Build advice wanted


A

arthur.nudge

My old Win2k machine is finally dying, and so I'm fixing to build a
(mostly) new machine. I haven't done this for a while, so I was hoping
you might give this list a once-over and make sure it looks kosher.
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600
MB: Gigabyte GA-EP45T-UD3P
RAM: G.Skill 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600)
Power: CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V
Video: SAPPHIRE 100265L Radeon HD 4830 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express
2.0 x16 HDCP
HD: Western Digital Caviar SE WD3200AAJS 320GB 7200 RPM 8MB SATA

I'll keep my ATA/IDE optical drives, floppy drive, and 19-inch lcd DVI
monitor for the moment. And, of course, the old Antec Sonata case.
I'm planning on giving Win7 a spin on this machine.

My questions:
On newegg this prices out for $685, cheaper than a comparable system
from the local PC shop. $700 is my absolute budget limit. Am I getting
pretty good bang for my buck?
Am I using anything too dodgy/low quality? I want this PC to last for
a couple of years without needing a major upgrade.
I'm not a big gamer, and I don't plan on overclocking, so do I need to
upgrade the stock Intel heatsink?

Thanks for your help
--Art
 
Ad

Advertisements

D

Dave

My old Win2k machine is finally dying, and so I'm fixing to build a
(mostly) new machine. I haven't done this for a while, so I was hoping
you might give this list a once-over and make sure it looks kosher.
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600

Not a bad processor for a non-gaming system. But as you are on a strict
budget, I honestly think your money could be better spent on a Toliman. If
you got a Phenom 8750, you'd have the same clock speed with one less core.
You wouldn't notice a difference in performance at all. But the processor
alone would cost about $70 less. Then you could get a cheaper mainboard to
run it on, also. Something like:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128075
Which is about $40 less than the motherboard you chose below. Differences:
The one I linked above has two X16 PCI Express 2.0 slots (the one you chose
has two also, but they don't run X16 on both). Only other significant
difference is USB 2.0 support. Yours has 8 onboard, plus 2 connectors. The
one I linked to has 6 onboard, plus 4 connectors. (I'm going by memory
here, don't kill me if I'm wrong)
MB: Gigabyte GA-EP45T-UD3P

Not a bad choice for an Intel board. But as I stated earlier, you can save
a lot of money for no decrease (at all) in performance. Just switch to a
Phenom X3.
RAM: G.Skill 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600)

That is good RAM, but really pricy. If you do an AMD Phenom build, you can
save fifty bucks here, also:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231226
And that's assuming you want to stick with G.Skill (nothing wrong with
that!) I got a similar kit from OCZ for less than forty bucks!
Power: CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V

FINALLY!!! Someone who chooses a decent power supply. Great choice.
Video: SAPPHIRE 100265L Radeon HD 4830 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express
2.0 x16 HDCP

Also a GREAT choice.
HD: Western Digital Caviar SE WD3200AAJS 320GB 7200 RPM 8MB SATA

No problems here.
I'll keep my ATA/IDE optical drives, floppy drive, and 19-inch lcd DVI
monitor for the moment.

Good. You'll need the floppy drive to install windows, assuming you're
going to use that new SATA hard drive as a boot drive.

And, of course, the old Antec Sonata case.
I'm planning on giving Win7 a spin on this machine.

My questions:
On newegg this prices out for $685, cheaper than a comparable system
from the local PC shop. $700 is my absolute budget limit. Am I getting
pretty good bang for my buck?

IMHO, I think your original system is spending too much. If you go with the
substitutions I outlined above, you will get the same performance for about
$150 less. Or a total of about $535 on Newegg, though I didn't add it up.
Am I using anything too dodgy/low quality?

No. All your choices were good. But if you insist on going Intel with more
than two cores, it's going to add another ~$150 to your build price, for no
increase in performance.
I want this PC to last for
a couple of years without needing a major upgrade.

It would. And so would the similar Phenom system I suggested.
I'm not a big gamer, and I don't plan on overclocking, so do I need to
upgrade the stock Intel heatsink?

