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Feedback on budget core duo workstation config

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January 19, 2007 7:30:19 PM

Been 5 or so years since I've built, and haven't been keeping up, could really use advice. I'm set on Intel dual core and need raid 1 (or possibly a matrix raid) and dual DVI support. Budget is $800. Any feedback appreciated.

Case: Ultra Black Aluminus ATX Mid-Tower Case with Clear Side, Front USB, Firewire and Audio Ports And Ultra X2 550-Watt Power Supply - 109.99

Mobo: ASUS P5LD2 R2.0 LGA 775 Intel 945P ATX - $104.99

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 Conroe 2.13GHz LGA 775- $222.00

Video: MSI NX7600GS-T2D256E GeForce 7600GS 256MB GDDR2 PCI Express x16 - $89.99 (open box)

Hard Drives: Western Digital Caviar SE WD2000JS 200GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - 67.99 x 2 (will use for raid 1 or possibly matrix)

Kingston ValueRAM 1GB (2 x 512MB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) Dual Channel Kit System Memory Model - $112.99 (will add more later)

I will use my external DVD burner, so will probably just get a cheap basic DVD drive. The main thing I'm unsure of is the motherboard. I may find something else without built in raid and just get a cheap card.

Total $775.94 + ~ 20 bucks for a DVD drive.
January 19, 2007 8:02:50 PM

:lol:  Intel DG965WH would be great board for your needs,rock solid and affordable.
January 19, 2007 8:07:56 PM

I assume you're not planning to OC. For the mobo, look at either the Biostar 965PT for $104.99 or the Gigabyte 965P-S3 for $108.99, both thru newegg.

What will you be using the PC for? Might consider dropping to the 6300 to save a few bucks on your budget. You can OC it past the 6400 easily. Will want to change your ram to something like this. If you'd rather not OC, stick with the value stuff.

If you can swing the extra cash, go for at least the 7600 GT. If you're not a gamer at all, and this is just a normal web surfing type machine, get a mobo with on board graphics, and you'll be fine. ie. Giga 965G version.
Related resources
January 19, 2007 8:22:57 PM

Quote:
I assume you're not planning to OC. For the mobo, look at either the Biostar 965PT for $104.99 or the Gigabyte 965P-S3 for $108.99, both thru newegg.


Those are great suggestions for a budget system.
January 19, 2007 8:32:09 PM

Thanks for all the feedback, will check all those out and reply later. But wanted to say re: type of use... I am not a gamer. I need a stable development box. I run many apps simultaneously all day including compilers, web servers, database servers, graphics editors, browsers, IDE's, etc.
January 19, 2007 8:45:16 PM

Also, please keep in mind I require dual DVI and raid 1.
January 19, 2007 8:55:20 PM

I like that Gigabyte board, though I'll have to add a raid card if I go that route. And the 800 memory is a bit more.

Looking at the 7600 GT cards with dual DVI now. Any particular recommendations from this list?

Thanks again!
January 19, 2007 9:03:43 PM

That board does support raid. You're limited to 2 disks, but the support is there.

Since you're not a gamer, save the cash and stick with the 7600 GS. It should be fine for what you're doing.

The 800 ram is for OCing only. If you don't wanna OC, stick with 533 or 667. Actually, the 667 will get you a modest OC. May even be able to fly with value line from Kingston.
January 19, 2007 9:05:53 PM

Quote:
I like that Gigabyte board, though I'll have to add a raid card if I go that route.

Why is that? The S3 has a ICH8 Southbridge, so it supports RAID 1 natively. No additional card necessary.

Quote:
And the 800 memory is a bit more.

800 memory is really only necessary for overclocking. While the board supports the 800, you'll be fine with 533 at stock speeds.

EDIT: Doh! Thunder beat me to it. Just read the above as "yeah, what he said." :wink:
January 19, 2007 9:16:00 PM

Thanks, I guess I was looking at a different board:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1681...

I'll look for the one with the other southbridge (pretty clueless abou this stuff, heh).

I thought the 965 boards required 800 memory. I know some say they do in the specs at newegg anyway. Cool, that helps a lot.
January 19, 2007 9:18:01 PM

Quote:
Thanks, I guess I was looking at a different board:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E1681...

I'll look for the one with the other southbridge (pretty clueless abou this stuff, heh).

I thought the 965 boards required 800 memory. I know some say they do in the specs at newegg anyway. Cool, that helps a lot.


The link you included is the right one. That has the ICH8 and supports 2 drives in RAID 1.
January 19, 2007 9:23:36 PM

Quote:
The link you included is the right one. That has the ICH8 and supports 2 drives in RAID 1.

sweet, thanks. Weird they don't say that in the specs.

What do you think of this video card, it's about the same price as the MSI card I was looking at originally.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
January 19, 2007 9:30:39 PM

One more question. Is it worth opting for 16MB cache on the hard drive vs 8 for my needs? Thanks, you guys are helping a LOT!

edit: make that 2 more :)  So I can use any any 224 pin DDR2 chip then, like the 667 in my original config?
January 19, 2007 10:06:39 PM

Quote:
I like that Gigabyte board, though I'll have to add a raid card if I go that route.

Why is that? The S3 has a ICH8 Southbridge, so it supports RAID 1 natively. No additional card necessary.

Quote:
And the 800 memory is a bit more.

800 memory is really only necessary for overclocking. While the board supports the 800, you'll be fine with 533 at stock speeds.

