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Building A Pc Myself - Help!


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#1 Woody

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Posted 26 June 2007 - 06:55 PM

Howdy from the Lone Star State! :thumbsup:

I am getting together a parts list for what will be my first build that I do by myself. I have a working computer that is a few years old, and I want to upgrade. I am not in a super rush to get it completed, so I feel like I will have the patience to do it right. The problem is making sure I assemble things in the right order, install Windows and other software properly, etc. I don't know if there is a "right" way and a "wrong" way, hence the need for this message.

I think I have done a proper amount of research on the components below to feel comfortable that I have chosen good quality without breaking the bank. The computer will be our main computer at home, and will do things like e-mail, internet browsing, working with MS Office applications, burning music/data CDs and data backup DVDs, and photo editing with products like Photoshop CS3. I'm not really much of a gamer anymore, so cutting edge speed and graphics are not in my plans.

I am also giving serious thought to trying to overclock the system, but am a little scared about doing it properly. I still need to do some research on this topic.

So here is my parts list:

Antec P180 or P182 case - I'm going for quiet, and I love the design with the lower chamber for the HDDs and PSU. I have been perusing SilentPCReview.com and it's very popular there. I plan to replace the fans that come with the case with the orange Nexus fans and possibly some NoiseMagic NMT-3 fan controlers in order to undervolt these fans to about 700RPM or so, depending on the heat I get form the CPU and graphics card. This is to keep the noise down, but still move enough air to cool the two chambers of the case. I will probably have 4 of the fans in the case - 2 for the CPU and motherboard, 1 for the video card, and 1 for the lower chamber where the PSU and hard drives will reside. At 700RPM each, they should move enough air and still be very quiet.

Antec Phantom 500W power supply - Probably overkill for this build, but with it being in the lower chamber of the P180/P182, the lower chamber fan should keep it cool enough that it's fan never spins up! Silent and efficient power is good. And if I want to overclock, there's enough juice to do so.

Asus P5W DH Deluxe WiFi motherboard - I have heard good things about this board, especially if I want to delve into overclocking. It also has 5 fan headers I think, so I should be in good shape on that.

Intel E6600 Core 2 Duo processor - In my opinion, the best performance value right now of the Intel Core 2 Duos.

Scythe Ninja CPU cooler - More for silence than anything. Depending on the heat output, I might not need to use a fan on the Ninja, but I can undervolt a Nexus if needed.

2GB (2 x 1GB pair) of G.Skill DDR2 800, model F2-6400PHU2-2GBZ memory - I want this just in case I delve into overclocking, and I only want 2GB since I am not using Vista as my OS. I don't think Windows XP SP2 can recognize more than 3GB max RAM, so no need to spend the additional $$$ now.

Gigabyte fanless GeForce 7600GT PCI Express x16 video card - I'm not really a gamer so I don't really need more than this, and again, I'm going for the quiet theme here by going fanless. I do plan to have one of the case fans directed towards it to help evacuate the heat out the back vents. I may even build a baffle to split the upper case chamber into 2 chambers - one for the CPU/northbridge/VRM cooling, and one for VGA cooling. Again, the P180/P182 case makes this really simple.

Sound Blaster Audigy SE 7.1-Channel PCI sound card - It's cheap, and I could do away with this and re-use the Audigy 2 ZS card from my current PC to save a little cash. I only have a 2.1 speaker system, so surround is really not necessary at this time.

Lite-On 20X DVD+-R with 12X DVD-RAM burner model LH-20A1P-186 - I've had good success with Lite-On in my current system. I am on the fence as to whether to install a pair of these, or only use one. It seems easier to copy data CDs by using two drives.

WD Caviar RE WD1600YS 160GB 7200RPM SATA 3.0GB/s hard drive - I will use one of these drives as my C: drive and will install the OS and all software to this drive. It will be mounted in the lower chamber of the case. It's supposed to be a rugged drive, engineered to be in server environments, so it should serve me well as my C: drive.

WD Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200RPM SATA 3.0GB/s hard drive - I will use 2 of these drives, one internally for data and the other externally in an Antec MX-1 external USB2.0 / eSATA housing as a backup of the internal data drive. This drive gets good noise reviews at SilentPCReview.com.

Mitsumi USB2.0 combo floppy/flash card reader - I have one of these in my current computer, and will either re-use it or buy another. Haven't decided yet. It's really nice to not have to hook my digital camera to the computer to offload files from the CF card!

I will be reusing my monitor, keyboard, mouse, and speakers from my current computer. That should about take care of the main hardware.

I will be running Windows XP Pro SP2 as I am not ready to jump to Vista yet. I have heard that there are stilla bunch of bugs to be worked out, so I figure I might as well wait until the first service pack is released. Plus, it's cheaper to buy XP right now.

