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Next build - criticism welcome

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June 2, 2007 3:18:20 PM

I've finally finished my exams, so it's time to put together my next build. I'm a bit disappointed, as the monitor I wanted to get (20" Samsung for £170 odd on ebuyer) is no longer around, and the cheaper Gigabyte DS3 board is out of stock. Here's what I've put together from what I've seen:

Intel E4300 (will OC) - £85
Noctua U12F CPU cooler - £36.41
NEC Optiarc DVD-RW - £19.99
2GB Corsair XMS C4 667MHz RAM - £49.99
eVGA 8800GTS (@ 576MHz) - £250
Gigabyte 965P DS3 iP965 - £76.60
150GB WD Raptor - £144.41
160GB Freecom portable HDD - £71.99
Floppy drive - £3.41 (so I can install WinXP in AHCI mode)
Logitech MX Revolution mouse - £53.98
Enermax Aurora Aluminium keyboard - £40
Samsung 20" 206BW widescreen monitor - £189
NZXT HUSH case (not avaible in UK yet) - I'd put a safe estimate on this of £100
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Total - roughly £1200

This was all put together with scan, ebuyer and komplett.co.uk
Stuff I've already got are - 200GB Maxtor SATA HDD, 300GB Maxtor IDE HDD, 300GB Maxtor SATA HDD, Zalman ZM-600 PSU (42A on +12V rails). As I've had my exams, I've lost touch with whats going on at the moment a bit, so any help would be much appreciated :) 

More about : build criticism

June 2, 2007 6:57:55 PM

Floppy Drive.....>XD


WHat are your intentions in gaming - mid, or heavy?
June 2, 2007 7:27:09 PM

Pretty heavy. I'm intending to buy Test Drive Unlimited, plus, I'm very much looking forward to UT2007. Thing is, I'm not sure if the 8800GTX is value for money. I'm considering saving money by getting an E4300 and 8800GTS instead. Some of the money saved could then be used to get 2GB of Crucial Ballistix C3 RAM, the rest I can just save for a rainy day (or perhaps an iPod nano :wink: )
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June 2, 2007 8:09:13 PM

With that cooler, I'd say an E4300 clocked to 3 gigahertz with an 8800GTX would serve well. Life of the chip, well, we are talking maybe a year or more with that overclock. Of course a Conroe chip will work at that spec pretty easy.

I'd say since your memory can take a 667 clock pretty easy, just clock the E6600 up to a 333 FSB and get 2.997, or basically. But you know, looking at Newegg (US site I know) I think there is better memory for less out there. My Euro to US conversions suck as Im not up to date on the amounts, but there was a 2 gig stick of G.Skill at C4 667 for $89.

And For $219, there is a 2gigx2stick set from G.Skill. so 4 gigs. Also, remember, your RAM needs to be 1.8 volt to work with that board. You can always reduce the voltage later, but a stick that natively runs at the right voltage I would think is going to run better.

Otherwise a solid setup. Boy, I messed up when I built my system. I spend roughly a grand for an E5300 when it was $172, spend $114 on a XT1650, and nearly $200 for 2 gigs of G.Skill that are now $100.
June 2, 2007 8:45:38 PM

I'd forget the raptor and get a case without a door. The NZXT ADAMAS is nice but pricey. Also you might want the Rev. 3.3 mobo.
June 2, 2007 9:20:06 PM

Raptors seem to be regarded as overrated round these parts. Just RAID a couple of 7200.10 drives instead.

Might be worth considering a P35 motherboard for a bit of extra futureproofing? The Gigabyte DS3R is about £75.

The Logitech G15 is better than the Saitek but then it's a bit more expensive. Hardly a major issue though to be honest. Logitech G5 is probably a better value mouse, especially if you can find the new one with two thumb buttons.

£26 will get you an extra 2" of Samsung screen on ebuyer if you think that's worth it.

