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$2500 Budget Quad Core Sli Build


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#1 Gunmeddle

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 08:00 PM

(TLDR version: My Quad Core + SLI Build please review for problems or possible improvements under $2500 thank you to all that try)

I bought an Alienware in 2004. Huge mistake. Been paying for it for 4 years. Since then I've struggled a great deal but learned how to build my own machine a year or so later. My knowledge only goes but so far, as does my budget.

I rebuilt my Alienware with $400 worth of pieces I bought from Newegg and have been a loyal customer ever since. Now I'm here again to build a new system as my current one just fell to an incredible series of problems in the last 48 hours (it lasted me a long time on bargain parts so I can't complain).

My goal? Build a strong, fast $2500 machine that can handle Photoshop CS and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky. I don't know about RAM timings or overclocking but I'm not entire lost with hardware. I spent the past 8 hours putting this together: My Quad Core + SLI Build

I'm a power user and I'm *always* running something on my machine even while I sleep. I download while I work, while I game, I run 4-5 storage drives, so on and so forth so I need a lot of juice and a lot of firepower.

Thank you for reading and a hundred times more for positive replies.

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#2 DJBPace07

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 10:04 PM

I love S.T.A.L.K.E.R.!!!! Your selections of hardware is very solid. I do have a few notes you should be aware of. First, consider a new 45nm Intel processor. They're more efficient and cooler, but they are more expensive. Second, a newer GPU, such as the NVidia 9-series or the ATI 4870 will do the job with newer technology. I had that GPU you selected, it's a good unit, just older. It will certainly do the job, though. Keep in mind that your motherboard does not support Nvidia SLI, it supports ATI Crossfire. ATI cards are pretty good these days. On a more personal note, I would not get a Creative soundcard. I really don't like how they treat their customers. I would go for an Asus Xonar card. Are you going to be using Vista 64-bit with his PC?

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#3 Gunmeddle

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 10:18 PM

I was told Vista is terrible and I should stick with XP. Please tell me why does everyone recommend 64 bit?

Thank you for the recommendation, going for this card http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16814130338 hopefully that will work fine with my board.

I'll check out that sound card right now.

#4 DJBPace07

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 10:24 PM

Vista is not terrible, at least not since SP 1. XP, in my opinion, is a dinosaur. It looks and feels old, besides it won't run DirectX 10. You need 64-bit if you want to use more than 4 GB of memory. 32-bit Windows only maps up to 4 GB of RAM. If you installed 4 GB of RAM in a 32-bit PC, you would have less than 3.5 GB of RAM available for Windows to use. Some newer games use 64-bit instruction sets and will run better than their 32-bit counterparts, especially if you have a huge amount of RAM. That 9800 GX2 card produces a great deal of heat, one of the newer GTX 200 series cards would do well too. You cannot use SLI with that motherboard, an ATI card will allow for Crossfire (ATI's version of SLI). That won't stop you from getting an NVidia card, you'll just be limited to one.

Edited by DJBPace07, 17 September 2008 - 10:29 PM.

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#5 Gunmeddle

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 10:42 PM

I'll go ahead and get Vista Pro 64 bit thank you for the suggestion. The GTX 200 look crazy expensive in comparison. Would it be alright with the EVGA GeForce 9800 GX2 I posted as long as I kept it cool with the 4 intake and 4-5 exhaust fans on the Cooler Master?

#6 DJBPace07

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 11:14 PM

Here's one of the cheaper GTX 200 cards: ZOTAC ZT-X26E3KA-FSP GeForce GTX 260 896MB. It costs the same as the card you selected. Since you're going with Vista 64-bit, you should max out your RAM. For your mobo, that is 8 GB. Is there any particular reason you want to stick with NVidia cards?

Edited by DJBPace07, 17 September 2008 - 11:16 PM.

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#7 Gunmeddle

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 11:21 PM

I just feel safe with NVidia is all. I'm the kinda guy that buys Cheerios because of the bee on the box instead of the other brand that tastes the same but.. no bee.

