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fariss

Finally pulled the trigger

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After much thought & 2nd guessing I've ordered the parts for MY new system. After building rigs for others I decided to splurge on myself. And splurge I did. This site will get a tidy amount from newegg.

 

On with it:

 

Case:

Zalman Z-Machine GT1000-B

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16811235005

I've always liked this case. Expensive but the 2nd choice was a Silverstone TJ-10 that was almost as much. I'm going to swap out the red case fans for green.

 

Mobo:

ASUS P5E LGA 775 Intel X38

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16813131219

This was a tough one. I had lost faith in ASUS a few years back. It was between this & the Gigabyte X38 board. I will be doing a modest OC, nothing radical. The ASUS board I chose doesn't have all the frills of the top boards but is a stable platform. Does anyone know how good the sound card they supply is? I still have my current Audigy2 ZS if it doesn't pan out.

 

Video:

Sapphire Radeon HD 2900XT 1GB 512-bit GDDR4

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16814102099

I'm a BFG fanboy of sorts. I've always had great luck with them. But Crossfire changes things somewhat. I went highend because I'll be using only 1 card. Perhaps later on I'll try Crossfire. I wish the 3870's would have stayed less expensive. This part of the build is causing me a lot of worry. I've NEVER had any luck with ATI.

 

CPU:

E6850 C2D

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16819115028

Like I said I'm looking only for a modest OC. I'm still of the school that prolonged high OCs shorten the life of the CPU. My needs aren't such that a QuadCore is a big need. Some gaming, a little encoding (my AMD dual core has been OK). I'm looking for a fast, stable all-around system.

 

Memory:

mushkin Extreme Performance 2GB PC2 8500 DDR21066

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16820146677

Actually this will be 4 GB, 2 of the above kits. I looked at the Patriot memory but the Micron chips sold me on this kit. I've always used OCZ (except for some Kingston early on) so the mushkin will be new to me. I'd appreciate any feedback on this selection.

 

HDD's:

Western Digital 500GB SATA

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16822136178

I'm avoiding RAID this time around. I got an external 1TB drive as a gift this fall. Therein lies my ability to backup. I currently have on hand 2 36 gig Raptors, 2 WD 320, & a WD 160. All SATA. Plenty of storage. I plan on dual booting XP Pro 32 bit & Vista Ultimate 63 bit. The Raptors will be used for that. The low price just made me buy the 500GB.

 

Burners:

Philips DVD Burner with Lightscribe

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16827248011

Bought 2 of them. I've used Lite-On & TDK in the past. I'm finding that Lite-On has slipped somewhat in quality lately. I like the looks of the Philips burners & they get fairly good reviews. Not a big deal since burners are inexpensive. My TDK has never given me a coaster. It accepts all brands of media but it's IDE. Oh well. It's now in my daughter's computer.

 

Cooler:

Zalman CNPS 9700

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16835118020

Since I'm only looking for a modest OC this was plenty cooler enough for me. I've used it in the past & have had great luck with it. It looks great in the Zalman case. Except the fan is green. Hence the change in the color of the case fans. Besides I like the green better. I was going to use a TEC cooler (the Ultra or the CoolIt) but I've found once the OC starts they are on a par with good aircooling. It freed up some money for upgrades elsewhere.

 

PSU:

Ultra X3 1000w

http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/ind...oducts_id=21545

Sorry, newegg didn't have it. I disdained the early Ultra PSU's (probably as much as Angry). But like another poster in another thread said the highpower Ultras are a different breed. I laughed at friends buying them but over time was convinced that the X3's were OK. I've seen 3 builds with them. All 3 were high end systems. No problems anywhere. We'll see.

 

PLEASE chime in with your thoughts, ideas and advice. Parts should start arriving in a few days.

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I've never had any issues with ULTRA PSU's; but you shoulda looked into getting it at TigerDirect, they're now an affiliate and have a few bundles with that one.

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Any reason you chose the 2900xt over the 3870 or 8800GT...other than they are sold out?

 

The price gouging of the 3870's pissed me off. The 8800's won't Crossfire.

Since I wanted to start with one card, I wanted one that flew.

Crossfire was the deciding factor. If the IRS is good to me & the 2900xt works out I'll be trying Crossfire with a second one.

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Maybe the 3870 is priced higher than it was supposed to be but it's still cheaper than the 2900xt and a better performer. Looking forward to see how the 2900's run in CF though. Keep us updated :tooth:

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quad core = beneficial for video encoding and a few of the more recent released games.

 

crossfire = good for a few games, even then cost/benefit wise its a silly purchase, by the time u want the second card your much better off buying the latest and greatest and selling the old one. And the benifit of all those extra $$$ can only be seen when gaming.

 

Personally id have waited and got one of the soon to be released 45nm. Has SSE4 instruction set which in the correct encoding apps has made ridiculous improvements over the same speed 65nm part.

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Maybe the 3870 is priced higher than it was supposed to be but it's still cheaper than the 2900xt and a better performer. Looking forward to see how the 2900's run in CF though. Keep us updated :tooth:

 

The 2900XT is the 1gig version.

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How is the cpu utilization on the Philips burners? Lite-On's is terrible and I've been looking at Asus' since I read a review showing their utilization at around 20% at full speed while Lite-On's was over 60%.

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newegg is fantastic.

Everything but the GPU & DVD drives came today.

PSU is coming later. Different vendor.

 

First impressions:

Zalman case:

WOW. Been a Lian Li fan forever (a few Coolermasters thrown in along the way). However, the Zalman is all that. And more. Solid as hell. I think I could stand on it. It doesn't have a removable mobo tray but the back side of the case is actually the mobo tray. You can't run cables there for obvious reasons. I thought this would be a problem but there is plenty of room behind the drive cages to run cables. Holes are provided in places for this reason. I used the back/tray removed from the case to mount the board instead of mounting it attached. You really have to plan ahead though. I had to remove the board & tray 3 times (once because I forgot the I/O shield). So far the only faults I've found are the allen screws used on the backside. The case uses thumbscrews on the other side. I'll be buying some to replace them. A possible fault is the fact there is no support bracket for the PSU. However, reviews say it isn't needed because the aluminum case walls are so thick. This is very true. The HDD cages are awesome. Best way to install that I've ever seen. Same with the optical drives. But the HDD are really unique. Expensive but first impressions seem to make it worth it.

 

Mobo:

Happy with it but I haven't fired it up yet. Waiting for the PSU. Came close to yanking this computer's PSU but decided to wait. Those heatsinks are different. And they don't get in the way. I was worried that the mushkins wouldn't fit. The slots are pretty narrow. But they just fit. Wide heatspreaders might present a problem for some. There are faults though & I expect to find more. There is only 1 1384 onboard connection. You have to choose where to send it. I chose the front case connection. The SATA connections are the angled type. They suck. No room to connect between HDD & mobo. I had to ask for the wife to help (small hands.) Also I was going to use the locking SATA cables but they don't fit. And I had ordered some real nice silver ones. The right angle cable ends are even harder to connect. I ended up using the right angle connectors at the HDD end. I'm sure the SATA connections are angled to accommodate the long video cards. I'm curious just how good the sound card is. It would be nice to get rid of the footprint that the Audigy card leaves on a system. ASUS provides a nifty little one piece connector for the front case connections. Why this hasn't been done before is beyond me. No more fiddling with needle nose pliers to make those connections. But the Zalman case provides the firewire & SATA connections with one piece connectors.

 

Memory:

Since I haven't fired it up yet not too much to say. Some reviews said the heatspreaders were flimsy but both kits are sturdy.

 

I hate waiting. But I don't want to butcher this computer just to see what it'll do.

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