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New Conroe E6600 Setup - First Time Builder

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August 6, 2006 3:08:14 AM

Hi all.

I've been looking at recent core duo 2 developments and decided on a preliminary configuration. Note, all items were choosen from overclockers.co.uk, as this was the only uk site i could find with the majority of the components i needed. My max budget is £1500, but any spare could be useful to put towards a quad core in the future.

I'm not entirely sure about the implications of retail vs oem on some of these components. This build was with cpu overclocking in mind.

As always, i'm open to suggestions/criticism. So here goes...

Gigabyte GA_965P_DS3 (Socket 775) PCI-Express DDR2 Motherboard. [£87.95]
- As far as i can tell this seems to be good for oc.
I've also heard about possible memory voltage compatibility problems. Is this true? and how will that affect my choice of memory?

Intel Core 2 DUO E6600 "LGA775 Conroe" 2.40GHz (1066FSB) - Retail [£214.95]
- :) 

Corsair 2GB DDR2 XMS2-6400C4 TwinX (2x1GB). [£159.95]
- 800mhz 4-4-4-4-12.
I'm assuming this is the one specified on the supported memory list. If not, then Gigabyte are making things overly complex.

BFG GeForce 7900 GT OC 256MB GDDR3 TV-Out/Dual DVI (PCI-Express) - Retail [£159.95]
- The cheapest one. Also provides a so called life time warranty(not sure on the fine print on this one).
I do game somewhat, so would this be good enough to play the top games with a reasonable average fps?

Thermaltake VA3000BWA Tsunami Dream SuperMidi Aluminium Tower - Black. [£63.95]
- Nice looking case, good price. How's the cooling and room for components?

Antec TruePower 2.0 550W PSU. [£64.95]
- Heard good things about antec power units. Is this enough to power my system(taking into consideration cpu overclocking)?

Zalman CNPS9500-LED Aero Flower (Socket 939/754/478/775) CPU Cooler. [£28.95]
- Would this be sufficient for cooling the cpu?

2x Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320GB ST3320620AS SATA-II 16MB Cache - OEM. [£125.90]
- 640GB raid 0 for storage. TV shows, movies, music etc...

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 200GB ST3200820AS SATA-II 8MB Cache - OEM. [£47.95]
- System OS drive. Linux distros, game/program data etc.

Liteon SHW-16H5S-15C 16x Lightscribe DVD±RW - Retail. [£27.95]
- Std dvd r/w drive.

Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound (3.5g). [£5.50]
- For use with hsf i imagine.

ArctiClean Thermal Material Remover and Surface Purifier - 60ml Kit. [£4.95]
- Just incase i need to remount heatsink/fan or add water cooling.

Total (including vat): £1,159.96 | 2,212.74 USD

Other items i already have that will be used in the build.
Logitech Z-5500 5.1 Speakers.
Audigy 2 ZS Sound Card(PCI).
Nova-T DVB TV Card(PCI).
Logitech Cordless Desktop MX3100.
19inch LCD. Crappy generic make. I hope to get a 32+ inch LCD monitor/tv at a later date when prices are more reasonable.

Thats about it. Remind me if i forgot anything.
August 6, 2006 3:17:40 AM

Overall a very nice build, but I have a few questions/suggestions.

1) Do you have a copy of Windows to use on it? Don't see anything about Windows listed.

2) You really don't need a 3rd party cooler. The Intel stock cooler will perform just fine even with some overclocking.

3) Unless you are doing a lot of large writes to the drive RAID will not really help you very much. It will however double your points of failure, as either drive failing will result in a total RAID data loss (all 640GB).

4) Lightscribe is a waste of money. Don't pay extra for it. Sharpies work wonders.

5) If you want to watch TV on the PC consider a X1900 All-in-Wonder card from ATI. They perform well in 3D games and give you a full array of TV jacks.
August 6, 2006 3:30:34 AM

Quote:

1) Do you have a copy of Windows to use on it? Don't see anything about Windows listed.


I do have a copy of xp home ed. which i use occasionally for games. But i mostly use linux distros. Also i hope to beable to use zen/vmware with the new hardware accelerated virtualization. This should eliminate the need to make a partition for windows hopefully...

Quote:

2) You really don't need a 3rd party cooler. The Intel stock cooler will perform just fine even with some overclocking.


Good point. I'm not entirely sure about this one. But i would like a quiet system that overclocks well. I just assumed a high end fan would be better for this than the stock one.

