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The Old; The New; The Plan

Last response: in Systems
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December 9, 2007 8:05:08 PM

Hello all...

This is my first post, but I have been visiting Tom's Site for a long while now...

First off, I have never purchased a computer, I have always built my own, as far back as my first 286... Tho I did pay to have the 512KB upgraded to 2MB, and let the CompuLand technician do the soldering... LOL...

My Current P4 Rig, in all it's many configurations has survived me for several years... Tho honestly I have upgraded each piece over and over again as prices dropped on the targeted item... and thus it isn't the rig I started with... Anyone know the joke about George Washington's axe?

Current Rig:
--------------------
AI-7 ( aka A17 ) NB:i865 SB:ICH5
Intel P4 3.2 Prescott HT ( OC'd 3.4 - Just clock changes, no voltage )
Arctic Cooling 'Freezer 4' HSF
1GB ( 512MB x2 ) NoName DDR
-- Used to be 2GB ( 512MB x 4 ) Hynix, but the NB HSF quit unexpectedly
-- those modules never quite worked right again ( ?shrug? )
ATi X1600 Pro AGP x8 512MB DDR2 128Bit ( No OC )
OnBoard Sound ( No Ear for Hi Quality Sound )
Thermaltake PSU XP550 NP 550W
C: OS Drive is [2] IDE 100 80GB ( Mirrored )
D: Data\Game Drive 250GB SATA 1.5Gb/s
Crap Sideless Case
( Win2K dualboot Vista x32 )

Purposed Rig:
--------------------
A-Bit IX38 Quad GT NB:X38 SB: ICH9R ( want PCIe 2.0 )
Intel E6750 Conroe 2.66GHz ( Plan to OC ~3.2GHz if possible )
Rosewill RCX-Z775-EX HSF
4GB ( 2GB x2 ) A-Data DDR2 800 ( 5-5-5-18 - 1.8V )
ATi HD3870 512MB GDDR4 256Bit PCIe 2.0
OnBoard Sound
hec Zephyr 650 ATX12V 650W PSU
C: OS Drive [2] Barracuda 250GB 16MB SATA 3.0Gb/s ( Mirrored )
D: Data\Game Drive WD Caviar 750GB 16MB SATA 3.0Gb/s
Cooler Master Cavalier 3 Case ( expect it will need more fans )
( Vista x64 )
$1250 Price tag

The Plan:
--------------------
While this system isn't 'Maxxed Out', the MotherBoard should survive a few CPU upgrades ( as the price drops )... I hope... The HD3870 is Crossfire Ready, same with MB's NB, and the PSU... So as the Video Card starts to fall behind a year from now, I should be able to add in another HD3870 ( after the price drops )... I left two RAM slots open so I can drop in another 4GB ( after the price drops )... Also the MBoard seems to prefer DDR2 1066 RAM, Tho I am unaware of how much of a performance increase one would get... But if the ( LOL ) price drops significantly on 8GB ( 2GB x4 ) I'd take it there...

Needless to say, I am looking for advice on the proposed purchase... And since I am transitioning from P4 to Conroe, I'll take any advice about OC'ing...

I don't actually expect a hefty performance increase in apps that dont have multi-core optimizations, But I do expect Vista to be considerably more responsive and games should benefit somewhat from the GPU upgrade.

The ultimate goal is to build a budget system, with OC potential, as well as plenty of room for upgrade over the foreseeable future... I'd prefer no change in base architecture for 2-3(4) years... Of Course that is clearly impossible to predict. I'll be missing the PCIe 3.0 and DDR3/4 Bandwagon... But I hope with targeted budget upgrades to keep the system viable for several years to come.

Thanks in advance for any advice...

-------------------------------
- Dejunai
-------------------------------

More about : plan

December 9, 2007 10:36:57 PM

Good Point...
I appreciate it...

The PSU is a transitional PSU for me...
My current plan based on the specs I have defined is to move the Thermaltake 550W into the final build... The hec Zephyr 650 is only really planned for the prototype build of the components. If the build with spec'd parts is successful, I'd move the Themaltake to the new machine... My research seems to suggest that the proposed components will survive on a 550W Thermaltake but wont survive future upgrades... Certainly not a dual GPU Crossfire setup... Again as always, as price permits, the PSU will need an upgrade...

Things I know right now, The 550W Thermaltake wont pump an HD3870 without an adapter. But I can get that adapter on the corner if all goes well with the prototype build.

Does that make sense?

----------------------
-Dejunai
----------------------
Related resources
December 9, 2007 11:26:40 PM

Your build looks solid except for the PSU.

