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Beginner in Need of Advice

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September 18, 2007 12:56:00 AM

I apologize for wasting forum space, but I am very new to Tom's Hardware and am looking to build myself a new computer. I am completely lost and I do not know where to start, where to go for information, and how I should select my parts to determine what computer is worthwhile. If anyone can help, could anyone tell me what essential components are needed build a computer and what parts make up the system. I want to build a fast computer that is suitable for top-notch gaming and something that can multi-task. Any information would be appreciated.

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September 18, 2007 1:12:15 AM

Welcome... no honest posting from someone needing help is ever a waste of space.

First things first.. We need to know what your budget is. How much money can, or do you intend to spend? This will help us determine the best course of action for you. So be very specific on how much you want to spend.
a b à CPUs
September 18, 2007 1:18:15 AM

Yeah, give us a budget.
Also, are you in the US? (Just so we know if newegg links are useful)
Do you already have any parts, for example a monitor?
Related resources
September 18, 2007 2:08:51 AM

oh boy... here goes a really long and bearly readable paragraph by me. I'm assuming you know NOTHING so I'm explaining EVERYTHING in detail. It's not that I'm assuming you are stupid. I'm also assuming you just want a gaming rig not to learn about the details of every components so here it goes.
The best sites buying computer conpontents is Newegg.com Search anything I mention on Newegg.com you'll find it
What is your budget? $2500, if you are rich $5000 or $1000

First thing for a gaming computer or any computer is CPU.
CPU:
Do you prefer AMD brand or Intel brand?
If AMD is what you like you'll want the FX 6000+ ($160) at 3.0Ghz/6400+ 3.2 Ghz ($250). The higher the Ghz the better. each core has the clock speed so 2x3.0 Ghz is 6.0Ghz and 2x3.2Ghz is 6.4Ghz
If Intel is your answer then you have a choice of Dual cores and quad cores most people these days go for the Q6600 ($280) or E6750 ($200) . E6750 is 2 cores at 2.66Ghz 2x2.66 you get the idea... the Q6600 is 4 cores however 4 core is a new technology and is not ultilized by most games.
If you don't care for brands go for the Q6600 it's the safe/future proof choice

Second thing for a gaming computer is the motherboard.
Motherboard:
Every computer needs a good motherboard. But for gaming computers you want a stable overclocking (Pushing you components beyond there recommended speeds) board.
The best board out right now is the Asus extreme striker ($300) for an Intel CPU other choices would the asus p5k series or gigabyte.
The best board for AMD cpu is probably Asus Crosshair ($250) or ASUS M2N32-SLI Premium ($210).

Third and most important thing is your graphics card (GPU graphics processing unit)
Do you prefer ATI or NVIDIA (the only two major competitors)?
For ATI you'll want the only card that will run "top notch" games at max settings the 2900 XT ($350-400).
For NVIDIA you'll want the 8800 GTS ($300-$350) or GTX ($500-$700) to give you an idea the 2900 XT out performs the 8800 GTS in most games but is slightly weaker then the 8800 GTX in most.
Do you want dual graphics cards? For NVIDIA it's called SLI for ATI it's called Crossfire.
If you have a 30" screen or 27" screen (" = inches) you may want to have two graphics to boost your performance.
The dual 8800 GTXes would your best choice under Window XP the dual 2900XT 1GB memory not 512 but !GB memory would the best choice under Windows VISTA though it is not recommended you get Windows VISTA because it sucks at gaming (decreased framerates and unpolished edges). However it does have Directx 10.0 (software) that allows for better lighting and has other features in games. The Windows XP only has Directx 9.0c which doesn't have some features. For most people they will say that VISTA's eye candy is not worth the trouble.

The fourth thing for Gaming PC is a monitor or screen or TV if you want to.
Do you want a small or big monitor or HDTV (all big monitor are widescreen which will makes some games look bad) 17"? 19"? 20"? 22"? 24"? 30"? 32"? 37"? 42"? 50"? 60"? all depends on budget and preference.
The bigger the monitor the higher the resolution the higher the resolution the lower the framerates which why i said to consider dual graphics cards for monitors bigger then a 24".

The fifth is your harddrive.
Do have alot of media music, movies and other things? or do you just play games?
If your answers is just games you want 150GB Raptor harddrive they are made for gaming and fast applications. For even more performance you can set up harddrives in RAID (basically you have multiple harddrives set up to increase performance)
If you watch movies and listen to music more then games then you want any standard Seagate harddrive with lots of room like 500GB or bigger.
If your answers is I do both alot you maybe want a Raptor to install your operating system (XP or vista just in case you dont know) and then keep the media files on a big normal harddrive.

The sixth thing is your RAM or memory the standards these days are 2GB for XP and 4GB for vista 64 bit ONLY.
Most gamers go with 800 Mhz RAM from one of these brand names. OCZ, Crosair, Cruical Ballistix, Patriot, G.Skill, and Super Talent.
For 2GB you'll want 2x1gb sticks for 4 GB you'll want 4x1gb sticks

The seventh thing is your computer case.
Case you'll want a big stylish case with good airflow to keep your components cool. The best recommendation from me is the thermaltake armor series VA8000BWS you can shove the kitchen sink in there and still have room to assmeble a computer. for a better looking and cheaper choice you can go with the NZXT Apollo. or for silent performance you want the Antec Sonata II or III it's not good looking but it does a good job of shutting up loud components and keeps things cool.

