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My First Build - Critique it!

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January 3, 2011 12:52:54 AM

First of all, thanks everyone for creating an awesome resource for those new to PC building. It was nice to have a central source for answering a great deal of the questions I had and reviewing products I was interested in purchasing.

So, after some research I finally placed an order tonight through new egg. My laptop crapped out on me and my old desktop just doesn't cut it so I have been in the market for a new PC. I tried to find a prebuild rig that seemed fair but I couldn't really find one. Here is what I ended up with...

mobo: Biostar 890FXE
CPU: AMD Phenom II x4 965 Black Edition
RAM: 2x4GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600
Case: Rosewill Challenger
HDD: WD Caviar Black 1TB 7200RPM 6.0GB/s
PSU: Raidmax Blackstone 700W (80 Plus)
GPU: MSI R5770 1GB

Also picked up an Asus 23.6 " 1080P Monitor, razer mouse and keyboard.

Everything shipped for $1100 and change (includes DVD writer, mouse, keyboard, thermal compound, and 2 extra 120mm case fans. 12 months no interest as well :)  From what I can tell, a similar PC purchased would be somewhere around $2,000 dollars. Anyway, curious as to what I purchased that is dumb, what I purchased that is good. Any comments are appreciated, even trolling if necessary, usually it happens for a reason.

More about : build critique

January 3, 2011 3:41:58 AM

That GPU cant really compete at that resolution, you also couldve saved $20
by getting a Samsung Spinpoint F3 and you couldve saved $15 by getting a 955 and doing a slight overclock,
the Motherboard,Monitor,RAM,and Case are really nice choices,
especially the Mobo.
January 3, 2011 4:51:28 AM

HeyImGodly said:
That GPU cant really compete at that resolution, you also couldve saved $20
by getting a Samsung Spinpoint F3 and you couldve saved $15 by getting a 955 and doing a slight overclock,
the Motherboard,Monitor,RAM,and Case are really nice choices,
especially the Mobo.


Thanks for the reply! I plan to OC the 5770 a bit and eventually add a second and x-fire. The msi has two cooling fans and stays super cool according to what I've read. I read several reviews of people running 1080p on that card overclocked with great results and at the price point I couldn't pass it up. That being said, I'm sure there are better choices for a gpu but I am not sure if they can be had at this price. I plan to over lock the 965 as well so I figured I might as well start out 200mhz higher. That was my way of rationalizing the extra cost there. Probably should have got the 955 though. As far as the HD I chose the WD simply based on past experiences with WD and Samsung. I'm glad to hear I made a good choice on my mobo and ram. I really wasn't sure about the Corsair RAM but figured I could get it for the same price as the g.skill on sale so I decided to give it a try. Any comments on the raidmax PSU?
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 3, 2011 5:13:59 AM

I think for 1100 a bit better config could have been had, but it's workable. Raidmax PSU's are iffy at best, and the 5770 won't keep up at 1080. It's a great GPU, just not a real workhorse. I don't know what you paid for it, but the GTX 460's are great bang for buck.
January 3, 2011 5:23:34 AM

metzex08 said:
Thanks for the reply! I plan to OC the 5770 a bit and eventually add a second and x-fire. The msi has two cooling fans and stays super cool according to what I've read. I read several reviews of people running 1080p on that card overclocked with great results and at the price point I couldn't pass it up. That being said, I'm sure there are better choices for a gpu but I am not sure if they can be had at this price. I plan to over lock the 965 as well so I figured I might as well start out 200mhz higher. That was my way of rationalizing the extra cost there. Probably should have got the 955 though. As far as the HD I chose the WD simply based on past experiences with WD and Samsung. I'm glad to hear I made a good choice on my mobo and ram. I really wasn't sure about the Corsair RAM but figured I could get it for the same price as the g.skill on sale so I decided to give it a try. Any comments on the raidmax PSU?



i really dont have any experience with that PSU,
but i do know the MSI Hawk version is the best 5770,
:D 
January 3, 2011 5:33:32 AM

jack_attack said:
I think for 1100 a bit better config could have been had, but it's workable. Raidmax PSU's are iffy at best, and the 5770 won't keep up at 1080. It's a great GPU, just not a real workhorse. I don't know what you paid for it, but the GTX 460's are great bang for buck.


