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Computer Building Recommendations Needed!


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#1 Kanye

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 07:04 PM

Hi,

I've decided my current computer is decent, but not quite good enough. So I've decided I want to try to build my own computer. With a goal of becoming a computer engineer, I thought this would be a true test for me, and since I have been working with computers since I was a little kid and I know the insides pretty darn well, I think I want to try to build my own computer. Nothing special, nothing monterous, nothing crazy. Just a nice, fast, solid, modern computer.

Specs of my current computer:

Sony Vaio PCV-RX540
Asus TUSL-LV motherboard, 100MHz clock
1.20GHz Intel Celeron processor, 256kb L2 cache
512MB (256 x2) 133MHz SDRAM
60GB Ultra ATA/100 Maxtor HDD
ATI Rage128 Pro AGP X4 TMDS (16MB, 125MHz core clock)
Intel 82801BA/BAM AC '97 Audio controller (integrated)
Realtek RTL8139 Family PCI Fast Ethernet NIC
CD-RW (read/write) (16x/10x/40x)
DVD-ROM (16x)
1.44' floppy
4x USB


As you can see, it's not all that great. Processor not good enough, RAM not quite high enough, graphics needs a major update, sound card wouldn't hurt, DVD-RW drive would be nice. The main things I want to have better of. So I'm hoping to start building this beauty in around 6 months to a year. But I'm still torn between building it from scratch (bare-bone case), or buying a good compouter and simply upgrading it. My budget is around $300-$800 range. Maybe even a thousand if I have to, but I'd really prefer to not go above 6 or 700-ish. I would be using it for:

- Basic gaming, nothing TOO extreme
- Graphic designing
- Audio/video playback/media features

Again, I'm not trying to build the Golliath of all PCs, just something simple and really nice. Here are the basic specs I'd want in my computer.

2.0GHz or so processor
1GB, maybe 2, of RAM
80gig hard drive should do fine
128MB graphics
Nice sound, nothing too fancy
DVD burning and CD burning
Good power supply/cooling system*
PCI-E slot

The power supply is a must for me. I have an awkward fear of not having my PC properly cooled. It's like a phobia for me to use a computer with bad cooling. I just don't want my computer to freeze up randomly because things are overheating, or for it to shut down randomly at an important time because the processor is scortching hot. Good power supply and cooling are big for me.

I'll most likely be buying most of the parts used so I don't have to spend a ridiculous amount of money. So with all that explained, I have some questions that would be helpful if they were answered:

1. From scratch or buy a good PC and just upgrade? I'd just hate to start from scratch and get lost and have the entire plan go down the drain because of incompatibility, don't know how to get it going properly, etc.
2. Intel vs AMD, which processor should I go with? Which is cheaper?
3. Any good graphics card recommendations? (Again, I'm not going to be doing extreme gaming. 128 or so should be fine).
4. Is a good sound card really worth the time/money, or will a standard one do?
5. Are there CD-RW/DVD-RW combo drives? If so, recommendations? If not, recommendations for the individual drives?
6. Best hard drive brand? Seagate? Maxtor? Etc.
7. How many watts should a good power supply have?


Thanks for any help I may recieve. :thumbsup:

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#2 tg1911

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 08:22 PM

1. Build from scratch.
Buying, and then upgrading, is just a waste of money.
Your re-buying, what you already bought. :huh:

2. It's a personal preference, but AMD is cheaper.

3. I don't do a lot of gaming either.
Mostly just image editing, and 3D rendering.
The card I use, and am totally pleased with, is the Radeon HD 2600XT.
DIAMOND Radeon HD 2600XT 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - $109.99 (w/$50.00 Rebate = $59.99)

4. If you're a real serious audiophile, you might want a sound card, otherwise onboard sound should be good.

5. Yes. A recommendation would depend on, if you want to go with PATA, or SATA interface.

6. Most recommended: Seagate, or WD (Western Digital)
I use 2 Seagate Barracuda 250GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drives - $64.99 apeice
The only reason I prefer Seagate, is a 5 yr. warranty, as opposed to the 3 yr. for WD.

