This will be my first build ever. I want to make a mid-level gaming PC for my son. I'm not trying to spend $1000 here, but I don't want to have to upgrade anytime soon either. This setup I've choosen is around $500 (after rebates). It's an MSI AM3 socket mother board, a AMD 3.2ghz quad core CPU, and 8 gigs of DDR3 1333mhz RAM. With a mid-level graphics card. I figure if he wants to play heavy games in the future, I could just overclock the CPU and upgrade the CPU fan and the graphics card.
I will deffinitely need some help with tweaking the BIOS settings. I plan on running winxp pro on it. And letting windows make the IRQ assignments (good idea or bad idea for the IRQ?). The manual for the MB sucks, but I can use some old MB manuals that better explain the BIOS settings. Initially, I plan on putting all BIOS settings on 'auto' wherever possible.
I have only slight experience with this stuff. I did manage to put a mod chip in an old Xbox. I soldered an apapter for a Xenium mod chip onto the LPC bus of a v1.0 Xbox and had to download homebrew BIOS's from the IRC channels to flash onto the chip. I learned a little about how this stuff works. That might not help me here though .
I have one question though before I forge ahead with buying these components from TigerDirect. The CPU FSB I've choosen says it's 2000mhz. But the mother board FSB spec is not listed. Should I find out what the FSB speed on the MB is first before I pair up this CPU with this MB?
A 750 Watt PSU is way overkill for this system. Unless you intend to SLI or Crossfire two higher end cards, or put in a dual GPU video card you don't need that much wattage.
For future upgrade potential you would probably be better off looking for an AM3+ board, so it would be possible to upgrade to one of the Bulldozer CPUs in the future.
It's best to keep BIOS settings to Auto these days, OSes from Windows 2000 on up are plug and play, and handle IRQ assignments just fine on their own.
If you doubt the compatibility of the CPU with the board, check the mobo's compatiblity list.
Thanks for the reply. I went with the AM3 board for now and the 750 watt PSU (for the future). I have ordered and received all the parts from Tiger Direct except the PSU. Supposed to come tomorrow. Can't wait to boot it up.