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too many good choices! C2D new system for <$600

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December 3, 2006 12:54:11 AM

Ok, I've decided to get a Core 2 Duo e6400. I have a Thermalright XP-120 available already (I'll have to get the $5 bracket) but will I really need it to get to 3Ghz+? Can I just stay with stock and sell my XP-120?

That said, my mobo choices in my price range are:

Gigabyte GA-965G-DS3, GA-965P-DS3, GA-965P-S3

Asus P5B-E, P5B Deluxe OEM Barebone ($130), PP5W-DH Deluxe OEM Barebone ($166)

My memory choices are either PC5400 or PC6400 by the following manufacturers: Corsair, OCZ, G Skill, Patriot, and PQI. I want 2GB and need to know if I'm better off OCing with PC5400 CL4 or PC6400 CL5.

Where's my money best spent and which combinations (From people's experience and options above) seem to work best together in that price range? Should I get a 6300 instead and use the XP-120?

Thanks!
December 3, 2006 1:34:17 AM

I would lean toward the P5W DH if your not going extreme on your clocks.
its a very stable board.
the OCZ or Corsair ram should keep everything in line.
PQI is actually not bad but I've never pushed this brand to give you a heads up one way or another.
December 3, 2006 1:43:18 AM

My P965-DS3 works very well with my E6400 (S3 is virtually the same thing, just the capacitors aren't as fancy as the DS3 - I think the "D" is for "Durable" or something). G965 has onboard graphics, so I guess it depends on if you want onboard graphics or not.

I bought Corsair PC6400 with 4-4-4-12 timings, but I've heard people have had quite a bit of luck overclocking with PC5400 (667 MHz), it should be capable of taking you to at least 2.66 GHz without much trouble (FSB 333MHz).

I'm not an expert on differences between RAM brands, but I've heard of some difficulties with OCZ and the DS3/S3.
Related resources
December 3, 2006 1:43:31 AM

IMO, if you want the most good performance for your money:

stock fan = noise. Keep the xp120.

Mobo:
G-DS3 = igp, intel x3000, which is useless.
GB s3, ds3 = hot chipsets.
Asus = overpriced, but good; though that p5w sounds like a good deal - if
you have warranty for it, that is...
Others also recommended: abit (bad ide placement, better cooling, good
price), biostar (bad atx-pwr-socket placement, good performance and low
price)

RAM:
if you want to hit 3Ghz, then running synch @333 needs only 667 ram.
Again, if you want the most bang for the buck, don't pay the upcharge for
brand names. IRL, it's capacity that matters, not timings, those are for
benches.

And now, put all that you save towards a better video card.
December 3, 2006 2:12:06 AM

OK, I guess I need to add to my current setup. The reason I chose the 965G-DS3 as an option is because I've always liked the idea of a "backup video card" to keep me going in case something terrible should happen to my current card. Right now, I have a 7900GT running 550/850 with a modified NV5 cooler. I obviously want to get above and beyond 3Ghz on air (XP-120). I was hoping for 3.2-3.4ish if possible. I want to keep things cool and my Centurion 5 case (with the mesh-grill front, 2 120mm, 1 80mm) does a great job already. So, for <$600, I just want to get the most performance AND reliability for a CPU/Mobo/DDR combo.

I mean, if I can go crazy with a GB S3, 2GB Corsair PC5400, and a C2D 6300, then I will, but if an Asus P5B, OCZ PC6400, and a C2D 6400 will take me further for a little more, I'd rather do that.

I can't stand the Abit's IDE placement and I've never heard good things about Biostar but I'm willing to be educated on that. Though, if the T-Force 965P would hit the states, I'd get that one, hands down.

Anymore suggestions? The more the merrier! Thanks!
December 3, 2006 2:17:00 AM

Hey NAPC, Could you do Sandra CPU arithmetic and DDR Bandwidth tests and show me your results? I just want a perspective of what I can expect, theoretically. Thanks.
December 3, 2006 2:47:06 AM

Sure, here ya go. I've never actually run Sandra before, but here's what I get:
December 3, 2006 3:00:54 AM

Perfect! Thanks.
December 3, 2006 3:04:55 AM

If you want some decent OC's, then keep the 120, go with either a 6300 or 6400, grab some Corsair or OCZ 6400 (Corsair is overprice IMO, I got the OCZ), and the S3.....you don't need the DS3 in this case, save your money for a vid card or better RAM ;) 

That setup will squeeze alot of the the CPU, very stable, the 120 will keep it very cool, and you'll have a great system on the cheap!
December 3, 2006 3:55:51 AM

Already got the 7900GT OC'd to 550/850. What about that GB & OCZ having problems thing?
December 3, 2006 4:04:47 AM

I dunno, I've just heard rumors about trouble. I have no experience nor specific info to back it up, just heard a few vague things.

