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1st Pc Build


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#1 benny269

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Posted 03 August 2007 - 07:06 PM

Hi

I'm a 19yo student from the UK who has recently developed a passion for computers. I want to build my own PC for the first time and have learnt a fair bit in researching what that entails but I now need your help with the specifics - there's much I still don't know.

I currently run Windows XP on a few-year-old Compaq Presario mainly used for basic home computing tasks: online surfing, word processing, watching movies, playing flash games online etc. I want to build a PC for the customisability and ease of future upgrades too but most importantly just so I can advance up the learning curve. I am going to uni in a few months and the PC I am looking to build is intended to be fairly high end, although certainly not top-of-the-range. I want to be able to play fairly recent games on the new build and generally have it performing pretty fast - enough so to be considered reasonably future-proofed so that I only need to upgrade the odd part once in a while and have it last me a decent number of years. The budget I have for this is around 1000 but this is relatively flexible; I don't mind spending more if necessary as long as it is worthwhile - the key for me is value for money.

So the following is a list of the ideas and thoughts I am considering at the moment and hope you will be able to offer your ideas on:

CASE

I am thinking of the Coolermaster Mystique 632S. It is a sturdy model with 2 120mm fans - adequate cooling - with slots for liquid cooling if I wish to upgrade to it in the future, and I personally like the design. I don't really need much from my case other than a door to cover the front so this will probably suffice but does anybody have any experience with this - or similar 632 model - or have any opinions on either?

CPU

Based on the long term aspect of my build and the recent price drop in CPUs, I'm considering a choice between Q6600 vs E6850. As I asked in this topic, I am unsure which would be the best choice in CPU. The Million Dollar Question offers some good information on this particularly on its graph but the way I see it is which is the better of 2 choices:

OPTION 1: Q6600 is better because it already performs better in multi-threaded applications and pretty soon more and more applications will be optimised for quad-core so if I'm going to buy a CPU now I might as well go for one that will be ready for the future

OR

OPTION 2: E6850 is better because it performs best in more 'everyday' tasks and is great for gaming today. It should not be difficult to opt for a motherboard which supports this AND quad-core allowing for a simple upgrade when the technology for it has matured.

I seem to change my mind daily with a different person's reasoning, however I am currently swaying towards option 2 and I may perhaps even go for a lower dual-core model as the higher 1333 FSB on the E6850 seems to be having a marginal effect in the tests I have seen and so another CPU which will fulfill my needs would save me money thus allowing me to make a big upgrade to quad-core in the future. What would you do?

GRAPHICS CARD

I was originally intending to opt for an Nvidia 8800GTS which my understanding is that it provides great graphics in DX9 but is only Ok for DX10 which would have suited me as I won't be playing the VERY LATEST DX10 games any time soon and probably won't have Vista initially either. However I am now considering saving my money on this a little and going for a slightly older graphics card which will also give me good support for DX9 which I will need and that will mean I can go for a good, strong upgrade to a high-end DX10 card in the future when both drivers and games are ready to make full use of it. Is this a good decision or not?

Also I'm not sure but I believe I read somewhere that the 7600GT or the 8600GT would be good for me if I did follow through with this. What do you think? Can you suggest an alternative?

RAM

I started by posting a question about this here. I would like to go for 2GB of good quality RAM as this would be essential for me as I eventually want to be able to run Vista on this machine and would also like the option for some overclocking potential some day. The only point of reference I have is this incomplete review of some big brand products of PC2-6400 RAM. There is much I don't understand about RAM such as which FSB to go for, PC2 -6400, -8000, -8500, CAS numbers and the like. No idea where to start with this one.

HDD

I build up a large catalogue of photos, music and movies so I want to have around 500GB of storage space. I am currently having difficulty deciding between Samsung Spinpoint T166-HD501LJ recommended by a recent Computer Shopper review and Western Digital Caviar RE2 WD5000YS recommended by Tom's Hardware. Someone also suggested to my that it may be a better idea to opt for 2 x 250GB drives - 1 to handle OS and applications and 1 for documents, files and media or perhaps I could achieve this by simply partitioning a single 500GB drive? I do not know which would be better and welcome opinions on this.

