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Pentium D Budget

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October 27, 2006 11:53:56 AM

So my roommate's laptop is dying and he wants to go to Fry's and buy a new PC. I'm trying to convince him to let me build him one, but I have a gap in my Intel knowledge between the early P4's and today's Core2Duos. This is a budget computer. And I do want to have a clear upgrade path.

At first I thought to go with a single-core Athlon64, socket AM2. But after looking at prices and specs, some of the Pentium D dual-cores are really reasonable and less expensive. I'd prefer to give him dual core.. AMD doesn't have a dual-core solution around $100 like Intel.

But, as I said, I was a bit out of the loop in the Pentium D/EE days. So I hae some questions:

I'm looking at either the Pentium D 820 Smithfield ($105) or the Pentium D 915 Pressler ($123)


1) Everywhere I look says the box Pentium D cooling is terrible. My roommate is not a gamer.. Civ 4 is the most demanding game he runs (and not that often). We also won't be overclocking. Do you think I need to get a better aftermarket HSF? Or will a case with good airflow be sufficient?

2) As far as I can see, the difference between the two is the process size, 90nm vs 65nm. What difference will I see in performance, heat, and power consumption?

3) Of course I've heard that netburst is a joke. What exactly is it, and why is it so bad. Since this is a basic+budget build, will I really need to worry about netburst?

4) I'm assuming the upgrade path for the LGA 775 Pentium D's is the Core 2 Duo.. but I need to get a motherboard that supports both, correct?

Maybe someone can suggest a better CPU option with a clear upgrade path? I want to stay around $100, with the maximum at $150. This will be for basic computer use and a little light gaming. CPU should last 3+ years and be fine for Vista.

Thank you!!!

More about : pentium budget

October 27, 2006 12:46:36 PM

Quote:
So my roommate's laptop is dying and he wants to go to Fry's and buy a new PC. I'm trying to convince him to let me build him one, but I have a gap in my Intel knowledge between the early P4's and today's Core2Duos. This is a budget computer. And I do want to have a clear upgrade path.

At first I thought to go with a single-core Athlon64, socket AM2. But after looking at prices and specs, some of the Pentium D dual-cores are really reasonable and less expensive. I'd prefer to give him dual core.. AMD doesn't have a dual-core solution around $100 like Intel.

But, as I said, I was a bit out of the loop in the Pentium D/EE days. So I hae some questions:

I'm looking at either the Pentium D 820 Smithfield ($105) or the Pentium D 915 Pressler ($123)


1) Everywhere I look says the box Pentium D cooling is terrible. My roommate is not a gamer.. Civ 4 is the most demanding game he runs (and not that often). We also won't be overclocking. Do you think I need to get a better aftermarket HSF? Or will a case with good airflow be sufficient?

2) As far as I can see, the difference between the two is the process size, 90nm vs 65nm. What difference will I see in performance, heat, and power consumption?

3) Of course I've heard that netburst is a joke. What exactly is it, and why is it so bad. Since this is a basic+budget build, will I really need to worry about netburst?

4) I'm assuming the upgrade path for the LGA 775 Pentium D's is the Core 2 Duo.. but I need to get a motherboard that supports both, correct?

Maybe someone can suggest a better CPU option with a clear upgrade path? I want to stay around $100, with the maximum at $150. This will be for basic computer use and a little light gaming. CPU should last 3+ years and be fine for Vista.

Thank you!!!



The Pentium D cooling isn´t as bad as most people put it. It´s mostly deemed bad because people don´t pay attention to the general airflow in their cases AND because they don´t follow the installation instructions. If your case got a good airflow and you install the hsf properly you shouldn´t have a problem. Or you go ahead and buy the Processor without HSF and get an aftermarket cooler right away. Depends on your budget, but works both.

Regarding the 8xx or 9xx... Get the 9xx. Really. If you have to get any of those, get the 9xx. I´ve a 820 and i like it a lot, yet the 9xx series runs cooler and is faster clock for clock.

If you buy a 775 Board you should look out to get a conroe compatible one. On the other hand you could get a cheap highend board off ebay that isn´t conroe compatible. That would be an option if you get a 915 and an aftermarket cooler. Then you could overclock the crap out of that Pentium D, but would sacrifice the upgrade path.



