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Father's Day/Office Computer (New Budget, will be OC'ed)

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June 9, 2006 3:29:02 PM

Hi, I know I have posted an earlier topic on this, but I've changed some thing's and wanted an opinion.

BUILD

From the top, I guess. I choose the case for two major reasons: 1) It has a professional look 2)Comes with a Power Supply. It is also pretty cheap. The PSU should be enough, right? Since the mobo doesn't have voltage change, I'm thinking it is enough.

I've got two blue 120mm fans for intake/outtake. One in the front, and one back there near the I/O Shield.

Another fan, 80mm, on the side. I might take out the CPU Fan duct that comes with the case.

I choose this motherboard for a number of reasons. For one, it has DVI output, which I'll need. I've actually won NEC 20WMGX2 and I'm going to be using it. Another, it has on-board video. This is under a not-too-tight budget and onboard will do just fine. Also, I've realized that this doesn't have three fan hookups, but I'll be using one 120mm fan on the SYSFAN and the other on the NBFAN. Now the Northbridge just has a heatsink, so I'm thinking that is open. I'm also thinking about buying a molex-to-fan adapter, but Newegg doesn't have any. I'm going to overclocking, hence the after-market CPU fan. I do realize that this motherboard does not currently offer a voltage change on the CPU and the FSB maxes out at 250. Now, I'm reading a great forum over at AnandTech which tells me that ClockGen can let me change the FSB 250+, but the voltage might be stuck. I know that'll stop me from OC'ing too high, but it'll also keep the temps down. (I do realize that it is HT instead of FSB, but I've gotten used to FSB) I do realize that this is a socket-939 motherboard. I'm going to socket 939 for a number of reasons: Cheaper, has the parts I need (I need this computer ASAP), and this computer will probably NEVER do an upgrade on the CPU, maybe a memory upgrade, a new hard drive at the most! I mean, I can wait a little while, but no motherboard has a great guide like the one over at Anandtech that'll help loads, I imagine.

I choose that CPU because the guide says that this mobo is perfect for overclocking that CPU, and it is dual-core. He is a pretty big multi-tasker. I don't have the money for the 4400+ for that extra 512 of cache.

I have choosen DDR500 memory over the standard DDR400 because I don't want some cheap DDR400 memory that'll crap out at DDR420 because I'm overclocking. Also the memory is just as cheap as the DDR400. I do realize that the guide says that performance ram won't help too much, but I'll be OC'ing higher than they were. Also, it is 2GB.

I don't need big space and I'm getting a GB for only $.40. Pretty good deal, I thought.

He does LOADS of back-ups, and the CD's are not cutting it.

A.S. and I don't have a anti-static wrist wrap. Am I just blowing money away with the wrist thingy?

I choose that particular HS/F because it has great reviews, it's cheap, and it actually blows the air out of the case and thru the 120mm outtake fan.

I will be overclocking, as high as it'll go. Maybe 2.6GHz if I'm lucky, or 2.3-2.4GHz if I'm not. I'm using that guide for all the OC'ing stuff.

GUIDE

Thanks!

~Ibrahim~
June 9, 2006 4:23:21 PM

A whole block of text with loads of questions.

It doesn't matter if you go through the software or the BIOS, the system's max FSB is it's max FSB. You don't want to go any higher for fear of burning out your northbridge.

Even cheaper than a socket 939 chip is a socket 775 chip, but I have a feeling you have your reasons for going with the 3800 X2. Oh and the difference between the 4400 and 3800 is a loss of 1mb of cache, but you won't notice it.

Errrm, by the way, I don't think the 3800x2 is especially good at being overclocked by that motherboard, especially since it only goes up to 250 MHz HTT.

It doesn't matter what memory you get, most will "crap out at DDR420". In the end, we all have to either use dividers or slacken the timings. The reason why people say to stay clear of value RAM is that you are usually not told what the timings are. It's like being sold a car and not being told what the engine size is.

I have an anti static wrist strap and well, I'd recommend everyone to get one but they get in the way more often than not. Besides, it's only useful if you have your computer actually plugged into the wall (turned off of course). I'd rather risk electrostatic damage than electrocution - so I usually just stay near a radiator and touch it often.

