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Yet another "I'm building this system" thread . . . with jokes!

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October 13, 2007 3:04:40 AM

My faithful computer of over four years recently suffered a permanent breakdown, totally unrelated to punching out Osama bin Laden. I think salvaging its surviving parts at this point would be more trouble than it's worth, especially since, relatively cheaply, I can build a system that shouts "My dong is bigger than yours" at my roommate. I want to build a computer that will last another four, hopefully five years. Let's start with the system itself (I'm not necessarily getting everything from Newegg, but for reference we'll use their prices and links), and then deal with questions about the power supply after, and then hopefully people will flame me in witty and informative ways:

Motherboard: MSI P35 Neo2-FR LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX for $126.60 with s/h
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16813130098
Possibly the most aggravating part to research. The only thing that seemed clear to me was that the P35 chipset was a best bet. Beyond that, I don't need many bells or whistles, and I'm never going to RAID any hard drives. Of the low end motherboards, MSI had the most expensive, but the only one with a) six USB ports and b) more than just one PCIe x16 slot. Of course if I'm missing something important, I'm more than willing to change my mind on this part.

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 Conroe 2.66GHz 4M shared L2 Cache LGA 775 for $194.99
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16819115029
Go down a speed notch and save just a little; go up a notch and spend another $85. I think that means this is the sweet spot.

RAM: CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) for $62 after rebate
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16820145034
Hard to argue with $40 off. I'd actually like to put faster RAM into this thing to take advantage of the maximum FSB speeds, but the prices get too crazy. I was considering trying to get away with using my old 1GB of DDR RAM and just waiting for prices to go down, but I'm not sure I can do that, and I'm not sure prices will go down that much anyway. Feel free to tell me I'm wrong.

Video Card: MSI NX8600GT-T2D256EZ GeForce 8600GT 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 SLI for $95.32 after rebate
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16814127293
Tom's Hardware just rated this thing (gotta make sure it's the DDR3 version) a best buy for its price range. I only game a very little bit, and this puts up some decent numbers for the price. Also, DirectX 10 compatible.

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar RE WD1600YS 160GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s for $65.28
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16822136062
I may get yelled at for this one, but I don't care. I just don't need the extra storage, as I'm not hardly pressed for space as it is with my 120GB drive. It's aging though, and it's IDE, so I'm replacing it. If bigger hard drives had the same performance as single platter drives like this one, I'd go for it, but the smaller Caviars are just significantly faster, and I'll take that over space I don't need any day. Besies, I can always add a second drive.

Chassis: My old Antec 660AMG. For free.

Optical Drives: Blah blah blah, hardly worth mentioning. A standard DVD-ROM and a DVD burner (both SATA) are in order, but the one thing you may care about is the current $30 off Plextor's DVD burner.


Here we get a little iffy . . .
Power Supply: XCLIO GREATPOWER X14S4P4 650W ATX12V 650W Power Supply for $127.83
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16817189008
Of different computer parts, I know the least about power supplies. Searching the forums has made me absolutely paranoid that I could blow my system by seeing the PSU's performance degrade over time, and I really have no idea how to estimate the amount of juice needed for my new system, especially long-term. Everyone seems to be recommending scarily powerful units for new system builds, and I don't know what qualifies as overkill. This PSU has modular cabling, so some clutter will get cleared up inside the chassis, I think it's powerful enough (god I hope so, if anything I thought I would need something more like 500W), and it's listed in tier 2 (see http://www.tomswiki.com/page/Tiered+PSU+Listings?t=anon for the list), or in other words, has a good reputation.

Is there such a thing as having too much power, and having a lot go to waste when a system never needs to draw on that much? And if so, how do you know how much is too much? This power supply is roughly twice the price of what I see some other PSUs going for, so I'd rather spend less if spending more doesn't net me either a lot of extra stability, longevity, or efficiency. That's mostly what I was hoping you guys had insight into.
October 13, 2007 3:57:07 AM

MB is ok.Cpu is a good choice and OC's well.Corsair ram=bueno(forget about the old ddr ram it won't work.)Video card is cheap but weak DX10 or not.Everything else looks ok except I don't have much experience with XClio PSUs but it should be fine too.Someone else will give thier opinion of them I am sure.
October 13, 2007 5:19:32 AM

Yep - with that motherboard (and almost all, there is one out there that takes DDR and DDR2) Core 2 duo motherboards the old DDR wont work.

Personally i like yur choices. I dont honestly think you will be unhappy with your choice of DDR2 800 RAM, and more than likely you would never notice the difference.

