OK Hivemind, it's another Critique My Build

It’s been ages since I bought a new computer. I’ve tried to bring myself up to speed on all the current technologies, but I’m an old dog at this point. How am I doing with this build?

Intel i5 750
4 GB DDR3-1600
ATI Radeon HD 5750 - 1GB
450W power supply
Liquid CPU Cooling System (this was a free Black Friday upgrade)
80 GB Intel X25-M MLC SSD for apps/OS
500 GB HDD for data
Windows 7 Home Premium

I’m particularly ignorant regarding motherboards and power supplies. Any other places where I’m missing the sweet spot, bottlenecking myself, or any other suggestions, bring 'em on. I specced this out at Ibuypower, which people seem generally happy with.

Thanks Qt3!

I’d bump up to a name brand PSU with a bit more oomph. At least 550W. I’m also woefully unfamiliar with liquid cooling, but maybe someone else here can attest as to if and how much maintenance would be required on that CPU liquid cooling setup.

By & large a great build though.

I have a Corsair water cooling kit on one machine and a Zalman on the other.
No maitenance… although the Zalman needs a thorough cleaning, new demineralized water and some more anti-algae stuff… but it’s been running 24/7 for 2 years.

But it does make it a bitch to do gradual upgrades, though (Mine cools CPU and GPU).

I assume 64-bit Windows?
Why not add more ram - together with the SSD that will make you a very happy man.

Looks fine. I think that is about the sweetspot. I would avoid the liquid cooling as an unnecessary complication personally. 450W should be fine for what you have - it might limit later upgrades if that’s an issue. The SSD part-solves the problem that more memory would solve, so I think more memory would be redundant tbh. Ram is an easy upgrade if you do ever want to go that route.

I don’t know anything much about motherboards :)

Yes, I forgot to add any advice with the liquid cooling.

If it does something you need, then by all means. Like my Zalman Resorator that have made my main rig the most silent but still quite powerful pc, I have ever owned (but a bitch to uograde), or if you really wants to overclock (which is what other water cooling options offer). But if you don’t need that extra, then it’s an unecessary hassle.

I agree on the name brand PSU, although I think 450W is more than enough for your current configuration. If you think you’ll be considering a $300+ graphics card as an upgrade two years from now, bumping it up now is the wise choice.

Also, that data drive should be 1TB, if you’re really aiming for the sweet spot.

I’ll second the PSU upgrade. Shoot for 500-600W, but you won’t need more than that.

I might also suggest bumping up to a Core i7 860; it’s only about $80 more and gives you both a clock speed bump and Hyper-threading. Right now, it’s my pick for the “sweet spot” processor.

I just messed around at NewEgg and came up with this…

Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor $199.99

ASUS P7P55D LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard

LIAN LI Lancool PC-K58W Black 0.8 mm SECC, Plastic + Mesh ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $69.99

Thermaltake Purepower W0100RU 500W ATX 12V 2.0 Power Supply $59.99

G.SKILL Trident 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2000 (PC3 16000) Desktop Memory Model F3-16000CL9D-4GBTD $134.99

LG DVD Burner Black SATA Model GH22NS50 $26.99

EVGA 896-P3-1170-AR GeForce GTX 275 896MB 448-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card $254.99

Total: $896.93

Yes? No? Stupid? I’ll be completely honest. Until about three or four years ago, I built a few PCs a year. I have never had this much trouble just figuring out WTF is what. There are so many numbers and letters to know that it’s nearly impossible to understand just what it is you’re trying to buy.

Dave, I’d say try to be patient and wait for supplies of the ATI 5850 to fill up, so it’s available at its intended price of about $270-$280. It’s a much better bang for the buck.

Might want to follow Case’s advice one post up and go for the i7-860 as well. Otherwise, looks good.

A 64bit OS and more RAM is also always good but 4GB will be fine.

I didn’t include Windows 7 above but that will be in there. Will probably consider upping to 6GB whether I go with that build or something from Dell that’s comparable.

Rywill: The 5750 is a bit low-end for that build, IMHO, especially if you’re willing to splurge on an SSD; I would step up to a 5850 or 5870 (whichever fits your budget) if you can find one; even an “obsolete” 4870 would be significantly faster and I’ve seen them for under $150. You’ll need a beefier PSU, though, at least an extra 50W or 100W I think; I stick with major name-brand PSUs (Antec, PC Power & Cooling, Thermaltake, etc.). Also, I’d go with a bigger second HDD; you get a 7200rpm 1TB for well under $100 (Newegg had a Hitachi for $65 this weekend), there’s virtually no reason to settle for anything smaller. More RAM is always nice, but 4 gigs is a good start and you can always add more later when you feel the urge and/or prices come back down.

