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Please review/advise my general use rig

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August 10, 2009 8:15:53 AM

Hi, this is my first post here.
I'm building a new rig to replace my old Athlon 64 3000+ rig. The new rig is for my general use, I do some casual gaming, video editing, internet surfing, everyday home/office-used application, etc. I may do some minor overclocking though but nothing serious here. *I'm a newbie in overclocking*

Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400
- I get this over Q8400 because of the 6MB cache.
- Question 1: If I increase the FSB to say 400MHz but lower the multiplier to 7x, I get a slightly overclocked 7x400MHz=2800MHz and I plan to stay with stock CPU fan. Shall I do it or get a after market cooling solution which I'm a little tight on budget here?

Motherboard: MSI P45 Diamond
- This motherboard looks cool to me, plus I love its features. While the Xtreme X-Fi Audio sound card included is nothing to shout about but I do think it's a step-up over the on-board solution. By the way, I'm going to hook the sound card via optical out to my old Cambridge Soundworks DTT3500.

Memory: Kingston ValueRAM PC3-10600 DDR3-1333 2x2GB
- I've read the review here, this ValueRAM performs better than its HyperX counterpart.
- Question 2: Say if I underclock the 667MHz to 400MHz (in order to run 1:1 ratio with CPU) will I get impact on system performance? (I know it would be be better to get DDR3-1066 but I can get the 1333 fairly cheap here)

Graphic: Sapphire Radeon HD4870 512MB GDDR5
- I'm not into gaming much but I do get a couple of games from the shelf if they are fun to play.
- I'm current using LG Flatron W2252TQ monitor.

HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500GB + Western Digital Caviar Green 500GB
- 2 hdds here. I'll use Seagate as my primary system hdd while the Caviar Green for backup and data storage.
- Or Question 3: Shall I do it vice-versa?

Optical: Lite-On iHAS324
- 24X DVD+/-R/RW, nothing much to say about this.

PSU: Corsair TX650
- A great non-modular psu based on what I read from several review.

I'm going to run my rig on Windows 7 x64 so please share with me any hardware/driver issues concerning this OS with my components.

Oh, BTW this will cost me about USD$850+ in my country and I plan to stay with this rig for the coming 3-4 years.
August 10, 2009 8:41:53 AM

of course, if you want better performance you might wanna go AMD, but if your an Intel fanboy ( no offence to any of you out there ) you should just stick with your CPU and be happy :)  because thats probably what it comes down to in the end, if your not happy with your computer, no matter how good it is, you will spend more money buying something you do like =]

spend the extra money and get a 4890 1gb instead, you do not need a 650w you might wanna save some money and go with the corsair 550w and use the leftovers for the 4890 - it will last you much longer.

The rest looks good!
Of course I own 2 rigs. Intel and AMD so I am not a fanboy! =D

Intel Core i7 920 @ 3.06ghz
DFI Lanparty x58 UT
G.Skill 3x2gb Trident DDR3 2000
Xfx 4870x2 2gb
Coolermaster Ultimate 1100w
Asus Xonar Dx Soundcard
Coolermaster Storm Sniper Case


AMD Phenom II 940 @ 3.4ghz
Asus M4a78 Pro
Xfx 4850 1gb
Ocz Reaper Hpc 2x2gb 1066mhz
Corsair Tx750w
Coolermaster Storm Scout Case

Related resources
August 10, 2009 9:07:20 AM

do you have a case?

If not the CM HAF 932 and the Antec 900/902 are good cases.
August 10, 2009 9:14:02 AM

Leave the multi alone and just bump the FSB to the required amount.
You can stay with stock cooling but take the Bios off auto for Vcore and input that processors vcore manually to prevent auto feeding in more volts as you O/C.
As always monitor temps under heavy load for a good half hour to confirm after any o/c.

Any Vcore increases required to go to higher oc's will require a better cooler.
You will probably only get 200 to 400mhz o/c without increasing vcore with a quad on a p45 board.

Ive personnally noticed that core 2's on p45's run better at a 1:1 divider with your ram even at the expense of ram speed. On a side note less speed on your ram should allow you to run tighter timings.

If you wanna save some coin stick with a DDR2 Board and Ram. The rams far cheaper and the performance difference will be nought with a core 2. You can get good ddr2 1066mhz CAS4 kits cheap as chips. Get the 1066mhz modules to give you more headroom for o/c'ing

Switch the western digital for a caviar black 640gb 32mb cache and use this as your primary drive, a touch dearer but worth it. The
DDR2 switch would would recoup the money anyway.