EDIT: Doh! Thunder beat me to it. Just read the above as "yeah, what he said." :wink:

The ICH8 does not support RAID - you must be thinking about ICH8R. The S3 uses a JMicron chip for RAID. You still get RAID 1 and 0, but not Matrix RAID, which is a shame. Matrix RAID is impressive.
January 19, 2007 10:10:48 PM

Matrix raid would be nice, but I'm not sure if I would end up even using it and am content with raid 1.
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
January 19, 2007 11:14:37 PM

My 2 cents. If you want raid1, it is presumably because you have stuff on your hard drives that you want to protect. If you got a virus, or had a fire, raid 1 would not protect you. For this protection, you would need an external drive and some backup discipline. For the cost of the second drive for raid 1, you could get an external drive. Also, a non-raid system is simpler and faster. With raid1, all you are really getting is faster recovery from a hard drive failure; a very infrequent event. If you do hard drive intensive work, as I think you do, consider spending extra for a WD raptor150, and maybe less on the cpu. The backup drive could be a slower model.
As to the mobo, get a p965 based board. There are many in the $110 price range. The Intel board is solid, well documented, supported, and easy to work with for a first time builder. It does not have much following here because it can't be overclocked. The G models have integrated graphics, but they do not have dual outputs.
Value 667 ram at 1.8 volts should work fine.
The 7600gs should be fine.
January 20, 2007 1:23:22 AM

I've been runing scheduled, automated backups to external drives or other media for many years ;)  With or without any raid setup, one should always backup to tape, DVD, external drive, etc nighly for many reasons. I also keep compressed archives of backups for at least 30 days in case I need to roll something back (rare, since I use cvs, but it can save your ass). I would love dual raptors, but it's not within my budget (in fact I think I'm going to use cheaper 160 drives to stay within my 800 cap now). I could get just one raptor, but really much prefer running a mirrored raid, even if sacraficing performance a bit. FYI, I've built many boxes over the years, it's just been 5 years and so much has changed! It used to be so much easier to decide on components :) 

I will go with a P965 board. Stability is paramount and I don't care about OC, so will check out the Intel and other brands along with the gigabyte. If you have some specific boards in mind you could link to, would appreciate it. Thanks.
January 20, 2007 4:22:32 AM

A couple noobish questions, just to be clear.

1) The intel P965 boards say this:

"Only DDR2-800 memory supporting JEDEC approved 1.8V operation with timings of 5-5-5 or 6-6-6 is supported on Intel Desktop Boards based on Intel 965 Express Chipsets."

But it's still fine to use 667, correct?

2) Any board that has the Intel ICH8 South Bridge supports raid 1, correct?

Here is the motheboard I'm looking at now:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Note: Several reviews of that board on newegg say it does NOT support raid.
January 20, 2007 4:33:35 AM

Quote:

The ICH8 does not support RAID - you must be thinking about ICH8R. The S3 uses a JMicron chip for RAID. You still get RAID 1 and 0, but not Matrix RAID, which is a shame. Matrix RAID is impressive.


You are right! I knew the ICH8R had RAID support but never realized the RAID on these boards was driven by the JMicron chip instead. Thanks for correcting me.
January 20, 2007 4:58:15 AM

According to reviews at newegg, neither the gigabyte board or the intel have built in raid support. Not a big deal, maybe better to use a card anyway? But I'm trying to stick to the budget, and if anyone can point to some solid but cheap P965 boards with raid support, I would appreciate it.
January 20, 2007 12:35:06 PM

Stay away from ECS. I've seen nothing to prove they improved their quality, which in the past has sucked pretty hard.

However the raid is supported (via the JMicron chip on the S3), it still supports raid. Problem with the reviews on newegg is you don't know how many of them are just plain idiots, and don't know what they're talking about.
January 20, 2007 1:18:37 PM

Out of curiosity, why are you so sure you want RAID? What do you plan to do that you feel it is a requirement? Just curious since usually RAID is not a requirement associated with a "budget" system. And you seem to be so sure in your conviction ...

-john
January 20, 2007 3:10:17 PM

Quote:
Out of curiosity, why are you so sure you want RAID? What do you plan to do that you feel it is a requirement? Just curious since usually RAID is not a requirement associated with a "budget" system. And you seem to be so sure in your conviction ...


Because I develop software for a living and my livelihood is dependent on data protection. Nightly backups *should* keep you from losing more than a days work. A simple Raid 1 array is cheap and helps to prevent losing *any work at all* in the event of a drive failure, which is worth much more than the cost of an extra drive and card/onboard support to me. Since I started working from home many years ago I've used a simple mirrored array along with nightly backups and like that approach.
January 20, 2007 3:12:07 PM

Quote:
Stay away from ECS. I've seen nothing to prove they improved their quality, which in the past has sucked pretty hard.


Thanks for the heads up, noted :) 

Quote:
However the raid is supported (via the JMicron chip on the S3), it still supports raid. Problem with the reviews on newegg is you don't know how many of them are just plain idiots, and don't know what they're talking about.


hmm, okay, thanks. Weird it's not listed in the specs at all.
January 20, 2007 3:20:55 PM

Quote:
hmm, okay, thanks. Weird it's not listed in the specs at all.

Heh, I can appreciate the skepticism. I have this board though. It does in fact support raid. Pull up the picture of the board on newegg. You'll see that one of the SATA connectors is purple. That's your raid connectors there. The mobo manual even has all the instructions for setting up a raid array.
January 20, 2007 3:28:40 PM

cool, thanks AMDThunder :) 
January 20, 2007 4:14:13 PM

hi,
if your looking for a stable core 2 duo board, have you considered an asrock motherboard. They are very stable and also very cheap for a core 2 duo motherboard. Fair enough, they are rubbish overclockers but that doesn't matter to you. ALso they have eSATA ports for easy back ups. Maybe the Asrock ConRoe945G-DVI?
!