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$1,053. My FIRST build. AMDX2-6400/8800GT. Comments? Concerns? Advice?

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November 28, 2007 4:30:37 AM

Hey everyone!

First off, When researching benchmarks and reviews i always find myself clicking on this site in google. I've decided I would like to be a part of the forum community.
This site helped me ALOT. I have a greater understanding of computer hardware and such from this site. Thanks :D 

This is my first time building a computer. I've been taking an IT class, and learned a lot. I think my skills are decent enough to take a shot at building my own computer.
It's gonna be a Christmas present. I haven't had a new computer in....5 years. lmao :p 

I'm trying my best to keep this new build in the $1,000-$1,150 range

THIS WILL BE A GAMING COMPUTER.

A couple concerns I have are:
PSU : Enough wattage? ; Will I have enough wattage if I would like to upgrade? ;
OEM PRODUCTS : are drivers hard to find?
FANS : I will be making an acrylic side panel, will four 140mm case fans fit on it?
Compatibility : I have checked and double checked, it seems like I have everything set, but did I miss anything?
VISTA : Is DX10 worth it?
CPU Cooler : I heard the zalman 9700 NT uses a 4pin power connector on the MOBO. Will anything else be using that 4pin connection on the mobo?
OVERCLICKING : I have never overclocked anything before. Can I simply overclock the cpu by changing some settings in the BIOS? How about the memory? The graphics card can be overclocked from the nvidia graphics card program correct?

Comments, concerns, and advice are insanely appreciated. This new build is going to be purchased very soon for Christmas.



CASE $15.99 - Rosewill R220-P-BK ATX Mid Tower case

MOBO $84.99 - GIGABYTE GA-M57SLI-S4 ATX motherboard

GFX $299.99 - EVGA GeForce 8800GT Superclocked 512MB 256-bit

PSU $124.99 - CORSAIR ATX12V v2.2 and EPS12V 2.91 520W Power Supply

CPU $179.00 - AMD 64-X2 6400+ 3.20 Ghz

RAM $51.99- A-DATA Extreme Edition 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)

RAM $29.99- G.SKILL 1GB DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)

HD $119.99- Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 500GB - OEM

DVD/CD $29.99- SAMSUNG 18X DVD±R DVD Burner With 12X DVD-RAM Write - OEM

CPU Cooler $59.99- ZALMAN CNPS 9700 NT 110mm 2 Ball Ultra Quiet CPU Cooler

ETC $12.29- AeroCool Streamliner-Blue 140mm Case Fan x 4

ETC
$6.99- ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound

Thank you so much for your time. I hope to become a regular of this community!

More about : 053 build amdx2 6400 8800gt comments concerns advice

November 28, 2007 5:16:06 AM

bloodclox said:
I'm trying my best to keep this new build in the $1,000-$1,200 range

Personally I would build as follows using Windows XP:

Gigabyte P35 DS3L = ~$90
E6850 = ~$290
Sapphire X1950 Pro 512mb = ~$170
2gb Crucial Ballistix(CAS4) = ~$60
WD HD 320gb = ~$75
Corsair 450vx PSU = ~$70 after rebate
Sony/NEC Optiarc = ~$30
Coolermaster 690 Case = ~$30 after rebate

As you can see, you can have a very fast, upgradeable system for ~$815. Prices are from Newegg.
November 28, 2007 2:04:00 PM

tlmck said:
Personally I would build as follows using Windows XP:

Gigabyte P35 DS3L = ~$90
E6850 = ~$290
Sapphire X1950 Pro 512mb = ~$170
2gb Crucial Ballistix(CAS4) = ~$60
WD HD 320gb = ~$75
Corsair 450vx PSU = ~$70 after rebate
Sony/NEC Optiarc = ~$30
Coolermaster 690 Case = ~$30 after rebate

As you can see, you can have a very fast, upgradeable system for ~$815. Prices are from Newegg.



Thanks, but I'm not diggin the Intel/ati setup. I've had bad experiences with ATI...And as for Intel, its a bit too expensive for my taste.

The 8800gt just blows my mind in benchmarks, I wont change my mind about this decision.

