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$600 newbie build sli upgradeable

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July 25, 2008 11:12:23 AM

I was sort of happy with myself with this build, but I'd like some opinions...


APEVIA X-TELSTAR-JR G-Type X-TSJGT-BL Blue SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MSI P45 Neo-F LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Foxconn 9600GT-512 GeForce 9600 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

APEVIA ATX-CW500WP4 500W ATX Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 Wolfdale 2.53GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80571E7200 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

WINTEC AMPX 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model 3AXT6400SE5-2048K - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250310AS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS 18X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black PATA Model DRW-1814BL - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


That's 546.92 after mail-in rebates and before the annoying 8.25% sales tax and some shipping charges...

So what do you think?
July 25, 2008 12:04:42 PM

Your P45 Crossfire board is a mis-match with the 9600GT video card for a dual GPU setup. Nvidia cards need SLI motherboards and ATI cards need Crossfire motherboards. MSI P7N 750i SLI MB $100 after rebate

I don't think anyone here would be happy about that PSU. It looks like a 400W PSU with a 500W label, low efficiency, from a company with a poor rep for PSUs and only a 1 year warranty. For only $10 more (after rebates) you can get the Antec Earthwatts 430 +80% efficiency, 3 year warranty and equal (or better) "real" amperage on the +12v rails Earthwatts 430

The rest of your choices look great.
July 25, 2008 12:14:24 PM

Technically, that build would work, but it may not be what you intend it to be, and there are some much better choices.
Cases are a matter of personal preference. I was not happy with the quality control on the Apevia X-QPACK2 case I had, and ultimately trashed it. It was a great design, but the execution and material quality were terrible. I like CoolerMaster cases. They have good airflow, and plenty of room inside. The only quality issue I've had is mobo standoff mounting holes frequently need to be re-tapped; no biggie. If you really like this case though, go for it. The design looks entirely reasonable.
You've chosen a board with an Intel chipset. You need a nVidia chipset board to do SLI. Intel chipsets only have Crossfire (same concept for ATI video cards), and you'll need a X38 or X48 board for that, for at least $180.
A guy I work with owned a computer business and says MSI makes crap motherboards, so I figure why take a chance on MSI when I can buy Gigabyte, Biostar, or Abit? A lot of people here like Asus too.
Although I put that particular PSU in a couple of S939 systems that are still running just fine, I won't buy another one. The PSU listing at http://www.tomswiki.com/page/Tiered+PSU+Listings?t=anon is getting dated, but that PSU was available when they put Apevia (Aspire) on tier-5 ("Do not buy"). Choose one from tier-3 or better from that list, or, if newer, stick to a brand that has nothing below tier-3. My personal criteria these days include Active PFC and an 80+ efficiency rating. For a single video card, 500W is enough. If you do want to use SLI or Crossfire, you'll want at least 650W. There's a PSU sizing calculator at http://www.extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.js... that may help.
For a low to mid-range build, a 9600GT isn't a bad card, but an 8800GT (if nVidia) or HD4850 (if ATI) will run rings around it.
What is your budget, what parts do you already have, and what applications / games do you want to be able to run?
Related resources
July 25, 2008 12:16:42 PM

For a system with single video card up to an 8800GT (but maybe not a HD4850 or HD4870) that Earthwatts PSU cited by WR2 is an excellent choice.
July 25, 2008 3:37:02 PM

Thanks for replying!

For the mobo...that was a real newb error i made, but anyway, I found an alternative.

ASUS P5N-E SLI LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 650i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

But this one is still kinda iffy, looking at the review on techspot (http://www.techspot.com/review/43-asus-p5n-e-sli/page1....).

Here's another one that is 139.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate:
BFG Tech BFG680i SLi LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


For the PSU,case...I agree, I went for the cheapest, but I need essentially a solid PSU for sli.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This Rosewill one has good reviews...

Can you suggest a cheap, roomy case? I've found another one here:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thanks a lot for your opinions!
July 25, 2008 4:12:38 PM

Well, I really like my CoolerMaster RC-690: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... It offers excellent airflow and cooling, which you will want for SLI.

Rosewill is another dicey PSU. Jonnyguru tested one and recommended it (not sure it was that one, and the site is blocked at work), but the brand as a whole is on tier-5 of that listing I linked.

The PSU is not the place to be cheap. Everything else depends on it, and if it croaks, a cheap one may not die alone. For SLI, the lowest I'd go is 600W, like this OCZ, for only $60 after MIR:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
The 700W model, an even safer choice, is only $80 after MIR: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168....
Finally, my next PSU might be this one, a 650W Corsair that is 80+ efficient:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
July 25, 2008 4:20:05 PM

If you just want a cheap case, this $25 Rosewill has a rear 120mm fan, and a place to mount another one up front: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

At this price, expect thin material and sharp edges that will exact a blood offering if you're not careful. I'd consider one of these for a budget build.
July 25, 2008 4:33:30 PM

You can find better RAM for lower prices. Look at Crucial Ballistix DDR2 800 4-4-4-12 2.2v for about $30 on Newegg.
You can get a $70 Antec Three Hundred. It's been getting good reviews too. It doesn't come with any intake fans, just a 120mm exhaust, and a 140mm top fan. I think you may get an additional 120mm fan because Antec has reported some 120mm haven't been working and instead of wasting time checking every case that ships out, they just add another fan for free.
July 25, 2008 4:46:23 PM

Those PSUs seem worth it. It's only like $10-20 difference anyway...