What would you change out of curiosity? I have never heard a single bad thing about raidmax products. I couldn't find a negative review either. However, what would you recommend in it's place? I have until tomorrow morning to edit my order. Same for GPU, I want an ati GPU, I'm stubborn like that.
a b B Homebuilt system
January 3, 2011 6:24:02 AM

I've had a few dead Raidmax PSU's in the past, maybe I'm just gunshy of them. I only use Seasonic or Corsair PSU's in my builds, they seem to last and deliver the power they say. Just my experiences.

It depends on your budget, but I'd try to get into a 6870 if you can afford it.
January 3, 2011 8:41:05 AM

Decided to cancel my order and make some changes. I will be runnning an msi 6870 GPU and a Corsair 750w modular PSU. Added about $150 total. My total cost for the tower and hardware is just under $1000. Monitor, keyboard, and mouse are what put mento around 1260$. Thanks for the advice! I was considering the 5870 because several benchmarks I saw put it ahead of the 6870 but I also read that the 5870 doesn't x-fire as nicely which is part of my plans for the future.
a b B Homebuilt system
January 3, 2011 12:29:13 PM

The motherboard you selected has a feature that allows you to unlock cores on your AMD CPU..You could conceivably get a Phenom II x2 BE 555 and possibly unlock it to an X4 955!
a b B Homebuilt system
January 3, 2011 3:19:28 PM

clarkjd said:
The motherboard you selected has a feature that allows you to unlock cores on your AMD CPU..You could conceivably get a Phenom II x2 BE 555 and possibly unlock it to an X4 955!


Ideally :)  I'd still go for the straight x4, the cost difference is minor.

Great choice on the 750, you'll be happy with it, and the 6 series do scale very, very well.
January 3, 2011 5:40:05 PM

Order is placed. Went with the MSI 6870, switched back to the originial 1333 G.Skill Ripjaws ram, stayed with the 965 BE. I also stayed with the Caviar Black due to the fact that it is SATA III even though I've heard it argued that SATA III makes little if any difference. Corsair 750w Modular PSU. I'm excited! Can't wait to build it! Thanks for the help guys.
January 7, 2011 1:49:03 AM

Well, this response is being typed on my new rig! I love it so far. I've been playing with software overclocking. CPU is currently running 3.7GHZ stable, GPU is running 1000/1250 stable. CPU temps seems to max out around 51c. GPU maxed around 37c. The build went without a hitch other than I wish Corsair provided some cables with single molex connections. I will take some pictures of the cable management tomorrow. For being my first build and doing it completely solo, I'm super happy with how it turned out. I still haven't hooked up one of my fans because frankly I dont know what I'm doing with the fans. The Rosewill fans I bought came with fan controllers but they didnt come with any documentation and this is my first time setting up fans. Thanks again everyone for all of the help.

What are some benchmark applications I can run to make sure this setup is truly stable? I'd like to edit the bios and make it permanent after I confirm stability.
January 7, 2011 1:49:59 AM

Correction...3.6GHz
January 8, 2011 7:16:00 PM

Not sure how to insert my CPUZ validation in here but I have it running at 3.8GHz stable (ran several passes on both ITB and Prime95. However, I have to do a few passes and then stop due to my stock cooling. I've gamed with this setup with NO issues whatsoever. I think I'm addicted...

a b B Homebuilt system
January 8, 2011 10:09:59 PM

3.84 :)  That's purdy!
January 8, 2011 11:33:50 PM

jack_attack said:
3.84 :)  That's purdy!


Thanks, I thought so too! Especially for stock cooling. I did reduce the bus speed by 1MHz while messing with NB speed and voltage for some reason. I doubt 18.5 MHz would make me unstable but who knows.

I love the fact that I am running it under 4.0 volts too. My avatar (when approved by administrators) shows my idle temperature of 28 degrees Celsius. Can't wait to get a decent cooler. I'll have to do some research to decide what I want to do. New CPUZ banner shows current clock which I am running constant.

