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Input Requested for Ground-up Build

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July 23, 2006 7:29:03 PM

Hello All,

I could use a bit of help designing my next computer. This is a ground up system as my current ungracefully aging laptop (Dell 5100, P4 2.4 Mobile) is probably going to jump the shark any day now. I am sick of laptops and the only reason I had one was my job moved me around quite a bit, though now I seem to be in a more permanent location (knock on wood).

I have had a lot of experience building systems (back to 486 days) so difficulty of setup is not an issue.

I want to get a good price/performance ratio but I want to steer clear of super-high end and basement budget systems.

I don't do much gaming unless I find an RTS title that is interesting, and I absolutely hate FPS games. Mostly I use the setup for the net, composing video and original music, and web/graphic design (my hobby). Plus it would be nice to be able to possibly do some work related stuff on the machine which is heavy physics based simulations.

Here is what I have wish-listed so far (minus inputs and monitor which I can figure out on my own). Things in italics are pretty much set in stone unless somebody could give me a solid reason why they are no good for my system:

ASPIRE MX-PLEASURE-BK Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case Retail Model #: MX-PLEASURE-BK $109.99
ABIT AW8D Socket T $169.99
XFX PV-T73G-UDE3 Geforce 7600GT 256MB GDDR3 $179.99
Crucial Technology Ballistix 1GB (2 x 512MB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) $159.99
2 Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 SATA NCQ 3Gb/s 160GB $62.99ea
NEC 16X DVD±R DVD Burner Black IDE/ATAPI Model ND-3550A $30.99


Currently this system with the inputs/monitor but without a CPU choice is runnning about $950. I'd like to go no higher than $1200-$1300 if possible.

Here are my big considerations to run by you fine folks (complete with what I think may be the pros and cons):

1) There is no processor in that list because I am having trouble deciding what to get:
a) Wait for the Conroes on Thursday (or whenever) and get the E6600 for a price that looks to probably be in the neighborhood of $375 (according to the presales I've seen). Pros: Fast out of the box, super low power/heat numbers. Cons: Price, possible availability issues.
b) Get a Pentium D 950 for about $229. Pros: Safe choice. Cons: Somewhat high power/heat numbers.
c) Get a Pentium D 805 for about $104 and overclock to 4.0 Ghz. Pros: Decently fast, cheap. Cons: Overclocking to be on the safe side seems to require a water cooling solution, Bigwater 745 for $160 would bring total to $264, super high power/heat consumption, *may* require a PSU upgrade, will take some tweaking.
d) Something you guys come up with.

2) Memory is processor dependent. If using a conroe chip DDR2 800 seems to be the logical choice, DDR2 667 is the logical choice for the others. Then there is CAS latency numbers. I could save $65 on the DDR2 800 by buying chips with 5-5-5-15 timing (PQI) over the 4-4-4-12 currently in the list. Not sure how big of a deal that is. Any thoughts?

3) Video Card. I have a 7600GT in the list, but I am not sure I need something that powerful as I don't really play games, but I don't want to buy something that is too many seasons out of style :) 

Any input you all could give me would be greatly appreciated. I am online like 18 hours a day so any questions you have I can respond to pretty quickly.

Thanks in advance!

B

Edit: Had an old copy those HD's should be:
2 Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 SATA NCQ 3Gb/s ST3160812AS 160GB $62.99ea
July 23, 2006 8:04:37 PM

Suggestions:

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 <--- DEFINITLY wait for the Conroe's... you'll agree it was worth it...

Mobo: Abit AB9 Pro

RAM: OCZ Gold 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2-800

Video: eVGA Geforce 7600GT <--- Since you're not a big gamer, the video card doesn't really matter.... I suggested this one because it's $10 cheaper.

Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320GB SATA2 <--- pick up another one if you need the space.

Total before taxes and shipping (on only the parts I have listed here): $974.96
July 23, 2006 8:32:55 PM

Quote:
Suggestions:

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 <--- DEFINITLY wait for the Conroe's... you'll agree it was worth it...

Mobo: Abit AB9 Pro

RAM: OCZ Gold 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2-800

Video: eVGA Geforce 7600GT <--- Since you're not a big gamer, the video card doesn't really matter.... I suggested this one because it's $10 cheaper.

Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320GB SATA2 <--- pick up another one if you need the space.

