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My First Computer Build


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#1
swiveldemon

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Hey,

So I'm a first-timer at building a computer, and I was hoping to get some advice from such venerable experts as yourselves. Right now I think I have a pretty good idea of what to do, however I just wanted to make sure that all the parts I have slated for my current build are compatible.

I decided to go the AMD route, but probably will look at a similar Intel build.

Here is what I have planned so far:

Motherboard: ASUS M2N-SLI Deluxe AM2 NVIDIA nForce 570 SLI MCP ATX AMD Motherboard

HD: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

Memory: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-4GBPQ

Processor: AMD Phenom 9850 BLACK EDITION 2.5GHz Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Processor Model HD985ZXAGHBOX

Optical Drive: SAMSUNG 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model SH-S203N

Graphics Card: EVGA 512-P3-N801-AR GeForce 8800 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card

Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card

Wireless Card: EDIMAX EW-7128G PCI Wireless Card (included this b/c, oddly enough, the wireless network in my dorm is much faster than the wired)

Case: COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW Black Aluminum Bezel , SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Power Supply: APEVIA ATX-CW500WP4 500W ATX Power Supply

Monitor: Acer AL2216Wbd Black 22" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor with HDCP support

Any suggestions beyond mere compatibility would also be appreciated
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#2
steveie85ca

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The first thing I would do is stay away from Asus motherboards, G. Skill RAM and AMD processors, and Apevia power supplys. Here are a list of some diffrent components I recomend:

Motherboards

GIGABYTE GA-P35-S3G LGA 775 Intel P35

or

Intel BOXDP35DPM LGA 775 Intel P35

Processors

Intel Core 2 Duo E4600 Allendale 2.4GHz

or

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz

RAM

Kingston 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 400 (PC2 3200)

or

CORSAIR XMS2 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)

Power Supply Unit

Thermaltake Purepower W0100RU 500W ATX 12V 2.0 Power Supply

or

CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX 550W ATX12V V2.2 Power Supply

As a note, your power supply should be large enough to be able to accept upgrades to the system later. If you plan to do heavy duty gaming I would go with a bigger power supply. Also Windows Vista requires min. 512MB of ram, but it is highly recomended you go with 1GB or more. I recomend nothing less then 2GB on home prem. systems and 4 GB for ultimate.
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#3
swiveldemon

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I see, point noted on the power supply. I think I will probably be changing that from what you say about upgradability. Also, I should mention that I do not plan on running Vista on this computer. I will be running Ubuntu Linux, with a possible dual boot into xp.

Beyond that, thanks or the warnings on Asus, G.Skill, and AMD. Though, what exactly is the reason these manufacturers should be black-listed? For example AMD is a rather trusted name in processors, so I'm dubious as to whether I really should be swapping an AMD Quad-core for a less powerful Intel dual core.

I guess I'll make my questions more specific, to hopefully draw out some more specific responses.

1) My sound card is PCI 2.1, whereas my motherboard is simply listed as having 2 PCI Express x16, 2 PCI Express x1, and 3 PCI slots. Is this compatible?

2) I had a friend who built a computer, and he actually had to buy a new part because of a compatibility issue between a 128-bit part an a 64-bit part. What exactly should I be wary of in regards to this?

3) I have also heard that you can have problems if your RAM is rated for one voltage range and your motherboard is rated for another range. Will I be alright with this? (My current G.Skill RAM is rated for 1.8-1.9V, though I am having a heck of a time finding what my motherboard is putting out)

4) Lastly, I mentioned this is the first post, but what are people's thoughts on Blu-ray? I definitely want to use this machine for some media purposes, however I'm not so sure I want to fork over the extra dough when DVD will work just fine.

Thanks again, hope to hear back from somebody soon!
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#4
baseballstud1547

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Here is a nice set up that only costs 1500

Case - Coolermaster Cosmos 1000 -- $200.00
Motherboard - NVIDIA nForce 780i -- $250.00
CPU - Intel Q9300 2.5GHz Quad-Core -- $270.00
RAM - 2GB Corsair PC8500 DDR2 -- $100.00
Video Card - Nvidia GeForce 9800GTX -- $300.00
Power Supply - Antec TruePower Quattro 850 Watt -- $200.00
CPU Fan - Zalman 9700NT -- $65.00
Hard Drive - Western Digital 500GB SE16 SATA -- $90.00
Optical Drive - Lite-On 20X SATA DVD R/W -- $25.00


It is a personal pref when it comes to the mobo and proc, but I would stay away from the apevia power supply. Amd is behind intel in the proc area, so if you are wanting solid performance go with intel.
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#5
steveie85ca

