New Build, want to OC - need advice!

Ok, so basically I want to build a new computer and I plan on spending between $1-$1.5k on it… and that’s for EVERYTHING. So here is what I’ve come up with so far…

CPU: E8400 $165
MB: BIOSTAR TPower I45 (P45 board) $160
Memory: G.Skill – 8GB (4x2GB sticks) DDR2 1000 $110
Memory: G.Skill – 8GB (4x2GB sticks) DDR2 800 $100
Video Card: 2x SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 512MB 128-bit in CrossFire $160
Video Cards: SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 512MB 256-bit $160
HDD(s): (2x?) Seagate Barracuda 250GB 7200RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s $55 each
PSU: PC Power & Cooling S75QB 750W CrossFire Ready 80 Certified Active PFC $135
Case: Antec 1200 Black Steel ATX Full Tower Case $215
Monitor(s): Dell UltraSharp 19” Widescreen LCD $150 each
CPU Heatsink: ? - $50
Vista 32 or 64?

So I’m only getting the E8400 and the Bio I45 MB because I heard they work well together for OC-ing and I’d like to push 4.0GHz Stable if I can. I heard 3.6 is easy without any power changes therefore not much temp changes either. I also heard that the dual cores are better for gaming because most games can’t use the quad cores to their fullest so the dual cores are better for their cheaper, higher GHz. I will be playing games but I’m also a motion graphics and video editor -_- (Graduate in Dec , next month W00t!) So maybe I should go for a quad? If so which would be good since I’m on a budget? Or just stay with the E8400/8500/8600???

Whenever I see people talk about their OC’s setup they usually have just the 800 RAM but it’s only a $10 difference to get up to the 1000? Both are 5-5-5-15

Video Cards: Ehh – Can’t say I know much. I’m worried my system will be good but have one stupid bottleneck so I need to allocate my budget properly. Are the options I have good? Both cards were rated really high in this months review on this site, so I figured either the one for $160 or two of the $80 ones… Is it better to have two separate video cards or one? Does anyone know how well they’ll fit in my MB? Is $160 enough to invest or should I go higher? And one card or two smaller ones? And is Sapphire even good!?

HDD – ok so I figured I wouldn’t spend too much on this since I have a bunch of other ones I use for all my data, but I need something new for the OS. Should I get two drives in a RAID 0? Can you put your OS on a Raid 0? And do I need a card to do the RAID 0? Or would it be better to just get one drive for the OS… remember I’m on a budget… but I don’t want a HDD to be a bottleneck… if that’s possible.

PSU: is $135 way to much to spend? I was reading that most builders over look the importance of a PSU and everything it does… I was also told to look for the 80 Plus Cert. Active PFC and the Crossfire support… if I need it. Is this a good choice or is 750W way to much? Will I need it for the OC? My (theoretical) case has a Crap-ton of fans in it too.

Case: Again… is $215 too much to spend on a case when on a budget of $1000-$1500k? I don’t care for looks or lights… but this case is big (I must have a full case) and it can take 7 case fans (stock 6) and I know I’ll need a cool case for OC-ing. Would it be better to spend less on a case and go for a Water cooling kit? If I keep the case or not, I need a good suggestion for a CPU heatsink… if I keep this case, anything should fit. How much should I spend on a heatsink also?

Lastly – Vista… I’m going to need vista to be able to utilize my 8GB of memory right? Should I get the 64bit version? Also – This isn’t included in my budget since I can get it from my work for free.

Lastly – I really like the monitor’s I’ve picked out and I think I can do THAT much on my own haha. I’d like to get two for my editing but when playing a game, should I disable one? And would wanting to use two monitors dictate my video card choice? I have no clue to any of this – but would two video cards be better for running two monitors? Or just one, nicer, video card be better for both monitors (Since most newer cards have dual monitor capabilities). Also consider my gaming… Do I need to compromise or will one solution benefit both my needs?!

Total cost with what I have is about $1355… including two monitors, two of the HDD’s and $50 for a heatsink :/ The lower the better, but if I have to go closer to 1500 to get a level system (un-bottlenecked) then I will.

