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First time building a desktop PC.


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#1
Erolunai

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I've been thinking about purchasing parts to build my own desktop for a while now.
I'm not sure any of the components in my five, going on six year old computer will survive to a fresh start (partly due to family that might be taking it in exchange for help with funding.)

I've been researching every day, and though I keep learning about new things, what some things mean, what to look for in certain parts, it still feels like I'm missing a lot of information that would make this a lot easier. I feel uneasy about the parts I've been looking at so far, and would really appreciate any help or guidance offered.

My budget for this computer is approximately $1000 Canadian.
I'm hesitant to go over that amount, but it's not set in stone, it would just take a few weeks for another paycheck or two if I need to go over.

I am a gamer at heart, so I will be looking at parts that will support that.
I have never overclocked before, though I am curious about trying it.

I will admit that I'm leaning towards the intel and nvidia series of CPUs and graphic cards, though I'm not strictly only looking at those.

So far, I've been looking at the CPU choices I have, and I'm really stumped on where to go from there, what would fit in my budget, what would give me good value for my money, etc., I've been really curious about the quad core chips, but I'm not really sure how it would affect me, how a dual core vs quad core affect my experience, how much Cache memory should I be looking for, GHz, or if the socket type makes the other parts have to be more expensive too.

I've tried looking at and comparing a few different chips from between $126.99 and up to $369.99, but... I'm just not sure.

Likewise, I'm really not sure what to look for in a motherboard as well, and how to determine if the other parts that I need will be compatible with it.

One of my biggest worries is about how everything will fit together, what would be compatible with each other, things like that...
Should I get four gigs of ram? A 64 bit operating system? Windows 7, Vista, or can I re-use my old XP? Should I get a higher quality heatsink/fan, and what should I consider for internet use?
And finally, should I get parts that can be upgraded later? What kind of parts are easily upgradable?

I can use my old monitor, keyboard, mouse and speakers for a while, though I plan on getting new speakers eventually.

I know it's a lot of questions, but I'd rather take my time, get some advice and think about it instead of making an impulsive purchase that doesn't work, or doesn't work as well as it could have. Thank you for any and all advice, I truly appreciate it. ^^
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#2
Ferrari

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I have never overclocked before, though I am curious about trying it.
Should I get a higher quality heatsink/fan

If you will not overclock, the stock heatsink and fan that comes with the processor will do just fine. If you do plan to overclock, then purchase a better aftermarket heatsink.

I'm really not sure what to look for in a motherboard as well, and how to determine if the other parts that I need will be compatible with it.

Things to look for in a motherboard are:
How many SATA ports are there - Versus - How many do you need?
The socket type of the motherboard MUST match the socket type of the CPU. Furthermore, its always best to go to the motherboard manufacturers website to ensure the CPU(processor) is on the motherboards "CPU support list". In other words, the CPU must be compatible with the motherboards Chipset i.e. X58, P55, or P45.
The higher the FSB(Front Side Bus) or QPI(Quick Path Interconnect) the better. So a board that supports a FSB of 1333mhz is better than a board that only goes up to 800mhz.
Also, the Southbridge on the motherboard primarily controls your hard drive, so look for a good southbridge within your budget. i.e. ICH10R is better than ICH7.
There are other things to look for, but these are the main ones.

Should I get four gigs of ram? A 64 bit operating system?

The more RAM the better, and a 32bit Operating System will only allow you to utiilize up to about 3.5gigs of RAM, so when it comes to gaming I would select Windows 7 64bit so you can add more RAM if you ever want/need to and Windows 7 supports the latest DirectX... again, better for Gaming now and in the future.

what should I consider for internet use?

Any board you pick will most likely come with a 10/100/1000mbs Ethernet Card... again, 1000mbs is better than 10mbs.

And finally, should I get parts that can be upgraded later? What kind of parts are easily upgradable?

Things that can be upgraded in the future are like CPU, Hard Drive, RAID Array (generally speaking, 2 hard drives working together), RAM. Power Supply too if needed. Basically, buy a good motherboard, and it will allow upgrading in the future... it all revolves around the motherboard really.

I can use my old monitor, keyboard, mouse and speakers for a while, though I plan on getting new speakers eventually.

That is just fine, a lot of people do that. A nice big monitor will soon be wanted when you see how nice your new rig is... that's what happened to me :)

I know it's a lot of questions, but I'd rather take my time, get some advice and think about it instead of making an impulsive purchase that doesn't work, or doesn't work as well as it could have.

Very wise of you. This is much better than impulse buying. This will cut down on future headaches or incompatibility issues, or that feeling of "DANG, I could of had that!".

