What does this gaming machine need?

  got2nesa 01:50 26 Nov 2008
Locked

Have a good look at all of these specifications and let me know if you'd change anything to get a better performance, and/or to get a better price-performance ratio (if, for example, something is unnecessary; ie, 'overkill', so to speak)

Case: Antec Nine Hundred Ultimate Gamer 420W Case with Side Window
Lights & Illumination: NONE
Extra Case Fan Upgrade: Maximum Case Cooling Fans for your selected case, and match the colour of the fans already in the case
Power Supply Upgrade: 1300 Watts Power Supplies (Tagan 1300W TG1300-BZ PipeRock Series Modular Power Supply)
CPU: (Sckt775)Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E8600 @ 3.33GHz 1333FSB 6MB L2 ***Overclockable XXX*** Cache 64-bit
Overclocking Service: XXX (Extreme overclocking 20% to 30%)
Cooling Fan: Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme CPU Cooler ***Overclockable XXX***
Motherboard: (QX9650/Q9770 Support) Asus P5E DELUXE Intel X48 Chipset CrossFire FSB1600 DDR2/1066Mhz Mainboard w/GbLAN, USB2.0, IEEE1394, & 7.1Audio ***Overclockable XXX***
Memory: (Req.DDR2 MainBoard)4GB (2x2GB) PC8500 DDR2/1066Mhz Dual Channel Memory (Corsair Dominator ***Overclockable XXX***)
VGA Power Supply: NONE
Video Card: ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB DDR5 PCI-Express Dual DVI-I & TVO
Video Card 2: NONE
Video Card 3: NONE
Monitor & LCD: 24& quot; TFT Active Matrix LCD Display (Samsung SM2443BW 24& quot; 5MS Wide LCD Display DVI Monitor)
2nd Monitor: NONE
Hard Drive: Single Hard Drive (1TB SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 32M Cache 7200RPM Hard Drive)
Data Hard Drive: NONE
Hard Drive Cooler: Vigor iSURF II Hard Disk Drive Cooling System (1 x System)
Optical Drive: SONY DUAL FORMAT 20X DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW DRIVE DUAL LAYER (SILVER COLOR)
Optical Drive 2: NONE
Sound: Creative Labs X-FI Xtreme Gamer 7.1 PCI Sound Card
Speakers: Logitech X-240 2.1 Configuration Speakers System
Network: ONBOARD 10/100 NETWORK CARD
MODEM: NONE
Keyboard: Logitech PS/2 Keyboard (Black)
Mouse: Logitech MX518 Gaming-Grade Optical PS2/USB Mouse
Extra Thermal Display : NONE (AS SHOWN)
Wireless 802.11B/G Network Card: D-LINK DWL G520 Super G 108Mbps PCI Adapter
Wireless 802.11B/G Access Point: NONE
Flash Media Reader/Writer: None
Cable Wiring: Professional Wiring for All WIRINGs Inside The System Chasis with High Performance Thermal Compound on CPU
Cables: DVI Male to Male Cable (3m)
Video Camera: NONE
Power Surge Protection: Belkin 6-Socket Surge Protector
IEEE Card: NONE
USB Port: Built-in USB 2.0 Ports
USB Portable Drive: USB 2.0 3.5& quot; 7200RPM External Hard Drive (USB 2.0 3.5& quot; 7200RPM External Hard Drive 1TB)
Floppy: NONE
OS: Microsoft® Windows Vista™ Home Premium w/ Service Pack 1 (64-bit Edition)

Questions:

1) Is an external drive better for backing up your entire system safely than Raid 1?
2) What are the benefits of Raid 1 over external drives?
3) Will upgrading from the onboard Network Card make any significant improvement in online gameplay (improving ping and/or upload speed)
4) Is the "Asus P5E DELUXE Intel X48" motherboard relatively 'future-proof' (upgradable in 2-years time to keep up with the latest tech)?
4b) If not, then is the motherboard easily replaceable? (For example, new age games are starting to run very poorly on this machine come 2010: can simple motherboard/processor/video card upgrades do the trick? Will the motherboard and processor perform well in the near future with only video card upgrades, considering the mobo's Crossfire compatibility, and the overclocked E8600)

Thanks.

  carver 08:13 26 Nov 2008

Very impressive specs, but totally over the top, that hard drive, way over spec for your needs, think about it, when you need to defrag it will take you 1/2 day to do it, far better with 2 smaller drives in a raid setup.

Motherboard,future proof, forget it, any thing you buy now will be out of date in 6 months, 2 years time you most likely will have to replace the lot, USB externally hard Drive on that size, you need some thing a bit quicker than that.

