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Pretty confident about this build, but...

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July 31, 2008 7:02:09 PM

...I think one last look-over would be wise.

My first build ever. I've pushed my budget to it's limits ($1100) and the only wiggle room I have, price-wise, is lateral or backwards...so if you know of a better component choice for the same price or less, by all means suggest it. I can't afford to buy a Core 2 Extreme right now, so please refrain from suggesting that, or a $500 graphics card, or...you get the idea.

I'm pretty much dead-set on a fast Core 2 Duo over a slower quad. I'll upgrade to a quad sometime down the road when the fast 45nm ones become more affordable. Right now, I just want to be able to game and I'm not a hardcore multitasker, so a quad-core just doesn't seem practical. I'm not going to overclock anything, and I know many gamers swear by aftermarket cooling, but for my purposes, I think the stock heatsink should be alright. I also don't want to void my warranty (at least not right away.)

That said, this is what I chose for the CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115036

Choosing a motherboard was by far the hardest part. The X38's are a bit pricey; I'd have to sacrifice other components I really want in order to keep the system within my budget. However, I'd also like room to grow should I decide to go SLI at some point. A lot of the negative motherboard reviews on Newegg disturbed me, as it seemed there were virtually no mobo's that didn't seriously disappoint a significant percentage of reviewers. But, I think (hope) this one ought to work out alright.

Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813188026

I definitely didn't want to skimp on the power supply. Friends recommended Corsair PSU's, and this seemed like a good one. Additionally, my power needs should be covered for any additional devices I may be adding in the future, like an additional video card for SLI.

Power Supply: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139006

I wanted a video card that would be able to dominate stuff like Oblivion, Half-Life 2, Medieval II: Total War, etc. with ease. A friend bought this one and loves it, the price is right, and nVidia cards have never let me down in the past.

Video Card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130319

These RAM sticks seemed like the best value on Newegg, and will suit me for the foreseeable future, I think.

Memory: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820146731

This optical drive has all the features I need. And is it really necessary to get two optical drives right off the bat, anyway?

DVD Burner/Reader: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827151154

2 Hard Drives (80 Gig SATA for OS, 640 Gig SATA for Data) seemed like a good plan.

Hard Drives: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822135106

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136218

For the case, my criteria: plenty of room, easy to work with, good airflow/cooling, and not a hideous UFO. I'm told this fits the bill.

Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119137

I chose Vista Home Premium 64-bit primarily for cosmetic reasons, frankly. Probably not the greatest of motivations to choose an OS, but I'm going to be staring at the screen day in and day out. I'm curious about its features anyway and want to give it a shot. I realize XP is less of a resource hog, but I think I'm allowed to choose at least one thing for impractical reasons.

OS: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116488



Well, that's it. Thanks for reading this long-winded post. If you spot any possibly disastrous combinations, or simply have a better suggestion for any of the components, please say so. As I mentioned, this is my first build, so I would greatly appreciate any advice and/or feedback you can offer.

More about : pretty confident build

July 31, 2008 7:15:10 PM


I'm also building an $1100 and have been intensely watching these forums and making daily adjustments.

I think you've got a good build but would really suggest you go ATI either 4750 or 4780 as these cards would really dominate that 8800. Trust me, I used to be an Nvidia fanboi, had that card and the 4850 which could be had for the same price just outclasses it in every way.
July 31, 2008 7:18:18 PM


edit-sorry, should read 4850 or 4870
Related resources
July 31, 2008 7:27:25 PM

i would get the E8400 it overclocks just as well 20 dollars less
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
since you save 20 dollars on that use it to get the 4850 graphics cards, its like 1.5 times better if not 2 times better than the 8800gt and after rebate the 4850 is 157

next dump the 80gb and stick with the 640gb and use only that drive, saves you 40 dollars so now get a x38/x48 board sucha s
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Dfi x48 is 214 and with no rebates making it easier for you
July 31, 2008 7:34:10 PM

The problem is that if he goes with either the 4850 or 4870, his mobo is pretty much useless for Crossfire (but fine for SLI). There is definitely a difference between the performance of a 4850 vs an 8800, but both are solid choices.

