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Last response: in Overclocking
October 5, 2006 7:40:35 PM

I'm a software developer, Java and web enterprise stuff to be exact.

My tools suck up CPU and memory. UltraEdit, Eclipse, SAS, MySQL, Tomcat, WebLogic usually are all running and churning all at once. Plus all the MS Office crap, and IMs.

I'd like some suggestions on a CPU,MB,Ram, and GC, there are so many MB and CPUs, Memory factors, and graphics cards.

I've built many PCs over the years but never overclocked one.

I'd like to stick to a budget of 2K, and would like a nice new high def montior atleast 20" wide. 4GB or Ram for my tools.

I'll use existing CDRW & DVDRW, mouse keyboard.

And case if necessary.

Thanks for your help.

More about : suggest system

October 5, 2006 7:42:19 PM

If I need to bump up the budget to 2500, I'm willing if someone can show me how much I'd gain in performance.
October 5, 2006 10:33:28 PM

Well this is what I came up with in the time I have:

Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz $316.99
SAMSUNG 225BW Black 22" $389.99
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3400620AS 400GB x2 $169.99
Kingston 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 x2 $214.99
Thermaltake Tsunami VA3000BWA Black Aluminum ATX $115.99
SAPPHIRE 100168L Radeon X1900XT 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 $259.99
ASUS P5B Deluxe/WiFi-AP Socket T (LGA 775) Intel P965 $209.99
OCZ GameXStream OCZ700GXSSLI ATX12V 700W $154.99
Scythe SY1025SL12M 100mm Sleeve Case or CPU Cooling Fan $7.99
Scythe SCNJ-1000 CPU Cooling Heatsink $39.99
Total Price $2265.88

All found on
Hope it helps.

PS If you want I can provide all the links. Or go even better than what I've setup here.
Related resources
October 5, 2006 11:09:22 PM

Why an expensive GPU?

Are you going to be gaming? If not, strap in a 7600GT. The 7900GTO is a good alternative if you are gaming..

Use that saved cash for 4GB of RAM.

October 6, 2006 12:40:39 AM

Vista will see 4 Gb of RAM. That and with the price of RAM now, it would be better to start with 2 Gb now and add 2 later.
October 6, 2006 1:17:57 AM

Thanks so much for all the input! I'll read up on your suggestions.

I wasn't aware of the 3G limit on RAM, that may explain why I didn't see many laptops over 2G.

I'm not a gamer, and my kids are too young for gaming. But every now and then we hit compatibility issues for the games we've tried for them.

When will Vista and the quad core stuff get here?

My brother is an Architect and his tools are graphic intensive.

I had looked at this before I asked you guys:

101257 Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB Serial ATA 10,000RPM Hard Drive w/16MB Buffer ***Free Shipping*** 2 $219.00

232479 Samsung 204B-Black SyncMaster 20.1in Analog/Digital LCD Monitor (Black) Retail ***Free Shipping*** 1 $364.95

322341 Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6 P965 Express Core 2 Extreme/Core 2 Duo 1066FSB LGA775 DDR2 ATX Motherboard w/Audio, Gigabit LAN, Serial ATA Retail ***Free Shipping*** 1 $224.99

326851 Sapphire Radeon X1950 XTX PCI Express 512MB DDR4 Video Card w/Dual DVI & Avivo ***Free Shipping*** 1 $424.99

371333 Thermaltake VE2000BWS Armor LCS Full Tower Case w/Liquid Cooling System Retail ***Free Shipping*** 1 $279.99

80860 Intel® Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe Processor 2.4GHz, 1066FSB, LGA775, 4MB Cache Retail ***Free Shipping*** 1 $316.90

85025-5 Corsair TWIN2X2048-6400 2GB Kit DDR2-800 XMS2-6400 Xtreme Performance Memory Retail ***Free Shipping*** 2 $289.00
ATIGOLFSHIRT ATI Collared Golf Shirt

Which was $2627.82 from zipzoomfly but I figured I was nuts, for as little gaming as I do but I might like to get into doing some rendering for my brother.

