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Yet another build... around $800 to spend

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January 5, 2008 6:14:04 PM

As you guessed, another one of those "Is this a good system for $xxx?" So here we go...

This is my first time building a PC. I know some info about them, mostly from reading and installing a few things here and there, but I don't know specifics. I've had some help building what I have now from fellow forum members on another forum, they seem to know their stuff. But the more heads the better, so I've decided to expand.

I will be using this PC mostly for games (COD4 and BF2 come to mind for now) and watching movies, with some encoding/packing here and there. Also, since I'm an engineering student, it will need to run some CAD programs with ease. I just picked up an 22" Acer widescreen (native resolution 1680x1050), and would like to run everything at that resolution. I will be getting my scholarship money on the 16th of this month, so everything will be purchased after that date. Here is what I've come up with...

-COOLER MASTER Centurion 534 RC-534-KKN2-GP Black Aluminum & Mesh bezel / SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail - $39.99 @ newegg
-Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L ATX LGA775 P35 1333FSB 1PCI-E16 3PCI-E1 3PCI SATA2 Sound GBLAN Motherboard - $89.68 @ NCIXUS
-EVGA GEFORCE 8800GT 600MHZ 512MB 1.8GHZ DDR3 PCI-E Dual DVI-I HDTV Out Video Card - $232.46 @ NCIXUS
-Thermaltake Purepower W0100RU ATX 12V 2.0 500W Power Supply - Retail - $59.99 @ newegg
-Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 Conroe 2.66GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80557E6750 - Retail - $189.99 @ newegg
-OCZ Platinum 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Micron D7 Chip Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2N10662GK - Retail - $109.99 @ newegg ($91.99 after MIR)
-Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM - $69.99 @ newegg

Total = $792.09 + shipping (before MIR)

I already have a DVD writer, speakers, mouse, keyboard, 320GB external drive, etc... Anything that I'm missing? Anything you suggest I change, within reasonable price differences? I've read that the new Intel processors are supposed to come out the 20th, should I wait until after then for prices to drop? Should I wait for anything else to come out to let prices drop? I'm very patient so I can wait a month or so. I know the rebates and prices may change a bit, but I want to be prepared. Thanks for any help.

More about : build 800 spend

January 5, 2008 11:00:41 PM

g-paw said:
Looks good. This RAM would be a little cheaper. Given you're doing some CPU intensive stuff if you can afford the Q6600, would be worth it but if not, that machine will do the job
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I agree with g-paw. This is a good value for Ram. And Crucial is a really good manufacturer also.

The only part of your build that I question is the 500 Watt Power supply. It should be good but I would go for something a little stronger.

BTW... I have a CoolerMaster Centrion 534 case also. I got it back in March 2007. It has been a great case for me. Real easy to work with too and great instructions. However mine is the Silver one not the black. For the price is is a great deal.
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January 5, 2008 11:53:45 PM

I've only been looking at 1066 speed RAM because that is the highest I can go. If there is little difference between 1066 and 800, I could consider downgrading. And I was also wondering about the power supply, but since I only have 1 hard drive and 1 dvd writer I figured it might get the job done. I'll keep looking around though. I don't think I can afford to spend another $100 on the CPU, but if the money does come I will probably wait until the newer quad-cores come out.

And good to know about the case, I was worried it was going to be cheaply made. I like the simple design, and I don't need the window to show off my mess of electronics.
January 6, 2008 12:20:29 AM

Another vote for DDR2-800. I don't know what your views on overclocking are, but with that setup you could hit 3GHz with ease.

If you aren't the overclocking type I would still recommend that you use a 400MHz FSB and a 1:1 memory ratio for an effective memory speed of 800MHz (hence the DDR2-800 recommendation). Then lower the CPU multiplier to get back down to stock speed. At stock you could almost certainly undervolt that E6750 to keep it nearly room temp, and still pretty darn fast.
January 6, 2008 1:00:43 AM

^Agreed. Nice build. If you plan on OCing to 3.1Ghz+ get a good CPU cooler.
January 6, 2008 1:33:02 AM

Thanks for the quick suggestions about overclocking, but it was all a foreign language to me. I would love to learn, and have the time to learn, just need to find the material to read. So everyone's suggestion is to go with DDR2-800 RAM, reguardless of overclocking?

