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My first build, advice?

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Last response: in Systems
November 12, 2009 8:33:20 AM


I've spent the last few weeks researching, learning, and slowly picking out parts of a machine I'd like to start building in the next month or so. This is my first build, so please advise if I'm doing something stupid!

My goals are a fast and snappy system for, admittedly, mostly office/web/multimedia use. There would also be a lot of programming and I'd like a system I can experiment with and push to the limit at points. I'm not much of a gamer but i'd like to leave the option open and I'd also like a card modern enough to support recent technologies for programming reasons. At the very least I *need* something a large measure better than my current "intel media accelerator 950", I just despise it. So, I'm thinking i'll splurge on the CPU and get a top quad-core at the highest sweet-spot just before people start paying many hundreds of dollars to get the latest and greatest ;) . I'll go for 4GB of fast memory that I can expand on in the future, and a mid-level graphics card - ideally purchased at a "budget" price point. For everything else I'll aim for lower-end items of decent quality and try to keep the overall price down.

The components as I've refined them so far, include:

Intel Core i5 -

ASRock P55 Extreme -

GeForce 9600 GT -


Power Supply + Case [combo] -

HDD (WD) -

PCI Wifi -

4GB of DDR3 at 1600Mhz -

I already have a mouse, keyboard, 19" 1680x1050 display, and external HDD, I will be moving to this new machine from my current setup.

The system comes to a total of just over $700. This is a good $100 more than I wanted to spend, but I just don't see how to trim it down without removing something i'd very much like included. I may just bite-the-bullet and shell out for this dream-machine. :) 

I'd appreciate any advice there is to give. I tried to pay attention to the details of compatibility, but I'd find a second opinion very reassuring! I plan to install an XP/Karmic dualboot, so if someone can help me figure out if the motherboard will be supported on linux, that'd be awesome! (I've already verified that the GPU and wifi card are supported but had trouble finding any info about this motherboard or it's components' support on linux)

Lastly, I've never done any overclocking - and it's not a serious priority of mine - but I do think it would be fun to try, and I might just figure out how to get even more permanent power out of the i5 while I'm at it. From what I've read it sounds like many are getting them to run full time comfortably at 3.4-3.6 GHz. Is that right? I've tried to pick out stable and higher-quality hardware to allow this possibility, will light OCing be a problem for this machine?


More about : build advice

November 12, 2009 10:28:50 AM

The 500 gb samsung F3 hard drive is cheaper and faster .

I have reservations about the power supply . The wattage will be fine but at that price point its probably not a quality item even if it has an antec brand .
November 12, 2009 10:54:47 PM

Outlander_04 said:
The 500 gb samsung F3 hard drive is cheaper and faster .

I've always bought my harddrives from western digital, but samsung makes quality products. I'm seeing it this for $55 on newegg.

Outlander_04 said:

I have reservations about the power supply . The wattage will be fine but at that price point its probably not a quality item even if it has an antec brand .

Yeah. And it might be nice to go up to 500W, just in case. Are there any quality PSUs for under $60?

I was recommended this brand PSU ( at the 430W level ($69). I may just buy it since it's not that much more. If there are equally high-quality PSU's for more like $50 though, that'd be great.
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November 12, 2009 11:04:12 PM

If you want to save some money, either pick a cheaper mobo, or go with an AMD build. You'll save at least 25 on a good Phenom quad core, or 100 if you opt for an Athlon X4, and 25 on a good AMD mobo. Worth some consideration.
November 13, 2009 2:57:48 AM

Thanks for the advice. I took another look at AMD processors but I just love how powerful the i5 is, and for only $200. I still feel like sticking with that processor.

A cheaper mobo could be good, but i'm still interested in something of quality with a decent bios I can use to overclock a bit. Do you have any specific recommendations?
November 13, 2009 10:25:11 AM

for future adaptability i would get an ati 5750 instead
November 13, 2009 10:35:52 AM

obsidian86 said:
for future adaptability i would get an ati 5750 instead

Thanks for the advice, but I'd have two problems with this card. (a) it's out of my pricerange - i'm seeing it at around $150 and $70-90 was the absolute most I wanted to pay for a GPU. (b) I don't know if this card has drivers for linux and if those drivers are any good. ATI has sketchy performance on linux - while nVidia regularly releases quality drivers for linux and the 9600GT has such drivers available.

I'm looking at the GA-P55-UD3R mobo now, any thoughts on this - esp vs the ASRock mobo listed above? I read a few reviews/user-comments that it was higher quality and had a better bios, thus better for overclocking with. They're both the exact same price on newegg.
November 13, 2009 10:52:02 AM

ati has come a long way on linux drivers
November 13, 2009 1:48:10 PM

obsidian86 said:
ati has come a long way on linux drivers

That is good to hear - there seem to be some great ATI cards out there. If you know of a card as good or better than the 9600GT and as good or cheaper than the 9600GT (lets say, < $90) let me know! The card you suggested earlier still looked a bit out of my pricerange...