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Incomplete build from 3 months back, checking if it is still good!!

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December 30, 2008 10:00:45 PM

EDIT: I have picked out my parts already and have ordered them. Newer posts are just me asking questions(probably really easy ones) about assembly.

Changes from my original list:
GPU: SAPPHIRE 100259-1GL Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card

Ram:G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory

HD: Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

Optical Drive: SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 2MB Cache SATA 22X DVD Burner

PSU: PC Power & Cooling S75CF Red 750W

CPU Heatsink: ZEROtherm ZEN FZ120




Hey all. I came on here about three months back and with the help of the members here constructed a parts list for my first attempt at a homebuilt system. I felt like the list was pretty solid. However, due to other circumstances, I was unable to dedicate the time I needed to build it, so I put it on hold. Well, I’m back and I’m going to post the list of parts I had ready to order 3 months ago.

I was wondering if you all could check it out again and see if it’s a still strong build today. This is my first time attempting to build a desktop so I really am an amateur. So, if you guys know of any improvements that I could add that will help upgrade the system I would greatly appreciate it.

The original intention was to have the price range around $1,000 – 1,200 us dollars. The main focus would be for gaming. Goals would be to play World of Warcraft max settings(I know its not that hard), play games like CoD4 & GoW very smoothly and on good settings, play games like Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 smoothly(when they come out), and just have a good gaming machine that will last for a bit.

Good news is that the total price of the build has gone down over those 3 months, however I don’t want to miss out on any new tech that will still be cheap and possible improve the build and give it more longevity. (TOTAL: 3 months back: $1,198.89
New Total: $1040.39) However, I still want to keep it about the same price range.

Also, I don’t know if the poster WR2 is still around, but he helped me out a lot last time and it be cool if he could come back and check up on this list :D 

Who knows, maybe everything will be good as is and I’ll be able to order right off the bat.

Case:
COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Old: $84.99
New: $79.99

Mobo:
ASUS P5Q-E LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Old: $159.99
New: $144.99

Video Card:

POWERCOLOR AX4870 512MD5-PPH Radeon HD 4870 512MB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Old: $289.99
New: $204.99

PSU:
CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Old: $129.99
New: $119.99

CPU:
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80570E8400
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Old: $169.99
New: $164.99

Ram:

CORSAIR XMS2 DHX 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model TWIN2X4096-6400C4DHX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Old: $105.00
New: $74.00

Hard Drive:
Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Old: $84.99
New: $74.99

DVD Drive:
LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model iHAS120-04
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Old: $24.99
New: $23.99


OS:
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit English for System Builders 1pk DSP OEI DVD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Old: $99.99
New: $99.99


Cooling compound:
ARCTIC COOLING MX-2 Thermal Compound
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Old: $6.99
New: $6.99

CPU Cooler:
XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 120mm Rifle CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Old: $34.99
New: $36.99

CPU Cooler Mounting Bracket:
XIGMATEK ACK-I7751 Retention Bracket
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Old: $6.99
New: $8.49

Also, not as important, but if you guys have any advice on monitors. I've been looking at the BenQ V2400W.

Thanks in advance, I'll be checking back regularly.

More about : incomplete build months back checking good

December 30, 2008 10:10:52 PM

The build still looks good, but there are some slight improvements that could be made. Here are my suggestions:

SAPPHIRE 100259-1GL 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=N82E168... $239.99 - $15.00 MIR

The 1GB version will be helpful with your 24" monitor.

G.SKILL PI Black 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... $44.99

This RAM runs the same 4-4-4-12 timings, but only needs 1.8 - 1.9v to do it. It's also cheaper! :) 

That HD's still a great option, and it's cheaper here:

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

You also might want to check out the Black version.

Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $79.99

You can step up to a 22x DVD burner for an extra $1.

SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 2MB Cache SATA 22X DVD Burner - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $24.99
December 30, 2008 10:45:14 PM

Thanks for the post, shortstuff_mt.

I figured the GPU would be one thing I should probably update a little, and that's good that it will help my with my 24'' monitor. I didn't know that. Thanks.

