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First Time Builder- Advice Welcome

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February 15, 2007 8:52:33 PM

I've been looking at building my own system for the last couple of months. I've done some research, including at this site, and am getting closer replacing my current system, but having never built a system before I want to make sure I've thought everything through. This seems like a good place to ask.

Main goal: for under 2,000 dollars, build a fairly powerful system that can be upgraded over the next several years. To that end I'm more interested in sinking my dollars into long-term components like the case and motherboard than a top line graphics card which will quickly become obsolete and can be easily replaced. All components as listed at NE.

Box
LIAN LI PC-6070Bplus II Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case: $170

My thoughts: Expensive, but good value as it seems like a solid, well-built case with plenty of room that will serve as a good building block for years to come.

Motherboard
Intel BLKD975XBX2KR LGA 775 Intel 975X ATX Intel Motherboard: $200.

My thoughts: I chose this board because mainly because it supports the CPU I want to use.

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz, $314.

My thoughts: CPU power is the #1 reason I'm choosing to upgrade. I'm currently using a 2000 Dell Dimension 4100 which has under 1GHz and, as you might guess, the number of new things I can run is diminishing rapidly. That being said, with my budget considerations and the rapid evolution in processors I'm not willing to spend top dollar on the most powerful systems out there. This particular processor falls into the right place in terms of what I want and what I am willing to spend.

Memory: (2) Patriot 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400), $130, $65 each after rebate(s).

My thoughts: This one area I decided to splurge a little, as I could probably get away with only 1GB for the time being. Originally I picked out a 2GB package but found that purchasing two 1GB sticks was cheaper. If anyone out there has a thought on whether the extra money, about $100, is worth buying package sticks I would like to hear it.

Power Supply: Thermaltake Purepower W0129RU ATX12V 600 W Power Supply, $105.

My thoughts: My main concern here is the max watts. I've tried calculating how much I need and I come around 530W.

Hard Drive: Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB 10,000 RPM 16MB Cache, $190 after rebate.

My thoughts: Another bit of a splurge. I like the idea of the 10,000 RPM, and, knowing my habits, I don't need a larger HD.

Monitor: ViewEra V202D-B Black 20.1" 5ms DVI Widescreen LCD Monitor, $232 after rebate.

My thoughts: The monitor is another big reason I want to build a new system, since my ancient 17" CTR is beginning to die. I want to go bigger and flat, without breaking the bank.

Video Card
EVGA 512-P2-N635-AR Geforce 7950GT KO 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card: $250 with rebate.

My thoughts: Servicable card that will be able to support me for the next year or so. As I said, I'm not interested in spending money on a top card right now.

CD/DVD: ASUS Dual Panel Black and Beige 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM ATAPI, $20.

My thoughts: Just looking for something cheap and reliable. I have a CD burner that I can switch to the new system, and I have no need for a DVD burner.

Sound Card: CHAINTECH AV-710 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Interface Sound Card, $22.

My thoughts: I'm not a super audiophile, so something that is inexpensive but gives decent sound is fine. I've had some trouble finding something that meets this criteria at NE, but this seems to be a fit.

Speakers: Cyber Acoustics CA3001WB 14 watts 2.1 Speaker, $16.

My thoughts: See above. Also I realize that these can be easily upgraded in the future.

Mouse, Keyboard, NIC, OS:

My thoughts: These are all fairly simple.

Grand Total: $1,808.63. Rebates take another $110 off, new keyboard and NIC will probably add another $50, putting a final total around $1750.

Anyone who has tips, suggestions, and advice about components and pricings (in regards to whether I have under or overvauled certain items in relation to my goals), has my thanks.

More about : time builder advice

February 15, 2007 10:34:14 PM

A few questions:
What's the usage?
What's the target monitor resolution?
Will you overclock the pc?

The case you selected has only one side 120mm fan & 3 80mm fans. Why not a LL case with 2 120mm fans like LIAN LI PC-7B plus II?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.asp?Category=...

2x1gb 667mhz ram starting at $150:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.asp?Category=...

Quote:
Minimum of a 400 Watt power supply.
(Minimum recommended power supply with +12 Volt current rating of 20 Amp Amps.)
Minimum 500 Watt for SLI mode system.
(Minimum recommended power supply with +12 Volt current rating of 28 Amp Amps.)

http://www.evga.com/products/moreinfo.asp?pn=512-P2-N63...

The PSU you selected isn't as good as TT Toughpower. How about take one of these that meet or exceed the requirements?

http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/modules.php?nam...
February 15, 2007 10:45:32 PM

Something id reconsider is the speakers and motherboard.

Intel isnt that great of a board for anything try asus,msi,dfi,ecs,evga there good boards mostly.

