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Amateur threw together some components - will it work?

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December 28, 2008 5:27:41 PM

Hello everyone from Tom's hardware. Because my laptop doesn't run any games, and my computers have always been hand-me-downs from my father, I have never built my own computer. However, I have given a shot at it, but I have no confidence. I had some help from friends, but I'd like some more opinions.

I'm not sure if I have all the parts I need, but please give me suggestions. As it is now, it's kind of expensive so if I can save some money somewhere please let me know.

Case: ? recommendations please!
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8600 (2x 3.3 GH)
HD: WD 500GB PATA 7200RPM 16MB Caviar SE16 (WD5000AAKB)
RAM: Corsair 4GB DDR2 (2x2GB) PC8500 1066MHz CL5 (TWIN2X4096-8500C5)
Videocard: Sapphire HD4850 512MB (512MB, GDDR3, PCI-e, Dual DVI, TVO, 11132-11-20R)
Soundcard: Creative 7.1 SB Audigy SE
Networkcard: ?
DVD player: (I'll take it from my previous computer)
Software: Vista for directX 10?
Motherboard: Asus P5Q-E (775, P45, ATX, 4x DDR2, PCI-e)
Power supply unit: Corsair CMPSU-750TXEU, 750W (ATX 12V) (750TX outside europe, I think)
2(?) fans, front and back.


I threw this setup together with games in mind. I am not going to photoshop, or make music or anything. Just standard schoolwork (with microsoft office, preferably) and games. I was told you didn't need triple or quad core for this because most games only use two at a time?

Thanks in advance!
December 28, 2008 6:59:51 PM

Will you try your hand at overclocking the computer? For the processor, I would go with the e8500 as the e8600 does not justify the added cost. Everything else looks fine.
Related resources
December 28, 2008 7:48:58 PM

Might want to look at the Antec 300 for a budget case. Also recommend the Centurion series from Coolermaster.

I'd recommend looking at another wolfadale that can easily be overclocked for A budget build like the E7300:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Why a PATA drive? Look at the 640GB drive from Western digital :
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SATA is the way to go now. The 640gig models are priced similarly to the 500's right now.

You can save a few bucks on the sound card as its not much better onboard.
December 28, 2008 8:06:17 PM

Thanks for the case suggestions - I'll check into the centurion series because I saw a lot of coolermaster cases at popular shops in the Netherlands, so I won't have to import.

And I don't think I'm going to overclock, I do not know how to and I heard it's very hard to keep it cool enough.

PATA? SATA? I had (and still have) no idea what the difference was, so I just picked PATA when I was asked to pick either. Guess I chose the expensive one, thanks for that!

And you're saying I don't need a sound card at all? This was the cheapest I could find in the stores I looked at o.o;
December 28, 2008 8:18:13 PM

SATA is the newer standard. If I'm not mistaken, PATA is the old IDE interface. Also, I do agree with the suggestion of dumping the soundcard. Try out the onboard sound first as that's usually pretty good nowadays.
December 28, 2008 8:25:21 PM

ok so oc is not a good suggestion.

The onboard sound in my opinion is good enough for most tasks and gaming. If you are an audiophile or wish to do some recording/midi etc then you should look at soem add in cards for audio.
December 28, 2008 8:40:26 PM

Thanks, no audio card, gotcha. As for the case, a friend stressed I definitely HAD to get a full tower, as opposed to a mid-tower? How important is this?
December 28, 2008 8:48:05 PM

Depends on the case more than the size. Some so-called mid towers are very roomy and well cooled.

Are you shopping in Europe?

You are getting some good advice, but if you'd like to learn more and see a few more parts selections, see my sig.
December 28, 2008 8:54:05 PM

A full tower is a very large case. I have an ANtec 900 mid tower and it is very roomy even with all the lights and fans and other mods I have done. I use two optical drives and two hard drives with room for more. For your needs I should think a mid tower is plenty big.
December 28, 2008 9:01:00 PM

Go quad for god sake, dual cores are over! finnished!
December 28, 2008 9:04:08 PM

Alright, excellent. Thanks a lot buzznut, and I'll also read Proximon's general parts guide, hardware is more interesting than I thought.

Some more questions, in my first post I mentioned 1066MHz RAM, how much would performance suffer when downgrading that to 800 MHz?

