Newbie in need of help

I'm a potential buyer for a homebuilt computer. And I'm also a newbie. The more that I read from these forums the more I get freaked out with the potential of problems with a homebuilt. I continually hear that homebuilt is the way to go (and I agree) but I'm scared that I'm getting into something that will be way too complicated.

I can already hear some of you saying "Then buy a stock Dell and get outta here!". Well, I don't want to do that because you have convinced me that homebuilt is the way for many reasons.

I need some help with this whole situation from the first step to the last step...

HotFoot helped me in the other forum in recommending parts to go with for my budget. Thanks HotFoot!

This is what he said:

Components recommendation:

Case Rosewill R604-P $29.99
PSU Enermax EG495AX-VE $89.99
CPU E6300 $185
Mobo MSI P965 Neo-F $89.99
RAM G.SKill 2x1GB DDR2 667 $144.99
Video Card Sapphire X1950XT $229.99
OD ASUS 16x w/Litescribe $33.49
OS WinXP Home OEM w/Vista coupon $89.99

Total: $893.43

Would you all agree with his choices? I have a budget of about $900 and I play only a few games here and there... (NWN2 especially) I have a HD, a monitor, and a sound card and speakers.

ANY help would be really appreciated!!! -Pots

I've posted in the other section on this site (the wrong section!):
79 answers Last reply
More about newbie help
  1. Yep, seems like a good value build. The MSI board is very no-frills, but I'd say it's got everything you need. It'll run NWN2 quite nicely. Great game, btw, I never got around to finishing the campaign before I built a new machine and forgot to rescue my save files.

    On a slightly unrelated note, do you know of any good NWN2 multiplayer servers? I haven't tried multiplayer NWN2 at all, but the original was pretty fun.

    There's lots of good guides on the Internet about assembling a computer. Enjoy!
  2. Would this be a better choice for the mobo?

    ASUS P5L-VM 1394 LGA 775 Intel 945G Micro ATX Intel Motherboard ($95)

    I don't really know what I'm "looking for" to tell you the truth. I just want a good, STABLE, system that will last me for a few years...

  3. I just read that the video card Sapphire X1950XT runs extremely hot. Is it still the choice to go with or is there a better card that'll run better for me?
  4. Would you be willing to overclock? That would really extend the life of this machine, because the Core 2s have a lot of headroom for overclocking.

    I ask because neither of those boards are champion overclockers, which is to be expected. But at least the Asus has some control over core voltage. So if you were willing to OC a little, I'd recommend the Asus with the Intel e4300 instead of the e6300. The distinction is that the e4300 comes stock at a 200MHz FSB, while the e6300's stock FSB is 266MHz. Seeing as that Asus board starts going wonky at 300-325 MHz, if you had the e4300 you could safely get a 50% OC.

    If you don't want to OC at all, that's fine, and either of those boards are apparantly pretty solid on the e6300.
  5. The MSI Neo-F is a fine, stable board at stock, as long as you don't plan on doing much overclocking (or any), then it'll do you very well. It has all the mainstream features and is respected as a good value board. The ASUS 945 board won't make a difference really.

    Your other components are very respectable for a value build, so kudos to you and Hotfoot!

    One last thing: don't get overly concerned about "nightmares" of homebuilt systems. The problems you see posted here are posted here specifically because they ARE problems. There are a FAR GREATER number of people that DON'T have problems, but they don't post here because they don't need help. You see the point? You don't hear about all the success, just the bad ones. So don't become too concerned. In fact, other than defective product problems, there is very little than can actually go wrong on a build. You can't fit a SATA hard drive, for example, in any other way but the way it's supposed to go. A CPU, too, will only fit one way. A motherboard, the opticals, the PSU, you name it.....they're all designed to fit a very specific if they don't fit, then you've done something wrong and you'll know right away. The ONLY serious problem that can arise is with the HAVE to be careful you don't damage it, bang it with a screwdriver, touch metal to metal contact points, etc. Other than the mobo, all the other parts are very tough. Just take your time, double check your work and you'll get it.

