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Getting a new computer, new trends - updated, need some help with RAM picking

Discussion in 'Techno-Magic' started by chevalier, May 29, 2008.

  1. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Regretfully, I'm not able to be on current terms with the tech. I know what's on the market, but I have limited first-hand experience with anything higher than P4. There's a chance I'll be buying a new computer in August, although more likely I'll put it off until past my professional exams on 20th September. What do you think would be a good idea to start paying attention to?

    For example, I know right at the moment probably the best choice for CPU is E8400 (I don't need quad), graphics is 9600GT or 9800GX, hard disks aren't a problem, neither is a soundcard. So if I had a good deal of cash to spend, I'd go for E8400, some 4 GB DDR3 RAM, 9800GX, Vista 64. Quality case and CPU.

    Now if I didn't really want to spend so much but still play games, I'd just go for DDR2, Corsair or OCZ, with heatpipes or something like that, for some OC, 9600GT for graphics. I'd keep my current HDD (still a 5200 rpm IDE), DVD and soundcard (Audigy ES (not the same as SE)).

    However, by the time I get to buy stuff, new tech will likely arrive. Some stuff will become cheaper. Some new stuff will show up. Something which is cheap now might even become expensive in a while.

    So, all in all, what current trends should I watch and what should I keep an eye for?
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2008
  2. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    I was just talking to a friend of mine who follows the latest tech quite closely and it seems the 9600GT is a very good deal at the price it's selling at.

    I'd say you really, really need to change your hard drive. You can get a decent 500 Gb SATA 7200rpm drive for less than $100 nowadays, and compared to a 5200rpm you will notice the different. Getting a fast CPU and a good graphic card while keeping your hard drive is a shame - hard drive speed is almost always the bottleneck, and with such a difference in performance between your hard drive and everyhting else you will not be taking advantage of your hardware at all.
     
  3. Erod Gems: 14/31
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    Both AMD and NVIDIA are releasing new cards this summer, I would pick one of those. First looks indicate that AMD will get stomped to the ground by NVIDIA, but that remains to be seen. We will know more in a few weeks.
     
  4. Merlanni

    Merlanni Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    The first p45 motherboards are coming out, the perfect board for your Wolfdale. Some have 2 slots for ddr2 and 2 slots for ddr 3 strips on the same board.

    The new raptor has reached the store. This is the fastest HDD. It is called Velociraptor, but is expensive.. One of the best HDD now is the Samsung Spinpoint.

    For sound, creative made an pci express version of the xi-fi.
     
  5. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Thanks, guys, if you could keep it coming...

    I know it's going to be expensive, so I'm preparing for a big spending. Unless it turns out I have little time to play and I get no raise, then I'll just see.
     
  6. Disciple of The Watch

    Disciple of The Watch Preparing The Coming of The New Order Veteran

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    I have a WD Caviar 500GB, and it's one hell of a beast.

    Raptors whip some serious arse too, but the expense... I hear that a dual-Raptor RAID0 is ridiculously performant.

    For a RAID0 setup, I'd get 15000RPM SAS SCSI drives and a controller card, but that's just me.
     
  7. martaug Gems: 23/31
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    hmm, with it running at 15000rpm how is the noise level? is it noticably higher than what you have now disciple?
     
  8. Disciple of The Watch

    Disciple of The Watch Preparing The Coming of The New Order Veteran

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    I am very satisfied with the overall noise level of my current rig. The CPU cooler is very effective, but when I'm no longer broke as a convict, I'm going to swap the current heatsink for a bigass copper Zalman, like I had on my deceased P4. Considering I also have two HDs, one 120GB Seagate which I took from my P4, one 500GB WD and a bigass Radeon HD 3870 running in this rig, I am very pleased with the overall quietness of my rig.

    The 15000RPM SCSI RAID0 will be for my next rig. I have worked with both Raptor and SCSI drives in the past, and I haven't noticed a gigantic margin in noise level.

    Bottom line, I already have considered Raptor drives, but further thinking about it, I'd rather shell out the extra cash for SCSI drives and a controller card. I also had long-term in mind - when I replace this rig, it could very easily be converted in a decent server.
     
  9. Erod Gems: 14/31
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    SATA/SATA2 is great for home users or even small companies. I do not understand why you would want to spend the cash for a 15k RPM SCSI/SAS drive RAID setup for a desktop(?) system. Talk about overkill. Unless you are running a large database with high activity, or something similiar. But at least it is fun to boast with a system like that :-).
     
