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request for last minute advice regarding final parts list

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May 3, 2007 2:32:20 AM

Hello. My name is Missy, and I just recently joined this forum. I'd like to
appologize in advance for the length of this message, but I'm just trying to provide as much detail as possible in hopes that people can provide me with as much feedback as possible before I make my final computer purchase some time over the next week or so.
I'm a blind computer enthusiast preparing to buy a new system, one that I
hope will last me for at least as
long as my current system has. The last computer I got was in 2002, and
although it is still more or less functional, I'm wanting to get a system that is not only more
up-to-date, but also more responsive. I do a lot of work with audio files ,
mostly mp3 and midi. I also do a lot of
web browsing, word processing, and I play a lot of text-based games both on
and off line. I've been trying to do my homework with regards to parts to
include in my dream system. I've decided that even if it might be a little
more expensive, I'd rather "hand pick" every aspect of my new system to
insure that I know exactly what I'm getting and also to insure maximum
compatibility with my screen reading software.
I have several reasons for not wanting to buy a ready-made system from Dell
or another similar company. First of all, i have a dell computer at work,
and it's even more flaky than the computer I'm preparing to retire.
Secondly, when I put together a hypathetical system on Dell's site that was
comparable to the one I'm planning, it was over $5000; my current price from Newegg for everything I'd like to include in my new system is around $3400. Finally, with Dell or another similar company, I'd be buying software and other stuff that I really
didn't want or need, also a 20+ monitor which is completely pointless in my
situation.
Now that I've hopefully answered that question, my goals for this system,
in order of importance, are maximum stability,
maximum responsiveness and as much future proofing as possible. I'm
prepared to spend up to $3000 to get everything as nice as possible, but
naturally, if I could spend less, that would be really great. For numerous
reasons, I'm not planning to upgrade to Windows Vista quite yet; I'm
planning to run my new computer using Windows XP media center edition for a
year or so. Never-the-less, I'd like this new computer to be completely
ready for vista if/when I decide to upgrade.
.With all that being said, I was hoping that I could get advice from members of this forum with regards to my final parts checklist. I'm planning to
purchase all my parts from newegg within a week or so, and then get
the system assembled by a local computer "expert".
Before I spend any money, though, I'm trying to make certain that I haven't
picked out any blatently incompatible parts, or that I haven't overlooked
anything really major. As much research as I've done over the past couple of months,
there are still a few  things that I don't fully understand. All I know is
that I have no plans to overclock my system, especially since my screen reading software can't
access the bios, so I would have to rely on someone with vision to do all
the playing around, and nobody I know would even have the slightest clue
how to do any of that stuff. Also, I only have minimal understanding with
regards to what the purpose of rade is, but I do know that at least for now, I have no
intention or desire to make use of it. I essencially want somebody to be
able to put my system together, I install my screen reading software, and then
everything will work together as harmoniously as possible. At this point, I'm reasonably confident in every aspect of my system, but would just like feedback from people with more experience than myself to confirm that everything I've chosen should be able to work together.
To answer a few questions up front, I want 2 optical drives to make copying cds or dvds a little easier; I chose the combo drive since it can go up to 52X for CDs. Regarding fans and other case cooling, it is my understanding, based on most of what I've read, that the stock fans, heat sinks, etc that one gets with varius components aren't all that great. So, I'm planning to use 5 thunderblade fans in the blue dreamer case and not make use of any of the stock fans. Similarly, I am replacing the power supply included with the case with what sounds like the best su to meet my needs. I got the Zalman cpu cooler because, again, the stock one didn't sound all that great. Finally, I'm not sure about the north and south bridge stuff. I've already got the Thermaltake chipset cooler purchased, so would like to use that, and I was thinking that the Zalman passive chipset cooler might be good for the south bridge.
Finally, I want to let you know that I've purchased a floppy drive, internal card reader, soundcard and tv tuner card separately; I just found them at better prices, and in the case of the tv tuner card and soundcard, Newegg just didn't have the parts I was wanting to use.
I would really appreciate any and all feedback you might be able to provide with regards to my final parts list. This
new system is going to be a huge investment for me, so I want to make sure
I'm only spending what is strictly necessary to build the best PC I
possibly can. Thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide, and
I hope that you're having a really great day!
Sincerely,
Melissa J. Hoppe

APEVIA X-Dreamer II ATXB4KLW-BL Blue Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Model Number: ATXB4KLW-BL