The WD caviar is cheap and has a large capacity. I prefer the 7200.11 though because its much faster.

Case is nice an cheap, I'm considering it.

I'm gonna change the range of what i would like to spend because i forgot to put a mouse and a keyboard into consideration.



Thanks for your suggestions, keep em comin :hello: 
Related resources
November 28, 2007 2:48:47 PM

The 8800GT makes sense to me, but the CPU+MB choice doesn't. The suggested P35 MB + an e6750 will cost about the same as your original choices and, together with the 8800GT, will provide a solid, high-performing, overclockable machine, rather than something based on a CPU that was an obsolete underachiever almost the moment it was released.
November 28, 2007 2:57:28 PM

Check newegg.com again for the case, I'm betting you can get a nicer case for the same money. See you say 15.99 for the case, but say another 15 for shipping. Don't get me wrong those rosewill cases are probably ok, but I had a rosewill case recently I just threw away, no use for it. Redid my computer, and put things into the rosewill case, decided I liked my old case better, painted it, and rebuilt the system again into that.

Try looking for some with free shipping. I think you will find a nicer case for your money. Also, one complaint I have with my old rosewill case, kind of anyway, was that above the power supply, it was only the black metal. On my current case, there's actually a little room above it, maybe better for cooling or give some heat a place to go?

But maybe spend about 60 on one of those coolmermasters, I hear they are good for cooling, though I've never used one. But the rosewill would probably be fine. But check out the cases with free shipping you may find something better you like.

Also keyboard, here's an idea, I bought one of these in a PC shop, and it's a keyboard, a little different, but the name of it is Greybusters. I paid 10 bucks I believe. It's not the greatest keyboard, but it's different in that it has the place for you to rest your wrists already, plus, they make them with designs printed on them, like on mine, they have a design of the north pole printed all the way across the keyboard, the keys, everything. Something a little different. They had one with a shark, I think they have one of the old west, and different things, just look around on google and see what you think.
November 28, 2007 3:03:20 PM

Check newegg.com again for the case, I'm betting you can get a nicer case for the same money. See you say 15.99 for the case, but say another 15 for shipping. Don't get me wrong those rosewill cases are probably ok, but I had a rosewill case recently I just threw away, no use for it. Redid my computer, and put things into the rosewill case, decided I liked my old case better, painted it, and rebuilt the system again into that.

Try looking for some with free shipping. I think you will find a nicer case for your money. Also, one complaint I have with my old rosewill case, kind of anyway, was that above the power supply, it was only the black metal. On my current case, there's actually a little room above it, maybe better for cooling or give some heat a place to go?

But maybe spend about 60 on one of those coolmermasters, I hear they are good for cooling, though I've never used one. But the rosewill would probably be fine. But check out the cases with free shipping you may find something better you like.

Also keyboard, here's an idea, I bought one of these in a PC shop, and it's a keyboard, a little different, but the name of it is Greybusters. I paid 10 bucks I believe. It's not the greatest keyboard, but it's different in that it has the place for you to rest your wrists already, plus, they make them with designs printed on them, like on mine, they have a design of the north pole printed all the way across the keyboard, the keys, everything. Something a little different. They had one with a shark, I think they have one of the old west, and different things, just look around on google and see what you think. Also, if you do not plan to overclock maybe a chip that already has the stock cooler would be fine for you, save a few bucks.

Or if you plan to overclock, then considering your mobo has the capabilities built in, if your going the AMD route, and lot of guys seem to like the AMD 5000+ Black Edition.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cheaper than what you are looking at, but read some of the reviews, because from what I've been reading these come with an unlocked multiplier, which means great overclocking headroom, so you might get it performing at the speed of that 6400 or close to it.

Oh yeah, don't forget headphones/speakers.
November 28, 2007 3:10:40 PM

I have to agree about getting a 6750 + P35 (GA-P35-DS3L = $92) and overclock the 6750.

