FIRST TIME BUILDER, PLEASE ADVISE

Ok this is my first time experimenting with building a desktop. I have upgraded my old Pavilion 6735 with extra RAM, new graphics card, 56k modem, NIC and i have taken it apart after it died, but thats about all the experience i have with stuff inside the box. I have read ALOT of Toms Hardware DIY articles the past few days and i've decided to build my own for some experience and save some green. EE/CSYS major in college and gonna be a soph so i think this is a good time to start learning and experimenting.

here is the list that i've compiled over the past few days as i read the great DIY articles. Please advise, if possible please propose cheaper alternatives with similar or even better performance.

Budget: 800-900;

Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz LGA 775 Processor
MSI P6N SLI-FI LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 650i SLI ATX Intel Mobo
CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800
ENERMAX Liberty ELT500AWT ATX12V 500W PSU
EVGA 256-P2-N615-TX GeForce 7600GT 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16
Seagate Barracuda 320GB 7200 RPM SATA
APEVIA X-CRUISER-BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Sony NEC Optiarc 18X DVD±R 12X DVD-RAM Write Black SATA

other stuff that i might buy afterwards:
two case fans for front.
cpu aftermarket cooler
better graphics card


anything that i should add to the list? Anything i should change? Anything i should remove? Please advise, like i said, im new to this.
100 answers Last reply
More about first time builder advise
  1. Very, VERY good list. Well researched and well chosen!!!

    You are good to go.
  2. should i get the aftermarket cpu cooler in the first run or will the stock HSF hold up? I probably wont be overclocking, donno how to.

    will the mobo fit in the case, since in the specs for the case it says 11 X 12 (no L or W specified) max mobo size. But mobo specs says 11.9(L) X 9.6(W). Will that be an issue?

    regarding case fans, does the mobo have power connectors for the case fans or do i connect them directly to psu?

    and i just read another thread on this forum, the RAM needs 2.1V and the mobo only supports 1.8V. Does that meant they're incompatible or do i gotta adjust mobo to raise voltage to 2.1 and if so, will mobo still be stable?

    thanks for any advice
  3. i think you can raise the voltage in the bios, as for the hard drive you can get a WD 500gb for another $20 its alot more space than 320gb
  4. ill take a look at the increased capacity. I basically picked that one since i felt that i was enough for now since i got an external already, but i guess an extra 180GB for only 20 is well worth it.
  5. you can go with a cheaper C2D and get a better graphics card, if you do some gaming.
  6. You can find better RAM. The Corsair uses PROMOS Chips, and has rebate. Gskill has some cheap RAM with D9's for much less with no rebate.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231065

    Here is another deal on DDR2

    http://shop2.outpost.com/product/5224337?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG

    I would also step up to the Plat mobo it's $159
  7. I'm basically in the same exact situation as you and created a similar post.

    Someone linked me to this very good nvidia 7900gs graphics card deal which is a step up from your 7600 and probably cheaper as well with this deal

    http://shop3.outpost.com/product/4970851

    Good luck. The guys here are really nice and helpful so I'm sure you will be fine.
  8. thanks for the replies!!!

    the 2G Patriot looks good and no rebate too. but are they good and stable?
    i might get the 7900 GS, is it much better? It is "exactly" a tier up according to the chart that "best Vid Cards for the Money 2007" guide from Tom's.

    please explain the PROMOS chips and wats wrong with them?

    i want to stick with the e6600 just for the raw processing power. Unless someone REALLY believe that i should step down to the 6400? Since the e6600 has 4M L2 cache and 6400 is only half of that. Whats the deal with the e6420s, those actually have 4M L2 cache and only about 2 bucks more than the 6400s.

    is the platinum worth the extra 40? more stability or better for OC
  9. What are you going to use your computer for?
  10. good questions, actually im not gonna be using it much, mayb 4 months out of the 12. Ill be away at college using my desktop replacement laptop, wish i could bring this baby up after i build it but most likely not. It will be used by my 8 yr old little brother for school work and some 2d gaming.

    When i use it, it would most likely be for gaming, surfing, multi-tasking(like crazy, exactly waht im doing now), videos and such.
  11. Quote:

    multi-tasking(like crazy, exactly waht im doing now), videos and such.


    Ok, now I see why you want a e6600, for the rest of your needs you don't have to have a core running much over 2.0 Ghz.

