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Looking for opinions on my planned system

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March 28, 2006 12:53:14 AM

Well, after a week of searching, this is what my planned system currently is, and will only change if something new and much better than a current component is released in the next two months. All this comes in at about AU$5300

The one thing I'm really unsure about is cooling. Do I need to buy the CPU cooler, or does the CPU come with one? Will I need any other fans, i.e southbridge/northbridge with this motherboard, or any other cooling that isn't supplied?

Nothing worse than ordering every bit of your new system, then discovering you're missing something as simple as a fan, and need to wait another week to get it.

Let me know what you think.

Case $308.00
CoolerMaster Stacker 830

PSU $216.59
ENERMAX ELT620AWT 620W Liberty

Motherboard $305.00
Asus S939, A8N32 SLi Deluxe, nForce4 SLI X16

Processor $829.00
AMD Athlon X2 4600+

RAM $495.00
Corsair TWINX2048-3500LLPRO

CPU Cooling $59.00
Thermaltake CL-P0257 Blue Orb II

Video Card $916.00
XFX GeForce 7900GTX 690Mhz Extreme 512Mb PCI Express

Sound Card $125.40
Creative SB Audigy 4

Hard drives $429.00
2x WD 320GB SATA 3.0GB/s

DVD Drive $79.00
PIONEER DVR-111D Black

Floppy Drive $16.50
1.44" black Panasonic

Mouse $95.00
Logitech G5 Laser Mouse

Mousepad $75.00
Icemat 2

Keyboard $115.00
Logitech Gaming Keyboard

Joystick $95.00
Logitech Freedom 2.4GHz

Speakers $459.00
Logitech Z-5500D

Monitor $673.00
Viewsonic™ Pro-Series VP930B

More about : opinions planned system

March 28, 2006 12:59:18 AM

All I can say is wow man, their sticking it to you with those prices... your GPU and CPU will cost more then my whole new rig and my rig will run rig up with that one if not better for about 1800 USD or 2538 AUD.

Must suck to be a techie and live outside the states man... im never leaving :D 
March 28, 2006 1:12:58 AM

I would change the 7900GTX for an X1900XT(X) 512MB and the SLi motherboard for an Asus A8N-E motherboard and the Corsair memory for Corsair XMS memory. Everything else looks just fine. Don't worry and good luck!
Related resources
March 28, 2006 1:36:47 AM

Quote:


Case $308.00
CoolerMaster Stacker 830

PSU $216.59
ENERMAX ELT620AWT 620W Liberty (this is the one I would buy)

Motherboard $305.00
Asus S939, A8N32 SLi Deluxe, nForce4 SLI X16

Processor $829.00
AMD Athlon X2 4600+ (nice but the 4400+ would be nicer, you can up the clock speed in the the 4400+ but you can get more cache in the 4600+)

RAM $495.00
Corsair TWINX2048-3500LLPRO

CPU Cooling $59.00
Thermaltake CL-P0257 Blue Orb II

Video Card $916.00
XFX GeForce 7900GTX 690Mhz Extreme 512Mb PCI Express ( im sooo jealous)

Sound Card $125.40
Creative SB Audigy 4 ( you are already spending alot of money get the x-fi)

Hard drives $429.00
2x WD 320GB SATA 3.0GB/s

DVD Drive $79.00
PIONEER DVR-111D Black

Floppy Drive $16.50
1.44" black Panasonic (still makes me laugh smoking fast system and a floppy drive)

Mouse $95.00
Logitech G5 Laser Mouse

Mousepad $75.00
Icemat 2

Keyboard $115.00
Logitech Gaming Keyboard

Joystick $95.00
Logitech Freedom 2.4GHz

Speakers $459.00
Logitech Z-5500D

Monitor $673.00
Viewsonic™ Pro-Series VP930B (tomshardware liked the vx922)


Everything else looks good.

Dont forget some round cables for your floppy and dvd drives.

Those are some mighty high prices even for CAN. Where are you buying these from?









____________________________________
March 28, 2006 1:37:07 AM

Well, I've done the best I can, price-wise. I used www.staticice.com.au, which searches most Australian sites for prices. Also, I'm goingfor close to a top of the line system. obviously not very top of the line, as that would get close to $10000 or more.

