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Building a New Family PC


Zenskas
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G'day guys, I'm building a new PC for the family to use and just want to verify that I have chosen good quality parts etc. This PC will mainly be used for internet, word, music, movies, DVD burning, Macromedia Dreamweaver and Fireworks, and of course basic gaming. When I say basic gaming, I don't mean pinball but at the same time I don't mean Crysis. Halo:combat evolved, age of mythology, unreal tournament 2004, age of empires 3, those sort of games. I am not going with AMD or ATI products either. Just Intel/Nvidia. And dont say I can get a 9800gt for super cheap prices because here in Australia they cost alot. It has to be stable and quiet. So I have put together some specs and prices for you all to comment on before I buy. These are AUSTRALIAN prices including postage costs. No you can't get an Intel c2d e7200 for the retail of something like $130 in america. They cost $179 without postage here but I found them cheaper.

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 2.53Ghz $162

Motherboard: Asus P5KPL-CM OR Gigabyte GA-G31M-S2L $88 (Which do you recommend?)

RAM: Kingston 2x 1GB DDR2 800 Dual Channel Kit $70

HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 500GB $100

GPU: Foxconn Nvidia GeForce 9500GT 512MB DDR3 OC version $127

Optical Drive: Any suggestions on a good cheap DVD-RW?

Case/PSU: Foxconn TSAA 908 + 600W PSU $92

TOTAL including postage and GST: $639

So what do you guys reckon? I don't need a monitor, keyboard, mouse or operating system.

Edited by RiderZen
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Not sure how prices differ in Australia, but around here you can get an Intel e8400 for $169, which is only $7 more than you're paying for that e7200. An e8200 is $165. Are you buying from a local reseller or online? You might be able to get a better proc for your money.

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Hi thanks for your reply, I just knew prices in America would be cheaper. An E8400 retails for about $329 in Australia! The e7200 at my price including post is the cheapest I could find in Australia and is online, not in a retail shop. Just shows how much they are charging us aussies. This is pretty much the best price:performance in a CPU I could find to meet my budget. The next step up is an e7300 which retails for $249 but online is around $200 including postage. The only advantage of an e7300 over an e7200 I know of is the 2.66Ghz clock over 2.53Ghz but the e7200 can be easly overclocked to this on stock cooling and voltages.

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The cheapest E8400 is about $210 - which is still expensive, but not so badly priced. And you should look into a 9600 GT if you don't mind spending a bit more money.

The rest of the specs look fine.

A fellow Aussie! Wow I did not know you could get an E8400 so cheap, however I don't want to spend any more than $650 on the PC. This is just the family PC, and later on I will build one for myself with the same specs but an E8400 and 9600GT.

I am not going with AMD or ATI products either. Just Intel/Nvidia.
Why is it that you don´t border to look at those brands?

Well atm AMD processors aren't as good as the core 2 duos for the same price and as for ATI I can't find many around the $100 mark online.

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ATI cards are better in many ways over nVidia cards, especialy with blueray, HDMI and Vista. Did you check out their HD4670? I know they are not 100UAD but those 30UAD are worth it.

About the motherboard: forget the ageing G31 chipset and get something you can build on; a P43 based motherboard would be an excellent pick at this moment.

You might spend a bit more, but in a year from now you would know why ;).

If you like to get down in price, check out Transcend and ADATA/VDATA RAM, they perform as good OR most likely better than Kingston...

And if you get even more picky on the coins than why not go for the E5200, same specs as the E7200, just less cache and lower FSB :) (Good OCer by the way).

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ATI cards are better in many ways over nVidia cards, especialy with blueray, HDMI and Vista. Did you check out their HD4670? I know they are not 100UAD but those 30UAD are worth it.

About the motherboard: forget the ageing G31 chipset and get something you can build on; a P43 based motherboard would be an excellent pick at this moment.

You might spend a bit more, but in a year from now you would know why ;).

If you like to get down in price, check out Transcend and ADATA/VDATA RAM, they perform as good OR most likely better than Kingston...

And if you get even more picky on the coins than why not go for the E5200, same specs as the E7200, just less cache and lower FSB :) (Good OCer by the way).

Hey I will look into the ATI card however, remember the games I will be playing. They are usually at least 2 years old and should run settings maxed out on my 19inch monitor no probs on a 9500GT. And I don't need blueray, HDMI and I don't use Vista either. The card I am looking at is the 512MB DDR3 version which is pre-overclocked and quicker than an 8600gts.

I will definatly look into a GA-EP43-DS3 mobo as this got 9/10 in a recent review I just read. Or it could have been the P45 chipset version.

As for RAM, I will look, but I do like Kingston.

And I am sticking with the E7200 because the extra cache and FSB speed does help improve speed. The E7200 can easily outperform the E4700 which has a higher clock speed yet less cache and FSB, plus the E7200 is 45nm which helps overall.

Anyway thanks for your input.

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$329! i got my E8400 for $189 though that was at the computer fair rather then a store or online or something. i have a GA-G31M-S2L and it works fine though i would recommend getting a board with a new chipset cause i would have liked a better board but my sister wasnt going to buy me a more expensive one so thats what i have.

hmm you can run all those games on the pc in you signature anyway

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plus the E7200 is 45nm which helps overall.
What I wrote was not a typo ;), it’s a E5200 and not a E4700.
E5200- 2.50Ghz, 800Mhz, 2MB Cache, 45nm

E7200- 2.53Ghz, 1066Mhz, 3MB Cache, 45nm

I can tell you that you will not "feel" any difference between them and since you are not willing to spend more cash on the system you would be better of keeping the difference in price in your pocket or get a better VGA card that serves you in the future. Remember that more and more applications (not the ones you use now, but who knows in 2 years?) will start to use the GPU to take some tasks over from the CPU (FPU).

