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Building a good computer, need some help with the parts

Last response: in Systems
May 7, 2010 3:54:28 PM

Hi all,

Here we go...

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: in the next few weeks

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Programming, (some) gaming, movies (at some point will be connected to surround sound), Office stuff (I’m a college student), general use

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: OS (Win 7 64bit), keyboard, other peripherals



Blue-Ray Drive: LG WH10LS30
Notes: Just would be nice to have

Boot Hard Drive: Western Digital VelociRaptor WD1500HLFS
Notes: A SSD is still to expensive, so I'll use this.

Case: ENERMAX Uber Chakra ECA5001B
Notes: I just picked this, if anyone has a better idea, let me know.

Case Cooler: Just using what comes with the case
Notes: If anyone thinks this is a bad idea, let me know.

CPU: Intel Core i7-930
Notes: Seems like a good idea

CPU Cooler: Just use the one that comes with the CPU
Notes: If anyone thinks this is a bad idea, let me know.

Data Hard Drive: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ
Notes: Going to put them in a raid 1 setup.

DVD Drive: LITE-ON iHAS424-98
Notes: just a secondary drive

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R
Notes: Thanks TomsHardware for pointing this out a few days ago!

Network Card: Just going to use the one on the mobo
Notes: If anyone thinks this is a bad idea, let me know.

Power Supply: ???
Notes: I need some help with this one. I was looking around, but I really don't even know where to start. Can I please get some ideas? I want a bit of headroom, but nothing to much.

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series F3-12800CL8T-6GBRM
Notes: Maybe buy another of these in the future to go to 12 gigs.

Raid Controller: Just going to use the one on the mobo
Notes: If anyone thinks this is a bad idea, let me know.

Sound Card: Just going to use the one on the mobo
Notes: I spent a lot of time looking around because this is really important (see below), but I couldn't justify buying one when the onboard audio is as good as it is. If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to throw them out.

Video Card: SAPPHIRE 100287VGAL
Notes: Video isn't super important to me, I just want something that can do decently so I can let others play games on this computer. Also when I watch movies on it, I would like them to look nice.

Notes: want this to last for a while, and I don't need that great graphics


For a power supply, I’m not really sure what I need to look for. Any help would be great. Also, for the parts that I said I would use the default, if anyone knows of a reason why I shouldn’t, feel free to let me know. The soundcard is also another area I’ve been having trouble with; most of the soundcards on newegg don’t match my onboard audio in terms of quality, or I’ve heard bad things about drivers, etc.

The reason graphics aren’t that important to me is because I am blind. On that note, if the case is ugly as hell, someone please tell me. I’m going on comments on newegg, because I can’t see the picture.

For the data hard drives, I’m putting them in to a raid 1 for data backup; does anyone see any problems with using these drives? I keep on hearing different things about what drives you can and cannot put in a raid array (something about timeout error recovery or something).

I know what I said I was going to do doesn’t sound that processer intensive, but I need a good processer to handle whatever I do on the computer, and the program that I use to access the computer. The screen reader (does what it says, reads most text on the screen) can become a bit processing power hungry.

I haven’t heard of this video card before, but it seems decent. If anyone knows anything bad about it, please let me know.

Thanks for the help everyone!
May 7, 2010 3:59:39 PM

drop the BR burner 'till after xmas ...

switch out the VR for a Kingston 64GB SSD

go with amd 890fx mobo ... a 955 ... a hyper 212 ... ripjaws 1600c7

Best solution

May 7, 2010 4:08:28 PM

It would have been nice to have a budget, but I'll do what I can without one.

First, the VelociRaptors are very poor investements. They're very expensive and not faster thant he 500 GB platter drives out there (which you're buying). I'd get a 500 GB model of the F3 as the boot drive.

Second, the case isn't ugly, but it's overpriced. The best case out there right now is the HAF 922, which costs less. You don't even need something that big. I'd suggest the Antec 300 Illusion and Earthwatts 650W as your case and PSU.

Third, I'd leave out the BluRay burner for now. If you don't really have a use for it, wait until it's more mainstream and get it cheaper.

Fourth, here's a combo with the CPU and board. It'll save you a little bit of money.

Fifth, the video card. I know it isn't that important to you, but you did say some people would be gaming on the computer. The HD 5670 is NOT a gaming card. It's very low powered. Unless the monitor's resolution is under 1600x, I wouldn't suggest gaming with it. I'd recommend looking at the HD 5770 to get a card that will handle gaming.

