Need some advice on my first build.

By Beaver Slayer
Oct 15, 2005
  1. Hello, I'm sure you are all thinking "Not another PC build thread!" So I will get right to the point.

    I want a performance PC in the $900-$1200(USD) range.

    My planed specs, as of this moment are as follows:

    CPU:$190 AMD Athlon 64 3200+
    MOBO:$80.00 MSI K8N Neo4-F NVIDIA Socket 939 ATX
    Memeory:$40 Ultra 1024MB PC3200 DDR 400MHz CL3 Memory
    Vid. Card:$150 Geforce 6800(gt?)
    PSU:$60 Ultra / X-Connect / 500-Watt / ATX / Dual 80mm Fan
    Sound:$20 Creative Labs SoundBlaster Live 24-Bit PCI Sound
    Monitor:$200 LCD something or other, I really don't care.
    Case:$175 Thermaltake Silver Armor Aluminum Full-Tower AXT or black
    Hard Drive:$100 Seagate / 300GB / 7200 / 8MB / SATA-150 / OEM / Hard Drive
    CD:Already have one that should do.

    Total: $1015

    This rig will be used about 80% gaming, 20% random other stuff.

    If you see anywhere that I am unwitingly cheaping out or going more expensive then I need to (Or just buying a POS part) I would appriciate the advice.

    I would particularly like advice on the case and PSU.
  2. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,404

    Looks like an excellent PSU according to the reviews I have read. I don't think you'll have any problems at all. I have never owned or worked with that case, but Thermaltakes are fun.
  3. Beaver Slayer

    Beaver Slayer TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 50

    Ok good, I though I remembered someone saying something about Ultra's being POS's.

    Does anyone have advise on a good cheap LCD? (I haven't had much time to look at them, i only decided to get one yesterday when a friend pointed out how messed up it would be to put my gaming monster on an old CTR monitor.

    Also, how hard are SATA or Raid-0 setups to get working, because I'm considering getting 2 80gb's and putting them in a Raid if it's fairly easy.

    Edited for forgetfulness: Also, for anyone with experience with the case, how good is the cooling? I saw it had 2 90mm fans and 2 120 mm's but is that enough? (sorry if some of these questions seem noobish but I don't want to spend $1000 bucks on this thing then find out it doesn't work when it sets on fire or something.)
  4. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    Really? I've heard x connects are trash in a nice box.
    From the hardforum "unscrupulous" psu list.
    People that like them probably like them because they look cool, and have nice features. I'd be more concerned about quality/performance than looks though.
    I'd recommend Enermax psus.

    What size lcd are you looking for? Budget?

    Also, crts are better(IMO) for gaming, as they don't have ghosting issues, but apparantly the newer lcds are very good.
  5. Beaver Slayer

    Beaver Slayer TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 50

    I though I saw something like that about Ultra's... Now I'm looking at an enermax 535watt, but since is doesn't have the modular cable add on's like the Ultra did I'm a little woried about having enought cords, I think it has enough but I'm going to double check.

    If you think CRT's are better for gaming I will wait unill my budget recovers to get an LCD. One last thing, CD drive. I just realized that the CD drive I have isn't w/rw so I'm looking at this one
    Asus CRW-5232AS / 52x32x52 CD-RW / QuieTrack Black CD Burner in adition to the old one.
  6. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,404

    I guess that is the beauty of this forum. What one doesn't find, another will!

    I was basing my info mainly from this article here: Extremeoverclockers has it on their highly recommended list, plus with 34A on the 12V rail, it looked pretty sweet to me. Then again, I also trust that PSU article on the hardforum. If he is saying the Ultra company is unscrupulus, it's probably for a good reason.
  7. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,404

    Why not get a DVD-RW drive instead of just CD? The price of DVD-RW drives has come down so much these days, and it makes backing up your important data that much easier (over 4Gb per disk).

    And if you are looking for a good LCD screen and have the cash, I have THIS one and love it. High quality, excellent colors and response time. I game with it all the time.
  8. Beaver Slayer

    Beaver Slayer TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 50

    I don't really see myself needing to back stuff up on disc, my Dad has a network hard drive set up, I back up everything there. I did however just realise that that cd rom doesn't READ dvd's which it WILL need to do, I just need to find a black version of this
    and confirm that my PSU has enough cables and I'm set. (I'm going to guess that cd drives use the perifrialls cables right?)
  9. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    A cd drive uses an ide cable, like many hard drives do.
    Your motherboard should have 2 of these connectors, and each connector supports 2 drives, so you can have 4 optical drives if you like(and use sata hard drives).

    A dvd burner would only be like $8 more, but I guess if you wouldn't need it, you wouldn't need it.
  10. Beaver Slayer

    Beaver Slayer TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 50

    Sorry about that, I ment that power cable do disk drives use, not what info transfer cables they use, And I'm going to asume that even a hard drive not in a SATA can use a SATA power conector.
  11. hball

    hball TS Rookie

    I have two Ultra x-connect power supplies; correction, I have one working ultra x-connect and one piece of junk. I'm waiting to see if the one working one goes down and then I'll know for sure they're trash, LOL.