    If you need the power then get the E6600, but if you want a better gaming experience then look to get a better GPU and not as good of a CPU, your the only one that knows what you will put up with.
  12. Quote:

    multi-tasking(like crazy, exactly waht im doing now), videos and such.


    Ok, now I see why you want a e6600, for the rest of your needs you don't have to have a core running much over 2.0 Ghz.

    now that u mention it, would a e6420 do just as good?
  13. The 6600 is a great chip and overclocks like a dream. if you won't be O/Cing, however, then the stock fan is fine. Extra case fans never hurt. I'm not a fan of Enermax as I have seen to many Liberties die young but great choices all teh way around. Research is 90% of the build so well done here.
  14. thanks, i was initially opting for the AeroCool 620W from the "Building Marathon:Day 2" article, but it was a bit pricey and bit extra wattage than wat i needed.
  15. i might do a little OCing, but that wont be until later, when i actually get this thing up and running and learning ALOT more from reading and hopefully from school.
  16. Quote:

    multi-tasking(like crazy, exactly waht im doing now), videos and such.


    Ok, now I see why you want a e6600, for the rest of your needs you don't have to have a core running much over 2.0 Ghz.

    now that u mention it, would a e6420 do just as good?

    It would be a bit slower then the E6600 in the multi tasking part, but not greatly, and if you don't do so much multi-tasking that you are literally cramming all your computer time into it, then the e6430 will probably be a good choice for you. Plus it’s not a bed overclocker and if you want to overclock latter, you can get better overclock per dollar from it then the e6600.
  17. Lighten up on the mobo and CPU, maybe a GIGABYTE 965P-DS3 and an E6420. Then bump up the GPU to a 7950GT (<$200) or better (8800GTS). You don't need an SLI mobo to run a 7600.
  18. Quote:

    multi-tasking(like crazy, exactly waht im doing now), videos and such.


    Ok, now I see why you want a e6600, for the rest of your needs you don't have to have a core running much over 2.0 Ghz.

    now that u mention it, would a e6420 do just as good?

    It would be a bit slower then the E6600 in the multi tasking part, but not greatly, and if you don't do so much multi-tasking that you are literally cramming all your computer time into it, then the e6430 will probably be a good choice for you. Plus it’s not a bed overclocker and if you want to overclock latter, you can get better overclock per dollar from it then the e6600.


    interesting, saves me around 40 or so, makes up for my getting the P6N Platinum
  19. Quote:
    Lighten up on the mobo and CPU, maybe a GIGABYTE 965P-DS3 and an E6420. Then bump up the GPU to a 7950GT (<$200) or better (8800GTS). You don't need an SLI mobo to run a 7600.



    yea im considering the e6420, but i want to stay with mobo, i might want to do SLI afterwards. Plus great reviews for the MSI P6N for stability
  20. The Corsair 6400c4 at one time used D9 chips which are much better for overclocking as a rule. Now they use PROMOS chips instead. If your not overclocking it won't matter.

    You could go with Frys deal. They have a EVGA 680i LT Mobo and E6400 for $299 - $40 Rebate= $259.00. I just picked one up. I also picked up 4gb DDR2 Kit for $199.98.

    http://shop4.outpost.com/product/5224337

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813188014

    add a $259 8800GTS and BAM! :D
  21. Quote:
    The Corsair 6400c4 at one time used D9 chips which are much better for overclocking as a rule. Now they use PROMOS chips instead. If your not overclocking it won't matter.

    You could go with Frys deal. They have a EVGA 680i LT Mobo and E6400 for $299 - $40 Rebate= $259.00. I just picked one up. I also picked up 4gb DDR2 Kit for $199.98.

    http://shop4.outpost.com/product/5224337

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813188014

    add a $259 8800GTS and BAM! :D


    sounds sooo good, but i got a budget to stick to, especially since this is my first time. need everything to go smoothly, hopefully no DOAs, cuz i dont have other workable pcs to test against.

    but i sooooo want to get that GTS
  22. I'm going to part my sig rig out and treat myself to a 8800 soon. Will use one of my 7800's to setup new rig.

