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First time builder seeking advice

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Last response: in Systems
August 4, 2010 4:10:56 AM

First let me give you guys this information....

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: The sooner the better...

BUDGET RANGE: $700 at most

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Surfing the net, watching movies, gaming (just want to play SC2 and possibly Diablo 3 when it releases)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor. I don't want to include monitor in the budget, so I'm considering it not required but if anyone has any good recommendations I'm all ears. This is what I was planning on buying, but it might be overkill http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, Somewhat closer to a Micro Center too, so I can drive over there


PARTS PREFERENCES: No real preference

OVERCLOCKING: No

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Hopefully 1920x1080, but I'm willing to go with less resolution to save the money

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I actually went ahead and gathered parts for my first build, but got carried with a GTX 460 GPU, and i7 930 processor that I don't think is necessary for what I'm planning on doing. I'm actually on a Macbook right now and kind of just want to get back to a desktop PC and back to Windows too.

Thanks in advance.

More about : time builder seeking advice

a b B Homebuilt system
August 4, 2010 4:57:35 AM

So do you like nvidia? If so go ahead with that

Athlon II x3 $80
gigabyte mobo 770 chipset with USB 3 and SATA III $70
That graphics card $200ish
DDR3 4gigs RAM $80-100
HAF 922 case $100
Some good quality PSU $50-100. (corsair, antec earthwatts, rosewill green series.)
Samsung spinpoint F3 500 gig $55

That should be about it. Just look at newegg for them, it should be exactly what you're after.
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August 4, 2010 10:28:35 AM

Thanks for the help!

As far as preference with the graphic card goes, I truly have no preference, so whichever is the best bang for the buck in that price range, I'm fine with. Would this be the nvidia then?

And is the CPU fast enough to handle starcraft 2? Should I be going with the 440 or 445 (sorry, still a newb!)

Thanks again
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 4, 2010 11:04:55 AM

The GTX 460 is the best within your price range, you may need to overclock it to deal with some games at your resolution, but for SC2 and Diablo it should be fine.

GTX $229.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Samsung Spinpoint F3 - $54.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec 300 + DVD Drive- $72.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Corsair 750W + 4gb 1600mhz CL7 RAM - $166.98 after rebate
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Mobo ASUS M4N98TD EVO - $139.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Or Asus M4N75TD - $99.99 + $7.49 shipping
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total with expensive mobo: $664.94
Total with cheap mobo: $632.43

That leaves the CPU, the RANA 440 is $76.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The Phenom II 955 is $159.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

So, totals with each CPU is:
Expensive mobo + 955: $824.93
Expensive mobo + 440: 741.93

Cheap mobo + 955: $792.42
Cheap mobo + 440: $709.42

So, closest to your budget is the cheaper mobo + the 440. I have chosen mobos which don't give SATA/USB III but both allow SLI on the AMD platform, so in future you can have 2 x GTX 460 if you need them which is very powerful.

In an ideal world getting the 955 would give you a perfect gaming machine, but that blows your budget by $100, more if you get the more expensive mobo too.

You may get away with only a 5770 with the games you mentioned, but at 1920 x 1080 resolution I would not fel comfortable suggesting a 5770 as any other games in the future that pique your interest will likely be toom uch for it, and so you would be looking to XFire 5770s pretty soon which would work out more expensive than a GTX 460 that you can Overclock.

I know you mentioned you wont overclock, but overclocking the GTX460 is a prety simple task with MSI Burner. I don't think any GTX 460 has failed to reach an 800mhz clock, so with a little info from the Overclocking boards here or elsewhere you should find it easy to do if you need to.
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August 4, 2010 12:29:16 PM

I'm sure once I learn more about overclocking, it's something I'll want to do.

I'm going to go with the 440 with the expensive Mobo. Will I be missing much by not having USB/SATA 3?

Everything else looks great, thanks!
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 4, 2010 12:36:44 PM

Honestly, no. I myself did not bother with USB/SATA III this time, it is very much in its infancy, HDDs don't even make use of it. It is useful if you have a Solid State Drive, and obviously it speeds things up if transfering data via USB - but how often will you be doing that? The way I see it, if USB/SATA III means compromising on other parts of your system, it is not worth it - especially if you are building a gaming machine - that technology will not do much for you
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August 4, 2010 1:11:04 PM
a b B Homebuilt system
August 4, 2010 7:41:00 PM

That's the thing though, there's no reason to bother making it sli capable. The motherboard I suggested is a single graphics card motherboard and is cheaper than both of those. The chances of this guy doing it are very slim. Having USB3 and SATA3 are not very important right this second, but most people I build for plan on keeping what I put together for pretty much five years. If you're trying to say that it WON'T be important, that's totally insane. There's no reason why not to build with it.

