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Help A Newbie Build A Computer!

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May 17, 2008 8:52:06 AM

Hey guys, I've never built a computer before, and I really don't know much about specific parts. I've been reading for a few days now and it still doesnt make much sense to me. Anyway, hopefully you'll be capable of helping me.

I want to build a new computer for gaming, my current one is about 7 years old. Specifically, I want a computer that can run a new game coming out called "Age of Conan". Here are the recommended configurations for the game.

Recommended configuration (Up to 1280X960, most features on)
OS: Windows XP SP 2 or Windows Vista
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz or equivalent
RAM: 2048MB Dual Channel DDR2
Video card: NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GTX or equivalent
Video memory: 512MB
DVD-ROM: Quad-speed (4x) DVD-ROM drive
HARD DRIVE SPACE: 30GB

Ideally, I'm looking to spend around $750, but I'd understand if that is unrealistic for getting a computer of this caliber. If anyone could point out some viable options I'd certainly appreciate it.

Please keep in mind however that I'm Canadian, and I believe NewEgg does not ship to Canada.

Thanks fellas, I appreciate any help you can give!



PS: I looked around TigerDirect.ca and came up with this:

NZXT HUSH Black ATX Mid-Tower Case - $97.99
Intel DP35DPM Intel Socket 775 ATX Motherboard - $128.99
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.40GHz Socket 775 OEM Processor - $341.59 (-$121.60) = $219.99
Ultra X-Connect V-Series (XVS) 500-Watt Power Supply - $97.59 (-$36.60) = $60.99
Corsair Dual Channel TWINX 2048MB PC6400 DDR2 800MHz E.P.P. Memory (2 x 1024) - $69.99 (-$25) = $44.99
$622.99 (-$25rebate) = $597.99

PowerUp P4 CPU Cooling Fan - $24.99
EVGA GeForce 8800 GT Video Card PCIe 2.0 - $189.99 (-$30rebate) = $159.99

Total = 824.97 before tax ($950 or so)

A little out of my price range, any thing you can fix up would be great!

More about : newbie build computer

May 17, 2008 9:50:08 AM

The barebone kit (everything but the fan/graphics card) I assume is non-changable? Also, it didn't come with a fan, which is why I put one in.

Any ideas?

PS: Funny site in your sig :p 
May 17, 2008 10:00:58 AM

get a GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L instead, which will save you around 30 bucks.

if you're NOT in for video encoding and renderring then get an E7200, probably the best VFM dual core out there.




Related resources
May 17, 2008 11:58:59 AM

Yeah, you really could do just fine with an 80 dollar motherboard and you wont notice the difference. Nowdays everything is really close speed wise, not like way back 7 years ago when the board made a good bit of difference.

@amdgirl...you should do a cover of "smelly cat" ..lol
May 17, 2008 12:12:14 PM

Newegg doesn't ship to Canada but check out NCIX, it's usually cheaper than Tiger Direct.
May 17, 2008 12:15:21 PM

Hey ausch30...I see you got your rig in your avatar...looks like one of those IBM pc-jr 70 series...sweet rig ! What you got on there vga ?
May 17, 2008 12:22:31 PM

Quote:
^ Ok, do you seriously wanna stay under your limit? If so try to assemble your own list of parts. I do have a sense that almost built boxes give you less customization and etc. If your fine with the box take it! Or I suggest you start with a Core 2 E7200 or E2160 if you plan to overclock. Next maybe decide on whether you want an atx or matx case. I think in most cases (no pun intended) people will be better off with matx cases as they are easy to carry, take up little room and don't have great performance differences compared to ATXs. It's mostly about expansion tho... Once you chose your case go for the motherboard.

Sort out this much, I'll be back tomorrow...


Thanks for the responses! Theyre certainly appreciated.

It all depends how much over the limit, at absolute max I would say 900 or less. I don't really have a preference in ANYTHING because as I mentioned, this would be my first computer I've ever built, thusly I have no experience with any computer except this dell ;) 

I'm just looking for a computer that I can play some new games on relatively smoothly. I don't care about cranking the graphics up to max or anything, I'm content with medium settings. I found a store that has very similar prices to NCIX/Tigerdirect that is very close to me, heres a link.

http://www.yesplay.com/storeonlinequote.asp?hstore=BA&h...

Any suggestions on what to fill in? It has drop down boxes and such with parts.
May 17, 2008 12:32:51 PM

royalcrown said:
Hey ausch30...I see you got your rig in your avatar...looks like one of those IBM pc-jr 70 series...sweet rig ! What you got on there vga ?


