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Old November 15, 2008, 03:14 PM
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Question Need some build opinions/advice

So my brother's horrible Toshiba laptop finally kicked the bucket on him and he asked me to look into building him a new PC. He gave me a budget of up-to $2000 but I'm not sure what else I could add to make it noticeably faster. I'm not sure if he's going to do a whole lot of gaming on it, so a better (or 2) gfx card(s) probably isn't worth it.

Here's what I've come up with:
CPU: Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0GHz
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3R
Memory: OCZ Reaper HPC 4GB DDR2 PC6400
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 320GB 7200RPM
Case: Antec Three Hundred
PSU: Corsair 620HX 620W
GPU: HIS Radeon 4870
Sound: Creative X-fi/ASUS???
DVD-RW: Samsung 22x w/Lightscribe
Wireless: Edimax EW-7128G
CPU Cooler: Xigmatek HDT-S1283 120mm
GPU Cooler: Stock for the time being? probably a future upgrade
TIM: MX-2
OS: My bro's copy of XP (if it works) or a new Vista 32-bit
Monitor: Acer 21.5" 1080P HD LCD
Mouse: Logitech MX518
Keyboard: Whatever he wants
Speakers/Headphones: up to him

So what do you guys think? Can the 32-bit Vista use more than 4 Gigs or RAM? I'd go for Vista64, but I hear it's picky because most software is written for 32bit OSs. What can be improved upon to speed up everyday computing needs? RAID0? (he's already got an external 500Gig drive) Quad-core?

The total for all this only comes to about $1,200 after rebates. Maybe I'll just tell em to get a $1,000 monitor.
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Old November 15, 2008, 03:21 PM
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If he's not planning on doing a lot of gaming, I'd gravitate more towards a quad to allow for futureproofing. Other than that, looks like a pretty decent build... have you considered a dedicated sound card? Onboard does the trick, but sound quality is head over heels better with a dedicated card.

Did you have him pick out a case? That's a very personal choice, and prices can vary widely.

Welcome to Hardware Canucks BTW!!!
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Old November 15, 2008, 11:12 PM
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Welcome to HWC, MopeyMartian.

About the only thing that i would change, would be to replace that 320GB Seagate with a 640GB(Black) Western Digital. It's pretty-much the fastest 7200rpm HDD out there. If you want to spend more of his money, a 300GB VelociRaptor is the fastest SATA HDD around. I used Newegg.com for the links, as that's what you used... so i'm not sure if you're from Canada, or elsewhere. If you're in Canada.. there are better/cheaper places than Newegg, to order from. GL
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Old November 15, 2008, 11:20 PM
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Quote:
If he's not planning on doing a lot of gaming, I'd gravitate more towards a quad to allow for futureproofing. Other than that, looks like a pretty decent build... have you considered a dedicated sound card? Onboard does the trick, but sound quality is head over heels better with a dedicated card.
1. Decent MOBO's come with a very good integrated onboard HD Digital 7.1 (8.1) Sound.(including SPIDF).Sound Cards a waste of money imo..really)
2. A Quad?? For gaming purposes your E8400 OC'd to 3.6 - 4.0 Ghz is PERFECT!!! Don't waste your $$$ on a Quad, better to not invest that extra coin into something that will be obsolete in a year...future proofing??..with I7 around the corner??!!

Sorry Mr. Wilson.....don't quite see it as you do....

BTW..Welcome to HWC!!! and good choice on all of your components....!!
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Old November 15, 2008, 11:27 PM
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Since he has up to $2000, I'd suggest the following changes. Oh, and answer the sticky please.

Intel Q6600 or Q9450
Seagate, WD 640GB. Preferably WD 640GB Black Series as those seems to be the fastest out atm.
Linksys or D-Link wireless card. Preferably ethernet connection if he's going to do lots of online gaming.

Overall, you got a pretty nice setup there. There are a few suggestions that your brother needs to make himself. Use the stock, integrated sound for now, then buy a sound card if your brother really needs one. For the OS, either Windows XP 32 bit or Vista 64 bit. I'd say go with Vista 64 bit in order to take full advantage of the 4GB RAM.

The build looks very good. Tell your brother to save up the extra money and put it to some other type of use. Or you can take it all and use it as comission. Kidding

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Old November 15, 2008, 11:39 PM
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2K ????..WOW...sorry didn't read that part...crap....thats a pile of dough to spend on a PC...Q9550 / 2 x GTX 280 SLI / 1 kW PSU / 790i FTW MOBO / DDR3 RAM...you getting the picture? A real mean machine system!!
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Old November 15, 2008, 11:42 PM
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If it's a gaming machine, and he's going to run 5.1 or 7.1 surround speakers, DEFINITELY get a sound card. I've set up my onboard sound on my last 3 mobos first, then dropped my sound card in later once the system was tested and stable. You'd be very surprised at the difference. Go with an Asus Xonar DX for under $100, or an Auzentech Prelude if you want to spend the big bucks. I'd suggest staying away from the Creative line, there are tons of complaints about driver issues, myself included.

I'd probably go to a Q9450 or Q9550. These can be overclocked past 3.0 Ghz, giving you plenty of grunt to run current games and have the extra cores as new games make better use of multi-core CPU's.
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Old November 15, 2008, 11:44 PM
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i have to jack your mojo here rjbarker
he (may) not be doing much gaming and he said that a more intense video card is not needed

(just for reference :P)
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Old November 15, 2008, 11:53 PM
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Quote:
he (may) not be doing much gaming and he said that a more intense video card is not needed
Fair enough...if no gaming = less coin! Probably build a decent Rig for $1K.
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Old November 15, 2008, 11:57 PM
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DEFINITELY get a sound card. I've set up my onboard sound on my last 3 mobos first
Just curious Sugar what MOBO's ? I only ask as everyone I know has been extremely happy with thier onboard digital HD 7.1 Audio on the 780i / 790i MOBO's...??!! Mine is incredible through my 5.1 Surround System,,,why clutter up your Case with more peripherals if its not necessary...curious is all..perhaps those Intel MOBO's don't provide the same?
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