First PC Build, need some advice/suggestions

Hey everyone, I'm a new member to Tom's Hardware and I decided to sign up to hopefully receive some help in building my first computer. I've read a lot of forum threads from Tom's Hardware throughout learning about computer systems, which ultimately lead me to choosing this forum for help (yahoo answers gets you nowhere when it comes to anything tech related :kaola: ).

You can skip the next 3 paragraphs if you're only interested in reviewing my computer build. The next paragraphs are to give you a feel from where I'm coming from:

I currently have 3 desktop computers, one of which is an Intel Pentium 4, configured back in 2005. I have used it up until only 1 month ago, when I received my friend's old 2005 AMD 939 Socket computer. After combining RAM for 2GB, putting my other friend's EN9600GT 512MB GDDR3 GPU in, and installing Windows 7 Ultimate-64Bit, I thought I would settle with the computer for another year or so. After a few weeks of really enjoying a step up in performance, the computer wouldn't resume from being put into sleep (first time I had ever put it to sleep). I had to unplug the power cable and wait for it to turn off because doing a hard power off wasn't working. After that, all I get from trying to power the computer is an abrupt flash from the power LED and nothing else (PSU LED is on when the power cable is plugged in).

This in turn lead me to pursue building my own computer again. Over the last few years I have slowly learned about computers (the 2005 Intel was our first home computer), and my knowledge of computers has increased greatly over the last year. I realize basically anything on market today is a step up from my 5 year old computers. But it has taken me 5 years to finally decide it's time to build my own system. I am not a hardcore gamer, so the computer specs I have researched and come up with are not meant for high performance gaming, but to last just as long or longer than my 2005 computer before absolutely needing an upgrade.

I have spent the last week or more researching, comparing, and pretty much no-lifing a computer build. Originally I was going to construct a computer on cyberpowerpc but after learning that I'm getting parts that aren't necessarily good, as well as paying them to build it, I decided to go through Newegg (so far). Apart from that, however, the main reason I am wanting to build my own computer is for the experience. I am a double-major in Information Systems (or IT) and Computer Science, and I have always loved computers. To explain my habits, I do a lot of web surfing, video converting (SUPER converter), and multi-tasking (Photoshop, Zune, Firefox, etc). My aim was to build a computer that could decently handle anything I could throw at it, excluding gaming, and last for several years down the road. My current expense is about $825+ $40 S&H.


Case - COOLER MASTER Storm Sniper - $139.99

Mobo - ASUS M4A89GTD 890GX - $144.99

Proc - Phenom II X2 555 BE - $88.99

PSU - SeaSonic M12II 620 Bronze 620W ATX 12V/EPS 12V - $99.99

RAM - G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 2 x 2GB DDR3 1600 Dual-Chan - $91.99

SSD - Crucial RealSSD C300 64GB SATA III - $134.99 (currently out of stock)(Boot drive, Windows 7 Ultimate-64 bit)

HDD - WD Caviar Blue WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA II - $69.99

DVD-B - LITE-ON Black 24X SATA - $25.99

Mouse - Logitech M310 Red Tendrils USB RF Wireless Mouse - $26.99


System Usage from Most to Least Important: (surfing the internet, watching movies, gaming, folding@Home [still don't know what folding is] )

Parts Not Required:
-Monitor (Have ASUS VH232T)
-GPU (Have EN9600 512MB)
-OS (Win 7U-64)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:

Country of Origin: USA

Overclocking: Yes (CPU unlocker to unlock X2 into X4, etc)

SLI or Crossfire: No

I plan on using:
-4 SATA devices (New SSD, New HDD, old HDD, DVD-Burner)
-2 PATA devices (2 old HDDS, Opt. 1 Floppy Read/Writer for drivers).
-1 PCIe slot for my EN9600
-2 RAM slots
-All possible fan mounts (3 included with case)

