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First attempt at building. Comments/Suggestions happily accepted.

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Last response: in Systems
April 28, 2008 10:31:51 PM

Hello everyone. This is my third post over various parts of the forums reguarding my first build. After researching products I think I found some of the better components to use for the build I am looking for, but I have a long way to go before I know what all this techincal stuff actually means, lol.

That aside, I would really appreciate it if you guys will comment on some of the items I have listed. Being that I am on a tight budget, if you guys see any item that is about to become "outdated" perhaps or possibly outperformed by an item similar in price, I would greatly appreciate it. Also, I know some components don't work well with others and some people have trouble with some items, so if you see anything that may not blend well together or that may cause me some problems down the road, I will gladly take and use your advice.

My goals, as I've stated before on other parts of the forums, are to be able to A) run a lot of programs at once without things "not responding" or freezing (I generally have multiple internet browsers open while running itunes and sometimes downloading, all at the same time), B) run the latest games with not necessarily the highest FPS, but certainly high FPS with minor studdering. I'd also like to be able to run games that are coming out now and games that will be coming out for the next few years. C) I'm looking to build a computer that will last me the next 2-4 years. I am really going out on a limb by buying this new computer because my budget is really tight right now. I'd like to not worry about having to pay more money for a computer for at least a few years.

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX All Solid Capacitor Intel Motherboard
-I see this one come up on a lot of peoples' builds.

Memory: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory
-This is also commonly used and has nice reviews on Newegg.

Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz 2 x 4MB L2 Cache LGA 775 Quad-Core Processor
-Supposedly really good for what I'm looking to do. Oh and is the the "G0 SLACR" that is supposedly better? What is better about G0 SLACR?

Graphics Card: MSI NX8800GTS 512M OC GeForce 8800GTS (G92) 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card
-Everyone and their mother recommends this card and it seems to be a very fair price. Only question: Should I stick with the MSI brand or get one of the other brands?

Option 1- Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Option 2- Thermaltake Armor Series VA8000BWS Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case

Option 3- RAIDMAX SMILODON ATX-612WBP Black SECC STEEL ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 500W Power Supply

*I have never put a computer together so I really don't know the detailed pros and cons of cases.

Power Supply:
Option 1- CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX ATX12V V2.2 550W Power Supply 90

Option 2- OCZ GameXStream OCZ700GXSSLI ATX12V 700W Power Supply 100 - 240 V

*I really have no idea which PS's are good and how much wattage I need.

OS: I know I need Vista 64 bit, but isn't there like a 64/32 verision or something? What version of Vista do you guys recommend and where is a good place to buy it?

HDD: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
-Once again I have no idea which product is better than the other. I chose this b/c it is Newegg's top seller.

Sound Card: Not sure if I need one. If I do, which do you recommend?

DVD Drive: Can you guys recommend one? Forgive my ignorance, but do the burners also play DVDs?

As for internet- will I need to buy the little adapter thing so I can plug in my ethernet chord or does it come standard?

If I have forgotten anything (other than mouse, keyboard, monitor), please let me know. My friend will most likely be assembilng this for me, however I do plan on watching him and trying to learn how to do it myself fo rnext time. I will update this post with the price once I finish adding all other components. Thanks in advance to any comments and I look forward to your responses. :) 

Oh, and sorry for the long post.

More about : attempt building comments suggestions happily accepted

April 29, 2008 12:13:14 AM

What is better about G0 SLACR? It is a new version of the same chip, which generally produces less heat and overclocks better.

C) I'm looking to build a computer that will last me the next 2-4 years. Future-proofing is probably a bad idea, monetarily.

am really going out on a limb by buying this new computer because my budget is really tight right now. Alternately, you could spend less now and save some money for later. If you do so, consider dropping the processor to a E2160 (if you are willing to overclock) and the graphics card to a 9600GT (or so), and save $200 give or take.

Should I stick with the MSI brand or get one of the other brands? Doesn't much matter. The main difference is customer support and warranty. EVGA has the step-up program and lifetime, XFX has "double-lifetime" (aka warrantied to a second seller). This MSI seems to have 1 year parts/labor.

*I really have no idea which PS's are good and how much wattage I need. A modern good quality 400-500W PSU will power any system with a single GPU, with few exceptions. The Corsair PSU meets these criteria, though it is cheaper here:
450W version here:

If you use Google Checkout for the first time, you get $10 off.

-Once again I have no idea which product is better than the other. I chose this b/c it is Newegg's top seller. It's a fine HD. If it's enough space, then it's great. Might bump to 640GB version, depending on budget and needs. Spinpoint F1 drives are also pretty good.

I know I need Vista 64 bit Need would be a strong word. At 4GB, it's pretty much a wash between a 32 bit version and a 64 bit version, but moving forward, the 64bit version would be preferred. There are free Linux 64 bit versions :) 

Not sure if I need one. If I do, which do you recommend? None, if you're on a budget. Onboard sound is fine.

Forgive my ignorance, but do the burners also play DVDs? Yes, they do.

If I have forgotten anything (other than mouse, keyboard, monitor), please let me know. A lot of people like to overclock, and therefore a (better than the included) CPU Heatsink would be recommended, especially for a quad-core processor.
April 29, 2008 12:15:51 AM

You forgot to mention what your budget is.

