Instructables

is what i have decided for my computer build everything compatible?

I decided to buy the core parts my custom cheap computer, that i plan to upgrade with better parts. but if i want to save money in the long run and not have to buy totally new parts for a building a decent computer. will these parts i choose will work together? the top parts are the bare essentials for my build, excluding the parts i already have in my old tower computer (case, 300W PSU, monitor, and keyboard, mouse, WiFi adapter {maybe read bellow})


MOBO:---ASRockZ77 Extreme4 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 ATX Intel Mobo----------------------$140
CPU:
-----Pentium G620 (lga-1155)-------------------------------------------------------------------$64
RAM:
-----G.SKILL Ripjaws X-Series 8GB DDR3 RAM Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBXL---$40

i plan to get these parts after i get the initial build working. if i am unhappy with the above specs i will upgrade. my parents want me to build a cheap $250 computer first to see if i am up to the challenge.  so i want everything i listed to work well together. so far i have worked out everything except the power supply cables (if it will power everything listed and crossfire/SLI for future improvement.)

PSU:------OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W Modular High Performance Power Supply---$50 after rebates
CPU:------Intel i5 3570K-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------$220
GPU:------either a gtx 660, or a Radeon 7870.-----------------------------------------------------$230.00 ish
CASE:----Cooler Master Computer RC 430 KWN1/dp/B003O8J11E---------------------------$46
HDD:------unsure. whetever i get my hands on in the future. it will be 7200 RPM or better, maybe a cheap ssd


as for the GPU any recommendations? i want something within $250 and will play games on high settings with no problem, and dual monitor setup. i think this GTX 660 it seems to be slightly better than the radeon 7870, and cheaper. i might go with this.

is it a good idea to get a CPU that has the 'K' at the end, i know this means it is overclockable bacause it is unlocked. but it it worth it to pay the extra 20 for a faster stock clock speed, and HD 4000 graphics? compared to the i5 3550?


p.s. i will delete parts of my question(s) that have successfully been answered by you and the community. 

thank you everyone who helped me out with this. i have to give credit to:  mpilchfamily, Willard2.0,  and bwrussell have been very helpful. i cant wait until i start building!

Willard2.02 years ago
I'm not going to beat the upgrade path to death again. Buy what you want and can afford the first time, don't waste your money on a build that may only last you a few months before you are feeling bottlenecked.  (considering you are debating a pentium, I'm not exaggerating when I say a few months)

CPU:
I would certainly get the 3550K CPU as opposed to the locked CPU. Being able to overclock is huge.

The graphics is a moot point if you are adding a card anyway. That only makes a difference if you are using onboard graphics.

I am running the 2600k, and I easily got a 30% overclock.

IMO, don't overclock it off the bat, wait a year or 2 when you start to feel restricted by the speed. THEN put an aftermarket cooler (air is fine) and shoot for the moon.

Skip buying the Pentium, and just go for the i5. Save yourself the $60 and get a better PSU.

Currently the i5 is the best gaming CPU on the Intel lineup.  The i3 is usually underpowered and the i7 is overkill and you'd never even use the extra threads unless you are into heavy video editing.

PSU:
Go with a good brand PSU right from the get go. A cheap PSU may not have stable voltages under heavy load, or may not even be able to handle the load.

Stick with Corsaire, Thermaltake, OCZ, Coolermaster, Antec or another big brand and you'll do fine.

Remember, do you really want to power an expensive computer build with a cheap PSU that might fry some expensive components when it gives up the ghost?

Take the ratings on sales sites with a grain of salt, some people will rant and rave about it just because they got it for cheap. Or they don't know much about it, bought it and it worked for them.

PSU Connections, you need:
1 - 24pin motherboard connector
1 - 4+4 or 8 +4 pin CPU aux power
minimum 2, preferably four 6+2 or 6pin PCIE connectors
as many SATA connectors as you have HDD/CD drives (with a few extras for expansion)
as many molex connectors as you need (these are being phased out, on a better PSU, you won't find very many. Maybe only 1 string of 3 connectors)

For a basic PC (mobo, CPU, ram, one GPU, 2HDD's) 550W is plenty, but to SLI/Crossfire you'll need a bit more power (think 750W)

GPU:
I am running a 6870 with 3 monitors in eyefinity. It has the power for some games, but probably wouldn't have the muscle for any new games. It would be enough for gaming on a single 1080P monitor, but not gaming across 2. It would drive 2 or 3 monitors for regular use, just not gaming.