Thanks a lot – and I’ll be responsive and should hopefully have this build by Christmas :] with pics to follow. Just need to know what to get! – I can also post links to all the products I've listed so far… all on newegg.
17 answers Last reply
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  1. well I'd to gigabyte for Mobo ram go 800. vid? You don't give enough details. Yes for 64bit and the E8400 then get a Zalman 9500A
  2. If you want to reach the 4.0 Ghz mark on a e8400 you definitely want the ddr 1000 RAM because 800 will hold you back once you get to 3.6ghz, and would then need to be overclocked, which is kinda hard when using 8gb.

    The p45 is not the greatest crossfire board, a x38 or x48 are better. But I'd suggest you go with a single card configuration anyway, a 4870 would be a good choice for you.

    The Zalman 9500A is not that great of a cooler considering that you can get much better cooling performance for cheaper from the new Xigmatek HDT s1283EE.
    This is the new reversion of the highly praised HDT-S1284, the new EE has 4 direct contact heatpipes, whereas the older had 3.
    Here is it:

    Sunbeam also has a good cooler:
  3. well my E8400 oc's fine to 4GHz with 8gb of 800 and I have a crap silent knight II
  4. Sure the e8400's oc fine, but what'd you have to set you ram voltage to, to overclock them past 800mhz. :D
    Or are you running at strange ratios?
  5. Thanks for the advise thus far! I like that XIGMATEK a lot, saves money too. So it would be worth spending the extra $10 bucks to get the 1000 RAM? And you mentioned that it would be hard to OC the E8400 to 4.0GHz with 8GB of ram in general??? Is it harder when you have more ram??

    And the Video cards... what other info would you want? I'm just asking if I should get one expensive card or two cheaper cards in crossfire... but then BobfaceBilly suggested getting one card instead - so - will this be ok with running like Adobe After Effects and stuff on two monitors? I did like the 4870s... I'd be spending a bit more on the vid-card but if that's what I need then so be it.
    Also, there are many other questions in that bulky post of mine haha. Appreciate the help!
  6. yeah go single gfx card the HD4870 will do but also concider a GTX260
  7. It is normally best to run your ram at a 1:1 ratio with your processor, which means that the FSB of the processor is equal to that of your ram.
    DDR2 800mhz ram is actually running at 400mhz, but since its Double-Data-Rate it effectively runs as if its 800mhz.
    A e8400 has a multiplier of 9, so when you set your processor FSB running at 400mhz (it may say 1600mhz, since FSB speed is quad-pumped so that it effectively runs 4 times faster) it would only be 3.6ghz, and then to overclock higher, if you wanted to keep the nice 1:1 ratio you'd have to either overclock your ram to higher mhz (which is hard with 8) or change the ratios.

    So if you get ddr2 1000 you could overclock your e8400 to 4.5ghz before the ram would hold you back. :D
    In most cases getting ddr2 800 is best just because most people don't overclock enough to even take advantage of its top speed. However in your case you'll be overclocking higher and thus can take advantage of the higher speed of ddr2 1000.

    Um, I personally wouldn't mess with raid it sounds like it can be a pain sometimes. I'd rather have a little lower loading times and more reliability.

    Yes 64-bit so you can take advantage of your ram.
    I do think with the extra money spent on a 4870 you'll be way more happy, you'll get much better performance gaming.
    And that should work with your dual monitors.
    I don't really know how to work things with dual monitors as far as games go. I'd assume you'd just disable one.

    That antec 1200 is a great case, and if you don't mind spending the little extra for ALOT of space and great airflow then go for it.
    If you want to save some money, a midsize case would work fine, I like the NZXT tempest: it has really nice airflow as well.

    For the PSU, 750w is plenty you could actually go lower. You can save some money and get this corsair, which is a wonderful PSU.

    Hope that helps
  8. Awesome. Yeah that more than helps. I really appreciate it. So here is what my new build looks like thus far…

    CPU: E8400 $165
    MB: BIOSTAR TPower I45 (P45 board) $160 (Since I’m only using a single GPU)
    Memory: G.Skill – 8GB (4x2GB sticks) DDR2 1000 $110 (See below)
    GPU: Single VisionTek HD 4870 (see below) $275
    HDD(s): Seagate Barracuda 250GB 7200RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s $55 (Just one :] )
    PSU: CORSAIR 750W SLI Ready/CrossFire Ready, 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC $110
    Case: Antec 1200 Black Steel ATX Full Tower Case $215 (Still undecided on this)
    Monitor(s): Dell UltraSharp 19” Widescreen LCD $150 each (300 total)
    CPU Heatsink: See below

    CPU: Settled

    MB: Since I’m sticking to a single GPU – think it’s ok to stick to this board over the x38/48? Saves be a bit of memory and is rated high for good OC-ing with the E8400. What do you think?

