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Questions before buying parts for my homebuilt PC

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October 24, 2010 9:45:31 AM

Hey All.

I've posted on toms a few times but I haven't posted much else because I have never built my own PC and I do not have enough money yet to buy the parts but I will soon. I have been currently researching A LOT by looking on sites like www.mwave.com.au and I have found there prices are great and they have a massive range. I have also read "PC Modding for Dummies" and "Build The Ultimate Gaming PC" and magazines like "PC Powerplay". After lots of research I have come up with a PC that I think is great value for money and will suit my needs but I do have some questions later on.

CPU: AMD Phenom II x4 865 Black Edition 3.2Ghz
Motherboard: ASUS
RAM: Corsair XMS 4B DDR-3 (2x4gb) 1600mhz CL9
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 5770 1GB
Sound Card: none
Hard Drive: WD Caviar Green 500GB, SATA, 32mb cache, 7200rpm
Optical Drive: Samsung DVD-RW
Case: Thermaltake v3 Black Edition
PSU: 450w (comes with case)

Monitor: Acer 21.5" 1080p DVI-D
Mouse: Gigabyte Elegant USB
Keyboard: Gigabyte Elegant USB
Speakers: Logitech 5.1 X-530





Questions...

CPU...
Does thermal compound come with the CPU?
How much will I be able to OC my CPU with a stock cooler? (I'm not sure if I will OC or not, I'm not fussed)

Motherboard...
Will parts that use SATA I plug into SATA III and SATA II plug into SATA III ect...? (backwards compatible?)
What is eSATA?
What is AMD880G+SB850? (That is the chipset isn't it? Is it good, haha?)
Should I consider getting an mATX board with the same features as a standard ATX for less money?

RAM...
What is better... Frequency or Latency?

a) 4GB DDR-3 1600mhz 9-9-9-24 (CL9?)
OR
b) 4GB DDR-3 1333mhz 7-7-7-21 (CL7?)

Is CHEAP G.Skill RAM unreliable? Why is it cheap? I've seen 4GB of G.Skill memory for $80.00 and more G.Skill RAM with the same specifications for $100.00.

Video Card...
Will my graphics card be able to run complex particle systems on Adobe After Effects cs4? Will it run Unreal Tournament 2007?
I am not planning to play the latest games but I do want to be able to use adobe after effects, adobe photoshop, sony vegas pro and watch and edit HD videos.
Maybe I should consider a less powerful GFX card like an ATI Radeon HD 5670?

Sound Card...
Do I need a sound card? I don't think I do. I will use onboard sound. My friends Logitech 5.1 x530 speakers sound great and his PC uses onboard sound! I know onboard sound uses up system resources but surely not that much right?

Case/PSU:
The case and PSU is my worst fear. I think the case and PSU are quite expensive hence cases with PSU's included appeals to me because they are cheaper. I have read that cases that come with PSU's are unreliable but since it's Thermaltake I have chosen I can't go wrong can I?
Will 450 watts be enough power for my PC? (I am fearing it's not) Will the PSU included have enough cables to supply all of my parts with enough stable power!?
Does the Thermaltake v3 have good enough airflow and fans to keep my parts cool?


Things that I will do on my PC that will most likely require the most power will be...

-Rendering and working with complex particle systems and lighting effects in Adobe After Effects CS4 (as a hobby)
-General image editing in Adobe Photoshop CS4 (as a hobby)
-Playing Unreal Tournament 2007 and GTA San Andreas
-Editing HD 720p Videos in Sony Vegas Pro (as a hobby)
-Viewing HD 1080p videos on YouTube
-3D game creation sofware like Blender and Conitec 3D Gamestudio (as a hobby)

Surprisingly my old notebook PC that had an Intel Celeron M, 1GB of RAM and 64 or 128 MB onboard graphics could handle Adobe After Effects cs3 although I must admit, it did crash every now and then and I couldn't playback some things in the preview window. It did fail to play GTA III.

Advice and help is very much appreciated.

More about : questions buying parts homebuilt

October 24, 2010 4:43:05 PM

I'm sure someone with more experience will weigh in soon but.... here's my 2 cents

1) don't be cheap on the case and the PSU... (you have to look at the case every day, and you have to rely on your psu everyday)

Pick up an Antec 300 for case and a good quality 450+ watt power supply from corsair, antec, seasonic or something similar. dont skimp on this.

2) Pick up a 1TB samsung spinpoint f3, stay away from green drives (green drive = decreased performance)

3) mobo, cpu, and ram picks look good to me, I would consider dropping a few more bucks for an HIS 5770 Ice-Q style GPU in order to help keep your case temps down... but what you have should work fine with good use of case fans.


