Hardware What Hardware Should I Buy? - Jan 2009

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Tim S, 5 Jan 2009.

  1. Tim S

    Tim S Well-Known Member

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  2. tsutton

    tsutton Member

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    Good post... now let see if I can build a good setup out of these reviews!

    Thanks.
     
  3. p3n

    p3n New Member

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    Why oh why won't SLI die, unless its transparent to the software (chip level) it always going to be crap (imo) ... as for these X2 cards that aren't usually two cips that are the best possible and they use more electricity than a PS3 folding proteins (yes I'm a schmuck who bought a 7590gx2)
     
  4. pistol_pete

    pistol_pete Air Cooled Fool

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    I built a new system for my dad over xmas, as his old P4 was getting a bit clogged up by vista, and he's started gaming more lately. I got these bits:

    Intel E8400 (had discussed a Q6600, but felt a faster dual core would be better for his needs)
    Asus P5Q-Pro
    Evga 9600GT (already had this part)
    Corsair VX550
    2GB Corsair Dominator PC8500
    Samsung F1 1TB
    CM Elite 330
    Akasa 965BL

    The CM Elite 330 was suprisingly good to work with, for a cheap case. It had everything I needed in the box (all the screws and standoffs, which I was half expecting to not be there) and was pretty easy to put together thanks to all the quick-release mechanisms. This was the first time I'd used a tool-less case and it took me a few moments to realise how the pci card lock and the bay mountings worked, but after that it was fine. The only difficult bit was taking off the front panel to put in the DVD drive - I wanted to use the second slot down, so I could hide the cable splurge from the PSU above it. The front panel is mounted by 6 push-pin type plastic barbs, which were a bit hard to un-do, but I managed. It's also strange having to manually break out the old-skool metal drive bay blanks, how ghetto. :D

    Otherwise it's reasonably quite, the supplied 1200rpm fan doesn't make much noise, though there are no special noise damping features. I also bought a 1000rpm fan to put in the front, which you need to remove the front panel for aswell. Everything seems to be running nice and cool...

    ...thanks to the Akasa 965BL. Even though I got the retail E8400 and could have used the stock fan, it's difficult for my dad to upgrade because of all the software and work he has saved on the old computer. Getting good longevity out of this system was therefore something he was looking for, and without spending a mountain of cash on a Core i7 system, I recommended entering the frightening world of overclocking. With the E8400, 1066mhz Ram and P5Q-Pro we've now got the option to overclock to somewhere around 4ghz once the 3ghz stock speed is starting to get a bit slow. The 965BL also falls into this plan, I'd thought about the 966BL Blue Aurora but it only gets 2 degrees in delta T over the 965 according to bit-techs testing, and costs £10 more.

    I'm struggling to decide whether the 965BL was easy to mount. The only other heatsink I've installed was my TRUE120, which bit-tech seemed to find awfully complicated. The fan was difficult to mount, I admit, though I'd been playing about with the TRUE120 glorious shinyness un-mounted for a couple of days before my exams finished and I built my system, and when the time came I was well practiced. The mounting mechanism for the TRUE120, whilst somewhat fiddly, isn't ambiguous - just screw until it dont screw no more. Mounting the 956BL, whilst having no parts to assemble as such, was a bit more confusing due to the push pin system - is it on? How hard to I need to push? Do I need to turn the pin? After a few attempts I got it on fine, you could easily fail to notice one of the push pins isn't properly engaged. I suppose this is more the fault of the intel mounting system than Akasa's.

    I was pleased to find the TIM already applied, which avoids that mucky job. With the system running at full load at the default 3Ghz, I was getting up to 52 degrees in coretemp. I pressume once the thermal paste has had a few days to cure this will drop further, giving me plenty of overclocking headroom.


    I can't say much about the Spinpoint F1, it certainly seems to be working and Vista boots up suprisingly quickly. The only point I'd mention is it seems a little louder than I'd have expected, compared to my samsung 500GB T166 disk. That said, I didn't have the two together to compare side by side.


    It's always fun building a system and I was pleased with how it turned out. I look forward to overclocking it as well. While I had my mind made up on the chip and motherboard, the hardware guide helped pick up a good cooler at a bargain price, and helped find a good budget case amongst the sea of bilge cases out there. It's easy to overlook cheaper components.

    The only real disappointment is the recent rises in prices, which might have added up to £70 for the whole build compared to prices a few months ago.

    P5Q pro - £100, increase ~£15
    E8400 - £140, up by maybe £20?
    Ram - £38, cheap
    1TB - £73, bargain
    VX550 - was dissapointed, this was £70 at scan, used to be £55, up by £15
    956BL - £13, bargain
    Vista Premium OEM - I'm sure this only used to be about £65, now it's up to £80


    It's strange to think my Q6600 was £170 when I bought it, but in the summer it was down to £120 - now it's back up towards £150. It all adds up when you build a whole system.
     
