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planned homebuild - any good?

Last response: in Systems
April 21, 2007 4:17:09 PM

Hi all. I'm starting to think about replacing my laptop before it dies completely. I've got some basic homebuild experience, but I'm pretty useless when it comes to component compatibility, so any feedback on the below would be great.

Here's what I'm after:

* Strong multi-tasking, multimedia, and office
* Possibility of some gaming
* Quiet running is important
* Won't be overclocking
* Build completely from scratch
* BUDGET : £750-ish.

And here is what I'm thinking at the moment:

Intel Core 2 Duo E4300 1.86ghz Socket 775 FSB800 2MB Cache

Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 Socket 775 -- quickcode: 23977

2x Kingston Valueram 1Gb 667MHz DDR 2 None Ecc Cl5

Hard Drive
Western Digital WD2500KS 250GB 7200RPM SATAII/300 16MB Cache

Graphics Card
Nvidia GeForce 7600GT 256MB PCI-E

Antec True Power Trio

Cooler Master Centurion 534

Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate 32 Bit (OEM)

Hanns G HX191DP 19" SXGA LCD Monitor

Creative Labs SBS260

Windows Black Keyboard

A4 Tech X7 Mouse

DVD Drive
Pioneer DVR-112

Network Card
D-Link DFE-530TX

USB Ports
Newlink 4 Port USB 2.0 PCI Card

Power Strip
Belkin SurgeMaster, 4-Way, 2m Cable


So, is anyone aware of any obvious problems with the above, or does anyone have any recommendations on how I could better spend my money? Any help is greatly appreciated.

More about : planned homebuild good

April 21, 2007 5:01:52 PM

thanks for the graphics cards links - as you could probably tell this is one of the areas i know least about! :oops: 
i'll go read up on those you mentioned... they're probably towards the top of what i can afford though!

and all i meant by multimedia was a little music / video editing. but this is not the main motivation for the system by any means.
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April 21, 2007 5:19:08 PM

If by video editing you mean capturing from a camera, and depending on the camera, you want a capable firewire board, and if you want to go with your videos walking around and want to use an external disk, you should pick one with esata, otherwise, you'll die while your videos are transfered or edited on the external hdd. That board lack both of those features

If you want a better gaming machine, I advise you to pick at least an nvidia 7900gs or a radeon x1950pro.

April 21, 2007 6:06:49 PM


Windows Vista? :roll: :roll:

Vista is good for Multimedia and video editing shit cuz of the HD making crap. And vista is isnt as bad as people say it is.
April 21, 2007 6:26:46 PM


Windows Vista? :roll: :roll:

Vista is good for Multimedia and video editing **** cuz of the HD making crap. And vista is isnt as bad as people say it is.

For sure

you don't know crap about what you are saying.
April 21, 2007 7:45:17 PM

No, im sure I do
April 21, 2007 9:08:36 PM

well this isn't really the place to get into the pros and cons of vista...!

still reading up about the graphics card issue. i think i might be wasting money here though as i'm not a big gamer.

on more practical grounds, has anyone had any experience with the monitor makers? i've read some pretty good reviews but have never heard of them before... which generally makes me nervous!

EDIT: or any experience of this monitor?
April 22, 2007 5:04:17 AM

You won't need to add USB ports, there are 10 usb ports on the mother board
April 22, 2007 8:42:48 AM

oops that was still a pretty newbie mistake... thanks for the heads up!
April 22, 2007 9:39:34 AM

Hmm... if you're not OCing, you might be better off getting a better processor. The e6420 is about to come out, and is not too much more (£30 or so). If you can, the e6600 is your best bet. I saw them on ebuyer for £150.

Vista Ultimate is overkill unless you're very sure you need the extra features. Home premium is fine for 99% of users.

You might as well get a 400gb or even 500gb hard disk, seeing as they cost the same per GB. I find I always end up using the extra space personally.

And what's the network card for? The DS3 comes with onboard LAN.

Case/PSU: Maybe get an Antec integrated solution (one of the NSK series). That will save you about £50 and are typically pretty quiet. (The Sonata II is also good, and very quiet).
April 22, 2007 11:31:49 AM

1/ downgrading vista and using the extra money on a better processor sounds like a plan. for some reason i was under the impression that the price differences between the versions was less than it actually was. /retard

2/ i think i'll be ok with the 250gb hdd for now. i have a 250gb WD MyBook if i need some temporary extra space, or i'll just stick another drive in later if necessary.

3/ the network card? again, i dropped the ball. my last desktop had to be filled with these cheapo cards from ebuyer to keep it running (shows how old/crap that machine was) so i kinda reverted to that state of mind temporarily. :oops: 

4/ i originally considered the sonata II originally but for the extra £30 i decided it was worth getting the separate parts. i'm sure this is just me being snobby, and i know antec are very good, but hey why not.

5/ returning to the graphics card. in another thread the x1900gt came off pretty well so i'm considering this as a decent card/price trade off: any probs?
April 22, 2007 12:03:05 PM

I think the 1950 pro has the edge (but it's marginal):

Everything else looks hunky-dory. What about the processor? Shai's links looked pretty useful here.

