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Stettybet0's Suggested Gaming Build


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#1
stettybet0

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Since the Tech Academy released a sub-$1000 suggested build, but comments aren't allowed, I thought I'd make one here that the community could discuss (this is a forum, after all). This is a complete build, with monitor, keyboard, mouse, OS, and case. It is designed to be the best gaming computer that $1000 could buy. I choose to make a gaming computer because it seems like most people who post about building a computer are interested in making a gaming computer. Of course, this computer will also handle other, lesser tasks such as word processing and internet browsing, but that would be doing it an injustice. :)

So, without further ado, the build:

Version 1 - 2/1/08

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L - $99.99
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E4500 Allendale 2.2GHz - $126.99
Operating System: Vista Premium 32-bit - $92.99
RAM: Patriot Extreme Performance 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit - $33.99
Video Card: EVGA GeForce 8800GT 512MB - $239.99
Monitor: Acer 20" 5ms DVI Widescreen LCD Monitor - $179.99
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar SE16 250GB 7200RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - $69.99
Optical Drive: LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe - $35.99
Case: XION Dazl - $29.99
Power Supply: XION Supernova 600W Power Supply - $69.99
Keyboard & Mouse: Logitech Internet 350 - $14.25

Total: $994.15

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Version 2 - 2/6/08

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L - $89.99
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E4500 Allendale 2.2GHz - $124.99
Operating System: Vista Premium 32-bit - $92.99
RAM: Patriot Extreme Performance 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit - $28.49
Video Card: EVGA GeForce 8800GT 512MB - $239.99
Monitor: Acer 20" 5ms DVI Widescreen LCD Monitor - $189.99
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar SE16 250GB 7200RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - $69.99
Optical Drive: LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe - $35.99
Case: Antec Solo Computer Case - $49.99
Power Supply: Corsair 550W PSU - $69.99
Keyboard: DCT Factory KBJ-006B - $2.99
Mouse: KINGWIN KWI-114 - $3.99

Total: $999.38

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Feel free to leave comments/questions/suggestions/praise/criticism (constructive, of course) or to make your own build!

Edited by stettybet0, 06 February 2008 - 08:39 PM.

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#2
Doctor Inferno

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Nice choice of GPU there, I would suggest maybe a 2.4 and above GHZ CPU? And a 22" widescreen monitor although it may go above the budget. I would alos get a DVD±RW DL to burn dual layer DVDs.

Other than that, everything is good for a basic gaming PC.
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#3
stettybet0

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Nice choice of GPU there, I would suggest maybe a 2.4 and above GHZ CPU? And a 22" widescreen monitor although it may go above the budget. I would alos get a DVD±RW DL to burn dual layer DVDs.

Other than that, everything is good for a basic gaming PC.

Thanks for the comments.

As you may have noticed, I'm right at the budget threshold, so your suggestions really aren't possible without cutting back on other things. Rest assured, however, that the CPU can be overclocked to well over 2.4ghz easily. :)

Also, the optical drive in this build is capable of burning dual-layer DVDs.
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#4
Doby

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Not bad at all especially since it includes a monitor,keyboard and mouse, I would however consider this psu instead,

antec trio

It has active pfc and 85% effiency for the same price but less the modular cable support, I'd trade that any day. There are other better psu's also but at a addition cost.

Other then that good quality parts for a decent price

My 2 cents :)
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#5
stettybet0

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Not bad at all especially since it includes a monitor,keyboard and mouse, I would however consider this psu instead,

antec trio

It has active pfc and 85% effiency for the same price but less the modular cable support, I'd trade that any day. There are other better psu's also but at a addition cost.

Other then that good quality parts for a decent price

My 2 cents :)

Thanks for the comments.

I was a little biased with the PSU, I admit, because I own the XION Supernova. I love the modular cabling, as it helps wire management a lot (keep in mind that this case has a side window). However, the PSU you pointed out is also an excellent choice and I would recommend it to anyone who could care less about wire neatness, but in my mind the modular cabling and the aesthetics are worth it.

Edited by stettybet0, 01 February 2008 - 11:16 PM.

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#6
Kat

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Since the Tech Academy released a sub-$1000 suggested build, but comments aren't allowed, I thought I'd make one here that the community could discuss (this is a forum, after all).


