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Old February 10, 2009, 03:17 PM
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Default Proposed Sims2/3 Build

My current system is a Dell Dimension 8250 (P4 2.4 GHz, 1Gb ram, Radeon 9700 Pro) and I've decided to get a new one as I can no longer play the Sims 2 without it crashing. (Plus my music stutters sometimes if I have several apps going at once.)

I'd like to be able to play the Sims (2 or 3) with graphics set to high, reflections on, and not worry too much about custom content. We've always had Dells (or Macs) but I've decided to go custom for this one, so...

1. What YOUR PC will be used for.
Work and Play! Working with large technical documents (therefore running Word, Excel, Powerpoint and/or MathType at the same time); email; web browsing; music; occasional Photoshop or Illustrator use. In the future would like to convert VHS, LPs, and tapes to digital format. And, of course, playing the Sims.

2. What YOUR budget is.
Approx. $1200.

3. What country YOU will be buying YOUR parts from.
Will most likely be ordering via internet from Canadian suppliers (ncix, directcanada, newegg, etc.).

4. IF YOU have a brand preference.
Prefer Intel; Undecided about nVidia vs ATI. Current system has an ATI Radeon 9700 Pro.

5. If YOU intend on using any of YOUR current parts.
Will be not be using any of the current system. Have an extra monitor (Dell 2405FPW), keyboard and mouse (Logitech) for use with new one.

6. IF YOU have searched and/or read similar threads.
Have been reading threads on this site and also on a Sims 2 site for ideas about a build. Have been reading reviews of particular components.

7. IF YOU plan on overclocking.
Not planning on overclocking.

8. WHEN do you plan to build it?
As soon as I'm ready to order parts!

This is my proposed system (prices reflect those of Direct Canada):

$ 75 Case: CM 690 ???
$113 PSU: PC Power & Cooling S61EPS 610W
$154 MB: ASUS P5Q Pro LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX
$203 CPU: Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775
$ 42 RAM: Corsair XMS2 TWIN2X4096-6400C5 2GB DDR2-800
$ 79 HD: Western Digital Caviar SE16 640GB SATA2 7200
$ 31 DVD: Samsung SH-S223F/BEBS 22X Speed Plus SATA
$155 Video: XFX GeForce 9800GT 600MHz 512MB 1.8GHz GDDR3 PCI-E Dual DVI-I HDCP HDTV Out
$186 OS: Windows XP Pro SP3

which comes to $1038 before taxes and shipping.

I'm still unsure about:

The case. Basically I want a quiet case with good ventilation. I've read lots of good things about the CM 690, but I've also read it's hard to open the side and front panels, that it's heavy, and that the ventilated panels (with the fans) readily let in dust. I'm also considering the Antec 900 -- does it have the same problems? -- the Antec Sonata III -- does it have enough ventilation?

Cooling. Obviously this depends on the case I have. But I noticed that both the building guides by Corsair use a different heatsink on the cpu. Is the one provided with the E8400 a good one?

Memory. As I'm sticking with XP (for now -- seems the Sims 2 prefers XP), should I stay with 2Gb or put in 4Gb?

Video Card. I was initally going to go with the 9800GT, but then started wondering about this card
$190 XFX Radeon HD 4850 625MHZ 512MB 1.99GHZ DDR3 PCI-E Dual DVI-I HDCP HDTV Out
I also use dual monitors at times, depending on the work I have. Should I have 2 cards?

Sound Card. What would be a good sound card to add to this system at some point?


Any comments/suggestions/advice would be most appreciated!!
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Old February 10, 2009, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasie23 View Post

This is my proposed system (prices reflect those of Direct Canada):

$ 75 Case: CM 690 ???
$113 PSU: PC Power & Cooling S61EPS 610W
$154 MB: ASUS P5Q Pro LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX
$203 CPU: Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775
$ 42 RAM: Corsair XMS2 TWIN2X4096-6400C5 2GB DDR2-800
$ 79 HD: Western Digital Caviar SE16 640GB SATA2 7200
$ 31 DVD: Samsung SH-S223F/BEBS 22X Speed Plus SATA
$155 Video: XFX GeForce 9800GT 600MHz 512MB 1.8GHz GDDR3 PCI-E Dual DVI-I HDCP HDTV Out
$186 OS: Windows XP Pro SP3

which comes to $1038 before taxes and shipping.

