Need Feedback on Mid-range System ($1500 Budget)

This is my first home build in about 4 years, a lot has changed since then; that’s why I need advice. I’ve spent about 3 months researching here in the forumz and online. My wife would like me to stick to a $1500 budget ; I want to make sure that I get the most bang for the buck. My biggest concern is that all the parts chosen are compatible. Few things that might assist your feedback:

- I work professionally as a web/graphic designer – lots of processing power, no time for gaming
- I have another machine that I overclock, no immediate plans to overclock this machine
- Already have purchased SCEPTRE X20WG-Naga Black 20.1" (will EVGA VC work well with?)
- Have two recently purchased large capacity IDE drives, hence the need for the IDE Controller card
MB: ASUS P5B-E LGA 775 Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard – Retail ($150.99) Link

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 Conroe 2.13GHz 2M shared L2 Cache LGA 775 Processor – Retail ($221.00) Link

CPU HSF: included Retail HSF (If I decide to OC then I’ll buy another HSF)

PSU: FSP Group (Fortron Source) AX500-A, 2.0 version, 2 SATA, PCI Express, 500W – Retail ($84.99) Link

RAM: G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory – Retail ($164.99) Link

VIDEO: EVGA 512-P2-N635-AR Geforce 7950GT KO 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card – Retail ($264.99) Link

HDD: (2x) Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 (Perpendicular Recording) ST3400620AS 400GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive – OEM ($119.99 X 2 = $239.98 ) Link

SOUND: Creative Sound Blaster SB0570 Audigy SE 7.1 Channels 24-bit 96KHz PCI Interface Sound Card – OEM ($27.99) Link

DVD-RW: LITE-ON Black 20X DVD+R DVD Burner W/LS – OEM ($34.99) Link

AUX DVD: LITE-ON Black 16X DVD-ROM Combo – Retail ($23.99) Link

IDE Controller Card: PROMISE ULTRA133TX2 PCI IDE Controller Card – Retail ($38.99) Link

CASE: COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW Black Aluminum Bezel, SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case – Retail ($49.99) Link

Current Total: $1,536.33 -- (Includes previous Monitor purchase $199, shipping will increase price too :( )

What do you think, should everything play nicely? Good build? Thank you in advance!
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  1. two suggestions and a question.
    Drop a level or 2 on the GPU NO gaming=no need for all that power, 7600 or 7900 will pump a 20" to the max.
    Get a e6600 More CPU at Stock speeds and bigger cache.
    You list 800 gb of HDD plus you have 2 more Large drives? Is this going to be a server?
    Sounds good all around
  2. Stick with pretty much what you have listed and you should be fine.I guess you could drop that 7950 for something else,but the 7950 is truly a great performing video card and the 512 megz of ram will come in handy with ome of the work you do.And yes it will run your new lcd.You could drop the sound card and use the on-board sound.On-board sound is pretty good these days and it will save you a couple bucks.And why the IDE controller card?You have one IDE socket that can utilize a combo drive and an ata hard drive as well as having several sata connections for running raid.Ditch that ide controller dard as well.With the money you save from those two parts,you should really purchase a THERMALTAKE TOUGHPOWER 700WATT PSU. .For future upgrading of course.That way you can add more sata drives and don't need to worry about upgrading your psu.Otherwise I think that about covers it.Goodluck.P.S.The 7950gt also has HDCP enables support so you can watch the newest movies that are formatted with blueray and the other new security formats being used,in their original format.As they were meant to be seen.The other cards that have been suggested to you do not have HDCP support.Again this is a future thing to buy now to save you money later.


    AMD X2-4400+@2.6 S-939
    2X EVGA 7950GT KO IN SLI
    WD300GIG HD
    3DMARK05 13,442
  3. Your chosen video card will work with the 20" LCD. I agree with alcattle on lowering the gpu to 7600GT. Unless you do 3d rendering, even onboard video will be fine for 2d work.

    The PSU is plenty for a single card:

    Agree with Dahak on dropping the sound card. It's cheap. Use the onboard which is prolly about the same. Don't bother buying cheap sound cards except high-end ones.

    I'll highlight this:

    He's ALREADY bought the LCD & 2 IDE harddisks.

    Get 2 of these IDE-TO-SATA adapters & plug them in the harddisks, connect them with the bundled SATA cables from the mobo:

    COOLER MASTER Centurion 534 cools better & makes installing harddisks easier (sideways):
  4. Akhilles – Thanks taking the time for your feedback!

    I was just wondering is there a benefit to getting an IDE-TO-SATA adapter over an IDE Controller Card for my two existing drives? The two IDE drives are basically auxiliary drives – one for my music collection and the other for keeping all of my web development files in one place – I like to keep them separate from the system drive.

    I also agree with Dahak and you, I’ll drop the sound card and possibly pick up an X-Fi in the future.

    The COOLER MASTER Centurion 534 was actually my second choice case; I recently saw the Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW at my CompUSA and decided I didn’t like it. The 534 will be a great switch…

    Alcattle & Dahak – Thank you for your comments. I’m going to have to wait till almost the final price of this build to decide if I’ll move up to the E6600 CPU. This machine won’t be a server- I just have a lot of media files.

    I’m still debating if I want to drop the 7950 or keep it – I know doing so would lower my final price a little. If I decide to drop the GPU, I had this card in mind (seem ok?):

    EVGA 256-P2-N624-AR GeForce 7900GS 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 KO Video Card – Retail Link

    After I order, I’ll post my final build choices here incase anyone is tracking this conversation.
  5. The light finally came on, you have the 320s now and those are your large drives. Sounds like a great setup. If you goingto spend over $250 for a video card then you might just get a 8800GTS 320. I know the cost is headed in the wrong direction but bang for a lot of buck, go 8800.
  6. The IDE-TO-SATA adapters may not work due to compatiblity issues. They're easy to install & use. No need to change anything in bios. The bios should auto-detect them as standalones.

    An IDE RAID PCI card will work. If they're separate drives, set it up as separate or you won't get the data back.
  7. The 7900GS is cheaper, but really unless you're doing gaming and some hardcore 3D stuff, the 7600GT will chew through what you're doing....and cost alot less too.

    This will either bring your budget back in line or else you can spend that money on a 6600.

    And by the way, you have all the parts you need to overclock this system already. With that you do, it's ALL about the CPU horsepower. And OC'ing either a 6400 or 6600 will decrease your processing time HUGE. Your setup is begging to be overclocked......something to reconsider.
  8. Like the others said, the fancy video cards will only cost you money and raise the temp of your case and make fan noise. Get a 7600GS w/passive heat sink for $100 or so, and you'll be able to handle most stuff even if you do game. Use the saved money to buy a 2nd monitor - dual monitor setups (even if not the same size) rule!

    Dump the Seagate drives for now and just buy a 75G Raptor. Ridiculously fast, and cheaper, so more money for your 2nd monitor (see above).

    Get rid of the sound card and use builtin for now.

    Dump the LITE-ONs and get a pair of Samsungs, ASUSs, anything but LiteOn. It'll be handy to have a pair of identical burners instead of one burner and one read-only.
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