So yeah, I don't really know what else to include. I am skeptical on buying an aftermarket HSF or Liquid cooling because of so many issues with space (from mobo to side panel, covering dimm slots, etc), installation, inefficiency, bad reviews, etc. I plan on unlocking my proc into a quad (hopefully) with CPU Unlocker, and I plan on trying out the Easy OC'ing stuff provided by the Mobo. Typically OC'ing entails purchasing an aftermarket HSF/LC so if I could be given some suggestions that aren't impossible to install and whatnot, that would be helpful. Other than that, I am just hoping for some helpful advice, precaution with any incompatible parts, suggestions, etc. This is my first time ever posting something like this so if more information is needed I'll gladly provide it. Thanks! :hello:
32 answers Last reply
More about first build advice suggestions
  1. Welcome to the club, newcomer! Your build is quite well researched, and everything should work as configured. I am sure you are well aware of the risks of trying to unlock a dual core. Most recommendations are to buy a 3 core and attempt to unlock only the 4th. Seems a little more risky for the dual core, but hey, $88 for a Black Edition is a deal.

    Here are a few suggestions to consider:

    Case is a bit expensive, shipping is high, and there are several others for $30 to $40 less. COOLER MASTER Storm Scout is $90 with almost half the shipping costs.

    For your HDD, try a Samsung Spinpoint F3 for $75 - it is $5 more, but performance is better and its 360 GB larger.

    PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W is $14 cheaper, larger, also well rated and has a rebate of $30, if you want to try your luck there.

    SSD: OCZ Agility Series OCZSSD2-1AGT60G 2.5" 60GB is the same price, does have a slower read speed, but faster write, a $10 mail in rebate, and best of all is in stock!
  2. Oh, forgot about the aftermarket heat sink! Please get one. The COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus is $33, and you will want it when you overclock.
  3. he took the words out of my mouth ^ i agree with what he said, but i would look into a cheaper case so you can upgrade your other more important components, your case costs more than your CPU, i would just go for an antec 300 case it is very good and i would try upgrade your CPU to an x6 1055T even if its stretching your budget, read this article
  4. just by going for the antec 300 you save $80. which can be spent upgrading your cpu you also save $12 if you go for the asrock motherboard suggested in the article , so you save $92, the x6 1055T is $198, so the money saved by changing the case and motherboard $92+$89( how much you were going to spend on the other CPU) gives you $181, so you just need to fork out another $17 to get the x6 1055T, which would be a massive increase in performance over your x2 955, and this build is only $17 more than your build
  5. also if you go for this hdd you save $15 its also a very good hdd (samsung spinpoint f3 500gb) so overall the x6 1055t build will only be $2 more then....
  6. Oh gordon is trying so hard here - you gotta give him credit here. His advice is good - I think you would be much happier with more CPU, for your video converting. You can tell we both are recommending what we would purchase if it were our own money.

    I guess if we needed any additional information, it would be how are your finances these days, and would you rather spend extra for decent performance, or are you at your limit with build you gave us of $865?

    The Antec 300 is a good case, but you may need to add a fan to the cheap one. Here is a Rosewill that gets 5 eggs for even less: (this one has a 2.5 incha adapter for your SSD.) Oh, I noticed the case I recomended is out of stock, so that is not an option. If you want something with a side window, here is a LIAN LI Lancool for $90:
  7. The 1055t is actually only 178$ -- it has a combo deal with BFBC2 right now.
  8. Okay, a little overwhelmed with all the suggestions. First off, what are the advantages of the ASRock 890FX over my ASUS 890GX? Also, I thought open box wasn't a very safe option to go with..
  9. Dealing with cases, I am sick of the white or grey back panel/interior color. All of my current desktops have that color and it looks so old and plain! (Like Xbox360 to Xbox360 Elite)

    I really like the looks of the Storm Scout and Rosewill cases provided by Eloric.

    Reading the reviews for the Rosewill though brings up some space issues, bad side mounting for HDDs, and difficult accessibility from the back side panel to reroute cables behind.

    The Storm Scout also suffers from poor sideways HDD mounts, people can't even close the side panel with the SATA plugs in.
  10. Not sure about the Storm Scout sata plugs - I do not have any issue closing the case, and I have three full size drives installed. The plugs come out the back, and there is plenty of room. I wonder if people are installing them the other way around? No matter, the Storm Scout is out of stock (and they raised the shipping)

    Oh, how about this Lian Li: $102 including shipping, totally black, 5 eggs - read the reviews! I recommend you get some additional cold cathode lights to mod out the case.
  11. Wow I really like that case. I was a little skeptical at first...but I read more reviews and then watched this review video Here.

