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Old 02-10-2009, 09:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default First Build - need advice

OK guys, I can't take it anymore, I need a new computer, and the reason I haven't ordered the parts to build one is based mostly on fear.
I'm afraid I won't know how to put it together (I never built a computer before).
I'm afraid I will buy something incompatible.
I'm afraid I will invest too much money on the wrong thing and be a cheap skate on something more important.

But it is time to take the plunge, I can't wait any more. But I need your help to make sure I am getting the right stuff.

My current computer needs are… well for crying out loud look at my signature and that should show you why I need a new computer desperately!
But seriously, I'm not looking for a gaming machine, just something with modern speed and power. But I really want to build a computer that one day can be progressively updated, and eventually become a reasonable gaming machine.

I currently have $270 in the bank, and currently no income, and I need at least $5 in the bank to keep my account open. So, I got $265 to spend and not a penny more. Plus I want to have enough money left over incase I need something like a SATA cable, or IDE converter, or some other little thing I didn't count on needing. You know how it is, there's always something you didn't figure into the budget.

With that said, here's my build.

Motherboard: ASRock ATX AMD Motherboard – Retail $79.99 + $7.92 Shipping ($87.91 total)

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000 Brisbane 2.6GHz -retail $57.00 free shipping

RAM: Crucial 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) $22.99 Free Shipping

Total so far= 167.90
The CPU says "retail" and says it comes with heat sink and fan. I assume it comes with thermal compound too?

But my biggest problem is figuring out which PSU I need!
Let me list what I will be plugging into this, to give you an idea of how much wattage I'll need.
1 IDE Hard Drive @ 5,400 RPM
1 IDE Hard Drive @ 7,200 RPM
1 SATA Hard Drive @ 10,000 RPM (That 74GB Western Digital raptor thing – haven't bought it yet, but will be the first thing I buy after I put this together)
1 SATA DVD/CD Drive
1 Floppy Drive
Keyboard & Mouse
A few case fans

There are other things I will plug into my computer, I doubt they actually draw any power from the PSU, but I'll list them anyway:
Cable modem, printer, CRT monitor, headphones, microphone.

I got my eye on this one Thermaltake 430W ATX12V –Retail $40.99 Free Shipping ($10 mail in rebate)

But there are two others that I am considering:
hec 485W ATX12V -No Power Cord – OEM $19.99 Free Shipping
And
Rosewill 550W ATX12V v2.01 Power Supply – Retail $44.99 free shipping

The HEC has the advantage of being $21 cheaper, but has no power chord (I suppose I could use the one from this computer?). The $10 mail in rebate from Thermaltake is something I'm not counting in the price; there is always that chance of getting jipped out of the rebate somehow, and the fact it could take months to get it. The main thing that scares me about the HEC is that I've never heard of them in all the time I was studying PSU's, so I don't know how reputable they are.

The advantage of the Rosewill is an additional 120 watts for $4 more. However, I've heard Thermaltake is a really top name company in PSU's, and Rosewill is pretty new but I've heard a lot of positive reviews about them. And they make a lot of other products that have gotten some pretty good reviews.

But the real issue is, watts are only a part of the equation of what makes a good PSU. And PSU's are by far the most difficult part of my hardware studies over the past few months, so I rather give up on trying to figure it all out.

However, neither of those three PSU's might be what I am looking for. Maybe you guys could suggest a better bang for my buck and needs.
I plan on eventually adding a few other things to my computer, so I might need something even more powerful. I plan on adding sometime in the next year:
A dedicated video card, probably an ATI Radeon HD 3000 series to do a hybrid crossfire.
A high end webcam (or low end camcorder)
A fan controller
Adding two more RAM modules

So with those enhancements, which PSU should I go with?
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: First Build - need advice

Well, if you are going for a cheap just get it done pc, this looks pretty good. One thing you should consider, what about a case? If I'm not mistaken, you will NOT be able to fit a standard ATX motherboard into that proprietary HP case. But that moobo looks very good, with the on-board GPU and the nice price and RAM speed cap. The proc looks fine, and the RAM is great, that should get you through a LOT of games already. But as for the PSU issue, Watts aren't always what you should be looking at. The Thermaltake I think would be your best bet, especially considering you have the wrong price listed for that Rosewill, I've ordered that Rosewill PSU and used it, it's $60. So if you were to go with the Thermaltake, your theoretical total would be $208.91. Plus that motherboard has a lot of room for expansion in the future. Plus the Thermaltake has those 2 SATA power adapters you'll need, and it most definitely has enough peripheral adapters for those IDEs and Floppy you got in there. But I would really look into that case issue.
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Old 02-11-2009, 10:54 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: First Build - need advice

First off, don't buy a raptor. Save your money and buy a decently sized HDD...the WD black series is plenty fast.

I updated your build a little bit to maximize your money.

Newegg.com - ASRock A780GXE/128M AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G ATX AMD Motherboard - AMD Motherboards
Newegg.com - Thermaltake Purepower W0100RU 500W ATX 12V 2.0 Power Supply - Power Supplies
Newegg.com - Kingston ValueRAM 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Desktop Memory
Newegg.com - AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000 Brisbane 2.6GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM2 65W Dual-Core Processor - Processors - Desktops

$1 more for better CAS/brand RAM, and a better PSU than any of those other ones you got there. Not to mention 20 bucks back with the MIR.