Honestly, I'm not at all decided on whether to go GeForce or ATI, a persuasive argument could easily switch me to either one, but as it stands, the x1900 and GF7900 are similar prices, and the 7900 seemed to perform the best in Tom's latest benchmarking. Also, I was impressed with the 512mb memory. Although I think the x1900 has that as well. The video card is something that could very easily change over the next couple of months, while I'm saving up my money.

Just for curiosity's sake, I might see what it would look like with an ATI card as well, and post the new prices.
March 28, 2006 1:41:47 AM

Quote:

Sound Card $125.40
Creative SB Audigy 4 ( you are already spending alot of money get the x-fi)


What do you mean by that, exactly?

Oh, and as for prices, most of these are manufactured in the US. Compared to buying in the US or Canada, we have the added cost of shipping jacked onto everything we buy.
March 28, 2006 1:49:32 AM

your rig makes me want to cry

-moving back n forth in corner
March 28, 2006 1:55:39 AM

OK, I also have one more question.

What are the benefits/costs between getting an AMD Athlon X2 4600+, or getting a AMD Opteron 270 (2.0Ghz) Dual-Core Processor, Socket 940 with 2MB Cache

And I guess I'm willing to try overclocking the Opteron a bit.

Edit:
Also, this is replacing a computer that has lasted me 4 1/2 years (P4 1.6GHz, 512mb RAM, GF2 GTS Ti). This is something I've planned on buying since I graduated (computer systems engineering), so I want something good, that will last at least three years, with maybe the only extra being a second graphics card so i can use crossfire or SLi, once they drop in price in a year or so. I also have no problem if the price goes up, and I have to wait another month to buy it. Just means a better computer in the end, and prices may even drop a bit over that month.

Oh, Although i may pick up extras that aren't upgrades as such, more extras, like digital TV receivers, fan controllers, flashy lights etc. :p 
March 28, 2006 2:11:15 AM

Quote:
OK, I also have one more question.

What are the benefits/costs between getting an AMD Athlon X2 4600+, or getting a AMD Opteron 270 (2.0Ghz) Dual-Core Processor, Socket 940 with 2MB Cache

And I guess I'm willing to try overclocking the Opteron a bit.


You would won't to get a 270 thats a model made for dual processor boxes and would require an entirely different motherboard and registered RAM. Comparing a 4600 to a Opteron 165 (1.8) or Opteron 170 (2.0) i would take the Opterons anyday. They can infact overclock better than the X2s, have the same 1MB cache per core, and are server grade chips made to run 24/7/365.

Also as another poster said, since are you not going SLI, dont get an SLI motherboard. Asus A8N-E wil be fine.
March 28, 2006 2:13:20 AM

You want socket 939.. that 270 is a 2 way chip and wont fit in a 939 mobo.

The thing is... the 165 retails here in the states for about 325$. The X2 4600+ retails for about 550$. The opteron has twice the onchip L2 cache and can be clocked to beat the 4600+ by about 400mhz which is a big jump.

Basically with alittle knowledge and paitence you can get a 325$ Opty 165 to outperform a AMD Athlon FX-60 CPU which retails for about 1,015$ USD

BTW all prices in my posts are USD



So you see it beats a processor thats nearly 3x as expensive as it is... win freaking win in my book.
March 28, 2006 2:17:03 AM

Ah, so I'm getting confused with Dual-core and dual processor? So get an Opteron 175 and the same motherboard? Except Asus doesn't seem to make a socket 939 board for the Opteron processor, only socket 940, which are all Opteron 2xx processors by the looks of it.


And yeah, when I was looking at the Opteron 270, I realised I'd have to change to the Asus SK8N motherboard.

Edit: And I know you're all saying 165, but wouldn't a 175 have te benefit of already being faster, and be just as relatively overclockable as the 165? i'm concerned, as the one thing I really don't know enough about is overclocking and the cooling needed. It's the one thing I never played around with with my old system (mainly because I got a crapy mobo that made overclocking nigh-on impossible).
March 28, 2006 2:21:27 AM

Quote:
Ah, so I'm getting confused with Dual-core and dual processor? So get an Opteron 175 and the same motherboard? Except Asus doesn't seem to make a socket 939 board for the Opteron processor, only socket 940, which are all Opteron 2xx processors by the looks of it.


And yeah, when I was looking at the Opteron 270, I realised I'd have to change to the Asus SK8N motherboard.


