How's this for a Gaming PC setup?

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Hey guys,

I am trying to put together a gaming computer rig. I am hoping to
learn more about computers as I research which parts need to go with
which others. Mind you, I am very new to computer building, so some of
the choices I made may be completely stupid; enlighten me if you see

My father, who has built many computers, is going to help me actually
put it together, but I need to make sure I am picking out the right
pieces.  Any criticism on the pieces I've chosen, whether it be on
specific hardware or the combinations of the hardware, all criticism
is welcome.  

CASE:    Aspire X-SuperALIEN ATXA6SW/500 PS Aluminum Gaming Case
MB:      Asus P5Q3 Deluxe/WiFi-AP @n Core 2 Extreme/ INTEL P45/
DDR3-2000/ CrossFireX/ Wi-Fi/ A&2GbE/ ATX Motherboard
CPU:   Intel Q9550 P4 CORE 2 QUAD LGA775 2.83G
MEMORY: Crucial 4GB ,2GBX2, DDR3-1333 PC2-10600 Memory
HDD:     Seagate ST3500620AS 500GB SATA2 7200rpm 16MB Hard Drive
CD-ROM: SONY Optiarc CRX890S-10 24X/24X/24X/8X SATA Slim CD-RW/DVD
VGA:    ASUS nVidia GeForce GTX260 896MB 2DVI/HDCP PCI-Express

I'll be throwing in a Zalman fan or maybe the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7
Pro.  I am also planning on getting a 750W PSU. Do you think that will
be good?  I am also considering learning how to properly OC on this
rig.  I am also still up in the air over what soundcard to get.  

I want the rig to be able to run Crysis on at least medium settings,
as well as Starcraft 2, when it comes out.  I am planning on using
Vista Ultimate 32-bit as well, since I found it for a VERY low price
at my college bookstore.  

Any help would be greatly appreciate.


Re: How's this for a Gaming PC setup?

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Will Vista 32bit make use of the 4GB, or does it have the same memory
limitations as XP 32bit???

You might be better to consider a 4870 (or two?) over the 260, but that
depends which review you read. My other observation is that while 500GB
sounds big at the moment, you will soon fill it with junk. Bigger, faster
drives are available at very little more money - look at Samsung F1 1TB for
example.  Get a *good* CPU cooler if you are serious about overclocking.

Re: How's this for a Gaming PC setup?

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Excellent points. For HD speed, you can't beat the F1 (unless you get

A good video card at the moment is the 4870, but the 4870x2 actually seems
to be a better buy. It has (almost) equivalent performance compared to the
GTX 280, and costs less to boot.

Finally, the PSU could be a little undersized *if* you are going to upgrade
later, say 2 or 3 4870x2's (as if!), so to be forward looking I would use
1000 Watts or more. If upgrading later is not in your plans, 750 watts
should be fine.


Re: How's this for a Gaming PC setup?

On Wed, 29 Oct 2008 09:43:27 -0400, "rjk"

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Vista has the same memory limits, it might be better to
equip the system with two smaller hard drives rather than
one larger (for the same $$$), and a decent 750W PSU should
be plenty.  There's no need for 3, 4870 cards, it would be
better to put the money in the bank and upgrade again
sooner.  Crysis on medium isn't THAT hard to achieve with a
new system.  Crysis on medium isn't terribly hard to achieve
with a system costing half that.

Re: How's this for a Gaming PC setup?

Trey Rozsa wrote:
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I think that is a good set of components.

The case comes with its own 500W supply, and that might not be the best
quality. One comment here "PSU blew up after 2 years of use... blue
smoke :-) ", so that is the first caution. But there is only one report
of a power supply failure in the reviews. I prefer a power supply that
refuses to start, rather than smoking.

The power supply spec listed is probably from when the case was originally
released. The supply that comes in it is probably 500W, but may have
different ratings than the ones shown.

3.3V @ 28A, 5V @ 30A, 12V @ 34A, -12V @ 0.3A, -5V @ 0.8A, +5VSB @ 2.0A

For the processor, Q9550 is listed as 95W, multiply by 1.5x to account for
some overclocking, and the current becomes (95W * 1.5)/12V = 11.9, then divide
that by 0.90 assuming Vcore conversion is 90% efficient, leaving the final
CPU 12V requirement at 13.2A. If you're not overclocking, then remove the
factor of 1.5.

