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Your choices will be what I buy - Ordering next week! HELP

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April 27, 2008 3:28:43 AM

Ok guys, I've lurked here [and one other major forum] for probably 4-5 years. I've read a lot but never quite had the...fortitude to try and build my own. Until now. You guys did it, and now you are responsible! :)  I've now entered the abyss and cannot turn back but before my journey starts, I need you to complete the final pieces. I've read many posts that touch on these components but not in a way that helped me tie them all together so I'm turning to you guys!

I've picked all the other pieces myself as they are less hard and more taste oriented. But the core of the system, the motherboard, memory, and processor are hard to decide on. I've narrowed my choices but at this point I have no more wisdom to rely on and rather than flipping a coin, I am going to have you guys decide what I buy.

I am ordering next week so I will update this post with the choices as they come in and winning parts get ordered. I will post pics of my first build for fun as well.

Criteria: You are to pick the pieces I am to use irrespective of cost. The importance and explanation of your choices is based soley on [in order of importance]:
1) Stability
2) Performance
3) Compatability
4) OC'ing (never done it but plan to learn)

Choices: You are to pick one of each of these and please explain why, if possible, you think the 3 go together well.
Motherboard
  • GIGABYTE GA-X48-DQ6 DDR2
  • GIGABYTE GA-EX38-DS4 DDR2
  • ASUS RAMPAGE FORMULA DDR2
    Memory
  • DDR2 800 PC2-6400
  • DDR2 1000 PC2-8000
  • DDR2 1066 PC2-8500
    CPU
  • E8400
  • E8500

    Remember, please supply functional reasons, not cost reasons as to why you chose your choices. Your responses mean a lot to me :) 

    Results: I will start tallying them here periodically as you provide them.
    Motherboard
  • GIGABYTE GA-X48-DQ6 DDR2 - 1
  • GIGABYTE GA-EX38-DS4 DDR2 - 2
  • ASUS RAMPAGE FORMULA DDR2 - 2
    Memory
  • DDR2 800 PC2-6400 - 1
  • DDR2 1000 PC2-8000 - 1
  • DDR2 1066 PC2-8500 - 0
    CPU
  • E8400 - 3
  • E8500 - 1

    P.S. I don't have a local store or big chain I can buy stuff from so getting everything from NewEgg for what it is worth. Also, I've decided against Nvidia chipsets, quad cores, and DDR3 given what I'll be doing (mostly highly-productive stuff like gaming :whistle:  )
    April 27, 2008 3:42:10 AM

    New egg is a great way to go. I would go with the x-48 from gigabyte, they seem fairly stable from what i have read, and its not asus, whos customer service and quality control seem to have gone to the buyways as of late.
    April 27, 2008 3:52:52 AM

    I cant help but factor cost in. I must protect you from scams really, you cant just be brute with money, especially these days. X48 is not any better than a x38, but it costs tons more. DDR1066 would be good only if Overclocking, if not then a 800mhz would suffice. The E8500 costs 90 more than a e8400 with a difference of 160mhz, unjustifiable. Just cuz u have so much money doesnt mean u gotta get robbed. Money saving is important
    Related resources
    April 27, 2008 3:56:29 AM

    Ok just to clarify, Im not rich. Not close. But this machine has to last and I don't want $200 or $300 difference when already spending a good chunk to affect the overall build.

    Also, I rather hear functional reasons why one would get one item with the other although I realize if there is only minor functional difference given the cost difference, you would pick the cheaper item.

    But as much as possible please don't let pricing affect your choice. Also, if you can, pick one of each if possible so I can understand why those 3 go together well.

