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First-Time Build Advice

Discussion in 'System Builder's Advice' started by markd87, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. markd87 New Member

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    I am preparing to build a PC for the first time and I was hoping to gain some insight/advice. I am relatively IT savvy, but I know the majority of the users on this forum have far more knowledge and experience than I do so please be critical. I have put together a list of components and I was hoping to get advice regarding the compatability and quality of the parts, as well as advice regarding whether I am spending more than I need to on my system. I will be using this computer for a multitude of tasks including office tasks, web browsing, music, movies, and web design using Microsoft's Visual Web Developer and Adobe's CS5 Series. I know none of these tasks require a plethora of system strength, but I want a very fast system because I am a very heavy multi-tasker. I attached a parts list in an excel file, and in a txt file for those who cannot access excel. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Mark.

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  2. n-ster

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    I'll do you a favor and show everyone the parts and took the none and N/A out. People are lazy, ya gotta make them work the least possible, especially if you want them to help you. Also put color for more clarity

    I'd personally go with the HAF X. Perhaps a different CPU cooler too. Do not forget the Thermal paste, OCZ freeze or MX-3 or MX-2 just be great. I'd also look into an Auzentech or an ASUS Soundcard. If you need Win XP compatibility mode, Windows 7 Pro. Make sure the 12GB RAM is 3x4GB
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2011
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  3. CJCerny

    CJCerny

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    The X-fi Titanium is probably a waste of your money unless there is a specific feature that you are buying it for. The on-board sound on that motherboard is pretty good. I would use that extra money on a better video card. However, you also don't mention being a gamer. If that is the case, just get a $25 HD5450 and be done with it. You also don't need an 850 watt power supply for the hardware you've selected. 500-600 would be perfectly fine unless you plan on adding some big video cards in the future.
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  4. markd87 New Member

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    Thanks CJ. No I am not going to be doing any serious gaming with this system, but I will be watching high-def movies, using adobe photoshop, and possibly CAD. I don't know too much about video cards so I just wanted to pick a mid-grade card that got good reviews.... As for the sound card, I just saw it on an existing system that I liked and I thought the sound clarity was great. My system would be hooked up to a 7.1 stereo system in my living room and I will use it for music all the time. However, if you think the motherboard will provide ample quality then I will take your advice for it.
  5. n-ster

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    If you listen to lotsa music, buy a good soundcard for sure

    The HX850 is overkill, but at least will last you a lot of time and keeps practically any option open for the future. Still, HX650 or HX750 might be a better choice.or XFX 750W is awesome too

    I'd suggest investing in a small SSD. 60~64GB. OCZ Vertex 2 OCZSSD2-2VTXE60G 2.5" 60GB SATA II ML... would do great

    I also like gigabyte motherboards better. perhaps a Gigabyte X58A-UD3R

    GPU wise, look at a GT430 or GT240
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  6. markd87 New Member

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    Thanks n-ster. I thought the HX850 might be overkill too. I will probably take your advice and go with the 750. In regards to the SSD would you suggest this in unison with the HDD I already just for speed. If so would I want to store my OS and most used applications on the SSD and just store all data on the HDD... or how would that look? Also, thanks for the advice on the motherboard. That was one of my most time consuming decisions and I was still very unsure. Do you like Gigabyte better because of performance, durability, compatibility, etc.? I only ask because I am definitely going to look into it and I would just like to know why it is your preference so I can know how to judge the comparison. Again, thanks for all your input. I really appreciate it.

    Mark.
  7. thebluebumblebee

    thebluebumblebee

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    First observation: This system will be noisy. I'm thinking you don't want a whining, clicking, whirling system sitting there while you work or watch a movie. It's hard to build a high performance system that's also quiet.
    (since I started this, others have made recommendations. It is not my intention to disagree with them)
    Suggestions:
    *Replace that RE HDD with a couple blue 1TB in Raid 0 (SATA3 version here) and then get a green drive to backup the Raid drives to and consider a SSD drive for your boot drive.