The ram you recommended looks good too. Has same timings and plus it's cheaper!

Whats the difference with the black version of the HD. I probably sound stupid for asking, but its not aesthetics is it(like black faceplate)?

And good call on the DVD Drive. 1 dollar isn't stressin me.

Thanks for the reply!
December 30, 2008 10:47:47 PM

AAKS vs AALS (Black) HDD difference is 16MB vs 32mb cache size. The Black is the top-of-the-line model.
December 30, 2008 10:48:39 PM

The Black version of the drive has more cache, a dual processor, and other optimizations to make it faster.
December 30, 2008 10:58:04 PM

Thanks for coming back to help me WR2 :D 

The ZEROtherm ZEN FZ120 looks great. From the reviews it seems like it gets the job done, plus with the rebate it's a steal. Some reviews said it was an easy install too, so that would be good for a first time builder like myself. And you said it has its own bracket... so i don't have to worry about purchasing anything else right?

Another good deal with the PSU you and Newf mentioned. However, will it be a suitable replacement(probably is since you guys recomended it) to the CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W? I know 3 months back everyone was praising it, and I heard a bad PSU has the possibility of reeking havoc on other components if it fails. Just double checking ;)  But another great deal. Thanks for the tip!

Also, do you think my case will be able to fit everything? Will I run into any space problems?

Sorry for all the questions, but thanks again!
December 30, 2008 11:37:27 PM

The ZEN FZ120 is a complete package and there is nothing else to buy. You could even get by without the AC MX-2 thermal compound but its a nice thermal compound to work with, easy to apply and works great.
And the ZEN FZ120 will fit in that big RC-690 case with a good inch to spare (so would the HDT-S1283 by the way) along with all the other stuff you're getting. RC 690 review

We still like the Corsair 750TX and it's a great value at $100. But the PC PC&C 750 is also a frequent "Editor Choice" among PSUs and the price is just that bit sweeter @ $70.
PC Power and Cooling Silencer 750W review Corsair 750TX review
December 31, 2008 2:18:55 AM

Thanks for the reply.

I'll go with the ZEN FZ120.

I'm worried about the way you mount the HD in the RC 690. They said you just slide it in a tray, but isn't it usually screwed in to make it more secure. I know you don't want your HD to be unsecured. Also, do most cases have the clips and snaps for holding the GPU? I heard some stories that when they have the clips they sometimes don't work right or don't lock into place. Just another worry I have, but I'm sure I'm just over thinking it.

Additionally, I know this is a stupid question, but do I need to buy some sort of network card if I plan on using dial up. My parent's house cannot get access to highspeed due to where we live, and I would like to be able to use the dial up connection when I come back home from college.
December 31, 2008 3:21:58 AM

You can screw the HDD into the drive tray and the tray slides into the HDD case and clips firmly into place.
If you choose to not use screws clipping the tray into the drive case is what keeps the drive secure in the tray.

If you don't think the clip system holds the video card securely enough you can use a screw. Your choice.
Another RC-690 review

For dial-up access to the internet you'll need a modem.


December 31, 2008 2:48:13 PM

Yeah Modem is what i need... duh. Stupid i need to even consider it, but thanks for the link.

I'll go with this one.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Reviews said it worked with Vista 64bit, and all I need it to do is connect, so... it's a winner.

Thanks for reassuring me about the security of the PCI slots and HD tray. I figured they would also have the screws. The review you linked mentioned it better than the first.


Seeing as everything is looking good, I'll probably order today. I want to take advantage of the deal on the PSU.

Regarding warranties and return policies.... Do people usually take the extended warranties when ordering the parts online? I mean if I'm not mistaken the 30 day return policy every item receives should be good enough to cover any problems I get with DOA items right? I mean if I get a crappy part right of the bat and return it, I wouldn't expect the working replacement to blow up in like 2 months if I set everything up correctly.

Also, is there a consensus on UPS over FedEx, or is there mixed reports from both? I know you can choose which one when you order.

