New build in P180

Well after running the vanguard beta I decided it is time to build a new computer. I haven't really been following all of the new hardware so I am looking to you guys to help me come up with a best bang for my buck build. As I said this PC is mainly being built to play vanguard and the cheaper it is the sooner it will be done. I already have a P180 that I ordered to kinda lock me in to starting the build. Everything else is up in the air at the moment. I figure I am planing to spend around 1000$ total but it can be more or less, the budget is pretty open just the more it costs the longer it will take to get it done. I don't plan to OC at all so keep that in mind.

I just want a modern PC as mine is getting outdated. I could pick a bunch of components and build it, but I know I would waste some money getting higher end components than I need in certain areas, like ram. I want it to be quiet so I am hoping to stay with the default cooling for the processor. If you have a build that you know for sure works because it is what you are using and it seems to fit my needs please let me know, I would love to have a no hassle build this time around. Last time I had issues with my nforce chipset board not working with the corsiar ram that I ordered even after a bios update. I am open to AMD or intel and am probably shooting for around 2.2Ghz dual core. Same thing with graphics cards, open to ATI or nvidia. One thing I would like is the option to do SLI or Crossfire in the future. I think that is about all the details I can think of so let's see what you guys come up with.
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  1. One of the big questions is always how much stuff you expect to bring over from the old computer (e.g. monitor). I'm assuming we are just talking about what's in the box.

    All of my prices are from Newegg, but you may have a preferred retailer. This is almost identical to a build I helped a friend with 1.5 months ago.

    Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 Conroe 1.86GHz LGA 775 Processor - Retail $192.00
    ASUS P5B-E ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail - Intel P965 Express - $150.99
    2 sticks of: G.SKILL 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Cas Latency: 5, Voltage: 1.8V - 2.0V, $114.99 (x2) = $229.98
    Western Digital Caviar SE 250GB 3.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM - $69.99
    BFG Tech GeForce 7600GT Video Card - Retail ($109.99 after $30.00 Mail-In Rebate)
    SONY 16X DVD±R DVD Burner With 5X DVD-RAM Write Black IDE Model DRU120C - Retail - $44.99
    CORSAIR CMPSU-620HX ATX12V v2.2 and EPS12V 2.91 620W Power Supply - Retail - $154.99 after $15.00 Mail-In Rebate

    Total: $953 (after rebates)

    If you wanted to upgrade the processor to the next step (the E6400, 2.13 Ghz) and be a little closer to your target of 2.2 Ghz it would add $28 onto the bill.

    I might also suggest going higher end on the video card since DirectX 10 is coming out. Only the Nvidia 8800 GTX and GTS are currently DirectX10 compatible. If it was my money I would get an eVGA 8800GTS for $370 but that does add $260 onto the above price and push you over the $1000 threshold by a bit. Optionally, a person could get the 7600 GT card for now and think about upgrading in a year (hardly any DirectX 10 games will probably be out until then anyway).


    I recently made almost this exact suggestion to a friend for a new system (with an E6300 and a 7600 GT vid card) and she built it long distance. Though she has some past experience building machines, she also has some fear of it. She loves this machine now that it's built and running.

    The one issue we ran into was getting memory that would be happy in the system. As you can see by comments at Newegg, this G-skill memory is running just fine in P5B motherboards. She actually went with 2 - 512MB sticks of A-Data memory in her final build (these are in the Asus approved vendor list for this motherboard) but she only wanted 1 GB due to her budget. I would suggest going with 2 GB due to Vista coming out, etc. If you look around at the various message boards about P965 chipset based motherboards, most manufacturers had some memory compatibility issues with early BIOS revisions. Most of those have been ironed out now but it's hard to know whether you will get a motherboard with an older BIOS version. THE most compatible memory with these boards was that which ran at 1.8V and CAS 5. As you look around you can find 2.0 and 2.1V CAS 4 memory that will probably run with the newer BIOS versions and give you a bit more performance, but for those that one the simplicity of "click and go" with the memory I still suggest 1.8V and CAS5.

    I also added in a beefier power supply in case you ever really wanted to run in SLI sometime in the future. It's a little bit overkill with one vid card but this would give you room to grow. If a person committed to only running a single graphic card you could probably go down to a 500-520W power supply and shave off $50.
  2. You were correct in assuming I meant just the box. Nothing will be moving over from the old computer, it is going to just be a second machine at my house now. Not sure which PSU I am going to go with, I would prefer something modular and the P180 makes it an even tougher choice since I need the cables to be long enough because the case is the 2 chamber design and the PSU is mounted at the very bottom. Is there any reason you went with intel instead of AMD? I don't really know where they stand anymore but just from pricing on newegg around the 2.2Ghz mark the AMD dual cores seem to be a bit cheaper.

    I will probably end up getting one of the higher end graphics cards like a 8800 GTS or GTX. Another thing is the mobo you suggested won't do SLI or crossfire, any other suggestions? Bear in mind the 1000$ price point is not set in stone, I will probably end up going over.
  3. You are quite right about the P965 based chipsets not supporting SLI or Crossfire. My mistake. I think the board that most people are using for that with the Intel chips is the new Nvidia 680i chipset. You can read about that motherboard chipset here:

    Toms review of 680i

    The cost goes way up with a chipset that can do SLI though, as "cheap" Asus 680i board is $310.

    As far as Intel vs. AMD, though I have an AMD X2 3800+ it's just not in the same league as the Intel offerings these days. You can't just compare Ghz to Ghz anymore and expect similar peformance either. The different architectures make it so that Ghz can only be compared in the same lineup of processor. A 1.86 Ghz Intel Core Duo will beat a 2.2 Ghz AMD X2. There have been numerous articles benchmarking these processors in the past few months, but perhaps the quicky way of showing you this is here:

    Anandtech benchmarks for Intel vs AMD

    If it was my money and I was buying now, Intel wins hands down.
  4. Wow, that anandtech link certainly helped. I will be getting an intel processor now for sure, I might also reconsider the overclocking issue since it seems to be a very effective again on the new intel procs.
  5. You can also review the CPU ratings here on TH to see the performance advantage of the C2D.
    Since you are not planning to OC, I think you should definitely get at least the 6400, and consider the 6600 if you expect to keep it for a couple of years - as compared to going quad.
    I also prefer the Seagate 3.0Gb perpendicular drives over WD - but it is a small difference. Here's the 250 GB for $75
  6. I might end up doing some overclocking now that I have read how well the new C2D's OC. I won't push it very far as I want to stay on air and not get my case very noisy.
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