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Advice on a new rig


Kools

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So I've got a little extra cash floating around, and I've decided to replace my current laptop and desktop. The laptop I've already got covered, but the desktop's giving me some qualms. I, unfortunately, am not one of those gents who can build a killer gaming rig for $3.97, so I'm going to buy it off one of the big boys; what I'm looking for is great performance now, DirectX 10 yada yada yada, with an eye towards future upgradeability. Spending cap is about $3000, but I'd like to keep it closer to $2500 if possible. What I'm currently looking at right now is an Alienware with:

 

Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 3.0GHz (though there's the option for the Intel Core 2 Quad Q6700 2.66GHz in my price-range, but I have no idea about the relative merits, since it seems like Crysis is the only thing around right now that "supports" quad core).

 

Dual 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTs. I -could- go with dual 320MB GeForce 8800 GTSs for fifty bucks more, but my little non-techie brain sees what looks to it a fairly significant memory drop-off, and wonders how they compare performance-wise.

 

I'd throw in 4GB of memory, and the motherboard this thing runs on is an nVidia nForce 680i - which if I understand it correctly basically locks me into nVidia cards. Not that I particularly mind; I had bad experience with ATI stuff on this machine early on.

 

Throw in a 1,000 Watt power supply, liquid cooling - which I have no idea if I need - and a couple other things, and it comes out to just under three grand, sans monitor. I will be picking up a new monitor as well, so that factors into the price.

 

Now, its competition is a Dell, same motherboard, and, handily enough, they throw in a free 20-inch monitor. Difference, though, is that their quad-core offering is the Q6600 rather than the Q6700. Also, the best SLI configuration they come with out of the gate is a pair of 256MB nVidia GeForce 8600 GTSs. The Dell ends up being about $400 less.

 

Dell's cheaper, but also seems like it's going to perform like it right out of the box. I could stick a bare-bones GPU on it when I order it, and immediately upgrade to something better, but even with some spectacular Newegg pricing, I think I'll probably end up sitting at around 3K, anyway, if I go for a high-end dual nVidia card configuration.

 

Thoughts?

 

Edit: I could throw a single nVidia 8800 GTX in either of them, but dual cards seems so...alluring...even though I have no idea how either dual 8800 GTs or GTSs would stack up with a GTX, which, from what I've read, is a pretty heavy hitter.

Edited by Kools
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Huh.

 

Just on a whim, I through together everything that'd be going into my manufacturer system as separate parts on Newegg, and it comes out to be about a thousand bucks less thus far. That is...nice. Only thing I'm missing is a motherboard, and I have absolutely no clue how to go about selecting one of those. The one you recommended, Withteeth, mentions that it's for ATI Crossfire technology...I'll be going with an nVidia GPU. Does that mean they'd be imcompatible? I fully admit to having no idea. What I'll most likely do is stick with a single nVidia card for the time being, and see what's out a year or so from now to upgrade to.

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Dual 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTs. I -could- go with dual 320MB GeForce 8800 GTSs for fifty bucks more, but my little non-techie brain sees what looks to it a fairly significant memory drop-off, and wonders how they compare performance-wise.

8800GT is equal to or outperforms the 320MB 8800GTS on most benchmarks, has more memory, runs cooler, occupies half the space, and costs less.

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Unless I'd save a solid fifteen hundred bucks or something. That'd be a different story, and worth all the crying and alcoholism sure to result from me doing the thing from the ground up.

$1500 will get you very close to top of the line buying components. Paying an extra $1500 to have it ready to go vs. two hours to unpack and assemble plus however long it takes you to partition drives and install an OS (you can have any number of live cd Linux OSs up in a minute :))...I don't think I'd call that laziness.

Just what I needed, another forum to keep up with.

Neversummer PW

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Unless I'd save a solid fifteen hundred bucks or something. That'd be a different story, and worth all the crying and alcoholism sure to result from me doing the thing from the ground up.

$1500 will get you very close to top of the line buying components. Paying an extra $1500 to have it ready to go vs. two hours to unpack and assemble plus however long it takes you to partition drives and install an OS (you can have any number of live cd Linux OSs up in a minute :))...I don't think I'd call that laziness.

 

Yeah, I was actually pretty shocked when I checked out the comparative pricing of buying it direct and putting it together myself. I'd end up saving an easy thousand bucks, so that's the way I'm going.

 

Only thing I'm really worried about is Vista. 32-bit apparently won't play nice with 4 gigs of memory, which is what I was shooting for, while drivers and the like for 64-bit seem to be abysmal based on the reviews I've read.

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Unless I'd save a solid fifteen hundred bucks or something. That'd be a different story, and worth all the crying and alcoholism sure to result from me doing the thing from the ground up.

