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Old January 30, 2009, 10:35 PM
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Default Building a new rig 2 years after the great laptop experiment

Hey all.

I'm a short time HWC lurker, long time system builder who gave the laptop life a shot but its time to pass it down to the wife and get back to my workstation roots. I was hoping a couple of you guys might be able to help me brush up on what's current.

Basically I'm looking for a $500~ starting point. I was originally looking at an AMD setup (my historic preference) but I've been using Dual Core 2's at work and on my M1330. Its not intended to be a gaming rig, but I will definitely find the time to see what I've been missing on my laptop. Energy and noise are important to me. I really dislike the idea of a giant box sucking up as much energy as my fridge. (which is why I'm interested in the Phenom II, much better than the X4)

I really like the idea of an AMD 780G or 790G AM2+ mobo with an Athlon X2 4850E, that I can upgrade to a Phenom II later when prices drop. Or I could get jump on a Phenom II 920 now and get it over with.

On the Intel side, I was thinking a E7300 with a P45 mobo, but their cpus and damn P45 mobo's are always too expensive to justify unless you're slapping together a higher price setup. Plus the i7 and DDR3 is looming large.

No matter what, I really want to avoid Nvidia. I've had some bad luck with then in my last 2 video cards, 1 mobo and the defective 8400M in my laptop.


Here's what I was thinking, please let me know if you have any recommendations or suggestions: (all prices were source from OEMExpress.com - Canada's source for Computers, Laptops, Parts, & More!, just as reference)

Antec Sonata III (with 500w P80 PSU) $130
Athlon X2 4850E $89 or Phenom II 920 $259
Asus M3A78-T (790G with sideport memory) $179
Kingston ValueRAM 2x2Gig PC6400 $60

That's $458 to $628 depending. I was hoping for 6 gigs of ram, but these totals are pushing their luck as it is. I could swap in an Antec NSK4480 (380W PSU) for $90 and save $40, but I think the 500W PSU in the Sonata will be worth it in a year or two.

I purposely left out the hard drive. I haven't worked out what I want to do in that area yet. I might cherry pick deals over the course of February and find a nice SSD for a reasonable price, then toss a 1T SATA as a 2nd drive, or maybe a smaller RAID.


Any tips? Suggestions? Should I wait? Where do you guys order your parts from online? Ncix, Anitec?

Digging up relavent info on what's coming and what's relavent hasn't been as easy as I remembered. I'm glad I stumbled upon HWC!

Thanks!
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Old January 31, 2009, 01:01 AM
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If cost are important right now, you might consider the Buy/Sell & Trade - Hardware Canucks as a way of getting things on the cheap. Theres no shame in buying used and great deals can be had, just keep "lurking" and you'll find the right products at the right price. The alternative is reworking your budget or save a little more money, it'll offer us more flexibility in terms the products we can recommend. You talk of building a MID-Range system and computers usually in that area range from $750-$1000, $500 to me is on the budget PC side of things.

Sorry I couldn't of been more help,

EE

P.S. Welcome to the forums
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Old January 31, 2009, 05:06 AM
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NCIX.com - Buy Gigabyte GA-MA780G-UD3H AMD780G ATX AM2+/AM3 2PCI-E Video Sound GLAN CrossFireX HDMI Motherboard - GA-MA780G-UD3H In Canada.

Here's an AM2+/AM3 mobo for cheap with onboard HDMI video and sound (since you're not gaiming)- remember you need AM3 for phenom II. With the board you have, you're paying for features you don't need like crossfire capabilies.

If you try your components on price compare, you'll find them even cheaper- then if you do your shopping at NCIX, they will price match all of the cheapest canadian prices you can find by pasting the links to them in during the checkout process.
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Old January 31, 2009, 07:57 AM
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Thanks guys.

I was originally dead set on a Gigabyte MA78G series (WTH is Gigabyte doing!?!? They've got like 10 MA78G variants and their web site doesn't help much) but I've read reports on the 790 chipset fixing a bunch of south bridge and improved video with a low energy foot print. (not as good as the 780, but better stuff with little increase) I won't detail everything, but I've settled on trying to get a reasonable 790.

However, even though I was all psyched up to start ordering today, I don't know if I shouldn't wait a bit. The AMD AM3 Phenom II Deneb CPUs are supposed to ship in Feb. They're the X4s with the 95W TDP. I've been leary of quad coresin general because of the power draw.

Man! Now I remember why I stopped building systems. I've basically mapped out my next 2 upgrades before I even built this system!