Just being honest.

Thank you for the card suggestion but please help me understand why choose this card if it's the same price but a little less with performance (so says the specifications, obviously never tried it so I'm not knocking it).

Is it just due to less heat? Here are my alterations so far:

Thank you very much. Here are my changes thus far:
1. Removed my audio card to go with the included onboard audio (reviews are great apparently)
2. Considering a new power supply? CORSAIR 1000W or someone recommended the XIGMATIC 750W
3. Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield to replace my processor.

Should I use Vista Ultimate or Vista Home or Vista Business 64 Bit? Edit: Figured out Vista Home Premium is the way to go.

Edited by Gunmeddle, 17 September 2008 - 11:44 PM.


#8 DJBPace07

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 11:40 PM

Ahh, brand loyalty, I can appreciate that. Just don't get two NVidia cards and expect them to SLI with that mobo. The 9800 GX2 is basically two 8800 GTS 512MB cards sandwiched together in SLI that fits into one PCIexpress slot. Even if your motherboard doesn't support SLI, you can still use the GX2 since all the necessary parts for SLI are contained on the card itself. Some games do not scale with SLI very well so the performance increase will occasionally be limited. However, in games that support SLI fully, the GX2 will often outperform the GTX 260. However, both are outperformed by ATI's 4870 X2. Here's a review of the 4870 X2. As for the PSU, I would go with Corsair. They make excellent PSU's, I have one myself. Go with either Ultimate or Home Premium. Home users do not need, or even want, Business. Ultimate is Home Premium with Business added on.

Edited by DJBPace07, 17 September 2008 - 11:41 PM.

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#9 Gunmeddle

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 12:09 AM

I'm not trying to seem like one of those a$$holes that ask for help then throw it back in peoples faces. I have no problem switching brands I'm just asking a lot of questions to understand more about my decisions so I'm not so helpless in the future.

If you think your card would be better than mine I'll swap it in, that's why I'm here for advice!

I really appreciate the knowledge and feedback. I'll go with the Corsair and Vista Home Premium.


Edit: I made changes to my setup now but I'm having trouble finding an ATI card with the same performance as my NVidia.

Other than my card am I good to go? Heres the new wishlist.

Edited by Gunmeddle, 18 September 2008 - 12:40 AM.


#10 Gunmeddle

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 01:23 AM

Can someone tell me if it would an ATI card would be better than an NVIDIA card due to the chipset? The costs seems quite different for the performance stats.. is NVidia just a superior card developer right now?

EVGA GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB (512MB per GPU)

versus

SAPPHIRE 100243-1GL Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit

Edited by Gunmeddle, 18 September 2008 - 12:21 PM.


#11 DJBPace07

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 01:36 PM

GIGABYTE GV-R487X2-2GH-B Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB 512-bit is better than a GTX 260 in SLI. Here's a comparison in Crysis.

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#12 Gunmeddle

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 02:39 PM

I switched to an NVidia board to match the video card. I'm currently at $2200. Anything worth upgrading? Here is the current wishlist with the Q6600 back on it, taken the advice with the Vista 64 bit.

And how about this

EVGA 896-P3-1266-AR GeForce GTX 260 FTW

vs

my old EVGA 01G-P3-N891-AR GeForce 9800 GX2 1GB

Would you make the switch? Is it an upgrade?

#13 DJBPace07

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 08:54 PM

I say keep the 9800 GX2. See if you can upgrade your processor back to the Q9550. The GX2 produces a great deal of heat, so does a Q6600. Adding a Q9550 would cause your case to be a little cooler.

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#14 Gunmeddle

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 10:25 PM

Thank you, I will. And it seems I'm done! If anyone has any suggestions on this final build I would appreciate them otherwise tomorrow I'm picking these parts up in 24 hours.

Edited by Gunmeddle, 19 September 2008 - 12:18 AM.


#15 Pray For Snow

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 08:08 PM

I love the way that case looks its been a major player in my decision on which to get. That build will be awesome




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