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First time builder, need parts suggestions.


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#16
L.Martofel

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A few things:

This Gigabyte board is nearly identical to the one you were looking at, except it has an HDMI port, which I believe you said you wanted. You won't "lose" anything by going with Gigabyte. They make terrific mid-range motherboards.

The 750W Corsair, while a terrific PSU, is overkill for this build. Going with a low-end video card (such as the 9600GT), or possibly no video card if you get a motherboard with built-in HDMI, means you won't need that much power. This 500W OCZ PSU will be more than capable, is much cheaper, and is modular, which will help your case look nice and tidy.

You say that you want to get another hard drive so that when you reinstall the OS, you won't lose data. You could just create a partition on the hard drive you already have (which basically makes it so that the system "sees" two hard drives).

Also, any particular reason AMD has been chosen for this build? Similarly-priced Intel CPUs will encode/render faster than the AMD CPUs you are looking at.


Awesome! I've never built a PC before, and I was unsure of how much power would be enough. That saves me a good amount of money!! I'm more than likely going to be able to have all my parts ready by the end of this month for assembly.

I definitely was thinking about a mobo with onboard video since I don't do hardly any gaming at all, but

Reason why I'm going AMD instead of similar priced Intel is that I plan on OC'ing (eventually). Aren't most of Intel's chips shipped with a locked multiplier? I was originally looking at the Core i7 920 simply because it's unlocked.

Now, as far as rendering goes, I didn't know that the Intel chips render faster than the AMDs. Before I go out and spend my money on an AMD setup, would you be able to show me a really good Intel setup for about the same price that I'm looking at already (or possibly cheaper)? My main concern is not so much future-proofing, but future delaying. I want to be able to seamlessly play HD video (which is why I wanted an HDMI port, for when I eventually get a 1080p TV). I also want to speed up DVD authoring and burning (which takes 4 hours for a decent quality 2 1/2 hour DVD currently with my P4 3.2gHz.)

Anyway, all of your help is appreciated. If you can find me good quality cheaper alternatives for some of my parts, or if I'm too much into overkill, I'm open to suggestion.
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#17
stettybet0

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I could definitely come up with an Intel build for you, but first I have a few questions:

What parts do you already have?
What is your budget for the remaining parts?
Do you have a MicroCenter nearby?

Also, I feel I should mention that an unlocked multiplier isn't necessary for overclocking. With most CPUs, you can overclock by raising the FSB (or the equivalent, as not all CPUs have a true FSB). The reason an unlocked multiplier is desirable is that, with most motherboards, the FSB speed is linked to the RAM speed. As you raise the FSB speed, you'll also be raising the RAM speed, and thus, your RAM may be the limiting factor in your overclock. You can avoid this with an unlocked multiplier, or with a motherboard that doesn't link the FSB to the RAM (such as boards with nForce chipsets). However, unless you will be doing really extreme overclocks, you should be able to get satisfactory results as long as you get decent RAM.
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#18
L.Martofel

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I could definitely come up with an Intel build for you, but first I have a few questions:

What parts do you already have?
What is your budget for the remaining parts?
Do you have a MicroCenter nearby?

Also, I feel I should mention that an unlocked multiplier isn't necessary for overclocking. With most CPUs, you can overclock by raising the FSB (or the equivalent, as not all CPUs have a true FSB). The reason an unlocked multiplier is desirable is that, with most motherboards, the FSB speed is linked to the RAM speed. As you raise the FSB speed, you'll also be raising the RAM speed, and thus, your RAM may be the limiting factor in your overclock. You can avoid this with an unlocked multiplier, or with a motherboard that doesn't link the FSB to the RAM (such as boards with nForce chipsets). However, unless you will be doing really extreme overclocks, you should be able to get satisfactory results as long as you get decent RAM.


Ok, parts I already have:

Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB HD

Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case


Now, I was planning on buying piece by piece, gathering info as I go, saving the big ticket items until bonus time (which is mid september). I should have enough cash to purchase everything by the end of the month. The budget for the remaining parts is +/- $400-$500 depending on the size of the bonus and whether or not I can buy add'l pieces later. I'm planning on either getting the PSU or the RAM this coming weekend, and then going from there.

And, sadly, I don't have a microcenter near me. I get their newsletter all the time, and see that most of their specials are in store only.

I'd like to know what the upside of the Intel based system over the AMD based system is, or if it's more of a preference thing. I'm trying to be price conscious as we go, and as everyone else feels, I'm sure, I'd like the most bang for the least buck.
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#19
stettybet0

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Alright, well here's an Intel build:

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-G41M-ES2H
CPU: Intel Q9550
RAM: mushkin 4GB Kit
PSU: OCZ 500W PSU

Total: $387.96 after mail-in rebates (not including shipping or tax, if applicable)

The upside of this build is that the Q9550 outperforms the AMD CPUs you were considering in just about everything. :)

Also, you will also need an optical drive and an operating system. You didn't include those in your previous builds, so I assumed you had those as well. I also assumed that a monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, etc. weren't necessary for the same reason.