Next thing you want is cooling for your computer. the better the cooling the better the overclocking/life of the hardware.

Do you want good cooling? Great cooling? Xtreme cooling?
good cooling would be air cooling which basically means a good fan with a chunk of copper we call heatsinks. A good has a high RPM (rounds per minute) rating and is silent enough that it wont bother you. The best CPU cooling is would be something like the thermalright 120 Extreme, the Tuniq tower, Zal 9500 or 9700. the cheaper ones would be Arctic cooling freezer pro 7. Graphics card cooling is just too many kinds to mention but you can research it later. with air cooling you cpu would idle maybe at 30-40 graphics card maybe 50-60
Great cooling would be water cooling (water cooling is more risky but gets better temprature results then air cooling) some good ones could be swiftech H120 preium, the koolance EX2 external, the Zalman ZM (it's big)
They all either cool your cpu or both your cpu and graphics card. with water cooling your cpu would idle 20-35 and graphics card would be 40-50 maybe 30 if your room is cooling enough
Xtreme cooling would only be used for breaking world records if you are curious it's Liquid nitrogen (-196c) dry ice i dont it's temprature.

The last but nor least thing is your sound card and speakers.
Do you really care about sound? o
If you only care about what you see then every mobo comes with a onboard soundcard jsut leave it at that with cheaper speakers.
If you care about the quality of sound you hear then you want a pci soundcard. the only obvious choice for a gamer is the Creative labs X-treme gamer 7.1 audio card. it will basically satify all your ears needs. A good set of speakers could be any 5.1 or 7.1 speakers with bass controler and surround sound.

Misc stuff would a physics processer to get better framerates and more eye candy in certain games. a good lan card for internet gaming with less lag or a bunch of friends to show off your pc too. hope you learned at least something from this 5 page speech.
September 20, 2007 9:36:11 PM

Alright, itotallybe lieveyou, thanks for the advice! You just gave me the same fever because I'm about to churn out a post that's even longer than yours ;) . First things first, I live in the United States and California rules! My budget is around $1000-1500, although I was thinking about going for overkill at just over $2,000. After consulting with a few family friends, they said that spending $2,000 on computer parts was just overkill, to which if I had the money, I might get a really really supped up machine. They also said something about how I could build one for just over $1,000 and it would easily meet my gaming requirements and do more than enough. Please give me any extra details that you can shell out and be prepared for a massive ordinance payload of questions ...

1) CPU: AMD vs Intel

Quote (itotallybe lieveyou): [If AMD is what you like you'll want the FX 6000+ ($160) at 3.0Ghz/6400+ 3.2 Ghz ($250). The higher the Ghz the better. each core has the clock speed so 2x3.0 Ghz is 6.0Ghz and 2x3.2Ghz is 6.4Ghz
If Intel is your answer then you have a choice of Dual cores and quad cores most people these days go for the Q6600 ($280) or E6750 ($200) . E6750 is 2 cores at 2.66Ghz 2x2.66 you get the idea... the Q6600 is 4 cores however 4 core is a new technology and is not ultilized by most games.
If you don't care for brands go for the Q6600 it's the safe/future proof choice]

Gourmet's thoughts: From my understanding and from what I read, the CPU is the main and central brain of the computer, right? Bear with me, I'm really not fond of electronic components. I have read a small amount about Intel and although I don't know much about AMD, I have heard that AMD is very good at what they make and their hardware is efficient, cheap, and reliable. From what I have read about Intel, the Pentium D model and down was almost complete shiet because for the past 5 years before 2006, Pentium sold and produced some very cruddy designs on the market that were both energy guzzlers and inefficient at using computer resources. I also read something about how after the Q6600 was made, Pentium made its major comeback with a cheap to produce, energy efficient, and reliable CPU (don't know the details so I can't say anything more).

My old computer is a Pentium 4 processor and with most games I play, it's only my patience that keeps me from pulling my hair out. I HATE lag more than anything else and if it were something I could destroy, I would burn a million times.

Could you please elaborate and compare Pentium after they came out with some good designs as well as comparing AMD? Can you tell me about energy efficiency and what the CPU does to the computer? I want to know the ins and outs of my computer so that I'll be able to up grade when the time comes. Would the AMD FX 6000 + better than the Q6600? To what extend will games not run with Q6600?

2) Motherboard:

Quote (itotallybe lieveyou): [Every computer needs a good motherboard. But for gaming computers you want a stable overclocking (Pushing you components beyond there recommended speeds) board.

The best board out right now is the Asus extreme striker ($300) for an Intel CPU other choices would the asus p5k series or gigabyte.
The best board for AMD cpu is probably Asus Crosshair ($250) or ASUS M2N32-SLI Premium ($210).]