    And as for OCing, I listed it fourth in terms of priority but I will definitely want to OC since I will finally have a system to try it with. But I will not be going crazy with it. But I will definitely be doing it :) 

    And yes, I'm scared mail ordering these but I can only buy pre-built systems locally, not components. But the people using NewEgg, although sometimes frustrated by their components, never seem to rail on NewEgg so it seems as far as any mail order for this type of stuff, they are the best. I'm sure there are others just as good but I want to order everything from one place and they happen to have everything I want.
    April 27, 2008 3:58:51 AM

    Personaly I like ASUS much better then Gigabyte. The Rampage is rated extremely high, and almost always recommended over almost everything else when MONEY isn't a factor. The Asus board is really for those who want to tweak, and Overclock. You have a TON more options in the Bios. The E8400 is the Value Leader. 90 bucks for 160mhz is silly, but you can OC the 8500 some say 4.3gig on air with a great cooler.
    April 27, 2008 4:05:55 AM

    Guys, I love you. I really do. I'm serious. Ok, to be clear I don't love you per se but your opinions. The wife would not let me love you in that sense...at least as far as I know.

    But anyway, don't make the demons in my head dance any more than they are. For example...

    Quote:
    The E8400 is the Value Leader. 90 bucks for 160mhz is silly, but you can OC the 8500 some say 4.3gig on air with a great cooler.


    You picked the ASUS for me, but then made my head go back and forth on the Exxx which I already have done for the reasons you mentioned. I can list 3 good reasons to go with it and 3 to go against it, that I've read and you've partially touched on.

    So pick them without waffling so this way I don't waffle which is my problem to start with! :lol:  :lol:  :lol: 

    I should maybe change it saying "If you saw these items on a table, can grab one of each set for YOUR machine, which would you take...and why"

    Kinda of wierd I realized putting my choices in the hands of others but I think your collective wisdom is much greater than mine.
    April 27, 2008 4:17:59 AM

    HelpMeBuildIt said:
    Guys, I love you. I really do. I'm serious. Ok, to be clear I don't love you per se but your opinions. The wife would not let me love you in that sense...at least as far as I know.

    But anyway, don't make the demons in my head dance any more than they are. For example...

    Quote:
    The E8400 is the Value Leader. 90 bucks for 160mhz is silly, but you can OC the 8500 some say 4.3gig on air with a great cooler.


    You picked the ASUS for me, but then made my head go back and forth on the Exxx which I already have done for the reasons you mentioned. I can list 3 good reasons to go with it and 3 to go against it, that I've read and you've partially touched on.

    So pick them without waffling so this way I don't waffle which is my problem to start with! :lol:  :lol:  :lol: 

    I should maybe change it saying "If you saw these items on a table, can grab one of each set for YOUR machine, which would you take...and why"

    Kinda of wierd I realized putting my choices in the hands of others but I think your collective wisdom is much greater than mine.


    I just ordered the 8400 because I was on a tight budget. If i had more money I would go with the 8500. I am happy with my pick because I know I can get 4.0ghz on Air with the Thermalright IFX-14, which beat a few water cooling solutions in benchmarks. Who knows what you can get with the 8500. The 8400 is tried and tested a great OC'er.
    April 27, 2008 4:49:25 AM

    For mobo get the Rampage formula, ASUSes high end mobos are best in class, these are some P5E3 dueluxe, Striker extreme 1/2, Blitz formula, Maximus formula and Rampage formula are all good and th reviews agree.
    For memory get PC8000 -1000mhz ddr2 because it will allow a 500mhz fsb on your CPU overclock which in terms of the 8500 is 4.75 ghz which is a big overclock. Get the 8500 also since orice is no objective it has a slight overclocking advantage over 8400. Also if your going to overclock try to get a Thermalright 120 extreme or IFX-14
    April 27, 2008 4:52:49 AM

    e8400: fast and overclocks well. I would say E7200 but its not out yet.

    None of those 3 mobos.

    $125-$160 P35 from Asus 1st choice, Gigabyte, Abit, DFI

    800MHz Ram unless overclocking higher then 400 FSB then 1066 ram.
    April 27, 2008 5:01:50 AM

    He doesnt want to cheap it out roadrunner
    April 27, 2008 5:12:50 AM

    Quote:
    None of those 3 mobos. $125-$160 P35 from Asus 1st choice, Gigabyte, Abit, DFI

    Is this because of cost or because that mobo has better stability, performance, and compatability than the 3 I listed? I won't change the list since I need you guys are going to pick my final parts, not add more options :p  But I want to understand why as I value the opinion.

