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Low Budget Build - 500-600$ Canadian

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July 13, 2010 3:01:30 PM

I am looking to upgrade my computer in a matter of weeks, when I've saved up enough money.
I am a college student in the sciences program going into my third year (hopefully my last semester).
I use my computer for surfing the web, listening to music, homework, movies and most importantly, gaming.

My current computer specs are:

P4 3.0ghz 530 cpu, generic intel motherboard and case, 2.5g of random assorted DDR1 (400mhz) ram, a bfg 9600gt graphics card and a viewsonic 22" monitor with a native resolution of 1680x1050.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: In maybe 1-2 weeks if all goes well.
BUDGET RANGE: 500-600$ Canadian.
500-600$ Canadian before rebates if possible.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: As stated, Gaming, multitasking (surfing the web, listening to music & gaming all at once), homework, and possibly other stuff I have not yet thought of.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor ( Viewsonic VX2235wm 22" monitor - about 2 years old), keyboard, mouse, OS (my dad should be able to get me one), PSU (I bought a Cooler Master Extreme Power Plus 500W power supply back in March when my other one conked out).

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Probably Tigerdirect.ca seeing as I am familiar with the website and live in Canada, seeing as I'm in Montreal, I can also shop at Microbytes depending on where it's cheaper to buy parts.

PARTS PREFERENCES: Hm, I'm leaning towards AMD because they seem to have better prices in the lower end CPU market. Also, I am leaning towards at least a "dual core", with the parts I've "selected" I chose a three core CPU because I'd rather it be slightly better future proofed. (It should remain useful longer than a "dual core".) Also, I may potentially experiment with overclocking, or at least I want to be prepared to eventually one day overclock if I one day upgrade my graphics card.

OVERCLOCKING: One day probably (At some point in the future) SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Probably not but who knows. (consider this as a no)

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050!

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: When playing games, I currently play at a low resolution with all graphics settings on minimum because I cannot stand to play games where it lags, I'd rather an almost 100% smooth experience to higher graphics settings. I will ALWAYS play at lower resolution and minimum graphics if needed in order to boost the smoothness of gameplay.

I went through Tigerdirect and selected parts that I would buy if I had the money today, just to get an idea of what's available and how much it costs today.

MSI KA790GX-M Motherboard & AMD Athlon II X3 440 Triple Core Processor Bundle
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/searchtools/item...

Patriot PGS24G6400ELK Gamer Series 4096MB PC6400 DDR2 Desktop Memory Upgrade - 800MHz, 2x2048MB, 5-5-5-12
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

Western Digital WD3200AAKS Caviar Blue Hard Drive - 320GB, 3.5", 7200RPM, 16MB, SATA-300 (OEM)
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

Gigabyte X3 ATX Mid Tower Case - No PSU, MicroATX, 2 x USB 2.0, 7x 3.5 Drive Bays, 4x 5.25 Drive Bays
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

Masscool Blue 80mm LED Case Cooling Fan
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

Masscool 5F9001B1H3 CPU Cooling Fan - Socket 939, 940, AM2, AM2+
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

After tax and shipping, this comes out to about 504$ Canadian.

All comments and suggestions are welcome so long as they are not flaming, troll posts. (Trollocs are not welcome)

I am going to continue looking at different components and check out other sources so feel free to comment or not.

Thanks in advance,

Dannyboy3210.
July 13, 2010 3:23:37 PM

Ok, looking at Microbytes, the parts that would make up a rather similar computer were:

AM2+ MSI K9A2 CF-F AMD790FX PCIE
http://www.microbytes.com/computer/ordinateur/product_i...

AMD ATHLON II X3 440 3.00G/4000/1.5M/AM3
http://www.microbytes.com/computer/ordinateur/product_i...

CRUCIAL BALLISTIX 800MHZ DDR2 4GB KIT
http://www.microbytes.com/computer/ordinateur/product_i...

CASE ATX TT V3 VL80001W2Z BLK
http://www.microbytes.com/computer/ordinateur/product_i...

SATA2 320.0 W.D 7200 16M WD3200AAKS BLUE
http://www.microbytes.com/computer/ordinateur/product_i...

