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First homebuilt pc need advice and build tips

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September 12, 2010 6:59:32 PM

I made my way down to my local computer shop and ordered my pieces. I have alot left over from my previous pc (screen, secondary HD, etc.).

Here's what I ordered basically,

1. amd Phenom II x4 965
2. Crosshair IV
3. xfx HD 5870
4. hx1000w by corsair
5. 8gb mushkin redline ram 1600
6. Corsair 128gb ssd
7. Antec DF85 case
8. Lite-on DVD burner
9. Death adder and lycosa keyboard and mouse combo


I can still change my mind before I pay and go with something else.
My main concerns are with the building of the computer, I think I have the parts down... do correct me if I'm right.


First concern/question. CPU: Thermal paste or not? Do I need to apply some to the cpu after having installed it or should I not bother? I've read both and I'm really just wondering.

Second concern, the ram runs at 1600 and the board at base runs at 1333. Now from what I understand it only means my ram will run cooler then it should and that I shouldn't bother OC'ing it until the need is present. Will my timing still be 6-8-6-24? If I don't want to overly complicate my life.... should I just install the darn things and forget about them? Will I run into stability problems if I don't play around with it?

From my understanding the steps roughly are:

1. Install mobo spacers
2. install mobo
3. Install CU
4. INstall ram
5. Install psu and connect everything
6. install ssd/hd and connect sata and ps connections
7. Install GPU
8. Install optics and connect.
9. Make sure everything is connected
10. Start computer and select boot dvd drive to install windows 7 on ssd

Does this sound right? Am I missing anything?


I'm just kinda nervous this being my first build and me not being the biggest tech freak and obviously playing around with almost 2k worth of material. I really want to learn how to make this all work.... tired of being screwed by hp, dell and whoever wants to sell me a computer for twice the price it's actually worth.

Any sites or reading you would reccomend? Any applications that I should get prior to building it? Diag tools for my laptop? Anything?

Thanks alot!

-Grim
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
September 12, 2010 7:37:15 PM

Look at the stock cooler. If it already has thermal paste applied, and it should, you do not need to do anything more.
If, you want to remount, or install a different cooler later, then plan on removing the existing paste, and apply new. Alcohol is a good cleaner.

Start out using the default ram settings. There is little value in changing settings of ram that works. Exception might be high overclocks.

I assemble the basic parts outside of the case first. Just put the mobo on top of the antistatic bag that it comes in. I verify that I can boot into memtest86+ and check out the bios and ram. You can either connect the case power button, or use a screwdriver to start it up if your mobo does not have a start button.

Assuming things look good, then I install the parts in the case.

As a suggestion, download and read cover to cover the manuals for your case and motherboard. They will answer many questions.
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 12, 2010 8:56:23 PM

Are you using the 8GB of RAM for anything special? (like video editing?) Games and most spreadsheets and such will only need 4GB or less. You can save some coin and cut the Memory in half. Take the savings and buy two 1GB GTX460's instead of the single HD 5870.
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Related resources
September 12, 2010 9:07:34 PM

My mobo being dual channel i first thought of going with 6g of ram wich would of been enough but.... Not bein triple channel i had no choice but to go with 8g.
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
September 12, 2010 9:26:46 PM

Grimzkhul said:
My mobo being dual channel i first thought of going with 6g of ram wich would of been enough but.... Not bein triple channel i had no choice but to go with 8g.

There is no performance negative to 8gb. If you only single task then 4gb is sufficient. On a new high end build, I agree with 8gb.
Is the 8gb a 2 x 4gb configuration? I think that is a good idea since there is not that great a price premium for 4gb sticks.

The 1000w corsair psu is a bit of an overkill, but is an excellent unit.

If you have already ordered, there is no need to change anything.

You might consider installing a oem cpu cooler up front. It is easier to install it then than to take a working pc apart to install one later. Your cpu will run cooler and quieter. If you OC, you can go higher and easier. Most any tower type cooler will do. You should be able to find one for <$40 or so.


