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Advice on New System Build

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December 26, 2007 3:18:40 PM

Hi,

I am looking to build a new system. I have always been a store bought computer buying, just walking in to the store and picking up a system already built for me but I have been thinking about building my own for quite some time.

As far as what my wife and I currently use the computer for: general internet surfing (although wife wants to start to download music), e-mail, some gaming (simulation games like SimCity or Age of Empires, other games like Syberia).

We would possibly like a system that we could use to watch/record television shows.

It has been awhile since I've looked at new computers so I am not really sure where to start. I don't really know what type of components to be looking at and what is good enough for what I want to do. I want something that will work great for what we want to do now but also not become outdated very quickly. Can I get any suggestions?

Thanks in advance,

More about : advice system build

December 26, 2007 4:51:48 PM

Anywhere between 500-1000 probably. I still need to get a new monitor also and whatever I build will need an OS.
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December 26, 2007 5:25:55 PM

Here's a sub-$1000 system I worked up for someone else - might help to get you started:

Processor Intel Core 2 Duo E4550 $124.99
Motherboard ABIT IP35V $97.99
Video Card SAPPHIRE 100206L Radeon HD 2600PRO 256MB $74.99
Memory Corsair 2GB ValueSelect DDR2-667 $38.99
Hard Drive Western Digital Caviar SE16 320GB $79.99
Optical Drive Samsung SH-S203B $30.99
Case Antec NSK 4480 w/380W PSU $74.95
Display Hanns-G HW-191DPB Black 19" 5ms Widescreen DVI (1440x900) $169.99
Operating System Microsoft Vista Home Premium OEM $109.99

Optional Peripherals:

Speakers
Logitech R-20 12W 2.1 $18.99
Mouse Microsoft N71-00007S USB Wired Optical $9.99
Keyboard LITE-ON SK-1788/BS 2-Tone PS/2 Wired $6.99

TOTAL (From Newegg.com): $838.84
without Optional Peripherals: $802.87
December 26, 2007 5:55:59 PM

Well, for this type of system, you will be mainly going for Storage rather than speed. Especially since you will be recording TV shows.

You will definatly want to check out Http://www.newegg.com. They are very reputable and have a wide selection of different computer parts.

Here is a picture of what you would probably need, will be fairly upgradable for the future.

CPU: Intel E2140 $70
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16819116037

Mobo: Gigabyte GA-P31-S3G $73
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16813128077

Memory: Wintec Ampo DDR2-800 2GB: $36.50
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16820161172

Video: Gigabyte GV-NX86T256H 8600GT 256MB Video Card: $110
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16814125070

Video Capture: Hauppage WinTV-HVR 150 MCE Bundle: $210
http://www.pcalchemy.com/product_info.php/cPath/54/products_id/140
Comes with Wondows XP Media Center Edition, Remote, PVR Tuner Card, DVD Decoder

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar 500GB: $100
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16822136178

Case: Cooler Master Centurion 534: $50
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16811119104

Power Supply: Rosewill RV-430 430W: $35
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16817182064

DVD/CD Drive: Samsung 20x DVD/CD Burner: $30
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16827151154

Monitor: Acer 20" 2ms LCD DVI Monitor: $190
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16824009131

Total Cost (Everything): ~$904
Assuming you have a Keyboard, mouse and speakers.


All of this hardware should work with Windows Vista, as well as Windows XP and Windows Media Center Edition. You may want to go with Windows Media Center Edition. I would recommend going to http://www.pcalchemy.com and selecting one of their bundles. If you just want to install Windows XP Home, you have this option.

Windows XP Home: $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116056

AND

Sage TV 6/PVR 150MCE: $139.95
http://www.pcalchemy.com/product_info.php/cPath/43/products_id/146
This would be a great setup, that may acutally work better than using Windows MCE to record TV. Come with software, remote, and tuner card.

Beyond TV is also worth a look. Both Sage and Beyond TV work with Windows XP although I'm not sure if they work with Vista.

You may want to throw a sound card in there as well, but you should be alright with the on-board sound.

The price without the TV recording capabilities goes way down. If you already have XP, then the only thing you would need would be the Beyond TV or Sage TV bundle to record TV.

Also, the Video card in this configuration is more for LIGHT gaming. If you want to run that latest games out right now, you will need to get a more expensive video card. However, this one is great for the uses you stated above.
December 26, 2007 6:49:21 PM

BTW, if you have a HDTV, you can hook this system right up to it and use the TV for the monitor. If you do that I would suggest purchasing a wireless keyboard and mouse so you lounge on the couch and type your emails and surf the web.
December 26, 2007 7:11:35 PM

mattman5170 said:
BTW, if you have a HDTV, you can hook this system right up to it and use the TV for the monitor. If you do that I would suggest purchasing a wireless keyboard and mouse so you lounge on the couch and type your emails and surf the web.


I do have a HDTV but the manual makes mention of not hooking up a computer to it so I am a bit apprehensive to try.
December 26, 2007 7:26:31 PM

mattman5170 said:
Well, for this type of system, you will be mainly going for Storage rather than speed. Especially since you will be recording TV shows.

