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Suggestions and tips for a first-time builder?


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#1
dptr

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Hi there!

While my current computer is trying to be rescued in the Spyware Removal forum, I thought I'd bring this here for advice!

Right now I'm running a Dell XPS One 20". It has a 250GB harddrive, 2GB RAM, and an Intel 2 Quad (if I'm remembering correctly) processor, and a low-end integrated video card. While I love the computer for it's easy use and very space-saving design, the fact that I can't upgrade it is driving me nuts.

I do a lot of gaming, high-dpi digital work (huge files in Flash/CS4/etc), and tons of other things, so I need a more powerful computer that can stand up to it. I've been looking at the Dell Studio XPS 9000, but I keep reading that that computer can be built/upgraded for much cheaper than its price.

One question I have first:
Some places say to buy a case with a motherboard and fans built in, others say pick your own. Which option is best?

Here are a few specifics that I want:

9 or 12 GB of RAM
750 (or bigger) GB Harddrive
i7 Processor
Windows 7 (not sure between 32 or 64 bit)
High-end video card
Nice sound and wireless cards

I'm guessing that a lot of people favor Newegg for parts? Any build suggestions/tips/help would be terriffic! (Or, suggestions to just buy the 9000)

The 9000 that I customized costs at least 2,300. I'm not sure what my budget is, but just figure on the entire rig costing anywhere under that.

Edited by dptr, 13 October 2009 - 07:54 AM.

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#2
rshaffer61

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I'll put my suggestion in.
If you want to run that much memory you have to install a 64 bit OS system which in your case would be Windows 7 64 bit.
A 32 bit OS will not utilize anything more then 3.5 gigs of memory so it would be useless to invest in that much memory without investing in the proper OS.
You can get Windows 7 Home Premium for about 199.99 from NewEgg
Samsung Spinpoint 750 gig HD with 16mb cache and a Sata 3.0gb form factor from NewEgg is 69.99
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#3
VinnyTAMU

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I would suggest that you buy a prebuilt system from Newegg. While I love building my own workstations piece by piece it does take some experience and I would suggest learning on less expensive equipment.

I would go to www.newegg.com and search for "i7". Then sort by "highest price" (you want to see the prebuilt systems on top) and select a system from there based on your budget and hardware requirements. If you have any additional questions feel free to ask. Also keep in mind this is just one persons (mine) opinion.

Edited by VinnyTAMU, 13 October 2009 - 08:23 AM.

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#4
Grongle

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[sorry—double post]

Edited by Grongle, 13 October 2009 - 08:32 AM.

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#5
Grongle

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But in reference to your actual question, both ways work, but when you buy pre-assembled systems they may include a few cheap parts thrown in to increase the profit. One example is definitely the power supply unit (PSU), and another, of course, is the stock cooling unit that comes with the CPU.

Power supply is extremely important and very often gets overlooked. And most serious users replace the (usually inadequate) stock cooling units with much bigger ones. Of course, you could buy a pre-built system and then improve a few parts as you wished.

Building your own is likely to be more expensive, and if there are problems you can't easily locate to specific parts, you have no way of returning the SYSTEM to the vendor. You are on your own. Also, even if in a pre-built system there are a few parts that are not the greatest, the thing will probably do the job. The companies want you to be happy with what you bought from them.

Your call. The main reason for building your own computer is because/if you WANT to build your own computer. You learn a lot, and it is fun and very satisfying. Er—but less fun, and less satisfying, when you have to RMA components or when you discover you made a $150 mistake in purchasing the wrong choice. Actually that is not much fun at all.

Edited by Grongle, 13 October 2009 - 08:30 AM.

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#6
dptr

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@rshaffer61 Thanks! I knew there was a reason I had decided on a 64, but I completely forgot about the memory limitations. Also, have you used that harddrive? It has multiple bad reviews, so I was just wondering.

@VinnyTAMU Thanks for your suggestion! I'm going through those pre-built systems right now! You're right that it's an expensive thing to practice on.

@Grongle Thanks for your advice! I would really like to build my own, but as it's painfully apparent, I don't know very much when it comes to the important things like power supply and cooling.

EDIT:

Here are two pre-built systems from Newegg.com. They both look rather nice.

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16883227150
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16883229113

The first one is the one I'm really looking at right now, since it has what I'm looking for when it comes to the RAM and video card. Is there anything that makes the second one better? It has less RAM, but that can be easily upgraded.

Any thoughts/suggestions on these two?

Edited by dptr, 13 October 2009 - 09:04 AM.

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#7
rshaffer61

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Building a system is not that hard if you follow this step by step guide located HERE which was at least in part created by one of our very own Techs here at GTG.
There are pics to show you exactly what to look for on each step and what to do.
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#8
dptr

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Building a system is not that hard if you follow this step by step guide located HERE which was at least in part created by one of our very own Techs here at GTG.
There are pics to show you exactly what to look for on each step and what to do.


I have that topic bookmarked now, thanks for sharing it!