    Follow this guide, it's excellent, and you'll do fine:
  6. It's true that the X1950XT is a bit warm, but that's okay as long as you have some decent ventilation in your case. It's a fast card for a good price.
  7. Jeff, would you recommend overclocking and going with the 4300? If I were to do that, would my system become obsolete quicker with a 4300 than a 6300? If I were to overclock, would I need a better fan or power supply or a cooler? I have no idea what I'm talking about...

    Big question for me... what will make my computer fry with heat that I would need some super cooler? Is it the video card or overclocking or neither or both?!
  8. How do I make sure I have decent ventilation in my case? Is it the case itself or a fan? Do you recommend a better case?
  9. Any other suggestions? :(
  10. The ventilation is both the case and the fan, but most cases are fine, with enough fans. Also, I have had a case or two come in where the cords were completely blocking off all airways, but that's probably not gonna be an issue.
  11. Quote:
    OS WinXP Home OEM w/Vista coupon $89.99

    I'm pretty sure that the Vista upgrade you get for XP Home is just Vista Basic, which lacks much, including the fancy graphic Aero interface. Get the WinXP Media Center Edition w/Vista coupon -- that gets you an upgrade to the Home Premium version of Vista.
  12. Quote:
    Jeff, would you recommend overclocking and going with the 4300? If I were to do that, would my system become obsolete quicker with a 4300 than a 6300? If I were to overclock, would I need a better fan or power supply or a cooler? I have no idea what I'm talking about...

    Big question for me... what will make my computer fry with heat that I would need some super cooler? Is it the video card or overclocking or neither or both?!

    Overclocking a e4300 would give you a system that'd stay current longer. The e4300 and e6300 are similar speeds stock, but the e4300 can be overclocked more than the e6300 given the boards you're interested in.

    With that said, I can't recommend overclocking unless you're ready to spend a little time researching the topic and learning the basics yourself. You don't have to become an expert on the subject, you can ask for advice here- but diving in without reading up on it first is unwise. There's tons of beginner's overclocking guides on the Internet though, so if you're so inclined, it shouldn't be hard.

    In terms of heat and ventilation, that case should be fine. Overclocking does make the system run a little warmer, but that case has a good sized fan, so a slight overclock shouldn't be a problem.

    Anyway, so if you're up to overclocking, the e4300+Asus board is the better choice. Otherwise the e6300 is your man. Either one would give you a solid system for a good while, so don't think OCing is a necessity. It'll just prolong the useful life of your system.
  13. With all this talk about price slashing and changing from 2 cache to 4 cache for some processors (6300 and 6400) C2D, would it be better if I wait until late April to buy parts?

    I also found that coupon floating about for the 100 dollar deduction on the E6400...

    Three options for me:

    a. wait till April/May
    b. buy the 6400 at Micro Center
    c. stick with buying the 4300 right now...

    which should i go with?
  14. I assembled, after reading many of your posts, this computer (let me know what you think! :D ):

    COOLER MASTER Centurion 534 RC-534-KKN2-GP Black Aluminum & Mesh bezel / SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

    Mail-in Rebate

    GIGABYTE GA-965P-S3 LGA 775 Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard

    $114.99 -$7.00 Instant $107.99

    SAPPHIRE 100186L Radeon X1950XT 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 VIVO HDCP Video Card

    Mail-in Rebate

    Antec SmartPower 2.0 SP-500 ATX12V 500W Power Supply -

    Mail-in Rebate

    Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 Conroe 1.86GHz LGA 775 Processor Model BX80557E6300


    OCZ Gold Series 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ26672048ELGEGXT-K

    Mail-in Rebate

    SONY Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal Floppy Drive Windows 98SE/ ME/ 2000/ XP


    ASUS 16X DVD±R DVD Burner with 12X DVD-RAM Write and LightScribe Black E-IDE/ATAPI Model DRW-1612BL-BK


    Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 SP2b w/Upgrade Coupon for Vista


    Subtotal: $946.92
    With Shipping: $981.55
    After Mail In Rebates: $901.55

    *** Can you see any problems with this rig? Please let me know...

    Also, should I just wait for these parts for another month or two when the prices will go down and see if I can get a DX 10 video card? Would the computer I would get in two months for 900 bucks be a lot better than the one here for 900?

