First build ever. Mid to high end business & personal PC

Sorry for the long post (in advance).


A) I have never built a computer before.

B) I can read instructions and have installed RAM, graphics & PCI cards, and can find my butt with both hands behind my back.

Bottom line I am a dangerous fool.

But I am tired of buying what others want me to buy, and hate the idea of paying of $515 for 4 sticks of RAM to upgrade the basic HP-Dell 'puter.

So I cruise the boards and am considering options. One option was having somebody build me a shell of a computer and then let me finish it off. But that option is becoming less attractive as I cruise through the options.

I have basically narrowed my choice down to building my own.

Like I said, I am a dangerous fool. But I do understand that if you are standing barefooted in a puddle of water and insert a screwin driver into an electrical socket you are going to get all hot and tingling inside. So maybe I am not that big of a fool.

What I am replacing is my primary office computer which is still working. So I am on no exact time table to do the build. This week, next week, next month, just as long as I have the computer being built by the end of the year and preferably online by January 1 for business operation reasons. This is a business computer (obviously), but it is also my personal computer (one of the perks of working for the family business). The old computer, and parts thereof, will not be used for this build.

The Build (with questions and comments as I go), Newegg pricing and links provided for convenience:

Basic design: Business workstation & personal computer, Vista 64, used for moderate to heavy multitasking with no video editing. Business days spent on HQ photo editing, web development, as well as inventory management. After hours use does not include any 3d gaming, but the unit will be used for watching HDTV and DVDs in addition to the standard business tasks previously described.

Case: Antec P182b, $160

No special reasons for the Antec. I like the clean front when closed. Locking case is ideal for security. Door swings completely out of the way (nice feature). Lots of ventilation that remains quiet. Sectional design that provides structural strength and decreases noise seems ideal. Gunmetal case color should be fingerprint free and not show dust like a glossy case. And the case lacks the glitz and flashing lights that seems to be common these days.

Maybe there is something cheaper on the market, with several models from Lian Li seeming to be an option. But $10 or $20 either way is not a make or break issue.

CPU: Intel Q6600. $290

Yes I multitask, very well thank you.

The retail version of the Q6600 comes with Intel cooling fan and thermal paste.

Penryn might be an option, though the initial price might be the eliminator. If I was editing video I would consider the Penryn more seriously. And my time line for the build my also eliminate the option of Penryn.

There are A LOT of CPU fans. The Intel fan is obviously going to work. I would consider another fan, but why?

MB: Intel BoxDP35DPM $112

Retail version, comes with 2 SATA cables and 1 IDE cable.

The Intel MB is forward compatible if I decided Penryn at a later date. I am NOT going to overclock so there is no known benefit (to me) to go with another MB builder. Two-three years from now if the Quad can’t meet my needs, I will just replace it with the latest whiz bang of a CPU, so all I am seeking is a MB that is rock solid, do what needs to be done, have enough connections for what I am going to add, and doesn’t cost a fortune. Saving $5 and going with a MB from another builder just to save $5 is not an option as Intel is a known entity to me and the other builder may not be a known entity to me. Changing to a different board or spending $50 to get a better board for X, Y or Z reason is a valid option.

RAM: As far as I know I don’t “need” DDR2 800 MHz. I am not going to overclock or need the RAM for 3d gaming. So in fact all things considered I would be better off with 4 GB of cheap RAM than 2 GB of HQ RAM.

Corsair, Crucial or Kingston seem to be the logical choices, but there a seemingly hundreds of choices. 4 single sticks versus 2 sticks is a key consideration as the 2 sticks would allow me to bump to 8 GB at some time in the future.

Corsair 4 stick package $254

OCZ 4 stick package $194

Corsair 2 sticks, 2 GB each $305

OCZ 2 sticks, 2 GB each $240

Dropping down to 667 MHz is an option…4 GB of this Corsair would only be $152

Hard Drives:

Seagate or Western Digital, the logic choice seems to be… who is cheaper this week. 320 GB, 16 MB Cache, 7200 speed is $75 to $80 per drive.

