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New Midrange build, please critique!

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September 9, 2007 11:20:36 PM

I am working on a new system build for my wife and I. We both have different demands in a PC, as I like it primarily for gaming and she uses it mostly to record TV and video editing. I've tried to balance the components with this in mind. I've also tried to pick a motherboard that has good overclocking capabilities, as I want to learn more about OCing but do not intend to do it now.

I would like this computer to last at least 3 years and be upgradable. I don't need DX10 capability right now, as I don't have a lot of time for gaming and tend to play them about 2 years after they are released.

I don't need an operating system, and the little stuff (mice and keyboard), but will need a new monitor.

Midrange Build (approximately $1350)
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6750
http://stores.tomshardware.com/search_getprod.php/maste...

Graphics Card: Radeon X1950 XT GeCube (512 MB)
http://stores.tomshardware.com/search_getprod.php/maste...

Motherboard: MSI G33M-FI (microATX)
http://stores.tomshardware.com/search_getprod.php/maste...

Memory: Corsair Value Select PC2-5300 (1 x 2GB)
http://stores.tomshardware.com/search_getprod.php/maste...

Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 (750 GB)
http://stores.tomshardware.com/search_getprod.php/maste...

Optical Drive: NEC ND-3500A Black (DVDRW)
http://stores.tomshardware.com/search_getprod.php/maste...

PCI card: Linksys WMP54GX Wireless Network Adapter
http://stores.tomshardware.com/search_getprod.php/maste...

PCI card: Kworld ATSC-110 TV Tuner
http://stores.tomshardware.com/search_getprod.php/maste...

Power Supply: Corsair SLI Certified Modular ATX, 520W
http://stores.tomshardware.com/search_getprod.php/maste...

CPU Cooling: Cooler Master Hyper TX 2
http://stores.tomshardware.com/search_getprod.php/maste...

Display: HP W19b 19" LCD (16:10 Widescreen)
http://stores.tomshardware.com/search_getprod.php/maste...

Case: One of the Cooler Master Centurion 5 Mid towers, as they get good reviews on air flow.

This is my first build, so I have a few questions:

1) Can the Corsair PSU provide enough power for this build?
2) Is it worth upgrading to the Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 to make it "future-proof"?
3) I was thinking of downgrading to the GeForce 8600 GT to save about $80:
http://stores.tomshardware.com/search_getprod.php/maste...
3) Two alternative motherboards I am considering are the Abit Fatal1ty FP-IN9 SLI, and the GigaByte GA-G33M-
DS2R:
http://stores.tomshardware.com/search_getprod.php/maste...
http://stores.tomshardware.com/search_getprod.php/maste...

Please look over this build and offer your thoughts and suggestions! If there are any places to save money, that would be great.

Thanks!
Trevize
September 9, 2007 11:45:54 PM

hey there. Your build looks pretty good. I would get a nice P35 motherboard instead of the older G33 one. It would be much better. The PSU should be fine, you wont be using all that power anyways.

If you aren't going to Overclock, I wouldn't consider getting another cooler, the stock one is actually pretty good. These CPUs don't run too hot.

If you are looking into future proofing, get the Q6600 instead. You don't need the 6850. If you do gaming, don't downgrade the card too much. you can get the X1950Pro instead and it would be just fine.

If you have any questions at all, let know. Msg me anytime on aim or yahoo, Maximus9102. good luck with everything!
September 10, 2007 12:33:27 AM

I agree about the q6600 since it will be more future proof and your wife will gain a lot right now for her video work. (though the e6750 will also be great - don't bother with the e6850)

You said you wanted to OC in the future so you should:
Get faster ram (800MHz) because when you OC you'll also want the RAM to match the FSB in 1:1 (Corsair are good. also look at G.Skill and OCZ)
Change the board to a P35 one. on-board graphics tends to limit the OC capability, and since you are getting a video card you really don't need it. (the Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3 for example)

In most (all?) games the 1950pro gives better fps than the 8600gt the only downside is that new video features. Currently I think it is the best price-performance card.

The corsair is a very powerful and reliable PSU. It's a great choice, though if you want to save some money you can get something less expensive but with this one you can be sure that it will hold on even with your next graphic card.

