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First time build - low priced HD video/Gaming build

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December 30, 2009 8:47:48 PM

Hi, this is my first time trying a build, and I'm trying to do it for ~$600 dollars.

Usage: Connect via HDMI to 1080p HDTV - Watch HD video, play some new FPS games

This is what i have so far at Newegg:

- AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition 3.1GHz Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core Processor + ASUS M4A785-M Micro ATX AMD Motherboard Bundle - $180.00

- CORSAIR 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2 533 (PC2 4200) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory $52.00

- CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply
$110.00

- Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB 3.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive $94.00

- Antec Two Hundred Black Computer Case $45.00

- XFX Radeon HD 4870 750MHZ 1GB 3.6GHZ GDDR5 PCI-E 2XDVI HDCP Video Card $154.00

Total ~$640.00 CDN

I went with the phenom II x2 on a recommendation that it is very similar to the x3 for less cash.

I also have a question regarding HDMI output - if i conncet the MOBO to teh TV via the HDMI port, will that utilize both the GPUs? or do i need to connect from the 4870 port via DVI HDMI adapter?

Thanks for any help / suggestions on how to make this the best build for this kind of money.

:) 
December 30, 2009 9:10:07 PM

Your on-board graphics will be ignored when you hook up the 4870 to your tv.

I would change the ddr2-533 to ddr2-800.

I like your choice of hdd.

I think your psu is a little over-powered and it appears to be geared toward intel motherboards. I would have picked something that concentrated more on minimizing fan noise.

Good choice of board, but keep in mind that in 18 months it will be obsolete, so I would choose a ddr3 board if you are planning on keeping this build for years and years.

Next up: buy an a/v receiver.
December 30, 2009 9:17:52 PM

Ok, thanks, im going to change the board to a 785 ddr3, and change the ram accordingly.

What PSU would be better? ive been reading that corsair is top notch.

For the graphics card, the info mentions "hybrid crossfire" with the onboard gpu, doesnt that imply that they work together?
...and if not, i dont need the onboard gpu, so is there a comparable mobo without it? 770-85-90?
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December 30, 2009 9:41:25 PM

What you had was sorta fine .......... make it 4gig DDR2 800 memory. Forget that "Hybrid" crap........ marketing hype and you can't use a decent card to make it happen and be worth your while. My corsair PSU's don't make noticeable noise. I gotta think about that one. Good luck.
December 30, 2009 9:46:18 PM

There is no right answer when it comes to power supplies, there are so many to choose from. I would go with something on the order of a http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=N...
Or stick with corsair: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You might be right about "hybrid crossfire." I've never heard of it. In any event, having a back-up GPU can come in really handy. I guess I don't know enough about that type of crossfire setup. Sorry about that.
December 30, 2009 10:09:47 PM

Don't get me wrong. I have no problem either way with on board graphics. The next machine I put together for myself will probably have it. It's just the "Hybrid" xfire is only good with bottom end cards and give no real world performance for a serious gamer.
December 30, 2009 10:25:20 PM

The nice thing about the 785g is that it handles High-Def well. It's audio is only 2-channel but for 95% of people that is good enough because it can be decoded to Dolby Digital or DTS 5.1 with an a/v receiver. This way you could hook your tv to the 785 and the 4870 to an LCD.
December 30, 2009 11:05:04 PM

Thanks for the responses, I haven't had to look at comp specs since my last cpu about 6 years ago.
Im basically looking for the best HD/Game/HTPC system for around the 700$ range. This comp is going to be using the 40" 1080 LCD as its main display, primarily to watch backup Blu Ray movies, and the new FPS games like modern warfare 2. I want to make the most of this TV, but prefer to go via PC than getting a stand alone Blue Ray player, so i want some really good HD output.
- Is it worth going to an x3, or x4 processor?
- How about an HD5770 card, instead of the 4870?
- What are my options for outputing 5.1 sound aside from going through a reciever?

Thanks again
December 30, 2009 11:24:33 PM

The x3 and x4 will not help you with High-Def because 95% of that work is handled by the video GPU. You don't have a problem handling High-Def video.

The HD 5xxxx has super high-end audio but you probably wont even know it unless you have a a 7-speaker home theater setup and a high-end receiver This card isn't needed to do High-Def. I'm sure it will help gaming, if that's a huge priority.
Keep in mind that it is easy to upgrade the video card later if your home theater situation changes.