    Quote:
    Also if your going to overclock try to get a Thermalright 120 extreme or IFX-14

    I've heard of the 120 extreme as being quite the performer but I became terrified once I saw the size of these in real life. I couldn't believe it! Does it not tweak the mobo over time with heat, weight, etc. such that it causes problems? Also I guess the 120'a seem to have a well documented concave issue.

    http://www.frostytech.com/articleview.cfm?articleid=224...

    So much so that place like this offer an option (see drop-down) to provide lapping services for $19 :) 

    http://www.crazypc.com/products/ultra-120_extreme-50983...

    I was considering this though besides the weight. For less weight, these two seem do have great reviews too though one isn't as easy to get in the US still.

    http://www.noctua.at/main.php?show=productview&products...

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    April 27, 2008 5:55:50 AM

    i just fiinished my build with an e8400 and a gigabyte ex38-ds4.

    gigabyte is well known for building great mobos as well as having fantastic overclocking ability.

    i also have a xigmatek hdt-963 cpu cooler and it is overclocked to 4ghz with ease.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    but you could also go with the larger unit.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    both of these units rated top 10 by frostytech.
    http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm#INTELHEATSI...
    and they are cheap in comparison to the ultra 120.

    you could take the e8400 to a higher clock but i also wanted stability. there are zero problems with this set-up.

    i am also running 4 gig of patriot viper ddr2-800 with a bus speed of 445mhz
    April 27, 2008 7:06:19 AM

    ifor said:
    i just fiinished my build with an e8400 and a gigabyte ex38-ds4.

    gigabyte is well known for building great mobos as well as having fantastic overclocking ability.


    Thanks ifor. Just curious, but did you need to flash your BIOS for it to recognize the E8400? Just wondering if they are shipping with an updated BIOS.

    As for the xigmatek, I've now read in a few places that if you can show them your invoice, they will ship a bolted type mounting bracket instead of the plastic push-pins. Not sure if true, how good the bracket is, etc. but I will consider the larger version if I can get something a bit more stable. I just have eebeegeebees with so much weight being held by 4 pins that even NewEgg reviers say pop-out during install. I just worry moving the machine here and there + heat will cause one to pop out.

    Right now I'll probably look more into the new thermalight 120 (lapped) if the weight isnt too crazy or consider getting a Noctua and giving it a try. I like the mounting system on the thermalight 120's (new one) but it is no wonder it is so solid - look at what it has to support. I'm told with an average fan it weighs more than 2 pounds? Yikes.
    April 27, 2008 7:40:19 AM

    Haha nice thread HelpMe as I'm in the same boat as you.

    The memory and CPU are the same ones Im considering but then I think 90% of people putting together a new rig, especially for gaming, are probably using one of those CPU's and DDR2 (I don't think DDR3 is that popular still until maybe Nahalem?)

    I won't tell you which Im leaning towards as I don't have the widom to explain why, and as for the motherboard Im looking at 2 of those 3 myself! I was consider a P35 like someone else mentioned but for vanity reasons, I've waited too long to upgrade and now want to feel I'm getting something 'new', even if functionally some might say isn't worth the cost increase.

    Good luck and I'll be following the thread since I need something to push me in one direction or another and this is as good as any.
    April 27, 2008 8:20:25 AM

    actually, everything booted perfectly from the get go.

    i did update bios after i had windows xp installed.
    i went for the hdt963 because i was also thinking about the weight issue but the ex-ds4 board holds the hsf just fine.

    unless you plan on doing some major overclocking, the smaller xigmatek is just fine. keep in mind that the 45nm is more efficient than the 65nm units.

    my cpu temp right now is 45 C with it clocked to 4ghz.
    April 27, 2008 9:00:24 AM

    Let me touch on the CPU cooler for a minute. Look into the Thermalright IFX-14. It's had some amazing benches. I've seen it beat out 3 Liquid cooling units in a Bench.
    April 27, 2008 9:20:38 AM

    Ok you say money does not matter but you show such a small selection on what you are willing to buy. If you give 99% of the people here a dollar amount thy will tell you in turn what the highest performance machine you could hope to build and in the end is not that what you want.

