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New E6400 Build, $2k budget

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August 17, 2006 9:28:16 PM

Hi all,

I'm going to be building my first system next week, and I'm looking to place the order for the parts sometime this weekend. I'll be upgrading from a 4-year old system (P4 2.4, Radeon 9800 Pro, etc), so I'm sure I'm going to be thrilled with just about anything on the market today. I'm looking to spend $2000 or less for a system with LCD that's going to be used for some gaming as well as engineering grad school.

Here's what I've come up with so far:

Case - Lian Li PC-7B plus II - $99.99
PSU - OCZ PowerStream 520W - $134.99
Mobo - Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 Socket T - $152.99
Video - MSI RX1900XT-VT2D512E Radeon X1900XT - $278.99 after rebates
CPU - Core 2 Duo E6400 - $259.99
RAM - 2GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2 800 PC6400 - $189.99 after rebate
HDD - 320GB Seagate Barracuda 7200 RPM SATA - $94.99
Cooling - Zalman CNPS9500 LED 92mm - $48.99 after rebate
DVD - Samsung 18X DVD±R DVD Burner With 12X DVD-RAM Write - $32.99
Display - ViewSonic VX2025WM Black-Silver 20.1" - $328.99

Total - $1622.9

I'm looking to overclock the E6400 on air cooling. I've been going back and forth on the motherboard between the Gigabyte and the ASUS P5 series. I have a hard time justifying the extra cost for an Asus P5W Deluxe since I don't think I need the wireless or additional bells and whistles.

I'm actually surprised everything came out so reasonable for what looks to me like a solid system. I've got a few hundred left to play with, but as a student I'm always up for saving the money if it's not really necessary :D 

Anyway, I'd appreciate any insight/comments on potential problems, possible replacements, etc. Thanks guys.

More about : e6400 build budget

August 17, 2006 9:35:25 PM

I'd save that $300 and use it for any peripherals you may want. If you are going into a dorm then get some nice senn headphones, maybe the G15 + G5 gaming keyboard and mouse.... If you want it quiet get a good water cooling set for $250... it's all up to you.
August 17, 2006 9:49:16 PM

Quote:
I'd save that $300 and use it for any peripherals you may want. If you are going into a dorm then get some nice senn headphones, maybe the G15 + G5 gaming keyboard and mouse.... If you want it quiet get a good water cooling set for $250... it's all up to you.


Thanks. That's along the lines of what I was thinking. I've got a nice pair of AKG 271S headphones and an MAudio sound card that I'm taking along (left that out of the OP) for serious music listening...That keyboard does look pretty sweet though. Be a heck of an upgrade from the $5 standard one I've got now.
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August 17, 2006 10:49:38 PM

Quote:
Hi all,

I'm going to be building my first system next week, and I'm looking to place the order for the parts sometime this weekend. I'll be upgrading from a 4-year old system (P4 2.4, Radeon 9800 Pro, etc), so I'm sure I'm going to be thrilled with just about anything on the market today. I'm looking to spend $2000 or less for a system with LCD that's going to be used for some gaming as well as engineering grad school.

Here's what I've come up with so far:

Case - Lian Li PC-7B plus II - $99.99
PSU - OCZ PowerStream 520W - $134.99
Mobo - Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 Socket T - $152.99
Video - MSI RX1900XT-VT2D512E Radeon X1900XT - $278.99 after rebates
CPU - Core 2 Duo E6400 - $259.99
RAM - 2GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2 800 PC6400 - $189.99 after rebate
HDD - 320GB Seagate Barracuda 7200 RPM SATA - $94.99
Cooling - Zalman CNPS9500 LED 92mm - $48.99 after rebate
DVD - Samsung 18X DVD±R DVD Burner With 12X DVD-RAM Write - $32.99
Display - ViewSonic VX2025WM Black-Silver 20.1" - $328.99

Total - $1622.9

I'm looking to overclock the E6400 on air cooling. I've been going back and forth on the motherboard between the Gigabyte and the ASUS P5 series. I have a hard time justifying the extra cost for an Asus P5W Deluxe since I don't think I need the wireless or additional bells and whistles.

I'm actually surprised everything came out so reasonable for what looks to me like a solid system. I've got a few hundred left to play with, but as a student I'm always up for saving the money if it's not really necessary :D 

Anyway, I'd appreciate any insight/comments on potential problems, possible replacements, etc. Thanks guys.



I like your choice of case, High quality Lian-Li. A little bit uninspiring, but everyone to there own right?

