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July 5, 2010 7:06:01 PM

Well everyone Im brand new to the TH forums and I hope I like it as much as I believe I will! Ive been reading the forums all morning and especially the 'Buyers guide and trouble shooting" but Im so overwhelmed and I would really like the help/suggestions Im sure you will all provide.

I really want to build my own gaming computer (specifically for mmo's and sc2) but i have never done anything to a computer personally and I dont even know where to begin. I have been reading the step-to-step guide to building a PC by tecmo34 but I understand like every other word. He suggests building a custom PC because you can get a lot more bang for your buck by piecing it together yourself.

Before we even get into what I should buy my major concern so far is this..Im going to spend $800+ dollars on newegg or w/e ordering all these awesome parts and buying a computer case ect. but then Im going to unwrap everything and be completely lost..cables everywhere, a case with nothing but metal walls inside once I take the side panels off..a large powersupply unit (which will probally be the only thing I can install trouble free), and not knowing how to connect what to what and where to connect it!

For instance tecmo starts the build with installing your motherboard and says remove it from the box, simple enough. But then goes on to say •Place the motherboard in the case to line up where the standoffs need to be placed. and follows it with •Place the standoffs on the case in the locations matching up with your motherboard . I have no idea what either of those comments mean!

Im very eager to set up my own rig and I think it will be very fun, rewarding, and a great learning experience Im just scared that Im going to spend all this $ and not know what to do with the product!

Thank you first of all for reading and I hope I wasnt too all over the place, but I really need some help/insight.

More about : head

July 5, 2010 7:16:55 PM

it makes more sense when you have all the parts
the standoffs are these http://www.amazon.com/Motherboard-Screwnut-Standoff-50-PCS/dp/B00008VF6K

they should come with your stuff and you screw them onto the case in the holes on the motherboard tray as spacers between the case and motherboard. There are holes on the motherboard that will align with the standoffs and you'll screw the motherboard in place on top of them.

another tutorial
http://compreviews.about.com/od/tutorials/ss/DIYMB.htm
not every case has a removable motherboard tray
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July 5, 2010 7:38:37 PM

Good start asking before you have said pile of (potentially non-compatible) components) :)  Welcome to Toms man,
theres some threads on here guidelining recommended builds you may want to look at, fill in the sticky form on the top of homebuilt and see what people can come up with to help you, lots of common questions to answer but you help us to help you by giving us info on your wants, parts you own already etc
*Edit cant find the build list sticky lol, but heres a link might be helpful in understanding components you'll need
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/build-part-1,1364.h...
Moto
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July 5, 2010 7:43:03 PM

First of all don't underestimate the psu installation :p . In my case it was a nightmare then I decided to open the manual and then I saw the light :D .

So yeah Fill out the sticky to the best of your abilties and we'll go from there.

We'd be.. or I would anyways :p  be happy to guide through every step to build a pc.
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July 5, 2010 7:52:20 PM

Ive helped people on here over the phone through their installation. I usually have them email me pictures of their confused/troubled areas then talk them through it.
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July 5, 2010 7:55:29 PM

If you can't find the sticky(whatever happened to it) all you have to do is fill in the following

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE:

BUDGET RANGE:

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT:

PARTS NOT REQUIRED:

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS:

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

PARTS PREFERENCES:

OVERCLOCKING:

SLI OR CROSSFIRE:

MONITOR RESOLUTION:

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
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July 5, 2010 8:04:47 PM

Well I will give it a shot but I dont really know what half of the stuff you guys talk about even is.. psu? Heh.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Over the course of the next few weeks..

BUDGET RANGE: $500-$750

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, Internet, TH forums..ha

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: mouse, monitor, keyboard, speakers

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com (or anything similiar you suggest)

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: usa

PARTS PREFERENCES: I dont know why, but I have a gut feeling that I should go with the i5 processor? or something like it

OVERCLOCKING: I dont know much about this.. but i would absolutely love to overclock someday from what I see on the SBM (system builder marathons) you get SO much more out of your system

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: ?

