How much things change (and a request for help)

2 Jul 2007
Greetings All !

Having ordered some kit from OC before, I was pleasantly suprised to see a most extensive forum with lots of knowledgable posters.

I spent many hours on here some time ago, getting a spec together (Asus P5B, E6600, etc) and had settled on my dream rig.

Then life kinda got in the way, and I had to shelve my PC Project until now.

Coming back 6 months later...oh my, how things have changed.

At the time the 680i's were to be avoided (because of the newness of the boards and the associated problems). Now they seem to have settled down and are a viable option. And then there is much chat about the P35's, and the board after that due later this year, and yada yada yada....I feel like I'm back at square one again.

I've spent the best part of a day reading the board, and, I'm sad to say, have developed "analysis paralysis".

I read an excellent post in the mobo forum, with regards to a poster wanting to spend £2500 on a system, and several very good posts from various CUK'ers. I think the poster that had the most resonant and commonsense, pragmatic view (at least im my eyes) was Stickman.

Then I read some more posts, read some posters on an "alternative forum" (cough CustomPC cough) and my cerebral cortex has sort of gone in to a meltdown state and my carpets suffered accordingly.

Anyway, enough waffle...I did have the sense to save all my potential specs and wanted to run them past the good folks here for general nitpicking and advice.

The system is for as high-end gaming as I can get on £2,000 or thereabouts.
Having read that 2 x 8000 GTX's is pointless, due to lack of game support, I've settled for 1 (with an option to u/g later). I'm after FPS and turning all those lovely sliders up to max without having to compromise.

With regards to Oc’ing…sure, why the heck not ? Extra juice and power for a few tweaks makes sense and that’s why we are all here 

Standard Common Components in All 3 builds

++ Microsoft Windows Vista OEM 64 bit ++
++ Thermaltake ToughPower 1200W Modular Power Supply ++
++ Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound ++
++ Samsung SH-183LBEBN 18x18 DVD±RW Dual Layer Serial ATA Lightscribe ++ 2 x Raptor (36 GB) in Raid 1 (Mirror) for System Partition
++ 2 x Raptor (150 GB) in Raid 1 (Mirror) for Games / Data
++ Creative X-Fi Xtreme Gamer Fatal1ty Professional 7.1 Soundcard ++

Commment : I do know striping (Raid 0) is the way to go for extreme disk performance, but I am willing to sacrifice a few FPS for peace of mind)

Then the builds themselves :

System 1

++ Intel Core 2 Quad Pro Q6600 "LGA775 Kentsfield" 2.40GHz ++
++ Asus P5N32-E nForce 680i SLI Chipset LGA775 FSB1333 DDR2 ++
++ Corsair 4GB DDR2 XMS2 Dominator DHX PC2-6400C5 TwinX (2x2GB) ++
++ BFG GeForce 8800 GTX Extreme WaterCooled 768MB GDDR3 HDTV/Dual DVI (PCI-Express) ++

System 2

++ Intel Core 2 Quad Pro Q6600 "LGA775 Kentsfield" 2.40GHz (1066FSB) ++
++ Asus Striker Extreme ++
++ G.Skill 4GB DDR2 PQ PC2-6400C5 (2x2GB) CAS5 Dual Channel Kit ++
++ BFG GeForce 8800 GTX OC 768MB GDDR3 HDTV/Dual DVI ++

Comment : After looking at the Top 20 on the 3D Mark 06 Tests, it was interesting to see that the top 5 OC'ers were using Striker Extremes

System 3

++ Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 "LGA775 Conroe" 2.67GHz (1066FSB) ++
++ EVGA nForce 680i SLi (Socket 775) PCI-Express DDR2 Motherboard (122-CK-NF68-A1) ++
++ Corsair Twin2X 2GB DDR2 (2x1024MB) XMS2 Dominator 10000C5DF ++
++ BFG GeForce 8800 GTX OC 768MB GDDR3 HDTV/Dual DVI ++

Comments : It seems that the 680i's have got past their teething troubles and now are stable especially with the Dominator Memory.

Final Comment : I know, there are no P35 boards here. That's because I couldn't find a SLI capable P35 board (they all appear to be Crossfire), and whilst I know I can run a single 8800 GTX, I'd like the upgrade option to 2 x SLI at a later date)

Any thoughts or comments ? Which of the 3 builds offers the best performance, in your opinions ?

Or am I completely barking up the wrong tree and have indeed suffered complete cranular meltdown ?

Many thanks in advance,

11 Oct 2006
The main differences between your systems seems to be the motherboards so it's probably worth asking about your choices in that forum. ISTR some rude comments about the Striker Extreme.

In real world terms I'm not sure if the Raptors really deliver, especially the smallest ones. Although they have the highest spin speed their data density is very low and you'll probably find equal performance from a pair of 400GB or 500GB WD 'AKS' or Seagate 7200.10 drives due to their high data density. My favoured solution is a pair of 400GB drives partitioned as 16GB for system and the rest for data plus an 80GB drive for the pagefile and as a scratchpad. Shifting the pagefile off the main spindle has definite performance benefits.

Don't forget to add a good CPU cooler to your list. I'm using a Noctua NH-U12F which is more than adequate for my E6600.