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First Build, looking for guidance...

Last response: in Systems
November 4, 2010 6:58:16 PM

Greetings everyone. I've been lurking for some time here and at PC Stats, reading for a solid 2-3 hrs. a night for the past two-three weeks. At this point, I need a heat sink for my head! All the information is becoming overload at this point and what was once somewhat clear in my mind is now a garbled mess. Without further delay, let me get to the point. Many thanks in advance for every individuals time and consideration.

Approximate Purchase Date: two- three weeks depending on feedback, comfort level
Budget Range: $500-625
System Usage from Most to Least Important: typical- internet, gaming, home-entertainment, MS Office
Parts Not Required: keyboard, monitor, mouse, speakers
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: NewEgg
Country of Origin: US
Overclocking: Maybe
SLI or Crossfire: Maybe
Monitor Resolution: ??? Vizio LCD TV

Additional Comments:
My vision for this build is something akin to low-tech, user friendly, value driven, media-center/light gamer.
First and foremost, this is my first build. I'm a bit overwhelmed by the challenge at the moment but I believe I can do it. User friendliness when configuring/installing components is top priority. If price is higher for user friendly when setting up and configuring hardware, then I'll pay the price. Also, reliability/quality is a close 2nd. If I manage to fuble through everything and get it running with little to few problems, then I might consider trying to OC and attempt crossfire. We'll see. After the build I want to be confident in my ability to build my own system and the low budget range is an attempt to keep me honest/failsafe. If I mess up and can't get things to work, then I know a local computer guy who can bail me out and get things running at a pretty fair hourly price.

In gaming and technology, I tend to lag everything by 2 yrs. I buy older PC games on discount for $10-$15. So when I do game, it's not bleeding edge stuff. I just like my technology older because in reality, I don't need the latest and greatest. I tend to play flight simulators (old ones like IL-2 1946) and RTS war games.

I'm going to try to use my TV as a monitor. I'm not sure this is the ideal way to go or even feasible for the first boot so please comment if I'm out of bounds here.

I'm not married to any of these parts. From my research, they appear to be amiable performers with good reviews. Again they are not even near the best but I'm fine with that. If this build goes reasonably well, I will build a better system in one-two years. I just don't want to sink $1,000-1,500 in something that I cannot guarantee will work and another $120-300 to take it to someone else to straighten out my mess.


PCU- AMD Athlon II X3 440 Rana 3.0GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor

MOBO- ASUS M4A785TD-M EVO AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
(Micro ATX, sure it's a smaller MOBO, but what are the downsides I may be missing from a larger board? Possible installation issues since a compact design? Is higher heat associated with smaller boards since they are more compact?)

RAM- G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL
(Is this RAM compatible with my MOBO? It says it is compatible with AM3 chipset?)

GPU- SAPPHIRE 100253HDMI Radeon HD 4650 512MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Low Profile Ready Video Card
(I know this is a pretty lame GPU but I'm ok with that. Resolution will be in the 1400/1600 range. Can I crossfire with this and the above MOBO? Is says so but just making sure. Also consider logistical placement of MOBO, GPU, case. I'm not sure if placement of hardware will be issue)

Hard drive- Not sure, I think I want a retail version because it should include installation instruactions and literature. I'm not sure I'm comfortable with just a bare drive but I've have read that installing HDs are pretty simple. Guidance defenitely needed here. Was considering a WD Caviar Black 500GB.

PSU- SeaSonic M12II 620 Bronze 620W ATX12V V2.3 / EPS 12V V2.91 SLI Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC
(Could I go cheaper here? Reliability is key for me here)

CASE- COOLER MASTER RC-692-KKN3 CM690 II Basic Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
(I know I could go cheaper here but I want to make sure everything 'fits', this seemed pretty roomy for a mid-ATX)

OS- Windows 7

Artic Silver- which kind?

Grand Total- $560-610 (depending on HD choice)

That's about it. Sorry for the short novel. Wanted to make sure I addressed all my questions and provided some context. Again, open to any changes or throwing my idea out the window all-together. As you can see I'm a n00b-tuber.

More about : build guidance

November 4, 2010 7:06:35 PM

Hey good job on picking your parts so far. For one you will not need to buy the artic silver thermal grease as the processor you purchase should some with it pre-applied (as well comes with it's own heat-sink), all you have to do is stick in the processor into the motherboard. You are correct the bare hard drive is easy to install; the hard-drive just gets screwed to the case, plug in the SATA to your motherboard, and power it from your power supply unit.

Other than that those parts look good. Other than that, do not hesitate to ask.
November 4, 2010 7:14:05 PM

Wow, quick reply, thanks Bloody.

I did forget another detail...

CD/DVD- ASUS Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
(Again this is bulk, should I be going retail? I guess install is similar to a HD?)

Grand Total is updated to $580-630
November 5, 2010 1:31:47 PM

Sorry couldn't reply until now haha, but yeah that will work just fine (and instals similar to the HD). Have fun building!