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Is this C2Duo X25-M Build good? +23 hardware questions

Last response: in Systems
September 2, 2009 2:24:25 PM

Thank you in advance. Will this make a good non-gaming computer? I also have hardware and various questions.

Which CPU?:
Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 Wolfdale 3.16GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail
$189.99 Free Shipping
Intel Core 2 Duo E8600 Wolfdale 3.33GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80570E8600 - Retail
$269.99 Free Shipping

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3R LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
$119.99 Free shipping

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-4GBPK - Retail
$59.99 Free Shipping

Which Power Supply?:
CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail
$99.99 free shipping
CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail
$119.99 free shipping

Which Video Card?:
GIGABYTE GV-R435OC-512I Radeon HD 4350 512MB 64-bit GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Low Profile Ready Video Card - Retail
$34.99 Free Shipping
SAPPHIRE 100245HDMI Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
$94.99 Free Shipping

COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
$69.99 free shipping

CPU Heatsink/Fan:
XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler - Retail
$36.60 Free Shipping

Hard Disk:
Intel X25-M Mainstream SSDSA2MH080G2C1 2.5" 80GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid state disk (SSD) - OEM (this is the 2nd generation X25-M)
Newegg price: $240 originally, sold out quickly, $500 last, sold out. Sold out at lots of other websites too.

Excluded because I already own:
Windows XP Home 32 bit service pack 2
Keyboard and mouse

Assuming the X25-M SSD is $240:
Total with the $190 CPU, $100 power supply, and $35 video card: $852
Total with the $270 CPU, $120 power supply, and $95 video card: $1012

Hardware / Various Questions:
1. Which CPU, power supply, and video card should I get? Or do you recommend other parts?

2. What is the easiest programming language to learn? Which language lets you get the most done for the amount of time you spend?

3. Are there any monitors smaller than 30" that support 2560 x 1024 resolution? If not, will there ever be?

4. If I don't care about size or heat, which is better, a CRT or LCD monitor? Are CRTs dangerous?

5. If I am going to literally never run any programs that can use more than 1 core, is a dual core or a quad core processor better, if you are spending the same amount on each?

6. Do you know of any good alternative websites to buy computer hardware from besides

7. Will a better video card help non gaming application performance?

8. Are there any input devices better than a keyboard? If you were to put a keyboard on a tablet, could you type faster than you could on a keyboard?

9. Should I update the BIOS of a new motherboard?

10. Should I try to Overclock my CPU? If so, will I be okay if I follow guide that uses the same CPU and motherboard as me? How much thermal paste should I use?

11. Should I get a CPU Heatsink/Fan to replace the stock one if I'm not going to overclock?

12. Should I get get a 64 bit version of windows so I can use 8 GB of RAM?

13. Does putting windows XP on its own little hard drive partition make your PC run faster? Do you recommend any tweaks for making Windows XP run faster?

14. Does windows XP have automatic background defragging?

15. Do you recommend any benchmarking / testing programs to test
that hardware is working?

X25-M SSD questions:
16. Should I try to set up a RAMdisk, or should I get an X25-M SSD? Which is faster? How do I go about setting up a RAMdisk, and should I get 8gb of RAM for that, or will 4 be okay?

17. How long will it take for newegg's X25-M generation 2 SSDs drives to get in stock again and drop down to $240?

18. Will the X25-m TRIM utility work with windows XP?

19. If I change Window's 7 back to the classic window's theme, will I still have to learn a new user interface?

20. Is Windows 7 64 bit or XP 32 bit faster? Which should I get? I would use the old, simple classic theme with both, try to disable unnessessary services, and disable visual gimmicks of Windows 7, if possible.
Windows 7 64 bit pros and cons, as I see them (relative to 32 bit XP):
possibly better SSD support (but does it make a significant difference?)
possibly better multi-core processor support (but does it make a significant difference?)
would it still be slower than XP, even if I changed it to classic theme?
possibly worse, new user interface
have to pay for it (already own XP)

21. With Windows XP, will enabling AHCI mode improve the X25-m's performance? Is it hard to enable it? Do I have to enable AHCI before I install Windows XP?

