Can you please review this mid-range system?

Dear Forum members,

I need some help in putting together a new system primarily for office work, internet/email, movie and picture editing, DVD viewing and such. I don't use it to play games. I've always bought pre-built in the past, but now see the error of my ways. :wink:

I've spent hours and hours reviewing these forums and the more I read the more confused I get. Most of the reviews/topics deal with high-end systems, mobos and graphic cards. I need a solid, mid-range machine that will last me several years with some upgrades if necessary. I've never OC'd, but am certainly interested in doing so if it can save me some money on a CPU, etc.

I put together a system based on my research, but I am afraid that it's way over what I need. I would appreciate your help pointing me in the right direction.

Here is what I put together so far:

Case - Antec P180
PSU - Enermax Liberty ELT500AWT
CPU - Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 (2.13GHz)
Hard Drive - Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 250GB SATA3.0Gb/s
Video - BFG Tech GeForce 7600GT 256MB PCI-E
Memory - Corsair XMS2 2GB (2x1Gb) DDR2-800
Mobo - ASUS P5B Deluxe/WiFi
DVD - Samsung SH-S183L (SATA) - would probably like 2 DVD drives
Sound Card - didn't pick yet - any suggestions
Monitor - Hanns-G JC-199DPB 19" (based on reviews and low price)

Am I missing something here other than kbd/mouse?

The total cost of this system is approximately $1300. This is about the top of my budget.

It seems to me that the mobo, video card, PSU and memory can be downgraded and still give me a pretty solid machine.

The reason that I picked the ASUS mobo is good reviews. It has features that I don't need (RAID support - or do I?). It also has WiFi that I would like. If I don't have WiFi on the mobo how do I get an internal wireless adapter? Is that just a PCI card then?

Do I need 2GB of memory? Since I don't play games would a lesser video card do? I am certain that the PSU I picked is an overkill, but I am not sure what I really need.

I don't want to get outdated equipment (AGP vs PCIe or Pentium vs C2D), but I don't want to go overboard either.

I am not tied to any piece of the hardware above other than the C2D (could go to E6300).

Thank you very much for any assistance you can provide.

David
24 answers Last reply
More about review range system
  1. I like the system, but for what you mention, you could save some $$.


    Case -is fine,
    PSU is great
    Want to OC a bit, nab an E6300 instead
    HDD is good
    GPU - Might as well just pick up something cheaper. A 7600gt is beyond what you need.
    Memory - You can get by nicely with just 2x512 on that type of machine
    mobo -- overpriced for what you need. if you want wifi, just pick up a PCI card. look for something cheaper as well.
    DvD good
    Onboard sound is much better than what it use to be - skip the card
    Monitor is fine
  2. What are you going to be using it for?
  3. Quote:
    What are you going to be using it for?


    Read the first sentence after:

    Quote:
    Dear Forum members,


    The ASUS P5B Deluxe/WiFi is a nice mobo, but if you want to save some money then go for the GIGABYTE GA-965P-DS3 LGA which is good at overclocking. The cheaper GIGABYTE GA-965P-S3 is pretty good at overclocking too. The difference between the two mobo are basically the capacitors.

    Since your are not gaming, you might want to get an inexpensive card like the 7600GS or maybe even the 7300GS.

    While onboard sound has definitely come a long way from what it used to be, adding a discrete sound card will offer better sound. The Sound Blaster Audigy 4 SE offers good performance. However, if you are unsure about spending the money on a seperate sound card, then simply try out the onboard sound. If it's not good enough for you, then buy the Sound Blaster.
  4. If you aren't gaming then a 7600 GS would be the MAX I would recommend. Really, something like a X1300 or a 7300 would do you okay I'd think...
  5. If you can, go to a store and see and touch the components. Particularly the monitor; get the best you can afford up front. The monitor will be kept through several generations of PC.
    The P180 is a bigger case than you need, and it is awkward to work with. You might like tha antec P150 which is smaller, and maybe quieter. Tne included 430w modular power supply should be fine.
    Sound cards are fussy, try the onboard sound first.
    There are several good P965 mobo's around. They all perform the same. Intel is good and solid with support, but no overclocking. Otherwise the gigabyte 965p-s3/ds3 is good.
    corsair xms2 5400c4 memory should be adequate and priced lower.
  6. Thank you all very much for your comments and suggestions. I really appreciate it.

