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Another first timer seeking help from the greats

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March 9, 2008 3:23:39 PM

On March 14th I’m going to New York for 10 days on vacation (I live in the U.K.). The PC I’m using currently is more than 5 years old, and I’ve always wanted to make my own PC so I thought I would take the opportunity of buying cheaper components while I was in New York. I have relatives living in New York who will be able to accept the delivery of the components since I don’t have a U.S. address.

I have been reading through these forums for a while and have seen loads of good advice being given, so thought I’d get some for myself. Here are the components I am considering; all of them can be changed and my budget is $1600-1800. I would like to overclock, but I haven’t tried before so would need to concentrate on getting it up and running before even considering overclocking.

SAMSUNG 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model SH-S203N - $34

COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $80

ZALMAN FAN MATE 2 Fan Controller $4

Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB 10,000 RPM SATA 1.5Gb/s Hard Drive - $170

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - $100

XFX PVT88GYDF4 GeForce 8800GTS (G92) 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - $320

Rosewill RX750-D-B ATX12V v2.2 & EPS12V v2.91 750W Power Supply - $130

Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - $6

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1000 (PC2 8000) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8000CL5D-4GBPQ - $100

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz LGA 775 Quad-Core Processor Model BX80562Q6600 - $255

Microsoft Windows Vista 64-Bit Home Premium for System Builders Single Pack DVD - $110


  • I haven’t chosen a motherboard because I heard the new X48s are to be released soon and was wondering if I should wait for one of those?

    I also plan on buying the Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme cooler and some Scythe fans, as I want the system to be as quiet as possible.

    These are the newegg prices of the components, but I heard that clubit guarantee the G0 stepping for the Q6600 and also that Micro Center have some good deals for processors at the moment…

    All help is welcomed and will be greatly appreciated!

    Luke Vega
  • More about : timer seeking greats

    March 9, 2008 6:27:09 PM

    Look on www.newegg.com, they have some good seagate brand drives that are almost as good as those raptors and that cost less. Also, power supply, if you are spending that much, rosewill is not known to be great for power supplies, maybe look into a corsair power supply or seasonic since you are spending that much anyway.
    March 9, 2008 7:06:08 PM

    For the deal on the processor from Micro Center you'll have to be able to get it from the actual brick and mortar store, not online. Personally, I used ClubIT to get my q6600 w/ guaranteed stepping. For the rest I would shop around between newegg.com zipzoomfly.com and clubit.com.

    Only things I would change with your selections are:

    Case - I would consider the Antec Nine Hundred, but the case you chose is not bad. I got a great deal on my Antec Nine Hundred from newegg.com w/ free shipping. Comes to about the same price as the case you chose w/ shipping.

    PSU - Here on the forums we tend to recommend that you stay away from Rosewill PSUs, you might be ok, but it might be lemon, buy at your own risk. This Tiered PSU List is a good list to shop from. Corsair, PCP&C, Enermax, some Antec models, Fotron (FSP), etc are all good brands to consider.

    Hard Drives - Western Digital AAKS series or Seagate 7200.10/11 are reliable and good performers. Don't waste your money on Raptors.

    Other than that, everything looks good. You're on your way to a nice system.
    Related resources
    March 9, 2008 7:20:05 PM

    Ok, well you can save some $ right off the bat by buying DDR2-800 memory rather than the DDR2-1000/1066. DDR2-800 will overclock a Q6600 to 3.6Ghz, which I wouldn't recommend trying for newcomers to overclocking. Some chips won't even do 3.6 stable on water cooling, let alone air. 3Ghz should be really easy though, just a fsb change in BIOS. 3-3.2Ghz is a good area to settle for. Aim for lower memory with timings like 4-4-4-12 rather than 5-5-5-15.

    I love that case's value, and the $10 Scythe fans are agreat - although I think their specs are a little off, but I'd only buy these guys or Yate Loons. FYI, Sleeve Bearing fans are best used when mounted vertically, and Ball Bearing fans are best used when mounted horizontally so buy accordingly :) 

    Do you REALLY need a Raptor setup? Not sure what you're using the system for, but IMO a lot of the time Raptors just aren't worth it for the average user.