The fans were a bit difficult to go through because there was very little useful information on many of them... So I'll just set aside a hypothetical 25$ to cover one for the CPU and one for the case.

After tax, the total price for this comes to about: 493$ Canadian. Probably more.
July 13, 2010 6:31:58 PM

After looking at Newegg.ca for a while, I came up with one potential build, one with some headroom for some more expensive parts potentially.

COOLER MASTER Elite 330 RC-330-KKN1-GP Black SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...


Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3320418AS 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

MSI 770T-C45 AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

PQI TURBO 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model PQI26400-4GDB
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

AMD Athlon II X3 440 Rana 3.0GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor ADX440WFGIBOX
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

MASSCOOL FD08025S1M4 80mm Case Fan (Maybe 2 of these)
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

COOLER MASTER DK9-7E52A-0L-GP CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

I don't know if the motherboard is a good choice, the Ram I've never heard of that company before, the two Masscool fans, maybe it would be better if I went with 1 more expensive fan, but they are pretty cheap, and then the case and harddrive, I'm just winging them with not too expensive options.

All in all it comes up to about 390$ Canadian, which leaves some flexibility with some of the parts which can be changed with better quality more expensive ones should the need arise.

I welcome all input.
Related resources
July 13, 2010 7:53:43 PM

CPU
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
MOBO-spend a little more for better features/some have onboard graphics

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submit...|13-131-402^13-131-402-TS%2C13-131-654^13-131-654-TS%2C13-157-198^13-157-198-TS%2C13-157-200^13-157-200-TS%2C13-131-651^13-131-651-TS
HDD-500gb is best if you don't want/need 1tb
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...
RAM-$10 off with promo code-very fast ram at a great price
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...
Case- decent cases with 2-3 fans=better cooling
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submit...|11-147-153^11-147-153-V01%2C11-147-120^11-147-120-V01
PSU-
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submit...|17-139-003^17-139-003-S01%2C17-139-008^17-139-008-S01%2C17-371-029^17-371-029-TS%2C17-341-022^17-341-022-S01%2C17-341-016^17-341-016-S01
Can add dvd and low-mid gpu and still be under $600
July 13, 2010 8:34:33 PM

Hmm, going with your suggestion as a more expensive computer purchase from Newegg. It seems more futureproof with USB 3.0, two PCIE x 16 slots and DDR3 Ram.

For about 500$ Canadian I could buy:

Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case ,comes with Three Fans-1x Front Blue LED 120mm Fan, 1x Top 140mm Fan, 1x Rear 120mm Fan, option Fans-2x Side 120mm Fan
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

ASUS M4A79XTD EVO AM3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRM
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

AMD Athlon II X3 440 Rana 3.0GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor ADX440WFGIBOX
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

MASSCOOL FD08025S1M4 80mm Case Fan (Times two) (Just in case)
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

COOLER MASTER DK9-7E52A-0L-GP CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

Thanks for the suggestion Davcon!

Any ideas on what can be done to improve this build? Or any of the others?

Edit: Oh yes, some thoughts, is it really worth spending more on the motherboard than on the cpu? I mean are they really "matched up" with each other currently? I know it will be possible to upgrade the cpu later on in time but for now is it really worth the higher price?
July 13, 2010 9:46:37 PM

dannyboy3210 said:
Hmm, going with your suggestion as a more expensive computer purchase from Newegg. It seems more futureproof with USB 3.0, two PCIE x 16 slots and DDR3 Ram.

For about 500$ Canadian I could buy:

Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case ,comes with Three Fans-1x Front Blue LED 120mm Fan, 1x Top 140mm Fan, 1x Rear 120mm Fan, option Fans-2x Side 120mm Fan
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

ASUS M4A79XTD EVO AM3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRM
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

AMD Athlon II X3 440 Rana 3.0GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor ADX440WFGIBOX
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

MASSCOOL FD08025S1M4 80mm Case Fan (Times two) (Just in case)
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

COOLER MASTER DK9-7E52A-0L-GP CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

Thanks for the suggestion Davcon!

Any ideas on what can be done to improve this build? Or any of the others?

Edit: Oh yes, some thoughts, is it really worth spending more on the motherboard than on the cpu? I mean are they really "matched up" with each other currently? I know it will be possible to upgrade the cpu later on in time but for now is it really worth the higher price?

