Newegg [H]oliday System Build Guide 0406

FrgMstr

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Newegg [H]oliday 2006 System Build Guide - Do you have money to spend, but don’t know what to spend it on? Today we reach out to help simplify the system build purchasing process with two Intel Core 2 Duo based systems built to fit different budgets. And both are overclocking monsters to boot!

Hopefully this guide will take some of the guesswork out of building a new system for the holidays. Many of these same components are going to end up in our own systems. Good luck, and feel free to ask questions or check out the HardForum where thousands of folks post every day with their own tips, trick, and results!
As always, we want to hear your feedback and suggestions!!
 

JonnyK

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Great guide, i'm planning on building a system in January and i'm going for a mix between the two builds from the guide, i think i can do it for under $2,000. I am re-using my monitor, already have an extra hard drive, and already have extra speakers/keyboards and mice so that cuts out a bunch of money. I'm wanting an 8800gtx for sure, Will that corsair power supply be safe for if i ever upgrade to two of them? I thought it was supposed to require a 1kw psu, or more than 520w anyway.

I'm curious about the ram between the two systems. I think i'll go with the recommended motherboard that has nice oc's, and a core 2 duo 6600. What ram should i get? I don't remember ever spending $350+ for nice ram when i built past systems so i was wondering what the performance differences are between the cheaper stuff and that corsair dominator stuff.

Also, how do 8800gtx's fit in the centurion case from the $1500 build? I'd really like to go for a mid-tower case instead of the full tower if they have enough room to work from. If anyone has experience with number of hard drives you can fit in a mid tower with 8800's in it please let me know. The case size and power supplies to go with 8800gtx's have me ont he edge about which case to get.
 

Kevl4R

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This was a really timely topic to have on [H]. This past weekend I just bought the eVGA mobo and the Dominator Ram from NewEgg (they had it in a nicely packaged bundled deal). I picked up the E6600 from ClubIT along with a copy of Windows XP Media Center Ed. becuase of their coupon deal to upgrade to Vista at a later date.

Good job as always.
 

msny

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First off, some really nice system builds. THANKS so much for giving some nice direction!

Just wondering how much of mixing and matching between these two systems can be done. I don't really overclock much, so I like the idea of the faster C2D with the better video card. I could live with the lower priced monitor and keyboard. Speakers don't mean much to me either as I use headphones most of the time. I could go to 2grand and an in between system myself. This is to replace my system #2 in sig with Vista in janurary or feburary.

My only concern is the PSU, is that really enough for a system with multiple drives and then SLI to boot, eventually?

HARDOCP always come through for me....thanks for your suggestions.
 

Mohonri

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For the $1500 system, the System Summary labels the RAM as DDR2 667, but the description pagelists it as DDR2 800. Which is it? Also, you have different prices for the same Lite-on drive in the two system builds.

I like the article overall, but have a couple little suggestions:
1) Would it be possible to put the price for each item in the body of the article as well as in the summary table? Some of the component prices were mentioned in passing, but it would be nice to know as I read the article how much each component is contributing towards the $1500 or $2800.
2) Do you have plans for a non-overclocker's guide? A buying guide for those looking for stock performance might be appreciated, even if it's not quite as exciting. Yes, I know that running a CPU at stock speeds is tantamount to heresy around here, but it happens.
3) What about shipping costs? Particularly for the cases and LCD panels, it can get pricey, and it adds up fast for all the other components as well. Is shipping outside the scope of this guide?

Thanks for the article! It helps give some perspective.
 

jfreund

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Newegg has a 7950GT with 512 MB DDR3 (item #N82E16814143071) that is only $20 more than the 256 MB 7900GT. Go with a different 2GB set of PC2 6400 with the same voltage and latencies (OCZ has some cheaper than the S.O.E.) to make up the bucks. A LOT of DDR2 is getting slagged in NewEgg reviews because people can't figure out that the voltage needs to be set to the spec of the DIMMs.
 
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I definitely appreciate the $1500 guide.

However, the Dominator RAM is just a waste, in terms of performance/$. Also, I'm not convinced that two smaller monitors make any kind of sense to gamers. And if you decide to go SLI down the road, you'll probably have to upgrade the PSU. I also didn't see any 3rd party CPU HSFs.

I suggest getting the least expensive DDR2800 you can find (The OCZ @ $220 is probably close enough), saving $150. You could almost get another 2gb of the OCZ RAM with that, which the 680i mobo may be able to run at 1T. Then, go with a single larger LCD, saving 440-290 = $150. With that extra $300, you could spend ~$90 to upgrade to a PCP&C Silencer 750, and the other $200 to upgrade to an 8800GTX. Or maybe get an even larger monitor. Or buy yourself a watercooling setup and maybe a nicer case.

