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New computer suggestions


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#1 thcbytes

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 11:39 AM

My pc is a dinosaur and I am looking to upgrade. It is a Pent 4/32bit with 512 mb Ram & Windows XP Pro.

I am looking for speed and power. I have ~$1500 and also need to purchase a monitor. I am not a gamer though. It would not be uncommon for me to be burning a DVD, downloading, listening to music, running graphics programs, surfing the net, working on a powerpoint presentation and malware scanning simultaneously!!

My setup is kinda unique....

I have ~ 4tb of external HDD connected by 6 IDE-USB converters....storage includes backups, software, movies and an enormous music collection....1tb of which is set up as an external RAID array. IPods (not iphone) & lots of flash drives

I have my eye on...
*Core2duo or extreme
*1 or 2 gb RAM

It looks like most out of the box systems with these spec are 64bit and Vista.

I am very concerned about compatibility issues with my current software and hardware and a 64bit system

Any suggestions?
Should I build it or buy it out of the box? I am very handy but have never built a system before.
Should I stick with XP and a 32bit system?
Any specific recommendations?

Thanks everyone, :thumbsup:
t
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#2 DJBPace07

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 04:52 PM

You will save money if you build it yourself. $1500 will certainly buy you a powerful PC. Also, note that most modern PC's support SATA drives not PATA (older IDE) drives. You will also get more of a benefit with 64-bit if you have 4 GB or more of RAM. I say go with Vista, many of the issues have been ironed out with SP1. In the past two years, I've only ever had two programs not work with 64-bit and they were some deep-level security programs. Most normal programs will work fine.

Here is a suggested configuration:

Case: GIGABYTE 3D AURORA GZ-FSCA1-ATB Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower - A full tower ATX case often runs cooler and has enough room for all your components. $129

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 - This motherboard supports Intel's latest generation of processors, the i7. It's also one of the cheaper, although still good, boards for that chip. $199 (Before $15 mail-in rebate)

CPU: Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor - One of Intel's latest processors, it is faster than almost any of their Core 2 chips. $294

Video Card: SAPPHIRE 100259L Radeon HD 4870 512MB - This is a high-end card from ATI, it's not their best but it comes close. Your motherboard is inexpensive because it only supports Crossfire not SLI. $189 (Before $15 mail-in rebate)

RAM: OCZ Platinum 12GB (6 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 - Your motherboard supports triple channel memory in six slots. This RAM kit is expensive, but you will have an enormous amount of RAM for all your tasks. If you want to save some money, you can purchase the 3x2GB kit instead. $339

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black WD5001AALS 500GB - You need a SATA drive with this PC. $75

Operating System: Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit - You need a 64-bit OS to use 4GB or more of RAM. $99

Power Supply: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W - Corsair makes excellent power supplies and 750W should be enough for almost any future upgrades. $119 (Before $20 mail-in rebate)

Optical Drive: LG Combo Drive - This is a SATA drive that will burn and read almost any DVD or CD. $21

Price: $1,470 (Before rebates) - $50 (rebates) = $1,420 (Total)

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#3 thcbytes

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 06:29 PM

Wow!! Thank you so much. I have a few questions and comments. Please pardon if my ignorance shows.

1) I need a monitor so I might have to scale back the system some. Any suggestions? Monitor and scale back?
2) WARNING...Here comes the really stupid question. Before I go and purchase all the parts and pieces...how involved is the build? Could you direct me to a reliable online "guide"? Does it involve screwing, plugging and snapping parts in place? Soldering? Do I just load on the OS or is there some programming involved? What about power cords and coolers....do these need to be purchased separately?

Thanks and again sorry for the newbie questions,
t
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#4 DJBPace07

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 07:48 PM

No soldering required, minimal screws, and most parts snap together or plug in. There are a number of sites to look at for help in putting it together. Programming is also not required, just boot the thing with the Windows DVD in the drive, answer some questions and off you go! Power cords are included in the box for the power supply, same thing with coolers. The CPU cooler is in the CPU box. As for the monitor, how large do you want to go? If you want 1080p high def, you will need at least a 24-inch monitor. If you want a good monitor but can settle for one without 1080p, a monitor between 19 and 24 inches would be good.

Coding Horror - Building a PC
PCitYourself - The Animated Guide to Building a PC
PCMech - Build a PC

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#5 Queen-Evie

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 08:18 PM

You could also consult some computer shops. Ask what their basic build system is (get specs) and how much it costs. You can add to it if the budget allows for upgrades. You'll get a much better system than you would with an off-the-shelf.
The cost is comparable to an out of the box system. Make sure you factor in the monitor.
My system didn't cost me much-the price was about the same as one from a box. But I also did not need to purchase a monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers. I just used what I already had.

#6 thcbytes

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 08:29 PM

Thanks so much for the suggestions. Now I have some research to do. I will let you know what I decide. I am very interested in building it myself as long as its not too involved.
I will keep you posted.
Again thanks,
t
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#7 DJBPace07

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 10:05 PM

It does take some work but isn't too bad, besides you have control over what goes into the box unlike major integrators like Dell who pretty much throw in anything that's cheap. You get to choose who made what, which can be extremely important in components like the power supply and motherboard where quality can vary greatly. Almost any pre-built system will cost more than building it from scratch and, depending on the manufacturer, you could void your warranty if you make some very substantial upgrades once you get it home.