  10. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    A 15k SCSI RAID setup is noticeably faster than SATA2. If you've got the money, then it's definitely worth it. However, if you're on a budget then there are other things I would improve first. Since chev did mention he didn't want to spend a lot of money, I would not advise him to go for anything faster than a 7200rpm SATA2 (the Caviar DotW mentioned is pretty good, WD's hard drives have improved a lot over the past few years). That said, if you're going to indulge yourself and get 8Gb of the best RAM, the Nvidia 9800 GX, an 800W PSU and a professional 24bit soundcard (we're talking real 24bit sound card) then getting a regular SATA drive would be a bit of a shame.
     
  11. Merlanni

    Merlanni Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Any high end motherboard has raid controler/drivers built in, so a raid array whit two normal hdd is pretty fast and affordable.
     
  12. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    I think I'm going to do something like that. I've recently found out that no matter how much raise I get, there's still some improvement on even basic parts that I won't be able to afford, so getting the best of the best will not be an option and I'll have to consider fps per dollar. ;)

    I'm looking at cases with 25 cm fans. Obviously, it's a huge marketing thing, but all in all, some +/ 450 cm2 of a rotating area in the wing of the box and in the front can't really hurt. I'm just having a nagging suspicion that perhaps the other solution, one resting on 4 80 cm fans in the wing, might be more efficient. Then again, the 25 cm thing is probably much quieter than a quad of 80 cm's. However, with those 25 cm fans, I could also find a PSU with a 14 cm fan and a CPU cooler with a 14 cm fan. Then I'd skip the rear side of the case unless it also had 14 cm screw holes. Then no fan would be smaller than 14 cm, giving me sweet aural peace. Either this or at least 12 cm as the lower limit.

    As for money, I don't know yet, but I'll probably be spending up to some 2000 euro on it. That means a solid config but no USB champagne coolers. ;)

    - Could it ever be a good idea to buy a mobo with 2 DDR2 slots and 2 DDR3 slots? The reason I'm asking is that very fast DDR2 chips with huge heatsinks and heatpipes are extremely cheap, to the point that you will buy 3 of them for the price of one simple DDR3 chip here. I obviously am not going to overpay like that, given that the difference in efficiency between DDR2 and DDR3 simply cannot be so huge as to warrant a three times greater price. And while DDR3 1066 MHz has a CL of 7, DDR2 1066 MHz, which costs a half, has a CL of 5 and is probably thus faster, given the same frequency as the newer chip. Only really those 1600 Mhz chips make sense, but they're awfully pricy.

    - They say you can overclock a quad, but you can't add cores to a duo. Therefore a quad CPU with a good cooler should theoretically be the best thing. However, since games don't really support 2 cores oh so well and the system only really needs 2 for my typical uses (e.g. 1 core for the game, 1 core for background processes and some use in the game) - I don't convert films, music or anything and I rarely run huge downloads in the background while playing games. To my mind then, E8400 is my piece. Or do I really want a quad with a 60 euro cooler? Normally, I'd be getting a box 8400 first and then a good aftermarket cooler some other month, if I even need to OC to such levels that a stock cooler in a case with a good airflow wouldn't be able to handle.

    - Mixed feelings about SLI. Certainly not worth it from the get go. However, perhaps I could get a 9800GX now and then one when they go cheap and I need a power injection? But with this kind of cards, going SLI generally means more spending and less power gain than simply replacing the card with a single newer piece.

    - I'm past the age where power is all that matters. I need stability, compatibility and comfort. I don't want to pay dearly for each additional watt at some stellar level. If I can get 90% of the power for 60% of the price, I will take it. Basically, I have so little time these days that it needs to be worthwile, but at the same time, it's too little time actually spent playing to warrant a stellar gaming rig. I want a graphics card that will produce nice looks and not only sheer fps, I appreciate the perks of HT/multicore (that e.g. internet browsers don't cough when you alt-tab from a game to check out a solution), I certainly like a good soundcard. Most of all I don't want any unexpected compatibility issues (e.g. ATI textures in some games), RMAs (certain whole lines of top-brand PSUs have turned out bad), hardware conflicts (e.g. nForce and X-fi). And when I can't produce enough power, I prefer fluid but slow over rapid but stuttering (generally seems to me that Intels lag fluidly, while AMDs limp while sprinting). As for HDD, I want silence, reliability and speed (in this order, but assuming we're talking about quality stuff).

