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Build Advice µATX Gaming Build - Advice Needed

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Aterius Gmork, 4 Feb 2009.

  1. Aterius Gmork

    Aterius Gmork smell the ashes

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    A friend of mine asked me to built a new computer for him. His Budget is around 600€, gaming resolution is 1920x1200.

    He has:
    -AeroCool M40 Case (µATX)
    -Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro
    -Seagate Barracuda 200GB SATA
    -WinXP
    -bits n' bytes (DVD, cardreader etc.)

    He really likes this case and wants to keep it as it is easy to carry around. I do understand as I have the same. Unfortunately it already required quite a bit of modding to fit a Freezer 7 Pro. We also redid the whole back, instead of 3 noisy 80mm fans there now is one 120mm.

    PC will be used for gaming mainly, but also movie encoding and raytracing.

    Right now I am looking at:

    -DFI LanParty Junior P45-T2RS P45 (µATX Mobo) 120€

    -Q6600 170€

    -4GB 4096MB Exceleram PC2-8000 CL5 KIT 42€
    or
    -4096MB OCZ PC2-8500 CL5 KIT XTC GOLD 51€

    -520W Corsair HX520W 106€

    -HIS ATI 4870 180€

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    630€


    I do realise that I am already out of budget, but the only point to safe some money would be the 4870 as I can see. But 180€ is a really tempting offer, and it would safe only 40€. Still, that would be an option if he cannot stretch that far.

    How well would the Q6600 overclock? Would it reach 3.0 or 3.2 Ghz with the Freezer 7 Pro?
    Also would there be a better or cheaper mainboard option?
    How is the RAM? Basicly it's about the cheapest I could find that clocks 1Ghz.
    I chose ATI because the 4870 is 23cm, 4 cm shorter than a 260GTX. Can you confirm this?
     
  2. Sir Digby

    Sir Digby The Supprising Adventures

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    If you don't need crossfire and are looking at overclocking then the Asus P5E-VM HDMI might be worth checking out - hardocp has a massive thread on it and people there have managed to get Q6600's up to 4Ghz on air
     
  3. Aterius Gmork

    Aterius Gmork smell the ashes

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    Thanx, Sir Digby. :)

    There is the Asus P5E-VM SE, which has VGA as far as I can see - which he simply doesn't need. For his two screens he'll use the graphics card anyway. And it is 20€ cheaper.

    Are there any other differences? The Chip is the Intel G35 as well.
     
  4. Xtrafresh

    Xtrafresh It never hurts to help

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    i think the DFI will do a lot better. I'm getting one for myself too :)
     
  5. bigsharn

    bigsharn Officially demotivated

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    There's the other Lanparty Jr isn't there? if you don't need Crossfire I'm sure that'll do for a gaming rig?

    EDIT: my bad, I was thinking of the X58... please don't kill me
     
    Last edited: 4 Feb 2009
  6. Diosjenin

    Diosjenin Thinker, Tweaker, Et Cetera

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    If you're not explicitly getting two graphics cards, stay away from the DFI. P45 boards have always been x8/x8 in Crossfire, but this particular one is x8/x8 even on the electrical level - meaning both slots are limited to half-bandwidth even if you're only using one card.

    The P5E-VM previously mentioned is a G35 chipset and not a G45 - meaning its PCI-E slot is 1.0 and not 2.0. While it is backwards-compatible with 2.0 cards, it functionally runs at half of 2.0 bandwidth - the same problem that the DFI has.

    If you're willing to take your chances with overclocking ability, go with the ASUS P5Q-VM, but if you want something that is basically guaranteed to OC well, the P5Q-EM w/ HDMI is probably your best option.

    Oh, and the 4870 is indeed shorter than the 260. I don't have any actual numbers, but I do know that the 260 is the same length as the 280 - i.e. about 1" (2.5 cm) longer than a standard ATX/uATX motherboard, whereas the 4870 does not extend over the far end of a board.


    - Diosjenin -
     
  7. azrael-

    azrael- I'm special...

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    Two points come to mind.

    First point: A Q6600 in a mATX (cube) case might get a bit too hot. Remember, that any given time all 4 cores will produce heat, whether in use or not. Also, you'll not get much extra performance from quad core, when gaming. Although raytracing might be accelerated a bit.

    Second point: Why the HIS HD4870? Is it because it's particularly cheap? It certainly isn't because it's cool or quiet, as the bit-tech review recently uncovered. A HD4870 is an excellent card, but I believe you can find better versions than the HIS. One example would be the Gainward HD4870 GS.