For gaming, I suggest running a 7870 or 7950 with 7870 being the minimum for gaming. The 6870 is lacking in power, and the 6950/70 are power hungry with the 7870 outperforming them.

On the nVidia side: a 570 or 580 would do, but a newer 660ti or 670 would be preferable. The 680/690 are overpriced right now.

Check out this site for GPU comparisons. They have real life benchmarks, not just synthetic tests.

HDD:
Wait until prices drop and pick up what you need. You can make do with a small drive for now, but plan on upgrading to at least a 750gb in future.

Each game can be 20-30gb in size and they add up quick.

This is my advice being a computer network tech by trade and performance enthusiast by hobby.
-max- (author)  Willard2.02 years ago
wow. this is what i needed, an explanation of everything. especially for power. sadly i already figured the rest out from the other answers. i dont know if i will get into gaming, i might have a few after they stop making games for the PS#, then computer based ones from that point. i might attempt at programing games and/or apps.


for the PSU's i am looking at either:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341017
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341017

which one is better (connection-wise)
Both of those links are to the same product.

That PSU is pretty good for $50.  It only has 2 PCIE connectors (for graphics card), but it doesn't have enough power to warrant the need for 4 connectors (only 1 graphics card, not enough power for crossfire/SLI.  Each card usually takes 2 connectors for power)

Modular is nice, you only put in the connectors/cables you need.  You won't end up having a bundle of cables shoved into a corner.

GPU:

A few more thoughts...

If you are not gaming you can just about go with whatever GPU you want.  Almost all cards support 2 monitors.  I had 2 1080p monitors running off a small 4350 card.  I couldn't game, but it could run HD movies without a problem.

IMO, the GPU is somewhere you can save a bit on and upgrade later.  If you buy a high end card now and don't game with it, you will need to upgrade when you decide to game.  By the time you start gaming, you will need to upgrade anyway.

Even the onboard graphics of the i5 supports dual monitors.
-max- (author)  Willard2.02 years ago
i meant

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341017
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817182200

are the power connectors on either of these good enough for mt build and possible future build expansion?

i didn't mention in my question, but the GPU, HDD are part i wont upgrade right away. for the HD, i will wait until prices drop, and for the GPU, i will wait to see if i will even ever need it. I care about the internal graphics performance i am probably going to end up relying on it.
Both are good and they are very similar. Personally I would go with the OCZ, I trust the brand more than Rosewill.

They both have similar connectors. The rosewill PSU has 2 more Molex connectors, but as I said earlier, they are phased out and are not used for much anymore.

The connectors will be sufficient for anything you can put in a tower except 2 graphics cards.
-max- (author)  Willard2.02 years ago
then what is the point of having a 600-650W PSU if it doesn't handle another graphics card in SLI or crossfire.

if i only uses one card, then i would only need 530W.
A higher wattage PSU will be able to handle the load of overclocking if you ever get into that.  It will also be able to handle a higher wattage single graphics card.  A high end card can be as much as 320W.  That's 320W just for the graphics card.

It also gives you the room to expand, you can upgrade your system without buying a new PSU.  The PSU is about the only thing you can 'future proof'.  A decent PSU should last you 2 or 3 builds before it finally fails.

It's best to always have a bit of extra power available. The PSU runs most efficient at about 80% load and least efficient at 50$ or 100% load.  So don't buy a 1200W PSU when you only need 500W.  Similarly, don't buy a 550W PSU when your system needs 500W

For your build with the Pentium chip and minimal graphics, you could go as low as a 350W PSU.  You wouldn't have any upgrade path though.  Just food for thought.

