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New System - several hard choices: CPU, Video Card, and RAM

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone. I've been without a computer for a while now and I want to build myself a gaming rig. All of the amounts are in Canadian dollars so they will be slightly inflated. My budget is about $1200, maybe a couple hundred more than that if I can manage it and I feel it's warranted. Also, this has to cover everything, so between $400-$500 dollars have been taken up by the LCD monitor, mouse & keyboard, headphones, and sound card. Anyway, the main three choices I'm struggling with are my CPU, Video Card, and RAM.

I've decided to build this system on the ASUS M2N-SLI nForce590i Deluxe.

CPU:

I want to get an X2, so I've narrowed it down to three options here:
$72 - the 3600 brisbane, with the intention to overclock it to near 3GHz;
$151 - the 5200, the cheapest one with a 1MB L2 cache, overclocking it as much as I can;
$197 - or the 6000, the big daddy of the X2 series, which I might overclock


VIDEO CARD:

This will be my first time buying an nVidia card. I originally wanted to buy an 8600GT SLI setup, but realized this would be obsolete soon and wasn't exactly cost-effective. So now I'm trying to decide between:
$359 - 8800GTS 320MB or
$452 - 8800GTS 640MB,
the latter definitely as far as I'm willing to go. My intent is to buy another one when the price goes down to keep my system competitive in the future. Information on overclocking these would also be appreciated.


RAM:

I'm pretty sure I'm going to get 2GBs of 800MHz RAM, but beyond that I don't know what would be good. Also, I've heard of synchronizing your RAM with your CPU, but I don't know how it works or how important it is.



Finally, this is the first time I would be overclocking, so any advice on that is welcome.
My System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Athlon Phenom II X4 965 ASUS M2N32 SLI-Deluxe Wireless Edition 2x EVGA GTX 260 Core 216 Patriot 2x1024MB DDR2 & 2x2048MB 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
WD 320GB, 2xWD 500GB, WD 1000GB 7200RPM SATA II ASUS 18X DVD-RW Lightscribe Windows 7 x64 Ultimate IZ3D 22" 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Bytecc Slim Multimedia Pro Seasonic X660 660W Antec P180 Sandio 3DO2 
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My System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Athlon Phenom II X4 965 ASUS M2N32 SLI-Deluxe Wireless Edition 2x EVGA GTX 260 Core 216 Patriot 2x1024MB DDR2 & 2x2048MB 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
WD 320GB, 2xWD 500GB, WD 1000GB 7200RPM SATA II ASUS 18X DVD-RW Lightscribe Windows 7 x64 Ultimate IZ3D 22" 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Bytecc Slim Multimedia Pro Seasonic X660 660W Antec P180 Sandio 3DO2 
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post #2 of 11
pick the 3600 or the 3800 i am in the process of building my computer and dont have alotta budget but have gotten into the reviews, the 3600/3800 is the best choice.

with the video card you can get a eVGA video card maybe a 7 series 7900gs KO and use the step-up and get a 8800gts in the future when it is more effective

and RAM, i gotta give you the choice I went with

http://www.newegg.com/product/produc...82E16820231098
My Rig
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core 2 Duo E6420 2x2MB 3.43 GHz @ 1.34v Asus P5N-E nForce 650i SLI eVGA 8800 GTS 320MB Superclocked/OCed@685/1700/930 2x 1GB SuperTalent (Lat:4) 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
250Gig 16mb/7200RPM Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate 19Inch CRT Monitor Basic 
PowerCaseMouse
Rosewill Turbo Series 550w SLI-Certified Logisys Area 51 Black Mid Tower Logisys Wireless Optical Mouse 
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My Rig
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core 2 Duo E6420 2x2MB 3.43 GHz @ 1.34v Asus P5N-E nForce 650i SLI eVGA 8800 GTS 320MB Superclocked/OCed@685/1700/930 2x 1GB SuperTalent (Lat:4) 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
250Gig 16mb/7200RPM Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate 19Inch CRT Monitor Basic 
PowerCaseMouse
Rosewill Turbo Series 550w SLI-Certified Logisys Area 51 Black Mid Tower Logisys Wireless Optical Mouse 
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post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
I want to get a DX10 ready card. I've pretty much resigned myself to shelling out $450 for the 8800GTS 640MB in order to future proof myself.