    As for choosing a motherboard on the basis of it supporting PCIe 1.x or 2.0, there's really not much performance difference at this point. Even the fastest cards right now can't really saturate the bandwidth PCIe 1.x provides.
     
  8. Sir Digby

    Sir Digby The Supprising Adventures

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    To be honest I'm not sure - I can't find mention of the SE anywhere other than on the shop websites and the Asus website.

    All that I can see thats different on the specs is that the Asus page for the HDMI version mentions the use of high quality capaciters while the page for the SE version doesn't.

    Still, its significantly cheaper - the only thing I can think of is that it uses northbridges that aren't good enough to use with the HDMI version - but I doubt it

    Anyway, good luck with it :thumb:
     
  9. Aterius Gmork

    Aterius Gmork smell the ashes

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    First - thank you for your answers.

    People have clocked the Q6600 to 3 Ghz with the stock cooler, the Freezer 7 Pro is quite a bit better. Look at some pictures of the case - it's µATX, but there are plenty of fans. I have this case for a 2nd PC as well, using the Pentium 4 3Ghz, which isn't the coolest as well. I could probably even mod it to fit a TRUE - but the TRUE would be too expensive.

    To be honest, with all the new processors only beeing Quads I am a bit reluctant to recommend a dual core.
     
  10. bigsharn

    bigsharn Officially demotivated

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    I'm aiming for 3.2GHz on a Freezer 7, I know of someone who has 3.6GHz... just as a guideline if you're after overclocking
     
  11. Diosjenin

    Diosjenin Thinker, Tweaker, Et Cetera

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    If you're looking to get back in budget, you might want to ease up on the PSU. Not that the Corsair is a bad one by any means at all, but more because that system probably wouldn't draw 520W unless it had a 4870 X2 shoved in there. If you can find the Enermax Modu82+ 425W or Seasonic M12II 430W for less than the Corsair, I highly suggest you look at those instead. Both are reputable, both are 80+ certified, modular, and have the PCI-E connectors necessary to power a 4870.

    In addition, you could probably also get back under budget by sticking with the Corsair (to be on the safe side, you'll see why soon) and making a small change to the GPU configuration. I mentioned earlier that the DFI P45 board is x8/x8 electrical, which limits bandwidth on a single card. However, it remains the only available option (without diving into Core i7) for Crossfire in uATX, and its performance in that respect will be identical to any other P45-based board around (not as good as it would be on, say, an X48, but certainly not shabby at all). You could have your friend get the DFI board and a single HD 4850, and then get another 4850 later when he has the money. While it would sacrifice some performance in the immediate term, it would certainly result in greater performance slightly down the road - performance better suited for a 1920x1200 monitor, too, I might add.


    - Diosjenin -
     
  12. Aterius Gmork

    Aterius Gmork smell the ashes

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    How's the Corsair VX series?
     
  13. Diosjenin

    Diosjenin Thinker, Tweaker, Et Cetera

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    Fine, quality-wise, but not modular - which is generally bad in a uATX, since airflow is paramount in small spaces. Also, keep in mind the 450W version only has one PCI-E connector, which means a 4870 or two 4850s won't work without an adapter (usually comes with the card, but not always the best/safest idea).

    - Diosjenin -
     
  14. Aterius Gmork

    Aterius Gmork smell the ashes

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    I will go with the VX series (550 W), and the Asus P5E-VM SE. Multi-GPU might result in same frame rates, but heat wise it would absolutely kill any overclocking attempts.

    As I said - the case is modded. Behind the PSU there is an about 15 cm long open space that is not cooled at all - the Harddrive has been there. We moved the HDD above the CPU cooler, so it doesn't everheat. It will be a pain to set up and route the cables, but not affect temperatures. :)

    That way he will actually stay 30€ below budget and might be able to get a better HDD. Still thinking about the Quad though, he will just have to decide himself.

    Thank you for your help guys, I really appreciate it. Awesome community, you rock. :D
     
  15. Aterius Gmork

    Aterius Gmork smell the ashes

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    Ok, just wanting to check back after some overclocking...

    The system includes the following parts now:

    Asus p5E-VM HDMI
    Q6600
    PowerColor ATI 4870
    Freezer 7 Pro
    Corsair 550 VX

    in some very cheap CoolerMaster Case, the graphics card didn't fit into the µATX case by 1mm. (Damn those companies and their wrong measurements.)

    Anyway, it's running at 2.8Ghz now, at stock voltage, totally stable obviously. After about 12h in Prime95 the max temp is 66 degrees. I know, this has been asked before, but how far could you push the CPU temp wise?
     

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