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Decided to build instead of buy, need some advice

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March 18, 2006 3:14:12 PM

I decided to build my new computer instead of buying it, and as I've never built a computer before, I need a little help. :D 

It's going to be used almost entirely for gaming, no overclocking.

Thermaltake Armor Series VA8000BWS Black Aluminum/Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail - My original choice was the Antec P180, out of the two, which would be better?

AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ Manchester 1GHz HT 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket 939 Dual Core Processor - Retail - Will this last me a long time, or will I need to upgrade anytime soon in order to play games at reasonable settings?

XFX PV-T71G-UDE7 GeForce 7900 GT EXTREME (520MHz) 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Video Card - Retail - Since I'm saving lots of money building instead of buying, I was going to go with the 7900GTX, but I thought it would be worth it to save some money for a card that supports Direct X10 when they're released.

ASUS A8N32-SLI Deluxe Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce SPP 100 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail - I'm probably not going to end up using SLI, but I thought the option is nice to have. Should I do away with it?

CORSAIR XMS 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM Unbuffered DDR 400 (PC 3200) Dual Channel Kit System Memory - Retail - I don't know much about RAM, is there anything I should be aware of regarding these 2 sticks?

Antec TRUEPOWERII TPII-550 ATX12V 550W Power Supply 115/230 V UL, TUV, CB, FCC CLASS B, CUL - Retail

Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB 10,000 RPM 16MB Cache Serial ATA150 Hard Drive - OEM

ViewSonic VX922 Black/Silver 19" 2ms gray-to-gray (avg.); 2ms white-black-white (typ) LCD Monitor 270 cd/m2 650:1 0.294mm Pixel Pitch - Retail - Everyone everywhere seems to recommend it. It seems good, anything I should know about?


Total comes to about $1879, I haven't calculated tax or anything like that, so it might come out to more. I also have to include the cost of the things listed below.

I still need a CD/DVD drive, I'd also like something that allows me to burn things, does anyone have any suggestion?

I also need a Voltage regulator, I have no idea what to look for, and need some suggestions for this as well.

I have a keyboard picked out, and I'm still deciding which mouse I want.

As for sound cards, are they worth it? Will the sound improvement be noticable?

Any suggestions for a speaker system?

Also, is there a reliable guide on how to build your own computer? I've read lots of them, I just want to make sure I have one with reliable information.

Sorry for all the questions. :oops: 

Thanks. :D 
March 18, 2006 5:01:16 PM

I can answer some of your questions....

The CD/DVD drive... get an NEC 4550A DVD-RW... it will read and write in any format.... and its fairly cheap if you get it OEM.

Mice... go for optical... i have myself a cheap gigabyte optical mouse which worked better than a more expensive Saitek gamer's mouse...

Sound cards... Audigy 4's are the best for value, and will make a huge difference in sound quality... well, i can hear it... and then X-Fi soundcards just are overkill for mp3s and DVDs..... best for gaming.....
March 18, 2006 7:12:52 PM

If your not going to overclock... that would change a bit of your build

I would recommend that Antec P-180 over the other case. Its much quieter and sports 3 (maybe 4??) 120mm fan slots. 120mm's push more air and are quieter. Plus its built very sturdy and when everythings in it, the case should weigh about 50lbs.

I would also go with a faster single core proc... dual cores are clocked too slow at stock and ones with decent clocks are over 500$. Go with like a 3700+ San Deigo

Video card is fine, get a 500/1500 7900GT from newegg for 310$

Dont get an SLI mobo... its not worth the money. You'll spend extra money on a SLI mobo... more money on a better PSU, and more money on that second card makeing it not worth it at all.

Ram and PSU look fine.

You dont really need a 10K RPM drive but its the one place where I can honestly say its not THAT big of a waste of money. Its your choice there.. .as long as its SATA2

As far as a computer building guide... I think one was just posted on this site recently that was very very good. I think the topic was something like mobo front panel connectors or something like that. Its not terribly hard... just take your time and dont use excessive force on ANYTHING.