    In addition, if you do not want $300 US to handy cap your build look at a Q9450 its two E8400s that makes for cores of 45nm super over clockable loving. Plus a hedge on future proofing.

    The p48 is a GREAT! Chip set but you will not get the full benefit of
    This series because it is the last in the 775 line so a P35 will take full advantage of any E8xxx or Qxxxx CPUs.

    So at the end of the day tell us how much you are willing to spend and we can help you get the BEST!!!!!! System for that price.



    April 27, 2008 10:39:04 AM

    Let me take a stab. I don't like to spend more than I have to and also want a stable system too. Why pay more when you can have a good solid and fast system for less. If you believe all of the newer boards will last longer for you, your going to be mistaken. A good solid p35 based mobo is all you really need, especially in a single GPU solution setup. Save the $ on the mobo and use it somewhere else or save for the next best GPU when they come out. You can decide which way you want to go, but I'd pick different parts than what you selected. Here's a general build that I'd do:

    CPU - q6700 Has a x10 multiplier, so should be easier to OC to a higher level or to allow you to clock to equivalent level as the q6600 and run a bit cooler than the q6600.
    Personally I'd stick with a quad for right now. It'll last you longer, because programs will take advantage of the extra cores more and more. Currently there a few that do, but this will change over time, which adds to the longevity of the quad based CPU.

    Memory - Pesonally 95% of builds will be fine with DDR2 800mHz memory. If you want to lurk into the more extreme OC's than the 1066 would probably be better. I think the cheaper price on the DDR2 800mHz will support most any build, including the OC'd ones.

    Mobo's - Like I stated earlier, I also like the p35 based mobo's. They are much cheaper and will OC quite well for the $. Yes the x38's and x48's might OC 5% better, but why spend the $ on them when you can get pretty close with a solid and proven p35 based mobo. I like the Gigabyte DS3R/Abit IP35/Asus p5k series of mobo's. They are all around the $130 price range and have lots of options. If you want some more options, go with their bigger brothers. The Abit IP35 Pro has got one of the better reviews and is selling for $148 shipped after $30 MIR at newegg, so that would be one of the best p35 based mobo's you could get. Asus and Gigabyte have good ones too, so check them out and do your research.

    The choices I've listed above would save you some $, but definately wouldn't skimp on performance either. I'd like to see what the rest of your build consists of, because there are other factors that can limit your experience. Would you please list your other components and a build budget too?
    April 27, 2008 8:02:55 PM

    Lunyone,

    I was tempted to not respond at first because it will open Pandora's box and all the struggles I had to even narrow down my choices vs. now discussing more choices.

    But I value opinions, especially since you took the time to share yours.

    Maybe an easier way to explain my approach (so far) is the same as if you buy a new car. We could all get back and forth to work with the cheapest car I can find walking into a car lot. But it is rarely the one sold.

    Why? Well, everyone has their own reasons. Dependability. Luxury. etc. etc. And sometimes you knowingly pay more just for that 'confidence', whatever that ends up meaning for each person. You realize you are not getting a dollar-for-dollar equivalent in value but it makes you feel good and so you do it.

    Otherwise, there would be 2-3 choices for every product on the market. But then I don't want to derail my own thread into a philisophical discussion on marketing and consumer trends :p 

    So let me ask a few questions that might make things easier since you suggested such things as the P35 and 800 speed ram options (at least one of those is on my list :p )

    Scenarios:
    1) If you were to NOT OC at all and wanted the fastest machine, E8500 is obviously faster (again criteria is fastest, not cheapest) than E8400...the chipset chosen should not matter correct?....and then this is the part I don't fully grasp. If NOT OCing, will memory speed above 800 make a single difference? I want to just understand that.

    Basically I put together a x48/E8500/1066 memory, you would notice no benchmarks different than the P35/E8500/800 memory configuration? Or by saying none, I mean 1%-2% or less since obviously readouts will never be identical.

