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advice for my first custom build?


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#1
NomDeKeyz

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Hi Geeks!
I am new to this section of the forums, as I am new to the idea that I can build a computer (with the help of my computer savvy housemate). I read the walkthru and expect it will be handy when the time comes. Thank you!

I have a list of components I expect will work together and meet my needs. Before I buy them, however, I'd like to ask if any Geeks have feedback/cautions/recommendations/advice that I should consider first? Thanks!

1. Gather all Components
Case (and any extra Case Fans) - Logisys Black and Silver ATX Case w/ side window & front USB
* Power Supply - Antec NEO 620w Extra Quiet ATX Power Supply SLI & X-fire ready
* Motherboard - ASUS M4A88T-M Onboard Video, HDMI, GB LAN
* CPU (Processor) - AMD Phenom II x4 955 3.2GHz (Quad Core) 45nm, AMD 6MB Cache
*and Heatsink/Fan - AMD Black Edition Copper HeatPipe Extra Quiet fan *OR- OCZ Vanquisher * OR- Coolermaster Hyper TX3
* RAM (Memory) - DDR3 Dual Channel memory
* Hard Drive - Western Digital WD1002FAEX Caviar Black HD 1TB, 7200RPM, 64MB, SATA 6G (already paid for)
* Optical Drive (e.g. DVD Burner) -A currently owned Samsung Super Writemaster lightscribe speedplus TSSTcorp CDDVDW SH-S222L
* Video Card (may be integrated into Motherboard) - Onboard for now, hope to upgrade to a XFX video card in the future
* Sound Card (may be integrated into Motherboard) - Onboard
* Networking Card (may be integrated into Motherboard) - Onboard
* Keyboard - A currently owned Logitec
* Mouse - A currently owned Kensington
* Speakers - A currently owned GE set
* Monitor - A currently owned Samsung
* Any extra add-on cards you may have for the build (eg. TV Tuner Card) - A currently owned D-Link WDA-1320 Desktop Adapter
* OS Installation Disc (eg. Windows, Linux) - A currently owned XP disc; I expect to upgrade to a future microsoft OS, but not until I must.

I am hoping that my end result will be able to run my current video games (Morrowind, Oblivion, Sims3), and a soon to be released video game (Skyrim). I will need a word processing program, tho I am consiering open office instead of microsoft word this time. I also expect my computer to handle internet acitvity including streaming from Netflix (my current computer won't stream Netflix, tho Hulu seems to work fine).

My tech-housemate is moving his computer into another room in the house, so the only one that will remain in the room with the TV is mine. Therefore, I need to have a computer that will stream from Netflix, as his will not be available to do so anymore. This was the the last of several issues that got me interested in building a new computer. My current one will have other uses elsewhere.

Thanks in advance for your advice/guidance. I am looking forward to my first custom computer (as opposed to inherited/used ones).
I really appreciate the Geeks that make this forum happen. Cheers!

Edited by NomDeKeyz, 27 October 2011 - 05:10 PM.

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#2
phillpower2

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Hi NomDeKeyz
Couple of pointers for you including reading the tutorial compiled by Digerati http://www.geekstogo.com/forum/topic/292223-thermal-interface-material/
* Power Supply - Antec NEO 620w Extra Quiet ATX Power Supply SLI & X-fire ready Don`t choose a PSU until all other components are decided on, then use a PSU calculator to ensure you have enough clean and stable power with a minimum 80% output rating http://www2.corsair.com/psufinder/
* Motherboard - ASUS M4A88T-M Onboard Video, HDMI, GB LAN
* CPU (Processor) - AMD Phenom II x4 955 3.2GHz (Quad Core) 45nm, AMD 6MB Cache
*and Heatsink/Fan - AMD Black Edition Copper HeatPipe Extra Quiet fan *OR- OCZ Vanquisher * OR- Coolermaster Hyper TX3
* RAM (Memory) - DDR3 Dual Channel memory Check the QVL (qualified vendors list) to make sure that the CPU and Ram are compatible with the MB, using anything other than the stock heatsink and fan supplied with a CPU invalidates the warranty and 8GB of Ram is best if you plan on using a 64-bit OS. http://uk.asus.com/M...MD_AM3/M4A88TM/
* Hard Drive - Western Digital WD1002FAEX Caviar Black HD 1TB, 7200RPM, 64MB, SATA 6G (already paid for)
* Optical Drive (e.g. DVD Burner) -A currently owned Samsung Super Writemaster lightscribe speedplus TSSTcorp CDDVDW SH-S222L
* Video Card (may be integrated into Motherboard) - Onboard for now, hope to upgrade to a XFX video card in the future
Add on card is best for gaming and don`t forget to allow for this when choosing a PSU.
* Sound Card (may be integrated into Motherboard) - Onboard Todays MBs have very good audio chips so integrated should suffice.
* Networking Card (may be integrated into Motherboard) - Onboard
* Keyboard - A currently owned Logitec
* Mouse - A currently owned Kensington
* Speakers - A currently owned GE set
* Monitor - A currently owned Samsung
* Any extra add-on cards you may have for the build (eg. TV Tuner Card) - A currently owned D-Link WDA-1320 Desktop Adapter
* OS Installation Disc (eg. Windows, Linux) - A currently owned XP disc; I expect to upgrade to a future microsoft OS, but not until I must. I like XP and intend sticking with it until the end, I will upgrade my Vista laptop to W7 first.
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#3
NomDeKeyz

