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First time builder in need of input

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July 25, 2008 2:37:13 PM

Greetings, this is my first build and I have created a wish list that I was hoping to get some advice on. I will be keeping my current video card (radeon9800xt) and a 500W psu. I'm going for budget price and it will be used mostly as a basic home pc with a possible upgrade in the future with a 4850 for moderate gaming. Is everything compatible including the radeon9800xt? Am i forgetting anything? Any advice is appreciated.

http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=8869666

Thanks

More about : time builder input

July 25, 2008 3:43:47 PM

The Radeon 9800XT is an AGP card. You need a PCI-Express card.
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July 25, 2008 3:47:21 PM

Get a new cheap PCIe video card for now. Maybe even try ebay or craigslist. The ATI AGP 9800 will not work with the new system.

Get the GIGABYTE GA-EP35-DS3R instead of the GIGABYTE GA-EP35-DS3L it has a couple more features and is a better built board.

Ditch the Rosewill CPU Cooler. It will be garbage. The retail cooler that comes with the CPU should be fine to start.

Your 500w PSU may be an older ATX 1.x standard and not up to the job. Can you post make/model and detailed specs.

Everthing else looks great.

Just remember you dont need thermal compound the first time you put the Intel CPU Cooler on. It has TIM on it already.
July 25, 2008 3:47:53 PM

The cooler you've selected does not list the LGA775 as a compatible socket, and looking at it I only see an AMD-style bracket. Considering the uses you have listed for this machine, it does not look like you will be overclocking (or not much), so the stock cooler should be fine. If you want another cooler, this one is less hard-core than the Xigmatek, but is another good choice: Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
July 25, 2008 3:54:55 PM

For the video card, something like a 2600Pro will be cheap enough to replace later if you need a gamer card, but it will handle your current list pretty well. I put one in my father's PC and I can play Guild Wars on it at 1440x900 and not feel like I'm suffering. The one I got him is now $50 after MIR: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
July 25, 2008 4:02:50 PM

I would use your old xp licence (put linux on the old system if your still using it) and drop the vista purchase.

cut the memory to 2gb (you'll only see 3gb anyway with the four)

with the 150 dollars you save spend a few more and get your hd4850 ($155 after rebate)






Spunks
July 25, 2008 4:03:05 PM

You can save $17 if you buy the RC-690 from www.buy.com because they offer free shipping.

Get that HD 4850 now because your AGP card won't work in a PCI-E motherboard.

Change to GA-EP43-DS3L so you have a PCI-E 2 .0 slot.

If money is a problem get the Xigmatek later. The CPU you have picked is retail, so it has a cooler already, it's just not as good as the Xigmatek.

July 25, 2008 4:21:23 PM

Thanks for all the quick replies! I don't plan on overclocking this computer at all so I'll just stick with the stock cooler. Shame that the radeon won't work, as the previous card just died so we got it as a cheap replacement off of eBay and then realized that the current 170W psu was not near enough power. Figured this 2003 dell was at the end of its days and might as well build a new one. Haven't actually bought the new psu yet but i was looking at grabbing this one at staples.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371007
I was going to get that one sooner so i could get the old system up and running to transfer my files to an external HD.
Also, I saw this motherboard as a possible P45 model. Would it be a good investment or should i go with the earlier suggested gigabyte?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131296

I think i'll probably end up just getting the 4850 now. Would I be able to use my current xp license without purchasing another install disc? Are 4GB of ram still used even thought the system only shows 3GB?
July 25, 2008 4:33:44 PM

You can use the xp install disk that the dell came with (or any other Windows XP OEM disk for that matter). If it fails to activate, hit the telephone button that'll you'll see during activation and tell them you change the motherboard (i've done this like 12 times). Use the Licence key off the old dell case.

32 Bit versions of windows only uses roughly 3gb of ram if you install 4gb. Less, I believe, if you choose a 1gb videocard. It has to due with the limitations of 32bit addressing. You can only address 4gb of memory and xp (or vista 32) reserves the later part of the memory block for the system and the video card.

Windows xp (not sure on vista) will usually only address up to 2gb of ram PER application also, though some games have a work around this.




Spunks
July 25, 2008 4:38:51 PM

Any 32-bit OS only uses ~3GB of RAM (I think it's actually like 3.3 or 3.5 or something). But with 2x2GB being so cheap right now it almost doesn't make any sense not to buy it even if you're not going to use all of it.

That 2x2GB Mushkin you listed is only $65 after MIR. You really can't go wrong with that.
July 25, 2008 4:41:02 PM

Should i get a 64-bit OS? Not sure if i still have the xp disc the dell came with.
July 25, 2008 4:47:56 PM

Your Dell came with an OEM Windows anyway, which means it will refuse to activate on your new PC and tell you it's illegal to install on another machine, etc etc.