How far down the road would you be planning to upgrade to SLI/CF vs. the quad core? When the Nehalem comes out it'll require a new mobo (from what I've heard) to get the most out of it. You may want to consider going with a single card set up (which would mean a cheaper mobo) and a cheaper processor (like the e7200) and just holding out a year or so for those better quads to come down in price. It all depends on how long you are willing to go before upgrading.

You can get that RC-690 on Amazon.com for like 5-10 bucks more, but with free shipping in case you were looking to shave more money off. (Keep in mind though, it's not 3 day shipping, it's like 5-9 day, but if you order it in advance...)
July 31, 2008 7:34:26 PM

TBViking i agree w/ your thought on importance of PSU as many out there still dont understand it. Though you also should consider the importance of the Chipsets you are building your PC on. Intel's P35 for example are very affordable and also performs when overclocked. ATi also has brand new 780G/SB700 and the coming soon SB750 chipsets that probably has more to offer than a half-way 750i from NVIDIA. Not trying to rain on their parade but 8800 is popular but 4850 from ATi does out perform it in almost everyway (4850 & 4870's have 800 processing units! compared to 128 and maybe 256 for most) regardless 4850 will only run you $160 and gets cheaper w/ rebates so i can say that ATi and/or Intel is the way to go.

gl
July 31, 2008 7:59:11 PM

+1 on the hd4850. Swap the 8800gt out for that.



If your dead set on Nvidia, get the GTX 260. its $270 (last week they had one for $255 :(  ). Drop your CPU to an e8400 for $169. You dont seem like your going to overclock and I'm not advising you too, just saving 20 dollars. You probably wont notice the 160mhz difference. With this level of card, you dont need a dual video card setup unless you hit a resolution higher than 1680x1050 (22" monitor) So drop the SLI board. By the time you would want the second card, a next gen card will be out or you could pick up the dual GPU varities. I would advise you to get a p45 chipset. Asus p5q series in a good place to look (they have serveral price levels) the cheapest one being http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... for $130. This has all solid state caps and heatsinks on the voltage regulators, so its a solid built board (though it doesnt have the fancy heatpipe like the one you picked). It also supports the PCI-E 2.0 standard. If you have a wired lan connection for internet, it also has a quick boot to a linux varity built in to the board that boots in 5 seconds if all your going to do is web browse (does other stuff too check it out if it inerest you).

those changes saves about $70, which is about $30 short on the upgraded card. I dont know how close you were to the 1100 mark with the other setup you have, but hopefully you have 30 dollars wiggle room.

For that, you get similar CPU performance with double the video card power


Spunks
July 31, 2008 8:29:10 PM

Yep looks like it's either:

P45 and 4850
Or
750i and ______

The P45 chipset is not as crappy at crossfire as some seem to think, and the price is right. Plus it's a VERY good overclocker.

Unless you were going to get a GTX 260 as spunks suggests, you end up with better performance over all with the P45. Something like:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Oh.... Your build was really excellent actually. good choices and all. It's just that we spend way too much time on these threads and think we know everything. :sol: 
July 31, 2008 9:04:08 PM

A good solid build, well thought out.
July 31, 2008 9:04:25 PM

i think you have a good build there. but i do agree if you make a few little changes (drop the small hard drive, current graphics card, move down slightly on the cpu) and get the 4850 and a mobo for it (x48) you will be more future proof. that appears to be a great card and much improved over the 8800.

this is assuming you are keeping for quite a while. if this is short term get you by for a year then nevermind. but for longer term use i think those changes would hook you up.
July 31, 2008 9:09:02 PM

The board i suggested didnt do crossfire, though yours does. I dont advocate SLI/Crossfire rigs to many people, because the one I have, and several friends of mine all only have one card and the two that are thinking of upgrading are not thinking about getting a second cards, but a more powerful first card.


anyrate, a crossfire board will do ONE nvidia card perfectly fine ( the P5Q P45board i choose only had one slot)


always buy the most powerful system in your budget. think short term. Not long term. I use to think long term. But every 2-3 years, I swap EVERYTHING out. Drives, PSU, and cases are the only long term parts you end up with.

think about it this way. Where was stuff 3 years ago? would you be pooring money into it? an athlon fx-57 was top CPU, and a 7900gtx was top dog. (which incidently is about %25 the power of a hd4850 or gtx260)


Spunks
July 31, 2008 9:12:41 PM

OK, I'm going to take a break here to whine a bit. Can't you just write the names of those parts so I don't need to click all the links? //end whining

I would drop the 80GB disk because it would hurt performance. Your booting will be faster if you just make an 80GB partition for Windows on the WD6400AAKS. The 80GB disk is also ridiculously expensive per GB, not just slow. This saves you $46.

