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Update - First build, tentative specs

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December 15, 2010 2:44:32 AM

So this is what I've got so far:

AMD Phenom II X2 560 Black Edition Callisto 3.3GHz Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core Desktop Processor HDZ560WFGMBOX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6819103887

GIGABYTE GA-880GA-UD3H AM3 AMD 880G SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard [great reviews of onboard video card]
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813128444

Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6822136073

Two PSU choices:

CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 ... [Instant discount + rebate make it tempting, even if it's overkill for my current system specs]
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6817139005

CORSAIR Builder Series CMPSU-600CX 600W ATX12V v2.3 Active PFC Power Supply [Will likely work well and saves me a bit]
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6817139019

Cooler Master Elite 310 ATX, MATX Mid Tower Case with Window RC-310-SWN1-GP (Black/Silver)
http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Window-RC-310-SWN1-... [Free shipping!]

I'll reiterate: I've never built a computer, I don't game, and I run Linux (Ubuntu 10.04). I want video to stream without lag, and I want speed for everyday tasks. I'm trying to build a computer that will last a while with room to upgrade components (rather than a new computer being the upgrade). So I guess I'm walking the line between budget and quality--I've tried to toe it closely. :p 

This will cost about $450 before rebates and shipping, though I figure those will cancel one another out in the end. I would appreciate advice based on my chosen components compatibility, quality, and longevity. If I've missed something, let me know that too. I think I could save a bit on my PSU if I want, for example, and if necessary upgrade later. That kind of thing. If you think another product will work better, be sure to let me know how it will work better for me. We all use our computers differently, after all.

I very much appreciate your patience and your responses! Thank you!

More about : update build tentative specs

December 15, 2010 6:00:52 PM

CPU+MOBO: AMD Phenom II X4 955 B.E 3.2GHz + GIGABYTE GA-880GA-UD3H AM3 AMD 880G HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 (223$)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1333 (49$)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
HDD: SAMSUNG F3 1TB 7200RPM SATA II (54$)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
PSU: Antec earthwatts EA430 430W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.0 80 PLUS (39$)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CASE: NZXT GAMMA Classic Series (39$)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

TOTAL: 419$
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 15, 2010 7:47:23 PM

+1.
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December 16, 2010 3:58:22 AM

Thank you for the responses. =) I have taken what you've said into consideration and have a few follow up questions/comments.

First,I'm glad I managed to pick out a good motherboard. :bounce: 

The Phenom II x4 at 3.2 GHz sounds pretty spectacular. Any reason why I should or shouldn't consider the more economical Athlon II x4 at 3.1 GHz? It's a little less money and from what I can tell only lacks the L3 cache, which okay, I honestly don't understand enough to judge whether or not I should want one of those. I'm only now beginning to embrace my inner nerd. :D 

Athlon II x4:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I considered that ram and for some reason went with the Kingston; not sure why. Glad to know it's good stuff, since it saves me a few bucks.

While waiting for some feedback I did some reading about hard drives, and was considering getting a Samsung over the Western Digital. My only concern with 1TB is the high percentage of reported failures on Newegg alone. I'd at least like to think I'm not setting myself up for disappointment on that front. I'm not sure how I could ever use the 500 GB I was considering. So if you think it's necessary, why?

Regarding the PSU, I agree that my suggestions were overkill. So let's compromise... what do you think of this one? Will it be fine to support a quad core if I go that route? I don't intend to overclock or anything.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I completely agree--the case you suggested is a much better value for the money, even if it looks a little different than I'm used to. Cooling capacity and cable management are great selling points.

Again, thank you all so much for taking the time to read and respond to these pleas from a novice. Looking forward to hearing from you all again! ;) 


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a b B Homebuilt system
December 16, 2010 4:12:55 AM

If this is going to be just a general computing PC, I'd go with this PSU:

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

It's made by, in my opinion, the best in the industry. Not a ton of juice, but plenty for a basic system.