You won't need the extra fans and the stock cooler will be fine.If need be add a CM Hyper 212+ in the future about $35 anywhere besides the Egg.
Don't skimp on the mobo you'll be sorry if you do!
Btw that's a good mobo for one on a budget here's a couple of others.
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submit...|13-131-654^13-131-654-TS%2C13-131-651^13-131-651-TS
Do you not need a psu?
I do like the look of your current build though.

July 13, 2010 10:11:20 PM

The 127$ motherboard among the previous 5 you had suggested supports the 1600 mhz ram you suggested and has usb 3.0 support. Of the three you just suggested, only the first (the cheaper one) has support for 1600mhz (without overclocking).

Do you recommend getting the 109$ ASUS M4A87TD/USB3 AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 AMD Motherboard over the 127$ SUS M4A79XTD EVO AM3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard? Or is it just a better idea to take the cheaper one because the more expensive one doesn't really have any overwhelming advantages when compared to the cheaper one?

Just trying to make up my mind; would it not be a good idea to get a different cpu cooler, rather than stick with the stock one? Or is there no point unless I plan to overclock the cpu which I probably will not do until I upgrade my graphics card (which isn't going to happen for a while).

As to the power supply, I bought a coolermaster 500w power supply back in March when my old one died and would probably be bringing it into the new computer.
Also, I'll be using a BFG 9600gt OC graphics card with this setup (probably won't change it for a while).

With that motherboard changed from the 127$ one to the 108$ one and the fans and cpu cooler removed the price is down to about 460$ Canadian.

Thanks for the input.
July 14, 2010 4:26:10 AM

ncix.com is a better site. You could pricematch to other canadian sites
July 14, 2010 12:29:12 PM

Thanks Ubernoobie, I'll take a look.

Davcon, as another thought what if I were to buy this motherboard:

MSI NF750-G55 AM3 NVIDIA nForce 750a SLI HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

It comes SLI ready and I would be able to buy another 9600gt card and run the two of them together. It has two Pciex16 slots that run at x8 when SLI is used.

Would it be worth buying this MB or would it be better to wait until I can afford to buy a single card as replacement?
Note: There are two 9600gt's that have been posted for sale at 60$ in my area within the last week.

http://montreal.kijiji.ca/c-buy-and-sell-computer-acces...

http://montreal.kijiji.ca/c-buy-and-sell-computer-acces...

It appears that someone else who reviewed the motherboard also used SLI with two 9600gts.

Also, would it be possible to use SLI with my 9600gt card and another nvidia card? If so, with what cards can you do this?


Edit: The manual for this MB says that it supports: DDR3 800/ 1066/ 1333/ 1600 (OC) SDRAM (16GB Max)
Does this mean that it will only support DDR3 1600 mhz Ram if I overclock? Or that it will only support DDR3 1600 mhz Ram if it is overclocked to that speed?

El_Capitan says: Newegg needs to change the specs for this board, it doesn't support 1600 RAM speeds.

Apparently it only takes low voltage ram...

In which case, I might be better off with the other motherboard you had suggested...
July 14, 2010 11:06:10 PM

Hmm... Seeing as how I won't be purchasing this build for perhaps 1-2 weeks, do you think it would be a good idea to switch this ram:

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRM
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

with this ram?


G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

Because the 10$ off will end today and it will go back up to 120$. Whereas the other ram is 102$.

Is there really much difference between the two different rams? (They're both made by the same company, run at the same speed and are within 18$ of each other)

Edit: Oh dang my bad, it seems that the 102$ ram is a daily deal which would explain the lower price. I guess I'll just have to watch the prices fluctuate and make a careful decision the day I order...

Best solution

July 15, 2010 12:00:31 AM
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Dannyboy: I am also Canadian, and I've build all of my systems with parts from NCIX.com. They usually have excellent prices, have fantastic weekly deals, and will match any price. Before buying any parts, I use Shopbot.ca to find the lowest price, and have NCIX match it. They ship out of Vancouver, but usually offer free shipping.

About the RAM: The top ram is rated for lower latencies. This will affect performance slightly, but noticeably in memory-intensive situations.