    Could pickup a Dell outlet M90 Laptop for around $1300. Would be a great gamer. and comes with 3yr warrenty.
  23. ok, i've decided to ditch the possible SLI enable future and opt for a single 8800GTS 320Mb. The E6420 is here to stay and the old graphic is done. Do i have to change psu now?? or will the old one hold up? and wat about mobo? change it for something cheaper and no SLI support?
  24. 1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!UPDATED LIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    budget: under 1K

    Intel Core 2 Duo E6420 Conroe 2.13GHz LGA 775 Processor
    MSI P6N SLI Platinum LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 650i SLI ATX Intel Mobo
    CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800
    ENERMAX Liberty ELT500AWT ATX12V 500W PSU
    EVGA GeForce 8800GTS 320MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Video Card
    Seagate Barracuda 320GB 7200 RPM SATA
    APEVIA X-CRUISER-BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
    Sony NEC Optiarc 18X DVD±R 12X DVD-RAM Write Black SATA


    different psu? mobo? RAM?
  25. Good system, only change if you want to buy cheaper RAM, the G.Skill 2x1gb is $85 now
  26. omg the 8800 GTS is just too much, is it significantly better than the 7900 GS? Worth the extra 100 something?? deciding a component list with a budget is HARD work sheesh
  27. Quote:
    Good system, only change if you want to buy cheaper RAM, the G.Skill 2x1gb is $85 now


    is it stable enough?? Alot of DOAs on newegg
  28. LOOKS NICE :D

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231065

    For sure D9 Chips!! If your going to do say 400*8=3200ghz. I hear that's the sweat spot.

    If your going stock. I have seen 2gig ddr2 Kingston Value 6400 kits for $59 after rebate at Fry's.
  29. you will be so happy with the gts. Id recommend a 965p ds3, its cheaper and more stable. Also you might want a better case, better airflow better over clocking. The Antec 900 takes my vote. And if your going to overclock your e6420, which you have no reason not to, get an HSF. Pair a scythe s-flex fan with a thermalright ultra 120 and you'll be blown away. but other wise strong combo.
  30. 1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!NEW UPDATED LIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
    with price and such:



    more advice please? The 7900GS rebate form's link doesnt seem to work for Frys
  31. Quote:
    you will be so happy with the gts. Id recommend a 965p ds3, its cheaper and more stable. Also you might want a better case, better airflow better over clocking. The Antec 900 takes my vote. And if your going to overclock your e6420, which you have no reason not to, get an HSF. Pair a scythe s-flex fan with a thermalright ultra 120 and you'll be blown away. but other wise strong combo.


    such happiness comes at a price of about 200...ill rather be happy lol
    965p ds3 is that much stabler? im getting a bunch of DOAs and issues form reviews
  32. Can't read the page.
    The Mail it to me link works or you could call them.
  33. Quote:
    Can't read the page.
    The Mail it to me link works or you could call them.


    there should be a little arrow pointing to text that says expand
    and hwen that page loads, go to lower right hand corner and move mouse around until u see a little tab that u can click and u shoul dbe able to see image.
  34. Gee, what a comcept! Full screen! :oops:
    Thanks, looks like a great build.
  35. go with a gskill, that will atleast save you enough money to go with a x1950xt.
  36. Quote:
    go with a gskill, that will atleast save you enough money to go with a x1950xt.


    are they good? Alot of DOAs from reviews on newegg, is it something that i want to go cheap on?
  37. You are taking your time to decide and doing plenty of research, which is very good. What you are not doing though, is to think if you are going to use your pc right now for gaming, or 2-6 months later.

    If you use it now without overclocking as you say, forget about the MSI and get a Gigabyte 965 ds3. It is very stable and it provides plenty of room for overclocking. Forget about expensive 6400 memory and buy 2 gigs of 5300 for half the price. And of course, get a 8800GTS.

    If you are not going to use it now for gaming, why pay $140+ for the outdated 7900GS? Get the cheapest 7600GS you can find (around $50) and later you get whatever is best at the time.

    The rule is: buy now what you are going to use now and not what you think you will use 6 months later. Prices normally get halved in 6 months time and new, better products surface. And what if you buy a $200 mobo right now( for example) and six months later Intel decides to have all new processors use socket 776? :lol: There goes your upgrade path and $100 (the price difference of a good plain mobo)

    Good luck with anything you choose!

