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Just ordered system. Nervous Mac switcher.

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October 13, 2008 9:16:03 AM

Just ordered everything from Newegg. Going to retire the macbook pro just bc macs are horrid, no matter what the commercials say.

Here's the build. I'm open to all criticisms.

LIAN LI Lan cool PC-K1B Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112192

OCZ OCZ600MXSP 600W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341017

Foxconn P45A-S LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813186148

Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80569Q9550 - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115041

ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro 92mm CPU Cooler - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835186134

HIS Hightech H487F1GP Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161247

OCZ Reaper HPC 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2RPR10664GK
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227289

Western Digital VelociRaptor WD3000GLFS 300GB 10000 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136260

Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST31000340AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148274

2 x Pioneer 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model DVR-216DBK - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827129032

Microsoft B7G-00004 Black 5 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Wired Laser Mouse 6000 - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16826105183

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit English for System Builders 1pk DSP OEI DVD - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116488

Ideazon Merc Stealth Illuminated Gaming Keyboard- ZXP-2000 Black USB Wired Ergonomics - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823161028

Plus GPU cooling which I'll zip tie a couple fans to.
http://www.xoxide.com/arctic-cooling-accelero-vgacooler.html

October 13, 2008 9:53:53 AM

Let's see....where do I begin.....
VelociRaptor is overpriced, if you as me. I'd rather get 2x640gb AAKS WD HD's over the $280 HD. My preference..

PSU isn't the best for the $, but should be okay w/42A on the 12v rails. I'd rather have the Corsair 650tx PSU for $93 - $20 MIR = $73!!! Has 52A on the 12v rail and has 2x6+2pin PCI-e power connectors. OCZ PSU has 1x6pin and 1x6+2pin (not much difference, but might make a difference later).
Corsair TX CMPSU-650TX ATX12V & EPS12V Power Supply

The case is nice, but I'd get the Cooler Master 690 case for about $45-50 cheaper!!!
Cooler Master 690 without Power Supply - RC-690-KKN1-GP

The CPU HSF isn't necessary if your not OC'ing. Yes it will keep things a bit cooler, but not needed if your not OC'ing. I'd also consider the Xigmatek s1283 W/THE RETENTION bracket. It's about $45 + $14 for the retention bracket. It can be found a bit less elsewhere, but that will be up to you.
Xigmatek s1283 w/retention bracket
Frosty Tech's review of the Xigmatek s1283!!

I'd probably stick with the stock cooling on the 4870 GPU and just up the fan speed to remove the heat generated better!!! NO cost to do that!!

I'd also consider DDR2 800mHz RAM over the 1066mHz DDR2 that you selected. Unless your going to do some extreme OC'ing the DDR2 800mHz stuff will do!! It'll also save you a bundle too!
$96 - $40 MIR = $56!!! CAS4 (4-4-4-12 speeds!!). The OCZ you picked is only at CAS5 speeds (5-5-5-18 speeds).
Crucial Ballistix 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail

I'd also consider getting the RETAIL version of the DVD burner. It comes with the software needed to read/burn DVD's for little cost. I've had good luck with LiteOn DVD's burners, but you can get what you like. Just make sure it's a SATA burner!! The LiteOn that I was looking at is $30 shipped, so it'll save you $10 per drive and it's the retail version too!!!
LITE-ON Black 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 20X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe - Retail

Now all of these things are nick pickin', so don't think that you made a mistake, I'm just pointing out things you can consider that'll save you $ and won't hurt performance!! I think if you apply all of my changes above you'd save about $250 over your initial build. You can decide if it's worth it or not.
October 13, 2008 11:25:07 AM

Some very good suggestions by lunyone.

I thing you should seriously consider the 650tx for your power supply...it will give you much more stable power and will be a little more future proofed.

Overall, that will be an awesome system and I'm sure you have lots of fun!
Good Luck!!!
Related resources
October 13, 2008 11:29:26 AM

I nearly completely agree with "lunyone" but let me make one suggestion from my experiance.

Do not get a HIS 4870 (Terrible tech support and RMA service!!)

I suggest you go for the Saphire (link below or a Diamond)

**SAPPHIRE 100243-1GL Radeon HD 4870
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

One more suggestion, I think this 4850 1GB will be more than enough power for your system and you save about $100 that can be used to get a 2nd card down the road or to get your GF something. (And it's overclocked aready!!)

**ASUS EAH4850/HTDI/1G Radeon HD 4850
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
October 13, 2008 11:43:40 AM

Not sure why you picked a Foxcon motherboard. They are okay..... for a build on a budget.....but they are not known for outstanding performance.
October 13, 2008 1:29:16 PM

The Velociraptor if fine.
Expensive, but they handily beat any other consumer drive (even if they are in raid-0). SSD could win, but they are still iffy unless you go very high-end.

Not sure about the Case.....
Sure LIAN LI is a nice name, but where does the Hot air leave? Not many Fan vents....