All Socket 939 Asus board support ALL Socket 939 (1xx) Opteron processors. The specs page won't tell you that, but if you read the support pages its there. The 270 is a dual core chip, but its made to be used in computers with 2 CPUs (2 dual core chips). Get an Opteron 165/170 and overclock it.
March 28, 2006 2:23:05 AM

Quote:
Well, after a week of searching, this is what my planned system currently is, and will only change if something new and much better than a current component is released in the next two months. All this comes in at about AU$5300

The one thing I'm really unsure about is cooling. Do I need to buy the CPU cooler, or does the CPU come with one? Will I need any other fans, i.e southbridge/northbridge with this motherboard, or any other cooling that isn't supplied?

Nothing worse than ordering every bit of your new system, then discovering you're missing something as simple as a fan, and need to wait another week to get it.

Let me know what you think.

Case $308.00
CoolerMaster Stacker 830(nice but biiig waste of money, just get a gigabyte 3d aurora for much cheaper)

PSU $216.59
ENERMAX ELT620AWT 620W Liberty(nice)

Motherboard $305.00
Asus S939, A8N32 SLi Deluxe, nForce4 SLI X16(there are many more choices for 32x sli now, u can get better mobos for the money like msi k8n diamond plus or abit 32x)

Processor $829.00
AMD Athlon X2 4600+(wow man, even bigger waste. Get an opteron 175 and oc the heck out of it)

RAM $495.00
Corsair TWINX2048-3500LLPRO(nice)

CPU Cooling $59.00(zalman makes better solutions)
Thermaltake CL-P0257 Blue Orb II

Video Card $916.00(wow *eyes tearing*)
XFX GeForce 7900GTX 690Mhz Extreme 512Mb PCI Express

Sound Card $125.40(good)
Creative SB Audigy 4

Hard drives $429.00
2x WD 320GB SATA 3.0GB/s

DVD Drive $79.00(get a second one for copying cd's)
PIONEER DVR-111D Black

Floppy Drive $16.50
1.44" black Panasonic

Mouse $95.00(nice)
Logitech G5 Laser Mouse

Mousepad $75.00(holy trumboli, wayyyyyyy overprices mouse pad)
Icemat 2

Keyboard $115.00
Logitech Gaming Keyboard

Joystick $95.00
Logitech Freedom 2.4GHz

Speakers $459.00
Logitech Z-5500D

Monitor $673.00(might want to get the 922 2ms panel)
Viewsonic™ Pro-Series VP930B

*drooling*
March 28, 2006 2:25:51 AM

Your system looks fine although you may get more performance by spending less on the MB and more on the CPU. If you're going to spend that type of money then it may be worth waiting until the socket 939 replacements come out later this year.

nVdia vs ATI, Ferrarri vs. Maclaren. I used to be an ATI fan but my current card is an nVidia 7800GT. Technologically the high end products are very similar and a few fps difference when running 150+ fps will not be noticeable to the naked eye.

AMD Processors are usually shipped in a box with the CPU fan included. I've found the stock fan works fine and keeps the system cool enough - topping out at about 43 deg C under heavy load which is still pretty cool at least compared with my old Intel which ran 43 deg C at idle. If you want to overclock to insane levels then water cooling is a good idea otherwise its possible to spend a lot of money on dramatic looking cooling fans for no real benefit. JUst make sure you use a good thermal paste between the fan and CPU and keep this layer wafer thin. I spread it on using my finger followed by a paint removing razer blade (available at Home Depot) to scrape it to a very thin layer worked well

NB & SB fans if needed are usually included with the MB.
March 28, 2006 2:31:07 AM

Thanks a lot for all the help, guys!

Looks like I'm definately changing to an Opteron, probably 175 (cost isn't really an issue for me), so I can stick with the same mobo and RAM, althouh I'll change to the Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe if I go ATI.

