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My first build in over 10 years...mostly non-gaming.

by Skooby12 / February 14, 2010 9:50 PM PST

Critique away. Do I need the extra fan & heatsink? I was hesistant on my GPU, HDD, Case & PSU picks.

Do I need two harddrives, (One specifically for music), or would I be better off getting one that's better than both of my choices.

My first build in over ten years. My dad doesn't think I can do it...i'm going to prove his *** wrong.


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: (Within the next two months) BUDGET RANGE: ($900-$1200 After Rebates)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: (Downloading movies/music, editing home video, browsing internet, regular pc stuff with word/excel,access, possible minor gaming in another year when i'm done with school)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: (Everything required)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: (,, any others reccommended) COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: (United States)

PARTS PREFERENCES: by brand or type (Intel CPU)



ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: (Would like for it to be fast and quiet and not run hot)


CPU ? i7-860: $200

MOBO ? LGA 1156: $143
GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD3 LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
SATA 3.0, USB 3.0, 3x USB power

GPU ? ATI Radeon HD 4650: $60
Gigabyte Radeon HD 4650 Video Card - 1GB DDR2, PCI Express 2.0, CrossFireX, Dual-Link DVI, VGA, HDMI

& 120MM FAN

Cooler Master Elite 330 Black ATX Mid-Tower Case & Cooler Master Extreme Power 460W Power Supply & Ultra Performance 120mm Case Fan Bundle
Cooler Master

HDD - 320GB: $73
*Main Drive*

Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200KSRTL 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive -Retail

HDD - 500GB: $65

Western Digital WD5001AALS Caviar Black Hard Drive - 500GB, 7200 rpm, 32MB, SATA-3G

RAM - 4GB (2 x 2GB) $110
CORSAIR XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMX4GX3M2A1600C9

DVD Burner ? $29
Sony Optiarc Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner with LightScribe LightScribe Support - OEM

Operating System ? Windows 7: $105
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders ? OEM

Monitor ? 21.5? HD: $160
ASUS VH226H Black 21.5" 2ms(GTG) HDMI Widescreen 16:9 Full HD 1080P LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 1000:1 (ASCR 12000 : 1) Built in Speakers - Retail

Keyboard and mouse combo: $30
Microsoft Business Hardware Pack Keyboard and Mouse Combo

Fan & Heatsink: $38
*Get an extra fan??*
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7 compatible RR-B10-212P-G1 120mm "heatpipe direct contact" Long life sleeve CPU Cooler - Retail

Total: $1,093

Someone reccommended this case & PSU to me:

I didn't like the design cuz the usb ports would be hard to reach where i'm putting the pc.

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That OS?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 14, 2010 9:55 PM PST
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One thing to consider
by Jimmy Greystone / February 14, 2010 10:56 PM PST

One thing to consider, is that TigerDirect does NOT have a very good reputation as a seller. Probably even worse than, so you might want to think about that a little and source parts elsewhere. Or at least don't buy anything expensive from them, so if it ends up being defective and they won't refund your money, it won't hurt too much to swallow the loss.

I will also say, that if you're not planning on gaming, you're really better off (financially) buying a system. I get that you want to build something yourself, and I admire people with that kind of attitude, as opposed to the legions of people who come here convinced they can't tackle the simplest of computer problems. However, you could probably save $200+ on a system buying as opposed to building, and since gaming isn't really a concern, you don't need to worry so much about expandability. And putting together a computer really isn't that difficult a task really.

I will also say, that if you buy a retail CPU set, it comes with a heatsink and like a 3 year warranty. OEM CPUs only have a 90-day warranty. The retail sets are generally better, just remember that you will void that warranty if you aren't using the supplied heatsink.

And I would plan on getting a new power supply. The ones that come with computer cases are typically pretty bad. They say they're 400-500W, but the maximum sustained output they can deliver will be considerably less. Look for a quality brand like Antec or Shuttle. You might also want to look for an 80+ power supply. These are rated to deliver at least 80% of the power they bring in to the system, as opposed to waste heat. If you want a cool and quiet running system, this would be a good way to help achieve that goal. It'll also likely have a positive impact on your utility bill compared to other power supplies. They do cost more however.

Bob already mentioned the change in OEM license terms, so be sure to heed his advice.

I might consider 6GB of RAM and beyond myself, assuming I were looking to make the system last. You might also be able to save yourself some money by dropping down to DDR3-1333, which is the FSB speed of all Core i7s. No point in exceeding that, because the RAM will just be clocked down to DDR3-1333 speeds. Save a little money on cheaper RAM if you can, put it towards greater quantities. Also remember the i7 8xx series is dual channel only, so don't waste money on triple channel kits.

And personally, I'd look for a monitor with a higher resolution than 1080p. I recently picked up a Dell SP2309W which has a resolution of 2048x1152, and I think lately the price has come down to around $250. It's not quite as nice as their UltraSharp line... Whites aren't quite as white, and colors just seem a touch off, but that's a monstrous resolution, and I really only notice the color difference because I have an UltraSharp sitting right next to it. It also has a webcam, but I got it for the resolution. 1920x1080 is really pretty small. I had 20" monitors from 5-6 years ago that did 1600x1200.

And the video card... AMD recently put out a Radeon HD 5xxx series card that has DirectX 11 support for a very reasonable price. Something like $150 I think. It's not a performance card as you might guess with a price like that, but don't discount the value of having hardware DX11 support.