    My price range is $900.
  15. IF you can wait, then wait. Prices ALWAYS come down eventually. So will the system in a month or two be better than this one? No. Will it be cheaper? Yes. So depends if you can wait.

    Other than that, the system you show is a very good budget system, great choices!
  16. Made some changes after reading (basically the graphics card...) more posts from you guys.

    Problem: I need to somehow cut $75. Right now it's $951.92 without tax and shipping... I have to get it to $900 WITH tax and shipping...

    Any help?!





    E6300 C2D





    Also, does everything match up in terms of compatability? I don't want to order and make a mistake like that...

    Thanks guys! You've all been awesome.
  17. How locked in to your choices? I see wiggle room in the case, memory and the dvd. Then there is $100 extra by getting a nicer video card. Not saying any of them are bad picks, but there are choices. You can wiat a month, like someone said cut pizza and beer for that time ( insert your food and beverage of choice here) and you can raise $100.
  18. I'll take ANY suggestions... in fact that's what I'm looking for right now... options... then I'll make the best decision... I'm not TOO locked into any choices as of yet...

    So it would help if anyone could offer some suggestions...

    Thanks so much!
  19. ok, here is one.
    G.Skill 1gb x2 saves $40 on RAM
  20. That saves 14 dollars. My original choice has a mail in rebate. 14 dollars is something though! Thanks for the suggestion!

    Anything else? :(
  21. You likely won't need the floppy drive, you can always borrow or buy when if you do later. There's $8 more.

    You can get a cheaper motherboard, you're not gonna overclock or anything, you can get a micro ATX board, they are much cheaper. Or you could get the MSI P965 Neo-F LGA 775 Intel P965 Express for $89.99, but the reviews on newegg are bad.
  22. What would be another stable motherboard (specifically) that I could choose that would allow for future upgrades and would be compatible with the other parts I chose?

    My old EMachines had a 3.5 Floppy Drive in it. Could I take it out of that one and put it into my new computer? That would save me 8 bucks...

    Does the PSU kick out enough voltage for the Graphics Card I chose?
    500 W for the 8800 320 MB?
  23. Also, could I use the case from my old computer, an EMachines T2484? Would the parts fit into it and would it be cool enough are my concers (and questions that I don't have the answers to)? Or should I go with a new case?
  24. I'm not sure about the video card requirements for NWN2 but if you can get by playing on a lower resolution and less eye candy, you can pick up the 7600gt for about $100 saving yourself $175 for now. Put a little extra money into a better PSU (still walk away saving yourself about $125). Hold on to the $125 saved, save up some more and upgrade the VC at a later date. Reason i suggest this is b/c you want your base components to be strong. Stick with the Gigabyte MB and p/u a better PSU.

    You can purchase this 7600 card for $100. If you save up enough cash within 3 months, you can use their trade-up program.
  25. I wouldn't suggest OCZ ram right now. I know that it has a rebate, but OCZ has been having compatibility issues with 965 chipset motherboards recently.

    DO NOT REUSE THE EMACHINES CASE! I mean, you could, potentially, but its just not worth it. New cases have much better airflow, and are often easier to use. Besides, don't underestimate the astetics issue either. A good looking case will make your investment look impressive.

    Best of Luck
  26. May I be so bold as to ask which compatibility problems for OCZ, on which motherboards specifically???

    The reason I ask is that I've owned 2 different sets of OCZ for my 6300 and an S3 and a DS3, as well as using OCZ on an MSI Neo-F and I haven't had any problems. EVER.

