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Planned uATX e4300 gaming build <$857. Please critique.

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March 7, 2007 5:08:50 PM

Prices are as open to critique as anything else. Am I planning on paying too much? Am I planning on finding prices unrealistically low? The mobo, CPU, and GFX card prices are based on some extrapolation and early numbers so critique away.

itemized prices include S&H

CPU: e4300 retail $130 (with mobo from Fry's. CPU is USED :evil:  )
Mobo: Abit F-I90HD* $121.95 (ordered from SFFclub.com 03/08/2007, had to RMA once :(  )
RAM: 2x1gb DDR2-667 $109 (ordered from eWiz.com)
GFX: integrated. waiting for x1950PRO w/ rear-exhausting HSF to come down to <$170
HSF: $20 (random TT orb thing from Fry's)
PSU: Seasonic S12 430w $83.22 (orderd from xpcgear.com 04/24/07)
Drives: SATA HD and SATA Optical ~$100 (for price reference. I'm using a 36g Raptor and an 80gb 2.5" drive that I already had, no optical)
Case: Ultra Microfly ~$84 (for price reference. I'm re-using my X-Qpack)

Total: $818.17

I'd like to go for a 332mhz FSB to keep my NB timings tight and then clockgen up to 345mhz (a "round" 3.1ghz e4300 to make it easy to brag about) which should outperform ~360mhz FSB (and basically any other C2D clocked under 3.2ghz) with reduced power and be more easily obtainable and with value DDR2-667 to keep prices down. I might not make it quite up to 345mhz or have quite the performance advantage but I wouldn't let that upset me too much. 3.06ghz beating out other less-l33tly OCed 2m cache C2Ds clocked below 3.1ghz would be enough to make me happy.



I changed my mind about modding the CPU HSF to exhaust as I realized it would be hard to do and the case needs more intake anyway so I plan on modding a CPU intake vent. This will also make it very easy to put a filter on it and keep the CPU HSF from getting dusty. I also have a grill for the 5.25" bay in front of my raptor.

I might end up just reusing drives and case that I have, but I put them in there to keep perspective (and I have a couple friends interested in doing this too and they would have to buy new case and drives). That perspective being: the price seems a bit high. I could do an AM2 build instead for $100 or more less (about 85% of the cost). But would it have comparable price/performance (>85% of the performance of the build listed above)?

*Ordered my F-I90HD. Apparantly it has some weird feature where you can change the FSB clock without changing the RAM speed. Not a feature I'm interested in and I hope it doesn't cause me any problems. However, this feature could be a great aid to other projects as you could keep your ram speed down, timings tights, and voltages low while OCing the FSB. Also, the board will support a celeron 331 which are $40, I might just get one if I can figure out what to do with it when I'm done with it.
March 7, 2007 5:23:13 PM

Short answer to your AM2 question: NO.

An overclocked C2D will spank an AM2, not even close....an AM2 won't be anywhere near <15% close. For $100 difference go with C2D for sure. You can get AM2 for much cheaper, but you won't have ANY bragging rights AT ALL. So for all your careful planning to get to 3.1 - 3.3, etc, etc......won't mean anything if you go AM2.....because you'll get beat by every C2D system ;) 
March 7, 2007 5:37:46 PM

Your knowledge of overclocking helped you decide on the right parts. & you know your target overclock. You won't be buying a Ferrari running in residential streets under 30mph.

mATX is generally more expensive than ATX. It's supply & demand, I guess. So you should be paying more for an mATX PC than an identical ATX PC.

Good cube case choice. 120mm exhaust & 80mm intake. Standard ATX PSU. Take note that the PSU cables best exit at left. I wouldn't worry about the air intake/exhaust inadequacy since the case has TONS of vent holes on both sides.

The question marks will be the mobo's overclockability & the stock cpu hsf. These will determine whether the target overclock is attainable.