E8500 - good choice. E8400 is good too. Since you won't overclock, I think E8500 is better.
eVGA 750i - good MB, but the times when nVidia ruled video cards are over for now. Get an Asus P5Q Pro. Saves you $10, and you get Crossfire.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131299&Tpk=P5Q%2bPro

750TX: it's a steal at $94. Still, if you're really serious about the budget, you can save $14 with the 650TX.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139005&Tpk=650tx

Good DVD, case, 640GB HDD, OS, RAM.

Video card: HD 4850, $155 * 2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102747

With these changes, you save 46+10+14-19*2 so on the whole it's actually cheaper. It will be much faster in games and it's a more stable chipset too.
Keep the 750TX if you can afford the extra $14.
July 31, 2008 9:26:00 PM

in case you didn't want to do that math that is:

$32 savings without the 750tx or $18 savings with it. :)  :) 
July 31, 2008 9:36:58 PM

i just wanted to say it better to get e8400 since its cheaper and you won't feel the .16 ghz diff. Also my friend has e8400 and on stock voltages he gets it to 3.6ghz all with stock heat sink....that would be good idea if you want to stretch your dollar. Also there is exact same case on newegg with 550w power supply included and its like $150 last time I looked at it. If your be using a single 8800gt you seriously dont need a 750w power supply. the 550w power supply will be enough and it comes with two 6pin pcie connectors so donw the line you can throw another 8800gt in it :)  Also you should consider ati cards since they are great bang for buck. The $150 (after mail in rebates) runs head to head with 9800gtx and it also uses single 6pin connector so in future you can put another in also :)  If you would go for the ati card go for Dfi lanparty x48 its only $214 on newegg and it has all the goodies (2x 2.0pcie, 1600fsb) so yeah just giving my thought about this build so you get most of your money :) 
August 1, 2008 2:46:12 AM

Thanks so much to everyone for all the help.

My final build if you want to have a look (ordering tomorrow): https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.aspx?ID=12475007

I decided to go with an ATI card (4850), and the ASUS P5Q motherboard. I dropped the 80 Gig hard drive. Everything else remains the same.

Hopefully I'm not forgetting anything. Thanks again!
August 1, 2008 1:15:48 PM

We can't see your list, newegg asks for login. Just paste the part names please.
August 1, 2008 3:42:37 PM

aevm said:
OK, I'm going to take a break here to whine a bit. Can't you just write the names of those parts so I don't need to click all the links? //end whining

I would drop the 80GB disk because it would hurt performance. Your booting will be faster if you just make an 80GB partition for Windows on the WD6400AAKS. The 80GB disk is also ridiculously expensive per GB, not just slow. This saves you $46.

E8500 - good choice. E8400 is good too. Since you won't overclock, I think E8500 is better.
eVGA 750i - good MB, but the times when nVidia ruled video cards are over for now. Get an Asus P5Q Pro. Saves you $10, and you get Crossfire.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131299&Tpk=P5Q%2bPro

750TX: it's a steal at $94. Still, if you're really serious about the budget, you can save $14 with the 650TX.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139005&Tpk=650tx

Good DVD, case, 640GB HDD, OS, RAM.

Video card: HD 4850, $155 * 2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102747

With these changes, you save 46+10+14-19*2 so on the whole it's actually cheaper. It will be much faster in games and it's a more stable chipset too.
Keep the 750TX if you can afford the extra $14.

