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Advice on my Spec :D

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by SiriusB, 13 Apr 2006.

  1. SiriusB


    Joined: 16 Dec 2005

    Posts: 14,448

    Location: Manchester

    Hello all!

    My word it has been MONTHS since I last posted, and to think my first in all that time will be a spec advice thread. Im so sorry. I really am!

    Okay, I'll give you a quick back story to my spec. Last September I decided I was going to get a new PC since I hadn't had a new one for around 2-3 years. I got myself a pretty nice spec nailed down and was THIS close to buying the bits. Then Responsibility reared its ugly head. I remembered that student loan was meant to pay for, well for one thing University, and also help pay for my laptop I still owed a rather large sum for...

    Now here I am, several months later with another loan installment on the horizon, and no impending debts that would require open wallet surgery.

    Here is my currently revised spec to take take into account slighter cheaper prices, slightly bigger budget and my new shiney overdraft. Bank Manager beware!

    AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ (Socket 939)
    Arctic Cooling Freezer 64 Pro
    Asus A8N-SLi Premium nForce4 SLi (Socket 939) PCI-Express
    Corsair 1GB DDR XMS3200C2 Pro TwinX (2x512MB)
    Western Digital Raptor 74GB
    Leadtek GeForce 7800 GTX 256MB GDDR3 VIVO TV-Out/Dual DVI (PCI-Express)
    Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum
    CoolerMaster Stacker 810 Black
    Antec TruePower 2.0 430W PSU*

    *I am buying the PSU from a friend and not 100% sure this is the exact model. Is definately an Antec and at least 400W

    Okay, the "better" components from previous spec is the X2 4400+, the Raptor and the X-Fi Platinum. My concerns are whether the Mobo is a good option for a Dual Core CPU and whether or not the PSU is up to the job of powering this machine.

    The whole spec comes to around £1200 (VAT included) give or take a few tenners for optical drives.

    Now, this is the bit where you people tell me this is perfect, or where you tell me this, this or this would blow up within 37 seconds of booting.

    I am open to suggestions on pretty much the whole spec but I would like to say I deffo want a Dual Core AMD and if you so much as touch my case so help me god....! :p

    Graphics is another sticking point. When I first did this spec I was hell-bent on nVidia. Now after snooping around the forum I have seen many people say the new ATIs are top doggy. This doesn't overly concern me because nVidia and ATI are going to be leap-frogging each other for the rest of time. Again I am open to suggestions on a better nVidia or ATI card, but please bear in mind I can't go mad! My budget is limited.

    My absolute max budget is $1300 INC VAT. Please bear in mind the PSU being offered to me is going for 20 quid. So dont all go mad with a better PSU suggestion, if any.

    Overclocking will probably be a future endevour when I can afford a WC system, so if that helps any with your suggestions...

    Sorry for the length of the post, just being thorough :)

    Fire away!

  2. Ender


    Joined: 30 Jan 2006

    Posts: 570

    get 2gb ram instead? helps on all the latest games to reduce stuttering
  3. semi-pro waster

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 27 Sep 2004

    Posts: 25,829

    Location: Glasgow

    It will all work but rather than the 7800GTX I'd suggest the Powercolor X1800XT 512mb which is ~£50 but a faster card with double the Ram and then spend the £50 you have just saved on getting 2gb Ram :)

    You could pick up the X1900XT for only slightly more than the 7800GTX which is an even better card but I'd definitely advise getting 2gb Ram whichever option you go for. You could also pick a cheaper motherboard, with a 430w PSU you are unlikely to want to go SLi either.
  4. SiriusB


    Joined: 16 Dec 2005

    Posts: 14,448

    Location: Manchester

    Yeah SLi (or Crossfire) isn't a concern for me just yet so I don't think I will be needing a beefy PSU until I do go dual-graphics. Just been looking at the X1900XT and I must say I am rather swaying to getting one of those since it pretty much squashes even the GeForce 7800GTX 512 and its the same price as the 7800GTX I was going for.

