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MeatEtr

New PC Specs

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Finally have gotten around to upgrading my 6 year old PC. I got a new one spec'd out over at ibuypower.com. Here's a quick copy/paste of the important stuff.

Raidmax Aztec Gaming Tower Case w/420W Power Supply Blue/Black

600 Watt -- Power Supply SLI Ready

Intel Core 2 Quad Processor Q8200 (4x 2.33GHz/4MBL2Cache/1333FSB)

[sLI] Asus P5N-D Nvidia nForce 750i SLI Chipset

NVIDIA GeForce 9500GT 1GB

320 GB HARD DRIVE [serial-ATA-II, 3Gb, 7200 RPM, 16M Cache

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 32-Bit

4 GB [2 GB X2] DDR2-800 PC6400 Memory Module Corsair

$887 with free shipping. I might get a bigger HD to put my total just over $900. So whatya guys think?

Yes I know all about the Vista problems, I still want to give it a try. I've talked to many gamers who love it. I also know about the Nvidia driver problem with the CMx1 games. If I do have problems I'll still have my old XP machine for CM duties.

Btw, whats the difference between Vista Home Basic, Premium, and Ultimate versions?

GTA4, Fallout 3, Left 4 Dead, Empire Total War, FarCry 2, Bioshock, Age of Conan here I come. :)

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All good but for the Vista. M$ is dropping Vista faster than they dropped WinME. Windows 7 has been pushed up for release 6 months early. We have a copy of the late beta running on some machines at the shop and it's a ton better than Vista- half the crap loaded, half the footprint, half the resource hog yet some really cool Ubuntu like features. I believe the target date for it is June or July.

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All good but for the Vista. M$ is dropping Vista faster than they dropped WinME. Windows 7 has been pushed up for release 6 months early. We have a copy of the late beta running on some machines at the shop and it's a ton better than Vista- half the crap loaded, half the footprint, half the resource hog yet some really cool Ubuntu like features. I believe the target date for it is June or July.

Yeah I heard about the W7 beta. Is that the full retail release in June/July or the full beta release?

Oh and what the heck is Ubuntu?

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I think you'd be better getting a 3.2G dual core rather than a 2.33G quad. Most games don't use dual, let alone quad. If you're editing movies you might get some use out of a quad.

The PSU seems a little on the low side - mine is 850W. What motherboard is it?

Apart from that it looks good.

Except for Vista of course.

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For general gaming, a 4-core with slower cores is still a worse choice than 2 fast cores. Performance-wise and of course power/heat wise.

For BFC related gaming and almost all other wargames, the multicore is NIL and you have no choice other than getting the one fastest core you can get, regardless of how many twins it might have.

People like me don't touch NVidia mainboard chipsets with a 10 foot pole.

32 bit Vista isn't any better than 64 bit Vista but kills some of your RAM, unless Microsoft smartened up and re-enabled PAE (I don't think they did).

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Oh and the graphics card you picked is one for dummies. Dummies as in buys only by amount of memory, although the card is so slow it can't even visit all that memory within a game frame.

And the PSU is the most critical part for a reliable, durable system. In no event can you select a non-specified non-brand whatever PSU. A bad 600 Watts PSU has less actual contiguous power than a high-quality 400 Watts. Don't do it, this is a big mistake. A PSU blowing up often takes all connected components with it - including your harddrives.

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Finally have gotten around to upgrading my 6 year old PC. I got a new one spec'd out over at ibuypower.com. Here's a quick copy/paste of the important stuff.

Raidmax Aztec Gaming Tower Case w/420W Power Supply Blue/Black

600 Watt -- Power Supply SLI Ready

Intel Core 2 Quad Processor Q8200 (4x 2.33GHz/4MBL2Cache/1333FSB)

[sLI] Asus P5N-D Nvidia nForce 750i SLI Chipset

NVIDIA GeForce 9500GT 1GB

320 GB HARD DRIVE [serial-ATA-II, 3Gb, 7200 RPM, 16M Cache

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 32-Bit

4 GB [2 GB X2] DDR2-800 PC6400 Memory Module Corsair

$887 with free shipping. I might get a bigger HD to put my total just over $900. So whatya guys think?