    2) Lets assume a moderate OC (this is hard to quantify). I will never be a hardcore OCer but since I have never had a machine I could OC since most manufacturers (HP, Dell, etc.) disable much of that in their BIOS, who knows...I might get hooked. But realisticly, I am more the type of person to take a chip from 3.0 to 3.5 or 3.6 and be happy because I know it wont degrade the component and I still get 20% boost with stability.

    So in this scenario, would an x48/E8500/1066 memory combination offer ANY benefit over a P35/E8400/800 combination.

    Keep in mind my most important criteria are stability, performance, and compatability. :ange: 

    See, the hard thing for me is I read all these reviews and they are great, but they only change one variable (at least if the test is to be meaningful :p ) and so I have a hard time extrapolating how will these different pieces work _together_ vs. just buying 3 pieces that have great reviews individually.

    Not sure if I am making sense :/ 

    BTW, just for my personal opinions on the 3 boards I listed. The ASUS seems to have the best/most reviews, not sure why other than maybe better? The X38/DS4 Gigabyte board is behind it and also been out longer. For some reason, the X48 Gigabyte board seems to not have much movement. And only other thing is the ASUS board is an OCers dream and might be confusing for beginners like me (but room to grow into) where the X38/DS4 board is noob proof a bit for OCing.
    April 28, 2008 4:59:44 AM

    Okay I'll try and make this as easy as possible for the both of us.
    From what I've read and discussed with several people is that there is really not much difference between a e8400 and a e8500 except for the 0.16 gHz (160 mHz) difference and the $90 price jump. Personally I'd just go with the e8400 and save the $90. And if later you decide to OC your e8400 you can and would easily surpass the e8400 at stock speeds. Of coarse you might get lucky and get a good e8500 and OC it farther than the e8400, but likely you wouldn't OC it much more than the e8400. OC aside, I think the $200 e8400 is just as good as the e8500 at $290. The perfomance difference of 160 mHz isn't going to be decernable, except if you run synthetic benchmarks, but it won't be too much.
    Okay onto the memory stuff. Your CPU (e8400 or e8500) will run with a FSB of 333 mHz, which then is Quad pumped, so that equates to the 1333 mHz CPU. If you raise your FSB to 400 mHz (DDR2 800 mHz speed since the memory is double the FSB setting) you will have a 3.6 gHz CPU (400 FSB x 9 muliplier = 3.6 gHz). Most quality DDR2 800mHz CAS 4 (4-4-4-12 timings) will usually get close to 1066 mHz speeds, so that is why I mentioned that 800 mHz memory would do for 95% of situations. So if the FSB was at 450 mHz x the 9 multiplier = 4 gHz CPU speed (which is pretty good, about a 33% OC!). This would equate to a 900 mHz DDR2 speed, which is a little over a 10% OC on the memory. This OC on the memory isn't that much and is attainable pretty easily. Now obviously if you have 1066 mHz DDR2 you won't even be fully utilizing your full capacity of the memory at 1066 mHz. This does leave you more OC'ing room, but most the e8400 OC's have been hovering around the 4 gHz range. Yes you could get the 1066 mHz DDR2 and you would have room to spare, but most OC'ing situations would be covered easily by the 800 mHz DDR2.

    IIRC most p35 mobo's FSB's will be limited around 475-490 mHz. I believe some of the x38's/x48's are much closer to 500 mHz, but if you run on the higher FSB's you'll be heating up the chipsets on the mobo quite a bit. This is why I wouldn't want to push the mobo's too far. 400-450 mHz sounds pretty sensible to me, but I don't OC on the extreme side of things. Other people have different experiences and expectations, but I can't afford to replace parts if I OC too far. I have a wife and 2 older kids on 1 income, so I can't afford to make too many mistakes. You might be in a different situation.

    Hopefully I've made some sense, since I tend to ramble on a bit and get lost in my thought patterns. But maybe I've made it easier for you to decide which way you want to go. Like I said before a good p35 mobo, ~$130-150, will be sufficient for anything that you want to throw at it. I would relate the p35 as a Honda Accord. Has plenty of options and is quite reliable. The x38/x48 mobo's would be like a Acura version of the p35's, but it costs more for a marginal OC'ing ability. That is how I see it and is just my opinion of the situation. I generally try to get the most bang for my buck, without sacrificing quality and performance.
    April 28, 2008 5:35:37 AM

    Hey lunyone,

    I don't want to hijack the OP's original thread but regarding his 'scenarios', I am curious as well.