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Thank You for the feed back! I will share your tips with my tech-housemate when he is in next week (he is a part-time resident). It is important to me that this computer be able to grow with me for at least a few years. My last computer made it almost a decade. Technology seems to be improving (and slots changing) at increasing rates; I doubt I will see another computer stay modern-capable for as long.

I read a post on another topic explaining about power supply choices/considerations/calculators; very good to note, thanks. I had no idea about CPU warranty invalidation, thanks for that heads up too! I'll do some research and post back...

I fully expect to get an add on video card for gaming, but was hoping to not drop too much cash at once; ouch. It seems that the on board video card will handle my current games, as it seems to be better than the add-on one I have now, lol. I may have to get the new video card when I get the soon-to-be-released Skyrim game for my birthday in a few months. I will definitely consider this when calculating my PSU.

[Given the option, I will spend more to support local companies, and companies that stand by their product; this is why I expect to get an XFX video card. Their employees seem genuinely content and are always helpful when my housemate has called. He had an opportunity to meet them once, and his encounter was glowing. He even met the unofficial office pet. Who doesn't love a company that has an office pet, unofficial or not?]

I also expect the onboard audio to suffice. I often play games with the sound off or minimal anyhow, lol. My speakers would not do a good sound card justice, haha. Besides, I prefer quiet to music, unless I am actively involved in the music. [What? Someone who doesn't like to just listen to music?!] Being migraine prone, silence is often priceless.

Glad to meet another XP fan! Cheers! And thanks again phillpower2 for your input.

If any one else has any feedback/recommendations/reviews, I'd love to hear about it. If you have a brand/product you prefer because it is quieter, I'd also love to know which. I expect to order parts by late next week, so I have until then to change my plan. I really appreciate the Geek opinion; Thanks Muchly!

Edited by NomDeKeyz, 03 November 2011 - 07:21 PM.

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#4
phillpower2

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AMD Policy;

This Limited Warranty shall be null and void if the AMD microprocessor which is the subject of this Limited Warranty is used with any heatsink/fan other than the one provided herewith.


Full article @ http://support.amd.c...earLimited.aspx

Intel Policy;

• damage to the Product due to external causes, including accident, problems with electrical
power, abnormal electrical, mechanical or environmental conditions, usage not in accordance
with product instructions, misuse, neglect, alteration, repair, improper installation, or improper testing;

Full article @ http://www.intel.com...b/CS-009862.htm

Using websites such as Newegg to obtain the feedback of people who have purchased the actual product that you are interested in is invaluable, so as you wish to support a nearby company (commendable) to help you with video cards; http://www.newegg.co...deId=1&name=XFX

Both AMD and Intel provide outstanding CPUs but at the present time the Intel Sandy-bridge is high on peoples wish-list and especially the i7 2500k, if you could provide your maximum budget for all the parts you require we can make some suggestions meet your requirements.
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#5
NomDeKeyz

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phillpower2; I did as you suggested...