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First don't buy an OEM processor. You can get a retail one that has the fan/heatsink for the same price as an OEM. Intel dual cores are just as powerful as AMD quad cores. AMD has not perfected there technology. Not to mention Intel's are cheaper. Is suggest an Gigabyte, MSI or Intel motherboard. The only 2 power supply units I would recomend buying is a Thermaltake or Crossair. They are comparable in price to the cheap generic ones but will last 10x's as long. As for the ram issue, most if not all ram is rated 1.8-1.9V and most if not all mobo's are rated that. What I do when I am putting togther a list of parts for a client build is start with the case and mobo and go from there. All new mobo's wil have PCI 2.1 ompliant ports. You really only have to worry about that if you are using a new PCI card with an old mobo. As for the other ports, they are diffrent sizes, and you can buy cards to go in them. As for the blu-ray, in a matter of a couple years, most if not all DVD's will be Blu-ray, and most if not all computers will have blu-ray players/burners.
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#6
james_8970

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Beyond that, thanks or the warnings on Asus, G.Skill, and AMD.

I'm not sure what lead steveie85ca to this conclusion, but either way, it's completely false. There is absolutly nothing wrong with any of these manufactures. He was correct to state that the PSU you had originally selected needed to be changed.

The only 2 power supply units I would recomend buying is a Thermaltake or Crossair.

Thermaltake is hit and miss in the PSU department, I wouldn't generalize and state that they are all good. They make some very poor power supplies, but on the other hand they make some decent ones as well.

As for the ram issue, most if not all ram is rated 1.8-1.9V and most if not all mobo's are rated that.

The default voltage is 1.8V for DDR2, but I've seen it go all the way up to 2.3V for advertised timings/frequencies on certain kits. Unless you have a motherboard manufactured for 3rd party builders (Dell, HP etc.), your motherboard will be able to adjust the voltages to what you need, assuming you (OP) know how to adjust things within the BIOS.

I will be running Ubuntu Linux, with a possible dual boot into xp.

If you plan on playing games, you MUST have a dual boot with either Vista or XP if I plan on using Linux. There are no Linux distros to date that support the DX9 or DX10 API from microsoft, which is required in 90%+ games.

3) I have also heard that you can have problems if your RAM is rated for one voltage range and your motherboard is rated for another range. Will I be alright with this? (My current G.Skill RAM is rated for 1.8-1.9V, though I am having a heck of a time finding what my motherboard is putting out)

Are you familar with the BIOS?

OP, what is your budget for this build? Do you intend on overclocking?
Jaems

Edited by james_8970, 22 July 2008 - 03:00 PM.

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#7
stettybet0

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If you plan on playing games, you MUST have a dual boot with either Vista or XP if I plan on using Linux. There are no Linux distros to date that support the DX9 or DX10 API from microsoft, which is required in 90%+ games.

I'm not sure how familiar you are with the Linux scene, but both Wine and Cedega can be used to play many DirectX games on Linux.
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#8
james_8970

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I worded that really wrong..... They can play the games, but from what I have seen, the performance hit is fairly large (primarily due to driver support) and unreliable at times, therefore I strongly urge anyone to game exclusively on Windows for best results. If I knew of a distro that had a performance rating within 10% of windows (for games), I'd be all over it.
James

Edited by james_8970, 23 July 2008 - 12:37 AM.

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#9
swiveldemon

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Thanks for all of the advice!

So I've changed the power supply, and right now I'm going with one of the options steveie85ca offered.

Current AMD Build:

Motherboard: ASUS M2N-SLI Deluxe AM2 NVIDIA nForce 570 SLI MCP ATX AMD Motherboard

HD: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

Memory: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-4GBPQ

Processor: AMD Phenom 9850 BLACK EDITION 2.5GHz Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Processor Model HD985ZXAGHBOX

Optical Drive: SAMSUNG 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model SH-S203N

Graphics Card: EVGA 512-P3-N801-AR GeForce 8800 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card

Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card

Wireless Card: EDIMAX EW-7128G PCI Wireless Card

Case: COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW Black Aluminum Bezel , SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Power Supply: CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX 550W ATX12V V2.2 Power Supply 90 - 264 V UL, CUL, CE, CB, FCC Class B, TUV, CCC, C-tick - Retail l

Monitor: Acer AL2216Wbd Black 22" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor with HDCP support


Ok, where to begin...

Hmm... I guess I'll have to take a more serious look at running xp now. However, thanks for the tip stettybet(). If need be at least I know I can game on Linux.

I am actually not very familiar with BIOS at all. I was planning on just reading up on this before I started my build/installed an os.

I have thought a bit about overclocking, however I am not at all experienced at it. Would you recommend it? I could probably pretty easily learn.

Honestly, I could go all out and it would not really matter in regards to price. I've got a great summer job and I could pay for the current build seven-fold (not bragging, I'm just new to the whole having money thing). That said, I definitely do not want to spend too much , as the money I have now pretty much has to last me the next 8-9 months (I'm a full-time student). I would say I really would not want to pay any more than $1300 (not counting the os), though I could be swayed to go over if you all convince that I absolutely have to have the next best thing in a certain part.

