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Newbie building a system. Specs included

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November 30, 2006 4:07:57 AM

Hello. This year I'd like to have a newer system. I have had a Dell since January of 2002 and it has served me well. No problems with anything at all ever. The only thing wrong with it is it's slow compared to what's available these days.

A number of folk tell me "Do it yourself. It's the best way to do it" so I figured I'd give this a whirl. Basically, what I'm hoping, is that I've selected good parts and compatible parts.

I have just compiled a list of the specs of a system. These parts are from Newegg.

==Case==
$50
CHENMING 501AWBU-F-0 BLK Black 1.0mm SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

==PSU==
$76
COOLER MASTER Real Power RS-450-ACLY ATX12V 450W Power Supply 115/230 V Nemko / TUV / cUL / CE / CNS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

==Motherboard==
$145
GIGABYTE GA-965P-DS3 Socket T (LGA 775) Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

==Processor==
$218
Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 Conroe 2.13GHz LGA 775 Processor Model BX80557E6400 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

==Memory==
$239 (has $40 rebate)
CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 675 (PC2 5400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TWIN2X2048-5400c4 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

==Hard Drive==
$75
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD2500KS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

==GFX card==
$157
GIGABYTE GV-NX76T256D-RH GeForce 7600GT 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Silent Pipe II, Lead Free Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

==DVD drive==
$31
SAMSUNG 18X DVD±R DVD Burner With 12X DVD-RAM Write Black E-IDE/ATAPI Model SH-S182D - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

Total: $991 + $98 for optional parts

~~OPTIONAL PARTS~~

==KVM switch==
$25
Aluratek AKSP02 2-Port KVM PS/2 Switch w/ 2 cables
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

==Sound card==
$73 Purchase this later
Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 4 SB0610 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Interface Sound Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

NOW! A lot of folks tell me "don't skimp on the PSU. A PSU that fails can destroy your whole system". Whether this is true or not is beyond me.

As for the case... I don't know. I know a mid-tower ATX is common.

A lot of the other components, such as speakers, mouse, keyboard, and monitor I intend to just salvage from my Dell that I'm using as I type this.

The graphics card is one part I'm uncertain on too.

Any info would be appreciated. Thanks.
November 30, 2006 7:00:04 AM

dont get the GA-965G-DS3, the G stands for on board gfx and u dont need that! get the GA-965P-DS3.

Also the 7600GT is the best choice in your price range but if you want something a bit more expensive get the ati x1950pro.

For the PSU get a thermaltake, its true that a bad PSU can be the source of a lot of unwanted PC problems. Youll also need around 400/500W. A good deal is the antec sonata 2 that comes with a case and decent PSU.
November 30, 2006 7:08:23 AM

Get the 7900GS and 2GB of Cosair Value ram kit
Related resources
November 30, 2006 2:56:16 PM

What's your total budget? Can throw a few suggestions at you, but don't want to get crazy with your money. :) 
November 30, 2006 6:14:32 PM

Thanks for the tips guys. I'll revise my list tonight. I'm just checking in briefly as I go back to work soon.

AMDThunder - Regarding my budget: I'd hope to spend $1,000 - $1,200 at the very most. I'm not going to get a monitor or any peripherals, so maybe I could boost up some of the parts I've got. I MAY get another optical mouse, but not sure. If you've got tips, lay 'em on me. 8)
November 30, 2006 7:31:51 PM

I just RMA'd the GA-965P-S3 board, some controller failures, really a pain. I'm getting the GA-965P-DS3 instead, may as well get the better quality solid caps.

Power supply is important, but with the specs of your system, you don't need more than 400 watts, but get 450 to be safe. I recommend, from newegg, COOLER MASTER Real Power RS-450-ACLX ATX12V 450W Power Supply - Retail

For the hard drive, you would be better served with the seagate 7200.10 25GB, make sure you get the serial ata with 16MB cache version. It's a a bit faster than yours.

The DVD RW you selected comes with no software - you will be unable to burn DVD's unless you already have software. The Lite-on (retail version) is the same price, and comes with software.

The 7600GT is a good card for it's price, but if you plan to play new games over the next couple of years you may want to conside the X1950 Pro.

You need 2GB RAM. Pick any type, 667MHz or below, and try to get 3-3-3 or 4-4-4. To avoid problem, make sure the stock voltage is below 2V.

When you get your computer make sure you create a Memtest+ disk and run it for a few hours to check the RAM for error before your RMA period ends.