Other than that, I think everything should be good to go. Not entirely needed, but if anyone has any good links to step by step guides to assembly, it would be great to have another resource. I have a couple guides I am planning to go off of, but didn't know if you all knew of an exceptional one.

December 31, 2008 3:36:37 PM

ark300 said:
Regarding warranties and return policies.... Do people usually take the extended warranties when ordering the parts online? I mean if I'm not mistaken the 30 day return policy every item receives should be good enough to cover any problems I get with DOA items right? I mean if I get a crappy part right of the bat and return it, I wouldn't expect the working replacement to blow up in like 2 months if I set everything up correctly.
Taking "Extended Warranties" is kinda like giving your money away (at least IMO)
Check the NewEgg item's Returns & Rebates tab for specific details. You'll see a lot of:
* Return for refund within: 30 days
* Return for replacement within: 1 year
Plus there is the Manufacturer Warranty info to check out (under the Manufacturer Info tab) 5 year warranty on the PSU for example.

Video card and CPU cooler rebates also expires today.
UPS or FedEx - go with the least expensive option.
December 31, 2008 4:04:08 PM

WR2 said:
Taking "Extended Warranties" is kinda like giving your money away (at least IMO)
Check the NewEgg item's Returns & Rebates tab for specific details. You'll see a lot of:
* Return for refund within: 30 days
* Return for replacement within: 1 year
Plus there is the Manufacturer Warranty info to check out (under the Manufacturer Info tab) 5 year warranty on the PSU for example.

Video card and CPU cooler rebates also expires today.
UPS or FedEx - go with the least expensive option.



Yeah, I noticed a good bit of the rebate deals end this year. So, I better get on it.

Anyone know of a good, reasonable priced gaming keyboard? I have a mouse picked out, but still need a keyboard. I know everyone likes the G15 for gaming, but I don't know if I'm willing to pay that much. I was looking Saitek PZ30AU Black, but was worried about the spacing of the keys, however I like the price. Unfortunately, I do not have any shops or stores that have "gaming" keyboards on display, or that many keyboards at all on display....so I'm trying to go off reviews.
December 31, 2008 10:08:00 PM

Well I ordered the parts. Any advice for me while I wait for their arrival?

I had this link: http://www.arcticsilver.com/arctic_silver_instructions....

It tells how to properly apply the cooling paste, and I must say it got me a little worried about the complexity. I mean I pretty much get the steps, clean heatsink...clean the cpu... apply the paste. It is very helpful and informative, but just surprised me of all the things I need to do. I was wondering if anything else is this involved and where can I read up on more of the important things about assembling my own system.

Also, when it says to clean high purity isopropyl alcohol, is that just basic rubbing alcohol and is that all I will need to clean with? It mentions other cleaning solutions, but always to finish with the alcohol? Will alcohol be sufficient or do I need to get the other solutions mentioned?

However, maybe installing the heat sink is the most complicated part :/ 
December 31, 2008 11:48:59 PM

For a brand new, never used before CPU "other cleaning solutions" won't be required. You might use some other cleaning aids to get rid of built up old thermal compound if you were replacing the heat sink.
For thermal compound less is better than more.
Before you drop the CPU into the motherboard do a "test fit" of the CPU cooler - without actually touching the MB area to get oriented and to do a visual check of how it will look when you do the actual installation.
That will give you the confidence I think you want.
I like installing the PSU last to give you extra room to work in and no PSU cables in your way.

The item that may take the longest and is most finicky is hooking up the case cables (USB. power, LED) to the motherboard attach points.

Read instructions, eyeball parts for "test fit", read instructions again and if things make sense go ahead and do the actual work.

Rubbing rubbing alcohol can be as little as 60% alcohol (the rest being water). Less water around PC parts is usually a good thing so look for 90% alcohol if you can find it. Also use it very sparingly and keep it away from the electrical parts.


January 2, 2009 2:30:45 AM

Thanks for the tips.

So, does everyone clean their CPU with alcohol solution before mounting heatsink, or is this an optional step? Do you also put thermal compound on the bottom of the heatsink or is the amount you put on the CPU sufficient?