If you have any questions, let me know.
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#20
L.Martofel

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Alright, well here's an Intel build:

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-G41M-ES2H
CPU: Intel Q9550
RAM: mushkin 4GB Kit
PSU: OCZ 500W PSU

Total: $387.96 after mail-in rebates (not including shipping or tax, if applicable)

The upside of this build is that the Q9550 outperforms the AMD CPUs you were considering in just about everything. :)

Also, you will also need an optical drive and an operating system. You didn't include those in your previous builds, so I assumed you had those as well. I also assumed that a monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, etc. weren't necessary for the same reason.

If you have any questions, let me know.


I'm planning on cannibalizing my current desktop for my optical drive. As far as OS goes, I was planning on going with Ubuntu until I can get the scratch up for Windows 7 Home Premium. That's also part of the reason why I was concerned about being able to reinstall an OS.

Monitor, keyboard, etc, is all coming from this current computer. I have backups that I'll put back on this one should I need to have two desktops running (which, I will during building...gonna need help and instruction, especially if there's a problem).

Now I do have a question in regards to the mobo/RAM that you listed. The max I can use is DDR2 800 for that board. Is that considerably slower than a DDR2 1066? Or is it negligible? Also, when I do decide to overclock, would it be worthwhile to overclock the RAM as well?
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#21
L.Martofel

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Another question...how "future proof" is this setup? I already know Intel isn't making any more chips for socket 775, which means no i7 upgrade later on. I'd have to get a whole new board, right? Where, with the AMD setup, I believe that mobo is AM3 compatible, which means I can just upgrade the CPU later, right? Decisions decisions!!

Now let me give you an idea of what kind of computer user I am. I rarely if ever game. I do have some older games, but I haven't played them in ages. I'm mostly on the internet, and while I'm online, I'm usually burning AVIs or other video formats to DVDs. I also use my setup basically as my entertainment center as well. I watch all of my IPTV shows here, sometimes stream video, and watch DVDs.

I also write and record my own music. I'm currently using Sonar 7 Cakewalk Producer Edition (I realize this won't work in Ubuntu, which is why I'm going to get Windows 7 eventually). I usually record a lot of tracks and use a bunch of different effects. What sucks currently though is that I have to do almost each instrument individually since I end up locking up my P4 CPU if I try to do too much. I've been on Cakewalk's board, and they assert through their forums that once I make the switch to a quad core, that everything as far as that goes will be like buttah!

So, basically, what I need the computer for is to be an all around PC, with a good amount of HTPC built in. So far all the suggestions have been great. I would like to get at least 4 good years out of this PC, which is what I have (and then some) with the PC I have now.

Just for giggles, here's the hardware list of my current PC:

Pentium 4 Prescott DT, 3.2GHZ
16 kilobyte primary memory cache
1024 kilobyte secondary memory cache

Dell Proprietary motherboard

Dual In-Line Memory Module, 512, 2X256, 400, 1R, 512
(upgraded to 2 gigs of Kingston Value Ram - yeah...went cheap!)

Maxtor 6Y160M0 [Hard drive] (160.00 GB)

ATI Radeon X300 128mb video card (upgraded to NVIDIA GeForce 8400 GS)

Creative SoundBlaster Live 24 Bit sound card

M-Audio Delta 1010 audio card with breakout box


ATAPI DVD DC 16X8X5 [CD-ROM drive] (added after my first one died)

Now, this setup lasted me from 7/2005, and I'm now looking to get a new one. If the new one should last me that long and only need upgrades after that, then I'd be happier than a pig in slop. If it lasts me that long and then I'd have to buy new, I'd still be happy. If it doesn't last that long, and I can't upgrade minor components without a major overhaul or new build, then I won't be too happy.

I hope that puts this build into perspective.

Thanks again!!
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#22
edge2022

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The 9550 does outperform any AMD processor: http://www.cpubenchm...ommon_cpus.html
The reason to go with AMD is the great price to performance ratio. You should go with Intel.

Saw this on sale: http://www.newegg.co...LC1D-_-17341002
Not modular, and $20 more. You also will not need that much power if you aren't running a multi-GPU setup.

I suggest Crucial's Ballistix Tracers as they overclock really well.
http://www.newegg.co...logy-_-20148214
The Gigabyte motherboard suggested by stettybet is good.

Even though the mobo will be socket 775, you won't really need to upgrade your CPU. Later on you can add a better video card, sound card, etc. It is true that you will probably get more upgrade-ability for your processor if you use an AM3 board. With the Intel CPU, you will definitely get more than 4 years of good use.
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#23
stettybet0

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Now I do have a question in regards to the mobo/RAM that you listed. The max I can use is DDR2 800 for that board. Is that considerably slower than a DDR2 1066? Or is it negligible? Also, when I do decide to overclock, would it be worthwhile to overclock the RAM as well?