    Memory: Ok so I’m sold that I should get 1000 ram, but the one I listed ($55 for 2x2GB so $110 for 8GB total) seems cheap and when I looked at the others, it is toward the lower end (price wise) of it’s kind… is it still good for my OC?

    HDD: No raid for me. If you think it’s a hassle then I don’t need it. Plus it saves me a bit $$… Thanks.

    PSU: Done. Thanks a lot on this on BobfaceBilly, that’s a steal. Good savings.

    Case: So I am only going to be using the one GPU so things shouldn’t be two crowded even in a med-tower but which would be better for airflow; the full or mid? I’ve always just liked the full for their ease of working in, but perhaps I should go for the mid to save $100+ :/
    Also, you mentioned OC-ing to 4.5… Could I really do that? I’ll touch on this in a second… but if I need to Watercool, would it be better to get a full case?

    CPU cooling: Would it be safe for me to OC to 4.5? I read that I can get to 3.6 without any Volt changes but 4.5 would be great if my system could handle it. No you mentioned it would be hard to to OC my ram since I’ll have 8GB – is that because the 4 would run hot or because all 8 would have to be OC-ed? Either way, sounds like I should just get the 1000, that would result in me not having to OC the ram at all… correct? So lets say I’m aiming for a 3.6-4.5 OC , I’m probably going to need to change some volts and I’m not really sure how to do any of this, but basically, I need to know what to set all my stuff too. The ram I could just leave be? You said the FBS is quad pumped… why is that? Does it have to do with the amount of RAM I have, or the number of sticks of ram I have? Does it have to do with having a quad-core (cause the E8400 is not, which I’m sure you know but I’m just saying)… or is FBS – in general – always – quad pumped? Is it like just a stat.?

    So Should I use Watercooling or will fans be enough? If so, whats a good kit because when I read the reviews for them there are always tons of negative things for them all… but I think its just because people are more likely to leave a review if something goes wrong than if it works perfect. Also, What all should I cool via Water or extra fans? Obviously my CPU… but will my GPU need cooled or my ram?

    So this current build is actually 1390! Only $35 more than my original and this gets me a better GPU, 1000 ram, and only one less HDD (that I don’t need cuz no raid)!

    Lastly – I didn’t include any money for cooling, but I suppose I’ll add $50? Topping this build at 1440. =[
    I’m also still debating if I should go Quad or stay Dual? Like I said I will be using apps like After Effects, Premiere, Photoshop, Encore, ect… many times multiple at the same time via Dynamic Link. Will a dual core at 4.5 be pleanty for this or should I go for the Q6600 (seems to be the quad equivalent of my E8400 as far as price goes) which is at 2.4 un-OC-ed… what could I even OC the Q6600 to?

    And thanks again BobfaceBilly, been a great help thus far. :] – You wouldn’t happen to be near Pittsburgh PA would you? hahaha
  9. Western Digital Caviar SE WD3200AAJS 320GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s sells for $55 at and is a single platter design.
  10. Sorry about my lack of response there, was busy getting ready for a test. :)

    I do think the p45 is a good choice, they do overclock better than the x38/x48 boards and although you can get some pretty sweet FPS with certain dual cards, 1 powerful card is normally enough especially in you case since the highest you'll be gaming at 1600x1080.

    The only thing wrong with that ram is that it requires a voltage of 2.0v/2.1v,
    2.1v is the max "allowed" voltage manufactures set it, which means they have probably no head room to overclock. But you wouldn't need to do that to them anyway. 1.8v is the low and if you find sticks set to that they generally are good for manual overclocking, but also cost a bit more.
    However, that said you'd be really hard pressed to find 1000 RAM that wasn't set to that voltage because generally the RAM was factory overclock and required the extra voltage. So that choice of ram should be fine.

    For the case, fulls are generally better for airflow because, being a bigger case, the power cables don't constrict as much of the airflow since you have so much room to tuck the extras out of the way.
    The midsized case that I linked earlier has a built in cable routing method where you can feed the power cords behind the side of the case the Motherboard sits on, and bring them out through holes next to the Mobo.
    So they both would have good airflow, and it comes down to which you would personally prefer.