If you're just streaming some video and web surfing, I think you'd be fine with the Athlon. The Phenom is obviously a bit faster, but you'll see no difference with the Athlon in what you're doing.
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December 16, 2010 12:41:20 PM

@Lorelai27

If u can afford X4 955 then y would u opt for a lower CPU, agree ur needs aren't much so u will even be fine with a 2 core CPU but as you already said in ur first post you want a system to last long and dats exactly wat X4 955 will do. More heavy computing will be required as time progress and 955 will be able to handle them as you can speed it up more by overclocking it rather then buying another CPU again in near future.

About the HDD, no company makes a solid enough drive to predict whether it will die on you or not. Since Samsung F3 is better in performance and the 1TB price has recently been dropped so i suggest to get it.

The 500W PSU u listed will be better for future as it can handle 6850 range GPU and other upgrades.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 16, 2010 2:02:36 PM

I'm going to have to respectfully disagree. The 955 is a nice chip, but we're not trying to make a real workhorse here, we're trying to get a balance. In that regards, the 955 is going to be superseded by Bulldozer shortly here, so it wouldn't make sense to get either if top-of-the-line is the goal.

He didn't mention a GPU, so I figured he was going to rely on the 880's onboard, which does quite a bit more than the onboard of 2005 does.
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December 16, 2010 2:51:18 PM

mianmars said:
@Lorelai27

If u can afford X4 955 then y would u opt for a lower CPU, agree ur needs aren't much so u will even be fine with a 2 core CPU but as you already said in ur first post you want a system to last long and dats exactly wat X4 955 will do. More heavy computing will be required as time progress and 955 will be able to handle them as you can speed it up more by overclocking it rather then buying another CPU again in near future.

About the HDD, no company makes a solid enough drive to predict whether it will die on you or not. Since Samsung F3 is better in performance and the 1TB price has recently been dropped so i suggest to get it.

The 500W PSU u listed will be better for future as it can handle 6850 range GPU and other upgrades.


I can afford the the Phenom II x4... kind of. I'm trying to toe the line between budget and quality, where I make concessions in certain areas to save a few dollars and spend a bit more in other areas, based on my needs, but also trying to predict how those needs will grow and change with the technology. The Phenom runs at 3.2 GHz and the Athlon I mentioned earlier at 3.1 GHz, so they seem pretty close speed-wise, with the only notable difference being the L3 cache. Opinions on that? It's kind of over my head. I skimmed the article Tom's Hardware did on the subject, but it didn't clear anything up for me really.

Thanks for info on the HDD--you think Samsung is the more reliable of Western Digital, Seagate, and Samsung? They are all roughly within the same price range. I know that all the brands I looked at had iffy success rates, but I figure if this old Dell I'm running can stay alive for 5+ years, then I'd hope my new set-up could too. :??: 

I agree about the PSU. 500W for only $5 more than the 430W originally suggested seems like it will last longer.

Thank you!
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December 16, 2010 2:57:03 PM

jack_attack said:
I'm going to have to respectfully disagree. The 955 is a nice chip, but we're not trying to make a real workhorse here, we're trying to get a balance. In that regards, the 955 is going to be superseded by Bulldozer shortly here, so it wouldn't make sense to get either if top-of-the-line is the goal.

He didn't mention a GPU, so I figured he was going to rely on the 880's onboard, which does quite a bit more than the onboard of 2005 does.


The technology changes every 6 months, so I'm investing in DDR3, USB 3.0, etc. I know those will be important in the future if I want to stay compatible with technology. But trying to stay on top of the most powerful, latest CPU? Sounds incredibly difficult, and unnecessary for me. So rather than top of the line, something that will stay current will do me fine. To that end, perhaps the Phenom II x4 at 3.2 GHz would be better than the Athlon II x4 at 3.1 GHz.

And yes, she didn't mention a GPU because she does plan on relying on the onboard graphics, video, audio, etc., because it got really good user reviews on Newegg and Amazon. But the mobo leaves her the opportunity to upgrade at a later date if she wants too. So she figures, best of both worlds. ;) 

Thank you! :) 
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December 16, 2010 4:35:19 PM

@Lorelai27
i guess you are talking about this article http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/athlon-l3-cache,241...

