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First build ever, $1,100 budget

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January 30, 2008 7:26:56 PM

Hello, my name is Nick and recently I have noticed how crappy my computer is. I am only 15 and have an old Dell OptiPlex P4 1.8GHz with a NVIDIA FX 5200 128MB that I bought for it, and I upgraded it to its max 1GB RAM configuration. It had 256MB. My main goal in doing this is not only to gain experience but to also come out with a decent system. I have been working for quite some time now refereeing soccer games within my community (I'm way over payed for what I do, lol.) and some freelance web-design work in my spare time. I have managed to raise 1300$ however I don't want to blow it all on my computer and have nothing left, so my budget is $1100.

Below I have listed the parts I am thinking of buying, please let me know if there is a better bargain, or a better deal out there somewhere, or if my parts are not compatible. I have done alot of research but I might be wrong in some places because of my inexperience.

CPU & Heatsink/Fan

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 - 3.0Ghz
I chose this because its the newest processor out there and it uses the new 45nm technology, it was between this and the E6750, so I chose this because it was only a little bit more expensive and well worth it.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro
Cheap, and reliable. Chose this so I can overclock the CPU a little bit, not anything extreme. Also bought the Artic silver 5 thermal compound to replace the stock Thermal Grease.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Revised:
Went with the Tuniq Tower suggested by Silverion for overclocking my system.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard

GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P35
No particular reason for this really, just a cheap quality motherboard judging from the reviews. Definitely open to comments about this. I'm not doing SLI in the near future, however I will in about a year, so I will have to upgrade this eventually didn't want to spend to much on it now.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory

G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
I don't need extreme performance RAM for my system, I've been chugging along at 1GB for about 3 years now, so any improvement for me is fine. Also I'm not going to be running Vista so I don't need alot of RAM either, 2GB should do me fine. This is cheap, and exactly what I need pretty much.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Revised:
Went with chuckm's RAM suggestion for the cheaper price and same performance.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Card

EVGA 512-P3-N841-A3 GeForce 8800GTS (G92) 512MB
This card is exactly what I want, I play on a 1280x1024 LCD, so I don't need alot of graphic memory. I do want to play CoD4, Crysis, and HL2 based games on high settings. Maybe not crysis on max settings but I don't want to lag badly in it either. This card seems to be within my budget and can also perform up to par with what I need.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard Drive

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200AAKS 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache
I don't need alot of space at all, this optiplex has a 40GB drive and I've managed to keep 15GB of it free at all times during its lifetime, so 320GB is more then enough for me.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power Supply

SeaSonic M12 SS-700HM ATX12V / EPS12V 700W Power Supply
I definitely did not want to skimp out on the power supply because it could render all my other components useless if I didn't choose the right one. I chose this Tier 2 Power Supply, even though 700W may be a little bit overkill for my system. However, I would like to keep this PSU for future builds and upgrades which is why I bought the 700W version instead of the 600W. This may be a bit picky also but this PSU has 2 fans, 1 intake fan on the side where you connect cables, and another one on top. In the case I chose to buy, the top fan will be shooting air out of a vent on the bottom of the case, so with this 2 fan setup there will be virtually 0 heat emitting from the PSU in the case. And it also has Modular cabling which I really want, so I can keep clutter to a minimum.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Revised:
Way overkill for my low power consumption system, I thought I needed alot more then what I actually did, going with the 520W Corsair HX, recommended by several people.
http://www.buy.com/prod/corsair-520w-sli-certified-modu...

Computer Case/Optical Drive

COOLER MASTER RC-690
I have always wanted this case, it looks like an awesome case to have because of its size and all of the possible fan configurations for removing excess heat within your system. It's also not extremely pricey either.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
LITE-ON Black 20X DVD+R
Simple and too the point, needed one and this one seems good.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Revised:
This one has problems, so I'm going with chuckm's recommendation once again.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

1st Total: $1,120.88
2nd Total: $1,050.90

-------------------------
Subtotal: $1,037.92
Shipping: $26.75
-------------------------
Total Cost: $1,064.67
-------------------------
Saved $56.21 so far by posting on toms hardware, and also gained better performance/price ratio.
-------------------------

I have my monitors, peripherals, etc. so no need for that. The total comes to only 20$ over my budget which is manageable. Any comments what so ever are greatly appreciated. I know my post is long and if you read it all I thank you very much.

