Building a new PC — How are these specs?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by steelphantom, Dec 4, 2007.

  1. steelphantom macrumors 6502a

    steelphantom

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2005
    #1
    First of all, thanks to everyone who posted in my graphics card thread. I've decided to go with the passively-cooled 8600GT. i've spent some time looking on Newegg and have come up with the following parts list:

    Case - Coolermaster Centurion 5 CAC-T05 Black/Silver (50.00)
    Power Supply - Antec EarthWatts (50.00)
    CPU - AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ (85.00)
    Hard Drive - Seagate Barracuda 250GB SATA (65.00)
    Motherboard - GIGABYTE GA-M61P-S3 (75.00)
    Video Card - GIGABYTE GeForce 8600GT (113.00)
    RAM - A-DATA 2GB (48.00)
    Optical Drive - Samsung SATA DVD/CD Burner (32.00)
    Monitor - Dell S199WFP (183.00)
    Total - $701.00

    I made a Google Spreadsheet of these parts, so you can click on the parts' names to get to the associated product pages.

    Basically, I want to use this computer for a lot of different things, including Windows development using Visual Studio, audio recording, and some gaming (games like Battlefield 2/2142, Call of Duty 1/2/4, etc.). Will this be a good rig, or are there a few components that might work better? Will I run into any compatibility issues between components?

    Thanks again to everyone for your help! :)
     
  2. chewietobbacca macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    #2
    Good choices. If you are interested in saving a few bucks, here's a few other suggestions:

    Get the AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+ Brisbane 2.1Ghz processor for $61.99 and save $23:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103774

    The difference between the 4400+ and 4000+ cannot justify the $23 difference in price IMO and you can overclock the 4000+ to 3.0Ghz if you want to with stock cooling. Certainly 2.6GHz+ is easily done.

    If you wait for a good deal, you can get an Centurion 5 for massive discounts (hell they had them for $5 after rebate two weeks ago). Also, shop around for good price deals on computer cases - they are often giving them away, and places like BestBuy and Fry's often put cases on clearance at near give-away prices. Centurion 5 is a solid case though, I have one w/ a modded window that I gave to my brother recently.

    For instance, here is one (from ClubIT, which is a very reliable/reputeable store btw). Cooler Master RC 534 for $10.50 after rebates:
    http://www.clubit.com/product_detail.cfm?itemno=A1306534

    Antec Earthwatts is usually a solid PSU but if you are willing to fork over a few more dollars, get a Corsair 450VX 450W power supply for $64.99 after rebate: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139003&Tpk=corsair+450w

    Or a PC Power & Cooling 470W Silencer PSU for $69 if you don't like rebates: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817703011

    Both companies have excellent PSU lines and will likely be very reliable for many years.

    As far as graphics card, if you want to buy a 8600GT passive then by all means do so. I would honestly suggest the ATI 3850 for gaming w/ BF2/2142 or COD 1/2/4 because the 8600GT will probably have shortcomings in maxing out those games while the 3850 will be 2-4x faster than the 8600GT for only $50 more: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Description=ATI+3850&x=0&y=0

    The MSI one is $169. Also, there's a rumored $20 price drop to $159 for most of the cards. They often get bundled with a game, such as the Gigabyte 3850 w/ Neverwinter Nights 2: http://www.gigabyte-usa.com/Product...e=VGA&ProductID=2623&ProductName=GV-RX385256H
    Or Asus with Company of Heroes - Opposing Fronts: http://usa.asus.com/products.aspx?l1=2&l2=8&l3=602&l4=0&model=1966&modelmenu=1

    Anyways, I'd really suggest getting an ATI 3850 if you want to do some gaming and this card will not be outdated as fast as the 8600GT will be/already is.

    So your total increase in cost if you get the 3850 + a slightly beefier PSU but a cheaper case and CPU will be nearly a wash - maybe $20 more at most. Sweet deal and rig by the way. There should be no compatibility issues at all - just make sure you install the latest drivers once you install and update the OS and you shouldn't have a problem at all.