MacII
May 17, 2008 12:41:27 PM

Well Tom's just did an article, which has a part in it that said recent graphics cards do best between 2.6 and 3 ghz, lower and you end up losing a lot of performance because the card is not pushed enough. Games tend to like more cache on intels, so personally, I'd go for 2 or 4 meg and skip the cpu's with the 1 meg. Ya go with what you can afford, another option might be a midrange AMD, they are less money, but for the midrange, you can get something about as fast as the 6400's or so for not a lot of $$. Just a thought. On the high end, of course you'd have to go Intel right now, no contest.
May 17, 2008 1:04:12 PM

royalcrown said:
graphics cards do best between 2.6 and 3 ghz, lower and you end up losing a lot of performance because the card is not pushed enough.
Does this include the Duo Core CPUs?


Games tend to like more cache on intels, so personally, I'd go for 2 or 4 meg and skip the cpu's with the 1 meg. Ya go with what you can afford, another option might be a midrange AMD, they are less money, but for the midrange, you can get something about as fast as the 6400's or so for not a lot of $$. Just a thought. On the high end, of course you'd have to go Intel right now, no contest. said:
Games tend to like more cache on intels, so personally, I'd go for 2 or 4 meg and skip the cpu's with the 1 meg. Ya go with what you can afford, another option might be a midrange AMD, they are less money, but for the midrange, you can get something about as fast as the 6400's or so for not a lot of $$. Just a thought. On the high end, of course you'd have to go Intel right now, no contest.


AMD Athlon 64 X 6400+ / 3.2GHz - Socket AM2 - L2 2MB (2 x 1 MB) - $174
Intel Core 2 Duo E6550, 2.33 GHZ @ 1333Mhz w/ 4mb - $176

Any preference? Also, is there any way to know if different items are compatible with one another? I've read that there can be major issues if you mix-and-match different components. I'm just so confused, I find it very hard to know where one item (be it CPU/Video Card/Motherboard/etc.) sits in comparsion with others. When I have everything all picked out, how will I even know if it can run the things I'm looking for?


EDIT: Also, I'm trying to pick out some memory, how do I know if I need PC5300 - Pc6400? Is there a difference between DDR1/2/3?
May 17, 2008 1:22:17 PM

Quote:
Try looking for the E7200 or E8400, faster just a tiny bit more expensive. Make sure you match this with 45nm capable 1333MHZ motherboard. Your motherboard should state what RAM it uses (DDR2 or DDR3). If I were you I'd stay away from DDR3 as it is very expensive. PC6400 = DDR2 800.

Pretty much any PCI-E video card will fit with a PCI-E motherboard. Its very hard to find AGP these days so don't worry.


How's this look?

Case: Black xBlade Full ATX Case no PSU - $64.35
Power Supply: Antec@ TruePower Trio 550 - 550W ATX12V v2.2 Power Supply - $76.65
Motherboard: Asus P5GC-MX/1333 Intel 945GC LGA775 FSB1333MHz 2DD2 SATA Video AUdio 10/100 LAN MATX - $55.65
CPU: Intel@ Core2 Duo E8400, 3.0-GHz @ 1333Mhz w/ 6mb - w/ HEAT SINK AND FAN - $238.35
Memory: Kingbox PC6400 @ 800Mhz - 2GB - DDR2 - $47.25
Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 Hard Drive - 320GB internal - 3.5' SATA 300 7200rpm 16MB Buffer - $73.64
Video Card: EVGA Geforce 8800GT PCI-E 512MB DDR3 Dual DVI HDTV - $168

Price: $723.89
GST: $43.43
PST $57.91
Total: $825.23

Am I missing anything?
May 17, 2008 1:29:33 PM

Optical drive. Samsung SH-S203B. Highly recommended.



Hey Ausch, hope you're doing well.
May 17, 2008 1:35:05 PM

Well, the 6000 and up from AMD aren't worth the price honestly. 5200 and up are good for the money compared to intel, with the 5400 scoring right around the same as the e6300 and 6400's, but if I was gonna spend 170 or so, go Intel for sure, AMDfangirl is right on !
As far as memory, there isn't a lot of performance increase for ddr3, but it is a lot more, she is right, stick with ddr2, as far as compatibility, most ram works just fine with most boards, but you can check each motherboards site for a compatibility list of what they actually tested with if your super nervous; I wouldn't be though...you're pretty safe picking and decent ram. As far as power supplies, a good rule of thumb is, if it doesn't have a name skip it, if it's super cheap, skip it (like 750 watts 49.99 = bad !), other than that, you'll do fine, building them is really easy and the motherboard manuals pretty much tell you how to do EVERYTHING. If your not comfortable with that, the other advantage with getting it built is that it is tested for you and usually a warranty.
May 17, 2008 1:40:22 PM