    Also, I wonder if you're mistakenly referring to the intial problems with compatibility of certain RAM and motherboards not booting at more than 1.8v? This was in the beginning of the C2D mobo launches and was not isolated to OCZ, many RAM brands had this problem. However, that has LONG been since fixed, since the new RAM specs for EVERYONE is that their RAM must boot to any board and default to 5-5-5-15 settings. Which is why we get questions here all the time saying, "My RAM is rated at 4-x-x-x, but my BIOS shows 5-5-5-15, WTF?". That's because it's supposed to do that, to ensure compatibility with all mobos. Then you simply go into BIOS and change to proper product timings and everyone's happy. Some motherboards are picky about the RAM being used, and yes that is true. But that is because the mobos are picky, not the RAM. Some of the ASUS boards are notoriously picky and therefore tedious to get good and stable overclocks. The DS3 mobo is very "forgiving", especially for overclocking's really a very easy board to OC. Not very high end for features, but OC's like a champ and at a very affordable price too.

    So, long story short: OCZ doesn't have "compatibility issues", nor does any other RAM on the market now. They used to, but that was in late Fall of 2006. All RAM is standardized now, and has been for quite awhile.

    So, OCZ is generally cheaper and will overclock well, but it's your money and go with whatever you feel comfortable with. I just wanted to dispel some myths and give you the facts so you can make a properly-informed decison.

    Good luck!
  27. 1. I'm trying to decide whether I should go with a motherboard that has Quad capability as opposed to C2D Extreme capability:


    What should I do?

    2. My old EMachines had a 3.5 Floppy Drive in it. Could I take it out of that one and put it into my new computer? That would save me 8 bucks...

    3. Does the PSU kick out enough voltage for the Graphics Card I chose?
    500 W for the 8800 320 MB?

    Thanks again for all the help!
  28. 1) go with the cheaper mobo. No offense, but if you're trying to scrimp and save $8 by salvaging a floppy, then you won't be able to afford a quad-core. There's no shame in being tight on a budget whatsoever, but I'm just stating the facts. So get the 945 mobo and you'll do fine. 945 won't overclock very well if you want to overclock alot then you'll need the 965 mobo.

    2) you can salvage your floppy from your old system, they're all the same cables and hookups

    3) It's not the wattage on the PSU that's important for the graphics cards, it's the amperage on the 12v rail that's important. So, that PSU can push 19A and 17A on the 12v rail, so that'll be enough for a single 8800GTS since it needs 26A. So you're fine there. It won't be good enough for SLI or probably a GTX, just so you know. Next graphics card upgrade will require you to upgrade your PSU though at that point later.
  29. Quote:
    I wonder if you're mistakenly referring to the intial problems with compatibility of certain RAM and motherboards not booting at more than 1.8v?

    Yep. That's what I meant. :oops:
    Kinda wondered if newegg was just trying to clear out that old stuff, you know, put it on sale and see if you can sell it off? Guess not.
  30. nice build
  31. I have a 17 inch monitor (Samsung, not wide screen). Right now I'm interested in playing FEAR, Oblivion, WOW, NWN2, and Company of Heroes.

    Which graphics card should I go with? Should I pony up now and go with the 8800GTS or get a card that's a lot cheaper (get a better PSU) and wait until the DX10 cards come out?

    If I got a card that's a lot cheaper, which card would run all of those games smoothly on my rig and monitor?

  32. With a 17" monitor you can play just about anything. You don't need a kickA$$ card really. Go with a good PSU and whatever else. Get a cheaper card, then go with a mid-range DX10 card later on when they're cheaper and when DX10 games actually come out.

    PSU, etc is a better investment - they'll last longer and are more imporant to your overall system. You can swap graphics cards easily at any point, but a good PSU needs to be done when you build, not later ;)
  33. The PSU is the heart of your system. You don't want to have a heart attack, do you?
  34. Which card specifically (hopefully with a good deal on newegg...) would run all of those games (a couple posts up that I made)?

    If I go with a cheaper video card, which PSU should I go with in order to be ready for when the DX10 cards come out?

    I think I'm convinced that I should go with a cheaper card now and then get a DX10 card when they come out and go down in price. Thanks for the suggestion!
  35. For a good cheap card, you just need to decide on your budget.

