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#1
kingcole

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I don't pretend to know a whole lot, so before I pull the trigger on purchasing anything, I wanted to get some critiques from people who really do know what they're doing. Any help is greatly appreciated!

Here it is: (No laughing if I misunderstood something and this won't actually build a computer, but a microwave)

Case: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16811156062
Monitor: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16824001268
Hard Drive: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16822136218
MoBo: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813131320
CPU: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16819103773
RAM: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820227289
Keyboard: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16823107120
Mouse: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16826105026
OS: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16832116488
Optical Drives: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16827106082
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16827135151

And... I think that's all. Again, if anyone who knows this stuff can help me out, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Edited by kingcole, 04 October 2008 - 03:39 PM.

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#2
Troy

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Hi kingcole, welcome to Geeks to Go! :)

For not too much more, you could get this good little AMD Quad Core processor, instead of that aging 6000+.

Here you can get a great DVD Burner for very cheap. I suggest just grabbing this one over two DVD ROMs.

And lastly, you'll need a PSU. The one that comes with the case does not count, in my opinion. I strongly urge you to budget for a decent PSU. If you are looking to get a case and PSU combo, then the only ones I recommend are from Antec. This one is great quality, and cheaper.

Other than that, it's a good-looking microwave system!

Cheers

Troy
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#3
kingcole

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Troy,
Hey, thanks so much for writing!
As far as what you said, do you think it's worth it to add a couple of cores and lower the processor speed? (The Windsor I had picked out was dual core at 3 GHz, and this new one Quad Core at 2.3) It's also a bit pricier, which is never fun. Haha.

I've heard great things about that Antec Case from others, too. The only reason I went with the Raidmax instead was that it seemed to have better air circulation with the same power supply, I suppose all power supplies are not created equally, and how easy it seemed to assemble and tweak the Raidmax case. I don't really care so much about the bells and whistles of side windows and LEDs. But you reckon that the cooling is adequate on the Antec Case without getting a separate cooling system? Were I to look into a separate case and PSU, do you have any recommendations for pretty sweet deals?

Final thoughts... I wonder, is the heat sink and fan that is included with some processors, at least both of them that have been mentioned here, good enough to do the job without getting a CPU cooler? Also, the processor you suggested says it is AM2+, and I read that there are limitations with that set up and DDR2 1066. I don't know what that means, but I don't think it's good.

Anyway, thanks for your help, Troy, hope to hear back from you again!
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#4
wannabe1

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I just finished a build using the AMD 9950 Phenom Quad Core. It's a little faster than the one mentioned above, but is considerably slower than the dual core I replaced with it. While the dual core had a faster clock (3.2GHz), the 9950 running at stock clock speeds (2.6GHz) out performs the dual core dramatically. It will give you way higher calculations per second which is where it's at when you're after performance.

I'm also running 4GB of Corsair DDR2 1066 RAM and it's running without problem at that speed. I did have to punch up the voltage slightly to 2.21v to achieve the 5-5-5-15-2T latency values I was after. To take full advantage of the 4GB dual channel RAM, you'll need to install a 64bit operating system. 32bit systems will only utilize 3.2 to 3.5GB.

I installed in the Antec Nine Hundred case with stock fans...The Sonata III with it's single 120mm case fan will not cut it for cooling your system as designed. If Troy disagrees, I have one I'll sell him dirt cheap. I would advise a larger cpu cooler, too, as the stock cooler will not take the quad core much below 50*C. I've ordered a Zalman 92mm to see if it will reduce the load temperatures a little. I tried a large ASUS cooler........don't waste your money...it looks great, but it only dropped 3* off the stock AMD cooler temps.

Troy's advice on power supplies is right on the mark...I use Corsair PSU's. They are powerful, efficient, and stable.

One word of caution...if you go with the quad core, make sure that the Mainboard BIOS will support this chip. I had to update the BIOS on my ASUS M3N-HT Deluxe mainboard with a dual core installed before it would recognize the Phenom chip. Check the documentation for the mobo and check the manufacturer's website to be doubly sure the chip is supported and how to update the BIOS if it's not.
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#5
kingcole

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Wow, that sounds like some rig you're building. It also sounds like the quad core is worth the extra few bucks. I definitely don't plan on overclocking anything, so I appreciate you letting me know how they perform at stock.

The 64-bit OS is something I had planned on doing, so it's nice to know my RAM will go to good use.

The Antec Nine Hundred sounds great. My only concern would be the fact that it isn't a toolless set up, and I am not much of a handyman or much of a computer man (though I'm trying to learn!). You think the fact that it requires a little more assembly should be any sort of turnoff?

