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Mid-level system based upon Tom's System Building Marathon

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July 18, 2007 2:31:09 PM

I am building my first system. It will be a general purpose computer but I will use it a lot for gaming. In addition to the standard web surfing, MS Office work, Quicken, I will also be using it for downloading video from my MiniDV video camera, editing it and creating DVDs. I have never overclocked a PC and probably won't overclock this one right away but I would like to eventually.

I based the build completely on the Tom's Hardware System building marathon article for Day 2 (mid level) and Day 3 (high end). Here's what I put together:

Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 (2.4GHz)
Cooler Master Hyper TX
MSI P965 Platinum
4x 1GB PDP Patriot Extreme Performance PC2-6400 Low Latency
EVGA 8800GTS 320MB
2x WD Caviar RE2 WD5000YS (RAID 0)
LIAN LI PC-60B PLUSII
PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 Quad
Sony NEC Optiarc 7170 SATA
Windows Vista Ultimate

Now after reading the motherboard reviews, I think I should go with a P35 motherboard instead of the P965 to get the 1333 FSB.

I was thinking about using the Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3P motherboard (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...)

I was thinking about the GA-P35C-DS3R to allow me to upgrade to DDR3 in the future but I think by the time DDR3 is faster, there will probably be better chipsets. Also, it didn't have a firewire (1394) port.

Any way, can folks comment on my build in general and the motherboard specifically?
July 18, 2007 6:15:35 PM

The P-35 mobo is probably better in the long run if you plan on updating your RAM, processor, etc. on down the road.

You might want to look at an ASUS P5K mobo if stuff like firewire ports and wi-fi are important. Also, you mentioned overclocking - both the ASUS and GIGABYTE mobo's should be good for that, but like I said - the ASUS is going to have more features/ports/etc.
July 18, 2007 6:21:11 PM

you will probaly not want raid 0 if you are doing finaces and that sort of stuff on your pc, you wont be able to recover anything should a disk fail

i also think it would be a good idea to get the e6650, instead it would be much faster, GO stepping and 1333 fsb, which would require a p35 or sli mobo, like the gigabyte ds3r or asus p5k
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July 18, 2007 6:47:41 PM

gators1223 said:
i also think it would be a good idea to get the e6650, instead it would be much faster, GO stepping and 1333 fsb, which would require a p35 or sli mobo, like the gigabyte ds3r or asus p5k

I'll consider the e6650 - any idea what it'll cost?
The motherboard I'm leaning toward is the Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3P since it has the 1394 port. Is there any other difference between the DS3R and the DS3P (I know the DS3P has 2 PCI-e x16/x4 slots and one less PCI-e x1 slot)?
July 18, 2007 6:55:23 PM

no i think those are the only differences, as for the e6650 i think it will cost with in $30 of what the current e6600 costs
July 18, 2007 6:57:13 PM

gators1223 said:
you will probaly not want raid 0 if you are doing finaces and that sort of stuff on your pc, you wont be able to recover anything should a disk fail


RAID 0 doubles the risk of data loss - so Gators1223 is correct. It has also been shown time and again that RAID 0 on the desktop does not deliver real-world speed enhancement.

Apart from that, the build looks OK to me - the gfx card especially is a good purchase


July 18, 2007 7:11:37 PM

You won't be able to buy a e6650 for any amount of money. The e6550 will come out at around $165, and the e6750 around $185.

Friends don't let friends run RAID-0. Not worth it.
July 18, 2007 7:54:56 PM

I understand the risk of one hard drive failing and losing all the data on both hard drives. But I was willing to take the added risk for better hard drive performance. (The only critical data would be the Quicken files and digital camera pictures which I could backup frequently.) But are you guys saying that RAID 0 doesn't provide substantial improvement in HD performance?

Would a Raptor be better for the OS and a single 500 GB HDD for apps?

Also any feedback specifically about the Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3P motherboard?
July 18, 2007 9:05:49 PM

Raid 0 does not provide substantial improvement in overall system performance. Except for some applications that are highly dependent on repeated disk access. Such as the multitasking business environment or the multiuser server environment. Thats just another way of saying it doesnt do squat for games.
From an older article but still accurate:

from: http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=2101&p=11
July 19, 2007 12:47:43 AM

Listen to the guy above RAID 0 and drop the mobo, also go for a GA-P35-DS3R, after those changes you're pretty much set to order, just make sure you have enough screws and a good screwdriver!
July 19, 2007 1:06:03 AM

emp said:
Listen to the guy above RAID 0 and drop the mobo, also go for a GA-P35-DS3R, after those changes you're pretty much set to order, just make sure you have enough screws and a good screwdriver!


Thanks everyone for the replies!

Two comments: The GA-P35-DS3R does not have a 1394 port... the GA-P35-DS3P does have a 1394 port. Since I want the firewire, I was going to go with DS3P. Of course, my old PC has a SB Audigy 2 sound card which has a 1394 port.

Would the Audigy 2 be a downgrade from the onboard audio if i used it for the firewire port?

Also, you guys convinced me to drop the RAID 0. The Hard Drives I picked out are Enterprise RAID edition HDD. If I'm not using RAID do you have another suggestion for HDD?
July 19, 2007 1:25:30 AM

Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7.2K rpm cache 8mb/16mb (not really important), and I don't think it would be a downgrade but then again Im not too hot on audio (most onboard stuff does the trick for me)
July 19, 2007 8:47:54 PM

OK, so maybe this is why I never built a system before. I keep second guessing everything.