    *Absolutely no reason to buy an out dated (previous generation) video card. A GTS450 can be had for not much more, just make sure the fan quiet. (Cuda support for CS5)

    *Case. With quietness in mind, consider the RAVEN RV02-E (make sure it's the -E version), SST-FT02 or the Antec P193

    *PSU The CMPSU-850HX is a great PSU, but the AX850 is better and is actually cheaper with today's Newegg e-mail promotions. Its fan does not even turn on until it gets warm enough. I would recommend an 80+ silver or better PSU, which ever one you choose.
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  8. markd87 New Member

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    Thanks for all the advice Bluebumblebee. You're right... I definately would prefer to have a quiter system. Regarding the HDD I will have to do some more research. I had some noise concerns about the HDD I picked, but I picked it because I saw some great reviews and read an article about its optimum performance in a tech magazine. I have briefly looked over the HDD's you recommended and they look good and sound good from the product descriptions, but they are getting an alarming number of poor reviews. Do you have any experience with those drives? Regarding the video card, I really appreciate your advice. I didn't even realize that it was an outdated card. I will definately look into that upgrade. Regarding the PSU, thanks for the input. I will definately look into those brands. Again thanks for all your help, and if you have time please do elaborate further regarding your HDD selections. I will do further research, but in all reality I only understand a few metrics regarding HDD's so deciding which HDD is right for my system has been a real headache.

    Thanks,

    Mark.
  9. thebluebumblebee

    thebluebumblebee

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    oops,
    I have WD 640GB blues and they have been great and I made the assumption that the 1TB's would be too. The Samsung drives have been getting good reviews. HDD's have been the most difficult purchase decision over the years for me too. Which brand to buy seems to cycle through all of the brands over time.
    For further reading about building a quiet system: http://www.silentpcreview.com/
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  10. thebluebumblebee

    thebluebumblebee

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  11. markd87 New Member

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    Hey BumbleBee,

    If you are still checking this forum I want to jump back to this HDD topic and ask you a few more questions. You recommended I use two of the blue hard-drives in a RAID-0 configuration and then back them up to the green... Would this be a RAID 1 + 0 configuration? How exactly would this scenario work? (Sorry I learned about RAID's in college and haven't really thought about them since). Also, if I had my SSD as my boot drive wouldn't I want that drive to be in the configuration for redundancy as well? Sorry I know this is probably a relatively complex explanation that may be tough to explain to someone with less knowledge. I am just trying to make my components decision and after talking to you I am intrigued by the RAID idea, but a little bit perplexed. I have read good and bad things and I just don't know if I'm fully convinced that the perceived benefit will be worth the extra money and hassle of configuration. Again, if you or any other viewers could give me any additional insight I would really appreciate it.

    Thanks,

    Mark.
  12. jmcslob

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    Switch out the 802.11g card for a 802.11n...
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  13. freaksavior

    freaksavior To infinity ... and beyond!

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    what's the point in getting a 970/980 and only a gts250? I know you said you don't game much, but your already spending that much $$ why not spend the extra for a bad ass card also. 6870 for example or a gtx570
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    Crunching for Team TPU
  14. markd87 New Member

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    Thanks, I wasn't even aware of 802.11n. Now I just need to check to see if my router is compatible.
  15. markd87 New Member

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    Yea I've changed my mind on that. I haven't decided what card yet, but I am trying to evaluate all the good advice I have been getting to put together a new list of components. I am almost done and will post it back on this forum so hopefully you guys can give me on last go around of advice. I have am changing nearly everything but the CPU at this point, so hopefully this next system will be a big improvement. I am just trying to keep the price under control.
  16. jmcslob

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    If it's not the 802.11n card will be backwards compatible...being about the same price N is the better option
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  17. thebluebumblebee

    thebluebumblebee

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    My idea was to give you the performance of the RE drive with quieter drives. Therefore, install OS and programs on the SSD and your data on the stripe set (RAID 0) and use a slower still drive to backup the RAID 0 drives since your data is gone if one of those drives dies. I don't know if the system could RAID 1 the stripe set and the backup drive, but I think there would be a performance hit for that. The other option would be to go with 4 drives and RAID 01 or RAID 10 them.
  18. markd87 New Member

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    Thanks Bumblebee, I actually was looking into a RAID 10. I guess I just don't fully understand how that configuration works. I understand that it combines the RAID 1 and RAID 0 configurations, but logistically how would the process look? I am going to attempt to illustrate my understanding and maybe you can let me know if I'm on point at all. Say I have four drives a, b, 1, and 2. Would drives a and b be in a RAID 0 configuration while drives 1 and 2 were also in a RAID 0 configuration, and then virtual drive ab is in a RAID 1 configuration with virtual drive 12? Is this how the configuration works, or am I incorrect? Also, how much of a speed improvement would I see doing this? Could I still have an SSD boot drive in this configuration without buying 4 SSD drives, or would I even need one in this configuration? Finally, how difficult is it to program this configuration. Would a beginner like myself be able to complete the configuration using an online tutorial, or is it far too advanced....? Any insight on this stuff would be greatly appreciated considering it is one of the last details I need to iron out so I can go ahead and order my parts. Thanks again to Bumblebee and everyone else I really appreciate all of the valuable feedback I am getting here.