    A few good Holiday buyer guides from Anandtech:
    Cases, Power Supplies, Storage:
    http://www.anandtech.com/guides/showdoc.aspx?i=3163

    CPU, GPU, RAM:
    http://www.anandtech.com/guides/showdoc.aspx?i=3157
     
  3. chewietobbacca macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    #3
    I dont know if anyone has tried it on an AMD platform but since they're still x86 and Leopard can be installed on an Intel platform, it'll probably work too ;)

    Also for the OP: Found the Antec Earthwatts 500W PSU for $34.99 after rebate at Newegg right now: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371007

    Pretty killer deal IMO. Again, that's a sweet rig - 5 months ago, for the same power, your rig would have cost $1100 probably. Heck, a year ago, for the power of the 3850 you'd need to drop $500+ on the video card alone...
     
  4. steelphantom thread starter macrumors 6502a

    steelphantom

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2005
    #4
    Thanks for the help, chewietobbacca! I guess I'll go with the Athlon 4000+ instead of the 4400+, because, as you said, the only difference is .2 gHz clock speed, which isn't a big deal. The 500W earthwatts power supply seems like a good deal, but in the interested of energy efficiency, I'd like to stay with a lower-wattage PSU. Will 380 watts be enough to power everything in this system?
     
  5. I'm a Mac macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    #5
    I don't know much about building computers, but why not get an intel core 2 duo? (I figure apple uses them, so they must be OK)
     
  6. steelphantom thread starter macrumors 6502a

    steelphantom

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2005
    #6
    Intel Core 2 Duos are really nice, but they're a lot more expensive in general than the AMD Athlon 64 X2 processors.
     
  7. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    #7
    400-450w is the sweet spot. 380w will severely limit your upgradability, if it even works with that processor and video card. Dual core processor plus lowend modern gaming video card on less than 400w sounds iffy.
     
  8. skuzzy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2007
    Location:
    Cape Town, SA
    #8
    I would not even consider AMD right now. Intel Core2Duos have the best price to performance ratio. Seriously, take a look at and Intel chip then motherboard and RAM to go with it. It will perform much better.

    I will find some good hardware for you later when I have time.
     
  9. chewietobbacca macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    #9
    While 380W can power a lot of systems, PSU efficiency is not based on power output. You only use as much power as your system needs.

    So me having a 1500W PSU is only going to draw 400W from the wall for my system just as a 600W PSU would as well. However, what is key to note is that the 400W draw is 2/3 of the 600W's capacity while the it is ~20-30% of the 1500W's PSU, meaning I am stressing out the 1500W PSU far less than the 600W PSU, which also in all likelihood means more heat which means shorter lifespan.

    However, to draw 400W from the wall, you'll need a lot of fans + highest end video card + be at full load + overclocked quad core to reach it. My 3.6 GHz quad w/ overclocked 8800Ultra only draws 320 from the wall.

    Personally the 500W would give you more breathing room *BUT* you system might not even draw more than 220W from the wall at full load, which is enough for your system since you won't be drawing much power in the first place so a 380W may work as well.

    As for AMD vs. Intel, well if his price range is for a CPU + Motherboard at $120, it's hard to get an Intel equivalent since the vast majority of Intel motherboards are more expensive.

    The Pentium Dual Cores (basically Allendale core, lower clock speeds and little cache) are pretty fast and efficient as they are based on the Core 2 Duo architecture and you can get a 1.6Ghz E2140 for $74: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116037

    You can also get the 1.8GHz E2160 or 2.0GHz E2180 for around $10-15 each respectively. However, you can easily overclock the E2140 to 2.4GHz probably as a beginner without needing to change any voltages or anything.

    1MB of L2 Cache isn't very good, as Core 2 Duo gains a lot from extra L2 cache but the next step up is the E4x00 series but those are priced at $129 for the basic E4300, which is more than the AMD 4000+ + motherboard setup.

    The best budget Intel board right now is probably the Gigabyte P35 DS3L for $95 at Newegg: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128059

    Expect to pay $50 more to use the E2140 + motherboard but you will easily be 20-30% faster clock for clock than the AMD. If you don't really need that much processor power though, the AMD will definitely save you money.

