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Critiques and Suggestions: First Homebuild

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April 20, 2007 8:44:11 PM

This is my first home build, though I do have some experience with updating computers, I would LOVE any advice on where to go for a general overview of the whole process. I've done a lot of research over the last month or so and this is what I've come up with (after a LOT of tweaking). I'm looking for the best bang for about $900, that I can also upgrade later.

This is what I'm getting ready to order on Sunday (hopefully). Please tell me if any of this is not up to par/wont work well.

Thanks everyone!

COOLER MASTER Centurion 534 RC-534-KKN2-GP Black Aluminum & Mesh bezel / SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Item #: N82E16811119106
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy $10.00 Mail-in Rebate
$49.99

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD2500KS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Item #: N82E16822144701
Return Policy: Limited 30-Day Return Policy
$69.99

SAPPHIRE 100176L Radeon X1950PRO 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Video Card - Retail
Item #: N82E16814102061
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
$20.00 Mail-in Rebate
$154.99

Thermaltake W0093RU ATX 12V 2.0 Version 500W Power Supply - Retail
Item #: N82E16817153028
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
-$15.00 Instant
$20.00 Mail-in Rebate
$64.99


Rosewill RTK-002 Anti-Static Wrist Strap - Retail Thought this would be good to have)
Item #: N82E16899261005
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
$5.49

G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ - Retail
Item #: N82E16820231098
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
-$40.00 Instant
$109.99

GIGABYTE GA-965P-DS3 (rev. 1.3) LGA 775 Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
Item #: N82E16813128042
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
-$20.00 Instant
$109.99

Microsoft Windows Vista 32-Bit Home Premium for System Builders Single Pack DVD - OEM
Item #: N82E16832116202
Return Policy: Software Return Policy
$111.99

Subtotal: $677.42 (Shipped: $705.09) -$50 Rebates = $655.09

From ZZF:

Intel® Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe Processor 2.4GHz, 1066FSB, LGA775, 4MB Cache Retail ***Free Shipping*** (Free Supreme Comm.)

$235 (shipped)

Total: $890
April 20, 2007 11:15:20 PM

If you can swing it, I'd get a 2nd smaller hdd for the OS and programs, 40GB would be sufficient although you would have more choices with 80GB, about $50 and use the WD for storage. Check out the Seagate with the perpendicular drive not sure of the price difference with the WD. I'd also go with OEM XP justs sound like a lot of problems with Vista and there already working on a SP.
April 21, 2007 3:50:51 AM

My reason for upgrading to Vista is that I don't want to have to pay (more) for XP pro, then pay again to get Vista if I want to play DX10 games. Would a small drive add that much more efficiency? A friend of mine suggested today that I get some of the new Hitachi SATA drives and run them in RAID-0 (which makes me a little nervous...) maybe with an added drive when I can afford it for more important data.

Also, would it be better to get an E6320, OC it and spend more on the HD's?

Thanks again!

EDIT: Too many EEEE's
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April 21, 2007 4:04:45 AM

Good luck with the RAM. NewEgg lists it as out-of-stock currently (looks like NewEgg is running low/out of most cheaper DDR2-800 RAM). Edit - it's now back in stock (some things seem to go in-and-out of stock very often at NewEgg).

An extra hd for OS won't add much performance gain unless you get a high performance drive (ex: Raptor makes a noticable (but small) difference). I would recommend a better drive if you're sticking with one though. Seagate 7200.10 (perpendicular recording) is good but a little pricier than the WD. Hitachi also makes perpendicular recording drive(s) but I'm not sure they are available yet. WD Raptor is better performance than either of those but alot more expensive.

I'd stick with the E6600. With the price cut, I think the E6600 is by far the best price/performance ratio.
April 21, 2007 4:09:40 AM

These were recommended to me:
HITACHI Deskstar T7K500 HDT725025VLA380 (0A33423) 250GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

Any good? I'm not looking to go any bigger than 320 at the moment (Haven't filled my current 160!).
April 21, 2007 4:20:30 AM

Not sure if that one is perpendicular recording or not. I'm guessing it's not (think all the perpendicular drives are 16MB cache).

