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help a noob with a computer build please


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#1
Ingwaz

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Hello everyone, I just stumbled upon this while looking up parts in order to build a computer and after doing a bit of looking around it looked like a good place to ask for help.

I am seriously considering building my own computer as I don't tend to like the pre-built ones as they are missing several things I want.

I would like a computer that can do some decent gaming and obviously be used for other things as well. I personally think that these computers that come out with around 500GB of hard drive memory is just ridiculous. My current computer has around 100Gb and I don't think I'll ever use that much and I've had this one for three years.

Preferences:

Desktop

wireless enabled

approximately 100Gb of hard drive (anything more just seems like to much)

2-4Gb of RAM (perhaps a build with extra slots for the future)

A graphics card that can play some of the more popular games fairly easily. (I'll just use WoW as an example)

OS: XP or Vista (it doesn't matter that horribly much to me.)

a decent monitor would be nice but I imagine I can find that on my own, but I'm still open to suggestions.

my budget is negotiable, I don't want anything over the edge such as alienware. When I originally bought this laptop I knew nothing about what makes a good computer, I just went with the mentality that if its expensive it must be good. Now 3 years later I realize how wrong i was. I have a Gateway MX7120 which I originally paid just over $1000 for. I've learned from my mistake, and this time I'm going to make sure I get a good computer for the price. This computer has been okay over the years but the monitor is in a very fragile state and I'm just not sure how much longer it will last.

I greatly appreciate any information anyone can give me, I know you won't let me down.

I am always open to advice on suggested upgrades as well.

Edited by Ingwaz, 13 January 2009 - 03:57 PM.

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#2
TM_Skylark

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A Super Crash Course in Computer Design:

Step 1: CPU

You have a choice of dual core or quad core, AMD or Intel - for a performance gaming rig might I recommend the Intel Core 2 Duo series. Many applications which gamers want to run actually run faster on a fast dual core system (rather than a slower quad core system) and will continue to do so until applications are optimized for quad core processes.

Step 1.5: CPU Cooler

The CPU fans which come with CPUs are generally quite bad and don't dissipate heat very well. As such, you should purchase an aftermarket cooler for your CPU - the Zalman 9500 series is popular as is the Arctic Freezer 7 Pro

Step 2: RAM

Assuming Intel: Take CPU FSB and divide by 2 (divide by 4 for quad pump and multiply by two for dual pump of RAM) this is the minimum speed of RAM you should use. If you have the choice between DDR2 or DDR3 for the same speed, pick DDR2.

You can get any speed of RAM above this, but if you run your CPU:RAM in a 1:1 ratio, the RAM will slow down to match the CPU.

Step 3: Video Card

You obviously want a good video card and in general, more money = more power up until about 200 dollars. I would recommend the 8800 GT, 9600 GT, or 9800 GTX for high end systems. If you have more money, the Radeon HD line and nVidia GTX 280 are amazing cards as well

Step 4: Hard Drive

Hard Drives are rated in speed - 7200 RPM is the industry standard. If you're on a computer and you don't know how fast your hard drive is running, it's probably running at 7200 RPM or the slower 5400 RPM. Raptor offers high end 10,000 RPM hard drives and you'll certainly feel the difference - you'll end up paying more for the speed though.

Make sure the hard drive uses the SATA interface

Step 5: Other Drives

Determine what CD/DVD/etc drives you want - they should also use the SATA interface

Step 6: Sound Card

Not completely necessary - you can always find a motherboard with onboard sound if you don't want a sound card. If you're a gamer, you want to search for a sound which supports EAX technology, which puts your games in surround. Headphones are technically 9.1 so yes, you can take advantage of the surround sound even without surround speakers.

Step 7: Motherboard

Make sure that the motherboard has enough slots to support everything you've picked out. Past that, read reviews to determine how well a motherboard will perform (how reliable it is)

Step 8: Power Supply

Determine the minimum amount of watts you need by using a tool (google Antec power supply calculator) and then purchase a quality power supply unit. Quality units off the top of my head are made by Antec, OCZ, Corsair, PC Power and Cooling, Thermaltake, and I know I'm missing others. Name = quality when it comes to power supplies, don't forget it.

Step 9: Operating System

You said that you didn't really care, so I assumed that you would get a 32 bit version of Windows Vista - as a new time builder, I know that you won't want to go through the troubles of dealing with a 64 bit system.