    4.5Ghz wouldn't be considered safe, you'd have to set your vcore to high to reach that. And if you could reach it stably with decent temperatures I'd still be hesitant to leave it so high because of reliability. I just mention 4.5 because with DDR2 1000 ram that is the theoretical speed you could reach before the Ram would hold you back.
    And yes with the 1000 ram you could just leave it alone, and it wouldn't hinder your overclocking.
    Overclock the 8gb is hard because, yes they would start to get to hot, and you'd have to be feeding alot of voltage to those 4 memory lanes which would quickly become unstable.

    Yes all FSB is quad-pumped, when overclocking to 4.0 you will need to raise the vcore (voltage) on your processor, unless you get an incredible overclocking chip :D. When you do raise the vcore, do it very gradually, I think for the e8400 I wouldn't recommend going past 1.4v. But I'm not positive what its "safe limits" are. And make sure you keep a close eye on your temps.

    I don't think going water is worth it, say on aircooling you could safely overclock an e8400 to 4.0, and with water you "might" be able to get it safely to 4.2. And heaven forbid you'd ever have a leak. Aircooling is all around easier and with a good ventilated case its generally enough. You could always buy a more powerful fan for the heatsink if temperatures aren't satisfying you.

    A Q6600 you could expect to overclock to 3.4-3.6ghz, it'd would be better for your applications especially if you had alot of them running at the same time. However I know photoshop likes the duals better than the quads, but I'm not sure about the other programs but I'm almost positive that the quad would come out on top overall.
    A Q6600 at 3.4-3.6 is a decent gamer chip as well. So if your going to be working more than gaming on the computer, go for a quad. With a Q6600 you could get away with DDR2 800.

    No problem, I actually live about 3hrs from Pittsburgh :)
  11. I always thought the "original" point of overclocking is not spending the higher costs of the top line chip. The difference in price between the E8400 and 8600 is $100. I mean srysly, y spend that money for .5 GHz that truthfully makes 0 difference.

    The Q6600 can OC (if u push it) to 3.4-3.6 on a good air cooler with a good chip. Some water rigs have pushed it to around 3.8 (if i recall correctly from xtremesystems....), but as bob said above, dont go water. For some the hassle adn work and $$$ to get it running isnt worth it. It would cost an easy $300+ for a worthwhile water loop.
    If u are gonna consider a quad, find out if ur adobe programs support multiple threads. If they support quad cores then get a quad. Ull get more out of it on those programs
  12. Ur kidding ur comparing the results of different speeds between a last gen cpu and Penryn???

    U cant justify the difference there based on clock speed
    Learn please before u post
    Penryn is a more "efficient" processor where for the same clock u get more performance. That post is like saying a 4.0 Pentium D beats a 2.8 Core 2 Duo ROFL

    If u look over those benchmarks ud see that between the E8600 between 3.53 and 4.4 theres an avg of around 9 frames with the extremes being both GRID and HL2 giving 16 and 17 but they are very hard on CPU power. The rest give 0-9 frames.
  13. here ill bold the line for u in the post above.....just in case u missed it

    And thats actually around a 1 GHz difference too....ill compromise at 60% increase for .5 if ud like..(TAKE IT u get around 10% on that deal)
  14. habitat87 said:
    And yeah, maybe I did miss it, you put in a previous post. HAHAHAHA!!! Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

    Ur so stupid i looked at the results from all his benches
    First i commented about how its a E6600 to a E8600 which i kno isnt the point but u have to show that for those that dont kno that
    but then i talked about the 3.53 to 4.4
    and yes it was in the previous post where i answered ur remark with those benchmarks. I wrote that line...u overlooked it so i went back and bolded it for u to make sure u saw it clearly...
    where else would i put it?!? 4 posts from now??

    I see every point ur making but u totally overlook the actual benefits of that .5GHz
    and that the first bottleneck always comes from ur gpu mostly....not ur cpu
  15. Thats just because some ppl that have all the money in the world and dont understand the actual them they go OMG I GET 20 FPS for $600 more!!! Awesome especially when they see that 20fps.... :kaola:

    I mean my first DIY computer had a E2180 and i got it to 3.0 GHz and was happy. 11k in 3D mark with an 8800GT and i played all my games on max.

