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Last response: in Systems
January 26, 2009 5:26:56 PM

So, I just finished doing my taxes, and realized, I can build a computer. The only thing that would stop my before was my difficulty in saving money. I am currently going to college, so saving is next to impossible (at least to the amount of a new computer).

I am planning on spending somewhere near $600-$750 on this. I need the whole computer, minus a mouse (have a decent USB I currently use with my old school laptop.) I have been reading through threads, and such, and decided to go Intel. I would like to overclock slightly. Nothing too risky.

The computer will be using Win XP, preferably. I have a legit copy of Pro, that is why I would prefer it. Unless someone can give me a strong argument for Vista.

I will be putting it together with a friend who has done several custom builds, so I am not afraid to put it together. Th computer is mainly for school work, internet browsing, word and such. But I would also like to play my copy of Oblivion with some good FPS.

I would like a build I can upgrade as I go. Something that could last me several years preferably.

This is what I have come up with, so far:

Antec Three Hundred Case - $49.95

Intel Core 2 Duo E7300 Wolfdale 2.66GHz LGA 775 Dual-Core Processor -Free Shipping - $119.99

ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro - Free Shipping - $36.99

ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound - $6.99

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Free Shipping - $134.99

SAPPHIRE 100245L Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 - Free Shipping - $144.99

PC Power & Cooling S75CF 750W - Free Shipping - $99.99

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit - Free Shipping - $39.99

Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB - Free Shipping - $79.99 (Have to wait till it is in stock...)

LITE-ON Black Burner - Free Shipping - $21.99

Logitech S-220 17 Watts 2.1 Multimedia Speaker System - $22.99

Total (w/ Shipping): $787.86 - $75 MIR = $712.86

Then all I need is a monitor and such, right?

More about : build

January 26, 2009 6:32:49 PM

Yes XP 64-bit can use 4 GB of RAM or even more. With XP 32-bit you'd see 3.5GB, most likely.

Do you have a monitor, speakers, keyboard?

Are you in the USA, Canada, UK, elsewhere?

January 26, 2009 6:44:49 PM

I am in USA, I have a mouse, that's it. I edited my post with what I have found.

Is the build I have workable with 64 bit? If not the RAM is pretty much wasted huh? Also, is the mobo crossfire compatable? I checked the posts, and it says it only has one PCI express 2.0 x16 slot, or what not...
Related resources
January 26, 2009 6:48:37 PM

Stay away from seagate drives. Go for the WD WD6401AALS. Its faster and more reliable, and the same price.

Get this PSU instead, 750w. $5 more and much better, especially if you are considering 2 video cards:

Arctic cooling MX-2 thermal paste is better and ceramic based so it has less risk of shorting your mobo:
January 26, 2009 6:57:05 PM

Get a GA-EP45-UD3P ($115, Crossfire) and the S75CF PSU ($60 after rebate, it's a steal)
January 26, 2009 7:13:02 PM

+1 although you will have to wait probably 6 weeks or so for those rebates to come, and you are kinda cutting it close to your budget if you still want to fit a monitor in...

Look on craigslist for a monitor, sometimes you can get some awesome deals there from people who overspend their budgets and need to sell stuff quick to pay rent or something. I saw a 22" acer for $100 yesterday. Shop around, newegg is great, but not necessarily the best place for deals.
January 26, 2009 7:41:39 PM

Thanks alot guys, here is what I have switched it to:

Antec Three Hundred Case - $49.95

Intel Core 2 Duo E7300 Wolfdale 2.66GHz LGA 775 Dual-Core Processor -Free Shipping - $119.99

ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro - Free Shipping - $36.99

ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound - $6.99

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Free Shipping - $134.99

SAPPHIRE 100245L Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 - Free Shipping - $144.99

PC Power & Cooling S75CF 750W - Free Shipping - $99.99

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit - Free Shipping - $39.99

Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB - Free Shipping - $79.99 (Have to wait till it is in stock...)

LITE-ON Black Burner - Free Shipping - $21.99

Logitech S-220 17 Watts 2.1 Multimedia Speaker System - $22.99

Total (w/ Shipping): $787.86 - $75 MIR = $712.86

Is it possible that I can buy a lower processor, and overclock it safely? Such as this one: (E5200)

If it is all worth it, I can spend more. The limit I set myself was just a ballpark. Now I will hunt around for a monitor, keyboard, and speakers.
January 26, 2009 9:51:33 PM

aevm said:
There's a combo here:

for GA-EP45-UD3P and E8400. It makes the E8400 only $30 more than the E7300, and it's worth it.

