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£800 system - advice on my components for complete build ?

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March 2, 2007 2:30:22 PM

I'm a complete noob when it comes to building systems from the bare components having mainly used pre-built laptops in the past. I have £800 to spend and want to get the best/fastest reliable system possible for this price.

After a fair bit of research, I've specced out most the components as listed below. I've gone slightly over my budget of £800, but am reasonably happy with each item. Now, I've a few questions:

1) Is this balance right, or are there any components I should consider changing for cheaper ones without compromising performance/reliability, to enable more money to be spent on other components ?
2) Is there any point in getting the E6600 (ie. 4MB Cache) bearing in mind I will be overclocking ?
3) Does Asus P5B (not Deluxe) support RAID ?
4) Is it worth getting Arctic Siler Paster for CPU and Tuniq Tower 120 ?
5) Will this components last me at least 3 years when overclocked ?
6) How much will I be able to overclock the CPU with this setup, and should it run reliably for at least 3 years without going into mektdown ?

£150 - 20" Monitor
£ 65 - GeForce 7600 GS
£ 83 - Asus P5B
£ 75 - Antec TruePower Trio 650W PSU (Is this too powerful for my needs ?)

£115 - E6300 Core 2 Duo 1.86GHz (hoping to OC to 3GHz - 3.4GHz)
£115 - 2GB RAM (2 x 1GB) GeIL 2GB (2x1GB) PC6400C4 800MHz Ultra Low Latency DDR2 Dual Channel Kit (GX22GB6400UDC)

£ 25 - 1 x LITE-ON LH-20A1P
£ 30 - Tuniq Tower 120 or Arctic Freezer 7 Pro Socket or Cooler Master Hyper TX cooler
£ 50 - Samsung SpinPoint P SP2504C 250GB SATA-II 8MB Cache - OEM (maybe get 2 in RAID 0)
Seagate 7200.10 250GB
£ 80 - Antec P180 Black SPCR Advanced Super Mid Tower - No PSU
Akasa Eclipse 62 Aluminium Case - No PSU
£ 25 - 2 x Akasa AK-183-L2B Amber Ultra Quiet 120mm Fan - 3 pin

-----
£763


£ 40 - Keyboard + Mouse
£ 50 - XP Pro x64
£ 15 - Cables

-----
£868
March 2, 2007 6:04:16 PM

1) The 7600gs needs at least 350W 18A psu for single card or 400W 22A for SLI. Depends. If you'll upgrade video cards or o/c, it's best to get a slightly overkill psu. 500/600w.

2) Not to me, overclocker. 4300 & 6600 have the same x9 mulitplier. In theory, they can both o/c to the same speeds. An o/c'ed 4300 beats out 6600 at stock. The point of o/cing is to save money.

3) Yes. All Intel P965-based mobos do.

4) Yes for overclockers. Every degree counts. AS5 will lower temp by a few degrees. The TT120 is pretty good. Others to consider are: Freezer Pro 7, Scythe Ninja, TT Big Typhoon (not mini). A good aftermarket cpu hsf is pretty much a standard for heavy overclocks.

5) Typically, a good mobo will last 5-7 years at stock speed.

6) A 50% overclock is pretty good. For 6300, it means 400mhz fsb x 7 = 2.8ghz. 100% o/c is 532mhz fsb x 7 = 3.7ghz. However, I bet you can't reach 3.7ghz even with water. Maybe phase change (like A/C'ing) or even liquid nitrogen (yup, I've seen this in a forum where the guy was o/cing a p4 to 8ghz). Bear in mind that you'll prolly run into a fsb strap: typically from 360-400mhz fsb is no-no: will produce errors no matter the bios settings.

http://www.thetechrepository.com/showthread.php?t=30
March 2, 2007 7:42:48 PM

Thanks for answering all my questions akhilles, and for the video card pointers mpilchfamily. I did kinda think I had gone overboard with the PSU, thin king about possible future upgrades, although to be perfectly honest, I can't see myself upgrading from this machine for at least a couple of years (by which time I'll have a million or two floating around spare ;D )

After reading the following review, I'm kinda thinking the E6300 is not going to be good enough due to mobo limitations on FSB speed, as I want at least 3.4GHz (and possibly 3.48 or 3.6)

http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/core...

I woudl probably try to go with the same OC settings

E6400 8x435
870 4-4-4-12

Would my select RAM be capable of this ?

Then I read the following review, which had me thinking the E4300 might be more up my street

http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/core...