PSU calculators seem to think that my choice PSU is more than adequate for now,
and generously adequate for the video cards that I am considering in the near future.
The CPU and the RAM are compatible with the Motherboard; verified as suggested.
I'll get the AMD heatsink+fan w/ the AMD processor, for the warranty, as suggested.
I have a 32-bit XP OS, so I expect that 4GB of RAM is more than adequate for now.....
Intel Sandy-bridge sounds spiffy, but not right for me; I would prefer to stay with AMD.

My maximum budget is flexible, especially if I don't have to get everything at once;
however, I am not looking for a hot-rod, just a reasonable kit for moderate gaming
and word processing for the next several years. So, I can afford better, but I am only
interested if the bang for the buck is truly worth spending a little more. For example:
would it truly be worth $65 more to get the ASUS M4A88T-M x6 instead of the x4?

I am more confident in my choices now; thank you for the guidance, I really appreciate it.
__________________________________________________________________________________________

ON ANOTHER THREAD, I read about case suggestions by Digerati, which piqued my interest...
I think I now know where to spend extra,"MUAHahahahA!" Lian Li, Antec, and Fractal: Yum.
I really like the Lian Li exterior designs, but those washable fan filters are VERY appealing!

NOW CONSIDERING...
LIAN LI Lancool First Knight Series PC-K9WX Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
(Bottom PSU, Rotating HDD Rack, Side-View Window)
Antec Sonata Series SOLO II Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
(Top PSU, Sound Dampening, Washable Filters)
Fractal Design Arc Midi Black High Performance PC Computer Case w/ USB 3.0 and 3 x Fractal High Performance 140mm fans
(Bottom PSU, Rotating HDD Cage, Washable Filter)

I DON'T want a box that lights up in any way (discreet power button ok) *wince*.
Sound Dampening is a plus. Washable Filters is a plus. Black is a must, *smirk*.
Streamlined, simple designs are easier to keep dusted and nicer to look at, imho.
Multiple fans are expected, tho I don't expect to be liquid-cooling, *nervous twitch*.
I really don't know much about the inner layout variations and the reasons for them.
PSU on top, or on bottom? Rotating HDD section? Side-view Window? And Why?

I am leaning towards the Antec, but would love to hear opinions. Thanks Again!

Edited by NomDeKeyz, 04 November 2011 - 06:34 AM.

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#6
phillpower2

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I would also choose the Antec as I prefer discreet and proven quality over bells, whistles and disco lights.
Multiple cores and an abundance of Ram are beneficial if you know you are going to use them if not now in the future + having a MB capable of further upgrades is a practical approach but only you can decide if you think you will ever use 6 cores and 16GB of Ram.
I am pleased that you found the information at GTG helpful and we look forward to hearing back from you when you are up and running and as ever if you require anything let us know.


NB: For the record Digerati is an inspiration when amongst other things you are looking for guidance on cases with washable filters, PSUs and Tim.
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#7
NomDeKeyz

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Scratch
what I thought I was looking at. After what I read on these forums, and conversations with my tech savvy friends, I looked into other CPUs, other motherboards, and a 64 bit OS (XP, of course).

So, I gave the Intel SandyBridge CPUs a look-over; the Intel Core i5-2500k Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz Quad Core 6000K is in my price range and will likely suit my needs for several years.

I also gave the 6-core AMD another look-over; the AMD Phenom II x6 1100T 3.3 GHz (6 Core) 45nm AM3 6MB Cache is also in my price range, and seemingly comparable to the i5-2500k.

After considering these two CPUs, I then decided to look at the difference in the motherboards for each. I am considering three motherboards; one for the Intel, and two for the AMD. It seems that the motherboard I choose will decide the CPU I will get...

Here is where I need some Geek input, as the differences between two of these motherboards are subtle and confusing to noobish me...

ASUS SABERTOOTH P67 (Rev 3.0) http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813131702
-VS-
ASUS SABERTOOTH 990FX AM3+ http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813131736

It seems that the storage and expansion slots are slightly different, the audio/connections might be slightly different, and the bios might be slightly different. The AMD motherboard seems slightly better; but I don't know how these stats compare, so I can't really say for sure.

The third Motherboard that I am considering has onboard video, which I would like, but won't need if I get the XFX video card that I want now, rather than later. However, I'd like to know if you geeks have any thoughts on this motherboard in comparison to the SABERTOOTH...

