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1st time DIYer -need help on build-

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November 10, 2008 12:48:48 PM

First time DIYer and poster here, good morning all. I have read Proximon's guide and list of parts. The guide was very informative, thank you Proximon. I am now in the market to build a new PC, usually I settled with one for 2-4 years or until there is a problem with the computer before getting a new one. I played a lot of PC games and occasionally download movies. I have not played any of the new games out now because my computer just can't handle it, it will be too slow or just wouldn't play it. I have a Sony VAIO RB30 with a 1gig of RAM and a Nvidia card(can't think of it right now) added over 3 years that I had it. The only reason I added it was to play HL2, which did OK but was not great.

I am hoping all the hardcore gamers here can give me a setup of what I can buy. My budget is roughly $1000. Also, I am split between the idea of a SLI and Crossfire, seems great that you can add two or three GPU to increase the performance by a good margin but also very expensive too.

Below is what I have planned so far, any comments or suggestions will be great.

Case:
Antec Twelve Hundred
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power Supply:
Antec TruePower Quattro TPQ-1000 1000W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply (combo with the case right now)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard drive:
Western Digital 640GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Now this is where I got to because still undecided between either SLI or Crossfire setup. Thank you for taking your time to read this post.

More about : 1st time diyer build

November 10, 2008 1:31:01 PM

Your Antec 1200/TPQ-1000 is $295 with the current combo at newegg. Good price, but they are overkill. Get these parts instead and save $112.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146047&Tpk=NZXT%20Tempest
NZXT TEMPEST Crafted Series CS-NT-TEM-B $90

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817703019&Tpk=Silencer%20750W
PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750W $93

The hard disk you picked is an excellent choice, WD6400AAKS at $75.

So, now your budget is $1000-$90-$93-$75, for CPU/GPU/MB/RAM/burner/Windows. Let's do the easy part first.

Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116488

LG SATA burner, $24
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136149

mushkin 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400), $43
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820146731

E8500, $190
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115036

Now comes the fun part. The budget is now $385 for GPU(s) + MB.

Try something like this:

ASUS EAH4870/HTDI/512M/A Radeon HD 4870 512MB, $220, includes World of Warcraft
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121276

Now you have two choices for motherboard:

1. $60 over budget, but excellent for Crossfire (i.e. for adding a second HD 4870 later)

GA-X48-DS4, $225 or P5E Deluxe X48 $220
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128336
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131317

2. within budget, perfect for one video card, but when/if you add a second one you'll get less fps than with an X48
GA-EP45-UD3P $117 or P5Q Pro $105
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128358&Tpk=GA-EP45-UD3P
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131299

There are SLI options too, but I'm staying away from those this year. Last year the 8800GTS G92 SLI was the best multi-GPU solution, but this year nVidia has some difficulties and ATI is in the lead. Anyway, if you prefer SLI, look at 9800GTX+ cards and something like eVGA 750i FTW for example.

Another thing: if you're absolutely sure you want more graphics power than a HD 4870 card can supply: if you buy an X48 MB and two HD 4870 512MB cards you end up paying something like $225+2*$220 i.e. $665. For that kind of money you're better off with the $105 P5Q Pro and a $530 HD 4870 X2 2GB. The X2 2GB alone beats the two HD 4870 512MB cards, especially at larger resolutions, thanks to the extra RAM.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814129114


November 10, 2008 3:26:39 PM

Thank you for the suggestion and help aevm. :bounce: 

I can knock off $100 from the Vista 64bit, I can get that for free from my university.
Related resources
November 10, 2008 3:28:31 PM

Cool :) 
November 10, 2008 4:35:29 PM

After coming to a conclusion, I decided that I will be satisfy with just one 4870 as I have been with years. I am thinking that getting the ASUS P5Q pro will save me money to getting a new monitor as well. I am thinking about upping my budget to $1500-1700 instead of $1000.


Also, any advantages of getting a quad core right now? Or is the duo fine with the current PC games and possibly future?

I do plan to overclock the rig assuming that the mobo is good enough to do that. Will either Thermalright Ultra 120 or Xigmatek HDT-S1283 do fine?
November 10, 2008 5:10:27 PM

If you want a 24" monitor or larger (that is, running 1920x1200) get the HD 4870 1GB. There's a Sapphire for $285, for example. For a 22" or less (1680x1050) the 512MB version is almost as good and better bang for the buck IMO.

A Q9550 or Q6600 will beat the E8500 big time when you play Flight Simulator X or compress DVDs. In most games on the other hand they will all be very close, with the E8500 even winning if there aren't too many things running in the background. Look at the charts in this article to see how various CPUs do. Keep in mind that article writers take special precautions to have nothing running in the background, which gives the dual-core an unfair advantage it doesn't actually have in real life. Also keep in mind that they used some really impressive video cards there (HD 4870 X2 and GTX 280).
http://www.legionhardware.com/document.php?id=770&p=5
http://www.legionhardware.com/document.php?id=775&p=2
Th E8500 doesn't appear there but use the numbers for the E8400 instead. The only difference between E8400 at 3.6GHz and E8500 at 3.6GHz is that it's normally easier to get the E8500 stable at that clock, but the speed is the same.

