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Last response: in Systems
May 10, 2010 6:31:45 PM

Hello there!
My current pc is a Dell laptop that has been carried around a lot, and thus has not been ageing gracefully. I managed to keep it working when it threathened to die completely by finally tossing of Vista a while back and running XP again. But alas, the keyboard no longer works, the desktop has trouble loading from a cold boot and it claims my battery is missing even though it is firmly in place and feeding it perfectly fine.
So I thought I'd get a new one.

Until a while ago, my knowledge of hardware was, though not completely insignificant, mostly limited to "bigger numbers are usually better". However, I wanted quality and longlivity for my money this time, so I studied up, something for which TH and it's incredible community has been very helpful.
So I thought I'd build it myself, now that I know what a PCIe slot is and since I keep hearing it's really not that hard. After going through all the helpful lists and threads I could find, I decided I should check with all of you to plead some help in going over my parts, since compatibility is less documented and/or easy to find than it should be.

I live in Europe, Belgium to be precise, which made comparing prices somewhat harder since none of the e-tail vendors so common here are willing to ship outside the US, and shipping is going to be less if I look closer to home anyway.

Here is that handy list stickied to the board:

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: End of the month, likely.

BUDGET RANGE: €1100 not including shipping, though an extra hundred won't break me. That's about $1400 by current rates.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: While not specifically meant to be a gaming pc, I do enjoy it. That said I'll likely do more drawing (Photoshop mostly) on it than gaming. I'm also getting more interested in amateur 3d applications, which I would like to be able to try fairly soon without having to upgrade my build right then.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: I'm mostly interested in what's in the case. Monitor will be bought seperately. I'd like to get Windows 7, but I'm holding off on that decision, so it'll be bought seperately as well.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: The site is Dutch, but the prices are clearly shown and I will list the specs in English.

PARTS PREFERENCES: I've got most things figured out, but with a few questions (in red for easy reference).

CASE: [url =]Thermaltake Element G VL10001W2Z [/url]
- 8kg
- 230 x 480 x 521 mm
- Fits ATX, µATX
- Bays 5,25 inch, external 3
3,5 inch, internal 7
2,5 inch, internal 2
- Fans Front (intake): 200 x 200 x 20 mm Touchcolor (600~800 RPM, 12~14 dBA,49.735/65.30 CFM) with 2x 120 x 120 x 25 capability
Top (exhaust): 200 x 200 x 20 mm Touchcolor (600~800 RPM, 12~14 dBA, 49.735/65.30 CFM)
Rear (exhaust): 140 x 140 x 25 mm TurboFan (1000 rpm, 16 dBA, 50.0 CFM) with 120 x 120 capability
Side (intake): 230x 230 x 20 mm Touchcolor (600~800 RPM, 12~14 dBA, 57.0/76.0 CFM)
Optional: VGA (exhaust): Two 60 x 60 mm fans
- Liquid cooling capable: Yes
- PSU: bottom rear, with an air vent in the underside of the case.

Lots of space to expand and upgrade, and looks really nice.

There's a discount case of this model on the site [url =] here Which would save me almost €35. The reason for this is that it has "no screws for harddisk." Should I get it or not?

CPU: [url =]Core i5-750[/url]

MoBo: [url =]MSI P55-GD65 [/url]
This one got decent reviews, I don't think I'll need 3 PCIe-16 slots, and the vendor gives [url =] a €16 discount [/url] on the combo pack with the Core i5-750.

HD1: [url =,5_inch_SATA/Intel%28R%29/SSDSA2MH080G2C1/-1080051/?]Intel® SSDSA2MH080G2C1[/url]
After having come across the amazing things an SSD can do for your access times, I'm getting one as my system drive. Intel X-25 seems to have the best speed/capacity/price for me, I can easily build it in with the case's 2,5" internal bays, 80GB is enough for my primary and I don't mind the 70Mb/s writing speed. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong though.

Strangely, there's [url =,5_inch_SATA/Intel(R)/SSDSA2MH080G201/-1082695/?]another one priced €40 higher[/url] but after research I can't find a single diffence. Either way, I'm going for the cheaper option.

HD2: [url =,5_inch_SATA/Western_Digital/WD5000AADS/-1078243/?]Western Digital WD5000AADS[/url]
Since 80Gb isn't going to be nearly enough, an extra 500Gb drive is welcome, and not that expensive. Why caviar green? Because I want to limit heat and noise as much as I can and Caviar Green seems to do so better than most.

