After so long... Finally! I can build my very own computer! I know you readers have likely read many other first-time-builder posts, so I'll get straight to the description.
Budget was certainly a heavy factor in choosing my parts. Though I didn't have any budget in mind, I wanted something that was well worth the money. Ebay was a very VERY helpful resource for "The Electrikitty". The cpu, motherboard, and ram all came in one package from ebay for 47.50 (including shipping). I already had the hard drive salvaged from a broken hp all-in-one. I bought an extra 4gb of ddr2 ram on amazon (hopefully it delivers from hong kong or wherever from) to fill the last two dimms on the motherboard (woo! 8gb!). I'm running ubuntu from a flash drive right now, and when I get the hard drive set up, I'll install wine so I can use some windows-only programs.
What am I going to use this computer for? Well, like others, I'll be doing some gaming - on the casual side - some school work, and some content creation (video editing, image editing, and hopefully some 3D rendering).
Now to the parts:
Q8400 This was actually listed as a Q8200 on ebay, but I was pleasantly surprised to see the 2.66Ghz when I first booted to BIOS. All I can say, it's a huge improvement over my laptop cpu (apu a6-4400m dual core at 2.7, boost to 3.2). I haven't tested it yet, but I know it's going to satisfy my needs.
DQ45CB The motherboard was something that concerned me more than the other parts because I got it from ebay, and there wasn't much indication on the listing of its quality other than used. I didn't know whether or not it would include the back plate. The main reason I went for it was because of the quad-core and 4gigs of ram, which would justify the price if the motherboard was a failure (luckily, it isn't! [so far... :D]). It didn't include any other accessories like the standoffs or any screws or SATA cables - except for the I/O plate, so that was nice.
4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR2-800Mhz Yeah, I know, it's not DDR3 but if it costs cheap and it works nicely, then it is valuable.
Seagate Barracuda 750GB It's really handy to have a spare hard drive layin' around! Can't use it yet because I forgot to order the SATA cable XP.
MSI GT 740 1GB This part I went back and forth on. I know the 750 Ti is a better value gaming card, but it wasn't permitted by the budget. I went with Nvidia because they supposedly have better driver support than AMD (I don't know much about that, but I'm fairly sure that an AMD card would perform just as well for its worth). I was in the market for a card that could do some decent gaming for a relatively low price. I was initially aiming for an "old-but-gold" card that might perform better in games, but most of the candidates required at least two six-pin connectors, which the CX430 doesn't have. I also needed a gpu that had an hdmi port because my TV/monitor does not have a display port or a DVI port. So I settled for the 740. It has a nice, low power requirement and it looks good in the Source 210.
NZXT Source 210 Now, I know what some will say: "A budget build with a not-so-budget case, huh? Don't you think you could have cut costs a bit there?", to which I wholly answer, yes, totally. The thing is, I like the option of cable management, good looks (exterior and interior), and extras (the extra standoffs and screws saved my behind on this one). It's a nicely sturdy case, and not too heavy for itself. It has a LOT of hard drive bays - more than I'd ever imagine using. There's room to mount dual radiators on the case's ceiling and (I think) the front, but I don't think that will be necessary.
Corsair 430W ATX12V It's a good psu for almost any kind of pc. The 80+ bronze rating means a lot to me, even though I'm not running a totally demanding setup. I give it my thumbs up!
I'll probably review the parts once I get to use them for a good amount of time.
Other notes: I mentioned that the motherboard came with the I/O plate, and it works with the case, but it was a real pain to click it completely into place so the motherboard's screwholes would match the standoffs. I got it eventually, but is that normal? should I be concerned? Another thing, since the motherboard didn't come with screws, I used some from an old bag of screws from a motherboard of long ago. They should be shown in the pictures. They screw the motherboard onto the standoffs firmly and there doesn't seem to be any issue. I'm wondering if I should have to only use a single type of standoff screws (even though these other ones work just as well). (Couldn't have done this without my lunch. I salute you, chicken, toast, cranberry jam, and water. )
Any insight would be helpful. If you notice in the pictures that I am doing something totally wrong that would cause my machine to cry battery acid and erupt into flames prior to an implosion resulting in the evacuation of the nearest homeless squirrel facility, then please let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading!
1 / 12 / 16 U P D A T E
I just got the extra 4GB of ddr2 ram today, and was anxiously surprised to see the speed on the two dimms as "666" (yes, really), and I thought it might seriously hamper the performance since my two pre-loaded *800mhz 4GB dimms. I threw them into the slots and booted to bios for a quick check, hoping I wouldn't have to overclock anything, and strangely enough, it's not a daemon 4gb of ram from hell (though I might figure, since it was cheap for ddr2 and it took weeks to arrive). All four sticks of ram are happily running at 800mhz - or so my motherboard says - so I'm satisfied.
This is the first computer I've had that has a full 8GB of ram, and even though it isn't the current ddr3-gen ram, it feels special to me. I'm certain I'll be able to tell the difference between the time I've used this pc with 4gb and the time from now on.
I haven't gotten around to temps and don't plan to, but if anyone is interested, give me a comment and I'll put them up. Thanks for reading!
1 / 22 / 16 U P D A T E
Just got the sata cables today. I should mention that a bit after the last update I've been using a sata cable from one of my teachers. When I booted the OS for the first time, I discovered that Windows 7 was still on it from the HP it was salvaged from... Neat! So I have that running, but I have the ubuntu waiting for the SSD (which is why I ordered 2 SATAs). I'll put in some time in the future. For now, I'm happy with the system. It performs well at 1080p in games like Warframe, Hawken, Need for Speed : Hot Pursuit, and other less demanding games. Blender runs nicely too, but I haven't rendered anything as of yet (probably be some time before I do, hehe).
I ask myself: Why do I still find myself still putting part lists together? I have a pc, it does all I ever need to do as a teen in high school. It's fun building PCs, and can't wait to build my next one. Thanks for reading.
1 / 23 / 16 U P D A T E I just ran some benchmarks with Catzilla and I added the temps. Seems kinda weird that the cpu got only up to 40* C. Something strange that happened was a cpu clock spike from 2.66Ghz to 3.68Ghz - it wasn't during a cutscene. Not sure if that's normal or not, but I sure would like to know how to maintain that kind of speed! Thanks for reading!
Great first-build casual gaming card! (but recommended for the enthusiasts!) Also consider the ram sizes/speeds (I didn't notice).
It's really just simple and fun to build in this case! Good air-flow, good cut-outs for cable management, good motherboard sizes, all these drive cages and fan setups are nice!
It's holding up well, but I wish it had two pcie power connectors for a better gpu (though I suppose that's why it's just a 430 watt psu, eh?). Solid component!