AMD X4 645 is fine for the needs specified but things change when overclocking comes into play in future, overclocking without getting a new cooling component. Let me add in another combo deal http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... its about the same price as the combo i listed in my first post. It includes X4 965 3.4GHz, easily overclocked to 4GHz without adding more voltage. Can be overclocked even further with a gud 25-30$ CPU heatsink so very gud for longer run.

You either get the 645 or 965, choice is yours. If u wana go with 645 then see this combo http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite... . Price difference btw 645 and 965 combo is about 40$, so if budget is getting a bit tight then dont bother with 965 or even 955.

About the HDD, if u have doubts over Samsung 1TB then my second suggestion would be to look into W.D Black 500GB but its a hit and miss game.
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a b B Homebuilt system
December 16, 2010 8:19:33 PM

Lorelai27 said:
The technology changes every 6 months, so I'm investing in DDR3, USB 3.0, etc. I know those will be important in the future if I want to stay compatible with technology. But trying to stay on top of the most powerful, latest CPU? Sounds incredibly difficult, and unnecessary for me. So rather than top of the line, something that will stay current will do me fine. To that end, perhaps the Phenom II x4 at 3.2 GHz would be better than the Athlon II x4 at 3.1 GHz.

And yes, she didn't mention a GPU because she does plan on relying on the onboard graphics, video, audio, etc., because it got really good user reviews on Newegg and Amazon. But the mobo leaves her the opportunity to upgrade at a later date if she wants too. So she figures, best of both worlds. ;) 

Thank you! :) 



You're exactly right about staying on top, and manufacturers know that the vast majority of the market isn't going to throw money at a system just to bring it to the very top, and that's why they make the Athlon :) 

Athlon is your bread and butter choice from AMD currently. The architecture isn't the fastest, it doesn't have the highest clock speeds, but it's a great chip at it's price point, and it's not going anywhere anytime soon. It's comparable to the Pentium 4's of 2001, they were in nearly every household for two reasons - they worked well and they were affordable.

Now, to the Phenom/Athlon/Bulldozer debate. Not everyone needs a Phenom, and even less need to upgrade to the Bulldozer. If you were doing lots of CPU intensive work, I wouldn't suggest the Athlon, because the Phenom beats it across the board at like clock speeds. It's just more efficient. If you needed that CPU edge, I'd also suggest overclocking, but it's not necessary. Manufacturers spend millions and millions of dollars finding out what YOU do with your PC, and what your needs are, and the bottom line is, the vast majority of people don't need to run at 4Ghz with todays technology. My PC is clocked at 3.5, but spends 98% of it's life quietly EIST'd down at 2.6Ghz with >50% loads.

The 880 chipset is great. It's not going to give worth a dang framerates in maxed quality games, but that's not your goal. Onboard video today, although it can game a bit, is designed with smooth playback of HD video in mind, and it does it exceptionally well, especially compared to the old Intel onboard :)  Good choice with the USB 3.0 and DDR3, as those are here to stay, and will be for quite some time.

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December 16, 2010 10:55:26 PM

@jack_attack:

Thanks, that helps a lot. Now I can be sure that both choices are excellent ones; which CPU I get will likely depend on when I actually decide to buy. I'm thinking about waiting until after Christmas, to see if anything goes on sale, so probably around the first of the new year. If I can get the Phenom II x4 for the combo deal on Newegg with the Gigabyte mobo, I'll do that, since once you subtract the $20 discount, it becomes very close in price to the fastest Athlon II x4. Does anyone know about long Newegg usually offers these combo specials, or how long something might stay on sale? I realize it's kind of a specific question. Regardless, I feel good knowing that both CPUs are solid choices. Ah, decisions, decisions... :) 

I'm trying to think if I have any more questions, but I think I've at least reached the point now where I can narrow things down to one or sometimes two choices, which makes my life a lot simpler. If a 500W PSU will keep me current for a while, I'm all for it. I'll have to make a decision about the HDD--if I go with 1 TB, I'll go with Samsung, and if I decide to go with 500 GB or somewhere in between, I'll check out the Western Digital Black, as suggested (might go that route... 1 TB just seems huge to me).

I guess my last question would be best times to shop... I realize I missed Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but I know that new technology coming out might drive down some prices for the older technology (CPUs and whatnot). Any suggestions? Thanks! :D 
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