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Seeking advice on mid-range Conroe build. Please comment.

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August 5, 2006 9:35:04 PM

I’m making my first build in a few years and would greatly appreciate your help. I’m currently on an Athlon 1800+ with 768MB RAM and an Radeon 9600XT (128MB) video card. That machine has served me well but it is time for a new one! Here is what I plan on using the computer for:

80% Online gaming on Everquest – This is the ONLY game I will be playing. I will be playing 1 character on M-F and would like to run as many as 4 sessions (aka 4 boxing) on the weekends.

20% Internet browsing, MS Office, email, etc.


Here are some assumptions I would like to make:

1) I have approximately $2,000 USD to spend.
2) I’d like to be up and running by mid to late August.
3) I do not need a keyboard or mouse. I also have a Dell 1905FP monitor, which I feel is getting the job done (is it HDCP certified?).
4) I am not a hardcore overclocker. Since this is going to be such a huge upgrade, I’m sure stock settings will probably blow me away.
5) The desk is in my living room and I often have my TV on across the room. I’d like to avoid components that are known for being particularly noisy so I don’t have to jack up the volume on my TV.
6) I would like to somewhat future proof the system so that it will last for at least 2 years. I am not interested in upgrading another part 6 months down the road. I will probably run XP Pro for two more years.

I’ve been doing a ton of research and I’m fairly certain I want to go with an Intel Conroe. More specifically, I’m pretty sure I want the E6600. After that, things get very fuzzy so that is why I am requesting your help with my build:

Edit 8/6/6 Okay, I did some thinking over night and am thinking I may have selected components slighty stronger than I need.

Replaced P180 & Seasonic S12-600W with P150 w/430 Antec NeoHE
Removed 'Cooling' since I'm sure I'll use retail fan.
Replaced Intel D975XBX ‘Bad Axe’ r304 with Intel BOXDP965LTCK Socket T (LGA 775) Intel P965 Express.
Replaced eVGA Geforce 7950x2 1GB with eVGA Geforce 7900GT KO 512MB .
Replaced Pioneer Black 111D with NEC ND-3550A Silver.



CPU – Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Retail
??
$340

Case – Antec P150 -- Thoughts?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811129166
$140

PSU – Antec NeoHE 430 ATX12V 430W -- From what I've researched, 430W should be enough to power this system.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817103940
$0 (included with case)

Thermal Compound – Arctic Silver 5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16835100007
$6

MB – Intel BOXDP965LTCK Socket T (LGA 775) Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
-- I don’t really need SLI or Crossfire and I’m not a hardcore overclocker. I’m probably going to use onboard sound for now. What features am I going to lose by going from the 'Bad Axe' to this?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813121035
$107

GPU – eVGA 512-P2-N568-AR Geforce 7900GT KO 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail
-- I know I want eVGA and 512MB so this narrows it down. Thoughts?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814130034
$360

RAM – G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM Unbuffered DDR2 533 (PC2 4200) -- Will run 1:1 if I don’t overclock. Thoughts?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820231018
$150

HDDs I’m pretty sure I want to get a 10,000RPM drive for my OS and game. Then a nice 7,200RPM for storage. I am slightly concerned about noise.

Western Digital Raptor WD740ADFD 74GB 10,000 RPM 16MB Cache Serial ATA150 Hard Drive – OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822136033
$170

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822148140
$95

DVD/RW – NEC ND-3550A Silver
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16827152060
$30

Stuff I’ll probably get later:

LCD -- UltraSharp 2007FPW if the budget allows. If not, I’ll add later.

SC – How much CPU power do you really save by getting a sound card? Everquest does not have amazing sounds so I’m tempted to go with onboard audio. X-Fi probably... Thoughts?

TV Tuner – Hauppauge WINTV-PVR-150 PCI -- Convert from VHS to DVD and watch TV in a window.

Speakers – ?

3.5/reader – MITSUMI Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal USB 2.0 digital card reader with Floppy Drive Model FA404M BLK - OEM

UPS – I think it is time to finally buy one. OPTI-UPS Enhanced Series ES1000C 1000VA 700W had pretty good reviews.


Is there any stuff I’ve left out? Thanks in advance for all of your opinions, advice, and help!
August 5, 2006 10:14:40 PM

Suggested Changes:

CPU: If EQ is the only game you're going to be playing.... drop to an E6300

Mobo: If you don't need SLI or Crossfire, switch to either the Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3, Abit AB9 Pro, or Asus P5B

PSU: Antec Truepower 480W <--- Since you aren't going to be using SLI or Crossfire, anything over 500W for this build will most likely be overkill. Anything over 550 will definitly be overkill.

RAM: OCZ Gold 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2-800 <--- People who use CAS 5 on an Intel platform don't lose nearly as much performance as an AMD system would if they were to use CAS 4, but if you really want a CAS 4 set, this Corsair XMS2 2GB will do nicely.

Video Card: If you really want good performance out of the box, get an eVGA Geforce 7900GT. If it's not a problem, get a 7600GT. Upgrade to the DX 10 cards once they arrive, but don't bother with a 7950GX2, a 7900GTX or an X1900XTX. All of them are incredibly power hungry and just aren't worth the extra cost with DX10 approaching.

DVD Burner: NEC ND-3550A <--- This one has better specs.... and cheaper.

Sound Card: Adding a sound card only gives a couple extra % back to the CPU (no more than 3%). If you don't care about sound that much, don't bother with a seperate sound card.
August 6, 2006 3:40:20 PM

Okay, I did some thinking over night and am thinking I may have selected components slighty stronger than I need. The following changes were made:

Replaced P180 & Seasonic S12-600W with P150 w/430 Antec NeoHE
Removed 'Cooling' since I'm sure I'll use retail fan.
Replaced Intel D975XBX ‘Bad Axe’ r304 with Intel BOXDP965LTCK Socket T (LGA 775) Intel P965 Express.
Replaced eVGA Geforce 7950x2 1GB with eVGA Geforce 7900GT KO 512MB .
Replaced Pioneer Black 111D with NEC ND-3550A Silver.


Those changes saved over $400. Out of all the parts, I'm most uncomfortable with the motherboard. Does anyone have any comments or suggestions?

How does everything else look? Thanks in advance for your help guys!
Related resources
August 6, 2006 4:19:14 PM

Quote:
Suggested Changes:

PSU: Antec Truepower 480W <--- Since you aren't going to be using SLI or Crossfire, anything over 500W for this build will most likely be overkill. Anything over 550 will definitly be overkill.



I agree with this. PSUs that come with cases arent usually that great.
!