Replace the E8600 with a E8400 and that will clock to 3.6GHz without any problem.

Sound card replace with a Creative extreme music card, better card, does a lot better job, apart from the fact you only have twin speakers.

DVI cable is too long, unless you intend to have the monitor at the other side of the room.

Best part is your monitor, I've got same one and it's good.

Save some more money and ditch one of the video cards, you don't need it.

How do you intend to connect to the net, because if it's wire less it all depends on your router speed.

One last thing, buy a fridge to put it in, you will need one to keep the thing cool.

  I am Spartacus 09:13 26 Nov 2008

To addd to carver's comments:

1. An internal AND external drive(s) are better for backups

2. Benefits of RAID 1 are that in theory if one drive fails then replacing it will rebuild the array without loss of data. However if the mobo fails and is replaced even with one of exactly the same type you may not be able to recover the array and your data (been there done that). RAID 0 will give increased speed at the risk of losing all your data should one fail.

3. Look at the Killer NIC click here

4. It's outdated now. The Core i7 and motherboards are already out.

4a. The best CPU you're likely to have available to fit that mobo is the Q9650 (or a Quad Extreme) and once they're stopped being manufactured then the only upgrade path will be the Core i7 (or whatever is available as its replacement).

By the time you come to start thinking about adding an additional graphics card the latest cards will most likely be a lot more powerful.

  got2nesa 09:24 26 Nov 2008

Thanks for the input.

I have a BT Home Hub (ADSL)... I need wireless connection, because its in the other room.

The reason I got a 1tb hd is because it's cheap and it's super-fast from what I've heard...

Here's my new i7 system I specced... Let me know what you think about this one... If you still think this is over-the-top, or that it will be outdated in a few months... then could you recommend a good upgradable PC? I really like this company click here so if you could perhaps check them out and build me a PC that you would recommend, then copy and paste the specs for me to get an idea? I'd appreciate it, thanks.

Case: Antec Twelve Hundred Ultimate Gamer 420W Case with Side Window
Lights & Illumination: NONE
Extra Case Fan Upgrade: Maximum Case Cooling Fans for your selected case, and match the colour of the fans already in the case
Power Supply Upgrade: 1000 Watts Power Supplies (CoolerMaster Real Power PRO 1000W Modular PSU SLI Ready)
CPU: (Quad-Core)Intel® Core™ i7 920 @ 2.66GHz 8 MB cache LGA1366 ***Overclockable XXX***
Overclocking Service: S& S (Safe and stable overclock 10% to 20%)
Cooling Fan: Cyberpower Advanced WaterCooling Kit (Including Radiator, Pumping, Reservoir, CPU Block, Tubing, and Coolant) ***Overclockable XXX***
Motherboard: Asus P6T Deluxe Intel X58 Chipset SLI/CrossFireX Mainboard SAS Triple-Channel DDR3/1600 SATA RAID w/ eSATA, Dual GbLAN, USB2.0, IEEE1394a, &7.1Audio ***Overclockable XXX***
Memory: (Req.DDR3 MainBoard)(3x2GB) PC12800 DDR3/1600mhz Triple Channel Memory (G.SKILL PI Series w/Heat Spreader ***Overclockable XXX***)
VGA Power Supply: NONE
Video Card: ATI Radeon HD 4870 PCI-E x16 512MB DDR5 Video Card
Video Card 2: NONE
Video Card 3: NONE
Monitor & LCD: 24& quot; TFT Active Matrix LCD Display (Samsung SM2443BW 24& quot; 5MS Wide LCD Display DVI Monitor)
2nd Monitor: NONE
Hard Drive: High Performance with Data Security (RAID-1) with 2 Identical Hard Drives (2TB (1TBx2) SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 32MB Cache 7200RPM HDD)
Data Hard Drive: NONE
Hard Drive Cooler: None
Optical Drive: SONY DUAL FORMAT 20X DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW DRIVE DUAL LAYER (SILVER COLOR)
Optical Drive 2: NONE
Sound: Creative Labs X-FI Xtreme Gamer 7.1 PCI Sound Card
Speakers: Logitech X-240 2.1 Configuration Speakers System
Network: ONBOARD 10/100 NETWORK CARD
MODEM: NONE
Keyboard: Razer Tarantula™ Gaming Keyboard
Mouse: Logitech MX518 Gaming-Grade Optical PS2/USB Mouse
Extra Thermal Display : NONE (AS SHOWN)
Wireless 802.11B/G Network Card: D-LINK DWL G520 Super G 108Mbps PCI Adapter
Wireless 802.11B/G Access Point: NONE
Flash Media Reader/Writer: None
Cable Wiring: Professional Wiring for All WIRINGs Inside The System Chasis with High Performance Thermal Compound on CPU
Cables: None
Video Camera: NONE
Power Surge Protection: Belkin 6-Socket Surge Protector
IEEE Card: NONE
USB Port: Built-in USB 2.0 Ports
USB Portable Drive: NONE
Floppy: NONE
OS: Microsoft® Windows Vista™ Home Premium w/ Service Pack 1 (64-bit Edition)

  I am Spartacus 12:50 26 Nov 2008

What games do you play?