Total before taxes and shipping (on only the parts I have listed here): $974.96


Power outage during my last reply (laptop has no functioning battery anymore lol)

Anyways, yes I did like that motherboard better it was just out of stock so I didn't add it.

That memory is a much better deal as long as I can get it before the rebate expires (7/31) which may be an issue if I can't secure an E6600 (I don't want to have a half built machine sitting here)

As for the HD, I wanted to get 2 smaller ones to stripe RAID, as storage is not an issue for me, I have a 500 GB in an external enclosure that I got for pennies (insurance adjuster friend at a loss-sale) that I often drop big files off to as soon as I am done with them.

Thanks man!
Related resources
July 23, 2006 9:13:27 PM

Prophecy, I've seen you reccommend the E6600 many times before (which is fair enough, that's the one that's on preorder right now) but a different motherboard every time?

Is it a price thing? Because I've never seen you reccommend the D975XBX which is a wicked board :) 
July 23, 2006 9:20:55 PM

I'm with him, kind of. I've been looking at AMD motherboards for such a long time and nVidia was like the *only* good chipset maker, but with Conroe there are quite a few makers..

If you can wait, Btrice, nVidia is launching their nForce Core 2 Duo motherboards next month...

Also the motherboard, the D975XBX, only "allows" 533 or 667 RAM. I am guessing that that is the standard. Why would you get 800 if you are not overclocking?

~Ibrahim~
July 23, 2006 9:49:41 PM

Quote:
I'm with him, kind of. I've been looking at AMD motherboards for such a long time and nVidia was like the *only* good chipset maker, but with Conroe there are quite a few makers..

If you can wait, Btrice, nVidia is launching their nForce Core 2 Duo motherboards next month...

Also the motherboard, the D975XBX, only "allows" 533 or 667 RAM. I am guessing that that is the standard. Why would you get 800 if you are not overclocking?

~Ibrahim~


Excuse my ignorance to their history with chipsets (like I said, its been awhile since I put a new machine together) but do you think nVidia chipset would be worth the wait, in terms of price as well?

The D975XBX is $260 so there is no way I am looking at that. Both Abit boards have DDR2 800 as the standard but if I understand correctly until Conroe shows up with the 1066 native (or I went with an OC'd PentD) you are right the 800 would be a waste.

Edit: Forgot to ask, any issues with the case/PSU I selected? I figure 450W should be plenty especially with the Conroe. I was also looking at an Antec Sonata II case but there were a LOT of reviews complaining about DOA PSUs and cheap construction. Of course I would rather go with something like a Lian Li + a separate PSU from one of the more popular manuafacturers, but I am not sure it would be worth the extra $100 or so.
July 23, 2006 9:53:29 PM

Quote:
Prophecy, I've seen you reccommend the E6600 many times before (which is fair enough, that's the one that's on preorder right now) but a different motherboard every time?

Is it a price thing? Because I've never seen you reccommend the D975XBX which is a wicked board :) 


I never recommend the D975XBX because the overclocking options on other Conroe supporting boards are much better.
July 23, 2006 10:15:11 PM

Well I was using that as an example, but I was more just curious as to why it's almost a different board for every time? Or is it literally just budget?
July 23, 2006 10:22:20 PM

I personally think that the nVidia chipset would be worth the wait and the RD600 for Conroe is going to be amazing. Excellent overclockers...

I thought Conroe was on 1066FSB native as of right now. Conroe is using 800Mhz and 1066Mhz FSB, but only the lowest models use 800FSB. So, you would use either 667 at a 2:3 ratio or 533 on a 1:2 ratio. 800 would require a 3:4 ratio. Depends on motherboard, I believe.

Aspire makes great cases, IMHO. I'm in love with the X-Cruiser. Power Supplies are more questionable...I recommend the Mushkin 550W or the Antec True Power II 550W. Both are modular, but I give my nod to the Mushkin.

On the case, Lian-Li's could dampen a 747 taking off. Very quiet, very elegant, and very expensive. Your choice.

I read a review on the 975X, right on with The Prophecy. BIOS updates might cure it's light BIOS options, but the current one ruins a great motherboard.

~Ibrahim~
July 23, 2006 11:41:48 PM

Quote:
Well I was using that as an example, but I was more just curious as to why it's almost a different board for every time? Or is it literally just budget?