The E8400 is much better than the 7300 or 5200 and definitely worth the price difference. If the price you set was just a ballpark and you can spend a bit more for these upgrades, then I highly suggest you do it. Then if you want to overclock you could probably get 3.6 or more pretty easily out of that 8400 and you will have a very good midrange gamer.
January 27, 2009 4:08:32 PM

Currently looking at:

LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model iHAS120-04 - OEM

Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

SAPPHIRE 100245L Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail

PC Power & Cooling S75CF 750W EPS12V SLI NVIDIA SLI Certified (Dual 8800 GTX and below) CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail

ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound - Retail

G.SKILL HK 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL4D-4GBHK - Retail

XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler - Retail

Nippon Labs 15 ft. USB2.0 A/male to B/male cable Model USB-15-AB - Retail

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80570E8400 - Retail

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

Now, my question is, since the harddrive and optic drive are OEM, I need to buy cables right? Just 2 SATA cables, right?

And then the expected mouse, monitor, speakers (might go headphones route for awhile, b*tchy room mate...), and keyboard.

ALSO, I have been reading reviews on the E8400, and alot of people say I will have to update my BIOS. I know how to do this on a working computer...but what would I do if I need to do this, on this computer? I have no other, lower CPU to use...What I am basically asking, if everything is put together right, it will work, without updates (aside from basic driver)? I am assuming the mobo and CPU will work together at the start, since they are a combo deal.
January 27, 2009 4:18:57 PM

If you believe this picture here, the UD3P comes with two SATA cables. That means you're OK for one DVD and one HDD, no need to buy extra cables.

Headphones highly recommended if the roommate insists. He might paint you with toothpaste next time you sleep if you annoy him too much :) 

I doubt that you need to worry about BIOS updates for the E8400. I searched for E8400 among the reviews of the UD3P at Newegg. The first 7 don't say anything about requiring a BIOS update. The 8th says "BIOS updates were a snap" and doesn't say he actually had to do a BIOS update to see the CPU. Maybe he just is the kind of guy who does BIOS updates anyway.

January 27, 2009 4:24:19 PM

E8400 is fairly mainstream, most P45's should handle it without a problem.
January 27, 2009 4:29:09 PM

Thanks guys. Now I wait for the tax refund to come in...Should have it in a week. To bad I don't have it now...Newegg is have a $20 discount on the graphics
January 27, 2009 4:35:04 PM

LOL, you'll have your tax refund in a week. In Canada, I can't even file my taxes until March because that's when employers and banks send out the forms :( 

Edit: when you buy from newegg, don't you use a credit card? That would give you a few weeks until you need to actually have the money and pay the credit card bill.
January 27, 2009 4:41:45 PM

That sucks. I got my stuff from my jobs last weekend (4 days ago), and did the taxes online about Saturday. If newegg would just give me the line of credit I want, then I would get it all
January 27, 2009 4:49:08 PM

If they don't give you the line of credit, don't take it personally, OK? It's not you. It's the horrible economy. Credit is kind of hard to get these days.
January 28, 2009 1:08:24 AM

So, quick question. My friend just called me up, and said he has a Radeon 1300, with 512mb...I have not heard of this card, thats all the info he gave me. Now, I an get one (from him) for free...Anyone know if this card is crossfire compatible, and if getting two of these would be a good, or better then a single Radeon HD 4850 512MB?

AND one more question...I was curious, and checked if I could do the bill me later option, and it said I could. Now, it says no interest for 90 days...I want to trust this, but I wanted to see if anyone else has used it. My main reason is because I have a few promo codes and special that expire soon, maybe before the tax money comes. Now, what I am thinkin, is do the bill me later, get my stuff with the sales, and then pay it all when taxes come. I would save near $75...

Anyone used the Bill Me Later, and had it work perfect? I would hate to buy it this way, and find out there was some loophole I didn't know, and get charged extra...I mean...Saving $75 would let me spend more on parts...But I would be mighty pissed if I get charged for doing bill me later, even tho I plan on paying it all in 2 weeks.
January 28, 2009 1:28:41 AM

Lol. Buy your own card. Integrated graphics would give that card a run for its money.
January 28, 2009 1:33:46 AM

I bet you haven't heard of the Radeon X1300 because you were too young at that time in history. I suggest you refuse the offer, politely but firmly. Friends don't offer that kind of card to friends :) 

BTW, that card may be AGP, and then you can't use it at all. If it's PCI, you can use it, but it will stink big time in recent games.

It's hard to compare these cards because they're too many years apart. Just to get an idea, the X1300 has 105 million transistors on a 90nm fabrication process.

The HD 4850 has 965 million transistors on a 55nm fabrication process. That's 9 times more complexity and a few generations ahead.

