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Some help for a relative newcomer, please? Suggestions for MB & RAM?

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August 24, 2008 11:14:47 PM

Hi all, I built my first system about a year ago, which comprised of the components listed below:

MB: Asus P5K Deluxe/WiFi AP
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6420 2.13 GHz
RAM: OCZ PC2 8500 2 x 1GF DDR2 1066 MHz
Graphics Card: XFX GeForce 8800 GTS XXX 320 MB
HDD: WD 320 GB
CD-ROM & 3 1/4 Floppy: Reused from an old Gateway desktop
OS: XP SP2 Pro (originally intended to use Vista, but changed my mind once it came out!)

Unfortunately, my computer suffered from a power surge (it was on a surge protector, but unfortunately I guess that wasn't enough. I've since switched to using a UPS.) and hasn't quite been the same since. After one by one replacing each individual component other than the MB & CPU with spares I have from old computers , I'm still having instability issues, so I've decided to throw in the towel due to frustration and just replace the MB. (I suspect part of my problem is that I aimed too high for performance with my first system, rather than just getting something to work properly!)

I have ample evidence that the graphics card still works properly (I've tried it in other computers and it's worked just fine), and while I have no proof, I think the processor is still ok, too. What I'd like to do is build a new system while reusing as many of the good components as possible. I have numerous HDD's and disk drives, so that means the only thing I ideally should need to by is a MD and RAM (If absolutely necesary, I'll buy a new processor, but I'm trying to avoid sinking more money than necesary into this computer, as I'm already way over what I had intended to spend originally).

Long post, I know, but I figured I'd err on the side of too much information rather than not enough! :)  Can anybody make a suggestion about what good MB/RAM combinations would work well with a GeForce 8800 as a moderately high perfomance system (only somewhat for gaming, and more for intensive apps like image editing, video editing, or CAD modelling)?

Thanks for the help!
Billy
August 25, 2008 1:01:20 AM

Do you only have 1 graphics card, what budget you looking for the motherboard and ram? Overclocking?

Without any of these known I would say the best price/performance ratio is the P5Q pro from asus (P45 board) and a low timing/voltage 800 ram by g. skill, ocz, mushkin or corsair.
August 25, 2008 1:59:45 AM

I actually do have 2 graphics cards, but wasn't planning on trying to use them both mainly because I was going for the Keep It Simple Stupid method this time around. Will it really give that much of a boost in performance?

Budget, well, within reason I suppose. I guess I don't really want to spend what I would for the best on the market, but I'm open to suggestions and willing to spend what I have to (Can you tell I'm not really sure what's appropriate?)

As far as overclocking, I'm not planning on doing it now, but it's a possibility once I get the system up and running.

Another thought, my cooling fan for the processor is an Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro. Will this be sufficient or do I need a new one?

Thanks again for any suggestions!
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August 25, 2008 3:29:18 AM

You do not even mention your power supply, the part most likely to have been damaged.

Power supplies are for more complicated than you might think. They are often the cause of instability, as the voltage regulation becomes inadequate.

The P5Q pro or -E are excellent choices. There is a very good set of Mushkin RAM:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
August 25, 2008 3:32:44 AM

If your programs will allow it, consider switching to Vista 64 bit.

Also, a quad core such as the Q6600 or higher would be a nice choice for your needs.

Your CPU cooler will work well, but you'll need to clean off the old paste and apply new stuff.
August 25, 2008 3:59:07 AM

Oh, power supply! Forgot all about that, sorry. It's an OCZ 600W stealth extreme. I didn't realize that would cause instabilities. I just figured if that had been affected, it just wouldn't power the computer.
August 25, 2008 4:14:09 AM

It's extremely hard to test for PSU stability :( 

It would be a good PSU, if we could verify that it's still solid...

Do you want to replace that first and see if your issues are resolved?

Your BIOS will give you some readings on the voltage... that is a quick check but not definitive.
August 29, 2008 7:07:32 PM

Ok, so I don't have a spare PSU to swap into my system, but I do have the parts to an old Gateway computer, so I put them back together and used my PSU to power it, and that system seems to have run fine for the past few days without any issues. Is it safe to assume that my PSU is still in good shape?
August 30, 2008 12:52:37 PM

Seems likely that the PSU is OK at this point. Without comparing exact wattage and voltage requirements it might be hard to say with certainty, but 90% certainty or better seems reasonable.

Seems like you should pick up a motherboard at this point.

!