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Old 12-14-2008, 08:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Need help building a budgeted gaming system (amateur)

Hello - I created this thread because I need guidance on building a gaming desktop. I don't have much experience with this - so far all my experience is replacing a video card and putting in some thermal paste.

My goal is to make a great GAMING PC for my little brother for about 600-800$ - i want to try to not go over 700 but i also want to get the most out of my money. I am using websites such as google, newegg( especially the reviews!), toms hardware, pricewatch, and tigerdirect. I won't get state of the art technology with that budget, but I still want it to last a good number of years with the latest games. I live in and will be buying from the USA.


Keep in mind that since i have never built a computer so I'm not really sure too sure what I'm doing. I figured that i would order all the parts and then just try to put it together.

So far, the parts that I think I need are:

Motherboard
Processor
Video Card
RAM
Monitor
Computer Case
Hard Drive
Keyboard
Mouse
Speakers
CD/DVD Burner


Please let me know if there is anything else I need. The fan comes with the motherboard right? Will I need some sort of external cooling also?


I have researched the priciest components so far (CPU, motherboard, video card). Please let me know what you think of my decisions and if you have recommendations. Is everything compatible with eachother? I'm trying to get the biggest bang for my buck. Based on my research, I have come to the conclusion that Intel > AMD at this current moment.


I haven't decided if I am going to overclock this (partly because I'm not sure how to). But let's just assume I will.

Processor - this is what I have researched the most so far and I am fairly confident in my choice - but let me know if you disagree.

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0Ghz 1333FSB 6MB L2

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3.0Ghz 1333FSB 6MB L2 - BX80570E8400

Motherboard - I'm not very knowledgeable with the specs for motherboards, I have narrowed it down to the eight motherboards you see below (based on the reviews at newegg).

Newegg.com - EVGA 123-YW-E175-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 750i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard - Intel Motherboards
Newegg.com - ASUS P5Q LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Intel Motherboards
Newegg.com - GIGABYTE GA-EP43-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P43 ATX Intel Motherboard - Intel Motherboards
Newegg.com - ASUS P5N-D LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 750i SLI ATX Intel Motherboard - Intel Motherboards
Newegg.com - ASUS P5Q Pro LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Intel Motherboards
Newegg.com - ASUS P5Q3 LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Intel Motherboards
Newegg.com - GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3R LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Intel Motherboards
Newegg.com - GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Intel Motherboards

Keep in mind that I have not checked these motherboards on Pricewatch - so there may be a 5-10$ cheaper elsewhere.

As for CPU/Motherboard combos, I've looked for a good deal on one of those but what I am finding is that they offer a really great processor and a very crappy non-gaming motherboard.

Video Card - I have already purchased this one for 20$ (after rebate) and based on the reviews its pretty good for gaming - my reasoning was that since it is only 20$, worst case scenario is I will just get a better one later on incase this one isn't good enough.

EVGA 256-P2-N761-TR GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card

Newegg.com - EVGA 256-P2-N761-TR GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards



RAM - Haven't researched this much yet - is there a certain minimum amount of RAM I need to make it compatible with my motherboard and processor? I don't want the minimum amount though - I want a good amount to ensure it is a great gaming desktop. What is the typical amount of RAM to accomplish this?

Hard Drive - Haven't researched this much yet - is there a certain minimum amount of hard drive space I need to make it compatible with my motherboard and processor? I don't want the minimum amount though - I want a good amount to ensure it is a great gaming desktop. What is the typical amount of HD space to accomplish this?

Monitor - Haven't researched this much yet.

The rest of things like the keyboard and speakers I don't think is that big of a deal, that I can do on my own but the main components is what I need help with.

Also - here a couple of combos from some users on Newegg. Haven't looked at these very carefully yet.