ASUS M5A88-V EVO AM3+ http://www.newegg.co...5A88-V EVO AM3+

Which Motherboard+CPU do you geeks prefer? Why?
THANK YOU in advance for your input and advice!

BTW - This is the updated list, more or less, of what I am looking to put together...

Case (and any extra Case Fans) - Antec Sonata Series SOLO II Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
* Power Supply - Antec EarthWatts 650w Extra Quiet ATX Power Supply (IF ADEQUATE AFTER OTHER CHOICES ARE MADE)
* Motherboard - UNDECIDED (see above query)
* CPU (Processor) - DEPENDS ON ABOVE
*and Heatsink/Fan - DEPENDS ON ABOVE
* RAM (Memory) - DEPENDS ON ABOVE (8GB, maybe 16GB)
* Hard Drive - Western Digital WD1002FAEX Caviar Black HD 1TB, 7200RPM, 64MB, SATA 6G (already paid for)
* Optical Drive (e.g. DVD Burner) -A currently owned Samsung Super Writemaster lightscribe speedplus TSSTcorp CDDVDW SH-S222L
* Video Card (may be integrated into Motherboard) - DEPENDS ON ABOVE
* Sound Card (may be integrated into Motherboard) - Onboard
* Networking Card (may be integrated into Motherboard) - Onboard
* Keyboard - A currently owned Logitec
* Mouse - A currently owned Kensington
* Speakers - A currently owned GE set
* Monitor - A currently owned Samsung
* Any extra add-on cards you may have for the build (eg. TV Tuner Card) - A currently owned D-Link WDA-1320 Desktop Adapter
* OS Installation Disc (eg. Windows, Linux) - It looks like I will be buying a 64 bit version of XP afterall...

P.S. I would have edited my opening post to direct attention to this latter post if the edit option was still available. Please direct me to start a new thread if that is what I ought to do. Otherwise, I am content to continue on my existing thread. ^_^

Edited by NomDeKeyz, 25 November 2011 - 07:13 AM.

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#8
phillpower2

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For guidance regarding the pros and cons of a product refer to the feedback tab @ Newegg you will find the information invaluable, I have both AMD and Intel machines and I am happy with both + as I said earlier as long as you purchase what you know will suit your needs you cannot go wrong, having upgrade options is a must but in reality you can in the main only increase your Ram, in some instances have multiple video cards and have an add on audio card as examples, the CPU is slightly more tricky though as when a new CPU is released they tend to only be compatible with a new type of MB socket, if I were building a new PC for myself at present I would choose an Intel i3, i5 and i7 compatible MB because you will have the option of upgrading your suggested i5 CPU to an i7 if further down the road you want a bit more processing power, couple of MBs I like the look of at the attached links;
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813131730
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813130606
As ever do not forget to check the MBs QVL (qualified vendors list) to ensure you purchase a compatible CPU and Ram.
Sorry if this gets you thinking again :whistling:

NB: FWIW out of the 3 MBs you mention if they were my only options I would have chose the first ASUS SABERTOOTH
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813131702 but it is out of stock.
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#9
NomDeKeyz

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Sorry if this gets you thinking again :whistling:


Teehee... Thinking is one of my favourite passtimes! Thankyou for getting me thinking again!!!
If there wasn't just so much to learn and consider, I'd have made up my mind already, lol...
Alas, I am spending more time learning than ordering, BUT I am enjoying the process too! ^_~

I looked at the two motherboards you suggested, and will add one to my further considerations.
I suppose I am still a tad brand loyal, and hoping to stick with an ASUS motherboard, even if
I have wriggled slightly from my AMD attachment. A tech friend of mine (a Geek-God in my book)
talked me into considering Intel, and was most eloquent and informative in his explanations.

It looks like the Intel Sabertooth Motherboard is i7 compatible, and I even considered the i7...
But I just cannot justify the cost difference at this time. Oh, and even tho the NewEgg site
is out of stock, I can still get the Intel Sabertooth Motherboard that you favoured elsewhere.
Truth be told, and I am a bit bashful to admit, I initially favoured this motherboard too, but
it wasn't for any good reason; it's nicer to look at, lol, not that I'll be looking at it much.
I really like the partially enclosed design, it's got to be better at dust avoidance, no? .^_^.

