Building or Purchasing a New Computer: Help Please

Discussion in 'PC Purchasing Help' started by Natoma, Sep 10, 2006.

  1. Natoma

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    Hey guys. My husband and I are at the end of our normal 3 year cycle and are looking to build or purchase a completely new computer. We have a set of criteria that this computer must meet, but have not been that involved in the computer industry to know all of the different brands and best performers.

    Our budget is ~$5,000 without the new display, but we are relatively flexible in this regard.

    The following is our criteria:

    1) The display is the Samsung 244T.

    2) Must play games fluidly at 1900x1200, i.e. the default resolution of the 244T. Image quality is extremely important. We will be playing with high AA, AF, and HDR.

    Assumption is Crossfire 1950XT, but we're also looking at 7900GTX SLI solution as well.

    2) Looking for a relatively quiet solution. Our current computer puts out roughly 50db if I had to guess and we want to get that significantly quieter if possible.

    3) We want to get a laptop for web surfing and checking email if one of us is using the primary computer. We would prefer, if possible, to have our files on a shared network computer so that we could access our email, for example, no matter which computer we were at.

    Suggestions to build or purchase?

    Thanks!

    The following is our current computer:

    1) P4 3.0Ghz HT
    2) Gigabyte GA-8KNXP
    3) ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 256MB
    4) 1GB DDR Corsair Memory
    5) Samsung 32x24x52 CD-RW
    6) Samsung DVD
    7) 2x120GB SATA HD, 1x250GB SATA HD, 2x36GB Raptor RAID-0
    8) Hitachi CM814U SuperScan 21" display
    9) Generic Mid-Tower
     
  2. Skrying

    Skrying S K R Y I N G
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    If you want to build right now I'd say:

    Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800
    Asus P5W DH Deluxe
    2GB Corsair (Whatever the best deal is on their high end stuff at the time.)
    X1950XTX Crossfire
    Whatever your HD needs are like, a fast Raptor and maybe a decently fast 500GB?

    I'd replace the stock heatsink of the X6800 with something like a Scythe Ninja with a nice big slow spinning fan. Or a Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro (I'm using one right now, I <3 it.)

    Of course, I wouldnt build right now myself. But then we run into the "if you wait for updates to come then you'll be waiting forever" arguement, that I believe is silly and not true, but that's just my opinion.
     
  3. Natoma

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    Ok, what's the suggestion to wait? I know DX10 cards are coming, quad cores and so forth and so on.

    Our basic premise is this. With the system we got 3 years ago, we had room to upgrade if we so chose. AGP was still in use and we had an upgrade path with our CPU if we wanted to. We also could've upgraded our memory as well.

    We don't want to build or buy a system now that will have no upgrade path in 3-6 months, however there is the mantra that you can wait forever if trying to catch the next wave.

    Would we be stuck in a dead end with your suggestion? Or is this because there's a huge swell of new technologies all hitting at once?

    We have no intention of getting Vista btw. We typically wait until at least SP1 from a Microsoft product before buying it.
     
  4. digitalwanderer

    digitalwanderer Dangerously Mirthful
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    I'd wait Nate, we're right around the corner from Vista and it will in theory change a whole lot of the building PC rules. :???:
     
  5. woundingchaney

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    I would go with the E6600 and simply overclock it as the extreme edition doesnt seem to be worth the money. Put the savings into faster ram or video.

    I think you are probably better off with the Conroe over AMD, particularly even if they release the quad cores they are still most likely going to be an inferior dual core processor (which is what most apps. will be coded for).

    Dont skimp on your power supply especially if your going for a dual gpu setup.

    And like they said earlier wait till the end of this year or the beginning of next before you buy your highend gpus.
     
  6. Skrying

    Skrying S K R Y I N G
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    If you have no plans for upgrading to Vista then you therefore have no plans for upgrading to DirectX 10 either. So I'd say in that case go ahead and jump on the X1950XTX setup. Even if you do decide to upgrade to Vista and want Dx10 then the PCIe slot should be just dandy with any Dx 10 card you put in it.

    As for the processor, I am not sure if Intel will release quad core chips that are compatible with LGA775. Both AMD and Intel are "socket" happy these days and you never know when or why they'll change to a new one.

    My main suggestion on waiting was do to a swell of new technologies, revolving around Vista (the OS itself, and Dx10 mainly). I didnt want to suggest a system now and you fairly soon fill the need to upgrade.
     
  7. Natoma

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    Sigh. I wasn't aware DX10 is Vista only. I guess that's what you meant about changing how PCs are built in theory eh Digi?

    So basically the premise is that if we don't want to obsolete our upgrade path we have to wait until December-February?
     
  8. Skrying

    Skrying S K R Y I N G
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    Just because Intel out performs AMD on the dual core field does not mean anything in the quad core. Also, if you're concerned about virtualization then I've heard AMD will have the upper hand in that area.
     