Perhaps someone can confirm or deny?
December 3, 2006 4:29:36 AM

NaPc, How does the DS3 look in person? Do you have a window on your case? To me, the DS3 is one of the goofiest looking motherboards out there. I love the blue PCB but I don't think they missed a color on that thing. It's like a rainbow of mobo goodness. Any pics of it in action (if you have a windowed case)? Thanks
December 3, 2006 5:31:25 AM

Afraid I don't have a camera to take a picture for you. My case doesn't have a window anyway, it's got a 250mm fan on the side.
December 3, 2006 5:50:33 AM

Ah, thanks anyways. Didn't mean to offend about the "goofy" comment on the DS3. I just wonder why mobo makers try to add every color of the rainbow to some of their boards. I'll probably end up getting it unless I can find a sweet deal on the Asus P5B Deluxe.
December 3, 2006 5:55:23 AM

No offense taken, I didn't design the thing.
December 3, 2006 12:15:15 PM

OCZ reported some issues in the early revs of their product with the S3 boards. The newest BIOS (F6) and revs seem to have solved those issues. I haven't had ANY whatsoever and I got my stuff over a month ago, and I was concerned before I bought my stuff. I spoke with an OCZ representative who confirmed this info.

So yes, OCZ did have some issues early on in the C2D release with volt discrepancies and booting, but I haven't heard anyone having issues for awhile. Seems it's been solved awhile ago.....by the time I got my mobo and RAM, no issues. I still made sure I had the current BIOS though. I just did it through Windows, no flash necessary....piece of cake ;) 
December 3, 2006 4:15:42 PM

EVERYONE! I have a friend that just decided to shell out crazy $$ for a Core 2 Quad setup with $GB of Low-Latency DDR and wants to sell me this combo for $600 flat:

P5B Deluxe - New
Corsair 2GB PC6400 5-5-5-12 - New
C2D E6600 - New

Would I be crazy to pass that up? $600? The irony's crazy but I'm not complaining.

Lemme know! Thanks!
December 3, 2006 6:28:07 PM

Well, Newegg prices on those exact items are:

-mobo: $183
-RAM: $280
-CPU: $310

TOTAL: $773


He's gonna give it to you for $600?


Helluva deal.
;) 
December 4, 2006 1:07:19 AM

Apparently, he got a great deal month ago so it was actually cheaper I guess, but yeah I'd love to go for it if he sells it. He's considering having two machines. Must....find way....to persuade...

I'll keep all of you posted if that goes through. Be a helluva workstation/gaming rig.
December 4, 2006 1:20:29 AM

Tell him it's hard to pick up chicks with 2 comps ;)  Tell him you'd gladly be his wingman and take it off his hands...........cuz chicks dig guys with $600 extra in their pockets ;) 
December 4, 2006 1:56:32 AM

LOL...Like Brian Seacrest says for The Soup: "Chicks Maaaaan"

I'll work whatever magic I can. Thanks for the tip!
December 5, 2006 11:02:04 PM

I say go with the S3 to save some money. That's what I did. The only difference between the DS3 and the S3 is the capacitors, so the DS3 last longer. But seriously, most of us change mobos and other parts very frequently anyways so it didnt matter to me.
December 15, 2006 11:22:20 PM

Ok, my buddy KEPT the parts, much to my dismay, so I opted to order my own. I went with....(drumroll please)

Asus PB5-Deluxe
Corsair 2GB PC6400
E6400

After reading reviews, the DS3 and the PB5 see-saw back and forth on OC ability. I've always owned, and loved, Asus boards. I'm familiar with the BIOS, and I love the e-sata on the back. That, and the ICH8-R and better placement of the IDE slots. I should be able to hit my goal of 3.2Ghz and hopefully more. (saw a P5B-E take a 6300 to 3.6Ghz!) Yeah, the Deluxe is more, but I've got a window, it's black, and it's the holidays!

