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System Builder Marathon: Mid Cost System

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September 18, 2007 8:27:32 PM

Honestly it's a good article to give an idea to people on how to spend their money, but I think that on some component choices it is mistaken, like PSU for instance, for $125 you could get a more powerful from a more reputable brand with maybe better quality (Don't know too much about AeroCool units other than I wouldn't put $120 on one of their units).

Also if I were to be on a $2000 budget I would push it for SLI GTX, but then again that's just an opinion. Other than that I really don't see why anyone would use an MSI board with eVGA and GIGABYTE making (In my opinion) superior products, let alone an MSI 650i. You could very well get an eVGA 680i mobo for maybe... $160-180? depending on which one it is.
September 18, 2007 8:35:53 PM

Well, I agree that the 650i mobo is quite questionable.

While it may be a fine board for the CPU specified, why limit yourself that way in the future.

1) Newer CPUs, even the Quad Cores, are going to have much faster FSB so you will need the speed then.

2) This is starting to get to be an older board. Full support for the Penryn processors is likely to be not as great as with a P35. Have they promised Penryn support on this Mobo. I certainly hope so.
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September 18, 2007 8:40:42 PM

I believe the 680i can support Penryn CPUs, not sure if ALL can, but at least some.
September 18, 2007 8:46:35 PM

Hmmmm...Excellent article.

It would certainly be remarkable if more applications could be optimized for multi-core technology like DivX. Thread-level parallelism built into the OS does not quite seem to do the job as well as an optimized app.
September 18, 2007 9:27:44 PM

Great article, especially for ppl who are looking to build in the future, like me!


Definitely seems to me the best bang for buck system is the mid cost system with some changes like a 8800 GTS 320 MB instead of the GTX. And a GA-P35-DS3R instead of nvidia SLI garbage mobo.

I can't wait for the high-end build and overclocking, although the B3 stepping will hurt the Q6600's OC results. Boo B3, haven't they run out of them yet?
September 19, 2007 12:40:37 AM

Can someone just clear this up for me..

Divx 6.6..doesn't it transcoding to Divx (AVI), rather than MP4 as cited in the benchmark results? Perhaps the Pro version does, I'm not sure.

Either way, the associated transcoding times look fantastic - it's just a pity the other audio/video software has yet to catch up.
September 19, 2007 6:12:16 AM

DivX/XviD videos are typically called "MPEG4" or "MP4" in spite of the .avi extensions, to differentiate them from uncompressed avi's. So far as I know, the name came up as a higher-compression alternative to the MPEG2 format used in traditional digital video (and later modified for DVD's).
September 19, 2007 2:46:58 PM

i haven't built a computer in years so i haven't paid attention to all the technology, but im in the market and looking to use this computer as a base.

i have two changes im thinking about making:

-more ram. Im planning using windows vista and looking for this computer to last a while. Is there a point to which you have too much ram. Im thinking about going up to 4 gigs

-Different mobo. i want to leave the door open for SLI. From the little research ive done, it seems like this mobo is a bit gimped, any other suggestions/tips on what i should be looking for.

Thanks in advance for the help

p.s. i mostly plan on using the computer for gaming, nothing else really intensive

September 19, 2007 3:48:19 PM

4 gigs of ram is a good amount, just make sure you pick up the 64-bit version of Vista or your system won't make use of it ;) 
September 19, 2007 4:23:49 PM

carnage4 said:
-more ram. Im planning using windows vista and looking for this computer to last a while. Is there a point to which you have too much ram. Im thinking about going up to 4 gigs


32-bit OS's can only use 3gb of RAM, anymore is a waste and can cause problems if I remember correctly.

You need a 64-bit OS (Vista 64, XP64) to use 4gb of RAM).
September 19, 2007 5:00:23 PM

Under Vista 32 there are no issues with 4 gb of RAM other than not being able to use all of it. Vista 32 will see between 3 and 3.5 gb of Ram depending on your configuration but there is no stability issue.
September 19, 2007 5:06:33 PM

what about a switch to a 680i chipset, like the EVGA 122-CK-NF67-A1 for example. is this worth the extra 20$ while still retaining overclocking potential?
September 19, 2007 5:56:14 PM

Keep in mind with Vista 64 there are quite a few application compatibility problems. Check the support website of your favorite apps before you go 64-bit. Unfortunately, this drove me to stay with 32-bit in my recent system build.

