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New Gaming and over Clocking Computer Build

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New Gaming and Over Clocking Computer Build

Building a new computer can be quite complicated and time consuming. You should take just as much care in researching each component as you would installing them into your system. It is crucial that the component fit your purpose, provide stability, and work well with the other components you select. For my system, I have chosen components that have been thoroughly tested and approved by respected people in the technology field.

The centerpiece of this system is of course the motherboard. I wanted something that was cutting edge but also stable. Ease of use is important, as well as compatibility. I plan to do some over-clocking so this feature was also of great importance to me. After sifting through many reviews I rested on the ASUS P5AD2 Premium, because of its immense offerings and satisfactory reviews. This board supports all of the latest features including SATA, PCI-Express, DDR2, and it accepts the new socket 775 Pentium 4. These features will allow me to use the fastest hardware made for consumers today and hopefully allow this computer to play the latest games for years to come. The board also comes with an impressive list of onboard features. It incorporates 8 channel onboard sound which will suit my needs and save me the expense of buying a separate sound card. It also has two onboard gigabit Ethernet ports and, onboard wireless G with an external antenna which should more than handle anyone's networking needs. This motherboard has the most advanced feature set I could find available. ASUS has also made great advancements in over clocking with this board. All you need is the most recent bios and you can now unlock the clock multiplier on the Prescott Pentium 4. Until now this was only achievable through the use of an AMD processor but now offers this option with the newest Pentium family. Because heat has been a problem with the Prescott processors ASUS has also introduced "Stack Cool" this is simply placing another PCB on the

underside of the board to dissipate heat. This helps improve stability and increase the life of components.

For the processor I have chosen the Intel LGA775 Pentium 4 550. This 3.4 GHz, 800MHz front side bus processor is a very good choice for over-clocking and even at stock speeds it screams. Although the Prescott processors don't score much higher than the Northwood processors in benchmarking at stock speeds, the over-clocking factor really comes into play here. Currently the only Intel processor that you can unlock the multiplier on is the Prescott, and with that in mind the decision between Northwood and Prescott was easy. Also the LGA socket manufacturers will be able to make much bigger and hopefully better heat sinks and fans because of the layout. This processor will also be more than adequate to run any existing games on the market. The system requirements for the newest games, such as Doom 3 only require a 1.5 GHz

processor so this processor should carry me well into the future as far as gaming is


Memory was something that gave me a bit of trouble. The selection of DDR2 is somewhat thin and I needed something that would allow me some breathing room while over-clocking this system. Running stock speeds on my processor would require PC4200 but, I needed more. I ran across some PC5300 which would suit my needs perfectly. The Crucial Ballistics PC5300 was what I rested on. Based on the findings this ram appears to be stable and can run right up to the 333 FSB that it advertises. Admittedly information and reviews where scarce and thorough testing is hard to find for this ram but once again I am looking at something that is very new to the market and only produced by a handful of manufacturers. The Crucial name puts my mind at ease somewhat and, what little testing I did come across was positive. I really need the increased overhead for over-clocking and the speeds this ram produces are amazing.

Next on the plate is a video card. I have chosen the ATI Radeon X800 XT, PCI-Express version. This card has a core speed of 500 MHz and using GDDR3 has a

memory speed of 500 MHz (effective speed of 1000 MHz). The motherboard I choose does not have an AGP slot, so a PCI-express card was the only choice I had. Most reviews I found showed only a very marginal gain in gaming performance using PCI-express over AGP 8X. Be that as it may PCI-express still has twice the transfer rate of AGP so maybe with further driver support and development the difference may be more noticeable in the future. One thing I noted while sifting through many of the reviews, was the stability issue. Many testers noted that the PCI-express format seemed to be much more stable then the same card in an AGP format, with the demand put on a machine running today's newest games stability is definitely not something that should be taken lightly.

The physical size of the card was also something I looked at closely. The X800 XT only takes up one expansion slot, whereas NVIDIA's competing 6800 ULTRA requires two slots which could affect future upgrading of my system. The 6800 ULTRA also has more power requirements. It actually uses two Molex connectors and uses almost twice the power used by the X800. The main factor for a gaming machine is game play and this card provides plenty of that. The X800 XT can play any game on the market at full resolution without batting an eye.

Since many of the newer games require quite a bit of hard drive space I needed to take that into account when choosing a hard drive and access time was something else I needed to take into consideration. I opted for a Western Digital Raptor 74GB 10,000RPM SATA Hard Drive, Model WD740GD. With SATA I am looking at 150 Mb/s throughput, though the drive actually only has a throughput of around 58 Mb/s. If you look at it from an upgradeability standpoint there is still room to grow. Even with 58Mb/s of throughput this drive still achieves some of the highest transfer rates available today, only outdone by some high end 15,000 rpm SCSI drives. It has a seek time of only 4.5ms which is almost half of a standard 7200 rpm IDE drives seek time. This speed will greatly increase game loading times and provide seamless data transfer. With 74GB this drive will provide plenty of room for my OS and all the games I could possibly play. Using the P5AD2 board I still have five open SATA headers for future expansion as well. Looking at all the hard drives available today this is one of the fastest and quietest drives available and is perfectly suited for a gaming machine.

The NEC ND3500A seems like the perfect choice to fill my optical drive needs. It reads all cd and DVD media except dvd-ram which is not important



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