This is my proposed spec, on parts that im not sure or cant decide which iv listed the ones iv looked at and like. the machine will be used for some gaming, just RTS and civilization games nothing like crysis. i also want to listen to loads of music and eventually record a little. so if anyone has any opinions on the parts i have selected or can suggest any better ones id appreciate the help, if anyone wants links to the different componants let me know and il get them,
im in the UK if it helps in any way.
Case - Lianl Li PC-7FW
MoBo - P5Q3 Deluxe WiFi-Ap P45 chip set
P5K-E WiFi AP P35 chip set
P5K3 Deluxe/WiFi AP P35 chip set
CPU - Intel E8400 Wolfdale 3.00GHz
Intel E8500 Wolfdale 3.16GHz
Even though you just plan on playing RTS type games, I'd still aim a little higher on the GPU part of your build... today's mainstream is tomorrow's low-end... and that's definitely what that 9600 will be.
When you choose RAM, make sure it operates at the JEDEC standard 1.8V. Mushkin usually does, and so does A-Data. I prefer Mushkin myself.
There is a dated PSU quality listing at http://www.tomswiki.com/page/Tiered+PSU+Listings?t=anon that is still not a bad place to start. After using the PSU calculator link that Huron provided, choose a model from tier-3 or better. Since the list is old, if the models you are considering aren't on it (e.g. Antec Earthwatts), choose one from a manufacturer with nothing below tier-3.
Change the motherboard to a P5Q-E, CPU to a Q6600, 4Gb of DDR2 800 with 4-4-4-X timings and, most importantly, the soundcard away from your current choice.
In order of recommendation...
The P5Q-E is an excellent choice for a midrange build.
Good cooling, features, layout and overclocking.
Plus, you can use the much cheaper DDR2 RAM over DDR3.
Both CPU's you listed are excellent choices.
Plenty of power but limited to 2 cores.
As you are planing on doing some recording, which will entail loads of remixing and encoding, a quad core will give you better performance with most multi threaded software packages.
On top of that, it can be overclocked to the same 3.0Ghz ridiculously easily even with the stock cooler and voltages.
Anything above DDR2 800 4-4-4-X is a waste of cash.
You will see little to no performance increase going with any faster current standard.
What matters most right now is the volume of RAM.
4Gb should give you plenty to play with right now and if you decide you need more while remixing your music, you can always up it to 8Gb.
The X-Fi Xtreme audio is a terrible card and you should not purchase it!!
It does not even have a X-Fi chip powering it, merely a rebranded Audigy SE chip.
From the Wiki Page.
X-Fi Xtreme Audio
The entry-level model of the X-Fi series, the Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio, does not actually have the EMU20K1 chip but is a re-branded Audigy SE, using the same family of chips (CA0106-WBTLF), and even the same drivers. Thus, not only is all of the X-Fi–related processing performed in software, but it also lacks basic hardware acceleration just like the SB Live! 24-bit, the Audigy SE and other budget Soundblaster models. The X-Fi Xtreme Audio does not use the same drivers as the rest of the X-Fi family, some games do not recognize it as being "X-Fi capable hardware", and the device's hardware profile resembles that of older Live! and Audigy cards.
Furthermore, users have reported that it slows down some applications and games, and that rear sound in games (all) is muffled and of profoundly low quality. Thus, even if the card is marketed as part of the X-Fi line, it does not belong to it technically, just like the Audigy SE doesn't technically belong to the Sound Blaster Audigy series. The card is not marketed as supporting the "X-Fi Gaming Mode" (but is still marketed as "X-Fi"), and there are no official implicit or explicit statements regarding its having hardware acceleration or not.
If you want a real sound card, get an ASUS Xonar 2 based card.
Everything I have heard about them is that they are top end cards.
I would agree that your video card choice is a little low end.
It will probably be fine for what you are looking to do but if you can afford it get a 8800GT or 4850 for a good performance boost.
The OP mentioned AUDIO recording, not VIDEO. Will a quad offer any benefit there, or just be more money?
The 9600GT does not appear to be a bad choice, but even with a limited budget perhaps an 8800GT would be a better one for only a few more GBP.
ive looked at a few other GPU's, between my previous choice and the ones listed below there isnt much price difference so would one of these get a recomendation? if not which would you suggest? i can spend up to £120ish
Those GPUs are better, but for your stated needs, the only reason you might want to choose one is "just in case" you start playing more demanding games. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, as long as you know that's what you're doing. My sister plays Civ IV on an old 6600GT and I've not heard her complain. Just a thought, and it of course depends on your budget.
This question is aimed more at jtt283(unless anyone else knows), ive had a read about JEDEC ram on wikipedia but it was a bit jargonish, could you give me a brief run down of the advantages of having it please, and also (if your from the uk) do you know where i can get it in the uk, i look on ebuyer.com and overclockers.co.uk but couldnt find it.
The JEDEC standard for DDR2 RAM is 1.8V. If you buy RAM that operates at its advertised timings at that voltage, you know exactly what you're getting. Anything else is factory overclocked to reach its timings. For example, RAM advertised as 4-4-4-12 at 2.1V, may actually run at 6-6-6-18 or 7-7-7-18 at 1.8V. Any time your BIOS is reset, the voltage resets to 1.8, so you've basically got inferior RAM.
Here's are two sets I'd recommend. I know you can't use Newegg, but perhaps the part numbers will be helpful:
2GB (2x1GB): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
4GB (4x2GB): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
If you overclock this RAM yourself, you can probably get even lower timings than 4-4-4-12.