I downloaded the motherboard manual and I've been checking it out before the parts get here... The section telling you how to install the CPU has a disclaimer saying... "If installing a dual core CPU, connect the chassis fan cable to the CHA_FAN1 connector to ensure system stability". First I got confused and was thinking it meant the fan cable from the heatsink, but I know that that cable has its own connector near the CPU called CPU_FAN, so does this mean the fans from my case(chassis)? If so, which case fan if my case has multiple fans?

Also, under the Qualified Vendor List for the ram it has part numbers listed for G Skill ram, but they don't have the exact part number listed from the ram I bought(F2-6400CL4D-4GBPI-B), but they do have very similar and close part numbers. I really hope that doesn't mean what I think it means.

Sorry if these are stupid questions. I'm sure more will pop up when I read through the rest of it.

Thanks again!
January 2, 2009 1:00:30 PM

QVL RAM - it doesnt mean what you think it means. The QVL doesnt test every different model or RAM, or even update the list as new RAM models are released. You are good.

Putting thermal compound on both the CPU and cooler is a guarantee to mess up the install. "Less is best"... and follow the install instructions. If you have the alcohol use it - if not dont sweat it (unless you manage to touch the CPU where the thermal compound goes). The last time that package was open was probably in the Intel clean rooms.

I wonder what CHA_FAN connector you would use for a Quad core CPU?
CHA_FAN would stand for Chassis Fan or Case Fan. And the RC-690 has more fans than the typical case. The MB had fan headers CHA_FAN1 through CHA_FAN3. You can also power fans directly off the PSU peripheral connectors. You'll probably want to use all your case fans. See page 2-34 of the MB manual. "System Stability" = having a case with air movement to prevent over-heating. Not usually a problem for RC-690 cases. But not every case has an extra chassis fan - a lot of cheap cases just have a single small rear fan.

January 2, 2009 8:33:55 PM

Ok, cool. That's good to hear about the ram.

Thanks again for answering another question about the thermal compound....I really don't want to screw that part up.

Yeah I'll most likely hook up all the fans through the MB first. Yeah I downloaded the manual last night and read through some of the beginning. I'm sure i'll have more questions as I read through it more. Estimated arrival of the parts is the 7th since I live on the east coast and Newegg said it delivered from California.

I'll probably have more questions as I read through the manual more. However, the section on jumpers kind of confused me. All the assembly guides I've read didn't really mention them, and I'm not sure if I need to fiddle with them or not. You can just say yes or no, and I'll go over the section again(and better understand them) since I only glanced through it for a second.

Thanks again!
January 5, 2009 9:09:59 PM

Also, I've been looking at the reviews for my case and they're saying that the Power LED is a 2 pin cable, and doesn't fit into mobos (like mine) that have a 3 pin connector. Some of the reviews say that there is an easy work around to fix it, but they don't say how. Anyone know what that is....?

I know I don't need to have the LED for the fan, but I think it would be kinda coo.

Thanks
January 6, 2009 3:17:05 PM

This is the "Power On" LED - not the fan lighting.
The Asus does have a 2pin power LED connector. It's just that there is a empty/blank pin slot in between the 2 pins you'll actually use.
Coolermaster forum
January 7, 2009 8:35:04 PM

Thanks for the post. Funny thing...I got the case and unpacked it and inspected it and looked at the Power LED cable and guess what... they split it! I guess I got a "newer" or updated model and they have listened to customer's suggestions. I was very impressed.

Any word on the jumpers?? Do I need to bother with them?

Also, I'm going to go with the instructions here for applying the
thermal paste. Thin line down the center and let the pressure from the heatsink spread it out... Should that be good, or should I thin it out before I put the heatsink on? Last heatsink question, I swear :D 


Other than that, all the parts came in nice and safe...everything looks good. Going to read over all the instructions and hopefully get to building soon... Monitor is expected to come in on the 12th....took them forever to ship it, but oh well.

I'll come back if I have anymore questions. Thanks again! Finish line is almost in sight.
!