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October 24, 2010 6:51:44 PM

I'd say you're underspending on the PSU and HDD. If you don't wanna spend too much on case+PSU, get a HAF 912 or Antec 300, but don't skimp on the PSU. Buy Antec, Seasonic, Corsair, XFX, or PC&C.
Definitely go with the PII 955, not the 965 (which I think you meant by "AMD Phenom II x4 865 Black Edition 3.2Ghz"?).
I suggest reading up on SATA and eSATA yourself.
I also suggest getting 1333Mhz CL7 over 1600Mhz CL9, and they should cost about the same. Frequency is always a bit easier to play around with afterward, imo.
Although UT2007 doesn't require much to run smoothly, I think sticking with the 5770 would be a good idea. On second thought, I'd recommend an Nvidia card. If I'm not wrong, ATi/AMD cards don't compete on the same level in non-gaming applications.
If the cheap G.Skill RAM has good ratings, go for it.
Onboard sound is perfect for everyone but audiophiles.
A 450W PSU is sufficient, but I also suggest buying it separately (unless the case+PSU are from Antec).

EDIT: If you're not avidly anti-Intel, it might be a better idea to go with an i3 build and save yourself maybe $200-300.
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October 24, 2010 7:27:30 PM

SATA is backwards compatable.
E-sata is an external connection (like usb) but using the sata specs.
The CPU will come with paste, prob a square of it already on the heatsink.
450 W is more than enough, but most no-name 450W PSU's can't provide 450W.
I would go with a full ATX board, just better layout.
For ram, it is easier to tweak frequency than latency, but the two are related, and frequency has a larger effect on performance. When looking at RAM, check the voltage ratings. 1333 Ram at 1.5V will probably clock higher than 1600 Ram listed at 1.7V. The lower voltage the better. A 5670 or a 5770 will be a big jump from your laptop. If you have to drop down to a 5670 to afford a Quality PSU, do it. A cheap PSU that fries your computer is in fact rather expensive.
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October 27, 2010 8:36:42 AM

archer7282 said:
I'm sure someone with more experience will weigh in soon but.... here's my 2 cents

1) don't be cheap on the case and the PSU... (you have to look at the case every day, and you have to rely on your psu everyday)

Pick up an Antec 300 for case and a good quality 450+ watt power supply from corsair, antec, seasonic or something similar. dont skimp on this.

2) Pick up a 1TB samsung spinpoint f3, stay away from green drives (green drive = decreased performance)

3) mobo, cpu, and ram picks look good to me, I would consider dropping a few more bucks for an HIS 5770 Ice-Q style GPU in order to help keep your case temps down... but what you have should work fine with good use of case fans.


The specifications for the WD Caviar Green seem very good, what is it that affects performance in these green drives? The rpm is 7,200, 32mb cache, SATA II...?

What do you think of the SeaGate Barracuda? It has the same specifications of the WD Caviar Green but it has a 16mb cache instead of 32mb. I this alright? (I don't know why but I would prefer to go SeaGate over Samsung)

As for keeping the temps down for my video card, what do you think of the Sapphire Radeon HD 5770 VaporX?

I am starting to think about purchasing a Radeon HD 5670 or 5650 over a 5770. I honestly don't think I will need a video card as powerful as the 5770. I will play Unreal Tournament 2007 but not heeps and I am happy to sacrifice a bit of quality for a better fps rate. I just want to be able to watch 1080p videos smoothly, and edit 720p videos smoothly. Adobe After Effects will probably require some graphics too but I think the Radeon HD 5670 should do fine.

What do you think of the HIS Radeon HD 5670 IceQ?

Thanks for the help!
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October 27, 2010 8:55:42 AM

blackjellognomes said:
I'd say you're underspending on the PSU and HDD. If you don't wanna spend too much on case+PSU, get a HAF 912 or Antec 300, but don't skimp on the PSU. Buy Antec, Seasonic, Corsair, XFX, or PC&C.
Definitely go with the PII 955, not the 965 (which I think you meant by "AMD Phenom II x4 865 Black Edition 3.2Ghz"?).
I suggest reading up on SATA and eSATA yourself.
I also suggest getting 1333Mhz CL7 over 1600Mhz CL9, and they should cost about the same. Frequency is always a bit easier to play around with afterward, imo.
Although UT2007 doesn't require much to run smoothly, I think sticking with the 5770 would be a good idea. On second thought, I'd recommend an Nvidia card. If I'm not wrong, ATi/AMD cards don't compete on the same level in non-gaming applications.
If the cheap G.Skill RAM has good ratings, go for it.
Onboard sound is perfect for everyone but audiophiles.
A 450W PSU is sufficient, but I also suggest buying it separately (unless the case+PSU are from Antec).

EDIT: If you're not avidly anti-Intel, it might be a better idea to go with an i3 build and save yourself maybe $200-300.


Case- Okay, I will definitely consider the Antec 300.

