Homebuilt Systems

Hey folks.......

I bought my first PC - a Gateway 2000 166 XL years ago. It was top of the line for about two weeks. I spent a fortune on it too. I suffered for years chugging along on-line and just keeping to the basics. About five years ago, a co-worker and friend, Cliff had an unused PC laying around and gave me the tower - it was a P3 633 and to me, it was blazingly fast from what I was used to and the price was right too! Now, I could start having a little bit of fun with a PC for once.

It was nearing Christmas 2007 when I recieved a big UPS box at work. Inside this box was a power supply, motherboard, and Intel chip. I was beyond confused when I emailed CB that night and all he replied was "BUILD AND LEARN!". I've done a few things with PC's before but never built one from scratch. I was over my head but CB would give direction when needed. Putting a chip into a motherboard for the first time was a great feeling - almost like how Dr. Frankenstien must have felt with his creation.

When it was all put together and the BIG MOMENT arrived, all went well. The Fire Dept wasn't called and I wasn't running from the house screaming. All in all, a great experience. Below are the specs:

Acer 22" widescreen LCD monitor

(Started with Intel Single Core 3.0 then went to a Pentium D 3.2)

Intel LGA 775 945GC motherboard

Corsair XMS2 2 x 1GB 240-Pin DDR2 memory

XFX GeForce 8600GT 512MB 128-bit video card

Logitech G15 gaming keyboard (Thanks Ellen!)

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 - 250GB hard drive

Sony NEC Optiarc 20X DVD±R DVD burner

Rosewill Stallion Series 600W power supply

Rosewill R604-P ATX mid tower case

Logisys 12" Dual Cold Cathode Blue Light Kit

Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 THX®-Certified 200 watt speakers

OS: Windows XP Pro SP2

My question is......where is my system lacking?
Any upgrades you'd recommend?
Better motherboard? Better video card?
39 answers Last reply
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  1. just upgrading mobo doesn't make it faster, just lets it use faster parts, and maybe OC better.

    the vid card is a bit weak, but no DX10 w/o vista. no vista w/o more memory.

    what you have isn't bad, but its fairly maxed in the sense that some little upgrades cuase you to replace a fairly large percentage.

    hate to say it, but...
    got your Pent. D around still?
    maybe slap it back in, keep your CPU and perifials. start fresh, keeping the old system intact.
  2. How much are you looking to spend?
  3. What do you want from that PC? If it's for gaming, replace the video card with an 8800GTS 512MB, it will make a huge difference. If it's not for gaming, it's pretty good already.

    If it's for video encoding or database work or other things where quad-cores help a lot, you could get a Q6600 CPU (but I think it would also need a new motherboard, not sure). TBH I don't think it's worth it.

    Maybe a faster hard disk, like the WD3200AAKS or WD6400AAKS or Seagate's 7200.11 series...
  4. TY guys...........

    Groo, what are you saying, put the Pentium D back in there?

    I do a little gaming (COD4 on-line).
    Hope to do a little home music recording too.....

    as far as a budget, a little at a time won't impoverish me....
  5. I think he meant you should build a new PC from scratch, and reuse only the E6600 and speakers in the new PC, and put the Pentium D back in the old PC if you want that one to keep working.

    IMO you just need a gaming video card.

    Any one of these: HD 3850 512MB, HD 3870, 9600GT, 8800GT, 8800GTS 512MB, even 8800GTX (if the case is big enough) would make a huge difference. I listed them here with the weakest first, and even the HD 3850 is about twice as fast as what you have now.

    For the music recording: more RAM and a faster hard disk would probably help there. If your recordings have pops and noises it could be that the hard disk can't keep up.
  6. eVGA, BFG, XFX for an NVidia card. Sapphire for AMD cards. It doesn't really matter, as long as what you get comes with a good warranty.
  7. aevm,

    what vid card brands do you recommend?
  8. Yah, the maxed out (on mem) board might show it's age in a little while.
    I'd like to upgrade the OS to Vista 64-bit but that might happen down the road
    when I upgrade the motherboard to something that can handle more memory.

    this one maybe: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=N82E16813127030

    and I bought the 8600 JUST BEFORE the big price drop when the 9*** series came out
    otherwise I would have gotten a much better card.

    Maybe if I wait, the solid state disk drives and 9*** series video cards will come down in price
    a little and VISTA's bugs will be worked out............just a thought.
  9. The aBit IP35 Pro is great, maybe even the best P35 MB out there. If you're buying an 8800GTS 512MB in the next 30 days or so, go for it.

