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Need advice on a $400 AMD build

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December 1, 2010 6:51:59 PM

I want build a mid level media pc in this month, but it has been a long time since I build pc by myself, so I would like to hear your advice on my choices. I ordered the monitor first, so I want to start order other stuff when the monitor is on the way. I have a Microcenter nearby.

The things I have ordered or determined:

Monitor: Viewsonic VX2250wm 22", 1920x1080, no HDMI, have dvi, vga ports. $151
CPU: AMD Athlon II X4 640, $96 at microcenter

The choice I need to make:
Board: microcenter have this bundle deal, msi 785GM-P45 AM3 free after rebate. I noticed the msi is relative new and there is less review and user reports.
pros and cons I found on this board:

pros: cheap. Other $10 "upgrade" options is actually older or cheaper.
4 RAM slots
cons: no dvi port, I need to buy a hdmi-dvi adapter for the monitor. What kind of adapter do I need? Other than male/female, is there any other specification I need to notice?
ddr3, which may make the RAM a little bit more expensive.
AM3, so I need to buy 2 RAM stick at the same time? I was planning to get a single 4G RAM. but 2gx2 is ok too since it have 4 slots.

If there is a option with AM2+, DDR2, actually I'll prefer that one because the RAM could be cheaper. I checked the other boards in microcenter bundle deals, how about the $10 more Gigabyte GA-MA78LM-S2H Socket AM2+ 760G mATX, is it good compare to the msi one?
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

This one have dvi, but only have 2 RAM slots, so if I want 4g and have some space for future, I need to buy single stick, which is quite expensive. I only found a DDR3 4g stick at $55.

which one is better? Other than the dvi, RAM slots, DDR2 difference, which can be overcome, how about the board itself?

My rough choice on other parts, didn't research much
RAM: I want 4g. For DDR3 this one is cheap, 4g at $49
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

HDD: samsung spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7,200 RPM , $59
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
My first concern about hard drive is reliability, I don't want lose data after several years. Higher speed is good but not as important as reliability for me. The capacity is not big deal too, 500G is enough for me, even 320 G can do. The samsung one is just a quick search, do you have any suggestion?

Case: Several months ago when I watched the deals, there were deals for Antec three hundred at $30, maybe there isn't deal as good in near future?
Last time when I checked, I looked at
NZXT M59 - 001BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower
Thermaltake V3
PowerSpec TX-381 in micro center
Cooler Master Elite 341
Do you have any suggestion/deals?

PSU: Last time I looked at
Antec NEO ECO 620C 620W
Thermaltake TR2 W0388RU 600W
Corsair CMPSU-400CX 400W Psu
I'll just use onboard graphics at first, so 400W should be enough for me. Of course if there is a deal for 600W it's good too.

DVD: I didn't include it in my build, I think i can install windows with flash drive? I have a 8G flash.


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a b C Monitor
December 1, 2010 7:07:12 PM
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With that MicroCenter bundled deal... The 785GM-P45 motherboard is just fine. I have two friends that did that build and they are both using HDMI audio / video and unlocked cores. If you can't exchange your monitor with one that had HDMI, then yes... get an adapter. This board also has 4 mem slots making a future upgrade easy.

Do not use DDR2 as a reason to buy a MB. DDR3 is just as cheap... Stick with $50 and under for a 4GB kit.

That Samsung HD is fine. Very popular...

PSU => Look for deals with a 650w or larger for $40ish.

DVD => ...any for $20. Blu-ray readers for $40ish.

a b C Monitor
December 1, 2010 7:11:49 PM

DDR3 is now cheaper than DDR2, don't get DDR2.

what are the other options besides the 785?
Related resources
December 1, 2010 7:15:40 PM

Thanks!
Is the $49 4g DDR3 ram I found good? I'm a little afraid it's some "value" line since it is so cheap. Or should I go with a 2gx2 kit by name brand?

sadams04 said:
With that MicroCenter bundled deal... The 785GM-P45 motherboard is just fine. I have two friends that did that build and they are both using HDMI audio / video and unlocked cores. If you can't exchange your monitor with one that had HDMI, then yes... get an adapter. This board also has 4 mem slots making a future upgrade easy.

Do not use DDR2 as a reason to buy a MB. DDR3 is just as cheap... Stick with $50 and under for a 4GB kit.

That Samsung HD is fine. Very popular...

PSU => Look for deals with a 650w or larger for $40ish.

DVD => ...any for $20. Blu-ray readers for $40ish.

December 1, 2010 7:37:36 PM

I think I need to use a pair of RAM for the AM3 board, right? Then I can't chose the OCZ one because it is a single stick 4g.

