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Need help with assembling my computer. Please critique!

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December 20, 2006 4:43:34 PM

Hi!!

Im deciding to build myself a computer (with the help of a friend). The thing is that in the past I have always replaced RAM modules, harddrives, even power supplies. But this is the first time that I am building something from scratch. Thus I need your help to know whether the following are compatable with each other. Just a note, I dont have much of a budget. The following configuration was what I could afford. I am a gamer, but gameplay is more important to me than Graphics.

Scroll down for updated components!

Processor AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ w/ 2x512K Cache (Socket AM2) - $164.95 (CAD)

[code:1:a198bf5ad0]http://www.memoryexpress.com/index.php?PageTag=&page=file&memx_menu=EmbedProductDetail.php&DisplayProductID=8217[/code:1:a198bf5ad0]

Motherboard MSI K9N Neo-F w/ DualDDR2 800, 7.1 Audio, Gigabit Lan, PCI-E x16 - $104.95 (CAD)

[code:1:a198bf5ad0]http://www.memoryexpress.com/index.php?PageTag=&page=file&memx_menu=EmbedProductDetail.php&DisplayProductID=8341&SID=[/code:1:a198bf5ad0]

Case + Power Supply + 3 Fans 10-Bay Matrix ATX Window Case w/450-Watt PS (Black) + 3 fans = $32.50 + $9.50 (USD)

[code:1:a198bf5ad0]http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=BLK-CP702-7&cat...[/code:1:a198bf5ad0]

Harddrive Not yet decided which model/size.

Video Card

Not sure. Which is better:

1) BFG GeForce 7900 GS OC 256MB PCI-E w/ Dual DVI, HDTV-Out Code:
[code:1:a198bf5ad0]http://www.memoryexpress.com/index.php?PageTag=&page=fi...[/code:1:a198bf5ad0]

2) XFX Geforce 7600 GT 256MB PCI-E XXX Edition (590MHz) w/ Dual DVI, HDTV-Out

[code:1:a198bf5ad0]http://www.memoryexpress.com/index.php?PageTag=&page=fi...[/code:1:a198bf5ad0]

RAM Not yet decided which model/size. To be really honest, dont know which are compatible with my motherboard.

Just a few questions:
-Are all the componenets above compatible with each other? For instance is the case big enough to fit the motherboard in?
-I have an anti-static strap, and a power surge protector. Is there anything I should have for safety?
-Will my harddrive be pre-formatted?
-Does my motherboard have 1 IDE slot or 2? Cause I have a DVD-Burner that is IDE.
-Which types of RAM work with the motherboard? How many pins and what speed is recommended?
-Would you all recommend another component than the one listed which is about the same price? Or the same component listed somewhere else for cheaper?

Also, I live in Canada, so I can't shop from Newegg!

Scroll down for updated components!

Thanks a million!
-whatchamacallit?!!
[/code]
December 20, 2006 5:18:29 PM

from the motherboard link:
Main Memory
Supports dual channel DDR2 400/533/667/800, using four 240-pin DDR2 DIMMs.
• Supports the memory size up to 4GB
• Supports 1.8v DDR2 SDRAM DIMM

ram link

hard drive

7900gs>7600gt

On-Board IDE/SATA
• An IDE controller on the nVIDIA nForce 550 chipset provides IDE HDD/CD-ROM with PIO, Bus Master and Ultra DMA133/100/66 operation modes.
- Can connect up to 2 IDE devices
• NV RAID supports 4 SATA II ports (SATA1-4). Transfer rate is up to 300MB/s.
• NV RAID (Software)
- Supports up to 4 SATA
- RAID 0 or 1, 0+1, JBOD is supported
- RAID function work w/ SATA H/D or 2 SATA H/D

normally psu's that come with cases arent that good
December 20, 2006 5:28:05 PM

Most of what you have laid out will be just fine except for the case.

That type of case usually has a very weak power supply, not weak in wattage but weak in stability. That's my own personal opinion. The price for the case and psu is very cheap, and you will get what you pay for.

Basically what you are doing now is not creating a stable base for your build. Buying that case and psu would be like putting your monitor on a two-legged table. It may stand up for a bit, but one little nudge and the whole thing can come tumbling down.