Bruce[/code]
November 30, 2006 7:40:55 PM

And in case you want to listen to the overclockers here and take a step up in the power supply:
COOLER MASTER Real Power RS-450-ACLY ATX12V 450W Power Supply - Retail

And if you do go with the 7600GT (not recommended) get this one for $110:
eVGA 256-P2-N615-TX GeForce 7600GT 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail

Make sure your case comes with fans, or you need to buy. Note that the motherboard we are using only has a connector for 1 case fan, so you will need a converte for the second to connect to power supply. If you get the Centurion 5 case like I did, it comes with the fans and connector.
November 30, 2006 11:35:09 PM

Alrighty. I made some changes to my list. I modified the first post. It's too bad the strikeout tag isn't supported on the forums. I changed it to that motherboard everyone said. The GA-965P-DS3. It did seem like a nicer board. I also picked out 2 GB of memory instead of 1.

Still looking over the video cards and maybe a different hard drive.

I appreciate all the help so far.
December 1, 2006 12:02:03 AM

Got a few links for you and these IMVHO are the final parts to your rig.

Mobo: ASUS P5N32-E SLI 680i $300 (upgrade path for latter on)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

VGA: BFG 7950GT $260 (good for now but won't blow your budget like a 8800GTX)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

PSU: Antec NeoHE 500w PSU $100 (good for now and has modular cables)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Case: Antec P180 Advanced Super Mid Tower $120 (awesome, plenty of room)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

New total $1255

If you can afford a better HDD and sound card I'd highly recommend the following:

HDD: 150gb WD Raptor $276 (performance king)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

Sound Card: Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy 4 $72 (cheaper than those fancy new X-Fi's and just as good)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

New total $1605 :? .

Hope this helps. Good luck with your build.
December 1, 2006 12:24:07 AM

Well, those parts look good. I'll look 'em over and think about those. The PSU looks pretty darn good. People seem to say Antec is the way.

You reminded me about the sound card. I do do some music composition at times and wouldn't mind having something better than Generics R' Us sound. Though that'll be something I'd order later. Don't need it right away.
December 1, 2006 1:25:56 AM

Antec is, IMVHO, ok at best. I'd say for my lowest recommendation on a PSU, Antec is the way to go. If your looking for a mainstream PSU then look at Forton Source Group (FSP) PSU's and Silverstone Zeus Seris PSU's. The absolute best PSU's on the market are made by PC Power & Cooling. Although these PC Power & Cooling PSU's are a premium to buy (entry level is $250), they have the best tech avaliable for PSU's period.

If I was you, I'd wait a little longer for the relase of Vista. Now the reason for this is that AMD just relased it 4x4 Quad FX platform today and Vista is supposed to be able to better manage the AMD "mega-platform" with better performance in all area's over Intel. Also the new DDR3 RAM spec is due to come out in Jan. 07 as well as AMD's Hyper-Transport 3 spec. These along with the 65nm revisons will make AMD the performance king again.

Now all this bleeding edge tech comes at a premium ($5000-$7500 easily) but the upgradability and performance capability will MONSTEROUS. Quite literally, you'll be able to: encode MP3's, encode hi-def H264 and DivX 6.4 video's, burn and rip HD-DVD's, run anti-virus and spyware scans, and play your favorite game ALL AT THE SAME TIME, WITHOUT A PERFORMANCE LOSS!!!!! This is just the tip of a larger ice berg my friend.

Sorry about the tangent just read this article ( http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/11/30/brute_force_quad... )

But for what you've got right now, you did fine.

Good luck with your build.

====================

My System:

AMD 64 X2 3800+ OC'ed to 2.2 Ghz
BFG 7900 GTX 512 mb OC'ed
ASUS A8N-SLi Deluxe
2 Gb Kingston Value RAM CAS Latency 2.5-3-3-6
Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy 4
Westen Digital 74 Gb Ratop ADFD
2x Western Digital 250 Gb Caviar SE
3x Thermaltake Hardcano 14 HDD coolers
Thermaltake Blue Orb II CPU cooler
Zalman VF-Cu 900 Blue LED VGA cooler
Thermaltake Extreme Spirit Northbridge cooler
PC Power & Cooling 510w PSU
December 1, 2006 2:42:02 AM

Quote:
Got a few links for you and these IMVHO are the final parts to your rig.

Mobo: ASUS P5N32-E SLI 680i $300 (upgrade path for latter on)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

VGA: BFG 7950GT $260 (good for now but won't blow your budget like a 8800GTX)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

PSU: Antec NeoHE 500w PSU $100 (good for now and has modular cables)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Case: Antec P180 Advanced Super Mid Tower $120 (awesome, plenty of room)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

New total $1255

If you can afford a better HDD and sound card I'd highly recommend the following:

HDD: 150gb WD Raptor $276 (performance king)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

Sound Card: Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy 4 $72 (cheaper than those fancy new X-Fi's and just as good)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

New total $1605 :? .

