Semi-Novice First Build

Good morning, all!

I have been wanting to build a new PC, from the ground up, and am a bit blown away by how far technology has gone since I received my current PC. It is without a doubt "behind the times" still running USB 1.1, IDE Hard Drive, etc. It is time for something new!

I am not into gaming at all, so I don't really want a "whiz-bang" system, but I am a big proponent of the "Home Theater PC", and have been researching this concept at other Forums.

If I can have a system that is built to the most current standards, with room for future growth (possibly adding on a storage server, etc.) that would more than meet my needs.

I have a budget roughly around $1,000 for a list of components I have found from that I THINK would more than meet my needs, but whether or not this would be the case is a total mystery to me, at this point.

I'll try and stick to the template as I have seen it in other Threads, and feel free to correct me, or ask me any questions you may have.

I reside in the US.

Right now, I do not need to overclock, nor do I need to have multiple video cards. I believe the audio options provided on the motherboard should suit my needs, and once I have the type of av receiver I want to have, I'll be able to stream audio through the video card's HDMI port.

I would like to be able to multi-task with this pc (watch a movie, rip a DVD/Blu-ray, surf the internet, IM friends, etc.) I also would like to listen to my music at the best audio quality possible (FLAC Audio at 24-bit 192kHz )

I like the idea of running the operating system (in my case, it would be Windows 7 Professional at 64-bit), but with the sizes of these hard drives, they by no means would meet my storage needs. I feel a 2-TB SATA drive would suffice for a while, and I can establish a RAID set-up with more drives later on.

Below is a list of components I have selected from that with my limited experience would meet my needs. As stated before, please feel free to post any questions, critiques, suggestions, etc.

Motherboard: I have selected two potential motherboards that would meet my needs

1. Gigabyte GA-P55-USB3 ATX Intel Motherboard


(Note: I understand this board can only be purchased as part of a combo from Newegg.)

2. Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD2 SATA 6-Gb/sec USB 3.0 ATX Motherboard


At this time, as far as I know (I'm pretty sure I'm wrong) the Intel i7 is the best CPU on the market. I selected the following processor for the build

Core i7-870 Lynnfield 2.93 GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-core

The motherboards, as I understand them, can support a ton of RAM, but from what I have read, at the start, I do not need to max out the board's RAM capacity, so I am shooting for the middle (In the case of the 2nd motherboard, the specs state 16-GB, so I am going for 8-GB to start out.)

I have selected the following RAM:

Corsair XMS3 8-GB (4 x 2-GB) 240-pin DDR3 SDRAM 1600 (PC3 12800)


I am still a bit uneducated as to how large of an OS drive I would need (I understand Windows 7 64-bit needs at least 20-Gb of space, but with the other programs I would be adding, what would be a reasonable size drive?)

I looked at the current space on my IDE under Programs, and saw that it was about 30-Gb, so I am shooting for somewhere about twice that size, and selected the OS drive below:

Crucial RealSSD C300 2.5-inch 64-Gb SATA III MLC


For initial storage purposes, the best sized drive to meet my needs would be around 2-Tb, so I have selected the following drive:

Samsung Spinpoint FB 2TB 5400 RPM SATA 3-Gb/sec 3.5-inch


I have no interest, right now, of burning Blu-ray discs, so a BD-ROM drive is sufficient. I have selected the following drive:

LG Black 10x BD-ROM 16x DVD-ROM SATA Blu-ray Disc Combo


As I am not a gamer, I do not need a ultra-powerful Video Card. I would like to be able to watch videos in 1080p eventually on a flat screen, as well as eventually stream HD audio to a compatible AV receiver. It is my understanding that the best way to accomplish this is to use the ATI Radeon 5000+ Series Video Cards, which support bit-streaming of audio though the video card's HDMI port. I can suffice using the motherboard's optical port to my current receiver, for the time being.

I have selected the following card:

Sapphire Radeon HD 5670 (Redwood) 512-MB 128-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Crossfire X (this feature I would not be using, so if there is something that would be cheaper, but still allow the other features, I am all ears.)


I would like a case that allows for good workspace, cooling, and preferably a means of controlling the ingestion of dust and other debris.

I did some rough calculating my needs for a power supply with the above components, and saw that I would need a power supply with a wattage output of 387 W. I would like to have a power supply that would allow for future growth, so I found a case that comes with a 500 W power supply.