DDR3 RAM only officially supports up to 1333MHZ, so 1600MHZ and higher is technically an overclock. You should not have any issues if both the RAM and the motherboard is rated to 1600MHZ.

While that is a good deal for a 9600GT, I would avoid having to use SLi on an nForce board. They tend to suck. At your budget, there isn't much else you can do, though. I would get a cheap AMD board (770) and the best single GPU you can afford.
July 15, 2010 12:22:17 AM

Ncix & shopbot.ca sounds like a great idea. Theoretically I could look for the components I had selected on Newegg.ca and look for them on Ncix then shopbot them... Awsome.

"Memory-intensive situations" would be when I'm multitasking so much that almost all ram is being used at once?

Thanks for the clarification on my DDR3 1600 Mhz Ram question, its good to know that a small amount of "overclocking" will be required to get it all up and running.

Yeah, it looks like I'm probably going to stick with the 9600gt for now and maybe sometime down the road upgrade to another one. I paid 110$ for it second hand about 2 years ago (The guy had bought it three weeks beforehand), and upgrading it for a noticeable improvement would probably cost too much right now.

Thanks for the info & advice!

Quick edit: Ncix does not seem to have the Rosewill CHALLENGER case I was looking at on Newegg.ca... :( 

Nor the Samsung 500gb hard drive...

It does have the motherboard I was looking at though...
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=52677&vpn=M4A87T...

The ram seems to be in stock...
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=42746&vpn=F3-128...

The CPU seems to be MUCH cheaper at Newegg.ca...
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=50791

I would need to look for a new case, hard drive and potentially case fans... Let's see what I can find...

Hmm, after looking at some cases, I've found three that look interesting...

Apex VORTEX3620 Mid Tower ATX Case Black 3X5.25 2X3.5 5X3.5INT Front USB X4 Front Audio X4 No PSU
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=46039&vpn=Vortex...

Compucase Blitz Mid-Tower ATX Gaming Case Black 9 Drive Bay No PS Front USB Audio eSATA
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=47667&vpn=BLITZ&...

Antec 200 Two Hundred Mid-Tower ATX Gaming Case Black 3X5.25 6X3.5INT 1 SATA Hot-Swap Bay No PS
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=42345&vpn=TWO%20...

They range in price from about 50$ - 60$, any opinions on them or suggestions for other possibilities?

Also, I'm going to look at hard drives tomorrow (maybe case fans aswell).

Goodnight and feel free to comment.
July 15, 2010 1:08:09 AM

Rosewill is Newegg's house brand. I'm a fan of the NZXT Beta myself. A new HDD shouldn't be hard to choose.
July 15, 2010 1:04:53 PM

dannyboy3210 said:
Ncix & shopbot.ca sounds like a great idea. Theoretically I could look for the components I had selected on Newegg.ca and look for them on Ncix then shopbot them... Awsome.

"Memory-intensive situations" would be when I'm multitasking so much that almost all ram is being used at once?

Thanks for the clarification on my DDR3 1600 Mhz Ram question, its good to know that a small amount of "overclocking" will be required to get it all up and running.

Yeah, it looks like I'm probably going to stick with the 9600gt for now and maybe sometime down the road upgrade to another one. I paid 110$ for it second hand about 2 years ago (The guy had bought it three weeks beforehand), and upgrading it for a noticeable improvement would probably cost too much right now.

Thanks for the info & advice!

Quick edit: Ncix does not seem to have the Rosewill CHALLENGER case I was looking at on Newegg.ca... :( 

Nor the Samsung 500gb hard drive...

It does have the motherboard I was looking at though...
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=52677&vpn=M4A87T...

The ram seems to be in stock...
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=42746&vpn=F3-128...

The CPU seems to be MUCH cheaper at Newegg.ca...
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=50791

I would need to look for a new case, hard drive and potentially case fans... Let's see what I can find...

Hmm, after looking at some cases, I've found three that look interesting...

Apex VORTEX3620 Mid Tower ATX Case Black 3X5.25 2X3.5 5X3.5INT Front USB X4 Front Audio X4 No PSU
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=46039&vpn=Vortex...

