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Thread: Help with Building a PC

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    Help with Building a PC

    I am a first time builder and am planning to build a PC and I have several problems I need help with.

    1. My motherboard is microATX, is there anything wrong with this? Are they worse than normal ATX motherboards?

    2. Is there anyway I can see if the parts I am getting are all compatible with each other, or will all hard drives, wireless-G adapters, PSU's, and graphics cards work with virtually any case and motherboard?

    3. Will buying the following parts (I know I'm missing a PSU) for a total of 392 pounds be a good deal?

    AMD Phenom X4 9650 2.3GHz Socket AM2+ 2MB L3 Cache Retail Boxed Processor
    Asus M3A76-CM 760G Socket AM2+ onboard VGA DVI 8 channel audio mATX Motherboard
    Antec 300 Three Hundred Black Case - No PSU
    Samsung EcoGreen F2 1TB Hard Drive SATAII 32MB Cache - OEM
    Tenda Wireless-G PCI Adapter
    Kingston 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2 1066MHz/PC2-8500 HyperX Memory CL5 2.2V
    MSI HD 4870 1GB GDDR5 DVI HDMI VGA Out PCI-E Graphics Card

    Thank you in advance
    postdaemon

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    Senior Member watercooled's Avatar
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    Re: Help with Building a PC

    1. There's nothing wrong with mATX motherboards - they are just smaller and sometimes have less features than full ATX boards.
    2. There really isn't much to worry about in terms of compatibility - generally if it fits it works.

    Ok now for the parts. I'd go for a newer Phenom II over an older X4 and I'm sure CAT will suggest a CPU/motherboard for you. Depending on what you want the PC for the rest of the components are fine but note you haven't included a DVD drive/PSU in the list. LG and Optiarc drives are very good IMO. For the PSU it's very important not to skimp - a cheap generic one is dangerous to use. Go for a ~500w proper branded (Antec, Corsair, Enermax, Seasonic, Be Quiet are just some examples of good brands) PSU for plenty of headroom. This should provide plenty of stable power for your build and allow for future upgrades: http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/550w-...anty-see-specs
    Last edited by watercooled; 09-08-2009 at 06:08 PM.

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    Re: Help with Building a PC

    First of all, good luck and have fun doing it!

    Secondly, there are many wiser heads in here who will be able to advise you far more on the technical side of things and whether you're getting a good deal on the cost (I don't really follow prices until I'm about to build and that probably won't be until early next year.)

    Microatx - these are smaller boards than the regular atx sized ones. Any particular reason you've gone for that? They're designed to fit smaller cases (small form factor or SFF) though they will happily sit in a regular atx-sized case too. Although this is a generalisation they tend not to have quite as many bells and whistles as their larger counterparts but that's not to say they are not 'as good' merely they're primarily intended for smaller cases where space for components and cooling may be more of an issue.

    I have an ageing Gigabyte GA-G33M-DSR2 microatx board in my portable gaming/htpc rig. It runs an E6600 chip and has just got a GTX 275 after I added two HD 4890s to my main rig. This sits inside a Silverstone SG04 case so I chose the microatx because I wanted a small and portable rig to take to lans or to hide behind the tv.

    The simple answer about whether everything will work is probably yes but a more detailed answer is that you'd be advise to double-check on things - like what cpu, memory speed/format your board will support and whether the cpu cooler will fit in your case. When I've built in the past I generally do a lot of Googling to see what parts people have used in a particular case or with a particular board that I've wanted to use - that way you're pretty sure it will fit. You may well be lucky and find someone on here with pretty much what you've got.

    There are the occasional hiccups like graphics cards being too long to fit in a case but your Antec case looks pretty roomy but Googling the dimensions of cards and what your motherboard can support will be helpful unless as mentioned above, someone's got a system with virtually identical components to you.

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    Re: Help with Building a PC

    Quote Originally Posted by postdaemon View Post
    I am a first time builder and am planning to build a PC and I have several problems I need help with.

    1. My motherboard is microATX, is there anything wrong with this? Are they worse than normal ATX motherboards?

    2. Is there anyway I can see if the parts I am getting are all compatible with each other, or will all hard drives, wireless-G adapters, PSU's, and graphics cards work with virtually any case and motherboard?

    3. Will buying the following parts (I know I'm missing a PSU) for a total of 392 pounds be a good deal?

    AMD Phenom X4 9650 2.3GHz Socket AM2+ 2MB L3 Cache Retail Boxed Processor
    Asus M3A76-CM 760G Socket AM2+ onboard VGA DVI 8 channel audio mATX Motherboard
    Antec 300 Three Hundred Black Case - No PSU
    Samsung EcoGreen F2 1TB Hard Drive SATAII 32MB Cache - OEM
    Tenda Wireless-G PCI Adapter
    Kingston 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2 1066MHz/PC2-8500 HyperX Memory CL5 2.2V
    MSI HD 4870 1GB GDDR5 DVI HDMI VGA Out PCI-E Graphics Card

    Thank you in advance
    postdaemon
    I would ditch the processor as it is not worth it and the 760G should be fine if you do not want to overclock. The F2 is a slower drive than the standard F1. An ATX motherboard will have more slots and they will be better spaced generally.