The difference between DDR2-800 RAM with 4-4-4-12 timings (such as the RAM I suggested) and DDR2-1066 RAM with 5-5-5-18 timings (such as the RAM you were previously considering) is extremely negligible.

As far as overclocking goes, you ideally want your RAM in a "true" 1:1 ratio with your FSB. By this, I mean you want the underlying speeds to be the same. For DDR2, since it uses a double-data-rate, you divide by 2 to get the underlying speed (so 800mhz DDR2 RAM has an underlying speed of 400mhz). For Intel CPUs, since they have a quad-pumped FSB, you divide by four to get the underlying speed (so a 800mhz FSB has an underlying speed of 200mhz). When you overclock, I'd try to get your FSB to 1600mhz (underlying speed of 400mhz), which would run your CPU at 3.4ghz. Then, your RAM could run at 800mhz (underlying speed of 400mhz), and be in a "true" 1:1 ratio. :)

Another question...how "future proof" is this setup? I already know Intel isn't making any more chips for socket 775, which means no i7 upgrade later on. I'd have to get a whole new board, right? Where, with the AMD setup, I believe that mobo is AM3 compatible, which means I can just upgrade the CPU later, right? Decisions decisions!!

As you've already discovered, the difference between an AM2+ CPU (AMD Phenom II 940) and an AM3 CPU (AMD Phenom II 945) is very negligible. Both underperform the Q9550. "Future proof" is a bit of a misnomer when dealing with computer hardware. In 4 years, both Intel and AMD will have new CPUs that won't work with any motherboard available today.

Saw this on sale: http://www.newegg.co...LC1D-_-17341002
Not modular, and $20 more. You also will not need that much power if you aren't running a multi-GPU setup.

L.Martofel was looking to use a low-end video card, but now he's probably going to go with onboard video for the time being. He doesn't game. What suggested to you that he'd be running a multi-GPU setup? So, this PSU is not modular, $20 more, and provides unnecessary power that will not benefit the user. Stick with the one I suggested.

I suggest Crucial's Ballistix Tracers as they overclock really well.
http://www.newegg.co...logy-_-20148214

Both sets of RAM are good choices, but the mushkin is a bit cheaper, and it uses Micron RAM chips, which are known to be terrific overclockers and to have longevity.
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#24
L.Martofel

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You guys are great!

Looks like I'm going with the Intel setup then.

One final question...If I decide to do some case modding with a few more lights, maybe an external light controller or fan controller, do I have enough overhead from my PSU that I can add stuff? Now, I'm not talking like having as many lights as the mothership from Close Encounters, but since I have some nice blue LEDs already equipped on my fans in my case, I was thinking of maybe adding some black light cathode tubes in the box as well, maybe a sound module, but I'd want to be able to turn off the UV lights without powering down. Yea or nay?
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#25
stettybet0

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The PSU can definitely handle just about as many LEDs and cathode lights as you can throw at it. They really don't use much power.
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#26
L.Martofel

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Thanks again!! I guess you guys can close this thread. I'll be sure to post pics of the new baby once she's finished.
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#27
stettybet0

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You're welcome. :)

Well, we don't close threads here (unless they violate the rules). This is just in case you realize you have another question, or if you just want to show off your new computer when it's done. :)
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#28
L.Martofel

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Oh, I'll be sure to post pics once she's done. I plan to do some case modding specifically for wire routing and looks. I've seen a ton of different case mods for the Antec 900, and they've given me good ideas. It's probably close to impossible to make the system look wireless, but I think I'm gonna try to get it as close as possible.

Another thing of note, since the board I'm getting is a Micro ATX, that leaves plenty of room inside the box. All that room makes for a cleaner case, and also it means I won't be tempted to cut a hole in the bottom of the case, and put the PSU upside down (with the fan on the bottom since the case requires you to put the PSU on the bottom). I'll have plenty of fresh air coming into the case, and plenty of distance from the hot mobo to the top of the PSU.

I also thought of going with a BORG theme with my pc case, and use black wire tubing, taking hints from Borg technology, and swapping all my blue LEDs for green ones. But that would be a bit intensive for a n00b like myself.

O/T...I'm a big fan of Rammstein too. Funny/weird experience regarding them...I was in France for 10 days a few years ago, and while I was in Reims, I heard a car going down the street blasting Mein Teil. Made me feel pretty good. Shame R+ won't be coming to the states again any time soon. I missed my chance to see them live.
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#29
Troy

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I saw Rammstein live at Big Day Out here on the Gold Coast, it was proabably in 2000? So a few years ago, but yeah - AWESOME SHOW!

Can't wait to see pics :)
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#30
edge2022

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http://www.newegg.co...-L0B-_-22136319
There is a special deal on these. Use promo code: EMCLXLP48 for $10 off.

btw... the ballistix tracers have red and orange LEDs on the top and glowing blue ones on the bottom of the modules.

I'd like to see how this comes out.
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