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First build (alternation from newegg)

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September 1, 2010 8:12:51 PM

Hello,

I saw a newegg video, "price and performance PC" and it inspired me to build my own computer.
These are the exact specs of the build:


CPU - AMD Athlon II X4 630
http://bit.ly/adtCb9

Motherboard - MSI 890GXM-G65
http://bit.ly/cL4tKr

Memory - Crucial 4GB (2x 2GB) DDR3
http://bit.ly/cmPP5u

Case - Antec Two Hundred (v2)
http://bit.ly/bzfPsf

Power Supply - Antec BP550plus
http://bit.ly/a8SSfu

Optical Drive - Lite-on DVD Burner
http://bit.ly/9XR8sh

Hard Drive - Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB
http://bit.ly/demOVs

Operating System - Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
http://bit.ly/dsWlPG

SATA Cable -
http://bit.ly/9pxf0I


GAMING/MULTIMEDIA UPGRADES:

Optical Drive - Lite-on Blu-Ray Reader
http://bit.ly/duuADm

VGA - Sapphire Radeon HD 5770
http://bit.ly/c10WPx

However, I want to make some adjustments to make this build more suitable to me.

CPU - I've seen CPU's that have a higher ghz, but with a lower price. Why is that?

Motherboard - I don't know what to look for when buying a motherboard, and apparently, this one can "crossfire" I have an idea of what crossfire is, but could you explain in detail what crossfire exactly does?

RAM - I want 4Gb of RAM, but I don't know what brands are good and bad.

Case - I don't care what the case is.

Power Supply - What should I look for in buying a power supply?

Optical Drive - I don't use much CD's so I don't need a fancy one.

Hard Drive - I only need about 300 - 500Gb. 1TB is overkill. Also, what brands are the most trustworthy?

Operating system - I'm not going to worry about this, I have XP, and I don't want to spend money on operating system just yet.

SATA cable - I don't know what that is for.

Blue Ray - I don't need blue ray.

Video Card - I heard Raedon 5770 get you a lot of bang for the bucks. and I don't play INTENSIVE games. I play SC2 a lot, and can 5770 support SC2 without strain? (also, can you "crossfire" this?)

Sorry this is more of a question forum than a build forum. My budget is $500-600.
but this build comes out to be $720 excluding blue ray, SATA cable, and operating system.
How could I cut down some price in this build? And also, does the CPU bottleneck the graphics card?

Thank you in advance.
September 1, 2010 8:19:07 PM

Sorry, this is not in the normal template format, but I didn't realize that untill just now.
But this pretty much explains everything in the format except the date of purchase, which will be around the beginning of december.
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Best solution

September 1, 2010 9:31:46 PM

I'm going to try to explain all of this, but you should probably spend some time studying computer building on your own.


CPU - I've seen CPU's that have a higher ghz, but with a lower price. Why is that?

Answer: Modern CPUs have multiple cores; basically there are several functional CPUs combined onto one chip. The processor you selected has 4 cores as designated by the X4 in the processor model. As you know, in general processors of the same type which operate at a higher frequency (GHz) are faster and more expensive. The same goes for processors of the same type with more cores.

There is more to it than just more is better, however. Most programs are not well optimized for operating on multiple threads, for taking advantage of a processor with multiple cores. You may want to read more into this, but here are Tom's Hardware's CPU benchmark charts for 2010:

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/desktop-cpu-charts-2...

Compare the performance of the processors you can afford on the programs that you care about most, and pick the best fit.



Motherboard - I don't know what to look for when buying a motherboard, and apparently, this one can "crossfire" I have an idea of what crossfire is, but could you explain in detail what crossfire exactly does?

Answer: Crossfire is an ATI (now AMD) technology that allows you to install multiple ATI graphics cards and run them in parallel. Nvidia has a technology called SLI which does basically the same thing with its cards.

Crossfire and SLI setups usually offer a better value than comparably powerful single slot graphics cards, especially at higher resolutions (1920x1080 and up), but performance is highly dependent upon driver optimizations.

A good strategy for saving money is to buy a Crossfire or SLI capable motherboard and a mid-range GPU now so that you can add a second graphics card later. A mid-range graphics card is usually good enough for games now, and by the time it is insufficient, a second one of the same model will be much cheaper.

With respect to the motherboard itself, you should also consider a full size ATX motherboard or a Micro ATX case so that your components match. The motherboard you selected will fit that case, but there will be a lot of wasted space inside the case. Cases designed for Micro ATX motherboards can be smaller and lighter, and full size ATX motherboards have more expansion slots and generally more unique features.

