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Building a PC for my nephew, need advice.

Last response: in Systems
May 3, 2007 4:56:35 PM

First off thanks for the time taken, to anyone who reads this post.

I'm building a desktop for my nephew. He needs it in a month , maybe two. He is going to use it for school, work and gaming. I would appreciate any advice.

My plan so far:

Case: Cooler Master Centurion 5
Power: Corsair 620
CPU: E6600 or E6700 (depends on price)
Memory: 2 or 4 GB of 800 MHz (probably Corsair)
MB: I don't know, thinking about the Gigabyte 965P-DS3 (used it once, like it)
Video: 8800 GTS 320 MB
Monitor: Probably 22" Samsung
Keyboard: Logitech Media Elite
Mouse: Logitech Gaming
OS: XP Pro (I like it and I can get it cheap)
Hard Drives: Probably two 500 GB Drives
ODD: two DVD burners

From my research, it is not a good idea to install a RAID system on a desktop for a person who is a pure user. He can install games and such, but that is about it. Like some confirmation on that, please.

Might install a cheap Creative Labs sound card, on board sound seems to be getting pretty good lately. Any thoughts? Yes, I do have a tin ear.

Heat Sink: I'm thinking about an idiot proof (I'm the idiot) liquid system. Cooler Master seems to have something I might manage, the AQUAGATE VIVA RL-M4A-E7E1-GP Liquid Cooling System.

Again thanks for your time.


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May 3, 2007 5:33:19 PM

You have a lucky nethew.
3 things
1). if you spending that much money on a driect X 10 PC then a least put vista on. although i dont reccomend the upgrade, it is absoulutely pointless being stubern and ignoreing vista on a new build, especially if its for school and your gonna put office 2007 on. with that spec the loss of a few FPS wont make much of a difference. i have vista and its really quite good once you get used to it and a OEM copy of vista basic (which pretty much is vamped up XP with DX 10 compatiblity) is about he same price as XP, it my opinion but it'll be waste of a PC as you never get around to upgrading. Also if you get the 64bit package alot of things run faster.
2). make sure you SATA dvd drives there just better and it mean you dont need to enable both the IDE buss and the SATA meaning a slightly cooler chipset meaning mo OC if need be.
3). ditch the 4GB of ram XP just doesnt need it (unless you get 64X vista which i reccomend) nd get a 8800gtx
May 3, 2007 5:44:36 PM

A suggestion for a sound card, I bought a facotory refurbished Audigy2 ZS from Creative's eBay store for about $40. It's not the latest and greatest, but it's THX certified and I think it sounds great paired with my X-540's.
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May 3, 2007 6:03:32 PM

With that vid card why not look at SLI for future upgrades. I have the P5N32-E SLI Plus motherboard and it is great. ABout th ame as the 965 chipset and you have the option of sticking a second card in to boost vid perfomance if needed. Must be the Plus version, notthe premium.
May 3, 2007 6:36:45 PM

1st) i wish i had an uncle like you
2nd) i would get a motherboard that is SLI capable because in the futue it will really pay off, also if you get the E6600 it will be enough and from what i know the 6700 is just a clockeed E6600 so save the cash and get a gf8800gtx as for the ram 2gb is enough, but if you if think he needs 4gb you could go for it :) 
May 3, 2007 6:37:24 PM

With that vid card why not look at SLI for future upgrades. I have the P5N32-E SLI Plus motherboard and it is great. ABout th ame as the 965 chipset and you have the option of sticking a second card in to boost vid perfomance if needed. Must be the Plus version, notthe premium.

Why is the Plus version better than the premium? 8O
May 3, 2007 6:40:40 PM

Looks like you're planning a nice system there.

Some questions/ideas:

Are you considering overclocking? You mention watercooling as a possibility, and you've proposed 800MHz memory, so I'm guessing you're thinking about it.

Either of those CPU's will overclock nicely. If you're going for an OC greater than 3.6GHz, you may want to consider higher-rated memory to maintain 1:1 timings, but anything up to 3.6GHz, 800MHz will be fine.

Personally, unless your considering an extreme overclock, I would go with a decent air HS (Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme seems to be the best at this time).

As previously stated, your choice of 2 or 4GB memory depends on the OS. WinXP needs no more than 2GB. Vista - go for 4GB.

Video - whilst the 320MB version of the 8800GTS will be fine for all current games, I expect newer games to utilise the onboard gfx memory more, so the 640MB version will be more future-proof.

