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First Homemade Project


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#1
gutterman

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Hey everyone,

I'm looking for your input on my process of building my own desktop. I was considering an iMac but being a power user, I'd like to tackle piecing my own equipment together.

I'm looking into the Western Digital Caviar line of Green Power SATA hard drives. Probably a 500GB - 1TB. The RAM will depend on what motherboard I get obviously. Now in terms of cases, I need to ensure that I buy one with SATA connections for the hard drive.

Here is where I'm a little lost:

What do you all recommend for power supplies and how to go about choosing one. The motherboard and processor I'm considering right now is
here. I'm thinking of going with the Core 2 Duo Quad Core paired up with that Intel Extreme Board.

Furthermore, do you all have any suggestions as to tackling the cooling systems?

I'm going to spend some time reading through other configurations, but I'm excited to start doing this. Any help is appreciated!!!
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#2
Troy

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Hi there,

I'm just wondering what your purposes are for this build? Is it going to be a gaming rig? Just describe "power user" in your terms. :)

That motherboard is an older chipset design, any particular reason for choosing it? Are you going to be using any of the extra features it offers over something cheaper - and still excellent - such as a Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L?

Your "Core 2 Duo Quad Core" processor is going to need to be refined, also. Do you mean a Core 2 Duo or a Core 2 Quad?

A power supply is a very important part of the build equation, I'm glad you're asking here. I believe you should be looking for one that has enough watts and amps to suit your build, and a high efficiency rating. In gaming builds, the graphics card requires the most power, so we generally match the PSU to the graphics card.

Cooling systems - unless you are going to be overclocking, the standard heatsink/fans and 2x 120mm case fans will be more than sufficient for most builds.

Cheers

Troy
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#3
gutterman

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My intentions are to be able to have a powerful rig capable of testing a wide range of software. Whether it be productivity or games. This means I want fluent use of applications such as those made by Adobe, while still being able to support games such as Crysis. (Never played or really investigated, but I understand this is a good benchmark game.)

I'm not too familiar with motherboard compatibility so I chose that because it worked with the Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Quad-Core Processor (2.40 GHz, 8M L2 Cache, LGA 775) What am I looking for here other than ethernet and basic I/O support? I did notice your recommendation, the Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L, didn't have an HDMI port. Would this be something provided by the graphics card?

With this information, perhaps you could provide some power supply options as well. When researching cases, I see that they all have at least the standard 120mm fans. Again, I know next to nother about fans. When I look at other case mods, the fans often are illuminated. I asked about selecting fans because I was assuming these were higher end fans. Do these look this way because of the illuminated wiring used, or am I correct in thinking these fans are "better."

I appreciate the suggestions so far. Keep 'em coming!!! I'm off to buy my Dremel and start considering a color scheme. Then it's time to start designing the case! I'm tempted to find a use for the Dremel Electric Engraver, do some entricate engraving on the case if possible.
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#4
Troy

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Hi again,

No the Gigabyte does not have onboard video, so it won't have any video output slots (including HDMI). What you're looking for depends on any specific needs you may have for connectivity. The motherboard I recommended is sufficient in most builds, and - I would say with the information you've given so far - yours included.

Your video card will have a DVI connection (usually two on newer ones), and you are able to purchase a DVI-HDMI adapter for full HD compatibility.

Some graphics cards come with a native HDMI port, although you have to search for these.

A case fan that lights up in colour has nothing to do with how good it is in terms of air-flow. If you do some research, you'll find some really good fans made by manufacturer's like Scythe and Noctua. These fans are better because of the design of their blades - length, angle, etc...

Lastly, I find it best to suggest the PSU as the last component, so we can take into account all parts used and calculate how much power will be required. I suggest that we start knocking off some other components first, and look at the PSU last.

So far, I'm seeing the following:
  • Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600
  • Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L
So there's a few more components yet before we have a complete build. :)

Cheers

Troy
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#5
gutterman

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Thanks Troy!

That gives me some great direction in picking some other parts. In the meantime, is there a comparable motherboard to the Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L that will support DDR2/3 and more than 8GB RAM? I am sure I'd be satisfied with about 4GB, but I'd like to see about pushing this a little more.

For the hard drive I'm looking at 500GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.11. I noticed that the Corsair is a popular compatible RAM, I'd probably go with that.

In regards to fans, I was just curious if that would effect cost. I browsed around and noticed how cheap they are. But thanks for the brand names, it helps a few stand out. What about fan controllers? Are they necessary? I was curious about liquid cooling and how much more effective that would be...

Appreciate the direction, thanks again!
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#6
Troy

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Hi again,

I'm starting to get a little confused here. Yes there are motherboards out that support DDR3, and there are also motherboards that have support for both DDR2 and DDR3 (not at the same time, though). However, the performance on DDR3 RAM has not yet given the yields that justify the high price and poor timings. A good set of high-speed, low-latency DDR2 RAM should be more than sufficient for this build. By the time DDR3 is worthy of use, it will most probably be another upgrade time for you (and me :)).

Can I ask why you would ever need so much RAM? 4GB is plenty for advanced users right now, and a waste on anybody else. If you really want 8GB, then I suggest grabbing one 2x 2GB kit first, and if you find that you're using all of it and need the rest, then grab another 2x 2GB kit of the same make/model of RAM. All you would need for this is a motherboard with 4 RAM slots, support for up to 8GB of RAM (or more), and an x64 operating system.

I like the Seagate 7200.11 hard drives, I believe this to be a good choice.

Yes, Corsair is one of many quality manufacturer's of RAM. Other brands include Patriot, GeIL, Mushkin, G.Skill, Crucial, Kingston, OCZ, and a few others that don't come to mind right now. However, each manufacturer has a few different ranges within their product lines, so be sure to research exactly what your needs are, what capabilities your motherboard supports, and match these together.

Case fans are just that, case fans. They blow and help keep things cool inside. But of course, good in-case airflow is absolutely crucial to the well-being of a desktop system. Even if you have the best fans in the world - if they're set up wrong, they could be causing air to "pocket" inside the case, potentially allowing a component to overheat when otherwise it would not.

Liquid cooling is very effective, but it must be done right. This is one of those "Go all out, or go home" scenarios. Unless you're prepared to spend hundreds of dollars on a high-end water cooling system, you could end up damaging your system (leaking pipes, poor quality materials etc...). A good heatsink/fan setup is fine for most systems.

Cheers

Troy
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