Build advice before actually buying!

keldegar

Limp Gawd
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Dec 11, 2006
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339
Just want some advice before taking the plunge. I was planning to use the machine for gaming (1680x1050) and video editing / encoding. I plan to overclock moderately. My aim is also to have a relatively quiet PC. I don't do a lot of encoding/transcoding, I tend to spend more time editing. I can't decide if it's worth going Quad-Core or not. I've done some research on various parts and here's what I've come up with:

Antec Sonata III w/ 500W EarthWatts 80% PowerSupply (Seasonic OEM) - $124.99 free shipping (Amazon)
Sapphire 4870 512MB 100259L - $164.99 - $15 MIR = $149.99 AR (NewEgg)
2xWD Black Caviar 640GB SATA HDD - 2x $79.99 (NewEgg)
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR2-1066 - $40.99 (NewEgg)
GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P - $134.99 - $20 MIR = $114.99 AR (NewEgg)
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400 2.66Ghz - $229.99 (NewEgg)
Noctua NH-U12P HSF LGA775 - $59.99 (NewEgg)

With everything it comes out to: $1014.46 shipped. I wasn't expecting to pay this much, so if anyone sees something I could do to bring the price down, please advise! Or, maybe I'm just being cheap and a decent machine costs this much.

My requirements: Has to be the GA-EP45-UD3P and Intel CPU. Everything else can be changed, although I am partial to the Sonata III since it is such a great deal with the power supply and good looking case.

Thanks in advance.
 

keldegar

Limp Gawd
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Dec 11, 2006
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339
I'd go with a Q6600 over the Q9400, $197.99 on the Egg. I would also go with a Tuniq Sink/Fan Combo over the Noctua, which is $49.99.

Isn't the Q6600 based on an older fabrication process and runs hotter? I saw some Premiere Pro CS3 benchmarks, and the Q9400 beat the Q6600 on a render 140 to 170 seconds. Unless you are saying the Q6600 will overclock better than the Q9400? I don't plan to do any crazy overclocking, 3.0~3.2Ghz on a Q9400 and I would be very happy :)

Also I will think about the Tuniq.. looks like it JUST fits the Sonata III http://premium1.uploadit.org/bobbyboyuk//TUNIQ-33.jpg

How is the supplied paste from the Tuniq Tower? I read the Noctua paste is very good (saves me from having to buy AS5).
 

fromeo85

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You could easily hit 3.4-3.6 with a Q6600, I can not vouch for the Q9400 overclock. As for thermal paste, I have never used the paste that comes with any heatsink, I always use MX-2. You could also get an nVidia card and use it with CS4 to render with CUDA, GTX260, $179.99 after MIR from the Egg.
 

Dangman

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Antec Sonata III w/ 500W EarthWatts 80% PowerSupply (Seasonic OEM) - $124.99 free shipping (Amazon)

Actually, the Earthwatts 500W PSUs are now being made by Delta, not Seasonic anymore. Still of good quality but just wanted to make sure you knew that. Anyway, $125 is a bit too much for the Sonata III IMO. I recommend this setup instead:
BFG Tech LS-550 550W PSU - $68
Cooler Master Elite 334 ATX Case - $60
---
$128 plus tax

The BFG LS-550 is a much better PSU than the Antec EA500 since it has 41A on the +12V rail, a whole lot more than the 34A on the +12V rail for the EA500. More amperage: more room for upgrades
 

keldegar

Limp Gawd
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Dec 11, 2006
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339
I was kinda set on the Sonata III because of the Acoustipack Sound proofing kit for it. Also, it is a very quiet case. It's also just the right size for my desk (desk is 19" depth, case is 16.7" deep. The Antec 300 is 19.3" deep and won't fit (i used to have P180B and it did not fit on my desk. I had to put it on the ground which I didn't like).

After reading an article on anandtech about dbA from various heatsink fans, I think I will go w/ the Arctic Cooling Freezer Pro 7 as it's much cheaper and had the same dbA as the Noctua and temperatures under load.

Saying that the 500w psu is a Delta, do you think I will have any issues running the Q9550 and 4870 with it? I am only running 2 hard drives.

