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Opinions and criticisms of new build

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April 15, 2010 1:58:18 AM

Hello, this is my first post on these forums, though I have been lurking around for a few months now soaking up some knowledge as they say. I decided recently to take the plunge and build my own PC. I've gone from an Atari ST to a Compaq Presario to a HP Pavilion and finally to a Sony Vaio. Each were good pc's in their day and all were either very reliable or I was very lucky. I never had to replace anything major on any of these though I did add a sound card here or video card there. I never really gave much thought to how or why they worked, only that they did. It was just in the last few years that I really started to give thought to the how and why. The more I learned the more I became frustrated with pre-built pc's. I got tired of not being able to upgrade proprietary parts (will never buy Sony again). It seemed such a waste to get rid of a whole PC when there were only a couple of things that needed upgrading. My experiences with Sony are what finally made me finally say enough is enough. I decided I wanted total control of MY PC, and so my story begins. Here is my current PC:

Sony VAIO RB44G - P4 640 3.2 GHz
Chipset type Intel 915G Express
G.SKILL Value 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200)
Hard Drive 1.0 x 250.0 GB - Standard - Serial ATA-150 - 7200.0 rpm
2 IDE drives 1 dvdrw and 1 dvd-rom & LG Supermulti Burner with LightScribe Model GSA-E40L External Drive
Gigapocket Analog TV tuner (doesn't work with Windows 7)
Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer (actually replaced with HT Omega Claro before upgrading to W7 - didn't want to deal with Creative W7 driver issues)
EVGA 256-P2-N751-TR GeForce 8600 GT 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 SLI Support Video Card (best I could do at the time w/o replacing psu)
305 W. PSU :fou: 
Sony SDM-HS95P 19in 1280x1024 flatscreen monitor
Logitech G11 Gaming Keyboard and MX600 Wireless Laser Mouse
Windows 7 Home Premium (upgraded from Windows XP 2005 Media Center)

As I am just looking for opinions and useful advice on items already purchased I will skip the New Build format and just list the parts I've decided and my reasoning behind them.

COOLER MASTER HAF 922 - Looks like a great case with plenty of room for expansion and excellent airflow/cooling properties. Only $90 w/free shipping.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER Silent Pro 700 RS-700-AMBA-D3 700W ATX12V V2.3 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Enough to power a mid to high end system - don't plan on going the crossfire/sli route- modular and I got it for $80 w/free shipping after $20 rebate. :ouch: 
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO AM3 AMD 785G HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - I debated quite a bit about this once I decided to go the AMD route, onboard sound and video nice to know you have in case sound/video card crap out on you. I bought this mainly on Asus reputation and the good reviews. $80 and free shipping didn't hurt either. :) 
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz- C3 stepping - this was my hardest decision as I debated between this and 555BE dual core and the Athlon II 630. Finally decided to spend the extra $60 and not take a chance on the 555BE lottery, or the lack of l3 cache on the 630 for future applications. I would like this to last at least 3 years.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) CS-7 - Deciding on RAM nearly drove me insane too :pt1cable:  I went with these because of the tighter timings and some problems being reported on the GSkill forums about 1600mhz ram and my mobo. $115 and free shipping.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG DVD Burner SH-S243N/BEBS - Most recent Sata drive from Samsung ( haven't had a bad product from them yet. :love:  ) $24 and free shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive - Good reputation/5year warranty $65 and FS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HT | OMEGA CLARO 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Interface Sound Card - Tired of dealing with Creative Sound Cards. Very impressed with this card so far, paired with Sennheiser HD555 headphones($130 and FS) I'm in heaven. Sounds fantastic with my old Onkyo 5.1 reciever. Wish I had spent the extra $15 for the Claro+. $160 and free shipping.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG 2333HD High Glossy Black 23" 5ms HDMI Widescreen Full HD LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 DC 10,000:1 (1,000:1) Built-in Speakers 1920x1080. - Love Samsung, built in hdtv tuner, 2 hdmi inputs, and the best part is I only paid $219 with FS. :bounce: 

Windows 7 Upgrade disc - hope I can use this on new build, but if not guess I'll buy OEM 64 bit. Should have waited to build new system before buying upgrade for old one.

I've decided to go ATI for my videocard after many years with Nvidia products as the 5000 series will pass Blue ray sound through Cyberlink DVD software. I can't decide if I want to get the 5770 or wait for the 5830/50 to come down in price. Sapphire or XFX would be my two preferred vendors. Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated. I wish EVGA made ATI cards as they would jump to the top of the list.

