first time building my own pc, need some help


my pc died yesterday (pretty sure my mb is dead) and since I was going to get a new pc in a couple of months I thought I might as well get it now instead of trying to revive that old piece of junk.

since this is the first time I'm building a pc I'd like some advice and ideas before I decide upon exactly what parts to get. I have a friend who has built several pc's and just built himself a new one, so the whole building part is covered. just need to make sure I get the right stuff first.

I'm not on an extremely tight budget but I'm not going to spend everything I have either. the main purpose of the computer will be gaming.

the parts I'm interested in first and foremost are the following:

CPU: Intel Core™ 2 Duo E8500 3.16GHz, Socket LGA775, 6MB, 1333Mhz
GPU: XFX GeForce GTX 260 576M 896MB GDDR3, PCI-Express 2.0, 2xDVI/HDCP, 448bit
RAM: Corsair Dominator TWIN2X8500C5D 4096MB, DDR2,2x2GB(KIT),DHX,E.P.P, CL5-5-5-15-2T

those parts are all at decent prices from where I'm likely to order everything. now I'm wondering mainly about the following:

1. what mobo would you recommend for this setup?

2. do you have any recommendations for parts with perhaps slightly better performance but in the same price range?

3. I have an Enermax Liberty 500W PSU in my old computer which I bought sometime last year. from what I understand, the GTX 260 gpu doesn't require nearly as much power as other high-end cards. but is my PSU powerful enough or should I go for a new PSU as well?

4. I'm going to buy a new midi tower as well - any recommendations? I want a clean, nice looking one, preferably black. I've looked at the Antec 300 tower and while it looks really nice and is very cheap it seems like it can be a hassle putting stuff in there. I wouldn't mind a tower with some of those new nifty functions like no screws, hdd boxes, space for cables behind the mobo etc. are there any towers with such features that aren't really expensive? same goes for fans and air flow, any recommendations there?

5. anything else I should think about? all input is much appreciated.
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  1. if you look at toms homepage right now they'll walk you through the steps for oc'ing an e7200 saving you 80 off the bat, a lot of people love the antec 300 around here, so cant be bad to deal with.
    As far as performance per dollar right now ati is beating nvidia so you might wanna look at a 4870 which is in the same price range. If youre stickin with the 260 i dont know what mobo to suggest I just haven't followed them, if you decide to check out the asus p5e or a few x48 boards.
    If youre only going to be running the one vid card ie not planning on running sli or crossfire your psu should be fine.
  2. If you plan to SLI, you can check the 750i or 780i (I wouldn't go 790i because of DDR3). If not, check out a P45.

    I like the Antec 300 or the Antec 900 for midtower.

    If you don't mind going with ATI, the 4850 or 4870 are great cards for around that price or cheaper.

    HDD - Western Digital 640 GB.

    You might be OK with that PSU, but it could be close.

    I would get DDR2 800 instead of the 1066 you have listed. You can always Overclock your RAM if you want that speed, and if you aren't going to OC your CPU, then you won't need RAM that fast anyhow.

    If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.
  3. Are you going to try overclocking at some point? That info is really important when selecting a product.
  4. thanks for the replies.

    I'll go with these RAM's instead: Corsair TWIN2X 6400 DDR2, 2048MB. I realized I won't need 4gb yet considering I'm not going to run vista 64bit. and as you say, I could always clock them slightly.

    as for the cpu - I don't know a whole lot about overclocking and such, but if I buy an e7200 and oc it I'm getting something that is really good now but might not last 1 year from now, right? if I go e8500 and oc it I'm a bit more ahead of time. or something like that. I want a cpu that is very good without oc'ing and can be made better when need arises.

    I've looked at the ATI 4870 as well but I kinda want to go nVidia this time. my current gpu is an ATI x1950 pro and while it's worked very well, it was at the same time sort of a disappointment. also, from what I've read, the 4870 uses waaay more power than the gtx 260. so I think I've decided on the gpu actually.