-Nick

More about : build 100 budget

January 30, 2008 7:54:01 PM

just wondering what OS do you plan to use? this could add 100-400 to any build if you dont already have it.
January 30, 2008 7:55:40 PM

Looks good to me. Might want to throw in a floppy drive (if you can't pull the one from your Dell) to update BIOS and/or add SATA drivers during install.

You could probably shave off some dollars on the power supply. You can find a good 700 watter for about 120$.

That GSkill memory works great but I have had problems OCing it in the past (AMD System). (HOWEVER even if the E8400 is running at 3.6 GHZ the bus speed will still be 400Mhz which is DDR2 800, so you SHOULD be fine.)

You can proly also save some dollars by just going for the 8800GT and not the GTS. Especially if you are just running at 1280x1024. Not too much difference in performance and you would save 70 bucks.

Anywho my 2. Good luck and have fun.
Related resources
January 30, 2008 8:02:36 PM

Do you plan on doing any type of OverClock? If so, how much.

The reason for asking is two fold.

The Chipset cooling for that Mobo is not great so upgrading to the DS3R may suit you better if planning to push the FSB well beyond 1333FSB. It can handle it, but it would be a little safer bet.

To hit 4.0Ghz on that PC you will need a FSB of 450.

Other Options.....
Great PSU. Consider this one after rebate......

Corsair 750w - $120 AR
http://www.buy.com/prod/corsair-tx-750w-atx-12v-power-s...

Nice Case - Consider the Antect 900 - $65 AR.
http://www.buy.com/prod/antec-nine-hundred-steel-atx-mi...
January 30, 2008 8:06:36 PM

I am building it myself, and Dan_p my dad has a copy of Windows XP that he can get from work, he is a network engineer for an insurance company.

That RAM looks great chuckm, ill definitely look into getting those sticks instead. I didn't know about the LITE-ON having problems so I'll get the other drive you recommended aswell.

But the power supply you say is a steal for the price, is 520W enough to power my system? and any future upgrades I may want?

Smoked Turkey thanks for your opinion on the RAM i'm going with the ones chuckm recommended, and as for the gfx card I realized that I may not need the GTS atm, but I plan to be buying a bigger monitor in the near future so I wanted to be ready.

Zennmaster, I do plan to overclock a little bit to experiment with it. I am very inexperienced with any system OC'ing so I won't do anything to extreme. 3.6-3.8Ghz is what i had in mind or maybe even 3.4Ghz to start, what MB would you recommend for OC'ing to 4Ghz?

Thanks for the Case and PSU options aswell.

January 30, 2008 8:49:16 PM

Wow I must have had a very skewed view on how much power I was going to need, haha. Thanks for your help chuckm, ill be going with the 520 because I really want to cut down on the cable clutter by user modular cabling.

On another note, should I look into getting a soundcard? The motherboard does have onboard sound but I'm not sure if I should buy a soundcard or not. Opinions welcome =D.

-Nick
January 30, 2008 8:57:35 PM

Are you an audiophile?? Thats what you need to ask...truthfully I have onboard on my PC and my parents have an X-Fi and I hear very little difference (and what there is is the speakers)

4 Ghz should be fine, but I might get a better cooler just to be safe. P35s are good overclockers. Mainly Gigabyte and Asus. Model depends on needs (4 sata vs. 8 sata etc.). I have a Gigabyte DS3L and its very good. The DS3R and Asus P5K-E are better but slightly more expensive
January 30, 2008 9:02:56 PM

Yeah i was gonna say that the power supply might be overkill, especially with a single graphics card. That 520 watt should be more than enough... and corsair is a good name.
January 30, 2008 9:30:19 PM

Thanks for the feedback guys, I will definitely be going down on the PSU to the Corsair 520W that chuckm recommended.

