're going to want a big, beefy power supply. I'd say 550W is the absolute minimum, and 600W is probably the sweet spot. SLI and overclocking combined have huge power requirements. Without checking, Fortron (AKA FSP Group) is probably the best bet as far as a good price/quality ratio goes. Other good brands include Sparkle and Seasonic (both = same manufacturer as Fortron), PC Power and Cooling (overpriced as hell, but you won't have problems), Enermax, OCZ, and Antec. Probably in that order, too (Antec recently had a whole line of PSUs well below its usual quality; otherwise it's right up there with the all of them).

    Since you're spending a ton and going with watercooling, spend a relatively high amount on a case. The most I've ever spent on case or ever would (not including SFF systems) is $50 shipped. With this system, you might consider spending close to $100 or even $150. You'll want something big, and something you like the looks of. Look around on Newegg. If it comes with a PSU, plan on tossing (selling, putting into something else, whatever) it. Even if it's like an Antec case or something, it won't have a poweful enough PSU. Most are around 400-450W, and the biggest I've ever seen was 500W. you really need something more powerful for this system.

    If you don't already have a display, you have a few options. I generally recommend CRTs, however the highest you can go (without damaging your eyes) on a CRT is 1600x1200, which is a waste of an SLI setup or a top-of-the-line card (at least with current games). A high-res, widescreen LCD or even an High Definition display would be the best choice here. Hell, you wouldn't be too foolish to spend 30-40% of your budget on the monitor alone. In fact, I'd almost insist you either do that, or decrease your budget considerably. You don't need more than even a single 7900GT to run everything at 1600x1200.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: New Guy...

    Sli is not a must, unless you plan to run on a very large moniter. And I'm talking 1600 by 1200 min. I rather go for a single card solution such as the x1900xt which can easily be overclocked past xtx speeds.

    For processor I also recommend the Opteron 170.
    I'd go for a dfi motherboard or the asus 32x sli board.
    For Hard drive you might want to go with raptors but if storage is what you want, Western Digital's Cavier's are nice as well.
    For power supplies I recommend companies such as enermax, ocz, pc and power cooling, and a few others just look around.
    For a case for water cooling, I'd look for a nice large one, possible a full tower like a thermaltake armour.
    For ram, I'd look for ddr500.


    But keep in mind, AMD is releasing new hardware next month called AM2, I'd suggest waiting. And even better, I suggest waiting for Intel's up comming Conroe, if you've seen the benchmarks, it totally destroy's AMD processors, and AMD's AM2 isn't going to get much of a performance boost since all it's doing is a few changes.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: New Guy...

    Here's my 2 cents. Skip the SLI board completely. The ASUS A8R32-MVP Deluxe is a killer board as well and if you get an ATI video card (Better video quality in my opinion too) you could go crossfire in the future. Even the X1800 XT I run can push my 21" CRT 1600X1200 with everything possible on max for settings. 2GB of system memory is a must and spend as much as you can on a quality set.

    I too agree that you cannot spend enough on a monitor. Something 24" + and widescreen is almost a must. I like my 21" CRT, but I would sell a leg for a 24" LCD widescreen. Wait, I need my legs for driving games, I'd sell one of my wife's legs. Anyhow, dual video cards are mostly for benchmark scores right now and you could spend that cash now on better hardware.

    Don't wait for AM2. Not worth the upgrade. Intel's Conroe on the other hand looks killer, but the prices will also be killer. If you want to upgrade now, S939 is the way to go. If you don't mind waiting 3-6 months, Intel Conroe is the only logical choice.
    GIgabyte GA-990FXA-UD3
    AMD FX8120 @ 4GHz
    Patriot 1866MHz EL series 2X4GB DDR3
    Powercolour HD 6970 2GB w/XFX 8800GT 512MB Hybrid PhysX
    Creative X-FI titanium HD w/Technics class A 300W amp and tower speakers
    PC P&C 500W PSU
    2TB Seagate
    Coolermaster 690II w/Corsair H100 tucked under the hood

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    cumbria, UK
    Posts
    367

    Default Re: New Guy...

    my 2 cents too: the dfi lanparty ultra-d should, in theory, be able to run both sli (with hacked drivers) and crossfire, right? its a nf4 board, but the ati drivers should work with it, right? its a reputable board.
    System Specs:
    AMD athlon 64 3200 venice @ 2.4ghz
    Asrock Dual-939SATA2
    Sapphire Radeon X800GTO2 chip r430 @ 480mhz core/540mhz mem with 1.6v vcore
    1gb Corsair XMS TwinX PC3200 timings 2-3-3-6 at 400mhz
    250gb Hitatchi deskstar T7K500 SATAII disk
    160gb samsung spinpoint PATA disk
    Asus 1608P2 DVD+/-RW Dual Layer
    Unbranded 500W PSU single 17A rail
    Innovatek and Asetek Watercooling (triple fan radiator)
    LOTS OF METAL

  6. #6

    Default Re: New Guy...

    I also agree, SLI sounds much better on paper than it does in real world gaming.