RAM: [url =]OCZ 4 GB DDR3-1333 Kit[/url] twice.
4Gb is a little insufficient towards the future, and since 6Gb on LGA1156 is apparently not a good idea, 8Gb of ram takes my preference. This is the cheapest option, but the vendor's pricetracker shows quite some fluctuation, so I'll have to see how that evolves over the next month. And indeed they raised the price by €5 per set while I was writing this.

My next cheapest option, and a better one seeing as it's CL7 7-7-20 instead of the other's CL9 9-9-20, is [url =]an 8Gb Corsair Dominator kit. But they look a bit oversized with those heatsinks on top, and since they're not in corsair's guaranteed compatibility list for my MoBo, I'm a little hesitant, even though they're apparently made for good i5 compatibility. €230 is a bit expensive if it turns out they don't fit. Can you give me some advice there?[/url]

GRAPHICS: [url =]XFX HD4850 625M[/url]
I was glad to find they still stock some ATI Radeon HD 4850 at an affordable price, though only from XFX.

I'm a little worried after reading so many warnings about oversized cards not fitting on MoBos. Does anyone know if this'll fit?

PSU: [url =]Corsair CMPSU-750HX[/url]
eXtreme's power supply calculator places this build under 500W, but I want some room to grow. If I ever go for a CrossfireX setup, eXtreme PSU calculator bumps me up to 740W.
Corsair seems to deliver good stability/efficiency vs cost. The 650W version is also an option, it comes in €20 cheaper, but is easily 5% less efficient, which is less optimal in the long run and leaves less room for upgrading without replacing the PSU.

PCI: [url =]LevelOne WNC-0601[/url]
I need a wireless network adaptor, preferably with WiFi, and I'd rather have it built in than sticking out from a USB port.

Maybe it's a stupid question, but there's an opening for those antennae, right?

I want something better than the stock fan for when I inevitable get into some overclocking, but I'm stumbling over my budget limits already, since I'll also have to buy a monitor and OS (if I go windows 7) Any suggestions?

I've never overclocked, but with easy software and guides on how to do it these days, I'll inevitably find myself trying it.

Something for the future, if I ever find myself craving more graphical power.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Probably 1920x1080, unless the eventual costs get too high and I have to cut to 1680x1050 or (god forbid) 1280x1024.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I'd like it as quiet and cool as I can get it. Can one get modding kits for that? Some advice will do too :) 

Well, that ended up much longer than I expected. Hopefully it gives you a solid idea on how it all fits together, because as a first-time builder, I'll admit to being more than a little nervous. :cry: 
But I want to do this, and anything you can give me will be incredibly appreciated!

More about : question

May 10, 2010 6:36:04 PM

Well crud, apparently sticking a euro sign in the title breaks things... I can't seem to edit it though....

Well wondeful to see everything off to a good start. :cry: 
May 10, 2010 7:09:28 PM

I live in Belgium as well and just bought all my components. I didn't buy from alternate though they aren't really cheap. I went for, and Those are all very reliable websites I can attest. Sometimes alternate will be cheaper though.

You have a good start, but some things need changing. Firest of all as far as I understand graphics design(as in photoshop) is only really possible with nvidia although youi'll have to research.

here are the things I'd change:

HDD: fast enough and you can buy another one and raid0 them if your budget allows it. In this budget though an SSD is really not very usefull.

graphics: this may seem overkill but if you're into gaming it's a good choice. It will run games on high for years.

psu: may be a little easier to install but I would get the tx series they are a bit cheaper and just as good.

ram: very fast

cpu: i5 750 will do fine

cpu cooler: will do great

wifi: the one you mentioned will be good and yes there are openings for the antenae :p 

mobo: I don't know about mobos in that area you'll have to research

that totals to around 1100 maybe you shave off a little by searching for the best deals.
Related resources
May 10, 2010 7:14:50 PM

Dude, the 470 si for ahrdcore gamers, and even then, the 5870 is a better idea.

May 10, 2010 7:20:52 PM

How is the 470gtx for hardcore gamers and 5870 not? And the 470gtx has openGL support which is neccessary for photoshop. I also think a slightly less powerfull gpu would be better but this is the cheapest dx11 GPU at the moment(from nvidia as that is the only option). You could wait for the 460 gtx to come out but that will take a while.
May 10, 2010 7:23:21 PM

The HAf-932 tears the Elemnt G a new one.

And the 470 AND the 5870 are for hardcore gamers, it's just that for Hardcore gamers, the 5870 is a better idea.

The 5870 also supports open Gl if I'm right.