The stock Intel heatsink will work. The stock AMD heatsink that comes with
the Phenom 8750 is good too. There is a black edition of the 8750 (made for
overclocking). But you don't have to overclock it.
Thanks for your help
--Art

On a side note, I just built an almost identical system, but chose a Phenom
X4 9850. It kicks ass, dual booting XP and Vista. Don't know if I'll ever
try Win 7 on it. But even up to the point of ordering the components, I was
still torn between the 8750 and the 9850. I think I would have been happy
with either, actually. -Dave
 
A

arthur.nudge

Not a bad processor for a non-gaming system.  But as you are on a strict
budget, I honestly think your money could be better spent on a Toliman.  If
you got a Phenom 8750, you'd have the same clock speed with one less core..
You wouldn't notice a difference in performance at all.  But the processor
alone would cost about $70 less.  Then you could get a cheaper mainboard to
run it on, also.  Something like:http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128075
Which is about $40 less than the motherboard you chose below.  Differences:
The one I linked above has two X16 PCI Express 2.0 slots (the one you chose
has two also, but they don't run X16 on both).  Only other significant
difference is USB 2.0 support.  Yours has 8 onboard, plus 2 connectors. The
one I linked to has 6 onboard, plus 4 connectors.  (I'm going by memory
here, don't kill me if I'm wrong)
I'm open to doing the AMD chips, but I have now particular experience
with them. What I do know is that the most cpu-intensive thing I'll
be doing with the machine is re-encoding video/audio (Handbrake, LAME,
etc.). Is one going to be better than the other for that? Are there
any benchmarks you know of? Either will be a big huge improvement from
my old P4 1.2ghz processor I've got now.

Thanks for the help.
 
P

Paul

I'm open to doing the AMD chips, but I have now particular experience
with them. What I do know is that the most cpu-intensive thing I'll
be doing with the machine is re-encoding video/audio (Handbrake, LAME,
etc.). Is one going to be better than the other for that? Are there
any benchmarks you know of? Either will be a big huge improvement from
my old P4 1.2ghz processor I've got now.

Thanks for the help.

Tomshardware has charts. You have to use care interpreting the
results. I'm not convinced, in all cases, that things are
working properly on some of the benchmarks. They should really
have a short discussion on each chart, as to max cores the benchmark
uses, whether the performance meter runs flat out and so on. Being
able to reproduce their tests in your own home, would be nice to be
able to do as well. And that means speccing how each test was done,
exactly (software version, OS version, hardware used and so on).

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/desktop-cpu-charts-q3-2008/Premiere-Pro-CS3-HDTV,833.html

Paul
 
R

RobV

My old Win2k machine is finally dying, and so I'm fixing to build a
(mostly) new machine. I haven't done this for a while, so I was hoping
you might give this list a once-over and make sure it looks kosher.
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600
MB: Gigabyte GA-EP45T-UD3P
RAM: G.Skill 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600)
Power: CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V
Video: SAPPHIRE 100265L Radeon HD 4830 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express
2.0 x16 HDCP
HD: Western Digital Caviar SE WD3200AAJS 320GB 7200 RPM 8MB SATA

I'll keep my ATA/IDE optical drives, floppy drive, and 19-inch lcd DVI
monitor for the moment. And, of course, the old Antec Sonata case.
I'm planning on giving Win7 a spin on this machine.

My questions:
On newegg this prices out for $685, cheaper than a comparable system
from the local PC shop. $700 is my absolute budget limit. Am I getting
pretty good bang for my buck?
Am I using anything too dodgy/low quality? I want this PC to last for
a couple of years without needing a major upgrade.
I'm not a big gamer, and I don't plan on overclocking, so do I need to
upgrade the stock Intel heatsink?

Thanks for your help
--Art

Sounds like a very good system, especially for use with video
encoding/decoding/transcoding. Most of the programs for these tasks,
especially the open source ones, will make use of the multiple cores and
the Intel quad core CPU is an excellent choice. So is the video card: I
plan to get one myself.

