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New Build - Been A Few Years

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December 15, 2008 1:33:36 PM

The last system I put together was on an MSI MB with a 939 socket. This system has been OK for my purposes, but it is time to build a new one (actually I will be mixing and matching a bunch of old components for kids and wife, but the dominoes don't start falling until I upgrade my machine). I must confess that I have not kept up with the changes over the last couple of years.

I have been partial to AMD in the past, mainly because of price/performance, but completely open at this point. What is the current socket standard for AMD and Intel? What is your opinion of the one or two best over-all motherboard for each (price/performance, layout, ease of install, bios support, reliability, etc.)? I'm trying to narrow down to one or two motherboards for each and then go from there.

My plan is to build a system for myself and then take my old box and turn it into a file server (media files!!!). Once that is done I will start upgrading the other machines in the house, but I need to get over this learning curve. I figure there will be good prices during the post-Christmas sales.

Thanks for your opinions!

More about : build years

December 15, 2008 1:36:36 PM

Can you give us an idea of your budget?
December 15, 2008 1:58:53 PM

In the past, I have not skimped on the MB, finding that full-featured MB's are quite convenient during the build and seem to get more support for bios updates, etc. I already have the video card, case and HD, so the components I will be purchasing are:

MB - up to $175 in the past - depends on feature set.
CPU - In the past, a decent CPU could be had for less than $200
Memory - 4 GB of reliable memory. I have no idea what the cost is these days.


I suppose under $500-600 for the above components? Having an upgrade path is an important consideration, particularly with the MB. I would purchase a better MB today rather than a faster CPU or memory in order to stay within budget (and upgrade the CPU/MEM later)

I am currently using XP and a wireless N network.
Related resources
December 15, 2008 2:38:59 PM

MB = http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
189.99 Asus P5Q Deluxe : one of the best board, full of features and good if you OC.

Mem = http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
17.99 after MIR Patriot 2*2 Gb, a 4Gb ram kit at only $18 after MIR...

CPU = http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
184.99 Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600, a core 2 quad and one of the best CPU for around $200, it will last long since most newer prog will eventually take advantage of quads...

Total of $392.79

Make sure you have a good quality PSU like Corsair...

What OS will you be using?
Vista 64 will be best to take full advantage of the 4Gb of ram.

Edit: add some comments...
December 15, 2008 2:59:00 PM

What is your intended usage?
Is it for gaming?
Is it for heavy cpu bound multitasking?
Media encoding?
Are there any special programs that you use?

Your budget for cpu, mobo, ram is in nowhere land.
Current i7 budget would be $700
Very good previous gen parts would be $350.


December 15, 2008 5:27:17 PM

nocteratus said:
MB = http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
189.99 Asus P5Q Deluxe : one of the best board, full of features and good if you OC.

Mem = http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
17.99 after MIR Patriot 2*2 Gb, a 4Gb ram kit at only $18 after MIR...

CPU = http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
184.99 Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600, a core 2 quad and one of the best CPU for around $200, it will last long since most newer prog will eventually take advantage of quads...

Total of $392.79

Make sure you have a good quality PSU like Corsair...

What OS will you be using?
Vista 64 will be best to take full advantage of the 4Gb of ram.

Edit: add some comments...


no more comments required, noc nailed it, story done!
December 15, 2008 5:45:09 PM

That RAM may be cheap, but it requires 2.2v to get 4-4-4-12 timings. You're better off getting RAM that runs at a lower voltage since it should run cooler, last longer, and have more overclocking headroom.

mushkin 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=N82E168... $49.99 - $20.00 MIR

or

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=N82E168... $49.99
December 15, 2008 7:02:58 PM

This is a mixed-use machine:
- work-related tasks using MS Office 2007 (mainly large Excel files)
- Quicken for typical home use
- general photo processing from a digital camera
- video editing using Pinnacle Studio 12 (probably the most demanding application)
- typical web surfing
- light gaming (Falcon, Quake)

I might be upgrading to a better video card to run some of the more recent games (I am a fan of sims like Call Of Duty)


My budget is flexible depending on the perceived benefits of the additional cost.

Thanks for the tips so far, it is very helpful to see the discussion. The links are much appreciated - I usually buy from NewEgg.
December 15, 2008 8:11:22 PM

I think there's two ways to approach this. One is more cost effective. The other much better in preformance. If you want to do the cost effective setup, go with the setup posted earlier.

The other one would be to go with an i7 setup. Due to your use of video editing and MS Office 2007 you would see a signicant increase in preformance when running these applications. This however would cost more in the range of $750-800 (MB: $300, CPU: $300, Ram: $175) instead of $400. This is still faily new technology however and that's why there is the price preium. This setup is not really geared for gaming, but for enterprise type applications such as encoding and crunching numbers...ect. (Still best cpu in for gaming on the market, just not made for it).

If your willing to spend in this price range, let us know and we can start digging into this for you. If not i'd suggest the setup noted earlier in this thread. That is a very nice setup, I just feel it might start showing its age in a year or two.
December 16, 2008 7:52:29 PM

What ever you do GET A QUALITY PSU. Any ways, what's the TOTAL(CPU + GPU + PSU+ case,etc) budget?
December 17, 2008 2:38:03 AM

Forget the budget. I plan to look for bargains after the holidays - I am patient. I have put together at least a dozen machines in the last 10 or 12 years, so it's not like I am new to the process. For me, installing the hardware and getting the box running are the easy part. Getting Windows to load (and re-load, and re-load) and finally work is typically the most time-consuming and frustrating part... I have found over the years that you should never skimp on the MB, PSU, CPU Cooling, keyboards or monitors. You can usually find rock-solid - albeit slower - cpu's, memory, video cards, hard drives, etc.