And why is Nv the onyl option?
May 10, 2010 7:24:05 PM

and also the thermaltake element G is a very good case I own one :D 
May 10, 2010 7:27:19 PM

DrakeRR said:
Well crud, apparently sticking a euro sign in the title breaks things... I can't seem to edit it though....

Well wondeful to see everything off to a good start. :cry: 

What's actually causing problems is that you're putting spaces between everything.

It should be:
  1. [urlExt=]google[/urlExt] <-- note no spaces
  2. not
  3. [url = ] google [/url]
May 10, 2010 7:30:27 PM

Somebody_007 said:
And the 470gtx has openGL support which is neccessary for photoshop.

You can run Photoshop on pretty much anything. It might run a bit better with an nVidia card (I don't know either way), but it's not like you can't run at all with an ATI card.
May 10, 2010 7:32:39 PM

coldsleep said:
You can run Photoshop on pretty much anything. It might run a bit better with an nVidia card (I don't know either way), but it's not like you can't run at all with an ATI card.

Oohh didn't know that
May 10, 2010 7:33:39 PM

It can do that........

And the 5450 is 50$ lawz.
May 10, 2010 7:34:15 PM

the element G can change color!!!!!!! something the haf can only dream of :p 

And yes the 5870 is indeed a better idea but I believe it doesn't support openGL (according to newegg specs anyways) and neither do any other ati cards.

So then the 470 remains the cheapest dx11 option for now.
May 10, 2010 7:34:37 PM

builderbobftw said:
It can do that........

prove it XD
May 10, 2010 7:37:15 PM

it says with new drivers of 2010 are those out yet?
May 10, 2010 7:43:20 PM

Thanks for the uh... heated advice.

Coldsleep, Both the thread title and the links are messed up for me, and I'd love to fix them but it's refusing to let me edit my own posts for some reason. Is this feature disabled for "newbies" maybe?

Yes, photoshop works perfectly fine on most graphics cards, and I'd love to get a 3.2 OpenGL card, but stuff is expensive and I really want that SSD...

The HAF is a great case, but it's even more expensive, although I do like all those 230mm fans...

I like the look of the Element G better thoughh, especially if I could get it with that €30 discount (Do I really need those HD screws anyway?)
May 10, 2010 7:55:21 PM

eurm the element G has a 230mm fan and 2 200mm fans aswell. I disargee on the ssd though.
May 10, 2010 8:08:40 PM

Yes, it's quite possible that there's something that prevents newcomers from editing their posts, as it's a common complaint. Unsure why it might be that way, though.

In general, I think your original build is pretty least what I can determine from just the names. :)  I'm just going to make suggestions based off of that, as this thread is getting a little messy to follow.

The only real changes I would suggest is:
a) avoid OCZ RAM, they are somewhat hit-or-miss on quality.
b) generally I recommend avoiding Corsair due to the price premium, but it seems that outside of the US, they are comparably priced to other RAM kits. I wouldn't worry too much about the compatibility list, as those are typically just the kits the manufacturer has taken the time to test. For the most part, any RAM with appropriate voltage/clock speed will work in a motherboard that matches.
c) consider a 5xxx series ATI card, possibly a 5770 instead of the 4850.
d) typically the problem with oversized cards is making sure that they can fit in the case, not that they won't fit on the motherboard.
e) the Hyper212+ comes frequently recommended around here as a good price/performance CPU HSF.
f) SSDs are still rather high cost per GB, but they will make the system respond more quickly. While it won't give you any change in gaming performance, it will improve your general computing experience. I think that it is definitely worth it at certain budgets...your budget is right about on the edge of where I would start to recommend thinking about an SSD.

If you would consider posting your current build thoughts with new links and everything, that would be helpful, I think.

EDIT: builderbobftw's comment below made me search for the mobo you originally selected. It seems decent, but it doesn't support USB3 or SATA 6 Gb/s, which may or may not be a factor in your decision.
May 10, 2010 8:36:43 PM

^ But the "GTX 470 is the cheapest DX 11 card", there is no such is thing as the 5770!

May 10, 2010 8:42:36 PM

I meant the cheapest nvidia dx11 btw

and if its true that ati now supports photoshop then I'd go with my build since 8gb of ram is too much and too expensive and that caviar blue is pretty slow. I would exchange the 470gtx for a 5770 and add an ssd if you are ailling to spend the money. So bassically its your original build with a differen hdd, GPU and ram kit.
May 10, 2010 8:59:36 PM


His MOBO blows (compared to what i linked).

Mine is a better idea.
May 10, 2010 9:54:21 PM

Okay, here's an updated build, which manages to straddle €1200, which is about my hard limit for this.