Speakers is you get what you pay for and for 16$ you dont get alot.
Related resources
February 15, 2007 11:07:44 PM

Intel is not a good board for anything..... Ok so It isn't the good for overclocking, at least mine isn't, but I haven't had a problem yet and ive had it for 15 months. It does have a PCI-e slot also. Oh and that 3 year warranty usually involves a 2 to 3 day turn around time for the full 3 years. I had a customer who bought a computer from a store that went out of business and the video on the mainboard went out. I called Intel and they ran over some troubleshooting to verify the problem and sent out a new mainboard with a RMA tag (I had to give a credit card number which was never charged.) This was on a wed afternoon and the board came on friday morning. This was 2 years ago on a board that was about 2 years old.
February 15, 2007 11:13:15 PM

You can get a Asus P5B Deluxe (De facto core 2 duo) for 30$ less than the Intel, and still get explosively better results.

Consider a 8800GTS 320MB for 300$ - going with a 7950GT when for 50$ more, you can get a GPU that gets ~40 more FPSes in a game is just not breathing enough air. :lol: 
February 16, 2007 1:33:41 AM

Good questions I meant to include.

Quote:
A few questions:
What's the usage?


Primarily for gaming and light work. When it comes to gaming I'm not into heavy-lifters such FPS or MMORPG.

Quote:
What's the target monitor resolution?


Not something I put much thought into. Standard I suppose, which is 1280 by 1024, or is it 1600 by 1200.

Quote:
Will you overclock the pc?


Probably not, as I'm looking to just get a system up and running. However ideally I would like to leave the door open to overclocking in the future.

In regard to the product suggestions, I will take a look at them.

Thanks.
February 16, 2007 2:07:46 AM

Quote:
Something id reconsider is the speakers... Speakers is you get what you pay for and for 16$ you dont get alot.


I know, but I'm not looking for a lot. I'm working with six year old Altecs that came with this system right now, so anything is going to be an improvement. As I said I'm willing to settle for something cheap at the present knowing that it will only last for a year or so. However if these are really bad or there's a better value out there I would certainly take a look.

Quote:

Intel isnt that great of a board for anything try asus,msi,dfi,ecs,evga there good boards mostly.


Quote:
You can get a Asus P5B Deluxe (De facto core 2 duo) for 30$ less than the Intel, and still get explosively better results.


I acutally had a P5B slotted in at one point. The thing that scares me off them a bit is the following:

Quote:
Notice: Only DDR2-800 memory supporting JEDEC approved 1.8V operation with timings of 5-5-5 or 6-6-6 is supported on Intel Desktop Boards based on Intel 965 Express Chipsets


I heard these boards are a bit picky. But since this seems to be a common theme I will definitely reconsider going back to a P5B model. Which leads me to a question: with this sort of motherboard, is a separate sound card going to give me any sort of noticble improvement?

Thanks also to Scorch for offering his advice on mobos.

Quote:

Consider a 8800GTS 320MB for 300$ - going with a 7950GT when for 50$ more, you can get a GPU that gets ~40 more FPSes in a game is just not breathing enough air. :lol: 


Well, I was looking for something in the 512MB range, but if I understand you correctly the 320MB offers a better value. If that's the case then I will take a look at them.

As I said earlier I am looking right now at putting money into the long term components that I can build upon. Therefore I'm intentionally putting less value on things like speakers since I know that these can be replaced. Instead of buying $80 speakers I'd prefer to purchase a $20 model and put the %60 left over into a better mobo. And considering what I have now, dirt-cheap components should still be an improvement.

Again thanks to everyone who's offered advice. I'll take a look at some of your suggestions and submit an updated list.
February 16, 2007 2:20:24 AM

In the case of the 7950GT vs. 8800GTS, memory doesn't really matter on most apps/games. The 8800gts's new technology just stuffs it to the g70s.

-Also, the P5B Deluxes offer onboard HD Audio, which is quite good for general gaming/music/video use. However, A sound card will always provide better sound to static ratio and especially in games.
If you truly care about quality sound, then a Creative X-Fi would be your better bet (be warned, the best ones are around +100$, but you can get a very good sub 80$ one). Or, a SB Audigy 4, (of a former gen), can give you great sound at ~$40.

It all depends on how sound factors into your computer experience, and first, try out the sound on your speakers, then make a decision.
February 16, 2007 2:21:57 AM

sorry to butt in, did someone actually say ECS is better than Intel?? GGAAHHK
Rest of your choices look good, follow up on suggestions, your reasoning might be sound.
Onboard sound has improved a lot in 6 years. I would start ther, try it with your old speakers and go from there
February 16, 2007 2:26:34 AM

Quote:
I've been looking at building my own system for the last couple of months. I've done some research, including at this site, and am getting closer replacing my current system, but having never built a system before I want to make sure I've thought everything through. This seems like a good place to ask.

