First desktop build, need advise


May 23, 2009

BUDGET RANGE: $1000, I can go a little over though

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: programming projects, circuit board design / simulations, school work, games, surfing the net, I will be doing some stereo machine vision projects, small amounts of audio rendering

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard and mouse


PARTS PREFERENCES: I have previously been an intel fan but am willing to give AMD a try



MONITOR RESOLUTION: I have a 22" 1680 x 1050 and a second monitor, a 20" 1440 x 900 is included in the build.

This will be my first build ever, my laptop with 2GB DDR2 memory and a dual core intel processor can be very slow sometimes, I would really like a dedicated desktop machine that will last a few years.
I have spent a long time trying to decide on the right parts. Here's sort of where I started out and where I am in deciding what to build.

I started out with DDR3 memory and one of the new i7 processors, decided it was too expensive, scaled it back to a system based on the intel Q9550. This was more in my price range but I would still like to cut costs.

At this point I started looking at the AMD processors, I have some friends that are big fans of AMD so I thought I would check it out.

Right now I am trying to choose between two different setups. One uses the AMD Phenom II X4 940 Deneb 3.0GHz AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Black Edition and the other is the intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz LGA 775 95W Quad-Core. I am slightly interested in overclocking, like maybe bumping the AMD to 3.2 or the intel to 3.0.

So these are the goals for this thread:

Pick out a video card:
EDIT: I found the graphics section of the forums, I have one picked out now!

Choose between processors:
Like above I'm trying to choose between the Intel Q95500 or the AMD Phenom X4 940. I would like it to last me a few years. I'm trying to figure if it's worth the extra money to for the intel. Right now I'm leaning toward the AMD because I "think" it should be fine for me, but I don't really know, and it's cheaper.

Cut some costs, swap some parts out for what I really need, questions:
I've attempted to do this myself, trying to have quality parts of only what I need. I had decided on getting an HP 23" 1080p monitor but by cutting it down to a 20" 1440 x 900 I saved $100. Am I going to notice the difference between 4, 6 or 8 GB ram? I don't if 4 is enough, 8 seems like overkill, I'm really not sure what to do here. Is my PSU too much, about right? Also, very important, I'd like to make sure all my hardware is compatible with each other.

Well here's what I've come down to for my build list on Newegg:

OCZ Reaper HPC 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model
Model #:OCZ2RPR10664GK
Item #:N82E16820227289

$72.99 X 2


Western Digital Caviar SE WD3200AAJS 320GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM
Model #:WD3200AAJS
Item #:N82E16822136098

$49.99 X 2


EVGA 512-P3-N841-AR GeForce 8800GTS (G92) 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported
Model #:512-P3-N841-AR
Item #:N82E16814130325


KINGWIN ADP-02 HDMI Female (19 pin) to DVI-D Male (24+1 pin) Adapter - Retail
Model #:ADP-02
Item #:N82E16812226015

$9.99 X 2 -$4.00 Instant

Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound - OEM
Model #:AS5-3.5G
Item #:N82E16835100007


ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro 92mm CPU Cooler - Retail
Model #:ACFZ7-PRO
Item #:N82E16835186134

$36.99 -$5.00 Instant $31.99

Sony Optiarc 24X DVD/CD Rewritable Drive Black SATA Model AD-7240S-0B - OEM
Model #:AD-7240S-0B
Item #:N82E16827118030


Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Model #:Three Hundred
Item #:N82E16811129042

$69.95 -$15.00 Instant $54.95

HP 2009m 20" HP 16:9 Wide HD Ready LCD Flat Panel Monitor - Retail
Model #:2009M
Item #:N82E16824176112

$159.99 -$20.00 Instant $139.99

GIGABYTE GA-MA790GP-UD4H AM2+/AM2 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
Model #:GA-MA790GP-UD4H
Item #:N82E16813128384

$139.99 -$10.00 Instant $129.99

OCZ StealthXStream OCZ700SXS 700W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
Model #:OCZ700SXS
Item #:N82E16817341019

$99.99 -$10.00 Instant $89.99

AMD Phenom II X4 940 Deneb 3.0GHz Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Black Edition Processor Model HDZ940XCGIBOX - Retail
Item #:N82E16819103471
Return Policy:processors (CPUs) Return Policy
In Stock

$214.99 -$25.00 Instant $189.99

Total Build Cost: 1016.81

Well if u want future proof your options are i7 and AM3/DDR3 platforms and the 8800 series was good in the past but its day in the sun has passed :p Here is a config with 22" LCD in for $913.48 including ship and MIR :lol:

Add 22" lcd $149.99 free ship
tadaa hehe
You can always count on batuchka to post an AMD build :p Whether you want one or not :lol:
He can always save you a few bucks though.

I see nothing majorly wrong with your build as is, except for the very old, hot, power-hungry graphics card and the PSU.

First up:
The CPU cooler you chose is an old model and there are better options. It comes with pre-applied thermal paste and does not require any more.
This is a TOP RATED cooler that comes with high quality past already:

Sunbeam CCTF

Next, the GPU. Do you need Nvidia for some program compatibility? I don't see anything listed that would need it. If so, a GTS 250 or the card Batuchka listed is good.
You have a crossfire board and will have a good PSU and case. You should run an ATI card for that reason and because it's a better deal:
Sapphire 4850 1GB (special this weekend)
Faster than the card you listed. Same price. Consumes less power. Can run two in crossfire later.

Then the PSU. OCZ is the budget brand. Adequate usually, but not great quality. For this build at that price you can get MUCH higher quality:
Corsair 650TX
PC P&C 750W NOTE $10 off promo code

Those are the only things I would change.

The AC Freezer 7 Pro comes with excellent MX-2 thermal compound already applied. AS-5 not required.
More important the Freezer 7 Pro is for socket 775 motherboards - your chosen AM2 socket MB.
ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 64 Pro instead (also has MX-2 pre-applied)!

If you want a less expensive (after rebate) and better cooler the ZEROtherm ZEN FZ120 120mm CPU Cooler is going for $22
ZEROtherm ZEN FZ120 review

For your $100 GPU budget: SAPPHIRE HDMI Radeon HD 4850 $100 a/r

Combo Deal:
Phenom II X4 940 and GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P AM3/AM2+ motherboard $270

HDMI monitor: ASUS 21.5" HDMI 16:9 Full HD 1080P $150 a/r
Both Proximon's suggested PSU upgrades are higher quality units - and they cost less.
Corsair 650TX or PC P&C 750W both have a 5yr warranty vs 3yr for the OCZ.
A good upgrade suggestion.



May 23, 2009
Alright guys I checked out what you said and revised my list a little bit.

I changed to the sunbeam CR-CCTF 120mm cooler.
switched out my OCZ power supply for the recommended Antec 650w one.
Went with batuchka's suggestion and went with that a lot of what he recommended, the graphics card seemed to be a bit too much $$$ though so I changed the graphics card to the SAPPHIRE HDMI Radeon HD 4850 $100 a/r suggested by WR2.

I'm planning to buy all the parts first week of June and assemble it June 6th, I plan on checking out what I can combo up on when the time comes. lol I am VERY excited to put this thing together!!! I think it should be good! Thanks guys!! :D