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Please Critique My 1st Build...

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December 29, 2010 12:04:13 PM

Recently I've been wading through the Forums, looking for ways to improve the graphics on my Dell XPS 410. I added a 9800GT and 2G RAM about a year or so ago, but still found it lacking.

I started here with the assumption that "simply" upgrading the old CPU (E6300 @ 1.86) would do the trick. However, the Posts I've seen so far (especially the ones specifically addressing the XPS 410) have lead me to believe I'm better off "simply" buying/building a new system.

Eventually, I found this:
System Builder Marathon, December 2010: $500 PC
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/build-a-pc-overcloc...
And down the rabbit-hole I went...


This is what I came back with:


******************************************************************************************


Approximate Purchase Date: This week... hopefully.


Budget Range: $500-700 Before/After Rebates


System Usage: Gaming


Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Speakers (Santa brought me a pair of Logitech G35s :sol:  ) ... and possibly Fans.


Preferred Website for Parts: newegg.com All components have come from here, so far.


Country of Origin: U.S.A.


Parts Preferences: Performance/Value/Durability... whatever works.


Overclocking: Yes... the components below seem to suggest this.


SLI or Crossfire: Not at this time.


Monitor Resolution: 1680x1050 I realize an upgrade here is key, but it's not in my current budget.


Additional Comments: I'm thinking I can pull a fan from my old XPS 410, as well as from another rig I have in storage (also XPS, iirc). Yes, no, maybe?


*******************************************************************************************


Rosewill R519-BK Black Computer Case 500W Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


AMD Athlon II X4 640 Propus 3.0GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor ADX640WFGMBOX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


MSI 880GM-E41 AM3 AMD 880G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-4GBRL
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For now the above items are offered as a Combo Deal for $255.


GIGABYTE GV-R587OC-1GD Radeon HD 5870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $250 After Rebate.

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $0 FREE with the above Radeon GPU until 12/31.


COOLER MASTER Hyper TX3 RR-910-HTX3-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" 92mm CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $30 Cribbed this from the Marathon Build.

SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner LightScribe Support - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $18 Also from the Marathon Build.

XIGMATEK Cooling System XLF XLF-F1454 140mm LED Blue Case Fan PSU Molex Adapter/extender included
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $13

MASSCOOL FD08025S1M4 80mm Case Fan
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $1.50 each I'm getting two.

And, of course:
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $99

**************************************************************************************

Well, there you have it Sports Fans...

Add $22 for shipping, and the Grand Total comes to: $711

As this is my first attempt at a Build, as well as a Post, I'm certain there are improvements to be made in both.
I've probably overlooked a PSU issue, left out a piece of pertinent information, or made some other such gaff, but since the Combo Deal for the GPU/HD ends 12/31, I thought it best to throw this one on the wall now and see if it sticks.

Any and all constructive criticism or advice is most appreciated...

Thanks in advance, WebHeads!

More about : critique 1st build

a c 84 B Homebuilt system
December 29, 2010 1:15:52 PM

Given that the first part is a combo, I'm a little hesitant to break it up. I'd personally look at an X3 450, ASRock 870 Extreme3 (or the 770 Extreme3), Corsair XMS3 2x2 GB 1333 mhz CL 9 and a quality PSU. That'd likely be more expensive though, but would certainly give you more quality and more room for upgrades.

Here's the reasoning behind these changes (if you can afford it):

CPU: The Athlon II X4s actually aren't that good for gaming. You'd do better to get the cheaper X3s, then plan to unlock and overclock them.

Mobo: I don't fully trust MSI. I tend to put them beneath Asus, Gigabyte and ASRock in terms of quality. In addition, that's a microATX board, meaning it's pretty small. Not only that, but you list that you might want to Crossfire later, and the board you have only has a single PCIe 2.0 slot. The ASRock 870 is a good quality, low cost board that's packed with features, including USB 3/SATA III support and Crossfire. The 770 is basically the same board, just without Crossfire.

RAM: Just a price change. The ones in that combo are fine.

PSU: This would be the biggest change. Rosewill's PSUs aren't that high of quality. In addition, 500W is really small. I'm not sure I'd trust it to run a 5870 and an overclocked CPU. I'd look at some 550W (750W if you want to Crossfire) from Corsair, Antec, Silverstone, XFX, and SeaSonic. Make sure to check the prices on the bigger ones, as the prices can be funny. I think Antec's 750W Earthwatts is $61 (after promo and rebate), while Corsair's 550W is around $55.