Thermaltake A1926 120mm Blue LED Case Fan
Model Number: Thunderblade A1926

4 Thermaltake A1910 80mm Blue LED Case Fan
Model Number: A1910

ABIT AB9 QuadGT LGA 775 Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Model Number: AB9 QuadGT

EVGA 256-P2-N740-LR GeForce 8500GT 256MB GDDR2 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail
Model Number: 256-P2-N740-LR

ZALMAN ZM600-HP ATX12V 600W Power Supply - Retail
Model Number: ZM - 600HP

Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 Conroe 2.93GHz LGA 775 Processor
Model Number: BX80557X6800

2X Kingston HyperX 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model KHX6400D2LLK2/2GN - Retail
Model Number: KHX6400D2LLK2/2GN

SAMSUNG SpinPoint T Series HD501LJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Model Number: HD501LJ

SAMSUNG 740N-BK Black 17" 8ms LCD Monitor
Model Number: 740n-Black

LITE-ON Combo Drive Black SATA Model SHC-52S7K-05 - OEM
Model Number: SHC-52S7K-05

LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model LH-20A1L-05 - OEM
Model Number: LH-20A1L-05

Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 SP2b
Model Number: M93-00439

Microsoft Office Professional 2003 SP2
Model Number: 269-13253

Arctic Silver CMQ-22G The high-density, ceramic-based thermal compound - Retail
Model #: CMQ-22G

Thermaltake CL-C0034 Copper Fan&Heatsinks
Model Number: CL-C0034

ZALMAN CNPS9500 AT 2 Ball CPU Cooling Fan/Heatsink
Model Number: CNPS9500 AT

ZALMAN ZM-NB47J Aluminum Heatsinks only
Model Number: ZM-NB47J

VANTEC HDC-701A-BL Aluminum Aluminum Hard Driver Cooler
Model Number: HDC-701A-BL

SONY Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal Floppy Drive
Model Number: MPF920 Black   

Scythe internal 3.5 Kama Reader 18in1 Card Reader Black      

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic 24bit

Vista View Saber 2020 Dual Analog PCIe MCE TV-FM Tuner Card
May 3, 2007 2:51:34 AM

Most of your choices are good. A couple of suggestions:
If you really want to spend nearly $1000 on a processor, get the QX6700 instead of the X6800. It shows superior performance in most encoding. If you want a better value, get an E6700 for about one third the price and ninety percent the performance of the X6800.

Also, you want Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste, not the Arctic Silver Ceramique you listed.

Since you won't overclock, you could probably do without the north and south bridge chipset coolers. Also despite what you may have heard the stock Intel heatsinks and cooling fans work fine for non-overclocked Core 2 Duos so you can save some money there if you want to, and would not need the Arctic Silver with the stock heatsink.

Normally I would recommend against the GeForce8500, but in your case it's cheap and it works, so OK.

Good luck with your build.
May 3, 2007 4:18:19 AM

Hi! thanks for the advice. I'll change the thermal paste for sure. I'm not quite so sure about the processor. I just reread some reviews, and it seems that the qx6700 runs pretty hot, and several reviews said aftermarket cooling was strongly reccommended. I guess if I'm getting the Zalman cooler anyway, though, I could get the quad core processor; it would be a bit more of an attempt to future-proof the system. I'd really appreciate more opinions on which way to go processor-wise.
Related resources
May 3, 2007 7:08:07 AM

Hello and welcome to the Forums. You made a wise decision to as for advice before buying. WE may not all be experts but we look at enough lists to learn which ones will work best. I will comment on parts I might change if I were building this system.
The processors are so close in most appects, I might take the cheaper one, but would like the Quad if it fit in the budget, just for the future as you said.
Nothing wrong with the power supply, here are some good options
3 quality power supplies compared
Samsung also makes really good Optical drives.
I would get a combo floppy/media reader like this oneMITSUMI Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal USB 2.0 digital card reader with Floppy Drive Model FA404M BLK - OEM
Could not find the TV tuner at Newegg, but the one store that carried it looked ok. I like this one also
Hauppauge WinTV-PVR 500 MCE
Again I will add you have a nice build list and you will be happy with what ever parts you choose.
May 3, 2007 8:40:44 AM

I like what you've picked out for the most part.The only changes I would make would be to go with an X6700 as price/performance is exceptional.I do not recommend the 8500.If you want to go with an 8xxx series video card,I suggest the 8800GTS 640 as this card is moderately priced(for me anyways)and it puts the 8500 to shame hands down.The only other change I would make would be to get a THERMALTAKE TOUGHPOWER 700watt psu.This will ensure power for now and later down the road.Luck in your endeavors,and welcome to the forums.