Temperature after 1.5 hours of Starcraft II on ultra settings was 48 degrees Celsius. GPU is also overclocked to 930 Mhz. NB is running at 2400MHz. If i knew what i was doing I'm sure I could get more out of it. Ran 10 cycles of Intel Burn Test (only on standard) because my temps were getting up to 60 Celsius. 2 degrees away from max temp is close enough for me. Running Prime95 it actually hit 66 before I could stop the test but nothing seems to have been harmed.
a b B Homebuilt system
January 9, 2011 4:04:21 AM

Yeah, you'll definitely want some better cooling. Stock is mediocre for even stock frequencies. I idle at 28C too, which is a bit more of a feat since I'm running a 65nm chip and an 1100Mhz OC :) 
January 11, 2011 5:54:47 AM

I ended up going with the Corsair H50. I know it is an entry level liquid cooling unit, but it seemed to be a better choice than others that would fit my case with my fans in. So far, I'm super impressed with it. Idles low and in SCII I never crept over 42 celsius. AS5 will take awhile to cure but when it does hopefully i loose a few extra C off the top of that. Ran ITB on Maximum and hit 56 Celsius at one point which i wasn't happy about or expecting, but frankly the fan that the cooler comes with is garbage. I'm running it as an exhaust fan even though Corsair recommends intake simply because my case is rather cool and ATM I don't feel like turning fans around and such. One night this week I might play with my current fan setups a bit and see if I can improve. I'd really like to replace all of my 120MM fans with something better. I bought Rosewill 120mm fans when I bought all of my other parts. They are a bit loud, and the LED color is not what I was wanting. I have to admit I like LEDS for my case fans (the 2 left side fans and the front fan) but for the H50 push-pull setup and the 140mm fan on top I'm willing to run something without LEDs.

I've been reading about case fans and I've read two different things(one makes sense and one seemed stupid). Intake CFM should = Exhaust CFM as far as fans go. Is this true? With a push pull setup should i really only count 1 of the fans being that 2 fans rated at a like CFM in a row will not move more air, it simply has the power to push/pull it through the radiator more efficiently? Do I in fact want to favor either exhaust or cooling?

Honestly, I probably wont be buying any fans for a few months. My current setup works just fine under normal operating conditions. However, I am curious to hear what you guys have to say.

Current fan setup is: Stock Front fan - intake (Came with rosewill challenger case, doesn't seem like it is moving much air but HD temps are around ambient temp at idle), Rosewill 120mm side fans (blue LED fans, one of the higher rated fans on newegg, LOUD, moves a decent amount of air, both set as intake on the side)

Rear Corsair H50 fan setup as exhaust Super quiet, rated at approx 50 CFM

Stock top fan 140mm exhaust

Anything I can change with my current setup to make it better? Would the stock rear fan give me better results than the fan that came with the H50 cooler? I'll also check tomorrow to see what fans were in my old system though I'm fairly certain they were crap because the person who built it was not worried about quality.

Thanks for all of the help guys! At the beginning of last week I didn't imagine I would have felt as confident modifying/customizing my PC as I do now.
a b B Homebuilt system
January 11, 2011 6:09:52 AM

The Corsair H50 is a good cooler, it just takes some tweaking and experimenting to get it to cool well. The best thing I can recommend is to buy two 120mm fans and run them in a push/pull over the radiator. The fan that comes with the H50 is ok, but you can find much better ones. You'll want fans with high static pressure, since the goal here is to shove as much air through the fins as possible. I tried a number of different fans in my H50, and the Coolermaster R4s ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ) seem to work the best. Not too loud, and they move a good bit of air.

On your case fan note, I also did a good bit of experimentation to find the best results, and the best setup I found, although unconventional, gives me the best temps. Two 120's as intake in the front, the two 120's on the H50 in exhaust, and the 140mm on top of my Antec 300 as an intake. I know, it doesn't make sense, but my CPU, GPU, and NB temps all dropped by ~3-5C with that as an intake. I did have to install a dust filter, as I screwed my flow all up and I get dust build up like crazy. I'd try as many different combinations and see what works best in your build.
January 13, 2011 4:08:53 AM

Update: With the Corsair H50, AS5 Compound, the stock corsair fan on the radiator, 2 Rosewill 120mm fans at less than 50% on my case side, and the other two factory fans (top exhaust and front intake), I am idling at 28 degrees C, and maxing out on IBT maximum at approx 60 degrees. OC did test out stable and I'm completely satisfied with the results.