All in all i would try to get the E6300. Somehow. Buying a P4 or Pentium D right now is something i would only do if someone would point a gun at me. The new intel conroe is faster, consumes less power and overclocks like mad. Get the cheapest Asus P5b and the E6300 - you can go cheap on the other components if you have to.
October 27, 2006 1:10:00 PM

Of the two get the presler, no question. But you would be much much better staying away from P4 PD PCs. What is the budget for the whole system? You get get a nice C2D system for under $800 especially since he doesn't game much. How about this:

-Antec Sonata Case w/450w Antec Smart Power PSU
-Gigabyte Silent pipe 7600gs or similar gfx card (again, you said he isn't a gamer, onboard graphics may suffice)
-E6300 or e6400
-SATA Hdd of you choice for the budget, the seagate 7200.10 320gb is a great deal
-Gigabyte DS3 MOBO
-1 GB Wintec Ampx 675 RAM

Total price from NewEgg: $727.94 (US$) ($677.94 after rebates) for a dang good system for your friend. You could save a little more on the MOBO and HDD if you wanted to. Also, 2GB of RAM maybe in order, but like you said, he doesn't game. This about the best you are going to get for your money.
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October 27, 2006 4:32:34 PM

I too would pick a Core2Duo for this build, but he told me his budget is 500-600 for the whole thing (monitor, etc). Not sure I can justify the processor costing 1/3 the price!

If I could give him onboard graphics + sound for now with the possibility of adding a PCI-E card later.. I wonder if I could squeeze an E6300 in the budget with room for upgrades. I doubt it.. pretty sure he won't settle for a CRT monitor.
October 27, 2006 5:11:53 PM

Quote:
I too would pick a Core2Duo for this build, but he told me his budget is 500-600 for the whole thing (monitor, etc). Not sure I can justify the processor costing 1/3 the price!

If I could give him onboard graphics + sound for now with the possibility of adding a PCI-E card later.. I wonder if I could squeeze an E6300 in the budget with room for upgrades. I doubt it.. pretty sure he won't settle for a CRT monitor.


Aside from the hardware i´ll give you some advice. Some hard earned one.

Don´t do it.

If you build a computer for your buddy, you´ll have to service it everytime something odd happens. Every time. We´re not talking about a 2 year warranty. If something breaks, you´ll have to disassemble the computer, send the parts in and reassemble it later on. And since your buddy has no understanding of computers, this won´t stop after the warranty for the parts is gone. You´re in it for life. It´s not worth it.
October 27, 2006 6:19:01 PM

Quote:
I too would pick a Core2Duo for this build, but he told me his budget is 500-600 for the whole thing (monitor, etc). Not sure I can justify the processor costing 1/3 the price!

If I could give him onboard graphics + sound for now with the possibility of adding a PCI-E card later.. I wonder if I could squeeze an E6300 in the budget with room for upgrades. I doubt it.. pretty sure he won't settle for a CRT monitor.


Aside from the hardware i´ll give you some advice. Some hard earned one.

Don´t do it.

If you build a computer for your buddy, you´ll have to service it everytime something odd happens. Every time. We´re not talking about a 2 year warranty. If something breaks, you´ll have to disassemble the computer, send the parts in and reassemble it later on. And since your buddy has no understanding of computers, this won´t stop after the warranty for the parts is gone. You´re in it for life. It´s not worth it.

I'll have to agree. If you cheap out on parts, likely he is going to complain about it later on. If he doesn't game, why does he need dual core? Build him a cheap AM2 system like the one in my sig without the vid card. the ATI 1100 On board graphics aren't bad. It handled Unreal 2004 and Halo on Med settings. If he is wanting to cheap out on parts it is going to hurt no one but you...
October 27, 2006 8:40:52 PM

Quote:


Aside from the hardware i´ll give you some advice. Some hard earned one.

Don´t do it.

If you build a computer for your buddy, you´ll have to service it everytime something odd happens. Every time. We´re not talking about a 2 year warranty. If something breaks, you´ll have to disassemble the computer, send the parts in and reassemble it later on. And since your buddy has no understanding of computers, this won´t stop after the warranty for the parts is gone. You´re in it for life. It´s not worth it.


I'll have to agree. If you cheap out on parts, likely he is going to complain about it later on. If he doesn't game, why does he need dual core? Build him a cheap AM2 system like the one in my sig without the vid card. the ATI 1100 On board graphics aren't bad. It handled Unreal 2004 and Halo on Med settings. If he is wanting to cheap out on parts it is going to hurt no one but you...

LOL I never considered this. Although he does come to me already for his computer problems. He would probably come to me more often.

Well dual-core really isn't really for gaming yet.. it's for multitasking. He is wanting a computer that will last many years and I figure, why not go with a ~$100 dual core over a single core. It's the future, anyways.

I'm going to throw together a hypothetical PC and post it here.
October 27, 2006 10:24:13 PM

Prices include shipping.