You can always look at the HDD charts on Tom's main site. Compare the one your friend recommended with the Seagate 7200.10.
April 21, 2007 5:28:20 AM

Since you want Vista and DX10 gaming, why are you getting a DX9 video card? The 8600gt/gts cards are out. They are being trash-talked by people who expect them to outperform all DX9 cards. If you can ignore that, the price/performance is not bad for a brand new release.
April 21, 2007 6:19:02 AM

Good point. For DX10 games, you need an nVidia 8xxx card (or the upcoming ATI R600).
April 21, 2007 11:52:50 AM

Quote:
My reason for upgrading to Vista is that I don't want to have to pay (more) for XP pro, then pay again to get Vista if I want to play DX10 games. Would a small drive add that much more efficiency? A friend of mine suggested today that I get some of the new Hitachi SATA drives and run them in RAID-0 (which makes me a little nervous...) maybe with an added drive when I can afford it for more important data.

Also, would it be better to get an E6320, OC it and spend more on the HD's?

Thanks again!

EDIT: Too many EEEE's


The primary purpose of the smaller drive is better data protection. You can always format the drive and put data on a different partition but a second drive will accomplish the same thing and if anything happens to the OS drive you can just put the data drive in another machine. I've read so many posts from people trying to either back up data before reinstalling Windows or getting it of a trashed drive that I'm convinced 2 drives just makes good sense
April 21, 2007 1:32:14 PM

The reason I'm getting a DX9 card is that I don't play anything that it can't handle well enough at the moment, and looking at the cost of a DX10 card, it doesn't seem worth it not to wait 6 months to get an 8800GTX for significantly less, or even an R600 card depending. The 1950Pro is just to hold me over for a while until the DX10 cards have become more affordable and available.

As nice as the 8800 GTS seems now... it's going to be dated too quickly to be worth the money now... or am I wrong here?

Edit: Also would a GTS fit in the case/mobo I'm getting? It looks like a BEAST.
April 21, 2007 1:50:19 PM

Thats why I mentioned the 8600, not the 8800...
April 21, 2007 2:16:34 PM

The 8600 got EATEN by the 1950's in benchmarks, and doesn't seem like a very good deal for the price. I'm looking at pricing on 8800GTS' and I'm considering the EVGA 320 (hopefully I can step up later), but will that fit my case? Also, how are the driver issues with Vista going on those?
April 21, 2007 2:49:07 PM

The value of an 8600 is not just based on benchmarks.
If you do not run extremely high resolutions, then the DX10 quality will make a difference in what you see on the screen as DX10 gaming becomes more common. Absolute benchmarks are not the only issue. Most if not all reviews are primarily fps based, and in this case they tell the truth but not the whole truth. Anything over 60 fps at the resolution you actually use is wasted. Pricing on X1950s compared to the new mid-range 8600 cards is very favorable now. You pays your money and makes your choices...
April 21, 2007 2:57:02 PM

I don't have any experience with that case so I'm not positive, but an 8800 should fit.

From what I've heard, the Vista drivers are working except some SLI limitations. I won't know for sure until next weekend (when I put my system together).
April 21, 2007 9:52:55 PM

Thanks a lot everyone, I'll be putting in the order tomorrow. Any other suggestions on where to get tips/guides would be nice if you have them.

Thanks for all the help!
April 22, 2007 4:58:19 AM

there is a good series of articles at Tom's Hardware, How-to. 3 parts on how to build a PC
How to index
And google is your friend, try build your own PC
April 22, 2007 1:05:14 PM

In addition to Big Al's suggestions, reading the owners manuals of the products you buy (especially the motherboard) before installing them is a real good idea. Thorough installation instructions are included.
!