Speaking of ATI, just looking around on the Australian sites, what do you think of the ASUS ATi Radeon X1900 XT 2DHTV 512MB PCI-Express Video Card. Another thing I'm probably a bit ignorant on is the difference between manufacturers of vid cards (i.t Asus, Gigabyte, leadtek etc.)
March 28, 2006 6:27:25 AM

Hmm, well, I have to say I envy you, even with the prices that you are paying. I mean, they make me cringe, but I'm just so JEALOUS. Rawr. :D  But really, stick with the opteron, but unless your going dual cards immediatly, don't get an SLi or Crossfire mobo, its really just pointless, because in a year, by the time you want to get that second graphics card, first of all your original card won't be on sale anymore, and a card twice as good will be out. But it's your choice. I know I have really wanted to get the A8N32-SLi just because it is such an amazing board. I'm sure others would beg to differ though, so don't take my word for law. As for Graphics card, I'd go GeForce 7900 GTX either XFX or BFG. Both are good companies. Of course you could get a 512 MB 7900 GT or GTX and not need SLi, that would be nice also. The Opteron has one of the best stock coolers out on the market. I'm getting a 165 soon, and the thing is supposedly a monster. Don't you love 'em. Case, hell, with that much money, get a nice windowed case, with some fancy lights and fans. I mean, hell, you can say you are spending the money you are saving on the mobo, or something.



So, happy shopping, and cringing at shipping costs,
*cringe*

DDay
March 28, 2006 6:29:49 AM

Also, I never really saw the need for a sound card with a system like this, I mean, yeah, it will make everything nicer, but unless you have a REALLY nice surround sound system, you won't notice the difference. Mostly because the motherboard, the Asus A8N32-SLi has 7.1 and digital out built in, but again, its your choice.

DDay
March 28, 2006 7:07:44 AM

Hey Australians,

Maaaaaaaate(s) :p 

http://www.staticice.com.au is nice (as above).

I'd also confirm the CPU has 2 x 1 MB L2 caches, vs 2 x 512 KB L2 caches, and possibly just overclock the difference.

http://www.amdcompare.com

The Opteron heatsink it better than the stock Athlon 64 one. Well for the Opteron 200 series it is, it's copper with heatpipes stock. But you are building Socket 939, not Socket 940, not sure the Opteron 100 series for S-939 heatsink though, as the mounting interface is going to differ.

It looks OK, I am no Asus fan but that board is good.

The GeForce 7900 GTX also beats the Radeon 1900 XT/XTX with 2x FSAA, often with 4x FSAA and is a better choice to pair with an (nVidia) nForce 4 chipset based board.

Even in Half-Life 2, a ATI 'friendly' game, the GeForce 7900 GTX is looking very good regardless of the settings used.

If you can source them (GeForce 7900 GTX) easily please fire me an e-mail, I have AU$1,000 ready to buy one. :wink:

And for gods sake get the X-Fi XtremeMusic to pair with that rig, in 3 years you'll understand why (and actually save money):



http://www.creative.com/products/product.asp?category=1...

(Bearing in mind the exchange rate, import taxes, average wage, etc Australian prices are not as bad as our American counter-parts may think)
March 28, 2006 7:28:19 AM

You have chosen some very nice components there. I have many of them myself :) 

Just some comments:

CPU: It's already been mentioned, but the Opterons are very nice. I've got my 170 clocked from standard 2.0GHz to 2.65GHz on a Zalman CNPS9500 LED 'Aeroflower' hsf. Can't seem to get above that, but others have managed better results. Just depends on the individual CPU really. With your budget, you could consider a 175, 180, or 185. Not sure how well these OC though. You can check this link - doesn't mention the 185 though.
I'm surprised you didn't consider the FX60 :p 

RAM: Good choice - I have the same myself, and it looks a performs great. However, these sticks are tall (due to the LED's), and could cause problems when trying to fit large CPU coolers (see next).

CPU cooling: That's a big hsf - you may have problems fitting it on the A8N32-Sli due to the heatpipe location and the height/proximity of the RAM modules. As I mentioned, I currently have the Zalman CNPS9500, and that fits fine, is quiet, performs well, and looks cool.

Graphics card: Both the 7900 and X1900 are good choices, and I don't think there's a lot between them. Some games will perform better on one than the other. It's down to personal choice at the end of the day.

Sound card: You have chosen some excellent speakers there, so I would definitely recommend a separate sound card as opposed to the onboard sound. The X-Fi series is considered the best atm I think. You should be able to pick up an X-Fi XtremeMusic for around the same price as the Audigy 4.

HDD: no WD 'Raptors' in there ? :p 

Speakers: what can I say :D 


Case: I have the original CoolerMaster Stacker case with window, and I love it. Not sure if there is a window accessory available with the 830, especially with those fans, but you should get good air flow.