Compucase Blitz Mid-Tower ATX Gaming Case Black 9 Drive Bay No PS Front USB Audio eSATA
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=47667&vpn=BLITZ&...

Antec 200 Two Hundred Mid-Tower ATX Gaming Case Black 3X5.25 6X3.5INT 1 SATA Hot-Swap Bay No PS
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=42345&vpn=TWO%20...

They range in price from about 50$ - 60$, any opinions on them or suggestions for other possibilities?

Also, I'm going to look at hard drives tomorrow (maybe case fans aswell).

Goodnight and feel free to comment.


(Posting for my own use)

Motherboard is for sale at BestDirect for 102.72$
http://www.bestdirect.ca/products/228231/ASUS/M4A87TD_U...

The ram is for sale on Newegg for 127$
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...(Desktop+Memory)-_-G.SKILL-_-20231303

One concern of mine is that this Ram is designed for Intel CPUs and as a result:

"Thank you for your G.Skill purchase and review. This memory package is designed for Intel specifications, but it can work for AMD platforms. On most AMD motherboards, the rated specifications of this particular memory package can not be reached due to BIOS limitations (Unable to operate DDR3-1600 CL7). AMD users will need to use 8-8-8-24 timings instead of the rated 7-8-7-24 for Intel platforms. Memory voltage 1.60V and memory frequency DDR3-1600 can remain the same. Everything should work fine then. If you have any further questions or issues, please feel free to let us know."

In which case would it matter if I go with that ram if the latency has to be bumped up a tad vs another that's cheaper but has the same latency as the one(s) I would be forced to use?

The Cpu is in stock at newegg for 76.99$
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Now to choose hard drive and case...

Although if I go with the Nzxt Beta, should I perhaps buy one or two additional case fans?
Note: Ncix only has one in stock and it's the cheapest one available at 60$ before a 15$ rebate.

For the hard drive, I could go with:
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500GB SATA2 3.5IN 8.5MS 7200RPM 16MB Hard Drive OEM *3YR MFR Warranty*
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=36050&vpn=ST3500...
Although there are 3 left in stock...

I did however find a cheaper one for 39.99$
http://www.hltechnology.com/one_prod.php?pid=04360

More research required...

Edit: Through all the price matching, should it all be accepted, the final price is along the lines of about 391$ Canadian. I am not 100% sure if this includes tax and shipping yet.

Double Edit: No, I do not think it covers shipping and tax yet...
July 16, 2010 2:30:41 AM

Well, on Monday I can either go with the Newegg.ca build with the following parts for 453.42$ Canadian.

Case: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Hard drive: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

Motherboard: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Ram: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

Cpu: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Or I can go with the Ncix.com build with the following parts for 425.73$. (NOTE: This is after price matching)

Case: http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=48086 (Open box for 50.99$)

Hard drive: http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=36050&promoid=10...

Motherboard: http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=52677

Ram: http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=42746

Cpu: http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=50791

For a 25$ difference is it really worth going for the Ncix or should I consider getting a slightly more expensive Cpu for the price difference and then some...
Or would it be a better idea to just save my money for something else because there isn't anything worth the price jump. For the price for a 440 is 77$ and the 445 is 89$ for a 100mhz clock increase... 12 dollars for that much of an increase doesn't really seem worth it...

But what about an increase in price of 25$ for the AMD Athlon II X4 635 Quad Core Processor AM3 2.9GHZ 2MB L2 Cache 95W 45NM Retail Box?
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=50969&vpn=ADX635...

Would it be worth spending another 25$ in order to get a quad core Cpu? (The quad core running at 2.9ghz and 2 mb L2 cache vs the triple core running at 3.0ghz and 1.5 mb L2 cache) Or is it not really worth the money at this point to upgrade. (I'm thinking why not invest another 25$ now and have a slightly more futureproof(ed) computer?) Or would it be wiser to stick with the triple-core and just swap it out for a new one in a few years?

Restating a concern of mine: This Ram is designed for Intel CPUs and as a result:

"Thank you for your G.Skill purchase and review. This memory package is designed for Intel specifications, but it can work for AMD platforms. On most AMD motherboards, the rated specifications of this particular memory package can not be reached due to BIOS limitations (Unable to operate DDR3-1600 CL7). AMD users will need to use 8-8-8-24 timings instead of the rated 7-8-7-24 for Intel platforms. Memory voltage 1.60V and memory frequency DDR3-1600 can remain the same. Everything should work fine then. If you have any further questions or issues, please feel free to let us know."

