Help on Building PC (inexperienced)

I built my first PC four years ago, and it still works SO perfectly to this day. College is coming up for me and my dad wants to order from Dell, but I am totally against that idea. So I need some help from you guys on building the PC (when we built it before, we got the the parts and help from a guy at my dad's work who is no longer employed there).

So can you guys get me off on the right foot? I'm not looking for a "100%, top of the line, best out there" kind of system, but I want it to be very good. What kind of motherboard should I be looking at? I need firewire, should I buy a motherboard with firewire built in, or just use a PCI card?

currently I'm thinking of this for my system:

512 MB ram
around 80 GB hard drive
CD-RW drive (don't need DVD)

Other than that I'm not totally sure on what processor I should go with or graphics card. I would probably play PC games if my system could handle it, but it's not something I am building it specifically for. I'm looking to spend around $1000 (without monitor). Any help is appreciated, thanks.
8 answers Last reply
More about help building inexperienced
  1. You said "games...not something I am building it specifically for". Just what you'll use the system for? Perhaps you should let us know your exact need, so we can narrow the scope of the spec. Otherwise, I think you would get lots of feedbacks that might not even suit your need.

    You also mentioned about firewire. Well, there's no difference between an onboard and card-based ones in terms of performance. Card-based firewire will take up one PCI slot and cost a bit more.
  2. * I'd be looking at an nForce2 motherboard for this build. One with the nVidia Audio and firewire. Abit NF7-S revision 2.0 or Epox 8RDA+, for example.

    * XP 2400+ or XP 2500+ for processor.
  3. How...

    Motherboard -- ABit NF7-S w/400 FSB Support (rev2) -- 128.00
    Processor -- Athlon XP 2800+ Athlon XP 2800 -- 215.00
    Ram -- Corsair TWINX512-2700LL -- 134.00
    Video -- Radeon 9500 Pro -- 149.62
    Hard Disk -- WD ATA/100 80GB 8MB 7200RPM -- 94.00
    CD-RW -- Lite On 52x24x52x -- 44.95
    Speakers -- Creative Inspire 2.1 Slim 2600 S/Sub -- 44.00
    Case -- Antec Lanboy w/350w PS -- 94.00
    Floppy -- [Optional] Teac Floppy Drive -- 12.00

    That leaves you with about 100$ from your price goal, you could upgrade the processor to a 3000, get a 9700 pro instead of the 9500, buy a nice mouse and keyboard, better speakers, another hard drive, round cableing & thumbscrews, or whatever. The sound is pretty good on the nForce2 boards, so you really don't need a sound card unless you are doing audio beyond mp3s and games. Those prices are from newegg and pricewatch.

  4. From what you've mentioned in your post, I'll give you a direct suggestion, and this is to save you money, including some left out items, and below that some frill suggestions, and below that a link to the online store I've done plenty of business with, with no problems and where these prices come from.

    My Suggestions:
    Operating System; Windows XP Pro/ Full/OEM---$139.00
    Case; PowerMax 9804SEL w 350W P/S---$32.99
    Motherboard; MSI KT4VL w Audio,Lan---$79.00
    CPU; AMD XP2600+ /333FSB---$169.00
    CPU Cooler; Thermaltake A400ZD---$22.99
    RAM; Kingston 512Mb, PC2700/DDR333---$65.99
    Hardrive; Maxtor 60Gig 7200Rpm/ATA-133 Diamondmax Plus 9---$88.00
    Video; Gainward GF3 TI/450 128Mb DDR RAM---$89.99
    Firewire; D-Link DFB-A5---$69.99
    CDRW; MSI 48x/24x/48x---$46.99
    Floppy Drive; Teac---$11.00

    Total;---$814.94 Plus S&H

    Includes a Case and OP/SYS

    If you built this it would be a jam up system, I would suggest a DVDROM drive though because Win XP PRO will only allow DMA mode on DVDROM Drives and CDRW Drives not CDROM Drives. I would also suggest setting the Hardrive on Primary IDE 1, as the master and only drive on that IDE Port, and CDRW as Master with DVDROM as Slave on the Secondary IDE 2.