Well said!+1. For PSU also add the PC Power & Cooling 750 if doing CrossFire. And for motherboards add the P45-DS3L (if not doing CrossFire, $108) or if doing CrossFire P45-DS3R($135). Imo if doing CrossFire you really should look in to X48 as the P45 limits it to x8 when doing CrossFire unlike X48/X38 which has full x16.
August 1, 2008 3:59:31 PM

Sorry about that...here's the parts list



ASUS P5Q Pro LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail


Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 Wolfdale 3.16GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core
Processor Model BX80570E8500 - Retail


CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply Retail


Mushkin 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model 996587 - Retail


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


Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA
3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

SAMSUNG Black 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 20X DVD-R
6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X
CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe -
OEM


COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower
Computer Case - Retail


Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit English for
System Builders 1pk DSP OEI DVD - OEM

Last-minute question: Sound card: yea or nay? Anyone know how good the onboard audio is for the P5Q Pro?
August 1, 2008 5:07:21 PM

That's a beautiful list.

Onboard audio - better try it for yourself. It depends on your ears, your speakers, your taste in music, volume, etc. Too many variables, you can't really rely on other people's impressions. If you're not happy with the onboard audio after a week or two, then go ahead and buy a sound card. Just so you know, Creative cards are best avoided if you use Vista. This one seems OK:

HT OMEGA STRIKER 7.1 Channels 24-bit 96KHz PCI Interface Sound Card - Retail, $80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829271001

August 1, 2008 7:03:33 PM

You're spending a good bit of money to ensure SLI compatibility. Will you ever really want to go SLI? There are still (and likely always will be) driver issues with two GPUs that just won't come into play with a single GPU, and you can always spend the saved money on a new, more modern GPU in a year. I bet you can find a MB that's 80$ less - and your second GPU would probably cost around 100, if you bought it months from now. That's 180$ ... that could, one year from now, go toward an ATI 5800 GPU (speculation on the name there) that will use less power and deliver more performance than SLI'd 4850's.

This next part may not apply to you. Many people don't really consider carefully how they will use the computer they plan on buying. They think, I'm going to be playing games on it so noise doesn't matter - I'll use headphones. However, it's quite likely that, even if you have another computer, you'll be browsing the web on this computer, or even just leaving it on to download something. So noise may be an issue at some point. If you think there's even a slight chance of that, you might want to reconsider the stock heatsink - is that going to be quiet (I don't know - I put a monsterous scyth ninja without a fan on mine, so it makes no noise ... and keeps the CPU very cool, even when OC'ed and at full load on a warm day). And two hard drives? You *will* see a performance increase with two, if you use them right (not even talking about raid, which isn't in your plans), but don't expect too much. And that's only if you spread your programs out across both - that is, some things that load on boot on one hard drive, and some, along with most games and such, on the other.

If you skip the second HDD (40$) and find a cheaper non-sli MB (~80) you *could* try something a bit unique that could give you a really fast OS drive. You could spend that money on two adaptec CF->SATA adapters and two 8 gig (or even 4) fast compact flash memory modules. Then raid them up using raid 0 (most motherboards that you'll be looking at can do that).
Or you could just save it. That's 120$. You would spend another 100$ down the road on a second GPU, right? Instead, take that 220 and a year from now you will probably be able to buy something better than a second GPU - a newer GPU, ie the ATI 5800 or the GTX 300 series or whatever. It's a good rule of thumb that each new generation of GPUs beats the previous generation in SLI (with the right model) both in terms of speed and energy usage (not to mention noise! That depends heavily upon the fan, though).

And finally, give some thought to OCing, at least in the future after your system has aged. There's just no good reason not to. CPUs are regularly undersold, lately by huge amounts. My lowest-end C2D OC'ed to a clock faster than anything on the market (at the time - 2.6 was the highest, it's at 2.8 ), using lower than stock voltage, and that's just typical with C2Ds. And yes, there is a very visible difference in performance between 1.8 and 2.8 ghz, and it was well worth the 50$ I spent on the nice heatsink (money I saved by not bothering with an SLI MB - instead, I bought one 8800gts320 knowing full well that by the time I would want anything more powerful, it would be easy to pop in a cheap, newer card, and get more than SLI-like performance. For 150 or so I can now get the 4850.
!