Today, I’m sharing with you a video that shows how to assemble a computer. I will also address the reasons behind the components chosen. I’ll be following up with a performance review later on, but I will give some mini reviews in this article.
Let’s start with the decision points. I knew I was in need of replacing an aging Quad core Intel based computer and that this computer would be used primarily for average computer with a little bit of photo editing, maybe video editing and light gaming. With that in mind I set out to build a machine capable of not only handling those tasks, but some extra headroom should those needs expand.
The first component I chose was the AMD FX-8120 eight core processor. It’s 3.1GHz with eight processing cores was likely overkill, but I was able to get one at a very nice discount. I also have been found of AMD chips in the past and they always perform admirably. Now I must admit, I will choose Intel from time to time depending on the application as they also make very solid processors. With this being one of the chips with the newer bulldozer design it gave me a sense of longing to test it out. So far I am more than satisfied with the results!
Now that I had the processor I had to choose a adequate motherboard, along with memory and a CPU cooler. For the motherboard I decided to gain the most out of any components I add to the system I should choose the best chipset, that being the 990FX. I trust Asus is built quality of motherboards most, thus I studied the pros and cons of the few boards they offered with a 990FX chipset. The Crosshair models were overkill and I did not see myself using the ROG connect features. When I saw the Sabertooth model, I knew it would suffice. Military grade construction along with all the necessary connections like USB 3.0. It’s also designed to run cool. As an added bonus it looks pretty sweet!
I starting thinking about CPU coolers and knew Zalman was the way to go. They are very reliable and run cool and efficient. The Zalman CNPS9900MAX-B CPU fan was large, but had a sweet looking design and I knew it would keep the CPU cool. That did present a challenge as it would not fit in just any case, but more on that in a moment. It runs very quiet and has a nice blue LED that is barely visible from the top of the case(no clear side panel).
Memory was an easy choice. I figured 8GB would suffix and I could upgrade later if need be. Based on the specifications of the processor I knew it would run best with 1866MHz memory. Again I chose a trusted brand with Corsair and made sure it was listed on the known compatible list on Asus website for the Asus Sabertooth Motherboard. The memory is running in perfect sync with the system and very stable. The model of the RAM is MZ8GX3M2A1866C9.
Now that I had the primary components laid out I had to figure out the storage aspect. I wanted to build this so that it ran fast, to do so I needed a Solid State Drive. There are only three manufacturers I trust in the SSD business with those being Intel, Corsair, and Patriot. At the time the best deal I could find was for Patriot. I also knew that if I just put Windows 7 and my applications on the SSD with my personal files on a standard platter based Hard Drive, I would only need a 120GB SSD. I went with the Patriot Pyro 120GB SSD. For the remaining storage needs I chose a Seagate 1TB SATA 6Gps 7200RPM with a 64MB cache, another brand I trust for a reliable hard drive with plenty of speed. Still it is slower than the SSD. Surprisingly, due to limitations in the 990FX chipset the SSD runs slower on this machine than on my Intel build. It’s not enough to cry over as it still runs blazingly fast. I also choice a LG DVD burner for the optical drive, no need for Blu-Ray on this computer.
As I was thinking about the video needs I thought I would be nice to have a video card that can handle games well, but I didn’t have the budget for the $300+ cards. I also wanted an AMD 7000 series Graphics card because of the improvements in cooling and power efficiencies. Knowing there may be some limitations compared to the similarly priced 6000 series, I decided on Double D HD HD7770 from XFX. Despite a few reviews stating otherwise I had found this card to be very effective with some serious games. It’s also very quiet which is a must for a always running computer in the living room. I didn’t want it to be audible while playing games on my Xbox 360 or while watching TV or movies.
Now I was down to needing a power supply. This was pretty simple as I calculated the wattage that each component needs added them together and found it to be in the neighborhood of 430W. I always prefer to go with extra power just in case, plus one never knows what I may add later on. Also crucial for the best airflow was a modular design. Again I just a trusted brand in Antec and found the High Current Gamer 620M. A nicely designed modular power supply with 620W of power. More than enough and it keeps this system running very stable, even at the highest work loads.
Since the components were chosen, I had but one task to determine which case to use. I knew I needed a mid to full tower case with enough width to house the CPU cooler. I looked at Fractal Design and was very tempted. However, I noticed the newer Antec P280 case at a very nice price. I’ve found Antec to be nothing short of excellence in quality. The P280 is no exception. It’s a stylish case with plenty of room and design to keep things even quieter. It was easy installing the components and running the cables. The design of the case is wonderful.
That’s a wrap for now with more coming soon. It’s a great smooth operating computer. More than enough performance for my needs and then some. It also looks great, is quiet and cool.