Here is the system I suggest within your budget... it will fly like the wind :) I recommend you purchase from www.newegg.ca (Canada's Newegg)

Intel Core i5 750 $219
Gigabyte Socket 1156 Motherboard $120
G. Skill Ripjaws 4GB of RAM $99
4890 ATI Radeon Graphics Card 1GB GDDR5 256bit $209
OCZ 600Watt Power Supply $75
Western Digital 500gb Hard drive 7200RPM, 32mb Cache $75
Antec 900 Case $120
LG CD/DVD Burner Combo Drive$32
Windows 7 Home 64bit $122

I believe that comes to about $975 and remember you have to pay for shipping.

Optional Heatsink: Xigmatek Dark Knight $45 and Bracket for 1156 $10

This Core i5/P55 setup is the latest from Intel... very new cutting edge technology. The only processor and chipset that are better than this is the i7/P55 setup or i7/X58 setup which is out of your budget range.

Let me know if you have any more questions or you feel adjustments need to be made. :)
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#3
Erolunai

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That's excellent! It clears up a lot of my questions, thank you very much Ferrari!
I'm feeling a lot more confident about what to get now :)

I think I will try getting that heatsink as well...

If I may ask though, I still have a couple questions and concerns...
Should I consider getting a soundcard? Or should new speakers come first, and the soundcard, if really neccessary, could get upgraded later? I tend to notice a distinct difference in sound quality between my computer and the same songs being played on other devices, and I can't help but feel it would be nice to have quality sound...

I have a Samsung SyncMaster 206BW, not sure if it supports high definition or not, but it's a bigger monitor than I've ever used before, if that counts. Would it also support two screens at once?

The system you've suggested looks amazing! I'm really excited to get the parts now, though I'll have to wait until at least the 21st of January to finish getting the parts, my paycheck should bump me up to around $1250 approximately in my budget.
Unfortunately, after tallying everything up on newegg.ca, it comes to $1065.32... without including the graphics card, which seems to be sold out, yet thankfully doesn't seem to put me too far over my budget!

Should I also consider shopping around the local computer stores to compare prices with some of these parts?

Once again, thank you very much :)

Edit: Oh! Also, is there anything I should be concerned about with shipping? i.e. other than speed and expense, is there anything to take into consideration? I know it's not really a computer related question, but...

Edited by Erolunai, 03 January 2010 - 11:23 PM.

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#4
Ferrari

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Should I consider getting a soundcard? Or should new speakers come first, and the soundcard, if really neccessary, could get upgraded later?

Hmmm... I guess if I were you I would get new speakers first and see how the sound is with them and the new motherboards onboard sound card. If the sound still isn't to your liking, a dedicated sound card may be in order, but generally speaking, sound cards are usually used more by dj's or recording guys, etc. I guess some hard core Gamers may use a good sound card, not sure. I can't help much more than that.

Would it also support two screens at once?

The graphics card I suggested supports dual monitors, yes. Take a look at the pictures of it, on the back you'll see two ports for monitors.

Unfortunately, after tallying everything up on newegg.ca, it comes to $1065.32

I'm confused, my totals come to $975 or so including the graphics card, plus an additional $55 for the heatsink and bracket. Why is your total so high without the graphics card?

Should I also consider shopping around the local computer stores to compare prices with some of these parts?

I don't know what kind of prices your local computer stores have, but generally Newegg has the best prices over EVERYONE. They are very well known in the geek community for their good prices and customer service. But it wouldn't hurt to compare, if you'd like. Another online store with decent prices is Tigerdirect.com, but I'm not sure if they ship to Canada... I'll leave it up to you to find out.

Edit: Oh! Also, is there anything I should be concerned about with shipping? i.e. other than speed and expense, is there anything to take into consideration? I know it's not really a computer related question, but...

Everything is generally packed quite well. I have things shipped from newegg all the time, never had a problem. To save money, I would just use the cheapest shipping which is something like 3-5 days via UPS, but Canada may be different. If you are in a hurry to get your components and have the money, get faster shipping if you want... that is entirely up to you.

As far as the graphics card goes... I'm not exactly sure what to do. I wanted to recommend a 4870 for you, but they don't have any listed on Newegg.ca and the 4890 that I'd rather you get seems to be sold out... like you said. Find out if TigerDirect ships to Canada... I'll have to give it some thought... it's late and I'm tired.

Let me know the answers to my questions and keep in touch,
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#5
Erolunai

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I'll wait on the soundcard then and look for new speakers first then.

and... well, it comes to about $949 total if I don't include windows 7, $1071, every time I add up the numbers you've shown me there, it comes to $1071...
if I put it in a wishlist on newegg.ca, it also comes to exactly $1071.93
(not including the fan+brace)

without the graphics card and fan, it comes to $863.92
shipping is +$25.94
tax is +$106.80
So that's $996.66 total, $1065.32 with heatsink and bracket.