7. Depends on your final list of components.

I'll most likely be buying most of the parts used .....

I would stick with new parts.
They'll come with a warranty, and you won't be buying other people's problems.
Using new parts, you should be able to come close to the $700 limit you're shooting for, and have everything under warranty.

Now a couple of questions, for you. :thumbsup:

1. What form factor Motherboard are you wanting (ATX, Micro-ATX, etc.)?

2. Are you also looking for a monitor, keyboard, and mouse?

3. What type of drive (harddrives, and optical drives) interface are you wanting to use (PATA, or SATA)?

4. Are you looking for a new case, and if so, what size (full-tower, mid-tower, etc.)?
.
.

Edited by tg1911, 18 March 2008 - 10:30 PM.

MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P, CPU: Phenom II X4 955 Deneb BE, HS/F: CoolerMaster V8, RAM: 2 x 1G Kingston HyperX DDR2 800, VGA: ECS GeForce Black GTX 560, PSU: Antec TruePower Modular 750W, Soundcard: Asus Xonar D1, Case: CoolerMaster COSMOS 1000, Storage: Internal - 2 x Seagate 250GB SATA, 2 x WD 1TB SATA; External - Seagate 500GB USB, WD 640GB eSATA, 3 x WD 1TB eSATA

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#3 Kanye

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 03:24 PM

1. Makes sense, I guess I'll start from scratch.

2. I was thinking of trying something new with AMD. Been using Intel all my life and AMD has been getting better for years. I've been considering the Athlon 64 X2 4800+ dual core 2.5GHz. Seems like a really good one and it's fairly cheap. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...bX2%2b4800%252b

3. That Radeon is pretty good. I've been considering the GeFore 6800GS or the GeFore 6800XT. Do they seem solid?

4. Onboard sound it is.

5. I suppose I'll just stick with what I know decently well in SATA. And DVD-RW drives can burn CD-R/RW discs too, right? Or are they just DVD-R/RW burners?

How are any of these?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16827118002
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16827136134
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16827129018
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16827106079
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16827151153

6. Yeah I thought Seagate would be the best choice. Wow, a lot of the hard drives I'm seeing on Newegg are 250GB+ and I don't need anywhere near that much space. :thumbsup: But I guess a lot of space would benefit in the long run. I'm more content on one large HDD than two medium ones. How are these?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16822148241
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16822148261
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16822148140
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16822148230


Yeah I found out new parts would be best off. The warranties wouldn't hurt and they'd be in better quality. Now for your questions:


1. I want one that's a legit size for cooling and good air circulation, but not a massive one that will clutter everything. Somewhere in between, just a good size. Nothing small, nothing big. ATX vs micro ATX? I'm still a bit iffy on that one.

2. Nah I have a good keyboard, mouse and a solid 16 inch Sony LCD, I should be fine. A might get a better mouse and keyboard but it shouldn't be anything I'd need help finding. Any good quality computer store in my area should give me a nice keyboard or mouse.

3. I'm going with SATA.

4. Mid tower.

#4 DaChew

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 03:47 PM

The card I use, and am totally pleased with, is the Radeon HD 2600XT.


@tg1911

have you gotten around to testing any 1080 videos(apple trailers etc)

wasn't sure you ever finished that project

:thumbsup:


@Kanye

go with the samsung sata, only use pata dvd burners if you already have a newer one

yes they burn cd's, the 203B is actually one of the best cd readers ever made


for hard drives remember ide/pata is being phased out!

you want sata
Chewy

No. Try not. Do... or do not. There is no try.

#5 Kanye

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 04:21 PM

Okay here so far is what I'm hoping to end up getting so far:


AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+
nVidia GeForce 6800GS (256MB) (The 6800XT had some pretty bad customer responses regarding failure and stuff. GS seems to be more dependable from what I've read).
Samsung SH-S203B DVD-RW
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3250310AS 250GB
LINKSYS EG1032 10/ 100/ 1000Mbps PCI Network Adapter

(Willing to change things for compatibility, etc). Still have the mobo, power supply, fans and RAM to choose. Also, what about wifi?

