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Help picking parts with my 1st build

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January 5, 2010 4:21:10 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within 1 month hopefully
BUDGET RANGE: ~$600 but I can go up some if it is worth it

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: web(school, Hulu, basic stuff), Matlab, PSPICE (circuit simulation software), visual studio, itunes, word/excel/pp, and maybe some other simple code compiler or circuit simulator.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com (open to others if there are good deals but I like newegg)

PARTS PREFERENCES: AMD CPU (cheaper and the sempon in my laptop has held up well) for other parts quality brand (ASUS and GIGABYTE from what I have read)

OVERCLOCKING: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION:1920x1080

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

This is my first build. I haven't bought any parts yet but I've been looking around and reading articles for a while. I'm not as computer savvy as I'd like to be (yet) but it seems like building my own seems to be the way to go now. Anyway I'm still unsure about what parts I should get, what I need vs what seems cool, etc, and I've landed here, so I'm hoping you will help set me on the right path. (most of what I've done is google searches and read review on newegg)

I am not really a gamer so I don't think I will need anything too special.

none of the tasks I will use the computer for are too demanding as my 4 1/2 year old compaq laptop with a 1.7 GHz Sempron and 2 Gb of RAM can handle these tasks but it does can get loaded down with multitasking or running Matlab simulations sometime.

So here is what I am considering right now:


-already have: a keyboard and mouse and I plan to use my old flat screen monitor and also use a small HD tv as a second monitor to watch movies or multitask with a second screen.

The only site I have looked at is newegg and I plan to order parts from there unless anyone has reason to buy something from somewhere else.

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 925 Deneb 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor Model HDX925WFGIBOX - Retail $140
-Is the stock heatsink/cooler generally okay?

MB: GIGABYTE GA-MA785GMT-UD2H AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail $90
(I realize that this is Micro ATX but it had very good reviews and seemed to have the features that I want. Is there advantages/disadvantage to Micro?)
-I would like to have an HDMI output
-since I do not plan to play games, I would like decent on board sound and video if that is practical (or cheaper)

RAM: The above MB uses DDR3 and since I'm not set on a MB, I haven't looked into RAM prices or brands much

HD: haven't looked at any, figured I would get advice on best brands and what else to look for (I assume 7200 RPM but I'm not sure about cache)
also is it worth it to consider having two internal hard drives?

GPU: I know very little about these so, suggestions for what you think may be appropriate for my uses if you have any

CD/DVD drive: haven't looked at them at all.
-I imagine I will only need a basic burner. I assume a blu-ray is overkill. not practical, and too expensive unless I plan to watch them on the computer.

Case: I've looked at some but I am open
-I'm not too big on having the case lit up so I don't need/want a fancy cool looking gaming case unless there is an advantage to it
-Fans: ?

Power supply: will need some help on this one for sure

Not sure if there's anything else that I forgot.
-I don't know how to overclock or why I would need to (at least for now) so that isn't an issue.
-I plan to install Windows 7 (64-bit) and possibly XP

I'm pretty much open to changing anything but I am trying to remain budget conscious and not get too many bells and whistles that I won't even use or know how.

---THANKS for any help and/or suggestions.
January 5, 2010 4:48:53 PM

Might want to edit it to look like the guidelines given in the thread in my signature...

CPU: Stock cooler will be fine if you're not planning on overclocking.

Mobo: The main disadvantage of mATX is the lack of space for expansion. I like to recommend the ASUS M4A79XTD EVO ($110 after rebate), but that's a little expensive for the build. I look around and come back with a better recommendation.

Alright, here's a cheaper one that will suit you just fine: ASUS M4A77TD $70

RAM: All current gen mobos use DDR3. A good set is OCZ Gold Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1066 CAS Latency 7 for $78.

HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 500 GB $55. This is the best HDD available, as well as one of the cheapest.

Optical: Samsung 22x SATA DVD Burner $27. Or whatever's cheapest (SATA ONLY)

Case: Antec 200 $50

PSU: I like to recommend the OCZ StealthXStream 700W for $50 after rebate. It's more power than you'll need, quaility, and extremely cheap. You can get a much smaller one, just stick with a major brand (Antec Earthwatts, OCZ, Corsair).

OS: If you're a student you can get Windows 7 for $30.

GPU: One part you forgot. I would like to recommend either the HD 5750 ($140) or 5770 ($155), but either may be out of your budget. These cards are great for media centers, and capable of true HD playback. Once I've got a cost for everything else, I'll come back to this. So if you're willing to go over budget by $60, get the 5750 (or $75 as the 5770 is a lot better). If not, GeForce 9800 GT $93. The HDs are far superior and will be good for the future. The GeForce is rapidly aging.