So a graphics card may be in order. Any AutoCAD users in here?

Thanks again for the input!
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October 6, 2006 1:54:28 AM

That is a good looking list.
Thermaltake VE2000BWS Armor LCS Case looks like serious business!

Here are a couple suggested systems - one AMD and one Intel solution - to look at for comparison:
AMD Midrange System
Intel Midrange System
Both have excellent upgradeability potential for MS Vista (consumer version late spring) and quad CPUs (Intel versions later this fall and AMD AM2 versions due in 2007).
Both versions have 22" widescreen monitors - just the ticket for multi-window multi-tasking.
The "right" video card for workstation type CAD programs might actually be a workstation GPU such as ATI FireGL or nVidia Quadro. Those cards might not be the right choice for gaming and entertainment (DVD movies, etc) though. Maybe a visit to some of the AutoCad community forums might get you some recommendations.
October 6, 2006 4:18:14 PM

Good Gosh. That is one fast system, but I think you may be going overkill on some parts. What exactly are you doing? That hard drive is fast, but if you really need it is another question. Why not a 500GB PR 7200.10 from Seagate? It isn't 10k, but pretty fast.

If you want, you coul do a RAID 0. RAID 0 combines two drives, increases performance dramatically, but if one of the hard drive fails, you lose ALL data.

Choose the Raptor if you must, but you'll only gain a few mere seconds on this thing and that. The price per gigabyte ratio is rather bad. Does he require lots of space? If not, maybe the Raptor would be better. Hard to recommened because you get a small amount of space, compared to others and the performance increase is minimal. I have to state my ignorance on Architect tools. I don't know what parts they rely on, though I can imagine the CPU would play a big part, possibly the GPU as well. Maybe he does need the Raptor. I can't give a solid answer, though.

High-end mobo, maybe overkill, but it is supposed to support Quad-Core. Quad-Core helps loads with all that rendering stuff.

Now that GPU is fast. Really fast. It is marketed towards games, though. Check with his programs, is it on the compatability list? Sometimes they get rather specific. What program is he using, anyways? Maybe a Quadro card or a FireGL card might be better? I'm not saying the card is not fast, but it might be overkill.

October 10, 2006 1:24:16 PM

Thanks for all the advice, like I said I'm a developer/consultant. I compile and deploy an app many times a day(feels like hundreds). This deals with many files, which is disk intensive but not size is not very large.

The biggest thing that kills me is debugging, this requires alot of memory and is hard on the CPU.

So the fact that I sit in front of my PC 10-12 hours a day, I feel I can justify the best up to a certain budget. But if I can save a dollar, or better yet not WASTE a dollar I'm all for that too.

You brought to my attention the 2GB limit on XP. Anyone here tried XP 64bit?


October 10, 2006 1:43:40 PM

Don't waste your money on it. There is very little support as goes drivers and software not built for servers. You'd be better off waiting for Vista SP1
October 10, 2006 2:36:54 PM

Is your brother going to be using this computer? If he's an Architect, he will more than likely benefit from the Quadro or FireGL series from NVidia or ATI.

I'm not up to giving advice on which one to get. Here's an article to help get you started. It might be high-end, but at least you can work back from there.

You stated

I've built many PCs over the years but never overclocked one.

You failed to mention that you did want to overclock. Though the system you were looking at pretty much tells me that you do want to overclock.

My personal opinion is that gamer's overclock. You are looking for rock-solid stability. To me, DDR2 800 or SLI capable mobo is a waste of money for you.

This is my take on things.

CPU: E6600 - $317
Mobo: ASUS P5B-E - $165. This mobo has firewire support. If you don't need it, get the P5B instead and save a few bucks.
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320GB Perpendicular Drive - $95. Get two of them if you need them.
Monitor: Samsung 225BW - $396 that DaSickNinja suggested is nice.
Memory: PQI Turbo 2x1GB DDR2 667 - $180. Once again, if you don't plan on overclocking, DDR2 800 is a waste of money.
Case: Antec Sonata II - $100.50.
Video Card: Here's Quadro. Here's FireGL.

