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Kandorf August 31, 2007 01:37 PM

Hey guys, I happened to find these forums when I was looking into a Sonata III and stumbled across the review that was done here. I must say I was very impressed with the review. It was thourough, yet understandable even for a novice (well, virgin actually) computer builder like myself, and it seemed very unbiased.

Love the site and am happy to be a part of a community comprised of fellow canuck compuaddicts. My current computer is seven ... lol, yes 7 ... years old and I've had enough of its crappiness. I've been looking around on Tigerdirect and Canadacomputers in order to build a new computer (it would be my first bulid) and have been very excited about the project. My budget will be around $1400 (monitor, keyboard, and speakers included) but it will be at least 1 month before I can actually make the purchase, so I will not bother you for ideas on components until closer to that time (although I do have a system already picked out for the most part). I will also give NCIX and Directcanada a look since they have been mentioned here by many.

Anyways, nice to meet you and see you around. :canadianwave:

sswilson August 31, 2007 02:01 PM

Always great to see new posters to our little corner of the `net.

Welcome to HC! I think you'll find the great majority of folks around here to be friendly and helpful.

If you haven't already done so on a different site, you might get some useful pointers if you posted up what you're considering for a build. There are quite a few folks around here who've recently put together a rig, and may notice something about the build that you haven't seen yet during your research (like mobo/mem compatibility, or short cables on a PSU that won't work well with a bottom mount case, etc....). Nothing better than hearing about something like that from somebody who's already been there... :)

I look forward to seeing you around the board!

SKYMTL August 31, 2007 02:29 PM

Good to hear that my Sonata review is bringing in a few people.

Welcome to the site!! Don't feel shy about asking questions because we are all here to help and you will ususally get some pretty amazing pointers.

Also, have a look around at our other reviews which may be of some help to you when choosing your other components. While we may not have the huge review database like some other sites do, we have reviews that will appeal to novices and experts alike.

It is really great to see new members.

Kandorf August 31, 2007 04:05 PM

You asked for it! hehe
Well since you asked for it, I'd be happy to bombard you with another *help me spend my money* post. :help: After a week or two of research and looking around, here is what I have come up with. Remember that this is a first time build for me and I do have a budget of around $900-$1000 CDN for the actual computer. Leaving $500 or so for monitor, speakers, keyboard, shipping, and taxes.

Case w/ PSU: $122
Antec Sonata III ATX w/ EarthWatts 500W 80%+ 4x SATA 2x PCI-E

Motherboard: $127
Asus (P5K-SE) ATX LGA775 FSB-1333/1066/800 4x DIMM DDR2 1066/800/677 Dual Channel 4x SATA3.0

Processor: $104
Intel Pentium Dual Core E2160 (BX80577E2160) Socket LGA775 1.80GHz FSB-800MHz 1MB L2 Cache

Memory: $128
Corsair Dual Channel TWINX 5-5-5-12 PC6400 DDR2-800MHz 240PIN (2x1GB)

Graphics / Video Card: $180
Sapphire Radeon X1950 Pro 512MB GDDR3 580MHz 256-bit PCI-E DX9

Hard Drive: $73
Seagate Barracuda (ST3250620AS) 250GB 7200RPM 16MB SATA 3.0

DVD Burner: $47
Asus (DRW-1814BLT) 18x Black SATA w/ Lightscribe

Operating System: $164
Windows XP Pro w/ SP2

Total: $945

I'd really like to go for the E6750 as a processor but the price to performance increase ratio just isn't enough to make me purchase it as I'd have to drop $100+ from somewhere else in the system. Plus I've read alot about the E2160 being a great piece to OC, up to 3.0+ GHz (from 1.8GHz). Also keep in mind that I have no experience with overclocking and would need to read into it plenty more before I would attempt to do that.

This video card seems like a steal to me, with 512MB of GDDR3 memory and a 256-bit interface. I looked around on other sites to find it for cheaper, but all I found were the 256MB versions for more $$! I noticed that they are missing the specifications chart for this particular item, so I hope that there isn't any typo in the header or something quirky about the card that I'm missing.

As usual, I'm guessing, the biggest areas of concern (or uncertainty) for me are with the motherboard, cpu, and video card. I'm pretty confident in my choice of case/psu, dvd drive, hard drive, OS, and memory. Some might say that the 250GB hard-drive isn't enough, but for me it is more than enough. Remember my current computer is 7 years old and probably has something like a 30 gig hard drive which might be half full by now. I also realize I could get the OS for cheaper at other sites, but factor in the extra shipping charges and its the same price (and I figure why not get everything from the same place if its not going to cost much more in the end).

Oh yes, of course what I'm using the computer for will be important. Most commonly I do the typical things like listen to music, watch some videos, browse the net, word processing, etc. I also do a little bit of gaming, but nothing terribly hard core - think MMORPGs (WoW / Everquest) - so I won't be needing (nor would I empty my wallet on) a 8800GTS or the like. Nor do I need an SLI / Crossfire capable MOBO. Overall I'm trying to keep a very balanced system and distribute my $$ and performance equally so I dont have one crappy piece bottleknecking the entire system. That said, I'd also like a motherboard that I could upgrade on in a year or two if possible.