Total without GPU: $520 (includes Windows 7, rebates. Doesn't include shipping, taxes and any potential combos).
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January 5, 2010 6:08:32 PM

First, Thanks for reading and replying I really appreciate the help

I looked at deals a bit and found that the first Mother Board you recommended has a combo deal with just about every AMD CPU. $230.98 (after rebate) for the board and CPU I had listed, so that could bring the price down a bit if that is a better board.
Is there any reason for me to consider a faster (more expensive) CPU?

The other MoBo you mentioned could be combo-ed with different video cards: 2 GeForce and an HD 4350. But my thinking is that with how much time I will be using the computer, I may as well buy good stuff, so if you would still go with the HD 5770 then I may look for that. (Are they that much better?)

The RAM is getting bad reviews on newegg, should that be a concern?

I like the case suggestion!
Think I would I need to mess with additional fans?

CPU&MoBo:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
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Best solution

January 5, 2010 6:24:52 PM

I don't see any reason why you can't just use the motherboard in your original post and use the integrated GPU. The board has HDMI out and will work fine for your needs. Not everyone needs a gaming GPU. You said you don't game and I don't see anything in your intended use of the computer that would justify buying something like a 5770.

If you prefer a full-size ATX motherboard, here you go:

GIGABYTE GA-MA785GT-UD3H AM3 AMD 785G HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail $94.99

or

ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO AM3 AMD 785G HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail $99.99

The HD, DVD drive, and case suggested above are good suggestions. I can't say I would buy that OCZ Gold RAM, though. I really like this RAM:

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBHK - Retail $94.99

If you use the integrated GPU on a 785G motherboard, you could go with a 400W - 500W PSU. Here's a very nice one:

Antec EarthWatts Green EA-430D Green 430W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS 12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail $49.99

The PSU doesn't come with a power cable, but I would imagine you have one you could use.
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January 5, 2010 6:29:42 PM

There's always a reason to consider a faster CPU. It's faster. I'd get what the budget can afford, unless you can get a better GPU for the difference...

In every gaming build I suggest, the 5770 is the first thing I try to squeeze in. It's just that good, and it's brand new. Check out some of the benchmarks/reviews of it. Here's one for $145 after rebate, putting you at $645.

No. There are idiots on Newegg. Most of the reviewers shouldn't be allowed near tech. A lot of the negative deal with the timings/speed not being exact at start, which is easy to change in BIOS.

Unfortunately, that case doesn't have extra fan mounts. Unless you're overclocking a lot, you shouldn't need them. Frankly, after the 5770, that would probably be the next thing I'd change. The Antec 300 Illusion ($70) is a great case, and has a lot of fans for the price. Right now, that still isn't a good deal, because the HAF 922 (quite possibly the best case that's reasonabley priced) has a rebate making it $80.

All of that is good to know, but you're still over budget. Now if you're willing to spend $700...

@shortsuff: Yes, integrated graphics might work. Except it's true HD. I don't particuarlly trust integrated to do anything at that resolution. For the RAM, I like the G.Skill, but I was looking to trim a little cost with the OCZ. As for the PSU, the OCZ is quality, will allow future expansion and is the same price.
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January 5, 2010 6:36:07 PM

MadAdmiral said:
In every gaming build I suggest, the 5770 is the first thing I try to squeeze in. It's just that good, and it's brand new. Check out some of the benchmarks/reviews of it. Here's one for $145 after rebate, putting you at $645.

Nowhere does the OP say he'll be gaming with this system. In fact, he said we would NOT be gaming.
I am not really a gamer so I don't think I will need anything too special. said:
I am not really a gamer so I don't think I will need anything too special.
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January 5, 2010 6:41:48 PM

Whoops. That's what I get for trying to reply to multiple threads at once...

Regardless, my statement stands as a testiment to how good the GPU is. The measure of GPUs are in games, not in other things.

I can personally attest that the 5750 and 5770 are great cards for multimedia. Which is why I put it in there. In fact, the review of them specifically stated they were excellent in HTPCs, which with the 1080p resolution and Hulu use, I'm treating as such.
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January 5, 2010 6:54:28 PM

would on board video or a cheaper video card be just as sufficient for multimedia use?
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January 5, 2010 6:59:24 PM

According the the Best Graphics Cards For The Money: December '09 review, you start getting good 1900x1200 (in games) performance once you hit the $110-120 range. So you could drop down $35 or so.

However, seeing as the new 5xxx series cards get great performance, run cooler, quieter and more efficient, I highly recommend them. And if you were ever to pick up gaming, you'd be ready...

I wouldn't be confident in saying that onboard video would achieve that.
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January 5, 2010 7:03:09 PM

Also, I am new here, and I simply looked at another thread instead of looking for the guidelines that were posted (quite obviously posted and I still didn't look at them).