Dahak

AMD X2-4400+@2.6 TOLEDO
EVGA NF4 SLI MB
2X EVGA 7950GT KO IN SLI
4X 512MB CRUCIAL BALLISTIX DDR500
WD300GIG HD/SAMSUNG 250GIG HD
ACER 22IN WIDESCREEN LCD 1600X1200
THERMALTAKE TOUGHPOWER 850WATT PSU
COOLERMASTER MINI R120
3DMARK05 13,471
May 3, 2007 9:12:57 AM

Quote:


Also, you want Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste, not the Arctic Silver Ceramique you listed.


just a correction there AS5 has been proven a bad performer now the reccomended stuff now is Shin etsu x23 althought the ceramique is good also
May 3, 2007 12:06:43 PM

Hello. I've already purchased the TV card from a different vendor, so it's too late to change that. I also already got the floppy drive and card reader. As for the su, I'm open to the idea of researching that a bit further; I've been investigating the PC Power and Cooling 610V model; it's supposedly one of the best available, and is only about $10 more than the Zalman. As for the videocard, I won't be doing anything that requires intense graphics; I wanted dx10 compatability, but nothing fancy. I think that the 8500 card will be best for that, unless I can get an 8600 for the same price. Thank you very much for the feedback; it is extremely appreciated. Missy
May 3, 2007 2:06:29 PM

Quote:
I like what you've picked out for the most part.The only changes I would make would be to go with an X6700 as price/performance is exceptional.I do not recommend the 8500.If you want to go with an 8xxx series video card,I suggest the 8800GTS 640 as this card is moderately priced(for me anyways)and it puts the 8500 to shame hands down.The only other change I would make would be to get a THERMALTAKE TOUGHPOWER 700watt psu.This will ensure power for now and later down the road.Luck in your endeavors,and welcome to the forums.

Dude, she's blind - didn't you read the introductory post? Therefore the GF8500 will work fine. I would have recommended something even cheaper, but at least the 8500 doesn't steal system RAM like the 7100/7300's with Turbocache. The Thermaltake PSU is an upgrade over the Zalman, but for a system this extreme, I would go up to the PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 instead.
May 3, 2007 2:16:22 PM

Quote:


Also, you want Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste, not the Arctic Silver Ceramique you listed.


just a correction there AS5 has been proven a bad performer now the reccomended stuff now is Shin etsu x23 althought the ceramique is good also
AS5 has NOT been "proven a bad performer". Yes, Shin-Etsu X-23 outperforms it but that does not make AS5 bad. Just like a Ferrari isn't a bad performer just because a Formula 1 car outperforms it. AS5 is the best thermal compound you can find on Newegg which is where the OP wants to buy from. For the record, my computer is using the X-23 so I'm obviously not an AS5 fanboy, but I have always had good results with AS5 as well. And AS5 is much easier to apply, the X-23 is pretty thick.

Arctic Silver Ceramique is better than AS5 if you lap the heatsink and the IHS. I see no reason to go there for a non-overclocked system.

Edit: AS5 will work fine for your build, however, if you want to get the Shin-Etsu, here are a couple of sources' product links:
http://www.crazypc.com/products/50118.html
http://www.ajigo-store.com/se7783d.html
May 3, 2007 2:21:41 PM

Quote:
Hi! thanks for the advice. I'll change the thermal paste for sure. I'm not quite so sure about the processor. I just reread some reviews, and it seems that the qx6700 runs pretty hot, and several reviews said aftermarket cooling was strongly reccommended. I guess if I'm getting the Zalman cooler anyway, though, I could get the quad core processor; it would be a bit more of an attempt to future-proof the system. I'd really appreciate more opinions on which way to go processor-wise.

The stock cooling works fine for the Core 2 Duos - the dual core processors. For the Quads, aftermarket is a good choice. If you want to go quad core, I would seriously consider the Q6600 instead of the QX6700, as it offers 90 percent of the performance for slightly over half the cost. Also, the Thermalright Ultra 120 and the Tuniq Tower are significantly better coolers than the Zalman for about the same price. Last time I checked the Thermalright was out of stock at Newegg but the Tuniq was in stock.
!