The best choices IMO these days are Vista Home Premium 64-bit and then XP 32-bit. Go with XP if you have some older programs or hardware that don't work on Vista and you can't replace. Otherwise, Vista 64-bit is better because it has DirectX 10 and it can use all 4 GB of RAM.
July 25, 2008 4:54:20 PM

Unless you have a particular need of getting lots of ram, I would sugest that you dont get a 64bit OS, as they tend to have more driver problems (at least they did, I havent really looked into it recently). All you need is an xp install disk that came with any OEM PC (maybe borrow a friends?) your dell number will work with it. Just be sure you dont get an upgrade or retail version and get a home version if you have a home key (or pro if you have a pro). They are pretty common, I got like four of them laying around. Just be sure to spend the time to update it properly. install service pack one (or two) BEFORE you install the motherboard drivers too. The HD audio on the newer motherboards require it before those drivers will go in (ive tried going straight to service pack three only to unistall it and put two in becasue of the HD aduio problem).



Spunks
July 25, 2008 4:59:43 PM

64-bit OS, yes. When you get that 4850, you'll want Vista DX10. I doubt the Dell OS CD will work, they aren't stock XP Install CDs. AFAIK, it's worth a try.
July 25, 2008 5:06:07 PM

OEM Vista wont install on another motherboard. Windows XP absolutly will (all OEM XP versions will). Dont confuse Window Install disks with restore CD's. Restore CD's usually wont go into another machine. Dells came with an XP install disk though, and as long as you have a valid key you can put it into another machine and activate it.

if it fails to automatically activate though the internet, do this

On activation screen, hit activate by telephone
On that screen, hit UPDATE PRODUCT KEY (this is the only time and place you can change the product key)
enter your key code there

go back and try to activate over internet again.

If that fails, hit telephone and dial the number

enter the 40 digit number

last time I did this, an automated system asked several questions. Be sure to answer NO when asked if this key is used in another machine. Then it will ask like if a major hardware change has occured. answer Yes. I think it then asked if I changed the motherboard and I said Yes. Then it read a 40 digit number back to me and the system activated.

All other times (like over ten) that ive done this, some guy from india came on and all i needed to do was tell them I changed the motherboard and that its not installed onther system


Spunks


July 25, 2008 5:38:44 PM

This is perfectly legal also. I've told microsoft that i was taking a XP OEM key off a dead laptop and told them I was putting it on a new desktop and they gave me the activation code.

the only benefit to going to vista is it looks prettier (but is less compatible with older stuff). they only thing it does that xp doesnt is dirextx 10

Dirextx 10, though caple of making games look a little nicer, usually slows a game down a great deal

Vista is a resource hog needing much more ram and processing speed (which your specs cover), takes forever to boot, and has many annoying quirks if your used to xp (but you can get over them).


The most annoying thing about vista that i find though, is unless you buy the RETAIL version of it, you can only activate it on ONE motherboard. So if your motherboard dies or you decided to upgrade again, you'll have to purchase it again (unless you can find an identical motherboard).


But I digress. I'm only stating that I think its a better value to have a xp machine with 2gb of ram and a hd4850 than a vista machine with 4gb of ram an a hd2600



Spunks
July 25, 2008 7:00:28 PM

I'd change the HDD too. The disk you picked is $65, 320MB, 8 MB of cache, two platters of 160GB each.
The WD6400AAKS is $90, 640GB, 16MB of cache, two platters of 320GB each.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136218&Tpk=WD6400AAKS

The increased density in the WD6400AAKS helps a lot with average read/write performance. You also get 100% more space for 38% more money.
July 25, 2008 7:31:25 PM

I agree with the power supply change. The power supply you chose has two 17 amp 12 volt rails. the cosair recommended has one 12 volt rail with 52 amps. If the rail your video card ends up on draws more than 17 amps (which can happen) you'll start artifacting or crashing. The cosair has a hugh rail that would be tough to draw down. Both supplies are energy effcient, so there is no complaint there. I like PC Power & Cooling S61EPS 610W, which is 89.99 after rebate, but the cosair beats it spec wise.

For ten dollars more, you could move to a 500gb hard drive. 180gb more for ten bucks is hard to pass by. The 640gb one mention is a good value too but I would only be interested in it if your after faster load times and quicker video encodes.

As for motherboards, I usually shop around for one that has all solid state caps (I think yours has that) and a cooling pipe over the voltage regulators next to the cpu. You can find a couple for around 10-50 dollars more in the p43/p45 chipset area of newegg. but this is really a personal prefrence (i believe they are more durable).

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

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

spunks
July 25, 2008 8:46:19 PM

Thanks everyone for the input. It looks like this is the final build. Unless, of course, you see any glaring mistakes.

http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=8869666

As this is my first build, I was wondering if someone could provide me with a link to a good online tutorial for step by step construction. I've seen a few, but don't know a quality one when I see it. Thanks again.
July 25, 2008 10:39:33 PM

One last thing. Do Not Put the new power supply into the DELL! Dell power supplies are properitary and they switched a few wires around, but theyhave the same connector. You pop it in it your gonna blow both the dell motherboard and the power supply. If your looking to save files, install the old hard drive inot the new build and transfer them over to the new drive or leave it in there.





Spunks
July 26, 2008 2:50:31 AM

Thanks for the warning. What if i got a cheap $20 300W? Would that work with the dell?
July 26, 2008 3:09:31 AM

Well, google your particular dell for replacement power supplies and see what you find. I poked around a little, and i guess that the dells in question are from the 1998-2002 era, but I could be wrong. I would just be sure its compatible before you drop it in, because RMA'ing it to newegg takes a while :) 





Spunks
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