Yes I know all about the Vista problems, I still want to give it a try. I've talked to many gamers who love it. I also know about the Nvidia driver problem with the CMx1 games. If I do have problems I'll still have my old XP machine for CM duties.

Btw, whats the difference between Vista Home Basic, Premium, and Ultimate versions?

GTA4, Fallout 3, Left 4 Dead, Empire Total War, FarCry 2, Bioshock, Age of Conan here I come. :)

wow, nice rig at a good price! I've heard good things about ibuypower. My rig is >5yo at this time. Maybe I will wait for summer and see how the MS W7OS turns out.

Please post a review of your rig once you get a chance to play with it!

:)

Hopefully, you will also get to buy Armed Assault2 and OFP2 if they are released this year!

wait...am i still supposed to write MS as M$? ;)

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Thanks for the feedback. I think I might beef up the graphics card and power supply along with a bigger HD. The PS in my Alienware might have killed my MB or CPU, still don't know to this day(happened about 2 yrs ago).

Oh yeah Patrocles, forgot to mention AA2 and OFP2. They are certainly on my when-released list. ;)

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I've been out of the hardware loop for awhile but I recall hearing that the utmost consideration when buying a new system is ensuring that you get a motherboard that can handle the most bandwidth and a CPU with the highest amount of on-board cache.

The idea being that all else can be upgraded later at a more practical cost.

Does this still hold true today?

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About the CPUs dual vs quad, I assumed games aren't specifically coded to take advantage of either dual or quad core. It's just the overall speed that matters. Like for example, quad 4 x 2.33= 9.32GHz vs a dual 2 x 3.16= 6.32GHz. Which is the way it use to be done.

Now I know the FSB speed is important, which for the quad I picked out is 1333 which is the same speed for all the other dual cores. But how important is the L2 cache? The one I picked is only 4mb. I noticed they come in 4mb, 6mb, 8mb, and 12mb versions. How does this impact the performance of the CPU?

Oh and about the graphics card, I might get the faster 9500GT 512mb version. It's basically just a placeholder for now. I plan on getting a much better $2-300 card later this year.

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About the CPUs dual vs quad, I assumed games aren't specifically coded to take advantage of either dual or quad core. It's just the overall speed that matters. Like for example, quad 4 x 2.33= 9.32GHz vs a dual 2 x 3.16= 6.32GHz. Which is the way it use to be done.

While multi-core CPU's don't require special coding, it is needed to really take advantage of their qualities. Snip from Wiki:

"In addition to operating system (OS) support, adjustments to existing software are required to maximize utilization of the computing resources provided by multi-core processors. Also, the ability of multi-core processors to increase application performance depends on the use of multiple threads within applications."

And AFAIK it's not as simple as multiplying clock speed by amount of cores. Maybe this one sheds some light: http://www.ehoza.com/v4/forum/tutorial/31021-dual-core-vs-quad-core-guide.html

"Even with double the cores of dual-core, the improvement in any given application that supports 4-cores is not doubled!"

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I've been out of the hardware loop for awhile but I recall hearing that the utmost consideration when buying a new system is ensuring that you get a motherboard that can handle the most bandwidth and a CPU with the highest amount of on-board cache.

The idea being that all else can be upgraded later at a more practical cost.

Does this still hold true today?

Only half.

CPU cache: don't get the really crippled stuff. In a Core2 2 MB per core is plenty and 3 brings almost no advantage. But going down to 512 KB is bad. Don't drop below the mainstream default. But more is a waste of money.

Memory speed != memory bandwidth. The higher bandwidth often comes with higher (worse) latency. In general, faster memory is a waste of money. Don't drop below the mainstream default. But more is a waste of money.

Both is very easy to verify by going to anandtech or so and looking at benchmarks of real-world programs (not useless memory bandwidth benchmarks).