See signature for final clock stats

If you want detailed specs (voltages etc.) let me know. my NB ended up over 2600Mhz and my ram is over 1400Mhz.
a b B Homebuilt system
January 13, 2011 4:28:37 AM

I think you can probably do better, as those are a bit higher than my temps! My little brother has his Phenom II idling at 20C :) 
January 13, 2011 4:58:59 AM

Quote:
I think you can probably do better, as those are a bit higher than my temps! My little brother has his Phenom II idling at 20C :) 


I know I can do better. This is what i ended up with after my first attempt. I bumped multiplier from 17 to 18 and immediately booted and ran ITB through standard, high, very high, and maximum. I had been running 3.7 on solely FSB adjustment. (NB set to 2400 and ended up above 2600). I'm only running 1.425 voltage (which is what my mobo defaults to for my CPU). As far as temperatures, I'm using 5 shitty fans when i plan to end up with 6 quality fans. (Push-pull setup on rad) I also plan on running the radiator on an intake setup rather than exhaust which should lower temps slightly, even more so with the push-pull setup. Also, my ambient temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit or roughly 21 Celsius, after a few minutes my temp settled to 23 Celsius at idle. 2 degrees Celsius above ambient is pretty decent I think. The lowest my system could possibly idle (with my cooling setup) would be equal to my ambient temperature.

I guess I could have really replied with only two words.

"I agree."

I can certainly do better given time and money.
a b B Homebuilt system
January 13, 2011 5:47:41 AM

I think you've got a spot-on setup there. Running the rad in push/pull will definitely help with your load temps, although they don't seem too bad. ITB is a beast anyways.
January 21, 2011 8:47:13 AM

If I were you, I would get an x2 555 and unlock and overclock, get a HD 6950 and BIOS hack it to 6970 Spin Point F3 HDD and go for 1600 or higher RAM. This way for almost the same budget I would have gotten a vastly superior System.
a b B Homebuilt system
January 21, 2011 11:20:22 AM

ShahJahan said:
If I were you, I would get an x2 555 and unlock and overclock, get a HD 6950 and BIOS hack it to 6970 Spin Point F3 HDD and go for 1600 or higher RAM. This way for almost the same budget I would have gotten a vastly superior System.


Yeah, IF the 555 unlocks successfully, some don't. and IF the 6950 BIOS hack works, some brick the card.

But, you pays your money and you takes your chances :bounce: 
January 21, 2011 7:33:54 PM

I'm happy with the performance of my system. I don't doubt there are better configurations but this is my first ever build and it turned out great as far as I'm concerned.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
January 22, 2011 4:00:44 AM

Critique it, you went for AMD!
A Sandybrige build would have been cheaper, better, cooler, futureproofer, powerfuller, awesomer, that rig won't last a week Intel released a socket a week ago and AMD is soon releasing theirs.
January 22, 2011 4:33:14 AM

I sure hope it lasts longer than a week.

Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
January 22, 2011 10:30:23 AM
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Wowsers. I bet he just bought a SB system ;) 

SB is not cheaper. It's not cooler. It's not "futureproofer?". Saying an Intel build is more futureproof than an AMD build is silly. (775, 1366,1156,1155....) That AMD build is rock solid and will last a good 3-4 years.
January 22, 2011 2:42:17 PM

Best answer selected by metzex08.
Anonymous
a b B Homebuilt system
January 24, 2011 1:11:22 PM

jack_attack said:
Wowsers. I bet he just bought a SB system ;) 

SB is not cheaper. It's not cooler. It's not "futureproofer?". Saying an Intel build is more futureproof than an AMD build is silly. (775, 1366,1156,1155....) That AMD build is rock solid and will last a good 3-4 years.


Dude, AMD is about to release a new 32nm processor and bulldoze it's AM3; I AM an AMD fanboy AND I didn't buy an SB system, I have a... Pen... I don't wanna say it... Pent-... OK whatever, but the 1155 just came out and the AM3 is about to leave.

Don't laugh at the -ium... I game on a PS3.

You said Critique it, and critics just say anything that makes you feel bad regardless of it's sensibility.

Anyways Peace!

Enjoy your rig metzex08!

!