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Need advice on a new system

I have decided to build a new machine and immediately thought about getting advice from the OSNN members.:) The new machine is for my wife who is a gamer - though not to the level of most gamers (Sims2 & World of Warcraft).

I have decided to not be cutting edge on much of anything other than the memory speed. For example, the E6850 CPU is about $94 more than the E6750 for less than 400MHz increase in speed.

My parts list is made up of:
Intel E6750 Core2 Duo CPU
Asus P5B Plus mobo (P965 chipset) (about $140)
Kingston HyperX 4GB(2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
2 Maxtor SATA/II 300Gb drives (RAID 0)
Antec Nine Hundred case
Antec NEO HE 500 PSU
SATA DVD burner (possibly a Samsung)
ATI X1650 XT (256Mb DDR3)
Linksys 802.11G Wireless NIC
internal floppy drive (to install the RAID drivers)
and possibly a Zalman CPU cooler (the new one with the heat pipes)
XP Pro SP2

I like the P5B Plus mobo because it supports 6 SATA drives (internal connectors) and 1 external (though I don't have plans at this time on using the external connector).

My main questions regard the mobo and the memory. Anyone have experience with this board? I've read reviews (dated in July) that the board would not boot until the BIOS was flashed and that you should have a non-Core 2 Duo processor available to upgrade the BIOS with. Unfortunately, I don't have a spare processor lying around. :cry:

Also, I need advice on the memory. I've read that Kingston may cost more but is more reliable. I also read that the mobo only recognizes 3Gb unless you play around in the BIOS (though the reviews, by purchasers on the Newegg site, didn't state what settings were tweaked). Is this because of a mobo limitation or is 3Gb all that XP Pro will recognize?

Also, I checked the QVL (Qualified Vendor List) in the mobo manual for recommended memory vendors and model numbers. The Kingston HyperX that I've settled on (2 - 2Gb sticks) isn't on the list. The manual also says to check the Asus web site for an updated QVL, but I haven't been able to find the QVL on their site.

I also checked out the Asus P5K (P35 chipset) and read that the reviewers (again on the Newegg site) said that they could only get the RAID to work if they connected one of the internal drives to the external SATA connector. Any thoughts on this?

I would like to stick with an Asus mobo because I've always had good luck with them. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. I am willing to spend around $200 for a mobo, if it is warranted. I do not want one with onboard video, am not concerned about the onboard sound (my wife uses headphones or a 2 speaker w/sub-woofer system) and don't plan on using dual video cards.

I get to inherit her 2.8 GHz Pentium D system which will replace my P4 1.8GHz machine (my choice - she plays games and I don't). (Just trying to fend off the comments about my being a wussie:lick:.)

I used ot be an Antec fanboy but poor high failure rate and inconsistent quality on their product for the last years has left me recomending against them. If you must get an Antec do not get their NEO or Smart power prduct line. They are the worst of the bunch and often just rebranded units from other manufacturers. If you go Antec go Truepower II.

Watch out getting a SATA DVD. I have seen people unable to use them to install windows. You might be ok as long as you have a floppy. I would not take the risk of having issues using a SATA DVD.

Kingston makes good ram and in performance and affordable versions. " High performance RAM does not buy you enough speed to justify the higher price. Same deal as with the processors. BUT I have seen dozens of complaints about ASUS MB's and RAM. Make sure the ram you buy is on their approved list. Many, many problem complaints from people buying top quality ram and havng it be incompatible with ASUS MBs.
Thanks LordOfLA.

I checked various manufacturers for their X38 boards and haven't found anything reasonable price-wise. The Gigabit boards are close to $300 (way over my price). Abit's boards use software for RAID (I believe that hardware RAID is better). Asus's boards are pricey as well.

I haven't kept up with CPU technology - so I hope the following is not a dumb question (questions not asked are truely dumb). How does an E6400 (2.1GHz) CPU compare to a Pentium D (2.8 Ghz)? I realize that the Pentium D is a 32 bit processor and the E6400 is 64 bit and that the E6400 has a larger (I believe) on-board cache.

I'm looking to give my wife a faster machine than what she is using now, though it doesn't have to be twice as fast. Any suggestions?

Thanks for the info. Too late on the PSU advice though - I've already ordered the Antec Neo 500. All I can hope for is that I get a good one. Which E6??? would you recommend?


The Donger Need Food!!!!
Political User
I would look to the P35 based intel motherboards. They are the newer mainstream intel chipsets (perform better than the p965) but don't cost as much as the X38. I would look for this or a middle ground nvidia motherboard. That would fit in your price range.

Also with the newer Intel motherboards you will have 0 problems installing windows with a sata dvd drive. It is what I use and have had no problems having it supported. older motherboards maybe but not newer ones.

For the CPU I would look at the Q6600 for the intel processor. It is a quad core and in us dollars is 270 dollars approximately. Best bang for your buck right now.
p35's are not optimised for core2 processors above E6400 either :)

If you want to get E6600 or higher you are limited to my previously stated chipsets for optimal performance. If you use anything else you will slow down your computer, which is silly if you stump up for quad core or highend dual core.


Woah.. I'm still here?
Staff member
Political User
I know opinions vary widely on this subject, and other people will highly recommend for a RAID0, but I generally recommend against RAID0. Just not worth it in bigger drives and higher chances of failure rates and total loss of data for very minimal performance gains in most home applications.

If you really feel the need to go with a RAID0 set, I highly recommend a good (and tested!) backup solution.
I do see a benefit to RAID0 for my uses. However I have a single disk I store important data on thats not in the array. I've had RAID0 arrays fail and take everything with them before getting a backup done :p


Woah.. I'm still here?
Staff member
Political User
I'm not questioning the fact (yes, fact!) that RAID0 provides an increase in performance.. Just that most home users (ie: most non-OSNN pro's), they don't do a whole lot of sustained disk access to really see most of that performance. In an average case, they'll see maybe a 5% increase in disk performance in day-to-day usage. Yes, I know RAID0 can provide a hell of a lot more than a 5% performance increase in sustained read/write or high I/O situations, but most home users never produce that kind of load.

And the risk you take with a single drive failure causing total data loss (as you yourself said you have experienced) just isn't worth that 5% increase. :) :s
Thanks for all of the info guys.

I do have a comprehensive backup system in place on all of my home PC's, so I'm not too concerned about data loss with RAID0. When I modified my wife's Pentium D machine to RAID0, I noticed an immediate improvement in the time it took to boot (from pressing the switch until it was all of the way up). She noticed that the load time for Sims2 went from almost 20 minutes to a little over 12.

Thanks again for the advice.


Woah.. I'm still here?
Staff member
Political User
20 minutes to load sims2? even 12 minutes to load a game is WAY too long. Heck, on my old AMD K6/512MB RAM with an old Ti4200 card, it only took about 3 minutes to load Sims2


OSNN One Post Wonder
yea if your gonna get one of the top-of-the line intel chips, your more likely gonna want to go to the intel site, and find a board that best works for it. im pretty sure your gonna want a 975x, it works best with all your components.


There is no answer!
Political User
are you serious 12 mins, are you confused, do you mean to install it?

i have an Asus P5W DH Deluxe, and i cannot be more happy with the board, Gigabyte, also sell mb's for way less then you specificed a good $100 gigabyte board is easy to come by.

also xp onyl recognises 3gb to use, it actually still uses the rest, but it wont be used for programs, i believe the os reserves the rest.

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