22. Does the X25-m retail version (SSDSA2MH080G2R5) come with mounting brackets or whatever? Is it okay to just tape it to the bottom of the case?

23. Should case fans and CPU fans suck or blow?
September 2, 2009 2:59:41 PM

What are your intended usages for this system? If you arent going to be gaming i suggest an AMD build based around a 780g, 785g, or 790gx board so you can use the IGP and save on a graphics card.

If you are never going to run programs that use more than 1 core(not sure how you know that but sure) then it really comes down to how many you run at a time, if you only running 2 at a time then a dual core is fine, but if you usually run 5 or 6 then a quad would help if they are processor intensive programs
September 2, 2009 3:34:11 PM

since I have some time to kill:

get the E8500 and overclock it, if you're not comfortable doing that you really should wait until you can build an i7 system, or an i5 if budget is an issue.

Corsair 650W if you don't plan on dual gfx cards, 750W if you will SLI/Crossfire.

The 4850 is much better than the 4350.

You probably won't find any intel G2 SSDs for quite a while unless you're lucky. They'll also be much more expensive than alternatives. OCZ Vertex is probably the best SSD you can actually buy right now.

There are so many variations of programming languages, you can't really say one is better than an other. They are tailored for the situations they are used in, and what you plan on programming. C++ is a good foundation language, and if you learn that, a lot of what you learned will carry over to other languages.

There are a few monitors in that size class that will have Resolutions like that, I think Samsung makes them, not sure if any other manufacturers do at this time.

On image quality alone, CRTs are technically better. They will consume many times more the power of an LCD though. If you don't care about power savings CRT then. Though I'm not sure what the max resolution you can get out of a CRT since I haven't looked for them in so long.

Even a dual core will give you improved performance. If you truly only run 1 program at a time, you still probably have at least a handful of background processes that will be stealing away CPU cycles from a single core. If your app is only capable of threading 1 core, the second core would at least handle most of the background stuff. is pretty good, but their selection isn't as big as Newegg. TigerDirect is an option too, but they sell a lot of crap along with the good stuff.

Only to some extent. if your application has a graphical interface, the GPU will take care of that load instead of the CPU, or on board chipset. If you're app is just command line based, it won't do a thing for app performance.

Not sure what you are getting at with 8. there are plenty of other input devices, but how does "typing on a tablet" figure into that?

For a first time overclocker, it will be easier if you find a guide that uses the same board. It's not really necessary, the principles will be the same, but the BIOS settings names may vary board to board. Use a thin layer of paste. If you use the stock HSF, it already is on there and don't put anything else on it.

Stock HSF is fine if you don't overclock.

64-bit OS will be the standard eventually, adopt now or later. Since you were toying with the idea of single core CPUs, I doubt your program will be more than 32-bit and could not utilize more than 2GB at a time or so.

putting XP on a partition won't do a thing for performance. putting it on it's own drive might help a little. partitioning XP isn't a bad idea though since if you end up having to reinstall windows, you can do it easily without losing data.

Not sure about the background defragging in XP.

there's all kinds of testing programs, but there's not much point to test if nothing is wrong. There's plenty of benchmarking software out there, but the best ones are almost always pay ones.

RAM disk should still be faster, though the data is not persistent on a RAM disk. Because of this, there's few situations where you'd prefer a RAM disk.

the G2 SSDs will probably not be readily available in stock for quite some time. Price is likely not going to drop to that level until competitors start taking more of intel's marketshare in SSDs.

no idea about the TRIM function in XP. In general, XP is an OS on the way out. If you stay with XP, you are going to be more vulnerable to more security risks.

The windows 7 interface isn't so alien that you won't know how to use a computer anymore. If you insist on using the old interface, you can stick with Classic.

Functionality of 64 and 32 bit versions is the same. Fewer and fewer mainstream computers have less than 4GB of RAM now so 64 bit OSes are a better idea.

