Hi, I did a ton of research (but I might need to do a ton more) and came up with these parts. I'm thinking about building a new computer so that I can keep it and keep upgrading it for years without having to buy a new system.
Altogether the below items would cost me about $1200 (a safe estimation).
FSP Group (Fortron Source) AX400-PN, 12cm FAN, version 2.0, 2 SATA, PCI Express, 400W Power Supply
WACOM Graphire4 CTE440S 4" x 5" Active Area USB Tablet
Keytronic MODEL #E03600QUSUSBB-C Keyboard
Crucial Ballistix 1GB (2 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Unbuffered System Memory Model BL2KIT6464Z402
Crucial Ballistix 512MB 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Unbuffered System Memory Model BL6464Z402
Two (2) SILVERSTONE FN121 120mm Case Cooling Fans
I need to know if all these items are compatible with each other. They should all be on Newegg's website (except for the keyboard).
I have never built a computer before and there are only a few things I hate more than buying things that don't get along with other things. I also need advice and recommendations from people who know from experience; are there any items listed above that should be replaced for a different, more compatible/quality item?
Main things to triple check / typical advise you'll get follow:
- Confirm mainboard and case dimentions and form factor match.
- Confirm the fit will not be 'too tight' for tastes.
- Why only a 17" TFT when 19" can be had for 'similar' prices ?
You've also listed 2 types of RAM, a single stick and a dual stick kit, for Socket 939/940 you'll want 2 sticks for performance reasons, (aggregates memory subsystem throughput), but 1 will work just performance won't be as high as it could be, for this reason 2 x 1024 MB is recommended vs just 1 x 2048 MB for example. For Socket 754 you only 'need' 1 stick though, and 2 won't help performance except for just having more RAM.
Some people here may steer you away from that PSU though, I am not familar with the brand myself or their models. As in Australia, so usually suggest Antec or other reputable brands as heaps of PSUs die down 'ere during our hotter seasons, Nov - Mar, and during storms. Our power isn't as clean as it could be either.
All the parts 'should' work together aswell, but you don't need 'extreme' RAM for a normal gaming PC and it may not help performance as much as it used to (unless overclocking and you know exactly how to go about getting that extreme performance, if you need to ask then just get more typical RAM).
G.Skill RAM is currently my pick for RAM price/performance wise, while still having excellent baseline performance, for new system builders - That is just my personal recommendation for 1st PC builds though, as you learn more move to whatever you desire - which may not be 'expensive heavily advertised' RAM in the end anyway ,
- If it saves enough money then move up to a GeForce 7800 GT (256 MB, not GTX though), after 3rd week in March to Mid April, when the price drop kicks in, the performance difference between different generation ##800 series video cards is huge for the dollar.... compared to different RAM of the same generation with similar specs (timings, clockspeed, reliability, overclockability) which only provides a < +1-3 (but up to +15%) performance difference for the dollar.
Sites to bookmark:
http://www.memtest.org/ - even though version number is lower, it is the newer version (check by date). http://www.memtest86.com/ - the original version, sometimes rarely updated for new mainboard chipsets. http://www.mersenne.org/freesoft.htm - Prime95 in Torture Test blend mode (running 2 - 8 instances each using 1/2 to 1/8 your system memory is also a damn good burn in). http://www.sisoftware.co.uk - Home of SiSoft SANDRA, Excellent utility to become familar with, also good for testing, burn ins, diagnostics and developing a deeper understanding and appreciation of what 'benchmarking' and computer hardware in general is really all about (excluding video cards, but I dislike the 'new' Futuremarks, the only 3D performance that counts is the one you get in games, with sound and AI on, multiple characters, etc.. not a 'cache-hit predictable' timedemo) . (Some tests based on optimized Win32/x64 compiled varients originally from Linux/Unix, but scores can not be compared between versions or platforms.)
Why only a 17" TFT when 19" can be had for 'similar' prices ?
I liked the reviews and the price of this SAMSUNG 17" LCD Monitor. I'm the type of person that goes after reliable products before high-performance ones. If there's a better monitor that doesn't cost more than $250 I'll add that one to the list.
I'll take your RAM advice and add two G.SKILL Extreme Series 1GB 184-Pin DDR SDRAM Unbuffered DDR 400 (PC 3200)s instead of the Crucial RAMs! Everyone says good things about the G.Skill RAM.
I had a hard time trying to find an inexpensive but still reliable power supply, and could only find the FSP Group (Fortron Source) 400W Power Supply. I would prefer something between 450-500W to be on the safe side in case I decide to get more powerful hardware but I don't know what to get.
RAM wise, dig around, G.Skill ( http://www.gskill.com/indexen.html ) offer 'heaps' of different variety, their lowest end CAS 2.5 PC3200 (w/o heatspreader) is very well priced for a non overclocker, or a 1st time overclocker using Async MEM:FSB ratios to keep MEM under 400 MHz (DDR). With the tools above you can detect RAM (or configurtion) defects very quickly and get replacements in quick smart (god forbid that happen, but there is a heap of defective RAM out there being sold, finding it before installing your OS is the smartest 'procedure').
Yeah, Video cards, even of the same 'model' eg: GeForce 7800 GT, can differ slightly in GPU and VidRAM clock speeds.
Prices on 7800 GT cards will drop between 3rd week of March and mid April, right after CeBIT ends really, I dunno by how much though or if it is 'worth waiting' for your wallet.... if you have a LAN, etc or a need for a PC before mid April then build now, otherwise I reckon waiting it a good idea (cost wise).
"Based on the same core as the GTX the (ed: 7800) GT comes with 20 instead of 24 pixel pipes, 7 instead of 8 vertex units, a 400 MHz core clock instead of 430 MHz and a memory speed of 500 MHz instead of 600 MHz. As the GTX, GT cards integrate 256 MByte GDDR3 memory."
So a typical GeForce 7800 GT should have a 400 MHz GPU with 20 pipelines, and 500 MHz (1,000 MHz DDR really) Video Memory with a 256 bit wide bus. Some 'costlier' varients may have slightly better spec, and some might just be 'scams' that cost more with the same specs and 'Ultra or Extreme' in their names... usually they'll have better cooling at the least and come 'pre-overclocked' so to speak, performace of them all is very similar for the price.
Pretty much everyone here swears by Antec PSUs (eg: TruePower-II ATX12V or the NeoHE series, and also OCZ (though not just for PSUs), and PC Power & Cooling,... and sometimes Silverstone (but not Silverstones lower end models with sub 80% efficiency). They may be over the top, the one you've selected may very well work fine for 5 years for all I know.
I've used Antec in my examples as most techs are quite familiar with their lines, and it is nice stuff even for a 1st timer. I encourage you to dig deeper and find ever better value gear whenever possible though. (I feel like a paid Antec forum plant ).
Tip: If you are going to plan for nVidia SLI or ATI Crossfire down the track (dual high end video cards), then make sure the PSU has 2 x 6-pin PCIe (PCI Express) video power connectors, not just one (like the SmartPower above which only has 1 from memory).
PCs can be a pain in the arse at times, but a well build one that works for at least 3 years without a hitch is a pleasure to use, own, and brag about when fragging the enemy .