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To build, or not to build: that is the question

Timid newbe

Aug 11, 2010
Far be it for me asking:whistle: , but I'm having trouble deciding whether to have a new system built by a respected third party or to do it myself. I've never built one before, though I have upgraded my Power Mac (Yes. I'm moving to W7), so it's not as if I haven't plumbed the depths, albeit briefly, before now. But from "scratch" involves a bit more effort. The build would consist of the following (more or less):

●Silverstone Ft02 case (I like its conservative looks and its approach to thermal management; a bit large though)
●Asus P6X58D Premium or Rampage Extreme III Mobo (either would do, though the Rampage has more features/toys such as ROG connect/Bluetooth that can allow you to adjust parameters through an iPhone, for ex. It does seem to be having teething troubles though)
●Sapphire 5870 Vapor X 100281VX GPU (seems to get good consistently good reviews)
●Core i7 930 CPU (Again, gets very good reviews; easy to OC if one so desires; reasonable price compared to Extreme line)
●CPU cooler (thinking Gelid Tranquillo, but have an open mind. Needs to cool well, especially in an OC situation and fit the case. No offense, but No H2o cooling)
●6 gigs RAM (brand agnostic at this point)
●Two hard drives (either WD "Blue" or WD "Black", with
SSD (for booting/programs) a possibility in place of one of HDs. But SSD = $$$ per gig)
●Card reader (might as well be built in; one less thing on the desk)
●Optical drive (plain Jane or fancy Blue Ray/ burner)
●Windows 7 Pro or Home
●Corsair HX 1000W PSU (new AX 1200 PSU a possibility; 1200W is a bit much, I admit. But it's single rail versus multi-rail, with me preferring the former. One might want to CF in future).

All told the bill for parts (from Newegg), including California sales tax, ranges between $2,220+ to $2,320+ approximately (the difference is due to W7 home versus W7Pro or AX1200W/HX1000W). The proposed price from the system builder is approximately $2,820 to $3,120 depending upon configuration, plus shipping of $88.00). They will install some lighting tubes and color matched cabling (FT02 has window) if that means anything, but it would amount to only $40.00 or so. And yes: it is possible that I could source parts where tax isn't applicable, thus lowering the costs a a couple of hundred, but perhaps at the cost of RMA services if needed. Quite frankly I'd like to deal with one parts source.

The "built" one would come with a warranty (1 year) and lifetime tech support (I don't know what happens if they go out of business or I die, though :biggrin:). Obviously, they would build it, test it, burn it in, wipe its nose, etc. One pays for that, of course. But the differential would amount to some $500/700 dollars--not a lot of money in the larger scheme of things, but still that could be, say, a Dell U2410 Monitor, a second GPU, or a nice KB and rodent (or having the trees trimmed in my yard). Not having to be my own tech support is a bit appealing as well.

There are intangibles, of course. I have to admit that building your own (BYO) is, in the abstract, appealing, and unlike some, I am actually willing to read the manuals and follow them (assuming that they can be followed). One learns more about the gadget by way of BYO, as well as having more control over the parts choices as well. And though I might like to believe that this is the best of all possible worlds (well, not really, Actually, not at all), I also know that it is filled with things such as DOA mobos, GPUs, bad customer service and who-know-what-else, all of which aren't abstract or at all appealing. By the way the machine is envisioned as being a great all-rounder, i.e., snappy day-to-day performance and good to great at gaming/CAD. It's replacing a 8 year old PowerPC Mac.

I do have the time (assuming that it comes together reasonably well) to build as I don't work at the moment, aside from preparing for my next CCNA course. But I'd like it to be done by early September, as I have the class starting and will need thing by then. I also need to become more familiar with W7 by then as well.

Since I obviously don't know that the brevity is the soul of wit, your opinions please. Is it possible that someone with two college degrees could do this and live to tell the tale?


Aug 4, 2007
heya. build it yourself, even if you save 50 bucks. in this case, hundreds.

for that budget you can do better gpu wise. dual 5870's, or a couple 480's alltough the newer cards are supposed to be not too many months away.

psu is overkill even with two 5870's

you could be illiterate, have spent your whole life hiding in a cave next to bin laden, and still make a puter from scratch if you do your homework


Well-known member
Jun 15, 2010
Windsor, ON
Here's my suggestions for you, keeping some of your suggested hardware and suggesting others..

All products are retail, unless otherwise stated and prices are from newegg.com

Case: Silverstone FT02 Black $240
PSU: HX850 $170 or AX850 $200
Mobo: Asus P6X58D Premium $310
CPU: Intel Core i7 930 $290
CPU Cooler: CM Hyper 212 Plus $50
RAM: G Skill or Mushkin DDR3 1600 6GB 3x2GB $150
SSD: Intel X25-M 80GB $215
HDD: WD Caviar Black 1TB SATA3 $95
VID: Sapphire Vapor X HD5870 $430 or
VID: EVGA GeForce GTX470 $350 or
VID: EVGA GeForce GTX480 $505
OPTICAL: LG GH24LS50 DVD Writer $50 or
OPTICAL: LG UH10LS20 Blu-ray Reader/DVD Writer Combo $115 or
OPTICAL: LG WH10LS30 Blu-ray Writer $160
Card Reader: NMediaPC ZE-C118 $14
OS: MS Win 7 64Bit OEM Home $100 or Pro $140

Total Price: $2034 to $2369 plus taxes. Cheapest without SSD (2 x HDD): $1914 plus taxes.

As for BYO, yes you would be your own support tech, but you do have the help of many forum members here too :biggrin: Plus you'll save yourself hundreds of dollars, allowing you to get your monitor, keyboard, mouse, 2nd gpu, etc!

If you plan to do 3way CF/SLI, then go up to the HX1000/AX1200, otherwise your all good. I put in nvidia's offerings for a comparison and EVGA is great brand with excellent customer service and a lifetime warranty. XFX is another great brand with excellent customer service and a lifetime warranty if you get an ATI card.

Good luck with your build :thumb:


Staff member
Dec 9, 2006
Moncton NB
It sounds like you've already done the hard part of building a system which is trying to decide what parts to use. To be honest... unless you want to throw in something like water cooling on top of it, the rest is as simple as knowing how to use a screwdriver, and how to follow (and/or decipher.... ;) ) an instruction manual.

I say go for it... building your own PC is one of the few chances we get these days to demonstrate that we're the masters over technology, and not the other way around. If you have any questions at all during the build, there's always forums like this one where folks would be happy to point you in the right direction.

Welcome to the forums BTW!!!!!


Well-known member
Mar 13, 2010
Hamilton Ont
New Builds

I'm in total agreement with the others regarding byo. It really is quite simple. There are many online sites to help with assembling your new pc.
The best place to get help and learn more about your pc imho is this site, so at least you've got just about everything covered.
I've had both the 5970 and 480 and while I'm biased towards Nvidia, in this case the 480 is the better of the 2 for me. I think you'll find that CADD works and looks better as well. If you go this route be certain to have plenty of airflow to keep temperatures in check. For the most part unless you're constantly stressing your gpu the heat shouldn't be an issue.
To me, who hasn't got alot of computer experience, building your own pc was rather enjoyable and I found it helped me to understand pcs a bit better. Good luck with your build and enjoy the new system.

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