Unfortunately your motherboard and RAM will not allow you 2-3 years of upgrade-ability. Intel will be releasing a new architecture (Nehalem) in late 2008. These processors will use a new socket (not LGA775) and no motherboard currently on the market will support them. They will also prefer (maybe not require) DDR3.

The good news is that you will be able to upgrade to Penryn. For a gaming rig Penryn and even Conroe will be fast enough for another 2 years minimum. Games just aren't CPU limited, and most likely won't be for quite a while.
December 9, 2007 11:54:44 PM

Only one suggestion, Q6600, costs about the same, 4 cores, overclocks like mad (I hear 3.2 ~ 3.6 on stock cooler).

Also, drop that no name PSU and choose a good one from tiers 1 or 2 (or 3 in case you have aviability issues).

So, remember, Q6600 if you are into OC'ing.
December 10, 2007 12:04:55 AM

I'd have to agree about the Core 2 Quad. That will allow you to save money from having to upgrade in ~2 year or ~3 year to somewhere around ~3 or ~4 years; in effect saving you money by not having to purchase an upgrade for an additional year.

Grab a better PSU if you can, although I own a Rosewill PSU myself, you're going to want to ensure that all of your components are being powered by a good company and a dependable company; that's something I don't think Rosewill or your suggested product has quite expanded on yet.

For gaming RAM I prefer Corsair or OCZ, but A-DATA should serve you well. Other than that, a fine and solid build. :) 
December 10, 2007 12:31:44 AM

Honestly, it sounds like you hold on to a platform (too long) and upgrade it over time, investing more money that in the end does nothing except keep you on a dead/low performance rig. I mean a $299 Sunday ad special (entry X2, 1gb, 160gb) with an added $85-90 8600GT would stomp all over your rig.

Why not spend less overall, and update sooner. With eBay and craigslist, it's not too difficult to sell a used custom PC as long as it looks clean, has decent wire management and doesn't have neon lights/windows/ghetto bling everywhere.

Why not something low budget like this:

$77 - e2180 (OC to 3.0ghz easy)
http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=E2180
$18 - Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro
http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=FAN-AC7PRO
$51 - 2gb DDR2-800 (supposed Micron D9 chips, verify first)
http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?name=T800UX2GC4
$96 - Gigabyte P35 (quad ready)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$249 - 512mb 8800GT
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
$120 - 2 x 250gb Sata
$60 - Your case
$65 - Corsair 450vx
$30 - DVD burner

For a total of $766. It will deliver 90% of the performance of your build for 60% of the cost.
December 10, 2007 1:31:36 AM

Noya said:
Honestly, it sounds like you hold on to a platform (too long) and upgrade it over time, investing more money that in the end does nothing except keep you on a dead/low performance rig. I mean a $299 Sunday ad special (entry X2, 1gb, 160gb) with an added $85-90 8600GT would stomp all over your rig.


His proposed rig is around 2x more powerful than that budget rig.



Why not spend less overall, and update sooner. With eBay and craigslist, it's not too difficult to sell a used custom PC as long as it looks clean, has decent wire management and doesn't have neon lights/windows/ghetto bling everywhere.
said:

Why not spend less overall, and update sooner. With eBay and craigslist, it's not too difficult to sell a used custom PC as long as it looks clean, has decent wire management and doesn't have neon lights/windows/ghetto bling everywhere.


I have tried that before, though it is actually just easier to do it in one blow. It is also time consuming to hunt down every part later since you'd be selling and buying constantly.

Also it could happen that when you bought a slower part today, two months later it would be selling at less than half the price you bought it. So when you want to get a faster part at that scenario, you ended up spending more than actually saving up.

And the OC'd 2160 to 3GHz would consume more power just to get to the performance level of the 6750. So in essence you're just transferring the cost savings in buying the 2160 to your electric bill. In the long term, the 2160 would actually cost you more than running the 6750 @ stock.
December 10, 2007 2:12:48 AM

Quote:
His proposed rig is around 2x more powerful than that budget rig.


I don't think you understood what I was trying to convey. I was pointing out that his current rig that he's kept for 4 years and updated ($$$) is much weaker than a $299 Sunday ad special with an $85 8600GT from newegg added to it. The point I was making is to build a "budget/midrange" performer ($700-800, like the parts I listed which deliver 90% of the performance of his $1250+ build), say...every 2 years (instead of milking a platform until it's junk 4+ years) AND THEN sell said 2 year old rig in whole for 50% of what he paid...adding another 50% cash and building a new one. He'll stay fairly current and get full use out of his rigs.


