Critique my $800 semi-gaming build.

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The_cranky_hermit
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Joined: Wed Nov 29, 2006 4:41 pm

Critique my $800 semi-gaming build.

Post by The_cranky_hermit » Fri Sep 12, 2008 9:15 pm

So far (including some updates based on advice below) it's about $725 and doesn't include any non-stock cooling other than the CPU cooler. I'd rather not spend more than $800 in total. I doubt I will play anything more demanding than TF2 on this machine - maxing out Crysis is definitely not the goal. Mostly I want to know what I should get to cool it quietly, but advice regarding the parts is welcome too.

Motherboard: $95
GIGABYTE GA-EP35-DS3L
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813128337

Processor: $90
Intel Pentium E5200 Wolfdale 2.5GHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6819116072

Case: $120
Antec Solo (formerly Antec P182)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811129018

PSU: $90
SeaSonic M12II SS-500GM 500W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817151056

GPU: $120
ASUS EN9600GT silent
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814121244

Memory: $45
G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820231098

Hard drive: $70
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F1 HD502lJ 500GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6822152098

Optical drive: $25
SAMSUNG Black 22X
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6827151171

Sound card: $40
Creative Sound Blaster SB0570 Audigy SE 7.1
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6829102002

CPU cooler: $35
XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6835233003
Last edited by The_cranky_hermit on Sat Sep 13, 2008 8:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.

thejamppa
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Post by thejamppa » Fri Sep 12, 2008 11:27 pm

Your parts are well balanced. All parts have decent TDP's so quiet cooling is easy job. Antec Solo would be enough for your components, have still very good cooling, needs less modding and iks smaller / lighter than P182.

I love my P182 but modding it was slightly pain: removing front and back fan grills. Using U-rubber in back grill. Block top exhaust and then with good carpet knife modding the front doors which cover the front fan filters.

I think Solo's front panel is better designed in perspective of front air flow. Besides solo has out of box HDD suspension system. Consider Solo. You'll save around 30$

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... tec%20Solo

tuz
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Location: Melbourne

Post by tuz » Sat Sep 13, 2008 12:19 am

Yeah another vote for the Solo from me, they're both good cases though.

For non-stock cooling, since the video card is silent I'm assuming its passive, and your PSU should be very quiet, its really just the CPU and case fans. I'd recommend the Xigmatek S1283 for great value/performance, and a few case fans. If you decide to go for the Solo I'd go for a 92mm fan for intake for the HD and one or two quiet 120mm fans, one if you just want to replace the stock Tri-cool on the case, two if you want to replace the stock fan on the Xigmatek as well. You could always wait on the 120mm fans, see how loud the stock case fan & Xigmatek CPU fan are, and decide whether to replace them later on.

Faster_Madman
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Post by Faster_Madman » Sat Sep 13, 2008 12:44 am

It looks like a well designed system to me...
But i wonder why you want to add a sound card like the Audigy?
Why not just use the onboard sound, it would save you some cash and if you follow the suggestions of tuz and thejamppa and go with the solo you would save around $70.

hillkitler
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Location: The 208.

Post by hillkitler » Sat Sep 13, 2008 1:14 am

Sounds good to me too. And another vote for the Solo. That video card is supposedly very hot, so you may need more than just the passive coolling.

You may want to have a look at this:

http://shop3.frys.com/product/5706532

It'll save you some money...of course that money will probably have to go back in to some passive cooling, but it'll still end up being cheaper, I'm sure. Unfortunately you miss out on the free shipping.

ame
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Location: Israel

Post by ame » Sat Sep 13, 2008 5:00 am

Didn't see one on your list... you will need a cpu cooler + quiet fan. It is key to keeping the system noise/cpu temps down to reasonable levels.

+1 for Solo.

that Linux guy
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Post by that Linux guy » Sat Sep 13, 2008 5:02 am

cranky hermit, I agree with everyone else about the Solo. With just the Tri-cool on low, you're system will be very, very quiet at idle. My system only gets noisy when my video card kicks in (7900GS). I recently replace the Antec with a Nexus (it's even quieter), and added a couple 92mm Nexus fans up front for intake. I can hear a slight air whooshing sound, but a small fan controller can fix that. Overall, I think you have a great plan for a system. It does look very balanced, and seems like a great mid-range system

As far as the sound card goes, If you're not picky, or don't use high-end speakers or headphones with your setup, then onbaord sound will be just fine. If you're using something more than basic speakers or headphones, then get the sound card. A good set of speakers or nice headphones will bring out sounds you haven't heard before in tracks and your sound hardware. If you have a ton of crappy MP3s, or a really bad sound card, you'll be able to tell in a heartbeat. If you don't have the trained ear and aren't using audiophile equiptment, you can probably skip on the AudigySE. Plus, Creative's software/drivers suck.

