Help with 1st PC build

I'm tired of Dell's proprietary stuff and want to build my own PC for the first time. I've replaced boards and such before but never built a PC from scratch and have no idea what a good build would be. I was hoping for some suggestions. I could spend $1000 - $1300.

The following components I DON'T need as I already have them (some I will upgrade later):
Monitor (22" lcd)
OS (I have a retail Vista Ultimate).
Keyboard and Mouse.

I'll use this machine for everything - programming, office work, musician stuff, some video & gaming - This is not intended to be a high end gaming machine, but should be able to play most games without all the options turned on, and be able to drive multiple displays, a 19" and a 22" widescreen (maybe a 8800 GTS 640 or 8600 GTS).

I think the minimum CPU should be Core 2 Duo E6550, but definately an Intel. Hard drive -> 500 GB or larger. Onboard audio is fine, I'll replace it later with some type of high end musician's card.

Most important is it has to be upgradable for a few years to come, so a decent power supply is a concern.

I'm not planning on overclocking currently (know nothing about it), but it would be a nice option if it only cost a few dollars more.

I'm in the US and will probably be buying most of the parts from NewEgg.

All suggestions (and comments on suggestions) are highly appreciated (and give you karma points).


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  1. If u dont want high-end gaming thensave some money and get this cheap X1950XT :

    and spend more for CPU , get a Q6600 or E6850 , it depends on what u do , (my vote goes for Q6600 ):

    so it will something like this ;


    ASUS P5K or GIGABYTE P35 DS3R and again because mousemonkey will kill me , ABIT IP35 PRO


    Corsair 520 PSU

    for HDD, go for seagate barracuda in my opinion
  2. Ah well, not to promote my own topic I posted today, but have a look at my topic to give you an idea where to start. Its a 815 USD rig, so you can use that 200 $ extra for a better videocard, cpu and perhaps a sound card.

    Good luck mate, enjoy your build.

    Btw, read this, it might be helpful: Tips & Techniques For Building Your Own PC
  3. The overclocker in me wants Maziar's suggestions. q6600 overclocks better than xeon 3120 (x4) even if they're both g0 stepping, though it costs more. p5k & ds3r are the current favorites for overclockers. They're not excessively expensive. They overclock about the same. ip35 pro is pretty good as well.

    The native resolutions are 1440 x 900 for 19" 1680 x 1050 for 22". Any gpu's equal to or less than 8800gts 320mb will be fine for gaming. For 10x0 or higher, you want 8800gts 640mb or better.

    Something along the line of:

    e6550 or better
    Intel P35-based motherboard (mature; deluxe or any flagship board like DQ6 from the manufacturer for better overall quality)
    4x1GB DDR2 PC2-6400 (OCZ, Corsair, or if you want something different, Cruicial, Kingston, Mushkin, Patriot, Team, Super Talent, Geil, etc.; go for those with heatspreads for easy handling)
    Seagate SATAII 500GB
    Antec P180/P180B/P182 case
    Seasonic, PCP&C, Zalman or Silverstone 500W+ power supply

    Throw in an aftermarket cpu cooler for quiet computing. If you don't overclock, Zalman is pretty quiet.
  4. I pmed you regarding your computer :)

    I would go with a Q6600 for programming and gaming and other multimedia things. A 8800 GTS 320MB card would be just fine for your system if you aren;t looking to game at all maxed out settings.

    For PSU, you can go with a Corsair 520W or an Antec HeNeo 550W. The antec is on sale at the moment at around $60 on newegg, which is a rgeat deal :).

    If you don't overclock, there is no need for an aftermarket cooler. The stock one is just fine unless you want it really silent, then go for Thermalright with a scythe fan.

    If you have any questions, let me know. I'll be happy to help you out.
  5. Hmm 4GB? Can't I do just 3, or is that not possible? I though XP & Vista 32 didn't fully support 4 GB, only 3. Can someone clue me in on this? Also, does Antec make a decent case with a decent PSU included, or is it better to buy seperate?

    Lastly, is the 8800 GTS 640 vs 320 worth the price diff? I'm not sure about upgrading - If I go to a 24" monitor with the 320 still drive it?

    Thanks for all the suggestions so far.
  6. It's always better the buy the psus seperate from the case. You can add 4GB ram for now and just have 3.2-3.5 with Vista. Then when you want to do vista 64bit in the future you will have a full 4GB ram ready to go. I suggest getting 64bit right now, since I'm using it without any problems at all and most newer programs with support it.

