1st Time Builder-Need Advice on MotherBoard/PSU

Aral Fayle

Jun 16, 2009
First off I just wanted to say that this site is amazing. This is my first time building a computer and I came into this knowing next to nothing about how to choose what parts etc. Thanks to the guides and advice of other posters I now have a some what steady(although limited) knowledge of what I'm doing haha.

Also, I plan to be gaming.

So here are the parts I am pretty set on purchasing in the next two weeks or so.

CASE: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119160 (CoolMaster HAF Full Tower)

VIDEO CARD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102815 (Sapphire Toxic Radeon HD 4870 1GB)

HARD DRIVE: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136074 (Western Digital Caviar SE16)

CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115206 (Intel Core 2 Duo E7400)

OS: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116485 (Vista 32-bit)

MONITOR: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824001280R (Samsung T240HD 24inch, hopefully openbox will last)

WIRELESS CARD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833315041 (Haven't read/looked at too many others yet)

All I really have left is the MoBo, PSU, and RAM. I've read up on the guides for these and have a very loose understanding, so I hope you all can help me out.

I was looking at a few MoBos, such as http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131296

Is this decent? I don't plan on crossfire so the MoBo being able to do crossfire isn't much of an issue. Do I want DDR3? or is DDR2 fine? (Not really sure what that is other than it has to do with RAM)

As for the PSU I'm really unsure, any suggestions or insight as to what I need to look for would be great. And for RAM, what are the reputable companies? I know 32-bit OS can only handle 3.3ish or so ram, so should I go for 3? or the full amount it can hold?

Oh yea, forgot about CD/DVD Drive, but I figure that isn't very hard to pick out.

I appreciate any advice you can give and for helping out a pretty clueless guy.


Aral Fayle

Jun 16, 2009
APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Within the next 2 weeks or so.

BUDGET RANGE: $1000-$1,500 As low as I can get without sacrificing too much performance etc.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Gaming, media, surfing the internet.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Mouse, keyboard, speakers.


PARTS PREFERENCES: Not really. Intel just because I don't really know much about AMD.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 24inch monitor, 1920x1080

It would be helpful if you could elaborate as to which parts have newer versions/better performance. Im open to any suggestions and am not necessarily intel specific.
EDIt : Just saw your post...Will give in my next post the best suited for your budget...

Here is a good intel setup that you can checkout...But the LGA 775 socket is nearly dead as intel wont be launching newer CPUs for that socket...

CPU + Graphics card
E8400 + HD 4890 1GB

For that setup, you can easily do with a Mid tower case...The Cooler Master CM690 is a wonderful case and with the cash saved, you can get a more powerful graphics card as for that resoltuion of that monitor, the HD 4890/ GTX 275 would be best suitable as you are not planning for a crossfire setup...

RAM - For intel, there is no advantage of going with DDR3 RAM...A DDR2 RAM with low CAS would best suit the intel CPUs...
Crucial Ballistix 4GB (2 x 2GB) with CAS 4

Mobo - As you dont plan on crossfire, this mobo would best suit you...

$649 for the above components...
As you are planning for gaming, and you want to keep low on the budget, you should look into AMD CPUs...The main reason is just that they are better value now and intel is holding on till September to launch new CPUs so like I said before it has stopped the launching of newer CPUs for the older socket(LGA775)

Here is a list of config that you can look into...
Check out the review of X4 955 here...

CPU + Graphics card
Phenom II X4 955 + HD 4890

GSkillz DDR3 1333MHz

WD Black 640GB


Powersupply -
Antec EA650

CASE - Your preference...

Monitor - Your preference...but here is a very good 24"
ASUS MK241H Black 24" 2ms HDMI Widescreen

Mobo - If you certainly dont require crossfire support, then this mobo would suit you best...
If you want crossfire support, then get this mobo and change to a good quality 700W+ PSU as it is required for HD 4890 crossfire...

Total - $797 Except the CASE and the Monitor and including the ASUS mobo

And am sure you can get an intel i7 setup with that budget, but it will certainly not offer very good gaming performance than this setup and for gaming, no one would suggest an i7 for its extra cost...

Aral Fayle

Jun 16, 2009
Wow, it does help to ask someone who knows what they are doing.

The reason I chose that monitor is because it is a TV/Monitor..which solves my issue of having to buy a TV along with a monitor and paying more money (although a tv tuner may solve that just as easily).

As for the HD 4890 I assume it's a newer version of the HD 4870 and performs better? (Ill read about it myself tomorrow)

If you could just explain to me the difference between Intel and AMD I would really appreciate it. Does one perform better than the other? or supported more? Or are they both good and are simply competitors.

Lastly, what is your take on the full tower case? Necessary? Will all of the parts fit in a mid tower? I know its also preference and how much you plan to expand.

Overall your suggestions look pretty good and it seems like it will be able to run games really well, and the cost is well within my limits. I'll be reading about the parts you linked tomorrow. Thanks for the help because left to my own devices I could totally see myself spending more than is necessary.
:) Glad it helped...

And as for the monitor, that Samsung is a very good one but I guess the open box item has been deactivated for now...

The HD 4890 is like you said a newer revised version of the 4870 but it offers about 8 to 10%+ more graphics power...
Here is an article about that 4890...
And the main reason I suggested the 4890 over the 4870 is because of the resolution and as you don't plan for crossfire, getting a single most powerful card that you can afford would make sense...

intel and AMD are both CPU manufacturers and they are based on the same X86 architecture so both the CPUs support all the apps designed for that architecture...
Both intel and AMD have various CPUs at different price range and currently intel is planning for releasing newer CPUs but no sooner than September.
So now for the mainstream budget market, only AMD has been launching newer CPUs, which perform comparable or even better than their intel counterparts right now...But it might change during September though...
Here is a rough sketch of the mainstream offerings from intel and AMD at various price ranges...

Around $120
AMD - Phenom II X2 550 / Phenom II X3 710 intel - E7400
In this price range the AMD offers better performance than the intel offerings and they are better upgradeable as they are newer socket CPUs...

Around $130 - $170
AMD - X3 720 - $139 and intel E8400 - $168
Here both the CPUs offer very much the same performance in games and as the AMD has 3 cores compared to 2 in intel, they offer better performance in multi-threaded apps...And as you can see the price difference, going with AMD is the best...

Around $180
AMD - P II X4 940 intel - Q8400
Both have comparable performance but again AMD has better upgradeable path...

Above $200
AMD - PII X4 945, PII X4 955 intel - Q9400, Q9550, intel i7 920
Here the performance of the Q9550 and X4 955 is very much comparable and 955 is better in some...
But the i7 would totally outperform those CPUs(But in games, the difference is very minimal) but the overall platform(CPU + Mobo + RAM) cost would significantly be higher than the other setups...
So if you are planning for a Gaming PC, then the i7 is not recommended...but if you majorly use CPU intensive apps like video editing, rendering,...apps, then i7 is worth the extra money...

As for the Full tower, people prefer those mainly because in those full towers, any crossfire/ SLI setups don't block other components such as the HDD cage,...But as you are not planning for crossfire, that Mid tower case (CM 690) is more than suffice...Actually it has enough space even for crossfire setups without blocking the HDD cages...

So like you said read as many reviews as you can as it will give you better idea of what I have suggested... :)

Aral Fayle

Jun 16, 2009
That was another aspect I was not sure of. I know that not everything supports 64-bit although I suspect I'm behind the times and most games/programs/etc do now work with 64-bit. What are the benefits? All I really know is it allows you to utilize more RAM.