I'm still unsure about:

The case. Basically I want a quiet case with good ventilation. I've read lots of good things about the CM 690, but I've also read it's hard to open the side and front panels, that it's heavy, and that the ventilated panels (with the fans) readily let in dust. I'm also considering the Antec 900 -- does it have the same problems? -- the Antec Sonata III -- does it have enough ventilation?

Cooling. Obviously this depends on the case I have. But I noticed that both the building guides by Corsair use a different heatsink on the cpu. Is the one provided with the E8400 a good one?

Memory. As I'm sticking with XP (for now -- seems the Sims 2 prefers XP), should I stay with 2Gb or put in 4Gb?

Video Card. I was initally going to go with the 9800GT, but then started wondering about this card
$190 XFX Radeon HD 4850 625MHZ 512MB 1.99GHZ DDR3 PCI-E Dual DVI-I HDCP HDTV Out
I also use dual monitors at times, depending on the work I have. Should I have 2 cards?

Sound Card. What would be a good sound card to add to this system at some point?


Any comments/suggestions/advice would be most appreciated!!
About the case:

Yes, it's quite open on the sides for fans. this is easily remedied with some fan filters, but even so, I smoke, all the dust ends up on the front dust filters, and very little elsewhere. It all depends on how you configure the fans inside the case...

About the Stock Heatsink:

They would not ship the cpu with an inadequate heatsink. NO, it's not the best out there, far from it, but if you do not plan on overclocking, it's perfectly fine.

About the VGA:
The 4830 is lined-up with the 9800GT(which is an 8800GT renamed), while the 4850 is a tiny bit faster...I'd go with the faster option just for a bit better performance.


You can run two monitor off of one card, however, you will not be able to span the 3D apps across both without buying additional parts...like a "tripleheadtogo".

That said though, I run both a monitor and an HDTV connected to my pc simultaneously, without much difficulty.

About the ram:

The maximum for Windows XP is generally 3gb...sometimes a wee bit more, sometimes less, depending on what components are installed in the system. Given what you have chosen already, you'd see 3.25GB of 4GB if you went with 4GB. Each running program, with PAE, can adress a maximum of 2GB, plus what windows consumes, so although you may not use all 4GB, it might be prudent to go that route...and if you decide to upgrade your OS to Vista64 in the future, or to dualboot both OS'es, then Vista will amke full use of the 4GB...I only have this position merely because ram is so cheap...I remember spending $355 on a paltry 8MB, many moons ago...
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Old February 10, 2009, 03:43 PM
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Yeah grab 4GB of mem, the price difference is nothing and its better to do it now than to regret it later.
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Old February 10, 2009, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasie23 View Post
$ 75 Case: CM 690 ???
$113 PSU: PC Power & Cooling S61EPS 610W
$154 MB: ASUS P5Q Pro LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX
$203 CPU: Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775
$ 42 RAM: Corsair XMS2 TWIN2X4096-6400C5 2GB DDR2-800
$ 79 HD: Western Digital Caviar SE16 640GB SATA2 7200
$ 31 DVD: Samsung SH-S223F/BEBS 22X Speed Plus SATA
$155 Video: XFX GeForce 9800GT 600MHz 512MB 1.8GHz GDDR3 PCI-E Dual DVI-I HDCP HDTV Out
$186 OS: Windows XP Pro SP3
I'd definitely go with the HD4850. Faster card and that XFX model has a dual-slot cooler too.

And you don't own XP already? Cause $186 is a rip off IMO. Vista x64 Home Premium costs less. Sims 2 runs fine in Vista BTW, not sure how you came to figure that it doesn't. My brother has it on his PC and it runs fine...

As per the side panels being hard to open, use some force? Most case side panels are tough to being with until you "wear" them in.

The other choice is the Antec 300, has everything you want and the front has built-in filters and the option for dual 120mm fans.
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Old February 10, 2009, 03:58 PM
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Yeah good point, grab Vista 64 for a lot cheaper than that..
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Old February 10, 2009, 07:11 PM
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Thanks for the replies and input. I'll get the 4 gigs of ram. I do have a copy of XP but I was concerned there might be problems with Microsoft's verification tool and using the same copy on 2 systems. Regarding the Sims and Vista, I've read varied reports. Some people have problems, others don't. It probably all depends on the whole system, anyway. I think for now, I'll stick with my own XP and then, probably get Vista (or 7) at a later date.