Gourmet's thoughts: Although I don’t know entirely about the motherboard, I notice that with the Asus extreme striker that it has an Nvidia graphics card in there and from what some of my family friends say, it's probably not good to have a graphics card if I want to keep updating. Could you tell me something about that and how good Asus is?

3) Graphics Card:

Quote (itotallybe lieveyou): [Third and most important thing is your graphics card (GPU graphics processing unit)

Do you prefer ATI or NVIDIA (the only two major competitors)?
For ATI you'll want the only card that will run "top notch" games at max settings the 2900 XT ($350-400).

For NVIDIA you'll want the 8800 GTS ($300-$350) or GTX ($500-$700) to give you an idea the 2900 XT out performs the 8800 GTS in most games but is slightly weaker then the 8800 GTX in most.

Do you want dual graphics cards? For NVIDIA it's called SLI for ATI it's called Crossfire.

If you have a 30" screen or 27" screen (" = inches) you may want to have two graphics to boost your performance.

The dual 8800 GTXes would your best choice under Window XP the dual 2900XT 1GB memory not 512 but !GB memory would the best choice under Windows VISTA though it is not recommended you get Windows VISTA because it sucks at gaming (decreased framerates and unpolished edges). However it does have Directx 10.0 (software) that allows for better lighting and has other features in games. The Windows XP only has Directx 9.0c, which doesn't have some features. For most people they will say that VISTA's eye candy is not worth the trouble.]

Gourmet's thoughts: What's the difference between NVIDIA and ATI? I have no clue on what each company supports and what each of their products offers. I have heard that Vista slows down the computer with DDR and with many other problems and that it was better to stick with XP for now. Can't really say much or choose from Intel or AMD until I get a good comparison on the two.

4) Monitor:

Quote (itotallybe lieveyou): [The fourth thing for Gaming PC is a monitor or screen or TV if you want to. Do you want a small or big monitor or HDTV (all big monitor are wide-screen which will makes some games look bad) 17"? 19"? 20"? 22"? 24"? 30"? 32"? 37"? 42"? 50"? 60"?

All depends on budget and preference. The bigger the monitor the higher the resolution the higher the resolution the lower the frame rates which why I said to consider dual graphics cards for monitors bigger then a 24".]

Gourmet's thoughts: With all the options, 19" will do, although can you tell me about the other wide-screen sizes and what the benefits and disadvantages are to all of them? Could you also give me some options about good quality monitors and which models would be cost efficient as well as which monitor companies give me reliable monitors?

5) Hard drive:

Quote (itotallybe lieveyou): [Do have alot of media music, movies and other things? or do you just play games? If your answers is just games you want 150GB Raptor harddrive they are made for gaming and fast applications. For even more performance you can set up harddrives in RAID (basically you have multiple harddrives set up to increase performance)

If you watch movies and listen to music more then games then you want any standard Seagate harddrive with lots of room like 500GB or bigger.
If your answers is I do both alot you maybe want a Raptor to install your operating system (XP or vista just in case you dont know) and then keep the media files on a big normal harddrive.]

Gourmet's thoughts: I play lots of games, listen a ton of music, and I watch a sizeable portion of movies (not overboard, but not a small number either). I'd fill up my hard drive space with whatever movies I can get my hands on, so if I had the hard drive space (500 gigs +), that'd be a major kudos. We'll make that 600 gigs + since I like both being on the safe side and storing as much music, games, and movies that I can get my hands on. It gets to be a real hassle when I have to uninstall games and prioritize. Hell, I'll go for 1 terra-byte since I'm a greedy greedy memory guzzler >8D.

Can you elaborate on RAID and Seagate and tell me how reliable they are? I'm not familiar with multiple hard drives and I remember reading about some computer builders having problems with spacing and that sort. Another family friend worked with my HP Pavillion a255c and I remember hooking a 100 gb attacheable/unattacheable hard drive (to which he said something about spacing the hard drives apart so that they don't touch each other, overheat, melt, and then cause a spark fire, which would just kill the entire system altogether.

6) RAM:

Quote (itotallybe lieveyou): [The sixth thing is your RAM or memory the standards these days are 2GB for XP and 4GB for vista 64 bit ONLY.
Most gamers go with 800 Mhz RAM from one of these brand names. OCZ, Crosair, Cruical Ballistix, Patriot, G.Skill, and Super Talent.
For 2GB you'll want 2x1gb sticks for 4 GB you'll want 4x1gb sticks]

Gourmet's thoughts: What do you have to say about PRAM? One of my friends told me something about how PRAM was coming out sometimes this year or next and said something about how that technology would be very reliable. Also, if you have 2x1 gb sticks for XP, can you also do 4x1 gb sticks for XP or would that be overkill? Can you also tell me how reliable each of the brand names are and what you would you personally suggest?

7) Computer case:

Quote (itotallybe lieveyou ): [The seventh thing is your computer case.
Case you'll want a big stylish case with good airflow to keep your components cool. The best recommendation from me is the thermaltake armor series VA8000BWS you can shove the kitchen sink in there and still have room to assmeble a computer. for a better looking and cheaper choice you can go with the NZXT Apollo. or for silent performance you want the Antec Sonata II or III it's not good looking but it does a good job of shutting up loud components and keeps things cool.]