    So, the new spec is:

    AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+
    Arctic Cooling Freezer 64 Pro
    WD 74GB Raptor
    Asus ATI Radeon EAX-X1900 XT 512MB GDDR3 AVIVO TV-Out/Dual DVI (PCI-Express)

    As for RAM... someone is gonna have to help me out lol.

    I found these: (2X1GB) Corsair TwinX DDR, PC3200 (400), 184 Pin, Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 2-3-3-6 for about £150 inc VAT, they any good?

    Not well up on RAM and Mobos so if anyone can suggest a good quality set of 2GB RAM and, as someone suggested, a cheaper Mobo. Obviously the mobo has to support Crossfire now and not SLi.

    As I said before Overclocking would be future option, so a board/RAM that is good for it would be nice, but not essential.

    Thanks for your input so far :D



    Joined: 17 Aug 2005

    Posts: 4,305

    Above looks very good.

    Corsair ram is good but could go for ...
    G.Skill 2GB DDR ZX PC3200 (2x1GB) CAS2 Dual Channel Kit (F1-3200PHU2-2GBZX) (MY-007-GS) ... 2-3-2-5 (PC3200)
    .... as it has better timings.

    As for mobo either ... Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe Crossfire (Socket 939)
    PCI-Express Motherboard (MB-131-AS)
    DFI LanParty UT CFX3200-DR RD580 Crossfire (Socket 939) PCI-Express Motherboard (MB-019-DF)
  6. SiriusB


    Joined: 16 Dec 2005

    Posts: 14,448

    Location: Manchester

    While id love a DFI LanParty UT CFX3200-DR RD580 Crossfire it would push the cost to over £1400! My max budget of £1300 is already a big push.

    At the moment, without a motherboard and RAM the cost is about £1075 inc VAT. So that leaves a budget of £225 inc VAT to spend on 2GB of RAM and a decent motherboard that supports Crossfire.

    I am currently scouring several sites for a mobo that has my requirements for less than 80 quid. There are loads lol. As for the RAM, I quite like the look of the G.Skill 2GB DDR ZX PC3200 (2x1GB) CAS2 Dual Channel Kit!

    That's around 150 quid... which leaves approx 75 for the mobo, hence the less than 80 quid mobo i would like.

    If one of you could suggest a likely motherboard [or cheaper RAM and slightly more expensive mobo] I will love you for ever and give you a cookie!

    Again, thanks for all your help so far :)

  7. HangTime

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 25 Oct 2002

    Posts: 28,429

    Location: Hampshire

    There's no way I'd spend over a grand on a PC with only 1gig RAM. Get yourself 2gig of something reasonable but not too special for around £105-125, and ditch the soundcard for something cheaper to fund it. I'd also be tempted to consider an Opteron 170 as your cpu if you are prepared to overclock.

    Graphics card is an area where you can make some savings, maybe look at a 7900GT or an x1800.
  8. Monstermunch

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 7 Mar 2005

    Posts: 1,597

    Location: Eating PI

    With your budget this is what i'd be ordering!:

    CP-153-AM AMD Opteron UP 175 Dual Core San Diego 2.2GHz 2MB Cache (Socket 939) - Retail (CP-153-AM)
    £319.95 £319.95
    MB-014-DF DFI LanParty UT NF4 Ultra-D (Socket 939) PCI-Express Motherboard (MB-014-DF)
    £79.95 £79.95
    MY-057-OC OCZ 2GB (2 x 1GB) PC3200 Dual Channel Platinum Series EL-DDR CAS2 (OCZ4002048ELDCPE-K) (MY-057-OC)
    £139.95 £139.95
    GX-046-CO Connect3D ATI Radeon X1900 XT-X 512MB GDDR3 AVIVO TV-Out/Dual DVI (PCI-Express) - Retail (3055) (GX-046-CO)
    £314.95 £314.95
    HD-002-HI Hitachi Deskstar T7K250 NCQ 250GB SATA-II 8MB Cache - OEM (0A31636) (HD-002-HI)
    £56.50 £56.50
    CD-026-NE NEC ND4551 16x16 DVD±RW Dual Layer LabelFlash ReWriter (Black) - OEM (CD-026-NE)
    £25.95 £25.95
    CA-012-TT Thermaltake VA3000BNA Tsunami Dream SuperMidi Aluminium Tower - Black (CA-012-TT)
    £54.95 £54.95
    CA-008-TG Tagan TG530-U15 530W ATX2.01 Easycon SLi Compliant Modular Silent PSU (CA-008-TG)
    £69.95 £69.95
    FG-000-AR Arctic Cooling Freezer 64 Pro CPU Cooler (Socket 754/939/940) (FG-000-AR)
    £15.95 £15.95
    Subtotal £1,078.10
    VAT £188.67
    Total £1,266.77

