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First Time Builder Critique

Last response: in Systems
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July 15, 2009 7:11:44 PM

I just built my first system and would like the community here to critique it as a learning experience.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: A few weeks ago :wahoo: 

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming (mostly older games because of hardware contraints up until now, but will be getting Fallout3 and expansions soon, VGA came with STALKER Clear Skies), surfing the internet, watching movies, plotting world domination

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe - never done it and will try it when I need the extra performance in a year or two

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes in a year or 2 and the price on HD4890's come down.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Looks like my monitor's max res is 1680x1050

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Like I said, this system is already put together so comments like "Get this instead of this" won't help much. This is just a look in hindsight. I see this is a learning experience for future builds and upgrades. I'm new to PC building but I did quite a bit of research and lurking on sites like this before pulling the trigger.

---------------------------------------

CPU - Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz 6MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Cooler - ZALMAN CNPS7000C-Cu 2 Ball CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
With Arctic Silver 5

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

RAM - OCZ Fatal1ty Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

VGA - HIS Radeon HD 4890 1GB 256-bit
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD - HITACHI Deskstar P7K500 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Antec 3 fan HDD cooler for placement in a 5.25" bay

Fantom Drives G-Force GF1000EU 1TB USB 2.0 / eSATA External Hard Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU - APEVIA ATX-AQ700W-BK 700W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I know I'll get reamed for this one - it was a NewEgg shell shocker the day I ordered. Impulse buy. Reviews seem to be positive overall.
I also have one of these: Antec Basiq BP430 430W Continuous Power ATX12V Version 2.2 Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CASE - Reusing Cooler Master WaveMaster modded with a 92mm side fan from my previous build. Top 80mm fan installed for blowhole.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Monitor - Acer X223Wbd Black 22" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 2500:1
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Optical Drive - Plextor PX-708A IDE interface from my previous system. Reads fine, but burning is a different story. I'm planning on getting a blu-ray drive to replace it once it completely craps out. In the meantime, I use this as backup: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'm also retaining my two 40GB internal HDD's from my previous system as well. They are IDE interface, so I purchased some adapters like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... so that I can have just my optical drive on the IDE ribbon and connect the HDD's as SATA to make everything work better.

So... what d'ya think? :??: 


More about : time builder critique

July 15, 2009 7:58:21 PM

jsc doesn't know how to read the topic. If not, he's roleplaying.
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July 15, 2009 8:23:33 PM

Consider the following constructive criticism:

1) You purchased a new computer based around a "dead" socket. Your options for future upgrades are thus very limited. A Core i7 PC would have given you better performance, and (more importantly) more upgrade options in the future. If you were on a stricter budget, AMD offers competitive performance (especially in games) at a cheaper price point.

2) Your PSU (while being 80+ certified as far as I can tell) is from a manufacturer I've never heard of and thus I wouldn't trust them. This complaint can easily be written off as me being paranoid, but one flaw that cannot be overlooked is that it has NO PFC whatsoever; not even passive! :ouch: 

3) Shame on you for purchasing a Hitachi HDD. :non:  WD or Seagate may be more expensive, but they are faster, bigger, and more reliable. Hitachi's should only be bought for low-end workstations IMO.

4) I'm also not a fan of pre-built external HDD's. They tend to be very proprietary, and to me, they seem to cause more trouble than they save. I always buy standard internal HDD's and put them in an external HDD enclosure which should only run you about $20 for a good one with USB and e-SATA.

I apologize in advance if I have come across as a bit rude. I'm sure your PC will work out fine for you, but I think it could have been so much more if you had come here first to discuss your proposed build. Like you said though, it's a learning experience. I spent a considerable amount of time doing research and posting in forums trying to build myself a great PC, and while I still think my PC is fantastic, it doesn't mean I wouldn't change anything in hindsight. Congrats on a successful 1st time build, though. Hope everything works out great for you. :) 
July 15, 2009 9:08:03 PM

kufan64,

No, you haven't come across as rude or anything. Just more knowledgable than me, and that's what I came here for.

1) I had buyer's remorse the next day after doing some reading and finding out that 775s are basically at the end of their lifespan. I know now that if I had gone with AMD, I would have had a socket that would be viable for years to come. i7 was just out of my price range. I find consolation in the fact that with how rarely I upgrade my system, by the time I'm ready to do it again, even the 1366 will be obsolete.

2) Yeah, I know. Like I said "impulse buy". I'll probably be buying a different one soon.

3) Duly noted.

4) This drive has worked great for backing up my data since I got it in December . Having the eSata on my new motherboard is a plus. However, you make a good point and I'll keep the enclosure idea in mind for the future.