MONITOR RESOLUTION: N/A

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I really thank you for the willingness youre already showing to help me.. Im EXTREMELY new to all of the lingo, for instance psu? I dont know..im open to literally any suggestions with parts. I just like the i5 for some reason
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July 5, 2010 8:41:59 PM

Well a psu is simply an abbreviation for power supply so that's already solved ;) 

And sadly an i5 would be out of your budget range. Your looking at 400-500 just for the motherboard/ram/cpu so that's a bit to much.

I'm not very experienced in budget cpu's and mobo so hopefully someone else can suggest a few good ones.

SLI and CROSSFIRE is bassically having 2 ot more GPU's(graphics proccesing units or graphics cards whatever you want to call them) and making them work together to "theoretically" double(if you've got 2 GPUs) performance.

I would get the system builder marathon budget build and upgrade if you are willing to spend more.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cpu-gpu-overclock,2...

So my question is how much are you willing to spend because 500 and 750 is a big difference :p . If you don't mind spending 750 I would get:

their build with: 4gb of ram, 5830 and that's already close to 750 if you can still spend a bit more due to some combos I'd still get: a better cpu, 5850.

This is pretty rough but I think It's in the right direction
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July 5, 2010 9:13:32 PM

I'll throw down on it.
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July 5, 2010 9:23:37 PM


There is a 20 MIR on the PSU so it should put you at 747.00 before shipping.

If thats too over budget there is also a Athlon IIx3 440 combo with the power supply that will put you back under 750 :) 
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July 5, 2010 9:55:20 PM

My advice for someone in your situation who is eager, but is coming up blank when reading tutorials trying to understand how everything goes together and how it all works is to get build advice here on THF, exactly as you intended before, but to have someone more familiar with building computers present when you actually attempt to put yours together.

Building a computer for the first time is indeed a great learning experience, but should be done with someone more familiar with the process first.

That being said, here is my suggestion for your build:

CPU: AMD Athlon II X3 440

Motherboard: ASUS M4A87TD/USB3

RAM: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3

Case: CoolerMaster CM690 II

Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500GB

Optical: LG 24X SATA DVD Burner

Power Supply: CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-650HX 650W

Video Card: HIS Radeon HD 5770

Total before taxes and shipping: $706.92
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July 5, 2010 10:00:15 PM

^ Add 95 for windows 7 :( 
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July 5, 2010 10:02:43 PM

I'd go with the-prophecy's build(cmcghee358's build is also very good but IMO the cpu is kind of overkill), drop the 650hx go with a cheaper psu and maybe get 5830
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July 5, 2010 10:30:38 PM

This is a build I came up w/ yesterday that I'm probably gonna pull the trigger on, from http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/289386-31-gaming-buil... :

direson said:

http://img295.imageshack.us/img295/8350/testf.jpg

GPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
  • opting for the OC'd 5770 in the meantime; perhaps will crossfire in the feature
    RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
  • paying about $10 more for a CAS latency of 7
    HDD & Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
    MOBO & CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
  • mobo has most of the good stuff you'd like, though if crossfired it gets knocked down to 8x/8x, which i don't mind
    PSU & Optical: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
  • able to save literally a couple dollars on a cheaper drive, though opted for lightscribe ^^

    Sitting @ $599.92 before rebates and shipping


  • ^_^
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    July 6, 2010 4:43:41 AM

    The first time you build a system it is easy to make mistakes. Go slow.

    The standoffs will come in a small box of hardware with the case. Hold the motherboard up to a light and see where the holes are. There will probably be six or more. Before you mount the standoffs, set the motherboard in the case and see where the holes in the motherboard line up with the case holes. Only put standoffs in those holes. Do not put them in any other holes or you can short out the motherboard.

