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Double <$1k systems for May purchase help

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March 27, 2008 3:54:40 AM

Hello everyone.

I'm hoping to get some help specifying a pair of systems that I hope to build in May of this year. I'm soliciting advice early to try and get a feel from you guys what I should and should not wait for when making component decisions. I'd like to also take advantage of sales that may happen between then and now like on the power supply at buy.com

These systems will be tower only. No keyboard/mouse/monitors/speakers since I will have these items.

My objectives:

1. Keep the cost under 1k. (closer to 900 if possible since everything will be QTY 2)
2. Maximize gaming performance. (These will primarily function as gaming systems)
3. To plan in items that may not be available this month but perhaps in the May timeframe (this is probably what I need the most help with)
4. Mild overclocking - as a means to squeak out more performance at a lower price point. Looking for a good stable OC with air cooling only something like 3.6 on the e8400.

Other notes:- Not interested in SLI


So far I have the following as a start. Please let me know which components I should be looking at swapping with come May.

Wish list:

Case - Antec 900
PS- Corsair VX 550W ATX Power Supply
CPU - Intel E8400 - (I assume these will be far easier and cheaper to get come May. Will 45nm quads be a better option?)
MB - Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS3R
Mem - 4GB DDR2 (2x2gb) 800
Vidcard- Nvidia Geforce 8800 GTS (EVGA?)
HD- 500gb Seagate
OS - 64bit Vista OEM?Upgrade?
CPU Cooler - ? (not sure whats a good pairing for the 8400 in the antec 900)
DVD -
March 27, 2008 11:53:49 AM

The list looks great.

E8400 may be out of stock, but there's Xeon equivalent E3110 for less.

Just make sure the 8800GTS is 512MB.

OEM means no box/manual/stuff. OEM software means just the CD/DVD with license in a cardboard holder. Strictly speaking, OEM is sold with a combo of parts. In your case, Vista OEM is sold with a cpu & mobo. OEM means full version.

The Intel stock CPU cooler is fine for light to mild overclocking. If you want, you can pick up a Freezer 7 Pro.

Look at ASUS LS series dvd writer.
March 27, 2008 7:24:25 PM


Thanks akhilles.
Freezer 7 Pro looks like a great deal.

I hope over the next 8 weeks the e8400 and e3110 both come down to the list price and availability does come up.

Are there any screaming buys available on some of the safe components I should grab before those deals expire?

Is the VX550 ps from buy.com worth pickin up now?
Are there any great case deals atm?

Thanks again.
Related resources
March 27, 2008 7:53:46 PM

Everything looks good. :) . Get any x64 OS XP or Vista (be aware of possible incompatibilities). For cooler I recommend a ZALMAN CNPS7700 ($32) else a Arctic Freezer.
March 28, 2008 8:05:32 AM

You should try to get all the parts in the shortest amount of time if possible. Def. look for deals. buy.com is a good one. You could get the Antec Sonata III with a quality 500W psu that can power the GTS512.
March 28, 2008 8:10:42 AM

I wouldn't count on CPU prices coming down, The demand is too great and the controlling pockets are too big.
March 29, 2008 3:13:26 AM


In the interest of going in some sort of logical build order, I've been looking at cases and powersupplies to get a hold of first. I'll hold out as long as I can on the really pricey items like CPU and GPU.

So the Antec Sonata III case you mentioned Akhilles seems an excellent deal on the surface.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129024

89.99 after rebate with the PS thru the end of the month.

Does anyone have experience with the case? or with the included PS?
Looking for something quiet yet still can cool effectively.
March 29, 2008 11:56:11 AM

Wait till April 1st i believe when the 9800gtx will me released for 300-350$
If its to much $$ wait a lil longer for it to come out because the 8800gts will drop a bit more.
March 29, 2008 12:19:37 PM

The Q6700 is supposed to be going from $500+ to $259 on april 20th.
March 29, 2008 12:28:25 PM

Its a good idea to speculate early like you are doing now but you will definitely want to come back and repost closer to the time you actually need the build. These guys will be all over it when you come back you can count on it.

As for now, it will be impossible to get those parts X2 for under 1000.00. Who knows what a few weeks will bring. I would be looking now for cheap priced, quality memory and be working on getting your rebates back for them to recover your cost sooner. Memory is crazy cheap right now!

