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Need some advice on hardware upgrade
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Old 10th February 2007, 22:23   #1
Hultiz
 
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Default Need some advice on hardware upgrade

I stumpled upon this page in my serach for the ultimate computer upgrade for a reasonable cost. I thought I might get some help here from people who really know the business. Anyway, here's the stuff I'm looking at:

ABIT AB9 PRO, P965, Socket-775, 2xGbLAN, ATX, 9xSATAII, DDR2, Firewire, PCI-Ex16
Corsair Value S. PC5300 DDR2 2048MB Kit w/two matched Value Select 1024MB
Sapphire Radeon X1950XT 256MB GDDR3, PCI-Express,ViVo/HDCP,2xDVI, Lite-Retail
Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 2.13GHz Socket LGA775, 2MB, BOXED m/fläkt

And then maybe a chassi, this one looks really nice but I'm open for suggestions.

Apevia X-Cruiser, Black (http://www.komplett.se/k/ki.asp?sku=319846)

I need a PSU as well, one that will cover the stuff, a couple of harddrives and DVD-units and for future OC:ing as well. I'm really lost on that side, suggestions are welcome

I'm considering maybe an extra hard drive (will a SATA drive give the computer much better performace than an old IDE?) and a fan for the CPU/graphic card. Also some fans for the chassi and some lights. And just about how much better will the new DX10 graphic cards be, when will they be availiable at a reasonable price and should I wait for them?

I think it's important that the computer is quiet or can be made quiet so it can be on during the night.

Thanks in advance
/Hultiz

Edit: It's meant to be a gaming computer.

Last edited by Hultiz : 10th February 2007 at 22:36.
 
Old 12th February 2007, 14:17   #2
Nessmaster
 
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I would advise you not to neglect your case. If anything at all, that I have learned over the years, it's that you don't neglect the case. I was lucky and let a friend persuade me into getting a Lian-Li and I haven't regreted it since. Spending somewhere from $100-$150 USD on the case is very normal in my opinion. The case will determine wether your hardware is kept cool, the noise, the stability of everything. A bad case can lead to a bad computer experience. I would advise you check out some reviews here and on other forums. Currrently the Antec 900 series and the Cooler Master systems seem to be a big players in effective case designs. However, if your more into the professional look I would advise you go with Silverstone or Lian-Li. Just make sure you get something with 120mm fan slots, as 120mm fans move more air with less noise.

SATA is very common now-a-days and just about every hard drive and motherboard supports it. Yes, I would also advise you to go with 3.0Gb/s SATA drives.

For PSU I would look into some of the reviews here on the forums. Madshrimps has excellent PSU reviews (they go into larger detail of what some pros and cons are). Some main issues these days are the amount of power a PSU can actually efficiantly deliver (ie, not lay to waste as heat). Many PSU support over 80% efficiancy, a factor I would definatly look out for when picking a PSU. Somewhere between 550-700watts will do just fine IMO, although graphics cards are sucking alot of power these days, but it should be able to handel the X1950XT just fine.

If your into quiet fans I would recommend your check out Arctic Cooling or Noctua as they seem to be known for their silent cooling. However, you will find yourself paying a nice amount more for these fans.

You might also want to check out a bit faster ram, somewhere around the DDR2-800 specs (PC6400) especially if your going into the overclocking scene. Respectable brands being Corsair, OCZ, Mushkin, Patriot. I wouldn't buy Value Select ram, as it tends to run more stable but you loose some performance (I've knowticed, and have read, that there is about a 40Mhz peformance difference between normal DDR ram and Value Select DDR ram. I don't know if this holds true for DDR2). If your going into overclocking (which you may end up doing, you just don't know yet) you are definatly going to want to buy good ram as it is one of the major factors that limits your overclocking ability.

As for the graphics card, that is really up to you. Currently only the nVidia 8 series supports DX10 graphics, and only on windows Vista. The new ATi chips are also going to support it, but who knows how much they will cost and how well they will performe.

One last thing. Your motherboard. I think Abit is a great brand (I own an Abit myself), but you don't want to neglect your north bridge (in this case the P965). I would go with an nvidia instead. The newer nVidia 500 or 600 series.
 
Old 12th February 2007, 23:17   #3
Hultiz
 
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Thanks a lot for the elaborate answer

After carefully reading your advice and doing further research I've come to the following sollution:

Motherboard: Asus P5N-E SLI, nForce-650i SLI, ATX, Socket-775, GbLAN, DDR2, 2xPCI-Ex16

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 2.13GHz Socket LGA775, 2MB, BOXED m/fläkt

RAM: OCZ Platinum DDR2 PC6400 2048MB KIT, w/two 1024MB PC6400 XTC,CL4-4-4-16, Rev2

Graphics: Sapphire Radeon X1950XT 256MB GDDR3, PCI-Express,ViVo/HDCP,2xDVI, Lite-Retail

PSU: Zalman PowerSupply 600W ZM600-HP

OR

Cooler Master eXtreme Power 600W, 120mm Fläkt, 3xSATA, ATX, 2xPCI-E, 20/24pin

Not sure if I should pay the extra for Zalmans since it supports SLI (which means it supports crossfire as well?). And isn't it quite weird that I use a nForce board with SLI support with a Ati card and not a Nvidia card?

As for chassi I'm leaning towards building my own since all chassis I found are eighter too expensive, too crappy or too ugly This one gives a hint of what I want to build: http://www.techpowerup.com/gallery/442

Thanks again.
 
