First and foremost, I am a complete newbie. I'm not just new at building computers - I'm essentially illiterate when it comes to computers. I mean, I know how to surf the Internet and play games, but I don't really know much about a computer's physical components and what they do. Of course, I'm slowly learning as I'm researching building this PC, but most of you will probably find my questions and concerns profoundly stupid and/or uninformed.
A bit of background: I currently own an HP a6235x. Right off the bat, this is no gaming rig. As a matter of fact, it seems to be just about the opposite of one. To make matters worse, it looks like the CPU's overheating and that its fan is no longer operating at full capacity, because I now have to resort to keeping the case open with a big fan blowing right into it if I want to avoid crashing all the time when I overtax its capacity by, say, surfing some website. I decided that I'd had enough; not just with this computer, but with HP and other major computer companies of that sort in general. Since I enjoy playing computer games and I'd never been satisfied with any of the HPs I'd owned over the years in that department, I started to look at gaming rigs.
Like any newbie, my Google searches were pretty random and not overly helpful at first. I quickly stumbled onto Alienware's web site and became pretty sad about the whole thing. Judging by their web site, gaming computers cost about the same as a second hand Honda Civic. While I could afford to buy one, I'd probably be going through a divorce the next day. While some might assume that this would be like killing two birds with one stone, I decided to try to have a gaming rig and preserve my marriage. So, I looked around and asked here and there and came to the conclusion that my best option might be to build my own computer. So, I undertook the rather overwhelming task of learning (a tiny little bit) about the components required for a computer and of trying to put one together from various websites.
Since I'm in Montreal, Canada, my choices seem a bit limited. Although the US and Canadian dollars are nearly on par with each other now, Canadian retailers still insist on charging about 200$ more on a system (whether "pre-built" or in separate parts) than their American counterparts. Also, as far as I can tell, there's no such thing as a good computer store in Montreal, so the Internet seems like my only option.
Anyway, here's what I've put together so far. Please remember that I'm completely new at this, so be gentle with me:
Newegg.ca - AMD Athlon II X4 630 Propus 2.8GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Processor
Newegg.ca - HIS H577FM1GD Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
Newegg.ca - Western Digital Caviar Blue WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Newegg.ca - ASUS M4A89GTD PRO AM3 AMD 890GX HDMI SATA 6Gb/s ATX AMD Motherboard
Newegg.ca - A-DATA Gaming Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model AX3U1600GB2G9-2G
Newegg.ca - ASUS 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 24x DVD Writer LightScribe Support - CD / DVD Burners
Newegg.ca - Antec NEO ECO 620C 620W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply
Case (I don't like the look, but it's big and looks like it moves air around pretty well):
Newegg.ca - XCLIO A380COLOR Fully Black 1.0 mm SECC / ABS Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case
While I'm at it, OS:
Newegg.ca - Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - Operating Systems
Stock cooling, since I don't think I'm going to mess around with overclocking.
So, a few questions/comments/concerns of mine:
- Is this a viable gaming rig? If so, what would its limitations be?
- Is there any way to improve this while remaining within the same budget (or even cheaper)?
- Is this reasonably upgradeable?
- Would this motherboard allow me to "crossfire" in the future? It talks about "CrossfireX", but as far as I can tell, that's something different involving combining a discrete GPU with an integrated one. Am I on the right track with this assumption?
- Is a full sized case a good thing? Could I get away with a mid-sized one without any issues?
I probably have more questions, but I have to get back to work now. I probably won't be very active in this thread for a few more hours, but I'll be able to pick things up in a few hours.
Thank you all for any help you can provide me.