MOBO, PSU and PERIPHERALS

I will work out what I need from my motherboard and PSU once I have calibrated the rest of my list of parts. I also intend to add a DVD-RW drive as well as a media drive bay later but these are less important right now.

OS

I will start off with a Linux system most likely to be Ubuntu as it is a good free choice and I want to gain more familiarity with Linux. However, I do intend to eventually run a dual boot with Windows (XP if not Vista).

So this is where I am now. Please let me know how I am doing, where I am right and wrong and offer your thoughts on how to proceed.

Many thanks :thumbsup:

Edited by benny269, 03 August 2007 - 07:09 PM.


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#2 oldf@rt

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Posted 03 August 2007 - 07:33 PM

Hi benny 269, I like the list so far and would want to future proof with a quad core.

Very nice case, with 4 hdd slots on this I would recommend 4 smaller hard drives, set up in a raid 5 configuration, 3 striped for data the 4th as parity, wd or seagate 160 to 250 gig sata would be excellent, for windows at the moment I would recommend XPPro 64bit for a new build or linux. This would depend on the mainboard that you select, so make sure that you check the number of sata ports onboard and the raid level supported by the controller.

Examples
160 gig x 4 = 480 gig unformatted
250 gig x 4 = 750 gig unformatted

You could partition the raid into a c and d drive, but it would not make any difference in the access or load times from a raid.

Personally I never purchase the latest generation of graphics card, as you know until you get vista you don't really need DX 10.

Try to locate a main board that will handle at least 8 gig of ram, and supports SLI, that way you can expand your video later on with an additional card that supports this feature, of course you need to start with a card that supports sli.

Here is a nice primer on raid . notice the section on increased data throughput.

Overall your selections look very good, so far.
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#3 RandomUser

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Posted 03 August 2007 - 08:20 PM

Hmmm, Where to begin here.

With all do respect, it would seem that you've taken a gung ho approach to building your first PC.
The question I pose to you here is this, What happens after you put together all those high-end parts and they fail to work?
I'm not making any assumptions about your abilities mind-you. Simply stated, you would be much better off getting a lower end system working so that you have a strong background before moving to better parts.

For the moment, you're in luck, because I'm going to humor you.

I like you choices for the Case, graphics card, and HDD.

My issues lie in the fact that no MotherBoard is listed here. That's the functional equivalent of a Porsche with the Body, Engine, and tires. You're lacking the Steering wheel (motherboard) , and battery (power supply).

For the motherboard, hmm, my first recommendation is for the Intel BOXDP35DPM based on the P35 Chipset. (latest and greatest) http://www.intel.com/products/chipsets/P35/index.htm for tech specs on the Chipset itself.

http://www.intel.com/products/motherboard/DP35DP/index.htm this is the closest thing to the board itself right down to ports. keep in mind that intel seperates it's boards into categories based upon Usage, IE Media series, Executive series, Classic Series.

I like that board, b/c it supports the current Core 2 Duo series of Processors (65nm manufacturing process) and intel has stated support for it's next generation Penryn Series. (45nm manufacturing process).

You may want to choose a 3rd party board based on the same chipset (P35) if you plan to use an aftermarket Cooler or Liquid cooling. Not recommended for a beginner.

My recommendation for processor is the Core 2 Duo E6550 which runs at 2.33 ghz.

As far as the video card goes, Get any model of the 8000 series nvidia card between Either BFG or MSI. Both have great implementations and you'll be ready to upgrade the Next OS from Microsoft. VISTA is NOT recommended for New Users or home users at this times. It is still a wonderful choice for the office among experienced Admins. Newer OS' without DX9 and earlier would not run at full capacity with a lower card. Plus, Nvidia's long term goals and support currently beat ATI
IMHO.

Now onto RAM. This is a varied discussion. I would like to introduce two websites that you Have to visit before choosing your RAM. First is http://computer.howstuffworks.com/ram.htm the Article on how RAM Works is a MUST for Newbs.
Further here http://www.intel.com/technology/memory/ddr...osting_ww29.pdf
Try to read the tested RAM from intel's website only after you've been to howstuffwork.com Also keep in mind that just because ram isn't verified, doesn't mean it won't work. Just make sure it's compatible with your Board. If you want DDR3 say so in your next post and I will go into further detail.