I have seen Vista basic for as low as 49.00 at microcenter. Does anyone here know, other than eye candy, is there a limitation for basic as far as supporting dual and quad core cpus? I didnt know for the longest time that XP home didnt support dual cores. Luckily enough I was using Media Center 20005.
March 29, 2008 4:25:28 PM

Here is what I figure I have so far. Current prices are real with the exception of the e8400 which is what I would hope to pay. Its not too far off. This is for a single system.

COMPONENT BRAND VENDOR PRICE 1 TAX TOTAL REBATE AFTER REB
CASE ANTEC SONATA III NEW EGG $119.95 $9.90 $129.85 $30.00 $99.85
POWER SUPPLY EARTHWATTS 500W NEW EGG $- $- $- $- $-
MOTHERBOARD GA-P35-DS3L NEW EGG $89.99 $7.42 $97.41 $- $97.41
CPU INTEL E8400 NEW EGG $199.99 $16.50 $216.49 $- $216.49
GRAPHICS EVGA 8800GTS(G92) NEW EGG $259.99 $21.45 $281.44 $30.00 $251.44
HDD SEAGATE 500GB NEW EGG $99.99 $8.25 $108.24 $- $108.24
MEMORY CRUCIAL BAL2X2GB NEW EGG $109.99 $9.07 $119.06 $- $119.06
CPU COOLER ARTIC FREEZER 7PRONEW EGG $36.99 $3.05 $40.04 $- $40.04
DVDROM LITE-ON BLACK 20XL NEW EGG $32.99 $2.72 $35.71 $- $35.71
OS VISTA64BITHOMEPR NEW EGG $99.00 $8.17 $107.17 $- $107.17

TOTALS $1,048.88 $86.53 $1,135.41 $1,075.41



Went with the DS3L given the great deal that exists.
The memory is on the higher $ side but this is what I've read to be compatible with the DS3L. I'm open to other suggestions for memory that would overclock well on the DS3L.

I'm also taking a beating on sales tax being in California from New Egg. If you guys know of another similar vendor that doesnt have a local presence that could easily save another $80.00 or so per system.

Every dollar saved is doubled so to meet my target I need to shave a good $130 per system over the next 2 months. Point me towards the deals!

Thanks everyone for the help thusfar.
March 30, 2008 8:19:50 PM

you should be able to get 2 gigs of ram for 30 dollars and either an ati 3870 or 9600 for 180. This will cut you down about 140 dollars, but if you still have 2 months i would wait for the cpu and graphics to drop.
April 5, 2008 6:26:33 PM

After browsing the forums for the last couple of weeks and a hands on visit to my local Fry's I'm making a few changes to my top choices so far. I think I've pulled of an excellent "sub 1k system". Let me know if you agree.

ITEMS THAT REMAIN THE SAME:

GA-P35-DS3L
SEAGATE BARRACUDA 500GB OEM
LITE-ON BLACK 20XDVDRW RETAIL
WINDOWS VISTA 64BIT HOME PREM

ITEMS I'VE CHANGED:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
CASE:
OLD: ANTEC SONATA III W/EARTHWATS 500W P/S ~ 106.00
NEW: COOLER MASTER RC-690 ~69.99 + CORSAIR VX520 MODULAR P/S ~ 89.99
COST DIFF ~ +$55.00
BENEFIT - NICER CASE WITH A VERY NICE MODULAR POWERSUPPLY
COMMENTS - I LIKED THE LOOK AND FEEL OF THE RC-690 AFTER SEEING IT IN PERSON. SINCE THE UNIT WILL BE SITTING ON THE FLOOR I REALLY LIKED THE TOP MOUNTED PLUGS. AND AFTER SEEING THE SPAGHETTI MESS OF CABLES I THINK A MODULAR POWER SUPPLY WELL WORTH THE INCREMENTAL COST INCREASE.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
CPU:
OLD : E8400 OEM - $215 AT VARIOUS VENDORS
NEW: XEON 3110 OEM - $187.99 @TANKGUYS
COST DIFF ~ -$27.00
BENEFIT - CHEAPER WITH EQUAL PERFORMANCE
COMMENTS - THIS DIFFERENCE MIGHT DISAPPEAR IN A FEW WEEKS. ITS ODD THAT E8400 REMAIN THIS HIGH.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
CPU COOLER:
OLD: ARTIC FREEZER 7 PRO ~$36.99
NEW : XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler ~$36.99
COST DIFF ~ $0
BENEFIT - ACCORDING TO REVIEWS BETTER O/C TEMP PERFORMANCE
COMMENTS - ONLY RISK HERE IS THE SIZE OF THE UNIT. WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF ANYONE HAS STUFFED THIS INSIDE A RC-690 ON A -DS3L SUCCESSFULLY.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
MEMORY:
OLD: CRUCIAL BALLISTIX (2X2GB) PC26400 - $109.99
NEW: OCZ 4GB (2X2GB) DDR2800 PC26400 - $93.99 - $25 MIR
COST DIFF: -$41 AFTER MIR
BENEFIT- COST
COMMMENTS - ADMITTEDLY I DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE BRANDS. FROM WHAT I'VE READ OCZ SEEMS TO DO WELL IN THE CONFIGURATION I PLAN. LOOKING FOR SOMETHING THAT PLAYS NICE WITH THE -DS3L AND DOESNT MIND OVERCLOCKING.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
GPU:
OLD:EVGA 8800GTS 512-P3-N841-AR (G92) - $259.99 - $30 MIR
NEW :MSI NX8800GTS 512M OC - $229.99 - $30MIR
COST DIFF: -$30
BENEFIT- COST + FREE GAME
COMMENTS - NOT SURE WHAT I LOSE BY GOING WITH MSI OVER EVGA. SPECS APPEAR COMPARABLE.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
After everything the net cost of the system after tax and rebates is approx $1053.80 Hopefully the pricing trend continues. I hope to pull the trigger on these purchases in about 30 days.
Thanks for your comments..