The GTX260 is 136.1W, of which only a couple watts would be on the 3.3V
rail, and the rest is 12V power. To estimate, say 134W/12V = 11.17A.

For a single hard drive (0.6A), optical drive (1.5A when media present),
and fans (0.5A), you'd need another 2.6A minimum.

If you were using a dual rail supply, the above would be 12V2 = 13.2A and
12V1 = 13.77A. But since the power supply provided with the case has one
12V output, you add them together to get a requirement of 27.97A or
28 amps. The 500W supply just meets that requirement. So it is going to be
stressed pretty good (again, this assumes the CPU is overclocked a bit).

The power supply specification also does not list PCI Express 2x3 power
connectors. So you'd need a couple adapter cables, if that is the case.

Are you sure you've got the right part number for the optical drive ?
That one is a "Slim" drive, presumably for a laptop.

A desktop drive will fit in the 5 1/4" tray a bit better. This one
would be a good drive, except for the fact it has "rip lock". One
reviewer says it rips at 4x max. Some brands allow ripping at
higher speeds. If you're not copying movies, this would not
be that important.


Re: How's this for a Gaming PC setup?

Thanks, everyone, for your replies. They are definitely helpful.  I'll
admit, I still have a bit of trouble understanding PSU requirements,
even after using the PSU requirement calculators.  

I knew the PSU that came with the case wouldn't meet my needs, so I
was planning on getting at least a 750W.  As a previous poster
mentioned, as well as others from other sites, perhaps a 1000W would
be a good move since I am planning on experimenting with OCing and
going to 2x video cards later.  To tell the truth, I was also up in
the air about whether to go with 2x4870 or the GTX280, but then
started reading a few reviews on newegg and pcworld about how the 260
was kicking some decent butt, while the 280 would be a good bet for
much more OCed computers.  At least, that was the gist I got from
them.  I wasn't sure if I'd be able to work with the 280 in the first

I wonder, would I need anything to get 2x 4870s working?  Like would I
have to use crossfire or something (something else I am not very
familiar with, but have read a little about)?  Perhaps I should just
put up the extra cash and go with the 280, and plan to OC, as well as
get the 1000W from the start?

Also, as far as the HDD is concerned, I was thinking I'd get double
500gigs HDDs, but perhaps I'll just go double 1TB HDDs and go RAID1? I
am afraid of losing that much data, so do you think that'd be a good

Once again, thanks so much for everyone's input.  It has all been very
insightful and I am going to continue trying to learn as much as I



Re: How's this for a Gaming PC setup?

Trey Rozsa wrote:
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There are two ways to buy 4870 cards. You could buy two separate
cards, each card having a 4870. The motherboard would need an Intel
or an ATI chipset, as there are driver restrictions on which chipsets
will be allowed to support Crossfire. Two cards would cost 2x $249
or about $500.

A second option, is to buy a 4870 X2 card. That is a card with two
GPU chips on it, and two chunks of memory. Since there is only one
PCI Express slot connector on the card, there is no restriction on
chipset when the module is used by itself. The thing would cost $530.
If you use two X2 cards (four GPUs), then the chipset has to support

I think you should find some game benchmarks, and decide how much card is
needed for the monitor resolution you'll be driving. Tomshardware
has their charts, but I cannot get a clear picture of which card is really
superior. Some of the other sites may have nicer articles.

They're using an overclocked Q6600 (3GHz, 4 core) here.

They're using a QX6850 processor here (3GHz, 4 core).

The power draw on a 4870 X2 is pretty significant. 264W or 12V @ 22A. ?$S640W$

Venting thru the faceplate would be important, at that power level. ?$S640W$

You can see the two GPU sites on the module. The module also looks
quite long, so you have to check it won't bump into a drive rack,
or cover SATA ports. PCB length is 27cm or 10.6". An ATX motherboard
is 9.6" wide, so the card should be past the edge of the board. ?$S640W$

Since the computer case being used, supports a motherboard up
to 12" x 11", the 11" means the 10.6" ATI card should fit.
But the video card will probably cover the SATA6 connector.
SATA4/SATA5 face sideways, and would be accessible until the
video card is installed. (Download the manual from Asus,
as there is a picture of the motherboard layout in there.) ?$S640W$


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