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New build: advice/suggestions?

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January 23, 2007 5:39:35 PM

First, let me apologize for being the 465186th person to post his/her prospective build parts asking for suggestions or advice. I do appreciate whatever input you guys can give me, however 8)

My current rig is a P4 2.8E PrescHOT, ABIT IC7 mobo and GF 4 Ti4200 64MB AGP in a crappy Raidmax case that looks sweet but sounds like a jet engine. It's about 2.5 years old (longer for the video card, obviously, but she has served me quite well) and it's getting to be time to upgrade. I've been putting it off since about July 2006, waiting for C2D, etc. I've debated waiting till May-ish for the C2D price cuts (and an E6420 instead of E6400), but I dunno if I can make it that long. I used to do quite a bit of gaming, but lately the amount of gaming has dwindled due to being busy with class/working, and my lack of gaming horsepower, limiting the games I can play (UT2K4 and CS:S still run fine, though I can't wait for UT2K7). So, mostly I do the standard internet/email/word processing, with some occasional programming/compiling and photo work, plus lots of video encoding. I want to play UT2K7 when it comes out, plus I still haven't played Quake 4, FEAR, CoH, BF-anything besides 1942, etc, so there would be a good deal of gaming in the future for me. I've been reading around for a while here on Tom's and on Anandtech, and here's what I've come up with:

Processor
C2D E6400: I plan on OCing at least a little bit; not much further past 3Ghz. I'm intrigued by the new E4300 -- worth the savings or not? And should I wait for E6420 to get the extra 2MB cache?

Motherboard
Gigabyte DS3 or ASUS P5B-E: both are decent overclockers, I've read, but I'm not sure which is more OC friendly. I don't need any Wifi or other frills, just the basics. Firewire is a plus, even though I don't currently use it; possibly for video work if I get a hold of a camcorder in the future.

Memory
Definitely 2GB's of some good MicronD9 memory, almost definitely DDR2-800. Basically whatever brand is the best deal (Corsair, OCZ seem to be popular ATM, but that could change).

Video Card
Here's the big question. Originally I was planning on an nV 7900GT, but that was back in Aug/Sept and i'll probably get something beefier now. an X1950XT looked good for about $220 a while ago, but i've since considered getting an 8800GTS, since its DX10. Another thought occured to me, as well: get an eVGA something-or-other for relatively cheap now, and then upgrade to a DX10 sometime in the next 90 days using eVGA's 90-day card exchange policy (i read about this earlier today... do they still offer this?)

Case
Also a debate. Since my current rig is loud and hot (although the heat situation will improve greatly once I get a C2D and rid myself of this Prescott devil), I'm going for quiet, cool, and NO BRIGHT LIGHTS. The lights on the front of my case now light up my bedroom in the middle of the night, and it's damn annoying. I'd also prefer no front door covering the drives, but that's a convenience I'm willing to give up. I was looking at a Cooler Master Centurion 5 for a while, which seem to have good reviews, or possibly the CM RC-534. Then I saw that Best Buy has the Antec P180 for 79.99 (OOS currently, but may come back), which is the cheapest I've ever seen it, and if I could get it locally (read: no shipping), that would be a perfect use for the $25 GC i have to BB from xmas. I liked the P180 the moment I saw it back in August, but $100+ was out of my budget. I've also heard that there are some minor nitpicks/flaws with the P180, but wanted to see what anyone else thought. Another possibility is to grab a P180 from Antec's B-Stock for $75, considering I don't really care if it's got a few nicks, long as it's not dented or anything ridiculous... but then I'd have to pay shipping.

Otherwise, I've already got my HDD's, PSU, Optical drives, Displays, Keyb/Mouse, speakers, etc., so those 5 components are all I've got left. I'm looking at a budget of around $1000 or less for the remaining parts, with the possibility of going a LITTLE bit over a grand if the parts warrant it.

One final thing: retail C2D HSF, or get an OEM C2D and slap a Tuniq Tower or Scythe Infinity/Ninja on it? I've got AS5 lying around from a new HSF on my prescott about 2 years ago.