Here is a PSU calculator that can help you understand how many watts you really need.  I always take the higher value and round it up to the next wattage available.
ie: site says you need 468W, I would get a 500W or 550W.
-max- (author)  Willard2.02 years ago
my build need just under 500W. so i think i will go with a 550W supply. (600W if i can get a good deal on one)
I would go with the OCZ 600W PSU you mentioned earlier. It's $75 with a $25 Mail in rebate.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341017
-max- (author)  Willard2.02 years ago
ok, i just saw something funny, good thing i caught on to this. the motherboard i plan to get has a 8 pin CPU power connector.

by rebuilding my old computer, the power supply it has a 4 pin CPU connector. (ATX12V1 is what it says on the mobo it is connected to). i will post a picture if you want to see it.)

will compatibility be an issue with the old PSU i mentioned in my budget part of the build (a antec basiq power 350w BP350) i don't see anywhere a 2x4 pin connector. it looks like two 12V power rails (2x2)) right next to each other. will only half of that be sufficient, or do i need a all new PSU all together?
I have no experience with using a 4 pin PSU with an 8 pin mobo. 
From what I have read, it should work.  But when you upgrade to the i5, you will NEED to upgrade your PSU.  A 300W will NOT be able to power an overclocked i5.

The 4 pin will fit in one half of the 8 pin socket.  Just plug in the 4 pin into the half of the 8 that it fits and try it.  All the 12V wires are in parallel on the mobo anyways, so I can't see any problem with it. 

With the low wattage Pentium, I think you'll be fine.  To be sure, once the build is complete, stress the CPU with prime95.  If it lasts 2hrs or longer, I call it good to go.
-max- (author)  Willard2.02 years ago
thanks. yeah, looking at the plugs, it does look like it might work. i do see that the traces on the old mobo are parallel. i hope i don't fry my mobo though.
The manual says it is fine, so it will not damage the board by only using 4 pins.
See my other post above and the one under mpilchfamily's reply.
-max- (author)  Willard2.02 years ago
ok then thats good!
Just found in the motherbaord manual Page 40:

Though this motherboard provides 8-pin ATX 12V power connector, it can still work if you adopt a traditional 4-pin ATX 12V power supply. To use the 4-pin ATX power supply, please plug your power supply along with Pin 1 and Pin 5.
-max- (author)  Willard2.02 years ago
it says $45 after rebates. ir is that incorrect. if it is, then i need something a little cheaper than that.
Don't get a Roswill PSU. I'm sure they have improved over the past couple of years but they are still just a no-name brand that is using a knock off version of a Name brand's design. They often use cheap capacitors which result in a shorter life span and has caused bad failure rates in the past.

Also how do you plan on reusing your current OS? If its an OS that came with a boxed system then as soon as you change out anything like the motherboard the OS will not load from the HDD and you'll be forced to buy a new OS. There are ways to strip out the old drivers to allow it to accept the new ones but then you'll have to re register the OS and you'll have to sweet talk the MS reps to reactivate the OS. Not to mention there can be some instability in the OS after such an upgrade. Its best to do a fresh install of the OS with a new build. But if you have the full OEM disk then it won't be a problem.

Looks like that Wi-Fi card is PCI so you should be fine. Though you may want to consider a Wireless N USB dongle instead. Also you can pick up a Bluetooth dongle for about $20. And yes Bluetooth 4 is backwards compatible with 3.

Everyone want to try and build the cheapest they can with an upgrade path. Problem is by the time they are ready/able to upgrade, what use to be high end for there base setup is now the overall low end. In the end you'll have spent more on the original and the upgrades then you would have if you purchased the upgraded version first. Something else to consider is buying a boxed system that more closely matches what your looking for. Manufactures like HP, and Dell are able to sell PC's much cheaper because they get subsidies from software companies and they buy there parts in bulk. So you can save yourself a few hundred bucks by getting a boxed system and upgrading it as you see fit. Just something to consider.
-max- (author)  mpilchfamily2 years ago
well do you have any good idea as to the PSU i should get? something 550W or greater.

so i cant just take out my old HHD from the old computer and install it to the new computer and have it work? i have to re install Ubuntu all over again?

and by "upgrading in the future" i meant getting a more powerful CPU the the Pentium. i have my sights on the i5 3570K or if the price fall i will consider the i7 3770K. so not for a newer CPU, but for a better one. and by future i meant less than a year. my parents want me to build a cheap computer first to prove that i can do it, then i plan to make this build better (throw a better CPU, HDD, and GPU into it. and maybe more RAM i i think it is necessary.) i found this to be cheaper than building and entirely separate computer, for the additional parts i would need and end up with a computer that is probably never going to be used again.

so with this idea you say i will end up losing money because in the future, cheaper low end parts would be more powerful than todays mid-range parts? is this what you mean? but by that time the price for older should have fallen, right? but i plan on 'upgrading' after i get the first build up and running. it probably wont even be a month before i make it more powerful.