Edit:
Unfortunately I'm too lazy at the moment to find any specific gaming benchmarks invovling Dominators vs. DDR2 800. It doesn't look like [H] has done this. However, [H]'s recent 8800 series review should speak to the performance difference between the 8800GTS and 8800GTX.
 

willyspuddle

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Great Guide. I would at this time suggest to purchase a Thermaltake Typhoon(Silent, or Ninja, or insert favorite cooling solution here), Zalman VGA Copper cooler, and any Northbridge cooler with a fan(Coolermaster blue Ice.). When overclocked the Northbridge gets so hot with the stock Heat sink that it is untouchable. Also any RAM rated for DDR2 800 will work, including Kingston value. 7900GT runs nice now at 600MHZ(left ram settings alone, stock cooling 525MHZ tops), and the Intel 6300 from 266 to 400MHZ to equal the ram. It overclocks much higher, but a totally stable 2.8GHZ from 1.83 is good enough for me.

The reason I mention this is that the CPU HSF and the Northbridge need to be done before mounting the Mobo in case. It is a royal pain to add it later.

Cheers!
 

swatbat

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I like these guides but one thing I really wish that you all would do is build the systems. Give some basic benchmarks and numbers on what you got out of them(overclocking too). I know these numbers will vary by cpu and what the end user would install but it would be a nice point of comparision.

Also I defend the dual monitor idea. Dual monitors is great work doing work. Yes for games it is a waste but even with then I will use the second monitor to keep like my im's and email on.
 

Bohica69

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Great job as usual... One request though - and it's not a big deal, but would be a nice to have - is could we get a file to import into Excel to work with (for the system breakdowns)? Or instead of an image for the system breakdown, put it into an table so we could do a simple cut and paste?

I'm wanting to do a mix and match from both lists, and am lazy.. ;)

Thanks again!
 

rinaldo00

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I hope this is a good thread to post this in. This is my dream system, what does everyone think?

Case and Color : [Cooler Master] Stacker 830 Mid/Full Tower (Black)
Power Supply : [Enermax] Galaxy 1000W Power Supply
Video Adapter(s) : (2) [NVIDIA] GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB (SLI)
Disk Array 1 | Hard Disk Drive(s) : [Western Digital] 150GB SATA 10,000 RPM
Disk Array 2 | Hard Disk Drive(s) : [Seagate] 320GB SATA 7,200 RPM 16MB Cache
Processor(s) : [Intel] Core 2 Duo X6800 Extreme 4MB
Motherboard : [EVGA] nForce 680i SLI Motherboard (775)
System Memory : 2GB DDR/DDR2
CD/DVD 1 : [Sony] 18X Dual Layer DVD Burner 48X CD Burner
Sound Adapter : [Creative Labs] Sound Blaster Audigy SE 7.1

Total price: $3960 at newegg
 

FrgMstr

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msny said:
First off, some really nice system builds. THANKS so much for giving some nice direction!

Just wondering how much of mixing and matching between these two systems can be done. I don't really overclock much, so I like the idea of the faster C2D with the better video card. I could live with the lower priced monitor and keyboard. Speakers don't mean much to me either as I use headphones most of the time. I could go to 2grand and an in between system myself. This is to replace my system #2 in sig with Vista in janurary or feburary.

My only concern is the PSU, is that really enough for a system with multiple drives and then SLI to boot, eventually?

HARDOCP always come through for me....thanks for your suggestions.
I have done some pretty ugly torture testing here with SLI 8800 GTX using SLI approved Silverstone 750 watt units and they have held up well so far with not one glitch.

I think the 520 is going to be on the edge with 800 GTS SLI and honestly I would not recommend it for SLI of any 8800 kind. Our SLI 8800 GTX rig with 3 hard drives is eating up 500 - 530 watts unders load.
 

FrgMstr

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Mohonri said:
For the $1500 system, the System Summary labels the RAM as DDR2 667, but the description pagelists it as DDR2 800. Which is it? Also, you have different prices for the same Lite-on drive in the two system builds.

I like the article overall, but have a couple little suggestions:
1) Would it be possible to put the price for each item in the body of the article as well as in the summary table? Some of the component prices were mentioned in passing, but it would be nice to know as I read the article how much each component is contributing towards the $1500 or $2800.
2) Do you have plans for a non-overclocker's guide? A buying guide for those looking for stock performance might be appreciated, even if it's not quite as exciting. Yes, I know that running a CPU at stock speeds is tantamount to heresy around here, but it happens.
3) What about shipping costs? Particularly for the cases and LCD panels, it can get pricey, and it adds up fast for all the other components as well. Is shipping outside the scope of this guide?