$1500 will get you very close to top of the line buying components. Paying an extra $1500 to have it ready to go vs. two hours to unpack and assemble plus however long it takes you to partition drives and install an OS (you can have any number of live cd Linux OSs up in a minute ;))...I don't think I'd call that laziness.

 

Well, you figure it's about a day of work for someone without a lot of experience building systems. I've built a few PC's in my life, and one thing that can be gauranteed is that I'll run into a few technical issues that will be tough for e to figure out. I can typically get it to run, but there will always be a hiccup here and there.

 

At some point, you have to weigh what time you have available, the possible frustration levels, and how much money you have on hand. Going off the fact that a good PC boutique will charge you about $1000 more than putting it together yourself, it might be worth the extra cost depensing on what your life is like.

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I don't think I would get the Maximus. It seems to have issues with a lot of people.

Murphy's Law of Computer Gaming: The listed minimum specifications written on the box by the publisher are not the minimum specifications of the game set by the developer.

 

@\NightandtheShape/@ - "Because you're a bizzare strange deranged human?"

Walsingham- "Sand - always rushing around, stirring up apathy."

Joseph Bulock - "Another headache, courtesy of Sand"

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I don't think I would get the Maximus. It seems to have issues with a lot of people.

This is why you want to look at reviews before you buy any hardware, although the issues might still settle after the4 BIOS revisions get better and better, look at the Nvidia 680i for example, complete poop when it came out, now its what it should have been when it first came out.

Always outnumbered, never out gunned!

Unreal Tournament 2004 Handle:Enlight_2.0

Myspace Website!

My rig

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Never had much trouble with the 680i except the board it self had to be replaced two times.

Murphy's Law of Computer Gaming: The listed minimum specifications written on the box by the publisher are not the minimum specifications of the game set by the developer.

 

@\NightandtheShape/@ - "Because you're a bizzare strange deranged human?"

Walsingham- "Sand - always rushing around, stirring up apathy."

Joseph Bulock - "Another headache, courtesy of Sand"

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Never had much trouble with the 680i except the board it self had to be replaced two times.

 

Currently won't work with the new Penryn processors, though it's confidently expected they'll eventually stumble on a fix. And as I'd be getting a C2D now with an eye to picking up a quad core in a year or so, when hopefully more than just, say, Crysis supports it, that's an issue. And I dunno if the 780is around the corner will have the same issue or not. Which has got me thoroughly wishing ATI cards could stand a chance these days, since every other alternative mobo I'm looking at will handle Crossfire just fine and dandy.

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Never had much trouble with the 680i except the board it self had to be replaced two times.

 

Currently won't work with the new Penryn processors, though it's confidently expected they'll eventually stumble on a fix. And as I'd be getting a C2D now with an eye to picking up a quad core in a year or so, when hopefully more than just, say, Crysis supports it, that's an issue. And I dunno if the 780is around the corner will have the same issue or not. Which has got me thoroughly wishing ATI cards could stand a chance these days, since every other alternative mobo I'm looking at will handle Crossfire just fine and dandy.

I'm glad i bought my Asus Commando P965 then! I was worried about the comaptibility, i won this lottery! :blink:

I doubt Ill ever use dual video cards anytime soon anyway. Id rather just spend a large sum on one great video card then spend my tuition on 2. I can always wait till the next generation video cards will come to play the present games maxed anyway.

Always outnumbered, never out gunned!

Unreal Tournament 2004 Handle:Enlight_2.0

Myspace Website!

My rig

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I am just kind of wondering what kind of performance would I get with a E6850 CPU and 2 8800 GTs in SLI.

Murphy's Law of Computer Gaming: The listed minimum specifications written on the box by the publisher are not the minimum specifications of the game set by the developer.

 

@\NightandtheShape/@ - "Because you're a bizzare strange deranged human?"

Walsingham- "Sand - always rushing around, stirring up apathy."

Joseph Bulock - "Another headache, courtesy of Sand"

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I am just kind of wondering what kind of performance would I get with a E6850 CPU and 2 8800 GTs in SLI.

That would be a blistering fast computer.

 

It'd be pretty decent, yeah. Good luck getting ahold of the GTs right now, though. And the new GTS is apparently just around the corner as well.

 

I'm going with either a single GT or GTX, I've decided, and likely going to take advantage of EVGA's step-up program when the 9800 GTX comes out.

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The CPUE is first and that should be mine early January. February and March are for the video cards.

Murphy's Law of Computer Gaming: The listed minimum specifications written on the box by the publisher are not the minimum specifications of the game set by the developer.

 

@\NightandtheShape/@ - "Because you're a bizzare strange deranged human?"

Walsingham- "Sand - always rushing around, stirring up apathy."

Joseph Bulock - "Another headache, courtesy of Sand"

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