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12-24-2007, 06:20 AM   #1
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PC components

Judging by Buddha's post re switching to a Mac, we seem to have alot of knowledgeable PC builders here. I'm in need of a new PC. My 4 year old P4 2.53 is getting a bit tired, and runs PSCS3 a bit slowly, despite a recent upgrade to 2GB of ram, and a dedicated drive for a scratch drive.

This PC is to be mostly a dedicated image editor, but of course will serve as a basic web surf/email/MS Office 2003 machine. I haven't decided if I'm going to build it myself (never done it), or have it built (The PC group manager at my company builds on the side).

I'm fairly knowledgeable concerning equipment, but I'm certainly no expert. Would some of you guys take a look at the following components, and give me your opinion of their suitability and compatibility with each other. Also, is there anything else I will need to build this rig.

Newegg.com - ASUS V3-P5G33 Intel Socket T(LGA775) Intel Core 2 Quad / Core 2 Duo / P4 / Celeron 400 Intel G33 4 x 240Pin Intel GMA 3100 Barebone - Retail
Newegg.com - Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 Conroe 2.66GHz 4M shared L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail
Newegg.com - Patriot Extreme Performance 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
Newegg.com - Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Newegg.com - ASUS Black 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 20X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 14X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 20X DVDR DVD Burner with LightScribe - Retail
Newegg.com - EVGA 512-P2-N757-TR GeForce 8600GT 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
Newegg.com - Logitech LX310 Black 103 Normal Keys 12 Function Keys USB Cordless Standard Desktop Laser Mouse Included - OEM
Newegg.com - Microsoft Windows XP Professional With SP2C - OEM

I'm sticking with XP Pro for now, and I already have the monitor (Dell 2407WFP)

Thanks in advance

12-24-2007, 09:49 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by roscot Quote
Judging by Buddha's post re switching to a Mac, we seem to have alot of knowledgeable PC builders here. I'm in need of a new PC. My 4 year old P4 2.53 is getting a bit tired, and runs PSCS3 a bit slowly, despite a recent upgrade to 2GB of ram, and a dedicated drive for a scratch drive.

This PC is to be mostly a dedicated image editor, but of course will serve as a basic web surf/email/MS Office 2003 machine. I haven't decided if I'm going to build it myself (never done it), or have it built (The PC group manager at my company builds on the side).

I'm fairly knowledgeable concerning equipment, but I'm certainly no expert. Would some of you guys take a look at the following components, and give me your opinion of their suitability and compatibility with each other. Also, is there anything else I will need to build this rig.

Newegg.com - ASUS V3-P5G33 Intel Socket T(LGA775) Intel Core 2 Quad / Core 2 Duo / P4 / Celeron 400 Intel G33 4 x 240Pin Intel GMA 3100 Barebone - Retail
Newegg.com - Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 Conroe 2.66GHz 4M shared L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail
Newegg.com - Patriot Extreme Performance 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
Newegg.com - Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Newegg.com - ASUS Black 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 20X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 14X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 20X DVDR DVD Burner with LightScribe - Retail
Newegg.com - EVGA 512-P2-N757-TR GeForce 8600GT 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
Newegg.com - Logitech LX310 Black 103 Normal Keys 12 Function Keys USB Cordless Standard Desktop Laser Mouse Included - OEM
Newegg.com - Microsoft Windows XP Professional With SP2C - OEM

I'm sticking with XP Pro for now, and I already have the monitor (Dell 2407WFP)

Thanks in advance
For one, make sure you get a decent power supply, min 500 to 600 watts, good quality would be Enermax 680 watts.

Not recommended to go to 4 GB of memory. XP 32 bits PRO can access up to 4 but in reality it is more like 3.25 GB. The sweet spot is 2 GB. XP 64 and Vista can access more but sometimes adjustments to your BIOS are needed.

I would also buy some kind of backup system, ie external USB drive.

Denis
12-24-2007, 10:21 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Denis Quote
For one, make sure you get a decent power supply, min 500 to 600 watts, good quality would be Enermax 680 watts.

Not recommended to go to 4 GB of memory. XP 32 bits PRO can access up to 4 but in reality it is more like 3.25 GB.
I dunno. If Alan is intent on editing large or multiple images, the extra 1GB is nice to have if he can afford wasting the other. I've read there is a way to take that unused RAM above 3GB and turn it into a RAM disk to use for scratch. Google for "boot.ini" and "3GB".

FWIW, I'm in the same boat. My old "frankenbox" is ready to become a kids' game system. I'm looking at something to what you have, but I'll probably go AMD. I've started stockpiling components and I have an extra XP Pro license ready.
12-24-2007, 11:18 AM   #4
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I would agree on 500-600 power supply. A quality PSU is something you definately want.