    I've been studying people's system specs in their posts to see what tends to generally work well, though I realize that is very unscientific.

    But from your post, are these assumptions safe to make? If someone can answer yes or no to each, it will make my day at least for my questions (sorry OP)

    1) If you don't OC your FBS past 400mhz, there is no benefit to having 1000 or 1066 speed ram over 800
    2) If you don't OC at all, there is no advantage at all to having 1000 or 1066 memory over 800 but there is also no detriment

    ty
    April 28, 2008 6:01:28 AM

    Okay here's a quote from TH article on different memory types (DDR2 and DDR3) and speeds.
    Quote:
    The results must look disappointing for the memory vendors, as the largest performance differences we found amount to 7-8% with DivX and WinRAR, while almost all other benchmarks and applications perform alike: a 1-3% performance delta cannot be noticed at all. Some games showed several per cent performance difference between low-latency high-speed memory and conventional high-latency average speed DIMMs. The synthetic benchmarks on the memory revealed even more differences, but these clearly aren’t very relevant in everyday life.

    Our conclusion is very simple: you get the best bang for the buck if you stick to the mainstream of the memory market, which currently is still DDR2-800 or 1066, preferably at low latencies. DDR3-1066 and -1333 memory do not yet result in better performance, and so should only be considered by hardcore enthusiasts, who aim for maximum overclocking performance knowing that they will get little benefit for spending a fortune.


    Here's the link to the article. You can decide, but I'd still go with the DDR2 800 mHz and take that savings in cost and invest it into other parts of the system. For me that would be invested for a quality PSU followed by the best GPU that I could afford followed by a good mobo.
    April 28, 2008 8:02:54 AM

    i also looked at the x48 boards but decided against it since there is absolutely no performance difference from the x38 boards.
    most of the x48 boards also need ddr3 for memory but since the price/performance ratio from ddr2 was soo small, it made going with the x38 with ddr2 the most logical choice.
    i also looked at the p35 boards but wanted something a little more suitable for the 45nm chip i bought.
    and the e8500 again wasn't worth the difference from the e8400 for the performance increase.
    keep in mind that i could have gone with ddr2-1066 but again, with the overclock to 4ghz, it isnt pushing the memory too much.

    my fsb is at 445 with a x9 multiplier giving me 4 ghz speed. again, my temp is really low with the xigmatek hdt-s963 hsf.

    i believe i out together the best system for the money with out sacrificing stability, performance or reliability.
    the only thing that i might have changed is the video card to maybe a 9800gtx or gx2 but didnt because of the cost factor. i could have spent nearly $1000 for a gx2 but only gain a small percentage in performance. it wasnt worth it to me.
    April 28, 2008 4:35:06 PM

    ifor said:
    i also looked at the x48 boards but decided against it since there is absolutely no performance difference from the x38 boards.
    most of the x48 boards also need ddr3 for memory but since the price/performance ratio from ddr2 was soo small, it made going with the x38 with ddr2 the most logical choice.


    Which X38 did you go with BTW and I assume you are happy with your decision? Do you OC?
    April 28, 2008 5:40:42 PM

    So an interesting experience and not sure how to interpret it.

    In needing to prepare to order my items in the next day or two (depending on any additional feedback from your guys), I decided to call Gigabyte to see if the EX38-DS4 board will auto-recognize the E8400/E8500 since I rather not have to worry about flashing the bios before even getting a POST since this is my first build.

    I wait for about 15 mins and got tech support. He told me if it comes with the F2 or F3 bios, it should recognize it no problem...and that hopefully NewEgg turns over enough stock that they have such a board.

    Ok, no problem.

    Then I thought for the heck of it I'll ask him about 800 vs. 1000 speed memory and if I don't OC, will it make any difference in performance on the board.