What are the other audio options? I don't now what your TV or speaker setup is like but you can send audio either to your TV via hdmi or you can send audio from the 1/8" jacks on the back of the computer directly to your speakers.
December 31, 2009 3:05:49 AM

OK I have revised the build to encompass the ddr3, and added a cheep blu ray rom.

AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition Callisto 3.1GHz Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core Processor + ASUS M4A785TD-M EVO AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard Combo - $195.00
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Item...

Antec Two Hundred Black ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $45.00
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

CORSAIR CMPSU-450VX 450W ATX12V V2.2 80 - $74.00
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

LITE-ON Black 4X Blu-ray Reader SATA Model iHOS104-06 - $70.00
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model $100.00
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

XFX HD-577A-ZNFC Radeon HD 5770 (Juniper XT) 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready - $188.00
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

I will use a HD from my old system.
This gives me a total of $675

The 4870 is tough to find right now, so i opted for the 5770 gpu, im still looking around though.
Went with the 785 over the 770 mobo despite the redundant onboard gpu because the price difference was negligible.

What do you guys think about this setup??
The Power source ok?

THX :) 

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December 31, 2009 3:36:39 AM
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You probably already know this, but just in case, the 577a is going to block one of the pci slots.

Note that the video card takes an additional 6-pin power connection. You should double-check the power supply to make sure it comes with this special connection. I would increase the power supply to a 500W power supply if the 450W doesn't have the connector.

Without researching any details, the parts look they should all work together, except where I've noted.

If you have any important data on your computer you will need some sort of backup. What I do is run an automatic process every night that copies important files from one hdd to another.

If you plan on working your tv via a remote control you will need one of those (and a receiver).

I haven't looked through the BIOS but Asus usually has very good options.

If you decide to hook your TV up with the 785g then changing to this chipset was a very good idea.

You should have no problems with this setup when running win7, but you may have trouble if you choose to switch to linux. If you ever cross that path, then an Nvidia graphics card may be in your future.

I don't understand why people like blu-ray so much, but to each his own. It seems over-priced to me. I'll probably re-think that decision in a year, though. Let us know if it's worth it!

The next step I would do right now, if I were you, is download the motherboard manual and pay particular attention to the BIOS options and see if they look reasonable. If you plan on using a remote to control your computer, for example, you would want to make sure that the BIOS supports wake-on-usb. Another thing I would look for is to make sure it says something about Cool'n'Quiet.
December 31, 2009 3:46:40 AM

Thanks a lot, i shall check out those issues. I think Im going to order all this stuff, but hold off on the video card for now, and wait for a good deal. The onboard video card should be fine for watching HD content, if not do gaming.
Thanks for the tips!
December 31, 2009 4:02:05 AM

PCI-Express Connector 1 x 6-Pin - is this the 6 pin power connection i need? Its the only mention of 6 pin i can see
December 31, 2009 4:08:54 AM

Yes, that's right. It connects to the video card that is inserted into the PCIe slot.
December 31, 2009 6:43:13 AM

Ok a couple more questions. Is this 450w power supply adequate? And what is the difference between 1600 and 1333 RAM?

Im also considering these 2 PSUs

Antec BP550 Plus 550W Continuous Power ATX12V V2.2 Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

OCZ Fatal1ty OCZ550FTY 550W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
\
..but im not sure about PSU brand quality
December 31, 2009 3:00:31 PM

450w is adequate for your setup, but there is not a large margin of extra capacity. You will be happy with any of those three power supplies, assuming they all have the 6-pin connector. Quality in power supplies can vary quite a bit, even by the same manufacturer. That's why if you can find a huge bunch of reviews on newegg and they are very favorable that is a good indicator that you should trust (after reading the reviews).

The 1600 memory responds faster than the 1333 ram. There is a good chance, however, that your BIOS will not detect this faster memory and you will have to set the high-speed memory settings yourself in the BIOS to see any affect. Chances are that even after you set the correct timings in BIOS you will not be able to tell the difference between the two ram timings in real life.
December 31, 2009 3:04:29 PM

vanekl, youre my hero, thanks for all the help - Im going to go ahead and place an order
!