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First time homebuilding

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August 19, 2009 6:34:17 PM

Hi everybody here at Tom's Hardware.

The time has finally come for me to buy a new PC.. - at the moment my system is an old P4 3.0Ghz Northwood, some MSI Neo motherboard, and a Geforce 7800GS OC.. so as you can see the hardware is pretty old..

Anyway, i've never really build up my own system before (choosing hardware etc) but i have helped building computers and with that i mean plugging in the cpu, psu, rams etc..

Before we begin i would like to point out that i live in Denmark, and here hardware is a bit more expensive than in the U.S/UK..
With that said my budget is around $1050.

I have 2 DVD Burners, mouse and keyboard and a LG Flatron 20" screen running at 1680x1050 in Windows XP..
As for the operating system on the new PC im gonna go for the Windows 7 RC 64 bit version...

I don't have big requirements for the system - the only games im gonna play right now is Counter-Strike 1.6, Warcraft 3 and Aion but also a lot of other games like Rainbow Six Vegas etc..

The hardware i have chosen so far is -

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 - 3.2Ghz
CPU Cooling: OCZ Vendetta 2
GFX: XFX Radeon HD 4870 XXX - 1GB GDDR5 SDRAM
GFX Cooling: Arctic Cooling Accelero S1 Rev. 2 - (im not sure if this one fits on the 4870 tho? the site where im buying says 8800/3870)
PSU: Corsair TX Series 650 Watt
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-MA770T-UD3P
RAM: Corsair XMS3 DHX 2x2GB - 1333 MHZ - PC10666
Case: Antec Three Hundred
Harddrives: i have 2 old Maxtor 80 gb drives - the one is an ATA and the other one is S-ATA.. i don't know if i wanna keep em and put em in the new computer but my plan is to maybe buy a couple of Western Digital 500 GB, 7200RPM, SATA, WD5000AAKS "Caviar

So what do you think about the system? im going away for vacation this Saturday (August 22) and i'll be home again Saturday (29 August) and it's my plan to order at 1st September..

More about : time homebuilding

August 19, 2009 7:23:11 PM

If your going to buy a couple wd 500gb.. try and get the seagate 7200.12 500gb.

The build looks pretty solid everywhere else.
August 19, 2009 9:45:15 PM

I wouldn't keep those old HDD's. They'll slow down your computer significantly. I usually recommend Western Digital or Seagate, though I'm a bigger fan of WD. For top performance, get a WD 750GB Caviar Black. For a more budget/power friendly option, get a WD 500GB Caviar Green. If you're feeling adventurous, get 2 and dedicate one to your OS or set them up in RAID 0 for double the performance.

Also (in case you haven't already) double check to ensure your HSF will fit in your case and with your motherboard. There's a review on newegg from someone who said they had to remove their blowhole fan on their Antec 300 to accommodate the Vendetta 2.

Are your old optical drives IDE or SATA? SATA DVD burners only average about $20USD and no IDE devices means no ribbon cables which should be cause for celebration.
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August 19, 2009 10:19:30 PM

Hmm, im not sure about if there's room for the Vendetta 2 tbh.. i would wanna advoid to do alot of tweaking to get everything right.. And also i would like to have the computer as cool as possible.. and keep a good airflow. so it won't get up on like 60C in idle like the computer im sitting at right now does in idle..

About the old dvd burners, yeah those are IDE with the ribbon cables.. and yeah i agree it's much smarter just to have everything SATA instead of keeping these old drives from ancient time :D ..
August 20, 2009 3:37:41 PM

@jbakerlent

I'll try not to turn the OP's thread into a HDD discussion, but I've got a question for you. I've been doing some research and you are correct sir; the 750 has 3 platters that each hold less data than the 2 in the 640GB version. Here's what I don't understand though: Shouldn't it's extra platter make up for the less compressed data?

Being able to read/write to 3 platters instead of 2 seems like it would give that drive a 50% speed increase not including the loss from the data compression. Does the better data compression on the 640 overshadow that speed increase from the extra platter on the 750, or is my logic flawed? (I'm sure it is)
August 20, 2009 3:40:35 PM

Kufan64 - Unfortunately, yes, your logic is flawed. Hard drives with more platters can't read/write from multiple platters at the same time. Higher density and less platters = a faster drive.
August 20, 2009 3:47:39 PM

Hey shortstuff, thanks for the correction. You learn something new everyday... :) 
August 20, 2009 3:50:07 PM

And also to spark your bubble, the Seagate 7200.12 500gb is a single platter, making it faster than the black wd's as shown in benchmarks.
August 20, 2009 3:59:00 PM

fullmetall said:
And also to spark your bubble, the Seagate 7200.12 500gb is a single platter, making it faster than the black wd's as shown in benchmarks.

The 7200.12 drives don't impress me. They certainly don't win all benchmarks, and the reliability is still questionable. The Tech Report wasn't all that impressed with it:

http://techreport.com/articles.x/16472

"Seagate's high-density 500GB platters deliver on much of their performance potential, at least when it comes to peak sustained throughput. However, the drive's transfer rates in real-world file operations are mixed. The 7200.12 is very fast when it comes to real-world reads, but it's much slower than the competition when writing and copying files.

Flashes of brilliance followed by otherwise dismal performance is sort of a theme for the new 'cuda. The drive fared better than any other in our iPEAK multitasking tests, but it stumbled spectacularly when faced with multi-user IOMeter loads. And at more than 17ms, the 7200.12's random access time is slower than, well, any other desktop drive we've tested. Ever. What's worse, there's no way for users to defy Seagate's factory programming and shift the drive out of its noise-optimized "quiet" seek mode.

With its performance all over the map, the Barracuda 7200.12 is difficult to recommend to enthusiasts looking for a speedy system drive. However, near-silent noise levels and low power consumption do make it an attractive option for quiet desktops and home theater PCs.

Of course, given Seagate's recent firmware fiasco, some may be wary of the new 'cuda's reliability. And there's reason for concern: one of the two 7200.12s Seagate sent us for testing consistently failed mid-way through HD Tach's "full" disk benchmark, rendering the drive unusable until the next reboot. The second drive ran through our entire benchmark suite without a hitch, though."

August 30, 2009 3:24:34 PM

Hey all, thanks for your answers.. i've decided to go with the system that i build.. i have decided to upgrade to a HD4890XXX 1gb instead of the 4870 tho.. :) 
!