As for the case, the CM 690 and the Antec 300 are certainly similar in price, although I don't mind paying more. If I don't add any additional fans, which case would be the quietest: the 690, the 300 or the 900?
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Old February 10, 2009, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasie23 View Post
Thanks for the replies and input. I'll get the 4 gigs of ram. I do have a copy of XP but I was concerned there might be problems with Microsoft's verification tool and using the same copy on 2 systems. Regarding the Sims and Vista, I've read varied reports. Some people have problems, others don't. It probably all depends on the whole system, anyway. I think for now, I'll stick with my own XP and then, probably get Vista (or 7) at a later date.

As for the case, the CM 690 and the Antec 300 are certainly similar in price, although I don't mind paying more. If I don't add any additional fans, which case would be the quietest: the 690, the 300 or the 900?
Well maybe if you run the plain Sims 2, but my brother has up to Apartment Life, maybe they update things with the expansions.

And if XP doesn't activate, just ring up MS and they'll give you a code. Make up some BS story about how the computer it was installed on died and you had to replace the HDD or something.

For case quietness, none of them will be IMO. Either Antec case will have similar noise but the 900 probably be louder since it comes with more fans. If you're gunning for a quiet PC, then you should consider replacing all case fans with something higher quality and possibly a better CPU heatsink. I think the Antec 300 is the best value though since you have the option of dual 120mm front intake fans compared to the CM690 which only has a single 120mm fan that is mainly blocked by the perpendicular HDD cage which you cannot remove.
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Old February 10, 2009, 08:54 PM
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Thanks again, jdrom17!

Good point about the later Sims expansions. They do rewrite the game every once in a while. I have up to OFB (the third expansion) and I stopped there as I could tell I was reaching the limit on my system.

I take it you would advise adding the intake fans to the Antec 300. What would be a good brand/model for those fans?
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Old February 10, 2009, 10:08 PM
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I have the sonata 3 case, great case and great PSU that comes with it, for 100-130 bux its a hard combo to beat for a non-overclocked PC.

ventilation is fine, mine idles at 30-33 and loads at 43-45 with a $20 scythe heat sink

vid card the ATI 4830 is about equal to the 9800gt and cheaper sometimes. I love my 4850.

I would stick to 32 bit for games, especially sims games, the advice on calling MS and saying your HDD died on the old pc worked 3 times for me (was true the first time, upgrades the other 2 times), just cant have it on both is all.
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Old February 10, 2009, 11:50 PM
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@Kasie 23:

Your build looks fine, however:

Case: You can spend $140 on an Antec Sonata III and get a 500W PSU with it, so you save a bunch of money from the PSU.

If you don't want to spend the extra money, an Antec 900, CM590, or CM690 will suit your needs just fine, but I would definitely buy something to work as a dust filter, like a cut-up swifer pad, because those cases are dust-hogs!

PSU: The PSU you chose is fine for your system, but for about the same price you can get a Corsair TX750W, which is overkill, but you can use it should you do another build in a few years :)

CPU: The E8400 is a great CPU, overclocks like hell, but as I (and pretty much everyone) on this forum always say, always, ALWAYS get an aftermarket cooler! They aren't much. Two great performers, the Xigmatek HDT-S1283 for $40 or the OCZ Vendetta II for $30 (pricematched at NCIX) will cool your E8400 substantially for years to come.

RAM: DDR2 RAM is a dime a dozen nowadays, so if you have the means in your budget, PLEASE get 4GB! There's Plenty Of Kits Out There!

VGA: If you found an XFX 4850 for $190, jump on it. It's significantly better than a 9800GT, and it's $40 more, I know, but the 4850 is better, and it's an XFX with a dual-slot cooler for great performance! =D

BTW you're getting ripped off on windows XP, you can definitely get the copy you already have installed on your new build without any problems. No need spending $200 on that, if youre gonna spend that much money on an OS you already own, you may as well get a better video card, a full-tower case, or just keep it or something :)
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