    Arctic Silver 5 is great, but I prefer Arctic Cooling MX-2. Make sure you read up on how long to let the AC5 settle before you really test out the system!

    You don't need a power supply that large (750W), and I think Rosewills are sort of hit and miss with quality. The Corsair 520W or Antec Neo Blue 620W are both very solid and efficient units.

    I would definately not wait or buy an X48, and actually for you, I wouldn't even get an X38. I'd get something like the Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L for ~$100. It overclocks great and is very stable. The main reason to get an X38 is because it supports two ATI crads in Crossfire at "full" speeds, whereas on a P35 one of the two cards would have to run at 4x speed/electrical (full 'speed' = 16x electrical). Since you're just getting the one nVidia card, this isn't an issue for you so I'd save some more $ and get the P35 :) 

    Good luck and have fun with the new system!




    March 9, 2008 7:28:17 PM

    That is a good list with the exception of the psu. It is not highly regarded on this list: http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=10... Look for a unit that is tier 3 or better in the same price range. Corsair, seasonic, PC-P&C.. I use PC P&C silencer 610 which should be fine for you too.

    I like the hard drive selection, put the os on the raptor, and data on the other. You could go cheaper, but it really won't make a lot of difference.

    A shopping tip: See if your friends can pick up vista home premium upgrade at Costco for $85. You then get a full retail version instead of oem and support. For $10 handling charge, microsoft will mail you a 64 bit version dvd. There is a legitimate procedure to load and activate an upgrade version if you don't have a previous version for whatever reason.

    What is the best performing C2D motherboard?

    The answer is that they are all virtually the same if using the same processor.
    If you read all of the reviews, there will be comparison charts from many different benchmarks.
    The results will be within 1-2% of each other. This is particularly true for the application
    benchmarks like games, or video encoding. Even across chipsets(X38,P35,P965) this is true.
    For the synthetic tests like memory bandwidth, there might be more differentiation, but this
    is of interest mainly to those looking for bragging level overclocks.
    The buying decision then, has to be made on the basis of features that you want
    like firewire, raid(not recommended by me), SLI(also not recommended by me), # of pci-E slots, # of usb ports, E-sata, # of sata ports, IDE support, ...etc.
    Many of these boards will support penryn and fsb1333 processors. Check the mobo specs.
    There currently is no value in DDR3 as compared to DDR2, and the latter is MUCH less expensive.

    My suggestion is to get a quality P35 board because the bios bugs have mostly been worked out. If you want record overclocks, then a x38 or 48 board might be worth it.

    If you want the system to be as quiet as possible, then look for a quiet case. Go to www.silentpcreview.com for quiet component reviews, including cases. They like the Antec P180, P182 and Solo cases.





    March 9, 2008 8:29:07 PM

    @OP: Exactly how do you plan to take the PC from the US to UK? You might have to buy the HDDs + Case in UK due to size(case)/shock(HDD) problems.

    The list is OK, but there are a few problems. Just drop the Raptor and get a 7200.11(not a 7200.10 or any thing else) HDD. The 7200.11 is only 1ms slower than the Raptor in most benchmarks.

    Also drop the Rosewill. Those PSUs are very low quality. Get a PSU listed in the top tires here:
    http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=10...
    I recommend a PP&C 610 or a Corsair 550VX/520HX/450VX. 450VX will power your system fine.

    My recommendations:
    P35-DS3x or P5K-x
    450VX/520HX
    8800GT 512 or 9600 or 8800GTS (which ever one fits your budget and needs)
    Crucial Ballastix DDR2 800 2*2GB (newly released, D9 chips W00t!) if OCing
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    if not just get some quality DDR2 800 from OCZ, Corsair, etc.
    Q6600/8400 depending on gaming vs. editing photos.

    March 10, 2008 12:04:06 AM

    Hey thanks for the replies everyone!

    Ok, having read everyones posts (thoroughly) I have changed the PSU to the Corsair 520HX, the RAM to Crucial Ballastix DDR2 800 2x2GB and the HD to the Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 500GB SATA.