In which case would it matter if I go with that ram if the latency has to be bumped up a tad vs another that's cheaper but has the same latency as the one(s) I would be forced to use?
July 16, 2010 5:55:07 AM

Saving money is always worth the change. It's tempting to suggest going for the quad core, but it depends on if you need it. Do you do a lot of file compression, virus scanning, multitasking, or do you plan to play GTAIV, Mafia II, or FSX? How long do you plan to keep the computer?

You could cheep out on the RAM. I'm not sure if that motherboard supports 7-8-7-24-1600MHZ or not, I've never used it.
July 16, 2010 12:10:18 PM

For one, I'm planning on keeping the computer for at least 3 years, possibly upgrading the graphics card after around a year or so...
I don't really do much (any) file compression, but that could change (who knows), I virus scan about once a week or so, and the games I play most of the time are Modern Warfare 1, Borderlands, The Witcher (which on minimum everything right now still doesn't run all that well), Mercenaries 2 (which still crashes with all options on minimum).
I do some multitasking, such as having 2 games in windowed mode running at the same time or playing a game, surfing the web and listening to music. Not too heavy duty but still multitasking to a certain degree.

I want the computer to be able to perform "well" for the next few years, matching up and hopefully not bottlenecking a new graphics card, when I get one.
July 16, 2010 2:27:49 PM

dannyboy3210 said:
Well, on Monday I can either go with the Newegg.ca build with the following parts for 453.42$ Canadian.

Case: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Hard drive: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

Motherboard: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Ram: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

Cpu: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

Or I can go with the Ncix.com build with the following parts for 425.73$. (NOTE: This is after price matching)

Case: http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=48086 (Open box for 50.99$)

Hard drive: http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=36050&promoid=10...

Motherboard: http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=52677

Ram: http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=42746

Cpu: http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=50791

For a 25$ difference is it really worth going for the Ncix or should I consider getting a slightly more expensive Cpu for the price difference and then some...
Or would it be a better idea to just save my money for something else because there isn't anything worth the price jump. For the price for a 440 is 77$ and the 445 is 89$ for a 100mhz clock increase... 12 dollars for that much of an increase doesn't really seem worth it...

But what about an increase in price of 25$ for the AMD Athlon II X4 635 Quad Core Processor AM3 2.9GHZ 2MB L2 Cache 95W 45NM Retail Box?
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=50969&vpn=ADX635...

Would it be worth spending another 25$ in order to get a quad core Cpu? (The quad core running at 2.9ghz and 2 mb L2 cache vs the triple core running at 3.0ghz and 1.5 mb L2 cache) Or is it not really worth the money at this point to upgrade. (I'm thinking why not invest another 25$ now and have a slightly more futureproof(ed) computer?) Or would it be wiser to stick with the triple-core and just swap it out for a new one in a few years?

Restating a concern of mine: This Ram is designed for Intel CPUs and as a result:

"Thank you for your G.Skill purchase and review. This memory package is designed for Intel specifications, but it can work for AMD platforms. On most AMD motherboards, the rated specifications of this particular memory package can not be reached due to BIOS limitations (Unable to operate DDR3-1600 CL7). AMD users will need to use 8-8-8-24 timings instead of the rated 7-8-7-24 for Intel platforms. Memory voltage 1.60V and memory frequency DDR3-1600 can remain the same. Everything should work fine then. If you have any further questions or issues, please feel free to let us know."

In which case would it matter if I go with that ram if the latency has to be bumped up a tad vs another that's cheaper but has the same latency as the one(s) I would be forced to use?

Swap out the ram with this one http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=46501&vpn=F3...
You'll save @ $5 plus $15 MIR if you go with NCIX with your list above and the ram i linked $484 all in.
The Newegg build with the ECO ram is @ $488.52 all in.
To be safe i wouldn't buy open box and i doubt you would get the MIR.
I live in Ontario and i know Newegg ships fast both times i ordered it was next day.
Ncix was next day once and usually 3-5 days.
July 16, 2010 5:17:30 PM

That ram does seem to have a lot of good reviews and (supposedly) runs well with amd systems. It would bring the price to about 420$ (Including the price matching should it all be accepted.