The_cranky_hermit
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Post by The_cranky_hermit » Sat Sep 13, 2008 9:05 am

Thanks for the advice so far. Regarding the sound, I have a set of Logitech X-530's which are entry level 5.1 speakers. They're not really placed in the optimal positions for surround sound - the left and right speakers are about 30 inches away from eachother, and the rear speakers are mounted on walls perpendicular to my monitor, only a few inches behind me, but a couple of feet to my left and right. I recall reading that the Audigy supports speaker position calibration so it can adjust the sound output to compensate.

that Linux guy
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Post by that Linux guy » Sat Sep 13, 2008 1:28 pm

The_cranky_hermit wrote:Thanks for the advice so far. Regarding the sound, I have a set of Logitech X-530's which are entry level 5.1 speakers. They're not really placed in the optimal positions for surround sound - the left and right speakers are about 30 inches away from eachother, and the rear speakers are mounted on walls perpendicular to my monitor, only a few inches behind me, but a couple of feet to my left and right. I recall reading that the Audigy supports speaker position calibration so it can adjust the sound output to compensate.
With the X-530s, and seeing that nearly every mainboard with an Intel chipset features Realtek HD Audio onboard (which isn't terrible for onboard sound BTW), you're fine. FYI, the Audigy's speaker position calibration is most likely based on typical placement. For the sound card to properly calibrate the speakers, it either has to physically move them, or be able to hear them. And for $30 usd, this card can't do all that. I've never used 5.1 speakers for a computer myself. Just 2.0, 2.1, a some nice cans (slang for headphones).

Frankly, the Audigy SE is well worth the price for those who can hear the difference. Unfortunately, most people don't have the trained ears to notice a difference between the Audigy and onboard sound. You're better off probably saving some cash and sticking with onboard sound. Oh, and BTW, Realtek HD audio has more features than the Audigy. You'll probably find speaker position calibration feature, though I'm sure it's just some presets like the Audigy.

Overall, back to your build, you can save a considerable amount of cash by ditching the P182 for the Solo, and dropping the dedicated sound card.

thejamppa
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Post by thejamppa » Sat Sep 13, 2008 2:00 pm

you always can buy later the dedicated sound card if you feel that onboard soundgard is not enough. My P35 board I use Sounblaster live 24-bit simply because older realtek drivers I had problems with onboard soundcard especially with Oblivion.

The realtek 889A which is in at least Gigabyte's 780G's is wonderful onboard soundcard. Many have titled that chipset best onboard soundcard for mainstream motherboards.

The_cranky_hermit
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Post by The_cranky_hermit » Sat Sep 13, 2008 3:06 pm

For the sound card to properly calibrate the speakers, it either has to physically move them, or be able to hear them.
I was thinking more along the lines of me telling the drivers where the speakers are, listening to output, and making adjustments based on what I hear. IIRC, the Audigy can do that.

It's also occurred to me that I'm not saving much money with the Antec Solo. Although it costs $30 less, shipping is $20 while shipping for the P182 is free.

CA_Steve
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Post by CA_Steve » Mon Sep 15, 2008 7:30 am

If, you aren't under any time pressure, just wait for a sale. The Solo was recently going for $60 w/ free shipping from Newegg. They also had Antec Earthwatts 430W PSU for $30 about a month ago. Subscribe to their newsletter and wait it out :D

NeilBlanchard
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Post by NeilBlanchard » Mon Sep 15, 2008 9:09 am

Hi,

I would add the Xigmatek bolt-through kit for the heatsink -- it will make it much more secure and it will probably cool better, too.

I would get the Enermax 425 instead of the SeaSonic M12 -- a lot quieter, and bit more efficient.

Jenspm
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Post by Jenspm » Mon Sep 15, 2008 12:06 pm

Go for a 4850 instead of the 9600.

CA_Steve
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Post by CA_Steve » Tue Sep 16, 2008 6:21 am

Newegg has a one day sale on your mobo for $80...also Corsair memory kit for $35.

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Monkeh16
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Post by Monkeh16 » Tue Sep 16, 2008 8:41 am

that Linux guy wrote:Frankly, the Audigy SE is well worth the price for those who can hear the difference. Unfortunately, most people don't have the trained ears to notice a difference between the Audigy and onboard sound.
I've heard onboard sound which is better than an Audigy SE. Those are really quite crap cards.

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