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First ever build

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October 30, 2011 2:19:15 PM

Good afternoon ;) 
Few days ago I made a thread about buying a prebuilt computer and I had a lot of suggestions to rather build one myself.
At first I didn't want to even consider it but since I'm not buying the computer too soon (I plan on buying it in late 2011 or early 2012) I think I could learn. For starting I watched a youtube video provided by newegg on how to put everything together and it looked quite easy. Everything is labeled etc. The only problem is that I haven't even changed a memory stick ever. So maybe I could get some advice? Will I need any tools? Is it possible to mess something up?

My budget is around 350 pounds. (Yes I'm from the UK) All the components should be from a shop in the UK or with shipping possible to the UK. I know newegg.com is a great component shop but unfortunatelly it does not ship to the UK.

The shop from which I consider buying is overclockers.co.uk but if you have a better suggestion I would be happy to hear it.

The specs I would like are something like this:

Motherboard: An AMD one (AM3/AM3+) so that it supports. Currently I'm looking at this one MSI 880GM-E41
Power supply unit: I'm completely unsure about this rather than that it should be 450 - 500W. Im looking at a Cooler Master Elite 500w at the moment, but not sure about it.
RAM: Crucial Ballistix Sport 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 PC3-10666C9 1333MHz
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 Quad Core 955 Black Edition (3.20 GHz) or AMD Phenom II X4 Quad Core 850 (3.30 GHz) their price is exactly the same but as far as I know 955 is better for gaming.
HDD: Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB SATA 6Gb/s 16MB Cache. It was usually a lot cheaper, but because of the flooding in Thailand the prices of HDD's have gone through the roof. I hope this cools down soon.
Optical drive: Any cheap one, since I'm not going to use it for anything rather than installing Windows 7. Cheapest I found was OcUK 22x DVD±RW SATA ReWriter
Case: A budget case. Nothing fancy. Just to be able to fit in a decent mother board and have all the right ports. I'm looking at BitFenix Merc Alpha Gaming Case or a Cooler Master Elite 33x series Midi Tower Case. They are pretty much the same price. 1-2 pound difference.

At first I would not buy a graphics card. I would upgrade that later. That's why I need the motherboard and PSU to be capable of handling something like GTX 460. I wouldn't really go over that because I don't need it to show off that I have the newest GPU which I don't even use. I just need it to run most games in medium/high at a decent resolution.
However, if I'm correct then I do need at least a bad GPU to make the PC actually run? So I was thinking of something like HD 5450 GDDR3 512mb (it's 16 pound and 20 including VAT) It all adds up to around 320 - 340 pounds. Any changes or suggestions? Thanks :) 

More about : build

a b B Homebuilt system
October 30, 2011 2:53:19 PM

ricards009 said:
However, if I'm correct then I do need at least a bad GPU to make the PC actually run? So I was thinking of something like HD 5450 GDDR3 512mb (it's 16 pound and 20 including VAT) It all adds up to around 320 - 340 pounds. Any changes or suggestions? Thanks :) 
There's no such thing as a bad GPU apart from the one that doesn't function.

There are inexpensive ones for general users/non-gamers and expensive ones for graphics intensive work/gaming. That's 'bout it.

You don't even need to buy one separately if your board has an integrated graphics processor.

CPU: Phenom IIX4 840

Mobo: ASUS M5A78L-M LX

Case: CM Elite 430/431+ (If available in the UK)

Your board already has a graphics processor integrated, so you don't have to buy one separately. Keep the rest of the stuff in your post.
October 30, 2011 3:03:13 PM

calguyhunk said:
There's no such thing as a bad GPU apart from the one that doesn't function.

There are inexpensive ones for general users/non-gamers and expensive ones for graphics intensive work/gaming. That's 'bout it.

You don't even need to buy one separately if your board has an integrated graphics processor.

CPU: Phenom IIX4 840

Mobo: ASUS M5A78L-M LX

Case: CM Elite 430/431+ (If available in the UK)

Your board already has a graphics processor integrated, so you don't have to buy one separately. Keep the rest of the stuff in your post.