I'd take a look at some benchmarks and see what price fits your budget.

Total without Video Card: $952.50.

This gives you a lot of playing around to do. If you want a better case and PSU, you can easily spend $300-$400. This would bring your total to around $1252.50. This still gives you $700 for an excellent Professional video card.
October 10, 2006 2:52:20 PM

Thanks, you seem to be a voice of reason.

No, I've never overclocked and had the same perception of it as you expressed. But I was trying to convey that I would condsider it if it seemed I could use a lesser system and overclock to reach the performance I wanted.

How much faster do you think this system would be over a 1.7 Ghz P4 1GB Ram IDE 7200RPM drives?

Thanks again for the input.

I was thinking that if this PC was good for me it would be good for my brother except graphics card maybe.
October 10, 2006 2:59:04 PM

Now we have two very capable machines here. I think what we are missing is just how fast this thing needs to be. You wouldn't know of another computer you'd like to model after, one that is designed for rendering?

It's just that we can't see how fast it has to be. Are there any companies that build machies for your line of work? We can then take a look at what parts they use and probably get you a better bang for your buck.


I would say that maybe DDR2-800 would suit him because his applications really need memory. I'm not sure if that is more memory or fast memory?

We've agreed on the E6600-->Great choice. Motherboard? I have absolutely no idea. I like the DS6, though...

I still say 2GB of DDR2-800. Is your company going to be moving over to Vista? If they are, I say buy 4GB now. Sure, a bit is going to waste right now, but I think Vista natively supports 16GB of RAM.

What about Quad-Core, you guys? This guy really needs CPU power. A Quad-Core would be absolutely perfect for him. Kentsfield debuts, what, next month?

Marco, do you use programs similar to DivX, Sony Vegas, 3D Studio Max, or POV-Ray?

If you do, then I say, screw the E6600, the QX6700 is for you. It is the Quad-Core version of Core 2 Duo. Core 2 Duo is the line of processors we are currently recommending. I'm sure all this rendering stuff is multi-threaded. Marco, give this article a read. Does quad-core sound beneficial to you?

Core 2 Quad QX6700 Performance Preview (Ignore the first page of benchmarks, synthetic)

Then we would go with the DS6, believe it natively supports Quad-Core.

I'm still awry on the GPU part. Go ATI, though. I know that much. Marco, give this a read.

FireGL versus Radeon

Eh? How does it sound?

October 10, 2006 3:23:38 PM

How much faster do you think this system would be over a 1.7 Ghz P4 1GB Ram IDE 7200RPM drives?

How can I say this? It will wipe the floor with that 1.7Ghz. It will eat that 1.7 for breakfast. Its not even funny how much faster it will be. You will be blown away. Core 2 Duo makes the fastest P4 seem like a dinosaur. And no offense, but you don't have the fastest P4. ;) 

October 10, 2006 3:49:12 PM

Based on these results, I still say getting DDR2 800 is a waste.

Are there benchmarks that you know of that compare the different memories without OC'ing the chip that prove your point? Enquiring minds want to know.
October 10, 2006 3:53:29 PM

I might live to regret saying this.... :roll:

But have you had a look at the Dell Precision 390 range? It prices up as quite a nice package and you have options for nice quick SAS drives. I just had a play and it seems to produce a nice looking rig. They also come with the option of the workstation graphics cards as discussed earlier..

Now I'm sure somebody will cry bad idea on this but it looks like an option..
October 10, 2006 5:09:18 PM

Now I realize the increase is small, but it is only $10!!!

OCZ SOE 2GB DDR2-667 at 4-4-4-12: $194
OCZ SOE 2GB DDR2-800 at 5-5-5-12: $214

You could tighten the timings on the DDR2-800 to CAS4, one user in the reviews did so. That only widens the performance gap. The same could be done for the 667, though.

I'm saying, just get the fastest memory you can in your budget. $10 can't hurt, can it?