It's not so much as not knowing how to put it together (I know a little about that, as I used to take apart and put back together old computers in school, once they had died) but it's more as in I'd be worried about spending a couple thousand dollars on components without being sure they all work together.
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#9
VinnyTAMU

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Here are the differences that I see:

  • CPU : iBUYPOWER (2.66GHz Quad) vs CyberpowerPC (3.06GHz Quad)
  • Memory : iBUYPOWER (12 GB) vs CyberpowerPC (6 GB)
  • GPU (video card) : iBUYPOWER (2 x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 896MB) vs CyberpowerPC (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285 1GB)
  • Blu Ray : iBUYPOWER (DVD writer and reader) vs CyberpowerPC (BluRay reader DVD writer)

Assuming the customer/warranty support is the same between the two, I would choose the iBUYPOWER machine. It has more memory and significantly more graphics processing power. You will not notice the slower clock speed and it is cheaper!

Edited by VinnyTAMU, 13 October 2009 - 09:45 AM.

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#10
rshaffer61

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Not knowing is a rectifiable issue.
Simply post your components and we can advise you if they will work together or not.
As far as spending a couple of thousand for a system I suggest you base it on what you will primarily use it for.
I am in the process of putting together a new system for myself and total price for all components with shipping would be about 2000
That is with a 3.2 ghz cpu, 8 gigs of memory 6.3 TB of drives
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#11
dptr

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@VinnyTAMU I was also thinking the iBUYPOWER was a better deal, that's basically the choice for me right now.

@rshaffer61 I was just basing 'a couple thousand' off of the amount I was going to give Dell.

I'm going through Newegg, looking at components for building, while also thinking about that Newegg pre-built system.

On another note, I know Windows 7 has touch-screen capabilities. Do touchscreen monitors only work with certain CPUs, or is it the OS that makes them function properly? I'm looking at monitors, and not really sure about a good choice.
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#12
edge2022

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I strongly suggest building your own computer as you get to decide exactly what goes into it and you get a lot of satisfaction from doing it.
Touchscreen monitors should work with all CPUs... Win 7 has some good touch capabilities. You might also want to just get a Wacom tablet for precise image editing.

I suggest:
i7 920 or higher / i5
A solid motherboard (ASUS, Gigabyte, EVGA, MSI, etc.) Most brands are trust-able.
Coolermaster HAF 932 or Cosmos / Antec 900 or 1200
Solid DDR3 RAM
Caviar Black 1TB or a SSD/Velociraptor
ATI Radeon 5870 or 5850 (5870 easily outperforms GTX 285 and is only beaten by a 295) 5870 X2 is coming out soon, but it will be $500+
64 bit OS
Corsair PSU
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#13
dptr

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I strongly suggest building your own computer as you get to decide exactly what goes into it and you get a lot of satisfaction from doing it.
Touchscreen monitors should work with all CPUs... Win 7 has some good touch capabilities. You might also want to just get a Wacom tablet for precise image editing.

I suggest:
i7 920 or higher / i5
A solid motherboard (ASUS, Gigabyte, EVGA, MSI, etc.) Most brands are trust-able.
Coolermaster HAF 932 or Cosmos / Antec 900 or 1200
Solid DDR3 RAM
Caviar Black 1TB or a SSD/Velociraptor
ATI Radeon 5870 or 5850 (5870 easily outperforms GTX 285 and is only beaten by a 295) 5870 X2 is coming out soon, but it will be $500+
64 bit OS
Corsair PSU


Thank you, glad to know I was on the right track, picking out parts! Many of those are the same ones I had put together. And thanks for the tip, I actually have a Wacom Intuos 3.

Is it worth the extra price to get a 295? I had picked it out, but wasn't sure how much better the 295 was for its price tag.
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#14
dptr

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Here's what I've put together so far:


Motherboard: EVGA E758-TR 3-Way SLI (x16/x16/x8) LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.co...st=Combo.266289

Video Card (in combo with MB): EVGA 017-P3-1298-AR GeForce GTX 295 FTW Edition 1792MB 896 (448 x 2)-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card

Processor: Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16819115202

RAM: Toss-up between these CORSAIR kinds, guessing DOMINATOR is better?
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820145235
or
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820145271

Hard Drive: Sold out, but this one looks nice, Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drives
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16822136284

PSU: Not sure what's the right one I'll need for these components. This is a 750W
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16817139006

CD/DVD Burner:
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16827151175

I know I'm missing a ton of things, so any and all feedback is welcome.

That said, I'm not sure which case I need:
This one, http://www.newegg.co...N82E16811119160

Or this one, http://www.newegg.co...N82E16811119137
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#15
edge2022

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The 295 will beat the 5870 in about every benchmark... here is the Crysis one: http://www.guru3d.co...-review-test/19
It depends on what you want to spend. Also the 5870 is one GPU and the 5870 X2 will beat the 295 when it comes out (or you could Xfire two 5870s)
http://www.guru3d.co...-test-review/11

If you are willing to pay for them, the Dominators are extremely good.
That PSU seems to be right for your setup.
If you want a discrete sound card add that up too (the Creative cards are really nice)

The case selection will depend on:
How much you are willing to spend.
The amount of cooling you want / are you going to overclock
Are you going to water-cool.
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