Also, is the motherboard appropriate, and do I need more wattage on the PSU or is 750W enough?
December 28, 2008 9:19:19 PM

^Yes! It's more than enough. You can run 2*4850s on that Corsair 750TX PSU.

Quote:
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8600 (2x 3.3 GH)
HD: WD 500GB PATA 7200RPM 16MB Caviar SE16 (WD5000AAKB)
RAM: Corsair 4GB DDR2 (2x2GB) PC8500 1066MHz CL5 (TWIN2X4096-8500C5)
Videocard: Sapphire HD4850 512MB (512MB, GDDR3, PCI-e, Dual DVI, TVO, 11132-11-20R)
Soundcard: Creative 7.1 SB Audigy SE
Networkcard: ?
DVD player: (I'll take it from my previous computer)
Software: Vista for directX 10?
Motherboard: Asus P5Q-E (775, P45, ATX, 4x DDR2, PCI-e)
Power supply unit: Corsair CMPSU-7

Looks good but honestly get a E8400. You really won't notice the 300Mhz difference in day to day work.

GPU is fine. But like said above drop the sound card. Good choice on PSU also.

As far as OS goes get Vista x64. Just make sure your printer,etc has Vista x64 drivers.

If possible consider a P45-UD3P or a P5Q Pro as that will allow you to CrossFire. Not sure about prices there bur here the difference between Ud3R and UD3P is ~$40-50. And imo, it's worth it.

As this seems to be your first build read this:
http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?articleID=1444

December 28, 2008 9:21:59 PM

Well, that issue of ram is debatable. It seems ddr3 is still pricey vs the reward in speed. Since overclocking is not your goal, I would say get a kit of quality PC8500 ram. I like OCZ personally. This is my kit of choice currently.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

But it has some rather large heatsinks.

That motherboard I believe is a popular choice for good reason, looks good.

The power supply you mentioned is an excellent one and it would be good for upgrades down the road, for instance if you want to stick a couple of HD4870's in there! heh heh

BTW is that mobo the model with crossfire? that would be cool.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
December 28, 2008 9:22:55 PM

^That's a good one, but I was talking about this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The OCZ Reapers are good, but OP will have to mess with the BIOS voltages. I recommend this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
New DDR2 800 CL4 @ 1.8v~1.9v


Shun said:

And I don't think I'm going to overclock, I do not know how to and I heard it's very hard to keep it cool enough.

That really isn't true. With a bit of reading and spending ~$30-50 on a good heatsink you'll be able to OC quite easily. The E8400 can hit 3.6Ghz very easily.

And yes, get SATA drives. PATA (IDE) is dead.
December 28, 2008 9:43:23 PM

Alright, I've bookmarked that site, it'll come in handy when I'm actually putting it together!

I didn't know what CrossFire was so I looked it up, it enables you to use multiple video cards in one computer to improve performance? That seriously seems like a handy feature if I want to keep using it for a little while longer. Would that be the Asus P5QL-PRO (LGA775, PCIe, DDR2, LAN, Audio, 1394) or the Asus P5Q PRO (LGA775, DDR2, RAID, 1394a, LAN, PCI-e, Audio)? The latter is a bit more expensive, so I wondered what the difference was.

Buzz - you're gonna have to explain your reasoning in "Since overclocking is not your goal, I would say get a kit of quality PC8500 ram", I'm not sure I follow. And is there anything wrong with the Corsair PC8500 I listed in my first post? I also considered getting the Corsair 4GB DDR2 (2X2GB) PC6400 800Mhz CL4 (TWIN2X4096-6400C4DHX) since it saves me a little - but I'm not sure how significant this downgrade would be.

And isn't there a rather large gap in performance between the E8400 and the E8600 or did I mess that up?
December 28, 2008 10:16:39 PM

Alright, I've bookmarked that site, it'll come in handy when I'm actually putting it together!

I didn't know what CrossFire was so I looked it up, it enables you to use multiple video cards in one computer to improve performance? That seriously seems like a handy feature if I want to keep using it for a little while longer. Would that be the Asus P5QL-PRO (LGA775, PCIe, DDR2, LAN, Audio, 1394) or the Asus P5Q PRO (LGA775, DDR2, RAID, 1394a, LAN, PCI-e, Audio)? The latter is a bit more expensive, so I wondered what the difference was.