    If you go with 24" its better to get the 640MB one since you'll need that to run at high settings. If you don't care about high settings, 320mb will run just fine, but not as well as the 640mb card.
  7. the 8800gts 320 will do fine even on 1600x1200 , but i always say if u play @ 1600x1200 or higher ,then go for 8800gts 640 , it performs better in those resolutions due to its larger memory , but if u play @ resolutions lower than 1600x1200 , then go for 8800gts 320
  8. You have Vista Ultimate which has both 32- & 64-bit, so you're set for upgrade. I think programming will involve 64-bit inevitably. I think programmers are starting to pick up multi-core coding. 4 gigs would be better. If you bought 3, you wanted to upgrade later on, but it'd be sold out or become obsolete = expensive. Look at ddr ram prices. PC2-6400 is dirt cheap right now.

    I don't know what games you play. If it's 2d/board games, any onboard video is fine. If it's 3d/fps/driving/flight/etc., get a good one. 24" native res is 1600x1200. gts 320 is fine if you don't max out every option in game.
  9. How about the Antec sonata III case/psu combo for a start - its on sale at compusa for $90. It supossedly has problems with the feet, but is good other than that.
    everything else from newegg:
    8800 GTS 640 ~$370
    Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield $280
    ASUS P5K-E/WIFI-AP LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard (don't need the wi-fi - is this the board i should get?) $165
    CORSAIR XMS2 4GB (4 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 800 Desktop $208 (w/ $80 in rebates)
    SAMSUNG SpinPoint T Series HD501LJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM - $120

    totals ~$1233 so far, not counting the memory rebate

    I have the dvd burner, OS, monitor, keyboard & mouse.

    I think that's it - what am I forgetting?
  10. awesome rig , enjoy it
  11. The list looks very good. The Earthwatts 500W in the Sonata III is high quality. It can handle the stock pc. I'm sure you'll love it when you install parts in it. The 8800 gts 640 mb requires "A 425W PCI Express-compliant system power supply with a combined 12V current rating of 28A or more". I'm not sure the exact amps on the Earthwatts, but it won't be too far from the supposed 34a.

    You totally forgot a 6-pack & toritos. :)

    Maybe a pair of headphones or speakers.
  12. I've changed the motherboard (some of the reviews for the p35 were scaring me) - so my build is now
    GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail - $95 shipped

    Sonata III case/psu combo $90
    8800 GTS 640 ~$370
    Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield $280
    CORSAIR XMS2 4GB (4 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 800 Desktop $208 (w/ $80 in rebates)
    SAMSUNG SpinPoint T Series HD501LJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM - $120

    Any comments on the gigabyte? I don't use 1394, and don't need the onboard raid, so it looks ok, though I will miss the e-sata connectors on the p5k. The Gigabyte gets good reviews, and For 95$ shipped, I can always upgrade at a later time when I have a better idea of how the build runs. what do you think?

    Also any recommendations on which 8800 GTS 640? I'm a bit nervous on getting an overclocked one because of the extra wattage. It seems like it might be a bit tight with the 500 watt earthworks.

    Lastly (I'm not gonna OC for some time) am I safe without a CPU cooler? (if not - suggestions?) The sonata III only come with 1 120 fan stock and 1 optional (which I'll put in - does it really matter what fan?).

    Thanks very much for all the help. My cart at newegg is full and I'm chomping at the bit to push the button :).
  13. Don't be scared by some reviewers' nitpicking. Every board has some eccentricities.

    C2Q uses more electricity and produces more heat than C2D. It would be best if the case has 2 fans: intake & exhaust. If you install a 2nd fan now, you have plenty of space to work with.

    The DS3L is a budget board. I bought it for the price, layout and overclockability. It does lack RAID & IEEE which I don't need. You can get a RAID/IEEE PCI card for a little more if you ever need them. USB 2.0 is about the same speed as Firewire, moreover, most PC peripherals are USB. The floppy connector isn't at the bottom. My floppy driver is near the top of the case. DS3L overclocks like mad. The solid capacitors are a plus. It will last longer. The only thing I don't like about the board is the southbridge chipset that is too close to the video slot. Not a big deal if you don't overclock. I would replace the heatsink with an SLI one. (a typical chipset heatsink either won't fit or cool well)

    I would suggest getting a stock video card. If you have the means or need down the road, overclock it.

    The Intel stock cooler is fine. It can be used for light overclocking. For mild to heavy o/c, an aftermarket cpu cooler is a must.
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