If you're not OCing, you have to spend that little bit more. The e4300 is not clocked all that impressively and only has 2mb l2 cache. Here's a summary of the options (prices off Aria):
e4300: 1800 (2mb) £88 = 20.5 mhz/£
e6300: 1866 (2mb) £113 = 16.5
e6320: 1866 (4mb) £110 = 17
e6400: 2133 (2mb) £123 = 17.3
e6420: 2133 (4mb) £129 = 16.5
e6600: 2400 (4mb) £162 = 14.8
e6700: 2666 (4mb) £233 = 11.4

Remember that the extra cache makes a difference, so the mhz/£ indicator is only a rough performance/price guide. You can add on a couple of points for the e6320, e6420, e6600 and the e6700 to reflect this. Obviously, the best bang for buck is still the e4300, but the key point is that you get what you pay for if you spend more. It only starts to become less worth spending more by the e6700. The e6420 in particular looks like a bargain.
April 22, 2007 1:01:36 PM

yeah i'm sold on the e6420 too.

my only concern with the x1950pro was a couple of small things i'd read saying it was big/hot/noisy?
April 22, 2007 3:59:01 PM

yeah i'm sold on the e6420 too.

my only concern with the x1950pro was a couple of small things i'd read saying it was big/hot/noisy?

you got a fanless version of the x1950pro
the 1900xt will make you deaf unless it comes with a 3rd party cooler pre-installed
April 22, 2007 6:08:20 PM

The e4400 isn't faster anyway. It runs at 2000mhz, and still only has 2mb of l2 cache per core. It's worth getting the extra cache if you're using budget memory with less impressive clocks and latencies. This is a better option than spending more on the memory and less on the processor.

It might be a good option nonetheless. Good spot. Here's an amended table:

e4300: 1800 (2mb) £88 = 20.5 mhz/£
e4400: 2000 (2mb) £89 = 22.5
e6300: 1866 (2mb) £113 = 16.5
e6320: 1866 (4mb) £110 = 17
e6400: 2133 (2mb) £123 = 17.3
e6420: 2133 (4mb) £129 = 16.5
e6600: 2400 (4mb) £162 = 14.8
e6700: 2666 (4mb) £233 = 11.4
April 22, 2007 7:51:25 PM

The only benches that the 6320 wins over the 4400 are gaming ones. The extra cache won't help even in video apps making the 114Mhz worth. Assuming the price difference is 20 pounds, the E4400 is a far superior buy.

OCing is the only problem, x-bit labs guys couldn't get it past from 3250mhz, but that's a good oc also. Maybe that was an isolated problem and other 4400 can OC higher.
April 22, 2007 7:54:32 PM

i thought he meant faster than the e4300 i was originally going with?

more confused than ever re: graphics card, but basically i think i'll pick between:

Sapphire X1650XT --- £56.96

Asus Nvidia 7600GT --- £72.48

Xfx Gf 7600gt Xxx Edition --- £77.87
apparently this may be 650Mhz rather than advertised 590?

all seem to be decent cards, which would suit my fairly modest requirements. if anyone has anything particularly posistive/negative to add about any of these i'd appreciate it. however, bearing in mind that i'm changing my mind with every different recommendation i read this might be counter-productive in the long run!

(btw all quoted prices include £10 discount for using google checkouts before anyone corrects me)
April 22, 2007 8:17:16 PM

I'd skip the USB card - your mobo comes with 4 USB ports already, do you need more?

I'd go with 2 GB of RAM, definitely useful if you edit videos.

Maybe Windows XP MCE instead of Vista? Not sure Vista is ready yet, I'd wait until SP2.
April 22, 2007 9:19:48 PM

@PMR - thanks for all the graphics cards links. i really do appreciate your guidance through what is a total minefield. i think x1650xt will be fine for me (at least for now). i'm going to sleep on it & hopefully put in an order tomorrow... the price is certainly very competitive.

@dsiduous - i already had 2gb of ram listed (maybe it could've been typed clearer though 8)) and i think i'm going to have to be brave re: vista. if i had an old copy of xp lying about i would use it and wait for vista to finish getting tidied up, but i'm not buying a copy at this stage!
April 22, 2007 10:16:28 PM

Sorry did'nt read it properly.

But the Scan uk E4400 is still cheaper than the Ebuyer E4300 and runs at 2GHz as apposed to 1.8GHz.

Just trying to show someone better buy.
April 23, 2007 9:47:12 AM

Any of those graphics cards is fine for budget gaming. You're not going to be upset with any of them. I think you'll be fine with the x1650xt. It's basically a mini x1950 pro, so it's relatively up-to-date and offers good vfm.

I think you're going to have a pretty nice PC now. It should be very stable and quiet, but with enough performance bite for any greedy application.
April 23, 2007 9:48:21 AM

He's got 2gbs of RAM. And he's not got the network or USB cards anymore.
April 23, 2007 5:22:58 PM

Just trying to show someone better buy.

yeah i know, i appreciate it dude:) 

I think you're going to have a pretty nice PC now

well i think i'm spending my money much better than before thanks to you guys. a really big thanks again to everyone who posted. it's really nice to have an outsiders opinion, and i'm much more confident now that i'm not buying any real duds ( one say anything about vista here!)

now i've just got the fun part of putting it all together. :D 
April 23, 2007 9:10:23 PM

About Vista:

Wait for Service pack 1...and 3 or 4 Gb of ram.