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Thread: Building first computer, would like advice

  1. #1
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    Building first computer, would like advice

    Hello once again. I got a bunch of cash for Christmas and decided to get a new rig. My six year old Pentium D based machine is getting pretty tired. I thought it would be nice to build it to same some dough, and as a learning experience.

    Here is the Newegg wishlist: http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/Pu...umber=12105214

    I got a full tower because my current machine is a mid tower and I hate it...it's a knuckle-buster. I like big computer cases like some people like big cars, they're easy to work with and they're usually durable. I'm also kinda sorta considering this Lian Li case. It seems a bit more modern than the Cosmos, as in it has things like a CPU backplate cutout in the motherboard tray.

    I got two GTX460's because I plan on doing a lot of gaming with it (I'm going to do a Windows/Ubuntu dual boot like my current machine) and also some CUDA stuff.

    I also would like it to be somewhat future-proof, so I got the awesome ASUS board with the USB 3/0 and the SATA 6.

    I got the nice processor because I run BOINC, and also transcode a lot of audio, among some other processor intensive things. I want to dabble in overclocking, so I got the multiplier unlocked flavor.

    I plan to cut that 2TB drive into 1TB partitions for Windows and Ubuntu.

    The question is, how is this for a first time build, in terms of assembly difficulty? I can't imagine it would be that hard because I've upgraded a few computers before, but there's some things I still don't have first hand experience in. What's it like installing a motherboard, CPU, and heatsink? What kind of BIOS settings do I have to set for first boot? Do I have to worry about cooling issues with the two honker graphics cards so close to each other? That kind of thing.

    Thanks for your time.
    Poof.

  2. #2
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    Re: Building first computer, would like advice

    $200 computer case? only worth it if you really like this one, and plan to use this case for the next decade.

    $200 power supply? only worth it if you plan to use it for the next five years or so, and if it comes with a warranty of similar length.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Building first computer, would like advice

    Stay calm, stay grounded (as in grab the computer case to ground yourself before delving inside or grabbing parts) and make a plan of action. As you have an old machine there, practise putting in the old processor and heatsink on the old motherboard a few times so you know what you're up against. That is the trickiest part. The heatsink/fan is easy once you know what you are doing. Usually four fixing lugs. Use a screwdriver and go opposite lugs (not around one by one if you know what I mean).

    It is really quite easy at the end of the day but I understand the trepidation. My first machine took hours to build. Not more than a few nowadays. Just a bit of practise which is why the old one will come in handy.

    With RAM, they can sometimes not work, even though they are properly inserted and locked into the slots. If so, take them all out then add one by one again. When you identify the one that is not working (and they sometimes just work once they've been in and out of the slot a few times anyhow), get a regular eraser (a rubber to erase pencil) and give the RAM a rub on the part that goes into the slot. This sounds odd but damages nothing and has always worked for me.

    Good luck with it and let us know how you go. There is nothing like the feeling of your first post to the forums on your new machine, designed and built by your good self!

  4. #4
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    Re: Building first computer, would like advice

    the processor you have chosen is a different socket to your motherboard. Be careful and choose a 9xx series i7 as they are 1336 not 1156.

  5. #5
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    Re: Building first computer, would like advice

    ps: You might like to read the energy efficient computer build link in my signature. ALWAYS try for an 85+ psu. Incidentally posters, the PSU is the heart of the machine and worth paying a little extra for something other than a 'silver box PSU'. When the PSU dies, it generally doesn't go alone. It likes to take some friends with it; ie, cpu, motherboard ...

  6. #6
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    Re: Building first computer, would like advice

    I've only built one computer though nerve wrecking, ultimately it was successful and worth it. Though I did at first have problems getting one small group of wires right and almost lost it in frustration, luckily my dad was around and he's pretty tech savvy and got the wires right so it would start up.