Well, the case brand new is 60$ and then a 15$ rebate, while the open box case is just 51$, no rebate. Also, I'm planning to order next Monday, should all go well, and the rebate ends on the Sunday before that (the 18th).

All in all, I'm looking forward to ordering this setup; it makes a great "self-birthday present" when for years I haven't really asked for anything on my birthday.

19 Tomorrow! ^^^
July 17, 2010 3:38:32 PM

dannyboy3210 said:
Well, it looks like even Tomshardware backs your suggestion: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/lovo-ddr3-power,265...

I'm hoping to order on Monday or Tuesday. :D 

The only reason i suggested it over the Ripjaws set(which i own btw) is that the ECO has the same timings,isn't as tall,and is listed as compatible with AMD,and cheaper.
Also the lower voltage will give you headroom if you decided to overclock.
Easier to set-up if you're not familiar with manual bios settings.
You will still have to set it up to run at 1600 though cuz your mobo will default it to 1333.
July 17, 2010 4:26:38 PM

Yeah, I'll take a look at some guides to figure out how to do that, maybe if you know any good ones you could give me a link. Thanks for all the advice so far.
July 19, 2010 7:16:36 PM

Well, I've placed the order, had the price match confirmed and have submitted the money, lets hope it all goes well. ^^^
July 20, 2010 6:18:28 AM

Shouldn't be difficult. Go into the BIOS, find memory settings, and set the speed and timings to what the box says.
July 26, 2010 11:46:49 PM

The motherboard, case, cpu and hard drive arrived while I was at work today. Now I'm just waiting for the ram to arrive, oh joy. I have all this expensive stuff I can't do anything with yet, I'm glad I set my expectations for delivery times for either Wednesday/Thursday of this week, that way this seems a bit early.
:hihi: 

Just need to clear off my desk for when it comes. I might take pictures of before and after, if I can remember to...

Thank you everyone for your help, can't wait to get the ram and get it up and running! :D 

Note to self: Must remember to take over the world when new computer is set up... Mwuahahaha...
August 2, 2010 1:59:21 AM

Here are the pictures in an album, ready to be seen.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=6294519&id=712524...!/photo.php?pid=6294514&id=712524223&ref=album

Once again I would like to thank everyone who helped me find the parts and gave me advice and suggestions.

Note: Smithereen, all the ram says is timings 7-8-7-24, it came in a plastic case with a single piece of paper. I put the settings in the bios to 7-8-7 @ 1600mhz and while playing a game of borderlands, my computer crashed so I put it back to the basic settings or either 8-8-8 or 9-9-9, can't quite remember). I don't think I'll need to bring it up to 1600mhz until I upgrade my graphics card because my computer is now fast enough to have my BFG 9600gt OC maxing out.

Also, my graphics card has hit 83 degrees Celsius while the cpu has hit 47 degrees Celsius, are these temperatures normal?

Also, when I installed my Windows 7 Ultimate, I partitioned my hard drive for 100gb and the rest in the other, I just need to figure out how to access the other ~365 gigs because they currently do not show up in My Computer. Anyone have any idea how to format it so it works?
August 2, 2010 6:35:20 AM

@RAM: Did you set the voltage properly?

@Temps: That's a bit toasty for a CPU, but nothing to really worry about.

@Hard drive: You need to partition the rest of hard drive to access it.

Bedtime for me.
August 2, 2010 12:49:41 PM

dannyboy3210 said:
Here are the pictures in an album, ready to be seen.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=6294519&id=712524...!/photo.php?pid=6294514&id=712524223&ref=album

Once again I would like to thank everyone who helped me find the parts and gave me advice and suggestions.

Note: Smithereen, all the ram says is timings 7-8-7-24, it came in a plastic case with a single piece of paper. I put the settings in the bios to 7-8-7 @ 1600mhz and while playing a game of borderlands, my computer crashed so I put it back to the basic settings or either 8-8-8 or 9-9-9, can't quite remember). I don't think I'll need to bring it up to 1600mhz until I upgrade my graphics card because my computer is now fast enough to have my BFG 9600gt OC maxing out.

