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First Time Builder, need advice

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February 3, 2009 9:18:13 PM

I've put together rigs on both iBuyPower, and CyberpowerPC. I've tried to limit my price range to right at $1000USD minus monitor.

Both sites came close to one another with a little better memory from the Cyberpower, and a little better case/cooling from iBuyPower.

I decided I'd give my hand at putting one together that would run about the same in price, but perhaps afford me a little better quality in parts.

If possible it'd be great if this community of experienced builders could look over the list and make me aware of any conflicts of hardware, better price for performance, or general red flags. It'd be greatly appreciated.

CPU: Intel E7400
It's my intent to overclock this into the 3-3.5 range. Fairly set on this. I considered the E8400 but honestly my needs aren't that great and from my understanding the E7400 will oc to speeds that rival it anways.

Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3R
This was the most difficult decision I had to make. I'm still not sure if it's the way to go. I wanted a board that would give me flexibility with oc. I think I may have gone overboard in this selection and would appreciate advice on a better (more affordable) fit for the E7400.

RAM: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500)
This is tied pretty much directly to the mobo selection. Again I think it might be overkill going with the 1066.

Case: Antec NSK4480B
Affordability and Antec's reputation for running cool led me here.

PSU: EarthWatts 380W ATX12V v2.0 80Plus Certified power supply
The stock Antec PSU. After reading the review here I feel comfortable with it's reliability. I'm not sure however if 380W is suffecient. Input would be appreciated.

Fan/Heatsink: XIGMATEK HDT-S1283
Another recommendation straight from Tom's.

GPU: EVGA 512-P3-N884-AR GeForce 9800 GTX+
Another tough decision. I spent hours digging through the site comparing different setups. Bang for buck, paired with my choice to not run a 600+ watt system led me here.


Anyway, that's the core of it. Any advice for a first time builder, or comments on the selections would be wonderful. Thankyou.

More about : time builder advice

February 3, 2009 9:49:04 PM

Looks good, just a few comments.

You're right about the RAM, change it to 800, rated at 1.8V. Edit: mrbumbum's choice is good.

The HD4850 is generally cheaper than the 9800GTX+ and performs virtually the same. If you game at 1280x1024 or less you could go with the HD4830 instead.

The PSU has plenty of power for this system.

Take your time and care when building.
Related resources
February 4, 2009 1:24:45 PM

Mrbumbum said:
G skill PI black 4gb ddr2 800
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Sapphire 4850
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

4850 is a better bang for the buck then the 9800gtx+


The Antec Earthwatts 380 will power the system, including the 4850.


I'll definetly look into the 4850. I'm curious, with the price of the 1033 ram being the same as the 800 would it be a better pick up? Or due to timing factors would it still be better to stay with the 1.8v 5-5-5-15 800? I noticed the 1033 was 5-4-4-12. I know these cas latencies have to do with stepping and timing, is it normally best (see easy for a novice oc) to stick with timings that are balanced?
February 4, 2009 3:14:37 PM

The Pi Black is 4-4-4-12.
February 4, 2009 3:45:12 PM

Power supply, seems a bit low, maybe need somthing with more power, depending on 12v line, of how many amps...
February 4, 2009 5:50:46 PM

I need help to. Im new to computer building. I'm trying to build a cheap gaming computer to run fallout 3 and similar games. It's actually looking like its not going to be cheaper than getting a desktop from hp but I'm afraid that they will use crippled motherboards.

Im trying to keep it around this general price range ($800), although I'm not sure if this will even run the games I want. Tell me how this looks.

Case: Ultra ULT33178 X-blaster ATX Mid-Tower PC Case (Black)
Psu: Lifetime Series Pro 650W Psu
Mobo: intel DP43TF
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo Retail Boxed E7200 Processor - 2.53GHz
Graphics: EVGA 512-P2-N747-LR e-GeForce 8500 GT 512MB PCI-Express
Ram: SimpleTech Value - Memory - 2 GB - DIMM 240-pin - DDR2 - 800 MHz / PC2-6400 - unbuffered - non-ECC
HDD: Western Digital 250GB SATA2 7200RPM Bulk/OEM Hard Drive WD2500AAJS
DVD: Lite-On LH-20A1L 20x DVD±RW DL SATA Drive w/LightScribe (Black)
Card Reader: Sabrent CRW-UINB 68 in 1 Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Internal Memory Card Reader & Writer (Black)
Fans: 2x Thermaltake A2029 120mm Smart Case Fan II

I think this would be good because it would be easily upgradeable.

