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$900 Build - Is this good for money?

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August 7, 2010 3:35:45 AM

Hi Everyone,

I'm not planning to purchase all the parts for my new PC until I get the money but I have been doing a load of research on what I want to buy and where to get it from. I'm posting this for advice if this is a good build for my dollars. I'm based in australia so all money is in Australiain Dollars (AUD).

Im going mainly buy from www.mwave.com.au but I also might buy some parts from www.megabuy.com.au

I'm going to use my PC for...


-Low/Mid range GAMING like... Unreal Tournament 2003/2004/2005/2006/2007, Grand Theft Auto 3 (maybe San Andreas too), NFS Hot Pursuit 2, NFS Underground 2, Nintendo 64 games (Emulator), Gameboy Advanced Games (Emulator), Worms 2, Hitman 2 Silent Assasin and a few others.

-Surfing the net (youtube, runescape, online games, general browsing, downloading lots of things)

-Entry level motion graphics (Adobe After Effects CS3/CS4)

-Entry level 3D game programming (Conitec 3DGS and Unity 3D which are 3D game creation programs)

-Watching HD (mainly 720p and sometimes 1080p) Videos


I'm not planning on getting the latest games at all so I don't need a top of the range Graphics Card but one that can play the above games would be nice at a good FPS even if I have to turn down the quality a little.


Here are the parts I have chosen to build my dream PC =D



Download - http://www.mediafire.com/?6m17wbedc485fut


I am now going to go through why I chose these parts and some questions about them (remember I've never built a PC before >.<)


Case/PSU: I chose this Case because Thermaltake is a great brand (yes?), It looks awesome and it has plenty of drive bays. It also is a Mid Tower which is what I want with an ATX form factor. It has 2 120mm fans front and back. I hope it's compatible with my MoBo and other things. Will the 430W PSU have enough power to power all of my PC components? I want reliable power.

DVD Drive/Burner: Will this read and write every DVD and CD type there is? I also want to be able to burn DVD's and I'm 95% sure this one does. I'm not to worried about the speeds at which they write but I wan't it to support all kinds of formats of CDs and DVDs. I don't care about Blu-Ray that much hence it is not a blue ray drive. This should support my MoBo (SATA II)

CPU: I chose the AMD Phenom x4 over a AMD Athlon x4 simply because it has more cache. Is this a good choice? I don't know too many differences between an AMD Phenom and an AMD Athlon but the more cache the better right? I multi task alot so a quad-core should do very nicely.

HDD: This hdd seems like a great deal. 1 TB is plenty for me, I could even go for 500GB but they were not much less in money so I may aswell go for 1 TB. A nice cache size and 7,200 rpm. This should do fine.

MoBo: The motherboard perhaps is one out of the two PC components have less knowledge on but I still do know plenty about it. This is my hardest choice because I need it to be compatible with all of my other component's ect... So I chose the Gigabyte motherboard for $140.00 which seems like a great price. Although maybe I shouldn't get this MoBo because it has 8x SATA in which 6x SATA ports are SATA III. Does for example, a SATA II hard disk be compatible with a SATA III port? I don't have many component's that are SATA III so I might need SATA II? Does this mobo come with an ethernet port? or do I need a network card? Please help me on this decision, thankss =D

Memory: 4GB is a great amount for me I believe. I would only need 6GB+ if I was a serious hardcore gamer right? It's Corsair, good brand I believe. Fits my MoBo, sweet.

Sound Card: I came across 2 soundcards that I liked. One was "Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio Sound Card, PCIe," for $89.10. I have chosen the other one because it is more expensive ($132.30) and I assume it is better, this sound card supports EAX but I'm not sure if the other one does. I'm really not that fussed on my choice of sound card but I do want it to support 5.1 channel surround sound and both these cards do. I also want the sound quality to be PLEASING/GOOD when listening to music, videos and playing games. It does not have to be super ultra amazing sound but I want good sound so which one should I go for? I have provided a link for the $89.10 sound card and the one I'm thinking of purchasing. I am also planning on buying some Logitech X-530 5.1 speakers.

$89.10 - http://www.mwave.com.au/productdetail.asp?CartID=mAU@NJ...
$132.30 - http://www.mwave.com.au/productdetail.asp?CartID=mAU@NJ...
Speakers - http://www.mwave.com.au/productdetail.asp?CartID=mAU@NJ...

Graphics Card: This is what I have poorest knowledge in. The range is HUGE and I struggled to find one that I knew would do me good. Remember what I am using the computer for so help would be nice. I have chose the Gigabyte Nvidia card above because it has 1GB memory and it's Nvidia and iti's PCI-E 2.0 x16...so... I can't go wrong can I? Extensive help on choosing a video card for $200.00 or less would be awesome.


Are all the parts compatible? Am I buying more/less then I need? Final advice would be very helpful...

Thanks in advance!

