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new rig - techguru advice needed please!

Hello guys at CNet! Even though I?ve been browsing the site and the forums for a very long time, I?ve only now made a new account, as the last one seems to have vanished. I?m aware you often get this kind of questions, and although I?ve looked around a lot for information, read reviews, tests & comparisons, and I?m still not entirely certain about certain things.

I?m looking to replace my current rig which is getting awfully outdated (Athlon 2400+, 1Gb, Radeon 9700, WD Raptor). I?m quite into hardware and stuff, but as mentioned above I want to get it right this time. My budget is around 1000-1250 euros (800-925 pounds), that?s without monitor. (will keep dual-screen setup, have 2x 17? LCD) Besides the usual performance, ?upgrade-ability?, and most bang-for-bucks I also want to keep the noise level down as much as possible, and some overclocking will be in order. Pc will be used for Gaming, Internet, Music, Video, Work etc, no plans of using it for ?specialised? programs/tools/calculations. So here I am, asking some advice to techguru?s and people who know more about this than I do! Can you help me get rid of my doubts? ;o)


Several issues I?m toying around with:

OS:
- Is Vista worth buying knowing that the good SP 1 is out soon? (Heard great things about it, RC was tested thoroughly) What?s the difference (compatibility? Performance?) between 32-bits and 64-bits, and is it worth getting Vista 64? I heard a Quad Core is needed to get ?more? out of the 64-bits version?

Hardware:
- Antec P-182 Case
- Mobo - X38 or P35 chipset? Going for DDR2, is X38 compatible? Always liked Asus, but any recommendations are welcome. Heard good things about P5K, P5N32-E SLI ?
- Core 2 Duo or Quad Core (ie Core 2 Duo E6750 or Quad Q6600) ? Any difference with the new 45nm Core 2 Duo E8400 etc?
- 8800 GT 512mb
- 2Gb or likely 4Gb of ?high-end? Ram; Corsair/Ocz/G.Skill. PC6400 (800 MHz) or PC8500 (1066 MHz)? Heard 4Gb only ?works well? with Vista 64?
- Two HDDs on a Raid 0, with an extra ?storage? HDD. 2x Hitachi Deskstar P7K500 or 2x Samsung Spinpoint T166 or WD Caviar SE16, all S-ATA at 320Gb & 16 Cache. Is it worth going for a 32 cache, I heard the more the better on a raid? (Raid 0 setting @ 64kb seems best?)
- Seasonic M12-500 PSU or any other recommendations? Has to be Silent & modular. 500W enough to make this rig run stable, with some average overclocking in mind?
- Noctua NH-U12P CPU heatsink & fan
- Dvd burner/mouse/keyboard/Vista should be included in the budget.


Thanks for your time, I?d appreciate any comments or advice, be it good or bad! Happy

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Opinions are like lawyers, too damn many of them.

In reply to: new rig - techguru advice needed please!

Personally, I would forego the use of Windows and go for a system that actually has a good 64bit support. Look into FreeBSD, NetBSD, Linux distros of Debian & Fedora & SuSE.

If you are going to use multicore, go for a system that has SMP support. If this includes virtualization, then try NetBSD or Fedora.

Transistor size determines the amount on a single die, not the performance.
memory limitation of 4G is for 32bit systems.
You may want to try an OpenBIOS, LinuxBIOS compatible board.

If you wanted better performance and response time, then you would try for a different architecture such as: ARM (Acorn), MIPS (SGI) , PPC (Macintosh Gseries) , or SPARC (Solaris workstations).

Windows also has the disadvantage of not being able to configure services or modify hardware compatibility.
If the system is efficient, you won't need to overclock. Games can be played on a virtual layer. It is here that you can install a version of Windows without adversely affecting the hardware.

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re: advice

In reply to: new rig - techguru advice needed please!

vista is inevitable if you're going to continue using windows. most of the device driver issues have been fixed for new hardware so unless you're toting along a printer or scanner then you shouldn't have any problems with device compatibility with vista.

both x38 and p35 will support intel's latest processors (penryn). x38 is intended as the high-performance alternative but for most all intents and purposes, either will perform just as well. if you're into oc'ing and want to push the cpu/memory to its limit than go for the x38/x48.

vista 64 will give you access to more of the 4gb of ram, but unless you're using 64bit apps that love ram you may not use it. note that adobo cs still doesn't have a 64bit version and still can't utilize more than 2gb of real memory.

cpu-wise, wait until the new penryn quad cores debut in feb/march. the q9300 will be the same price and run at 2.5ghz with 6mb cache ($270 vs the q6600's 2.4ghz and 2x4mb cache) while the q9450 will chug at 2.66ghz with 12mb cache for $50-$60 more ($320). the q9300 will be a bit faster than the q6600 and the q9450 will be 20-25% faster. if you don't need 4 cores, then the 3ghz e8400 with 6mb cache for less than $200 is the cpu to choose.

personally, i would not stripe my boot drive. i prefer striping a drive that holds 'scratch' data (pagefile, photshop scratch, game files, music, temp, etc.) that are volatile. since you've expressed an interest in intel chipsets, take a look at intel's matrix raid and consider a boot volume mirror with a second volume stripe.

500w is adequate but i think you should move up to a bigger power supply. brands to consider are coolermaster, corsair, antec along with silverstone.

check out the thermaltake ultima 90: http://www.anandtech.com/casecoolingpsus/showdoc.aspx?i=3068&p=4

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Plain advice...

In reply to: new rig - techguru advice needed please!

I'll make this simple, provided you go with Vista, then get:
1) 2gb of ram
2) dual core cpu
3) 32-bit OS
4) 500W+ psu
5) video card =256mb, prefer 512mb
6) great cooling abilities


If you decide on 64-bit, then have a use for it otherwise it would be a waste, you just won't see the best it can do, IMHO. You can always upgrade later. Plus, beware any h/w gotten be Vista capable. Anything beyond the fore mention, is optional, so you can add/upgrade later. I leave the mtrbd. selection, just be sure its friendly :), though I like Asus, but Gigabyte is good too. 45nm is more of the manufacturing process and is the latest Intel offers and should be cooler to run, basically review the specs to verify. I like Nidec fans but beware many a fan is noisy, larger 120mm fans tend to be less so. Many popular online vendors are out there, just pick one that suits you and last quality always pays for itself.

tada -----Willy Happy

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