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post #1 of 204 Old 07-15-2007, 02:24 PM - Thread Starter
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After spending some time with my new 1920x1200 monitor, I have decided that I need to leave the world of AGP graphics cards behind and step into PCI Express. And of course that means it's time for a new computer.

My main requirements in my next PC (after stability, of course!) are, in order of importance: 1) Quiet 2) Lasting technology so I don't have to build for a while 3) Cool (as in temp.) 4) Bang-for-buck

Overclocking and/or squeezing every tiny bit of performance out of the components isn't a big concern of mine.

At first I decided just to buy a pre-configured system from Dell, but HeadRusch wisely pointed out that I could save a lot of money and get exactly what I want if I put it together myself. The problem is I've been out the PC world for a few years so I don't know what the desired components are.

So I did a little research, followed a few threads here and I think I've got a good collection of parts that I intend to order once the Intel price drop hits next week. But would love to hear comments, thoughts and opinions of this list and if there's some other options I should be considering:

EDIT 7/27/07: The project is built! Here's the parts I finally decided on:

Case: Antec Nine Hundred
Power Supply: SeaSonic M12 700W
Motherboard: MSI P6N SLI Platinum NVIDIA nForce 650i SLI
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 Conroe 3.0GHz w/ stock cooling
Memory: G.SKILL 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
Videocard: EVGA GeForce 8800GTX
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s
OS: Windows Vista 64-bit Premium OEM
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post #2 of 204 Old 07-15-2007, 08:11 PM
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My comments, having just done this...and please don't blame me for making you do this

Case: Any case that has 120mm fans will do you right, so long as it is of sufficient size and has a logical layout. I went with a Lian Li black aluminum model, their cheap one, $80 bucks. Its very minimalist...120mm in, 120mm out and openings for a blow-hole exhaust fan up top and one for the side panel. I prefer aluminum so I don't break my spine carrying the stupid computer around. I also don't believe in $150+ cases with all the bells and whistles because, in the end, its a computer case. You can't nail it, so I don't care if it looks slutty.

Power Supply: If you are buliding a quiet PC, and starting with a case with 120mm fans, then make sure your power supply is quiet, since they all have big ol' fans on them. I did some research and went with my Seasonic 700watt PS for that reason. Its considered a very efficient unit, its a well-known company reputable for having accurate measurements and outputting clean power, and its very quiet.

Motherboard: 650i versus 680i. To me there was no compelling reason to buy a 680i motherboard. 8x versus 16x when cards are in SLI mode is hogwash, with almost every single benchmark for any game at any resolution showing no difference between having 8x or 16x pipes. Kinda like how 8xagp was never any faster than 4xagp. The rest are features that I simply wont use.....I went with a 650i from MSI. Its considered a very good overclocking board, its reasonable, and its got a nice array of passive cooling on all the chips. Its also got all solid capacitors and I believe 3 or 4 stage voltage regulation. Its been widely praised.

CPU: Dowhatchalike

Memory: Again, dowhatchalike....I'm convinced that for mild overclocking the cheapest ram is more than likely adequate. I went with two sticks of G-Skill ram that was praised on newegg for being micron chips with incredible overclocking potential. Since I'm really only an overclocking noob, I have a feeling I'll never figure out how to properly push my ram anyhow. 2 gigs were like $130 bucks....you can't beat that with a stick.

Hard Drive: Just find the fastest one out there at 7200rpm. I personally only buy Seagate at this point...becaue every one I have ever bought is almost virtually silent except for head clicking. My old Western Digitals by comparison sound like Jet Engines when they run.

You are now on the path

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post #3 of 204 Old 07-15-2007, 08:49 PM
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When you say that you save a lot of money putting it together yourself, how much money are you talking about? Thanks.
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post #4 of 204 Old 07-15-2007, 08:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Rusch! I changed to the power supply you mentioned.

I'm still lost about the motherboard.
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post #5 of 204 Old 07-15-2007, 09:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skogan View Post

When you say that you save a lot of money putting it together yourself, how much money are you talking about?

It's hard to compare a home-built rig with pre-made one because something like a Dell includes things that I'm taking from my current computer (OS, mouse, keyboard, DVD burner, sound card). Also, I'm not getting tech support and that awesome case... things that some people find of value.

I would say because I going with a quad-core, I'm saving roughly $800 and hand-picking AVS-recommended parts.

