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Budget Penny Pusher - @ Checkout, any last words please?

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February 12, 2007 1:24:31 AM

Okay, a few things: My IRS check will be coming late, and with Anandtech, I can easily turn around and sell my stuff I'm upgrading, so I thought I'd share my price list here and see what you guys think before I take the plunge.

Processor:
Pentium D 805 OEM
- www.newegg.com
$75
-I wanted to save money, and since I'm buying an Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro on sale with my ram, I figured I'd get it OEM to save nearly $20. The reason I went with 805 is because if I bought a C2D 4300 now, I'd have to gimp some of my other parts, and when I started analyzing the risks, I knew getting a cheap skimpy case and power supply puts me at risk of losing even more money. I figured the Pentium D 805 is like a "rebate", so later when I have the cash to buy a C2D, I can get it, sell the 805 and that'll be my "rebate" incentive. Plus it's not THAT bad of a performer. I can easily over-clock an 805 to 3 ghz, especially with the Freezer 7 Pro.

Motherboard:
Biostar TForce 965P
- www.mwave.com
$100.70
-Anandtech Editor's choice, capable of up to 346 mhz front-side bus over-clock, has all the bell's and whistles of a higher competitor, but it's only $100.70. Saves me nearly $30-45, and it's honestly a good motherboard. When I checked Newegg's reviews, I saw that it had roughly the same % of low reviews from DOA boards as other competitors like Gigabyte's 965P DS3 and ASUS's AB9, so I'm tempted to believe it has just as much of a fail % as other motherboards, only it's priced lower because Biostar's trying to gain some reputation.

Ram
Super Talent DDR2 667 1 GB stick
- www.ewiz.com
$50.00
-Has great overclocking capability, along with either Samsung or Infineon memory chips, great reliability and even if I get an E4300, I won't have to over-clock the ram to hit 3 ghz. With the E4300 you can hit 333 mhz FSB and have 3 ghz over-all, which is a 1:1 ratio with the ram. Also has a 3 year warranty and great reviews on most sites.

Video-card
EVGA 7600GT KO 256MB
- www.mwave.com
$124.08
-I wanted something higher, like a 7900GS, but I figured I could go the EVGA route and just use the step-up program when I need a new video-card. After all, I can always upgrade to a DX10 mid-range like an 8600GT or 8600 Ultra or maybe even an 8900GT and I get the full value trade-in of what I paid for the card. If I can save a few more bucks, I'll just order an EVGA 7900GS. I'm pretty much concrete on going with EVGA though. The Step-up program is extremely attractive.

Case
Cooler Master Centurion 5 with 380 watt power supply
- www.svc.com
$56.71 Shipped, $12 after rebates
-When I saw the rebate deal on Anandtech/Hardforums for this case with the $30 rebate and I knew they took PayPal, I decided to take advantage of Paypal's cash-back deal and the rebate. I had been torn between this and the Fry's Black Wizard case that's free after rebates, but I honestly see Cooler Master Centurion 5 as being a case that I can be proud of, where-as the Fry's case is more of a case you can be proud you got for free. Also, the Fry's rebate is for $40, where-as I still have to pay taxes and shipping, so the case would end up costing nearly $20 shipped after the rebate. The Cooler Master on the other hand will end up GIVING me money along with being free, since AFTER rebate it's only $12 shipped, and I can turn around and sell the 380 Watt Cooler Master PSU for at least $20 shipped, where-as the Fry's case has no power supply.

Cooling
Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro
- www.ewiz.com
$19.95
-The reason I bought this is because the coupon I wanted to use at Ewiz required a $75 minimum sub-total, so browsing around I saw they had this for $19.95 which was better than $24.99 which was the cheapest I found it anywhere else. Not to mention Newegg has this cooler at $59.99! I plan on using this in the near future with my Core2Duo and since I bought this, I also saved $20 by getting the OEM Pentium D 805, so this heatsink pretty much pays for itself.