Here is something in the same price range that is a little less.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

There are a number of nice options a little more than the LIAN LI.

October 13, 2008 2:11:16 PM

Some very good free software for burning cd's/dvd's is called imgburn. It lets you make an image of a disc, then reburn it. Simple, and free. I use a combination of that, and another free program called Deepburner. Also a free program. I went to free programs since Vista came out and all my commercial software didn't work anymore. And they actually do everything I want.

On that macbook pro, that's actually a nice machine. I've got a macbook for work myself. And I'm apple certified as well. Though I do have my pc desktop at home for the games and all that. But you know if you use bootcamp on the macbook pro, it will actually run windows xp or vista. You just need to be sure to buy a retail version.
October 13, 2008 3:04:09 PM

+1 For lunyone. Also consider swapping the motherboard to a ASUS or Gigabyte. Foxconn isn't the best when it comes to quality. I recommend the P5Q or a DS3L/DS3R (assuming no CrossFire). Then again you won't need CrossFire unless you play at very high res (ie 1600*1200 or better with 4x AA,etc, or if playing 1920*1080.)
October 13, 2008 3:29:03 PM

One good thing about switching from a MAC, you're used to overspending on a computer. I agree with most of the previous comments but would add that I have never had good luck with ATI boards. Mine have always had buggy drivers and VERY poor support. Also, I think you'll find ASUS MBs are always at or near the top of the of list of recommended MBs. One last thing, I've had very good service from Samsung DVD burners & Crucial RAM.
October 13, 2008 3:42:01 PM

A very good list, one of the best I have seen.
You will be happy with it unchanged.
Any changes are in the nature of personal preferences.

I like the dual slot cooler of the 4870. The vga card generates most of the heat in your case, and a dual slot cooler gets it out of the case directly, without letting it recirculate. The oem vga cooler you picked will do a better job of getting heat off of the vga card, but you will pay for it in needing better case ventilation to clear it out of the case. Consider using the stock cooler, and see how it goes. If you need more quiet, then you could install the oem cooler later.

The Core2 cpu's are not very sensitive to Ram speeds and timings. The difference in real world(vs. synthetic benchmarks) between DDR2-800 and the fastest ram is on the order of 1-2%. The faster ram is really ddr2-800 ram that has been certified pre-overclocked to DDR-1066 at 2.1 volts. I think it is best to just use standard quality DDR2-800 ram at the default of 1.8 or 1.9 volts unless you are a big overclocker. If you are a heavy multitasker, you might even consider 8gb with the cost savings.

---good luck---
October 13, 2008 3:47:12 PM

Welcome to Windows: Don't be suprised if it doesn't work

A. The first time
B. The second time
C. The third time
D. All of the above
E. All the time

:) 
October 13, 2008 3:51:54 PM

word on the Foxconn MoBo... I've used Foxconn for a few budget builds. I have always been satisfied with them for budget builds. I have never used one of thier higher end boards, but I don't think you will find it unfunctionable. If you plan on OC'ing, though, you should definately consider Asus or Gigabyte. Just my opinion for OC'ing.
October 13, 2008 4:06:32 PM

I honestly didn't know responses here would be this quick. All seem to be legitimate suggestions, even lunyone's self assessed nick picking.

Like I had said though, it's all been ordered and from what I see most of the suggestions would actually be money savings, besides the retail burners. I really had looked at Asus mobos. The P5Q was one of my top, but I was a sucker for newegg reviews. The Antec 300 looks like a great case, that had the look I was going for. I despise flashy LED type towers. I realize that a PC can't be judged by it's cover, but aesthetics was a main reason for buying my macbook.

Anyhow. I am too impatient to canex the order, but the great thing about moving to the PC, especially the homebuilt realm, is that I can upgrade pretty much anything at any time.

My concerns at this point:
Will I have enough power? considering 12V rail on my OCZ PS?
Will I be able to do at least a bit of OC'ing with the Foxconn?
Is the 80 C I'm hearing about in forums ok for a GPU?

@ Ohiou_grad: You're right that the macbook pro isn't horrible. I even upgraded to 4gb. THe problem is I've moved into gaming a bit more. and I'm not enjoying the reboot to go from OSx to windows. So I should rephrase and say that the macbook will be my funtional -email,photos,surfing and entertainment computer, but may be sold depending on how much I enjoy this new build.

@geofelt: thanks for the reassurance. I know I had said all criticism, but I enjoyed having at least one person say that unchanged will be acceptable, maybe too expensive, but acceptable.
October 13, 2008 4:27:31 PM

1) The OCZ 600w psu has plenty of power to run everything.
2) Can't help on Foxconn overclocking. I doubt you will need it.
3) VGA cards run hot, but they are designed to tolerate it. As long as you have decent case air flow, it should not be a problem.