    It is $40-60 cheaper than the two storm cases, and has the ease of being completely tool-less with good cable management and access to the back of the mobo tray. Simple design yet nice (and black :D).

    With the mobo I plan on getting, the ASUS 890GX (Since I still don't really see the advantage of buying the ASRock [a brand of whom I'd never heard of] 890FX beside 2 more USB 3.0), it comes with only:

    1 x CPU Fan connector
    1 x Power Fan connector
    1 x Chassis Fan connector (4-pin)
    1 x Chassis Fan connector (3-pin)

    While the Case comes with 4 fans:

    1 x 140mm intake fan in the front,
    1 x 120mm exhaust fan at the rear,
    2 x 140mm exhaust fans on the top

    Since one of the connectors will be for the CM Hyper212 HSF, does that mean I'll only be able to use 3 of the other fans?
  12. You can connect the fans directly to your power supply. Or install a separate fan controller in a spare bay:
  13. Gordon, I read the article you posted about the Deluxe 4 vs the 890GX. What in your opinion is the advantage of that board over mine? I didn't see it even after reading it really..
  14. Ryan, the ASRock does not have integrated graphics, so you need to stay with the ASUS board.
  15. Okay, how does this sound?


    Psu - SeaSonic M12II 620 Bronze 620W (-->modular<--) - $99.99
    + free IMC USB 2.0 Reader combo

    Mobo - ASUS M4A89GTD AM3 AMD 890GX - $144.99

    RAM - G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB 2x2 1600 - $91.99

    Burner - LITE-ON 24X DVD Burner iHAS424-98 - $25.99

    Mouse - Logitech M310 Red Tendrils Wireless Mouse - $26.99

    Changes (Your suggestions):

    Proc - AMD Phenom II X6 Thuban 1090T BE ------------------ $412.98
    SSD - + OCZ Agility 2 60Gb SATA 2, $25 off combo

    Case - LIAN LI Lancool PC-K62 - $99.99

    HDD - SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 500Gb - $54.99

    HSF - COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 - $29.99

    Fan Contr - Scythe KQ01-BK-3.5 "KAZE Q" Fan Controller - $18.99

    Coming out to be $1,006.89 with $19.53 shipping.
    I can break the proc + ssd combo and do just the 1055t & Agility 2 separately, lowering the cost by arounnd $75 dollars, if getting the Thuban @ 3.2 isn't worth it.

    In that case, it would be:

    AMD Phenom II X6 1055T Thuban 2.8GHz - $197.99
    OCZ Agility 2 - $146.99

    Totaling $958.42
  16. And another question.

    I've heard and slightly read up about AMD's Bulldozer processors coming out in early 2011. Is the introduction to AM3+ coming soon enough that buying now might be considered a mistake?
    At the same time, it really might not matter to me. I'm used to being 5 years behind the loop in computer technology, still using DDR1 memory, single core processors, etc.
    But if the Bulldozer's impact was significant enough, would it be worth waiting for it, either to buy computer parts like these for cheaper because of the new release, or to actually buy the new Bulldozer product (though it'll probably be pretty expensive the first few months)?

    It probably doesn't matter since if I was always scared of buying new technology simply because bigger and better came out near the same time, I would end up never buying anything, because that's just how technology is.
  17. That is a pretty machine. I recommend the Black Edition, since you want to overclock. Looks like a good price for today's market, and a PC that will last you 5 years.

    Here is my take on brand new technology: it sucks. There are always unaticipated bugs that do not get caught in testing. It typically comes out late, and is overpriced. Even when bulldozer and whatever Intel's LGA 1155 razzle dazzle is next year, it will take another 6 months for prices to come down (and force all the existing technology down).

