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Thread: $1200 build




  1. Default $1200 build

    Alright, here's the scoop.

    I will be getting a large sum for a graduation gift which I will put toward a new system - FINALLY! My family will put in $600 and I will put in $600 = $1200 for the complete build.

    So, I've got some questions...
    This will be an Intel build with more of a focus on speed than all out graphics performance - I don't want to put half of the budget into a vid card.
    I plan on getting a E6600 and pair it up with 2 gigs of ram, a really nice mobo, and maybe Sli.

    So, here are my questions:
    I am looking at the different chipsets. I've heard a lot of good things about the 680i chipset and this seems promising. The 975X and 975X also seem to be pretty good. Which chipset and brand do you prefer? I want something that will be a solid performer and will be extremely stable. I do not intend to overclock and SLi might happen
    I've heard a lot of you guys talk about G.Skill ram. I prefer Corsair, but I'm open to any suggestions. This system will have two gigs. If I do go with G.Skill, how much better is it than Corsair? When will DDR3 come out and should I wait for it?

    Here is my system outline:
    Intel E6600
    680i, 975X, or 965X mobo
    2 gigs of ram - Corsair or G.Skill
    2x 7900GS in SLi or one single 8800GTS?
    120 gig WD hd
    700W PSU

    I want this system to be super reliable. I'm willing to sacrifice performance for reliability. I also want this system to last me through the four years at college, so future proofing is important.

    I'd post links, but Newegg is not working for me. Don't know why....

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,364

    Default Re: $1200 build

    4 years is impossibly long when it comes to future proofing. I'd say you should be great for 2 years, then you'll start falling behind current releases. As of now, they are rolling out new released hardware no more than every 6 months. Even the C2D's we have now are soon to be last years tech.

    If you're not going to overclock, then get the E6600 and a cheap 650i board (they are SLI ready) and some cheap PC2 5300 ram. Spend as much as possible on 1 DX-10 video card as 7900GS SLI will show it's weaknesses within the next 12-18 months whereas 1 8800GTS 640MB will be strong for 2-3 years and adding one more will give it that boost it's gonna need then.

    I would strongly advise against anything less than a 8800 GTS 640MB card right now if buying new.

    Motherboard, the MSI P6N SLI-FI (that I have) is awesome for the price and is even very overclockable if you change your mind later.

    Ram. Basically, if you don't overclock, then buying anything other than value ram (PC2 5300) is a complete waste of money. PC2 6400 is really only needed when you plan on pushing your PC to the limits. Just because it is cheap doesn't make it bad. Corsair Value ram is excellent for the price.

    Power supply. Make DAMN sure it is high quality. DO NOT skimp here. If it was my dollar, I only buy Silverstone units and maybe Fortron. Single rail is better than multiple rails and you want something VERY beefy if you plan on SLI. ZIPPY is also one of the best available. All 3 of these companies make server grade PSU's making them far more reliable and stable. If you look Fortron, look at their high end stuff only.

    DDR3 is going to be VERY expensive when it comes out and it will work with very little if any current processors. You'd be over budget after a processor and memory. DDR2 is getting cheaper by the day and faster as well. Figure out your system and spend any extra towards better ram. Definitely skip the 680i motherboards. Overpriced and full of features you will never use. the 650i is a perfect blend of price vs options. 965 and 975 boards do not support SLI.
    GIgabyte GA-990FXA-UD3
    AMD FX8120 @ 4GHz
    Patriot 1866MHz EL series 2X4GB DDR3
    Powercolour HD 6970 2GB w/XFX 8800GT 512MB Hybrid PhysX
    Creative X-FI titanium HD w/Technics class A 300W amp and tower speakers
    PC P&C 500W PSU
    2TB Seagate
    Coolermaster 690II w/Corsair H100 tucked under the hood

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Minnesota, United States
    Posts
    4,543

    Default Re: $1200 build

    You could get a Core 2 Quad and probably be okay for four years, but don't seriously expect any computer to be good for four years. Upgrading every 6 to 18 months is practically a necessity.

    The E6600 is good since you don't seem to want to overclock. I also agree in that faster RAM is only useful when overclocking, so stick with DDR2 667.

    Single rail is not necessarily better than multi-rail. That's a silly misconception people seem to have. PSUs with single 12v rails aren't technically ATX 12v 2.0 compatible. All most PSUs with multiple 12v rails do is have two separate current limiters for different components. A single-rail PSU usually is just as good, but it's not really better. Most PSUs have dual 12v rails, and there's no reason to bother trying to find one advertised with a single 12v rail

    FSP Group/Fortron is probably my personal favorite, but there are other good brands. Sparkle and Seasonic are just as good (all three = same company). Antec TruePower and SmartPower series are usually good, as are OCZ and Enermax. You'll want something in the area of 500W for this system, though I'd recommend going 600-700W as that will allow you to upgrade other components in the future without replacing the PSU.

    8800GTS, for sure. Two last-gen, DX9 cards in SLI equals same or less performance with worse visuals, higher power consumption, and higher cost. A Nvidia 680i SLI board is advised if you'll want to go SLI in the future. Otherwise, stick to 945/965/975. Might as well go with a cheaper board, though, as you won't be overclocking. You can get a good Intel board for under $100. If you might want to overclock, go with 965/975. The Gigabyte DS3 is always a good call.


    DDR3 won't be out for a while. No point waiting.
    Last edited by Yawgm0th; 04-02-2007 at 04:31 PM.

  4. Default Re: $1200 build

    Alright, I put together a pretty competitive system. I changed a few things, though. I chose the 650i Platinum because it is a more capable Sli board (or should I go with just the plain MSI 650i?). I also chose to go with G.Skill becuase their price was a lot cheaper than Corsair. I went ahead and switched to some DDR2 800 so I can overclock with ease - I'll probably try it, but I won't be pushing the limits. As for CPU coolers, do you guys have any experience with the one I put on the list? It has great reviews, but I just wanted to run it past you guys.


    APEVIA X-CRUISER-BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
    Item #: N82E16811144151 $69.99

    Western Digital Caviar RE WD1600YS 160GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
    Item #: N82E16822136062 $62.99

    EVGA 640-P2-N821-AR GeForce 8800GTS 640MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Video Card - Retail
    Item #: N82E16814130071 $369.99

    FSP Group (Fortron Source) FX700-GLN ATX12V, V2.2/EPS12V, V2.91, 700W RoHS Quad. SLi Power Supply - Retail
    Item #: N82E16817104015 $134.99

    G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400PHU2-2GBHZ - Retail
    Item #: N82E16820231065 $169.99

    MSI P6N SLI Platinum LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 650i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
    Item #: N82E16813130081 $164.99

    Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz LGA 775 Processor Model BX80557E6600 - Retail
    Item #: N82E16819115003 $308.00

    ZALMAN CNPS9500 LED 92mm 2 Ball Cooling Fan with Heatsink - Retail
    Item #: N82E16835118223

    Subtotal: $1,326.93

    It's a little over my planned budget, but this is a very very nice setup. Thanks for the help guys.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Minnesota, United States
    Posts
    4,543

    Default Re: $1200 build

    I'd grab an E6300 or E6400 for overclocking purposes. It saves me, and end overall performance will be pretty similar. Overclockability is almost identical, but the E6600 has more cache.

    700W is a lot, but you'll be able to SLI 8800GTS no problem, and possible whatever the next-gen card is as well.

    Haven't worked with the CNPS9500 myself, but I've heard very good things. My personal preference is the Thermalright SI-128 with a 120mm Panaflo L1A. Expensive and big, but extremely powerful. I don't ever hit 50c even with my 6300 @ 3.1GHz.

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