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Help me configurate a new low-cost Intel platform system

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April 2, 2008 5:53:40 PM

Hi,

I'm on a budget and don't want to buy a LCD display for now (I use a good old CTR monitor so the gaming will be limited to 1024×765 for the time being) with a VGA port and my trusted ACNOR (multilingual) PS/2 keyboard. I'm not a gamer but would like to enjoy Lara Croft in Tomb Raider Anniversary and Underworld and other 3D application like a chess program with 3D chessboard and videos. I may install Adobe CS3 as I have a graphic design background but these days I mostly do internet and office work.

Configuration:

Asus P5B-VM SE
Intel Core 2 Duo E6420 2.13GHz
NVIDIA (eVGA, Asus, etc) GeForce 8600GT
Kingston, Corsair, etc. 2GB (× 2 1GB) DDR2
Seagate Barracuda 320GB
Sony NEC Optiarc DVD-RW
Antec Sonata III (PSU 500W)
Windows XP Pro or Vista Premium?!? just don't know


Is this configuration already obsolete? How can I improve the set-up giving my limited budget and old peripherals? Do the selected components work well together or are there any issues? I use many programs so I'm not sure if I should go with Vista which will manage the dual cores better, or XP which will handle more programs and peripherals. I want this system to be stable and long lasting above all. I'm graduating from a PII with W98SE after 10 years of use. I don't RAID, SLI or OC, I'm just a modest user.

Thank you
Frankie
April 2, 2008 6:20:07 PM

what is your budget ?
a b à CPUs
April 2, 2008 6:33:35 PM

The E6420 is pretty much obsolete these days, there are faster and cheaper options such as the E6750 (which is also borderline obsolete). If you can find one in stock, go for the E8400 which is about the same price as the E6420 and blows it away. OEM E8400's are in stock at www.tankguys.com for $209, retail (with fan) goes for $249.

For the motherboard, try to go with at least a P35 for better processor support.

If you can stretch a little, I suggest

GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX All Solid Capacitor Intel Motherboard - Retail $99.99
Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0 Ghz (Wolfdale) OEM/TRAY $209.00
COOLER MASTER RR-CCH-L9U1-GP 92mm Hyper TX2 CPU Cooler - Retail $24.99

to replace your chosen CPU and motherboard which costs $195 and $90, respectively ($285).

You could even go a little cheaper on the motherboard like a P31 Gigabyte for $65 to keep within budget.

Related resources
April 2, 2008 8:32:27 PM

What's wrong with the e6420? It's still about as good as an AMD 4600 or 4800. It might be slower then something I would buy now, but it's definitely not worthy of and upgrade. If you want good FPS in games, then upgrade your graphics card to something like an 9600 GT or an 8800GT ideally.
Wait, are you trying to upgrade that configuration, as you already have it? Or are you getting a completely new one.
Oh, and btw, you should have no trouble running games with that rig at 1024x768.
April 2, 2008 8:35:17 PM

whats wrong with the e6420? nothing, but if you can get the e8400 for the same or a similar price, and it blows it away - thats the sensible choice no?
April 2, 2008 8:40:35 PM

Like I ended my last post, is this guy getting a new rig of the specs posted, or is he trying to upgrade his old rig?
a b à CPUs
April 2, 2008 8:57:31 PM

Since the OP said they are coming from a PII, I assumed this was a new build.

This is what's wrong with the E6420 (newegg & tankguys prices):
E6420 = $195 (2.13GHz, 4MB L2)
vs.
E6550 = $170 (2.33GHz, 4MB L2)
E6750 = $190 (2.66GHz, 4MB L2)
E8400 = $209 + fan $$ (3.00GHz, 6MB L2)
E3110 = $188 + fan $$ (3.00GHz, 6MB L2)

All of the above are better than the E6420. The last one's a Xeon, but would work on a P35 board. The E6420 really should be going for ~$150 to be an option IMO.
April 2, 2008 9:07:21 PM

Ok. I assumed that he already had the e6420 and was wanting to upgrade from that. If you're going intel, and don't want to wait anymore, then go for the e8400 most definately. I personally am going to wait and see what AMD does, and see how it affects pricing. I'm thinking Phenom X3s are going to drop pretty soon here.
April 2, 2008 10:26:16 PM