---good luck---

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September 20, 2010 11:13:42 PM

geofelt said:
There is no performance negative to 8gb. If you only single task then 4gb is sufficient. On a new high end build, I agree with 8gb.
Is the 8gb a 2 x 4gb configuration? I think that is a good idea since there is not that great a price premium for 4gb sticks.

The 1000w corsair psu is a bit of an overkill, but is an excellent unit.

If you have already ordered, there is no need to change anything.

You might consider installing a oem cpu cooler up front. It is easier to install it then than to take a working pc apart to install one later. Your cpu will run cooler and quieter. If you OC, you can go higher and easier. Most any tower type cooler will do. You should be able to find one for <$40 or so.


---good luck---



Quite a bit has changed since last I posted, turns out my local shop are a bunch of idiots. I'll be ordering throught newegg.

Now for the ram, I've been thinking of using these: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682... (I do alot of multi-tasking when I'm photoshopping with my wacom, and I do alot of gaming with background stuff running about, hence the 8gb)

I've heard good things about the kit, the only things that worries me is that it doesnt seem to be on the supported memory list of the crosshair IV.... maybe I'd be better off using another mobo? Any recommendations?

Now as far as I can tell, the PSU is overkill but considering future proofing (going with crossfire and upgrades later on) should I still go down to 850w or something similar and if so... what? I've seen good things about this one here: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

I still haven't ordered anything but I do want to maximize my bang for my buck.... obviously I do have alot of money to spend on this but If I can reduce the price! WHY NOT?? :p 

Also, I'm dumping the mouse and keyboard, my old set is perfectly fine, no need for it.

Changed the corsair SSD for the OCZ vertex 2 3.5'' model: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

I think that's it.... any suggestions?
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a c 84 B Homebuilt system
September 21, 2010 12:00:48 AM

Corsair makes good ram, and it is well supported. But, fancy heat spreaders and fans are unnecessary, and mostly for marketing.
Go to the corsair web site and enter your motherboard into their configurator. You will get a list of supported ram kits. If you ever have a problem, then you will get support and a resolution.

I like the XFX750 PSU. Silver certified, modular, well reviewed. It should support two of any cards you might ever want to install.

I love the SSD, it makes everything feel snappier.

But, I would wait on the SSD. there are supposed to be some 25nm gen 3 SSD products out this fall. They will offer larger capacities, lower prices, and be faster. You are at risk of buyer's remorse if you buy now. Instead, carve out a 160gb partition out of your storage drive, and install your OS and apps there. Plan on later cloning that partition to a new SSD. In the bios, specify sata mode as AHCI,( not IDE or raid) You will then use windows-7 drivers which support the trim command. It is very difficult to change tto AHCI after the os is installed without a reinstall. Trim is necessary to preserve SSD performance after the drive has been filled.

---good luck---
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 21, 2010 12:19:20 AM


The 120 GB SSD is more than you need for your OS and a few applications. 80 GB is more than ample, and 60 GB is probalby about right. The reason for recommending a smaller SSD is that they are dropping in price quickly and will soon be replaced with newer technology.

The one you selected has the SandForce controller, which is the fastest at the moment. How about a 60 GB GSkill - same speed, smaller model for $155.

OK, one last try to talk you out of that huge expensive memory. Here is some most excellent Mushkin Enhanced. It is faster stuff (1600). The voltage on it is an incredible 1.35 V. The latency is almost as low, and would probably be lower if you underclocked it to 1333. When you overclock, it is easier to maintain memory stability with 4 GB. Mushkin receives very good reviews from the performance crowd. Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 4GB for $93 after rebate.

Speaking of overclocking, where is your heatsink? The OC topic has not been raised here, but it would be almost a crime to spend all this money on beautiful racing epuipment and then drive it slowly around the block like an old lady! Here is a model that has enough heft to carry the heat away: ZALMAN CNPS10X Extreme for $77.

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September 21, 2010 1:01:49 AM

Corsair suggests me http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682... (x2)?

This is the result list http://www.corsair.com/configurator/product_results.asp...