    I'm still slightly unsure as to which case to get, although get the impression it should be a P35-DS3x although I don't know which variant would suit me best...

    I plan on buying the CPU from clubit for the guaranteed G0 stepping.

    Shadow, nice pic ;)  I'm not really sure about transporting the case, so I might have to buy that in the U.K. but I thought it would be ok to transport the HD (I'd test the PC in N.Y. to check it was working then take it apart for transport using mostly original packaging).

    geofelt, that shopping tip sounds pretty good, so I'll definitely do it if I can...
    also, I couldn't quite make sense of the silentpcreview website, but I do want my PC to be as quiet as possible, as I'm a student and this PC will probably be in my single room and turned on overnight...

    Jevon, what's the difference between Arctic Silver 5 and Arctic Cooling MX-2, and why do you prefer the latter?

    Finally, would it be worth getting 8GB of RAM for future proofing and should I get 2 of those hard drives if I want to dual boot with both XP and Vista? I can already guess that XP might not recognise all the RAM but what the heck?

    Keep the help coming guys, it means a lot to me!

    Thanks,

    Luke Vega
    March 10, 2008 2:38:24 AM

    You are getting there. You will have about the same system as I do. Here are some more thoughts:

    Gigabyte DS3L is a basic board with 4 sata ports and 1 pcie slot. The DS3R has more rear panel usb ports which I wanted, and also raid which I did not care about. The DS3P has 2 pci-e slots. Go to the Gigabyte web site, and they have a comparison function which lists the features side by side for comparison. Do not get the P35C ddr2 & ddr3 combo boards; ddr3 is not worth it today.

    As-5 and MX-2 both work well. Performance differences are very minor. I like MX-2 because it seems easier to spread.

    Realistically 4gb should suit anybody except heavy multitaskers, and those using software built to use lots of ram. I got 8gb to try out a ramdisk, but that did not work out. If you get a good name brand memory, you can always add more later. If you plan to overclock, 8gb makes it harder.

    On the os, see if you qualify for an academic price on Vista. I would not bother with the expense for XP today unless you have a particular reason for needing it.

    For the parts you are getting, I can heartily recommend the Antec Solo.
    Sound deadening panels.
    Front intake air filters.
    Baffled front air intakes.
    No "bling" the only lights are a blue power light and a blue hdd activity led.
    No fussy front doors which I don't like.
    Three speed switch on the rear fan is included; on low, you can hardly hear it.
    The 8800GTS fits fine; the 8800GTX and 9800GX2 are 10.5" cards which are a bit too long, and will not fit without a case mod. If you are thinking of them, look at the P182.

    For quiet, the key is to use slow turning fans. If they turn at 1000 rpm, they will be very quiet. The Solo uses two 92mm fans if you need extra cooling. look for 1500rpm units or slower, or use a fanmate to adjust them. Steel cases are quieter than aluminum, but they are heavier. It might make sense to get them locally.

    ---good luck---

    March 10, 2008 2:50:23 AM

    Most reviews and user experiences have the MX-2 running chips 1-2 degrees cooler than AS5, which isn't really a huge deal but not bad for paste in itself. But the important difference is that it's non-electric, which means it's non-conductive, which means say if any leaks out from the cpu/heatsink you have no worries about it causing shorts. Another really nice benefit many users like about it is that it essentially doesn't require 200 hours of burn in time to set like the AS5 does. You basically get your results/temps instantly.

    Again though, no matter what thermal paste you choose to use, make sure you read up on the specific kind and how best to apply it on your processor for best/safest results :) 

    I'd check out some reviews for the GA-P35-DS3L to start with, as it's sort of the most 'basic' of the boards out there but is still an excellent performer and best value (IMO). From the reviews or even specifications page see if it has whatever bells and whistles you would like, such as Firewire and stuff. Then maybe compare it to a higher-end P35's features and see if there's things on that you'd want you maybe didnt think of and go from there.

    I'd pass on 8gb of RAM right now. I haven't done it myself or bothered to read much into it, but I believe there might be some driver/compatibility issues out there on some boards still with Vista + 8gb. But unless you're into photo/video editing, you wouldn't likely make use of it with games any time soon.

