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1st Post, Conroe build

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August 6, 2006 4:29:12 PM

I am wanting to build a decent machine for games and web design. I have about $2,000 to spend.

Here is what I was thinking:

CPU - $616.98
CP2-DUO-E6700 :: Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 2.67GHz / 4MB Cache / 1066MHz FSB / Dual-Core / OEM / Socket 775 /

Hard Drive - $169.99
Western Digital Raptor WD740ADFD 74GB 10,000 RPM Serial ATA150 Hard Drive - OEM

Video Card - $397.99
ATI 100-435721 Radeon X1900 CrossFire Edition 512MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail

Power Supply - $89.99
Antec TRUEPOWERII TPII-550 ATX12V 550W Power Supply - Retail

Motherboard - $249.99
DFI INFINITY 975X Socket T (LGA 775) Intel 975X ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

This is what I was thinking so far. I want a Crossfire motherboard and the DFI was the only one I could find that supported Conroe. Also I really dont need a case or optical drive. I have a spare DVD burner.

What I still need is RAM that I can overclock and a good LCD screen, I want to keep it at 17" if possible. I also have Windows XP, so I do not need to purchase that.

Any help will be great. Games I play are World of WarCraft, Battlefield 2 and Oblivion. I will want to play Battlefield 2142 when it comes out with max graphics.

More about : 1st post conroe build

a b B Homebuilt system
August 6, 2006 5:12:17 PM

First question: Why only a 17" LCD monitor?

Briefly browsing through the 93 17" LCDs listed at Newegg, none had a maximum resolution greater than 1280x1024. This makes the $750 spent on the Crossfire edition X1900XT AND the second X1900XT, not to mention the $250 on the Crossfire edition motherboard a complete waste.
This 20.1 Widescreen Monitor makes more sense to me if you must have Crossfire.
ViewSonic VA2012wb Black 20.1" 8ms Widescreen LCD Monitor.
And while I'm at it, here's the second ATI card you'll need:
ATI 100-435801 Radeon X1900XT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 VIVO PCI Express x16 Video Card

Now, admittedly, I know nothing about overclocking, so there may be a good reason, but why go with the E6700? Save $271 and get the E6600.
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 2.4 GHz (pre-order)

Also, with these changes, we're a lot closer to your $2000 budget ($1928.94 if I did my math right) and you still haven't bought any RAM. These might serve you well:
G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM Unbuffered DDR2 533 (PC2 4200) System Memory
But again, I know nothing about over-clocking, so I may be completely off.

-Wolf sends
August 6, 2006 5:40:02 PM

Thanks.

For the monitor, I really don't like big monitors since the resolution is too big. I like 17" because the 1280x1024 looks better then on a 19". I dont know what the resolution will be on that 20.1" but Ill look into it.

Also with the crossfire, do I have to have 2? Or can I wait to get another one? Im still new to crossfire, but I love ATI products.

And is there much difference between the E6600 and the E6700? I also want to try and the DDR2 677 ram since that is what the board supports, but I know nothing about the timings.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 6, 2006 6:43:43 PM

With the larger screen sizes, you can increase the resolution (assuming the monitor supports larger resolutions) and things look about the same as lower resolutions and smaller monitors. So, for example, on a 19" monitor, a screen resolution of 1440x1152 would look about the same as a screen resolution of 1280x1024 on a 17" monitor. On a 21" Monitor, a screen resolution of 1600x1280 would look about the same. On the monitor I suggested, the recommended screen resolution is 1680x1050. At that resolution, things would probably look a little smaller than 1280x1024 on a 17" monitor.

As for the Crossfire cards, again, it's a waste of money at lower screen resolutions like 1280x1024. It just does nothing for you. Yes, you can get one now and the second one later. The single card will work just fine.

Check out this CPU comparison from Tom's Hardware: Game Over? Core 2 Duo Knocks Out Athlon 64 - Page 12. The E6700 gives a slight performance increase, but IMO, not enough to justify the extra cost.

-Wolf sends
August 6, 2006 7:33:59 PM

Suggested Changes:

CPU: Drop to the E6600 The only difference between it and the 6700 is a higher stock frequency. These processors overclock VERY easily. Save yourself the cash.

Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320GB SATA2. This drive provides much higher data throughput than the Raptor's do (the Raptor's seek times are much better though... overall the performance level is just about even). You get a lot more storage, and about the same (maybe slightly less) performance for a lot less money.

Video Card: Sapphire Radeon X1900XT <--- Crossfire is a waste of time and money. Since you're looking for a 17" monitor you won't be able to get any benefit from a Crossfire setup. (Crossfire, like SLI, only benefits the user at resolutions above 1600 x 1200. 17" LCD's have a max resolution of 1280 x 1024)

Motherboard: The Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 is said to be an EXCELLENT overclocker. Using a pencil mod FSB clocks of up to 535Mhz were acheived. It wasn't very stable at that frequency, the highest stable OC attained was about 480Mhz, but that's still an incredible OC.

RAM: With the money you have saved from (hopefully) taking my advice, go for this set of Corsair XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2-800
August 6, 2006 9:42:09 PM

Ok how about this?

CPU - $372.98
CP2-DUO-E6600 :: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 2.40GHz / 4MB Cache / 1066MHz FSB / Dual-Core / OEM / Socket 775 / Processor (0.1 lbs)

Optical Drive - $27.25
BenQ 16X DVD±R DVD Burner With exclusive SolidBurn Technology Black ATA/ATAPI Model DW1650 BK - OEM

Case - $216.50
Lian Li V COOL PC-V1200B Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

Hard Drives - 384.98
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000KS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Western Digital Raptor WD740ADFD 74GB 10,000 RPM Serial ATA150 Hard Drive - OEM

I trust WD the most and the seek times are faster.

Monitor - $389.99
LG L203WTX Black-Silver 20.1" 8ms Widescreen LCD Monitor - Retail

PSU - $89.99
Antec TRUEPOWERII TPII-550 ATX12V 550W Power Supply - Retail

Memory - $191.99
OCZ Gold Series 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5400) Unbuffered Dual Channel Kit System Memory Model OCZ26672048ELDCGE-K - Retail

Motherboard - $249.99
DFI INFINITY 975X Socket T (LGA 775) Intel 975X ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

This has crossfire which I will be getting later, and the Gigabyte one only has one PCI-Ex16

For the video card, I want something cheap that is PCI-E that will run Battlefield 2 and Oblivion. I am looking at most $250 for a card. I want to wait until DX10 cards come out before spending too much.
August 6, 2006 10:27:43 PM

The drive performance of the Seagate I suggested is equal or slightly less to that of an almost double priced Raptor. Remember that seek times aren't everything. If you're adament about including a Raptor in this build, that's fine. But at least swap the 500GB Caviar for the 320GB Seagate. If you're that insistent about only using WD drives (which I think is a REALLY BAD way to buy components) at least swap the 500GB for this 320GB Caviar. The price per GB is MUCH better on the 320GB drives. If you need more space.... get another one. You'll still end up saving money.

The DFI board may support Crossfire, but if you're not going to get the second card within 2 months, don't even bother.

If you REALLY want Crossfire, get the Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6. This board not only supports Crossfire, but is a wicked overclocker and supports Kentsfield.

For the RAM, I still think you should go for the DDR2-800 set I suggested earlier, but since this is an Intel build, the drop in ram frequency won't matter nearly as much as it would if this were an AMD rig.
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