Also Silverion, thanks for your opinion on the Soundcard, I don't think I will be buying one. Another question for you and others however, what is a better cooler within my budget for the CPU to get decent temps at 4Ghz.

As for the motherboard, I'm only using 1 SATA HDD, so the 4 SATA model should suit my needs.

-Nick
January 30, 2008 9:34:40 PM

700w if you are going to go SLI but overkill otherwise. Just make sure the one you do go with has a high efficiency (80%)

I've been pretty happy with Realtek onboard sound but there is a difference between onboard and an SB Xi-Fi but I am an audio freak so it matters to me. Just remember you can always upgrade so it isn't that important now.

Also, I forgot to mention I have that case you listed and it rocks. Tons of room, well designed and built. Both side panels come off so you can really work around inside better, especially to route cables and what not.

I have used that Heatsink on and AMD and it worked just fine. Might want to look into a Zalman or ZeroTherm. If I were to buy a different one i'd go with a 110+mm fan just to keep the noise down as the ZeroTherm one I have now with a 92mm fan can be noisy when it really spins up, though I usually have headphones on so it isn't a huge deal.
January 30, 2008 9:35:27 PM

zerep said:
Thanks for the feedback guys, I will definitely be going down on the PSU to the Corsair 520W that chuckm recommended.

Also Silverion, thanks for your opinion on the Soundcard, I don't think I will be buying one. Another question for you and others however, what is a better cooler within my budget for the CPU to get decent temps at 4Ghz.

As for the motherboard, I'm only using 1 SATA HDD, so the 4 SATA model should suit my needs.

-Nick


1) Great PSU (i got one). Absolutely quiet and modular cables are awesome. I only have 3 in use.

2) If only going to use 1 or 2 HDDs then the DS3L is a great choice.

3) The best cooler is the Thermalright 120 Extreme with a good fan is a good $65 depending on where you look. The Zerotherm Nirvana is just under but cheaper ($35 on newegg) but is pretty loud. Another good choice is the Tuniq Tower.
January 30, 2008 9:48:03 PM

Thanks for the awesome news about the case Smoked, can't wait to see it and I hope it fits the Tuniq Tower which I have decided to go for instead Silverion, judging from the review it seems to be awesome. Should also work great with the thermal grease im getting too.

Thanks again for the feedback, anymore opinions from anyone are welcome.

-Nick
January 30, 2008 10:28:58 PM

this link mite help you about CD/DVD drives

http://club.cdfreaks.com/f61/

I know some people who use the lite-on drives and have had no problem with them. i have not used any myself. but one of the two happens to be a good friend.

also for the price of some of thease OEM drives. if they fail in a year, buy a new one
January 30, 2008 11:59:58 PM

zerep said:
I am building it myself, and Dan_p my dad has a copy of Windows XP that he can get from work, he is a network engineer for an insurance company.



.


Is this the same Dan_p that is posting in this thread?
January 31, 2008 12:07:17 AM

I ment in response to dan_P, dan_P is not my dad. Haha, lol.
January 31, 2008 12:29:49 AM

:pt1cable:  Ok, was just a little confused.
January 31, 2008 1:34:46 AM

haha i knew what you ment
January 31, 2008 1:45:26 AM

As long as you guys got it! Don't worry, I'm still laughing too. Time for this old man to say good nite. And again ze, nice configuration, I can tell you've thought this out, I'll be glad to help you any way I can.
January 31, 2008 6:30:08 PM

Thanks alot guys, you've been a great help and if I have any other questions i'll be coming back here lol.

February 1, 2008 3:04:03 PM

Just be careful on that "Tuniq Tower Cooler" I have been reading some reviews and some people were "hating-their-life" cause it was so HUGE.

The Artic Freezer 7 Pro had some very... very good reviews and is definately a top contender and will save you some money.

It would seem to me unless you are going to be doing some "insane" over-clocking that you really wouldn't need the Tuniq.

