Please Help a Newbie to this Forum choose parts for my build!!!

I am a complete and total newcomer to this forum. Have read and learned A LOT here from just reading over the last couple weeks since I found it. I am not really much of a gamer right now, definitely not an overclocker (never will be an o/c’er).

I use a PC to surf the web, I store and edit a LOT of photos for my business, I create Video DVD and CD demo’s for my business, I do emails, a lot of MSWord and a good bit of Publisher type stuff. As far as gaming goes, Championship Bass or other fishing-type games, something like that from time-to-time is about as far as I go.

Currently have a 2002 vintage Compaq ~ AM37 / XP 2400 / 768 DDR / with AGP NVIDIA MX 440-SE, 40G, and DSL connection that does pretty much anything I want it to do. Never had a problem or failure (hw or sw) that I couldn’t resolve. So really, I am basically happy overall with what this PC does and how it does it.

My career was in IT Tech Support until I went to work for myself in 1996. In that job I supported HW and SW for others, so I pretty much know my way around the inside of a platform. Have upgraded CPU / DDR / and AGP in PC above myself.

Have wanted to build my own PC for years. With parts so inexpensive now seems like the time to do it. Will continue to have the above uses for PC, will stay with XP for as long as it is supported (no fan of Vista AT ALL) and until it becomes obsolete.

Just want to build a nice PC, one that I should never have to go into to upgrade if I pick the right parts now, one that will support Vista when we all are forced to go that way. Would rather get the right parts NOW, and build it in NOW than have or want to replace / upgrade later because I didn’t choose right parts in the first place.

I am definitely open to suggestions, but here is the list of parts I am planning to use at this point…

Case –

Cooler Master – I have access to one NIB with NO PS, I just like the looks of the case. I see the “toolless” design, but still plan to use screws anyway where possible.

Power Supply –

DEFINITELY need some help here, don’t even have a clue. See all kinds of choices, but most seem to have a bad review somewhere or another. Fairly sure that I would never need or want SLI / Crossfire. Just want a good stable PS that is rated for slightly more than I would ever need. My guess would be something in the 400W – 450W range, BRAND UNKNOWN at this point.

I kinda like the idea of that one (Ultra X-Connect) that has the “modular” leads, where you only use the leads you need to keep a case “cleaner” inside, but to me, that seems like too many places for a bad connection that could fry something…

Ultra? Antec? Cooler Master? Sparkle? Corsair? Thermaltake?

…ideas, anyone…

Motherboard –

ASUS M2NBP-VM CSM AM2 NVIDIA Quadro NVS 210S Micro ATX AMD Motherboard – $76.99

Looks like it would do anything I would ever need to do either now or in future of this PC. Might even be a little overkill, but a mobo is NOT something I want to change later. Would rather get a little more than I need instead of wishing later that I had done one better than I did. To me seems like WELL worth more than $25.00 or so additional cost over choice #2.


AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ Brisbane 2.7GHz Socket AM2 65W Dual-Core Processor Model ADO5200DOBOX-$109.99

I understand the Brisbane core CPU to run a little cooler, and 65W will draw less power, but STILL should do anything I need for it to do. Could also go one step or down. Just seems like a better choice than an X2 4000 for the $50 or so price difference, while I just don’t think I need the X2 6000 if it costs another $100.00.


Obviously, will go with 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 PC2 6400

Don’t really know what brand yet, if any well-known name brand that offers a lifetime warranty is that much better than another ???

Internal Hard Drives-

Prefer Seagate, obviously want a SATA connection.

Will use one (maybe two) separate drive for all data, personal files, photo’s – 160 - 200GB, 7200 RPM, 8MB Cache. Still plan to partition, can only imagine running DEFRAG on a large capacity drive like 250G or more.

Also plan to use a 60G – 80G (< 100G), 7200 RPM, 8MB cache, for the OS and System files ONLY, and to boot from, obviously.

Having separate drives for System and data just makes sense to me as far as security, recovery, replacement, etc.
DVD Burner-

I already have a brand NIB HP 1040i DVD burner with LightScribe capability. It is IDE, but still might do fine, OR I can get a SATA drive if it is THAT much better.

