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Looking for help picking out MB/CPU combo

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February 19, 2007 3:11:26 PM

I'm putting together a new system and would like some help picking out a motherboard and CPU combo. I've done a lot of stand-alone upgrading of systems, but have not done much system building....so be gentle. I'll be using this system for gaming, internet usage, home office type stuff, and some web creation on occasion.

So far, I have an Antec Nine Hundred Case, an Antec TruepowerTrio 550W PowerSupply, and a GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB DDR3 PCI-Express Video Card. These are all new items I'll be adding to the build. As far as old items I'm transferring from my existing system, I'll be bringing over a SATA DVD burner, 2 SATA HDs, and at least 2 IDE Hard drives....

I'm going to stick with XP Pro on this system....

I believe I'd like to put 2 gigs of RAM - would appreciate suggestions on what to pick out there as well.

As for the CPU, I'd like to go with an Intel Dual Core, but beyond that, I'm not sure where to go....

Really don't know where to start on the Motherboard search...

Don't want to spend an arm and a leg...but I'm not nickel and diming this either....

BTW, I don't have any interest in O/C either....

Thanks in advance!!!

More about : picking cpu combo

February 19, 2007 4:32:48 PM

Sadly, the majority of Core 2 boards I've seen only have one IDE channel, which limits you to two IDE devices. If you want to be able to use up to four IDE devices, I think you're limited to the 975x chipset. Which isn't a terrible limitation, really, it's a solid chipset. The best 975x I know of is the Asus P5W DH Deluxe. It's a great board, packed with features like built in wi-fi and a remote. A bit expensive at ~$220 US, compared to the cheaper 965 boards.

If you really only need two IDE devices, the Asus P5B or the Gigabyte DS3 are great boards based on the 965 chipset.

For the CPU, the Intel Core 2 e6600 is a favourite high performing chip for a reasonable price of $315 US. You could get the cheaper e6300 for $180ish, but I don't get the impression you're on a super tight budget, so I definitely think the 6600 is worth it. Also, like all Core 2s, it overclocks like a demon. I know you said you weren't interested in OCing, but maybe you'll change your mind. There's so many tutorials and guides on the net about OCing your Core 2, it's an easy way to get a huge performance boost at no extra cost.

For RAM, you'd definitely want 2 gigs. Technically, DDR2-533 is all you really need if you don't overclock, but I recommend getting faster RAM anyway. Exactly what memory you should get really depends on where you're buying your parts from. Just get two sticks of DDR2 533, 667, or 800 from a respected brand such as Corsair, Geil, G.Skill, Mushkin, Kingston, or OCZ. Choose the fastest (in terms of both MHz and timings) for whatever you're willing to pay. I strongly recommend you get DDR2-667 or 800, even though at stock speeds 533 is all you need.
February 19, 2007 5:16:44 PM

What's the difference between the GA-965P-DS3 and the GA-965G-DS3?
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February 19, 2007 5:23:47 PM

As far as I know, the only difference is the 965G includes integrated graphics while the 965P doesn't. Unless the 965P is much cheaper, I'd recommend getting the 965G. That way, if your PCI-E graphics card kicks the bucket, you've at least got the integrated graphics until you can go buy a new card.
February 19, 2007 6:31:51 PM

Can you make a suggestion for a MB (within my previous search specifications) that supports a non-wonky version of RAID? It seems as if the Gigabyte boards don't support it, and the Asus board only offers some really odd variant of it that limits the number of drives and where they're connected. I don't know if I'm gonna start out with RAID, but it would be nice to have that as an option down the road...
February 19, 2007 7:11:14 PM

I'm not an expert on RAID setups, I used one once for the novelty of it but then went back to a standard arrangement for the simplicity.

If I recall correctly, the Asus P5W (975X) did some weird stuff with its fourth SATA connector and let it be used for backups. Anyway, point being, I think it's fine for two-drive RAIDs but if you want four drives in RAID it's possible but you've got to jump through a few hoops.

On its specifications page the Gigabyte claims to offer RAID 0 and 1. I guess if you want anything other than 0 or 1 for it, you'd need an add-in controller card.

So basically, I think they'll both do RAID 0 or RAID 1 with ease, but other than that I don't know enough about the RAID capabilities and performances of various boards to make a suggestion.
February 19, 2007 7:44:25 PM

Ok, thanks....maybe someone else will jump in here and offer an opinion....
a b V Motherboard
February 19, 2007 7:51:31 PM

Quote:
Can you make a suggestion for a MB (within my previous search specifications) that supports a non-wonky version of RAID? It seems as if the Gigabyte boards don't support it, and the Asus board only offers some really odd variant of it that limits the number of drives and where they're connected. I don't know if I'm gonna start out with RAID, but it would be nice to have that as an option down the road...

MSI P6N SLI-F LGA775 nF650i 2IDE ATX Conroe $115+6 2/18/07
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Asus P5N-E LGA775 nF650i SLI 2IDE ATX Conroe $130+6 2/11/07
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
Asus P5N-E Review 12/22/06
http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2894
February 19, 2007 8:29:34 PM

Quote:
Can you make a suggestion for a MB (within my previous search specifications) that supports a non-wonky version of RAID? It seems as if the Gigabyte boards don't support it, and the Asus board only offers some really odd variant of it that limits the number of drives and where they're connected. I don't know if I'm gonna start out with RAID, but it would be nice to have that as an option down the road...

MSI P6N SLI-F LGA775 nF650i 2IDE ATX Conroe $115+6 2/18/07
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Asus P5N-E LGA775 nF650i SLI 2IDE ATX Conroe $130+6 2/11/07
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
Asus P5N-E Review 12/22/06
http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2894

P5N-E is a nice board Have one myself works fine with Raid-0. Make sure you have a floppy drive and formatted floppy in that build in order to load the raid drivers at Windows XP setup.
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