    Take your time and plan what to do. You may have to mount the heat sink before you put the motherboard in the case. It may be easier to put the memory in before also.

    Check where the wires to the front of the case and USB ports will plug into the motherboard before you put it in the case. Can be hard to see when it's mounted.

    If you want to test it out of the case put it on a phone book next to the case and hook everything up. You should be able to position it where everything will reach.

    Last don't forget to hook up the heatsink fan and power for the video card.
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    July 6, 2010 4:56:06 AM

    I just jumped into the computer building world last summer and trust me, once you have all the parts sitting in front of you, it won't feel so daunting anymore.
    Just some advice, with numbers! :) 
    #1. Spend extra time making sure each and every part is compatible with each other once you have an idea of all the parts you want. If that means you need to post a question on the forum and wait a day for an answer, just be patient. You'll be happy when everything fits together.
    #2. Read as much as you can of the intsallation guides and product information you get with all your parts BEFORE you start throwing stuff together. Pictures help too, but read the fine print. Usually the booklet that comes with your motherboard will be the most helpful. Follow it's instructions closely. It'll tell tell you what to connect to where.
    #3. You can spend extra time looking for parts for cheaper at other retailers, but make sure everyone you buy from is legit and has a return policy (if your only using Newegg, disregard that last one).
    #4. Spend a little time on cable management and think it through before you throw parts together. Your PSU will have a lot of cables coming out of it, so try to imagine the most comfortable way you can connect them so you don't have cables everywhere. Investing in some zip ties can really pay off. A bigger case can sometimes help with cable management, but not always.
    #5. Take your time. You'll probably be nervous working with all these expensive parts, but follow the directions you're given and everything will be fine.

    That's all the advice I can think of now. Don't get discouraged!! :D  Just make sure you get what you want in this process. Hold out until you can really get what you want as far as parts and components (within reason). And spend time familiarizing yourself with all of the parts: what they do and why they do what they do. Listen to the advice you get on the forums and have fun with this. I'm sure you're finished product will work fine!!
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    July 6, 2010 4:58:40 AM

    I honestly dont even know what a heat sink is, I mean Im sure its purpose is to cool the machine and get heat out but Idk what a heatsink fan is. Everyone has been very helpful so far and I really appreciate the suggested computer builds, I will look into them more closely tomorrow and post any questions.
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    July 6, 2010 5:18:12 AM

    I don't want to discourage you but your knowledge and experience levels are very low. The processor only goes in one way. Look at it carefully and get it right. You will need thermal paste to put on top of the processor before you mount the heat sink. The processor is the most critical part. I think you should find someone you trust who has built a system to watch you and be your guide. Once you do one it will seem easy, but get help for this one.
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    July 6, 2010 5:41:54 AM

    The heatsink is a large metal component that rests on top of your CPU (processor) and you put a thermal paste between the CPU and the heatsink to help transfer heat from your CPU to your heatsink. The heatsink will have a fan connected to it so it can cool the metal so your processor can continue to transfer its heat over to the heatsink. The reason for the thermal paste is because the solid parts (heatsink and CPU) won't make contact with eachother at every single point because they're rigid, it helps to have the paste to facilitate the transfer of heat. The paste will conduct heat much better than the air that would reside between the components if there was no paste.

    I probably didn't explain that as well as I could, but check google. I'm sure you'll find a better explanation. And about having someone help you put the computer together, I put mine together by myself with no previous experience, but that was after I did a lot of research and asked a lot of questions and I had nobody physically around me I could get coaching from. If you do have someone you can ask though, that would be great. I know having someone there would of made me much more confident during the whole process.
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    July 6, 2010 9:00:27 AM

    I also built a system with no previous experience alone. I had done a few months of research but nonetheless I built it and I didn't even read any guides completely. I started one and it was so self-explanetory I stopped and just started putting the components together. It's actually very very easy the only think that makes it hard is the fact that your being so carefull. I mean when your pushing down with 10kilos of force on a clamp that sqeeuzes a 300 dollar cpu you're definately going to be worried. Boy was I relieved when it booted up.
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    July 6, 2010 3:46:48 PM

