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Is this a good gaming system?

By astrotzky
Aug 30, 2008
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  1. Hello,

    I plan to buy a new computer soon and I thought it's wise to ask more people about my choices.
    Here is what I have in mind:

    Motherboard : ASUS Maximus II Formula (200 EUR)
    CPU : INTEL E8600 - Core 2 Duo, 3.3GHz (230 EUR)
    Video card : ASUS EAH4870X2 Radeon HD 4870 X2 (440 EUR)
    RAM : 2 x Corsair TWIN2X4096-6400C4DHX - 2GB DRR2-800 (100 EUR)
    HDD : 2 x Western Digital VelociRaptor - WD3000GLFS (480 EUR)
    PSU : Zalman ZM850-HP - 850W (200 EUR)
    Case : Thermaltake Kandalf LCS (240 EUR)
    DVD writer : Samsung SH-S203P (40 EUR)
    Keyboard : Logitech G15 2005 or G11 (80 EUR); hope I will still find G15 2005 (had that cool wheel)
    Mouse : Logitech MX 518 (45 EUR)
    Display : Samsung SyncMaster 2493HM, 24'', 1920x1200 (360 EUR)

    In total it's about 2500 EUR and this is kind of my budget (can go a few hundreds higher but I don't really want to).

    And here are my reasons:

    Motherboard
    - it's a P45 chipset based mobo because I don't trust NVIDIA on chipsets and it's not a X48 because I don't plan to use CrossFire
    - has hardware RAID (Speeding HDD)
    - performs fine in reviews
    - I trust ASUS as a brand

    CPU
    - fastest Core 2 Duo
    - I plan to overclock it and would like not to increase the voltage; from the reviews I read this processor is the most stable with this kind of overclocking (probably brought by the new E0 stepping)

    Video card
    - needed a bad video card because I want to play all the games maxed out at 1920x1200
    - the only thing better than this (but only slightly and not in all games) is 2 GTX 280, and that's at least 300 EUROs more. It's a no-brainer who provides better value here

    RAM
    - 2 x 2GB seems the best/enough for now (will use Vista or XP 64 bit editions)
    - I trust the brand
    - it's on ASUS' Qualified Vendor List which means it has been tested with the motherboard so I won't have problems

    HDD
    - 2 pieces of the fastest hard-drive available
    - will use RAID 0
    - solid state hard drives are just too expensive now (perhaps in a few years...)

    PSU
    - has enough juice (including amps)
    - respected brand
    - performs ok in reviews
    - it's very quiet

    Case
    - looks cool
    - it's quiet
    - it has water cooling and I want that, but I am not ready to make case modifications. I'm sure that if I were to cut the case myself it would look horrible

    DVD RW
    - from the reviews it seems ok
    - has LightScribe which might come in handy

    Mouse
    - it's wired (had some bad experiences with gaming using wireless mice)
    - can change DPI on-the-fly while you are in the game
    - it's lighter than G5 (I don't like brick mice - heavy and big)

    Display
    - I like 24'' / 1920x1200
    - it performs ok in the reviews
    - has HDMI
    - looks nice
    - has TN panel which means it's cheap and it doesn't have noticeable input lag; I don't mind viewing angles: I will be gaming right in front of it


    The video card will probably be the most noisy component and I will probably buy a water block as soon as I know there is no fabrication problem with it. I heard that mounting a water block voids the warranty so I want first to make sure I won't return it.

    What do you think?
    Will I have any incompatibilities?
    Known issues with any component?
    Are my choices correct?

    P.S. Sorry for the huge post.


    Thank you.
  2. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,286   +24

    Since you're already spending so much (and can afford spending more) and assuming you want the system to last a while down the road, get a 45nm quad-core CPU like the Q9450.

    Also, the Maximus II Formula is a Crossfire board. Get the GA-EP45-DS3L instead IMO. Gigabyte's build quality is better than ASUS from what I've seen and Gigabyte's boards are less fussier about RAM than ASUS'. That being said, I have an ASUS P5E3 and it's been rock-solid so far, but I paid a lot of money for it (since I wanted 1600MHz DDR3 RAM to match my CPU's FSB) and I suspect that is why I have yet to suffer any major problems.

    As for your case, get a big one with lots of room like the Cooler Master Stacker 832. I have one and it is HUGE! It has a lot of room for a water cooling setup, as well as a very robust air-cooling system.