Optical Drive
NEC Dual Layer 18x DVDRW
- www.newegg.com
$36.34 Shipped
-With how cheap these DVD burners are getting nowadays, I figured why just get a CDRW Combo drive to save money when I could get a DVD burner for only $5 more. Plus it will definitely give itself a lot of value in my rig when I start backing up files or making my own movies. I thought about paying a little more for Lightscribe, but that's just flashy no good when I could easily use a label kit and end up saving money, since Lightscribe DVD's are so freakin much more than regular DVD blanks.

Hard-Drive
Western Digital 160GB SATA OEM
- www.directron.com
$53.99
-The site has a 9.0+ 6 month rating and an 8.0+ lifetime rating so I trust them, they're not in California so I don't have to pay taxes. The shipping is cheap and the price is really good. On Newegg I'd have to pay the same amount for only a 120 GB hard-drive and I'd have to pay a premium for shipping + tax.

Power Supply
Ultra V-Series 500w
- www.outpost.com
$40.00 (Free after rebate)
-This area I'm really vague on. I know the 500W for free after rebate is a good deal, but there are a few other power supplies I have my eye on that are very competitive. There's a Tier 2 Power Supply that I really want that's only $91.85 (Ultra X-Finity 600), and since I saved so much money on the other components (Processor/ram/video-card) I definitely have the funds to do it. The thing is, since it's free I could easily wait until I sell the Cooler Master 380 Power-supply and the Pentium D, and turn around and sell this power-supply, combine all that with the rebates when they come in ($40 + $30 +$15 from power-supply, case and Paypal cash-back) and I'll end up with over $200 to combine with any money I intended to spend upgrading to Core2Duo in the first place. I could easily use that combined to upgrade to a Core2Duo 4300, high-end EVGA DirectX10 card and a Tier 2 Power-supply.

I'm hoping someone else here can have some more 2 cents to throw in so maybe I can get outside perspective.

Build summary-
Intel Pentium D 805 2.66 GHZ
Biostar TForce 965P
Super Talent 1GB DDR2 667
eVGA 7600GT 256MB KO PCI-Express
Western Digital SATA Caviar 160GB
NEC Dual Layer 18x DVDRW
Cooler Master Centurion 5 Black/Silver
Ultra X-Finity 600 or Ultra V 500


Strong motherboard and case, investing into a future return and upgrade to Core2Duo 4300 + EVGA High-end (Step-Up) + Tier 2 PSU when Intel initiates price drops and R600 mainstream releases.

More about : budget penny pusher checkout words

February 12, 2007 4:02:24 AM

Quote:
Okay, a few things: My IRS check will be coming late, and with Anandtech, I can easily turn around and sell my stuff I'm upgrading, so I thought I'd share my price list here and see what you guys think before I take the plunge.

Processor:
Pentium D 805 OEM
- www.newegg.com
$75
-I wanted to save money, and since I'm buying an Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro on sale with my ram, I figured I'd get it OEM to save nearly $20. The reason I went with 805 is because if I bought a C2D 4300 now, I'd have to gimp some of my other parts, and when I started analyzing the risks, I knew getting a cheap skimpy case and power supply puts me at risk of losing even more money. I figured the Pentium D 805 is like a "rebate", so later when I have the cash to buy a C2D, I can get it, sell the 805 and that'll be my "rebate" incentive. Plus it's not THAT bad of a performer. I can easily over-clock an 805 to 3 ghz, especially with the Freezer 7 Pro.

Motherboard:
Biostar TForce 965P
- www.mwave.com
$100.70
-Anandtech Editor's choice, capable of up to 346 mhz front-side bus over-clock, has all the bell's and whistles of a higher competitor, but it's only $100.70. Saves me nearly $30-45, and it's honestly a good motherboard. When I checked Newegg's reviews, I saw that it had roughly the same % of low reviews from DOA boards as other competitors like Gigabyte's 965P DS3 and ASUS's AB9, so I'm tempted to believe it has just as much of a fail % as other motherboards, only it's priced lower because Biostar's trying to gain some reputation.