    Just my two cents. :)
  38. Quote:
    go with a gskill, that will atleast save you enough money to go with a x1950xt.


    are they good? Alot of DOAs from reviews on newegg, is it something that i want to go cheap on?

    Mine weren't DOA, plus there were some mobo's a time ago that didn't use them until after updates.
  39. Quote:
    go with a gskill, that will atleast save you enough money to go with a x1950xt.


    are they good? Alot of DOAs from reviews on newegg, is it something that i want to go cheap on?

    Mine weren't DOA, plus there were some mobo's a time ago that didn't use them until after updates.


    just to make sure, we're both talking about hte G Skillz for 85 at newegg?
  40. Quote:
    You are taking your time to decide and doing plenty of research, which is very good. What you are not doing though, is to think if you are going to use your pc right now for gaming, or 2-6 months later.

    If you use it now without overclocking as you say, forget about the MSI and get a Gigabyte 965 ds3. It is very stable and it provides plenty of room for overclocking. Forget about expensive 6400 memory and buy 2 gigs of 5300 for half the price. And of course, get a 8800GTS.

    If you are not going to use it now for gaming, why pay $140+ for the outdated 7900GS? Get the cheapest 7600GS you can find (around $50) and later you get whatever is best at the time.

    The rule is: buy now what you are going to use now and not what you think you will use 6 months later. Prices normally get halved in 6 months time and new, better products surface. And what if you buy a $200 mobo right now( for example) and six months later Intel decides to have all new processors use socket 776? :lol: There goes your upgrade path and $100 (the price difference of a good plain mobo)

    Good luck with anything you choose!

    Just my two cents. :)


    which 965 ds3 are u refering to exactly, there's 3
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128042

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128012

    and

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128018

    and the thing is that i wanted this machine to last me a few years, so im looking in the long run with mayb a few upgrades later on and possibly playing with this thingy in terms of OCing in a year or so when i learn to OC.
  41. Quote:
    go with a gskill, that will atleast save you enough money to go with a x1950xt.


    are they good? Alot of DOAs from reviews on newegg, is it something that i want to go cheap on?

    Mine weren't DOA, plus there were some mobo's a time ago that didn't use them until after updates.


    just to make sure, we're both talking about hte G Skillz for 85 at newegg?

    Yep this pair here it was about $250 when I bought them late January this year.
  42. If you go with Gigabyte P965-DS3 I hear the Rev 3.3 is newest. And I'll second if your gaming get the 8800.
  43. ok for the p965 ds3's dont worry about DOA's its rare, in a way think about it like this most of the people that review the product are usually people who got something bad with it, most of the people that wgot everything perfect were too excited to leave a review :lol:
    dont worry about it, its a solid board and has great chipset for overclocking. if you want it to live longer while your going to overclock, get the second choice you posted thats the rev. 3.3, difference between them is All-Solid Capacitor=longer running time under overclocking. Definately get the gts, i mean cmon man look at the benchies....and also swap out that 320 gb HD with a 500, the price difference is a joke. And get an HSF with a good fan for cpu overclocking, my rec. is the Thermalright Ultra 120 paired with a Scythe S-flex 120 fan. and dont worry, itll be a tight fit in an antec 900. sorry i didnt give any links, to tired :) well good luck chap and take my advice!
  44. Quote:
    ok for the p965 ds3's dont worry about DOA's its rare, in a way think about it like this most of the people that review the product are usually people who got something bad with it, most of the people that wgot everything perfect were too excited to leave a review :lol:
    dont worry about it, its a solid board and has great chipset for overclocking. if you want it to live longer while your going to overclock, get the second choice you posted thats the rev. 3.3, difference between them is All-Solid Capacitor=longer running time under overclocking. Definately get the gts, i mean cmon man look at the benchies....and also swap out that 320 gb HD with a 500, the price difference is a joke. And get an HSF with a good fan for cpu overclocking, my rec. is the Thermalright Ultra 120 paired with a Scythe S-flex 120 fan. and dont worry, itll be a tight fit in an antec 900. sorry i didnt give any links, to tired :) well good luck chap and take my advice!



    ur going too far ahead... the antec 900 is way too expensive almost an extra 100 although i would love (200mm fans and such nice design) to get it but im a broke college kid.

    ill add those parts in when i do OCing, so i should go for the GB P965 DS3?
    What is wrong with the MSI that i got down? Just unneccesary if i dont go SLI right? i prolly wont do SLI, unless i dont go for the 8800 GTS then i might SLI two cheaper cards. Will the two cards in SLI run better than the GTS or will GTS still dominate. And IF i get the GTS will the Enermax psu hold up?
  45. Quote:
    will add those parts in when i do OCing, so i should go for the GB P965 DS3?


