TechSpot

PC Plans - Less than $450 budget

By thehighroad
May 4, 2009
  1. Hey!

    I was looking through CPUs and Motherboards (As that's all I need to buy at this time, don't worry about the RAM).

    I found these (Sorry, I'm not allowed to post links yet):

    GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3R
    Intel Core2 Quad Q9400

    I want to future-proof this set-up as best as possible FOR UNDER $450.

    The Q9400 has SSE4.1, 6mb L2 cache, and 1333mhz fsb (45nm manufacturing process).
    I assume SSE4.1 instructions are GOOD to have (should I forget about this)?

    The thing is, I will never overclock anything, and I'm wondering how much extra am I paying for this "fairly capable" overclocking gigabyte board. Is there one that's comparable without the overclock-ready components?

    Any responses are GREATLY appreciated!!! :)
    -thehighroad
     
  2. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,268   +92

    "Future-proofing" is such a subjective term. A setup that might last you 5 years could cause performance caps in 6 months for someone else. What are you looking to do with your PC?

    No offense intended, so please don't take any, but it's also difficult to just not "worry about the RAM" when you're asking questions that are pretty much display that you are inexperienced.

    A little bit of information regarding your current system specifications and what you want to achieve has two major benefits: those that are trying to respond with help will find it easier to better assess your situation and you will benefit with more thorough and fitting advice.

    To answer your questions loosely:

    Most of the motherboards you'll be looking at will feature overclocking, trying to find a board without one as a means to cut cost is not logical nor efficient.

    SSE4.1 is surely "good" to have. As was SSSE3, SSE3, SSE2, SSE and AMD's 3DNow!. I don't think anyone actually goes out of their way to purchase a chip based on whether or not it features some spectacular instruction set, though. It's again, an illogical and inefficient method of making a purchase.

    If you're looking to swap out your core components, perhaps you'd be best suited to wait until the i7 prices sink a little?
     
  3. thehighroad

    thehighroad TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 45

    Futureproofing by my definition: I want to fit into the "reccomended" requirements for games over the next 3 years. Not 120FPS in crysis kind of goal.

    "Don't worry about ram": I can get 2GB sticks of DDR2 RAM at any time from my local stores, so I don't need to discuss it. No offense taken :p.

    I am doing this in increments though, trying to capitalize on what I have now, and the future development of products whilst getting the best value possible.

    My plan: Core 2 Quad (yet to determine best value per dollar now, i thought the new instructions might be worth my while), Gigabyte motherboard (good quality; not DESIGNED solely for overclocking), 4GB kingston DDR2 probably 1066.
    Still keeping my--harddrives, nvidia 7800gt (I know this is "inefficient"), 450W coolermaster PSU, case, sound blaster audigy 4...

    I realize at some point I'll have to buy a new GPU, and a new PSU, I'm waiting until DirectX 11 to contemplate this, as I feel buying a DirectX 10 video card is a waste.

    The i7 doesn't interest me, by the time I can afford it, octa-core will be released, I have to choose when to buy sometime... I have an athlon 64 right now.

    The Question Remains

    GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3R
    Intel Core2 Quad Q9400

    Good Combo? I will not be overclocking.


    Thanks for your response Matthew.
    -thehighroad
     
  4. LinkedKube

    LinkedKube TechSpot Project Baby Posts: 3,481   +44

    Its a decent cpu for what you want to do. You should be more concerned with your vga. If you buy a top end one now you'll be set for a few years imo. the 9400 is a good quad too for basic stuff, but quad doesnt really mean twice the performance when it comes to games...over dual core at least.
     
  5. thehighroad

    thehighroad TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 45

    yep. my vga atm will probably put out 25-40 fps in most games on high. I have simply noticed heafty CPU bottlenecking in many programs (i.e. Mass Effect, PCSX2), and frankly I'm sick of it. The only GPU i'd really opt for right now is a GTX 280 or something, but that leads me down the core i7 road (go big or go home).

    I am interested in a core 2 quad for the multitasking and gaming aspects. I know that a core 2 duo E8400 is probably better for games, but I am trying to be optimistic, and I hope that games will soon begin utilizing 4 cores, thus improving the value of my CPU.

    Arg... now I am thinking about dual cores...

    Back to the mobos: GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3R $139.99
    --------OR---- GIGABYTE GA-G41M-ES2L $84.99
     
  6. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,268   +92

    It is a good combo, sure. You would be more suited to a dual core CPU at a higher clock as hinted at by supersmashbrada. This is probably equally as fitting if not more so specification wise and it'll save you a bit of cash:

    Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 $168
    GIGABYTE GA-EP43-UD3L $80

    That'll leave you with $200+ to spare on other parts or whatever...

    *Edit*

    If you really want a quad core, run with it, it's ultimately your wallet. It probably isn't the best route for you to be taking at this point, though. You will definitely appreciate a new PSU ($70ish) and a mid-range video card upgrade ($100-$130 at best, easily within the $200+ remainder). I fail to see the logic in waiting on some components, but not others. :) You said it best yourself: "I have to choose when to buy sometime... "
     
  7. thehighroad

    thehighroad TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 45

    I'm in Canada, so the deals not as simple, I guess is the word. But, this gives me much to think about.

    I can get the E8400 for $203.99
    and the GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3L for $113.99 (P45 vs P43 for $4)

    totaling (after shipping)
    $373.96

    That's $100 less than before... looking better.

    *EDIT*

    A 9800GT and a mid-range PSU may fill that gap. I'll have to think about that one.
     
  8. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,268   +92

    Ah, my apologies, didn't realize you were up in Canada. Either way, though, with that remaining $80 +/- you can buy a solid PSU and then hold off on your video card purchase as you desired to anyhow.
     
  9. thehighroad

    thehighroad TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 45

    Thank you for your assistance. I have decided to go with a Q8200 (same price as the E8400 and about 1200 more PassMark's CPU Marks) and the suggested gigabyte mobo above. This saved me $100 with little to give up! I will consider a video card and PSU!
     
  10. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,435   +145

    Yes you should forget about it, i'm reasonably certain most intel processors in mass production have it.

    The E8400 will perform better better gaming wise if you don't know that already, and 3Dmarks are just for show, getting more 3Dmarks will make your computer run slower!

    I would still get the dual core.

    As for the power supply and video card, I would go with a Corsair 450, or Antec Earthwatts 430, along with a card like the 4770.
     
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