    If anyone else has any suggestions, particularly specific parts that I can use to replace the higher priced ones that I initially found, please pass them on.

    Many people wrote that using the PSU that comes with cases is not a good idea. For my system, being that it's not a power hog, do you really feel that the included PSU with Antec P150 would be sufficient?
  7. Antec makes good power supplies. I personally built a machine using the P150 and it's included 430w power supply with no problems. I was prepared to change it out because of some reported incompatibilities with some asus mobo's, but it worked fine.
    It had:
    intel p4 3.8 670 (a power& heat hog) core2 duo will be less
    intel d955 mobo
    7800gt vga card- 7600gt will be less
    wd 74g raptor
    74g 15k scsi hard drive and pci adapter
    2g corsair memory
    2 92mm fans for the front.
    ---no problems----
  8. Thanks for the info. I see that the P150 comes only in white. Doesn't that limit you in terms of externally seen parts (DVDs, etc)?
  9. I wouldn't go below a 7600 just to be on the safe side as you said you want to do movie editing. It might go a little over what you need but it's good to have a little bit of insurance, as far as everything else goes is great. You could probably do well with the cheaper core 2 as well, but then again here comes that whole thing with insurance for the future again.
  10. newegg.com

    Antec LifeStyle SONATA II Piano Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 450Watt SmartPower 2.0 ATX 12V V2.0 for AMD & Intel systems Power Supply - Retail $99.99

    Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 Conroe 1.86GHz LGA 775 Processor Model BX80557E6300 - Retail $193.00

    GIGABYTE GA-965P-S3 LGA 775 Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $108.99

    Kingston ValueRAM 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 533 (PC2 4200) System Memory - Retail $107.99

    ASUS EN6200LE/TC256/TD/64 GeForce 6200 LE 256MB TurboCache (64MB onboard) DDR PCI Express x16 Low Profile Video Card - Retail $34.99

    or

    ASUS EAX300SE-X/TD/128 Radeon X300SE 128MB DDR PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail $36.99

    LG 18X DVD±R Super-Multi DVD Burner With 12X DVD-RAM Write Black IDE Model GSAH22N-BK - OEM $29.99

    NEC 18X DVD±R DVD Burner With 12X DVD-RAM Write Black E-IDE / ATAPI Model 7170A-0B - OEM $29.99

    Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250820AS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $74.99

    Creative Sound Blaster SB0570 Audigy SE 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card - OEM $27.99

    Microsoft FA6-00010 Black USB Wired Ergonomics Keyboard Mouse Included - OEM $37.99

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.asp?N=2010190020+1309821317&Submit=ENE&SubCategory=20

    Pick a 19" or bigger LCD with DVI input. You might want wide screen since you're watching movies on the pc. Samsung gets good reviews.

    Oh yes, the Antec psu is above average, compared to generic psu's that come with the cases. However, the 450w one in the Sonata2 might crap out after a few months, even though Antec would replace it for free. I've heard of more bad things about Liberty than Noisetaker (in my case). Seasonic M12/S12 would be a little better.

    Since you're editing videos, you want DVD-RAM, which are supported by the drives I listed. Read & write. Much better quality & longer life than DVD-/+R. Same size & capacity.

    You can also choose a better video card or sound card if you want. Those are the most basic. Video must be PCI-E for that mobo. Sound & everything else must be PCI.