-EVGA 512-P3-N980-AR GeForce 9800 GT Hybrid
-GIGABYTE GA-EP43-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P43 ATX Intel
-Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250410AS 250GB
-G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory
-LITE-ON 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black SATA Model
-Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor
-Rosewill RCX-Z300 92mm Ball CPU Cooler
-RAIDMAX SMILODON ATX-612WBP Black 1.0mm SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Foldout MB Computer Case With 500W Power **this box was not the best choice**
-Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit



1.This mobo Gigabyte EP45
2.Intel E8500 C2D...OCed@3.9Ghz/1644mhz FSB
3.GTX260(MSI)Oced 702/2406/1467 GPU(just 1)
4.DDR2 1000@822mhz 5-4-4-12 1:1 (gskill)2x2=4gb
5.X-Fi gamer's edition audio
6.(optional) Asus PhysiX card-takes load off GPU
7. 750watt 4x12v rail PS(Zalman)or better
8. Antec 300 or 900 (depending on your budget)case
9. 22"lcd or bigger with 2ms 10000:1 (LG)or samsung
10. any of the THX Logitec speakers are good! Z series


Let me know if I forgot to mention anything. I would appreciate it if you would please let me know what you think, thanks a lot.
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Old 12-14-2008, 09:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need help building a budgeted gaming system (amateur)

Quote:
Originally Posted by kenny536 View Post
1.This mobo Gigabyte EP45
2.Intel E8500 C2D...OCed@3.9Ghz/1644mhz FSB
3.GTX260(MSI)Oced 702/2406/1467 GPU(just 1)
4.DDR2 1000@822mhz 5-4-4-12 1:1 (gskill)2x2=4gb
7. 750watt 4x12v rail PS(Zalman)or better
8. Antec 300 or 900 (depending on your budget)case
9. 22"lcd or bigger with 2ms 10000:1 (LG)or samsung
Now your speaking my language. Go with a 24" monitor if your budget allows it. That would last you sometime before you'd have to worry about a new gaming computer again.

Just make sure you get the GTX 260 with 216 shaders instead of 192.
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Old 12-14-2008, 09:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need help building a budgeted gaming system (amateur)

The E8400 is a very good choice for the processor.

First off don't base a purchase solely off of newegg customer reviews, allot of those people don't know what they are talking about.

I would get a Gigabyte EP43 DS3l motherboard, it will save you some money but is still a good motherboard

Newegg.com - BIOSTAR TForce TP45HP LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Intel Motherboards

2gb of ram is fine for gaming at this point although 4gb is pretty cheap so it's worth considering. For a 2gb kit this OCZ ram is good and the price after mir is hard to beat.

Newegg.com - OCZ SLI-Ready 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Desktop Memory

For 4gb the gskill pi blacks are excellent ram.

Newegg.com - G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Desktop Memory

For the case I highly recommend the antec 300. It has good cooling and should have plenty of room for all your parts. i have one with 2 additional front fans installed and couldn't be happier with it.

Newegg.com - Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Computer Cases

One item you didn't mention but is extremely important is the power supply. Since you said you might get a better graphics card in the future I recommend getting a Corsair 650tx which gives you plenty of power for future upgrades.

Newegg.com - CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Power Supplies

Any size hard drive is fine, just make sure it is SATA II or SATA 3.0gb/s. A 250gb should be enough for a gaming system.

Newegg.com - Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250310AS 250GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - Internal Hard Drives

That video card isn't the best for gaming but for $20 it isn't bad. You may want to consider upgrading to a HD 4870 which would allow you to max out every game except Crysis.

Newegg.com - SAPPHIRE 100259L Radeon HD 4870 512MB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards
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Old 12-15-2008, 04:05 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need help building a budgeted gaming system (amateur)

Thanks for the replies!

Being new at this, deciding between all these components is pretty overwhelming. So I'm going to do it one step at a time.

Processor - e8400 - this is baically set, I'm confident that this is a good choice.

I have narrowed the motherboard down to three (although feel free to suggest something else). (Puddle - why do you suggest the DS3l?

