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New computer - first time builder - compatibility question

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September 26, 2010 8:26:44 PM

Hey everyone, I'm totally new to building a computer so thanks in advance for all the help.

The purpose of this computer is to play games (Starcraft II) and work with some light computational work (MATLAB, STATA, VBA, college stuff).

Here's what I've put together:

Hard drive:
Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Motherboard:
ASUS M4A785-M AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video Card:
SAPPHIRE 100283L Radeon HD 5770 (Juniper XT) 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Power Supply:
OCZ Fatal1ty OCZ550FTY 550W ATX12V v2.2 / EPS12V SLI Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory:
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU/Processor:
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ965FBGMBOX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case:
guardian 921RB
http://www.nzxt.com/new/products/crafted_series/guardia...
with SPECS: 400 WATT PS2 ATX 12V ( OPTIONAL ), MOTHERBOARDS: ATX, MICRO-ATX, BABY AT

I'm most worried about the Case and if it's compatible with the stuff I've got. But I'm sure I'm missing something. I've already picked out a monitor, a keyboard, and a mouse. I'm not sure if I'll need to have a DVD drive yet, but if that's super necessary than I'll grab one. I'm not super well off, and I've been saving up in college for something that'll be good. In other words, I'm sort of price inflexible, but we have some wiggle room.

Thank you all for your help, the links are provided for clarity. I appreciate all the tips.
a b B Homebuilt system
September 26, 2010 8:35:22 PM

You will certainly need a DVD drive if you intend on installing any software on your PC. Also games look for their install DVD when you go to play them and so you will need that drive to have the disk ready to go. As long as your Case is ATX compatible then it will be good to go. Having looked at the one on your link it looks like its designed for the job.
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September 26, 2010 8:42:04 PM

Oh right, good call. I have the Windows 7 Disc ready to go too.

I guess I'll roll with this:
LITE-ON Black 18X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA DVD-ROM Drive Model iHDS118-04 - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

But the motherboard, graphics card, and PSU all work together right? Will the PSU be able to power this computer? Also, could you clarify what "400 WATT PS2" means for the case? It's on as a specification.
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 26, 2010 8:47:21 PM

Couple of things for you to consider:

You could save $20 by dropping the Phenom II x4 965 to the 955. The only difference between these two is a one-point change in multiplier. Since both are unlocked processors, you would simply go into BIOS and raise the 955's multiplier by one and you'd have a 965.

HDD: The 640 GB Caviar Black is not as fast as the Samsung Spinpoint F3 500 GB or 1 TB drives. The Samsungs use 500 GB platters whereas the Caviar Black 640 uses 320 GB platters. More platter density means more speed.

Case: Yes, it will be compatible, but I don't think that's the best case for the price. It's $70 + $17 shipping. A much better case in terms of cooling and features would be this one from Cooler Master:

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

The HAF 922 will allow you to add bigger fans and more of them. It has cable-routing features that I'm not sure the NZXT has. It's $90 with free shipping, so it's effectively the same price as well.

RAM: This RAM is only $3 more and has much better latency at the same voltage as the ones you have picked. Might as well

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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September 26, 2010 8:48:13 PM

Thanks for the combo sp12! Looks like it's $25 dollars above what I had going on, but I bet it's a worthwhile upgrade.

I'm so close to pulling the trigger on this entire purchase. I'm so excited. Any other tips/comments?

EDIT: mortonww, awesome points! If I save $20 off of the phenom II and then do the upgrades that you recommended with the Samsung Spinpoint I'm dead even.

This forum is so helpful.
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September 26, 2010 9:52:26 PM

mortonww, you rock! Thanks again. You are so awesome. Thanks thanks thanks!

Edit: The case you picked out is probably better, but the NZXT case looks so cool! I wonder what other people think about the two cases.
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September 28, 2010 1:31:19 PM

Hey, quick question:

I've changed the video card to the:

GTX 460
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Will this card work with my motherboard?
ASUS M4A785-M AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'll still be using the AMD Phenom II processor. I'm not sure if this video card will work with my build though.

Oh I've also changed my PSU to:
Corsair CMPSU-650TX 650 Watt
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

EDIT: I just did a search through the forums and it seems to me that you can pair up an nvidia card with an AMD motherboard, but that you can't run two nvidia cards on an AMD motherboard. Is this the general idea?
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a b B Homebuilt system
September 28, 2010 4:27:00 PM

Yes, that's correct. Unless you find an AMD board with an nForce chipset. There aren't many and they seem to be of fiddling quality. I'm on a phone right now, will post more later.
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September 28, 2010 4:40:05 PM

As long as we're on this subject.

Is the only compatibility question between:

1. the motherboard and the graphics card
2. the motherboard and the CPU

Or are there also compatibility problems between the motherboard and the power supply, etc?

Also, I guess all compatibility problems must involve the motherboard?

This is all so interesting! I wonder how the market evolved into this.
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October 2, 2010 12:41:48 AM

So I just got my stuff in the mail and found out that my RAM is DDR3 and my motherboard only accepts DDR2. I had no idea of this before, so it kind of sucks that no one caught that.

Oh well. There's nothing I can do except order a DDR2, right?

I hope there aren't any more surprises waiting for me.
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