Grand total is 226.81 with shipping.
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Old 02-11-2009, 05:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: First Build - need advice

Thanks guys for the advice.
Yeah the case is an issue. I plan on putting it into an old Packard Bell case. If it doesn't work in there, then I'll try my current HP case. If that doesn't work, I'll just use plastic soda bottle tops to put screws through and use as spacers to elevate the mother board off of the table, and just carefully lay everything out on a table. The way I see it, as long as nothing touches the mobo or spills on it, a case isn't actually needed. And I'll work on getting a case in the near future.

Hikaricloud, you're right that is a better deal. I think that's what I'll go with!
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Old 02-11-2009, 06:22 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: First Build - need advice

It would be woth confirming that the case is not matx before you go for that mobo.
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Old 02-11-2009, 09:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: First Build - need advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by kmote View Post
It would be woth confirming that the case is not matx before you go for that mobo.
Is there a way of confirming the old Packard Bell case as ATX?
Do I take measurements of the case (H W L). Do I measure the I/O panel? Do I measure the existing motherboard in it? Do I measure all the motherboard screw mounts?

I've measured the motherboard that came in that Packard Bell case, in centimeters: 20.5 x 24.5
The mounting screws are 15.5 x 15.5

The screw mounts (or whatever they're called) that are permanently attached to the case are varied in distances and proportion. It's as if the case was meant to hold many different motherboards. The greatest distances by corners are 23 x 29 centimeters.

Is that an indicator of whether or not it will hold an ATX mobo?

The thing that gets me about the Packard Bell case is that the PSU will have to lay on its side with the fan facing the CPU heatsink fan at about an inch. Hopefully the heatsink and fan for the mobo I am buying doesn't stick out too far, or that this doesn't cause an issue with removing the heat, or over heating the PSU by blowing hot air directly into it.
I believe this computer was meant to have cold air from the outside blown in onto the the heatsink.
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Old 02-11-2009, 11:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: First Build - need advice

Sounds like you have a matx case. The dimensions of micro atx motherboards are generally 9.6" by 9.6".
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Old 02-12-2009, 01:26 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: First Build - need advice

Well, I found a super cheap case that's not completely crap:

Newegg.com - Rosewill R222-P-BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Computer Cases

25 bucks, but with $15 shipping...all the parts together will cost 266.79. Think you can swing the extra 2 bucks?

If not, I can try to find a cheaper PSU that's still good, but getting cheaper than that one isn't a great idea...
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Old 02-13-2009, 02:36 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: First Build - need advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by hikaricloud View Post
Well, I found a super cheap case that's not completely crap:

Newegg.com - Rosewill R222-P-BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Computer Cases

25 bucks, but with $15 shipping...all the parts together will cost 266.79. Think you can swing the extra 2 bucks?

If not, I can try to find a cheaper PSU that's still good, but getting cheaper than that one isn't a great idea...
That is a pretty cool case, I had my eye on that thing a while ago.

Anyhow, I just ordered my rig without the case. I'll buy the case later.
I thank you very much for looking into a case and everything for me; that's really cool of you to watch my back like that

I figure in the mean time I'll just use 4 plastic soda bottle caps to put the mounting screws through; to keep the mobo about a half inch off of the table for a little ventilation. And if the board is too flexy I got a plastic can I am sanding down to exact size that I can lay under the middle to stop the board from bending. As long as nothing metal touches the board and I don't spill anything on it, it should still work until I can buy a really awesome case for it. I think I can get $50 in the next week or so. Oh and I got the HDD LED panel with a power button I can plug onto the board so I won't have to use a screwdriver to short those pins to turn the computer on and off. I might even get a house fan to blow a gentle breeze across the board if there becomes any heat issue with the north bridge chips (which I doubt will happen anyway.)

Anyhow, thanx for the help everybody.
So uhh, I can count on you guys to help me out when I put this thing together and can't figure out what all the beeping speakers and blinking lights mean, right? *looks around sheepishly*
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Old 02-13-2009, 02:36 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: First Build - need advice

With SATA drive - Why would you want to keep the "IDE Hard Drive @ 5,400 RPM"?

If you share the same IDE cable for both 5400 rpm and the 7200 RPM the performance of the faster will be downgraded to the slower HD speed.

I like the idea of having the 7200 rpm as the master/single drive on IDE port - use it as your backup/storage drive.

Move everything you want off that drive, hard format it, pull it out and donate it to someone with an older system, "or" put away somewhere as an emergency backup "just in case" the 7200 should fail when your too broke to replace it.

When money permits, get another SATA so you can put your Page file and temp folders on that 2nd SATA for even greater performance. With 2Gig or more of Ram you don't need much of a Page file anyway - the few times(if any) that the OS calls on it, the Page file will respond quicker.

With 2Gig ram and WinXP - I run a custom size Page file setting of 500 - 500 on a 2nd drive, when I defrag main drive I don't have a bloated page file in the mix. Makes for a clean main HD, and in my case, noticeably snappier system.
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