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New first time build, advice/critique wanted!

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April 20, 2008 11:48:41 AM

Hi all, I'm looking to build a machine probably around the end of May/half way through June. I have never built a pc from scratch but have some experience installing ram, hard-drives, graphics cards etc. so thought I would come here for some advice and tips.

I'm looking to build a machine for general use and occasional game playing (usually strategy, RPG type games) but currently am not gaming. I have gone for a graphics card with a decent price to performance ratio that I would probably upgrade to a more a powerful card if necessary later on in the pc's life if I was gaming more. Other than that I would probably be looking to avoid upgrading else for several years. I may be interested in overclocking slightly if beneficial later on.

I have priced this build on novatech.co.uk (I am in the uk) and my budget is around 900 - 1000 pounds max including a monitor. Any suggestions for other good sites to order components from would also be appreciated.

Processor: Intel Quad Core Q9450 4 x 2.66Ghz 12Mb Cache 1333 FSB, ~250 pounds currently (should hopefully drop)
Mobo: Asus P5E Intel X38, 130 pounds
Ram: Corsair TwinX 2GB Kit (2x1GB) 240Pin PC2-8500 Dominator 1066MHz, 45 pounds (possibly more if go for 64bit os)
Cooler: Zalman CNPS9700-LED, 35 pounds (recommended as a cooler that fits the space on mobo)
Graphics card: Novatech ATI Radeon HD 3850 P256MB GDDR3, 70 pounds
HD: Western Digital Caviar SE16 500Gb, 55 pounds or Samsung Spin Point F1 SATAII NCQ 1TB, 100 pounds
Optical: Asus 20x SATA Lightscribe DVD+/-RW, 20 pounds
Case: Antec P182 Super Midi Tower, 85 pounds
Power supply: Corsair HX 520W ATX2.2 Modular SLI Compliant PSU, 65 pounds

Total cost: 755 - 790 pounds

I will also need:-
Monitor: 22 inch LCD - any advice appreciated!
Keyboard: any advice appreciated!
OS: Either XP or Vista, I am currently leaning towards XP as the new MS OS is meant to be out in 2010 as I understand and vista is a pain in the rear end. Would it be worth going for a 64 bit version and getting extra ram? Again, any advice appreciated!

Finally, are there any particular tools I would need for assembly - other than a screwdriver set and some decent thermal grease?

Sorry for the huge post, am just a bit apprehensive about building for the first time! Thanks in advance - Boffinboy
April 20, 2008 12:03:45 PM

Definately go for 4GB of memory in a 2 x 2GB kit, it's not enough more money to justify sticking to 2 x 1GB of memory.

The video card, if you are an ATI fan get the 3870 X2, the rest of your computer is too powerful to neglect the video card.

Corsair is an excellent power supply brand but go for the 650 or 750, that will give you plenty of horsepower for overclocking or adding addtional drives, or going X-fire. (If you don't plan to X-fire then go for the 550, or 620.
April 20, 2008 12:41:32 PM

yeah.. the 3850 is a bit weak compared to your CPU and motherboard, although i would reccomend an 8800 gts 512, even if that meant going for a q9300 or q6600
also if you get 4 gb of ram, get a 64 bit OS, its nothing like as buggy as some people on the internet will have you believe
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April 20, 2008 1:17:02 PM

The reason I have skimped on the graphics card is I am really not playing games at all at the moment, maybe a few hours every few weeks on something either old or not too demanding like sins of a solar empire that doesn't require much graphics horesepower. As such having a really powerful card is a bit of a waste. When something I really want to play comes out I would consider buying a 9800 GTS or something, the 3850 is just a cheap card that provides ok performance should I fancy playing a game before then. I don't think I will go X-fire but rather a single card solution, whatever is better value for money from Nvidia or ATI when I get to that point.
April 20, 2008 1:56:51 PM

If the OP is not really into gaming then I think his choice of GPU is plenty good enough and upgrading it later is something that can easily be done. Choice of power supply is good as well, I am running a Corsair 620 and got nothing to complain about so for.

I would also recommend going for 2 x 2 Gig of memory. Memory is cheap right now and this setup will give you the opportunity of going for 8 Gig of ram if the need should arise.
April 20, 2008 10:46:36 PM

Thanks guys, does anyone have any advice on monitors? Also, any reccomendations on ram manufacturers?
!