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My first build:

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December 1, 2010 10:06:54 PM

Major overhall of my original post with new knowledge.

First, to let you know, I am Canadian, so extra cost, lower selection etc.

This build is primarily goiing to be for day to day mucking about, but I want to be able to run a dual monitor set-up with a Blu-Ray on one screen, web browser on the other, and probably a few background apps in the background (downloads, whatever). I would also like to play some games like Diablo II and III (when it comes out) at good settings.

With these requirements in mind, and the fact that I've never built a computer before, I am unlikely to OC, or CF, but the option isn't bad.

I currently have an external hard-drive in an enclosure, which I may put inside the case. I may rip the hdd out of my laptop and install it as well, and if I've got the budget I will be buying a 1TB drive as well.

Probably buying as many of my parts from Canada Computers as I can pick the parts up on location rather than paying for shipping and having to wait. Also making purchases during boxing day/year end sales.

Parts I'm pretty much set on:

RAM: G.Skill RipJaws 4GB (2x 2) ($50)
CPU: AMD Athlon II x4 640 ($105)
Optical Drive: BD-ROM/DVD RW: Samsung SH-B123 ($95)
HDD: 1Tb Hitachi (0F10383) ($55)
Fan controller: NZXT Sentry 2 ($37, possible present from gf) (I know I don't neccessarily need one, but with forner overheat issues, I like the idea)
OS: free windows 7 64 bit from University.
Case: I have an old ATX case, but hoping to have the budget for a CM Scout case. (not avail. at CC, NewEgg.ca: $107)

GPU: Debating between these 2:

Sapphire Radeon HD5770 1GB ($160)
EVGA GTS 450 FPB 1024 MB ($105)

I was set on the HD5770, but if the GTS 450 will work, and it should fulfill my requirements, then I should be able to take the money saved towards other parts of the build (case, monitor, etc).

Mobo's on the short list atm:

$56 BIOSTAR A770E3* (CC)
$77 ASRock M3A770DE (supports CF)
$85 Biostar TA790GXE*
$105 Asus M4A79XTD EVO (suports CF) (CC)
$115 Asus M4A88TD-V EVO (supports CF, USB 3.0) (CC)

*I've been told Biostar is good, and I've been told they are bad. Feel free to add your .02

PSU: Looking for cheap and safe suggestions, not expecting to need even 500W for this setup, but plan on going 450W or more to be safe. Reasonable? PSU in the old case is 300W, so I doubt it would be enough.

Issues I see so far:

My current Acer monitor only has a VGA connector. The two GPU's I've selected have 2xDVI, HDMI, and the HD5770 has a DisplayPort (never even heard of this connector).
Solutions:
1) Find a mobo with on baord graghics and buy a new monitor now, save up for video card later?
2) Buy the GPU, and get a DVI or HDMI to VGA converter to run the current monitor and save for a new monitor later.
3) Buy the GPU and connect it to my 32" 720p tv to create a massive media center with my new pc, tv, PS3, and stereo (2 towers with 15" subs) all in one place. This could get cramped as I am a student and may not always have a large bedroom. Not to mention it all acting as a space heater.

More about : build

December 1, 2010 11:12:46 PM

Welcome, Newcomer. First things first, what kind of case are you using. It is important to know what Form Factor (ATX, ITX,BTX, etc) you are using. This makes suggesting a mobo a lot easier.
December 2, 2010 3:20:30 AM

It appears to be an ATX.
Related resources
December 2, 2010 4:19:11 PM

Not right now, but maybe at some point. If it saves me a decent amount of money on the motherboard right now, then assume no. If I can have the future capability for not much more, then suggest it.
December 5, 2010 4:02:19 AM

Alright, so I have amassed a number of motherboard options now, but I don't really know what I'm looking for other than correct socket type, dual channel ram, sufficient power draw*, and possibly crossfire support**.

* I'm having trouble getting a clear read on this. Several of the motherboards are supposed to support 140W power draw, and state that they support AMD Athlon II x4 processors, and the AMD site states a maximum Thermal Design Power of 95W. However the processor charts on this site state a maximum SYSTEM power draw of 166W for this processor.

**When a board says it suports crossfire, does that mean that all you need to activate it is the appropriate software/driver and a second video card, or do you need to make sure it has some form of connector cable or something?