Intel Pentium D 915 2.8 GHz - $123.00

-OR-

Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 - $181.99

---------------------------------------------------------

Antec Sonata II w/450W PSU - $78.83

Asus P5L-MX Micro ATX Motherboard - $82.12

Corsair ValueSelect 1GB DDR2 Module - $105.98

Western Digital Caviar SE 160GB SATA3.0 - $63.93

NEC 18X DVD Burner - $30.99

Acer AL1796Ab 17" 8ms LCD - $168.99

Rosewill Keyboard - $10.12

Logitech Optical Mouse - $12.74

Creative SBS240 2.0 Speakers - $16.68

Total:
Pentium D - $693.38
Core 2 Duo - $752.37

Well, they're both above his stated budget, but wow I can't believe I got everything, including a Core 2 Duo and LCD, for under $800. If I went with the Pentium D I could add a graphics card and still be under $800!

If I went with the cheaper option.. as I see it he has a good upgrade path:

Another GB of RAM, midrange PCI-E graphics card, Core 2 Duo. What do you think?
October 29, 2006 9:47:38 PM

A shopping suggestion. If you have the time for it, try pricing the non-RMA sensitive parts like the keyboard, mouse, and speakers over at amazon.com. Often amazon's prices will be competitive with newegg's on the more "generic" stuff and you can score free shipping if the order total is over $25.

I like a lot of things about newegg, but I swear their shipping prices/policy will nickel & dime you to death ... or at least to a higher total component cost. :cry: 

Just a FWIW thought. Even if it pans out it wouldn't save you a lot. But maybe enough to get pizza when you're putting the sys together ... and pizza doesn't suck, right?

-john
October 30, 2006 12:23:09 AM

LOL good idea. Actually just placed the order tonight. Went with the Pentium D 915. Went to Fry's and bought an Antec case w/350W Smart Power PSU, $20 with MIR! It's not quite as good as the Sonata II, but for $20 he's not complaining. I'm gonna snag him a 17in CRT from work rather than buy new. Also threw in a wireless network card. Everything for just under $500.
October 30, 2006 3:04:09 AM

Ahhhhhhh, you lucky folks who can actually walk into a Fry's store and not bother with shipping. :wink:
October 31, 2006 6:53:16 AM

You would definitely want to go for a Core 2 Duo. They're the best processors out there in the market for a reasonable price.

For the setup, check the link over my signature, that system costs $631, and I have it running at 3.4GHz.

Since you said you don't want to overclock, and you don't game much, you can go for cheaper motherboards (P965G - Integrated Graphics), cheaper RAM, and cheap Generic PSU with lower Wattage would suffice as C2D's doesn't consume much power at stock. From these set up you can save close to $150, which means you can get your C2D rig for less than $500. You would even save more by not needing to buy those extra fans that I recommended in my guide, since you won't have heating issues without overclocking.

What I recommend:

CPU: Core 2 Duo E6300 Allendale (Retail Box with HSF) - $178
HSF: Stock HSF - $0
M/B: ASUS P5B-VM Socket T (LGA 775) Intel G965 Express Micro ATX Intel Motherboard (Open Box OEM) - $100 or $125 for Retail
RAM: 2x 512MB DDR2 Value RAM 533/667MHz - $90 ($100 with $10 Rebate)
GPU: On-Board Integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3000 - $0
HDD: 160GB SATA2 (3.0Gb/s) - $52
DVD: 16x DVD Writter - $29
FDD: 1.44" Floppy Disk Drive - $5
PSU: Generic PSU - $15
CASE: Generic Case (without PSU) - $12

TOTAL: $481 (with OEM Open Box Motherboard) or $506 (with Retail Box Motherboard)

If you want to save more:

Buy 80/120GB HDD instead of 160GB - Save $5
Buy a DVD/CD-Writer Combo Drive instead of DVD Writer - Save $9
Remove FDD from the list - Save $5

TOTAL SAVINGS: $19

TOTAL AFTER SAVINGS: $462


The motherboard I recommend is a Micro-ATX motherboard, so you could even look for a Micro-ATX casing, which is a lot smaller.

Bear in mind, the recommendation above isn't for an overclocking system. If you plan to overclock, check the link over my signature.
October 31, 2006 11:49:39 AM

Wow, thanks for the recommendations wiz83. That's amazing you can fit a core2 within budget!

My roommate and I decided he is no where near needing the performance of a Core2, so we saved $60 by going with a 9xx Pentium D (he's coming from a 5-year old laptop, after all), and about another $40 on the motherboard. Everything else in your build is pretty close to what we went with (except we got an Antec case with 350W PSU for $20). I was also able to throw in the mouse, keyboard, 2.0 speakers, and wireless card and still be under $500.
October 31, 2006 2:45:16 PM

Trust me, you don't want to touch the Pentium D's since the C2D are out. They're the latest chip, and they're leading the market big time.