Here's the current choices:

Antec Sonata III w/ 500W EarthWatts 80% PowerSupply (Delta OEM) - $124.99 (Amazon)
Sapphire 4870 512MB 100259L - $164.99 - $15 MIR = $149.99 AR (NewEgg)
2xWD Black Caviar 640GB SATA HDD - 2x $79.99 (NewEgg)
G.SKILL 8GB (4 x 2GB) DDR2-1066 - $40.99x2 (NewEgg)
GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P - $134.99 - $20 MIR = $114.99 AR (NewEgg)
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 2.83Ghz - $252 (Dell shipped)
Arctic Cooling Freezer Pro 7 - $36.99 (NewEgg)

Total Cost: $1015.92 shipped!
 

silent-circuit

[H]F Junkie
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Sep 18, 2005
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$37 for a Freezer 7 Pro is insane. Pick in an Xigmatech HDT-S1283 instead, or a Zerotherm Nirvana NV120. The Freezer 7 Pro has good temps... until you OC quads, at which point it becomes painfully obvious it can't move enough heat to stay effective.
 

keldegar

Limp Gawd
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Dec 11, 2006
Messages
339
$37 for a Freezer 7 Pro is insane. Pick in an Xigmatech HDT-S1283 instead, or a Zerotherm Nirvana NV120. The Freezer 7 Pro has good temps... until you OC quads, at which point it becomes painfully obvious it can't move enough heat to stay effective.

How about the Tuniq Tower 120 for $49? It fits in the Sonata III.
 

Dangman

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$37 for a Freezer 7 Pro is insane. Pick in an Xigmatech HDT-S1283 instead, or a Zerotherm Nirvana NV120. The Freezer 7 Pro has good temps... until you OC quads, at which point it becomes painfully obvious it can't move enough heat to stay effective.

+1 to this suggestion. I specifically recommend this HDT-S1283 since it comes with the backplate for just a few $ more:
Xigmatek Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm HSF - $40

And yes the HDT-1283 is a quiet HSF and cools just as well as the Tuniq Tower.

Also the Sonata III is 18.2" deep, not 16.7" deep. It is 16.7" high though.

As for the PSU, the Earthwatts 500W PSU will not have a problem powering your currentl planned system. My main gripe with the Sonata III case is the price. I've seen the EA500 go for $50 and the Sonata III case itself is not worth more than $60, $50 more preferred. In addition, there are often significantly larger PSUs + decent case combos for not that much more. If the Sonata III was $100, no prob. But at $125, it's too much money IMO.
 

keldegar

Limp Gawd
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Dec 11, 2006
Messages
339
+1 to this suggestion. I specifically recommend this HDT-S1283 since it comes with the backplate for just a few $ more:
Xigmatek Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm HSF - $40

And yes the HDT-1283 is a quiet HSF.

Also the Sonata III is 18.2" deep, not 16.7" deep. It is 16.7" high though.

As for the PSU, the Earthwatts 500W PSU will not have a problem powering your currentl planned system. My main gripe with the Sonata III case is the price. I've seen the EA500 go for $50 and the Sonata III case itself is not worth more than $60, $50 more preferred. In addition, there are often significantly larger PSUs + decent case combos for not that much more. If the Sonata III was $100, no prob. But at $125, it's too much money IMO.

Thank you for this very informative post. I must have remembered the wrong # for the Sonata III, but i just remember that it fit on my desk.

The problem I have with cases is that the only B&M store near me that even sells cases is Best Buy, and they only stock the Antec 900 /cry. If I want to get a case, it has to be online, and NewEgg charges around $80 for shipping on the Sonata 3 and similar cases. So I took that into account for the price I am paying on the Sonata 3 from Amazon.

As for the HSF, does that one fit w/ my Mobo and case? I saw comments on NewEgg that were concerning (did not fit in Antec 900, didn't cool well, etc).
 

Dangman

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Thank you for this very informative post. I must have remembered the wrong # for the Sonata III, but i just remember that it fit on my desk.

The problem I have with cases is that the only B&M store near me that even sells cases is Best Buy, and they only stock the Antec 900 /cry. If I want to get a case, it has to be online, and NewEgg charges around $80 for shipping on the Sonata 3 and similar cases. So I took that into account for the price I am paying on the Sonata 3 from Amazon.

As for the HSF, does that one fit w/ my Mobo and case? I saw comments on NewEgg that were concerning (did not fit in Antec 900, didn't cool well, etc).

The Tuniq Tower is significantly bigger than the HDT-S1283. So if the Tuniq Tower can fit, so can the Xigmatek HSF.