    If you want to water cool or go dual gfx or both then you'll need a much more powerful PSU than 430W. I would say about 500w minimum.

    Raptors are a complete waste of money!

    Dual gfx cards are also a complete waste of money!
  9. gr1mey

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 10 Apr 2006

    Posts: 1,006

    Location: Southampton

    raptors are not a waste of money, lol.
  10. SiriusB


    Joined: 16 Dec 2005

    Posts: 14,448

    Location: Manchester

    I am getting the PSU el cheapo from a friend who has just bought a new one to accommodate his SLi setup. If/when I decide on dual graphics then I would be looking to update my PSU too. However, I don't see the point on spending extra money on a more powerful PSU if the one I am getting is enough.

    I am curious as to the choice of CPU. What makes the Opteron a better choice than the X2 4400+?

    As for the sound card, my music is REALLY important to me and my PC will basically be my game machine, movie theatre and sound system. I am more than willing to spend that much on a sound card that will probably last me years.

    The case is non-negotiable. When coming up with a spec the first thing I looked for was a case. It took me weeks to find one I liked so there is no way I am changing my mind :D

    RAM: The OCZ RAM is slightly more expensive than the G.Skill RAM, any reason why... are the timings better than those of the G.Skill?

    I think the one concession I will make is on the HDD. Makes sense to get a larger, cheaper drive to save probably around 40-50 quid. I may go for a Seagate however since they have a nice shiney 5-Year Warranty :D w00!

    So, just to see the price so far, if I changed the Raptor to the Hitachi, keep the G.Skill RAM and go for the DFI you suggest Monster... my build comes to around £1277

    Actually that's pretty good. The Opty would push me over the £1300 line, so unless there is a really good reason to change, I may just stick with the X2 4400+.

    Sorry if my questioning seems like im challenging you lol. I really am curious as to your reasoning is all :D

    You are well on your way for that cookie lol

  11. Monstermunch

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 7 Mar 2005

    Posts: 1,597

    Location: Eating PI

    430w is fine with a single gfx card, but just be aware running alot of case fans/or watercooling for example would push it to the limit.

    Better for clocking, they use less power and generally run cooler and clock better than the std x2 chips. Opterons are basically FX60 cores originally designed for servers.

    It's up to you, but the 5.1 surround sound that comes std on mobo's these days is better than most people realise

    Cases always come down to choice, I put the Tsunami Dream in cos I like it that's all.

    IMO the PC3200 OCZ Platinum is the best PC3200 ram on the market and has super tight timings of 2-3-2-5

    Nothing wrong with the Seagate drives, apart from being a bit noisy. Very reliable though IME. At present the Hitachi's get my vote though for all round performance vs reliability.

  12. SiriusB


    Joined: 16 Dec 2005

    Posts: 14,448

    Location: Manchester

    Hmm, well that has given me some things to think about.

    Opteron or Athlon X2... OCZ or G.Skill

    I think either combination will give me an awesome rig so I think I shall go away and have a think about whether or not to break the sacred £1300 mark.

    Thanks all of you for your great input. Especially you Monstermunch. Here, have a cookie!