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Total n00b, first-time build, i7-920 system

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February 24, 2010 8:25:28 PM

I'm finally retiring my faithful, nearly a decade old dell. It's barely running. I've decided that I would rather build a new higher-end system then but a mid-range system, which would cost close to the same anyway. The problem is, I've never done this before. It's exciting, and I'm looking forward to learning some new skills, but in the meantime, I'm having trouble figuring some things out. After browsing through some posts here, it appears that this forum is populated by some knowledgeable, helpful folks. So, maybe some of you wouldn't mind helping me out?


I recently bought an i7-920. I'm going to be running Windows 7, probably 64-bit. This computer will be mainly for general usage (messing around online, working from home with word processing, downloading/watching large video files, streaming video, etc), maybe a little gaming, and photo/video editing.


Case

I'm considering the Cooler Master 690 II advanced
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119216&cm_re=cooler_master_692-_-11-119-216-_-Product

or the Antec 900 II, though it's a bit gaudy for my taste
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129058&cm_re=antec_900-_-11-129-058-_-Product

Both cases are in the $100-$110 range. All i really want in a case is that it's decently quiet, easy to cool, is big enough to hold all my components, and isn't overly complicated for someone who hasn't built a computer before. I don't care about bling, or windows, or anything. Understated is good.


RAM

Considering the following:

Corsair 6GB DDR3, 1600MHz 3x240 DIMM, Unbuffered, 9-9-9-24, XMS3
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0321071

Corsair XMS3 6GB DDR3-1600 (PC-12800) CL8 Memory Kit
]]http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0311100]]

OCZ Gold XTC 6GB DDR3-1600 (PC3-12800) CL8 Memory Kit
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0301254

OCZ 6GB DDR3-1600 (PC3-12800) Obsidian Triple Channel Memory Kit
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0322203

Most of those options are similarly priced, and i don't really know what the differences are. Your help would be appreciated.


Motherboard

Here is where i really start to get lost. I've been researching for a couple weeks, and the only thing I've learned for sure is that I don't know much of anything.

I've looked at this Gigabyte X58 LGA1366 MAX
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001PKUUJ0/ref=asc_df_B001PKUUJ01028508?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&tag=pg-474-01-20&linkCode=asn&creative=380341&creativeASIN=B001PKUUJ0

I read the review on this site recommending the ASRock X58 Extreme and I've seen the Asus P6T SE mentioned several times. I don't want to break the bank purchasing a motherboard. I'm not a gaming enthusiast, though playing the occasional game would be fun, and i do like to mess around with some photo/video editing, so I probably don't need the best motherboard around, but I don't want bottom tier either. I also don't know whether I need a MOBO with USB3 or not, but i suppose it would be nice if it was affordable. I'd like to do at least some moderate overclocking also.


Every Thing Else

Here's where i could use some real help. I don't know what kind of power supply I need. Do I need 500W, 650W, 750W? How much is too much? And which brands or models find the right balance between affordability and quality?

Same thing goes for graphics cards. Like i said, I'm not really a gamer, so i don't need anything extreme, but I'd like at least moderate quality.

As for the hard drive, I'm thinking about going with 1TB, though I might go smaller depending on price. I'm not going to be messing with SSDs. Again, I care about quality, but I don't need top of the line if I can get good performance at a decent price.

I realize I'm asking a lot here, but i feel kind of lost. One of my main problems is figuring out whether or not all the components are compatible with each other. Any help with the things I've mentioned, and suggestions about things I've left out would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
February 24, 2010 9:39:11 PM

The case at this point is really up to you-- With no gaming, overclocking, or intensive work, the cases you listed are just fine if they're aesthetically pleasing to you and in your price range. You won't need extreme cooling or anything of that nature. I would however buy a third-party heatsink and fan for your CPU though for good measure-- the stock ones are never that good.

As for the RAM, I recommend you cut down to a mere 4GB, probably a brand like G.Skill from Newegg will be more than fine and you'll save money. Besides, RAM is a cinch to upgrade in the future and will only get cheaper for you as time goes on.


Because of the practical uses you'll have for your computer, and I have a feeling you'll be doing uploads of video/music/pictures etc., I'd recommend a motherboard with USB 3.0 to prep yourself for the future. You'll be thankful for it if you do. I promise. I'll recommend this mobo for you.


As for the video card, I'd recommend the Radeon 5450. Check it here It's only 70 bucks and it'll take care of everything you need it to, including gaming which from the sounds of it you won't be doing too intensively. Plus it's DX11 ready.


A solid 500W power supply from a name-brand manufacturer will more than suffice for what you need. Unless you decided you're going to get into some graphic intensive hardcore games and need a superior graphics card, 500W is just fine.


The HDD is really up to you and how much of that space you think you'll use.I can help with that later.
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February 24, 2010 10:07:51 PM

Quote:
As for the RAM, I recommend you cut down to a mere 4GB, probably a brand like G.Skill from Newegg will be more than fine and you'll save money. Besides, RAM is a cinch to upgrade in the future and will only get cheaper for you as time goes on.

Wrong.
... 4gb of ram will not be triple channel ram.
You want 3, 6, or 12 gb of ram for triple channel (what x58 uses)
Therefore, 6gb is perfect.
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February 24, 2010 10:22:48 PM

D'oh! I forgot about that. Reminds me of the RAMBUS days. Intel's always trying to be stubborn with RAM.
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February 24, 2010 11:02:43 PM

You seem like you already have put a lot of thought into this.

For the cases I personally like the Antec 900 II have had my eye on it for a future build but they're both good cases.

As Xatos said get some decently priced ram to start in a few months it will dip in price and you can upgrade if you're finding a ram bottle neck. Although the board he sent you a link for is 1156 not 1366.

The link for your MB doesn't seem to want to work for me but from your description any 1366 board from MSI, Gigabyte or (my personal favorite) Asus will be more then enough.

For the hdd get a decent sized one with good speeds and buy something like a WD green for a storage drive when it's needed. Hdd are dirt cheep right now and they're only going to drop farther.

For the PSU I always recommend aiming a little over what you need. PSU's run at thier most efficient at about 50% load and if you get a good one can be carried on to future builds.

The gpu you'll have to look at based on how much and what type of gaming. 5450 should do pretty much everything but if you have a few bucks left over at the end I'd say drop it here to bump up to a 56xx or 57xx for a little longevity in case you see a game down the line that interests you.
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February 25, 2010 2:31:55 AM

victomofreality said:

The link for your MB doesn't seem to want to work for me but from your description any 1366 board from MSI, Gigabyte or (my personal favorite) Asus will be more then enough.




Sorry about that. I messed the link up. I'll try it again

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001PKUUJ0/ref=asc_df_B001PKUUJ01028508?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&tag=pg-474-01-20&linkCode=asn&creative=380341&creativeASIN=B001PKUUJ0


As for everyone else, thanks for all the advice. I'm going to look over all the recommendations for a while, and I'll probably be back with more questions.

I am trying not to go overboard with the spending for this build, but I would like to overclock some. I like the idea of the extra performance, even if I'm not using it right away. I'd like to know my system was up to the task if i decided I wanted to use it for more than just general computing. Plus, I'd like to not need to do substantial upgrading for a while.
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