I just need to keep my fingers crossed it all goes together smoothly.
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post #6 of 204 Old 07-15-2007, 09:49 PM
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Hello,
Wish I was building that rig! Trying to make my last one go a little longer.
From what I have read... If you plan on running vista then you will need significantly more than 2 gigs of ram. So might as well make it 4.
I have had bad luck with WD drives specifically their 250g model (3 failed) however I grabbed one of their 150gig Raptor 10,000 rpm hard drives just to put games on(it was on sale, half price). Cuts the map load times in half it seams. All other drives are Seagates.
Dell is the"McDonalds" of the computer world. But then every store bought computer is like fast food. For gaming the hard drive is partitioned incorrectly, the pagefile is is practically disigned to screw the OS. Every thing about windows is setup wrong. Don't even get me started on the preloaded spyware, adware and crap.
Check out blackviper,com for hints about installing/tweaking XP/Vista for gaming
Good Luck and have FUN!!! You will really appreciate building your own,
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post #7 of 204 Old 07-15-2007, 09:57 PM
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case: as mentioned above, 120mm fans are the way to go for cooling and noise. I am an advocate for 120mm blowhole (fan on the top), but I would only expect a case to have this as a third or fourth fan.

PSU: that seasonic looks very nice.. I think I might pick that up for my next build Modular cables is a big plus too..

Mobo: I'm out of the loop on this, the above info seems pretty good.

RAM: I've used G.Skill in every build I've done over the past two years. I couldn't be happier.. price to performance and OCing is excellent.. My next build in a couple months will use 4gb G.Skill

HD: Maxtor was purchased by Seagate in 2006.. they are not really in the market of internal HDDs anymore. Personally I would stick to Hitachi or Seagate. My recent experience tells me WDs seem to run VERY hot. Hitcahis are super cool, but they tend to click a little when accessed. I've been using stictly hitachis over the past two years since they benchmark for me very well, and they run very cool. I'm sure seagate is also a good choice.. I would buy SATA 3.0 over SATA150 if you have a choice at the size you want.
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post #8 of 204 Old 07-16-2007, 06:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions so far guys! I update the RAM to G.Skill.

I'll change the HD too. I'm still in the dark about a motherboard.
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post #9 of 204 Old 07-16-2007, 06:48 AM
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Hey Dave,Great choice on the powersupply.I`ve had the S12-600W for a year.Ican`t hear it run.I use G.skill in all my builds.Iwould recomend the HZ`s.If you decide to overclock it can`t be beat.My AMD Opty 165 is running at 3.0,first overclock.My C2D 6300 is at 3.15 using the the G.skil HZ.Great memory.Good luck on your build!
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post #10 of 204 Old 07-16-2007, 07:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by headcase151 View Post

Hey Dave,Great choice on the powersupply.I`ve had the S12-600W for a year.Ican`t hear it run.I use G.skill in all my builds.Iwould recomend the HZ`s.If you decide to overclock it can`t be beat.My AMD Opty 165 is running at 3.0,first overclock.My C2D 6300 is at 3.15 using the the G.skil HZ.Great memory.Good luck on your build!

Thanks for the comments and encouragement!

What is the HZ you mentioned... is that a model of G.skill memory?
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post #11 of 204 Old 07-16-2007, 08:27 AM
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This is the case I went with, its $10 more expensive than when I bought it a month ago.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811112099

I forgot about the Seasonic Power Supply being modular! You only plug in the cables that you need, so less octopus-mess inside the case....I actually didn't realize that when I ordered it, it was a nice surprise.

I replaced the stock cooling fans in the case with Scythe's that are whisper quiet, all you can hear is the mild flow of air. I believe the loudest fan in the case is the 40 or 50mm one thats part of the 8800GTX integrated cooler, and thats only because it has a ball-bearing kind of sound to it. I may try using one of those higher-RPM fans on the HSF I have to try and bring the temperatures down a bit, not sure if it will have any effect or not however, until I try.

With motherboards, Dave, its really up to you. I read up over on Anandtech and Toms Hardware, they did reviews on the 650i boards and they are always reviewing 680i boards, doing comparisons, rating their overclocking ability.

The use of solid capacitors is a plus (they wont leak or pop), also the voltage regulation is important (2 stage or 4 or 6 stage). I think the MSI board I bought has 4, where as other higher end boards have 6 stage. I didn't need Dual-Gigabit LAN, I didn't need a dozen other features that I'd never really use.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...platinum%2b650

This is the one I got.....it has all the connectors I need, even has an ESATA port on back, comes with all the cables you'd need...I like it. But you may want more features or something.


The only new "wildcard" in the mix is the new DDR3 ram. Right now I dont think they include it on any SLI motherboards, and the ram thats out there is underperforming and very high priced as its brand new. To me that wasn't a consideration.......

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post #12 of 204 Old 07-16-2007, 08:29 AM
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DaverJ,
The ram you have picked won't match the MB. It will take 240 pin DDR2.