Case: Again, it's a really small, low priced (i.e. low quality) case. Considering you're spending nearly $20 on added fans, you could probably just get a better case. The Rosewill Destroyer, Rosewill Challenger, Coolermaster Elite, Coolermaster Centurion 5, Antec 300 Illusion and HAF 912 are all really good cheap cases.

Here's my other comments:

HSF: A better choice is either the Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus ($30) or the Scythe Mugen 2 Rev. B (listed as the SCMG-2100, $40).

Optical: No reason not to buy the cheapest SATA DVD burner you can find. They're all the same.
December 29, 2010 1:45:03 PM

Thank you for the timely response!

I expected as much concerning the PSU...

Knowing that a triple-core will do should give me a bit more room to play with, monetarily.

Am I barking up the wrong tree with that GPU/HD package? To me, it looks like a fairly sweet deal. There's a $20 rebate which brings the cost down to $250... seems decent for a 5870 & 1TB HD, is it not?

I'll take your suggestions and see what I can match up...

Thanks again for your time and advice.

Rock On!
Related resources
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
December 29, 2010 1:53:57 PM

It's a pretty good price. The 5870 is a good card, it's just fallen out of favor with the 69xx series cards. The Seagate 7200.12 isn't a bad choice either, just it's bypassed a lot for the Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB. They're usually the same price, but the Samsung is a touch faster and a little more reliable.
a b B Homebuilt system
December 29, 2010 1:57:55 PM

just a few things that power supply in that case is questionable quality

it a bit more then yours but it has a solid power supply and the 212+ is the tx3's big brother for the same price




December 29, 2010 2:13:36 PM

Since you need a case and Win 7 you could grab a Destroyer, since it has a combo available until they swap them out at the end of the month. Throwing the combo into the build above instead of separate Challenger and Win saves $15.

Destroyer/Win 7 for $140.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

For the PSU the Antec Earthwatts 650 is on sale as well.

Antec Earthwatts 650 - $63 after code DECAN10 - $48AR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(use code EMCZNNW24 if the other doesn't work, for $5 off instead of 10%)
December 29, 2010 2:23:21 PM

About the triple-core... is it worth it to look into the Phenom series, or should I stick with the Athlon?

For example:

AMD Phenom II X3 715 Black Edition Heka 2.8GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor HDZ715WCJ3DGI - OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

vs.

AMD Athlon II X3 450 Rana 3.2GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor ADX450WFGMBOX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
a b B Homebuilt system
December 29, 2010 2:30:32 PM

the phenom will be

edit better didnt notice its am2+ stick to the am3 athlon
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
December 29, 2010 2:31:38 PM

For the CPU, I don't think anything between the X3 450 and the X4 955 is worth the added cost. I'd stick to the cheaper one.

That X3 you've linked is definitely not worth it. It's an older model that doesn't even use the current socket. You'd need to get an older AM2+ board to support it, which locks you out of future upgrades.
a c 84 B Homebuilt system
December 29, 2010 4:31:49 PM

Value is relative. If you can afford the X4 955 without sacrificing another part (mainly the GPU), the X4 955 is the best choice. If getting the X4 955 means you can't get a bigger GPU, then the X3 450 is a better choice. Of course, that's only for gaming, where the GPU has a much bigger influence than the CPU.

I don't consider anything between the X3 450 and X4 955 (i.e. the X4 6xx, X2 5xx or X4 945) to be a worthwhile purchase.
December 29, 2010 8:10:20 PM

Well, I did a build around the X4 955... and when I was finished, realized I'd gone down a tier on the GPU "hierarchy," and still came out above budget. It's the usual n00b lesson... Die and Learn.

I'm not about to eighty-six this without Posting it first, tho. So here ya' go, Sports Fans... My first Epic Fail Build:

********************************************************

Diablotek EVO CPA-6170 Black 0.6mm SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Item #: N82E16811822001 $50


ePOWER EP-600NE-XV 600W ATX12V v2.2 / ESP12V v2.92 Power Supply - OEM
Item #: N82E16817101048 $45


GIGABYTE GA-880GMA-UD2H AM3 AMD 880G SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
Item #: N82E16813128445 $334 Combo Deal


AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ955FBGMBOX
Item #: N82E16819103808 $0 Included in Combo Deal.


ASUS EAH5850 DirectCU TOP/2DIS/1GD5 Radeon HD 5850 (Cypress Pro) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX ...
Item #: N82E16814121370 $180 After Rebate.

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #: N82E16822148433 $0 Icluded in Combo Deal.

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel ...
Item #: N82E16835103065 $30

ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
Item #: N82E16827135204 $20


G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL
Item #: N82E16820231277 $0 Icluded in Combo Deal.