Gourmet's thoughts: So ... VA8000BWS, NZXT Apollo (cheaper and better looking), and the silent, but ugly Antec Sonatas II or III. Are these the only computer cases out there or are there other ones that might actually be very suitable for purchase too? Is the NZXT Apollo as big as the VA8000BWS or slightly smaller? From the makers from all 3 of these cases, how good are each of the company's products and how do each of these cases compare to one another? Is the Antec Sonata II or III as big as the VA8000BWS and how quiet are the VA8000BWS and NZXT Apollo compared to the Antec Sonata II or III? Can you also tell me where I could probably get the best deals off of buying these cases?

8) Cooling:

Quote (itotallybe lieveyou): [Next thing you want is cooling for your computer. the better the cooling the better the overclocking/life of the hardware.

Do you want good cooling? Great cooling? Xtreme cooling?
good cooling would be air cooling which basically means a good fan with a chunk of copper we call heatsinks. A good has a high RPM (rounds per minute) rating and is silent enough that it wont bother you. The best CPU cooling is would be something like the thermalright 120 Extreme, the Tuniq tower, Zal 9500 or 9700. the cheaper ones would be Arctic cooling freezer pro 7. Graphics card cooling is just too many kinds to mention but you can research it later. with air cooling you cpu would idle maybe at 30-40 graphics card maybe 50-60

Great cooling would be water cooling (water cooling is more risky but gets better temprature results then air cooling) some good ones could be swiftech H120 preium, the koolance EX2 external, the Zalman ZM (it's big)

They all either cool your cpu or both your cpu and graphics card. with water cooling your cpu would idle 20-35 and graphics card would be 40-50 maybe 30 if your room is cooling enough

Xtreme cooling would only be used for breaking world records if you are curious it's Liquid nitrogen (-196c) dry ice i dont it's temprature.

Gourmet's thoughts: I'm guessing that RPM means the number of fan cycles that the fan goes through? Which of the CPU cooling units that you listed are ones that you would suggest getting? Could you also give me a few decent choices on graphics card cooling? (I thought it wouldn't hurt to get an opinion from you or some other people about what good graphics card cooling units there are so I thought I might ask). When you say air cooling what are the numbers you mentioned associated with when you said 30-40, maybe 50-60?

I also read in another thread that water-cooling was a pretty bad choice and I remember another one, but I can't remember what it is. Could you tell me why water-cooling is risky and what alternative solutions there would be to them? I read somewhere that people who knew what they were doing and knew how to work water-cooling to their advantage would custom make their own water cooling systems or something to that manner. Also, when you say Xtreme cooling, I'm assuming that it is not water-cooling and something else? Could you elaborate on what water cooling does and what Xtreme cooling does and if it's just liquid nitrogen? Could you also give me some names of companies that make for Xtreme cooling units (just want the information)? Out of all 3, which of the cooling systems would be the safest and which manufactorers would you suggest?

8) Sound card and speakers and other things:

Quote (itotallybe lieveyou): [The last but nor least thing is your sound card and speakers.
Do you really care about sound? o
If you only care about what you see then every mobo comes with a onboard soundcard jsut leave it at that with cheaper speakers.
If you care about the quality of sound you hear then you want a pci soundcard. the only obvious choice for a gamer is the Creative labs X-treme gamer 7.1 audio card. it will basically satify all your ears needs. A good set of speakers could be any 5.1 or 7.1 speakers with bass controler and surround sound.

Misc stuff would a physics processer to get better framerates and more eye candy in certain games. a good lan card for internet gaming with less lag or a bunch of friends to show off your pc too. hope you learned at least something from this 5 page speech.]

Gourmet's thoughts: For sound card, I guess if the extra money will get some good quality sound and I figure soundcard shouldn't be too expensive, right? I guess I'll take your word for Creative labs X-treme gamer 7.1 audio card. Speakers wise, I'm *definitely* not getting Bose because I know some excellent sound experts and they say that Bose speakers are almost complete shiet, unrefined in their development, and marketing crap. What do you think about sound quality and can you tell me if it's worth the extra money to get physics processor and a LAN card?

For buying my parts, the closest and most easily accessible stores to get my parts are from Frys-Electronics and Best buy, but I am not sure if they sell these units. Where do suggest that I can get some good deals on some of this high-end technology? I'm open to any stores and websites that are reliable and sell good deals (except E-bay).
September 21, 2007 6:30:56 AM

Just topping so that this doesn't go unnoticed
September 21, 2007 7:18:29 AM

I haven't read your whole post and will update this accordingly but first off the Striker Extreme is not the best socket 775 board out it just happens to be one of the most expensive. The Striker has the Nvidia 680i chipset which are two chips on the board (Northbridge and Southbridge) which control and direct information throughout the board, it does not have a graphics card of any kind as usually only micro-ATX come with integrated graphics.

