Thanks and Lessons Learned, 1st build by a n00b

I just built my first PC and I never could have done it without the dozens of helpful posts I read on this forum so I thought I'd give back and share my experience in case anyone else out there is contemplating building their own PC.

I had a few hiccups, like installing Windows prior to the SSD, and having some driver issues with BT Go! bluetooth device on the mobo, but I managed to fix them all without too much effort.

My experience:
1) I change my own oil.
2) I cook
3) I ruin the lawnmower blade everytime I try to sharpen it.
4) I usually strip the screws when I hang things on the wall.
5) I own a phillips head screwdriver and a flashlight.
6) I'm a good googler.

My mission:
1) Have fun.
2) Build something that meets my needs exactly, without spending any more than I have to. (unless overridden by #1)
3) Build something that I can modify for a lifetime.
4) Play SWTOR and WoW on full graphics settings, with two monitors, ventrillo, and IE8 running.
5) Be able to burn CDs with my music.
6) Spend no more than $1100 (don't need monitor mouse or keyboard).
7) Quality in all components.
8) I want to overclock something...for no other reason than to overclock something. (see #1)

I already had a 42" Sony HDTV I planned on using, as well as my old 19 in Dell monitor from my old Best Buy PC that was on its last leg. I was happy with my mouse and keyboard as well.

After much research, I decided the built in graphics (Intel HD3000) would probably be sufficient for my gaming needs, and if it wasn't I could always add a video card later. Yes I probably could have bought an $80 mobo and a $150 graphics card to accomplish the same thing but I just felt like if you have a solid mobo and processor to start with, you can't go wrong with anything you want to do in the future.

I wanted fast boot times and fast program load times.
I wanted to take my old HDD and simply install it in the new PC to have access to my old data.
I wanted to be able to store my mp3 collection, and maybe a movie or two.
I was very weary of ordering from a discount PC seller like cyberpower after reading tons of nightmare stories.

I was deathly afraid of installing the CPU, creating a RAID (necessary for Intel Rapid Storage Technology that I decided to play with), applying the thermal paste, and messing around in a BIOS. If you have the same concerns, it's pretty easy don't sweat it!!!

Since I was in for the long haul, I made sure and ordered a case that would withstand the test of time, and give me plenty of room to be sloppy in. Don't take shortcuts on this component.

Here is what I went with:
Antec Nine Hundred Two V3
(very happy I spent a few bucks more on a nicer case, saved a lot of build frustration. It came with 4 fans, they're blue, and you can see through the side which is very rewarding after you build your 1st build!!!)
ASUS P8Z68-V/GEN3 motherboard
(awesome and not too expensive. Lots of nice features and the 68 chipset lets me use Rapid Storage Tech and a few other nice to haves. The ASUS utility gives overclocking to mortal n00bs like me. Has 2 SATA III connectors and a half a dozen SATA II)
Intel Core i5-2500K
(Overclocking for dummies....I'm running around 4.3 mhz on the Fast mode and it went to 4.7 on the Extreme mode but I got scared and put it back to Fast)
Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler
(plenty of room for memory next to it, I'm running around 28C during internet browsing and under full load the most the CPU has hit was around 40C.)
Western Digital Caviar Black 500 GB SATA III 7200 RPM 32 MB Cache
(5 year warranty instead of 3 for the Green)
Corsair Enthusiast TX V2 650-Watt 80 Plus Bronze Modular
(modular = win....Corsair - can't go wrong)
Windows 7 SP1 64bit OEM system builder pack
Corsair Vengeance Low Profile 8 GB PC3-12800 1600mhz
(fit perfectly next to the Hyper 212 CPU cooler)
Lite-On LightScribe 24x SATA DVD
(yawn.....came with Nero).
Corsair 60 GB Force Series 3 SATA III 6GB/s SSD
WD 500 GB SATAII 3GB/S HDD from my old bobo PC from Best Buy.
I just plugged it in to an SATAII connector, copied the files on to my new HDD once I was running, then formatted the drive. Now I use it to store junk I'll probably never use, keeping my new HDD with plenty of headroom)

Lessons Learned:
1) If you want to use a SSD hard drive as a secondary to use Intel Rapid Storage Technology, install the SSD before you install Windows or you will have to do it all over again.
2) Buy an external speaker for a few bucks when you order everything. It will reduce anxiety on your first POST.
3) Don't worry about the Boot Device will stay on until you install your operating system .
4) Buy a nice case with plenty of room that is made out of metal.
5) You don't need a video card to play SWTOR or WoW.
6) Don't be afraid of RAID!!! All you do in the BIOS (before installing OS) is click 3 buttons and set it to RAID. If you do this, the Intel Utility will make it super easy to set up your Intel Rapid Storage Technology on your SSD.
7) Read a couple of articles on building your first PC ahead of time....before you order anything.
8) Invest in a nice motherboard.
9) If you have an old timey PS2 mouse or keyboard, and you buy a nice motherboard, you will probably need to buy another keyboard and mouse with a USB connection (oops!!)
10) The ASUS utilities that come with the motherboard are awesomesauce!!! I can monitor temps, CPU, 1 button overclock...good times!
11) I'm running full graphics on SWTOR and keep IE8 open on another monitor and I have no lag whatsoever.
12) Define your mission up front, and build according to your mission.
13) I should have just taken the $250 I spent on the SSD and HD and just bought a larger SSD for my primary and used my HDD from my old PC for extra data storage.
14) Have fun and take your time!!!!

Anyway, thank you all very much for the information you provided on this forum, it was everything I needed to make this a very fun and productive project!!!
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More about thanks lessons learned build n00b
  1. Glad you learned things, and Mission Accomplished :). If you ever have any future issues or Questions Just ask!. We answer most aything!. One day if you ever feel confident in helping someone else picking parts. Help us Out. We always have community members online but most may be helping others in threads. Help Us out one day to!
  2. Great post :) Congratulations on your success!
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