Sorry, I probably should have mentioned I included tax and shipping :)

It's still a few weeks before I have the funds to set this up, so they may have more graphic cards in stock by then, if not, they might have it at a local computer store - or may be able to order one in, as a last resort...

I think it's about time for me to sleep as well. ^^
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#6
Troy

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All good advice so far, also for the graphics card the HD5770 or an Nvidia GTX 260 apparently perform about the same, you can pick whichever is in stock/best value for you.

Always shop around and compare! Another good site to check out is NCIX.

Cheers
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#7
Erolunai

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Thank you Troy :)

I think I'll take a few more looks around, look at some graphic cards, and check here again when the funds are ready, to do a final check before purchasing, if that's alright ^^
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#8
Erolunai

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Sorry about double posting, I just wanted to follow up with what I've posted earlier.

I've managed to gather up the funds to build my computer, about $1275 or so, though it can be up to $100 more if I wait until thursday, though I'm starting to get very anxious, I'm trying to be patient, but it's getting harder and harder. DX

To recap, I'm getting

Intel Core i5 750 $220
Gigabyte Socket 1156 Motherboard $120
G. Skill Ripjaws 4GB of RAM $112
GeForce GTX 260 896MB GDDR3 448bit $211
OCZ 600Watt Power Supply $75 ($20 mail in rebate)
Western Digital 500gb Hard drive 7200RPM, 32mb Cache $75
Antec 900 Case $120
LG CD/DVD Burner Combo Drive$32
Windows 7 Home 64bit $120

For the changes from last time,
the discount on the ram has ended, the price for windows 7 dropped by a few dollars, there's a $20 mail in rebate on the power supply (though, I'm really not sure how that works...)
and as for the graphics card, I found a GTX 260 card that looks rather nice.

Not including the mail in rebate, it comes out to $1246.99 after tax and shipping, if no prices change before the money arrives in my paypal...
I'm a little nervous, actually, I'm not sure if there are any paypal fees that would interfere with my budget, and just wondering if the graphics card is a good choice as well. It's still going to be leaps and bounds ahead of any computer I've touched before so regardless it's going to be exciting ^^
...if nothing breaks or doesn't work or gets zapped...

Anyways, does it look alright?

Oh! I wasn't really sure as well, do I need a seperate card for my internet connection as well? I was originally planning on using wireless, but, as it's another thing I don't really know about, a family member is going to help set up a wired connection...
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#9
Ferrari

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I found a GTX 260 card that looks rather nice.

It looks REALLY nice! :)

I'm not sure if there are any paypal fees that would interfere with my budget,

I don't think there are any fees when buying something with paypal, but I'm not 100% sure. I can tell you for a fact when I have bought things with paypal there were NOT any fees, but these were $10 items like a fan or a cheap heatsink... I don't know about $1200. They do offer customer support via phone, give them a call if you are that nervous about it. You have to log-in, scroll to the very bottom of paypal's site and click on "contact us", then click the button that says "call us" or something like that.

It's still going to be leaps and bounds ahead of any computer I've touched before so regardless it's going to be exciting ^^
...if nothing breaks or doesn't work or gets zapped...

We are here to help if you have problems, take a look at Troy's and Artellos' How To Build Your Own Computer. That should help some.

Anyways, does it look alright?

Everything looks really nice, the graphics card may be a tight squeeze in that case, but any high end card like that will be. Some people have even had to cut into the metal drive bay compartments where the end of the graphics card points to in order to fit a graphics card. I've "eyed it up" a bit for you and it looks as if it will fit, but don't be surprised if its a close fit.

I wasn't really sure as well, do I need a seperate card for my internet connection as well?

The motherboard has a built-in Network Card, but if you want to go wireless you will have to purchase a wireless USB or PCI adapter and of course have a wireless router connected to your Internet Service Provider's modem. If you are a Gamer, you will most likely be satisfied with your computer being "hardwired" as wireless setups are often slower(unless you pay a nice chunk of money) and they are not as reliable as they do drop signals from time to time just like a cell phone. Not very pleasing when you in the midst of a awesome battle with a component online, eh?

Good Luck, keep us informed and let us know if you have any problems. And don't be afraid to ask questions. :)
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#10
Erolunai

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Great! :)
I can't wait even more now!