    I'll let someone else answer the dual boot question, not too familiar with that :) 

    EDIT: Looks like geofelt and I are pretty much on the same page.....although I'm partial to the CM 690 :) 
    March 10, 2008 4:40:02 AM

    lukevega said:
    SAMSUNG 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model SH-S203N - $34

    COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $80

    ZALMAN FAN MATE 2 Fan Controller $4

    Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB 10,000 RPM SATA 1.5Gb/s Hard Drive - $170

    Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - $100

    XFX PVT88GYDF4 GeForce 8800GTS (G92) 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - $320

    Rosewill RX750-D-B ATX12V v2.2 & EPS12V v2.91 750W Power Supply - $130

    Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - $6

    G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1000 (PC2 8000) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8000CL5D-4GBPQ - $100

    Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz LGA 775 Quad-Core Processor Model BX80562Q6600 - $255

    Microsoft Windows Vista 64-Bit Home Premium for System Builders Single Pack DVD - $110


  • I haven’t chosen a motherboard because I heard the new X48s are to be released soon and was wondering if I should wait for one of those?

    I also plan on buying the Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme cooler and some Scythe fans, as I want the system to be as quiet as possible.

    These are the newegg prices of the components, but I heard that clubit guarantee the G0 stepping for the Q6600 and also that Micro Center have some good deals for processors at the moment…

    All help is welcomed and will be greatly appreciated!

    Luke Vega


  • Sounds like a good idea, but there are some stuff you can get for about the same price in the UK..

    1) Samsung SH-S203P/RSMN Lightscribe SATA, 3 Bezels + Nero Retail £20.20 Inc VAT
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=767379

    or

    Samsung SH-S203P/BEBN 20x DVD±R, 12x DVD±DL, DVD+RW x8/-RW x6, SATA,Lightscribe, Black, OEM inc Nero £17.74 Inc VAT
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=679621

    2) Coolermaster CM690 Dominator Black Mid Tower Case - No PSU £49.99inc vat
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/131551

    Price at NewEgg for same case is $79.99 plus $21.11(3 Business Day Shipping cost) and then you would most likely have to pay import tax when you brought it back into the UK.

    3) On the Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB 10,000 RPM SATA 1.5Gb/s Hard Drive - $170. You know that it is Sata I and has 1.5gb/s speed, compared to the Sata II 3.0gb/s speed and when you use both of these types of HD's. The HD's will use the slowewst speed. Also there is talk that WD will be coming out sometime in 2nd qtr of 2008 with a new Raptor.. So if you want 2 drives I would go with the Sata II HD.

    4) A good choice with the Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - $100. You might want to get 2 of these as per comment in #5. I personally like Seagate new 7200.11 series, even if they are 20 dollars more, they also have a 32mb cache.

    Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $119.99 plus free shipping.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148288

    5) Good choice on XFX 8800 GTS from NewEgg.

    6) For PSU would go with the 620W Corsair HX Series Modular SLi PSU, ATX, EPS 12V, whisper quiet, 5 year warranty. £85.06 Inc VAT
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=446787 while it might be about 2o quid more, since buying it in UK it will be made for the correct electricity you use in the UK and you will not have to pay import tax on it. Since it is not something you can hide easily.

    7) Good choice on Thermal compound from NewEgg.

    8) Excellant choice on the G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1000 (PC2 8000) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8000CL5D-4GBPQ - $100

    9) Good choice on the Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz LGA 775 Quad-Core Processor Model BX80562Q6600 - $255. Would also consider if NewEgg has the E8400 in stock that cpu also.
    Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor $239.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115037

    10) Fair choice on the Microsoft Windows Vista 64-Bit Home Premium for System Builders Single Pack DVD - $110. Reason being that if you have to reformat, you will need to contact Microsoft to get reacivation key. If you can find full version of OS, they do so.

    11) Motherboards : The X48 mobo's should be out around March 18th 2008, but do not know how many brands will be using DDR2 Ram, I read a week or 2 ago on Anandtech.com that Asus will have them in both DDR2 & DDR3.