I have the same heatsink/fan, it's good and cheap but massive, check you have enough space.

Personally, I'd go for a motherboard that gives higher HTT, and buy a cheap video card like the passive sapphire x1300 256MB for $50 which can do 20 frames per second on battlefield 2 at 8xAF 4xAA 1024x768. It's not strong but the money you save on ditching onboard video can buy you this baby and it'll work much better.
June 9, 2006 5:22:51 PM

Ah, I was a little skeptical of the ClockGen thing. I thought that it could be increased, just that the BIOS wouldn't allow it. Well, this computer is going to be an office computer, not anything needing for gaming, but I'll think about adding a PCI-e card. I wasn't thinking about pushing it any further than 250Mhz, I mean that is 2.5GHz. Is there a good chance that it'll go any further? If it can go further, I'm thinking about DFI Infinity NF4 Ultra. DFI's are good overclockers, aren't they? How much of a speed increase could I see, CPU-wise, if I upgraded to another motherboard?

I've checked the clearance between the mobo and PSU and it looks like it'll be enough for the cooler.

I'm glad I got that Anti-Static thing, it'd be horrible to ruin all that hardware.

Well, I got DDR500, so hopefully it won't crap out at DDR420! Thanks for the reply!

~Ibrahim~
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June 9, 2006 5:52:14 PM

DFI motherboards are great overclockers but incredibly expensive. Kind of the other end of the spectrum to what you wanted before.

Most manchesters go to about 2.4GHz and that does mean you can use your msi motherboard. However, mine goes to 2.7GHz and how bummed would you be if your motherboard was blocking your overclocking.

I actually did some super pi times for various settings. I tend to like superpi as it gives you an idea of the raw calculation power of the cpu.

There will be quite a bit of error in these times as I was running AntiVir Guard, pc probe and logitech manager for all tests. It can make a 1-2 second difference to the times.

http://www.kholonar.plus.com/computer/scores.GIF

You can see that my RAM is bottlenecking the CPU as I had to use a 12 divider rather than the default 10. This means that the RAM only increases 10% for the CPU's increase of 35%. The end result is an in between total of 25% increase. However, please bear in mind that faster DDR RAM is very expensive and can often be better spent on the video card. Also, remember that a 35% increase in CPU speed will not mean the CPU is running 35% faster.

An interesting and often quoted point is that a quite dramatic loosening in timings yielded an almost invisible difference in performance. In fact, it was well within the margin of error.[/img]

DDR500 RAM is needlessly expensive in my opinion.

You seem to be uninterested in playing games but I still think it's worth your while going for a cheap dedicated video card. It will support windows Vista Aero (which i think onboard video won't) and will at least allow you to play free games on the net (and the hardware accellerated games included with vista). In comparison, the onboard 6200 is apparantly weaker than a radeon 9200 and doesn't support many of these features.
June 9, 2006 6:47:03 PM

Ahhh... Thanks! What motherboard would you reccomend? I've been looking and the good brands, like DFI , is rather expensive when you throw in a video card, even a cheap on at that! I see you have the ASUS A8N-E, it seems to be a tad too expensive. How is the board? Looking at your set-up, I may be able to hit around 2.5+...

Yeah, you're right. I would hate to find out that the chip might've been a FX-62, but the accursed motherboard wouldn't let me go that far.

I have actually been using SuperPI as an example to tell my dad why my home-built will be far superior to some HP he buys. (Nothing against HP)

On the RAM, I've looked everywhere for good RAM. I'm going 2GB for Vista later on, if needed, and he multi-tasks like no other. I mean, the 2GB at DDR500 is only $180 from G.Skill, marketed as the "Extreme Series" with timings of 3-4-4-8. Then DDR400 Corsair XMS with timings at 3-3-3-8 is $130. I think the latter might be a better deal. In the end, is the extra $50 worth the extra overclock?

I think I will be going with the XMS, throw in a PCI-e x16 passively cooled GPU, but then I still need a good motherboard. Any choices?

~Ibrahim~

P.S. I'd like to keep the total as low as possible, but $900 is the absolute maximum I will pay. I am willing to take the chance of open-box.