If you had clicked on the link for the Coolermaster case I linked to, you would've seen that the case is also from Amazon.com and with free shipping. The BFG LS-550 also came with free shipping.
 

keldegar

Limp Gawd
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Dec 11, 2006
Messages
339
The Tuniq Tower is significantly bigger than the HDT-S1283. So if the Tuniq Tower can fit, so can the Xigmatek HSF.

If you had clicked on the link for the Coolermaster case I linked to, you would've seen that the case is also from Amazon.com and with free shipping. The BFG LS-550 also came with free shipping.

Sorry! I didn't check the Coolermaster case. It looks okay, but I have a feeling it will get very dusty. Thank you for the suggestion though.

Here is a pic of the Tuniq Tower in a Sonata III. http://premium1.uploadit.org/bobbyboyuk//TUNIQ-33.jpg

So if the Xigmatek will fit, I am changing my shopping cart right now :) Thank you!
 

keldegar

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 11, 2006
Messages
339
Okay... being the thrifty person I am... I decided to price out an alternate cheaper build.. can any comment if this would be a better "bang for buck" system?

Antec Sonata III w/ 500W EarthWatts 80% PowerSupply (Delta OEM) - $124.99 (Amazon)
Sapphire 4870 512MB 100259L - $164.99 - $15 MIR = $149.99 AR (NewEgg)
Western Digital Caviar SE WD3200AAJS 320GB - $49.99 (NewEgg)
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR2-1066 - $40.99 (NewEgg)
GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P - $134.99 - $20 MIR = $114.99 AR (NewEgg)
Intel Pentium E5200 2.5Ghz - $72.99
XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V - $39.99 (NewEgg)
Pioneer 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA - $25.99 (NewEgg)
Shipping UPS Ground - $57.95 (NewEgg)

Total Cost: $712.87 shipped
 

keldegar

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 11, 2006
Messages
339
Stay with the quad. Drop the extra HDD from the original build if you want to save some cash.

This just made up my mind. I will stick with the quad!

Apple Mac Pro
Specifications
One 2.93GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
8GB (4x2GB)
640GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB
One 18x SuperDrive
Apple Mighty Mouse
Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad (English) and User's Guide

$3,449.00 + shipping + tax. O_O
 

keldegar

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 11, 2006
Messages
339
Last config before I go ahead and purchase:

Pioneer 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model DVR-216DBK - $25.99
2x Western Digital Caviar SE WD3200AAJS 320GB - $49.99 (x2)
SAPPHIRE 100259L Radeon HD 4870 512MB - $164.99
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) - $40.99
Arctic Silver 5 - $6.99
GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P - $134.99
XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V - $39.99
Shipping - $57.95

Total from NewEgg = $571.87 *qualifies for no interest for 6 months

Sonata III Case - $124.51 *qualifies for free 2-day shipping (amazon prime)

Intel Core 2 Quad 9400 - $196.23 shipped from Dell Small Business ($187+shipping) link

Total: $893.09 shipped, -$35 MIR = $858.09!

Anyone see anything else I need to change?
 

tiraides

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Jan 8, 2004
Messages
11,066
Why are you going with two 320GB hard drives? To save some money, instead, get the WD6400AAKS, which can perform at near-Raptor speeds.

There is a promo code for an instant $5 discount on the G.Skill DDR2 800 CL5 kit. Make sure that you input that code once you reach the checkout section.

Get a different type of thermal compound -- namely, one without any curing time. Try the Arctic Cooling MX-2, the Tuniq TX-2, or the OCZ Freeze. Any of the three would perform just as well as (if not better than) the AS5.
 

keldegar

Limp Gawd
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Dec 11, 2006
Messages
339
Why are you going with two 320GB hard drives? To save some money, instead, get the WD6400AAKS, which can perform at near-Raptor speeds.

There is a promo code for an instant $5 discount on the G.Skill DDR2 800 CL5 kit. Make sure that you input that code once you reach the checkout section.

Get a different type of thermal compound -- namely, one without any curing time. Try the Arctic Cooling MX-2, the Tuniq TX-2, or the OCZ Freeze. Any of the three would perform just as well as (if not better than) the AS5.

