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First PC Build Ever - Vail


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Listening to Home Server Show and BYOB has finally given me the guts to take the plunge and try to build my first PC ever for Vail. I have replaced components on PCs, like HDDs, RAM, NIC, video cards, etc. However I have never built a PC from scratch. I currently have a HP EX470, which I completed the RAM upgrade to 2 GB and installed SW 3.0. I think it is a great box and has served its purpose, but it has its shortcomings. Now I REALLY want to upgrade.

 

I would like to use this Vail server for normal WHS functions like backing up all of my family PCs. But also I would like for it to be a media server. I have ripped DVDs that I may want to experiment with transcoding and streaming, which will take up most of the horsepower of this box. I have read several forums and have put together a list of components that I think will work together, but would like any assistance from the "experts" here to make sure or to give other options.

 

1. Case - Lian-Li PC-Q08 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112265

2. MB - ZOTAC H55ITX-C-E LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI USB 3.0 Mini ITX http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813500056

3. PS - CORSAIR CMPSU-450VX 450W ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139003

4. CPU - Intel i3-530

5. RAM - G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231189

 

Here are my thoughts on each:

 

1. Yes, I have read the discussion and review about difficulty in swapping HDDs in the PC-Q08, but I also saw dvn's comments in another thread on how he worked with this case. I like the form factor and think it could be repurposed as another PC or HTPC in the future.

 

2. Similar to Gigabyte H55 mITX board but has more SATA ports, right?

 

3. Heard Corsair made good PS and is 80 PLUS.

 

4. Probably the consensus on balance between horsepower and power efficiency.

 

5. So many RAM choices to choose from, this makes my head swim. I have absolutely no experience with BIOS. From one of the BYOB episodes I believe they mentioned needing to set the correct BIOS for certain speeds (frequencies?). Is this easy to do or should I settle for a lower spec? And speaking of BIOS, are there any other things you have to do with BIOS settings once all components are connected and you power it up for the first time?

 

Sorry, I know this is long. Any help or comments would be appreciated. Even if you could point me somewhere else for info.

 

Thank you very much

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  • dvn

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Listening to Home Server Show and BYOB has finally given me the guts to take the plunge and try to build my first PC ever for Vail. I have replaced components on PCs, like HDDs, RAM, NIC, video cards, etc. However I have never built a PC from scratch. I currently have a HP EX470, which I completed the RAM upgrade to 2 GB and installed SW 3.0. I think it is a great box and has served its purpose, but it has its shortcomings. Now I REALLY want to upgrade.

 

I would like to use this Vail server for normal WHS functions like backing up all of my family PCs. But also I would like for it to be a media server. I have ripped DVDs that I may want to experiment with transcoding and streaming, which will take up most of the horsepower of this box. I have read several forums and have put together a list of components that I think will work together, but would like any assistance from the "experts" here to make sure or to give other options.

 

1. Case - Lian-Li PC-Q08 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112265

2. MB - ZOTAC H55ITX-C-E LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI USB 3.0 Mini ITX http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813500056

3. PS - CORSAIR CMPSU-450VX 450W ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139003

4. CPU - Intel i3-530

5. RAM - G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231189

 

Here are my thoughts on each:

 

1. Yes, I have read the discussion and review about difficulty in swapping HDDs in the PC-Q08, but I also saw dvn's comments in another thread on how he worked with this case. I like the form factor and think it could be repurposed as another PC or HTPC in the future.

 

2. Similar to Gigabyte H55 mITX board but has more SATA ports, right?

 

3. Heard Corsair made good PS and is 80 PLUS.

 

4. Probably the consensus on balance between horsepower and power efficiency.

 

5. So many RAM choices to choose from, this makes my head swim. I have absolutely no experience with BIOS. From one of the BYOB episodes I believe they mentioned needing to set the correct BIOS for certain speeds (frequencies?). Is this easy to do or should I settle for a lower spec? And speaking of BIOS, are there any other things you have to do with BIOS settings once all components are connected and you power it up for the first time?

 

Sorry, I know this is long. Any help or comments would be appreciated. Even if you could point me somewhere else for info.

 

Thank you very much

 

Great set of components with one exception and a caveat. I would not go with the memory you selected and go for the ones below for a couple of reasons. First, they are 1600 Mhz which a bit faster for about $3 more. Second they support the XMP profile which takes all the guess work out of setting up your memory. Just go into the BIOS under memory and load the the XMP profile and you are done. On the core I series you want to get the most speed possible and these are just a better value. As for the Zotac, they have a good reputation but I have never used one but this looks like a great board and worth a shot considering it has two more sata ports which will max out your case.

