Advice or Suggestions on This New Programming/Gaming Build?

Hey everyone,

Been following the forums for a while now, compiling a new build of my own based on various discussions.

- Purpose of this system is software development, occasional viewing and encoding of media, and gaming. Hoping to make it at least 1 year future-proof for games.
- Will not be overclocking (at least not initially)

Please feel free to throw any suggestions or comments at me!

Here's what I have in mind:
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450
MoBo: ASUS P5Q3 DELUXE/WIFI-AP CH1-11 LGA 775 Intel P45
GPU: Visiontek Radeon HD 4870
RAM: Patriot 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Model PDC34G1333LLK
PSU: Corsair HX620W
Case: Antec Sonata Designer 500 Silver Mid Tower
HD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s

Thoghts? Ideas? Impressions? Will be this give me a rig that's responsive enough for productive software development (Visual Studio IDE, databases, tools, etc) and fast enough to keep up with the games coming out in the next year or so?

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  1. really good... mabey look at the antec 300 i have heard it is good

    only thing look at the corsair 750watt it is the same price maybe less and if you were to give the 4870 a buddy it would probably help

    nice build good job
  2. No. Do not build a DDR3 system. The money is not well spent right now. DDR3 will become an option with Nahalem but not now.

    So then.

    CPU: Great choice, especially for your application
    Mobo: Look at the P5Q-E (P45) if you are going to stick with one video card or the P5E Deluxe (x48) for 2.
    GPU: Good choice
    RAM: Patriot 4GB DDR2-800
    PSU: Fine
    Case: Fine
    HD: WD 640GB is faster but this is still a good choice.
  3. rammar16: Yes, the 750 watt may be a better choice. Any idea if it is louder than the 620W?

    shadowduck: Thanks for the comments! I was actually going back and forth on the DDR3 idea, and I've read posts explaining that the bandwidth of the Q9450's 1333Mhz FSB would max out at DDR2-667 anyway, so faster ram wouldn't be able to achieve any more bandwidth.

    But surely there *must* be some degree of performance benefit to using DDR3 1333Mhz memory with the 1333Mhz FSB, no?

    I'm leaning slightly closer towards performance over price right now, since I'd like to wait quite some time before upgrading again.

    Regarding the WD640: Why do you say the WD 640GB is faster? Do you have any reviews/comparisons?

    Thanks again..
  4. The Quad is good for your work. There is talk about an Intel price cut july 20, so it might be good to see if that comes about. I do like the 45nm parts better though. They run cooler, and are a bit faster, clock for clock.
    The C2D processor design does not depend on fast ram. The difference in real application throughput is on the order of 1-2%. between the fastest and slowest ram. If you are overclocking to highest levels, only then is faster ram of any value.
    DDR3 is therefore not a good use of the budget today. Stick with a 4gb kit(2x2gb) DDR2-800 from a good vendor.

    With DDR2, you can get a lower priced mobo. Do you need Wi-fi on the mobo? If not, don't spend extra for features that you won't use. Remember you can get a wifi add-in card for <$20.

    I love the case. I had the predecessor version, it is very quiet, and the white finish looks great.. The designer500 comes with a pretty good Antec 500w psu. It delivers 34a on the 12v rails which is enough for the 4850. It should be ok for the 4870 also. See how it works before buying a stronger unit.

    With the savings, splurge a bit on the WD 300gb velociraptor. It definitely makes everything noticeably faster. If you run out of 300gb, then add a slower storage drive later.
  5. shadowduck: I looked into that WD Caviar SE16 640GB, and man that thing is quick. Its right up there with the Velociraptor in mosts benchmarks, at 1/3 the price. So I think I'll use the Velociraptor as my system drive (for overal increased system responsiveness), and the Caviar as my data/photos/backup drive.

    geofelt: Thanks for the tip on the price drop! I'll wait a few days before pulling the trigger to see if anything changes. If you're right, and you save me some $, I'll buy you a beer.. :)

    Regarding the PSU - how do I determine if I'm pushing the limits of the current CPU? Is there a way to check how much of the total wattage is being used? I read up on the PSU and it does have the two 6-pin PCI-E connectors I need for the 4870, so that's good. I assumed that all PSUs included with cases are generally crap, but this one isn't too bad? No fancy modular cables, but I'm sure I can live without those.. :)

    Based on everyone's suggestions, I have revised my specs!

    I decided to go down to the DDR2 RAM and upgrade the HD to a Velociraptor. I have a feeling I'll see more overall speed benefit from this in my day-to-day activities (with all my dev environment apps running, jumping between then, compiling, etc) than I would from the increased RAM speed.

    CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450
    RAM: Patriot Extreme Performance 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) - is this one ok? There are so many similar versions! This one has a latency of 5.
    Case: Antec Sonata Designer 500 Silver Mid Tower
    HD (OS): Western Digital VelociRaptor WD3000GLFS 300GB 10000 RPM
    HD (Data): Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache
    And, I decided to throw in this burner as well to replace my existing 7 y/o one:
    ASUS 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model DRW-2014L1T - Retail

    Whaddaya think? Am I ready to rock? Or is there anything I can do to speed this up a bit..?