    The other compatible Kingston ram are:

    Search Results for: Gigabyte GA-965P-S3 Motherboard Part Number Description Price

    KVR533D2N4/256 256MB 533MHz DDR2 Non-ECC CL4 DIMM Get Price
    KVR533D2N4/512 512MB 533MHz DDR2 Non-ECC CL4 DIMM Get Price
    KVR533D2N4/1G 1GB 533MHz DDR2 Non-ECC CL4 DIMM Get Price
    KVR533D2N4/2G 2GB 533MHz DDR2 Non-ECC CL4 DIMM Get Price
    KVR533D2N4K2/512 512MB 533MHz DDR2 Non-ECC CL4 DIMM (Kit of 2) Get Price
    KVR533D2N4K2/1G 1GB 533MHz DDR2 Non-ECC CL4 DIMM (Kit of 2) Get Price
    KVR533D2N4K2/2G 2GB 533MHz DDR2 Non-ECC CL4 DIMM (Kit of 2) Get Price
    KVR533D2N4K2/4G 4GB 533MHz DDR2 Non-ECC CL4 DIMM (Kit of 2) Get Price
    KVR667D2N5/256 256MB 667MHz DDR2 Non-ECC CL5 DIMM Get Price
    KVR667D2N5/512 512MB 667MHz DDR2 Non-ECC CL5 DIMM Get Price
    KVR667D2N5/1G 1GB 667MHz DDR2 Non-ECC CL5 DIMM Get Price
    KVR667D2N5/2G 2GB 667MHz DDR2 Non-ECC CL5 DIMM Get Price
    KVR667D2N5K2/512 512MB 667MHz DDR2 Non-ECC CL5 DIMM (Kit of 2) Get Price
    KVR667D2N5K2/1G 1GB 667MHz DDR2 Non-ECC CL5 DIMM (Kit of 2) Get Price
    KVR667D2N5K2/2G 2GB 667MHz DDR2 Non-ECC CL5 DIMM (Kit of 2) Get Price
    KVR667D2N5K2/4G 4GB 667MHz DDR2 Non-ECC CL5 DIMM (Kit of 2) Get Price
    KVR800D2N5/512 512MB 800MHz DDR2 Non-ECC CL5 DIMM Get Price
    KVR800D2N5/1G 1GB 800MHz DDR2 Non-ECC CL5 DIMM Get Price
    KVR800D2N5K2/1G 1GB 800MHz DDR2 Non-ECC CL5 DIMM (Kit of 2) Get Price
    KVR800D2N5K2/2G 2GB 800MHz DDR2 Non-ECC CL5 DIMM (Kit of 2)
  11. akhilles - I appreciate you taking the time to find these components. It is extremely helpful. Mustardman24 - thanks for the suggestions.

    The case and PSU are driving me nuts. P150 was recommended, but I am not thrilled that it comes only in white. The Sonata has a crappy PSU otherwise it would be great. I hate to pay $150 for a case when the PSU is likely to fail.

    Does any one have any recommendations about other case/PSU combos? The "FSP Group (Fortron Source) AX450-PN, 12cm FAN, version 2.2, 2 SATA, PCI Express, 450W Power Supply - Retail" that lots of folks are recommending is reasonably prices, but is 450W sufficient? Should I just go with the FSP and the Antec P180?

    I also found what sounded like a great mobo, Biostart TForce P965 Deluxe, however, I can't find it anywhere for sale. Newegg has the TForce 965AT.

    Again, thanks to all of you for your help. It's been invaluable. Appreciate it.
  12. Even though the case is white, the stealth doors cover the dvd slots, so you can use any color drive you want. For the 3 1/2 opening I used a standard floppy disk in black that I already had, and it looked fine to me. You can get floppy disks with a silver bezel and that will match the front bezel which is silver in parts. Plan "B" is to mask off the opening and spray paint silver or any other color you want.
    I was originally not too keen on white, but the finish is beautiful, and I would pick it over black again.
  13. That's good to know. Unfortunately I can't find a place in the area that carries it so I can't see it in person. Appreciate you letting me know that. That makes it easier.
  14. Quote:
    Does any one have any recommendations about other case/PSU combos? The "FSP Group (Fortron Source) AX450-PN, 12cm FAN, version 2.2, 2 SATA, PCI Express, 450W Power Supply - Retail" that lots of folks are recommending is reasonably prices, but is 450W sufficient? Should I just go with the FSP and the Antec P180?

    I also found what sounded like a great mobo, Biostart TForce P965 Deluxe, however, I can't find it anywhere for sale. Newegg has the TForce 965AT.


    No problem.

    Fortron & Sparkle are the good lowest priced psu's. Next would be Antec, Tagen & Hiper.