Just from glancing at the components you mention, you may have some savings if you go with a low end C2D like the 6400 since if you are going from P4 its a huge leap on its self.

Also, since you are not getting Vista, I would go with the 7600Gt or 7900Gt they performe similarly or better than the low end 8000 series. If you dont need the Dx10 since you on XP you can find some savings in going for DX9 gfx cards. Even looking at your mothboards you can probably SLI 2 7600GTs for the price of the 8600GT. 7600gt is about 60-70. Just some thoughts. If you are going to eventually be getting Vista, I would just get the Dx10 gfx card anyway now. Also, if I recall the 7600/7900 were a bit smaller than the 8000 series cards so you will have more room to work if you are building it yourself. I have yet to use a 8000 series since I am still waiting for the 8800s to come down out of the 300ish price range.

Also, RAM is dirt cheap from where it use to be. Just get 2gb. They usually come in pairs anyway. It is very easy to install if you dont built it yourself. If you find your system running slow because lack of RAM, which I doubt will be the case - just buy more . It will only get cheaper down the road. I think the 2gb of RAM I got last Nov are now about 1/3 of the price now. Amazing how things work out.

Also, I would agree on the backdrive - External harddrives have come a long way as well.

Or depending on what you are doing with the Old PC - if you are tossing it when you build a new one - you can salvage the old harddrive for that and run 2 internal drives. Then back up media on to that as well.

Going with DVD drive from same builder as case is smart, you shouldnt have to worry about face plates matching up etc.

12-24-2007, 11:21 AM   #5
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Thanks for the response Denis.

I forgot to mention, I'm planning on 2 drives, again the second exclusively for a scratch drive. There will be no file storage on this machine. I've got a 1.2TB Infrant raid 5 NAS for a file server. Also 3 160GB External USB drives for backing up my lap top and the C drive of my desk top. I haven't decided on a back up solution for the NAS yet. I know I have to do something, but I figure Raid 5 affords me enough protection that I've got some time to make that decision.

RAM is cheap enough that even if I only get to use 3.25GB of the 4, it is worth it, unless of course, it makes the system unstable.
12-24-2007, 11:23 AM   #6
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Up until my most recent computer purchase last month I had never bought a pre-built computer, I have always built my own. When I needed a new computer this last time I found that it is cheaper to by a pre-built computer than I could build it for out of components. You might want to watch for this. I built mine through Dell, so I could make sure that it got all the components I needed, I also did this after I found a $350 off coupon. Dell regurlary does coupons like this that are good for the first 1000 people, or something like that. I just googled for them until I found one that hadn't been used up yet. While I always loved building my own computers, I am definitely glad that I went the Dell route this last time, it is a great machine, and cheaper than I could have ever built it for.
12-24-2007, 11:23 AM   #7
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Hi Eric,
It's been a while. Thanks for the input. I'll look in to it.
Have a merry one.
12-24-2007, 11:26 AM   #8
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oh not sure if you know but many OEM hard drives may not come with SATA Cables or cables in general, there like 5 bucks - just incase your ordering this all yourself . Hate for you to go to put it together and not have a cable to plug your harddrive into the motherboard . Some PSUs come with additional SATA/misc cables. I like the blue colored ones :-) since usually there are an abundance of red/yellow wires from other hardware already running across the case.

Oh get a 10 pack of small cable ties from you local hardware store too. It will keep the wires organized and out of the way after you install components. Help airflow/cooling in the system. Plus you wont have to worry about hitting them loose if you go to add more ram later, since they will be tied together and out of the way.

Lastley some peopel recommend the wrist strap which helps avoid accidently shocking compontents. There are like 10 dollar tool kits from Fellows that work nicely - have small screwdrives and plier/tweezers which will help you assemble everything.

Overall, putting a computer tegether is not that difficult you just need the time and patience to collect everything and assemble it carefully. Very satisfying to see it all come together.

12-24-2007, 11:27 AM   #9
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Thanks Chris. Good input. I do plan on Vista eventually. Like most people I'm going to wait for at least the first service pack - maybe the second. So what ever I build I want to be Vista ready.

