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Old November 15, 2008, 09:06 AM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 2
Question First ever build. Want to OC. No gaming. $1500

Hi guys,

I知 new to hardware canucks and to building PCs in general. Been tinkering with computers since I was a lad some 20 years ago, so I catch on quick, but in all honesty I知 more of a software guy than a hardware guy. I知 comfortable with simple hardware tasks like installing RAM, HDs, expansion cards, etc. but have never done a full build, was always afraid of frying the CPU or something. In the past I would pick parts, but get CanadaComputers or some store to assemble. But no more, the time has come to learn by doing.

I知 excited about my new build which I intend to do in a few weeks.

This started as an upgrade to my current system (see sig). I originally wanted to upgrade to the Q9550 with a nice heat sink, but I found the P5B Deluxe would be too limiting in terms of overclocking from what I understand the BIOS updates for the P5B Deluxe would OC the northbridge just to get the new 45nm chips to run, so it would already be stressed just to do stock speeds (correct me if I知 wrong). So I decided if I needed a new MB, may as well go all out and keep my current PC intact.

Tasks: running VMs (for testing new and fancy OSes), compiling software (I like gentoo), multimedia transcoding. Mostly CPU intensive stuff. Absolutely no gaming. It will probably be running 24/7 and I definitely intend to overclock.

Budget: $1500

Country to buy parts from: Canada. I intended to go online, but it seems CanadaComputers has the best prices, and I知 in Toronto so I can just drive there instead of waiting for shipping.

Cult affiliations ;): Intel, Asus (I知 not going AMD at this stage in the game, but you may be able to talk me out of Asus)

Re-use: Intend to buy cheaper PSU for old box and reuse Enermax Liberty 500W PSU; and possibly 2xWDC WD740ADFD-00NLR1 (74GB Raptor, SATA1) depending on heat

Overclock: Would like to get the Q9550 a reasonable amount faster (without resorting to too much voodoo). 3.6Ghz sounds reasonable?

When: First-second week of December

First draft spec:
  • Case Cooler Master ATCS 840 (Releases Nov 25) $ 400.00 (generous guess)
  • CPU Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Quad-Core Socket LGA775, 2.83 GHz, 1333 MHz FSB, 12MB L2 Cache, 45nm (Retail Box) $ 399.99
  • Mobo Asus P5Q-E Socket 775 Intel P45 + ICH10R Chipset Dual-Channel DDR2 1200/1066/800/667MHz Dual Gigabit LAN 8-channel High Definition Audio 2 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 Slots 8x SATA 3Gb/s $ 189.99
  • RAM OCZ (OCZ2P10664GK) DDR2 PC2-8500 1066 MHz Platinum Series 4GB(2x2048) Dual Channel Kit $ 122.99
  • PSU (for old box) Enermax ETK450AWT Tomahawk 450W Power Supply $ 68.00
  • PSU (for new box, from old) Enermax Liberty DXX ELT500AWT 500W V2.2 2Fan 20/24 2x6P+8P RoHS ATX PS $ -
  • Cooler Thermalright ULTRA-120 Extreme Black Edition 6 Heatpipe Cooler LGA775 Heatsink *Fan Not Included* $ 87.66 (NCIX)
  • Goo Arctic Silver 5 High-Density Polysynthetic Silver Thermal Compound $ 7.99
  • Fans Scythe S-Flex 120mm (SFF21F) (1600rpm) FDB Bearing Chassis Fan (SFF21F) $ 16.99
  • HD (Cheapest possible >200G) Hitachi Deskstar 250GB 3.5" SATA 7200rpm 8MB $ 49.99
  • Vid (Cheapest possible) Asus EAH3450/DI/256M ATI Radeon HD 3450 Chipset 256MB DDR2 Dual Display PCI Express 2.0 Graphics Card $ 42.99
  • DVD (Cheapest possible) LG GSA-H54N 18X DVD-Writer Black W/ Software, OEM $ 23.99
Total (+13% pst/gst) $1,593.96

Here are some of my feelings/concerns. Let me know if I知 on the ball:

-Cooler. This is the most major sticking point for me. I have never installed a CPU, let alone an aftermarket cooler. For me I think installation procedure is the most important. From reading reviews, the TRUE120 seems pretty sane: mount a back plate, put some screws in, install the CPU/heatsink, and put the scissor-retention-clips in. I致e read all sorts of horror stories with OCZ Vendetta 2 and other pushpin-based HSFs being hard to install and being hell on the board (flex) since they don稚 use mounting hardware. But to be fair I致e also read horror stories about the TRUE120, such as, you need to sand your CPU for it to work right, you need to use a dime to increase 杜ounting pressure, the HSF isn稚 flat and it needs to be sanded too bleh that scares me. Anyone care to alleviate my concerns?