    I think I'm gonna go with the Antec 300 case as well. I'm just afraid that there might not be enough room in there.

    I also found this mobo: Asus P5Q-E, P45, Socket-775, DDR2, ATX, 2xGbLAN, Firewire, 3xPCI-Ex(2.0)16
    it might be a tad expensive, but having room for SLI/Crossfire might be useful in the future. also, with a max bus speed of 1600 MHz there's some room for overclocking parts, right?
  5. The asus P5Q-e does not support sli, it is a very nice board though, and in my shopping cart currently awaiting payday... but if youre considering sli youre gonna want to look at a different board.
  6. ragsters said:
    Are you going to try overclocking at some point? That info is really important when selecting a product.

    yes, I forgot to mention that in my first post. I am interested in overclocking the cpu and the dimms just a little bit at first, then perhaps more later on. I'm not an oc freak though, I just want a really good but cost effective gaming rig.

    @ kurtyboh: oh, ok. I thought more PCI-Ex16 slots were all that was required. show how much I know. what board do you suggest if I perhaps want to add another gtx 260 in the future?
  7. Taking into account an estimated budget of under $1500-$1600. Assuming you are going to reuse your PSU, keyboard and mouse I put together the system below with the new core i7.

    Why core i7? 1) the cheapest core i7 chip when OC'd (simple setting change in BIOS) outperforms the current intel extreme cpu's. 2) the new intel x58 chipset supports crossfire and sli. The current x38/x48 intel chipsets only support crossfire. the current nvidia chipsets support sli. 3) there is no such thing as a "future proof" comp but going with the core i7 and x58 chipset mobo will give you a lot more flexibility now and for the next few years. core i7 and core 2 duo/quad core are differnt sockets so you cannot upgrade to the core i7 in the future without changing mobo and RAM.

    MOBO - x58, option to run either nvidia's sli or ATI's crossfire.
    MSI X58 Platinum LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
    All New Core i7, Extreme DrMOS power, CFX, Easy OC switch

    CPU - core i7 920
    Intel Core i7 920 2.66GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 Quad-Core Processor - Retail

    GPU - the xfx you picked above is a very good brand. I chose the one below because of personal preference. My personal preference is nvidia. According to most benchmarks the nvidia cards scale much better then the ATI cards. I can find the article(s) if you would like.
    EVGA 896-P3-1260-AR GeForce GTX 260 896MB 448-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail
    Free FarCry2 w/ purchase & register at Manuf. to qualify

    RAM - ddr3 tri-channel, that's all the x58 chipset supports
    OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail

    HDD - either the HDD below or the WD 640GB HDD. I prefer the one below because I own one and it works great.
    Seagate ST3640323AS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

    Monitor - 1900 x 1200
    Acer P243WAid Black-Silver 24" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor with HDCP Support 400 cd/m2 3000:1 ACM - Retail

    CD/DVD Burner -

    OS - don't believe the rumors about vista. It works great.

    Total price of $1,736 including the OS. You can save a little on the case by switching to the Antec 300 but the one listed above is larger and has a better layout for wires. You can also save another $75 by switching to a lower priced ddr3 1333. I put the monitor in because you did not mention if you had one or not.
  8. I dont know much about sli but i took this from proximon's list

    his list is here so a big shout out to him is due Thanks proximon... he explains some of his choices and the list is in a nice orderly fashion.
  9. @mexpedip: thanks for the extensive list of stuff. that's a bit out of my price range though. I might add that I live in Sweden and computer components are a bit more expensive here than in the States it seems. I don't need to buy a monitor, OS, hdd's etc though...