When I searched the ram by microcenter filters (DDR3, 4g(2x2)), I didn't see the one you gave. The picture said A-data, but the description didn't say anything about the brand, actually it's called "Microcenter 4g"... So is it a generic brand? Of course I can always check it when I picked up, just curious.

sadams04 said:
That OCZ memory is fine. Timings of 9-9-9-20 are "acceptable" for your budget. Or they have ADATA for the same price without a rebate that has the same timings. One friend used this memory with no issues...
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

@ScrewySqrl - FYI
http://www.microcenter.com/specials/promotions/AMDbundl...

a b C Monitor
December 1, 2010 8:21:40 PM

of the choices, the MSI 785 is probly the best option. Will work great with any single GPU, has SATA 2 and USB 2 options.
December 1, 2010 8:25:45 PM

Great!
So the board, RAM, HD are done.
What about case and PSU?
There used to be $30 deal for some good case, $20 for PSU, but I didn't find that kind of deal now.
a b C Monitor
December 1, 2010 8:48:12 PM

well, I'd suggest the Sea Sonic S12II 520W PSU. Its 80+ Bronze, from the best company out there. I'd get it at Newegg where its $59.99
December 2, 2010 12:00:26 PM

god no... never get a sunbeam... thats at max a 250 watt psu and a crappy one at that.

sunbeam puts 80 plus stickers when they apply for the cert then swap thier design a slight bit to apply for new 80 plus cert but its a lie they are not efficient at all

http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=...

sea sonic woudl be a good match but there's a reason sunbeams are a "deal" people who uprate them on newegg are peopel who use underpowered systems and don't know better.. they put a 600 watt psu in a computer thats got all underpowered components and since it works they assume its great when they are only pushing a few hundred watts... don't be one of these people
a b C Monitor
December 2, 2010 12:05:21 PM

I'll add my voice to the chorus of 'NO!' on sunbeam.

buy only from these brands:
Sea Sonic, Antec, Corsair, Silverstone, Cooler Master, OCZ, Thermaltake, XFX, Xigmatek

And you won't go wrong
December 2, 2010 12:24:55 PM

there's actually quite a few good psu brands all sqrl's are good.

i'd add nzxt to the list as well but yea one of these brands and you'll likely get years out of it with a good warenty, if you get a cheap psu thinking you are gonna save money well you won't save anythign when it overvolts and the protection doesn't kick in thus frying your whole system

side nto i only use corsair psus in my own builds and my friends builds
December 2, 2010 1:07:54 PM

OK, I added these items in the shopping cart, any suggestion? Is there possible compatibility problem?

AMD Athlon II X4 640 3.0GHz Boxed Processor
MSI 785GM-P45 AM3 785G mATX Motherboard

Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7,20

I looked at the newegg review on the Samsung one, 9% one star review, lots of reliability problem reported. I knew this number doesn't means much, but reliability is much more important than the speed for me -- I had 2 Hard drive failed before, lots of trouble.

This one have slight less one star review (6%, 7%), and 5 years warranty.

OCZ Technology Gold Series XTC Cooler 4GB DDR3-133, 2g x2 kits

QVS 12" SATA Internal Data Cable - UV Red

I think the oem hard drive package from microcenter don't have the sata cable, right? I don't know if the case have sata cable. Do I need this one?

Thermaltake TR2 500W ATX 12V Power Supply

Without additional graphics card, I believe this one is enough?

Thermaltake V3 Black Edition ATX Mid Tower Case

I think I also need a hdmi-dvi cable, I ordered from amazon. Before it arrive, I can use the vga cable.
a b C Monitor
December 2, 2010 2:34:58 PM

motherboard should come with 2 SATA cables.

be careful with the OCZ memory, used to be fantastically good, but there have been a higher incidence of failure in their RAM in the last year or so.

If you haven't already purchased it, look into G.Skill or Mushkin instead. if you have, go ahead and give it as shot
December 2, 2010 3:14:14 PM

Thanks, I'll ask them about cable when I pick up the order. The webpage of the board didn't mention the cables.

I reserved these items, but I can always change some of them before I pick up.

Other than OCZ, I found G.skill have pretty good reviews in newegg, and they are not expensive compare to OCZ. However if I order from newegg, I'll have to wait for the package, while all the other stuff was sitting there, and there are some rebates involved so I'd like to test the system as soon as possible.

I found this one in micro center
Patriot
Viper II Sector 5 Series PVV34G1600LLKB

http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

It's more expensive than newegg, involves rebates, but maybe my only choice in micro center.
December 2, 2010 3:49:16 PM

Thanks!
I will not overclock, and don't need DDR3-1600. The only reason I chose the Patriot over Crucial is it is cheaper after rebates :) 
December 2, 2010 4:03:18 PM

i'd say corsair and kingston memory are on top gskill has a reputation for being more reliable than ocz btu ocz in general is also good, jsut more reported instances of doa.. hear they rma fast though when you have issues
a b C Monitor
December 2, 2010 5:09:28 PM

get the 1333, not the 1066
December 7, 2010 12:57:57 PM

I just set up the machine, looks no problems.
But I can't add my old 120G IDE drive...
I installed the WD 640 SATA on SATA1, and set BIOS onboard ATA chip parameter RAID as SATA (I don't know why it's called RAID, just want to make sure the drive works in SATA mode, and that's the only place I can find related to SATA).
When I added the old Seagate 120G to IDE 1, the board can only detect any drive. But if I go into the IDE1 menu, there is the 120G drive. However I can't see the 640G SATA drive.

I tried the jumper on 120G drive as master, slave, have similar results.

The google search results involved more detailed ATA controller mode settings, but I can't find them in the MSI-785gm P45 board.


OK, I tried start the win7, the system can boot, and found the old drive. But there are some errors on the old drive, so I have to forget it...
a b C Monitor
December 7, 2010 1:18:29 PM

try setting the old 120GB up as an external drive.
December 8, 2010 11:07:53 PM

Best answer selected by dracodoc.
a b C Monitor
December 9, 2010 11:57:01 AM

This topic has been closed by Maziar
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