Please help me finalize my 1st build

I'm a first-time builder with very little computer knowledge, especially compared to many of the folks here. I posted asking for advice once before when i first considered building a new PC, and now that I've started collecting components I would appreciate some help finishing things up. Thanks in advance for any advice I get.

I'll be using my new PC for light photo/video editing, streaming movies (netflix and the like), and other general computer stuff. I'm not a gamer, but might try out some games from time to time.

So far, I have the following components:

CPU: Intel i7-920, a friend lives near a Micro Center, so I got this for $200, or $215 after taxes and shipping!

Case: Cooler Master 690 II Advanced, about $110

Monitor: Dell ST2410, got it for about $180

**edit** monitor link won't work for some reason, resolution is 1920 x 1080.

Please help me with the following:


I'm considering the ASRock X58 Extreme, which was a Tom’s Hardware 2009 Recommended Buy for sub-$200 MOBOs, $169 at newegg

the GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R, $209 at newegg and $199 at micro center

I'm kind of leaning towards the Gigabyte MOBO, though the only real advantage it has over the ASRock as far as I can tell is USB 3.
I don't want to spend more than $200 or so for a MOBO, however, newegg has some open box MOBOs from Asus and ASRock that usually go for $280-$300 priced down to $220-$230. Is it worth spending an extra 20 bucks to get an open box item that is usually $300? Is open box too much of a risk? I'm open to the idea, but I'm also thinking the cheaper MOBOs are probably fine for my needs.


Crucial 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333, $165 (this was recently recommended by Tom's hardware, it's relatively cheap, and i don't mind RAM without heat spreaders

and the following products from Corsair, $190-$200

I know that's a lot, but I'm new to this and am having a hard time even telling the difference between some of those. Help!

Hard Drive:
Considering 750GB to 1TB. I can probably handle this, but there may be things I'm ignorant about, like brand/model compatibility with my other components or something. Please advise.

Graphics card:
I really have no idea about this. Please help. I'm not a gamer, but I have seen some games I might like to play on occasion, so I'd like my system to be up to the task, but it doesn't need to be up to enthusiast specs. Good enough is good enough. I'll mostly be doing some light photo and video editing, streaming movies from netflix, and other general usage stuff.

PSU and CD/DVD drive:
This part, I think i can handle, but by all means, feel free to make suggestions. Advice from those more knowledgeable than myself is always welcome. I'm considering a PSU with at least 650w. Too much? Too little? Recommended brands?

CPU Cooler:
Thinking about getting the Hyper 212 Plus Universal CPU Cooler
Your thoughts? Is this even necessary?

As I've said, I am completely new to this. Are there other peripherals I need to be getting? Are there cables, tools, or other components I need that I'm unaware of as a new builder? I see mention of Arctic Freeze and people using some sort of "grease" but I don't know if these are things I'll need or not.

Thanks for reading!! Any help is extremely appreciated.
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  1. Best answer
    Mobo: Gigabyte by far. It's higher quality and has better features. Professional reviews can't really test for longevity, which is why the ASRock wins in many of them.

    RAM: G.Skill Pi Series 3x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $180. Very fast sticks, and cheaper than many ones with similar specs.

    HDD: Seagate 7200.12 1 TB $90. Very fast drive. The other comparable options are the Samsung Spinpont F3 1 TB ($98 w/ shipping) and WD Caviar Black 1 TB 6 GBps ($120). They're all roughly the same speed.

    GPU: HD 5850 $315. If your resolution is 1920x1080 (the link is dead), this will handle most of the newer games at max settings. If the resolution is lower, the HD 5770 would be fine.

    PSU: Corsair 750W 80+ $100 after rebate. This is big enough if you ever want to add a second GPU. If not, the Antec Earthwatts 650W would be great.

    Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $23. Doesn't matter on the exact model. Pick the cheapest SATA burner you can find.

    HSF: That's ones the best. You'll only need it if you're overclocking the CPU.

    Misc: You shouldn't need anything else. Unless you're trying for a massive overclock, you don't need thermal paste (aka grease, compound).
  2. Thanks a lot! I'm looking at your suggestions right now. I was hoping to keep GPU price under $200, but maybe that's not realistic.

    Also, i can't get the link to work for the dell monitor, but the resolution is 1920 x 1080.
  3. To be honest, the 5850 is more ideal for 1920x1080 resolutions. However, if you don't mind turning down the details and running some games at a lower resolution, the 5770 wouldn't be horrible. Besides, if it gets to the point where you can't stand playing with that detail, you can always stick in a second 5770 for Crossfire. This also all depends on the type of games you want to play. If it's just things like MMORPGs and RTSs, the 5770 would be fine. If you want to play the blazing fast FPSs, then the 5850 would almost be necessary.

    Given that you obviously aren't a heavy gamer, you may want to consider sticking with the 5770 for now. If you develop into a gamer, you can always upgrade.
  4. One more thing, I'm looking at the Ram you recommended and it looks good. However, the customer reviews mention that the sticks could be too tall when paired with some CPU coolers. How do I determine if they will fit with the cooler and case I selected? Thanks again!
  5. The cooler's they won't fit with are generally the massive ones. The Hyper 212 isn't that large. In addition, the fans can be adjusted up or down with the clips, so you have some ability to move them if it's in the way. Also, if you plan on only using one fan with the cooler, you can change which side the fan is on and what direction it's moving the air so it doesn't hange over the RAM.
  6. Ok, so I ordered the Gigabyte MOBO, the Antec 650w PSU, the WD Caviar Black 1 TB HDD (wanted the Samsung, but it was out of stock), the Cooler Master Hyper Plus CPU cooler, and a cheap LG optical drive. I wanted to get the G.Skill Pi Series RAM but I ended up getting some Corsair RAM. I could have gotten everything including the G.Skill RAM , which I preferred, from Newegg, but getting the components I selected and the Corsair RAM from Micro Center saved me nearly $80. I just put the order in and am already wondering if I made the right decision.

    Here is the RAM I ordered:

    The prices would have been comparable, except, for some reason I was not charged tax on the Micro Center order and got another $40 in rebates, while Newegg was charging about $57 in sales tax.

    Did I make an all right decision? Comments and criticism welcome.
    Oh, and looking over my invoice, I just realized that I ordered a 5750 Radeon GPU instead of a 5770. Do i need to cancel this order and go with the more expensive package from Newegg?
  7. The G.Skill sticks would have been a little faster, but other than that, you did fine.

    You should definitely cancel the 5750 and get the 5770. There's a big performance difference. It's something like a 15-20% performance increase for $15-20.
  8. Best answer selected by black_douglas.
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