Planning a homebuild, looking for advice

mhill0531

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Budget = USD $1600.

Gaming = yep, I am a gamer, not the bleeding edge "my FPS is teh r0XX0rz" that requires liquid nitrogen to cool my overclocking, but I do play shooters and a lot of online graphic heavy stuff.

Requirements:

1) Want to get 3 years minimum with the only upgrade being a new video card when the DirectX 10 thing settles down, maybe in a year or so. Maybe I drop in some more RAM at some point.

2) Must be Intel C2D, and must have 2 Gb DDR2. I was thinking DDR2-800 because this forum and other forums on overclocking have the DDR2-800 as the best memory to match with an E6300/6400 OC build.

3) Want to overclock to a nice stable speed, but don't want to get into a liquid cooling rig, so I want to have a rig that can run air cooled with a good HSF setup, but still push good speed.

OK, so right now I have the following list, and I am hoping some folks around here can help me get the most for my $1600. So any and all advice is appreciated...

CPU = Intel C2D E6400

Memory = thinking Corsair DDR2-800 4-4-4-12, but am willing to hear any advice on why I should go with another brand.

MB = Considering the Asus P5W DH, and am typically brand loyal to Asus, but MSI and Gigabyte both make a good C2d capable MB that is good for OC, so I'd like to hear some debate here, since this is the one part that always makes me 2nd guess myself the most.

HDD = Seagte 300Gb SATA. I don't really need a lot of hard drive space, and I currently have 70 Gb remaining on a 120 Gb hard drive I've been using for almost 4 years. So I might come down form this if the savings gets me better components elsewhere.

PSU = I figure 600W would be good for existing video cards, and hopefully still work for the DX10 monsters that will be coming out in the next year, but I could ramp this up, since swapping PSUs is a pain and I'd like to just build once and only swap the card when the time comes.

Video card = Right now, it might be a GeForce 7900GT, but I am not decided firmly, and any suggestions would be welcomed. Remember, I plan to upgrade in about a year, and I am running right now on 128Mb AGP (can't even recall what card I am running), so I don't need the X1950 XTX or anything, since I see the price of that and every other card dropping.

No monitor, speakers needed, and I would be fine with onboard audio, since I am not the bleeding edge type for sound, and most games don't require going crazy with sound cards. Also, no wireless needed, since I am 3' from my DSL router, and I like using cables over wireless anyway.

So there it is. My wife is fine with $1600 as a budget, and I think I have some good ideas, but feel free to conjure a configuration. The only non-negotiable things are core 2 duo and at least 2Gb of RAM.

Thanks in advance for all advice/suggestions.
 

purdueguy

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Looks good. Couple of questions.

What's the total of all that stuff. Seems to me you'd be able to afford an E6600 with that budget.

Do you need WIFI with a mobo? I think an ASUS P5B-E will be sufficient for your needs. Though check out the Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 or ABIT AB9 Pro. They are all good mobos.

What is the name brand of the 600W PSU. Stay away from RAIDMAX. I've read where people buy the 600W PSU and it ends up smoking and creating havoc on their new system. Definitely don't skimp here.

As far as video card is concerned. The X1950Pro is not ony faster but cheaper than the 7900GT. Read this. Though the 7900GT does beat the X1950Pro in a few games, so you might want to get it depending on what games you play. Though, if you play Oblivion, the X1950Pro is definitely the card to get.

What about a case? Picked one out yet?
 

mhill0531

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Looks good. Couple of questions.

What's the total of all that stuff. Seems to me you'd be able to afford an E6600 with that budget.
I am running at about $1500 with all the parts I had picked out, and I might jump up to the E6600 or even E6700 if I can get away with it.
Do you need WIFI with a mobo? I think an ASUS P5B-E will be sufficient for your needs. Though check out the Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 or ABIT AB9 Pro. They are all good mobos.
No WiFi needed. Just want the best bang for the buck for a C2D that I will overclock.
What is the name brand of the 600W PSU. Stay away from RAIDMAX. I've read where people buy the 600W PSU and it ends up smoking and creating havoc on their new system. Definitely don't skimp here.
ThermalTake 600W PSU. I definitely refuse to skimp here, given 20 years in the electronic maintenance and PC repair world, I know all about the need for rock solid power supplies.
As far as video card is concerned. The X1950Pro is not ony faster but cheaper than the 7900GT. Read this. Though the 7900GT does beat the X1950Pro in a few games, so you might want to get it depending on what games you play. Though, if you play Oblivion, the X1950Pro is definitely the card to get.
Good call. I will look into the X1950 Pro.
What about a case? Picked one out yet?
This is tough, because I like lots of empty space for airflow and extra fans, but I can't really justify a full tower since I will have one HDD, a DVD-R, and a DVD player, and would only really be buying it to have lots of empty space. I don't need fancy graphics or side panels or whatever, just a nice midtower case with easy removal of side panel, and preferably a side panel fan. Looked at the Thermal Take and Antec lineups, and still deciding.