The case was chosen solely based upon the System Building marathon day 3 article (high end PC). But in the overclocking article, it seems they had to add a fan, and they said they only chose that case because it seemed to be a "reader favorite". I don't really care about aesthetics that much. I want a good quality case, that's easy to work with and has good air flow for overclocking (when I get to that) and is quiet... Any suggestions?

Also is the Cooler Master Hyper TX a decent choice for limited over clocking and low noise level?

Thanks in advance for helping a beginner!
July 19, 2007 9:06:16 PM

That PCP&C 750W is an awesome PSU alright, but tbh you don't need it to power that system. The 620W Corsair will do you just fine with room for upgrades, and of course will save you some cash to boot.

The Hyper TX is ok for the money, yeah. It's a decent 'average' quality/value HSF.

Everyone has already pointed out the other glaring issues (P35 board; RAID 0).
July 20, 2007 12:37:23 PM

OK, here's where I'm at now:

Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 (2.4GHz) or E6700 or E6750
Cooler Master Hyper TX ($31 zipzoomfly)
Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3P motherboard ($167 newegg after tax & ship)
4x 1GB PDP Patriot Extreme Performance PC2-6400 Low Latency ($66 buy.com after discount & rebate for one)
(and $94 newegg after tax, ship, rebate for other)
EVGA 8800GTS 320MB ($270 zipzoomfly after rebate)
WD Caviar WD7500AAKS (750GB, 16MB, SATA2) ($198 zipzoomfly)
Corsair CMPSU-620HX 620W PSU ($127 zipzoomfly after rebate)
Sony NEC Optiarc 7170 SATA ($42.21 newegg after shipping & tax)
Windows Vista Ultimate

Any suggestions about the case. I'm having second thoughts about the Lian-Li PC-60B PlusII. I don't really care about aesthetics that much. I want a good quality case, that's easy to work with and has good air flow for overclocking (when I get to that) and is quiet.
July 20, 2007 12:50:24 PM

Antec P180 or Antec P182 are good, also the Thermaltake Armor. If you are in the $50s range, then the Centurion 5 or Centurion 534.
July 20, 2007 1:39:38 PM

Ah, the RAID debate again. I have run RAID 0 for years. In my experience, you can RAID a couple drives very inexpensively and overall system performance is noticably better, and no one can no way convince me otherwise. Based on my own experience, I disagree with anandtech's article, and all the RAID 0 naysayers. However, to be completely fair, I have not purchased a new drive in a while. The very newest drives out may be fast enough that putting them in RAID might not make quite the impact it did a year or so back. But even so...check this article http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/03/12/cheap_raid_ravag...
July 20, 2007 1:42:48 PM

Thanks Emp, those cases all have very good reviews at newegg. Is having the power supply at the bottom of the Antec cases an issue? Also, if quietness is a goal, are 120mm fans better than 80 or 90?

Again aesthetics are not important - what features do I lose if I go with the $50 Centurion 534? And are 2 fans enough to provide adequate ventilation for limited overclocking?

EDIT - I don't want any doors blocking access to my DVD drive so the Antec cases and Termaltake cases are out.
July 20, 2007 3:29:25 PM

120mm fans are defiantly better. Since they are bigger, they can rotate more slowly than 80mm fans and still move more air. The lower rpm's is key to less noise.


RAID 0 does give you better performance but it also doubles your chance of data loss. Regardless, it is a good idea to backup your data weekly or even daily. But if you do choose the RAID 0 route, it is even more important to back it up. So instead of paying the price of two drives, you would have to pay for 4.
July 23, 2007 7:24:38 PM

OK, this is what I purchased today. Also I plan to use Windows Vista Ultimate... Can anyone tell me if the 64-bit version is practical?

ZipZoomFly:
INTEL Core 2 Duo E6750 2.66GHz $198
COOLERMASTER Hyper TX cooler $31
WESTERN DIGITAL WD7500AAKS $198
Antec P180B Case $130 (has a $30 rebate so $100 AR)
Corsair HX CMPSU-620HX 620W $147 (has a $20 rebate so $127 AR)
EVGA GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB $290 (has a $20 rebate so $270 AR)

NewEgg:
Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3P $167 (after tax & shipping)
Sony NEC Optiarc 7170 SATA $36 (after tax)
2x 1GB Patriot Extreme PC2-6400 $144 (after tax shipping - has $50 rebate so $94) (already purchased)

Buy.com
2x 1GB Patriot Extreme PC2-6400 $123 (has $60 rebate so $63) (already purchased)

Thanks everyone for the feedback --- and if anyone has experience with the 64 bit version of Vista, please share. Thanks
July 23, 2007 7:39:17 PM

I'm using right now Vista Ultimate 64, and i just benchmarked games and GRAW2 and CoH are running as fast as they did under XP this morning. Just remember to grab the 162.22 beta drivers and not the WHQL ones from nVidia's website.
July 23, 2007 8:08:20 PM

emp said:
I'm using right now Vista Ultimate 64, and i just benchmarked games and GRAW2 and CoH are running as fast as they did under XP this morning. Just remember to grab the 162.22 beta drivers and not the WHQL ones from nVidia's website.


Emp - so I shouldn't have a problem finding 64-bit drivers for the components? What about apps like Quicken 2005, Pinancle Sudio DV Plus Version 9 or other non-game apps?
July 23, 2007 8:13:53 PM

I have no idea about those :p  (I use my PC for mainly gaming, but also some AutoCAD, and Office) You'll have to look for those apps on your own, I can tell you is that I have installed everything I usually install when I install XP and I have had no problems right now. Except for Atitool, but Atitool right now isn't even working on Vista 32 properly, so it's not 64-bit fault, but Vista's fault.
!