Thanks for the article! It helps give some perspective.

The ram is DDR2 800, will get that error fixed.

1. Did not do it this time as it is a pain in the ass to fix price changes during editing, so we leave them all in one place.

2. The DS3 would be fine for a non-OCers board as well. Check our last few mobo reviews as there are a BUNCH of Core 2 Duo boards that have given great performance.

3. Shipping is not included in the guide as it can vary per user.
 

FrgMstr

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jfreund said:
Newegg has a 7950GT with 512 MB DDR3 (item #N82E16814143071) that is only $20 more than the 256 MB 7900GT. Go with a different 2GB set of PC2 6400 with the same voltage and latencies (OCZ has some cheaper than the S.O.E.) to make up the bucks. A LOT of DDR2 is getting slagged in NewEgg reviews because people can't figure out that the voltage needs to be set to the spec of the DIMMs.
A quick trip to the RAM builders web site should clear that up. :) And yes, good call on the 7950 GT, that is certainly a great option.
 

reins

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Awesome guide! I never paid much attention to that thermaltake but I like it a lot now. I'm also considering picking up that psu.
 

ikjadoon

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Before I begin: rinaldo, did you get that configuration from Overdrive PC? Looks similar...

Great article, I love it. Great choices, but I disagree with just a few. Overall, it is a perfect holiday guide. We all love to give Christmas presents to ourselves, ;)

There are some changes that might be beneficial.

Memory. Ooh, this is a big one. And on the system summaries, you've listed it as DDR2-667, while the link and in other areas you say DDR2-800. I assume it is DDR2-800. Probably a typo. Anyways, you guys are getting ripped off. $259 for DDR2-800 at 5-5-5-15? Why not $199 for DDR2-800 4-4-4-12 with excellent overclockability? G. Skill This is proven to overclock VERY well on stock timings. Review Here, they overclocked it to 906MHz on 4-4-4-12. I'd like to see that OCZ get near that with those timings. Sorry, but that memory option is not the best for this budget. And best of all: no rebates. You're paying $199 and that's it. I am a firm supporter of OCZ, but with other much better choices, I can't stick behind them.

To the optical drive. I prefer this Samsung drive to that LITE-ON for a few reasons:

Samsung 18X w/ Lightscribe

It's only $2 more. You get faster access times (110ms/130ms vs. 160ms) and Lightscribe. While Lightscribe isn't amazing, it's still feels "nice" to have it. You know what I mean? Oh yeah, you also actually get some software. The LITE-ON comes with just the drive with NO software, while the Samsung comes with Nero. I think an extra $2 is worth it, no?

Next is the case. I love Cooler Master to death. But I really dislike that case for airflow reasons. While, yes, it does include a nice window and room for two 12cm fans, the intake is next to USELESS. It can only draw in air from the sides, being hampered by the front bezel and any air that does come through is stopped by the hard drive cage and the hard drive itself. A better option is the Cooler Master Elite, RC-330. The RC-331 looks better and is aesthetically-oriented towards the gamer, but is not available on NewEgg, as of yet. They are identical, minus a few aesthetical changes. The RC-330 is cheaper and there is no annoying drive cage to hamper airflow. Doesn't need a rebate, either.Cooler Master Elite RC-330. The airflow catch is the only reason why I don't like the 534. Otherwise, it is a fine case.

This GPU change can ONLY be used if you save the cash from the memory. Sapphire X1950XT. Yes, it is a bit more, $269 vs. $239. But is has better performance and HDCP....Thought I'd mention it.

Great choices on all parts, otherwise. You could have included TIM, CPU cooling (other than stock), and maybe some case fans, but those are "extra" parts, and while highly recommended, not required.

~Ibrahim~
 

FrgMstr

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Nicepants42 said:
I definitely appreciate the $1500 guide.

However, the Dominator RAM is just a waste, in terms of performance/$. Also, I'm not convinced that two smaller monitors make any kind of sense to gamers. And if you decide to go SLI down the road, you'll probably have to upgrade the PSU. I also didn't see any 3rd party CPU HSFs.

I suggest getting the least expensive DDR2800 you can find (The OCZ @ $220 is probably close enough), saving $150. You could almost get another 2gb of the OCZ RAM with that, which the 680i mobo may be able to run at 1T. Then, go with a single larger LCD, saving 440-290 = $150. With that extra $300, you could spend ~$90 to upgrade to a PCP&C Silencer 750, and the other $200 to upgrade to an 8800GTX. Or maybe get an even larger monitor. Or buy yourself a watercooling setup and maybe a nicer case.