The only thing is the PSU. The x1950pro takes 450-Watt 30 Amps while the PSU is 430W 29A. Sure it will fit in the case since the PSU cables exit at left.

http://www.sudhian.com/index.php?/articles/show/ultra_m...
http://images.google.com/images?client=opera&rls=en&q=S...
Related resources
March 7, 2007 6:21:51 PM

Yeah, I was thinking that perhaps the PSU wasn't quite beefy enough. Add a couple extra drives, a PCIe wNIC, some extra USB devices, all the fans, and some capacitor aging and http://extreme.outervision.com/PSUEngine is reccomending 462w. The 500w S12 is pretty spendy though (like $40more for just a few more 12v amps), any other recommendations?

I would probably take the front fan out of the microfly. With the 120mm exhaust + PSU and GFX exhausting the front fan shouldn't be doing much, especially if I block off all those short-circuiting vents in the back of the case. I have an X-Qpack right now which doesn't have a front fan at all, I haven't gotten a good look at the front of a microfly but it doesn't look like there is much more ventalation up there end hence the extra fan is pointless.

It's really only the case and mobo that makes uATX systems cost more. Other than that it's just limiting how much stuff you can cram in it and limiting your OC. Neither of those two last things bother me much. The case and mobo I chose are pretty comperable in price to full ATX products of similar quality. I could have gotten a $20 tower case that would have done the job though (or, rather, used one of the many I already have) so you could say I'm paying an extra $80 to get a "pretty case" and I don't think I could argue with that ;) 

The F-I90HD has reportedly clocked up to 350-370mhz FSB max so far. 345mhz is within what other people have done with it already.
March 7, 2007 11:23:17 PM

I would just go for the Seasonic S12 550w. Its got 40 max amps and should run your system much better and safer than the 430.

Im getting the 550w s12 eventually..... eventually...
a c 473 à CPUs
March 7, 2007 11:31:30 PM

Quote:


The only thing is the PSU. The x1950pro takes 450-Watt 30 Amps while the PSU is 430W 29A. Sure it will fit in the case since the PSU cables exit at left.



The Seasonic S12 430 will be more than enough for your system. ATI "recommends" a 450w PSU with 30 Amps on the 12v rail because they don't know what other things you will be throwing into your PC.

Here the power consumption on the 12v rail of a system built around the C2D X6800 and X1950Pro

X6800 @ stock speed (2.93GHz).....................66w CPU Power Consumption Chart
X1950Pro........................................................66w CPU Power Consumption Chart
2 DVD Drives..................................................32w
4 Hard Drives.................................................64w
2 120mm Case Fans.......................................12w
1 120mm CPU fan.............................................6w

Total Est. Power Consumption on 12v rail.......246w
Total Est. Amp Consumption on 12v rail..........20.5a

All other components draws power from the 3.3v or 5v rails.

The 246w represents max power consumption because both DVD drives and all 4 hard drives will not all be spinning simultaneously. Even assuming 246w is actually being used there is still 102w left on tap or 8.5 amps.

You could even replace the X1950Pro with the 8800GTS which has been estimated to use 115w of power and the Seasonic S12 430 will still be able to power up this system.

If the S12 430 can power a system built around the X6800 and the 8800GTS with 6 drives, then it will be able to power up a system built around the E4300 (even if you overclock it) and the X1950Pro.
March 7, 2007 11:33:21 PM

430W is just not good enough if you plan to upgrade to a high end video card later, even from a great brand like SeaSonic. Check out these two, they're supposed to be great and it'll save you some bucks:

460W AMS Mercury
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

530W Hiper (Modular!)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Other than that it looks good.

I wouldn't buy ATI though, but I guess that's down to personal preference unless you're dropping $300+ on a GF8.
March 7, 2007 11:33:37 PM

The FSP ones don't have very good effeciency, and they don't seem to be RoHS compliant either.

I dunno about the enermax ones... Modular would be kinda nice but the Liberty has a lots of bad reviews.

What about an Antec True Power Trio TP3-650? Should be plenty of power, has a good effeciency rating, and costs only a couple dollars more than the S12 430w.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
March 7, 2007 11:35:46 PM

Antec is a bad idea... they tend to shut down after 6 months and I'm very unhappy with the current stability on mine.