Conclusion:

This was quite a rushed guide, but I hope it helps you get started - I'm actually the writer of website www.comptechcentral.org, the site is one which is entirely dedicated toward helping new computer builders like yourself find, pick, and assemble the parts for their computers. I suggest you check it out.

Hope that helped!
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#3
Ingwaz

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I appreciate the information, It was very useful.

Obviously I'd still appreciate any information and some advice.

I have built what I think is a possible build, I will be posting it later hopefully and if everyone could show me whether or not all the parts are compatible I would greatly appreciate it. Or if you could tell me where to check to see if they are compatible that would work too.

Edited by Ingwaz, 14 January 2009 - 01:46 AM.

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#4
littlep2000

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The next step would be take a look at the sticky, How to Build Your Own Computer Thread (or just click here http://www.geekstogo...er-t208831.html )

That will help bring some visual to the above explanation. Next really just decide what you want, are you building for gaming, all around and so on.

If you would like to post those wants here myself (and a slew of other people here) would gladly provide some ideas for builds/parts and critique what you come up with. I recently built and it was invaluable to me.
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#5
TM_Skylark

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[link removed]

I'll write it here for your convenience:

CPU:

Socket Type matches Motherboard's Socket Type
FSB lower or equal to Motherboard's FSB (not necessary but highly recommended)
Note: In the case of AMD, replace FSB with HyperTransport
Motherboard BIOS must support your CPU - only an issue with older CPUs

CPU Cooler:

Must support your CPU, done many times by socket type or processor type

RAM:

RAM type compatible with Motherboard (DDR2 DDR3)
RAM amount under maximum amount of RAM motherboard can support

Your RAM is divided in this manner:
If motherboard has dual channel, your RAM must be in a multiple of two
If motherboard has triple channel, your RAM must be in a multiple of three

Video Card
Motherboard has one slot available for the video card (PCI Express, PCI Express 2.0 x16, etc.)
If running in SLI, both the video cards and motherboard must support SLI
If running in Crossfire, both the video cards and motherboard must support Crossfire

Sound Card
Motherboard has one slot available for the sound card (PCI Express, PCI Express 2.0 x16, etc.)

Hard Drive
Motherboard has one SATA slot for each hard drive you have. SATA 1.5 GB/s and SATA 3.0 GB/s are compatible with one another.
If you’re running RAID 0, your hard drives should be the same
If you’re running RAID 1, your hard drives should have the same size
If you’re running RAID at all, make sure your motherboard supports the specific type of RAID you intend to use

Other Drives
Check which slot each drive uses and make sure there’s an available slot for each drive on the motherboard. Generally, each drive will take one SATA slot while a floppy drive has its own special connector.

If you use a floppy drive, make sure your motherboard supports floppy drives

Power Supply Unit

Make sure it has the connector that your motherboard requires. A 20+4 pin connector can satisfy either a 20 or 24 pin adapter on the motherboard.

If you’re using a single or dual core CPU, make sure that you have one 4 pin connector in order to power it.

If you’re using a quad core CPU, make sure that you have two 4 pin connectors in order to power it.

Make sure that there’s enough 4 pin molex connectors for all of your drives (usually not an issue because the molex connectors can extend off of each other).

If you’re using a floppy drive, you need to make sure that there’s a floppy drive (4 pin Berg) connector

Check your cards to see if there are any power requirements – sometimes the video or sound card requires power. If so, make sure your power supply has these connectors.

Motherboard
All of the motherboard requirements have been discussed earlier

Case
Check the form factors on each of your drives:
Any drives that can be accessed from the outside (CD drives, Floppy drives, etc) require an external drive bay of the correct form factor (3.5 inch, 5.25 inch, etc)
Most hard drive today have a form factor of 3.5 inches – if so, then make sure your case has an internal 3.5 inch drive bay for each hard drive.

Check the form factor of your motherboard (ATX, Micro ATX, Tower ATX, etc.) Make sure that your case supports this form factor.
Check the form factor of your power supply. Make sure that your case supports this form factor.
Especially in small cases, powerful recent graphics cards have a tendency to not fit properly. If you’re purchasing a small case, find out whether or not large video cards will fit – this might require some work on your part.