Quote:

3) Unless you are doing a lot of large writes to the drive RAID will not really help you very much. It will however double your points of failure, as either drive failing will result in a total RAID data loss (all 640GB).


Thinking about it, you are probably right. I could just spread my video/music etc across both the drives.

Quote:

4) Lightscribe is a waste of money. Don't pay extra for it. Sharpies work wonders.


I like the idea of burning the label on the disc itself. But point taken.

Quote:

5) If you want to watch TV on the PC consider a X1900 All-in-Wonder card from ATI. They perform well in 3D games and give you a full array of TV jacks.


Because i mainly use linux and nvidia drivers work better on those system, i prefer the 7900. I currently have a ATI card on my dell machine, and the driver support on linux isn't great :( 
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August 6, 2006 5:58:02 AM

The stock cooler that comes with the Core 2 chips will be more than enough to keep it cool, even with moderate overclocking. Provided they are the same coolers that come with the Pentium D 900 series chips, the stock fan will not be noticable in terms of noise output.
August 6, 2006 2:43:20 PM

Quote:
The stock cooler that comes with the Core 2 chips will be more than enough to keep it cool, even with moderate overclocking. Provided they are the same coolers that come with the Pentium D 900 series chips, the stock fan will not be noticable in terms of noise output.


Ok, i'll give the stock fan a chance and see what the noise level is like. By the way, is it necessary to apply thermal paste even when using the stock hsf? i wasn't sure if it comes with all that setup.

Edit:
Actually thinking about it, i'm pretty sure i'll have to use thermal paste on it.
August 6, 2006 2:51:18 PM

Anyone have thoughts on the voltage situation in regards to the DDR2? Apparently the memory i selected is 2.2v. Will the DS3 have problems supplying the voltage for this?

The last thing i want on a first build is not being able to post due to compatibility problems :( 

Edit:
Ok, i found the memory compatibility sheet for the DS3. It doesn't mention ocz or gskill as supported. It does mention corsair though. So i'm changing the memory to:

Corsair 2GB DDR2 XMS2-6400C4 TwinX (2x1GB). [£159.95]
- 800mhz 4-4-4-4-12.
August 6, 2006 5:25:37 PM

Quote:
By the way, is it necessary to apply thermal paste even when using the stock hsf? i wasn't sure if it comes with all that setup.

Yes... ALWAYS use thermal paste when putting together a new system.

Quote:
Edit: Ok, i found the memory compatibility sheet for the DS3. It doesn't mention ocz or gskill as supported. It does mention corsair though. So i'm changing the memory to:

Corsair 2GB DDR2 XMS2-6400C4 TwinX (2x1GB). [£159.95]
- 800mhz 4-4-4-4-12.

Just because a certain brand or specific model of ram is not on the QVL list for that board, doesn't mean it won't work. However, the alternative you came up with is a good choice. Always go for CAS 4 ram if you can.
August 6, 2006 5:38:47 PM

Oh man, that's really similar to my build, very similar, but I have this nasty feeling that I might have made a terrible mistake going for the Corsair 2GB DDR2 Value Select PC5300 Dual Channel Kit CL3, instead of the XMS2-6400C4. I only did that because most reviews indicated almost no significant real world gain from the more expensive memory. But earlier today, I noticed that Gigabyte didn't say they supported this memory or not, and now I've read a review showing masses of gains on the DQ6 when using faster memory overclocked.

I instead spent my money on a DQ6 instead of the DS3. I wonder who will be the happier at the end of the day :?

*hits self over head and crys*

P.S. My entire rig is bought in pieces from OC.UK and will be arriving Monday, too late to change my mind now.

Further edit: would love some reassurances or condemnations
August 6, 2006 5:58:50 PM

Well at least it's CL3 DDR2-667..... it could have been a lot worse.
August 6, 2006 6:06:59 PM

Quote:
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 200GB ST3200820AS SATA-II 8MB Cache - OEM. [£47.95]
- System OS drive. Linux distros, game/program data etc.


Why not consider a Raptor drive. These are significantly faster and are ideal as system drives. The 36GB version is pretty good vfm.
August 6, 2006 6:08:41 PM

Quote:
Oh man, that's really similar to my build, very similar, but I have this nasty feeling that I might have made a terrible mistake going for the Corsair 2GB DDR2 Value Select PC5300 Dual Channel Kit CL3, instead of the XMS2-6400C4


Atleast you will have some flexibility with the memory timings for CL3. You could loosen them quite a bit while overclocking.
August 6, 2006 6:10:26 PM

Quote:
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 200GB ST3200820AS SATA-II 8MB Cache - OEM. [£47.95]
- System OS drive. Linux distros, game/program data etc.