Personally I'd get the Hiper I listed.
a c 473 à CPUs
March 7, 2007 11:41:34 PM

Quote:

PSU: Seasonic S12 430w $103


You can buy the S12 430 for less at XPCGear.com which is selling it for $74.99. The cost of 3 Day Shipping from CA to NY (cross country) is $12.59 for a total cost of $87.58. It may or may not cost less if you live closer to CA. Just input your ZipCode to see the shipping charges during the checkout process.

http://www.xpcgear.com/s12430.html
March 8, 2007 12:06:07 AM

Quote:

PSU: Seasonic S12 430w $103


You can buy the S12 430 for less at XPCGear.com which is selling it for $74.99. The cost of 3 Day Shipping from CA to NY (cross country) is $12.59 for a total cost of $87.58. It may or may not cost less if you live closer to CA. Just input your ZipCode to see the shipping charges during the checkout process.

http://www.xpcgear.com/s12430.html

Oh sweet, that save me $20. Eh, with your blessing I think I'll just get teh S12 430 and I'll replace it in if I do any major upgrading after ~1year. I realized that http://extreme.outervision.com/PSUEngine was estimating my OCed CPU wattage at 140, which isn't correct (I put in 3.1ghz 1.4v as a worse-case senario but they went a bit overboard). And even with that obsurdly high CPU wattage in there my system as it stands now with their reccomended capacitor aging to last +1year 24/7 it reccomends 415w.

Thanks again jaguarskx ;) 
a c 473 à CPUs
March 8, 2007 12:23:08 AM

Quote:


Thanks again jaguarskx ;) 


No problem. But like I stated in my previous post (#7), S12 430 can even handle the C2D X6800 and a nVidia 8800GTS.
March 8, 2007 1:09:40 AM

Quote:
Prices are as open to critique as anything else. Am I planning on paying too much? Am I planning on finding prices unrealistically low? The mobo, CPU, and GFX card prices are based on some extrapolation and early numbers so critique away.

itemized prices include S&H

CPU: e4300 retail <$140 (After April 22)
Mobo: Abit F-I90HD $122 (As soon as I can get my hands on one)
RAM: 2x1gb DDR2-667 $138 (before April 20)
GFX: integrated. waiting for x1950PRO w/ rear-exhausting HSF to come down to <$170
HSF: retail $0
Case: Ultra Microfly $84 (direct CPU HSF intake mod /w filter)
PSU: Seasonic S12 430w $84
Drives: SATA HD and SATA Optical ~$100

Total: $838

I'd like to go for a 332mhz FSB to keep my NB timings tight and then clockgen up to 345mhz (a "round" 3.1ghz e4300 to make it easy to brag about) which should outperform ~360mhz FSB (and basically any other C2D clocked under 3.2ghz) with reduced power and be more easily obtainable and with value DDR2-667 to keep prices down. I might not make it quite up to 345mhz or have quite the performance advantage but I wouldn't let that upset me too much. 3.06ghz beating out other less-l33tly OCed 2m cache C2Ds clocked below 3.1ghz would be enough to make me happy.



I changed my mind about modding the CPU HSF to exhaust as I realized it would be hard to do and the case needs more intake anyway. This will also make it very easy to put a filter on it and keep the CPU HSF from getting dusty.

I might end up just reusing drives and case that I have, but I put them in there to keep prespective (and I have a couple friends interested in doing this too and they would have to buy new case and drives). That prespective being: the price seems a bit high. I could do an AM2 build instead for $100 or more less (about 85% of the cost). But would it have comperable price/performance (>85% of the performance of the build listed above)?