I pretty much going to go with Samsung for my Blue ray drive, I'm just waiting for a good deal on it as I am no hurry for it.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A TV tuner is last on my list but am in no hurry for this either. The CPU and RAM will be here by the weekend and I'm sure it will take me all weekend to get it all together and test it. Anticipation is killing me, I think I need to get out more :sol:  Well that's about it, sorry for the length. Let the grading begin....




April 15, 2010 6:46:36 AM

tcisaki said:
Hello, this is my first post on these forums, though I have been lurking around for a few months now soaking up some knowledge as they say. I decided recently to take the plunge and build my own PC. I've gone from an Atari ST to a Compaq Presario to a HP Pavilion and finally to a Sony Vaio. Each were good pc's in their day and all were either very reliable or I was very lucky. I never had to replace anything major on any of these though I did add a sound card here or video card there. I never really gave much thought to how or why they worked, only that they did. It was just in the last few years that I really started to give thought to the how and why. The more I learned the more I became frustrated with pre-built pc's. I got tired of not being able to upgrade proprietary parts (will never buy Sony again). It seemed such a waste to get rid of a whole PC when there were only a couple of things that needed upgrading. My experiences with Sony are what finally made me finally say enough is enough. I decided I wanted total control of MY PC, and so my story begins. Here is my current PC:

Sony VAIO RB44G - P4 640 3.2 GHz
Chipset type Intel 915G Express
G.SKILL Value 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200)
Hard Drive 1.0 x 250.0 GB - Standard - Serial ATA-150 - 7200.0 rpm
2 IDE drives 1 dvdrw and 1 dvd-rom & LG Supermulti Burner with LightScribe Model GSA-E40L External Drive
Gigapocket Analog TV tuner (doesn't work with Windows 7)
Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer (actually replaced with HT Omega Claro before upgrading to W7 - didn't want to deal with Creative W7 driver issues)
EVGA 256-P2-N751-TR GeForce 8600 GT 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 SLI Support Video Card (best I could do at the time w/o replacing psu)
305 W. PSU :fou: 
Sony SDM-HS95P 19in 1280x1024 flatscreen monitor
Logitech G11 Gaming Keyboard and MX600 Wireless Laser Mouse
Windows 7 Home Premium (upgraded from Windows XP 2005 Media Center)

As I am just looking for opinions and useful advice on items already purchased I will skip the New Build format and just list the parts I've decided and my reasoning behind them.

COOLER MASTER HAF 922 - Looks like a great case with plenty of room for expansion and excellent airflow/cooling properties. Only $90 w/free shipping.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER Silent Pro 700 RS-700-AMBA-D3 700W ATX12V V2.3 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Enough to power a mid to high end system - don't plan on going the crossfire/sli route- modular and I got it for $80 w/free shipping after $20 rebate. :ouch: 
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO AM3 AMD 785G HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - I debated quite a bit about this once I decided to go the AMD route, onboard sound and video nice to know you have in case sound/video card crap out on you. I bought this mainly on Asus reputation and the good reviews. $80 and free shipping didn't hurt either. :) 
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz- C3 stepping - this was my hardest decision as I debated between this and 555BE dual core and the Athlon II 630. Finally decided to spend the extra $60 and not take a chance on the 555BE lottery, or the lack of l3 cache on the 630 for future applications. I would like this to last at least 3 years.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) CS-7 - Deciding on RAM nearly drove me insane too :pt1cable:  I went with these because of the tighter timings and some problems being reported on the GSkill forums about 1600mhz ram and my mobo. $115 and free shipping.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG DVD Burner SH-S243N/BEBS - Most recent Sata drive from Samsung ( haven't had a bad product from them yet. :love:  ) $24 and free shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive - Good reputation/5year warranty $65 and FS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HT | OMEGA CLARO 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Interface Sound Card - Tired of dealing with Creative Sound Cards. Very impressed with this card so far, paired with Sennheiser HD555 headphones($130 and FS) I'm in heaven. Sounds fantastic with my old Onkyo 5.1 reciever. Wish I had spent the extra $15 for the Claro+. $160 and free shipping.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG 2333HD High Glossy Black 23" 5ms HDMI Widescreen Full HD LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 DC 10,000:1 (1,000:1) Built-in Speakers 1920x1080. - Love Samsung, built in hdtv tuner, 2 hdmi inputs, and the best part is I only paid $219 with FS. :bounce: 

Windows 7 Upgrade disc - hope I can use this on new build, but if not guess I'll buy OEM 64 bit. Should have waited to build new system before buying upgrade for old one.

