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Your Opinion on 1st time system build

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May 15, 2008 5:45:45 PM

I apologize for my noobness, as this is the first time I have posted on this forum and the first time I have tried to build my own system. I would like to get the opinion of anyone willing to give one on the system I plan to build before I spend the money on parts. I would welcome any comments/suggestions on the following setup (especially if I have neglected some detail such as compatibility of parts or if the power supply is not enough). I have tried to research everything carefully to make sure that the parts will be compatible with one another, but since this is my first time.... I'd rather be safe than sorry.

Case: Antec Nine Hundred Steel ATX Mid Tower
Video Card: VisionTek ATI RADEON HD3870
Motherboard: K9A2 Platinum (MS-7376) (or the M3A32-MVP deluxe, but I'm leaning towards the K9A2 Platinum (MS-7376) because it seems like the same bang for less buck)
CPU: AMD Phenom™ X4 Quad-Core 9550
HD: WESTERN DIGITAL 500 GB SATA
Memory: 4GB DDR2
SONY DVD DRIVE - BLACK
SONY DVDRW DL - BLACK
OS: VISTA HOME BASIC
FLOPPY: MITSUMI 7 IN 1 CARD READER/FLOPPY DRIVE
ETHERNET CARD: DLINK 10/100 (Not sure about this at all, will most likely be doing online gaming so I welcome suggestions)
PS: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply

Please let me know if you need any other information.
Thank you in advance! :) 

May 15, 2008 5:57:26 PM

Personally, i would opt for a C2Q Q6600 system with a DS3L.

Either way, 750w is overkill. A Corsair 550VX would be more than sufficient for you.

Home Basic? Really? You would be better off with XP x64.
May 15, 2008 5:59:13 PM

why do you need the ethernet card if it's already included on the motherboard.

are you gonna get the 64bit vista? maybe you should get the home premium version instead of basic. i've seen at microcenter and newegg home premium for less than a hundred dollars.

what is the speed of the memory? get the ddr2 800 and then overclock it close to 1066.

seagate hard drives are better in my opinion, i got the 500gb 7200.11 and 750gb ones and have zero complains

also the processor will really bottleneck your gpu. i know cause i have 9500 phenom and i need to overclock it 2.4-2.5ghz to get framerates that the card is capable of.

i have the msi k9a2 platinum board and i really like it. my first one came doa, but i rma'd it and everything has been running just fine. got my phenom to 2.6ghz stable, but gets too hot for my taste.
Related resources
May 15, 2008 6:01:02 PM

I heard the PC P&C 750 is on sale, its better. either way 750 is overkill

you must have onboard LAN, so why an ethernet card?

do you do much DVD copying? if not, just one optical drive for now, unless you've already got em.

I don't know about those motherboards.

why a FDD at all?

if you can waite a month, the 4870 should be out. the 4850 will be out sooner. I think the 4850 will beat a 3870 for about the same price

I'd get Vista home premium 64 myself
May 15, 2008 6:03:39 PM

get a mobo with HT 3.0 if you'll be running a phenom. otherwise your holding your CPU back (and AMD is bad enough already right now :)  )
May 15, 2008 6:03:46 PM

I'm not going to comment on AMD vs. Intel. I'll just assume you've chosen AMD for perfectly valid reasons of your own. What will you be doing with this system?
Does that mobo not already include an Ethernet port? You shouldn't have to buy a separate card.
The PSU is very nice, but also definitely overkill. Their 450W VX unit would be sufficient for this system.
Nice case. I almost bought one recently, but decided it was a little flashier than I wanted in my living room so I bought a CoolerMaster 690-CM instead.
A 32 bit O/S will only see about 3.2GB of the RAM; not a problem, but just be aware of it.
Personally if I were buying Vista I would not choose Home Basic. If money is the issue, you'll save more than enough getting a smaller PSU to move up to Home Premium or XP Pro.
Do you already have a monitor? What size and resolution?
Surge Protector or UPS, keyboard, rodent, speakers?
May 15, 2008 6:08:02 PM

Yeah get the Q6600 or E8400 with the DS3L instead of the phenom. Agree with the PSU suggestion too.
May 15, 2008 6:15:33 PM

I'm not saying go intel. just saying if you go AMD, don't hobble it.
May 15, 2008 6:22:05 PM

Thank you for all the quick suggestions. I'm glad I asked, because it definately looks like I have overlooked a few things. I will get Vista Premium 64bit (thanks for suggesting Newegg, thier price is only $4 more than what I was going to get basic for). Also, no ethernet card - boy I feel stupid.

