System for the wife


Aug 1, 2009
Hi everyone, I am looking to build a general use system for my wife. I would like it to have great performance, but it doesn't have to be a graphics powerhouse that can run Crysis full out. Our son will probably do some gaming on it, but I will be making an actual gaming rig sometime in the future to handle those tasks. Just getting my feet wet again with this build.

I have not built a system for a good six years now and have been researching the last couple weeks to get myself back up to speed. Looking to you guys for a sanity check and to let me know if there are compatibility/reliability issues or if you have any suggestions.

Overall build requirements, in order of importance, are:
■Small, elegant case
■Quiet operation
■Snappy performance
■Data redundancy on storage drives

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: As soon as the various components are in stock (Intel G2 SSD and Lian-li case).

BUDGET RANGE: No limit really, but I do look at bang for buck.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Web surfing, email, Microsoft Office, digital camera photo manipulation and storage

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: LCD monitor, Keyboard, Mouse, Netgear wireless b/g router, OS will initially be Windows 7 RC


PARTS PREFERENCES: I have used Lian Li cases in the past, but am open to suggestions.


MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1600 x 1200 (Dell UltraSharp 2007FP 20")

Comments: I have included a modular power supply to help keep things clean inside the case. Other components were chosen based upon quietness and low heat generation & power consumption. I do know that the SSD has a poor cost vs. size ratio, but am willing to pay to get the extra responsiveness.

Here's what I have come up with thus far:

LIAN LI PC-A05B Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3R LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail

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

Noctua NH-U12P 120mm SSO CPU Cooler - Retail

SeaSonic M12II SS-500GM 500W ATX12V 2.2 /EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail

SAPPHIRE 100255HDMI Radeon HD 4670 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card - Retail

Primary hard drive
Intel X25-M Mainstream SSDSA2MH080G2C1 2.5" 80GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid state disk (SSD) - Retail

with a:
SilverStone SDP08 3.5" to 2 x 2.5" Bay Converter - Retail

Storage hard drives
QTY 2 in RAID 1
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM

Optical drive
SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 22X DVD-R 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner LightScribe Support - OEM

Wireless card
D-Link WDA-1320 IEEE 802.11b/g 32-bit PCI Wireless G Desktop Adapter Up to 54Mbps Data Rates 64/128-bit WEP Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) - Retail

Sound card
Motherboard integrated sound

Total cost: $1105

Power requirements: 262 watts (according to this)

Thanks for any comments or suggestions!


Nov 2, 2008
This will be one of the highest quality surfing machines ever seen. The stock HSF should be quiet enough for you since you're running at stock speeds. And since you are not overclocking or doing multiple cards, the P45 will be overkill. A g41 would fit the bill if it has the connections for drives you need. Also, if you want a smaller case, look at micro ATX boards and case. Performance wise, I don't know that the money your spending on the SSD and HDDs will be of any real benefit.

I know you want to do the build yourself, but for the purpose of the system and what you are spending, you can get a whole lot more Bang for the Buck buying a prebuilt system and add a backup drive/GPU after the fact.


Aug 1, 2009
Thanks for taking a look skora. I will loose Notua HSF and use the stock Intel one as suggested.

I took a look at the G41 chipset boards and as far as I can tell they don't have RAID support built in?
Your build looks good as is.

For an alternative, consider one of Antec's cases in white. I once built a P150(antec Solo) in white and the case looked stunning. It is now currently known as the Antec designer 500, meaning that it comes with Antec's earthwatts 500 PSU.

Or... how about the mini P180, possibly in white?
It is a micro ATX case, so you would use a micro atx P45 board such as this:

I might take issue with the two raid-1 drives.
The value of raid-1 for protecting data is that you can recover from a hard drive failure quickly.
It is for servers that can't afford any down time.
Recovery from a hard drive failure is just moments.
Fortunately hard drives do not fail often.
Mean time to failure is claimed to be on the order of 1,000,000 hours.(100 years)
Raid-1 does not protect you from other types of losses such as viruses,
software errors,raid controller failure, operator error, or fire...etc.
For that, you need EXTERNAL backup.
If you have external backup, and can afford some recovery time, then you don't need raid-1.

---good luck---

Addendum: Keep the oem cpu cooler. With a larger 120mm fan, it will keep your quieter as well as cooler.

You might consider the HIS 4670 which has a dual slot cooler that will do a better job of getting the hot vga air out of the case instead of letting it recirculate:


Aug 1, 2009
Yeah, I know the performance is overkill for basic computer usage, but I would like it to have some flexibility, longevity and I am just plain old curious to see how the new SSDs perform when doing every day tasks. I can always move the SSD to whatever high performance rig I make in the future if I don't think it is worthwhile in this system.

As far as getting 'bang for the buck', I am not trying to get the cheapest system I can here. I meant, for example, that I wouldn't see the value in spending $1000 on a i975 when you can get a i920 for $200 to $300.


Aug 1, 2009
Thanks geofelt. The Mini P180 looks like it has a well designed interior cooling-wise. I'll add that as an alternative and see which my wife likes better.

Regarding RAID-1, I have had a few drives fail over the last decade. Some failed catastrophically, and others gave a lot of warning. I just dreaded hearing the old, "click... click... click..." noise of impending doom. What would you suggest using as external backup? That is one thing I have zero knowledge of.

Any ideas of how loud that HIS card is? Exhausting the heat locally there does sound like a good idea.

I put a spare hard drive in a rosewill external enclosure:

I plug it in to a usb port when I want to do incremental backups. The external drive does not need to be as large, because the data will be compressed.
Use a program like Acronis true image to do an image copy of the drive, then do incrementals to catch the changed data as needed.

I do not have experience with the HIS cooler on the 4670. But based on experience with other Nvidia dual slot coolers, I won't buy a vga card without one. Noise will come from increased fan speed, and there are ways to control that. Getting the heat out directly reduces the cooling load(for the cpu also), and the requirement for a high fan speed.

For good info on quiet computing, go to


Jun 28, 2009
For a machine used for surfing the web thats a bit overkill in my opinion, I'd get something like a e5200 or even a phenom 550 and make the system futureproof (intel p45 is a dead socket everyone knows that). If this system isn't going to be pushed why bother putting components that are not going to be stressed. Waste of money! :)

As someone else mentioned too, use the stock HSF unless you fancy overclocking which again wouldn't be nessecary for the things your system will be used for.