Feedback on first simple build in 15 years...

Yes, I haven't built a PC for 15 years, so I'm dragging my feet on this one. I'd like to get your feedback on the components I've selected, before I buy and build.

1. Usage: This will serve mainly as an "all-around" desktop. E-mail/browsing, light word processing, Skype with family, light image and video manipulation/archiving (pics and videos of the kid)... and games, lastly.

*I don't need to run games to the point that my eyes bleed. I haven't had to chance to play much of anything for the past ten years, so I'm happy with low settings, as long as gameplay isn't compromised.*

2. Timing: I'm looking for a system that doesn't blow anyone's socks off, but will remain stable and working for as long as possible, while allowing me to make minor upgrades as time goes on (or as needs dictate). Price IS an issue. I'd like to save money, but I don't want to skimp on something if it means that I'll be stuck with a useless blob of junk in a year. I'm willing to go with "good enough" for a long time. Example: We've used a Dell lappy as our only computer for the past 5 years, and it's been fine (BUT... of course there's always a "but"... I got a virus last week, and the Trend Micro recommended fix destroyed my registry/OS/whatever. Either way, the thing wouldn't even boot. I'm writing this using Linux Mint... haha...)

3. Build: This is what I'm guessing at, currently, balancing function and price.

- Case - an X-Pider ATXA2XPW-BL/420 that I got from a friend.

- PS - Antec EarthWatts EA650 -
might as well go big, just in case, and Antec seems to be good

nothing to cheer about, but it seems to cover what I need

- CPU - AMD Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition Callisto 3.2GHz
If I'm lucky, the MB might unlock one or more of the other cores... if not, I don't care, really... Do I need a 3rd-party cooling unit if I don't go hard-core into overclocking, or should I assume that what comes with the CPU is total crap, regardless?

- GPU - On-board... I'll buy a real card in a few weeks/months/whatever... probably a 5770, or something like that, in order to help with the editing of home videos. I'll eventually get a ATSC-capture card and use the computer as a DVR, too (and another HD, at the same time).

- Optical - ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner
if it dies, I don't mind spending another 19 bucks...

- OS - Windows 7, 64 bit. I'm leaning towards Home because my copy of Office Professional 2003 is said to work with it (doesn't need the copy of XP included with 7 Pro)

- RAM - Crucial 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
If the video editing and gaming starts to pick up, I can swap this out for 6, later, I guess

- HD - Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3750528AS 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s
If I don't get a separate drive for the photos and vids, I'll probably partition this... I have an external for backups, and I'll probably get another, because the current one is small

Like I said, this isn't set in stone. I'll definitely ask questions and try to understand what's going on if anyone suggests other components. I'll purchase wherever I can get the lowest price on each component (I'm in Sacramento, California, so I'll see if Fry's can even compete).

Thanks in advance!
9 answers Last reply
More about feedback simple build years
  1. overall, not bad. At that $100-ish price or the 555, I"ll suggest an Athlon II X4 640. Its about $99), the guaranteed 4 cores is better than the l3 cache.

    with combos, the whle hing should be around $600-650 including the 5770
  2. ScrewySqrl said:
    ... I"ll suggest an Athlon II X4 640.

    Thanks for the feedback...

    3rd-party cooling for that, then, or is the stock good enough? I've never played with overclocking, so is it even needed, for what I'll use it for?

    This ram is faster, has better timings, is lower voltage, and is ~25$ cheaper.

    Definitely the Athlon X4.
  4. if you aren't overclocking, stock cooling is fine
  5. That was fast.

    In general, just avoid ram that uses more than 1.5 volts, the difference in performance between 1333 and 1600 is minor, but 1600 is a fair bit easier to OC your CPU with. CAS has a small but consistent impact on performance.
  6. Sweet Jesus on a Pogo Stick... the wife just said the magic words (with a caveat), "I don't care what you spend, I just want it to work!"

    The caveat is this: She liked my idea of also using the PC as a DVR, and streaming the shows we record to a TV in the bedroom.

    My questions are:

    - Almost all things being the same on this build (I'll definitely get a video card, now), what should I do as far as an ATSC-capture card and HD storage?

    I'm guessing I'll need something like this

    ...and I'll need the software to schedule recordings (unless Win 7 already does that).

    Considering that I'll be using the PC for "light duties", video/photo editing, and now DVR duties, would it make sense to have two or three HDs, now? Maybe 3 320's? (1 for the OS, programs, and docs; 1 for the photo/video archiving; 1 for the DVR function)

    The most important thing for me is to be able to record high-def OTA TV and watch it when we want to, so I know I need something (besides the regular video card) that will capture the HD signal with no stutters, and some type of high-speed network device with HDMI or component outs that will attach to the TV.

    Any further advice would be awesome.
  7. Actually your thread is a break from the norm: "Moving out after x years into new rig" and the TS deciding that some $3-4k config is justified @@ Glad you went as per needs ^^ U sound like a really casual gamer and if toning down from ultra high to say high/medium or reducing resolution is doable i would think even something like a GTS 450 could serve ya well ^^
  8. or a gtx 460 it is good for the price.
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