    So if I was going with the prophecys suggestion and chose the amd athlon ii x3 440 what exactly am I getting? Im reading reviews right now and it sounds solid but is the 440 enough to run most games cleanly? From what I gather the pcu is one of the most, if not the most important part of a custom computer. Like is there a huge difference between the 440 and 435? or is there something higher than the 440 in the same class I should get for a few more $
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    July 6, 2010 3:51:47 PM

    Well a cpu is important all right but so are all the other components. For games it's mainly your gpu that's important that's why I suggested getting a 5830. For rendering, compressing, etc you cpu is the most important. For loading, booting your Storage(SSD or HDD or even a ram disc although that would cost more than your build lol) is the most important.

    And The x3 440 provides ample power compared to the rest of your setup.
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    July 6, 2010 3:59:11 PM

    In all seriousness,
    in the interests of furthering your pc knowledge, read these reviews and YOU tell US which you think is going to be the best out of the two chips for your use, and why.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/athlon-ii-x3,2452.h...
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/athlon-ii-x3-440-ga...

    I hope everyone will play along and let you learn a bit about the two and come to an informedish decision on your own, dont worry, as soon as you decide which of the two you want and why, we'll kick back in with our help :) 
    We wont leave you stranded mate :) 
    Moto
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    July 6, 2010 6:35:48 PM

    Somebody_007 said:
    I also built a system with no previous experience alone. I had done a few months of research but nonetheless I built it and I didn't even read any guides completely. I started one and it was so self-explanetory I stopped and just started putting the components together. It's actually very very easy the only think that makes it hard is the fact that your being so carefull. I mean when your pushing down with 10kilos of force on a clamp that sqeeuzes a 300 dollar cpu you're definately going to be worried. Boy was I relieved when it booted up.


    Yeah, I agree. After I read I had to squish my CPU, I did about twenty minutes of extra reseach online to make sure I wasn't going to kill it. And yeah, after a little while of building you figure out that pretty much everything has a foolproof design and you can't screw too much up. That being said, start out with the rulebook anyway.
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    July 6, 2010 7:45:54 PM

    Okay well after reading both of those articles I really believe that the II x3 440 is the better bet. It is much cheaper and has very nice benchmark results from what I see. I guess that is where my heart lies now.. so well start with the amd ii x3 440!
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    July 7, 2010 6:43:07 AM

    Ok, cool :) 
    The cheaper option in computing, (as in a lot of things tbh) isnt always the best option, I only say that so you dont fall into the trap of going cheaper,just because somethings cheaper,thats a bad habit to get into hehe, but you also checked out the benchmarks and found you liked what you saw so nice one there, check this review out on that chip,
    http://www.vortez.co.uk/contentteller/articles_pages/am...
    The important things it tells you ( or interesting/relevant at the moment anyhow)
    is:
    3Ghz,
    your core speed,in general, higher numbers=better,
    when we say were running xxx processor at 4.5Ghz, thats the number were referring to.
    Socket Am2+ and socket Am3 compatible,
    when you look for a Mobo, you need to match the socket and chip, simplest way for now, you are buying a Amd X3 440, Get a +2 or Am3 Socket, it wont fit in any other, the more you read up, the more youll learn though :) 
    Dual channel DDR2 DDR3 Memory controller,
    this tells you your chip can use either DDR2 or DDR3 memorys sticks, so you know what to look for on a motherboard to sit the chip on, I.E. one that supports your chips memory type.
    Further down it goes into the memory a touch more, if you buy a DDR2 Mobo, the fastest speed ram it supports is 1066Mhz, so make sure your Mobo supports up to that speed, DDR3 it supports 1333Mhz, again if you go for a DDR3 board, make sure the speeds supported.