Also this is a good sound card - Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer 7.1

And many, many congrats to you and lots of admiration, 15 and building a computer heck I was playing "pong", still riding a bicycle and DREAMING about a Commodore 64.
February 1, 2008 8:33:39 PM

Gonna have to Google Commodore 64 haha, don't know what that is, but thank you mlaporta.

However at the moment I don't think I will be buying a sound card, If I noticed that the on board sound quality is bothering me then I will order one.

The only thing I'm afraid of with the TUNIQ is that it might not fit into my RC-690, however I checked some of the reviews and they said that it barely squeezed into a Antec P180 and that case is 8.1" wide, the case i'm ordering is 8.4" wide so I should be good.

Like I said I don't plan to do extreme overclocking, I will probably start around 3.6Ghz and lightly push myself to get the E8400 too 4Ghz which I heard it can do easily.

-Nick
February 1, 2008 10:07:47 PM

Take a look at this heatsink & fan, it is the BEST but see if it fits in your budget. Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme + Scythe S-Flex SFF21F fan
February 2, 2008 11:46:48 AM

^^^ Because the GT is loud and runs really hot

Depending on prices I say its worth it to get the GTS (G92)

Also, wait on some of those parts...I've seen the RC690 for <$40 on newegg....atm it doesn't have any deals

Edit: Why are you so impressed a 15 year old is building a computer....I beat him out by a year :D 
February 2, 2008 12:44:46 PM

I have the Artic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro. It works great! I have heard that in some case the Tuniq Tower is so big it makes your mobo sag from all the weight.

As for the Freezer 7 Pro, it dropped my temps like 7 C or so, so now I'm running very cool. If you don't believe me you can check this review out.

http://www.anandtech.com/casecoolingpsus/showdoc.aspx?i...


February 2, 2008 12:59:07 PM

Dont follow what they're saying...the Tuniq Tower will NOT break your motherboard.

Many people use the TRUE and have had no problems...and thats even heavier
February 2, 2008 2:28:27 PM

the Coolmaster 690 is a nice tower and IMO its pretty big for just being " mid size " What i would do is try and find a local shop who may have one, I found you can save another 20-30 dallors in shipping. they over charge big time when they ship towers.

February 2, 2008 2:59:29 PM

XFX is a good company....but personally I prefer eVGA. But its all personal preference. XFX has the 2 user warranty so if you sell the card, the buyer will still have a warranty (better resale value). eVGA offers the step-up program if you want to trade up for a better card in 3 months. Also i know eVGA allows overclocking and replacing the cooler, but I dont know about XFX.
February 2, 2008 4:02:28 PM

Silverion77 said:
XFX is a good company....but personally I prefer eVGA. But its all personal preference. XFX has the 2 user warranty so if you sell the card, the buyer will still have a warranty (better resale value). eVGA offers the step-up program if you want to trade up for a better card in 3 months. Also i know eVGA allows overclocking and replacing the cooler, but I dont know about XFX.



yes it is true about the step up they offer. but isnt it the same card just with different names? you would think they both can be OCed and able someone to change the cooler, i myself have been confused on this issue. THe step up would be great when the 9800's come out. But then again if you want to make a good game system and trying to save money, the FXF i think would help alittle.
February 2, 2008 4:49:03 PM

Dan_P said:
yes it is true about the step up they offer. but isnt it the same card just with different names? you would think they both can be OCed and able someone to change the cooler, i myself have been confused on this issue. THe step up would be great when the 9800's come out. But then again if you want to make a good game system and trying to save money, the FXF i think would help alittle.

For the cooler and overclocking...it all depends on the warranty...I just know that EVGA support both, not sure about EVGA....truthfully its just $20 so its all personal preference

Maybe he likes the green better than blue on the fan :D 
February 2, 2008 9:37:22 PM

Well you've all had a nice chat while I was working.

wolf18 said:
I have the Artic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro. It works great! I have heard that in some case the Tuniq Tower is so big it makes your mobo sag from all the weight.


sag? sorry but even with my inexperience that sounds a little retarded. A motherboard isn't that fragile, It will support the Tuniq tower with ease, even with it's increased size.