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About the CPUs dual vs quad, I assumed games aren't specifically coded to take advantage of either dual or quad core. It's just the overall speed that matters. Like for example, quad 4 x 2.33= 9.32GHz vs a dual 2 x 3.16= 6.32GHz. Which is the way it use to be done.

No, this never worked out this way.

In CM it's basically:

4x 2.33 GHz = 2.33 GHz

2x 3.00 GHz = 3.00 GHz, much faster, less power consumption

For others it's in between but I haven't seen any game that actually uses 4 cores all at full power.

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Hey Mr. MeatEtr,

A friend bought a dell computer last year and the windows install on his computer came with a lot of junk. do you know if ibuypower puts a clean OS only onto their computers? I poked around their site, but I didn't see anythign addressing this issue.

Thanks!

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Ok thanks for the link Sergei, that's exactly the kind of info I was looking for. I'm gonna pass on the quad core for now.

Might want to reconsider.

The price of Celeron 570 processors, designed for laptops, dropped 48 percent to $70 whereas one of the company's quad-core desktop-computer models, which have four processors on one piece of silicon, dropped 40 percent to $316, the news agency said.

Who cares if you're only using half of it if you're only paying half the price? ;)

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Interesting article about "XP vs. Vista vs. W7" here.

Ok, F*CK Vista, I'll pay extra for XP then.

Btw, could I use my old XP Home Edition from my Alienware PC dating back to 2003? I know there is some kind of hardware check(MB, HD, memory, and graphics card) when you install and register XP on a PC. Or is it possible to use my friends XP Pro on my new machine?

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why turn to the CM forums for info on this in the first place?

hardocp has people talking about specs for systems they build all day long and most if not all of them know more about it than anyone here, that's just the first forum that comes to mind that i frequented when i built a system last year

I mean it's not like i'd wander over to hardocp and ask them what the best scenarios are for CMAK or something

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why turn to the CM forums for info on this in the first place?

hardocp has people talking about specs for systems they build all day long and most if not all of them know more about it than anyone here, that's just the first forum that comes to mind that i frequented when i built a system last year

I mean it's not like i'd wander over to hardocp and ask them what the best scenarios are for CMAK or something

Gee, I had no idea, I thought all the hardware experts were in the CM forums. :rolleyes:

What makes you think I'm not frequenting other hardware sites like these:

http://www.tomshardware.com/us/

http://www.guru3d.com/

http://hothardware.com/

http://www.pchardwarehelp.com/

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Oh hey, I love these threads.

Gee, I had no idea, I thought all the hardware experts were in the CM forums. :rolleyes:

What makes you think I'm not frequenting other hardware sites like these:

http://www.tomshardware.com/us/

http://www.guru3d.com/

http://hothardware.com/

http://www.pchardwarehelp.com/

Heh. A more snide person than myself might point to your graphics card as evidence. :D But you came here for advice, and different people have different priorities.

You have a decent setup otherwise. It's not a bad time to go quad, but I think at the moment the best bang for the buck is still a Core 2 Duo E8X00. Got an E8400 myself last summer when I built my new machine. Lots of cache, overclocks like a sumbitch. Running mine at 3.6 Ghz with a Xigmatek heatsink, zero problems.

If you do want to go quad, the budget monster right now is just a bit more expensive than that Q8200 - go with the Q6600 and overclock.

Redwolf is worth listening to in general, I'd feel pretty safe following anything he recommends.

For my money, I'd say

1) look at NewEgg for the parts if you're going to be building it yourself. Especially look at the combo deals for motherboards/CPUs/video cards.

2) Intel chipset is the way to go. I went with a Gigabyte P35; Asus is my usual favorite but found a good deal on the mobo in combo with a graphics card. Only thing worth having that you give up with an Intel motherboard is SLI, and I'm a single card guy.

3) 600w is fine for that machine. Actually, with that graphics card and processor you might even get away with the 450w that comes with the case. The Core 2 processors are pretty efficient.

4) Windows 7 is neat and free for the time being. Highly recommended. Vista's fine in my opinion, but 7 is better so far (for the moment only running it on one laptop at home, but we like it). In general, as a rule I tend to prefer 64-bit, especially if you want to use all of that memory you bought.