If you need any advice, please do not hesitate to ask - I would be happy to help you

Edited by admin, 14 January 2009 - 03:35 PM.
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#6
Ingwaz

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alright, the computer build I came up with seems a bit expensive for what I'm getting.

Heres what i would like as just the basics of it, please feel free to add in things that you think would go well with it.

Desktop Pc: Gaming

300GB Hard Drive (even this much seems excessive but from what I saw on prices even if you go much lower GB wise you wont get much off the price)

Video Card: one capable of playing mmos or other games such as World of Warcraft or Combat Arms (not necessarly something like Crysis)

Motherboard: Unknown

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2-3Ghz seems like a good range.

OS: right now vista seems a bit expensive and I don't see anything necessarly wrong with using XP but perhaps vista would be worth the investment.

Sound Card: Doesn't need to be anything special

Wireless Card: no personal preference but definite necessity

RAM: 2-3GB (no brand preference)

Power Supply: No Preference

Fan: No Preference

Case: does not need to look fancy so long as it works

Montior: LCD (I can probably find this on my own but I'm still open to suggestions)

My Overall preferable budget is around $700, a little bit over is workable probably so feel free to toy around with the specifications.

I really appreciate the help.
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#7
jrm20

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alright, the computer build I came up with seems a bit expensive for what I'm getting.

Heres what i would like as just the basics of it, please feel free to add in things that you think would go well with it.

Desktop Pc: Gaming

300GB Hard Drive (even this much seems excessive but from what I saw on prices even if you go much lower GB wise you wont get much off the price)

Video Card: one capable of playing mmos or other games such as World of Warcraft or Combat Arms (not necessarly something like Crysis)

Motherboard: Unknown

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2-3Ghz seems like a good range.

OS: right now vista seems a bit expensive and I don't see anything necessarly wrong with using XP but perhaps vista would be worth the investment.

Sound Card: Doesn't need to be anything special

Wireless Card: no personal preference but definite necessity

RAM: 2-3GB (no brand preference)

Power Supply: No Preference

Fan: No Preference

Case: does not need to look fancy so long as it works

Montior: LCD (I can probably find this on my own but I'm still open to suggestions)

My Overall preferable budget is around $700, a little bit over is workable probably so feel free to toy around with the specifications.

I really appreciate the help.



http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813128373


http://www.newegg.co...N82E16819103472


http://www.newegg.co...N82E16814161259


http://www.newegg.co...N82E16817139005

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16822136098

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16827136153

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820231122


*IF you want FUTURE PROOF GO THIS WAY!!* You will have to come up with more money obviously though.. You can build a system that you are wanting but it will be the last gen AMD x2's or the cheaper low to mid level Core 2 duos. I don't think you will be able to build a total REAL**GAMING** system PLUS a MONITOR PLUS WIRELESS ADAPTER PLUS OPERATING SYSTEM for $700 budget. If you want all of that it will end up being a lower end pc than you are wanting. You could get all of that like I said building an AMD X2 dual core pc but that is pretty old technology by today IMO..


Above is $676 configured, you still NEED an operating system and case to get the system running.. You can possibly reuse an OLD SATA HARD DRIVE if you have one or use your dad's XP operating system cd if he has one.. Also reuse your old monitor.. You have no budget left for the Wireless adapter and new Monitor though. By the way the mobo has built in sound which is fine so you don't need a sound card..

I don't have much time left to add a lot more detail but the phenom II is the newest AMD CPU that just came out and it is a quad core.. For the price above you are getting a KICK-@ss pc as it is NEW technology generally. You would have the option to upgrade in the future to amd's AM3 cpu's that will come out later on and not have to switch mobos.. Therefore you saved $$$ money. If you go Intel now which the core 2 duos are fine you will end up having to upgrade the MOBO/ ram / cpu to get the Core i7 processor that was just released. If you go Intel core 2 duo now you still can upgrade to the Core 2 quads though..

It will still be hard to get a Core 2 duo complete system + all of the other stuff you want for under $700... (the monitor + wireless adapter + operating system)

You have some decisions to do Good luck! I gotta go!
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#8
Ingwaz

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what you suggested looks like a pretty high end system and I think that might be out of my price range, but its very enticing.

I understand that with AMD you can upgrade in the future but with Intel you get more power for the cost. so I'm not quite sure what to go with.