So, whatchya think?
January 23, 2007 6:30:01 PM

whats the specs on the power supply you gonna use? if your thinking about a 8800gts, you gotta make sure you have enough juice to power it.
January 23, 2007 6:48:33 PM

Aspire X-Cruiser Black Midi Tower
Intel Core 2 DUO LGA775 E6600 2.40GHz/E6700 2.66Ghz
Abit AB9 Pro
Corsair 2 GB DDR2 XMS2-6400C4 TwinX (2X1GB)
Sapphire Radeon X1950 Pro Ultimate
Related resources
January 23, 2007 8:07:12 PM

E6400
SCNJ-1100P
P5B-E
X1950XT
P180

Overclock friendly as in? ASUS BIOS has 2 onboard profiles to store your BIOS settings. Maybe one for summer light overcock & another for winter moderate overclock. The overclock bios is multi-leveled: top menu, submenu; submenu, etc. Going in & out of a menu can be annoying.

Gigabyte BIOS doesn't have profile saves, but it seems to be geared towards enthusiasts. CTRL-F1 key unlocks the hidden overclocking settings. There are few to no submenus. In a word, it's old school.

I'd get the P180 deal. Where I live, it's about $140-160. Heck, I'd even camp out at Best Buy with a tent, bbq, satellite tv, mobile toilet, etc. lol. Sounds familiar?

I think you should hold off on the DX10 video. You don't know what ati will have in store for you when they roll out R600. I'm sure nvidia will release the budget 8600GT or something like that. How many games require DX10 cards? One, I think, Crysis.
January 23, 2007 9:16:11 PM

@drummerdude:
The power supply I'm gonna use in the new build is an Ultra V Series 500W. I understand that it may not be a bad idea to get something beefier if I get an 8800GTS, but I believe this one should be OK for something like an X1950XT (it was FAR, couldn't beat it). Also, I failed to mention previously that SLI/CrossFire is of absolutely no interest to me. As a college student on a budget, not only do I not have the money to throw into two video cards, but from what I've seen as far as benchmarks go, the costs associated are not worth the gains in performance. So of course, an SLI-ready PSU is not necessary.

@pcgeek:
Just curious as to why you recommend the AB9 pro over the P5B-E or the Gigabyte? Also, how quiet is the Aspire?

@akhilles:
the P180 deal would be awesome, I agree... just gotta see if theyre gonna have any more in stock anytime at my local BB. If not, I still may consider getting one from Antec B-stock, but more than likely I'll go with something cheaper from NewEgg. And also, the SCNJ-1100P, how loud is that baby? Obviously I don't mind turning it up during gaming or intensive CPU tasks (esp. ones left running while i'm at class all day or something), but at night or when I'm watching TV/movies with video out to my TV, i'd like it as quiet as possible, preferably near silent. Any reason you prefer the Ninja to an Infinity or Tuniq Tower? Also, by OC friendly i mean how high do voltages go, what kinds of increments are possible, etc.

And finally, anyone else with input regarding motherboard or processor choice (wait for 6420 or get an e4300/6400 now)? Again, thanks to the three of you who have responded so far, your advice is greatly appreciated!
January 23, 2007 10:36:56 PM

Scythe SCNJ-1100P
all socket compatibility
120mm fan
$39.99 at newegg

http://www.scythe-usa.com/product/cpu/026/scnj1100p.htm...

Fan
Dimensions: 120 x 120 x 25mm
Noise Level: 20.94dBA
Air Flow: 49.58 CFM
Speed: 1,200rpm (±10%)
Bearing Type: Sleeve Bearing

http://www.scythe-usa.com/product/cpu/024/scinf1000.htm...

Fan
Dimensions: 120 x 120 x 25mm
Noise Level: 23.5dBA
Air Flow: 46.5CFM
Speed: 1,200rpm (±10%)

I don't have this. I try to recommend parts that the buyer is interested in. Not something I'm interested in.

The Ninja is quieter while moving more air.

The 21dba is very quiet, imo. P5B bios lets you change the cpu fan (q-fan) speed to optimal (medium), silent (low) & performance (high). Most of the time you'll be hearing the harddisk & cd/dvd drive.

You can keep waiting forever. There's always something better around the corner.
January 23, 2007 11:31:19 PM

Sounds good. I agree with akhilles on the Ninja subject, I was just looking for a bit more info :wink:

Looks like it'll be a Ninja, X1950XT and E6400 for me, along with the P180 if i can get ahold of it. As far as motherboard, I guess it'll just come down to features/brand name at some point, and with the popularity of all of the suggested boards, I can't really go wrong either way.

Thanks again for all of your input!
January 24, 2007 3:23:14 PM

the AB9 is a very good overcloker possibly one of the best i also like the Gigabyte DQ6 and the EVGA nVidia 680Sli:D  the case i dunno but d ab9 is an awesome overclocker if u want some jiuce out of ur CPU!
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