Hi. I'm building my first computer.

Hello! I'm brand new here. I'm attempting to build my very first computer. I've read the numerous beginner guides but the terminology these guides use has left me somewhat confused. :( For instance, when I read this from the Beginner Guide for Motherboards here:

Adding to the vast array of features controlled by the southbridge are third-party devices, such as secondary network, SATA/eSATA, USB 3.0, and/or IEEE 1394/FireWire controllers. Several factors have pushed these out of the mainstream and into smaller high-end markets, such as improved SATA features, unavailability of USB 3.0 during chipset development, and decreased popularity of FireWire devices.

Add-in controllers usually employ PCIor PCIe x1 connections, using a logical "slot" where no room exists on the motherboard for a physical slot. With only seven physical slot positions available for a full-sized ATX build, a typical chipset supporting six PCIe x1 devices plus five PCI slots will have several unused connections, which can be routed directly to onboard devices.

I have no idea what they are talking about with these terms. What does all of this mean. I have no idea. So, besides any suggestions/recommendations for components, it would be great if you guys can help me become more familiar with the terminology. What are some good sources to do this?

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Looking for under a month.

BUDGET RANGE: 500-600 (If I can get more bang for my buck by paying a bit more, I don't mind)


PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse, Speaker,

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg or any place that would save me money.



OVERCLOCKING: Very interested. I can foresee myself doing this once I become more familiar with computers in general.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No interest in the moment.


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I hope to enjoy my learning experience!

Thank you guys/gals in advance! :)
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  1. Ok I'll start explaining the terminology first. The southbridge is a chip which normally handles the storage side of the motherboard (it's a very rough explanation), for example SATA is a technology which is what your HDD and ODD is connected to (this is in modern motherboards, older motherboards used IDE), eSATA is essentially portable SATA if I recall, USB 3.0 is just faster USB 2.0, and FireWire aka IEEE 1394 is a technology just like USB, but I think it's faster. (USB just transports data basically)

    I'm assuming the last paragraph means that add-in controllers such as SATA & USB controller cards use the PCI or PCI-E interface, use a slot which does not physically exist on the motherboard because there is not enough space to put the expansion slots there. Also those extra slots can provide extra bandwidth to onboard devices, but I'm not sure specifically which devices they are talking about.

    As for your PC, I'm just doing rough outline, these are prices from newegg the last time I checked, some may be wrong. I really need to know what type of game you are playing and at what resolution too.

    AMD Athlon II X3 435 - $74.99

    ASRock 870 Extreme 3 - $94.99

    OCZ AMD Black Edition 2x2 GB kit - $89.99

    PowerColor Radeon HD 5670 - $73.99 after $15 rebate

    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 1TB - $79.99

    Antec 300 Illusion - $59.99, $9.99 shipping

    Corsair CX400W - $34.99 after $15 rebate

    Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit OEM - $99.99

    Total = $618.91
  2. One of the immediate games I am preparing to play is Starcraft 2, if that would give you a clue. My monitor is an Acer X191W, it's an 19'' LCD monitor. Also, I'm a bit curious, where did you begin in your knowledge of computer hardware? I have an inkling of what an HDD could be, but no idea what a ODD is. I'm in essence, a newbie. :D Where do you recommend expanding my knowledge, besides Tom's Hardware.
  3. I just searched up computers and really looked at reviews, and looked up the terminology they used, and if I didn't understand, normally someone would have asked what it meant on THG.

    An HDD is a hard disk drive, used for storage mainly, while an ODD is an optical disk drive, such as a DVD burner. I looked up your monitor, the Acer X191W turns out to have a maximum resolution of 1440 x 900, and I think an HD 5670 should be able to play StarCraft II on high settings at that resolution. Otherwise you may want to upgrade to an HD 5770 (the HD 5750 is not worth it, there are some versions of the HD 5770 which cost the same as the HD 5750 but the HD 5770 performs better).

    If you have any other terminology that you want me to try and explain, feel free to ask.
  4. Thank you for all the recommendations and help! I really appreciate it. Time to put good old Google and Wikipedia to use. :)
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