Buzz - you're gonna have to explain your reasoning in "Since overclocking is not your goal, I would say get a kit of quality PC8500 ram", I'm not sure I follow. And is there anything wrong with the Corsair PC8500 I listed in my first post? I also considered getting the Corsair 4GB DDR2 (2X2GB) PC6400 800Mhz CL4 (TWIN2X4096-6400C4DHX) since it saves me a little - but I'm not sure how significant this downgrade would be.

And isn't there a rather large gap in performance between the E8400 and the E8600 or did I mess that up?

Edit: A friend is trying to convince me to get a sound board - he claims it'll yield up to 25% increased performance because it does my CPU's work, 25% sounds grand. Is a sound board all that hot? And is it any different from a sound card?
December 28, 2008 11:39:01 PM

Shun said:
Alright, I've bookmarked that site, it'll come in handy when I'm actually putting it together!

I didn't know what CrossFire was so I looked it up, it enables you to use multiple video cards in one computer to improve performance? That seriously seems like a handy feature if I want to keep using it for a little while longer. Would that be the Asus P5QL-PRO (LGA775, PCIe, DDR2, LAN, Audio, 1394) or the Asus P5Q PRO (LGA775, DDR2, RAID, 1394a, LAN, PCI-e, Audio)? The latter is a bit more expensive, so I wondered what the difference was.

Buzz - you're gonna have to explain your reasoning in "Since overclocking is not your goal, I would say get a kit of quality PC8500 ram", I'm not sure I follow. And is there anything wrong with the Corsair PC8500 I listed in my first post? I also considered getting the Corsair 4GB DDR2 (2X2GB) PC6400 800Mhz CL4 (TWIN2X4096-6400C4DHX) since it saves me a little - but I'm not sure how significant this downgrade would be.

And isn't there a rather large gap in performance between the E8400 and the E8600 or did I mess that up?

Edit: A friend is trying to convince me to get a sound board - he claims it'll yield up to 25% increased performance because it does my CPU's work, 25% sounds grand. Is a sound board all that hot? And is it any different from a sound card?


right 25%...anyways go w/ the e8400, it can oc well and it's only $160 vs $270 for the e8600 which IMO is a huge waste..you won't notice the difference between 333MHz. i just bought a p5q pro, still hasn't arrived but we'll see how it does
December 29, 2008 1:10:52 AM

^+1.

Quote:
A friend is trying to convince me to get a sound board - he claims it'll yield up to 25% increased performance because it does my CPU's work, 25% sounds grand. Is a sound board all that hot? And is it any different from a sound card?

No offense but your friend's not right. Your CPU is strong enough it'll only cost your CPU MAX of ~1-1.5%. Ask him to show some proof (ie benchmark,etc) of that 25% claim. I'll like to see that. Good thing you came here for more recommendations.
December 29, 2008 5:40:08 AM

Shadow703793 said:
^+1.

Quote:
A friend is trying to convince me to get a sound board - he claims it'll yield up to 25% increased performance because it does my CPU's work, 25% sounds grand. Is a sound board all that hot? And is it any different from a sound card?

No offense but your friend's not right. Your CPU is strong enough it'll only cost your CPU MAX of ~1-1.5%. Ask him to show some proof (ie benchmark,etc) of that 25% claim. I'll like to see that. Good thing you came here for more recommendations.


Haha oh no! 1.5% lower FPS! i know! overclock the cpu by 20mhz! :ouch: 

Why hasnt anyone recomended the QUAD CORES - new games are loving them and dual cores are over!
December 29, 2008 8:09:25 AM

Alright I'll definitely get the E8400 now. And I kind of guessed the 25% was a bit unplausible for just sound being substituted by a different component, thanks for the confirmation on that though.

I'm still not entirely sure what to get for RAM, what's the difference between the Corsair PC6400 800MHz, Corsair PC8500 1066MHz and the two more expensive ones Buzz and Shadow linked to? If I need to adjust voltage for the OCZ Reaper PC2 8500, does that mean I need to adjust voltage for the Corsair PC8500 too?

And the P5Q-E is really popular but I'm still not sure how significant the CrossFire compatibility is, so I'm still not sure whether or not to get the P5Q Pro. Any final thoughts on this guys?
December 29, 2008 9:34:33 AM

I can tell you that my experience with the P5Q-E has been the best ever. I've never seen so much stability and compatibility.