Honestly - a 450w power supply would be more than you need, a 650w will run quite nicely. The one you chose (XClio From newegg) has 85% efficiency. It looks more than capable though I know nothing of the company. Good choice on modular, I've always wanted one, but I'm to cheap to care. I choose a 450W non modular 80% efficient power supply and it has no issues. NO, there is no such thing as to much power, it does not sit there and go to waste, the power supply only outputs as much as the computer needs in ANY situation. BTW, do you need an SLI certified power supply, if not save a lil cash (I would but like I said, I'm cheap).

I personally own a 8600GT DDR3, 256MB card. Plays everything I want flawlessly. I got mine on sale (no stupid rebates) at newegg for $99. Look at the reviews it's DX10 performance sucks ass. IF, if you want good directx 10, this is not your card, but you said you don't game much. If I was in your shoes with the same amount of money to spend, I would personally buy an $80 power supply and get an ATI 1950 (any of the 1950's) it does better in games by leaps and bounds. Again though my 8600gt works flawlessly in every game I play.

Edit: the 8600GT offers *playable frame rates* on DX10 titles, if you have a CRT that plays at 1024x768. Go any higher you will have some issues with DX10 games.
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October 13, 2007 6:18:26 AM

I would offer the following changes:

GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Model #: GA-P35-DS3L
Item #: N82E16813128059
$109.99

CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX ATX12V V2.2 550W Power Supply - Retail
Model #: CMPSU-550VX
Item #: N82E16817139004
$99.99 = $79.99 after MIR

Western Digital Caviar SE WD1600AAJS 160GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Model #: WD1600AAJS
Item #: N82E16822136075
$49.99
October 13, 2007 1:53:38 PM

tlmck said:
I would offer the following changes:

GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Model #: GA-P35-DS3L
Item #: N82E16813128059
$109.99

CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX ATX12V V2.2 550W Power Supply - Retail
Model #: CMPSU-550VX
Item #: N82E16817139004
$99.99 = $79.99 after MIR

Western Digital Caviar SE WD1600AAJS 160GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Model #: WD1600AAJS
Item #: N82E16822136075
$49.99


No explanations? I need the decision-making process in order to make a good decision, so let's hash things out a bit, and then I'll make some changes.

The Gigabyte board is slightly cheaper, but only has four USB ports, four SATA devices max, and 1 PCI Express x16 slot. The MSI board has six, five, and two, respectively. Because I tend to keep computers for the long haul, I do like to have a little expandability beyond what I need right now just in case I want to add things later, so my initial choice was MSI. However, if Gigabyte is significantly more reputable or there is something I hadn't considered, I would definitely be open to switching my motherboard choice.

For the PSU you mentioned, do you suggest it just because it's less overkill than 650W, or because the 12v amperage is higher than the XClio, or something else? I notice MTBF on both is pretty sick. If this PSU had modular cabling, I might switch without even a second thought, but since it doesn't I might need some convincing.

The only difference between the two hard drives is that I listed the one with a 16MB cache, and the cheaper one has an 8MB cache. Is there really no practical difference?
October 13, 2007 2:59:59 PM

Just to toss in a quick note here. I've never owned an MSI board. I have always been a fan of Gigabyte (never ever one issue with any Gigabyte board). The one you have listed has PCI-Express (3-1x) (1-16x) (1-4x) look at the specs. The extra PCI-express slot there is not an extra x16 slot. This motherboard also states it supports Crossfire, do you plan on buying 2 ATI video cards in Crossfire for this? Though I must say it has some nice features, lots of USB, 2 eSATA (which allows external SATA drives).

You prolly would never notice the difference in cache sizes between the 2 hard drives BTW, but more is never a bad thing in this case....
October 13, 2007 3:54:44 PM

No Crossfire for me, that's a feature I can do without. A single, decent NVidia card should do me fine. You're right about the PCI-E slots, although the x4 is still more than any of the other baseline motherboards offer (they all have x16s and then a few x1s and some standard PCI slots). And yeah, I might very well add an external hard drive, but I thought those were supposed to be plugged into a wall socket/surge protector rather than draw power from the PSU.

Here's kind of a random thought: Is it beneficial in terms of efficiency or speed to have a PCI/PCI-E sound card, or is it easier for the system to just use the onboard sound?
October 13, 2007 4:17:37 PM

I friken hate these "help me build my computer" threads!!! Do some quality time on reading hardware reviews and don't make me waist my time!!!

OK, now for the informative part of my post.

Personally I'd go for the Gigabyte Intel GA-P35-DS3R to, if you don't plan on sticking in two graphics cards in SLI why bother with the extra cash for an SLI board? I've owned numerous Gigabytes in the past and never had a problem, friends who've owned MSI and Asus have had problems, so I'll keep recommending Gigabyte from personal experience.

The graphics card could use a bit of an upgrade, if you're looking at DX10 probably go for the 320mb 8800GTS, or wait a couple weeks for the 8800GT. The 8800GT should perform decently and shouldn't break the bank. But if you cant wait or don't have the cash then stick with the 8600GT. Otherwise stay with DX9 and a nice AMD 1950 series card.

