My first build - based on your advice!

Hi All,

You saved me from buying a best-buy "clearance" alienware computer...and so I've decided to delve into the fun world of building my own machine. Here are some points based on your helpful sticky:

- Don't need a monitor (running at a wimpy 1280x1060 res though)
- Don't need speakers / keyboard / mouse
- Want a good system for gaming, but am not keen on spending too much cash (so, around 1-1.5K)
- Will be purchasing in the next day or two

Most of these parts were taken from Proximon's helpful list, and I'll be using Newegg for the purchases. I'm worried about little things, such as will these parts all work together, will the graphics card fit in the case, will my system overheat if I don't plan on pushing it (I doubt I'll overclock much):

CPU: i7 920 Nehalm 2.66 x4 (279.99) -

MB: Gigabyte GA-EP45 (129.99) -

RAM: OCZ Platinum 6 GB DDR3 (94.99) - (I'm excited about this deal!!)

PSU: CORSAIR 650 Watts (94.99) - (Is this enough juice?)

Case: CoolerMaster RC-690 ATX Mid-Tower (74.99) - (Is this big enough?)

Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 260 896 MB (184.99) - (Should I get two, is this powerful solo? I'm not crazy doing the whole dual card thing)

HD: WD 640 GB 7200 RPM (74.99) -

Drive: LG DVD/CD Burner 22x (25.99) -

The total price comes in at $960.22. My main concerns are is this case big enough, am I gimping anywhere (e.g., PSU at 650 watts or 1 graphics card), and since this is my first build, how do I hook up the USB inputs, etc? Is there a pictoral, build-your-pc guide on the net?

You guys are worth your weight in gold.


22 answers Last reply
More about build based advice
  1. The motherboard you listed isn't compatible with the i7 CPU's. I would get this combo: $534.98 (i7 920 + ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 combo)

    If you want to go SLI in the future, I would step up to a 750W PSU. Here's a few good options:

    CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail
  2. Yep, just as Shortstuff says.
  3. ^ +2, the motherboard isn't compatible go with shortstuff's motherboard combo choice ;)
  4. Combo Discount: -$25.00 Combo Price: $454.98 $15.00 Mail-In Rebate
    Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 - Retail
    GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail,7463.html <--- Gigabyte: Enable SLI On X58 Boards
  5. I'd get Why_Me's, Shortstuffs' good to.
  6. Nothing wrong with the UD3R for a budget build... biggest thing is the lack of memory expansion, but it's going to be years before the OP needs more than 6GB. Clearly the Asus P6T deluxe and Gigabyte UD4P are better though.
  7. ^ Well that is true...
    But he will probably do SLI and having a board that support SLI out of the box will be better so that he doesn't have to meddle with the BIOS...
  8. CoolerMaster RC-690 has plenty of room for everything you listed and plenty of room for future expansion. It's also good at keeping your "stuff" cool. RC-690 review

    Everything will work together as long as you choose one of the recommended X-58 motherboards.

    You can download most of the manuals now. They'll show how to hook up the case IO (USB, Sound, etc) to the motherboard.
    RC-690 case manual + GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD3R motherboard manual for example
    Top left is where you hook up case switches, power and HDD lights, speakers, USB, sound, etc.

    These days you can even find YouTube videos to show you how to assemble a PC.
    But nothing beats reading the manual and looking at the part till you feel comfortable you understand how it all goes together.
  9. sirgrotius said:

    Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 260 896 MB (184.99) - (Should I get two, is this powerful solo? I'm not crazy doing the whole dual card thing)
    With your 1280x1024 resolution monitor just the single GTX 260 will be plenty of GPU muscle. And if you upgrade to one of the popular 22" 1680x1050 widescreen monitors it will still do a very good job for you.

    For a single video card strategy the 650W is plenty of power, even a good 550W PSU would do.
    That excellent Corsair 650TX will even run 2x GTX 260s. And you'd have no problem with future video card upgrades.
  10. gkay09 said:
    GA-EX58-UD4P please... :D

    Great advice guys. So, I'm going to up the wattage to 750 with that Corsair unit and I'm also going to change my motherboard, because I'm an idiot and was up too late. :D

    I'm torn between the three motherboards you all linked. If I understand it correctly, the UD4P is the most upgradeable and will do SLI w/o me fiddling around w/ things (which is probably beyond my expertise anyway). That's fairly attractive in itself (I've had a lot of fun upgrading my Dell "no name" motherboard in the past). Simplicity is key for me
  11. Also, I heard the term "budget" build thrown about. I don't want to short-change there anywhere where you'd say, consider upgrading the choice. As I mentioned, i can do a little more mullah.

  12. An aftermarket CPU cooler would be a good upgrade even if you're not overclocking. Xigmatek Dark Knight 120mm CPU cooler $40

    Interested in a larger, wider monitor? Acer X223Wbd Black 22" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor 1680x1050 $150
  13. WR2 said:
    An aftermarket CPU cooler would be a good upgrade even if you're not overclocking. Xigmatek Dark Knight 120mm CPU cooler $40

    Interested in a larger, wider monitor? Acer X223Wbd Black 22" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor 1680x1050 $150

    Cool that heatsink looks reasonable and should keep things more kosher inside my case. Do you think it'll fit okay in the case I'm using?
  14. Yes, there's plenty of room for that cooler in the RC-690.
  15. BTW--what should I do about an OS?
  16. sirgrotius said:
    BTW--what should I do about an OS? <---Save yourself some money and dl the 64 bit version of Windows 7
  17. I pulled the trigger on these parts last night. Thanks for all the advice--all much appreciated. I did upgrade the motherboard to the Gibabyte UD4P to "future-proof" the beast, and I upped the graphics card a bit.

    Out of curiosity I went to Dell's website and tried to configure a similarly-spec'd machine, and saw that it was at least $400 more than what I paid! Interestingly, however, you can get about the same if not a little more from How legitimate are they? I'm looking forward to the process of building, but I was not expecting ibuypower to be so competitive.
  18. The last time I checked, they seemed to be OK, but there were some parts compromises you had to make. I've heard stories about poor workmanship and parts swapping, but I don't really know much.
  19. SO I got all the materials together, and by far the most challenging part was the special heatsink/fan! Ugh.

    Besides that, however, I'm a little confused. Was the Gigabyte UD4P supposed to come with screws? The cooler-master case provided the copper stand-offs, but no screws. The motherboard didn't come w/ screws either, however, I've heard I have to be real careful about the screws I use to pin down the motherboard so they don't mess things up--or am I supposed to use regular old little screws?

    My bad--the screws were already screwed into the side of the case. I just had to uninstall them and screw them into the motherboard. Wasn't expecting that!

  20. Glad it worked out
  21. I don't know if you guys get enough accolades, but I finished putting my machine together last night. It worked great! Even the leds are working correctly, and I installed beta copy of Windows 7 with success. I loaded all the "included" drivers, but I'm going to go online this afternoon and get the latest and greatest.

    I uppped my motherboard to the UD4P, went with 750 watts (Corsair) over 650, and got that killer cooler referenced above. I also upped the graphics card to the GTX 275, since it got fantastic reviews and runs cool and quiet. I ditched my 19" square monitor, because it's so out of style and went with an LG 23" widescreeen. These are great monitors at sweet prices ($219, but it's sold out now). I almost regret not going with the LG 24", but that's $300.

    So, anyway, thanks, and thank you again.
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