Seeking unbiased advice for a system rebuild

Deathbliss

Junior Member
Apr 25, 2008
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deathbliss.hostei.com
OK, I will try to detail this as clearly as possible. Please keep in mind that loosing my computer is a hard hitting blow as I depend on it. I'm also witting this with a serious headache and I just don't feel very well. Moving on...

My third-hand experience on putting together computers goes back a few years. My first hand experience is limited to one course in college - the one you take before you pay the $200.00 for the test - well I aced that class but a few years have passed so I'm a bit rusty. Plus my computer goes back two years, so I have a 939 processor I can't use (AM2 is the deal now), two sticks of Patriot DDR RAM (now I need DDR2) all installed on an Asus A8R32-MVP MOBO.

Took it to a computer shop - won't POST. Either the MOBO, the processor, or the both are dead. The power supply had burnt out, but I guess the issues went further. On Monday I go to pick it up. Since it's dead already, and all I can loose is money, I'm going to rebuild it. I want to stick with ASUS for the MOBO because I have an ASUS video card which I think I can use in the new system (ASUS EAX 1600XT Silent - PCI-Express). One of the neat things with my computer, designed and built by my uncle, was that it used ASUS parts all around. So there may be better, cheaper boards out there but I'd like to follow his example and you'll have to do some serious, LOGICAL convincing to get me to change my mind. I've just gotten through search NewEgg, here's my list to select from so far:

MOBO:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16813131095

Processor:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16819103212
http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16819103194
http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16819103210
http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16819103235
http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16819103234

RAM:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16820220066
http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16820146568
http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16820146524
http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16820146566
http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16820145539

Power Supply:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16817256037
http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16817373004
http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16817171025
http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16817153070

Now I haven't sat down and thoroughly read through all the specs on these pieces of hardware, so there may be some laughable incompatibilities, or some not-so-obvious ones, or even some things I missed. So please be gentle! Also please note that I will use AMD processors only, based on very good experience with them over the years.

What I'm asking for here is for whoever wishes to help to go through the hardware and tell me what based on what they know, have read, or acquired through personal experience will work, will not work, or needs to be done differently. My budget is tight - $400.00 MAX including tax and shipping. I may in fact only be able to come up with a little over $300.00. I'm hoping I can sell some of the parts off my old computer for a little more money.

So links to reviews, articles, information, etc as well as logical posts or sharing of personal experience with any of these hardware parts would be very much appreciated and welcome. I would like to ensure that, barring my failure to put this together correctly, I will have a reliable and excellent computer when its finished. I can't have unreliability, instability, incompatibilities, etc. I don't overclock, so that should make things a lot easier.

The computer will be used for gaming (will be running UT 3) as well as modeling and graphic software. I will probably also be casting some video tutorials.

I very much would appreciate your help! Thank you for taking the time to read through all of this -
- Deathbliss
 

mechBgon

Super Moderator<br>Elite Member
Oct 31, 1999
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Moved from Computer Help to General Hardware.

AnandTech Moderator
mechBgon
 

MarcVenice

Moderator Emeritus <br>
Apr 2, 2007
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You should check the stickied thread, it has some great parts listed that you could use. Not sure why you want to stick with AMD though? Your logic about sticking with asus is a little flawed as well. There are other great company's, that can sometimes often better prices, be loyal to your wallet, not a brandname.

Here's a possibility for ya:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16813131278 Mobo
http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16820145184 RAM, you should go with 2x2gb, it's cheap, and I bet your video stuff will benefit from it. AR it should cost roughly 65$ for 2x2gb. If you insist in 2x1gb don't spend more then don't spend more then 40$, and some ram can be had for less after rebates.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16817371006 PSU, pretty sweet deal, 430w is plenty to power your rig, especially if you intend on re-using that 1600xt, but if you want a new videocard the PSU will still be able to handle it.

This leaves like 120$ for the CPU, more if you stick with 2x1gb, that buys you this CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16819115052 which is pretty sweet, and overclocks like a champ. You COULD get a e2220 for just 90$, clocked at 2.4ghz too though, and it will be equally fast if not a LOT faster then your current CPU. If you're into overclocking btw, you could also save more money and buy a e2180 and overclock it to 2.6-3.0ghz.