Both the P5Q Pro and the P5Q-E are crossfire boards. The -E has a few more features typically found on the more deluxe boards, and is generally thought to be higher build quality than the Pro. The only drawback on the -E is the 3rd, useless PCI-E slot.

I consider the Gigabyte UD3P to be just as good as the P5Q-E, and usually at a lower price.

It is not rue that dual core processors are dead. We are starting to see a few more games that are coded for multiple cores. Far Cry 2 is the newest one. A stock speed Q6600 performs the same as a stock speed E8400 in FC2, according to one source.

In the majority of games, the faster frequencies of C2D CPUs are more effective than the slower quads, providing of course that you do not have a bunch of junk running in the background.

Yes, there has been some change, and there will undoubtedly be more. When exactly the right time to buy a quad core arrives, will depend on the individual users needs and not the opinions of enthusiasts or even engineers.
December 29, 2008 9:52:05 AM

Alright, I'll run with the P5Q-E then.

I'm still unsure on the account of RAM so I hope someone will be able to help me there, but I'm also still wondering what case to get. I've narrowed it down to four, pretty much.

Cooler Master Centurion 5 CAC-T05
Cooler Master CM 690
Antec 300
Antec 900

I saw these getting recommended a lot on this forum too. I lean towards the CM 690 because of the many possible fans but I'm not sure how much I'd need. With the setup I've got assuming I won't overclock how much will I need? And if I ever decide to overclock, will I need more or do I just need to purchase heatsinks at the time?
December 29, 2008 7:16:07 PM

An update on my plans! :D  And sorry for the double post once again, I'm

Case: Cooler Master Centurion 5 CAC-T05 (?)
Processor: Sapphire Intel Core 2 Duo E8400
HD: Samsung 640GB HD642JJ (SATA II 7200RPM 16MB)
RAM: Corsair 4GB DDR2 (4x1GB) PC8500 1066MHz CL5
GPU: Sapphire HD4850 512MB (512MB, GDDR3, PCI-e, Dual DVI, TVO, 11132-11-20R)
Software: Vista x64 Home Edition (?)
Motherboard: Asus P5Q-E (775, P45, ATX, 4x DDR2, PCI-e)
Power supply unit: Corsair CMPSU-750TXEU, 750W (ATX 12V)

If anyone has any final thoughts on this, please let me know. I've no idea on the quality of the current case but I thought I'd keep it simple with one fan in the front and one fan at the back. I'm also not entirely sure whether or not I want Vista, the FPS rate seemed horrible but then again it's a tradeoff for DirectX 10 and apparently Vista works better with 3+ GB RAM?
December 29, 2008 7:51:27 PM

You're asking for trouble getting a 4x1GB DDR2 1066 setup. Running four sticks is harder on the motherboard, especially with DDR2 1066 RAM. I'd stick with a high-quality 2x2GB DDR2 800 CAS4 set of RAM that runs around the standard 1.8v. All the benchmarks I've seen show DDR2 800 CAS4 RAM being just as fast as DDR2 1066 CAS5 RAM. I don't know what's available where you're buying your components, but G.Skill and mushkin both make very nice RAM kits that run around 1.8 - 1.9v.

64-bit Vista is the way to go. 32-bit OS's can't fully use 4GB of RAM. The latest benchmarks (since SP1) show Vista has caught up to XP in gaming FPS.
December 29, 2008 7:59:34 PM

^ +1

agree with both ideas. The faster RAM would only be needed if you went with a major overclock on the CPU.

Vista SP1 has made many people believe again. UNless you have a XP ready to use, buy Vista
December 29, 2008 8:01:39 PM

^+1 for NOT getting 4*1GB DIMMs and getting x64. Get 2*2GB. If going x64 get 8GB since RAM is so cheap.
December 29, 2008 8:10:16 PM

8GB? That seems a LOT, and a bit of overkill. But I originally went 4x 1 to accomodate for the 3GB cap in XP, forgot to change it back to 2x2! Thanks for that!

Thanks for everyone's help! If this has to be closed feel free to :D 
December 30, 2008 1:13:29 AM

Good luck with the build. Post pics if possible once done.
!