New system - please comment

My current system is 4 or 5 years old, so I’m going for a good system that won’t have to be upgraded for a while, but still gives me upgrade potential for things like CPU and Graphics card. I’ve read the system guides on, and

My idea was to get a consensus on the right components and then have Monarch Computer build it for me. I’m using the “Monarch Nemisis Ultimate Gaming Desktop” ( as a starting point, and then adding components.

In addition to the component choices, does anyone have any idea how quiet this will be?

What do you think of this setup for $2,158.98?

Thermaltake Shark Full Tower Aluminum Case Series w/Window No PS Black (VA7000BWA) $150
Enermax Noisetaker EG701AX-VE-SFMA ATX 2.0 w/SLI Support 600W Power Supply $144
No additional case fan
Abit AN8 SLi nForce4 Audio/GB-LAN/USB/IEEE-1394/PCI-E/SATA3G/DDR/ATX 64 939 $145
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ Dual-Core 1MB Per Core 90nm (939) (Retail Box-w-Fan) $526
2 GB (2 pcs 1GB) DDR (400) PC-3200 OCZ Dual Channel Platinum (OCZ4002048ELDCPE-K) $256
Maxtor (6B250S0) DiamondMax Plus 10 250GB SATA 7200 RPM 16MB Cache $99
(default was Western Digital 74 GB SATA 10K Raptor (WD740GD) $175 - is this better?)
Pioneer DVR-110DBK Dual-Layer 16x8x16 DVD±RW 8x DVD+R DL (Black) (OEM) $55
Ahead Nero 6.3 Suite 1 DVD±RW Software (OEM) $6.99
Cyberlink PowerDVD 6.0 Software(OEM) $6.99
Mitsumi 1.44MB 3.5" (Black) Floppy Drive $20
Creative Audigy 2 ZS 24BIT Advanced HD Sound (Retail Box) $93
BFG Geforce 7800 GT OC 256MB GDDR3/PCI-E/VIVO/Dual-DVI (Retail Box) $380
Microsoft Windows XP Professional w/CD and license w/Service Pack 2 $150
Microsoft Multimedia Keyboard PS-2 $29
Logitech MX518 Optical Mouse (Black) $39

As a general rule, buying a killer system so you won’t have to upgrade for a couple of years is a bad idea. You pay a steep premium for hardware that is very quickly devalued. You’re better off buying the “sweet spot” then upgrading yearly. Your hardware will perform better over time. I could put together a sweet spot system with two 20" widescreen monitors for less than that. Much less, with a dell deal.

However, if that’s the way you want to go, your system looks fine.

Your system is remarkably similar to the one I just built for myself, so I’d say it’s a nice one for sure. Just as a comparison, here’s a list of what’s in mine:

Antec Sonata II (with 450W PSU)
Asus A8N-SLI Premium
AMD Athlon 64 x2 4400+
2x WD 2500KS (250 GB 7200 rpm 16 MB cache SATAII drives)
2 GB OCZ (2x1024MB) PC-3200 DDR Platinum
Sony 16x DVD±RW DRU-800A Dual-Layer (comes with Nero 6.6, btw)
XFX Geforce 7800GTX 256MB etc, etc
Audigy 2 ZS (from my old system, temporary until X-Fi comes along)
MS Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000
Intellimouse Explorer 2.0 Wireless (still using the good ole Intellimouse after all these years…)
tossed in a Mitsumi floppy drive as well, although didn’t need to, but for $10 CDN, that’s spare change
WinXP Pro SP2 (bought OEM full version)

Also had a new 2005FPW from Dell to dual display with my Dell 19" P992 CRT, so I managed not to have to cost that in.

All told the above system, minus the sound card, mouse, and displays (all already in place), the system cost just over $3000 CDN. I didn’t try to get great deals on things, just did my best to get want I wanted at a fair price. You can definitely get more bang for your buck going with less high-end components, but if you’re like me, if you have the money, get out of the mid-range rut and go high-end. It’s definitely fun.