February 4, 2009 8:18:57 PM

hoos2232 said:
I need help to. Im new to computer building. I'm trying to build a cheap gaming computer to run fallout 3 and similar games. It's actually looking like its not going to be cheaper than getting a desktop from hp but I'm afraid that they will use crippled motherboards.

Im trying to keep it around this general price range ($800), although I'm not sure if this will even run the games I want. Tell me how this looks.

Case: Ultra ULT33178 X-blaster ATX Mid-Tower PC Case (Black)
Psu: Lifetime Series Pro 650W Psu
Mobo: intel DP43TF
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo Retail Boxed E7200 Processor - 2.53GHz
Graphics: EVGA 512-P2-N747-LR e-GeForce 8500 GT 512MB PCI-Express
Ram: SimpleTech Value - Memory - 2 GB - DIMM 240-pin - DDR2 - 800 MHz / PC2-6400 - unbuffered - non-ECC
HDD: Western Digital 250GB SATA2 7200RPM Bulk/OEM Hard Drive WD2500AAJS
DVD: Lite-On LH-20A1L 20x DVD±RW DL SATA Drive w/LightScribe (Black)
Card Reader: Sabrent CRW-UINB 68 in 1 Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Internal Memory Card Reader & Writer (Black)
Fans: 2x Thermaltake A2029 120mm Smart Case Fan II

I think this would be good because it would be easily upgradeable.


Start a new thread.
February 5, 2009 2:38:24 AM

theAnimal said:
Start a new thread.


Ok
February 5, 2009 5:15:14 AM

renegeek said:
Power supply, seems a bit low, maybe need somthing with more power, depending on 12v line, of how many amps...


This system will have a hard time drawing 200W.
February 5, 2009 9:09:15 AM

I appreciate the thoughts and have made changes to both gpu and memory. I have been looking at a few of the differences between the e7400 and e8400. I was confused as to if the e7400 had full sse4 support. It seems as though I could only verify sse4.1 but not .2 .3 ect. I also noted that it didn't have VT support. Should either of these things concern me if I'm looking for a gaming/home theatre setup? For a 50 dollar difference I'd hate to lock myself into something that I'll regret a year down the road. On the flipside of that argument I also noticed I could snag an e5200 for 74.00 saving a considerable amount. Would this be a viable core if sse4/VT aren't that huge a deal?

I also swapped the Gigabyte UD3R for the ASRock P45XE. Another Tom's reccomendation, my only concerns with the new board was the lack of RAID 0 support. While I wasn't planning on doing an early RAID setup the option to down the road would have been nice. Ultimately however I understand it's something you want to have running out of the gate so not a huge loss. The P45XE is currently 115$, The UD3R was 145. Any thoughts as to if the 30 bucks would be better spent with the Gigabyte?

Took the Antec out and changed to NZXT Apollo Black + XCLIO GOODPOWER 500W just incase I want to add another 4850 down the road. After reading a few reviews of the XCLIO I feel ok about this 50 dollar PSU. If anyone knows differently please let me know now.


Edit:
Sorry I know I keep piling the questions on. I really do appreicate the patience, and assistance. I was browsing through the comments on Newegg about the G.Skill ram. I noticed someone had posted issues with the height of the heatsinks being a problem with their Xigmatech HDT-S1283. The mobo wasn't listed but is this something I should also be concerned about?
February 5, 2009 5:33:29 PM

a4mula said:
I appreciate the thoughts and have made changes to both gpu and memory. I have been looking at a few of the differences between the e7400 and e8400. I was confused as to if the e7400 had full sse4 support. It seems as though I could only verify sse4.1 but not .2 .3 ect. I also noted that it didn't have VT support. Should either of these things concern me if I'm looking for a gaming/home theatre setup? For a 50 dollar difference I'd hate to lock myself into something that I'll regret a year down the road. On the flipside of that argument I also noticed I could snag an e5200 for 74.00 saving a considerable amount. Would this be a viable core if sse4/VT aren't that huge a deal?

You only need VT if you're going to run virtual machines.