Also in regards to processors, I am aware that Intel is ahead of AMD in the processor game these days. However, AMD seemed to have the more affordable Quad core so I just went with that. However, I am not so sure that I am adamant about having a Quad-core. That's why I decided to try out a very similar build except this time Intel and a dual core. I am actually leaning more towards this, as I'm not sure I really will get a whole lot of use out of 4 cores. Might as well get a blazing fast dual core instead, you know? Anyways, here is my current idea for an intel build. Thoughts on this would also be appreciated.

To steveie85ca: Is there a difference between what Newegg lists as "retail" and what is actually retail?. I was under the impression that Newegg specified whether a part was oem or retail. the only reason I ask is because the processor I have, the AMD Phenom 9850 is listed as retail...

Motherboard: EVGA 122-CK-NF68-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

HD: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

Memory: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-4GBPQ

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80570E8400 - Retail

Optical Drive: SAMSUNG 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model SH-S203N

Graphics Card: EVGA 512-P3-N801-AR GeForce 8800 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card

Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card

Wireless Card: EDIMAX EW-7128G PCI Wireless Card

Case: COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW Black Aluminum Bezel , SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Power Supply: Thermaltake Purepower W0100RU 500W ATX 12V 2.0 Power Supply 115/ 230 V UL, CUL, TUV, FCC, and CB certification - Retail

Monitor: Acer AL2216Wbd Black 22" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor with HDCP support

Brevity is not my strongest trait, as you can tell. Thank for the help!
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#10
steveie85ca

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If it is listed as OEM then it is OEM. Newegg is really good at telling you if its retail or OEM. I like the second one with the exception of the RAM and motherboard. As for overclocking, I wouldn't do it. If you do, you will void the warrnty on all of your parts. What type of router(if any) do you plan on using? If its a Dlink, then I would get a Dlink card, and the same for Linksys, Belkin and all the others.

To james_8907, as for why I say G.skill is flaky, is because in the last year, I have seen at least 50 sticks of of it come in that are less then one year old and died for no apparent reason. Also there support is to be desired. They would not replace it or refund the customers money even if it was proven by a third party to be bad RAM. I use Thermaltake in 85% of my builds and have had 0 come back dead for any reason other then they were zapped by lightining, that can not be blamed on Thermaltake. By the way, I do at least 20 builds a week and have been in business for over 2 years. As for ASUS, they are over priced and very weak. Why spend $250 on an ASUS board when you can buy a good Intel, MSI or Gigabyte board for $100-$150? Don't make sense to me!
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#11
james_8970

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If it is listed as OEM then it is OEM.

Yes, but I think you are getting a little confused with AMDs CPUs. The black edition CPUs are retail sets, they just do not come with a heatsink as AMD assumes you'd want a aftermarket heatsink if you wanted the unlocked multiplier.

To james_8907, as for why I say G.skill is flaky, is because in the last year, I have seen at least 50 sticks of of it come in that are less then one year old and died for no apparent reason.

I think there's a bit of an overexaggeration, either way, G.Skill is highly regarded across the web and my experience has been far better then your own. There support does leave more to be desired, but that goes without saying for other manufactures as well. If you want the best support, I'd give Mushkin a try. I've been nothing but thrilled with their support over the last little while.

I use Thermaltake in 85% of my builds and have had 0 come back dead for any reason other then they were zapped by lightining, that can not be blamed on Thermaltake.

Never said they had quality control issues. Corsair, Silverstone, PC P&C all offer PSUs that exceed Thermaltakes standards in terms of rail stability and efficiency.

As for ASUS, they are over priced and very weak. Why spend $250 on an ASUS board when you can buy a good Intel, MSI or Gigabyte board for $100-$150? Don't make sense to me!

It all depends what you are doing with your build. If I were do adjust settings and tweak my system, Intels motherboards would be the last place I'd look. While they are rock stable, they don't offer many options to tweak your system. I don't know what you mean by Asus' motherboards are weak, cause they are not. You get what you pay for and Asus offers a little extra. That being said, DFI still reigns supreme in terms of extra settings and controls.



I have thought a bit about overclocking, however I am not at all experienced at it. Would you recommend it? I could probably pretty easily learn.

Yes I do recommend it if you are purchasing a E8400 processor. That being said, read lots and ask questions prior to making adjustments to your system.

Unless you plan on going SLI in the future, I encourage you to purchase a P35 chipset motherboard, such as the P35-DS3L. If you have a little extra cash, I'd suggest something with a little more omph, as the P35-DS3L will max out the FSB too early for the E8400.
James

Edited by james_8970, 23 July 2008 - 12:34 AM.