I want/need 3 drives. Primary drive will be for OS and programs, 2nd drive for data files and the 3rd one for an internal HD backup. I also have an external HD that I use for offsite backup. I do a quick copy of the days or weeks work as a backup and save up to several weeks of backups at a time, so I do not want to mirror drive 2 and 3 as the content of the drives will not be identical.

Buying smaller drives doesn’t make much sense and neither does buying 8 MB cache drives as the $ savings are minimal if any at all. I don’t think a Raptor as the OS drive would really be of benefit.

I am inclined to partition the primary HD and separate the programs from the OS just to cleanup re-installs, not because the partition would be of a speed benefit. To that effect I could just buy a 4th HD and place the programs exclusively on the 2nd drive. But I am not a gamer, and I don't need 0.01 second response if 1.0 second response is good enough.

Buying larger drives does not make much sense in terms of my needs.

Buying OEM is acceptable as the MB comes with SATA cables. However, the 3rd HD or even 4th HD would require the purchasing of additional SATA cables, correct?


Oh gosh what do I really need? Remember, no “games”. But DVD, HDTV and the long term potential of HD-DVD on a 24” widescreen is something above the integrated graphics stage.

I set the standard at a minimum of 256bit, 256 MB GDDR3 due to my familiarity with 128bit, 128 mb cards. This technical standard gave me a wide range of cards that are current highend to just a generation or so behind. Being the nVidia fan that I am, I went through the nVidia card selection.

7900GS cards are $120 to $150 or so. A great bang for the $ which is not too expensive today that I could not justify an upgrade tomorrow.

7950GT is $180 for 256MB, $256 for the 512MB. The 512MB is a poor value on a dollar basis when for a few bucks more the 8800 GTS can be had.

8800 GTS are $280 to $320 for 320 MB using 320 bit.

8800 GTS 640 MB and 8800 GTX cards are just simply overkill for my purposes. In reality I could most likely drop down to a weaker card and get away with it, but I look at the 7900 GS as the sweet spot in performance versus cost.

The bad part of this comparison is that the $200+ cards are going to drop rapidly as the next generation of card hits the market. The 7900 GS are going to drop in price, just not as much. So in a few weeks or maybe a month or two I might be able to pickup a 7900 GS for $100 or a 8800 GTS 320 mb for $200.

I worked my way kind of backwards to the PSU.

MINIMUM per calculation is 343 to 400w at 100% load with 0 aging, depending upon GPU more than any other factor. By my calculations a 500w PSU is very adequate.

PSU seems to be the point where a lot of people freak out. Reading customer feedback on Newegg I would be inclined to believe that 20% of all PSU fail on the first powering.

In reality, the PSU is nothing more than a complex transformer. In my experience the transformer is the most reliable component (out side of the case or wires) that could be in the computer. Maybe I am wrong. Maybe people are tying to run 700w of equipment off of an 400 PSU. Maybe the technology of copper wire is not as good as I think.

What I do KNOW for sure is that I want a modular power supply. 500w modular PSU go for about $100 to $120. Is there ANY logic reason to go with brand A over brand B, or to have a larger PSU?

Ok, that is the basics. I am still picking out optical drive and media reader and other whatnots and will add them later.
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More about first build ever high business personal
  1. Hey there, welcome to the boards. For your computer I would suggest something like a Gigabyte P35-DS3L motherboard. It's a great board and costs a little less than the one you have picked.

    The CPU is great and so is the case. For RAM try Super Talent DDR2-800, it should be cheaper than the Corsair and just as good.

    Graphics cards, since you don't game, you can pick up a cheaper 8600GS card or something like the HD2600. They are all HD compatible.

    PSU are actually pretty important, some are less quality and will fail within a year maybe sooner. A high quality PSU, like Antec HENeo, or Corsair 430W-520W (for your needs) would be recommended.

    If you have questions or anything at all, msg me on aim or yahoo, Maximus9102.
  2. I have the Antec HENeo 550, has modulae cabling and really nice. Will give you more than enough power. I'd go with the 8600GT but the 8600GS would work, always like to go with a good entry level card even thought I don't game
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