5) DDR2 will probably never be this cheap again; buy as much as you think you'll ever need. I have 8GB for absolutely no good reason at all except for the fact that it cost less than some meals I've eaten.

For graphics cards, I started last summer with an 8800 GTS 512 and currently have a Nvidia GTX 260 core 216. It's neat. I think the sweet spot right now is the ATI 4850 (though I have pretty much only ever bought Nvidia); you probably shouldn't go higher than that unless you have a big honking monitor and want to play Crysis on it.

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My two cents (european) as a gamer and network manager:

1) As pointed out, the graphics card is too weak. I'm running a 9600GT (64 Prozessor Units) with 512MB now, and that allows me to play STALKER, Fallout3, Silent Hunter IV all maxed out at 1920x1200 high res with 2xFSAA and 2xAniso. Armed Assault still kills it in forrests.

As I found out coming from an 8600GTS, the core speed these days seems pretty unimportant, what you need is a decent amount of shader units (128 at least I'd say) and a decent memory bandwidth. The performance in my games doubled upon my move, as the 8600GTS only had 32 shading units.

Not sure how that compares with ATI, but I know that the 4850 and 4870 are super fast for their price, yet I've not run ATI since 10 years, and my friend who went 4870x2 has a bunch of driver/Anti Aliasing problems. In Stalker for example you can't force AA (it uses defered shading) on an Ati card unless running DX10, with Nvidia it works on DX9.

I'd suggest you either go to the 280 or 260 Nvidia, or maybe consider an SLI-Setup with two 9600GTs which can be dirt cheap these days. Downside on the 280 and 260 is that I'm not sure how mature the drivers are yet, no problems with the 9s.

2) I've been on Nvidia chipset mobos for four years now, and not a problem to be seen. Okay, occasionally it will fail to power the mouse on boot, but that is super minor.

3) PSU: The 9600GT is one of the last cards to require less than 100W at load. I run it with a 300W PSU, most people would call me crazy (there are reasons for this PSU...)

I'm not a subscriper to the idea that you need 800W or something, but you want at least 600W with a lot of 12V amperage. There have been some on the market that share the 600W total load between 5v rails (unimportant since the card and CPU doesn't use it) and the 12v rail (on which most everthing hangs). You want most of the total peak power to be in 12v amperage - on the other hand I wouldn't oversize the PSU extremly, since that means heat and noise. Corsair makes a few nice PSUs along those lines I mentioned, with less overall wattage, but lots of 12v and little noise.

4) Operating system: I'm running the W7 beta at the office on a test system, and it seems far superior to Vista, and will replace my trusted XP in due time. You could run Vista with SP1 rather problem free these days (we avoided it at company and home mainly for the very bad release state), but if you don't mind the reinstall, then try the W7 beta first for free, and when it nears deactivation in summer, you'll have to decide. A lot of people at simhq.com are gaming on W7 already, Nvidia drivers are fine.

XP of course is also a good mature system, but when W7 comes out, trust me, you want that, so a reinstall it would be either way. On the other hand, Vista 64 bit could easily be upgraded to W7 without a total reinstall.

Just some pointers I hope to be helpfull.

RS

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Thanks for the feedback guys.

I still haven't ordered anything yet, I take my good ole time when it comes to buying PCs. Here's my updated specs:

Intel Core 2 Quad Processor Q9550 (4x 2.83GHz/12MB L2 Cache/1333FSB

650 Watt Casegears ECO-Element 80 Plus Certificated High Efficiency PSU

Asus P5N-D Nvidia nForce 750i SLI Chipset

4 GB [2 GB X2] DDR2-800 PC6400 Memory Module

Nvidia Geforce 9600 512MB

Windows XP Professional w/ Service Pack 2

--------------------

-$80 (free shipping)

$1061

-5%

= $1007.95

It sucks that XP Pro is a lot more expensive.

As I mentioned earlier, the graphics card is just a placeholder, I plan on getting a much better one in the future.

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