Replacing My Guts For Vista, Suggestions Appreciated


I'm planning a system overhaul for both Vista and just general performance. Most of my work is in image, video, and software development. I do a lot of compression, torrenting, and multitasking major applications. I only game a little bit, but my hope is to run FPS's on reasonably good settings at 1600x1200.

My existing system was Prescott P4 3.2. Fortunatly I got a 550 watt power supply and a decent case which I plan on retaining. My goal is to keep the price down as low as possible while still getting some great performance.

Here are the legacy components the new stuff has to work with:
Antec TRUE CONTROL 550 ATX 550W Power Supply
Antec Performance Plus PLUSVIEW1000AMG Metallic Gray 1.0mm SECC Server Computer Case
Western Digital Raptor WD740GD 74GB 10,000 RPM Serial ATA150 HD
PLEXTOR DVD Burner Ivory IDE Model PX-708A/SW
I also have another big HD I use for media.
(If you're interested I'm running dual 2001FP's with a mx1000 mouse and an old MS natural ergo keyboard.)

Here are my proposed replacement components:
Core 2 Duo: Conroe E6600
P965 Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-965P-S3
DDR2 800 RAM: Corsair XMS2 2 x 1GB
Decent non SLI Video Card: Radeon x1950Pro 256MB PCI Express x16

I am open to changing the video card and memory if you guys have better ideas. My goal is again keep the price down, run Aero really well, also have a decent shot at FPS game performance (but really this is not as important as a screaming fast development engine)

Questions I already have are: Should I spend more and get an ASUS mobo w/ SLI in case I want to go that route in the future? and If I go with this video card, will I get top-of-the line performance out of Vista/Aero on dual 1600x1200 monitors?

Thanks very much for any replys. I included newegg links but am not committed to buying them, they are just for reference.

11 answers Last reply
More about replacing guts vista suggestions appreciated
  1. Go to a E4300/E6300 cpu, spend the money on a DX10 video card!

    8800 GTS/GTX or wait for more to come.
  2. Hey there,

    Thanks for your reply. I had a look at the 8800 series. It appears that these are the only cards that even support dx10 right now, so I definitly would not want to pay a premium ($400 or $550) for either of those cards.

    Regarding the processor, I'd really like to stick with the E6600 because it has the bigger L2 cache.

    I did learn that the x1950 pro can be run in this crossfire mode. But that this SLI for the x1950 is not as effective as the comperable nvidia geforce 7900.

    So I guess I have to wonder, would it be worth shelling out extra money for an SLI capable mobo and getting the x1950 pro with the idea of buying another at some point, or should I just get this cheap non-sli mobo and replace both the board and graphics card when I get antsy in the future.

    I'm curious if anyone has any thoughts on that Corsair memory, and if anyone feels passionatly about the performance of the x1950 XT over the pro version.

    thanks guys.
  3. Crossfire won't work on a SLI board, it has to be a nvidia card.

    The 650i is a good deal for that.

    The 975X chipset boards run crossfire cards.
  4. make sure to research whatever video card you decide on getting. my 7600gt has a variable fan speed. in xp it's inaudible but revs up when gaming. in vista due to the 3d aero theme the cards fan speed stays up, thus being the loudest component in my computer when just surfin the net/etc.

    good luck with your build!
  5. lol, you should hear my 2 7900 GT's howl during a game.

    The 8800 fans are nice and quiet though.
  6. I'm running Vista Business right now with the following:
    Opteron 165@2.7GHz
    1GB RAM
    Old 7200 hard drive - ExcelStor make :)

    It runs beautifully, no problems whatsoever and it's very responsive and fast.

    Your processor will be faster than mine.

    The graphics requirements for Aero aren't really that onerous if you've got an up-to-date graphics card.

    Vista is memory hungry - the OS will eat up 500-600MB unless you prune unneccessary services, but you're planning to have 2GB RAM so no issue there.

    And you've got a Raptor, so it will boot fast and load apps fast. I'm especially surprised that my old hard drive is not a bottleneck, but Vista seems to slow down less when paging than XP.

    Your proposed setup is fine.
  7. Hey there,

    Thanks for that reply and the reply above about video card fan noise.

    I was trying to decide between Business and Ultimate, then 32 vs 64 bit editions. I know ultimate includes the media center capabilities, which will presumably be part of the new Microsoft Home experience.

    But what about 32 vs 64 bit on Conroe systems? Does running Vista in 64 bit mode on a Conroe deliver a performance increase, and if so is it offset by less compatibility with games and/or limited number of applications that can run in 64 bit mode?

  8. the gist that i get about it, is that if you are still going to be using 32-bit applications you will not see any performance gains.
  9. Ok. I think that I'm going to stick with this cheaper card but upgrade the motherboard to a Asus P5B Deluxe WiFi-AP Edition, which will enable me to go with a DX10 / SLI setup once the dust settles on the new generation.

    Also, I'm going to go with Vista Business 32-bit. There doesn't seem to be anything compelling in the media center software, and the 64-bit doesn't seem to have SW that can take advantage of that. Plus, I don't plan on taking this system past 4 gigs of ram for at least 2-3 years (at which point I'll probably do another guts replacement).

    Thanks to everyone for their help.
  10. Quote:

    But what about 32 vs 64 bit on Conroe systems? Does running Vista in 64 bit mode on a Conroe deliver a performance increase, and if so is it offset by less compatibility with games and/or limited number of applications that can run in 64 bit mode?

    I think you're making the right decision to go with 32 bit. I don't think there's much if any performance benefit, and until I see that (or I need 6GB RAM) I don't think the patchy driver support is worth the risk.
  11. Hey peeps.

    I wanted to post a photo set of my system build. It turned out great. Thanks for all your help.
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