Building a new system, mobo suggestions wanted

I decided to make the system I bought in January a dedicated mediaserver/htpc in another room of the house. It was a good system, it didn't play Crysis very well but Fear 2, Far Cry 2, Fallout 3 and DoW 2 all run fine at high settings, anyways the system is:

AMD Phenom 9500 2.2Ghz (TLB disabled) Stock cooling
XFX 8200 Motherboard
8GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2 800
XFX 9800GT
Silverstone SG03 case
Enermax Modu82+ 625W PSU
250GB HD, 500GB HD
Some $25 DVD drive

I'm going to take 4GB of the RAM, the PSU, the 250GB HD and the GPU for the new system. So, I'm looking at a new CPU/Mobo, CPU cooler, and DVD drive for the gaming machine.

For an intel platform I'm looking at the E8400 and the Q6600 on a GIGABYTE GA-G31M-ES2L $210 $250 $65 (only a max of 4GB bothers me a bit)

Because of the $40 diff in intel CPUs, I'm leaning towards the Q6600.

For an AMD platform I'm looking at the Phenom II 720BE and the 940BE and an Asus 780v $150 ($25 discount with the XIGMATEK cooler) $255 ($20 disconnt with XIGMATEK cooler) $95

And here with a $105 diff in AMD CPUs, I'm leaning towards the 720BE.

And a cooler I'm going to go with the XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler $45
I've seen retention brackets mentioned before, I'm not sure what I would need these for though doesn't sell Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound or anything like it.... O'Canada.

Optical Drive... $25

I'll start of by saying I'm Canadian and I'll be ordering from
I play my games at either 1080p and 720p (if I can't handle 1080p like Crysis).
I don't want to crossfire/sli.
I will OC and agressively, but I'm not willing to spend my extra money on parts (mobo and ram) that may give me an extra .1 or .2 Ghz.
I can't really think of a drawback of mATX as long it fits the case so I tend to learn towards this form factor.
Despite what the sites may say I don't get free shipping, Halifax is not a remote area damn you!

As for the CPU's I think I just need to wrestle with myself over what one I want although it looks to be a choice between the 720BE and Q6600 ($60 differince in price with mobo factored in) I really would like to have some suggestion and comments on the motherboard as that is what I'm the most unsure about.
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  1. I'd pick a GA-MA78GM-US2H and the Phenom II 940.

    The Q6600 is good too. I have one myself. However, it's based on older 65nm technology and it is slower. If you pick that, pair it with a GA-EP45-UD3R.

    If you look at reviews on the Web you will see the E8400 doing fine in games, so that's not a bad choice either. However, it will not do nearly as well in multithreaded games like FSX or GTA4, or if you run other things in the background while playing.

    Keep in mind that benchmarks you see on the Web with the E8400 beating the Q6600 are misleading, because in real life you will run things in the background (Windows services, downloads, antivirus, whatever). Reviewers don't do that, and they even run a special command ("Rundll32.exe advapi32.dll,ProcessIdleTasks") to make sure there's nothing else running but the game they're benchmarking.
  2. He's in Canada. won't ship to him. has some combos too, and he's picked the one with the HDT-S1283. BTW, that's a very good cooler.
  3. I'm not sure what the difference between the Asus 780V and the Gigabyte 780G. I looked at them both and went with the Asus because it had more positive customers. With that said, I have no problem going with the Gigabyte 780G you picked out.
  4. There's no big difference. The Gigabyte adds FireWire and eSATA, but it has one less SATA port, and costs $4 more. Either would do all right.
  5. I ended up ordering both a Asus 780v and a Gigabyte 780g. I'll be putting the 780g into the HTPC and tossing the XFX 8200. I have a Zalman 8700 CPU cooler that wouldn't fit the XFX 8200 but it will fit the 780g.

    The Asus 780v will go with the PII 720BE/Xigma CPU cooler. The thing I should point out about the Asus 780v that I noticed was that no HDMI and instead DisplayPort. Also, from the reviews it seems to work out of the box with the Phenom II CPUs something that the Gigabyte 780g had people reported having problems with. I could get around that because I have an AMD Phenom 9500 but it would of been more hassle than it was worth.

    Thanks for the help with the CPU/Mobo selection.
  6. You're very welcome.

    I think DisplayPort is supposed to be the technology of the future. So yeah, it sounds good. The problem is, does your monitor know about it?

    I guess it doesn't matter since you're not going to use the integrated video anyway.
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