Nvidia vs. ATI: Currently the fastest video cards available are from Nvidia so if you want the best that would be your choice. This part ties directly into your next question though as you said the a 19in monitor is all you need and for that size the GTS320 or the 2900 XT would be more than capable.

As for brands of monitor you really can't say that one is always good. Viewsonic is a good brand and so is Dell, Benq, Hanns-g and Samsung among others. It depends on the actual model because every manufacturer has some bad products in their lines.

On to the harddrives, I have had luck in the past with Seagate drives and am using them in my current machine but I would have a hard time recommending them at this point due to a recent rash of problems people have been having with them. The Samsung Spin Point is just about the cheapest and one of the best 7200 RPM drives you can get at this time and if I were to make a recommendation that would be the one. As for size it's up to you but 500gb is currently the lowest dollar per gb price and is likely your best option.

Next up is memory. RAM prices change often and there are many good manufacturers out there (many of which use the same actual chips) so choosing you RAM should be done when you are actually ordering. If you are using XP you really don't need more than 2gb and you should just look for a quality brand with good timings. Just to give an example http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... this is a good product with timings of 4-4-4-12 and it's $55 after rebate.

Cases are a very subjective thing. There are many that would say that you should just get the cheapest available because it's just a box to hold your stuff while others like me might disagree. This http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... is my case, not the cheapest by far but I feel it was worth every penny. Some things to consider when choosing a case are thins like do you want a door, do you want a window, how many USB or Firewire ports do you want and where are they located. One of the things I hate about the NZXT cases is their placement of the front panel connectors (USB, Firewire, Headphones) on the right side of the front bezel at the bottom where they are very difficult to reach. Good brands are Silverstone, Lian-Li, Coolermaster, Antec and Thermaltake. Another thing to consider when choosing a case is the bling factor and how much that matters to you.

Air cooling works just fine and is the least expensive option. A good air cooler can be had for about $20 the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro and they go all the way up to the best the Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme. Other good coolers are the Tuniq Tower, Thermalright Ultra 120 and Zalman 9700. The two best watercooling companies are Swiftech and Danger Den and as for things like phase change there is the Asetek VapoChill.

Sound card and speakers: If you like quality sound then get both, it doesn't make any sense to run crappy speaker off a good card and vice versa. Logitech and Klipsch both make outstanding computer speakers.

Physics card NO! a total waste of money, getting a network card is the same.
September 24, 2007 8:16:38 AM

Alright so I have done a bit of research and customer review reviewing and this is my list. Please give me feedback on this and give me suggestions as well as where I might look to find out if I can get a better deal (in terms of better technology for cheaper/better prices). AUsch30, thanks for the advice and I want to ask you about the Seagate hard drives and the Striker Extreme. For the Seagate drives, where do you base most of your claims? I mean have you looked at forums and review cites and can you tell me where you heard most of the complaints for them were?

For the Striker Extreme, what do you have to say about it not being one of the best Motherboards out there? I mean if it isn't can you give me some suggestions as to what mother board I should choose if not the Striker Extreme? I am open to suggestions as I know very little about these electronic components in general.
September 24, 2007 8:17:37 AM

1) CPU: Intel Q6600

2) Motherboard: Asus Extreme striker

3) Graphics Card: ATI 2900XT

4) Monitor: 19 inch – Open to suggestions

5) Hard drive: SAMSUNG SpinPoint T Series HD501LJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

6) RAM: G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)

7) Computer case: Open to suggestions

8) Cooling: Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme CPU Cooler

8) Sound card: Creative labs X-treme gamer 7.1 audio card

9) Speakers: Logitech speakers – Open to suggestions


I am open to suggestions and I wanted to know what some of you peeps thought about this. Please critique me and give pointers where they are necessary ...
September 24, 2007 12:41:15 PM

If you need the ability to run SLI then the Striker is a good board but there are still a few I would suggest before it. My board the P5N32-E SLI is exactly the same as the Striker except for a e-sata port and power, reset, and reset cmos bottons on the board and it's $100 cheaper. You can buy a e-sata card for $10 and unless you use an open test bench the buttons are pretty much useless, why would you reach inside to press power or reset when you can just do it on your case and I have overclocked my board a lot and have never had to reset the cmos. Lastly, the 680i chipset boards have had issues throughout their existance, most of these have been worked out through BIOS revisions and board revisions but you still run the risk when buying one of getting one with problems.

Your buying one video card and one hard drive do you really need capabilities like RAID or SLI or do you just want a solid board which overclocks well and will be upgradeable beyond even the next generation of CPU's, if your answer is yes then look at this

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


If you want the same but with the ability to RAID in the future then

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And if your looking for something with all the bells and whistles then

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The only thing about the last on there is it only supports DDR3 which is the future but at this time is very expensive.

As for Seagate as I stated before, I have always had luck with their drives and really haven't had reason to buy another companies product. That being said I can't dismiss all the reports I've read on various forums and message boards about their drives and the problems people have been having with them. Their newest series of drives, the 7200.11, should be out soon and might resolve some of the issues but until then I think you would be better off with the Samsung you chose.