Why not go with 8800 GT? You'll save a bit more money with it. said:
Why not go with 8800 GT? You'll save a bit more money with it.


I'm not going for the 8800GT because even though its cheaper, I find that the GTS (G92) would be a better buy since I plan to buy a new monitor with a bit higher resolution in the future.

the Coolmaster 690 is a nice tower and IMO its pretty big for just being " mid size " What i would do is try and find a local shop who may have one, I found you can save another 20-30 dallors in shipping. they over charge big time when they ship towers. said:
the Coolmaster 690 is a nice tower and IMO its pretty big for just being " mid size " What i would do is try and find a local shop who may have one, I found you can save another 20-30 dallors in shipping. they over charge big time when they ship towers.


I'm going to the local CompUSA one of these days and will see if they have it there, if not I will wait until I get a coupon or discount on newegg for the case. I'm not ordering this system until mid-march.

same card?? little cheaper said:
same card?? little cheaper


I'm not a fan of either brand yet because I have not yet experienced either of them, I will look into getting the same card at a cheaper price. I believe the one i chose was slightly overclocked.

Thanks for your comments and inputs guys. Anymore are welcome.

P.S. Silverion, you trying to steal my glory!? lol jk man thanks for the help.



February 2, 2008 9:41:09 PM

zerep said:
P.S. Silverion, you trying to steal my glory!? lol jk man thanks for the help.

haha

what glory?? (no Im not getting it...what do you mean :D )

Anyways...its a great system your getting. Have fun with it is my only other advice I can give
February 2, 2008 9:58:03 PM

Why are you so impressed a 15 year old is building a computer....I beat him out by a year :D said:
Why are you so impressed a 15 year old is building a computer....I beat him out by a year :D 


=P
February 2, 2008 10:00:07 PM

ooooooooo

HAHA, well i mean really...i just didnt get why people were so impressed.
February 2, 2008 11:32:11 PM

I have the Coolermaster rc 690 as well and i absolutely love it, its a big upgrade from the box that i had before which only had 1 fan in the back. There is actualy room for 9 to 10 fans in there depending what hardware you have. I also got it from Comp USA for $87 with $40 mail in rebate during Black Friday. If you get extra fans put them on the top since thats where the most heat accumulates in the case. As for the powersupply it has intake on the bottom so its almost as if its in its own compartment. When i put my hand where the powersupply there is almost no heat at all.
February 3, 2008 12:10:20 PM

I am impressed by the fact I didn't have to have a lengthy discussion about the power supply. I've had several poster's insist on crap, don't really know if age was a factor or not. I'm 53 yrs. old and have been doing this a long time, its nice to see ANY list of components that looks well thought out, and most of them do. I just don't like making recommendations that end up as long explanations.
February 3, 2008 12:30:42 PM

Quote (mlaporta): "And many, many congrats to you and lots of admiration, 15 and building a computer heck I was playing "pong", still riding a bicycle and DREAMING about a Commodore 64".

Well if you were 14 Silverion77 then I am even more impressed but I am impressed with both of you so you don't steal zeRep's thunder.

I guess in this day-n-age things are different because technology is so advanced, when I was a kid (many moons ago), if you thought about building anything it was a bicycle with playing-cards in the spokes :p 

February 3, 2008 12:46:44 PM

What do you mean if I were 14 :kaola: 

Why would I lie??? (Plenty of reasons but thats not the point)

I just wanted a gaming PC and wanted to save some money
February 3, 2008 1:09:05 PM

The only thing that I'd change on your list, is I'd get the "Retail" version of your DVD Burner. You'll get the DVD reader and DVD burning software included with the burner. I've use Liteon for years and have always been happy with them. The one you originally posted is just fine, but just make sure you get the retail version. Nero comes with the Liteon DVD burners and only costs about $3-5 more for it. Last time I checked you'd have to buy it seperately, which might/might not be an issue for you. Just thought I'd throw that out there as something to consider.
February 4, 2008 12:23:01 AM

Thanks lunyone, I'll get the retail version of the one I have listed.
!