Since my recommendation's price for PSU + CASE = $15+$12 = $27, and yours only $20, you save additional $7.

You can easily get a decent, cheap, non-wireless keyboard + mouse for less than $20 shipped.

You can get cheap speakers for around $20-30, some even cheaper if you don't mind the quality.

Lots of wireless cards come free after rebate, or they come really cheap.

In the end, you could still get the system for less than $500 total, if not, it'd be just a couple bucks over $500. Even if it's a couple tens of dollars above, I personally think it's a better deal than getting the Pentium D's, IMHO.

Once you've gone the C2D way, there's no looking back, no regrets, and you won't need to upgrade it for a while. Even if you need to upgrade, you can always overclock your chip in the future, with better motherboard and ram.
October 31, 2006 3:52:34 PM

Quote:
Actually just placed the order tonight. Went with the Pentium D 915.

So, out of curiousity, what parts did you finally go with? Is the list below (based on your prev post) correct?

Intel Pentium D 915 2.8 GHz - $123.00
Fry'sAntec case w/350W Smart Power PSU from local Fry's store - $20
Asus P5L-MX Micro ATX Motherboard - $82.12
Corsair ValueSelect 1GB DDR2 Module - $105.98
Western Digital Caviar SE 160GB SATA3.0 - $63.93
NEC 18X DVD Burner - $30.99
Acer AL1796Ab 17" 8ms LCD - $168.99
Rosewill Keyboard - $10.12
Logitech Optical Mouse - $12.74
Creative SBS240 2.0 Speakers - $16.68
Total: $634.55

Would be curious to hear how it went after you've got it built and running.

In particular, if you happen to have a Kill-A-Watt or equivalent laying around, I'm curious how much power the system pulls in when idle and at load. (Perhaps that's an inappropriate thing to ask a college student ... :oops:  :wink: )

-john, the ambivalent dinosaur
October 31, 2006 6:47:16 PM

Quote:
So, out of curiousity, what parts did you finally go with? Is the list below (based on your prev post) correct?

Would be curious to hear how it went after you've got it built and running.

In particular, if you happen to have a Kill-A-Watt or equivalent laying around, I'm curious how much power the system pulls in when idle and at load. (Perhaps that's an inappropriate thing to ask a college student ... :oops:  :wink: )


I changed a couple of things, and also grabbed a 17in Viewsonic CRT from work for free :D . Here is the final build (parts should have shipped yesterday)

Intel Pentium D 915 2.8 GHz - $123.00
Fry'sAntec case w/350W Smart Power PSU from local Fry's store - $20
Asus P5L-MX Micro ATX Motherboard - $82.12
Kingston 1GB DDR2 Module - $109.99
Western Digital Caviar SE 160GB SATA3.0 - $63.93
Samsung 18X DVD Burner w/Lightscribe - $31.99
17-in Viewsonic CRT - $0
Rosewill Keyboard - $10.12
Logitech Optical Mouse - $12.74
Creative SBS260 5 Watt 2.0 Speakers - $16.68
Gigabyte GN-WP01GS PCI Wireless Adapter - $24.28
Total: $494.85

I'll let you know how it goes after I build. Hey, hey, I'm not a college student anymore. :D 
October 31, 2006 6:50:17 PM

Wiz, if it were my PC I wouldn't be touching the Pentium D, either :lol: 
October 31, 2006 8:01:36 PM

Quote:
Wiz, if it were my PC I wouldn't be touching the Pentium D, either :lol: 


Wouldn't it be bad to build something that you wouldn't be touching for your buddy?
October 31, 2006 8:26:35 PM

FWIW in the I'm a real cheapskate and can't help posting stuff like this category :oops: , I picked up a pair of the Creative SBS260 Speakers for a friend from amazon.com 2 months ago for ~$11.

I really liked them. That is, yes, they are cheap and therefore horrible speakers. But I've heard a lot worse. These really didn't suck as much as might be expected. :wink:

-john, the cheapo-dino
November 1, 2006 11:46:38 AM

Quote:
Wiz, if it were my PC I wouldn't be touching the Pentium D, either :lol: 


Wouldn't it be bad to build something that you wouldn't be touching for your buddy?

If it were my system I wouldn't touch the pentium d because I have a bigger budget and higher needs.

It's his system, so I'll feel free to touch the budget dual-core CPU all I want :D . And from what I've seen, the Pentium D isn't a bad processor.
November 1, 2006 11:49:57 AM

Quote:
I picked up a pair of the Creative SBS260 Speakers for a friend from amazon.com 2 months ago for ~$11.