In general, XP does not play nice with AHCI. It's possible to make it work, but it's really not going to perform better.

Don't know if they come with brackets, but there's a few companies that make 2.5" to 3.5" adapter plates.

Depends on where they are. in the front you want intake fans, in the back, exhaust.

Related resources
September 2, 2009 3:35:29 PM

dang thats a lot of questions >.>

If you go with those items u listed... my personal preference, i would go with the e8500, and use the extra money (instead of the E8600) on the 4850

And i think 650w is plenty enough for you system ...

And just a suggestion, get a 640gb WD Caviar Black or a 500GB Samsung Spinpoint F3 for your documents, music, and ect. And store ur OS and programs on ur SSD.

Other websites to check out: <-- you would be surprised, they got some good prices <--- you may also be surprised

And another suggestion, you can get the AMD Phenom II 955 BE for like $190 i think and that (should) be faster than the E8500 .. i think ...
The BE from AMD, i heard, are very easily overclockable also. So just in case you do need some more proccessing power in the future, i think the 955 is the way to go for you

Sorry i can't answer the other questions... a lot of them require their own thread almost lol
September 2, 2009 9:02:15 PM

Thank you guys for being so nice and helpful. I have a few more questions, if you don't mind.

If XP 32 bit is not as hardware intensive, will it make up for Window's 7 64 bit's better multicore processor compatibility, better SSD use, and 4 more gigs of RAM?

Anandtech wrote: "TRIM isn’t yet supported, but the 34nm drives will get a firmware update when Windows 7 launches enabling TRIM. XP and Vista users will get a performance enhancing utility (read: manual TRIM utility)."
So does this mean "performance enhancing utility" is not the same as TRIM? And does anyone know if that manual utility will be as good as TRIM?

Is it true that AHCI must be enabled in bios before OS install? And does Windows XP SP2 work with AHCI?

If AHCI requires Windows XP SP3, can I install using my SP1/SP2 disk, and get SP3 after it's installed? Or do I have to use a SP3 disk?

Will warranties let you exchange the part, even if you're not sure there's nothing wrong with it, but you think there might be? And can you exchange it just so that you can get a newer revision?

If an SSD is put in a RAID with a traditional hard drive, will it be slower than just a single SSD?
September 2, 2009 9:33:00 PM

The way I'm seeing it, windows 7 should be superior in just about every aspect to XP. It is much more efficient in terms of resource usage, and has been shown to run perfectly fine on netbooks with Atom processors which have less processing power than the Celeron processors. The only thing windows 7 might not be able to do is run obsucre, custom built specialty applications that are sometimes employed in some business environments. For this reason alone, windows 7 professional and ultimate are able to fully emulate a virtual XP OS.

I think what Anandtech was getting at is that the performance enhancing utility will serve the same function as TRIM. As to if it's better than TRIM itself, you're comparing apples to oranges. Windows 7 has a better overall performance than Vista and XP.

AHCI must be enabled in the BIOS before install. You can't set up your system as IDE/RAID and then go and switch it to AHCI, your controller chip won't know what it's reading unless it was installed as AHCI. SP2 should support AHCI. What really will determine if you can use AHCI or not is how advanced the controller chip is. Most newer motherboards are ICH 10R, and should not have an issue there.

For exchange policies, it comes down to the store you purchase at. Newegg has one of the best around, Usually for exchanges on identical items due to defect, you just pay return shipping. If it turns out you bought something you didn't really want but it works fine, it's just a 15% restocking fee + shipping.

RAID arrays are limited to the speed of the slowest drive. You would still get a bit better throughput depending on what type of RAID array you built, but the effective speed of the drives will be that of the slowest one. And unless you use a proprietary controller's RAID standards (something like a Drobo box) you must use drives of the same capacity, otherwise your array will only recognize the same amount of space on each drive that is equivalent to the smallest drive. So if you have a RAID 0 with a 60GB SSD, and a 500GB mechanical, you're only going to get a 120GB RAID 0 array, with 440GB of unusable space on one drive.