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Budget Build, I need some outside perspective

Last response: in Systems
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February 7, 2007 4:56:22 PM

It's easy for me to criticize other builds when I'm not the one building, but whenever I get hired to do a project or start building something for a friend or myself, I end up like a deer caught in the headlights. Could use some outside perspective.

Goals: Good frame-rates now, ability to upgrade to Core 2 Duo later, stability and longevity guaranteed.

CPU: Pentium D 805 Smithfield OEM
Reason: Buying a Core 2 Duo now would severely gimp his budget, and buying a processor later is a lot simpler than buying a video-card later, as the only company that has a step up program is EVGA and their cards tend to be 15-20% higher than the competition. I figure an 805 would last enough time to wait for the C2D price drop in March/April. Also going OEM so that I can get a great HSF like Freezer 7 Pro or Zalman 9500, but have $15-20 off from it by going OEM on the processor instead of retail.
Pentium D 805 OEM - $70.00

Motherboard: I'm a bit lost on this one. I'm stuck between the ASUS P5B regular, Gigabyte DS3 and Abit AB9. They all go for roughly the same price. I guess reliability is more of an issue than over-clock ability? He plans on going 4300 or 6400 because the higher multiplier has less strain on the motherboard. Maybe someone else could give me more insight to this. I don't want to go regular S3 as it's only like $10 cheaper and has cheaper parts.
Gigabyte DS3 965P - $125.08
ABIT AB9Pro 965P - $146.00

Memory: Considering Corsair XMS2 512x2 DDR667. It's $81 on ZipZoomFly with free shipping. Ends up being $87.68 total shipped. There's also this PQI Turbo 1GB stick people recommend because of its memory chips. It's out of stock though on Newegg. Could use more insight on this too. I plan on going 2 GB max since the person's not going Vista for maybe another 2 years or so.
Corsair 2x 512 XMS2 DDR675 - $76.00

Video-card: I'm thinking a 7900GS. FPS matters now, I figured a 7600GT with a Core2Duo wouldn't be as good as a 7900GS with a Pentium D 805. Since he's planning on going Core2 Duo later, figured this would be the best combo route. I'm a little mixed on the X1950GT and X1950Pro's at the moment. There's stability issues, the X1950GT has to be over-clocked to compete with the X1900GT/1950Pro and the 7900GS seems to have more reliable over-clocking stability.
EVGA 7900GS 256MB KO - $164.00

There's an EVGA 7900GS at TheNerds.net for $164 and since it's not in Cali that means no taxes. This also secures the Step-Up program if a 7900GS doesn't cut it for him after the DX10 wave.

Power-supply: No SLI, not a lot of components, at most two hard drives and one optical drive, one PCI-E card and maybe a stand-alone sound-card and a wire-less LAN adapter. Your guys' guess is as good as mine. I was thinking a Hiper 580? There's also an OCZ GameXStream 600 for $97 at TheNerds.net
I'm pretty much set on one of these two:
Antec TruePower Trio 650 52A - $107.66
OCZ GameXstream 600 48.33A - $97.27


Case: He has a cheap case already, figures that'd be better than buying a new one since he's taking out the power supply to put a new one in and adding a couple fans to it.

In case you guys are wondering, the total budget is just over $600, with him having his own case, CD burner, mouse and a cheap 80 gigabyte hard drive. I'm trying to save money here and there so I can maybe toss him in an SATA 120 or 160 gigabyte hard drive.

Priorities-
Upgrade ability to Core2Duo
Reliable mother-board
Good graphics, EVGA brand for Step-Up

I'm open to any suggestions.
February 7, 2007 5:28:31 PM

Sounds to me like you have a good plan for the budget. Are you planning on doing any OC? Any applications besides gaming?

I would go with the DS3 mobo - but the others are good too. All three you listed are reviewed on this link:

http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/11/13/shootout_at_the_...

I don't know if that means you have already read it or not. If not this should provide a good comparison of features and benefits.

On memory - you are in luck that prices are down right now. The Corsair price you listed seems like a good deal, howeverm if not planning to OC you might look for less expensive memory IF you can beat this deal. If I read what you wrote correcly, you are planning on going for 2 GB of RAM now and expecting to go more with Vista later. I think this is a good plan and therefore would suggest getting 2 x 1 GB now so you can simply add the same later without having to remove old memory later.
February 7, 2007 5:42:26 PM

Quote:
Sounds to me like you have a good plan for the budget. Are you planning on doing any OC? Any applications besides gaming?

I would go with the DS3 mobo - but the others are good too. All three you listed are reviewed on this link:

http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/11/13/shootout_at_the_...

I don't know if that means you have already read it or not. If not this should provide a good comparison of features and benefits.

On memory - you are in luck that prices are down right now. The Corsair price you listed seems like a good deal, howeverm if not planning to OC you might look for less expensive memory IF you can beat this deal. If I read what you wrote correcly, you are planning on going for 2 GB of RAM now and expecting to go more with Vista later. I think this is a good plan and therefore would suggest getting 2 x 1 GB now so you can simply add the same later without having to remove old memory later.


Hehe, actually you got both opposite.

I do plan on Over-clocking, NOT planning on going Vista for 2 years and was thinking 1 GB now and another 1 GB later down the line.

Also, I read more on the DS3 and apparantly there's two versions. One with the 965P and one with the 965G. Supposedly the 965P one is better for over-clocking.

I found it on Mwave for $125.08 too.
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February 7, 2007 5:59:41 PM

I know you read the other thread about the voltage problem with XMS memory. And I think youj mean 2x512.
From all the reviews here I would take the Gigabite MB.
Since this will be your card for the near future, a 550 model will work great, probably save a few bucks.
February 7, 2007 6:39:32 PM

Can the budget flex a bit for rebate items?

If you are looking at the OCZ power supply the 700w version is on sale for $97.99 after a $25 rebate at:

http://www.clubit.com/product_detail.cfm?itemno=A627652...

I agree that the processor is an easier upgrade than a video card, but most people never get around to it because by the time they do the number of pins or form factor has changed. It may be sacrilegious to some, but I would recommend getting the free after rebate (& free shipping) 500w PSU Buy.com has right now and put the $100 saved towards getting the Conroe now.

http://www.buy.com/prod/CoolMax_500W_120MM_ATX_Power_Su...

I looked it up on Newegg (model v-500) and while the posters commented on its light weight, they all said that it worked fine.

If he has the money down the road for an upgrade he can replace the PSU and be out nothing. If he gets the Pentium D now and upgrades later he will be out $80.

If he would like to get a new case anyway, there is one for free after a $40 rebate at Fry's:

http://shop1.outpost.com/product/5124886

I used this case for a budget build for my sister and it was a good case (no sharp edges and both sides come off for easy installation of the drives), but you will have to buy case fans separately. I did get the rebate in about 6 weeks.
!