As for the power supply you can do the leg work for your self on eXtreme Power Supply Calculator

I hope my flaming was informative, for any further queries click here
October 13, 2007 5:58:59 PM

GeoMan said:
I friken hate these "help me build my computer" threads!!! Do some quality time on reading hardware reviews and don't make me waist my time!!!


Awesome.

It seems like people really prefer the Gigabyte boards. If only they gave up more than four measly USB ports, I wouldn't be so hesitant. Then again, I don't want this system to go the way of my old one where my Asus motherboard finally died. Damn it Gigabyte, you're killing me here. I guess I'll have to live with the four USB ports.

Incidentally, I think half of the new systems listed on these forums would be woefully underpowered if the eXtreme Power Supply Calculator were accurate. I played with it while doing my initial searches but couldn't even tell if they were talking about rated wattage or delivered, which is considerably less.


Edit: Okay, maybe I'm giving in to marketing hokum, but the Ultra Durable 2 qualities have pretty well pushed me over the edge to the GA-P35-DS3R, even though it's a little more expensive than the MSI board.
October 13, 2007 7:11:17 PM

eSATA drives are *usually* if not always in an enclosure, which need external power.

I rather think of power supplies in this manner. Why put anything in your system that is borderline on power requirements. Pushing anything close to its maximum for extended periods is not a good thing. A strong power supply that is only ever used at half capacity (wattage wise) will last MUCH longer than one that is pushed constantly. Lack of USB is fixed easily with a cheap hub. It's what I've always done to keep extra cables off my case anyway. I'd rather have a lil hub up on my desk to plug crap into, rather than plugging it into the case. This doesn't apply to devices that are permanent (mouse, printer, keyboard).

IMHO, I can't really think of anything bad about the MSI board, just never used one. I've owned more than a couple diff brands. The only ones that never glitched, till the day I retired them, where gigabyte boards. Take from my experience what you will...
October 13, 2007 11:56:09 PM

bokuden13 said:
No explanations? I need the decision-making process in order to make a good decision, so let's hash things out a bit, and then I'll make some changes.

The Gigabyte board is slightly cheaper, but only has four USB ports, four SATA devices max, and 1 PCI Express x16 slot. The MSI board has six, five, and two, respectively. Because I tend to keep computers for the long haul, I do like to have a little expandability beyond what I need right now just in case I want to add things later, so my initial choice was MSI. However, if Gigabyte is significantly more reputable or there is something I hadn't considered, I would definitely be open to switching my motherboard choice.

I recommended these based on experience with each product. I cannot speak to the longevity of the Corsair PSU as I have only had it for three weeks. However, I can tell you that the voltages coming out of it are "spot on" based on readings from my Fluke meter.

I recommended the Gigabyte board as a solid, slightly cheaper alternative that I have been using for the last 7 months. If you truly think you are going to ever use more features than it has, by all means buy something else. Based on my 17 years of build experience, I have found "basic" boards to be the most reliable, and have also found that most folks do not even use all the features that "basic" boards offer.

Lastly, I purchased the 8gb cache model HD 7 months ago based on a Tom's Hardware recommendation. I have not been disappointed. Based on my experience, larger hard drive caches do not increase performance noticeably. Benchmarking programs may say otherwise, but I am not a benchmarking program. I rely on my eyes.

I will not comment on your other choices as they seem fine to me.
October 20, 2007 2:27:50 AM

So everything got here fine, and I was happy as a clam with changing my mind to get a Gigabyte motherboard instead of an MSI. Too bad the video card doesn't fit. I was really looking forward to a super quiet system, having no fan on the video card, but MSI really screwed the pooch on this one. What's difficult to see in the pictures they give you is that the heatsink in on TOP of the card, not below, and it's much larger than you can guess from the pictures. It was hitting my RAM, and bending the stupid thing down a little only got it out of the way where the heatsink would be right up against the card itself. LAME.

I like the idea of passive cooling. I also like the idea of a really good deal. I am therefore trying to decide right now which is more important. To give my system a little more power, I could go with a 512 MB PNY 8600GT or I could go with the only other passively cooled card I could find that doesn't weigh three tons in a Gigabyte 8600GT.

Or I could go the super cheap route and deal with fan noise with an EVGA 8600GT, which is about $25 less than the no-fan Gigabyte.

Who goes cheap? Who goes passive? Who goes for $50 off the beefiest card?
October 20, 2007 3:45:49 PM

tlmck said:
Looks you got the last MSI fanless card at Newegg. They do not even list it any more.

How about this one instead? Looks pretty compact to me. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I'm not sure that one is even big enough to fit in my case. It may very well be too small.
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