As for the power supply I would recommend OCZ's new line of power supplies. Wich actually has more power, active PFC (I'm unsure if the powerstream line has active pfc or not), quad 12v rails, and non-modular (keeps the efficiency up). Also it looks alot better than the Powerstream if aesthetics are important to you.
OCZ GameXStream OCZ600GXSSLI ATX12V 600W Power Supply 100 - 240V CB/CE/CSA/UL/FCC - Retail
$119.99 (After $10 MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Also a good choice on the motherboard. Although if you are overclocking I am weary of the 3 voltage regulators that the DS3 comes with, you might want to look into one of asus' boards or the amazing 12 voltage regulator board... The DQ6. Wich I might add comes witha premium price tag. If your moderately overclocking (I would say nothing over 3.2-3.4ghz) you should be ok. Personally? Stick with the DS3.

Nice choice on the videocard, the cheapest x1900xt I found off of newegg was still 11$ more.

Obviusly what can be said about the cpu? Good choice, higher multiplyer than the e6300 for higher clocks. Solid.

Also make sure you get a HD with all the new fancy features... SATA2, NCQ, 16mb cache. Brand isn't a big issue anymore, Maxtor, Seagate, and WD are all premium harddrives. I recommend WD because it's what I've used and never had a problem with them ever.

I thought I would drop by and give my 0.02$. But I highly recommend that better psu. Also in terms of water cooling... if you do go water cooling, then get the DQ6 or P5B deluxe motherboards so you have more overclocking potential. Otherwise scrap water cooling altogethor. Also a good idea might be to spend some extra money on an aftermarket videocard cooler. Zalman's 900c comes to mind.
August 17, 2006 11:08:30 PM

Quote:
I like your choice of case, High quality Lian-Li. A little bit uninspiring, but everyone to there own right?

As for the power supply I would recommend OCZ's new line of power supplies. Wich actually has more power, active PFC (I'm unsure if the powerstream line has active pfc or not), quad 12v rails, and non-modular (keeps the efficiency up). Also it looks alot better than the Powerstream if aesthetics are important to you.
OCZ GameXStream OCZ600GXSSLI ATX12V 600W Power Supply 100 - 240V CB/CE/CSA/UL/FCC - Retail
$119.99 (After $10 MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Also a good choice on the motherboard. Although if you are overclocking I am weary of the 3 voltage regulators that the DS3 comes with, you might want to look into one of asus' boards or the amazing 12 voltage regulator board... The DQ6. Wich I might add comes witha premium price tag. If your moderately overclocking (I would say nothing over 3.2-3.4ghz) you should be ok. Personally? Stick with the DS3.

Nice choice on the videocard, the cheapest x1900xt I found off of newegg was still 11$ more.

Obviusly what can be said about the cpu? Good choice, higher multiplyer than the e6300 for higher clocks. Solid.

Also make sure you get a HD with all the new fancy features... SATA2, NCQ, 16mb cache. Brand isn't a big issue anymore, Maxtor, Seagate, and WD are all premium harddrives. I recommend WD because it's what I've used and never had a problem with them ever.

I thought I would drop by and give my 0.02$. But I highly recommend that better psu. Also in terms of water cooling... if you do go water cooling, then get the DQ6 or P5B deluxe motherboards so you have more overclocking potential. Otherwise scrap water cooling altogethor. Also a good idea might be to spend some extra money on an aftermarket videocard cooler. Zalman's 900c comes to mind.


Great post -- Thanks a lot for the insight. Looking at the PSU you suggested, I'm going to change my selection. Same price for a better PSU. GameXStream it is.

I'd be happy with a moderate overclock of 3 GHz. It seems like people are having good success with achieving that clock on the E6400 with air cooling. Don't want to go into the water cooling. Maybe on a future build after I have more experience.
August 18, 2006 7:24:36 AM

Quote:
I like your choice of case, High quality Lian-Li. A little bit uninspiring, but everyone to there own right?

As for the power supply I would recommend OCZ's new line of power supplies. Wich actually has more power, active PFC (I'm unsure if the powerstream line has active pfc or not), quad 12v rails, and non-modular (keeps the efficiency up). Also it looks alot better than the Powerstream if aesthetics are important to you.
OCZ GameXStream OCZ600GXSSLI ATX12V 600W Power Supply 100 - 240V CB/CE/CSA/UL/FCC - Retail
$119.99 (After $10 MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Also a good choice on the motherboard. Although if you are overclocking I am weary of the 3 voltage regulators that the DS3 comes with, you might want to look into one of asus' boards or the amazing 12 voltage regulator board... The DQ6. Wich I might add comes witha premium price tag. If your moderately overclocking (I would say nothing over 3.2-3.4ghz) you should be ok. Personally? Stick with the DS3.

Nice choice on the videocard, the cheapest x1900xt I found off of newegg was still 11$ more.

Obviusly what can be said about the cpu? Good choice, higher multiplyer than the e6300 for higher clocks. Solid.

Also make sure you get a HD with all the new fancy features... SATA2, NCQ, 16mb cache. Brand isn't a big issue anymore, Maxtor, Seagate, and WD are all premium harddrives. I recommend WD because it's what I've used and never had a problem with them ever.