Edited by Kanye, 17 March 2008 - 04:25 PM.


#6 tg1911

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 08:05 PM

The Athlon 64 X2 4800+, is the same processor I use.
Does what I need, and I have no complaints.
The price sure has come down, since I bought mine.
Cost me $100. :huh:

Wow, a lot of the hard drives I'm seeing on Newegg are 250GB+ and I don't need anywhere near that much space.

You'll be surprised how fast you can fill one up.
The more space you have, the more you'll want to save. B)
I'm hoping my 1.07TB will hold me, for a while. B)

For a case, I can recommend the Rosewill R5604-TBK.
It'll handle both ATX, and Micro-ATX motherboards
It comes with 2 120mm fans.
The intake fan has a washable filter, and there's a place on the side for an additional intake fan, that also has a washable filter.
The motherboard tray comes with built in stand-offs, so thats fewer little parts you have to mess with.
I also like the way, the harddrives mount from the side.
Easier to take in and out, and cuts down on the wire clutter over the motherboard.
Here's an older picture of what it looked like in the case, before adding my additional cards, DVD drives, my other harddrive, and new heatsink/fan.
Inside case

That sucks. :)
I just noticed the price went up $15, since I bought mine.
Still, a good case.

Still have the mobo, power supply, fans and RAM to choose. Also, what about wifi?

mobo:
That's something your going to have to look into, and decide what features you want, and how much you want to spend.
The one I'm using has been discontinued.
When you settle on a couple of possibilities, post them, to see if anyone has any complaints.

power supply:
Get a name brand.
DO NOT skimp on your power supply, or your RAM.
You WILL be sorry, you did.
I'm using the SILVERSTONE ST50EF-Plus 500W.
Has more connectors than I'll ever use, and a 120mm exhaust fan.
It's gone down $8, since I bought mine. :thumbsup:
Once you decide on all of your components, here's a good Power Supply Calculater.

fans:
Depends on your case decision.

RAM:
I suggest sticking with name brand RAM (Kingston, Crucial, Corsair, Patriot, etc.).
2GB if your going to be using a 32 bit Operating system.
As much as your mobo can handle, and you can afford, if your going to be using a 64 bit OS.

wifi:
Don't use it, so can't comment on it.

@tg1911

have you gotten around to testing any 1080 videos(apple trailers etc)

wasn't sure you ever finished that project

Not yet, Chewy.
Could you PM me a couple of links?
I'm ready to try some out, and see how the card handles it. :huh:
.
.

Edited by tg1911, 18 March 2008 - 08:10 PM.

MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P, CPU: Phenom II X4 955 Deneb BE, HS/F: CoolerMaster V8, RAM: 2 x 1G Kingston HyperX DDR2 800, VGA: ECS GeForce Black GTX 560, PSU: Antec TruePower Modular 750W, Soundcard: Asus Xonar D1, Case: CoolerMaster COSMOS 1000, Storage: Internal - 2 x Seagate 250GB SATA, 2 x WD 1TB SATA; External - Seagate 500GB USB, WD 640GB eSATA, 3 x WD 1TB eSATA

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#7 Kanye

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 08:39 PM

That's a nice case. Black, just the way I like it. I suppose that power supply is great too. Matches the case as well. As for the mobo, I really like the ASUS M3A32-MVP Deluxe. DDR2 x4, Wifi, PCI-E x16. Should work with the graphics card I chose I'm assuming? As for RAM, how are either of these?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16820145034
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16820146565

I think I might throw in an extra fan, too. And I'll be running Windows XP SP2 by the way. Should even out to around $500 or so. :thumbsup:

#8 tg1911

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 10:48 PM

Either one should work.

Should even out to around $500 or so.

