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First Time Builder - will this work? $1000-games-plus

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September 6, 2010 4:04:21 AM

Hi guys,

I'm looking to replace a 5-year old computer that's finally beyond saving (after swapping out the PSU twice, the hard drive, taking the BIOS battery out, and reinstalling Windows - I've done all I could for the poor thing ;)  )

I've never built a computer from scratch - and am having nightmares of sitting in front of $1000 worth of parts that won't work...

Could you please take a look at my potential build - let me know if anything is incompatible, but also, any suggestions for parts that are more ROBUST (less likely for me to break them!), less likely to be DOA, have great support, and hopefully a track record for longevity.

Many thanks for steering me right!


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: ASAP

BUDGET RANGE: ~$1000 with rebates (some flexibility)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT:
- General web/office stuff and multitasking (Word, Excel, FTP, Web)
- Music stuff (Rip/Burn CDs, streaming audio, Audacity, Finale Allegro)
- Streaming TV/Video
- Games (MMORPGs)
- future: I'd like to eventually hook up the digital piano to Allegro
- future: I'd love to get involved in video editing, not sure when...


PARTS NOT REQUIRED:
- keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers
- would like to install my old modem (for when DSL goes down!) if possible, if not, no great loss...


PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS:
- microcenter (Atlanta, GA) and Newegg

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: US (Atlanta, GA)

PARTS PREFERENCES:
None. Hoping for high quality parts with a reputation for working out of the box, easy for newbies to work with, good support, and longevity! (I'd like parts that are idiot-proof as possible)


OVERCLOCKING:
Not yet. Maybe in the future, but not yet.


SLI OR CROSSFIRE:
Nope!


MONITOR RESOLUTION:
No idea - I have an old CRT Monitor (17" Samsung SyncMaster 763mb) I am ok with not playing games at the absolute highest resolution. Would love to replace the monitor, but have a few other priorities that have to come first (sigh!)


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
- no bling needed
- quieter is better, but not if it adds significant cost
- energy efficiency is good too!
- my house is a bit dusty, so probably a case with filters?
- did I mention "idiot proof" and "long lasting" parts? ;) 


QUESTIONS:
- Given that I don't do as much heavy gaming as some people here, is this overkill? (Part of my thinking is that I'd liket this computer to last 5+ years as well, so I'm ok with overshooting a bit for today...)

- Do I need to buy separate fans?

*********************************************

Here's what I have been looking at so far:

CPU: Microcenter $170
Intel i5-760
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Motherboard: NewEgg $125
GIGABYTE GA-H55-USB3 LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: NewEgg $100
G.SKILL ECO Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBECO
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU: NewEgg $200
EVGA 768-P3-1362-AR GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) Superclocked 768MB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: NewEgg $110
CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: Microcenter $55
Cooler Master Elite 430
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Hard Drive: Microcenter $45
Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7,200RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

Optical Drive:
ASUS Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Windows 7 Retail - about $170

Total without combos/rebates/tax: $995

Thanks!

Best solution

September 6, 2010 4:19:14 AM

IMO save 3$ and get the XFX black edition 850 watt from Newegg. 100 watts more, modular, better efficiency, overall better power output. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You can get a 1GB 460 for that price. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Why buy Windows 7 retail? Just get it OEM to save 70$

Any of these mobos are better: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...|13-130-292^13-130-292-TS%2C13-130-298^13-130-298-TS%2C13-157-193^13-157-193-TS%2C13-130-291^13-130-291-TS%2C13-131-621^13-131-621-TS

You can get the Spinpoint f3 for 60$ at Newegg http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Those are just recommendations that make outright better sense and should be done without argument. The following are my personal suggestions:

Get a Haf 922 (90$ on Newegg), very nice case for quiet aircooling. Get a Hyper 212+ for ~25$ (not on Newegg). Top value in CPU coolers.

Get this OD instead, it has litescribe. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And take all of the extra+whatever else and invest it into a nice monitor. Computer parts lose value very quickly (with the exception of Case/PSU/heatsinks/ODs), whereas highend monitors can often be sold for 80% of their retail price 3 years later.
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September 6, 2010 8:34:17 AM

Quote:
Given that I don't do as much heavy gaming as some people here, is this overkill? (Part of my thinking is that I'd liket this computer to last 5+ years as well, so I'm ok with overshooting a bit for today...)

GIGABYTE GA-H55-USB3 LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard



A few things u should know about SATA/USB 3.0 tech and mobos as shown by our very own forums here
USB 3.0, SATA 6Gb/s, Motherboards, And Overcoming Bottlenecks
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/usb-3.0-sata-6gb,25...
Also note that LGA 1156 shall be usurped by LGA 1155 as soon as end of this year/possible Q1 next year if u intending to sink a wee bit on chip + board FYI...
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cpus/2010/04/21/intel-...