Main goal: for under 2,000 dollars, build a fairly powerful system that can be upgraded over the next several years. To that end I'm more interested in sinking my dollars into long-term components like the case and motherboard than a top line graphics card which will quickly become obsolete and can be easily replaced. All components as listed at NE.

Box
LIAN LI PC-6070Bplus II Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case: $170

My thoughts: Expensive, but good value as it seems like a solid, well-built case with plenty of room that will serve as a good building block for years to come.

Take a close look at the Antec and Themaltake lines especially in the midtower range. The Antec p1080 and 900 series seem to be popular here, I personally like the Thermaltake Armor Jr (solid side) very much - this is the next case I get. Upgradeable to BTX also.

Motherboard
Intel BLKD975XBX2KR LGA 775 Intel 975X ATX Intel Motherboard: $200.

My thoughts: I chose this board because mainly because it supports the CPU I want to use.


As noted elsewhere here, you may want to re-consider this choice. One issue that you should take into account is the number of ATA connectors on hte MoBo. Also, are you looking to recycle any older components?

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz, $314.

My thoughts: CPU power is the #1 reason I'm choosing to upgrade. I'm currently using a 2000 Dell Dimension 4100 which has under 1GHz and, as you might guess, the number of new things I can run is diminishing rapidly. That being said, with my budget considerations and the rapid evolution in processors I'm not willing to spend top dollar on the most powerful systems out there. This particular processor falls into the right place in terms of what I want and what I am willing to spend.

You may want to reconsider this one. Intel is getting ready to release a bunch of new and more powerful CPUs RSN. Given that you are looking for a significant long-term performance improvement, you may want to consider getting the lowest end and cheapest C2D CPU currently available. Save your money now and spend strategically later. It is quite likely that the new line of Intel CPUs will be betrter performers than the current batch, and less expensive perhaps. Even if they a re the same price, or more expensive, you will get a better p[rice/performance ratio.

Memory: (2) Patriot 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400), $130, $65 each after rebate(s).

My thoughts: This one area I decided to splurge a little, as I could probably get away with only 1GB for the time being. Originally I picked out a 2GB package but found that purchasing two 1GB sticks was cheaper. If anyone out there has a thought on whether the extra money, about $100, is worth buying package sticks I would like to hear it.

No comments here - I haven't done enugh digging to make an informed or intelligent comment.

Power Supply: Thermaltake Purepower W0129RU ATX12V 600 W Power Supply, $105.

My thoughts: My main concern here is the max watts. I've tried calculating how much I need and I come around 530W.

Sounds OK, but you may want to consider something more powerful for "future0proofing" reasons.

Hard Drive: Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB 10,000 RPM 16MB Cache, $190 after rebate.

My thoughts: Another bit of a splurge. I like the idea of the 10,000 RPM, and, knowing my habits, I don't need a larger HD.

You may want to consider a second drive - 7200 RPM 200 to 300 GB - for data and future use.

Monitor: ViewEra V202D-B Black 20.1" 5ms DVI Widescreen LCD Monitor, $232 after rebate.

My thoughts: The monitor is another big reason I want to build a new system, since my ancient 17" CTR is beginning to die. I want to go bigger and flat, without breaking the bank.

Never heard of this brand. You may want to look at the Viewsonic line, espcially the combo TV/Monitor series

Video Card
EVGA 512-P2-N635-AR Geforce 7950GT KO 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card: $250 with rebate.

My thoughts: Servicable card that will be able to support me for the next year or so. As I said, I'm not interested in spending money on a top card right now.

Take a close look at the ATI X1950 series. They blow your card away. Even better would be to get something even cheaper and wait until ATI rel;eases their DX-10 card. Competition.

CD/DVD: ASUS Dual Panel Black and Beige 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM ATAPI, $20.

My thoughts: Just looking for something cheap and reliable. I have a CD burner that I can switch to the new system, and I have no need for a DVD burner.

Take a very close look at the LG line. very good producr, reasonable prices and no DRM crap.

Sound Card: CHAINTECH AV-710 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Interface Sound Card, $22.

My thoughts: I'm not a super audiophile, so something that is inexpensive but gives decent sound is fine. I've had some trouble finding something that meets this criteria at NE, but this seems to be a fit

Big mistake.

Look at a basic OEM Creative X-Fi card. More expensive, but much bettere and more versatile. Also, most games are written to take advantage of the SB cards and chips.

Speakers: Cyber Acoustics CA3001WB 14 watts 2.1 Speaker, $16.

My thoughts: See above. Also I realize that these can be easily upgraded in the future.

This is a joke, right? For a very small increase in price you can get a 2.1 sytem from either Creative or Logitech that will do much better.

Mouse, Keyboard, NIC, OS:

My thoughts: These are all fairly simple.

Grand Total: $1,808.63. Rebates take another $110 off, new keyboard and NIC will probably add another $50, putting a final total around $1750.