Edit:
Unfortunately I'm too lazy at the moment to find any specific gaming benchmarks invovling Dominators vs. DDR2 800. It doesn't look like [H] has done this. However, [H]'s recent 8800 series review should speak to the performance difference between the 8800GTS and 8800GTX.
There are certainly options for RAM, actually more than we could list. Value is in the eye of the beholder. I have heavily used a lot of the PC8888 Dominator sticks here in the last couple months and have been very impressed with it. Also you know that Corsair is going to stand behind their product. We paired it with the high end system, because it is a high end product. That is not for everyone.

Once you have dual panels, you will never go back, even if that means sacrificing a bit of resolution for gaming, at least that is our opinion. :)
 

FrgMstr

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swatbat said:
I like these guides but one thing I really wish that you all would do is build the systems. Give some basic benchmarks and numbers on what you got out of them(overclocking too). I know these numbers will vary by cpu and what the end user would install but it would be a nice point of comparision.

Also I defend the dual monitor idea. Dual monitors is great work doing work. Yes for games it is a waste but even with then I will use the second monitor to keep like my im's and email on.

Check the motherboard reviews that are linked in the conclusion. Good stuff there.
 

FrgMstr

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willyspuddle said:
Great Guide. I would at this time suggest to purchase a Thermaltake Typhoon(Silent, or Ninja, or insert favorite cooling solution here), Zalman VGA Copper cooler, and any Northbridge cooler with a fan(Coolermaster blue Ice.). When overclocked the Northbridge gets so hot with the stock Heat sink that it is untouchable. Also any RAM rated for DDR2 800 will work, including Kingston value. 7900GT runs nice now at 600MHZ(left ram settings alone, stock cooling 525MHZ tops), and the Intel 6300 from 266 to 400MHZ to equal the ram. It overclocks much higher, but a totally stable 2.8GHZ from 1.83 is good enough for me.

The reason I mention this is that the CPU HSF and the Northbridge need to be done before mounting the Mobo in case. It is a royal pain to add it later.

Cheers!
Agreed! Obviously, if you are going to be pushing things to the extreme, extra cooling is something you need to know about. That said, both these platforms offer great stock overclocking with the processors recommended.
 

WarriorX

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rinaldo00 said:
I hope this is a good thread to post this in. This is my dream system, what does everyone think?

Case and Color : [Cooler Master] Stacker 830 Mid/Full Tower (Black)
Power Supply : [Enermax] Galaxy 1000W Power Supply
Video Adapter(s) : (2) [NVIDIA] GeForce 8800 GTX 768MB (SLI)
Disk Array 1 | Hard Disk Drive(s) : [Western Digital] 150GB SATA 10,000 RPM
Disk Array 2 | Hard Disk Drive(s) : [Seagate] 320GB SATA 7,200 RPM 16MB Cache
Processor(s) : [Intel] Core 2 Duo X6800 Extreme 4MB
Motherboard : [EVGA] nForce 680i SLI Motherboard (775)
System Memory : 2GB DDR/DDR2
CD/DVD 1 : [Sony] 18X Dual Layer DVD Burner 48X CD Burner
Sound Adapter : [Creative Labs] Sound Blaster Audigy SE 7.1

Total price: $3960 at newegg

You could go with an e6600 and save ur self some money. Just oc the 6600.
 
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A "cooling" section for each system would also be a great addition. Several HSF suggestions and a couple of watercooling suggestions would be great.
 

InorganicMatter

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How come this is in the Overclocking section? Shouldn't it be in computers and gadget or general hardware?

Good article BTW. I might throw out that this removes all ideas I had about Kyle being an AMD !!!!!!. Good on you guys, excellent article.

My only gripe is the Dominator RAM. Very expensive, and somewhat unnecessary. Some nice G.Skill or Crucial memory would do the job just fine and save $100.
 

maxius

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Kyle whats with all intel and no amd. In the issue of fairness amd processers should be concidered; do to the performence per watt. Yes we all know the core2 is better but the am2 socket does give you upgradability to quadcore, also price. Not to mention rumors are flying the 65nm varient will be hiting the streets with in a week. all in all good guide but it could be great!
 

FrgMstr

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maxius said:
Kyle whats with all intel and no amd. In the issue of fairness amd processers should be concidered; do to the performence per watt. Yes we all know the core2 is better but the am2 socket does give you upgradability to quadcore, also price. Not to mention rumors are flying the 65nm varient will be hiting the streets with in a week. all in all good guide but it could be great!
Thanks for your thoughts, ours are covered and explained on page 1. IMO there is just no reason to suggest an AMD system at this time.
 