April 5, 2008 7:00:08 PM

if you have a college friend, or know someone taking tech classes you should be able to land a copy of vista business for free via MSDN Academic program, OR get the student discount which is a home premium copy for under 60 bucks.
April 5, 2008 7:25:51 PM

Student versions of Vista Ultimate 32bit are $25 at your local university. There is also a way to upgrade it to 64bit for free.

Glad you aren't getting that Antec case, It doesn't look like it has good air flow. It would be a near silent option if that's what you need.
April 6, 2008 2:32:16 AM

If you get an Antec case you need to get the Antec 900. Great airflow.
April 8, 2008 10:25:36 PM

Beechmunky said:
After browsing the forums for the last couple of weeks and a hands on visit to my local Fry's I'm making a few changes to my top choices so far. I think I've pulled of an excellent "sub 1k system". Let me know if you agree.

ITEMS THAT REMAIN THE SAME:

GA-P35-DS3L
SEAGATE BARRACUDA 500GB OEM
LITE-ON BLACK 20XDVDRW RETAIL
WINDOWS VISTA 64BIT HOME PREM

ITEMS I'VE CHANGED:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
CASE:
OLD: ANTEC SONATA III W/EARTHWATS 500W P/S ~ 106.00
NEW: COOLER MASTER RC-690 ~69.99 + CORSAIR VX520 MODULAR P/S ~ 89.99
COST DIFF ~ +$55.00
BENEFIT - NICER CASE WITH A VERY NICE MODULAR POWERSUPPLY
COMMENTS - I LIKED THE LOOK AND FEEL OF THE RC-690 AFTER SEEING IT IN PERSON. SINCE THE UNIT WILL BE SITTING ON THE FLOOR I REALLY LIKED THE TOP MOUNTED PLUGS. AND AFTER SEEING THE SPAGHETTI MESS OF CABLES I THINK A MODULAR POWER SUPPLY WELL WORTH THE INCREMENTAL COST INCREASE.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
CPU:
OLD : E8400 OEM - $215 AT VARIOUS VENDORS
NEW: XEON 3110 OEM - $187.99 @TANKGUYS
COST DIFF ~ -$27.00
BENEFIT - CHEAPER WITH EQUAL PERFORMANCE
COMMENTS - THIS DIFFERENCE MIGHT DISAPPEAR IN A FEW WEEKS. ITS ODD THAT E8400 REMAIN THIS HIGH.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
CPU COOLER:
OLD: ARTIC FREEZER 7 PRO ~$36.99
NEW : XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler ~$36.99
COST DIFF ~ $0
BENEFIT - ACCORDING TO REVIEWS BETTER O/C TEMP PERFORMANCE
COMMENTS - ONLY RISK HERE IS THE SIZE OF THE UNIT. WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF ANYONE HAS STUFFED THIS INSIDE A RC-690 ON A -DS3L SUCCESSFULLY.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
MEMORY:
OLD: CRUCIAL BALLISTIX (2X2GB) PC26400 - $109.99
NEW: OCZ 4GB (2X2GB) DDR2800 PC26400 - $93.99 - $25 MIR
COST DIFF: -$41 AFTER MIR
BENEFIT- COST
COMMMENTS - ADMITTEDLY I DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE BRANDS. FROM WHAT I'VE READ OCZ SEEMS TO DO WELL IN THE CONFIGURATION I PLAN. LOOKING FOR SOMETHING THAT PLAYS NICE WITH THE -DS3L AND DOESNT MIND OVERCLOCKING.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
GPU:
OLD:EVGA 8800GTS 512-P3-N841-AR (G92) - $259.99 - $30 MIR
NEW :MSI NX8800GTS 512M OC - $229.99 - $30MIR
COST DIFF: -$30
BENEFIT- COST + FREE GAME
COMMENTS - NOT SURE WHAT I LOSE BY GOING WITH MSI OVER EVGA. SPECS APPEAR COMPARABLE.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
After everything the net cost of the system after tax and rebates is approx $1053.80 Hopefully the pricing trend continues. I hope to pull the trigger on these purchases in about 30 days.
Thanks for your comments..