Yes, I know that they are not considered "bad" I just wrote that in a hurry...
What is that case different with from the CM 33x series which I stated in my post apart from being windowed?
And is that motherboard good enough for my current setup? I heard it only supports 95W CPU's...
And isn't 955 better than 840 in gaming and in general? Thanks for your suggestions :) 
Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
October 30, 2011 3:26:08 PM

The airflow in the 330 is not as good, but that won't be important at all if you're not into OC'ing. The 331 is better, but the 430 costs only a few bucks more and hence, makes more sense.

The 431+ (not available everywhere) with front USB 3.0 ports, and external SATA X-dock and support for the largest available cards in the market easily makes it a favorite amongst gamers on a budget :) 
a b B Homebuilt system
October 30, 2011 3:29:24 PM

ricards009 said:
And is that motherboard good enough for my current setup? I heard it only supports 95W CPU's...
And isn't 955 better than 840 in gaming and in general? Thanks for your suggestions :) 
The 965/70 is faster, but as you said, the mobo only supports 95 TDP. That's why I said the 840.

But you need not worry, AMD is coming out with a bunch of 95 Watt CPU's on AM3+ so you'll be plenty alright. Also, a BIOS upgrade from ASUS might fix that anomaly anyways.

Actually, practically speaking it will support 125 Watt CPU's too, but it's just not advisable especially if you're planning to OC.
October 30, 2011 3:43:57 PM

calguyhunk said:
The airflow in the 330 is not as good, but that won't be important at all if you're not into OC'ing. The 331 is better, but the 430 costs only a few bucks more and hence, makes more sense.

The 431+ (not available everywhere) with front USB 3.0 ports, and external SATA X-dock and support for the largest available cards in the market easily makes it a favorite amongst gamers on a budget :) 

I'm not planning to OC at all. It's quite a powerful build without overclocking. I think I would be better off with a better mobo + the CM Elite 330 case than a worse mobo and better case... I know it supports the GTX 460 and that card would do the job for me for at least the next 2 years, I hope. It also has a better integrated graphics card so I wouldn't have to buy the real one immediately.
The final question is how do I know if a graphics card is compatible with a PSU? I don't have any knowledge over PSU's so maybe you could recommend one not too expensive from overclockers.co.uk? I think 500 W '80 plus' should be enough, if not more than enough?
a b B Homebuilt system
October 30, 2011 3:53:24 PM

ricards009 said:
The final question is how do I know if a graphics card is compatible with a PSU? I don't have any knowledge over PSU's so maybe you could recommend one not too expensive from overclockers.co.uk? I think 500 W '80 plus' should be enough, if not more than enough?
The manufacture recommends a certain wattage for a given GPU.

Power Supply Calculator

The MSI board looks very good on the spec sheet. Might as well give it a go.

PSU: Antec True Power 550W
October 30, 2011 4:09:09 PM

calguyhunk said:
The manufacture recommends a certain wattage for a given GPU.

Power Supply Calculator

The MSI board looks very good on the spec sheet. Might as well give it a go.

PSU: Antec True Power 550W


Thanks for the calculator thingy. And yes, I have heard only good things about MSI stuff.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 30, 2011 4:13:45 PM

Check out Nvidia's site for more details - Nvidia.com/GTX 460

TBH, you can run it with a Corsair CX 430, but undercutting the maker's recommendation is not the kind of advise I'll give on a public forum ;) 
October 30, 2011 4:53:38 PM

calguyhunk said:
Check out Nvidia's site for more details - Nvidia.com/GTX 460

TBH, you can run it with a Corsair CX 430, but undercutting the maker's recommendation is not the kind of advise I'll give on a public forum ;) 

