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Last response: in Systems
October 9, 2008 9:25:20 PM

I finally got the green light from my wife to add another computer to the mix. The issue was never money, just need (my kids now have lots of homework that requires a PC). So other than the usual web/email activities, the PC will be used for gaming (World of Warcraft) and video editing, but nothing hardcore (so no Crossfire). I would like to overclock it but will defer that exercise until it is up and running.

Since this is my first build, I'd appreciate any feedback on the components. I also have a couple of questions:

1. I've tossd around the idea of upgrading to the Q9550 ($320) from the Q6600 to save some power (always like to be green). What kind of power savings would I be looking at?

2. I've listed two motherboards, both of which seem to get good ratings from people on this forum. Should I just go with the cheaper of the two?

3. Is there any compelling reason to go for Vista Ultimate or Home Premium? Or maybe I should ask what I'm losing by going with Home Premium?

The Build

CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz LGA 775 Quad-Core Processor Model BX80562Q6600, $189.99

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-EP45-DS3R LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard, $106.99 with rebate
ASUS P5Q Pro LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard, $119.99 with rebate

Cooler: XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler, $36.99

Cooler Bracket: XIGMATEK ACK-I7751 Retention Bracket, $6.99

PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply, $79.99 after rebate

Video: SAPPHIRE 100245L Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card, $139.99 after rebate

RAM: mushkin 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model 996587, $56.99 after rebate

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s, $74.99

CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner with LightScribe (Model LH-20A1L-05), $25.99

Case: Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case, $109.99

Monitor: 1920 x 1200 widescreen, 22" or 24" (nothing picked out yet)

OS: Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit English for System Builders, $99.99
Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 64-bit English 1pk, $179.99

Misc: ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound, $6.99

Later Additions:
1. Second disk drive (after my last drive failure I like the idea of having a bootable image of my main drive)

2. Second DVD drive or Blue-ray drive


October 9, 2008 10:11:25 PM

im not the best pro however on people helping me they recommend if going vista 64bit to get 8 gig of ram, since 1. it can handle it and 2. it eats ram up and 3. it is cheap. that is the exact ram i was told to get by several people.

i just bought that sam cpu several months ago for another build and it worked great under heavy load with no overclocking.
October 9, 2008 10:22:17 PM

OS - I would stick with home premium x64. As far as I understand, the only advantages to ultimate are geared more towards corp security. I could be way off base but...

MOBO - either one is a good choice. It just comes down to which one you like better or who has better support.

Monitor - if it is in the budget get the 24". There are some very nice ones for under $400.

RAM - excellent choice. you don't need to get 8gb of RAM but if it is in the budget then it wouldn't hurt. I run vista ultimate x64 with 4gb and it runs great.

CPU - the Q6600 is by far the best value and if you want to OC it you will be able to find many, many threads dedicated to OC'ing that chip.

As for power savings- I am by no stretch of the imagination an expert- the MOBO/CPU you chose will automatically drop to a lower power consumption (slows down the cpu) when idle. Your savings will depend on how much you use this comp and how much time it is off or idling.
Related resources
October 9, 2008 10:33:41 PM

Nice :)  That's a very solid build!

Here's a link to the comparison page for different versions of Vista.

The only real differences are remote desktop, bitlocker drive encryption, Windows fax & scan, & more backup options. There are also the "Ultimate Extras", but at the moment that's really limited to some animated desktops and an extra built-in game or two.

I have 64-bit Vista Ultimate on my main machine just because I got it free at work. I also use 32-bit Vista Home Premium on another computer. I don't really use any of the Ultimate features except for turning on Dreamscene (the animated desktop) every once in a while.

I would recommend Home Premium.
October 9, 2008 11:18:00 PM

Thanks for the quick responses. I think I'll stick with the Q6600 and Home Premium and put the extra money into more RAM and a 24" monitor.