    He said yes, the 1000 memory will perform better, etc. etc. even if I don't OC.

    Now that clearly goes against the feedback so far from the board. I want to think they know their product better but then I doubt all you guys are wrong.

    So this makes me really question their tech. support and maybe the bad stuff I hear about gigabyte and asus tech support is true. I'm having Dell flashbacks :o 

    P.S. One other interesting thing about the mobo differences. I decided to research the memory 1000 speed I had listed a little more and look at this:

    http://www.gskill.us/145.pdf

    P.P.S. What I find interesting as a noob is that the ASUS BIOS, although more complicated/options than the Gigabyte...also seems more normal.

    DRAM frequency vs.this Sytem memory multiplier (SPD) which makes no sense to me or know what values I would need if not for the document. In other words, it is not intuitive or corelates to anything I've seen before.

    Also, the ASUS has DRAM volatage where Gigabyte has this DDR2 Overvoltage control. Well how am I supposed to know what the base is that I'm adding to? Why doesn't it just show the target voltage?

    I can see why maybe ASUS has got the reviews it has, especially among real OCers. Even if I don't OC, just setting the system up seems more straightforward in ASUS bios or am I missing something?
    April 28, 2008 7:41:19 PM

    ok, lets stop the madness!

    first off, i went with the gigabyte GA-EX38-DS4 motherboard. it booted perfectly from the get go with all 4 gig of ram. not many boards will do this.

    the gigabyte has an auto setting from factory that will determine the voltage needed for the various parts on the system. for instance, the board has a stock setting of 1.8v for the memory, the patriot needs 2.2v. with that said, having the board post perfectly is fantastic. i heard of some boards that can only accept 2 gig of 2.2v ram and the bios needs to be changed for the 2.2v in order to add the second 2 gig module.

    gigabyte has different terminology to describe the voltage and control. all of it is the same. if you intend to overclock, you need to control the amount of voltage that each part is seeing. i am overclocking from 3ghz to 4ghz with absolutely no problems what-so-ever.
    i bought the board from newegg and didnt need a bios update but i did one anyways to keep it up to date, after i posted and loaded everything.

    as for the ddr2-1066 vs 800, the 1066 will be better for overclocking with out causing the memory to be pushed too far. although i havent had a problem with my ddr2-800 and it doesnt get hot at all.

    and saying that asus is for real overclockers is ludicrous. all of the great board companies have great overclocking ability. choosing one over the other depends on what you belive will work better for you.

    here, try calling asus and ask them the same questions you asked gigabyte. see what happens? im curious.
    April 28, 2008 8:15:47 PM

    Thanks Ifor,

    I can call ASUS and will...since I've heard scary things about them too :) 

    I think for people who have built machines before, questions and concerns from us noobs seems like either overkill or unecessary worry, and I'm sure once you've been through it just once, the next time around is not necessarily easier in terms of any issues that arise...but I imagine easier to approach things at least.

    So yes, my panties are in a knot. A tight one.

    But what I will probably learn is that if I stick with a major manufacturer and pick a board that you guys suggest which at least isn't known to have major issues (and none do that I know of), that everything works out and no board or combo is without some tweaking as long as you have good, non-DOA parts?

    Sound about right?

    P.S. Ever see the movie Munich? Do you rememeber the scene where all the Israeli commando's (or whatever their elite counter-terrorist group is called, I think Mossad) were meeting for the first time, and probably like our CIA/FBI, they purposely did not let each commando know anything ahead of time about who they are meeting, what they do, etc. I.e. to protect each of them.

    So as they sit down for their first dinner together, they go around asking what each other does and what role they will each be playing in their effort. As they go around...

    Steve: You know how to shoot, to assassinate people, right? I mean, you make dolls in a toyshop, and you... you shop for sofas? And you- I don't know what you do."
    Avner: Me? I worry.

    :)  That is me! I suppose since IMDB made it easy, this is also happening right now:

    Carl: [to Avner] I knew guys like you in the army. You do any terrifying thing you're asked to do, but you have to do it running. You think you can outrun your fears, your doubts. The only thing that really scares you guys is stillness.