You will definatly want to check out Http://www.newegg.com. They are very reputable and have a wide selection of different computer parts.

Here is a picture of what you would probably need, will be fairly upgradable for the future.

CPU: Intel E2140 $70
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16819116037

Mobo: Gigabyte GA-P31-S3G $73
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16813128077

Memory: Wintec Ampo DDR2-800 2GB: $36.50
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16820161172

Video: Gigabyte GV-NX86T256H 8600GT 256MB Video Card: $110
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16814125070

Video Capture: Hauppage WinTV-HVR 150 MCE Bundle: $210
http://www.pcalchemy.com/product_info.php/cPath/54/products_id/140
Comes with Wondows XP Media Center Edition, Remote, PVR Tuner Card, DVD Decoder

Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar 500GB: $100
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16822136178

Case: Cooler Master Centurion 534: $50
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16811119104

Power Supply: Rosewill RV-430 430W: $35
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16817182064

DVD/CD Drive: Samsung 20x DVD/CD Burner: $30
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16827151154

Monitor: Acer 20" 2ms LCD DVI Monitor: $190
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16824009131

Total Cost (Everything): ~$904
Assuming you have a Keyboard, mouse and speakers.


All of this hardware should work with Windows Vista, as well as Windows XP and Windows Media Center Edition. You may want to go with Windows Media Center Edition. I would recommend going to http://www.pcalchemy.com and selecting one of their bundles. If you just want to install Windows XP Home, you have this option.

Windows XP Home: $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116056

AND

Sage TV 6/PVR 150MCE: $139.95
http://www.pcalchemy.com/product_info.php/cPath/43/products_id/146
This would be a great setup, that may acutally work better than using Windows MCE to record TV. Come with software, remote, and tuner card.

Beyond TV is also worth a look. Both Sage and Beyond TV work with Windows XP although I'm not sure if they work with Vista.

You may want to throw a sound card in there as well, but you should be alright with the on-board sound.

The price without the TV recording capabilities goes way down. If you already have XP, then the only thing you would need would be the Beyond TV or Sage TV bundle to record TV.

Also, the Video card in this configuration is more for LIGHT gaming. If you want to run that latest games out right now, you will need to get a more expensive video card. However, this one is great for the uses you stated above.



What would I need to be able to watch/record high def on this system?
December 26, 2007 8:36:55 PM

No, this configuration is the basic watch/record Standard Def TV. Currently, the only HDTV tuner cards availible are for Over The Air HD/Digital TV Stations, NOT digital cable/Satellite. There are cards that will record what they call "clear QAM", which some digital cable companies use, but not all cable companies do this. So If you want to record something from your DISH or Digital Cable in HD, you may be better of buying a DVR from them.

For HDTV use the same setup except for Video Capture:

Use This:

Hauppage WINTV-HVR1800 MCE Combo: $249
http://www.pcalchemy.com/product_info.php/cPath/418/products_id/804
Comes with Windows Vista, HDTV/Analog TV Tuner, and Remote Control

Also you may want to buy and addition WinTV-HVR1800 Card so you can watch another station while recording a show.

There is also something out there called a CABLE CARD Tuner. This is a piece of hardware that you buy that allows you to add a Cable Card, that would allow you to tune into premium HD channels on your PC. The only thing is, you need to get the card (not the tuner) from the cable company.

For more information on this and all other HTPC/TV Recording go here:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/

You should find answers to all your questions there. I would also see, what they recommend there as far as building this type of PC.

With HDTVs, you have to be careful. I would not hook my PC up to a DLP TV or Plasma TV. However, if you have an newer LCD TV, then you should be ok.

Hope I didn't confue you too much :pt1cable: 
December 26, 2007 8:52:08 PM

mattman5170 said:
No, this configuration is the basic watch/record Standard Def TV. Currently, the only HDTV tuner cards availible are for Over The Air HD/Digital TV Stations, NOT digital cable/Satellite. There are cards that will record what they call "clear QAM", which some digital cable companies use, but not all cable companies do this. So If you want to record something from your DISH or Digital Cable in HD, you may be better of buying a DVR from them.

For HDTV use the same setup except for Video Capture:

Use This:

Hauppage WINTV-HVR1800 MCE Combo: $249
http://www.pcalchemy.com/product_info.php/cPath/418/products_id/804
Comes with Windows Vista, HDTV/Analog TV Tuner, and Remote Control

Also you may want to buy and addition WinTV-HVR1800 Card so you can watch another station while recording a show.

There is also something out there called a CABLE CARD Tuner. This is a piece of hardware that you buy that allows you to add a Cable Card, that would allow you to tune into premium HD channels on your PC. The only thing is, you need to get the card (not the tuner) from the cable company.

For more information on this and all other HTPC/TV Recording go here:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/

You should find answers to all your questions there. I would also see, what they recommend there as far as building this type of PC.

With HDTVs, you have to be careful. I would not hook my PC up to a DLP TV or Plasma TV. However, if you have an newer LCD TV, then you should be ok.