    I'd get a Fortron + P180B. 450w is enough for the basic pc i listed.

    You should get the Biostart TForce P965 Deluxe exactly as stated, & not anything else cuz it won't be the same thing. If you do, you need to check out kingston site for ram compatiblity.
  15. Quote:
    You should get the Biostart TForce P965 Deluxe exactly as stated, & not anything else cuz it won't be the same thing. If you do, you need to check out kingston site for ram compatiblity.


    Easier said than done - I can't find it anywhere!!!! Even the Biostar-USA site doesn't show it. But it's gotten GREAT reviews.
  16. OK, I think I am getting closer to what I need/want.

    Again, thank you all for your help. I decided to stick with the 2GB PC2-6400 memory, the 7600GT (based on advice above) and the HDD. I changed pretty much everything else. I am sure that some of the components could be "dumbed" down, but I don't see the necessity. I believe all of this is compatible.???.

    Here is what I selected:

    Case and PS: Antec Performance One P150 White Steel ATX Mini Tower Computer Case 430-Watt ATX12V v2.2 Power Supply
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811129166

    CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 Conroe 1.86GHz LGA 775 Processor Model BX80557E6300
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819115005

    Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-965G-DS3 LGA 775 Intel G965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813128018

    HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 (Perpendicular Recording) ST3250620AS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822148144

    Video Card: XFX PVT73GUGD3 GeForce 7600GT 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814150182

    Is there much difference between the 7600GT above and an
    EVGA version (eVGA 256-P2-N554-AX Geforce 7600GT 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card; http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681413001) or the
    BFG version (BFG Tech BFGR76256GTOCE GeForce 7600GT 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card; http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814143049)?

    DVD Burner: SAMSUNG 18X DVD±R DVD Burner With 12X DVD-RAM Write, LightScribe Technology Black SATA Model SH-S183L
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16827151141

    DVD Drive: SONY Black IDE DVD-ROM Drive Model DDU1615/B2s
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16827101131

    Memory: CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TWIN2X2048-6400C4
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820145034

    I am going to hold off on the sound card and will review monitors a bit closer.

    I really wanted the BioStar TForce P965 Deluxe mobo, but just can't find it anywhere.

    Would I be better off with the NZXT Apollo case with the FSP 450W PSU?

    Your thoughts, comments and suggestions would be very much appreciated.

    David
  17. Any final thoughts or suggestions?

    Thanks.
  18. The differences between evga & bfg 7600gt's are:

    EVGA
    Core clock 580MHz
    PixelPipelines 12
    Memory
    Memory Clock 1500 MHz (effective)

    BFG
    Core clock 580MHz (vs 560MHz std)
    PixelPipelines 12
    Memory
    Memory Clock 1450MHz (vs 1400MHz std)

    The evga is a tiny tad bit faster & it won't be noticed except in benchmarks. However, I'd take evga any day cuz of their step-up program that lets you trade in the old & upgrade to a new video card.

    The GA-965G-DS3 or any of their 965G has a graphics chip onboard. You'd disable it in bios if possible & use the PCI-E 7600GT. 965P doesn't have that.

    This is a list of Corsair ram compatible with GA-965P-DS3. They don't list 965G. Ask newegg if in doubt.

