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Old January 28, 2010, 01:41 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 3
Smile Opinion on first ever self-built rig ($1000)

Hello. I stumbled upon this marvelous site when I was looking up case reviews a couple weeks ago. I'm thinking of building my own PC (for the first time) to replace my dying 5-year-old Dell laptop. There's really no rush for me to build this computer, as long as it gets done sometime within the next calendar year, but it seems like there are pretty nice sales this week on the parts I was thinking of using.

1. What YOUR PC will be used for. That means what types of tasks you'll be performing.
Gaming + university student homework stuff

2. What YOUR budget is. A price range is acceptable as long as it's not more than a 20% spread
$1000 before tax.

3. What country YOU will be buying YOUR parts from.
Vancouver, Canada

4. IF YOU have a brand preference. That means, are you an Intel-Fanboy, AMD-Fanboy, ATI-Fanboy, nVidia-Fanboy, Seagate-Fanboy, WD-Fanboy, etc, etc, etc, you get the picture.

5. If YOU intend on using any of YOUR current parts, and if so, what those parts are.
ASUS VW246h 24" monitor, Optical drive, keyboard, speakers, mouse.

6. IF YOU have searched and/or read similar threads.
Read all the recent Core i5 and $1000 gaming build threads from the last couple of weeks.

7. IF YOU plan on overclocking or run the system at default speeds.
No plans to overclock for me.

8. WHEN do you plan to build it?
No rush. I don't care if I build it next week, or before Jan 2011.. just whenever I find the best parts I can for around $1k.

9. What resolution do you use?

Okay, so these are the parts I'm thinking of assembling for my build.

CPU: Intel Core i5 750 ($220)
Motherboard: Gigabyte P55A-UD4P
PSU: OCZ ModXStream Pro 700W (Mobo+PSU bundle: $220)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 ($306)
RAM: G.SKILL F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL Ripjaws PC3-12800 4GB 2X2GB DDR3-1600 CL9-9-9-24 Core I5 1.5V Memory Kit ($125)
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500GB SATA2 3.5IN 8.5MS 7200RPM ($54)
Case: AzzA Solano 1000 ($59)

Total: $984 (after mail-in rebates and sales)

Uh oh.. I just realized the sale on the HD5850 ends in less than 17 hours, so this current build price will not last very long.

Anyway, I'm hoping to get some other opinions on the components I've chosen for this build. Since this is my first one ever, I've probably made some mistakes on compatibility or made some poor choices. I really have no clue about which type of RAM I should buy, since I haven't done any research on how to choose RAM yet. No clue on which hard drive to choose either.

One last thing before I make this thread way too long: I know I could've chosen a much cheaper motherboard, given that I won't be doing much overclocking, if at all. I'm thinking of possibly buying another 5850 to crossfire in the future, if I need to upgrade in order to play some newer games. Initially I was looking between the Gigabyte P55A-UD4P, the ASUS P7P55D Pro, and the ASUS P7P55D-E Pro, because they all have support for 8x/8x PCI-E support for dual-gpu builds. Since this week, the UD4P is on sale, as well as having the advantage of being USB3.0 and SATA3 compatible, I put that on my list above.

Okay, I'm officially rambling at this point, so I'll shut up.

Thanks in advance for any advice and opinions you may give me.

Edit: In order to save a few more bucks, I wouldn't mind switching the case to an AzzA Helios 910 for $38.

Last edited by xneke; January 28, 2010 at 01:47 AM.
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Old January 28, 2010, 12:09 PM
Raserei408's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: South of the border
Posts: 495

Well, as far as compatibility, everything checks out. However, there are some suggestions I'd make.
First, you don't have an optical drive. Unless you have some other way of installing an OS and have no intention of using one (which I don't know how you'd plan to do that) you're going to need one. DVD burners tend to run between $20 and $30. Maybe if you find a cheap or used one you can get it for less.
Second, I'd recommend avoiding OCZ PSUs. They're alright, but the quality isn't stellar. Furthermore, it's good to get a nice one, since you'll likely use it for a few builds to come. I'd recommend sticking with Corsair, PC Power and Cooling, or some Seasonic PSUs.
For the Motherboard, any of those are great, and if you decide to OC in the future (which I recommend at some point, but take your time, you can add additional cooling and such later) you'll have a solid OCing build. Also, while the USB 3.0 and SATA 6 compatibility is nice, if I understand correctly the implementation isn't done very well. To my knowledge it costs PCI-E bandwidth, so if you're using USB 3.0 and SATA 6, you can kiss using that second PCI-E slot goodbye.
Also, I'd recommend getting a Caviar Black 640GB or something similar with a 32mb of Cache. It'll be generally quicker, which is really nice. I have a similar hard drive and it works fine but is nothing extraordinary.
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Lo Mein said that, and I think he knows a little more about dancing than I do pal, because he invented it! Then he perfected it so that no man could best him in the club of honor.
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Old January 28, 2010, 02:09 PM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 3

Thanks, for the reply, Raserei.

I didn't include an optical drive, because I already have one purchased on Boxing Day, but thanks for the warning.

Yeah, from the reading I did, it seems like USB3.0 and SATA3 weren't really nicely implemented. I think this review summarizes it pretty well.
SATA 6Gbps Implementation Investigated – ASUS vs. GIGABYTE P55 GIGABYTE P55A-UD4P :: TweakTown

Maybe I should pass on USB3.0/SATA3, since it looks like they can't be perfectly implemented in P55 boards. I wonder if it's possible to stay under $1k if I change the motherboard and the PSU to a Corsair..
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Old January 28, 2010, 02:30 PM
jcmaz's Avatar
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Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 2,437

My System Specs


The Azza Helio and the Solano is good, but if you decide to get some aftermarket cooling (i which know you will) the sidefans are in the way of the gigantic coolers.

The Azza Helios is a great case, lots of cooling for the price.

You do know what MIR's are right?
“Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.”

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Old January 28, 2010, 03:03 PM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 3

Originally Posted by jcmaz View Post
The Azza Helio and the Solano is good, but if you decide to get some aftermarket cooling (i which know you will) the sidefans are in the way of the gigantic coolers.

The Azza Helios is a great case, lots of cooling for the price.

You do know what MIR's are right?
Yup, I'm aware that there are $70 worth of mail-in rebates associated with the PSU and the case I listed ($60 if I go with the Helios case instead).

Since I've never had a problem with random MIRs before (knock on wood), I'm only worried about keeping the net price (give-or-take the 12% tax I won't be getting back for the MIRs) below $1000, even though the actual cost I'm paying up front for my original build is around $1050 + tax. Maybe I'm in denial or something.
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