    Asus Rampage Formula x48, ddr2 review.
    http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3208

    Asus P5E3 Premium, based on Intel's upcoming X48 chipset with DDR3 memory review.
    http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3229

    Another option is to go with the 780i mobo's. Depending which one you like, the 2 best out right now will be these 2 in my opinion.

    EVGA 132-CK-NF78-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $259.99 which is out of stock at NewEgg
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813188024

    http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=10007493 in stock and is $239.99

    and

    ASUS Striker II Formula LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $329.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131255

    ZipZoomFly price 299.99
    http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=10007692

    ALL but # 1 & 2 you can get cheaper in the USA by considerable amount. #4 you save £5 on the Seagate Drive and to £10 on the WD Drive. I hope this helped you out some what.
    March 10, 2008 8:27:45 PM

    Ok, so this is where I'm at:

    Samsung 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model SH-S203N - $34

    Zalman fan mate 2 Fan Controller - $4

    XFX PVT88GYDF4 GeForce 8800GTS (G92) 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - $320

    Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - $6

    Corsair CMPSU-520HX ATX12V v2.2 and EPS12V 2.91 520W Power Supply - $125

    Microsoft Windows Vista 64-Bit Home Premium for System Builders Single Pack DVD - $110
    I might try geofelt's tip if I can get someone to go to Costco, and find out a little more on how to get Microsoft to mail me a DVD...

    Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 500GB SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - $120 possibly x2

    Crucial Ballistix 4GB(2 x 2GB) DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) - $110

    Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz LGA 775 Quad-Core Processor Model BX80562Q6600 - $255 Clubit

    Yate loon/Noctua NF-S12 series Fans - suggestions for where to purchase?

    Thermalright Ultra Extreme 120 - again, suggestions for where to purchase?

    Antec P182 or SOLO - I'll purchase in the U.K.

    I'm still stuck on the motherboard though... I've been looking at gigabyte's website and comparing the p35 and X38 motherboards and they all look pretty similar... Can anyone suggest a solid, stable board that will allow me to overclock well (although not right now as I don't know enough to) - geofelt, you have a GA-P35-DS3R(rev2.1), would you recommend that over the others?

    Thanks everyone, I'm almost ready to order and fly for that matter! :D 

    Luke Vega
    March 10, 2008 8:47:11 PM

    All the gigabyte boards overclock equally well. Pick based on features you need. Even then, you can use add-in cards later.
    Yes, I am pleased with the DS3R.
    March 11, 2008 9:46:06 PM

    Has Gigabyte made some changes to the GA-P35-DS3R? I did a quick search just to make sure the main difference between it and the GA-P35-DS3L was that it is RAIDable, but it seems it may have been discontinued/replaced by the EP35-DS3R? ("E") Not sure what difference there is if any because you have rev. 2.1 Geo, and that's what this board is. /shrug

    Anyway yeah, like he said, all the Gigabyte boards perform and OC great. If you aren't going to do a RAID setup though, I'd just get the cheaper (~$35) DS3L as it has (I believe) everything that the DS3R has, minus the RAID capability :) 

    EDIT: Sorry, the reason I brought up the slightly different model number with the P35-DS3R (vs EP35-DS3R) is that if you choose to get that board, double check and make sure you order one they would have in stock since you're travelling to the USA to get it. It'd suck balls if they shipped everything but the motherboard on time because there was some mix up on stock/model numbers O_o
    March 12, 2008 12:14:49 AM

    The revisions have, over time revised what is on the back panel. Where there used to be parallel and serial ports, there is now room for more usb ports, and the serial and parallel conectors are now pins on the mobo. You need to use a back panel connector to use them, If you care. I think the E models are more energy efficient in some way, but the boards are essentially the same. The DS3L only has 4 sata ports, while the R has 6. The R also has more back panel usb ports. Also raid which I did not care about. The chipset cooling system might have some differences also.
    March 12, 2008 12:55:10 AM

    You could save some money by getting the Evga 8800gts 512mb from newegg for $240 after $30mir, and you get Evga's 90 day step up program too.
    !