As for the PSU, are any of these good choice
Antec 450W NEO ECO Power Supply

Corsair VX-450 450W ATX Power Supply

Thermaltake Power TR2 RX 450W PSU

What does it mean by 70% efficiency? I am sure I have read this somewhere but does it mean the power is only stable until more than 70% of the wattage is used? For example, 70% of 450 watts is about 320 watts. If the PC uses more than 320 watts does the PC become unstable?

CPU- Yeah I meant 955 (I wasn't thinking properly ;)  )

Video Card- I am not familar with any of the nvidia cards at all and thats why I am looking at ATi cards. I don't know the difference between a GT, a GTX and a GeForce. Which is the best? Which nvidia cards are equivalent to the ATi Radeon HD 5670 and the 5770?

Thanks for the advice.
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October 27, 2010 9:02:11 AM

etk said:
SATA is backwards compatable.
E-sata is an external connection (like usb) but using the sata specs.
The CPU will come with paste, prob a square of it already on the heatsink.
450 W is more than enough, but most no-name 450W PSU's can't provide 450W.
I would go with a full ATX board, just better layout.
For ram, it is easier to tweak frequency than latency, but the two are related, and frequency has a larger effect on performance. When looking at RAM, check the voltage ratings. 1333 Ram at 1.5V will probably clock higher than 1600 Ram listed at 1.7V. The lower voltage the better. A 5670 or a 5770 will be a big jump from your laptop. If you have to drop down to a 5670 to afford a Quality PSU, do it. A cheap PSU that fries your computer is in fact rather expensive.


I think I will. I don't (now that I have thought about it) think I will need a 5770. A 5670 should be sufficient enough for my needs. My laptop's integrated graphics could run after effects cs3 alright so I probably don't need very powerful graphics. I am thinking of getting the HIS Radeon HD 5670 IceQ.
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October 27, 2010 10:09:26 AM

Unisykolist said:
Case- Okay, I will definitely consider the Antec 300.

As for the PSU, are any of these good choice
Antec 450W NEO ECO Power Supply

Corsair VX-450 450W ATX Power Supply

Thermaltake Power TR2 RX 450W PSU

What does it mean by 70% efficiency? I am sure I have read this somewhere but does it mean the power is only stable until more than 70% of the wattage is used? For example, 70% of 450 watts is about 320 watts. If the PC uses more than 320 watts does the PC become unstable?

CPU- Yeah I meant 955 (I wasn't thinking properly ;)  )

Video Card- I am not familar with any of the nvidia cards at all and thats why I am looking at ATi cards. I don't know the difference between a GT, a GTX and a GeForce. Which is the best? Which nvidia cards are equivalent to the ATi Radeon HD 5670 and the 5770?

Thanks for the advice.

Those are all good PSUs, though I'd suggest the Antec and Corsair PSUs over that Thermaltake.

PSU efficiency is basically (power output)/(power input), so if you're computer is using 300W but is drawing 400W, then it's 75% efficient. The way you're thinking about it isn't wrong, but it's not necessarily true in all cases.

For about the same price, you can get an HD 4850 or GTS 250, both of which destroy the 5670 in terms of pure performance. The downside is that you lose DX11, Eyefinity, and HD audio bitstreaming. Honestly though, the 5670 can't really handle DX11 or Eyefinity in gaming (the main instance when you'd want them), so they're not great incentives.
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October 29, 2010 3:01:04 AM

Unisykolist said:
The specifications for the WD Caviar Green seem very good, what is it that affects performance in these green drives? The rpm is 7,200, 32mb cache, SATA II...?

What do you think of the SeaGate Barracuda? It has the same specifications of the WD Caviar Green but it has a 16mb cache instead of 32mb. I this alright? (I don't know why but I would prefer to go SeaGate over Samsung)

As for keeping the temps down for my video card, what do you think of the Sapphire Radeon HD 5770 VaporX?

I am starting to think about purchasing a Radeon HD 5670 or 5650 over a 5770. I honestly don't think I will need a video card as powerful as the 5770. I will play Unreal Tournament 2007 but not heeps and I am happy to sacrifice a bit of quality for a better fps rate. I just want to be able to watch 1080p videos smoothly, and edit 720p videos smoothly. Adobe After Effects will probably require some graphics too but I think the Radeon HD 5670 should do fine.

What do you think of the HIS Radeon HD 5670 IceQ?

Thanks for the help!


The seagate barracuda should work well.

I would choose the corsair out of those 3 power supplies, but any of them is acceptable.

and based on your description of what you do with your pc, i dont think you will be dissapointed with the 5670 IceQ


Have a look at http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/graphics-card-gefor...


Have fun with your new build, It sounds like its going to be a close match for the one I just put together for my Dad, I think you'll like it.. :wahoo: 

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