Everything looks good, except the Ultra Microfly case. Trust me it's not worth $84.00. I order one of this for my niece for $30.00, comes with two sides/top windows and no PSU. Because of the price she decided to keep it. The material is very cheap inside out and can easily be bend and break if not careful. I would not recommend it for frequent LAN party goers. The carry handle is very weak and filmsy which I think can be easily break when you add in all the weights.
Here's what I recommend. With little bit more $$$ you can get a very good quality case which, looks and runs very cool, because I own one myself. :wink:

BLACK: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
SILVER: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
========================================
* Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 (No OC)
* Tt Orb II Blue Cooler
* ATI Radeon X1900XTX 512MB DDR3
* ASUS P5B-VM with Tt LANBox microATX case
* 2x1GB, PC2-4300, CL=3-3-3-8, Geil Ultra Low Latency
* Ultra 550Watt (Ultra X2 550-Watt with UV & SLI ready)
* 1.5TB Seagate RAID 0
* 160GB WD Raptor X
* Lite-On 16x DVD/CD Writer with LightScribe
* TrackIR 4 Pro
* Cougar HOTAS
* Dell UltraSharp 3007WFP LCD
=============================
"One Can Never Have Enough"

Cheers! 8)
March 8, 2007 1:52:41 AM

JUst a suggestion on the GPU. Negegg has sweet deal now
Sapphire X1950GT $125 after MIR
March 8, 2007 4:44:17 AM

Quote:
JUst a suggestion on the GPU. Negegg has sweet deal now
Sapphire X1950GT $125 after MIR


Eh, that's not the core I want and it's not rear-exhausting either.
March 8, 2007 10:35:20 AM

The Hiper may not fit in the case cuz the modular cables are kinda long.

There has been a large # of Antec PSUs failing in a few months. You can dig up customer reviews from newegg, online forums like aero said (he's not the 1st one to say this in this forum), etc. Antec will replace the psu though.
March 8, 2007 3:56:37 PM

Quote:
here is a case to look at:
Aspire X-Qpack 420W Micro ATX
They have these at Compusave.


Quote:

I might end up just reusing drives and case that I have...


Quote:

I have an X-Qpack right now...


@goldragon_70

At least you got the rear-exhausting HSF part right :)  But the x1950Pro uses a different core that is supposed to be more energy effecient.
March 8, 2007 4:16:15 PM

Quote:

@goldragon_70

At least you got the rear-exhausting HSF part right :)  But the x1950Pro uses a different core that is supposed to be more energy effecient.



True, It was more of a counter point to alcattle's suggestion for a graphics card. You would probably be better off with the x1950pro as far as heat as well.
April 24, 2007 8:27:33 PM

Abit F-I90HD is apparently DOA. "OEM" CPU from Fry's is clearly "used". This build is off to a rocky start :( 

CPU posts in another mobo, waiting for mobo RMA.
April 26, 2007 4:34:22 PM

That seems to be the norm for that board. So sad.
I'm actually doing a similar build this summer. Only real differences are an e4400 and the TT LanBox Lite. I dunno about the case though. 2x60mm fans? I'd have to use the PSU as an exhaust fan, but it might have airflow conflicts with the heatsink?
Perhaps new fans are in order, maybe SilenX ixtrema pros. I'm suprised they make those in that size.
There are new MicroFlys out also.
April 26, 2007 5:38:22 PM

The X-Qpack2 is also out. It seems to be a lot like the microfly but it doesn't have the 3-piece side panels (that seemed to be somewhat problematic) so I'm not sure who designed it. Comes with an updated PSU from a new manufacturer though and much needed extra intake vents in the front. Apevia also seems to have very decent customer service and RMA (I sent back my broken thermal sensor the other day, see how that goes).

Yeah, the F-I90HDs that were pre-released must have been cherry picked or something. A lot of people have been having problems, but I haven't heard of anyone else being flat-out DOA :/  It also looks to be a few percent less performance in benchmarks than more established C2D mobos but no other mATX C2D mobo even comes close to it's feature set so... I really hope I just get one that works :) 
April 26, 2007 6:31:22 PM

Abit eRMA status confirms receipt of box. So far so good. Waiting for RMA is always stressful.
April 26, 2007 7:31:34 PM

Cool.
Well keep this updated if you can. I'm pretty interested to where this setup goes.
8)
!