Usually it comes down to budget. I recently noticed the Abit AB9 / AB9 Pro boards available on Newegg.... so you'll probably see me recommending those more often, along with the Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 and Asus P5B.
July 24, 2006 5:26:51 PM

After some consideration I have been thinking about possibly biting the bullet money-wise and going for the ASUS P5W-DH Deluxe. That way I can have as much room for overclocking the E6600 as I need to, should I choose to do that. Maybe even going with one of the underperforming (in terms of the default settings) value RAMS such as the Adata Vitesta and only starting with 1 GB. I read that that board can do a 400 FSB pretty well, which would mean a 3.6 Ghz clock on the E6600. Not bad.

Once I get through this round of real estate ventures (my side job) I should be able to upgrade anything else I would need to make sure an overclock went smoothly, but starting with the better MB for OC would make a lot of sense.
July 24, 2006 7:38:40 PM

Quote:
After some consideration I have been thinking about possibly biting the bullet money-wise and going for the ASUS P5W-DH Deluxe. That way I can have as much room for overclocking the E6600 as I need to, should I choose to do that. Maybe even going with one of the underperforming (in terms of the default settings) value RAMS such as the Adata Vitesta and only starting with 1 GB. I read that that board can do a 400 FSB pretty well, which would mean a 3.6 Ghz clock on the E6600. Not bad.


Cheap ram gives cheap results. If you skimp on the ram... don't expect a very good overclock.
July 24, 2006 7:46:24 PM

Quote:
After some consideration I have been thinking about possibly biting the bullet money-wise and going for the ASUS P5W-DH Deluxe. That way I can have as much room for overclocking the E6600 as I need to, should I choose to do that. Maybe even going with one of the underperforming (in terms of the default settings) value RAMS such as the Adata Vitesta and only starting with 1 GB. I read that that board can do a 400 FSB pretty well, which would mean a 3.6 Ghz clock on the E6600. Not bad.


Cheap ram gives cheap results. If you skimp on the ram... don't expect a very good overclock.

I can't argue with that, but I've read good things though about that set, I won't mention where, cause it surely isn't Tom's.
July 24, 2006 7:56:13 PM

If it was Newegg, disregard the reviews there. The people who post reviews there are notorious for being idiots.
July 24, 2006 8:27:28 PM

Quote:
If it was Newegg, disregard the reviews there. The people who post reviews there are notorious for being idiots.


No, it was a place that starts with A and ends with tech (with a NAND gate in the middle) :lol:  :lol: 
July 24, 2006 8:36:34 PM

anandtech did a great review on value ddr2 and found out you can push them really far even up to speeds over stock performance ram for alot cheaper
July 24, 2006 8:38:43 PM

Quote:
anandtech did a great review on value ddr2 and found out you can push them really far even up to speeds over stock performance ram for alot cheaper


Probably the exact same article I was referring to. Had I known about it prior to this post my original spec would have been different. I've been relying 100% on Toms for my info since 1996.
July 24, 2006 8:55:03 PM

Quote:
This is a ground up system...


You'll be wanting a desk, and a comfortable chair then. ;) 
July 24, 2006 8:58:44 PM

Quote:
This is a ground up system...


You'll be wanting a desk, and a comfortable chair then. ;) 

:lol:  :lol: 
Actually I thought I might strap it to my back and carry it around with me, which is why heat was a concern :p 
July 25, 2006 12:23:41 AM

Quote:
Actually I thought I might strap it to my back and carry it around with me, which is why heat was a concern :p 


Just think.... you'll never have back problems carrying that desk around all the time..... the heat from the system would help relax your back muscles..... If we follow this line of thinking.... get a board supporting crossfire, then throw a couple Radeon X1900XTX cards in there.....

I just realized after reading this a few times that I may actually have something here.... excuse me while I go find a medical journal to get this idea published in.
July 25, 2006 12:59:41 AM

haha, yeah..Maybe get some loose hard drives for a massage.

~Ibrahim~
July 25, 2006 1:47:23 AM

It's so cool what can be dreamed up when great minds come together eh?
July 25, 2006 1:04:58 PM

Quote:
haha, yeah..Maybe get some loose hard drives for a massage.

~Ibrahim~


I'm thinking that Deluxe DLC-MG309 case with the 200 mm fan on the side will do the trick. Then I need to see if the Thermaltake 745 would run off of Scaldis :) 
July 25, 2006 3:02:56 PM

haha, true...

lol, I love that huge fan on the side. It looks amazing!

~Ibrahim~
!