I've decided to go ATI for my videocard after many years with Nvidia products as the 5000 series will pass Blue ray sound through Cyberlink DVD software. I can't decide if I want to get the 5770 or wait for the 5830/50 to come down in price. Sapphire or XFX would be my two preferred vendors. Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated. I wish EVGA made ATI cards as they would jump to the top of the list.

I pretty much going to go with Samsung for my Blue ray drive, I'm just waiting for a good deal on it as I am no hurry for it.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A TV tuner is last on my list but am in no hurry for this either. The CPU and RAM will be here by the weekend and I'm sure it will take me all weekend to get it all together and test it. Anticipation is killing me, I think I need to get out more :sol:  Well that's about it, sorry for the length. Let the grading begin....


Looks like a really solid build, good job getting the C3 stepping of the 955 BE. If you plan on OCing maybe look into an aftermarket HSF, but I can say from experience that the 955 CE step can get to 3.5 GHz on 1.4 vCore and handles fine with stock cooling.

From what Ive read/heard the Cooler Master PSU's can be questionable, maybe look into an Antec/Corsair or even an OCZ PSU. Right now newegg has some good prices for 500-600W PSUs which will be plenty for your build.

If you plan on doing gaming in the next 2 years, I personally would try to squeeze a 5850 into there. But a 5770 will be fine for less demanding games, and CPU intensive games like GTA 4 and Bad Company 2 will utilize the CPU well, only bottlenecking at the 5770. I cant give Frames-per-Second for those as I dont own a 5770. I can say that GTA 4 works beautifully on my 4890 which is placed equal with the 5770 in the GPU Heirarchy chart.
April 15, 2010 3:37:09 PM

Thanks for your input, I gave serious thought to an Antec/Corsair PSU but the reviews on this paticular CM PSU were very positive and I just couldn't pass up getting a 700w modular PSU for $80. It was actually cheaper than the 600w version. This came with a 5 year warranty so I felt confident purchasing it. Time will tell.
I'm still on the fence about the GPU, I would really like to get a 5850, but I choke everytime I see that price. :cry:  If it comes down to around $230-250 I'll snap one up but spending twice as much on a GPU than a CPU is tough to swallow. I like my games but not enough to starve :lol: 
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April 15, 2010 4:08:01 PM

The general recommendation around here is to not bother with a sound card, as onboard sound is very good these days. You can always add in a sound card later.

I'm surprised that you're going with the WD 640 GB instead of a Samsung Spinpoint F3 500 GB drive. $55, free shipping, and faster than the 640 GB drive due to using a dense 500 GB platter. 3 year warranty I guess, but...it's Samsung. :) 

Other than that, the build looks good. At 1920x1080, the 5770 is reported to struggle with high settings, so you are probably going to want to move up to the 5850. Slightly more useful advice/builds might be had if you mentioned your budget for the build.

If the instance of Windows you are trying to upgrade is the one that came with your Vaio, you are likely to have to buy a new copy. Technically, an OEM version of Windows is tied to the motherboard that it is installed on. If you bought a retail copy that you put on the Vaio, then you shouldn't have any trouble putting it on the new computer.
April 15, 2010 4:27:54 PM

I agree. To offer any real useful advice, we really need a budget.

I would definitely get a 5850. The GPU is much more important for gaming than the CPU, so the relative costs are irrelevant. I frequently recommend gaming builds with a $70 CPU (X3 425) and a $400 GPU (HD 5870). Sometimes I may even recommend a $70 CPU and a $700 GPU...

I would personally look into the Coolermaster 690 or Antec 300 Illusion. The HAF 922 is an excellent case, buy you could save some money by getting something smaller.

Judging by the list of parts, I'm guessing the budget is about $800. If so, here's a better gaming build:

CPU: X3 425 $70
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4 $125 after rebate
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 2x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $120
GPU: HD 5850 $300
HDD/PSU: Seagate 7200.12 500 GB and OCZ StealthXStream 700W $95 after rebate
Case/Optical: Coolermaster 690 and cheap SATA DVD burner $82 after rebate

Total: $792
!