Afteer seeing this review, do you think I could go with the following OC settings with the E6400 on one the coolers mentioned below ?

E6400 8x450
1000-4-4-4-12

According to Neoseeker.com, the Asus P5B-Deluxe is their new fave mobo for C2D overclocking with the latest BIOS firmware updates. I checked the ASUS site to see whether the normal P5B or P5B-Deluxe had more frequent updates, and both had updates released in Jan 2007, which is good. However, the bog standard P5B had the later firmware dated 31/01/2007 compared to the Deluxe's 15/01/2007. I would like the firewire ports of the Deluxe, but it costs £40 more, and I can get a cheap 3-port FW400 PCI card for about £10.

I'm not much of a gamer, and will mainly use my system for C++ software development and audio/video encoding. Occasionally though, I will use it for flight sims and chess (eg. MS Flight Sim X, IL-2 1946, Falcon 4:Allied Force, Chessmaster 10, Fritz 10). As mentioned, I'm a complete noob at this system building malarky, so would appreciate advice on which PSU I should go for from the list ?

I can't see myself having dual 8800 cards, but may upgrade to a single one in the future, or have a dual 7600GS or 7900GS, so bear that in mind with your recommendation.

Re. the cooler, I'm swaying towards the TT120 because it came out best in one review, but do you consider any of the following better, Freezer Pro 7 (about £10 cheaper than TT120), Scythe Ninja, TT Big Typhoon (not mini) ?

Re. (5), how long should the CPU and mobo last when OC'ing a 4300 or 6400 to at least 3.4GHz with one of the above air coolers ?

Thanks for all the advice!
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March 2, 2007 8:14:23 PM

I forgot to mention that as part of my software development, I will be using virtual machines (VMWare and MS Virtual PC) for multiple environment testing purposes. I see from the specs of the E4300 that hardware virtualization has been disabled, and was wondering whether this will slowdown virtualization when running on the E4300 ?

I'm still favouring the E6400 though for reaching 3.4-3.6GHz with air cooling (not stock), whilst being reliable and stable for long periods under stress.
March 2, 2007 8:16:02 PM

I keep forgetting that the Asus P5B does not support dual nVidia cards, and so maybe an ATI would be a better bet. What are the equivalents of the 7600GS and 7900GS in the ATI world ?
March 2, 2007 11:28:09 PM

You could always play Deal or No Deal UK Edition. lol.

SLI/CrossFire is not worth it, IMO. It usually costs the same to buy one card that's about as power as 2 identical cards. Dual cards will introduce heat to the system & may limit your overclock & draw quite a lot of power. Did I mention more noise?

Look for the blue bars for both single & dual 7600gt scores. You have to take cost into consideration. If the 2 cards cost, say, 15%, less than one that's about the same speed, it's worth it. If they cost about the same, might as well get one card.

http://www23.tomshardware.com/graphics.html?modelx=33&m...

Also in the charts are other scores for other cards. You can find ATI equivalents in there. Note that CF stands for CrossFire = 2 cards.

Judging by the games you want to play, I'd say one x1950pro for now. A 550-650w psu with 35A+ just in case you do CF. Pick one from mpilchfamily's link.

TT120 is a very good choice. It really comes down to prices.

Don't know how long a o/c'ed cpu will last.

Re: P5B, you need at least P5B-E for o/cing. The vanilla doesn't o/c as well. Deluxe is the best of the line. If that's expensive, then GA-965P-DS3. Good quality & low price. However, ASUS BIOS can store settings in 2 profiles so you can have summer profile for light o/c'ing & winter one for heavy o/c'ing. Most other BIOSes have only one save/profile.

I think the 6400 overclocks about the same as 4300. Virtualization is useless when you o/c. You must disable it among many other options to o/c. I have yet to see it being implemented in emulation software. You don't need it to do emulation. Just like Hyperthreading.

If you buy value ram, get 4300 cpu. Otherwise, get 6400. 4300 is a poor man's overclocker. You should get a 2gig 800mhz dual channel kit. C4 timing would be best. If too expensive, C5 timing will do.
March 3, 2007 1:53:25 AM

Thanks again akhilles!

I will get back to you after digesting your good advice, and having done some more research based on your recommendations.

........ :) 
March 3, 2007 1:55:17 AM

PS. For your help you can be sure of a free licence for my software. ;) 
March 3, 2007 10:49:38 AM

I hope that was a joke. You can give back to the forum by helping out others. Have a good day.
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