Why not consider a Raptor drive. These are significantly faster and are ideal as system drives. The 36GB version is pretty good vfm.

From what i can tell there isn't alot of performance difference between the raptor and 7200.10 series. The raptors are also alot more expensive.

I also need min 100 gig for system drive as i will be installing multiple OS partitions
August 6, 2006 6:11:42 PM

*grabs you and shakes you* How much am I going to notice, I just dropped well over £1,000 on this... and I'm starting to get cold sweats thinking I've completely messed it up... 1%, 5%, 10%, completely throttling the system with zero overclocking ability? The XMS2-5300 CL4 was only a few pounds cheaper... and and...

Then again, anandtech did say they got the modules I went for up to: ratio (2:3), speed 800 DDR2, timings 4-3-3-8 and voltage 2.2V

To be honest, I spent so much time oohh'ing and aahh'ing over everything, I probably confused myself. I appologise for hijacking the thread, I'm just desperate to know how much this is going to impeed performance.

*smiles*

Edit: Oh thanks windego, thats sorta good to know, i hope hehe. From what I could gather, the Raptors would give better performance, but possibly would not be worth it for the cost per megabyte. I am tempted to invest in a single raptor in the future for running windows and key programs. But hey, I went for the exact same hard drive as you, so thats probably not a good sign with my decision making :wink:
August 6, 2006 6:13:47 PM

The seek times on the Raptor's are much better, but the 7200.10 Barracuda's make up for that with superior data throughput. In the end, performance just about evens out, but I give the crown to the Barracuda's becuase they are much cheaper.
August 6, 2006 6:18:53 PM

Quote:
*grabs you and shakes you* How much am I going to notice, I just dropped well over £1,000 on this... and I'm starting to get cold sweats thinking I've completely messed it up... 1%, 5%, 10%, completely throttling the system with zero overclocking ability? The XMS2-5300 CL4 was only a few pounds cheaper... and and...


Under british law we have 7 days(possibly more...) from the date of receiving the goods to return them, no questions asked. They don't have to be faulty or anything. It's basic consumer law. So if you did make a mistake you have 7 days(or more) to return it.

Quote:

To be honest, I spent so much time oohh'ing and aahh'ing over everything, I probably confused myself. I appologise for hijacking the thread, I'm just desperate to know how much this is going to impeed performance.


I'm having similar problems deciding on memory. I've been reading all over the place that the DS3(and possibly other siblings based on 965) are very picky when it comes to ram.
August 6, 2006 6:26:03 PM

Yeah, good point, hmm, I could always whack it in and run a few benchmarks and see not only if it works but how it performs. If I don't like it, send it back and get something better, will cost some more P&P but not the end of the world.

I read the same Gigabyte page as you saying what memory was supported on their boards and I think what you picked was supported from what they said. If I had read that before I had ordered, I would have gone for the XMS2 no doubt as value isn't tested. But to be honest, I was more concerned with the CPU support page and reports of other boards not supporting Conroe.

Is building your own computer really worth the hassle and headache? lol
August 6, 2006 6:32:41 PM

Quote:

Is building your own computer really worth the hassle and headache? lol


Hehe. Ye, it seems we have to be particularly careful with these new conroe 965 chipset boards. I guess if it was a mature product then it would be more straight forward.

Let me know how your build goes.
August 6, 2006 7:01:25 PM

*smirks* will do, I expect everyone will hear about it one way or another :wink:

But who wants to wait till a mature product is available? It's not new and cool then, and I like new shiney things :lol: 
August 6, 2006 8:34:26 PM

Once you build a few systems of your own (or for someone else) the heaadaches become less and less severe.
August 6, 2006 9:55:20 PM

I've built loads for other people, and am the regular tech guru for friends and family. I help with all computer and technological things. What I cant handle is spending my own money, it makes me nervous, and over think, do stupid things... I scrimped and saved and waited and waited, then when it finally came, I rushed the order. Anyway, not many people are as pathetic as me lol
August 6, 2006 10:37:22 PM

That's why you come here for our opinions when it comes time to building your own system. There are lots of knowledgeable people here who really know their stuff (not trying to brag or anything, but I consider myself to be in that group), who will give you their honest opinion on what changes they think you should make, what they like and don't like about a particular product, and overall how the new build will perform. Don't worry.... when you put your build on the line at THG, you're in good hands.
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