I was considering an upgrade to my 3GHz P4 LGA775 system, but when taking into account the costs, it become obvious that a complete new system is probably in order.
So, having only built and serviced office type systems with generic cases / PSU and minimal GPU requirements, it's been quite a learning curve and many hours of research to get the basics of what to go for.
Being based in Thailand, many parts will not be available and shipping is out of the question as it will cost too much and delivery can be a problem. This is why I have a few alternates listed in my parts list.
Average room temperatures will be around 30C, so adequate cooling is a must I think.
I have taken the Newegg listings to show what I am looking for and used the USD pricing, even though prices will be different here. Budget is USD $700 - $800
Looks good, the HD 4670 wouldn't be too overkill and if you look at the hierarchy chart for GPUs the HD 5450 is near the bottom next to Intel HD 3000 graphics. And I think 1x4Gb RAM would be slightly faster than 2x2Gb.
The 5450 is a low end GPU, but I think it would probably handle most of my requirements with little problem. I just wondered if the extra $15 (about) would provide any practical benefit.
With regard to the RAM, I was under the impression that 2x2Gb would operate in dual channel mode which would provide better performance when moving large files or managing memory intensive operations in Photoshop.
There is also the benefit that if one RAM chip were to simply 'die', I'd still be able to run the OS.
I'm looking at building a Sandy Bridge system myself, and I think I will post shortly with the system I intend to build.
One thing I will point out is your case has no front panel USB 3.0 ports. I noticed you are going for a I am looking at buying a ASUS P8P67 (good chose, I am going for EVO) which has two internal USB 3.0 headers.
This is one of the reasons (apart from being generally kick as and sweet to look at) a Zalman GS1200 case.
It might be no big deal to you, but I recently bought a WD Passport with USB 3.0 support and I really can't arsed using the rear ports.
The current setup (3Ghz P4 / 64Mb VIA Unichrome IGP / 1Gb DDR2 533 / Windows 7 Home Edition x32) has 'mangled' USB connectors on the case due to the girlfriend trying to force USB sticks in upside down, so I've grown accustomed to only using rear connectors.
1 case side panel got 'lost' during a move, so it's 'naturally' cooled, in fact the only fan is the stock CPU fan. The no name PSU cost me 300 Baht ($10) after the last one 'died'.
Power here is so 'iffy' with two or three power outages a week being a regular occurence and as there is no earth provided to the building, a mild 'buzz' is frequently noticed when touching the case.
(I will be buying a UPS with surge protection to try and limit the issues regarding maintaining good power supply.)
External USB is restricted to an external 2.5" Smart Drive housing containing a 250Gb Hitachi 2.5" SATA drive which I disconnect once a week to take with me to a customer site and the usual Keyboard and Mouse, so most things are in-situ all the time.
This is such a major upgrade that it's quite frightening in many ways.
Okay, 3 hours wandering from store to store in Tukcom yesterday. I realise that getting specific componennts is going to be a problem.
I bought the Samsung 1Tb F3 and the HD4670 GPU as I am able to use these in my existing setup. Windows 7 graphic capabilty has gone from 1.0 to 5.9 and I can now view HD movies without so much 'stutter'. ( Cost for both items was 3834 Baht which is about $128)
I was a little bit annoyed that I hadn't realised that 256k of memory would be shared using this GPU, so available system RAM on the exisiting 1Gb setup has decreased significantly and this is a problem, however when I get the MB / CPU for the new build, I'll have 4Gb to play with and this should not be a problem.
I was told that ASUS boards will be another 2 - 3 weeks before they arrive in the local stores. so I will wait until I can buy MB before purchasing the CPU (The CPU is avilable EVERYWHERE!).
Cases seem to be fairly restricted to either Coolermaster or Thermaltake, so I need to choose between V3 / V4 Thermaltake or Elite 335 Coolermaster, however there is an intersting Foxconn G-007 that I have seen available.
I can get the CM 212+ cooler, so will probably go with that.
RAM looks like I'll have to go with something on the Qualified Vendor List as the G.Skills specially designed for P67 doesn't look as though it's going to hit the stores here.
PSU is a nightmare! However, based on the quality of delivered power to most of the buildings here, I'm not really surprised. I'm not prepared to spend $150 on a PSU, so may have to look at what is available on the day and keep my fingers crossed with something like a Super Flower Blue rather than than the Raidmax or Greatwall that every shop appears to be pushing.
It's kind of strange having to constantly adapt your selection due to local availability, but the costs of importing make this a necessity. (You simply have to buy what is available on the day)
Another trek around the stores today and it seems that the ASUS board is not going to be stocked as a mainline product but "We can get for you meester if you want"
So decision made, the MB is being changed to AsRock Extreme4 which should be here in 2 days ("Have in shop Bangkok, but no hab here")
Todays purchases were Coolermaster Hyper 212+ cooler (890 baht), Corsair XMS3 2x2Gb (CL9) (1780 baht)and Thermaltake V4 Black (1500 baht) : (4170 Baht = c. $139), so running costs are now at 8,004 baht ($266.80) and MB / CPU have been ordered at 12,410 baht ($413.67) bringing the build cost up to 20,414 baht ($680.46)
As stated before getting a PSU is proving to be very difficult. I can get Corsair CX430, but many reviews indicate that this is not a wise investment as it appears that the Corsair quality has not been maintained for this latest entry level PSU from this company.
Generally available are :
Tsunami Black Storm
Nox Urano II
Spire Black Moon
Great Wall GT
I have very similar reasons with you for building a basic Sandy Bridge PC that has enough space to upgrade the performance in the future. Since you seem know what you are doing, can you look at my build in this link, and tell me what you think?
The most annoying part of the build was the installation of the heatsink. I'd read different reports stating that the baseplate should be fitted before Mobo installation or that if the case had a cutout then wait until after.
The case DOES have an opening for installing the backplate, but unfortunately, the Asrock board does not quite line up with the cutout, so everything had to be removed, firt the backplate and reinstall.
Then came the issue of trying to work out how to adjust the securing bracket screws. It took an age to work out that you have to push them up from underneath before sliding to the correct position.
With regard to overclocking, the Asrock default presets seem to work just fine, so 4.8GHz was accomplished with voltages just in spec, but running AIDA64 or Prime for more than 2 hours did see a couple of core temp maximums of 80C.
As I'm not likely to be this extreme in my daily usage, I've let the system settle in at up to 4.8GHz and have encountered no problems as of yet.
If I could change one thing, I'd have opted for a modular PSU as I do not require PCIe power at the present time and this means that a lot of redundant cable that has had to be tidied up and stored out of the way.
I didn't bother with any additional colling fans as I'm only running 2 x SATA HDDs internally and case / mobo temps are running around 38C which is around 8C above daytime room temperature.
A nice feature of the Asrock board is that you get a 3.5" frontplate for 2 x USB3 connectors.
All in all, I'm very satidfied with the system and hope that it gives many years of good service.