-RAM. This is basically a guess. I really have no idea how to shop for RAM, it痴 probably the hardest component for me to conceptualize. As I understand it PC8500/1066MHz RAM isn稚 really worthwhile unless I知 doing major overclocking, that is, up to 533MHz FSB. If I bought DDR800 sticks (as I have today) I壇 be limited to 400MHz FSB before putting the RAM into an OC壇 state. As I understand it, the stock Q9550 is 333x8.5. Is it likely I will hit some sort of wall (CPU, FSB) before being able to put this RAM to practical use? Should I cut back a little here or am I on the right track?

-CPU. I知 really sold on the Q9550. I am a little concerned about whether I will get the E0 stepping, however, since I壇 like to overclock. Anyone know if CanadaComputers is selling E0 stepping, or of any online .ca shop that may be currently shipping E0?

-Motherboard. I致e looked at the available P45 chipset Asus boards and I like the P5Q-E. The P5Q Deluxe seems to just have more power savings which are disabled when OC段ng anyway (16 phase power?) and that痴 about it. I read some vague comparison on the NCIX forums of P5Q-E vs P5Q Deluxe and they said the latter would OC better. Is it really worth the +$75 though? I hear the P5Q-E is an excellent OC段ng board.

-PSU. Since I知 not using a power-hungry graphics card, I imagine any reputable-brand PSU will do. I like my Enermax Liberty (modular) and I壇 like to reuse it. I壇 put the 450W Tomahawk in my old box (sig).

-Case. I read the thread on the ATCS840 on hardware canucks and I was instantly sold. This is a sexy case. I have always skimped on the case (get the cheapest $25 piece of steel possible) and lately I致e regretted it. To run my current box stable at stock speeds I have to take the side panel off because it痴 so cramped. I want room for fans, I want to OC, I want my machine to run cool, and it壇 be nice to keep the side panel on. I may be overcompensating here for past failures with cases, but this seems like a good case. Price is unknown since it痴 not available for another few weeks. I壇 pay $400 for it unless someone can talk me out of it.

-HDD/CD/Video: Don稚 care and wa\nt cheapest possible. Need DVD to install Windows (of course.. Linux I can install from a thumb drive ;) ). Need HD to store operating system. Need video card to display pixels. That痴 basically it.

-Overclock. This would be the first time I致e ever actually done anything besides 斗ets see what happens when I bump the FSB a little (stock cooling). As I understand it overclocking is logarithmic in effort: the first bump gets you (e.g.) 1000MHz, the second bump gets you 500MHz.. then you池e really struggling to get a 100MHz increase. I知 willing to invest some time and effort into getting it to run nicely, but I知 not going to go crazy with it sanding the CPU sounds a bit much. Am I on the right track hardware-wise, could I get some (easy) MHz by upgrading a component here or there, or am I going way too overkill on certain parts and could save some money?

-Fans. Should I consider northbridge cooling, spot fans or anything like that? The Scythe S-Flex is there to attach to the TRUE120.

Whew, that was a lot of typing. Hope to hear back happy to join the HC community.

Thanks for reading this far..
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old November 15, 2008, 11:11 AM
Kayen's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Edmonton
Posts: 706

My System Specs


- Cooler. Well You don't necessarily need to use pushpin mounting for OCZ Vendetta 2's, as you can pick up one of these:

- Case. No clue which one you're talking about. But $400? geez for around that price tag you can get a damn nice Lian Li.

- Motherboard. Stick with the P5Q-E. Overclocking on both boards, unless you're doing insane pushes, will be more than enough for what you're asking for.

- Video Card. With your current choice, you should try getting a fanless version, less energy consumption, quieter.

- DVD Drive - Make sure that it's a SATA drive, not an ide. You don't want those ribbon cables in your build, trust me.

- Fans. Get a Noctua P12 / Scythe S-Flex strapped onto TRUE/Vendetta 2 should be good.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old November 15, 2008, 01:38 PM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 2

Hey, thanks for the tips.

Originally Posted by Kayen View Post
- Case. No clue which one you're talking about. But $400? geez for around that price tag you can get a damn nice Lian Li.
The case I'm talking about is this one:
Cooler Master ATCS 840

It's MSRP $275USD. I just did the conversion and that's $339CAD, so not quite $400. Any Lian Li in particular that'd rival this case?

Originally Posted by Kayen View Post
- Video Card. With your current choice, you should try getting a fanless version, less energy consumption, quieter.
Good idea.

Originally Posted by Kayen View Post
- DVD Drive - Make sure that it's a SATA drive, not an ide. You don't want those ribbon cables in your build, trust me.
Ahh, never would have thought of that. I've never even seen a SATA DVD drive, hehe.

Originally Posted by Kayen View Post
Fans. Get a Noctua P12 / Scythe S-Flex strapped onto TRUE/Vendetta 2 should be good.
You mean both? Is this "push/pull"? Which push and which pull?
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