Other than that it looks good -- where did you get the Corsair RAM for that price? It's pretty cheap.
June 2, 2007 11:34:35 PM

On the RAM front - yeah, I noticed the massive price drops, but there's not much point in 800MHz RAM - I'd never get a stable CPU clock to match it. 1 year with an E4300 just isn't practical, so I'll have to go with the E6600 - I want to the build to last two years. (I initially thought the E4300 was just a binned E6600 with 2MB less cache, meaning it would handle the same overclock).
I will definately look at the P35 board, which is out this Monday. If it is only £75, then that's just £5 more than the standard DS3, although I'm unsure as to whether it would have the same overclocking potential. Raptor is probably more practical for me - I've got enough HDDs without buying another two (I think I'd struggle to get 5 HDDs and the 8800GTX into the case). I don't actually know anything about setting RAID up either. I also looked at the G11 keyboard (don't see the point of the screen on the G15), but I don't like the fact that it's bigger and takes up more desk space. Furthermore, I've had it with wired mice, so the G5 isn't for me (cheers for the heads up though). Main reason I'm getting the 20" Samsung is because it's the same resolution as the 22", and 20" is more convenient to carry around. Finally, I found the RAM at that price on ebuyer - although prices are pretty similar elsewhere (even on overclockers.co.uk) due to the release of DDR3.
June 2, 2007 11:38:56 PM

Oh, and I checked - the Corsair XMS RAM I chose runs at 1.8v. I was considering the Ballistix for tighter timings, but that runs at 2.2v.
June 3, 2007 12:27:32 AM

Ah, well done then. I agree, if you can get a P35 board, then hell, screw this P965 stuff. As far as processors go, I'd agree that the E6600 is more reliable (conroe=rocksolid), but unless you really want a 3.6 or so, I still think an E4300 would work out well. Then again, try some of those deal-a-day websites and see if you cannot find a E6600 a little bit cheaper: it sounds stupid, but (speaking in USD again) if the E6600 was just $20 cheaper, I really think it'd be just about the best chip on the market, price/performance.

Man, I really built my machine at a bad time: I built in January and if I'd waited to now, better stuff could of been had that would of lasted roughly a few months longer (just a prediction: the next big leap in PC hardware will come in June of 2008).

Oh well. All I do is watch that video of Andy Dick being pulled off of Jimmy Kimmel anyway.
June 3, 2007 7:08:35 AM

Yeah, I was definately leaning towards the E4300 before because it's so cheap. Do you think an overclock of 2997MHz (1333FSB) would be stable for a couple of years?
I wouldn't lament about your build too much - there's always something better around the corner. I remember when a friend of mine bought a Pentuim 3 - the day after he did, the Pentium 4 came out!!!! Plus, it's going to be a while before DX10 really comes to the fore.
Oh, and could you elaborate on the RAM voltage stuff, please? I just picked the Corsair without knowing about voltage settings. What difference does matching it to the board make, or running it below it's standard voltage?
I had a look at the P35 boards. There's one that's cheaper than the DS3, but the images I've seen of it suggest that it doesn't actually have an DDR3 slots. Some sites seem to suggest that it doesn't support 13333FSB either.
June 3, 2007 7:53:21 AM

Sorry, just another thing having looked around at graphics cards on ebuyer. The XFX 8800GTX (cheapest GTX) is £347.41. However, I'm wondering if I'd be much better off getting the eVGA Superclocked 640MB GTS. It has the same clock speed, slightly slower VRAM (1700 vs 1800), but more importantly, it's under £200. I'm guessing the GTX has more pipelines/stream processors, but would there be a significant difference between an overclocked 640MB GTS and a stock GTX?
June 3, 2007 1:37:39 PM

For current games and probably even games coming out later this year, an 8800GTX would probably be overkill for a display that will only do 1680x1050. I think you'd be just fine with an 8800GTS 640MB.

EDIT: Looking at ebuyer though, the 640MB version definitely isn't under £200, it's £268.49 inc VAT. The 320MB version is a shade under £200 though.
June 4, 2007 1:17:27 AM

I would go with a 8800GTS 640MB - If you're uncomfortable with OC, then spend the extra dough on the OCed Version - it's worth it.
June 4, 2007 7:08:44 AM

Ah, cheers foxrocks!! I always wished Ebuyer would put the 320MB, 640MB GTS and GTX in separate categories. I think I'll drop down to the E4300 (it should last at least a couple of years oc'ed to 1333FSB, right?), but I'm still not sure on the graphics card. I'm wondering whether to get the 320MB 8800GTS and then use the eVGA step-up program when the 8900's come out.
June 4, 2007 8:35:12 AM