Here this gives a rough idea about cpu speed, and to play new games an e8400 is more than enough, my 5400 does okay even.

http://www.cpubenchmark.net
May 17, 2008 1:48:12 PM

heh cool, I think the reason I'm so nervous (besides it being my first time building a computer) is that I'm excited :p 

What exactly does an optical drive do?
May 17, 2008 1:49:43 PM

heh I googled it, its a CD drive. I'm dumb :p 
May 17, 2008 1:55:59 PM

Actually, a DVD drive ;) 
May 17, 2008 1:58:46 PM

oh boy -_-
May 17, 2008 2:09:23 PM

skyguy said:
Actually, a DVD drive ;) 


Actually it could also be MO for magneto-optical...but that's nit picking.
May 17, 2008 2:10:09 PM

royalcrown said:
Actually it could also be MO for magneto-optical...but that's nit picking.

I thought that fad died already. :p 
May 17, 2008 2:23:21 PM

Get a Gigabyte P35-DS3L mobo......as long as you don't need RAID, it's cheap, stable, overclocks like a champ, decent board layout, pretty solid power distribution, resets on its own when an overclock is unstable..........a real winner that won't break the bank.
May 17, 2008 2:34:23 PM

Jake, I haven't seen you in a while. I know you canuck's are pretty busy this time of the year, playoff time.

May 17, 2008 2:38:40 PM

Haven't been here in a long time.........after the Big Switch when they got bought out, the mass exodus, etc, etc.......I simply didn't have it in me to keep going.

I still find the forums glacially slow and the interface painful, but at least the dust has settled. I wonder if the Mods have mellowed as well.......? Still, looks like lotsa help needed here LOL. Dunno if I have the time to contribute much here though, at least nowhere near my heyday :) 

Been busy working at another Tech site (a very respectable one now) after the fiasco with David. PM me and I can catch you up quick.
May 17, 2008 2:47:05 PM

Quote:
Question: Why did you choose a matx board to go into an ATX case? (normally its best to fit matxs in matx cases and atxs into atx cases (but it will work regardless... (problem is that you get both disadvantages (not as good upgradility and full size and heavy)))


Maybe he didn't like the "Hello Kitty" pink mini tower :p 

"Real" men have big cases...lol
May 17, 2008 3:58:17 PM

can I get a compatability check on this?

Coolermaster Elite RC-330 ATX Blk Case 4X5.25 2X3.5 5X3.5INT No PS 1X120MM Rear Fan Front I/O Panel

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 250GB SATA2 8.5MS 7200RPM 16MB Cache Hard Drive 5YR MFR Warranty

EVGA E-GEFORCE 8800GT 600MHZ 512MB 1.8GHZ DDR3 PCI-E Dual DVI-I HDTV Out Video Card *IR-$46*

OCZ StealthXStream 600W ATX12V 20/24PIN Active PFC ATX Power Supply 120MM Fan Black

C orsair XMS2 TWIN2X2048-6400 2GB 2X1GB PC2-6400 DDR2-800 CL 5-5-5-18 240PIN DIMM Dual Chan *IR-$20*

Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS3L ATX LGA775 P35 1333FSB 1PCI-E16 3PCI-E1 3PCI SATA2 Sound GBLAN Motherboard

Samsung SH-S203B Black SATA DVD+RW 20X8X16 DVD-RW 20X6X16 DL 18X/12X INT DVD Writer OEM W/ Vista SW

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Dual Core Processor LGA775 3.0GHZ Wolfdale 1333FSB 6MB Retail
May 17, 2008 4:50:28 PM

First of all, if this is your first computer build. Your last one is 7 years old, ANY computer, even the one you can build for say a few hundred dollars is going to be fine.

Get the lowest grade core 2 duo you can get, a 50 dollar motherboard and 2gb ram (less then 50) dollars then heck get a 8800gt video card. You can even grab a 50 dollar case with a descent power supply. Now add in a oem copy of windows xp home or even vista home and your set.

What your getting is overkill, to simply play a game. Especailly if you have a budget of 750.

It's never been an easier time to build a computer yourself. The days of it being a nerd's wetdream are over. That is pretty much why the biggest hype now days is "how many hundreds of MHZ or even GHZ can I overclock my q6600?

So yeah, just facts. Computer capability have far outpaced games, unless of course you're talking about playing Crysis on High settings. Anything other then that, not an issue.

Being in the industry and building computers for 11 years now, in all honesty in my opinion the performance is so off the chart and overclocking is so easy, its almost boring. I remember when you were able to squeeze 30mhz extra out of your rig your were a master overclocker and it required extremely fancy cooling gear. The most ram you could get was 64 mb and that costs you hundreds of dollars.