Last but not least, you could consider a 780g motherboard, for 90-100$ or less if you don't stick with Asus. It has some pretty good onboard video too, in case your videocard is dead as well. Throw in a tripple core, http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16819103254 and you're video-editing will really benefit from the extra core.
 

Deathbliss

Junior Member
Apr 25, 2008
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deathbliss.hostei.com
Thank you for the advice! I want to stick with ASUS because, well because my uncle designed this with well researched parts at the time, and for 2+ years I had no hardware issue whatsoever. I had a stable, reliable rig, which, even at it's old age, could easily run UT 2004 then UT 3. How many 2 year old computers do you know that can do that?

I want to stick with AMD because I know, from experience with all the computers I've had over the years, their processors are better. So please stick with the links I've posted or post along those lines. Thanks!
- Deathbliss
 

MarcVenice

Moderator Emeritus <br>
Apr 2, 2007
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Well, you're out of the loop for 2 odd years, coz right now Intel's CPU's are better, at least in the high-end, but sometimes in the low-end as well, with lower power consumption/heat output. The 780g motherboard I suggested is a nice AMD solution though, with that tripple core, or one of those faster dualcores you mentioned yourself. You can use the ram I mentioned, ddr2 800mhz should be used, the links you used for ram are BAD, you're paying to much for to little ram.
 

heyheybooboo

Diamond Member
Jun 29, 2007
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ASUS M3A78-EMH HDMI AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI Micro ATX: $97 w/shipping

The ASUS M3A-H/HDMI AM2+/AM2 AMD 780G HDMI ATX is its full-size brother for $108 w/shipping

The integrated video on each of these mobos is roughly similar to your existing video card. It has a PCIe 2.0 x16 slot (which has twice the thruput of PCIe1) and the AMD sb700.

You should consider these Gigabyte AMD 780Gs in mATX and ATX form factors. Same as above but add firewire, eSATA and Realtek ALC889A audio - - - $98 w/shipping

AM2+ motherboards will provide a future upgrade path for the 95w Phenom quad-cores coming out in Q4 and SB700 adds more SATA & USB with additional timing and overclocking stability.

Your X2 4800+ will work well and most likely reach 2.8GHz+ with a BIOS overclock - or with the AMD Overdrive utility.

Do not buy 512mb ram sticks. Check your mobo selection for their memory support. Consider buying 2Gb sticks - even if you have to start with a 'single' stick like the Kingston 2GB KVR800D2N5 DDR2 800 for $49 w/shipping (on the Gigabyte QVL list for memory).

Hard to beat the Antec Earthwatts 430W Marc listed for $60 with free shipping (before the $30 rebate!)

$250 bucks when it's all said and done - looks like you could come in under $300 (after your PSU rebate) and snag the Kingston 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR2 800 kit
 

Deathbliss

Junior Member
Apr 25, 2008
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deathbliss.hostei.com
Ok, so far the ANTEC power supply looks like the one I should get. For RAM I should get 2 - 4 gigs and I'll probably try for a matched set of the ones suggested here.

So that leaves me with a few questions... Is there any reason I should not get the MOBO I have linked to? Will that MOBO work for my purposes with the power supply suggested? Also which of the processes I've listed should I get?

I also realized I forgot to add a heatsink for the processor, so suggestions for the processors I have listed would be appreciated. I'm assuming a 939 sink won't work on an AM2 board. I'll do another NewEgg hunt later today.
 

heyheybooboo

Diamond Member
Jun 29, 2007
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Originally posted by: Deathbliss
Ok, so far the ANTEC power supply looks like the one I should get. For RAM I should get 2 - 4 gigs and I'll probably try for a matched set of the ones suggested here.

So that leaves me with a few questions... Is there any reason I should not get the MOBO I have linked to? Will that MOBO work for my purposes with the power supply suggested? Also which of the processes I've listed should I get?