    Thanks again..
  6. Looks good---

    Many ram vendors have a web configurator. You input your mobo, and they give you a list of parts that they have tested on your mobo. Patriot, corsair, and kingston are three that I know of. Unfortunately, the asus P5Q deluxe is not on the patriot configurator. The key is the voltage that the ram needs to run at default so you can get into the bios to adjust the ram voltages at it's spec. I checked the corsair configurator, and the twin2x4096-6400C4DHX should be good.

    I don't know about asus burners, but my Samsung 203B has been quiet and reliable. The 203N is the same burner with litescribe.

    I think I would look into an oem cpu cooler. The stock cooler is ok, but under load, an oem cooler will be quieter. I would look for a tower type with a slow(900-1200rpm) 120mm fan that sends the hot air towards the rear fan. Most any will do.

    Almost any thermal grease will do. AS5 and MX-2 are good.

    The designer-500 case has places for two 92mm intake fans in front. A pair of slower(<1500rpm) fans will help with airflow. It's easy to add these later, but why not do it up front.

    What about an OS? Vista 64 home premium would be good.

    Shopping tips for Vista:
    1) Do you qualify for an academic license?
    If so, you can get Vista at a discounted price.
    2) Look for an upgrade version of home premium instead of OEM.
    Upgrade is a retail version which gives you support from microsoft, unlike OEM(AKA system builder),
    and allows a more hassel-free ability to transfer the os to a different pc(motherboard).
    For $10, microsoft will send you the 64 bit DVD.
    I saw Vista home premium upgrade recently at Costco for $85, amazon for $89.
    There is a legitimate two step instalation process to install an upgrade version
    You install vista from the cd, but do not initially enter the product code.

    Just tell the install which version you bought, and do not activate.
    After it installs, you have a fully functional vista for 30 days.
    Step 2 is to insert the cd again, while running vista and then do an upgrade.
    This time, enter your product code, and activate.
    After activation. you may delete the initial version which is named windows.old.

    ---good luck---
  7. geofelt: Regarding the RAM, thanks for pointing out the RAM manufacturer's web configurator! While reviewing the options I actually came across this benchmark ( which shows that the P5Q Deluxe with DDR2-1066 performs much better than with DDR2-800. On the Corsair memory configurator page, they do have a DDR2-1066 listed as their "overclocker" option (TWIN2X4096-8500C5DF). Do you think I will run into stability issues by using this memory and tweaking the P5Q's memory settings accordingly? I was hoping not to get into overclocking stuff with this build (I dont have too much time to troubleshoot things if they awry, and would therefore prefer stability), but would this be a pretty safe thing to do, since its mentioned on the Corsair configurator?

    That's a decent CDROM that you mentioned.. I do like the faster dual later speeds as compared to the Asus, but I do like the optional white faceplate that the Asus comes with. I know the Sonata Designer case has drive bay covers that are supposed to hide the color of the drive, but I couldn't seem to find an example of them being used.. Did you have the same thing on your old Antec Designer case? Is it something you have to slide over, or a spring-loaded flap that opens automatically? Its unclear from the photos and reviews.

    Regarding the two extra 92mm fans: Would this add volume to the noise of the case? I'm trying to keep things as quiet as possible, although it would be nice to have some air going across the HDs, and to help with the extra hot 4870.

    Regarding Vista - I'm already covered! Got a copy of Vista Ultimate at the employee price from my bud over at MS.. :) However, after hearing all the incompatibility issues surrounding it, I'm still not 100% convinced to abandon my good ol' Server 2003.. I'll have to check out the compatibility reports for all the apps I need..

  8. I looked at the review you referenced.
    I don't see much difference in the general performance category.

    The synthetic and memory performance are of theoretical interest, and of value to overclockers.

    In the gaming category, there was a small difference in most cases, with one case where the 1066 was 7% better, and one case where it was 9% worse.

    For the same total $, I think I would go with 8gb of 800 vs. 4gb of 1066.

    To get the higher speeds, you will have to up the voltage in the bios. Not worth the trouble, I think, but either should work.

    I had the P150. The drive covers are automatic. When the drive opens, it pushes down the spring loaded cover. You can't see the color of the drive until it opens . When the drive closes, the cover springs back up. Slick.

    I don't hear any fan noise from the two 92mm fans in my Antec Solo. Just get a pair of the slower ones. If necessary, you can slow them down even more later with a Zalman fanmate. Most of the noise will come when the vga card is working hard and it's cooler speeds up.

    For good info on quiet computing go to

    The only compatibility issues with vista-64 is with old devices that are no longer made, and whose drivers have not been certified. I have found problems only with old dos 16 bit programs. Most of the time, it is best to run the newer versions of such programs, anyway.
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