I use an 8800GTS because rhe GTX is tooooo long for my case and my power supply would not feed 2 of them but is ok for 2 GTS.

You can use nTune or Rivatuner to turn up the cards fan speed from the default 60% to 100% and the card stays cool. Antec Cyclone blower next to it to help exhaust hot air out the back of case.
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post #13 of 204 Old 07-16-2007, 08:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Bob7145 View Post

DaverJ,
The ram you have picked won't match the MB. It will take 240 pin DDR2.

Thanks so much for catching that RAM thing... is my updated version correct now?
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post #14 of 204 Old 07-16-2007, 09:18 AM
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Yes, ram will fit now.
No need to waste money on a gaming mouse that uses laser led. Logitech 518 will work on your jeans (some lasers are picky about mouse pads) and the red led can be used to light the keyboard or whatever in the dark.
Have not mentioned cpu coolers yet but I hear the Thermalright ultra 120 extreme leads the pack now.
http://www.crazypc.com/products/ultr...eme-50983.html
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post #15 of 204 Old 07-16-2007, 09:51 AM
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I suggested to Dave previously that he consider using the stock cooling and seeing how far he could comfortably overclock without having to resort to aftermarkets.

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post #16 of 204 Old 07-16-2007, 09:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Bob7145 View Post

Have not mentioned cpu coolers yet but I hear the Thermalright ultra 120 extreme leads the pack now.
http://www.crazypc.com/products/ultr...eme-50983.html

I've been shying away from aftermarket coolers... my fear is noise and difficulty of installation. I'm not concerned about pushing the Quad core to the edge of performance, but I was hoping to get the 2.4 to maybe 3.2...?

Is that unrealistic? Should I be brave and seriously consider an aftermarket cooler?
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post #17 of 204 Old 07-16-2007, 10:57 AM
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DaveJ,
Your #3 requirement was to run cool. Fan speeds can be controlled thru utilities like Speedfan, Rivatuner and nTune if your worried about noise. How anyone can hear a fan when your blasting aliens is beyond me. I use 2 fan profiles. The default quiet setting when it boots up and a game profile that I start before gaming. Easy. Well, the coolers are easy to install while your building but a PITA to pull the MB back out later. Fans are easier to swap for quieter or cooler.
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post #18 of 204 Old 07-16-2007, 11:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaverJ View Post

I've been shying away from aftermarket coolers... my fear is noise and difficulty of installation. I'm not concerned about pushing the Quad core to the edge of performance, but I was hoping to get the 2.4 to maybe 3.2...?

Is that unrealistic? Should I be brave and seriously consider an aftermarket cooler?

The thing about aftermarket coolers is that most require you to install brackets behind the motherboard. So if you're going to get one, do it before you build. Changing your mind afterwards will result in you taking apart your computer and putting it back together again.

Also I'm not sure your fears of noise and difficulty are realistic. Aftermarket coolers are rarely much harder to install then the stock and lots of them don't come with a fan allowing you to use fans of your choice. If you went with a Thermalright 120 heatsink or Tuniq Tower with Yate Loon fans you'd be able to meet your cool & quiet criteria and give yourself overclocking room to hit 3.2 easily.

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post #19 of 204 Old 07-16-2007, 12:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by krimson View Post

The thing about aftermarket coolers is that most require you to install brackets behind the motherboard. So if you're going to get one, do it before you build. Changing your mind afterwards will result in you taking apart your computer and putting it back together again.

Also I'm not sure your fears of noise and difficulty are realistic. Aftermarket coolers are rarely much harder to install then the stock and lots of them don't come with a fan allowing you to use fans of your choice. If you went with a Thermalright 120 heatsink or Tuniq Tower with Yate Loon fans you'd be able to meet your cool & quiet criteria and give yourself overclocking room to hit 3.2 easily.

Good point... if I'm going to do this, I should do it right.

Which Thermalright 120 is recommended? I'm seeing "Ultra", "XP", "SI"... I'm assuming the retail part comes with the bracket?
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post #20 of 204 Old 07-16-2007, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaverJ View Post

Good point... if I'm going to do this, I should do it right.

Which Thermalright 120 is recommended? I'm seeing "Ultra", "XP", "SI"... I'm assuming the retail part comes with the bracket?

Ultra-120 or Ultra-120 Extreme are the top of the line coolers. They should come with the bracket, just make sure you get the LGA-775 version if there is more then one. They're not the cheapest though, especially when you add the cost of a fan in but it will definitely give you the best cooling per noise ratio. You should read about fitment issues when you're set on a case for different coolers. I'm pretty sure the Ultra-120's fit in the Antec 900 but don't quote me on that!