Apevia X-Alien Black Steel ATX Full Tower Case with 500 W Power Supply


I have a few accesories I would like to add to the system, as well

A USB Broadband Modem Dongle

A Flash Card reader with 3-1/2" inch Drive

A TV Tuner Card capable of receiving HD Video (I know about the Happauge external unit that passes HD Video through the Component Cables to the USB port, but if I am able to purchase Blu-rays of desired programming, I can be content with watching HD programs via my DVR.)

I have a Logitech wireless keyboard, wireless mouse, and a monitor supporting 1920x1080, so these can be omitted from the build.

When I last did the calculations back on February 8th, 2011, the total price with shippiping (minus rebates and the purchase of Windows 7 Pro) came to $1022.91. If I can get the price down and still maintain the features listed above, I am totally open for your opinions and suggestions.

Cables, case fans, cpu coolers, etc. I'll leave up to you guys to select.

Thank you, beforehand, to anyone who reads and replies to my post, and God Bless!
10 answers Last reply
More about semi novice build
  1. Do your computer a huge favor and get a quality PSU, such as Antec TruePower New or Seasonic. Apevia is complete crap.

    Looks OK otherwise, if you can wait a bit then get Sandy Bridge when the mobos are re-released.

    Check this link out.. I stoke this from aznshinobis but its really good stuff.

    I totally agree with theAnimal about your PSU and Please consider waiting for Sandy Bridge. Youll get better bang for your buck..

    Peace Brother
  3. The Sandy Bridge i7-2600k is faster then the current i7 extreme edition which is 900$. If your not in a hurry I would definitely wait it out, you should see them on the market again within the month.

    I agree with all of the above statements about a quality psu, Antec, coolermaster, Seasonic, Kingwin, Corsair, and even Rosewill is coming up with some good stuff though you should always read the reviews first.

    You really only need 4 Gb of Ram for what you want to do. The only reason to have more than that is if oyu want to do alot of multi tasking, rendering, video editing. The reason for this is because RAM is short term storage. The more of it you have the more you can quickly store and transfer (this is a very rudimentary explanation of RAM so other forum regulars please dont bite my head off =p) Though if you want 8 gb I would suggest these

    G.skill has great customer service and reviews to back it.

    For psu here are my recommendations for you
    ^That is the high end of things you will need, wont have to worry about power
    ^This is the low end, still enough for your needs but not much upgrading room in the future.

    Hope I could help some, pm me if you have any questions.
  4. Thanks greatly those who have Replied, so far. I'll have to do some research on the new "Sandy Bridge"-compatible motherboards. I've heard the CPUs had some minor hiccups when first released back in January.

    I take your word the case/psu combo was not the best choice. Was just looking to save a few $ by getting the case/psu combo with a psu that was within my desired needs. I'll research those recommendations from those who have Replied.

    I don't need a "home theater"-style case, but would like a case that is roomy, and allows for ease of maintenance. I like the look and design of the LianLis, but they seem to be quite pricey. Anyone who has experience with those, I'd love to hear from you.

    I would like to be able to convert my videos into mp4s, so I can play them on my Droid Incredible. Right now, it takes over an hour to convert a 100 MB wmv file to mp4 on my current system.

    Thank you, again, for the replies. I'll keep researching, and ask questions along the way.
  5. The CPU's from what I have seen are perfectly fine. It is the motherboard chipset that is having the issues. The sata ports above 0 and 1 do not work. Even this isnt a huge deal (though people have made it out to be) Intel did the right thing though in admitting their fault and recalling ever thing sold and available on the market.

    The lian li cases are more expensive because they are higher quality cases. They are solid aluminum (for the most part) have newer design features, and are a top pic by multiple modders and home builders. Lian li is my top pick and I could link you a coupled mid sized ones that are reasonably priced. Well for lian li standards,

    also a quick note when oyu buy your case, always add in shipping cost. This sounds like a no brainer but many buyers forget to add it in. Some cases, for instance silverstone, have 20$+ shipping charges. So if you are getting a case 10$ cheaper from one site but the other site has free shipping then you are not getting the better deal. Just some thing to be mindful of.
  6. Here is an updated components list.

    Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-H67A-UD3H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel H67 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

    If I understand it correctly, since this motherboard comes with an HDMI, I won't need a video card as I have a monitor that runs at 1080p.

    Processor: Intel Core i7-2600 Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I72600

    RAM: Corsair XMS3 8-GB (4 x 2-GB) 240-pin DDR3 SDRAM 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop

    OS Drive: Crucial RealSSD C300 2.5-inch 64-GB SATT III MLC SSD Hard Drive

    Storage Drive: Samsung Spinpoint FB 2TB 5400 RPM SATA 3.0-GB/sec. 3.5-inch Internal Hard Drive

    Blu Ray Burner:

    Lite-On iHBS112-29 12X 3D Internal Blu-Ray Writer - BD-R SL 12X, BD-R DL 8X, BD-RE SL/DL 2X, DVD±R 16X, DVD-RAM 12X, DVD+RW 8X, DVD-RW 6X, CD-R 48X, CD-RW 24X, 3D Playback, Black (OEM)

    Power Supply: CORSAIR Enthusiast Series CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply


    OS: Windows 7 64-bit


    SYBA CL-CRD20061 All-in-one USB 2.0 / Floppy 3.5" Multifunction Floppy Disk and Memory Card Reader

    Wireless USB Dongle

    Hauppague 1212 HD PVR

    A few initial questions...

    I would like to get a full tower case, but cannot decide which one to get. I'd like to keep the price no higher than $150. I like the concept of having a fan filter that can be removed and cleaned, as I live in a fairly dusty home.

    Fans will depend on the case.

    As I said in the initial post, I don't foresee a need or have a desire to do any overclocking, so would using the cpu fan and heatsink with the processor be sufficient or would an after market be more desirable.

    Future Addons would include

    RAID Controller card with system running Flexraid

    I will more than likely upgrade most of the software I have currently on my XP machine to Windows 7 64-bit compatible versions, if they are available.

    Any more suggestions from you fine folks would be more than welcome.

    Thanks, again for your time, and God Bless! :)
  7. I would recomend getting a discrete graphics card instead of using intigrated graphics. It will make any video/gaming experience 10x better. You dont need some thing expensive 50-75$ or 100$ for a gtx 460 which will run most games out there.

    Now for pc towers.

    Lots of nice choices there. I like the cleaner look of Lian Li

    but some prefer lights and windows

    Really a matter of taste, I always make a habbit of reading a few reviews and checking the 1 star vs 5 star ones. Some times 1 star reviewers have legit reasons to why they rated the product poorly, other times they are just being stupid.

    "Thanks, again for your time, and God Bless!"

    +1 to the God Bless man
  8. Thank you so much for the advice, preolit!

    I've again revised my component list, and am settling in on what I would like to get.

    I would again appreciate your opinion on this when you have the time.


    Gigabyte GA-Z68MX-UD2H-B3

    GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD3-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard



    Both Processors are Sandy Bridge and Quad-core

    Intel i5-2400 3.1 GHz


    Inte i5-2500 3.3 GHz



    G. Skill Ripjaw Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 SDRAM 1600


    OS Drive

    Crucial RealSSD 64-GB


    Storage Drive

    Samsung Spinpoint 2 TB



    Samsung Black 12x Blu-ray ROM


    Video Card

    Sapphire Radeon HD 5670 1 GB 128-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16


    Power Supply

    Rosewill Green Series RG430-S12



    Lian Li Lancool PC-K7B Black Computer Case


    Again, thanks for your advice and help, and I will let you know how things turn out once I have the build up and running.

    GOD Bless, Brother!



    That card is a nice little card that is better then the saphire I think, but I am biased Nvidia vs AMD so it could be similar performance. If you want to beef up to an entry level gaming graphics card that will play any thing you want then here is the new gtx 550 ti that just came out and with a rebate to boot.

    I tend to shop Evga for graphics cards because they have amazing customer service and life time warranties. Card goes down they ship you a new one no questions asked, you then send back the old one in the box you receive.

    Hope your whole build works out for you.

    Just saw the processor and mobo questions. Go for the second mobo. As for processors if you wana cut like 20 bucks then get the 2400. If you want to spend a few extra bucks dont get the 2500 but go straight to the 2500k incase you want to overclock some day.
  10. Morning, preolt!