    Lastly, don't cheap out on the PSU. The Zalman is good, but an 850W PSU with only 60A on the +12V rail isn't really that great. I'd recommend the superior PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 or the Corsair TX750W. Also, keep in mind that you don't really need such a powerful PSU and that a good-quality 650W PSU such as the Corsair TX650W or the Antec NeoPower 650W will be enough, since you don't plan on having a dual-card setup.
  3. astrotzky

    astrotzky TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I have chosen a Core 2 Duo instead a Quad for the following reasons:
    - speed: a Quad will never reach 4GHz (well, at least not without increasing the voltage). A Core 2 Duo can reach that speed easily. And at a much lower temperature, which means less need for high-end cooling, which means it's quieter
    - most of the current games don't scale well from 2 cores to 4. Frankly I would rather have 2 higher clocked cores that 2 lower clocked ones + 2 core that are almost unused. I'm sure future games will scale better on 4 cores, but it's better to buy stuff when you need it (and get it for a better price). For example there wasn't a big need to go 64 bit a few years ago, but now, a 2GB video card or 4GB RAM forces you to have a 64 bit CPU and a 64 bit OS.
    And I can always buy a quad when I need it. It will probably be a lot cheaper by then.
    - I went with a E8600 instead of a E5000 because I read that the new E0 stepping allows me to overclock more without increasing the voltage. I also read that the E8xxx have some problems with the thermal sensor which they fixed. I wouldn't like to see my CPU reporting 80C. Even if probably the real temp is not that high at all.

    The case is HUGE: 540.0 mm x 220.0 mm x 640.0 mm.
    The only space problem I will have is where to put it :)

    I haven't.
    The main reason I choose this one is because it's very quiet.
    It gives me more than enough amps. It's SLI certified so it will probably also be ok for 2 x 4870x2. And I don't even plan to CrossFire.
  4. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,286   +24

    Don't get me wrong, the PSU isn't bad, it's just that it provides a very low amount of +12V current for such a high total wattage figure. As I said (and you know), you will probably not need that much power and will be fine with a 650W PSU like the ones I suggested. They're extremely quiet and the build quality is better overall compared to the Zalman. The latter does have some impressive heatpipe cooling though, which will probably allow it to deliver 60A of continuous current rather than a peak value.

    Case-wise, I didn't see you had gotten one, probably skipped it over. Sorry about that.

    Lastly, I just recommended the quad-core CPU in case you didn't want to upgrade for at least 3-4 years down the road. Your justification is perfectly valid too.
  5. astrotzky

    astrotzky TS Rookie Topic Starter

    This is what I have decided:

    1. Motherboard: I like the Maximus II Formula one, even if it's expensive.
    2. CPU: will buy a dual-core. I will buy a quad when at least 50% of the games I play can take advantage of it. I will also get it cheaper.
    Now, I know E8600 it not worth the money, but it's the only way to make sure I buy a E0 stepping (I buy online) so I will go with that.
    3. Video card: 4870x2 it is. No question about it.
    4. RAM: I keep it. Of the DDR2-1066 2x2GB kits on the ASUS Qualified Vendor List I can't find any of them to buy. I don't want to buy memory that's not on the QVL. I know it will probably work, but I also know that the memory on the QVL works for sure).
    5. HDD: It seems 2xVelociraptor in RAID is not worth it. What do you recommend? Would a 64GB SSD system drive and a Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS, 640GB for data would be a good ideea? Or maybe two? In RAID :) ? At least the price of two of those is still a lot less that a single Velociraptor.
    6. PSU: It seems Corsair is pretty popular. Do you have recommendations to make for a quiet model?
    7. Case: I'm torn apart on this. I understand their water kits are the entry point to water cooling. All the reviews I read said it's ok (not great), it's on par with high-end air cooling. Is this true? Because, frankly I don't need more.
    And one more thing. I CAN'T go with air cooling. Water is the only way to make the 4870x2 silent.

    So that left me with 3 questions: HDD, PSU and case. Could you help me here, please?
  6. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,286   +24

    I think a single SSD along with the WD 1TB Caviar Black Edtion will be fine. Whether or not you want two of them is upto you.

    As for the PSU, if you want the quietest and most powerful PSUs available, get one from Seasonic's M12 series. I specifically recommend the 700W model for it's fantastic noise characteristics, modular cabling and great power delivery.
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