    MB- I have the Asus A8N32-SLI, it's a great board, great overclocker, but pricey! I got mine from Newegg, but have found it cheaper other places.

    CPU- Opteron 165 with Swiftech's STORM or APOGEE block(best around ATM). Any Opteron will get similar overclocking results..~3GHz.

    GPU- ATI's 1900XTX is the fastest out right now...I've had both ATI and NVidia cards, either are great cards but ATI's current lineup have been getting better overclocks than NVidias. I have my 7800GTX watercooled and volt modded at 600(460 stock). It will tie me over till G80 comes out.

    RAM- OCZ GX gold RAM is great for overclocking.

    HDD- I run a mix of WD Raptors(3 in RAID0, 1 for OS, 1 for swap file/IS0s) and Caviars(storage). There is a 150GB Raptor out, 16meg cache and supports NCQ. It's $$ but it is also the fastest out.

    Case- Lian Li's are great cases, Coolermaster makes some decent cases and are a little cheaper. Thermaltake makes some "crazy" looking cases...get an aluminum that looks good to you.

    Watercooling- If you're looking for an all inclusive kit.. go here http://www.swiftnets.com/
    and under "liquid cooling products" you find "H20-220 Apex Ultra + cooling kit" It has everything you need and comes with the CPU and GPU block.

    Having the entire system watercooled does not raise the temps much when compared to having just the CPU cooled. Adding the GPU to my system didn't add any heat to my CPU until I did the volt mod, now my CPU gets 1 to 2C warmer at full load(CPU and GPU) than when it was all alone in the WC loop. I have a very similar system to the one above except I have a 3x120 radiator instead of the 2x and my CPU block is a Danger Den TDX(old but still works).

    Let me know if you need links to some of my suggestions.

  7. #7
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    Nov 2003
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    Default Re: New Guy...

    Quote Originally Posted by casecutter
    The ASUS A8R32-MVP Deluxe is a killer board as well and if you get an ATI video card (Better video quality in my opinion too)
    The difference is usually negligible, however there is no question (not IMO... it's a fact) that (due to a driver release a little while ago) the ATI X1xxx series has the best image quality. I'd still recommend nVidia at certain price points, and I'd take SLI over Crossfire any day (but I'd take a single card over either any day).

  8. #8
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    Default Re: New Guy...

    Quote Originally Posted by Munkul
    my 2 cents too: the dfi lanparty ultra-d should, in theory, be able to run both sli (with hacked drivers) and crossfire, right? its a nf4 board, but the ati drivers should work with it, right? its a reputable board.
    No. It is the other way around. Crossfire boards with ULI Southbridge chipsets can sometimes enable SLI, but only with hacked drivers and it is still not worth it. Skip SLI/Crossfire completely unless you like to spend extra money for benchmarks.
    GIgabyte GA-990FXA-UD3
    AMD FX8120 @ 4GHz
    Patriot 1866MHz EL series 2X4GB DDR3
    Powercolour HD 6970 2GB w/XFX 8800GT 512MB Hybrid PhysX
    Creative X-FI titanium HD w/Technics class A 300W amp and tower speakers
    PC P&C 500W PSU
    2TB Seagate
    Coolermaster 690II w/Corsair H100 tucked under the hood

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: New Guy...

    Or unless you run high resolutions with high detail than it is necessary to have sli or crossfire. But bear in mind, sli is a better choice if you run dual cards. Crossfire is still reletively new and isn't as good of a solution. But if you run a single card only, the x1900xt NOT xtx is a nice card to get especially since there close to 400 dollars now. The xt can overclock easily to xtx so don't waste your money getting the xtx.

    Also although the opterons all generally get to 3.0ghz on avg of highest overclocks, the 170 I'd prefer over the 165 simply because the 165 has a 9x multi, while the 170 has a 10x multi. You'd need like a high FSB like 300 x 9x multi just to get 2.7ghz on a 165. And most likely your memory, motherboard, and cpu will limit you to that and you most likely won't get any higher of an overclock. With a 10x multi of the 170 you have at least a chance to hit 3.0ghz. Since most mobo's today can run at 270FSB, while only a few can hit 300FSB and up.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    cumbria, UK
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    Default Re: New Guy...

    Quote Originally Posted by casecutter
    No. It is the other way around. Crossfire boards with ULI Southbridge chipsets can sometimes enable SLI, but only with hacked drivers and it is still not worth it. Skip SLI/Crossfire completely unless you like to spend extra money for benchmarks.
    aha.
    System Specs:
    AMD athlon 64 3200 venice @ 2.4ghz
    Asrock Dual-939SATA2
    Sapphire Radeon X800GTO2 chip r430 @ 480mhz core/540mhz mem with 1.6v vcore
    1gb Corsair XMS TwinX PC3200 timings 2-3-3-6 at 400mhz
    250gb Hitatchi deskstar T7K500 SATAII disk
    160gb samsung spinpoint PATA disk
    Asus 1608P2 DVD+/-RW Dual Layer
    Unbranded 500W PSU single 17A rail
    Innovatek and Asetek Watercooling (triple fan radiator)
    LOTS OF METAL

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