Are you sure I don't need more then 4gb? I'm a big gamer.... and no I don't do video editing but I do photoshop alot. Will 4gb really be enough? If so.... I'll be happy to save 114$ eh...

How long would I have to wait for the new SSD and honestly how much of a difference do you think I'll see? I'm not one to look back all that much so if I won't see a big difference I don't really care :p  but just how hard is it to configure like you said considering I'm pretty damn new to building a computer....?

Don't underestimate my needs size wise Eloric ;)  I am a big gamer! hehe

Yeah, for the heatsink I'll be taking one down the line. Just haven't made a choice yet.
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 21, 2010 1:35:20 AM

LOL, grimzkhul! There is no game on the market today that uses all 4 GB of memory. You can always add more later as a future upgrade. All ther experts here recommend if you are going to spend extra money on a gaming machine, put it into the Graphics card.

No telling how long it will take for the next gen of SSD. Maybe someone else here on the forum would be able lend some insight. I am just basing my advice on recent history. It seems like there are new SSD models out every few weeks. I bought an Intel M-25 80 GB in March and paid $260 for it. It sells today for $199, only 6 months later. I am extremely pleased with my purchase, and would do it again (except for a smaller one)

Whatever you buy now, will probalby sell for less tomorrow, so only get what you need (or really want!!!!)

The other selection that I saw for a heatsink was the Thermaltake Frio. Either one should work for your CPU - Both of those models fared well in reviews. Also, it looks like your case (which is really kick a$$, btw) has a cut out behind the motherboard, so you can install a heatsink without removing the mobo. Wait on that aspect, if you prefer.

Go get 'em. Time to make your final choices and take the plunge!
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September 21, 2010 2:01:47 AM

I might be going the way Eloric suggested or just go with a smaller sized SSD as you said (60g vertex 2 or something).

Now as for the Mobo.... good enough?

Psu, modular 850w enough for eventual OC'ing? Or should I just take the plunge and go with the original 1000w from corsair...

Sounds stupid but I have buyer's remorse before... not after the purchase haha! Just wanna make a good choice that's all! :p 
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 21, 2010 2:57:53 AM

Your motherboard is fantastic. Some Gigabyte fan bois out there that might try to talk you out of it, but don't pay attention to them. I would drool over the chance to push that board and CPU to find out its limits. That is why I suggested a really expensive heat sink.

I ran the free Lite version of this power supply calculator on your configuration. After adding in an extra 5870 graphics card, allowing for overclocking, and including a 20 percent aging factor, the calculator recommended only 786 watts, which makes an 850 W PSU more than ample.

You have the specifications for a extreme machine in front of you. It will serve you for several years to come. Don't just take my word for it, check out this article: ASUS Crosshair IV Formula review
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September 21, 2010 4:35:20 PM

Alright... I still have the ram problem. Any recommendations? I have next to no knowledge and according to most sites the crosshair iv formula is kinda picky....

Have anything that i should be looking at?
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 21, 2010 6:11:49 PM

good brand
1600 mhz
cas 7 or lower
rated under 1.65v

thats what i would get for a good high end build

g.skill flare <made for amd platform
munshkin blackline. ridgeback. redlines
g skill ripjaws.pi.
team group extreme
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September 21, 2010 7:58:46 PM

Doesnt amd have problems with lower timings?
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September 21, 2010 8:20:37 PM

Not really, I mean yeah if you're going for like CAS6 or whatever then yeah. But there's no point in going for lower CAS as the performance benefit from CAS 9 to 6 is less than a percent for most apps.
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 21, 2010 11:56:58 PM

Grimzkhul, are you looking at the Qualified Vendor List for Asus approved memory, and cannot find any for sale? It is a pain in the butt, isn't it. I had the same issue when looking for memory on another Asus motherboard.

The answer was that it just means the memory manufacturer has not gone through the expense and hassle of getting each model of memory certified. If you get memory compatible with your CPU, it will almost certainly work with the board.

Follow obsidian86's recommendations, and don't sweat it.

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