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Complete newbie here, looking for advice.

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December 20, 2010 11:06:09 PM

Hey guys, first post here but I have been trolling for a few days.
The basic Gist is, my girlfriend is buying a new laptop, and I have been craving a new desktop for a long time. I mainly play mmorpgs, but with my 5 year old laptop playing certain classes is impossible due to frame rates less than 5fps even on lowest settings. I honestly don't know much about computers, other than what the basic numbers mean, I do however have some electrical wiring experience plus the overwhelming curiosity to see if I actually can build something for myself.

Basically, I am looking to build a somewhat low cost PC, but allowing myself the ability to easily upgrade things in the future. I however don't really have a grasp on compatability, future upgrades, (sli, crossfire) I honestly don't even know what they mean, or if it would be something worth looking in to. Like I mentioned I currently play rpgs, but would like to play things such as SC II or newer games, I just have never had a rig that can handle them.

I hope to just get some basic build ideas, maybe leaving myself open to SLI and such down the road if it is something I would benefit from. I do not have a brand favorite, however I would hope to attain things like a strong GPU, decent PSU, and somewhat overkill cooling for if I decide to upgrade or overclock in the future.

I hope you guys will be willing to help somebody who has very small ammounts of knowledge but the desire to learn, and the OCD traits to learn these things quickly and sufficiently.

A reasonable budget would be ~$750-900 w/o monitor if my 32" LCD (720p) tv would suffice for the time being. Also I don't really "need" a bluray player or anything, but It may be a decent option.

Thanks for any help guys! I really appreciate it.

More about : complete newbie advice

December 21, 2010 12:25:14 AM

the socket 1156 mainboards and Intel i5/i7 cpus are the best at performance per dollar, IMO...normally spanking the X2/X3/X4/X6 in 8 out of 10 benchmarks, even if at a clock speed deficit....

For GPU, think GTX460, Radeon 6950 ($150-$160ish), or, moving up to the $350-ish notch, the GTX570....
Anonymous
December 21, 2010 12:37:24 AM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?I... Super Combo
* AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor (Model: HDZ955FBGMBOX)
* GIGABYTE AM3 AMD 880G SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI Micro ATX Motherboard (Model: GA-880GMA-UD2H)
* G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory (Model: F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL)
* Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive (Model: ST31000528AS)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W Continuous Power ATX12V Ver.2.2 / EPS12V version 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC "compatible with Core i7/Core i5" Power Supply

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NZXT GAMMA Classic Series GAMA-001BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

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Acer G235HAbd 23'' 5ms 1920x1080 WideScreen LCD monitor 300 cd/m2 1000:1

GPU:http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
HIS H695F2G2M Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity

You can Crossfire them in the future
Crossfire meaning
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATI_CrossFire

890$ Total

Total:
Related resources
December 21, 2010 12:38:03 AM

Well, if I remember correctly from similar builds I've seen on this site (your budget exceeds the budget I had set for my current intended build)

I would say you're looking at starting with:
AMD Phenom II x4 950
Either a GTX 460 or a 5850 (nvidia won't generally sli nicely on an AMD board/cpu, but you can crossfire a ATI based card)
There's really no need to go over 4 Gb of ram (dual channel) and I'm looking at the G.Skill Ripjaw series for this (seems to have good overclocking ability for later)

PSU and Mobo are the 2 things I really don't know how to select. Case is really a personal choice, and hhd depends on how much storage you want.

*I am still a newbie!
December 21, 2010 12:51:50 AM

This build should do you, with good to grate FPS in all games out today. @ a rez of 1080






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AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ955FBGMBOX
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December 21, 2010 12:52:38 AM

Once you get past the compatibility issues, putting a PC together is really a lot like piecing a 3D puzzle together and you have instructions. This piece will only go here and that piece only goes there, etc...

But first, you need to understand what the most current components are, particularly, the motherboard (socket type, chipset and RAM type). While older components will certainly work, they may limit your future upgrades.

