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Lots of questions about my low-mid range build

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Last response: in Systems
October 18, 2008 11:31:07 PM

I'm putting together a new system for my home (some gaming) use. It'll end up somewhere in the $850-1000 USD range, I'm guessing. I need to know a few things about compatibility, and have specific questions about a number of components. Partial answers are great.

What I'll do is list specific parts I'm looking to buy for each field of hardware, and state questions regarding that field.

Let's begin with the CPU. I'm looking at the higher-end Wolfdale Core 2 Duo processors. I chose the E8400 ( for this build (3.0GHz, 1333FSB, 6MB L2 cache) since it has the same construction as the highest clocked Core 2 Duo with two cores, but almost $100 less.

A tad random, but I’d like to mention the case I think I’m going to get. On Newegg, it comes with a 500W power supply, but there are bad reviews about that aspect of it, so I plan on buying a separate supply. The case I want is a Raidmax ( that has 2x80mm fans (sides) and 2x120mm fans (front and back). There’s a hell of a lot of ventilation, and it doesn’t look too bad. I really don't know too much about cases, so I'm open to anything in this respect. Might get a case without the supply (since I won't use it) with higher quality?

Now about that power supply. I’m thinking of doing one of two things. On Newegg, there is a combo deal for the processor I chose and a 950W Rosewill supply ( The deal saves $150 dollars, but the supply itself costs over 250$. I can use this (although 950W is quite enough), or go back and get the CPU with a different combo (Newegg has lots of these) and get a 750W supply for $100 or a little more. My system (with air cooling for a while) will run at MOST a little above 500W, although I don’t think it will ever go too far above that. So I could save a little money or keep room to expand if I so chose. The only other question about these concern sizes. Do they differ much in measurements? If so, is the aforementioned supply too large for my case? I doubt it, but I want to be safe.

I just chose a standard-ish SATA HDD that features 1TB with a normal 32MB buffer and 7200rpm speed and is pretty cheap. I don’t think there’s anything here…

DVD burner, nothing special here either.

My video card ( is an MSI N9600GT-T2D512-OC with GeForce 9600GT chipset. It has decent cooling and often beats competition with the same chip, at least staying with the pack. Now I don’t know much about GPUs, but it seems like a decent choice for some gaming on the side. I know even less about ATI Radeon chips, so I’m open to recommendation here. I probably won't need SLi or crossfire for this build, but you never know.

I saved the motherboard for last. Here I don’t have any models in mind, but I do have some ideas of what I want. First, I need socket 775 and support for Core 2 Duo processors. I might make use of SLi technology later on, so it should have that along with at least two PCI-e (2.0) x16 slots. I want at least DDR2 800 as a memory standard with support for 2GB DIMMs (I don’t care if it has DDR3 as well, depending on how much more it costs). FSB should be 1600/1333MHz, and be very easy to overclock my CPU.

I think that’s about it. Sorry for the long post, but I want the most out of my build. I AM trying to keep it under $1000 USD, we'll see how that goes :na: . Any comments, recommendations, or answers that you can offer will be greatly appreciated! :) 

More about : lots questions low mid range build

October 19, 2008 12:32:47 AM

ok so for $900 here is what i came up with

CPU: Intel e8400

Motherboard: Asus p5q pro

RAM: A-data 4gb ddr2 800

Hard Drive: Seagate 1 tb

Video Card: Sapphire Radeon 4850

PSU: Corsair 750tx

DVD/CD: Lite-on 20x dvd+R retail

Case: NZXT Lexa Blackline -- just a case i really like, have one myself

all in all this would be a pretty good system for just about anything
October 19, 2008 12:53:25 AM

Really appreciate you taking the time to make this list for me.
Looking into all the items now. :) 
Related resources
October 19, 2008 4:26:27 PM

Nice build by gators, but i'd change a couple of things. For RAM this Mushkin has better timings, 5-4-4-12 instead of 5-5-5-18 and is cheaper after rebate at $50
This Harddrive, 640GB for $75
This Antec 650w power supply at $65 free shipping, still plenty of power for crossfired 4850s
review of that power supply
Case- a Coolermaster 690 $75

October 19, 2008 4:39:16 PM

Thanks for the input! I'm not sure which case I'll end up with, but I'll take your recommendation on the memory. I think I'll stick with the Seagate 1TB HDD, I don't think there'd be too much of a difference in the way of reliability. The 650W PSU would be plenty of power for my build, but the 950W supply I mentioned is $250, but combos with my processor with a savings of $150-155. For $35 extra (not inc. shipping), I could get the higher performance PSU. Shipping isn't too large an issue since all the components can come for only $31.51 for the 3-day service.
October 19, 2008 5:45:30 PM

Avoid the Rosewill supplies - they are rated poorly. The suggestions above will easily deal with what you want to do.

See if you can get an E8500 for just a little more than the E8400.

If you want to overclock the CPU you will also want an aftermarket cooler. Try Xigmatek or OCZ Vendetta, both fit better with the Xigmatek retention bracket.

October 19, 2008 6:03:20 PM

jpdykes said:
Avoid the Rosewill supplies - they are rated poorly. The suggestions above will easily deal with what you want to do.

See if you can get an E8500 for just a little more than the E8400.

If you want to overclock the CPU you will also want an aftermarket cooler. Try Xigmatek or OCZ Vendetta, both fit better with the Xigmatek retention bracket.


Is there that much of a difference between the E8400 and E8500? I thought it was only the .5 multiplier.
October 19, 2008 6:07:18 PM

it isn't that much of a difference and you could easily bump the fsb a little on the e8400 to match the e8500 i dont think it is worth the extra $20 for the e8500 but others might disagree
October 19, 2008 6:16:34 PM

Depends how confident you are to mess with multipliers.

I haven't been bothered to faff with it, hence I would buy the slightly more expensive one.
October 20, 2008 1:09:29 AM

Almost made all the cuts, one final question.
A number of reviews on the motherboard gators chose (the Asus P5Q Pro) mention cheap components, an inefficient north bridge, and most of all, limits when overclocking.
I want to be able to get the most out of my processor when overclocking, is this the best board for that?
October 20, 2008 3:27:37 AM

well some people are newegg are idiots and who ever is complaining about not being able to hit 500 fsb doesn't know what he is talking about without lots of cooling, like water, it is going to be hard to reach that because on a e8400 that is 4.5ghz the only reviews i saw of concern were the large number of doa's some will bepeople doing stupid stuff but there were lots and that seems to be true of many p45 motherboards
October 20, 2008 6:51:16 AM

Lots of people have been spec'ing the P5Q recently from Tom's post, I haven't come across a lot of negative feedback on the forums...