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September 6, 2010 2:21:06 PM

Do not get that case, get the HAF 912. It just came out (hasnt hit stores quite yet) its only $55 and FANtastic bang for the buck.
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September 6, 2010 4:52:42 PM

Hi sp12 - thanks for the extra information.

- the xfx psu - I noticed reviews of people having problems with these (crackling and sparking!!!) how stable/reliable are they? As I said, I'm hoping for something fairly fail-safe (I suck at diagnosing broken parts, it takes me MONTHS and stresses me out) - so I'd rather go with something that has less power, if it's a better bet for not breaking if that makes sense (as long as it's still adequate - and I think 750 should be?)

- same question with the graphics card - noticed some negative reviews (things like the fan breaking while in use?) Is the card I picked bad? I'd rather have something less spectacular that works... than something that is going to increase my stress and fail on me!

Does that make sense? I don't know if it's an unusual priority, but I don't need to necessary maximize the system - it's more important to me that it works and doesn't require much trouble shooting ;) 

- re Windows - thanks. I was thinking of that, but wondering if I'd be better off with retail since I can reuse it down the line. For example, with the current broken computer - I would LOVE to just take the hard drive and reinstall it in a new machine, then continue with everything set up on it software wise, but it's an OEM windows license, so I can't do that. Having a retail version seems like ti would fix that... ? And even if I only use it one more time on a replacement computer, it would pay for itself (versus 2 oems at $100 each).

- thanks for the mobo suggestions - i will go look at them! Is it b/c they have the sata 6gb? I'm trying to read the article that was posted.... but honestly, I'm out of my depth and having trouble keeping it all straight.

Thanks - will take a look at the case and other suggestions. My head is spinning a bit from trying to get it all figured out... so many variables...

******************

Batuchka - Thanks for the links! I'm trying to read thru the first one now... and wow - I feel so far out of my depth trying to keep it all straight - *eek*. re: the 1155 - I don't think I can wait to get my new computer. I'm online now on a tiny netbook,and really need my primary computer back up and running so I can function :( 

I don't plan to do many upgrades (usually upgrade b/c something breaks, not performance issues) - so will it matter much? Would I be better doing an AMD build? I had the impression from reading here that if budget allowed, going with intel would be a little better?

***************

Mr Pizza - thanks for the heads up on the case, I will check it out!
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September 7, 2010 4:11:57 AM

Well if your needs demand the brute force of the 980X Gulftown then yes i wouldn't bother looking elsewhere but for anything else wallet friendlier alternatives abound hehe For $1k though i'd definitely hit a config way better than just a 768 GTX 460 GPU @@
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September 7, 2010 4:40:34 AM

Hi Batuchka, thanks for replying back ;) 

I've spent all day reading and researching (and my brain is now fried) - I thought about changing to AMD, but it looks like for things other than games (video and audio editing?) the i5 may have an advantage...

I've made some other changes though... if anyone has a sec - could you let me know if these will function?

Also - I forgot - I may end up with an extra hard drive when all is said and done (from the now dead computer) -will 750watts be enough to throw the 2nd drive into the mix as a backup drive on the new one?

And - how hard is it to install those fancy extra fans? I added one in that sp12 suggested... but am a bit nervous about what to do with it ;)  !!! (And do I need the arctic gel also with it?)

THANK YOU!

cpu -
Intel i5-760 $170

NEW MOBO
Asus P7P55D-E Pro (Intel P55 ATX) DDR3 - $180
Is this better?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

same RAM
G.Skill Eco 4G for i5/i7 - $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

NEW GPU
EVGA 01G-P3-1371-AR GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB - $240
A little more expensive but gets good reviews and ups to 1gb... is it ok? Have heard good things about evga...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...(Fermi)%201GB

NEW PSU
XFX Black 750w - $130 but ~$110 with discount
and looks like it has a combo deal with case: antec 900
Too tired to do the math, but seems good?
Good psu? Good case? Good combo?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=17-207-...(keywords)&Page=1#scrollFullInfo

OS:
Still kind of want to get retail windows 7 for the future... maybe i'm crazy, will think some more on it...

Hard Drive:
Looks like the deal on the 1T is going to run out tonight. 500GB is probably double what I have now, so I think it will hold me for a long time... I'll keep looking if I can get the 1t on sale, if not, will keep the samsung spinpoint 500g for $45

DVD
lightscribe would be nice, but i like the apparent high reliability with this one, so keeping it for now
ASUS Black 24X DVD+R $20


It looks like it all comes to around $1000 before I add in the case (as part of the combo deal with the psu)... so will go a little over, but good stuff I think.