    This is what I would look at getting:

    Phenom II X3 720 ~ £92

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/AMD-P...che-95W-Retail

    Gigabyte MA770-UD3 ~ £55

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Gigab...D3-Motherboard

    The earlier revision one version is inferior.

    4gb PC2-8500 DDR2 ~ £37

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/4GB-(...S-5-6-6-18-EPP

    Antec 300~£45

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/143854

    HD4890 ~ £130

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/1GB-X...DTV-HDCP-Ready

    Samsung F1 1tb ~ £60

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/1TB-S...ache-89-ms-NCQ

    The EcoGreen series are much slower.

    Tenda wireless card ~£9

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/132449

    The total is around £430. You will get free postage at Scan after 20+ posts on Hexus on orders over £20 excluding VAT.Also items maybe cheaper on the Shop Offers and Today Only webpages on the Scan website.

    I would be looking at the HX 450 as the cheapest decent PSU I would go for currently which has two PCI-E power connectors which the HD4870 and HD4890 need:

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/152606

    You will also need to get a DVD rewriter and a copy of an OS.


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    Re: Help with Building a PC

    Thanks everyone for all the suggestions.
    @CAT-THE-FIFTH
    I can't find any information on how many PCI-E slots the PSU you linked to has, how did you find out?
    Also do you think any of the following PSU's will work, as they are cheaper, or is not worth it to get these ones of inferior quality;
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/124927
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/150596
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/135197
    or any on this page
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Index.aspx?NT=1-0-38-583-0

    Once again thanks for all the help.

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    Senior Member watercooled's Avatar
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    Re: Help with Building a PC

    The suggested PSU is higher quality than those you suggested - IMO go for the Corsair. The PSUs on the Scan page you posted are all modular which means you only use cables you need but they are more expensive - if you are looking to save money get a non-modular PSU. AFAIK the 450w Corsair only has one 6-pin PCI-E connector whereas the 550w one has two: http://www.corsair.com/products/vx/default.aspx

    Edit: Sorry just noticed CAT suggested the HX450, not the VX450 I though he meant. Here you can see it has 2 connectors: http://www.corsair.com/products/hx450/default.aspx

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    Re: Help with Building a PC

    Quote Originally Posted by postdaemon View Post
    Thanks everyone for all the suggestions.
    @CAT-THE-FIFTH
    I can't find any information on how many PCI-E slots the PSU you linked to has, how did you find out?
    Also do you think any of the following PSU's will work, as they are cheaper, or is not worth it to get these ones of inferior quality;
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/124927
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/150596
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/135197
    or any on this page
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Index.aspx?NT=1-0-38-583-0

    Once again thanks for all the help.
    The HD4870 and HD4890 need additional power from the PSU. There is a special connector for the power called the PCI-E power connector on the cards and the HD4870 and HD4890 need two such connectors.



    I would forget about the other PSUs you linked too from Ebuyer. The Coolermaster would be OK for a lower and graphics card but for higher performance cards like the HD4870 and HD4890 it is not a good idea TBH!

    The Silverstone Strider ST50F should also do the job also although it is an older design AFAIK. The HX450w has modular cables so it means there will be less cable clutter in the case and you attach the relevant power cables you need to use to the PSU instead of having everyone already permanently connected.

    This OCZ 600w will have more than enough power too(a bit OTT perhaps):

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/127861


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    Re: Help with Building a PC

    If I was to get a slightly lower end graphics card, which one would you recommend? Also could I get any of the PSU's I linked to if I were to get a less demanding graphics card? Is it worth it to get such a high end graphics card?
    Thank you once more for answering all my questions

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    Re: Help with Building a PC

    I'd stay away from so-so brand PSUs either way. If you were to get a lower powered GPU then something like a Corsair CX400 or possibly a Be Quiet! 350w or this Silverpower

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    Re: Help with Building a PC

    Quote Originally Posted by postdaemon View Post
    If I was to get a slightly lower end graphics card, which one would you recommend? Also could I get any of the PSU's I linked to if I were to get a less demanding graphics card? Is it worth it to get such a high end graphics card?
    Thank you once more for answering all my questions
    The HD4850 only needs one power connector as does the GTS250 but are much less powerful than an HD4890 which will play almost any game at high settings currently at 1920x1200.

    If you do not mind playing games at 1440x900 or 1680x1050 the HD4850 and GTS250 will do the job and cost between £70 to £90.However an HD4870 512mb can be had for nearly £90 and is at least 20% faster than an HD4850 512mb. The HD4870 needs two power connectors though.

    Do not skimp on the PSU though as a rubbish one can end up destroying your PC. Remember that the PSUs needs to power your computer for years and buying a cheap one is like putting a Fiat 1.2 litre engine in a Ferrari. Cheap PSUs often have false power ratings and at best they are peak ratings not continuous ones.