    @kurtyboh: thanks for the link, that's a nice list.

    anyways, here's what I currently have on my list:

    Case: Antec Three Hundred 140mm Fan (Without PSU)

    MB: Asus P5N-D, nForce-750i SLI, Socket-775, ATX,Firewire,GbLAN,DDR2, 2xPCI-Ex(2.0)16

    RAM: Corsair Dominator TWIN2X8500C5D 2048MB, DDR2,2x1GB(KIT),DHX,E.P.P, CL5-5-5-15-2T

    CPU: Intel Core™ 2 Duo E8500 3.16GHz, Socket LGA775, 6MB, 1333Mhz

    GPU: XFX GeForce GTX 260 576M 896MB GDDR3, PCI-Express 2.0, 2xDVI/HDCP, 448bit

    that mb seems to be SLI ready and seems pretty nice in general. but with max bus speed at 1333ghz, is there room for overclocking the cpu?
  10. from my understanding, the cpu will overclock, but the board wont recognize a faster fsb. so you get a faster core with a "potential bottleneck" at the fsb, although ive read reports where some boards overclock as well... but dont understand that so cant explain. even with the 1333m/hz and oc you still get a faster proc... so it'll show improvement, just not as large of one if you were speeding up the fsb as well.

    I would highly suggest this ram its cheaper and you get 4 gigs, as long as your gonna oc might as well oc the ram as well. still get stable 1066 speeds out of it... only twice as much for less.

    Toss in a nice psu and your set i would say.
  11. hm, I can't find those where I'm ordering from. what if I go with these instead ? they're only 2 GB total but like I said, I'm not going to run Vista 64-bit and as far as I know there's no reason to have more than 2GB then, right? if there is, I might as well get 4GB though.

    as for the rest, you understand correctly it seems. I want to be able to overclock the cpu and memories a bit. you don't think that the mb I've chosen can handle that? what about this one: ? I decided I'm probably not going to use SLI in the future anyways, so I'm skipping an SLI ready mb.

    as for PSU, like I said I have an Enermax Liberty 500W - do you think this will be enough to run the GTX 260 gpu and other parts? on nVidia's website it says the card requires 500W but as I understand it they count with other necessary parts as well, such has hdd, cpu and whatnot.
  12. that ram is nice especially when the price and mri are considered.

    if you're 100% sure you're never going to run sli that's a nice board, but keep this one in mind as well, boards that aren't sli certified are much cheaper, i dont know why nvidia created such a problem with there stuff... wouldnt be too bad if their cards were faster than ati's.

    the psu should be fine especially if youre not going to run an sli setup.
    32bit window will register 3.25 gig of memory total... so yeah you shouldn't need more than 2 gigs as your gpu is using nearly the rest.
  13. I have a hard time finding a mb that supports SLI, has a max bus speed of 1600 and other things I need. so I might as well get the Gigabyte one and go with two ATI cards for crossfire if I decide to change it up in the future.

    so yeah, I think I've decided on this setup:

    Case: Antec Three Hundred

    MB: Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3, P45, Socket-775, ATX, 2xGbLAN, DDR2, 2xPCI-Ex(2.0)x16

    RAM: Corsair TWIN2X 6400 DDR2, 2048MB CL5 Kit w/two matched CM2X1024A-6400 Dimm's

    CPU: Intel Core™ 2 Duo E8500 3.16GHz, Socket LGA775, 6MB, 1333Mhz

    GPU: XFX GeForce GTX 260 576M 896MB GDDR3, PCI-Express 2.0, 2xDVI/HDCP, 448bit

    PSU: Enermax Liberty 500W

    I even ended up at a lower price label than I expected.
  14. That motherboard is discontinued. Check out this one that supports crossfire:

    GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $129.99 -$20.00 MIR

    It's rated up to 1600MHz FSB and will be easy to OC.
  15. what do you mean discontinued? Gigabyte don't support it anymore? I could still order that exact model (which I actually already did yesterday). from what I understand they released 14 or so different models at the same time, all based on that one. but that one doesn't support crossfire or what?
  16. GTX 260 Core 216 SuperClocked is a little more than the regular 260 but a lot better.
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