    For $100 or less, either the 1650PRO or the 7600GS.
    For $130 or so, either 1650XT or 7600GT.

    Best bet is the'll handle almost anything at 17" resolution. It's a champ of a card at a very respectable price. If you want really cheap, then something like an X800 series.......

    As for PSU, a 7600GT doesn't draw much power, BUT.........get a PSU that'll handle your UPGRADE to DX10, not what you will have now. Again, depends on your budget. There are many good PSUs out there, but in various price ranges and power capabilities.

    Figure out how much you can spend and let us know, then we can give suggestions.
  36. Does it matter which 7600GT I would go with? I looked on newegg and there's about 22 of them with a range of price...

    How about this one?

    Or this one?

    If I go with this price then I would like to get a good PSU (like you said) that can handle a DX10 when I get one...

    Would this one be ok?

    Or would I need a better one than that?
  37. Definitely go with the EVGA. Not only is it cheaper, but the cooler on it is quieter. The BFG is overpriced and its cooler sounds like a jet engine. Plus, you can use EVGA's Step-Up program within 90 days to upgrade to a better card and they'll credit the price of your 7600GT toward a new one. If you plan on waiting more like 6 months to move to DX10 then the 7600GT is still a great card. But go EVGA.

    That PSU is fine, but I'm really not a big fan of Antec PSU's.....mixed reviews. It has 18A on the 3 12v rails, so that'll handle an 8800. If you want REALLY good, for only $20 before rebate (only $5 more after rebate), consider this:

    The EVGA 7600GT and the OCZ PSU would be a great combination, and would be the same price, if not cheaper, than the BFG/Antec combo, plus it would be much better. The OCZ PSU will last you a long time and will handle just about any upgrade you throw at it. Not bad for an extra $5 after rebate ;)
  38. Skyguy, You sold me on that combo. Sounds good!

    As for my motherboard, I noticed that you have the Gigabtye 965P-DS3. How does it work for you? I ask because I'm going to get the same processor you have (C2D6300). I'm looking to start with no overclocking, and when I learn more about it maybe a low overclock maybe 25%).
  39. GREAT motherboard, very stable and solid, BIOS is easy to understand, overclocks very high, good voltage controls, very overclocking-friendly for newbies ;)

    The only negative (and I'm being picky here) is the location of the IDE vs floppy header.....they should have been switched. The IDE header is at the bottom of the board, whereas it should have been laid out on the right side and put the floppy header on the bottom for much better cable management......I mean, who USES a floppy drive these days anyway??

    So, good board, pretty good layout, I'm quite pleased with it. Not picky about RAM either. Which brings me to my next point.......

    If you plan on overclocking at some point, the limiting factor in your instance will be your RAM. A good CPU and good mobo is most of the puzzle. But you'll need decent RAM. I'd suggest DDR2-800 RAM, not Value stuff. Depends on your budget though. G.Skill and OCZ are probably the cheapest overclocking RAM right now. Corsair's prices are finally coming down too. So it depends on how high an overclock you'll want to achieve. But get some 800 RAM and you should do fine when you want to overclock.

    You'll have a great system on your hands that'll last quite awhile. Then you can just upgrade to a DX10 card when you want and you're set!
  40. Ok, here's what I'm thinking... hopefully after some minor tweaking I'll have the FINAL list and I can do some spending!!!

    Please check this over

    XION Onyx XON-303 Black/Blue Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

    GIGABYTE GA-965P-DS3 LGA 775 Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard

    EVGA 256-P2-N550 -T2 GeForce 7600GT 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card

    OCZ GameXStream OCZ600GXSSLI ATX12V 600W Power Supply 100 - 240 V CB/CE/CSA/UL/FCC

    Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 Conroe 1.86GHz 2M shared L2 Cache LGA 775 Processor

    G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory

    ASUS Black 16X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 16X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache E-IDE/ATAPI DVD Burner with LightScribe - OEM

    Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 SP2b w/Upgrade Coupon for Vista - OEM

    TOTAL: $933.93
    WITH SHIPPING: $967.75

    Here's what I have already that I'll use:

    HARD DRIVE: Hitachi 250GB 7200RPM Parallel ATA, 8MB Buffer (I know it probably stinks, but it should work fine for me... I think...)