Quote:
Why not spend less overall, and update sooner. With eBay and craigslist, it's not too difficult to sell a used custom PC as long as it looks clean, has decent wire management and doesn't have neon lights/windows/ghetto bling everywhere.


Again, with "update sooner" I meant sell the entire rig, not actually dump $$$ into it.


Quote:
And the OC'd 2160 to 3GHz would consume more power just to get to the performance level of the 6750. So in essence you're just transferring the cost savings in buying the 2160 to your electric bill. In the long term, the 2160 would actually cost you more than running the 6750 @ stock.


No, I'm afraid you're wrong about the power usage. The difference is quite small really:
http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/09/12/pentium_dual_cor...

December 10, 2007 2:49:26 AM

I bought a E2180, 2GB of Super Talent DDR2 800 RAM (great stuff for OCing btw), and a 8800GT. I would suggest a similar build, it should easily last 2 years if you overclock it. Its more cost-effective than getting an expensive processor assuming you overclock it. Performance differences with less cache also seem insignificant. My computer was $700.
December 10, 2007 6:20:50 AM

To All: Much Thanks....

I did strongly consider : an Intel Dual-Core E2160 Allendale 1.8GHz 1MB L2 Cache LGA 775 Processor; It's overclocking ability seems phenomenal, but in the end it's power consumption would appear to be more than the $100 difference when proposed for a year length.

I do appreciate the advice about Craig's List, but honestly if I did that I'd need to cough up the $1250 each time I did a dump to Craig. Perhaps if I could have a two system build with overlap, and a round house solution: marketing one while maintaining one... It's a solid idea, I am certainly not shy about custom/clean builds. But currently it's not the plan.

Again let me reiterate the 'hec Zypher' is strictly for the bench build, I fully intend to move the Themaltake 550W ( with appropriate adapters ) to the final case of the proposed build.

I am still curious, tho...

Does anyone disagree with the theory that A: Vista will be more responsive, or B: Games will get a bump from the GPU? or even C: that the system will have some legs for at least 2 years ( with proper targeted upgrades, as available ).

-------------------------
-Dejunai
-------------------------
December 10, 2007 12:43:34 PM

A: I have Vista, and yes it is definitely more responsive than XP on my rig.

B: If you are referring to the difference between the HD3850 and the 8800GT then yes, the 8800GT is faster than the HD3850 by a solid margin in most games. The gap widens as you crank up the AA.

Although I have never advocated the use of either Crossfire or SLI, AMD seems to be taking Crossfire a lot more seriously than they have in the past. It is starting to scale quite nicely, and although it isn't what I would consider a viable solution yet, it may be in the near future. Just something to keep in mind given that X38 and P35 do Crossfire.

C: Absolutely, I'd give that system 2-3 years if you go the Q6600 route. You won't be able to upgrade to Nehalem, but in all likelihood you won't need to. PCIe 2.0 will ensure that you won't be bandwidth limited in future GPU upgrades, although PCIe 1.x won't be a significant bottleneck for a while.
December 10, 2007 1:22:25 PM

PCIe 2.0 is like SATAII - there is no hardware that can effectively utilize it, and there won't be for years. Hard drive throughput is max 1/2 of SATA II capacity. The basic P35 board will save you a ton of dough over an X38, is CPU upgradable through Nehalem and readily overclocks.

Otherwise looks good, but do you really need 750MB of storage? I assume you have a DVD/CDR ...
December 10, 2007 1:34:30 PM

Dejunai said:
To All: Much Thanks....


Again let me reiterate the 'hec Zypher' is strictly for the bench build, I fully intend to move the Themaltake 550W ( with appropriate adapters ) to the final case of the proposed build.


There would be nothing wrong with keeping the Zephyr as the machine's power unit other than the less than 80% efficiency rating, the Thermaltake 550 provides less power and has the same 75% efficiency rating.
Here's a review of the Zephyr;
http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?articleID=2081
December 10, 2007 2:40:38 PM

I'd go with G-skill or Crucial Ballistix RAM. A-data would be tier-2 RAM, IMO.
December 10, 2007 2:46:37 PM

That review was of little value, as they did no load testing, and their jitter "test" was to look at BIOS readings. What does an o-scope show? Will that Zephyr start to melt at 75% load, and pop at 80%?
December 10, 2007 2:53:33 PM

The review is not as detailed as one from johnnyguru, but does give some information.
Some that it does not, HEC/Compucase is an oem provider for Thermaltake, the Zephyr should be at least as good as a 550 watt TT.
And if you read into it more the "jitter " test was done thru the bios and then with a multimeter.
!