Might want to look at the new 9600GT as well... will give you HEAPS better performance in games than the 8600 will and its still relatively cheap
April 2, 2008 10:50:29 PM

do not use the p5b its total junk (the micro atx one)

WARNING DO NOT USE IT

go with the new asus micro atx p5k vm hdmi

i use both the gigabyte and vm in micro atx boxes

E8400 at 4ghz prk-vm hdmi, with the gigabyte g33 its 3.4ghz (this machine) and e6750
April 2, 2008 11:43:56 PM

Thanks for the replies. Let me clarify my situation. I need a brand new system and my budget is not more than $1000 with the OS but without the display. I know there's not a big difference in price between the e6420 and the e8400 but the latter or the e6750 would require another motherboard like the Asus P5K but I checked it out on their website and there doesn't seem to be a VGA port and two ps/2 ports and I only have a CRT monitor and a Trinitron TV right now and would like to use the computer and these peripherals before I buy a LCD monitor with DVI or HDMI. Maybe I'm wrong and the VGA port would be included on the video card... Help me out please.

Thanks
Frankie
April 3, 2008 12:26:09 AM

Here was my "budget" under $1000 system I built about a month ago after hours of reviewing components and prices. Prices may have fluctuated up or down depending on current pricing and sales:

E8400 3.0 Ghz Wolfdale ($220)
Gigabyte EX38-DS4 ($205)
MSI 8800GT-512MB (DVI but comes with VGA converters) ($199)
2GB OCZ Platinum Rev2 PC2-6400 4-4-4-15 ($41)
OCZ StealthXStream 500W ($49)
CoolerMaster Centurion Case ($51)
Seagate Barracuda ES.2 7200RPM 32MB-cache 250GB ($80)
Sony Optiarc DVD burner ($20)

TOTAL: $828
3Dmark06 Score: 12536 (before O/C)

...and you still have money left over for a $99 Windows license, if that is what you need...

My goal with this system was to get the most performance for the least amount of money, while future-proofing as much as possible. The X38 chipset provides PCI-Express 2.0, and will support 1600FSB CPUs when they are available later in the year. If PCIe 2.0 and support for 1600-FSB is not important to you, then you could shave another $110 off the price of the system by going with something like a Gigabyte P35-DS3L ($89) or similar ASUS board.
April 3, 2008 1:10:06 AM

Frankie27 said:
would require another motherboard like the Asus P5K but I checked it out on their website and there doesn't seem to be a VGA port and two ps/2 ports and I only have a CRT monitor and a Trinitron TV right now and would like to use the computer and these peripherals before I buy a LCD monitor with DVI or HDMI. Maybe I'm wrong and the VGA port would be included on the video card


If you use the VGA port on your motherboard you are not using a graphics card. Any modern card should come with a DVI to VGA adapter. Also, it would be much cheaper to buy a P5K, a lower end Core2Duo (that still beats out the e6420), and a USB mouse.
April 3, 2008 1:23:22 AM

Thanks for clarifying things. I'll consider Asus P5K with Intel e6750 or e8XXX and a better graphic card but for the time being I will not be able to really take advantage of their performance but it's ok, I'll upgrade my display sooner or later and discover 3D games. Ideally I'd like Apple's cinema display but that's expensive. I guess I'll go with a 22" widescreen LCD monitor later on.

Frankie
a b à CPUs
April 3, 2008 1:29:14 AM

^ Giving us a budget limit might help to build a sensible setup.
April 3, 2008 3:52:54 AM

Frankie27 said:
Thanks for the replies. Let me clarify my situation. I need a brand new system and my budget is not more than $1000 with the OS but without the display.



I believe he has dont that Shadow... Id agree pretty close with Alpines build
April 3, 2008 4:18:15 PM

I've read this in the CPU buyer's guide:

Quote:
E8XXX series. Attractive price/performance ratio, but due to the relative immaturity of these processors taken in concert with unverified rumours of temperature/temperature sensor problems, these CPUs fall into the catagory of 'unverified' for the time being...purchase at your own risk


So are they "verified" now?
April 3, 2008 7:51:19 PM

^I have the DTS bug. It only occur on some CPU, but not all. It is nothing to worry about as it doesn't affect performance. A non-issue even if you have it if you aren't going for extreme overclock.
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