Computer for Friend

By ChrisLam
Oct 4, 2007
  1. My friend is building a computer at around Boxing Day. He has access to TigerDirect,, and
    His budget is about $1300 to $1500 Canadian. In the future, he might upgrade to SLI.

    We were thinking:
    EVGA nForce 680i SLI Motherboard CPU Bundle - T1 Version, Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 Processor 2.33GHz OEM - $470

    XFX GeForce 8800 GTS Extreme Video Card - FREE Lost Planet: Extreme Condition PC Game, 640MB DDR3, PCI Express, SLI Ready, (Dual Link) Dual DVI, HDTV, Video Card - $350

    OCZ (OCZ2N800SR2GK) DDR2 PC2-6400 800MHz NVIDIA SLI-Ready XTC Edition 2GB (2x1024MB) Dual Channel Kit - $75

    Seagate / Barracuda 7200.10 / 320GB / 7200 / 16MB / ATA-100 / EIDE / OEM / Hard Drive - $110

    Lite-On LH-20A1S SuperAllwrite SATA DVD Burner - 20x DVD±R Burn, 16x DVD±R Read, 8x DVD+RW, 6x DVD-RW, 8x DVD±R DL, 12x DVD-RAM, 48x32x CD-R/RW - $50

    Also, he has chosen a Power Supply and Case, though I forgot which brand and model they are. He also needs peripherals including mouse/keyboard and monitor (19-22 inch, $300 and under). Please comment and recommend any changes and state incompatibly issues. Remember, no because we live in Canada.

    The specs might be missing some stuff. I am very sleepy and could not think properly.

  2. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,964   +355

    What Windows version is he planning to install?
  3. ChrisLam

    ChrisLam TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 82

    He is planning to get Vista Home Premium OEM (that is why I told him to go with the 8800 series for DirectX 10 support). I think the HDD should be cheaper too as he needs to get a decent monitor and other peripherals. Also, I think the Mobo/CPU is a bit expensive?

    Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium Edition 64BIT DVD OEM
    - $130

    (EDIT} Also, I think he wants the new 1333MHz Core2Duos. Before, he wanted a dual-core AMD FX-??, but I told him to get a C2D because they are faster and more efficient (both at processing and energy conserving) and they can be overclocked more? <- He is not going to overclock though he says because he doesn't want to ruin the warranty.

    Hmm.... was the hard drive if first suggested IDE? I think Serial ATA would be better?

    Seagate / Barracuda 7200.10 / 250GB / 7200 / 16MB / Serial ATA-300 / NCQ / OEM / Hard Drive - $90

    Also would a sub-$50 CPU cooler be necessary (he is not overclocking since he does not want to ruin warranty)
  4. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,964   +355

    Yes, I agree with you that the motherboard/CPU bundle is too expensive, by about $100. Perhaps he should get an E6750. I would recommend getting a SATA hard drive instead of an IDE. If he is not going to overclock, the stock heatsink/fan that comes with the retail CPU box will work fine.

    An AMD CPU is not out of the question but if he is looking for the best performing CPUs at the high end, then Core 2 Duo is a good choice. I've always used AMD and I still like them but in my most recent build (in August 2007) I used an Intel Core 2 Duo.

    The only reason I was asking about the Windows version was if he was going to install XP, I was going to recommend an IDE optical drive. He would have difficulty installing XP with a SATA optical drive. But since he is using Vista, that's not a problem.
  5. Nirkon

    Nirkon TS Enthusiast Posts: 202

    Why would you say he would have problems with a SATA optical drive in XP?
    i know quite a few people, including my own uncle that have a SATA optical cd/dvd drive with no problems.

    as for AMD, their advantage here is performance/price and power consumption (intel loses a lot in power consumption).

    but as for performance, intel is the winner.
  6. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,964   +355

    It's not the SATA drive itself that he would have problems with. The problem he would have is installing Windows XP with a SATA optical drive only. Are you saying your Uncle and others installed Windows XP on a new PC using a SATA optical drive? I don't think you can boot with a SATA optical drive on a new PC because unlike IDE drives there are no drivers for it at that stage of installation.
  7. ChrisLam

    ChrisLam TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 82

  8. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

  9. ChrisLam

    ChrisLam TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 82

    Cool! Thanks Rage_3K_Moiz!

    Do you have any parts that could be cheaper? Also, he has a case and power supply in mind though I don't know how much its costs and the brand and model. His original budget was $1300, and he barely has enough for $1500.
  10. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    This PSU is a nice, cheap alternative to the Corsair.
    This is a good alternative to the G5.
    This mobo is an excellent buy. It has the right price and it's a great performer, plus it's of good quality as well. SLI\Crossfire is not really a good option since it requires a lot of power and proper cooling, not to mention a monitor capable of resolutions above 1600x1200, which is where dual-GPU systems really show performance benefits. That costs a lot of money. So tell him to forget the idea.
  11. ChrisLam

    ChrisLam TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 82

    He says he might have an extra
    $200 or so to spare today. (~$1700), though he still has to pay for shipping. The case he has in mind is the Antec 900.

