$35 or $95 card for non-gaming PC? +23 hardware questions


Sep 2, 2009
Thank you in advance. Could anyone please tell me if this make a good non-gaming computer? I also have hardware and various questions.

Which CPU?:
Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 Wolfdale 3.16GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail
$189.99 Free Shipping
Intel Core 2 Duo E8600 Wolfdale 3.33GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80570E8600 - Retail
$269.99 Free Shipping

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3R LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
$119.99 Free shipping

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-4GBPK - Retail
$59.99 Free Shipping

Which Power Supply?:
CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail
$99.99 free shipping
CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail
$119.99 free shipping

Which Video Card?:
GIGABYTE GV-R435OC-512I Radeon HD 4350 512MB 64-bit GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Low Profile Ready Video Card - Retail
$34.99 Free Shipping
SAPPHIRE 100245HDMI Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
$94.99 Free Shipping

COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
$69.99 free shipping

CPU Heatsink/Fan:
XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler - Retail
$36.60 Free Shipping

Hard Disk:
Intel X25-M Mainstream SSDSA2MH080G2C1 2.5" 80GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid state disk (SSD) - OEM (this is the 2nd generation X25-M)
Newegg price: $240 originally, sold out quickly, $500 last, sold out. Sold out at lots of other websites too.

Excluded because I already own:
Windows XP Home 32 bit service pack 2
Keyboard and mouse

Assuming the X25-M SSD is $240:
Total with the $190 CPU, $100 power supply, and $35 video card: $852
Total with the $270 CPU, $120 power supply, and $95 video card: $1012

Hardware / Various Questions:
1. Which CPU, power supply, and video card should I get? Or do you recommend other parts?

2. What is the easiest programming language to learn? Which language lets you get the most done for the amount of time you spend?

3. Are there any monitors smaller than 30" that support 2560 x 1024 resolution? If not, will there ever be?

4. If I don't care about size or heat, which is better, a CRT or LCD monitor? Are CRTs dangerous?

5. If I am going to literally never run any programs that can use more than 1 core, is a dual core or a quad core processor better, if you are spending the same amount on each?

6. Do you know of any good alternative websites to buy computer hardware from besides newegg.com?

7. Will a better video card help non gaming application performance?

8. Are there any input devices better than a keyboard? If you were to put a keyboard on a tablet, could you type faster than you could on a keyboard?

9. Should I update the BIOS of a new motherboard?

10. Should I try to Overclock my CPU? If so, will I be okay if I follow guide that uses the same CPU and motherboard as me? How much thermal paste should I use?

11. Should I get a CPU Heatsink/Fan to replace the stock one if I'm not going to overclock?

12. Should I get get a 64 bit version of windows so I can use 8 GB of RAM?

13. Does putting windows XP on its own little hard drive partition make your PC run faster? Do you recommend any tweaks for making Windows XP run faster?

14. Does windows XP have automatic background defragging?

15. Do you recommend any benchmarking / testing programs to test
that hardware is working?

X25-M SSD questions:
16. Should I try to set up a RAMdisk, or should I get an X25-M SSD? Which is faster? How do I go about setting up a RAMdisk, and should I get 8gb of RAM for that, or will 4 be okay?

17. How long will it take for newegg's X25-M generation 2 SSDs drives to get in stock again and drop down to $240?

18. Will the X25-m TRIM utility work with windows XP?

19. If I change Window's 7 back to the classic window's theme, will I still have to learn a new user interface?

20. Is Windows 7 64 bit or XP 32 bit faster? Which should I get? I would use the old, simple classic theme with both, try to disable unnessessary services, and disable visual gimmicks of Windows 7, if possible.
Windows 7 64 bit pros and cons, as I see them (relative to 32 bit XP):
possibly better SSD support (but does it make a significant difference?)
possibly better multi-core processor support (but does it make a significant difference?)
would it still be slower than XP, even if I changed it to classic theme?
possibly worse, new user interface
have to pay for it (already own XP)

21. With Windows XP, will enabling AHCI mode improve the X25-m's performance? Is it hard to enable it? Do I have to enable AHCI before I install Windows XP?

22. Does the X25-m retail version (SSDSA2MH080G2R5) come with mounting brackets or whatever? Is it okay to just tape it to the bottom of the case?

23. Should case fans and CPU fans suck or blow?

24. Is Anandtech or toms hardware better?


Sep 2, 2009
I also have a few more questions, if you don't mind.

It is for non gaming, but I'd still like a good PC because I'm on it a lot and might be using it for a long time.

If XP 32 bit is not as hardware intensive, will it make up for Window's 7 64 bit's better multicore processor compatibility, better SSD use, and 4 more gigs of RAM?

Anandtech wrote: "TRIM isn’t yet supported, but the 34nm drives will get a firmware update when Windows 7 launches enabling TRIM. XP and Vista users will get a performance enhancing utility (read: manual TRIM utility)."
So does this mean "performance enhancing utility" is not the same as TRIM? And does anyone know if that manual utility will be as good as TRIM?

Is it true that AHCI must be enabled in bios before OS install? And does Windows XP SP2 work with AHCI?

If AHCI requires Windows XP SP3, can I install using my SP1/SP2 disk, and get SP3 after it's installed? Or do I have to use a SP3 disk?

Will warranties let you exchange the part, even if you're not sure there's nothing wrong with it, but you think there might be? And can you exchange it just so that you can get a newer revision?

If an SSD is put in a RAID with a traditional hard drive, will it be slower than just a single SSD?

If I get an uninterruptable power supply, would a RAMdisk be better than an SSD? And does anyone know of any real world tests comparing the two?