Thanks everyone for their opinions and help. I shall post OC numbers after the holidays.
December 16, 2006 1:37:13 PM

For best value for money, I'd recommend you to stick with Gigabyte's range of motherboard ... either S3 (without RAID) or DS3 (with RAID and Solid-State Capacitors) ...

Go with E6300, with stock cooling, you shouldn't have any problems hitting above 3GHz. Read the guide I wrote, the link over my signature. I built that system about 2 months ago, costs me $631 total. Some parts needs to be updated, such as replace the 7300GT, the power supply, etc ... but the main idea is there ...

For RAM, I'd recommend using any brand of RAMs that comes with Micron D9GMH, the lists of known Micron D9GMH chips are here http://ramlist.ath.cx/ddr2/

One of the best ones I'd recommend around is the Buffalo FireStix, those has been proven to hit above 1GHz very often ... very high quality modules instead ... NewEgg has them selling for pretty decent price, but they're out of stock recently ... if you get ahold of that, that's great ...

Although I've personally got success with Corsairs, I was lucky to have D9GMH in my module. Corsairs recently had their RAMs chips changed to Promos, which isn't as good as the D9's ...

Anyway, in General, if you're purchasing the RAM from anywhere, just look for the 10x10mm D9 chips installed on RAM. You could get some nice RAMs without HSF for really cheap, and toss in the heatspreader that costs around $3 for 1 stick, $6 for both sticks. Just look out for the chips, they're usually Square Sized, 10mmx10mm, they're most likely the quality D9 chips ... :) 

So, go ahead and sell your HSF if you're low on budget ... otherwise just keep it ... :) 
December 16, 2006 2:35:25 PM

Both S3 and DS3 (rev 1.0) have the same RAID capability, 0/1 on two of the ports (the ones controlled by an add-on chip instead of the ICH8 chipset).

Also, the link in your sig redirects immediately (for me, anyway) to http://www.cjb.net, doesn't seem to have any info about your rig.
December 16, 2006 5:01:25 PM

Oh, the link is dead, I've just updated my signature ... try it again it should work now ...
December 19, 2006 3:13:23 AM

Well, I like OCing AND low noise. I have the Thermalright XP-120 and I think I'm going to keep it for both of those reasons.

Stayed with the P5B-Deluxe for the true ATX size, black PCB, and familiarity, and great reviews. Yes, the DS3 would have been cheaper, but I'm happy with my choice. Should show up on wednesday and will start burning it in for 24 hours before OCing. I'll post my OC after Christmas (going home for the holidays) but I just wanna say thanks for all the tips to everyone!

I didn't want to pay $300+ for RAM. The only ones I could find in stock with the suggested Micron chips from the list were that much. Yikes. How can I check the Corsair chips? won't the sticker rip if I take the spreader off?

One last thing: If I run at 400Mhz (800), does that put me at 3.2Ghz on the C2D 6400? Thanks!
December 19, 2006 4:36:09 AM

If you cant get the P5B dlx barebone and would like a option for the DS3, I highly recommend the P5N-E SLI, its $130 and doing 500Mhz FSB without any hassle. I can see great modding potential on its future.
December 22, 2006 6:39:44 AM

Ok, Got my stuff. Got the Corsair PC6400. Under the ramsinks, I can easily tell they're the little square chips. That's good, right? I didn't want to take the heatsinks off but they're definitely little squares, 10mm or so in size. Does the Promos come in that size as well or do you think I have some good microns? Thanks!
December 22, 2006 7:16:03 AM

I would take the P5B deluxe with 6400 corsair :idea:

good luck
December 22, 2006 3:43:01 PM

K. everything is up and running beautifully. I'll worry about OCing after the holidays. I just burned it in for 8 hours with Prime 95 and now I have to hit the road. Just one question: I currently have the stock cooler on because my Thermalright XP-120 LGA 775 adapter bracket hasn't come in yet. At stock speeds, is 37° (Celsius) idle and 50° load OK for the stock cooler? Oh, and the system/mobo temp idles at 27°. Thanks!
December 22, 2006 3:49:49 PM

Those CPU temps are from CoreTemp or TAT? If so, that's fine, if not, download one of those utilities just to be sure.

I, and a lot of other people, usually see ~10C higher in CoreTemp/TAT, and these temps should be closer to the truth as they come from a sensor built into the hottest part of each CPU core.

