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First build, final check - which 4850 should I buy?

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September 13, 2008 9:47:48 AM

Hi all,

After getting some advice in earlier threads on case/PSU and RAM, I think I've got my parts list figured out. I'll throw it out there first then give a little background.

  • ASUS P5Q Pro mobo ($125 - craigslist - already bought)
  • E8400 CPU ($180) (http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=27784&vpn=BX80570E8400&manufacture=Intel&promoid=1074)
  • 4GB OCZ Reaper RAM DDR2-800, 4-4-4-15 ($75) (http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=26564&vpn=OCZ2RPR800C44GK&manufacture=OCZ%20Technology)
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 640GB ($80) (http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=31404&vpn=ST3640323AS&manufacture=Seagate&promoid=1074)
  • Antec Solo case ($70) (http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=18893&vpn=SOLO&manufacture=ANTEC&promoid=1074)
  • Corsair 650TX PSU ($90) (http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=26414&vpn=CMPSU-650TX&manufacture=CORSAIR)
  • Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 ($150) (http://vancouver.en.craigslist.ca/sys/819361738.html)
  • OR (if I can't get the first one)
  • Diamond Radeon HD 4850 ($170) (http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=30487&vpn=4850PE3512&manufacture=Diamond&promoid=1074)

    There it be. For now I'll use my existing Dell 2001FP monitor, speakers, PATA dvd burner, and probably throw my floppy drive in there too. Oh, and my existing keyboard/mouse. In a few months I'll buy a 24" panel to dual with my current 21" 4:3 (same height).

    My plan is to not overclock for the first year or so. In a year or two I'll look at potentially a) overclocking the E8400, b) upgrading to (say) a Q9450, and/or c) crossfiring with another 4850, if I feel the need. Oh, and I might fairly quickly mod the current 4850 with an Accelero S1, if I find the noise too annoying. Quiet is one of my higher priorities.

    I considered
    http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/PID-MX19221(ME).aspx
    and
    http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=26701&vpn=PD...
    but I think this RAM was the best deal. (Feel free to contradict.) Obviously I had to consider a number of other trade-offs as well (the age-old Q6600 vs E8400 for one :)  ), but rather than list them all, I'll mention my throughts if/when somebody makes a recommendation. If you're happy with my current choices, who cares what I was thinking of before? Probably not you.. :) 

    I'll be using the comp mostly for watching videos while coding (on craigshelper.com :)  ), but since I'm building a fancy new rig, I'll probably buy a few games to play occasionally as well. I'll also occasionally do stuff like PCB layout, but even my current Athlon XP 2500+ doesn't have too much problem with that. As I mentioned, I'd like the comp to be as quiet as possible, and also as light on power as possible without sacrificing performance. It'll probably be 3-5 years before I get around to a major upgrade, but like I said, I may do some small ones in a year or two.

    I think that's all - thanks for your input! (And thanks to anyone who read to the end of my dissertation there.. Cheers! Oh, and if you search craigslist for parts, give my site a try and let me know what you think. :D 

    EDIT: I'll be running on my existing copy of XP 32-bit for now, but may upgrade to Vista-64 at some point (or dual boot). Also, I'm curious whether anyone has an opinion of the WD Caviar 640GB compared to the Seagate chosen. And finally, my budget's flexible, so if you see a screamin' deal for more (or less) than my current prices, feel free to chime in. Thanks!
    September 13, 2008 10:37:42 AM

    Other than I don't like Asus boards because I am having the worst experience with them over a board RMA issue. Everything looks good.
    September 13, 2008 9:54:32 PM

    Thanks bk. I guess that's about it then. I'll take a last look at the two hard drives, then order everything but the gfx card. The cheap one on craigslist was gone, so I'm going to wait for a week or so to see if I can get something better. I'd love to go for one of the HIS IceQ4 dual slot ones, since I imagine it will run a lot quieter at comparable temps.

    I'll leave it for a few hours in case anybody else wants to comment though.. so please do! :) 
    Related resources
    September 14, 2008 3:25:36 AM

    Between Seagate 640GB and WD 640GB: the WD is better, according to the numbers here,
    http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/storage/9825-wd-se16-640gb-vs-seagate-7200-11-640gb-somewhat-complete-analysis.html
    but the differences are negligible and you wouldn't notice them in real life.