Off-topic, just hooked up my new 22" Acer monitor. This thing is huge!
January 6, 2008 1:40:07 AM

Second vote for DDR2-800, but try these. Theyre the same as the Crucial Ballistix, but are cheaper and have cool LEDs. Theyre normally more expensive but with that rebate.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148076

Sorry to intrude on your thread, but to you guys, can I use those with regular ballistix for 4 gigs. 2 and 2
January 6, 2008 1:50:28 AM

Dang, that is kick butt ram. I never saw ram with LEDs activity lights before. The latency ratings look great too.
January 6, 2008 1:52:41 AM

Crucial Ballistix is amazing crap....it overclocks like crazy and their support is very good.

Had a tiny problem with RAM (it was a memtest problem. Faulty sofware) and I called them up and they immediately said theyll replace them.

I want to have 4 gigs so maybe I'll buy two of those and sell the stuff I have
January 6, 2008 6:34:45 AM

Fortunately there isn't much to learn about Core2 overclocking. With the right motherboard (DS3L) it should be a breeze. There are lots of Core2 overclocking guides out there, and google is very good at finding them. If you need help just post around here and we'll gladly help you out.

For starters, the current Core2 mainstream/higher end Core2 processors run on a 333MHz quad pumped FSB (front-side-bus), which is effectively 1333MHz. Most P35 motherboards such as the venerable Gigabyte DS3L will reach FSB speeds of 1600MHz (400MHz quad pumped) with ease.

Memory speed is directly related to FSB speed. Double Data Rate (DDR and DDR2 and DDR3) memory operates at twice the base speed of the FSB. Thus, an FSB of 400MHz (1600MHz effective) combined with a 1:1 memory to FSB ratio will yield an effective memory speed of 800MHz (DDR2-800).

An E6550 at FSB 400 would yield a clockspeed of 2.8GHz, which is mighty fast by my Athlon64 3800+ X2 standards.
January 6, 2008 6:53:31 AM

Sounds good, I'll get to reading a little...

So for now I have changed the RAM to the DDR2-800 Crucial Tracers, and changed the PSU to the CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX ATX12V V2.2 550W Power Supply - Retail. $99.99, which was more than I was planning to spend on a PSU. But I've heard some good things about Corair. Or should I just stick with the Thermaltake, which is Teir 3. Oh, and I switched out the 250GB hard drive for a 160GB, save a little dough since I have an external 320GB and can always add on later.

Actually, I'll probably end up getting that PSU from NCIXUS.com, since it is $10 cheaper, ending up with $75 after MIR.
January 6, 2008 12:05:48 PM

have you ever bought from NCIXUS.com before? I never heard of them but their prices seem really good.
January 6, 2008 3:50:14 PM

96Firebird said:
And good to know about the case, I was worried it was going to be cheaply made. I like the simple design, and I don't need the window to show off my mess of electronics.
I have been the pretty happy with it. The lights on the front of it look really good. The only defect I found with it was that the HDDLED activity light cable was wired backwards.

I hooked it up in the same position as the other cables and the hard drive activity light would not come on. I spoke with a friend who got a different model Cooler Master case and he said the same thing happened to him. He said he just flipped it backwards and it worked. So I did that to mine and it worked also.

That may had just been a defect that came off the assembly line that week. But other than that it has been an excellent case. Great Airflow. I love 120mm fan mounted to the side of the case. It just pours cool air on the video card. You can use the standard case fans. They do the job well. But I replaced mine anyhow with some LED fans from Cooler Master. They were like 2 for $9 on newegg at the time. My temps never get above 40c

Below are some pictures of my Centurion 534 case.