If you really want to go AMD, I would make sure you get the Black Edition of either the 6400+ or the 5000+ and OC the beejesus out of them. Although, if I were going to recommend this to someone I would also recommend that they go for the 'Spyder' platform with a 790FX motherboard (~$175) and a 3870 or 2 ($230), then hold out for a better Quad than the Phenom later in the year.

Since this idea balloons out of your price range and you aren't getting an ATI card, I think your best bet is to grab the P35 DS3L gigabyte motherboard (great overclocker) and the 6750 with the GT for almost the same price.

Your PSU is a good choice.

but with your RAM are you aiming for 3Gb on purpose? If you want to use MORE than 3Gb, you need get to a 64-bit OS (Vista 64 or XP 64). But if you're going to get a 32-bit OS and already know it wont read 4gb of memory and so you're buying 3Gb on purpose, you need to be aware of 2 things:

1. I'm pretty sure your video card's 512mb of memory count towards the system total and so you may still 'lose out' on some memory (over 3.2gb)

2. you want your RAM running in dual channel mode, so if you want 3gb then you should get one pack of 2x1gb and another pack of 2x512mb.
November 28, 2007 3:13:22 PM

Bloodclox...I agree with your choice of the 8800GT...great card and shop around a bit, you might find a deal although it is a bit hard to come by these days...check in with Slickdeals.net if you don't already. They often have 1 day deals from the major etailers that include computer components. Definitely shop around...I know I got a top Quality power supply (Corsair) for like $60 after rebates (computer geeks post the great computer component deals on the Slickdeals site).

If your building a new system...go Vista....even though right now XP might be slightly quicker in games.

I've built both AMD & Intel systems, but recently Intel's got the best stuff...AMD is a fine choice as well, but Intel isn't as expensive as you might think.

Don't know if I agree with such an expensive duel core Intel chip as tlmck suggested. You could knock about $100 off his system price with a more moderately priced Core2...ClubIt has a E6750 for $190....Very fast processor.(http://www.clubit.com/product_detail.cfm?itemno=CA19382...

Check out this Corsair memory from ClubIT...same stuff I just put in my computer (Q6600 OC'd to 3 Ghz) $46 after rebate ! http://www.clubit.com/product_detail.cfm?itemno=CA43305...

I had never heard of ClubIT until I was shopping for parts this year .... they were very reliable and cheap so I'd recommend them.


Shop around on your hard drive...I think you could find something as good cheaper. I got 2 WD 320s for about $140.

With a little bargain hunting you should definitely be able to get your system below $1000.

Good Luck
November 28, 2007 3:29:51 PM

I think kuniskos gave you some good advice on the mobo/cpu. I think the E6750 and P35 board will take better to overclocking, if you need it(Isuspect not).

On memory, I suggest getting 4gb of DDR2-800 initially. You can get into bios setting compatibility problems with two different memory vendors. The cost of 4gb is not much different. Also, an uneven number of modules will negate dual channel capability. With a 32-bit OS, you will see about 3.3gb. On that note, Why not use Vista home premium-64 bit? There are no major problems with a new build. I don't know if DX10 is worth it today, but Vista is where microsoft will be spending on improvements, not XP. All the drivers you need will come already in vista. After install, you can go to the Nvidia web site to get the latest 8800GT driver.

Corsair 520 is a fine choice, it will handle a large upgrade.

Don't go cheap on the case. It is what you will see and use every day. There are better choices out there. Instead of spending extra for 4 additional fans, and modding the case, why not get a great case initially. Look at the Antec900. You can't get better cooling, and there seem to be some great deals on it out there.

The zalman cooler is good, but the thermalright ultra-120 extreme is significantly better. It is only $5 more, but you have to supply your own fan. I highly recommend it. The mobo 4 pin connector is designed for a cpu cooling fan. All the other fans will use either a 3-pin connector which allows speed sensing, or a 4-pin molex PSU connector. The antec900 fans use the molex connectors, and they come with a 3 speed switch so you can make a trade-off between cooling and noise.

Don't forget to budget something for a great monitor. Get the biggest and best you can afford.