I have a dual core Core2Duo E6600 system and it runs pretty well with
video tasks, especially since it's a 2.4 GHz CPU that I have overclocked
to 3 GHz just by setting the CPU bus to 333 MHz and it's rock solid
stable. The 6600 Quad CPU should overclock just as easily using the
same settings.

I agree with Dave concerning the memory. I have two 2 GB sticks of
Corsair DDR2 XMS 800 MHz memory installed, which cost me $30 after a
mail in rebate. Crucial is also good and so is G-Skill, for that
matter.

I'm not familiar with that motherboard, but if it takes DDR2 memory, it
will be much cheaper and very little difference in performance to use
DDR2 memory.
 
F

Fishface

RobV said:
I have a dual core Core2Duo E6600 system and it runs pretty well with video tasks, especially since it's a 2.4 GHz CPU
that I have overclocked to 3 GHz just by setting the CPU bus to 333 MHz and it's rock solid stable. The 6600 Quad CPU
should overclock just as easily using the same settings.

But he doesn't plan to overclock. I find 2.4 GHz painfully slow. I had one
for a while, also overclocked. It ran very hot. I now have a Q9550, which
runs much cooler. I say go with a 45 nM part. The Q9650 and Q9550 will
drop in price soon.
http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=51872
 
Ad

Advertisements

R

RobV

Fishface said:
But he doesn't plan to overclock. I find 2.4 GHz painfully slow. I
had one for a while, also overclocked. It ran very hot. I now
have a Q9550, which runs much cooler. I say go with a 45 nM part. The
Q9650 and Q9550 will drop in price soon.
http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=51872

Yeah, I missed that. Thank you. In that case, your suggestion for a 45
nm Quad CPU, the faster the better, would be the best way to go.
 
D

Dave

Not a bad processor for a non-gaming system. But as you are on a strict
budget, I honestly think your money could be better spent on a Toliman. If
you got a Phenom 8750, you'd have the same clock speed with one less core.
You wouldn't notice a difference in performance at all. But the processor
alone would cost about $70 less. Then you could get a cheaper mainboard to
run it on, also. Something like:http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128075
Which is about $40 less than the motherboard you chose below. Differences:
The one I linked above has two X16 PCI Express 2.0 slots (the one you chose
has two also, but they don't run X16 on both). Only other significant
difference is USB 2.0 support. Yours has 8 onboard, plus 2 connectors. The
one I linked to has 6 onboard, plus 4 connectors. (I'm going by memory
here, don't kill me if I'm wrong)

I'm open to doing the AMD chips, but I have now particular experience
with them.

I've built with just about every major CPU architecture ever released,
including cyrix (the old cyrix). I can sum up what an Intel guy would need
to build with an AMD CPU. The difference between AMD and Intel is that one
is marked AMD and the other is marked Intel. OK, that is a great
over-simplification, but essentially correct. At any given moment in time,
one or the other might be better in terms of cost or performance or
"bang/buck" or whatever. But in a few months, the situation will be
reversed. And then next year, it will reverse, AGAIN. But if you match
cores and clock speed, you're going to end up with a system that performs
virtually identical to a similar system made with the "OTHER" chip.

I don't know about the current AMD/Intel performance difference as far as
multimedia goes. What I do know is that, historically, AMD has been
preferred as far as video / audio work goes. Both AMD and Intel make great
chips, but video / audio encoding has (historically speaking) been one
function that has been handled particularly well by AMD chips.
What I do know is that the most cpu-intensive thing I'll
be doing with the machine is re-encoding video/audio (Handbrake, LAME,
etc.). Is one going to be better than the other for that? Are there
any benchmarks you know of? Either will be a big huge improvement from
my old P4 1.2ghz processor I've got now.