    Humbly but definitely YES!

    Quote:
    What is wrong with the MSI that i got down? Just unneccesary if i dont go SLI right? i prolly wont do SLI, unless i dont go for the 8800 GTS then i might SLI two cheaper cards. Will the two cards in SLI run better than the GTS or will GTS still dominate. And IF i get the GTS will the Enermax psu hold up?


    GTS dominates cheaper cards in SLI. The enermax will probably get more trouble with SLI rather than with a single GTS. 400W PSUs with 26 amps+ is recommended on the 12V+ rails for 8800 GTS, therefore you are covered with the Enermax.

    And BTW, nothing lasts forever. Two years from now you may very well be searching for a cpu upgrade and find compatible parts on Ebay only! Such is the IT industry for more than 20 years now...
  46. Quote:
    will add those parts in when i do OCing, so i should go for the GB P965 DS3?


    Humbly but definitely YES!

    Quote:
    What is wrong with the MSI that i got down? Just unneccesary if i dont go SLI right? i prolly wont do SLI, unless i dont go for the 8800 GTS then i might SLI two cheaper cards. Will the two cards in SLI run better than the GTS or will GTS still dominate. And IF i get the GTS will the Enermax psu hold up?


    GTS dominates cheaper cards in SLI. The enermax will probably get more trouble with SLI rather than with a single GTS. 400W PSUs with 26 amps+ is recommended on the 12V+ rails for 8800 GTS, therefore you are covered with the Enermax.

    And BTW, nothing lasts forever. Two years from now you may very well be searching for a cpu upgrade and find compatible parts on Ebay only! Such is the IT industry for more than 20 years now...

    ALRIGHT, but is the 8800GTS really necessary, i mean from 1 to 10 rate how good it is. 10 being best.
  47. If we give 10 to 8800GTX, 9 should be given to 8800GTS 640 and to Ati 2900(maybe) which gives us the rating for the 8800GTS 320: an 8!
    And at current prices it is well placed.
    I will say it one more time, even if i seem too opinionated: In 6 months time and even less all todays rating, prices and decisions will seem irrelevant, so get what you will use now.
    If you are a gamer, you save on processor power now and you buy the best vga you can. If you are an overclocker, you buy the best memory and the best cooler you can afford. If you do 3d design or video editing then you go for raw processor power, etc etc.
  48. Quote:
    If we give 10 to 8800GTX, 9 should be given to 8800GTS 640 and to Ati 2900(maybe) which gives us the rating for the 8800GTS 320: an 8!
    And at current prices it is well placed.
    I will say it one more time, even if i seem too opinionated: In 6 months time and even less all todays rating, prices and decisions will seem irrelevant, so get what you will use now.
    If you are a gamer, you save on processor power now and you buy the best vga you can. If you are an overclocker, you buy the best memory and the best cooler you can afford. If you do 3d design or video editing then you go for raw processor power, etc etc.


    ok, im gonna go 8800 GTS and the 965P DS3 mobo. Should RAM be the G SKillz pc2800 for 85$ or should i go pc2667. How much is the difference in terms of price and performance.
  49. Quote:
    If we give 10 to 8800GTX, 9 should be given to 8800GTS 640 and to Ati 2900(maybe) which gives us the rating for the 8800GTS 320: an 8!
    And at current prices it is well placed.
    I will say it one more time, even if i seem too opinionated: In 6 months time and even less all todays rating, prices and decisions will seem irrelevant, so get what you will use now.
    If you are a gamer, you save on processor power now and you buy the best vga you can. If you are an overclocker, you buy the best memory and the best cooler you can afford. If you do 3d design or video editing then you go for raw processor power, etc etc.


    ok, im gonna go 8800 GTS and the 965P DS3 mobo. Should RAM be the G SKillz pc2800 for 85$ or should i go pc2667. How much is the difference in terms of price and performance.

    That's all relative to OCing, if you want to be able to push you're processor a good bit then go with the 800, if not then go with 667.
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