    You might find a case that costs less, so you have more money for your video card. I don't know anywhere that sells a 6800 GT for $150, but I could be wrong.
  12. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    No sata drives have sata power connectors, while ide drives use 4 pin molex connectors.


  13. Beaver Slayer

    Beaver Slayer TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 50

    OK I think I get it now, so Since my hard drive is SATA capabile, it will use one of the Sata cords, the cd drives will use one of the 4 pin ide's each, one pci cord for my GPU, then main board connection, what kind of pin's do case fan's use, IDE?? Are their any other connections I'm forgeting?

    Edit: Also, I realize now that I'm not getting a GT for 150, so I'm going with the regullar 6800
  14. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    sata data cable?
  15. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    I think some cards take a pci-e power(6pin) connector while others have molex(4 pin) connectors, so it depends on the card.

    Case fans can use either 4 pin molex(like ide drives), or some have a small 3 pin connector that connects on the motherboards fan plugs. Most motherboards have around 3 of these type fan connectors on them.

    I assume you're not installing a floppy drive, they take a "floppy power connector" that's different than molex or sata power.
  16. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    MSI Neo4-F is a nice mobo, but why don't you spend $100 more and get the MSI Neo4 SLI Platinum. Now you have built-in expansion (i.e. can get 2 video cards in the future) for those extreme games.
  17. Beaver Slayer

    Beaver Slayer TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 50

    I origionaly considered an SLI mobo but Truthfuly, I think by the time I will need (or want) SLI this mobo will be long out of date, that and I don't have the money.

    Nope, no floppy drive yet, but maby later. ok, so it looks like the PSU has enough cords, I'm going 2 wait to more days, do some of my own reasearch to look for compatibility problems and if nothing detrimental has been posted here I'm going to start ordering, thank you so much for walking me throuh this.


    CPU:$200 AMD 64 3200+ 939 socket
    MOBO:$89.99 MSI K8N Neo4-F NVIDIA Socket 939
    CASE: $159 Thermaltake Silver Armor Aluminum Full-Tower AXT Case
    PSU: $89.99 Enermax 535w
    HARD DRIVE: $94.99 Seagate / 300GB / 7200 / 8MB / SATA
    MEMORY:$89.99 2x512 ddr
    GPU:$170 Geforce 6800
    SOUND: $40 Live 24 bit PCi
    CD:$42 this
    Monitor:already have it

    Total: $975.96
    Plus about $25 (yes thats probobly not even close to the real number) so...
  18. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    personally I won't run a system without a floppy drive. You need them for legacy debugging and booting issues. Yes you can make a CD virtual floppy but they're not alway reliable.
    I'm in the same boat. 95% of users don't need an Athlon 64 based system... Like you, by the time I need a system that's 64bit based, SLI will be replaced with something else.
    I'm not an early adopter of technology.... I'm a wait and see type.
  19. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,979   +362

    I recommend getting a 3.5 floppy drive. Fortunately, they're very inexpensive. You'll need one to install the SATA RAID drivers. Even if you aren't planning to set up any RAID configuration, you still need the drivers to enable using the SATA controllers. MSI (and others) supplies them on floppies.

    Install all the drivers at the F6 prompt and then disable RAID in the BIOS later.
  20. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    precisely my point. Many drivers are issued on floppies.
  21. Beaver Slayer

    Beaver Slayer TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 50

    Alright, I'll get a floppy, after all, I'm like $20 underbudget, and thats about how much a floppy costs.

    Do I still need the SATA controlers even If I only have 1 hard drive?

    No, wait SATA isn't the 2 hard drives thing is it? What is it then?

    So tack another $20 and this onto my specs.
  22. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,979   +362

    Well, you are buying a SATA HD so you have to connect it to a SATA controller. RAID is the "two hard drives thing" if I understand you correctly.

    You can get a good floppy drive for half that. Look here for example: Newegg
    That's not even the cheapest one. It wouldn't hurt to check the prices of the rest of your items too. is another good outfit.
  23. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    One more thought, you might be able to save $25 dollars if you went with an oem version 3200+, as they're only $133, but you'd have to buy a heatsink, which'd add $40 to that, but that's still only $175 total, so you'd save $25.
    The oem has no heatsink, and a shorter warranty, but is much cheaper. Also, since you'd be getting a good cooler, it would possibly overclock better, if you're going to overclock.
  24. Beaver Slayer

    Beaver Slayer TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 50

    I dont supose my mobo has intigrated SATA controllers does it? It looks like it might but I'm not sure.

    nf4, do you have experience with the seller you linked to?

    And ya, I'm definitly going to price check before I order, those where just guesses.
  25. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    I've not purchased from ewiz, but I checked and it seemed to be rated pretty good(except for returns). The overall rating is good.

    The neo 4-f has 4 sata(150mb/s) ports on board, so it supports 4 sata drives each at up to 150mb/s.

    If you want to find the best prices on the parts try, but check a place's ratings before you buy from them.
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