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Building my first....from the ground up


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#1
zetakappa700

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I have been looking on several websites and I'm a little confused as to a few choices. If I normally don't do heavy gaming, but I'd like to try some gaming and I'm on a budget. Do a I really need a AMD Athlon 64 X2 chip? Is this overkill? Would a lesser chip give me the performance at a lesser price?

Any recommendations on mobo's?

I normally to basic office type work, but I'd like to get into some RPG gaming and SL. SL was very choppy on my crappy existing system.

~Steve
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#2
Samm

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Hi Steve

First off, I want to make it clear that I am not a gamer, so I cannot give you any advice regarding that specifically.
However, I may be able to give you useful advice re. hardware in general...

Motherboards:
This is really important because the board is the heart of the system. Once you've decided on the socket (I assume you're looking at AM2 here), then you need to consider the board manufacturer & the chipset. Upgradeability (expansion slots, memory slots, cpu support, hard drive controllers etc) is also a big issue but I'm assuming you're already aware of this.
Personally I would recommend brands such as Asrock (this is a particular favourite of mine at the moment), Abit, MSI, DFI, Asus (most of the time). I don't recommend PC Chips, Biostar, ECS (Elite Group). As for chipsets, most Via, Intel, Nvidia chipsets are fine. ATI I have no experience of yet so can't comment and I really dislike SIS (sorry but I do).

CPU:
I nearly always recommend AMD anyway so long as it's not a sempron, but Intel are fine so long as it's not a celeron. For gaming though, check with a gamer. I will say however that I have just upgraded to a AMD 64x2 recently (AM2) and I love it.

RAM:
Also really important in terms of brands. Stick with Corsair, Crucial, Kingston, OCZ, Geil - basically anyone who offers a lifetime warranty with their memory. If there's no lifetime warranty, then don't buy it. Simple.

Video:
Ask a gamer!

Hard disk:
Seagate. They're about the best and also the only manufacturer who offer a 5 year warranty on all their internal drives (including OEM) as standard.

PSU:
It's always worth investing in a decent power supply, so avoid the generics & make sure that it's capable of powering everything (eg. 450W or higher).

Case:
Whatever it is, just make sure it's big enough to provide adequate cooling i.e after adding all the components, cabling etc, there's still enough room to allow the air to flow, plus plenty of places for installing case fans.

Edited by Samm, 26 October 2007 - 06:03 PM.

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#3
james_8970

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Give me a budget and I can give you a helping hand. :)
James
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#4
jackflash1991

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Yes a budget and maybe some games that you are thinking of playing.

CPU: Intel currently beats AMD at the moment. You would probably be good with a Intel Core 2 Duo E6550: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16819115030
or E6750: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16819115029

Card: The video card will be determined on how intense the games that you are playing are.

RAM: I recomend 2GB or quality RAM

Hard Drive: 7,200RPM hard drive. And how big of do you think it will need to be? Are you saving any large files like tons of pictures or movies on it? Or is it just regular average amount? 250GB Should be plenty for an average person.
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#5
zetakappa700

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One game that I'd like to try out is Dark Messiah. Also, i'd like to check out second life, yes I now that it sounds cheesy.

As far as budget, I originally didn't want to build a comp, but merely upgrade the one I have. However, I feel that this is hopeless since I have a 4-6 year old presario S6010V. I have upgraded the ram to 1 gig, swapped out my optical drives, added a second hd, and updated the bios. There isn't much else to do but a mobo/cpu swap, but I hear that is complicated with compaq.

I thought about more ram or a video card. However I thought it might be a waste.

I was thinkin $500, maybe???

BTW, I am very cheap.

~Steve
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#6
jackflash1991

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It would not be that efficient to upgrade an old 5 year old computer. The mobo probably only has AGP and not PCI-E so a new video card would be kind of a waste. Also the RAM is probably not DDR2 and more RAM would not last you that long. And upgrading the CPU would be a waste too so I would just start all over.

Those games do not look that intensive so a Radeon X1650 GT for under $100 would probably be enough. For a little more you could upgrade to the Radeon X1950 PRO for around $120. These are DirectX 9 cards; I'm guessing you are not going to play any DirectX 10 games so you should be good.
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#7
zetakappa700

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My current system is:

Presario S6010V

Celeron® 2.7 mhz
1 gb of ram
hd1: 130 gb
hd2: 40 gb
external: 350 gb
pci: esata

I have been looking at improving my home computer for a while now, but I never seem to do anything about it until it breaks, like last time during finals.

Now I'm into my career and am still using this crappy computer. However, it does fit my needs. Although it doesn't allowing me to venture out of office type applications and surfing/email. I want more, but without going crazy and pissing the wife off because we are expecting our first in Feb.
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#8
jackflash1991

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Made a quick PC for you that should suit your needs that is $760. It even has Vista Home Premium with it.
https://secure.neweg...tTitle=cheap pc

It is less then $760 because there are a couple of mail and rebates that come with some of the components too.

Edited by jackflash1991, 27 October 2007 - 10:37 PM.

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#9
Troy

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Just some thoughts on Jack's build:

You can save $100 just from getting the OEM DVD of Vista Home Premium, which you are entitled to because you are building a new computer. Also, I would recommend the Antec True Power Trio 550W over the Earth Watts 500W, and lastly, if you can, the X1950 Pro would be a much better card, but the X1650 will still give you a good upgrade.

Don't forget to add a DVD drive to that build.

Looks nice :)
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#10
jackflash1991

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I knew I was missing something.

Edited by jackflash1991, 28 October 2007 - 06:44 AM.

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#11
Titan8990

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This would be a good read for you: Tom's Hardware's $500 Gaming Machine.

They're build does not include an OS so it would really be a $600 build.

Edited by Titan8990, 28 October 2007 - 02:44 PM.

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#12
Troy

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I knew I was missing something.

:)
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#13
zetakappa700

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Would I be able to use my existing case?

Also, what about the existing optical? within the last 3 years I installed a r/w NEC dvd drive.

Lastly, is Vista the best choice even though they haven't releases any service packs yet?

How do I create a public wish list?

Edited by zetakappa700, 29 October 2007 - 08:59 AM.

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#14
Titan8990

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It might be possible to use your existing case but I would not recommend it. I have owned a couple Compaqs and from my experience their cases are awful. The power supply could be non standard and the board is most likely mATX. You can get a quality case for around $50: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16811119068.

Edited by Titan8990, 29 October 2007 - 09:47 AM.

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#15
james_8970

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I just want to add something here, you can use your optical drive, but it'll probably go soon as they typically don't have a long lifespan.
Your right Vista hasn't had any service packs yet, but this does not mean that it's not any good. The 1st service pack will be released at the beginning of next year, so in about 2 months. Vista is your best choice.
What do you mean by public wish list?
James
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