The memory is SCANTEC BRAND 2GB DDR2 667. I was going to get two of them for $44.00 each. Is there anyplace I can get 800 for about the same price?

The processor will still cause a bottleneck, even though its quad-core and only one video card? I'd like to stay with 95W instead of 125W and the only other 95W that I see is the 9650, but the lowest price I can find is 247.48 compared to 195.00 on the 9550. Is the extra $50+ worth it or should I give in and use the 125W 9750 for $215.00?

Also, the case says it comes with fans, but after looking at other posts I'm not sure if I need more cooling? Any recommendations if so?

Thanks again.
May 15, 2008 6:33:18 PM

you will not need more cooling. the phenom stays pretty cool. i have mine at 2.45ghz @ 27c on stock air with cool'n'quiet enabled. it's your friend.

in games it doesn't matter how many cores you have. most of the games are written for one or two cores. that means faster processors will perform better, even if they have less cores. the games simply don't use them. since the proc is at 2.2ghz, it's pretty slow, even though it can render circles around 3.2ghz dual core amd. i think that the extra fifty is well worth getting the 2.5ghz phenom 9850be and still haveing lots of headroom for overclocking.

never heard of the memory that you are using. i know that you can find some cheap ocz platinum rev2 2gb ddr2800 kits at newegg for less than fifty bucks. when i bought it six months ago, i got it for 35 with 25$ rebate.
May 15, 2008 6:43:08 PM

Can you suggest any motherboards with HT 3.0 that will work with the AMD Phenom™ X4 Quad-Core? The two motherboards I listed said they supported phenom (and I could actually find a place to buy them).

I will be doing both online and offline gaming, as well as schoolwork/programing, etc.

I can get an antec 500 watt power supply for $67.00, but I was afraid this might not be enough power. I didn't mean to go too far the otherway and overkill >< Would 500 watts be plenty or does it need to be somewhere in between?

I currently have a Gateway VX900T Moniter that works fine. 1024x768 resolution and 19'' - not a widescreen. I plan to keep it until my husband upgrades his widescreen. My rodent (hehe, I like that) is an optical USB Intellimouse and my keyboard is a Sony Vaio standard keyboard. Speakers are also Sony and no biggie. I have a surge protector. I plan to wait to upgrade all these little accessories until after the computer is built.

Trying to keep up with questions as they come. Again thanks for all the input!


May 15, 2008 6:57:29 PM

Thanks godless, I found the AMD Phenom 9850 BLACK EDITION 2.5GHz on newegg and will still be within budget. Will this get rid of any bottleneck that the 9550 would have caused?
May 15, 2008 6:59:01 PM

msi k9a2 platinum supports ht 3.0 up to 2.6ghz.
500watts is a little low. i'd go for the bigger one.
May 15, 2008 7:01:17 PM

trust me it's gonna be much better. i can't run my processor at 2.2ghz (stock speed) anymore. i need to keep it at least 2.4ghz. games play much better just by increasing the speed by 200 mhz. usually by like 5-10fps, which is a lot.
May 15, 2008 7:16:35 PM

Ok, so far it looks like my changes are as follows:

VideoCard: VisionTek ATI RADEON HD3870 (I won't purchase til tax refund is here so when it comes I will check on the 4870 and see if the price vs. performance is better than 3870)
Mobo: MSI K9A2 Platinum (MS-7376) (the one that supports HT 3.0 - not sure what HT 3.0 is)
CPU: AMD Phenom™ X4 Quad-Core 9850
4GB DDR2 800
WESTERN DIGITAL 500 GB SATA II
SONY DVD DRIVE - BLACK
SONY DVDRW DL - BLACK
VISTA HOME PREMIUM
MITSUMI 7 IN 1 CARD READER/FLOPPY DRIVE (I think I'll still have a floppy, call me old fashioned, but I've been in situations where the needed info is on a floppy and the only computer around has no floppy drive. Plus, they're cheap)
Possibly downgrading to 650W powersupply
Antec Nine Hundred Steel ATX Mid Tower

Keeping old moniter, keyboard, mouse, speakers for now. May add another harddrive later.