    Mark.
  19. thebluebumblebee

    thebluebumblebee

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  20. markd87 New Member

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    Thanks Bumblebee. I have been reading quite a bit on the subject, but I embarrassingly hadn't even checked wiki and that was a very helpful article. However, you recommended I use the SSD bootdrive. This is a quote from wiki "[edit] Efficiency (potential waste of storage)The usable capacity of a RAID 10 array is , where N is the total number of drives in the array and Smin is the capacity of the smallest drive in the array." Obviously I wouldn't want my array to have a maximum capacity of 1.5 x SSD-Boot-Drive, so are you recommending I keep it out of the array? Would I just want to back it up on an external?
  21. markd87 New Member

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    Ok so I after all the advice and further research this is my updated components list. I am pretty happy with it (other than the price), but I just wanted to put it back out there to everyone so anyone can chime in with any last minute advice. I will probably start ordering comoponents within the next week. Please if anyone sees any compatability issues, or an individual part that they think is poor please let me know. Again, thanks everyone for all your help.

    Mark.

    Case- SilverStone Raven RV02-E - $178.00
    PSU- XFX Black Edition P1-750B-CAG9 Power supply - 750 Watt - $111.00
    MOBO- ASUS Sabertooth X58 LGA 1366 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX - $200.00
    CPU- €Intel i7-970 (12M Cache, 3.20 GHz, 4.80 GT/s Intel QPI) - $600.00
    RAM- Corsair Dominator 12GB PC12800 Triple Channel - $235.00
    SSD- OCZ Vertex 2 OCZSSD2-2VTXE60G 2.5" 60GB SATA II MLC - $115.00
    HDD- Western Digital Caviar Blue 640gb 7200 rpm - $40.00
    HDD- Western Digital Caviar Blue 640gb 7200 rpm - $40.00
    HDD- Samsung Spinpoint F3 1.5tb - $72
    Optical Drive- LG Black SATA Internal Blu-ray Disc Combo Model - $60.00
    Sound Card - HT OMEGA STRIKER 7.1 Channels PCI - $75.00
    Video Card- ZOTAC GeForce GTX 460 1 GB 256-Bit (675MHz/3600MHz) - $150.00
    LAN- Sun Vally Tech 300 mbps 802.11n PC Wireless N Wifi PCI Adapter - $16.00
    OS- Microsoft Windows 7 Home Edition 64-Bit - $100.00
    Heat-Sink- Noctua NH-U12P SE2 120mm SSO CPU Cooler - $75.00
    Blue-Tooth- Dongle 2.0 USB Bluetooth Wireless Adapter - $4.00
    Wireless Keyboard/Mouse- Logitech Cordless Desktop 920000879 EX 100 - $25.00
    Total- $2,114.00
  22. freaksavior

    freaksavior To infinity ... and beyond!

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    I agree with almost everything.

    Why 12gb?
    why 2 x 640's and a 1.5?
    Why a gtx 460
    Crunching for Team TPU
  23. thebluebumblebee

    thebluebumblebee

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    I believe that this video card would be quieter, and it is cheaper with the rebate. Nice choice with the F3
  24. n-ster

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    12GB is fine, but why pay 235$ for them? if you want 12GB, get the cheapest 3x4gb that you can (rule of thumb, if for 5$ you gt something much better for example, spend the 5$ lol)
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  25. thebluebumblebee

    thebluebumblebee

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    Good catch n-ster.

    Mark, you've said this is your first build, and it is obvious that you are trying to build a powerful do-it-all workstation. Almost no one really talks about building a workstation, but there is a lot of talk about gaming systems. Both types of systems are high performance, but a workstation should not be OC'd where as it is assumed that a gaming system will be. The memory that you chose is great, no matter what, but is designed for gaming. I looked on Newegg last night and saw 12GB kits for ~$140 that will do just fine.

    The other thing that I wonder is if you really need a 6 core 12 thread system. Please finish the following sentence: I want to be able to.....
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