It depends on the quality of the PSU. If it's a random 500 W psu and not from a trusted company then it would perform a lot worse than a 430 W '80 plus' PSU. And thanks to the calculator I checked how much the system would use and it said 386 W and recommended 436 so I guess the Corsair CX 430 would be more than enough to run the system without any problems.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 30, 2011 5:41:23 PM

ricards009 said:
It depends on the quality of the PSU. If it's a random 500 W psu and not from a trusted company then it would perform a lot worse than a 430 W '80 plus' PSU. And thanks to the calculator I checked how much the system would use and it said 386 W and recommended 436 so I guess the Corsair CX 430 would be more than enough to run the system without any problems.
The (maximum) Wattage is a mere technical indicator, not a true yardstick. The main factor to look at is the amperage on the +12 Volt Rail(s). The GTX 460 draws around 160 watts (13.5 amps) according to Nvidia just by itself on the +12V rail. A single GTX 460 system on a whole requires 24 Amps on the +12V rail and the Corsair CX 430 has 28.

That's cutting it a bit too close, but if Corsair ain't lying - and I don't expect them to - it's definitely doable. But the Antec 520 for 25 odd quids extra will definitely give you some extra headroom.

As for the 430, just make sure you get the V2 version in my link. The previous version apparently had some quality control issues.
October 30, 2011 6:32:53 PM

calguyhunk said:
The (maximum) Wattage is a mere technical indicator, not a true yardstick. The main factor to look at is the amperage on the +12 Volt Rail(s). The GTX 460 draws around 160 watts (13.5 amps) according to Nvidia just by itself on the +12V rail. A single GTX 460 system on a whole requires 24 Amps on the +12V rail and the Corsair CX 430 has 28.

That's cutting it a bit too close, but if Corsair ain't lying - and I don't expect them to - it's definitely doable. But the Antec 520 for 25 odd quids extra will definitely give you some extra headroom.

As for the 430, just make sure you get the V2 version in my link. The previous version apparently had some quality control issues.

How about this one ? It has 34 amps, it's the same series and around 10 pounds cheaper than the antec one.
October 30, 2011 7:34:57 PM

Sory for a double post. But it won't let me edit.
I looked at the PSU's and found some good ones.
Like this XFX Pro 450W the description says it can go as high as 53 amps and 636W although it's a 450W psu.
Also I found a Cooler Master Elite 500W this one does not state the amps tho...
a b B Homebuilt system
October 31, 2011 5:15:29 AM

I'll stay away from the CM unit if only because it's not certified by '80 Plus'. Between the XFX & Corsair, it's your call.

But seeing as the prices are so similar, personally I'll be sticking with the Antec 520. As far as brands go, Antec, PCP&C, Corsair, Silverstone are basically the best of show.

But tbh, here's the deal though, getting the 520 Watt PSU and an AM3+ Socket board will allow you to upgrade in the next few years (to 8-core and 12 core CPU's). The AM3 socket will have pretty limited upgradeability.
October 31, 2011 7:05:39 AM

calguyhunk said:
I'll stay away from the CM unit if only because it's not certified by '80 Plus'. Between the XFX & Corsair, it's your call.

But seeing as the prices are so similar, personally I'll be sticking with the Antec 520. As far as brands go, Antec, PCP&C, Corsair, Silverstone are basically the best of show.

But tbh, here's the deal though, getting the 520 Watt PSU and an AM3+ Socket board will allow you to upgrade in the next few years (to 8-core and 12 core CPU's). The AM3 socket will have pretty limited upgradeability.

That's why I got an AM3/AM3+ board. I have the same thoughts on the PSU, I will go with the XFX or Corsair. Two nice brands and they both should be slightly more than enough.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 31, 2011 3:33:06 PM

That MSI board is not an AM3+ board. It's only AM3. Nice board, but won't support the new processors from AMD.

You can get the GIGABYTE GA-M68MT-S2 (AM3+) if you're not into the ASUS that I had suggested earlier. Costs even lower than either the MSI or the Asus that we've discussed thus far.

Make sure to get the Rev 3.1 version 'coz the Rev 1.3 version is socket AM3 only.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 31, 2011 3:52:56 PM

Along with the GTX 460, the following build will be good enough for some time to come.