My objective here was to gather information quickly to steer me to a few motherboard/CPU options since I have been out of the game for a few years (other than my usual upgrades of different components). I want to understand what the best technology would be to purchase in the next couple of months so far as CPU/MB and AMD vs Intel. Everything else I do will fall in to place once that decision is made. I have no experience with Vista, but want to take advantage of 64 bit technology, particularly to make video editing more productive and enjoyable. Consequently, I am interested in a motherboard CPU combo that is proven to work with Vista 64.

My strategy in the past was to purchase a strong MB using a socket that was likely to be around for a while. I would generally follow a strategy of continuous upgrading and purchase of components as the prices dropped or budget permits. The parts I replace would then be shuffled around into other machines in the house. (For example, two of my other computers have socket 939 boards, one identical to make this even easier.) I have no desire to spend tons of extra money on the latest, fastest processor, RAM or video card when they can be had for 1/10 the price a year later. If I did video editing 8 hours a day or was an avid gamer, that song might be different.

I should also mention that heat and noise have recently become an issue. One of the things that has changed in the last year is that I now work at home. I have a laptop and desktop running all day. In the winter, no problem. However, my office really heats up during the summer, so much so that I would have to put a fan outside the door to blow cooler air into the room to keep ambient temps down. Running this thing all day is the equivalent of leaving a small hair dryer blowing in the room. I just can't force myself to turn the thermostat down and freeze the rest of the house just to keep my office cool... This is not a deal-breaker, but certainly an important consideration.
December 17, 2008 10:46:59 AM

^ If you want this to be future proof you probably should look in to AMD or Core i7. LGA775 is almost EOL.
December 17, 2008 11:17:50 AM

Ya sounds like your in the business of i7. The LGA775 socket cpu's are still great processors and can handle the most demanding games and software fairly well. Its just that their lifecycle is coming to an end and the upgrading paths for these cpus and motherboards are coming to an end within a year, maybe two.
December 17, 2008 9:18:09 PM

Wow! after reading about this processor I'm starting to get that fever... Not cheap, but if this is the future - I am soooo there! Hopefully the prices come down a little after Christmas. I won't get arguments from my wife since most of the components in my machine will go into hers!

What is happening on the AMD side of the equation? The latest socket I see is AM2+.
December 18, 2008 4:11:14 PM

AMD is falling behind fast. Even with their new line up about to come out it shouldn't touch the power the i7 has. I wouldn't reccomend an AMD really unless your talking about a sub $500 dollar rig.
December 18, 2008 5:49:28 PM

AMD's new processor is coming out in January, and nobody really knows how it will perform. Initial results look like it could match i7 in gaming, but will fall behind a little on tasks with >4 threads. In the end though, i7 will undoubtedly be faster, but will cost significantly more. AM2+ is out now and their new processors are compatible with it, but AM3 will be coming out in Feb. Since you are waiting for post holidays anyway, I'd highly suggest considering them. i7 is overpriced right now for what you get out of it except for in high thread/server apps.
December 18, 2008 6:00:46 PM

I disagree with EXT that the i7 is highly overpriced. I personaly think its quite affordable upon a newly released technology. I think its the items around it that make it harder to swallow the such as the $300 mb and $200 in ram.
December 18, 2008 6:51:29 PM

I'm in no rush. If AMD is on the cusp of their next gen CPU, I can wait. Competition drives down prices - it only makes sense Intel will lower the prices on the slower chips when AMD releases theirs.

Not to stir up any trouble, but I do not have experience with Vista and not looking forward to slugging through a new build with a new operating system as well... I have heard plenty of anecdotal stories, but they are usually short on facts and long on second- or third-hand "horror stories" that are never really defined beyond the provocative description. What is the verdict on Vista 64? Is it really THAT much better at, say, processing video with real hardware and real applications?
December 18, 2008 6:58:13 PM

my opipion, I took the jump to vista and never looked back. When it first came out it had its problems. Many of those problems have been worked out and many harderware items have drivers now that support vista where as when it first came out they did not.

I have not had a bsod or a lock up in ages with vista. The only times i ever did was because of my own fault. pushing an overclock to far or I messed up an application that i was writing code for.
December 18, 2008 7:09:25 PM

kubes said:
my opipion, I took the jump to vista and never looked back. When it first came out it had its problems. Many of those problems have been worked out and many harderware items have drivers now that support vista where as when it first came out they did not.

I have not had a bsod or a lock up in ages with vista. The only times i ever did was because of my own fault. pushing an overclock to far or I messed up an application that i was writing code for.

+1

I'm in the same boat. The only BSOD I've ever seen in Vista was also caused by pushing an overclock too far. 64-bit Vista is the only way to go on a new build IMO. Not only will it fully use 4GB, but it also allows the option of adding more RAM later if you need to. Vista's early problems are long gone. It's a very stable OS now. I'd never even consider installing XP on a nice new computer.
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