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#8 thcbytes

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 10:18 PM

I have been eagerly tearing through the links you provided. They are great! I can definitely do this. The BIOS stuff I am going to have to take some time to familiarize myself with. The overclocking concepts too. I think a build from scratch is going to best meet my needs.
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#9 DJBPace07

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 12:25 AM

Usually, the BIOS is ready to go at boot up. The motherboard manual pretty much walks you through the initial setup so you know what is going on. Overclock an i7? Those processors can easily beat Core 2 chips and anything AMD has to offer, for now. You will have a fast PC for the foreseeable future. Now, you need a monitor. How large of a screen do you want?

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#10 audioAl

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 08:04 AM

I have been eagerly tearing through the links you provided. They are great! I can definitely do this. The BIOS stuff I am going to have to take some time to familiarize myself with. The overclocking concepts too. I think a build from scratch is going to best meet my needs.

I agree with DJB, No overclock necessary. Man, that's some puter your building, and yes, you can do it. wear casual clothes, no jewelry, watch out for static electricity, wear a wrist strap for grounding.
Windows Vista Ultimate 64 bit/Intel e5300 cpu/ASRock G41M-LE mainboard/G max4500 onboard graphics/4gigs OCZ 800Mhz ram/ VIA onboard HD Vinyl audio/Yamaha RX-V465 HT receiver/ Cambridge SoundWorks and Infinity RS1001 speakers

#11 thcbytes

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 08:45 AM

Usually, the BIOS is ready to go at boot up. The motherboard manual pretty much walks you through the initial setup so you know what is going on. Overclock an i7? Those processors can easily beat Core 2 chips and anything AMD has to offer, for now. You will have a fast PC for the foreseeable future. Now, you need a monitor. How large of a screen do you want?


Great! I played around in the BIOS on my PC last night to get familiar with the interface. Seem straightforward. Read all the links you provided and referenced all the products in Newegg you listed. I also read all of Lawrence's tutorials on Vista. I am a little bit tired this morning. :thumbsup:

In the way of a monitor....I have no need for 1080p HD...and 17-20+ should be fine. I will need to scale back on the other components a bit (unfortunately) to afford the set up including the monitor. Would love some more suggestion if you don't mind. You obviously enjoy this very much...I can see why! Also...is the stock CPU cooler adequate or should I upgrade?

I am extremely grateful for your help

I have been eagerly tearing through the links you provided. They are great! I can definitely do this. The BIOS stuff I am going to have to take some time to familiarize myself with. The overclocking concepts too. I think a build from scratch is going to best meet my needs.

I agree with DJB, No overclock necessary. Man, that's some puter your building, and yes, you can do it. wear casual clothes, no jewelry, watch out for static electricity, wear a wrist strap for grounding.


Will do. Thanks for the suggestions. :huh:
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http://donatelife.net/register-now/

#12 DJBPace07

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 03:34 PM

You shouldn't have to scale back the PC too much. Many 19-inch monitors are relatively inexpensive. Here are some suggestions:

Acer X193W+BD Black 19" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor - $129
Acer X203Wbd Black 20" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor - $139
Acer X223Wbd Black 22" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monitor - $169

If you want to save some money on the actual PC, you can cut the RAM down to 3 sticks. Then, when your bank account recovers, you can purchase the second kit.
Here is the 3 stick kit: G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) - It costs $134 per kit. Given it's lower price, for six sticks (Two of these kits) you would pay $268 which is less than the six stick kit I suggested to you earlier, you may be able to purchase two of these kits and have the money for the monitor. If you want to save even more money, we could reduce the power supply down to 650 watts with the CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W saving you about $20, $20 more after you mail in the rebate. However, if you do that, using Crossfire with future cards may not be possible if they require more power than the 650W power supply can provide.

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#13 thcbytes

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 04:20 PM

Alright. I am surprised how reasonable the monitors price out. I think I am ready. I am going for the 22". Plan to keep the power supply as is so I can upgrade in the future with less potential limitations. Will start with 3 sticks though.

How about the stock CPU cooler? No need to upgrade?

I think I will chronicle my build in this thread unless you think it would not be appropriate.

Thanks again,
t
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#14 DJBPace07

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 05:50 PM

I think it would be interesting to see how your build progresses, keep the thread updated. Unless you're overclocking, you don't really need an aftermarket CPU cooler, the stock one will do fine. The i7 socket is very new so there aren't a large number of reputable coolers out there. That said, the Vigor Monsoon III LT Dual 120mm cooler is a good option. It keeps the CPU even more cool with less noise but it is large, expensive, and can be difficult to install.

Edited by DJBPace07, 29 January 2009 - 05:56 PM.

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#15 thcbytes

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 06:10 PM

Will do. Stock cooler sounds perfect. Will chronicle the build here.
Thanks again,
t
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