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First System Build - Moderate Gaming/Home Use $750

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January 3, 2010 2:50:50 AM

Hi guys,

As the topic states, this is my first system build...at least in the last 7 years, so I'm counting myself as a straight newcomer. I'll follow theAnimal's guide to asking for advice to hopefully minimize any issues.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This week, preferably.

BUDGET RANGE: $750 after rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, web browsing, School Work (non-graphics intensive), etc.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: I mostly use Newegg or Tigerdirect, but any reputable dealer is good for me.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: United States of America

PARTS PREFERENCES:None.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe, in the future SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: I'd like to have it handle up to 1920x1080 for the future.

So far I've decided on an i5 setup, as Core2Quad seems on its way out the door, and i5 seems to operate better and cooler. Below are some parts that I've decided on for now.

CPU: Intel Core i5 750 BX80605I5750 Processor - 2.66GHz, LGA 1156, 8MB L3 Cache, Quad-Core, Lynnfield - $189

Motherboard: Asus P7P55D LE Motherboard - $139
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

RAM: Kingston HyperX 4GB DDR3 1800MHz Memory - Non-ECC, CL8, Unbuffered DIMM, 240-pin - $118 http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

I'll be purchasing Windows 7 HP (price not included in the budget), and I think that is 64-bit only. I need some recommendations on a GPU that will handle some moderate gaming and will run games for a few years just fine but also fit my price range (Hoping a GPU will cost me around $150). Any recommendations on cases/PSUs (I have no idea what kind of airflow/power to look for) would be wonderful too. Also would like a bit of feedback on the mobo, as I won't be using SLI and probably some of the other features, is it more than I need? I'm trying to cut cost wherever possible to avoid buying stuff I don't need, but I don't want sheer junk either. I was wondering if that RAM is overkill and if I can afford to downgrade. Also, do I need 4gb? Lastly, would anyone recommend a 2 HDD setup, 1 for boot and the other for data, or would it be better to partition one drive? Any help would be great, thanks.
January 3, 2010 3:16:50 AM

Here's a few things to consider:

Case/PSU combo - $100 shipped!! Has pleny of power for your needs and comes with a quality 500w Earthwatts PSU, with 34A on the combined 12v rails. Also has 2 x 6 pin PCI-e power connectors for your GPU needs!!
Antec Sonata III 500 Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 500W Power Supply - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM - $94 shipped!! Your selection requires a voltage of 1.7-1.9v, which is 0.2-0.4v over the stock settings (1.5v). I prefer to take the easy road and get RAM that doesn't require voltage adjustments to work at the given timings, so here's what I'd recommend:
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU - $155 shipped!! One of the better GPU's you can get for the $!!
SAPPHIRE 100283-2L Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mobo - $134 shipped!! It's the same selection you selected and is at least $5 less (depends on if TD charges you S/H)!
ASUS P7P55D LE LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A cheaper mobo option:
Mobo - $105 shipped!!
GIGABYTE GA-P55-UD3L LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

DVD Burner - $39 shipped!! Comes with the software to read/burn DVD's!!
LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 24X DVD-R SATA Black 24X DVD Writer - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HD - $55 shipped!! One of the faster HD's out there at this price point!
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Total ~$767 shipped!! Now this is assuming your getting the i5 750 for $189?? Newegg has it for $195 shipped, so just add $6 more if you get it from Newegg. If you go with the less expensive mobo, than subract ~$30 and your at $737!!

Edit: I forgot to mention that you could get a 1 TB or larger data drive later. The 500 gb HD now will do you for a bit, unless you want to go bigger.
Here's the OS that I'd get too. And "yes" you should use 4 gb's in your system!!
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
January 3, 2010 5:14:38 AM

That's exactly what I needed to know, thanks. Can I justify buying the Asus P55 mobo, or is the cheaper one a better option for me? Will it affect system performance at all, or is it mostly going to be a difference as far as expansion slots? Also, how much expanding will I be able to do with a 500 Watt power supply, meaning does it give me plenty of room to play with, or am I safe only as long as I don't add anything else? Will that case have enough cooling capabilities, or do I need to install more fans? On a side note, do processors still come with thermal compound in the box, or do I need to buy a tube? Sorry, the further I get into this, the more questions I realize I don't have answers to, but thanks again for the help!