Newegg has a great deal on a 430 watt Thermaltake PSU for 37.99 with a $10 MIR. Not the top of the line, mind you, but very good for the price point.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817153023

As far as the case goes, you can spend a little more on the windows and all that fun stuff, or you can go the cheap route and get a case like this one(minus the PSU):

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811147058

Inexpensive, but still looks slick.


As far as hard drives go, most would suggest to get one of the newer perpendicular recording drives. I say sure... why not.


The 7900 GS is a hell of a lot better than the 7600gt. Plus most of the 7900GS's are overclocking monsters. Both BFG and XFX have been nothing but good to me in terms of customer service.

In regards to your memory choice. Some motherboards have issues with DDR2 compatibility. I am not sure if this is the case with the MSI board, but it would be in your best interest to go to their website and download the manual for that board to browse through first.

Memory brands I would suggest would include Corsair, OCZ, Super Talent, g-skill and Mushkin.



To answer the list of questions at the bottom of your post...
-Yes, all components look to be compatable

-These days, the anti-static strap is pretty much not needed. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't use it just to be safe. You are the one spending the money on the parts, not me. Make sure you have a nice surge protector that actually has a protection rating, and not just a "power strip". A "power strip" and a "surge protector" are two different things and can be easily confused by a newbie. (not accusing you of being one, just covering all bases) You might even want to invest in a UPS with built in Voltage Regulation for better protection.

-The hard drive will not be pre-formatted. But Windows will partition and format the drive for you when you install it. Not the optimal choice, but works fine. Many people like to partition their drives into an OS partition (usually 20gigs) and a data partition (the remainder of storage) to keep things organized and for data integrity.

-The board has one IDE connector. That will be fine for your DVD burner if you buy SATA hard drives, and you really should buy SATA hard drives much faster and not much more money.

-The motherboard will use DDR2 memory. It's a 240-pin stick, I would say any of the speeds will probably be fine for you. DDR2-533 or 667 will probably save you some money.

Now that I read the end of your post, I realize that you can't buy from newegg... but, the good news is that the prices for the items I listed shouldn't be too much different at some of the other online retailers such as ZipZoomFly etc. Just search for the model numbers.
Related resources
December 20, 2006 5:30:15 PM

Thanks for the reply.

So should I buy the case with the power supply, and then replace it with this one here:

[code:1:D a31678db4]http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=APGM480W&cat=CA...[/code:1:D a31678db4]

Or is that also a not-so-dependable brand? The problem is that Geeks.com is on of the very few websites that ship to Canada without going insane on the shipping costs. So a recommendation from there would be appreciated.

Thanks once again!
-whatchamacallit?!!
December 20, 2006 5:50:00 PM

No, the power supply you listed is going to probably be the same one you have in the case you listed.

Just because it says it's a "gamers edition" doesn't mean it is going to be a good PSU. You are going to need to spend a little more on the PSU to reduce the risk of over/under-voltage issues and possible damage to your components.

Boy, that geeks.com site does not have much for selection.

Here is a link to that PSU I suggested on Tigerdirect.ca:
http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=1389575&CatId=1078

I believe that is $45 canadian.
December 20, 2006 6:12:42 PM

Oh! Thanks for the link. I will try and see if I can find the same model here locally so I dont have to spend $19 on shipping :p 

I'll also try and get a better case without a power supply then.
December 20, 2006 6:46:55 PM

ASUS P5B-E Mobo $150 USD
Core 2 E6300 $181
WD 250GB SE HDD $70
Corsair XMS2 2X512 - 1GB DDR2 675 RAM $110
Geforce 7950GT 512MB $250
XION II XON Mid tower with 450w PSU $70

Total=$830 less S/H

All over the net... and why not newegg... I thought they ship to Canada.
December 21, 2006 12:24:24 AM

Ok. According to Bjorn0 tips, this is my new configuration. Could you once again just make sure that it is all compatible with each other?