On the MOBO, I agree that there are better options out there. I wanted to do some moderate overclocking and video editing, so I got the P5k Deluxe.

Regarding the G0 stepping, I talked with AVADirect and they added this as a selection in their system builder, so you can specify this new stepping. They have gotten rave reviews from quite a few people and my experience so far is very good too (week two of my new system).
September 20, 2007 6:09:03 PM

In any event. You enter the water by building/buying a rig you are pretty much comitted to keeping it for a good period of time. Make you video card/memory upgrades only when needed.

Having to do another gaming rig article a few months later and comparing performance and cost issues ignores the really salient point of spending another $1500 in just a few months. For what? A 25% increase? Not really smart imho.
September 20, 2007 9:49:41 PM

emp said:
...like PSU for instance, for $125 you could get a more powerful from a more reputable brand with maybe better quality (Don't know too much about AeroCool units other than I wouldn't put $120 on one of their units).


It's been a solid PSU for us for a while now. I don't think it's a good idea to withold a recommendation just because the brand name doesn't dump alot into advertising...

As far as SLI - yeah, if this was a gaming system marathon we probably would have gone SLI in the midrange. But the marathon is for all-purpose systems. Maybe we'll do a gaming marathon in the future.
September 20, 2007 10:10:53 PM

cleeve said:
Maybe we'll do a gaming marathon in the future.


Yeh, and piss everyone off by using an E6850 in the high-end because they overclock better than quad-cores, and games aren't designed for quads. That could be fun!
September 20, 2007 11:25:47 PM

cleeve said:
It's been a solid PSU for us for a while now. I don't think it's a good idea to withold a recommendation just because the brand name doesn't dump alot into advertising...

As far as SLI - yeah, if this was a gaming system marathon we probably would have gone SLI in the midrange. But the marathon is for all-purpose systems. Maybe we'll do a gaming marathon in the future.


That's what I was trying to say... sort of. I'm not saying it's not a solid unit, since I haven't done any testing or seen any on it, but if it was MY money, I wouldn't drop the $120 on it and I usually recommend on stuff/choices I would get for myself, if it's someone else's money, then I don't mind one bit :) 
September 21, 2007 1:54:37 PM

Vista 64 has compatibility problems? Nahhhhh you must be kidding!
September 21, 2007 7:02:33 PM

Huh...? The only compatibility problems I've ever got with XP 64 and Vista 64 is my futile attempt to run 16-bit software, which won't run on a 64-bit platform. I would like to know why do people keep spitting the same crap over and over, but have never actually tested it for themselves.
September 22, 2007 11:07:54 PM

Huh?.....I thought he WAS kidding.
I am curious....how many 64 bit applications do you have on your X64 systems?

I am running x64 XP and there just does not appear to be a great deal of software to take advantage of the platform.
September 23, 2007 12:14:00 AM

Everytime there is a "new" OS there are problems with "old" stuff. Doesn't anybody remember when Win95 or Win98 was introduced?

I do!

Well how about this little problem I bought an inexpensive electronic organizer that met my minimal electronic organizer needs about 3 years ago. The organizer came with software to backup the data on your desktop. Nice feature for a $30 organizer. Only probelm the sucker's software only works with Win98. No Windows2000, XP or Linux. YEP, real smart. The manufacturer admitted that they wrote the unit's firmware to accept new drivers to upgrade the unit, but something written improperly in the firmware program only allows the unit replace the Win98 drivers with newer Win98 drivers, so they never changed the desktop software because the unit itself is incompatable with XP or other OS's.

What a waste of $30. Ok, I went ahead and kept the unit and used it until it died from concrete impact disease and then bought another brand that actually does backup to a desktop using a modern OS.