I also realized I forgot to add a heatsink for the processor, so suggestions for the processors I have listed would be appreciated. I'm assuming a 939 sink won't work on an AM2 board. I'll do another NewEgg hunt later today.

The boxed CPUs come with a heat sink and fan assenbly which will work well for you.

An X2 4600+ 2.4GHz is also a good choice for your budget build - for another $25 the X2 5400+ 2.8GHz would be a nice bump.

x2 4600+: $58
Antec PSU 430w:: $60
Asus M3A AM2+ 770 ATX: $88
2GB x 1 DDR2 800: $45

$251 - $30 rebate = $221

Based upon your budget that leaves you with $80-$180 ....

Just missed an HD4850 for $163 at Best Buy (DANG!) - The Egg is $208 w/shipping.
 

Deathbliss

Junior Member
Apr 25, 2008
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deathbliss.hostei.com
HD4850?

So everything you listed should work together?

Anyone have any experience - good or bad - with any of these parts?

Thanks for all your replies, help, and patience. I understand that you guys probably see a lot of these kinds of posts. For me it was just the quickest way to get up to speed and get my computer fixed again. Otherwise I'd be weeks at this. So I really do appreciate the help!
- Deathbliss
 

Deathbliss

Junior Member
Apr 25, 2008
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deathbliss.hostei.com
Hey a little update here... I noticed that someone left feedback saying they wished the processor - the 2.9 ghz I linked to - had a 1 meg cache. Anyhow I decided to look for Dual Core processors with larger caches and found this:
AMD Athlon X2 5400B 2.8GHz 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM2 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16819103267

No comments there though, so I was hoping for some feedback. Anyone here care to share their thoughts?

Also decided to see what the highest rated AM2 boards are, and found a few other choices:

GIGABYTE GA-MA790FX-DS5 AM2+/AM2 AMD 790FX ATX Ultra Durable II AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16813128074

MSI K9A2 Platinum AM2+/AM2 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16813130136

ASUS M3A32-MVP Deluxe AM2+/AM2 AMD 790FX ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16813131291

Anyone care to share their thoughts, experiences, etc? Much appreciated!
- Deathbliss


UPDATED with item titles as requested
 

MarcVenice

Moderator Emeritus <br>
Apr 2, 2007
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With such a tight budget you should NOT be spending $150+ on a motherboard, 90-100, for a 780g is just fine and gets you a very nice motherboard. Unless you want 790fx for their crossfireX possibilities?

CPU is fine, for 10$ more you can buy a e7200 though, which beats that CPU with ease :(
 

heyheybooboo

Diamond Member
Jun 29, 2007
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^ ^ ^ ^

What Marc said.

The 790fx is designed to run UP to 4 video cards in CrossfireX. The single PCIe 2.0 x16 slot on the 780g will run any modern video card and has twice the thruput of PCIe 1. It should be quite a while before any single (affordable) video card can fully utilize the bandwidth of a PCIe2 x16 slot.
 

Deathbliss

Junior Member
Apr 25, 2008
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deathbliss.hostei.com
OK, thanks for the feedback. I have a question though... Do I need two PCIe X16 slots for a later Crossfire setup? If so then I need to delete my latest board links from my post, and get thoughts on this one instead:

ABIT AX78 AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16813127046

I want the ability to upgrade to a Crossfire setup later on. But I must admit it looks like Nvida's SLI setup is winning the Crossfire VS SLI match based on all the NVIDIA SLI MOBOs I see for sale. I'm just stuck with Crosssfire because I have an ATI card and no money to buy an Nvidia.
- Deathbliss
 

MarcVenice

Moderator Emeritus <br>
Apr 2, 2007
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Deathbliss, you're mixing it up :p That ABIT AX78 AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail is a motherboard you don't want. You do want one of those previously mentioned motherboards, as they offer dual pci-e 2.0 slots at 16x, or even QUAD pci-e 2.0 slots at 8x, allowing for crossfire x. I'm probably confusing you now, so let's keep it simple.