    Someone wiser than me can chip in about the functions of Front side bus speeds and the usefullness of Cache memory L2/L3 6Mb etc, I am not fully brained up on those myself yet, I only built my first pc at the start of the year myself.
    so go research some Mobo's and tell us your top 3 contenders, what Ram your going for and have fun man, :) 
    Sorry for long post, but I thought an all in one rather than a ton of one liner answers was in order
    Moto
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    July 7, 2010 7:11:57 PM

    Well it seems like from the price and the couple of reviews I have read the amd ii x3 440 is a great mid range chip with a solid price/performance ratio. I dont need a killer $1000 gaming rig I really would just like an entry level- mid level setup with some speed and thats perfectly capable of running games with good quality. With that said I feel like the fairly cheap x3 440 is the chip for me.

    Although I dont know where to begin with mother boards ... what am I looking for with compatability to the x3 440? All I need is "+2 or Am3" sockets?

    Any suggestions with what might mesh well with the x3 440? Im sure they have some mobo's that go with it perfectly

    thanks so far
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    July 7, 2010 7:32:23 PM

    Quick reply before I run off to work,
    Yes, your looking for a 2+ or AM3 socket on there,other than that,
    preferably one that runs DDR3, new standard of memory so a little bit of future proofing for you, plus its improved performance over DDR2 although DDR2 would suffice, you want to make sure you have options for upgrading in future,
    AsRock, Asus and Gigabyte all do some nice boards with AM3 sockets, whilst your browsing them, check out the chipset details on them, you want at least the 770/710 chipset, which is a 770 series northbridge, and a 710 southbridge, As you read board reviews, take details and then google the chipsets to find out more about them.
    I use two M3a770DE motherboards and I'm happy playing WoW on max settings which isnt a huge pull on a pc, but you'll manage decent enough on first person games too, depending on budget, go for something with a better set up, M4a boards are improved versions of m3a obv. and have better chipsets, something 790ish would do you I reckon.
    Have fun man, read lots and I'll check in in the morning :p 
    Moto

    http://ixbtlabs.com/articles3/mainboard/amd-770-790-chi...
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    July 7, 2010 9:35:57 PM

    For anything now you REALLY want an AM3 motherboard.

    AM2/AM2+/AM3 motherboards will severely gimp you on your RAM.

    AM3 only boards imo.
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    July 9, 2010 5:12:44 AM

    ok so am3 mobo..
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    July 12, 2010 12:50:00 AM

    Let us know when you order this, and if you need any help feel free to ask!
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    July 12, 2010 2:40:46 PM

    Well I really like the idea of the AMD ii x3 440 cpu. It seems like a great fit for me in that it is fairly cheap with a very high performance to price ratio (thanks to the articles you guys have made me read!). So Im pretty dead set on the x3 400... and now for the motherboard. This seems quite a bit confusing to me since mobos have multiple compatibilities...for instance what makes a mobo an "am3'?

    Also, any suggestions on what would go well with the x3 440 (in terms of a mobo) Im sure there a perfect fits, I would like to stay in the entry-mid level range when it comes to price and performance.

    Thanks so far on helping me choose the amd x3 400!
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    July 12, 2010 3:31:05 PM

    Hey, ive found two mobos from Gigabyte which is a great mobo manufacturer, both with AM3 Sockets, supporting your Athlon II CPU and with DDR3 1333MHz Support.
    Heres one with the AMD 770 chipset, a bit cheaper, with only one PCI-e x 16 slot, meaning you can fit 1 Graphics Card in it: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    and another one with the newer AMD 870 chipset. Not a big performance increase from the motherboard itself, but id does support USB 3.0 and SATA III, so if you plan on using this PC for a long time, it might be worth looking into. It also has 2 PCIe x 16 slots so you can fit two Graphics Cards in there if you feel the need : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    theyre both compatible with the phenom II CPU line from AMD if you wanna upgrade later

    and also, I dont think theres any such thing as "a perfect fit"... as long as the mobo supports all the parts you wanna put in there, and its a quality brand it all comes down to preferences and smaller details
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    July 12, 2010 4:20:20 PM