I don't like having to use up valuable USB space for WiFi and BT, but i guess if i can shave off dollars that way, then i guess i will need to. at least wont have to buy another WiFi card.
Go with a Corsair, Antec, OCZ, or PC Power and Cooling PSU.

Back up what you have on the HDD then reinstall Ubuntu.

A lot can happen in a year. You may be able to get a good deal on mid range parts in a year and still come out ahead. But building low end and trying to upgrade to mid or better down the road can be a gamble. This years low end parts could end up being more expensive then next years mid range parts. Or next years mid range parts can be the same price as this years low end parts. It all depends on what the industry does over the next year. If Intell decides to come out with a new CPU architecture and a new socket then this years high end could take a big drop in price and you can get a good deal on what would be considered mid range next year. You could get luck and there be an over run of the i7s and the price takes a nose dive and you get a great deal on a high end CPU next year. But things change so fast in this industry its hard to tell what will happen. So roll the dice and see where. Your doing this to learn and show that you know what your doing so thats worth more (IMHO) then trying to save money buying a box system.

USB is expandable and motherboards come with 6 or more USB ports on the back of the board and can accommodate 4 or more through the front panel connector. If that isn't enough for you or the board you choose doesn't have that many then you can always get a powered USB hub. So you don't have to worry about limited numbers of USB ports.
-max- (author)  mpilchfamily2 years ago
so i will need to re install Ubuntu. oh well. i might then just buy the HDD for the first part of the build. i have a MPJA inc. catalog with some power supplies in it, there are three in here. are these any good?

http://www.mpja.com/prodinfo.asp?number=17714+PS
http://www.mpja.com/prodinfo.asp?number=17717+PS
http://www.mpja.com/prodinfo.asp?number=17975+PS
http://www.mpja.com/prodinfo.asp?number=17715+PS

i just cant myself spend 70+ dollars for the PSU, considering this rosewell seems to have great ratings and reviews. as for the above link, don't have any ratings. and i am unsure of the brand names, or quality. but iff you spot a good one in there let me know.
-max- (author)  mpilchfamily2 years ago
i actually saw the cooler master and considered it.
the second one has bad review saying it is DOA
the third and forth one expensive,

but i might get the 600W if i can get the rebate.

how do i know if any PSU will have enough power connectors and whats the a modular power supply? what benefits does it offer, is it only the way the power cables are arranged?
Any of the above mentioned will have all the connectors you need.

A modular PSU don't have all the cable hard wired to the PSU. They are removable so you only have the cables you need attached to the PSU and don't have to worry about extra wires hanging around and possibly impeding air flow through the case.
-max- (author)  mpilchfamily2 years ago
ok, i just saw something funny, good thing i caught on to this. the motherboard i plan to get has a 8 pin CPU power connector.

by rebuilding my old computer, the power supply it has a 4 pin CPU connector. (ATX12V1 is what it says on the mobo it is connected to). i will post a picture if you want to see it.)

will compatibility be an issue with the old PSU i mentioned in my budget part of the build (a antec basiq power 350w BP350) i don't see anywhere a 2x4 pin connector. it looks like two 12V power rails (2x2)) right next to each other. will only half of that be sufficient, or do i need a all new PSU all together?
A 350W PSU isn't going to cu it with your new build. For one your using an older PSU on a new system. If the PSU is more then 5 years old it best you don't use it at all. If not them you still have the problem of not having enough power to support the system. The Newer motherboards need the 8 pin connector due to the amount of current the board needs.