Thank you for the advice. I decided on two drives because I am planning to put Vista and OS X on this machine. I know it is possible to dual boot on 1 drive, but just to be safe I wanted a dual drive configuration incase something goes wrong and I need two physical drives.

If I plan to overclock, is DDR2-800 that you linked better than the DDR2-1066 I plan to buy? Lastly, thank you for the tips on thermal grease, I haven't done a build in 2 years and AS5 used to be the standard.
 

tiraides

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You could also create partitions (using the Vista install disc) that would then be recognized by both operating systems as separate "physical" drives. To save money, one 640GB drive beats out two 320GB drives.

I thought you were getting the E5200, which didn't need DDR2 1066 RAM. But you could still obtain a decent overclock (while saving some money) using DDR2 800 RAM. The benefit of having faster RAM is that you have a greater (potential) OC threshold at a 1:1 FSB:RAM ratio (so you won't have to overclock the RAM in addition to the processor). All of that said, stick with the DDR2 1066 kit.

It's not that Arctic Silver 5 is no longer good, but it takes a long time (its curing time is about 200 hours) before it starts to perform well. The TIM that comes with most aftermarket CPU coolers are good enough for your needs, but the majority of them only have enough material for one use.
 

keldegar

Limp Gawd
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Dec 11, 2006
Messages
339
You could also create partitions (using the Vista install disc) that would then be recognized by both operating systems as separate "physical" drives. To save money, one 640GB drive beats out two 320GB drives.

I thought you were getting the E5200, which didn't need DDR2 1066 RAM. But you could still obtain a decent overclock (while saving some money) using DDR2 800 RAM. The benefit of having faster RAM is that you have a greater (potential) OC threshold at a 1:1 FSB:RAM ratio (so you won't have to overclock the RAM in addition to the processor). All of that said, stick with the DDR2 1066 kit.

It's not that Arctic Silver 5 is no longer good, but it takes a long time (its curing time is about 200 hours) before it starts to perform well. The TIM that comes with most aftermarket CPU coolers are good enough for your needs, but the majority of them only have enough material for one use.

Cool, so I don't need to worry then about two drives. Is the SE16 WD 640Gb better than the Caviar Black that TechReport recommends? The 2nd drive is only $5 more.

I decided on the Q9400 since Dell has it for cheap (No MicroCenter here). I'm hoping to get 3.2Ghz (400*8), or higher if I can, but I want to keep it cool and quiet.
 

Dangman

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keldegar

Limp Gawd
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Dec 11, 2006
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If you get the Dark Knight version of the Xigmatek HSF, it already comes with the bolt-thru bracket.

The only major difference between the Black and Blue 640GB (SE) is that the Black has a 5 year warranty whereas the Blue has a 3 year warranty. Their performance is virtually the same.

Thanks, saved me from buying something i don't need. Also the one he linked is not the blue caviar, it's a 16mb cache version for $74.99. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136218

should i just get the caviar black for $5 more?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136319
 

Dangman

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keldegar

Limp Gawd
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Dec 11, 2006
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339
The final purchase:

Antec Solo Plus 550
Sapphire 4870 1GB
WD Blue Caviar 640GB SATA HDD
G.SKILL 8GB (4 x 2GB) DDR2-1066
GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550
Xigmatek Dark Knight S1283
OCZ Thermal paste
Pioneer SATA DVD-RW

Everything runs amazing!!!! Thanks for all of your advice guys. The Xigmatek fits PERFECTLY. The 4870 fits but I lose a drive slot (that's okay I have only 1 hard drive).
 

tiraides

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What made you go towards the Antec Solo Plus? Which PSU is included?

And why did you get 8GB of RAM?
 

keldegar

Limp Gawd
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Dec 11, 2006
Messages
339
What made you go towards the Antec Solo Plus? Which PSU is included?

And why did you get 8GB of RAM?

The built-in sound dampening, overall look, and built in modular Antec NeoPower 550 (which has had incredible reviews and is rated at 85% efficiency). I like the suspension cables for the hard drives as well. Also it fits on my desk perfectly (18.2" long, my desk is 19").

some reviews of the power supply - http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/361/10
"This power supply is simply unbelievable: even though it is labeled as a 550 W unit it could deliver 650 W at 50º C."

I got 8GB of RAM because it was so cheap. $40 for a 4GB kit. The RAM will for sure come in handy for my video editing needs. I'm running Windows Vista 64-Bit.
 
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