Another problem is cooling, I assume if I intend to overclock the 5200 or the 6000 I will need a better fan, but would the 3600 overclock well on stock cooling?
My System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Athlon Phenom II X4 965 ASUS M2N32 SLI-Deluxe Wireless Edition 2x EVGA GTX 260 Core 216 Patriot 2x1024MB DDR2 & 2x2048MB 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
WD 320GB, 2xWD 500GB, WD 1000GB 7200RPM SATA II ASUS 18X DVD-RW Lightscribe Windows 7 x64 Ultimate IZ3D 22" 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Bytecc Slim Multimedia Pro Seasonic X660 660W Antec P180 Sandio 3DO2 
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Reply
My System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Athlon Phenom II X4 965 ASUS M2N32 SLI-Deluxe Wireless Edition 2x EVGA GTX 260 Core 216 Patriot 2x1024MB DDR2 & 2x2048MB 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
WD 320GB, 2xWD 500GB, WD 1000GB 7200RPM SATA II ASUS 18X DVD-RW Lightscribe Windows 7 x64 Ultimate IZ3D 22" 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Bytecc Slim Multimedia Pro Seasonic X660 660W Antec P180 Sandio 3DO2 
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Reply
post #4 of 11
Let me first say that Intel will be dropping their prices in less than 2 weeks and I recommend waiting until then and going with a C2D rig.

But... if you're going AMD, everyone here will tell you go with the 3600+ Brisbane. It can be overclocked to around 3.0 GHz and its dirt cheap. There's way less headroom to overclock with the 6000+ and you'll be dishing out way more money.

To cool the CPU (only if you plan to overclock), I'd recommend the Tuniq Tower http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835154001 as it's probably the best, or the Zalman 9700 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835118019. With that board you chose, these coolers will also blow air over the fins cooling the northbridge. I have the Zalman with an almost identical board, and it lowered my motherboard temps 8-9 degrees Celsius in addition to cooling the CPU considerably. And also, pay the $5 for some Artic Silver 5 thermal grease.

If you're sure you want the 8xxx series now, go with the 8800GTS 640MB. It's the most bang for your buck in the 8800 line. As for SLI, I wouldn't plan on buying another one down the road. To run SLI you need the exact same card, and over time newegg will drop many of the brands/versions of the 8800, making it near impossible to buy the same card 6+ months down the road. I personally don't think SLI is worth the money anyway, you can usually get more performance by spending the same amount of money on a better card than you can get from putting two slower cards (each at half the price of the better card) in SLI, usually. Not to mention the heat from two 8800's...

Nas found you the perfect RAM, get that Corsair's equivalent (what I have) originally came with Micron D9 ICs but now have ProMOS ICs which won't overclock well, so I have to recommend against my beloved Corsair for now.

That motherboard has pretty good onboard sound, don't buy a sound card until you've taken it for a spin (my M2N32 audio popped for a few days then was fine, break it in a little before deciding).

Don't skimp on the PSU. Get a reputable model (look at user reviews on newegg). There's way too many good ones to list them all, just let us know if you're having trouble.

