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Old 2006-11-19, 23:30   #1
garo
 
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Default Need advice for building a new computer

Well I never got around to building the new computer I had mentioned in this thread: http://www.mersenneforum.org/showthread.php?t=5472 . And a good thing that because now I can go for a Core 2 Duo.

As my sig suggests I am currently in Ireland but I am happy to buy from any cheap and good online store in the EU. I'm looking at http://komplett.ie , http://pixmania.com , http://www.comtech.de and http://mindfactory.de as they are cheap and have good feedback. To save shipping I may buy the case and PSU locally.

Here are my current specs. When I list more than one option I do it in order of increasing prices and presumably capabilities. Prices listed in Euros.

CPU
: Core 2 Duo 6400 E225
Mobo:
  1. MSI P965 Neo-F E101 OR
  2. BioStar TForce 965 Deluxe E118 OR
  3. Gigabyte GA-965P-S3 E138
Memory:
  1. 2GB Geil Value PC5300 E256 OR
  2. 2GB Crucial Ballistix (PC-5300) (CL3) E277 OR
  3. A-Data PC-6400 E287
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce 7600GS 256MB (fanless) E.120

HDD:
  1. Seagate 3.0Gbps 250GB 7200.10 8MB E.75 OR
  2. Samsung 3.0Gbps 250GB SpinPoint P120S E.81 OR
  3. Western Digital 250 GB SE16 (noisier but faster) E.81 OR
  4. Seagate 3.0Gbps 320GB 7200RPM 16MB Barracuda 7200.10 E97
Case & PSU:
  1. Antec SLK3800B 400W ATX12V 2.0 PSU E.94 OR
  2. Antec Sonata II SmartPower 450W E.109 OR
  3. Antec NSK4400 + Seasonic S12-380: E.105
DVDRW: Pioneer DVR-111D E.36

This will be my main home rig replacing the now aging Athlon Thunderbird 1333. I want the computer for Prime95 (obviously). I play some games but nothing major. The most graphics intensive game I have is Rome: Total War. I don't have a lot of time for games these days but I want this computer to be able for it if and when I do. My current computer is quite noisy and I am looking for a much quieter PC this time round. I will be installing Ubuntu and XP Pro SP2. I'm not sure I will be buying Vista so the computer does not have to be Vista capable.

So any suggestions on components and/or prices? I know this would be a lot cheaper if I could order everything from newegg but alas I can't so for prices I have to stick with a European supplier.

Last fiddled with by garo on 2006-11-19 at 23:35
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Old 2006-11-20, 21:38   #2
dsouza123
 
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What about a Core 2 Duo 6600 with a doubling of L2 cache
from 2MB L2 in the 6400 to 4MB L2 in the 6600?

Also there is a small clock speed increase 2.13 Ghz to 2.4 Ghz.

The price difference should be less than $100.
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Old 2006-11-20, 23:24   #3
CADavis
 
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In generall I would stay away from value ram unless you know specifically that it is good. I highly recommend the Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 perpendicular recording drives. They are really fast. If you can get them with free shipping at newegg they sell for $94.99 each FWIW.
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Old 2006-11-21, 01:37   #4
akruppa
 
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The only unit from your list I know anything about is the Seasonic S12-380, which I recently bought. Among the PSUs with efficiency >80%, this one frequently scored best on a couple of tests on sites like THG etc. Iirc, the only downside was that it was missing some fancy connector for the latest PCIe graphics cards or something... you might want to check if you plan on buying a very recent card. Other than that, it's really nice, having great stability and efficiency.

Alex
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Old 2006-11-21, 04:15   #5
potonono
 
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If you're looking to build a quiet PC, you should look into alternate cooling methods, such as water cooling. I don't mind fan noise (for the most part), so I haven't looked into water cooling to much, but I've heard that it can cut down noise considerably.
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Old 2006-11-21, 04:58   #6
paulunderwood
 
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My water cooler has a 12cm fan and in the summer, when I turn up the speed of the fan, it is not quiet. However, I do get a cool processor. Noise levels of fans are important when there are so many -- for CPU, case, graphics and power supply. I believe passive cooling is the quietest.

Last fiddled with by paulunderwood on 2006-11-21 at 04:59
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Old 2006-11-21, 23:34   #7
garo
 
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A question first. Does anyone know what the deal with these matched RAM kits is? Can I buy one stick now and another in a couple of months? I won't have dual channel for that period but anything else?

@dsouza,
That extra 100 will break my budget. Plus I plan on overclocking and many sites say the higher multiplier on the 6600 may be a problem with some mobos when upping the FSB.
@CADavis,
I am not in CA any more so no newegg :( The Geil Value has received decent reviews though I'm thinking of paying the extra 20 for Crucial. The Seagate would be the 16MB cache one I think. I'm thinking about it. People say that the Samsung is quieter but Seagate is faster.
@akruppa,
Thanks for the warning. I don't plan on having such a high end card. The current choice is way below state-of-the-art so the 4 pin will not be a problem. I understand it is possible to buy an adapter for $5 as well.
Quiet for me is a relative term as the current computer is very very noisy. Going with WC or other fancy things like all passive cooling is not an option - too expensive. I don't plan on a very high end graphics card - my current preference is for the fanless one - and will go with a quiet case and PSU but that's about it.
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Old 2006-11-24, 01:57   #8
Peter Nelson
 
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Core 2 duo will make a powerful system (maybe even consider quadcore processor due out December).

