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First Time Builder (Arrived w/pic)

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December 23, 2008 8:44:29 PM

I used to concider myself very familiar and comfortable with computers, that is until I tried to build one. I'm pretty good when it comes to understanding RAM, hard drives, and optical disc drives. I thought I would work my way up from the motherboard or CPU, but thats where I got stuck. There are just TOO MANY options and I don't even know where to begin. I thought if I started reading on the forums I would understand, but I'm still pretty confused.

I was hoping you guys would help me choose a motherboard and compatible CPU, with all the complicated chipsets and what not, and I would take it from there. The most demanding thing I will be doing with this computer is probably watching HD videos. Other than that I'm mostly going to be working with photos between 6 and 10MP. I also was thinking of getting a video card with HDMI, and a blu-ray drive.

Hope you guys can help me. If this works out I'll be sure to post lots of photos of the components I get during my build. I think this is going to be a really fun project once I start understanding more of the terminology.
December 23, 2008 8:52:32 PM

So you won't be doing any gaming on this computer, right? What's your budget? Do you already have a monitor? If you do, what resolution does it run at?

Sorry for the 20 questions, but it's pretty hard to make recommendations without a little more info.
December 23, 2008 9:00:18 PM

Pick your budget, then look at the "System Builder Marathon" articles here at the price point you are interested in. Then, if you are truly not interested in gaming, take the money that you will save and put it toward a faster CPU or larger hard drive.
Related resources
December 23, 2008 9:01:26 PM

Or more memory.
December 23, 2008 9:20:29 PM

Sorry I forgot to mention those things. I plan to hook it up to a 1080p LCD, which is why I wanted an HDMI video card. That would send both audio and video to the tv right?

Also, I want to spend around $800, but not go over $1000

By the way, I love the fast responses. You guys are awesome!
December 23, 2008 9:38:23 PM

Pretty much any dual core or quad core with 2g or more ram, and any ATI HD series video card will suit you. You could do it for around $450 or less if you go the AMD route.
December 23, 2008 9:39:31 PM

Here's a build that's actually probably overkill, but within budget:

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $164.99

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3R LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $114.99 - $15.00 MIR

mushkin 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $45.99 - $20.00 MIR

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://search.zipzoomfly.com/?Key=wd6400aaks&Category=0... $68.99

Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
http://www.buy.com/prod/antec-three-hundred-atx-compute... $64.57 (shipped)

POWERCOLOR AX4850 512MD3-DH Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $154.99 - $20.00 MIR

This GPU is overkill, but includes an integrated HDMI port. This would be nice if you ever decide to do a little gaming also.

Corsair VX450W ATX12V & EPS12V Power Supply - CMPSU-450VX
http://www.buy.com/prod/corsair-450w-vx-series-12v-atx-... $69.99 - $10.00 MIR

LG Black 6X Blu-ray DVD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 40X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray/HD DVD-ROM & 16X DVD±R DVD Burner Model GGC-H20L - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $119.99

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=N82E168... $99.99

Total - $904.49 - $65 MIR's - $839.49
December 23, 2008 10:16:24 PM

WOW
Here I thought I was going to have to do a ton of research, but you just did everything. How long did it take you to learn all of this?
Everything looks amazing. I would probably just change the case, only because I had one in mind already:
-What do you think about the Thermaltake Swing which comes with a 430W power supply?
And just in case, is there anything else I'm going to need to buy like cables and that processor goo (sorry I don't know what its called). And any special tools that I might need???

I really appreciate the help!
December 23, 2008 10:42:02 PM

I just realized that the case & power supply combo I wanted is not available so I'm going to stick with the power supply you recommended. When I was looking at the motherboard on newegg.com I saw this case offered for a discount with it, and it looks pretty sweet. Would you recommend it ?:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.148136

[EDIT 1]

Never mind about that case above. The reviews weren't so good. Looks like your suggestions were the absolute best. I think everything you posted is absolutely perfect. Its really amazing!

Also, with the memory, I really like the price for the 2X2GB mushkin. I was thinking I would max out the memory on the slots by buying 2 more. Would it be better to do that or buy a 2X2GB PC2 8500 DDR2 1066. How much of a difference would I notice between the DDR2 800 vs 1066, all else being equal?

[EDIT 2]
I was able to find everything you suggested on newegg.com; I think it would make things a little simpler to do it that way. I really can't thank you enough for such an awesome set up.
So all I'm waiting for is your comment on the memory. Should I stay with the DDR2 800, or move up to the 1066?

[EDIT 3]
I was reading about power supplies and found this site:
-http://support.asus.com/PowerSupplyCalculator/PSCalculator.aspx?SLanguage=en-us
Entering the info for the set up, it seems like everything other than the GPU would need about 300 Watts, but then the GPU needs 350 Watts (based on what was available in the sites option for video card).
Did I make a mistake or is this website overcalculating the watts. I really don't know if I should be worried and look for a supply with more power? I'm kind of confused about this :??: 
December 24, 2008 12:17:44 PM

DDR2 800 is all you need. The tighter cas latency of DDR2 800 actually makes it about the same speed as DDR2 1066 RAM. There's really no need for 1066 RAM at all.