Ok, I believe the following timeline will work best for me:

1) Build a base rig with the Asus M3A78-T, support for AM2+ and AM3. (albeit with DDR2 ram) List of future AMD Phenom microprocessors - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
2) Start with an Athlon X2 4850E, then move to a Phenom II X4 805 when its released later this year.

Sure I won't have DDR3, but the Phenom II's, including the unreleased 805 will support DD2 and DDR3. I don't believe the performance difference would be worth replacing the mobo and memory.

Why start with the 4850E? Because it will make for a useful spare CPU. I can pawn it off on my brother who's been wanting to build a HTPC, or just keep it as a cheap spare if I need to build a system for a family member. Sure the performance won't compare, but its a definate start and cheap.

See anything wrong with this plan?

Thanks!
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Old January 31, 2009, 03:58 PM
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Just so you know, that CPU is far cheaper at Newegg:
Newegg.ca - AMD Athlon X2 4850e 2.5GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM2 45W Dual-Core Processor - Processors - Desktops

If you're willing to shop around, you can probably get more with your $500 budget.

However like others have said, I think you'd be better off with the 780G. When you decide to go Phenom II, you should grab a proper AM3 motherboard with DDR3 support IMO.

And just a thought, you could go with an Intel based setup. Maybe something like this:
Newegg.ca - Intel Pentium E5200 Wolfdale 2.5GHz 2MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Processors - Desktops
Newegg.ca - GIGABYTE GA-EP43-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P43 ATX Intel Motherboard - Intel Motherboards
Newegg.ca - G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Desktop Memory
Newegg.ca - SAPPHIRE 100253L Radeon HD 4650 512MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards
OEMExpress.com - Antec Sonata III LifeStyle Mid Tower Case with 500W High Efficiency Power Supply Font Panel eSATA HD Audio USB

Total = $443.32 - $15USD MIR.

Just below your $500 budget but after taxes/shipping it would probably end up being a bit over I guess. IMO that's a way better setup for your money as you get a dedicated video card which is far better than onboard, should you want to do some light gaming, and you could OC that E5200 should you feel the need.

I'd buy the case in-person if you can to save on the shipping costs. It also seems to be the cheapest at OEMExpress. You could price match all those Newegg prices on NCIX though if NCIX shipping ends up being cheaper.

Last edited by JD; January 31, 2009 at 04:11 PM.
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Old January 31, 2009, 05:15 PM
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If it was my $500.00 build I’d go with jdrom’s Intel system in a heartbeat.
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Old January 31, 2009, 06:10 PM
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+1 for jdrom's system, that way you can upgrade to a quad-core easily with that board like the Q6600 or for lower power the Q9450 or Q9550
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Old January 31, 2009, 06:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogger1 View Post
If it was my $500.00 build I’d go with jdrom’s Intel system in a heartbeat.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ImmaPC View Post
+1 for jdrom's system, that way you can upgrade to a quad-core easily with that board like the Q6600 or for lower power the Q9450 or Q9550
Thanks for backing me up

And I found a cheaper HD4650: Newegg.ca - HIS Hightech H465FS512P Radeon HD 4650 512MB 128-bit DDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards though I'm not sure which cooling solution I prefer. Sapphire has a bigger heatsink and fan though so it's probably quieter and the HIS card seems to be missing some parts that the Sapphire has. Should both perform the same though.

If the OP wants to do some more serious gaming, the HD4830 would squeeze in at about $485 before shipping/taxes:
Newegg.ca - SAPPHIRE 100265L Radeon HD 4830 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards

Or sticking with the Sapphire HD4650, could bump the CPU up to the E7400 and bring the total to $500.32 before tax/shipping.

All depends how flexible this $500 budget is as it can make quite a difference if you come closer to $500 before tax/shipping rather than trying to make the final total $500.
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Old January 31, 2009, 08:08 PM
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Difference between E7300 and E7400 is negligible, IMO. I'm not sure, but its probably just another multiplier step, like the Q6700 vs. the Q6600.

I would go for the 4830 personally, 4650 is like...9600GT, is like 8600GT SLI
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Old January 31, 2009, 08:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ImmaPC View Post
Difference between E7300 and E7400 is negligible, IMO. I'm not sure, but its probably just another multiplier step, like the Q6700 vs. the Q6600.

I would go for the 4830 personally, 4650 is like...9600GT, is like 8600GT SLI
Well Newegg only has the E7400 in stock and the E7300 is the same price. And if he's not OC'ing (aka bye-bye power savings), best to buy the fastest CPU he can afford.

Elsewhere might be different though but I didn't feel like looking around
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