    You searched for the Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3

    CM2X1024-5400C4 DDR2-675 (XM2S-5400C4) 1GB 4-4-4-12-2T
    CM2X1024-6400 DDR2-800 (XM2S-6400) 1GB 5-5-5-15-2T
    CM2X1024-6400PRO DDR2-800 (XM2S-6400) 1GB 5-5-5-15-2T
    CM2X512-5400C4 DDR2-675 (XM2S-5400C4) 512MB 4-4-4-12-2T
    CM2X512-5400C4PRO DDR2-675 (XM2S-5400C4) 512MB 4-4-4-12-2T
    CM2X512A-6400 DDR2-800 (XM2S-6400) 512MB 5-5-5-15-2T
    TWIN2X1024-5400C4 DDR2-675 (XM2S-5400C4) 1GB Kit (2 x 512MB) 4-4-4-12-2T
    TWIN2X1024-5400C4PRO DDR2-675 (XM2S-5400C4) 1GB Kit (2 x 512MB) 4-4-4-12-2T
    TWIN2X1024-8500 DDR2-1066 (XM2S-8500) 1GB Kit (2 x 512MB) 5-5-5-15-2T
    TWIN2X1024A-6400 DDR2-800 (XM2S-6400) 1GB Kit (2 x 512MB) 5-5-5-15-2T
    TWIN2X2048-5400C4 DDR2-675 (XM2S-5400C4) 2GB Kit (2 x 1GB) 4-4-4-12-2T
    TWIN2X2048-5400C4PRO DDR2-675 (XM2S-5400C4) 2GB Kit (2 x 1GB) 4-4-4-12-2T
    TWIN2X2048-5400C4PT DDR2-675 (XM2S-5400C4) 2GB Kit (2 x 1GB) 4-4-4-12-2T
    TWIN2X2048-6400 DDR2-800 (XM2S-6400) 2GB Kit (2 x 1GB) 5-5-5-15-2T
    TWIN2X2048-6400C4D DDR2-800 C4 2GB Kit (2 x 1GB) 4-4-4-12-2T
    TWIN2X2048-6400PRO DDR2-800 (XM2S-6400) 2GB Kit (2 x 1GB) 5-5-5-15-2T
    TWIN2X2048-8500C5 DDR2-1066 (XM2S-8500) 2GB Kit (2 x 1GB) 5-5-5-15-2T
    TWIN2X2048-8500C5D DDR2-1066 (XM2S-8500) 2GB Kit (2 x 1GB) 5-5-5-15-2T
    TWIN2X2048-8888C4DF DDR2-1111 (XMS2-8888) 2GB Kit (2 x 1GB) 4-4-4-12-2T
    TWIN2XP2048-6400C4 TWIN2XP2048-6400C4 2GB Kit (2 x 1GB) 4-4-4-12-2T
    VS1GB533D2 DDR2-533 (PC2-4200) 1GB 4-4-4-12-2T
    VS1GB667D2 DDR2-667 (PC2-5300) 1GB 5-5-5-15-2T
    VS1GBKIT533D2 DDR2-533 (PC2-4200) 1GB Kit (2 x 512MB) 4-4-4-12-2T
    VS1GBKIT667D2 DDR2-667 (PC2-5300) 1GB Kit (2 x 512MB) 5-5-5-15-2T
    VS256MB533D2 DDR2-533 (PC2-4200) 256MB 4-4-4-12-2T
    VS2GBKIT533D2 DDR2-533 (PC2-4200) 2GB Kit (2 x 1GB) 4-4-4-12-2T
    VS2GBKIT667D2 DDR2-667 (PC2-5300) 2GB Kit (2 x 1GB) 5-5-5-15-2T
    VS512MB667D2 DDR2-667 (PC2-5300) 512MB 5-5-5-15-2T
    VS512MBKIT533D2 DDR2-533 (PC2-4200) 512MB Kit (2 x 256MB) 4-4-4-12-2T

    Overall, very good choices.
  19. My bad!!! I mean Gigabyte 965P NOT 965G. Typo.
  20. You might want to get the AC Freezer Pro 7 for this build - that way you can overclock with some confidence. It is not the top of the line ,but it is a very reliable cooler with a great bang for the buck.

    Cheers.
  21. Thanks Avarice. Amazingly enough I was just looking at that on the advice of our local company IT guru. Appreciate your suggestion.
  22. Quote:
    However, I'd take evga any day cuz of their step-up program that lets you trade in the old & upgrade to a new video card.


    In theory that's great, however, the step-up program is good only for the 1st 90 days after purchase of the card. You cannot take an old EVGA card at any time and trade it for a new EVGA card, just in the 1st 90 days. Look at their website, http://evga.com/stepup/default.asp?switch=3.

    It's still a great program if you're expecting to buy something that will be released shortly and you want to have something to work with right now. Also, they don't say where they get the prices to figure out how much you'd have to pay for the stepped-up drive. Still a good concept.
  23. video editing? shoot for an X1xxx Avivo is a very nice tool that comes in handy more thant I even thought it would
  24. Thanks. Something to keep in mind!
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