Ram
Super Talent DDR2 667 1 GB stick
- www.ewiz.com
$50.00
-Has great overclocking capability, along with either Samsung or Infineon memory chips, great reliability and even if I get an E4300, I won't have to over-clock the ram to hit 3 ghz. With the E4300 you can hit 333 mhz FSB and have 3 ghz over-all, which is a 1:1 ratio with the ram. Also has a 3 year warranty and great reviews on most sites.

Video-card
EVGA 7600GT KO 256MB
- www.mwave.com
$124.08
-I wanted something higher, like a 7900GS, but I figured I could go the EVGA route and just use the step-up program when I need a new video-card. After all, I can always upgrade to a DX10 mid-range like an 8600GT or 8600 Ultra or maybe even an 8900GT and I get the full value trade-in of what I paid for the card. If I can save a few more bucks, I'll just order an EVGA 7900GS. I'm pretty much concrete on going with EVGA though. The Step-up program is extremely attractive.

Case
Cooler Master Centurion 5 with 380 watt power supply
- www.svc.com
$56.71 Shipped, $12 after rebates
-When I saw the rebate deal on Anandtech/Hardforums for this case with the $30 rebate and I knew they took PayPal, I decided to take advantage of Paypal's cash-back deal and the rebate. I had been torn between this and the Fry's Black Wizard case that's free after rebates, but I honestly see Cooler Master Centurion 5 as being a case that I can be proud of, where-as the Fry's case is more of a case you can be proud you got for free. Also, the Fry's rebate is for $40, where-as I still have to pay taxes and shipping, so the case would end up costing nearly $20 shipped after the rebate. The Cooler Master on the other hand will end up GIVING me money along with being free, since AFTER rebate it's only $12 shipped, and I can turn around and sell the 380 Watt Cooler Master PSU for at least $20 shipped, where-as the Fry's case has no power supply.

Cooling
Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro
- www.ewiz.com
$19.95
-The reason I bought this is because the coupon I wanted to use at Ewiz required a $75 minimum sub-total, so browsing around I saw they had this for $19.95 which was better than $24.99 which was the cheapest I found it anywhere else. Not to mention Newegg has this cooler at $59.99! I plan on using this in the near future with my Core2Duo and since I bought this, I also saved $20 by getting the OEM Pentium D 805, so this heatsink pretty much pays for itself.

Optical Drive
NEC Dual Layer 18x DVDRW
- www.newegg.com
$36.34 Shipped
-With how cheap these DVD burners are getting nowadays, I figured why just get a CDRW Combo drive to save money when I could get a DVD burner for only $5 more. Plus it will definitely give itself a lot of value in my rig when I start backing up files or making my own movies. I thought about paying a little more for Lightscribe, but that's just flashy no good when I could easily use a label kit and end up saving money, since Lightscribe DVD's are so freakin much more than regular DVD blanks.

Hard-Drive
Western Digital 160GB SATA OEM
- www.directron.com
$53.99
-The site has a 9.0+ 6 month rating and an 8.0+ lifetime rating so I trust them, they're not in California so I don't have to pay taxes. The shipping is cheap and the price is really good. On Newegg I'd have to pay the same amount for only a 120 GB hard-drive and I'd have to pay a premium for shipping + tax.

Power Supply
Ultra V-Series 500w
- www.outpost.com
$40.00 (Free after rebate)
-This area I'm really vague on. I know the 500W for free after rebate is a good deal, but there are a few other power supplies I have my eye on that are very competitive. There's a Tier 2 Power Supply that I really want that's only $91.85 (Ultra X-Finity 600), and since I saved so much money on the other components (Processor/ram/video-card) I definitely have the funds to do it. The thing is, since it's free I could easily wait until I sell the Cooler Master 380 Power-supply and the Pentium D, and turn around and sell this power-supply, combine all that with the rebates when they come in ($40 + $30 +$15 from power-supply, case and Paypal cash-back) and I'll end up with over $200 to combine with any money I intended to spend upgrading to Core2Duo in the first place. I could easily use that combined to upgrade to a Core2Duo 4300, high-end EVGA DirectX10 card and a Tier 2 Power-supply.

