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First-time build, almost ready to buy. Sanity check, please?

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May 28, 2006 4:04:49 AM

Hi, all. Thanks for your help over the past week. This is the system I've put together at Newegg. Could someone please take a look over it and tell me if there are glaring errors? The basic idea is that I want to build a PC now, then, when Vista and Conroe come out, just swap the D930 chip. With that said, I might be wasting money on some of these components, or I might be able to spend just a little more and get much better performance.

I'm going to be using the machine largely for photo-editing and grad school work, but I've been missing out on the latest games for about a year, so I've some serious catch-up gaming to do over the summer. I'd like to keep the total price around $2000 if possible, but I've got a little flexibility.


Any help you can give would be MUCH appreciated.

Thanks!
Todd


Case with built-in PSU: DoI need to upgrade my PSU now, or will this get me by for a while?
$94.99 Antec LifeStyle SONATA II Piano Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 450Watt SmartPower 2.0 ATX 12V V2.0 for AMD & Intel systems Power Supply - Retail

Motherboard: I'm actually getting this at Fry's to make sure I get the rev 304 board. That's why it's so much more than the Newegg price.
$279.00 Intel BOXD975XBXLKR Socket T (LGA 775) Intel 975X ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

Processor:
$199.99 Intel Pentium D 930 Presler 800MHz FSB LGA 775 Dual Core Processor Model BX80553930 - Retail

Video Card: I didn't want to break the bank before DX10. This will get me through the next year or so, right?
$274.99 eVGA 256-P2-N564 Geforce 7900GT KO 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail

Memory: I got this hoping that it'd help when the Conroe chip arrived. Is that smart, or should I downgrade to DDR2 667?
$240.00 CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Unbuffered Dual Channel Kit System Memory Model TWIN2X2048-6400 - Retail

HDD: Will this one drive be ok, or would I see serious performance benefits from getting another small, fast drive and running Windows on it?
$129.99 Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3320620AS (Perpendicular Recording Technology) 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

Monitor: Hopefully this'll be good for photo-editing since it's 1600x1200 and ok for gaming. I'll probably pick up a cheap 1280x1024 monitor when games outpace my videocard and I need to use a lower resolution.
$555.99 ViewSonic VP2130b Black 21.3" 8ms LCD Monitor - OEM

DVD-drives: I'm getting two, so that I can copy from one to the other. Have people found that to be a useful thing?
$31.99 ASUS Black ATAPI/E-IDE DVD-ROM Drive with DVD-RAM Read support Model DVD-E616A2 BK - Retail
$43.99 LITE-ON 16X DVD±R DVD Burner W/ 5X DVD-RAM Write Black ATAPI/E-IDE Model SHM-165P6S RTL - Retail

Wireless Card: Not much to say here. Unfortunately, I need one.
$24.99 EDIMAX EW-7325IG PCI Wireless LAN Card - Retail

Sound Card: Do I really need this? It's cheap...
$35.00 Creative Sound Blaster SB0570 Audigy SE 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card - Retail

Thanks again!
May 28, 2006 4:40:02 AM

1. The Antec PSU should get you by, but it's borderline with your GPU especially if you plan to OC.

2. Why is a revision 304 board important? I honestly don't know much about Intel mobos, so I have no idea why you are spending so much for it. Is it Conroe-ready?

3. Cpu should do fine for you.

4. My motto on memory is get as much and as fast as you can afford. Looks pretty good.

5. You won't find any "serious performance benefits" from a smaller HD for Windows. I assume you meant a Raptor? Regardless, you've picked a good HD.

6. Do you really need that gigantic monitor? Seems like overkill to me, but if you're comfortable with an expensive big daddy monitor, I say go for it.

7. Dual DVD drives are very handy to have, especially if you copy a lot of DVDs like I do.

8. Wireless card looks good.

9. Do you have good enough speakers to justify that soundcard? If you just have stereo speakers, I'd say forget about it. In that case onboard sound will do fine.
May 28, 2006 4:42:58 AM

Sound like your wish list is set to come true, the only thing that concerns me is your psu included with your case.
Most "included" psu's tend to not perform as stated, die out or simply cannot performs sufficient power to your components, especially to your 7900gt.
I would recommend getting a ANtec NeoHe 550W psu, for cheap.
Better spend alittle more dollars than having to replace a few hundred dollars all because of a "included" psu.
A pc system is your investment, so purchase wisley to prevent damage to your dream rig.
-Good Luck-
:twisted:
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May 28, 2006 5:07:17 AM

That PSU in your case is a quality one. just read the reviews.
May 28, 2006 5:09:08 AM

Quote:
Sound like your wish list is set to come true, the only thing that concerns me is your psu included with your case.
Most "included" psu's tend to not perform as stated, die out or simply cannot performs sufficient power to your components, especially to your 7900gt.
I would recommend getting a ANtec NeoHe 550W psu, for cheap.
Better spend alittle more dollars than having to replace a few hundred dollars all because of a "included" psu.
A pc system is your investment, so purchase wisley to prevent damage to your dream rig.
-Good Luck-
:twisted:


Normally I'd agree. But this particular PSU is an Antec w/ good reviews at Newegg. Yeah, Newegg isn't the best place for any serious reviews, but there was only one reviewer with a lemon. That's not bad odds.
May 28, 2006 5:51:36 AM

Quote:
Sound like your wish list is set to come true, the only thing that concerns me is your psu included with your case.
Most "included" psu's tend to not perform as stated, die out or simply cannot performs sufficient power to your components, especially to your 7900gt.