    MONITOR: Samsung Syncmaster 930B 17"

    SPEAKERS: Logitech Z-5300 THX Cert.

    SOUNDCARD: Creative Soundblaster Audigy 2ZS

    How does it look? Any changes at all?

  41. GREAT specs! It'll last quite's ready to upgrade to DX10 whenever you want. Good stuff.

    Only one comment.........consider getting a backup hard drive. Depending on what you do, losing your data if your drive ever crashes can be a disaster. Spending the $80 might be worth it now. Besides, you can use the new SATA drive as your primary, and your old one as your backup drive too ;)

    Food for thought....backup drive.
  42. How about this one? (for extra hard drive)
  43. Not bad. If you have a really tight budget, it'll do. But for not much more money (price of a couple of pizzas) consider one of these....much better:

    Hitachi Deskstar 7K160 @ 160gb, $54:

    Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 w/16mb cache @ 250gb, $75:

    I HIGHLY recommend the Seagate. Most other people around here do as well.
  44. I really don't need an extra 250 gigs of space. I don't have too much stuff, maybe 50GB of music, vids, etc.

    Is there a better 80GB drive that would be better than the one I asked about? Would the purpose of a second drive be to increase the speed of the OS?
  45. Ok, look at it this way, for $12 more, you get DOUBLE the hard drive space.....160gb. This will last you a long time. Nothing worse than running out of room in the future.

    Getting another hard drive will let you backup your data files (if you need to). This is because if your primary/current drive fails, you lose ALL your data, no way to get it back without spending minimum $1,000. So you could keep your current drive (is it SATA or IDE?) as your primary for OS and programs, then the 160 as a backup drive. You can also clone your primary drive to the backup drive, and just keep it like that in case anything happens then you have an exact duplicate drive. Just boot it up and you're reinstalling OS, programs, lost data, etc.

    Hey, I'm not saying you GOTTA get a 2nd drive. It's your money. I'm just saying consider it. If you think the $55 is worth the hassle and investment if you lose irreplaceable data, then look at a 160gb Western Digital or Hitachi. If you don't think you need a 2nd drive, or don't care if you lose your data, then your system has some great specs and you're ready to rock!
  46. Good point... I'll go with the Hitachi.

    The only problem is that it sends my bill to $1024.33... My wife won't like that much... :lol: Yeah, I know... "get your balls outta your wifes purse and stand up for yourself"... I need the bill "to look good" so it's "approved". I gotta get it to three figures... I thought $967 was going to be a tough sell... man, I gotta see about getting it to $950 (with shipping) WITHOUT sacrificing any quality...

    Any ideas? I'M SO CLOSE AND COME SO FAR!!! :lol:
  47. LOL, I hear ya.

    To get it below $1,000 then don't get the Hitachi now. Just order what you got and make The Boss happy. Then go to Best Buy or something and buy a 2nd drive by yourself....and none the wiser ;) Seriously, it's a very small dollar amount on the whole cost......but if the optics are bad, then get another drive on your lunch break or something. I bet Boss will be even less impressed if your one drive craps out and she loses all her photos, music, and whatnot LOL.
  48. It's a good line up you've got there, and all you have to do is slot in your DX10 card when you're ready.... the card you've got there isn't great, but it's adequate as a stop gap, especially for the price.

    To save the extra $50, just don't buy the extra hard drive yet.....!? You can always pick it up later, presumably it won't take you that long to save up $55 or whatever it is right? It's gotta be worth the risk of potential data loss to keep wifey happy :D
  49. Thanks guys. Now I gotta wait for the right time, when shes in a perfect mood and tell her I'm making the order!!!! hah!

    Thanks for everything... I'm sure I'll have some more questions, etc... we'll keep in touch...
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