CPU: £89 AMD FX-4100

Mobo: £39 Asus M5A78L-M LX AMD 760G (Socket AM3+)

Total: £128 for CPU+Mobo.

I couldn't find the Rev 3.1 version of the Giga board on any of the UK sites, though.
November 1, 2011 9:43:01 PM

calguyhunk said:
That MSI board is not an AM3+ board. It's only AM3. Nice board, but won't support the new processors from AMD.

You can get the GIGABYTE GA-M68MT-S2 (AM3+) if you're not into the ASUS that I had suggested earlier. Costs even lower than either the MSI or the Asus that we've discussed thus far.

Make sure to get the Rev 3.1 version 'coz the Rev 1.3 version is socket AM3 only.


Can't seem to find that AM3+ version of the GIGABYTE board on overclockers.co.uk, however I have seen the ASUS board which you suggested earlier in some prebuilt PC's, that's why I thought they are not so good, as they usually tend to put cheap motherboards in prebuilt computers. Since it's a lot cheaper and AM3+, I might consider it but I don't really see a need for bulldozer CPU. So far I have only used 2 core computers and it has been quite enough, so I think that phenom quad core will suite me well enough and at least I won't have to spend on a better card until I get GTX 460 or HD 6850 since the HD 4250 beats HD 3000 series by far. Also, which of the two cards is better HD 6850 or GTX 460? There is not a lot of difference in the price but looking at forums it looks like people tend to go with GTX 460, although HD 6850 is supposed to be more quite, uses less energy and wins in most of the benchmarks.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 2, 2011 6:02:36 AM

Inexpensive doesn't mean cheap. In case of ASUS, they just don't make trash. Yes, the board will lack features, but since you're not gonna be spending time inside the BIOS anyways, that shouldn't matter jack. But if you feel like you won't need to upgrade in the next couple of years or so, then getting the MSI or the Rev 1.3 version of the Giga board will serve you just fine.

As for the graphics cards, the 6850 and the GTX 460 trade blows mostly, so it depends on the games you wanna play and the pricing in your region.

Here's the benchmark - Radeon HD 6850 VS. GTX 460 1GB

Also, the 5850 is faster than both the 6850 and the GTX 460. If you are not planning on playing games with high tessellation, the 5850 may be an option worth looking at. It has a higher base performance than the other two cards, and it overclocks pretty good as well.

However the GTX 460 is by far the card to get if you want to OC and it pretty much beats an OC'ed 6850 especially if you can get up to ~900Mhz.

Also look at the GTX 560 which is exactly the same card as a 460, the only difference being a GF116 GPU which is a reworked GF106 that overclocks better and runs cooler. It'll be a tad more expensive though.

To make a long and complex answer short and simple, I'll get the 460 and OC the crap out of it. Should be enough to last me a couple of years or so.
November 2, 2011 6:48:43 AM

calguyhunk said:
Inexpensive doesn't mean cheap. In case of ASUS, they just don't make trash. Yes, the board will lack features, but since you're not gonna be spending time inside the BIOS anyways, that shouldn't matter jack. But if you feel like you won't need to upgrade in the next couple of years or so, then getting the MSI or the Rev 1.3 version of the Giga board will serve you just fine.

As for the graphics cards, the 6850 and the GTX 460 trade blows mostly, so it depends on the games you wanna play and the pricing in your region.

Here's the benchmark - Radeon HD 6850 VS. GTX 460 1GB

Also, the 5850 is faster than both the 6850 and the GTX 460. If you are not planning on playing games with high tessellation, the 5850 may be an option worth looking at. It has a higher base performance than the other two cards, and it overclocks pretty good as well.

However the GTX 460 is by far the card to get if you want to OC and it pretty much beats an OC'ed 6850 especially if you can get up to ~900Mhz.

Also look at the GTX 560 which is exactly the same card as a 460, the only difference being a GF116 GPU which is a reworked GF106 that overclocks better and runs cooler. It'll be a tad more expensive though.