Since Antec's cases comes with Antec PSUs there is no need to worry.
May 28, 2006 5:53:39 AM

Quote:
The basic idea is that I want to build a PC now, then, when Vista and Conroe come out, just swap the D930 chip. With that said, I might be wasting money on some of these components, or I might be able to spend just a little more and get much better performance.



PCs with Conroe CPUs will be available on June 23rd.

Conroe CPUs should be available for sale to consumers in early August. Is that too long of a wait?
May 28, 2006 6:15:54 AM

Thanks for the responses. I'm feeling a little better about my choices!

Unfortunately, jaguarskx, August *is* too long for me to wait to build a new PC. I'm starting grad school in August (at MIT, if anyone's reading from Boston), and I suspect I won't have much time for gaming when I'm there. More importantly, my current laptop is literally falling apart. (It's an old Dell Inspiron. Pieces of the frame sometimes just drop off when I open/close the display, and the video card is only socketed correctly about 30% of the time. The rest of the time, I get flickering blue lines covering the display at an epilepsy-inducing frequency.) I don't think it'll make it through the summer.

So, a-building I go. I've thought of a few more questions in the last few hours, though, if you don't mind...

1) It looks like some motherboards still need a floppy drive to install drivers? Is that common, or can I get by without the 1.44M?

2) How do you figure out how large a PSU you need? 450 watts seems like a lot, but it sounds like it's actually on the borderline?

3) How to people know whether their CPU/GPU is getting too hot? Do most motherboards have temperature gauges built into them, or do you have to install those seperately?

Sorry for the ignorant questions. I'm looking forward to the day when I can actually answer questions for people, instead of just asking them all the time.

Thanks, again.
May 28, 2006 8:16:18 PM

Quote:
Case with built-in PSU: DoI need to upgrade my PSU now, or will this get me by for a while?


I like PS overkill and that puts me in the minority but I've been burned before.

Quote:
Video Card: I didn't want to break the bank before DX10. This will get me through the next year or so, right?


Assuming you get a good card (I didn't get one single good 7900 in 4 tries) then it looks on paper to be great. I think that's on sale on Newegg this weekend.

Quote:
Memory: I got this hoping that it'd help when the Conroe chip arrived. Is that smart, or should I downgrade to DDR2 667?


If you want the best performance, I'd think you'd want fast memory.

Quote:
HDD: Will this one drive be ok, or would I see serious performance benefits from getting another small, fast drive and running Windows on it?


Whether it's fast like a Raptor or not, I'm an advocate of having the OS + apps on one drive and data on another. Good for maintaining performance.

Quote:
Monitor: Hopefully this'll be good for photo-editing since it's 1600x1200 and ok for gaming.


I've piddled with it in stores and it looks excellent. For editing work, I'd expect it to be very good also. I'd buy one myself but you're getting near 24" LCD prices.

Quote:
DVD-drives: I'm getting two, so that I can copy from one to the other. Have people found that to be a useful thing?


I have that setup on my video/photo rig and on our primary home computer. It gets use, to say the least.
June 1, 2006 3:49:07 PM

I'm petty much on the same boat with you. We are shopping for very similar systems for similar reasons.
1)The PSU seem small to me, but I'm not familiar with this particular model. I got a CollerMaster 550W.
2) I'm looking for this motherboard all over the place, but maybe I'll wait a little bit to see what the deal with Conroe is. Mobo came with the sensors; you just have to place by the chips, and enable the monitoring feature
3)I'm actually planning to get a D805 and overclock it, and replace it with a Conroe (hopefully) in a year or so. You should be just fine.
4)Like somebody here said, If you find a reliable 7900 go for it. I chose a X1800XT, with plans to upgrade it with another X1900XTX or same, but Crossfire.
5)Same memory I'm shopping for, but I'll get only 1Gb, just in case of Conroe incompatibility
6)Good hard disk, but I will recommend to get two of them and connect them with RAID 5. Data loss can be more then annoying
7)I got a VP1930B, and I'm pleased with it. Great photo editing image, good DVD playback and gaming. For the price you can't beat him
8 )I'll wait until Plexar come out June with their new SATA DVD RW
9) Don't know
10)I'll try first the inboard sound, less cards=less power=less complications.

Good luck to you, ... and me, hehe
June 1, 2006 3:49:34 PM

Oops double post.
!