Also, a friend was commenting earlier that when looking at motherboards I should be looking at their bus speeds. How do I know how much I need, and at what point it's not worth paying for as the rest of the system would not be able to take advantage of it?
December 5, 2010 4:50:00 AM

Ironically, after a bit more searching, they all appear to have the same bus speed. 2600Mhz / 5.2 Mt/s
December 6, 2010 3:09:41 AM

Why no Biostar? I'd been told they were a reputable company...
December 6, 2010 4:08:15 AM

Well the top 2 on my list are the ASRock and the ASUS M4A88TD-V EVO anyway.
Thanks
December 6, 2010 11:40:19 PM

John_Doe823 said:
Alright, so I have amassed a number of motherboard options now, but I don't really know what I'm looking for other than correct socket type, dual channel ram, sufficient power draw*, and possibly crossfire support**.

* I'm having trouble getting a clear read on this. Several of the motherboards are supposed to support 140W power draw, and state that they support AMD Athlon II x4 processors, and the AMD site states a maximum Thermal Design Power of 95W. However the processor charts on this site state a maximum SYSTEM power draw of 166W for this processor.

**When a board says it suports crossfire, does that mean that all you need to activate it is the appropriate software/driver and a second video card, or do you need to make sure it has some form of connector cable or something?

Also, a friend was commenting earlier that when looking at motherboards I should be looking at their bus speeds. How do I know how much I need, and at what point it's not worth paying for as the rest of the system would not be able to take advantage of it?

December 7, 2010 12:06:29 AM

I'm assuming you meant to write something in there T_T...
December 7, 2010 12:53:46 AM

yes, i did. sorry, that's what I get for using a shitty computer to reply on.

"* I'm having trouble getting a clear read on this. Several of the motherboards are supposed to support 140W power draw, and state that they support AMD Athlon II x4 processors, and the AMD site states a maximum Thermal Design Power of 95W. However the processor charts on this site state a maximum SYSTEM power draw of 166W for this processor. "

The mobos support up to 140W because there are several different CPU support, with different peak wattage. For example, the Phenom II X4 955 has a peak wattage of 95, whereas the Phenom II X4 965 has 125W.


"**When a board says it suports crossfire, does that mean that all you need to activate it is the appropriate software/driver and a second video card, or do you need to make sure it has some form of connector cable or something? "

When using multiple GPUs (video cards), you must connect them together using a Flex Connector. Once connected, you can turn on your system and configure them.

Edit: picture wasn't displaying. Corrected it.


You could also install a dual GPU, like the 5970. The official implementations of dual-GPU graphics cards work in the same fashion. Two GPUs are placed on two separate printed circuit boards (PCBs), with their own power circuitry and memory. Both boards have slim coolers, cooling the GPU and memory
December 9, 2010 5:59:18 PM

Bump for more comments on part selection.
December 13, 2010 3:17:15 AM

So I was searching through Newegg.ca and found an Asus GTS450 1 gb for cheaper than the Sapphire 5770. I took a look at the comparison charts, and there were only gts 460's. Can anyone give me some information on a comparison?
December 17, 2010 6:31:39 PM

Overhauled original post. Please review and comment.
December 25, 2010 3:35:36 PM

Well as it turns out I got a fully built computer for christmas, rather than a budget to select my own parts. Not so bad though, here are the parts that were selected:

CPU: i5-760
GPU: Biostar hd5770 (last years model I believe)
RAM: Mushkin 2x2GB DDR3 1333MHz
PSU: Orion 585W
MoBo: Biostar H55
HDD: Seagate 500GB
DVD: LG DVD Writer
Case: Liata 3020

Assuming the i5 750 is similar in performance to the i5 760, then this cpu blows the x4 640 I had chosen out of the water. Mobo seems to be sort of minimalist so it may be the first thing to go when the time comes to upgrade. Same amount of ram I was planning, though a different brand. HDD is smaller, but still sizeable.

There's 2 small disappointments. It doesn't have a Blu-Ray drive, and i didn't get to build it myself (cable management inside isn't very nice).

The big disappointment however is the case. nevermind the lack of leds other than the cheap Power switch surround, or the lack of a side window and a not all black interior; I can live with that. The case has no fans! My girlfriend got me a fan controller for christmas, before I got the computer, but at the moment it is just acting as a temp sensor (sitting between 36 and 40 celsius, we'll see how much it increases once I start playing videos, adn such, but I have some fans lying around that I can install)

All-in-all I think it's a pretty good setup.
!