I thik the step-up thingy has to be done within 90 days or so, so you'd better hope the 8900 series is out by September if you're planning on doing that. :p 
June 4, 2007 10:41:25 AM

Yeah, true. I guess I could get the 640MB 8800GTS by eVGA. That way, even if the 8900 doesn't come out, it's still liable to last longer than the 320MB.
June 4, 2007 11:37:05 AM

Or just buy the 320MB version now to save a bit of cash short term, then when your 90 day period is close to running out you can upgrade to an 8900 if they're released by that time or an 640MB if they're not.
June 4, 2007 12:04:14 PM

The E6600 and E6700 are so close in price now that I highly recomend that latter due to its higher multiplier.

The Noctua heat sinks are top notch, but I would have to suggest a Thermalright Ultra 120 eXtreme.

Instead of purchasing Corsair memory, I would choose Buffalo FireStix with D9s and incredible overclocking and the potential for much tighter timings.

A single Raptor is never enough. Get two Raptor 150s and build a RAID0 array with a 32kB block.

The MX is a quality mouse, but my preference is the G7 or Death Adder.

Once again, the Eclipse is a very nice keyboard, but I prefer the G15.
June 4, 2007 12:05:18 PM

Quote:
Or just buy the 320MB version now to save a bit of cash short term, then when your 90 day period is close to running out you can upgrade to an 8900 if they're released by that time or an 640MB if they're not.


The 8900GT cards will be released around Christmas time this year.
June 4, 2007 12:26:01 PM

Personally I'd stick with the Raptor - they are noticeably fast - although I'm definitely biased as I have one.

I'm a skinflint at heart, so I would go for the 8800GTS vs the 8800GTX, but I think it *could* be worth buying a 8800GTX, as it isn't really badly priced considering its position in the market.

It has no competitor except the 8800Ultra, which is ridiculously priced, and with ATI's problems it looks doubtful that there will be anything to challenge it for some time - so it should hold its value pretty well.
June 4, 2007 1:42:37 PM

Thanks for the suggestions Proof, but I just couldn't fit that stuff in my budget. Plus, I've never seen FireStix RAM on sale in the UK.
ethel - I'm the same as you, would normally go for the 8800GTS. The GTX is £100 more, but it always seems to be a LOT better than the GTS on the performance charts. I think I may end up with the GTX, but I'm going to save a bit of cash by opting for the E4300 oc'ed to 2997MHz.
June 4, 2007 2:15:54 PM

Am I just being blind or is the cheapest DDR2-6400 RAM on ebuyer £69?

http://www.ebuyer.com/customer/search/index.html?rb=283...

I can't find anything for £49.99 (unless you mean 2 x 1GB @ £49.99 each?).

If so there's better value RAM about than that for sure -- a 2GB kit of Ballistix (guaranteed D9 chips) is about £75 direct from Crucial.

EDIT: Forgot the VAT, more like £90. Still better RAM than the Corsair IMO though if the 2.2v isn't an issue.
June 4, 2007 9:52:02 PM

yeah, that's the RAM I was referring to originally, jamesgoddard. As you said, there's no point in me getting the 800 stuff if I'm only going to clock up to 1333FSB.
June 8, 2007 10:05:47 AM

Update: I've decided to save a bit of money by changing to the E4300, 8800GTS. I've also gone for the Enermax Aurora Aluminium keyboard, just because I prefer the look of it over the Saitek (I'm not someone who's fussed about media keys). I'm thinking I'll get the eVGA 8800GTS, so that if the new nVidia cards come out in the next 3 months, I can use the step-up program.
June 8, 2007 11:50:36 AM

EVGA FTW!

<--- Future Wolfdale Owner
<--- Future Yorksfield Owner
<--- Future 8950GX2 Owner
June 8, 2007 12:14:55 PM

Will that be x2 SLI'ed 8950 XTXs?
June 8, 2007 12:34:21 PM

No SLi on the X38
June 9, 2007 9:58:30 AM

Yeah, I did look at mobo's with DDR3 supported, but I'm not interested. I know that when I next come to upgrade, I'll get a whole new system anyways, so I don't need DDR3 support now. I really don't think I can be bothered to wait till July 22nd. I'll be waiting forever at this rate. Only reason I'm waiting at the moment, is because I've got my heart set on the NZXT HUSH case.
!