Stick with the Hard Drive you have and remember to pick out a Power supply from Antec of at least 550 watts considering your needs at this time. Also read about SLI on Nvidia's website so you know what it is. Don't be afraid to look at AMD/ATI's video cards and processor offerings. I like your current choices tho.

For information on Linux, you'll have to be specific as to what in the world you want with that this early in your career.

If I was at all condescending, that's good because you'll actually learn that way. Just don't take it personally.
Any other questions, post away.

#4 DaChew

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Posted 03 August 2007 - 10:10 PM

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/ind...st&p=581493
like I said in this thread go for the sweet spot in price/performance with the cpu

save your money for a good power supply

the 7600 series video cards are fine

buy a good asus motherboard
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#5 T

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Posted 03 August 2007 - 10:20 PM

Looks like I got here kind of late, most stuff has already been covered. I can add though, that you may want to just try out linux first. Ever thought of running a virtual machine? Basically, you can run a linux box from inside windows. . .Only thing is that you really can't utilize your hardware completely. For instance, without going somewhere complicated (you'd be a braver man than I) it's tough to run wireless internet. Maybe try a boot cd instead. Really, before you decide on a distro you really need to know what you want. With a rig so powerful, I'd imagine you'd be doing a lot of gaming? Gaming on linux is good. . .Except for the few number of games.

But, if you want to be programming, or working, linux is a great choice.

A comment on hard drives: You really don't want to only have one. Go with oldf@rt and run a raid (good idea) or at least just get 2. . .It'll really help out. Maybe even consider investing in another hard drive to back everything up on (<---- I almost lost everything on a computer of mine a few days ago, just thought I'd mention it). Storage comes pretty cheap these days, and it's tough to have too much.


I really wouldn't go with water cooling if you don't have to. It's complicated and tricky, risky occasionally (not really though), and expensive.


IMO, I wouldn't go with top, leading, bleeding edge parts like the quad core. Just remember you can always upgrade (and trust me, you will want to even if you have a great working rig).



Also I'm not sure but I believe I read somewhere that the 7600GT or the 8600GT would be good for me if I did follow through with this. What do you think? Can you suggest an alternative?


I have a 7600gt, and I'm perfectly happy with it. But, this is probably because I came from integrated graphics on a dell rig, with a 2.8 ghz pentium. So, really it's up to you. The 8600gt will give you better performance, but it's all up to what you will be happy with. I don't mind running supcom on all mediums and highs with 2x aa. . .But some people need everything on the max. I don't. Then again, I seem to get stuck playing old games (I still play halo pc, you young whippersnappers), so I really don't need top performance.


Sorry for my rambling, I'll probably edit and add more later. Hope that helps!

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#6 DaChew

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 06:04 AM

I admit I have only seen a few detailed heat reports of the Q series cpu's, but they all are running too hot when sustained
4 core 100%, that's enough right there to disqualify them as a choice for any but the casual user.

Now someone more advanced that would dedicate only 2 cores to folding at home or video encoding and leaving the other 2 free for light multitasking would probably get the best benefit and not burn the durn things up in a year or 2.
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#7 RandomUser

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 02:57 PM

Here's a Novel idea, let the guy respond with his own thoughts on pricing so he doesn't become overwhelmed with all of this new information.


A comment on hard drives: You really don't want to only have one. Go with oldf@rt and run a raid (good idea) or at least just get 2. . .It'll really help out. Maybe even consider investing in another hard drive to back everything up on (<---- I almost lost everything on a computer of mine a few days ago, just thought I'd mention it). Storage comes pretty cheap these days, and it's tough to have too much.



Do we really want to through a wrench in the works? Raid is not for the new guy. Too many things can go awry here.
Is anyone familiar with murphy's law?

Further, benny269 seems to have a desire to learn and be up to date. so the 8000 nvidia cards, although spendy, will pay for themselves in the future. And the Board I mentioned early on will support the 45nm Quadcores which is a major plus.

Slow down and take it one step at a time

#8 benny269

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Posted 03 September 2007 - 06:13 PM

Sorry for the absence, I was out of the country but have been working on the research since. Thanks for all the great advice, I'm currently working up an initial list of components for your critical review and I'll post back in a few days when I am ready.

:thumbsup:




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