    Thank you, again, for your reply.

    I now have the finances in place for the build, and it is now time to begin narrowing down to the final choices for components.

    I talked with a guy at the church I am currently attending, and he pretty much sold me on the Asus motherboards. Doing some research, I came across the newly released z68
    models with the revised Sandy Bridge NB chipsets, and I am going to go with the P8Z68-V Pro model along with the Intel i5-2400 cpu. (I found a bit of a good deal on those through Newegg)

    Here is a link:

    As far as RAM goes, I understand the concept, but when I examine the common programs I run on my current system, and factoring in running many of those same programs in their potential 64-bit cousins, I begin to wonder if 4GB of DDR2 SDRAM will be able to handle what I throw at it.

    Example (These processes running simultaneously):

    Watching a ripped Blu-ray movie in full 1080p via mkv

    Converting a video file from wmv to mp4

    Using Firefox with multiple open tabs (say min. 3-5)

    Instant Messaging via Trillian

    Utilizing a Webcam

    Downloading files

    Ripping a CD, DVD, Blu-ray

    (I know, I don't ask for much, do I? ;) )

    Would having the G. Skill Ripjaw Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR2 SDRAM be more than sufficient? Or, should I go ahead, and start out with the 8GB (2 x 4 GB)?

    If things begin to bottleneck, I'll just slow down, but if I can have stupendous performance from activities such as this with room to spare, my goal would be more than met.

    A secondary question that has been rattling around in my head is which size SSD drive to purchase. I understand that Windows 7 64-bit requires at least 20GB of space. Doing rough calculations on the current size of programs I have on my current system compared with what I would like to have on board the new build, the size only comes to about 700 MB. I am not too concerned with needing to run Windows XP mode with would take up an additional 15GB of space, so I can factor that out.

    Here is a list of programs I would like to have starting out on the new OS drive in addition to Windows 7:

    Bible Study



    Virtual Pool 3

    Internet and Online Security

    Firefox (May get the 32-bit since the last time I checked, the current 64-bit build does not support a majority of the Addons I have on my current FF.)

    AVG Anti-virus

    Zone Alarm Firewall

    AdAware Spyware

    FlashGot Download Manager

    Multimedia Extraction and Conversion




    Movica (a simple wmv editing program I use for editing some online bible studies I download)


    Parezza Audio Extractor

    CD - DVD Burning


    Multimedia Playback



    Possibly MediaPlayer Classic - Home Cinema

    All Necessary Codecs

    Office Software - OpenOffice 3+


    Foxit PDF Viewer


    There are a few more I can't think of, but I hope it will give some idea of what I am wanting to do.

    So, with that said, could I get away with using a 40GB SSD drive, or would I benefit more from getting the 64 GB version? (Note: no storage of media on this drive: only OS and programs)

    I still would like to get the Crucial RealSSD C300 64GB if I am better off with the 64GB option.


    If I can get by with only using 40GB, I think I would get the following SSD Drive (Or, if you can recommend something better):


    I'll add in the rest of the components as before so you don't need to go perusing the rest of the thread.

    Storage Drive:

    Optical Drive:

    Video Card

    I would like to be able to bitstream over HDMI through the video card, so would the EVGA cards allow me to do this?

    If so, I’ll go with the first EVGA card you recommended


    Power Supply:


    Another question I have is video capture. I currently have DirecTV and an HD DVR along with a Panasonic DVD-recorder with 80GB Hard Drive. I am not concerned with needing to record any HD content from off of the DVR, but I can and have been able to record SD content to the DVR to the DVD-recorder’s hard drive where it can be edited, and at one time be recorded to optical disc. For some reason, the machine no longer will burn discs, so programs remain on there.

    Would it be possible to purchase a video capture card that could record video from either the DVD-recorder’s hard drive, or 480i SD content from the DVR, or both to the computer’s hard drive where it could be edited and converted? If so, what sort of capture devices would you recommend?

    Again, I cannot thank you again, Preolit, as well as the others who have replied to my many questions.

    Once I have the system up and running, I will be sure to let you guys know how things are going.

    Reply as soon as you are able, if you have the time, and I will more than likely pull the trigger on purchasing everything.

    God Bless, and have a safe and joyous weekend!
Ask a new question

Read More

Build Systems Product