I'm hoping someone else here can have some more 2 cents to throw in so maybe I can get outside perspective.

Build summary-
Intel Pentium D 805 2.66 GHZ
Biostar TForce 965P
Super Talent 1GB DDR2 667
eVGA 7600GT 256MB KO PCI-Express
Western Digital SATA Caviar 160GB
NEC Dual Layer 18x DVDRW
Cooler Master Centurion 5 Black/Silver
Ultra X-Finity 600 or Ultra V 500


Strong motherboard and case, investing into a future return and upgrade to Core2Duo 4300 + EVGA High-end (Step-Up) + Tier 2 PSU when Intel initiates price drops and R600 mainstream releases.
Just commenting on one thing. The eVGA step-up program is only good for 90 days after purchase....it goes fast. GL :) 

PS. That looks like a half-decent system...just remember how much better the E4300 will be compared to the 805D. I would save for a few more weeks, to be able to afford the C2D.
February 12, 2007 6:38:11 AM

Depending on how long you'll have to wait for a C2D, I'd recommend a 915 over the 805. Prescotts and their Smithfield variants run so hot that I have an aversion to them. The Presslers are a bit cooler, but not that much when compared to an Athlon X2, and especially when compared to a C2D.

You do have a good cooler, so perhaps that will make a difference. Also, whenever I see Ultra PSUs mentioned on the boards, the posters usually get caveats and links to the threads on PSUs. I'm sure there's a reason they are often given away (for all practical purposes), just like the ECS mobos at Fry's.

I went for a budget system too. I started with the following from Newegg:

MSI MBOX K9N6SGM-V AMD Socket AM2 AMD Athlon X2 $89

MSI NX7600GS-T2D256EH GeForce 7600GS 256MB $109

Kingston 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 $67.99

The 7600GS is four dollars cheaper today and the Kingston is one dollar more, so it all evens out. I got a 7600GS as a stopgap until I upgrade to either an 8600GS or Ultra, or an similar midrange R600 based ATI card in May.

I originally got two gigs of Corsair XMS 800 at Fry's but returned it unopened because we went over budget with other things from the income tax this year, so I got the Kingston instead. I'll get another identical stick of Kingston in a couple of weeks and have 2 gigs of value DDR2 667.

For the final build, I just transferred an existing 200 gig Maxtor SATA and a 160 gig WD SATA from my Northwood box to the new X2 3800+ and I put the 400 gig Seagate IDE I'd ordered from Newegg in the Northwood box. That's because it kept freezing going into Windows with the DVD burner as slave and the IDE drive as master. I had to use a 36" round cable for that and maybe the bios doesn't like round cables? Even when I made sure the bios listed the 200 gig Maxtor SATA as the boot drive.

Very odd that, but the system's been very stable the past four days, with Oblivion, HOMM 3, 4 and 5, plus various benchmarks. I even ran surface scans on both drives, scandisk within Windows Multimedia Edition 2005, and it was fast!

The main reason I originally wanted to use the IDE drive was that I was saving up for large Seagates. Ideally, I need two 750 gig or two 1,000 gigs from the upcoming terabyte drives. We do alot of video editing, downloading unlicensed anime fansubs, and my wife, redwoodtreesprite,mods for Morrowind, Oblivion and HOMM 5.

So, I'll probably get a Bytec PCIe x1 card that adds two SATA and one IDE. Then, I'll put the older drives on the card when I have two big honkin' Seagates on the motherboard's two SATA.

I got the 65 watt Athlon X2 3800+ at Fry's the day after I placed the Newegg order. It was bundled with the exact same MSI mobo as the barebones. That cost me $179 but it also gives me another mobo.

So, I'll get another two gigs of Kingston, and another X2 3800+ 65 watt CPU and replace the Northwood in our old system. I'll then put the Northwood, DDR and mobo in a cheaper computer for our 6 year old.