---good luck---



November 28, 2007 3:46:20 PM

kuniskos said:
The 8800GT makes sense to me, but the CPU+MB choice doesn't. The suggested P35 MB + an e6750 will cost about the same as your original choices and, together with the 8800GT, will provide a solid, high-performing, overclockable machine, rather than something based on a CPU that was an obsolete underachiever almost the moment it was released.


@ Kunisko: Okay WTF is that all about!? The 6400+ is roughly the same @ stock than the e6750 @ stock.

Look at this chart: http://www23.tomshardware.com/cpu_2007.html?modelx=33&m...

And this one:
http://www23.tomshardware.com/cpu_2007.html?modelx=33&m...

If you compare the diffence between the X2 5200+ vs the X2 6000+, then compare the result of the X2 4800+ with the X2 6000+ you get an almost linear performance scaling with Prey, and this is also reflected in the second chart, thus you would have the X2 6400+ performing within 1-2% of the e6750....So your point is meh.

Also the 5000+ Black edition is great for the price, but if you include the price of an adequate HSF (read not that much better than the AMD stock HSF, unless you go with the Zalman of course), since the BE don't come with any HSF, then you come close to the retail price of the 6400+, but without having the ease of just dropping the Cpu in the socket and having 3.2ghz right off the bat.

I would personnaly go with an X2 6000+ (that comes with an HSF, since the X2 6400+ comes without one also).
You could use the stock HSF to OC to 3.2ghz to acheive the desired speed, thus saving you +/-75$ in the process, which could be spent getting 2GB more Ram, for example.

AMD bashing is lame, since you still can get about the same performance than an Intel setup in the mainstream segment for less money, but mind that is all before OCing.

I'll admit that for people that are familiar with OCing, Intel is the platform of choice, but yet again nothing is set in stone, as OCed rigs tend to have special quirks at times.

As far as OEM products go, normally, unless you deal with dumbarses, you get exactly what the retail version would have, minus boxed extras(CD cases,games , stickers, offers, etc.). Also mind that warranties might differ for OEMs than with boxed versions (Cpus tend to have very different warranties, but GFX cards tend to have about the same warranties than retail, for example).

@ TlmcK: Why suggest an 1950Pro when a HD3850 will cost about the same, but give him DX10.1 and better overall performance?! The 8800GTs are the S**t right now, but make sure they have it in stock before you order since these are hard to come by at this time.

Hope this helps.

My 2 cents.
November 28, 2007 4:54:18 PM

Some good points, mcmonopoly, though I was only talking about the 6400+ within the context of a new performance build that doesn't cost too much. I do think the 5000+ gives pretty good value, but the the OP indicates he's interested in OCing, thus the E6750 suggestion. I don't know exactly what, but he might even get a decent OC out of the included HSF.

The HD 3870 might also be worth considering, since it compares pretty well to the 8800GT and might be a little cheaper.
November 28, 2007 5:16:29 PM

theres no point in buying an AMD if youre going to spend $60 on a fan! You may as well just spend the extra $60 on an intel P35 mobo and an E6750 with stock cooling... even with stock cooling it will easily OC to give you at least 10% more performance than an X2-6400. If not 20%....
November 28, 2007 5:20:26 PM

get a x2 4000 and a artic freezer 64 pro and a gigabyte m57sli-s4 and overclock it to 3.25 ghz cheap stuff guys! go for it!
November 28, 2007 5:53:26 PM

kuniskos said:
Some good points, mcmonopoly, though I was only talking about the 6400+ within the context of a new performance build that doesn't cost too much. I do think the 5000+ gives pretty good value, but the the OP indicates he's interested in OCing, thus the E6750 suggestion. I don't know exactly what, but he might even get a decent OC out of the included HSF.

The HD 3870 might also be worth considering, since it compares pretty well to the 8800GT and might be a little cheaper.


I feel what you're saying, it's just the insulting tone you took when speaking of a specific product that bothered me really. The only point I wanted to get across, is that for a marginal difference in initial cost, the OP could get @ native 3ghz part, instead of having to go about and try is luck at OC'ing.