What I want to know is WHY you favour the Intel MB over the AMD motherboard? Upgradeability?
Do the two other boards you suggested have more upgradeability too? Or was there another reason
for those recommendations? I hope to have my motherboard choices evaluated once more by a tech
pal who knows me and what I may ask of my computer in the coming years before I commit to one.
I thank you for expanding and refining my considerations and for furthering my education. TY!!!

If you were to review ASUS motherboards with onboard video, which would you recommend, if any?
I am leaning away from my former attachment for onboard video, but still pondering possibilities.

OH, btw, in my searches, I came across a mention of modular power supplies... That's yet another
thing I am pondering. Again, I am rather brand loyal, this time to Antec. I'll choose that last.

On a softer note, as in software, I will be looking for a legit copy of 64-bit XP... as it seems
that 64-bit really is the way to go. Thanks for that nudge too. I really don't want to purchase
a not-so-legit copy by mistake. Do you have a recommended source for legit 64-bit XP copy?

Thanks again for taking the time to read my ramblings and to offer your keen advice; truly appreciated!

Edited by NomDeKeyz, 26 November 2011 - 06:52 AM.

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#10
phillpower2

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I can still get the Intel Sabertooth Motherboard that you favoured elsewhere

I actually said;

if they were my only options

The choice is yours obviously but given a free range I would not choose any of the three MBs you mention, sorry.

What I want to know is WHY you favour the Intel MB over the AMD motherboard?

I explained earlier;

if I were building a new PC for myself at present I would choose an Intel i3, i5 and i7 compatible MB because you will have the option of upgrading your suggested i5 CPU to an i7 if further down the road if you want a bit more processing power

OH, btw, in my searches, I came across a mention of modular power supplies...

Very nice but do not be brainwashed, any good quality and adequate 80% power efficiency output rating PSU is fine, just keep your cable management tidy, have good case extraction and clean your case out at least once once a month :thumbsup:
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#11
phillpower2

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Hi NomDeKeyz
Thank you for your PM and for your understanding of not being offered assistance outside of the forums :thumbsup:
As for wishing to award me a + Like merit do not worry a thumbs up will do :whistling:
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#12
NomDeKeyz

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The choice is yours obviously but given a free range I would not choose any of the three MBs you mention, sorry.

if I were building a new PC for myself at present I would choose an Intel i3, i5 and i7 compatible MB because you will have the option of upgrading your suggested i5 CPU to an i7 if further down the road if you want a bit more processing power


OK, so even tho the SABERTOOTH is i3, i5, and i7 compatible, you would not personally choose it. Got it.

I am leaning toward the ASUS SABERTOOTH (that you favoured from my list of 3, even if you wouldn't actually
choose it yourself) AND toward the ASUS P8Z68-V PRO LGA that you recommended. I do appreciate upgradeability.
I see a few ways your suggested MB is better; I am, attempting to determine how it might be better for me...
Will post back after more comparison reading. This may take awhile, as there are several terms to google-up.

BTW, I shan't be brainwashed over modular power supplies, but I do appreciate the design idea. I still intend
to get what's right for my kit, and to keep my kit tidy and clean. Modular PSUs were just a new concept for me.
I am rather obsessive about clean and tidy; anything that lends itself to that end will always peak my interest.

And I do heartily give you a thumbs up! :thumbsup: You've been a gracious guide. Thankyou.
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#13
phillpower2

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Thanks for the update, you are 100% right in being diligent about choosing parts, you intend investing good cash into a system which needs to last a few years so taking as long as it needs to choose parts is sensible as is your approach to a clean and tidy case :thumbsup:
I will look out for a further update when you have finished your research and are ready.
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#14
NomDeKeyz

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phillpower2
The more I read about the ASUS MB that you recommend, the more I like it. I went snooping around, and found a version of it that lists onboard video too! I Initially wanted onboard video, but I am not absolutely attached to it. If I have onboard video, I can get the i7 CPU now, and save up for a video card later. That would pretty much seal the deal for me, unless you see a drawback with this other MB version. Again, I'm still collecting data, learning what the perks are, what they do, and what all these abbreviations mean... But it does seem that you continue to point me in worthwhile directions. Mind being a compass again? :prop:

http://www.magicmicr...fo.asp?iid=5193
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#15
phillpower2

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Some reading for you http://www.techpower...e_i5_2500K_GPU/
To get the best graphics possible you will benefit from an add on video card though.
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