    1) I love both the duals and Quads. If i had a smaller budget (and no parents) i wouldve gone Dual, dont get me wrong. I just like quads for my budget
    2) Im hungry so im gonna go out and get some Chinese food :D
    3) I gotta go look at for my next TV!!! Stupid rear projector broke so LCD here i come
  16. Wow! Alright so we're back on topic now? haha. Everyone friends? haha I'm kidding, I appreciate the help, I really do. After reading a lot of this I'm starting to think that maybe I'll just stick to the E8400. I am trying to save as much as possible so if I cutting the ram in half I'd prefer to just keep that as savings. But memory is very important for rendering and working in After Effects, Maya, Shake, ect. I mean some other computers we have at work have 64GB! I know Boxx's Apex 8 has 128GB, but it also has 32 cores and costs more than my house :[ - but if anyone else agrees about the 4GB vs. 8GB then maybe I will go down to 4GB. Suggestions? Thanks Habitat.

    So, the E8400 with the P45 MB are about solid on my list now. I think I'll also stick with 8GB of 1000 RAM(but not completely sure about 8vs.4) (Just sticking with the cheap stuff with high volts since I wont need to OC it, thanks Bob). For the case, I decided I'm either going to go with the midsize case for about $100 to save about $100 from the Full case... or I'm just going to gut out my current case which is an old Antec Outside - Full case, save another $100. I might rig some additional fans to the case via some drilling. But a new case would look nice. Monitors... still the same - two for $300. Sticking with the 4870 GPU.

    Also thanks for the info on OC-ing the ram. Don't really need it since I'm not going to be OC-ing my ram but good to know. So with my 4 sticks of 2GB 1000's, they should be fine? You mentioned their stock volts will be high since there factory OC-ed, should I try to add a fan near them?

    I was reading all about the OC-ing process and stuff so I don't plan to go much past 1.35. Hopefully I don't have to come close. Also, I saw this one article on this side and it was like 10 pages long about how reading your computers temperature for OC-ing and it was like INSANE. Way to much information. I felt like it was homework trying to read it so I gave up. Since I'm only doing a mild OC, can I just use the simple programs like CPU-Z and whatever else to read my temps? Also what are safe temps for an E8400? If I only go to 3.5-3.6 then I may not have to change the volts thus not changing the temp much correct?

    I'm also 100% against water now haha. I was always scared of it to begin with, add in the chance of leakage and the high costs, well forget that! Not to mention the results are not much higher than some good air cooling, and since my OC won't be anything crazy it shouldn't be something for me to consider. Ever.

    The only thing still hindering me is you mentioned that the Q6600 could reach 3.4ish... would that be stable? If so, how much? Silverion mentioned that but said "If you push it". Weather I stick with the E8400 or go with the Q6600, I want an absolute stable system since I'll will be doing work on the computer, not just gaming. I mean I do back my stuff up often, but I just don't want an unreliable system. That being said... the E8400 seems like its still my choice.

    I did know that the Raids are good when editing HD since some of the files can be upwards of about 40GB a piece so maybe I will do a raid 0, but that will be later with additional money down the line. I was just wondering if I could run my OS off a raid 0 to increase performance but it's to much hassle and I'd prefer to just stick to one decent HDD for my OS. I might even go smaller to save more money since 320 is almost way high for my OS drive. I usually just have one HDD for my OS and all my installs and Virtual Memory. Everything else (files) are kept on other drives.

    So yeah, again, I appreciate all the help! Keep it coming haha. I've got a nice big Excel sheet going with all kinds of costs comparisons and totals for my new build. Slowly narrowing it down for purchasing!

    Also, I saw this...

    looks good, is it? If so where do I get it?
  17. Looks like they took their motherboard out for a picnic, thats kinda scary... The cooler is a thermaltake ultra 120 with an extra fan stuck on, it is a good cooler. But the new Xigmatek should perform better.

    Here it is if you wanted to look at it, its way overpriced due to alot of hype about it.

    I'd use realtemp to monitor your temps, its not totally accurate but gives a general idea. I personally wouldn't want to see load temps going into the 60's. Use prime95 stress tests and let the test run at least 10-12 hours, if you don't get any errors in that time then you've probably got a stable overclock.

    With an antec 1200 or tempest, or any case with alot of fans and good airflow, you shouldn't need to worry about your ram. If you want to test your rams stability you can use memtest for that.

    A Q6600 "should" reach 3.4 pretty easily, but all chips are different. Alot of them are capable of 3.6.
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