    I don't like the Antec Solo for HD 4850 Crossfire, TBH. Minimal cooling system with 1 fan and room for two more. Can you afford a P182 instead?
    http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=24122&vpn=P182&manufacture=ANTEC

    September 14, 2008 6:52:09 AM

    I can afford the P182 yes.. but I do prefer the size, looks, and price of the Solo... That's part of the reason I'm leaning toward the IceQ4 though - pumps all the heat of the card (and maybe even more) out of the case, so I'm thinking I'll be ok. And I've actually read several posts from people who have that setup (even with stock cooled 4850s - although in that case the guy had the two intake fans installed). So ya.. since I don't even know if I'm going to crossfire, if I do it'll be a while down the road, and I'm 99% sure it'll work, even if it means adding a couple fans... I think it's the case for me.

    Thanks for the review on the drives.. indeed looks like it won't make much difference, but I will switch to the WD, since they're the same price. Thanks!
    September 14, 2008 1:40:01 PM

    My family pc is the Solo. 10/10 I give it. Has sound-proofing material on both sides & top. Vibration-dampening drive mounts. Dust filter. More than enough cooling for a family pc.

    Yes, I second the P182 for crossfire/sli. Not only will it be cooler, but also give you room for overclocking thanks to lower temps.

    Both cases will fit crossfire/sli.

    If you game more on the pc than work, get the Wolfdale. Otherwise, go with Kentsfield. I have read about a few buyers regretting their Yorkfield purchases and downgrading to Q6600, but I have yet to read about them regretting buying Q6600. If you ask me, I will probably skip Yorkies altogether and jump on the Nehalem. The cpu should be out this month. The mobos next month or by Nov. The mobos have already been pictured, seen and even previewed.
    September 14, 2008 11:53:13 PM

    @chnathan - OK, I agree, with a good cooler on the HD 4850 you don't need to worry about case cooling that much

    @auscanzukus - so the CPUs will be out but there won't be any motherboards for them yet? LOL at Intel's planning, they messed up :) 
    September 15, 2008 4:38:15 AM

    Alrighty.. so everything's settled except which flavor of 4850. Originally I was thinking this one.. reference design, great price:
    http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=30487&vpn=48...

    However, I'd like it to be as quiet as possible, and as we were talking about, I'd eventually like to maybe add a second and/or OC my CPU, so heat is a factor. Soooo I was thinking of an IceQ4:
    http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=32726&vpn=H4...

    But then I'm paying $75 more for basically the same card... Also, from what I've read, it's actually *louder* than the reference design (at least the ones by MSI and Powercolor (http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/HIS/HD_4850_IceQ4/25...)). However... it's louder while running way cooler, so I should think that if you cranked the fan down until it was only.. somewhat cooler, it should be quieter, non?

    Aaand then finally I found this one:
    http://www.canadacomputers.com/index.php?do=ShowProduct...

    $175 for a factory overclocked card with dual-slot cooling sounds pretty good.. that's the same price as the reference Diamond I was originally looking at. I'm leaning toward that one right now. Downsides though: 1) according to the above review, it's even louder than the IceQ4. 2) It's a Palit - perhaps lower quality? Still.. I would think the same argument about lowering fan speeds (perhaps even underclocking it back to the reference) being able to bring the volume below the standard ones should apply, right? And the dual-slot design gets the heat out of the case.

    Thoughts?
    September 15, 2008 2:51:17 PM

    aevm, Intel fast tracked the Nehalem release to Sep. Originally Nov. The boards are ready. Some have gotten their hands on the mobos & ES chips. We're just waiting for the official releases.

    OP, you can control the stock fan on the HD 4800. I used it, but stopped cuz at idle my card wasn't overheating, but under load it was and crashing all over the place. Auto is best for me.

    http://www.rage3d.com/BOARD/showthread.php?t=33926633

    The reference single-slot cooler on HD 4800 exhausts from the front or top-left or the rear of the case. The pc case needs good air flow to cool the card.
    September 28, 2008 7:43:36 AM

    Hey, just thought I'd post my results..

    I ended up going with the Palit Radeon 4850 Sonic (slight overclock, 2-slot cooler) and the E8400. Everything seems great so far. At the desktop the CPU and GPU are at 32C and 39C respectively, with the case fan at the minimum setting. (That manually-set tri-cool fan that comes with the Solo is kind of a pain though - I'm going to change it out for one with a mobo connector at some point.)

    Only thing I'd change if I were doing it again would be to pay the extra 30 bucks or so to get the same PSU with modular plugs. Dealing with all those unused (crazy long) power connectors was a bit of a PITA. Like I said though, now that I've got it all together, it runs great.

    The only other random lesson I came away with is that it's a good idea to plan what data you're going to import before taking apart the old machine. I just threw the hard drive from my old comp into the new one, figuring I could copy over what I needed... which I DID, but some things would have been a LOT easier if I could have used the programs' export functions.

    Anyway, thanks again everyone for your help. I'll be back when it's time to add a second monitor! :) 
    !