A 10gb or heck even 4gb hard drive was 150 bucks. Now its, should I get the half a terabyte? Or the full terabyte?

Crazy stuff, wonder what it will be like in another decade? Can't even imagine.
May 17, 2008 4:56:41 PM

Namis9,

Your build is looking good.

How about a HSF? Something like this or similar if it fits your case:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Important message for the GA-EP35_DS3L

When you install the Utilities and Drivers from the Gigabyte CD the first on the list is Dynamic Energy Saver, AKA DES.
DES is designed to save energy. Installing DES will not let you change the default voltage of the installed processor.
If you plan on doing ANY overclocking uncheck the box for DES so it wont install.

Check this out:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/245679-29-guide-overc...
May 17, 2008 5:12:01 PM

cranbers said:
First of all, if this is your first computer build. Your last one is 7 years old, ANY computer, even the one you can build for say a few hundred dollars is going to be fine.

Get the lowest grade core 2 duo you can get, a 50 dollar motherboard and 2gb ram (less then 50) dollars then heck get a 8800gt video card. You can even grab a 50 dollar case with a descent power supply. Now add in a oem copy of windows xp home or even vista home and your set.

What your getting is overkill, to simply play a game. Especailly if you have a budget of 750.

It's never been an easier time to build a computer yourself. The days of it being a nerd's wetdream are over. That is pretty much why the biggest hype now days is "how many hundreds of MHZ or even GHZ can I overclock my q6600?

Since your a system builder, you should know you cant get a 50 dollar case with a decent power supply; that right there would make me wary of having you pick my stuff. Plus, if he keeps this system for several years there is no harm getting something faster than he MIGHT need right now.

So yeah, just facts. Computer capability have far outpaced games, unless of course you're talking about playing Crysis on High settings. Anything other then that, not an issue.

Being in the industry and building computers for 11 years now, in all honesty in my opinion the performance is so off the chart and overclocking is so easy, its almost boring. I remember when you were able to squeeze 30mhz extra out of your rig your were a master overclocker and it required extremely fancy cooling gear. The most ram you could get was 64 mb and that costs you hundreds of dollars.

A 10gb or heck even 4gb hard drive was 150 bucks. Now its, should I get the half a terabyte? Or the full terabyte?

Crazy stuff, wonder what it will be like in another decade? Can't even imagine.

May 17, 2008 5:13:36 PM

cranbers said:
First of all, if this is your first computer build. Your last one is 7 years old, ANY computer, even the one you can build for say a few hundred dollars is going to be fine.

Get the lowest grade core 2 duo you can get, a 50 dollar motherboard and 2gb ram (less then 50) dollars then heck get a 8800gt video card. You can even grab a 50 dollar case with a descent power supply. Now add in a oem copy of windows xp home or even vista home and your set.

What your getting is overkill, to simply play a game. Especailly if you have a budget of 750.

It's never been an easier time to build a computer yourself. The days of it being a nerd's wetdream are over. That is pretty much why the biggest hype now days is "how many hundreds of MHZ or even GHZ can I overclock my q6600?

So yeah, just facts. Computer capability have far outpaced games, unless of course you're talking about playing Crysis on High settings. Anything other then that, not an issue.

Being in the industry and building computers for 11 years now, in all honesty in my opinion the performance is so off the chart and overclocking is so easy, its almost boring. I remember when you were able to squeeze 30mhz extra out of your rig your were a master overclocker and it required extremely fancy cooling gear. The most ram you could get was 64 mb and that costs you hundreds of dollars.

A 10gb or heck even 4gb hard drive was 150 bucks. Now its, should I get the half a terabyte? Or the full terabyte?

Crazy stuff, wonder what it will be like in another decade? Can't even imagine.



Since your a system builder, you should know you cant get a 50 dollar case with a decent power supply; that right there would make me wary of having you pick my stuff. Plus, if he keeps this system for several years there is no harm getting something faster than he MIGHT need right now.
May 17, 2008 7:51:38 PM

Build looks very good. Consider an aftermarket heatsink like knotknut said. Other than that, rock and roll!
May 18, 2008 5:53:36 AM

I'll be sending this order out sometime tomorrow.

If I don't plan on overclocking do I still need the aftermarket heatsink? What does it do specifically?

I really appreciate the help guys :) 
May 18, 2008 1:27:46 PM

Quote:
If you don't plan on overclocking you don't need a 3rd party heatsink as the free one is adequate for your use...

The "free" one only comes with retail package, not oem cpu. OEM cpu is usually $15 cheaper. :p 

The heatsink is half the size of the stock heatsink for an old P4. It's just horrible. I wouldn't use it even on stock speed, not to mention paying $15 for it. :sarcastic: 
!