    Antec Nine Hundred Mid Tower Gamer Case 900 ATX 9 Drive Bay No PS Top USB2.0 1394 Audio

    And it seems that he has changed his mind. He will overclock, and is planning to get a Zalman CPU fan.

    Zalman CNPS9500

    And about the mobo, you say that SLI is not needed except for huge monitors? The 8800 GTS will handle pretty much everything right? He was thinking about SLI because it sounds cool and it may be needed for future games. Also, does the mobo support the newer 45nm Intel Processors and DDR3 RAM for future upgrades?
  12. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    Yeah the 8800GTS will handle about everything, although, since his budget is a bit more, you could try upgrading to this if the budget allows to. It's the most powerful card out there at the moment. Also, if you're looking for a P35 based mobo, this is the best out there for the price. It supports Penryn and DDR3.
  13. ChrisLam

    ChrisLam TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 82

    Cool! Unfortunately, he said that his dad will probably not let him get a pricey graphics card. In your opinion, what is a decent frames per second? I've seen some benchmarks with FPS at 100+, but if his monitor's refresh rate is not light speed, is 100+ FPS necessary? Is the difference really viewable between 75 FPS and 125 FPS on a 5ms monitor?


    PS Is this CPU cooler good for overclocking or do you recommend something else? Preferably not liquid cooling or phase change because either they are hard to install or they cost too much.
  14. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    The human eye is not capable of distinguishing motion 'lag' at 60FPS and above. In other words, you won't see any difference in gameplay at 60FPS and at 80FPS. The 8800GTS should be fine IMO. :)
    As for the CPU cooler, the link you gave me doesn't work unfortunately. I have an Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro though and it works like a charm. It's not too expensive either. Get it here.
  15. ChrisLam

    ChrisLam TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 82

    Zalman CNPS9500 LED

    How many degrees difference is you Freezer 7 Pro compared to the stock cooler?
    Also, isn't there a limit recommended by processor manufactures of the maximum weight of the cooler?

    Since he is planning to overclock, should he get a lower-end C2D? Is there a big difference between 2mb cache and 4mb? Would getting 4 gigs of dual channel RAM (2 x 2048mb) be a good idea if he has left over money?

  16. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    Well, my QX6700 stays at about 21C at idle and at full load it never goes above 40C. Pretty damn good IMO.
    About overclocking, the advantage of getting a better CPU is the higher multiplier you get. This allows for a much higher overclock.
    And lastly, more RAM is better. So 4GB is not a bad idea. Just make sure you get XP or Vista x64 since all 4GB of it won't show up in the 32-bit versions.
  17. ChrisLam

    ChrisLam TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 82

    So he should stick with the E6750 (2.66 Ghz, 1333FSB) and overclock that? Your cooler sounds good.
    Yup, he is getting 64 bit.

  18. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    Well, the E6750 is pretty fast enough at stock. If you need to overclock it lightly though, I would recommend using the Freezer 7 Pro.
  19. Nirkon

    Nirkon TS Enthusiast Posts: 202

    (sorry for posting a little late)...
    but yeah, he has only one drive, and thats his DVD drive and he installed windows xp on his own using that drive... I think SATA drives work without drivers, why shouldn't they? SATA hard drive work without drivers as well...
  20. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,964   +355

    Well, of course it won't work without ANY drivers. The BIOS has some basic drivers, otherwise you couldn't even get a monitor display. Perhaps your uncle has a motherboard BIOS that has some basic SATA drivers. I failed to consider that new motherboards might have that support because I'm so used to previous motherboards whose BIOS' did not.

    Nonetheless, while your uncle may have successfully installed XP using a SATA optical drive, I'm not so sure it can be done with all BIOS'. For example, I recently built the PC shown in my System Specs using a Gigabyte P35 motherboard. It is a fairly recently released motherboard. The manual advised installing SATA drivers before SATA devices would be recognized. Although I didn't try to use a SATA optical drive, my SATA hard drive was not recognized until I installed SATA drivers (per motherboard instructions) at F6.

    So in light of Nirkon's information, I will modify my advice to say it would be best to consult the relevant motherboard manual to see if SATA drivers need to be manually installed. It would be inconvenient to find that out at the last minute.
  21. Nirkon

    Nirkon TS Enthusiast Posts: 202

    (his motherboard was GA965PDS3)
    anyway - the difference between IDE and SATA drives are very minor, just take which one works for you.
  22. nickc

    nickc TechSpot Paladin Posts: 923   +11

    Nirkon: most MBs do have have to have SANTA drivers installed. Not all the new MBs do though as I am on one now that does not.
  23. ChrisLam

    ChrisLam TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 82

    Have you guys heard of phase change cooling? And do any of you guys know of a case that has good cooling built in? I read somewhere that there is a case that has a plate inside. The case makes the plate cold and blows air onto it and the air bounces off into the case. It is sort of like air-conditioning.

    Would you recommend any of these cooling strategies? Or should my friend just stick to air cooling?

    BTW nickc your system specs say you have a 7500GB Seagate HDD.
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