Time for my first build?? Advice requested

Hey everyone,

I was wondering if anyone could help with my current problem. I bought a refurbished Dell 8400 a couple of years ago. Since then, I've added video and sound cards, boosted the ram and ended up with a decent and very stable system. However, recently the "latch" on the case has broken which leaves the case slightly open. This allows dust and just about everything else in. A plastic part in back of the case has also snapped off and overall, the case seems to be getting worse.

Long story short, Dell does not offer replacement case and since Dell componants are proprietary, atx cases will not exactly fit the 8400 mobo (issues on the rear panel not lining up, difference in ribbon connecters etc ). A huge headache I know :(

So, I'm thinking about gutting my system for what parts I can use like the cd/dvd drives, hard drive etc, and end up buying a new case, mobo, processor, ram and the like. I'm a mid-range gamer I would say, definately will not OC but a decent system with potential for the future is must!

Think this will be the most cost effective way of upgrading my system to have it ready for all the recent technology? (ie Vista and dx10, core 2 duo)

Should I just try and find a reasonable Dell 8400 case off ebay??

So far, all I have thought about is the MSI P965 Platinum motherboard to start off with in a mid size tower. Thank in advance for any help/advice offered!! :)

4 answers Last reply
More about time build advice requested
  1. The Dell 8400 is good for another year. I don't know how much the Ebay case would be.
    If you want to build a new computer. I would recommend an Intel Core 2 Duo. Some motherboards:


    The 975 chip is rather expensive.
    The Nvidia 680i still has some problems associated with it. It is hard for me to recommend it.
  2. Nothing a little duct tape can't fix! hahaha...

    Seriously, if I were you, I would consider limping along as much as you can until April or May for a couple of reasons: 1) more DX10 cards should be in the market and prices will drop some (they should anyway), 2) component prices will drop some as well. If DX10 is not that big of a deal to you, then I would suggest building today if you can afford it.

    As far as salvaging some components, your hard drive, cd/dvd burner, and sounds card (if you have one) will be all that carrys over. Even at that, if you are going to build something new, you may want to go with newer SATA drives. They are much faster and use a more modern technology than IDE/PATA. I'm not too familiar with MSI boards, but that's a good start - it'll handle a C2D and DDR2 667-800 memory.

    I'm in a situation where my Dell 4550 is in need of a replacement. Since my video card is AGP, hard drive is PATA, and my sound card is not supported in Vista, I'm starting from scratch. Might as well get a new flat panel too - my 5 year old Viewsonic has a response rate of 25 ms, as compared to today's 2-8 ms. I'm not in dire need of a DX10 card, so I'm going to build in the next few weeks. Even at that, I'll probably upgrade to a DX10 in the next year or so.
  3. Sounds like you know what your doing...

    That MSI board is pretty good - comes with SB X-Fi sound built in. I have used 2 MSI boards in the past and have no issues with them to speak of.

    If you can wait, I would also suggest you do as well... I think it would behoove you to hold out with your current system until R600 hits the market. Nvidia needs some competition now to bring their prices out of the rafters.

    Vista might change things a bit as well, if it truely sux... or is a masterpiece... that can affect consumer purchasing patterns and drive competition in better directions.

    As for the gotta have it factor... such as that annoying twitch everytime you look at a computer.

    Go with any C2D or C2Q / Extreme Intel CPUs
    Use Micron based Memory if possible Here's a Link for that at least 2 gigs
    Go with SATA drives - Raptor 10K's in RAID is the fastest currently.
    Choose which chipset serves your needs... 680i, 975, or 965
    and at least an 8800 GTS model for DX10 drivers.
  4. Thanks for your replies!

    While the "gotta have it" factor you mentioned is hard to ignore, I agree that its a bit better to wait till everything settles down. It seems like prices and the market overall for componants are in a shifting period. Guess nows a good time to research!

    Its looking more and more like just a new build, no upgrade from here. I mean theres no point in building a new system, and then use these old parts, I'll be better off just selling the whole thing and using that money to cover payments.

    Well in the meantime, thanks for your help guys and I'll post my future first build thoughts and buys here on the forums!
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