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
Item #: N82E16832116754 $99

****************************************************************


Grand Total: $789

(Facepalm)

I suppose it's a decent set-up for the money, just not what I'm after... looks like I'll be starting over with the X3 450.
December 29, 2010 8:15:13 PM

It's actually $759, after the rebate.

Nonetheless, back to the battle...


LeeEEEERRROOooooYyyyyy JENNnnnnnnKINnnnnnsss!
December 30, 2010 10:59:43 PM

Unless someone can locate these parts for less, I believe this is it...


************************************************************
AMD Phenom II X2 555 Black Edition Callisto 3.2GHz Socket AM3 80W Dual-Core Desktop Processor - C3 Revision HDZ555WFGMBOX
Item #: N82E16819103846

ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2 92mm Fluid Dynamic CPU Cooler
Item #: N82E16835186134
$110 Combo Deal

ASRock P55 PRO/USB3 LGA 1156 Intel P55 USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Item #: N82E16813157203
-$30.00 Instant
$105

Galaxy 60XMH6HS3HMW GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) GC 768MB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
Item #: N82E16814162058
- $40 Instant
- $40 Rebate
$240 ($120 each)

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4 HD322GJ/U 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #: N82E16822152244
$43

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL
Item #: N82E16820231277
$50

Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case, comes with Three Fans-1x Front Blue LED 120mm Fan, 1x Top 140mm ...
Item #: N82E16817182102
Rosewill Libertas Series LIB-800 800W Continuous @50°C,80 PLUS Bronze Certified, Full Modular, ATX12V v2.3/EPS12V v2.92,SLI ...
Item #: N82E16817182102
-$35.00 Instant
-$35.00 Combo
$120

SAMSUNG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner Black IDE Model SH-S222L LightScribe Support - OEM
Item #: N82E16827151176
$17

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
Item #: N82E16832116754
$100

****************************************************************

Grand Total: $765 After Rebate

I'm still a bit over budget, but willing to go the extra cost for the SLI'd GTX 460s.

To me, this seems comparable to the "$500 Marathon Build," but with upgraded components (Case, PSU, and the Motherboard, I think) and SLI for an extra $150 or so, considering the Marathon Build didn't include the cost of an OS.

Your advice and opinions would be most appreciated...





December 30, 2010 11:09:26 PM

My apologies, all this number crunching has me a li'l wonky...

The price after rebate is about $685.
December 31, 2010 8:50:24 AM

Yeah, I noticed the goof on the Mobo-CPU prior to your post. I'd like to keep the mobo, if there's an Intel chip that can do the job at around the same price.

As for the fan, I was willing to chance it, considering the Combo Deal gave me around $70 in savings...

For some reason, I can't click-to-zoom your build... could you repost it in another format?

Thanks for the input...

Rock On
December 31, 2010 9:19:16 AM

Gah... that Mobo runs the PCI-E 2.O as x16, x4, which is no good for SLI, I believe.
a b B Homebuilt system
December 31, 2010 9:38:34 AM

sli on your budget will be a serious challenge
December 31, 2010 6:31:24 PM

I think this might work:

ASUS M4N75TD AM3 NVIDIA nForce 750a SLI ATX AMD Motherboard
Item #: N82E16813131637
$100

AMD Athlon II X3 450 Rana 3.2GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor ADX450WFGMBOX
Item #: N82E16819103886
$80

ASUS ENGTX470/2DI/1280MD5/V2 GeForce GTX 470 (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video ...
Item #: N82E16814121400

RAIDMAX Blackstone series RX-700AC 700W Continuous Power ATX12V V2.3 / EPS12V V2.91 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active ...
Item #: N82E16817152042
-$30.00 Instant
-$25.00 Combo
$30.00 Mail-in Rebate Card14-121-400
$285

Mushkin Enhanced Essentials 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model ...
Item #: N82E16820146748
$40

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4 HD322GJ/U 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #: N82E16822152244
$43

Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case, comes with Three Fans-1x Front Blue LED 120mm Fan, 1x Top 140mm ...
Item #: N82E16811147153

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM
Item #: N82E16832116754
-$5.00 Instant
-$10.00 Combo
$145

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel ...
Item #: N82E16835103065
$30

SAMSUNG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner Black IDE Model SH-S222L LightScribe Support - OEM
Item #: N82E16827151176
$17

***************************************************************

Grand Total: $710 After Rebate

If I were to add another GTX 470 later, would I have a bottleneck with the Athlon X3 450? If so, I might go the extra $$ for the Phenom X4 955...



!