Perhaps someone could suggest something that isnt necessarly top notch tech or perhaps an Intel.
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#9
Ingwaz

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Well heres the build I've come up with so far.

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820231122

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16824001245

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16819115132

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16827136153

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16811119068

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813128072

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16814500083

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16817153023

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16822152052

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16829102003

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16835705004

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16839121008

Its about $680 without the OS. I'm beginning to think that just getting a windows XP OS disk (if you know where anywhere those are still sold I'd appreciate that information) If not I'm open to suggestion on the OS.

Also I'm not completely sure all these parts are even compatible so If someone could help me out with that as well I'd greatly appreciate it.
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#10
Troy

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Hi there,

Newegg still sells Windows XP

It all looks pretty good to me, everything there is compatible.

I would recommend getting a slightly better motherboard and PSU. Use onboard audio and ditch the discrete sound card to save some $$$.

Cheers

Troy
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#11
kamille316

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For the case fans, I suggest you go with any of these fans:

If you don't mind noise level, get the Scythe DFS123812-3000 "ULTRA KAZE" 120 x 38 mm, performance is better or the same as the one you picked but cheaper.

If you don't like something loud, get either of the ones below:
Scythe DFS123812-2000 120mm
Scythe SY1225SL12SH 120mm "Slipstream" (moves more air than the above but a bit louder)

Kamille
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#12
Ingwaz

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Hi there,

Newegg still sells Windows XP

It all looks pretty good to me, everything there is compatible.

I would recommend getting a slightly better motherboard and PSU. Use onboard audio and ditch the discrete sound card to save some $$$.

Cheers

Troy



The motherboard you suggested looks alot more impressive but I have a few questions I have been meaning to ask. How do I tell if I don't need an extra sound card? Will the motherboard you suggested still allow me to add a wireless adapter. Would the rest of the computer support the full 16GB of RAM if I ever decided to upgrade it that far (don't know why I would but just to be safe)

The PSU you suggested doesnt have as good of reviews so that makes me a bit cautious of it.

The fact that the Windows XP OS is just about the same price as Vista is just ridiculous. I suppose I'll just have to go with Vista and increase my Budget to around $800. Overall this seems like a pretty good deal on a computer.

Also I know AMD allows you to upgrade in the future but I'm just not sure if its worth it to go with it. Any advice?

Edited by Ingwaz, 15 January 2009 - 11:40 AM.

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#13
kamille316

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How about this power supply?
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#14
Ingwaz

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I've noticed with both the motherboards that they tend to have some problems such as certain design flaws or certain bugs. any suggestions?

As for the power supply, would a 430w one not be enough?
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#15
jrm20

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Here is the build revised with MOBO I picked out and with the Pc Power & Cooling 500W power supply.


http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813128372


http://www.newegg.co...N82E16819115132


http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820231122


http://www.newegg.co...N82E16817703015


http://www.newegg.co...N82E16814500083


http://www.newegg.co...N82E16839121008


http://www.newegg.co...N82E16824001245


http://www.newegg.co...N82E16822152052


http://www.newegg.co...N82E16811119068


http://www.newegg.co...N82E16827136153

For the parts above $691.90

I left out the case fans as you can pick on your own.

Do not go cheaper for the power supply, the Thermaltake 430W is kinda cutting corners IMO this day in age as you might want to upgrade parts slightly in the near future. The 500W PC Power & Cooling is the smallest (I) would personally go but it is more than plenty for the system (AS IS). If you plan on upgrading bigger in the future I suggest something along the lines of the OCZ GameXstream 700w as you will have the power when you need it if you ever want a HIGH END Power hungry video card and additional components inside of the pc. Would you really need the 700w probably not unless you get VIDEO CARD HUNGRY OR you wanted to use it for your next Bigger build in a couple years or so.

The new mobo I picked out is $99 and is a higher quality build with a full atx design with nothing but good feedback/reviews. If you want the next step up it is $120 but $105 after rebate. http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813128359

There is cheaper mobos yes, but the build and quality is just not as good. You will be fine with either mobos I suggested. Not like I am recommending a $180-$200 board which is not that high for a normal gaming rig so ($99) is a dang good deal. Don't skimp on the hardware to much (I know you have a budget though).

Everything listed above is a good solid build.

Get your operating system and fans and it should be right at $800 but remember you still have shipping fees.
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