For beginners (and experienced too) I recommend you check out MWave's "Motherboard Bundles" Wizard
?. This is a great research tool as it allows you to pick a motherboard, then the Wizard will offer a big list of CPUs and RAM that MWave has already determined are compatible with that motherboard. Or, you can start with a CPU and the wizard will list a bunch of motherboards and RAM options that will support that CPU. This is a great research tool you can use even if you buy elsewhere (although their prices are fairly competitive once you factor in shipping - if you live in the US). However, for only $10 more, MWave will mount the CPU and RAM on the motherboard AND
test them. So not only do you know from the Wizard that your components work together, you know from the testing your specific parts will not be DOA - a nice warm fuzzy for only $10.
I don't see a PSU in there. Use the eXtreme PSU Calculator Lite
to determine your power supply unit (PSU) requirements. Plug in all the hardware you think you might have in 2 or 3 years (extra drives, bigger or 2nd video card, more RAM, etc.). Be sure to read and heed the notes at the bottom of the page. I recommend setting Capacitor Aging to 30%, and if you participate in distributive computing projects (e.g. BOINC or [email protected]
), I recommend setting TDP to 100%. These steps ensure the supply has adequate head room for stress free operation and future demands. Research your video card and pay particular attention to the power supply requirements for your card listed on your video card maker's website. If not listed, check a comparable card (same graphics engine and RAM) from a different maker. The key specifications, in order of importance are:
- Current (amperage or amps) on the +12V rail,
- Total wattage.
Then look for power supply brands listed under the "Good" column of PC Mechanic's PSU Reference List
. Ensure the supplied amperage on the +12V rails of your chosen PSU meets the requirements of your video card. Don't try to save a few dollars by getting a cheap supply. Digital electronics, including CPUs, RAM, and today's advanced graphics cards, need clean, stable power. A good, well chosen supply will provide years of service and upgrade wiggle room. I strongly recommend you pick a supply with an efficiency rating equal to, or greater than 80%. Look for the 80 Plus - EnergyStar Compliant
label. And don't forget to budget for a good UPS with AVR (automatic voltage regulation).