Is this mobo better? It supports 45nm if i ever need it, and its a bit cheaper with the Amazon discount...
Asus P5N-D NVIDIA nForce× 750i SLI 2xPCIex16 DDR2 800 5 Motherboard
http://www.amazon.com/Asus-P5N-D-nForce×-2xPCIex16-Motherboard/dp/B0012PT2OW/ref=sr_1_15?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1217002799&sr=1-15

I think I can skimp on the case (still have to have good airflow). Plus, I want to be around 600 for the hardware.

Here's one for 25
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E168...

The price will reach 700 for hardware anyway for this sli setup, after taxes and shipping. If I could skimp anywhere, I could just get an hdd not quite so massive (I only use like 100 gigs anyway, and I have externals already).

These are the revised specs:

Rosewill R6423-P SL Silver SGCC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...

Asus P5N-D NVIDIA nForce× 750i SLI 2xPCIex16 DDR2 800 5 Motherboard
http://www.amazon.com/Asus-P5N-D-nForce×-2xPCIex16-Motherboard/dp/B0012PT2OW/ref=sr_1_15?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1217002799&sr=1-15

OCZ GameXStream OCZ600GXSSLI 600W ATX12V Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1681...

XCELSTOR Jupiter Series ESJ9250 250GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache IDE Ultra ATA133 Hard Drive - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

everything else the same

Does this feel ok?
July 25, 2008 5:06:40 PM

That case has an 80mm rear fan, which is likely to be louder and not move as much air as a 120mm. For a SLI rig, I think you want more airflow. If you didn't like the style of the Rosewill I linked, I think they've got a few others with 120mm fans.
That hard drive is a giant leap backwards. It is IDE, not SATA, and only has an 8MB buffer. The wide IDE cable will further block airflow. Check out this 250GB Seagate: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... for $60.
July 25, 2008 5:06:53 PM

Both the DVD Burner and the Hard Drive you picked out are IDE. The motherboard you are looking at only has one IDE slot. This means you would have to put them both on one cable which might be a little difficult. I would recommend getting SATA on one if not both of those. Just personal opinion.
July 25, 2008 5:16:22 PM

Seriously, IDE cables really block airflow. Why would you want one with a modern motherboard?
July 25, 2008 6:15:11 PM

Thanks for your replies. I didn't pay much attention to those...thanks for pointing that out. I think I need to look this over more carefully...

I was thinking if a one card setup might be better.

Something like this:

GIGABYTE GA-EP43-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P43 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

SAPPHIRE 100242L Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail

OCZ GameXStream OCZ600GXSSLI 600W ATX12V Power Supply - Retail

That Sata seagate: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (my original choice was seagate too)

Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 Wolfdale 2.53GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80571E7200 - Retail

WINTEC AMPX 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model 3AXT6400SE5-2048K - Retail

SATA DVD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And for the case: Antec Three Hundred http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The 4850 runs today's games amazingly well, at high res and all, but needs good cooling. Would it do well enough to beat the 9600gt sli? Even if it is in the same general perfomance level, better to go one card...


July 25, 2008 8:52:21 PM

I think that is overall a better build. If your time frame permits waiting, I suspect that before too long someone will make a dual-slot 4850 that will exhaust its heat. I know I won't get one before then, even though I have a CM-690 case which is very breezy.
July 25, 2008 10:37:24 PM

I might wait a few weeks but not more. When it comes to ordering I should probably order all at once, right? Have it set up and tested within 2 days or so when everything arrives so I have the option to return non-functional stuff...

I found a decent case for cheap:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Is this PSU good for this build? It's CF certified if I ever get a new mobo and another 4850. Its as cheap as I'm willing to go in the PSU anyway:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

July 25, 2008 11:53:36 PM

Here is my final setup, pending 2nd look to check if everything's compatible...

GIGABYTE GA-EP43-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P43 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $94.99

Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 Wolfdale 2.53GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80571E7200 - Retail $124.99

Rosewill R5601-BK 0.8mm Japanese Cold Rolled Steel Screw-less Dual 120mm Fans ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail $52.99

SAPPHIRE 100226L Radeon HD 3850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail $99.99

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250310AS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM $54.99

Sony NEC Optiarc 20X DVD±R Burner Black SATA Model AD-7200S-0B - OEM $25.99

HEC ACE-580UB 580W ATX12V Power Supply - Retail $59.99

WINTEC AMPX 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model 3AXT6400SE5-2048K - Retail $39.99

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 32-bit English 1pk for System Builders DSP OEI DVD - OEM $

ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro 92mm CPU Cooler - Retail $31.99

Sum is 585.91 before shipping or MIRs. I'll be playing at 1280X800, and this can max out pretty much everything.
July 26, 2008 2:29:24 AM

I think you'd be better off to get the HD 4850 $155 after rebate vs the 3850
To keep the overall price point the same drop the AC Freezer 7 Pro cooler and get the E2220 2.4Ghz Allendale $90

You should be able to get close to 3Ghz with the stock Intel cooler on the E2220 and together with the 4850 you'll have much better overall performance.
July 26, 2008 4:22:40 AM

If you decide you don't want a front door on your case, you might like this otherwise similar but slightly cheaper CoolerMaster: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I am not at all familiar with Hec PSUs. The OCZ at http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E168... is also $60, but after MIR. That's a known good PSU. It has Active PFC and is more efficient than the HEC.