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#12
steveie85ca

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I think there's a bit of an overexaggeration, either way, G.Skill is highly regarded across the web and my experience has been far better then your own. There support does leave more to be desired, but that goes without saying for other manufactures as well. If you want the best support, I'd give Mushkin a try. I've been nothing but thrilled with their support over the last little while.


No exageration here. Kingston has the best support. They actually belive the computer techs that call with issues.

Yes, but I think you are getting a little confused with AMDs CPUs. The black edition CPUs are retail sets, they just do not come with a heatsink as AMD assumes you'd want a aftermarket heatsink if you wanted the unlocked multiplier.


That is why I will never buy or recomend an AMD. Esp. to a first time builder.

It all depends what you are doing with your build. If I were do adjust settings and tweak my system, Intels motherboards would be the last place I'd look. While they are rock stable, they don't offer many options to tweak your system. I don't know what you mean by Asus' motherboards are weak, cause they are not. You get what you pay for and Asus offers a little extra. That being said, DFI still reigns supreme in terms of extra settings and controls.


That is your opinion. I know lots of tech's that use Intel boards, and they have absolutly no problem.
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#13
james_8970

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That is your opinion. I know lots of tech's that use Intel boards, and they have absolutly no problem.

They are great boards, probably among the best if you like stock frequencies but not what you want to look for, if you wish to overclock.

Kingston has the best support. They actually belive the computer techs that call with issues.

Debatable, I'm continually amazed by Mushkin's support. Though I haven't dealt with Kingston, so it's really hard to say which is the best of the bunch.
James

Edited by james_8970, 23 July 2008 - 12:35 AM.

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#14
swiveldemon

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Hey all,

Thought I'd give you an update on the builds and see what you think of them in their current state:

Just so you know, here are some notable changes I made:

-Changed the amd build's motherboard.

-Changed the graphics card from NVIDIA 8800 to ATI HD4850, due to recommendations that ATI has the better card.

-Changed the power supply to a 600W, to be on the safe side.

-I decided to do away with the sound card. I think I will be just fine with the onboard audio.

So here are the builds (I removed some of the no-brainers (monitor, wireless card, optical drive) from the descriptions below just to save typing):


AMD Build:

Motherboard:GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-DS4 AM2+/AM2 AMD 790X ATX Ultra Durable II AMD Motherboard - Retail

HD: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

Memory: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-4GBPQ

Processor: AMD Phenom 9950 BLACK EDITION 2.6GHz Socket AM2+ 140W Quad-Core Processor Model HD995ZFAGHBOX - Retail

Graphics Card: MSI R4850-T2D512 Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail

Case: COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW Black Aluminum Bezel , SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Power Supply:OCZ GameXStream OCZ600GXSSLI 600W ATX12V Power Supply - Retail


Intel Build:

Motherboard:EVGA 122-CK-NF68-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

HD: Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

Memory: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-4GBPQ

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80570E8400 - Retail

Graphics Card: MSI R4850-T2D512 Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail

Case: COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UW Black Aluminum Bezel , SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Power Supply:OCZ GameXStream OCZ600GXSSLI 600W ATX12V Power Supply - Retail


Now, I have a few questions in regards to these two builds.

-If you noticed, the processor for the AMD build is a little different. this is because while changing the graphics card, I also noticed that it came in a combo deal with the AMD Phenom 9950 2.6GHz. It's only slightly better than the 9850 (which was part of the previous build), but with the combo deal it's the same price. I only have two concerns. First, this won't void any mail-in rebates right? Second, the 9950 is significantly less reviewed on newEgg, so I'm a little worried that it might not be as reliable as the 9850. Hopefully these worries are unfounded. However, the 9950 does not come with a cooling system, whereas the 9850 does. Thoughts on what I should choose?

-In regard to the Phenom cooling systems, one of you mentioned that it does not come with a cooling system, and that I would have to buy after-market. However, on newegg for the 9850 it says it does have a heat sink and fan included. Can you maybe clarify? Maybe you're confusing it with the 9950...

-Lastly, the motherboard for the Intel build features Nvidia Nforce, however my graphics card is ATI. Will this cause any compatibility/performance issues?

Thanks, I think I'm closing in...
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#15
kamille316

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-Lastly, the motherboard for the Intel build features Nvidia Nforce, however my graphics card is ATI. Will this cause any compatibility/performance issues?

Thanks, I think I'm closing in...

Yes it will work fine, however it will be cost effective if you just buy a P35 or P45 board since you are using an ATI card. The 680i motherboard's main feature (hence the higher cost) is to be able to use 2 Nvidia card to enable SLI and since you're using an ATI card, you won't be able to take advantage of this feature. A P35 or P45 board are usually in the $100 range and will be more adequate for your build.

Kamille

Edited by kamille316, 23 July 2008 - 02:55 PM.

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