Raging but Economical PC Build

I have been selecting HP, Dell or MicroCenter components and having them build a PC for me for the past 15 years. I want to build from the ground up with my teenage sons. Budget is less than $1200 preferably. Roughly speaking I’m trying to put together a system that will run, say Halo 2, at full throttle and/or crunch the h**l out of audio/video conversions. Here’s how far I’ve gotten with Newegg:
ASUS P5Q Pro LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 Wolfdale 3.16GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80570E8500

OCZ Reaper HPC Edition 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2RPR8002GK – Retail

MSI N9600GT 512M OC GeForce 9600 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card ($99)
OCZ GameXStream OCZ700GXSSLI 700W ATX12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply
Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive (two of these)

Acer X193Wb Black 19" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor (1440x900)

LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model iHAS220-06
LITE-ON Black SATA DVD-ROM Drive Model iHDS118-04

ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro 92mm CPU Cooler - Retail
ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound
Microsoft Windows XP Home SP3 for System Builders - OEM

Here’s the questions:
I think I have the CPU and motherboard matched pretty well but I don’t get the matching up of the FSB numbers. Am I going to get any significant performance increase going to DDR2 1200 memory? How about 2gb vs. 4gb in an 32-bit XP machine?

I was also looking at something like the Intel Q6600 Quad core with compatible motherboard for the same price. The FSB is way slower as is the processor clock. Won’t the E8500/P5Q combo run way faster unless all 4 cores are running on the Q6600?

I know that the nVidia card is all wrong. I’ve only ever dealt with them so I have no idea how to get to something similar on the ATI side so I need some help there. I would like to be able to add a second card later when the games exceed the cards (1 or 2 years) so I know I need the Crossfire technology. Help?

I know that the power supply is probably over kill but Newegg has a great discount now and it will support the second graphics card option.

Thoughts, assistance and outright insults welcome. I have a EE degree so I’m really dangerous but I’ve never done a ground up build before.:o

Switch to the Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3R motherboard (better onboard components)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128359

Grab 4Gb of RAM (way more useful than 2Gb)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820146731

Radeon 4830 is way faster than 9600
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161260

Get a more “bang for the buck” case…
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119068

Dunno about the PSU, Seasonic is a safe buy otherwise
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151033

WD’s 640Gb drive a much better buy at about the same price
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136218

I would rather (personally) go for a plain burner by Pioneer instead of two optical units (you cannot copy on the fly reliably anyway).
Ditch the CPU cooler and compund, stock is actually okay…
Having that in mind you might save enough money on it to go for a Radeon 4850
//Danne

Thanks for the quick answer. So now I have more questions.

Motherboard–loses the second PCI2x16 slot so no second video card, right? I suppose I can count on buying 2x the card for 1/2 the price in 2 years anyway?

RAM - 4gB, check. No problem with DDR2 800 slowing down this system?

Case - Are two fans really enough? Heat is the enemy.

PSU - I’m maxing a 450W power supply with less system, I think I like the overkill. Of course, if no second card, I can probably back down some.

HDD - Good call. I sometimes get Seagate blindness.

ODD - It’s not so much on the fly as doing so much reading & burning, I like to split it up to lower the duty cycle and give 'em a chance to cool. I’ve got Lite-on blindness, too.

Video - Thanks for getting me in the neighborhood on the Radeon GPU numbers.

Correct no SLI (doesnt work with nVidia anyway), if you need a faster card later on you will most likely replace it anyway due newer DirectX hardware etc

No, PC6400 will do fine

No problems with heat regarding the case

A 430W will work fine, but as I said… the OCZ might be a good one but I’m not sure…

Dual ODDs are just a waste of money but oh well…
//Danne

Doesn’t the ATI Crossfire allow for multiple video cards?
The GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail is actually a couple bucks cheaper after rebate and supports PCI 2.0 x 16 x 2 slots.

The OCZ came well recommended, especially for the price and, again, supports Crossfire.

As far as the dual ODD’s, to each his own, I guess. I do see your point, wear one unit out and then buy newer 2 years from now.

Anyway, using your recommendations (except ODD), I am at $1100.

With this video upgrade:
HIS Hightech H485FN512P Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail

I’m at $1212 to Newegg and that is B4 the $40 of MIB.:bow:

Ahh, go for the UD3P then (missed it) :slight_smile:
Yes, Crossfire SLI is supported
//Danne

It’s easy to do because sometimes is seems like Newegg has too many options (did I just say that?:doh:)

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail is $12 more after considering MIB on both.

Thanks for the heads up on Mushkin RAM. I never would have considered it but once I started looking around, it looks like it will overclock very nicely on this MOBO and everyone seems to rave about it just like the OCZ.

Can you give me a Pioneer ODD model that you like? If I drop the extra ODD, and chuck the aftermarket fan and wireless keyboard/mouse, I think I can get to about $1100-$1150 shipped.

Thanks again for all your help I was going to PM you because I read quite a few threads with your great advice. Hopefully eric93se and jhtalisman will stop by and put in their $0.02 worth. That’s why I love CDFreaks.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827129032
//Danne

If your going to spend a $144.00 on this

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161259

I would purchase this. It will only cost $10.00 more in the end.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161244

:cool::cool:

[QUOTE=DiiZzY;2192844]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827129032
//Danne[/QUOTE]Unfortunately, I’m married to the LightScribe.

