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First time builder, would like some advice

Last response: in Systems
December 31, 2009 7:26:35 PM

Hi everybody.

I am having a go at building my own desktop computer. I have never done this before, and so am a little nervous, so I come here to get a little help and advice.
I will use this computer for a little bit of game deving (with XNA, Irrlicht and GM), a little bit of game playing (think Half life 2 etc), and a little bit of music composing. At the moment, I have decided on the following parts for the build:
(NB: I am based in the UK. Newegg and other US sites are therefore out of bounds)
I have listed the parts, and for some, what I intend to buy. If anyone has better suggestions, please voice them.

Stuff I need:
Processor: AMD Phenom 2 940 (AM2+ socket). I need a pretty powerful CPU to handle a lot of tracks on Cubase, and this seems to get good reviews.
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA 720D US3. If I ever want another CPU, it supports AM3. Perhaps when AMD release an octo-core...
GPU: 9600GT. I found one for £55 on Scan. I am not too interested in playing Crysis or Farcry 2 at 2560x1600, max detail, so I think this will do, it should suit my game dev and playing needs just fine. If it can max out Battlefront 2 at 1680x1050, 4xAA, then that suits me fine. In fact, if any other card can do this for less money, even better! 512 mb (and preferably GDDR3), and DX10, must be there, though.
RAM: More than 3.5GB, I'm told, doesn't work on Vista 32 bit, for some reason, so I think I'll get a couple of 2GB sticks of DDR2 800, that should be fine. 8GB is a nice thougth, but would be a waste. It seems expensive enoughas it is.
Case: + PSU: I'm stuck on these. I'm not really sure what is needed in terms of power and cooling, so I thought I would ask the experts.

Stuff I already have:
Sound Card: I already own a rather nice Creative Fatality Blaster (whatever it's called), so that should be fine for my composing.
OS: I have a Vista HP 32 bit disc at home with one more license left on it. I have to have a 32 bit OS because Cubase kicks up a stink otherwise. I'm not such a serious gamer to need x64, and don't want to spend money on this. Yes, Windows 7 is nice (I tried the RC), but I'm not that bothered.
Monitor: I already own a 22 inch 1680x1050, 5ms.

I Don't think I've forgotten anything, but please remind me if I have. Other peripherals such as mouse, keyboard, speakers, are not a concern. Also, I'm not going to overclock anything, because I don't trust myself not to go crazy. (Yeah, look at me and my 940, we're doing 5.8ghz on stock cooling...superPI in 0.02 seconds...oh my god its on fire)

Anyway, what I need to buy are: case, psu, cpu, gpu, mobo and ram. My budget is £300, but I can stretch to £350

So what does everyone think? If anyone needs more information or has a question about budget and so on, please ask.

More about : time builder advice

December 31, 2009 8:46:55 PM

DDR2 RAM production is shutting down in favor of DDR3. You would have a much better upgrade path with an AM3 motherboard, DDR3 RAM and an AM3 processor like the Athlon II x4 630 or even a phenom II x3 720 if you cant afford a phenom II x4 955 right now.

Power supply is basically dictated by graphics card. The 9600GT says minimum 600W power supply. Please get a good 80+ certified PSU from a reliable manufacturer. Cheap power supplies cause flakey performance and can even damage your system.

For a case check out the Antec 200. Cheap with good cooling.
January 1, 2010 9:44:54 AM

Only this morning I found a 955 for £128. I have decided to push back the build by another few months (to get the extra money together), so I can use ddr3. The rest of the build will remain the same. Also, thanks dndhatcher for pointing out that case, it looks good and is also cheap enough

Also, I read somewhere that all AMD triple cores are essentially quad cores with one core disabled, and that the motherboard I am looking at has the ability to unlock the fourth core on 720s. Is this true?
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January 1, 2010 1:01:48 PM

ynspyred said:

Also, I read somewhere that all AMD triple cores are essentially quad cores with one core disabled, and that the motherboard I am looking at has the ability to unlock the fourth core on 720s. Is this true?

Maybe.I think a lot of it depends on why that particular was deactivated. It's sort of a bonus that you cannot depend on.

Take a look at this thread while you are waiting for parts:
The first part of it contains a checklist that may stop you from making noobish mistakes.
January 2, 2010 6:28:25 AM

haha, that's certainly a danger, thanks