I'd pick the HDT-S1283. It's almost as good as the Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme, and much cheaper, especially if you consider that the Thermalright doesn't come with a fan.
You'll probably want this bracket too for the HDT-S1283:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835233019
November 10, 2008 5:37:54 PM

Other than the PC being only gaming, I did wanted the ability to burn movies. Is it possible to add more than one burner and let it burn different movies at the same time? Thank you again aevm for the articles and the help.
November 10, 2008 6:20:20 PM

No problem, it helps pass the time :) 

I have two burners myself. However, it's not so I can burn two disks at the same time. I never needed to do that. I tried to burn two DVDs in parallel once, just out of curiosity, and it worked. However, I think I was lucky because the source files were on different hard drives and they were only a few big files and the drives were recently defragmented. If you have the source files on the same HDD it might not be able to keep up with two burners at the same time and you end up with a coaster or even two. Give it a try if you want. At worst you waste two $30-cent blanks. In theory both Nero and the burner have buffers and that should help. If it works, put each DVD in the drive that did NOT write it and copy it back to the HDD to verify it.

There are definitely advantages in having two burners, especially if they are different brands. You get two sets of different software. You can use each burner at what it does better (burning, reading, audio rips, video rips, etc.). You sometimes get a crazy SecuROM-type program refusing to work on a drive but working on the other. If something goes wrong with a burner, the second one will probably not have the same problem. If your MB has a BIOS issue that makes a burner fail, the second burner might not have that problem either.
November 10, 2008 11:12:09 PM

Alright, I have made my decision and please if there are any suggestions, feel free to comment.

CPU:
Intel Core 2 Duo E8500
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Motherboard:
ASUS P5Q Pro
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case:
NXZT Tempest
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM:
mushkin 4GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Cooler:
XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 along with the retention bracket
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU:
ASUS EAH4870/HTDI/512M/A Radeon HD 4870 512MB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Hard Drive:( one for OS and the other for gaming and such)
WD 640GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F1 320GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU:
Corsair 750W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Optical Drive(s):
Samsung DVD Burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
LITE-ON DVD Burner
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



Edit: Change PC Power PSU to Corsair
Edit: Added another hard drive and optical drive
November 11, 2008 1:04:32 PM

It's beautiful.

I'd change the PSU back to PC Power & Cooling. Mind you, the 750TX is a very good PSU and will do the job just fine. It's just that the Silencer is in fact better and these days for some weird reason it's actually $7 less.
Read these reviews and compare, for example:
http://www.anandtech.com/casecoolingpsus/showdoc.aspx?i=3445&p=9
http://www.anandtech.com/casecoolingpsus/showdoc.aspx?i=3040&p=17

Personally I'd spend $75 on a second 640GB WD rather than $55 on a 320GB Spinpoint. But then I'm a space hog with 3 TB in my PC :) 
November 11, 2008 2:30:56 PM

aevm said:
It's beautiful.

I'd change the PSU back to PC Power & Cooling. Mind you, the 750TX is a very good PSU and will do the job just fine. It's just that the Silencer is in fact better and these days for some weird reason it's actually $7 less.
Read these reviews and compare, for example:
http://www.anandtech.com/casecoolingpsus/showdoc.aspx?i=3445&p=9
http://www.anandtech.com/casecoolingpsus/showdoc.aspx?i=3040&p=17

Personally I'd spend $75 on a second 640GB WD rather than $55 on a 320GB Spinpoint. But then I'm a space hog with 3 TB in my PC :) 



How did you see the PC Power PSU as $93? It shows up as $109 after rebates for me. I might go with the 640gb, any experience with the velociraptor?
November 11, 2008 2:50:52 PM

Well, it says "Additional 15% off w/ promo code "Novsave15", ends 11/14".
$109.99 - 15% is $93.49. Actually, if the 15% is taken before rebate, the final price should be 135*0.85-25=$89.75. TBH I have no idea which way it is, but it's still the best price I've ever seen for that PSU.

BTW, sorry for my links above not working. This one should work:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817703019&Tpk=Silencer%20750W
November 11, 2008 2:56:21 PM

The velociraptor: I want one, but it's a luxury, not really essential. Maybe after I'm done paying the mortgage. By that time they'll have 600GB versions too, most likely.

It's faster than the WD 640GB at reading lots of small files (such as when booting Windows or working with photos). It's only about 25% faster than the WD 640GB at compressing videos or reading large files (e.g. starting games). It's worth it IMO for work computers, but not that much for gaming.
November 11, 2008 3:13:03 PM

aevm said:
Well, it says "Additional 15% off w/ promo code "Novsave15", ends 11/14".
$109.99 - 15% is $93.49. Actually, if the 15% is taken before rebate, the final price should be 135*0.85-25=$89.75. TBH I have no idea which way it is, but it's still the best price I've ever seen for that PSU.

BTW, sorry for my links above not working. This one should work:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817703019&Tpk=Silencer%20750W


Thank you clearing that up. Any suggestion for a monitor? I am in the market for either a 22" or 24".
November 11, 2008 4:54:29 PM

Well, with a HD 4870 you should be able to use even 1920x1200, i.e. a 24" monitor. This one gets very good reviews, for example:
Acer P243WAid Black-Silver 24" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor with HDCP Support - Retail $340, free shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824009125


November 12, 2008 5:26:14 PM

Put it an order today with Newegg

CPU:
Intel E8400

Hard drive:
WD 640GB

RAM:
Mushkin 4GB

Case:
NZXT Tempest

PSU:
PC Cooler & Cooling Silencer 750W

GPU:
Asus 4870 512MB

Mobo:
Asus P5Q Pro

CPU Cooler:
Xigmatek HDT-S1283 with retention bracket

Optical drive:
Samsung DVD burner

Monitor:
Acer 24"


Thank you aevm for the help.
November 12, 2008 5:32:53 PM

You're very welcome. Let me know how it works, and good luck with the build :) 

You do know about electrostatic discharges, right?

November 12, 2008 5:52:06 PM

Yes, I do. I have the anti-static wrist strap at home
!