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[New System Build] Thoughts, comments, advice? (first time builder)

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February 2, 2009 3:06:44 AM

Hello everybody,

As the title states, this is my first time building a computer. I am in the middle of a computer hardware and software essentials course at my college, and we have taken apart / put together several computers. I have taken great intrest in building my own computer for several obvious reasons (college student so I'm not exactly rich =P ) and I am thinking about possible careers in the computer industry.

I have been interested in computers ever since I took our older computer apart and added a new CD/DVD burner and video card when i was 15 (19 now) and since then i have added some components to my laptop, and fixed one regular xbox, and two xbox 360's by myself.

So, with all the boring backstory done, I have created a build from parts all off newegg.com (I have heard good things.) I have several things i would like looked over.....

1. Is everything compatible? This is my first major worry, components not working with eachother, is everything going to work when i put my dream box together?

2. Longevity. Obviously i would rather not have to buy new components every two months to keep up with games now days, so how powerful will this PC be? I will mainly be playing WoW and some CoD4, and also Left 4 Dead.

3. Power. Will these games run well? My laptop, an Alienware(lol) M5500 runs WoW pretty crappy. I drop to about 3-2 FPS while doing 25 man raids. Now for this new computer I'm not asking for 100 FPS in all situations, but something around 30ish or so.

So, with all that aside, here is the build:

Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 932 RC-932-KKN1-GP Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail

PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail

MoBo: MSI P45 Platinum LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail (interesting heat pipe design)

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80570E8400 - Retail (i didnt know if the stock heat sink+ fan would be enough, so i bought a MASSCOOL 8W501B1M3G 90mm Ball CPU Cooler - Retail along with it)

Memory: Crucial Ballistix 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory Model BL25664AA80A - Retail ( x2, so 4gigs)

Vid Card: EVGA 01G-P3-N880-AR GeForce 9800 GTX+ 1GB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Retail

Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster Audigy SE 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card - Retail

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200AAKS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

Optical Drive: ASUS 22X DVD Burner Black SATA Model DRW-22B1ST - Retail

Then of course I had to get speakers and a monitor.

So, including tax and shipping, the build totals out to be $1299.53, which is good since i'll probably do the Bill Me Later plan.

So, is everything compatable? are there things i could downgrade to lower cost? or things that i should upgrade or change?

Also, how hard is it to format a hard drive, install an OS (my hardware class gives me acces to windows vista business (64bit)for FREE! so im set on the OS) and update drivers. I am more hardware savvy than i am software, so detailed help would be great.

Appreciate the comments, and look forward to joining everybody in the tech world!
February 2, 2009 4:14:58 AM

Your choices are compatible, but I have a few suggestions:

Change the mobo to Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P.

Unless you're overclocking, the stock HSF is fine; otherwise get the Xigmatech HDT-S1283.

Change the RAM to a 2x2GB 800 kit from Mushkin, G-Skill or Corsair rated at 1.8V.

The video card is fine, HD4850 is usually a bit cheaper for the same performance.

The WD Caviar 640GB is better bang for the buck.

I would leave out the sound card until you've tried the on-board, it's quite good nowadays.

The software part is pretty straightforward and simple. If you need help when you get to that point, just ask.
Related resources
February 2, 2009 7:19:28 AM

Yes dump the MSI board and Crucial RAM.

You are spending a good deal of cash, and should have more to show for it.

A 4870 will give you a faster video card, and will be a better match on the crossfire motherboard.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Then, since you have a crossfire set up and could add a second 4870 later, get this PSU:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...
Either of those will do, you have your choice of black or red.

February 2, 2009 7:32:44 AM

^ +1 to all 3, good advice by the animal, aford and as always the Proximon
February 2, 2009 12:28:38 PM

Thanks for all your help guys, took your advice, here's the parts i updated.

SAPPHIRE 100259-1GL Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

Sony Optiarc 22X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model AD-7220S - OEM

PC Power & Cooling S75CF 750W EPS12V SLI NVIDIA SLI Certified (Dual 8800 GTX and below) CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail

mushkin 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory Model 991557 - Retail (x2)

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail


Dropped the sound card and extra HSF, so now with shipping the build totals out to $1269.85, -$50 for mail in rebates, so $1219.85.

Anything else i should do? Or am I ready to buy and build? (though I need to pick up a anti-static wristband and mat.)

Also, i took the 1year warrenty on most of the parts that offer it, if i dropped that i could save myself $140, should i do this? Or keep it, just in case? I could probably upgrade the CPU with the money saved, or just keep it for tuition(lol).
February 2, 2009 4:23:24 PM

Any other thoughts? Anything wrong with the items chosen? If not, today is the day I order =D
February 2, 2009 4:39:20 PM

Pigbearman said:
Any other thoughts? Anything wrong with the items chosen? If not, today is the day I order =D


Looks good.

