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Building 2 Core i5 Systems ... have questions

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January 16, 2010 10:01:15 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This week...asap BUDGET RANGE: $2400 After Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Home Video Editing, Photo Editing/Mgmt, some gaming (Dragon Age Origins type games), some software development (.Net), , general office/browsing internet, etc

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: (e.g.: keyboard, mouse, speakers)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: (e.g.: newegg.com, microcenter, any reputable website) COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: (e.g.: US)

PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel ... Mid Tower

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe ... if so, only mildly so SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: (e.g.: Need to have a window and lots of bling, I would like a quiet PC)

_____________________

I am replacing 2 old Dell systems ... one 8 years old and the other 5. I was considering taking the easy route and getting another dell, but some one suggested I build my own. I have never built my own, but have replaced drives, cards, memory, etc. I have been monitoring this forum for a few months and doing some research. I have now been given the green light to go ahead by my CFO (wife :-). Note the age of our current computers, I'd like this one to last as long as possible. I hope to place the orders this week.

My budget for the 2 systems is about $2400 ... but would like it to be as low as possible to suite my needs.

Note my vid camera uses IEEE 1394 (FireWire) so I'd like the case to have such a port in the front.

I need everything except keyboard/mice/speakers.

I'd like the 2 to be identical with the following exception ... I intend to setup Raid 1 on one of them to safeguard the videos/photos.

I have included my questions below each component.

For simplicity sake, here's the build for the system with the RAID. The 2nd system will be the same minus 1 HDD.

Processor: Intel Core i5-750 $199.99

Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD4P LGA 1156 $184.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... (-$20.00)

-- Is the UD4P overkill? Should I consider a less expensive MOBO?

Case:

This is what I have in my cart:

Antec Three Hundred Illusion $59.99 (free shipping)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

--The Antec web site does not specifically list the "Illusion" version, just the "Three Hundred". Per the Antec web site the "Three Hundred" has a front IEEE 1394 port. The Newegg web site does not list a 1394 port. Do I have the right case?

--A friend recommend the Antec P183 but it is $149.99 (shipping $18.00)
(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It looks nice, but is this case worth the extra $$?

PSU: OCZ StealthXStream OCZ700SXS 700W $59.99 (after $20 rebate) + 5.99 shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

-- I had the Antec Earthwatts 650, but this OCZ is cheaper and I saw it recommended several times.


RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 $114.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: SAPPHIRE 100283-2L Radeon HD 5770 1GB $154.99 (after $10 rebate)
(combo that includes battleforge game)

-- For my usage, can I get away with a cheaper GPU?

HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 $89.99 (free shipping) (x 2 for RAID 1)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


ODD: Sony Optiarc Black 24X DVD+R $25.99 (free shipping)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Monitor: ASUS VH236H Black 23" 2ms(GTG) $169.99 (after $20 rebate... + $10.99 shipping)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

O/S: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM $104.99 (free shipping)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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The total for the above is: $1,235.89 after $50 + $24.86 in shipping

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Do I need a HSF or Thermal Paste? Is there anything else I missed?

A similarly configured Dell XPS 8100 is ~$1500...

Thanks in advance for any advice or suggestions offered.

More about : building core systems questions

January 16, 2010 10:41:37 PM

Since your not going to crossfire, consider getting the P55A-UD3L.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This is a steal at $100, and it is a very good MB.

The memory modules you chose are very good, but since you are not sure you are going to overclock you might consider some that can still be overclocked but not as expensive:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Even if you decide not to overclock, you should still consider buying a Hyper 212 heat sink fan. Its only $30. This CPU cooler is quiet and is much more efficient than the Intel stock heat sink fan.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Given the games you listed, you should stick with the 5770. It is an excellent GPU for the money.

The rest of your build looks very good.

You might consider taking the money saved by the new MB and RAM choices, and invest in a little better monitor. Or you could just put it back in your pocket.

Good luck with your build.
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January 16, 2010 11:24:13 PM

^ +1 EXCEPT for the motherboard comment and a small caveat on the RAM. I would consider a cheaper motherboard. But the one linked to above at $100 is not an A model as suggested. If you want the A capabilities (like USB 3.0) and don't need SLI/CF, consider a cheaper board. http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

Also I want to point out that if you are not going to OC you will not be able to run RAM at 1600 MHz. With the i5 750 CPU the max memory frequency you can run at stock CPU settings is 1333 MHz. If you like to tweak memory timings or plan on OCing, then 1600 RAM can give you more headroom. But if you don't want to mess with those things get the 1333 MHz RAM with the lowest CAS/CL timings you can afford. Or if there are good 1600s with low timings for the same or less price there's no reason you can't get them. But be prepared to run at 1333 MHz.

