First Time Builder Needs Help


This is my first time building a PC and i have many questions. I continue to go back and forth between the Intel i5 750 CPU and the AMD Phenom X4 CPU (links below). I see both sides of choosing each CPU but i cannot make a final decision as to which one would be the best for me. I will be using the computer for some gaming including Counterstrike, Modern warfare 2, Guild Wars 2, and maybe some other games related to these. I also need this computer for schoolwork and web browsing. I would like to be able to watch HD videos either on my HDTV or just on the monitor itself.

I would like to make this purchase before August 14th. The Parts that do not need to be included are a CD/DVD drive, Mouse, Keyboard, and Operating system (and Microsoft office if that matters). I need a monitor (preferably with 1920 x 1080 resolution) and i would like to purchase a GTX 460 video card. Yet another question i have is whether i need the 4gb or RAM or i would be alright with 2gb for a couple of months until i have to money to upgrade to 4gb or 6gb. My BIGGEST problem by far is my price limit. I need all this to be under/around $1000 AFTER tax. I will post the links below to what i currently have setup but i am not sure which motherboard, CPU, Case and PSU to choose. Please leave suggestions or any tips you have thanks!

Intel i5 750

AMD phenom II x4 945

GTX 1gb 460

GTX 768mb 460

Monitor 1920 x 1080

Case and PSU (this can change but this is what i have currently. I am not sure if this much wattage is even needed.)


Any suggestions as to which motherboard would be a good choice depending on the CPU i choose would greatly appreciated. Also i do NOT plan on overclocking my CPU GPU or RAM due to the fact that this is my first build and i am extremely unexperienced in the subject. If someone is willing to explain overclocking to me and how to do it with an AMD phenom CPU i might consider attempting it and in that case i would go with the AMD phenom II 965 BE.

Any other thoughts or concerns are much appreciated! Thanks Joey Messick
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  1. Best answer
    It's much easier to overclock a black edition CPU, you just up the multiplier in the BIOS and that's all. If you want a big OC you have to up a bit the CPU voltage too.

    AMD Phenom II X4 955 + GIGABYTE GA-870A-UD3
    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB + Antec NEO ECO 520C 520W
    Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB + NZXT GAMMA
    SAPPHIRE TOXIC 100282TXSR Radeon HD 5850
    ASUS VH242H Black 23.6"

  2. Yeah, for a black edition AMD CPU, all you need to do is perhaps up the vcore voltage in the BIOS by about .05 volts and you can up the multiplier by about 2 or 3 for an extra 400 - 600 MHz. Make sure you get a better HSF for the CPU as well, like an Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro Rev 2.
  3. Do not go with the 768mb GTX460, it is just not powerful enoguh a card. At the resolution you want to play at even the 460 1gb will be at its limit (but should be ok), so defiantely stay away from the weaker version
  4. You will get many ATI/AMD suggestions from this forum. As a counterpoint, here is a list I made up for a previous poster:

    A Intel/Nvidia build for value gaming at 1920 x 1080.

    1) The Graphics card is the most important factor in most games, particularly at 1920x1080 or larger resolutions.
    To that end I suggest a GTX460 as the graphics card of choice. The basic card is a $200 part, and the 1gb card will be about $220.
    Launch menchmarks show that it is faster than the $200 ATI 5830. The GTX460 is not quite as fast as the $300 5850, and considerably faster than the $150 5770. According to tom's best graphics cards for the money July 2010, the 5850 gives exceptional performance at 1920 x 1200 in most games. The 5830 gives just great performance.,2676-4.html

    I would go with a EVGA GTX460, probably the 1gb version when it is released. The 1gb version will have a lifetime warranty vs. 2 years, and EVGA support is very good. If you ever want more, I would favor graphics upgrading by selling the old card and replacing it with a single stronger

    2) CPU. What cpu is required to drive such a card to good frame rates? Tom's did a nice article "is i3-530 fast enough for performance gaming?",2588.html
    The conclusion showed <4% difference in FPS overall in all of their tests using a 5850. The other cpu's included i7-870, X3-720, X4-965 at stock. The 530 is a great overclocker. When overclocked, it matched the stock X4-965.
    At $115 it is a good CPU, and the 32nm mfg. technology keeps it cooler. If you have games or other apps that thrive on 4 or more cores, like FSX or Photoshop, then a quad would be better.

    3) Psu.
    The GTX460 requires a psu with 450 watts, and two pci-e power connectors. Not much else is important. My short list of quality psu brands would include Corsair, Seasonic, PC P&C, XFX, and Antec. You can pick any one of them. The price point will be about $80. You may find one for a bit less. But, don't be tempted to go with a cheap psu of unknown quality.
    My pick would be the XFX 650w unit for $80 after rebate:
    There is a lot to like. Bronze efficiency, modular, and well reviewed.

    4) motherboard.

    Almost any 1156 based motherboard will do. All will have at least modest overclocking potential, except perhaps Intel. My short list of vendors would include EVGA, Gigabyte, and ASUS. Look, perhaps at a Micro-ATX motherboard, they are less expensive. They will have 4 expansion slots instead of the 7 on a full ATX format. Today, you get all the extras like many usb ports and sound integrated.
    How about the EVGA micro-ATX board for $70 after rebate?

    5) Ram.
    4gb seems to be the good amount for normal operations. A 4gb kit (2 x 2gb) of DDR3 ram should cost you <$100. Do not pay extra for faster speeds or lower latencies. Synthetic benchmarks show nice performance, but it does not show up in more FPS or better application performance. Think 1-2%. Check that it is on the motherboard's ram QVL list or the ram vendors configurator showing that it is compatible with the motherboard.

    6) Case.
    Almost any case will do. Look for one with at least two 120mm input or exhaust fans for adequate cooling.
    The Antec 300 illusion model is a great case at a reasonable price of $70.
    For less "bling" the 200 at $50 with free shipping is a great value. Check shipping on cases, they are heavy and shipping can add $20 to the cost.
    If you want a small micro-atx case for gaming, look at the Lian li PC-V351 at $99:

    7) Cpu cooler.
    The 32nm cpu's run cool, and really don't need a oem cooler. However, I recommend one. It will allow easier and higher overclocks, and will keep the noise down better than the stock cooler. Almost any will do and be better than the stock cooler. You should be able to find a good one for <$40.

    8) OS.
    Windows-7 home premium 64 bit seems to be the way to go. It will cost you $100. If you are a student, look into academic pricing for about $30.

    The rest of the components such as keyboard, mouse, monitor and dvd are relatively standard. Pick what you want there.

    This build will total approximately $700.
  5. Best answer selected by jsmessick.
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