Links:

Case/PSU: http://www.mwave.com.au/productdetail.asp?CartID=mAU@NJ...

DVD Drive: http://www.mwave.com.au/productdetail.asp?CartID=mAU@NJ...

CPU: http://www.mwave.com.au/productdetail.asp?CartID=mAU@NJ...

HDD: http://www.mwave.com.au/productdetail.asp?CartID=mAU@NJ...

MoBo: http://www.mwave.com.au/productdetail.asp?CartID=mAU@NJ...

RAM: http://www.mwave.com.au/productdetail.asp?CartID=mAU@NJ...

Sound Card: http://www.mwave.com.au/productdetail.asp?CartID=mAU@NJ...

Video Card: http://www.mwave.com.au/productdetail.asp?CartID=mAU@NJ...





More about : 900 build good money

August 7, 2010 4:49:03 AM

Dungeoneering is a minigame. Do you agree? ;)  What's your user if I may ask?

Anyway... there are quite a few recommendations I would make:

1 GB of memory isn't a great indicator of performance I would say. I'm pretty sure an 8800 GT 256 MB could easily destroy that GT 220 1 GB. This ATi Radeon HD 5770 would destroy both for $199:

http://www.mwave.com.au/productdetail.asp?CartID=mAU@BC...

For $5 more, get the Asus M4A87TD Evo SATA III & USB 3.0 (it doesn't come with integrated graphics but you don't need them):

http://www.mwave.com.au/productdetail.asp?CartID=mAU@BC...

SATA II drives will work in SATA III ports, and this motherboard does come with LAN as far as I'm aware.

I would spend $40 more for the Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition if you plan to overclock, otherwise just $20 more for the Phenom II X4 945.

Go for this HDD if you can spend the extra $, it's quite a bit faster. Otherwise, never mind.

http://www.mwave.com.au/productdetail.asp?CartID=mAU@BC...

This is cheaper and faster RAM (in terms of latencies, anyways):
http://www.mwave.com.au/productdetail.asp?CartID=mAU@BC...
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August 7, 2010 9:55:02 AM

Thanks for the reply.

OK, I will probably get the ATi Radeon HD 5770 and the Asus motherboard.

How much will I be able to overclock my AMD Phenom x 4 955 Black Edition?

I don't think I will worry about getting that HDD but thanks for the suggestion, I'm not too fussed about the speed of my HDD and the one for $85 seems fine.

Finally, I'll get that RAM if it doesn't go out of stock but I have a question. Can you explain what latency is and how you know if it's good? I've seen things like latency: 8-8-8-24-2N in the above ram. What does it mean?

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August 7, 2010 6:24:18 PM

Unisykolist said:
OK, I will probably get the ATi Radeon HD 5770 and the Asus motherboard.

How much will I be able to overclock my AMD Phenom x 4 955 Black Edition?

I don't think I will worry about getting that HDD but thanks for the suggestion, I'm not too fussed about the speed of my HDD and the one for $85 seems fine.

Finally, I'll get that RAM if it doesn't go out of stock but I have a question. Can you explain what latency is and how you know if it's good? I've seen things like latency: 8-8-8-24-2N in the above ram. What does it mean?


If you're lucky, you'll be able to o.c. the processor to around 3.8Ghz-4.0Ghz using air cooling. Don't push it though- with what you'll be using the system for, I would suggest that you don't even bother with overclocking.

As far as memory latency, the lower the better. The type of memory you are purchasing may also impact any attempted processor o.c.

And for the love of Dog, DON"T BUY ANY OF THE CREATIVE X-FI CARDS!!! You WILL regret it. The X-Fi series is good hardware, but Creative's software is horrendously buggy and is guaranteed to bottleneck your system. If you don't believe me, peruse Creative's X-Fi forums and see for yourself. You're better off purchasing a different brand or going with onboard sound.
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August 8, 2010 1:09:51 AM

Dirtman73 said:
If you're lucky, you'll be able to o.c. the processor to around 3.8Ghz-4.0Ghz using air cooling. Don't push it though- with what you'll be using the system for, I would suggest that you don't even bother with overclocking.

As far as memory latency, the lower the better. The type of memory you are purchasing may also impact any attempted processor o.c.

And for the love of Dog, DON"T BUY ANY OF THE CREATIVE X-FI CARDS!!! You WILL regret it. The X-Fi series is good hardware, but Creative's software is horrendously buggy and is guaranteed to bottleneck your system. If you don't believe me, peruse Creative's X-Fi forums and see for yourself. You're better off purchasing a different brand or going with onboard sound.


If I don't get a Creative Labs Xfi sound card, then do you have any suggestions for alternatives?
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August 9, 2010 1:20:58 AM

Unisykolist said:
If I don't get a Creative Labs Xfi sound card, then do you have any suggestions for alternatives?


