1st Build, Pls Review: Opty 175, A8N32-SLI, 2GB OCZ DDR500

Hello~ I'm hoping for a rig that will last me a few years, and be fast as can be right out of the box. (I may try to OC once I get familiar with it, but haven't tried it yet.) I’ve been reading the forums and reviews for a few months now. Am I making the best choices? Wasting my $? Do you see any conflicts? I’ll be using this box for music, games, video, art/photo editing, internet and – oh yes, office work. Any advice or suggestions you can give to this first-time builder would be greatly appreciated. TIA!

I-Star Black S-10000BL Full Tower Case
I’ve already ordered this huge I-Star case, with the air duct that comes with the S-10000B case, and their blue light kit.
ASUS A8N32-SLI Deluxe Motherboard
eVGA GeForce 7800GTX
I think I will wait a couple of weeks and see what happens when the 7900s come out.
AMD Opteron 175 Denmark Dual-Core Processor
ZipZoomFly says this has an E6 stepping. Can someone explain that? It doesn't seem to fit with the "cookie batch" explanation.
OCZ Gold GX 2GB DDR 500 (PC 4000) System Memory
I’ve read that all 90 nm processors (like the Opty 175 here) can use DDR 500 memory, but the ASUS and OCZ websites do not confirm this. Is it compatible, and is this the best bang-for-the-buck memory?
WD 74GB 10kRPM Raptor Serial ATA150 HDD
This will be the boot drive.
2x Seagate 250GB SATA HDD
Storage drives, in RAID for backup.
NEC Black IDE DVD Burner ND-3550A
Windows XP Pro and MS Office 2003 Pro (waiting for Vista)

AuzenTech HDA BGI-HDAXM-G Digital X-Mystique 7.1 Gold sound card
I had originally planned to go with the Philips Acoustic Edge, but I have read that it doesn't like dual-core CPUs. Any other suggestions? (I am kind of a Creative anti-fanboy.)
Logitech Z-5300E Speaker System
Although these are 5.1, not 7.1.
SCEPTRE X20G-Naga III Black 20.1" 8ms Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 800:1 Built in Speakers 0.255mm Pixel Pitch
I'd like to find a better monitor.
APC Back-UPS BE725BB 725VA 450W 8 Outlets UPS
Zalman ZM-MFC1 Fan Controller Panel
Thermatalke CL-P0114 Big Typhoon 4 in 1 Heatpipe Cooler
3x AeroCool XtremeTurbine-Black 120mm Sleeve Case Cooling Fan(89cfm)
Arctic Cooling AVC-NV5R3 NV Silencer 5 (Rev. 3) VGA Cooler
SIIG AVTuner Pro-PVR USB 2.0 Interface Video Box

I'm not at all sure about a power supply.
PC Power & Cooling 510 SLI-PFC ATX12V 510W Power Supply
FSP Group (Fortron Source) FX700-GLN ATX12V/ EPS12V 700W All-In-One Power Supply

Sabrent 52-in-1 Card Reader
Samsung Black Floppy
Logitech Media Elite 967559-0403 Wired Standard Keyboard
Logitech MX1000 Laser Cordless Mouse
D-Link DI-604 10/100Mbps 4-Port Ethernet Broadband Router
I was going to get this to use as a hardware firewall; or will the mobo onboard ethernet suffice?
3com OfficeConnect 3C16793-US 10/100Mbps Switch
I need some way to connect my old POS win98 computer to the new one. (Isn't there some kind of $5. cable for that?)
4 answers Last reply
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  1. I have that WD hard drive and have had no problems; really easy to install. Also regarding the DVD+R, if you can find NEC's 3540A model instead of the 3550A you may end up happier. I've heard of some problems with the newer one, whereas the 3540A has never let me down and is highly recommended by others on these forums who know what they're talking about. I think you can still find 3540's on TigerDirect, check the Tom's Stores link. Otherwise, I don't have experience with those other specific components.

    Frankly, I don't see why you don't save oodles of money and get the Opty 165 or 170 and just do minor overclocks. I'd never OC'ed before my current (first) build, but a minor one is pretty easy to handle. (Note that I graduated with a degree in English, had never put together a computer in my life, and OCed with no real problems after reading several how-to guides. If I can do it, anyone can.) Hell, I've got my 165 bumped up to 2.3Ghz, which is already faster than the 175 at stock, has the same L1 & L2 cache sizes, and is hundreds cheaper. Don't be afraid to learn, just do some research before getting started and it'll be no sweat.

    On the other hand, if you really don't intend to overclock, skip out on getting a new HSF. The Thermaltake looks good, but the stock HSF should be more than fine for non-OCers. (I hear the stock HSF is actually pretty top-notch, but I wouldn't know since I sprang for a new one for OCing.)

    Be careful about "future-proofing." Often times you end up spending waaaaay too much only to find yourself replacing half the technology in two years.

    Good luck with your build!
  2. Also, can you fill us in on why you picked that particular motherboard? Which features drew you in? I'm asking because you may be able to save money on an equally good mobo with fewer bells-&-whistles.
  3. No experience with the DFI board here, but I can recommend the EPoX 9NPA+. I have the SLI version, not the Ultra (two extra SATA ports, option to SLI, and higher satisfaction ratings on NewEgg), and it's been nothing but great for me. All the features of DFI and ASUS boards, for much cheaper, easy-to-use BIOS, and tons of great additional features.

    Really, the only downside I can see between choosing the 9NPA+ SLI versus the ASUS you're looking at is that the ASUS operates SLI at true 16x speeds, whereas the EPoX offers SLI at shared 16x speeds (8x per each card). But I've read that current SLI-enabled cards aren't able to use more than the shared 16x channel anyway, so it's not a real issue.

    Check out the EPoX board, compare it to the ASUS, and see what you think.
  4. Quote:
    Also, can you fill us in on why you picked that particular motherboard? Which features drew you in? I'm asking because you may be able to save money on an equally good mobo with fewer bells-&-whistles.

    Thank you all for taking the time to respond. I chose the mobo early on, based on reviews and forum talk. And I thought the mobo was something worth splurging on, since it limits future add-ons. The Asus board seems to have all of the features, plus 8-phase power for stability, 6x SATA II and good RAID support. It is also an enthusiast board, yet (supposedly) more newb-friendly than the DFI.
    I have read, however, that the Asus board imposes specific limits on OC'ing dual-core processors (part of what makes it more 'newb-friendly', I suppose).
    I think that I read a few negative or "it doesn't do this" reviews on the Epox boards early on, and crossed them off the list. That doesn't mean they aren't worth reconsidering -- I will -- I just needed to come up with a mobo first to design the rest of the box. The Asus board seemed like a good solution at the time.
    I chose the Opty 175 over the 170 because it is supposed to have a higher multiplier, it stocks at 2.2 GHz vs. 2.0, and the price difference between the two seemed worth it. Is it worth the difference between the 165 and the 175? I'd be interested in hearing some opinions.
    I don't expect this rig to be 'future-proof'. I just want to be able to use it for a few (3? 4?) years without cursing it every minute. I spend an ungodly amount of time on the computer for work/play/hobbies, and I want the computer itself to be transparent.
    Again, thank you all very much for your helpful responses.
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