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building my first computer

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this is the first time I intend to build a computer from scratch, so I wonder if the experts could have a look at my configuration and see if there are incompatible parts that I missed, or if there are better parts/deals for a similar price out there? My budget lies around 800 (euros,unfortunately, this makes price comparison somewhat complex). I live in Belgium, so I'll have to rely on local shops (shipping usually adds a lot of costs). This computer will be used for basic office tasks (word processing, powerpoint, pdf, etc), statistical analysis programs like SPSS, and gaming (mostly strategy and rpg, maybe some fps. On medium settings, basically where it remains comfortable to look at). I'll keep away from overclocking for now, at least until I know what the [bleep] I'm doing.

This machine is to replace the breaking down laptop I'm using now. I have some spare time coming up in the next two months, so I'd prefer to build it in that period (the sooner the better).

Anyway, components I've found:

motherboard: ASUS Crosshair III Formula (Socket AM3-AMD 790FX-ATX-DDR3) - €169.50

RAM: Kingston 4GB (2x 2GB) 1333MHz DDR3 Lifetime Warranty €96.00

Processor: AMD Phenom II X4 965 3,4 GHz AM3 Boxed With Cooler* (HDX965FBGIBOX) €175.00
*(I have no idea if the cooler is adequate... :s)

HDDrive: Seagate 250GB SATA II 7200RPM 16MB (ST3250318AS) €36.50

Graphics: ASUS ATi Radeon HD 4870 PCIe 512MB HDMI Dual DVI* €139.00
*Model EAH4870/HTDI/512M; Clock Core 750MHz - Mem Core 3.60GHz

DVD- Samsung DVD Writer SATA 22x DL Zwart (SH-S223F/BEBE) €25.00

Case: Cooler Master Elite 310 PC €45.00

Power Supply:Trust 520W PSU Big Fan PW-5550 20-pins 24-pins

Wireless Network card: Linksys WMP 600 Wireless-N PCI €45.00
(I need a wireless due to internet infrastructure here)

I have a mouse, keyboard and computer screen from another computer.

Also, currently I think I'll install xp on it for now and in a few months, when I have more money to throw away, and when Microsoft has made improvements, I'll buy windows 7.

Current pricing comes at €775. I've never built a computer, and haven't been paying attention to the hardware market, so I doubt this is the best rig for the price, and I'm sure there are elements I've overlooked.

Any and all comments or suggestions are appreciated...
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Everything is compatible. It's hard to make specific suggestions for improvement because I'm not sure what shops in your local area carry. Something that is worth a look is the new i5/i7 CPU and P55 Socket 1156 Motherboard setups. Great performance. Take a look at Best Gaming CPU's for the Money

Other thoughts...
  • On the AMD side: Phenom II x4 965 is very nice.
  • Motherboard: Great.
  • Hard Drive: A hard drive with 32mb of cache would be a bit faster, 7200RPM is good.
  • RAM: Kingston is always a trusted brand. A few others would be Corsair, OCZ, G.Skill.
  • GPU/Graphics: ATI just released the new 5XXX Series of cards. A look at the 5770 would be worth while, however, the little reading I've done it scored less compared to the 4870, but was dearly noted that the 5XXX series GPU's support DirectX 11, and 4XXX series does not.
  • Computer Case: Any case will do. Better cooling, lots of room inside, cable management possibility, and enough front USB ports are common things looked at. Don't forget to always make sure the case supports the motherboards form factor... i.e. Micro ATX, ATX.
  • Power Supply: Its always best to find a power supply that is 80 Plus Certified. This ensures clean and stable power being sent to your pricey components. I'm not sure the one you picked is 80 Plus... meaning 80% efficient.
  • CD/DVD: Always make sure what you pick can do what you need it to do. Some will burn DVDs, but not burn CDs. I always recommend one that can Burn CDs and DVDs, and can read DVDs and CDs. (Does Everything) Blu-Ray players are out now too, just a thought.
Also, I'm not familiar with Wireless cards all that much, so I can't really give an opinion.

Also, currently I think I'll install xp on it for now and in a few months, when I have more money to throw away, and when Microsoft has made improvements, I'll buy windows 7.

I'd recommend 7 now, I've been using it since it's BETA stage, and I haven't had any troubles. Microsoft seems to have made up for their mistakes with VISTA, 7 is very stable. OEM copies of 7 are available in the USA and cost about $100 USD, however, they are not Full Retail Licenses so OEM copies don't really allow for upgrading the motherboard, or major changes to the system. OEM is what I always go with though.

Also note, that Windows 7 Pro, and Ultimate have Windows XP mode available which is really just XP in a virtual machine, runs a little slower, but is something nice to have when transitioning from XP to 7 and this also allows compatibility with your old printers, cameras, etc.

I hope you find my suggestions helpful, and ask questions if you'd like. :)
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