    My advice beyond parts is read as many different guides on building a computer while waiting for your parts to be delivered. Then read all the installation guides with the motherboard while looking at all the pieces get them in an order similar to the instructions and take it slow and steady when you start assembly. You'll realize quickly it's actually real easy.

    Then enjoy your new machine!

  7. #7
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    Re: Building first computer, would like advice

    earthpigg: Yeah, I do plan on keeping it for quite awhile and upgrading it, so a good case is in order. Not sure about the power supply. I did one of those online power supply calculators, and it said I needed 750W or thereabouts. I suppose I could squeak by with a 800W, but I wanted to be safe and assure it can be upgraded without pushing the limit. The power supply is actually $130 currently ($70 off). The warranty is 3 years. Meh.

    Bucky Ball: I do have a grounding strap for when I hit the soldering iron, so I can use that. Also, I've taken apart garbage picked machines, but those were all Pentium 4 based and are different from modern sockets, I think.

    Redache: Oh damn you're right. I feel stupid now. I don't see why all the i7's aren't all the same socket...

    Edit: Changed to processor to i7 950.

    Also, I'm considering just waiting till January for Sandy Bridge to come around...
    Last edited by ThatBum; December 28th, 2010 at 04:34 AM.
    Poof.

  8. #8
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    Re: Building first computer, would like advice

    This is my personal opinion.

    - There are cheaper Full Towers than this one. When it comes to cases, once you breach the 100 dollar barrier, there is little difference in features. However, looks are important and I cannot help you with that.

    - If you haven't done it already, make sure the RAM is approved for your motherboard either by the RAM or Motherboard manufacturer (preferably both).

    - Maybe reconsider the CPU socket. As someone pointed out, this is not he latest Intel has and the socket makes a lot of difference when you want to get full performance. Also, without starting a Intel vs AMD flame-war, AMD gives you more power for the dollar.

    - For gaming, you can consider something higher than GTX460. On pure gaming power, GTX480-485 (or even 280-285) might be better. For CUDA, first consider OpenCL and not CUDA, since CUDA is dying slowly (not that there is that much difference between the two). Second, get as much Video RAM as possible. Furthermore, if you are going to use double-precision computing, 2xx series might be faster (Nvidia purposefully lowered the double-precision power on GTX4xx to get people to buy their Teslas).

    - 1000W PSU is an overkill. I would go with 750 or 800 and a more "prestigious" brand. Not that Roswell is bad, it is just that people seem to regard Antec better (I currently have a 750W Corsair).

    - Microsoft actually makes great hardware. Consider getting better keyboard and mouse, those are rather cheap compared to the rest of your hardware. It is just a mouse, but it does make a difference in your hands. Also, I recently switched to "comfort curve" keyboard with flat and curved key, make a huge difference on the hands. Go to Wal-Mart or Target or Best Buy or Office Max and touch some of the keyboards for yourself to find one that you like.

  9. #9
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    Re: Building first computer, would like advice

    For the power supply I would get this:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817139015
    It is 80+ Gold and has a 7 year warranty.

    I would also recommend a different case. I personally don't like the unpainted steel look or the price of the case you chose. I would choose something like this:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811139001
    It is solid black throughout, has the best cable management of any case, and is also very roomy.

    Everything else looks good except for the socket but you already updated that.

  10. #10
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    Re: Building first computer, would like advice

    Quote Originally Posted by 3Miro View Post
    - For gaming, you can consider something higher than GTX460. On pure gaming power, GTX480-485 (or even 280-285) might be better. For CUDA, first consider OpenCL and not CUDA, since CUDA is dying slowly (not that there is that much difference between the two). Second, get as much Video RAM as possible. Furthermore, if you are going to use double-precision computing, 2xx series might be faster (Nvidia purposefully lowered the double-precision power on GTX4xx to get people to buy their Teslas).
    I agree with everything except this. Two GTX460's in SLI is better than a single GTX480 in most cases. I would consider buying the 1GB versions though.

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