Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Advice on the most stable, cost effective P55/Core i5 build.

Last response: in Systems
Share
January 1, 2010 9:46:52 PM

Hey all -

I'm spec'ing out a new P55 machine, to replace my aging (but awesomely reliable) Athlon 64 X2 machine. I'd be using the machine for general productivity, some light media encoding, medium/heavy photo editing and some very light gaming (basically, Half Life 2 Episode 3 when it comes out). My priorities in this build are:

1. Stability
2. Longevity (ie, hardware that supports latest standards, has performance enough to be useful in a few years)
3. Low noise/low power consumption
4. Low cost

The current equipment list looks like this (everything is new unless noted):

1. CPU: Core i5-750
2. Motherboard: MSI P55-GD65
3. Memory: 2 x 2GB (4GB total) Crucial DDR3 1333, 1.5V, CAS9
4. Video: Sapphire Vapor-X HD 5770
5. System Drive: OCZ Vertex 60 GB SSD
6. Storage Drives (freebie, nearly new, pulled from an existing machine): 2 x 750GB WD Caviar Black HDDs
7. Case: Antec P183
8. PSU: Antec CP-850
9. ODD: Sony Optiarc AD-7240S-0B SATA DVD burner
10: OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit (freebie)
11. Audio (freebie, pulled from an existing machine): X-Fi Elite Pro, PCI
12. CPU Cooling: Thermalright Ultra 120-Extreme w/Scythe S-Flex SFF21E 120mm fan
13. Case cooling: 1xSFF21E + 2xSFF21D in the upper chamber, 1xSFF21D in the lower HDD chamber

All in all, and excluding combo deals, it should come in under $1400, which is right where I want to be. I'd love to hear any general thoughts/feed back on this combination - any potential issues, bottlenecks or areas in which I could either improve performance or shave costs without losing performance.

I generally like to overbuild the cooling system, as I feel that contributes heavily to system longevity and stability.

Specifically, I'm wondering:

1. Would the system be noticeably faster with an 80GB Intel X-25M G2 in place of the Vertex?
2. Would there be a useful stability/longevity/power improvement from using a Seasonic X-650 Gold PSU in place of the Antec CP-850?
3. In terms of reliable 1.5V DDR3 kits, I am better off with CAS 7 DDR3 1066 or CAS 9 DDR3 1333 (as specified above)? As I understand, their performance is basically identical.
4. Do you think I could get away with fewer fans? Or slower fans?
5. For anyone who has done a P183 build, is it better to place the upper chamber front intake fan directly against the front panel intake or clipped to the end of the second HDD bracket?
6. If I'm after ultimate stability and support in the future, and don't intend on doing any overclocking, is the GD65 the best motherboard choice? I've heard mixed things about the stability of MSI's products. How about the lower-end Intel board, the DP55KG? That seems like the obvious choice, but I'm a little creeped out by the hyper-minimal cooling on that board.

Thanks!
January 1, 2010 10:22:17 PM

I really like your build. Here are my answers to your questions:

1. Would the system be noticeably faster with an 80GB Intel X-25M G2 in place of the Vertex?

That depends on the size of the applications you load onto it. A good rule of thumb for efficient SSD operation is to only load the disk about 60 percent full.

2. Would there be a useful stability/longevity/power improvement from using a Seasonic X-650 Gold PSU in place of the Antec CP-850?

The CP-850 was specifically made for the Antec P183 case, and you should be able to get a good combo deal. The Seasonic is also an excellent power supply. Both are winners.

3. In terms of reliable 1.5V DDR3 kits, I am better off with CAS 7 DDR3 1066 or CAS 9 DDR3 1333 (as specified above)? As I understand, their performance is basically identical.

Look for RAM with speeds of 1333 or 1600 MHz with timings of CAS 7 or 8 and a voltage of less than 1.65 V. Buy whichever one is on sale or offers the best price.

4. Do you think I could get away with fewer fans? Or slower fans?

If your not overclocking, the extra fans are probably not necessary but they can't hurt. If your budget is tight, you can always add them later without difficulty if your CPU or GPU temperature are higher than you want.

5. For anyone who has done a P183 build, is it better to place the upper chamber front intake fan directly against the front panel intake or clipped to the end of the second HDD bracket?

With your older graphics card, I would clip it to the end of the second HDD bracket, but I really don't think it will make any difference. For the newer graphics cards that run cooler, I prefer to place the fans in front of the HDD cages.

6. If I'm after ultimate stability and support in the future, and don't intend on doing any overclocking, is the GD65 the best motherboard choice? I've heard mixed things about the stability of MSI's products. How about the lower-end Intel board, the DP55KG? That seems like the obvious choice, but I'm a little creeped out by the hyper-minimal cooling on that board.

The MSI motherboard you chose is widely used and has a reasonably good reputation. I would not hesitate to use it. The Gigabyte P55A-UD3P ($135) would also be a good choice, and it offers USB 3.0 and SATA 3 capabilities.

Good luck with your build.
m
0
l
!