WR2 has a point, but my niece has a 3850 and she plays Bioshock on it and likes the way it looks. It will really depend on the games you want to play.
July 26, 2008 5:02:57 AM

So many choices!
I do like the simple look of the centurion 5...and wr2 brought up some valid different configurations that might work better...

What I truly want from this just-about-mid-range system is upgradeability and perhaps the option of overclockability. I can't decide whether to get the e7200 or the e2220 and then OC it. When would the cache size begin to matter? 25-35 bucks is all the difference between the two. Since they're so close in price, I kinda want to stick with e7200.
> $125 cpu

I like the asus pq5 mobo for its ease of use and CF features. I may just get a single monstrous card a few years down instead of having CF, and I'd have the space to put it. That's also why I like the $99 3850, as it exceeds my current gaming needs and isn't at all expensive. I could OC it a little as well.
> $150 mobo
> $100 gfx

for the PSU/case setup, I obviously need room and good airflow. Centurion 5 looks brilliant for the job, and for the psu i was thinking of the OCZ stealthxstreamer (http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E168...). 600w, nice efficiency too.
>$50 case
>$70 psu
>$50 HDD
>$25 dvd burner
>$40 for DDR2 800 ram (wintec)

So in the whereabouts of 600...

This is pretty much my first build from scratch, excluding the sporadic upgrades. I'm a senior in high school right now, so this might be the only time I have to configure a system good enough for like 2-3 years (4-5 if I install a much better gfx card later on).
Thanks a lot for your opinions! If you have suggestions for case/psu, do tell. That's the true foundation of this setup...







July 26, 2008 11:58:58 AM

All the options you're looking at will perform very well. So it's not like you'll be making any bad decision.

The E2200 and E7200 both have good OC potential even with the stock Intel HSF. With a decent aftermarket HSF both have Excellent OC potential. It goes without saying the E7200 is easily worth the extra $35.
Except, maybe, if another part of your computer will be holding the overall performance down.

A while back THG looked at the differences between 1GB, 2GB and 4GB with identically clocked CPUs. The E7200 and its 3MB L2 cache weren't around yet but it you should be able to peg the performance differences since it looks like it scales symmetrically. (Here is a look at the E8200+6MB/E7200+3MB L2 cache differences). Generally a slight bump in the CPU speed, such as OC'ing from 2.4 to 2.66Ghz, will even up any performance differences.

E7200 & 3870 or E2220 & 4850 [:wr2:3]
Trying to estimate the ability for the different CPU/GPU combos to give better overall gaming performance over the next couple years;
I have to say I think the stronger video card is more important than the stronger CPU.




July 26, 2008 3:24:33 PM

The 4850 does have amazing value for the money, so I might just pay the extra and get it as well as the e7200. Its 155 right now on newegg with MIR, or 175 if I buy later. It would increase the life of the setup, so that might make it worth it...

I'll just have to see, since I'll also be checking the fry's near my house for sales and discounts. The gfx, memory, and the case are definitely going to be from newegg, but I might find that mobo at fry's, and the online fry's store has a similar price on the e7200 (125). It'll work out, I guess.

Thanks for all your input!

July 26, 2008 3:34:21 PM

I agree with WR2 on that, and for two additional reasons. The possibility of the GPU being used for other than graphics processing has been demonstrated more than once, from folding clients that use them, to physics processing. There will only be more of this, not less. Perhaps the day isn't far off when your Excel spreadsheet recalculates in the GPU too, or your video transcoding takes place there. We'll just have to see.
Also, you can also upgrade the CPU a lot more easily later, basically just popping it in and doing a BIOS reset. No drivers to unload and reload, no wondering if those drivers will work with your game under Windows 13, and no worries that you won't have whatever PSU connection the latest generation needs.
July 26, 2008 7:46:06 PM

e2220 is so appealing at 90...and it runs cool too...I could just OC it to 2.8ghz or even 3...

e2220/4850 it is...
July 26, 2008 9:13:18 PM

Ok! Let us know how the build goes.
July 26, 2008 9:15:54 PM

Newegg has Sapphire HD 4850 512MB PCI-Express Video Card for $175 - $15 (with code S4F50242L) - $20 Rebate = $140 with free shipping.
July 27, 2008 12:40:41 AM

Unfortunately, I'll miss most of the MIRs since I can't start ordering/building till August. But building the thing is half the fun... The budget is not airtight, but I'll be on the lookout for sales and cheap prices on the components for now. I also need to brush up on the specifics of overclocking and such.
Thanks for your help and info!
!