If you decide to go with what you have and it doesn't have enough power for your system you will run into all sorts of issues. Issues that may seem like one component or another is bad but in fact the component just isn't getting the power it needs. Now days you need at least 450W for a basic system.

BYW that connector is called a P4 connector. If your PSU does in fact have more then 1 12V power rail then that will be noted on the PSU's label and it will tell you the max amperage available per rail. There is a big difference between a 12V power rail and a pair of connectors.
The old PSU has 2 12V rails, 10A and 13A.  PSU calculators say he only needs ~250W for the pentium build with onboard graphics. 

The 8 pin connector strictly provides power to the CPU.  With the low wattage (65W) Pentium chip, 4 pin should supply enough.  65W is only 5.4A, one 18 or 20 gauge wire can easily handle that load, and there will be 2 supplying it (2 12V, 2 ground)

I agree with the old PSU on new hardware.  While I don't recommend using the old PSU, if he doesn't have the budget for a new PSU, then he can make do with it.
-max- (author)  mpilchfamily2 years ago
well then i guess i am going to need a new PSU thanks.
-max- (author)  mpilchfamily2 years ago
ok then thanks.
-max- (author)  mpilchfamily2 years ago
ok, i just saw something funny, good thing i caught on to this. the motherboard i plan to get has a 8 pin CPU power connector.

by rebuilding my old computer, the power supply it has a 4 pin CPU connector. (ATX12V1 is what it says on the mobo it is connected to). i will post a picture if you want to see it.)

will compatibility be an issue with the old PSU i mentioned in my budget part of the build (a antec basiq power 350w BP350) i don't see anywhere a 2x4 pin connector. it looks like two 12V power rails (2x2)) right next to each other. will only half of that be sufficient, or do i need a all new PSU all together?
-max- (author)  mpilchfamily2 years ago
well i suppose i just worry about USB because the laptop i am using right now only has 3 ports on it. a always end up using them all and wanting to plug in a 4th thing. (sd card reader, 16gb stick, microphone, phone, webcam, etc.)

the thing with the parts, i can already see an example. just recently i bought some ram for my current laptop, and the price for old ddr2 200 pin ram was 30 for 2gb. considering i can get 6gb of ddr3 high speed ram cheaper, that's lame. why is old outdated stuff cost more than new!?

my parents dont see understand the reason for me to build my computer. and i cant think of any BIG benefits either. i know i can overclock the parts, make it exactly how i want it, and the pride in being able to say i build my own computer. as well as a learning experience.

however they reply back saying i am gurunteed a working product with warranty, can go the HP or dell's website and have them build a computer to my own custom computer with my own specifications. there bid point is that if i mess up, i lot of money has been wasted. this is why they want my to build a cheap computer. and i (hopefully tried) to choose parts that will give me a little room to upgrade to better current-gen parts, so i don't end up with a useless $200 computer.
Burf -max-2 years ago
Ubuntu is open source and basically unrestricted. You can pull the HDD out of your old PC and the OS will load, though you may have to update some of the drivers and related software packages. I've done it myself several times.
-max- (author)  Burf2 years ago
ok, i just saw something funny, good thing i caught on to this. the motherboard i plan to get has a 8 pin CPU power connector.

by rebuilding my old computer, the power supply it has a 4 pin CPU connector. (ATX12V1 is what it says on the mobo it is connected to). i will post a picture if you want to see it.)

will compatibility be an issue with the old PSU i mentioned in my budget part of the build (a antec basiq power 350w BP350) i don't see anywhere a 2x4 pin connector. it looks like two 12V power rails (2x2)) right next to each other. will only half of that be sufficient, or do i need a all new PSU all together?
-max- (author)  Burf2 years ago
ok. awesome thanks. can you identify the WiFi adapter pci slot type, it it legacy, PCI-e, 1X, 2X, 4X, 8X or 16X? or something else, basically, i need to know if it will fit into the PCI slot on the mobo i choose above.

and does the rosewell power supply i listed above have all the necessary connectors i need for my parts (GPU, mobo, 2 HHD's, dvd/cd burner/reader) i already know it is enough wattage.
The old stuff isn't manufactured anymore. The new stuff is being made in such high quantity because its under such high demand they can sell it very cheaply. The thing about chips is the more you make the cheaper they are.