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post #21 of 204 Old 07-16-2007, 12:43 PM
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Dave,
Ultra 120 Extreme----make sure to get the extreme version of the Ultra 120 made by Thermalright.
Interesting new article http://www.hexus.net/content/item.php?item=9323
Especially the gaming part.
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post #22 of 204 Old 07-16-2007, 01:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestion guys: I added the Thermalright Extreme Ultra to the list, but perhaps temporarily. I'm a bit nervous about the difficulty of this install, plus it might be overkill?

It doesn't come with a fan? What fan should I get?
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post #23 of 204 Old 07-16-2007, 01:49 PM
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post #24 of 204 Old 07-16-2007, 04:02 PM
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I also use the Scythes on my box......but instead of the Ultra I went with the Scythe Ninja revision B..as a HSF. To me it seems less top heavy than the Ultra 120 and the vanes aren't so tightly packed, so you dont need as strong a fan to move air through them. You can run this fanless if you want, but not really if you're overclocking.

Web reviews are saying that the surface finish on the Ultra 120's is terrible, that you basically need to lap them right out of the box if you want all the cooling performance you're paying for, and even I dont have the patience to sit there rubbing my $50+ heatsink on sandpaper for an hour or more :P Thats what scared me off. Also, who knows if it'll fit

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post #25 of 204 Old 07-16-2007, 05:35 PM
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Web reviews are saying that the surface finish on the Ultra 120's is terrible, that you basically need to lap them right out of the box if you want all the cooling performance you're paying for, and even I dont have the patience to sit there rubbing my $50+ heatsink on sandpaper for an hour or more :P Thats what scared me off. Also, who knows if it'll fit

Never had to lap any Thermalright HS yet. They dont look mirror like since all current Thermalright HS are plated.

EDIT: lapping was need in the days with bare CPU chips without heatspreaders. Now days with the CPU heatspreaders you will have to do both the HS and heat spreader to really get a near perfect contact. Unless you really want to void any warrenty on the CPU, then lapping the HS will gain very little (1-2c) at most. A good application of paste will normally do just as good.

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post #26 of 204 Old 07-16-2007, 06:39 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm still on the fence about that Thermalright. I'm sure it's awesome, but I just looked at the install webpage and it looks like the craziest thing in the world!

I guess for people building extreme computers that is nothing, but I was expecting to just clip at simple heatsink/fan combo on top of the CPU... I'm a little afraid of this install.

Can anyone recommend a more n00b-friendly cooling install for a CPU?
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post #27 of 204 Old 07-16-2007, 06:55 PM
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Dave, those instructions are pretty straightforward, showing you how the unit attaches with the bolt-through backplate kit. Just make sure you have space in your case, that sucker looks pretty tall.

If you go with the stock Intel cooler, instead of the backplate thats going on the underside of the motherboard, you'd just be pushing down 4 plastic "pins" to go into the holes on the motherboard (4 holes, 4 pins).

Here are the installation instructions for the one I got, the Scythe Ninja revision B.
http://www.scythe-usa.com/product/cp...s/ninja775.pdf

In the illustrations on the webpage in your link, instead of push-pins attaching to the holes in the motherboard, its just thin screws/bolts that go through the motherboard and screw into the metal "X" shaped backplate on the back of the motherboard. couldn't be simpler.
And don't forget the tube of Arctic Silver 7.

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post #28 of 204 Old 07-16-2007, 07:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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couldn't be simpler.
And don't forget the tube of Arctic Silver 7.

Thanks for the encouragement. I guess I had a moment of realization that this is going to be more than clamping some RAM and a videocard onto a motherboard and plugging some cables in.

Arctic Sliver instead the stuff that comes with the Thermalright?
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post #29 of 204 Old 07-16-2007, 08:42 PM
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Oh yeah definitely don't be overwhelmed by those installation instructions. If you can use a screwdriver then there is nothing to it. Screw in the backplate, thermal compound, screw in heatsink. Those fan clips are probably the hardest part and really that's not saying much. Just take your time and you'll be fine.

I'm just peeking in my Antec 900 right now and I'd definitely google the Antec 900 w/ TT-120 Extreme first! It should be good to go without the side fan but you may need to forgo the side fan to fit it which is a bit less then optimal for your video card.

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post #30 of 204 Old 07-16-2007, 09:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by krimson View Post

I'm just peeking in my Antec 900 right now and I'd definitely google the Antec 900 w/ TT-120 Extreme first! It should be good to go without the side fan but you may need to forgo the side fan to fit it which is a bit less then optimal for your video card.

Thanks for the reply krimson. Do you like the Antec case? If you had to do it over again, would you pick the nine-hundred or something else? Also, how quiet are all those fans???

Lastly, what mobo you have in there?
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