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Help & advice required with Conroe build.

Last response: in Systems
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August 18, 2006 3:33:27 PM

I've done a fair bit of research over the past couple of weeks on what I need, so would be really grateful if anyone could give me a warm fluffy feeling that the spec I've gone for is sensible.

I've read that the build needs to match the requirements; so a bit of background as to what I'm looking for. I currently have a P4 3.0ghz on an old ASUS AGP board (2gb ram) that I am going to convert to a windows media centre PC. This will be used for listening / watching music, film (hooked,for now, via vga to a HDTV)- nothing too streneous.

This allows me to get a new 'main computer'. 80% of the requirement here is for gaming (cant wait to play Oblivion on a decent machine), although it will also be used for film decrytion, data processing (sql, excel, access) and general use.

The monitor I will be using is a 19in Samsung LCD (1280x1024), and I cant see this being upgraded within the next couple of years.

Ideally I want something that is future proofed as far as is currently possible- but I dont want to wait 6 months for the 'next' technology. The budget is only constrained in terms of value for money (rather than cheapest).

Ive built 2 pc's before- but not overclocking much (something Im keen to try more with my next rig).

So my build so far is as follows (I've tried to provide a little reasoning);

ASUS P5W DH Deluxe SKT 775 dual-core Core2Duo Conroe ready Crossfire 8channel audio ATX
Ruled out the DS3 because of oc potential & cpu choice; only £50 difference between this and DS3, so is not something worth skrimping on?

Intel Core 2 Duo E6600
Again, the pricing helps define this choice; I wanted the best cpu I could get affordably; £50 diff btwn 6400 & 6600- £170 between 6600 - 6700.

Sapphire Radeon X1900 XT 512MB GDDR3 Dual DVI / ViVO PCI-E
I changed my mind on this at least half a dozen times; originally wanted a Nvidia board- but Ive gone for this again on price (£220); performance (what Ive read seems to suggest this is the best performing board for this price bracket) and also brand (had Sapphire before and was really pleased). Im also looking at oc potential. Aware of noise / heat issues, so planning to fit gpu cooler.

Corsair XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2-800
Gonna have issues sourcing this in the UK- but from what Ive read many of the other brands have issues. Again, 800mhz bought for oc potential.

Antec NEO HE550GB 550W Modular PSU With 80mm Low Speed/noise Fan 18db
I have a feeling 550w is overkill for the job; but I dont know how much overkill...

Other stuff; only use on board sound (only got 2.1 speakers anyhow); old case Coolermaster Wavemaster; floppy, cd & dvd drives; 2 hard disks; ethernet connection to router; 4-6 usb devices at any time.

The other questions Im unsure of are;
a) is it a mistake not getting an sli board
b) is the spec complete overkill for the monitor its running on
c) can I make it more 'future-proof' without spending significantly more
c) what have I missed?

If youve got to the end of this post- thanks for reading this far! Any help / mockery / trolling will be gratefully received :) 
August 19, 2006 12:28:50 AM

yup pretty similar to my build i did a few days ago, overclockers do the ram you want i think its 170 including the vat and shiping. rest of the thing looks very good, i wish i tght of that GFX instead of my 9900GT but that is still very kool.

Good luck
August 19, 2006 1:09:32 AM

Quote:

a) is it a mistake not getting an sli board


Well Crossfire totally sucks, and SLI is not much better. Unless you like gaming at resoultions greater than 1600x1200, than SLI/Xfire is pointless. Crossfile is the most pathetic option because of the stupid requirements of having to use special "master" cards and external cables.

SLI is equally pointless, but at least you don't have to buy special equipment. With DX10 cards on the horizion, buying SLI now or in the future makes little to no sense. Stick with ONE good video card. Dual cards are hype and not substance, dont get sucked in, and don't waste your money.
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August 19, 2006 2:22:42 AM

I have not had a chance to build a Conroe based machine but your build looks pretty good based on what I've read about the components.

The only thing I'd consider changing if I were you is the choice of memory. From what I've read, it doesn't look like "high performance" memory is worth its cost (on the Conroe platform).

Here is an article on anandtech that you might find very informative (particularly the comments on memory),

http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2797&p=19

as well as this one,

http://www.madshrimps.be/?action=getarticle&articID=472

Hope that helps.
August 19, 2006 1:06:10 PM

Thanks for all the help; feeling a little more confident after the feedback.

Quote:
i wish i tght of that GFX instead of my 9900GT but that is still very kool.

To be honest, I'm still nervous about moving away from Nvidia (really have heard mixed views).. but aside from fan cooling / noise issues (which should be overcome with a new fan).. for the price I cant see a better card. And I certainly cant see me using a new monitor for a while.. so my res will be capped. Does that mean I've overspecced the mobo (ie with crossfire support).. or is it still the best relevant to its use?

Quote:
The only thing I'd consider changing if I were you is the choice of memory. From what I've read, it doesn't look like "high performance" memory is worth its cost (on the Conroe platform).

Cheers for the advice.

I had my memory sourced at overclockers;
Corsair 2GB DDR2 XMS2-6400C4 TwinX (2x1GB) £167

But the article is suggesting the value select range will be hardly any worse performance wise;
Corsair 2GB DDR2 Value Select PC4200 Dual Channel Kit (2x1GB) £123

My only concern is my desire to try and oc this rig to its best potential. Im concerned that the RAM would become the bottleneck.. and for £45 Im wondering whether it is an area worth skimping on? But both the articles suggest performance will be neally as good.. now I dont know what to do :roll: More research I guess....

Do you have any views on the psu. This is an area I know practically nothing about. I just wanted the rig to be as quiet as possible (my old P4 3.2 gives me a headache, its so loud), and I'd heard the Neo was fairly quiet.

Thanks for all the help..
!