Dave: Like mono, I’d advise waiting for the 5850 unless you’re truly stuck on nVidia; the GTX 275 is overpriced for its performance. [For a handy if somewhat dated comparison of video cards, I use Tom’s HW’s GPU chart.] Also, DDR3 2000 is overkill for the price; better to buy DDR3 1600 RAM for under $100 and use the extra money to buy more RAM or a faster CPU like the i7 860. I’d also consider a beefier PSU, just to give yourself a little more leeway.

RAM is where a lot of the confusion comes from. I just went with the NewEgg recommended RAM that others bought with that motherboard.

As for the videocard, I’m still not convinced that I can comfortably switch to ATI. I still hear about driver problems, and that’s one reason the NVIDIA cards have always been my choice. The drivers just don’t fail me. I realized that it was a little less power when I threw in the GTX 275.

I’m definitely thinking about noise too, and that’s a strike against NVIDIA since it seems like their cards are the loudest. sigh Decisions…

nVidia vs ATI: I’ve used both for several years now and at this point I’d say their driver support is on par with each other. If you’re really concerned, I’d check the latest driver notes for specific issues to see if there’s anything which affects you. But in terms of the HW, I think ATI currently offers the better bangs for your buck in the mid- and upper range, though obviously that might change with nVidia’s next-gen cards, whenever those come out. Also, the HD 5000 series cards seem to have lower power consumption than nVidia’s cards or the HD 4000 series -> less heat -> less cooling required -> less fan noise.

I had stuck with Nvidia since 3dfx died, mostly because I always dabbled with Linux and ATI’s 3D drivers for Linux were atrocious. I moved to ATI this generation because their cards are just that great and I no longer bother much with desktop Linux. I’ve had no driver issues at all on Vista or Win 7 64bit.

That’s good to hear regarding ATI drivers. Less fan noise is a plus. I’m not into water cooling to make things quieter, but removing any chance of vacuum cleaner fan revolutions is a good thing. I can’t stand that with the 360 and the rare instance it kicks on in the PS3. The 8800GT in my current box has its days where it’s loud as hell too.

Probably not enough time left in the sale to get the proper input, but here goes…

Software & Services
PROCESSORS Studio XPS 8000, Intel® Core™ i7-860 processor(8MB Cache, 2.80GHz) edit
OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64Bit, English edit
OFFICE SOFTWARE Microsoft Works 9.0 edit
WARRANTY AND SERVICE 2Yr Ltd Hardware Warranty, InHome Service after Remote Diagnosis edit
Service blurb goes here.
SECURITY SOFTWARE McAfee SecurityCenter, 15-Months edit
MEMORY 8GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1066MHz - 4 DIMMs edit
HARD DRIVE 1TB - 7200RPM, SATA 3.0Gb/s, 16MB Cache edit
MONITOR 22" Dell ST2210 Full HD Widescreen Monitor edit
VIDEO CARD 1024MB nVidia GeForce GT220 edit
SOUND CARD Integrated 7.1 Channel Audio edit
SPEAKERS No speakers (Speakers are required to hear audio from your system) edit
KEYBOARD Dell Studio Consumer Multimedia Keyboard edit
MOUSE Dell Studio Optical Mouse

This is $1109. Anything that looks out of place? I plan to buy a videocard to take the place of that GT220 if needed. I do have an 8800GT I could put in if that is better than the GT220.

Not sure how long the deal lasts, but Dell claims I’m getting like $400 in savings on this box.

The GT 220 is pretty low-end, so I would definitely replace it. And I don’t know if the ST2210 is a good monitor. But otherwise that looks like a solid system.

My main machine has a Geforce GTX 285, so I’m certainly not opposed to Nvidia, but you’d seriously have to be crazy to not buy an ATI graphics card currently in any new system - they are far superior right now.

The GT220 will be removed and replaced. I might have to use the 8800GT for a month or so, but I intend to put in a 5850 or equivalent.

I ordered what you see above. I couldn’t really beat that price building my own and it was clearly a savings.

So what’s the deal with these ATI cards being so hard to get? I’d like to go the 5850 route, but there aren’t any around. I see ATI 4890’s available for $200, though. Is that a viable option or would I be better off waiting and hoping I can pay $260 for a 5850?