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I haven't built a system in 5 years, need opinions.

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November 2, 2006 12:44:56 AM

I built my current system 5 years ago in 2001. The current specs are Windows 98se, PIII 1Ghz, 512mb pc133, Riva TNT 16mb, Aureal Vortex II, some old abit board and an old Antec case / 350w powersupply. It's been working great these last 5 years but as you can imagine I haven't gotten to play any great games lately haha.

I am tired of this old slow thing and want to build something new. Here is what I have picked out so far so please give me your opinions:

Antec Sonata II w/ 450w power supply (already purchased)

Intel Core 2 Duo E6400

CORSAIR XMS2 2GB DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400 CAS5)

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD2500KS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s

Now the things I have not decided on are motherboard, 3d card and sound card.

For the motherboard it might be nice to have one that is SLI equipped so that when my sytem starts to get old in a few years I would be able to add a second card. But with DX10 coming out I don't know if even that would work for the newer games. I will probably be farting around with overclocking the system past 3ghz.

For the 3D card I don't want to break the bank. I will wait and see what happens with Vista / DX10 and probably get second gen card after all the kinks have been worked out. I still want a card that can run MS Flight Sim X at full blast with everything turned on. I have a lot of games to catch up on (like Homeworld and such).

Oh and I will have to buy a new OS of course. Whats a good version of XP to get? Home / media / Prof? Newegg has Prof with an upgrade to vista coupon for only $139 and the Home version for only $90.
November 2, 2006 1:01:07 AM

You may want to look at the Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 series of drives.

As for a Graphics card sounds like a 7600GT or ATI equivalent would suit your needs well.

Sound: Unless you are an audiophile or musician then onboard sound is pretty good these days.

Motherboard Asus P5B Delux, Abit Ab9(pro) I dont think you can get SLI Core2 boards yet. (could be wrong)

XP: Depends what you want it for. For instance Pro has better networking features if that is important go with Pro. If its just for games and internet go with home.
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
November 2, 2006 2:07:05 AM

Quote:
run MS Flight Sim X at full blast with everything turned on
Don't expect high FPS with even a top CPU/Video card if you insist on pushing the quality/autogen sliders to max settings. You won't run out of fingers as you count the frame rates.

As with FS9 this new FS10 version doesnt support multi-GPU setups (SLI/Crossfire). :twisted:
The current "best effort" setup would have a top tier 512MB video card. (I have 7950GT)
It does support multi-CPU (dual core) but it's not unusual to see the CPU (E6600) running at 60% while the video struggles to refresh the screen.

To get up-to-speed on the FSX performance issues & tweaks this blog is a great resource. http://jonpatch.wordpress.com/
Related resources
November 2, 2006 6:47:45 PM

Hey I have a quick question, As far as the motherboard and cpu goes what really is the difference between the OEM and Retail options? Does the OEM not come with all the cables and such as far as the motherboard is concerned? Does the CPU not come with the fan / heat sink? Because they have some pretty good deals on the asus board and Cor2 2 processor OEM on New Egg.
November 2, 2006 7:59:37 PM

OEM cpus are as you mentioned sans cooler you also get a reduced warrenty i think.

OEM Motherboards are usually sold to system builders and on the whole will be a cutdown poor relation to the Retail version.
November 2, 2006 8:38:47 PM

I too have been shopping, although I may have saved myself some short term $ by fixing my current system.

One thing I noticed is that the OCZ 2GB set of RAM is only $10 more then the Corsair but seems a little faster & reliable when overclocking (just from reading not practical experience).

I use pricewatch.com to check prices but today I noticed that Newegg and Frys have prices even lower then those found in pricewatch.

I found the ASUS P5B Deluxe for $218, E6400 Retail (with fan) for $220 and the RAM for $249.99. All of these at Frys.com, the prices in store are higher :(  (boy was I disappointed)

I think the version of XP you found at Newegg is the upgrade (from ME, 2000 or older) and not a completely new copy with service pack 2. That seems to go for about $199. Not sure which one you need.

Well, just my $.02

Good luck and let us know how the system performs, I'll probably be duplicating it.
November 3, 2006 4:04:28 AM

Graphic cards all depends on what's your budget. 7600GT's pretty good for the price.

Gigabyte's lineup of motherboards are great motherboards for the money, and could overclock really well.

You could stick to on-board audio, unless you want to spend some money.
November 8, 2006 12:20:31 AM

Thanks for all of your help guys. I have purchased the following parts and am just awaiting delivery now. It ended up being a bit more over my budget than I was expecting but oh well.

Core2 Duo 6400
Corsair 2GB DDR2 800mhz 6400
Asus P5B Deluxe
Seagate Barracuda 320gb
Sapphire Radeon X1950 PRO
Win XP Media Center ed.
Antec Sonata II

Sometime later on I think I will add the Fal1ty sound card and a better CRUP cooler. But which is a good cooler to choose? I was kind of thinking about a Zalman 9700 but am open to other ideas.
November 8, 2006 1:04:25 AM

Quote:
But which is a good cooler to choose? I was kind of thinking about a Zalman 9700 but am open to other ideas.


with air cooling i think that one of the best coolers around is the scythe infinity, the only problem with it is the size, the thing is HUGE! other than that its a great cooler. the zalman 9700 is a great cooler too but nit as good as the scythe.
November 8, 2006 2:49:53 AM

Blue Orb II is also very good, but it's huge.
November 13, 2006 5:02:54 AM

Well I put it together on Friday and got it running but I noticed that the CPU temp was getting a lot hotter than I thought it would with the stock cooler. It was idleing at around 52c and over 60c all the way up to 80 for some reason at one point. Is the stock cooler that crappy?

I ran to Fry's and found a great deal on a new Zalman 9500 that was $13 cheaper than newegg's cost even. And a tube of arctic silver 5 was only $7. Took the motherboard back out today installed the new paste and cooler and now it idles at only 30c. Wish I had just bought one in the first place.
November 13, 2006 1:02:12 PM

Quote:
Oh and I will have to buy a new OS of course. Whats a good version of XP to get? Home / media / Prof?

I think a good rule of thumb here might be that if you would really use the added features provided in the Media or Professional editions, then you wouldn't need to ask which way to go. Perhaps I'm over-simplifying, but you probably would be happy with just Windows Home.

FWIW, here's a link to some MS comparison/marketing info.

If you want to roll the dice and do an upgrade install from your current Win 98 system to XP, then your choice of which version of XP is constrained. My understanding is you can only upgrade from Win 98 to Windows Home. If you had Windows 2000, you can only upgrade to XP Professional.

(Note: By "upgrade" I am referring to the type of installation you perform, not the level of XP you purchased. Even if you purchase a complete retail stand-alone install version of XP, I think you can only do an upgrade install .... one that attempts to preserve your previous installed software settings .... from Win 98 to XP Home or from Win2k to XP Pro).

Finally, at the risk of opening a can of worms, I buy my full install, retail copies of Windows on eBay. If saving money isn't a big deal to you, just buy from newegg and save yourself the hassle. The scammers definitely try to work Windows sales. Most of their ploys seem obvious and easily avoided to me, but you still have to wade through muck you don't need to worry about if you go with newegg.

-john
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