As someone else suggested, check charts at tomshardware or the like. But
speaking from experience, if you get a triple or quad-core CPU of about
2.4GHz or faster, you are going to LOVE it for video /audio encoding. Or
gaming or office apps. or whatever else you throw at it. And it's not going
to matter whether it's AMD or Intel. Both will work fine. As I said
before, I'd go the AMD route, just because in the performance range you are
aiming at, AMD is much cheaper, at the moment. -Dave
 
R

RobV

My old Win2k machine is finally dying, and so I'm fixing to build a
(mostly) new machine. I haven't done this for a while, so I was hoping
you might give this list a once-over and make sure it looks kosher.
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600
MB: Gigabyte GA-EP45T-UD3P
RAM: G.Skill 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600)
Power: CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V
Video: SAPPHIRE 100265L Radeon HD 4830 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express
2.0 x16 HDCP
HD: Western Digital Caviar SE WD3200AAJS 320GB 7200 RPM 8MB SATA

I'll keep my ATA/IDE optical drives, floppy drive, and 19-inch lcd DVI
monitor for the moment. And, of course, the old Antec Sonata case.
I'm planning on giving Win7 a spin on this machine.

My questions:
On newegg this prices out for $685, cheaper than a comparable system
from the local PC shop. $700 is my absolute budget limit. Am I getting
pretty good bang for my buck?
Am I using anything too dodgy/low quality? I want this PC to last for
a couple of years without needing a major upgrade.
I'm not a big gamer, and I don't plan on overclocking, so do I need to
upgrade the stock Intel heatsink?

Thanks for your help
--Art

Here's a web page with a x264 codec benchmark program you can use to
test your system's speed with encoding/decoding x264 video.

There is also a large data base entry with results from many different
systems, both AMD and Intel, overclocked and stock speeds, sorted by
performance and sorted by CPU name.
http://www.techarp.com/showarticle.aspx?artno=442&pgno=0#Results
 
F

Fishface

Paul said:

Impressive.

I just checked, and Gigabyte has an X58 motherboard for $200.
www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128375
Combined with a Core I7 920, that may be the better way to go.
But at this point, you've blown your budget, but not by too much.
Oh, and the board has a triple channel memory controller so
you'd need three of something. 3 x 1GB for a 32 bit operating
system is just perfect.

At the time I upgraded to the Q9550, I already had a motherboard
and RAM that I wanted to re-use. I don't mind a little overclocking,
Fry's had these for $230 with a free motherboard, and you
couldn't touch an X58 motherboard for less than $300. I weighed
the numbers chose the lesser.
 
Ad

Advertisements

A

arthur.nudge

And now for something completely different. I looked at my newegg
promo's again and came up with this amd build:
AMD Phenom 9950 Agena 2.6GHz $165
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103291
GIGABYTE GA-MA790GP-DS4H $140
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128352
CORSAIR XMS2 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 $58
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145229

With the same power supply, video card, and hard disc, this priced out
at $616.95

It seems broadly comparable to the Core 2 Quad build from my original
post, no?
 
F

Fishface

arthur.nudge said:
And now for something completely different. I looked at my newegg
promo's again and came up with this amd build:
AMD Phenom 9950 Agena 2.6GHz $165
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103291

I don't see any current deals on this processor. $5 off?
I'd rather see you get the Phenom II 920. There is a Newegg combo deal
with the same motherboard for $299. Better choice!
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=3492&p=1
With the same power supply, video card, and hard disc, this priced out
at $616.95

It seems broadly comparable to the Core 2 Quad build from my original
post, no?

With that slight modification, it sound like a plan!
 
A

arthur.nudge

I don't see any current deals on this processor.  $5 off?
I'd rather see you get the Phenom II 920.  There is a Newegg combo deal
with the same motherboard for $299.  Better choice!http://www.anandtech..com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=3492&p=1



With that slight modification, it sound like a plan!

Well, that combo deal clinched the deal. It came out at $606 with the
Phenom 2 920, which tomshardware.com benchmarked neck-and-neck with
the Core 2 Quad Q6600.

Thanks for the help, guys! I'll probably be back in a week or so when
I can't figure out how to put the thing together.
--Art
 
Ad

Advertisements

A

arthur.nudge

Built the PC yesterday, it was very easy, apart from getting the heat-
sink seated on the chip. Those little clips didn't want to go on very
easily.
And it was my first time working with SATA drives, and I can't tell
you how much I prefer not having to snake those horrible IDE cables
through the case.

Thanks again for the advice!
--Art
 

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Top