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Windows 7: First Time Custom Desktop Build

13 Apr 2012   #1

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
First Time Custom Desktop Build

Hey all,

So the rundown is that my Bro really needs a new computer. He's been running with 500mb's of RAM, and onboard GPU (256mb), an intel Centrino CPU (clocked at 800MHz), and Windows XP for almost 3 years now. As you can imagine, he's pretty sick of it. So for the past couple years, he's been saving up for a new computer. He's only 14, so it's pretty slow going. Over two years, he's managed to save about $250 . To help, I've been trying to find good deals on Barebones kits. However, due to the lack of selection, and overall low quality of the builds I've recently been looking at what it would take to build the parts from scratch. I've come up with a list of parts that should fit his needs and then some. Having never built a computer from the ground up, I'm seeking advice on my compilation.

Now, before you start, I am completely aware that I do not have a CD/DVD burner, can only expand to 8GB's of RAM, and have only picked a 250GB hardrive. These things are of lower priority than performance. We're working on a budget of about $350 (I plan on footing some cash), and no more than $400. I've never seen him use over 100GB's in his life, or over 4 GB's of RAM. Finally, we plan on upgrading this machine with an Integrated Graphics Card, so the Onboard card isn't the permanent solution.

Thanks for all your guys's help,
The Unofficial

Shopping Cart:

Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case, comes with Three Fans-1x Front Blue LED 120mm Fan, 1x Top 140mm ...

Item #: N82E16811147153

Recertified: Western Digital Caviar Blue WD2500AAJB 250GB 7200 RPM IDE Ultra ATA100 / ATA-6 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #: N82E16822136577


GIGABYTE GA-880GM-D2H (REV. 3.1) AM3+ AMD 880G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
Item #: N82E16813128458


RAIDMAX HYBRID 2 RX-630SS 630W ATX12V V2.2/ EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Modular Power Supply, New Version with Build-in ...
Item #: N82E16817152035


AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ965FBGMBOX
Item #: N82E16819103727
Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model 996770
Item #: N82E16820226095

-$10.00 Combo
Subtotal: $374.94

My System SpecsSystem Spec

13 Apr 2012   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

First things first, there's nothing wrong with 8GB memory; just take a look at my system specs for that wholly unbiased opinion!

Now starting from the top of your list there seems nothing wrong with the case. In fact it mirrors a case we sell where I work, although that's under a different manufacturer so I guess it's one of those things. In fact I'm surprised to find a few things you normally only get in cases that cost more; namely the all-black inside and the HDD trays.

In keeping with my above sentiment, there's nothing wrong with having a 250GB hard drive either. You can always add another if the need for more storage becomes an issue. 250GB is more than reasonable for a system as long as your brother doesn't insist on keeping every single game and program he ever buys installed. WD of course is a solid brand as well, so you shouldn't have any problems with that.

The board is a good choice, with the 880 chipset and coupled with the Phenom 965 is going to give your brother a decent build. The only thing I would say is that the IDE ports are probably going to end up largely redundant and give the board a rather dated look.
The memory you get the combo price with, well I'm hardly going to speak out against that... Ahem

Now for the PSU (ok so I deviated from the list order a little bit), I've never heard of Raidmax but I do know that it's better to spend more than you'd expect on a PSU. Remember, this is the part responsible for keeping the machine running, and skimping on the power supply can be the difference between having a smoothly functioning computer, and waking up one day to find the thing has melted a hole through the floor.
On the other hand as I say, I've never heard of Raidmax at all, so for all I know they might be brilliant. The reviews certainly seem to suggest that, so perhaps wait for any others on here with personal experience to speak about the PSU.

In summary: Nice build. Your brother should be pretty happy with it, but if I was going to explore any other options, it would only be for the PSU with perhaps a brief glance at alternative motherboards which have dropped the dated IDE ports.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Apr 2012   #3

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

Hmm, I hate it when I type my reply, then click the "Post Reply" button instead of the "Post Quick Reply" button, then lose my reply

Anyway's, thank you for your detailed and well thought out reply.

Alright, so I chose this Motherboard because of the feature set and price. For the price, I got an onboard GPU with HDMI, VGA, and DVI. If I would have purchased a newer, fancier board for the same price, I would have lost the onboard GPU. If I lost the onboard, I'd be looking at another $50-$150 for an integrated card. If you prefer another MB in the $50-$80 range, I'm all ears.

In regards to the PSU, I chose this particular PSU due to the wattage, dual rails, surge protection, and price. Some of those features didn't come on other PSU's in the same price range. My other Antec option had numerous reports of being DOA. However, I haven't heard of the brand either and am also a little wary. Again, if you have another PSU with a similar feature set and price, I'm wide open.