[QUOTE=platinumsword;2192862]I would purchase this. It will only cost $10.00 more in the end.http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161244[/QUOTE]Very nice. I need to spend some more time poking around on Newegg now that I’ve got some new ideas. Also, it looks like I need to spend some time in the CD and DVD Burners forum. My last considered buy was a Benq DW1655:iagree:.

P.S. I’m looking hard at that Coolermaster case. Do you think that the rear I/O panel is removable so it can be replaced with the plate that comes with the Gigabyte MOBO. Otherwise, it’s gonna be drill and file cuz that stock plate ain’t matchin up.

Benq DW1655 :iagree:

You will have no problems with the I/O plate being removed.

I know you have a budget, but for future considerations if you decide to goto a crossfire setup you might want to consider a full tower case. You will probably fine things a little tight. Take you time and use good cable management with the case.

:cool::cool:

[QUOTE=platinumsword;2192974]Benq DW1655 :iagree:

You will have no problems with the I/O plate being removed.

I know you have a budget, but for future considerations if you decide to goto a crossfire setup you might want to consider a full tower case. You will probably fine things a little tight. Take you time and use good cable management with the case.

:cool::cool:[/QUOTE]DW1655 Yes! Thank you so much for the confirm on the I/O plate. The CoolerMaster site and docs are a little slim on info.

Considering some of the 10lbs. of feces crammed into a 5lb. box that we do at the electronics mfg. where I work, shoving another copy of that 4850 IceQ4 (anything Icy must be good!) into that case will be like taking a smoke break.

Of course, the two board Crossfire thing is just a little bit of future proofing. By the time I need the extra GPU capability I’ll probably be able to buy a 4870x2 2GB for $169.

I doubt you’ll use crossfire but even if you do a midi will be fine but may feel a bit cramped although a friend of mine uses a midi with crossfire without any issues…

@ platinumsword
That overclocked card is like 1-2% faster which I would say is not worth it at all…
//Danne

I’m willing to spend a little bit of money now to get more bang for the buck in the future. Plus, I’ve always wanted to parallel up a pair of video cards just for the fun of it.

I’m sure you can overclock the stock 4850 card and get the same performance as the upgrade. However, I see one distinct advantage to the IceQ4 card: it exhausts itself out the back of the case in slot below the card. That huge exposed fan on the less expensive card scares me.

Both will do fine but its up to you :slight_smile:
//Danne

For $10.00 more, getting a slight edge in performance and the card’s ability to exhaust out the rear instead of inside the case is worth it. The more heat dispersion out of the case the better.

:cool::cool:

[QUOTE=platinumsword;2193778]The more heat dispersion out of the case the better.[/QUOTE]My thought exactly. You get an extra exhaust fan [I]and[/I] no heat penalty for the video card. In addition, I think that style card is a double bonus, in both space and heat removal, if I want to Crossfire a second card in there.

I have been looking at the review of the Gigabyte mobo on hardwarecanucks and I have some questions on memory latency, timing and clock speeds and how to get the most bang for the buck and not bottleneck that mobo/cpu combo. I’ll put something up tomorrow cuz right now I’ve got a Cuban Cohiba/Crown Royal buzz and I’m done.

The linked memory above has enough bandwidth
//Danne

Okay I’m here //cracks knuckles, neck// :stuck_out_tongue:

$1200, we can do that :smiley:

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard
Intel Core2 Quad Q9400 2.66GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core because you can :iagree:
Acer X223Wbd Black 22" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor DVI input, good reviews.
XFX HD-485X-YDFC Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card XFX makes good cards, they have just entered the ATI card field, nothing to be afraid of, it exhausts too, better price.
PC Power & Cooling S61EPS 610W Continuous @ 40°C EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified good price with rebate, good reviews, efficient.
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 G.skill makes great ram, good price too.
COOLER MASTER Elite RC-332-KKN1-GP Black SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive Qty 2
SAMSUNG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model SH-S223Q I use my samsung more than my Pio. but they are all good now.
LITE-ON Black 6X Blu-Ray DVD ROM & 16X DVD±R DVD Burner SATA Model iHES106-29

$1242-$55rebates. ~$1187

[QUOTE=Icy Mt.;2194577]

I have been looking at the review of the Gigabyte mobo on hardwarecanucks and I have some questions on memory latency, timing and clock speeds and how to get the most bang for the buck and not bottleneck that mobo/cpu combo. I’ll put something up tomorrow cuz right now I’ve got a Cuban Cohiba/Crown Royal buzz and I’m done.[/QUOTE]

Not really an issue with the C2D cpu’s nowadays, its more cpu clock speed. You won’t see a speed difference between a 1066 fsb cpu and a 1333mhz fsb cpu. Also the difference between CL5 and CL4 ram is not noticable.

You can OC the Q9400 to 3.0Ghz easily with the stock cooler, you can set the fan speed to 100% or whatever and it shouldn’t be noticable. Use some MX-2 or IC Diamond 7 Carat Thermal Compound