 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231278

 

 

 

THe only other thing I would consider using a small case like this is to go modular on the power supply. For this build I would consider using the cooler master series as their cabling is 10 times more flexible than the competitors and is modular as well. The corsairs are fantastic but in a small case they can be challenge. Use the CM and you will find a dream to put together. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

 

 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817171036

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Just finished a build using the same case. I agree with pcdoc in that you definitely want to think about a modular psu. I didn't for cost reasons, but I'm really wishing I had. You'll also want to pay very close attention to the amount of clearance you're going to have for the CPU fan. I can't help you much there as I used an Atom board in my own build. Just keep in mind that you may be very limited with what aftermarket coolers you'll be able to use.

 

Finally, check out a pre-wrapped SATA cable. This will enable you to route all your SATA connectors as part of the initial build so there will be no need to mess with it as you decide to add drives.

 

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/11324/cpa-417/Lian_Li_Quad_SATA_Cable_w_Latch_-_Right_Angle_to_Straight_-_Black_SATA-LT90-4.html

 

The site has plenty of other Lian-Li mod parts you can use as well.

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Thanks, diehard, for the suggestion.

 

Ya, I saw this case and also the R2 version of it as well. Nice cases, but also had its little quirks. The only supplier to the US seems to be here, http://www.ncixus.com/products/53545/ARRAY-R2/Fractal%20Design/, and at $173, the Lian-Li would save me a little money.

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Great set of components with one exception and a caveat. I would not go with the memory you selected and go for the ones below for a couple of reasons. First, they are 1600 Mhz which a bit faster for about $3 more. Second they support the XMP profile which takes all the guess work out of setting up your memory. Just go into the BIOS under memory and load the the XMP profile and you are done. On the core I series you want to get the most speed possible and these are just a better value. As for the Zotac, they have a good reputation but I have never used one but this looks like a great board and worth a shot considering it has two more sata ports which will max out your case.

 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231278

 

 

 

THe only other thing I would consider using a small case like this is to go modular on the power supply. For this build I would consider using the cooler master series as their cabling is 10 times more flexible than the competitors and is modular as well. The corsairs are fantastic but in a small case they can be challenge. Use the CM and you will find a dream to put together. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

 

 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817171036

 

 

Thank you, pcdoc. This is exactly the type of help I need. I appreciate your time in responding. I have reviewed your suggestions on Newegg and added to my Wishlist.

 

Am I correct in that the XMP profile is contained directly on the RAM, so just loading from BIOS takes care of it? That does seem simple. I'll look into that a little more. Also I see what you mean about the modular PSU, so you can use only the cables you need to reduce clutter. I had originally chose a 450 W PSU after listening to your Podcast about them. The comment was made to choose a wattage not too far from your power needs so that the idle power drawn is low due to the efficiency rating of the PSU. However from some other thread posts I see a highly efficient PSU of high wattage can still give a low idle power draw.

 

Thanks again.

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Just finished a build using the same case. I agree with pcdoc in that you definitely want to think about a modular psu. I didn't for cost reasons, but I'm really wishing I had. You'll also want to pay very close attention to the amount of clearance you're going to have for the CPU fan. I can't help you much there as I used an Atom board in my own build. Just keep in mind that you may be very limited with what aftermarket coolers you'll be able to use.

 

Finally, check out a pre-wrapped SATA cable. This will enable you to route all your SATA connectors as part of the initial build so there will be no need to mess with it as you decide to add drives.

 

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/11324/cpa-417/Lian_Li_Quad_SATA_Cable_w_Latch_-_Right_Angle_to_Straight_-_Black_SATA-LT90-4.html

 

The site has plenty of other Lian-Li mod parts you can use as well.

 

Thanks, mrossco, for the helpful hints. I wasn't planning any aftermarket coolers. I thought the in box CPU fan along with the case fans would move enough air to keep things cool. The server will mostly be sitting idle and only occasionally will I push it with CPU intensive things like transcoding. Am I wrong in my assumptions?

 

I really like the cables you suggested. I'll keep these in mind when ordering.

 

Thanks again.

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Thank you, pcdoc. This is exactly the type of help I need. I appreciate your time in responding. I have reviewed your suggestions on Newegg and added to my Wishlist.

 

Am I correct in that the XMP profile is contained directly on the RAM, so just loading from BIOS takes care of it? That does seem simple. I'll look into that a little more. Also I see what you mean about the modular PSU, so you can use only the cables you need to reduce clutter. I had originally chose a 450 W PSU after listening to your Podcast about them. The comment was made to choose a wattage not too far from your power needs so that the idle power drawn is low due to the efficiency rating of the PSU. However from some other thread posts I see a highly efficient PSU of high wattage can still give a low idle power draw.

 

Thanks again.

 

 

You are welcome. You are correct in that the xmp parameter for each RAM type is stored in the RAM itself as they are all different. As for the PS, the only reason I recommended the CM is that it is efficient, modular, and most importantly in a small case has the best cables around. If you find somethihng else I sure it would be OK as well. Corsairs are great and you can't go wrong, however they are known for rather long cables which is not a good match for your build.

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