    Companies which you should look at:
    1.)Antec(not all their PSUs though)
    2.)FSP(not all their PSUs though)
    3.)Be Quiet!
    4.)Enermax
    5.)Tagan
    6.)Corsair
    7.)Enermax
    8.)Silverpower(budget)
    7.)OCZ
    8.)Silverstone
    9.)PC Power and Cooling
    10.)Xigmatek(some models)
    11.)Coolermaster(only a few models)
    12.)Zalman
    13.)NorthQ(only a few models)
    14.)Seasonic
    15.)Chieftec

    Hiper used to be good but are not considered that great anymore.

    Anything else I would stay clear off generally unless there is a good professional review.


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    Re: Help with Building a PC

    Quote Originally Posted by watercooled
    I'd stay away from so-so brand PSUs either way. If you were to get a lower powered GPU then something like a Corsair CX400 or possibly a Be Quiet! 350w or this Silverpower
    Is it wise to get a 350w-400w PSU?

    I have realized that components in the US are much cheaper than their identical British counterparts. If I get a component in the US, but it turns out to be faulty, will the warranty apply in the UK? If not, are there any components that have little to no chance of failing, so it would be worth the risk to get them in the US anyway?
    Thanks
    postdaemon

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    Re: Help with Building a PC

    Quote Originally Posted by postdaemon View Post
    Is it wise to get a 350w-400w PSU?

    I have realized that components in the US are much cheaper than their identical British counterparts. If I get a component in the US, but it turns out to be faulty, will the warranty apply in the UK? If not, are there any components that have little to no chance of failing, so it would be worth the risk to get them in the US anyway?
    Thanks
    postdaemon
    With anything above an HD4850 or GTS250 it would be pushing a 400w PSU unless it is underrated like the Shuttle units I use -however they are based on server PSUs so they are special case. You need at least a decent 450w PSU for the system spec I listed and why are you trying to save money on the MOST important component of your computer. Don't waste your money on an Antec 300 and instead buy a cheaper case like a Coolermaster one. This means you can spend more on a PSU.

    No,I would not get bits from the US unless they are something which cannot be bought in the UK. You will also have to pay customs duties too and returns costs will be high as you will need to post the items back to the US if anything is DOA or faulty. A false economy IMHO.


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    Re: Help with Building a PC

    It depends on your components. I could run my system with a 4850 easily on a quality 350w PSU - it barely draws 250w at full load. A cheap PSU is a bad idea - I'd say it's worse than putting an underpowered engine in a car because not only are cheap PSUs underpowered they also output too much ripple/bad voltages which can destroy your components.

    Edit: We keep replying together lol.
    Last edited by watercooled; 21-08-2009 at 11:24 PM.

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    Re: Help with Building a PC

    Quote Originally Posted by postdaemon View Post
    Is it wise to get a 350w-400w PSU?

    I have realized that components in the US are much cheaper than their identical British counterparts. If I get a component in the US, but it turns out to be faulty, will the warranty apply in the UK? If not, are there any components that have little to no chance of failing, so it would be worth the risk to get them in the US anyway?
    Thanks
    postdaemon
    Not sure about the warranty, they tend to be worldwide however you will have to take into account the shipping costs of sending the part back to the USA. Also if you do buy parts from the USA, you may well end up with hefty custom taxes.

    In regard to the psu, I have had a quick look over your intended specification and a good quality 400watt psu will be more then enough.

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    Re: Help with Building a PC

    Quote Originally Posted by shadowmaster View Post
    Not sure about the warranty, they tend to be worldwide however you will have to take into account the shipping costs of sending the part back to the USA. Also if you do buy parts from the USA, you may well end up with hefty custom taxes.

    In regard to the psu, I have had a quick look over your intended specification and a good quality 400watt psu will be more then enough.
    The HD450W will be the ideal PSU for a build of this sort especially with an HD4870 or HD4890. I would not use any of the sub £40 400w PSUs TBH with an HD4870 or HD4890 as in a few years there could be issues and their 12v may not be able to provide enough amperage. PSU output does start to decrease over a couple of years and at higher ambient temperatures too.

    If the OP was getting an HD4850 or GTS250 a 400w would be fine but there is a reason that the HD4870 and HD4890 need a pair of power connectors.


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    Re: Help with Building a PC

    hey, i also need help building a pc so i thought i would post here instead of making a new thread.

    Anyway i have a budget of £600 (anything less would be great!), and i want to mainly use it for gaming and overclocking, and i also have a 22" 1680x1050 moniter

    Also i was wondering would it be worth getting a card with PhysX on it or would i benefit more from just get a card without it also the same with DDR2 and DDR3 ram which is better and can ddr3 only be more than 4gb?

    One last thing i was reading about directX11 i dont know much about that stuff so i was wondering when is it being released and would it be worth waiting for cards etc for directx11
    Last edited by JBURNICLE; 10-08-2009 at 12:18 AM.

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