To make a long and complex answer short and simple, I'll get the 460 and OC the crap out of it. Should be enough to last me a couple of years or so.

Well I'd like to play some games like Skryim, Battlefield @ medium/high. I'm not sure about the resolution I'm going to have yet though. GTX 460 is pretty much as far as I can go... I know that GTX 560 is a lot cooler but I don't think I can afford that. It depends on how long I can last with the onboard card... I don't really do intensive gaming and everything musn't be maxed fully but sometimes when I do game I don't like lags or freezes to interrupt me.

What about HD 6870? It's like 10pounds more than HD 6850 but I have heard that there is quite a big diference in performance. And are the cards not going to be too long for the case? I have seen that some people have to remove unecessary parts of the case to fit a card.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 2, 2011 8:14:57 AM

1. The on-board graphics is not gonna be good enough for a game like BF3 what ever the chipset maybe. Since you're waiting till early 2012 anyways, why don't you wait for the GTX 600 series from Nvidia and the HD 7000 series from AMD?

2. As for the size, I think that case will easily fit a 10.5" card without any modifications.

The reference 6870 is 9.5". Obviously non-reference designs will be different but they'll fit the CM Elite 330 nonetheless.
November 2, 2011 2:29:10 PM

calguyhunk said:
1. The on-board graphics is not gonna be good enough for a game like BF3 what ever the chipset maybe. Since you're waiting till early 2012 anyways, why don't you wait for the GTX 600 series from Nvidia and the HD 7000 series from AMD?

2. As for the size, I think that case will easily fit a 10.5" card without any modifications.

The reference 6870 is 9.5". Obviously non-reference designs will be different but they'll fit the CM Elite 330 nonetheless.

I understand that it won't play new games like those. Although there are some benchmarks on the HD 4250 @ lowest possible settings. Do you mean wait so that the prices of older cards drop or get the new series card? It's probably going to be really expensive and a massive overkill since the GTX 590 and HD 6990 is an overkill already.

Totaly unrelated to the previous post > I think I'm going to get my HDD from amazon.co.uk because it's almost twice as cheap for 500gb western digital caviar blue.. So if my total now was 350 pounds w/o graphics card and with the MSI board, then now it will be 300 pounds.
a b B Homebuilt system
November 4, 2011 1:39:52 AM

ricards009 said:
Do you mean wait so that the prices of older cards drop or get the new series card? It's probably going to be really expensive and a massive overkill since the GTX 590 and HD 6990 is an overkill already.
The 7000/600 series cards are not gonna be additions to the 6990/590 GPU's. They are gonna replace the entire series. So there are gonna be £50-£500 cards. Just like the GTX 450/460 /470/480 was replaced by 550/560/570/580 at similar if not identical price points.
ricards009 said:
Totaly unrelated to the previous post > I think I'm going to get my HDD from amazon.co.uk because it's almost twice as cheap for 500gb western digital caviar blue.. So if my total now was 350 pounds w/o graphics card and with the MSI board, then now it will be 300 pounds.
Now is a terrible time to buy HDD's. The prices have gone through the roof in the last few weeks because of supply side constraints because of the flooding in Thailand. By the time you decide to buy stuff in Jan, they should be back to normal hopefully.
November 4, 2011 6:45:27 AM

calguyhunk said:
The 7000/600 series cards are not gonna be additions to the 6990/590 GPU's. They are gonna replace the entire series. So there are gonna be £50-£500 cards. Just like the GTX 450/460 /470/480 was replaced by 550/560/570/580 at similar if not identical price points.Now is a terrible time to buy HDD's. The prices have gone through the roof in the last few weeks because of supply side constraints because of the flooding in Thailand. By the time you decide to buy stuff in Jan, they should be back to normal hopefully.

Hmm... Is GTX 550 the same price as GTS 450? But since I'm not in a hurry maybe they will be out by that time I decide to upgrade anyway.
!