Anyway, did the changes to the original post make the format of the now edited post okay?
(Just want to make sure I'm not annoying the people I'm asking for help from by not following the guidelines properly)
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January 5, 2010 7:15:58 PM

Yes, you pretty much had everything we needed in the original post. It's just easier to look at this way.
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January 6, 2010 1:24:57 PM

Shortstuff has given good advice. If you will not be gaming, most likely you will find the HD4200 IGP on a 785G mobo sufficient for your needs. If you turn out to need better, you can always add a discrete GPU. A further advantage of waiting is for the imminent release of the HD56xx cards from ATi. Although a HD5750 should be a very nice card, it is certain to be expensive overkill. Of course, if you decide you'd like to play some modern 3D games, then get it. Older games, and anything 2D, will run just fine on the HD4200 also.
You're coming from an older Sempron, and saying it is only now not quite enough. You may be quite pleased with a $67 Athlon II X2 250; since you mention multitasking though, I'd recommend http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... which is an Athlon II X3. Laptop components are so much slower across the board, that you're going to be amazed at the difference whatever you get. The Samsung F3 will make your laptop's hard drive feel like an old floppy.
Since you'll be getting a socket AM3 mobo, you've got plenty of upgrade path as well, should you ever need a quad core CPU or need to add a strong GPU.
On the PSU, allowing for the possibility of a single GPU in the future, the Antec Earthwatts 430 that Shortstuff cited would be an excellent choice, and could handle a HD5750 or HD5770 if you ever needed one.
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January 9, 2010 6:06:23 AM

Thank you for all advice so far, here is what I'm thinking now:

MoBo:GIGABYTE GA-MA785GMT-UD2H AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX
(GPU: on board)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------$85


CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 925 Deneb 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------$141


Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP
PSU: OCZ StealthXStream OCZ700SXS 700W ATX12V
-Is there a reason not to get the higher wattage power supply?
It's cheaper with the combo but it won't use more power or anything will it?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------combo $100


RAM: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666)
-I can get a combo deal if change the CPU (~$165) and get OCZ RAM. Worth it or should I stick with the GSKILL?
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------$97


HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------$55


CD/DVD: Sony Optiarc DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model AD-7241S-0B LightScribe Support - OEM
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------$27




Prices after rebates $505 + $10 (shipping) -------------------------------------------------------------------------Grand Total $515!!!
($50 MIR)



--------------------Any more thoughts/suggestions/comments/advice would still be greatly appreciated--------------------------

(hoping to submit orders by the end of the weekend! Please, throw any thoughts you have on here.)
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January 9, 2010 1:54:04 PM

A PSU will only draw the power it needs from the wall. While the spec for the OCZ says "up to 85% efficient," it is not 80+ certified. So, it may be 85% efficient, but only when running on 230V and providing 350W-400W of output. At 117V when providing 125W, it may be considerably less efficient. It will certainly meet your needs, and allow for expansion, however it is not a PSU I would buy for myself. I prefer at least 80+, or 80+ bronze. Check your combo price though, I'm seeing $150, not $100.
For $110, you can get an Antec Sonata III 500 Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case that comes with an Earthwatts 500W Power Supply:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
That is a really solid case, and quiet. I wouldn't call it a gamer case, because it sacrifices airflow for that quiet, but it is certainly adequate for you, and would be even if you decided to add a HD5750 or other GPU later. That's the one my wife has, and no Coolermaster can touch it for quality. My CM-RC690 has better cooling and other features, but is not higher quality overall. It will likely be the last Coolermaster I buy.
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January 9, 2010 2:38:19 PM

Onus said:
A PSU will only draw the power it needs from the wall. While the spec for the OCZ says "up to 85% efficient," it is not 80+ certified. So, it may be 85% efficient, but only when running on 230V and providing 350W-400W of output. At 117V when providing 125W, it may be considerably less efficient. It will certainly meet your needs, and allow for expansion, however it is not a PSU I would buy for myself. I prefer at least 80+, or 80+ bronze. Check your combo price though, I'm seeing $150, not $100.
For $110, you can get an Antec Sonata III 500 Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case that comes with an Earthwatts 500W Power Supply:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
That is a really solid case, and quiet. I wouldn't call it a gamer case, because it sacrifices airflow for that quiet, but it is certainly adequate for you, and would be even if you decided to add a HD5750 or other GPU later. That's the one my wife has, and no Coolermaster can touch it for quality. My CM-RC690 has better cooling and other features, but is not higher quality overall. It will likely be the last Coolermaster I buy.



The price for the case & PSU combo is $150 with $50 MIR so it is $100 when all is said and done

The Antec case is not listed and microATX compatible. Plus it doesn't look like that case allows for much airflow. Also I may want to buy a case that can handle the cooling if I use the case for a build in the future and cooling when may be more of an issue.
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January 9, 2010 6:36:11 PM

All good points. I generally don't count rebates as I avoid playing that game.
The Antec case will accept a mATX mobo. If you don't plan on a high overclock, and get a video card that exhausts its heat, cooling won't be a problem in the Sonata III. Still, despite its other excellent features, high airflow is not one of them. I was sufficiently impressed by its quality of construction though that I thought it was worth mentioning, and it also comes with a solid PSU.
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