Old 13th February 2007, 01:41   #4
Nessmaster
 
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In theory, an SLI PSU just means that it has more than one PCI-E cable for multiple graphics cards, and that it makes enough power to supply to both cards. So I think an SLI certified PSU can also be considered a Crossfire certified PSU.

As for the motherboard however, I'm not 100% sure, but I'm around 99% sure you need an ATi crossfire chipset (northbridge) for a Crossfire setup, and the same for SLI. Like I said, I'm not 100% sure. However, if your concern is if an ATi card will work on an nvidia chipset the answer is simply yes, it will, and no worst or better than it would on an equivalent ATi chipset. HOWEVER, if you are going into the crossfire buisness than I'm 99% sure you'll need an ATi crossfire chipset which would be the ATI CrossFire Xpress 3200, and there is only one motherboard available for Core 2 Duo chips, and that would be the DFI Lanparty X3200.

Building your own case is a great idea IMO, and I really like that link you posted. Just remember, the key to a cool computer is not to directly blow air over the components, but to eliminate "hot spots" (spots where warm air builds up because of the lack of air movement) by having an all around good airflow, usually in a single direction.
 
Old 13th February 2007, 08:06   #5
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you might want to look into Geforce 8800 GTS 320Mb, should be priced nicely and offer quite good OC potential
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Old 13th February 2007, 09:38   #6
Hultiz
 
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Good! Then I can settle for the cheaper PSU and forget about crossfire, since that motherboard was more expensive

Thanks for the tip jmke, but that card is unfortunately a bit too expensive for my budget :/ I've already exceeded it quite a bit But it's a really good card.

It has been really good to get some straight answers from ppl who know what they are talking about, thanks!

Last edited by Hultiz : 13th February 2007 at 09:41.
 
Old 13th February 2007, 11:11   #7
Hultiz
 
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Nevermind, I found the answer myself.

Last edited by Hultiz : 13th February 2007 at 11:24.
 
Old 20th February 2007, 18:44   #8
Hultiz
 
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Does anybody still read this? Well, here goes.

I'm still not entirely sure about power supply, and the more I read about it the more power I seem to need :P

To the questions: How fast and how much will the power supply lose it's power? If I buy a good PSU now and go for a SLI and overclock config in 1-2 years, should I buy a new PSU then or buy a more powerful one now? How much is really needed for this system?

Version 1: No OC, no SLI
Asus P5N-E SLI, nForce-650i SLI
Gainward GeForce 8800GTS 320MB (Thanks jmke for recommending it btw)
OCZ Platinum DDR2 PC6400 2048MB KIT
Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 2.13GHz
Two 120 mm fans
One 140 mm fan
Two dvds
Two IDE hard drives
One SATA hard drive

Version 2: Same but
Dual 8800GTS (do I need exactly the same manifacturer?)
Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 2.13GHz @ approx 3.2 GHz

Fast help would be great, the PSU:s are being sold quite soon.
 
Old 20th February 2007, 19:18   #9
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nobody has a magic ball to predict the future of PC power requirements, we're currently at a stage where a 1000W PSU for a high end PC is no longer exaggerated , luckily this doesn't filter down as much to the mid-range area where power requirements are still within "reasonable" limits, your first system (version 1) will run perfectly of a 500W quality PSU (Seasonic, Corsair, ...). That PSU won't loose power over time, not that I know of, what might chance is the connectors needed to power mobo/vga/hdd , but then converter cables can be used. Single rail design PSU gets my preference because it's easier to work with as you have all the power available on one 12v line where CPU and VGA are fed from.

your seconded config is less ideal, SLI is not a good budget/performance option unless you directly go for high end. That GTS is middle end, putting the 320mb in SLI will make memory play a larger part since you'd expect to run at higher quality/resolutions, in that case the 640mb will be noticeably faster (320mb SLI vs 640mb SLI). Fact is though that those two GTS in SLI will not be faster than a single GTX, and 2x$250 is price of GTX not all games support 2 VGA cards, and not all SLI games see a larger increase in FPS.
to Answer your (question), no NVIDIA allows mixed vendor SLI, so gainward+xfx card will work without probs.

regarding the OC'ing (version 2), I have no experience with the nForce 650i chipset, but do know that high FSB is a limiting factor for Core 2 boards, the P965 chipset has proven itself to be better suited for high FSB, Asus P5B-Deluxe is a popular choice. no SLI though.
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Old 20th February 2007, 20:28   #10
Hultiz
 
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Thanks for the fast answer!

So basically, if I want to upgrade the computer in the future it is better to buy a new graphic card than to go SLI? Even considering that I can prolly get another 8800GTS for around 40$ in two years while a new graphic card will cost considerably more? Will the new graphic card deliver so much better performance that it's not worth going SLI?

And about the motherboard, I was looking at a P965 at first, but Nessmaster said this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nessmaster View Post
you don't want to neglect your north bridge (in this case the P965). I would go with an nvidia instead. The newer nVidia 500 or 600 series.
But you think the Asus P5B will do better? *slightly confused*

About the PSU:s, I'm looking at a Fortron/Source Epsilon 700W and a Silverstone Strider 600W, but I've read some bad things about both... If I go single graphic card I should look for a PSU with only one 12v?

EDIT: I'm a bit tempted by the Silverstone since it's cheap, new and it seems like a good one. But.. If I only use one of the 12v will it direct all the power to it? So it will basically be like having a PSU with only one 12v connector.
And the Geforce 8800GTS, how is the noise? I can't seem to get a good answer to that question.

Last edited by Hultiz : 20th February 2007 at 22:22.
 
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