    If you're waiting more than that, and hoping to buy a future card like the AMD 4xxx or nVidia 2xx, I suggest you get something like GA-EX38-DS4 instead. The X38 has PCI-E 2.0 slots, and future cards might need them. The 8800GTS 512MB works fine in a PCI-E 1 slot (i.e. on the aBIt IP35 Pro) without losing any speed, but some future card might lose some speed or even totally refuse to work in a PCI-E 1 slot.

    Ask again when you're ready to buy, and get the video card and motherboard at the same time to make sure they're compatible.
  10. ty aevm!

    the specs on the GA-EX38-DS4 look great but:

    FSB = 1600/1333MHz
    Memory Standard = DDR2 1200

    whereas the IP35 Pro:

    FSB = 1333/1066MHz
    Memory Standard = DDR2 800

    that way, I can use the chip and memory from my old set-up and not have to go out and buy them....
    saving money for the better board and more DDR 800 memory (and some other things)...

    Does that make sense or am I shooting myself in the foot here..............?
  11. ^

    The GA-EX38-DS4 supports FSB 800 (ie E21x0 CPUs, E6xxx,etc)

    You can also use DDR2 800 RAM with that board. The MAX RAM speed it supports is DDR2 1200 (natively, can be OCed higher).

    Rosewill Stallion Series 600W power supply

    First off the PSU is cr@p. Get a Corsair, PP&C or better.
  12. My recommendations:
    P35-DS3L (~$90-100) (great OCing board, if new to OCing and want help PM me)
    Corsair 450VX/550VX (~$70-90)

    everything else can be reused. (ie. case,DVD,HDD,E6600,etc)
  13. I'm aware that the intel board is not very flexible and is another reason
    I will upgrade down the road. It being a gift AND my first build, it was
    wise to get familiar with building before trying my hand at tweaking.

    thanks for the link to giga......so it WILL take my E6600 = cool!
    that's great new. What I read so far didn't reveal that! TY!

    and on the MEMORY SUPPORT LIST - if I'm reading that right,
    it's saying my current memory WILL work after all?

    I've heard that the Rosewill PSU might be a bit lame and that may be
    replaced down the road too.
  14. Yes. your DDR2 800 RAM will work fine. Remember to up the voltage to 2.1v.
  15. Shadow703793 said:
    My recommendations:
    P35-DS3L (~$90-100) (great OCing board, if new to OCing and want help PM me)
    Corsair 450VX/550VX (~$70-90)

    everything else can be reused. (ie. case,DVD,HDD,E6600,etc)

    GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L Replaced by GA-EP35-DS3L with Dynamic Energy Saver


    which if I am reading this right will support my chip AND memory too!

    Lesson learned: not all the specs are listed on the NEWEGG site and best to look at the MANUFACTURERS PAGE!

  16. Man! Alot of good info here - ty aevm and shadow!

    so, for now AT LEAST a better video card and PSU
    and down the road, a better motherboard and more ram.....

    and at $89.99 (at NEWEGG) for the GIGABYTE GA-EP35-DS3L, it's doable sooner than I thought.
  17. groo said:

    the vid card is a bit weak, but no DX10 w/o vista. no vista w/o more memory.

    What would you consider the MINIMUM to run VISTA ?

    At 2 gigs would this be OK or would it not really cut it ?
  18. ^If it is pure gaming go with XP, and 2GB would run games butter smooth. If on Vista do consider at least 3-4GB if gaming.
  19. I ran Vista for a while with 2 gigs and it will run with even less. but to really run Vista, I'd say get Vista 64 and 4 gigs, or 3 for vista 32
  20. yah, sounds like another MB before I upgrade to VISTA
  21. Shadow703793 said:
    My recommendations:
    P35-DS3L (~$90-100) (great OCing board, if new to OCing and want help PM me)
    Corsair 450VX/550VX (~$70-90)

    everything else can be reused. (ie. case,DVD,HDD,E6600,etc)

    these are the PSU I'm looking at........what yah think?




    on sale this weekend too...........
  22. Both 520HX and 750TX are very good (tier 2) PSUs and both are powerful enough for your system. If you want more room for upgrades go with the 750W, even if it's overkill for now.

    Also, for the same price ($120) as that 750TX you can get the Silencer 750W.