I also agree with the Hyper 212+ comment. It's not necessary if you're not OCing. But it will help keep things running cooler. I just installed one this week on my i7 860 and where it was topping out close to 85C before it now runs on full load at just over 50C. As I said, its optional. But if you plan on stressing the system it will keep temps down.
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January 16, 2010 11:37:21 PM

Thanks for the response.

I have added the hsf and switched the RAM.
Regarding the MOBO, the UD4P has IEEE 1394 the UD3L does not appear to. So I'd have to add a separate card for that. They seem to average about $30, though there are some cheaper. Do you still think I'd be better off with the UD3L?

Regarding the monitor...any suggestions as to a better one?
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January 16, 2010 11:56:35 PM

Did you see my above comment? The UD3L also does not have SATA 3.0 or USB 3.0. Maybe that's not important to you, but since you picked a Gigabyte 'A' board to begin with I thought it might be.
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January 17, 2010 12:01:30 AM

Thanks ekoostik for your input regarding the RAM, I was not completely clear on that. I do want to leave open the option for OC in the future.

The RAM in my post has a CAS Latency of 7 and the RAM suggested by dpaul8 is 9. The price difference is $20. Is it worth it to get the better CAS?

Thanks!
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January 17, 2010 12:08:07 AM

Yes, I'd like to have the option for SATA 3.0/USB 3.0...

The considering the combo ... the GA-P55A-UD3P isn't much cheaper. I'll probably stick with the GA-P55A-UD4P .
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Best solution

January 17, 2010 12:33:36 AM


Nerve said:
Yes, I'd like to have the option for SATA 3.0/USB 3.0...

The considering the combo ... the GA-P55A-UD3P isn't much cheaper. I'll probably stick with the GA-P55A-UD4P .


Ok, that was the comment I was referring to. I wanted to make sure you saw my note about the motherboard so since you caught that, on to the RAM...

Nerve said:
The RAM in my post has a CAS Latency of 7 and the RAM suggested by dpaul8 is 9. The price difference is $20. Is it worth it to get the better CAS?

I can say that I have the RAM dpaul8 suggested and it works fine on my GA-P55M-UD2 setup. Everything I've read since has kinda made me wish I had gotten the CL7. But at the time I got the RAM both sets were cheaper and the difference was more like $10. And, at the end of the day, I don't know that I would notice the difference anyway. If you get the sense I'm not answering your question, well I'm not. Not directly anyway. Whether it's worth an additional $20 or not is pretty subjective, up to you, your budget and the value you place on the $20 vs. what you get from the CL7s. So I'm going to try not to say one way or another which is better.

But if you're up for some reading I can point you to some articles that are informative and should help you make a decision.

Most of the articles agree the differences between each step up in RAM is often marginally noticeable, and outside of a benchmark it is difficult to say whether or not you would even notice the difference. And the cost difference can add up fast. But there is a difference and a decision has to be made when putting a computer together, what's best for me as the builder and user of the pc. The best advice I got from these forums was buy the best RAM that fits your budget, if you find yourself stretching things just to get 'better' RAM that's probably money better spent on other components.

Most of the focus of these articles is on speed. But they test different levels of timings too so are still applicable to your question. I find the following 2 articles to be helpful:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/memory-scaling-i7,2...
http://www.anandtech.com/memory/showdoc.aspx?i=3589

Both of those articles were written about the i7 9xx / 1366 socket chips. I haven't seen a lot of articles specifically focused on RAM speeds on the P55 platform. However, Tom's has had two.

First up: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/core-i7-870-1156,24...
I didn't care for the way results are presented, to me it's not as clear cut as it could have been. I think it points out there's little difference between marginally slower and faster RAM but the way the results are shown leave room for individual interpretation. Also in the opening they say testing was done with an i7 860 but the test page (and the URL) states that they used an 870. Still worth a read.

And finally, they did a review of value RAM you may also find interesting: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ddr3-4gb-p55,2462.h...
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January 17, 2010 12:08:40 PM

I very much appreciate the detailed information regarding the memory modules. I'll review the articles listed and make a decision from there.

Does anyone have an opinion on the Antec Three Hundred Illusion vs the Antec P183? Is the P183 worth the extra $$$?

Also, can anyone recommend a better 23" monitor? What iare the drawbacks to the ASUS VH236H Black 23" 2ms(GTG)?

Thanks!
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January 25, 2010 1:46:53 AM

Best answer selected by Nerve.
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