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sub $800 for system

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September 12, 2008 4:32:54 PM

Have a Samsung 2253BW monitor and Antec Sonata casew/psu, so the rest of the components would like to be $700-$800

Thinking of getting the following:

Mobo: Asus p5Q Pro
CPU: E8500
Mushkin 4Gb 2x2 DDR2 800
WD 7200.10 320gb
vista home premium 64 bit
asus radeon 4850 $160 AR on newegg
arctic cooling freezer 7 pro

will be primarily gaming, bioshock, upcoming fallout 3, stuff like that

Not sure about the cooling. memory and mobo in terms of dollar/performance
video card also chosen primarily because it looks like a good deal
will overclock, but don't need it to scream, quiet and stability are also important

More about : 800 system

September 12, 2008 4:44:41 PM

Very nice list. I'd suggest jumping up to one of the 640GB HDDs. They're only like $20 more and they'll be faster and offer twice the capacity. The WD6400AAKS is the standard recommendation, but Seagate and Samsung also have 640's. I haven't seen any benchmarks for the Seagate & Samsung, but the WD is one of the fastest 7200 RPM drives on the market. The Seagate has a longer warrenty than the other two, but the Samsung is a little cheaper. I'd probably still lean towards the WD (atleast until I see the other two benchmarked), but you'll be happier with any of them over the 320GB.
September 12, 2008 5:02:01 PM

+1 to the 640GB, the Samsung is the cheapest right now. Seagate is the most expensive (best warrantee). And the WD is the fastest, so which to buy depends on what you are looking for, as all will perform similarly or better than that 320GB (and you get 320GB more space).
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September 12, 2008 5:11:39 PM

Yeah, nice list.
September 12, 2008 6:01:57 PM

thanks, I'll probably go with a 640gb then
September 12, 2008 6:17:21 PM

Very good build vherub. Good decision to go with the bigger HDD as well.

What sort of PSU will you be putting into this thing?
September 12, 2008 6:27:28 PM

I would replace the following:

1) and CPU to e8400 (currently newegg has promotion that when buy with ASUS P5Q Pro MB you save $35) and OC the CPU to e8500 speed easily since they are probably the same chip to begin with.
2) arctic cooling freezer 7 pro to XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 (more expensive but better cooler, though if this doesn't fit into your case, then the freezer should be fine)
September 12, 2008 7:00:30 PM

I was planning to leave the psu that comes with the sonata case in- the eathwatts 500w.
I don't plan to sli or add additional harddrives or other components. Is this psu going to have trouble?

Do I need a p45 mobo? or is there a less expensive p35 that would do the trick

I'll check out that xigmatek, seems good

again, thanks for all the responses
September 15, 2008 1:48:30 PM

The P5Q Pro is a P45 board. You could probably save a few bucks by dropping down to one of the cheaper Asus or Gigabyte P45s or P35s, but I wouldn't exactly call the P5Q Pro 'overkill'. It's just a very nice board, and probably about as high as I'd recommend for your purposes. It's up to you whether or not to drop down. If you're comfortable with the price of the P5Q Pro, I'd say stick with it.

ATI recommends atleast a 450W PSU for a single HD4850 setup (550W for x-fire), and atleast a 500W PSU for a single HD4870 setup (600W for x-fire). So the EA-500 that comes with the Sonata III will probably be good enough for now. But it'll be way too close for comfort when the time comes to upgrade your GPU. The price of the Sonata III/EA-500 is almost too good to pass up, but just keep in mind that you'll more than likely need a bigger PSU for your next upgrade/build.
September 15, 2008 3:05:54 PM

vherub said:
I was planning to leave the psu that comes with the sonata case in- the eathwatts 500w.
I don't plan to sli or add additional harddrives or other components. Is this psu going to have trouble?

Oh that PSU will be fine, even for your next upgrade if you stick to a single GPU.
September 15, 2008 3:31:48 PM

thanks for all the advice, I will be purchasing soon.
Much appreciated.
September 30, 2008 8:22:24 PM

just an update that the components have been purchased:

e8400 and p5q pro $275 newegg with $30 rebate on the mobo
mushkin 4gb hp ddr2-800 newegg $83 with $20 rebate
wd6400aaks $77 chiefvalue
msi r4850 (cooling one) newegg $199 with $30 rebate
vista home premium 64 bit $100

came to $734 including shipping, got the case for $85

total system was $719 after rebates
October 1, 2008 2:14:57 AM

Sweet build.
October 10, 2008 8:54:07 PM

final update:

all the components arrived on 10/5, starting building and encountered the intel pushpin design for the heatsink/cooling fan
wow!
I coudn't do it. I read advice about pushing down on the cross pins, about pushing the most stubborn one first, about using your lap, or on packing foam. I read about difficulties other people had, about turning the pegs clockwise or counterclockwise. It wouldn't work, at one point, the plastic pushpin part split on two pins and I gave up. After reading about how delicate everything is, or the chances for esd, here I was jamming a plastic peg into a round hole, potentially causing how much damage.
I knew I was going to get an aftermarket cooler, just wasn't planning on getting one yet because I wasn't going to overclock yet.
Oh well.
So I started looking online to see what was good, quiet, decently priced, would fit my case and was NOT a pushpin. Maybe non-intel pushpins worked, but I wasn't going to take a chance again and waste money.
Which meant the arctic cooler 7 was out (and it was also no longer on sale at newegg).
I read up as much as I could and some seemed great on one review site and ok on another. I also was worried the cooler would be too large for the case because people (often on newegg) would remark about how large the cooler was.
I eventually decided on the zerotherm fz120. It had gotten good reviews, both for sound and cooling, people had said it fit their sonata case and it was not a pushpin. It also was $40 on zipzoomfly.com with a $10 MIR. I ordered it with the 2 day fedex and on wednesday it arrived.
Very easy to install, I could have used some more handholding from the directions, especially in regards to how to mount the fan to the heatsink using the wire clips, but I figured it out and spent much less time than with the intel pushpins.
Also, regarding size, the fz120 is fairly large, but it easily fits the p5q pro and sonata case. Easily, absolutely nothing to worry about. The MSI 4850 video card also easily fits the case, nothing to worry about in length at all.
I booted the computer up, went to the bios fine, exited and installed vista.
The vista screen stayed the same for so long (2-4 minutes) I thought it had frozen but it eventually got going and installed itself.
Upon welcome, the computer wasn't recognizing the internet, so I had to install the ethernet driver from the p5q mobo cd and then it worked fine.
I also installed the other drivers from the mobo cd, even though everything seemed to be working.
There might now be a conflict between the realtek audio driver and the windows audio driver as I am using onboard sound. Bioshock in particular had sound issues. Might install my old audigy soundcard if the problem continues and see if that works.

On the whole, I am very pleased. I still need to figure out how best to utilize the p5q, and the overclocking capabilities are vast, but I am happy that everything worked, everything fit and I didn't do any damage in the install. This was my first build from the ground up and I was hesitant at points before taking the plunge but glad I did.

Thanks again for the advice along the way.
October 11, 2008 10:04:05 PM

That's odd, I've never had any problems with the push-pin coolers. ZEROtherm makes some awesome coolers so good choice there.

WRT overclocking, just take it slow and be methodical about it. And make sure your system can run Prime95 over night without failing. There's nothing worse than an unstable system.
October 13, 2008 1:30:18 PM

I'm looking at building a nearly identical setup - but my only reservation is the choice of OS. I've heard horror stories of how much resources Vista soaks up, so if I could get my hands on a new XP Pro key, wouldn't the machine run better? The rig will be primarily for gaming: warhammer online, fallout 3, bioshock etc. Just looking for a few opinions, let me know if you've had experience with this issue, as I haven't used Vista yet.
October 13, 2008 1:44:04 PM

humblegroove said:
I'm looking at building a nearly identical setup - but my only reservation is the choice of OS. I've heard horror stories of how much resources Vista soaks up, so if I could get my hands on a new XP Pro key, wouldn't the machine run better? The rig will be primarily for gaming: warhammer online, fallout 3, bioshock etc. Just looking for a few opinions, let me know if you've had experience with this issue, as I haven't used Vista yet.


Vista should be fine it doesnt take up to much more system resources and most of the bugs were fixed with service pack 1 so vista should be fine now.
October 13, 2008 6:05:04 PM

If not planning to overclock at all, is the upgraded heatsink and fan still necessary?
October 13, 2008 8:06:58 PM

kittcg said:
If not planning to overclock at all, is the upgraded heat sink and fan still necessary?


Generally no you should not need an aftermarket heatsink if you are not overclocking. Intel makes pretty good heatsinks anyway.
October 13, 2008 8:44:05 PM

I'm pretty much building the same system was thinking $800 dollar budget myself, I just have a couple of questions hopefully somebody can answer.
I'm wondering if there is any advantage to running 3 gigs of ram as opposed to 2 under windows vista 32 bit or should I just stick to 2 if I plan on using a gpu with 512? Also I was planning on using a full version copy of vista that came with my laptop for the os, will I run into problems if I have this one copy installed on both my systems? As for the system I'm building.

E8400 with P5Q Pro
2 Gigs of Mushkin
160 WD Caviar 16mb buffer
Lian-Li PC-7B with Seasonic M12II 500w PS
Samsung Dvd Burner
GTX 260 or 4870 haven't decided yet, waiting for a couple of weeks hoping a deal pops up from now until the beginning of Nov.
Will be using a 22" Viewsonic

This rig will be overkill for my needs which consist of Warcraft and web surfing, but I'm thinking of longevity over skimping on present budget. Also if anybody has any recommendations if one GPU performs better for playing WoW then the other. Thanks in advance for any advice!
!