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A solid budget build for my roommate

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August 21, 2009 12:38:26 AM

My roommate has finally decided to replace his ten year old Dell and asked me to build him a system for under $600. I've been building systems for myself as well as friends and family for years now so I'm pretty confident in the build I've come up with but I always like to post here before I order my parts.

He mainly wants to use this computer for media, storing and viewing his collection and the like. He also said he wants it to be able to handle conversion software (AVS and Ulead products most likely) and maybe do some very light video editing. I'm a bit concerned about the video card I've chosen because of this, but he says he doesn't intend to work with much in the way of high quality video. Also he intends to do some light gaming, he isn't much of a gamer but has expressed interest in a few older games as well as some of the newer Call of Duty titles. Don't need them to run at max settings or anything, a decent frame rate at medium settings is sufficient.

He currently has a monitor, speakers, mouse and keyboard he intends to use with this build as well as a copy of XP professional, however he has said he may want to upgrade to Windows 7 eventually so some of these specs are keeping a future OS upgrade in mind.

Also, this is my first quad core build (I've built three dual core machines but never a quad) so if there is anything special I should know about building and maintaining a quad core system please let me know.

CPU: AMD Phenom 9950 Agena 2.6GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 2MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Black Edition Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...

CPU Fan & Heatsink: GELID Solutions Slim Silence AM2 65mm Ball CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-MA770-UD3 AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX AMD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...

Memory: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...

Video Card: SAPPHIRE 100255HDMI Radeon HD 4670 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168... (I've never bought a card manufactured by Sapphire before, actually I haven't bought a Radeon card in quite some time. If anyone has any advice about Sapphire it would be appreciated.

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black WD5001AALS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5"
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...

DVD Drive: LITE-ON Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 22X DVD Burner LightScribe Support
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168... (He said he is fine with having just the one drive)

Power Supply: RAIDMAX HYBRID 2 RX-530SS 530W ATX12V V2.2/ EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Modular Modular LED Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...

Case: COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW Black Aluminum Bezel , SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168... (Cheaper case but I've used one of these before in a dual core AMD machine I build for my father about a year ago and it hasn't had an issues so far)

With this setup along with some thermal compound and shipping costs this comes out to be around $580, he wants to order these parts within the next few days so any input would be greatly appreciated.
August 21, 2009 12:47:54 AM

Okay a few changes right off the bat, dont get the raidmax PSU or the 9950, this is a better PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
And the 720x3 beats out the 9950 on most things
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This board will support the 720x3 and only raises the total cost of the build by $5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And drop that heatsink all together, the stock one is fairly quiet and will perform a hell of alot better than that 65mm one.
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August 21, 2009 1:02:47 AM

ok, change processor to AMD Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition
the original phenom's weren't that good, if you could get thee budget to about $630 you could fit in the {henomm II X4 945

change the PSU, Raidmax makes total utter garbage, change to a corsair 400CX, itwll have enty of power for the system

change the motheboard to the Gigabyte GA-MA770T-UD3P, AM3 for better upgradability

change the hdd to the Western Digital 640 Black Edition, a tad faster

change ram to G.Skill DDR3-1333
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ditch the cpu cooler, i doubt he is going to be doing any overclocking
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August 21, 2009 1:30:21 AM

Great advice, thanks guys. I'll run all this stuff by my roommate and probably order the parts soon after.
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August 21, 2009 4:43:17 AM

Hmm for under $600 one could hit a Phenom 2 quad and a gamer' card :p 
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August 21, 2009 5:43:38 AM

Phenom II x4 945 3.0 Ghz and Biostar TA790GXE MOBO..... $225.98 ($10 MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

OCZ 4GB DDR2 1066 RAM and MSI 4670 GPU..... $110.98 ($20 MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

WH 640GB HDD Caviar Black... $64.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CM 534 case..... $49.99 (free shipping!!)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OCZ 550W PSU.... $64.99 ($20 MIR)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD drive ....... $29.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E168...

Total $546.92 with an addition $50 in mail in rebates....
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August 21, 2009 3:35:24 PM

Add my vote for the 720BE. And "Oh HELL no!" to Raidmax PSUs. Raidmax = Chokemax. http://www.corsair.com/cinema/movie.aspx?id=622747
The Antec Earthwatts 380 is only $40 now: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I'm still waiting for a competent technical review on that OCZ; hoping it's a winner, but it is made by Sirtec, which has a dicey reputation.
I like cheap cases too, but have given up on Coolermaster due to minor but consistent quality control issues, like untapped screw holes and misalignment. ANY of the cheap[est] Rosewill cases will be similar inside, but not have the quality issues.
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August 21, 2009 3:42:02 PM

Oh, and with no (or little) gaming involved, a 4670 should be sufficient, or even a 4650 if you really want to cut the cost.
You won't need to buy thermal compound if you use the stock AMD cooler, which already has some applied.
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