The ASUS p5q Pro 115$

The ASUS p5q-e 145$

GIGABYTE UD3P 117$

(Keep in the mind that I will receive a 20$ combo discount for the Pro and a 10$ discount for the UD3P when coupled with the 8400)

I chose the UD3P over the UD3R and UD3 because of this chart:

Although that chart does confuse me. I know I need CrossFire for overclocking so I figured I'd go with the UD3P.


Can you guys give me feedback on which is the best from the three motherboards? Please let me know what your reason is for recommending also.

Is the p5q-e worth it for the 30$ price jump?

Is there any difference in the expansion slots? I see a difference in the p5qe.
I also see a difference in the max memory supported - p5q pro only supports 8GB while the other two support 16GB. But I only need 4GB of RAM right? Then this would be irrelevant.

Are there any other differences?
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Old 12-15-2008, 04:29 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need help building a budgeted gaming system (amateur)

Crossfire has nothing to do with overclocking. Crossfire is when you pop two ATI cards into your motherboard and they work together as a team.

SLI is the Nvidia equivalent.
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Old 12-15-2008, 09:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need help building a budgeted gaming system (amateur)

The reason I suggested the EP43 DS3l is it allows you to spend more on the video card which will have the greatest impact on gaming performance. The only reasons to get a more expensive board is if you want to run crossfire or plan on heavily overclocking your cpu (>4ghz) in which case the biostar TP45HP is your best option. While the EP43 might be able to overclock that high the TP45 will do it without a problem assuming the cpu is capable of it.

Newegg.com - BIOSTAR TForce TP45HP LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Intel Motherboards
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Old 12-16-2008, 08:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I see your point Puddle. I am not buying that mobo but I am buying a cheap one for 99$ so I can spend more on the video card.

Here is where I am at so far:

CPU - e8400 WolfDale

Motherboard - GIGABYTE UD3R

Video Card - researching


I was going to shop for desktop components one at a time and although the video card is still my main priority, I am reading these NewEgg emails and there are promotional discounts that expire on the 18th, and some on the 21st. Based on what I have bought so far (CPU and motherboard) and what I am trying to accomplish, please let me know what you think of these discounts and if you recommend any product.

Please don't get the idea that I am not researching or that I am being lazy - I am simply doing this because the promotions will expire before I get to researching the products. I realize this is a lot to ask all at once but if you could even just give feedback on one of the components I'll appreciate it. Also, feel free to suggest something that is not a promotion, I am not simply going to buy it because there is a discount, I still want to get the biggest bang for my buck.

I cannot link to the deal page because it's in my e-mail.

All the prices below are after promocode and rebate:


Video Cards:


EVGA GeForce 9800 GT PCI Express 2.0 x16 512MB GDDR3 Video Card

Newegg.com - EVGA 512-P3-N971-TR GeForce 9800 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards

89.99

------------------

EVGA GeForce 9500 GT PCI Express 2.0 x16 512MB GDDR3 Video Card

Newegg.com - EVGA 512-P3-N956-TR GeForce 9500 GT 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards

44.99

-------------

ASUS EAH4830/HTDP/512MD3 Radeon HD 4830 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail
640 Stream Processors ready

Newegg.com - ASUS EAH4830/HTDP/512MD3 Radeon HD 4830 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards

94.99

------------


MSI GeForce 8800 GTS PCI Express x16 320MB GDDR3 Video Card

Newegg.com - MSI NX8800GTS-T2D320E-HD-OC GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB 320-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards

79.99

------------------------------

Power Supply - I need at least 600W right? How much of a performance increase will I saw if I do more than 600W?