The first thing you need to decide (aside from your budget, which you've already laid out) is going Intel or AMD for a processor. In today's current CPU market, Intel's CoreI7's/CoreI5's (motherboard sockete 1366 and 1155, respectively) are the performance kings, but if these processors are not in the budget, then AMD AM3 processors (X4's and Phenom 2's) will certainly work. You won't be giving up much in performance (probably not even noticeable), but save a few bucks. I would also note that Intel is coming out with a new processor (code name Sandy Bridge) which will not work with any current CPU socket. My advice is simply this: If Intel is within your budget range, then go Intel. If not, go AMD.

Which CPU to get depends on your system usage. Since you mentioned gaming, you can't go wrong with a quad-core processor. If your only intention was to watch movies on your PC then you wouldn't need anything more than a low end dual-core system, but since you mentioned gaming, then a quad-core system is your best bet.

Again, this is where budget comes in. A 2.4GHz Intel Core I7 quad-core CPU will probably perform better than a 2.4GHz Intel quad-core Core I5 which, in turn, will probably perform better than an 2.4GHz quad-core AMD AM3 CPU; but in most cases, you won't notice a difference. To put it more simply, if a Core I7 based system runs at 50% CPU usage and a core I5 system runs at 60% CPU usage, and an AMD AM3 system runs at 65% usage (note these are not factual numbers), you won't notice a difference.

The next part of determining your system is the graphics card. What you need here is dependent upon your monitor's resolution, what game you are playing (how well it utilizes the graphic card's capabilities), your power supply, and (of course) your budget. A simplified break-down means, high resolution (1920x1200 or higher) = high-end card or SLI/Crossfire setups. Modest resolutions (1680x1050) = either high end single card setups or mainstream cards for gaming without all the bells and whistles. At no time should anyone recommend a basic or on-board graphics card solution for a gaming system.

Graphic card performance can generally be depicted by their model number for NVidia and AMD graphic cards, the first numerical digit of the model number represents the generation of the card (the higher the newer). The second numerical digit of the model number represents the class of the card (enthusiast, mainstream, basic, and integrated)

For AMD/ATI, the latest generations (from newest to oldest) are: HD6xxx, HD5xxx, HD4xxx and so on.
For NVidia, the latest generations (from newest to olders) are 5xx, 4xx, 3xx, 2xx and so on.

As mentioned before, the second digit of the graphics card model number represents the class of the card. In most cases, a second digit of 7, 8 or 9 represents the enthusiast class of a card (e.g. the HD 6870 or GTX570). In most cases, the second digit of a 6 or a 7 represents the mainstream class of a card (HD5670, GTX460). The same follows through for basic (3, 4, 5) and integrated (1, 2, 3) cards. Obviously, the newer the generation and the higher the class of card, the higher the cost and the better the performance.

The rest of your system components are going to be based off of your motherboard selection:

What memory speed does it support (DDR2-800/1066/1333 or DDR3-1333/1600/1800)?
What USB speed does it support (USB 2.0 vs USB 3.0)?
What hard drive speed does it support (SATA II 3.0 vs SATA III 6.0)?
Does it have ports to support any legacy components you want to bring forward?

Last, but certainly not least, is the power supply. In fact, this is probably the *most important* component of any new build. A poor power supply selection could lead to poor performance and, in worst case scenarios, destroy your new components.

For any power supply, I'd recommend a power supply from any of the following suppliers: Antec, PC Power and Cooling, FSP (Fortran Source), Corsair, and Seasonic. For any single card gaming systems, I'd recommend a PSU from the above mentioned manufacturers at 550-650 watts. In an SLI/Crossfire configuration (multiple cards), I'd recommend the above manufacturers at 750-1200 watts. Look the the graphic card manufacturer's specifications for ideal configurations.

I hope this helps you get started. It really isn't all that difficult once you get the core system down.