Thanks again and I look forward to your reply,
The Unofficial
My System SpecsSystem Spec

13 Apr 2012   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

Apologies are in order! Google saw fit to send me to completely the wrong Gigabyte board (despite it having the exact same model number) and I was mistaken in what I saw. Comparing it now to a Foxconn equivalent, it's easy to see why you chose the Giga.

Now, power supplies power supplies power supplies. At first I was rather tempted to recommend this XFX 550W. It is somewhat higher than you were expecting at $74.99, but will deliver solid long-lasting performance and give true wattage on its single 12v rail; where most PSUs claim to deliver a specified wattage but fail to mention that this is across all 12v rails combined. Useless if you actually need all of that power to go to one place.
Then I realised that honestly, your brother won't need all that power to go to one place, so I scrapped the XFX, the Silverstone ($68.99) the Cougar ($69.99) and even the OCZ ($69.99).

This left me with an Antec at $59.99 which is out of stock, and thus was just as quickly discarded. Now I'm looking at a Cooler Master at the same price (N82E16817171038); with 550W at 70% "typically"; as opposed to the Raidmax's "up to" 85%. That phrase always makes me wary, 'up to'.
It can provide 16 amps on each 12v rail which honestly, is not all that.

That leads me on to a slightly pricier Antec. It's again more expensive at $69.99 but this is with a 20% discount code, given on the product page but the offer ends on the 22nd so depending on their stock levels, there's no hurry.
The Antec (N82E16817371044) is a 650W @ certified 80% efficiency meaning it always delivers 80 or above, within a given tolerance. With two 12v rails both giving 38 amps apiece it seems ready to power some serious hardware, which makes it a keeper for future upgrades even if they should happen to come three years down the line.

As I say, it's more than you were initially looking to spend, but I feel it's an extra amount worth paying both for the brand name, the efficiency, and the power output across all its rails but primarily the 12v.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Apr 2012   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Don't forget the cost of an operating system

As far as the power supply goes, you likely don't need a 630 watt power supply for this build. IN fact, I know that you don't. I run an overclocked quad core Q9550, with 8GB of RAM, an 80GB SSD, a 1TB Western Digital Caviar Black, a DVD burner, and an Nvidia GTX 570 video card on a 620 Watt Corsair power supply and I'm hardly using 1/2 of it's capacity.

For power supplies, I like Corsair, SeaSonic and Antec...(In that order). Here is a 430Watt Corsair you can get for $45, before a 15% coupon and the a $10 rebate.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2012   #6

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

First of all, I feel like a complete d-bag for not replying. I'm so sorry.

Secondly, The day has come for us to buy the parts. I'm having to re-evaluate some of the parts due to deals that have expired, budget changes, etc. Thank you so much Oxymoron for your excellent help and research. I salute you, and have included your suggested PSU.

Pparks1, We plan on installing Linux, and possibly dual booting with Windows 7 down the road a little. I want to get a higher rated PSU just to stay on the safe side. If it was my build, I probably would save on the PSU, but since it's not mine, I'm keeping things safe. I don't want to be responsible for dashing somebody's dreams if it doesn't work. I hope you understand, as (based on your sig) we seem to have similar views on computers.

I will be posting my final kart when I've finished.

Thanks for your continued help and support,
The Unofficial
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2012   #7

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

Alrighty, here's the component cart v2.0. Any thoughts? The total comes to $404 after rebates and promo codes.

Attached Thumbnails
First Time Custom Desktop Build-elijah-s-components-cart.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2012   #8

Windows 7 Pro X64 SP1

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by The Unofficial View Post
Alrighty, here's the component cart v2.0. Any thoughts? The total comes to $404 after rebates and promo codes.
As your CPU/memory bundle uses an OEM CPU, you'll need to buy a heatsink and fan combination. If you can't come up with a bundle that includes a retail CPU, this heatsink is very popular in the DIY community: - COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7

($30, but there's a $10 rebate at the moment.)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2012   #9

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

Hmm. Okay. Thanks for alerting me to that fact. I was under the self imposed impression that the case cooling would suffice. Is there possible a cheaper one that you could recommend in the $10-$15 range?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2012   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

The Hyper 212+ cooler is the best cooler you will find for the price.

You cannot run a CPU without a heatsink and a cooler. Airflow through the case will never be enough.

I understand the desire to stay on the safe side as far as the PSU goes. At least you have a good brand name PSU in the build. According to the Extreme Power Supply calculator that I use, this rig above will required about 215w. (and I assumed 2 case fans) (eXtreme Outer Vision - eXtreme tools for computer enthusiasts)
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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