Thermaltake Purepower W0121RU 600W ATX12V V2.0 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Power Supply - Retail

Newegg.com - Thermaltake Purepower W0121RU 600W ATX12V V2.0 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Power Supply - Power Supplies

44.99

-----------------

Corsair 750 Watt ATX12V/ EPS12V Active PFC Power Supply

Newegg.com - CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Power Supplies

89.99

------------------

OCZ StealthXStream OCZ600SXS 600W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Retail

Newegg.com - OCZ StealthXStream OCZ600SXS 600W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Power Supplies

39.99

-----------------

Rosewill 630 Watt ATX12V v2.2 & EPS12V v2.91 Active PFC Power Supply

Newegg.com - Rosewill RX630-S-B 630W 80 PLUS Certified , ATX12V v2.2 & EPS12V v2.91, SLI Ready, CrossFire Ready, Active PFC Power Supply - Power Supplies

59.99

----------------

I definitely want to buy a power supply in the next couple days because there is a 20% sale right now for all PSUs in the following link: Newegg.com - Power Supply, ATX Power Supply, Uninterruptible Power Supply, DC Power Supply

Let me know which one you think is the best deal for me.


----------------------------



Monitors :

ASUS VW224U Black 22" 2ms(GTG) Widescreen LCD Monitor w/ HDCP Support 300 cd/m2 1000:1 (ASCR 5000:1) Built in Speakers - Retail

Newegg.com - ASUS VW224U Black 22" 2ms(GTG) Widescreen LCD Monitor w/ HDCP Support 300 cd/m2 1000:1 (ASCR 5000:1) Built in Speakers - LCD Monitors


159.99

-----------------

Acer X193W+BD Black 19" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 2000:1 (ACM) - Retail
High resolution 19” monitor

Newegg.com - Acer X193W+BD Black 19" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 2000:1 (ACM) - LCD Monitors

129.99


------------------

SAMSUNG 2233bw High Glossy Black 22" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 DC 20000:1(1000:1) - Retail

Newegg.com - SAMSUNG 2233bw High Glossy Black 22" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 DC 20000:1(1000:1) - LCD Monitors

179.99


Basically each monitor is 10$ off with the promo code. I haven't researched monitors heavily yet but I just wanted to know if these were good deals since they will expire soon.

--------------------------


RAM

- for memory I need the 4GB RAM correct? Most of the promotions are only for 2GB RAM so I will not bother posting them.

G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory

Newegg.com - G.SKILL PI Black 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Desktop Memory

44.99

-----------------

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail

Newegg.com - G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Desktop Memory

49.99


---------------


Hard-Drives - I have no idea why the prices vary so much when the memory space is the same. The 1TB and 400 GB HDs are the same price - why is that?


Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

Newegg.com - Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - Internal Hard Drives

59.99

--------------

Seagate Momentus 5400.6 500GB SATA 3.0Gb/s Notebook Hard Drive OEM

Newegg.com - Seagate Momentus 5400.6 ST9500325AS 500GB 5400 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Notebook Hard Drive - Laptop Hard Drives

99.99

--------------

Western Digital Elements Portable 400GB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive

Newegg.com - Western Digital Elements Portable WDE1MSBK4000BN 400GB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive - External Hard Drives

99.99

------------------

Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EACS 1TB SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

Newegg.com - Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EACS 1TB SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - Internal Hard Drives

99.99


--------------------


DVD Burners - I assume this includes CD drives inside them - right?


Lite-On IDE 22X DVD+/-R DVD Burner with LightScribe

Newegg.com - LITE-ON Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache IDE 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe - CD / DVD Burners

24.99

----------

Sony NEC Optiarc IDE 20X DVD+/-R DVD Burner OEM

Newegg.com - Sony NEC Optiarc Black 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 20X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache IDE 20X DVD±R Burner - CD / DVD Burners

19.99


-------------------

Cases

Newegg.com - Don’t Let the Holidays Pass You By

There's a lot of cases there. The one on top looks cool.. I like the blue lights - but is it good for airflow?

Also, there are some case combo deals with CPUs here:

Newegg.com - Bundle UP this Holiday Season

The first two on that link are the ones that apply to me since I am buying the e8400 CPU.

-------------------------


Thanks a lot.