-Wolf sends
December 21, 2010 1:04:49 AM

Here is my build from a few months ago and I could not be happier:
AMD Phenom II 955 - $145
ASUS M4A89TD PRO - $175
4 GB Crucial Memory - $76
Antec 300 Case - $60
Antec Earthwatts EA750 w PSU - $100
EVGA GTX460 GPU - 210
Samsung 500G HDD - $55
LiteOn DVDRRW - $20

Total - $841 less if you do combo deals and rebates on Newegg mine was $775 plus rebates

Like I said I love this system. It is stable, runs cool, and handels every thing I throw at it. You can always add CPU cooling later if you want to OC. You can also go with the AMD GPU (6850, 6870) and crossfire later on this motherboard. I would have but they were not out when I built mine.
December 21, 2010 1:15:45 AM

Savings Total Price


ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
Item #: N82E16827135204
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
$16.99


SAPPHIRE 100312SR Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity
Item #: N82E16814102914
Return Policy: VGA Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
$299.99


COOLER MASTER GX Series RS650-ACAAE3-US 650W ATX12V v2.31 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply
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$69.99


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$29.99


COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Item #: N82E16811119197
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Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
Item #: N82E16832116754
Return Policy: Software Standard Return Policy
-$20.00 Instant
-$10.00 Combo
$209.97
$179.97


AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ955FBGMBOX
Item #: N82E16819103808
Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
GIGABYTE GA-880GMA-UD2H AM3 AMD 880G SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
Item #: N82E16813128445
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #: N82E16822148433
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL
Item #: N82E16820231277
Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy

This comes to ~$930. I still feel like I am missing something, anybody see any problems with future upgrading, compatablilty, or missing/poor choices?
December 21, 2010 1:26:53 AM

Wolfshadw, You have been extremely helpful, thank you very much for taking the time to outline some basic idea's I just didn't have a grasp on. So, I am figuring to swap out my PSU for something bigger/better. Is there any harm in having an overkill PSU for the time being with intentions of upgrading? Say running a single 5970 with a 1200w PSU?
December 21, 2010 2:20:45 AM

salvati0n said:
Wolfshadw, You have been extremely helpful, thank you very much for taking the time to outline some basic idea's I just didn't have a grasp on. So, I am figuring to swap out my PSU for something bigger/better. Is there any harm in having an overkill PSU for the time being with intentions of upgrading? Say running a single 5970 with a 1200w PSU?


A 750W will be good to xfire two 6950s GPUs on even the 650W is plenty for the HD 6850s. and in your build your missing a OS



December 21, 2010 2:33:32 AM

+ The mobo you have is only 16 X 4 X if you are going to xfire down the road look for a 8X8X mobo ( if your only going to use a single GPU you dont need anything above a good 550W PSU
December 21, 2010 2:45:16 AM

Another build to look at




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Protect Your Investment (expand for options)

-$30.00 Instant
-$5.00 Combo $209.98
$174.98 http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...




AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ955FBGMBOX
Item #: N82E16819103808
Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy
Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel ...
Item #: N82E16835103065
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
-$5.00 Combo $174.98
$169.98 http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
1
Newegg Promotional Gift Card - $10.00
Item #: N82E168GC000001
Your Promotional Gift Card will be emailed 4 days after invoice.




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Return Policy: Software Standard Return Policy
COOLER MASTER HAF 912 RC-912-KKN1 Black SECC/ ABS Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
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December 21, 2010 2:50:28 AM

Actually even for 1920 x 1080 for WOW/SC2 w/o the need for AA/AF or Ultra most peeps can get by with really cheap machines like AthlonII X3 + GTS 450 so since u also on a 720p LCD TV (1366 X 768):

This would already be overkill hehe
$504AR

For a casual/specific (WOW/SC2) i would say CF/SLI, etc not worth it If you were more HC and Crysis/Metro 2033 on the table then perhaps ^^
December 21, 2010 3:05:09 AM

533 + a OS 633 I dont know, IMO I would spend the 300 bucks more for the HD 6870s PIIX4 type build. But to each his own


+ The monitor was to get by for now. IMO that means he will get a new one soon ? Shurgs
!