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My first build need advice on Compatibility, price, and tips

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March 18, 2010 6:56:50 AM

Hey guys, this is my first build and I wanted it to be perfect. My price range was around $800 but I already passed that by $142 plus the shipping, which is not a big deal but lower is always better. Me = Poor college kid :cry:  . I've spent weeks reading reviews from Tom's Hardware and the Newegg reviews and have heard about compatibility problems with the motherboard/CPU and ram and it scares me to buy ram and not know if its compatible or not.

Okay so here's my problem: I would like for you guys to critique my build and give me some tips on how to improve. This will be for gaming but not necessarily for ultimate Crysis settings. I just want something that would play Empire total war on highest or something. I was also planning on Overclocking (once I figure outI would also like to keep the cost down if possible, so any recommendations on how to bring down my total would be awesome but I also understand that better performance comes with higher prices. Finally, compatibility. I've checked everything like ports and such and I know all my components would fit with each other but I don't know how to check if a certain ram is supported with the processor and the motherboard. I've tried looking for a compatibility list but failed :sweat:  so it would also be cool if someone gives me a link for 'em.

Okay! without further ado, here's my build!:

Processor:
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor $160

Motherboard:
ASUS M4A79XTD EVO AM3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail $119.00

Ram:
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL9D-4GBNT - Retail $99

CPU Cooling:
ZALMAN CNPS9900 NT 120mm 2 Ball CPU Cooler - Retail $69 <<<Dunno if it would fit with my case.

Graphics Card:
XFX HD-577A-ZNEC Radeon HD 5770 XTreme Edition 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail $185 <<<(will be crossfired once I get more money)

Hard drive:
Western Digital for 500 GB $55

Network Card: (Needed because its impractical to use lan cables (long story))
GIGABYTE GN-WP01GS IEEE 802.11b/g PCI Wireless Adapter Up to 54Mbps Wireless Data Rates 64/128 bit WEP, WPA, 802.1x, AES - Retail $17

Case:
Antec 900 II $109 << Don't wanna change because I like and I'm a spoiled brat!

Power Supply:
CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail $104.99

Dvd Drives:
Don't need I have a usb external one and if that doesn't work, I can salvage from a 6 year old machine.

Extras:
Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound $10
DVI to VGA cable (because I got a very cheap @$$ 19" LCD) $5
Anti-Static Wrist band (just to be safe) $4
BYTECC 18" Serial ATA-150/300 Cable w/Locking Latch Model SATA-118C - Retail $5 (Newegg's OEM doesn't come with these :cry:  )

Oh and just to follow that one guide:

Approximate Purchase Date: Maybe at the start of next month (
System Usage: Gaming
Parts not required: Just need PC nothing else. Don't need dvd
Preferred Website: Newegg, Amazon, Tiger Direct, anything cheap and I dont care
Parts Preference: Anything durable and would last. Im new at this to make a preference. I do like Intel better than AMD but AMD is cheaper for ALMOST the same ability (unless its i7 but were getting off topic here).
Over-clocking: The reason why I got the black edition. I will do so as soon as I figure it out completely.
SLI or Crossfire: crossfire, eventually, maybe :cry: 
Monitor Resolution: Ummm, not sure but my games always end up in 1280x1024 for my monitor.
Additional Comments: I stuck with the Radeon HD 5770 GPU cause I heard it was good enough to play Crysis on high, but Crysis is not really on the top of my "To Play List." I dont really have a preference between ATI and NVidia so I don't care to change it unless I see an insane jump in capability for another cheaper card.

Anyways, that adds up to about $942 plus shipping. Please help me :D  :D  haha. Now back to studying for my final :sleep: 
March 18, 2010 8:18:37 AM

^ Some changes to reduce the cost without affecting the performance...

1. CPU Cooler - That Zalman is overpriced for the performance that it offers...
Change to this
Sunbeam CCTF 120MM - Comes with TX-2 so you can cut out the AS5
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I can say for sure that the performance of the CCTF will be as good as that Zalman or even better...
I would have suggested the CM Hyper 212+ but it was a better buy at sub $30 and not ~$42...At this prices, the CCTF is a better buy...
So this saves ~$40( Including the omission of the AS5)

2. PSU - You wont need the Corsair 750TX for 2x HD 5770s...
Change to this PSU - Antec EA 650W - It can even power 2x HD 4870s...So powering 2x HD 5770s will not be any problem...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And a combo with the 902
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
Saves $20 or $40(Combo)

3. Graphics card - $20 more for just a 15Mhz clock increase ? And that too the closed cooler ones, run hotter than the open cooler ones...
http://www.anandtech.com/weblog/showpost.aspx?i=664
I would suggest this one instead...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
You can easily overclock most of the HD 5770 to 900Mhz without any issues...
http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-5770-review-tes...
Saves $20

Total savings - ~$100

And get a newer 500GB HDDs like the Samsung F3 500GB or the Seagate 7200.12 500GB drives...they have single platter design and are fast and efficient...
Related resources
March 18, 2010 8:38:45 AM

^ That wont do x8x8 Crossfire as the 2nd PCIe slot will run at x4 speeds - which is very slow for a graphics card...
March 18, 2010 9:04:52 AM

OH..... didn't know that, Thanks.