Your wife my also benifet from a monitor with a better panel (i think this one has a TN panel)

Hope it was helpful
Uri
Related resources
September 10, 2007 1:29:16 AM

You may want to get a pci or pci-e N wireless card and p-35 board. Also look at pci-e TV Tuner cards.
September 10, 2007 2:44:05 AM

As was said, Q6600 and P35. Why do you want on board graphics? Why do you want Micro ATX, there is no need to go micro ATX with that case.

That Corsair will handle your needs even with a Q6600 OC to 3G. This PS will give you a little more headroom and is real cheap from the manufacturer Silencer® 610 EPS12V Power Supply, check it against Newegg pricing.

Get DDR2 800 RAM more OC headroom. Especially if you get a Gigabyte board, because as far as I can see they only allow for a 4:5 divider on OC not a 1:1. That means at 3G/1333 your ram will be at 1666. Make sure you get ram that is on the compatibility list for the mobo that you choose. Some mobo/RAM combinations can be problematic. A good choice for the Gigabyte, at least the GA-P35-DQ6, is the Crucial Ballistix 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400).

Also get a top of the line cooler, the Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme CPU Cooler - Retail and pair that with the Scythe S-FLEX SFF21F 120mm Silent Fan - 1600 RPM. The Newegg price on that fan just got outlandish. Watch that Ultra-120 at the HS factory, the mounting hardware comes separate.

Then OC to your hearts content.

Edit: If you are going to do home movies you might want to get a mobo with firewire.
September 10, 2007 5:18:36 PM

Thank you for the quick replies, they have been very helpful!

I was going to modify the build with a MSI P35 Platinum motherboard (for a compromise of features and price,) Patriot PC2-6400 2x1GB memory, and an Intel Q6600 CPU:
http://stores.tomshardware.com/search_techspecs_full.ph...
http://stores.tomshardware.com/search_getprod.php/maste...
http://stores.tomshardware.com/search_getprod.php/maste...

It's only about an extra $200, which is still within our budget. I have one quick question:

1)The Q6600 gives off much more heat then the Duo processors, so is the stock fan enough for normal use? (No OC)

Thanks!
Trevize
September 10, 2007 6:10:17 PM

Yes the stock on it enough. The stock is even enough for OCing to 2.6Ghz without any heat increase. These cpus really run cool, so there is no worry there.
September 10, 2007 7:22:11 PM

There are a lot of programs out there to monitor your CPU temp, so that you can determine if its cool enough for you. The stock HS will be OK as Solariscs has said. Down the road if you want really cool or want to overclock get the Ultra120 extreme in my post.

One last important note:
Mount the stock HS with the board outside of the case. Pay special attention to the mounting pins in order to ensure that they lock properly into place on the mobo. Immediately upon boot go into BIOS and check the CPU temp to ensure that it is not skyrocketing. If it is very high, then check the mounting of the HS. The stock HS pins are notorious for not locking into place properly.
September 10, 2007 8:15:19 PM

As you've indicated in your later choices, you want two sticks of RAM so you can run in dual-channel mode.
With no concern for DX10, the x1950PRO (or XT) mentioned by Solariscs and Uri would be very good.
That Corsair PSU is a good choice, extra power or not. It will give you headroom for a future GPU upgrade if you want it.
If you're not overclocking, or won't go beyond a mild-moderate OC, the stock cooler should be enough. If you think you will want to OC more later, it will be easier to start with a better cooler now than having to take out your mobo to install it later. The Thermalright cooler linked by Zorg is supposed to be one of the best. You would probably also be happy with the lesser (but still good) Freezer 7 Pro, but take note of Zorg's warning about being sure the mounting clips are in properly. If you plan to move this machine around a lot, like to take it to LAN parties, a clip-mounted cooler could easily pop loose.
IMHO (only), I believe that Gigabyte boards are likely to be of higher quality than MSI. I have a GA-G33M-DS2R which works well. It is a micro board, which you may not want or need, but it has firewire; I think some of the full-sized P35 boards have that too, but I know some don't. If you aren't concerned about overclocking (which some have said will be limited by its onboard graphics), this board has all the other options it sounds like you may want.
!