Also, my graphics card has hit 83 degrees Celsius while the cpu has hit 47 degrees Celsius, are these temperatures normal?

Also, when I installed my Windows 7 Ultimate, I partitioned my hard drive for 100gb and the rest in the other, I just need to figure out how to access the other ~365 gigs because they currently do not show up in My Computer. Anyone have any idea how to format it so it works?

The ECO ram is optimized for Intel but will work with AMD once you tinker with the dram voltage.
Keep increasing that in small increments until it's stable at 1600 somewhere around 1.5v should do it.
If you don't have an aftermarket hsf the cpu temp is fine for stock cooling.
9xxx series cards run hot.
Don't know about the hdd thing never had those problems.
August 3, 2010 2:21:05 AM

Awsome, good to know, I will try that when I have the time.
I'm thinking eventually I'll get a better hsf and likely another case fan or two, but for now it'll be fine.
Yeah, it does run hot, exactly my thoughts, maybe not the 106 degrees I've heard Fermi cards can go up to but still higher than I was used to seeing.
I'll ask my dad about the hard drive, he seemed to know what to do when I asked him about it, anyways, I don't need the extra space, yet, still about 40 or so gb free of the 100 in the first partition.
August 3, 2010 4:28:00 PM

What temperature does your CPU reach running Prime95?
August 6, 2010 12:26:39 PM

Just got back from a small three day family trip to Ottawa; I'll try downloading it and running it.
Also, I figured out how to enlarge my main C drive and so I'm happy once again. ^^ I'm just considering buying a cheap graphics card for my old computer in order to keep it as a secondary lan computer, for if a friend comes over and wants to play.
August 10, 2010 10:30:12 AM

Out of curiosity I tried out the motherboard's built in core unlocker (Asus core unlocker), and have been running Prime 95 for about 8 hours so far, the cpu temperature monitoring seems out of whack but one of Asus' programs says it goes up to about 60 degrees celcius when under 100% load. (Using AI Suite)
I will try and see what temperature is reached when the fourth core is locked, but currently I'm thinking I should probably invest in a better heatsinkfan at this point and I'll have a usable quadcore potentially.
What do you think? Is 60 degrees celcius on the stock hsf a sign of instability? Or should I also possibly get another case fan to help direct airflow?

Also, I peeked into the bios and looked at changing the settings for the ram (I googled how to get the ram I bought up to its rated speed) and saw that the bios did not have all the same settings that they suggested changing, so I'm going to wait until I update the bios with the most recent version before I bring my ram up to full speed, just to make sure.

Small note: no L3 cache, but oh well, I wasn't expecting a quad core anyways... XD Huzzah.
August 22, 2010 9:36:54 AM

I ended up buying a Thermaltake Contac 29 from a local store for 39.99$ + Tax. I installed it and tested it in Prime 95, it reached a maximum temperature of 52 degrees Celsius as a quadcore. Note, this saved me two half hour trips to and from Microbytes because I bought it nearby on the way back from work (cycling home) for the same price as it would have been at Microbytes. I also bought 120mm fan that I can either install on the hsf or onto the case somewhere should I feel it becomes necessary.

Hyper 212+ would have cost 44.99$ = Tax if it had been in stock, so i decided to go with the cheaper hsf that was in stock nearby.

Also, as to selecting a best answer, both Davcon and Smithereen answered a lot of my questions and helped me choose my ideal components and so although I can select only one "best answer" I want to thank both of you for all the help.

Credit goes to ubernoobie for originally suggesting Ncix and then to Smithereen for suggesting using it in sync with Shopbot in order to get the best prices.

I love my new computer and look forward to using it in the future, thanks a bunch!


Off topic: Now I just need to do some research to find a good wireless router that is fast enough to support up to 4-5 people gaming wireless(ly?) at once. If anyone knows anything about them, so far I'm looking at:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

And then I'm taking a look at wireless network cards...
August 22, 2010 9:59:13 AM

Best answer selected by dannyboy3210.
n
nI found there was no really one "best answer" so I chose the one that led me to save the most $$.
!