For a dvd burner, check out models by LG or Samsung.
+1 for Samsung ;). SATA and 22x, not needed but a plus.
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Basically you all you need for a family PC is

Any regular over the counter PC with a 3Ghz proccessor

Any regular graphics card that is probably priced at 200-400

The DVD needs to be able to read all formats so I would check out DVD drives that has no protection or the flash driver files

1Gig of memory sounds good.

In terms of dreamweaver the only problem I see is zooming which takes alot of memory.

I just knew prices in America would be cheaper.

It depends on how you convert the dollars. Logically it is sappose to be flat out same in terms of store price.

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Any regular over the counter PC with a 3Ghz proccessor

That makes no sense. "3 GHz" by itself means *nothing*. That's exactly like telling someone to get a car with an engine that goes up to 3000 RPM. A 3GHz P4 sucks hard (netburst, heh) whereas a quad core (with a good architecture) @ 3 GHz is way overkill. Lots of people suggested good CPUs already. On a basic/budget PC I'd probably go for a E5200 too (Intel-wise), and OC it as high as it'll go. I'm still using an old E2160 myself, OC'ed to 3.4 :)

Any regular graphics card that is probably priced at 200-400

A $200 vid card is already overkill for a basic PC, a $400 vid card for a basic PC is ludicrously expensive (you can just about build an entire "budget" PC for that much). He mentions he's only going to do light gaming. This is totally uncalled for. There's perfectly good cards around $100 that fit his needs (like the one he picked in his first post, or others suggested).

The DVD needs to be able to read all formats

And they all do. This is a non-issue. You want a drive that will last, burn fast, not have issues in various modes (e.g. AHCI), and possibly have features like lightscribe. Again, Samsung, LG, Pioneer, etc. Loads of good drives for cheap.

1Gig of memory sounds good.

I seriously hope you're joking.

I'd listen to puntoMX's suggestions (and Zxian's, assuming he also answers/posts). Very good points & recommendations as always.

Edited by crahak
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$329! i got my E8400 for $189 though that was at the computer fair rather then a store or online or something. i have a GA-G31M-S2L and it works fine though i would recommend getting a board with a new chipset cause i would have liked a better board but my sister wasnt going to buy me a more expensive one so thats what i have.

hmm you can run all those games on the pc in you signature anyway

Lucky you. I will try but the E7200 should be ok. I am looking at a gigabyte ga-ep45-ds3 i think which i will get.

And age of empires 3 and ut 2004 would not run on the PC on the pc in my sig or if they did, at very low graphic settings.

I dont know what Australian prices would be like, but take a look at the Western Digital WD6400AAKS for hard disk.

For a dvd burner, check out models by LG or Samsung.

Thanks I will check these out.

plus the E7200 is 45nm which helps overall.
What I wrote was not a typo ;), it’s a E5200 and not a E4700.
E5200- 2.50Ghz, 800Mhz, 2MB Cache, 45nm

E7200- 2.53Ghz, 1066Mhz, 3MB Cache, 45nm

I can tell you that you will not "feel" any difference between them and since you are not willing to spend more cash on the system you would be better of keeping the difference in price in your pocket or get a better VGA card that serves you in the future. Remember that more and more applications (not the ones you use now, but who knows in 2 years?) will start to use the GPU to take some tasks over from the CPU (FPU).

For a dvd burner, check out models by LG or Samsung.
+1 for Samsung ;). SATA and 22x, not needed but a plus.

I know its not a typo but the E5200 is very similar to the E4700 but 45nm. The E7200 beats them both easily. And in the future I will build a better pc for myself but a 9500gt will be fine for the family.

Basically you all you need for a family PC is

Any regular over the counter PC with a 3Ghz proccessor

Any regular graphics card that is probably priced at 200-400

The DVD needs to be able to read all formats so I would check out DVD drives that has no protection or the flash driver files

1Gig of memory sounds good.

In terms of dreamweaver the only problem I see is zooming which takes alot of memory.

I just knew prices in America would be cheaper.

It depends on how you convert the dollars. Logically it is sappose to be flat out same in terms of store price.

The PC you are telling me about is wacked. I do not want a pentium 4, but a core 2 duo.

200-400 graphics card? I could get a 9800gtx+ in Australia for 300.

1gb ram? That ain't future proofing the comp. If I upgrade to windows 7 when it comes out, 2gb will be much better.

Computer parts cost more in Australia because they 'just can' charge more money. It does not flat out at all. RRP prices in America are way lower than in Australia.

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the E5200 is very similar to the E4700 but 45nm. The E7200 beats them both easily.

I have to agree with puntoMX as usual here.

The 3 main differences between the E5200 and the E7200:

-33MHz clock speed (basically nothing)

-slightly higher FSB (very little gained there too)

-2MB vs 3MB cache, which probably won't make much of a difference either (depending on what you do of course). If you look at E7200 vs E8200 comparisons (3MB vs 6MB cache -- doubling the size), you'll see it makes like 5% difference (average) in games, and far less than that in most apps. So a 50% difference in cache size won't even make that much difference. The E7200 is ~50% more expensive, and will give you a whole 5% more speed sometimes. Or to put it another way, the E5200 offers ~95% of the speed for 2/3 of the price. It's a good budget CPU that OC'es nicely (it might even OC better than the E7200)

The 45nm process itself doesn't really make any difference. The E5200 is based on the same Wolfdale core as the E7200 (45nm too).

But it's your hard earned cash... My nearly one year old cheapo $75 E2160 (once OC'ed) runs faster than the E8400 (at stock speed) my brother bought last week for over $200... I'm planning on buying a pair of E5200's after xmas myself.

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