The Rest
You will not be disappointed in the mouse or keyboard (I have the same and they are great). I personally use a Razer eXactMat, but that's just personal choice.
I have no real experience on monitors, so can't help there.

Whatever your final choices will be, I'm sure you will be happy with the system you build. I know I am with mine.

Edit: Took me so long to write this that TabrisDarkPeace beat me to it :lol: 
March 28, 2006 7:52:46 AM

For some reason tho the 170 seems to oc better than the 175, so go for that.
March 28, 2006 7:58:43 AM

Quote:
For some reason tho the 170 seems to oc better than the 175, so go for that.


...and I've seen some 165's OC better than the 170. I'm still happy with my 170 and it's OC though.

I would tend to agree with ToxicCow though, and say the best results generally come from the 170.

Would be interested to know how well the 185 OC's though :wink:
March 28, 2006 8:18:50 AM

OK, thanks for the tips, I didn't even know what an X-Fi was, and I'm all for getting a great sound card. I just can't easily place 7.1 speakers, but 5.1 are fine.

I just looked at it, and I'm going to very seriously contemplate the X-Fi Fatal1ty, despite the rediculous attempt at making the name look 1337, and the fact that it carries a $500+ price tag, although that may drop over the next two months. Jacks my rig up to $5600. Oh well, another week saving for it :p 

As for the CoolerMaster CMStacker 830, it seems to be very much an either love it or hate it extreme, with no in-between. Personally, its design suits my tastes perfectly, and it seems to have VERY good cooling and airflow, which will be important iff I wind up with an Asus motherboard with heat piping, like the A8N32 has.

TabrisDarkPeace, just use staticice to find a good price. The one I was looking at was at www.eyo.com.au, only a few hours ago, but doesn't seem to be on the site any more. :?

Edit: Ignore the above, I'd actually sourced it from www.vtechindustries.com.au

Anyway, if what you guys say about the Opteron 170 is true, I may consider it, but quite frankly, I won't be considering overclocking unless I think I need it. It makes me nervous :oops:  But the 170 is a couple of hundred cheaper than the 175, which makes it a very attractive proposition.

Now that I'm pretty much decided on what I want, I'm trying to squeeze down the price so I can get it sooner :p 
March 28, 2006 8:37:48 AM

Please note that the Opteron 170 is clocked at 2.0GHz. If you do not plan on OCing, then it may not be the best choice for your needs. Opterons are the choice of overclockers, as they run cooler (designed for servers) and therefore provide more overhead for OCing. This comes with a pricetag.

I would consider either the FX60, X2 4800, or back to your original choice, the X2 4600. The X2 4800 is also 2.4GHz (like the 4600) but with the additional L2 cache.

Check the different processors at http://www.amdcompare.com/us-en/desktop/Default.aspx

Also, if not OCing, there will be no need for a different hsf - the stock hsf's with AMD's are very good.
March 28, 2006 11:16:45 AM

:?: Do you really need all the extra 'stuff' the higher end X-Fi comes with ?

I mean if you're just looking to pair it with decent headphones for the X-Fi CMSS®-3D mixing why spend the extra ?, esp considering you mentioned getting a cheaper CPU and overclocking it.

For headphones look towards:
http://www.sennheiser.com/sennheiser/icm_eng.nsf
March 28, 2006 8:43:47 PM

I like quality in all my parts :)  I won't go for the most uber top of the line expensive item out there, with a few exceptions (power supply, spakers etc), but I don't like going for the cheapest solution, either. The Elite Pro was abour $800-$900.

Also, I've done a lot of audio engineering work. Still do, working in theatre, and would probably appreciate the better system.

Well, anyway, in a couple of months I'll probably re-post to show what my specs will be when i've saved enough, and then post some pics of the finished system. I'm going to buy the monitor soon though, as I need to design and build a new desk for my room, as my current one took two things into account I don't have to now. Fitting a fat 19" CRT into the corner, because it couldn't fit on straight and leave room for a keyboard, and drawer and deskspace for Uni work. Now I just want my computer in the middle, room for my laptop to the left, and room to spread papers to the right.

And it would be impossible to set updecent 5.1 surround with my compy in te crner like it is.
!