As for motherboards 965 is not as flexible IMO as something based around the nvidia nforce 590 sli. Even more recent (if you can find) is the nforce 680i chipset. Check out boards eg from Asus.

Fairly competitive pricing for pc components in uk is www.scan.co.uk

You might also look at AMD AM2 stuff (it's cheap and intel edge is only maybe 5% anyway) or upcoming 4x4 dual socket mobo based on two 680a chipset (but not cheap).

Graphics prices are tumbling because of directx10 cards. You can pick up used graphics secondhand eg www.cex.co.uk or even new prices on midrange gpus are attractive from most sources.

Pioneer 111 is an excellent choice.

Seasonic psus had good reviews from custompc mag test roundup.

Also consider Corsair ram eg their valueram.

Last fiddled with by Peter Nelson on 2006-11-24 at 02:04
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Old 2006-11-24, 05:48   #9
akruppa
 
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If you like quiet PCs, the Samsung harddisk should be a good choice. I don't have the P120S, but the SP1614N and SP2514N and both are very silent - almost inaudible when inactive, and still pretty quiet while accessing.

Alex

Last fiddled with by akruppa on 2006-11-24 at 05:49
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Old 2006-11-24, 08:35   #10
Cruelty
 
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Here are my thoughts:
CPU = OK
MoBo = rather go for ASUS (P5B-E or P5B) or ABIT (AB9-Pro)
RAM = since you go for C2D CPU, you should consider some fast RAM, not necesarily with low latency (you will want to run it 1:1 with FSB and increasing FSB is the only way to overclock C2D). So go for some DDR2-800 or faster RAM (at best 2x1GB combo). Don't bother with purchasing now 1GB and later another 1GB since this will probably get you in some troubles especially when overclocking.
GFX = OK (I have a fanless GT version in one of my PCs)
HDD = in my experience I have had some faulty Seagate and WD drives, so I've switched for Samsung ~3 years ago and I am happy with their products.
Case = doesn't really matter
PSU = from the choices you gave, definitely Seasonic, but since you plan overclocking, consider 500W version.
Optical = OK
Somethings you forgot about:
DECENT CPU COOLER: Thermalright (Ultra-120, HR-01 or SI-128), Scythe (Ninja, don't go for Infinity as it's too big and performs worse than SI-128)
120mm FAN: definitely PAPST (4412 F/2GL or 4412 F/2GLL)
Also prepare yourself for some "work" with NB and SB coolers on your MoBo: remove them, clear them, apply some quality thermal grease (AS5)...
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Old 2006-11-24, 22:32   #11
garo
 
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Thanks for the well thought responses.

@Peter - From the Anandtech reviews the 5xx chipset was not great for Intel. The 6xx will be a different thing altogether and if my purchase gets delayed anymore I will definitely go for the 650 ultra. But AM2? What is this I hear from a die-hard Intel fan? Isn't Core 2 Duo miles ahead of anything AMD can produce after overclocking? Also thanks for the sites. scan is very cheap but has received terrible feedback when it comes to RMA and stuff. So I have already resolved to stay away from them. I will check out the other site. I was also looking at dabs.com - I'm going to get a Thinkpad T60 at work through them next week . But due to the Pound->Euro conversion German sites end up having significantly better prices. Corsair Value RAM got some indifferent reviews from Anandtech. It overclocked the worst of a bunch of 5.

@Cruelty: Anandtech seems to love the Gigabyte and BioStar. In a head-to-head they both seem to beat the Asus in performance for lower prices. My current board is an Asus and I know they make rock solid products. But after the Anandtech review I don't think it is worth paying the premium for the Asus. For RAM, again Anandtech says the models I list all overclock to 900MHz without any problem. So running on 1:1 should not be a problem with any of the three. Plus the A-Data is PC-800 anyway. After what you say I will buy the 2GB kit. HDD: given your and akruppa's feedback I think I will get the Samsung. That was my first instinct but the Seagate has a slight performance edge so it made me think twice. Even after OC I don't think the draw on the system is going to be much more than 300W. All the PSU review sites say that you only need to over-provision if you are going with noname type PSUs. The Seasonic gives good power on all the rails. Thanks for the reminder on the heatsink/fan. Yes, Papst is a must if I add any fans. But I thought the Antec cases all have good silent fans. And will the Intel retail heatsink not do with a mild overclock. All the sites seem to say that they have not trouble running at 3500GHz with the stock heatsink. Anandtech also says that the BioForce board is a good design in that they use good quality grease on the NB/SB heatsinks unlike the cement crap on most other boards. Still my arctic silver may come in handy....

Last fiddled with by garo on 2006-11-24 at 22:33
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