I also swapped the Gigabyte UD3R for the ASRock P45XE. Another Tom's reccomendation, my only concerns with the new board was the lack of RAID 0 support. While I wasn't planning on doing an early RAID setup the option to down the road would have been nice. Ultimately however I understand it's something you want to have running out of the gate so not a huge loss. The P45XE is currently 115$, The UD3R was 145. Any thoughts as to if the 30 bucks would be better spent with the Gigabyte? said:
I also swapped the Gigabyte UD3R for the ASRock P45XE. Another Tom's reccomendation, my only concerns with the new board was the lack of RAID 0 support. While I wasn't planning on doing an early RAID setup the option to down the road would have been nice. Ultimately however I understand it's something you want to have running out of the gate so not a huge loss. The P45XE is currently 115$, The UD3R was 145. Any thoughts as to if the 30 bucks would be better spent with the Gigabyte?

The UD3R is $105AR and a better board.

Took the Antec out and changed to NZXT Apollo Black + XCLIO GOODPOWER 500W just incase I want to add another 4850 down the road. After reading a few reviews of the XCLIO I feel ok about this 50 dollar PSU. If anyone knows differently please let me know now. said:
Took the Antec out and changed to NZXT Apollo Black + XCLIO GOODPOWER 500W just incase I want to add another 4850 down the road. After reading a few reviews of the XCLIO I feel ok about this 50 dollar PSU. If anyone knows differently please let me know now.

The PC Power & Cooling Silencer 500W is $60AR and better quality.
February 5, 2009 5:45:12 PM

The ASRock motherboard is a pretty big step backwards IMO. I'd go back to the UD3R for sure.

I also wouldn't trust any of my systems to a XCILO PSU. You should really stick to PC Power & Cooling, Corsair, Antec, etc... The PSU is the one component you really can't try to save a buck on since if it goes out there's a very good chance it will take other components with it.
February 7, 2009 6:46:52 AM

In the end budget overrode performance, the final build ended with:

Antec NSK4480B / PSU (Earthwatts) / WD 320GB combo 99$
E5200 72.99$
Kingston 5-5-5-18 1.8 ddr2 800 2x2GB 39.99$
AsRock P45TS 74.99
MSI R4850 109.13 (openbox)
Liteon 6x Blu-Ray/16x DVDRW 99.99$
ViewSonic VX2233wm 21.5" 154.50$ (openbox)
XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 36.99$
Artic Silver 5 5.99$
Vista 64 Premium 99.99$

After a few other small additions (kb/mouse/speakers/toolkit/added nic/cheap gpu for neighbor ect) the total was 958.95 I'm sure there is a MIR or two in there, I really don't even consider them however. I've never had success in getting them back and I all but ignore them now.

Overshot my budget by 258.95 but alot of it was the small things and the Monitor that my wife insisted on having so that I could relinquish the 42" LCD that I'm currently using.

I missed out on an 8800gts for 54 bucks. I had it in my shopping cart and went to grab a headset and when I came back it was ripped out of my grasp. I then lost out on a 4830 for 72 bucks. In the end I grabbed a video card that was less than the Sapphire and has better cooling.

I'm sure had I been a little more patient I could have trimmed 75-100 bucks in openbox deals, but after almost a week of fighting over every last little dollar I had enough.

I had given serious thought to a SSD solution for Vista, but in the end the cost and the headaches of getting the less expensive ones up and running prevented me. Next time this year I'm sure it'll be more viable.

I greatly appreciate the time and thought that went into people's advice and Tom's Hardware for providing invaluable insight and hours worth of reading. Once it lands I'll post an update with my progress of this first build.

Thankyou all again.
February 7, 2009 7:11:10 AM

a4mula said:

I'm sure there is a MIR or two in there, I really don't even consider them however. I've never had success in getting them back and I all but ignore them now.


I read at another forum that newegg will honor the MIR if you don't receive it.
February 7, 2009 8:04:06 PM

<< Flakey.

I was up all last night tossing and turning over my choice. First thing this morning I canceled the order (Here's to newegg crediting my cc properly /fingerscrossed).

I trimmed alot of the fat. Got rid of the 40$ kb, 25$ mouse, was able to save a few more bucks on cable by getting openbox, ect. I still have a cheapo mouse/kb/headset/toolkit/speakers/dvi-hdmi. I pulled my neighbors 14$ openbox gpu off, after checking he doesn't even have a pci-e slot, so he's kinda sol (ebay I guess).