BFG GeForce 7900 GS OC nVidia GeForce 7900GS Chipset (525MHz) 256MB GDDR3 (1320MHz) PCI-Express Graphics Card 20 Pixel Shader Processor SLI-Ready

MSI K9N Platinum Socket AM2 nVidia nForce 570 Ultra Chipset DDR2 533/667/800 Gigabit Lan 8-Channel Audio PCI-Express x16 Slot 6xSATA

Crucial Rendition 512MB DDR2 667/PC5300 (x4)

Nikao 8009D ATX Tower Case Blk 4X5.25 1X3.5 4X3.5IN W/SIDE 80MMM Fan WINDOW, No P/S, Front USB,1394

Thermaltake TR2 W0070 430W ATX12V V1.3 24PIN/20PIN Power Supply Dual 80MM Fan /W 6PIN PCI-E

AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ EE Dual Core Processor AM2 Windsor 2.0GHZ 512KBX2 65W 90NM Retail Box

Im also getting a SATA harddrive (not sure which one yet as I'm hoping to get a good deal on Boxing Day). Am also going to get 2-3 powerful fans for the case to be on the safe side.

Just wanted to know whether the processor will fit in the case (as I read that the ThermalTake does not fit with some cases). Also will the memory work with the motherboard and whether everything is compatible with everything else.

Thanks once again for everything!
-whatchamacallit?!!
December 21, 2006 1:20:43 AM

Use the URL button instead of the code button, so we get clickable links. Its just forum etiquette.
December 21, 2006 4:46:20 AM

Quote:
Just wanted to make sure whether this is a Surge Protector or not? It does have a rating, but that might not be what I should be looking for:

Inland SurgeGuard 3360 8-Outlet Surge Suppressor

(or)

OPTI-UPS SS1200 6-Outlet Voltage Stabilizer

Thanks
whatchamacallit?!!


Get the UPS... the surge protector is almost worthless compared to.

I agree.

But remember what I said earlier, you get what you pay for. So do some reasearch on that $15 UPS to see if it is warrantied and has an "attached devices" warranty which is usually standard.


Everything else looks kosher to me. The Thermaltake PSU that you ordered is a little longer than a normal power supply, if you had ordered one of the smaller form-factor cases, I would be a little worried. But the case you purchased will have plenty of room for everything you are wanting to put in there.
December 25, 2006 12:37:45 AM

Thanks for everything! I was just looking it over once last time, and was just wondering if the 4x512MB sticks is a bad choice? I mean is it too much load or does it lower the performance? I've never seen 'builders' do that before. They either go with 2x1GB, or 2x512MB. Any opinions?
December 26, 2006 12:05:23 AM

You won't see a performance difference at 2x1024 vs 4x512. The only thing you will see is a higher cost. That and in the future, when you want to upgrade to 4 gigs of ram, you wont have any open slots.
December 26, 2006 12:08:13 AM

Thanks for everything Bjorn0. You have been a phenomenal help!

-whatchamacallit?!!
(P.S. Just ordered the parts right now!)
December 26, 2006 12:13:23 AM

yeah, higher cost with 4x512, and you use all your ram slots.
December 26, 2006 12:28:44 AM

Quote:
Thanks for everything Bjorn0. You have been a phenomenal help!

-whatchamacallit?!!
(P.S. Just ordered the parts right now!)


No problem. I'll bet you are pretty excited.

Let us know if you have any problems getting it all together.
February 11, 2007 10:28:42 PM

Its been awhile since last post ! But it popped up thru a google.ca for "MSI K9N Neo-F w/ DualDDR2 800 " which is part of one of Mem'Expresses gamer "velocity builds !

I'm a newbie to this board and have found interesting alternates to review . . .

And a couple things to inject for future consideration;

_ if ya got access to Costco* they still sell a really good APC surgesupressor for less than $24cdn
_you mention shpg from some international vendor don't forget to add in the unknown surcharge that a courier will slap onto the initial cost AFTER it crosses the border into the hands of the Cdn. subsidiary !!! This is eliminated if you ship via UnitedStatesPostalService regular parcel post !
_I know things like ModelRailway acc. are classified as duty free by Rev'Can' but are computer "bits'n bytes" given the same 'waiver' ??

I've read Max'PC a bit {not a gamer even} but I like to source slightly less biased references for making a decision on any purchase. Tinkered with my systems quite a bit . . with the read of their Feb' article on bldg your own $1.5K rig may actually go for it although closer to $1K will be my target !

_What about considering a SS PSU noted in MaxPC ? Mem'Express has a lighter on the wallet SSZeusST65ZF 650W but still not less than $100 (at $150cdn) Or Antec T'P'Trio650W (@$140cdn)

good luck with your build !!

doug c 8O
!