Thank you in advance for the assistance. My apologies for the long-winded post.

sswilson August 31, 2007 04:30 PM

You may want to consider shopping around locally for the case and OS. Shipping costs on a case can be fairly high, and most local shops should have a fairly decent price on an OEM version of XP. (DC does have free shipping on orders over $300 & under 100 lbs.... :) ).

Without getting too far into the hardware yet (plenty of time for suggestions on different choices / combinations.... :) ), I'm curious as to why you chose XP pro vice XP home. XP pro may be the choice of folks who don't want to pay for an OS (it's easier to crack the authentication), but it doesn't offer too many benefits over home outside of a corporate environment.

I'm not dissing your choice, just wondering if you actually have a use for Pro that's worth the extra $50 you'll pay for it over the price of home.

SKYMTL August 31, 2007 04:42 PM

Also, if yo uare planning on overclocking you might want to look at a good but inexpensive CPU cooler like the Arctic Cooling 7 Pro which sswilly reviewed earlier this week.

sswilson August 31, 2007 05:18 PM

Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition OEM $103.35

Samsung SH-S183L Black SATA DVD+RW 18X8X16 DVD-RW 18X6X16 DL 8X Lightscribe DVD Writer OEM W/ SW $37.91

ASUS Radeon X1950 Pro 581MHZ 256MB 1.4GHZ GDDR3 PCI-E Dual DVI-I HDCP HDTV Out Video Card $174.58

Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 Dual Core Processor LGA775 Conroe 2.33GHZ 1333FSB 4MB Retail $194.26

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 250GB SATA2 8.5MS 7200RPM 16MB Cache Hard Drive 5YR MFR Warranty $73.96

Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro LGA775 2500RPM 45CFM $21.47

Antec Sonata III Black ATX 16IN Mid Tower Quiet Case 3X5.25 2X3.5 4X3.5IN 500W 120MM Fan $126.07

G.SKILL F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ PC2-6400 2GB 2X1GB DDR2-800 CL5-5-5-15 240PIN Dual Channel Memory Kit $94.99

Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L ATX LGA775 P35 1333FSB 1PCI-E16 3PCI-E1 3PCI SATA2 Sound GBLAN Motherboard $95.27

Sub Total:$921.85

Since the order is over $300 there should be free shipping, and your order has enough items in it that you should be able to split it in half (include cpu, case, and something else to total more than $300) if the total weight is more than 100 lb.

You'll also save PST by ordering outside of province and will only need to pay the 6% GST.

This build has a much better CPU, but lacks the 512M 1950pro. I think you'd get more bang for your buck with the better CPU.

The memory should be chosen at the time of purchase, but there is almost always a decent set for around $100.

The burner is one that I'm running myself, and includes the latest version of Nero, which properly supports the lightscribe function. (One of the main reasons I chose it, as my older version of Nero doesn't play nice with Lightscribe).

The gigabyte motherboard is a fairly decent overclocker, and is a bit cheaper because of the lack of a second PCIe vid card slot.

Finally... the AC 7 Pro is a must have over stock cooling if you are even considering overclocking........ :)

That's what I came up with fairly quickly, I'm sure others will chime in with their suggestions........

Kandorf August 31, 2007 05:45 PM

Well to be honest there wasn't any real reason why I was choosing XP Pro over Home Edition. I was just making the assumption that it was a little more stable, with no true knowledge. A friend did offer to make XP Pro 'legit' if I could find a 'borrowed' copy. The only problem is that I have no idea where to get a copy of it. If I could find one, then that would free up another $100 for upgraded parts elsewhere. Also, if I can avoid overclocking and still be pleased with the performance, I would much prefer that. But I think that will depend mostly on the processor I can afford.

I did throw all that stuff in my shopping cart at Canada Computers a couple days ago and the shipping fee for everything was less than $20 (most of which was because of the case), so free shipping from DirectCanada isn't of prime concern. The Sonata III and the X1950 512MB are both in stock in Waterloo, which isn't all that far off from London, so there is always the option of driving there to pick those up. I was also wondering if the cooling units are pretty easily installed for a first timer?

I appreciate the input, and look forward to more responses.

sswilson August 31, 2007 05:55 PM

I'm not a huge fan of M$, but over the last year and a half I've purchased 4 copies of XP home for personal use (finally upgraded from `98... :) ).

IMO, the $100 is well worth easily getting all of the updates, as well as not needing to worry about new anti-piracy schemes mucking up your OS install.

XP home is plenty stable. My understanding is that the main reason to go with Pro is the "domain" ability built in for corporate environments.

Supergrover September 1, 2007 08:39 AM


Originally Posted by sswilson (Post 18633)
I'm not a huge fan of M$, but over the last year and a half I've purchased 4 copies of XP home for personal use (finally upgraded from `98... :) ).

IMO, the $100 is well worth easily getting all of the updates, as well as not needing to worry about new anti-piracy schemes mucking up your OS install.

XP home is plenty stable. My understanding is that the main reason to go with Pro is the "domain" ability built in for corporate environments.

Or XP MCE it cheaper than pro by $20
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