If he does want more graphics-wise than what he has now it's pretty much always easier to sell what's in use now and buy something better later. He'd have to buy again this year or early next year to make it worth it.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Personally I don't really mind graphics from either company, both have always worked well. But motherboards? I've had a terrible time with pretty much every nvidia motherboard I've ever used. Of course that type of flexibility is because I practice what I preach, my mobo is one slot for graphics. It's the first 780G chipset mobo, still running strong and getting BIOS updates.
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August 5, 2010 1:27:13 AM

Thanks for all the help guys. I'm going to go ahead and start putting together my final list and start ordering the parts.

I also gotta post my Macbook on ebay. Hope I can get at least $400 for this thing.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 5, 2010 8:07:37 AM

False_Dmitry_II said:
That's the thing though, there's no reason to bother making it sli capable. The motherboard I suggested is a single graphics card motherboard and is cheaper than both of those. The chances of this guy doing it are very slim. Having USB3 and SATA3 are not very important right this second, but most people I build for plan on keeping what I put together for pretty much five years. If you're trying to say that it WON'T be important, that's totally insane. There's no reason why not to build with it.

If he does want more graphics-wise than what he has now it's pretty much always easier to sell what's in use now and buy something better later. He'd have to buy again this year or early next year to make it worth it.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Personally I don't really mind graphics from either company, both have always worked well. But motherboards? I've had a terrible time with pretty much every nvidia motherboard I've ever used. Of course that type of flexibility is because I practice what I preach, my mobo is one slot for graphics. It's the first 780G chipset mobo, still running strong and getting BIOS updates.


Arguably ther is nothing he does that will need USB/SATA III either, internet and games is prety much all he does. The most the latest tech will do for him is increase load times, but in terms of gaming performance, if he keeps the build for 3-5 years it is the GPU that will be his biggest crippler. A second GTX460 in the future (which will be cheap) will likely keep his gaming performance on the types of games he wants perfectly.
Its up to him whether being able to keep playing games well for cheap is more important than being able to transfer info from a USB to his PC or load things a bit faster with a 6gb/s HDD (Assuming that the HDDsw will eventually be able to make use of the increased rate) - and if that is useful to him, does he really think he will replace his HDD or get an SSd with his build - he will have more important things to spend money on in the next 5 years such as a better CPU and another GPU or a more powerful GPU
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August 5, 2010 9:33:02 AM

+1 for asteldian
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August 5, 2010 5:20:59 PM

I'm thinking of going for the 955 instead of the 440... good idea or bad? Would I have to change anything else or would the mobo and everything be compatible with the 955?

Thanks agian

Edit: Actually nvm that. Even if nothing else changes, that's a significant jump in price.
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August 5, 2010 5:25:09 PM

u might gain 1-7 fps in games so it aint worth it
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August 5, 2010 5:51:00 PM

Hm now I think i might have to consider this build since I am also wanting a machine to play mainly SCII on and then do the light tasks associated with basic college school work
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August 5, 2010 5:56:29 PM

this machine can run sc2 on ultra without a problem.
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August 5, 2010 6:04:27 PM

what about with the lower variables parts?
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August 5, 2010 10:55:18 PM

Would I be ok with a 650W PSU?

Edit: Nevermind, I'm going with the 750W Corsair that was posted... In case I do "crossfire" I'm guessing I'll be better off with the 750W?


This is the monitor I'm getting...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Unless you guys know of something else that is a little cheaper, but pretty good.


Double Edit:

Here's the final build:

ODD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $20
Case: Antec 900
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB
Monitor: Linked above, unless someone's got a better idea
GPU: Gigabyte GTX 460
PSU: Corsair 750W
Ram: Corsair 4 GB (2x2)
CPU: Athlon II X3 440

Any last minute changes?

Also, my mom has a Windows XP Professional disc for her computer, could I go ahead and buy the Windows 7 upgrade for $30 (student discount), and install windows xp first on my computer, then upgrade it?
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 6, 2010 1:14:40 AM

No, in the next 3-5 years the card he has now *will* be a piece of crap. To get better game performance a different card would need to be bought. Have you ever actually done multiple cards? Pretty much the only time it's worth it is when you buy both to start with. Otherwise you will look and see that adding a second card just doesn't give you as much as a new $200 card would.