I'm pretty familiar with the AM2 platform, and with any decent AM2 mobo, you can get around OCing pretty easily, but again at times it can be more difficult than adjusting 1 or 2 settings to get it to be rock stable.
November 28, 2007 6:37:50 PM

Thank you everyone for your input. I have a few questions.

Processor / Mobo

P-35 DS3L + E6750 = $281.98 on newegg

M57SLI-S4 + AMD 64-x2 6400+ = $263.99 on newegg


I am totally new to overclocking and this range of (high end?) computer hardware.

I will be using a zalman 9700 NT no matter what, I was told that I shouldn't trust stock CPU-heatsinks/fans.

Having said that, i am a bit worried that it may be a bit difficult for me to overclock. I have no experience in overclocking. What is a good up to date guide i can follow?


Is it easy to overclock AMD? How about INTEL? How much can I overclock a E6750 with a zalman 9700 NT? How about with X2 6400+?


If I do decide to go with AMD x2 6400+ what is a good motherboard choice?



Operating System/ram


I will be going with vista. New technology is always a plus for me. But then I'm not sure weather i should go with 32-bit or 64-bit?

I like the fact that 64-bit will recognize more than 3 GB of ram. But the thing I'm worrying about is game compatibility. (I play ALOT of CS, CSS, COD, ut04, and i will be playing a lot of new games)

If I go with vista I'm probably going with either Patriot Extreme Performance 4GB(4 x 1GB) or G.SKILL 4GB(4 x 1GB)


/////////

This is going to increase the total price a bit but i really appreciate every one's input on this. Thank you.

I apologize for my little understanding of all of this. I try my best.

And I'm sorry for my LONG POSTS!
November 28, 2007 7:24:40 PM

I pasted in a couple of links below, dealing with the OC itself and temperature issues. These guides provide a lot of detail if you go the Intel/P35 route. Not sure what you'll be able to hit with the Zalman and an E6750, but 3.2 GHz shouldn't be too difficult. The key is reading a little bit, so that you're comfortable with all your BIOS settings, and monitoring temps. The two guides tell you everything you need to know, and there's a lot of info if you Google "overclock E6750 Gigabyte P35" or whatever.

Good luck with everything.

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/240001-29-howto-overc...

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/221745-29-core-quad-t...
November 28, 2007 7:34:07 PM

agree on the Antec 900 case...I love mine and it comes with a boat load of fans. Also keep in mind that you can fit a huge air cooling rig in this case and OC to some pretty good levels. I've got a Tuniq Tower 120 on a Q6600 and I OC'd it to 3 GHz without so much as a glitch (25% OC). Could go quite a bit higher if I wanted. Temps are very cool (looking for long lasting performance, not max speed). Many have OC'd the Intel Duel Cores & Q6600 on air to well over 3.4 Ghz. You can get a cheap version of the Abit IP35 board or Gigabyte's P35 version and they are well reviewed and OC well.

My 2 cents on the processors... You can buy a moderately priced dual core and OC it a bit and get nearly the same performance as a chip costing 100s more at stock speed. Spend your money on a good video card. I think you get more gaming performance for spending $100 extra on a video card than you do if you spent $100 more on the CPU.

Good luck
November 28, 2007 7:34:30 PM

Zalmans stink. They get way to much marketing attention then they deserve. One site I like when looking around at CPU coolers is frostytech.com. They have some of the most comprehensive CPU cooler reviews I have ever seen, and have a huge selection of CPU coolers. The best known air cooler is the Thermalright ultra 120 as already said.

If you are are going to be willing to overclock then you can cut a good bit off your budget an go for the cheapest Core 2 with 4mb cash/what ever the largest cache is. (I believe the best processor would be the e6550.) It will overclock nearly as well as the 6750 and will cost a good bit less.

Also as far as cases go the already pointed out cooler master 690 is a cheap case that can have the potential for amazing airflow. (Better than the antec 900 at a cheaper price - Around $60)
November 28, 2007 8:08:45 PM

bloodclox said:

Is it easy to overclock AMD? How about INTEL? How much can I overclock a E6750 with a zalman 9700 NT? How about with X2 6400+?


Well we look at the AMD X2 6400+ @ 3.2ghz @ stock, don't expect anything more than ->maybe<- 100-200mhz more as far as air cooling goes.