I never use an anti-static mat or strap, but it certainly won't hurt to use them.
February 2, 2009 4:42:33 PM

I think the general consensus (*ducks to avoid flaming towels should he be wrong*) around here is not to go for additional extended warranties, and to just go with the manufacturer's warranty.

The theory in electronics for many years has been if it's defective, it won't take too long for it to show.

Good luck building the dream box :) 
February 2, 2009 5:02:00 PM

Thanks a lot guys, you've been a great help. Hopefully everything I order gets here in one piece and works fine =D
February 2, 2009 5:25:28 PM

techwizard08 said:
I think the general consensus (*ducks to avoid flaming towels should he be wrong*) around here is not to go for additional extended warranties, and to just go with the manufacturer's warranty.

The theory in electronics for many years has been if it's defective, it won't take too long for it to show.

Good luck building the dream box :) 

Thanks, I figured about the same thing, but had the warranties on there anyways, just in case. Now that i took them off (since extended warranties just seemed to be a money sink in my situation) i saved myself $70.

Cant wait to get this baby built! (Coolermaster HAF case is so sexy >.> )
February 2, 2009 5:26:58 PM

If you're careful, you can avoid special anti-static precautions. Lots of people swear by touching the PS/case before handling components, etc.

However, there is just as large a following that will scream the couple bucks spent on the wristbands are definitely worth it.

If new to the scene, it can't hurt. If you've done it before without it, you probably won't fry anything this time either =)
February 2, 2009 5:28:14 PM

Also, since im at class right now and have huge amounts of time on my hands, should i be worried about buying additional things like cables or wires, since the HDD and CD/DVD burner are OEM? From what information I gathered OEM products might not come with cables, books, and other things a retail product would come with.

February 2, 2009 5:33:13 PM

That's true. Some OEM don't furnish you with SATA cables and other goodies needed to hook things up.

You might want to look at the price differences between OEM and retail, given the retail and OEM have been known to differ on warranty.

Also, some items are only a few bucks more to jump to the retail version...and then you have a pretty box to go with it!
February 2, 2009 5:35:03 PM

Pigbearman said:
Also, since im at class right now and have huge amounts of time on my hands, should i be worried about buying additional things like cables or wires, since the HDD and CD/DVD burner are OEM? From what information I gathered OEM products might not come with cables, books, and other things a retail product would come with.


The mobo will come with cables and power connectors.
February 2, 2009 5:42:24 PM

Only retail HDD i am able to find that will work costs $40 more for -120gig space =( , and since theanimal said the mobo comes with what i need, i can just stick with the one i have, along with the CD/DVD drive.
February 2, 2009 5:47:40 PM

You will have to do extra tweaking to populate all 4 memory slots. Start out with 4GB, then worry about the other 4 later.
February 2, 2009 5:57:33 PM

Proximon said:
You will have to do extra tweaking to populate all 4 memory slots. Start out with 4GB, then worry about the other 4 later.

Thats what i was planning, unless i accidentally put down two 4gig (2x2) sets of mushkin ram, better check my cart again =P
February 2, 2009 6:11:35 PM

Pigbearman said:


mushkin 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory Model 991557 - Retail (x2)



It was just your wording. And a lack of coffee :p 

February 2, 2009 6:13:21 PM

You're best off getting a 2x2GB kit instead of two separate 2GB sticks. The kits are tested to run together and the price is about the same.

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... $47.99

or

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... $49.99

I personally just got a couple of the G.Skill kits for recent builds and have been very happy with them. It's hard to beat DDR2 800 RAM with 4-4-4-12 timings @ 1.8v.
February 2, 2009 6:20:24 PM

shortstuff_mt said:
You're best off getting a 2x2GB kit instead of two separate 2GB sticks. The kits are tested to run together and the price is about the same.

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... $47.99

or

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... $49.99

I personally just got a couple of the G.Skill kits for recent builds and have been very happy with them. It's hard to beat DDR2 800 RAM with 4-4-4-12 timings @ 1.8v.

Yeah i forgot to update my cart, since i found a set for a bit less (same as what you linked)

mushkin 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model 996587 - Retail

Now all I have to do is get home and order the stuff. Anybody ever use the Bill Me Later thing? I don't have much of a credit line, so I hope the approve me for $1200 >.>
February 2, 2009 7:47:37 PM

Just one quick question before i head back home and finalize my purchase, does the mobo come with risers and screws? or does that come with the case?
Only reason i ask is because some guy said in his review that it does not come with risers/ screws. If it comes with the case thats fine, i just dont want to end up with no risers and screws to mount my purdy mobo.
February 3, 2009 1:16:26 AM

The mobo mounts should come with the case. Sometimes you have to look, they like to tape them to the frame.

I've used bill me later. It's a nice feature. The amount of time allowed depends on how much you spend. It's basically a 'same as cash' purchase.
!