You parts all look good to me and will do what you said you wanted.

Here are my only comments:

-Yes DVD burners can read DVD's. The technology is mature enough that even the cheap ones work really good. Go for the cheapest SATA drive, maybe get lightscribe if that suits you.

-Don't get a soundcard unless you are extremely picky and/or have killer speakers. Most people are satisfied with onboard sound these days.

-You might be able to find CAS4 RAM for about the same price as the CAS5 you've selected. The performance difference is small enough you probably won't notice the difference though.

-I recommend Vista Home Premium 64-bit

-G0 SLACR is a more recent stepping of the Q6600 and is known to be a good overclocker
over the previous stepping. Do you plan to overclock? If not, you may get better bang for the buck with the E8400 Wolfdale.

-For the HDD, if you can stretch it try to get the new Western Digital 640GB AAKS. It has the latest technology and is faster than the selected 500GB.

^edit: einstein beat me to it!

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April 29, 2008 12:27:45 AM

I would say everything looks fine, except for a few suggestions....My 2 cents:

Unless you are real audiophile, the onboard sound will suffice and save you some money.

Why pay for a case with a PSU, only to upgrade it with better PSU?
Unless you just really like the case you picked out, you might save a little by looking for an alternative that does not come with a PSU. CoolerMaster has a few decent cases in the $50-$70 price range without a PSU.
Since you are not going to be doing SLI, the Corsair PSU is fine.

There is really no reason to use Vista 64 bit unless you want to use MORE than 4 gig of memory. Also, be certain that all the programs you use will work under a 64 bit OS. I would recommend getting Vista Home Premium, 32 bit myself. (It will work quite nicely with 4 gig of memory, won't be able to use all of it, it will use around 3.2 but what the heck, memory is cheap.) Order it at the same time you order your parts. You might be able to get it as a package deal with some of the things you are ordering and save a few bucks. If you don't see it a deal like this, call them and ask them.
(Something that too many people overlook when you order online, you would be totally suprised by what you can get sometimes with a friendly voice, and by SIMPLY ASKING FOR IT!!! Especially if you are ordering parts for a full build)

Just about any DVD burner is fine, no need to get spendy here, they are all about the same. Yes, a DVD burner is also a DVD player.
PS...any DVD burner will also burn and play CD's as well.

April 29, 2008 2:14:35 AM

Hey guys, thanks for all the good advice. :)  I am going to work a bit more on my build.

Audio: Yah, I had read on some other posts that the onboard sound was good enough for most. Thank you all for clarifying.

As for the processor. I've been reading that the Q6600 may not be as fast as the e8400, but will be better for the long run and if I ever decide to OC, it'll do nicely.

About the OS: I could have sworn I saw a vista 32/64 bit for sale somewhere. It was ultimate or something. If I get the 32 bit, won't I have to upgrade to the 64 in the next year or so to use some newer programs and such?

I do hope they will give me some sort of package deal, lol. Thanks for that bit of info.
April 29, 2008 3:44:20 AM

The retail version of Vista Ultimate comes with 32 and 64-bit media. However, if you get a retail or upgrade version of Vista Premium (not OEM), you can get the 64-bit version for about $10 if you want both flavors.

The reason why I recommended 64-bit is because you said you were looking to keep this machine up to 4 years. With 32-bit you are already maxxed out on RAM. In 4 years, 8 or 16GB of RAM will be the norm and you will be unable to upgrade. If you only keep the system 2 years then decide to build a new system, you can reuse the Vista license. RAM gets cheaper, but Microsoft does not.
April 29, 2008 1:21:45 PM

^That is a good point. Get the Ultimate version and install 32 bit now, then in a couple of years, change over to the 64 bit. Take note, I said "change over" not "upgrade".
Going from Vista 32 to Vista 64 requires a completely new, fresh installation.
You can't directly upgrade a 32 bit OS to a 64 bit OS.

I have both versions as well, I bought the Home version, and sent Microsoft I think it was about 8 bucks to get the 64 bit disk as well. However, I don't see the need to change to 64 bit, but in a year or so if I feel the need, I can.
April 29, 2008 1:51:04 PM

Unlike some motherboards, eVGA for example, Gigabyte motherboards do not have a builtin beeper. It least my DS3P board doesn't. And the Antec 900 case does not come with a small speaker. And a small speaker for the motherboard is invaluable for testing purposes.

Not a parts suggestion, but a build suggestion:

Breadboard the system before you assemble the parts in the case. Assemble the parts outside the case on an insulated surface. You can just try for a successful POST (single short beep) or go ahead and plug the drives in and formate the hard drive and install Windows.

The point is to test the parts BEFORE you install them in a case.
April 29, 2008 6:04:31 PM

By the way,

Especially because this is your first build, I have a few build suggestions as well:

1. Take your time and read the motherboard manual very carefully.
2. Invest in some ESD gloves. This way, you won't have to worry about static electricity. You can buy 100 ESD gloves for $9.00 (American)
3. Ask questions if you're not sure about something.

As for hardware,

I like modular PSU's to keep things neater in the case. However PC Power and Cooling makes excellent PSUs and they were a brand I was also debating to go with.

I agree you do not need a sound card.

A good burner is the Samsung 302N which has lightscribe and rated very highly and yes it will play DVDs.