As to the windows not working comment, ignore it. For an amusing insight to opinions on Vista, google "mojave experiment"
October 13, 2008 5:24:48 PM

I'm not too fond of Foxconn stuff. Their support is pretty bad the few times that I've had to deal with them, even though their products aren't too bad by themselves. You should consider this much better Gigabyte board instead.

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-DS3R
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The PSU is O.k, but I would go with something from FSP, Corsair, or Antec. The DDR1066 is fine and is a better choice if you want to overclock. Make sure to get the free assassins creed combo with your CPU just in case you don't already have a copy :D .
October 13, 2008 5:31:33 PM

this is just my opinion, but i thought you might like to know: for the merc stealth keyboard, I bought one hoping to use it mainly for FPS games. Unfortunately i was dissapointed because the circular number keys are too close together. also the number 3 key is unreachable without taking your finger off of the 'w' key or twisting your whole arm to reach. its not all bad though, i was pleasantly surprised in RPG games when the easy access to the V, B, P, C and Alt keys really helped. Also, the shortcomings i talked about for the FPS's aren;t nearly as noticable in an RPG. Bascially, just know that for FPS games you won't really make use of the extra side keys - only in RPG's do they really come in handy.
October 13, 2008 5:33:47 PM

I would have to say that people shouldn't bash windows so hard. I know people who do it ( i room with one) and it basically comes down to the user, not the computer. I have lived with windows all my life and I am starting to adopt linux (which is MORE complicated in terms of usage than windows or mac). Mac is way to easy and unnecessary for my use. Linux is difficult because I don't understand coding, but i'm getting use to using the programs within linux :D 

So, I congratulate you on building your own pc! I do like the attractiveness of Macs, but the hardware stinks. You will enjoy building your own pc! I know I did and i want to build another one.

Your system looks good so far and the things previous posters have mentioned are very good ideas.
October 13, 2008 5:44:47 PM

Foxconn P45A-S Motherboard Review

80C is no problem for a 4870 video card.
Foxconn P45A-S should let you OC to the limit of your CPU cooling ability.
PSU will not be a limiting factor for your 1x 4870 GPU system.

October 13, 2008 5:53:11 PM

The only thing I would have changed is asking for criticisms prior to ordering.
All the components will work fine together.
October 13, 2008 6:04:47 PM

@ Knockout :D 
Of course. I have learned my lesson.

I'm going to have to jump through other threads for follow up Qs. But I'm seeing that I could have made a pretty serious error.
I'm not sure about FSB - RAM Timing - CPU clock interaction

However, I see that the ram I have is 1066, the CPU supports 1333 FSB, but my Foxconn only supports 800mhz.
Would it be most beneficial to get a mobo w/ supports for higher FSB. I've heard that getting the FSB and memory clock to match is beneficial. Is it beneficial to the point that if I use this mobo i should run the ram at 800?

So confused and uninitiated...
October 13, 2008 6:12:48 PM

FSB 1333 is Quad pumped so it is 333*4 which is DDR2 667 (333*2) @ 1:1. You will be fine with that RAM. There is no real world difference in running FSB:RAM at 1:1 or 2:3 etc. Most people here run at 1:1.
October 13, 2008 6:18:32 PM

I'm going to bet on your being able to do a bit of OC'ing on the Foxconn. Since you have already placed the order and because I think most of us would be curious to hear how things went, why don't you post back after the build to let us know how it went. As far as OC'ing the quad core CPU goes, though, you are usually limited by heat (4 cores makes some heat) and the FSB wall that usually limits quads more then duels.
October 13, 2008 7:19:54 PM

Check back before assembly.
Dont handle the components if you have been walking around on carpet.
If you want to be sure you arent holding a static charge in you body just touch a water faucet. Dont work standing on carpet, avoid it.
There are also rubber matts, gloves, grounding wrist straps. Etc.
October 18, 2008 8:02:30 PM

Sp0cK said:
I nearly completely agree with "lunyone" but let me make one suggestion from my experiance.

Do not get a HIS 4870 (Terrible tech support and RMA service!!)

I suggest you go for the Saphire (link below or a Diamond)

**SAPPHIRE 100243-1GL Radeon HD 4870
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

One more suggestion, I think this 4850 1GB will be more than enough power for your system and you save about $100 that can be used to get a 2nd card down the road or to get your GF something. (And it's overclocked aready!!)

**ASUS EAH4850/HTDI/1G Radeon HD 4850
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I Would add AVOID Sapphire too, I have a friend that has dealt with them and He is an enthusiast as well and WILL NEVER recommend them to anyone ever again after dealing with the slower than Moses RMA process. AND they make you pay them to do the RMA and I am not referring to shipping either.

I am so glad EVGA and BFG exist...to set the example of excellent RMA processes, I really hope the rumors are true and EVGA is considering AMD cards too....they might put the others out of business with their RMA and Step UP awesomeness.

I see you built it already....still for future reference AVOID Sapphire.....
October 20, 2008 10:57:03 AM

^BFG /EVGA FTW! (StepUp w00t!) Too bad they don't make ATI cards.
!