29 June 2008

Alfran's Build.

So, I asked him on GameFAQs Message Boards for a cheap, decent and reliable CPU build. He suggested this build ( see below ) to me. I also add his reviews so you folks can see his considerations why he picked this.


Alfran's build:

Processor: Intel Dual Core E2200

This is basically an Allendale Core 2 Duo processor but with only 1mb L2 cache. The L2 cache will affect gaming, but not by much. What's important is your video card. Don't worry, you'll still be getting good performance at half the price. It also runs cool and quiet and only uses very little power.

As for programming, it's not really dependent on the L2 cache but more on the architecture. We used to use a Pentium D at 3.4ghz for Java class, and IBM's development software (Websphere) ran very slowly on it. From starting up the application to compiling code.

My friend built a PC with an E2160 (basically the same as the E2200 but clocked lower), and all of that disappeared. The difference in the architecture is clear.

Motherboard: E-Maxx EMX-945GC-1333 or Asrock Wolfdale

They're basically the same board since they use the same chipset. The only real difference (and the reason why I recommend the E-Maxx one if you can find it) is that it has Solid Capacitors, though I still think Solid Caps are merely a marketing gimmick.

They're both cheap and contain enough features. As of Friday I've built 6 computers for other people using both motherboards (Asrock at first then E-Maxx when it became available) and I have not had any complaints yet.

RAM: 2GB DDR2 @ 667mhz (I recommend Geil as a brand, but Kingston is also good and easy to find here)

If you'll be using Win XP 32 bit you'll only be seeing 3.5gb of your 4gb RAM. If you go with XP 64 bit, then you'll see all 4gb but then you're still using XP which runs great on even 256mb. So you'd only be wasting money. Just stick with 2gb. Trust me, it's more than you'll ever need on XP (unless they release a game that is so buggy it has memory leaks left and right).

Also, the difference in speed between RAM at 667 and at 800mhz is minimal. The only real reason you should go for RAM clocked at 800mhz is for overclocking (basically it overclocks better). But since this is a longterm investment for you, I'm sure you do not wish to risk damaging it, so 667 is good.

GPU: Palit 8600GT (Well actually any brand except for Inno3d.)

The 8600gt despite what others may claim is a decent cheap card. You should know that there are 2 versions of the card. The DDR2 one with 512mb - 1024mb and the DDR3 one with 256mb. Based on benchmarks I've run with a couple of my friends PC using the Devil May Cry 4 Benchmark Tool, the difference in performance is minimal. The DDR2 card is slower but only by 2-4 fps. So get whatever is cheapest. I recommend Palit because they use Zalman Coolers on their cards.

The 8600gt can also max out Assassin's Creed and GRID among other games. So you should be set to play Diablo 3 when it comes out as well as Starcraft 2.

PSU: HEC Silent Pro 385W or Gigabyte Superb 480W

Get whatever you can find. Either is more than enough for this build (as well as your original build) since you don't have any components that are power hungry so what you're looking for here is quality.

I haven't heard of NSpire so I have no idea about the quality of their products, so while they may be good, I feel safer recommending brands and models that I have personally used.

Do note that the HEC only has 1 SATA power connector. It may have changed with newer models, but just to let you know in case you have other drives.

If you can't find any of these look for other products by HEC, Gigabyte, or Corsair. 350W is enough for this build.

HDD: Seagate/Samsung 500GB

Western Digital is the brand with the most deaths for me and my friends. Even after they were bought by Seagate, so I can't really recommend them.

Seagate branded HDD's on the other hand have always been good to me. I have one from 2000 that's still up and running on my brother's PC.

Samsung is also another good brand, though they could be a bit more expensive.

ODD: LG / Samsung DVD+-RW

Just get the cheapest one you can find. Either is good and reliable. I'd also recommend Lite-on but their cheaper models tend to be very noisy when burning DVDs. I'd skip getting a Litescribe one since it costs more and well, lightscribe DVDs also cost more than regular DVDs, well at least here in the Philippines.

Case: iCute or Orient or Frontier

Looking at reviews of your posted case, it may not be the best choice.


I personally recommend an iCute case with a 25cm side fan, though any of the Orient or Frontier Cases are good too.

Here are some pics.

iCute: http://icute.com.tw/english/AllProduct.html

Orient: http://www.infinite.ph/OrientCasings/OrientCasings.aspx

Frontier: http://www.frontier.com.tw/index.asp?page=products&ID=case

From the Orient cases, I recommend the Slim 28, and the Shinobi for Frontier.

For iCute try this: http://icute.com.tw/english/ZL02.htm

It has a very nice front finish.

I also recommend trying a slim case since.

If you can't find any of these cases, try asking for an Astone Enforcer. Do note that you can only stick 1 HDD in it without using brackets. But it has a good design that keeps things cool inside.

For reference, this is my case:


It's very durable and as such I am biased towards iCute.

As for your LCD choice, it's a good one. I can definitely recommend the Hanns-G HW191DPB.

So yeah. I personally recommend this build as it's cheap but offers excellent performance that meets your needs. There's no need to overspend on a PC, and this build will definitely last you a long time.


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