This is my drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
September 24, 2007 8:52:40 PM

Quote:
each core has the clock speed so 2x3.0 Ghz is 6.0Ghz and 2x3.2Ghz is 6.4Ghz

Uh, not even close....but it's a great concept.

Quote:
Would the AMD FX 6000 + better than the Q6600? To what extend will games not run with Q6600?

If AMD even made the FX6000+ it still wouldn't even come close to competing with the C2Q, Intel beats AMD at EVERYTHING.
AMD does make a FX-60 and FX-70 series line of processors that are comparable with the X2 5000+ and X2 6000+ series in terms of performance and architecture but that's where the similarities end.
If i were building a new system which I'm not......there would only be 1 choice for me (Q6600), reasons why include the fact that it's inexpensive and smokes anything AMD currently sells, future games will begin to rely more on 4-core architecture.
A lot of us are more than a little pissed off at AMD because the new "yet to be released" K10 Phenom which shares Barcelona architecture but requires a new motherboard utilizing the revised AM2+ socket for optimum performance, not to mention the news of another socket change called "AM3".
I'm a little sick of this musical motherboard chairs, I'm jumping ship and swimming away from AMD's fray.
When i bought the AM2 board i was under the impression that it was here to stay..........wrong again.
This is a terrible time to build a pc with new technology hitting the streets from every corner, let's wait until the dust settles before setttling on a particular platform.
For graphics there is only 1 choice if you want the best, NVIDIA based 8800GTS 320MB, 2 of these in SLI outperform a single 8800GTX 768MB.
For RAID (redundant array of independent disks) there are several options, RAID(0), RAID(1), RAID(0+1)....the most popular for gamers is RAID(0) with it's increased read/write speed, RAID(1) has the advantage of letting you easily rebuild the system should a drive fail since all the data is backed up on both drives, with RAID(0) if you lose a drive all data is lost and you start from scratch, RAID(0+1) offers the best of both worlds......speed and redundancy.
Personally i run a pair of Seagate 320's in RAID(1), it runs plenty fast for me and provides 160GB of storage space.
Currently the newer DDR3 RAM is still not as fast as the tried and true DDR2, time will tell if the DDR3 memrory is worth the increased cost.
XP needs a maximum of 2GB of RAM, whereas Vista needs 2GB just for the desktop, Vista is truly a resource hog IMHO, personally i can live without the additional eye candy.
My fingers are tired now so i'll take a break and let some others voice their opinions as well..........cya

Folding@Home
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September 24, 2007 9:14:50 PM

Wow, some really long messages in this thread... Just my 2 cents: Striker Extreme + ATI card doesn't make sense to me. If he's getting a Striker Extreme (or, smarter, P5N32-E SLI), he should combine it with a 8800 GTX. This way the SLI option is still there, i.e. he can add a second card later. Alternatively, if he likes the HD2900XT, he should get a good CrossFire motherboard (wait a week for an X38, or get a P5W-DH).
September 25, 2007 8:35:34 AM

I'm new to this RAID stuff, could you elaborate more on it? Please give me some advice as you feel fit.

1) CPU: Intel Q6600

2) Motherboard: ASUS P5K-V LGA 775 Intel G33 ATX Intel Motherboard

3) Graphics Card: ATI 2900XT

4) Monitor: BenQ FP222W Black 22" 5ms DVI Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 700:1

5) Hard drive: SAMSUNG SpinPoint T Series HD501LJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

6) RAM: G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)

7) Computer case: Thermaltake Armor Series VA8003BWS Black Full Tower Case w/ 25CM Fan

8) Cooling: Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme CPU Cooler

8) Sound card: Suggestions?

9) Speakers: Logitech Z-5500 505 Watts 5.1 Speaker
September 25, 2007 2:31:42 PM

The motherboard you chose has Intel's new value chipset (G33) with integrated graphics. You can add a video card but why would you pay for integrated graphics if you don't plan on using it. That series of chipset is primarily for office computer use and you would be better off with the P35 chipset.

The speakers you chose are good so you will want to combine them with a quality sound card. This http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... is a good sound card and if you can live without EAX would be a good choice. This http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... is also a good card which supports EAX.

Definition of EAX
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_audio_extens...

Definition of RAID
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redundant_array_of_indepen...
September 26, 2007 9:37:01 AM

Whoof, I just did a calculation and recheck of the prices on newegg and they amount to approximately $2097.90 (without the mail in rebates). I am surprised that my computer went up to that amount and now that I look at it, I'm starting to wonder if I went overboard with upping the specs for this computer. I mean, I have no problem with going overboard, in fact, going overboard is what I usually like doing, but I just want an opinion from all of you.

Also, I want to implement RAID into my computer and I was wondering I'd be able to put it in.
September 26, 2007 10:10:10 AM

Gourmet said:
I apologize for wasting forum space, but I am very new to Tom's Hardware and am looking to build myself a new computer. I am completely lost and I do not know where to start, where to go for information, and how I should select my parts to determine what computer is worthwhile. If anyone can help, could anyone tell me what essential components are needed build a computer and what parts make up the system. I want to build a fast computer that is suitable for top-notch gaming and something that can multi-task. Any information would be appreciated.