Windows 7 is still in its early days, every o/s has teething troubles when there new. If you really dont want headaches go vista64 with sp2 or xp.

lg 22inch monitor gaming at 1680x1050. 4870 is overkill for light gaming. Recommend a GTS250 or 9800gtx. Cheaper and will still max out games at that resolution.

AMD offer a better cpu cheaper than the Q9400. If your brand loyal I would go for the Q6600, similar speed more cache, same price.
Do you really need a quad? E8400/8500 are cheaper with higher clocks. An E8400 will happily go to 3.6ghz with no vcore increase.

Any more questions?
August 10, 2009 3:04:10 PM

tonkatuffmofo said:
Leave the multi alone and just bump the FSB to the required amount.
You can stay with stock cooling but take the Bios off auto for Vcore and input that processors vcore manually to prevent auto feeding in more volts as you O/C.
As always monitor temps under heavy load for a good half hour to confirm after any o/c.

Any Vcore increases required to go to higher oc's will require a better cooler.
You will probably only get 200 to 400mhz o/c without increasing vcore with a quad on a p45 board.

Ive personnally noticed that core 2's on p45's run better at a 1:1 divider with your ram even at the expense of ram speed. On a side note less speed on your ram should allow you to run tighter timings.

If you wanna save some coin stick with a DDR2 Board and Ram. The rams far cheaper and the performance difference will be nought with a core 2. You can get good ddr2 1066mhz CAS4 kits cheap as chips. Get the 1066mhz modules to give you more headroom for o/c'ing

Switch the western digital for a caviar black 640gb 32mb cache and use this as your primary drive, a touch dearer but worth it. The
DDR2 switch would would recoup the money anyway.

Windows 7 is still in its early days, every o/s has teething troubles when there new. If you really dont want headaches go vista64 with sp2 or xp.

lg 22inch monitor gaming at 1680x1050. 4870 is overkill for light gaming. Recommend a GTS250 or 9800gtx. Cheaper and will still max out games at that resolution.

AMD offer a better cpu cheaper than the Q9400. If your brand loyal I would go for the Q6600, similar speed more cache, same price.
Do you really need a quad? E8400/8500 are cheaper with higher clocks. An E8400 will happily go to 3.6ghz with no vcore increase.

Any more questions?


Wow, thank for the input :) 

1. So you suggest I run at 8x400MHz=3.2GHz. At what value shall i set the vcore? (stock vcore?) Well I would try it and monitor the vcore and temp.

2. I believe Kingston ValueRAM can be set by SPD to 416MHz according to the review, so if I bump the CPU to 400MHz FSB the 1:1 ratio would be more efficient than running the RAM at stock.

3. nVidia stuffs are more expensive here in my country, for unknown reason. A 9800GTX costs on par with HD4870 while GTS200 series price is sky-high!!! That's why I choose over ATI for DX10.1 and better cost/performance ratio :) 

4. Again, Caviar Black is expensive here while Caviar Green 500GB is only USD$1.00 cheaper than Barracuda 7200.12 500GB. I believe Caviar Green can run silently while I only use it for backup and storage.

5. Actually I'm getting Vista x64 w/Win7 upgrade pack but it's currently backordered. Therefore I'd just install the RC for the time being.

6. And for CPU, I don't have brand loyalty and in fact for the pass 10+ years I've been using non-Intel CPU like Cyrix MII, Duron, Athlon XP, and Athlon 64. It's just recently when I found Intel's price is dropping then I suddenly think why don't I build one with Intel inside. I don't really need to squeeze every single juice out of it and the overclocking is just for fun. I do consider AMD chip but I was seduced into Intel platform because of the monster on P45 Diamond box :love: 

Damn, I really should stop smoking stuff... :sarcastic: 
August 10, 2009 3:35:45 PM

the amd 945 is actually a bit cheaper the the q8400 and q6xxx series have become real rare these days
August 20, 2009 12:15:56 AM

My Final:

Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400
Asus P5Q Pro
Kingston DDR2-800 ValueRAM 2x2GB
Sapphire Radeon HD4870 512MB GDDR5
Creative PCI Express Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500GB
Western Digital Caviar Green 500GB
Lite-On iHAS324
PC Power & Cooling Silencer EPS12V 610W
Cooler Master Elite 335

Running on Windows 7 RC Build 7100
Happy!!! :lol: 
August 24, 2009 3:04:29 AM

NICE!!
!