But that is just a classic example of equipment manufacturers living in their own little vacuum and expecting the OS writers to support the legacy products.

I have seen similar problems with a an entire collection of electronic equipment over the years. Printers that work with Win98 SP1, but won't work with Win98 SP2 (for gosh knows what kind of stupid reasons). Cameras that like XP and XP SP1, but go apeshitky with XP SP2 because of the built in fireware. Even simple things like Mice that go bonkers with a new OS or SP to an OS.

The problem is not the fault of the OS, it is equipment manufacturers that refuse to write the updated drivers to begin with, or worse yet refuse to write the proper firmware to accept updated drivers in the first place.

Yes we can all blame the OS manufacturer for failing to write support for legacy products. But let's be realistic, do we really need a computer built in 2006 or 2007 to be "required" to support 10 year old printers, just incase somebody is still using old equipment? You all know what "required" means? A whole bunch of drivers that must be loaded into the OS, a bunch of drivers that will never be used, but neverless will exist and will become corrupt and cause OS problems or BSOD issues. How about just solving the problem on the equipment side and keep the OS as clean as possible.

PS: I have a thermal printer for printing shipping lables. I acquired the unit back in mid 90's. Over they years, since I just ship a few packages from my desk, the unit didn't get a real high volume workout. The firmware is so generically written that the unit has worked with every generation of OS that I have ever used, including the original Win95 without requiring a firmware update. Currently the printer is being used with a Vista 64bit UPS Beta testing unit using the program's built-in generic print drivers! That is how firmware is supposed to be written. Hint hint everybody else. The everybody else most definitely applies to HP, as in the same HP whose 3 yr old HP laser can't work with Vista 64bit because the darn drivers still haven't been written.
September 23, 2007 12:35:07 AM

Exactly, you're completely right.

You may have had the impression I was referring to you, but I was actually referring to TexasVol post, sorry if I didn't specify earlier.
September 25, 2007 9:52:04 PM

In my opinion they should have gone with a 8800 GTS 640MB SLI configuration for the midrange. I believe it would have been possible to create a very close $2000 system. I easily found decent 8800 GTS 640 for $350 a card which would would make the total $700 which is $180 more than one 8800 GTX but much faster specially at resolutions above 1600x1200. I'd stick with the asus striker board which was only $160 more than the 650i board. Add the extra $340 to $1545 price thats $1885 add an extra fan for $15 that $1900. I found a decent (not top of line but no slouch either) 800w sli ready power supply for $180 which is $55 more than the 620 used in the article. Roughly, we are now at $1955. Since this is a Mid range pc and I look at it more as a starter high end I'm good with starting out at 250 GB and just add on later. Segate Barracuda 2007.10 sata 3.0gb with 16mb cache is very speedy and very quiet hovering around the $70 dollar range. Thats 55 dollars cheaper than the qouted western digital 500 gb drive. Coincidentally I'm back at $1900. The only way I would go over would be to add the Creative sound blaster card qouted at $180 would put me $80 over budget but it would be worth it. ;) 

It would be nice to see how my $2100 sli computer faired against the $3500, but I believe the performance versus cost would have come out a lot better. Even with out the Sound card add on I still make it under the $2000 budget.
December 18, 2007 5:42:54 PM

Upgrading my current setup I bought most of this hardware, except my original case and DVD burners. Also bought a slightly different WD SATA drive.

Trying a clean install of Vista Ultimate 32 bit OEM onto the unformatted SATA, I run into the apparently common problem Vista stopping installation and requiring DVD drivers it cannot find. Here's just a few links from other forums addressing this (Google: Vista installation DVD drivers)


http://forums.extremeoverclocking.com/t250122.html

http://www.vistax64.com/vista-installation-setup/10130-...

http://forums.microsoft.com/TechNet/ShowPost.aspx?PostI...

Some of the workarounds are burning a new ISO with Vlite, or installing chipset drivers on a thumb drive. Vista finds the chipset drivers on the thumb drive, but rejects them. Anyone have any insight on a clean Vista install with this hardware?
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