HedgeHodge

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i would rather go with this benq 20 inch wide screen monitor, it's practically the same, only cheaper, even without a rebate
 

ikjadoon

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Hey, if we're going high-end on memory, why stick with air cooling? :D



OCZ FlexXLC: 1.15GHz

It's smack that Dominator around, especially when you put some "real" cooling in it. Only thing is that it isn't available on NE yet..

~Ibrahim~
 

qdemn7

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Excellent choices all the way around Kyle. The Gigabyte board is, IMO, simply the best OC value around these days. Picked up one for $139.99 and a tray E6600 (630B) for $279.99 from Fry's on BF. Incredible.
 

MrWizard6600

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for the $2800

...

why would you spend more on the ram then the CPU?

buy some half decent DDR2 667, or 800. drop the E6600 to an E6300, and stick in a 8800GTX. watch the 3d Mark scores skyrocket, and watch it not really make a dent in your PC mark scores.
note: oc the bejesus outta your E6300.

@ikjadoon, can i just get the HS :D
 

chavalcito

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It would have been nice to see a suggestion for a cooling solution in a guide made for a budget CPU for the overclocker.
 

FrgMstr

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maxius said:
I do have to agree with you on your point but it is going to be interesting when the .65 nm amd parts hit. your guide has opened my eyes a little. Hell my next system may just be a core2 if money permitts it to be if not amd here i come!
We are focusing on what you can buy today. Hard to build a guide with parts that you can't purchase. :cool:
 

FrgMstr

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Nicepants42 said:
You'll have to let me know what hardware and drivers you were using. Dual monitors with ATI about a year ago was a PITA, and I have yet to see a game that makes effective use of more than one monitor (other than X2).

I'd love some enlightening links.

I have used ATI and NVIDIA cards for YEARS now to do dual and triple montior support without issue. And for duals, I am not talking about gaming. I am not sure what an X2 is that you are referring to.
 

jojouop

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I also plan to build a Hybrid of these systems. Id like the integrated firewire in the: eVGA 122-CK-NF68-AR. Yet, as far as CPUs go, people are saying they are o/cing the 1.86Ghz to 3.1 or more, but at minimum a 1.8ghz. What about the Core Duo 2.4Ghz? What does that clock to?

I'm thinking of going with the lower CPU, depending on what people say here, but ocing it to 3.0ghz. I already have my key/mouse combo, my DVDROM/DVD Burner + LCD. I'll definatly go with 2x1GB Memory, but what about video card? I'd like a DirectX 10 video card. But the only ones out are like $500. I'd like it to be ~$300-$350 ish at the most. Any ideas? I was thinking of a 512MB Card... is that possible?

Thanks,

jojouop
 

FrgMstr

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jojouop said:
I also plan to build a Hybrid of these systems. Id like the integrated firewire in the: eVGA 122-CK-NF68-AR. Yet, as far as CPUs go, people are saying they are o/cing the 1.86Ghz to 3.1 or more, but at minimum a 1.8ghz. What about the Core Duo 2.4Ghz? What does that clock to?

I'm thinking of going with the lower CPU, depending on what people say here, but ocing it to 3.0ghz. I already have my key/mouse combo, my DVDROM/DVD Burner + LCD. I'll definatly go with 2x1GB Memory, but what about video card? I'd like a DirectX 10 video card. But the only ones out are like $500. I'd like it to be ~$300-$350 ish at the most. Any ideas? I was thinking of a 512MB Card... is that possible?

Thanks,

ejx982
Check the intel forum here and look for the thread that is stickied. It is a database of Core 2 Duo overclocks...

http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1075792
 
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its too bad they didn't include a low end computer for those with a <$1000 budget in mind...

Very nice systems though
 

dajet24

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One thing that is somwhat contradictary on HardOcp's part is the fact that in previous year when AMD was raping Intel badly they still provided a intel based holiday machine hence giving intel unwarranted advertising and props while this year they refuse to do the same for AMD.

Since you did a Intel machine when AMD was ahead it seems only fair you do a AMD one when Intel is ahead.
 

sirgallium

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sickpuppy said:
A "cooling" section for each system would also be a great addition. Several HSF suggestions and a couple of watercooling suggestions would be great.

I agree. I have not bought a new system for almost 5 years now! And I am considering following this general guide with some suggestions already posted.

Would it be possible to put together a processor and a processor + video card simple water cooling kit with a budget in mind?
 
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