    Mind you, the 750TX is excellent, but the Silencer has been around longer and has an impressive number of awards, so I'd still prefer it, at the same price. I have one right now, in fact :)
  23. well, the reason I'm looking at those are they have modular cabling
  24. vic108 said:

    All are really good PSUs. Get the cheapest HX since it will satisfy your needs.
  25. Yah, I think Groo IS right....................

    a weak GPU, no VISTA, weak MOBO - maybe I should rebuild?

    when I get down to it......a new PSU, GPU, MOBO, more memory,
    & VISTA 64 bit - that's alot of changes!

    I can either just buy a PSU and a GPU, wait a year or two
    or else upgrade the entire system.......
  26. I'd either rebuild now and sell or keep the old one
    pickup a graphics card worthwhile to carry over when you rebuild in about a year. keep your PSU as long as it does the job and you not constantly crashing.

    Basicly, do you want to spend a lot now, or some now and more later.
  27. well, as far as the GPU goes, I get confused about what really
    matters spec-wise: I mean these two cards spec out the same....
    but what's the real difference?

    XFX PVT88PYSF4 GeForce 8800 GT = $169.99
    Core clock = 600MHz
    Stream Processors = 112
    Memory Clock = 1800MHz
    Memory Size = 512MB
    Memory Interface = 256-bit
    Memory Type = GDDR3

    XFX PVT88PYDF4 GeForce 8800 GT = $179.99
    Core clock 600MHz
    Stream Processors 112
    Memory Clock 1800MHz
    Memory Size 512MB
    Memory Interface 256-bit
    Memory Type GDDR3

    Looking at the specs on the card I bought in Jan 2008, it's sad:

    XFX PVT84JYAJG GeForce 8600 GT 512MB 128-bit GDDR2 = $85.99

    Core clock 540MHz
    Stream Processors 32
    Memory Clock 1180MHz
    Memory Size 512MB
    Memory Interface 128-bit
    Memory Type GDDR2

    So, what's more important for performance?
    Memory size, Memory clock, Core clock, number of Stream Processors,
    Memory Interface, or a cobination of things?

    Seems the 8800 still out perform the new 9600?
  28. Specs for both XFX 8800GT cards are the same. The only differences are:

    The $169 comes with a better HSF (more OCing + cooler+ quieter)
    The $179 comes with a free game.

    Imo, go for the $169 one. Don't even consider the 8600GT.
  29. I like the "PVT88PYSF4" version more too. The bad news is it's $180 now, not $169. The other one is $180 too, btw.

    There's an MSI 8800GTS G92 at newegg, also for $180 (except it's after a rebate). I'd prefer that one, of all 3, at these prices.

    Yes, the 8800GT and 8800GTS G92 cards outperform the 9600GT.
  30. Yeah, if possible get the (G92)8800GTS.
  31. Shadow703793 said:
    Yeah, if possible get the (G92)8800GTS.

    Cool! I'll check it out!

    do you think the price on the 8800's will go down dramatically when the newer cards come out next month or so..........?
  32. I'm guessing the price will keep going down slowly over the next 6 months or so, nothing dramatic, and then they'll stop making the 8800 cards. Even if the new cards are much better and the old cards become obsolete, making the old cards will still be expensive and nVidia won't want to keep making them and selling them at a loss.
  33. I'd expect something in the neiborhood of a $20 price drop, just to clear out old inventory. you'll probably see more discounts at the upper end, just because they are competeing more directly. The GTS may become a better deal. or the other thing to consider might be to look at a new lower level card, like the 4850, may be in your price range
  34. Groo,

    4850 - couldn't find any info on that..............(?)
  35. out in about a week I think. its ATI new 3rd ranked card behind the 4870 and 4870x2. as far as I can tell, it'll basicly be a slowed 4870 with slower, possibly less memory.
  36. ok, here's another option (maybe)?

    two XFX PVT88SFDFU GeForce 8800 GS 384MB 192-bit GDDR3
    (or something similar.....................)



    one MSI NX8800GTS 512M OC GeForce 8800GTS (G92) 512MB 256-bit GDDR3

  37. The GTS has 128 stream processors (as opposed to 96 in the GS) and more RAM and higher clocks. If you can afford the GTS get the GTS.
  38. ^+. Also the memory bandwidth of the 8800GS is reduced.
  39. Cool, thanks folks for helping me get a better grip on this stuff..........!
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