Feb 3, 2009
Hi folks. I'm about to build my second system ever and I'm in need of some help. I think I've got most of the components picked out but need a couple items finalized.

Here's what I'm keeping from my current system:
- SATA II hard drives
- 22" widescreen Samsung LCD monitor
- Speakers
- Keyboard & wireless mouse
- Gigabyte 3D Aurora chassis case
- CD/DVD burner
- floppy drive

I've spec'd out the following components to add: (Note, these are Canadian prices)

- PSU: http://www.canadacomputers.com/index.php?do=ShowProduct&cmd=pd&pid=020580&cid=PS.808 $108

- CPU Fan: http://www.canadacomputers.com/index.php?do=ShowProduct&cmd=pd&pid=020921&cid=FN.349 $70

- Vista: http://www.canadacomputers.com/index.php?do=ShowProduct&cmd=pd&pid=012532&cid=SW.815 $150

I had planned on the following but, after reading this forum's stickey, am now having second thoughts:

- Mobo: http://www.motherboards.org/reviews/...ds/1742_3.html $325

- CPU: http://www.canadacomputers.com/index.php?do=ShowProduct&cmd=pd&pid=019870&cid=CPU.84 $225

- RAM: http://www.canadacomputers.com/index.php?do=ShowProduct&cmd=pd&pid=015506&cid=RAM.346.673 $310

- Graphics Card: ???

I'm an average computer user who spends most of my time surfing the net and using basic apps like Office, Adobe, etc. The most graphics-intensive game I play is WoW.

I want the computer to last 3-5 years so upgradability is important. Generally I keep replacing components until I can't do it anymore or it's not worthwhile to do so. My current computer has been optimized with replacement components to the point it's no longer feasible to upgrade and it's about 4-5 years old.

Future adaptability has priority over super performance. I've never overclocked but I'm not adverse to trying it (so long as it's not overly complicated). I'm a multi-tasker on my computer.

Budget wise I'm looking at around $1500 Canadian.

I'm having second thoughts because 1) it's an X38 mobo and 2) DDR3 doesn't seem to get the best endorsement. The only reason I'm looking at a DDR3-compatible mobo is for future adaptability. I have a strong preference for Intel and Asus mobo. Oh yeah, I also have a strong preference for having one IDE slot on the mobo (which the model linked above does) as I have a couple IDE drives that I can still get some use out of.

If anyone can help it would be GREATLY appreciated!
The DDR3 that works with P5E3 may not work with a future board, so forget the adaptability. Not all DDR3 works with x58 boards even now.

Get a better CPU and a more reasonable board with DDR2-800.
E.g. GA-EP45-UD3P $184 + Q9550 $373
Video: WoW is not very demanding. This HD 4830 should be enough IMO:


OK, if Gigabyte won't do get the P5Q-E, $194

If your CD and floppy are both IDE, you probably won't be able to use any IDE HDDs. Most recent MBs allow two IDE devices.


Feb 3, 2009
Thanks! That's a good tip about needing the IDE for my CD/DVD burner and floppy drive; I hadn't considered that.

Is your suggestion a good build for upgrading over the next few years? My primary concern is upgradability; graphics and cost are secondary. I don't need the latest and greatest but I also want to be able to upgrade for at least 3 years. My current computer is 4-5 years old and I'm only replacing it because it can't be upgraded any further.
You can also buy an external DVD burner (but it costs tens of dollars more), and dump the floppy drive. That would free the IDE header for two IDE hard drives.


You would be able to add a second video card if you discover a graphics-intensive game that you like. The MB and PSU are ready for that.

You would be able to add hard drives or DVD burners up to a total of 8 SATA devices + 2 IDE devices.

You will NOT be able to buy a new CPU significantly faster than the Q9550 and put it in that motherboard. The $459 Q9650 and the $1816 QX9770 would be faster, but the difference is not worth the cost of the upgrade even if these CPUs become 50% cheaper by the time you want the upgrade.

On the other hand, the Q9550 is awesome and I don't think it will need replacing for the next 3 years. Also, if you learn to overclock you'll buy another year or two for free.

If you bite the bullet and get a Core i7 920/X58/DDR3 build you will end up with a little more speed, less bang for the buck, and still have an upgrade problem because LGA1366 is not guaranteed to last forever, just like LGA775 didn't. There's no guarantee at all that the CPUs made by Intel in 2011 will work in x58 motherboards.



Feb 3, 2009
Thanks for your help. It's appreciated!

Just a couple more questions...

I've never heard of that brand of RAM. I know Kingston and Corsair. Can you suggest one of those? Also, would it not be worth upgrading the RAM since the Mobo can support up to 1200? I'd be willing to spend another $50-60.

OCZ is one of the major RAM manufacturers. You can trust them. I'm using OCZ myself right now.

Here's a Corsair product:
$47 after rebate.

And a Kingston:

For overclocking, I believe the Kingston is the best, followed by the OCZ and then the Corsair. I'm just talking about these three models available at Canada Computers, not the brands in general. It's pretty hard to compare even specific models because they disclose timings at different voltages and it's not easily clear which is better. You can find the same models at Newegg and read user reviews, btw. Here's the page for the Kingston, for example:

To answer the part about upgrading the RAM: no, it's not worth it unless you look for a record high overclock. You may even have difficulty with DDR2 rated more than 800, because some times the motherboards don't recognize it.
+1 on the OCZ ram....I use them and love them.

If you have more IDE devices, you can buy a IDE add on card for about $10. You would probably want to put the optical devices on it before a HD for speed purposes.


Feb 3, 2009
Thanks guys. I'll stick with OCZ. I just didn't recognize it.

I'm a little surprised that the mobo might not recognize additional RAM speed though. It lists up to 1200. Why wouldn't it recognize that?