October 10, 2006 6:27:04 PM

I'd forget all about overclocking; it's not something you'd want to do on a work machine. Most people in here are focussed on high-end gaming PCs. For example you don't need a graphics card. Onboard graphics will be perfectly OK, saving a bit of cash.

A healthy amount of RAM (2gb) and plenty hard drives would be the main points. Figure out a backup strategy first: RAID? Or copy between drives? You don't want a hard drive failure to interrupt your work.

My latest purchase an A64 3000 runs my "all tests" suite about ten times faster than my old PC. I work with LAMP though - maybe your java stuff is a bit more resource-hungry. What's your current machine?

Also, do modern compilers utilise dual core? Not something us scripters have to bother with. If they do, that'll be a must.
October 10, 2006 7:06:24 PM

Well I have several tools running at once. MyEclipse gets its own JVM, The application server get its own JVM, and SAS can run some REALLY hefty store procedures. I'm currently using a P4 1.7 with 1GB Ram with no other tools, and I'm having memory issues and its is really slow. Sometimes I get a server dedicated to the SAS stuff but I like to run it own my own machine because its easier to view logs and datasets and dedicated server usually means dealing with VPN.

I can honestly say this is HARDCORE stuff. SAS now has Web apps that are so thick, that when I run then with my tools almost every memory request seems to go to disk.

Plus I run at maxium resolution so I can seem more lines of code and more variables in the debugger. I may have 5-10 IE browsers open and 1-2 Firefox browsers open too. Plus anit-virus and and other tools such as IM are real resource hogs too.

Ideally I would dedicate 1G to MyEclipse, 1.5G to my Application Server, and leave the rest to SAS and other tools....if I could use 4G.

I have some Promise Raid cards and was going to raid some old drives for my data. Dedicated 1 of the new Drives for OS & MS Tools, and 1 new Drive for the Application server and MyEclipse.

I've learned alot so far from this thread. But I'm still confused about certain things such as BUS speeds.

For example the Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6 P965 Express board says it has a 1066FSB, but handles only up to 800 DDR I don't understand this difference. Also I'm not sure whether I should be getting a server board because they may have more IO channels for the disk. But this MB, mentions Quad SATA...does this mean it has 4 channels? Disk RPM and seek speed are important to me because many of my files are small and probably scattered on the drive. The actual app data is more contiguous and old drives raided with the promise card will suffice.

Why am I here? Because I figured these guys probably had more experience in getting more bang for their buck than anyone.

Again I appreciate your help!

Yes this P4 1.7 piece of junk is old, but is faster than my P4 2.4 HP laptop, cause it has less junk on it.

Backup ? I typically ghost an image, or copy important info to an external portable USB drive. Plus source code is usually stored and shared in a repository at the clients site.

And yes Quad Core would be highly beneficial. ANd I spoke with my brother and the FireGL is the graphics card. Is Express favored over AGP?

Anyone got a take on whats what on buses and which are faster?

Thanks Again, Marco
October 10, 2006 7:37:55 PM

Go for the 4gb.
You will find it worth it.

Most likely you will not be able to use much beyond 3gb.
The primary issue is that some of the memory pointers above 3gb are reserved for device drivers and such.

The amount of usable memory will vary from 2.9 to 3.5gb.
On my system I have 3.4x of usable memory in Windows.
I know some have less available.

Still, the movement frm 2gb to 3gb could be very useful.
In my case the extra memory is critical.

If you move to a 64-bit OS, the reserved space for drivers is well above 4gb and would make things fine.

You may want to conside running Vista-64bit.

Heck if you could lay your hands on Windows 2003 Enterprise Edition, you can force the drivers to reserved space above 4gb and make full use of all 4gb on a 32-bit OS.

While it does not appear to be an issue for you, make sure your CPU supports "VT" technology. In my case a 65w Athlong 4600x2 will toast an Athlon 4800x2 since the 65w model has VT but the 90w 4800 does not.

(I plan on hosting a number of Virtual Machines on my box. You may want to do this as well.)