Final Build, and one I'm much happier with overall:

Antek NSK4480B / Earthwatts 380w / WD 320GB Cavier SE - $99.45 combo
Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3R $104.99 (15.00 MIR)
E7400 - $119.99
G.SKILL 8GB (4 x 2GB) DDR2 1066 5-5-5-15 @ 2.1 - $104.98 (5$ promo code)
MSI R4850-T2D512 $105.09 (openbox)
LITE-ON Black 6X Blu-Ray DVD ROM & 16X DVD±R $99.99
ViewSonic VX2233wm 21.5" true 1080p $154.50 (openbox)
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit $99.99

I did lose the Xigmatech cooler and the Artic Silver-5 in this build, but for now stock air will do the trick and if I feel like I want to get aggressive with the e7400 at a later point those things are easy enough to add.

The real beauty of this build, I added another full 4 gigs of ram, upgraded the cpu, and got the mobo I originally wanted and everyone recommened, and still stayed under $1,000.

Total build cost with shipping $999.60, about 40 bucks more than the original order but with a ton more value.

Thanks for the tip on the MIR, perhaps I'll actually take the time to give it a shot. Again I'll update once it lands with my progress, and probably more questions.

Thankyou all.
February 14, 2009 3:17:34 PM

Quick Thoughts after first time build:

-Retail Intel e7400, came with hsf but no thermal grease. Artic Silver 5 cost me 12.00 bucks from local pc shop. Should have purchased from newegg.

The Antec NSK4480B was easy to work with. The fit was a little tight with the UD3R, but overall a good experience. No cuts, no missing parts.

The locking mechanism on the UD3R for the cpu was VERY rigid. To the point where I thought I had misaligned the e7400. I checked, rechecked, triple checked. Finally I bit the bullet and just applied alot more pressure to lock it in then I would have thought needed. I could hear some stress fractures (seriously).

The G.Skill did not set itself automatically to 1033. It's running 5-5-5-15 @ 800 @ 1.8. I haven't yet delved into the bios options, and this was something I was almost certain would be the case. Not suprised just noting.


The build itself was a snap. The UD3R was clearly labeled and the only times I had to refer to the user manual was for the Power SW, which is seperate from the other front panel pin connectors, and for my 4 pin cpu power. The board supports 8 pin, my psu was only 4 pin. The manual was ambiguous as to which side exactly it went into. After a quick search on Tom's it was obvious it would only fit into one side.

The stock intel hsf was somewhat of a pain. The pushpin setup is misleading as the direction the arrows for the pushpins face leads one to believe that they need to be turned once they're down, not the case however you turn them to release.

The rig fired up on the first shot. All 8 gigs recognized. Blu-ray DVD worked out of the box with the software provided.

Had I to do over again I would have sprung for a better KB. Spend the extra 10 bucks get one that's decent. Brand new the generic 5.99 + free shipping model I purchased was meant for the trashcan, and that's it.



I have had some hiccups. WoW is throwing an interminent 132 error. Haven't spent any time digging into this yet. If I had to guess that's Vista 64.

I'm getting random almost morse-code-like electrical beeps from my speakers. Not a huge deal, it only happens every few hours. After some quick research this might have to do with cheap unshielded speakers picking up cell inteference.

When I went to boot the pc this morning it went into a 5-6 second phase on/off cycle never turning on the LCD. This does have me slightly concerned. After a hard powerdown via the i/o switch on the back it powered up normally.

CPU-Z is listing the stepping as R0, Sandra lists it as E0. Considering I have no idea how either of these effect the overclockability it's not concerning me a huge deal at the moment. Sandra also threw up a ton of warnings concerning the CPU and Memory being at different FSB speeds then the mobo. Once I get the little things ironed out I'll start my research into overclocking. Hopefully it'll give me the insight to understand what these warning messages are stating.


Well that's it. A great thanks to this community and to Tom's Hardware. I've gained invaluable advice, insight, and reference towards making this purchase and then putting it together.
February 14, 2009 8:47:01 PM

Good to hear!

The stock cooler should have come with paste pre-applied, hopefully you don't have too much on there.

I would trust CPU-Z, it gets updated regularly (new version this week I believe).
!