For the LightScribe, I know better than to use the Nero software and instead, would download off the Lightscribe website, right?

Don’t even use LightScribe that much yet, just want the capability in case it ever gets really cool in the future, like offering colors or something…

What am I missing?

I need to choose a power supply, both brand and size…

I need to choose the DDR2, brand and size. At the current price of DDR2 will get plenty now. Probably 2G sticks, 2 at a time, 3 total = 6 (Mobo maxes out @ 8G).

I don’t know if I will need any more than the video card this is already in the mobo. Even that should be far better than what I have in my current pc…

I see comments about where someone added a fan to the inside of the case, or put one in the side air duct. Since I am not o/c’ing, running a 65W Brisbane, don’t know if this is really necessary or not.

Also understand it better to replace the CPU / HS fan now, as they have shortcomings, right?

WHAT ABOUT those HD fans that fit in an empty slot. If I am running multiple hard drives, my thinking is that it might be cheap insurance to add one at build time.

Anything else I am missing, or maybe need to adjust some?

THANKS, a LOT, for any suggestions or feedback offered!
4 answers Last reply
More about please newbie forum choose parts build
  1. Starters - Get the SONATA III case and PSU. It's $65 after rebate currently. The Included Power Supply is a 80+ Certified Antec Earthwatts which is quite nice.;jsessionid=sy0ecz+UV1ER2vYOhgeuSQ**.node2?purchase=5178426&site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG

    Gigabyte P35 - DS3L motherboard. $100 - Gets very good reviews.

    E2160 CPU - Easily Beats all X2 Processors made by AMD.

    Memory? So long as memory is decent, It's not really going to matter much.

    Here are two options - One Good and very cheap.
    One Extremely good and only cheap instead of very cheap :>

    Your current IDE DVD Writer Should be fine.

    Cheap Graphics card since the motherboard does not have one.
  2. I have to agree with xen, do an Intel build, you get MORE performance per dollar.
  3. Thanks to both of you guys for responding...

    Been doing a lot of reading, lots of thinking about this. FINALLY think I have decided on what I want to build with.

    Intel vs. AMD is sorta like Ford vs. Chevy for me. I drive a late model F-150, not at all interested in Chevy or Dodge even if they were faster or something like that. Have always had AMD, never had any kind of failure or issues, Intel might be just fine, but I will stick with AMD. Intel might be faster, but extra speed might not be worth the extra cost for me. I am not really into gaming (all I do are simple games like Champ Bass, Monopoly, Scrabble, Jeopardy, and those kinds of games.) Most of what else I do with PC is MSWord, still photos, some video, crunching some large 3-D type files, Internet, forums like this, and email.

    I know about fast, although not sure I would even notice difference in 10,000,000 and 15,000,000 instructions per second, although that is technically a 50% increase in performance ~ and those numbers do NOT represent any actualities, they were just pulled out of the air to use as an example.

    I have decided on a Cooler Master Centurion case. I really like how they look, and they seem to get great reviews.

    I already have an Antec 480W "True Blue", and an Apex / Solytech ATX12V / EPS12V 600W Power Supply. Will use the Antex 480W if it is enough, Apex 600W if it is not. Have "thought" about using a modular cable ps (highest grade I can find) to save using wiring I won't need to save space in case. I just don't EVER see myself doing RAID, SLI, or Crossfire.

    Have even thought about "modularizing" a PS and clipping and heat-shrink wrapping unused wiring myself.

    For a mobo, have decided on ASUS M3A. It is compatible with X2 CPU's, as well as Phenom in case anything interesting ever happens there in the future. Or might use ASUS M2NBP since it already has a decent video card.

    Going with the AMD X2 5000+ BE for a CPU. Plan to o/c it to 3.1 GHz. I like the 65W cool running Brisbane core. Even an X2 6400+ is only very slightly faster, and the 5000+ BE does not have the extra heat and voltage draw issues. For what I do with it I wouldn't even notice such a small difference in processing speeds. Wouldn't ever o/c a 6400+, don't want to burn down my

    Haven't decided on memory. Have heard that most anything of quality will work, have also heard that this build will be picky about voltages, so I need to be careful. Don't know which is correct.

