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UltimaX

Help With Designing a New PC

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UltimaX    468
I am getting ready to purchase equipment for a new PC and I was wondering if I could get some advice; maybe some pros, cons, and suggestions. My current PC is not much and the main reason I need to do an upgrade. I built it about 6-7 years ago and back then it was pretty good. Here is a quick run over of what I currently have: Windows XP Professional SP2 (32 bit) Pentium 4 1.6GHz 512 MB RAM 80 GB Hard Drive ATI Radeon 9500 Pro / 9700 (128 MB) As you can see it is a little well over due for a new one. Here is what I was planning on getting. Windows Vista Ultimate (32 bit or 64 bit as I am undecided and need suggestions on) XFX nForce 780i 3-Way SLI Motherboard Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 OCZ SLI 4 GB RAM if 32 bit OS and 8 GB RAM if 64 bit OS 1 TB Hard Drive Visiontek Radeon HD 4870 Video Card - 512MB GDDR5, PCI Express 2.0 800 Watt Power Supply DVD/BD The video card has DirectX 10.1 support so it will be compatible with DirectX 11 when it comes out (this is one thing I was looking for) and it also has the SM 4.1. I figured it would run me around $1,300 for it, which is not bad at all. Like I said, the one I have now I build about 6-7 years ago and I am hoping to get the same life out of this one as well. So what do you suggest, should I go for the 64 bit operating system or the 32 bit operating system? I am not sure what all the pros and cons are for this so I am open to suggestions and knowledge. Please note that this will be a gaming PC as well as a workstation. I do a lot of contract work (web development, .NET programming, VS6, etc.) so I will need it for that. I doubt that it will be a big deal though. I usually work a lot of hours (around 80+ a week) so when I want to take a break and play a game I want to do so without having to worry about it being supported (not to mention Diablo 3 is coming soon :)) Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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Talroth    3247
The question about 32 vs 64 is mainly answered by: Do you need something that is only going to run on 32 bit systems (and then likely XP or older). These tend to be hardware with custom drivers.


If the answer to that is no, then go with 64, there are no real drawbacks (that I'm aware of) and the extra ram you can upgrade to is always nice.


If there is something you need: Can you upgrade it? Do you REALLY need it?



Also, what kind of programs are you running? Will you be doing things that would be improved by the Quad Core? Strongly consider the higher clocked Dual Core now, and upgrade to Quad/Oct/Hex core later in a few years when the processors are cheaper and more software that you'll use daily can take more advantage of them.

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daviangel    604
Quote:
Original post by Heodox
"XFX nForce 780i 3-Way SLI Motherboard" with "Radeon HD 4870"

Why? You should chose some crossfire board instead.

Yup, why pay extra for the 3-way sli if you aren't going to use it?
Anyways, if you are planning on using this pc for years down the road you definitely want 64bit Windows since if you decide to add more than 4GB of ram later you won't be able to use it.
You might have to dualboot for very old games/apps that use 16bits since 64 bit windows doesn't run them at all.




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Talroth    3247
Quote:
Original post by daviangel
You might have to dualboot for very old games/apps that use 16bits since 64 bit windows doesn't run them at all.


Really, it is easier to either run really old games in an emulator on modern hardware, or just piece together an old 200mhz system from junked parts people toss out.

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UltimaX    468
Thank you everyone for the replies. The reason I was looking at that mobo is because it was bundled with the Core 2 Quad and I needed the PCIe 2 slots. Also, I am only planning on having one video card running so I really don't care about the SLI or Crossfire. Here is what I was looking at: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=3610493&CatId=2406

However, I could get this board that is Crossfire ready: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=3747315&CatId=2547 and the Core 2 Quad is only $200.00 so it will only be $50.00 more for this mobo.

What do you think about the second board?

Anyway, will I be able to use Visual Basic 6 and Visual C++ 6 on a 64 bit setup? I still have customers that I have to use these products for. Most of my new customers using .NET, but I will still have to provide support and what not for the older customers. I guess if it came down to it I could always to programming in those languages on this PC. Here is the software that I use:

Visual Studio 6 Enterprise (VB, C++, etc.)
Visual Studio 2008
Microsoft SQL 2005 Enterprise
MySQL
Apache
IIS
Office 2003
Photoshop CS

Then when I do game development I am going to use:
Visual C# 2008
XNA <-- This is one of the things that prompted the upgrade
3D Studio Max 9

In my spare time I want to get back into game programming and I want to be able to play games like Crysis, Diablo 3, COD4, etc. It's kind of hard to program when you are dealing with a DX8/9? SM2 video card...

Thanks again everyone.

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mumpo    534
Your parts list looks pretty reasonable. However, here are a few tips and questions which you might find helpful:

- Take a look at newegg.com. It is similar to tiger direct, but they have a much larger selection. They have good return policies on most items, good prices, and ship quickly.
- Whatever motherboard you decide on, be sure to check RAM compatibility carefully before you order. In particular, make sure you determine whether your board takes DDR2 or DDR3 memory, and whether it accepts RAM modules with non-standard voltage requirements. Retail DDR2 modules may require anywhere from 1.8V to ~2.3V, but many modern motherboards only support the official DDR2 voltage of 1.8V. Similarly, DDR3 modules may require from 1.5V to ~2.0V, but some motherboards are only guaranteed to work with 1.5V modules. Trying to use RAM that is almost, but not quite the right thing has tripped up many a would-be amateur PC builder in recent years. If all else fails, Kingston Technology can be relied upon to sell high quality RAM of almost any kind you need.
- If you are interested in overclocking, you might want to stay away from NVIDIA (nForce) motherboard chipsets, as they have had some problems with data corruption when running overclocked.
- Unless you want a multi-GPU setup, (I don't recommend it) an 800 Watt power supply is overkill. A good 500W power supply is sufficient for almost all single-GPU systems, even ones with high end parts. Because you are looking at a particularly power-hungry card, upgrading to a good ~650W or so is probably wise, but you really don't need one of those monster units. Do get a good quality one, however. Corsair makes some pretty good ones right now that are reasonable priced.
- You might consider getting an HD 4850 instead of a 4870; it's still ridiculously fast, but it burns less power and is usually much cheaper. Also, if you want something fancier, you might be better off getting an HD 4850 with a full 1GB of VRAM, instead of an HD 4870. The HD 4850 with extra VRAM will likely outperform an ordinary HD 4870 at very high resolutions such as 2560x1600, the native resolution of most 30" monitors. At lower resolutions, cards a generation behind the HD 4800s are sufficient in nearly all current games anyways.