Case: Thermaltake Element G
€109.90 (or €75, if I don't really need those HD screws)

CPU: i5-750

MoBo: MSI P55-GD65
€309 with CPU

GPU: Radeon HD 5750 512Mb
€99.90 to €109.90 depending on the vendor. The only real difference being that the cheaper one doesn't have a VGA port and I'm not sure if the new ones need it. Advice?
Alternatively the 5770 512Mb is €129.90. If I can cut into prices somewhere else, I'd rather get this one.

RAM: 8Gb kit Corsair Dominator CL7 7-7-20

HDs: Intel X-25M SSD 80Gb as primary and WD caviar blue or green 500Gb as secondary. The blue is faster than the green by 5.6ms, but i honestly don't know if this is that much of a difference. my computer counts in nanoseconds, but I certainly can't tell the difference between 8.9 and 14.5 milliseconds... I do know the green is supposed to be cooler and quieter though, and more power efficient.
SDD: €189.90
HDD: €45.99

Cooling: Cooler Master Hyper 212+ seems a good option. I just hope it fits the case.

ODDs: I'm getting a DVD reader and a writer from LG. I have to copy a lot of disks for work and it'd be easier if I no longer had to save a local copy first.
Both: €37.98

PSU: Corsair HX750

Total: €1170 - €1210 depending on the GPU

Thanks for the advice so far!

Oh, I also forgot to mention: after some revising, I'll pass by my local vendor with a list to see what prices he can offer. Probably nothing better, but it's useful even if it's only for comparison. Plus, if it's not that much more, supporting your local small time vendor is never a bad idea, if you ask me. :) 
May 10, 2010 9:55:07 PM

I would seriously consider the MOBO I linked...
May 10, 2010 10:04:10 PM

I would, but can't tell why it's so much better that it warrants an extra €80. Why is it better? if anything's my weak point, it's MoBos. They're complicated for a new builder :( 
May 10, 2010 10:04:17 PM

A couple of thoughts.

750W is overkill unless you expect to upgrade your graphics card to a 5870 or similar in the future. 650W should be more than enough, and might save enough to allow you to buy a 5770.

Another option to let you get the 5770 now would be to not buy the Hyper212+ for the time being, and only buy it when you start to seriously think about overclocking.

If you're already at your budget limit, it's going to be hard to get both the SSD and a motherboard that supports USB3/SATA 6 Gb/s. I would expect to pay around 150 Euros for a motherboard with that, and it looks like the i5-750 is close to 200. Neither USB3 nor SATA 6 Gb/s are mainstream right now, but they will be in the near future. However, you should be able to get an add-on card for at least USB3 if/when it becomes necessary for your build.
May 10, 2010 10:19:02 PM

Of course, USB3 and 6Gb/s SATA! I knew I was forgetting something about MoBo selection :ange: 

I'll look around for that. better to spend an extra fifty now than having to spend thrice that when I have to upgrade, and have the whole hassle MoBo replacement brings as well.
May 10, 2010 10:33:25 PM

AHA! The GigaByte GA-P55A-UD3 seems to fit the bill, and it's hardly any more expensive than my first pick. I'd simply been staring at the €15 discount too much. Whoops.

Also I'd only go for the 750W PSU because if I end up upgrading my GPU it'll probably be another 5770 in Crossfire, which would seriously bump up my power needs and 650W wouldn't do according to the eXtreme PSU calculator. Also it's 5% more efficient, which is always a plus in the long run.
May 11, 2010 6:05:50 AM

Don't take those dominators!! they may be fast but there is no point in buying 8gb. If you can find a 4gb kit buy those and otherwise the ones I linked are also very fast. Also a mobo has much more to offer than just usb3 and sata3. For example better motherboards have better heatsinks and thus allow better overclocking.

They also provide overclocking features and onboard switches which could come in handy.
May 11, 2010 10:07:12 AM

Well yes, the MSI I was going for initially had overclocking genie, which I thought might be a good step towards overclocking without too much hassle. Of course never having done it either with software or manually, I have no idea...

I probably will just go with 4Gb of RAM. It'll knock off an easy hundred and if I end up needing more, nothing's easier to upgrade than RAM.

It'll free up enough to get that 5770 too. Yay.

Anyway, I still don't know what to do about the MoBo. I found a relatively cheap Asus with USB3 and SATA3, but it's only got one PCIex16 port, which is bad towards future expansion.
May 11, 2010 7:28:14 PM

Stick to dual 16x.

Only way to do things.