I plan to use MS Office 2003 Pro or Office 2007 Pro as my office suite. I have Office 2003 Pro now, so I don't know if it's worth it to upgrade to 2007 or not. Anyone have an opinion on this?

So what do you think? Have gone way overboard for what I plan to use this thing for? If your answer is yes, I gladly welcome alternative hardware suggestions. My main goal is better performance than my current rig, and also a rig that is near silent without water-cooling.

Thanks in advance to anyone gracious enough to take hte imte to read this and offer their comments (positive or negative).

Jason

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#2 acklan

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Posted 26 June 2007 - 10:40 PM

Looks like a good solid system. Remeber that overkill today, is just right tomorrow and not near enough next week. If you have the money and you want it that is perfect.
The one thing I would do is have a third drive hidden and have it mirror your C:\ drive. In the event of a drive failure you can slap a new drive in and be back up and running from where you left off. Remember we are talking overkill. :thumbsup:
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#3 Woody

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Posted 26 June 2007 - 11:04 PM

Looks like a good solid system. Remeber that overkill today, is just right tomorrow and not near enough next week. If you have the money and you want it that is perfect.
The one thing I would do is have a third drive hidden and have it mirror your C:\ drive. In the event of a drive failure you can slap a new drive in and be back up and running from where you left off. Remember we are talking overkill. :thumbsup:


Interesting on mirroring the C: drive. Would I do this through a RAID 1 setup and have both disks inside the case? I have never utilized a RAID setup before. I wonder if my motherboard supports RAID, or if it's better to have a dedicated RAID card??? Tell me more, oh intelligent one!

#4 acklan

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Posted 26 June 2007 - 11:20 PM

You can use RAID. I just choose to use a backup program. I backup my computer with Microsoft's Backup Utility.


Normal backup

A normal backup copies all selected files and marks each file as having been backed up (in other words, the archive attribute is cleared). With normal backups, you need only the most recent copy of the backup file or tape to restore all of the files. You usually perform a normal backup the first time you create a backup set.

Backing up your data using a combination of normal backups and incremental backups requires the least amount of storage space and is the quickest backup method. However, recovering files can be time-consuming and difficult because the backup set can be stored on several disks or tapes.

Backing up your data using a combination of normal backups and differential backups is more time-consuming, especially if your data changes frequently, but it is easier to restore the data because the backup set is usually stored on only a few disks or tapes.


Types of backup on XP
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#5 TheYoda

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 02:37 PM

In my personal opinion, if your looking into overclocking, I would highly suggest an AMD processor. Yes, this would involve you looking for a new mobo with the specs you wanted, but in the long run i think its worth it. Also note that with an AMD, if you choose to go that path, they run a little warmer than Intels and overclocked they pour out incredible performance at the price of more heat, so watch out for cooling. Also, I would suggest an ATI video card, they have many fanless ones as well, but this you don't have to change, I'm just an ATI kinda guy.

Other than brand names, you have a pretty kick-ass rig! Best of luck to you :thumbsup:.

Regards,
TheYoda

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#6 Woody

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 03:59 PM

Has anyone bought or used the "Build Your Own PC" step-by-step guide from PCMechanic.com? Is that worth having as a reference document and for help with assembling everything properly and in the approriate order?

Thanks.

#7 TheYoda

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 06:05 PM

I don't think you'll need it, personally. I've learned from doing so many computers (I do it for a living) that even after 50 computers, the manual for the motherboard is still your best friend. If you have a basic understanding of where everything goes in a computer, you'll do fine without it. The hardest part is making sure it doesn't get shorted out and the wirings right. All this you can find in the mobo manual.

I leave you with 4 helpful tips to succesfully building a computer:
1. Ground yourself by touching a metal plate and build the computer on a flat table or counter and DO NOT STAND ON A RUG!!!
2. Make sure that the spacers between your mobo and your case are in right, otherwise the mobo will touch the case and short out.
3. Don't go cheap on a PSU, EVER!! I learned this the hard way...I saved 30 bucks and got a cheap one but when it shorted it out, it took my DVD burner, my harddrive, a stick of RAM, and my TV tuner with it. So all in all, I saved 30 bucks on a PSU, but lost $200+ in collateral damage. Let it be a lesson for you, don't go cheap!
4. As I said above, the motherboard manual is your best friend!

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. Best of luck to you!

Regards,
TheYoda

"A coward dies a thousand times before his death. The valiant never taste of death but once." -William Shakespeare

Fold for your future...Help us find a cure.


#8 Woody

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 08:58 PM

Good stuff. I'm sure I will have specific questions as I begin to collect the parts and then assemble and test everything.




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