1st build, need other opinions!

Ok, so I've been running a Dell GX620 for a while now, but with all the great games that have come out I'm hankering for something more. My goal is to build a comp that I can count on for most things at least for 4 or so years, gaming and all, either by expanding it or having what I need from the first build. Obviously my starting build I want to focus on gaming, so here's what I'm thinking. Money is a factor as well...

Mobo: MSI P45 Platinum
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E7300@2.66GHz (plan to OC)
RAM: 2x2GB PNY XLR8 DDR2 800
HDD: Wd5000AAKS 500GB 7200rpm 16MB
Case: Antec Sonata III
PSU: Antec EA500 500W Earthwatt
GPU: Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 512MB
Optical: Standard DVD RW number, one of the myriad $20-25 ones
Cooling: Xigmatek HDT S1283 120mm

These are the basics, I already have the ram ordered ($44 for all 4)and I got a great deal today on the case and psu ($45 for both and free shipping ftw!), but before I proceed I want to check a few things.

1) I've heard horror stories about MSI BIOS, but I also hear this board is totally solid otherwise. I plan to OC the cpu so I want a good board to handle it, and by the reviews the Platinum can handle it. Is there a better board though that can still handle the stress? Crossfire support is a must-have, as that's the whole reason for me starting with the 4850 instead of an nVidia. The p45 setup sounds fine to me, it shouldn't restrict crossfire 4850s enough for me to mind. So if anyone has another p45 to suggest thats good for OCing and supports crossfire, please tell me. Preferably no more expensive than the one I'm looking at now.

2) Cooling. Do I need more case fans? I know it comes with one, but I'll be OCing the cpu at least and I don't want to risk it. And if so, what are cheap, quiet, and reliable ones?

I'm sure I'll think of more, but thanks for your help, and I look forward to hearing your responses!
6 answers Last reply
More about build opinions
  1. you have high expectations in my opinion.

    first the E7300 might and probably wont get to 4 gighertz i know toms hardware did it with a e 7200 but each CPU gets different results.

    if you want any shot at 4 gigahertz they you will deffinately need an aftermarket CPU cooler like the zalman 9700led or xigmatek hdt

    if you are planing to crossfire go with an X38 or X48 motherboard. the P45 boards bottleneck the GPUs because of the X8 bandwidth lanes.

    overall the biggest problem with your plan is cooling. the Antec sonata 3 doesn't have very good air flow. in fact it has almost none.

    i don't think that will matter tho. i bet you will get around 3.7Ghz with a good after market cooler and maybe 3.3ish GHz without. even if you don't quite make that 4GHz mark you should (depending on the resolution) be handling all the new games fine.

    good luck, hope this helps
  2. Thanks for your help!

    As far as definitely hitting 4GHz...meh. It's more a "wouldn't that be cool" goal than anything, so yeah fair enough, I'm not too worried.

    Thank you for the cooling solutions, based on what I checked out one of the Zalman models should do the trick.

    Ugh. From the prices I'm looking at, an X board would jump me at least $50 or so, and I don't want to pay that if I can avoid it. Given that I'll only ever max out at two 4850s in CF and based on what I'm reading, I shouldn't really run into any big drops in performance. I'm not planning on running any monster resolution anyway, though I like the freedom to flirt with the higher ones.

    I think I'll take a wait and see approach with the case fan unless someone with experience with the case tells me I definitely need it. I can always pick up one later.

    Again, thanks for your help and any other comments/suggestions would be great.
  3. The Antec Sonata is a great case, but it's biased more towards quiet rather then cooling, keep an eye on your temps. The P45 is fine for crossfiring 4850s the 8x/8x with the PCIex2.0 is only slightly limited. Here's an article on crossfire chipset comparisons.

    For good reviews on the best coolers go to here
    The Xigmatek HDT S-1283 and the Sunbeam Core Contact get the best ratings for cooling.... and not bad ratings for quiet.

    good build, good luck
  4. To bad you already ordered the RAM. A 4x1GB setup is far from ideal. Running four sticks is harder on the motherboard and will affect your overclocking. It also cuts off your upgrade path since all your DIMM's are filled and you can't just add more RAM later. If you can, I would return the RAM and pick up a quality 2x2GB kit like this:

    G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231209 $49.99
  5. If you want to reach ~4GHz, an E8400 would probably be a better choice and is "only" 50$ more.
  6. I edited the first post to pinpoint the questions I still need answered/clarified after the help I've received from other posters. Any more help would be awesome, thanks everyone!
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