I agree with you on CPU, HSF that you have changed in to.
April 9, 2008 3:05:03 AM

GPU:
OLD:EVGA 8800GTS 512-P3-N841-AR (G92) - $259.99 - $30 MIR
NEW :MSI NX8800GTS 512M OC - $229.99 - $30MIR
COST DIFF: -$30
BENEFIT- COST + FREE GAME
COMMENTS - NOT SURE WHAT I LOSE BY GOING WITH MSI OVER EVGA. SPECS APPEAR COMPARABLE.


I dont know what MSI's warranty is but EVGA is hard to beat. Most of their high end items have a very long or a lifetime warranty. That could be the main difference. Also, you can get in touch with their customer support very fast, 2 minute average wait time...
April 9, 2008 6:46:56 PM

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll keep an eye on the EVGA. I'll wait till the last minute to pull the trigger on the vid card.

Can anyone comment on the memory? I'm really looking for someone that has successfully clocked memory with the DS3L to 4ghz with the 8400. I'd like to have that same capability if possible.
April 9, 2008 7:55:23 PM

Beechmunky said:
I'm also taking a beating on sales tax being in California from New Egg. If you guys know of another similar vendor that doesnt have a local presence that could easily save another $80.00 or so per system.


Directron is based out of Texas: www.directron.com

Ordered a motherboard and power supply from them, boxes came in great condition. Not as fast as newegg, but who is?

April 9, 2008 7:59:11 PM

I just picked up the MSI board. So far, so good.

Also, out of curiosity, why 2 builds?
April 9, 2008 8:13:27 PM

litlrabi said:
I just picked up the MSI board. So far, so good.

Also, out of curiosity, why 2 builds?


My wife enjoys playing games as much as I do. :D 
April 9, 2008 8:21:03 PM

That is a wonderful reason.

The only change I could think of to your build would be to replace the HDD with the WD 640GB (WD6400AAKS). It will be more expensive ($130 instead of $100), but the performance is supposed to be great. I just built a machine with one, but haven't had the time to do proper testing to let you know for certain. I'll post some results when I get them (since my build is nearly identical to yours).
April 10, 2008 3:22:20 AM

Thanks litlrabi.

Newegg posted this little gem of a deal :
mushkin 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Has a $30.00 MIR bringing the price to $48.99
Seems like a stellar deal. Anyone have experience with this brand/speed of ddr2?

Thanks!
April 10, 2008 4:56:20 AM

That is an awesome deal, I just hope its in stock when you need it!...
April 10, 2008 3:43:54 PM

Blood is flowing in the streets for DRAM companies.
I'd buy them right now if I could verify its suitability for my build. My knowledge of RAM and how they behave with certain mb's and oc's is very limited.

They are already out of stock! but eta is 4/15.
April 10, 2008 3:56:00 PM

Get the mushkin. They are built with solid chips, and from what I've read overclock well.
April 10, 2008 4:42:21 PM

Just checked with NewEgg.. its out of stock and they wont get any back before that rebate offer is over. So now on to the next deal!
April 10, 2008 5:00:16 PM

I shoulda seen this thread sooner, A-Data DDR2 800 at 1.8v was $60 off instant which came down to $69.99 and had a $20 mail in rebate. just ended 3 april. I bought a set... woulda posted here but this is the first time i've read this thread.
April 16, 2008 5:17:06 AM

I've updated my latest totals reflecting some recent price changes and removals of rebates. I hope some of you may find this information useful.
I switched the memory to the Mushkin and added some thermal paste.
All this pricing is accurate as of today and reflects the actual checkout amounts for tax and shipping for CA.

