The Beginnings Of A Decent (Gamer's?) Build?

TerranRevirell

Distinguished
Feb 15, 2009
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18,510
Ok, here it is: I'm a noob @ this.

I said it. And now that its out there, I'm going to reveal my master plan for this system: Future Upgrades.

I'd like to be able to upgrade this list of parts into a decent to semi-decent gaming computer. Mind you, nothing heavy that will require 2 graphics cards or for me to pump liquid nitrogen through the case... but something decent.
Something for Spore & Photoshop. Something I can run multiple programs on w/o having them crash like a college student after the 3-day-caffeine-induced-cram-session has passed.

Before I get to the listing stuff, these are the questions I have:
1. Will my current anemic 450w power supply run the components in the 'Already Have' & 'Have In Mind' list?
2. How big a power supply will I need in the future (with everything in the 'Have In Mind', 'Already Have' & 'Future Components' lists included)?
3. Any suggestions on an IDE to SATA card?
4. Any suggestions on a heatsink/fan for possible OCing if I get the 940?
5. Just double checking, but will the memory I have listed be compatible with the motherboard I have listed? I'm antsy about buying it & getting the wrong memory.
6. Do the raptor (1000rpm) & velociraptor (1200rpm) hard drives really make that much of a difference as far as how fast the OS & programs load?
This is what I have in mind so far & I'd like your opinions on it.
AMD Phenom II X4 920 2.8GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Processor - Retail
Not quite sure if I should go with this one or the 940 for OC-ability.
OR
AMD Phenom II X4 940 Deneb 3.0GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 125W Quad-Core Black Edition Processor - Retail
I'll need a fan & heatsink if I get this one. A fan that doesn't have LEDs or whistles the National Anthem, but cools well. I won't be OC-ing this initially, but may in the future.

GIGABYTE GA-MA78G-DS3HP AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
Because of the limit of 16GB of RAM & the HDMI port & the integrated graphics. No $ for a card now & I've been surviving w/ a nVidia 5500GX card, I think...

OCZ Platinum 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
Because I'm still running XP & it's on sale. I won't be OC-ing this initially, but may in the future.

What I Already Have:
The case (with 2 front-side USB ports I'd like to plug in)
A power supply (It's a 450w)
A DVD R/RW (IDE connectors)
A 3 1/2" floppy reader (stop laughing)
1 SATA HD (750 GB 7200rpm)
2 IDE HDs (30 & 500 GBrpm)

Vague-ish Plan for Future Components:
Max the memory out - that's 4 4GB 1066 sticks. (I think I read that the Phenom II only lets you use 2 slots @ 1066 & the other 2 have to be @ 800, so then 2 1066 & 2 800)
Add a good graphics card. The best the board can take w/o calling in Scotty.
Add a 1.5 TB SATA HD
Add a Blu-Ray Player
Add a front-side card reader
A front-side firewire port (not that I have anything that uses firewire right now, but there will undoubtedly be something I own in the future that will use it.)
A relatively small raptor or velociraptor SATA HD for my OS & programs

I'm just about @ my spending limit right now & I'd like to get my parts ordered before my dad tries to change the terms of our agreement... Any help would be great!

Thank you so very much for reading through all that! (... unless you scrolled ahead & didn't read any of it. x_x)
 
Solution
Corsair and PC Power & Cooling are the best, IMO. Check this out:
http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=108088

The Phenom II 940 does come with a heatsink and fan. Normally they are good enough if you don't overclock. OK, considering your horrible ambient temps, I think you're right. Here's a good cooler: Xigmatek HDT-S1283 $37
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835233003

The MB you have picked is not available (at newegg at least) right now. It claims to support Crossfire but it's bad at it (one slot runs at only 4x). I suggest this combo instead:

http://secure.newegg.com/Shopping/AddToCart.aspx?Submit=ADD&ItemList=Combo.155232
You get the Phenom II 940 and a better MB for $333...
Most MBs these days will let you use the IDE DVD burner and one IDE hard drive, but that's it.

LOL at 16GB of RAM. Way overkill, and 4GB sticks costs a fortune anyway. Settle for 2x2GB and the ability to add another 2x2GB, you'll be fine.
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2008/07/08/is-more-memory-better/1

What model of 450W PSU is it? There's a huge difference in capabilities and quality between something decent like, say, Corsair 450VX, and some other so-called 450W PSu which I won't name here.

You don't need an aftermarket cooler, and your money is much better spent on a graphics card or a larger PSU anyway.

The Raptor is actually slower than some newer disks like WD6401AALS.
The Velociraptor runs at 10000 rpm, not 1200. Good disk, but it's silly for a gaming machine to have a Velociraptor and a crappy 10-year old GPU. The GPU should be your #1 priority.

Try getting a HD 4850 card, that should be your first thing. A 450W PSU, if it's a good brand, should be enough. There are plenty of faster cards (HD 4870, GTX 260, GTX 280, HD 4870 X2, etc.) but they should not be used with a 450W PSU.







 

TerranRevirell

Distinguished
Feb 15, 2009
2
0
18,510

Ok, so give up on the Raptor & get a Caviar instead. Great - I need more storage than what the raptor offers @ the same price. I have way too much media... & I can backup & get rid of the 30GB IDE in the process.

... & if I ever really need a 3 1/2" floppy reader, I can get a spiffy USB 2.0 internal card reader that reads floppys too...

Right now, I just want it to run my basic programs; Photoshop, Firefox, video conversion, iTunes, virus software, ZoomPlayer & uTorrent. 3-4 of them running at the same time w/o crashing would be marvelous.

The video card & a nice assortment of games comes @ around Easter - right now, I just want the option to add a nice card in there.

The PSU is an OKIA-450ATX (where the heck did my dad get that?). I'm going to need a decent name-brand CPU, then? Is Corsair is the best?

And I won't need a CPU fan/heatsink if I get the Phenom II 940? I'm worried about that, because I live in Texas. Winter here is 50 degree weather. People have been known to BBQ & wear shorts on X-Mas.
Given that, I'd rather have a fan/heatsink in case the AC goes out at an inopportune time, which always seems to happen...
 
Corsair and PC Power & Cooling are the best, IMO. Check this out:
http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=108088

The Phenom II 940 does come with a heatsink and fan. Normally they are good enough if you don't overclock. OK, considering your horrible ambient temps, I think you're right. Here's a good cooler: Xigmatek HDT-S1283 $37
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835233003

The MB you have picked is not available (at newegg at least) right now. It claims to support Crossfire but it's bad at it (one slot runs at only 4x). I suggest this combo instead:

http://secure.newegg.com/Shopping/AddToCart.aspx?Submit=ADD&ItemList=Combo.155232
You get the Phenom II 940 and a better MB for $333.

When you're ready to upgrade the video card post again, OK? Right now I'd suggest a PC Power & Cooling 750W and a HD 4870 1GB, with the option to add a second card later. By Easter however there may be even better options.
 
Solution

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