    - Speaking of silence, are screwless cases actually any good?

    - What about PSU placement? Some folks experiment with front and/or bottom placement, but there's probably a reason why it isn't becoming a standard and most people still do top rear corner...
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2008
  13. Disciple of The Watch

    Disciple of The Watch Preparing The Coming of The New Order Veteran

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    Erod, like I said, the 15K SCSI RAID0 in the long-term definitively will be recycled as a server.

    When I was working at the shop, my boss gave me his top contract - build a high-end server for a customer. High-end is an euphenism here - this beast was powered by two Quad processors (thus making it an Octo), 8GB RAM, and four SCSI 15K drives in a RAID 5+0 setup for performance and parity to get both the performance kick of a RAID0 and the peace of mind of a RAID5.

    One SCSI drive is great, a SCSI RAID0 setup is even better than a dual-Raptor setup. IMO, it's definitively worth every single penny spent for a SCSI HD and a controler card, it seems to me the most logical performance for a high-end, high-performance rig.

    Depending on how cash goes, I might get the SCSI drives and the controller card and setup a RAID0 in my current rig (keeping my 500GB HD as backup), and when I can finally afford my new box, it's them a simple matter of rebuilding the RAID and start ripping.
     
  14. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Sounds tempting... How much cash are we talking about, say, in case of 2 * 512 GB, the fastest of the fastest? Any issues with games and everyday programs? I remember there were some with older SCSI drives.
     
  15. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Even the latest SCSI drives only go up to 300GB and they're prohibitively expensive (plus not supported by just every motherboard). They're meant for use in servers, not for general desktop usage.
     
  16. Disciple of The Watch

    Disciple of The Watch Preparing The Coming of The New Order Veteran

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    That's what controller cards are for.
     
  17. Merlanni

    Merlanni Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    It can be helpful later to have two GPU pci e 16 slots. Ati claims that it is/ or is going to be possible to use the older card for physics. So you can have effectively an 3870 and a 4870 working together. Nvidia will not be left behind I guess.

    Beware the version of the wolfdale 8400. A hardwaresite warns that a new version(stepping) is soon released. Make sure you get that one, I believe it is stepping 3.

    The more expensive high end cases places the PSU in the bottom.

    Take a look in my profile for the pic of my pc. I can only hear the one on the front and the GPU. 8 cm fans today are very quiet. If you put them on a fan control unit even that can be regulated. Until now those four work on minimal setting, even whit Bioshock or the Withcer.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2008
  18. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Guys, tough luck, no raise for me. Looks like I'll be getting something reasonably reasonable, if at all.
     
  19. Merlanni

    Merlanni Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Let us contemplate on this communal setback, The target is a gaming machine that causes saliva to flow from spectators. The balance between moist, wet and bucks is a patience science.

    A case whit a big/huge flashy cooler. Enermax Chakra 75€
    A Mainboard p35 MSI Neo-f 65€
    A Wolfdale E8400 139€
    OZC 4 gig kit ddr2 800 75€
    GPU Sapphire 3870 139€
    DVD burner SATA 27€
    HDD Samsung spinpoint 750 gig 85€
    Power Antec neo he 550 watt 89€
    Vista Oem 89€
    Internet security ??? 59€

    842?

    So no worries, think positive. If you want the 9600GT a XFX costs 109.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2008
  20. Kitrax

    Kitrax Pantaloons are supposed to go where!?!?

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    Actually, my case is 100% screwless (save for the add-on cards), and it's actually better than any other case - screwless or not - that I've ever had.

    Also, my current case places the PSU on the bottom of the case. The theory behind this placement is that if you have a dual fan PSU, it will draw in cool air (through a filter) from underneath the case, and then blow it right back out...effectively removing the PSU's heat footprint. However, since most motherboards have the main 20/24 pin and the 4/8 pin power connectors located towards the top of the board, it can be quite a stretch for the cables to reach, especially if you have a full sized case...ditto if you have a CDROM or something else mounted high in the front of the case.

    Don't waste your money on that.
    Comodo Firewall or ZoneAlarm Firewall (choose one, but not both)
    AVG Virus Scanner
    ThreatFire Spyware Protection (TF and AVG go well together) :thumb:

    Those 4 porgams are all free, and work better than Norton or McAfee...and are a hell of a lot less bloated. :rolling:
     
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