I suggest you speak to someone who is knowledgeable in building PCs and knows what the hell they're talking about. A PC tech from a computer store or reputable organization would be a good start as they can point you in the right direction. I'm talking about an experienced professional here and not some wannabe 15yr old tech-geek that you'd find on freak forums. Building a PC can be a complex process and requires a lot of patience. It's not overly difficult per se but does require some planning and persistence.
September 26, 2007 12:28:06 PM

bitrate said:
not some wannabe 15yr old tech-geek that you'd find on freak forums.


I'm a 37yr old electrical engineer and I've built hundreds of systems for myself, friends and family over the years. This is a hobby and most people around here know more than any pimple faced Geek Squad employee. Building a computer does take planning and knowledge but the OP is currently doing the planning and should read several online resources to gain the knowledge. If you consider these to be freak forums as you said, you don't need to be a member.
September 27, 2007 2:27:55 AM

Really, this thread doesn't need any name calling or insults. Let's be professional about everything and get things done. I am simply a beginner and am requesting advice. Would I be here if I wanted to get advice from a tech store employee? I'd darn near shoot myself if I put my trust into a multi-billion dollar corporation and some random techies at some random computer store over people who know what they're doing. Why? Because I want to get the most out of my money and not pay three times the money for obsolete technology that costs three times less if I bought the parts myself. I don't want to get into details so we'll just leave it at that.

I have recently read and been told that there is a difference between virtual and physical RAM. I'm not sure what the differences are, but in an article, it said that games can still be slow without a lot of virtual RAM. Also, in some cases, RAID (0) can be superior to RAID (5) and in other cases, RAID (5) can be vastly superior to RAID (0). Anything to say about that?
September 27, 2007 3:12:23 AM

bitrate said:
I suggest you speak to someone who is knowledgeable in building PCs and knows what the hell they're talking about. A PC tech from a computer store or reputable organization would be a good start as they can point you in the right direction.
Comments like these are why I read THG forumz. HAHAHA, yeah go to your local computer store and get your advice. Priceless :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :lol: 
a b à CPUs
September 27, 2007 3:54:39 AM

Excellent point, Gourmet! The name calling and insults don't really help, do they? You are simply asking for people's OPINIONS, based on personal experience and knowledge. Thus, an opinion is not really right or wrong necessarily, just one person's point of view.

Don't let experts intimidate you into buying something you're not sure about, or spend more than you need.

For a newbie, I would say raid is a little complicated and you are not likely to notice the benefits with your first build. One hard drive should be fine.

As for the rest, I agree that the striker may be overkill for a first build. You can find a nice home for your processor in the $100-130 range. Use the reviews on new egg, as they are based on personal experience (for the most part). Stuff with 4-5 eggs, you will almost never be disappointed with.

As long as you are getting a power supply capable of running your video card (500w min, 600 watt min for 2 vid cards is a good place to start looking), you should have plenty of power to run everything else.

That's about it, research on new egg and tiger direct etc will help you shave a few dollars here and there and get you down to a price you can live with.

Good luck, and have fun!

ps: raid 0 is accomplished with 2 hard drives. It results in very speedy performance. However, if one drive fails, you lose everything. Also, you have half data capacity; if you have 2 hard drives at 500gb each, you will have only 500Gb total available. Gamers like raid 0.

Raid 5 is quite differrent, and requires 3 drives. Your data will have MUCH better protection, if one drive fails you can replace it and rebuild the array. Your capacity will be greater, it is the sum of all drives minus the capacity of one. 500 +500+500= 1000GB of total hard drive space.
Raid 5 has the quickest read speeds of all the raids, which makes it seem good for gaming. However, more drives means more overall drive ACCESS time, which is bad for games.

Very simplistic explanation, and I'm sure some people will say I don't know what I'm talking about. But think of it this way:
Raid 5 - Excellent for storage and protection, good for a server.
Raid 0 -poor storage and protection, excellent for gaming powerhouse.
a b à CPUs
September 27, 2007 4:23:53 AM

Ok Gourmet. I really have to say that I think you are getting too deep into some aspects of the computer. Worrying about virtual and physical memory is not going to benefit you.

From you talking about that I see that you are more of a junkie than you realize. ;) 

Keep your build simple but cover the major aspects. If you listen to everyone here you will spend 1/2 of your budget on the video card and will have to skimp on other components and that isn't good either.

The process of building is very basic. There are approximately 26 steps to building a system.

Read this to get a basic intelligent idea of what you really want to spend and what parts you want to obtain. There is a balance that makes sense and theres a balance that makes sense for you.

Please read: (This is an old article but may help u to think correctly about buying the correct parts)

http://www.fcw.com/print/11_27/news/89501-1.html

I will give you this bit of advice and you take if from there. If you go to most any site that sells computer parts you will find the current fastest CPU's for over 1.000.00. Are they fast, definitely. But only for todays standards. Believe it or not there were some pentium 4 processors that cost over 1,000.00 not too long ago and I have one of them in a drawer not being used!

