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N00b Builder - All-around PC for ~$600

Last response: in Systems
July 13, 2009 7:02:16 PM

Hi all,

I'm a first-time builder looking to build a computer for everyday tasks, as well as some light gaming (WoW, Football Manager, Age of Empires, etc). I also want a premium sound card without breaking the bank. Here's the info:

BUDGET RANGE: $600 to $900
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Watching streaming HD video, listening to and storing/hoarding lossless-quality music, college tasks (word processing, spreadsheets, MATLAB, etc), light gaming.
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: I have a Samsung 24" LCD and I'll use Windows 7 RC for now.
PARTS PREFERENCES: I would like a high quality case.
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I want to be able to reuse parts like the case, power supply, etc, in case of a future rebuild.

The parts I've found are:

Antec Nine Hundred Case

OCZ ModXStream Pro 700W Modular PS

Foxconn A7DA-S 790GX Motherboard

AMD Phenom II X3 720

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500GB Hard Drive

G.Skill 4GB DDR3 1333

Sony Optiarc Blu-Ray ROM

I haven't added a sound card yet because I don't really know much about the category. The total so far is $630. Thanks in advance for the help!

More about : n00b builder 600

July 13, 2009 8:12:15 PM

Here's a nicer board for less in combo with the CPU:

This is the nicer case and PSU, although your choices are OK:

This would be the better, faster HD:

Finally your Optical doesn't write any disks at all. You'll want a DVD burner.

You should wait on the sound card, see if the onboard sound is enough for you.
July 13, 2009 9:17:23 PM

This is the nicer case and PSU, although your choices are OK: [...] mbo.205337

Could you re-copy the link? I think you did the motherboard/CPU combo twice by accident. Thanks!
Related resources
July 13, 2009 9:42:13 PM

As usual Proximan is right on, but you can find a great all in one Blu ray/dvd burner drive for less than that one. You can catch the retail versions w/the blu ray software for $75 - $80.
July 13, 2009 9:49:22 PM

First off DDR3 probably isn't worth the money right now when you can get a better price/performance ratio from a better processor. If you aren't going to do a lot of gaming the 9950 is probably the better one to get being faster at everything but gameing or go for the quad 940 for fifty bucks more.
9950 130$
940 175$

If you what seamless hd playback you are going to need more than the onboard video. With the chipset you have chosen i assume you want ATI Graphics since it only supports crossfire and not sli unlike the intel boards that support both. A 4830 is more than you would need for hd playback and would get you some game in. Although for thirty+ bucks more you can get a 4870 powercolor and not have to upgrade in awhile.
4870 126$
4830 89.99

I love my antec 900 but if you aren't going to overclock its probably overkill but i think the decision to get a good case and psu is a great idea. I dont like modular because the clips aren't always the best things get loose and you think something died that didn't and you rma and rma and find out its the @&%@ing cord but thats up to you. Hope that helps
July 13, 2009 10:20:43 PM

Research these Asus soundcards.

At $108 + $15-$20 shipping that Antec900 is going to take a big bite out of your budget. Some alternatives would be.
same case with combo deal with a 500w power supply, both with free shipping for $110

July 14, 2009 12:43:05 AM

All good recommendations, although I disagree on the RAM. As someone looking forward to future builds, it's not unreasonable to anticipate re-using your DDR3. DDR2 will go up in price and eventually all boards will be DDR3, so there is good reason to use it now.

You had said you wanted a very nice case and PSU, so I was suggesting the Cooler Master HAF and Corsair 750TX:
Hopefully I got the link right this time.