  9. digitalwanderer

    digitalwanderer Dangerously Mirthful
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    Yeah, pretty much. The bad part is nothing is really set in stone yet so no one can really answer that question, thus the "wait a bit" thinking on my part.

    The next gen cards will supposedly be DX10/vista, that's what I guess I'd suggest waiting to find out for sure.
     
  10. Natoma

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    It seems that speculation is growing that Vista is being pushed back to April/May '07. Not only that, but the first DX10 games will have a DX9 render path built in anyway.

    I honestly don't see a reason to wait anymore. Particularly since MS is notorious for OS delays. Lord knows when Vista will actually release.
     
  11. ANova

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    Don't wait, games will not use DX10 exclusively for at least another year or two and by then the next generation DX10 cards will be out. You should check out the new "features" in Vista as well and make your own decision, I don't think it's much better than XP, if at all, but that's just me.

    I would suggest:

    Core 2 Duo E6600
    Zalman CNPS7000B CU or 7700 if it fits the case you decide to go with
    2 GB DDR2 667 or 800 ram (overclock to 3.0GHz max with 667)
    Asus P5W DH Deluxe or P5B Deluxe
    Seasonic 600 watt
    2 X1950 XTX
    Lian Li PC-V1200B (fairly quiet and good looking chasis)

    Overall this would be a decently quiet system with all 120mm fans and good airflow.
     
    #11 ANova, Sep 25, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2006
  12. jvd

    jvd
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    I've told you so many times over aim. Do not go crossfire . For now get 1 x1950xt and make due till the r600 comes out . Then you buy a crossfire .

    But u wont listen to me .
     
  13. SugarCoat

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    I havent seen any sign that Vista is going to miss its Q1 launch. Betas are rolling along like clockwork.


    The only thing that would worry me if you're an "all eggs in one basket" person is the dawn of HDCP and the effect it may have on computer media. The fact that no high end cards support it might make me wait. We're talking literally about 2 months and you're going to physically be able to get one product (nvidia) and you'll have a really good idea what the other guy(ati) is bringing to the table as well by that time is up.

    By the way your 244T does support HDCP so thats at least one less worry. You may as well exploit that though, especially if you're paying that kind of cash. (wait for the cards!)


    I'd also drop your current HDD config and get two of the Seagate 500gb Perpendicular HDDs. In raid they're very fast and its something you can exploit with the OS and games. Unless theres some reason you need so many seperated HDDs thats what i would get. Boot nuke the others and ebay them or use them as slaves. Only issue with the perp. barracuda's is heat so finding a case with a quiet 120mm fan or two blowing through the bays area wouldnt be too bad of an idea.



    As far as sound. Key problems are graphics card fans during load, chipset fans, and processor fans. All of these can be replaced if it means that much to you at relatively low cost. Might take you 10-15 minutes of work, some thermal paste/cement.

    The one thing that you problably wont be able to control is the db output of the PSU fan so pay careful attention to that. Again, computer going that long, try for 800-1000Watts. Should be more then enough to power any upgrades for the next 2-3 years.



    Case, going to recommend what i'm using since its got alot of room which is important when you're going to be depending on low RPM high volume fans.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811119093

    You can fit 120mm fans all along the front which are hidden behind the bay covers, and you can fit more HDDs/Roms then you'll know what to do with. One 120mm exhaust out the back, plus room for two more 80mm fans in the lower PSU bay, one on the side (120mm or 80mm) and one 80mm through the top and i'm pretty sure though i havent tried you can do two more 120mm on the bottom lying horizontal. Its rated as a server case so enough said, has alot of comfy space.

    I've been using it for about a year now and i have two minor complaints. Dust collection because of the front fans, but this is easily cleaned with a single swipe, and my computer is in a place where dust is going to gather. Other complaint is the bay locking clamps are sorta cheapish but function completely. It just isnt the same as a welded/screwed in jobby that 99% of other cases use.

    If you need any fans or want any custom cooling junk and cant get it anyplace else I want to recommend these guys:

    http://www.frozencpu.com

    Based out of New York, ship same day. Great service. Only mention them cause you mentioned noise as a real concern and they have pretty much every cooling device you can think of. For example this section:
    http://www.frozencpu.com/cat/l1/g33/Ultra_Quiet.html?id=GRTbZCuN
    may be of interest.




    I wouldnt go for the E6800EE since intel is going to be replacing that before the end of the year with a 3.2GHz model. So unless you have money thats burning a hole in your pocket get the lesser model (E6700) or wait for that next EE as well.


    Would also suggest basing the whole system around an Abit AW9D-MAX. I think they should be released in about a week or two. I've used DFI, ASUS quite a bit, still have to give Abit the nod for ease of use, quality, presentation (in terms of what they include with the board itself), and they have great support and commonly updated BIOS.
     