Here's a sample benchmark:
Radeon X1300, Call of Duty 2, no AA, 1024x768, 28 fps
HD 4850, Call of Duty 4, 4xAA, 1680x1050, 78.2 fps
The comparison just doesn't make sense.

January 28, 2009 1:34:11 AM

HAHA, ok then, thats what I thought. How about the whole bill me later? Have you had experience with that?
January 28, 2009 1:47:12 AM

I haven't used it personally but I had a friend who did from another website, Bill me later is not unique to newegg, many sites use it, just like many sites use paypal. If you pay it all up in the time that it is due, then you don't pay any extra, just the amount that you borrow.

Here is the link about it from newegg, not sure if you read this or not. Read the terms and conditions.
January 28, 2009 1:52:54 AM

If you want that monitor, use this promo code: EMCABCHAC, its worth $10 ;) 

That's a good basic monitor, and worth the price I think.
January 28, 2009 1:57:42 AM

Yeah, read the whole page, looks legit, and worth it. Got that promo code to :p  Bought a bunch of cable's from newegg last year, and been getting codes ever since...Never thought they would come in handy till now :) 

I figure since I am doing this, I might as well buy my extra's from newegg. Anyone want to recommend a decent keyboard? I don't want to spend to much on it. I am just goin to hook the finished comp to my surround for now. I have a adapter I had for my laptop, goes to the headphone jack. Good enough for me till I can buy something better.
January 28, 2009 2:20:23 AM

I'd buy the keyboard locally. But then, I'm picky, I want to see how it feels, I want the Backspace button to be big, etc.
January 28, 2009 2:34:14 AM

Another quick question. I am planning on installing a 64 bit version. I am reading up on xp, and tons of people say not to use a XP 64 bit...Should I just go with Vista? I have not had much experience with Vista. I am a major XP fan, but would hate to find out 64 bit XP is such a pain...
January 28, 2009 3:16:42 AM

Just go with vista. I think Microsoft will finally make good on its threat to discontinue support for XP now that windows 7 is just around the corner. Plus Vista is a much more secure OS than XP and is pretty smooth now with service pack 1.
January 28, 2009 1:09:18 PM

+1 for Vista. It will look good on your resume when you're done with college.

Also, some games do look better under Vista (DX10) than XP (DX9).

I suggest Home Premium 64-bit. The 32- bit version would see less RAM and has no advantages over the 64-bit.
January 28, 2009 3:28:14 PM

Now, here is another question, and I am dreading the answer. I am currently going to college to learn more about CAD (computer aid design) and such. I took classes in high school for this. My school had got a ton of donations from very large local businesses....Anyways, these comps ran CAD and Inventor and AutoCAD and so on fine. They only had a 2.4ghz processor, and 4 gb RAM, cannot remember the GPU...

Anyways, my question is, do you suppose I will be able to run these programs on this desktop? Or will I need even more power all together?
January 28, 2009 3:32:52 PM

The GPU is not very important for those programs.
January 28, 2009 3:43:57 PM

I've seen Inventor and AutoCAD (whatever versions were current 2 or 3 years ago), working on an AMD X2 5000+, which is slower than the E8400. Not very impressive performance but OK for small projects. That is, fine for learning, even if not very productive for real work.

I don't think you'll have a problem. Maybe if you have the latest versions of the software and they are way more demanding than the ones I saw.

Some CAD programs work much faster on quad CPUs, but not all. My guess is it will be OK.
January 28, 2009 5:18:05 PM

Yeah it will probably be fine, but if you were building this specifically for CAD you would want a quad core and probably more memory. Are you majoring in this or something? If you will be doing a lot of CAD on this computer and not just using it to practice, then you should probably go with a quad...
January 28, 2009 8:53:05 PM

I will be majoring, but I am just starting so have quite awhile before I get in depth. for now this will be mainly for school work, gaming, and such.

Now for some more question :)  You guys have no idea how much I appreciate your help answering my questions.

So, i plan on overclocking slightly, to get more out of this, since this is the best I can afford right now. This is, I have never actually overclocked before. I read these guides:

and have a general idea what I am going to be doing. Now I just want some recommended setting. On the reviews at newegg, several people say they easily overclocked this CPU to 3.6ghz, with stock cooling. I figure, since I am getting this aftermarket fan and all 3.6 will be no problem, as long as I didn't get stuck with a back CPU...Does this sound good? Also, once I do this, any ideas if I should overclock the RAM.

Will the performance gains be worth it? This computer will need to last about a year, before I change the CPU and such. I might get another GPU in the summer, if I feel the need, that's prob it.
January 29, 2009 8:50:22 PM

Hey all, anyone wanna help me out here? I just ordered and wanted a heads up before I got all the parts.