Alright – I’m done ordering everything (except the speakers). Let me know how I did!
Here is the final order:
CPU: e8400 WolfDale

Motherboard: GIGABYTE UD3R

Video Card: ASUS Radeon HD 4830 (I decided to change this from the 9800 GT – some people say they are the same, some say the 4830 is slightly better, so I went with the 4830).

RAM: G.Skill 4GB(2x2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 1066

Power Supply: OCZ StealthStream 600W

Monitor: SAMSUNG 2233bw High Glossy Black 22" 5ms Widescreen LCD

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar 500 GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0 GB

DVD: LG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe

Case: Antec 900 (great case, the blue looks sweet!)

Keyboard: Saitek Black USB Wired Standard Eclipse (this has illuminated blue keys – matches the case!).

Mouse: Logitech MX518 – I already had this.

OS: Vista 64-bit - I got this for free from a student organization that I am in.

The total for all this (minus the last two which I already had) turned out to be 830$ after all promo codes, discounts, and rebates.

Did I spend my money well? What do you guys think?

Thanks to everyone who has helped me – I’ve learned a lot! Now it’s time to build lol – this will not be fun.


Am I missing anything else? I don’t need a cooler unless I decide to overclock – right?
The only other thing I need that I can think of are speakers. Is there anything you guys recommend that isn’t too expensive? Here are the two that I was looking at:
Logitech X-240 25 Watts 2.1 Speaker – Retail
40.99
Newegg.com - Logitech X-240 25 Watts 2.1 Speaker - Speakers

or

LOGISYS Computer SP6000-BK 32Watts 2.1 SOHO MULTIMEDIA SPEAKER SYSTEM
23.99
Newegg.com - LOGISYS Computer SP6000-BK 32Watts 2.1 SOHO MULTIMEDIA SPEAKER SYSTEM - Speakers


I don’t know which one I should get. The Logitech one is great because it’s Logitech… plus the black speakers will match my case… but its 40.99 … on the other hand the other one has great reviews and is supposed to great for gaming but it’s some weird company called LOGISYS.. and the speakers look nice but they are more silver than black and they won’t match my case at all… but they’re only 23.99.

The crappy part is that either speaker will cost me an extra 15$ for shipping … all the stuff I’ve bought so far conveniently had free shipping. Not sure what to do – any other alternatives? Or maybe I should just stick with the monitor speakers? And then maybe just use a headset from the monitor speakers when I game? Or is that not a good idea?

Thanks!

Wow I am really mad right now - I spent like 12 hours reading so many websites and manuals and stuff and I think I finally figured out where everything goes.. so I plug the power supply cord in to the wall and flip the switch and try to turn on the computer and what happens? nothing..


I think the PSU is defective or something... sometimes when I'm flipping the switch and I lean in real close I hear a slight hissing sound, not sure if its the PSU or the motherboard, but I'm guessing the PSU.

I dont know if its just because I am new at this.. but I really think I plugged in everything where it belongs.. this really sucks
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Old 12-24-2008, 06:47 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need help building a budgeted gaming system (amateur)

I am guessing PSU too
if the fan in the psu doesn't even spin
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Old 12-24-2008, 08:39 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Need help building a budgeted gaming system (amateur)

You have plugged in all your front panel connectors right?
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Old 12-24-2008, 12:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Yes I have.

There is a hissing sound - I think it's the PSU.

The hissing sound only occurs when I have the system plugged in, it is flipped on, and I am holding the power button on the case.

I think I may have found the problem - as I was taking everything out of my case - when I unplugged the MAIN power supply wire that goes from my PSU to my mobo (the 20+4) wire... the 4 wire was fine .. and so was 19 out of the 20 holes on the wire of my PSU - but one hole was empty ... do you think this is the reason for the lack of power??

The missing pin is #10 (+12V) ... that sounds important.

EDIT : Nvm, I wasn't looking at the pin alignment close enough and I had it backwards, the missing pin is #17 - which is GND - so that should not matter right?
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