Thanks for your input.
 

purdueguy

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Breaking down the list:

E6400 - $220
PSU - There's 2 600W Thermaltake models. I'm assuming you are getting the Toughpower for $119 after MIR?
Memory - Corsair is good but it's way overpriced. This G.Skill is 50 bucks cheaper here, for $240.
Mobo: You can read this thread, here. I'd save the 30 bucks and get the P5B-E over the deluxe version to get yourself a better case. And you'd be saving 70 dollars overall compared to the mobo you picked out. I'd say either of these 2 boards is best bang for the buck.
Hard Drive: Seagate Barricuda 7200.10 320GB Perpendiculare Drive - $95
Video Card: X1950Pro - $199

I'm only getting a total of $1038 with the above components. You can easily get a E6600 for $97 bucks more. Getting the e6700 isn't worth the cost. You can OC the E6600 almost just as well. They both have 4MB cache.

And a very good mid-tower case would be the Lian-Li B20B. Though for this kind of money you might find a good full tower that you like. The Antec P180B is popular and Antec just released the nine hundred, here.

There's plenty of full size Thermaltake Cases under the price of that Lian-Li B20B. Here's the link to all of the full size cases. I'm sure you've been there but I submit it for your convenience.

Even spending 200 bucks on a case will bring your system up to $1335 with the E6600. This leaves you with 265 bucks for optical drives and other misc. stuff.
 

zoridon

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I'd go with 2 gigs of low latency ddr2 667 ram and use the saved money for the E6600. Most people will agree on this forum they are able to get ddr2 800 speeds easily with this ram. PQI DDR2 had been mentioned in other threads as well. For a vid card might want to look at the 1900xt 256 meg vid card if you can find it for $250-$275 range. or the eva superclocked 7950gt 512 going for around $280 on newegg. The reviews show it as a fairly quite card for its speed. This would definatly get you over till DX10 cards second generation is out. A thread was posted af days ago about a 3 plus gigz system put together for $637 without monitor or keyboard ect using a E6300. Cant find the thread right now but someone else can point it out who is more familiar. I'l be getting my first DX10 card next christmas like you have in mind to save on the innitial price shock.
 

purdueguy

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The memory I mentioned has a CAS latency of 4 and runs at 800.

The PQI memory you mention also has a CAS latency of 4 but it's at 667 speeds like you say.

If I am not mistaken, when you try to overclock the PQI memory you have to loosen the timings and the CAS latency ends up being 5. So you are not gaining anything other than saving some money over other memory that's at 800 and with a CAS latency of 5.

Now, if the timing can remain the same at 4 and it goes to 800, then getting the PQI memory and saving another 40 bucks would be worth it.
 

Talon

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Have read a few reviews on the Crucial anniversary edition PC-5300 2gig kit. It has latency 3 at stock and couple sites have clocked to DDR2800 still at 4 timings. It only saves like $10 bucks on newegg tho so I suppose its a tossup. But still thats 10 more bucks for other components.
 

purdueguy

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That one I would agree with. I was talking specifically about the PQI Turbo ones.

Anyway, with a CAS of 3 on the Crucial Anniversay, why even bother OC'ing. I can't find the article right now, but I could of sworn that DDR2 667 at CAS latency 3 performs almost as well as DDR2 800 at CAS latency of 4.

EDIT: I was wrong. Here's a good article on the Crucial Anniversary sticks. 800 at CAS of 4 is better than 667 at 3. And heck, you don't have to stop there.
 

mhill0531

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OK, updated list and prices...

mobo: Asus P5B-E = $165

CPU: E6600 = $315

RAM: Corsair DDR2-800, 4-4-4-12 = $315

Vid card: X1950 Pro = $215

HDD: Seagate Barracuda 320 Gb Perpendicular = $100

Case: = ThermalTake Armor VA8000BWS Full Tower = $150

PSU: = ThermalTake ToughPower 600W = $125

HSF: Scythe Infinity = $60
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Current total = $1,445.

I have a DVD reader, floppy, backup HDD, 6 piece Altec surround speakers, keyboard and mouse, so all I need to add are fans and a DVD burner, which I think $150 should accomplish, and I should be able to easily overclock this rig comfortably to the 3.2-ish range, with cool running stability.