This comment was unnecessary. That specific topic had a purpose, and was going to be closed. Wannabe was tied up just after posting, and hadn't gotten to close it yet when you had posted. The Tech Academy Team will be working on more builds, and those will be posted as suggested builds, as well. There won't be "discussion" on those. They have already been discussed and approved by Staff and Administration, and have our approval as our "SUGGESTED" builds. The team has very specific reasoning for choosing each part they do, under the supreme and excellent guidance of Wannabe.

Choosing to start a discussion about what you would build and why is fine. However, taking small potshots at members of this Staff is NOT.
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#7
stettybet0

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I don't know if 7 hours later qualifies as "just after posting", but if you say so...

The team has very specific reasoning for choosing each part they do

Terrific, but the issue is that no one knows the reasoning but them. Without members knowing why the parts were chosen (or being able to ask why), I can't see that topic being an ideal resource for them.

But this is not that topic, so if you would like to continue to discuss this, I would appreciate if it could be done through PMs.

Edited by stettybet0, 02 February 2008 - 12:02 AM.

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#8
Kat

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I don't know if 7 hours later qualifies as "just after posting", but if you say so...

Actually, I DO say so. No one is perfect. Wannabe got busy with helping someone, and forgot to come back to close that post until he saw your reply.

Terrific, but the issue is that no one knows the reasoning but them. Without members knowing why the parts were chosen (or being able to ask why), I can't see that topic being an ideal resource for them.


If we felt there was a "need" to explain the reasoning, then we would have posted that information. That topic is a GeeksToGo certified and approved build for that type of machine within that budget... period. We don't need to justify anything beyond that.

But this is not that topic, so if you would like to continue to discuss this, I would appreciate if it could be done through PMs.


Absolutely 100% wrong. If I thought it should have been taken up via a pm, I would have done so to begin with. ANY time a member here is rude or condescending on the main boards, they are called on it right there in their topic. You should know that by now.
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#9
stettybet0

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Actually, I DO say so. No one is perfect. Wannabe got busy with helping someone, and forgot to come back to close that post until he saw your reply.

Fine, but you were making it sound like I jumped in as soon as he was done posting because I knew he was going to lock it...

If we felt there was a "need" to explain the reasoning, then we would have posted that information. That topic is a GeeksToGo certified and approved build for that type of machine within that budget... period. We don't need to justify anything beyond that.

Again, fine, but that's why I felt the need to point out that my topic was different from the other one in that it embodied the spirit of a forum and allowed for a more interactive environment that benefited everyone.
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#10
james_8970

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I don't know if 7 hours later qualifies as "just after posting", but if you say so...

Just a word of warning, be careful :) Everyone makes mistakes, yourself included. There is no reason to jump on someone for such a small mistake.

Terrific, but the issue is that no one knows the reasoning but them.

The build was designed by us, to be used as a multi purpose machine. No, it will not run Crysis on high, that wasn't our intentions. This rig will play just about any game on low settings without breaking the bank and it is powerful enough to run a large range of applications and games. Every component was taken into consideration. Anyone can build a $5000 machine, but the tighter the budget the more difficult the decisions. You have to make trade offs and decide what is best for the end user.

Without members knowing why the parts were chosen (or being able to ask why), I can't see that topic being an ideal resource for them.

I see it as being a great resource, which is why I jumped at the opportunity to help out. It helps give people an idea of what to expect to get with 800$ and how far your dollar can really go. If we believed it wasn't worth our time to create, it wouldn't be there.


Now if you don't mind, I will critique your build. :)
I'll start with the processor. We choose a AMD dual core processor for two major reasons:
1. The fact that it's an excellent value for the performance offered.
2. Not everyone overclocks. If everyone overclocked we may have considered other options.
Lastly, I sure hope you're not suggestion anyone overclock that CPU to far without a aftermarket cooler.
I personally would have reduced spending on the GPU and placed more into the CPU.

Next is the memory:
You may have noticed that our computer doesn't include mail in rebates. Immediately this is a huge advantage as we have all been ripped off by rebates (if not, just wait).

Video card:
While you and I enjoy gaming, that doesn't mean that the rest of the public does. This is key to keep in mind.

Hard drive:
You can find a cheaper Seagate drive. While I do not prefer one hard drive manufacture over the other, the fact that you can get a Seagate drive for less and an additional 2 year warranty is a no brainer for me.

Optical drive:
Pioneer produces far superior drives then Lite-On and the majority of the industry. I would put money down that after burning 100 discs, that drive would begin to fail. Meanwhile a cheaper Pioneer model would continue along after 200 burns.