The moral of my post is this. Don't overspend on hardware you will only discard in 2 years. You're family is right about how much you can spend to do what you want.

Be selective on price vs performance. You don't have a 5,000.00 budget and even if you did you would still have to be selective buying high end parts.

A good example is this. The AMD 6000+ is 160.00 and will get you thru the next 2 maybe 3 years of gaming. A comparable intel is the 6600, not the Q6600. Which is about 100.00 more.

Everyone can debate about going with Intel over AMD because you can get a faster CPU without buying another motherboard and other major components. I totally agree with this as being an option but you need to think about it in this way too that when the time comes to upgrade or build again do you really think all you will want to do is change the CPU while everyone else is getting the new processors that will still beat your system hands down even with your upgrade? Maybe, maybe not.

I have built many systems and I know this... No matter how much you spend you can always spend more and the hardware that you buy at any level has its limits and will be obsolete in due time so my advice to you is to get a good upper mid range CPU such as the AMD 6000 or the Intel 6600.

Neither of those chips will break your wallet so badly you cant afford the good components you need to balance your system.

I have been an ASUS user for the last 4+ years and have recently starting using Gigabyte. I highly recommend either brands. I would spend 100.00 to 150.00 for a good SLI capable motherboard.

To try to sum the pricing up for you heres a list:

Power supply 100.00
Case 100.00
CPU 200.00
Motherboard 150.00
Video Card 400.00
Memory 150.00
DVD D/L Drive 35.00
20" Monitor 250.00
K/B & Mouse 60.00
Windows XP 140.00
Hard Drive 70.00

Check to see if your processor comes with a fan. If so you dont need thermal paste. If it doesn't then you will need to add around 60.00 or so for a custom heatsink/fan combo and thermal paste.


You are @ 1655.00 and add tax. This system will play anything you want to play for the next 2-3 years. If you want to cut the cost a little then stay with the AMD 6000+ CPU and go for the 8800GTS 320MB card. Later for a Christmas or Birthday present you can get a second video card and Bamo!

Keep in mind when you add the second video card you may have to get a higher wattage power supply too. Start out with a 550 watt or higher if possible.

We could speculate, type and read all day long but ultimately you will need to do what is right for you.

You are doing the right thing by talking to others and trying to find out as much as you can before you spend your hard earned money...

Let us know what you decide since we all have a stake in your cause by writing books to your response!

Best of luck to you!
September 27, 2007 4:41:32 AM

buzznut you had a lot of good points but I would cahange that from just a 500 or 600w PSU to a quality PSU. For a system with one GTX something like the PC P&C 510 or one of the Corsairs or Seasonic would be a good choice and with 2 GTX's the same brands in a 600-700w model depending on what else is in the system. With a Quad core and a performance motherboard and RAM and 2 GTX's I would go with something like the Silencer 750. Point being that there is nothing sexy about a PSU but it is the only part in your system which every other component depends on and you should really be sure to spend a few extra dollars to get a good one.

With everything else the OP would be just fine with a E6750 and a $99 Gigabyte P35 board, 2 gigs of RAM for about $90 and a $110 hard drive. Right there is most of the system and it's about $500, add a case and the monitor you want a sound card and some decent speakers and with the addition of a GTX you would easily be between $1200 and $1500 and you could even tame it down a little more with the GTS 640 and you should be just over $1000.

As for Newegg reviews what I do is look at the percentage of people that gave the product 4 or 5 eggs and if it's 90% or more you can be fairly certain that it's a good product. After that I read through the reviews and if more than a couple people have the same complaint then you can consider it a valid concern.

I buy all my products from Newegg but you might want to shop around and if so check out Zipzoomfly, Newegg, Tiger Direct (I have bought from them but never will again), Buy.com, type the product into Google and look for the lowest price and then check the company out on Reseller Ratings.

Definition of virtual memory
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_memory
September 27, 2007 4:49:38 AM

englandr753 said:

A good example is this. The AMD 6000+ is 160.00 and will get you thru the next 2 maybe 3 years of gaming. A comparable intel is the 6600, not the Q6600. Which is about 100.00 more.






The E6600 is no longer worth considering, at this point you can get a E6750 which is much better than a 6000+ for about $20 more than the AMD.
September 27, 2007 4:58:35 AM

buzznut said:
Use the reviews on new egg, as they are based on personal experience (for the most part). Stuff with 4-5 eggs, you will almost never be disappointed with.
You do need to be a little careful with the reviews on Newegg, some of those can be seriuosly misleading. You need to try to gauge the posters experience, as you do everywhere I guess, but more so on Newegg.
September 27, 2007 8:47:19 AM

There are some Newegg users, who claims a chip OCing from 2.4Ghz to 2.8Ghz is the "best overclocking chip ever". My E6300 does 2.8Ghz from 1.83Ghz, with stock voltage.

Also, there are some users who would give 1 egg, just because the chip is not overclockable.

So yeh, as Zorg said, you need to pay more attention to users review on Newegg. Some of them don't even make sense.
!