Review New Computer Build

Alienware / AURORA M9700
January 7, 2009 at 19:58:32
Specs: Microsoft Windows XP Professional, 2.211 GHz / 1535 MB
So I'm trying to build a sub $800 gaming computer. I want an upgrade from my ALienware laptop. I've put together a parts list that comes in at $800 for everything. Looks good to me, but I always appreciate other's opinions. Here is what I am thinking right now:

1. Generic DVD/CD Burner
2. Generic Case with lots of cooling options
3. Western Digital Caviar SE WD3200AAJS 320GB SATA Drive
4. 2x MSI N9600GT 512MB GeForce 9600 PCI Express 2.0 x16 video cards in SLI
5. 4GB of PC2 9200 240pin RAM (OCZ brand with heat pipes)
6. GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard
7. Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0GHz LGA775 Processor (Model BX80570E8400)
8. XP Pro
9. SLI compatible 350w generic power supply

I'm sure everyone will have suggestions. Really I just want to make sure everything I selected will be compatible and will allow me to run CoD4, GTA:IV, etc. on decent quality.

-Ryan Adams
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January 7, 2009 at 20:21:57
I don't know how you plan to run two nVidia cards in SLi on a board that supports ATI Crossfire? lol.

So other than rethinking your motherboard & video card choices, you're definitely gonna need a better PSU. 350W isn't gonna cut it & do NOT buy generic. Plan on spending $75-100 for something decent. Here's a good one:

You can partially fund the PSU by changing your RAM choice. You sure don't need DDR2-1150 RAM with heatpipes. Even if you overclock to 1600MHz FSB, all you need to run in sync is DDR2-800.

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January 7, 2009 at 20:35:41
If you like your board choice, dump the two 9600GT's & go with one Radeon HD 4850. The performance isn't all that much different, plus it'll be cheaper. You can always add a 2nd card to run Crossfire if you feel you need it (I doubt you will).

Tom's Hardware - Benchmark Comparisons

Here's one for $125:

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January 7, 2009 at 20:42:45
Silly me, I posted the wrong board. This is what I meant to post:

6. MSI P7N SLI Platinum LGA 775

I've also changed the following:

5. Crucial 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2-800

I just looked through my pile of stuff and found a nice 600W power supply. I'll use that instead of buying one.

I'm a little concerned that the video cards won't fit. Apparently the motherboard is a little cramp, and these cards have the extra bulk of heat-sink/fans. Any input?

-Ryan Adams
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January 7, 2009 at 21:13:54
"I posted the wrong board"

I find it very difficult to recommend any SLi or Crossfire configuration, especially when a single card solution is usually cheaper & performance is close to the same (depending on cards, of course). Even so, I like the P45 board better than the 750 SLi.

"I just looked through my pile of stuff and found a nice 600W power supply"

Hopefully it has a lot of amperage on the +12v rail (18-20A minimum per rail on a multi +12v rail unit or minimum of 36A on a single +12v rail unit) plus two 6-pin PCIe plugs for the video cards?

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January 7, 2009 at 21:31:21
Why do you like the P45 better. The 750Sli seems to get better reviews?

What if I was to go with a single EVGA GeForce 8800GTS 512MB video card instead with the 750SLI motherboard. Looks like a really good performing card, plus I can always add a second later...

-Ryan Adams
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January 8, 2009 at 05:50:59
"The 750Sli seems to get better reviews?"

Where have you been looking?

"Performance-wise, it would seem that the nForce 750i SLI shares the same downward performance trend as the nForce 780i SLI (ASUS P5N-T Deluxe) as compared with Intel 3-Series based motherboards with the same configuration. Our sentiments regarding the nForce 750i SLI remains the same as our original comments when we reviewed the P5N-T Deluxe. Based on what we've seen so far, NVIDIA has dropped the ball with the 700i series refresh. Barring SLI support (which is monopolized by NVIDIA anyway), it features no additional value to compete in the current Intel chipset market."

"...with ATI's new Radeon beasties out the bag and the P45 chipset offering CrossFire and performance that eclipses the nForce 750 SLI at a fraction of the price, there's simply no contest"

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January 8, 2009 at 10:27:30
yeah jam said pretty much everything i was going to:

there's little benefit in an SLI/crossfire setup. A single card will typically be a bit cheaper, perform about the same, draw much less power, and produce much less heat.

i'll recommend STRONGLY against the PSU you "found in a pile..." The PSU is one of the most important components, and a crummy one has the potential to damage ALL your OTHER components. The worst part is that a crummy PSU could start wearing away at the lifespan of all your other expensive components, long before you started seeing any issues. And by the time you started crashing or blue-screening, it could have already damaged some/everything else.

i would probably also recommend the intel chipset over nvidia.

Also, were you going to run XP Pro x64? Unless your OS is 64 bit, you'll probably only be seeing about 3GB of that 4GB of RAM. And if you're going to go with a 64 bit OS, i'd recommend Vista x64 over XPx64 for ease of driver compatibility and longevity of support.

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