    Have a 10,000 RPM, 16MB Cache, SATA, 74GB Raptor, to hold the OS and use as a boot drive only.

    Have a Seagate 7,200RPM, 8MB Cache HD to hold files and data.

    Optical - HP 1040i DVD with Lightscribe.

    Also have a fast DVD / CD ROM. Use it to read (when only doing that) and save wear and tear on the HP.

    I can get a GREAT deal on a 7900GTX video card if I go with the M3A. That should be about all I would ever need or want.

    Once I decide what to do about ps, and DDR2 I think I am about ready to go.

    I wonder about other OS besides XP/Vista. Have read where people set PC up where they can make a choice of MS/s, Linux, Ubuntu in a menu screen that comes up with boot. That sounds interesting to learn about other OS's , but I wonder about compatibility of installed software, photos and MSWord after being accessed by different OS's.

    Someone above suggested an Antec Sonata case, but I don't have ANY desire to have a case with a door that can accidentally break off. My PC is secure, so I do not need a locking front door.

    Also, I don't really need a faster pc (I am currently running with an MP 2600+, 1GDDR (hw mentioned above except for case, and it reboots desktop to desktop in about 90 seconds...)

    ...I just want one.

    So, other than the fact that I am going with AMD (and that is not going to change), and you suggest Intel, FOR an AMD build, does anyone have any comments or suggestions ???

  4. Things are going slow, but some of that is on purpose while I was thinking things out
    as I went along...

    I found a case that I really like and now have one - Thermaltake M9

    Power Supply - pulled an old, very dependable Enermax 431W PS out of a full-size
    Lian Li case that I am not using right now (had a socket 478 P4 build in it). Might
    replace it later with a modular (for cable management) power supply, but this will
    do just fine for right now.

    Hard Drives - okay there. Using Seagate or WD 7200RPM, 8MB cache drives. I already
    have several of those to choose from in the 80GB - 160GB range.

    Opticals - already have a HP1040I DVD with LightScribe, and a DVD-ROM with a slot-load,
    which I really like that feature.

    Motherboard - I am kinda thinking about finding a used AM2 System that already has
    an AM2 mobo, with an already running and legal system LOADED with s/w and already
    has a COA. I can save a bunch doing that, have all the s/w I need, not have to do a
    new install or have to buy tons of expensive new s/w. Mobo should be fine for what I
    need it for, since I don't game much, or have any plans to do Crossfire, SLI, or RAID.
    I can move the parts I want into new case, sell the rest.

    I know that it won't have the best mobo, but should be fine for what I need to do with it,
    at a lower cost than buying a new mobo and all of the s/w I will not have to buy doing it
    this way.

    CPU - I was seriously looking at the X2 5000+ BE when the price was so low on Newegg,
    but then it popped back up to $95.00 all of a sudden. I was also tempted by the X2 5400+
    for $78 or so, but noted that each one of those would need a CPU cooler (maybe another
    $25.00 or so) for a real net price of around $105 - $120 or so, according to what the Newegg
    price was on that day I got it (the 5000BE at $95 and a $25 cooler would have been $120.00
    right there).

    I decided that for another $10.00 or so, I am going with the 5600+ for $129.00. I also doubt
    seriously that even a 5000BE overclocked to 3.1GHz will perform noticeably better than will the
    5600+ at 2.8GHz with that monster 2 x 1MB L2 cache. And I don't have to overclock anything,
    but still can if I want or need to?

    JUST NOTICED that the Newegg price for the 5600+ just dropped to $122, or a whopping
    $2 more than the 5000BE would have been. Even with the 5000BE down to $85.99 with a
    $25 cooler, that is $111 or so. For me, the 5600+ is WELL worth another $10.00.

    Gotta get off to go to Newegg and order my CPU, will let you know how things go...

    I already have most of the parts I need, shouldn't be hard to find a working PC to use
    as a base system to start with.

    Will keep everyone posted.

    Feedback or comments anyone???
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