Want your opinion on 3 different systems

So, I'm thinking of building a new system and I'd like to try my hand at overclocking. While I haven't overclocked before I'm an experienced computer technician so I don't think I'll have much trouble. I've heard good things about the Intel dual core processors and decided that I'd like to give them a shot. I've been researching and have come up with some sample systems that I'd like to get you guys' opinions on. Keep in mind I'm trying to balance power and cost, I'm not an OC enthusiast but am trying it out for the performance/cash ratio. My initial budget is about 500 dollars, but I may be able to go as high as 700.

Ok, all systems will have at least these components. The case I just chose as something cheap with a built in power supply. I know OCing takes a lot more juice than just running processors stock, but I'm not sure which power supply I really, really need. Keep in mind that I'll won't be picking up a water cooling system since, as far as I'm aware, they're really freaking expensive, so any overclocking won't go beyond what I can realistically achieve with an air cooled system. If you guys have any recommendations on cases with good airflow or a power supply that does the job without completely superfluous features/wattage I am definitely open to suggestions.

JPAC 416 Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 500W Power Supply
37 on NewEgg
eVGA 256-P2-N624-AR GeForce 7900GS 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16
180 on NewEgg

The two processors from the Intel side that I've been looking at are the Pentium D 805 and the Core 2 Duo E6400. My first inclination was to go with the 805, since I'd heard the tales of people getting 4ghz with this processor. According to Tom's guide, though, unless I get a water cooling system I can only expect to get the processor to around 3.8ghz using a Zalman CNPS9500. Now, I know there's a new version of the Zalman, the CNPS9700, but will it actually increase my performance noticeably for the $20 more it costs? For the Core2Duo E6400, I've heard it can get up to 3ghz-ish with the stock fan, but it's probably a good idea to get something sturdier. Now, what is the performance difference between the 3.8ghz D 805 and the 3ghz E6400? I've heard that the E6400 is probably the better buy, but I'm still curious what you guys think. I also know that the Pentium D is probably not going to have new and improved versions of the chip released that will beat out the E6X00 series, so I'd probably be able to drop a new processor into my motherboard later if I wanted to versus being locked into the D 805.

Ok, keeping this in mind I have a few templates to add to the parts I mentioned earlier.

From this I have a few templates ready:

Template 1: The cheapest.

This is using mostly the parts that Tom used in his 4.1ghz OC of the D 805. However, I'd heard that this motherboard, which is a whole lot cheaper, works for OCing this processor. However, it's substantially cheaper which makes me suspicious. Does anyone know of why I wouldn't use this motherboard and get the more expensive one(which you will see below)?

ASUS P5LD2 Socket T (LGA 775) Intel 945P ATX Intel Motherboard
110 on NewEgg
OCZ Gold 1GB (2 x 512MB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
128 on NewEgg with 12 rebate
Intel Pentium D 805 2.66 GHZ Dual Core
91 on NewEgg
Zalman CNPS9500LED-CU
53 on NewEgg

Total including the case and video card: 599 (not including rebates or shipping)

Template 2: Pentium D 805 again, but with the more expensive motherboard that was used in the 4.1ghz OC review.

Asus P5WD2-E Premium
182 on NewEgg
OCZ DDR2-800 (2x 512 MB)
128 on NewEgg with 12 rebate
Intel Pentium D 805 2.66 GHZ Dual Core
91 on NewEgg
Zalman CNPS9500LED-CU
53 on NewEgg

Total including the case and video card: 671 (not including rebates or shipping)

Template 3: The E6400 still just using the stock fan. I'll probably end up putting a beefier fan on there, though.

Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 Conroe 2.13GHz LGA 775 Processor @ 3.1 GHZ Stock Fan
217.00 on NewEgg
Abit AB9-Pro MBoard
146 on NewEgg
OCZ Gold 1GB (2 x 512MB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
128 on NewEgg with 12 rebate
PROMISE ULTRA133 TX2 PCI IDE 66M PCI Controller Card - OEM
35 on NewEgg (might have one lying around, need to check)

Total including the case and video card: 743 (not including rebates or shipping)

Other components like HD, DVDRW, case fans, etc I already have.

And that's about as much as I can afford. If you guys have any opinions, I am more than happy to hear them. I'm going to be using this for gaming (online and otherwise), I'll be running Windows XP on it and I want it to last me as long as possible, but can't afford the bleeding edge. If you guys have any advice on what I could do to lower price, please feel free to offer. If you guys think some of the components I'm using are shoddy and need to be better, I'll listen to that too!

I also haven't checked out the AMD side of things. If you guys think I'll get more value out of AMD just let me know and I'll investigate that and probably come back next week with the AMD version of this post.

Thanks for reading.

Edit: Additional question, do I really need the 800 Mhz ram? If I were to get something slower, would I really see that big a drop in performance?
3 answers Last reply
More about want opinion systems
  1. Thanks for the advice. Based on your input I'm thinking now of getting an AMS Mercury, Sunbeam 450W or Thermaltake 420W powersupply. They all hover around the $50 mark, which isn't too bad.

    I checked out Wiz's guide on budget overclocking and made some modifications to the parts I was thinking of.

    Here's the rig that I'm currently considering:

    One of the three aforementioned power supplies ~ $50

    Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 Conroe 1.86GHz LGA 775 Processor @ 3 ghz-ish ~ $181

    GIGABYTE GA-965P-S3 Socket T (LGA 775) Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard ~ $125

    2x GeIL 512MB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) ~ $98

    eVGA 256-P2-N624-AR GeForce 7900GS 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 ~ 180

    Total cost: $634

    Throw in some extra fans and a cheap case (I wouldn't mind recommendations) and I think I can keep it below $660

    I know the E6400 overclocks easier, but I think I'll be happy with the E6300 running in the low-mid 3ghz range. The ram is 4-4-4-12, and I know it's not 800Mhz but Wiz had great success with his PC2 5400. Still, if you guys strongly advise against it I'll hunt around for some affordable 800Mhz stuff
  2. Agreed with Mpilchfamily, you need a better PSU


    As for cases, I like my Cooler Masters and Newegg has a couple on sale.

    I would reccommend buying a better 80mm fan to swap with the intake fan that comes with the case though since you will be OCing.
  3. Allright, thanks a lot for your input guys, you've helped me avoid some potentially bad decisions.

    I went ahead and ordered these parts:

    CPU INTEL|C2D E6300
    MEM 512Mx2|GEL DII800
    PSU FSP|AX450-PN 450W
    GeForce EVGA 7900GS

    Unfortunatley, shipping things around Christmas time kinda sucks, so I won't all the parts until the day after Christmas. When I get everything assembled, I'll let you guys know how the OCing turned out.
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