Hope I didn't confue you too much :pt1cable: 


Not at all. I think I'm still following everything you are saying. I have a DLP TV so I think I will stick with not hooking it up to it. I don't have satelite. For now I only get the basic channels in HD by just plugging in my TV to my cable.

I saw that Video Capture card earlier but was a little confused on where it says that it requires a 2.2 GHz P4 CPU. The CPU you suggested is 1.6 GHz but duo core so does that mean it would be more than enough? Also what would be the benefit, if any, of stepping up to E2160 or E2180 for a little more speed instead of E2140?

Lastly how does this setup stand up to overclocking, if I even go that way? I have not decided one way or the other yet. I know that E21x0 stands up pretty good but what about the other parts?

Thanks for the advice you have given me.
December 27, 2007 2:02:24 PM

Ok I made a few changes. I am still looking for a good power supply and case in about the same range I am already in.

Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 Conroe 2.33GHz 4M shared L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail - 170


ASUS P5K-E LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail - 140


GIGABYTE GV-RX26T256H Radeon HD 2600XT 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail - 97

VisionTek TV Wonder 650 PCI HDTV Tuner w/Remote 900191 PCI Interface - Retail - 130

Wintec Ampo DDR2-800 2GB - 37

Western Digital Caviar SE WD5000AAJS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM - 100

SAMSUNG 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model SH-S203N - OEM - 32

Cooler Master Centurion 534 - 50

Rosewill RV-430 430W - 35

Vista 64-bit Home Premium OEM - 111


I have a couple more questions:

1) How does the RAM work? On the motherboard specifications it says Memory standard is 1066 but the RAM I have in my list is 800. Will that work?

2) How much would the speed of the computer change if I was to switch out the processor for a E2180? ( I don't know if I want to Overclock or not yet. What would this do?)

3)Would I be better served to get a external tuner card instead of internal to cut down on heat inside the case? Would there be any drawback to this?

I'm sure I went overkill on some things but I want to build something that will last for awhile and be able to make some upgrades to in the future without starting over.

Thanks again for the suggestions/advice.
December 27, 2007 4:58:32 PM

Yes that RAM will work. The DDR2-1066 is expensive. If you are OCing try this memory:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820211174

Its cheap and OCs well, you may be able to squeeze 1066 out of it.

If you want to pay for DDR2-1066 then you will have no problems with these:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227181

OR

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148069

OR

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820146720

All three of these memory makers are reputable and sell good products.

As far as CPU, you could OC the E2140 to E2180 Speeds, or just spend the extra $20 to get a E2180 and OC more. It's up to you, you would benefit more from stepping from the E21xx to the E6550 due to the increased cache and FSB that the E6550 has. Gennerally though, a dual-core Core 2 Duo chip like the E21xx or the E6xxx will handsdown outperform the equvalent P4's/Pentium D's at the same rated speed. In fact, the E2140 is performs betterthan the Pentium D Extreme Edition 955 (3.46GHz) in many tests done by Toms. So that processor should be great for what you are trying to do.

I don't think it matters if you get an internal tuner or external tuner performance wise. The performance difference between using the PCI Card and USB 2.0 will be unnoticable. The more you can cut down on heat the better, although that Cooler Master case has excellent ventillation. Heat should not be an issue. It would definately eliminate cords and the bulky box if you got the internal tuner. The other pro of going with an external tuner would be the fact than many external tuners get better Over-The-Air reception than internal tuners. But that should not be a problem for you since you have cable.

If your OCing you definately need a better power supply than I recommended before.

Try This:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817104037

That case is a great case. It has front mesh bezel and 1 or 2 120mm fans. And its tool less.
December 28, 2007 5:31:29 AM

Get the one I suggested.
December 28, 2007 3:00:55 PM

I agree with Chuck get the Corsair PSU. It's cheaper than the Thermaltake and just as reliable.
December 30, 2007 7:34:13 PM

Thanks for all your help. I placed my order now the waiting game begins. In case you were wondering here is what I finally went with.

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 Conroe 2.66GHz 4M shared L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor
Motherboard: ASUS P5K-E LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard
Video Card: HIS Hightech H260XTF512DDN-R Radeon HD 2600XT 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 CrossFire Supported Video Card
Video Capture: VisionTek TV Wonder 650 Combo PCIe HDTV Tuner PVR w/Remote 900192 PCI-Express x1 Interface
Memory: OCZ Gold 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2G8002GK
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar SE WD5000AAJS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM
Optical Drive: SAMSUNG 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model SH-S203N - OEM
Case: Cooler Master Centurion 5 - Silver ATX Mid-Tower Case with Front USB, Firewire and Audio Ports
Power Supply: Thermaltake Purepower W0129RU ATX12V 600 W Power Supply
Operating System: Vista 64-bit Home Premium OEM



Thanks again for all your help. I really appreciate it.
December 31, 2007 1:51:17 PM

Let us know how it turned out after you get everthing put together and working.
!