I really liked them. That is, yes, they are cheap and therefore horrible speakers. But I've heard a lot worse. These really didn't suck as much as might be expected. :wink:

-john, the cheapo-dino

Aww... just awww! Yeah I could have trimmed a bit more off the price (and on the HDD as well), but oh well :D  He's coming from integrated laptop speakers, this is an upgrade 8O Thx for the feedback.
November 1, 2006 2:48:41 PM

Quote:
Aww... just awww!

Yeah. If there's a point to my post ... other than that it's probably time to have my medication adjusted again ... it's to not immediately write off amazon. Like the speakers, they don't always suck as much as you might expect. :wink:

-john
November 3, 2006 10:47:21 PM

HOT DAMN!

I GOT A PENTIUM D 805 AND THAT SON OF B*TCH WAS A BLAZING INFERNO! I COULD HAVE ROASTED A LIVE PIG ON ITS HEATSINK, SKIN AND ALL, SERIOUSLY. HAH, WELL THAT WAS UNTIL I GOT MY FULLY OPTIMIZED WATER COOLING SYSTEM, AND I TAMED THAT SUCKER TO A COOL AND GENTLE CHIP.

I RECOMMEND GOING CORE 2 E6300 OR IF YOUR ON AN EXTREMO BUDGET GET PENTIUM D805 WITH AFTER MARKET COOLING.
November 4, 2006 12:21:56 AM

Got the parts in this evening. The build went pretty smooth. Only trouble I had was with the PD heatsink. Basically two of the plastic connectors would not click in and stay connected to the mobo. That was really the only road block. I had to reseat the heatsink and the clips went in that time.

BIOS reported the chip running around 42C idle, which I guess is normal for the stock cooler on a Pentium D. I'm formatting the drive right now. Everything seemed to work on the first try.. all buttons, LEDs, fans, drives, etc. No post errors. No DOAs! Woo!

I don't have a power monitoring device, unfortunately.
November 4, 2006 1:23:56 AM

sorry im a little late with this but i agree about you being stuck working on it every time it acts up. should have sent him to circuit city for the special on an acer desktop for 399.99. its no powerhouse but it has a warranty and it will keep him off your back



http://www.circuitcity.com/ccd/productDetail.do?c=1&b=g...
November 4, 2006 2:29:24 AM

congrats on your build.. . . .
one question. Do You Plan on Overclocking?
And which Pentium D did you get?
:!: :D  :!: :D  :!: :!:
November 4, 2006 2:58:42 AM

Well the system he built has no Circuit City warranty and it cost $95 more.

But OTOH it also has
1GB (vs 512MB) of faster (better?) RAM
2 CPUs
IEEE 802.11b/g wireless
a USB optical mouse
3 free 3GB SATA ports
the possibility of moving to a Core 2 Duo processor at a future date

-john
November 4, 2006 1:24:18 PM

you are correct but he wont have to be the warranty / service tech on it either. i went through this already and its a pain. me and another buddy talked a friend into building his own with us supervising and helping walk him through it . every time something has happened he freaks out and calls us and crys about i should have bought a dell. now this was when the 775 platform first came out and during the build the fan and heatsink wouldn't seat correct and it would start and then shut off as soon as temp started to rise.he freaked out and latter on the msi 925 motherboard died under warranty and he freaked again. i had to take it out and send it back and re-install the new one. i was just trying to save him the trouble i went through with the same situation
November 6, 2006 2:47:07 PM

Quote:
congrats on your build.. . . .
one question. Do You Plan on Overclocking?
And which Pentium D did you get?
:!: :D  :!: :D  :!: :!:


Thanks :D  No, I don't plan on overclocking. We went with the PD 915, runs like a champ!
November 6, 2006 3:11:04 PM

big_tuna, I do appreciate the advice. We looked at a lot of prebuilt deals but I came to a conclusion. The cheap ones tend to:

- Use an obsolete socket, limiting upgrade path
- Have at best 512 RAM in the cheapest off-brand
- Have POOR air-flow design
- Are not dual-core
- Have a terrible warranty... you must buy the extended warranty to get decent service
- Are loaded with bloatware
- Have a terrible PSU with limited power connectors

I could have shaved a few more dollars off the build, I know. But the build exceeds his expectations at a cost lower than he expected (not a contradiction, lol!), and it has a clear upgrade path which will save money down the line.

I'm fine with supporting his PC to a reasonable degree. He had a Dell before this and I still ended up doing most of the troubleshooting there. It comes with the territory.
!