Finally, I generally don't recommend a sound card. However, in your case, I think it's very likely that you will be able to tell the difference between onboard and a discrete card. I would still try out onboard first, and then stick in a discrete one later if needed.
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May 7, 2010 4:17:23 PM

HD wise your Spinpoint F3 performs the same or better than Velociraptors, so no need for 1.

An x25-V SSD is $120 and should be enough for boot drive.

Case wise you're better off with a HAF 922 which is better and cheaper as well.

RAM wise these G Skill PI kit's are better. You really don't need more than 4gb of RAM unless you're a graphics/digital professional. We get 6 to take advantage of tri channel memory.

PSU a Corsair 550w should satisfy all your needs.

Raid controller and sound card wise, motherboard one is fine.

May 7, 2010 4:40:56 PM

Admiral is dead-on ... (everything)

Ban is right on the RAM and SSD but I think the Admiral's PSU is most prudent.

Frankly ... You could shave $300 with an AMD build and never feel it.

= Al =
May 7, 2010 8:15:26 PM

OK, I see. Just a few quick questions then.

1. Everyone is saying to leave out the blueray burner, so I’ll just wait until they come down in price.

2. For a boot drive, the VR seems out, so should I go with the X25-v SSD? It is only 40 GB, which is relatively small. If I were to go with a bigger boot drive, would you guys suggest the spinpoint F3? I’m looking for something that would give decent performance (and I'm not too sure about SSDs yet).

3. For a PSU, would 650W give me enough expansion to throw in a few more HDs (which I’m sure I will in the future)?

4. For the HD 5670 video card, will that play decent movies? At this point I rather get something cheaper that won’t play games, but will still look decent. And, something I forgot to mention, most of the time my display will be stuck at 1024X768, for reasons beyond my control. (My screen reader only really works with 1024X768).

5. Just as a matter of curiosity, what’s different about the G.Skill PI memory, over the original?
May 7, 2010 8:19:59 PM

2.) I would frankly leave out the SSD for now. What until the price drops so that you can get a much larger one.

3.) HDDs don't use that much power. 650W is enough power to add a second 5770, overclock and add more HDDs than the case can hold.

4.) Yes, the 5670 would be perfect for playing full HD movies. Seeing as the resolution is so low, the 5670 would be fine.

5.) The Pi series runs a little bit faster at CAS Latency 7. The Ripjaws are at CAS Latency 8. Other than that, not much.
May 7, 2010 8:37:10 PM

yup ...

650Watts is ample ...

... you can flip a coin, on the RAM. (unless you just want to measure the difference with your $25K oscilliscope ... in that case, get both)

PS: It's not ONLY that BluRay is expensive ! ... There are many reasons, not the least of which is the lack of any/many decent sw apps ... BR is fairly useless ... ATM.

... For playback ... Just buy a cheap dedicated (stand-alone) player ... (no PSU/CPU fans! and come with fancier remote functions.)

The final nail, in that coffin, is that it will take (quite literally) 5 minutes to install a BR burner, whenever your needs justify it fully. ... earn interest ... await fair pricing.

For mastering your own video? ... Outputting to a "highest quality" .wmv/.mov file is far superior and internationally compatible than BR spec ... any program under half an hour will fit on standard DVD (at better than BR quality 16:9) ... also more compatible).

For burning? ... What? ... For whom? (yet)?

= That's all =

May 7, 2010 9:36:47 PM

I'm probably the odd man out here, but going with a Blu-ray combo drive (Blu-ray reader, DVD R/W burner) isn't an awful idea if you don't have the time/space/whatever for a stand-alone Blu-ray player. Since you're in college, this is a distinct possibility.
May 7, 2010 9:42:50 PM

What they meant is $13x..dollars for one is not worth it right now.
And last I check blank discs were in the neighborhood of $3 so not worth it.

But a $50 just to play blu-ray discs sounds fine.

Although who buys movies anymore? ...
May 8, 2010 2:34:18 PM

coldsleep said:
I'm probably the odd man out here, but going with a Blu-ray combo drive (Blu-ray reader, DVD R/W burner) isn't an awful idea if you don't have the time/space/whatever for a stand-alone Blu-ray player. Since you're in college, this is a distinct possibility.

*IF* you already have researched your BR playback sw ... THEN ... The best way to go, right now, cost-wise for "reading everything" but still to allow burning of CD-R/DVDR ... IS ... TO GET TWO SEPARATE DRIVES ... IT IS CHEAPER AND MORE FLEXIBLE AND MORE FAULT TOLERANT ...

Total cost for "combo capability" is ~$80

May 15, 2010 12:26:24 AM

Best answer selected by SeanM.