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Very first build, would love advice on setup I'm considering

Last response: in Systems
April 30, 2007 5:12:23 AM

Hello all!

I am brand new to building PCs and am considering building my first one. Tom’s Hardware has been a fantastic site to learn from, but holy crap is there a lot of information to digest, especially for a complete neophyte.

I have a few specific questions following the list of gear I’m considering buying, but if anyone has any general advice or wants to disabuse me of any dangerous assumptions I’m making, I would certainly not complain.

Anyway, here’s the setup I was considering for the gaming rig I’d like to build:

Motherboard: EVGA 122-CK-NF68-T1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6420 Conroe 2.13GHz
Video Card: DIAMOND X1950XT256PCIE Radeon X1950XT
Memory: Patriot eXtreme Performance 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800
Hard Drive: 2 X Western Digital Caviar SE WD2000JS 200GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
Case: Antec Performance One P150 White Steel ATX Mini Tower
Power Supply: (Comes with Case) 430-Watt ATX12V v2.2

Specific Questions:

1. Does it make sense to get a motherboard that supports ram up to DDR2 1200, as the model I have listed does, even though I'm only getting DDR2 800 ram? I figure this will make the board last longer as I won’t need to upgrade it when I need to upgrade my ram.

2. I was thinking I’d set up my two hard drives as a RAID 0. RAID is still slightly confusing to me, but it looks like the EVGA motherboard I have listed has an integrated RAID controller, and setting up RAID 0 would be cheaper, much higher capacity, and (basically) faster than getting a 150 Gig Raptor. Is this all correct? And is setting this up difficult, something I probably shouldn’t be attempting with my very first build?

Also, some things that I have read seem to indicate that I could partition both drives and setup RAID with a partition on each drive and no RAID on the other two partitions, or run RAID 0 on two partitions and RAID 1 on the other two. Is this correct? If not I can still back up my most important stuff on my laptop, but I’d like to know before hand.

3. Is the case big enough? Newegg says it’s an ATX mini tower, but according to the specs it fits a full sized ATX board, so I’m a little confused. With a $50 dollar rebate, the P150 seems like a great deal.

4. Is the power supply powerful enough? This may be a big question to ask someone else, as the stuff in the power supply forum indicates that figuring out how much power is needed is a complex process, but I was hoping someone just sort of knew, so I didn’t have to do the work. I also can’t figure out exactly what the model is anyway, to get the specifics I need to figure things out. If it is powerful enough, it makes the case an even better deal.

Thanks in advance to anyone who responds!
April 30, 2007 6:49:16 AM

1. Most new motherboards will support most new RAM. You are paying for things you might not use so compare features and then look in your price range.
2. Good idea, most MB have onboard RAID now. Yes, 2 drives are better than one Raptor, all ways except Raptor more secure than RAID. Back backups, no problem. Speaking of Backups, I would get a big DATA drive to go with the RAID.
3. Looks big enough for build, space for 8 drives. the case holds the MB, if you like the look, go for it.
4. It will be fine. It is a very good 430W with 384W availible on the 3 12V rails. If you want to get a bigger video card like an 8800, than you start to push the PSU (not a good thing)

You are Welcome and good luck.
April 30, 2007 10:05:10 AM

agree with al, couple things to add-

1. the 680i SLI northbridge supports the ddr1200 speeds, regardless of which board. Not all board partners are saying this, but nVidia says it on their 680i SLI specs page. Note, there is another 680i chipset, the 680i LT. Not the one you want.

2. Making two drives stripe (RAID 0) isnt hard, but then, Ive done it before. If you cant work it out with the instructions with your mainboard, then call the tech support line of the board manufacturer. They'll walk you thru it.
Related resources
April 30, 2007 1:31:32 PM

Out of the topic, maybe but here goes... So what are the pro's of setting a Raid- system? Yea, it could be easier to look around the 'net but I thought that I could get a simpler answer from here :oops: 
April 30, 2007 7:24:19 PM

Out of the topic, maybe but here goes... So what are the pro's of setting a Raid- system? Yea, it could be easier to look around the 'net but I thought that I could get a simpler answer from here :oops: 

Raid 0 offers great performance but 2x the chance of losing everything since the data is striped. For this reason and pure paranoia, I went with the much expensive Raptor. For the 2 days I had my system up that drive lives up to all the hype.