So, here it is, with legacy transferred parts asterisked:

Athlon X2 3800+ 65watt AM2
MSI MBOX K9N6SGM-V AMD Socket AM2 AMD Athlon X2
MSI NX7600GS-T2D256EH GeForce 7600GS 256MB
Kingston 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667
Maxtor 200 gig SATA*
WD 160 gig SATA*
Lite on DVD-RW Lightscribe*

The power supply in the MSI barebones isn't great. It's a 400watt APEX SolyTech SL-400TF. I considered transferring the 450 watt Cooler Master real power from the Northwood, but I'll wait until just before I add the 8600, then I'll just order a Cooler Master RS 500 from Newegg for $99. If the 450 watt with only 22 amps on the 12 volt rails can handle an 8600 class card, then fine, if not, then I'll have to upgrade that power supply too. The most important thing about a power supply nowadays is how many amps on the 12 volt rail, at least for higher end graphics cards, I think the 8800 class cards need 29, but I could be wrong about the amps required for the DX10 cards.

One thing I'll add about a cooler CPU. My Northwood boots up around 115F and my much better new Athlon X2 3800+ boots up at around 77F or so. Big difference in temps. My MSI card doesn't have a fan, just a heatsink and the case has only a 120mm fan blowing air out the back by the CPU, while the stock AM2 X2 fan blows air up the heatpipe and out the side of the case.

It's cooler than my Northwood box with four 80mm fans, one on the side, one in the rear (both outtake fans) and two in the front for intake. The Cooler Master psu has a good fan and blows more air out then the Apex temporarily in the new PC. It's not just all about having a great cooler in the CPU, you have to balance the intake and outtake fans too. Ideally, a vacuum should exist such that more fans are blowing air out of the case than in. Otherwise, the CPU fan will just be blowing very hot air into the case.
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February 12, 2007 6:45:07 AM

Wow...you did a great job justifying everything. Even if there were any problems with what you are choosing...I would have just agreed with everything you said. LOL

I personally don't see any problems with getting lower end stuff now but with the option to easily upgrade in the future. Budget's are important to consider so I definitely relate.

One thing I'd suggest is that video card you went with. I found an eVGA 7600 GT on newegg for $110 and $90 after rebate. The only thing is that it's not the KO version. The one on newegg is 560MHz core and 1400MHz memory clock...while the one you found it 580MHz core and 1500MHz memory clock. It shouldn't be a huge difference...but it depends on what you're looking for. Is the perfomance difference worth $35 (after rebate)?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?item=N82E16814130062

Just wanted to let you know. Oh and I love that Case you're getting.
February 12, 2007 7:12:28 AM

Quote:

I personally don't see any problems with getting lower end stuff now but with the option to easily upgrade in the future. Budget's are important to consider so I definitely relate.


That was my point of view too. I went with an X2 3800+ instead of going into the summer's vacation money because I couldn't see the need for the highest end I could afford (ie an X2 4600+ 65 watt Windsor for about twice the cost of the X2 3800+). That's because I want to wait for a dual core later.

The AM2+ will be backwards compatible and will work with HT 1.0, and I'll wait and see if the new HT makes a difference, or if it's okay to just install a new processor after a bios upgrade late in 2008.

I can get an 8600 or equivalent R610 by May for around $200, so I could not see getting the 7600GT or the 7900GS. Oblivion looks so much better with the 7600GS and HDR than it does on the Northwood 2.8 (533) with an AIW Radeon 9800 Pro with just bloom. So, I'm a happy camper right now.

If I'd have gone to Pricewatch and gotten a 3.4 Northwood when I saw one a few weeks ago, I would have been stuck with the fastest single core CPU the old D865PERL could accept and it would only have been viable for a year at most. With the X2 3800+, I have at least 2 years, if not 3, of decent dual core gaming.

I also almost considered an AGP X1950 Pro for my Northwood box, but I realized that the old PCs virtually dead and I'm not into necromancy. LOL.

I did consider an 805 bundled with an ECS AGP motherboard at Fry's for less than a hundred, but the 805's and 915's run so hot and PCIe is the only way to go with a new board.
!