As a final thought, you might want to consider waiting another ~4 months or so, as Intel is releasing a major update to their product line (a new CPU architecture, Nehalem/Core i7) around that time. It is supposed to be about 30% faster at the same clock rates, and the new high-end motherboards to go along with it will support 50% higher main memory bandwidth. I think they may also be adding USB3.0 support. Whether it's actually worth buying or not, it should help drive down prices on their current stuff noticabley.

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Umbongo    214
You might want to look at cheaper motherboards as I don't get the impression you really need to be spending more than $150 on one.

On memory, in addition to mumpo's suggestions, don't go out and buy 8GB when you build this system. You are comming from 512mb and just because memory is cheap doesn't mean you need to buy more than you will ever use. You can always add it at a later date.

If you don't already have a good data backup up system consider impmenting one when you build too.

Quote:
Original post by mumpo
- Unless you want a multi-GPU setup, (I don't recommend it) an 800 Watt power supply is overkill. A good 500W power supply is sufficient for almost all single-GPU systems, even ones with high end parts. Because you are looking at a particularly power-hungry card, upgrading to a good ~650W or so is probably wise, but you really don't need one of those monster units. Do get a good quality one, however. Corsair makes some pretty good ones right now that are reasonable priced.


Agree with everything in your post except that 650W is likely overkill too. A 400w PSU should be able to run everything the OP has listed. So a quality 500W would be a good choice.

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daviangel    604
Quote:
Original post by mumpo
Your parts list looks pretty reasonable. However, here are a few tips and questions which you might find helpful:

- Take a look at newegg.com. It is similar to tiger direct, but they have a much larger selection. They have good return policies on most items, good prices, and ship quickly.
- Whatever motherboard you decide on, be sure to check RAM compatibility carefully before you order. In particular, make sure you determine whether your board takes DDR2 or DDR3 memory, and whether it accepts RAM modules with non-standard voltage requirements. Retail DDR2 modules may require anywhere from 1.8V to ~2.3V, but many modern motherboards only support the official DDR2 voltage of 1.8V. Similarly, DDR3 modules may require from 1.5V to ~2.0V, but some motherboards are only guaranteed to work with 1.5V modules. Trying to use RAM that is almost, but not quite the right thing has tripped up many a would-be amateur PC builder in recent years. If all else fails, Kingston Technology can be relied upon to sell high quality RAM of almost any kind you need.
- If you are interested in overclocking, you might want to stay away from NVIDIA (nForce) motherboard chipsets, as they have had some problems with data corruption when running overclocked.
- Unless you want a multi-GPU setup, (I don't recommend it) an 800 Watt power supply is overkill. A good 500W power supply is sufficient for almost all single-GPU systems, even ones with high end parts. Because you are looking at a particularly power-hungry card, upgrading to a good ~650W or so is probably wise, but you really don't need one of those monster units. Do get a good quality one, however. Corsair makes some pretty good ones right now that are reasonable priced.
- You might consider getting an HD 4850 instead of a 4870; it's still ridiculously fast, but it burns less power and is usually much cheaper. Also, if you want something fancier, you might be better off getting an HD 4850 with a full 1GB of VRAM, instead of an HD 4870. The HD 4850 with extra VRAM will likely outperform an ordinary HD 4870 at very high resolutions such as 2560x1600, the native resolution of most 30" monitors. At lower resolutions, cards a generation behind the HD 4800s are sufficient in nearly all current games anyways.

As a final thought, you might want to consider waiting another ~4 months or so, as Intel is releasing a major update to their product line (a new CPU architecture, Nehalem/Core i7) around that time. It is supposed to be about 30% faster at the same clock rates, and the new high-end motherboards to go along with it will support 50% higher main memory bandwidth. I think they may also be adding USB3.0 support. Whether it's actually worth buying or not, it should help drive down prices on their current stuff noticabley.

Listen to this guy you can tell he has built quite a few systems in his day. He's mentioned quite a bit of gems that only a person that builds and uses a lot of different hardware would know that I didn't bother to mention.
The Nforce issue is probably the most important one if you care about the data you are storing on your pc. That's probably why my next motherboard will most likely not have one since I've personally since the issue on my nforce boards especially with raptor drives and AFAIK I'm not even sure if the problem is fully resolved to this day since Nvidia blames Microsoft and Vista and Microsoft blames Nvidia? All I know is that Microsoft has issued a ton of patches via MS update for Nvidia sata controller.
That's why I"m also considering going back to using an opteron with workstation motherboard,ECC ram, and SCSI drives to ensure the validitity of my data but it'll cost me more and run hotter so I dunno.
And yeah some motherboards can become quite unstable if they don't correctly support the higher voltages of fancier ram like OCZ. Kingston speeds and voltages are conservative so they should work with almost anything.
And I can't recommend the 4850 over the 4870 without knowing how the fan on it runs because my experience in the past with single slot vs dual slot cooling solutions is that they are usually quite loud and annoying.


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