And to think i was actually planning on purchasing it!
March 18, 2010 9:10:30 AM

^ hmm...It is always good to read more about the components that you are planning to buy as the overview info might not provide all the details...
March 18, 2010 9:13:56 AM

Thnks
March 18, 2010 3:55:54 PM

Processor:
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor $160

I want to get a hex core. While I'm waiting I got a Sempron 140. I unlocked the second core and overclocked it to 3250. It was less than $40, so I can afford to retire it when I get the hex core.

Motherboard:
ASUS M4A79XTD EVO AM3 AMD 790X ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail $119.00

I got a Gigabyte 790 GX motherboard. The Asus motherboards are good too.

Ram:
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-10600CL9D-4GBNT - Retail $99

I got 4GB of DDR3 1333 ram too.

CPU Cooling:
ZALMAN CNPS9900 NT 120mm 2 Ball CPU Cooler - Retail $69 <<<Dunno if it would fit with my case.

I'm looking at the Zalman CPNS9700

Graphics Card:
XFX HD-577A-ZNEC Radeon HD 5770 XTreme Edition 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card - Retail $185 <<<(will be crossfired once I get more money)

I'm looking at the XFX 5770 too. I have onboard graphics for now.

Hard drive:
Western Digital for 500 GB $55

I got a Western Digital 320GB

Network Card: (Needed because its impractical to use lan cables (long story))
GIGABYTE GN-WP01GS IEEE 802.11b/g PCI Wireless Adapter Up to 54Mbps Wireless Data Rates 64/128 bit WEP, WPA, 802.1x, AES - Retail $17

Case:
Antec 900 II $109 << Don't wanna change because I like and I'm a spoiled brat!

I got the Antec 900. I'm not sure what the difference is, but I like the 900 and I'm sure you'll like the 900 II

Power Supply:
CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail $104.99

I got the Corsair TX650, but I don't plan to crossfire.

Dvd Drives:
Don't need I have a usb external one and if that doesn't work, I can salvage from a 6 year old machine.

I bought a DVD writer, but I didn't get LightScribe, so I write the DVD, and then put it in a different machine that has a LightScribe DVD to print the label

Extras:
Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound $10

Some people recommend other thermal compounds, but more people recommend Arctic Silver 5 than any other kind.
March 18, 2010 4:09:17 PM

Wait so you already bought all that?

This would have been a better build.

1. 890GX for hexacores (100% guaranteed work with hexacore, where 790GX might not)
2. Better ram (7-7-7-21 instead of 9-9-9-24, makes a good amount of difference)
3. Better HSF
4. Antec 900 two. (Oh wait, you already selected that?)
5. and it has all the combos saving you $$$

March 18, 2010 4:16:03 PM

Take a look at this month's $750 SBM. Substitute your preferred case, and use one HD5770 instead of the two HD4850s. PSU can be the same EA-650. Use the X3 processor they used, OR, get the cheapest one you can stand now and plan to upgrade it with one of the hex-cores later. Use their cooler, or the one GKay09 recommended.
I'd also suggest getting a draft-N wireless card, unless you know the access point you'll be using does not (and will not ever) support N. I've used the predescessor to this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... with good results. It may have a lot of poor reviews on Newegg, but user error will be responsible for a large number of them. People who know what they are doing won't have problems.
You say you don't need DVD; but you will likely still need an optical drive to load software. Your call.
The video card should come with a DVI->VGA adapter, so you may not need a separate cable.
March 18, 2010 4:39:34 PM

so can I really use a 650 watt psu? cause when I went to the ASUS website and used their wattage calculator, it told me the minimum was 650 watt. I didn't think I should get the minimum. And for the ram, is it ok to get ANY DDR3 1333? would they all be compatible with the whole system? What does the PC3 10600 mean? would it matter if it was any other PC3 #?
March 18, 2010 10:34:44 PM

A quality 650W will be sufficient. Most of the PSU calculators overestimate, because they try to account for all the crappy generic PSUs out there that aren't good for what's on their label.
!