    You can consider the ECS Micro ATX G33 motherboard also if you want for $75 after rebate: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813135050

    Either way though, I do recommend you get a beefier video card than the 8600GT if you do gaming because that card is pretty outdated already and for just a few bucks more, you can get a card that can handle all the games you currently play at maxed out settings and you can play the next couple of years worth of games (with reduced settings) for some time.
     
  10. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
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    One Nation Under Gordon
    #10
    The only problem with an AMD solution is that while the X2's are not bad, they are generally worse-performing than comparable C2D's for general purpose computing - and there's also not a compelling upgrade path at this point in time.

    I would go with Core 2 Duo.
     
  11. chewietobbacca macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    #11
    Again its up to his budget. If the max you can spend on a CPU + motherboard is $100-120, then the only feasible solution really is w/ AMD. However, if you can go to $150ish or higher, then Intel is the no-brainer.
     
  12. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #12
    Ah I see. Unfortunately I can't pretend to know much about building PC's on a budget. Still, I think a move to C2D is a good one since the OP is probably going to keep this machine a while?

    All I can add then is to perhaps go over the airflow when you're building the PC and make sure there's enough air going over all the passively cooled components. High temps are the cause of instability, and also the potential cancelling out of any noise advantages conferred on you by a passively cooled GPU due to other fans ramping up.
     
  13. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #13
    Nothing wrong with Core 2 Duo chips.

    With AMD, you get chips are generally easy to over clock and are cheaper.

    Having said that, I have not tried to over clock a C2D chip so I do not know if this still holds true.
     
  14. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #14
    Even on my stock fan an extra 200-300 MHz on my Core 2 Duo is a joke.

    Now if I had a better CPU fan and worked on case circulation it'd be another story.
     
  15. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #15
    So the locks are removed. That's nice to know.
     
  16. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Indianapolis
    #16
    Mind you it's on the front side bus.

    AMD only offers the Black Edition unlocked just like Intel only offers the Extreme Edition.
     
  17. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #17
    Good to know. Thanks. :)
     
  18. chewietobbacca macrumors 6502

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    Jun 18, 2007
    #18
    Front side bus is unlocked on Intel processors, multiplier is unlocked on Extreme edition as well

    Core 2 is extremely easy to overclock. The E6850 can go to 4.0GHz on air cooling from 3.0GHz with minimal increases in voltage... I overclocked my friends E6550 from 7 x 333 to 7 x 450 by only increasing northbridge voltage and it was fine
     
  19. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

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    Sep 22, 2006
    #19
    Core 2 Duos are probably the best overclockers ever released to the mainstream market. Its very easy to overclock even the super cheap e4300 from 1.8ghz to 3ghz without buying anything extra and just getting a $100 motherboard, thats an amazing overclock on stock cooling. On my gigabyte GA-965P-S3 all I had to do was set the power management to auto and adjust the FSB to 333 while changing the multiplier on the memory so its not terribly over 800mhz. Or get it up to 2.5ghz without changing the voltage at all. They blow Athlon XP's out of the water, and those were great at overclocking back then.
     
  20. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #20
    E4400/4500 for me at M0 stepping.

    It's getting hard to justify a E4400 though.
     
  21. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #21
    Hmmm... All this talk of overclocking has me thinking maybe it is time to build a new PC. :)
     
  22. SmurfBoxMasta macrumors 65816

    SmurfBoxMasta

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    #22
    What OS are you going to run ? If XP you should be ok, but if it will be Vista, then get more ram, lots more, and the highest end Video card you can get...............Vista is a ram & vram H O G :eek:

    I just upgraded my sista's desktop from 1GB to 2.5GB + a 256mb video card, but it's still dog slow, even with a 3.4GHZ CPU......

    we'll be going to 4GB/512mb this weekend, hopefully that will help :p

    I suggest you get bigger HDD too, at least 2 of them, so you can use one as a boot drive & the other for storage. 500GB drives are just about at the sweetest price-per-GB right now, and you can ALWAYS use more space :D
     

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