If you want a recommendation of a good Logitech gaming mouse, I would suggest the G5 (or G7 if you prefer wireless).

Hard Drives - not sure how you plan to configure 2x500GB drives. I wouldn't suggest RAID 0 if you plan to store important data on those drives. My personal setup is 2 small capacity drives in RAID 0 for OS and programs, and then a large capacity drive for data (with an external backup drive for the data also).
May 3, 2007 6:46:17 PM

The Plus is just a better board. Better capacitors and a better power delivery system, debugged chipsets, lower price. We had an admin on our site go through two premiums and could not get the thing to stabilize at a decent FSB speed. He finally gave up, got the Plus and now has his 6600 at 3.0GHz on air.

If you read the reviews you'll find that the premium wasn't a solid board. Didn't overclok well, lots of Vdroop had problems at 1300Mhz QDR and above. The Plus addressed those issues and came in at below $200. Its a solid overclocker (I had my 6600 at 3915MHz last night for a SuperPi 1M run, 13.250s) and very stable with little Vdroop. Plus it is only $185 now!
May 3, 2007 6:49:08 PM

I went through this, but honestly what I decided to do was be green :) 

Recycle my good man.

Build YOURSELF a new pc, hand yours off to your nephew. If you are happy with what you have, your nephew will be very happy.

I know my family always pesters me around 1 1/2 to 2 years to upgrade my PC so I will hand down my old one to someone else, and then they hand theirs off to someone else.

Trust me this works for years and works with a decently sized family. 2 nephews, 2 nieces, 1 brother/sister, and my parents. So they all get whats new to them PC every 1 1/2 to 2 years, unless I really feel like I need more power. :) 

Just seems the easiest way to build a PC for family, give them your old one and you build yourself a new one. :) 
May 3, 2007 7:00:39 PM

D4/V\n, I wish I had an uncle like you. :( 

Well first, if your going to us xp and he's not going to be doing any video editing, or graphics editing, 4 GB is overkill, Second, again unless he is going to be doing graphics editing, video edit often the E6600 is the most you need to go with, and you could probably go lower and still have a kick A$$ system, and that may save you enough money to go for the 8800GTX 640mb.
May 3, 2007 8:52:49 PM

Thanks, that's very good to know... 8O
May 3, 2007 11:37:48 PM

I want to thank everyone for their replies. I was giving some consideration about an SLI board and I will give it further following your advice. I'll take another look at Vista and talk to my nephew about it. I would rather put in air cooling vs. liquid, so I will look at that recommended heat sink. Micro Center had a sale last week on the E6700 without Heat Sink for $250, that was why I was considering it. If it happens again I might buy. I'll have to look at prices for the video 320 vs. 640 MB.

Lastly, I ain't that generous. My 24 year old, nephew has got a good job, he's paying for the parts. I'm just trying to keep the cost down and give him a good system.

Again thanks for all advice.

May 4, 2007 9:52:39 AM

I would grab the CPU now. For that price you could ebay for $400 then buy a e6600 and a good cooler and have an extra hundred to build around.
I don't think he needs 2 500 gb drives but then I am old school, "Who would ever fill up a 20GB HD?"
Yes very good system, let us know how it goes 8)
May 4, 2007 10:30:25 AM

Since you said your nephew can wait a month, then wait another 10 days for the HD2900XT. Hopefully it will actually come out on the 14th and cause the 8800 series to drop in price.

That is one hell of a deal on that E6700. Two of the best inexpensive heatsinks are the Cooler Master Hyper TX and the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro (which I have) and is available through eBay for only 28 bucks including shipping. These will do the job well.

But if you plan on extreme overclocks, check this heatsink review.

I have that Gigabyte mobo, it's a very good overclocker.

For HDD, 500 GB will cost more per GB than a 320GB drive. Two 320GB Seagate 7200.10 Perpendicular drives should be plenty for awhile.

For XP, 2GB of memory is enough, if you got Vista, then, 4GB will do you good.

Btw, merc14, where is the E6600 for $185?
May 4, 2007 1:12:23 PM

Btw, merc14, where is the E6600 for $185?

I don't know but if you find out let me know, I'll buy a three. :D  Actually I was referring to the price of the P5N32-E SLI Plus board. Not exactly accurate there, either, as the price has gone up from $184.99 to $186.99 at the Egg.

The Egg says that it has a 650i chip. It is actually a hybrid chip and yu must use the 680i drivers on the Plus as it has 40 full lanes of PCIe dedicated to graphics.

Sorry for the confusion, I guess I could've been clearer.