Anyone who has tips, suggestions, and advice about components and pricings (in regards to whether I have under or overvauled certain items in relation to my goals), has my thanks.


Embeded comments in blue.

You haven't said which OS you want to use. Stay away from Vista, at the least until SP1 is released. If you are looking to get Vista soon, you should make sure that your system has 3 GB of RAM as a minimum.
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
February 16, 2007 4:49:52 AM

My 2 cents:
Spend the extra money on those things that you will see and touch every day; keyboard, case, mouse, and monitor. If you can, go to a computer store and see what appeals to you. These four things are the ones which will persist over several technology generations.
Case: I don't like front doors. Your pick has the front usb ports on the bottom. OK if the pc will be on a desktop, but awkward if on the floor. I also like cases with 120mm fans, because they are quieter. A washable intake filter will help to keep the interior clean. Check out the Antec Solo, about $90.
Motherboard: This is not a very enduring part. Each new processor seems to need a new chipset, if not a new socket. I would suggest a P965 based board. It will cost about $120. Get intel if you don't plan on overclocking. The instructions for a first time builder are good, and they make solid and supported boards. If you plan on voiding your warranty and shortening the product life, then look at a Gigabyte p965 board. Are you a tinkerer, or a user? The 975 intel board is very good, but it will probably be obsolete before you use it's features(added vga slots)
CPU: E6600 is the sweet spot of the line for now.
Memory: Save a few bucks and get ddr2 667 value ram. The C2D seems to do a good job with slower memory. If you want to overclock, then go spend more for faster memory. 2x1gb is the way to go. If you get an intel p965 board, check the memory carefully for compatibility. It needs 1.8v.
Monitor: Spend your big bucks here. The monitor you picked has a viewing range of only 160 degrees. The best ones are at 178. I would look at Samsung. They supply lcd panels to the rest of the industry. I think they keep the best for their own production. Have you considered dual monitors? It is an easy way to get a bigger screen area without the big price. Do get them both at the same time so the screens match exactly.
VGA card. I would spend an extra $50 here for the 8800gts-320. In addition to being a stronger card, the direct exhaust cooler design will keep the case cooler. EVGA ,XFX, BFG are the good names here.
Hard drive: I love the raptor150.
Sound card: Don't bother. Onboard sound is quite good, simple to set up, and can be upgraded later.
March 2, 2007 7:41:48 PM

After reading through some of the replies I looked around again. Here is an updated build.

To clear up a few points, I probably won't be OCing, nor do I plan on upgrading to Vista anytime soon.


Box
LIAN LI PC-A10A Silver Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case, $270.

Why I changed: Consensus seemed to be that 120m are worth extra money. Roomy case. I'm not too much into cases with windows and LEDs, I'd rather have a less flashy case.

Motherboard
ASUS P5B Deluxe, $177.

Why I changed: Had this slotted in an earlier build, so when someone else suggested it it became a no-brainer.

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz, $314.

Why I kept it: I consider this a core component, no pun intended.

Memory: CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800, $206.

Why I changed: For $30 extra, seems worth it.

Power Supply: Thermaltake Purepower W0129RU ATX12V 600 W Power Supply, $105.

Why I kept it: Couldn't find a better balance between what I want and what I am willing to spend.

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar RE WD1600SB 160GB 7200 RPM, $65

Why I changed: A big downgrade, but I decided that the value wasn't there for me in the 10,000 model. If I want one later, it'll be cheaper and easy to throw into an exisiting system.

Note: I have a fairly new HD in this computer, which I will probably wind up throwing in my new system eventually. So I don't really need to worry about a 2nd HD.

Monitor: ViewEra V202D-B Black 20.1" 5ms DVI Widescreen LCD Monitor, $232 after rebate.

Why I kept it: Same reason I kept the PSU.

Video Card
GeForce 8800GTS 640MB : $339 with rebate.

Why I changed it: I was going to go with the 320, but with the rebate it comes out only $30 more. I'm aware that Dx10 cards are coming out soon and changing the landscape, but I don't plan on getting one for several years. I figured I can get a 640 8000 now and ride it out for a long time.

CD/DVD: ASUS Dual Panel Black and Beige 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM ATAPI, $20.

Why I kept it: See PSU.

Sound Card: CHAINTECH AV-710 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Interface Sound Card, $22.

Why I kept it: See PSU

Speakers: Logitech X-230, $39.

Why I changed: Perhaps the other speakers were a little too cheap.

Mouse, Keyboard, NIC, OS:

My thoughts: These are all fairly simple. As I said I plan on sticking with XP for a while yet.

Grand Total: $1,920.92. Rebates take another $95 off, new keyboard and NIC will probably add another $50, putting a final total around $1875. Still a little expensive for what I want, ideally I would get it down to $1750. I've toyed with sticking with my ancient speakers for now and trying the onboard sound before buying a separate card.
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