    #13 SugarCoat, Sep 25, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2006
  14. mcsven

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    I have essentially the same rig (performance wise), except without the extensive hard-disk setups, and face the same upgrade questions. Several times over the past few months I've looked online and thought out a possible new system. However every time I back off because my current setup runs all the games I play acceptably (interpreting what you said, I don't think I'm as much of a visual quality snob :razz: ) and there are few PC games upcoming that require more power. The only thing that is tempting to me is the extra responsiveness in Windows that apparently comes with multi-core. So I may go for a cheap mobo/chipset upgrade to tide me over until the next 'cycle' becomes better defined.

    I would say that it looks like I'm much more of a noise snob. When it comes to noise from CPU, GPU and Northbridge fans, the Reserator 2 from Zalman will remove that completely. I guess if space was a problem, or aesthetics, that might rule it out. Or the cost, which is high - you're paying for the convenience of the all-in-one kit. Or if you're a big overclocker. But after I installed the Reserator 1 Plus, I could never go back to the big blowing setup; the sound of silence is just too addictive.
     
  15. Arun

    Arun Unknown.
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    BS. I've taken the big jump and became a full time Vista user as of yesterday, and I don't even know why I'd want to switch back to XP. Nothing amazing, nothing worth going gaga over - but it's just really nice, and that's good enough for me to decide it's time using it. I'm running Build 5728, which is a RTM. Clearly, it seems fully on track for a January release (and a 4Q2006 one for the business world), and that's certainly what Microsoft is now saying to whoever wants to listen.

    I'm in no way advocating waiting for Vista. I understand people who'd rather wait for SP1 releases, although personally I wouldn't want to go back to XP at this point. It just seems like a heresy at this point not to wait 1.5 months more for D3D10 cards and maybe new mobos too, considering NVIDIA is ramping up both product lines aggressively - I suspect they'll try to have a simultaneous chipset launch for AMD and Intel, but there's no way to know for sure - that's be for late november, anyway.

    If you're going for a Core 2 Duo (which I'd suggest, there's no point going for AMD hoping K8L will be good, when it's unlikely it'll be much better than a Conroe for the 2-cores version), then the choice clearly lies between the 975X, the NVIDIA nForce5 for Intel, and whatever NVIDIA is coming up with next. If you're waiting for G80 or R600 (which I'd suggest still, considering your upgrade cycle, even with a potential upgrade path eventually), then your best strategy might be to see if anything new gets released simultaneously in the Vista frenzy or not. If not, just go for a 975X if looking for a Conroe, or an ATI XPress 3200 or nF 570 (non-SLI) or 590 (SLI) if going for an AM2, depending on personal preference.

    Also, considering your earlier post, I think you might be confused wrt DX10 and Vista. You can run a DX10 card in XP, and the high-end DX10 cards will be faster at DX9 than anything that will have come before them. You just won't be able to run D3D10 paths in new games until you upgrade to Vista, but that won't kill you or anything - or at least, I hope it won't :)


    Uttar
    P.S.: If you're looking for IQ, I think G80/R600 will be quite good to say the least ;) If you decide not to wait for them, just go for R580 though if IQ is your primary concern. Going crossfire is stupid though, as G80/R600 will likely be nearly as fast as that on a single chip/board.
     
  16. nutball

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    The Reserator is great until it goes wrong. I had (still have, somewhere) a Res 1 and I went through four pumps before Zalman worked out that additives were essential to prevent the pumps furring up and start rattling. Changing the pump(s) was a right pain, doing anything to the PC was a pain. I'm sure they've learned their lessons with the Res 1+ and Res 2, but I'm still smarting from my experiences.

    I've gone back to air-cooling. With the arrival of massive passive-capable heatsinks such as the Scythe Ninja, after-market passive GPU heatsinks, and the latest generation of quiet power supplies (eg. Seasonic) it's possible to build a virtually inaudible air-cooled PC for a lot less long-term hassle than the Res.
     
    digitalwanderer likes this.
  17. mcsven

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    Yeah, fair points. The pump does seem to be a week point though I've had no probs so far (touch wood!). The point that doing anything to the machine is a hassle is a good one, but I got the impression that Natoma wanted to set it up and then forget about it.

    I think quietness is becoming more and more important, which is a good thing. From what I'm reading about R600 and G80 however... :???:
     
  18. _xxx_

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    Regardless of Vista, the accompanying HW will be there in the dec-feb timeframe. Not a long wait, I'd also practice patience.
     
  19. karlotta

    karlotta pifft
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    just get John Reynolds PC.:razz: A great place for case's if you are going with the very nice Lian Li line is; http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=193
    i just bought the Lian Li PC-G70B Goliath with the uber fans, was $$$ but iwanted the best aircooled case. I didnt go for all the pimpdaddy stuff:???: For PSU the Seasonics are great, but the new PCPower&Cooling silencers are fine too. i picked up a way tomuch wattage 750PCP. Also im going the CF route for now on a Conroe 6800/Asus/mushkin. I found the 1950xtxCF edition cards at Monarch Computer and DELL. Monarch was 589$!! Dell is 499$. I also lost my mind on the Optical, It is a Plextor 755sa, which is a SATA DVDRW.
     
  20. {Sniping}Waste

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