Myself, I'm just holding off because I want 4gb on my new system and I feel like the memory prices now are robbery. I can afford them, but I will just feel used if I pay them.
October 10, 2006 8:58:28 PM

I can explain the DS6 issue. Actually, it can only "officially" support 800. It will easily pull DDR2-1066.

FSB is the rate that data travels from the CPU to the chipsets. DDR2-800 is the speed of the memory. They are connected, but are not the same thing. Let me explain FSB first, it may help. FSB stands for Front Side Bus and is the rate of the data from the CPU to the chipsets. It is 1066Mhz in Core 2 Duo. It is "really" 266Mhz Quad Pumped. 266x4=1066. So when we see the FSB of a processor, it is really 266Mhz. Quad-Pumped means the data travels four times per clock. So in each cycle, there are four pieces of data speeding away at 266Mhz. So we call the total rate 1066Mhz.

We use the FSB to calculate the Clock Speed of a processor. We also need one other number to figure out the clock speed, the multiplier. FSB multiplied by the multiplier = Total Clock Rate. We can use of a bit of Algebra and find the multiplier by just knowing the total clock rate and FSB. We know the total clock rate of an E6600 is 2400Mhz. 2400Mhz divided by 266Mhz = 9.02255. We just round that to a solid 9. Now we understand FSB and clock rates.

Now, we have the memory speed. The memory speed is the speed of the data going from the RAM to the northbridge. Since this data is pretty much going in a cirlce, we want all the data at the same speed. Imagine a big circular race track. The "Mhz speed" is the speed of our car. One half of the track is FSB, the other half is memory speed. Imagine that in the FSB side, we are moving 266Mhz. But in the memory side, we are only moving at 200! So we create a bit of a bottleneck. We don't like bottlenecks. So we want everything going the same speed. But that is just in our imaginary race-track. Not everyone can afford ($$$) to get a car/track that will stay at the same speed. So we run them at different speeds, which isn't too bad, but that 1:1 ratio is what we are looking for. Also remember what DDR stands for. Double-Data-Rate. That means it is double pumped. DDR2-800 is actually 400Mhz. So pretend we put DDR2-800 in a Core 2 Duo rig, all at stock. The memory is at 400Mhz, while the FSB is at 266Mhz. That is perfectly OK. There will be these things called "Ratios" put on. The ratio there would be 266:400 or about 2:3. These are perfectly OK to put on.

Does that help any?

Quad-SATA=4 SATA channels.

So, fast RPM and low seek time? The Raptor X is the best choice.

FireGL is the GPU? OK, do you know which one you want? There are quite a few models available.

PCI Express is favored over AGP because it provides more bandwidth. Wasted bandwidth, but more bandwidth nonetheless. Very few cards are produced in AGP now. PCIE is the standard.

Which buses? There are quite a few in computing. Front Side Bus? PCI Express Bus?

October 11, 2006 12:44:59 PM

Man CRS is really kicking in. (Can't Remember S***) ikjadoon, your primer brings back old info into my mind. If I remeber right the registers in the CPU work at the same speed as the CPU, so even though the CPU is waiting on memory it can still perform an operation (i.e. addition to a register). And I had forgotten completely about the dice up of the data on the bus too.

Hey I cut my teeth on C, back when we developers actually cared about writing code to utilize registers and such effieciently.

Ok, I've never been much on the name of the CPUs and I thought northbridge was a type of CPU, but it sounds as if it is the bus from CPU to RAM, and southbridge is the bus to the other components?

I believe I have Windows 2003 Enterprise Edition around here some where, I used to be a MSDN subscriber.

4 channel SATA is AWESOME! If 4 channels means the data doesn't eventually come to one io port. That alone would make alot of mystuff scream.

Ok so the MB is 1066 and the memory is 800, can we tweek them to come into parity. or do we have to buy 1066 RAM?
October 11, 2006 7:53:46 PM

Northbridge is RAM to CPU, Southbridge connects CPU/RAM to everything else: SATA, PCIe, PCI, everything..

Yes, you get 3.0Gbps on each SATA port, fully dedicated.

They will work great together, DDR2-800 RAM will work fine with FSB 1066.