Hope this helps. Good luck with your build.


Yeah, those are nice, but you totally wasted his budget. I think you know that, but it doesn't do much good to list parts for a guy who can't get them. Not bashing you, just sayin...
December 1, 2006 12:29:50 PM

He did say his max total was $1200. That $1255 includes the RAM, CPU, and HDD from what he peviously listed. The only reason for the $1600 total was to show possible future upgrades. Also gotta keep in mind, the more you spend a better mobo and PSU now the less you're gonna need to spend down the road on upgrades. Sometimes getting the absolute cheapest parts isn't always a good idea :wink: . Better mobo now = less spent on mobo down the road when an upgrade is done.
December 1, 2006 1:35:41 PM

Why the SLI recommendation? I'd pick the Gigabite s3 (or ds3) instead. I really don't think sli sounds like a required option for this rig. Just a money saving recommendation.
December 1, 2006 2:11:37 PM

Nice setup, looks alot like mine. If you want any info let me know. See my sig for the specs of my system.
December 1, 2006 2:38:35 PM

Have you found an advantage using s3 or ds3?
December 1, 2006 2:43:22 PM

The only real difference between the S3 and DS3 is that the DS3 has solid capcitors, where the S3 doesnt. You want solid ones.
December 1, 2006 2:50:11 PM

Quote:
The only real difference between the S3 and DS3 is that the DS3 has solid capcitors, where the S3 doesnt. You want solid ones.


Is that sort of like a revision? I was told by another poster that the board is OK with the orig caps, and that I can apply $ savings for better DDR2. Your view?
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
December 1, 2006 2:53:29 PM

May I suggest the Antec P150 case($125 with rebate at newegg). It comes with an Antec neo450 modular power supply. It is very quiet, easy to work with, and comes with a rear 120mm fan. I used this to power an intel 670(3.8), and a 7800gt vga card with no problems. Early models had some issues with some ASUS motherboards, but I think these issues have been resolved. If you want to use a separate power supply, you can buy the Antec Solo which will cost $90.
As a first time builder, you should want simplicity and stability, and no overclocking. I think you should consider an intel P965 motherboard. The board has been out for some time, so the quirks have been ironed out by the people who designed the chipset. If you need support, you can get it in the USA. A bios update can be scary, but Intel's is the simplest. Early users did not read the details and tried to use memory that needed more than the 1.8 volts the motherpoard was designed to handle. The memory could be the Kingston valueram ddr2 800 at $287 for 2gb, or even the ddr2 667 at $210.
You might also consider an aftermarket CPU cooler. The stock cooler will do the job, but the small high speed fan might make more noise than you want. I used the Scythe SCNJ-1000P ninja plus cooler ($50). This model can be installed without removing the motherboard, so you could try the stock cooler first to see how you like it.
December 1, 2006 3:01:31 PM

Hey guys. I think I'm almost done. As per a few posts back, I don't play a lot of the newer games. I do like to play, but in reality, I can play just fine at a slightly lower resolution. 1600x1200 isn't a must. Plus, I'm reusing using my Dell's monitor. I suppose the only new game I'm looking forward to is UT2007. I currently just play UT2004 and Warcraft 3. The almighty GeForce 2 64MB has me running those at 800x600 with lots of settings on low/medium.

The main thing I want is more speed and better performance.

I've decided upon a different case/PSU combo. I also think I'll get a KVM switch, but that'll be for later. I've edited my first post with my new choices. I'm up to $991 with $60 rebates.
December 1, 2006 3:08:59 PM

Quote:

The main thing I want is more speed and better performance.

I've decided upon a different case/PSU combo. I also think I'll get a KVM switch, but that'll be for later. I've edited my first post with my new choices. I'm up to $991 with $60 rebates.


Good choices considering your budget...may allow you to put some cash towards some games to try out your new rig!
Good Luck! :D  :D  :D 
December 1, 2006 3:19:55 PM

Quote:
NOW! A lot of folks tell me "don't skimp on the PSU. A PSU that fails can destroy your whole system". Whether this is true or not is beyond me.


That sounds exactly like something I would say :p 
A good psu is an investment that, unlike some of the other components in a system, can last through several builds.

Get a quality PSU.

Also, IMO, better price point I've seen recently for video cards are the 7950gt-512mb take a look at those, and they sli very, very nicely if you decide to get another one.
December 1, 2006 3:36:31 PM

I may have missed it, but do you plan to oc this rig at all?
!