The only remaining question is the RAM. Lots of opinions about not spending the money on Corsair, or using DDR2-800, so before tomorrow, I'll read whatever replies I get, but I am leaning that way since going cheap on RAM has cost me in the past, and not only will my games be pushing the memory, but so will overclocking.
 

mhill0531

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And now that I read the Crucial articles, it seems as if DDR2-667 @ 3-3-3-12 for $230 may be the way. Which would leave me with enough money to drop a silly video card into the box and let me sit pat for a good 18 months or so.

Memory is such a pain to choose. :?
 

purdueguy

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Where are you ordering the parts from? Here's some suggestions to save you a few bucks.

Newegg just dropped the price on the Corsair DDR2 800 Cas latency 4 memory sticks. It stands at $300 with a $40 MIR. Now, comparitively speaking, it's a deal with memory prices now-a-days.

And you can get the X1950Pro at zipzoomfly for $199. Just be sure to not get the ASUS one. No VIVO and more importantly no connector for Xfire.

The hard drive at Newegg is selling for $95 with free shipping.

These 3 component prices alone save you another $76 which will help pay for the cooler. Infinity, Ninja. Ninja, Infinity. I found the Ninja to be cheaper of the 2 at directron for $56. And I read where the Ninja was better but at low air volumes. This was done to minimize noise.

Looks like you're set.
 

mhill0531

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I didn't include mail in rebates, which I think is roughly $80 for all the parts I listed. I am pretty sure we are looking at the same deal on the Corsair RAM. With rebates (and some sweet talk to the wife) I think I can up the video card as well.

Good times. :D
 

SPARTAN-117

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Here's what I have for you. Now even though in my opinion you should go with AMD, I'll try to lay out a good C2D system.

HDD: 150 gb Raptor $263
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=101257-316604

CPU: Intel C2D E6400 $220
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819115004

HSF for CPU: Thermaltake Blue Orb II $38
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16835106069

MOBO: ASUS P5N-SLi nForce 570 $108
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813131032

RAM: 2 Kingston Value RAM DDR2-667 1gb kits $238 for 2 kits
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=85023-3

VGA: BFG GeForce 7900GT $290
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814143048

Sound Card: Creative Labs SBA 4 $72
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16829102004

DVD Drive: Lite-On 16x Dual Layer DVD Drive $42
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=170677

FDD: Samsung FDD $7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16821103203

Case: Antec Solution ATX Mid Tower $55
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811129152

PSU: PC Power & Cooling 510w continuous (650 w max) PSU $220
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817703001

Total Cost: $1553

The Antec case might require some aftermarket fans, but I dare say this is a killer setup with plenty of upgrade room both on the PSU an MOBO. Not bad for an AMD guy's attempt at laying out an Intel system. 8)

----------------------

My System:

AMD 64 X2 3800+ OC'ed to 2.2 Ghz, BFG 7900 GTX 512 mb OC'ed, ASUS A8N-SLi Deluxe, 2 Gb Kingston Value RAM CAS Latency 2.5-3-3-6, Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy 4, Westen Digital 74 Gb Ratop ADFD, 2x Western Digital 250 Gb Caviar SE, 3x Thermaltake Hardcano 14 HDD coolers, Thermaltake Blue Orb II CPU cooler, Zalman VF-Cu 900 Blue LED VGA cooler, Thermaltake Extreme Spirit Northbridge cooler, and a PC Power & Cooling 510w PSU.
 

mhill0531

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OK, bought everything and here's the final parts list:

mobo: Gigabyte DQ6 = $240. (I bought this at a local store, as I wanted easy exchange process if it malfunctions, so I paid about $30 more than I should have, bleh)

CPU: E6600 = $310

RAM: Corsair DDR2-800, 4-4-4-12 = $280

Vid card: X1950 Pro = $220

HDD: Seagate Barracuda 320 Gb Perpendicular = $95

Case: Antec P180 = $140

PSU: = ThermalTake ToughPower 700W = $120

HSF: Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro = $35 (easy HSF to install and still leave the mobo heatsinks installed)

OS: Windows XP SP2 w/Vista upgrade coupon = $120 (never bought my own copy of Windows, so I figured I'd finally get legal and all that)

DVD-RW: Lite-On 18x DVD-RW = $30
---------------------------------

Final total = $1590

Just waiting on my ordered parts to finish the build.

I love the Antec case, and added an extra 120mm and an 80mm to the video card fan exhaust. So I have (1) 140mm fan, (3) 120mm fans, and the little 80mm sitting right over the vid card.

Once it's all together, I'll follow wusy's guide to overclocking C2D, and share all my results. I think I'll do fine.
 

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