Forgot about the ‘quiet’ question: for me, the system was noisy as I’d ever imagine a system could be when playing games, until I implemented the Cool&Quiet functions in the BIOS (Q-fan), and software (Minimal Power Management, and installed the Cool&Quiet software). Once all that was in place, I barely notice my system is even on, let alone noisy and the CPU temp ranges from 35C at idle to 52C under heavy load, with barely an increase in fan noise at its hottest. The PSU has dual fans, and the rear one only comes on when the interior ambient gets warm enough, and the 120 mm rear exhaust fan is super quiet. However, I should say that getting a big case is definitely better. I’d go with a larger case now that I’ve had experience with the tight fitting Sonata II, especially when the video cards are as wide as the mobo itself now, and with chassis air-guides filling up a lot of the space.

Not really, anymore at least. CPU power is much less important than GPU nowadays to any sort of gamer. And you end up paying more or less the same anyway unless you just want to “suffer” with obsolete graphics.

IE: i payed 150$ for my processor and 250$ for my video card around January of this year. That same processor still sells for 125$. The video card has depreciated but even if i manage to sell it for 150$, and get a new one for 300$, i’d still end up with the same card that i could have had in January for 400$.

I thought the Athlon 64 X2 4400+ was a sweet spot, albeit a high end sweet spot. I also thought the 7800 GT was a high end sweet spot (as opposed to the 7800 GTX). I thought the rest of the stuff (RAM, HD, etc.) was rather normal.

What components would you use to hit the sweet spot?

Also, does anyone have any comments on the Hard Drive? The default was a 10000rpm Western Digital, but I switched to a 250MB Maxtor at 7200rpm.

I read that the case is good and cools well, but can be a bit noisy. Anyone have any experience with the case?

Thanks for the “Cool&Quite” info. I hadn’t heard about it before. So this should help me out with my Thermaltake case too, right?

Also, I chose the Retail box with fan option for the CPU (strangely, 1 dollar cheaper than the non retail version). Would it be better and quieter to go for something like the Zalman CNPS7000B-AlCu Silent CPU Cooling Kit instead. Is a separate fan necessary if I use the Athlon 64 “Cool&Quiet” feature? They mention that if I choose the Zalman, that I can’t select Corsair memory (which I didn’t anyway, but this kind of statement worries me).

I read that the case is good and cools well, but can be a bit noisy. Anyone have any experience with the case

Not specifically, but a 50p bag of rubber gromits, a £7 case noise insulating kit (foam basically that sticks onto the case sides etc) and a few minutes with a screwdriver can dramatically reduce the noise produced by the case.

Mount the PSU, harddrives if possible and all fans to the case using the gromits between the case and the bits in question (a thick, large rubber band cut into little squares will also do the trick).

As far as I know, all mobos for AMD processors come with Cool’n’Quiet technology available (all my Cool’n’Quiet stuff is branded by Asus, for instance). You can get more info on it from AMD’s site here.

I just stuck with the processor-in-a-box x2 4400+, so used the heatsink/fan that came with it, as it was designed for it and I saw no reason to change things. I’m happy with it the way it is, but I can’t say whether it’d be better if I did something different, either. As I said before, though, I don’t hear a peep from my system on regular use just with the Cool’n’Quiet enabled and nothing else. I didn’t even put the 120 mm front fan on that I bought when I thought the system was going to run hot. It just doesn’t need it.

cpu: a64 x2-3800+, just overclock the hell out of it
ram: valueram, 1GB
videocard: 7800gt ($299 at newegg today I see)
mobo: asus an8
case: antec sonata v2, comes with a perfectly fine PSU
whatever HD you want, 10k rpm is worth it though
cheapo dual layer dvd-rw
audigy1 oem soundcard
cheapest 104-key ps2 keyboard with standard keys i can buy
logitech mx518 mouse
2 * 20" 2005fp LCD monitors for $380 apeice

But really, if you’re not going to build it yourself, just configure a dell and buy the RAM and videocard separately.