The PSU I listed above will power that system. If you want a little extra headroom you can look for something in the 500W - 600W range, but it's not necessary. Only very high-end GPU's will use 350W by themselves. Here's a couple PSU's that would offer a little headroom if you want:

Corsair VX550W ATX12V & EPS12V Power Supply - CMPSU-550VX
http://www.buy.com/prod/corsair-550w-vx-series-12v-atx-... $89.99 - $20 MIR

Corsair TX CMPSU-650TX ATX12V & EPS12V Power Supply - CMPSU-650TX
http://www.buy.com/prod/corsair-650w-tx-series-80-plus-... $94.99 - $20 MIR
December 24, 2008 12:55:01 PM

Excellent. I'm going to go with the 650W supply just to be safe. I'll let you know how everything goes. Thanks again!
December 24, 2008 12:56:56 PM

No problem. Good luck!
December 24, 2008 2:08:38 PM

Ok, I just ordered everything from newegg.com. I also added a keyboard + mouse; Logitech EX110 for $29.99, and a wireless network adapter; EDIMAX EW-7727 for $24.99. The total came out to be more than $1000, which I really couldn't do, so I had to get a cheaper GPU. It is almost identical to the one you recommended, but this one costs $114.99. It doesn't have that next generation port on it.
TOTAL + Shipping ($32.31)= $978.16
After Rebates (- $80.00)= $898.16

So is there anything else I need? Cables, thermal grease, etc...

And I just realized this now, but I've never installed an OS on a new computer. Is there anything complicated about it?

Any other comments or suggestions for a first time builder would be appreciated.
December 24, 2008 2:19:04 PM

which gpu did you get?

& no, just boot from disc, format and let it do it's thing

nice build ;D hope it turns out great
December 24, 2008 3:37:30 PM

cool, good choice.

let us know how it turns out
December 24, 2008 5:28:40 PM

Great choice on the GPU!
December 29, 2008 3:50:05 PM

I finally got my order. Ordered on 12/24, arrived today 12/29 because of Christmas and the weekend, otherwise newegg shipping is very fast.

First I would like to give a special thanks to "shortstuff_mt". Without your advice I don't think I would have been able to get such a great system so quickly.
I have to go out, so for now here is a picture of everything. It all looks good except the hard drive didn't come in a box. Is that normal?



So I was hoping you guys would let me know some common newbie screw ups. I want to do this right, so can you point me towards a reliable instruction manual for doing this, or just give me some basic pointers. I would really appreciate it. If you want to see any specific pictures of anything, feel free to ask.

Thanks again shortstuff_mt and Tom's Hardware !!!
December 29, 2008 4:10:46 PM

Glad to see you got everything! My work blocks the pictures, but I'll check them out when I get home.

I'd say the #1 mistake made by first time builders is forgetting to plug the CPU power connector to the motherboard. If you ended up getting the GA-EP45-UD3R, the CPU power connector is an 8-pin connector near the CPU socket.

Just be sure to read the motherboard manual carefully before putting anything together. You also need to be sure to ground yourself by touching something metal before touching any components. Don't worry, building a computer really isn't hard, especially if you read the manual first. Based on some of the posts on this site, it seems like a lot of first time builders don't bother reading the manual and then can't figure out why their new build won't post. :)  If you have any problems with the build just post here and someone should be able to help you out. Have fun!

P.S. - OEM hard drives are just the bare drive. That's normal. :) 
December 29, 2008 11:06:02 PM

I'm currently trying to screw the motherboard onto the case, but I am only able to get 3 of the 5 on. The 2 screws towards the rear of the case don't reach far enough to be able to srew them in. I've been at it for about 30 minutes and even got a little rough with it, but there is no hope in sight.

[Edit]
Never mind, found my mistake. Very silly.
December 30, 2008 1:24:46 AM

Almost done, I just can't find out how to power the fans on my case???
December 30, 2008 4:16:59 AM

The fans connect directly to a 4-pin peripheral plug on the PSU. They then have a controller which allows you to set the fan speed.
December 30, 2008 4:19:32 AM

There is a whole bunch of 4 pin female connectors, but no male since the fans are female. I don't think I would have overlooked them.

You are talking about a wire extending from the power supply which should fit into the wires coming off the fans???
December 30, 2008 4:26:03 AM

The fan plugs are "pass-through" plugs, they have a female plug on one side and a male plug on the other to allow "daisy chaining" them. Yes, the fans plug straight into the PSU.
December 30, 2008 4:27:57 AM

WoW, I can't believe I didn't see that. You're awesome shortstuff!
December 30, 2008 4:32:27 AM

Here is a photo I took at one point. I think I was almost done.
December 30, 2008 5:44:51 AM

looking good, make sure it runs then get some ties on the cables. It does make a difference.
!