It sounds like I'm getting a separate power supply, haha. I have heard many good things about Corsair, but what do you think about the size of the supply? I don't do a whole lot of gaming, mostly just watching DVD's and doing a little bit of video and music editing. Is 500W plenty, or will the quad core require a boosted PSU?

Finally, that BIOS bit went right over my head, sorry! Think you could put that in laymen's terms? Or, if you know some decent MoBo's that can handle a quad core, any suggestions? I've been sticking mostly to ASUS at the suggestions of others thus far.

Oh my, this is becoming a bit more expensive than I had originally thought. Might have to save up some more, haha.

Thanks a lot, you guys!
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#6
wannabe1

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If you can run a screwdriver, you should have no problem with the Antec Nine Hundred. It's actually very easy to build in...and the manual is well written.

I used the Corsair HX620W (620 Watt) modular power supply, but I'm running two video cards in SLI so really wanted the extra power available. You should be able to get by just fine on 500 Watts.

ASUS makes a good board...no doubt about it. The BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) is what tells your machine how to start and what hardware is aboard. If it can't see your processor, the machine won't start. I checked the specs on the board you've chosen and it does, indeed, support the quad core processors...you should have no problems there.
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#7
kingcole

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Awesome.
Well, I think I've run out of questions. Thanks a lot, you guys, you were a huge help. I'll definitely be writing again if I end up retooling something (which I will, because I can't help playing around with things).

Take it easy!
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#8
wannabe1

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Our pleasure... :)

Good luck and have fun with your build!
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#9
kingcole

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Alright, so I told you I would tool around with it. :)

After taking into consideration the quad core processor, separate power supply and case, and the fact that most builds include separate video and sound cards, I pretty much built a new spec sheet from scratch. Had to reevaluate my budget a little bit, too. Sadface. Haha, this is sad, I know, but for somebody who has never been much into computers I'm becoming rapidly obsessed.

So here's the new specs. I'm a little worried about compatibility, especially between motherboard and processor, and I am tempted to look into a 24" monitor, but they're all much more expensive. (For good reason, full HD is a lot better than not, but do I really need 1080p on my desktop?)

Case: NZXT Tempest (chosen over Antec Six Hundred for equal cooling but with included dust filters, and a lower base price.) http://www.newegg.co...N82E16811146047
PSU: Antec Earthwatts EA500 500W http://www.newegg.co...N82E16817371007
CPU: AMD Phenom 9850 Black Edition 2.5GHz Quad Core http://www.newegg.co...N82E16819103249
HD: Western Digital Caviar SE16 640GB (same as before) http://www.newegg.co...N82E16822136218
MoBo: This is where I have some concerns, but it's highly rated and affordable. Foxconn A78AX-S http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813186147
RAM: OCZ Platinum 4GB(2X2GB) http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820227298
Sound Card: HT Omega Striker 7.1 I run a 2.1 System right now, but hey, why not overkill when it's cheap? http://www.newegg.co...N82E16829271001
Video Card: EVGA GeForce 8600 GT Again, big concern is that it's listed as DDR3 memory, which none of my other parts support. That a problem? http://www.newegg.co...N82E16814130085
Optical Drives: I upgraded to a BluRay reader (why not?) and a Combo DVD/CD burner. http://www.newegg.co...N82E16827106082
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16827106227
Keyboard & Mouse: Same, cheap and highly rated.
Monitor: Tempted to upgrade to 24", but they're all very pricey, and this is a highly rated steal for 22". Hanns-G Hi-221DPB
OS: Windows 64-Bit Vista Home Premium. Can someone take a look at this and tell me if it is in fact the OS and not just the Service Pack? That would suck. http://www.newegg.co...N82E16832116488

So, that's all I've got. ...Again. Haha.

Anyway, You guys have been great before! And by before, I mean in the past couple of days. I can't stay away! Thanks for any help.
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#10
wannabe1

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You again............. :)

If you go with that Foxconn board, you won't be able to run a processor newer than the Phenom 9650...that according to the Foxconn compatibility list. I'd put more of your budget towards the mainboard anyway. Think of it this way...the backbone of your computer system is the platform (mainboard, processor, and memory). This is the area you want to get the best you can afford. Next in importance is the support hardware (GPU, PSU, HDD)...purchase these items depending on the intended use. If you're into gaming, you'll want to put a little higher priority on the GPU and PSU. Then comes the case, cpu cooler, extra fans, etc.