    DVDROM; Lite On LTD-163/16x---$43.00

    Pricing from; <A HREF="" target="_new"></A>

    Hope this helps you out, this is not the ultimate system, but thats not what you asked for, however this would be one kicker of a machine, and nothing to sneeze at, I suggested the Gainward GF3 Video card, because its still a butt stomping card with a good price.Ryan

    <b><font color=purple>Details, Details, Its all in the Details, If you need help, Don't leave out the Details.</font color=purple></b>
  5. Wow! People pay for the os? When did that start...? I know I still have my DOS 5.0 disk here... and my dos 6.2 upgrade and the single floppy dos 6.22 upgrade from that... where did i put them... *grin*

    The only real thing I disagree with is the GF3, it's way outta date and functionally useless for newer games (I have one, I know.) Go to at least a 4200 or a 9500 and anything you want to play-- you can.

    Also 2x256 ram is going to be better than a single 512 for this instance because of dual channel. It's free performance basically (I went with the twinx ram (which is damn expensive) but it's really not necesarry, any decent ram will do fine.)

    edit: Oh yah, side note, lanboy is a windowed case with a decent lit up power supply, shrug, makes pc pretty, if you dont care about that go with a much cheaper case :)

    Shadus<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Shadus on 05/06/03 01:06 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
  6. Wow 1000$ to work with before a monitor check this out(all prices from and total is before shipping):

    REAL CASE (BLACK) 3G READY Tooless ATX Mid Tower Case with 400watt Power Supply MODEL RW-1000BG - RETAIL <b>49.00</b>

    Lite On 52x24x52 Black CDRW Model LTR-52246 OEM <b>48.00</b>

    MSI DVDROM 16X DVD, 48X CDROM Model MS-8216140BL Black OEM <b>31.00</b>(you should have some way to copy cd's just in case and a DVD drive is inexpensive).

    MITSUMI D359M3 BLACK FDD 1.44MB 3.5INCH - OEM <b>11.00</b>

    MAXTOR 120.0GB 7200RPM 2MB Cache Model <b>114.00</b>

    Logitech BLACK Optical Desktop - OEM(Keyboard and mouse) <b>33.00</b>

    (2)KINGSTON HyperX Series 184-pin 256MB DDR333 (PC2700) 32X64 DDR RAM modules, Model# KHX2700/256 <b>90.00</b>

    ABIT NF7-S ,nForce2 SPP chipset Support AMD Socket A with 200/266/333 FSB ,8X AGP,SATA 150 ATX motherboard Retail <b>125.00</b>

    AMD ATHLON XP 2600 /333 FSB PROCESSOR CPU- OEM <b>100.00</b>


    Creative Labs Inspire 5.1 5200 - RETAIL <b>73.00</b>

    Total: <b>975.00</b> before shipping. This may bump you just over the top with shipping, but it should be really close. If it does just jump down to a 80GB hard drive and that should save you the difference.

    Just a computer junky
  7. All good ideas mostly, but now for something completely different.....>
    All these guys seemed to put emphasis on performance. I would suggest that you put emphasis on style and size, two things that will last ALOT longer than the latest greatest whatever....
    For this i whole-heartedly recommend a Shuttle Cube - i built my mum one and it's amazing. Ok, i used an Athlon XP 2000 instead of a 2500 as i used the extra money on a shuttle case instead of a different one, but booting into windows - very quick. Playing UT2003 - smooth and nice. And in 2 years time? Will still look cool and funky.
    Honestly, consider it.....

    <A HREF="" target="_new"></A>
  8. One thing personally I would spend more money on:
    1. Case
    2. Power supply

    those two things are gonna last you longer than your components.

    You could buy a 1700($50) or 2100 (sub $100) AMD chip and later on figure out how to overclock it just a tad and you won't have to pay $200 on a 2800 chip. AMD is still cheaper in the low end of chips BTW.

    Radeon 9500 pro or non pro should last you a while since a 9700 is "top of the line" next to the new 9800.

    For memory I wouldn't skimp out cause when you upgrade your CPU, you need good mem to last you and keep up with your CPU. Try to buy 2x 256 or 512. 2x 256mb mem should be good. Corsair, GEIL, kingston hyperx (some ppl are getting good results) are just a few good brands.

    Make sure you buy an Nforce2 board that supports the new AMD 400 FSB, not that you'll buy a CPU with 400 FSB, but you can upgrade later when the chips are dirt cheap.
Ask a new question

Read More

Motherboards Product