Will my computer work when I put it together?
November 25, 2008 6:22 AM   Subscribe

ComputerBuildingFilter: As my home PC just recently kicked the bucket, I'm looking into building my own PC for the first time, and I want to make sure the parts I'm looking at buying are compatible.

So I want to put together a new desktop for myself, and for the first time I think I have the time and means to build my own. I basically used the Arstechnica guide to put this list together (but with a few changes from their guide) which led me to my question. My main concern is that the case is suitable for everything else I am putting there, I think the rest of the stuff is compatible. Is there anything totally wrong, or that I'm missing/overdoing? (Besides the obvious mouse, keyboard, monitor, and optical drive, I have all of those) Thanks in advance for any help!

Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 Wolfdale 3.16GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80570E8500

GIGABYTE GA-EP45-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-4GBPQ

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer 7.1 Channels PCI Interface Sound Card

Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

RAIDMAX SMILODON ATX-612WBP Black 1.0mm SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Foldout MB Computer Case With 500W Power Supply

DIAMOND 4870X2PE52G Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB 512-bit (256-Bit x 2) GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card
posted by Grither to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: From the looks of it, everything should work. The only thing I might be concerned about is the quality of the PSU included with that case. With higher-end components, you need quality power, not just raw numbers. I would assume a 500W PSU will be fine, but not positive.

The case is standard ATX, so reason why everything shouldn't fit. With any case, clearance with a massive GPU like a 4870x2 will be cutting it close, but should work.
One thing to keep in mind is that MB doesn't come with firewire. May affect you, may not.
Regarding sound, if you have a stereo with HDMI that doesn't do passthrough (I forget the term so the stereo actually takes the sound), you can just use one HDMI cable to said stereo from the 4870x2 and do without the sound card.
posted by jmd82 at 6:48 AM on November 25, 2008

The case should work. I've had bad luck in the past with pack-in power supplies, but Raidmax seems to be a decent brand.

Make sure to pick up an SATA cable if you don't have a spare. You'll need it for the OEM HD.

I would recommend going for DDR2 1200 rather than 800 since your mobo supports it, but the price difference is pretty great.
posted by Dr-Baa at 6:51 AM on November 25, 2008

Also, I'd agree with jmd82 regarding the sound card if you don't plan on gaming. If you do, by all means, get the card. I recently got a sound card for my rig and the improvement it makes over the integrated sound is amazing.
posted by Dr-Baa at 6:58 AM on November 25, 2008

The case looks fine to me as well. One thing to note is that, since your memory will be in a matched pair, don't forget to install it in dual-channel mode (first and third slots, leave the second slot empty). Your mainboard supports dual channel, so this is a performance boost at no extra cost.
posted by [user was fined for this post] at 6:58 AM on November 25, 2008

I doubt you really need the sound card.

Also, Intel's Core i7 CPUs just came out, so if you're looking to be on the leading edge, that's what to get. They're a bit more expensive than the Core 2s, especially the motherboards.
posted by zsazsa at 6:58 AM on November 25, 2008

I wonder about cases where the USB/Audio connectors are hidden behind doors. Do
you really want to be opening a door to pop your ipod or usb key in to read it? I'm not
100% sure if this is a positive or a negative. The pictures of the case are great, though.
I'm thinking of doing something similar to what your doing, and this case has me thinking
I might want to reconsider my case choice.

I have ordered a lot from newegg. They are fast and very efficient. Their customer service is the best I have ever seen.
posted by vilcxjo_BLANKA at 7:05 AM on November 25, 2008

Best answer: I have that exact case, and things should fit fine. I strongly agree with the recommendation that you should spring for a higher quality power supply. The video card you linked already recommends a 550W power supply. But yes, as jmd82 said, the quality of the power supply is much more important than it used to be. And the one that comes with the Raidmax Smilodon is pretty bad.

This is especially important as it looks like your video card has some serious horsepower. :)

I would go with a high end Corsair (something like this, perhaps?). When looking for a high quality power supply, look for HE (high efficiency, generally 80%+) as that tends to be a sign of general quality, and also will help with heat.. Also pay attention to the number of 12V rails it has. The total wattage available can be misleading if it is split across several rails.. as long as you have one rail that meets the minimum requirements of the video card, you should be fine.
posted by everybody polka at 7:06 AM on November 25, 2008

Best answer: Actually, the motherboard should have a couple of SATA cables tucked in the box -- at least the Gigabyte boards I get do -- you probably don't have to sweat that.