    Don't wait. Don't worry. Pull the trigger now.
  18. DO not get the 1090T, get the 1055T, the 1090T is bad price vs performance,s if you can go for the 1090Ts price you could go with an intel build that has an i7 950 which is better than the 1090T, the i7 950 is $299, look at he difference in performance the i7 950 basically floors it
  19. Well, that kind of thrwos a monkey wrench into all of it. Do you live near a Microcenter?

    They have some good sales going on. The i7-930 is going for $199. Just remember you have to pay sales tax instead of shipping.
  20. Naw I'm fine with AMD. I was just wanting to see if it was worth getting the 1090 or not even with combo. I have placed my order with the 1055t. Can't wait for it come :) Thanks, you guys. I'll probably be back here within a week if things go wrong xD
  21. that is true ^ i just suggested the 950 as it has gone down in price and as he was planning to buy from newegg there was no real difference in price between the 930 and 950 is marginal
  22. good, the 1055T was the best choice in my opinion price vs performance, enjoy the build :)
  23. Come back here anyway and let us know!
  24. Haha alright. A little set back because I had to call them to give them my bank phone # to verify the shipping/billing address. The two addresses might not be the same (though I am quite sure I recently made them match) and I'll have to go into my bank and check there. So I might be set back another day or 2 before shipping! :/
  25. My advise, since your a noob at this stuff. Read all of "Toms Build your own" articles. Choose one and go with it. You can upgrade here and there but the basic recipe is there for you. It's been built, tested and compared for you. You don't have to worry about compatibility issues and all that stuff.
    I followed the March $1500.00 build. Its running great and I'm feeling fine.
  26. I already had a pretty specific build in mind. I'm assuming you haven't read the other posts in this thread, since I've already picked out my parts based on my specific interests and from the suggestions of eloric and gordon, and I have already made the purchase.

    I don't believe the articles would've helped as much as me just doing my own research and learning first-hand of what parts I wanted. But if you give me a link to the articles, since I cannot find them, I will look at them and consider whether they are helpful to me or not. Thanks!
  27. Hi Ryan,

    Here are the links that would help to assemble and troubleshoot:

    Tecmo's step by step guide to build a PC

    If you do everything in the build guide the chances are small that you will need this:

    shortstuff_mt's troubleshooting list

    ..and of course, if these references do not work, then you can always post back here.

    Good luck.
  28. Hey guys, I'm back and I'm need some help. It's been a while after building my computer and everything is fine; that is not the problem.

    I have like 4 desktop computers and I was trying to format my old one to give it back to my parents. Well, the stupid computer couldn't boot from disk so I could install XP on it and without thinking, I decided to try and use my new computer to install XP onto the hard drive. Keep in mind, I have and had no idea what the MBR does. In my mind, I was just installing a OS onto a HDD so that I could put it in the old computer. I didn't think installing a second OS on a completely different HDD would mess up the MBR, especially since I know so little about the MBR...anyway, my first attempt technically worked (wtf?) and I was able to boot up the old computer with the HDD that I had installed XP on with my new computer...well, when I booted XP and looked around, I noticed I was missing drivers for my ethernet, VGA, NIC, etc whatever. I figured it was because I skip a step or something when installing the OS using my other computer. So I booted my other computer, formatted the HDD with XP, reinstalled XP, and tried to boot the other computer with it. Now it won't boot at all (which technically should've happened the first time I installed XP since I was being so smart and installed it using my new computer?) and now my new computer won't boot unless the damn XP drive is the master drive. So I screwed up my MBR I guess, and my computer now thinks that XP is my primary OS and I can't boot Win7.

    That's at least what I gathered to be the problem. Whether it is or not, I just need help on fixing my master boot record so I can boot Win7 again and trying installing XP onto that other computer...without being dumb and using a different computer to do it.

    I have tried using the Win7 disk to fix any start up problems but it now says that my D; (my former boot drive w/ Win7) and my F: (recovery drive or something...) are not the correct versions of Windows and cannot fix the start up problems...

    So I'm lost, confused, and I just want it back to working again. Can someone please help me and my stupidity?
  29. Message displayed when trying to boot from the Win 7 disk:

    "Windows could not start because of a computer hardware configuration problem. Could not read from the selected boot disk. Check boot path and disk hardware."
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