As for other features (The motherboard you selected has all of these features, but if you select a different one you should look for them):

Gigabit 10/100/1000Mbps LAN is an absolute necessity for a good internet connection

Make sure that your CPU is supported, matching socket and supported wattage (The Athlon II X4 is a power hog)

4 DDR3 slots are preferable so that you can add more memory later.

USB 3.0 is a new standard that hasn't been fully implemented yet, but it will be used more and more in the future. You will probably want this.

SATA III 6Gb/s is the new standard for connecting Hard Drives and Optical Drives (CD/DVD/Blu-ray). It really only makes a difference on the latest SSD (Solid State Drives).

An 8 channel onboard audio chipset with S/PDIF Outs if you ever want to use this as a home theater PC or to connect it to a surround sound system.


I would recommend something like this for a full size ATX motherboard that is crossfire ready.

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


Alternatively you could save money on a older, less full featured motherboard:

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



RAM - I want 4Gb of RAM, but I don't know what brands are good and bad.

Answer: I wouldn't worry about the brand of the memory too much. Since you're just getting into computer building, I take it that you won't be highly overclocking your computer. If that's the case, all you need to do is check the reviews on newegg (make sure they aren't like 50% negative). As long as the memory works at the rated speed and latency, the brand doesn't make much difference.

You will get the best deal by looking for a combo that includes a decent memory kit and some other component of your build (newegg offers memory combos with just about everything). The combos are changed frequently so you will have to wait and see what is available in december.



Case - I don't care what the case is.



Power Supply - What should I look for in buying a power supply?

Answer: Based on your build you will want at least a 400W power supply. If you ever want to add a second HD 5770, you will want at least a 500W power supply.

The 80 Plus program ( 80plus.org ) rates the efficiency of power supplies. Certified is good, Bronze is better, Silver is better still, and Gold is best. Besides being able to save you money on electrical bills, higher efficiency power supplies are also usually better made.

Modular power supplies are nice. They allow you to install only the cables you need in order to cut down on clutter inside your computer case.

PCI-E connectors are required for even mid-range graphics cards now. The Radeon HD 5770 requires one PCI-E 6-pin connector. If you want to keep the door open for Crossfiring two of them together in the future, choose a power supply with at least two PCI-E connectors.



Optical Drive - I don't use much CD's so I don't need a fancy one.

Answer: Yeah, you can just go with a cheap DVD burner. ASUS, LITE-ON, Sony, Samsung, and LG are decent (I rate them in that order). Just make sure it's SATA and not IDE.



Hard Drive - I only need about 300 - 500Gb. 1TB is overkill. Also, what brands are the most trustworthy?

Answer: While you may only need 300-500GB, the larger drives are generally faster. The 1TB hard drives aren't that much more expensive anymore, either. There is a sale right now on a 1TB Samsung Spinpoint F3 for $60 shipped.

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

Hitachi, Western Digital, and Samsung are all respected. Seagate had some serious issues a little while back but used to be highly respected.



Operating system - I'm not going to worry about this, I have XP, and I don't want to spend money on operating system just yet.

Answer: Windows 7 is really, really nice. You won't see the full benefits of your new hardware until you switch to Windows 7 64-bit.



SATA cable - I don't know what that is for.

Answer: SATA cables are used to connect hard drives and optical drives; they are the replacement for IDE cables. Any retail motherboard should contain at least two sata cables, all you will need.



Blue Ray - I don't need blue ray.



Video Card - I heard Raedon 5770 get you a lot of bang for the bucks. and I don't play INTENSIVE games. I play SC2 a lot, and can 5770 support SC2 without strain? (also, can you "crossfire" this?)

Answer: The Radeon HD 5770 is a nice card and a decent value. It is due to be replaced when the HD 6XXX series of Radeon graphics cards are released in the next couple months, however. You may be able to get a much better deal on a 5770 after its replacement arrives. The new HD 67XX cards may offer tempting new features, though. It's something to think about in the mean time.

Yes, the Radeon HD 5770s can be set up in Crossfire, and the performance scales very well (the performance improvement is up to ~80%).



How could I cut down some price in this build?

Answer: These components will decrease in price between now and December (especially the video card). You can use newegg combo deals to get an additional discount on Newegg prices.



And also, does the CPU bottleneck the graphics card?

As good as the HD 5770 is, I still don't think its performance could be bottlenecked by an Athlon II. You could save money and go with a dual-core Athlon II X2 or triple core Athlon II X3, and you would probably still have nothing to worry about.
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September 1, 2010 11:14:38 PM

WOW, THANK YOU SOO MUCH. This helped A LOT. Now not only I know a little bit about the general information, I can actually start picking out my own specs. Thank you again.
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September 1, 2010 11:14:51 PM

Best answer selected by jineus.
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