But again, you can probably get a better deal buying as opposed to building. For example, the Dell Studio XPS 8100 I found with a stock price of a little under $1200 including a monitor.

It has the same CPU, 8GB of RAM, a Radeon HD 5xxx series card, 750GB hard drive, and 2 year warranty. You might be going a touch over budget it you wanted to add an extra hard drive, but sometimes if you check the different Dell departments you can find better deals. I recently got a XPS 8000 from the Small Business department, and got a free 500GB second hard drive. It was probably a mistake, but sometimes you run into things like that. And my XPS 8000 is virtually silent. Let's put it this way. I am like the world's lightest sleeper. Almost ANYTHING will wake me up. Ever since I got this computer, I've been waking up due to odd noises I'd never heard before, because the old system's fans would drown them out.

Anyway, I've probably given you plenty to think about, so we'll leave it at that.

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by Skooby12 / February 15, 2010 7:45 AM PST
In reply to: One thing to consider

Thanks Profitt for the OEM news. I'll take note.


I've looked at Dell systems and know it'll come cheaper. But I want to build one. I've done it before, but it was over 10 years ago. I would like to do it again. So i'm determined to build a system.

I'll look at other sources for the parts other than Tiger if its an expensive item. The CPU in my link has a 3-year warranty and comes with a heatsink as well. I won't be getting that extra heatsink.

Can you recommend a case & psu? Either a set or separatly. I'll also look for dual channel RAM.

I guess I'm out of the loop here about the monitor. I thought 1080p was the highest HD resolution?

I guess my GPU choice really sucked lol. Your is $190 more than mine.

Thanks for responding.

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No problem
by Jimmy Greystone / February 15, 2010 8:32 AM PST
In reply to: Challenge

No problem, I just figured I'd point out it's cheaper to buy in these instances. If you're committed to building, that's fine with me. Like I said, I admire people who are willing to take on an additional burden, accepting the possibility of failure, rather than simply giving up immediately.

I haven't really built a system in a long time. I get enough of that at work where I do warranty repairs. Plus I currently don't have any good place to do the build work. So, afraid I can't help with the case. The PSU... I'd just look for any 80+ certified one, and that should be pretty good.

And 1080p is the highest resolution for TVs. Well, most TVs. Some do higher than 1080p, but right now that's top of the line. It's also a major improvement over the old 720x480 (interlaced to boot) system we had before. But monitors can go well beyond that. There's nothing wrong with 1080p for a monitor, but I like to be able to fit as much on the screen as I can.

There's also nothing wrong with your GPU, I'm just saying a year or two down the road, a DX11 card could really pay off. You should at least look into it. Whether or not you decide to buy it is up to you.

I also think your RAM is dual channel, but there's no point spending money on anything over DDR3-1333 with an i7 CPU. If you can get faster RAM cheaper, then by all means, but generally that's not how it works.

Good luck with the build, and just remember to brush up on ESD prevention.

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by Skooby12 / February 15, 2010 8:02 AM PST
In reply to: One thing to consider

I thought my RAM choice was dual.

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by Bob__B / February 15, 2010 7:52 PM PST
In reply to: DDR3-1333

The ram you picked should work fine.
More reading.

Are you sure microcenter still sells that?
I don't see it listed.

Seems to be a middle of the pack unit.
Supports dx11.
New release from radeon.
Not for the serious gamer.

Cases come in many flavors.
Newegg has a bunch.
Pick a size.
Look for the features you want.
Read the reviews.

You get what you pay for.
Note the warranty.

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by SkoobyDoo12 / February 16, 2010 12:29 AM PST
In reply to: Ram

I won't be able to get that now. I just read that it's for in-store pickup only.

There isn't a microcenter in Indianapolis. I'll have to go another route with that.

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Or this PSU...same spec, not modular $25 less
by VAPCMD / February 16, 2010 9:34 AM PST
In reply to: CPU

than the 650HX.

CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail

Re the RAM.... Crucial Ballistix Tracer 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory Model BL2KIT25664TN1337 - Retail

Sure you don't have any friends or close relatives near a MicroCenter ... CPU saving are significant.

? Silicon Valley/Santa Clara
? Orange County/Tustin
? Denver/Denver Tech Center
? Greater Atlanta/Duluth
? Greater Atlanta/Marietta
? Chicagoland/Central
? Chicagoland/Westmont
? Kansas City/Overland Park Massachusetts
? Boston/Cambridge
? Beltway/Rockville
? Detroit/Madison Heights
? Twin Cities/St. Louis Park
? St. Louis/Brentwood
New Jersey
? North Jersey/Paterson New York
? Long Island/Westbury
? Yonkers
? Central Ohio/Columbus
? Northeast Ohio/Mayfield Hts.
? Cincinnati/Sharonville
? Philadelphia/St. Davids
? Houston/West Loop
? Dallas Metroplex/Richardson
? Northern Virginia/Fairfax


PS...I have the GA-P55-UD3R and the i860 and it runs very nicely. Only regret . . . wish I had the P55A version.

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Don't know anyone.
by Skooby12 / February 16, 2010 9:58 AM PST

Thanks for the links.

Yeah I'm sure. I don't know anyone anywhere lol. I really would like a $200 i7-860 too. Now I don't know what to do. Spend the extra $80 or downgrade to a i7-750.

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