    Well I wont be using dual graphics cards or SLI/Crossfire so I dont really need any type of mobo with 2 graphics cards slots.
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    July 12, 2010 4:30:31 PM

    cctaylor88 said:
    I really want to build my own gaming computer (specifically for mmo's and sc2) but i have never done anything to a computer personally and I dont even know where to begin. I have been reading the step-to-step guide to building a PC by tecmo34 but I understand like every other word. He suggests building a custom PC because you can get a lot more bang for your buck by piecing it together yourself.

    For instance tecmo starts the build with installing your motherboard and says remove it from the box, simple enough. But then goes on to say •Place the motherboard in the case to line up where the standoffs need to be placed. and follows it with •Place the standoffs on the case in the locations matching up with your motherboard . I have no idea what either of those comments mean!


    First... as other have said, Welcome to Tom's forum and thanks for reviewing my step-by-step guide to build a PC.

    Second... If there is anything I can do to clarify what I've said in my thread, please feel free to PM me with your questions. As cmcghee358 stated, I've walked people through their questions through email or over the phone (if applicable).

    To answer your question on the standoff's (which is sounds like others have informed you of what they are), what I'm talking about is, you need to make sure your standoff's are in the correct location for your motherboard. The only way to do this is place the motherboard in the case by it's self and see where the motherboard holes line up with the case's standoff's. You remove the motherboard and place the required standoff's in the correct location, as needed. Some cases come with majority of the standoff's already installed, so you typically only have to install an additional 3 to 4 more.

    Best Regards,

    Tecmo34

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    July 12, 2010 4:34:15 PM

    well the important thing when you choose your mobo is that its the right socket for your CPU, fx. AMD Socket AM3, it supports the RAM you want, fx. DDR3 PC3-10600 1333MHz, has either onboard graphics, sound and ethernet devices or enough PCI slots for a graphics, sound and/or ethernet card, and the right SATA/IDE ports for your Hard Drives and DVD/CD drives etc.
    What I would do is like what you did, first decide on a CPU socket, then find a quality mobo that supports that socket, and then choose the rest of the parts for the PC from the specs of the mobo. when you know what types of RAM, PCI-e cards, hard drives etc. you mobo supports it will narrow your search down a lot. of course you cant just choose anything that fits in the mobo, the rest of the PC parts still have to be quality parts. but it will still make things easier.
    but thats just me :) 
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    July 12, 2010 6:02:46 PM

    Thanks for that Tecmo, I did question what little sanity remains hehe, Cheers man
    Moto
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    July 13, 2010 1:55:20 PM

    Okay so I want a cheap/yet effcient mobo for a decent price with am3 sockets then... also whats the major difference between ddr2 and ddr3 RAM
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    July 13, 2010 2:04:51 PM

    DDR2 Lower Timings, DDR3 Higher frequencies. But RAM is cheap as hell anyway, just get DDR3
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    July 13, 2010 3:03:41 PM

    okay so what about: AMD II x3 440 and for a mobo ASUS M4A77TD AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard?
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    July 14, 2010 2:15:53 PM

    Hm everyone disappered on me!
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    July 14, 2010 8:39:16 PM

    Yup, the chipset on that one is 890, I.e. better/newer set, go for it man :p 
    Moto
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    July 14, 2010 10:50:37 PM

    so its pretty much the same? the higher the number the better the set ?
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    July 18, 2010 6:12:43 PM

    Sry, been at a bike rally since thursday :p  yup, bigger number on the set means its a newer (and hopefully) improved component.
    Moto
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    July 18, 2010 7:28:35 PM

    I was surfing on the big waves :p .

    Most of your questions seem to be answered. So is there anything else you need help with?
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    !