    Sadly, that is me too :) 

    I think sitting here and reading day after day but not doing anything yet is causing me to go crazy. I'm going to order my parts tommorrow and get going!

    Thanks agani guys
    April 28, 2008 8:38:12 PM

    lol dude...

    the reason I follow certain threads on here is because Im in the SAME BOAT. Right when I get close to pulling the trigger, I read something that makes me reconsider.

    and maybe for the same reasons, it is not the money part of it at all...but rather just knowing I am doing the right thing and taking the right approach but I realize no matter how much I try and research, I will end up probably saying 'doh, wish I knew this before hand'. Part of life :p 

    so i like your questions though you probably do worry too much but if you read these types of boards enough where most people are posting because of problems...otherwise they are busy using their computers...you can't help but get a little neurotic :)  :)  :) 
    April 28, 2008 8:38:13 PM

    let us know what you end up ordering.

    good luck.
    April 28, 2008 11:00:48 PM

    Well I think in this case you have got a lot of information and some of it doesn't jive with you too well. Fortunately/unfortunately you have information overload. Your concerns are very good and shows that you've done some research, which seems to be rare these days. All of us responding have different experiences and knowledge. This makes our perspectives different and can sound conflicting at times, but that is why we all try and help our people with our knowledge. Sometimes our suggestions may conflict one another, but that is life. We all have our opinions and generally have similar opinions about things. My biggest suggestion is to ask questions (which you have) and do your research (which you seem to have done some) before you order your parts. All of this information can be overwhelming and make things difficult. If we all could just say yes and no answers to all of your questions would be great, but in reality there are too many variables that can give you the same results. Putting a PC together is quite easy these days, but can be overwhelming, if you let it be. Alot of my experience has been from trial and error, so I have learned this over the years. This isn't the best way to learn, but sometimes this is how it happens. This is why alot of people will state their preferences on parts, because they've had bad experiences with said product in the past. This is understandable. I have my preferences, because of history, but mine are all from experience. Others will agree with me on this. I think if you re-list your parts list and state your reasoning, you'll fee better about your decisions. I find it easier to do this, it's kind of therapeutic. I know the memory issue is bugging you quite a bit. This tells me that you've done some good research and have some conflicting answers. All of the answers are valid and should be considered, which you are doing. My general perspective is that you buy what you feel comfortable with. Your the creator of your build and your the one paying for it. Will you make some error's? Maybe. Will you always doubt yourself after ordering your parts? Maybe. But if you run into issues you'll be able to return the parts and get good ones. I know that most people worry about having issues on their first build, because of these concerns. That is why I try to recommend buying parts from a reputable firm. This way it'll ease the return process and make your experience less stressful. Your merchant that you go with will make/break your overall buiding experience. I've had no issues with Newegg support. I think that most people here will agree with me. They are #1 in my book for support. Do they have the best prices too? Not always, but this is all relative. Sorry for the ramble, but thought I'd throw that out there, so you could see where I'm coming from. Hopefully I didn't confuse you any more than you may already be, but I believe you understand more about my situation and mindset.
    April 29, 2008 12:52:02 AM

    Awesome feedback luny and you basically described my situation exactly. Im at the point where any further research without actual experimentation and 'doing' it is only making things worse, not easier.

    And like you said, if I get the Gigabyte board and have issues and then switch to ASUS and it works, guess who I am buying my next board from when I need to upgrade again (unless market conditions cause serious changes).

    BTW, since you mentioned you can always return an item and get another good one...and also mentioned NewEgg (where I'm ordering from because as you said, they have good reputation for mail-order)...

    ...what do they do when you buy an item that has a no-refund, 30-day exchange only policy. Lets say it is a graphics card and no matter what you do, you have issues (or any other component) but you know it's not bad, just not very compatible for whatever reasons. Well, it's nice they offer an exchange, but what good will the second one do or the third one if it has compatability issues.

    In such a scenario, am I SOL and just need to resell the item?

    As an example, the ASUS mobo I listed is no refund where the Gigabyte one is refundable...
    May 1, 2008 10:37:38 AM

    any news yet?
    !