It has been ages since I built a machine, around the time Pentium III 450 MHz was the best you could get. So please be kind...
Since I have recently ditched console gaming, I wanted to build a new gaming machine. And, having built machines before, knew what I was doing... kind of. I picked up a new case that came with a 450-watt power supply. Here is the label...
It has 2 SATA power cables, as well as the 6-pin for a video card, so I thought this might fit the bill. Here is what I have ordered to go inside:
- ASUS M2A-VM AMD 690G Socket AM2 ATX Motherboard
- XFX GeForce 8600GT 512 MB SLI PCI-Express Video Card
- AMD Athlon 64 x2 5000+ 2.6 GHz AM2 Black Edition
- 2 x 2GB PC6400 DDR2 800 MHz Memory (4GB total)
- SATA Hard Drive, SATA DVD-RW/Lightscribe
It is going to be running Windows XP Pro. I mainly play World of Warcraft (currently on a Thinkpad T41). Since I don't have my consoles anymore, I plan to check out other games, such as Call Of Duty 4, Civilization IV, perhaps some others.
With all that said, bless you for reading it all. Here are my questions:
1. Will the power supply be adequate for the hardware configuration? Should I upgrade, or can I do without?
2. In regards to case fans, the case only has a 4" fan in the back, and has mounting available on the side access panel for two fans (the smaller has a plastic cone attached to the inside), and one in the front for one fan. Do I need more, and what is the optimal placement?
3. CPU fans/coolers: I plan on getting one, but so many out there, each with their own installation nightmare, I don't know what to get. Of course I want it quiet and efficient as possible, without having to go liquid-cooling. Suggestions?
Everything looks good except for the video card. Unless you've already bought it, you should probably upgrade it to at least a 8800gt (much higher and you may have to upgrade the power supply as well).
Yes, I have already ordered the 8600 GT, but as it was spec'd at 512 MB RAM, I didn't think it would be a problem. If it turns out to be one, I will upgrade down the road. At that point, what should I be looking at for a power supply?
I did see the 8800 GT, and while I was interested in it, I was working on a limited budget. (I seemed to be more concerned buying a new display, as I ordered a Samsung T220HD 22" before any of the other components. I wanted the 26" version, but again, price was a factor.)
The two sites you linked were great. I still have some deciding to do on what CPU fan to get, but I have a very good idea where fans should be mounted.
The power supply upgrade depends on which card you decide to get. If you decide on a 8800gt, 9600gt, or 9800gt, you probably won't need to upgrade. Anything above that (i.e. 8800gts, 8800gtx, 9800gtx...) would need to have a new power supply.
Look at this site for a general idea on what to look for: http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp It gives you a reliable number of watts, but also look at the +12v rail requirements of the new card. As long as you buy a newer power supply from a reliable company, you usually don't have to worry too much about the +12v rail unless you're doing SLI.