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First time build for review

Last response: in Systems
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January 4, 2010 5:02:42 PM

I'm putting together a system using a CPU and motherboard I was given by a friend. My goal is to have a solid system now with future upgradeability when funds become less tight. I've selected parts based on that criteria, but would love to have any additional comments/suggestions.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This week
BUDGET RANGE: $600-800, including shipping
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming (primarily World of Warcraft and single-player games), web browsing, word processing.
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: I was given an Intel E6600 (2.4 GHz dual core, 4M L2, 1066 MHz FSB) CPU along with a Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS4P (P45) motherboard. I also have a Soundblaster Audigy 4, keyboard, mouse and Envision 22" LCD monitor.
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg and Amazon
PARTS PREFERENCES: None, but I'm not willing to skimp on parts that will last me through future builds.
OVERCLOCKING: I won't be overclocking initially as this is my first home-build. I may go for a modest overclock in the future, but nothing too aggressive.
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Unlikely at this time, but a possibility down the road (either before or after replacing the CPU/motherboard).
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050

PROPOSED PARTS LIST
Case: Lian Li Lancool PC-K58 ($70). I'm not planning on installing the optional two top fans at this time (although I plan to mount the CPU cooler to blow upwards to assist in exhaust), but will if temperatures get too high.
CPU: Intel E6600 (2.4 GHz dual core, 4M L2, 1066 MHz FSB) (free)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS4P (P45) (free)
CPU Cooler: Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer ($40, includes TX-2 thermal paste)
Memory: I was given four Crucial Ballistix 1GB DDR2-800 (4-4-4-12, 2.0V). but was told that one or more may be bad. Alternately, I may just go with the more reliable (and lower voltage) G. Skill 2 x 2GB DDR2-800 (5-5-5-15, 1.8V) ($86)
Video card: Sapphire Vapor-X HD 5770 1 GB 128-bit ($170)
Hard drive: Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB 7200 RPM ($55, already purchased)
Optical drive: Samsung Lightscribe SATA II DVD-R ($31)
Power supply: Corsair 750TX ($100)
Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) ($110)
UPS: Cyberpower 1000VA (600W) AVR LCD UPS ($100)

Current cost: $760 ($675 without new memory)

Thanks in advance for any further recommendations!

More about : time build review

a b V Motherboard
January 4, 2010 5:09:38 PM

The LGA775 is going out fast. You're not future proofing anything with that.

Not only is DDR2 memory on it's last foot, you've got some really slow sticks. Get as fast (and as low CAS Latency) as you can. It won't matter, as the computer was old over 2 years ago...

Other parts are good.

I'd recommend saving some cash up, and getting an i5 build. Or buy the extra parts (no RAM), and plan to upgrade the board and CPU very soon.
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January 4, 2010 6:02:42 PM

I'm under no illusions that the motherboard and CPU will last more than this build, but they're still decent upgrades over my current system and, well, they're free. Unfortunately, there's no money in the budget for an upgraded CPU or motherboard for at least a year or two (my wife gets a new Mac laptop first, which aren't exactly cheap), so I'm trying to make due with what I can afford to upgrade now and any small upgrades I can sneak in along the way.

The primary reason I'm considering upgrading the memory is to help make the system last a bit longer. I can probably get by on two megs (I'm hoping at least two of the Crucials are good), but I suspect I'll have better system performance with four megs. A second set of memory I was considering was the G.Skill 2 x 2GB DDR2-800 (4-4-4-12, 1.8V) for $99, but I wasn't sure the lower timings was worth the additional expense (I'm fairly noobish when it comes to memory).
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a b V Motherboard
January 4, 2010 6:12:37 PM

Just making sure you know what you're getting. You'd save enough for you're upgrades if you get her on a PC...

Lower timings are important, but you're also at the bottom as far as the speed is concerned. Faster speed = worse timings. Here's a good 4 GB set for $97: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR2 1066 CAS Latency 5.
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January 4, 2010 6:24:35 PM

Believe me, I'd get her to switch if I could, but Macs are the standard in a lot of academic labs, so I doubt I'll have much luck.

Should I be concerned about the high voltages on the memory you linked? It was my understanding that higher voltages typically were less reliable. Would I be better off with something like G.Skill 2 x 2GB DDR2-1100 (5-5-5-15, 1.8V) for another $10 more? Though again, the price keeps creeping up there, for RAM I hope not to be using in 2 years....
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a b V Motherboard
January 4, 2010 6:29:40 PM

Those sticks would be better overall.

I don't know on the voltage, but I would do some checking to make sure the board can support the sticks. Newegg doesn't list the RAM voltages supported, but if I had to guess, I would say it will work.
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January 6, 2010 8:24:23 PM

After hemming and hawing, I've decided to stick with the Crucial memory sticks I have on hand currently. Assuming that at least two are good, that should be a sufficient amount of memory for my current applications and I can otherwise just wait to see if I can find some decent memory on the cheap down the road.

Sadly, Newegg is no longer offering free shipping on the K58 case, so I'm probably going to spend the extra bucks on the Lancool PC-K60 ($100) since it's only $10 more. The two extra fans will be a tad noisier, but hopefully will provide a little bit better cooling overall.

I'll be ordering these parts by the end of the week, so if anyone has any additional thoughts, I'd greatly appreciate it!
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