If you're using wireless then you're stuffed as far a ping times go for online gaming.

I fail to see how a single radiator in that watercooled setup will adequately cool a CPU at stock speeds never mind overclocked compared to something like a decent aircooled heatsink. Also the pump seems to be integrated into the waterblock so could transmit vibrational noise through the mobo and mobo tray/case.

In your above quote I think they're charging you around £90 to overclock it by 30%. I think they're taking the P. The tools you normally get with Asus boards will allow you to do that. Failing that 1/2 days experimentation should be enough to do it yourself.

Although I've never used Cougar Extreme, some members here have and rate them highly. I would certainly recommend phoning them to discuss a specification click here They're not listing Core i7 systems yet though.

I'll be building my own Core i7 system but it will be sometime next year when the components have 'matured' and prices drop to sensible levels,

  got2nesa 16:29 26 Nov 2008

Thank you very much for the reply and the information.

I'm thinking about customizing a PC at Scan.. and downgrading a lot...

Having just enough power to play today's games and to have a fast and stable gaming machine...

But I don't know what to get exactly lol

So many options... heatsinks etc... name brands... I don't even know where to begin!

  sunnystaines 18:34 26 Nov 2008

Core i7 system is the way to go as mention already, but you spec is still very good.

  carver 19:38 26 Nov 2008

click here

click here

click here

click here

click here-(2x2GB)-Corsair-TwinX-DDR2-XMS2-PC2-8500-(1066)-240Pin-Non-ECC-Unbuffered-CAS-5-5-5-15-EPP

click here(x16)-2000MHz-GDDR3-GPU-576MHz-216-Cores-2x-DL-DVI-I-HDTV-plus-FarCry-2

click here

You picked a case, nice by the way, so have a look at the above selection of stuff, I have the E8400 in my P/C clocked to 3.6 GHz, with a Zalman cooler, runs stable and I have not recorded any thing above 38C even when playing Far Cry or Crysis. If you buy the newest products you will get hammered on cost, over clocking is quite easy if you do it in small steps, don't rush.

And please don't pay some one to over clock something you can do for free.

  got2nesa 19:41 26 Nov 2008

Thanks for that!

I think I will downgrade a lot, since I want a 20 inch monitor and to play at 1280x1024

  carver 22:42 26 Nov 2008

If you can afford it go for the bigger 24" LCD if you don't, you will regret it, remember one thing, it doesn't matter what is in the box, it's that screen you look at all day.

  GaT7 20:34 27 Nov 2008

You could go lower & be just as pleased with the performance. As far as I know, MMORPGs do not require the very best PC/graphics to get very good to excellent graphics performance (unlike some power-hungry FPS games like Crysis for example).

As a base for now, I'd suggest the following for £640-720 (approx prices below):
* Case + PSU = £100-150
* E7200 CPU = £90
* P45 775 motherboard = £80
* HD 4850 GPU = £120
* 4Gb DDR2 RAM = £40
* 500Gb hard drive = £45
* DVD-RW drive = £15
* XP or Vista = £50-80
* 20" widesscreen monitor = £100

The most important component in a gaming PC is the graphics card. Yes, you'll get slightly better overall gaming performance with a 'better' CPU & GPU, but differences in performance (in MMORPGS) cannot realistically justify the inflated costs - unless the 'better' hardware is very much required for the game(s).

As already suggested, & with the rate of progress these days, it'll be best to get a more than adequate mid-range PC for now. Then in a 2-3 years, buy the next gen if required when prices are a lot lower. Or, you could extend the 'old' PC further by upgrading. Present high-end hardware will be available, & cost a lot less in 2-3 years time - on eBay ;-). And whether you spend £700 or £2000 now, you'll still feel the need to upgrade in 2-3 year's time anyway!

I'm always running ~3 years behind the current hardware, but my 'out-dated' hardware is still quite adequate for 90% of the present games (I mainly play FPS games btw). I may pick up the odd bargain upgrade from time to time on eBay & other forums - this usually keeps me going for another 1-2 years. G

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