Case:
We this is based on personal preference. That being said, I do not like front ports on the bottom of a case, I find most cases are on the floor nowadays (this would cause a inconvenience). Even more so I hate LED (I know I'm not alone) and I find 80mm fans noisy and lack proper airflow.

PSU:
The second you see a LED in a PSU, that should be a direct indication that you should not buy the unit. I seriously hope you are not running your 8800GTS 512mb card with this PSU.
Here is one review of this unit from a guy that does great PSU reviews.
http://www.hardwarec...ply-review.html
Let me point some things out to you.

Shoddy construction can sometimes hide itself pretty well through the voltage regulation and efficiency tests but it will rear its hideous head again and again in the ripple tests. In this case, the Supernova clearly shows that it cannot even come close to matching its competitors and to tell you the truth, this is actually one of the worst results we have seen in this test for a very long time.

As you can see the reviewer (SKYMTL) is not impressed with the unit, it falls behind everything he compared it to in every test.
With a SLI configuration, the 12V rail nearly falls out of the ATX spec!
Xion isn't quite as bad as generic PSU's, but it's nearly there, I'd consider the performance of the PSU as an insult if I was an engineer at Xion. Settybet, I strongly urge you to never suggest one of these units to ANYONE. If you have one fine. You chose it and if it wrecks your hardware it's your fault. But we are dealing with people who are actually considering our choices, don't put them at risk and suggest poor units like this one. There is MUCH better out there. Even if you have to spend $10 more, at least I wouldn't be dealing with $300+ in dead hardware.

James

Edited by james_8970, 02 February 2008 - 01:22 AM.

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#11
wannabe1

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Some people have to work for a living and I'm one of those. When the call comes, I get up and leave...such is the nature of my business. I also tend to work the help topics when the members I'm helping are actually online, so when someone pops in while I'm here...I work with them. Sometimes things like this get set on a back burner while I tend to things I consider more important than writing the last few lines and closing a topic.

I think you're fine here. Your attitude comes off a little hard and it makes it tough to see your point sometimes. The little digs you so often use tend to hit some folks the wrong way. Perhaps a little work on the way you phrase things would do wonders with the way you get along with folks, I know I've taken you wrong before and I know that others have, as well. Your "civil" track record here is not all that great, but you have good talent and ability. We'd like to see you stick around and develop you skills, but the attitude you display is holding you back to a great degree.

Keep in mind that you are not "the greatest member ever" around here. There are many members here that have my respect...you are not one of them. You could be, though, should you ever decide to settle into the community and loose the "I'm the best" attitude. There are members here who have forgotten more than you'll ever know and these are the people you should be getting to know rather than distancing yourself from. All in all, we are a friendly bunch, but we communicate and learn from one another and none of us know more than the other, we just know different things and different ways of getting things done. You would do well to learn from the group of talented people assembled on this site. You won't make it here on talent alone.

A little friendly advice from an old timer. Sit back and think about what you're saying before you type it... and think about how others may take it. If you wouldn't like to have someone say that to you then don't say it to them. Get my drift?
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#12
stettybet0

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Thanks for the comments, James. :)

I'll start with the processor. We choose a AMD dual core processor for two major reasons:
1. The fact that it's an excellent value for the performance offered.
2. Not everyone overclocks. If everyone overclocked we may have considered other options.
Lastly, I sure hope you're not suggestion anyone overclock that CPU to far without a aftermarket cooler.
I personally would have reduced spending on the GPU and place more into the CPU.

The CPU I chose offers better performance than the one you chose even at stock speeds. Of course, this performance margin only widens once you start overclocking and considering how my target audience is gamers, it is more likely that they overclock. Obviously, I won't recommend extreme overclocking with the stock HSF, but the Core 2 Duos run very cool and can get substantial overclocks without raising the voltage.

Next is the memory:
You may have noticed that our computer doesn't include mail in rebates. Immediately this is a huge advantage as we have all been ripped off by rebates (if not, just wait).

I didn't notice that. However, there are other choices that don't involve rebates that would still keep me under budget. In addition, I would feel comfortable recommending rebates as more often than not they work out. In my experience with Patriot, I've bought two of these memory kits and both times I got the rebate on time.

Video card:
While you and I enjoy gaming, that doesn't mean that the rest of the public does. This is key to keep in mind.

As I stated in the original post, this is a computer for gamers. Casual computer users don't need to spend nearly this much money and I wouldn't recommend this build for them as it would be overkill.