Phenom chips come with a pretty beefy cooler if you get the retail version CPU, so you may not need a larger CPU cooler if the case you choose is well enough ventilated. Phenoms also do not generate much more heat than a dual core so long as it's not too aggressively overclocked. I've found that the Phenom I have actually runs best with a minimal (3%) overclock...more than that and it gets a little flaky when it's used hard.

The DDR3 memory on your video card runs independently of your system RAM and will not present any problems.

Yes, that's the operating system...not the service pack. It's Vista Home Premium x64 with SP1, but it's an OEM version so your OS will be legally tied to the hardware you originally install it on.

That's my two cents worth...Troy will likely comment as well, though I think he may be a bit more partial to intel platforms.
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#11
Troy

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Hi there,

Just a quick suggestion - you'll find this video card for similar money, will give you better performance. :)

I probably did not give the cooling enough consideration when I recommended that case/PSU combo - I was thinking more about the PSU at the time. :) I agree that a case with more cooling potential should be on the cards. The Antec 900 does have great cooling, it definitely could be a case to consider.

Even so, I'll be happy to take that other case off your hands, wannabe1. If I send you $5 AUD, that should be enough to cover purchase, shipping, and handling to Australia? :)

Troy

EDIT: Well I've got more to say on this topic!

Reviews I've been reading (particularly in local tech magazines) have been saying that the AMD quad-cores are really starting to blossom performance-wise. That, and the fact that I don't have hands-on experience with them yet, mean that I'm more than happy to recommend an AMD system. Wannabe1 voting for it makes it that much more so.

If you are looking at buying a PSU and case separate, then there's probably a better PSU choice out there, also. While the Earthwatts is a good unit - especially when combined with a case combo - there are better units out there. Some of the Corsairs (as wannabe1 mentioned) are excellent, and I would place them a notch above the Earthwatts units (although you'll find they are more expensive).

Edited by Troy, 06 October 2008 - 05:44 PM.

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#12
kingcole

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Yeah, I was afraid of that motherboard problem. Gonna switch over to the ASUS M3N78 PRO http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813131320

Switched over to that other video card, too, Troy. I can't actually tell, so I'll assume you're right when you say it performs better. :)

I know monitors are mostly a matter of preference, but do you have any experience with/think it is worth it to upgrade to a Full HD 24" display, considering the substantial increase in price? I've never worked on anything but my MacBook screen (which is small) and really, REALLY low quality CRT's. I mean... bad. *Shudder*

Also, about that OEM Vista. Do you mean it will automatically license itself to the first computer it's booted up to? Because I can live with that, assuming I plan on using the same computer for a while. Which I'd better, because that would be an expensive hobby to develop otherwise.

Finally, a little bit about Motherboards. They're about the only thing I haven't been able to wrap my head around. The biggest thing are the chipsets. MoBo's come with onboard video and audio chips, right? But then you can buy separate chips, so do the onboard chips (North and South Bridge?) really matter? And do all boards allow for the installation/replacement of chips? There's more than that I don't understand, but I'll start with that.
Thanks!
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#13
wannabe1

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Motherboard architecture can be pretty complex.

While the chipset does route the audio and video signals, that is not their only purpose. As the name implies, they are bridging circuits that tie the different parts of the motherboard together...they provide the connections between the CPU and RAM to the rest of the motherboard circuitry. That being the case, you can see that the chipset is, indeed, an important part of the board.

Even when you add a video or audio card, they will tie in to the CPU and RAM through the North/South bridge circuitry. A video card that sports it's own memory will utilize that rather than system memory, but it will still use the bridging through the chipset for access to the CPU.

With the ASUS board you've listed, you probably won't need a sound card. The onboard sound on the M3N series boards is pretty impressive when connected as Hi Definition Audio.

When you activate an OEM operating system, it's registered to the hardware it's installed on and must stay with that machine...you can't install it on another machine should you sell yours. You can upgrade the machine in steps and eventually end up with a new machine, but it will have to be done in steps and will likely, at some point, require a phone call to Microsoft in order to activate. Sounds rough, but MS is actually pretty easy to deal with...usually it's all done electronically without even having to speak with an actual person.

Monitors are, indeed, a personal preference. I use a 19" WS LCD, but wish I had at least a 22". Go to a local computer store and look at a few monitors before you make up your mind.

Clear as mud?
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#14
Troy

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I would recommend grabbing the largest high-quality monitor your budget will allow.

If you will be watching high-definition movies on it, then definitely go for one that allows for high-definition resolution (commonly 24" +). I have a strong preference to Samsung LCD monitors, they are by far my favourite. Other good ones can include LG, Viewsonic, Dell, and ASUS.

And yes, you can have clear mud. :)

Troy
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