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Critique My Build...Please!

Last response: in Systems
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December 30, 2008 1:14:22 AM

Build Type: First Time Build/Budget System

Approx Component Budget: (including OS, excluding monitor) $1095 USD

Component List: (all prices pre-rebate--post rebate should round out to $1000)

Case: Antec Twelve Hundred (w/ plans to add two additional Tri-Cool 120mm fans in Jan.) $160
Power Supply: OCZ GameXStream 700W PSU $105
Motherboard: MSI 45 Platinum HC Edition (w/included Thermaltake V1 CPU Cooler) $214
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 $187
Graphics: Powercolor AMD Radeon HD 4830 512 MB GDDR3
(planned upgrade to crossfire configuration in late Jan.)
RAM: 4GB OCZ Reaper PC2-8500 (DDR2-1066) 5-5-5-18 @ 2.1v $68
Hard Drive: Western Digital 500 GB Caviar Black, WD5001AALS $70
(planned upgrade to 2 TB RAID in Feb)
Optical Drive: LG Black SATA 16X DVD-ROM, 48X CD-ROM w/lightscribe burning.
(planned upgrade to additional drives in near future, still undecided on Blu-Ray)
OS: Vista Home Premium 32 OEM $100
(planned upgrade to Vista Ultimate retail or Windows 7 retail in future--depending upon how long system configuration remains static before WGA requires new product key)

System purpose:

Introduction to overclocking, moderate gaming, (occasional FPS w/mostly RAM-intensive grand strategy), eventual use as a personal DVR (so moderate video encoding). Planned re-use of some parts (case, graphics, hard drive, power supply) for a re-build on release of Intel's next mainstream chipset (X58 and Core i7 seem a bit pricy atm)

General feedback requested:

Comments on pricing, part selection (did I purchase anything junky?), overclockability, potential upgrade paths. As a first time builder, I've done substantial research on parts and pricing, but a little feedback from people who have been there before would be greatly appreciated.

More about : critique build

December 30, 2008 1:23:23 AM

Buy from Newegg.

PSU: PC Power & Cooling 750W $70 after rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341011

Replace the MB with a GA-EP45-UD3P, use the stock cooler, use the savings to upgrade from HD 4830 to HD 4870. You can always add a better cooler later, but it costs a lot more to upgrade the video card. Or you can buy a Xigmatek HDT-S1283, it's very good and pretty cheap.

Get Vista Home Premium 64-bit, not 32-bit.

December 30, 2008 1:31:28 AM

Is the GA-EP45-UD3P really that great? I've heard good things about MSI's offerings. Also, with regard to my PSU, it's actually $64 post-rebate.

Since it came up, I might as well post rebate prices:

OCZ RAM: $37.50 after rebate
PSU: $65 after rebate
Graphics: $85 after rebate
Motherboard: $175 after rebate (figure in the ~$50 price point for the cooler and it's mostly a wash, price-wise)

As far as Vista Home Premium 64, that's a great point. I was initially thinking 64, but I've seen so many system builds (including Tom's Hardware) that used 32-bit Vista, I assumed that it might be due to a performance difference, or that there still might be lingering compatibility issues with certain games (I still use XP Pro as my primary OS, so my Vista gaming experience is limited.).
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December 30, 2008 1:34:32 AM

You know that 32 bit vista will only see around 3.2 gig of RAM including the gfx card ram ?

Id use 2 gig and xp [ faster than vista with 4 gig ]

or 4 gig and 64 bit vista , after checking there were 64 bit drivers for peripherals available
December 30, 2008 1:50:03 AM

Use Vista 64-bit. Personally I would think about getting a E7300 and overclocking instead in order to afford a Radeon 4850. Otherwise good job.
December 30, 2008 2:01:34 AM

Yup, that UD3P MB is great. BTW, I looked at the newegg reviews for the MSI P45 Platinum HC and it doesn't look promising at all. Only 12 reviews and only 3 eggs. Compare with the GA-EP45-UD3P (213 reviews, 5 eggs).

The PC P&C 750W is worth an extra $5 over the Gamexstream 700W. Not just because it's more powerful, but it's one of the best PSUs out there. I'm very happy with mine :) 

For gaming, Vista 64 will be a little slower than XP 32, but it's not really that big a difference these days. Advantages for Vista: you get to see the whole 4 GB of RAM, even more if you add more later; some games look better in Vista thanks to Direct X 10. Disadvantages for Vista: they moved lots of things around without any decent reason, and now you have to learn your way through the O/S again.
January 3, 2009 3:36:32 PM

Thanks for the feedback!

I ended up buying all my components on Newegg and did the 64 for 32 swap that everyone recommended. (and picked up another 4 GB OCZ reaper RAM)

As for the motherboard, I've decided to stick with the MSI P45 Platinum based upon some reviews suggesting that it is capable of reaching exceptional FSBs.
!