Cases are usually personal preference, just make sure it has good airflow, preferably an intake fan in the front and at least one outtake fan in the back. Here's two good ones for relatively cheap, but I'm sure you can find plenty more http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811147033 and http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811147038

As for sunchronizing your RAM with your CPU, I'm not 100% sure what you're getting at. The memory controller is on the X2 chips if that's what you mean. Other than that, avoid X2's with odd multipliers (like my 4200+ lol) as they will underclock your memory. This is because the FSB : DRAM is always a whole number divider. So what happens when you multiply 200 MHZ FSB by an odd number then divide by a whole number? You don't get a multiple of 200 MHZ so it underclocks the RAM. Here's an example with my system: 200 MHZ x11 = 2200 MHz, the stock speed of my 4200+. My FSB : DRAM is CPU/6, so 2200/6 = 367 MHZ, or 733 MHz effective. To get the 800 MHz my RAM is supposed to run at, I would need a FSB : DRAM divider of 5.5, but that's not allowed. If the CPU name can't be divided by 400, your memory will be underclocked (i.e. buy a 3600, 4000, 4400, etc).

I think that covers your questions (minus the overclock, but I'm not the one to help you there).
White Whale
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7-4770K Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD4H MSI TwinFrozrIII 7950 2x8GB Crucial Ballistix Sport XT 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
250GB Samsung Evo Noctua NH-D14 Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 24" Samsung ToC T240 1920x1200 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Saitek Eclipse (Blue LED) 660W Seasonic Platinum SS-660XP Corsair 600T (white) OCZ Equalizer 
Mouse Pad
XTrac Ripper 17" x 12" 
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White Whale
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7-4770K Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD4H MSI TwinFrozrIII 7950 2x8GB Crucial Ballistix Sport XT 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
250GB Samsung Evo Noctua NH-D14 Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 24" Samsung ToC T240 1920x1200 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Saitek Eclipse (Blue LED) 660W Seasonic Platinum SS-660XP Corsair 600T (white) OCZ Equalizer 
Mouse Pad
XTrac Ripper 17" x 12" 
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post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hey chaps, I finally got my system, and here's what I decided on:

Case: Antec P180 (added two Arctic Cooling fans for the optional mid wind tunnel setup)
PSU: OCZ GameXStream 700W
Motherboard: ASUS M2N32-SLI Deluxe Wireless Edition
CPU: AMD 3600 X2
Heatsink: Zalman 9700NT
RAM: Patriot 800MHz DDR2 4-4-4-12
GPU: EVGA 8800GTS 640MB
Sound Card: Creative Labs X-Fi Xtreme Audio
HD: Western Digital 320GB 7200RPM SATAII
Drive: ASUS 18X DVD-RW Lightscribe

I'm pretty happy with the case; it looks absolutely amazing, and has almost the exact same construction as the P190, so it's very ergonomic, although I had a hell of a time fitting all my cables behind the motherboard tray, and the cables are putting fair pressure on the side panel.