Sound card is up to you, intergrated is fine for me. Dunno why anything else would be needed unless you do alot of audio converting/rendering or have a need for the extra (and in some cases, special) ports.

Speakers are up to you, I have no idea about a good speaker set as I've always used a headset.

Why do you need a voltage regulator???


EDIT: heres the guide... I think its a really good one.

http://sysbuild.corsairmemory.com/report.aspx?id=2&sid=...
Related resources
March 19, 2006 3:23:48 PM

Will going with a faster dual core give me better performance than a faster single core?

I was going to go with the dual core because games are starting to support them. Does it make a big difference, or am I wasting money?
March 19, 2006 3:29:40 PM

I went with dual-core because i wanted to make a rounded system able to cope with games nicely, but be focused for rendering and processor-heavy programs. Give it several months to a year, and then you'll see games properly geared up to support dual-core architectures, let alone 64-bit ones...
March 19, 2006 6:29:47 PM

I was reading reviews of some of the dual cores, and people were saying some 32 bit apps were running poorly or not at all.

Is that true at all? :( 
March 19, 2006 7:00:44 PM

If you have 64-bit windows... then you'll have to make sure you have 64-bit drivers for everything, otherwise it won't be compatible, however, there is a 32-bit emulator on Windows XP x64 ed. which will run 32-bits quite nicely, though they won't benefit from 64-bit performance, but they perform well nonetheless. Even if you have 32-bit windows running with an AMD64 chip, there shouldn't be a problem in running other 32-bit apps....
March 19, 2006 7:14:40 PM

Cool, thanks a bunch for all the help. :D 

I'm finnaly ready to order, after 7 months. 8O
March 20, 2006 3:08:30 AM
March 20, 2006 3:22:00 AM

Instead of getting a 4400 get a Opteron 170, same speed but cheaper and overclocks much better, as for the 7900GT, if you are going to only be using one card, get a X1900XT its only $450 and it is sooooooo much better, use the money you save from the processor to help get it, it will be worth it, me and my friend had to make this same decision for his computer he is building and it is going to kick ass, hes spending less than 1500 total too.

X1900XT
March 20, 2006 3:41:39 AM

That looks like it'll run fine. You could probably save money by getting a 74GB version of that hard drive--save an IDE drive from your old system if you need extra space, but I expect that 74gb will last you a while. That TT case is good, but I'll echo what has been said and recommend the Antec 180, save a couple of bucks on a great chassis. Also, consider that Opteron, server-grade CPU with great stability that easily overclocks.
March 20, 2006 3:42:47 AM

I'm not overclocking and don't plan to, will the opteron still give me performance equal to the X24 4400?
March 20, 2006 4:22:56 AM

Quote:
I would recommend that Antec P-180 over the other case. Its much quieter and sports 3 (maybe 4??) 120mm fan slots. 120mm's push more air and are quieter. Plus its built very sturdy and when everythings in it, the case should weigh about 50lbs.


The Armor comes with two 12s and two 8s. You can easily add another 12 on the front by getting another HD cage for ~15 bucks - or even two more 12s on the front by adding two HD cages.. So if you're choosing between the Armor and the P-180, don't think of the P-180 as having an airflow advantage. But the Armor is huge and I don't know that the OP described a system that would need anywhere near that much space. The Armor can fit two optical drives, some front panel candy and around 10 hard drives and still move enough air to do an air-cooled OC. The Armor is also sturdy but due to the size, the aluminum/steel model is quite heavy. I'm putting some beefy handles on mine to help move it.
March 20, 2006 9:09:45 AM

I'm reading about the DFI motherboard, and people are talking about all these memory setting and such.

If I'm not overclocking, will this matter?

Would I be better off with the ASUS A8N-E Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail?
March 21, 2006 1:14:06 AM

DFI boards have tons of settings and are an overclockers paradise. If your not an OC'er and dont have alot of paitence then a DFI board is probably not for you.
March 21, 2006 3:34:22 PM

the epox is a good board, overclock or not. lite-on and BenQ did well in tom's review of dvd drives

that's an excellent choice of PSU. should give you nice stability
!