I thought I would drop by and give my 0.02$. But I highly recommend that better psu. Also in terms of water cooling... if you do go water cooling, then get the DQ6 or P5B deluxe motherboards so you have more overclocking potential. Otherwise scrap water cooling altogethor. Also a good idea might be to spend some extra money on an aftermarket videocard cooler. Zalman's 900c comes to mind.


Great post -- Thanks a lot for the insight. Looking at the PSU you suggested, I'm going to change my selection. Same price for a better PSU. GameXStream it is.

I'd be happy with a moderate overclock of 3 GHz. It seems like people are having good success with achieving that clock on the E6400 with air cooling. Don't want to go into the water cooling. Maybe on a future build after I have more experience.

No, thank you. Not to often do I hear gratuities around here. You just made my day, thanks.
August 18, 2006 9:35:27 AM

Quote:
[...]

Here's what I've come up with so far:

Case - Lian Li PC-7B plus II - $99.99
PSU - OCZ PowerStream 520W - $134.99
Mobo - Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 Socket T - $152.99
CPU - Core 2 Duo E6400 - $259.99
RAM - 2GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2 800 PC6400 - $189.99 after rebate
Cooling - Zalman CNPS9500 LED 92mm - $48.99 after rebate
DVD - Samsung 18X DVD±R DVD Burner With 12X DVD-RAM Write - $32.99
Display - ViewSonic VX2025WM Black-Silver 20.1" - $328.99

Total - $1622.9

[...]


I have that exact Lian-Li case and I like it a whole lot. It is the cleanest, easiest to cool, best looking (if you like simplicity) case around.

I have a couple of recommendations based on what you're getting:

1. Change your cooler from a blow-through design to a blow-down design by going to a Thermalright SI-128 and getting a nice Panaflo fan. This will enhance your overclocking quite a bit by cooling the CPU and surrounding components, particularly the Northbridge chip, which as you see on your board (GA-965P-DS3) is passive but is nice deeply extruded aluminum which will take the down blast and convert it directly to cooling. Your Northbridge is critical because it connects to RAM and you are going to be pushing your RAM very much to overclock that E6400 to its full potential.

The Zalman is very good and quiet, but will not cool the way you need.

Here is what the SI-128 looks like:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ShowImage.asp?Image=35%2D...

Using blow-through will neglect that Northbridge and I garantee you it will get HOT without a fan on it. The SI-128 is awesome. And because you are using a 120mm fan you will be able to control noise (see below).

2. I recommend a Seasonic S12 600W for your setup. It has steadier power than the OCZ but it is my softest recommendation.

3. Get three Panaflo high-speed fans with 3-pin tails and one 3-pin extender, and a kama bay here is a link:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1683...

Panaflo high-speed (get the right tails and extender for one of them):
http://heatsinkfactory.com/Panaflo-120mm-High-Output-FB...

Use the grills and screws from the original Lian-Li fans.

Get this 4-port fan controller:
http://heatsinkfactory.com/Vantec-NXP-205-Fan-Controlle...

Put the fan controller in one of the 3.5" floppy bays.

OK. Replace the two fans front and back in the Lian-Li with the Panaflos and use the extender to bring the rear fan to the 4-port controller and also bring the front fan to the controller. Do the same with the Panaflo on the SI-128 cpu cooler. So you have three fans under control.

Now the Lian-Li has a 4-slot 5.25 bays. Put your nice DVD on the top and the Kama Bay fits in the next three slots, and you bring its 3-pin to the fourth port on the fan controller and you're good to go.

If you get all black (case, DVD, Kama Bay) you will have the meanest, cleanest looking case. And with your setup it will be the coolest and quietest as well. Again, with that setup if you get into particularly hot environments you can tweak a few controller knobs and have your fans continue to give you the coolest (and quietest at that cooling level) interior temperatures.

You are going to love the performance of an overclocked E6400 chip. I have the E6300 (1.80GHz) and I'm pushing to 2.98GHz Prime stable and it is doing insane amounts of work. You will likely be able to go at least that high, which is faster than the $1200.00 E6800 Extreme.

I use Corsair TwinX2048-8500C5 RAM and I recommend you get the fastest RAM you can get. I don't know how fast yours will go so I'm not recommending against it. But with proper cooling, and good strong power, you will be able to push that E6400 to high speeds that will make you grin.

Good luck!
August 18, 2006 1:10:15 PM

Would a NEXUS NX-4000 400W PSU be enough for a Core 2 Duo E6400 with 2Gb RAM, one 320Gb harddrive, one Ati X1900 XT or a DX10 video card, one DVD and a floppy drive if the system won't be overclocked in any way? I'm confused because many people write that you need at least 500W PSU, while many articles and reviews suggest that those kind of systems use only 200-300 W.
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