May 15, 2008 11:03:07 PM

sounds good. just don't get a crappy ram brand. stay with ocz, corsair or crucial
May 16, 2008 1:43:06 AM

Not so fast. The 9850 is a 125W chip. The 9550 you originally specified is 95W. This caution may only apply to the 780-family of chipsets, but be CERTAIN your motherboard specifically supports the 9850; it may claim to "support Phenom", but not that one. The PWM circuits might overheat and burn up if they cannot handle the required wattage.
A Corsair (or similar quality) PSU will only need to be 450W-500W to support this system.
I agree that the floppy has its uses. They may be few, but they are there.
May 16, 2008 3:08:30 AM

amd 790fx chipsets are rated for the 125w chips. k9a2 platinum is one of the ones that do support this processor.

http://global.msi.com.tw/index.php?func=prodcpusupport&...

here is the link to confirm this. msi officially supports this processor. just might need a bios update, depending on how new the mobo is. i've had my 9500 overclocked past the 2.5 mark for quite some time with no issues.
May 16, 2008 4:22:44 AM

Ok cool. Just better safe than sorry. Have fun with your build, and tell us how it goes.
May 16, 2008 12:03:20 PM

Thanks for all the advice guys! Soon as my tax refund is here I will purchase the parts. When I get it built, I will see if I can take some pics to post.

Appreciate all your help =)
May 16, 2008 12:20:10 PM

Yes, both the AMD site and the MSI site say that the k9a2 platinum is compatible with the 9850 processor.
I decided to go with the CORSAIR XMS2 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) for memory, since it's a better brand for not much more at all.
I may stick with the larger PSU because if this build is successful, I would like to add to it in the future (perhaps crossfire?). Unless having too much power will be bad in some way for the computer, I don't want to have to get a new one if I make upgrades in the future and I found a pretty good price on this one.
May 16, 2008 1:07:13 PM

A big PSU will not be bad for your system, nor will it waste power; it will only provide what is needed. The one you've chosen should last you a good long time.
May 16, 2008 2:19:13 PM

actualy it will waste a little power.

PSUs are less efficient if they are providing a fraction of thier rated output, but the main reason to downgrade is to save money.

The new generation of graphics cards don't require nearly the same amount of power that the first generation of DX10 cards. a high quality 500 watt PSU should be enought to crossfire 4870s. If you plan on OCing, a little extra headroom is nice

you will not see any significant gain by going with a crossfire setup untill you get a high resolution monitor.

HT 3.0 refers to how fast the data transfer is between the motherboard and the CPU. the phenoms are backwards compatible with older slower motherboards, but like I said, why hobble your CPU.

you might want to consider 1066 memory. that way you will know its rated to run at the 1066 you mobo/CPU can dish out, and what is required to get it there (timings, voltages). I'm not saying its necisarily worth the price premium, but at least look at it. I have Corsair Dominator 1066, got it on sale for not much more than good 800 would have been. plus it came with a little memory fan I will likely never use.
May 17, 2008 1:51:39 AM

Good point ^^ If I can't fit it in my budget at the moment, is that something I could upgrade to later? I could either 1) buy 4GB of 800 now, then move the 800 back and add 1066 up front later when I can afford to upgrade and slowly fill all 4 slots with 1066 OR 2) buy 2GB of 1066 now for about the same, and then add to it when I can afford to with more 1066. ^.^?
May 17, 2008 3:13:29 AM

4GB of 800 will be better than 2GB of 1066.
...even if you only see 3.2GB of it.
May 17, 2008 10:55:52 AM

Why would I only see 3.2 GB of it? I thought getting a 64 bit OS would solve that, or does the memory need to be 1066 to use the whole 4GB also? *scratches head*

Plus, if there is a way to see the whole 4GB, what about more than that? I'd like to get 2x2GB sticks, but the mobo has 4 slots, so would it be worthless adding more RAM later if there is no way for me to use the 4GB I want to get now?

Thank you guys^^
May 17, 2008 1:51:49 PM

Oh sorry, if you have a 64bit OS you will see all of it; you'll see the full 8GB if you add more later too.
I must have missed the part where you said you were getting a 64bit OS.

Grrr, must have been my turn to be the drone. I'll be quiet now...
May 17, 2008 2:54:18 PM

I agree, 4 gigs of 800 is much better than 2 of 1066.
Even though most programs cant see more than 2 gigs by virtue of how they are written, that will eventualy change, and you often have multiple programs running. For now, vista will load popular programs into memory to make them launch imeadiatly when you decide to run them.

if you mix and match, the faster runs at the same speed as the slower.
May 18, 2008 3:16:01 PM

Thanks, thats what I will go with then. =)

P.S. No worries jtt283, I appreciate the advice.
!