Basically, you want to stay below 65C if you can, and stay below 85C at all costs.
December 25, 2006 3:02:51 AM

I use Speedfan. I believe the first temp is the CPU temp taken from the internal sensor. You say you usually get around 47°/60° respectively? So my temps of 37°/50° are pretty good then with stock? Can't wait for my adapter bracket to come in so I can use the XP-120.

Also, can anyone answer my DDR question about 4 posts up? Just want to know from the information I provided if you can tell that they're micron. I don't think CPU-Z can tell.

Thanks and happy holidays!
January 4, 2007 3:29:26 AM

Hey, what's your v.core voltage and ram voltage? Mobo voltages? I have my setup with the P5B Deluxe and the same ram you have. Once I get around 410 FSB, I hit a wall. 1.375v is the highest I've gone on Vcore and 2.1 is the highest I've gone on the ram. Any suggestions? thanks!
January 4, 2007 1:23:35 PM

Disable PECI in BIOS (under CPU Config). With PECI enabled, PC Probe II and SpeedFan both read 10-16C lower than TAT or CoreTemp. The consensus is that one should use the TAT or CoreTemp data and keep them below 60C. With PECI disabled, the PC Probe II temps are still a bit optimistic, but close enough. I think a lot of these temps folks report are with PECI enabled and using PC Probe or SpeedFan and they might be running at much higher temps than they think.

Avoid using FSB speeds between 360 and 399 and 401-460. I'm at work and don't have a link to the article, but if you use those FB speeds, you may cripple your memory speed and PCI Express speed. Something to do with bottstraps and what not. All FM to me.

Your memory is good stuff. With a 400 FSB, it will default to 4-4-4-12 and run stable 24/7. I use 1.9V on mine.

For your setup, I would run 400 FSB with an 8x multiplier and see what happens to the temps. Start with 1.375V on the CPU and work down as far as you can to maintain stability. The further you can run it down, the cooler you'll run and longer the CPU will last.

Tom
January 4, 2007 1:31:22 PM

Quote:
Hey, what's your v.core voltage and ram voltage? Mobo voltages? I have my setup with the P5B Deluxe and the same ram you have. Once I get around 410 FSB, I hit a wall. 1.375v is the highest I've gone on Vcore and 2.1 is the highest I've gone on the ram. Any suggestions? thanks!


I have had my memory up to 475 FSB at DDR950 (Corsair XMS 6400). I set the voltage @ 2.15 but never got around to seeing what the lower limit was. I didn't see a big performance boost running at 475 FSB vs 400 FSB at similar CPU speeds. Since I run stable @ 400FSB and 1.9V on the memory, i just leave it there.

I start at 1.4V set for Vcore. I have an e6700, so might not be a good ref. I can run Vcore in auto and stay stable @ 3GHz. Need to set it to 1.3V for 3.2 GHz. I might do some experimenting with leaving Vcore in auto and see what I can overclock to. Vcore auto adjusts the Vcore up as the CPU is loaded. This is nice as it keeps the idle temps WAY down. If I set Vcore to 1.3V, even @ 2.66GHz at idle, the CPU is 42C 9according to CoreTemp). Up it to 3.2GHz, and idle temp is 47C (this is a stock cooler). If I set Vcore to auto, the CPU idles @ 30C and Vcore is really low (forget the exact number, but it's low). I like this as my computer stays on 24/7 and I would prefer it idled at the lowest temp/voltage possible. I'll try to see how fast I can go with Vcore in AUTO and report back.

Tom
January 4, 2007 3:13:24 PM

wow. thanks for all the explanation! Ok, I've got my vcore temp totally stable at 1.3375, 400FSB (3.2Ghz), and idling around 37, load 50. 2.1v on the DDR (that's it's rated voltage) at 4-4-4-12.

I can't imagine a HUGE increase in performance by trying to take my CPU up to 3.4Ghz. The added voltage increases just don't seem worth it. I'm pretty happy with the 1Ghz OC. I'll start another thread dedicated to just the topic of these three parts (cpu, mobo, ddr) and ask for owners of the same as I have and for them to post voltages/temps.

Oh, and I downloaded CoreTemp. I haven't checked on the PECI in my BIOS, but Coretemp (on both cores) reads exactly the same as Speedfan.

I've noticed that even when I put my vcore at 1.3375 (not 1.375), CPU-Z and Speedfan both read it as 1.28v. I guess that's even better?

Please don't respond to this thread anymore. Please check out my new thread. thanks for all the help on this one!
!