AFAIK, the intel solution will give you quite a bit more, depending on the time you take to research, but then again it all depends on what mobo you get, because the problem with either non-Black Editions(AMD) or Extreme edition(Intel), is that you need to raise the FSB on the mobo since the CPU multiplier is Locked. This directly affect the speed of the system's Ram, which can be fixed by using Memory dividers, etc., but that you will need to research on your own.

Also I don't know who told you so, but the packaged HSF from either company are quite good when used in the intended manner. (i.e. no overclocking), so going and spending 50$ on a 3rd party HSF just because someone told you so is quite naive. Furthermore as someone pointed out, I would go with the Tuniq Tower 120, which is known to yield better results than the Zalman 9700s.

Hope this helps.!

Edits: Grammar, spelling
November 29, 2007 9:54:26 PM

Hmm. I think I'll buy now and think about overclocking later.

Im gonna go with the p-35-DS3L mobo and the e6750 processor with stock fan.

I'm gonna look into overclocking more when i have some free time, and when i feel comfortable i will upgrade the stock heatsink to an aftermarket one and work from there.

As for the case, the cooler master 690's rebate ended and its the same price as the Antec 900, so ill be going with the antec 900. It looks nicer and im diggin the 200mm fan :D 

Im gonna be getting 64bit vista with 4x1gb of a-data extreme ram (cuz its cheap :D )




Im feeling really confident about this. And most of the confidence i have is because of you guys. Id like to thank everyone alot for helping me out.



BUT

I HAVE 2 MORE QUESTIONS! lol sorry, im a pain.

THERE SHORT THOUGH

1) SHOULD I FLASH MY BIOS?
2) Is my dvd/cd drive a good choice?


Thanks.

I love this forum!
November 29, 2007 9:54:26 PM

Hmm. I think I'll buy now and think about overclocking later.

I'm gonna go with the p-35-DS3L mobo and the e6750 processor with stock fan.

I'm gonna look into overclocking more when i have some free time, and when i feel comfortable i will upgrade the stock heatsink to an aftermarket one and work from there.

As for the case, the cooler master 690's rebate ended and its the same price as the Antec 900, so ill be going with the antec 900. It looks nicer and I'm diggin the 200mm fan :D 

I'm gonna be getting 64bit vista with 4x1gb of a-data extreme ram (cuz its cheap :D )




I'm feeling really confident about this. And most of the confidence i have is because of you guys. Id like to thank everyone a lot for helping me out.



BUT

I HAVE 2 MORE QUESTIONS! lol sorry, I'm a pain.

THERE SHORT THOUGH

1) SHOULD I FLASH MY BIOS?
2) Is my dvd/cd drive a good choice?


Thanks.

I love this forum!
November 29, 2007 10:13:23 PM

1) Don't flash the bios unless it fixes a problem you have, or know you will have. If you do it wrong, it is possible to render your mobo useless. If you are confident and experienced, then maybe ok.
2) I have a samsung SH-203 sata drive wih which I am pleased. I don't know how it differs from the one you listed.

Also; consider getting your add-on cooler up front and mounting it. With either push-pins or backplate mounting, it is much better to mount the cooler with the mobo outside of the case to be certain that it is on correctly. You need to see the pins from the rear to be certain that they are all the way through.
November 29, 2007 11:05:31 PM

About the 4 x 1g RAM; Some motherboards have a problem when all four RAM slots are used. If the price isn't too far off a 2 x 2gig config. is much preferable, and leaves room for expansion to boot.

Otherwise good choices. You definitely do not need an aftermarket cooler unless you plan on overclocking. You may find that after building your machine that overclocking looks a whole lot easier than it does now. It's actually pretty easy. And if you are sitting there a full gigahertz below your potential this may start eating at you.
November 29, 2007 11:06:18 PM

XP Pro. Vista is for M$ fanboys.
November 29, 2007 11:34:20 PM

nhobo said:
XP Pro. Vista is for M$ fanboys.


Vista. XP is for those afraid of change.
!
Grand