UPDATED BUILD

P.P.S. Minus $60 off the total of current build, total price doesn't reflect rebates.
June 9, 2006 7:19:15 PM

OK, after chaning a few things, I've come up with this:

FINISHED BUILD

Unless you can think of anything else to change, I'm buying it tonight! Thank you soo much for all your suggestions, helped loads!

~Ibrahim~
June 9, 2006 7:33:25 PM

eek, I better get this in quick. I'm not totally sure how it works but the motherboard you're getting is oem. As I said, I'm not totally sure what the deal is but I'm not sure if oem boards are warrantied. If someone could comment on whether oem boards are warrantied or not that would be great. Personally, I buy retail for key components, dropping to oem for optical drives .
June 9, 2006 8:08:35 PM

lol, I'm buying it around 9PM (about five hours to go), still gotta get all the funds ready...Well, yeah, I realized that it was OEM...I'm wondering,what are the benefits of Retail over OEM. It IS open-box, that is why it is so cheap. I might upgrade to the retail because I think most OEM products carry, what, like 30-day warranty, while most retail parts carry a year or more. So, what do you think of the board? It has raving reviews, I hear. Thanks!

~Ibrahim`
June 9, 2006 8:14:43 PM

The problem I have with that motherboard is that I can't find reviews from hardware sites for it. Thus, I have no idea where the HTT goes to. It would be great if we could get someone who has the board to give their opinions on it.

Ok, buying a motherboard can sometimes feel like taking a ride with the devil. The only motherboard I can recommend is the ASUS A8N SLI Premium because that's the board I have. It's expensive though.

Going to $86.99 is the DFI NF4 Ultra-Infinity. It goes to 450MHz HTT, supports X2s with a bios update, has firewire, gigabit LAN and 4 sata 3Gb/s ports. My only quibble is the socket layout.

http://images10.newegg.com/NeweggImage/productimage/13-...

I don't know if you can see in this picture but the capacitors are bloody close to the socket. I remember when I fit my freezer 64 pro in, it's a bloody pain getting the clip over the sides of the socket. The whole thing will probably fit, it's just when you try and clip it you may find it very tight. Also, the socket is aligned vertically, this means you have to have your heatsink facing upwards. This is alright, as heat rises, but it's still preferable to eject horizontally towards the rear fan.

Ultimately you have to make a choice, spending that little money on the motherboard can be risky. There's plenty of other brands out there but I have no experience of them.
June 9, 2006 8:32:44 PM

Ok, I've worked out the ASUS A8N-E goes up to 400MHz HTT which is way more than enough. There's plenty of room around the socket for the freezer 64 pro to clamp on. It seems to offer all the things you could need from a motherboard. After that, I have no more infiormation.

ASUS just says on their website that the 3 year warranty does not apply to oem products but I would expect them to do 30 days warranty.

So you've got loads of choices:
ASUS A8N for $93.99 - I have very little information on it but the specs seem ok
DFI NF4 Ultra infinity $86.99 - A good board, good reviews from hardware sites but the socket is strangely setup, it'll probably need a bios update to work X2s


Or you can go for the OEM versions of the boards above to save some money/take the 30 day risk. You might find that $85 is an easy risk to take though.

ASUS A8N-SLI Premium OEM[/i] $84.99 - I can say this is a good board, has tonnes of junk with it but it's a good overclocker and has every port you could ever need. Some people have had problems with the silicon RAID but the good thing is you have an extra 4 nvidia sata ports.
June 9, 2006 8:48:38 PM

Here are some reviews with the ASUS board (A8N-E)

Review #1

Review #2

Review #3

It sounds good, a bit of high price, though. I wish I could get the Cool-Pipe version, but it is only available in Korea. :( 

Thanks!

~Ibrahim~
June 9, 2006 8:49:18 PM

You beat me to the post! Thanks alot for all your help, really! Thanks!

~Ibrahim~

P.S. I think I am going to spend the extra cash on the SLi version for 1) The extra GB Lan connector 2) FireWire Support
June 9, 2006 9:08:14 PM

Well goodluck, once you homebuild you never go back to company builds.
June 9, 2006 9:10:26 PM

Thanks! Oh, I'm sure of that! I can't believe that I haven't mentioned it yet, but: Nice build!

~Ibrahim~
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