I definately would have brought my build here BEFORE buying, had I known that Tom's had a forum and a sounding-board like this in the first place. I read articles and had a couple of friends advise, but yeah- chalk this one up to experience. It's a good build and should satisfy what I need it for for some time. Thanks for the input.
July 15, 2009 9:14:41 PM

You're very welcome. Don't be too down on yourself though, you've still got a great PC. :) 
July 15, 2009 9:29:24 PM

well besides the whole "dead socket" thing, I think I would have gone with a different cpu cooler...there are several cpu coolers that are better and cheaper than the one you got...sorry to be the bearer of bad news....

The psu you got is not from an extremely reliable brand but if it does the job, then thats great...If it was a good deal, I dont blame you for getting it...I have a raidmax 530w psu, which many people consider to be one of the worst psu brands out, but so far, its been rock stable for me...guess im just one of the lucky ones...*knock on wood*
July 15, 2009 9:37:48 PM

Ashlan,

Yeah, if I were to buy a new cooler I'd probably get the Arctic Cooler 7. The one I'm going with is another hold-over from my previous build which I got for free. It only had the 478 socket hardware, so I contacted Zalman and they sent me the 775 hardware for free. Go Zalman!!
So, while you are correct that there are better coolers out there, there aren't any cheaper - unless there is a company paying people to use their cooler that I don't know about. :) 
July 15, 2009 9:59:03 PM

mlcloud,

I got that OCZ Fatal1ty ram for about $35 after rebates, so it definately was the right price. That G.skill has great timings, though and I'd love to have that instead. But oh well... next time, right?

Before I had heard back from Zalman, I was cruising for another CPU cooler and one thing I kept on running into was the size. I figure I've got about ~120mm of headroom for heatsink and all. That eliminates a lot of good candidates. I think once I get serious about overclocking in the future, I'll invest in a top quality cooler, but this should do for now. All I'm looking for out of it is better performance and quieter than stock.
July 16, 2009 3:53:57 AM

Heh. Check us out next time you got a computer to make. A lot of us find time to make sure we have nothing better to do (what?) than to research computer stuff and spread the knowledge.

Still, you got a working e8400 + 4890 build. Heads up, It'll do the job, right?
July 16, 2009 4:26:33 AM

Yeah- the rest is just details. :) 

To satisfy my curiosity, with the ~$550 that I spent on this upgrade, what would you do differently?

PSU
Motherboard
CPU
HDD
RAM
VGA

I'm especially interested in what sort of AMD options are out there. I really know nothing about AMD chips. Intel is what I've always had and am therefore most familiar with. What is AMD's closest equivalent to an E8400?
July 16, 2009 4:35:12 AM
July 16, 2009 3:06:53 PM



I totaled it up and it comes to $630.94 and that's with the $20 mir on the PSU. That's a nice build. I am very interested in going with AMD for my next build. I also plan on being much, much better educated on computer hardware by then as well. I went from a P4 cpu and a Radeon X800 pro that a family member built for me to this after my motherboard died. I knew next to nothing about hardware- installing RAM was as far as my experience went. I bought a USB wireless adapter for my desktop because I was afraid to install a PCI card!
July 16, 2009 4:23:58 PM

USB wireless is way more convenient anyway. I know my computer inside and out and I'm comfortable poking around in there just for giggles, but I still use USB wireless. The PCI cards are just unnecessary clutter IMO.
July 16, 2009 6:17:46 PM

kufan64 said:
USB wireless is way more convenient anyway. I know my computer inside and out and I'm comfortable poking around in there just for giggles, but I still use USB wireless. The PCI cards are just unnecessary clutter IMO.

So true. It is very convenient- and was much less scary at the time.
July 16, 2009 11:44:47 PM

beehew said:
Ashlan,

Yeah, if I were to buy a new cooler I'd probably get the Arctic Cooler 7. The one I'm going with is another hold-over from my previous build which I got for free. It only had the 478 socket hardware, so I contacted Zalman and they sent me the 775 hardware for free. Go Zalman!!
So, while you are correct that there are better coolers out there, there aren't any cheaper - unless there is a company paying people to use their cooler that I don't know about. :) 


Well I assumed you purchased it brand new...if you got it from an old build then I would definitely keep on using it...surprised zalman sent you the correct adapters for the heatsink...go zalman
July 20, 2009 10:45:36 PM

Since my PSU is not the greatest, what would you suggest I get instead with the following considerations:

1) I want to crossfire the 4890 in the future
2) Can't spend more than $75
!