Definitely, "or so". :thumbsup:
MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P, CPU: Phenom II X4 955 Deneb BE, HS/F: CoolerMaster V8, RAM: 2 x 1G Kingston HyperX DDR2 800, VGA: ECS GeForce Black GTX 560, PSU: Antec TruePower Modular 750W, Soundcard: Asus Xonar D1, Case: CoolerMaster COSMOS 1000, Storage: Internal - 2 x Seagate 250GB SATA, 2 x WD 1TB SATA; External - Seagate 500GB USB, WD 640GB eSATA, 3 x WD 1TB eSATA

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#9 Kanye

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 07:58 AM

Great. And these ship to Canada too, right? :thumbsup: Also, can I create a Newegg account and buy items if I'm just 16?

Edited by Kanye, 19 March 2008 - 03:42 PM.


#10 tg1911

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 06:51 PM

I'm not sure.
You would have to go to NewEgg, and see what they have to say.
MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P, CPU: Phenom II X4 955 Deneb BE, HS/F: CoolerMaster V8, RAM: 2 x 1G Kingston HyperX DDR2 800, VGA: ECS GeForce Black GTX 560, PSU: Antec TruePower Modular 750W, Soundcard: Asus Xonar D1, Case: CoolerMaster COSMOS 1000, Storage: Internal - 2 x Seagate 250GB SATA, 2 x WD 1TB SATA; External - Seagate 500GB USB, WD 640GB eSATA, 3 x WD 1TB eSATA

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#11 Kanye

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 07:06 PM

Darn I don't think NewEgg ships to Canada. :thumbsup: I have to use www.ncix.com now and re-search the parts, some might not be there. Also, would a 450watt power supply be good or do you highly recommend 500? This case's max mobo fit is 12x10.

http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku...isys%20Computer

#12 tg1911

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 07:21 PM

Did you use the Power Supply Calculator I linked to, in post #6?
MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P, CPU: Phenom II X4 955 Deneb BE, HS/F: CoolerMaster V8, RAM: 2 x 1G Kingston HyperX DDR2 800, VGA: ECS GeForce Black GTX 560, PSU: Antec TruePower Modular 750W, Soundcard: Asus Xonar D1, Case: CoolerMaster COSMOS 1000, Storage: Internal - 2 x Seagate 250GB SATA, 2 x WD 1TB SATA; External - Seagate 500GB USB, WD 640GB eSATA, 3 x WD 1TB eSATA

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#13 Kanye

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 08:06 PM

I got 326W on that calculator. I guess a 400W one would be a good choice? I've made choices on a Canadian website by the way. I know it isn't Newegg, but could you still give it a brief look to see if everything is compatible and if they're good choices?

Motherboard: ASUS M3A32-MVP Deluxe [$232.07]
Computer Case/Power: Logisys CS-51WBK 51W Black 450W ATX Tower Case [$55.37]
Processor: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ Dual Core 65W 2.5GHz [$102.34]
Graphic Card: XFX GeForce 8600GT 256MB [$106.74]
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-S203B DVD-RW [$34.38]
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 250GB SATA2 8.5MS 7200RPM [$69.85]
RAM: Kingston 2GB 667MHz DDR2 CL5 Kit [$57.33]

And an extra case fan.

Total w/o shipping and taxes: $671.54


Mod Edit: Edited with Kanye's permission to create links.

Edited by tg1911, 19 March 2008 - 08:40 PM.


#14 tg1911

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 08:54 PM

Other than the higher prices :thumbsup:, everything looks good.
Not sure about the PSU.
Haven't heard anything about PowerLab ...... good, or bad.
MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-MA790X-UD4P, CPU: Phenom II X4 955 Deneb BE, HS/F: CoolerMaster V8, RAM: 2 x 1G Kingston HyperX DDR2 800, VGA: ECS GeForce Black GTX 560, PSU: Antec TruePower Modular 750W, Soundcard: Asus Xonar D1, Case: CoolerMaster COSMOS 1000, Storage: Internal - 2 x Seagate 250GB SATA, 2 x WD 1TB SATA; External - Seagate 500GB USB, WD 640GB eSATA, 3 x WD 1TB eSATA

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#15 Kanye

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 09:35 PM

Okay. Now I just have to convince my dad to let me order the parts. He's paranoid when it comes to online purchasing. He thinks anything related to personal info/credit cards are scams.

Thanks for all your help!




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