Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

A beginner here...advice needed.

Last response: in Systems
August 6, 2008 3:50:31 PM

My PC just died so I want to get a new barebones system and transfer my hard drives and DVD burner over.

I've read through some articles at this website but they seem to be more geared towards overclocking and high end gaming systems. The only game I play is Lord of the Rings Online, and I don't want to spend a great deal of money to make that one game prettier.

Here is what I'm currently looking at getting. Please help me out if something doesn't make sense, or if I need some sort of connector cable that I would be unaware of. Thank you!

119 CPU - Intel Core 2 Duo E7200
25 CPU Cooler - Cooler Master Hyper TX 2
150 Motherboard - MSI P7N SLI Platinum
55 RAM - Crucial Ballistix 2x 1GB PC2
100 Graphics - Radeon 3850 512MB
0 Sound - Onboard
70 Case - Cooler Master Centurion 590 RC-590-KKN1-GP
47 Power - Silverstone ST400 400W
5 Aux Fan - 2x OKGEAR D12SL-12 (120mm/1350RPM)

Am I going overboard on case/power supply/motherboard for what I want to do? I don't want to be buying junk, but I was also hoping I could build this system for less than $600, which I'm over right now with shipping.

Maybe there is a website similar to this one with details for non-gamin systems? That might be what I need.

Any help would be appreciated. Thank you in advance.

More about : beginner advice needed

August 6, 2008 4:00:52 PM

Well, according to,... you already picked out the best video card value for $100... so it seems like you're on the right track with that.

The processor you linked to is a retail processor... so that means it comes with the Intel heatsink/fan. Is that an AWESOME setup? No, not really... but it will give you some overclocking headroom. Unless you plan on going crazy with your OCs, you might want to skip the cooler you chose just to see how the Intel one works for you.

Just curious... why that motherboard? You won't being using SLI with an ATI video card.

August 6, 2008 4:01:43 PM

You will not be able to simply transfer your hard drive into a machine containing a different motherboard unless it's pretty much the same one. The only thing you can do really is get what important files off your hard drive if you have more than one drive and that's assuming you have more than one partition on the drive you plan on installing with, unless you have vista it will just move all of the files into a folder called windows old and you won't lose anything.

Now for your parts list...
everything looks to be compatible but since you won't be SLI'ing I'm assuming, avoid that 750i due to data corruption issues and get an Intel P45.
Related resources
August 6, 2008 4:07:49 PM

Well, according to [...] 987-2.html you already picked out the best video card value for $100... so it seems like you're on the right track with that.

Yes, that's where I found that info. It's about the only part I'm confident on right now.

Just curious... why that motherboard? You won't being using SLI with an ATI video card.

It was the one recommended in the sub-1000 build article mentioned on this site. I did change the graphics card because I don't need the high-end one the article mentioned. I have to admit picking out the motherboard is the hardest part of all this...I just don't really know what I should be looking for.

You will not be able to simply transfer your hard drive into a machine containing a different motherboard unless it's pretty much the same one.

Reusing my existing hard drives, not having reinstall (or buy) a new OS, etc., are the primary reasons I'm trying to do a barebones build. My primary harddrive is IDE and my secondary is SATA with an IDE converter on it. I need a more specific motherboard than one that will handle those connections? (Again, the motherboard is the most confusing part of all this for me.)
August 6, 2008 4:09:27 PM

Like it says, you HAVE to re-install Windows. You cannot simply put together the machine and have it boot to where you left off. It just doesn't work that way.
August 6, 2008 4:11:25 PM

Like bpogdowz said... you will almost certainly have to do an OS reload if you're expecting this to work. It's not really that painful of a process and it's a sure-fire way to clear up some of the clutter that has accumulated on your system. Your best bet is to back up your data to a DVD and just reload Windows clean. Download drivers. Reinstall your applications. And lastly copy the data back over.
August 6, 2008 4:28:04 PM

Hmm. All I have is an old XP SP1 recovery CD from about six years ago. I'm fairly hesitant to trust it at this point.

Darn...I was hoping I could pull this off. Back to the drawing board. :) 
August 6, 2008 4:52:03 PM

ok, to revise my list above I will:

- drop the extra CPU fan
- drop the case (I should be able to reuse my existing case)
- add a P45 motherboard

Any recommendations on a good inexpensive motherboard?
August 6, 2008 5:25:06 PM

Keep in mind that unless you have a retail box of XP you won't be able to reinstall it on the new system (it won't pass activation) So if the reinstall disc is an OEM you'll be looking at picking up a new copy of windows
August 6, 2008 5:35:37 PM

yea...well it will activate by phone but then you'd be pirating the software which is illegal.
August 6, 2008 5:50:29 PM

Ouch. So at this rate it's actually probably going to be cheaper for me to NOT build this myself, since purchasing the OS separately is so expensive.

Or is there a way to get a copy of XP inexpensively when I have an OEM CD?
August 6, 2008 6:43:55 PM

I'd dump the CPU cooler and go stock, also drop MOBO and try below, and with the case below you have a close power supply to what you were buying. All told, the cost should be $560 and with a little leeway for shipping. Also showed the xp home sp3 cd order, least that comes with free shipping :) 

Some mail in rebates would not technically keep you under $600 but you would be back eventually if you could swing in the short term.

Good Luck.

Tower alternative w/Power supply-same price

XP Home sp3

MOBO alternative
August 7, 2008 6:54:22 PM

My recommendations for the motherboard:


It OCs well (hint: there is a OC guide written for this board, so if you decide to go with this board you can OC quite quickly) has all the usual things you need and it's only ~$85 or so.

You probably aren't going to do CrossFire or SLI so this board will do you well.
August 8, 2008 3:53:34 AM

Thanks to everyone for all the help and advice. I'm very impressed with how quickly you all responded!
August 15, 2008 2:39:53 PM

Hi. I wanted to update this thread so others don't end up thinking they have to reinstall windows when moving a hard drive to a new motherboard.

I followed the instructions found here:

I was able to successfully transfer my old drive over to my new system with the information mentioned above. It worked great, and is a much better route to go that reinstalling in full!

I'm not sure why people were unaware of this method, but hopefully it will help someone else out in the future. Cheers!