What do you plan to do when you move out of the house? Do you want to get into a computer related field? If so then building your own PC and dealing with the pitfalls that will come with it will be the kind of learning and experience you will need. While you have no official warranty or support you do have the entire internet to fall back on and help you find the solution to your problems.

This is just me but IMHO a $200 computer is useless. But that may be just me.
-max- (author)  mpilchfamily2 years ago
i don't know what i want to be yet, but that is something i an considering, either building, designing, programming, or electrical engineer. i am 16, i don't know much about into any of the fields of career options.

i think the only use a $200 computer has is the internet, and word processing.
bwrussell2 years ago
What OS are you running? If it isn't 64-bit then you can only use 4Gb of RAM, either buy less RAM or a new OS.
Where are you sourcing your components?Some of those are cheaper on Newegg.com
If you are planning on buying a new CPU then I would just get it now. My mindset on a build is that the CPU and mobo will be used for the life of the build, unless they meet an untimely demise early on. It's easy to add a second GPU, more RAM, an SSD, but switching a CPU is expensive and you often have to get one that is older because your mobo's socket doesn't fit the new stuff. Same goes with the HDD. If you upgrade in the future you will have to do a fresh install. Some people don't mind that but I don't like loosing all the time I spent getting everything the way I wanted it.
For BT you can just get a little USB dongle for pretty cheap. 4.0 is of course better than 3.0 but that also means it's more expensive.

Tomshardware recommended the Radeon HD 7870 as it's September bang for buck card in your price range. Currently Newegg has the GHz edition, not sure what the difference is, probably factory overclocked, but it's a little faster than the standard 7870, with a rebate for $247 shipped. Not sure a single card under $350+ will run everything on high but it has good reviews and should run most games with ease.
-max- (author)  bwrussell2 years ago
well honestly i plan on using Ubuntu 64 bit. if i ever have a reason to buy windows then i might consider it. but for the moment, Ubuntu if fine. i an getting just about everything from newegg.

by "upgrading in the future" i meant getting a more powerful CPU the the Pentium. i have my sights on the i5 3570K or if the price fall i will consider the i7 3770K. so not for a newer CPU, but for a better one. by future i meant less than a year.

i don't like having to use up valuable USB space for WiFi and BT, but i guess if i can shave off dollars that way, then i guess i will need to. but what type of slot is on the wifi card pictured above? is it just an ordinary "PCI" slot? or PCI-e? or x1, x2, x4? x8? or whatever else exists?
bwrussell -max-2 years ago
The card is a PCI-E, as you can see HERE.

What kind of games are you playing? You may not need a GPU at all if you get an i-core CPU.
If you're going to upgrade within the year then you absolutely want to skip straight to the i-core otherwise you are just flushing money. If you are concerned about being able to install the CPU you can practice on your current computer, just buy some thermal paste first.
-max- (author)  bwrussell2 years ago
actually i looked at the slot on the motherboard i have, it says PCI-e 16x on the black one, and i know that isnt the right one. the 3 under it are simply labeled PCI 1 PCI 2, and PCI 3. i have posted a picture of them. they are white with only one notch.
bwrussell -max-2 years ago
According to the D-Link website that is straight PCI. Since it is only wireless-G I would replace it with a dongle or card with N, assuming your router has N capabilities.
-max- (author)  bwrussell2 years ago
ok, i just saw something funny, good thing i caught on to this. the motherboard i plan to get has a 8 pin CPU power connector.

by rebuilding my old computer, the power supply it has a 4 pin CPU connector. (ATX12V1 is what it says on the mobo it is connected to). i will post a picture if you want to see it.)

will compatibility be an issue with the old PSU i mentioned in my budget part of the build (a antec basiq power 350w BP350) i don't see anywhere a 2x4 pin connector. it looks like two 12V power rails (2x2)) right next to each other. will only half of that be sufficient, or do i need a all new PSU all together?
-max- (author)  bwrussell2 years ago
thing is i know this card works with the router in the house, i dont know what type of wifi is in our house, i never looked into it. but this card has worked in the past with my router so it should work fine for the new build. thanks.