I think I should be okay for the money in paypal... I'll be sure to study the building a computer guides, and be extra careful with the video card :)
I've never played online using a wired connection before, so that's just even more exciting x3
I really hope I don't have to cut into any apartments though oxo;

I'm trying not to get ahead of myself, but I'm looking at monitors, speakers, and other things as well, though those will have to wait for now. ^^

I do have two questions though, first would be the mail in rebate, I'm not quite sure I understand what that means, I read a little on it but I wasn't quite sure... does it mean, after you buy it, you mail the rebate to get the money back?
Also, a friend mentioned possibly obtaining a copy of windows 7 professional through "MSDN" for me, though I'm honestly not sure what to think about it, I'm not really sure what to think, they said it was legitimate, not illegal means, but I still feel somewhat wary...
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#11
Ferrari

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I'm not real sure how mail-in-rebates work when buying online. I never do them, but I will tell you Newegg has awesome customer service and after you make your purchase be sure to give them a call and let them know you need help on how to do the rebate. They'll be more than glad to help you or point you in the right direction at least. :)

Also, a friend mentioned possibly obtaining a copy of windows 7 professional through "MSDN" for me, though I'm honestly not sure what to think about it, I'm not really sure what to think, they said it was legitimate, not illegal means, but I still feel somewhat wary...


Hmmm... If you are in school and your school provides free software, then YES, definitely do this! But with that said, I must worn you it is most likely against Microsoft's agreement for you to obtain a MSDN Windows License from a friend/from a school other than your own. This could be considered a version of piracy.

Also, it is against the TOU (Terms Of Use) of this website to seek help with obtaining a software license illegally. Please read the below quote from the TOU.

The posting of links or references to warez or any other type of illegal software is strictly forbidden. By doing so you risk having your user account terminated without warning. We will NOT help anyone we suspect of having obtained their software illegally.

So it's probably best to leave this discussion at that so we can abide by the sites TOU. Call your school or Microsoft and ask them about it, k?

EDIT: I found Youtube to be extremely helpful if you need more of a visual demonstration on how to do something. Just search on Youtube for what you need help with like this. "How to XXXX" i.e How to install RAM. Or, How to build a computer. Etc. Etc.

Edited by Ferrari, 20 January 2010 - 12:13 AM.

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#12
Erolunai

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First of all, I already knew that nobody here would help me obtain anything illegally, though I thank you for the reminder.
I had no intention of obtaining illegal anything, which is why I was so hesitant about accepting my friend's offer.
Still, this helps me feel more determined on my decision, I'm going to stick with my purchase, I'm buying the parts of my computer so I know what's going in it, so I know what's inside it, I don't want to ruin that confidence with the thought that I might be running pirated software, blech -x-.

Once more, I wasn't seeking help in obtaining a software license illegally, that was most certainly not my intention.

I'll keep youtube in mind, as well as look up more about the rebates, thank you. ^^
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#13
Ferrari

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Once more, I wasn't seeking help in obtaining a software license illegally, that was most certainly not my intention.

Oh, I completely understand. I hope I didn't come off too strong. I just wanted to make sure you knew that so either of us didn't get in trouble so to speak. No worries, most of the moderators around here have seen it all, you didn't go to far or anything.

I was just making sure you knew... some people actually get on here and ask "what's the best torrent to use so I can download Windows 7" or something like that. It crazy!! LOL

No biggie. Keep in touch.
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#14
Erolunai

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Oh!!
http://promotions.ne...ail-_-E0-_-More

Apparently there's a 24 hour sale going on at newegg, I didn't expect to see my case on there, I have enough in my paypal right now to get it, and after checking the prices tallied up by newegg, it saves me about $11.18 to get the case right now :)

I'm going to get it in an hour unless there's something I'm missing.

Regular price: $1246.99

Price - case: $1101.43

Case with sale: $134.38
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#15
cbarnard

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Hey guys checking the thread,

I deal with Newegg all the time...

I also deal with the mail in rebates... The way they work:

1. Purchase the product at the advertised price...

2. in the upper right hand corner of the screen there is a tab "more" click it

3. Scroll down to rebate center and select it

4. Enter the rebate type, Category, and the brand.

5 Select the proper item that you purchased in the list(The green rebate part).

6. At this time you usually will get directed to the next part of the process...

7. Complete any necessary "preregistration forms" then print them off.

8. Print off a copy of your invoice

9. When your parts arrive cut off the upc code. affix it to the registration form "in the appropriate spot" that will be noted on the form. Also include the invoice.

But most of all just read the instructions, each company is different in their rules.

This set off directions will not always apply to "All" situations.

Although they will all start the same for the first few steps...

They have excellent customer service and their rebate process has very good ratings on the return...


And about the sale on that case... Not that you want to hear this, but it had a rebate on it the other day and it was only $69 after the mail in. I always end up purchasing at the wrong time... Have patience if you can and I bet it will come back down, But not sure... Always seems if I had waited one more day I would have saved more money!

Hopes this helps...

Good luck

Update on the rebate... Though when I looked for the expired rebate I couldn't find it... I know I'm right because I had it in my cart and I had my Card out to pay but decided against it... Must be they just changed the price back up...

Edited by cbarnard, 20 January 2010 - 09:52 PM.

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