First time builder, would like opinions!

Hi there, I'm planning to build myself a PC for the first time. I've got a list of components and would like opinions!

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within a week or two.

BUDGET RANGE: Lets say 800 max. I live in New Zealand, so parts cost a bit more here than they do in the US, and I'm trying to stay under 1000 NZD.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Surfing the internet, playing games at 1920x1080, working (university student).

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor, Windows 7 64-Bit.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: is good for reviews, but I'd be shopping from - its easy to use and is also a local website.


PARTS PREFERENCES: AMD CPU, prefer ATI GPU but definitely wouldn't mind going for NVidia if it would be better.

OVERCLOCKING: Minimal. Want to use the stock CPU cooler. I'm currently using a 2.1GHz Core 2 Duo laptop so even minimal overclocking would make me happy. Maybe a bit on the 5750 if I go with that.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Not really, unless there's a good mobo/gpu combo that works well without destroying my budget.


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Here are the parts I've researched on and compiled:

AMD Athlon II x3 440 3.0 GHz [alternatively Athlon II x4 630]
Asus M4A77TD, or maybe Asus M4A87TD.
MSI ATI Radeon HD 5750
Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB
Transcend 4GB DDR3-1333
Antec Sonata III w/ 500W PSU
Samsung SH-S223C Optical Drive
TP-Link TL-WN851N PCI adapter
Logitech Ultra Flat Keyboard + Gigabyte GM-M6880 Mouse
Logitech LS21 2.1 Speakers

I wanted to go for Cooler Master CM 690 plus Antec Earthwatts 500w instead, but I can't justify the price. This comes up to around 1000 bucks, but I don't know if there's anything that can be improved or anything I've done wrong.

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  1. Best answer
    I'd switch the board for a Gigabyte GA-790XTA-UD4. It's more future proof with USB 3/SATA III support and it supports Crossfire.

    Switch the WD HDD for a Samsung Spinpoint F3 500 GB. It's faster and cheaper.

    I'd highly recommend stepping up to at least the HD 5770. It's quite a bit more powerful and not much more expensive. Neither the 5750 or 5770 will really game at 1080p though. You'll want to add a second one soon (which is why I added a Crossfire board). If you were to stick to the 5750, adding the second one would only help for a couple of years before it was too weak. With the 5770, it would last much longer.

    Due to the need to Crossfire, I'd also increase the PSU. Grab a 650W unit from Corsair, Antec, Silverstone, SeaSonic, or XFX to ensure quality. You could get a 700W unit from OCZ too, but that's a bit of a step down on quality.

    Some other cases to look at are the Coolermaster Centurion 5, Antec 300, and Antec 300 Illusion. They should be cheaper, and are still high quality.
  2. Sounds good, but those upgrades are really expensive - because of supply of components in NZ, some things cost more than they should. For example, the 5750 costs around $200 and the 5770 costs around $275, which is quite a bit more. Also that motherboard costs $300 dollars here :(

    It seems the Asus M4A87TD motherboard I linked supports USB3 and SATA 6.0GB/s, so I'll probably go for that one.

    And note that I would like to play games at 1080p, but frame rates are more important than graphic quality to me, in the future I can spend more on graphics cards but since this is the first build I have to buy quite a lot of parts.
    Having said that, is it just me or are the hd4850, hd5750 and gts250 very similar in performance? GTS250 is the cheapest one for me, so am I right in thinking it would be the best choice?

    Also thanks for the case and HDD recommendations (:

    Edit: Just realized I'd linked the wrong product page for the M4A87TD mobo. Changed it.
  3. The 5750 is the best performing of the group. It's a similar to the 4850, but I wouldn't buy the 4850 unless you're planning on upgrading the GPU very soon. I wouldn't touch the GTS 250 at all.
  4. Ah ok. Last thing is, I was looking around and found this mobo:

    USB3, SATA6, but the 'hybrid crossfire' thing... are there 2 slots for graphics cards or not? If so then it looks like the right mobo.
  5. Technically you could Crossfire two cards, however they would be working at x4/x4 not x16/x16, so people tend to avoid that as it does effect performance.

    Having said that, I believe the more powerful the card the more effected they are by the lane speeds. As you are planning to use a fairly weakish card, they may not be as effected by the slower lanes and you may be able two XFire without losing much performance (This is purely guessing, I have never tried two weak cards in an x4/x4)
  6. 4x/4x is still pretty useless. It's 8x/8x that doesn't really matter to the speeds of smaller GPUs.
  7. Ok, so for crossfire purposes its useless, but fine for a single GPU right?
  8. Yes, but you can't really afford a GPU that's good enough to play at 1080p by itself. I'd highly recommend spending the bit extra so you can get a big performance boost later.
  9. Ok, thanks for the advice! I'll think about it and look at my budget + options again.

    Edit: Semi-settled on this:
    CPU: AMD Athlon II x3 445 3.1GHz (for some reason the 445 is cheaper than the 440 at the website I'm shopping from haha.)
    Mobo: Asus M4A79XTD EVO
    GPU: MSI ATI Radeon HD 5750
    HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3
    RAM: Transcend 4GB DDR3-1333
    Case: Antec Three Hundred
    PSU: Corsair VX-550 550W PSU
    ODD: Samsung SH-S223C Optical Drive
    Network: TP-Link TL-WN851N PCI adapter
    Keyboard + Mouse: Logitech Ultra Flat Keyboard + Logitech MX518
    Speakers: Logitech LS21 2.1 Speakers
    Comes to between 800-900 USD (1100+NZD). Shame, the same thing can be built for only around 650USD on but at least its better than my laptop :)

    Thanks again for the advice guys!
  10. Best answer selected by rzilla91.
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