  5. g3n3tiX

    g3n3tiX resident frenchy

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    Great guide !
    It made me sure of my end of January build : P6T deluxe, i7 920, dark power pro650/HX1000, a good 6GB kit (we'll see what comes this month at CES), and depending on the total gtx 280/260, Spinpoint F1 1TB.

    Case is http://forums.bit-tech.net/showthread.php?t=159403
     
  6. wuyanxu

    wuyanxu still wants Homeworld 3

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    agree with this post, multi-GPU in general currently sucks big time. Hydra concept or any other chip level multi-GPU should be used.

    nice one Bit-tech, another fantastic article, and best of all, my more than 1 year old machine is still almost exactly the same as your mid-range recommendations (see sig) except:
    -motherboard (i really want a P45, may get the one you recommended when i upgrade),
    -8GB of exactly same RAM,
    -Corsair Hx620w power supply (seems a little old, comparing to the BeQuiet),
    -TRUE instead of that cheap knock off.
    -HDD, WD Black 1TB, well, wanted 100% reliable and also performs, never had problems with WD. but heard Sammy F1's are fantastic if they worked

    great to see gtx260 (216) have been recommended, it's a great card.

    for the other two price sections, all are really solid, cannot argue with any of them.

    also, fantastic to see you've done a Monitor section, but where is the higher-mid range? £250 to £300 segment? any value 24inch you may recommend?
     
  7. oasked

    oasked Stuck in the Mud

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    Thanks for the recommendations for the CoolerMaster Elite 330 case. Bought one for my parents (to stick all my old hardware in to build them a computer) and its pretty damn good for £30.

    Only problem was that the riser card for the audio (DFI nF4 Ultra-D) interfered with the 120mm fan included, so I had to take it out. Handily though, Coolermaster had provided pre-drilled holes for me to mount an 80mm fan instead (which fits). Great job. The only other problem is that the PCI-blanks can only be used once - but that's not really a problem for a case this cheap. :)
     
  8. Bindibadgi

    Bindibadgi Tired. Forever tired.

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    Inevitable because the £ is worth far less than it was 3 months ago. Inflation has basically been hiked since the drop in value of the Sterling and the govt. took out that whopping loan for the economy. :(

    Otherwise we would have gone for a P43 board instead of the P31..
     
  9. genesisofthesith

    genesisofthesith complete spanner

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    With the GTX 280 now available for £230 i'd argue it's better value than the gtx 260 (core 216) and HD 4870 1GB considering the small price premium.
     
  10. Bindibadgi

    Bindibadgi Tired. Forever tired.

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    Where? :eyebrow::eeek:
     
  11. genesisofthesith

    genesisofthesith complete spanner

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  12. Bindibadgi

    Bindibadgi Tired. Forever tired.

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    Hell yea, at that price you'd get that every-single-time!!

    I always assume OCUK is more expensive, because most of the time they usually are. Also I forget they aren't in google shopping either. :/

    In our defence though - the annoucement of the price drops was only at 1:34pm this afternoon.
     
  13. mauvecloud

    mauvecloud New Member

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    I still see two problems with the "premium" setup: 1. you don't provide any mention of the mounting hardware needed to put the 2.5 inch SSDs into a tower case. 2. the link on the US price of the Noctua NH-U12P actually links to a page offering the smaller NH-U9B, which doesn't include mountings to fit over a core i7! (I went to Frys last month and ended up getting a Cooler Master V8 instead since they didn't have the Noctua - I don't think you have a review of that model yet for comparison)
     
  14. tank_rider

    tank_rider New Member

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    I just bought a 260, but i'd have needed a new psu to be able to get a 280 so no regrets. Does mean nearly all my system is in this thread now lol. CPU, mobo, cpu cooler from the mid range, case (well the older version) and gfx card from the high end. :) Should see me for a couple of years at least.
     
  15. karsh

    karsh New Member

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    great article as always, any chance you guys get to review a HP LP2475w Monitor ?
     
  16. ssj12

    ssj12 New Member

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    why was the Core i7 920 selected for premium instead of say the Core i7 965 or 940? I'd be tempted to put the Core i7 into the high-end category for its price.
     
  17. wuyanxu

    wuyanxu still wants Homeworld 3

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    940 can be easily achieved by a little overclocking on 920.

    same as why choose q6600 over q9550, x960 is an extreme processor, thus through-the-roof expensive, so 920 makes more sense on the wallet.
     
  18. Tim S

    Tim S Well-Known Member

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    The 940s and 920s we have top out at pretty much the same speed.
     
  19. Nashua

    Nashua New Member

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    i wish you included your recommendations for sound cards - there are quite a few really good ones out there in various price ranges, too both from regular X-Fi and Titanium series, or Asus Xonar ones or the Auzentech range. Onboard audio is OK for starters, but it still makes sense to have a dedicated audio processor, despite all the advances of the motherboard audio...
     
  20. Baz

    Baz I work for Corsair

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    We'll be looking at adding soundcards into future buyers guides :)
     
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