I haven't gotten a chance to work out the rest of the components though, as my CPU temps are bloody high, and thus I think I've seated it incorrectly:
http://www.overclock.net/amd-air-coo...ml#post2528848
My System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Athlon Phenom II X4 965 ASUS M2N32 SLI-Deluxe Wireless Edition 2x EVGA GTX 260 Core 216 Patriot 2x1024MB DDR2 & 2x2048MB 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
WD 320GB, 2xWD 500GB, WD 1000GB 7200RPM SATA II ASUS 18X DVD-RW Lightscribe Windows 7 x64 Ultimate IZ3D 22" 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Bytecc Slim Multimedia Pro Seasonic X660 660W Antec P180 Sandio 3DO2 
  hide details  
Reply
My System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Athlon Phenom II X4 965 ASUS M2N32 SLI-Deluxe Wireless Edition 2x EVGA GTX 260 Core 216 Patriot 2x1024MB DDR2 & 2x2048MB 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
WD 320GB, 2xWD 500GB, WD 1000GB 7200RPM SATA II ASUS 18X DVD-RW Lightscribe Windows 7 x64 Ultimate IZ3D 22" 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Bytecc Slim Multimedia Pro Seasonic X660 660W Antec P180 Sandio 3DO2 
  hide details  
Reply
post #6 of 11
nice rig. i have a thread on here about wire management for the p180. got pics and all. take a peek if you like
MIVE
(15 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5 2500k (4.7ghz at 1.33v) Asus Maximus IV Extreme MSI GTX 980 Ti 6G Gaming  8GB (2x4GB) G. Skil Sniper  
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Crucial M4 Corsair H105 Windows 10 x64 Asus ROG Swift 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Corsair K70 RGB Rapidfire OCZ ZX1000W Corsair 600C Corsair M65 Pro 
AudioOtherOther
V-Moda Crossfade Wireless headphones Sennheiser HX 6XX headphones Schitt Fulla 2 DAC/AMP 
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MIVE
(15 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5 2500k (4.7ghz at 1.33v) Asus Maximus IV Extreme MSI GTX 980 Ti 6G Gaming  8GB (2x4GB) G. Skil Sniper  
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Crucial M4 Corsair H105 Windows 10 x64 Asus ROG Swift 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Corsair K70 RGB Rapidfire OCZ ZX1000W Corsair 600C Corsair M65 Pro 
AudioOtherOther
V-Moda Crossfade Wireless headphones Sennheiser HX 6XX headphones Schitt Fulla 2 DAC/AMP 
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post #7 of 11
So you bought all components?
Under-Utilized
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
3570K Z77-D3H XFX RX480 RS Corsair Vengeance 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
HyperX 3K 120GB 3TB Storage Hyper 212 Plus Windows 10 
MonitorKeyboardPowerMouse
24" CFG70  SideWinder X6 550 Watt Logitech G602 
Mouse PadAudio
Razer eXactMat X Objective2 +ODAC 
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Under-Utilized
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
3570K Z77-D3H XFX RX480 RS Corsair Vengeance 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
HyperX 3K 120GB 3TB Storage Hyper 212 Plus Windows 10 
MonitorKeyboardPowerMouse
24" CFG70  SideWinder X6 550 Watt Logitech G602 
Mouse PadAudio
Razer eXactMat X Objective2 +ODAC 
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post #8 of 11
I just put together a pretty decent rig and extremely cheep too. Check out my thread here
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SZayat View Post
So you bought all components?
Ya.
My System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Athlon Phenom II X4 965 ASUS M2N32 SLI-Deluxe Wireless Edition 2x EVGA GTX 260 Core 216 Patriot 2x1024MB DDR2 & 2x2048MB 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
WD 320GB, 2xWD 500GB, WD 1000GB 7200RPM SATA II ASUS 18X DVD-RW Lightscribe Windows 7 x64 Ultimate IZ3D 22" 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Bytecc Slim Multimedia Pro Seasonic X660 660W Antec P180 Sandio 3DO2 
  hide details  
Reply
My System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Athlon Phenom II X4 965 ASUS M2N32 SLI-Deluxe Wireless Edition 2x EVGA GTX 260 Core 216 Patriot 2x1024MB DDR2 & 2x2048MB 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
WD 320GB, 2xWD 500GB, WD 1000GB 7200RPM SATA II ASUS 18X DVD-RW Lightscribe Windows 7 x64 Ultimate IZ3D 22" 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Bytecc Slim Multimedia Pro Seasonic X660 660W Antec P180 Sandio 3DO2 
  hide details  
Reply
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZantarV View Post
Ya.
Then Congrats
Under-Utilized
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
3570K Z77-D3H XFX RX480 RS Corsair Vengeance 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
HyperX 3K 120GB 3TB Storage Hyper 212 Plus Windows 10 
MonitorKeyboardPowerMouse
24" CFG70  SideWinder X6 550 Watt Logitech G602 
Mouse PadAudio
Razer eXactMat X Objective2 +ODAC 
  hide details  
Reply
Under-Utilized
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
3570K Z77-D3H XFX RX480 RS Corsair Vengeance 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
HyperX 3K 120GB 3TB Storage Hyper 212 Plus Windows 10 
MonitorKeyboardPowerMouse
24" CFG70  SideWinder X6 550 Watt Logitech G602 
Mouse PadAudio
Razer eXactMat X Objective2 +ODAC 
  hide details  
Reply
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