EDIT: Forgot to ask......with the setup you mentioned, what do you think of that build?
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January 3, 2010 5:47:38 AM

Okay let me try and answer some of questions first.
* The mobo that I selected will give about any options that you need in the near future. You can get cheaper ones that will do the job just fine, they just don't have the USB 3.0 support and SATA 3 support!! Either option WON'T affect the performance, unless you get a SATA 3 HD later down the road.
* The 500w PSU has 2 x 6 PCI-e power connectors and comes with the 34A on the combined 12v rails. This should allow you to use just about any GPU out on the market. Also the PSU should be able to handle just about any extra options that you want in the future. If your going to X-fire/SLI GPU's in the future, I'd recommend going for an AMD AM3 build or to go with an Intel i7 based system. The i5 system is best suited for single GPU setups. You can X-fire/SLI on them, but the hardware on the CPU and on the mobo can affect their performance.
* The Antec Sonata III case comes with 1 x 120mm Rear exhaust fan (with 3 speed control!!). Normally you should be fine with just the one, but I'd recommend getting another 120mm fan for the front. I'd try out the system first and see if you might want additional fans later. Every environment is different, so I wouldn't spend the $ now, unless you know that the computer is going to be in an environment where it would be best to get more cooling.
* The stock CPU HSF has thermal paste already applied to it, so you don't need to get some if you don't want too. I'd recommend getting some, in case you upgrade your CPU HSF or if you have to remove the CPU HSF for one reason or another.

Hopefully I got all of your questions there :) 
January 3, 2010 12:26:58 PM

Ok, thank you again. One more thing, though. I don't want to overclock right now, but I'd like to do it maybe a year or so from now. Will that PSU in that case, or any good 500w PSU really, support my OC needs? I'm only going to OC the processor, not the GPU. Thanks again.
January 3, 2010 12:28:37 PM

Okay, thanks again! One more thing. In about a year or so, I want to OC the processor only. Will I be good as far as PSU with the 500w to OC it then?
January 3, 2010 12:39:18 PM

The PSU will handle your OC'ing needs, but not just any 500w PSU. You need to use a quality one, like the one I selected for you.
You will want to get a better CPU HSF, if you OC much on the CPU. You can do a mild OC'ing with the stock CPU HSF, but it'll run a bit warm if you do (which isn't a bad thing).
January 3, 2010 1:47:12 PM

Alright, I've done a bit of looking around just because I don't want to be confined to one case. I've always liked looking at Xoxide's website for the cool looking stuff. Some of their cases have configurators, such as this one:

http://www.xoxide.com/modtek-modesa-250mm-case-black.ht...

I'm not partial to that case by any means, but I do like the option of being able to add fans and all that, because frankly I don't really want to do it myself when the case comes. If I add one of the power supplies from the configurator, are those alright? I think they're Sunbeam brand, but I know next to nothing about PSUs really.
January 4, 2010 1:44:41 AM

Use whatever case you like, they are personal preferences. The Antec case you can add fans too, if you like, but like I said cases are all by personal preferences. Personally I just want a solid and functional case that fits into my budget, so Antec/Cooler Master are my main purchases when looking at cases.
The Sunbeam PSU that is on the website only has 25A on the 12v rail for a 580w PSU. This would be the equivalent of a quality 300w PSU. I wouldn't' recommend getting that PSU. If you like the case, than I'd get it and make sure you have at least 2 fans (one inlet and one outlet). Just make sure you use a quality PSU. I like Antec, Corsair, PCP&C, & Seasonic PSU's, because of their quality and warranties!
!