Hard drive:
You can find a cheaper Seagate drive. While I do not prefer one hard drive manufacture over the other, the fact that you can get a Seagate drive for less and an additional 2 year warranty is a no brainer for me.

Not cheaper by much and the Western Digital is a very popular drive with great reviews. It is pretty much a toss-up, though, as either drive would be a decent choice.

Optical drive:
Pioneer produces far superior drives then Lite-On and the majority of the industry. I would put money down that after burning 100 discs, that drive would begin to fail. Meanwhile a cheaper Pioneer model would continue alone after 200 burns.

I want my money, as I own the drive and I know I have burned over 100 discs on it. :) I would estimate more near 500, as my brother does a lot of video and music editing and creation and burns a lot of CDs and DVDs. The Lightscribe is a great feature too. I'm not saying Pioneer is a bad choice, I'm just saying Lite-On is also a good choice.

Case:
We'll this is based on personal preference. But I do not like front ports on the bottom of a case, I find most cases are on the floor nowadays (this would cause a inconvenience). Even more so I hate LED (I know I'm not alone) and I find 80mm fans noisy and lack proper airflow.

Agreed that it is personal preference. Not my ideal case either, but it fit into the budget nicely and seemed to have sufficient airflow.

PSU:
Xion isn't quite as bad as generic PSU's, but it's nearly there, I'd consider the performance of the PSU as an insult if I was an engineer at Xion. Settybet, I strongly urge you to never suggest one of these units to ANYONE. If you have one fine. You chose it and if it wrecks your hardware it's your fault. But we are dealing with people who are actually considering our choices, don't put them at risk and suggest poor units like this one. There is MUCH better out there. Even if you have to spend $10 more, at least I wouldn't be dealing with $300+ in dead hardware.

I'm going to have to insist you don't base your facts on one set of data. In this review, the XION gets an 8.4/10 and the site's recommendation. Combined with the positive Newegg reviews and my own personal experience, I have no problem recommending this PSU, though I would agree that there are some better choices, albeit most for more money than is alloted in the budget.
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#13
james_8970

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Hello,

I'm going to have to insist you don't base your facts on one set of data. In this review, the XION gets an 8.4/10 and the site's recommendation. Combined with the positive Newegg reviews and my own personal experience, I have no problem recommending this PSU, though I would agree that there are some better choices, albeit most for more money than is alloted in the budget.

* Low efficiency
* Two PCI-E connectors on one cable
* High heat output, needs faster running fan under heavy load
* Modular connectors are a bit hard to work with
* 3.3V line a bit unstable
* Short cables (bad for big cases)

To me, the author seems to value the looks of a PSU more then the actual defects. I don't understand why someone would put that much time in a review, just to base his final impressions on looks.

Did you read the review? The ripple was noticeable throughout his test as well. Don't base you're final conclusion on the 8.4/10, rather then the actual content of the review itself. I stand by what SKYMTL said in that review, that is a poor unit.

Combined with the positive Newegg reviews and my own personal experience,

Newegg reviews mean nothing and a purchase should never be based on them. Stettybet0, my main concern is the fact that:
1. The 12V get frightnly close on getting outside of the ATX spec.
2. The ripple on that PSU is nothing short of TERRIBLE.
Just because a PSU will power your rig does not mean it's doing its job. You have not had this PSU for long term use, you have no idea what damage it has done to your hardware until your hardware dies or you measure the rails.

though I would agree that there are some better choices, albeit most for more money than is alloted in the budget.

It is very important to draw a line. I'd rather spend an additional 10-15$ then have hundreds of dollars in dead hardware.

I want my money, as I own the drive and I know I have burned over 100 discs on it. tongue.gif I would estimate more near 500, as my brother does a lot of video and music editing and creation and burns a lot of CDs and DVDs. The Lightscribe is a great feature too. I'm not saying Pioneer is a bad choice, I'm just saying Lite-On is also a good choice.

Any drive would have failed by the time you hit 500 discs. May I ask what speed that drive burns at? While it states 20x burning, the firmwire holds the speed back on quite a few of these drives.
Lightscribe may be neat, but I'd rather use a felt pen then pay 3x the cost per DVD.

The CPU I chose offers better performance than the one you chose even at stock speeds. Of course, this performance margin only widens once you start overclocking and considering how my target audience is gamers, it is more likely that they overclock. Obviously, I won't recommend extreme overclocking with the stock HSF, but the Core 2 Duos run very cool and can get substantial overclocks without raising the voltage.