I agree with not purchasing a Creative sound card. The software is bloated and buggy, the support is horrible - Creative is pretty much living off a reputation built long ago in a galaxy far far away.... Look at either Asus or HT Omega for quality sound cards. I have a HT Omega Claro and I love it. Remember that a sound card is only as good as the speakers/headphones that output the sound. No reason to spend major $ on a sound card for cheap speakers when onboard sound would be adequate. I have the Logitech X-540 speakers and can't tell the difference when using onboard vs. the Claro, but when I listen to music/movies/games with my Sennheiser HD555 headphones my ears melt. HT Omega support is incredible, emailed them on a Saturday night and had a response by Sunday afternoon, how many companies answer email on a Sunday? Asus also has a lot of good reviews for their sound cards but I have never owned one. Good luck with your product purchases, building a PC is a lot of fun but can be frustrating when you don't do your research.

My system:

Coolermaster HAF 922 case & Silent Pro 700W PSU
Asus M4A785td-V EVO Mobo
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ955FBGMBOX
G-Skill F3-10666CL7D-4GBRH RAM
WD Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB
SAPPHIRE 100283-3L Radeon HD 5770 1GB
HT | OMEGA CLARO 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Interface Sound Card
SAMSUNG 2333HD High Glossy Black 23" 5ms HDMI Widescreen Full HD LCD Monitor

I bought everything from Newegg, haven't had any problems in the 4 months since I built it and can honestly say it was the best investment I've made this year.
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August 9, 2010 1:36:08 AM

Unisykolist said:
If I don't get a Creative Labs Xfi sound card, then do you have any suggestions for alternatives?


I would actually just go with onboard sound. It's improved a lot over the years, most motherboards currently have 5.1 or 7.1 sound. At minimum, buy the system without one, and if it's unsatisfactory, you can always add a sound card later. I watch DVDs on my 3 year-old system with onboard sound, and I don't notice any difference between that and my other sources. I watch Blu-rays & game on my new system, again, no complaints. You could spend the money saved on upgrading your graphics card or just save it. Agree with the recommendation above to get a 5770, assuming you stick with older games.

There's no reason to go with more than 4 GB of RAM for gaming at all. The only reason to get more is if you're getting an Intel 1366 processor (triple-channel RAM, so 6 GB), or if you do a lot of Photoshop or other memory-intense productivity work.

The motherboard you selected is a good choice, as long as you don't intend to CrossFire in the future (which it doesn't sound like you'll need to, based on your gaming choices).

You could look around for CL 7 RAM, it should only cost a little bit more, but it's likely to only improve performance across the board by a few percent. Up to you whether or not the increased cost is worth it.

If you intend to overclock, you might want to look at getting a HSF.

I'd agree with spending a little more on the processor...the Phenom II X4 955 is one of the best deals available.
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August 10, 2010 12:25:56 AM

my mobo has built in 7.1 surround sound but can only support 2 gigs of ram :( 
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August 15, 2010 4:41:17 AM

tcisaki said:
I agree with not purchasing a Creative sound card. The software is bloated and buggy, the support is horrible - Creative is pretty much living off a reputation built long ago in a galaxy far far away.... Look at either Asus or HT Omega for quality sound cards. I have a HT Omega Claro and I love it. Remember that a sound card is only as good as the speakers/headphones that output the sound. No reason to spend major $ on a sound card for cheap speakers when onboard sound would be adequate. I have the Logitech X-540 speakers and can't tell the difference when using onboard vs. the Claro, but when I listen to music/movies/games with my Sennheiser HD555 headphones my ears melt. HT Omega support is incredible, emailed them on a Saturday night and had a response by Sunday afternoon, how many companies answer email on a Sunday? Asus also has a lot of good reviews for their sound cards but I have never owned one. Good luck with your product purchases, building a PC is a lot of fun but can be frustrating when you don't do your research.

My system:

Coolermaster HAF 922 case & Silent Pro 700W PSU
Asus M4A785td-V EVO Mobo
AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ955FBGMBOX
G-Skill F3-10666CL7D-4GBRH RAM
WD Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB
SAPPHIRE 100283-3L Radeon HD 5770 1GB
HT | OMEGA CLARO 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Interface Sound Card
SAMSUNG 2333HD High Glossy Black 23" 5ms HDMI Widescreen Full HD LCD Monitor

I bought everything from Newegg, haven't had any problems in the 4 months since I built it and can honestly say it was the best investment I've made this year.


Thx that helped alot.

I noticed just above you have a SAPPHIRE 100283-5L Radeon HD 5770 1GB. How is that going for you? Do you think there would be much difference between getting an XFX Radeon 5770 over a Sapphire Radeon 5770?
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August 15, 2010 6:41:30 AM

^ XFX has better warranty, double lifetime although that only applies in the U.S. unfortunately. Otherwise they're similar, the Asus versions can have their voltage adjusted just so you know.
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