We cross posted, see my post above re storage.
12-24-2007, 11:30 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by travis_cooper Quote
Up until my most recent computer purchase last month I had never bought a pre-built computer, I have always built my own. When I needed a new computer this last time I found that it is cheaper to by a pre-built computer than I could build it for out of components. You might want to watch for this. I built mine through Dell, so I could make sure that it got all the components I needed, I also did this after I found a $350 off coupon. Dell regurlary does coupons like this that are good for the first 1000 people, or something like that. I just googled for them until I found one that hadn't been used up yet. While I always loved building my own computers, I am definitely glad that I went the Dell route this last time, it is a great machine, and cheaper than I could have ever built it for.
A note on Dell - some of my friends / family knew I built computers. I would advise them to Dell. Tell them to pick the minimum RAM, no Monitor, accessories and go from there. Dell primarly jacks up the prices on RAM, Video Cards and Monitors to the point where you can save money by getting them somewhere else. However you still have the warranty/central tech support of DEll for all you major components. It can be a hassle - one I have never had to go through to contact several component companies if multiple things go wrong. For example, if you harddrive burns out and ruins another component you now have to deal with Seagate & then NVidia or Intel for replacement of motherboard/processor while another for hardrive and another for video card. Can be a nightmare, where DEll you just get sent over to India for a few hours until they eventually help you/tell you where to ship it for replacement. Youll be out of a computer for a few weeks or days until new one arrives.
12-24-2007, 11:32 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by roscot Quote
Thanks Chris. Good input. I do plan on Vista eventually. Like most people I'm going to wait for at least the first service pack - maybe the second. So what ever I build I want to be Vista ready.

We cross posted, see my post above re storage.
Yes, many smart people holding out for SP1 for Vista. I was until work offered computer reimbursement to people upgrading computers - so I just got OEM Vista on a second internal hardrive - can duel boot both OS now.

Good to see you got storage covered. Have a nice Christmas - let us know with how it all works out.
12-24-2007, 11:33 AM   #12
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Thank you Travis. The last couple of PCs, I had built for me to my specs, and they have been the best, most reliable I've owned, which is why I am looking to go this route. I also like the fact there is no pre-installed garbage software.

Thanks for the input, I will take a look on Dells site, and see what's out there.
12-24-2007, 11:35 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by CJSpangler Quote
Have a nice Christmas - let us know with how it all works out.
You also.I'll keep you all posted.
12-24-2007, 11:40 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by roscot Quote
Thank you Travis. The last couple of PCs, I had built for me to my specs, and they have been the best, most reliable I've owned, which is why I am looking to go this route. I also like the fact there is no pre-installed garbage software.

Thanks for the input, I will take a look on Dells site, and see what's out there.
I was actually pleased with the service I got from Dell. I don't think I had very much if any pre-installed software that I didn't ask for. When setting up your computer you can turn most of that off, the trials of McAffee, the AOL stuff, and others you can just tell them not to install it. I didn't have to remove hardly anything on the new system.

I agree, that is why I have built my own systems in the past, but like I said I used to be able to build them for a lot cheaper than you could buy them pre-built, but these days that just isn't the case, or at least from what I have seen.
12-24-2007, 01:23 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by roscot Quote
(snip) Would some of you guys take a look at the following components, and give me your opinion of their suitability and compatibility with each other. (snip)

I'm not overly impressed with the barebones kit. The case is unimpressive, the power supply is too weak, and, from just a quick glance, I can't even figure out which motherboard is included. I'd suggest purchasing these items separately.

The motherboard is by far the most important component, so make absolutely certain it is well made (overwhelmingly good reviews) and offers the expansion capabilities you'll eventually want. For example, most motherboards offer only two internal USB connections in addition to the rear ports, while I consider three almost a necessity today (one for USB connectors on the front of the computer and two for cage devices such as card readers and so on).

Look for a case with excellent cooling capabilities. Under heavy loads (complex games, etc), modern systems often need three to five cooling fans just to maintain reasonable temperatures. That means at least two other fans in addition to the power supply fan. A case that moves air in from the lower front and out the back and top usually provides the best performance.

And, as other have mentioned, you'll need a stronger power supply. A single or dual-rail 500-600w power supply is usually sufficient, but make sure it provides enough amps on a single compatible connector for whatever power hungry graphics card you purchase.

Unless you're running really heavy games, you're not going to gain much advantage from that 8600GT graphics card. I'd recommend one of the less expensive 7000 series GS cards instead. I purchased the 7900GS, but only because it was a good deal at the time.

I'm also a little lukewarm about the Patriot memory chips, but only because I've had more problems with memory chips than any other component during previous builds. The reviews seem fairly decent however.

Good luck with your build and I do hope everything works well out for you.

stewart


------------
Abit AB9 QuadGT MB w/uGuru Ctrl Panel, Intel C2D/E6600 CPU, Corsair XMS2 PC5400C4 DDR2/3GB, WD 160GB SATA II HD, XFX GeForce 7900GS, Lite-On LH-20A1L SATA II CD/DVD-RW, CoolMax CP-500T Dual-Rail EPS PSU, Apevia X-Plorer Case, Air-Cooling (4 Fans - CPU temps: 35C idle, 42C load @23C Ambient), XP/SP2 Home (US), Logitech MX3200 Wireless K&M, Logitech Z4 Speakers, Saitek Cyborg Evo JS, and Canon MP510 Printer.

Last edited by stewart_photo; 12-24-2007 at 03:52 PM. Reason: clarification of PS requirements
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