Considering your CPU costs significantly more then of the one we choose, I would hope it'd more then just beat it. Overclocking is like a lottery, one chip will overclock better then others, to claim that all Core2Duo overclock great would be foolish. For example many of the new Q6600 G0's cannot overclock past 2.8Ghz regardless of the voltage you administer to it.

Not cheaper by much and the Western Digital is a very popular drive with great reviews. It is pretty much a toss-up, though, as either drive would be a decent choice.

I personally would value the additional 2years warranty much more and I'm sure many others would as well. I wouldn't be impressed if I had bought the WD drive and have it die 4 years after I purchased it, knowing that I could have purchased a Seagate and they would have replaced the hard drive for peanuts.

In addition, I would feel comfortable recommending rebates as more often than not they work out.

The main points of rebates is to steal money. They are the exactly like gift cards. They cash in when people don't use the rebate, however they are given an additional chance to refuse your rebate for a minor issue. Rebates are never guaranteed money. Just because your experiences were great, doesn't mean everyone's will be. :)

James

Edited by james_8970, 02 February 2008 - 02:10 AM.

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#14
stettybet0

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Again, thanks for the replies James.

Stettybet0, my main concern is the fact that:
1. The 12V get frightnly close on getting outside of the ATX spec.
2. The ripple on that PSU is nothing short of TERRIBLE.
Just because a PSU will power your rig does not mean it's doing its job. You have not had this PSU for long term use, you have no idea what damage it has done to your hardware until your hardware dies or you measure the rails.

You could be right on this one James, but I don't think it is as bad as you make it out to be. There are certainly worse choices out there. I will look into acquiring the tools to check the ripple effect myself. Since this is not a SLI machine (neither the one in the build or my personal one), the ripple effect is thankfully lessened.

Any drive would have failed by the time you hit 500 discs. May I ask what speed that drive burns at? While it states 20x burning, the firmwire holds the speed back on quite a few of these drives.
Lightscribe may be neat, but I'd rather use a felt pen then pay 3x the cost per DVD.

500 may have been an overstatement now that I think about it. I've owned the drive for nearly a year and we burn about 5-10 discs a week. At 10 discs a week, it would be around 500 discs. But if you take the average though, it is more like 300-350 discs. It actually does burn DVDs at 20x, though I updated the firmware a while back; I'm not sure if the firmware it comes with is capable of 20x. Also, you aren't required to use Lightscribe, but it is nice to have in case you ever want to use it.

Considering your CPU costs significantly more then of the one we choose, I would hope it'd more then just beat it.

I know, I'm just stating why I went with Intel over AMD since I had room in my budget. I'm curious as to why you didn't do the same, given your gratuitous budget room.

Overclocking is like a lottery, one chip will overclock better then others, to claim that all Core2Duo overclock great would be foolish. For example many of the new Q6600 G0's cannot overclock past 2.8Ghz regardless of the voltage you administer to it.

I didn't mean to imply all Core 2 Duos are great overclockers, I meant that, statistically, the Core 2 Duos have a higher overclock potential than the AMD X2s, so overclocking would be more in the favor of a Core 2 Duo, on average.

I personally would value the additional 2years warranty much more and I'm sure many others would as well. I wouldn't be impressed if I had bought the WD drive and have it die 4 years after I purchased it, knowing that I could have purchased a Seagate and they would have replaced the hard drive for peanuts.

Good point, but in 4 years you probably would want an excuse to get rid of your old mechanical drive and to get a nice cheap solid state drive. :)

The main points of rebates is to steal money. They are the exactly like gift cards. They cash in when people don't use the rebate, however they are given an additional chance to refuse your rebate for a minor issue. Rebates are never guaranteed money. Just because your experiences were great, doesn't mean everyone's will be. :)

All true, but there is a greater chance that you will receive your rebate than not. Think about it, if less than half of people got a rebate and for ridiculous reasons, there would be way too much backlash for companies to keep offering them. As long as you comply with the conditions of the rebate, it is very likely that you will receive the rebate.

Edited by stettybet0, 02 February 2008 - 02:35 AM.

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#15
hfcg

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Hello,
I am glad to see you doing a different build.
The idea is that some one with a basic knowledge of computers can get some ideas for their own build.
I would rather that some one get some ideas and make their own choices, so having several builds to look at will serve them better.
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