January 6, 2008 4:14:25 PM

Click on my hardware configuration link on my profile. It shows my specs.

Specs: MSI K9 Platinum AM2 ATI 580X CrossFire Motherboard - AMD 64x2 4200 (65W) - 2 Gigs Kingston Hyper-X DDR2 800 - 250 Gig Western Digital Sata Drive - Sapphire Radeon x1950GT - 700 Watt OCZ Technologies Game Stream PSU - LG optical drives - Cooler Master Centurion 534 Case - Logitech MX518 gaming mouse - Logitech Media Elite keyboard - Windows XP Media Center Edition - NEC Multisync 90GX2 19" 4ms LCD Monitor 1280x1024
January 6, 2008 5:02:11 PM

I have never ordered from ncixus before, but I know ncix is great for Canadians. The US part just ship to the United States, and shipping is $25 for 3 items totaling $412 (video card, mobo, and psu). Everything ships from BC, Canada, so thats not bad. Newegg's shipping is $20 for 3 items totaling $283 (case, hard drive, and processor).

And nice setup RWayne. I'll probably just stick with the stock fans unless there is cooling issues. I like that there are two 120mm fans as well.
January 7, 2008 2:20:55 AM

Fierbird you should have a really nice running computer for the price you paid, not bad! And you will not go wrong using the DDR2 800 memory.
January 7, 2008 5:04:13 AM

Good to know I'm going to be building a quality system. I'm upgrading from a P4 2.6GHz HT with 1GB DDR 333 RAM and an FX5200, so I'm sure I'll see quite a performance boost. My last two video cards were the FX5200 and Radeon 7000, it'll be good to finally have somethig decent. Now I just gotta see what my cash situation looks like after I get my scholarship money, but I'm sure I can make room for this.
January 8, 2008 12:23:35 AM

I hope everything works out and you can afford it.

I use to have a Dell Dimension 8250 with a 2.4GHz Pentium 4 with 512MB of ram bus ram.

When I went to an AMD 64x2 4200 with 2 gigs of Kingston Hyper-X ram it was a monster of an upgrade. Dual Core makes a night and day difference.

If you end up going with a e6750 core2duo you are going to have a quantium leap in performance.

I think Newegg.com is updating their pricing tonight. The site is going really slow. I did manage to see that they dropped the price of the 64x2 5000 Black Edition to an AMAZING $99! Wow! That is incredible price. I might have to bite at that offer. Grab that thing and clocker' up.
January 8, 2008 10:02:18 PM

Actually I think I'm going to wait until the E8400 is released and snag that up instead of the E6750. I've read some good things about it, I'll just hope I can get one without paying too much in mark-up.
January 8, 2008 10:44:34 PM

I don't think there is going to be much mark up. Intel is still trying to keep the pressure on AMD. Plus the 45nm chips cost less to make than the 65nm ones. Prices may perhaps come in lower.
January 9, 2008 3:45:37 AM

Watch out for those low multipliers on the 45nm CPUs :whistle: 
January 9, 2008 11:24:16 PM

96Firebird said:
I've only been looking at 1066 speed RAM because that is the highest I can go. If there is little difference between 1066 and 800, I could consider downgrading. And I was also wondering about the power supply, but since I only have 1 hard drive and 1 dvd writer I figured it might get the job done. I'll keep looking around though. I don't think I can afford to spend another $100 on the CPU, but if the money does come I will probably wait until the newer quad-cores come out.

And good to know about the case, I was worried it was going to be cheaply made. I like the simple design, and I don't need the window to show off my mess of electronics.
I just got doing a mock build for a friend and found that black cooler master case you are looking at dropped in price. Wow. $39 with no rebates! That black looks a lot better than the silver black I got. Looking at the pictures on newegg is making me regret my purchase. man I wish I went with black. My case stickers probably would probably show up a lot better if I had.

You got to post pictures for us once you have that thing built.
!