Thoughts, please? I feel like I'm totally fried on this - was about to go order from an online retailer, except the thought of paying $1500 for a $1000 computer kills me a tiny bit inside ;) 

Please, just let me know if it looks like it will all work together and... you know, not explode in my face when I try to plug it in or anything like that.

THANKS. Nearly 1 am here. Have to work tomororw... must sleep now!

EDIT: forgot to actually add the fan...
FAN: hyper 212+ from Microcenter $24.
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

It doesn't say i5 on the description (just i7) but it will work ok, right? Thanks!
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September 7, 2010 10:43:55 PM

Just a little bump - hoping to get some feedback so I can start buying parts. Thanks!
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September 7, 2010 10:54:31 PM

jendoe said:
Hi sp12 - thanks for the extra information.

- the xfx psu - I noticed reviews of people having problems with these (crackling and sparking!!!) how stable/reliable are they? As I said, I'm hoping for something fairly fail-safe (I suck at diagnosing broken parts, it takes me MONTHS and stresses me out) - so I'd rather go with something that has less power, if it's a better bet for not breaking if that makes sense (as long as it's still adequate - and I think 750 should be?)

- same question with the graphics card - noticed some negative reviews (things like the fan breaking while in use?) Is the card I picked bad? I'd rather have something less spectacular that works... than something that is going to increase my stress and fail on me!

Does that make sense? I don't know if it's an unusual priority, but I don't need to necessary maximize the system - it's more important to me that it works and doesn't require much trouble shooting ;) 

- re Windows - thanks. I was thinking of that, but wondering if I'd be better off with retail since I can reuse it down the line. For example, with the current broken computer - I would LOVE to just take the hard drive and reinstall it in a new machine, then continue with everything set up on it software wise, but it's an OEM windows license, so I can't do that. Having a retail version seems like ti would fix that... ? And even if I only use it one more time on a replacement computer, it would pay for itself (versus 2 oems at $100 each).


It's a premium quality PSU, I'm sure there's some DOAs, but it's a seasonic OEM.

Computer components (besides hard drives) don't typically fail like that, but I'd avoid anything of notably shoddy quality.

RE: windows. I didn't tell you this, but windows checks based on the hard drive and motherboard. If they break, say, due to a power surge, or you're suspicious that they're broken and need swapping out for more modern components, you'll have to call microsoft and explain the situation to them.
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September 9, 2010 4:16:44 AM

Hi sp12-

So if the mobo goes bad and you have to replace it, you can call microsoft and get authorization to re-use the oem copy?

I'm still wrestling with this - my thinking is, if I had a retail version of XP right now, I'd simply take my hard drive, and drop it in a new - non-broken- computer - and voila, lots less stress and everything works. But I can't (afaik) b/c of the oem windows license.

If I'm completely wrong - I can see where OEM win 7 will make sense going forward...

???

Please share if you know ;-) b/c of course I'd LOVE to save the extra $70 and put my mind at ease!!!

Anyway - other than that I changed up the gpu again, based on another post I read, and have ORDERED my NewEgg portion - founds lots of combo deals, so feeling good on the price.

I will order Microcenter friday probably, so I can go pick up over the weekend.... as it's a bit of drive.

Here's where I ended up:

CPU (Microcenter): Intel i5-760 $170

MOBO (Newegg): Asus P7P55D-E Pro (Intel P55 ATX) DDR3 - $180

OPTICAL DRIVE (NewEgg): ASUS Black 24X DVD+R $8 (after combo with mobo!)

RAM (NewEgg) G.Skill Eco 4G - $98

GPU: (NewEgg)
MSI N460GTX CYCLONE 1GD5/OC GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card - ended up discounted (~$210? Not sure - plus has a rebate on it!)

PSU (NewEgg) - XFX Black 750w - ~$110 with discount plus has a combo deal with the antec 900 case

Case: Antec 900 (combo with PSU)

OS: still deciding - retail vs oem win 7 64bit

Hard Drive (Microcenter): Looks like I'm going to go with the 1T version sp12 suggested (spinpoint f3) - for $60 oem.


:)  I'm very nervous about this, but still looks like I'm saving a ton (was going to order from Puget, would have run around $1500 with shipping at least, I should come in under $1000 I think if the rebates all go through).

So wish me lots of luck and getting it all to work!! :)  Thanks.


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September 9, 2010 10:30:15 AM

Even if you 'later find out your motherboard had no damage at all and you just wanted to upgrade', it should work. I've successfully swapped my mobo twice on this Win7 license and am fine.
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September 10, 2010 1:47:22 AM

Thanks sp12 - you've convinced me ;)  oem it is then.

Have to redo my newegg order - apparently my "one time use" credit card (for internet shopping) got denied - ugh.

Thanks!
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September 21, 2010 2:13:30 PM

Best answer selected by jendoe.
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