VENDOR TOTALS

ZIPZOOM FLY

MOTHERBOARD GA-P35-DS3L $87.00
HDD SEAGATE ST3500320AS 500GB OEM $89.99
SUBTOTAL $176.99
TAX $12.83
SHIP $7.92
TOTAL $197.74

NEW EGG

GRAPHICS MSI NX8800GTS 512M OC $224.99 $30.00mir
MEMORY mushkin 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) $79.99 $10.00mir
CPU COOLER XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler $36.99
DVDROM LITE-ON BLACK 20XDVDRW LH-20A1S OEM BK $25.99
THERMAL PASTE ARTIC SILVER 5 $5.99
OS WINDOWS VISTA 64BIT HOME PREM $99.99
SUBTOTAL $473.94
TAX $34.36
SHIP $15.30
TOTAL $523.60

BUY.COM

POWER SUPPLY CORSAIR HX520 MODULAR $94.99
SUBTOTAL $94.99
TAX $6.89
SHIP $0.00
TOTAL $101.88

AMAZON.COM

CASE COOLERMASTER RC-690 $84.99
SUBTOTAL $84.99
TAX $0.00
SHIP $0.00
TOTAL $84.99

TANKGUYS


CPU INTEL E3110 XEON (OEM) $187.99
SUBTOTAL $187.99
TAX $0.00
SHIP $11.72
TOTAL $199.71


GRAND TOTAL $1,107.92
REBATES TOTAL $40.00

GRAND TOTAL AFTER REBATES $1,067.92
April 16, 2008 5:19:25 AM

Those will be pretty solid systems when you are done...
April 29, 2008 4:19:06 AM

Well I finally pulled the trigger on system #1 and should be poised to start the build this weekend.
Missed some deals from MIR but what the hey.. still came to $1001.89 before tax & ship
Here's what finally went down:

New Egg
1 MSI NX8800GTS 512M OC GeForce 8800GTS (G92) 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card Item #: N82E16814127325 Standard Return Policy $224.99 -30MIR

1 mushkin 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model 996587
Item #: N82E16820146731 Standard Return Policy $79.99

1 LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner With 12X DVD-RAM Write Black SATA Model LH-20A1S OEM BK
Item #: N82E16827106070 Standard Return Policy $25.99

1 Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound Item #: N82E16835100007 Consumable Items Return Policy $5.99

1 XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler Item #: N82E16835233003
Standard Return Policy $36.99

ZipZoom Fly
10005939 SEAGATE ST3500320AS 500GB SATA 7200 RPM 32MB Hard Drive Bulk $79.99 1 $79.99

10006307 GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L Rev 2.0 Intel P35 + ICH9 Chipset Core 2 Duo Socket 775 DDR2 1066 ATX
Motherboard Retail $88.99 1 $88.99

604698 Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Single-Pack DVD OEM ***Free Shipping*** $99.00 1 $99.00

Moogr.com

INTEL CPU CORE 2 DUO E8400 3.00GHZ FSB1333MHZ 6M LGA775 RETAIL [ SKU: BX80570E8400, Qty: 1, Price: $179.99 ]

Buy.com
CORSAIR HX520 MODULAR $94.99

Amazon.com
COOLERMASTER RC-690 $84.99

TOTAL : $1001.89
Grand Total after tax+ship-MIR - $1071.44

Thanks for all your help!
April 29, 2008 1:42:40 PM

Excellent, and have fun with the build.
May 4, 2008 6:47:49 PM

Thanks all.

The system went together beautifully and in only a few hours I had it up and running. Aside from a little noisy side fan on the CM690 I couldn't be more pleased.

One question regarding the sound connector from the CM690. Can I cut the wires for the extra sound connectors past the HD audio connector since I dont need them?

A few hours later I had the e8400 overclocked to 3.6 at stock voltages! Its an amazing rig for the price. Running 400mhz FSB with 4gb 1:1 @ 5-4-4-12 ~1.8v on the mushkins.

@3.6ghz Prime95 blend I get core temps 47c&51c
3dmark06 : 12960 on Vista64

Having a blast being able to play games at native res again!
!