I'd consider ditching the sound card entirely; the DS3's on-board audio is pretty decent. Maybe spend the savings from not throwing your money away at Creative Labs on less ghetto memory?

Actually, I'm curious why you're going with a DDR2 motherboard and cheap, slow DDR2/800 memory, but then sticking a 1333 FSB processor into it. Isn't that a little like pimping out your Civic with a fancy racing motor?

" My main concern is that the case is suitable for everything else I am putting there"

You mean apart from how hideously ugly it is? RaidMax is a second-tier manufacturer that seems to be focused on bling, but their build quality is fine... ish... Personally I'd go with something that has a lot less plastic (which doesn't tend to hold up well over time) and less ugliness. Then you aren't paying good money for worthless features like side panel windows, faceplate doors, and blue LEDs. If you have your heart set on this case for some reason, try to get it without a PSU so you can put something a bit more substantial in there.

Overall this is a decent, if a bit weird, system. You're blowing extra money on sound cards and bling, and then going with a value board and cheap underspec memory. You'll probably be better off getting a DDR3/1333 capable motherboard and the appropriate memory to go with it, and skipping the unnecessary sound card and hideous ricer case.

I also wouldn't specify Western Digital in a single-drive configuration. Ever. WDC's failure rate is just way too high to risk your system on a single spindle.
posted by majick at 7:26 AM on November 25, 2008

Re. compatibility: Dude, you're buying from newegg. If something doesn't work, return it.

Re. quality: I'll defer to the experts here.
posted by scope the lobe at 7:37 AM on November 25, 2008

Response by poster: Hahah I have no particular reason for picking that case, no....and yeah, I've switched out the power supply to the one everybody polka suggested. Any suggestions on a quality case (I don't care how it looks)?

As for why I stuck this together, it's because I have very little idea what I'm doing. :-) I just took the recommendations from the Arstechnica guide, basically. What RAM would you recommend? And the sound card can definitely go, I was considering that anyway, and from the responses here I am definitely going to ditch it. Thanks for all the responses so far!
posted by Grither at 7:51 AM on November 25, 2008

I recently built a new box from the ars guide myself, with pretty much the same parts you list there (though I stuck with the onboard sound myself). I used the antec sonata case instead of what you've listed (it's the same price at the moment, but with free shipping and no mail in rebate), as reviewers mentioned how quiet it was.

On preview, someone may have a better case recommendation.
posted by VeritableSaintOfBrevity at 7:52 AM on November 25, 2008

I'll second the Antec Sonata recommendation. I'm using an older Sonata model for my gaming PC; it's very solidly built and reduces fan/vibration noise significantly.
posted by [user was fined for this post] at 9:00 AM on November 25, 2008

Get a quiet fan. My box sounds like a small jet engine when its running. Means you have to jack the volume up to compensate.

Oh and ditch the soundcard, there is a reason their sales are going down the pan, onboard is perfectly good for nearly anything.

(worst case, ask for it as a Christmas present if you really really need it)
posted by mr_silver at 10:37 AM on November 25, 2008

Antec Sonata are a good cheapish case with decent sound dampening, or there's its effective replacement, the Antec Solo which I personally prefer. If you want extra quiet, the Antec P182 is about as good as it gets, but it is rather bulky (I have three of them now)
posted by ArkhanJG at 11:53 AM on November 25, 2008

Definitely recommend Antec cases; I have a Sonata II and a cheaper NSK6580 - the Sonata II was worth every penny, although I've looked at the newer Sonata III in Fry's and didn't think it was as good. Can't remember for the life of me why I thought that, though.

I'd also add a recommendation for a Seasonic PSU, I've got this 500W unit, it's very good.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 9:30 PM on November 25, 2008

Skip the E8500 and get an E8400.. the price difference isnt worth the miniscule performance difference. Skip the sound.. I have the GA-EP45-UD3 board and the same sound card.. and I run it though a nice amp and klipsch floor speakers and I am not an audio-phone .. but they are indecipherable in quality.
posted by SirStan at 9:19 AM on November 26, 2008

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