I hear of plenty of stories where people were 'future-proofing' their comps to be sli or crossfire ready. Then when they go to upgrade their card is something like a 6800 GT Ultra and the thought of adding a second one is ludicrous.
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August 6, 2010 1:18:31 AM

Yeah... you're right, I probably never would crossfire the graphics cards because A) I don't know what that means B) I really don't game that much (FPS and such)

I'm going with the Mobo you recommended.

Also, maybe I should take a step down on the GPU? I was thinking the 5770, since I really will just be playing SCII and Diablo 3. Most of my gaming is done on the 360.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 6, 2010 1:30:40 AM

Either should do the trick. The 460 should last you longer. Or the HD 5830 if it's about the same price wise.

Just so you know, the card I mentioned in my last post is about 5 years old now and is pretty much a joke compared to games today.

Crossfire and SLI are the specific brand terms for running multiple graphics cards.
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August 6, 2010 2:23:27 AM

haha, yeah I picked up on that at least. And thanks for the info on Crossfire and SLI, I'm going to read about that now.

I might actually go with the 5770 since it looks like I can get it for about $60 cheaper, and might be enough for me. Then again I might not though.

And as far as my Windows question goes... would you guys recommend I use my mom's copy of XP, install that, and pick up the student discounted Windows 7 upgrade for $30?
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 6, 2010 4:43:57 AM

The mobo's I listed can't do either dual graphics card things. It's just a pretty high quality board.

As far as the other question... google what can be done with an upgrade copy
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 6, 2010 8:00:01 AM

False_Dmitry_II said:
No, in the next 3-5 years the card he has now *will* be a piece of crap. To get better game performance a different card would need to be bought. Have you ever actually done multiple cards? Pretty much the only time it's worth it is when you buy both to start with. Otherwise you will look and see that adding a second card just doesn't give you as much as a new $200 card would.

I hear of plenty of stories where people were 'future-proofing' their comps to be sli or crossfire ready. Then when they go to upgrade their card is something like a 6800 GT Ultra and the thought of adding a second one is ludicrous.


My 8800GTX is as old as they come and it still manages most games on med - high settings with 1920 x 1080. 2 x GTX 460 are hitting 5970 performance, the OP is not planning on being an extreme gamer with enthusiast settings, these two cards will easily last 5 years. Most top end cards last until people buy their next system, so 2 x GTX 460s would be fine.

It doesn't reall matter, whatever the OP wants he can go for, but the way I see it SLI/XFire options are certainly not more useless than USB/SATA III
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August 6, 2010 11:16:16 PM

Ok, so here's the final build, and I'm about to put my order in.

I made some changes, and I'm really not sure about the motherboard. Could you guys provide some insight please?

HDD: Spinpoint F3 500GB
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Monitor: Asus 23.6" 1080P
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Card: 5770
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: Corsair 650W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OS: Windows 7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: Antec 300

RAM: G.Skill 4GB (2x2)
Combo:http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

CPU: Athlon II X4 635

Mobo: ASUS M4A88TD
Combo:http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Could I probably skimp on some of these things and lower the cost? For instance, is that processor/mobo combination overkill for SC2, web browsing, and the like?

If you guys think I'm fine with the X3 440 you recommended I'll grab that instead.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 7, 2010 4:55:57 AM

I don't think you need a quad, no. There's nothing particularly wrong with that mobo, but I think the one I suggested along with the tripe is cheaper. I checked for other combo deals and didn't see any CPU/mobo ones with the triple cores that were particularly appealing.

For monitor's that's personal preference but I like 16:10 much more than 16:9 monitors.
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August 7, 2010 2:10:39 PM

Ok how's this?

ODD: Asus
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Monitor: Asus 23.6" 1080P
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: Corsair 650W

HDD: Spinpoint F3 1TB
Combo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Windows 7

Mobo: Gigabyte 770
Combo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Memory: G.Skill 4GB (2x2)

Case: Antec 300 Illusion
Combo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Video Card: Gigabyte 5770

CPU: Athlon X3 440
Combo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Any input on this final build (Seriously this time!) before I order it?

And of course I'm in one of 3 states where sales tax is charged.
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a b B Homebuilt system
August 7, 2010 8:28:39 PM

That kinda sucks but newegg has a bigger selection than the alternatives.

Looks fine.
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