If you want to crossfire in the near future ( 3-6 months otherwise crossfire won't really be worth the extra motherboard/psu cost ) then you should get something like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16813130136 ( cheapest one you linked to ). This one looks good too: http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16813136044
 

Deathbliss

Junior Member
Apr 25, 2008
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deathbliss.hostei.com
So for simplicities sake... I need a MOBO that has at least 2 PCIe 2.0 slots that run at 16X?

It is confusing, because browsing around NewEgg I see a lot of MOBOs that have just one PCIe slot, but 2 or 3 PCI slots. I must be missing something here...
- Deathbliss
 

MarcVenice

Moderator Emeritus <br>
Apr 2, 2007
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Yes, that's correct. PCI slots are irrelevant for videocards. It's all about PCI-E slots. and 1x or 4x are NOT good enough for crossfire.
 

Deathbliss

Junior Member
Apr 25, 2008
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deathbliss.hostei.com
Ok, so here is the final list:

ASUS M3A AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16813131234

AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ Brisbane 2.5GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM2 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16819103212

G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16820231098

Antec earthwatts EA500 500W ATX12V v2.0 Power Supply 100 - 240 V UL, CUL, FCC, TUV, CE, CB, C-tick, CCC - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16817371007

As you can see I've decided to forgo the dream of a future Crossfire upgrade. I just don't think I'll be able to raise enough money. So one more time, your thoughts and sharing of personal experience and/or knowledge would be appreciated.

I'm just concerned about the MOBO. I keep reading comments from a lot of people who are having trouble with ASUS boards now. But none of the other boards from Biostar or Gigabyte are any better! I saw about a half dozen memory issues with various brands of RAM on the Gigabyte boards, and another half dozen issues with the integrated audio on the Biostar boards. I absolutely MUST have a board, preferable no more than $80.00, which is stable, reliable, and free of most of not all of any issues which would prevent me from having the computer up and running in a reasonable amount of time after receiving the parts. I'm not someone in a hurry here - I need this because my job depends on it. So I'm opening up the field a bit here and looking for any AMD motherboards, preferable $80.00 or less, which will be fully compatible with all the parts I've listed and my current video card.

Your help is appreciated, as always -
- Deathbliss
 

MarcVenice

Moderator Emeritus <br>
Apr 2, 2007
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It looks good to me. If you are unsure about the motherboard, just get this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16813128335

Yes, I know it's $90, but it's a pretty darn good mobo, with pretty strong onboard graphics. If you ever buy a HD4850 you can crossfire it with the onboard video I think. Not that it will give a huge boost, but it's nice for sure. It also has loads of capabilities, and can decode full HD content without utilizing the CPU. Oh, and don't trust all newegg reviews, some people are genuine idiots...
 

Deathbliss

Junior Member
Apr 25, 2008
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deathbliss.hostei.com
Thanks for the suggestion! I'll look for some reviews on both boards before I order anything. Anyone have a recommend review site which has proven unbiased and accurate over the years?

Yeah I noticed that what some of the folks said at NewEgg wasn't worth paying attention to. My approach was to go with the best rated hardware, and browse through the most recent feedback. I ignore anything said by people that sounded to me as a mistake they made when putting together their system, and kept an eye out for genuine issues from at least 3 different sources. That's why I got thrown off of all the $79.00 boards. There seem to be a lot of issues ranging from RAM incompatibilities, on-board audio that won't work, corrupted BIOS due to ASUS site issues, integrated LAN that if left active made the board fail, and so forth. I can handle my end of things, and carefully put this together after a lot of research and preparation. But I can't do anything about manufacturing issues.
- Deathbliss
 

Deathbliss

Junior Member
Apr 25, 2008
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deathbliss.hostei.com
OK, I read the comments for the board you suggested. Seems some RAM does not work with this board - even some which is listed as compatible. The comments for this only go back a day or so. This tells me that an updated BIOS to fix this has not yet been released.

All I need to know is this... Will the RAM I have selected will work on this board? I'm looking for a hardware review of the board fro more information, but am coming up with nothing. I can't seem to find the exact information I need in order to determine what RAM is fully compatible either. Hope someone is willing to help me out with this.

Thanks -
- Deathbliss